Pharyngula

No more coffee for Mr Witt

Jonathan Witt of the Discovery Institute has lost it. The string of defeats for the cause of Intelligent Design creationism has had its toll, first Dover and now the Ohio ID lesson plan, and the poor man is clearly suffering from the strain, as you can tell from his latest hysterical screed.

First we get evolution compared to Castro’s newspapers, with no criticism allowed; then the defense for including ID in Ohio is that there is a 3:1 margin of popular support. Two fallacies in one paragraph! Sorry, Jonathan, hyperbolic comparisons to communism and an appeal to popular opinion on matters of fact do not a defense of ID make.

Then he gets confused.

In Dover, they insisted that physical evidence presented against their theory wasn’t an argument for intelligent design. Darwinist Kenneth Miller made this argument on the stand and the judge concurred. But in Ohio they wanted to scare people into thinking that simply teaching students the scientific evidence for and against Darwinism was somehow legally dangerous. Since it isn’t, the Darwinists had to get creative, had to change their story. So now they asserted that simply exposing students to the evidence against Darwinism constitutes the teaching of intelligent design. Thus, their Ohio position flatly contradicts their Dover position.

There’s a serious problem in the logic of his argument, in that a key piece is missing. He keeps talking about the evidence against evolution presented by his side; where is it? If we were trying to silence the expression of some significant piece of evidence against the scientific position, Witt would have a point. Of course, he doesn’t have any such thing. There are missing pieces of the story, there are real controversies within biology, but nope…there ain’t nothing out there that is against the principles of common descent, natural selection, etc., all those incredibly useful pieces of the biologist’s toolkit.

What we are shutting down is a phony PR campaign to prop up a bogus hypothesis.

So far, this was just the usual indignant claptrap we get from the DI…but then Witt runs of the rails and starts inventing absurd scenarios.

Why stop at expunging from Ohio’s biology curricula any mention of the weaknesses in modern evolutionary theory? No, it’s time for them to go after all of those mainstream biologists and their impermissible facts that have infiltrated the peer reviewed literature.

It’s the mainstream biologists who are complaining about the DI’s mangling of the facts and who are publishing critical evaluations of ideas, and ummm…this is evidence that mainstream biologists are suppressing the facts, and next they’re going to go gunning after themselves? This makes no sense.

Take one particularly frustrating example. Evolutionists routinely appeal to a peppered moth experiment as evidence for Darwinian evolution. But then further investigations by mainstream scientists revealed that, in all likelihood, the experimental results were propped up by fudged photographs.

No, the experimental results are sound. That an investigator would take a photo of what an animal and its environment looks like is nothing new; a photo of a moth on a tree trunk is not the evidence that was analyzed in the peppered moth work. This is a perfect example, though, of how creationists distort and misrepresent research to generate a false impression, and is exactly why they are unreliable sources of information for our schoolkids.

And here’s another typical misrepresentation:

Of course, that’s just the beginning. Darwinists routinely use examples of microevolution (change within species) as supposed knockdown evidence for macroevolution (the evolution of fundamentally new body plans). But the peer-reviewed literature is filled with mainstream scientists who question whether evidence for microevolution can be extrapolated to provide strong support for macroevolution.

Yes, scientists argue about these things; I’m one who thinks macroevolution represents a different class of phenomena from microevolution. That does not mean I’m in the ID camp (hah!). We also don’t argue that because Mendel, therefore Evo-Devo—macroevolution is a fact that has to be explained, not an inference derived from theoretical considerations of population genetics.

It gets weirder. Because we think the unqualified lawyers, philosophers, bibliolaters, and kooks of the Discovery Institute deserve no place in the curriculum, we must also be planning to snuff out other unconventional thinkers.

Those articles will need to be gotten rid of, too. For that matter, something will have to be done about all of those evolutionists with the cheek to point out such things. No problem there. According to the Darwinists’ Ohio logic, scientists who merely point out weaknesses in Darwinism (Stephen Jay Gould, Franklin Harold, Stuart Kauffman, etc., etc.), are arguing for intelligent design, are card-carrying design theorists. That means they’re fair game: break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles.

I know of the work of Gould, Harold, and Kauffman, and you are no Gould, Harold, or Kauffman, Mr Witt. They are competent scholars who have done good work within the framework of science—they are not quacks operating out of think-tanks trying to foist ridiculous ideas on the public by way of PR campaigns, enforcement by law, or demagoguery. They did not and do not have the goal of legitimating supernatural excuses in science.

Now Witt is just making up crap about people, but then he crosses the line and lies about something much more precious than mere personalities in science: he makes ridiculous claims about the data. Now this is heresy.

After that the real work begins. I’m talking about all those uncooperative fossils, the great quarries in Canada and China that show how most of the major groups of animals appeared in a geologically brief period of time during the Cambrian explosion, contradicting Darwin’s gradually branching tree of life. Those fossils can’t just be left sitting around. They too will have to be gotten rid of.

Jonathan Witt is nuts. Read the science journals, read the textbooks, read great volumes like Valentine’s On the Origin of Phyla(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)—he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Biologists embrace the Cambrian. There is a wealth of wonderful information there, extensively discussed and written about, and we simply love this stuff.

Get rid of the Cambrian fossils? That statement alone is enough to qualify the man as certifiable.

Comments

  1. #1 Qualiatative
    March 30, 2006

    PZ:

    “There are missing pieces of the story, there are real controversies within biology, but nope…there ain’t nothing out there that is against the principles of common descent, natural selection, etc.”

    Does this mean that you advocate teaching what you deem as legitimate controversies (such as the efficacy of RM/NS)?

  2. #2 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    Witt is a lying scumbag. Were he to stop lying now, he’d be forced to enter some sort of rehab to account for his unrelenting baloney spewage over the past five years.

    In other news related to people who enjoy spending US taxpayer money on pure unadulterated bullshit:

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/03/30/prayer.study.ap/index.html

    NEW YORK (AP) — In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

    Researchers emphasized their work does not address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another’s behalf. The study can only look for an effect from prayers offered as part of the research, they said.

    They also said they had no explanation for the higher complication rate in patients who knew they were being prayed for, in comparison to patients who only knew it was possible prayers were being said for them.

    ….

    Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University Medical Center, who did not take part in the study, said the results did not surprise him.

    “There are no scientific grounds to expect a result and there are no real theological grounds to expect a result either,” he said.

    Science, he said, “is not designed to study the supernatural.”

  3. #3 Comstockian
    March 30, 2006

    I’m getting confused about this whole micro/macro thing. I have some training in evolutionary biology, and when I think back on all the discussions I had with other biologists, I don’t recall anyone ever using macroevolution to mean the evolution of macro features like major appendage changes or new body plans. If I’m recalling correctly, macroevolution always meant evolutionary phenomena that we observable on higher levels than the good old individual, like sister clades in which one was very specious and one wasn’t, or cases in which particular members of clades evolved similar features seemingly independently (iterative evolution).

    I find the ID micro/macro distinction to be pretty close to nonsensical (the old believing in inches but not in miles line).

  4. #4 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    legitimate controversies (such as the efficacy of RM/NS)?

    Wow, an inarticulate retard tried to “trap” PZ Myers.

    How unusual.

    Yawn.

  5. #5 Christian
    March 30, 2006

    PZ, yet another excellent review of the crap-osophy that is Intelligent Design.

  6. #6 Mike the Mad Biologist
    March 30, 2006

    Now Witt is just making up crap about people, but then he crosses the line and lies about something much more precious than mere personalities in science: he makes ridiculous claims about the data. Now this is heresy.

    Heresy? Not for conservatives (needle exchange, global warming….)

  7. #7 Kristine
    March 30, 2006

    “Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us.” –Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

    Here’s a gentle answer, since I’m getting a rep as a “radical” atheist: No one knows better than me how painful and terrifying it is to let go of religious beliefs. I look forward to the day when Witt and his colleagues (particularly Dembski, who made a personal statement of such startling self-loathing, linked to on my site, that it frightened me, but it sure explains a lot of his antics), can let go of their unnecessary burden of fear–for that it what it is. That is all that this is about. When I watched Dawkins interview in “Root?” the psychiatrist who counsels former fanatics, and she choked up because even she still has those fears, I was on the verge of tears myself. And to think that I came into this discussion because I initially thought that there could actually be something to I.D., since it had been so cleverly packaged as purely secular–and it’s a hollow farce. Look at what it does to people.

  8. #8 Joshua Taj Bozeman
    March 30, 2006

    The hateful professor strikes again. I sort of think maybe someone strangled Myers’ puppy in front of him when he was a kid, and that’s why he acts out the way he does.

    God bless the minds of the poor kids he teaches.

    I wonder if we could make a board game where we go thru this site full of hateful diatribes and see how many names are called, how many attacks are made, etc. I don’t think we could make a board game board that big tho. Anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with the all-knowing wise one PZ is a moron, as he makes clear nearly daily.

    Oh well, par for the course from the guy who thinks if he says “ID creationism” enough times it becomes true. Yes, yes…PZ will say he defines “creationism” as any idea that posits God as creator, which means he’s attacking the great majority of the world’s population who believe God exists and that he was, indeed, the cerator (he IS an atheist, so no doubt he IS arguing this point, tho he will surely deny it) and propping up atheism with his ideas, which would be a violation of the so-called separation clause.

    I should note he puts out the old canard that ID posits supernatural design when he knows quite well that it doesn’t. Funny- he tells a blatant lie in a sentence where he attacks Witt as a “quack”…then he goes on to call Witt “nuts” and “certifiable.”

    I will remind everyone that Myers is paid tax dollars from the good people of MN to daily act like a child on this website. He’s you standard Marxist-loving far left atheist professor sitting in his ivory tower on the taxpayers dime- as he proves with the quote at the top of this page:

    “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
    [Karl Marx]

  9. #9 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    I like how Witt keeps referring to “mainstream” scientists. How about some names? And cites? And how about the opinions of those “mainstream” scientists when it comes to the contributions of Jonathan Witt’s “institute” to the science of evolutionary biology?

    Witt = propagandist slimelord.

    I would love to see Preacher Witt or his special li’l altar boy Casey Luskin come here to defend Witt’s garbage.

    But the Discovery Institute’s script doesn’t allow such behavior. Pity.

  10. #10 Miguelito
    March 30, 2006

    Again, the Cambrian “explosion”. I wish these retards could grasp the fact that many of the major families appeared in the Ediacaran, long before the Cambrian “explosion”, spreading out the evolutionary tree.

  11. #11 wamba
    March 30, 2006

    Joshua Taz Bozeman lied:

    I should note he puts out the old canard that ID posits supernatural design when he knows quite well that it doesn’t.

