Why do doctors deny evolution?

Yesterday was a long day, starting in the operating room and finishing at a dinner reception for our visiting speaker today. As a result, when I arrived home, I was sawing the proverbial logs within five or ten minutes of hitting the couch, more or less without realizing it. I was going to just skip today, making it a rare weekday where I don't provide you, my loyal readers, with a dose of the Insolence, be it Respectful or not-so-Respectful, to which you have become accustomed. But then I saw an article that reminded me of a topic that I haven't revisited for quite a long time. I'm referring to a topic that I used to discuss fairly often. View it as a subtopic of Medicine and Evolution. I'm referring to the question of why there are so many doctors who deny evolution. We've met many of them before over the last decade, although probably Dr. Michael Egnor is the one whose creationist nonsense I've discussed and refuted the most. He's a neurosurgeon, and apparently he's still at it.

Well, there's another creationist neurosurgeon in town, and unfortunately he's running for the Republican nomination for President. I'm referring, of course, to Dr. Ben Carson, a guy who was a really brilliant neurosurgeon in his day but in his retirement appears to have embraced multiple forms of right wing pseudoscience, including, of course, evolution denial. His ascent led a reporter to wonder why some doctors reject evolution and even publish a story about it in Pacific Standard, entitled, appropriately enough, Why Do Some Doctors Reject Evolution? The article is a good primer on the topic, and not just because it features some quotes from someone who is near and dear to this blog. It's worth reading in full, and (I hope) discussing here. It also reminds me that I really should revisit the topic of evolution in medicine and physicians denying evolution. Apparently I've become so wrapped up in discussing quackery like antivaccine pseudoscience, alternative cancer "cures," homeopathy, and quackademic medicine (the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia) that I've neglected other interesting areas of the interface between science and medicine and pseudoscience.

And, thus, Orac demonstrates his logorrhea by using over 400 words just to link to an article he likes. Truly, it does take me nearly 500 words just to "clear my throat," so to speak. In any case, maybe I'll have to talk about evolution denial in medicine again sometime soon. It's one of those topics that keeps popping up and irritating me, but somehow other things manage to distract me, much like Dug the Dog.

Squirrel!

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S.N.'s collapse at EvolutionBlog is so hysterically funny that I can scarcely restrain myself from annoying the regulars. He's just trotted out this, but worded it even more ignorantly.

Perhaps you should drift back out of here and go read a dictionary.

*SPLORF*

You come running back here dіck in hand and start giving orders?

Oh, G-d, I'm laughing so hard I could cry.

Perhaps you should drift back out of here and go read a dictionary.

Would that be some sort of reference book that would contain a definition of "phosphatized"?

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 13 Jun 2015 #permalink

Sarah--

I dug out my rusty Greek: the word you're looking for is ecclesiolatry.

Once again, SN has shown that his (or anyone's) individual ignorance of a word or concept doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

To Vicki #1504:

You’ll note that Ms. Sarah A said I “overtly worship” the Church itself.

As you probably know, the Catholic Church, in accordance with its Founder, says that God ALONE is to be worshipped. To worship ANYTHING besides God is gravely sinful.

As you also know, or should know, I fully agree with Christ and His Church.

And on a more personal note, I have never met nor heard of anyone who worships a church.

Merriam-Webster defines ecclesiolatry as “excessive devotion to the church.”
Thefreedictionary defines it as “obsessional devotion to ecclesiastical traditions; an intense devotion to church forms, authority, and traditions.”

I AM devoted to the Church, of course. However, devotion is not worship.
But you and your sisters-in-spirit (Sarah A and pedantic ann) can have fun calibrating “excessive” and “obsessional”. Why, you might even try to paste them on me.

Have fun.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 13 Jun 2015 #permalink

"I’ve found that virtually any prolonged discussion about germ theory eventually mutates into tirades about Catholicism or antibiotism." NobRed

Funny that - germ theory follows spontaneous generation - bit like god making the world - just like that. The idea that germs evolve of us and within us dependent on the environment is an alien concept to the medic.

The medical idea that most disease is bad luck or chance is really about the woo of germ theory - we don't know so we won't discuss it.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/

What is interesting here is that the biggest problem is the one where doctors have prescribed antibiotics for common so called infections - not even life threatening.

