ID’s Demise, Revisited

I have a general policy of not blogging when I’m on the road, but I couldn’t resist poking my head up to call your attention to this article, by Paul Wallace, over at HuffPo. Follow the link to see why…

Comments

  1. #1 AL
    January 2, 2012

    From the article: The universe has been designed; therefore it must be comprehensible.

    Really, it’s far more parsimonious to assign comprehension as an ability of a brain than to assign comprehensibility as an intrinsic property of the entire universe.

  2. #2 pough
    January 3, 2012

    Can’t resist… lull of materialism… have… no… strong bulwark!

  3. #3 Owlmirror
    January 3, 2012

    Really, it’s far more parsimonious to assign comprehension as an ability of a brain than to assign comprehensibility as an intrinsic property of the entire universe.

    That reminds me of something I’ve seen posted about the argument from design, in its most general form:

    Because matter has no goals or intentions of its own, the logical explanation for the fact that matter seems to behave “as if” it is being driven to an end, is that this apparent teleology is an artifact of the human mind which is doing the interpreting. This is the simplest solution to the disconnect. The goals and intentions are being read into a situation. What you are seeing at work is not the Mind of God — it’s the mind of man. Your own mind. Both you, and Aquinas, are anthropomorphizing nature, and have mistaken yourselves, for God.

    Sastra

  4. #4 cwfong
    January 3, 2012

    So no more silly self adaptive mutation designing either, right?

  5. #5 JimV
    January 3, 2012

    One has to wonder (well, at least I do), if it wasn’t really reason and evidence rather than religious faith which led Kepler to reject special acts of creation as an explanation (regardless of how he stated his opinion in socially acceptable terms). I can see the worthlessness of “god did it” as an explanation, and Kepler was smarter than I am. On the other hand, I have the benefit of knowing a lot more about all the natural mechanisms which explain things like novas. Still, I don’t see a lot of merit in (to paraphrase), “The universe is comprehensible, therefore god.” Who says the universe is comprehensible? It isn’t to a chimpanzee, and there, but for the grace of evolution, go I.

  6. #6 Dr. I. Needtob Athe
    January 4, 2012

    Accommodationism vs. fundamentalism: the semi-rational position vs. the completely irrational position.

    Wallace says that religious people (have) a context that allows them to take science seriously but not too seriously. My view is that he takes science seriously but not seriously enough.

  7. #7 formicidaefantasy
    January 9, 2012

    @JimV:

    “Who says the universe is comprehensible? It isn’t to a chimpanzee, and there, but for the grace of evolution, go I.”
    Although the universe may not be comprehensible to a chimpanzee, we must accept that it is comprehensible by at least humans – otherwise, what good is our rational thinking? I would say that every scientist implicitly says that the universe is comprehensible.

    FF

  8. #8 dsdquilts
    January 9, 2012

    Jason, keep up the good fight, we need you.

  9. #9 chas
    January 10, 2012

    Just trying to catch up on evolution ——–

    Been wondering how did evolution start? Put a little differently, what did we evolve from?

    Anybody know?

  10. #10 mikel
    January 10, 2012

    Evolution began when the chemistry of the early Earth produced entities that could replicate themselves but not always perfectly. Variants that were better at replicating had more “offspring” than those that were less adept. Continue for 3+ billion years and here we are. (Some details omitted for concision.) As for the second question it matters who the we in the question are. If human is meant then Homo sapiens evolved from something H. erectus-ish which in turn evolved from something H. habilus-y etc.. If all modern life is meant then the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) was a prokaryote (a population of prokaryotes actually) that lived more than 2 billion years ago.

  11. #11 chas
    January 10, 2012

    But, I meant do we know how we evolved from nonliving to living beings. Because I assume we have not always been living things.

  12. #12 mikel
    January 11, 2012

    Your vocabulary word for the day is abiogenesis. That link should be enough to get you started. Briefly, we don’t know a whole lot about it. It is an event that occurred about 3.5 billion years ago plus or minus a few hundred million years under conditions that are poorly understood and that left little or no trace of its occurrence in today’s rocks (no fossils obviously). That doesn’t mean it’s insoluble, just very challenging. Personally, I expect enough progress in my lifetime (I’m 53) to cause creationists to shift from bringing up the subject whenever they can to changing the subject whenever it’s brought up. We’ll see.

  13. #13 chas
    January 11, 2012

    Sounds like nobody knows what we evolved from or how evolution started.

  14. #14 MobiusKlein
    January 11, 2012

    It is possible that we will never decisively and specifically know the earliest history of life on Earth. Too much evidence may have been purged. This however would not prove creationism true in any way.

    “We don’t know” therefore “God” is no kind of proof.

  15. #15 Wow
    January 11, 2012

    “Sounds like nobody knows what we evolved from or how evolution started.”

    Nobody knows how the sun got started either.

    Doesn’t mean that hot burny thing doesn’t exist.

  16. #16 eric
    January 11, 2012

    Chas: “Sounds like nobody knows what we evolved from or how evolution started.”

    In some ways yes, in some ways, no. Pretty much every non-creationist scientist is going to agree we evolved from more basic organic molecules, since organic molecules make up an overwhelming amount of what life is, and because they have been shown to form in nature. AFAIK, nobody is claiming the first replicators were silicon-based or anything else.

    And “how evolution started” is a wierd question. The process of descent with modification via natural selection didn’t need anything to invent it per se – its a consequence of having imperfect replicators competing over resources. Asking how that started is like asking how falling started – its a consequence of mass and gravity. How did the first replicators arise out of nonreplicating precursors, and what did those replicators look like – those are better questions.

  17. #17 heddle
    January 11, 2012

    Nobody knows how the sun got started either.

    Actually we have very good theories and models for stellar evolution and stellar lifecycle. You are only pedantically correct that we don’t “know” it.

  18. #18 chas
    January 11, 2012

    “Nobody knows how the sun got started either.”

    Ever heard of the “Big Bang”?

  19. #19 chas
    January 11, 2012

    “And “how evolution started” is a wierd question”

    But if you don’t know how Evolution started how do you know Evolution is not really Creation?

  20. #20 NJ
    January 11, 2012

    Also, nobody knows what Julius Caesar had for breakfast on the Ides of March. Therefore, how do we know that Rome really existed? {/snark}

  21. #21 Kevin
    January 11, 2012

    “before we come to [special] creation, which puts an end to all discussion, I think we should try everything else.” (Wallace quoting Kepler)

    Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity did not put an end to all discussion. On the contrary, it prompted arguments against it. The best argument against it would be evidence of the evolution of the human eye. In the absence of such evidence, what is wrong with offering an alternative, falsifiable hypothesis?

  22. #22 chas
    January 11, 2012

    “Also, nobody knows what Julius Caesar had for breakfast on the Ides of March. Therefore, how do we know that Rome really existed? {/snark”

    Does this mean that you can prove that what you call Evolution is in fact not really Creation?

  23. #23 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2012

    Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity did not put an end to all discussion. On the contrary, it prompted arguments against it. The best argument against it would be evidence of the evolution of the human eye. In the absence of such evidence, what is wrong with offering an alternative, falsifiable hypothesis?

    I may be misreading you, but it sounds like you’re trying to suggest that “ID” is falsifiable, and a scientific hypothesis.

    This is, quite simply, false.

  24. #24 eric
    January 11, 2012

    Chas: But if you don’t know how Evolution started how do you know Evolution is not really Creation?

    Because, as I said, the process of evolution is a consequence of imperfect replicators competing for resources.

    To put it another way: evolution started the moment organisms started replicating imperfectly, competing for resources, and reproducing at different rates, because that is what evolution is.

  25. #25 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2012

    But if you don’t know how Evolution started how do you know Evolution is not really Creation?

    It helps if you understand what words mean.

    This is what evolution means, roughly:

    — Individual organisms vary in character, one from another.

    — Some of that variation can be inherited by offspring of the individuals

    — More offspring are produced than survive.

    — The organisms that do survive, and reproduce themselves in turn, have inherited variation(s) that give them an advantage.

    That’s the basics, more or less. It leaves out huge amounts of details of genetics, and the differences in environment that make survival contingent on different variation, and different strategies than can give different advantages, and so on. But one of the above would have to be false in order to falsify evolution.

    So, how does not knowing exactly how it all got started magically change the above into “Creation”?

    What does “Creation” even mean?

  26. #26 chas
    January 11, 2012

    eric — “To put it another way: evolution started the moment organisms started replicating imperfectly, competing for resources, and reproducing at different rates, because that is what evolution is.”

    What organism’s? Where did they come from? Was it magic that one moment they were not living & the next moment they were living? To have evolution requires living matter. Yet at one point in time there was no living matter on Earth.

  27. #27 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2012

    What organism’s? Where did they come from?

    Did you follow the link at comment number 12 above?

    Was it magic that one moment they were not living & the next moment they were living?

    Is it magic when plants grow in the sun? Is it magic when you eat the plants, and grow yourself?

    Yet at one point in time there was no living matter on Earth.

    This is true. But living matter is made of non-living matter.

  28. #28 chas
    January 11, 2012

    “So, how does not knowing exactly how it all got started magically change the above into “Creation”?

    What does “Creation” even mean?”

    So what does Evolution really mean? That living things have & are changing? But, it has not answered the only real question – evolved from what? If we have evolved we must have evolved from something. What?

    Creation means a Creator. And until you are able to prove what we evolved from you cannot scientifically rule out a Creator.

  29. #29 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2012

    If we have evolved we must have evolved from something. What?

    How far back do you want to go, anyway?

    There’s a book called The Ancestor’s Tale, by Richard Dawkins, which discusses what humans “evolved from”, going back pretty far. It’s a very thick book, though, and very involved. I’m not sure that it’s for you.

    Did you follow the link at number 12 yet?

    Creation means a Creator.

    And what’s a Creator? Can you give an example? Where did it come from?

    And until you are able to prove what we evolved from you cannot scientifically rule out a Creator.

    You need to to define it a little more rigorously, and explain what it even is, before you get to even suggesting that this whatever-it-is be ruled in.

  30. #30 chas
    January 12, 2012

    Seems to me that you are going to have to be able to explain how living things evolved from nonliving matter before you can rule out a Creator.

  31. #31 Owlmirror
    January 12, 2012

    Seems to me that you are going to have to define what a Creator is and where it comes from, and why it’s even relevant at all.

  32. #32 chas
    January 12, 2012

    What does my ability to define the Creator have to do with your ability to rule The Creator, any Creator out? What if the Creator is simply beyond human comprehension?

  33. #33 Wow
    January 12, 2012

    > What if the Creator is simply beyond human comprehension?

    What if it doesn’t exist?

    Far more likely, isn’t it.

    After all, you can’t see nothing, you can’t test the effect of nothing and can’t see nothing’s null effect on anything, therefore a nonexistent God would be completely impossible to detect by science or inquiry and would likewise never be caught making miracles happen.

    I therefore propose that God is nonexistent, since this is completely in accord with NOMA.

  34. #34 Wow
    January 12, 2012

    “But if you don’t know how Evolution started how do you know Evolution is not really Creation?”

    If you don’t know what your creator is, how do you know that your Creator isn’t really potato salad?

  35. #35 eric
    January 12, 2012

    And until you are able to prove what we evolved from you cannot scientifically rule out a Creator.

    This is sounding extremely familiar.

    Well, first, science rarely ‘rules out’ anything. It reaches tentative conclusions about the best explanation for observations. Science’s current best explanation is always subject to change based on future evidence. Right now the best explanation we have is terrestrial abiogenesis. However, science will replace that hypothesis with another one when someone collects more solid evidence for some other hypothesis. If you have an alternative hypothesis and evidence supporting it, please, share it with us.

    Secondly, while you are right that science does not rule out a creator, there is no scientific reason to prefer one over any other. Therefore Zeus, therefore Visnu, therefore Yahweh, they are all “not ruled out” in exactly the same manner. When you come to understand why ‘not ruled out’ is not a good enough reason for you to believe in Vedic creationism, you may understand why the rest of us find it not a good enough reason to believe in Biblical creationism.

  36. #36 Wow
    January 12, 2012

    “18

    “Nobody knows how the sun got started either.”

    Ever heard of the “Big Bang”?”

    Yes.

    And, unlike you, I know that the sun wasn’t started in the Big Bang, it’s a population I star, formed billions of years AFTER the decoupling era which itself was long after the Big Bang.

    And Big Bangs don’t produce suns. They produce space-time (universes).

    I guess you need to know what a word means, not just have heard it, hmm?

  37. #37 Wow
    January 12, 2012

    “Actually we have very good theories and models for stellar evolution and stellar lifecycle.”

    Actually, we’ve never seen one happen.

    We have very good theories and models for the evolution of life and, unlike stars, we can actually get hold of one and examine it closely, and record many lifetimes of such organisms.

    We haven’t even known that the stars were suns long enough to see one evolve.

    Hence, to someone who proclaims their ignorance about evolution as being poorly understood, Stellar evolution is practically unknown in comparison.

    PS I note you didn’t bother correcting your fellow godbotherer re: Big Bang/Stellar creation.

  38. #38 Wow
    January 12, 2012

    “Secondly, while you are right that science does not rule out a creator, there is no scientific reason to prefer one over any other”

    There’s absolutely no need to rule one in, either.

    As Laplace (?) said: I had no need for that hypothesis.

    What, exactly, does a Creator do that you need to invent one for?

  39. #39 Raging Bee
    January 12, 2012

    Just trying to catch up on evolution

    That’s pretty much all chas needs to say. He doesn’t know squat, he’s asking lazy incoherent questions, ignoring the answers, and spouting non-sequiturs and pretending he’s the smartest guy on the thread, even after admitting he’s “trying to catch up.” Seriously, dude, read some books, and stop insisting every gap in your understanding means “God.”

    Serioously, how do you balance your checkbook? If you see a discrepancy in the numbers, do you automatically conclude it’s “God?”

  40. #40 Raging Bee
    January 12, 2012

    Seriously, I’m using the word “seriously” way too much. I seriously apologize.

  41. #41 heddle
    January 12, 2012

    Wow,

    PS I note you didn’t bother correcting your fellow godbotherer re: Big Bang/Stellar creation.

    Well, correcting your scientific illiteracy is sorta full-time.

  42. #42 Owlmirror
    January 12, 2012

    What does my ability to define the Creator have to do with your ability to rule The Creator, any Creator out?

    Science is based on what we do know about reality. It seeks answers in what is well-defined, and for which there is empirical evidence.

    Scientists studying the origin of life know that life is made of chemicals, and are looking at scenarios in which chemicals reactions that lead to the chemicals of life can occur.

    What if the Creator is simply beyond human comprehension?

    If you don’t know what it is, and posit that no-one can know what it is, then why are you even bringing it up?

  43. #43 Wow
    January 12, 2012

    “Well, correcting your scientific illiteracy is sorta full-time.”

    Hah! Since you’re completely incompetent to do that, I suppose, for you, it IS a “full time” job.

  44. #44 chas
    January 12, 2012

    I amazed at all the self proclaimed intelligence on this thread, yet no one knows how life was created.

  45. #45 Owlmirror
    January 12, 2012

    I amazed at all the self proclaimed intelligence on this thread, yet no one knows how life was created.

    I guess you’re conceding that you have no interest in discussing the issue with any intellectual honesty at all.

  46. #46 ildi
    January 12, 2012

    Is chas completing his assignment for Liberty University? What is the required word count?

  47. #47 eric
    January 12, 2012

    I amazed at all the self proclaimed intelligence on this thread, yet no one knows how life was created.

    I’d welcome you telling us your testable hypothesis for how life was created.

    Until we have solid evidence for one source or another, we must rank the various hypotheses we have by how consistent they are with what we do observe – i.e. based on the evidence we have at hand.

    We do observe organic chemical reactions producing macromolecules. We don’t observe living critters in meteorites. We don’t observe intelligent alien agents producing life. So, therefore, we rank organic abiogenesis as more likely than either panspermia or intelligent agency.

  48. #48 Owlmirror
    January 12, 2012

    I’d welcome you telling us your testable hypothesis for how life was created.

    Going by what has been written by “chas” so far, the thesis — hardly a testable or a scientific hypothesis — seems to be something along the lines that: We can’t rule out that something that cannot be defined and may not be definable maybe did something.

  49. #49 chas
    January 12, 2012

    Its certainly not incomprehensible that there is a creator out there that hasn’t given humans the intelligence to define our creator & what the creator did & is doing.

  50. #50 Owlmirror
    January 12, 2012

    Its certainly not incomprehensible that there is a creator out there that hasn’t given humans the intelligence to define our creator & what the creator did & is doing.

    This is incoherent mystical bafflegab. Just because you’re confused and unwilling to address your own confusion is no reason to barf your confused ideas out repeatedly. I get that you’re confused. I get that you aren’t interested in learning anything. I get that you aren’t interested in figuring out how you’re confused.

    You can stop repeating your confusion now. You fulfilled your assignment: you posted your pathetic argument from ignorance; you refuse to engage in discussion of your multiple logical fallacies.

    I’m sure you’re very proud of yourself. But isn’t that enough?

  51. #51 chas
    January 12, 2012

    Tell us again how you evolved from nonliving matter.

  52. #52 chas
    January 12, 2012

    And how long had nonliving matter existed before it evolved into living matter?

  53. #53 Owlmirror
    January 12, 2012

    Tell us again how you evolved from nonliving matter.

    Your brain is in fact made of nonliving matter.

    And how long had nonliving matter existed before it evolved into living matter?

    Your nonliving brain can’t handle a number that large.

  54. #54 mikel
    January 13, 2012

    And how long had nonliving matter existed before it evolved into living matter?

    Somewhere between 9 and 10 billion years. Why do you ask?

  55. #55 Kevin
    January 13, 2012

    “I may be misreading you, but it sounds like you’re trying to suggest that “ID” is falsifiable, and a scientific hypothesis.

    This is, quite simply, false.”

    The following hypothesis has been offered as a response to Behe (and has been attributed to Jerry Coyne, writing in the New Republic):
    “Thus our eyes did not suddenly appear as full-fledged camera eyes, but evolved from simpler eyes…in ancestral species…. A possible sequence of such changes begins with pigmented eye spots (as seen in flatworms), followed by an invagination of the skin to form a cup protecting the eyespot and allowing it to better localize the image (as in limpets), followed by a further narrowing of the cup’s opening to produce an improved image (the nautilus), followed by the evolution of a protective transparent cover to protect the opening (ragworms), followed by coagulation of part of the fluid in the eyeball into a lens to help focus the light (abalones), followed by the co-opting of nearby muscles to move the lens and vary the focus (mammals). The evolution of a retina, an optic nerve, and so on would follow by natural selection…. And each step of this process is exemplified by the eye of a different living species.”

    Behe’s hypothesis is falsifiable by the discovery of evidence of the evolution of the human eye. Coyne’s does not appear to be falsifiable, and, at least as stated above, is not supported by evidence.

    My point was that Behe’s theory clearly stimulated discussion, pace Wallace.

  56. #56 Owlmirror
    January 13, 2012

    Behe’s hypothesis is falsifiable by the discovery of evidence of the evolution of the human eye.

    No, actually it’s not.

    Behe’s notion — it’s not a hypothesis — is that something that is in addition to evolution happened. He doesn’t deny the fact of evolution, just the “mechanism” of some aspects of it.

    So in order to be falsifiable, he would have to specify exactly what that mechanism is, show that the mechanism has definitely occurred, and show that it specifically applies to the cases he claims it applies to. He hasn’t done that yet. All he’s done is make an argument from ignorance — that in the absence of knowledge of the specifics of some aspect of biology, his supposed mechanism happened. But an argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy, not a scientific hypothesis.

    Coyne’s does not appear to be falsifiable, and, at least as stated above, is not supported by evidence.

    Evolution is falsifiable, and has not been falsified, and is indeed supported by evidence. The fact that you have not studied evolutionary biology, and thus make the ludicrous claim that it isn’t supported by evidence, is your own argument from ignorance.

  57. #57 heddle
    January 13, 2012

    Somewhere between 9 and 10 billion years. Why do you ask?

    No, it is more like one billion years assuming, as is common but not universal, that life on earth started from scratch when the earth formed. And if you accept that the earth had to reach a certain stability and temperature, the correct answer is something closer to 0.4 billion years.

  58. #58 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Imagine, people who were poo-poohing the need for evidence a couple of threads below are all about evidence here. Only selectively so. So much for the principle of the uniformity of nature.

    Of course ID will go nowhere, it’s fundamentally a dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology. But it’s not the only such attempt that’s current in and around science, as can be seen all over this thread. Materialism does the same thing.

    As had to be pointed out a couple of threads down, there’s no reason that either one or another one has to be wrong and, therefore, the other absolutely right. Both of them could be wrong, and that’s not the only scenario possible. It’s possible for one or the other to contain some validity but to also contain anything from small inaccuracies to total nonsense. There is no uniformity of quality in academic fields, they’re only as good as the communities of scholars who comprise them make them at any given time.

    If you think creationism is a spent force in the culture just because ID has been successfully kept out of the public schools, you would be wrong. Primitive creationism that goes without sciency decor is probably been stronger than it’s been anytime during my lifetime. There has been nothing that has fed that more than the arrogance of materialists who arrogantly mock other peoples’ lives and minds while asserting their superiority. Proving that they’re really not all that smart, themselves.

  59. #59 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Oh, and about the Dover decision. It should give you folks some reason to meditate on the fact that it wasn’t science that kept ID out of the public schools, it was the LEGAL doctrine of the separation of church and state. That was something that was the product of a study of, then, recent history and the desire of the residents of the 13 states to be able to be whatever religion they wanted to be without strife and coercion, not science.

  60. #60 Wow
    January 13, 2012

    “No, it is more like one billion years assuming”

    No, it’s more like 9 or 10 billion years, since the earth did not form until somewhere around 7-9 billion years after the Big Bang. Add another billion or so to that for life to get started here.

    Correcting your science errors is a full time job, hedless.

  61. #61 Wow, God
    January 13, 2012

    “Imagine, people who were poo-poohing the need for evidence a couple of threads below are all about evidence here. Only selectively so.”

    Really?

    Where is your evidence for that selectivity?

    You seen to work in a world of blank assertion as proof, lunatic.

    “Materialism does the same thing.”

    What? Are you saying that material things do not exist?!?!?!

  62. #62 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Wow, you forget that it was pointed out that, among other things, Occam’s razor lacks scientific validity. It’s a maxim of logic that is merely found useful for some parts of logical analysis. I have never looked but I wonder if it’s ever been used as an excuse to exclude what was later found to be necessary in science, I can very easily imagine that happening. I once speculated that it became known as a “razor” because its unskilled use can lead to cutting out too much. And the sci-rangers of the Sci-blogs are as unskilled as any I’ve seen.

  63. #63 ildi
    January 13, 2012

    Formation of the Earth was approximately 4.57 Ga (4.57 billion years) ago.

    The oldest ancient fossil microbe-like objects are dated to be 3.5 Ga, approximately one billion years after the formation of the Earth itself.

  64. #64 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Oh, and, Wow, it might impress the sci-rangers but materialism is an ideology, not to be confused with material things. At least not by thinking people.

  65. #65 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    The oldest ancient fossil microbe-like objects are dated to be 3.5 Ga, approximately one billion years after the formation of the Earth itself. ildi

    Are those the rocks that were asserted to be fossilized organisms but were without resolvable detail and were hardly the subject of uniform agreement? Unless they contain resolvable details, whatever those mean is unknowable. As the “Martian” squigglies in those rocks NASA paraded out in the 1990s could teach, even when you can see detail it’s not always clear what they mean.

    I believe the origin of life on Earth will never be known because the necessary evidence was either destroyed in the lost past or if it exists it will never be found in the enormous hay pile its hidden in. Better to work on continuing life into the future, something that’s plausibly achievable.

  66. #66 Wow
    January 13, 2012

    “The oldest ancient fossil microbe-like objects are dated to be 3.5 Ga, approximately one billion years after the formation of the Earth itself”

    Which was then a lot sooner than the 13+ Billion years currently accepted as “the best guess” of the age of the universe.

    “Better to work on continuing life into the future, something that’s plausibly achievable.”

    Well, eventually you say something useful and reasonable.

    “it might impress the sci-rangers but materialism is an ideology”

    Nope, material things really exist.

    Really.

    No, they really exist.

    If you ever feel the need to check on this, try throwing yourself off something tall and check whether the material ground really exists.

  67. #67 Wow
    January 13, 2012

    “wow, you forget that it was pointed out that, among other things, Occam’s razor lacks scientific validity.”

    AMC, you forget that assertion is not proof of truth.

    You also forget that this doesn’t change a damn thing.

    “I have never looked but I wonder if it’s ever been used as an excuse to exclude what was later found to be necessary in science”

    Ignoramus.

    Google “the cosmological constant”.

    However, why does that make your fantasy real?

    Answer: It doesn’t.

  68. #68 eric
    January 13, 2012

    AMC

    It should give you folks some reason to meditate on the fact that it wasn’t science that kept ID out of the public schools, it was the LEGAL doctrine of the separation of church and state.

    Actually, it was both. Jones was asked by the defense – the ID supporters themselves – to rule on whether ID was science, so he did. Pages 64-89 of his ruling. He ruled that it wasn’t.

    In US law, a subject can have religious content/implications and still be taught if there is a secular reason for teaching it; that is the first prong of Lemon. In this case, if Jones had ruled that ID was science, it wouldn’t matter that people saw it as evidence for God, it would’ve passed the first prong of the Lemon test regardless. But the Judge did not find ID to be science, and so could find no legitimate secular reason to teach it in science class.

    So it’s ID’s non-science nature that is, in part, keeping it out of schools. If it were scientific AND religious, it could be taught.

    (ID also failed the other two parts of the Lemon test, which is why I said above that it’s both.)

  69. #69 eric
    January 13, 2012

    Chas

    Tell us again how you evolved from nonliving matter.

    The explanation best supported by the evidence we have today is through the development of complex organic macromolecules which eventually become auto-catalytic and therefore reproducing. Formation of organic molecules, polymerization, auto-catalysis; all of these things are observed. All occur.

    If you have a different explanation with evidence backing it up, feel free to mention it. Our current explanation is subject to revision if you really have some novel observation to add to the conversation.

    And how long had nonliving matter existed before it evolved into living matter?

    Different folks seem to be counting differently, above. Our current best estimates are that the universe is approximately 13.75 billion years old. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Life is approximately 3.5 billion years old.

    All of this information is freely available in multiple science text books and the internet. What is your point in quizzing us about factoids of science? What argument are you trying to make?

    It is constantly baffling to me how people will imply the “you don’t know…therefore Jesus” argument, yet not be willing to state it plainly. If you believe its a legitimate argument, why not just state it plainly? And if you don’t, why use it? If even you find it unconvincing when its stated plainly, whatever makes you think we will find some more obtuse form of it convincing?

  70. #70 Wow
    January 13, 2012

    ID, being creationism and therefore not science, also would not have gotten into a school SCIENCE class even if there were no separation of church and state.

    Ever thought about why ID isn’t being pushed in, for example, UK schools, AMC?

    Because it won’t displace science teaching.

  71. #71 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    I’ve posted the comment to eric and wow that is in moderation here.

    http://thinkingcriminalslair.blogspot.com/

  72. #72 chas
    January 13, 2012

    “Tell us again how you evolved from nonliving matter.

    Your brain is in fact made of nonliving matter.

    And how long had nonliving matter existed before it evolved into living matter?

    Your nonliving brain can’t handle a number that large.”

    Looks like you don’t know much about how you evolved from nonliving matter. Seems like all you know much about is how life has changed since then. And this is what you call your “theory of evolution”. And this is what you’re trying to use to disprove Creation & ID with? Lots of luck.

  73. #73 mikel
    January 13, 2012
    Looks like you don’t know much about how you evolved from nonliving matter. Seems like all you know much about is how life has changed since then. And this is what you call your “theory of evolution”.

    Er… yes that, how life has changed from its beginnings, is pretty much all that the Theory of Evolution deals with.

    And this is what you’re trying to use to disprove Creation & ID with? Lots of luck.

    Evolution is nobody’s attempt to disprove creation and ID is discredited by being an utterly empty burlesque of science.

  74. #74 Richard Simons
    January 13, 2012

    and this is what you’re trying to use to disprove Creation & ID with? Lots of luck.

    Creation and ID are not disprovable until they make specific predictions. There are specific predictions that can be made from the biblical story of creation and the flood and they have been falsified. The concept of creation in general makes no predictions and is therefore neither falsifiable nor a theory. ID makes no predictions and is likewise neither falsifiable nor a theory. They are both completely superfluous to gaining an understanding of the origins and diversity of life.

  75. #75 JimV
    January 13, 2012

    @FF (#7)

    “Although the universe may not be comprehensible to a chimpanzee, we must accept that it is comprehensible by at least humans – otherwise, what good is our rational thinking? I would say that every scientist implicitly says that the universe is comprehensible.
    FF”

    (Sorry for the delay in response, this post had no further comments for several days, so I stopped checking it.)

    What good is training for the 100-meter dash, if no unassisted human will ever break 9 seconds flat? We do the best we can, and hope springs eternal, but there is no guarantee that humans will ever understand the universe, and I think most scientists would agree. We do not appear to have reached our limit yet, fortunately, but in my opinion there is one. (There is one for me, certainly.)

  76. #76 formicidaefantasy
    January 13, 2012

    @JimV,

    Certainly there is no guarantee that humans will ever understand all of the universe, but I think we can say, at this point, that it is largely comprehensible. The theory of evolution is ultimately based on the principle that the development of life is comprehensible. Astrophysics is based on the principle that the movements of astronomical bodies throughout the universe are comprehensible. The field of medicine requires that the human body is comprehensible. While the reasoning behind, as you paraphrase, “The universe is comprehensible, therefore God” is obviously flawed in lacking some crucial steps, the initial claim that the universe is comprehensible is overall sound. To say otherwise comes across, ironically, like part of a “God-of-the-gaps” statement: We cannot, in modern times, comprehend parts of the universe, therefore the universe must be incomprehensible.

  77. #77 Owlmirror
    January 13, 2012

    [take 3, pt1]

    We do not appear to have reached our limit yet, fortunately, but in my opinion there is one. (There is one for me, certainly.)

    I don’t see the statement “the universe is comprehensible” as implying that humans have no limits in comprehending, but rather that the universe is comprehensible in principle. The universe is coherent, not arbitrary.

  78. #78 Owlmirror
    January 13, 2012

    [take 3 pt2]

    Even if we hit a practical limit in our ability to comprehend, that wouldn’t mean that what lies beyond that limit is incoherent or arbitrary.

  79. #79 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    “The universe is comprehensible, therefore God” is obviously flawed in lacking some crucial steps, the initial claim that the universe is comprehensible is overall sound. To say otherwise comes across, ironically, like part of a “God-of-the-gaps” statement: We cannot, in modern times, comprehend parts of the universe, therefore the universe must be incomprehensible.

    My, the ironies, in view of what was being asserted here just a couple of days ago, just keep coming.

    I wouldn’t endorse that argument about the existence of God, though it’s no more nonsensical than “there are 10^500 entirely unprovable, unverifiable, universes with just enough of them having no life to make it a random chance that the one and only one we really know is there”, therefore, no God.

    Perhaps God’s got other things in mind than whether or not one of the minor details, the human species, comprehends the universe. Which would account for why we don’t comprehend the universe. Not even close. Though that’s a speculation and not knowledge.

  80. #80 A
    January 13, 2012

    Ever thought about why ID isn’t being pushed in, for example, UK schools, AMC wow

    Maybe you should read The Guardian more often, wow.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/19/scientists-demand-guidelines-creationism-schools

    Imagine a stater knowing that when you don’t.

  81. #81 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Hey, how did my name get cut off in that last comment?

  82. #82 eric
    January 13, 2012

    AMC:

    “there are 10^500 entirely unprovable, unverifiable, universes with just enough of them having no life to make it a random chance that the one and only one we really know is there”, therefore, no God.

    Complete straw man. I challenge you to cite one person making that argument, with that conclusion.

    Atheists very often make the point that God is not needed to explain what we see – i.e. it is a superfluous hypothesis and thus should be disregarded as a source of some observable. But this is not the same as saying it is proven not to exist.

    And sometimes atheists will say that the observed state of the universe is inconsistent with a particular view of God. Jason, for example, has said several times that he thinks the bloodsport required by evolution is inconsistent with the classic benevolent view of Christianity.

    But I haven’t heard any person, ever, use the argument: ‘finding of science [x], therefore, no God exists.’

  83. #83 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Don’t you know the rule, eric, the first person to say “straw man” loses.

    And sometimes atheists will say that the observed state of the universe is inconsistent with a particular view of God. eric

    Uh, huh, eric. I’m seeing that said aaaalll the time on the Scienceblogs. All the time. There’s no rule about the second one to say “straw man”. But the term got ruined by overuse on the blogs. It means nothing anymore.

    If God did make the universe there would be no particular observed state of the universe that could be inconsistent with a particular view of the universe. Of course, there is no way that the idea of God could be honestly inserted into science because there would be no way to do it honestly.

  84. #84 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    there would be no particular observed state of the universe that could be inconsistent with God

    Damn, where’s my Fresnel?

  85. #85 Owlmirror
    January 13, 2012

    Don’t you know the rule, eric, the first person to say “straw man” loses. [...] It means nothing anymore.

    Clearly, Anthony McCarthy is playing a game inside his head called “I am always right times infinity forever!!!!!” And of course, he makes all the rules up as necessary to make sure that he’s always right (times infinity forever!!!!!).