    From the decision of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case:


    In addition to the IDM itself describing ID as a religious argument, ID’s religious nature is evident because it involves a supernatural designer. The courts in Edwards and McLean expressly found that this characteristic removed creationism from the realm of science and made it a religious proposition. Edwards, 482 U.S. at 591-92; McLean, 529 F. Supp. at 1265-66. Prominent ID proponents have made abundantly clear that the designer is supernatural.
    .
    Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). Second, Professor Minnich testified that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered. (38:97 (Minnich)). Third, Professor Steven William Fuller testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural. (Trial Tr. vol. 28, Fuller Test., 20-24, Oct. 24, 2005). Turning from defense expert witnesses to leading ID proponents, Johnson has concluded that science must be redefined to include the supernatural if religious challenges to evolution are to get a hearing. (11:8-15 (Forrest); P-429). Additionally, Dembski agrees that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (Trial Tr. vol. 5, Pennock Test., 32-34, Sept. 28, 2005).
    .
    Further support for the proposition that ID requires supernatural creation is found in the book Pandas, to which students in Dover’s ninth grade biology class are directed. Pandas indicates that there are two kinds of causes, natural and intelligent, which demonstrate that intelligent causes are beyond nature. (P-11 at 6). Professor Haught, who as noted was the only theologian to testify in this case, explained that in Western intellectual tradition, non-natural causes occupy a space reserved for ultimate religious explanations. (9:13-14 (Haught)). Robert Pennock, Plaintiffs’ expert in the philosophy of science, concurred with Professor Haught and concluded that because its basic proposition is that the features of the natural world are produced by a transcendent, immaterial, non-natural being, ID is a religious proposition regardless of whether that religious proposition is given a recognized religious label. (5:55-56 (Pennock)). It is notable that not one defense expert was able to explain how the supernatural action suggested by ID could be anything other than an inherently religious proposition. Accordingly, we find that ID’s religious nature would be further evident to our objective observer because it directly involves a supernatural designer.

  12. #12 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    God bless the minds of the poor kids he teaches.

    Josh, see my post above. That sort of thing isn’t effective (except perhaps to make you feel better about yourself). Sorry to break the bad news, bro’.

    He’s you standard Marxist-loving far left atheist professor sitting in his ivory tower on the taxpayers dime

    Is a Marxist-loving far left atheist professor still considered to be “standard” when he gets a hard-on for dead squid washed up on a beach somewhere?

  13. #13 Francis
    March 30, 2006

    Joshua, if ID does not posit supernatural design, then what does it posit? lgm? who designed them?

  14. #14 Gorbe
    March 30, 2006

    Perhaps no more religion for Mr. Witt either.

  15. #15 BronzeDog
    March 30, 2006

    I should note he puts out the old canard that ID posits supernatural design when he knows quite well that it doesn’t.

    So, why do so many IDers I meet keep complaining about science leaving out “supernatural” explainations?

    Of course, the real objection to ID is that it’s one big argument from ignorance and lack of imagination.

    I will remind everyone that Myers is paid tax dollars from the good people of MN to daily act like a child on this website. He’s you standard Marxist-loving far left atheist professor sitting in his ivory tower on the taxpayers dime…

    What ivory tower? You do realize that science is open for everyone, which is why he often posts on the science behind different evolutionary things.

    Oh, and could you please cut down on the genetic fallacies and well-poisonings?

  16. #16 Fred Levitan
    March 30, 2006

    Funny, Mr. Bozoman – the “Random Quote” I just got says that “Faith is the antithesis of proof.” – [NY State Supreme Court Justice Edward J. Greenfield, 1995]. I guess your comment was in illustration of that, although in your case, one might wish to add “Ignorant narrow-minded nonsensical vitriol, ungrammatical and poorly spelled” to the “Unreasoned belief in imaginary beings” portion of that aphorism.

  17. #17 Gorbe
    March 30, 2006

    How does one do a controlled study on the efficacy of prayer? What about people around the world – outside of the control of the study – who make general prayers for “healing the sick” or who pray to different god(s)?

    A better controlled study would be if it focused on the efficacy of a person believing they were being prayed for (or not). Does the act of believing in prayer make a difference? I would not be surprised if it does. But, that would not be the efficacy of prayer. It would be the placebo effect.

  18. #18 Corkscrew
    March 30, 2006

    Yes, scientists argue about these things; I’m one who thinks macroevolution represents a different class of phenomena from microevolution.

    Any chance of elaboration? I’m clueless enough about evolutionary biology to not understand in what way macroevolution can be considered to be anything other than microevolution viewed at a different scale.

  19. #19 Cheeto
    March 30, 2006

    Help, Help! I’m being repressed!

    -Witt

  20. #20 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    Of course, the other great hypocracy lurking in Witt’s screed is his apparent assumption of the accuracy of the fossil record, at least in terms of the dating of the fossils.

    How odd that Witt, for all his whining and railing against alleged distortions of the scientific record, does not pause for a moment to address the young-earth creationists out there — a fairly large and easy target. By doing so regularly and clearly, Witt would at least show that his alleged goals are plain.

    Instead he chooses to smear the group with the best evidence for its preferred explanation: the virtual universe of honest biologists.

    Odd.

  21. #21 Joshua Taj Bozeman
    March 30, 2006

    Great white- rule for future comments…you look silly when you call me a liar when I did no such thing. You quoted the OPPOSITION’S definition THEY claimed of ID. That’s nonsense…you take the definition of the ID proponents themselves. Dembski never says that the design must be supernatural, nor does Behe. Nor do any of the others I know of.

    Dembski’s definition of ID is- “the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence”

    Where in that sentence do you see the word “supernatural”??

  22. #22 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    Gorbe

    Does the act of believing in prayer make a difference? I would not be surprised if it does.

    Read the link. People who knew they were being prayed for suffered more complications than those who didn’t know, for reasons that are not clear.

    My explanation: God has turned off his prayer answering machine until Jonathan Witt and Casey Luskin admit they are charlatan pieces of shit.

  23. #23 BronzeDog
    March 30, 2006

    Perhaps you should quote Mr. Witt’s definition.

    But it’s largely irrelevant, anyway. The supernatural’s mostly an enthymeme claim, rather than an overt one. It’s still an argument from ignorance and lack of imagination.

  24. #24 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    Great white- rule for future comments…you look silly when you call me a liar when I did no such thing.

    Hilarious. You’re addressing the wrong commenter, tardboy.

  25. #25 Joshua Taj Bozeman
    March 30, 2006

    That’s okay Wonder- you proved the fact that you’re a child with your comment of “tardboy,” You’ll fit in well with the rest of hate here.

  26. #26 PZ Myers
    March 30, 2006

    Dembski: “Intelligent design…readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

  27. #27 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    That’s okay Wonder- you proved the fact that you’re

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz …..

  28. #28 Sunny
    March 30, 2006

    I’d like to challange people like Witt and Joshua here to produce solid evidence that ID does not contain a single hint of supernatural design. I wonder why is it that a vast majority of scientists reject ID as a legitimate scientific theory while it is kept on being peddled by religious fundamentalists and people with ZIPPO background in evolutionary biology.

  29. #29 Joshua Taj Bozeman
    March 30, 2006

    PZ, now you’re (I suspect purposefully) confusing the definition of the scientific endeavor with the worldview implications of the theory (just as NDE theory has worldview implications.)

    Using your logic we can define NDE as a theory that posits no God exists and that blind brute natural forces formed everything and things that appear designed are illusions of design.

    I’d hope better from a college professor.

  30. #30 BronzeDog
    March 30, 2006

    I smell straw.

    I suppose if you define “supernatural” to mean untestable entities, the designer would qualify. It’s hard to know what doggerel like “supernatural” means from minute to minute.

  31. #31 Pseudo-Buddhaodiscordo-pasafarian
    March 30, 2006

    Mr. Bozeman – What intelligence are you assuming? Because you are making assumptions, and you KNOW what that means.

  32. #32 afarensis
    March 30, 2006

    Those fossils can’t just be left sitting around. They too will have to be gotten rid of…

    I’ll take them, send them to ScienceBlogs, C/O afarensis…

  33. #33 wamba
    March 30, 2006

    Joshua Taj Bozeman lied:

    Great white- rule for future comments…you look silly when you call me a liar when I did no such thing. You quoted the OPPOSITION’S definition THEY claimed of ID. That’s nonsense…you take the definition of the ID proponents themselves. Dembski never says that the design must be supernatural, nor does Behe. Nor do any of the others I know of.

    From my post of March 30, 2006 03:53 PM, which you seem to have conveniently ignored; an excerpt from the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision:

    First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700).

    Do you think Jesus is proud of you for lying on his behalf?

  34. #34 QrazyQat
    March 30, 2006

    I wonder if we could make a board game where we go thru this site full of hateful diatribes and see how many names are called, how many attacks are made, etc.

    I for one think your idea of making a board game out of DI’s site is terrific.

  35. #35 BronzeDog
    March 30, 2006

    “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
    [Karl Marx]

    Marx said a lot of things. Probably a lot I would disagree with. But I’m pretty sure he was right when he said that.

    Of course the fact that Karl Marx said it is irrelevant. It’s just an argumentum ad Hitlerum, slightly changed. If you think that quoting him must say something about PZ, I’m sure Joseph McCarthy would love you.

  36. #36 Daryl McCullough
    March 30, 2006

    Comstockian writes:

    I find the ID micro/macro distinction to be pretty close to nonsensical (the old believing in inches but not in miles line).

    I have no idea what the IDers say about it, but years ago when these people called themselves “creationists”, I got into an argument with a creationist about this very issue. His claim, as well as I can remember, is this: He posited the existence of a classification that he called “kinds”. A “kind” included many different species (I’m not sure if he claimed that it corresponded precisely to a genus or anything else in the Linnaen classification system). Mutation and natural selection can cause drift within a kind, but never causes one kind to evolve into another kind. So for instance, perhaps donkeys could, given the right mutations and selective pressure, evolve into horses, but never into cats.

    I’m assuming that this is the distinction the IDers are making. By “microevolution”, they means species change within a “kind”, and by “macroevolution”, they means species change that crosses the “kind” boundaries.

    What this basically amounts to is to admit that species evolve, but to deny that cats and donkeys have a common ancestor. The claim that we never witness “macroevolution” in this sense is a pretty safe bet, because it would take tens of thousands of generations to observe.

  37. #37 commisarjs
    March 30, 2006

    Mr. Joshua Taj Bozeman,

    Dr. Myers is paid to be a professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The duties of a professor typically involve research, teaching classes in their field of expertise, and providing guidance to students in their academic pursuits. However, like most human beings professors can and do participate in activities outside those that they are expressly paid to do. This can be known as hobbies, leisure time activities, or outside interests. But the long and short of it is that although Dr. Myers is paid to be a professor this blog is a personal blog and is not affiliated with the University of Minnesota, Morris. Although his reputation almost certainly influenced the decision to include him at scienceblogs.com it is no more linked to the previously mentioned university than your blog is to your local grocery store.

    Now moving on to “Intelligent Design” it is indeed creationism. The most basic premise of intelligent design is that evolution was guided by a designer and that natural selection is pure bunk. The developers of the untested hypothesis of “Intelligent Design” coyly *wink* *wink* say that the designer is unidentified. Although the loudest proponents of ID quietly say they believe the unknown designer is actually the Christian God named Jehovah. Now to be fair, it is possible that the unnamed designer is actually some sort of nearly immortal Time Lord by the name of Dr. Who and not Jehovah. There is equal evidence to support both as the unnamed designer. We would be doing an immeasurable disserve to education to teach either of these wild hypotheses as fact. But we would see a brisk increase in the number of men and women ducking into police boxes together to experience the complex interactions of biology and religion together. So ID does have that going for it.

    But let’s step back a bit. ID posits that all evolution of every species is guided by some unnamed designer. Including the first reactions of organic molecules to form RNA which then led to more complex molecules, virii, and eventually single celled organisms. The vast majority of people would heartily agree that these single celled organisms are alive. So while ID does offer a more complex view of creationism than:

    Pile of Dust => *POOF IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE* => Every living creature

    It is still the same premise. Some powerful entitiy (possibly a deity or Time Lord with a British accent) took the raw materials and used them to craft living creatures. There are subtle differences such as the time involved, one less mythological garden located in the fertile crescent, and acknowledgement of the existance of anything > 10,000 years old but it’s the same old creationism. Just in a bright and shiney new package.