You will see here that the resistance is not limited to bacteria, it includes viruses, fungus etc. All things doctors try and interfere with when they are not life threatening, just producing annoying symptoms.

if we ignore the idiot Pasteur and his germ killing ethos and take the Bechamp route we can see a clear explanation for the 'evolution' of microbes and fungus. If you fiddle with the symptoms alone and do nothing about the environment you are setting up a nasty nemisis.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news…

latest on narcolepsy for all you swine flu jab poison deniers.
Fiddling with flu with virtually no benefit at all - produces this kind of event. Good thing is now people are getting fined for doing it. I like the idea of 'doctors on trial'.

"The idea that germs evolve of us and within us dependent on the environment is an alien concept to the medic."

But apparently not alien to you. So could you explain, from your superior knowledge, how the germs that evolve within me can be affected by antibiotics that someone else, nowhere near me, took?

@ Vicki - Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. As you can imagine, googling phrases like "Church worship" or "idolatry of the Church" wasn't very helpful. As a bonus, we now have an explanation for See's repeated word fails - he's been using the dictionary backwards. He doesn't seem to realize a dictionary is for looking up words and finding the definition, not the other way around.

“I’ve found that virtually any prolonged discussion about germ theory eventually mutates into tirades about Catholicism or antibiotism.” NobRed See Noevo

FTFY, Phildo.*

Far be it from me not to assist someone who's still too stupid or hung over** to figure out who he's attempting to "cleverly" misquote while impersonating another commenter.

* Philip Hills, Hope Osteopathic Clinic Essex, Rotary Club Thurrock Gateway, Brentwood Catenians.

** Or maybe you went for some Sunday eye-openers, whatever.

In #1492 I noted “Say what you will (and you will) about the Catholic Church. No other organization (i.e. A distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority with established practices, doctrines, rules.) in recorded history can come anywhere close to it in longevity.”

Yesterday, I saw similar but zingier words from Hilaire Belloc:
“The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine– but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

I found the quote in the article below. It's by a recent convert to Catholicism on why he will NOT leave the Church. It’s quite good.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/acatholicthinker/2015/05/why-i-am-not-leav…

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

The Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka has centuries on the RCC, FYI.

In any case, it's a stupid argument that a church must be the true one because of its age, as is the argument that the Bible must be true because it's the oldest Holy Book.

Actually, it reminds me of a discussion I had on the matter with a fundie of a certain stripe.
"The Bible must be true, because it's the oldest Holy Book!"
"What? The Rig Vedas are a good deal older."
"But the Rig Vedas don't make any sense!"

*blink*

In any case, you're welcome to visit a barber-surgeon the next time you have a health problem of any sort.

Anyone lurking aboot who'd like an unsanitized look at the origins and effects of christianity throughout history would be well served in visiting Rejection of Pascal's Wager.

Grounded in reality, not Salvation Inc marketing bumf, and founded by an ex-christian able to wipe the scales from his eyes. He found cracks in the dogma he was being spoon fed by religious authoriTAH! and started digging and digging and digging. And digging some more, then a nice, light lunch. Then back to digging.

The result is a very comprehensive and well referenced resource, The provided link jumps right into the history section, but do look around you'll not be disappointed. Surprised, maybe. Some samples:

Anti-rationalism, the hatred of reason and knowledge, is deeply rooted in the Bible. Rooted in the Bible, this mistrust of reason was faithfully brought to full fruition by the early church fathers and the christian Roman emperors, who together successfully brought about the demise of Greek learning. We see the fruits of this anti-reason slant in many historical acts:

- Thus, we are not surprised when we hear that book burning forms a major part of the Christian persecution method.

- Censorship of course was a natural follow up to book burning and another manifestation for the anti-reason and anti-knowledge slant of the religion.

- Contrary to what some may believe (after all, aren't there many mission schools all over the place in "backward" countries?) Christianity had always been anti-education, especially secular education. It was the Christian emperor, Justinian (483-563), who had the dubious honor of closing down the last schools of Greek philosophy, thus plunging Europe into the dark ages.

Yes, he uses an out of favour term for the era following the fall of Rome but it changes nothing.

"One of the most irritating tricks of the Christian mentality is the habit of attributing every advancement in social awareness and humane action, on every plane of evidence, to the wisdom and benevolence of Christians inspired by grace and motivated by love. This is a nauseating trait which disgusts, and frequently infuriates, those who have regard for the historical truth and the sheer weight of evidence that cannot be refuted." - Phyllis Graham, a former Carmelite nun

I couldn't agree more.

