Pharyngula

Please go laugh at UncommonDescent

DaveScot is one of those genuinely deranged ID supporters, and I don’t like giving him any attention…but Richard Hughes just sent me a note mentioning this long defensive thread he has started at UncommonDescent, and he’s just done something so darned funny and stupid I can’t resist.

He’s arguing about gravity. At one point, he claims that “By the way, gravity is the strongest force in nature.” As you might guess, he’s jumped on for that, and so he rushes off to find some supporting evidence…and gets it, he says, from John G. Cramer, professor of physics. Here’s the part he quotes:

Curiously, in some ways gravity is also the strongest force in the universe. It always adds, never subtracts, and can build up until it overwhelms all other forces.

The hilarious bit here that is so characteristic of creationists is that this is a highly selective quote. He left out the first sentence of the article.

Gravity is the weakest force in the universe.

Doesn’t that just say everything about IDists approach to science?

Comments

  1. #1 FishyFred
    June 20, 2006

    How much longer do you think that comment will stay online?

  2. #2 MNDarwinist
    June 20, 2006

    Did you actually expect anything else, PZ?

  3. #3 Mr. Person
    June 20, 2006

    Dembski finds an arrow sticking out of a tree, paints a dartboard around it, and pronounces BULLS-EYE!

  4. #4 Kristine
    June 20, 2006

    Naturally these mental couch potatoes characterize gravity as the “strongest” in nature, considering their naive, static, hierarchical view of the world. Plus, they worship Isaac Newton for having been a religious lunatic, despite the fact that he wrongly postulated instantaneous action at a distance.

  5. #5 Gerard Harbison
    June 20, 2006

    What a maroon. Gravity overwhelms the electromagnetic force in neutron stars because neutron stars are electrically neutral, and so there is no net attraction or repulsion. That’s why there are neutron stars, but no proton stars.

    A little learning is a dangerous thing, and with DaveTard, we’re talking a very little learning.

    BTW, I’d argue that the Pound experiment wasn’t exactly a purely laboratory measurement, in that it relied on the graviational field of the earth, which is hardly in the lab. One might as well argue an observation of the sun is a lab measurement.

  6. #6 Carlie
    June 20, 2006

    Am I missing something? Isn’t the entire thread him picking on a rhetorical question???? Sure, DaveScot, whatever you say…[backs away slowly from the crazy]

  7. #7 386sx
    June 20, 2006

    Lol, DaveScot implicitly admits that the designer “poof magic” force is not the strongest force in nature. Ha ha haha ha!

  8. #8 Charlie Wagner
    June 20, 2006

    Paul wrote:

    “At one point, he claims that “By the way, gravity is the strongest force in nature.” As you might guess, he’s jumped on for that, and so he rushes off to find some supporting evidence…and gets it, he says, from John G. Cramer, professor of physics.

    Gravity is the WEAKEST force in nature.

    Cramer writes:

    “Curiously, in some ways gravity is also the strongest force in the universe. It always adds, never subtracts, and can build up until it overwhelms all other forces..”

    Total crap.

    If gravity is the weakest force in nature (which it is), one is hard pressed to explain how it accounts for the formation of the gross structure of the universe from the diffuse cloud of gas and dust that is postulated in the primal universe after the Big Bang. If he doesn’t say this then he’s admitting that gravitational attraction is not strong enough (which it isn’t) to explain the formation of galaxies and superclusters and that some other, yet to be discovered forces are in play. Perhaps electromagnetic?

  9. #9 wheatdogg
    June 20, 2006

    My favorite line from DaveScot: “Go fly a kite you ignorant buffoon. I’ve forgotten more about physics than you’ll ever know.”

    Wow. Has he been picking up debate techniques from Bill O’Reilly?

    I posted a polite (I think) correction to DS’s bloviating comments regarding gravity overwhelming the other forces. I have saved my original comment in case it gets hammered later on.

    I gave up visiting UD once DaveScot basically took over the blog. Watching Connie Chung “sing” was a pleasure compared to reading this blather.

  10. #10 Alon Levy
    June 20, 2006

    Well, in one sense gravity is the strongest force: the effect of gravity on a given macroscopic object is likely to be far stronger than the effect of the other three forces combined. It’s the weakest force in the sense that when four objects of identical mass each exert a different force, the object exerting gravity will be by far the weakest (so for example, electrons’ motion in an atom is dominated by the electromagnetic force). But in ordinary circumstances, a macroscopic object will never be subjected to a large mass exerting one of the other three forces.

  11. #11 Bronze Dog
    June 20, 2006

    Charlie, try this thought experiment: If you were to jump off the Empire State Building, the entire gravitational pull of the Earth would pull you down at the leisurely pace of 32.2 feet per second per second. Shortly thereafter, the repulsion between your valence electrons and the sidewalk’s valence electrons would make you stop in a fraction of a second.

  12. #12 Bill
    June 20, 2006

    There’s hardly any point in commenting about UnCommonDescentIntoMadness since the site is not even street theatre. Dembski is totally irrelevant these days. He has no academic position. He’s published nothing. He’s basically an idiot in sheep’s clothing. The fact that he lets his website be run by the moronic DaveScot is beyond theatre. I’d say that Dembski has descended to the Ken Ham of Infomational Theatrics. The question is, where is rock bottom for young William?

  13. #13 Charlie Wagner
    June 20, 2006

    Bronze Dog wrote:
    “Charlie, try this thought experiment: If you were to jump off the Empire State Building, the entire gravitational pull of the Earth would pull you down at the leisurely pace of 32.2 feet per second per second. Shortly thereafter, the repulsion between your valence electrons and the sidewalk’s valence electrons would make you stop in a fraction of a second.”

    I would accelerate at a rate of 32 ft/s^2. My pace (velocity) would depend on how far I had fallen and on how much air resistance I encountered. In addition, the valence electrons in my body would not be an issue because atoms are electrically neutral, the negative charges of the electrons being balanced by the positively charged protons in the nucleus.
    Clearly, more massive bodies have a greater gravitational force but this is only because of their greater size. When you factor out the difference in mass, you can unequivocally declare that gravity is the weakest force.
    http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/gravity/force.html

    Are you saying it is not?

  14. #14 Tiax
    June 20, 2006

    Let’s not forget that at the beginning of this very same thread, Dave says:

    “Here’s a clue from old Dave, Glen. When you find you’ve dug yourself into a hole the first thing you should do is stop digging.”

    You can’t write this sort of comedy.

  15. #15 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 20, 2006

    I know we’re talking about Dembski here, but how long can he keep monkey boy DaveScot under his tent after all the hysterical blunders he’s fallen head first into over the last few months. It’s really out of control. You’d think that even Demsbki would see what an imbecile this guy is. He can’t be good for anything other than our entertainment can he?

  16. #16 Bronze Dog
    June 20, 2006

    Charlie, it’s true your atoms are electrically neutral overall. But they’re points of positive charges surrounded by flitting negative charges. When two non-bonding atoms get within an angstrom of each other, the shells of negative charges repell each other. Negative repells negative.

    If valence electron-valence electron repulsion didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be any “solid” objects. Atoms are mostly nothing by volume, so they’d pass right through each other.

    High school chemistry and high school physics. Heck, it’s even less than that: Bill Nye covered it on his kids’ show using a fan as a metaphor for the electron shell.

  17. #17 BlueIndependent
    June 20, 2006

    Don’t get me started on Van der Waals and Coulombic forces!

  18. #18 neils
    June 20, 2006

    Here’s another thought experiment (or you can do it for real). Get yourself two little bar magnets. Devise some kind of holder into which you can slide both magnets so that they just fit, end to end. Slide the first magnet into your holder, then slide in the second so as like poles point toward each other. If you get the fit right, the second magnet will hover above the first, end to end.

    Now think about the second magnet. The entire weight of the earth is pulling it downwards, yet that first tiny magnet is keeping it up in the air. So which is the stronger force – gravity or (electro)magnetism?

  19. #19 neils
    June 20, 2006

    Here’s another thought experiment (or you can do it for real). Get yourself two little bar magnets. Devise some kind of holder into which you can slide both magnets so that they just fit, end to end. Slide the first magnet into your holder, then slide in the second so as like poles point toward each other. If you get the fit right, the second magnet will hover above the first, end to end.

    Now think about the second magnet. The entire weight of the earth is pulling it downwards, yet that first tiny magnet is keeping it up in the air. So which is the stronger force – gravity or (electro)magnetism?

  20. #20 neils
    June 20, 2006

    Oops. I never double post! Apologies.

  21. #21 Gerard Harbison
    June 20, 2006

    Repulsion between matter and matter is not primarily electrostatic. It’s quantum mechanical, mostly a result of the exclusion principle. Two heium atoms, once you have them withing the radius of very weak van der Waals attraction, repel each other. Why? Because they have filled 1s shells. Two hydrogen atoms, on the other hand, do not repel until you get them closer than the equilibrium H-H bond distance, and there the repulsion is internuclear. When you dive off the Empire State, and decelerate rapidly in the last few nanometers of your travel, blame Pauli for your demise, not Coulomb.

  22. #22 FishyFred
    June 21, 2006

    Excerpt from DaveScot’s response to Comment #33.

    I’m an autodidact with a certified IQ north of 150 (MGCT and SAT tests).

    So… no degree? Anyone who cites an inflated IQ as their first intellectual credential has no common sense.

  23. #23 Dan
    June 21, 2006

    GRAVITY IS JUST A THEORY!!!!

    WHAT ABOUT PYGMIES + DWARVES??!??!?

  24. #24 JohnPhys
    June 21, 2006

    Two things I’ve realized about DaveScot (this is the first thing of his I’ve read at length):

    1) He’s an ass. He doesn’t seem to be interested in discovery or learning as much as he’s interested in not giving any ground on anything. He seems terrified to even admit that he might have worded something badly or ineffectively.

    2.) I can barely make it through some of his arguments. They’re completely not cogent. All of his bullshit about neutron stars and gravity and electromagnetic forces is just mind-numbing and REALLY oversimplifying all of the issues that go in to everything.

    Does anyone else think that the ID-ers embrace of the world of physics is a little more than ironic? People that think “It was all designed!” should not get to claim to be supporters of or experts on a subject that currently states that “God plays dice” with the most fundamental pieces of the universe.

    Also, if someone is registered over at DaveScot’s site, I’d like to see them ask him the following question: If gravity is the “strongest” force, then why were gravitationally bound objects the LAST to “condense” out of the Big Bang?

    If I remember correctly, quarks and gluons condensed out first to make baryons and mesons (strong force). As things cooled down more, the electrons were “caught” by the protons (baryons) to make electrically neutral atoms (electromagnetic force & QM), and then MANY years later, objects bound by the gravitational force formed.

    Argh…infuriating.

  25. #25 Sylas
    June 21, 2006

    What bothers me most about the thread — both here and at UncommonDescent — is that by any reasonable reading Glen D did make a mistake about labs and relativistic effects of gravity and DaveScot’s corrections with respect to showing relativistic effects of gravity in a lab were right on the money.

    As Dave points out, this was first done around 1959, with the detection of gravitational redshift in a lab at Harvard. Glen’s attempts in the thread to get around this demonstration of what he was requesting were not at all convincing.

    By having BOTH sides making simple errors, and then trying to make hay out of the errors of the other side while ignoring those from our “team” is, IMHO, counterproductive.

    Cheers — Chris Ho-Stuart

  26. #26 djlactin
    June 21, 2006

    here’s the simple truth:

    the electromagnetic replusion between 2 electrons is 4.17 x 10^42 times their gravitational attraction.