    Calling him on a logical fallacy is cheating, by his rules. Logical fallacies are only made by those who aren’t him, and anything that isn’t agreement with him is logical fallacy anyway. You’re not allowed to use words that Anthony McCarthy doesn’t like. That’s an automatic lose. Words only mean what Anthony McCarthy means, at the time that he uses them, and he doesn’t ever have to define them or clarify them. Asking for a definition is also an automatic lose (except for Anthony McCarthy). Anything that isn’t grovelling agreement with Anthony McCarthy is an automatic lose. Any rules not specified are made up by Anthony McCarthy as necessary. No one is allowed to win except Anthony McCarthy. Everyone loses except Anthony McCarthy.

  86. #86 eric
    January 13, 2012

    If God did make the universe there would be no particular observed state of the universe that could be inconsistent with a particular view of the universe.

    So, design by deity is consistent with any observation. That makes it not scientific.

    Of course, there is no way that the idea of God could be honestly inserted into science because there would be no way to do it honestly.

    And now you pretty much admit its not scientific. So why are you here? What you do want science to do about a concept you readily admit is consistent with anything and can’t be inserted into science?

    What do you want scientists to do about your ideas?

  87. #87 Owlmirror
    January 13, 2012

    So, design by deity is consistent with any observation. That makes it not scientific.

    Yes, but he’s fine with it not being scientific, because science isn’t everything, and science gets things wrong, and science changes, and … blah blah blah.

    What do you want scientists to do about your ideas?

    He wants to sneer at people for “scientism”, and for “materialism”.

    That’s all he’s every wanted.

    And his ultimate goal is to win times infinity forever!!!!!

  88. #88 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    Owlmirror, of course it couldn’t be that materialism and scientism are fairly easily challenged superstitions and therefore the scientistic materialists are generally wrong, could it.

    I’m not the one who is always screaming “logical fallacy” in these discussions, that’s the sci-ranger way. Go back to that last thread about “a follow up thread about scientism ” and do a word search for “fallacy” and see who used it more than anyone else, I seem to find that “Owlmirror” used it almost all of the times it was used. It was like you thought you had a copy rite on the word.

    I used it when I said to you:

    Elucidate your point about me committing the fallacy of “argument from ignorance”, when I was citing ignorance as a reason for people not knowing something.

    I don’t think I used it again in the entire thread of 600 posts.

  89. #89 Anthony McCarthy
    January 13, 2012

    And now you pretty much admit its not scientific.
    eric

    Good Lord, eric, I’ve been saying it from about the first time one of you started going on about using science to do in God. You’re the ones who want science to do what you want despite it not being made for that.

    So why are you here?

    I’m a student of delusion among the scientistic materialists. It’s a little studied by massive phenomenon. A perpetual source of material.

  90. #90 chas
    January 13, 2012

    “They are both completely superfluous to gaining an understanding of the origins and diversity of life.”

    Might mention one small detail —- NOBODY KNOWS the origin of life.

  91. #91 eric
    January 13, 2012

    AMC

    it couldn’t be that materialism and scientism are fairly easily challenged superstitions and therefore the scientistic materialists are generally wrong, could it.

    I don’t think you’ve ever even made an argument against them, let alone shown them to be generally wrong. Certainly not in this thread. Name the number of a comment in the earlier thread where you think you lay out your best and I’ll look at it.

    But, don’t bother if your argument consists of “science doesn’t know x.” That provides no support for spiritualism or other ways of knowing.

    Chas:

    Might mention one small detail —- NOBODY KNOWS the origin of life.

    What conclusion are we supposed to draw from this, Chas? Therefore Jesus? Out with it, man! You keep saying we don’t know this. Okay. Message received. We don’t know it. No need to repeat that again. Time to move your argument one step forward and tell us what comes next.

    …do you even HAVE a next step, or is that the sum total of your argument?

  92. #92 chas
    January 13, 2012

    “They are both completely superfluous to gaining an understanding of the origins and diversity of life.”

    If you don’t know the origin of life, how do you know that Creation & ID are superfluous to gaining an understanding?

  93. #93 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    Owlmirror, of course it couldn’t be that materialism and scientism are fairly easily challenged superstitions and therefore the scientistic materialists are generally wrong, could it.

    Indeed. Of course it couldn’t be. I agree, you win.

    I’m not the one who is always screaming “logical fallacy”

    You’re the one always screaming that materialism is “superstition” and “delusion”. You never stop screaming, and you never make a logically valid argument.

    You win again!

  94. #94 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    If you don’t know the origin of life, how do you know that Creation & ID are superfluous to gaining an understanding?

    No creationist and no IDiot has ever demonstrated the slightest hint of any interest in gaining an understanding of the origin of life. “Creation” and “ID” remain incoherent arguments from ignorance.

    We can’t rule out that something that cannot be defined and may not be definable maybe did something, and we can never know what.

  95. #95 chas
    January 14, 2012

    “maybe did something”

    Like created life?

  96. #96 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    Me:

    He wants to sneer at people for “scientism”, and for “materialism”.

    Anthony McCarthy:

    I’m a student of delusion among the scientistic materialists. It’s a little studied by massive phenomenon. A perpetual source of material.

    Clearly, my ability to predict the moves that he’ll make appears to be strongly correlated with his actual moves.

    Do I have a successful model of his game strategy?

    My next prediction is that he’ll double down.

  97. #97 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    “maybe did something”

    Like created life?

    I’m going to ask you to explain what you mean by “create”, and for that matter, what you think “life” is.

    I predict that you’ll avoid responding.

  98. #98 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    I don’t think you’ve ever even made an argument against them, let alone shown them to be generally wrong. Certainly not in this thread. eric

    Because it isn’t the topic of this thread. It was of the two threads where I pointed out that knowledge was to be had through history and courts, often with far greater evidence to support that knowledge than is to be had with science and so often far more certainly known than can often be said of even real science.

    If you want to go back to the doom of ID, I’ll be glad to point out again that one of the biggest strikes against it, the Dover decision would never have happened if it hadn’t been for the legal doctrine of the separation of church and state which had nothing to do with science and everything to do with the far more known facts of history and the person experience of wanting to follow whatever religion people happened to believe in without the molestation or coercion of the state.

    The knowledge of history at the time of its adoption in the late 18th century right up till today is what informs its adoption and retention, demonstrating in a practical way that scientism is false, science isn’t the sole means of obtaining valid, reliable knowledge. That’s a point that’s so clear that an atheist can understand it. If they’re not superstitious.

  99. #99 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    Owlmirror, 1. I don’t generally scream, my voice is far too low and old to scream effectively. 2. What a sore loser of a point. You must have realized I was right that it was, in fact, “Owlmirror” who was screaming “fallacy” all over the place whereas I only used it once to show that your claim that I’d committed one was, in fact, fallacious. 3. When you guys keep making the same mistaken, threadbare arguments, over and over again, it’s necessary for me to keep making the same refutations of them. 4. If the term hadn’t been destroyed by misuse and overuse by pseudo-skeptics and over aged blog adolescents, I’d have good reason to calmly and say “ad hominem” on this thread as I could have the last time you and eric panicked over what I said and resorted to personal attacks. But just poking fun at you when you do that is so much more fun.

  100. #100 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    No creationist and no IDiot has ever demonstrated the slightest hint of any interest in gaining an understanding of the origin of life. Owlmirror

    Of course they can’t understand the origin of life, no one can because how that really happened far more than three billion years ago is not known. You can’t understand it without evidence of what it was and the evidence of that is gone, never found, probably gone forever. The entire attempt to do that without the necessary evidence doesn’t produce reliable knowledge of that event, it only produces suppositions and guesses.

    My guess is that the attempt to understand the origin of life from the oldest evidence, almost certainly hundreds of millions of years after the origin of life, after hundreds of millions of years of evolution and who knows how many millions of more generations more than that, will lead to wildly inaccurate, inconclusive results. And that’s only of understanding what the earliest life was like, that might give you some ideas of how that first organism assembled – but it will not lead to only one theory of that – and it will not tell you much about the previous steps of how very large molecules actually formed in the absence of life in the actual conditions on the early Ear. Any attempt to do that in labs will not tell you how it actually happened those billions of years ago, it will only tell you how you can make molecules in a lab. Without the evidence to measure your conjectures against, you will have no means of verifying their accuracy at all. Not if the question is the actual origin of life on Earth instead of the creation of polemical junk.

  101. #101 Kevin
    January 14, 2012

    In reply to point 56, the principal criticism of ID theory seems to be that, when asked to explain the origin of an “irreducibly complex” system, the theorists’ response is “We don’t know”.

    Similarly, however, when asked to explain the origin of matter, proponents of evolutionary theory often reply, “We don’t know”.

    It is not immediately obvious why agnosticism is logically tolerable to a scientific worldview in one case and not the other.

    I mentioned that Coyne’s hypothesis does not appear to be falsifiable, and this met with no direct response, either denying that it is a hypothesis or pointing out how it is falsifiable.

    If “evolution” is falsifiable, is the eye excluded from the scope of “the cases that it applies to”?

    (I hope these specific questions will not be met with the logical fallacy of the appeal to prestige.)

  102. #102 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    It is not immediately obvious why agnosticism is logically tolerable to a scientific worldview in one case and not the other. Kevin

    Agnosticism isn’t a matter of a toleration, it’s a matter of not knowing and not knowing how you could come to know something. In the back and forth between the ID industry and materialists on this it’s lost that both of them want scientific validation of their extra-scientific beliefs, demanding that science do what it can’t do honestly. Science is forced into being agnostic when what’s being asked of it is beyond its abilities.

    A “scientific world view”, something that I don’t believe anyone really has because most of what people do and experience isn’t addressed or addressable by science, isn’t the same thing as science. Science is a far more circumspect thing. Not that you would know that from the pretenses of those who declare they hold a “scientific worldview”. Not anymore than the myriad of people who profess Christianity but from whose actions you would find it next to impossible to intuit the teachings of Jesus.

  103. #103 eric
    January 14, 2012

    Kevin:

    the principal criticism of ID theory seems to be that, when asked to explain the origin of an “irreducibly complex” system, the theorists’ response is “We don’t know”.

    IDers don’t say ‘we don’t know.’ They say intelligent design is inferred. Secondly, Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity was supposed to be a property which would be impossible to evolve. However, the definition had a flaw in it which makes IC possible to evolve. This was pointed out to him, he acknowledged the flaw, then never fixed it. So another complaint against ID is the concept that they used to rule out evolution, doesn’t. And yet a third complaint is that they keep using this flawed definition in argument, when they know it doesn’t support the conclusion they’re drawing from it (because Behe has admitted to knowing about the flaw). That’s dishonest.

    But if I had to choose a principal criticism, it is that ID is nothing but religious creationism whitewashed to get past the courts. This is shown by the fact that it arose out of creationist think tanks. And that the textbook produced by IDers to teach ID used the exact same definition of ‘creationism’ and ‘design.’ And that the authors simply did a cut-and-paste replacement of ‘creation’ for ‘design’ in their text after the courts ruled scientific creationism illegal. And that school board members such as the ones in Dover clearly understand that ID is a renaming of religious creationism and treat it as such. And that in every community across the country, whenever the subject of teaching ID comes up, defenders come out of the woodwork to talk about defending God and defending the biblical story of creation.

    Nobody buys the DI’s story that they are different things – not even the cdesign proponentists themselves.

  104. #104 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    In reply to point 56, the principal criticism of ID theory seems to be that, when asked to explain the origin of an “irreducibly complex” system, the theorists’ response is “We don’t know”.

    That’s not what an argument from ignorance is. It’s not just saying “we don’t know”; it’s saying “because no-one knows, our conclusion is correct”. This is not just ignorance; it’s arguing from ignorance to a presupposed conclusion — for which there is no evidence.

    ID is not a theory, because it has no methods and makes no predictions. ID offers no way to distinguish, using any method whatsoever, between actual “design”, and anything that is not designed. Indeed, some IDiots apparantly seem to think that everything is designed — which means that it’s impossible to distinguish between design and non-designed, because the latter doesn’t exist.

  105. #105 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    Similarly, however, when asked to explain the origin of matter, proponents of evolutionary theory often reply, “We don’t know”.

    But evolutionary biology has nothing in particular to do with the “origin of matter”! See comment #25.

    Why would the “origin of matter” even be relevant to evolutionary biology?

    Evolutionary biology makes its predictions from matter that already exists, and is alive.

    It is not immediately obvious why agnosticism is logically tolerable to a scientific worldview in one case and not the other.

    Evolutionary biologists are not making any claims that basically say “We don’t know the origin of matter, therefore evolutionary biology is correct”.

  106. #106 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    I mentioned that Coyne’s hypothesis does not appear to be falsifiable, and this met with no direct response, either denying that it is a hypothesis or pointing out how it is falsifiable.

    It’s based on knowledge of how eyes develop, what genes are involved in eye development, and the existence of multiple types of functioning eyes, all of which arise from genes that are in some respects similar, but are obviously not identical, in all animals.

    Each collection of scientific knowledge is falsifiable by showing how, exactly, it is wrong, and providing some new theory that explains what is already known better, and explains new things as well.

    So the theory of eye evolution would be falsified by some biologist learning everything there is to know about eyes, and then showing exactly how the current theory is wrong, and providing a new theory that explains everything about eyes better than the current theory, and makes predictions for what will be found in organisms with eyes that have not yet been examined.

    Yes, it’s a lot of work. But no-one said that falsification would be easy.

  107. #107 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    Why would the “origin of matter” even be relevant to evolutionary biology? Owlmirror

    I asked myself something like that when I read “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” which proves that even an atheist can have wacky ideas in that area.

    And remember that the next time we go round on materialism and the “brain only” dogma.

  108. #108 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    And just sayin’ but “falsifiability” isn’t a universally agreed to determinant of scientific validity. I seem to recall that for a time it led Popper to say that natural selection was tautological, until he recated under strong pressure.

  109. #109 chas
    January 14, 2012

    “I predict that you’ll avoid responding”

    I see now that you’re just into word games. Sorry, I don’t have time for meaningless crap.

  110. #110 chas
    January 14, 2012

    Sorry for being obnoxious —– you’re right.

  111. #111 mikel
    January 14, 2012

    Might mention one small detail —- NOBODY KNOWS the origin of life.

    You’re right chas, it is hypothetically posssible that maybe God perhaps could have possibly maybe made the first replicators. Since the fact that it can’t be logically be 100% ruled out is the only bit of evidence you have to support that notion, that seems to be a meager payoff for the few days you’ve been working that trivial point.

  112. #112 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    I see now that you’re just into word games.

    When scientists write papers on the origins of life, they go into the details of what they think happened, based on what is known about organic chemistry, and the chemicals that make up living organisms. Obviously, these are still incomplete, but the scientists are out there doing the work, and showing their work.

    If you refuse to go into any detail at all about what you mean by “create” and “life”, well, what am I supposed to conclude about what you mean by those terms, or your actual interest in the topic?

  113. #113 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    I don’t generally scream, my voice is far too low and old to scream effectively

    I’m not screaming either. I’m typing.

    You must have realized I was right that it was, in fact, “Owlmirror” who was screaming “fallacy”

    If I’m screaming by typing, then so are you.

    Except, of course, by the rules of “I win times infinity forever!!!!!”, which presumably define “screaming” to mean only what is typed by those Anthony McCarthy disagrees with.

    all over the place whereas I only used it once to show that your claim that I’d committed one was, in fact, fallacious.

    If you weren’t committing a fallacy, what you wrote was still incoherent garbled nonsense.

    If you goofed up and intended to make some sort of salient argument, you could have explained what you actually intended. You didn’t. Obviously, winning is far more important to you than clarity.

    You win again!

  114. #114 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    When you guys keep making the same mistaken, threadbare arguments, over and over again, it’s necessary for me to keep making the same refutations of them.

    Right. You’re going to insist on winning even when it’s pointed out that your “refutations” are nonsense.

    If the term hadn’t been destroyed by misuse and overuse by pseudo-skeptics and over aged blog adolescents, I’d have good reason to calmly and say “ad hominem”

    Or in other words, only you are allowed to accuse other people of logical fallacies, except that you don’t like the words “logic” or “fallacy”, or the terms that refer to logical fallacies. Understood.

    on this thread as I could have the last time you and eric panicked over what I said and resorted to personal attacks.

    Who’s attacking you? You’re winning, just like your rules say!

    But just poking fun at you when you do that is so much more fun.

    Of course. Because you win times infinity forever!!!!!

  115. #115 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    Well, Owlmirror, here is what you said about me at 85 above:

    Calling him on a logical fallacy is cheating, by his rules. Logical fallacies are only made by those who aren’t him, and anything that isn’t agreement with him is logical fallacy anyway.

    I pointed out that your calling me on a logical fallacy was not, in fact, cheating but a false charge, since, as I pointed out, I was giving ignorance as a reason that people didn’t know things, not claiming that you could claim knowledge due to that. Given that most of the 30+ charges of logical fallacy on that thread I checked were issued by you, the sound became rather shrill after a while. Maybe you could break it up a by screaming “straw man, cherry picking, goal post moving, Godwin’s Law, Poe, ….” It won’t mean anything but neither does pulling the “f” word out every other comment.

    Obviously, winning is far more important to you than clarity. Owlmirror

    Now, that’s entire false. The only time I care about winning is when there’s a substantial cash prize.

    I do wonder what you mean by “clarity”. It seems to me your conception of clarity is to repeat the same old bromides of the pseudo-skeptical-new atheist community, over and over. I seem to recall you were one of the ones who became panicked when I pointed out that science is only known to reside in human minds. That’s a point that if you don’t get it you’ll have a really hard time gaining clarity when discussing scientism. I could have blown your mind by quoting several of the more prominent scientists who point out that natural law is entirely constructed by human beings as well. Like them apples?

  116. #116 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    When scientists write papers on the origins of life, they go into the details of what they think happened, based on what is known about organic chemistry, and the chemicals that make up living organisms. Owlmirror

    Ah, careful what you wish for, O materialists.

    The origin of life on Earth was an actual event that happened. As I believe that we are all descended from one common ancestor, the original organism that somehow assembled and for some reason successfully reproduced, I’m prepared to believe that it happened once, resulting in that original ancestor. In order to address the real Origin of Life, it’s necessary to produce information of that one time life originated in the only way that happened. Unless you accurately address that event in the only way it happened, you are not, in fact, writing about The Origin of Life. The problem is, there is no way to know what that original organism was like, I’m extremely doubtful that its biochemistry is like the life that eventually evolved from it, I strongly suspect that any biochemistry we know about is the product of evolution. Though I, like every single other person, don’t know that, I only think that makes sense. Other people might think other things make sense, all of them are speculations that can’t be known to be accurate because we lack evidence.

    One thing that is clear, though, life didn’t originate in laboratory conditions by the intention of scientists.

    If you want to claim their experiments were relevant to The Origin of Life, I expect some of the participants in this discussion might be eager to point out that their experiments were the result of intelligent designs. And they would be entirely accurate in a way that could be known to be right, as opposed to the conclusions of the experimenters that they’d addressed The Origin of Life, which would be completely conjectural. You really want to give them ammo?

  117. #117 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    I pointed out that your calling me on a logical fallacy was not, in fact, cheating but a false charge, since, as I pointed out, I was giving ignorance as a reason that people didn’t know things, not claiming that you could claim knowledge due to that.

    Why didn’t you write that then?

    And what was the point of such an obvious tautology? “People are ignorant of what they don’t know.” No, really?

    Given that most of the 30+ charges of logical fallacy on that thread I checked were issued by you,

    Hey, it’s not my fault that you commit logical fallacies in order to win, and ignore when logical fallacies that you make are pointed out.

    I know, I lose just by writing “logical fallacies”, right?

    the sound became rather shrill after a while.

    This from the one who screams “scientism!” and “materialism!” and “ideology!” and “fundamentalism!” all the damn time.

    You win from screaming!

    Now, that’s entire false.

    It’s amusing that you’ll lie about wanting to win in order to win.

    You win again!

    I do wonder what you mean by “clarity”.

    Outlining your points and arguments in a way that does not lead to confusion as to your intended meaning.

    See? I can define terms clearly. You just refuse to, because you prefer to win rather than be clear.

    You win!

  118. #118 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    If you want to claim their experiments were relevant to The Origin of Life, I expect some of the participants in this discussion might be eager to point out that their experiments were the result of intelligent designs.

    Yes, but that’s because they have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s possible that you’re as confused as they are, although I note you cagily refuse to commit to agreeing with them.

    When scientists do an experiment, they often make a model of a what they hope to test. While the model does require intelligence to make, the model itself is not necessarily an intelligence!

    Is a model of a weather system intelligent? Does a simulated storm system have a mind?

    When Miller and Urey, for example, did their famous experiment, they created a model of what they thought Earth’s atmosphere might have contained, with electrical discharges similar to what they thought might have occurred, from lightning, in the past.

    Are simple gases intelligent? Is electricity intelligent?

    Their success gives basic support to the notion that electrical discharges in simple gases can give rise to amino acids. You can argue that their experiment was inaccurate (if you think some aspect of it was wrong), and incomplete (since amino acids are not actually life, yet), but you cannot honestly claim that it was in support of ID.

  119. #119 Owlmirror
    January 14, 2012

    And they would be entirely accurate in a way that could be known to be right, as opposed to the conclusions of the experimenters that they’d addressed The Origin of Life, which would be completely conjectural.

    Obviously, winning is more important to you than being accurate or honest.

  120. #120 Anthony McCarthy
    January 14, 2012

    When Miller and Urey, for example, did their famous experiment, they created a model of what they thought Earth’s atmosphere might have contained…

    They oversold their experiments and what their results mean. There was no place on the ancient earth that was likely to have been like the inside of their vessels for the length of time they ran their experiment or even for any length of time. They showed that they could generate amino acids and other compounds under those laboratory conditions. That’s hardly showing how life came about on Earth.

    Yes, but that’s because they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    If they pointed out that the scientists intentionally designed an experiment expecting it to have a result, are you claiming that that isn’t what Miller and Urey did? Or those people who announced they’d made artificial DNA? Either what they produced was the result of an intelligently designed experiment or it was a complete accident. You don’t get to deny what the experimenters, themselves, claim about their work.

    I note you cagily refuse to commit to agreeing with them.

    Helles Belles, Owlmirror, I spent who knows how many dozens of words saying I didn’t believe that their work constituted information about the actual Origin of Life on Earth. I couldn’t have been clearer.

    ID proponents couldn’t claim it as support for the need for an intelligent designer for the Origin of Life if Urey and others weren’t making unwarranted claims for their experiments and insisting they are actually relevant to the actual Origin of Life on Earth. In the case of Urey I’m aware that he claimed it showed the opposite, which was far less in line with the facts as could be known. He and Miller intelligently designed an experiment expecting it to have a result in line with what resulted. Your description of it shows that.

    Such is the risk of inserting materialist ideology into science. Your cleverness might get you things that weren’t part of your design. Real life is like that.

  121. #121 chas
    January 14, 2012

    “that seems to be a meager payoff for the few days you’ve been working that trivial point.”

    Slight difference of opinion —- hardly trival in my view.

    Very nice folks on this site.

  122. #122 Owlmirror
    January 15, 2012

    There was no place on the ancient earth that was likely to have been like the inside of their vessels for the length of time they ran their experiment or even for any length of time.

    It’s amusing that in order to win, you pretend that you have knowledge of what the earth was like billions of years ago.

    They showed that they could generate amino acids and other compounds under those laboratory conditions.

    Or rather, in that chemical environment.

    That’s hardly showing how life came about on Earth.

    One step at a time.

  123. #123 Owlmirror
    January 15, 2012

    If they pointed out that the scientists intentionally designed an experiment expecting it to have a result, are you claiming that that isn’t what Miller and Urey did?

    I am claiming that it isn’t relevant. I made it clear why: the model; the chemical system itself and the sparks being discharged, has no intelligence inherent in itself.

    You don’t get to deny what the experimenters, themselves, claim about their work.

    I am pretty sure that the experimenters have not claimed that organic chemicals or eletricity have any inherent intelligence.

    Helles Belles, Owlmirror, I spent who knows how many dozens of words saying I didn’t believe that their work constituted information about the actual Origin of Life on Earth.

    The only ones who would have brought up that the experiment had been intelligently designed, as a rhetorical point meant to imply that intelligent design is somehow necessary for the origin of life, are creationists and other proponents of intelligent design. And, perhaps, morons with an immaterial agenda.

    Such is the risk of inserting materialist ideology into science.

    More screaming about materialist ideology as if it even meant anything. I would wonder why you scream about it so much, given that according to your own assertions it is impossible to prove that materialism is false, except that it’s obvious that you care more about winning than about being consistent or making sense.

  124. #124 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    It’s amusing that in order to win, you pretend that you have knowledge of what the earth was like billions of years ago.

    Ah, still the “winning” framing, as if that had any bearing on the validity of the arguments made. I guess it’s what passes as a valid argument in Brightsville. It’s amusing that you would pretend that its rational to believe that the environment of the Earth would have been even similar to the conditions inside the experimental vessels described in the reports of the experiments. You think there was a place with that concentration of chemicals, sealed off from water that could have diluted them and the atmosphere that could have changed their concentrations, under those temperature restraints, with the constant electrical charge for the period for which those experiments were run? That I can’t know that only points out that no one can, rendering their experiment of less than of more POSSIBLE RELEVANCE to the unknown problem of how life originated.

    Or rather, in that chemical environment.

    Uh, Owlmirror, you don’t get to isolate only the chemistry and claim that that constitutes an “environment”, pretending that the other physical and temporal factors, consciously included in the experimental design were irrelevant to the results. Or have you never taken a course in chemistry?

    One step at a time.

    Well, Owlmirror, you can step away from a solution to the actual problem as well as towards it. That’s the problem, there is no knowable destination because there is no evidence of what the actual original organism was like, you don’t know if any step you take will be in the direction you want to go. It’s quite possible that the original organism was, as I said, very unlike its descendants hundreds of millions and billions of years later in time. If that’s the case, and I think it’s reasonable to assume it could be, that there is no way to get there through our concept of bio-chem, derived from a knowledge of much, much later life. The last time I had this argument there were lots of new atheists who, somehow, believe that “DNA” somehow assembled itself as “the next step” from Miller-Urey, only proving that a lot of them haven’t read very much about DNA. I generally suggest they listen to this virtuoso lecture by an actual geneticist when that happens now.

  125. #125 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    I am claiming that it isn’t relevant. I made it clear why: the model; the chemical system itself and the sparks being discharged, has no intelligence inherent in itself.

    It’s irrelevant only as long as one side or the other doesn’t introduces Miller-Urey or other, similar, scientific experiments into the discussion of Intelligent Design. As soon as someone does that it makes it relevant. And it’s always been new atheists who have when I’ve seen it done. It being one part of the stock and trade of the new atheism, you introduced it at 118 above.

    As soon as you guys do that, the entire character of the experiment becomes entirely and directly relevant to the argument. It is the belief of the proponents of ID that intelligent intention was necessary for the actual Origin of Life on Earth to have happened. The intelligent intention of the designers of the experiment is a part of what came about, it is exactly relevant to the proposition you are arguing. That you Brite guys are so bad at rational discourse that you hand them such a good point in favor of their contention by citing intelligently designed experiments, isn’t a great display of intelligence.

    The only rational response to the claim is one that keeps it out of science on the basis of the inability of science to deal with that contention. But, being way too ambitious for your abilities, demanding science does what it can’t, you want to dispel the belief from the entire culture with science. That’s something that can’t be done honestly.

    Intelligent intention in the origin of the universe and life is a claim that science is incompetent to deal with. It can only deal with the description of physical phenomena, it can’t honestly do any more than that for you. It’s damaging to science when prominent scientists make undeliverable claims for it. As Urey, and Crick and Dawkins and a host of others have in this area for the past several hundred years.

  126. #126 Richard Simons
    January 15, 2012

    Anthony: Do I have this correct (I have not closely examined all the comments here)? Are you saying that Miller and Urey used intelligence when designing their experiment, thus demonstrating that obtaining amino acids in their flasks required intelligence, which in turn demonstrates that intelligence was required to produce amino acids in an early Earth environment?

    If this is your argument, do all experiments demonstrate that intelligence is required? Does this mean that, for example, when Galileo used his intelligence to drop two balls from a tower, it demonstrated that objects only fall because of some inate intelligence? If, on the other hand, this is not your argument, where have I gone wrong?

  127. #127 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    Richard Simons, I said five things, 1. the Origin of Life on Earth was an actual event, not some generalized phenomenon. It happened in the only way that actually happened and anything except what addresses that actual event as it happened is not descriptive of that event. 2. We have no physical evidence of how that event happened and no evidence available for at least several to many hundreds of millions of years of, presumably, evolving life after that event which cannot reliably be used to reconstruct an accurate description of the Origin of Life. 3. That Miller-Urey not only did not replicate conditions known to have prevailed on the early earth in the period before the Origin of Life but that it is of entirely unknowable relevance to it. The same could be said of any other of the many speculations dealing with that event. 4. You cannot cite a famous laboratory experiment as evidence of the Origin of Life in an argument against Intelligent Design of the kind that purports to be science and then simply ignore that the experiment you are citing was, itself, the result of an intelligent design. Not if you want to maintain your intellectual integrity. That it was the product of the intelligent design of the researchers is a fact which is far more reliably known than that Miller-Urey, etc. have any relevance to the actual Origin of Life. And, so, any ID proponent would be within the bounds of rational discourse to point that out.

    You could add what I said about science not being able to address the issues of intelligent design because it’s not made to do that and what you would need to address it don’t pass through the filter ideas need to pass through to produce science.

  128. #128 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    …. from a tower, it demonstrated that objects only fall because of some inate intelligence?

    Let me say another thing. This is about as lame a tactic in this argument as I’ve seen. I’ve made no such statement. I have read, somewhere, an argument reminiscent of that made by a materialist to come up with some material origin of consciousness which was so absurd that I haven’t remembered and didn’t make a note of it but when I get time I will track it down.

    Perhaps you’d like to go review what Dennett claimed for the application of natural selection in the physical sciences, for some similar horse feathers.

    You don’t get to rig the argument to produce a “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario for yourself.

  129. #129 Richard Simons
    January 15, 2012

    We have no physical evidence of how that event happened and no evidence available for at least several to many hundreds of millions of years of, presumably, evolving life after that event which cannot reliably be used to reconstruct an accurate description of the Origin of Life.

    Are you saying that scientists should therefore not investigate possible scenarios?

    You cannot cite a famous laboratory experiment as evidence of the Origin of Life in an argument against Intelligent Design of the kind that purports to be science and then simply ignore that the experiment you are citing was, itself, the result of an intelligent design.

    Neither can you use it as an argument to support Intelligent Design, given that there is no conceivable experiment that does not require intelligence to implement. There is nothing that could repudiate Intelligent Design, therefore it is not a hypothesis and may be of theological, but certainly not scientific, interest.

    You don’t get to rig the argument to produce a “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario for yourself.

    I am trying to understand why you appear to think that experiments studying the origin of life are not appropriate if they had intelligent input, whereas in other areas it does not invalidate the results. I am genuinely baffled by what you are saying.

  130. #130 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    Are you saying that scientists should therefore not investigate possible scenarios?

    The problem with something like that is, exactly, the creation of scenarios. How many stories? How many variations on those? How many of those will be purported to represent the actual event?

    The problem with trying to introduce the creation of kind of completely speculative narrative into what’s going to get called “science”, something that’s commonly believed to find “objective” knowledge, is that that many, perhaps most people won’t take it as a tentative speculation but as if it’s an actual account of what happened when there’s no reason to believe it is. That’s supposed to be something that’s wrong with ID, isn’t it?

    Neither can you use it as an argument to support Intelligent Design

    As science? Well, I certainly haven’t supported ID, having over and over again pointed out that science couldn’t address the question of a designer if there was one.

    Outside of science? People can and will decide that question for themselves, they do now. It’s only when they try to assert that ID is science that there’s a problem with it. I’ve never understood why it was such a big deal that they do as long as it’s kept outside of public school science classes and the formal literature of science. Something that could be said of ideological materialism.

    I am trying to understand why you appear to think that experiments studying the origin of life are not appropriate if they had intelligent input…

    Is that what you think my point was? I was merely pointing out that using Miller-Urey in an attack on ID was a really, really bad strategy because an ID proponent would be entirely within their rights to raise that point and they would be on far more solid ground than the assertion that M-U, etc. was relevant to the actual Origin of Life.

    Given their arrogance, the new atheists are remarkably prone to getting themselves into that kind of logical cul de sac. I figured someone should point it out as they seem to have missed it.

  131. #131 Wowbagger
    January 15, 2012

    Richard Simons wrote:

    I am genuinely baffled by what you are saying.

    Congratulations! Being baffled by what Anthony McCarthy writes is one of the best ways to establish your intellectual honesty.

    If you’re prepared to wade through reams of inconsistent waffle, dodging of questions, non-sequiturs, irrelevant tl;dr cut-and-pastes, antiscience ranting and the demonstration of oleaginous evasion skills the envy of a hagfish, you’ll eventually come to the conclusion that there’s only one reason to engage him directly: to serve as an example of what a life devoted to peddling woo and rationalising to avoid cognitive dissonance can do to your brain.

  132. #132 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    Being baffled by what Anthony McCarthy writes is one of the best ways to establish your intellectual honesty.

    I’m not surprised when a new atheist is baffled, I figure that’s symptomatic of the pathology. I’m also not surprised when they distort and lie. Especially when it’s Wowbagger and the socks.

  133. #133 dean
    January 15, 2012

    I am genuinely baffled by what you are saying.