    ID is not equal the theory of evolution. It has no evidence to support it beyond good ol’ gut instinct. Which does not rise to the level of nearly two centuries of peer reviewed research.

  38. #38 wamba
    March 30, 2006

    I will remind everyone that Myers is paid tax dollars from the good people of MN to daily act like a child on this website.

    Who is paying you to act like a child on someone else’s web site?
    Here’s some scripture for you, since you seem to need it:

    Exodus 20:16
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

  39. #39 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    I note that in my comment re the Templeton Foundation I referred to “US taxpayer money.” That was a mistake. I assume that the money came from private donations to the Templeton Foundation and not from government grant.

    Of course, I could be wrong about that (I recall that some other studies of this sort have been funded by the NIH and/or other government orgs).

    In any event, I retract and apologize.

    (See how easy that is, Joshua?)

  40. #40 Rey
    March 30, 2006

    “Blah blah blah hate blah blah ivory tower blah blah Marx blah no actual criticism of the ideas in the post blah blah blah.”

    Thanks for stopping by.

  41. #41 idisalie
    March 30, 2006

    I’ve never posted here because I usually don’t like posting in comments/forums, but I love how a high school graduate with no college education in biology (Joshua Taj Bozeman) tries to attack something he doesn’t understand in the least and proclaims the complete and utter garbage that ID is as “science”. I’m a botany major so therefore I am qualified to perform heart surgery with a fork because I think the old method is flawed and my beliefs tell me that this new way is much better. Teach the controversy in med school!

  42. #42 Sean Foley
    March 30, 2006

    Dembski never says that the design must be supernatural, nor does Behe.

    So if Dembski were to write a book called, say, would that qualify as endorsing a supernatural designer?

  43. #43 Loris
    March 30, 2006

    Evolutionists to IDers

    I refuse to have a battle of data with someone who is unarmed.

    Nuff said.

  44. #44 Sean Foley
    March 30, 2006

    Damn it. The book is called Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology. And I can’t type.

  45. #45 roger tang
    March 30, 2006

    Mr. Bozeman, you are a liar because you lie. Do you even READ what’s being put out by ID supporters?

    Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). Second, Professor Minnich testified that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered. (38:97 (Minnich)). Third, Professor Steven William Fuller testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural. (Trial Tr. vol. 28, Fuller Test., 20-24, Oct. 24, 2005). Turning from defense expert witnesses to leading ID proponents, Johnson has concluded that science must be redefined to include the supernatural if religious challenges to evolution are to get a hearing. (11:8-15 (Forrest); P-429). Additionally, Dembski agrees that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (Trial Tr. vol. 5, Pennock Test., 32-34, Sept. 28, 2005).

    Hm. Sounds like ID supporters are talking about the supernatural to me…

  46. #46 Loris
    March 30, 2006

    Or would this be better

    I refuse to have a battle of scientific theories with someone who is unarmed.

  47. #47 darukaru
    March 30, 2006

    I dislike Marxism and ID.

    I’m sure that someone, somewhere, has steam coming out of their ears while they try to imagine how that could be.

  48. #48 PaulC
    March 30, 2006

    Kristine:

    (particularly Dembski, who made a personal statement of such startling self-loathing, linked to on my site, that it frightened me, but it sure explains a lot of his antics)

    Can you provide the link? I’ve often supposed Dembski must be terribly conflicted since he knows enough mathematics to see that he cannot possibly prove what he’s trying to prove.

  49. #49 Kristine
    March 30, 2006

    “Those fossils can’t just be left sitting around. They too will have to be gotten rid of…” I wrote a poem [uh oh!] last night that mentioned the sinking of Alfred Wallace’s ship and of his fossils, specimens, and crewmen getting laid down in one stratum, and then I had this nightmarish vision of all the museums stuffed with fossils collapsing from the cataclysm of a comet hitting earth, and future paleontologists having to sort everything out, all of these fossils from different eras lying in one 22nd century museum stratum…

    So just give it enough time, Witt, the cosmos can do almost anything!

  50. #50 Cody
    March 30, 2006

    roger tang,

    All that proves is what the court reporter wrote down as Professor Minnich’s testimony. It’s obvious to me that Mr. Bozeman simply entertained the possibility that the court reporter could have ignored Professor Minnich’s actual testimony and fabricated an entirely different one. I believe Mr. Bozeman’s interpretation of the facts is just as valid as any other, even the one that’s supported by the actual facts. After all, where you there at the court proceedings? If you weren’t there, then how can you know what was really said?

  51. #51 Harry
    March 30, 2006

    On the micro/macro distinction: take the classic Peppered Moth example. Both light and dark PMs were recorded before the Industrial Revolution, both continued to exist throughout the period, and both still exist now. There was a change in the proportions of the population, but no new type of moth appeared. You can sanely believe in the effect of natural selection to make changes within a pre-existing range of variation without believing that it’s possible to extrapolate to speciation.

    It’s not an argument I find convincing, but I don’t think it’s inherently outrageous in itself.

  52. #52 Kristine
    March 30, 2006

    Here it is, PaulC.
    http://www.facultylinc.com/personal/facoffice.nsf/Storys+By+Staff+ID/wdembski?OpenDocument
    “Deep down I was angry with whatever God there might be. God was perfect, and I was imperfect…” blah, blah, yakity-yak. Now he’s mad at whatever God there can’t be. Guy thinks he messed up because he blew his freshman college year (big deal!) He’s got nothing on what I pulled in college. If there is a God I hope that He’s out having FUN, somewhere. Yeah, I suppose I could believe in a God who skips class.

  53. #53 PaulC
    March 30, 2006

    Oh. Dembski’s story sounds like a pretty run of the mill born again epiphany. I’m certainly familar with the theological notion that Jesus become fully human to experience the human condition. (Though I’m not sure why an omniscient God wouldn’t know all about it already.) I don’t begrudge him any of that if it gives him solace; I do wonder if it does. It doesn’t excuse him from using mathematics to mislead people.

    The part about eastern religious piques my curiosity. I wonder what exactly he was doing.

  54. #54 Anne Nonymous
    March 30, 2006

    So, what I’d really like to know is where the intelligent designer came from. Was it intelligently designed by another intelligent designer? Did it evolve? Did it create itself in a burst of paradoxical mindfuckery? Inquiring minds want to know!

  55. #55 _Arthur
    March 30, 2006

    Harry, while natural selection did modify the number of white and dark moth in the population, do you posit that there always has been dark and white moths — for as long there has been peppered moths ?

    The same argument has been used on antibiotics-resistant bacteria: that bacteria having an innate resistance to yet-to-be discovered antibiotics are already present in nature, and when the new antibiotic will be used, those bacteria will survive and become prevalent.

    There is abundant research to demonstrate that these traits started as mutations, and, furthermore, in the case of antibiotics, were not pre-existent, but _evolved_ and _adapted_ in response to an environmental change (antibiotics).

    I leave to the learned biologists here to point you to the relevant research.

  56. #56 BronzeDog
    March 30, 2006

    Yeah, I suppose I could believe in a God who skips class.

    Of course he skipped class! How else do you explain (insert typical design flaw we all like to bring up)?

  57. #57 george cauldron
    March 30, 2006

    Hey! Josh is back! Everyone’s favorite 20-something rightwing fundie who lives with his parents.

    The hateful professor strikes again. I sort of think maybe someone strangled Myers’ puppy in front of him when he was a kid, and that’s why he acts out the way he does.

    Now our Josh is a Freudian psychoanalyst. Glad to hear you’re learning a trade at last.

    God bless the minds of the poor kids he teaches.

    Not everyone fears learning the way you do.

    I wonder if we could make a board game where we go thru this site full of hateful diatribes and see how many names are called, how many attacks are made, etc. I don’t think we could make a board game board that big tho. Anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with the all-knowing wise one PZ is a moron, as he makes clear nearly daily.

    Josh, last I checked you called anyone you disagreed with ‘crazy’, so why should we pay attention to what you think of others’ rhetorical styles?

    Oh well, par for the course from the guy who thinks if he says “ID creationism” enough times it becomes true.

    And a judge believed it too, Josh. And biologists believe it, too, Josh. (You know, people with, like TRAINING in this subject?) And the main textbook for ID was created by doing a global search and replace of the word ‘creation’ with ‘design’.

    Saying the two are totally different things doesn’t become true by repeating it enough times.

    Yes, yes…PZ will say he defines “creationism” as any idea that posits God as creator, which means he’s attacking the great majority of the world’s population

    Good old Josh. Defines reality by appeals to opinion polls. Funny that he has to include Hindus and Moslems to get this particular ‘result’, since I can just guess what he thinks of people of those two religions.

    who believe God exists and that he was, indeed, the cerator (he IS an atheist,

    Thanks Josh. We didn’t know. That’s a felony, isn’t it? Shall we burn him?

    so no doubt he IS arguing this point, tho he will surely deny it) and propping up atheism with his ideas, which would be a violation of the so-called separation clause.

    Dare I ask how you have any idea what PZ teaches in his classes? Or is this just your innuendo?

    I should note he puts out the old canard that ID posits supernatural design when he knows quite well that it doesn’t.

    Right — it could be space aliens, right Josh? Wink, wink.

    Funny- he tells a blatant lie in a sentence where he attacks Witt as a “quack”…then he goes on to call Witt “nuts” and “certifiable.”

    Called any of your opponents ‘crazy’ lately, Josh?

    I will remind everyone that Myers is paid tax dollars from the good people of MN to daily act like a child on this website.

    Really? I thought his job was a college biology professor, Josh!

    He’s you standard Marxist-loving far left atheist professor

    Oh no, he’s now a COMMIE as well! Quite a rhetorical arsenal you have there.

    Do you have a list of 205 such commies and athiests, Josh?

    Let me guess. You’ve never met many professors, but you’ve heard they’re all commie liberals, right?

    sitting in his ivory tower on the taxpayers dime-

    That’s the second time you’ve mentioned taxpayers, Josh. Work on your shtick a little more. It’s getting repetitive.

    Also, if it’s horrible to be a ‘commie atheist’ working for the govt., perhaps you can give us a list of permissible political affiliations and religions, so we can start firing everyone who fails to make the cut?

    I’d hope better from a college professor.

    And do you, actually HAVE any direct experience with college professors? Sure sounds like you don’t.

  58. #58 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    Harry

    There was a change in the proportions of the population, but no new type of moth appeared.

    That’s not an argument. That’s just a data point.

    There is this other data point where we observe that giant lizard like things used to live on earth and don’t now. At the same time, things that do live on earth that are similar to the giant lizard things aren’t found where we’d expect them to be found.

    And then there’s the moth DNA and protein sequences which are related in strikingly non-random ways to ant sequences, bacterial sequences, and human sequences.

    It’s not “outrageous” not to “get it.” But it is outrageous for someone to not “get it” but pretend that they do and pretend that the vast majority of the world’s scientists are deluded idiots.

  59. #59 Daryl McCullough
    March 30, 2006

    _Arthur,

    As I said, the creationist idea of “kinds” (I assume Intelligent Design people are all creationists, as well) is that mutation and natural selection takes place within a “kind”, but never results in evolution from one kind to another. So evolution of moth coloration or evolution of drug resistance in bacteria doesn’t contradict their claim that evolution never crosses “kind” boundaries.