On book burning:

This mindless destruction of books of not confined only to Europe. Christian missionaries exported this holy culture everywhere they went. That was the case when the Spanish conquered Mexico. The Mayas, who were natives of what is now part of southern Mexico, Guatemala and British Honduras, had a highly developed culture. They had great achievements in astronomy, mathematics and the calender. Their form of writing was also the most highly developed among the natives nations of the Americas. Their knowledge, culture and science were written into codices. After the conquest, the Christian bishop of Yucatan, Diego de Landa, ordered the destruction of all extant Mayan codices in 1562. The bishop was convinced of the rightness of his actions, as we can see from what he wrote: "We found a large number of books ... and they contained nothing in which there was not to be seen superstition and lies of the devil, so we burned them all ..." Today there are only three surviving Mayan codices. The reason why archaeologists know so little about the Mayas and their history is very largely due to the work of one man in the sixteenth century: Bishop Diego de Landa.

Due to all this hatred of secular books, for a period of more than one thousand years, from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, there was not a single library in Christian Europe that had more than 10,000 books. By comparison pagan Alexandria in the fourth century had a collection of 700,000 books and Muslim Cordoba, in the tenth century, had a collection of more than half a million books. (emphasis mine)

Today, the Raping Children Church has this to say regarding their Index Librorum Prohibitorum:

The reading of such books is not edifying spiritually or morally. They should not be read out of curiosity. Permission to read objectionable books is given to those whose task it is to refute them and defend the teaching of the Church. - Catholic Answers

IOW, let us tell you what and how to think.

Anti-vaccinationism is often addressed by our inspiring, blinky perspex box. This irrational notion is based on the erroneous idea that more medicinal harm is done by this effective, prickly intervention than good - today. When vaccination was re-discovered not so long ago, it was opposed by, of course, religious authoriTAH!

On what grounds? The tired old cliches of man subverting doG's will. That's right, illness as retribution by the loving imaginary friend for some imaginary slight. Or, could it be... Satan?:

"The reaction of the ecclesiastical authorities was predictable. Theologians from all over Europe and America were condemning the life saving procedure. In 1772 Rev. Edward Massey of England published a sermon entitled The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation. He argued that Job's anger was due to his brain being affected by inoculation from smallpox. Who inoculated him? Well Satan, of course! The Right Reverend went on to argue, consistent with Biblical teachings, that diseases are sent by God as a form of punishment for sin. Any attempt to prevent diseases is a "diabolical" attempt to thwart the will of God! Another English ecclesiastic, Rev. Delafaye wrote a sermon entitled Inoculation an Indefensible Practice. In France, in rare solidarity with their English counterparts, the theologians at the Sorbonne roundly condemned inoculation. Things were the same in Scotland. The Calvinist church there denouncing the practice as "flying in the face of Providence" and "endeavoring to baffle a divine judgment." - White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Vol II, pg. 55-56 (Rejecting Pascal's Wager)

There's lots more if you follow the initial link provided.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

@ al kimeea

Wow, that's a blast from the past - Rejection of Pascal's Wager was one of the first websites that started me seriously questioning Christianity and the existence of God in general. In fact, one of the reasons I was interested in See Noevo's obvious (to everyone but him, apparently) worship of the RCC was that protestant fundamentalists (the tradition in which I was raised) have their own version - bibliolatry, or worship of the Bible (or, more accurately, a particular interpretation of the Bible.)

^Oops - accidentally hit submit. I was going to say that it was websites like Rejection of Pascal's Wager that helped me recover from bibliolatry and realize that both the Bible and the church were created by fallible human beings.

protestant fundamentalists (the tradition in which I was raised) have their own version – bibliolatry, or worship of the Bible (or, more accurately, a particular interpretation of the Bible.)

The worship of "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Bible," as a friend of mine once characterized it.

Watching See and al kimeea go at each other is going to be a treat.

@JP

Hah - don't say that in front of a Oneness Pentecostal. Don't you know the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a blasphemous corruption introduced into the original, pure Christian church by those pagan polytheists masquerading as Christians - Roman Catholics? The fact that it's considered a central doctrine by almost every other Christian denomination - Catholic and Protestant alike - is irrelevant: the word "trinity" isn't in the Bible, so that settles it!

