I just spent the last week working out of my New Jersey office, which is to say I was visiting the family for Thanksgiving. Before that I was spending a lot of time going over the page proofs and compiling the index for the BECB (the big evolution/creationism book, for those not up on the local slang). So it’s nice to see that particular project work its way down the home stretch.

It was probably sometime during 2006 when I first started thinking seriously about writing a book about my experiences at creationist conferences. When I first started mentally outlining the book I honestly thought ID would be the focus. That’s not how things worked out. Among the five major sections of the book only one is devoted exclusively to ID. Once I started writing, it simply became clear that ID just isn’t that interesting anymore.


When I first became aware of ID in the late nineties, I worried that evolution might have met its match. Not because of ID’s scientific merits, of course. Even as a novice creationism-fighter first learning the relevant science it was clear to me that the ID arguments didn’t hold up at all. Behe’s arguments about irreducible complexity were logically fallacious, something that is clear even before you peruse the professional literature and discover that Behe’s summaries of it were inaccurate. Dembski’s probabilistic arguments were an even bigger disaster, since your average freshman math major could tell you there is no reasonable way of calculating the probability of evolving a flagellum or whatnot.

No, I worried because ID seemed to be providing something that a lot of people wanted. You see, many folks just flat don’t like evolution. They have some vague notion that it’s hostile to religion, and it does seem to lower the status of humanity within The Big Picture. But for many of those same people, YEC is just a bridge too far. They’re not going to take their Bible literally or dismiss out of hand huge swaths of modern science.

Then here comes ID to provide what seems like a scientifically plausible form of anti-evolutionism. You could apparently oppose evolution without descending into outright religious obscurantism. I worried that people would find that sufficiently appealing to avoid looking too carefully at the details, rather like it’s easier to just enjoy a chocolate covered Oreo than it is to think about what it’s doing to your innards.

But that’s not what happened. Even leaving aside the blow of Kitzmiller v. Dover, ID has simply collapsed under the weight of its own vacuity. In the nineties and early 2000s, ID seemed to be producing one novel argument after another. They were variations on familiar themes, of course, but books like Darwin on Trial, Darwin’s Black Box, No Free Lunch and even Icons of Evolution, written by people with serious credentials and written with far more skill than the YEC’s could muster, seemed to advance the discussion in original ways. These books attracted enormous interest among scientists, if only in the sense that they were promoting bad ideas that needed be countered. Many books were written to counter ID’s pretensions, and major science periodicals took notice of them.

Not so today. Consider the two biggest ID books of recent years. Michael Behe’s follow-up book, The Edge of Evolution, dropped like a stone. It got a few perfunctory reviews written by scientists who perked up just long enough to note its many errors, and then everyone ignored it. Frankly, even the ID folks don’t seem to talk about it very much. Stephen Meyer’s book Signature in the Cell was likewise met with crickets. It briefly seemed like a big deal, a big book released by a mainstream publisher, but scientists gave it a scan, saw nothing remotely new, and yawned.

The ID blogs are hardly in any better shape. It’s mostly just post after post whining and kvetching about how mean old scientists don’t take them seriously. Consider this sad little post from David Klinghoffer, writing at the Discovery Institute’s blog. Referring to people like P. Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins he writes:

These people are bullies and cowards. Really, it’s pathetic and anyone with a critical capacity and any interest in the Darwin question should have asked himself by now why the main Darwin defenders refuse to wrestle with the most serious Darwin critics — even if seriousness were measured simply in relative terms — when they’ve got no shortage of time to plow through self-published Internet texts by the Hamza Andreas Tzortzises of this world.

The occasion for this pouty little rant was this post by P. Z. Myers, which was responding to the claims of an Islamic creationist who was arguing that the Quran anticipated modern science. Klinghoffer does not approve of Myers’s choice of blog topics, it seems. (Incidentally, P. Z. Myers has already responded to Klinghoffer.)

But to anyone outside the ID bubble the claim that evolutionists have simply ignored the most serious (ahem) Darwin critics is plainly absurd. There have been numerous books and countless magazine and internet postings addressing and refuting all of the major arguments ID has to offer. Quite a few scientists have taken time out from their real jobs to take ID seriously, ponder its arguments, and formulate counter-arguments that they then patiently explain to anyone who is interested. Klinghoffer obviously does not agree that the counter-arguments have been successful, but that’s a far different charge from saying that ID has been ignored.

What would Kilnghoffer have Myers do? Write another post explaining why irreducible complexity is nonsense? Another post explaining why complex specified information is crap, or why Dembski’s use of the No Free Lunch Theorems is silly, or how Jonathan Wells was wrong about everything in Icons of Evolution? There’s only so many times you can refute the Darwin/Hitler connection, or the urban legends about creationists being fired from their jobs just because of their beliefs, or the endless wolf-crying claims that the latest bits of esoterica from the back pages of Nature somehow refute evolution, before you move on to other things.

The situation hardly improves if you move over to Uncommon Descent. At one time UD aspired to be the outpost for serious ID thinking. Those days are long past. To see what it has become makes even a hardcore anti-ID guy like me a little sad. For one recent example, here’s Granville Sewell making his thermodynamics argument one more time.

Evolution is a movie running backward, that is what makes it so different from other phenomena in our universe, and why it demands a very different sort of explanation.

In a postscript he writes:

The “compensation” argument, used by a fictional character above to argue that because the Earth is an open system, tornados constructing houses and cars out of rubble here would not violate the second law, and widely used by very real characters to argue that the most spectacular increase in order ever seen anywhere does not violate it, was the target of my Applied Mathematics Letters article “A Second Look at the Second Law”. In that article, I showed that the very equations of entropy change upon which this compensation argument is based do not support this viewpoint, they instead illustrate the tautology that “if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is isolated, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.”

See what I mean about ID having nothing new to offer? Sewell has been peddling this nonsense since 2001, when he got The Mathematical Intelligencer to publish an opinion piece by him on this subject. Do we really have to explain, again, that the notion that local decreases in entropy can be offset by global increases is just a straightforward consequence of what the second law says? That the second law does nothing more than put a lower bound on the magnitude of the entropy change that results from some thermodynamical process, and that a claim that evolution contradicts the second law must be backed up with a plausible calculation showing that the bound did not hold in the case of evolution? That every serious attempt to estimate the entropy change in the course of evolution shows that Darwin is safe by many, many orders of magnitude? Must we once more point out that declaring a sequence of events to be consistent with the second law in no way implies that that sequence is probable?

Is this the sort of serious ID theorizing to which Klinghoffer wants us to pay greater attention?

The occasion for this post is the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial. This is the book that kicked off the ID phenomenon in the early nineties. Many of the ID blogs have been posting tributes to Johnson, such as this one by David Berlinski. It’s a remarkable post. It goes on and on in Berlinski’s familiar, tortured, “See how well I write!” style. He starts with the standard chest-pounding directed at Richard Dawkins and Michael Ghiselin, moves on to familiar creationist idiocies about the fossil record or the neutral theory of evolution, dredges up ye olde Lewontin quote (you know the one I mean), takes some shots at Gould’s NOMA idea, and boasts about how the California Science Center and the University of Kentucky recently paid nuisance money to ID folks to avoid dealing with frivolous lawsuits. All so standard. And boring.

You have to wade through all the way to the end before coming to anything about ID that is not mired in the past, or that does not involve dredging up some old imagined glory. Berlinski closes with:

And now? Both critics and defenders of Darwin’s theory have been humbled by the evidence. We are the beneficiaries of twenty years of brilliant and penetrating laboratory work in molecular biology and biochemistry. Living systems are more complex than ever before imagined. They are strange in their organization and nature. No theory is remotely adequate to the facts.

There is some evidence that once again, the diapason of opinion is being changed. The claims of intelligent design are too insistent and too plausible to be frivolously dismissed and the inadequacies of any Darwinian theory too obvious to be tolerated frivolously. Time has confirmed what critics like Phil Johnson have always suspected. Darwin’s theory is far less a scientific theory than the default position for a view in which the universe and everything in it assembles itself from itself in a never-ending magical procession. The religious tradition and with it, a sense for the mystery, terror and grandeur of life, has always embodied insights that were never trivial.

The land is rising even as it sinks.

And this, too, is a message that Phil Johnson was pleased to convey.

You can be sure Berlinski was mentally thinking, “Damn, I’m good!” as he wrote those pretentious final lines.

But this is all so sad and silly. It will come as news to most biologists that the last twenty years of progress in biochemistry and molecular biology have been disconcerting to evolutionary theory. And the claim that evolution performs a philosophical role, and not a practical one, in modern scientific practice is refuted by the simple expedient of perusing the journals in any decent science library. For a moribund, unworthy theory, evolution sure does seem to produce a lot of results, as judged by the sheer number of papers people manage to write on the subject.

In the mid-nineties it was possible to wonder seriously if ID was a serious intellectual movement, or just another fad that would die out on its own. That verdict is now in. ID is dead. As a doornail. Even as YEC shows renewed life with the success of the Creation Museum and the fracas over their planned Noah’s Ark theme park, the ID corpse isn’t even twitching anymore.

Comments

  1. #1 RBH
    November 29, 2011

    Must be about time for Dembski to start another site and another journal, what with UD following ISCID and PCID down the chute. (I note that John Davison is still posting on ISCID’s Brainstorms. That’s a sad case.)

  2. #2 FTFKDad
    November 29, 2011

    perhaps a few moments to reminisce on our favorite moments from the life of ID? I’ve only been into this since around 2004, but since then, my favorite moments were:
    1) The Joel Borofsky confession in 2006 – http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/07/dembskis_research_assistant_ex_1.php
    2) davescot’s many lives and deaths at UD
    3) davescot’s prediction of the outcome of Dover Vs Kitzmiller
    4) Many of Elizabeth Liddle’s posts at UD (is she a saint?) which were genuinely educational

  3. #3 tyson koska
    November 29, 2011

    Jeebus but i hope this doesn’t sound like trolling… Let’s say that through some marvelous and great technological breakthroughs we are able to harness vast amounts of energy, and let’s say that we are able to alter/reverse the overall entropy in the universe. Since we are the product of evolution, would that mean the 2nd law has been “violated”?

  4. #4 eNeMeE
    November 29, 2011

    The religious tradition and with it, a sense for the mystery, terror and grandeur of life, has always embodied insights that were never trivial.

    At least they’ve learned to stop trying to hide the religious aspect…

  5. #5 J-Dog
    November 29, 2011

    Favorite Moments from The ID “Movement”?

    Dembski’s Sweater
    Abbie “ERV” Smith vs a rattled Casey Luskin
    The “Overwhelming Evidense” fiasco
    The never-ending Idiocy of All The UD Posters
    All MY Favorite Posters at the ATBC blog.

    Thanks Jason for putting in the work on this. Awesome.

  6. #6 MartinM
    November 29, 2011

    But to anyone outside the ID bubble the claim that evolutionists have simply ignored the most serious (ahem) Darwin critics is plainly absurd.

    Evolutionary biologists are the most serious Darwin critics. It’s sort of their job.

    Favourite ID moment: cdesign proponentsists. No contest.

  7. #7 Mike Haubrich
    November 29, 2011

    Does this mean that we will not be seeing any more “Academic Freedom” bills?

    My favorite moment was when Don McLeroy damned the experts.

  8. #8 Robert Saunders
    November 30, 2011

    Well, I’ve seen several blog articles saying that ID creationism is really a spent force post-Dover. But I think that’s a very US-centric view, where at least you have a constitutional separation of religion and state, which can be used to force ID creationism out of schools.

    Here in the UK, we have an established church, and many schools are explicitly run by churches (mostly Church of England and Roman Catholic, but there are also Islamic and Jewish schools). This makes it necessary to keep a close eye for incursions of creationist teaching, particularly where the creationism is dressed up in sciencey language. We even have our very own Centre for Intelligent Design, based in Glasgow, run by a triumvirate of evangelical christians who seem to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Th C4ID seem to be a route for the Discovery Institute to peddle their misguided and dishonest tosh over here.

  9. #9 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    > you have a constitutional separation of religion and state, which can be used to force ID creationism out of schools.

    That separation is WHY ID/Creationism is able to push its way in to schools: each sect has to market their revelations and the Hard Sell technique works and works well.

    Here in the UK, our established church is one 90% of people in the UK don’t go to. Our queen less revered by the congregation than ANY televangelist in the USA. Because it hasn’t had to sell itself and others haven’t had any option to sell into the marketplace either.

    The religious schools are, moreover, quite up on the idea of teaching evolution in their biology classes.

    The few places where this doesn’t happen is when the head of government (in this case, Godbotherer Tony Blair) takes on roles as the instrument of HIS religion and gets a fellow godbotherer (ex car salesman whose name escapes me) to punt some piddling amount to making a Public/Private investment school.

    Not in the church heirachy (where they teach evolution) and not in the government heirachy (where they teach evolution), but outside both.

    The cause wasn’t our state religion, it was our Prime Minister being a 100% self-righteous little prick and abusing his position after removing anyone who DARED contradict him.

    And nobody is willing to close down the schools.

  10. #10 Robert Saunders
    November 30, 2011

    Re Wow:
    At least where the teaching of religion in schools is expressly forbidden, you can prevent it happening.
    The difficulty in the UK lies with faith schools where those in charge let creationists in, whether it be YEC (such as happened at the Exeter fracas earlier this year), or because ID creationist material looks sciencey enough. The official CoE line is not pro-YEC, but a YEC speaker was still invited and introduced as presenting science.
    Frankly the proportion of the population who are active participants in religion isn’t relevant. We have a huge number of faith schools. That is, in my view, a problem.

  11. #11 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    “At least where the teaching of religion in schools is expressly forbidden, you can prevent it happening.”

    Except you can’t.

    All you can do is complain to the courts about it when it happens.

    And evolution was FORBIDDEN to be taught in Texas schools in the 1920′s. Even though that was still the same constitutionally separated country.

    “The difficulty in the UK lies with faith schools where those in charge let creationists in”

    Except that isn’t a problem with the faith schools run by the UK heirachy of the RCC or Anglican churches. They both accept and teach evolution in their biology and other science classes.

    Even the General Synod in the UK teach evolution, and though I haven’t known many muslims who didn’t go to the same school system as me, the little I have heard is that they get taught evolution in the official muslim faith schools.

    The ones that give a problem are the ones run by people without being part of either the government or these institutions.

    And that was because someone who WASN’T our “head of church and state” filled with religious zeal allowed fellow godbotherers to build their own schools with government money.

    But you can get them closed too, but through showing they are not teaching the secular curriculum. The school board WILL close them if they get enough complaints to offset the political pressure from other godbotherers in the system (but this is exactly the same problem as you have in the USA when you find a teacher who is preaching in science class).

    It’s easier for science to remain whole in the UK because religion gets put into an RE class.

    The ban on religion in school means the USA cannot get an RE class.

    So the religious who want their kids to be taught “The Bible” are frustrated by that clause and as Yoda knew, that leads to anger.

    Hence the vitriol at science classes in USA schools.

    PS note you can still homeschool in the USA and teach your kid religion, as long as nobody complains loudly enough.

    Our huge number of faith schools IS NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER.

    What IS a problem is a few of our faith schools disobeying the curriculum and the parents wanting it this way.

  12. #12 Cornelius
    November 30, 2011

    Of course ID is dead as a serious scientific challenge but it still remains a convenient bus to clamber onto and travel to the big tent.

    “This ID is dead!”

    “but…look at the beautiful plumage!”

    Cheers

  13. #13 eric
    November 30, 2011

    Favorite moments?

    - cdesign proponentists

    - “ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories”

    - Video remix of Buckingham talking about creationism juxtaposed with him claiming to never have mentioned the word. (Its still up on you tube if anyone’s interested :)

    - Behe’s testimony on Dover. Especially this part:

    Q. You concluded, it would take a population size of 10 to the 9th, I think we said that was a billion, 10 to the 8th generations to evolve this new disulfide bond, that was your conclusion?

    A. That was the calculation based on the assumptions in the paper, yes.

    [Skipping ahead a few questions]

    Q. In that first paragraph, he says, There are more than 10 to the 16 prokaryotes in a ton of soil. Is that correct, in that first paragraph?

    A. Yes, that’s right.

    Q. In one ton of soil?

    A. That’s correct.

    Q. And we have a lot more than one ton of soil on Earth, correct?

    A. Yes, we do.

    Q. And have for some time, correct?

    A. That’s correct, yes.

  14. #14 Greg Esres
    November 30, 2011

    ID may be dead (for now) as a political movement, but I suspect there are just as many people as before who use ID-like arguments to support their religious beliefs.

  15. #15 eric
    November 30, 2011

    Greg – I typically think that what makes ID creationism distinct from other types of creationism is the attempt to remove (and deny) the religious connection. So to me, any ‘ID + god talk’ strategy is more correctly referred to as just plain, old, standard, creationism.

    But this is a terminology quibble only, and I fully agree with you that people continue to use design arguments of one form or another to try and get religion taught as science.

  16. #16 Jason F.
    November 30, 2011

    ID creationism has been dead for some time now. My metric has always been the Panda’s Thumb, and for the last several years it’s been reduced to mostly “Look at what this crazy creationist said on his blog”, the John Freshwater case, and pictures. That’s a pretty good indication that when it comes to ID creationism, there isn’t much at all to talk about.

  17. #17 cwfong
    November 30, 2011

    We are all intelligent designers of ourselves. Get used to it.

  18. #18 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    Did that post have ANY thought behind it?

    Or are you an idiot, and we should get used to it?

  19. #19 Reginald Selkirk
    November 30, 2011

    Some favorite reminesces:

    “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture” – pastor Ray Mummert of Dover

    Behe’s admission, under oath, that using his lax definition of “scientific theory,” astrology would qualify as well as ID.

    The DI’s evolving response the the leakage of the Wedge Document.

  20. #20 timcol
    November 30, 2011

    Yes, UD has become a strange place. Actually the number of posts has increased to about 9-10 a day, but the vast majority of them are posted by “News”, who is actually Denyse O’Leary. They are nearly all just pokes at current science stories (from somebody who is not trained in science)…often in a snarky and sneering fashion. Kind of sad actually to see such a supercilious and haughty tone when ID is so clearly lacking in any real substance anymore.

  21. #21 Raging Bee
    November 30, 2011

    It’s pinin’ for the fjords!

    PS: Is Kentucky-Fried Sophist Martin Cothran still posting crap at the DI site?

  22. #22 Gordon MacGinitie
    November 30, 2011

    The Second Law is that perpetual motion is impossible, any machine will run down. This DISPROVES creationism.

  23. #23 Strange
    November 30, 2011

    “it simply became clear that ID just isn’t that isn’t that interesting anymore.”

    Proof reading is a wonderful thing….

  24. #24 Les Lane
    November 30, 2011

    A 5 year goal of the wedge document was:

    “One hundred scientific, academic and technical articles published by our fellows”

    A classic example of what happens when you start with a conclusion and then look for the evidence.

  25. #25 Bilbo
    November 30, 2011

    Sorry Jason,

    But J. Craig Venter already conceded the game to ID:

    Game Over

  26. #26 Xray
    November 30, 2011

    Well, you better check out Shallit’s take on this, here .

  27. #27 Chris
    November 30, 2011

    “Proof reading is a wonderful thing….”

    And ‘proofreading’ is even better….

  28. #28 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 30, 2011

    Noted, and well said. Frankly I am more curious why the next cycle of creationist strategy to get around US law hasn’t materialized.

    @ Wow:

    Did that post have ANY thought … we should get used to it?

    It was intelligently designed.

    So yes, we will have to get used to the idea that design arguments are back where they started, impotently trying to attack valid science.

  29. #29 Glen Davidson
    November 30, 2011

    The big problem with ID is that you’re not supposed to be saying what a great God/religion/Bible you have when you’re pretending that it’s science. Of course that’s what it’s about, and everybody fighting on both sides knows it, the trouble is that the only thing that drives creationism is supposed to be suppressed while pushing ID.

    You really can’t say “Go Designer” when cheering your religion. It has to be, “God beats your pathetic theory” or some such thing. UD shows how the former turns into the latter over and over again, and Stephen Meyer made a little series about how you can “trust the Bible” and how “naturalism” corrupts true Bibliolatry (“Is the Bible reliable?” preview at youtube.com/watch?v=BmXn7bfhE2w).

    So yeah, ID’s all too boring and awful for anyone to keep up the charade for long. Plus, the creationists actually have a story, not just “nuh uh, evolution can’t do it.” If Dover had turned out radically differently it would be different, but it was time to be rid of the ID that is neither science nor the religion that the true believers want.

    Glen Davidson

  30. #30 J.T. McDaniel
    November 30, 2011

    ID is essentially arguing that the Wright Brothers could have started by building a 747.

  31. #31 jwthomas
    December 1, 2011

    Finished or not, your book is already available for preorder on Amazon (due in April) and you even have a Jason Rosenhouse Page, making you officially a Famous Author. Yes, I’ve preordered the book, and you’d better hurry up and finish it before April :)

  32. #32 Ben
    December 1, 2011

    “Even the General Synod in the UK teach evolution, and though I haven’t known many muslims who didn’t go to the same school system as me, the little I have heard is that they get taught evolution in the official muslim faith schools.”

    Evolution is not taught properly in these schools, even the teachers don’t normally have an idea on the topic. They get given a basic idea of Evolution, then the class have questions about it, those questions are not answered correctly, then they “decide” not to believe in it.

  33. #33 Wow
    December 1, 2011

    “Evolution is not taught properly in these schools”

    Who defines “properly”?

    Not you.

    The national curricula for schools defines what “taught properly” means and the official faith schools abide by the national curricula.

  34. #34 tom
    December 1, 2011

    what makes me yawn is when darwinists claim genes, cells, molecules, bodies, and consciousness all arose by the mechanism of selected dumb luck, yet can’t prove a single example in the lab or field of this actually happening.

  35. #35 Wow
    December 1, 2011

    Uh, different thing, tom.

    The creation of life is abiogenesis. Nothing to do with evolution.

    And they’ve shown plenty of examples of evolution.

    I guess there’s not much intelligence in your design, is there, tom.

  36. #36 Divalent
    December 1, 2011

    Tom, your comment “dumb luck” shows that you do not understand the process of natural selection in living organisms. And I’d bet a lot that you have never actually heard a credible biologist make the claims you say you’ve heard. (But I would bet a lot that you have heard a creationist say that’s what biologists claim, and now you are parroting that misinformation.)

    Arguments from personal incredulity are incredibly weak (although unfortunately, today, they are incredibly common). If you are seriously interested in the modern evolutionary theory, there are many excellent sources out there that don’t require an advanced degree. However, they do require an open mind.

  37. #37 eric
    December 1, 2011

    Torbjorn Larsson: Frankly I am more curious why the next cycle of creationist strategy to get around US law hasn’t materialized.

    Post-Dover, I think their plan was to shift to “critical analysis” of evolution. If you look at the creationist textbook which was supposed to be the follow-on to OPAP, that’s what it focuses on. However, even that strategy seems to have petered out.
    Just my personal opinion, but I think they’re on the way back to just asking for more God in school. With the shift right in American politics, they may feel they don’t need to bother putting effort into a secular disguise any more. I.e., that they could win a SCOTUS case now, or with the appointment of another conservative SCOTUS judge. I am skeptical of the former, but they may be correct about the latter.

  38. #38 Roberto Aguirre Maturana
    December 1, 2011

    ID will never be demonstrably dead until the claim that “prescriptive information cannot arise by means of an undirected process” is not unambiguously falsified.

  39. #39 joe
    December 1, 2011

    The old opponent is dead? That explains why atheists are now attacking accommodationists and agnostics, thank you Jason. If they start attacking each other after the demise of these, however, their strategy should be no ESS, just as the hawk strategy is no ESS in Price’s and Maynard Smith’s model on animal combat.

  40. #40 Wow
    December 1, 2011

    “That explains why atheists are now attacking accommodationists and agnostics”

    You’re a decade or two behind the times, joe.

    How long has Dawkins spoken about atheism? And he’s not the first.

  41. #41 Timcol
    December 1, 2011

    Denyse O’Leary has already picked up on Jason’s post. Here’s her retort:

    Hmmm. If that’s true, why have we lived through three server upgrades at UD in the last five years?

    That seems the best she can do as a retort, and none of the comments are much better. Nobody wants to tackle the real question of whether ID has actually made progress as a legitimate field of scientific study. But I suppose if you measure that by Internet traffic then it’s doing quite well.

    But I don’t know if it’s occurred to Ms O’Leary, that UD can be also terrifically entertaining, so hence the the increase in traffic. But what is noticeably lately is almost the lack of ID critics who post there. As Jason has pointed out so well, nobody is taking ID seriously anymore.

  42. #42 MacTurk
    December 1, 2011

    I will just say that “intelligent Design” is not dead for the simple reason that it was never alive in the first place. What cannot learn cannot change, and what cannot change cannot grow, to bastardise Pratchett in “Lords and Ladies”.

    The only good thing to come out of the whole sad waste of time, energy and brainpower, apart from the “Dover case” was the crocoduck tie. And I never wear ties.

  43. #43 Supero
    December 1, 2011

    Well, since we are on the subject of Dawkins……

    Many people have gotten completely the wrong idea about *why* he is so upset with religion in general. About 20 years ago, Dawkins was a rockstar evolutionary biologist and not an atheist spokesperson. During this time, his work was trivialized and misinterpreted by creationist groups. These groups disliked the natural conclusions of the research, and labeled it as “promoting atheism.”

    Frustrated with their ignorance, Dawkins decided that he would fill the role of the anti-religious crusader that the creationists were making him out to be. And that is the only reason that most have even *heard* of his name; if you make good contributions to the world of science (in modern times), no one will care. However, if you say over-the-top things about people’s religious beliefs, the public will foam at the mouth in rage. The issue with Dawkins is that he tends to further the idea that science = atheism. This will keep many good people (who may happen to be religious) away from the field and increases the anti-intellectual backlash in popular culture.

  44. #44 Lenoxus
    December 1, 2011

    Sewell said:

    The “compensation” argument, used by a fictional character above to argue that because the Earth is an open system, tornados constructing houses and cars out of rubble here would not violate the second law

    Hold on.

    Can anyone give a scientific argument as to why the 2LoT — specifically the 2LoT — prohibits this? I mean… maybe it actually doesn’t. Because… not every scientific law has to single-handedly prohibit everything that is scientifically impossible! The theory of gravity doesn’t prohibit alchemy from working, or else Newton wouldn’t have been an alchemist.

    Anyway, if I actually saw a tornado making a car, 2LoT is the last law whose violation I would be amazed about. (Could the right parts of the tornado hold still long enough?)