    I’m not sure what would conclusively disprove their claim: presumably if you actually had the entire history of the evolution of, say, cats and donkeys, and could show that they had a common ancestor, and that every step of the evolution from this ancestor to the modern forms was the result of random mutation together with natural selection. As long as there are any gaps in the fossil record, the creationists will say that the gaps justify their claims.

  60. #60 steve s
    March 30, 2006

    Basically every ID proponent has admitted, at one time or another, the Intelligent Designer must’ve been jesus. If Bozeman wants to insist Dembski and Behe and Johnson are wrong about ID, there’s no use arguing.

  61. #61 george cauldron
    March 30, 2006

    Dembski’s definition of ID is- “the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence”

    Where in that sentence do you see the word “supernatural”??

    Josh, I hope you’re just being disingenuous here, and you’re not really that dumb.

  62. #62 Harry
    March 30, 2006

    I’m not positing anything. I’m just saying that it’s logically coherent to accept that the Peppered Moth experiment reveals natural selection in action without believing in evolution.

    I just think that sometimes these arguments need to be made slightly carefully; natural selection and evolution are separate things. Evidence for natural selection is not in itself evidence for evolution; nor is evidence for evolution in itself evidence for natural selection. Sometimes people talk about them as though they were interchangable. If I were a creationist (and no, I’m not) that might annoy me.

  63. #63 Mike Z
    March 30, 2006

    The “taxpayers pay your salary” argument always kills me. In this case:

    I pay federal taxes.
    Federal taxes are used to pay part of PZ Meyers’ salary.
    Therefore, PZ Meyers is forbidden from obtaining research results that displease me. Further, he is forbidden from teaching or saying things that displease me.

  64. #64 Azkyroth
    March 30, 2006

    Here’s some scripture for you, since you seem to need it:

    Exodus 20:16
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. -wamba

    You’re forgetting one of the scriptural passages most blatantly and consistently ignored by the religious right (second only to Matthew 7:1-5 in terms of being disregarded):

    Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    There’s a bumper sticker that says “Christians aren’t Perfect, just Forgiven.” Here’s one for you, Joshua: “Self-righteousness isn’t Convincing, just Pathetic.”

    Now then, on to specific points of your argument (hey, someone explain how to do the block quote thing?):

    The hateful professor strikes again. I sort of think maybe someone strangled Myers’ puppy in front of him when he was a kid, and that’s why he acts out the way he does.

    I suspect that his vehemence has more to do with the ID movement’s attempts to metaphorically rape, torture, and mutilate biology and then keep it locked in the basement to “use” whenever they feel like it. This, however, has no bearing on the factual truth of his arguments, and is an infantile and cowardly ad hominem attack. If you can’t debate what a person’s actually saying without resorting to off-topic speculation, you aren’t worth our time.

    And by your logic, I suppose your entire family must have been burned at the stake while you were forced to watch, and that’s why you act the way you do? Give me a break.

    God bless the minds of the poor kids he teaches.

    He’s a college professor last I checked. I don’t tend to think of 18-20something year olds as “kids.” Granted, many I’ve met (possibly including yourself, the uncertainty being whether you belong in the classification of “18-20something year olds”) seem to have about the level of knowledge and critical thinking ability one expects from, say, a third grader, but that’s beside the point (and also inexcusable).

    I wonder if we could make a board game where we go thru this site full of hateful diatribes and see how many names are called, how many attacks are made, etc. I don’t think we could make a board game board that big tho. Anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with the all-knowing wise one PZ is a moron, as he makes clear nearly daily.

    Good idea. Let’s start with the hateful diatribe you’re trying to pass off as a legitimate criticism of his position. *eyeroll*

    Oh well, par for the course from the guy who thinks if he says “ID creationism” enough times it becomes true. Yes, yes…PZ will say he defines “creationism” as any idea that posits God as creator, which means he’s attacking the great majority of the world’s population who believe God exists and that he was, indeed, the cerator (he IS an atheist, so no doubt he IS arguing this point, tho he will surely deny it) and propping up atheism with his ideas, which would be a violation of the so-called separation clause.

    “Creationism” is a term used specifically to refer to the idea that Life, the Universe, and Everything were created by divine fiat. The majority of the world’s population do not believe in Creationism in this sense; they instead hold that life came into existence according to the laws of nature which their god of choice ultimately designed and controls. The fact that PZ is an atheist does not enable one to infer anything about his goals, and your statement to the contrary is as wrong, and for most of the same reasons, as the statement that “Person X is white, therefore he must be a racist,” or “Person Y is a lesbian, therefore she must want to exterminate men except for a small population kept in cages as a supply for artificial insemination.” It’s an unfounded and insulting stereotype, nothing more. Finally, this is a private blog, and his statements are presented as his private thoughts; neither the Establishment Clause nor the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment (I assume this is what you meant; there is no “separation clause”; the phrase “separation of church and state” was derived from the correspondance of President Thomas Jefferson) places any limits on the peaceable expression of one’s private opinion of religion or indeed anything else. Your claim to the contrary reflects either an inexcusable ignorance of the meaning and scope of the foundations of U.S. law or inexcusable dishonesty regarding the same.

    I should note he puts out the old canard that ID posits supernatural design when he knows quite well that it doesn’t. Funny- he tells a blatant lie in a sentence where he attacks Witt as a “quack”…then he goes on to call Witt “nuts” and “certifiable.”

    Granted, the concept of intelligent design does not necessarily require a supernatural designer. However, if the version of ID promoted by people like Witt doesn’t posit supernatural creation, no one seems to have mentioned it to them; see the quotes in the posts above.

    I will remind everyone that Myers is paid tax dollars from the good people of MN to daily act like a child on this website. He’s you standard Marxist-loving far left atheist professor sitting in his ivory tower on the taxpayers dime- as he proves with the quote at the top of this page:

    So far as I can tell, PZ is a liberal, which in America today means he supports the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and personal freedom to the extent that one does not interfere with the rights of others. This is in stark contrast to Communism, one of the core premises of which is the necessity/desirability of an authoritarian government. The fact that PZ thinks Karl Marx made a few valid points does not imply that he supports the entirety of Marx’s philosophy, any more than the observation that Hitler was kind to his dog implies that one supports National Socialism.

    As for the quote at the top of the page proving to the contrary, you say that as though you believe this to be the site’s motto or some such. What part of “Random Quote” was unclear?

    “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
    [Karl Marx]

    Given the enormous contributions religion has made to the cause of human misery, this statement is almost correct. Technically, the first requisite for the happiness of the people would be more a matter of food/water/shelter/medical care, but abolition of religion and especially of “divine right” philosophies of government and of priveleged priesthoods would go a long way towards an equitable distribution of the above.

    Great white- rule for future comments…you look silly when you call me a liar when I did no such thing. You quoted the OPPOSITION’S definition THEY claimed of ID. That’s nonsense…you take the definition of the ID proponents themselves. Dembski never says that the design must be supernatural, nor does Behe. Nor do any of the others I know of.

    Behe explicitly said that he believes the designer to be “God” in a fashion which makes it clear that he is referring to the Christian god, not to a deist’s “clockmaker.” I wish I had that quote at hand; surely someone will kindly provide a reference? Dembski I’m less familiar with, but he “agrees that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (Trial Tr. vol. 5, Pennock Test., 32-34, Sept. 28, 2005)” as quoted. Wamba, to whom you ought to have addressed this response, is quoting the court note-taker person’s summary of the proponents‘ definitions and explanations of ID. I wish to politely suggest that you read people’s arguments before responding to them.

    Dembski’s definition of ID is- “the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence”

    Where in that sentence do you see the word “supernatural”??

    The word supernatural does not appear in that sentence. Since this is the only definition or explanation of ID that has ever been offered by Dembski, and no other proponent has ever offered one, you are indeed quite correct and we are making the “supernatural” part up out of whole cloth. *eyeroll*

    That’s okay Wonder- you proved the fact that you’re a child with your comment of “tardboy,” You’ll fit in well with the rest of hate here.

    Given the mud-slinging, well-poisoning, and hateful personal attacks you call an argument against PZ…

    Black Hole in the depths of a coal mine in intergalactic space to kettle: “You are black.”

    PZ, now you’re (I suspect purposefully) confusing the definition of the scientific endeavor with the worldview implications of the theory (just as NDE theory has worldview implications.)

    He’s describing the methodology and premises of ID theory. The worldview Dembski is referring to is a cause of the current form taken by ID, not an effect, and I suspect you’re purposefully confusing the two.

    Incidentally, what scientific endeavor? The ID movement’s focus is on PR and lobbying, and their entire set of supporting arguments consist of flawed attacks on straw-man caricatures of modern evolutionary theory.

    Using your logic we can define NDE as a theory that posits no God exists and that blind brute natural forces formed everything and things that appear designed are illusions of design.

    I’m not familiar with the acronym NDE, but evolutionary theory does not posit that no god exists; it does posit that random mutation and natural selection are the primary factor shaping the development and diversification of living organisms on earth, PZ’s personal philosophy is an entirely different matter. Speaking of purposefully confusing “the definition of the scientific endeavor” with “worldview implications”…

    I’d hope better from a college professor.

    And I’d hope for better than your hypocrisy, arrogance, and hatefulness from a Christian, given that the New Testament contains explicit condemnations of each.

  65. #65 PZ Myers
    March 30, 2006

    Better yet, George W. Bush is a servant of the American people, whose salary is paid entirely by us (except, of course, for any secret kickbacks from his friends in industry). Therefore, GW Bush must now follow my orders.

    Stand on your head, George.

    Stick pencils in your nose, George.

    Resign from office, George.

  66. #66 Zarquon
    March 30, 2006

    Harry, natural selection is one of the mechanisms of evolution, that’s why Darwin titled his book ‘The Origin Of Species By Means of Natural Selection’. Yeah, the peppered moths don’t prove much about the history of life on Earth when considered in isolation, but the whole range of data that bioloists and paleontologists have proves that modern life is descended from ancient life through common descent shaped by evolution.

  67. #67 plunge
    March 30, 2006

    “Darwin’s gradually branching tree of life.”

    Even Gould seemed to have gotten this wrong, but Darwin never said that evolution had to be gradual in the sense of “steady and constant.” In fact, in Origin alone he several times says that he doesn’t see any reason why evolution should be gradual in that sense, and many times over says that he doesn’t imagine his even, neat little description of trees would in reality be so symetrical and even: he evne says so in his only diagram of branching in that book!

  68. #68 Great White Wonder
    March 30, 2006

    I’m just saying that it’s logically coherent to accept that the Peppered Moth experiment reveals natural selection in action without believing in evolution.

    I understand what you’re saying but I still disagree.

    If you (metaphorically speaking) see the peppered moth experiment as evidence for natural selection, then you understand how evidence works.

    If you understand how evidence works, then believing that moths and humans didn’t share a common ancestor and didn’t “evolve” from that common ancestor requires that you engage in illogical arguments from ignorance and incredulity.

    It’s as if you believe in erosion but refuse to believe that the Colorado River made the Grand Canyon because you’ve never “seen” a canyon as grand as the Grand Canyon actually created.

  69. #69 george cauldron
    March 30, 2006

    It’s as if you believe in erosion but refuse to believe that the Colorado River made the Grand Canyon because you’ve never “seen” a canyon as grand as the Grand Canyon actually created.

    Um, don’t laugh, many creationists believe precisely that.