    That’s the wonder of his crap. He never says anything of substance. Check his lists: he states his superiority, claims scientists are wrong (see the crap he spewed on Greg Laden’s blog, if his blithering here isn’t proof enough), all without providing proof or solid reasoning. He has to be in the troll hall of fame. (Cue the “not capable of understanding me/atheist blather).

  134. #134 Wowbagger
    January 15, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Especially when it’s Wowbagger and the socks.

    Got any evidence to support that assertion, Anthony? Or is it something else you’ve learned via one of your magical ‘other ways of knowing’? Woo-ooo-oooh!

    Really, of all your laughably dopey assertions, this one is probably the most ridiculous, given that it’s blindingly obvious to anyone – well, anyone who isn’t a deluded, irrational, woo-soaked idiot – that the posters you’re accusing of sock-puppeting are different people.

    And even more amusing is that by making this claim you’re also accusing our host of being an idiot for not picking up on this – or are you, as you have before with the host of blogs you comment on, suggesting that he’s ‘in on it’ to make you look bad?

    Newsflash, Anthony: no-one can do a better job of making you look bad than you do. Heck, it would take the combined efforts of a dozen people, probably under the influence of alcohol, to come up with as much nonsense as you spout in an average day.

  135. #135 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    So, dean, what was the living thing like, the first organism that reproduced and whose descendants evolved into all of life that is around us today? Go on, tell us how it happened. Give details. Did it have an enclosing membrane? How did that form? If you were there for the brawl at Ladens, you’ll have noticed that he wouldn’t answer the very short list of questions I put to him, he kept two-stepping away from it. You do it. Tell us what you know and how you know it.

    Sock puppets. I sometimes think it’s a tactic to make the number of blog atheists seem like there are more of them then there are. But you really only need one as they all say the same thing, over and over again.

  136. #136 Wowbagger
    January 15, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Sock puppets. I sometimes think it’s a tactic to make the number of blog atheists seem like there are more of them then there are.

    Anthony, if you’re claiming that one person is posting under different names, the onus is on you to demonstrate how you reached that conclusion. Which posters do are you accusing of this? Is it what they have written that’s prompted you to make this accusation, or how they have written it?

    Either way, you should be able to provide examples, highlighting the common phrases and/or styles. It’d be very easy to demonstrate; all you need to do is list the the post numbers and cite the phrases/sentences.

    Evidence, in other words. But you seem unable to provide any – why is that?

    But you really only need one as they all say the same thing, over and over again.

    I think it’s hilarious – though completely in character for you – that when a large number of people tell you you’re wrong, your automatic response is that it could only be one person pretending to be many – rather than the far more rational explanation, i.e. that you’re so wrong that it’s obvious to practically everyone taking part, and they’re all quite independently pointing it out.

  137. #137 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    Wowbagger, dean seems to be missing in action, maybe you’d like to explain what we you know about the original organism, our ultimate ancestor, what was its method of reproduction? How did it come to reproduce the first time? How did its containing structure repair itself and how did nonliving matter lead to that happening successfully right off. Or did it not happen right off, in which case I’d like an explanation of that. Not to mention how we know that.

    You see, if you’re going to claim that that’s known, you’ve got the problem of telling us what it is and how you know that’s how it is. Since I admit we don’t know and have no evidence at all to go on to find out the answers, it’s not my responsibility support anything other than that contention. Which is easy since no one has produced any evidence of that event and the living being that resulted at all.

    Failing that, as I have every confidence you will, tell me how you can address the actual event, Origin of Life, with science on the basis of absolutely no evidence. Or, failing again, as I have every confidence you will, tell us again about how you guys are all about just the evidence by virtue of your greater sciencyness.

  138. #138 Anthony McCarthy
    January 15, 2012

    I just remembered it was Galen Strawson, a materialist, I seem to recall, who proposed that matter has consciousness in order to explain a material origin for consciousness. Which I think is just another expression of materialist desperation. I haven’t read the conventional mechanistic materialist reaction to it but I’m sure it’s probably as shaky as on display here, though I’d guess it’s probably not as childish and rude.

  139. #139 Owlmirror
    January 16, 2012

    Ah, still the “winning” framing, as if that had any bearing on the validity of the arguments made.

    It’s amusing that in order to win, you desperately seek to cast doubt on the simple fact that you insist on winning.

    It’s amusing that you would pretend that its rational to believe that the environment of the Earth would have been even similar to the conditions inside the experimental vessels described in the reports of the experiments.

    It’s amusing that you pretend that you are a geochemist.

    You think there was a place with that concentration of chemicals, sealed off from water that could have diluted them and the atmosphere that could have changed their concentrations, under those temperature restraints, with the constant electrical charge for the period for which those experiments were run?

    It’s amusing that you pretend that you’re a geochemist while remaining utterly innocent of the basics of chemistry or geology.

    Amusingly, the experiment has been critiqued by geochemists, and the counterargument is that the mix of chemicals and the electrical discharges would have been present in volcanic plumes. So far as I’ve seen, there’s been no argument against that.

    That I can’t know that only points out that no one can

    So, geochemists work in vain, because you say so. Why don’t you write an angry, cranky letter to all of the major geology journals and tell them that? They could probably use a little comic relief.

    Uh, Owlmirror, you don’t get to isolate only the chemistry and claim that that constitutes an “environment”, pretending that the other physical and temporal factors, consciously included in the experimental design were irrelevant to the results.

    Since when is “environment” exclusive of physical or temporal factors? Oh, right. You interpret it as narrowly as possible because you want to win.

  140. #140 Owlmirror
    January 16, 2012

    Well, Owlmirror, you can step away from a solution to the actual problem as well as towards it.

    So… Miller-Urey was a “step away” because… life contains no amino acids?

    That’s the problem, there is no knowable destination because there is no evidence of what the actual original organism was like,

    I dunno, I think it’s reasonable to posit that organic chemistry generating amino acids was involved. Not necessarily via the sort of reactions Urey and Miller generated, but something chemical as opposed to, say, something that cannot be defined and may not be definable doing something that cannot be defined and may not be definable.

    It’s quite possible that the original organism was, as I said, very unlike its descendants hundreds of millions and billions of years later in time.

    Do you think that the “original organism” was magic?

    The last time I had this argument there were lots of new atheists who, somehow, believe that “DNA” somehow assembled itself as “the next step” from Miller-Urey, only proving that a lot of them haven’t read very much about DNA.

    Huh. Well, it’s certainly not impossible that they were so optimistic, but given how completely fucking dishonest you are all the damn time in your desire to win all the damn time, I’m going to resort to the line that all the snarky kids are using these days:

    Links or it didn’t happen.

  141. #141 Owlmirror
    January 16, 2012

    [take 2 pt 1]

    It is the belief of the proponents of ID that intelligent intention was necessary for the actual Origin of Life on Earth to have happened. The intelligent intention of the designers of the experiment is a part of what came about, it is exactly relevant to the proposition you are arguing.

    Only an utter drooling braindead moron would think that an intelligently designed experiment performed now means or implies or is in any way relevant to arguing that “intelligently designed” magic happened billions of years ago. Really, the proposition is completely fucking insane.

    “Sherlock Holmes, you have made many clever deductions about how the victim died, concluding, so you say, that it was due to natural causes. But since it required such immense cleverness to figure it out, that must mean that the victim was actually murdered by someone monstrously clever!!!!!”

  142. #142 Owlmirror
    January 16, 2012

    [take 2, pt2, rev2]

    That you Brite guys are so bad at rational discourse that you hand them such a good point in favor of their contention by citing intelligently designed experiments, isn’t a great display of intelligence.

    You shoot yourself in the foot when you offer completely fucking stupid arguments like “intelligent experiments support ID”.

    You win, all right, you utter blithering loon. You win times infinity forever!!!!!

  143. #143 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Owlmirror, you say I’m “winning”, Wowbagger says I’m “losing”, really it’s not a contest, I was just pointing out the fact that no one has the necessary evidence to know anything about an actual event in biology because no one has the evidence of what it was like. That’s not such a startling statement, it happens to be 100% accurate and known, though not admitted to nearly as often as it’s pretended to not be the case. When I had my last long argument about it there were neo-atheists who denied that we were all descended from a common ancestor whereas I was speaking from the same assumption of conventional Darwinism, that we are all descended from a common ancestor. That’s the idea that makes most sense to me.

    The problem with Miller-Urey, and you’d know it if you had read anything much about the problem, is that they didn’t show how amino acids formed on the pre-life Earth, they showed how they made them in a laboratory out of c. 60 year old assumptions they made about what the conditions were like, on little to no evidence. AND THEY HARDLY RECREATED EVEN THOSE CONDITIONS IN THEIR LAB. It was totally artificial. My point is that if you are going to claim that, or any other lab experiment, as being relevant IN A BRAWL WITH ID PROPONENTS, that you are handing them the point that it was done through intelligent designs, designs of beings of far less intelligence and ability than the Designer, they are asserting did it under far more difficult conditions. You’re handing them the ability to point that out entirely unnecessarily because you can’t address anything about the actual Origin of Life.

    The honest study of evolution is not dependent on anything but actual evidence that evolution and the ravages of time have left us. That evidence is overwhelming that species evolved over billions of years. I call that a hard fact. How it happened is less clear but it is absolutely clear that happened BECAUSE OF THE EVIDENCE.

    However, materialists, having as much of an emotional need to destroy their doubts that there was no God involved, have been trying to do science surrounding the question of the actual Origin of Life for which there is no evidence available. Evidence free “science” didn’t start with the Discovery Institute, it’s been part of that very atheistic effort all along.

    You know, there was a time I was surprised that I’d have to insist on the actual evidence in these arguments with atheists. But my experience of the past five years have made me see how their talk about being 1010% evidence based is hogwash. They’re as willing to suspend the necessity of evidence as any creationist. And a lot of them have advanced degrees in science and work at distinguished research universities.

  144. #144 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Oh, and, anyone who has started reading this exchange from the bottom, “Owlmirror” has a habit of eliding what I said to distort it, so you really can’t depend on it being an actual reflection of what I said. A number of the commentators here do that. If you want to find out what I really said about Miller-Urey, you’ll have to read that above. It’s kind of nuanced, compared to the Wowbagger, Owlmirror distortion of it but this isn’t exactly a simple topic.

  145. #145 Wowbagger
    January 16, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Owlmirror, you say I’m “winning”, Wowbagger says I’m “losing”…

    Really? Are you sure I said that? Where, exactly? Or are you lying – yet again?

    Oh, and, anyone who has started reading this exchange from the bottom, “Owlmirror” has a habit of eliding what I said to distort it, so you really can’t depend on it being an actual reflection of what I said

    There’s no way of making your dishonest blather any less coherent than how you post it Anthony; don’t go trying to blame Owlmirror for the fact you come across as a drooling, science-hating, tinfoil-hat-wearing loon who can barely string a sentence together.

    Sometimes I wonder if you actually read what you’ve written before you hit the button.

  146. #146 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Wowbagger, spewing a smoke screen as always. Show me the evidence of what the Origin of Life consisted of. Where is it? How do you explain that the “science” of abiogenesis has so many different schools, including, least anyone forget, exogensis. I’d love to know how Miller-Urey is relevant to that school of abiogenesis.

    I know you guys are really unhappy to have someone deprive you of one of your favorite hobby horses but that doesn’t change a single thing about what I said. If you could refute that, you would. You haven’t so you can’t.

    The new atheists are lying when they claim to be evidence based. They don’t care about science at all, they don’t care about intellectual integrity. It’s a fundamentalist faith in materialism. Their abuse of science is based in their emotional need to have their preferences serviced by science. When it’s pointed out that science can’t do what they want it to, they’re as ready to try to distort it or to throw it aside as any creationist is. You’re just the mirror of the ID industry, you have no more integrity than they do.

  147. #147 Wow
    January 16, 2012

    > Show me the evidence of what the Origin of Life consisted of.

    Carbon and Oxygen, mainly. You can buy them at any university physics lab supply shop.

    > Where is it?

    Where is life? Here now. Where is the origin of life? Well, that’s gone. You know, like “where is the origin of this baked cake I have here”. I quite understand if the idea of “History is stuff in the past” is rather too complex for you to understand.

    > but that doesn’t change a single thing about what I said.

    Yes, it’s still complete bullcrap.

    > The new atheists are lying when they claim to be evidence based

    No we’re not.

    > They don’t care about science at all

    Yes we do.

    > they don’t care about intellectual integrity.

    Yes we do.

    > It’s a fundamentalist faith in materialism.

    No it isn’t.

  148. #148 eric
    January 16, 2012

    AMC – how do you suggest we study the origin of life? Do you have a method?

    Or do you suggest that we abandon such study altogether? Is that what you want?

    The inductive empirical method will never give us a 100% guarantee that we got it right. But all your complaining does not change the fact that it is the best method for trying to discover what happened. (To be clear about what I’m referring to, it is: hypothesize some set of conditions on the early earth, based on the best available evidence of today about what it was like. Create those conditions on the current earth, isolated from modern conditions. Watch what happens under those hypothesized early conditions; learn/conclude something about the conditions of the early earth as it is best understood today. Could our hypothesized conditions not reflect the real conditions? Of course! Science is inductive and tentative. But we already knew that.)

  149. #149 Wow
    January 16, 2012

    > Maybe you should read The Guardian more often, wow.

    I do.

    And I read that too.

    So what’s your point? You just hate science?

  150. #150 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    how do you suggest we study the origin of life? eric

    Pretty much the way I’d suggest you study any other natural occurrence, obtain evidence you can establish is relevant to the thing you want to study. When that’s not available, it makes more sense to try to study something for which you’ve got evidence. Just call me anthropocentric or Earthbound, but I think the continuation of life on Earth into the future is more important than any look at the dead past.

    As you can see from “wow” at 147, not having evidence of what you want to study can lead to you saying some really silly things. That might impress other fundamentalists but not anyone else.

  151. #151 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Of course! Science is inductive and tentative. erice

    How ironic your saying that is, you could only know if you knew how many times new atheists have accused me of using inductive reasoning, as if that was an actual crime instead of something everyone does.

    And, given the exchange about Popper’s dogma of falsifiability, I seem to recall that he came up with that due to his great distrust of inductive reasoning. It’s been a long time since I read much about that but I seem to recall other philosophers of science, perhaps some actual scientists, objected to his falsifiability test on that basis.

  152. #152 eric
    January 16, 2012

    obtain evidence you can establish is relevant to the thing you want to study.

    That is what these experiments do, you goof. Miller and Urey thought the conditions they tested were relevant to the early earth. More modern experiments test different conditions because they think those different conditions are relevant to the early earth. This is what scientists do; form hypotheses about early earth conditions based on their best information at the time, and test them.

    Do you understand that science is both iterative and multi-purpose? That one way we learn about whether an hypothesis about the early earth conditions is wrong is to test it? And that even if our hypothesis turns out to be wrong, we often learn something value in the process of testing it?

    Scientists will not – as you seem to suggest – wait until they know whether a hypothesis is right before testing it. That would be an incredibly stupid and slow (if not impossible) way to do science, and would ignore the iterative and multi-purpose nature of science

  153. #153 dean
    January 16, 2012

    “what was the living thing like, the first organism that reproduced and whose descendants evolved into all of life that is around us today? Go on, tell us how it happened. Give details. Did it have an enclosing membrane? How did that form? If you were there for the brawl at Ladens, you’ll have noticed that he wouldn’t answer the very short list of questions I put to him, he kept two-stepping away from it. You do it. Tell us what you know and how you know it.”

    More dishonesty. I referred to the responses from the scientists – the responses that, similar to the ones here, you keep saying are wrong without any support for your position. You had your rear end handed to you several times in that (Laden) discussion, and your only response was “You are all wrong”. Perhaps you didn’t realize it was your rear end because you see it every morning in the mirror.

  154. #154 eric
    January 16, 2012

    I seem to recall other philosophers of science, perhaps some actual scientists, objected to his falsifiability test on that basis.

    This is not my area either, but AIUI, Popper or his followers made a stronger claim that falsifiability was the primary or only criteria that mattered. I.e., that even though it looks like all these scientists are running around trying to collect evidence “for” various hypotheses, they aren’t actually doing that – they are, in reality, only collecting evidence “against” hypotheses and trying to falsify hypotheses. It is this stronger Popperism that most scientists object to, because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what scientists actually do. Faslifiability is one factor in science and disproving others is one of the things scientists do, but its not the only thing.

  155. #155 Wow
    January 16, 2012

    > how do you suggest we study the origin of life?

    By re-creating the mechanisms that were available when life started on Earth.

    Just like the scientists did.

    I guess that this idea is just wholly beyond your ken

    > huh.how many times new atheists have accused me of using inductive reasoning

    Nope, you’ve been using un-reasoning.

    Care to show a case of inductive reasoning that you think is best made here?

  156. #156 Cornelius
    January 16, 2012

    How would AM approach a jig-saw, with all the pieces but no picture? Give up because he can’t picture every piece fitting together as a whole, or start with the corners and the edges?

  157. #157 Wow
    January 16, 2012

    He’d complain that a jigsaw was proof of materialism dogma infesting our society and that we should just love God and leave the pieces alone.

  158. #158 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Cornelius, if you’ve got the pieces of the puzzle, you would be able to look at those and see if you can fit them together in a way that they fit. The puzzle pieces might stand in for evidence of the structure of the original life that constitutes the Origin of Life. If you didn’t have the pieces to look at you wouldn’t be able to do that. Would you. Even if you did and the box was sealed shut and you couldn’t see it, you couldn’t put it together or even be certain of what was in the box. Knowing what you believe is in the box is hardly enough. And that’s leaving aside what some of the new atheists at Laden’s blog wanted to claim that it happened more than once, which would only multiply the problems of the unknowns. I might acknowledge that there isn’t any way to know that the position I held was accurate, that of Darwinism, but I think multiple geneses of the same kind of organism is only more likely to lead to the idea that it was improbable.

    That isn’t a good analogy to the Origin of Life, for which you might know that there are pieces there, how they fit together on the one and only time that happened, producing something a bit more complex than a jigsaw puzzle in unknown circumstances, and that is only part of the problem.

    Of course, your analogy also has, as an unstated assumption, that there would be an intelligent agent to put them together. Something that an ID proponent could also point out if you used it in an argument against their position.

    More dishonesty. I referred to the responses from the scientists…

    Well, “dean”, “the scientists” in that discussion didn’t know anything about those things anymore than the sci-jocks in the discussion did. No one knows or they would publish that information and make their reputation for as long as someone is paying attention to science. That’s the truth, that’s why the “science” of abiogenesis is so able to contain vastly different schools with vastly different ideas. Just as psychology can, only even that “science” at times looks at phenomena that can be see directly, so they’ve got the leg up of at least being able to observe what they want to study.

    That is what these experiments do, you goof. eric

    Eric, pay attention. I’ve been pointing out that they can’t make a link between their experiments and the event for all the reasons already stated. They don’t have the organism or the evidence of how that specific organism lived and reproduced or the far more difficult questions surrounding how it assembled. The question of whether that happened spontaneously or by some intention, that’s a question science couldn’t answer even if they had the other stuff which they don’t and which I will state they never will have, confident that they never will.

  159. #159 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    I think that a lot of this discussion might show how people in the physical sciences vastly underestimate the problems of the biological sciences.

    Organisms are far more complicated than the things that physics and chemistry are usually focused on. Biology has to consider a far wider range of circumstances than those sciences do, I suspect the physical sciences tend to lead to a reductionist habit of thought.

    Organisms are individuals, sui generis, they are far more reliant on their ambient environment than non-living things, they are alive only as long as that sustains them and as soon as it doesn’t they are ex-organisms, unable to reproduce. Yes, reproduction, another thing that living organisms do and on which evolution depends.

    And that’s not even getting to more recent ideas in biology that environments and niches don’t exist until an organism fills them. You can’t know much about a living organism unless you also know about its environment. Even in the case of known molecules on which life depends, their continued existence depends direcly on ambient conditions and the action of other molecules. Many of them degrade quite quickly, one of the problems cited by critics of Miller-Urey.

    As already pointed out, my dear sister-in-law, a biologist, likes to say that biology is far, far harder than rocket science. Getting her work, in how to sustain life into the future, funded, as the Lords of Creation suck up all the funding through glitzy PR, is another of her favorite topics.

  160. #160 eric
    January 16, 2012

    I’ve been pointing out that they can’t make a link between their experiments and the event for all the reasons already stated. They don’t have the organism or the evidence of how that specific organism lived and reproduced or the far more difficult questions surrounding how it assembled.

    Of course they don’t; if we knew that, we wouldn’t need to do science to figure it out! You seem to think we have to have an ironclad, comprehensive understanding of what happened before we investigate what happened. That is a complete misunderstanding of how science works.

    We can and do make a link between experiments and our current best understanding of conditions on earth at the time. If our current best understanding changes, we will revise our conclusions and do more experiments. But we don’t stop formulating and testing hypotheses merely because we are uncertain as to whether the hypothesis we’re testing is correct or not. What you propose is an incredibly stupid way of doing science – basically, you want us to wait until an experiment is all but unnecessary before we do it.

    I also, frankly, find your obsession with abiogenesis to be very creationist-like. We use the exact same process to investigate all sorts of past events we can’t directly observe. Why is the regular scientific method bad for abiogenesis but fine for, say, investigating the early atmosphere or rock formation?

  161. #161 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Of course they don’t; if we knew that, we wouldn’t need to do science to figure it out!

    If by “it” you mean the original organism that constituted The Origin of Life, you can’t “figure it out”, you have to have “it”. It was a real, living organism, it wasn’t some speculative, generalized organism. You can’t theorize an organism like that in the same way you can a subatomic particle (theorized on the basis of available EVIDENCE, lest you forget) or even a relatively recent “transition” species between birds and reptiles (based on EVIDENCE of similar morphology, etc., lest you forget). You’ve got nothing to go on. That makes a difference.

    If there’s one thing you can be certain of the Origin of Life, it’s that the first organism was unlike any of its descendants in that it wasn’t generated from another organism but from non-living matter. I am not willing to believe that its chemistry or other aspects of it are very much like far, far later organisms and the basis of that fact. I doubt that, as your fellow ideologues kept insisting, that it contained DNA because I would not believe any original organism that did could have come about by anything but intentional design. It would have been miraculous if it, and the RNA necessary for it to replicate, not to mention the other cellular mechanisms necessary for it to produce anything, were all present in that original organism that came about spontaneously without a design. I think the original life was far different and that that biochemistry evolved in its descendants over hundreds of millions and billions of generations.

    I also, frankly, find your obsession with abiogenesis to be very creationist-like.

    MY obcession! I didn’t even bring it up, “Owlmirror” did. From the first comment here I pointed out how bringing it up would allow creationists to support their contention with it, not because the argument is valid in terms of science, but it is in terms of logical discourse. You don’t get to bring something into an argument to try to support your case and then pick and choose aspects of that to suit your side. I did my best to undermine the usefulness of it to creationism by pointing out that it’s unknowable to anyone in terms of science, it’s unknown by creationists and to scientists-in-their-own-minds.

    I hope someone looks at this thread to see how the new atheists have an impenetrable mind set that is, in fact, as obsessed with creationists as one of my very distant cousins was with communists. I’ve seen it before, especially in Daniel Dennett who couldn’t stop himself from accusing real scientists, many of them committed materialists and atheists, of looking for “sky hooks” when they pointed out some rather massive flaws in his diddling around in the parts of science, where it was they and not he who had proven competence.

    Eric, there’s a large difference between being obsessed with something and coming up with some rather obvious and rather simple truths about it and not being willing to accept nonsensical tripe denying them. Not having any evidence at all of the Origin of Life sort of stands out like a sore thumb. Not to mention that Miller-Urey was the product of intelligent design. The real question is why you sciency folk didn’t happen to notice either of those OBVIOUS FACTS.

  162. #162 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Of course they don’t; if we knew that, we wouldn’t need to do science to figure it out!

    If by “it” you mean the original organism that constituted The Origin of Life, you can’t “figure it out”, you have to have “it”. It was a real, living organism, it wasn’t some speculative, generalized organism. You can’t theorize an organism like that in the same way you can a subatomic particle (theorized on the basis of available EVIDENCE, lest you forget) or even a relatively recent “transition” species between birds and reptiles (based on EVIDENCE of similar morphology, etc., lest you forget). You’ve got nothing to go on. That makes a difference.

    If there’s one thing you can be certain of the Origin of Life, it’s that the first organism was unlike any of its descendants in that it wasn’t generated from another organism but from non-living matter. I am not willing to believe that its chemistry or other aspects of it are very much like far, far later organisms and the basis of that fact. I doubt that, as your fellow ideologues kept insisting, that it contained DNA because I would not believe any original organism that did could have come about by anything but intentional design. It would have been miraculous if it, and the RNA necessary for it to replicate, not to mention the other cellular mechanisms necessary for it to produce anything, were all present in that original organism that came about spontaneously without a design. I think the original life was far different and that that biochemistry evolved in its descendants over hundreds of millions and billions of generations.

    I also, frankly, find your obsession with abiogenesis to be very creationist-like.

    MY obcession! I didn’t even bring it up, “Owlmirror” did. From the first comment here I pointed out how bringing it up would allow creationists to support their contention with it, not because the argument is valid in terms of science, but it is in terms of logical discourse. You don’t get to bring something into an argument to try to support your case and then pick and choose aspects of that to suit your side. I did my best to undermine the usefulness of it to creationism by pointing out that it’s unknowable to anyone in terms of science, it’s unknown by creationists and to scientists-in-their-own-minds.

    I hope someone looks at this thread to see how the new atheists have an impenetrable mind set that is, in fact, as obsessed with creationists as one of my very distant cousins was with communists. I’ve seen it before, especially in Daniel Dennett who couldn’t stop himself from accusing real scientists, many of them committed materialists and atheists, of looking for “sky hooks” when they pointed out some rather massive flaws in his diddling around in the parts of science, where it was they and not he who had proven competence.

    Eric, there’s a large difference between being obsessed with something and coming up with some rather obvious and rather simple truths about it and not being willing to accept nonsensical tripe denying them. Not having any evidence at all of the Origin of Life sort of stands out like a sore thumb. Not to mention that Miller-Urey was the product of intelligent design. The real question is why you sciency folk didn’t happen to notice either of those OBVIOUS FACTS.

  163. #163 eric
    January 16, 2012

    you can’t “figure it out”, you have to have “it”.

    So you assert. But this is just the argument from incredulity: you don’t see how we might (in the future) figure out what that organims was, using indirect evidence. You can’t conceive of the path from here to there. So you claim it cannot be done.

    If there’s one thing you can be certain of the Origin of Life, it’s that the first organism was unlike any of its descendants in that it wasn’t generated from another organism but from non-living matter

    Right. So, the rational thing to do is attack this problem from the side of under what conditions, and how, individually non-living organic molecules react, combine, and assemble into self-replicating “organisms.” You don’t just look at DNA and work backwards. You also look at autocatalytic polypeptides and simple fatty acids and work forwards.

    Scientists do this. AFAIK, this is in fact what most abiogenesis research actually explores.

    there’s a large difference between being obsessed with something and coming up with some rather obvious and rather simple truths about it and not being willing to accept nonsensical tripe denying them.

    If your “truth” is that the organism was different from current organisms, everyone agrees with you. If your “truth” is that we will not ever figure out what it is and all scientific effort to do so is doomed, that is neither simple, nor obvious, nor proven truth at all. Its a baldfaced, not-supported-by-any-evidence opinion of the future by an armchair quarterback with no football credentials to speak of.

  164. #164 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Eric, you can’t figure “it” out because you have no way of knowing what “it” was like. Figure out what the common ancestor of human beings and mushrooms was like at the point where those lines diverged. And that would be simple as compared to figuring out what original organism, the Origin of Life was. It would be pretty certain that any of the common aspects we share with mushrooms, on the basis of AVAILABLE EVIDENCE, would have been present in some form, for example. You can’t be sure of that at the origin. If those were present they would just be even more problems for the speculators to get over to explain how it could have happened by random processes.

  165. #165 eric
    January 16, 2012

    Eric, you can’t figure “it” out because you have no way of knowing what “it” was like.

    Repeating the argument from incredulity does not make it stronger. You opine we will not be able to figure it out, that we cannot figure it out. Okay. You’re welcome to your opinion, but this prediction is not a ‘fact.’

    You can’t be sure of that at the origin.

    I’m not looking for 100% philosophical certainty. I don’t require it in any of my other scientific hypotheses or theories, why would I require it here? Like with any other scientific hypothesis, I’m looking for the best explanation for the currently available evidence. That, we can achieve. The best explanation we have right now is terrestrial, unintelligent, organic abiogenesis. No amount of complaining about it will unseat it from “best.” To unseat it from best, you have to offer an alternative that is better.

    So yes, you are right, we can’t be sure. We will never be sure in a philosophical sense. Our conclusions about OOL will always be tentative and subject to revision based on further evidence. But if you somehow think this makse OOL reseach less scientific than other research, or if you are requiring a level of certainty here you don’t require of other areas of science, then you are showing a distinctly creationist-like bias.

  166. #166 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    the argument from incredulity

    I wasn’t arguing that I didn’t know what the original organism was like, I was pointing out that no one does. If that’s not the case, show me where it’s published along with the supporting evidence.

    I’m looking for the best explanation for the currently available evidence. That, we can achieve.

    There is no currently available evidence of what that organism was like. Even the assumption I’m making about it, that it was the common ancestor of all of us is a speculation. The idea that it was anything like later, evolved life, is a speculation. Come to think of it, that’s another thing that organism wouldn’t have had in common with later life, it was unevolved.

    So, tell me, eric, do you believe that all of life on Earth is the descendant of a common ancestor?

    The best explanation we have right now is terrestrial, unintelligent, organic abiogenesis.

    I assume that it was terrestrial, I believe it was made of nonliving matter, I have no way of knowing that its the result of unintelligent design, an idea that science is incompetent to judge. Science can only deal with physical phenomena, it can’t tell you that part of your “best explaination” any more than it can tell you why there is existence. It’s exactly on that point where your demands on science are at their most unreasonable. I believe that your desire to have your belief in that point confirmed by science that leads you and other materialists astray. Just as creationists desire to have their belief supported by science is the reason that the ID industry was created. On that non-material point, science is not competent to produce any information and science isn’t allowed to have an opinion. Not that science isn’t able to be deformed temporarily, it is, frequently. It’s just that the results from it aren’t going to be reliable and will very possibly fall from the constant attacks. If not from scientific refutation, than from changing fashions under the competitive pressures from other, competing schools.

  167. #167 Richard Simons
    January 16, 2012

    The question of whether that happened spontaneously or by some intention, that’s a question science couldn’t answer even if they had the other stuff which they don’t and which I will state they never will have, confident that they never will.

    However, in the near future there is likely to be a positive answer to the question of whether life could have arisen spontaneously.

    Not having any evidence at all of the Origin of Life sort of stands out like a sore thumb.

    But there is evidence on the origin of life. There is good evidence that at one time there was no life, but now there is. Also, there is evidence of the chemical and physical conditions of the prebiotic Earth and of the chemical and physical structure of simple life forms. the current problem is to find a feasible process that leads from one to the other. Once that has been done, there will be changes to accommodate new evidence as it arises. That is the normal process of science.

    Not to mention that Miller-Urey was the product of intelligent design.

    Why are you obsessed with the idea that Miller and Urey designed an experiment? You do not seem to be equally obsessed with the idea that, because Galileo designed experiments in which objects were dropped, this provides evidence for Intelligent Falling. In fact, you ridiculed the notion.

    [from Jan 13] Better to work on continuing life into the future, something that’s plausibly achievable.

    I get the impression that what you really want is for all research into the origins of life to cease. Does the idea of life coming from non-life without external influences make you feel uncomfortable?

  168. #168 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    However, in the near future there is likely to be a positive answer to the question of whether life could have arisen spontaneously.

    On what time scale? What kind of “life”? I’d guess it is more likely that we’re going to do ourselves in before that gets a chance to happen. You know that even if scientists were able to imitate natural life, that still wouldn’t overthrow immateriality. I heard a Buddhist monk say that he saw no problem with the idea that at some point a very powerful computer could be chosen as the locus of an incarnation. An idea which doesn’t appeal to me but, hey, if it was true what do you propose to do about it? If a computer, why not an artificial squiggly?

    Why are you obsessed with the idea that Miller and Urey designed an experiment?

    I explained that from the first time I mentioned it here. I’ll go through it one more time, point by point.

    1. ID proposes that life arose through intelligent purpose, that is what gets argued when one of you guys challenges ID proponents on their belief. 2. When you bring up Miller-Urey or some other experiment you assert refutes ID you are, in fact, asserting that the resulting molecules are relevant to the actual Origin of Life, which is the proposal of the debate, such as it ususally is. 3a. Those molecules were the result of an intelligent design by Miller and Urey, etc. YOUR EVIDENCE WAS, ITSELF, THE PRODUCT OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN, YOU ASSERT THAT THOSE MOLECULES ARE IDENTICAL TO SOME THAT YOU BELIEVE WERE A “STEP” TOWARDS EVOLUTION WITHOUT INTELLIGENT DESIGN . 3b. Your experiment doesn’t show that amino acids, etc. were produced without intelligent design because it produced them through intelligent design. 4. You have no logical ground to keep the ID proponent from pointing out that your own example is evidence that amino acids COULD be the result of an intelligent design BECAUSE THAT IS, IN FACT, HOW THE EVIDENCE YOU INTRODUCED INTO THE DEBATE WAS GENERATED. In the debate, you chose an example that doesn’t refute their contention but tends to support it. It’s not that complicated, you just have to get past your disappointment that this thread bare prop of materialist fundamentalism isn’t what you folks believe it to be. Consider it the bacterial flagellum of neo-atheism that turns out to not be the argument you believed it to be.