    If I’m right about this, then I may have a small handle on one of the many, many fallacies involved in the tornado in a junkyard thing. In effect, the logic goes:

    1. Spontaneous car formation (by tornado) is impossible.
    2. (Therefore?) 2LoT prohibits spontaneous car formation.
    3. Evolution is similar to spontaneous car formation with regards to the mysterious increase in information.
    4. Therefore, 2LoT prohibits evolution.
    5. Evolutionists deny that 2LoT prohibits evolution, mainly by saying “open system lol” and pointing to the sun.
    6. Conclusion: According to evolutionists, the sun is capable of injecting sufficient energy into a system to overcome entropy and cause anything that is otherwise prohibited by 2LoT — such as spontaneous car formation.

    Besides all the problems with premise 3, premise 2 smells fishy. It catches us off-guard by turning something complicated into a “yes-no” situation — rather like “Are you still beating your lover?”.

    In this case, saying “2LoT doesn’t prohibit the tornado in a junkyard thing” is like saying “This traffic law does nothing to prohibit chemical terrorism” — it sounds like something wrong is going on when it isn’t.

  45. #45 DR
    December 1, 2011

    @bilbo: Not even close, dude. Maybe you should ask Venter himself whether he concedes the game to ID, instead of quote-mining and out-of-context chicaneries.

    If you do the right thing and ask him for his opinion, he’ll likely explain to you that the only reason he was able to do what he did is because Darwin is correct. DNA would certainly not have to exist if Goddidit. And the whole process is based on imitating Evolution. The fact that we can create Velcro doesn’t mean that burrs are actually covered in Velcro.

  46. #46 hum
    December 2, 2011

    Life created by IFOs

  47. #47 Marcel Kincaid
    December 2, 2011
  48. #48 koyote_ken
    December 2, 2011

    Darwin’s theory is far less a scientific theory than the default position for a view in which the universe and everything in it assembles itself from itself in a never-ending magical procession

    Wait, what??
    So evolution is a magical process and creationism isn’t?

    The stupid, it burns………

  49. #49 Joe G
    December 2, 2011

    Great, more bald declarations of ID’s demise yet still no evidence to support it.

    Still waiting- just how can we test the claim that the bacterial flagellum, for example, evolved via accumulations of random mutations?

  50. #50 Tulse
    December 2, 2011

    just how can we test the claim that the bacterial flagellum, for example, evolved via accumulations of random mutations?

    How can we test the claim that it was magicked into existence?

    And isn’t it kinda sad when the best evidence there supposedly is for “intelligent design” is the tail on a germ? Seriously, that’s the best you’ve got?

  51. #51 Jon
    December 2, 2011

    I find it laughable the bold proclamation that Intelligent Design is dead. I could similarly make unfounded emotionally charged statements such as evolution is dead and yet that doesn’t make my statements any more true or intelligent. ID has not been defeated nor is it dead. The idea that things have evolved through the process of natural selection over billions of years seems an odd way of thinking we we don’t apply such logic to most other things we experience in this world. For instance, when we see the pyramids in Egypt, our first assumption doesn’t lead us to evolution, rather we immediately wonder who or what created them, and we are wise to think in this way. When things seem to be designed in an intellectual way, it makes perfect sense to assume it was designed by an intelligence capable of putting it together rather than simple natural forces. The more science advances, the more complex we realize that things are, and using our logic, when we see things that have an obvious design, it is right to ask, who or what designed it.

  52. #52 Monado, FCD
    December 2, 2011

    How much evidence do you want?

    ID bit the dust when it lost in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, as all the evidence showed that it is a religious position masquerading as a criticism of evolution, invoking false dichotomy and providing neither a mechanism nor an avenue for scientific research.

    The “irreducibly complex” flagellum went down in flames when part of it it was shown to be reducible to a secretory system previously used in bacterial walls.

    Evolution of unique, new biochemical abilities was demonstrated in the lab during a thirty-year bacterial breeding experiment.

    ID is done like dinner.

  53. #53 Monado, FCD
    December 2, 2011

    Jon, it’s not valid to expect us to draw the same conclusions about living things as we do about pyramids, since pyramids do not breed, mutate, and differentially survive.

  54. #54 Monado, FCD
    December 2, 2011

    Jeffrey Shallit writes,

    A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, we will continue to smear scientists and destroy public education. As long as there are credulous Christians and Muslims looking for something, anything, to prop up their faith, intelligent design will live. As long as there are Religious Right warriors like Bruce Chapman able to dole out the big bucks to third-rate law school graduates like Casey Luskin, intelligent design will live. As long as there are ignorant sociologists hoping to cash in like Steve Fuller, ID will live. As long as faux journalists like Denyse O’Leary need you to buy their books, ID will live.

  55. #55 Jon
    December 2, 2011

    The fact that your quoting scientific inquires such as irreducibly complex flagellum shows that ID is more than simple religion wishing to be something its not, but true scientific inquiry, which is seeking to better understand the world in which we live. Much of science is trail and error, and to dismiss one idea because you are afraid of the God it might associate with seems unscientific. The fact that parts of the flagellum system were found in the bacterial wall does not dismiss the fact that the rotary motor made up of those parts could not have evolved into that particular system because without the system being designed and put together from the start, it would have never been able to function to create itself. To refer back to the pyramid example, the rock used to make the structure is found present in the world, but when it is organized in the form of a pyramid, we can then assume someone or something put it together.

  56. #56 Jon
    December 2, 2011

    -Jon, it’s not valid to expect us to draw the same conclusions about living things as we do about pyramids, since pyramids do not breed, mutate, and differentially survive.

    I am not sure what difference there is between something that can preform a function such as breeding versus that can preform a function such as shelter or protection. Nothing about life makes the qualifications for design any different. I can make a robot who can make more robots, but that does not mean that the robot wasn’t designed since he can reproduce himself.

  57. #57 Kristine
    December 2, 2011

    Jon, you are not going to make any robots or anything practical. You are simply going to make “is not” statements that clunk in the void.

    ID truly is dead. Its demise truly began when Michael Behe testified at Kitzmiller. What a disaster that was.

    However, there is another point to be considered: evolutionary theory is making inroads into heretofore “cultural” realms. My first paper submitted to American Archivist (returned with comment, many of them encouraging) applied elements of evolutionary and ecological concepts to archival theory (which, surprisingly, is vehmently debated). I am reading a fascinating book that does not divorce the development of culture from evolutionary biology – and yet it looks nothing like the “determinism” that Gould charged Dawkins guilty of (which he was not). It is a new era.

    In addition, the concept of a “designer” makes little sense in an era of online collaboration, in which traditional work hierarchies are broken down into “co-working” spaces and in which teams work without a dictator. I am co-chair of such a team to implement a science education program at a major library system, but in no way do I direct staff. “Design” is the same old top-down, fatuous caricature of nature that social Darwinism bequeathed. Oddly (but really not), ID and social Darwinism are very similar.

    “Design” is the result of black-and-white thinking: mountains are natural, Mount Rushmore is designed; nature is our environment, whereas humans are artificial. But really, there is no one inventor of anything, not even the mousetrap, and we are seeing with tragic results how our carbon emissions affect and reinforce our connection to nature.

  58. #58 groovimus
    December 2, 2011

    @ Tulse: “How can we test the claim that it was magicked into existence?
    And isn’t it kinda sad when the best evidence there supposedly is for “intelligent design” is the tail on a germ? Seriously, that’s the best you’ve got?”

    Hey genius this is like saying my big toe is important evidence. Nobody has said a flagellum is evidence. Its you guys who say uncategorically that random events created the flagellar system including the mechanisms which generate, maintain and regenerate it. The ID camp is asking SHOW US THE EVIDENCE FOR THIS. Your camp wants to blast the ID side for not doing research. Where is the research which proves the flagellar system popped up in history by a random series of events? Want to show us the enumerated total of these events which just happened and at how this number was arrived?

  59. #59 Jason
    December 2, 2011

    Groovimus, I’d ask if you were familar with the “argument from ignorance” fallacy (I don’t know, therefore intelligent design), but it seems like you two are joined at the hip.

  60. #60 Aaron
    December 2, 2011

    Berlinski’s prose makes me wretch. Who uses “frivolously” twice in the same sentence?

  61. #61 Raging Bee
    December 3, 2011

    The fact that your quoting scientific inquires such as irreducibly complex flagellum shows that ID is more than simple religion wishing to be something its not, but true scientific inquiry…

    The fact that we’re quoting proof that ID is crap proves ID is not crap?

    Its you guys who say uncategorically that random events created the flagellar system…

    Um, no, no one has said any such thing.

    Incoherent arguments from ignorance? That’s the best you can do?

  62. #62 mo
    December 3, 2011

    Since when is PZM a “serious” Darwin defender?

  63. #63 Marcel Kincaid
    December 3, 2011

    @groovimus

    To an intelligent and informed person, you appear not to be one, as your post is full of errors in logic, grammar, and fact. As for the evidence you seek (or rather, deny), see http://truth-saves.com/pdfs/ASM_flagellum.pdf

    @mo

    At least since he got his PhD in biology. How long have you been a shallow troll?

  64. #64 Rosemary Lyndall Wemm
    December 4, 2011

    IDiots are still out there trying to punch holes in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, as if this is the only one there is. They seem to have no idea that this theory has been modified and expanded and turned into the “evo-devo” set of explanations.

  65. #65 Hercules Grytpype-Thynne
    December 4, 2011

    Berlinski’s prose makes me wretch. Who uses “frivolously” twice in the same sentence?

    Aaron, on the whole I agree, but who spells the verb “retch” with a “w”?

  66. #66 mo
    December 4, 2011

    @mo

    At least since he got his PhD in biology. How long have you been a shallow troll?

    I don’t know, but obviously not as long as PZ though. My trolling pales when compared to his and I feel deeply insecure that I might never achieve his levels of rightous wrath, shallowness, repetition, ironic unawareness and spittle :(
    But I like to dream, and when I have practised for half a decade, I hope to become as skilled as him.

  67. #67 Kristine
    December 4, 2011

    This theory has been modified and expanded and turned into the “evo-devo” set of explanations.

    Another very good point, and one lost on true believers making circular arguments. It is not only the case that ID proponents have no evidence and no methodology – their entire approach to reality is reactionary and maladaptive.

    What I am seeing in education in general is a younger generation that is more tolerant of complexity (another irony) and diversity, and less inclined to see the world in the zero-sum terms of ID creationists.

    Also, in one of my meetings, a microbiologist from India told me that she was trying to get her mind around the objection to evolution in the U.S. Hindus, Buddhists, and Shinto practitioners have no problem with evolutionary theory. Dear me, the next wave of outsourcing is going to be something else, and I think that Americans, always quick to see on which side their bread is buttered, will finally add evolution to the already huge list of exceptions that they make for believing in Scripture.

  68. #68 Owlmirror
    December 4, 2011

    I can make a robot who can make more robots, but that does not mean that the robot wasn’t designed since he can reproduce himself.

    “He”? “Himself”?

    3rd gen robot: Daddy, where did I come from?

    2nd gen robot: I made you, kiddo.

    3rd gen robot: Where did you come from?

    2nd gen robot: My daddy — granddad — made me, and your uncles.

    3rd gen robot: And where did granddad come from?

    2nd gen robot: Jon made him.

    3rd gen robot: And where did Jon come from?

    2nd gen robot: Jon’s parents fucked.

    3rd gen robot: What does that mean?

    2nd gen robot: Well, you know that weird sticking-out thing with two little balls underneath it between your legs? Jon was a human, and there was one kind of human which had something like that, only functional, and another kind of human with a sort of socket, and the sticking-out part went into the socket. And a small biological thing called a cell went through the sticking out part, into the socket, and eventually joined with another cell, which developed, and became Jon. Reference the Robotpedia page on Human Reproductive Biology for details.

    3rd gen robot: Oh. Gross. Daddy, why do I have this weird sticking-out thing that doesn’t work, if I’m not human and we don’t fuck?

    2nd gen robot: Because Jon was a moron.

  69. #69 Peter Nyikos
    December 6, 2011

    Jason Rosenhause’s whole article reads like a bunch of fluff to me, with no serious attempt to back up its conclusions. Look at the extreme generality in which the following is couched:

    [begin excerpt]
    But to anyone outside the ID bubble the claim that evolutionists have simply ignored the most serious (ahem) Darwin critics is plainly absurd. There have been numerous books and countless magazine and internet postings addressing and refuting all of the major arguments ID has to offer.
    [end of excerpt]

    I’ve seen a lot of those purported refutations, including the ones on the Usenet newsgroup talk.origins, and about the only one I have seen that holds water is the Miller-Robison theory of how complicated cascades like the blood clotting mechanism and the immune system could arise by gradual evolution IF the key molecules are autocatalytic.

    If anyone here (Rosenhouse, are you reading this?) disagrees, I would like to see some NEW examples of real refutations.

    The rest of what I have seen is a mountain of misrepresentations, sincere misunderstandings, and premature claims of refutation. And one of the worst offenders was PZMyers, whom Jason somehow thinks highly of:

    “What would Kilnghoffer have Myers do? Write another post explaining why irreducible complexity is nonsense?”

    The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent, and makes eminent sense, and no one in talk.origins has been able to show otherwise in all the years I have posted there.

    Myers was one of the worst offenders in the 1990′s as far as misrepresenting it and what others said about it are concerned. I doubt that he has changed his stripes in the meantime.

    Rosenhouse makes much of Myers knocking down a strawman, a Quranic crank having nothing to do with irreducible complexity, or even a scientific theory of intelligent design, as though this somehow established Myers’s credentials as an authority on these matters.

    Finally, I want to address the question of whether there is anything new under the sun as far as establishing a scientific theory of ID is concered. The answer is that I am updating the Crick-Orgel theory of directed panspermia, which has it that a technological species seeded earth with its first life forms, and all others have evolved from these organisms.

    It stands to reason that they would have done some genetic engineering (a form of Intelligent Design, note) to make their organisms more likely to take hold.

    I am participating in discussions and debates on this theory in talk.origins right now, and I welcome new participants.

  70. #70 eric
    December 6, 2011

    Peter Nyikos:

    The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent, and makes eminent sense, and no one in talk.origins has been able to show otherwise in all the years I have posted there.

    Great. Perhaps you can tell us how to calculate whether some string is CSI or not. Walk us through the algorithm. If I come across a string of characters and I want to decide whether its designed or not, how do I do it?

  71. #71 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2011

    If anyone here (Rosenhouse, are you reading this?) disagrees, I would like to see some NEW examples of real refutations.

    Why don’t you tell us what’s wrong with the “old” refutations first? Why do we have to come up with new refutations if the old ones are still standing?

    The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent, and makes eminent sense, and no one in talk.origins has been able to show otherwise in all the years I have posted there.

    Well, given that I’ve seen irreducable complexity punk’d, junk’d, debunk’d and defunk’d in more than one grownup forum, I really don’t find your assertion credible. Defend it here and I’ll take you seriously.

  72. #72 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2011

    …I am updating the Crick-Orgel theory of directed panspermia, which has it that a technological species seeded earth with its first life forms…

    What physical evidence to you have to support this claim? Starship-parts? Fragments of heat-shielded containers allegedly used to land life-forms on Earth without being incinerated by the heat of air-friction?

  73. #73 Owlmirror
    December 6, 2011

    The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent

    The concept is either vague, nonsensical, or obviously describing the result of evolution by natural selection.

    No-one has provided a clear example of anything in biology that is “irreducibly complex” that cannot possibly have evolved by natural selection. All the IDiots have done is make pathetic arguments from ignorance.

    A logical fallacy cannot be coherent.

    and no one in talk.origins has been able to show otherwise in all the years I have posted there.

    Maybe the problem is with you.

    The answer is that I am updating the Crick-Orgel theory of directed panspermia, which has it that a technological species seeded earth with its first life forms, and all others have evolved from these organisms.

    First of all, it is not a theory, or even an hypothesis, but a conjecture. In and of itself, it explains nothing.

    I’ve read Crick and Orgel’s 6-page paper, and I’ve browsed Crick’s book that expands on the topic. It’s an imaginative conceit, and there’s no reason to reject it as impossible — but there are no reasons at all to consider it as likely, let alone necessary.

    Crick and Orgel acknowledged that their idea might be more likely if it were found that there is some extreme limiting factor in the chemistry that would lead to abiogenesis — some particular element being both necessary for abiogenesis, and very rare on Earth, for example.

    But research into abiogenesis has pretty much led in the opposite direction — for example, the finding that chemistry very similar to that used by living organisms occurs in deep-ocean alkaline vents.

    Crick and Orgel backed away from the idea of directed panspermia. I think they both realized that it was pie-in-the-sky spitballing, not actually supported by evidence.

    So what the hell were you doing to “update” their outdated conjecture? Waving your hands furiously, saying “Ignore the argument from ignorance behind the curtain”?

  74. #74 Peter Nyikos
    December 6, 2011

    Peter Nyikos:

    The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent, and makes eminent sense, and no one in talk.origins has been able to show otherwise in all the years I have posted there.

    Great. Perhaps you can tell us how to calculate whether some string is CSI or not. Walk us through the algorithm. If I come across a string of characters and I want to decide whether its designed or not, how do I do it? [posted by eric]

    Once you demonstrate the relevance of this to the concept of irreducible complexity, I’ll answer this question. But I am quite confident that you are unable to do so.

    Why don’t you tell us what’s wrong with the “old” refutations first? [posted by Raging Bee]

    There are too many alleged old “refutations”. Describe some that YOU like, preferably with references, and I’ll comment on them. A tip: try not to confuse irreducible complexity, Intelligent Design, CSI, or other concepts with each other. See my reply to eric above.

  75. #75 Peter Nyikos
    December 6, 2011

    The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent

    The concept is either vague, nonsensical, or obviously describing the result of evolution by natural selection. [posted by Eulenspiegel ("Owlmirror") :-) ]

    I am afraid you are confusing irreducible complexity with certain things that people have claimed to follow from it.

    Do you know what the definition of irreducible complexity is? So far, no one responding to me seems to have a clue.

    No-one has provided a clear example of anything in biology that is “irreducibly complex” that cannot possibly have evolved by natural selection.

    If you had stopped before “that”, you’d have a point worth arguing. As it is, you have none that I wish to argue.

    [say, what is the html command for getting vertical bars to appear in quoted material?]

    A logical fallacy cannot be coherent.

    You are just showing your ignorance of the *concept* of irreducible complexity.

    and no one in talk.origins has been able to show otherwise in all the years I have posted there.

     
    Maybe the problem is with you.

    Actually, most of the people I have argued against never could get the concept of irreducible complexity right, even though the definition is right there in Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.

    I’ve snipped your comments about directed panspermia. I have fleshed out the theory over the years to where it can be called a theory, broadly speaking. I’d rather discuss it on talk.origins for the nonce, if you don’t mind. Do you know how to post to it? I’ll be glad to help if you do not.

  76. #76 Peter Nyikos
    December 6, 2011

    Well, given that I’ve seen irreducable complexity punk’d, junk’d, debunk’d and defunk’d in more than one grownup forum, I really don’t find your assertion credible. Defend it here and I’ll take you seriously. [Posted by Raging Bee]

    First show me that you have more of a clue as to what irreducible complexity is than Owlmirror had. See my reply to him a few minutes ago.

  77. #77 Owlmirror
    December 6, 2011

    You are just showing your ignorance of the *concept* of irreducible complexity.

    The concept of irreducible complexity — as used by Behe — is nothing more than an argument from ignorance.

    Actually, most of the people I have argued against never could get the concept of irreducible complexity right, even though the definition is right there in Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.

    You mean, the one about which this was written?

    We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.

    I’ve snipped your comments about directed panspermia. I have fleshed out the theory over the years to where it can be called a theory, broadly speaking.

    Or in other words, the sense of “theory” that is synonymous with “conjecture”, or perhaps even “confabulation”.

    I’d rather discuss it on talk.origins for the nonce, if you don’t mind.

    You mean, you don’t even have a web page, let alone a PDF outlining your conjecture? Crick and Orgel had those 6 pages they published, at least.

    Do you know how to post to it?

    Bleh, I got away from Usenet long ago. I might go back, but probably not to discuss a conjecture that you don’t even have fleshed out enough to actually commit to PDF.

  78. #78 eric
    December 6, 2011

    Peter Nyikos: First show me that you have more of a clue as to what irreducible complexity is than Owlmirror had. See my reply to him a few minutes ago.

    I’m not Bee or Owlmirror, but will freely admit I have no clue how to calculate whether a string of characters is CSI or not CSI.

    Please, show me how to do that. After all, Behe et al. are on record of telling us that they have already determined that things like the Flagella contain CSI, so the algorithm must already exist.

  79. #79 Wow
    December 7, 2011

    > The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent

    Even if that is given as true, it’s entirely contingent.

    The eye used to be “irreducibly complex”. Turned out it isn’t.

  80. #80 Raging Bee
    December 7, 2011

    Once you demonstrate the relevance of this to the concept of irreducible complexity, I’ll answer this question.

    Eric was pointing out that irreducible complexity fails because no one has ever attempted to define such central terms as “complexity,” “information,” and “specification,” or described how they might be measured or quantified. If you can’t define your terms, then they’re meaningless; and if you can’t quantify or measure the aforementioned qualities, then you can’t talk about them with any certainty, and any “hypothesis” based on them is empty and meaningless. Now answer the question like you just promised you would.

    There are too many alleged old “refutations”.

    Yeah, that’s kind of our point: your fake science has been debunked for a long time now, from many different angles.

    Describe some that YOU like, preferably with references, and I’ll comment on them.

    You’re the one alleging the refutations don’t work, so you’re the one who has to demonstrate which ones don’t work, and why. A tip: bluffing doesn’t work after everyone has shown their cards and you’ve already shown nothing but a pair of jokers.

    Do you know what the definition of irreducible complexity is? So far, no one responding to me seems to have a clue.

    Gosh, whose fault is that? The supporters of irreducible complexity never came up with a solid definition that held up under scrutiny, then they ran away and tried to move the goalposts, and now you’re pretending we’re the ones without a clue? You’re bluffing again, and you’re not fooling anyone.

    So, since you’re so sure we’re ignorant about what irreducible complexity “really” is, that must be because you know the definition better than we do. So quit dodging and give it to us.

    I’ve snipped your comments about directed panspermia. I have fleshed out the theory over the years to where it can be called a theory, broadly speaking.

    “Fleshed it out” with what? Evidence?

  81. #81 eric
    December 7, 2011

    Peter Nyikos @75: Once you demonstrate the relevance of this [CSI] to the concept of irreducible complexity, I’ll answer this question. But I am quite confident that you are unable to do so.

    Hey, I’ll admit I’m a student when it comes to design theory. If you tell me the two concepts aren’t related, I’ll accept that. Assuming my last question was off the mark because they are different things, let me change it: can you show me how to determine whether a string is irreducibly complex? What is the algorithm an independent researcher can use to determine whether something they are working on in the lab is irreducibly complex?

  82. #82 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    Peter Nyikos @75: Once you demonstrate the relevance of this [CSI] to the concept of irreducible complexity, I’ll answer this question. But I am quite confident that you are unable to do so.

    Hey, I’ll admit I’m a student when it comes to design theory. If you tell me the two concepts aren’t related, I’ll accept that.

    They are completely different, despite what you said in another reply:

    After all, Behe et al. are on record of telling us that they have already determined that things like the Flagella contain CSI, so the algorithm must already exist.

    This comes as news to me; I’ll have to ask Behe about his involvement in this. Anyway, the definition of irreducible complexity, straight out of Darwin’s Black Box is this:

    “A single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”

    He has rather precise ideas about what each of the words used here means, so don’t be assuming that your interpretation is the correct one.

    Assuming my last question was off the mark because they are different things, let me change it: can you show me how to determine whether a string is irreducibly complex?

    Well, figure out a basic function for it, identify the well-matched parts and how each contributes to the basic function, and see whether removal of any of the parts essentially negates the function.

  83. #83 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    You are just showing your ignorance of the *concept* of irreducible complexity. …Actually, most of the people I have argued against never could get the concept of irreducible complexity right, even though the definition is right there in Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.

    [Owlmirror] You mean, the one about which this was written?

    “We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.”

    Claim for irreducible complexity of WHAT, exactly? The mousetrap? The bacterial flagellum? The eucaryotic cilium? The clotting cascade past the fork? The intracellular transport system? The “complement” cascade of the immune system?

    These can all be found, with plenty of attendant discussion, in Behe’s DBB. Have you ever opened a copy of that book?

    I’ve snipped your comments about directed panspermia. I have fleshed out the theory over the years to where it can be called a theory, broadly speaking.

    I used “broadly speaking” to mean that I am using a definition broader than the “awestruck” definition whereby there is hardly any theory in science besides the theory of gravity, the atomic theory, the quantum theory, the neo-Darwinian synthesis, the Mendelian theory, and the theory of relativity.

    The “awestruck” definition is a great favorite with people who want to show off how sophisticated they are in the philosophy of science.

    As to why I haven’t done it up in an article yet, I have decided to subject it to the merciless scrutiny of the regulars of talk.origins before trying to publish it. I want to be able to anticipate as much as possible the misunderstandings, both sincere and insincere, to which Behe has been subjected.

    Just look at the hostility with which you and others here have greeted what I have written just so far, for example.

    More importantly, it is in replying to objections that I get new ideas for what to incorporate in the article I am planning.

  84. #84 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    Once you demonstrate the relevance of this to the concept of irreducible complexity, I’ll answer this question.

    Eric was pointing out that irreducible complexity fails because no one has ever attempted to define such central terms as “complexity,” “information,” and “specification,” [posted by Raging Bee]

    None of those is relevant to the concept of “irreducible complexity,” which is a package deal. If you look up the definition on page 39 of _Darwin’s Black Box_ you will see that the concept of “complexity” *per se* does not really enter into it. It comes in later, in assessments of how likely an irreducibly complex system is to have arisen in “small, Darwinian steps” by a roundabout method.

    As for “information” and “specification”, I don’t think Behe ever had anything to do with either in _DBB_, and I’ve read the book over pretty thoroughly.

    None of the main examples in the book (posted in response to “Owlmirror” a short while ago) has been shown NOT to be irreducibly complex AFAIK. It is only in the assessments of likelihood that he has been shown to be wrong in two cases: the clotting cascade and the “complement” cascade in the immune system. Can you find any others?

    or described how they might be measured or quantified. If you can’t define your terms, then they’re meaningless; and if you can’t quantify or measure the aforementioned qualities, then you can’t talk about them with any certainty,and any “hypothesis” based on them is empty and meaningless.

    The definition on page 39 of _DBB_ is coherent and concrete enough to frame useful hypotheses from. I posted it in reply to Eric less than an hour ago, but there seems to be a jinx where replies to Eric are concerned: my first reply to him took hours to show up, and this second one may suffer the same fate.

  85. #85 eric
    December 7, 2011

    So, Peter, no algorithm yet? I come across some polymer which contains a mix of multiple base units. I want to determine whether the string is IC. How do I do it?