  70. #70 Mark VandeWettering
    March 30, 2006

    The thing that’s so remarkable about Witt and his reaction to ID’s crushing defeat in Dover is just how completely out-of-touch with reality the whole thing is. The testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover demonstrated unequivocally that the Dover board was principally motivated by a desire to insert religion into their curriculum, not by any desire to improve critical thinking or the quality of science instruction. Those were just a sham, and Judge Jones saw right through this particular subterfuge. No positive evidence was presented by the Discovery Institute in favor of Intelligent Design, nor was any genuine controversy in biology presented to illustrate dogmatic teaching of evolution in public schools.

    In the month’s since, we seen a concerted effort on the part of the Discovery Institute to slander Jones and the decision and to claim that the court victory was really just the work of some evil Darwinian cabal seeking to destroy Intelligent Design. Such claims are transparently false, as would be obvious to anyone who actually read the trial transcripts and the decision in the case. The facts in Dover showed that ID is really just creationism dressed for court, and dressed rather nattily at that.

  71. #71 Rob X.
    March 30, 2006

    I love how your response and a link appears right under Witt’s rantings. I wonder how long it will take for them to realize this and disable Trackback from their site.

  72. #72 John Marley
    March 30, 2006

    Never argue with the data.

  73. #73 IAMB
    March 30, 2006

    Just for amusement, looks like Josh ran off to complain about his treatment here.

    Funny stuff.

  74. #74 george cauldron
    March 30, 2006

    From poor old Josh’s site:

    Here, Myers wants you to believe that Hitler wasn’t an atheist (he was), and that he was a Christian…the term “Almighty Creator” would be used by a Christian. Unfortunately, any fool can check google to learn that Hitler was NOT a Christian, but merely used the idea to keep those around him appeased. You can search google and find dozens of quotes where Hitler attacks Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, the Jewish God, etc.

    WRONG:

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

    For example, from little old Adolf, 1922:

    My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

    Josh just shouldn’t leave the house some days.

  75. #75 mark
    March 30, 2006

    I like that part about “scientific evidence” against evolution. We all know it consists of the same old stale misrepresentations and misunderstandings. Unless they are congenitally pig-headed ignorant, the IDiots know this as well; so when they repeat this mantra, they are lying. Whatsa matter, Jonny–did you want to be a scientist when you grew up, but couldn’t make it? If it’s just some evil conspiracy, why don’t you make a list of all the ways in which ID has furthered our knowledge of biology and the world about us and contrast it with a list of all the ways in which evolutionary theory has contributed nothing? But remember, points are deducted for factual errors and misrepresentation!

  76. #76 Karl
    March 30, 2006

    I was especially startled by PZ’s statement about micro v. macro. I thought that a standard defense of Evolution against ID is that it’s only a matter of time. Would PZ (or someone) explain that a little more or provide a link that discusses that point of view.

  77. #77 Patrick
    March 30, 2006

    If I recall, the sort of argument that PZ is making about the micro/macro difference is that occasional large-scale mutations — like changes in development that make significant alterations to the phenotype — play an important part in evolution, and not just tiny gradual mutations that slowly build up, which was the prevailing view since Darwin.

    Also, the whole thing about “I pay your salary!” seems a little strange to me. When it becomes PZ’s salary (or anyone else’s), it’s, uh, not your freaking money anymore.

  78. #78 R
    March 30, 2006

    RE: Marx quote on religion, I’ve always appreciated this rendition:
    “And man created God in his own image and likeness.”
    -Mark Twain, “Letters From The Earth”

  79. #79 Roddy McCorley
    March 30, 2006

    we must also be planning to snuff out other unconventional thinkers.

    As Carl Sagan pointed out, yes, they laughed at Christopher Columbus. They also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  80. #80 amutepiggy
    March 30, 2006

    dear reasonable readers of this blog: do not go to the Intelligent Design blog unless you need your head exploded.

    okay, but you’ve been warned.

    Intelligent Design and Earwax

  81. #81 Dan
    March 30, 2006

    To continue the gleeful Bozeman pile-on:

    I should note he puts out the old canard that ID posits supernatural design when he knows quite well that it doesn’t.

    The fact that no good IDer is willing to admit that ID posits supernatural design isn’t proof that ID doesn’t posit supernatural design.

  82. #82 Dan
    March 30, 2006

    Oh, and about micro/macro evolution…

    Isn’t the creationists’ attack on macroevolution just a blatant exploitation of the continuum fallacy?

  83. #83 Milo Johnson
    March 30, 2006

    “Qualiatative?”

    It signs itself “Qualiatative?”

    You know what, “Qualiatative,” if you are too stupid to spell your pseudonym correctly, you’re already in over your head intellectually. Go back to church and pray for brains. Nothing will happen, but at least you’ll be in a place where you won’t hurt yourself and aren’t bothering the grown-ups.

  84. #84 Phoenix Woman
    March 30, 2006

    Awwww, did I miss poor widdle Idiot Boy get spanked when he tried to get away with lying about ID?

    Here’s a poem for him:

    Sir Joshua, brave Sir Joshua, he bravely ran away!
    He bravely ran away, away!
    When logic reared its fact-based head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled!

    Meanwhile:

    The thing that’s so remarkable about Witt and his reaction to ID’s crushing defeat in Dover is just how completely out-of-touch with reality the whole thing is. The testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover demonstrated unequivocally that the Dover board was principally motivated by a desire to insert religion into their curriculum, not by any desire to improve critical thinking or the quality of science instruction. Those were just a sham, and Judge Jones saw right through this particular subterfuge. No positive evidence was presented by the Discovery Institute in favor of Intelligent Design, nor was any genuine controversy in biology presented to illustrate dogmatic teaching of evolution in public schools.

    In the months since, we seen a concerted effort on the part of the Discovery Institute to slander Jones and the decision and to claim that the court victory was really just the work of some evil Darwinian cabal seeking to destroy Intelligent Design. Such claims are transparently false, as would be obvious to anyone who actually read the trial transcripts and the decision in the case. The facts in Dover showed that ID is really just creationism dressed for court, and dressed rather nattily at that.

    I’m rather glad that the DI is doing this. It means that they aren’t willing to give up their rebranding strategy for creationism, even though that strategy has had its ass kicked in court. I was afraid that they might sit back and regroup and try to come up with a whole new way to smuggle creationism into schools.

    I want them to waste lots of their own money on this.

  85. #85 melior (in Austin)
    March 30, 2006

    okay, but you’ve been warned.

    (with fingers in ears barely stopping head from exploding)

    It occurs to me that if DI were a TV miniseries I could tune in next week confidently expecting to see that Mr. Colin had come down with some sort of excruciating earwax infestation.

  86. #86 coturnix
    March 30, 2006

    I thought that Qualiatative was a pretty witty wordplay on Qualia – the old Aristotelian “subjective property” that has pretty much been banished, as unneccessary, from the modern philosophy of sensory experience.

  87. #87 Mike Z
    March 31, 2006

    courtnix–
    Yeah, that’s what I thought “Qualiatative” was doing as well. I’m pretty sure that the term “qualia” come into being as a short-hand for “qualitative conscious experience,” so the name “qualiatative” sort of makes sense. But it’s also entirely possible that the whole thing was just a typo.

    And by the way, qulaia have not been completely banished from philosophy of mind. In fact, they may be making a bit of a comeback. For example, one of the leading defenders of qualia is the well-respected philosopher David Chalmers
    http://consc.net/chalmers/

  88. #88 G. Tingey
    March 31, 2006

    Erm …

    \\\\Firstly, to repaet:

    MARXISM IS A RELIGION

    You can tell by the body-count of inncent victims to the holy cause…
    And the schisms and splits and heresies …..

    \\\\Secondly:

    Science is NOT decided by a poular vote of the ignorant and uninformed.

  89. #89 CK
    March 31, 2006

    PZ

    I kind of find it offensive that you called the dumbasses at the DI philosophers. They’re not philosophers, they’re dumbasses who push a theological position.

    Philosophers of guilty of a wide range of things but I can’t think of a serious philosopher who’s actually pro-ID (then again, I guess being pro-ID would be sufficient for me to consider someone not to be a serious anything, other than a kook of course).

  90. #90 Jonathan Witt
    March 31, 2006

    Is anyone over at the discovery institute a scientist?

    Most of them seem to have business or law degrees from 5th rate schools.

  91. #91 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    >Great white- rule for future comments…you look silly when you call me a liar when I did no such thing.

    Bozeman, here’s a rule for you concerning future comments — since most of the posters here are not ignorant and stupid, your comments will, rather than persuading them, merely reinforce their views of you, so you would be better off not posting them.

  92. #92 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    > Philosophers of guilty of a wide range of things but I can’t think of a serious philosopher who’s actually pro-ID (then again, I guess being pro-ID would be sufficient for me to consider someone not to be a serious anything, other than a kook of course).

    Sadly, due to the complete lack of standards in philosophy, quite a number of IDiots have found a niche there and are busy poisoning the minds of their students with simplistic blather about how Kuhn showed that science is just a social game. Paul Nelson is an obvious case, but he isn’t alone.

  93. #93 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    I thought that Qualiatative was a pretty witty wordplay on Qualia – the old Aristotelian “subjective property” that has pretty much been banished, as unneccessary, from the modern philosophy of sensory experience.

    Well, it certainly deserves to be banished after Dennett’s careful eliminative evaluation of it, but rather few philosophers of mind, even among committed physicalists, have managed to give it up.

  94. #94 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    dear reasonable readers of this blog: do not go to the Intelligent Design blog unless you need your head exploded.

    okay, but you’ve been warned.

    Intelligent Design and Earwax

    Splat! Oh dear, I should have listened.

    So, let me get this straight. According to Colin Thomas, if
    “A SNP in the ABCC11 gene is the determinant of human earwax type” isn’t objectionable as a “science stopper”, then neither is “goddidit”.

    the IDiots suffer from a much more serious error than failing to understand what a theory is; they fail to understand what an explanation is. To quote Wikipedia:

    An explanation is a statement which points to causes, context and consequences of some object (or process, state of affairs etc.), together with rules or laws which link these to the object….Explanation is the discovery and reporting of relationships among different aspects of studied phenomenon.

    “goddidit”, “it was designed”, and “it’s a miracle!” are not explanations in the scientific sense.

  95. #95 Wesley R. Elsberry
    March 31, 2006

    I tried to enter a trackback, but that doesn’t seem to be working. Anyway, I have some more to say about Witt here.

  96. #96 Harry
    March 31, 2006

    Harry, natural selection is one of the mechanisms of evolution, that’s why Darwin titled his book ‘The Origin Of Species By Means of Natural Selection’. Yeah, the peppered moths don’t prove much about the history of life on Earth when considered in isolation, but the whole range of data that bioloists and paleontologists have proves that modern life is descended from ancient life through common descent shaped by evolution.

    Yes, I know. I don’t need convincing. I agree with you. As you say, there’s a bundle of other evidence anyway. In fact, the evidence for common descent is so strong that you’d pretty much have to accept it even in the absence of a plausible mechanism. But way back up the thread, Comstockian said:

    I find the ID micro/macro distinction to be pretty close to nonsensical (the old believing in inches but not in miles line).

    So I just expressed the opinion that, as anti-evolution arguments go, I don’t find the whole micro/macro thing to be particularly ludicrous. If creationist takes one of the classic experimental examples of natural selection in action – like melanistic moths or bill thickness in Galapagos finches – and says “I accept that selection has taken place, but this experiment doesn’t prove anything about descent with modification or common descent”, they’re making a (relatively) reasonable argument. It does no harm to understand these arguments and engage with them.

    And while, as I said, there’s a bundle of other evidence anyway, it’s not actually cheating to take one part of a scientific model and examine it separately.