  169. #169 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    You do not seem to be equally obsessed with the idea that, because Galileo designed experiments in which objects were dropped, this provides evidence for Intelligent Falling. In fact, you ridiculed the notion.

    I don’t know, do you have anyone who has debated a contention relevant to that point? Maybe you could whip up the panpsychists to claim that gravity is evidence of inert material having consciousness. If that was the case I’d have to look at the arguments on both sides and what they claim about any experiments they cite to support them show. Maybe you could find something like that in the assertions of the materialist pansychist, Galen Strawson.

    Nothing in that question refutes anything I said about the usefulness of the materialist citation of Miller-Urey to refute intelligent design. Human intelligence is known to exist, after all. Unless you would like to claim that M and U weren’t intelligent when they planned, executed and analyzed their experiment.

  170. #170 Richard Simons
    January 16, 2012

    So are you trying to say that, because experiments are designed, it is not possible to refute the idea of Intelligent Design? Are you not aware that the main (if not only) criticism of Intelligent Design is that there is no possible way it could be refuted because it makes absolutely no testable predictions? Bringing in the notion that Miller & Urey et al designed their experiments and therefore cannot refute Intelligent Design is a completely superflous argument. Intelligent Design is irrefutable because it makes no predictions. It is altogether vacuous. It is useless. If you want to consider it as philosophy or theology, feel free (philosophers and theologians may disagree) but science it ain’t.

    Nothing in that question refutes anything I said about the usefulness of the materialist citation of Miller-Urey to refute intelligent design.

    Please could you give a link to anyone, anywhere, who has attempted to refute ID? From all that I have seen, it never makes any claims that are even remotely near to being specific enough to be refutable. Specific claims made by ID supporters to justify their belief in ID have frequently been demolished, but that is a different issue.

  171. #171 Wowbagger
    January 16, 2012

    Richard Simons wrote:

    Please could you give a link to anyone, anywhere, who has attempted to refute ID?

    That’s never going to work with AMC, Richard – he feels that providing evidence and justifying claims is beneath someone of his eminence and stature; in his mind, simply stating something is enough, and he need not bother with backing it up in any way, shape or form – and it doesn’t matter that what he’s asserted in no way relates to the point you were making; he knows better than you what you were really trying to say, so he can respond to that instead.

    Remember, he has at his disposal those mysterious other ways of knowing

  172. #172 eric
    January 16, 2012

    3a. Those [Miller-Urey] molecules were the result of an intelligent design by Miller and Urey, etc.

    No, they weren’t. You keep getting this wrong. Setting initial conditions and watching what nature does under those conditions identifies how nature acts, it is not “design.”

    But as Richard keeps pointing this out, if this is your definition of intelligent design, then every scientific experiment ever done discovers intelligent design, not something about nature. Putting feathers in vials and watching what happens when you tip the vial over is exactly the same sort of experiment as putting chemicals in vials and watching what happens when you heat it. If you think one provides evidence of how nature acts, so does the other. If you think one ‘merely’ supports intelligent design, then the other ‘merely’ supports intelligent falling. You cannot rationally claim one merely shows design while the other shows how nature works.

  173. #173 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    So are you trying to say that, because experiments are designed, it is not possible to refute the idea of Intelligent Design?

    Of course you can. ID as science isn’t credible. It’s not possible to do what they want to do with science, you can’t deal with the question of a Designer with science. But there are certainly things they assert that can be refuted. If they come up with some idea using badly done research or incorrectly analyzed research, you can certainly refute that. Just as you can any claims about the physical universe as a physical system with science, if you’ve got reliable science to do that with. The 7-day creation story considered to be literally true is able to be refuted with science.

    If you do want to pull some science on the ID side, though, keep in mind what the proposal is before you reach into that bag of old atheist tricks. If you choose one like Miller-Urey, you’re going to run into all of the problems I warned materialists about at 116 above because of the issues that it is 1. not able to be demonstrated to be relevant to the actual Origin of Life, 2. that it is an example of intelligent design.

    If your problem is with the idea that the actual way that the universe and the Earth and life on Earth came about – as opposed to how we think it happened at any given time – was the way that God created them, that’s not an idea of science and can’t be refuted by science. Since it accepts the way that the universe and the Earth actually came about, there’s nothing that science could refute about that idea. How could you refute the idea that things happened as they happened was done by God with science, which can only discern things about how things happened as they happened? Somewhere above I said that keeping the idea of a designer out of science was the best you could do, you’re not going to overturn it.

    I don’t understand what you’re asking in the rest of your comment. You don’t understand the motives of Owlmirror and Eric, not to mention the sockpuppets in this argument? I had a similar one at Laden’s blog the first week of August last year. Look at that one.

  174. #174 Anthony McCarthy
    January 16, 2012

    Setting initial conditions and watching what nature does under those conditions identifies how nature acts, it is not “design.”

    Oh, for crying out loud, eric, do you know how they conducted the experiments? It was entirely artificial. It was about as much an act of nature as the synthesis of polyester in a factory. Someone who was following this told me that it looked like several of the materialists were cribbing their stuff from the Wiki article about it. I haven’t looked but I’d imagine they at least describe how it was done.

  175. #175 Wowbagger
    January 16, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    You don’t understand the motives of Owlmirror and Eric, not to mention the sockpuppets in this argument.

    Unless you can demonstrate that any poster here is using sockpuppets you are lying, Anthony. Present your evidence for sockpuppetry or stop making the accusation, you miserable, cowardly, dishonest creep.

  176. #176 eric
    January 16, 2012

    do you know how they conducted the experiments? It was entirely artificial.

    It wasn’t our current environment. So what? Do you know how many thousands of glove boxes chemists are using every day, to study everything from environmental soil chemistry to cures for cancer? Are you really claiming that when we study chemical behavior under unusual conditions, we do not learn about nature but about design? Do glove box experiments tell us about nature, or design, Anthony?

  177. #177 Constant Mews
    January 16, 2012

    Oh, for crying out loud, eric, do you know how they conducted the experiments? It was entirely artificial.

    All experiments are artificial. That’s the entire point: setting up simulations of naturally occurring situations in order to observe them under controlled circumstances.

    Every single experiment is artificial. Therefore, according to you, every single experiment demonstrates that the simulated conditions can only occur with intelligent design.

    You have not made it clear why you single out OOL research from every other scientific field.

  178. #178 Owlmirror
    January 17, 2012

    [I see that eric and others made the point that I was trying to, while I was composing this. Oh, well.]

    I’ll go through it one more time, point by point.

    I’m glad you did, because I think I figured out how to express better where you’re fucking up. Obviously, I cannot possibly convince you that you are fucking up, because winning is more important to you than not fucking up. But I can keep it in mind in case an IDiot or other creationist tries the same bullshit. Who knows? A creationist might be slightly more amenable to reason than you are.

    No real argument with points 1 or 2.

    3a. Those molecules were the result of an intelligent design by Miller and Urey, etc.

    Let’s look at that word, “result”. Someone who wasn’t an idiot would agree that yeah, there’s a logical flow of cause and effect that goes from the scientists intelligently (*eyeroll* goes here) designing the experiment, to the construction of the equipment, to adding the chemicals, to letting the whole thing run without interference, to examining the results of the experiment after time. OK.

    So there is indeed a sense in which X (the scientists) caused the results Y (the amino acids).

    But….

  179. #179 Owlmirror
    January 17, 2012

    3b. Your experiment doesn’t show that amino acids, etc. were produced without intelligent design because it produced them through intelligent design.

    But … you seem to want to interpret the implied causation in the narrowest and stupidest sense; as though the equipment, and the chemicals, and the way the whole thing worked, and indeed, most importantly of all, the very laws of fucking physics and chemistry don’t matter. You want to go from X to Y, and ignore everything else involved in going from X to Y.

    That’s intellectually dishonest, and utterly stupid. But what else is new in the McCarthyverse?

    The scientists’ entire point was that the chemicals were simple, and the chemical system was left unattended, while energy for the chemical reactions came from electrical discharges. It was as minimal a chemical system as they could get.

    The results they obtained were not caused by them directly, but by the very way that those chemicals interact when subjected to electrical charge. They were trying to demonstrate natural principles of organic chemistry. You’re arguing that they somehow failed because… they themselves were involved? How does that make the natural principles unnatural?

  180. #180 Owlmirror
    January 17, 2012

    4. You have no logical ground to keep the ID proponent from pointing out that your own example is evidence that amino acids COULD be the result of an intelligent design BECAUSE THAT IS, IN FACT, HOW THE EVIDENCE YOU INTRODUCED INTO THE DEBATE WAS GENERATED.

    Are they really going to argue that their God set up a fucking circulating tube and chamber, with a discharge coil to generate chemical reactions?

    I’ll point out not only the above responses to 3a & 3b, but that they’re also making a stupid mistake of false generalization: X causes Y, therefore, the only cause of Y is X. Abiogenesis researchers don’t make that stupid generalization; they acknowledge that there is more than one way to get to amino acids (and everything else). But they do seek to demonstrate natural principles of organic chemistry in order to show plausible pathways for amino acids (and everything else) to form.

    A better analogy to demonstrate false generalization: Alice and Bob set up an experiment to demonstrate how fires are started by lightning strikes. They collect dry material, and use a Tesla coil (or similar) to discharge electricity into the tinder.

    Have they demonstrated a general principle of fires arising without intelligent design, or does the fact that they needed to gather the tinder and use designed equipment to generate the electricity somehow imply that all supposed lightning strike fires are actually “intelligently designed”?

    Or even simpler: Alice and Bob set up an experiment to demonstrate spontaneous combustion. They collect compost piles of various materials, and leave them alone, seeing which ones become hot enough to spontaneously combust.

    Have they demonstrated a general principle of fires arising without intelligent design, or does the fact that they needed to gather the compost somehow imply that all supposed spontaneous combustion fires are actually “intelligently designed”?

    So to sum up: The whole point of Urey-Miller (and every other abiogenesis experiment) is to demonstrate natural principles, and to ignore that is dishonest, stupid, and completely ignores everything about science. And going from there to a false generalization is even more intellectually dishonest and stupid.

  181. #181 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    It wasn’t our current environment. So what?

    It didn’t reproduce any known natural environment anywhere in the known universe. It was setting up conditions for manufacturing, not reproducing a natural environment. From what I understand the ideas they used back then aren’t uncontroversial today as a model of conditions on the early Earth. To say the least. Though I’d imagine today’s ideas on that will change over and over again if we happen to survive long enough.

    Do you know how many thousands of glove boxes chemists are …

    Eric, I don’t think you understand that it’s the argument that you want to plug Miller-Urey into that would leave you vulnerable to having that point made. If you wanted to introduce any of those experiments into the particular argument we’re arguing about, arguing that it was a demonstration of how life the Origin of Life happened on Earth, they could make the same point that the experiments were designed intelligently.

    Really, eric, it’s not that hard to understand. Though, apparently, it’s hard for you guys to accept that Miller-Urey isn’t an especially good argument for your side of the ID brawl.

    Given its lack of information, its lack of foundation, its lack of unity, its inaptness to the argument, it might be best to leave the entire, speculative mess of “abiogeneis” out of it. And I don’t say that only because I suspect the effort was born in ideological materialism instead of evidence, so it had dishonest motives from the start.

    Better to stick with evolutionary science that has as solid a basis in physical evidence as any science and some substance to it. You’ll find more useful material to convince people that the 7-day creation story was just speculation based on the available evidence from about five thousand years ago. You will never put a nail in the coffin of religion with science, atheists have been trying to do that since science was invented and its results aren’t any more impressive than fundamentalist religion.

    You know one of the founding fathers of abiogensis was Oparin, who was a Lysenkoist. Only one of many such fun facts of 20th century materialism.

  182. #182 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    That’s the entire point: setting up simulations of naturally occurring situations in order to observe them under controlled circumstances. constant mews

    Well, they didn’t know what the “naturally occurring situation” was that they were asserting to reproduce, for a start. And, as I pointed out, their concept of it has, apparently, become outdated as time goes on, which is an irony of more than epochal proportions.

    I didn’t single out abiogenesis, I didn’t bring it up. I wouldn’t have because I think it’s a bad idea to use such a mass of speculation asserted to be fact in an argument.

    Owlmirror, I’m sure that both Miller and his teacher, Urey, would be very surprised to find out that those amino acids just formed in their experimental vessels without their intelligent input. There’s a reason it’s known as The Miller-Urey Experiment instead of The Nature Experiment. I don’t know, maybe you should credit the manufacturers of the glass vessels and the chemicals, or were those entirely natural too?

    I think a few of you might need some pastoral care right about now. You’re in the denial stage of loss. If I thought your motives were non-ideological I’d suggest you find better arguments to use in the argument but I’m afraid what you want to harness science to do isn’t an especially good use of it and will always be vulnerable to lapses of this kind.

  183. #183 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “Organisms are far more complicated than the things that physics and chemistry are usually focused on.”

    Therefore God?

    You really are a pathetic waste of sperm, aren’t you.

  184. #184 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “Repeating the argument from incredulity does not make it stronger.”

    You know, for someone who complains that science is not the only way to know things, AMC really doesn’t know anything at all, does he? He’s ALWAYS incredulous and NEVER knows how it could happen.

    I guess AMC’s godbothering immaterialism is just another way of knowing nothing and being proud of it.

  185. #185 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “But if you somehow think this makse OOL reseach less scientific than other research, or if you are requiring a level of certainty here you don’t require of other areas of science”

    He definitely requires 0% proof for his immaterialism.

    AMC: we have no need for your hypothesis.

    Tell us where your immaterialism is an answer to anything.

  186. #186 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    “Organisms are far more complicated than the things that physics and chemistry are usually focused on.”
    Therefore God? “wow”

    Can you read? I mean, really, can you read?

    Therefore it’s impossible to guess what an organism is like without evidence. As I said, several times.

    Can you tell us, wow? What was the common ancestor of human beings and mushrooms, at the time those two lines of descent diverged, like? Go on, show us how easy it is to reconstruct an organism from far more recent time and with genetic evidence of shared physical characteristics to give you help in determining that. Go on.

    Or, tell us, since the evidence of the common ancestor of us and the fungi is known about primarily because of genetic evidence, did the original ancestor of us all have genes? Did it? How do you know it did and where did those come from? Did they form spontaneously, assembling from non-living matter? Oh, and, what about that cellular chemistry and physics that we know is necessary for those genes to do anything? Did that just happen to come together by random action? I wonder what the chances of that happening are.

    Or is it, as I suspect, that the original form of life was far different from what we know from far, far on in evolution and those large, interacting molecules and physical structures are the product of millions of years of evolution?

    And, don’t forget the containing structure, if there was one. How did that form in, one imagines, one of the most complicated actions inert molecules may have ever performed all by themselves. And don’t forget the implications of reproduction, a membrane that would have had to split and heal itself during reproduction. And what about metabolism? Go on, tell us how that happened.

    Go on, wow, wow us with your knowledge of these things. Include how you know what you know. How ’bout you “Wowbagger”, “Raging Bee” any of the Chaussettes?

  187. #187 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “Can you read? I mean, really, can you read?”

    Yes. I really can read.

    “Therefore it’s impossible to guess what an organism is like without evidence.”

    No, it’s easy to guess what an organism is like without evidence. What you need evidence for is to show your guess is liable to be correct.

    “What was the common ancestor of human beings and mushrooms, at the time those two lines of descent diverged, like?”

    It was a spore replicating organism very like the fungi we see today.

    There we go, I guessed it.

    And we even share DNA sections with both Mushrooms and other fungi.

    You’re certainly full of questions. Can’t answer any, mind. Tell us where your immaterialism is an answer to anything.

  188. #188 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “Or is it, as I suspect, that the original form of life was far different from what we know”

    Well, you’re going to have to define what the original form of life had that MADE it life as opposed to unliving matter.

    Oh, hang on, scrub that. You’re incapable of answering questions.

  189. #189 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    Gee, wow, that easy. You wonder why they bother with all that other stuff when they could just ask wow.

    Uh, wow, how do you know that your guess is right? I mean, you do know that modern fungi are also the result of many, many millions of years of evolution since the two lines diverged as well as ours is. You seem to be imagining that modern fungi are more relevant to that ancestor than human beings are. What do you base that assumption on.

    This reminds me of the assumption of the evo-psys and others make that there are modern societies that represent some “primitive” state that would be similar to those of our early human and, most irrationally, pre-human ancestors, ignoring that those cultures are as modern as those of white folk in Europe and North America.

  190. #190 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    > You wonder why they bother with all that other stuff when they could just ask wow.

    They’re not asking me, YOU were asking me.

    Since you’re plainly incompetent, I answered. Seems like you didn’t actually want an answer.

    I note you still can’t tell us where your immaterialism is an answer to anything.

    This must be because it can’t answer anything.

  191. #191 eric
    January 17, 2012

    I don’t think you understand that it’s the argument that you want to plug Miller-Urey into that would leave you vulnerable to having that point made.

    I understand your argument perfectly well. You want to claim that because it was people that stuck chemicals in the tube, anything coming out of the tube is only proof that people can make it.

    This argument is wrong because what happens in the tube will happen anywhere those conditions occur without people. Second, your argument suffers from reductio ad absurdum – it applies to every single science experiment, making all science about design. Third, you do not apply your argument consistently. You seem to have no problem thinking other lab-contrtolled experiments reveal natural behavior. The bias you show in applying it only to OOL research is predictably creationist.

    Given its lack of information, its lack of foundation, its lack of unity, its inaptness to the argument, it might be best to leave the entire, speculative mess of “abiogeneis” out of it.

    As I said before, you are welcome to have an opinion about the fruitfulness of future research in this area. But nobody is required to take your opinion as gospel. Governments, venture capitalists, and scientists who know more about the subject you do all seem to disagree with you.

  192. #192 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    My last comment to wow is caught in moderation. I’ve posted it here.

    http://thinkingcriminalslair.blogspot.com/

  193. #193 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    Second, your argument suffers from reductio ad absurdum – it applies to every single science experiment, making all science about design. eric

    1. I have maintained all along that the claims of design were not susceptible to the methods of science, so don’t blame me that it isn’t. 2. If there are concrete claims made by the ID industry, such as the bacterial flagellum argument that can be addressed by science, because the problem in their argument is addressable by science, the physical aspects of those could be addressed by science. 3. If they claimed that the whatever science could tell about bacterial flagella or other things, that it was as science said it was but they want to claim that is according to a divine plan then a. that’s a non-scientific claim, b. as such it would be a matter of belief and not scientific knowledge, c. you couldn’t confirm it or dispose of it with science since it accepts as much as science can tell you about it. 4. You would be entirely within your rights to point out that all that was covered under 3. was personal belief and not scientific knowledge.

    Really, the real fight is between the claim that non-scientific belief is covered by science and the fact that that isn’t covered by science. That’s what the real problem is. And the ID industry isn’t the only side making those claims in this brawl.

  194. #194 eric
    January 17, 2012

    I have maintained all along that the claims of design were not susceptible to the methods of science…

    I am not talking about claims of the design movement. I am talking about YOUR claims in @127, @130 and @143 that bench-top OOL experiments aren’t valid evidence of what nature could do because the experiments were designed by humans. Quoting you: “You cannot cite a famous laboratory experiment as evidence of the Origin of Life in an argument against Intelligent Design of the kind that purports to be science and then simply ignore that the experiment you are citing was, itself, the result of an intelligent design…”

    YOU are claiming that if an experiment is designed by scientists, it cannot be cited as evidence of a non-designed process. This argument, the one YOU make, is wrong.

    Or, were you making the incredibly trivial and obtuse point that – while you agree with us that the argument is illegitimate – you think our mentioning controlled OOL experiments will cause them to use this illegitimate argument?

  195. #195 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    > 1. I have maintained all along that the claims of design were not susceptible to the methods of science, so don’t blame me that it isn’t.

    You’ve maintained that ID is science, however, when it isn’t.

    So we blaming you for saying it is.

    Tell us, where is your immaterialism able to explain anything? Or is your “other way of knowing” unable to help you know anything?

  196. #196 eric
    January 17, 2012

    Really, the real fight is between the claim that non-scientific belief is covered by science and the fact that that isn’t covered by science.

    That life is the result of terrestrial, organic, undirected abiogenesis is the current best scientific hypothesis because its supported by all of our observations of inorganic and organic chemistry. We see simple organic molecules naturally reacting to form more complex ones. We see natural polymerization. We see natural autocatalysis. We see natural formation of membranes and spheres by fatty acids. And so on.

    These observations and data don’t by any means give a complete picture. But we do have empirical data and that data does support the hypothesis.

    If you want to dispute this hypothesis, the scientific way to go about it is to come up with an explanation that does a better job of explaining current evidence, or come up with new evidence that indicates terrestrial etc. abiogenesis is wrong.

    Your constant whining that we can’t be sure its right, we don’t know the structure of the first lifeform, etc etc ad nauseum is the wrong way to go about disputing it. Such whines provide absolutely no relevant reason to abandon this hypothesis, or to call it unscientific.

    [This post somewhat repetitive of one currently in moderation.]

  197. #197 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “If you want to dispute this hypothesis, the scientific way to go about it is to come up with an explanation that does a better job of explaining current evidence”

    You fail to realise that AMC wants his immaterialist dogma left to “explain” the origin of life. Even though it doesn’t, in actual fact, explain anything.

    Or, in other words, we don’t know 100%, therefore God.

  198. #198 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    “As to what would have made the common ancestor of all life alive? Well, that would be a question of definition, since there is no evidence of what it was.”

    Well, yes.

    Which is why I asked what your definition of “life” is that the Origin of Life had and previous to that it didn’t.

    “But, you forget, I’m not the one claiming to know anything about it that would cut the mustard as science.”

    Yes you are. You’re claiming that you know that science can’t answer it.

    “I notice you haven’t touched the containing membrane question… Hard to imagine how that could have happened through non-biological means, isn’t it.”

    Nope. All you need is a bipolar molecule that has a hydrophobic and hydrophilic end that will self-bind. I.e. a fatty acid. Oh, look, it’s easy to imagein how that could have happened through non-biological means! As eric says, we already have made them from chemicals that are

    a) absolutely not “alive”
    b) absolutely appear in space where life doesn’t exist (e.g. molecular clouds of methane, et al)
    c) will be produced in the presence of a concentrated electrical discharge (lightning) that occurs without intelligence

    But nowhere have you managed to say what you count as “the first living organism”. Since RNA has the processes you describe as necessary, then RNA counts. Since the pre-biotic soup that was created in the early experiments also have those characteristics, THEY count as The First Living Organism.

  199. #199 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    I am talking about YOUR claims in @127, @130 and @143 that bench-top OOL experiments aren’t valid evidence of what nature could do because the experiments were designed by humans. eric

    You are confused, eric. I made two different, though interconnected, arguments about “abiogenesis”.

    The first argument was general, that anything purported to be relevant to the Origin of Life was of unknown relevance to the Origin of Life because evidence left by the Origin of Life is not available for the dreamchildren of the abiogenesists to be held up against to see if it matched. You could be a full blown materialist fundamentalist and see that that is true, if you cared about knowledge instead of mere speculation supporting your ideological preferences. That would, by the way, apply equally to the belief that God created the original organism as well as any alleged product of random happenstance.

    The second argument was specific to the use of things like Miller-Urey as ammo against the ID industry. If you raise M-U or some other experiment against the claims of ID, it’s then that the ID proponent could point out that your example was, itself, the result of intelligent design and so couldn’t be used against an assertion of intelligent design.

    The interconnection is at a third point, that the intelligent design of your own example was known and obvious whereas M-U’s relationship to the actual Origin of Life was entirely speculative, especially given the more recent beliefs about what the atmosphere of the Earth was like during that time frame. Whatever the ID proponents’ argument about science lacked, if they argued that, it would be logically sound and, I hate to point out, persuasive. Especially to the predisposed and there are lots of those.

    The longer I think about it the more I think that using abiogenesis in the struggle against the ID industry is a really bad, really counterproductive idea.

  200. #200 Wow
    January 17, 2012

    > that anything purported to be relevant to the Origin of Life was of unknown relevance to the Origin of Life because evidence left by the Origin of Life is not available

    We already HAVE evidence of the Origin of Life. We’re alive, even though that original organism is no longer.

    You’re really not able to get past the “I don’t know”, are you.

    > The second argument was specific to the use of things like Miller-Urey as ammo against the ID industry.

    Nope, it was all bafflegab about how you don’t know what the Miller-Urey experiment was.

    > then that the ID proponent could point out that your example was, itself, the result of intelligent design

    But not the chemicals, nor the process.

    You and your fellow IDers would have to show that ONLY if you set up artificial lightning would those molecules be produced.

    > whereas M-U’s relationship to the actual Origin of Life was entirely speculative

    Again you pretend that just because YOU are ignorant, everyone else is. No. The building blocks (amino acids) are easy to make. If these are the building blocks of life as we know it, then it’s easy to make the stuff that builds life.

    > The longer I think about it the more I think that using abiogenesis in the struggle against the ID industry is a really bad, really counterproductive idea.

    Then don’t use abiogenesis in the struggle against the ID industry.

    Nobody else does, since abiogenesis is about the creation of life, not evolution.

    PS your other method of learning doesn’t seem to have enabled any learning. I suggest a different idea.

  201. #201 eric
    January 17, 2012

    AMC @199 – your second argument is wrong. This has been explained to you multiple times by multiple posters. Experiments designed by humans can say something about what nature can do in the absence of intelligent designers. Moreover, your argument is not specific to M-U. It applies to every bench top experiment ever made, since they all share the trait of being designed and carried out by humans. You do not seem to want to acknowledge this. You seem to want to only apply it to OOL experiments. Which is a specific type of bias commonly evinced by creationists.

  202. #202 eric
    January 17, 2012

    AMC:

    The longer I think about it the more I think that using abiogenesis in the struggle against the ID industry is a really bad, really counterproductive idea.

    It would be, if the public could not see through transparently bad ID arguments like ‘the experiment was designed by humans, therefore cannot be used as evidence against design.’ Fortunately for us, most people aren’t convinced by this sort of argument, even though you personally find it credible.

  203. #203 Owlmirror
    January 17, 2012

    Owlmirror, I’m sure that both Miller and his teacher, Urey, would be very surprised to find out that those amino acids just formed in their experimental vessels without their intelligent input.

    It’s amusing that in order to win, you ignore everything I write and continue with your stupid pathetic distortions and equivocation.

    Miller and Urey would indeed have been surprised to find anyone moronic enough to imply that they were somehow responsible for the laws of physics and chemistry working, instead of successfully discovering a particular way that the laws of physics and chemistry work.

  204. #204 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    Wow, it’s not interesting arguing you when you just lie about what’s been said. As I said once before you remind me very much of JR in that habit.

    Owlmirror, we shall see, I suspect, if my point is more useful to one side or the other. I predict it will not be the neo-atheist side that gets that point. Especially as M-U becomes ever more superannuated due to changing ideas in science. I’ve warned you folks, it’s not that big a deal to me if your ranger buddies ignore it and suffer. I’m not especially bothered if abiogenesis falls into disrepute either. And it can take exobiology down with it too.

  205. #205 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    You seem to want to only apply it to OOL experiments. Which is a specific type of bias commonly evinced by creationists.

    It’s only a problem in that extra-scientific argument about ID. The other problem, that it can’t be of known accuracy to the actual Origin of Life, that’s a pretty big problem in every way.

    The bias is in your desire to rig the rules of the debate to, as I’ve pointed out, have it be heads you win, tails they lose. You don’t get to do that. The ID side gets to make their argument and if they can show a logical lapse on the side of the abiogenetic-materialists, their point is as valid as if you point out a lapse in theirs. Though maybe that should be “tales” since all of you are spinning yarns instead of consulting evidence.

    Is Miller-Urey relevant to the exogenesis school of abiogenesis? Tell me how.

  206. #206 eric
    January 17, 2012

    The ID side gets to make their argument and if they can show a logical lapse on the side of the abiogenetic-materialists, their point is as valid as if you point out a lapse in theirs.

    You seem to have leapt from “If A, then B” straight to “therefore B.” A is wrong; I’m not going to describe why yet again. Since you didn’t get it the first n-1 times, you likely won’t get it the nth time either.

  207. #207 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    For crying out loud, eric, all I said was that either side in an argument gets to point out a problem in the logic of the other. Talk about you insisting on the rules being rigged for you. Let me tell you another thing, I’m not the one who sets the rule of argument, that’s just the way it is.

    I really hope that there are people ready to defend science from such defenders as you because with this kind of display, it’s no wonder that the ID side has done so well in the general culture over the past 40 years as organized atheism has hogged the mic.

  208. #208 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    I should point out that the “JR” I referred to above is another pseudonym of a blog commentator – who also uses sock puppets, “Freki” being just one – not the initials of the owner of a blog. I apologize for any misunderstanding

  209. #209 Raging Bee
    January 17, 2012

    Wow, that’s a hell of a lot of (long disproven) creationist talking-points from someone who had earlier said he wasn’t a creationist. Yet more proof that Anthony is nothing but an attention-whoring pathological liar, desperately trying to pretend he knows something all us horrible evil “materialists” don’t. The fact that he’s mindlessly repeating the same old falsehoods we’ve already refuted (more than once) proves he’s not paying any attention to what anyone else is saying; so there’s no reason for any of us to waste any more time paying attention to him. Repetitive troll is repetitive. Repetitive troll is repetitive.

  210. #210 Anthony McCarthy
    January 17, 2012

    Well, now we know that wow and Owlmirror and Raging Bee and eric have next to no ability to distinguish an evolutionist from a creationist. As I recall R.B. was unable to do that at Laden’s blog even as he pointed out that I was clearly no creationist. But, then, the Bee is raging, though raving is more accurate.

    For anyone paying attention, there it is, the erudition of the young blog atheists. Not too impressive, is it. My experience is it’s not only evolution they are ignorant of, it’s pretty much the entire range of science and culture.

  211. #211 eric
    January 17, 2012

    For crying out loud, eric, all I said was that either side in an argument gets to point out a problem in the logic of the other.

    DO you believe this ID argument is credible, or not? If you don’t, and I don’t, I’m not really interested in discussing it. Let’s move on. If you do believe its credible, JUST FRAKKING SAY SO. Don’t “all I said.” Take a position and defend it.

    Do you, Anthony McCarthy, believe that human-designed experiments like the U-M one can tell us something about how undesigned nature works, or not?

  212. #212 Wowbagger
    January 18, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    For anyone paying attention, there it is, the erudition of the young blog atheists.

    As compared to the intellectual dishonesty, cowardice and incoherence of an old blog wooist like yourself? On their worst days they are far more rational than a slimy, pathologically disingenuous fraud like you could ever hope to be, Anthony.

  213. #213 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    > 204

    > Wow, it’s not interesting arguing you when you just lie about what’s been said.

    Sorry? Where have I lied?

    Nowhwere, which is why you were unable to either point out where this “lie” occurs (maybe it’s an immaterial lie and therefore undetectable by humans) or countered it.

    I still note that you’re unable to point out what your “other way of knowing” has led you to know.

  214. #214 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    > all I said was that either side in an argument gets to point out a problem in the logic of the other.

    This doesn’t mean anything more than the fact that in the USA you can be sued for ANYTHING.

    You won’t win a case for “emotional distress from seeing someone walking on the cracks in the pavement, engendering a worry that bears will leap out and rip this other person apart”, but you can bring the case to court.

    And still, despite several opportunities, you haven’t managed to point out anything that your “other way of learning” has enabled you to learn.

  215. #215 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    > have next to no ability to distinguish an evolutionist from a creationist.

    They appear quite fine to be able to discern the difference between them.

    > My experience is it’s not only evolution they are ignorant of, it’s pretty much the entire range of science and culture.

    Your experiences, being all 100% immaterial and therefore a figment of your own imagination, can come to all sorts of conclusions about your figment. Where you fall down is when you apply these conclusions about your imaginary world to the one that your body inhabits with the rest of us: they’re wrong.

  216. #216 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    eric, it doesn’t matter if those people are entirely wrong, they still get to point out when you are wrong. That’s the way that rational discourse is done among rational adults. You can’t give one side permission to get by on sloppy arguments and market yourself as a defender of reason.

    Sorry? Where have I lied? wow at 213

    You’ve maintained that ID is science, however, when it isn’t. So we blaming you for saying it is. wow at 195

    ID as science isn’t credible. It’s not possible to do what they want to do with science, you can’t deal with the question of a Designer with science. Anthony McCarthy at 173

    That’s just the beginning of your mendacity, “wow”.

    You are so much like the commentator I named above, you could be the same person.

  217. #217 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    Of course ID will go nowhere, it’s fundamentally a dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology. Anthony McCarthy at 58, the first comment I made on this thread.

  218. #218 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    > Of course ID will go nowhere, it’s fundamentally a dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology

    Yup. And you’re still pushing for “immaterialism” which will go nowhere and is a fundamentally dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology.

  219. #219 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    PS I find it highly amusing when the Ignorator (AMC) whines:

    “That’s just the beginning of your mendacity”

    PPS #218 is evidence that AMC will push fundamentally dishonest attempts to force reality into a predetermined ideology. Therefore saying ID does this is nothing to do with AMC rejecting ID.

  220. #220 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    I find it amusing that wow pretends that its lies aren’t obvious even when those are laid out in plain sight. There’s a reason that some lying reaches the point of pathology, it’s the alcoholism of the new atheism.