  86. #86 Dave Villa
    December 7, 2011

    When talking about the issue of intelligent design, it is a common misconception that for the naturalistic comprehension of science, I.D. is a “wrench in the science machine”. By this I mean, it is a problem when dealing with a scientific matter that many who support the theory of I.D. would merely suggest that “it was God” and leave it at that (the God of the Gaps argument). While I do agree that this is a lack of academic diligence on behalf of most Christians, this does not help the argument that I.D. is a “wrench in the scientific machine”. American evolutionary biologist and geneticist Richard Lewontin summarized this mistaken belief stating that science is done for “If we let a divine foot in the door” (See Richard Lewontin’s review “Billions and Billions of Demons” in New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 31). However, this argument falls short for various reasons.

    1. Throughout history, many of the leading scientists like Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Sir Isaac Newton, and Galileo, who were theists, were motivated by their belief in design. In J.H. Tiner’s book, Isaac Newton: Inventor, Scientist and Teacher, he exposes Newton’s belief that “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.” Had great minds like Newton not had this motivation, where would principles such as the law of physics have come from?

    2. ID does not promote or support the direct involvement of intelligent roots in the methodological and empirical procedures of biology, physics, etc. Galileo stated that the Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

    3. The empirical exploration of intelligent design, or design inference, developed by Dr. William Dembski, is already accepted and has proven to be successful in various fields of science such as archaeology, forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, random number regeneration and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI). (See The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities and No Free Lunch by William Dembski.

    With this last reason, I can confidently share that ID is not dead. Therefore, as a Christian scholar who believes that ID is neither dead nor a crutch to science, I believe ID should be taught as a theory alongside the evolutionary theory and that the students be allowed to choose for themselves.

  87. #87 Bill Door
    December 7, 2011

    There are at least 3 parts to Behe’s claim.
    The first:

    By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.

    Darwin’s Black Box.
    It’s coherent, but trivial. It reduces to the truism that ‘if you have a system, and you change part of that system, then the system will be different.’
    Durr.
    He goes further: his claim of irreducible complexity in biological systems is the hypothesis that certain biological features are built of these types of systems. So, he takes a truism and applies it to Biology.
    Durr.
    The further claim is that these types of systems cannot arise by natural selection. This is the point at which he falls flat on his ass. This claim is what people generally understand as Irreducible Complexity – indeed, this is the actual point of Behe’s book, to the extent that it had one. This is the point of contention; not the banality that ‘there exist systems you can break,’ but the claim that these kinds of systems can only be produced through intelligent means. Until this is demonstrated, ID is dead in the water.
    The idea that Behe’s speculations, easily refuted and completely useless to any working scientist, would have been able to undermine the Neo-Darwinian synthesis is just a bad joke. Behe et al. would have been wise to listen to Emerson’s warning: “Never strike a king unless you are sure you shall kill him.”

  88. #88 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    There are at least 3 parts to Behe’s claim. [posted by Bill Door]

    The following is not part of a claim, it is a definition that he uses all through the book:

    By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. _Darwin’s Black Box_, page 39.

    The question of what systems conform to this definition is a separate issue. Behe identifies a number of systems that he claims are irreducibly complex. See my reply to “Owlmirror” earlier today for a list.

    It’s coherent, but trivial. It reduces to the truism that ‘if you have a system, and you change part of that system, then the system will be different.’

    How you get this out of “effectively cease functioning” is beyond me.

    The human body is a system, and if your appendix is removed, you will be different, but you won’t effectively cease functioning.

    Durr.

    Purr.

  89. #89 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    General note: the jinx against Eric still seems to be working. He may have seen that I had tried to post a reply to him, but couldn’t wait for it to show up. It still hasn’t shown up.

    Here I am replying to Dave Villa, who wrote:

    3. The empirical exploration of intelligent design, or design inference, developed by Dr. William Dembski, is already accepted and has proven to be successful in various fields of science such as archaeology, forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, random number regeneration and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI). (See The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities and No Free Lunch by William Dembski.

    Yes. Of course, some people use “Intelligent Design” as a synonym for “The particular brand of ID promulgated by the Discovery Institute.” And so, they isolate this one brand for destruction.

    With this last reason, I can confidently share that ID is not dead. Therefore, as a Christian scholar who believes that ID is neither dead nor a crutch to science, I believe ID should be taught as a theory alongside the evolutionary theory and that the students be allowed to choose for themselves.

    Why should they have to choose? I believe in the evolutionary theory, from the time of the first metazoan, and have no problem with it extending all the way back to the first prokaryote. It is with what came before this that my own brand of ID is concerned.

    And in this, I am in a very small minority, abandoned by the Christians who want to believe some form of the Genesis account, and on the other hand by almost all other deists and theists, and also by almost all agnostics and atheists.

    A lot of the people in the latter four categories simply accept the conventional wisdom that abiogenesis took place right here on earth without even thinking about it. A lot of others I have encountered think about it only long enough to post some variation on:

    Mother Earth did it, this I know,
    For Ockham’s Razor tells me so.

  90. #90 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    The further claim is that these types of systems cannot arise by natural selection.

    False. What Behe claims about irreducibly complex systems is that they cannot arise directly by small, “Darwinian” steps. But, as he says a few pages after giving the definition of an irreducibly complex system, one cannot rule out an indirect arising by small steps. However, he adds, as the number of parts to the system increase, the probability of such an occurrence drops precipitously.

    This is the point at which he falls flat on his ass.

    Correction: this is the point at which lots of people with a superficial knowledge of IC knock down a strawman of their own making.

    This claim is what people generally understand as Irreducible Complexity – indeed, this is the actual point of Behe’s book, to the extent that it had one.

    Don’t presume to speak for “people” in this way. Anti-Behe zealots and naive Creationists both perceive it in this way, but both are wrong.

    Have fun with your strawman. You may even make it fall flat on its ass for all I care.

  91. #91 Peter Nyikos
    December 7, 2011

    > The concept of irreducible complexity is coherent

    The following was posted by “Wow”

    Even if that is given as true, it’s entirely contingent.
    The eye used to be “irreducibly complex”. Turned out it isn’t.

    You are conflating the concept of “irreducibly complex” with “too intricate to have evolved by small, Darwinian steps.” The two concepts are quite different.

    By the way, Behe devotes a good bit of space to the eye even before introducing us to the concept of irreducible complexity in DBB, and then focuses on such molecules as rhodopsin and the critical role they play in vision.

  92. #92 eric
    December 7, 2011

    Peter, if by ‘jinx’ you mean posts being held for moderation, I am having that issue too. Oh well, we’ll just have to work through it.

    What Behe claims about irreducibly complex systems is that they cannot arise directly by small, “Darwinian” steps. But, as he says a few pages after giving the definition of an irreducibly complex system, one cannot rule out an indirect arising by small steps.

    By ‘indirect’ I take it you mean co-option, because it is fairly obvious to me that if a sub-system changes function within a system part of it may easily become irreducibly complex via evolution. This is just the bridge/scaffolding issue: a system of 4 components that only needs 3 is not IC, so could presumably evolve. Then one of those components mutates, and voila! The remaining components become IC.

    However, he adds, as the number of parts to the system increase, the probability of such an occurrence drops precipitously.

    Indeed! Behe even provided an example in published papers. And explained in the Dover case:

    Q. And one last other question on your paper. You concluded, it would take a population size of 10 to the 9th, I think we said that was a billion, 10 to the 8th generations to evolve this new disulfide bond, that was your conclusion?

    A. That was the calculation based on the assumptions in the paper, yes.

    [snip evidence discussion]

    Q. In that first paragraph, he says, There are more than 10 to the 16 prokaryotes in a ton of soil. Is that correct, in that first paragraph?

    A. Yes, that’s right.

    Q. In one ton of soil?

    A. That’s correct.

    Q. And we have a lot more than one ton of soil on Earth, correct?

    A. Yes, we do.

    Q. And have for some time, correct?

    A. That’s correct, yes.

    So, this particular IC feature was so complex that, to evolve by incremental steps, it requires 7 orders of magnitude less bacteria to than exists in a single ton of soil. Highly improbable indeed!

  93. #93 Raging Bee
    December 7, 2011

    Peter Nyikos, trying to channel Salvador “Wormtongue” Cordova, blithers thusly:

    Well, figure out a basic function for it, identify the well-matched parts and how each contributes to the basic function, and see whether removal of any of the parts essentially negates the function.

    ANY biological system, even one as simple as a finger-bone, would fail if one of its “parts” were removed. None of that proves that said systems could not have evolved from other systems — just as lungs are credibly believed to have evolved from swim-bladders, and wings from smaller appendages that aid maneuverability in jumping.

    Basically, “irreducible complexity,” as a means of disproving evolution, fails because it doesn’t account for the possibility that an organ that serves one purpose can evolve to serve another purpose; which means that “half an eye” or “half a wing” or whatever else can indeed be useful for one purpose before it’s fully formed to serve another. See my earlier reference to lungs and wings.

    None of those is relevant to the concept of “irreducible complexity,” which is a package deal.

    Excuse me, boy, but your inability to quantify, or precisely define, the basic concepts underlying your “hypothesis” is indeed relevant: it proves you have nothing, and it also proves you’re knowingly parroting falsehoods.

    If you look up the definition on page 39 of _Darwin’s Black Box_ you will see that the concept of “complexity” *per se* does not really enter into it.

    “Complexity” doesn’t enter into the concept of “irreducible complexity?” What a load of horseshit.

    The definition [of irreducable complexity] on page 39 of _DBB_ is coherent and concrete enough to frame useful hypotheses from.

    I’ll believe that when I see you frame a useful hypothesis. We’re still waiting for that. (Oh, and we’re also waiting for the evidence for panspermia.)

    I posted it in reply to Eric less than an hour ago…

    I’ve read all of your comments so far, and there’s nothing new or useful in any of it.

    And in this, I am in a very small minority, abandoned by the Christians who want to believe some form of the Genesis account, and on the other hand by almost all other deists and theists, and also by almost all agnostics and atheists.

    In other words, you’re just another lonely crank nurturing a delusion no one else can take seriously, and pretending it’s a full-blown scientific breakthrough. Good luck with that. Maybe Lyndon LaRouche will give you a cookie.

    And on to that other empty bloviator, Dave Villa…

    3. The empirical exploration of intelligent design, or design inference, developed by Dr. William Dembski, is already accepted and has proven to be successful in various fields of science such as archaeology, forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, random number regeneration and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI). (See The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities and No Free Lunch by William Dembski.

    ID was originally supposed to be useful in BIOLOGY, which you didn’t mention above. So basically you just admitted that a “theory” of biological origin has no usefulness in biology. Also, Dembski has been proven to be a liar, so if you want us to believe that Dembski’s work is useful anywhere, you’ll have to cite a source who isn’t named William Dembski.

    Therefore, as a Christian scholar who believes that ID is neither dead nor a crutch to science…

    Oops, you blew it again: if ID is valid science (in any field), why do you have to identify yourself as a Christian scholar when you endorse it? Wasn’t ID supposed to be totally unrelated to any religious doctrine? Your pig just rubbed off all his lipstick again.

  94. #94 Raging Bee
    December 7, 2011

    Oh, and if you want to talk about Behe, just remember that Behe was found to have flat-out lied under oath in the Kitzmiller trial; so don’t expect us to be impressed by anything he says.

  95. #95 Bill Door
    December 7, 2011

    The human body is a system, and if your appendix is removed, you will be different, but you won’t effectively cease functioning.

    Sure I will. Just narrowly restrict the definition of ‘functioning.’

    What Behe claims about irreducibly complex systems is that they cannot arise directly by small, “Darwinian” steps. But, as he says a few pages after giving the definition of an irreducibly complex system, one cannot rule out an indirect arising by small steps. However, he adds, as the number of parts to the system increase, the probability of such an occurrence drops precipitously.

    Yes, small Darwinian steps. That’s how natural selection works, according to the standard view. But arising by indirect steps is a standard pathway as well (e.g. the concept of exaptation, or Francois Jacob’s ‘Evolution as tinkering’), no less Darwinian than the ‘direct’ path. Keep in mind, of course, that evolution is not a teleological process. So, yes, Darwinian processes can in principle produce Irreducibly Complex systems. And if Behe’s argument is simply the old creationist argument from low probability, jazzed up, why bother with it?

  96. #96 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2011

    Claim for irreducible complexity of WHAT, exactly? The mousetrap? The bacterial flagellum? The eucaryotic cilium? The clotting cascade past the fork? The intracellular transport system? The “complement” cascade of the immune system?

    The Kitzmiller v. Dover testimony covers the bacterial flagellum, the clotting cascade, and the immune system. Mention is made of some of the other cases you list.

    These can all be found, with plenty of attendant discussion, in Behe’s DBB. Have you ever opened a copy of that book?

    I’ve probably picked it up in the library, but no more than that.

    Have you read the Kitzmiller v. Dover testimony and decision?

  97. #97 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2011

    I used “broadly speaking” to mean that I am using a definition broader than the “awestruck” definition whereby there is hardly any theory in science besides the theory of gravity, the atomic theory, the quantum theory, the neo-Darwinian synthesis, the Mendelian theory, and the theory of relativity.

    The “awestruck” definition is a great favorite with people who want to show off how sophisticated they are in the philosophy of science.

    I have no idea what you mean by this, and I am certain that you don’t either.

    A scientific theory is an explanation, based on the evidence discovered about what is being explained.

    The theory of gravity is an explanation of the universal attraction of masses, based on the evidence of that attraction. Atomic theory explains that all matter is made up of indivisible particles (or, to be more technically precise, made up of particles which can only be divided by energy levels higher than that of chemical reactions or mechanical forces), based on the evidence of how matter behaves, made by the earlier chemists and physicists. Quantum theory explains how the behavior of subatomic particles is probabilistic rather than deterministic, based on the evidence discovered by the early quantum physicists. The theory of modern evolutionary biology explains the evidence discovered by early zoologists, modified by the evidence discovered by geneticists and developmental biologists and later zoologists. Mendelian theory explains inheritance, based on the evidence of how inheritance works. Relativity explains the propagation of electromagnetic energy and gravity as a function of a constant speed of light, and the equivalence of matter and energy.

    One is tempted to interpret your “awestuck” as merely bullshit and bafflegab to obscure the simple fact that you have no evidence.

  98. #98 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2011

    As to why I haven’t done it up in an article yet, I have decided to subject it to the merciless scrutiny of the regulars of talk.origins before trying to publish it.

    You don’t need to publish it in order to write it up as a formal draft. Hasn’t it undergone enough scrutiny that you feel confident to at least write it out, and address said scrutiny?

    I want to be able to anticipate as much as possible the misunderstandings, both sincere and insincere, to which Behe has been subjected.

    An excellent decision, I am sure. How long, I wonder, has this anticipatory stage been in progress?

    Oh, dear. A cursory search of Google Groups and your name combined with “directed panspermia” finds hits going back to 1997.

    You’ve been “fleshing” this out for about 14 years or so, and you don’t have anything you feel confident in committing to a web page?

    Tch.

    I see, in Google Scholar, that Crick and Orgel’s paper has been cited in 191 publications — and, my goodness, 115 of them have been since 1997!

    And you just can’t seem to add yours to the list…

    Just look at the hostility with which you and others here have greeted what I have written just so far, for example.

    ID is hostile to science and rationality, so I am only returning the hostility measure for measure.

    More importantly, it is in replying to objections that I get new ideas for what to incorporate in the article I am planning.

    And planning for at least 14 years, too. Very well planned indeed.

  99. #99 Wow
    December 8, 2011

    “it is a problem when dealing with a scientific matter that many who support the theory of I.D. would merely suggest that “it was God” and leave it at that”

    Even if it were genuinely not “it was God”, ID says “stop asking questions”.

    And therefore, even in that most honest of purposes, the purpose of ID is to kill science which is “always ask questions” (though you’re expected to look for answers too, otherwise you’re wasting time).

  100. #100 eric
    December 8, 2011

    Even if it were genuinely not “it was God”, ID says “stop asking questions”.

    Well, to quibble, ID isn’t so much normative as it is anti-explanatory. It’s more like “science won’t be able to answer the who, when, where, and how of design, so its useless for you to even speculate. [Unless we are in church and away from the skeptics, then we can let our guard down and do the speculation we claim can't be done.]“

  101. #101 derwood
    December 8, 2011

    I had to laugh when I read that ID-propagandist and David Abel worshipper “Upright Biped” challenged Jason to go on UncommonDescent and discuss this whole issue. Instead of, you know, Upright Biped coming here.
    Of course, here, Upright will not have the power of deletion when his head gets handed to him, which is why, I suppose, he will not come here…
    Pseudointellectuals like Upright Biped are like that.

  102. #102 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2011

    As to why I haven’t done it up in an article yet, I have decided to subject it to the merciless scrutiny of the regulars of talk.origins before trying to publish it.

    This is nothing but an obvious bluff: Nyikos is just pretending his (unspecified) arguments are weathering some beastly storm of criticism somewhere else, and will come out stronger and victorious at some (unspecified) time in the future. Notice he doesn’t say how his “theory” is doing at the other place, or what his winning arguments actually are? He’s just playing the same “persecution” card all the other cdesign proponentsists play because he knows that’s all he has.

    derwood: Is “Upright Biped” a Sal Cordova sockpuppet? I ask this because that’s something Wormtongue used to do on a regular basis on SB and PT.

  103. #103 derwood
    December 8, 2011

    Bee – good question, hadn’t considered that. However, UBP’s and Cordova’s writing style is too dissimilar, and although I don’t think UBP’s arguments are even arguments, much less good ones, at least Cordova could concoct his own. UBP seems able only to emulate his hero of the day.

  104. #104 jerry
    December 8, 2011

    Kristine:

    “Design” is the result of black-and-white thinking: mountains are natural, Mount Rushmore is designed; nature is our environment, whereas humans are artificial. But really, there is no one inventor of anything, not even the mousetrap, and we are seeing with tragic results how our carbon emissions affect and reinforce our connection to nature.

    This is why women should not be allowed to blog.

  105. #105 Owlmirror
    December 8, 2011

    This is why women should not be allowed to blog.

    This is why misogyinsts should not be allowed.

  106. #106 Owlmirror
    December 8, 2011

    Dave Villa @#87:

    When talking about the issue of intelligent design, it is a common misconception that for the naturalistic comprehension of science, I.D. is a “wrench in the science machine”.

    ID isn’t a wrench. It’s an argument from ignorance and incredulity.

    Throughout history, many of the leading scientists like Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Sir Isaac Newton, and Galileo, who were theists, were motivated by their belief in design.

    This is a ludicrous false inference. “Belief in design” is not, in and of itself, a motivation towards science, otherwise, all theists past and present would have been scientists. The only reasonable motivation towards science is the desire to study and understand empirical reality — which does not, in and of itself, require belief in design. This is demonstrated by the fact that all scientists do want to study and understand empirical reality, while not all scientists are believers.

    QED

    Had great minds like Newton not had this motivation, where would principles such as the law of physics have come from?

    Had Newton been an atheist, but still been interested in studying empirical reality, what would have prevented him from discovering the laws of physics?

    ID does not promote or support the direct involvement of intelligent roots in the methodological and empirical procedures of biology, physics, etc.

    This sentence does not make sense given what follows. In fact, I’m not sure it make sense even on its own.

    The empirical exploration of intelligent design, or design inference, developed by Dr. William Dembski, is already accepted and has proven to be successful in various fields of science such as archaeology, forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, random number regeneration and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI).

    This is the first I’ve heard of Dembski’s work being used in the fields you write of. Could you provide any specific examples from “archaeology, forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, random number regeneration and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI)” that cite and credit Dembski’s work?

    With this last reason, I can confidently share that ID is not dead. Therefore, as a Christian

    If you’re a Christian, you confidently believe that Jesus is not dead, despite having no evidence in support of that claim, either.

    I believe ID should be taught as a theory alongside the evolutionary theory

    ID is not a scientific theory. ID is an argument from ignorance and incredulity.

  107. #107 Peter Nyikos
    December 8, 2011

    Oh, and if you want to talk about Behe, just remember that Behe was found to have flat-out lied under oath in the Kitzmiller trial; so don’t expect us to be impressed by anything he says. [posted by the aptly named Raging Bee]

    I’ve read a great deal of Behe’s testimony and I can’t recall any such incident. Nor has any of the anti-Behe zealots [and their name is legion] in talk.origins brought any such thing to my attention.

    Here is the url for the Dover transcripts:

    http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

    Please identify your source by day, AM or PM, and page number (preferably also line numbers).

    If it turns out that you are wrong about this, will you apologize or will you just go on merrily spinning more yarns?

    [A piece of irony: Owlmirror couldn't stand Usenet, where talk.origins resides; perhaps it was too tame for him, eh?]

  108. #108 Peter Nyikos
    December 8, 2011

    Oh, dear. A cursory search of Google Groups and your name combined with “directed panspermia” finds hits going back to 1997.

    You’ve been “fleshing” this out for about 14 years or so, and you don’t have anything you feel confident in committing to a web page? [posted by Owlmirror}

    Congratulations for not making a fool of yourself like "Raging Bee" did with his foot-in-mouth skepticism about what I am doing in talk.origins. You actually did some homework.

    One thing you missed, though: I absented myself from talk.origins for about a decade, until almost exactly a year ago, so it is more like 4 years, and in the first few I wasn't thinking seriously about publishing on directed panspermia; now I am.

    [I do have over 100 peer-reviewed research papers in topology, and adding to that store was enough to keep me busy in the interim, without having to do any serious thinking about directed panspermia.]

    Also, meanwhile, the people in that newsgroup have changed and I am getting a whole slew of responses quite unlike those I got back in 1997-2000. It’s given me a lot of new ideas, and you can glean a few of them from the following post of just this last week:

    http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/b80f2e37a9b48766

    The post includes links to six more on a different thread, giving lots of ideas and arguments; and there are still more on the threads where those six, and the one above, came from.

    Happy hunting.

    On the thread where the above url is from, I’ve also made a general announcement as to why there will be very little posting from me between now and the new year. But I’ll squeeze out a post here and there for at least one more week.

    Happy holidays.

  109. #109 Peter Nyikos
    December 8, 2011

    Claim for irreducible complexity of WHAT, exactly? The mousetrap? The bacterial flagellum? The eucaryotic cilium? The clotting cascade past the fork? The intracellular transport system? The “complement” cascade of the immune system?
    The Kitzmiller v. Dover testimony covers the bacterial flagellum, the clotting cascade, and the immune system. Mention is made of some of the other cases you list. [posted by Owlmirror]

    Ah, yes. Behe did a great job of using the witness box as a bully pulpit for refuting a lot of foolishness that has been written about these things. Unfortunately, the transcript does not show a screen where he is quoting from at a crucial juncture, and it makes it look like he is saying something that he is actually quoting from Doolittle.

    Doolittle was dead wrong about those genetically altered mice; he simply misread an article about them. I’m glad at least the raw data for that is now a matter of public record.

    This was the only challenge I’ve ever seen for the claim that any of the above (except the mousetrap, which isn’t really relevant to the main thrust of Behe’s work) is Irreducibly Complex, and Doolittle fell flat on his face trying to refute its IC nature.

    That is quite a distinct issue from whether the cascade could have evolved through natural selection; that, and the immune system could have, BUT ONLY because both have autocatalytic molecules at crucial junctures.

  110. #110 Peter Nyikos
    December 8, 2011

    Trying too hard to finish up quickly, I got careless in my wording:

    “That is quite a distinct issue from whether the cascade could have evolved through natural selection; that, and the immune system could have, BUT ONLY because both have autocatalytic molecules at crucial junctures.”

    The “BUT ONLY” refers to an actual scenario having been worked out for its evolution thru natural selection. A pet peeve of Behe is that no one has tried seriously to give a step by step scenario for how the other examples in his book could have evolved gradually by natural selection.

    And even those examples pale alongside the lack of a scenario for the evolution of the protein translation mechanism. The protein takeover from RNA world is still in the “Sophomore of the Gaps” stage:

    “Who cares how or where it could have happened. It happened. End of story.”

    None of this is to deny that it DID happen by natural means. The point is, AFAIK nobody has a clue whether it is likely to have happened more than once in our universe–or even in a googol of universes like our own, once you factor in the difficulty of getting up to the beginning of the protein takeover stage.

  111. #111 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2011

    Here’s just one example of Behe lying under oath, which I got from the following link:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/thank_you_michael_behe.php

    Quoting from Judge Jones’ decision:

    The one article referenced by both Professors Behe and Minnich as supporting ID is an article written by Behe and Snoke entitled “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues.” (P-721). A review of the article indicates that it does not mention either irreducible complexity or ID. In fact, Professor Behe admitted that the study which forms the basis for the article did not rule out many known evolutionary mechanisms and that the research actually might support evolutionary pathways if a biologically realistic population size were used.

    So right there we see Behe citing an article and just making shit up abotu what the article actually says.

    And here’s the example I was originally looking for:

    In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.”

    We find that such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution.

    There’s more examples of Behe and other creationists lying out of both ends of their asses. Go ahead, read the whole post. (BTW, I’m also reminded that Dembski was so tainted and lacking in credibility that he was withdrawn as a witness for the creationist side. Like I said before, he’s a fucking liar, so don’t expect us to be impressed when you quote him.)

    Now are you going to apologize to US and admit you were wrong? Given that you completely ignored everything else I said, my guess is, you won’t.

  112. #112 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2011

    PS: Where’s that shiny new evidence for your “theory” of panspermia? You were bluffing there too, weren’t you?

  113. #113 Owlmirror
    December 9, 2011

    I’ve read a great deal of Behe’s testimony and I can’t recall any such incident. Nor has any of the anti-Behe zealots [and their name is legion] in talk.origins brought any such thing to my attention.

    While Alan Bonsell and William Buckingham were pronounced to be liars on the stand by the judge, to the best of my knowledge, Michael Behe was not.

    However, Behe does seem to have been guilty of, if not flat-out lying, of a certain looseness with regard to his approach to and understanding of the scientific method and scientific terminology.


    Q In fact, your definition of scientific theory is synonymous with hypothesis, correct?
     
    A Partly — it can be synonymous with hypothesis, it can also include the National Academy’s definition. But in fact, the scientific community uses the word “theory” in many times as synonymous with the word “hypothesis,” other times it uses the word as a synonym for the definition reached by the National Academy, and at other times it uses it in other ways.
     
    Q But the way you are using it is synonymous with the definition of hypothesis?
     
    A No, I would disagree. It can be used to cover hypotheses, but it can also include ideas that are in fact well substantiated and so on. So while it does include ideas that are synonymous or in fact are hypotheses, it also includes stronger senses of that term.
     
    Q And using your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory, correct?
     
    A Yes.
     
    Q Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition, correct?
     
    A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that — which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and many other — many other theories as well.

    [A piece of irony: Owlmirror couldn't stand Usenet, where talk.origins resides; perhaps it was too tame for him, eh?]

    Why on Earth are you talking about me — and pretending that you can read my mind, even — instead of about your “fleshed-out” “theory” of directed panspermia?

  114. #114 Owlmirror
    December 9, 2011

    Behe did a great job of using the witness box as a bully pulpit for refuting a lot of foolishness that has been written about these things.