  27. #27 Alexander Kjerulf
    June 21, 2006

    Some blogs are plagued by trolls.

    Davescot demonstrates what happens when a blog is run by a troll :o)

  28. #28 Nyarlathotep
    June 21, 2006

    Charlie Wagner said, “Clearly, more massive bodies have a greater gravitational force but this is only because of their greater size. ”

    All wrong my friend. A more massive body has a greater gravity than a less massive body REGARDLESS of its size. What matters in the comparison is the MASS. The mere length and breadth of the objects means nothing. For example: Imagine all of the mass of the earth were concentrated into a sphere the size of a golf ball. The gravitational effects that that object would have on you are exactly the same as the gravitational effects you feel from the earth as it is at equivalent distances from the center of the mass in question.

  29. #29 Dark Matter
    June 21, 2006

    Oh dear, another “theory in crisis”.
    The Onion becomes reality….
    ————————————————————–
    Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512
    ————————————————————–
    Bettter fire up the lawyers…….looks like
    another trip to the courtroom is coming up….

  30. #30 wheatdogg
    June 21, 2006

    Well, I asked DS what his physics background was. His reply essentially was that he has an extremely high IQ and is largely self-taught. I posted a reply, which has not made it to the light of day, asking whether he had any formal schooling in physics. So, he has not replied to the question.

  31. #31 Caledonian
    June 21, 2006

    Hello. I’m an individual with an IQ that’s none of your business, but is high enough to handle most daily tasks. I also have enough common sense and general knowledge to know that the SAT test really has nothing to do with IQ testing, that IQ is not a complete measure of intelligence (and isn’t all that great at being merely a partial measure), and that I should not discuss subjects in which I do not have even a basic layperson’s knowledge.

    Together, these facts demonstrate that I am approximately 1.38 kajillion times smarter than DaveScot.

  32. #32 Caledonian
    June 21, 2006

    Further note:

    I know enough about human psychology to recognize that IQ scores generally are not affected by frontal lobe damage, even that as extensive as an old-style lobotomy with a modified ice pick. If DS was not mistaken about his IQ, perhaps he should look into his frontal lobe quotient, because I think he’s running a little low.

  33. #33 Keith Douglas
    June 21, 2006

    Kristine: And in spite of Newton having being an Arian, too.

    (Isn’t Dave Scot supposed to be a physicist? Or am I messing up my kooks?)

  34. #34 tacitus
    June 21, 2006

    Love DaveScot’s “self-made millionaire” comment. No doubt it’s true in the strictest sense, but you don’t usually make a big deal of it when you’ve earned your fortune simply by being in the right company at the right time. He, and hundreds of other Dell employees were given stock options as part of their compensation back in the early 90s. Given the company’s explosive growth up to the turn of the century, all he had to do to earn his millions was sit at his desk and watch the value of his stock options sky rocket.

    Similarly, a few months ago he made a big deal of his four engineering patents (actually Dell’s, but he worked on them). I know engineers and programmers in my company who have dozens of similar patents, some of which have earned millions for the company. They’re intelligent people, but they’re not supergeniuses.

    Anyone with real talent and entreprenurial drive would have turned those three million dollars of his into a massive fortune years ago, not quit his day job to spend his time sitting on his ass in front of a computer berating and belittling anybody who dare question his Dear Leader, Bill Dembski.

  35. #35 Torbjörn Larsson
    June 21, 2006

    It is a perplexing thread.

    Glen started with a question which purpose and relevance wasn’t exactly clear. GR effects are now possible to measure in clock rates between clocks separated a few decimeters in earths gravity field. Evolution effects are now possible to measure in bacteria in test tubes. I have some sympathy for the argument that GR effects are hard to show entirely in the lab. I also have some sympathy with the argument that evolution effects are hard to show entirely in the lab. I just think it is a hard argument to do.

    But DaveScot, genius IQ though he professes to have, stepped in it. It shows that even geniuses may be shit stupid as the rest of us, always a comfort.

    Gravitation is the weakest of natures fundamental interactions in form of coupling strength at normal energies. This is the reasonable comparison here.

    But there are all the caveats that DaveScot may use. Gravitation coupling strength runs faster with energy so eventually it catches up with the other forces. Gravitation distorts spacetime and forms singularities that hides the other forces. Gravitation is what mostly forms cosmology. (But inflation and vacuum energy does too.) There are weaker effective forces around at normal energies. So this is also a hard argument to do, at least on the Uncommonly Massive blog.

    Where DaveScot really messes up when he ganders at Glen’s website and declares him a whackjob, as if it has something to do with the arguments in the thread. I have respect for Glen and I think he says interesting things at times. (This wasn’t one of them. 🙂 The fact that he exposes a whacky and even crackpot side on his web is besides the point. I would jump on him as I do on Charlie if he tries to discuss his crackpot ideas. He doesn’t, so I don’t.

    Charlie says:

    “If gravity is the weakest force in nature (which it is), one is hard pressed to explain how it accounts for the formation of the gross structure of the universe from the diffuse cloud of gas and dust that is postulated in the primal universe after the Big Bang. If he doesn’t say this then he’s admitting that gravitational attraction is not strong enough (which it isn’t) to explain the formation of galaxies and superclusters and that some other, yet to be discovered forces are in play.”

    I think that is an ongoing concern. The large scale structure is explained by inflation blowing up the initial randomness, mostly quantum. But galaxy formation was helped by the dark matter that WMAP and galaxy dynamics sees. (Dark matter is the most researched explanation, I think.) I’m not sure if this is the whole explanation, no one knows what dark matter is, and galaxy dynamics is itself incompletely understood, and may have some EM interaction components. But if it is, inflation and gravitation is the main explanation.

  36. #36 PaulC
    June 21, 2006

    tacitus:

    Love DaveScot’s “self-made millionaire” comment. No doubt it’s true in the strictest sense, but you don’t usually make a big deal of it when you’ve earned your fortune simply by being in the right company at the right time.

    I don’t think that’s a “self-made” fortune in any sense. Actually, in the strictest sense, almost nobody does anything by themselves, and even successful entrepreneurs usually had at least a solid middle class upbringing and education. However, I will give credit to Michael Dell for taking initiative and building a fortune largely due to his own effort. That’s what we usually mean by “self-made.”

    A startup employee who’s along for the ride can maybe get a little credit for taking a marginally greater risk than someone who looks for a job in a big, successful firm. But in my experience, startup salaries and benefits are good (in the well-funded ones anyhow), and the stock options are just an extra incentive. I cannot imagine referring to this as a “self-made” fortune. DaveScot may have been lucky or may even have been smart to cast his lot with Dell. But if he had the ability to make $3 million by himself, he hasn’t demonstrated it.

  37. #37 CCP
    June 21, 2006

    man, physics and cosmology creep me out. Guess that’s why I went with the turtle physiology thing…
    And Dembski’s blog is nearly always a laff riot.

  38. #38 Glen Davidson
    June 21, 2006

    What bothers me most about the thread — both here and at UncommonDescent — is that by any reasonable reading Glen D did make a mistake about labs and relativistic effects of gravity and DaveScot’s corrections with respect to showing relativistic effects of gravity in a lab were right on the money.

    Where did I make such a mistake? Come on, you’re making the same claim that DaveTard made, and it’s about time that someone support their statements. DaveTard won’t, but I would expect something better from people here.

    It would be “right on the money” had I denied that any relativistic effects have appeared in the lab. That you can’t produce any place where I wrote that carelessly only goes to show that your defamatory comments are careless, at best.

    This is the first post I made on UD:

    Why yes, it is old news:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/02/nobel_laureate.html#comment-80198

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/02/nobel_laureate.html#comment-80214

    I have mentioned observed relativistic effects on PT.

    The question I asked was in response to this question, which I included in my post:

    “Where, precisely, has macro-evolution been done in a lab (in the sense that nature didn’t ‘fight back’ when you were done meddling and revert to the original species.”

    Then followed my question:

    “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab. … So show us how the more difficult aspects of gravity have been studied in the lab.”

    I am more than a little aware of the observations supporting relativity, but I was countering the old canard that if “macro-evolution” is science it must be shown ‘in the lab.’

    I finally had to register for this forum, simply because of the twisting of a reasonable question into one that DaveScot wants to portray as stupid.

    DaveTard was trying to portray my rhetorical question as if I didn’t know that the relativistic effects of gravity have been confirmed. So he brought up the GPS issue that I myself had previously brought up on PT. He started off misrepresenting me, and it is appalling that you would only continue the misrepresentation.

    And I never claimed that relativistic effects of gravity have never been shown in the lab. The closest I came to that was in writing that relativistic effects of gravity rarely if ever appear in the lab. It was a careful statement, one that you should understand and deal with properly

    As Dave points out, this was first done around 1959, with the detection of gravitational redshift in a lab at Harvard. Glen’s attempts in the thread to get around this demonstration of what he was requesting were not at all convincing.

    Why don’t you back up any of your false charges? Can’t? I thought not.

    By having BOTH sides making simple errors, and then trying to make hay out of the errors of the other side while ignoring those from our “team” is, IMHO, counterproductive.

    Find one place where I wrote that relativistic effects of gravity have never shown up in the lab. Btw, this is what makes defamation so insidious, some liar like DaveTard only has to make the accusation, and others believe it without their having any evidence for their falsities.

    I didn’t make the simple error that you accuse me of, and your error is not so simple or reasonable.

    So anyway, I guess you’re just another who piles on after an idiot has attacked. That’s pretty bad.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  39. #39 Glen Davidson
    June 21, 2006

    Glen started with a question which purpose and relevance wasn’t exactly clear. GR effects are now possible to measure in clock rates between clocks separated a few decimeters in earths gravity field. Evolution effects are now possible to measure in bacteria in test tubes. I have some sympathy for the argument that GR effects are hard to show entirely in the lab. I also have some sympathy with the argument that evolution effects are hard to show entirely in the lab. I just think it is a hard argument to do.

    The only reason I was discussing relativity and gravity is that Randy brought up gravity and claimed that it is not analogous to evolution (it’s not a perfect analogy, but it is a reasonable one). The rhetorical question I asked was a quick rejoinder to the implication that macroevolution has to be shown in the lab in order to be science. A good number of gravitational effects are not able to be studied in the lab, hence the question. And yes, I asked for the relativistic effects of gravity to be shown, and did not at any time claim that none of these effects have been demonstrated in the lab.

    The purpose of the question, and the reason for it, should be perfectly clear to anyone who read the remarks in context.

    Where DaveScot really messes up when he ganders at Glen’s website and declares him a whackjob, as if it has something to do with the arguments in the thread. I have respect for Glen and I think he says interesting things at times. (This wasn’t one of them. 🙂

    It was a simple rejoinder. Only DaveTard could turn it into a grand mess.

    The fact that he exposes a whacky and even crackpot side on his web is besides the point. I would jump on him as I do on Charlie if he tries to discuss his crackpot ideas. He doesn’t, so I don’t.

    Well that amounts to defamation, even if you’re trying to be nice. I also see that it is a bare charge, with nothing to back it up. Not surprising, since no one has been able to bring up any substantive objections to what I write on my website.

    It is really stunning how readily people label. We are supposed to be dealing with evidence and interpretation on the science sites, and not simply taking cheap shots at considered remarks. It is easier to dismiss something novel than it is to understand such an idea in context.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  40. #40 Glen Davidson
    June 21, 2006

    I’m going to link to my remarks in context, in the hope that people who might take DaveScot at his word might learn to judge properly:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/media_alert.html#comment-105809

    And for those who won’t read properly anyhow (perhaps there will be none of these), here are two of the relevant “exchanges”, in order, but with another short “exchange” taken out from between.