    See, eric, that’s the kind of thing that can happen when one side gives itself permission to cut corners with the truth. Very unsciencey, but, then, sciency is a form of “truthy”.

  221. #221 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    I find it amusing that despite “materialism” being insufficient to know things, AMC’s alternative has led him to know nothing.

  222. #222 Raging Bee
    January 18, 2012

    I still note that you’re unable to point out what your “other way of knowing” has led you to know.

    Let me guess…it’s yet another thing that Anthony has been studying for the last twenty-some-odd years but can’t cite one actual example. That’s the anti-materialist way of studying things. Pathetic level of detail and all that.

    As I recall R.B. was unable to do that at Laden’s blog even as he pointed out that I was clearly no creationist.

    And once again, you lie about what I said, just like you lie about everything else “materialists” (or “scientistic fundamentalists” or whatever you’re calling your imaginary boogeymen this week) have said. What I had said earlier was that you were (and still are) taking creationist, anti-rationalist arguments and recycling them for use in other subjects.

  223. #223 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    I also note that AMC’s posting seems to be an EXTREMELY FULL working day:

    6AM to 11PM (or a little later).

  224. #224 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    And now wow, caught in the act of lying, is trying to change the subject, as always.

    Lying is the lingua franca of the new atheists.

  225. #225 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    Remember too, AMC’s proclamation on ID:

    > 1. I have maintained all along that the claims of design were not susceptible to the methods of science, so don’t blame me that it isn’t.

    My response: You’ve maintained that ID is science, however, when it isn’t.

    His “proof” I was lying there:

    > ID as science isn’t credible. It’s not possible to do what they want to do with science, you can’t deal with the question of a Designer with science.

    Ignores that he’s saying that ID can be used in science:

    > The longer I think about it the more I think that using abiogenesis in the struggle against the ID industry is a really bad, really counterproductive idea.

  226. #226 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    And now wow, caught in the act of lying, AMC is busy going “look! Flying squirrels!!!”.

    And, despite 17 hours at work, AMC has still found nothing his “other way of knowing” has let him actually know.

    PS: When AMC asks a question like

    “Can you tell us, wow? What was the common ancestor of human beings and mushrooms, at the time those two lines of descent diverged, like?”

    He doesn’t want you to answer it:

    “You wonder why they bother with all that other stuff when they could just ask wow.”

  227. #227 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    As I recall R.B. was unable to do that at Laden’s blog even as he pointed out that I was clearly no creationist.
    And once again, you lie about what I said just as you did at Laden’s.

    I don’t think Anthony is a creationist.*
    Posted by: Greg Laden | August 7, 2011 3:29 PM

    Which had an impact on her lying rants temporarily.

    He may never have been an actual creationist, but his blither-points are suspiciously similar to those of creationists, and other denialists.
    Posted by: Raging Bee | August 7, 2011 6:56 PM

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/07/we_can_know_nothing_about_the.php

    As can be seen on this blog and a number of others, that was only a temporary mitigation of her lunatic blithering.

    Let’s see, Wowbagger, wow, Raging Bee,… the defenders of “science” and “reason” on a prominent Scienceblog. Holy cow, I guess science really is in trouble if that’s good enough for the sciency.

    * By the way, since no one else has remarked on it, I’m the one who has been constantly citing and depending on the traditional Darwinist belief in a single, original ancestor of all of life on Earth in both that old brawl and this one. In that I’m entirely a Darwinist, though I’m no fan of Charles Darwin, especially in the truly awful “Descent of Man”, that’s one of his ideas I think is absolutely right. Something that’s lost on these champions of science-in-their-own-minds. Though that could be because most of them have no idea what that means. It’s more like being the fan of a sports team for most blog atheists I’ve encountered. Which is why they can say the stupidest things about evolution to little to no contradiction even by people who obviously know better.

  228. #228 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    Oh, and for those who don’t know how it’s possible you could get multicellular life from single celled organisms:

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/01/18/0118213/multicellular-life-evolves-in-months-in-a-lab

    “I’m the one who has been constantly citing and depending on the traditional Darwinist belief in a single, original ancestor of all of life on Earth”

    Ah, yes, this is why you presume incredulity in the existence and even the possibility of knowing it existed when you said:

    “The other problem, that it can’t be of known accuracy to the actual Origin of Life, that’s a pretty big problem in every way.”

    And backed it up with more argument from incredulity:

    “Can you tell us, wow? What was the common ancestor of human beings and mushrooms, at the time those two lines of descent diverged, like?”

  229. #229 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    And, despite 17 hours at work, AMC has still found nothing his “other way of knowing” has let him actually know.

    First, since it’s obviously wow’s intention to give newcomers to this argument that I’ve said something on the lines of religious belief being the same kind of thing as scientific knowledge, I’ve never said that as the two recent posts in this blog about scientism would show. I made the distinction between belief and knowledge all through those arguments. With wow, it’s always a matter of lying, it’s what s/he does. Lying reaches the stage of a compulsive act when it’s wow.

    What I did cite was that history and law courts are able to establish knowledge independent of science and that it was sometimes knowledge of far more reliability, since it was able to be far more certainly and finally known than much of what science holds, which is always regarded as contingent. The innocence of an innocent person can be established beyond any doubt, it is absolutely known that the Supreme Court stopped the vote count in Florida in 2000 to install a president of the same party as the infamous Bush v. Gore five.

    The great irony is that I’m perfectly willing to allow massively established ideas in science a status as being far more settled on the basis of the weight of evidence and have had arguments about that. Of course, I meant that evolution should be called a fact because of its massive confirmation in multiple lines of physical evidence, Gould was right that it is the idea of science most massively established by evidence. In that case it was the neo-atheists who objected to calling it anything other than a theory. I’m almost as willing to consider quantum physics the same status, though it’s through the massive impressiveness of its confirmation, in that case.

  230. #230 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    On the off chance that anyone is interested in fact checking wow, word search is your friend. ctrl-f works wonders. Only be careful because wow and some of the others love to elide what was said to twist its meaning.

  231. #231 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    > First, since it’s obviously wow’s intention to give newcomers to this argument that I’ve said something on the lines of religious belief being the same kind of thing as scientific knowledge

    Really? Is that obvious or merely “obvious” to you? I.e a strawman?

    I clicked on your site link once. It’s all about God and how He Is The Answer. You appear here decrying science and insisting that materialism is not the only way of knowing. Yet you are unable to show how you know anything from this “other way of knowing”.

    And if I do Ctrl-F I can find line and verse of this screed coming from your keyboard.

  232. #232 Raging Bee
    January 18, 2012

    The one time Anthony actually tries to cite something to back up his allegations, the cite actually proves the opposite point. What a joke. This troll is starting to sound like another Larry Fafarman.

  233. #233 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    I clicked on your site link once. It’s all about God and how He Is The Answer. wow

    What a pathological liar you are wow, you are exactly like Freki in the scope of your lying. I’ve never said anything like that on any on any of the blogs I’ve written for or owned.

    olvlzl at blogspot.com
    A Woman was Lynched Today at blogspot.com
    Echidne of The Snakes at blogspot.com
    The Thought Criminal at blogspot.com
    The Thought Criminal’s Lair at blogspot.com
    Anthony McCarthy’s New Blog at blogspot.com

    Here’s the first thing I ever posted about religion on any of those, with an update after I’d had some experience with the new atheism.

    http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

  234. #234 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    Having a couple of minutes to look at that old blog post, under the pseudonym I used to use, here’s something apropos of this discussion:

    About religion, nothing can be objectively known. Science deals with the physical world as observable and measurable phenomena. No measurements, no science. Science is plainly the most successful way of knowing about the universe. Religion doesn’t deal with what is knowable in an objective way. Religion is belief of something beside what can be physically known. Real religious belief can’t be objectively passed on by reason or repeatable observations, it has to be experienced personally. Remember, I’m talking about authentic religious beliefs, not about fundamentalism or organized, dogmatic religion. This isn’t an encyclopedic survey of asserted beliefs.

  235. #235 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    http://thinkingcriminalslair.blogspot.com/

    is another home of yours too.

    Of course, you have several habitations so that you can pretend to be a new person every day….

  236. #236 Raging Bee
    January 18, 2012

    What I did cite was that history and law courts are able to establish knowledge independent of science and that it was sometimes knowledge of far more reliability, since it was able to be far more certainly and finally known than much of what science holds, which is always regarded as contingent.

    That statement is dead wrong on so many levels I can only laugh. History and law courts establish knowledge independent of science? Hasn’t this moron ever heard of archeology or criminology/CSI?

    This stupid bloviating crank isn’t worth anyone’s time.

  237. #237 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    So, where are your “other ways of knowing”‘s results, AMC?

  238. #238 Raging Bee
    January 18, 2012

    I just had a quick look at Wow’s cite. What a pathetic mess. It looks like where Anthony goes to sulk and repost nearly every losing argument he’s ever got stuck in moderation (which are the same as all his losing arguments that didn’t). I guess this is what he means when he threatens to “write up” his arguments for future vindication elsewhere.

    And the sidebar has the exact same whiny boasting of how people hate him and he’s a thought criminal or something.

    _|>:-O (“Angry loser who won’t shut up” emoticon)

  239. #239 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    is another home of yours too. wow

    Which is the reason that it was the fifth one I listed.

    I understand they’re doing some remarkable things for those, such as you, with reading problems, wow. What they can do for your compulsive lying, you’re on your own there. Maybe you and the others could form a support group.

  240. #240 Wow
    January 18, 2012

    Nope, I read fine.

    You, however, can’t write a URL.

  241. #241 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    Having established this morning that both wow and Raging Bee are liars and both having established that they are deranged, maybe someone would like to get back on topic.

  242. #242 Wowbagger
    January 18, 2012

    Anthony ‘the man the hagfish envy’ McCarthy wrote:

    Having established this morning that both wow and Raging Bee are liars and both having established that they are deranged, maybe someone would like to get back on topic.

    I think I’m going to start a blog where people submit the most hilariously clueless and hypocritically ironic comments they find, and give an award to the best one. I would call them ‘The Anthonys’, and the passage I’ve cited here would be the one I’d use as an example of what I was looking for.

    The statuette could be a black pot, in a glass house, refusing to look in the mirror…

  243. #243 Boris
    January 18, 2012

    This is an entertaining thread: you can drop in at almost any comment and watch Anthony McCarthy demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect. I commend the rest of you for your patience.

  244. #244 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    Hey, wow, here’s another one for your support group.

    Wowbagger, it’s so hard to tell one demented, mendacious neo-atheist from another that they could all be the same person. Maybe some neo-athe sugar daddy funds them. Could be like the right wing troll at Eschaton who was traced back to a frat house at the University of Southern Maine several years back. I can think of several who wouldn’t be above something like that.

  245. #245 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    Boris, you really think Raging Bee and wow and Wowbagger are intellectually competent? Really.

    Talk about your Unable and Unaware. You wouldn’t know your able from your Elba.

  246. #246 Wowbagger
    January 18, 2012

    Anthony ‘oleaginous’ McCarthy wrote:

    Maybe some neo-athe sugar daddy funds them. Could be like the right wing troll at Eschaton who was traced back to a frat house at the University of Southern Maine several years back. I can think of several who wouldn’t be above something like that.

    It’s funny how for a certain class of internet loon it always comes down to conspiracy theories. Hope you’ve got your tinfoil hat on good and tight, Anthony!

    Boris, you really think Raging Bee and wow and Wowbagger are intellectually competent? Really.

    Compared to you, Anthony, the contents of most refrigerators would be considered intellectually competent – not to mention far, far more honest.

  247. #247 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    I guess I should stick around to see how dishonest and insubstantial, not to mention stupid, the new atheists can get before one of their own will call them on it. I’ve never seen that happen no matter how bad they get. Can it get to Randi-Jillette community levels of putrid idiocy here? I wonder, though I wouldn’t be surprised.

  248. #248 Anthony McCarthy
    January 18, 2012

    Sorry? Where have I lied? wow at 213

    You’ve maintained that ID is science, however, when it isn’t. So we blaming you for saying it is. wow at 195

    Of course ID will go nowhere, it’s fundamentally a dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology. Anthony McCarthy at 58

    ID as science isn’t credible. It’s not possible to do what they want to do with science, you can’t deal with the question of a Designer with science. Anthony McCarthy at 173

    For anyone who wants a good sample of the new atheist habit of pathological lying without reading all the way up till this morning. I’ve known atheists who didn’t lie, but not so much on the blogs.

  249. #249 Boris
    January 18, 2012

    You wouldn’t know your able from your Elba.

    I’m not a wingnut though, which ought to count for something.

  250. #250 Wowbagger
    January 18, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    I guess I should stick around to see how dishonest and insubstantial, not to mention stupid, the new atheists can get before one of their own will call them on it. I’ve never seen that happen no matter how bad they get.

    Has it ever occurred to your misfiring, woo-poisoned brain that the reason you’ve never seen it happen is because the only person here being dishonest, insubstantial and stupid is you?

    What am I thinking – of course it hasn’t. If you were capable of that level of self-reflection you’d have realised the depths of intellectual dishonesty your reprehensible lying for woo had led to you sink to and switched off your computer in horror and shame years ago.

  251. #251 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    AMC: “Everyone else disagrees with me, that PROVES I’m right! You’re not allowed to think I’m wrong, because that’s thought crime! And that proves YOU’RE wrong!”

    PS Jason, when it takes 40 repeats of a question to get AMC to even acknowledge the existence of that question, of course it will look like spamming.

  252. #252 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    On A Follow Up Post About Scientism:

    David Gerard, materialism has yet to be proved, the question of disproving it is irrelevant in light of that fact. Materialism is an ideology that is accepted on the basis of belief. Not that materialists will admit that anymore than any other species of true believers will.

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | December 28, 2011 7:07 AM

    Scientism and ideological materialism are the foundations of almost all of modern atheism.

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | December 28, 2011 7:15 AM

    Materialism is ideological, it is unprovable. Science, which can only deal with the material is incapable of addressing questions of immateriality, in the sense of incorporeality.

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | December 28, 2011 8:29 AM

    Even more, there is no scientific validation of the idea that “scientific method (observation, experiment, reason)” are the only means of knowing something.

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | December 28, 2011 5:42 PM

  253. #253 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    You also didn’t distinguish among different religions which are of vastly different character in claiming “knowledge”. … Which is why new atheists ignore that as they make their own expansive, fundamentalist claims of knowledge, which are often easily refuted, though my experience is that the new atheist will immediately start bawling “straw man” or “goalpost moving” or “cherry picking” or “woo, Overton, or Poe” or some other pseudo-discursive dodge to avoid dealing with their false claims of knowledge.

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | December 28, 2011 8:04 PM

    If you believe that science is the only source of legitimate knowledge, you can’t legitimately claim to know anything that isn’t revealed by science.

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | December 28, 2011 8:08 PM

  254. #254 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    I suppose I’m supposed to bow before the scientific brilliance of wow who is able to intuit the structure and nature of the last common ancestor of human beings and mushrooms at 187 above based on nothing.

    I would guess that the most useful thing about this thread for anyone who cared about science is the view of the extremely screwy idea of what science is and does that such true believing sci-rangers such as wow, Bee, the bagger, etc. hold. And that those screwy ideas can be expressed on a blog dedicated to science without anyone stepping in to point out that if science followed their ideas, it would pretty much destroy science. Such is the future for science under the intellectual program of the pseudo-skeptics and new atheists. The blogs have done nothing but allow such ignorant people to mutually praise their misconceptions, and feed their self regard. It’s produced a large number of conceited, arrogant, lazy and ignorant ideologues who support each other in their conceited ignorance.

    I’m not a wingnut though, which ought to count for something. Boris

    You clearly think that wow, Raging Bee and Wowbagger know what they’re talking about, which counts for nothing.

  255. #255 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    Like I said: AMC “Everyone disagrees with me, therefore I’m right!”.

  256. #256 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    Looking at wow’s last few comments, I did warn you about how s/he likes to distort meaning by taking things out of context. It’s not the most common method of lying among the new atheists but only because it’s slightly more difficult due to the necessity of cutting and pasting.

    Lying for science. Apparently that’s OK on the Scienceblogs and among the sciency. And you wonder why science has lost credibility since the rise of the pseudo-skepticicm and its spawn, the new atheism.

  257. #257 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    wow, you think that the sci-rangers of the Scienceblogs are everyone?

    What did I just say about the conceited ignorance of the self-appointed defenders of science?

    I’m not convinced that “everyone”, at this point, doesn’t mean “wow” and the sock puppets.

  258. #258 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    > What did I just say about the conceited ignorance of the self-appointed defenders of science?

    In a conceited ignorance and self-appointed guardian of immaterialism sort of way, you mean?

    You can SAY a lot about them, this doesn’t make it correct, nor even relevant.

  259. #259 Raging Bee
    January 19, 2012

    I notice Anthony has STILL not answered Wow’s original question about those alleged different “ways of knowing,” and has instead retreated to flailing, name-calling, hand-waving, and conspiracy theories that are lame and half-assed even by conspiracy-theory standards (who’s supposed to be a sockpuppet of whom again?). Why am I not surprised? This argument is pretty much over, and it’s way past the needy attention-hogging crank’s bedtime.

  260. #260 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    Notice that Raging Bee is too wacky to understand that I answered it a long time ago on this thread. In so far as religion is concerned, as pointed out in a comment to “wow” yesterday, I answered it on my original blog on July 6, 2006:

    About religion, nothing can be objectively known. Science deals with the physical world as observable and meaureable phenomena. No measurements, no science. Science is plainly the most successful way of knowing about the universe. Religion doesn’t deal with what is knowable in an objective way. Religion is belief of something beside what can be physically known. Real religious belief can’t be objectively passed on by reason or repeatable observations, it has to be experienced personally.

    http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/2006/07/belivers-and-non-believers-on-left.html

    and that she’s too wacky to understand that I did answer it and that she is lying about that. That’s something that can be known by reading the comments on this thread, no science necessary.

    She obviously is spending too much time watching CSI to have learned to think. If I’m ever on trial I’m going to make sure my lawyer get those people off of the jury.

    Tell us everything you know about spreadsheets, Bee.

  261. #261 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    “too wacky to understand that I answered it a long time ago on this thread”

    And then you quote something that isn’t an answer to the question…

    “About religion, nothing can be objectively known.”

    Nope, not answering the question. It’s saying that you don’t know if it’s another way to know anything.

    And since you protest that you do not subscribe to this “other way of knowing”, it doesn’t answer the question about “YOUR other way of knowing” even if it DID say how religion was one.

  262. #262 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    I rest my case, if not that wow and Raging Bee are two socks from the same drawer that there’s really no difference between them. I wonder how much of the mutual agreement among the neo-atheists on the blogs isn’t the John Lott-Mary Rosh kind of thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lott#Mary_Rosh_persona

    Of course, as “wow” points out, I don’t get much support in these blog brawls, so it’s not something I can be accused of doing.

  263. #263 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    > I rest my case

    If only.

    PS you’re wrong.

    This comes as a surprise to nobody.

  264. #264 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    I’m going to let the other socks fall before commenting again.

  265. #265 Wow
    January 19, 2012

    Hmm.

    Even if it were so and we are all one gestalt being called “Legion”, in what way does that make your blithering right? In what way does it mean that you’ve answered my/our question before?

    It doesn’t.

    You’re desperately flailing.

  266. #266 DuckDunn
    January 19, 2012

    Wow, thanks to a couple of moronic creationists who are blathering their idiocies here, this comment thread has ballooned to almost PZ Myers-like size. Jason should be proud!

  267. #267 Raging Bee
    January 19, 2012

    You’re lying again, Anthony. The bit you repasted does not describe an alternative way of knowing; it only admits that religious belief is NOT a “way of knowing,” since it’s nothing but subjective belief, and does not permit or facilitate actual knowledge of anything. Then again, you’re the one who said law-courts establish truth independent of science, and do so more reliably than science; so I guess I couldn’t have expected a sensible answer from you. No need to apologize.

  268. #268 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    Raging Bee, obviously, for you something you call “science” is another way of ignorance. If not dementia.

  269. #269 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    I’m going to let the other socks fall before commenting again.

    We’re still waiting on you to present evidence that any poster here is a sock puppet. But, given you’re a consumate liar, coward and fraud, I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

    Real religious belief can’t be objectively passed on by reason or repeatable observations, it has to be experienced personally.

    How do you determine which is a ‘real’ religious belief from what that is not ‘real’? What happens if when someone else claims a ‘real’ religious belief – attained through a similar ‘other way of knowing’, with no other means of validation – that is inconsistent/conflicts with yours? How do you determine which is correct?

  270. #270 v-pills
    January 19, 2012

    You’re lying again, Anthony. The bit you repasted does not describe an alternative way of knowing; it only admits that religious belief is NOT a “way of knowing,” since it’s nothing but subjective belief, and does not permit or facilitate actual knowledge of anything.

  271. #271 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    What’s next, the argyle sock? Last time it happened I had to point out to Tlaz that she shouldn’t use her favorite phrases I’d read on several blogs when she was putting on a different sock. I mean you “RB”.

    Jason, how do you like these “Brites” who think my rather conventional evolutionism is creationism? I mean, belief in a single ancestor of all life, arguing from the assumption of evolution being the origin of species, shared ancestors for human beings and mushrooms, consistently pointing out that ID isn’t science…. and your local sci-rangers think it’s creationism.

    How do you determine which is a ‘real’ religious belief from what that is not ‘real’?

    How do you determine which is the ‘real” school of abiogenesis? How do you determine the ‘real’ sect of string-membrane-M theory? It’s a subjective decision of the kind you and every single person in the world makes about most of things. You get to have your own opinion in the absence of known fact. You clearly do in religion. I know it’s a huge disappointment to you but other people get to make up their own minds, too.

    And I think you’re protesting too much, Wowbagger, it’s as if I’m depriving you of something when I point out that there are obvious sock puppets in this discussion.

  272. #272 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    How do you determine which is the ‘real” school of abiogenesis? How do you determine the ‘real’ sect of string-membrane-M theory?

    You mean you can’t answer the question about how to differentiate between two contradictory and mutually exclusive religious claims stemming from ‘other ways of knowing’?

    Why didn’t you just say so?

    That you pretend to put belief in gods on the same level as different schools of thought on abiogenesis and string theory is yet another symptom of your profound woo-fueled intellectual dishonesty – not to mention another example of the emptiness of a religious claim stemming from a baseless position built solely on unsupported assertions.

    Has anyone ever killed even one person – let alone millions of people – because of differences of opinion on either abiogenesis or string theory? Have wars been fought over the opinions? Are suicide bombers from one lab blowing themselves up inside opposition labs?

    Are there scientists lying about which of the two options they prefer in order to gain the political power to run countries?

    And I think you’re protesting too much, Wowbagger, it’s as if I’m depriving you of something when I point out that there are obvious sock puppets in this discussion.

    All it would take to shut me up is the evidence to support your claim. What is your evidence? If you have no evidence then your claim is baseless and you are simply lying. Lie all you want; my identifying you a liar and you repeatedly failing to defend yourself certainly isn’t a problem for me.

  273. #273 Anthony McCarthy
    January 19, 2012

    You mean you can’t answer the question about how to differentiate between two contradictory and mutually exclusive religious claims stemming from ‘other ways of knowing’?

    What is it about you people? Are you really so stupid that you can’t understand what I said when I said:

    ABOUT RELIGION NOTHING CAN BE OBJECTIVELY KNOWN. Science deals with the physical world as observable and meaureable phenomena. No measurements, no science. Science is plainly the most successful way of knowing about the universe. RELIGION DOESN’T DEAL WITH WHAT IS KNOWABLE IN AN OBJECTIVE WAY. Religion is belief of something beside what can be physically known. Real religious belief can’t be objectively passed on by reason or repeatable observations, it has to be experienced personally.

    Nothing can be objectively known. I know it doesn’t fit into your favorite frame for these issues but that’s because your frame is a lie to start with. I haven’t been claiming religon as “another way of knowing”, that’s something you and the sock puppets keep on about as I say that religion is about belief and not knowledge.

    Is it stupidity? Reading deficiency? Just plain old lying through your teeth? Or should that be though your toe stitching.

    And, since there is zero evidence supporting anything that abiogenesis and string-membrane-M theory has said, those can’t be ways of knowing either. They are a matter of belief until they actually predict something and that prediction is verified in physical evidence. And, as of this date, there is no physical evidence to support any of it being relevant to the universe or the Origin of Life on Earth.

    I don’t have any problem pointing out what hypocrites, liars and clowns new atheists are as long as you guys keep being hypocrites, liars and clowns. I might get a blog post out of it when I have the time to write it up.

  274. #274 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2012

    It’s not that I don’t understand you, Anthony – it’s that what you wrote isn’t an answer, but the desperate scrabbling of someone who doesn’t have an answer but who is either too craven and/or dishonest to admit that.

    RELIGION DOESN’T DEAL WITH WHAT IS KNOWABLE IN AN OBJECTIVE WAY.

    You keep repeating this assertion without presenting anything resembling an argument to support it – well, beyond your deranged shouting. And that just makes you look crazy, not convincing.

    It is defeated by this simple question: how would you know if you were wrong?

    And, since there is zero evidence supporting anything that abiogenesis and string-membrane-M theory has said, those can’t be ways of knowing either.

    Who here – or anywhere for that matter – has claimed either abiogenesis or string theory is a ‘way of knowing’? They’re products of the application of science to the questions of origins of life and the structure of the universe respectively. They’re tentative answers, ones that can be – and are being – investigated.

    That you’re so befuddled by such basic concepts demonstrates just how out of your depth you are.

  275. #275 Wow
    January 20, 2012

    > RELIGION DOESN’T DEAL WITH WHAT IS KNOWABLE IN AN OBJECTIVE WAY.

    OK, so it can’t tell us anything and we can’t learn anything from it. Right?

    Well, we can agree on that.

    > since there is zero evidence supporting anything that abiogenesis and string-membrane-M theory has said

    Since that statement is false, what conclusion can be bring to bear?

    > those can’t be ways of knowing either

    Science is a way of knowing. Abiogenesis is an event that we have proof for and we have many theories that explain how this happened.

    Science is how we will know things.

    Abiogenesis and Evolution is a thing we know, not a way of knowing.

  276. #276 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    I answered your question about “another way of knowing” here many days ago. As I showed you yesterday, I answered it online five and a half years ago. History is a way of knowing things, courts of law are a way of knowing things, science is a way of knowing things, personal experience is a way of knowing things, in fact personal experience is the only way you can know anything, when you get right down to it. People use different means to know about different kinds of things, which is good because there are lots of things you can not subject to science and it’s good to be able to know things about them.

    But belief isn’t the same thing as knowledge and religion is about belief, though religious belief can use what can be known.

    I have never claimed that belief is the same kind of thing as the kind of knowledge you can have through history, or the law or by knowing a chair is there before you sit in it or your mouth is there to put your spoon into or the thousands of other things we are a direct witness to every single day or the experiences you have to have in order to maintain your life.

    You, like just about every other neo-atheist I’ve ever encountered or read can’t maintain their ideological position without pretending that your opponent is a religious fundamentalist. So you have to convince yourself and your fellow ideologues that people who aren’t fundamentalists are. The new atheism exists on lies, ignorance and bigotry as surely as religious fundamentalism does. The new atheism is just another form of fundamentalism. And, since you and the rest of the people here keep lying about what I said, I’ve got no problem with pointing out that you are lying and distorting what I said every single time you lie and distort. That’s how I know that fundamentalism has to be treated.

  277. #277 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    There is no evidence of what the Origin of Life was like, there is no evidence of what the original organism was like, there is no evidence that the assumptions of the diverse schools of abiogenesis have much if anything to do with the Origin of Life.

    When I’ve read what people who come up with speculations about abiogenesis I’m struck at how naive they seem to be about how complex life is as compared to physics and chemistry and how dependent they are on pretending that they can sort of figure out a form of life which is, in the most literal sense, unlike any other life we have to observe due to its not having come from another living being in a way that can be observed.

    Abiogenesis, exobiology, Multi-universe theory, all purport to do science about things for which there is absolutely no evidence in hand. The first two are a complete violation of the necessity of science being based in evidence, multiple universe theory has that feature as well as being the ultimate violation of that principle of parsimony, all of which the new atheists are always holding up as the ultimate adjudicators of knowledge.

    None of them has produced knowledge of the Origin of Life on Earth, which we know happened, “other life” which we have no evidence is there, or “other universes” which we also have no evidence are there. You can’t know about something for which you have no evidence. Until someone presents evidence of any of those, you can’t know anything about them. The only thing we know about the Origin of Life is that, since the Earth didn’t always exist, life had to have had an origin here. Since genetics and evolution have presented overwhelming evidence that all known living beings on Earth are related, it is a rational assumption that all of life is descended from a common ancestor. I will point out that even that last part of what we can assume about it is, actually, believed on the basis of physical evidence because it is the simplest explanation of why that would be true, it isn’t known, when you get right down to it.

    I know that Bush v. Gore was a corrupt Supreme Court decision, I know that the invasion of Iraq was based on lies, I accept that a single ancestor of all life is the best current explaination, I know that modern human beings are descended from related primates which have become extinct.

    I know that the new atheism is a shallow, bigoted, dishonest intellectual fad. It might persist as fundamentalist religion has but I believe it will peter out because other than its ability to allow its members to think well of themselves, it also leads them to be totally obnoxious to most other people and they have no reason to put up with it.

  278. #278 Wow
    January 20, 2012

    “There is no evidence of what the Origin of Life was like”

    There’s plenty of evidence of what it could have been like.

    Wthere is no evidence that the assumptions of the diverse schools of abiogenesis have much if anything to do with the Origin of Life.”

    And this, rather than being pointless, is merely wrong.

    “Abiogenesis, exobiology, Multi-universe theory, all purport to do science about things for which there is absolutely no evidence in hand”

    Nope, there is no Abiogenesis going around saying “I’m doing science, me!”.

    We have plenty of evidence of Abiogenesis, however. We are alive. Most of us even sentient enough to notice.

    And exobiology is merely biology. That most definitely IS a science.

  279. #279 Wow
    January 20, 2012

    “I answered your question about “another way of knowing” here many days ago.”

    Only if your answer was “There is no other way of knowing”. However, if that was your answer, you failed to abide by its conclusion.

  280. #280 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    if your answer was “There is no other way of knowing”. However, if that was your answer, you failed to abide by its conclusion. wow

    “Wow”, learn to read every word.

    I should thank you for supporting evidence of what I said about the new atheism being shallow, bigoted and dishonest. Surely, it’s not just an accident that the new atheism arose in a generation that grew up on TV.

  281. #281 Wow
    January 20, 2012

    “”Wow”, learn to read every word.”

    Since you post a lot of words that even YOU insist are saying nothing, what would that solve?

    I also note you don’t know which words would have to be read, nor how those read words would change the conclusion.

    ALL you’ve said is that religion cannot be shown to lead to any knowledge.

  282. #282 eric
    January 20, 2012

    There is no evidence of what the Origin of Life was like, there is no evidence of what the original organism was like, there is no evidence that the assumptions of the diverse schools of abiogenesis have much if anything to do with the Origin of Life.

    We know simple organic molecules naturally combine into more complex ones. We know polymerization can happen naturally. We know some complex organic molecules are naturally autocatalytic. We know lipids naturally form membranes and these membranes naturally shape themselves into spheres due to surface tension effects.

    This is clearly not the whole story, and our knowledge has gaps. But we know that many (heck, most!) of the steps needed to form self-replicating organic molecules occur naturally.

    Based on this partial knowledge of what nature can do, and (in contrast) absolutely no evidence for anything immaterial even existing, the scientific conclusion is that the current best explanation for the origin of life is terrestrial organic undirected abiogenesis.

    Heck, you guys can’t even offer a competing hypothesis. So we’ve got a case of a hypothesis which has some confirming evidence but not anywhere near as much as we’d like, vs. some vague, not-even-a-hypothesis idea with zero evidence that the causal factor it proposes even exists. It is not a hard call to determine which of these is the best explanation for our observations.

  283. #283 eric
    January 20, 2012

    I’m struck at how naive they seem to be about how complex life is as compared to physics and chemistry

    If nobody knows anything about the first replicators, how do you know they had to be very complex?

    You are inferring what early life was like based on present observations. But you reject inferences to abiogenesis based on present observations. IOW you seem perfectly happy to use this rationale when it supports your pre-conceived conclusions but reject it when it doesn’t. That’s irrational and biased.

  284. #284 Wow
    January 20, 2012

    > Based on this partial knowledge of what nature can do, and (in contrast) absolutely no evidence for anything immaterial even existing, the ***rational*** conclusion

    Changed that for you.

    It’s not merely the scientific conclusion, but the only rational one.

  285. #285 eric
    January 20, 2012

    (part 3)

    Abiogenesis, exobiology, Multi-universe theory, all purport to do science about things for which there is absolutely no evidence in hand. The first two are a complete violation of the necessity of science being based in evidence,

    No, you are wrong, because forming hypotheses is also part of ‘doing science.’

    Those hypotheses need to be testable in principle, but its perfectly acceptable to develop a hypothesis that our current technologies or resources can’t test. If the scientific, government, or venture capitalist communities think the hypothesis is worth testing, that hypothesis helps us design future experiments – a very practical contribution to science.

    If testing isn’t deemed important or viable, the hypothesis languishes, and its proponents try to determine other, less obvious predictions it might make that are easier or cheaper to test. But such ‘languishing’ hypotheses are still generally considered part of science. String theory is probably the best current example. But neutrinos, quarks, quantum entanglement and the Higgs boson were also untestable when they were first hypothesized. All of these hypotheses served the very scientific and practical purpose of helping us design experiments.