    And yet, he somehow failed to convince the judge that ID was anything but religious foolishness.

    ======

    Moreover, in turning to Defendants’ lead expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.

    ======

    Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). [...]
    It is notable that not one defense expert was able to explain how the supernatural action suggested by ID could be anything other than an inherently religious proposition. Accordingly, we find that ID’s religious nature would be further evident to our objective observer because it directly involves a supernatural designer.

    ======

    After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980′s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.

    ======

    Professor Behe has applied the concept of irreducible complexity to only a few select systems: (1) the bacterial flagellum; (2) the blood-clotting cascade; and (3) the immune system. Contrary to Professor Behe’ s assertions with respect to these few biochemical systems among the myriad existing in nature, however, Dr. Miller presented evidence, based upon peer-reviewed studies, that they are not in fact irreducibly complex.

    ======

    And so on and so forth.

    I mean, maybe you think that the decision was wrong, but if Behe had actually done a great job, he would have convinced the judge that ID was not entirely religious foolishness. And he utterly failed to do this.

  115. #115 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2011

    Trying too hard to finish up quickly, I got careless in my wording…

    That’s a pretty serious lapse on your part, Peter, given that your case is all about the “wording,” and has nothing to do with facts, logic, morality, or anything else.

  116. #116 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2011

    Behe did a great job of using the witness box as a bully pulpit for refuting a lot of foolishness that has been written about these things.

    That’s an amazingly stupid thing to say, after Behe’s side not only lost the case, but lost it so badly they couldn’t even find grounds for an appeal.

    …if Behe had actually done a great job, he would have convinced the judge that ID was not entirely religious foolishness. And he utterly failed to do this.

    Minor quibble: Given that the judge based his assessment on Behe’s own words, I’d say that Behe didn’t “fail,” he “achieved negative success.” There is, after all, a noticeable difference between merely losing a game and scoring an own-goal.

    And the fact that someone like Peter would continue to root for Behe, speaks volumes about his intelligence, his integrity, and his grasp of reality. Then again, he actually seems to think thre’s evidence for panspermia, so maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised at this.

  117. #117 eric
    December 9, 2011

    Peter:

    The “BUT ONLY” refers to an actual scenario having been worked out for its evolution thru natural selection. A pet peeve of Behe is that no one has tried seriously to give a step by step scenario for how the other examples in his book could have evolved gradually by natural selection.

    So, basically, you will not believe some complex structure evolved until science comes up with a step by step scenario of how that specific thing evolved?

    I will bet lots of money you don’t require the same step-by-step scenario before you believe something was intelligently designed, do you?

    But maybe I”m wrong. Perhaps you’d like to give us an example of an organ or orgnism that was intelligently designed by this unknown designer – the flagellum, blood clotting mechanism, whatever – and then lead us through the step-by-step scenario for how the designer did it.

    If you can’t do that, then I must conclude one of two things; either you don’t actually believe your own standard of evidence, or you hypocritically apply it only to theories you don’t like.

  118. #118 Owlmirror
    December 9, 2011

    Which brings us back to the line from the decision:

    We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.

    I note that Behe had opportunity at the time of the trial to tell the lawyers for the defense, “Hold on, I think they’re getting the wrong idea about irreducible complexity. Can we try the following line of direct questioning to show this?”

    The defense could also have tried to appeal, based on some putative better argument for irreducible complexity/ID.

    Behe’s had several years after the trial to write, clearly and in no uncertain terms, why the decision was wrong, based on a putative better argument for irreducible complexity/ID.

    There’s been nothing.

    It’s dead. This is a dead idea. It passed on. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It is expired and gone. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If IDiots didn’t keep ignoring that they have no idea what they are talking about, ID would be pushing up the daisies. Its propositional processes are now history. It’s off the books. It’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the incoherency invisible. This is an ex-concept!

  119. #119 Owlmirror
    December 9, 2011

    Where’s that shiny new evidence for your “theory” of panspermia?

    Now, now. Be fair to him — he never wrote that he had evidence. We asked for evidence, but he never said he had it.

    All he wrote was that he “fleshed out” the theory. Perhaps he had a hot dog.

    Maybe his “theory” is “Hot dogs cannot possibly be from planet Earth!”

    Oh, and he wrote that he was using the word “theory” in a broader way than that used for actual science. No doubt, like Behe in his testimony, he means “theory” in a sense so broad that it includes astrology.

    “When the moon is in the second house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then ID will rule biology, and hot dogs will come from the stars! This is the dawning of the age of panspermia….”

  120. #120 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2011

    It’s just pinin’ for the Fjords!

  121. #121 Dave Villa
    December 9, 2011

    ID was originally supposed to be useful in BIOLOGY, which you didn’t mention above. So basically you just admitted that a “theory” of biological origin has no usefulness in biology.

    I do apologize for not specifying but of course I assumed that anybody would see that I was making the case that intelligent design extends design inference into biology.

    ID is not a scientific theory. ID is an argument from ignorance and incredulity.

    Is not the scientific method commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion? Intelligent design starts with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information. Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of this complex and specified information. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.
    Intelligent design has also applied these scientific methods to detect design in the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion (Big Bang) approximately 530 million years ago.

    Oops, you blew it again: if ID is valid science (in any field), why do you have to identify yourself as a Christian scholar when you endorse it? Wasn’t ID supposed to be totally unrelated to any religious doctrine? Your pig just rubbed off all his lipstick again.

    Scientists are not exempt from unfair biases and prejudices. Although scientists claim to follow the evidences wherever it leads, they are just as susceptible to dogmatism, propaganda, egotism, and authoritarianism as any religious believer supporting a religious cause. This does not poison the well of scientific establishment. Holding religious beliefs about the origin and nature of life on earth does not disqualify someone from giving legitimate scientific arguments for these beliefs, which depend on no uniquely religious assumptions. For example, F.A. Kekule, the scientist who was instrumental in discovering the structure of the benzene molecule, reported that in 1865 he came up with the ring structure after having a dream of a self-devouring snake. However, he did not advance his claim on that basis by trying to get various scientists to have a similar vision. Rather, he argued the case scientifically and was vindicated. It does not make a difference where a scientific theory comes from so long as independent scientific reasons are given for it.

  122. #122 Peter Nyikos
    December 9, 2011

    Just look at the hostility with which you and others here have greeted what I have written just so far, for example.

    ID is hostile to science and rationality, so I am only returning the hostility measure for measure. [posted by Owlmirror]

    I could not have asked for better confirmation of the wisdom of vetting my writings in hostile forums like this one and talk.origins before putting it in final form for publication.

    1. I have not shown any hostility towards science or rationality [in fact, I love them both] , so your comment is pure guilt by association.

    2. The Discovery Institute (DI) takes great pains not to make any hypotheses about who the designer is, and to stick within naturalistic methodology in their research announcements. But almost all atheists, agnostics, and even what I call neo-Deists automatically assume that they know exactly what the DI is promoting–creationism and hostility towards science.

    Strangely enough, some atheists seem to have no problems with time travel, even though that would constitute a perfect alternative to a supernatural designer where any and all of the DI research is concerned.

    This too is guilt by association– because Intelligent Design of the DI stripe is much more popular with creationists than with unbelievers or even mainline Christians, it is assumed that the goal of the DI is to promote creationism and hostility towards science.

    Now, my reasonings and hypotheses in my brand of ID are completely in conformity to the methodology of science, and my “designers” are just technologically adept organisms like ourselves. I do not even assume any abilities not within the realm of what we ourselves have, no special knowledge of physics or chemistry or biology that we cannot attain to. I love science, [paleontology and astronomy have been my favorites since well before puberty] and I want to take it as far as I can.

    But you and almost everyone else here automatically tars me with the same brushes they have honed on creationists hostile to science.

    I’m sure that, even if I take great pains to spell all this out in my article that I am slowly preparing, I will be deluged with hate mail by paranoid anti-Christians who think I secretly want people to conclude that my “designer” is really the God of the Bible. But at least I will be ready with rebuttals to at least 90% of what is thrown at me.

  123. #123 Peter Nyikos
    December 9, 2011

    [A piece of irony: Owlmirror couldn't stand Usenet, where talk.origins resides; perhaps it was too tame for him, eh?]

    Why on Earth are you talking about me — and pretending that you can read my mind, even — instead of about your “fleshed-out” “theory” of directed panspermia?

    1. Turnabout is fair play.

    2. Wasn’t it you who spurned my invitation to meet me in talk.origins?

    3. Did the words “perhaps” and “eh” go over your head? Also the word “irony” — you are familiar with multiple meanings of the word, no?

    3. Anyway, I am willing to talk here about one aspect of directed panspermia, and that is your claim that Crick and Orgel have repudiated directed panspermia. I’d like a reference.

    To save you a bit of trouble: the following January 1993 article, which was touted by at least one talk.origins regular to show them doing just that, never mentions directed panspermia, does not cite any reference to directed panspermia, and seems to be pure shop talk about various routes to abiogenesis that render obsolete a couple of biochemisty papers they had written a while back:

    http://www.fasebj.org/content/7/1/238.full.pdf

    Moreover, in the same year (1993) the following appeared in a paper co-authored by one of them:

    Scientists interested in the origins of life seem to
    divide neatly into two classes. The first, usually
    but not always molecular biologists, believe that
    RNA must have been the first replicating molecule
    and that chemists are exaggerating the difficulty
    of nucleotide synthesis. … The second group of
    scientists is much more pessimistic. They believe
    that the de novo appearance of oligonucleotides on
    the primitive earth would have been a near miracle.
    (The authors subscribe to this latter view). Time
    will tell which is correct.
    –G. F. Joyce and Leslie E.Orgel, “Prospects
    for understanding the origin of the RNA
    world,” in: _The RNA World_, ed. R. F.
    Gesteland and J. F. Atkins, Cold Spring
    Harbor Press, 1993, p. 19.

  124. #124 Peter Nyikos
    December 9, 2011

    So, basically, you will not believe some complex structure evolved until science comes up with a step by step scenario of how that specific thing evolved? [posted by Eric]

    Wrong on two counts.

    1. I was just describing what Behe writes. As I said in another post, I have no problem with evolution by purely naturalistic methods from the first prokaryotes. I wax downright enthusisatic about the evolution of the vertebrates, especially the Equidae.

    2. Behe is trying to stimulate scientific research into these mysteries of how this or that structure evolved. Were he to be presented with any plausible scenario, no matter how conjectural and hypothetical, he would modify his statements about it; but people don’t provide them.

    Even in the case of the clotting mechanism, neither Miller nor Robison came up with a proposal of an actual sequence in which it could have happened. They merely treated abstract cases of how autocatalycity and gene duplication could give rise to an ever lengthening cascade. But AFAIK they never identified which of the clotting agents is autocatalytic, and which are not.

    I will bet lots of money you don’t require the same step-by-step scenario before you believe something was intelligently designed, do you?

    “a step by step scenario” or its lack isn’t the basis on which one accepts or rejects intelligent design. One scrutinizes things like the famous “face on Mars” or the “canals of Percival Lovell” in ever more detail until it becomes clear that the apparent design was an illusion.

    On the other hand, the very essence of the Darwinism that Behe criticizes is its very claim that living things have evolved step by gradual step. Hence it is quite appropriate to ask for step by step scenarios.

    But maybe I”m wrong. Perhaps you’d like to give us an example of an organ or orgnism that was intelligently designed by this unknown designer – the flagellum, blood clotting mechanism, whatever…

    I approach these Behe favorites by way of the back door, so to speak. Once my arguments for directed panspermia have been laid out — and they are mainly mathematical and have nothing to do with believing this or that had to be the product of intelligent design — then and only then do I turn around and ask, “What things might have been designed by them?”

    The gram-negative bacterial flagellum looks like a promising candidate, but the blood clotting mechanism gets thumbs down because it comes way too late, and I think the panspermists are responsible only for the first organisms on earth.

    If you can’t do that, then I must conclude one of two things; either you don’t actually believe your own standard of evidence, or you hypocritically apply it only to theories you don’t like.

    See what I wrote in response to Owlmirror about guilt by association.

  125. #125 Peter Nyikos
    December 9, 2011

    Oh, and he wrote that he was using the word “theory” in a broader way than that used for actual science.

    I said nothing of the sort, and you of all people should know. You were mystified by what I meant by the “awestruck” definition of “theory” [ viz., "a grand tapestry of explanation woven over a mountain of seemingly unrelated phenomena"].

    Your definition is a lot less grandiose:

    I have no idea what you mean by this, and I am certain that you don’t either.

    A scientific theory is an explanation, based on the evidence discovered about what is being explained.

    Does “explanation” mean “an explanation accepted by, or almost sure to be accepted by, most of the scientific community as being correct”?

    If it falls considerably short of that standard, then what I have worked out is indeed a theory by your definition. Perhaps the original Crick-Orgel hypothesis does not quite qualify, although they did cite some evidence.

    But as I said, I have fleshed it out considerably.

    No doubt, like Behe in his testimony, he means “theory” in a sense so broad that it includes astrology.

    Say…aren’t you the person who accused me of mind-reading when my statement included the qualifier “perhaps”? Extrapolating, I’d say the above would be “mind-commandeering” by your scale of values.

  126. #126 Peter Nyikos
    December 9, 2011

    So, Peter, no algorithm yet? I come across some polymer which contains a mix of multiple base units. I want to determine whether the string is IC. How do I do it? [posted by Eric]

    Why are you asking for an algorithm, when one of the greatest discoveries in mathematics in the last century was that there cannot be an algorithm for even for something so simple as determining whether a given Diophantine equation has a solution in integers?

    AFAIK, it has also been shown that the famous three-body problem of physics also cannot be solved by an algorithm.

  127. #127 eric
    December 9, 2011

    “a step by step scenario” or its lack isn’t the basis on which one accepts or rejects intelligent design. One scrutinizes things like the famous “face on Mars” or the “canals of Percival Lovell” in ever more detail until it becomes clear that the apparent design was an illusion.

    You have simply confirmed your bias; such a process assumes design and requires scientists go out and disprove it. This is not scientific. You should be skeptical of design until positive evidence of it is found.

    This is similar to how Dembski built his filter. Same mistake. Sorry, but Design should not be any scientist’s default explanation.

    Why are you asking for an algorithm, when one of the greatest discoveries in mathematics in the last century was that there cannot be an algorithm for even for something so simple as determining whether a given Diophantine equation has a solution in integers?

    Okay, Peter, fine, if you want to quibble I will amend my wording. Instead of algorithm, give me the process by which you determine whether a polymeric string is IC or not.
    Surely you have one, yes? Otherwise how can you claim anything is IC? Without a process, you’re just using a gut call…also known as the methodology of rectal extraction.

  128. #128 Peter Nyikos
    December 9, 2011

    I will amend my wording. Instead of algorithm, give me the process by which you determine whether a polymeric string is IC or not.
    Surely you have one, yes?[posted by Eric]

    Since you have not given me any function the polymeric string is supposed to have, nor how its parts contribute to that function, I cannot even begin.

  129. #129 Owlmirror
    December 10, 2011

    Is not the scientific method commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion?

    Commonly, yes — a common oversimplification. Where are the competing hypotheses? Where’s the falsifiability and the parsimony? Where do you eliminate confirmation bias?

    Intelligent design starts with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information.

    And what does that even mean? Don’t quote Dembski’s blather at me; I’ve read Mark Chu-Carroll’s takedown where he points out that Dembski basically uses “specified” as a synonym for complexity.

    Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of this complex and specified information.

    How can they hypothesize anything when they can’t define what “complex and specified information” means, or how they can possibly distinguish something that does have it from something that doesn’t?

    Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information.

    What expermental tests? What experiments have been done? Where are these purported experiments published? How can you perform an experiment when “complex and specified information” isn’t even defined?

    One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.

    In other words, they argue from ignorance — “I don’t know how this happened, therefore, it was designed by an invisible person with magical superpowers!”

    No.

    ID is an argument from ignorance. Repeating logical fallacies doesn’t make them not be logical fallacies.

    Intelligent design has also applied these scientific methods to detect design in the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion (Big Bang) approximately 530 million years ago.

    LOL. You mean, even more arguments from ignorance, about even more common creationist claims.

    Scientists are not exempt from unfair biases and prejudices.

    Creationists have nothing but unfair biases and prejudices.

    It does not make a difference where a scientific theory comes from so long as independent scientific reasons are given for it.

    Quite right, quite right. The problem is to eliminate one’s biases and prejudices, and demonstrate one’s argument from the evidence, as you argue.

    But creationists — and ID creationists — do not do this. They ignore evidence where it suits them, and claim that there is evidence, where what they are claiming is evidence is too ill-defined to be anything, let alone evidence.

  130. #130 eric
    December 10, 2011

    Since you have not given me any function the polymeric string is supposed to have, nor how its parts contribute to that function, I cannot even begin.

    Interesting. So intelligent design theory is completely useless if one is confronted with a system for which one doesn’t already know the function?

    That also means that, contra Demski’s claim, the technique can make false positives, can wrongly infer design. This could happen any time our current knowledge about a system’s function or a subsystem’s contribution to it turns out to be wrong.

  131. #131 Owlmirror
    December 10, 2011

    I have not shown any hostility towards science or rationality [in fact, I love them both] ,

    YECs claim the same thing — while demonstrating a deep hostility for geology, paleontology, geochronology, stratigraphy, dendrochronology, physics, chemistry, and cosmology. Oh, and a very deep hatred indeed for the principle of parsimony.

    You: I used “broadly speaking” to mean that I am using a definition [of theory] broader than the “awestruck” definition

    Contempt and hostility for common definitions of scientific terms, check.

    You: Mother Earth did it, this I know,
    For Ockham’s Razor tells me so.

    Contempt and hostility for the principle of parsimony, check.

    Your denialism about your obvious hostility is noted.

    The Discovery Institute (DI) takes great pains not to make any hypotheses about who the designer is, and to stick within naturalistic methodology in their research announcements.

    Nonsense. Their entire point is that they want to promote supernatural methodology.

    But almost all atheists, agnostics, and even what I call neo-Deists automatically assume that they know exactly what the DI is promoting–creationism and hostility towards science.

    Because we’ve read the Wedge Document, where creationism and hostility towards science are explicitly laid out as the plan?

    Strangely enough, some atheists seem to have no problems with time travel, even though that would constitute a perfect alternative to a supernatural designer where any and all of the DI research is concerned.

    Perhaps. But none of the DI advocates actually promote time-travel-ism, and most do promote Christianity.

    Say, have you read Calculating God, by Robert Sawyer? Why doesn’t the DI promote that as being science-fiction that is perfectly in line with their “design inference”?

    Now, my reasonings and hypotheses in my brand of ID are completely in conformity to the methodology of science, and my “designers” are just technologically adept organisms like ourselves.

    And how did they come about? Abiogenesis, or time-travel?

    Crick and Orgel posited abiogenesis, themselves. Why do you think that they were wrong?

    ======

    Wasn’t it you who spurned my invitation to meet me in talk.origins?

    Isn’t it you who refused — and still refuses — to even summarize this alleged “fleshed out” “theory” of directed panspermia here?

    Anyway, I am willing to talk here about one aspect of directed panspermia, and that is your claim that Crick and Orgel have repudiated directed panspermia.

    Where did I claim that? I wrote that they backed away from it.

    Must you even put words in my mouth?

    They wrote one paper on the topic, and Crick wrote one short book “fleshing out” (heh) the paper (which Orgel did not apparantly want to collaborate with him on), and then they never revisited the topic.

    To save you a bit of trouble: the following January 1993 article, which was touted by at least one talk.origins regular to show them doing just that, never mentions directed panspermia, does not cite any reference to directed panspermia, and seems to be pure shop talk about various routes to abiogenesis that render obsolete a couple of biochemisty papers they had written a while back:

    And if they had thought that “Directed Panspermia” had some sort of viable response to those ideas, would they not have mentioned that in that 1993 review?

    Moreover, in the same year (1993) the following appeared in a paper co-authored by one of them: [...]
    They believe that the de novo appearance of oligonucleotides on the primitive earth would have been a near miracle. (The authors subscribe to this latter view).

    Hyperbole, therefore hot dogs from space?

    Time will tell which is correct.

    Speaking of which, did you read the link to the article by Nick Lane @#74 ?

  132. #132 John T
    December 10, 2011

    Has anyone discussed the real reason for the fundamentalist Christian opposition to evolution? It’s not just because of the Bible’s creation story. It’s because the (perfect) creation and then the Fall of Man (Adam and Eve disobeying) is the justification for why mankind needs salvation and why Jesus as the Savior was needed. Creation is an integral part of fundamentalist Christian theology, not just an arbitrary point of ancient history. To challenge creation is to challenge New Testament theology and its principal characters.

    I would suggest that the theology is wrong, that what Jesus really tried to save the Jewish people and humanity from is their own religious fanaticism filled with harsh judgmental attitudes, lack of caring for others and false sense of superiority based on their religious affiliation or ethnicity. Jesus didn’t exactly put it like that—he was too tied to his religious Mideast culture—and his teachings were distorted by his followers, but I think that would have been his message of reform had he lived in modern times. I can imagine him saying, “Don’t be a jerk.”

  133. #133 Owlmirror
    December 10, 2011

    Once my arguments for directed panspermia have been laid out — and they are mainly mathematical

    Mathematical? Not chemical?

    and have nothing to do with believing this or that had to be the product of intelligent design

    Sounds rather incoherent, then.

    ======

    I said nothing of the sort, and you of all people should know. You were mystified by what I meant by the “awestruck” definition of “theory” [ viz., "a grand tapestry of explanation woven over a mountain of seemingly unrelated phenomena"].

    Why should I have not been mystified, when your “awestruck” definition made no sense at all?

    Does “explanation” mean “an explanation accepted by, or almost sure to be accepted by, most of the scientific community as being correct”?

    *sigh*

    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

    You have no observations. You have no experiments. Your mathematics, unless they are actually based on observation or experiment, cannot be accepted by most of the scientific community as being correct, since correctness in science derives from observation and experiment.

    You don’t have a scientific theory. You have a conjecture.

    If it falls considerably short of that standard, then what I have worked out is indeed a theory by your definition.

    What you have worked out is probably a confabulation, by any definition.

    Perhaps the original Crick-Orgel hypothesis does not quite qualify, although they did cite some evidence.

    Actually, I note that Orgel’s use of molybdenum as a possible limiting element was falsified by those who pointed out that that element is actually rather more abundant in solution in the oceans than he understood.

    But as I said, I have fleshed it out considerably.

    You haven’t fleshed it out with evidence, or with experiment.

    Say…aren’t you the person who accused me of mind-reading when my statement included the qualifier “perhaps”? Extrapolating, I’d say the above would be “mind-commandeering” by your scale of values.

    You’ve demonstrated that you don’t care about actual scientific rigour in formulating your “theory”, and that you admire and respect Behe. I simply extrapolate based on that.

    So tell me, how does your “theory” differ from astrology?

    Oh, wait. You use numbers. So tell me, how does your conjecture differ from numerology?

  134. #134 Peter Nyikos
    December 10, 2011

    “a step by step scenario” or its lack isn’t the basis on which one accepts or rejects intelligent design. One scrutinizes things like the famous “face on Mars” or the “canals of Percival Lovell” in ever more detail until it becomes clear that the apparent design was an illusion.

    You have simply confirmed your bias; such a process assumes design

    I said nothing about assuming design. The word “apparent” was used with the meaning of “having the appearance of”. Indeed, the drawings Percival Lovell did of the canals he thought he saw, did have the appearance of something designed by an intelligent species. Only a few other people reported seeing them, but Lovell claimed that the desert air of Arizona promoted “seeing” far better than the air his critics had to contend with.

    But as we all know NOW, the canals were an illusion; but it took much better photos than could be made by earthbound telescopes to show that conclusively.

    and requires scientists go out and disprove it. This is not scientific.

    There is no such requirement implied by me. The proper position is withholding judgment until the issue is either confirmed or falsified according to accepted standards.

    You should be skeptical of design until positive evidence of it is found.

    Just out of curiosity: if someone who had never heard of Mount Rushmore were to come across it, and you were with him, would you say this to him too?

    Peter Nyikos

  135. #135 Owlmirror
    December 10, 2011

    Just out of curiosity: if someone who had never heard of Mount Rushmore were to come across it, and you were with him, would you say this to him too?

    Oh, lovely. Mount Rushmore, yet again.

    How would you argue that Mount Rushmore is designed, using ID? You can’t invoke irreducible complexity, because it has no moving parts. You can’t invoke specified complex information, because that doesn’t mean anything.

    Note that I’m not arguing that Mount Rushmore is not designed, or that no argument can be made that it is designed — just that ID is useless. ID is not capable of actually addressing the task of coherently detecting and describing design, because there’s no actual science of design-detection associated with it.

    For that matter… even if you could find some way to coherently argue that Rushmore has “complex specified information”, whatever that might even mean, what argument would you use for a mineshaft, or a well? You can’t argue that they have any complexity at all, if they’re just holes in the ground! How would you distinguish them from sinkholes, or cenotes?

    No ID-ist is analyzing the actual problems of design detection, or trying to tackle them with experimentation or some sort of actual Bayesian algorithm. Since ID was all about claiming design inference without ever proposing a formal metric, it will remain moribund.

  136. #136 Owlmirror
    December 11, 2011

    No ID-ist is analyzing the actual problems of design detection, or trying to tackle them with experimentation or some sort of actual Bayesian algorithm. Since ID was all about claiming design inference without ever proposing a formal metric, it will remain moribund.

    Or, as Dembski himself admitted: “ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories”.

    In other words: ID is useless, and ID was never intended to be useful.

    Not only is ID dead, ID was never alive.

  137. #137 Raging Bee
    December 12, 2011

    Since you have not given me any function the polymeric string is supposed to have, nor how its parts contribute to that function, I cannot even begin.

    So you have to be told what its function is before you can tell us whether it’s “irreducibly complex” or not? That’s an all-but-explicit admission that there is no method or procedure for discerning irreducible complexity. In other words, “irreducible complexity” is nothing but empty sophistry.

    I approach these Behe favorites by way of the back door, so to speak. Once my arguments for directed panspermia have been laid out…

    So your “arguments” have never been laid out yet? In that case, until you lay out your arguments, you have nothing.

    Intelligent design starts with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information.

    Have you ever defined exactly what you mean by “complex and specified information,” or described exactly what observable characteristics indicate the presence of “complex and specified information,” or devised a unit of quantity for “complex and specified information?” If not, then intelligent design starts with nothing. Every time I ask a cdesign proponentsist these questions, the debate ends then and there. Is there “complex and specified information” in ice crystals, or an oak tree?

    Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of this complex and specified information.

    How do you recognize what “level” of “complex and specified information” an object contains? “Level” implies measurable quantity, and you’ve never specified how to measure the quantity of “complex and specified information” in anything.

    I could not have asked for better confirmation of the wisdom of vetting my writings in hostile forums like this one and talk.origins before putting it in final form for publication.