    I can produce the equations for gravity, run the numbers, and then easily reproduce the calculated behavior in a lab.

    Really, you can resolve the problems of gravity? Please, don’t hold back any more, your Nobel prize for resolving the problems between relativistic gravity and QM gravity awaits.

    [Note, I brought up the “problems of gravity” because that is what the gravity/evolution analogy deals with, in part. I know, of course, that this is not to what Randy is referring, but I also know that, if he claims to be addressing the analogy, it is to what he should be referring. Also note that this provides context for the following “exchange”]

    Where, precisely, has macro-evolution been done in a lab (in the sense that nature didn’t ‘fight back’ when you were done meddling and revert to the original species).

    Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab? Come on, you’re the one who contrasts evolution to gravity and claims methodological superiority for the latter. So show us how the more difficult aspects of gravity have been studied in the lab. Oh, and it’s about time that some superior scientist shows us evidence for gravitons, and I trust that you are the one to do it….

    Note context, plurals used (aspects, effects), and the fact that DaveTard totally missed the fact that I wasn’t denying in the least that the relativistic effects of gravity have been observed. That he pretended that I had made such a denial was his first offense and was the “basis” for first set of pig-ignorant remarks, something that “Sylas” is oblivious to in his post.

    I’m the victim clear through, and even of some people on this thread.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  41. #41 Alon Levy
    June 21, 2006

    So… no degree? Anyone who cites an inflated IQ as their first intellectual credential has no common sense.

    Is it better or worse than citing an engineering Ph.D.?

  42. #42 MikeM
    June 21, 2006

    Glen,

    When I first noticed this argument yesterday, I noticed a lot of goading and taunting going on from Dave’s end. You showed the utmost in patience in dealing with Dave. Great job.

    Even I recognized Dave’s comments about gravity being the strongest force in nature as absurd. I tried to imagine such a universe, and I think it’d be a pretty darned boring one. The “Big Bang” could not have been more than a “Moderate Splut” if gravity was the strongest force in nature. For Dave to have built *everything he then said* on that one premise is just laughable.

    And he’s the one who said you were stupid, and digging a hole?

    I can’t wait for a “Bad Physics” website to get hold of this one. Somewhere out there, Phil Plait is laughing hard. Luckily, where I live isn’t far from Sonoma State, so I can hear the laughter from here.

  43. #43 MYOB
    June 21, 2006

    Strange how they don’t understand the Fundemental Forces of Nature.
    Here’s a nice version of it from the fantastic Hyperphysics site by Carl Nave of Georgia State U.
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html

    Just so you know, I broke down a few years back and ordered the CD version of the site and will do so again with the updated version. This site is incredible and one of the best tools for education I’ve seen so far.

    MYOB’
    .

  44. #44 Moses
    June 21, 2006

    I honestly believe he’s crazy. The worst part is his thinking that a 1480 SAT means he’s got a high IQ and that trolling on the internet makes him educated. The SAT is a skill test and the results are highly dependent on your educational preparation. You go to the right finishing school, with the right prep, and even children with average intellects can score quite well.

    As for the “College of the Internets…” Sorry, while you can learn things, the material it just not the same as college.

  45. #45 Glen Davidson
    June 21, 2006

    Thanks, MikeM. It’s rather difficult to deal with a misinterpretation that comes right out of the blue like that, with DaveTard’s ignorance being the only actual problem even while he is the “moderator”.

    I only wrote, “Gravity is a weak force” (for my purposes it did not matter then that it is the weakest, though I mentioned that fact later). Cramer, the ‘Tard’s reference, wrote “Gravity is the weakest force.” Davetard is the most malicious and dishonest person I’ve had to deal with on the evo boards.

    He also wrote, “Gravitons aren’t a relativistic effect of gravity,” in response to my, “…I mentioned the graviton because I want quantum gravity effects to be demonstrated in the lab.” He is a true idiot.

    I think that’s why he decided I couldn’t post on UD any more, because it was another really stupid mistake on his part.

    Michaels7 keeps claiming that his questions haven’t been answered. I did answer him (but using my own arguments), however the A-hole at UD wouldn’t post it. I’ll take this opportunity to link anyone who’s interested to a number of responses that I made to UD cretins, but wasn’t able to post on UD:

    http://tinyurl.com/k9g7t

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  46. #46 Kristine
    June 21, 2006

    Is DaveScot supposed to a physicist? Gosh, Keith, I…don’t know. Maybe his specialty is pratfalls.

    Arianism always made more sense to me that the three-gods-in-one sale.

  47. #47 wheatdogg
    June 21, 2006

    PZ, can we now change the subtitle to this blog, “Evolution, development, and random biological (or cosmological) ejaculations from a godless liberal?” The physics guys (I am including myself) have hijacked the thread here and at UD. Maybe we should go a physics blog and play there.

  48. #48 Sylas
    June 21, 2006

    Glen, I have been at this game for a long long time. I know Paul through our interactions in talk.origins. We are all on the same side even if if there are minor disagreements from time to time. I’m no longer active on Usenet, but I remain regular in answering feedback for the talkorigins website, and in various other forums. I see you are active on Usenet these days. Just for fun, try asking in the talk.origins newsgroup if anyone can remember me. I’m Chris Ho-Stuart.

    The talkorigins website feedback columns will give you a good idea of my style of engagement. If I have a disagreement with you, it won’t be because I am just following the line of the IDiots; and it won’t be a position I take because of following a crowd.

    I saw your comments relating to gravity and macroevolution. With respect, I don’t think this was a good comparison, and I don’t agree that they are as comparable as you have been suggesting, and I don’t think your comments about being tested in a lab work very well at all.

    I’ll take no offense if people disagree.

    None of this is a general endorsement of nutcases like DaveScot, or a case of questioning the validity of macroevolution as basic fact of the history of life established as solidly as anything ever gets in science.

    (For the record, my position on the macroevolution/microevolution wars is that there is a genuine distinction to be made, and which has been made within the field of evolutionary biology by working scientists without reference to the crude distortions of IDiots or other creationists. I am informed in particular by the excellent macroevolution FAQ written by my friend John Wilkins.)

    As for the exchange in Pandas Thumb; I’ve seen it. Exchange is the wrong word; Glen posts sixteen consecutive comments over the space of about 28 hours.

    The question “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab?” is easily answered: at Harvard, in 1959. This is a legitimate answer to the question, and this answer makes it a poor question in the whole line of argument.

    It’s not the answer DaveScot gave right away; he referred to GPS and Glen responded “Gee, he didn’t tell us where relativistic effects of gravity have been shown in the lab. He did mention the observations that I am well aware of that have been done outside of the lab.”. I can’t judge what you do or do not know except by reading what you write, and this certainly comes across as suggesting that you had forgotten or were unaware of experiments on relativistic effects of gravity performed in the Harvard lab.

    Qualifications about “more difficult aspects” are too vague to be useful; gravitational redshift is tiny and its detection was difficult. Later comments about showing the “full range of effects” read like shifting of goal posts.

    More seriously, I think this whole line of argument misses the distinction between relativistic theory of gravity and the theory of macroevolution. (Theory meaning the body of principles that explain or model a phenomenon.) Gravity is, IMO, analogous to microevolution. We study it and observe it at work right now. The Harvard experiments are entirely in a lab; but more importantly they are processes we measure happening right here and now. I would also call the measurement of gravitational time dilation in atomic clocks carried on an airliner to be a lab experiment. Some folks might insist that you can’t consider an airliner to be a lab; but the crucial point is that it is measurement of a phenomenon as it occurs; not an inference of past events from traces left in the field.

    A better analogy for macroevolution would be the gravitational collapse of a dust and gas to form a star. We see the processes at work in the present (like we see microevolution at work in the present) but we don’t have a good way to observe the whole process, except by traces it leaves behind.

    I’ve already taken up more of Paul’s blog than I should with this over long comment. My impression of the debate remains as originally stated. I don’t like the manner in which the debate was conducted at Pandas Thumb. I think there has been a lot of special pleading going on, beyond all reason. I think the tendency of some people on the evolutionist side of things to represent everything in terms of teams is counter productive. It’s quite possible to be critical of rhetoric from an evolutionist without being a creationist. I think the comparison of gravity and macroevolution was strained and poorly expressed at best, and the comments about labs conveyed a plain implications that relativistic effects of gravity cannot be seen in a lab — which is wrong. All of this misses the point that macroevolution arises as the cumulative effects of microevolution over long periods of time; which means that it is primarily studied by the traces it leaves behind.

    Cheers — Chris Ho-Stuart (aka Sylas)

  49. #49 Glen Davidson
    June 21, 2006

    I saw your comments relating to gravity and macroevolution. With respect, I don’t think this was a good comparison, and I don’t agree that they are as comparable as you have been suggesting, and I don’t think your comments about being tested in a lab work very well at all.

    It would be better were you to note that I was only responding to Randy’s attack on it. If you want to think that I somehow made the analogy out to be better than it was, I hardly care. What matters is that Randy’s argument against it was lame. You have once again avoided dealing with the original issue in order to disagree with a secondary and relatively unimportant matter in the dispute.

    As far as I can tell, you don’t understand why I was making the response at issue.

    For the record, my position on the macroevolution/microevolution wars is that there is a genuine distinction to be made, and which has been made within the field of evolutionary biology by working scientists without reference to the crude distortions of IDiots or other creationists.

    Essentially I used the typical definition for “macroevolution” in responding to Michaels7, as I referred to speciation.

    As for the exchange in Pandas Thumb; I’ve seen it. Exchange is the wrong word; Glen posts sixteen consecutive comments over the space of about 28 hours.

    Deal with what I said, and the nature of the posts. A couple, or so, were placed on PT prior to their appearance on UD. Most, but not all, of the rest were responses that DaveTard would not post (I didn’t try with the latter ones). OK, so you fault me for responding where I can. I haven’t received better from you yet.

    The question “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab?” is easily answered: at Harvard, in 1959. This is a legitimate answer to the question, and this answer makes it a poor question in the whole line of argument.

    No, why don’t you understand the number and form used in my question? I used the plural deliberately, because I was referring to “the effects,” and not simply one or several relativistic effect of gravity.

    To ask, “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab?” refers to at least a substantial portion of the effects, the meaning that is also borne out by the context. You simply ignore this, and take DaveTard’s meaning over the real meaning. This is unconscionable, and a perpetuation of the violence done first by DaveTard. Though I pointed this out to you, the same false accusation ensues, without any indication that you thought about the actual words at all.

    Your “answer” refers to one, or at best a very few, of “the relativistic effects of gravity”, and does not respond to my rhetorical question according to the sense in which it was asked. Thus you, too, twist the meaning of what I wrote to attribute to me something for which you lack evidence. It is not a legitimate answer because I asked, “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab?”, and not, “where have one or several relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab.” If you can’t understand the difference, you have no business commenting.

    “Gee, he didn’t tell us where relativistic effects of gravity have been shown in the lab. He did mention the observations that I am well aware of that have been done outside of the lab.”. I can’t judge what you do or do not know except by reading what you write, and this certainly comes across as suggesting that you had forgotten or were unaware of experiments on relativistic effects of gravity performed in the Harvard lab.