    You demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of science if you think that science is limited to hypotheses that are testable the instant they are conceived.

  286. #286 eric
    January 20, 2012

    Addendum to @286; I do not mean to imply that abiogenesis is one of these hypotheses for which no evidence has been found. I’ve described the evidence we have for it in @163, @196, and @283. Anthony has never offered any refutation of this evidence.

    My @286 is really directed to his much deeper misunderstanding of science (not having much to do with abiogenesis), when he claims that hypotheses for which we have no current evidence cannot be considered science. Of course they can, and in fact many or possibly even most scientific hypotheses start off being ‘mere’ explanations for some phenomenon without any independent evidence existing that they are right. Testing comes after hypothesis formation, not before or simultaneous to it.

    Anyone who gave even an iota of thought to the order and sequence of normal scientific investigation should quickly understand that there is going to be some time gap between forming a hypothesis and collecting evidence for it. This is almost inevitable.

  287. #287 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    And exobiology is merely biology. That most definitely IS a science. wow

    Get this, folks, “biology” about “life forms” that have never been seen, never been studied, and which might not even exist. “Science” about things that are most likely descriptive of nothing and that are entirely imaginary. Why not elfology? Unicornology?

    Irony is the greatest product of the fundamentalist-materialism as “science”.

    Eric, if none of those things exist is it still “science” when you purport to do science about them? What about the species of string-membrane-M theory that go out of fashion and are dropped like Freudianism and Behaviorism? Are those “sciences” during the time before they get scrapped? When those had the same status as the species that remain in fashion, all with exactly the same complete lack of foundation in physical evidence?

    Really, if science is going to go 100% evidence free, why can’t theology regain its status as the “queen of sciences”? Not something I’d advocate but, in light of what you’ve said, why not?

    No, I withdraw that last question. I just wanted Bee-wow-wowbagger to give us another display of their illiterate derangement.

  288. #288 Raging Bee
    January 20, 2012

    History is a way of knowing things, courts of law are a way of knowing things, science is a way of knowing things, personal experience is a way of knowing things, in fact personal experience is the only way you can know anything, when you get right down to it.

    Those are all the SAME ways of knowing, applied with differing degrees of scale and rigor: observe, reason, gather evidence, check against previous experience, draw conclusions, test, repeat forever. All of them involve some form of rational inquiry, and rational inquiry is the ONLY way of truly knowing things. There are different ways of PERCEIVING, and different ways of DESCRIBING, but those aren’t the same as KNOWING.

    There is no evidence of what the Origin of Life was like, there is no evidence of what the original organism was like…

    Anthony keeps on repeating this falsehood no matter how many times anyone offers corrective information, almost like a chant or taunt used to reassure himself and/or shout down differing voices. The most sad/hilarious instance of this was when Greg Laden posted DOZENS of links to peer-reviewed papers describing what we knew about OOL, and Anthony just kept on repeating “We don’t know anything.” The fact is, there’s LOTS of evidence, just not enough (yet) to form a complete and conclusive picture. Repeatedly equating “not-quite-complete body of evidence” with “no evidence” is a staple lie of his. As I said before, he’s nothing but an obsessed crank who can’t let go of a disproven opinion, and desperately clings to the pretense that he’s in posession of some superior insight that no one else has. I had the same conceit when I was much younger, but like the Bible says, we all ned to put away childish things.

  289. #289 Wow
    January 20, 2012

    “But neutrinos, quarks, quantum entanglement and the Higgs boson were also untestable when they were first hypothesized.”

    Heck, General Relativity was untestable when it was first hypothesised.

    And the famous experiment done to prove it proved to be inconclusive statistically speaking at the time because the error bars were too large to discern the difference between Newtonian and GR.

  290. #290 Raging Bee
    January 20, 2012

    Really, if science is going to go 100% evidence free…

    Really, can you name even ONE instance of any science going “100% evidence-free” on even one issue? I’m betting you can’t, even in the science you most love to hate, evo-psych.

    Yet another transparently stupid lie from Anthony — whose tombstone will probably read: “LA LA LA LA LA NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT WHATEVER SUBJECT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT LA LA LA LA LA LA LA…”

  291. #291 eric
    January 20, 2012

    Eric, if none of those things exist is it still “science” when you purport to do science about them?

    Evidence for abiogenesis exists. I have mentioned it three times now. So your hypothetical “if” argument is irrelevant to the issue of the origin of life.

    But yes, when someone proposes a hypothetical particle or objest, and then we collect empirical evidence in support of or refuting that hypothesis, and we determine after doing evidence collecting experiments that the hypothesis is probably wrong, and no such particle exist, that is “doing” science.

    TL,DR: its still science when you do an experiment that tells you the thing you hypothesized existed, doesn’t.

    Example: believing in N-rays now would be unscientific. But when Robert Wood went to Blondlot’s lab and ‘helped’ him repeat his experiment, Wood was doing science. One could also argue that Blondlot was doing science, albeit badly, but I also wouldn’t take offense if some folk wanted to dispute this, and say Blondlot’s original method was so fraught with error that it shouldn’t count as science at all.

    Really, if science is going to go 100% evidence free,

    Nobody is arguing this. I said that hypotheses can be considered scientific between the time they are generated and the time they are tested. How do you get “100% evidence free” from that?

  292. #292 eric
    January 20, 2012

    The most sad/hilarious instance of this was when Greg Laden posted DOZENS of links to peer-reviewed papers describing what we knew about OOL, and Anthony just kept on repeating “We don’t know anything.”

    Shades of Behe at Dover. One hopes the error is ignorance (confusing “I don’t know anything” for “science doesn’t know anything), since that’s fairly easy to correct. Ideological myopia (“I don’t acknowledge evidence for things I don’t believe in”) is much harder to correct.

  293. #293 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    The difference being, eric, that there was some possibility of testing many of those theories against what was observable in nature, there is no way to test abiogenesis against nature because the necessary evidence of what happened at the Origin of Life is not available and it will never be available. There is no way to find the fossilized original organism or even its descendants in the early generations to see what those organisms were like. There is no way to resolve details in rocks that are proposed as the earliest available life, which would date from hundreds of millions of years after that event. Time has destroyed the detail necessary to know that. Things like that tend to happen when things get to be three billion years old and the surface of the Earth gets turned over a bit.

    I don’t remember, were you the one I suggested reading the always informed and up to date Peter Woit’s 2011 in Hype posting to? You should read it.

    Besides the LHC though, there’s a huge on-going effort to promote other bogus “tests of string theory”. This has been going on since string theory’s lack of testability problem first started to get a lot of attention a few years ago. I see no reason for either of these two driving forces to weaken in 2012, so expect more editions of “This Week’s Hype” next year.

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=4323

    The RagingBee-wow-Wowbagger entity has gotten so silly it’s not worth going round again on things that were addressed over and over above.

  294. #294 eric
    January 20, 2012

    The difference being, eric, that there was some possibility of testing many of those theories against what was observable in nature, there is no way to test abiogenesis against nature because the necessary evidence of what happened at the Origin of Life is not available and it will never be available.

    You keep getting science wrong. There is no specific bit of evidence that we need to decide which hypothesis is the best explanation, the most credible. If we never find the first replicator, science will still accept a hypothesis as the best current explanation for the origin of life. Which hypothesis? The hypothesis which best fits with the data we do have.

    It is possible to test whether abiogenesis as a process is a credible explanation for how life arose. We do that by figuring out what steps we think nature would need to go through, then seeing if it can do those steps. Scientific investigation reveals nature can do most of the important steps we think are needed for this process. We have not observed every step, and heck, the steps we hypothesize are needed might be wrong in the first place. But none of that prevents scientists from looking at the various hypotheses about how life arose and making a relative judgement, a comparative judgement about which hypothesis best fits the data we have.

    If you want science to produce ironclad proof of exactly what happened second-by-second 3.5 billion years ago to produce life, with unimpeachably preserved specimens of the first lifeform, no, we will never produce that. But nobody except creationists thinks that is what is needed before an OOL hypothesis is considered “scientific.”

  295. #295 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    Eric, since you’re opining on the brawl at Laden’s, obviously without having read it. Here are questions I asked him to answer, which he and not one of the her true believers in abiogenesis have not answered.

    132 Greg Laden, I’ll ask again, when you are talking about The Origin of Life, are you talking about an actual event which happened, in the only way it happened? And if anyone says it happened in any other way than that way it did happen, that they are not talking about the real and only Origin of Life on Earth but are, in fact, wrong about that?

    If you aren’t talking about the actual event, you aren’t talking about something that actually happened.

    How do you know you know something about the origin of life if you can’t observe direct evidence left from that event or even the descendants of that life for many millions of years after it happened?

    ———————

    I’ll put another question to you, why should anyone take atheists seriously when they say they’re all about evidence when they are clearly not about the evidence when it suits their ideological promotion, which is the reason that Laden and you guys have talked about abiogenesis in these discussions.

    It’s an effort begun by a Lysenkoist to promote materialism, it continues, largely, as a promotion of materialism, its alleged “knowledge” of the Origin of Life is used mostly by atheists to promote their ideology, at least that’s how I’ve seen it mostly used.

    All without a single piece of evidence that links any part of what they do the the actual event of the Origin of Life, far more than three billion years ago, because there is no evidence available.

    In so far as it presents itself as addressing the actual Origin of Life on Earth, it is intellectually dishonest, perhaps pseudo-scientific. It is only one of a list of “scientific” efforts that purport to study things which aren’t available to be studied, in some cases, such as “exobiology” and multi-universes, without any evidence that they exist. In every one of them there are ideological materialists as major figures, those are an example if the ideological abuse of science by fundamentalist materialists to try to find evidence to prop up their extra-scientific beliefs. Now, eric, THAT is more than just reminiscent of Behe, it’s exactly the same thing he does.

  296. #296 eric
    January 20, 2012

    why should anyone take atheists seriously when they say they’re all about evidence when they are clearly not about the evidence when it suits their ideological promotion,

    Holy cow you’re obtuse. What about assessing the best explanation for the evidence we have is so hard for you to understand? Science IS all about evidence. Its about drawing conclusion from the evidence WE HAVE NOW while searching for additional evidence. The evidence WE HAVE NOW supports abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is it until some new evidence comes along, or until you propose a hypotheses that better explains the evidence WE HAVE NOW.

    It is a tentative conclusion which is subject to revision based on the discovery of future evidence.

    Neither science as a community nor individual scientists are going to wait until they reach Anthony McCarthy’s Approved Level Of Evidence to make a judgement about which hypothesis is the best available. That would be stupid on so many, many levels.

    Look, I get that you personally won’t accept abiogenesis until scientists come up with some factoid of evidence you have personally decided is needed to convince you. But you need to get it through your head that the scientific community will support a hypothesis, teach a hypothesis, design experiments using a hypothesis, and do all the other things that scientist do when they “do science,” regardless of whether we have the Factoid Which Will Convince Anthony or not.

  297. #297 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy’s Approved Level Of Evidence eric

    No, not an “approved level of evidence”, any evidence whatsoever that can link what abiogenesists do to the Origin of Life as it actually happened, resulting in the organism it resulted in. There is not a single bit of evidence that anything that abiogenesists have produced is relevant to that event. Not a single bit. It is an effort to come up with creation narratives, much as evo-psy is, all based on no evidence whatsoever that supports their accuracy or even relevance to what they purport as being reliable science. Coming up with multiple creation narratives, not all of which could be right, all enjoying the same level of validity merely because they get called “science”.

  298. #298 Onkel Bob
    January 20, 2012

    Holy cow you’re obtuse.

    Don’t forget stubborn. He believes the same thing on Wednesday that he did on Monday, regardless of what happened on Tuesday. It’s consistency as a vice.

  299. #299 Anthony McCarthy
    January 20, 2012

    Onkel bob, you want to show us all where the link is between the product of abiogenesists and the actual event they are pretending to address?

    You want to show us where the evidence of that original organism is?

    Go on, answer that question and convince me.

    Evidence free science is the new atheist standard of evidence in science, as long as it supports their ideological beliefs. No wonder that the father of abiogenesis could be a prominent Lysenkoist to little or no mention of that fact.

    The new atheism is a fraud. Its intellectual basis is a lie.

  300. #300 eric
    January 20, 2012

    No, not an “approved level of evidence”, any evidence whatsoever that can link what abiogenesists do to the Origin of Life as it actually happened

    Okay, let’s try a different tack. Why do you believe that the observation of organic molecules naturally producing more of themselves from base constituents (auto-catalysis) is not evidence supportive of the hypothesis of abiogenesis as a process?

  301. #301 Raging Bee
    January 21, 2012

    132 Greg Laden, I’ll ask again, when you are talking about The Origin of Life, are you talking about an actual event which happened, in the only way it happened? And if anyone says it happened in any other way than that way it did happen, that they are not talking about the real and only Origin of Life on Earth but are, in fact, wrong about that?

    He’s actually proud of that incoherent flailing?

    But hey, since he’s so desperate to relive that past vainglory, here’s the link so we can all see what a complete asshat he is:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/07/we_can_know_nothing_about_the.php

    And as we can see, he’s lying yet again: several commenters did indeed answer his asinine questions, at great length.

  302. #302 Wowbagger
    January 21, 2012

    Raging Bee wrote (about Anthony McCarthy’s nonsensical ramblings):

    He’s actually proud of that incoherent flailing?

    When your goal is – as Anthony’s is – to assuage the obviously crippling cognitive dissonance your belief in baseless religious nonsense causes you to experience, it doesn’t matter that you’re unable to present a coherent, convincing argument; you’re simply trying to find a way – any way – to keep the doubts at bay so you can go to sleep at night convinced that your god loves you and thinks you’re special.

    It just turns out that Anthony’s method of keeping self-doubt at bay is one focused on quantity, not quality.

  303. #303 Owlmirror
    January 21, 2012

    He’s actually proud of that incoherent flailing?

    Of course he’s proud. He won, right? He always wins (times infinity forever!!!!!), because it’s impossible for him to lose.

    several commenters did indeed answer his asinine questions, at great length.

    Several commenters, ha! No doubt they were all sockpuppets of each other.

    (I suspect that he has a need to collapse everyone who disagrees with him into one person. It’s easier to win that way. And it must be totally impossible that multiple people could independently come to the conclusion that he’s a dishonest blithering moron who spews repetitive nonsense and unreasonable garbage. Heavens! No, there’s only one person, with a drawerful of socks. Take that, sock! Thou art vanquished!)

  304. #304 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    No, not an “approved level of evidence”, any evidence whatsoever that can link what abiogenesists do to the Origin of Life as it actually happened

    Okay, let’s try a different tack. eric

    No, let’s not try a different distraction. There is no demonstrable link between what “abiogenesists” produce and the Origin of Life on Earth more than three billion years ago and without that demonstrable link there is no way to know that their conjectures have anything to do with it.

    And let’s not sweep under the rug the inconvenient fact that the reason no link can be demonstrated is because there is no evidence to tell us 1. how life originated, 2. what the first organism that was alive was like, 3. if it was not, in fact, so different from life that was highly evolved that what we know about highly evolved life was at all relevant to it, 4. if any assumptions we make about the first organism and its immediate descendants based on far later biology are seriously wrong about them.

    I’ve got enough experience arguing these questions with fundamentalists, both biblical and materialist, to not know every dodge and evasion you’re going to come up with.

    You won’t answer those questions for the same reason that Greg Laden wouldn’t, because you don’t like the answer to those questions. Those answers mean that, not only isn’t there a materialist silver bullet of abiogenesis to use against beliefs in other things available to use against people who don’t believe in materialism. Just as Sean Carroll didn’t like to have to answer the question about the high and mighty physicists not knowing a single object in the universe exhaustively and comprehensively, because it makes the pretense of an imminently had “Theory of Everything” obviously incredible, in his case, in that argument, for the same ulterior motive. So the materialists don’t have a scientific basis to support their ideological beliefs anymore than the ID industry has a scientific basis to support their beliefs. Science produces agnosticism on those questions because it can’t produce more than that.

    So, I, on the other hand, have no problem admitting that what isn’t known isn’t knowable and that when scientists start pretending to do science about what isn’t knowable, it’s not producing science but sciency conjecture.

    And I’m not going to pretend that there is any reason, whatsoever, to believe that it is at all likely that their shot entirely into the dark is going to hit the mark. Especially when it is a matter of biology which is so very far more complex than particle physics and even organic chemistry, where so many of these materialists come from. Known, living organisms have such varied and specific and narrow requirements for them to live, necessarily including their physical surroundings, that you can’t intuit those from general principles and gut instinct, you’ve got to have direct physical evidence of what a specific organism needs, how it functions, what its structure is like, in order to know much of anything about it with any accuracy. Life is so much more complicated and, as Einstein and some other physicists have admitted, so much more complex and difficult than physics and other sciences accustomed to dealing with non-living matter.

    I’m not willing to ignore all of those problems in this question just so a bunch of sciency snobs can pretend they know what they so obviously don’t know and to call it science.

  305. #305 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    Bee, wow, Owlmirror, say something on topic and intelligent and I might answer you. When you say such stupid things it only risks making me feel that I can’t be all wrong about these things. It’s not good for my character.

    I certainly didn’t say anything I’m ashamed of at Laden’s or at Carroll’s either.

  306. #306 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    Why do you believe that the observation of organic molecules naturally producing more of themselves from base constituents (auto-catalysis) is not evidence supportive of the hypothesis of abiogenesis as a process?

    I haven’t argued that question, I’ve only argued about the fact that there can’t be a link made between anything they do and to the first life on Earth due to a complete lack of evidence.

    I am extremely skeptical about the production of large, artificial, organic molecules telling us anything about the earliest life because I believe those molecules, known in living organisms today, are probably the product of evolution within organisms. I don’t see much of any chance that they would have developed outside of organisms, never mind in the conditions necessary for them to be replicated instead of destroyed by physical and chemical action. And an organism is far more complex than just a bunch of molecules. I think all that stuff just means that people can make imitations of nature.

    But that’s all conjecture, though far simpler conjecture than what you guys buy. As I said, I’ve got no problem admitting that the answers to those questions are not known and there is every reason to believe they never will be known.

    Someplace above I pointed out that at least one Buddhist monk has said that he saw no problem with a super computer being chosen as the locus of an incarnation and, I pointed out, if a super computer, why not a far more complex artificial squiggly? Given the Buddhist belief in reincarnation even into the most humble and simple of natural organisms, you’re not going to get rid of the idea of a spirit that easily. Damaging science in the attempt doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me. Science can’t do what you so very much want it to do. Science isn’t omnipotent and omniscient and it is entirely dependent on what people can do and the honesty with which they do it.

  307. #307 Wowbagger
    January 21, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    I think all that stuff just means that people can make imitations of nature.

    By this logic, a person born as a result of IVF isn’t a person at all. Because something created from an ‘imitation of nature’ is somehow invalid, even if it actually works and produced something virtually identical to what ‘nature’ created.

    Lie about it and parrot creationist talking points (with the word ‘evolution’ crossed out and the word ‘abiogenesis’ written in – in crayon) all you want, Anthony, but life is life. If we can create it in a laboratory from inorganic matter, it demonstrates that it can happen, and yet another nail gets hammered into the coffin of nonsensical beliefs in a creator god, and deluded woo-kooks like you have to take yet another step backwards as science marches on.

  308. #308 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    By this logic, a person born as a result of IVF isn’t a person at all. wowbagger

    That “logic” would be entirely your own, wowbagger, because I would never think such an illogical thing.

    You obviously can’t distinguish between the entirely artificial reproduction of (simplified) molecules and the manipulation of cells and embryos which were taken from living animals, and so were quite natural instead of artificial cells and organisms.

    You can also not distinguish between both the artificial production of directly observed, available, natural molecules, the manipulation of cells and embryos, also on the basis of direct observation of available cells and embryos, and the impossibility of addressing the Origin of Life because even fossilized evidence of that event is not available, cannot be observed, cannot be analyzed and so it cannot be reproduced.

    I’m learning so much about the naive view of science that is produced from materialist fundamentalism in these discussions. There was a time I used to assume that materialists knew what science was and what it wasn’t, I can’t just assume that now without them showing some evidence that they do. Most of you seem to replace some TV-pop lit- blog based imitation of science for actual knowledge of it.

  309. #309 Richard Simons
    January 21, 2012

    There is no demonstrable link between what “abiogenesists” produce and the Origin of Life on Earth more than three billion years ago and without that demonstrable link there is no way to know that their conjectures have anything to do with it.

    What would you accept as demonstrable evidence?

    I haven’t argued that question, I’ve only argued about the fact that there can’t be a link made between anything they do and to the first life on Earth due to a complete lack of evidence.

    Why do you persist in ignoring the evidence shown to you? You are stuck in a rut and it seems that with every comment you make the rut gets deeper.

  310. #310 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    What would you accept as demonstrable evidence? Richard Simons

    Evidence that would show what that original organism looked like would be a good way to start. Something like what allows them to identify stromatolites as being fossils instead of just rocks. But, generally, any evidence that would show that there is evidence that that whatever scientists propose as being features of the structure, the life and the environment of that particular organism would, of course, be required to show that whatever they propose was relevant to those. You know, the kind of evidence you need to know that any proposal is relevant to any part of nature. It’s a stupid idea to suspend the normal requirements of science, mathematics, logic and even common sense just because the desired evidence isn’t available.

    Even the most pedestrian of claims require a bit of evidence, without that the claims to not need that become an especially extraordinary claim to be able to do something that isn’t allowed.

    As it is the claims of the atheists to not need even the normal level of evidence to know something is an extremely extraordinary claim, in itself.

    Why do you persist in ignoring the evidence shown to you?

    A neo-atheist has to ask me that? Talk about wanting to have it both ways. What do you guys always, in every case demand that your ideological opponents do? You always demand that they show you evidence that is DEMONSTRABLY RELEVANT TO THEIR CLAIMS.

    I’ll have to ask again, how do you like the intellectual integrity of the scientistic materialists on display here. Though, since they are displaying none, maybe I should ask how you like the obvious lack of intellectual integrity they display.

  311. #311 dean
    January 21, 2012

    You have demonstrated your lack of integrity quite handily Anthony. Your questions have been answered (any rational person would see that) but since the answers aren’t what you want them to be you resort to plugging your ears, calling name s,claiming “real” science doesn’t work that way, and repeating yourself.

    It is interesting that your main phrase, which I presume you intend as an insult, is that people who dare to question your (non demonstrated) insight is ‘new atheist’. Why you think that is an insult, or that every person challenging you falls into that category, isn’t clear. I conckude it comes from your much demonstrated ignorance.

    (non

  312. #312 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    Your questions have been answered (any rational person would see that) dean

    So, where’s the evidence known to be left by the Origin of Life, then? Any rational person would know that ONLY evidence known to be left from that actual event would serve the purpose. Nothing else could give you any way to determine the character of that event and the organism that resulted and whether or not your assertions about that have any relevance to it.

    you resort to plugging your ears, calling name dean

    Am I supposed to take that seriously? I mean I’ve hardly called any names in comparison to Raging Bee, wow, Wowbagger, Owlmirror, eric, etc. Are your ears plugged to their name calling? Though name calling wouldn’t be dispositive in the quality of the arguments made, they can be looked at to judge the credibility of someone such as yourself who practices a double standard of judging name calling. Or did you just happen to not notice Raging Bee’s typical comment on this thread or the ones have spewed from that commentator every time I’ve seen that name?

    Why you think that is an insult, or that every person challenging you falls into that category, isn’t clear. I conckude it comes from your much demonstrated ignorance. dean

    I couldn’t agree more, which is why I pointed out that the champion name callers on this thread are obviously ignorant, though they’d have been just as ignorant if Bee and wow and Owlmirror, etc. had just stuck to their non-defense of their position instead of resorting to name calling in lieu of providing a link to that absent evidence.

    And which is why I have noted that the new atheism generates enormous amounts of irony, especially when they pull that kind of schoolmarm act. Though, again, they would still generate enormous amounts of irony in this argument just through their dismissal of the necessity of having actual evidence to back up their position, the thing they are always claiming sets them apart from other ideological positions and their competing fundamentalists.

  313. #313 Wowbagger
    January 21, 2012

    Short version; longer one in moderation.

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    You obviously can’t distinguish between the entirely artificial reproduction of (simplified) molecules and the manipulation of cells and embryos which were taken from living animals, and so were quite natural instead of artificial cells and organisms.

    How can life not be life, no matter how it was produced? What is ‘unnatural’ life? How would ‘artificial’ life be in any way different from any other kind of life?

  314. #314 Owlmirror
    January 21, 2012

    How can life not be life, no matter how it was produced? What is ‘unnatural’ life? How would ‘artificial’ life be in any way different from any other kind of life?

    That ain’t gonna work. Asking for definitions or explanations is an automatic lose.

    In the McCarthyverse, words and phrases mean exactly whatever is necessary for McCarthy to win.

    No doubt you (and perhaps Venter) will be scolded for injecting materialist ideology into science for your trouble, or something similarly inane.

  315. #315 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    How can life not be life, no matter how it was produced? Wowbagger

    What life would that be, Wowbagger? The results of IVF? Has someone denied that the organisms produced by IVF aren’t alive? I’m surprised one of your fellow neo-atheists would make that statement, which one was it? Or is this just one in the long series of Wowbagger lies about what was said, depending on the laziness of your fellow new atheists who won’t look to see what was actually said?

    What is ‘unnatural’ life?

    Dunno, as I don’t recall talking about “unnatural life”. Did I? Which comment?

    How would ‘artificial’ life be in any way different from any other kind of life?

    It would be artificial. Constructed by people, something like that. Are you arguing that someone has made artificial life? Where was that published? Oh, are you consulting the National Enquirer in your search for science news now? I know there are some sci-blogs that aren’t that much better but I don’t tend to read those blogs.

    Shorter Wowbagger:

    “But …. that’s all I’ve got.”

  316. #316 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    “Owlmirror”, don’t you have something you want to say through another puppet? How about the dung eating goddess? We haven’t seen that one for a while.

  317. #317 Wowbagger
    January 21, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    It would be artificial. Constructed by people, something like that.

    What does ‘artificial’ mean in terms of life? Either something is alive or it isn’t. Life created from non-life in a lab would still be life.

    Dunno, as I don’t recall talking about “unnatural life”. Did I? Which comment?

    You don’t remember what you wrote, even after I quoted you, and put the key phrase in bold? Here it is again.

    You obviously can’t distinguish between the entirely artificial reproduction of (simplified) molecules and the manipulation of cells and embryos which were taken from living animals, and so were quite natural instead of artificial cells and organisms.

    ‘Artificial cells and organisms’, Anthony. Your words.

    So, now you can either answer – explain what the difference between ‘artificial’ organisms and ones created by ‘nature’ – or retract. Your choice.

    Are you arguing that someone has made artificial life? Where was that published?

    Cite where I’ve claimed that. Go on, I dare you.

    Good grief, are you really that clueless? What do you think the abiogenesis experiments are? They’re an attempt to create life, which you seem, in your delusional creationist state, to be insisting isn’t life because it’s ‘artificial’.

    Oh, and the future tense of the words I’ve used throughout should probably have given away that I’m aware it hasn’t happened yet, and have at no point claimed otherwise; still, that you lack reading comprehension skills isn’t coming as much of a surprise at this point.

    “But …. that’s all I’ve got.”

    And yet it’s infinitely more than you’ve got. Well, beyond ‘other ways of knowing’ – and we’ve all seen what that’s produced.

  318. #318 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    Oh, well, Wowbagger, I was correcting you as you seemed not to be able to distinguish between the artificial molecules I talked about and the very natural cells and resultant embryos of IVF that you tried to imply I was talking about.

    I’ve never had any problem with distinguishing between the two, apparently you do. Just as you also don’t seem to be able to distinguish between a question and an accusation in your last comment.

  319. #319 Wowbagger
    January 21, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Oh, well, Wowbagger, I was correcting you as you seemed not to be able to distinguish between the artificial molecules I talked about and the very natural cells and resultant embryos of IVF that you tried to imply I was talking about.

    It’s not me who’s confused, so I don’t need ‘correcting’ – and certainly not from the likes of you.

    And you’ve still – in your typical oily, craven fashion – chosen to address a non-issue in an attempt to avoid elaborating on exactly what the difference between ‘artificial’ and ‘very natural’ (Are there levels of natural? Can something be only partly natural?) is.

    Why is that?

    I’ve never had any problem with distinguishing between the two, apparently you do.

    So I ask again: what, precisely, is the difference? Spell it out for us. If you’re able to distinguish between the two with such ease, it must be very simple to do.

    I’ll even give you a concrete example to work with: if a (hypothetical future) scientist presents you with a (hypothetical future) living cell that his/her (hypothetical future) team has created in their (hypothetical future) laboratory via a (hypothetical future) successful abiogenesis experiment, and asks you to differentiate between it and one that was ‘very natural’, how would you go about doing that?

    Note that for Anthony’s sake I’ve specified this is a hypothetical, and takes place in the future. It’s sad that I have to go to this much effort to keep him from making more of his obtuse, deliberate misinterpretations, but it’ll save time in the long run.

  320. #320 Richard Simons
    January 21, 2012

    But, generally, any evidence that would show that there is evidence that that whatever scientists propose as being features of the structure, the life and the environment of that particular organism would, of course, be required to show that whatever they propose was relevant to those.

    That’s some sentence! Are you trying to convey that if scientists find, for example, a process by which self-replicating RNA could arise, they would need to show that RNA has some relevance to life? Are you suggesting that scientists studying the origins of life are working on processes that they believe are not relevant to life? If this is not what you’re driving at, you need to work on your sentence structure and, I suspect, the thoughts behind it.

    It’s a stupid idea to suspend the normal requirements of science, mathematics, logic and even common sense just because the desired evidence isn’t available.

    Religious people do it all the time. Don’t you agree that it is even more stupid to do it when there is evidence available? No-one is claiming that there is strong evidence for one particular route to biogenesis, but the evidence that life arose from non-life is overwhelming.

    I’ll have to ask again, how do you like the intellectual integrity of the scientistic materialists on display here. Though, since they are displaying none, maybe I should ask how you like the obvious lack of intellectual integrity they display.

    I’m not going to comment on people’s integrity, but I think that the confusion is entirely of your own making. You have been berating people here for being unscientific, yet you are prepared to countenance a ‘theory’ (ID) that has no evidence to support it (and, indeed, could never have evidence to support it) being equivalent in standing to theories that do have evidence in their favour (even if not conclusive so far).

  321. #321 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    It’s not me who’s confused, so I don’t need ‘correcting’ – and certainly not from the likes of you. Wowbagger

    Well, I don’t think you have much of a choice on being corrected on this point. As I said to another sock lately, since your best friend won’t tell you, I will. The sentence you pulled that sentence out of came at the end of this paragraph in 307:

    “I am extremely skeptical about the production of large, artificial, organic molecules telling us anything about the earliest life because I believe those molecules, known in living organisms today, are probably the product of evolution within organisms. I don’t see much of any chance that they would have developed outside of organisms, never mind in the conditions necessary for them to be replicated instead of destroyed by physical and chemical action. And an organism is far more complex than just a bunch of molecules. I think all that stuff just means that people can make imitations of nature.”

    You distorted what I said about large man made molecules into some irrelevant statements about IVF, which are not relevant to anything I’d said up till that point. Consider yourself corrected on that point as I corrected you on others. I don’t care if you need my correction but when you are talking about what I said, you’ve got it, wanted or not.

    If you don’t know the difference between molecules and cells or between artificial and natural things, which I’m confident you do, you’re asking for more correction. Which you would need in that case. As I said in that paragraph that you at least skimmed, … an organism is far more complex than just a bunch of molecules. If you don’t want my correction, not lying about what I said might be a good way to avoid some of it.

  322. #322 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    Are you trying to convey that if scientists find, for example, a process by which self-replicating RNA could arise, they would need to show that RNA has some relevance to life?

    Life now, of course it’s relevant to it. Of the organism that was the product of and comprised the Origin of Life, that’s something that no one knows. I’d like to know how RNA formed independent of life. Has it been observed independent of life in nature?

    Religious people do it all the time. Don’t you agree that it is even more stupid to do it when there is evidence available?

    What an overly broad statement, considering here it’s anti-religious neo-atheists who are doing it, and in my experience they do it all the time, I would say it’s a habit that’s too widely spread.

    No-one is claiming that there is strong evidence for one particular route to biogenesis, but the evidence that life arose from non-life is overwhelming.

    Again, the only thing I’ve argued was that there is no evidence linking the various and, sometimes, contradictory schools of abiogenesis to the actual Origin of Life on Earth as it actually happened and in no other way.

    There is no evidence of how life began. If the first organism had in place, 1. RNA, DNA and the accompanying cellular apparatus to allow them to work, I’d have to say a miraculous explanation would seem more plausible than that it happened by chance. One of the reasons that I haven’t been one of the ones assuming things like that were present in the first organism. I have to say that I can’t imagine that if it reproduced in the way that cells are known to reproduce now. I’d have a hard time believing that it was an entirely random happening, though I’ve only asked the confident, true believers in abiogenesis to explain a containing membrane if it had one and how it could have come about in a, clearly, futile attempt to get them to appreciate how complicated the issue is. And that just assuming what might temporarily seem to make sense was the way it happened in reality is unwarranted.

  323. #323 Richard Simons
    January 21, 2012

    In response to Wowbagger’s question (“How would ‘artificial’ life be in any way different from any other kind of life?”)