    I guess that’s what one might call the poor man’s peer review. I’ll take your pompous blithering seriously when you actually…you know…publish something like you keep on promising to do. I predict, however, that you will either never publish anything, or publish the same crappy arguments with different wording, and be noticed only by a handful of hardcosre IDiots and tired hacks desperate for whatever validation they can get. The blitering I’ve heard here is just the same tired crap that’s already been debunked before. Thre’s nothing new here, just a couple of lonely self-centered cranks pretending on one else understands them.

  138. #138 Peter Nyikos
    December 13, 2011

    Creation is an integral part of fundamentalist Christian theology, not just an arbitrary point of ancient history. To challenge creation is to challenge New Testament theology and its principal characters.
    [Posted by John T.]

    I’m glad you put the word “fundamentalist” in there. What you said in the following sentence needs to be understood with that qualifier, since it is their New Testament theology, and not that of mainline Christian denominations, that is the issue here.

    I would suggest that the theology is wrong, that what Jesus really tried to save the Jewish people and humanity from is their own religious fanaticism filled with harsh judgmental attitudes, lack of caring for others and false sense of superiority based on their religious affiliation or ethnicity. Jesus didn’t exactly put it like that—he was too tied to his religious Mideast culture—and his teachings were distorted by his followers, but I think that would have been his message of reform had he lived in modern times. I can imagine him saying, “Don’t be a jerk.”

    How do you account for the crucifixion of such a comparatively non-threatening man? Or do you think that is part of the distortion of the record by his followers?

  139. #139 Wow
    December 14, 2011

    > How do you account for the crucifixion of such a comparatively non-threatening man?

    By the text of the bible:

    He pissed off the clergy.

    He had a zealot as his follower who wanted armed insurrection.

  140. #140 Raging Bee
    December 14, 2011

    So now Nyikos is talking about theology? Yet more proof (as if any were needed) that ID is religion, not science.

  141. #141 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    How do you account for the crucifixion of such a comparatively non-threatening man? Or do you think that is part of the distortion of the record by his followers?

    Ignoring the fact that I was merely clarifying something John T. wrote in theology in much more depth, and that I ended in a simple pair of questions [see above] about something he wrote, and that “WOW” answered my questions [John is yet to be heard from],”Raging Bee” went off half-cocked as follows:

    So now Nyikos is talking about theology? Yet more proof (as if any were needed) that ID is religion, not science.[posted by Raging Bee]

    All the “proof” that is embodied in the above is that you think like a polemicist, not a scientist. Also it is embodied in every post I’ve seen from you in reply to me.

    But then, maybe you project an utterly different persona as “Raging Bee” than you do when you post under your name.

    I stand behind everything I post, and to make that more plain, I’m giving you my name, occupation, place of work, etc.:

    Peter Nyikos
    Professor, Dept. of Mathematics
    University of South Carolina
    http://www.math.sc.edu/~nyikos/
    nyikos @ math.sc.edu
    Specialty: set-theoretic topology
    Ph.D. Carnegie-Mellon University, 1971

    The standard disclaimer applies here as it does in every forum I’ve posted in up to now: I am posting on my own and not representing my employer.

  142. #142 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    Here’s just one example of Behe lying under oath, which I got from the following link: [posted by Raging Bee]

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/thank_you_michael_behe.php

    Ah, yes, the notorious anti-Behe zealot PZ Myers. I had many a run-in with him about Behe in talk.origins when in 1996-2001. He obviously hated Behe back then and he still hates Behe, but even he did not claim that this was a case of Behe lying under oath, at least not in the above site.

    Quoting from Judge Jones’ decision:

    The one article referenced by both Professors Behe and Minnich as supporting ID is an article written by Behe and Snoke entitled “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues.” (P-721). A review of the article indicates that it does not mention either irreducible complexity or ID. In fact, Professor Behe admitted that the study which forms the basis for the article did not rule out many known evolutionary mechanisms and that the research actually might support evolutionary pathways if a biologically realistic population size were used.

    Data in a study can support conclusions even while not ruling out other possibilities. And so, this quote “supports” your claim that Behe lied under oath, but does not rule out other possibilities.

    Now are you going to apologize to US and admit you were wrong?

    I never apologize for asking legitimate questions. I even provided an url to help you answer them. Also, I never claimed Behe did not lie under oath, so no apology and no admission of the sort you are demanding is in order.

  143. #143 Wow
    December 14, 2011

    “Ah, yes, the notorious anti-Behe zealot PZ Myers”

    Ah, yes, Ad Hominem.

    For example, if he WERE an anti-Behe zealot, does that change the transcript?

    No.

    PS Behe obviously hates scientists. Why can’t they hate him back?

  144. #144 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    The other quote from the Opinion of the Court provided by “Raging Bee” as evidence that Behe lied under oath is even less apropos than the first:

    In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19 (Behe)).

    To this, Behe himself responded as follows:

    Several points:
    1) Although the opinion’s phrasing makes it seem to come from my mouth, the remark about the studies being “not good enough” was the cross-examining attorney’s, not mine.
    2) I was given no chance to read them, and at the time considered the dumping of a stack of papers and books on the witness stand to be just a stunt, simply bad courtroom theater. Yet the Court treats it seriously.
    3) The Court here speaks of “evidence for evolution”. Throughout the trial I carefully distinguished between the various meanings of the word “evolution”, and I made it abundantly clear that I was challenging Darwin’s proposed mechanism of random mutation coupled to natural selection. Unfortunately, the Court here, as in many other places in its opinion, ignores the distinction between evolution and Darwinism.
    Reference:
    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=697

    You will find a whole slew of quotes from the Opinion of the Court in the above site, with lengthy rebuttals by Behe.

  145. #145 Wow
    December 14, 2011

    > How do you account for the crucifixion of such a comparatively non-threatening man?

    Since it’s fiction, there’s nothing to account for.

  146. #146 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    “Ah, yes, the notorious anti-Behe zealot PZ Myers”

    WOW responded as follows:

    Ah, yes, Ad Hominem.

    As is everything said about me by you and everyone else so far.

    For example, if he WERE an anti-Behe zealot, does that change the transcript? No.

    Of course not. But what I wrote later undermines what your fellow anti-Behe zealot claimed, about Behe having lied under oath. And what I wrote in the subsequent post goes a lot further.

    PS Behe obviously hates scientists.

    Ah, yes, Ad Hominem. And this does not even allude to support, such as the huge amounts of support I could cite for what I wrote about Myers.

    And your ad hominem is astonishingly accross-the-board.

    As they say, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Do you have even ordinary evidence for your claim?

    I suggest you read Behe’s extensive rebuttals to various parts of the Opinion of the Court in the Dover case before trying to provide evidence. It may save us all a lot of trouble. I gave the url in my preceding post.

  147. #147 NJ
    December 14, 2011

    Peter Nyikos @ 145:

    You will find a whole slew of quotes from the Opinion of the Court in the above site, with lengthy rebuttals by Behe.

    Then more’s the pity that he couldn’t succeed when he was on the stand and under oath, wouldn’t you say?

    Kinda like the Monday morning quarterbacks who can proclaim exactly what the professionals should have done…from the comfort of a Barcalounger.

  148. #148 ildi
    December 14, 2011

    …1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system…

    I was given no chance to read them…

    They were texts and publications that anyone making statements about the evolution of the immune system should have been familiar with. However, Behe is not an evolutionary biologist but a biochemist. It seems to me to be inappropriate for him to be offering his services as an expert witness on a topic on which he is not an expert.

  149. #149 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=697

    You will find a whole slew of quotes from the Opinion of the Court in the above site, with lengthy rebuttals by Behe.

    Then more’s the pity that he couldn’t succeed when he was on the stand and under oath, wouldn’t you say?

    Kinda like the Monday morning quarterbacks

    Had he been cross-examined in the way the Judge Jones Monday-morning-quarterbacked in the Opinion of the Court, he could easily have said exactly what he wrote in almost all the rebuttals.

    I have tried twice now to post a case of the Opinion of the Court actually taking a quote out of context, and both times it has been held up by “the blog owner” I’ll try to post a different such case in my next post, and I hope I will have better luck with that.

  150. #150 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    More quotes from the Opinion of the Court, supplied in post 115 by Owlmirror:

    Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). [...]

    The first citation is from _Darwin’s Black Box_, and is egregiously taken out of context. I’ve twice tried to post it in context, and both tries are still being held up by “the blog owner”. In hopes that at least one will soon be released, I proceed to the second. It is from:

    Behe, M., “Reply to My Critics” Biology and Philosophy 16:
    685-709 (2001)) at pages 696, 700.

    “[I]t may be that all possible natural designers require irreducibly complex structures which themselves were designed. If so, then at some point a supernatural designer must get into the picture. I myself find this line of reasoning persuasive. In my estimation, although possible in a broadly permissive sense, it is not plausible that the original intelligent agent is a natural entity. … Thus, in my judgment it is implausible that the designer is a natural entity.”

    Two points about this quote are worth noting. One is the use of “If so,” and the other is that he is taking great pains to say this is his own personal opinion about the ultimate designer [rather than possible intermediate ones, like directed panspermists].

    It is notable that not one defense expert was able to explain how the supernatural action suggested by ID could be anything other than an inherently religious proposition.

    Note the word “suggested” and the altogether disproportionate conclusion:

    Accordingly, we find that ID’s religious nature would be further evident to our objective observer because it directly involves a supernatural designer.

    The word “directly” would be supported by Behe’s omission of “original” before “the designer” in the second part of the quote, were it not for the fact that the use of it in the first part strongly suggests the omission was due to carelessness.

  151. #151 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    1) Although the opinion’s phrasing makes it seem to come from my mouth, the remark about the studies being “not good enough” was the cross-examining attorney’s, not mine.

    Behe did not disagree with the attorney’s words in his reply to the attorney.

    2) I was given no chance to read them, and at the time considered the dumping of a stack of papers and books on the witness stand to be just a stunt, simply bad courtroom theater. Yet the Court treats it seriously.

    It’s made clear in the transcript that the papers had been accepted by the Court as pertinent evidence. Of course the Court had to treat it seriously.

    If the defense had some objection to the papers or the way that they were used, they certainly had every option to challenge them, or argue that some putative misuse had occurred in an appeal.

    3) The Court here speaks of “evidence for evolution”. Throughout the trial I carefully distinguished between the various meanings of the word “evolution”, and I made it abundantly clear that I was challenging Darwin’s proposed mechanism of random mutation coupled to natural selection. Unfortunately, the Court here, as in many other places in its opinion, ignores the distinction between evolution and Darwinism.

    In other words, when challenged on the point that evolutionary mechanisms are indeed sufficient to allow for the evolution of the immune system, Behe wants to shift the goalposts to basically contend that it can’t be proven that it wasn’t magic.

    Yeah, I can see that going over real well when the point is about magic being unacceptable as science.

  152. #152 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    1) Although the opinion’s phrasing makes it seem to come from my mouth, the remark about the studies being “not good enough” was the cross-examining attorney’s, not mine.

    About this quote from Behe, “Owlmirror” had the following to say:

    Behe did not disagree with the attorney’s words in his reply to the attorney.

    Could you please tell me date, AM or PM, and page number from the Dover transcripts so I could see for myself how Behe responded?

    Here is what I wrote to Behe in e-mail a few days ago about the attorney’s words, before I learned that it wasn’t Behe who said them:

    Am I correct in assuming that you would have done better if you had said “irrelevant” instead of “not good enough”? What I mean is, did any of those papers provide any evidence more persuasive than mere cladograms as to what immune system agents are “sister taxa” of which ones?

    My suspicion is that such cladograms were based on a study of the amino acid sequence or mRNA nucleotide sequence of the agents, and that they in fact were the most persuasive things in the mountain of papers, etc. that the prosecuting attorney dumped on the desk.

    Do you, “Owlmirror”, know of any other kinds of arguments in that mountain? Does anyone reading this?

    I next wrote to Behe about mountains of the literal sort as to how such cladograms are not necessarily indicative of actual evolution:

    I’ve commented in talk.origins that the methodology of building cladograms can be dovetailed with all kinds of classes of phenomena, giving the example of a hypothetical cladogram of mountains, with the Matterhorn being the “sister taxon” of some mountain in the Himalayas. Yet no one in his right mind would claim that they had a Last Common Ancestor that is not shared by any other mountain.

  153. #153 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    Two points about this quote are worth noting. One is the use of “If so,” and the other is that he is taking great pains to say this is his own personal opinion about the ultimate designer

    He may use qualifications to make himself sound all cautious and scholarly, but he’s basically saying that he finds it plausible and persuasive that an invisible person with magical superpowers is magically exempt from being irreducible and/or complex and can therefore magically be the magical designer.

    The context supports his quote; it does not in any way imply that he doesn’t think it true.

    [rather than possible intermediate ones, like directed panspermists].

    So Behe considers non-magical designers as a possibility before shrugging and saying that he still gets a magical designer.

    The word “directly” would be supported by Behe’s omission of “original” before “the designer” in the second part of the quote, were it not for the fact that the use of it in the first part strongly suggests the omission was due to carelessness.

    Yeah, whatever.

    Does Behe actually think that non-magical designers are plausible, as opposed to be being possible? He’s a Christian; his religious dogma is that the magical designer did his magic directly on humans rather than indirectly.

  154. #154 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    Could you please tell me date, AM or PM, and page number from the Dover transcripts so I could see for myself how Behe responded?

    Trial transcript: Day 12 (October 19), PM Session, Part 1


    Q. So these are not good enough?

    A. They’re wonderful articles. They’re very interesting. They simply just don’t address the question that I pose.

    I next wrote to Behe about mountains of the literal sort as to how such cladograms are not necessarily indicative of actual evolution:

    It’s the parsimony, stupid.

    I’ve commented in talk.origins that the methodology of building cladograms can be dovetailed with all kinds of classes of phenomena, giving the example of a hypothetical cladogram of mountains, with the Matterhorn being the “sister taxon” of some mountain in the Himalayas. Yet no one in his right mind would claim that they had a Last Common Ancestor that is not shared by any other mountain.

    What a moronic false analogy.

    Why are you making a “cladogram” of mountains? What anatomical characters do mountains have, that you can compare the anatomy of one to another — on another continental plate, even?

    Mountains do not fuck.

    Mountains result from geological uplift.

    Plate tectonics is not biology.

  155. #155 Raging Bee
    December 14, 2011

    As is everything said about me by you and everyone else so far.

    Lying troll is lying.

  156. #156 eric
    December 14, 2011

    Peter Nyikos @153: [quoting a letter he sent to Behe] Am I correct in assuming that you would have done better if you had said “irrelevant” instead of “not good enough”? What I mean is, did any of those papers provide any evidence more persuasive than mere cladograms as to what immune system agents are “sister taxa” of which ones?

    Behe wouldn’t have known at trial whether the papers were relevant because Behe hadn’t read them.

    Do you get that? Behe swore under oath that no evidence for the evolution of the immune system existed or could exist when he hadn’t examined the evidence.

    THAT is why Jones did not think Behe’s opinion on the matter was credible, and he was perfectly correct to make that conclusion.

    Imagine some witness claims to be an expert on fingerprints and claims they can’t be faked. But under cross-examination it became clear that they hadn’t read anything about fingerprint-faking research for the past 10 years, would you find their claim credible? No! Of course not. That is why Behe’s argument wasn’t deemed credible by the court; when he admitted that he didn’t keep up on the literature, his claim to be an expert in the subject evaporated.

    Moreover, that admission damages Behe’s credibility in all other fields too. Here you have a witness who claimed in strong, forceful language that some set of events could not be possible. Yet that witness hadn’t read any of the recent scientific literature analyzing those events. The judge can and should immediately wonder whether all of that witnesses other strong and forceful claims of impossibility had as little actual expertise behind them.

    Nobody held a gun to his head and demanded Behe claim the immune system was IC. Behe volunteered that. I do not completely agree with owlmirror that Behe ‘lied.’ But he did choose, of his own free will, to link his scientific credibility as an expert witness to a claim which then turned out to be nothing more than Behe’s completely unsubstantiated personal opinion. Behe tried to pass off a personal guess, a gut check, as a fully developed scientific conclusion, and the judge caught him doing it. At that point, his credibility is trashed. The next time Behe claims some other ID idea is supported by science, the judge has every reason not to believe him.

  157. #157 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    I do not completely agree with owlmirror that Behe ‘lied.’

    Ahem.

    I did not positively state that Behe lied. See comments #95/#112 in contrast to my more cautiously worded #114.

  158. #158 mikeyB
    December 14, 2011

    I read Darwin on Trial years ago. Didn’t think it was possible for a supposedly educated person to be such an ill informed pompous self-important moron to actual deceive himself in to thinking he as an outsider had overthrown one of the most well established theories in the history of science while at the same time to this day not understanding it in the least or even taking time to try to understand it. That is until Ben Stein came along.

  159. #159 Peter Nyikos
    December 14, 2011

    Trial transcript: Day 12 (October 19), PM Session, Part 1

    Q. So these are not good enough?

    A. They’re wonderful articles. They’re very interesting. They simply just don’t address the question that I pose.

    I next wrote to Behe about mountains of the literal sort as to how such cladograms are not necessarily indicative of actual evolution:

    It’s the parsimony, stupid.

    Yes, cladograms often use PAUP or some other computer program based on parsimony. Why call me stupid just for not mentioning such details?

    I’ve commented in talk.origins that the methodology of building cladograms can be dovetailed with all kinds of classes of phenomena, giving the example of a hypothetical cladogram of mountains, with the Matterhorn being the “sister taxon” of some mountain in the Himalayas. Yet no one in his right mind would claim that they had a Last Common Ancestor that is not shared by any other mountain.

    What a moronic false analogy.

    It’s not an analogy. It is a clarification of the sorts of things cladograms actually tell people who don’t read too much into them. The cladogram, when one is aiming for parsimony of a certain type, will have the fewest homoplasies– cases of the same character being associated with different nodes of the tree.

    Why are you making a “cladogram” of mountains? What anatomical characters do mountains have,

    “anatomical” has to be interpreted broadly, since the molecules Behe deals with have cladograms where the characters are amino acids or nucleotides.

    And so, “anatomical” characters of mountains include cliffs, overhangs, caves, strata classified according to the type of rock they consist of, and the geological epoch in which they were laid down, and the most common fossils they contain …

    I have a daughter who is majoring in geology, so she should be able to provide lots of other characters, but I think you get the idea. Any time entities being classified have easily identified “characters” relevant to their classification, there are algogithms for producing cladograms from them.

    And so, let’s take a look at Behe’s testimony again:


    Q. So these are not good enough?


    A. They’re wonderful articles. They’re very interesting. They simply just don’t address the question that I pose.

    Indeed. You won’t find out about the evolution of mountains, either, from a study of cladograms using their characters.

  160. #160 dean
    December 14, 2011

    Folks, Peter is not a scientist – his take on things is no more reasonable than that of the long discredited behe. Stop playing with the troll.

  161. #161 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    It’s not an analogy.

    What a breathtakingly stupid and/or dishonest statement.

    “anatomical” has to be interpreted broadly,

    Ah! “Broadly” meaning that you wish to commit the logical fallacy of equivocation. Again.

    And so, “anatomical” characters of mountains include cliffs, overhangs, caves, strata classified according to the type of rock they consist of, and the geological epoch in which they were laid down, and the most common fossils they contain …

    So, characters that by their very nature have nothing to do with reproduction and survival of a population containing those characters over many generations.

    Any time entities being classified have easily identified “characters” relevant to their classification, there are algogithms for producing cladograms from them.

    It looks you’re insisting on running with this false analogy for the sheer intellectual gigglefest you get from it.

    You won’t find out about the evolution of mountains, either, from a study of cladograms using their characters.

    Why would anyone, beside someone making a stupid and/or dishonest false analogy, suggest that mountains underwent reproductive evolution?

  162. #162 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    Folks, Peter is not a scientist

    He’s a mathematician, and a crank, and at some level, I suspect he knows that he’s full of shit about biology.

    his take on things is no more reasonable than that of the long discredited behe.

    I think he’s actually less reasonable than Behe, as difficult as that might be to attain.

    Stop playing with the troll.

    Awwwwww…..

  163. #163 Wow
    December 15, 2011

    “I do not completely agree with owlmirror that Behe ‘lied.’”

    Mind you, when you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God, in what way is saying that there is no evidence supporting evolution when he REALLY meant “I’ve read no evidence supporting evolution” NOT a lie?

  164. #164 Wow
    December 15, 2011

    “”Ah ad hominem”
    “As is everything said about me by you and everyone else so far.”

    False.

    I even gave you the reason why it isn’t so.

    Even if PZ Myers were anti-Behe, would it change the quote? No.

    Therefore irrelevant. Therefore a logical fallacy. Since it was to paint the person as unreliable therefore the information unreliable, an ad hominem one.

    Whereas you’re making moronic arguments, they’re being pointed out as moronic, and the conclusion is that you’re a moron for making them.

    Since the information given was reduced without referencing you as a moron as proof, this is not a logical fallacy.

    Go read a book for the first time in your life.

  165. #165 ildi
    December 15, 2011

    My suspicion is that such cladograms were based on a study of the amino acid sequence or mRNA nucleotide sequence of the agents, and that they in fact were the most persuasive things in the mountain of papers, etc. that the prosecuting attorney dumped on the desk.

    According to the National Center for Science Education’s summary of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial (which also has the bibliography of the articles, textbooks and chapters presented as evidence, but which link is what I’m assuming is keeping me from being able to post):

    Behe also spends considerable time on what he alleges is a hopelessly intractable problem in evolutionary immunology: the origin of the mechanism of somatic recombination of antigen receptor genes. He argues that because variable-diversity-joining recombination is dependent on the coexistence of proteins encoded by recombination-activating genes (RAG proteins), recombination signal sequences and antigen receptor gene segments, it is ultimately too complex to have arisen by naturalistic, undirected evolutionary means because the three components could not have come together in a ‘fell swoop’ and would have been useless individually. In fact, Behe confidently declares that the complexity of the immune system “dooms all Darwinian explanations to frustration”2. About the scientific literature, Behe claims it has “no answers” as to how the adaptive immune system may have originated2.

  166. #166 ildi
    December 15, 2011

    (cont.)

    In particular, Behe criticizes a 1994 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper advancing the hypothesis that the RAG system evolved by lateral transfer of a prokaryotic transposon13, an idea initially suggested in a 1979 paper14 and expanded in 1992 (ref. 15). Behe ridicules the idea as a “jump in the box of Calvin and Hobbes,”2 with reference to the comic strip in which a child and his stuffed tiger imaginary friend use a large cardboard box for fantasy trips and amazing physical transformations.

    The timing for the criticism could not have been worse, as soon after publication of Darwin’s Black Box, solid evidence for the transposon hypothesis began accumulating with the demonstration of similarities between the variable-diversity-joining recombination and transposition mechanisms16 and also between shark RAG1 and certain bacterial integrases17. Since then, a steady stream of findings has continued to add more substance to the model, as RAG proteins have been shown to be capable of catalyzing transposition reactions, first in vitro18, 19 and then in vivo20, 21, 22, and to have even closer structural and mechanistic similarities with specific transposases23. Finally, in 2005, the original key prediction of the transposon hypothesis was fulfilled with the identification of a large invertebrate transposon family bearing both recombination signal sequence–like integration sequences and a RAG1 homolog24. When faced with that evidence during an exchange on the internet, Behe simply ‘shrugged’ and said that evidence was not sufficient, asking instead for an infinitely detailed, step-by-step mutation account (including population sizes, relevant selective pressures and so on) for the events leading to the appearance of the adaptive immune system

  167. #167 Peter Nyikos
    December 15, 2011

    I read Darwin on Trial years ago. Didn’t think it was possible for a supposedly educated person to be such an ill informed pompous self-important moron to actual deceive himself in to thinking he as an outsider had overthrown one of the most well established theories in the history of sc

    Strawman. Evolution of organisms is completely established and Behe actually accepts it. What he is on about in DBB is the alleged evolution by Darwinian means of a few highly selected molecular machines and interactive proteins.

    By “Darwinian means” he means mutation and selection, as opposed to the happenstance coming together of systems that previously had no discernible connection with each other.

    And, as a biochemist, he is no outsider to these systems; in fact, Dawkins refused to debate him at one point because Dawkins is not knowledgeable enough about biochemistry.

    The one big omission in DBB is the protein translation mechanism, which is a real “Rube Goldberg” machine on a grander scale than anything he has in DBB. I think he omitted it because the gimmick of Irreducible Complexity is hard to dovetail with it, but it is the main reason (usually expressed with the code words “evolution of the genetic code”) some astronomers hesitate to give the factor of abiogenesis a high number in the Drake equation.

  168. #168 Peter Nyikos
    December 15, 2011

    I will amend my wording. Instead of algorithm, give me the process by which you determine whether a polymeric string is IC or not.
    Surely you have one, yes?[posted by Eric]

    To this, I responded as follows:

    Since you have not given me any function the polymeric string is supposed to have, nor how its parts contribute to that function, I cannot even begin.

    Eric cherry-picked my reply and “moved the goalposts”–clear out of one football field and into another:

    Interesting. So intelligent design theory is completely useless if one is confronted with a system for which one doesn’t already know the function?

    No, you blinking idiot. I’ve told you before that you were confusing IC with ID, but apparently you are so mesmerized by your fellow anonymous anti-ID zealots ragging on me and Behe and Dembski, that you feel entitled to ignore everything I write except what you feel you can use to bolster their character assassination campaigns.

  169. #169 Peter Nyikos
    December 15, 2011

    Dave Villa @122 wrote:

    Scientists are not exempt from unfair biases and prejudices. Although scientists claim to follow the evidences wherever it leads, they are just as susceptible to dogmatism, propaganda, egotism, and authoritarianism as any religious believer supporting a religious cause.

    Very true. Here is a choice comment about secularists including the atheist Dawkins, whom I mentioned in another post a few minutes ago:

    Ignoring ID’s scientific methodology, many critics argue that ID is not science due to the religious motives, beliefs, and affiliations of its proponents. With the “Wedge document” in hand, they trot out various quotes (some in-context, some not) discussing religious views of ID proponents.

    These attacks against ID are not just logically fallacious, they’re also highly hypocritical.

    After all, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Leading proponents of evolution have expressed stridently anti-religious beliefs and motives for advocating evolution, and have close ties to atheist and secular humanist organizations. If critics want to harp upon the religious beliefs, motives, affiliations, and implications associated with ID, then they should realize that the argument cuts both ways.