    I didn’t know about them (I’m not a physicist), and I didn’t care. Randy had said something to the effect that he could demonstrate gravity in the lab (“I can produce the equations for gravity, run the numbers, and then easily reproduce the calculated behavior in a lab.”, so I asked, using the plural and implying a totality, “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab?” You have once again ignored both context and sentence form. Again, you can find no place where I said that no relativistic effects have been shown in the lab, and in fact I was careful to allow that they may have been. As I wrote previously: “The closest I came to that was in writing that relativistic effects of gravity rarely if ever appear in the lab. It was a careful statement, one that you should understand and deal with properly.”

    You still do not deal properly with this.

    Yes, I did sarcastically note that DaveTard had not given me any results that had been shown in the lab, but that was because he hadn’t, and I was more than a little pissed at his unfair attack. You have no excuse to take a rejoinder that noted the utter lack of such experiments as if I had only asked for one or several. I was responding to his egregious attack, not actually reducing the quantity of results for what I had originally requested.

    Of course it appears that my rejoinder is what you are judging by, without in the least understanding the context or form of the original question. Thus you misunderstand the very nature of the dispute, siding with the one who has been unfair, DaveTard.

    You still haven’t even bothered to fault DaveTard for his unfair implications in the original post. Hence I note that you are almost completely unjust in this matter, and not just in your lack of understanding of what I had asked (or what it was predicated upon, the expansive claims of Randy).

    Qualifications about “more difficult aspects” are too vague to be useful;

    They are too vague to tie anything down. My point in writing that, and in repeating it, is that I was not asking for a single experiment. Again your failure, or unconcern, to deal forthrightly with the context.

    gravitational redshift is tiny and its detection was difficult. Later comments about showing the “full range of effects” read like shifting of goal posts.

    Except that I was responding in context to Randy’s “I can produce the equations for gravity, run the numbers, and then easily reproduce the calculated behavior in a lab.” Why would I ask only for one experiment “in the lab”, when Randy suggested that the whole gamut of gravity’s effects could be reproduced there?

    Again, you either can’t, or don’t care to, understand the context and meaning, preferring your cheap shots to actually going back to the source. I both linked the context and repeated some of it here, and you still fail to recognize that I was responding to expansive claims, not asking the limited a-contextual question that you accept as constituting the entirety of the “exchange”.

    I don’t like the manner in which the debate was conducted at Pandas Thumb.

    Who cares? You weren’t there, and you don’t understand the context. You simply accuse without understanding, as well.

    I think there has been a lot of special pleading going on, beyond all reason.

    You have failed utterly to support your claims regarding that. Deal with Randy’s claims honestly, and perhaps for once you’ll understand the question. So far, you have taken DaveTard’s mischaracterization as if it were correct, and that is extremely unfair.

    I think the tendency of some people on the evolutionist side of things to represent everything in terms of teams is counter productive. It’s quite possible to be critical of rhetoric from an evolutionist without being a creationist.

    Once again you say that completely out of context. Randy accused us, using very faulty PRATTs. Instead of honestly understanding the responses, you simply accuse, sans evidence and all propriety.

    I think the comparison of gravity and macroevolution was strained and poorly expressed at best, and the comments about labs conveyed a plain implications that relativistic effects of gravity cannot be seen in a lab — which is wrong.

    It wasn’t my analogy, and you totally fail to deal with the reason for the response given.

    And you again make the false charge of “plain implications that relativistic effects cannot be seen in the lab.” You don’t deal with number, the implication that “the relativistic effects” implies, or the plain fact of the context, which was Randy’s statement, “”I can produce the equations for gravity, run the numbers, and then easily reproduce the calculated behavior in a lab.” I would not be responding to anything else, and it is entirely unfair for you to suggest that I was asking something unrelated to Randy’s various statements regarding gravity.

    Again, you fail completely to address context, instead faulting me according to the same out-of-context nonsense that DaveTard used.

    All of this misses the point that macroevolution arises as the cumulative effects of microevolution over long periods of time; which means that it is primarily studied by the traces it leaves behind

    No, you miss the point that the rhetorical question was in response to a host of unfair charges.

    And you have once again failed to deal with context, thus adding false charges to previous injury.

    I am guessing that if you respond again you will fail to deal with context. You haven’t even begun to deal with the context that I provided, but have simply libeled me once more in your complete lack of understanding of the issues.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  50. #50 Glen Davidson
    June 21, 2006

    I would not be responding to anything else,

    Well, ok, I was responding to something else as well, but essentially all of Randy’s gravity statements would be taken as a whole claim.

    I only add this because “Sylas” attacks without understanding the obvious, hence I should be careful about a slight lapse that he can exploit.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  51. #51 sdanielmorgan
    June 22, 2006

    I did an analysis of DaveScot’s contention, and you may want to read it here.

    He was both right and wrong. Mostly wrong.

  52. #52 Glen Davidson
    June 22, 2006

    He was wholly wrong to “correct” this statement:

    Gravity is a weak force, which is why most of the observations must occur outside of the laboratory. Neutron stars, massive galaxies, and galaxy clusters are the objects through which many of the relativistic effects of gravity may be observed.

    Which is not surprising, since the whole premise of his attack was wrong:

    Good lord, Glen. Relativistic effects of velocity and gravity have not only been demonstrated they are used in applied science. The Global Positioning System requires clocks so accurate and synchronized that differences in velocity and local gravity amongst orbital and ground based clocks must be compensated for in order to achieve desired accuracy. Doesn’t everyone know this? It’s really old news, Glen. Anyone claiming any broad based knowledge of science should not have asked the question you did. What’s your background again, Glen?

    My response:

    Why yes, it is old news:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/02/nobel_laureate.html#comment-80198

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/02/nobel_laureate.html#comment-80214

    He attacked using the same evidence that I had mentioned elsewhere on PT. He didn’t understand the question or the context of the question, and simply twisted it for his lying purposes.

    The rest of the thread also demonstrates his ignorance and dishonesty. He is lying scum.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  53. #53 wheatdogg
    June 22, 2006

    DaveScot smacked me down. I feel so, so, unperturbed. He wanted to know MY background and creds, and then replied: High school physics. That explains the defense of the strength of gravity with the depth found in a high school physics text. -ds

    Harrumph. I know just a little more than the usual HS text, but whatever. Was that an ad hominem attack?

    Also, what you all make of his contention that the genetic code is digital? His argument does not convince me, but after all I’m just a little high school physics teacher, so what do I know?

    Why did I bother commenting there? I try to be reasonable and all, ask legit questions, and DS just impugns my intelligence and blows me off.

    Humbug.

  54. #54 The Moonshield
    June 22, 2006

    I haven’t even read the discussion at UD, and thus I don’t really know the context that certain statements of yours, Glen D, were said in, so I won’t sit here and try to defend anything that Sylas has said, and I’ll acknowladge it could very well be that Sylas is wrong… but as I’ve read much of what has been written by Sylas, and knowing what a nice, intelligent and reasonable person he is (as evidenced by his talk.origins contributions and posts at other blogs and forums), I feel compelled to point this out: however wrong Sylas is now (assuming, of course, that he is in fact wrong), know that it’s not because of dishonesty, stupidity or unconcern for the truth, as bits of your responses to him seem to suggest may be the case, but most likely for some other legitamite reason(s).

    I apologize for not really adding anything of substance to this blog entry, but I just wanted to get this out there. I’d hate for anyone to think that Sylas is even remotely like those dishonest buffoons Dembski and Dave.

  55. #55 Glen Davidson
    June 23, 2006

    Okay, Moonshield, I’ll take your word for it, tentatively of course.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  56. #56 Paul W.
    June 23, 2006

    Wheatdogg writes:

    Also, what you all make of his contention that the genetic code is digital? His argument does not convince me, but after all I’m just a little high school physics teacher, so what do I know?

    Could you provide some context or a link?

    Depending on what exactly the claim is, I’d probably say that yes, the genetic code is digital. (E.g., the three base pairs of a codon are an octal code for an amino acid.) And that digital-ness is used for error detection and correction, albeit imperfectly.

    My impression is that most genes are more or less digital operationally, in the sense that they’re on-or-off, so that genetic regulatory networks are mostly discrete switching networks. (Most genes are discrete switches that control other genes, some of which are discrete and others of which are analog.)

    I’m not sure what DaveScot was arguing, though, so I may be totally off-base here.

    Be that as it may, I saw an interesting news report this week, of a recent study of gene activation, in which they found that seemingly “analog” genes were actually turning on and off in (timed?) pulses, so that the “analog” levels of gene activity were implemented as rates of higher-frequency binary pulses.

    That reminded me of a description of Class D digital audio amplifiers I’d read last week. Those amps are digital and output a binary stream of high or low voltages at a very high frequency. (Orders of magnitude higher than audio frequencies.) The fraction of high- and low-voltage pulses implements an “analog” audio signal, when averaged over the timescales relevant to audio.

    I’d guess a lot of genes work that way—it’s hard to control the frequency of gene transcription exactly and continuously. So if you want to control the rate it’s expressed, it’s easiest to switch it on and off, and control the fraction of time it’s being transcribed at its natural rate.

    There’s some subtlety here in what counts as analog or digital. A series of discrete binary pulses may be analog or digital, depending on how the pulses are generated and how they carry information. If the pulse frequency or duration is smoothly variable, and that’s used to smoothly vary something else, it’s still analog—faster or fatter pulses are just another way of encoding “more” in a different continuous dimension. But if you have a higher-level feedback mechanism that controls it, it may become “digital” again at that higher level.

    (For example, the output of a class D digital amplifier could be interpreted as a stream of ones and zeroes by another high-frequency digital amplifer that puts out higher-voltage 1’s, or it can be piped directly into a regular speaker, which will transduce it into sound. What makes it “digital” or “analog” is how it’s used—is each high-frequency pulse recognized as a discrete signal, or does it just push the speaker a little more, adding to the cumulative analog effect?)

    My impression is that for most genes, we don’t really know these kinds of signal-coding things—we don’t know which ones are continuous vs. discrete, much less which ones are being used truly digitally. (But I’m Not a Biologist and would be happy to find out I’m wrong.)

  57. #57 Glen Davidson
    June 23, 2006

    DaveTard once again reveals his appalling lack of physics knowledge here:

    DaveScot tries to shore up his faulty remarks, only adding to our certainty that his grasp of physics is poor at best:

    In the beginning, according to the big bang theory, gravity was the ONLY force in the universe. The other three forces separated out from it as the universe expanded and cooled. In certain regimes (neutron stars, black holes) gravity continues to overwhelm the other 3 forces even today. And of course gravity is responsible for the overall structure and movement of matter in the universe. None of the other three forces determine the motions of planets, stars, and galaxies.

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=23603046&postID=115098036727872778

    I’m amazed at how little he knows. Gravity the only force at one time? Does he get his science knowledge from Dr. Seuss? It’s obvious that his SciAm subscription doesn’t help him a whole lot. Following are the comments, slightly edited, that I made at the linked blog (close to what I posted at PT):

    Dave’s trying to shore up his earlier faulty commments using further incorrect claims. Gravity was never the “only force”, it was simply the first to separate out from the others. Another force existed right after gravity separated out, at times called the strongelectroweak force, which was made up of what would become the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force.

    The other forces did not separate out from gravity, rather they separated from the strongelectroweak force.

    It’s just more disinformation (though probably owing to ignorance instead of desire to misinform) from the one who wants to tell us about physics and evolution.

    Besides that, DaveScot seems not to understand why gravity is termed “the weakest of the four fundamental forces.” It is called that because such a statement informs people about gravity’s strength relative to the other forces.

    To call it “the weakest force” is not to suggest that gravity cannot add up to considerable strength. Likewise, when we call the strong nuclear force the “strongest of the fundamental forces” this does not imply that electromagnetism (or gravity) cannot overwhelm the strong nuclear force under certain situations, instead it points to, for instance, the greater strength of the proton’s SNF than its EMF.