  97. #97 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    If I recall, the sort of argument that PZ is making about the micro/macro difference is that occasional large-scale mutations — like changes in development that make significant alterations to the phenotype — play an important part in evolution, and not just tiny gradual mutations that slowly build up, which was the prevailing view since Darwin.

    I don’t think he’s saying anything like that — and not just because “large-scale mutations” are almost certain to be fatal and are not how evolution proceeds. What he did say is that “macroevolution represents a different class of phenomena from microevolution”. A different class of phenomena needs a different form or level of explanation. For instance, population isolation has no explanatory relevance to microevolution, but it does have an explanatory role in macroevolution, and speciation is hard to explain in its absence — the creationist canard “why are there still monkeys” makes some sense if all mutations are available throughout the population and the relatively unfit give way to the relatively fit. The explanation of macroevolution brings in concepts of niches and ecologies that go beyond the notions of mutation and natural selection that are adequate to explain microevolution.

    Of course, the IDiots don’t see macroevolution as an observed phenomenon needing explanation at a level beyond natural selection, they see it as something that they can’t imagine arising from the “Darwinist” notion of natural selection, and so “Darwinism” must be false (although in reality they start with that belief, and then find the microevolution/macroevolution distinction to support it). This is a failure to understand the scientific enterprise and the evolving (as opposed to dogmatic) nature of scientific explanation and theory, a failure to grasp the distinction between explanations and the phenomena they explain — and thus the failure to understand that different explanations of the same phenomena aren’t necessarily contradictory if they occur at different levels, and the hubristic failure to grasp that argumentum ad ignorantiam is just a comment on one’s own lack of imagination and vision.

  98. #98 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    If creationist takes one of the classic experimental examples of natural selection in action – like melanistic moths or bill thickness in Galapagos finches – and says “I accept that selection has taken place, but this experiment doesn’t prove anything about descent with modification or common descent”, they’re making a (relatively) reasonable argument.

    Science isn’t in the business of proving things, so this isn’t a reasonable argument at all. Descent with modification is a model supported by a great deal of data. To point at one little piece of the data and say “that doesn’t prove it” is, well, IDiotic, not reasonable.

  99. #99 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    And by the way, qulaia have not been completely banished from philosophy of mind. In fact, they may be making a bit of a comeback. For example, one of the leading defenders of qualia is the well-respected philosopher David Chalmers
    http://consc.net/chalmers/

    This is a misunderstanding. David Chalmers is one of the leading defenders of dualism, and his defense of it is largely based on his taking qualia to be a given. The leading defenders of qualia are really to be found more among the physicalists, who can’t just invoke magical “psychic” attributes the way Chalmers can, so they have actually offer a defense. Not that they have had much success, and here’s an indication of why: http://www.unl.edu/philosop/people/faculty/gibbons/qualia.htm

  100. #100 Alexander Whiteside
    March 31, 2006

    As a writer in training, I find the comments from offended Christians on here pure gold. Describing the post as a hateful attack – when it’s a rather dry and obviously weary dissection of logical fallacies – reflects the inherent hatefulness that these people seemingly can’t admit they have. Fascinating character material.

  101. #101 truth machine
    March 31, 2006

    They have every reason to hate us — we stole Christmas!

  102. #102 Alexander Whiteside
    March 31, 2006

    While I’m here: the ivory tower is actually the perfect model for the Discovery Institute. They do no actual experiments, refuse to engage outsiders in serious debate, and sit up on high throwing out press releases and (once in a blue moon) a poster of “research” resembling a research proposal.

  103. #103 owlbear1
    March 31, 2006

    It always amazes me when Habitual Liars get all “offended” when told to fuck off. I guess they really don’t understand HOW offensive their lies have become?

    I mean when the same guy tells me the same Lie 5 times in a row, all I hear is “This is how STUPID I think you are, LIE LIE LIE…”

  104. #104 Daryl McCullough
    March 31, 2006

    truth machine writes: I don’t think he’s saying anything like that — and not just because “large-scale mutations” are almost certain to be fatal and are not how evolution proceeds.

    I don’t think large-scale mutations play much of a role in evolution, but rapid phenotype change could very well play a role. One model (maybe due to Gould?) has it that most nonfatal mutations are recessive, and make very little (if any) difference in the phenotype, most of time.Except occasionally, there will be some catastrophic event that isolates a small breeding population. Because of the isolation, the population becomes inbred, and formerly invisible mutations start showing up as homozygous gene pairs (the same gene from both parents).

    During the time of isolation, there can be very rapid phenotype change. But this change is not due to mutations that occur during the time of isolation, but is due to collected recessive mutations that took place long beforehand.

    According to this model, individual mutations are not necessarily directly selected for in natural selection, but instead, these mutations just go into the pool of possibilities. Then these possibilities become realized because of isolation.

  105. #105 Patrick
    March 31, 2006

    Aw, man. I was all wrong. I tried, at least. : (

  106. #106 BronzeDog
    March 31, 2006

    Just throwing in my two cents which may very well involve a “No true scotsman” fallacy:

    Genuine philosophy seems to be under the same sort of assault as science: Theology, newage stuff, etc. are all trying to get in. The common perception of philosophy is that it’s very soft, when it’s actually about hard logic and critical thinking. It’s pretty much the foundaton behind the scientific method. Psuedophilosophers think they can throw around big words and big names and appear legitimate, just like pseudoscientists think they can throw around other big words and other big names.

    Back to the other derail of macro/micro evolution: That’s a new one on me, Daryl. Seems to explain a lot to me.

  107. #107 Mike Z
    March 31, 2006

    Truth Machine–

    Chalmers takes qualia as given, but it is not quite correct to say that he does not defend them. I mean, he doesn’t just say “Qualia are given, now let’s move on…” Rather, he says something like “I am directly aware of my own qualitative conscious experiences (=qualia). No arguments can convince me otherwise, so I must assume that qualia exist.” That constitutes a defense, sort of like Descartes’ “I think therefore I am”. Chalmers then goes on to support his rather unusual and controversial notion of “panprotopsychism.” Strange guy, but mega mega smart.

    Part of the problem, I think, is that the literature is unclear on what is meant by “qualia.” If it is meant in the sense of “qualitative conscious experience,” then qualia clearly exist because I have them (sorry to those of you who don’t, because they are really fun!) However, if it is meant as “sense data,” or some mental substance completely independent of any physicality, then they have largely been expunged from phil of mind (Chalmers notwithstanding). I guess I don’t have a horse in this particular race, though I do have problems with reductive physicalism and the eliminativism expounded by Dennet (who is notoriously slippery when it comes to just how eliminated qualia are supposed to be on his account).

    Also, one “serious” philosopher who supports ID is Alvin Plantinga, as discussed recently at Panda’s Thumb:
    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/03/plantinga_intel.html
    In gerenal, though, philosophers tend to see through the anti-evolution rhetoric pretty easily.

  108. #108 secondharmonic
    March 31, 2006

    I am not sure how many phyla are in Ediacaran assemblages. There are ‘holes’ in shelly fauna of uncertain affinity which are due to worms. There are probable cnidarians. There are sponges. But among womrs, say, there is no definitive evidence for Priapulids or polychaetes for example, just something ’round’ and predatory. There is AFAIK no evidence of the arthrodops so abundant in Cambrian assemblages.

  109. #109 Mike Z
    March 31, 2006

    BronzeDog–

    I certinly agree. Every field (and particualrly in the humanities) has its pseudo-intellectuals that give their field a bad name. Postmodernism is a major culprit, but so is religious fundamentalism, simplistic Marxism, etc…

  110. #110 secondharmonic
    March 31, 2006

    I am not sure how many phyla are in Ediacaran assemblages. There are ‘holes’ in shelly fauna of uncertain affinity which are due to worms. There are probable cnidarians. There are sponges. But among womrs, say, there is no definitive evidence for Priapulids or polychaetes for example, just something ’round’ and predatory. There is AFAIK no evidence of the arthrodops so abundant in Cambrian assemblages.

  111. #111 Sarcastro
    March 31, 2006

    Yes, yes…PZ will say he defines “creationism” as any idea that posits God as creator, which means he’s attacking the great majority of the world’s population

    Hate to burst your bubble here buddy, but the great majority of the world’s population believes in no such thing. The major eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism – reject any form of creation other than recreation. The vast, vast majority of people in the world believe in an eternal cyclical universe the mechanics of which need not differ from the scientific hypothesis.

    This ain’t about God or religion, it’s about YOUR god and YOUR religion and you insane fundy retards can not hide behind the rational theology of the majority.

  112. #112 Keith Douglas
    March 31, 2006

    If you want to know why Plantinga supports ID, just recall the entry:

    planting, v. To use twentieth-century fertilizer to encourage new shoots from eleventh -century ideas which everyone thought had gone to seed; hence, plantinger, n. one who plantings.

    in the Philosophical Lexicon.

    Rob Koons, IIRC, has also been planting recently.

  113. #113 BronzeDog
    March 31, 2006

    Hate to burst your bubble here buddy, but the great majority of the world’s population believes in no such thing. The major eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism – reject any form of creation other than recreation. The vast, vast majority of people in the world believe in an eternal cyclical universe the mechanics of which need not differ from the scientific hypothesis.

    This ain’t about God or religion, it’s about YOUR god and YOUR religion and you insane fundy retards can not hide behind the rational theology of the majority.

    That’s kind of funny. If it’s true, his argumentum ad populum is doubly fallacious. 🙂

  114. #114 Damien
    March 31, 2006

    > vast, vast, majority

    Not true either, IIRC — 2 billion Christians, 1 billion Muslims. So half the world are nominal Abrahamists and half the world aren’t.

  115. #115 george cauldron
    March 31, 2006

    Not true either, IIRC — 2 billion Christians, 1 billion Muslims. So half the world are nominal Abrahamists and half the world aren’t.

    You sure about that 2 billion Christians figure? It seems too high, esp. since Islam is supposedly going to pass Christianity sometime around 2050 or something.

    If that number is from the Vatican, they’re notorious for inflating their numbers, i.e., simply including the entire population of every nominally Catholic country in the world.

  116. #116 george cauldron
    March 31, 2006

    Hate to burst your bubble here buddy, but the great majority of the world’s population believes in no such thing. The major eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism – reject any form of creation other than recreation. The vast, vast majority of people in the world believe in an eternal cyclical universe the mechanics of which need not differ from the scientific hypothesis.

    Yes, this is classic fundie argumentation — they grossly inflate their numbers, and even include people from other religions to make people like themselves look like an intimidating overwhelming majority, then when the argument is done they go back to reviling everyone who isn’t a Christian.

    The numbers are pretty clear — a billion people in India, few of them Christians; a billion people in China, VERY few of them Christians; and somewhere around a billion Muslims, maybe slightly less. Factor in the Buddhists, and that’s something like at least 2.5 billion people who aren’t ‘of the book’ and at least 3.5 billion people who Haven’t Accepted Jesus As Their Personal Savior.

    (These numbers are just off the top of my head, but I think they’re pretty close.)

  117. #117 Ed Darrell
    March 31, 2006

    He’s you standard Marxist-loving far left atheist professor . . .

    Um, don’t look now, but the Marxists were anti-Darwin. Stupidly, under Lysenko, they tried to introduce an odd form of creato-intelligent-design to Soviet science, demoting those Darwinians they disliked, firing a few, and even murdering a couple. As a result of this anti-Darwin view, at least four million people starved to death.