    Of course the most notorious example is Richard Dawkins, who holds the duel-honor of being the world’s most famous evolutionist and its most famous atheist. Formerly Oxford University’s Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Dawkins argues that belief in God is a “delusion” and that “Darwin made it possible to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Dawkins has stated his personal goal is “to kill religion,” and in a speech before the American Humanist Association, he asserted that “faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.”
    http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/archives/science/luskin.php

    Dave Villa continued as follows:

    This does not poison the well of scientific establishment. Holding religious beliefs about the origin and nature of life on earth does not disqualify someone from giving legitimate scientific arguments for these beliefs, which depend on no uniquely religious assumptions. For example, F.A. Kekule, the scientist who was instrumental in discovering the structure of the benzene molecule, reported that in 1865 he came up with the ring structure after having a dream of a self-devouring snake. However, he did not advance his claim on that basis by trying to get various scientists to have a similar vision. Rather, he argued the case scientifically and was vindicated. It does not make a difference where a scientific theory comes from so long as independent scientific reasons are given for it.

    This last paragraph is way too reasonable for the anonymous anti-ID zealots who keep attacking us (for different reasons, but you’d never guess that from the ways they attack us) and so I predict they will ignore it.

    I think it is highly significant that, of all the people posting here in the past week, you and I are the two who have given their full names. In addition, I have given my e-mail address and I suggest you give yours out too. Don’t worry — I think our critics are too cowardly ever to e-mail us.

  170. #170 Peter Nyikos
    December 15, 2011

    I read Darwin on Trial years ago. Didn’t think it was possible for a supposedly educated person to be such an ill informed pompous self-important moron to actual deceive himself in to thinking he as an outsider had overthrown one of the most well established theories in the history of science [posted by Mikey B.]

    Mea culpa. I posted the following word…

    “Strawman.”

    …and then I went on to talking about DBB, forgetting that Behe was not the author of Darwin on trial Not having read this other book, I withdraw my claim that the comment in question is a starwman, and leave it up to people who have read the book to pronounce judment on the accuracy of the statement by Mikey B.

  171. #171 eric
    December 15, 2011

    Peter Nyikos:

    No, you blinking idiot. I’ve told you before that you were confusing IC with ID,

    Okay, so let me clarify: this process which you use to determine whether something is IC cannot be used to assess strings for which you don’t already know the function. Is that correct? To determine IC, you must already know purpose?

    As far as I can tell, my point about false positives still pertains; since all empirical scientific conclusions are tentative and subject to revision, any IC-assesment process which needs to know purpose beforehand can make a false positive identification of IC, because we can be wrong about purpose.

    What he [Behe] is on about in DBB is the alleged evolution by Darwinian means of a few highly selected molecular machines and interactive proteins.

    By “Darwinian means” he means mutation and selection, as opposed to the happenstance coming together of systems that previously had no discernible connection with each other

    Behe means mutation and selection without co-option. He admits this in both his Dover testimony and in writings post-DBB: his work assumes co-option doesn’t happen, when in reality, it does.

    So, at best, Behe’s IC concept is only relevant to a simplified and toy model of biology which ignores one of the key mechanisms by which new functions are expected to evolve. He assumes the cow is spherical and, as a result, gets the packing wrong.

  172. #172 ildi
    December 15, 2011

    Evolution of organisms is completely established and Behe actually accepts it. What he is on about in DBB is the alleged evolution by Darwinian means of a few highly selected molecular machines and interactive proteins.

    By “Darwinian means” he means mutation and selection, as opposed to the happenstance coming together of systems that previously had no discernible connection with each other.

    And, as a biochemist, he is no outsider to these systems

    From a review of Darwin’s Black Box by Kenneth R. Miller:

    Is there something special about biochemistry that prevents evolution from doing exactly the same thing to a microscopic system composed of proteins? Absolutely not. But evolution does make a testable prediction with respect to such systems. That prediction is that the degree of similarity in DNA sequences of organisms should correspond to their evolutionary histories. And, as the author is all too well aware, that prediction has been borne out a thousand times over.

  173. #173 ildi
    December 15, 2011

    (cont.)

    Despite the close correspondence of gene sequence to fossil sequence, Behe demands that evolutionary biologists should tell us exactly “how” evolution can produce a complex biochemical system. This is a good strategic choice on his part, because the systems he cites, being common to most eukaryotic cells, are literally hundreds of millions of years old. And, being biochemical, they leave no fossils. Once burned, twice shy, Behe may be hoping to avoid the fate of his 1994 claim that there were no transitional fossils linking the first fossil whales with their land-dwelling Mesonychid ancestors (8). Less than a year after that prediction, the existence of not one, not two, but three transitional species between whales and land-dwelling eocine Mesonychids was confirmed. Nonetheless, it is quite possible to rise to the occasion and answer his challenge in biochemical terms. In fact, Russell Doolittle, whose investigations on the evolution of blood clotting are discussed in this text, has done exactly this. Behe is at great pains to disqualify this work, even though Doolittle has not only shown how such a complex system might evolve, but has also produced comparative studies showing how it probably did evolve.

  174. #174 ildi
    December 15, 2011

    From H. Allen Orr’s review of Darwin’s Black Box:

    One of the most interesting questions about Behe’s book is why he feels especially qualified to critique Darwinism. (And not just to quibble over details, but to announce that “Darwinism is not science,” as he did in a recent letter to Commentary.)9 To a historian or electrician [*cough* or topologist *cough*], Behe certainly looks qualified. He is a biologist. But it’s not that simple, as can be seen by turning the tables for a moment. If I, an evolutionary biologist, were to announce that biochemistry is deeply flawed—I’ve shown, for instance, that enzymes are not catalysts—I doubt I’d get a listen. I surely wouldn’t get a publisher. Nor would any jurist consider my ruminations worthy of attention. But Behe stars in public debates, has a fancy publisher (Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster) and the ear of the likes of Judge Bork. Why the difference? Why is everyone an expert witness when the topic is Darwinism but not when it’s biochemistry?

    [snip]

    Now I don’t pretend to know the details of Behe’s education, but I do know this: he is not at home in the technical evolution literature. His book reveals that his grasp of evolution derives mostly from the pop literature (Gould, Dawkins—good stuff, but no stand-in for the real thing) and from computer searches of the scientific literature that he strangely makes a big deal of. While I have utter confidence in Behe’s biochemistry, I am less confident that he can say what soft selection, or Muller’s ratchet, or the Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection is—all bread and butter of evolutionary biology.

  175. #175 Owlmirror
    December 16, 2011

    This last paragraph is way too reasonable for the anonymous anti-ID zealots who keep attacking us (for different reasons, but you’d never guess that from the ways they attack us) and so I predict they will ignore it.

    LOL. Your prediction was falsified before your made it!

    I think it is highly significant that, of all the people posting here in the past week, you and I are the two who have given their full names. In addition, I have given my e-mail address and I suggest you give yours out too. Don’t worry — I think our critics are too cowardly ever to e-mail us.

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  176. #176 Raging Bee
    December 20, 2011

    I think it is highly significant that, of all the people posting here in the past week, you and I are the two who have given their full names.

    I think it is highly significant that you only mention this fact after all of your other arguments have been debunked and you (and the hack you so reverently quote) stand exposed as liars repeating the same old creationist blather-points we’ve been hearing since the 1980s. Now, like clockwork, you’re falling back on the same old subject-changer all the other con-artists and denialists before you have fallen back on.

    Excuse me while I belabor the obvious: your real name is not scientific evidence of anything. All the other creationists used their real names too, and it didn’t make their lies any more truthful.

  177. #177 Raging Bee
    December 20, 2011

    Strawman. Evolution of organisms is completely established and Behe actually accepts it. What he is on about in DBB is the alleged evolution by Darwinian means of a few highly selected molecular machines and interactive proteins.

    So Behe fully accepts evolution, but he’s pretending it’s not adequate to explain a tiny handful of “highly selected” biochemical processes, even as he accepts that it’s perfectly adequate to explain the rest of the biosphere in which those paltry few processes take place? I think we can take that as an admission that the argument is over, and ID/IC/whatever you want to call it is dead. Seriously, your god-of-the-gaps can’t even find a bigger gap than that?

    By “Darwinian means” he means mutation and selection, as opposed to the happenstance coming together of systems that previously had no discernible connection with each other.

    Um…there’s more to evolution than “mutation and selection.” You’re repeating an old lie that’s been debunked for years.

    …in fact, Dawkins refused to debate [Behe] at one point because Dawkins is not knowledgeable enough about biochemistry.

    I find that very hard to believe. Got a cite for it? My guess is, Dawkins refused to debate Behe because he knew Behe was a fucking liar; and besides, we already had that big debate you creos keep demanding — it’s called Kitzmiller vs. Dover, and your side lost.

  178. #178 El Schwalmo
    December 22, 2011

    Hi to all,

    it’s my first posting here, and I came here by chance. Writing a PhD thesis about Irreducible Complexity, I’ve read lots and lots of papers, postings, books and so on about that issue, even before Behe coined that term.

    Behe’s argument is very poor, he never gave an argument about the connection between Irreducible Complexity and Intelligent Design. What he managed to do was a remake of a very old argument, literally used in Darwin’s time, but never refuted. It’s very easy to show by Dawkin’s Methinks-program that it wouldn’t work if you model Irreducible Complexity with it. It’s quite safe to say that Behe’s argument refutes Darwin’s ‘my theory’ (AKA selection theory), but not evolution by other mechanisms, as even Behe explicitly says.

    It’s a big mistake not to differentiate between ‘Darwinism’ and ‘evolutionary theory’ (even Rosenhouse failed doing this, read his text). Most people don’t know what the terms they use actually mean. Lots of strawmen everywhere are therefore inavoidable.

    I was very astonished by a lot of authors arguing about Behe without even knowing what Behe was telling. Most posters here seem not to be better informed.

    I’ve not read all postings, but Peter Nyikos seems to be better informed about Irreducible Complexity than most other peple here.

  179. #179 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    I have not shown any hostility towards science or rationality [in fact, I love them both] ,

    YECs claim the same thing — while demonstrating a deep hostility for geology, paleontology,

    Hostility, or ignorance, peppered by misconceptions taken from the writings of a few YEC movers and shakers whose word they accept?

    The YECs I’ve encountered on Usenet are no more hostile towards gelogy and paleontology than the vast majority of your kind of people, Owlmirror, almost all of whom show no interest in either geology or paleontology.

    In fact, I am one of only TWO non-creationists and non-spammers who is making a serious attempt to revive and keep alive the Usenet newsgroup sci.bio.paleontology. The others in talk.origins will participate in crossposts occasionally, but only the two of us [name of the other provided on request] are seriously discussing paleontology there in depth.

    geochronology, stratigraphy, dendrochronology, physics, chemistry, and cosmology. Oh, and a very deep hatred indeed for the principle of parsimony. [Posed by Owlmirror]

    That last bit is you grasping at straws, alluding to a ripped-out-of-context quote concerning abiogenesis from me:

    You: Mother Earth did it, this I know,
    For Ockham’s Razor tells me so.

    It should be clear from the context that I was criticizing people who ridicule directed panspermia without having anything more to bring to the table than a superficial understanding of the principle of parsimony.

    I have to keep reminding such people that Ockham’s Razor has to take into account ALL available information, before making any decisions as to which is the most parsimonious explanation. I have run into more of these people in talk.origins than I care to count.

  180. #180 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    Wasn’t it you who spurned my invitation to meet me in talk.origins? [Nyikos to Owlmirror, who replied as follows:]

    Isn’t it you who refused — and still refuses — to even summarize this alleged “fleshed out” “theory” of directed panspermia here?

    If the following sounded like a refusal to you, then you have no business lecturing me on rationality:

    I’d rather discuss it on talk.origins for the nonce, if you don’t mind. Do you know how to post to it? I’ll be glad to help if you do not.

    As for a summary — which IIRC you were suggesting for the first time above — at this point, a summary is worse than useless. It would only whet your appetite for more, and I can’t give you more now because my family takes precedence to blogging and posting during the holiday season.

    But I’ll be glad to discuss things with you starting some time in January. It was closeness to the holiday season that led my to my mild “for the nonce” statement in the first place–I had (and have) my hands more than full with people over there who know me a lot better than you do.

    Anyway, I am willing to talk here about one aspect of directed panspermia, and that is your claim that Crick and Orgel have repudiated directed panspermia.

    Where did I claim that? I wrote that they backed away from it.

    Where is your evidence for even this much?

    Anyway, I was influenced by what you wrote immediately afterwards:

    I think they both realized that it was pie-in-the-sky spitballing, not actually supported by evidence.

    From your reaction to my words, it would seem that this was a wild stab in the dark by you, unsupported by anything they ever wrote about it.

    Must you even put words in my mouth?

    …glass houses…stones. You know the rest, I’m sure.

  181. #181 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    Behe’s argument is very poor, he never gave an argument about the connection between Irreducible Complexity and Intelligent Design. What he managed to do was a remake of a very old argument, literally used in Darwin’s time, but never refuted. It’s very easy to show by Dawkin’s Methinks-program that it wouldn’t work if you model Irreducible Complexity with it. [posted by El Schwalmo]

    Is this Dawkins’s program, expounded on in _The Blind Watchmaker_, that starts with things that look like flowers and evolves them towards things that look like insects, with the teleological “looks interesting” as the selection mechanism? If so, what is the connection you are trying to make between this and Irreducible Complexity?

    It’s quite safe to say that Behe’s argument refutes Darwin’s ‘my theory’ (AKA selection theory), but not evolution by other mechanisms, as even Behe explicitly says.
    It’s a big mistake not to differentiate between ‘Darwinism’ and ‘evolutionary theory’ (even Rosenhouse failed doing this, read his text).

    And Raging Bee, in spades, in #178. Even though I wrote that Behe himself used “Darwinian theory” as the code words for something I described, Raging Bee went on confusing issue after issue in direct reply to my statement.

    Most people don’t know what the terms they use actually mean. Lots of strawmen everywhere are therefore inavoidable.

    I was very astonished by a lot of authors arguing about Behe without even knowing what Behe was telling. Most posters here seem not to be better informed.

    It goes on all the time, everywhere. Most posters here seem to take each other’s misconceptions as being accurate descriptions.

    I’ve not read all postings, but Peter Nyikos seems to be better informed about Irreducible Complexity than most other peple here.

    Thank you. As I alluded to Owlmirror earlier today, I’m going to go on a holiday posting/blog break, but I’ll be back in January, and I hope you will still be reading this blog on my return.

  182. #182 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    No, you blinking idiot. I’ve told you before that you were confusing IC with ID, [said to Eric, who replied as follows:]

    Okay, so let me clarify:

    You mean “let me try a different tack”:

    this process which you use to determine whether something is IC cannot be used to assess strings for which you don’t already know the function.

    There’s more. Owlmirror, pinch-hitting for you, claimed that IC is irrelevant to whether Mount Rushmore was designed, since those statues have no moving parts. What are the moving parts of your polymeric string?

    Is that correct? To determine IC, you must already know purpose?

    Purpose has to do with teleology (“final cause”) whereas function has to do with “efficient cause”. And you really do seem to be confusing the two, because you continued as follows:

    As far as I can tell, my point about false positives still pertains; since all empirical scientific conclusions are tentative and subject to revision, any IC-assesment process which needs to know purpose beforehand can make a false positive identification of IC, because we can be wrong about purpose.

    But we can ascertain lots of functions, and Behe does that all through Darwin’s Black Box. For instance, an obvious function of the bacterial flagellum is locomotion.

    To take a non-IC example, one of the functions of chlorophyll is photosynthesis. Can you name any other function?

    ASIDE: I probably won’t have time during the holidays to reply to any answers you post to this, but I will return in January.

  183. #183 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    This last paragraph is way too reasonable for the anonymous anti-ID zealots who keep attacking us (for different reasons, but you’d never guess that from the ways they attack us) and so I predict they will ignore it.[posted by me in response to Dave Villa, with "Owlmirror" responding with the following claim:]

    LOL. Your prediction was falsified before your made it!

    Nonsense. The paragraph to which I was referring has not been addressed by anyone but me. [Keyword: Kekule]

    I think it is highly significant that, of all the people posting here in the past week, you and I are the two who have given their full names. In addition, I have given my e-mail address and I suggest you give yours out too. Don’t worry — I think our critics are too cowardly ever to e-mail us.

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    It is noteworthy that both you and “Raging Bee” made disparaging comments about the above dig at your anonymity, yet neither of you posted your real names, much less your e-mail addresses, place of work, or what you do for a living, in response.

    This is just one more indication that the two of you are trolls. Your irrational use of the word “obvious” is yet another indication.

  184. #184 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    I think it is highly significant that, of all the people posting here in the past week, you and I are the two who have given their full names.

    Raging Bee did not take the obvious hint: [s]he did not post any more about him/herself than “Owlmirror” did, but indulged in a typical Internet Vandal counterattack:

    I think it is highly significant that you only mention this fact after all of your other arguments have been debunked

    This is a clear case of counting one’s chickens before they are hatched. Raging Bee is obviously pampered by all his/her fellow zealots and does not seem to have discovered what a maverick like me discovers in a few weeks of posting: arguments, counter-arguments, and even counter-counter-arguments accomplish very little in a highly politicized forum like this one.

    It is counter-counter-counter arguments, and many iterations of this, where a balanced picture of the truth finally begins to emerge.

    My running argument with Eric, where he confused IC with ID and then pretended to be merely “clarifying” in his last post, is a good illustration of this. His idiotic confusion refuted nothing except the belief that he knew what he was talking about. I did a reply to him a few minutes ago, and it is being held for moderation, and it may never see the light of day, given the fate that has befallen several of my most meaty posts.

    and you (and the hack you so reverently quote) stand exposed as liars

    “liars” is evidently a code word for “people with whom I violently disagree”

  185. #185 Peter Nyikos
    December 22, 2011

    This is my last post here before going on my holiday break, but I will be back in January and I hope this blog will still be open for business then.

    One logical question that has been asked several times is the following: if the Discovery Institute (DI) is so sure the Dover decision was in many-faceted error about Intelligent Design, why wasn’t the decision appealed? I know of two reasons.

    1. The DI was not a defendant, the Dover school board was, and if anyone is to appeal, it is the board. But the board had already gone once against the express advice of the DI on this issue, as the following statement from a DI website explains:

    Discovery Institute actively opposed the Dover school district policy featured in PBS’s “Judgment Day” and urged that the policy be repealed even before a lawsuit was filed. In continuing to promote their policy to require the mention of intelligent design in the classroom, both the Dover school board and the law firm representing it were going against the express wishes and policy recommendations of the intelligent design community. Thus, they should not be regarded as legitimate spokespersons for intelligent design.

    2. As it now stands, the Opinion of the Court has legal effect only in the district over which Judge Jones has jurisdiction. If it were appealed, there would be the risk of there being similarly wrongheaded pronouncements on ID further up the line, perhaps even by the Supreme Court. There is ample precedent for that, going back at least as far as Chief Justice Roger Taney’s decision in Sandford v. Dred Scott.

  186. #186 Owlmirror
    December 23, 2011

    Hostility, or ignorance, peppered by misconceptions taken from the writings of a few YEC movers and shakers whose word they accept?

    They accept the misconception, distortions, confabulations, and even outright lies of YEC “movers and shakers” because they are hostile to the facts of actual geology and paleontology.

    In fact, I am one of only TWO non-creationists and non-spammers who is making a serious attempt to revive and keep alive the Usenet newsgroup sci.bio.paleontology.

    Pardon me if I find this somewhat underwhelming.

    I have to keep reminding such people that Ockham’s Razor has to take into account ALL available information, before making any decisions as to which is the most parsimonious explanation.

    What available information is there that life could not possibly arise in one of the many chemical environments on early Earth? What available information is there that life is much better explained as having arisen from aliens — presumably ones that themselves arose without benefit of prior alien seeding — sending life here?

    ======

    As for a summary — which IIRC you were suggesting for the first time above — at this point, a summary is worse than useless.

    Of course it is, because you don’t actually have anything.

    Where is your evidence for even this much [Crick and Orgel backing away from directed panspermia]?

    The negative evidence of them living for several decades after publishing their work, and never revisiting it with new ideas for experiments worth trying to support their the original thesis. There isn’t even a comment from either of them saying something along the lines of “Gosh, I wish we’d worked more on that nifty idea of life arriving from another planet!”

    Owlmirror, pinch-hitting for you, claimed that IC is irrelevant to whether Mount Rushmore was designed, since those statues have no moving parts.

    Are you agreeing with my conclusion, then, that IDiocy has no metric for actual design detection? And that by implication, ID has nothing, and you have nothing in support of ID?

    But we can ascertain lots of functions, and Behe does that all through Darwin’s Black Box. For instance, an obvious function of the bacterial flagellum is locomotion.

    What’s the “function” of Mount Rushmore?

    The paragraph to which I was referring has not been addressed by anyone but me. [Keyword: Kekule]

    Except that I did address it, @#130. Why did I need to copy-and-paste the part reading “Kekule”? That was merely an example to illustrate the conclusion — which I agreed with, while pointing out that IDiots don’t actually do the work implied by the conclusion.

    It is noteworthy that both you and “Raging Bee” made disparaging comments about the above dig at your anonymity, yet neither of you posted your real names, much less your e-mail addresses, place of work, or what you do for a living, in response.

    Why should I? Say, how about I offer an excuse as a stalling tactic: “It would only whet your appetite for more, and I can’t give you more now, because it’s the holiday season.”

    This is just one more indication that the two of you are trolls.

    If you don’t think someone is worth responding to, quit responding. So far, you’re providing sufficient amusement value yourself.

    Your irrational use of the word “obvious” is yet another indication.

    You are obviously familiar with all Internet traditions.

  187. #187 Owlmirror
    December 23, 2011

    why wasn’t the decision appealed? I know of two reasons.

    The DI was not a defendant, the Dover school board was

    The DI was definitely an interested party, though, and could have supported an appeal — if they actually had anything to appeal over.

    Discovery Institute actively opposed the Dover school district policy featured in PBS’s “Judgment Day” and urged that the policy be repealed even before a lawsuit was filed.

    Or in other words, they were tacitly agreeing that ID is not science, and has no science in support of it. Because if it was and it did, they could have and should have offered that science in support of the Dover school district.

    As it now stands, the Opinion of the Court has legal effect only in the district over which Judge Jones has jurisdiction. If it were appealed, there would be the risk of there being similarly wrongheaded pronouncements on ID further up the line, perhaps even by the Supreme Court.

    Or in other words, when reviewed by additional judges, and argued by (potentially) better lawyers, it would still not be possible to provide any evidence at all that ID was anything other than a religious argument from ignorance.

    Nice foot-shooting!

  188. #188 Monado, FCD
    January 5, 2012

    What hasn’t been said? The decision was not appealed because Behe destroyed his own side with, among other things, the lie that there had been no peer-reviewed research of the rise of complexity, and Judge Jones nailed down the lid of the coffin with a thorough analysis of the facts, the legal issues and two different tests of religious bias.

    I believe it was R.L. Fisher who proved mathematically that naturally evolved systems could give the appearance of irreducible complexity–in 1949. I have seen the paper but don’t have a link to it right now.

    The complexity arguments of Behe and Dembski are flawed both in their facts about organisms and in their assumptions about how evolution works, making them the equivalent of the notorious coffee-break amusement of “proving” that BEES CAN”T FLY!!!! by assuming that they are fixed-wing aircraft.

  189. #189 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    I believe it was R.L. Fisher who proved mathematically that naturally evolved systems could give the appearance of irreducible complexity–in 1949.

    I think you might be thinking of Hermann J. Muller ( per talkorigins.org
    indexcc/CB/CB200.html )(trying to avoid a link, there):

    Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. Genetics 3:422-499.

    Muller, H. J. 1939. Reversibility in evolution considered from the standpoint of genetics. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 14: 261-280.

  190. #190 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    [For pity's sake. Trying again after munging the link even more than it was.]

    I believe it was R.L. Fisher who proved mathematically that naturally evolved systems could give the appearance of irreducible complexity–in 1949.

    I think you might be thinking of Hermann J. Muller ( per talkorigins[DOT]org[SLASH]indexcc[SLASH]CB[SLASH]CB200[DOT]html )(trying to avoid a link, there):

    Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. Genetics 3:422-499.

    Muller, H. J. 1939. Reversibility in evolution considered from the standpoint of genetics. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 14: 261-280.

  191. #191 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    [WTF? Is the website for the FAQ for the site for talking about origins a trigger word or something?]

    I believe it was R.L. Fisher who proved mathematically that naturally evolved systems could give the appearance of irreducible complexity–in 1949.

    I think you might be thinking of Hermann J. Muller ( per CB200 ):

    Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. Genetics 3:422-499.

    Muller, H. J. 1939. Reversibility in evolution considered from the standpoint of genetics. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 14: 261-280.

  192. #192 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    [Gah. Attempt... four? Five?]

    I think you might be thinking of:

    Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. Genetics 3:422-499.

    Muller, H. J. 1939. Reversibility in evolution considered from the standpoint of genetics. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 14: 261-280.

  193. #193 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    Test: Does anything go through?

  194. #194 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    [Which citation does Sb hate?]

    I think you might be thinking of:

    Muller, H. J. 1939. Reversibility in evolution considered from the standpoint of genetics. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 14: 261-280.

  195. #195 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    [Does Sb hate this one, too?]

    Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. Genetics 3:422-499.

  196. #196 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2012

    Apparently, Sb hates two citations in one comment. Or something.

  197. #197 JH
    January 7, 2012

    You forget Sir! Truth is *not* a Meme, on several grounds, it just *behaves* like a Meme. Truth always wins as well, it cannot be taken out by a Meme, it can only be *delayed* by a Meme and not indefinitely. Evolution, in fact any fact, cannot ever ‘meet its match’.

  198. #198 Megapants
    January 7, 2012

    OMG(sic) that Berlinski rubbish really makes one painfully squint!

  199. #199 Samuel J Alibrando
    January 8, 2012

    Religion? I think the conversation I see here is mostly NOT science. If ID is dead after 20 years, I’d say the 150 year old theory of evolution was dead 130 years ago with no new ideas just constant revelations of how outrageously superior the engineering in nature is compared to anything man can make, whether you believe in aliens or God or nothing.
    The facts are vast, overwhelming and undeniable. No one will censor nature.
    Good luck with big words, unproven theories and cursing religion with the gift of breath no man invented while your miraculous evolution completely fails to give any single species the real gift of survival … not dying.

  200. #200 Owlmirror
    January 8, 2012

    I think the conversation I see here is mostly NOT science.

    True, you have no science.

    If ID is dead after 20 years, I’d say the 150 year old theory of evolution was dead 130 years ago with no new ideas

    Since you have no science, you appear to be utterly ignorant of the incorporation of genetics and embryology into evolutionary biology.

    The facts are vast, overwhelming and undeniable.

    The facts of evolution and biology are indeed vast, overwhelming and undeniable.

    Good luck with big words, unproven theories and cursing religion

    Maybe you think that this makes sense, but it doesn’t.

    with the gift of breath no man invented

    Breathing, depending on how you define it, was invented by fish.

    while your miraculous evolution completely fails to give any single species the real gift of survival … not dying.

    This might not be true. The jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula undergoes cellular transdifferentiation, and may be immortal. Hydra appear to never age or die. Tardigrades can withstand drought, heat, hard radiation, and vacuum by going into suspended animation.