    It’s like someone said, “Neodymium magnets are stronger than ferrite magnets”, and DaveScot comes along and points out that a big ferrite magnet can be stronger than a small neodymium magnet (which are capable of the highest gauss for permanent magnets), and thus states that ferrite magnets are stronger than are neodymium magnets.

    A question: If we were able to make a “neutron star” entirely out of protons, would gravity hold it together? Of course not. It wouldn’t because gravity is a much weaker force than is the additive strength of a huge number of protons in one place (when not neutralized by negative particles).

    We don’t encounter very dense and massive clusters of protons for various reasons, one being that no force exists that can bring these together (the nuclear forces act at too short distance, while gravity is far too weak). Neutralization via electrons and other particles is a practical reason as well, but presumably we could shoot the electrons off at relativistic velocities, leaving almost only protons in a region of space (we could confine protons magnetically). But only electromagnetism is available to try to force them together (gravity being far too weak), and a magnet able to force protons to the density and mass of a neutron star would probably be so large as to collapse to a black hole. I suppose that theoretically we could shoot a solar mass (or so) of protons fast enough to all converge on a neutron star volume of space, but the repulsion would cause a massive rebound even if negligible kinetic energy remained in the protons.

    I should point out once more that Dave’s erstwhile comments were in response to this:

    Gravity is a weak force, which is why most of the observations must occur outside of the laboratory. Neutron stars, massive galaxies, and galaxy clusters are the objects through which many of the relativistic effects of gravity may be observed. Such masses do not fit conveniently into the laboratory.

    This is to say, I had already alluded to the cumulative effect of gravity by bringing up neutron stars and other massive “objects” as places where relativistic effects of gravity may often be observed. So that Dave added nothing, except for his confusion over what the term “strongest force” means.

    Glen D

  58. #58 Glen Davidson
    June 23, 2006

    Oops, it should have been:

    DaveTard once again reveals his appalling lack of physics knowledge here:

    In the beginning, according to the big bang theory, gravity was the ONLY force in the universe. The other three forces separated out from it as the universe expanded and cooled. In certain regimes (neutron stars, black holes) gravity continues to overwhelm the other 3 forces even today. And of course gravity is responsible for the overall structure and movement of matter in the universe. None of the other three forces determine the motions of planets, stars, and galaxies.

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=23603046&postID=115098036727872778

  59. #59 wheatdogg
    June 23, 2006

    Paul W. –

    Read the UcD post referenced in this thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1236

    Near the bottom is DaveScot’s explanation about the digital mechanism of the genetic code, in the middle of my longish list of questions to him.

    wd

  60. #60 Torbjörn Larsson
    July 2, 2006

    The midsummer holiday was long and eventful, apparently so was this thread.

    Glen says:
    “A good number of gravitational effects are not able to be studied in the lab, hence the question.”

    And a good number is, hence the difficulty.

    “”I think he says interesting things at times. (This wasn’t one of them. :-)”

    It was a simple rejoinder.”

    I was refering to the difficulty in the argument.

    “Well that amounts to defamation, even if you’re trying to be nice.”

    It wasn’t the intention. It was a snap judgement on the site which had the label “Electric consciousness” prominently displayed. Consciousness isn’t due to any underlying eletric properties or even the substantiated electrochemical and growth properties, it is an emergent property of the brain.

    “I also see that it is a bare charge, with nothing to back it up. Not surprising, since no one has been able to bring up any substantive objections to what I write on my website.”

    I didn’t think references was needed, since it seemed so clear cut. Okay, let me have a closer look.

    “Electric consciousness
    The properties of consciousness, and the electrical phenomena which allow consciousness to combine, mingle, and flow as a grand contextual mass. Consciousness is considered in its phenomenality and its physics,”

    If we are discussing physics, mass is well defined. Consciousness isn’t mass.

    “This picture shows some of the considerable parallelism that exists in many areas of the brain, which may allow for significant lateral interactions between nerve impulses via the electrical fields produced by nerve activity.”

    Nerve impulses in neurons are rapidly traveling waves of action potentials. They are local membrane depolarization which causes some voltage-gated sodium channels in the neuron cell surface membrane to open and therefore sodium ions diffuse in. Saltatory conduction in myelinated axons is slightly different, but involves action potentials too. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential ) Synapses between neorons uses either diffusing chemicals, or ions electrical synapses. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron_doctrine ) Neither mechanism uses electrical fields. Significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed.

    On http://students.wwcc.edu/~glendavidson/website/overview.htm I read: “Problem: Consciousness is characterized by unity (or unities).” What is the physics or neuroscience in “unity”, and why is it a problem?

    I could go on with listing odd points, but let me stop here. In summary, what is proposed is a theory on consciousness. The need for the theory to supplement traditional neuroscience isn’t clear, where consciousness is emergent on the underlying processes, growth and behaviour of the brain.

    I note that there is a link to a book by you, which contains this model. From the author: “This book makes the case for consciousness being a matter of field interactions.” In http://www.newschool.edu/gf/centers/publications/gfnewsletter/GFNewsletterSpring03.pdf you and your book is listed under philosophy. “he integrates psychology with philosophy by exploring the physical and psychological notions of consciousness in Nietzsche and Derrida, among others.”

    This seems to be a diversity in subjects and the conglomerate of ideas around a hypothesis, and if so questionable. The publishing of a hypothesis as a book (and perhaps in the wrong field of philosophy instead of neuroscience) seems whacky to me. Hypotheses are supposed to be investigated by research. Perhaps there are such in the book, but the site doesn’t mention such things which makes me doubt it.

    “It is really stunning how readily people label. We are supposed to be dealing with evidence and interpretation on the science sites, and not simply taking cheap shots at considered remarks. It is easier to dismiss something novel than it is to understand such an idea in context.”

    The idea and use of demarcation is discussed in a thread on The Panda’s Thumb ( http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/laudan_demarcat.html ). I agree with that the judgement was quick, see above, but checking it I find it substantiated. AFAIK the suggested theory on consciousness is on the face of it both not connected to neuroscience explanations and not neccessary, which taken together is whacky. The circumstances around the presentation are whacky.

  61. #61 Torbjörn Larsson
    July 2, 2006

    “And a good number is, hence the difficulty.” And I forgot the caveats in declaring gravity weak that DaveScot can use.

  62. #62 bing
    July 6, 2006

    I think that is an ongoing concern. The large scale structure is explained by inflation blowing up the initial randomness, mostly quantum. But galaxy formation was helped by the dark matter that WMAP and galaxy dynamics sees. (Dark matter is the most researched explanation, I think.) I’m not sure if this is the whole explanation, no one knows what dark matter is, and galaxy dynamics is itself incompletely understood, and may have some EM interaction components. But if it is, inflation and gravitation is the main explanation.

    http://bbbe.org/sitemap.xml

  63. #63 Juan george
    July 7, 2006

    A little learning is a dangerous thing, and with DaveTard, we’re talking a very little learning.

  64. #64 Joshua
    July 9, 2006

    I could go on with listing odd points, but let me stop here. In summary, what is proposed is a theory on consciousness.

  65. #65 hunter
    July 10, 2006

    If we are discussing physics, mass is well defined. Consciousness isn’t mass.

  66. #66 Glen Davidson
    November 8, 2006

    This is extremely late, but since you make such mindless “replies” and this is on the search engine, I guess I’ll respond even now:

    It wasn’t the intention. It was a snap judgement on the site which had the label “Electric consciousness” prominently displayed. Consciousness isn’t due to any underlying eletric properties or even the substantiated electrochemical and growth properties, it is an emergent property of the brain.

    What a meaningless response. My hypothesis concerns the emergence of said property, and it is an actual hypothesis. You simply write “it is an emergent property of the brain” as if it actually told us something about how it appears. As such, your response is indeed whacky, quite unlike my considered comments. In evolution and in consciousness the question is “how”, and you neither know nor care about the “how” with respect to consciousness, making you akin to IDists and other pseudoscientists.

    “Electric consciousness
    The properties of consciousness, and the electrical phenomena which allow consciousness to combine, mingle, and flow as a grand contextual mass. Consciousness is considered in its phenomenality and its physics,”

    If we are discussing physics, mass is well defined. Consciousness isn’t mass.

    I know that English isn’t your first language, but please try to understand, instead of using equivocation to pick ignorantly where your language capacity fails you. One definition of “mass” is “aggregate, or whole”, which is how I was using the term “mass”. You jump to an unjustified and ignorant conclusion and fault me for using English properly. God, what a vicious and ignorant thing to do.

    “This picture shows some of the considerable parallelism that exists in many areas of the brain, which may allow for significant lateral interactions between nerve impulses via the electrical fields produced by nerve activity.”

    Nerve impulses in neurons are rapidly traveling waves of action potentials. They are local membrane depolarization which causes some voltage-gated sodium channels in the neuron cell surface membrane to open and therefore sodium ions diffuse in. Saltatory conduction in myelinated axons is slightly different, but involves action potentials too. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential ) Synapses between neorons uses either diffusing chemicals, or ions electrical synapses. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron_doctrine ) Neither mechanism uses electrical fields. Significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed.

    That’s why it’s a new hypothesis. Can you grasp such a simple concept?

    I understand your hatred of new ideas, but it doesn’t speak well of you.

    By the way, do you know why voltage-gated channels (the most common channels in nerves, btw) are called voltage-gated channels? It is because voltage, which denotes an electrical field, gates the channel. I am sorry that such a simple physics concept is missed by you, but that is your problem.

    Voltage-gated channels are opened by, yes, electrical fields, voltages, which means that stray voltages from other regions, including lateral regions, will affect them. Not greatly, of course, but they will affect them. You really ought to be able to understand such simple physics. Unfortunately, you’re really just cutting and pasting from wikipedia, without showing any knowledge of neuroscience or even of physics.

    On http://students.wwcc.edu/~glendavidson/website/overview.htm I read: “Problem: Consciousness is characterized by unity (or unities).” What is the physics or neuroscience in “unity”, and why is it a problem?

    I could go on with listing odd points

    Yes, you could keep on making dull, odd, and uninformed comments. You can’t even ask a coherent, relevant question. If you did know anything about the mind, you would know that the unified nature of consciousness is considered to be a significant question, while physical phenomena, like fields, are able to converge to emergent wholes. You, on the other hand, want to write “consciousness is an emergent property” without the slightest feint of explaining how it happens.

    , but let me stop here. In summary, what is proposed is a theory on consciousness. The need for the theory to supplement traditional neuroscience isn’t clear

    It isn’t clear to ignoramuses like yourself, you mean. Consciousness is well understood to be a problem in neuroscience, and you simply use your ignorance of neuroscience to complain when someone does propose an intelligent hypothesis.

    , where consciousness is emergent on the underlying processes, growth and behaviour of the brain.

    “Processes” did it? Is that about the scope of your “explanation” (in this case it isn’t God, it is general words lacking explicit meaning)? Some of us believe that a physical explanations are necessary, not empty words. You’re on the level of ID here, invoking empty concepts without even a clue that you have no explanation at all, or even how voltage-gated channels work, or the common meanings of the word “mass”.

    This seems to be a diversity in subjects and the conglomerate of ideas around a hypothesis, and if so questionable.

    Again, you know nothing of the specifics or the book, and fault it in your near-complete ignorance. You’re an embarrassment to open minds everywhere. Do you know how many issues are involved in consciousness? Of course you don’t, but you want your ignorance to be an advantage, just as the usual harping ignoramus does.