    I’ve never had any problem with distinguishing between the two,

    So what, exactly, is the difference between an organism with a completely artificial genome and a natural bacterium? Truly artificial life is a lot closer than you suspect.

  324. #324 Richard Simons
    January 21, 2012

    What an overly broad statement,

    To clarify, my second sentence was not referring specifically to religious people.

  325. #325 Richard Simons
    January 21, 2012

    I’d have a hard time believing that it was an entirely random happening, though I’ve only asked the confident, true believers in abiogenesis to explain a containing membrane if it had one and how it could have come about in a, clearly, futile attempt to get them to appreciate how complicated the issue is.

    Have you checked out ‘fatty acid vesicles’?

    Anthony: when you say ‘there is no evidence’ are you thinking of fossils and/or extant organisms that fill the role of ancestral life form? From a reading of your comments (not all of them!) I get the impression that this is what constitutes evidence to you. Are you prepared to countenance other forms of evidence?

  326. #326 Anthony McCarthy
    January 21, 2012

    when you say ‘there is no evidence’ are you thinking of fossils and/or extant organisms that fill the role of ancestral life form?

    Now that’s the problem, isn’t it. Without the evidence who knows what that “role” was? Of course it wasn’t a “role” it was a living thing, a specific living thing living under the conditions that it lived in and reproducing in the way it reproduced. And don’t forget, it came into being unlike ever single other organism which is descended from it, including every one alive today, it wasn’t descended from anything. Unless you know what those things were, you don’t know.

    If it was so easy to imagine what that organism was, it should be easy for all of those studying the question to come to unanimity on it.

    Have you checked out ‘fatty acid vesicles’?

    No, though I’ve read about all kinds of ideas. Now, how do you know that any of them is relevant to the actual organism?

  327. #327 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    You distorted what I said about large man made molecules into some irrelevant statements about IVF, which are not relevant to anything I’d said up till that point.

    I brought it up because you are flailing wildly against abiogenesis because it could only produce (in your deluded mind at least) ‘artificial’ life, as opposed to ‘very natural’ life (your words, remember) that was produced without human intervention.

    So it’s an analogy, you dishonest little creep. IVF is a process that subverts a ‘natural’ one – and yet it works to produce life. If you don’t consider the life created by the ‘unnatural’ process of IVF to be a problem, why would you refuse to accept that life created by (hypothetical future) abiogenesis research is just as valid?

    If you don’t know the difference between molecules and cells or between artificial and natural things, which I’m confident you do, you’re asking for more correction.

    I’m asking you for an answer to the question, which was this: How would ‘artificial’ life be in any way different from any other kind of life? Not ‘things’, life. Repeatedly claiming that you know how to do so ≠ actually doing so, and your inability to provide the actual details has all-but confirmed for me that you don’t have an answer and are – as you always do when you’ve talked yourself into a corner – prevaricating in the hope of changing the subject.

  328. #328 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Now that’s the problem, isn’t it. Without the evidence who knows what that “role” was? Of course it wasn’t a “role” it was a living thing, a specific living thing living under the conditions that it lived in and reproducing in the way it reproduced. And don’t forget, it came into being unlike ever single other organism which is descended from it, including every one alive today, it wasn’t descended from anything. Unless you know what those things were, you don’t know.

    Shorter Ken Ham Anthony McCarthy: Were you there?

  329. #329 Richard Simons
    January 22, 2012

    Now that’s the problem, isn’t it. Blah, blah, blah

    Was the babbling an avoidance mechanism or did you not understand the question? What classes of ‘things’ would you consider to be evidence? Fossils? An extremely simple living organism? Chemical signatures in rocks? Comparative DNA sequences?

    Now, how do you know that any of them is relevant to the actual organism?

    Read about them, then use your head.

    To repeat another question: what, exactly, is the difference between an organism with a completely artificial genome and a natural bacterium?

  330. #330 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    I brought it up because you are flailing wildly against abiogenesis because it could only produce (in your deluded mind at least) ‘artificial’ life, wow-bagger

    As to who is “flailing”, I think that’s a more apt description of someone who regularly lies about what other people have said because they don’t like the logical consequences of their own position when those are inconveniently mentioned.

    I talked about artificial molecules because that’s what’s being produced, artificial molecules that imitate natural molecules which weren’t the product of science. That those can be plugged into a cell and trick the cell into accepting them is as far as they’ve gotten in producing “artificial life”, that I’m aware of. As to whether or not there is a difference between the artificial molecule and the natural one, I’m skeptical that scientists would be able to determine that except in a superficial way unless it didn’t work at all. I’d go on about that but you wouldn’t like it and it would only confuse you more.

    IVF is a process that subverts a ‘natural’ one – and yet it works to produce life.

    IVF is the fertilization of egg cells taken from a female with sperm cells taken from a male. It’s no more a subversion of nature than artificial insemination is. It manipulates living cells, it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with ‘abiogenesis’, though if you think it does, I’ll have to revise my suspicions that you’re just a liar to that you’re just not too bright. I’d imagine that those who use it would see it as an aid to nature, not a subversion of it.

  331. #331 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    why would you refuse to accept that life created by (hypothetical future) abiogenesis research is just as valid?

    Well, that’s one of the troubles with the future, we don’t know what it’s going to bring. Do you expect me to precognitively accept something that hasn’t happened yet? Though I noticed a long time ago that kind of blind faith in materialist precognition was one of the basic demands of promissory materialism. As can be seen in your question.

    How would ‘artificial’ life be in any way different from any other kind of life?

    The answer to which is how in the world should I know until they produce it? Do you think that the scientists trying to create artificial life know that it won’t be different from natural life before they’ve even done it? Though you seem to have some rather romantic, not to say fantasy based notions about the potency of scientists to do things more in the realm of magicians than scientists. Maybe hanging around Randy’s place does that to people as well as making them rude.

    You assume that it would be identical to natural life when I think that’s highly unlikely. I think there’s a great potential for science to create artificial pathogens that could kill off a major part of the life on Earth by fooling around with viruses and other potentially pathogenic life. Which could be a major difference we can contemplate for a very short time and regret. Which would tend to support the idea that if you eat from the tree of life you will die. So how do you like them apples, Wowbagger?

  332. #332 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    However, the question I was dealing with wasn’t the future, it was the past. There is no way of knowing if any of what they’re fooling around with now was relevant to the origin of life on Earth because we have no evidence to base that conclusion on. As I pointed out many days ago, it is clearly known that whatever those eager beaver materialists produce to disprove the proposition of intelligent design is known to be produced by intelligent design, whereas the link of that to the actual beginning of life on Earth is not known at all. Which would only give the ID industry a way to point those facts out.

    I strongly suspect that what abiogenesists gas on about is probably more relevant to life after it had evolved for quite a long time than it was the origin of life. But that’s a suspicion, not knowledge, certainly not science, because there is no way to check the fossil record of the event to see if it is accurate.

  333. #333 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    To repeat another question: what, exactly, is the difference between an organism with a completely artificial genome and a natural bacterium?

    I had responded to your question but apparently it’s still in moderation. And I didn’t copy my answer to my utility blog so I could show you.

    I don’t know what exactly the differences could be but I’m almost certain those would show up. Do you know exactly what the identical traits would be and that they are comprehensively identical? I’d like to know how. I wonder what the liklihood that the DNA that is inserted is an exact replica of the original.

    The insertion of an artificial molecule into a living cell and getting it to use it in place of an identical natural molecule wouldn’t exactly be the creation of artificial life.

    If there were even minor differences in spelling between the natural molecule and the artificial one and there was no difference, I’d think that would be a bit of a problem for the DNA freaks to explain. Though I’d guess it would depend on which differences in spelling.

    To expand on what I said to wowbagger, I think fooling around with that kind of thing is another way for scientists to produce the means of getting us all killed to go along with chemical pollution, nuclear weapons and, the one that will probably kill us all in the end, petroleum geology. In which case being able to do science would be, literally, maladaptive. But that’s a political and moral issue and not one that science needs to worry itself about. Is it?

  334. #334 Richard Simons
    January 22, 2012

    That those ['artificial molecules'] can be plugged into a cell and trick the cell into accepting them is as far as they’ve gotten in producing “artificial life”, that I’m aware of.

    You did not read the paper I linked to, did you? All the genetic material has been removed from a bacterium and exchanged for a completely artificial replacement. The bacterium then went on to grow and reproduce, following the directions of the artificial genome. I suppose you could say this is just replacing a molecule, but it’s a bit of a stretch.

    As to whether or not there is a difference between the artificial molecule and the natural one, I’m skeptical that scientists would be able to determine that except in a superficial way unless it didn’t work at all.

    You did not read the paper I linked to, did you? Besides, Wowbagger is asking whether, in general, you could differentiate between an artificial molecule and a natural one.

    I wonder what the liklihood that the DNA that is inserted is an exact replica of the original.

    Zero. You did not read the paper I linked to, did you?

    I strongly suspect that what abiogenesists gas on about is probably more relevant to life after it had evolved for quite a long time than it was the origin of life. But that’s a suspicion, not knowledge, [my emphasis]

    We had realized this.

  335. #335 Richard Simons
    January 22, 2012

    There is no way of knowing if any of what they’re fooling around with now was relevant to the origin of life on Earth because we have no evidence to base that conclusion on.

    I have repeatedly asked you what types of evidence you recognise, because there is a large amount of evidence that you refuse to accept. Please do me the courtesy of answering.

    Do you think that the scientists trying to create artificial life know that it won’t be different from natural life before they’ve even done it?

    If you had read the paper I linked to, you would know that the answer to this is ‘of course they do’. However, you did not respond to the question actually asked.

  336. #336 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    It manipulates living cells, it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with ‘abiogenesis’…

    Abiogenesis is about producing living cells, you ineducable dolt; how can the production of living cells have ‘nothing whatsoever’ to with living cells?

    I’d go on about that but you wouldn’t like it and it would only confuse you more.

    It’s nice to see you admit that you prefer to chose dishonest obscurantism over rational argument. But don’t stop ranting on my account; getting you to post page after page of barely coherent dissembling is precisely why I keep coming back and pointing out the flaws in your arguments –
    you keep on digging yourself in deeper.

    [Dig up, stupid!]

    The answer to which is how in the world should I know until they produce it?

    You certainly won’t know anything if they do as you have been arguing they should and stop looking.

    You assume that it would be identical to natural life when I think that’s highly unlikely.

    Based on what, exactly? Why is it unlikely?

    I think there’s a great potential for science to create artificial pathogens that could kill off a major part of the life on Earth by fooling around with viruses and other potentially pathogenic life. Which could be a major difference we can contemplate for a very short time and regret

    Woo-oo-ooh! WOO-OO-OOH! Oh noes! Scientists are going to end the world, I tells ya! END! THE! WORLD! WOO-OO-OOH!

    So how do you like them apples, Wowbagger?

    They’re pretty tasty sauteed in the salty tears of your dismal failure, Anthony.

    But that’s a suspicion, not knowledge, certainly not science, because there is no way to check the fossil record of the event to see if it is accurate.

    Shorter Ken Ham Anthony McCarthy: Were you there?

  337. #337 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    I suppose you could say this is just replacing a molecule, but it’s a bit of a stretch.

    I knew that from the news accounts of the experiment. It’s hardly the same thing as creating a new organism. It saw you linked to the abstract, I didn’t see a link to the entire paper. Which one of the sockpuppets who troll me has made a big deal of when I happened to link to an abstract of a paper that was not available online, by the way. Though as a fellow ideologue, you’re probably safe from her ranting.

    Did the authors of the paper claim to have created artificial life?

    We had realized this. Unless you are using the royal we, that wouldn’t be an accurate statement as the rest of the new atheists in this discussion don’t seem to realize this.

    I don’t know how many times I have told you guys that any evidence of the Origin of Life would have to be evidence that was obviously informative of what that organism was like. If you want to find out how it came into being, the evidence would have to reliably inform you of that.

  338. #338 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    Let me give you a thinking exercise, RS, not Wowbagger, of whom that would be asking too much.

    I’m looking at a commonly found organism in the same room as I am in. I will tell you that I’m sitting in a house in New England, the temperature is between the freezing and boiling points of water, I am not wearing a coat. Tell me what it is.

    You already have more information about that organism than you do about the organism that comprised the Origin of Life, which you could not even be certain would be classifiable in a modern Domain. Nevermind Kingdom. Nevermind species. You can know one other thing about it. Unlike every single organism descended from it, you know that it was not created from another organism, it came about in a way that has never been seen by science.

    And, as mentioned, it came about in the only way it came about and not in any other way, anything you think about that wasn’t the unknown way it came about, lived, reproduced that isn’t that way is, in fact, irrelevant to it and so is irrelevant to the origin of life. It could be in line with any of the different schools of “abiogenesis” or it could be in line with none of them. It, obviously, couldn’t have in line with all of them.

  339. #339 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    Shorter Ken Ham Anthony McCarthy: Were you there? Wowbagger

    See, Jason, I told you the neo-atheists in your blog community couldn’t tell the difference between an evolutionist and a creationist. They are an exceedingly dull bunch, you’d be better off without them in a fight to protect the teaching of evolution in the public schools. They’d gratuitously insult possible allies and turn the public against you.

  340. #340 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    Thinking more about this, since the first organism was, obviously, not the product of evolution, can its genesis be a part of evolutionary science?

    I think it would be best if those questions were separated from evolution, which is, of course, based in the study of diverse species which are the product of change over time. I happened to notice when doing a word search of “abiogenesis” that creationists seem to make a lot of hay out of it at the expense of evolutionary science. It’s not necessary for the evidence of evolution to be addressed since the original organism was not the product of evolution. That much can be known about it with fair confidence. Since there is absolutely no evidence of the earliest generations, it can’t be known how soon its descendants began to evolve, it is possible that was a somewhat later development. And the lack of evidence precludes any science being done about evolution at that stage of life on Earth.

  341. #341 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    I have to admit, McCarthy’s comments are great for the occasional inadvertent comedy.

    I talked about artificial molecules because that’s what’s being produced, artificial molecules that imitate natural molecules which weren’t the product of science. That those can be plugged into a cell and trick the cell into accepting them is as far as they’ve gotten in producing “artificial life”, that I’m aware of.

    Clearly, the neurotransmitters in your brain must be artificial, because they are tricking your neurons into thinking that they are firing correctly when they are spewing out incoherent nonsense.

    As to whether or not there is a difference between the artificial molecule and the natural one, I’m skeptical that scientists would be able to determine that except in a superficial way unless it didn’t work at all.

    So… artificial molecules are just the same as natural ones, except when they are not, which can be seen when they “don’t work”.

    I’d go on about that but you wouldn’t like it and it would only confuse you more.

    Oh, please do go on! I would indeed like it, because your confused and incompetence-blind attempts to blather about chemistry are funny!

  342. #342 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    I’m looking at a commonly found organism in the same room as I am in. I will tell you that I’m sitting in a house in New England, the temperature is between the freezing and boiling points of water, I am not wearing a coat. Tell me what it is.

    Given that it’s visible, it’s a multicellular eukaryote.

    That was easy.

  343. #343 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    I told you the neo-atheists in your blog community couldn’t tell the difference between an evolutionist and a creationist.

    It’s quite difficult to tell the difference between you and a creationist. You argue just like one about all the science topics that you hate — abiogenesis, cosmology, psychology, neuroscience, etc — except for the part where Creationists conclude that GODDIDIT.

    You just blather about materialist atheism being injected into science, and stop there.

    Maybe you think you’re avoiding intellectual dishonesty by not explicitly saying that GODDIDIT, but you just come off looking like a creationist who is unusually coy and more inconsistent and mealy-mouthed than more explicit creationists.

  344. #344 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    it’s a multicellular eukaryote

    What do you base that on? How do you know I don’t have a good microscope in my living room? And that’s hardly narrowing down the possibilities. I’ll accept order, though family would really be impressive. Go on, it’s a very common organism.

    Since you know so much about that original organism, why don’t you tell us all about that one, and how you know it, while you’re at it.

  345. #345 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    See, Jason, I told you the neo-atheists in your blog community couldn’t tell the difference between an evolutionist and a creationist.

    Creationists aren’t wrong because of what they believe, Anthony (though, given your previous hypocrisy regarding other people’s religious beliefs, it doesn’t surprise me that you think that) – they’re wrong because of why they believe it, the logic they use to defend it, and the inconsistency with which they apply logic to things like science.

    It’s your religiously-motivated antiscience agenda that’s the problem, Anthony. That you happen to apply it to one fewer topic (in this case, evolution) than Ken Ham and his ilk only makes you slightly less deranged than them.

    So, when you use the same arguments that creationists use – i.e. ‘you can’t ever know what happened then because you weren’t there; therefore there’s no point even thinking about it, let alone devising experiments to determine ways it could have happened’ – you get treated with the same contempt as they do.

  346. #346 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    You argue just like one….

    Oh, it’s very simple. I have no respect for alleged science that is 1. based in no physical evidence, 2. based in a methodology that is a. impossible (evo-psy), b. a blatant fraud (pretty much all of the behavioral “sciences”), c. reliant on entities that can’t be known to exist (exobio, M-string-membrane theory, memeology,) 3. Founded on a phonied up copy of physical science methodology purporting to study phenomena which have no demonstrated relevance to that methodology (psychology) 4. Is an ideological campaign pretending to be science, “abiogenesis” would fit into that one as does “ID”.

    I’m really struck at how pig ignorant you neo atheists are of both creationism and evolution. I guess things did go downhill in school after the 60s.

    Maybe you’d better leave the thought experiment to RS and eric, they’ve at least put in an effort.

  347. #347 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    Creationists aren’t wrong because of what they believe Wowbagger

    Lying as always, as the first and subsequent comments I made on this thread say it is a fraud.

    Of course ID will go nowhere, it’s fundamentally a dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology. But it’s not the only such attempt that’s current in and around science, as can be seen all over this thread. Materialism does the same thing. Anthony McCarthy at 58.

    And as I also said, lying is the lingua franca of the new atheists. I’ve never encountered one who wouldn’t lie at the drop of a hat. I guess they don’t feel any moral compunction about doing it. Something they have in common with biblical fundamentalists, something I’ve also said above. That would include creationists.

  348. #348 Richard Simons
    January 22, 2012

    It saw you linked to the abstract, I didn’t see a link to the entire paper. Which one of the sockpuppets who troll me has made a big deal of when I happened to link to an abstract of a paper that was not available online, by the way. Though as a fellow ideologue, you’re probably safe from her ranting.

    Try clicking on “Read the Full Text”, Genius.

    I don’t know how many times I have told you guys that any evidence of the Origin of Life would have to be evidence that was obviously informative of what that organism was like. If you want to find out how it came into being, the evidence would have to reliably inform you of that.

    We will probably never find out just how early life came about. The research is not looking for Truth, but for plausible explanations for the origin of life. This seems to be a major stumbling block for you as you keep on repeating the notion that people are trying to find the Definitive Answer. You also do not seem to appreciate that there would have been a continuum from non-living molecules, through self-replicating molecules to what we normally consider to be life. In fact, there still is – do you consider prions and viruses to be living or non-living?

    I think it would be best if those questions were separated from evolution, which is, of course, based in the study of diverse species which are the product of change over time.

    It is normally considered to be a different field of study.

    Since there is absolutely no evidence of the earliest generations, it can’t be known how soon its descendants began to evolve, it is possible that was a somewhat later development.

    If they did not evolve, how did they progress from one level of complexity to another?

    And the lack of evidence precludes any science being done about evolution at that stage of life on Earth.

    Perhaps you should attend the next conference on the topic and inform the people there that all their work is based on nothing.

  349. #349 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy, showing his usual poor judgement, wrote:

    Lying as always, as the first and subsequent comments I made on this thread say it is a fraud.

    What part of ‘Creationists aren’t wrong because of what they believe’ is a lie? They believe their god created everything; if there was evidence to support this claim, they wouldn’t be wrong.

    Of course ID will go nowhere, it’s fundamentally a dishonest attempt to force reality into a predetermined ideology. But it’s not the only such attempt that’s current in and around science, as can be seen all over this thread. Materialism does the same thing.

    Um, okay. Your reposting that is relevant… how, exactly? Where did I write anything to imply that you supported ID, Anthony? Cite my exact words. Go on, I dare you.

    I, like Owlmirror, pointed out that your arguments are the same as those of creationists (the anti-evolution kind), not that you, personally, are a creationist (the anti-evolution kind). That you claim to support evolution doesn’t change the fact you have an anti-science agenda against other fields of study, particularly those that threaten your religious ideology.

    Here’s the passage once more; try reading it for comprehension this time:

    So, when you use the same arguments that creationists use – i.e. ‘you can’t ever know what happened then because you weren’t there; therefore there’s no point even thinking about it, let alone devising experiments to determine ways it could have happened’

    Dumbing it down some more: ‘You use the same arguments that creationists use’ ≠ (that means ‘does not equal’, by the way) ‘you are a creationist’.

    Or is that still above your waning intellectual capacity to grasp? I could try drawing you a picture if you think that would help; I’ll have to run and get some crayons, though, so it might take a while.

  350. #350 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    If they did not evolve, how did they progress from one level of complexity to another?

    When did that start? Darwinian evolution can’t happen without genetic inheritance and I seem to recall even some of the abiogenesists aren’t sure that there was genetic inheritance at the earliest stages.

    Perhaps you should attend the next conference on the topic and inform the people there that all their work is based on nothing.

    Richard Simons, how do they study evolution in organisms they can’t observe? A conference isn’t any guarantee of anything, except that a bunch of folks want an excuse to get together.

    It is normally considered to be a different field of study.

    Not in this thread it hasn’t been as can be seen whenever the neo-atheists start pointing fingers and ignorantly calling out “creationist” like they’re denouncing someone to an inquisition. Not among the creationists. Ironic that the new atheists here and creationists are saying the same thing about the relationship of abiogenesis and evolution.

  351. #351 Anthony McCarthy
    January 22, 2012

    Wowbagger at 350, stupidity on top of mendacity.

    Maybe that explains the level of anger you kids are always expressing. Masking ignorance with a display of temper.

  352. #352 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    Oh, it’s very simple. I have no respect for alleged science

    Creationists often like a particular translation of 1 Timothy 6:20 — O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

    (Of course, “science” is a very strained translation of the original Greek “γνώσεως”, but that’s creationists for you.)

    See, that’s another way you are like a creationist: You deny that actual science is really science, based on complete ignorance of that science, and ideological hatred for that science.

    based in a methodology that is a. impossible (evo-psy) b. a blatant fraud (pretty much all of the behavioral “sciences”)

    Creationists hate psychology, because psychology implies that people’s minds work in a manner that can be studied, as opposed to being invisible intangible soul-spirit-magic.

    reliant on entities that can’t be known to exist (exobio, M-string-membrane theory, memeology,)

    Creationists hate rivals to their immaterial spirits, angels, and demons.

    Founded on a phonied up copy of physical science methodology purporting to study phenomena which have no demonstrated relevance to that methodology (psychology)

    You already covered that above. Creationists often blather their science-hate repeatedly, too.

    Is an ideological campaign pretending to be science, “abiogenesis” would fit into that one as does “ID”.

    And of course, it is exactly like a creationist to equate abiogenesis and ID.

    I’m really struck at how pig ignorant you neo atheists are of both creationism and evolution.

    It’s amusing that you’re ignoring how similar you are to a creationist.

  353. #353 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Not in this thread it hasn’t been as can be seen whenever the neo-atheists start pointing fingers and ignorantly calling out “creationist” like they’re denouncing someone to an inquisition.

    The following is an analogy. It is, I repeat, an analogy.

    Anthony’s attempt to justify his using creationist arguments as part of his anti-science agenda by claiming that he’s not a creationist is a bit like someone claiming that, because he only wants African-Americans to be segregated rather than having them sent back to Africa (while using the exact same argument to justify his belief they’re somehow ‘lesser’ than him), he’s not a racist.

  354. #354 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony claiming I called him a racist in 3,2,1…

  355. #355 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy, of all people, had the chutzpah to write:

    Maybe that explains the level of anger you kids are always expressing. Masking ignorance with a display of temper.

    Hee. Irony!

  356. #356 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    The following is an analogy. It is, I repeat, an analogy.

    I think it’s a poor analogy, though. I would say that it’s better to offer a different type of science-denialism (e.g., global warming denialism), rather than going off into the different (and more emotionally fraught) area of racial essentialism.

    And there is a sort of unfair guilt-by-association indirectly implied by that analogy.

    I have no problem with tweaking his silliness, but I’d rather keep to the general type of silliness he’s actually committing.

    Anthony claiming I called him a racist in 3,2,1…

    Well, precisely. He’s got such a short fuze, that it’s kinda inevitable.

    (Oh noez! Sockpuppets are actually disagreeing! What can the sockpuppeteer be up to???)

  357. #357 Wowbagger
    January 22, 2012

    Owlmirror wrote:

    I think it’s a poor analogy, though. I would say that it’s better to offer a different type of science-denialism (e.g., global warming denialism), rather than going off into the different (and more emotionally fraught) area of racial essentialism.

    I think when you’re dealing with someone as fundamentally and unrepentantly dishonest as Anthony McCarthy it doesn’t really matter what comparison you make – look how he’s already tried to pretend that being called out for using the same anti-science arguments that creationists use means I think he’s a creationist.

    I chose the race one because it’s so simple; it minimises his evasion options – dries up his hagfish slime a little, if you will.

    Sadly, I suspect your having mentioned global warming denialism will prompt him to go off on a (long, barely coherent) tangent about that, and we’ll have a hard time getting him back on topic again.

  358. #358 Owlmirror
    January 22, 2012

    Sadly, I suspect your having mentioned global warming denialism will prompt him to go off on a (long, barely coherent) tangent about that

    And that would be worse than the long and barely coherent rant about racism, how, exactly?

    Oh, and sockpuppets. He’s going to work neo-atheist materialist sockpuppets into either rant, or both, I suspect.

    and we’ll have a hard time getting him back on topic again.

    I’m not sure what the topic is, anymore. And I suspect that for McCarthy, the topic is always “Anthony McCarthy is right times infinity forever!!!!!”

  359. #359 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    The topic was abiogenesis, sort of, wasn’t it? Hrm.

    If anyone should wish to follow this link:

    Lilley, DMJ and Sutherland, J. 2011. The chemical origins of life and its early evolution: an introduction. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. vol. 366 no. 1580, 2853-2856

    And scroll down to the bottom where the References section is, you’ll find that the links that say “Abstract/FREE Full Text” will allow free access to those papers, when you click in “Full Text (PDF)” (whereas clicking on the DOI link will get you whatever the journal has set the default access to, which can be a paywall/subscription request).

  360. #360 Richard Simons
    January 23, 2012

    Darwinian evolution can’t happen without genetic inheritance and I seem to recall even some of the abiogenesists aren’t sure that there was genetic inheritance at the earliest stages.

    Evolution requires imperfect replication and differential probabilities of survival/replication amongst the offspring. Genes do not need to be involved.

    how do they study evolution in organisms they can’t observe?

    Ah, now, that’s a puzzle, isn’t it? Doesn’t it make you want to do some investigating to find out, rather than spending your time here making claims about things you don’t understand?

    BTW, have you decided yet if you consider prions and viruses to be chemicals or living entities?

  361. #361 Wowbagger
    January 23, 2012

    Owlmirror wrote:

    I’m not sure what the topic is, anymore. And I suspect that for McCarthy, the topic is always “Anthony McCarthy is right times infinity forever!!!!!”

    You’d think he’d be happy to just write that on one or more of his seventeen different blogs rather than come here and have his ass handed to him by the likes of us.

    But, as they say, trolls gotta troll.

  362. #362 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    Evolution requires imperfect replication and differential probabilities of survival/replication amongst the offspring. Genes do not need to be involved.

    True, but abiogenesis doesn’t involve replication, exactly, or survival, exactly. It’s a chemical process which leads to “survival” (I suppose in the sense of perpetuating itself), and replication.

    The term “evolution” can have different meanings. In the most general sense, it means “change in a system over time”, and physicists and cosmologists use it that way.

    I suspect that chemists, referring to a complex chemical system that changes over time — say, an alkaline vent with many interacting chemical reactions that feed back on one another — may use it in that sense, and then switch to the sense intended by biological evolution elsewhere.

    Life is hard to define, and therefore is hard to discuss without equivocation.

  363. #363 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    [part 1]

    Palaeoanthropologist: …and so we see that while we have this tree going from the different genera and species of Ardipithecus to Australopithecus to Homo, there’s a great deal of difficulty in telling where skulls or other bones from one lineage definitely end and new lineages begin, and how the branches all actually connect.

    Creationist: Say, there’s lots of competing ideas about human evolution, aren’t there?

    PA: Well, yes.

    C: And you don’t actually know exactly where and when and how all the supposed mutations supposedly occurred that supposedly led to us, right?

    PA: Well, no, we don’t.

    C: And do you know for certain that any of the skulls and bones actually are from our direct ancestor, as opposed to being from lineages of apes that went extinct?

    PA: Um, no, of course not.

    C: Ha! Since you don’t know everything, you can’t know anything!

    C: Therefore, you’re just injecting materalistic atheist ideology into science!

    C: Therefore, GODDIDIT is just as reasonable a hypothesis!

  364. #364 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    [part 2]

    Vertebrate Palaeontologist: …and so we see that while we have this tree going from Eusthenopteron to Panderichthys to Tiktaalik to Greererpeton, there’s a great deal of difficulty in telling where skeletons from one lineage definitely end, and how the branches all actually connect.

    Creationist: Say, there’s lots of competing ideas about amniote evolution, aren’t there?

    VP: Well, yes.

    C: And you don’t actually know exactly where and when and how all the supposed mutations supposedly occurred that supposedly led to amniotes, right?

    VP: Well, no, we don’t.

    C: And do you know for certain that any of the skeletons actually are from the amniote direct ancestor, as opposed to being from lineages of tetrapods that went extinct?

    VP: Um, no, of course not.

    C: Ha! Since you don’t know everything, you can’t know anything!

    C: Therefore, you’re just injecting materialistic atheist ideology into science!

    C: Therefore, GODDIDIT is just as reasonable a hypothesis!

  365. #365 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    [part 3, take 3]

    Geochemist Abiogenesis Researcher: …and so we see that while we have a rough sense of which chemicals were involved in the origin of life, there’s a great deal of difficulty in determining the exact chemicals and the exact reactions.

    Anthony McCarthy: Say, there’s lots of competing ideas about abiogenesis, aren’t there?

    GAR: Well, yes.

    AMcC: And you don’t actually know exactly where and when and how all the supposed chemical reactions supposedly occurred that supposedly led to life, right?

    GAR: Well, no, we don’t.

    AMcC: And do you know for certain that any of the chemicals or environments you’re talking about actually are what led to life as we know it, as opposed to being something chemically similar but different?

    GAR: Um, no, of course not.

    AMcC: Ha! Since you don’t know everything, you can’t know anything!

    AMcC: Therefore, you’re just injecting materialistic atheist ideology into science!

    GAR: … Aren’t you going to say “GODDIDIT is just as reasonable a hypothesis”?

    AMcC: NO!

  366. #366 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    “Owlmirror” if you want to convince me there’s any difference between you and Wowbagger, addressing the issues instead of lying would be a good place to start. Though you rather gave away your multiple name posting a while ago.

    Anthony claiming I called him a racist in 3,2,1…
    Posted by: Wowbagger

    No, you’re just being an ignorant liar who doesn’t know anything about this discussion so that’s all you’ve got.

    Information free science as well as evidence free science, that’s the pseudo-skeptical-new atheist conception of science. It’s more an ideological and political thing, when it’s not more like being a sports fan for the stupider of them.

  367. #367 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    The first argument was general, that anything purported to be relevant to the Origin of Life was of unknown relevance to the Origin of Life because evidence left by the Origin of Life is not available for the dreamchildren of the abiogenesists to be held up against to see if it matched. You could be a full blown materialist fundamentalist and see that that is true, if you cared about knowledge instead of mere speculation supporting your ideological preferences. That would, by the way, apply equally to the belief that God created the original organism as well as any alleged product of random happenstance.
    Anthony McCarthy at 119

    Notice that last sentence.

    THAT WOULD, BY THE WAY, APPLY EQUALLY TO THE BELIEF THAT gOD CREATED THE ORIGINAL ORGANISM AS WELL AS ANY ALLEGED PRODUCT OF RANDOM HAPPENSTANCE.

    Somewhere above I noted that science had to be agnostic where it wasn’t possible to know something and the genesis of life anywhere is not known. Abiogenesis began in an attempt to prove materialist ideology and as seen in the mouth frothing anger of the neo-atheists on this thread, that’s what it’s mostly used for. It’s got no other use, if finding reliable information is the goal because that’s impossible in the absence of evidence. And I began by saying exactly the same thing about ID-creationists.

    Lies are the mother tongue of the new atheists.

  368. #368 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    Creationists hate psychology Owlmirror

    Oh, yeah. Everyone who knows anything about Michele Bachmann’s husband and the anti-gay industry can see that.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/the-education-of-marcus-bachmann/

    Though one of the foremost proponents of “curing” gay folks these days is an atheist, Robert L. Spitzer. Just as many of them were atheists in the 50s and 60s, and even into the 70s when Behaviorists were the ones trying to “cure the gay”, with electric shocks to genitals.

    Do you people even care about how obvious your lies are? You’re Mitt Romney level liars. No, make that Republican presidential debate level liars.

  369. #369 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    Apropos of what I said about the pseudo-scientific methodology of the behavioral sciences at 347, get a load of the rigorous methodology that convinced Robert. L. Spitzer that it was possible to “cure the gay”. Noting, first that it was based on TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS! which, of course, even those involved in surveying say is of known unreliability.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20010509/aponline013921_000.