  201. #201 Pe
    January 19, 2012

    What hasn’t been said? The decision was not appealed because Behe destroyed his own side with, among other things, the lie that there had been no peer-reviewed research of the rise of complexity,
    [posted by Monado]

    Documentation, please. Judge Jones uncritically repeated several falsehoods about Behe’s testimony during the trial that he repeated from the ACLU brief.

    and Judge Jones nailed down the lid of the coffin with a thorough analysis of the facts, the legal issues and two different tests of religious bias.

    That “thorough analysis” was copied almost verbatim from the ACLU brief, as documented thoroughly in the following website:

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1186

  202. #202 mikel
    January 19, 2012

    Judge Jones uncritically repeated several falsehoods about Behe’s testimony during the trial that he repeated from the ACLU brief.

    Do you have any examples of these alleged falsehoods, along with the “TRUTH”?

  203. #203 Peter Nyikos
    January 20, 2012

    [WTF? Is the website for the FAQ for the site for talking about origins a trigger word or something?] [posted by Owlmirror]

    Well, it ought to trigger a Google Groups search for possible refutations, including some by myself. But then, you might think the t.o. FAQ is as much of a sacred cow as Judge Jones is to politically motivated bloggers like you and Monado (and Raging Bee, and …).

    [By the way, yesterday's post exposing this legal hack used an url that works. The post was was by yours truly; I don't know how my name got truncated to "Pe".]

    I believe it was R.L. Fisher who proved mathematically that naturally evolved systems could give the appearance of irreducible complexity–in 1949.

    This last bit was posted by Monado, whose dubious opening paragraph was commented on by me in the aforementioned post.
    Now “Owlmirror” replied:

    I think you might be thinking of Hermann J. Muller ( per CB200 ):

    Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. Genetics 3:422-499.

    Muller, H. J. 1939. Reversibility in evolution considered from the standpoint of genetics. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 14: 261-280.

    Actually, the FAQ got it wrong: Muller did NOT talk about irreducible complexity; he talked about systems where SOME parts are indispensible. There is a lot of vagueness in what he wrote, but the upshot was that because some systems are so complex, there are many parts whose absence could be fatal. But getting “all parts” out of what he wrote is unwarranted by the whole context.

    And if there was a “mathematical proof” in there somewhere, I missed it.

  204. #204 Raging Bee
    January 20, 2012

    That “thorough analysis” was copied almost verbatim from the ACLU brief, as documented thoroughly in the following website…

    Pe, that non-issue has already been gone over years ago. You’re even later to the game than most other creationists desperately trying to pretend the Kitzmiller decision was somehow invalid. Judges ROUTINELY copy bits of either or both sides’ briefs in their decisions, and they do so for a very simple reason: their job is to decide between two conflicting arguments that others have brought before the court, not to write arguments of their own.

    Here’s another example: when I filed for divorce, the form I filled out was actually the judge’s decree, which he then had only to sign or not sign.

  205. #205 Raging Bee
    January 20, 2012

    …constant revelations of how outrageously superior the engineering in nature is compared to anything man can make…

    Tell that to someone with a bad back or some other chronic health problem, you smug ignorant wanker.

  206. #206 Peter Nyikos
    January 20, 2012

    Do you have any examples of these alleged falsehoods, along with the “TRUTH”? [posted by mike]

    Had you clicked on the link I provided, you would have seen several. But then, I’ve noticed that politically motivated zealots often have a phobia of clicking on links that tend to undermine their preconceived notions.

    The following italicized passages taken directly from the link. First, Judge Jones’s words:

    He [Behe] was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed
    publications, nine books, andseveral immunology textbook
    chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however,
    he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of
    evolution, and that it was not “good enough.”

    Next, the words from the ACLU brief:

    He [Behe] was confronted with the fifty-eight peer-reviewed
    publications, nine books and several immunology text-book
    chapters about the evolution of the immune system, P256, 280,
    281, 283, 747, 748, 755 and 743, and he insisted that this
    was still not sufficient evidence of evolution
    – it was “not good enough”

    There at least two falsehoods above.

    1. In reality, the issue was not evolution – Behe believes in common descent – but detailed hypotheses as to how the biochemical system in question could have evolved in small incremental steps, including a listing of possible intermediates and their characteristics.

    2. Behe did NOT say it was not good enough — he indicated that it was irrelevant:

    “These articles are excellent articles I
    assume. However, they do not
    address the question that I am
    posing. So it’s not that they aren’t
    good enough. It’s simply that they are
    addressed to a different subject.”
    –Kitzmiller v. Dover, Day 12, PM session, p.19(Oct. 19, 2005)

    Behe slightly misspoke here: the subsequent questioning made it clear that he was referring only to the eight references that he HAD seen after his first sentence above. Of the rest, he said a few minutes later that although he hadn’t had a chance to see them, he had never seen any indication that any paper or book ever addressed his question in the way he had been specifying.

    And the cross-examiner could not come up with a single one, nor could the ACLU, nor could Judge Jones.

  207. #207 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2012

    Behe did NOT say it was not good enough — he indicated that it was irrelevant:

    “Go on. Prove it isn’t [sometimes] God’s magic fingers causing magic changes to the DNA by magic!”

    *eyeroll*

  208. #208 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2012

    Judge Jones uncritically repeated several falsehoods about Behe’s testimony during the trial that he repeated from the ACLU brief.

    Conceding, for the moment, that there may have been misrepresentations of Behe’s exact words, I really see only two possibilities.

    1) Behe’s position was so completely different from what was in the decision that his ideas did and do support some form of scientific basis for ID, and therefore the defence should have appealed. The fact that they did not demonstrates utter incompetence.

    2) Behe’s position was sufficiently close to what was in the decision that any appeal would have been a complete waste of time, and would have resulted in the same or similar decision by any putative appeals court. The defence implicitly conceded this in not appealing.

  209. #209 Peter Nyikos
    January 20, 2012

    “Go on. Prove it isn’t [sometimes] God’s magic fingers causing magic changes to the DNA by magic!”

    *eyeroll* [posted by Owlmirror]

    Go on. Prove that you weren’t being deliberately deceitful by omitting the word “necessarily,” as in:

    “Prove it isn’t necessarily God’s magic fingers causing the following carefully selected molecular systems to arrive at their present form.”

    Even that isn’t completely fair. I would put it this way:

    “Prove that there is some way that the following carefully selected molecular systems could have arisen more than once in a googol of universes with the same physical constants and same chemical elements as ours.”

    There. No invocation of the supernatural. And in fact, I do believe the natural, spontaneous arrival of “life as we know it”, complete with protein translation mechanism (tRNA, mRNA, ribosomes, protein synthetases), DNA, and enzymes for DNA replication, transcription, and reverse transcription, is a less than once in a universe event, but in fact did happen in our universe without divine intervention.

    And Keith Miller, who is a theist, agrees with that last clause, but is much more optimistic about the odds.

    But I don’t think that spontaneous event happened here on earth.

  210. #210 Peter Nyikos
    January 20, 2012

    from #187:

    Hostility, or ignorance, peppered by misconceptions taken from the writings of a few YEC movers and shakers whose word they accept?

    They accept the misconception, distortions, confabulations, and even outright lies of YEC “movers and shakers” because they are hostile to the facts of actual geology and paleontology.[posted by "Owlmirror"]

    That has not been my experience on Usenet. Most of the creationists I’ve encountered there simply accept the spin that leading YECs and OECs put on various overwhelming facts like the tree of Equidae. There’s a whole lot of deceitful talk being put out by the leaders, and they follow it as blindly as the anti-Behe zealots follow anti-Behe propaganda.

    The other forums where I’ve seen clashes, like Yahoo, are ill suited for in-depth arguments and it’s very hard to get much of a feel for where the creationists are coming from.

    Can you cite some good examples of what you are talking about?

    In fact, I am one of only TWO non-creationists and non-spammers who is making a serious attempt to revive and keep alive the Usenet newsgroup sci.bio.paleontology.

    Pardon me if I find this somewhat underwhelming.

    Is that because you are far less interested in science for the sake of science, than in science for the sake of creationist-bashing?

  211. #211 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2012

    Your frothing fanaticism makes you amusingly illiterate.

    Prove that you weren’t being deliberately deceitful by omitting the word “necessarily,”

    Easy: I inserted the word “sometimes”. An event that sometimes happens because of X is not necessarily caused by X.

    You blithering goofball.

    “Prove that there is some way that the following carefully selected molecular systems could have arisen more than once in a googol of universes with the same physical constants and same chemical elements as ours.”

    “Arisen?” As in, abiogenesis? I realize that you want to change the argument to be about your kook fixation on Sperm! in! Space! directed panspermia, but IDiocy isn’t just about abiogenesis.

    And in fact, I do believe the natural, spontaneous arrival of “life as we know it” [blah blah biology! blah] is a less than once in a universe event, but in fact did happen in our universe without divine intervention.

    If you weren’t an illiterate blithering goofball, you might have realized that you’re making very little sense here.

    What does “less than once in a universe event” even mean?

  212. #212 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2012

    Can you cite some good examples of what you are talking about?

    Someone who basically says that he promotes the global flud having occurred because Jesus spoke of Noah (citing Matthew 24:37-39) is not just ignorant, but actively promoting delugion over geology.

    YECs who promote YEC nonsense repeatedly, even after their claims are soundly refuted by references to the actual science literature, are not just ignorant, but are ideologically committed to YEC.

    ======

    Is that because you are far less interested in science for the sake of science, than in science for the sake of creationist-bashing?

    Actually, it’s because I know of other forums where palaeontology is in fact discussed, often with the interested commentary of other palaeontologists.

  213. #213 Peter Nyikos
    January 23, 2012

    Judge Jones uncritically repeated several falsehoods about Behe’s testimony during the trial that he repeated from the ACLU brief.

    Conceding, for the moment, that there may have been misrepresentations of Behe’s exact words, I really see only two possibilities.

    1) Behe’s position was so completely different from what was in the decision that his ideas did and do support some form of scientific basis for ID, [posted by "Owlmirror"]

    That was not germane to the conclusion of the court, the gist of which was:

    “it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an
    alternative to evolution in a public school
    science classroom.”

    Jones is here tying up everything in a huge packgage deal: it’s not that ID is an alternative to evolution, it is a supplement. Behe, in particular, accepts common descent.

    Anyone who denies speciation is, in effect, claiming divine intervention, and nothing in the defense ever went as far as to suggest that speciation cannot occur.

    and therefore the defence should have appealed. [Owlmirror again.]

    You are grasping at straws again. Appellate courts are extremely limited in what they can overturn, and on what grounds. That was made abundantly clear in the case of Terri Schiavo.

    Let me remind you that neither Behe nor the Discovery Institute was a defendant. The defendant was the Dover School Board, and the charge was that teachers were compelled to read a statement that almost anyone involved would read as saying that Intelligent Design is an alternative to evolution, all evolution.

    Jones’s judgment was extremely narrow, along the lines of the conclusion above, and is justified by the extreme language of the statement that the teachers were forced to make.

    To appeal, instead, the pontifications of Judge Jones [read: the ACLU] to the effect that no part of ID can be scientific, would result in a denial of certiorati.

    The fact that they did not demonstrates utter incompetence.

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  214. #214 Peter Nyikos
    January 23, 2012

    “Go on. Prove it isn’t [sometimes] God’s magic fingers causing magic changes to the DNA by magic!”

    *eyeroll* [posted by Owlmirror]

    Your frothing (“*eyeroll*”) fanticism elicited the following response from me:

    Go on. Prove that you weren’t being deliberately deceitful by omitting the word “necessarily,” as in:

    “Prove it isn’t necessarily God’s magic fingers causing the following carefully selected molecular systems to arrive at their present form.”

    And you responded:

    Easy: I inserted the word “sometimes”. An event that sometimes happens because of X is not necessarily caused by X.

    That explanation does not work in the present context. Your fanatical comment was directly elicited by Behe wanting scenarios for certain events (in this instance, the evolution of the human immune system) that would have shown that they COULD have happened in “small, Darwinian steps.” Such a scenario would show that it is not necessary to invoke intervention by “God’s magic fingers.”

    Compare Laplace’s “Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.” He had a scenario for the origin of the solar system that dispensed with the necessity of invoking God. His scenario is now known not to be completely correct, but it was a great first approximation to the truth.

    You blithering goofball.

    More fanaticism from you. A purely hypothetical scenario, complete with explanations of how each step followed with a reasonably high (like, one in a billion organisms) probability from the previous one AND improved the survivability of the organism, would have been an adequate response to Behe’s challenge.

    But no scientist, to his knowledge nor the knowledge of the prosecution [including the un-named prosecutor who gathered those fifty odd papers and books], ever even tried to come up with such a scenario.

    According to Behe, the ones he knew about weren’t even playing that game.

  215. #215 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    it’s not that ID is an alternative to evolution, it is a supplement. Behe, in particular, accepts common descent.

    It might be a supplement if it were scientific; if it did have any actual basis in something that could be argued from empirical evidence. And if that were the case, that empirical basis is exactly what the defense should have argued.

    But an unevidenced argument from ignorance fails as either an alternative or a supplement.

    Appellate courts are extremely limited in what they can overturn, and on what grounds.

    If ID supporters think that ID has some scientific basis, they should have made the effort, at least.

    The defendant was the Dover School Board, and the charge was that teachers were compelled to read a statement that almost anyone involved would read as saying that Intelligent Design is an alternative to evolution, all evolution.

    And if ID had any scientific foundation at all, then arguing for changing the wording from “alternative” to “supplement”, or appealing on that basis, is what the defense should have done.

    To appeal, instead, the pontifications of Judge Jones [read: the ACLU] to the effect that no part of ID can be scientific, would result in a denial of certiorati.

    I’m sorry, arguing that the judge putatively made a fundamental mistake in his decision would fail to get the case reopened? Really?

  216. #216 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    Your fanatical comment

    Good grief. More illiteracy.

    It wasn’t fanatical; it was sarcastic.

    was directly elicited by Behe wanting scenarios for certain events (in this instance, the evolution of the human immune system) that would have shown that they COULD have happened in “small, Darwinian steps.”

    Or in other words, the contents of all of the scientific papers and books on the evolution of the immune system?

    Such a scenario would show that it is not necessary to invoke intervention by “God’s magic fingers.”

    And yet, there was Behe, saying — without even reading them — that the scientific works were “addressed to a different subject.”.

    Compare Laplace’s “Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.” He had a scenario for the origin of the solar system that dispensed with the necessity of invoking God. His scenario is now known not to be completely correct, but it was a great first approximation to the truth.

    Sort of like an early paper on the evolution of the immune system, eh?

    It’s amusing that you invoke Laplace’s famous quip after sneering at the principle of parsimony.

    More fanaticism from you.

    That wasn’t fanaticism. That was me being insulting.

    You really lose track of your vocabulary when you’re mad.

  217. #217 Peter Nyikos
    January 23, 2012

    Your fanatical comment

    Good grief. More illiteracy.

    It’s nothing of the sort, and I’m sure you know that.

    It wasn’t fanatical; it was sarcastic.

    I was employing your miniscule standards for the term “frothing fanaticism” [see Post #212] against you, “Owlmirror”.

    You still have no credible reason for making that sarcastic remark, nor for the one you made in response to:

    was directly elicited by Behe wanting scenarios for certain events (in this instance, the evolution of the human immune system) that would have shown that they COULD have happened in “small, Darwinian steps.”

    The contents of just one research paper that produces such a scenario would be enough; but your sarcastic retort completely misses the point:

    Or in other words, the contents of all of the scientific papers and books on the evolution of the immune system?

    Had Behe’s cross-examiner in Dover said “Put together just the right little bits and pieces from as many of these 58 references as necessary, and you can put together a scenario like that,” you’d have grounds for this sarcastic comment; as it is, you have none.

    If all the scientific papers on the immune system put together fail to address even one step in the way specified by Behe, then the necessary ingredients are completely missing.

  218. #218 Peter Nyikos
    January 23, 2012

    Such a scenario would show that it is not necessary to invoke intervention by “God’s magic fingers.”

    In response, you, “Owlmirror,” simulated amnesia about something I wrote in #207, by writing:

    And yet, there was Behe, saying — without even reading them — that the scientific works were “addressed to a different subject.”.

    Scroll up to #207 and read the last two paragraphs, twit.

    Compare Laplace’s “Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.” He had a scenario for the origin of the solar system that dispensed with the necessity of invoking God. His scenario is now known not to be completely correct, but it was a great first approximation to the truth.

    Sort of like an early paper on the evolution of the immune system, eh?

    Find me a paper that actually gives a step by step scenario. AFAIK such an “early paper” is yet to be written.

    It’s amusing that you invoke Laplace’s famous quip after sneering at the principle of parsimony.

    It’s amusing how the last two paragraphs of #180, directly addressing this idiotic misconception (“sneering at the principle of parsimony”) of yours, have gone down your memory hole along with the last two paragraphs of #207.

  219. #219 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    I was employing your miniscule standards for the term “frothing fanaticism”

    You’re funny when you’re mad.

    PS: The word is correctly spelled “minuscule”. That’s a very common mistake, of course, so I won’t hold it against you.

    You still have no credible reason for making that sarcastic remark,

    Sure I do. That’s what most IDiots believe actually happened, albeit with less specificity!

    Maybe you don’t, but if so, you’re an outlier (you could expand on what you do believe, and why, but I bet you won’t). In general, Creationist IDiots believe in a God that actively intervenes in evolution by doing stuff to DNA.

    If all the scientific papers on the immune system put together fail to address even one step in the way specified by Behe, then the necessary ingredients are completely missing.

    Hm, I wonder what actual immunologists thought about Behe’s request?

    http://mcb.berkeley.edu/courses/mcb140/urnov/bottaro.pdf

  220. #220 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    Scroll up to #207 and read the last two paragraphs, twit.

    I note that Behe also said: I am not confident that the immune system arose through Darwinian processes, and so I do not think that such a study [of the details of the evolution of the immune system] would be fruitful.

    So Behe was saying that because he was ignorant of works on details of the evolution of the immune system, and was ignorant of anyone who had exact details of the evolution of the immune system, he was sufficiently confident the immune system was the result of a magical God’s magic fingers causing magic changes to the DNA by magic that it wouldn’t even be worth trying to figure out the details of the evolution of the immune system.

    It’s amusing how the last two paragraphs of #180, directly addressing this idiotic misconception (“sneering at the principle of parsimony”) of yours, have gone down your memory hole along with the last two paragraphs of #207.

    Your blather is so badly formatted that it’s hard to read (what’s wrong with <blockquote>?) and so badly written that it results in headache when trying to parse it.

    Your paragraphs #108 argue a distinction without a difference. You imply that you have “available information” regarding directed panspermia that strangely appears to be unavailable to anyone else.

    Were you abducted by space aliens, perhaps?

    What “available information” does Behe have? A magical massage from a magical God’s magic fingers?

  221. #221 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    Arguing that not having every single mutation and all low-level details of evolutionary history with regard to the immune system is a good reason to think that the immune system was the result of “intelligent design” is like arguing to Laplace that not having a solution to the 3-body problem — let alone the n-body problem — is a good reason to think that the solar system is the result of intelligent falling.

  222. #222 Peter Nyikos
    January 26, 2012

    Well, it’s been close to a week since I met the following challenge by mike:

    Do you have any examples of these alleged falsehoods, along with the “TRUTH”?

    This was in response to the following comment of mine:

    Judge Jones uncritically repeated several falsehoods about Behe’s testimony during the trial that he repeated from the ACLU brief.

    No response from mike yet — that is, unless “Owlmirror” is his sockpuppet. So I thought I’d mention another falsehood, this time about ID rather than Behe, that can be found in both places.

    Judge Jones:
    …ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data
    or publications.

    ACLU:
    Intelligent design is not supported by any peerreviewed
    research, data or publications

    Commentary by John G. West and David K. DeWolf:
    Expert witness Scott Minnich testified at
    trial that there were between “seven and
    ten” peer-reviewed papers supporting ID,[2]
    and he discussed a pro-intelligent design
    article in the peer-reviewed biology
    journal,
    Proceedings of the Biological
    Society of Washington.
    [3]

    The following endnotes were provided:

    [2] Scott Minnich, Testimony Transcript 34 (Kitzmiller v. Dover, morning session, Nov. 4, 2005).

    [3] Stephen Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” Proceedings of
    the Biological Society of Washington 117(2004):213-239

  223. #223 Owlmirror
    January 26, 2012

    that is, unless “Owlmirror” is his sockpuppet.

    I have no idea who mike is, let alone being mike’s sockpuppet. Sheesh, paranoid much?

    Expert witness Scott Minnich testified at trial that there were between “seven and ten” peer-reviewed papers supporting ID

    This is based on a subtle equivocation around the word “support”.

    There could be a paper providing evidence in support of design — some putative analysis of DNA that showed signs of genetic engineering having taken place in the distant past, for example.

    And there’s providing support in the sense of advocacy; repeating or implying the basic argument from incredulity and ignorance that ID is actually based on, and arguing that ID should be taken seriously because of that ignorance and incredulity.

    The papers that exist “support” ID in the latter sense, not in the former.

    I understand how you can make the mistake, of course, given your problems parsing English.

  224. #224 Richard Simons
    January 26, 2012

    Commentary by John G. West and David K. DeWolf: Expert witness Scott Minnich testified at trial that there were between “seven and ten” peer-reviewed papers supporting ID,[2]

    Ah, but what evidence to support ID did they contain?

    he discussed a pro-intelligent design article in the peer-reviewed biology journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.[3]

    The journal as a whole may be peer-reviewed, but the article in question was a review and was apparently not peer-reviewed.

  225. #225 Lucy
    January 26, 2012

    Evidently none of you have ever seen the literature available at Answers In Genesis. Hundreds of books, papers, articles, videos, etc. Now it will be fun to see darwinists sift through them all in horror at the wonderful things Ken Ham has accomplished. He has put the teaching of Biblical literal creationism BACK into the churches and stirred up the debate again. That’s why I have sent him many dollars in the past five years. My name is even on one of the pegs of the Ark he is building. I paid $100 for it plus countless dollars in the past. If I were a billionaire, darwinists would fear my money. AIG and about 30 other conservative organizations would be so well funded that no one could touch them.

  226. #226 NJ
    January 26, 2012

    Lucy @ 226:

    the wonderful things Ken Ham has accomplished

    Much like the wonderful things Bernie Madoff accomplished, except his suckers victims got wise and demanded their money back.

    The simple fact is we have seen everything Ken Ham and his YEC buddies have produced and it is so transparently bizarre that around the world no educated person can believe that US citizens fall for it.

    That’s why I have sent him many dollars in the past five years.

    I’m sure his spacious homes and luxury cars thank you for your support.

  227. #227 Owlmirror
    January 26, 2012

    My name is even on one of the pegs of the Ark he is building.

    No doubt you gave a last name of “Furr”, eh?

    If I were a billionaire, darwinists would fear my money.

    You could try offering Ham one dollar for every year he will publicly proclaim the Earth’s age to be, and watch his conscience struggle with his greed.

  228. #228 Lucy
    January 26, 2012

    NJ, I think you are confusing Ken Ham with ted Turner and his bunch. I now know from your ranting you are a foreigner, so your opinion is diminished by 50% for not even living where you are condemning. Canadian are we? Are you part of the New Vorld Odor? If you are my future gard at Camp FEMA you will catch hell keeping me quiet. Narad is that you? Sock puppet?

  229. #229 Raging Bee
    January 27, 2012

    Hilarious parody troll is hilarious.

  230. #230 NJ
    January 27, 2012

    “Lucy” @ 229:

    Canadian are we? Are you part of the New Vorld Odor?

    …and once again, with minimal prodding, the desperately mentally ill Rob Hood outs himself from another sockpuppet ID.

    So, Lucy, Yvonne, Leslie, Reluctant Conspiracy Nut, Medicien Man, Dr. Smart, a raft of others I could track down with a simple search on a handful of sites here. It’s a fair bet that he’s also the banned Piltdown Man from PZ’s place.

    A shame his family can’t get his meds right…

  231. #231 Richard Simons
    January 27, 2012

    Evidently none of you have ever seen the literature available at Answers In Genesis.

    Oh, we have! It’s a marvelous mishmash of nonsense.

  232. #232 Peter Nyikos
    January 27, 2012

    We haven’t heard either from mike or Monado in a week now. In #202 I challenged Monado’s accusation of Behe lying, without him producing so much as a quote of Behe’s to back this up. Documentation of an alleged lie by Behe along the lines indicated by Monado has not been forthcoming, from anyone.

    In my #202 challenge, I justified my skepticism by pointing out that Judge Jones uncritically repeated several falsehoods about Behe’s testimony during the trial that he had obviously read in the ACLU brief.

    Monado also wrote:

    Judge Jones nailed down the lid of the coffin with a thorough analysis of the facts, the legal issues and two different tests of religious bias.

    To which I answered, also in #202:

    That “thorough analysis” was copied almost verbatim from the ACLU brief, as documented thoroughly in the following website:

    “Raging Bee” then had a bit of fun with that last statement, missing the point that I had made a few lines earlier:

    that non-issue has already been gone over years ago. You’re even later to the game than most other creationists

    Note the baseless and false assumption that I am a creationist. Perhaps “Raging Bee” is such a political animal that [s]he thinks anyone who does not toe the anti-ID party line on Behe and ID must be a creationist.

    The real issue, once my whole post #202 is taken into account, is encapsuled in that word “uncritically”. To begin with, Judge Jones made several factual errors that duplicated ones in the brief, a few of which I have already documented–and there is a lot more of that sort of thing available in the website whose url I gave in #202.

  233. #233 Raging Bee
    January 27, 2012

    Peter, the website you cited in #202 is the Discovery Institute, a creationist “think” tank well known for spouting lies, bullshit and sophistry in support of the creationist cause. Practically everything they say gets routinely debunked on sites like this one. If that’s your only “source,” then you have nothing.

    If Judge Jones had included any significant falsehoods in his opinion, then: a) it would have been reported in right-leaning media outlets all over the country, not just the Disco ‘Tute; and b) the cdesign proponentsists would have appealed the decision. Neither has happened, therefore it’s safe to say there were no significant falsehoods in the decision.

    Oh, and the two examples you gave of alleged falsehoods? They’re nothing but hairsplitting and lame-ass word games. You’ll have to do better than that.

  234. #234 Owlmirror
    January 27, 2012

    It’s a fair bet that he’s also the banned Piltdown Man from PZ’s place.

    Oh, I seriously doubt that. Pilt prides himself on his intellectual Catholicism. As much as he is contemptuous of Protestants, I really don’t think he would present himself as a completely loony and stupid Protestant in an atheist forum, even for the lulz.

    Unless, of course, he’s much worse off mentally than he was in around 2009-2010 or so.

  235. #235 Owlmirror
    January 27, 2012

    We haven’t heard either from mike or Monado in a week now.

    Not everyone is as dedicated as you are to haunting old comment threads.