    The publishing of a hypothesis as a book (and perhaps in the wrong field of philosophy instead of neuroscience) seems whacky to me.

    So you’re prejudiced. Nothing new there that I can see. And it wasn’t written “in the field of philosophy”, it wasn’t particularly written in any field, since consciousness requires a multi-disciplinary approach.

    I suppose that Darwin writing a book was also “whacky”. Well, the prejudice is severe.

    Hypotheses are supposed to be investigated by research. Perhaps there are such in the book, but the site doesn’t mention such things which makes me doubt it.

    Of course hypotheses are supposed to be investigated by research. This is why I wrote the hypothesis, so that it can be researched. I am not a neuroscientist and cannot do the research, but I am qualified to come up with a meaningful hypothesis that others can investigate.

    Or perhaps you don’t know that there are theoretical physicists as well as experimental physicists. Apparently you don’t consider the former to be scientists. The prejudices continue.

    The idea and use of demarcation is discussed in a thread on The Panda’s Thumb ( http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/laudan_demarcat.html ). I agree with that the judgement was quick, see above, but checking it I find it substantiated.

    A complete and utter lie. You’re too damn ignorant even to know the various uses of the term “mass”, and how I used it appropriately, and you apparently are too ignorant of physics even to recognize that “voltage-gated” implies that electrical fields are involved in the gating of voltag-gated channels. Your near-total ignorance of the subject is appalling, and your judgment based on your lack of understanding is what we fault the IDists for.

    AFAIK the suggested theory on consciousness is on the face of it both not connected to neuroscience explanations and not neccessary

    Neither of which have you substantiated, rather you simply used your incompetence to avoid what I wrote about competently. It is connected to neuroscience explanation, you’re just too stupid to recognize that it is.

    , which taken together is whacky. The circumstances around the presentation are whacky.

    Everything substantive that you wrote about was wrong in some manner or other. You’ve acted like a total and complete fuck-up in this post, and you have a great deal to learn about neuroscience as well as about honesty. You’re a disgrace to science.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  67. #67 Glen Davidson
    November 8, 2006

    Here’s a source for the ignorant claphead who doesn’t recognize what “voltage” means:

    Voltage-gated ion channels respond to changes in membrane potential by movement of their voltage sensors across the electric field between cytoplasmic and extracellular solutions. The principal voltage sensors in these proteins are positively charged S4 segments. The absolute magnitude of S4 movement discriminates two competing classes of gating models. In one class, the movement is 25 Å. Here, using tethered charges attached to an S4 segment, we provide evidence that the electric field falls across a distance of

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17197997

    How can you be so stupid, Larson?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  68. #68 Glen Davidson
    November 8, 2006

    Here, again, to counter the near-total ignorance of the prejudiced, is a source–one that explains (somewhat) the problems and questions of conscious unity:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-unity/

    As it is with the knowledgeable, conscious unity is posed as a question, not a meaningless unspecified “emergence”. It is absurd only to the unknowing for one to come up with reasonable hypotheses that could explain emergence, rather than treating emergence like a metaphysical process (the “deconstruction” of such meaningless (meaningless without coupling them to science, that is) terms as “emergence” is still needed, for some at least).

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  69. #69 Torbjörn Larsson
    November 9, 2006

    “My hypothesis concerns the emergence of said property, and it is an actual hypothesis. You simply write “it is an emergent property of the brain” as if it actually told us something about how it appears.”

    I’m not the one proposing a hypotheses – but I mentioned the most likely view as a contrast.

    I’m happy with whatever mechanism neuroscientists come up with. If you want a specific hypothesis, this is one that explains emergence of symbol-like processing for abstract thoughts such as consciousness, without any connection to a wetware brain with ‘electric consciousness’ from field effects between nerves:

    “recent advances in neural network modeling have rendered this criticism largely obsolete. In this article from the Proceedings of the National Academy, Rougier et al. demonstrate how a specific network architecture – modeled loosely on what is known about dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area and the basal ganglia to prefrontal cortex – can capture both generalization and symbol-like processing, simply by incorporating biologically-plausible simulations of neural computation.

    These include the use of distributed representations, self-organizing and error-driven learning (equivalent to contrastive hebbian learning), reinforcement learning (via the temporal differences algorithm), lateral inhibition (via k-winners-take-all), and a biologically-plausible activation function based on known properties of ionic diffusion across the neural cell membranes (via Leabra’s point-neuron activation function).”

    As discussed on
    http://develintel.blogspot.com/2006/10/generalization-and-symbolic-processing.html .

    And apparently I am wrong in categorically discarding electrochemical properties, since the activation function was a needed part. Though of course between symbol-like behaviour and consciousness itself may lie yet another step.

    You say: “Electrical fields in the brain are likely to be dominated by information encoded in the nerves … consciousness as interacting electrical fields”

    If this is an emergent view it is deeply hidden. All I see is consciousness described as interacting electrical fields influenced by, and influencing, nerves.

    “As such, your response is indeed whacky, quite unlike my considered comments.”

    What a nice turn. ‘I can’t be whacky because you are.’ Sorry, we can both be.

    “In evolution and in consciousness the question is “how”, and you neither know nor care about the “how” with respect to consciousness, making you akin to IDists and other pseudoscientists.”

    Two false dichotomies. As noted, criticising one hypothesis, doesn’t make one uninterested. And uninterest doesn’t make one anti-science. In fact, it is my interest that drives me to read about neuroscience in blogs such as above.

    “One definition of “mass” is “aggregate, or whole”, which is how I was using the term “mass”. You jump to an unjustified and ignorant conclusion and fault me for using English properly.”

    That wasn’t what I was getting at. I was, unclearly perhaps, discussing your use of confusing vernacular in a discussion of science. Going back to the veracity of it.

    “That’s why it’s a new hypothesis. … Voltage-gated channels are opened by, yes, electrical fields, voltages, which means that stray voltages from other regions, including lateral regions, will affect them. Not greatly, of course, but they will affect them. You really ought to be able to understand such simple physics.”

    As I described on the other thread, I understand this and I also noted that significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed. That means it is not considered to be important for nerve signaling.

    “I understand your hatred of new ideas, but it doesn’t speak well of you. … “You’re a disgrace to science.”

    I think this will sum up further discussion. You feel attacked, and jump to unwarranted conclusions. I *love* new ideas, but I am also critical of them.

    If I look at crank indexes ( http://www.ilja-schmelzer.de/ether/crank.html ), you are quickly scoring up points on your theory. Since I haven’t read your book I can’t properly use the full index. Do you have any peer-reviewed texts that I can look at, to see where your work stands? I couldn’t find any references in citation searches. (Which I suck at, BTW.)

    If you convince me that this is science, we can have a discussion of its merits.

    For now, I’m content with that I have been doing successfully cited works and contributed to the great project of real science. I don’t especially find the need to defend it, it was old processes and most of it has been superseeded or found irrelevant or wrongly modelled with better data. There is even an outright error in a model equation that I found later (though not affecting that papers result), perhaps you will catch it too.

    Identifying cranky science is another type of contribution, where I may or may not be successful.

  70. #70 Glen Davidson
    November 9, 2006

    “My hypothesis concerns the emergence of said property, and it is an actual hypothesis. You simply write “it is an emergent property of the brain” as if it actually told us something about how it appears.”

    I’m not the one proposing a hypotheses – but I mentioned the most likely view as a contrast.

    It isn’t even a “likely view”, emergentism is simply a label placed upon a black box, that is, until an actual mechanism is proposed and tested. You’re mouthing mere words, not able even to recognize that you are saying nothing.

    I’m happy with whatever mechanism neuroscientists come up with. If you want a specific hypothesis, this is one that explains emergence of symbol-like processing for abstract thoughts such as consciousness, without any connection to a wetware brain with ‘electric consciousness’ from field effects between nerves:

    Yes, are you can’t even recognize that it isn’t an explanation for consciousness, but rather for cognition (not that the two are separate, instead we separate them mentally for our convenience)? Why don’t you for once crack a book, or even the web, to find out what science actually thinks about consciousness?

    “recent advances in neural network modeling have rendered this criticism largely obsolete. In this article from the Proceedings of the National Academy, Rougier et al. demonstrate how a specific network architecture – modeled loosely on what is known about dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area and the basal ganglia to prefrontal cortex – can capture both generalization and symbol-like processing, simply by incorporating biologically-plausible simulations of neural computation.

    These include the use of distributed representations, self-organizing and error-driven learning (equivalent to contrastive hebbian learning), reinforcement learning (via the temporal differences algorithm), lateral inhibition (via k-winners-take-all), and a biologically-plausible activation function based on known properties of ionic diffusion across the neural cell membranes (via Leabra’s point-neuron activation function).”

    There is the smell of “crackkpottery” in a cut-and-paste of good neuroscience, as if it answers the question of what consciousness is. The problem is that you’re too unlearned even to know the difference between the information-processing in the brain, and consciousness as an experienced phenomenon needing an explanation beyond the functionality of the processes.

    I have absolutely no problem with any of that cut and paste statement. How disingenuous of you to pretend that I am opposed to good neuroscience in any way. But your thorough-going ignorance of the issues means that you can’t even read the relevant literature without misinterpreting what is said.

    As discussed on
    http://develintel.blogspot.com/2006/10/generalization-and-symbolic-processing.html .

    And apparently I am wrong in categorically discarding electrochemical properties, since the activation function was a needed part. Though of course between symbol-like behaviour and consciousness itself may lie yet another step.

    Evidently you are incapable of noticing that consciousness is not cut up and separated, like data in a computer is. Hence you mistake the fundamental organization and systematization found in the brain as though it were answering the question of how discrete information is able to produce conscious unities. Thus the non sequitur, you cutting and pasting, as is the pseudoscientist’s wont, information irrelevant to the issues that I address.

    You say: “Electrical fields in the brain are likely to be dominated by information encoded in the nerves … consciousness as interacting electrical fields”

    If this is an emergent view it is deeply hidden. All I see is consciousness described as interacting electrical fields influenced by, and influencing, nerves.

    OK, so you are unable to follow even a simple line of thought in consciousness matters. Or even to cut and paste a sentence together to cohere, to make sense, and to make a logical progression.

    The field is consciousness, in my hypothesis. The coherent electrical fields/consciousnesses emerges once a threshold is reached (enough correlation to drown out noise, enough difference for electrical field forces to impinge upon one another). In unconscious areas, this threshold is not reached (thus I potentially explain what no one else has, the difference between unconscious and conscious areas of the brain).

    True, you don’t get that by simply going in and picking a little here and a little there, without any requisite knowledge to judge. You should be above that.

    “As such, your response is indeed whacky, quite unlike my considered comments.”

    What a nice turn. ‘I can’t be whacky because you are.’ Sorry, we can both be.

    Just try to (honestly and logically) get your misinterpretation of what I wrote from what I actually did write. It can’t be done, you fail again to understand the language.

    And of course you quote-mined the comment, taking it out of the context wherein I pointed to your inability to infer the action of electrical fields in opening the channels from “voltage-gated channels”, as well as your profoundly inaccurate portrayal of my usage of the term “mass”. Congratulations, you’re using the tactics of IDists and other pseudoscientists.

    “In evolution and in consciousness the question is “how”, and you neither know nor care about the “how” with respect to consciousness, making you akin to IDists and other pseudoscientists.”

    Two false dichotomies.

    They aren’t even dichotomies. They’re observations concerning your mouthings of meaningless terms (that is, terms which do not have an accepted meaning in science). Do you even know what logic is, how it deals in generalities instead of referring to specific lapses in your “analysis”?