It was the Christian emperor, Justinian (483-563), who had the dubious honor of closing down the last schools of Greek philosophy, thus plunging Europe into the dark ages.

He wasn't more or less despotic and repressive than Domitian or Caligula, neither of whom was Christian. Julius Caesar was posthumously deified. And Augustus established himself as an imperial rather than republican ruler by, among other things, investing the office with quasi-divine religious authority.

So I think it's a little ahistorical to suggest that it all originated with Christianity and the bible.

To multiple addressees…

To JP #1511:

“The Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka has centuries on the RCC, FYI.”

The “centralized hierarchical authority” I referred to is like a pyramid. Every pyramid has a point at the top. And every organization with centralized hierarchical authority has a “point man” AT THE TOP (e.g. a corporations has a CEO, a school has a principal or superintendent, a sports league has a commissioner.)
Where’s the list of top dogs, of “popes”, for the Sangha of Buddhism for the last 2,000+ years?

If there be none, than Buddhist Sangha is NOT an “organization” as I defined “organization”, and as virtually everyone understands “organization.”
……

To Sarah A #1513:

At least you made one valid point: “bibliolatry, or worship of the Bible (or, more accurately, a particular interpretation of the Bible.)”

Yes.
No one, not even the Pope, believes in the Bible.

What people believe is what THEY THINK the Bible MEANS.

That’s why there are over 30,000 different Jesus Christs in non-Catholic “Christianity.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

No other organization (i.e. A distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority with established practices, doctrines, rules.) in recorded history can come anywhere close to it in longevity.

Yes, there's nothing that says divine creation like the ability of a corrupt bureaucracy to perpetuate itself. Perhaps you should have saved it for some time when you have the opportunity to "argue" with some Lamaists, though, since the parallel is much closer.

If there be none, than Buddhist Sangha is NOT an “organization” as I defined “organization”, and as virtually everyone understands “organization.”

The comedy just keeps coming. U.S. Congress? Not an organization.

Time for an Intermission.

I’m watching some of the PGA Tour’s St. Jude Classic.
It’s in Memphis, which made me think of that rollicking plaintive tune from that band…what’s its name again?

Anyway, it features one of the finer examples of Robbie’s rolling, stinging guitar style:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbJgx1PKxkk

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

SN,

The whole point of my comment was that the "argument from antiquity" is stupid. The fact that the RCC and the Bible don't even win it was secondary.

Anyway:

If there be none, than Buddhist Sangha is NOT an “organization” as I defined “organization”, and as virtually everyone understands “organization.”

Defining words for us now, sweetums? Maybe you should consult a DICTIONARY, "boy." Here's how the OED defines "organization":

An organized body of people with a particular purpose, especially a business, society, association, etc.

Nothing in there about hierarchical structure. Are the Catholic Workers an organization?

Re: Sri Lankan Buddhism: It's the longest unbroken Buddhist lineage out there, which refers to the practice of bhikkus ordaining bikkhus. (And bikkhunis ordaining bikkunis, but there's a bit of a story there.) Think of it as "apostolic succession," if you want. In any case, the Buddhist Sangha has been extant in Sri Lanka since the 3rd century BCE.

The “centralized hierarchical authority” I referred to is like a pyramid.

Oh, so the Church is a pyramid scheme?

Every pyramid has a point at the top.

O RLY? What about THIS ONE?

Where’s the list of top dogs, of “popes”, for the Sangha of Buddhism for the last 2,000+ years?

Actually, there have been saṅgharājas instituted in various Theravadan lineages within certain countries, but frankly, I don't see the point.

In any case, the Buddhist Sangha has been extant in Sri Lanka since the 3rd century BCE.

The Council of Trent has exactly nothing on the Third Buddhist Council temporally speaking, BTW. But one wouldn't wan't to overtax poor S.N.'s brain – it is already watching golf on television, after all.

Hi Sara A, glad to meet you and happy to see you've made it out of the belly of the beast. I hope you didn't pay too dear a personal cost as many, many apostates are shunned by their families and friends for their realization the BuyBull depicts nothing more than another ancient mythology.

Funny coinky-dink with the website, but for me it's a blast from only the last 48hrs give or take. I started digging because elements of what Phyllis Graham referred to were popping up here and there in the thread.