    And apropos of the discussion of evidence free science:

    Spitzer said he has no proof that participants were honest. But he said several findings suggest their statements cannot be dismissed out of hand.

    For example, he said, participants had no trouble offering detailed descriptions of their behavior. Spitzer also said the gradual nature of the change they reported indicates “it is not a simple made-up story.”

    “He has no proof that the participants were honest.” I forgot to mention the ubiquitous reliance on self-reporting in my list of “methods” that turn a would be science into a pseudo-science. When other folks rely on self reporting, it’s the “skeptics” and neo-atheists who make that point, but not when it’s someone who props up their ideological preferences.

  370. #370 eric
    January 23, 2012

    Hmmm…I split a post up and it still got held for moderation. Try #2.

    Anthony, I think you have a much narrower definition of origin of life studies and OOL-related evidence than scientists. You want, basically, a videotape. We can’t provide that level of certainty or evidence.

    OTOH, your claim that OOL falls outside of science really only applies to your version of OOL science. Your claimed inapplicability of science doesn’t apply to looking at what processes are possible, or testing what could have occurred. It doesn’t prevent scientists from taking two scenarios of how life originated and determining which of the two best fits the evidence we have. All of these questions are amenable to the scientific method, even while they don’t lead to an ironclad determination of what did happen.

    While you won’t be satisfied with it, I think most scientists would be fine understanding the could-haves. And they’ll be inductively justified in concluding that the could-have hypothesis which is best supported by the current evidence is our tentatively held, but still best hypothesis for the way it did happen.

  371. #371 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    Ah, now, that’s a puzzle, isn’t it? Doesn’t it make you want to do some investigating to find out RS

    Do I seem like someone who hasn’t read about the topic?

    Nowhere in anything I’ve ever read or heard about the Origin of Life on Earth has there ever been any declaration that they have evidence of the actual event, as it happened, the organism that comprises that event, any of the earliest generations descended from it or, literally any other hints or traces of the one and only Origin of Life on Earth. That evidence, old chum, is an absolute necessity for doing science about that event. Or have you not understood what I said about pseudo-scientific claims within science. The kind of thing what Richard Lewontin has repeatedly warned against as the overselling of science by scientists and the fans of science. The claims that outstrip their ability, the unfulfilled claims that eventually get added to the heap of promissory notes that go into perpetual arrears.

    Not all of the trouble science is in is due to creationists and the extraction industry propaganda effort. A lot of it is directly caused by scientists misrepresenting what they can do and will do.

  372. #372 eric
    January 23, 2012

    That evidence, old chum, is an absolute necessity for doing science about that event.

    So then scientists who study what processes were possible on the early earth are not studying “that event.” Problem solved.

    They are studying the processes that could have occurred on the early earth. Since this is a fruitful area of research in its own right, we are fully justified in continuing such research regardless of whether it ever yields the answer you want.

    You’ve set a goal. This research won’t reach it. But we don’t need to reach Anthony’s goal to discover useful and important things.

  373. #373 Richard Simons
    January 23, 2012

    Do I seem like someone who hasn’t read about the topic?

    Yes. Either that or there has been a massive failure of understanding.

    I think you have a much narrower definition of origin of life studies and OOL-related evidence than scientists. You want, basically, a videotape. We can’t provide that level of certainty or evidence.

    Eric: I’ve tried to make the same point, that a plausible explanation is being sought, rather than a definitive one, but he does not seem to grasp the difference. He also seems to think that the only possible evidence is fossil remains and that the origin of life was an event rather than a process, as witness this from his last comment:

    Nowhere in anything I’ve ever read or heard about the Origin of Life on Earth has there ever been any declaration that they have evidence of the actual event, as it happened, the organism that comprises that event, any of the earliest generations descended from it or, literally any other hints or traces of the one and only Origin of Life on Earth.

  374. #374 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    While you won’t be satisfied with it, I think most scientists would be fine understanding the could-haves. And they’ll be inductively justified in concluding that the could-have hypothesis which is best supported by the current evidence is our tentatively held, but still best hypothesis for the way it did happen. eric

    If that’s the standard you are going to accept as science, you won’t get to be selective about what gets to call itself science. Anything that meets those criteria will have partisans who will point out that their preferred beliefs, meet those criteria. I think that the pseudo-skeptics will be among those who are most upset with the results, as they do now for PSI, which does, actually, follow far more rigorous methodology than that and which, as Jessica Utts and others have pointed out, more than meets the present day requirements allowed for the behavioral sciences. As John Palmer put it succinctly, “If (Ray)Hyman’s standards were ever enforced in mainstream psychology, that field would be wiped out.”

    With your desire to lower standards to allow things that have absolutely no evidence to support the assertions about them into science, will come the insistence that PSI and other things be treated as science. I’m sure you’ll be happy with that, won’t you.

    I’m in favor of more rigorous standards for all of what gets let in as “science”, not for lowering standards to suit ideological campaigns purporting that they are science.

    If your standards prevail, don’t be surprised when the reputation of science goes into even steeper decline than it’s in now. Especially as the down side of weapons science, petroleum geology and a host of other such benefits of science take a toll.

    I, for one, will point out the consequences of inductive reasoning for at least two of the hobby horses of “skepticism” and scientistic materialism. But that’s for another day.

  375. #375 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    So then scientists who study what processes were possible on the early earth are not studying “that event.” Problem solved. eric

    Overlooking the opportunistic distortion of what I said, temporarily, the possible validity of their doing that is directly dependent on their having physical evidence of conditions on the early Earth.

    You atheists are going to have to drop the “we’re all about evidence, you’re not” jive, because it’s clearly not true when it suits your ideological preferences.

  376. #376 eric
    January 23, 2012

    If that’s the standard you are going to accept as science, you won’t get to be selective about what gets to call itself science.

    My selection criteria was in the part you quoted, but perhaps you missed it: the hypothesis that best fits the currently available empirical evidence is the tentatively held explanation for what happened.

    If you think this criteria is going to result in wild and crazy pseudoscience being allowed in the door, you’re going to have to cite an example where some wild and crazy pseudoscience best fits the available empirical evidence but should obviously be rejected by science (for, presumably, some other or self-obvious reason).

  377. #377 eric
    January 23, 2012

    I’m in favor of more rigorous standards for all of what gets let in as “science”, not for lowering standards to suit ideological campaigns purporting that they are science.

    The only ideological campaign here is yours. You want abiogenesis research to be held to a higher and different standard than any other research. We’ve never witnessed a star being born – we conclude how it did happen from our best understanding of how it could have happened. We’ve never witnessed an ice age: same logic is used. We’ve never witnessed a mass extinction: same logic is used. We’ve never (knowingly) witnessed the evolution of a new biological domain, kingdom, phylum, class, or order, either: again, same logic is used. I could go on with more examples.

    In ALL of these areas of science, and many others, we extrapolate ‘what did happen’ based on our best understanding of ‘what could have happened.’ And you seem to be perfectly willing to accept such reasoning for every other topic…except abiogenesis. That’s a bias on your part, not on ours.

    Lastly, scientists tend to be very pragmatic people. If you really want to change how science is done, your best bet is to go do science using your new method, and show that it will work better. Show that your method will make more new discoveries faster, cheaper, and with fewer errors than the current low-standard method you abhor. Haunting blogs and telling scientists that you have discovered a better way for us to do your jobs…that’s about as convincing as armchair quarterbacking is to an NFL quarterback.

  378. #378 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    I have posted my answer to eric here:

    http://thinkingcriminalslair.blogspot.com/

  379. #379 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    that’s about as convincing as armchair quarterbacking is to an NFL quarterback.

    All I know about American football is that it’s violent and repulsive. Well, I’ve said other things but won’t violate the chastity of the scienceblogs to say them here.

    John Cleese did a brilliant podcast on that, but I’ll pass on that because this one is better.

  380. #380 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    Well, it looks like rather than a long and barely coherent rant on racism or global warming, we a long and barely coherent rant on psychology (some psychologists did bad work, therefore, AMcC hates all psychology like a Scientologist does), and (hee!) parapsychology (crank magnetism! yay!)(AMcC likes parapsychology, because apparently no parapsychologist has done bad work).

    Creationists also focus on the very worst parts of some science, like the Piltdown Man hoax, or the Nebraska Man mistake, as though that somehow invalidates all the rigorous and evidence-supported palaeontology out there, including exposing the hoaxes and fixing the mistakes.

    And they also like fringe science or pseudoscience, especially when it supports the idea that minds are really (wooooooo!) magic. Such as, for example, NDEs which involve visions of Heaven and HELL.

  381. #381 Wowbagger
    January 23, 2012

    Owlmirror wrote:

    Well, it looks like rather than a long and barely coherent rant on racism or global warming, we a long and barely coherent rant on psychology.

    Looks like I owe you a Coke.

    If you time it just right you can be drinking it when Anthony posts his next vapid, drooling screed about how his personal distaste for some unrelated field (or someone in that field) means that he’s qualified to judge what is or isn’t science when it comes to abiogenesis, and do a mighty spit-take.

  382. #382 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    Owlmirror, I know you have problems with either reading and/or telling the truth but I was pointing out that controlled PSI research more than met the requirements that eric proposed as producing legitimate science. If that’s the standard for doing science then a lot more than that is going meet that standard.

    As to the frat boy derision, bring it on, kid. I was dealing with worse than that before your daddy had his first wet dream.

  383. #383 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    I was pointing out that controlled PSI research more than met the requirements that eric proposed as producing legitimate science.

    Yes, but you have no idea what you’re talking about, with regard to either PSI “research” or abiogenesis research.

    As to the frat boy derision, bring it on, kid

    See? More of you having no idea what you’re talking about.

    I’ve never been in a fraternity.

    And as for derision, pft. Hypocrisy much?

  384. #384 ildi
    January 23, 2012

    controlled PSI research more than met the requirements that eric proposed as producing legitimate science

    Quite the opposite; psi research is a case study of flawed experimental design and flawed application of statistical analysis in the behavioral sciences. For example:

    Why Psychologists Must Change the Way They Analyze
    Their Data: The Case of Psi

    Eric–Jan Wagenmakers, Ruud Wetzels, Denny Borsboom, & Han van der Maas

    University of Amsterdam

    Abstract

    Does psi exist? In a recent article, Dr. Bem conducted nine studies with over a thousand participants in an attempt to demonstrate that future events retroactively affect people’s responses. Here we discuss several limitations of Bem’s experiments on psi; in particular, we show that the data analysis was partly exploratory, and that one-sided p-values may overstate the statistical evidence against the null hypothesis. We reanalyze Bem’s data using a default Bayesian t-test and show that the evidence for psi is weak
    to nonexistent. We argue that in order to convince a skeptical audience of a controversial claim, one needs to conduct strictly confirmatory studies and analyze the results with statistical tests that are conservative rather than liberal. We conclude that Bem’s p-values do not indicate evidence in favor of precognition; instead, they indicate that experimental psychologists need to change the way they conduct their experiments and analyze their data.

  385. #385 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    Quite the opposite; psi research is a case study of flawed experimental design and flawed application of statistical analysis in the behavioral sciences.

    Yeah, like that’s going to convince McCarthy.

    He’s decided that there’s pseudoscience that he likes and which he’ll never reject, and real science that he doesn’t understand and doesn’t like which must be called false and rejected out of hand.

  386. #386 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    Yes, but you have no idea what you’re talking about, with regard to either PSI “research” or abiogenesis research. Owlmirror

    I seem to be the only one here who seems to know that there is no evidence to support the idea that abiogenesis can’t address an unknown, complex, unique event without evidence of that event. I don’t know if anyone else has ever bothered to read about the controlled research into PSI or not, it’s clear you haven’t. And it would more than meet the requirements that eric laid out in his comment at 371. He said:

    I think most scientists would be fine understanding the could-haves. And they’ll be inductively justified in concluding that the could-have hypothesis which is best supported by the current evidence is our tentatively held, but still best hypothesis for the way it did happen.

    If you only included those experiments in controlled PSI that have a positive result that even Ray Hyman couldn’t cook up a dismissal better than his “dirty test tube” idea, it would certainly more than meet those requirements. He wasn’t even able to say what his “dirty test tube” meant, in light of that hypothesis, the hypothesis that the positive result supported PSI is at least defined. Since you want definitions, something you can have when there is an actual phenomenon that is observed, quantified and analyzed.

    Much of the garbage that regularly gets published in psychology journals is no where near as rigorous as the controlled studies in PSI. Of course, you and the other neo-athes won’t bother looking at that, you’ll only ridicule anyone who does look at it.

    I haven’t advocated that PSI be allowed into science, just that under eric’s criteria, and those in the so-called sciences, it’s way inside the fence. The true skeptic, Marcello Truzzi, pointed out that under Hyman’s criteria, a huge part of early science, not just the so-called variety, would have to be junked.

  387. #387 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    ildi, something for you guys to ignore.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8290411/ResponsetoWagenmakers.pdf

    I’d suggest it to Owlmirror but he wasn’t able to understand the difference between an alleged mathematical expression of a maxim of logic and a proof of it.

  388. #388 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    I seem to be the only one here who seems to know that there is no evidence to support the idea that abiogenesis can’t address an unknown, complex, unique event without evidence of that event.

    LOL. Your negation contradicts your prior position. You can’t even read your own words for comprehension!

    Meh, whatever.

    What makes you think that abiogenesis was an “event” rather than a process, a complex sequence of events leading to more and more complex chemical reactions?

    Oh, right, the fact that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    And [PSI research] would more than meet the requirements that eric laid out in his comment at 371.

    Bullshit.

    The entire point is that abiogenesis research actively seeks plausible chemical compounds and reactions that can lead to self-perpetuating reactions feeding back into themselves to eventually lead to life. It’s based on solid organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry, and the interactions between them — all of which is based on real-world evidence.

    PSI is based on nothing but wishful thinking and bad methodology.

  389. #389 Anthony McCarthy
    January 23, 2012

    Espcially these passages, ildi

    Having failed to see such implausible departures, they concluded that the data are more consistent with the null than the alternative. Readers are now in a position to decide for themselves which prior seems the more plausible.

    This debate is an excellent illustration of how science works. Different individuals working on the same scientific problem come to different conclusions based on their own assumptions and models—which Bayesian methods make explicit. Such disagreements persist until there is sufficient information available to convince the broader scientific community where the truth lies.

    Many will prefer the comfort zone of p values, which have played a valuable role in statistical analyses for many decades. But the statistical world is changing, and it seems likely that Bayesian methods will be playing an increasing role in the analysis of all types of data, including psychological data.

    …. Ironically, Wagenmaker et al.’s (2011) critique itself provides an illuminating example of how hidden flaws or artifacts can lurk “in the weeds” of an unfamiliar statistical analysis—albeit here in the service of defending the null hypothesis.

    Medieval maps used to mark unknown or unexplored territories
    with the warning “Here Be Dragons.” Until a new generation of psychologists becomes as familiar with the hidden traps of Bayesian analyses as their mentors have become with those of frequentist analyses, a similar warning would seem appropriate

    p. 719

    You’ll notice that Utts, Bem and Johnson are a lot more charitable to psychology than I am. Psychology, now there’s a good example of junk in, junk out, all too often.

    I think with that, I’ll just copy this thread and move on to other things.

  390. #390 Owlmirror
    January 23, 2012

    ildi, something for you guys to ignore.

    Oh, look. Math! Bad math indistinguishable from noisy data! Therefore, we can keep our shitty methodology. Therefore, PSI!

  391. #391 Richard Simons
    January 23, 2012

    I seem to be the only one here who seems to know that there is no evidence to support the idea that abiogenesis can’t address an unknown, complex, unique event without evidence of that event.

    If the origin of life was an event, then presumably things are either clearly living or clearly non-living. Correct? Into which group do prions and viruses fall?
    Until you can grasp the two concepts that the origin of life was a process rather than an event and that evidence can include more than just fossils, you will be perpetually befuddled.

  392. #392 Wowbagger
    January 24, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    As to the frat boy derision, bring it on, kid. I was dealing with worse than that before your daddy had his first wet dream.

    That’s pretty impressive, Anthony, given that my father turns 84 this year – though the high likelihood of senility and dementia for people of the age your mathematics neccessitates you being would explain your diminished mental capacity. Well, either that or your perception of people’s ages is as flawed and imprecise as your understanding of science and logic.

    Now, perhaps you should consult a medical professional about that shot foot of yours…

  393. #393 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Wowbagger, I don’t know when your daddy had his first wet dream. But unless you want to confirm you are Owlmirror, who I addressed that to, you need remedial work in both reading and thinking as well as in telling the truth. Though that was already obvious.

    Owlmirror, I knew you either wouldn’t read it or understand it. Here’s another passage, which, since you obviously couldn’t handle the mathematical discussion doesn’t contain any. Which is unfortunate because the argument in the preceding several paragraphs are quite good, and support that the authors being a bit more charitable towards psychology than I am.

    …. Thus, the prior distribution Wagenmakers et al. placed on the possible effect sizes under H1 is wildly unrealistic.
    Their unfortunate choice has major consequences for their conclusions about Bem’s data. Whenever the null hypothesis is sharply defined but the prior distribution on the alternative hypothesis is diffused over a wide range of values, as it is in the distribution adopted by Wagenmakers et al. (2011), it boosts the probability that any observed data will be higher under the null hypothesis than under the alternative. This is known as the Lindley–Jeffreys paradox: A frequentist analysis that yields strong evidence in support of the experimental hypothesis can be contradicted by a misguided Bayesian analysis that concludes that the
    same data are more likely under the null. Christensen, Johnson, Branscum, and Hanson (2011) discussed an analysis comparable to that of Wagenmakers et al., noting that “the moral of the Lindley–Jeffreys paradox is that if you pick a stupid prior, you can get a stupid posterior” (p. 60).

    —–

    I’d rather not pick either a stupid prior and so get a stupid posterior. Though I’ve got no problem with pointing a few of the latter out when their prior assumptions produce them.

    As can be seen, the mathematical analysis used by Bem is well, well, within that used by psychology, at least by psychologists who have the statistical knowledge to do it the right way. Don’t miss that this paper quite blew Wagenmaker’s out of the water.

  394. #394 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Answer to Richard Simons that is stuck in moderation can be found here:

    http://thinkingcriminalslair.blogspot.com/

  395. #395 ildi
    January 24, 2012

    Wagenmakers, et al. response to Bem’s response:

    Yes, Psychologists Must Change the Way They Analyze Their
    Data: Clarifcations for Bem, Utts, and Johnson (2011)

    Eric{Jan Wagenmakers, Ruud Wetzels, Denny Borsboom, Rogier
    Kievit, & Han L. J. van der Maas

    University of Amsterdam

    Conclusion

    The complaints listed by Bem et al. (2011) are either overstated or wrong. We have presented additional evidence that the data from Bem (in press) have been obtained through exploration, and noted that our original worries about exploration have simply not been addressed. As noted by Rouder and Morey (2011), the plea for a one-sided test is inconsistent with Bem’s Experiments 5, 6, and 7 and suggests further exploration has taken part. The proposal to multiply the Bayes factors across all experiments is a measure of desperation, and an implicit acknowledgement that the data from each experiment separately do not convince. From our perspective, the only fair proposal in Bem et al. (2011) is to consider an informed prior on effect size. A cautious researcher might still want to use the two-sided version of this BUJ prior. Also, objective default Bayes factors that fail to support H1 will not convince many researchers to put a lot of trust in the results.

  396. #396 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    ildi, Wagenmaker’s priors were chosen to achieve the end he wanted. That’s as obvious a rigging of the numbers as could be. It’s the kind of thing that pseudo-skeptics always do, except when it cuts their way. It’s the kind of things that scientific researchers in PSI don’t do because everything they do is always under the microscope. Ray Hyman has devoted his life to debunking their methodology and, in the end, he’s reduced to claiming that even though he couldn’t find any reasons for his claims that something was wrong, something must be, just because he doesn’t like positive results. And Hyman as both a critic of methodology and analysis is far more competent than Wagenmaker appears to be.

    However, you and your sci-ranger buddies missed my point, which was that the controlled research in PSI is far more rigorous than that accepted in psychology, which is why I used the Palmer quote, TO MAKE MY POINT ABOUT THE CALL FOR LOOSENING THE BOUNDARIES OF SCIENCE BEING A REALLY BAD IDEA. Something I said to Jason within the last several weeks as well.

    Jeesh, I used to assume that most atheists were at least nearly as smart as my Latin teacher was, but now I’m thinking he was an extreme outlier. That’s one thing that the new atheism and, especially, blog atheism have shown me. You people couldn’t follow a moderately complex argument even with a nurse maid taking you by the hand and leading you through it. No wonder you think Harris and Dawkins are geniuses.

  397. #397 Wow
    January 24, 2012

    What makes you think that abiogenesis was an “event” rather than a process

    It’s a common theme among the faithiests that there MUST BE an event where “it becomes”.

    This is why the faithiests have a problem with abortion: there must be AN EVENT where there is a baby. And a definitely human one.

    But there s a process going on there, where some cells turn into a baby after 9 months. There’s no single step where you can say “that’s where it becomes a baby”.

    AMC however wants to *pretend* to be a non-faithiest.

    But his memes and ideology keep letting him down.

  398. #398 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    In reporting his results, Bem (2011) performed the standard
    statistical analyses familiar to most psychologists and concluded that all but one of his nine experiments yielded statistically significant support for the psi hypothesis. Across all nine experiments, the combined (Stouffer) z was 6.66, p 2.68 10 11, two-tailed, with a mean effect size (d) of 0.22.

    We are not opposed to Bayesian analyses. In fact, Jessica Utts and Wesley Johnson—the second and third authors of this response—are Bayesian statisticians who have themselves analyzed psi data….

    … As Efron (1986) originally warned, however, it requires careful thought to apply Bayesian methods correctly, and we believe that Wagenmakers et al. (2011) have not done so. (Rouder and Morey,2011, who also performed a Bayesian analysis of Bem’s 2011 data, are also critical of the Wagenmakers et al. analysis.

    From Rouder and Morey’s paper mentioned by Bem et al.:

    Wagenmakers, Wetzels, Borsboom, and van der Maas (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 426–432, 2011) have provided an alternative Bayes factor assessment of Bem’s data, but their assessment was limited to examining each experiment in isolation. We show here that the variant of the Bayes factor employed by Wagenmakers et al. is inappropriate for making assessments across multiple experiments, and cannot be used to gain an accurate assessment of the total evidence in Bem’s
    data. We develop a meta-analytic Bayes factor that describes how researchers should update their prior beliefs about the odds of hypotheses in light of data across several
    experiments.

    http://pcl.missouri.edu/sites/default/files/Rouder.Morey_.2011.pbr_.pdf

    Note that last sentence. And…, no, I’ll wait for the other shoe to drop before I say that.

  399. #399 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Wowbagger, most of the people in the United States and just about any other country who support choice are religious believers. There aren’t enough atheists to sustain legal abortion for that not to be the case and the surveys, such as they are, demonstrate that. As do the official pro-choice positions of many religious denominations.

    And, given such atheists as Nat Hentoff and Christopher Hitchens, there are prominent atheists who are hardly pro-choice. One of the most tragic instances of abortion bans in recent decades was in officially atheist Romania under the quite atheistic dictatorship of Ceausescu. In fact, under decree 770 it was illegal for women over 25 to not have had children. The resultant concentration camp style orphanages are just one of the crimes that example of “scientific materialism” produced.

    What you imagine that issue has to do with the issue of the Origin of Life must be the product of neo-atheist logic, a variety that produces so many otherwise illogical conclusions, though widely accepted within the new atheist cult.

  400. #400 Wow
    January 24, 2012

    most of the people in the United States and just about any other country who support choice are religious believers.

    Really?

    By this do you mean most people in the US are religious and support choice?

    Because most religious people don’t actually believe.

    And the stronger the belief, the less likely they are to support choice.

  401. #401 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Wow, that’s what I mean. The rest of your short comment only illustrates the typically fundamentalist habit the new atheists share of denying information that they don’t like.
    Thank you for illustrating that point.

    Come to think of it, Wowbagger, maybe you can take some comfort from the policies of the officially atheist, very anti-religious, government in North Korea, where if forced abortions don’t do the trick, the practice of routine infanticide for mixed race children (Korean-Chinese), those born with disabilities and those otherwise scientifically deemed to be undesirable are widely reported. Infanticide and forced abortion is reported to be routine in the many political concentration camps. As well as other wonderful, enlightened, scientific policies regarding women’s rights, not to mention the rights of children. I don’t seem to find that choice enters into it under that scientific regime.

    You might want to do a word search for the word gippumjo . Or, considering what it means, maybe you wouldn’t. I suspect that they don’t get to decide whether or not to maintain a pregnancy or are considered to have a right to the child that is born. Though information about that doesn’t seem to be available online.

  402. #402 ildi
    January 24, 2012

    missed my point, which was that the controlled research in PSI is far more rigorous than that accepted in psychology

    No, it’s not. p less than .05 is the minimum acceptable, even if your hypothesis is plausible. Using meta-analysis is also risky; it’s retrospective, not prospective, and confounds exploratory and confirmatory research. There is also no theoretical framework within which to evaluate any statistical significance. It’s purely a numbers game. If you think the behavioral sciences are pseudosciences for misappropriating the methods of the hard sciences, psi research should be at the top of your list of examples.

  403. #403 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    No, it’s not. p less than .05 is the minimum acceptable, even if your hypothesis is plausible. ildi

    There are numerous studies that more than meet that standard, which is an arbitrary one, by the way. I think it was Fischer who established it, if memory serves.

    Gee, if you want to impeach the use of meta analysis for this data you’ll have to accept if as impeached for any other use. I’m no expert in statistics, though I doubt you’re a more credible judge of it than Utts, who I’m rather familiar with.

    Have they changed that basic principle of science that I was taught decades ago, that the requirements for establishing the validity of findings had to be uniform across all of science? I don’t see any logical way that standards deemed to invalidate findings in one field don’t also invalidate findings in any other field.

    By that standard, as Palmer pointed out, any psychological, or other, claims that didn’t match the ever shifting pseudo-skeptical standards applied to the highly controlled, reviewed, published research in PSI, would destroy the validity of the social sciences, which are hardly ever as rigorous in their methodology and review – to say the least.

    It’s not for me to allow something into science or I’d send psychology and the rest of the so-called sciences into a suburb of the humanities, a walled suburb. There’s not much I see that’s of benefit to the real humanities in them. But I can tell if there’s a double standard practiced for ideological reasons and there is as obvious a one in this case as any ever documented.

  404. #404 Wow
    January 24, 2012

    The rest of your short comment only illustrates the typically fundamentalist habit the new atheists share of denying information that they don’t like.

    And that just shows you yet again asserting “I WON!” without ever showing how.

    But your entire posting history has been illustration of that M.O.

  405. #405 Wow
    January 24, 2012

    There are numerous studies that more than meet that standard, which is an arbitrary one

    If it’s arbitrary, then what does it matter that “there are numerous studies” that meet it?

    And none of them go on to find anything inconsistent with “we selected those papers that showed a positive result” that is a true meta-analysis.

    There is also a huge problem of correlation without causation. I.e. what is it that is supposed to be causing this match that’s given to PSI.

    Apparently getting a hypothesis out for the faithiests like you consists of saying “we can’t say” and insisting that this is fine for them, but not anyone else.

  406. #406 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    wow, you and “Owlmirror” seem to use an awful lot of the same phrasing. Just sayin’

    If it’s arbitrary, then what does it matter that “there are numerous studies” that meet it?

    Well, “wow”, I didn’t happen to mention it, ildi did. Why ildi would bring up an issue that allowed me to make the point of the basic arbitrariness of the gold standard in the so-called sciences, ask ildi why.

    And none of them go on to find anything inconsistent with “we selected those papers that showed a positive result” that is a true meta-analysis.

    Good grief, I thought even Hyman had dropped the “file drawer effect” dodge when the analyses showed that the number of those needed to invalidate the reported effects more than strain credulity. Though the scandal of Hyman stuffing the report his committee had commissioned from Robert Rosenthal, after Rosenthal refused to slant it to their liking, might have made it an uncomfortable issue to raise. Especially as many of the analyses take the “file drawer” dodge into account.

    By the way when NRC Committee asked Professor Robert Rosenthal to:

    “…omit the section of our paper evaluating the Ganzfeld research domains. I refused to do so but was so shocked and disappointed by this request that I discussed this request with a number of colleagues in the Harvard departments of Psychology and of Statistics. Without exception they were as shocked as I was.”

    Funny way to conduct science, especially in light of the charges Hyman and his colleagues make about phantom suppressed evidence.

    Funny you and your buddies worrying about phantom evidence that you imagine is there while ignoring my point about evidence that is known to not exist. Only I’m not at all surprised by that double standard.

  407. #407 Wow
    January 24, 2012

    wow, you and “Owlmirror” seem to use an awful lot of the same phrasing. Just sayin’

    From someone who throws a tantrum when they’re shown how they’re a creationist, that’s rather ironic.

    And what “key phrasing” led you to that?

    And, as I asked before, even if 100% of the posters here are the same person, how does that change anything?

    Well, “wow”, I didn’t happen to mention it, ildi did.

    Nope, it was definitely you: “There are numerous studies that more than meet that standard, which is an arbitrary one”

    That was you saying it.

    I guess that your brain is so busy thinking how PSI is totally working that there’s no room for “memory”.

  408. #408 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Wow, I’ve read about three books on the subject, I’ve got good reading retention. So sue me.

  409. #409 Wow
    January 24, 2012

    “I’ve got good reading retention.”

    Says the bloke who doesn’t remember what he wrote 13 minutes earlier…

  410. #410 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    wow, you obviously suffer from retention at the other end. Which accounts for the content of your comments.

  411. #411 tomh
    January 24, 2012

    Meanwhile, scientists continue to ignore the idiot McCarthy and make progress on abiogenesis.

  412. #412 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    tomh, thank you for the confirmation that the neo atheist sci-rangers aren’t scientists. Someone, not me, might have suspected they were.

    If they think they’re “making progress on abiogenesis” and they think it’s going to find the way that life originated on Earth, they’d just show that even scientists are able to be be quite irrational.

  413. #413 Wowbagger
    January 24, 2012

    Poor Anthony is so befuddled he seems to think that Wow and I are the same person. Nevermind the completely unrelated lines of argument and the completely different styles of posting and writing.

    Look at Wow’s comments. Look at mine. Spot any differences?

    But, given poor Anthony’s demonstrated lack of reading comprehension skills it probably not that much of a surprise; he would scan each post to see if the person was disagreeing with him and then go over it again to find anything that he could use to go off on a tangent from rather than answer the questions they asked.

    But, just to clear it up for poor, confused Anthony – though of course he’ll continue his dishonest, evidence-free, spittle-flecked ranting about sockpuppets – I (Wowbagger) am not Wow, and I’m rather glad for it – because if it was it’d mean that, given the times at which I’d posted, I haven’t slept for several days.

    And I really like my sleep.

  414. #414 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Wowbagger, as I said, one new atheist is pretty much like another. You remind me of the Romney boy clones.

    Another thing this shows is how bad an idea it is for scientists to continue to allow science to be claimed by the new atheists. Their obnoxious, insulting conceit won’t do a thing to make people want to believe that science is any more than an exclusive club of snobs.

  415. #415 Wowbagger
    January 24, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy wrote:

    Their obnoxious, insulting conceit won’t do a thing to make people want to believe that science is any more than an exclusive club of snobs.

    Yeah, damn them and their ridiculous standards of evidence, logic and intellectual honesty. Why, they’re almost as bad as mathematicians and their inflexible, ideological puritanism about what 1+1 equals.

    Elitist bastards. Heck, they’re probably all Freemasons*, too.

    *In the interests of full disclosure, my elderly father – the one whose nocturnal emissions Anthony alluded to upthread – was at one time a Freemason. Better put on your tinfoil hat, Anthony!

  416. #416 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Yeah, damn them and their ridiculous standards of evidence, logic and intellectual honesty. Why, they’re almost as bad as mathematicians and their inflexible, ideological puritanism about what 1+1 equals. Wowbagger

    Of course Wowbagger, wow, Owlmirror, Raging Bee…. are greater mathematicians than Descartes and Pascal and Stanley Jaki and A. S. Eddington and A. N. Whitehead, the man who, with Bertrand Russell took such pains to try to logically – and famously – establish that 1+1=2. Not to mention many dozens of others, including, famously, Fr. Gregor Mendel, who statistically discovered the mechanism of Darwinian evolution that eluded, somehow, Francis Galton and Thomas Huxley, and Charles Darwin and the rest of his circle, never seemed to find, as they declared that the priestly mindset was injurious to scientific thinking.

    Anyone who reads this thread from top to bottom can find that in the face of the logic of wow and Raging Bee and tomh and the rest of the neo atheist sci-rangers here, we must all declare them to be obviously superior logical, mathematical, scientific minds than any of the many religious logicians, mathematicians and scientists who you can find in histories of those fields and are still present in their faculties today. Why, squaring the circle is childs play as compared to the brilliance of Raging Bee who has paganized materialism to the obvious aquiescence of these other great minds of scientific materialism.

  417. #417 Anthony McCarthy
    January 24, 2012

    Oh, I left out Kurt Godel, famously a Christian. How could anyone not see that he was clearly a logical footnote as opposed to, say, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett.

  418. #418 Jason Rosenhouse
    January 25, 2012

    Okay folks. I think everyone has had a chance to say what they wanted to say. Time to move on.