    As noted, criticising one hypothesis, doesn’t make one uninterested.

    No, but uncomprehending cut-and-pastes, and the inability to infer electical fields acting in “voltage-gated channels”, indicates a profound disinterest in the actual issues. IDists do what you do. I know you don’t want to own up to your incompetent attacks, hence you take my statements out of context and pretend that they are something that they are not, but that’s par for my experiences with you in these matters.

    And uninterest doesn’t make one anti-science. In fact, it is my interest that drives me to read about neuroscience in blogs such as above.

    You obviously aren’t interested enough to learn what is at stake, rather you use science as a crutch for your misunderstandings. That is an anti-science reaction, as it is with “science-interested” IDists (DaveScot reads Scientific American, but he isn’t interested in real science).

    “One definition of “mass” is “aggregate, or whole”, which is how I was using the term “mass”. You jump to an unjustified and ignorant conclusion and fault me for using English properly.”

    That wasn’t what I was getting at. I was, unclearly perhaps, discussing your use of confusing vernacular in a discussion of science. Going back to the veracity of it.

    It isn’t a confusing vernacular. It takes a biased mind even to suppose that it is. Here’s how it was used in one Nature paper:

    Adoption of an official ISEA glossary
    Valerie Zartarian, Tina Bahadori, Tom McKone

    SUMMARY: The International Society for Exposure Analysis (ISEA) and its Nomenclature Committee have been involved since the mid-1990s in an intermittent but ongoing effort to

    CONTEXT: …by the exposure surface area. For example, a dermal exposure measurement based on a skin wipe sample, expressed as a mass of residue per skin surface area, is an exposure loading. exposure mass The amount of agent present in the… (italics added)

    It is a way of talking about aggregations, etc. So you were unclear and are wrong again.

    “That’s why it’s a new hypothesis. … Voltage-gated channels are opened by, yes, electrical fields, voltages, which means that stray voltages from other regions, including lateral regions, will affect them. Not greatly, of course, but they will affect them. You really ought to be able to understand such simple physics.”

    As I described on the other thread, I understand this and I also noted that significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed. That means it is not considered to be important for nerve signaling.

    You are being disingenuous yet again. You denied that electrical fields are involved in conduction:

    Nerve impulses in neurons are rapidly traveling waves of action potentials. They are local membrane depolarization which causes some voltage-gated sodium channels in the neuron cell surface membrane to open and therefore sodium ions diffuse in. Saltatory conduction in myelinated axons is slightly different, but involves action potentials too. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential ) Synapses between neorons uses either diffusing chemicals, or ions electrical synapses. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron_doctrine ) Neither mechanism uses electrical fields. Significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed. (bolding added)

    What does the second to last sentence say?

    And yes, I know that you use wikipedia as an authority, so that if lateral interaction isn’t discussed you are unable or unwilling to think that it is a possibility. Hence you try to impede thought in science, by relying upon, of all things, an encyclopedia as an authoritative source of knowledge of the possibilities in conscious modeling.

    What I argued is how it is reasonable to believe that lateral interactions do occur (the question being if it is sufficient for consciousness’s effects). Rather than actually discuss evidence and modeling, you dully repeat your scholastic position, that if the authorities don’t say it, it isn’t so.

    “I understand your hatred of new ideas, but it doesn’t speak well of you. … “You’re a disgrace to science.”

    I think this will sum up further discussion. You feel attacked, and jump to unwarranted conclusions. I *love* new ideas, but I am also critical of them.

    Had you the knowledge to be a useful critic, I might be grateful. When you simply criticize based on your “authorities” and misinterpretations of neuroscience, in addition to your inability to recognize electrical fields being necessarily involved in voltage, I have no reason to consider you to be open-minded.

    If I look at crank indexes ( http://www.ilja-schmelzer.de/ether/crank.html ), you are quickly scoring up points on your theory. Since I haven’t read your book I can’t properly use the full index. Do you have any peer-reviewed texts that I can look at, to see where your work stands? I couldn’t find any references in citation searches. (Which I suck at, BTW.)

    Those indexes simply label, without considerations of fairness, or proper discussion of the claims made. I’ll have to look at it, though. I don’t know if I’m glad to find out it’s there, or not. Mentions might be considered to be a good thing, but the rank prejudices involved in labeling is, well, par for stupid dolts who hate whatever they don’t understand (most people).

    Anyway, no I don’t have any peer-reviewed references. Science is far too hierarchical and dismissive of ideas coming from below, plus there is a surfeit of consciousness books out there. And as I noted in the other post, few understand a multi-disciplinary approach, something recognized by journals such as Nature.

    Sorry, I genuinely wish I could point to some.

    If you convince me that this is science, we can have a discussion of its merits.

    As this discussion is finally getting reasonable, I hate to say that I doubt that I could really convince you that this is science. You have the necessary intelligence, I don’t doubt, however the issues involved in consciousness and its epistemology are often deep and difficult, not easy to reach if you haven’t dealt with these matters beforehand. I mean, when you don’t even recognize one of the most basic problems of consciousness, its unity (or I prefer, unities), you really aren’t ready for this.

    I always just wish that people would not criticize until they understand. That is how I have always operated, which perhaps is why I felt the need for so much schooling and so much independent study.

    For now, I’m content with that I have been doing successfully cited works and contributed to the great project of real science. I don’t especially find the need to defend it, it was old processes and most of it has been superseeded or found irrelevant or wrongly modelled with better data. There is even an outright error in a model equation that I found later (though not affecting that papers result), perhaps you will catch it too.

    Well, good for you. Obviously, being superseded is not any kind of indictment or judgment of the merits of your work, so no harm there.

    Identifying cranky science is another type of contribution, where I may or may not be successful.

    Surely you must know that you ought to understand the relevant science prior to “identifying it” as “crank science”. Merely noting that a new idea is new, and thus not mentioned in wikipedia’s discussion of nerve action (and it should not be there at this time), is not a sound criticism.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  71. #71 Glen Davidson
    November 9, 2006

    “My hypothesis concerns the emergence of said property, and it is an actual hypothesis. You simply write “it is an emergent property of the brain” as if it actually told us something about how it appears.”

    I’m not the one proposing a hypotheses – but I mentioned the most likely view as a contrast.

    It isn’t even a “likely view”, emergentism is simply a label placed upon a black box, that is, until an actual mechanism is proposed and tested. You’re mouthing mere words, not able even to recognize that you are saying nothing.

    I’m happy with whatever mechanism neuroscientists come up with. If you want a specific hypothesis, this is one that explains emergence of symbol-like processing for abstract thoughts such as consciousness, without any connection to a wetware brain with ‘electric consciousness’ from field effects between nerves:

    Yes, are you can’t even recognize that it isn’t an explanation for consciousness, but rather for cognition (not that the two are separate, instead we separate them mentally for our convenience)? Why don’t you for once crack a book, or even the web, to find out what science actually thinks about consciousness?

    “recent advances in neural network modeling have rendered this criticism largely obsolete. In this article from the Proceedings of the National Academy, Rougier et al. demonstrate how a specific network architecture – modeled loosely on what is known about dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area and the basal ganglia to prefrontal cortex – can capture both generalization and symbol-like processing, simply by incorporating biologically-plausible simulations of neural computation.

    These include the use of distributed representations, self-organizing and error-driven learning (equivalent to contrastive hebbian learning), reinforcement learning (via the temporal differences algorithm), lateral inhibition (via k-winners-take-all), and a biologically-plausible activation function based on known properties of ionic diffusion across the neural cell membranes (via Leabra’s point-neuron activation function).”

    There is the smell of “crackkpottery” in a cut-and-paste of good neuroscience, as if it answers the question of what consciousness is. The problem is that you’re too unlearned even to know the difference between the information-processing in the brain, and consciousness as an experienced phenomenon needing an explanation beyond the functionality of the processes.

    I have absolutely no problem with any of that cut and paste statement. How disingenuous of you to pretend that I am opposed to good neuroscience in any way. But your thorough-going ignorance of the issues means that you can’t even read the relevant literature without misinterpreting what is said.

    As discussed on
    http://develintel.blogspot.com/2006/10/generalization-and-symbolic-processing.html .

    And apparently I am wrong in categorically discarding electrochemical properties, since the activation function was a needed part. Though of course between symbol-like behaviour and consciousness itself may lie yet another step.

    Evidently you are incapable of noticing that consciousness is not cut up and separated, like data in a computer is. Hence you mistake the fundamental organization and systematization found in the brain as though it were answering the question of how discrete information is able to produce conscious unities. Thus the non sequitur, you cutting and pasting, as is the pseudoscientist’s wont, information irrelevant to the issues that I address.

    You say: “Electrical fields in the brain are likely to be dominated by information encoded in the nerves … consciousness as interacting electrical fields”

    If this is an emergent view it is deeply hidden. All I see is consciousness described as interacting electrical fields influenced by, and influencing, nerves.

    OK, so you are unable to follow even a simple line of thought in consciousness matters. Or even to cut and paste a sentence together to cohere, to make sense, and to make a logical progression.

    The field is consciousness, in my hypothesis. The coherent electrical fields/consciousnesses emerges once a threshold is reached (enough correlation to drown out noise, enough difference for electrical field forces to impinge upon one another). In unconscious areas, this threshold is not reached (thus I potentially explain what no one else has, the difference between unconscious and conscious areas of the brain).

    True, you don’t get that by simply going in and picking a little here and a little there, without any requisite knowledge to judge. You should be above that.

    “As such, your response is indeed whacky, quite unlike my considered comments.”

    What a nice turn. ‘I can’t be whacky because you are.’ Sorry, we can both be.

    Just try to (honestly and logically) get your misinterpretation of what I wrote from what I actually did write. It can’t be done, you fail again to understand the language.

    And of course you quote-mined the comment, taking it out of the context wherein I pointed to your inability to infer the action of electrical fields in opening the channels from “voltage-gated channels”, as well as your profoundly inaccurate portrayal of my usage of the term “mass”. Congratulations, you’re using the tactics of IDists and other pseudoscientists.

    “In evolution and in consciousness the question is “how”, and you neither know nor care about the “how” with respect to consciousness, making you akin to IDists and other pseudoscientists.”

    Two false dichotomies.

    They aren’t even dichotomies. They’re observations concerning your mouthings of meaningless terms (that is, terms which do not have an accepted meaning in science). Do you even know what logic is, how it deals in generalities instead of referring to specific lapses in your “analysis”?

    As noted, criticising one hypothesis, doesn’t make one uninterested.

    No, but uncomprehending cut-and-pastes, and the inability to infer electical fields acting in “voltage-gated channels”, indicates a profound disinterest in the actual issues. IDists do what you do. I know you don’t want to own up to your incompetent attacks, hence you take my statements out of context and pretend that they are something that they are not, but that’s par for my experiences with you in these matters.

    And uninterest doesn’t make one anti-science. In fact, it is my interest that drives me to read about neuroscience in blogs such as above.

    You obviously aren’t interested enough to learn what is at stake, rather you use science as a crutch for your misunderstandings. That is an anti-science reaction, as it is with “science-interested” IDists (DaveScot reads Scientific American, but he isn’t interested in real science).

    “One definition of “mass” is “aggregate, or whole”, which is how I was using the term “mass”. You jump to an unjustified and ignorant conclusion and fault me for using English properly.”

    That wasn’t what I was getting at. I was, unclearly perhaps, discussing your use of confusing vernacular in a discussion of science. Going back to the veracity of it.