    How ironic that creationists now advocate the Stalinist line, then blame the anti-Stalinists. How completely, utterly, ill-informed and stupid!

  118. #118 Chris
    March 31, 2006

    To anyone who thinks that you need a fundamentally different mechanism for speciation (“macroevolution”) than for “ordinary” phyletic drift, I say:

    Ensatina eschscholtzii.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/05/2/l_052_05.html
    http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Ensatina&where-species=eschscholtzii

    If a climate change, volcanic eruption or other event wiped out the northern intermediate population, you’d have two species potentially overnight.

    Ensatina isn’t the only such example, but one of the better known and studied. (Pro-vertebrate bias, if you ask me.)

  119. #119 Paul W.
    March 31, 2006

    Mr. Bozeman,

    Your writings bear a remarkable similarity to those of our “Stauffenberg” and “Emanuel Goldberg” (who has also appeared on the KCFS site). Looking at the common themes and structures in various posts, one might suspect that you are the same person.

    Are you?

    I have another question for you, just to get an idea where you’re coming from. What do you think of the Deuternomic injunction to kill apostates—is/was that an ethical thing to do? (“Christensen” at KCFS carefully avoided answering that question, despite being asked repeatedly and explicitly.)

    I ask that because you often imply that atheism leads to intolerance and violence. I want to know just how tolerant and nonviolent you are, when you make that comparision.

  120. #120 george cauldron
    March 31, 2006

    “Stauffenberg” and “Emanuel Goldberg” are the same person but they aren’t the same person as Josh. Totally different styles.

    I do hope Josh will try to answer your other questions, but I don’t think he’ll be back here for another couple months.

  121. #121 BronzeDog
    March 31, 2006

    Um, don’t look now, but the Marxists were anti-Darwin. Stupidly, under Lysenko, they tried to introduce an odd form of creato-intelligent-design to Soviet science, demoting those Darwinians they disliked, firing a few, and even murdering a couple. As a result of this anti-Darwin view, at least four million people starved to death.

    How ironic that creationists now advocate the Stalinist line, then blame the anti-Stalinists. How completely, utterly, ill-informed and stupid!

    I forgot about that. Thanks for the reminder.

  122. #122 Paul W.
    March 31, 2006

    George,

    I’m not so sure. It’s easy to fake major style differences, but I noticed several minor stylistic and thematic similarities, which I won’t go into…

    So I’d still like an answer to the first question, too. (Not that it really matters whether it’s the very same troll as our multipseudonymous friend— I’m just curious.) And either way, the others might be revealing, too.

  123. #123 george cauldron
    March 31, 2006

    I’m not so sure. It’s easy to fake major style differences, but I noticed several minor stylistic and thematic similarities, which I won’t go into…

    Well, not to beat on Josh too much more than I already have, but I really don’t think Josh is smart enough to pull off the whole sock puppet thing. And if you look at his website, it doesn’t seem like his personality. Josh’s MO at ‘hostile’ blogs is to suddenly pop up shooting out a lot of indignant sarcastic whining in all directions, complain about liberals and atheists, and call everyone ‘crazy’. He can’t keep his cool. He immediately gets piled on, persists for about another 2-4 messages, then slinks off and isn’t seen for a few more months. ‘Emanuel Goldstein’/ ‘Stauffenburg’ is more the drive-by troll type — one very terse, snide message, and usually no followups.

  124. #124 eyelessgame
    March 31, 2006

    Just being deliberately ignorant here (suitable for making creationists understand me), don’t all the Cambrian fossils pretty much boil down to ‘shells’? I mean, nobody had come up with endoskeletons at that point, had they? Did any Cambrian fossils actually reach the point of having notochords? The way creationists talk about the Cambrian, one finds oneself thinking there was everything from roses to lemurs to squids popping into existence de novo all at the same time, and I suspect if we could somehow convey what Cambrian fossils really look like, it would shut down this particular line of disingenuousness.

    Perhaps I’m too hopeful. 🙂

  125. #125 Tukla in Iowa
    March 31, 2006

    Um, don’t look now, but the Marxists were anti-Darwin.

    Yes, because Lysenko’s ideas fit their ideology better, and ideology trumped evidence.

    Sounds familiar.

  126. #126 Noone
    March 31, 2006

    Shorter Joshua Taj Bozeman:

    “WHAAA!”

    Did your balls get caught up in your underwear?

  127. #127 Sean Foley
    March 31, 2006

    Um, don’t look now, but the Marxists were anti-Darwin. Stupidly, under Lysenko, they tried to introduce an odd form of creato-intelligent-design to Soviet science, demoting those Darwinians they disliked, firing a few, and even murdering a couple.

    I seem to remember reading that Lysenko et al. argued that they were the REAL Darwinians while Mendelianism represented a reactionary debasement of evolutionary theory.

  128. #128 Loris
    March 31, 2006

    On the number of Christians in the world: I found this little website through a google search. I’m not sure how reliable the numbers are, but it agrees that the number of Christians in the world is around 2 billion and the number of muslims is around 1.2 billion. Hindus are only 828 million (they’re the number 3 religion). No religion comes in at number 4 with 775 million. One thing to keep in mind when referring to China is that the communist government makes reporting adherence to any organized religion difficult, so this fourth number is probably representative (officially at least) of many Chinese people. Finally, number five is Chinese folk religion at 390 million.

    Christianity is the largest religion in the world. However, as a percentage of the world population, Christianity is losing ground to Islam mainly.

    For the record, Taoism and Shinto only have 2.7 million adherents each.

    That all being said, most people in the world do adhere to some religion. Makes the job of the atheist that much harder.

  129. #129 Loris
    March 31, 2006

    Growth rates for some denominations of Christianity

    Pentecostals: 8.1%
    Evangelicals: 5.4%;
    All Protestants: 3.3%
    Roman Catholics and Others: 1.3%

    Anyone else find those first two terribly troubling?

  130. #130 george cauldron
    March 31, 2006

    Well, offsetting that is this:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm

    …where it is demonstrated that not only is the no. of Christians in the US & Canada dropping by almost 1% a year, it has been since 1980. Not only that, the US will be less than 50% Protestant in not too long.

    Also, the no of Americans who say they are not affiliated with any organized religion has almost doubled since 1990.

    What’s going on with your figures there is just that the percentage of Christians in America identifying with some of the more retrograde forms of the religion is going up, and increasing their share within that religion. But the overall no. of Christians in the US is not increasing, and it is not 99%, despite what Josh may think.

    So basically Christianity is losing educated moderates.

    It remains to be seen what societal stresses may result in America in the 21st century as the fundies realize their percentage of the American population is slipping and they can’t do anything about it. They’ll probably become more agitated than ever.

  131. #131 Loris
    March 31, 2006

    that’s the same site I was looking at….I’ll have to search more.

  132. #132 The Damned Yankee
    March 31, 2006

    Am passing through. Have greatly enjoyed the original post and the local game of Stomp the Troll.

    I give as a gift in gratitude another quote, this one from Mark Twain, that puts me to mind of our ID-loving friends:

    “The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of Anesthetics in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve.”

    And the beat goes on…

  133. #133 Tukla in Iowa
    March 31, 2006

    …as the fundies realize their percentage of the American population is slipping and they can’t do anything about it.

    More only-for-procreation sex!

  134. #134 Christian
    March 31, 2006

    OK, I give up on finding any uses to Christianity in the way it is expressed by the fundies today. Ms. Bozeman took a comment that I posted on his/her site, and perverted it to this:
    Comment by Christian

    March 30, 2006 @ 11:08 pm

    I’m too simple minded to understand that your comments on PZ’s site had NOTHING TO DO with the evidence for or against “evolution.” I’m so simple minded, in fact, that I will comment and tell you to “grow up.” Don’t you dare expose a hateful man for what he is. A name caller who shapes the minds of young people…you’ve no right to say anything about him. Then, I will go on to talk about evolution again, tho your comments had nothing to do with evolution to begin with.

    It decided to ignore my most basic point of philosophy with regard to a superior being. The main point was that at it’s root, discussing a superior intelligence (such as the proposed christian god) has to begin with evidence of whether or not that god exists. Of course, for philosphy’s sake, one can say that you cannot pose an aboslute negative. In other words, unless you can go through every universe, galaxy, solar system, celestial body, possible inhabitants of those bodies, atoms, electrons, neutrons, quarks, and gluons, and every color thereof (please pardon me, you real physicists out there, my claim to fame is reading some chaos theory books, and Stephen Hawkings), and examined them all, you cannot prove that god does not exist.

    I also pointed out, that according to those rules, you also have a bitch of a time proving god exists. Of course, using statistical methods, it is easier to prove that god doesn’t, Dembski et al must be ignored for improper phrasing of the hypothesis.

    So, yes, I told the little weasel to grow up, and develop some girth to his manhood before engaging in a battle of brains with PZ. And, his response was to edit me into appearing as mentally challenged as he is.

    Oh well, yet another example of fundamentalism becoming what it professes to hate. To use a similarity that it brought up, remember that the former USSR claimed itself to be a Marxist state, yet one of the major holds it had on it’s people was the ability to edit free expression of their thoughts, just as Taji did to me.

    Hmm…who is the Marxist now??

  135. #135 Christian
    March 31, 2006

    So, for honesty’s sake, this is my most recent post to our current contestant for hypocisy….

    Erm…Pendejo….
    At least have the intellectual honesty to report accurate comments, not the crap that spills out of your besotted excuse for gray matter….If you cannot actually refute a comment, why go so low as to edit it to be perfectly rebutted by your reply?

    curious to see how this one goes up 🙂

  136. #136 Christian
    March 31, 2006

    Damn, after half a case of beer, I still can’t spell, but my point about the existence/non existence of god must still be ansered by Taji.

  137. #137 garth
    April 1, 2006

    Its like a car crash….I can’t NOT read Josh getting fisked into near-powder. Its…its poetry, on a grand thread scale. I love the fact that, parallel to the actual destruction of the wanker, various spinoff discussions rise up. I wish I understood more.

    I think this is better entertainment than religion by far, mainly because, I dunno, I could look it up and get actual evidence. Great comments.

  138. #138 Russ
    April 1, 2006

    I laugh every time I see someone use “Cambrian Explosion” as a synonym for “instantaneous appearance.” The changes in biodiversity which are typically called the “Cambrian Explosion” occurred over a span of as much as 60 million years: a blink of an eye relative to a 4.5 billion year old earth – that’s the explosion part, and, yet, plenty of time for evolutionary processes to do that wonderful thing they do …crank out new species.

  139. #139 kenh
    April 1, 2006

    I find the ID argument about micro/macro evolution a bit specious. There might be an analogy to plate tectonics. Their arugument is like saying that while ‘micro’ tectonics (plate movements of the order of centimeters per year)can be observed through GPS, ‘macro’ tectonics (e.g. separation of the Americas from Europe/Africa of thousands of kilometers) could not have occurred.

  140. #140 Ed Darrell
    April 2, 2006

    Mr. Foley said:

    I seem to remember reading that Lysenko et al. argued that they were the REAL Darwinians while Mendelianism represented a reactionary debasement of evolutionary theory.

    My recollection is they said Darwin was ‘too bourgeois,’ and simply wrong. I have not found anywhere that Lysenko or Stalin ever endorsed anything that came connected with the name “Darwin.” If you have a reference, I’d love to have it.

  141. #141 Dan
    April 3, 2006

    The comments that are posted on this site are proof that blogs are a negative consequence of the information age.