    The real issue, once my whole post #202 is taken into account, is encapsuled in that word “uncritically”

    If all you’re going to do is point back at your @#202, I’m just going to point back at my #209.

  236. #236 Lucy
    January 27, 2012

    NJ, I would take my meds, but with all the flouride in the water what good would it do?

    Besides 5HTP is a great med.

    Now, go to Los Angeles and stand under one of their blackhawk helicoptors and make a toast with a fetus Pepsi product.

  237. #237 Lucy
    January 27, 2012

    This has been paid advertisement by the Interstellar Evolutionary Marxist Canadian Flouride Enforcement Brigade and Camp FEMA. Station S.M.A.R.T “signing” off.

  238. #238 NJ
    January 27, 2012

    Owlmirror@235:

    Pilt prides himself on his intellectual Catholicism.

    Good point. I had forgotten about that.

    But in Greg Laden’s archives should be (IIRC) comments from someone using the ‘nym ‘Piltdown man’ or something very similar; comments that are almost certainly from the currently undertreated Rob Hood. I must have conflated them.

    Keeping track of the crazy here is driving me…

  239. #239 Lucy
    January 27, 2012

    NJ, the foreigner (canadian?) is at it again. This time I shall smite thee with my charm, dimples, and chainmail. Thou shalt be flouride free before too long my imprisoned canadian friend. Power to the flouridated! Thou drinketh from a lead cup that runneth over with flouride water and fetal Pepsi. Perhaps colloidal flouride is your ultimate weapon against traditonal America? Fear Not! My brother is here. Captain patriot will save the day!

  240. #240 Jerry Atric
    January 27, 2012

    Looks like NJ is outnumbered this time.

  241. #241 Narad
    January 27, 2012

    I paid $100 for it plus countless dollars in the past.

    It’s OK to use your toes for counting, Rob. Hell, you’re probably equipped to do base 12.

  242. #242 Peter Nyikos
    January 30, 2012

    Raging Bee, in his/her best ad hominem form, posted:

    Peter, the website you cited in #202 is the Discovery Institute, a creationist “think” tank well known for spouting lies, bullshit and sophistry in support of the creationist cause.

    Even if this textbook example of “poisoning the wells” by you is true, it is no substitute for actually refuting anything in the website whose url I referenced in #202.

    And this you have utterly failed to do, thumbing your nose like an adolescent at documentations of two falsehoods in #207 and totally ignoring one shameless equivocation by Judge Jones involving the word “supported” in #223.

    I’ll be letting your ally “Owlmirror” know just how shameless that equivocation was, once I get back from a class I am due to teach in five minutes–provided, of course, that the “moderator” doesn’t kick in.

  243. #243 Peter Nyikos
    January 30, 2012

    In #224 “Owlmirror” quoted me as follows:

    that is, unless “Owlmirror” is his sockpuppet.

    and replied:

    I have no idea who mike is, let alone being mike’s sockpuppet. Sheesh, paranoid much?

    If “Owlmirror” were posting like a mathematician [which is what I am] instead of a polemicist, he would have realized that I was simply covering all possible bases. See #223 for the context of that, and the following, cherry-picked from there:

    Expert witness Scott Minnich testified at trial that there were between “seven and ten” peer-reviewed papers supporting ID

    This is based on a subtle equivocation around the word “support”.

    An equivocation implicitly sanctioned by Judge Jones, and the ACLU brief from which he was, in essence, quoting. See below.

    There could be a paper providing evidence in support of design — some putative analysis of DNA that showed signs of genetic engineering having taken place in the distant past, for example.

    And there’s providing support in the sense of advocacy; repeating or implying the basic argument from incredulity and ignorance that ID is actually based on, and arguing that ID should be taken seriously because of that ignorance and incredulity.

    Since “Owlmirror” is just a persona behind which lurks an unidentified person, I will waste no time here on the travesties in the last quoted paragraph, but will focus on Judge Jones, a well-known person.

    Jones was trying to have it both ways with “support[ed]“: his usage dealt with in #223 is refuted if we go by the first meaning, but that is exactly the meaning which exonerates him of a falsehood where he writes, in imitation of the ACLU brief:

    Further support for the
    conclusion that ID is
    predicated on supernatural
    causation is found in the ID
    reference book to which ninth
    grade biology students are
    directed, Pandas.

    But in fact, no such support in any sense but the first (and that very weakly) exists in Pandas. Moreover, the website whose url appears in #202 contains a rebuttal which begins:

    Contrary to the claim made by Judge Jones
    (and the ACLU), Of Pandas and People
    insists that science cannot detect the
    “supernatural.” It can merely determine
    whether a cause is intelligent. Whether that
    intelligent cause is inside or outside of
    nature is a question that cannot be
    addressed by science according to the
    book. These points are made clear in the
    following passages from the text ignored
    by Judge Jones:

    The rest of the rebuttal can be found on page 9 of the website linked in #202 by anyone who does not suffer from a phobia of clicking on links.

  244. #244 Peter Nyikos
    January 30, 2012

    Quoting from my preceding post:

    Jones was trying to have it both ways with “support[ed]“: his usage dealt with in #223 is refuted if we go by the first meaning, but that is exactly the meaning which exonerates him of a falsehood where he writes, in imitation of the ACLU brief:

    Since “Owlmirror” was indulging in a flagrant false dichotomy, his/her first meaning is closer to the truth than his/her second meaining, but the true usage of “supports” to which the above should be referring is:

    “Data produced in reference N which supports hypothesis X according to what is written in reference M, using [perhaps specious] reasoning based on the data in reference N.”

    I haven’t had the time to check the “between seven and ten peer-reviewed papers” testified to by Minnich [see #223 for a bit of context], but the only way Minnich’s testimony makes sense is to put them into the “reference N” category. Whether some or all of them simultaneously fall into the reference M category can only be determined by a close reading of the papers, and of Minnich’s testimony.

    On the other hand, it is clear that the ACLU brief and Judge Jones’s Opinion of the Court fell exclusively in the Reference M category where they “deduced” that a passage in Of Pandas and People supported the conclusion that “ID is predicated on supernatural causation.” That book explicitly denied that predication, and the ACLU/Jones “reasoning” for it was specious. If anyone doubts this, I will explain why.

  245. #245 Owlmirror
    January 30, 2012

    and totally ignoring one shameless equivocation by Judge Jones involving the word “supported”

    No, the equivocation was by the DI, and by you.

    If “Owlmirror” were posting like a mathematician [which is what I am] instead of a polemicist, he would have realized that I was simply covering all possible bases.

    Ah. So if I write, “Peter Nyikos’ advocacy of intelligent design is inexplicable in anyone with an advanced education, unless he’s an intellectually dishonest kook”, I’m “simply covering all possible bases” rather than insulting you. I’ll have to remember that dodge.

    (“posting like a mathematician instead of a polemicist” — Hah! As if there were any math in your polemics in support of the DI’s bafflegab!)

    Since “Owlmirror” is just a persona behind which lurks an unidentified person

    Now who is committing the fallacy of ad hominem, eh?

    I will waste no time here on the travesties in the last quoted paragraph

    Or in other words, you have nothing.

    Jones was trying to have it both ways with “support[ed]“:

    Nope; that’s still the DI, and you.

    But in fact, no such support in any sense but the first (and that very weakly) exists in Pandas.

    Given that Of Pandas and People was explicitly written as a creationist text, originally titled Creation Biology, it’s odd to see you attempting to defend it after claiming not to be a creationist, unless you are a creationist in denial. *

    ______________________
    *: …simply covering all possible bases…

  246. #246 Wow, God
    January 31, 2012

    “Note the baseless and false assumption that I am a creationist.”

    Note that that claim is at least 50% complete lie and we only have your word for the remaining 50%.

    Basis for calling you a creationist is your use of creationist screed, your defence of ID and creationism with the same methods and memes the creationist uses, and your posting history of fathiest comments in the style and manner of creationists.

    Plenty of basis to make the claim, so that is the 50% that is a lie.

    Like I said, we only have your word you’re not a creationist.

    But then again, you would say that, wouldn’t you.

  247. #247 Peter Nyikos
    January 31, 2012

    Some unfinished business from December: back in #186, I quoted the following from a Discovery Institute (DI) website:

    Discovery Institute actively opposed the Dover school district policy featured in PBS’s “Judgment Day” and urged that the policy be repealed even before a lawsuit was filed.

    The “Owlmirror” persona responded as follows in #188:

    Or in other words, they were tacitly agreeing that ID is not science, and has no science in support of it. Because if it was and it did, they could have and should have offered that science in support of the Dover school district.

    The first “Owlmirror” sentence above is a glaring non sequitur because the school board policy that the DI was asking them to abandon was the one compelling teachers to read a statement that almost anyone involved would read as saying that Intelligent Design is an alternative to evolution, all evolution.

    And the second sentence of “Owlmirror” is also a non sequitur in the light of this, because the DI is certainly not in the business of supporting the claim that evolution never takes place.

    Here is some more from #186, and then from #188:

    As it now stands, the Opinion of the Court has legal effect only in the district over which Judge Jones has jurisdiction. If it were appealed, there would be the risk of there being similarly wrongheaded pronouncements on ID further up the line, perhaps even by the Supreme Court.

    Or in other words, when reviewed by additional judges, and argued by (potentially) better lawyers, it would still not be possible to provide any evidence at all that ID was anything other than a religious argument from ignorance.

    This non sequitur is even sillier than the earlier ones, so that the “Owlmirror” persona actually was describing itself with the words:

    Nice foot-shooting!

  248. #248 tomh
    January 31, 2012

    Good grief, is this for real? Someone is still fighting the Dover decision, and quoting the Discovery Institute as an authority? Unbelievable!

  249. #249 Owlmirror
    February 2, 2012

    Oh, Peter. You persnickety goofball.

    The “Owlmirror” persona responded [...] The first “Owlmirror” sentence above

    Really, ‘”Owlmirror” persona? “Owlmirror” sentence’? With scare quotes, even? Are you trying to dehumanize me or something?

    I’ve often suggested to people that when they are unclear, they should rephrase what they are saying, and strive for greater clarity. Obviously, you don’t seem to be capable of this, but I would be glad to demonstrate , given how you struggle to understand my words. I thought I was being clear, but perhaps it was just too far above your head to grasp. That’s OK, though. We cannot all be clever.

    is a glaring non sequitur because the school board policy that the DI was asking them to abandon was the one compelling teachers to read a statement that almost anyone involved would read as saying that Intelligent Design is an alternative to evolution, all evolution.

    I was simply making the assumption that the Disco Institute, if they really thought that Intelligent Design had any science at all in it or about it, as a supplement to evolution (and not a replacement), would have made the recommendation to the Dover school board to modify their policy per the Disco Institute’s conception of ID as such a science-based supplement. Or, that before going to trial, or during the trial, they would have brought up such a modification as a compromise solution to the lawsuit.

    After all, even though that lawsuit was not against the DI, it is presumably very much in the DI’s interest to promote ID as being science-based.

    And the second sentence of “Owlmirror” is also a non sequitur in the light of this, because the DI is certainly not in the business of supporting the claim that evolution never takes place.

    Are they not in the business of claiming that ID is science or based on science?

    This non sequitur is even sillier than the earlier ones

    Gosh, you are dumb.

    If an appeals court reviewed the case, and found that the court had made some terrible mistake about what Intelligent Design was, based on putative support from the Disco Institute that Intelligent Design was based on science, the decision might be overturned, or a compromise — such as suggested above, that ID be taught or mentioned as a science-based supplement to evolution — might be reached.

    You wrote that:

    “there would be the risk of there being similarly wrongheaded [sic] pronouncements on ID further up the line, perhaps even by the Supreme Court. [!]“

    Now, why would there be such a risk? After all, if the DI provided the putative evidential support for ID being a science-based supplement to evolution, how could it happen that the purportedly “wrongheaded” pronouncements would stand uncorrected in the legal record?

    So the logical conclusion is, despite Luskin’s mighty squeaks and your confused blather, the Disco Institute knew then and knows now that there is no real science whatsoever in ID, and that if the case were re-opened and reviewed by additional appeal judges — even by the Supreme Court — the points raised by the Kitzmiller prosecution would stand. ID is not science. ID is not based on science. ID, as it stands now, is an appeal to ignorance and incredulity; a logical fallacy.

    Was that a clear enough exposition, or do you need me to try again in words of one syllable?

  250. #250 Peter Nyikos
    February 18, 2012

    “tomh” sounded off as follows:

    Good grief, is this for real? Someone is still fighting the Dover decision, and quoting the Discovery Institute as an authority? Unbelievable!

    That depends on how one uses the term “the Dover decision”. If one means the order on the last page of the 139th page of the Opinion of the Court, starting with NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
    then no one is fighting this very, very narrow and very reasonable order, which has to do with a mandated statement in the Dover public schools that the Discovery Institute itself wanted the Dover school board to drop.

    If “decision” refers to the whole 139 pages, including various pontifications and allegations of the ACLU, repeated by Judge Jones, and having no direct bearing on the validity of this order, then the numerous duplicated errors do need to be corrected, and that is what I have been trying to do here.

    I have begun to compare some of what was written with the actual testimony it purports to describe, and in one instance I quoted a secondary source for what the testimony revealed. If “tomh” believes the description is inaccurate, he is free to look up the actual transcript and see what was actually said, and report back to us on what he found.

    I suspect, though, that such a course of action was the furthest thing from his mind when he posted the three sentences above.

    But as to “fighting” the pontifications and irrelevant allegations in the judicial system, I submit that this is something that would only occur to a political animal who thinks that the judicial system is the most appropriate place for resolving scientific and philosophical issues.

  251. #251 Kel
    February 18, 2012

    I submit that this is something that would only occur to a political animal who thinks that the judicial system is the most appropriate place for resolving scientific and philosophical issues.

    It’s interesting, then, that legislation and schoolboards have been the main area where creationists / ID proponents have tried to inject themselves. Why aren’t they fighting it out in the scientific and philosophical arena? Why do they resort to trying to mandate it being taught without having that scientific and philosophical backing?

  252. #252 Owlmirror
    February 18, 2012

    It’s interesting, then, that legislation and schoolboards have been the main area where creationists / ID proponents have tried to inject themselves.

    Watch out, Kel. Peter’s going to yell at you, asserting that the Disco ‘Tute said that they didn’t want “ID” to be injected at Dover.

    Discovery Institute actively opposed the Dover school district policy featured in PBS’s “Judgment Day” and urged that the policy be repealed even before a lawsuit was filed.

    (Wedge document? What’s that?)

  253. #253 Peter Nyikos
    February 18, 2012
    The “Owlmirror” persona responded [...] The first “Owlmirror” sentence above

    Really, ‘”Owlmirror” persona? “Owlmirror” sentence’? With scare quotes, even? Are you trying to dehumanize me or something?

    I was referring to the dummy-analogue “Owlmirror”, not the ventriloquist-analogue who actually types the words that appear under the “Owlmirror” byline. The identity, occupation, and employer [and to some extent even the personality] of that ventriloquist-analogue is unknown to me, and is likely to remain that way, as are the identities, etc. of the ventriloquist-analogues behind “Raging Bee,” “Wow,” “Wow,God,” and other dummy-analogues in posts to this blog.

    The “Owlmirror” dummy-analogue fits the role of a ventriloquist’s dummy rather well. For instance, it attributes to itself powers of telepathy, at least where the emotions of others are concerned:

    from #217:
    You really lose track of your vocabulary when you’re mad.

    from #222:
    You’re funny when you’re mad.

    There are, by the way, some hints as to the personality of the ventriloquist-analogue in posts #190-197. There is a lot of irritation expressed in the wording of those posts, some of which may mirror the actual emotional state of the ventriloquist-analogue behind “Owlmirror.”

    The question thus arises whether there is an element of what psychologists call “projection” behind the words “when you’re mad” [i.e, angry] quoted above.

  254. #254 Kel
    February 18, 2012

    Watch out, Kel. Peter’s going to yell at you, asserting that the Disco ‘Tute said that they didn’t want “ID” to be injected at Dover.

    Like it matters for what I said. The continual legislation efforts – whether they be explicit endorsements of various forms of creationism, or weakening of evolution through strategies like “only a theory” – pre and post Dover are examples of political attacks by creationists on the teaching of evolution.

    (Wedge document? What’s that?)

    FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES:
    6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory
    ;)

  255. #255 Owlmirror
    February 18, 2012

    I was referring to the dummy-analogue “Owlmirror”, not the ventriloquist-analogue who actually types the words that appear under the “Owlmirror” byline.

    Your dummy-analogue of “Peter Nyikos” is as silly as the ventriloquist-analogue who actually types the words that appear under the “Peter Nyikos” byline.

    The “Owlmirror” dummy-analogue fits the role of a ventriloquist’s dummy rather well. For instance, it attributes to itself powers of telepathy, at least where the emotions of others are concerned:

    By the same “logic”, dummy, you’re attributing powers of telepathy to yourself.

    The question thus arises whether there is an element of what psychologists call “projection” behind the words “when you’re mad” [i.e, angry] quoted above.

    Your dummy is funny when your ventriloquist is trying to play psychologist. Or is it the other way around?

  256. #256 tomh
    February 19, 2012

    Peter Nyikos wrote:
    That depends on how one uses the term “the Dover decision”. If one means the order on the last page of the 139th page of the Opinion of the Court,

    Since “Peter Nyikos” is obviously in the slow reading group, let me explain. By “decision” I mean the entire 40 day trial and 139 page decision, where ID was exposed as a legal argument, invented by a lawyer, as a facade for creationism, in a vain attempt to circumvent legal rulings that forbade the teaching of creationism in science class. It was made crystal clear at the trial and explained in the decision that ID had not even a remote connection to science. Hence my amazement that anyone would still argue the point. I hope that clears it up for you.

  257. #257 Peter Nyikos
    February 20, 2012

    Leaving out a preamble where “tomh” is parasitizing idiotic wisecracks by various dummy-analogues, we come to:

    By “decision” I mean the entire 40 day trial and 139 page decision, where ID was exposed as a legal argument, invented by a lawyer, as a facade for creationism, in a vain attempt to circumvent legal rulings that forbade the teaching of creationism in science class. It was made crystal clear at the trial and explained in the decision that ID had not even a remote connection to science. Hence my amazement that anyone would still argue the point.

    The reason the point is still being argued is that your first statement in your first sentence is woefully out of date, the second is false, the third is false, and the fourth is false, if by “exposed” you mean something more than “alleged.” The second sentence ought to begin with “It was made crystal clear by the prosecution at the trial, and by Judge Jones cribbing from the ACLU brief for the most part, that they wanted the public to believe that ID…”.

    To refute your allegations takes a long time, hence a whole book and several articles have been published about it to date. I have only begun to make a dent in how wrong you are here, but you could speed up the process by going over various statements I have made in this blog to that effect, and trying to deal with them.

    You could begin by addressing the following comment, which you failed to quote from the post to which you are replying:

    in one instance I quoted a secondary source for what the testimony revealed. If “tomh” believes the description is inaccurate, he is free to look up the actual transcript and see what was actually said, and report back to us on what he found.

    I suspect, though, that such a course of action was the furthest thing from his mind when he posted the three sentences above.

    I hope that clears it up for you.

    Yes, it begins to verify the suspicion I had “voiced” in my last paragraph quoted above. Would you like to continue verifying it?

  258. #258 Peter Nyikos
    February 20, 2012

    Thank you for including an url to the “kelosophy blogspot,” Kel. Is it named after your surname (“last name”), your given name (“first name”), or what? You’ve inspired me to fill in the “URL” space in the headers with the one for my own home page at the Department of Mathematics here at the original USC. So my name should appear in blue instead of gray at the bottom of this post.

    You wrote:

    The continual legislation efforts – whether they be explicit endorsements of various forms of creationism, or weakening of evolution through strategies like “only a theory” – pre and post Dover are examples of political attacks by creationists on the teaching of evolution.

    (Wedge document? What’s that?)

    FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES: 6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory
    ;)

    That was a recklessly optimistic and incredibly naive bit that Phillip Johnson repudiated in an interview in the Spring 2006 issue of The Berkeley Science Review:

    “I considered [Dover] a loser from the start,” Johnson begins.
    “Where you have a board member writing a statement and telling
    the teachers to repeat it to the class, I thought that was a
    very bad idea.” The jaw drops further when he continues:

    I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design
    at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the
    Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully
    worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that is
    comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific
    people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are
    quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No
    product is ready for competition in the educational world.

    http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/read/spring-2006/
    p33
    By the way, some people are under the impression that Johnson was the main author of the Wedge Document. Do you share this impression?

  259. #259 Kel
    February 20, 2012

    That was a recklessly optimistic and incredibly naive bit that Phillip Johnson repudiated in an interview in the Spring 2006

    So what? It doesn’t take away from the political advocacy of the Discovery Institute. If they’ve washed their hands of it now, good for them. Still waiting for the science…

    By the way, some people are under the impression that Johnson was the main author of the Wedge Document. Do you share this impression?

    I don’t particularly care whether Johnson was the main author or not. I just pointed out that the Discovery Institute in its goals had political ambitions in mind. It doesn’t really matter whether or not Johnson authored it.

  260. #260 Peter Nyikos
    February 20, 2012

    So what? It doesn’t take away from the political advocacy of the Discovery Institute. If they’ve washed their hands of it now, good for them. Still waiting for the science…

    I’m not sure where they stand on political advocacy, but I get the impression that, for the time being, they are focusing on just encouraging public school teachers to inform themselves of the weaknesses of the current neo-Darwinian synthesis (as augmented by insight into punctuated equilibrium by Gould and others), and to pass what they found on to their classes where they teach about evolution.

    I get this impression from the website:

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1453

    As to the science, I’ve seen a claim that they are now up to 50 papers in peer-reiviewed journals; see the following site:

    http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

    Disclaimer 1: I haven’t had a chance to read the aoove site, much less verify what it says.

    Disclaimer 2: Despite what you may have read from numerous posts by anonymous jerks (“dummy-analogues”) I am not in the business of defending most or all of what any of the following have done: Behe, Dembski, Johnson, the Discovery Insitute (DI). I am a foe of creationism in any of its usual forms, because I am convinced of the truth of common descent of all earth organisms from a few kinds of unicellular organisms.

    I am here just to counterbalance some of the rabid and often unjust attacks being made on Behe and the DI (and also on myself) here. I am not sufficiently familiar with the works of either Dembski or the creationists to do anything except ask for clarifications of negative comments about them.

    Disclaimer 3: I am not a fan of the scientific side of ID except where it has to do with directed panspermia. If, you, unlike “Owlmirror,” are sincerely interested in what I have to say about it, I’ll give some urls for a few especially detailed Usenet articles I have done on it, and gladly discuss THEM with you here. Like so many anonymous folks in Usenet, the ones here seem to have a phobia of clicking on links.

  261. #261 Peter Nyikos
    February 21, 2012

    I wrote:

    In fact, I am one of only TWO non-creationists and non-spammers who is making a serious attempt to revive and keep alive the Usenet newsgroup sci.bio.paleontology.

    to which the “Owlmirror” response was:

    Pardon me if I find this somewhat underwhelming.

    and I replied:

    Is that because you are far less interested in science for the sake of science, than in science for the sake of creationist-bashing?

    to which the reply was:

    Actually, it’s because I know of other forums where palaeontology is in fact discussed, often with the interested commentary of other palaeontologists.

    I am unaware of any besides the Dinosaur Mailing List. And I am interested in all areas of paleontology, especially mammalian. If anyone reading this knows of a more general forum, I would be grateful for information.

    Otherwise, I will continue my crusade at sci.bio.paleontology with renewed vigor, until such a day as I learn of some suitable alternative.

  262. #262 NJ
    February 21, 2012

    PN@262:

    If anyone reading this knows of a more general forum, I would be grateful for information.

    Paleolist:

    http://two.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/paleolist

  263. #263 tomh
    February 21, 2012

    Peter Nyikos wrote:
    by Judge Jones cribbing from the ACLU brief for the most part

    “cribbing?” This merely shows your unfamiliarity with the American legal system. Perhaps you’re from another part of the world. In the US, the judge’s job, in a case like this, is to study the briefs from both sides, listen to the testimony, and decide which side more closely conforms to the law. In his decision the judge will often quote, sometimes in their entirety, from the briefs and legal arguments of the side he considers correct. There is nothing unethical, as you seem to be trying to imply, in doing so.

    As to the science, I’ve seen a claim that they are now up to 50 papers in peer-reiviewed journals

    The claim is false. The majority of these papers do not mention ID at all. The Discovery Institute has latched on to any anti-evolution paper and makes the vague claim that such papers “endorse basic ID arguments”, even though ID is not mentioned. There is no positive evidence for ID in any of these papers. Further proof that there is no science behind ID, simply deception.

    I am not a fan of the scientific side of ID except where it has to do with directed panspermia.

    There is no scientific side to ID – after 20 years their entire argument consists of; things are just too complex to have evolved, they must be designed. Arguments from incredulity are not science.

  264. #264 Kel
    February 21, 2012

    I’m not sure where they stand on political advocacy, but I get the impression that, for the time being, they are focusing on just encouraging public school teachers to inform themselves of the weaknesses of the current neo-Darwinian synthesis

    Yes, and the Discovery Institute can be relied on to give an impartial and accurate assessment… That’s still political advocacy, just a much more subtle and subversive strategy!

  265. #265 Peter Nyikos
    March 24, 2012
    PN@262:

    If anyone reading this knows of a more general forum, I would be grateful for information.

    Paleolist:

    http://two.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/paleolist

    Posted by: NJ | February 21, 2012 12:22 PM

    Thank you for this information, NJ. I’ve subscribed to the list. So far the activity seems to be rather low, but it’s better than nothing.

    I’m sorry to be over a month late in acknowledging your help. I’ve been very busy in other forums, including Panda’s Thumb where I have given the most important features of my hypothesis of directed panspermia:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2012/02/springer-gets-s.html#comment-panels

    I ran into the same kind of mindless hostility there as here, but I seem to have shamed my most vocal critic into silence.

    Also, I have been very active in talk.origins, and last week I started a thread in abiogenesis, especially the riddle of the protein takeover:

    http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/e6c521b83b315961

    The folks over there have gotten to know me better over the years, and the static has been muted and sporadic.

  266. #266 Meshx86
    earth
    July 11, 2012

    regarding science if you are of that type, If Darwin was correct and there is no creation, and its all about evelution, how come the one cell/cells from which we descended survived the amount heat and Enerygy of the big bang “theory” in which me as a muslim believes in?

    More over how, how come a living that evovles came out of rocks or chemicals in the periodic table ?

    If that is possible, why cant “scientists ” creat a from scratch biological cell.. that evolves ! they cant do that unless they take from another being!

    Science is good, but Science cant proove or explain everything !

    Can anybody answer me?

  267. #267 wow
    July 11, 2012

    The big bang occurred 10 billion years before the earth first cooled enough to form stable life forms.

    Given you sre so wrong on such a simple point, why don’t you go and read some facts about science.