    It isn’t a confusing vernacular. It takes a biased mind even to suppose that it is. Here’s how it was used in one Nature paper:

    Adoption of an official ISEA glossary
    Valerie Zartarian, Tina Bahadori, Tom McKone

    SUMMARY: The International Society for Exposure Analysis (ISEA) and its Nomenclature Committee have been involved since the mid-1990s in an intermittent but ongoing effort to

    CONTEXT: …by the exposure surface area. For example, a dermal exposure measurement based on a skin wipe sample, expressed as a mass of residue per skin surface area, is an exposure loading. exposure mass The amount of agent present in the… (italics added)

    It is a way of talking about aggregations, etc. So you were unclear and are wrong again.

    “That’s why it’s a new hypothesis. … Voltage-gated channels are opened by, yes, electrical fields, voltages, which means that stray voltages from other regions, including lateral regions, will affect them. Not greatly, of course, but they will affect them. You really ought to be able to understand such simple physics.”

    As I described on the other thread, I understand this and I also noted that significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed. That means it is not considered to be important for nerve signaling.

    You are being disingenuous yet again. You denied that electrical fields are involved in conduction:

    Nerve impulses in neurons are rapidly traveling waves of action potentials. They are local membrane depolarization which causes some voltage-gated sodium channels in the neuron cell surface membrane to open and therefore sodium ions diffuse in. Saltatory conduction in myelinated axons is slightly different, but involves action potentials too. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential ) Synapses between neorons uses either diffusing chemicals, or ions electrical synapses. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron_doctrine ) Neither mechanism uses electrical fields. Significant lateral interaction isn’t discussed. (bolding added)

    What does the second to last sentence say?

    And yes, I know that you use wikipedia as an authority, so that if lateral interaction isn’t discussed you are unable or unwilling to think that it is a possibility. Hence you try to impede thought in science, by relying upon, of all things, an encyclopedia as an authoritative source of knowledge of the possibilities in conscious modeling.

    What I argued is how it is reasonable to believe that lateral interactions do occur (the question being if it is sufficient for consciousness’s effects). Rather than actually discuss evidence and modeling, you dully repeat your scholastic position, that if the authorities don’t say it, it isn’t so.

    “I understand your hatred of new ideas, but it doesn’t speak well of you. … “You’re a disgrace to science.”

    I think this will sum up further discussion. You feel attacked, and jump to unwarranted conclusions. I *love* new ideas, but I am also critical of them.

    Had you the knowledge to be a useful critic, I might be grateful. When you simply criticize based on your “authorities” and misinterpretations of neuroscience, in addition to your inability to recognize electrical fields being necessarily involved in voltage, I have no reason to consider you to be open-minded.

    If I look at crank indexes ( http://www.ilja-schmelzer.de/ether/crank.html ), you are quickly scoring up points on your theory. Since I haven’t read your book I can’t properly use the full index. Do you have any peer-reviewed texts that I can look at, to see where your work stands? I couldn’t find any references in citation searches. (Which I suck at, BTW.)

    Those indexes simply label, without considerations of fairness, or proper discussion of the claims made. I’ll have to look at it, though. I don’t know if I’m glad to find out it’s there, or not. Mentions might be considered to be a good thing, but the rank prejudices involved in labeling is, well, par for stupid dolts who hate whatever they don’t understand (most people).

    Anyway, no I don’t have any peer-reviewed references. Science is far too hierarchical and dismissive of ideas coming from below, plus there is a surfeit of consciousness books out there. And as I noted in the other post, few understand a multi-disciplinary approach, something recognized by journals such as Nature.

    Sorry, I genuinely wish I could point to some.

    If you convince me that this is science, we can have a discussion of its merits.

    As this discussion is finally getting reasonable, I hate to say that I doubt that I could really convince you that this is science. You have the necessary intelligence, I don’t doubt, however the issues involved in consciousness and its epistemology are often deep and difficult, not easy to reach if you haven’t dealt with these matters beforehand. I mean, when you don’t even recognize one of the most basic problems of consciousness, its unity (or I prefer, unities), you really aren’t ready for this.

    I always just wish that people would not criticize until they understand. That is how I have always operated, which perhaps is why I felt the need for so much schooling and so much independent study.

    For now, I’m content with that I have been doing successfully cited works and contributed to the great project of real science. I don’t especially find the need to defend it, it was old processes and most of it has been superseeded or found irrelevant or wrongly modelled with better data. There is even an outright error in a model equation that I found later (though not affecting that papers result), perhaps you will catch it too.

    Well, good for you. Obviously, being superseded is not any kind of indictment or judgment of the merits of your work, so no harm there.

    Identifying cranky science is another type of contribution, where I may or may not be successful.

    Surely you must know that you ought to understand the relevant science prior to “identifying it” as “crank science”. Merely noting that a new idea is new, and thus not mentioned in wikipedia’s discussion of nerve action (and it should not be there at this time), is not a sound criticism.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  72. #72 Glen Davidson
    November 9, 2006

    I may be out of this thread for good, I don’t know. For the weekend, at least, since I’m not staying around (long weekend!) to argue with someone as unaware as Larsson.

    Plus, I’m sure no one is interested in reading this, including myself. I simply had to respond to several of his outrageously mistaken claims (no electrical field involved in voltage-gated channel nerve transmission) and misrepresentations, for the sake of the search engines. Just in case.

    I am a bit surprised that he owns up to a view of science as something that can’t go beyond Wikipedia entries, but that’s not the worst of his failings.

    So at least for now, I’m getting gone.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  73. #73 Torbjrn Larsson
    December 3, 2006

    From http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/11/granpappy_was_a_neandertal.php

    Glen:

    It is unfortunate that I revisit this issue this late, but family business intruded and I have but slowly taken up all of the blogging again. I’m quite certain you will pick this up again, though. 🙂

    “As to how my ideas have been accepted, ask Lynne Margulis, Nietzsche, Darwin in the early years, and Daniel Koshland Jr., how truly relevant such a question is.”

    The Galileo defence. If it can’t pass peer-review, it has failed as science.

    You have presented an hypothesis without any experimental evidence what I can see, and proceeded to write a book about it. Now you rant because my evaluation of this is negative, behaving like a crank here and elsewhere in the comment. Since you don’t explain or defend your ideas further or present data, I don’t see anything to discuss.

  74. #74 Torbjrn Larsson
    December 3, 2006

    From http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/11/granpappy_was_a_neandertal.php

    Glen:

    It is unfortunate that I revisit this issue this late, but family business intruded and I have but slowly taken up all of the blogging again. I’m quite certain you will pick this up again, though. 🙂

    “As to how my ideas have been accepted, ask Lynne Margulis, Nietzsche, Darwin in the early years, and Daniel Koshland Jr., how truly relevant such a question is.”

    The Galileo defence. If it can’t pass peer-review, it has failed as science.

    You have presented an hypothesis without any experimental evidence what I can see, and proceeded to write a book about it. Now you rant because my evaluation of this is negative, behaving like a crank here and elsewhere in the comment. Since you don’t explain or defend your ideas further or present data, I don’t see anything to discuss.

  75. #75 Glen Davidson
    December 3, 2006

    The Galileo defence. If it can’t pass peer-review, it has failed as science.

    Dear unthinking twit:

    If it gets to peer-review, then it can be peer-reviewed. Because you’re too stupid and prejudiced to understand the problem with mindless acceptance of endless crap hypotheses like “quantum consciousness”, without being willing to listen to something new (partly, yes, because of useless “electromagnetic consciousness” hypotheses like McFadden’s, which is as bad as anyone says it is, given ear merely because he has the name and the clout), and have no capacity for creative thought (everything you write is derivative), you’d never know what it’s like to be, say, Lynne Margulis, Nietzsche, or Koshland.

    So you drone with the standard ass-hat bullshit, without in the slightest addressing the actual problem, most notable in areas where creativity is needed, but where it still isn’t very welcome. You know nothing of the problems that I brought up, but simply fobbed them off like the derivative unoriginal person that you are.

    You have presented an hypothesis without any experimental evidence what I can see,

    There’s lots of experimental evidence (which I, and not you, understand), ignorant buffoon, which is why I came up with a hypothesis. Since you are unwilling and unable to address the question of modeling (which I did discuss, and which you, as usual, seem not to understand), I’ll accept that you’re just a cranky old fool incapable of dealing with the “pathetic level of detail” that those of us who care about science deal with. I am well aware that experiments need to be made, which is why I came up with such a hypothesis (you’re evidently unaware of how science is supposed to work).

    and proceeded to write a book about it. Now you rant because my evaluation of this is negative,

    I note what an ignorant fool you are because you fail to make one intelligent remark about it. Rather, you claimed that electrical fields aren’t involved with “voltage-gated channels”, and you assert that you have dealt with electrical circuitry in the past (I don’t even know if that’s true, given such an incompetent understanding on your part). How stupid are you, that you didn’t even understand freshman level physics? And you think that your drooling ignorant “evaluation” ought to be accepted, when your incompetence and prejudice are all that are in evidence.

    behaving like a crank here and elsewhere in the comment. Since you don’t explain or defend your ideas further or present data, I don’t see anything to discuss.

    Of course I explained further, liar, you’re just too ignorant and stupid to understand. Obviously you do have nothing to discuss, only unscientific lies to tell, as in the past. You’re simply trying to bypass the fact that every supposedly scientific “criticism” you came up with failed as badly as your knowledge that “voltage-gated channels” necessarily involve electric fields. The crank nonsense coming from you has been rank, and shows why you’ve apologized for your career–you’re not only not original, you evaluate anything that is by your derivative views of what “science is”.

    The dishonesty of your entire sorry set of ignorant attacks is, of course, far from polite, and exists on the level of crank science, and pseudoscience. If we all descended to your level of non-knowledge and prejudice in favor of the derivative and the authoritative, we’d fail utterly to defeat ID. Those of us who care about science do discuss ID, and we show what is wrong with it, rather than to dismiss it. You run an okay derivation of those of us who think things through, but I have yet to have seen anything really original or provocative from your corner, either on ID or elsewhere.

    You wait for others to tell you what to think, probably a good thing in your case. It would have been better had you learned to think for yourself, although you would have run into people like yourself, who fault anything new for being new. Indeed, you are exactly the kind of person who would fault Galileo for writing contrary to the accepted “wisdom”, though I used more contemporary examples, who you seem not to recognize (why would you? You know nothing of the obstacles met by truly creative thinkers, especially in areas where no set standards exist other than those held by rather stolid, conservative, and derivative minds).

    Well, every good mind meets with unthinking and unknowledgeable people like yourself, something we need to learn to accept I suppose. Darwin himself had to deal with people like you, and is understood in the history of science (see New Scientist, for one publication which discussed these factors) to have prevailed against your kind by dint of his money, aristocratic family, and credentials. Wallace could not have won out, which is probably why it’s just as well that he didn’t pursue the matter too far. The thudding dull minds of run-of-the-mill “thinkers” like you can only be broken into by names, credentials, and social standing, in order to meet your illegitimate prejudices. After all, I answered well your very few attempts at scientific criticism (as if someone who doesn’t recognize electric fields where “voltage” exists could come up with a legitimate critique), and you flat-out lied and said that I hadn’t.

    Indeed, you may as well let it alone, no matter how dishonestly you spin the “reasons” for it. You’ll simply whine and moan about my being a “crank” every time I reveal what a lame “thinker” you are in this area, never rising above the level of Dembski or JAD. It’s a shame that being on the “right side” has so little bearing on the ability of a person to think.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

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