    Just for the record, University of Minnesota – Morris is the armpit of Minnesota. You’d think that would be enough to disqualify any attempts made by an egotistical professor to be significant in the academic community. GOOD LUCK!!!

  142. #142 Doug
    April 3, 2006

    I like how no one addressed Qualiatative’s question.

    The Great White Wonder called Qualiatative “an inarticulate retard”…. and then he yawn.

    Just as embarrassing is Milo Johnson who claimed:
    “You know what, “Qualiatative,” if you are too stupid to spell your pseudonym correctly, you’re already in over your head intellectually. Go back to church and pray for brains. Nothing will happen, but at least you’ll be in a place where you won’t hurt yourself and aren’t bothering the grown-ups.”
    Odd that this guy would be lumping himself in with intellectuals since the significance of the name seemed to escape him.

    But all of this vitriol over a relevant question? I wonder why the question wasn’t addressed? Maybe tackling relevant issues isn’t of much concern here. But I knew that already…

  143. #143 PZ Myers
    April 3, 2006

    Qualiatative is a familiar broken record. He’s not asking sincere questions — he’s playing rhetorical games.

    I advocate teaching biology. That means we teach the evidence for the variety of mechanisms that have driven the diversification of life on earth.

    ID doesn’t meet the standards, and we shouldn’t waste time on that evidence-free nonsense.

  144. #144 doug
    April 3, 2006

    That’s the answer we get?
    I don’t know Qualiatative personally. I go to his site and your site frequently, but if there is anyone who I would consider to be less biased and more sincere I would have to say he certainly trumps you. I really don’t know why you don’t/won’t address his question. I don’t know why you think that your response is suitable (because with what you posted… you might of just ignored my post as well).

    But, as for you saying “ID doesn’t meet the standards, and we shouldn’t waste time on that evidence-free nonsense”… It atleast meets some standard. A standard that leads you to go on and on about it…. with more passion than most ID proponent’s have.

  145. #145 Doug
    April 3, 2006

    But still, even with Mr. Myers comment about the rhetorical games that he feels Qualiatative plays, he didn’t address the question.
    Read his initial article, then (if you wouldn’t mind) read Qualiatative’s question. It’s a relevant question. Who knows, maybe Qualiatative is insincere and just likes rhetorical games. I certainly don’t know that and aside from Myers just claiming that… it really doesn’t seem to be the case. But even if he is…. the question still stands on its own merit.

  146. #146 PZ Myers
    April 3, 2006

    Why, yes, I did answer the question. I merely ignored Qualiatative’s false assumption — that mutation and selection are not efficacious — to address the real issue that he would rather ignore.

    Are you claiming that selection is not effective? I recommend you learn a little population genetics, then.

  147. #147 windy
    April 3, 2006

    Doug, there is no “controversy” over the “efficacy of RM/NS”. That’s a typical creationist cliché and perhaps you and Q both could do a little reading on evolutionary biology and come up with more interesting questions.

    Few points:
    -Random mutation doesn’t have an “efficacy”. It’s random. But where do you think all variation ultimately comes from if not from mutation?

    -Natural selection is as efficient as hell. What you might see as the problem, but biologists don’t, is that there is no one direction to it, say, from simple to more complex.

    And since there was a post a couple months back called “Deficiencies in modern evolutionary theory”, why not check that one first. If the question about random mutation/natural selection was a sincere one, why not expand on what you mean, because it sure sounds like a silly question.

  148. #148 doug
    April 3, 2006

    False assumption? What is that ‘real issue’ that he would rather ignore? Again, from what I have read from both of you… with your passion you certainly seem to be the one who has more to lose. So I don’t take Qualiatative to be one blinded by his preconceptions. Sorry, Mr. Myers… I don’t feel the same about you.

    Your recommendation to “learn a little population genetics” is noted. But in regards to RM+NS being effective let’s not conflate ideas in regards to the scope of the answers we are considering. I’ll admit that RM+NS plays a role… From what I’ve read off his site, I don’t believe that Qualiatative denies ‘a’ role for it. But is that it? That’s not an answer. Because, whether you will admit it or not, Qualiatative’s question isn’t whether there is a role played by RM+NS…. it’s the scope of that role.
    Do you deny that there is a controversy? (Euphemism time)Or, do you deny that there are dissenting views in the biological community in regards to the scope of the effectiveness of RM+NS?

  149. #149 windy
    April 3, 2006

    Would you tell us what you consider to be the alternatives to “RM+NS”?

    Now I found Qualiatative’s website as well.

    http://dualisticdissension.blogspot.com/

    It seems that he may be one of those sincere ID’ers that have been duped by the leaders of the ID movement into believing that ID is a scientific theory. I recommend you read up on the controversy on the book “Of Pandas and People” and how they simply replaced “creator” with “designer”.

    Sorry, but Q. doesn’t seem to offer very interesting critique of “Darwinism.”

    He says:
    “For the record, I believe in common descent. In my eyes, it is the most reasonable inference for explaining the interrelatedness of species.”
    but later:
    “In my medical neuroscience class we are studying the human eye. Not only is the eye amazingly complex, but the arrangement of innervation (of the retina) is also designed efficiently. I will probably post more details at a later time. Suffice it to say that anyone who claims that our inverted retinas are a “bad design” is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

    But if you accept common descent, both the inverted and the squid retina originated in the same environment! How can both be optimal? Were fish designed with the inverted eye, because the designer knew their descendants would walk on land millions of years later?

  150. #150 windy
    April 3, 2006

    Qualiatative is “a medical student in route to becoming a neuroscientist.” Too bad for him and neuroscience.

    See the posts “Medicine and evolution” over at “Respectful Insolence”.

  151. #151 doug
    April 3, 2006

    Well,
    You can now add Windy to the names of Great White Wonder and Milo as people who are more interested insulting someone than actually addressing the question they raise.

    Not that Windy’s issues are not worth addressing. But what’s the point? The initial topic brought forth has been ignored and/or insulted, and Windy is just as guilty. So, instead of offering some type of relevant response to the initial question… Windy serves up his/her own question not related to the issue at hand.

    And this: “Qualiatative is “a medical student in route to becoming a neuroscientist.” Too bad for him and neuroscience.”.
    What has this to do with the topic? Is Windy trying to invalidate anything Qualiatative says by mocking his studies? Considering how quickly Windy made his/her assessment of Qualiatative as a medical student, in the absense of any proof that Qualiatative would be bad for neuroscience, should hopefully lead one to be hesitant in taking many things Windy declares as being too serious.

  152. #152 Mike Z
    April 3, 2006

    For those who don’t remember, Qualiatative’s questions was:
    “Does this mean that you advocate teaching what you deem as legitimate controversies (such as the efficacy of RM/NS)?”

    PZ’s response (paraphrased) was that this is not a “legitimate controversy,” so the question is moot. Does PZ teach what he does think are legitimate controversies in biology? I do not know, but I suspect it partly depends on the level of the students. PZ may chime in on that if he wishes.

    So Doug, how does this not count as addressing Qualiatative’s question? It is unreasonable to expect PZ to re-write an entire explanation of why this is not a legitimate controversy every time someone passes by and posts a comment like Qualiatative’s. If it were PZ’s duty to do so, then his life would be completely comsumed by that duty. As for the vehemence you notice among scientists against ID vs. those in favor of ID…well, perhpas the scientists just have a lot more ammunition. Plus, those who maintain blogs like this one are VERY keen to make sure that psuedoscience does not get taught as legitimate science, and their enthusiasm is readily apparent.

  153. #153 windy
    April 4, 2006

    Not that Windy’s issues are not worth addressing. But what’s the point?

    I did address his initial question above. But I didn’t find him “less biased and more sincere” like you claim. Just the same rehashed arguments over and over again.

    And a neuroscientist who doesn’t accept evolution or natural selection loses a valuable tool in his work. That’s just the way it is.

  154. #154 doug
    April 4, 2006

    Windy said: “And a neuroscientist who doesn’t accept evolution or natural selection loses a valuable tool in his work. That’s just the way it is.”

    What are you arguing? Is this what you inferred from Qualiatative’s site or his question? If so, then you come into these discussions with too much baggage. No where did he deny NS or evolution; at least have some integrity and incorporate what he really said.

    And in regards to your quote, how about what Marc Kirschner said, “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself”…. “Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all”.
    Why should neuroscience be any different? It’s only ‘just the way it is’, because you claim it to be.

  155. #155 windy
    April 4, 2006

    And in regards to your quote, how about what Marc Kirschner said, “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself”…. “Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all”.

    That’s his opinion, and I would say it’s taken out of context. He’s promoting his own evolutionary idea here and therefore exaggerating a bit – advocating for _more_ evolutionary thinking in cell biology, not less. Compare with this quote:

    “People should be asking about the nature of complexity, not just how complex it is,” amplifies Kirschner, in conversation. “You look at a clock, and you see that every part is purposely made. That’s what you would do if you were an Intelligent Designer. But instead, when you look at biology, you find that there are very few types of parts, and they are being co-opted from one place to another. We have a Lego-like capacity to very easily generate new structures.”

    If so, then you come into these discussions with too much baggage. No where did he deny NS or evolution; at least have some integrity and incorporate what he really said.

    Looking at his writings, it seems he is the one with baggage. Not too interesting.

  156. #156 doug
    April 4, 2006

    “He’s promoting his own evolutionary idea here and therefore exaggerating a bit – advocating for _more_ evolutionary thinking in cell biology, not less.”

    Oh… that’s what he’s doing. It seems like you read into what his intentions were in the quote. Why is your assumption of what he means (or by your comment, advocates) more valid than what he actually says? You making inferences into what he actually meant and also assessing the degree to which he is exaggerating (because he’s ‘promoting his own evolutionary idea’—>*btw, is that some type of law of rhetoric? Or are you making it up as you go along?*) is too convoluted for it to carry much weight.

    “Looking at his writings, it seems he is the one with baggage. Not too interesting.”

    –But interesting enough for you to copy and paste one of your posts from here and place it on his site? And then for you to enter into debate with this person; this person who has so much baggage.
    But as I said before, with as quickly as you make inferences into what other people mean in their statements (because for some reason your interpretation holds more water), how quickly you assess their worth in the field that they are pursuing (with your assessment being based off of your personal feelings) your opinion on how much ‘baggage’ they carry seems to be irrelevant.

  157. #157 windy
    April 5, 2006

    “He’s promoting his own evolutionary idea here and therefore exaggerating a bit – advocating for _more_ evolutionary thinking in cell biology, not less.”
    Oh… that’s what he’s doing. It seems like you read into what his intentions were in the quote.

    Did you read the whole article from which you quote-mined that quote? Do you even know who Kirschner is?

    Here’s his views from a review of his new book, “The plausibility of life”:

    “As the authors point out, this pulls the rug from under the argument for “intelligent design”. The secret lies “in understanding the organism on its own terms”, which are “nothing like a brass watch or a divine creation”

    –But interesting enough for you to copy and paste one of your posts from here and place it on his site? And then for you to enter into debate with this person; this person who has so much baggage.

    I thought it would be fair to put my criticism there as well and not just here, behind his back. And I admit the eye question was more interesting than I first thought.

    Do you have any views of your own on the matter of evolution, or are you just echoing Qualiatative’s?

  158. #158 Rob
    April 6, 2006

    Sure, he’s a bad guy, and crazy. But no more coffee!!!!????!!!!!! That is cruel and unusual punishment.

  159. #159 Organic Chemistry
    January 18, 2007

    What’s next? No more crack too??? it’s a slippery slope.

    Organic Chemistry ROCKS!!

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