Christianity has been marketing their wares for quite some time, so some of their useful lies apologetics are bound to be taken up by the cosmic consciousness.

JP - LOL I was thinking of the layered mustabas designed by Imhotep for Djoser. Spooky action at a distance?

Time to make some noise.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

Re: #1523.

Pop quiz:

No Googling allowed for this first question: What is the name of the head of Buddhism today?

Googling allowed for this second question: What was the name of the head of Buddhism in 100 A.D.?
…..

For extra credit:
In considering “An organized body of people with a particular purpose, especially a business, society, association, etc.”,

-What business does not have a top dog (e.g. a sole owner or a CEO)?
-What society does not have a top dog (e.g. a king or a president)?
-What association does not have a top dog (e.g. a director or a secretary-general)?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

No Googling allowed for this first question: What is the name of the head of Buddhism today?

There isn't one, dipsh*t. There's also no such thing as "Buddhism" in the way you seem to be imagining it.

Googling allowed for this second question: What was the name of the head of Buddhism in 100 A.D.?

There wasn't one. I see that as a positive thing, myself.

– What association does not have a top dog (e.g. a director or a secretary-general)?

Try the Catholic f*cking Workers.

No Googling allowed for this first question: What is the name of the head of Buddhism Christianity today?

Googling allowed for this second question: What was the name of the head of Buddhism Christianity in 100 A.D.?

FTFY. Time to stop playing fantasy golf with your putter and get to work.

What association does not have a top dog (e.g. a director or a secretary-general)?

Strange that S.N. has already felt the need to change nomenclature, BTW. Massively ironic is that he's "communicating" with one.

^ I'm bummed out about that blockquote fail, even if S.N. is all but certain to choose $COWER over $FAIL_MOAR.

Its droolingly incompetent attempt at EB to invoke computability theory, sadly, is also likely never to be fruitful and multiply in the way that it so richly deserves:

And such as, how did this DNA, which is orders of magnitude more INSTRUCTION-rich than anything Microsoft’s intelligent software designers ever designed, come to be?

(More to the point, why does it take effort to come up with such a mechanical system that isn't Turing-equivalent?)

^^ Oh, wait, is that "gay 'science'"? Brave Sir Noevo never did get back to that one.

^^^ Also, while I'm in the mood, it's hard to figure out how 64 can be orders of magnitude more than anything.

And such as, how did this DNA, which is orders of magnitude more INSTRUCTION-rich than anything Microsoft’s intelligent software designers ever designed, come to be?

Ha! This is perhaps literal plagiarism from a little creationist comic-book tract that was once handed to me on the diag. Sadly, I can't locate it online.

To JP #1527:

[[No Googling allowed for this first question: What is the name of the head of Buddhism today?

There isn’t one, dipsh*t. There’s also no such thing as “Buddhism” in the way you seem to be imagining it.

Googling allowed for this second question: What was the name of the head of Buddhism in 100 A.D.?

There wasn’t one. I see that as a positive thing, myself.]]
…..
Wha, I thinks wha we have right heah, is a fail-yah to communicate.

It be soundin’ like you be sayin’ this Buddhism or Buddherism AIN’T no organization.

So, how could an organization that don’t exist be olda than that there Catlick Church organization?

Son, one might say you been pullin’ our leg! To be puttin’ it gently.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

It be soundin’ like you be sayin’ this Buddhism or Buddherism AIN’T no organization.

Um, only if one accepts your, uh, idiosyncratic definition of "organization," SN.

This really is surreal.

BTW, I see you've gone all minstrel show again. Is this something that happens when you've realized you're in a corner?

Given what the 64 codons actually code for, a divinely reasoned argument against RISC designs is certainly warranted.

But hey, at least Sylvester II revived the notion of an abacus.

It be soundin’ like you be sayin’ this Buddhism or Buddherism AIN’T no organization.

Oh: given that I just said that a monolithic "Buddhism" doesn't exist, yeah. The Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka, specifically, certainly exists, though.

Re: #1537:

Pop quiz #2 (Don’t fret kids, summer vacation is almost here!):

No Googling allowed for this first question:
What is the name of the head of the Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka today?

Googling allowed for this second question:
What was the name of the head of the Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka in 100 A.D.?
……
For extra credit:

Is the “Catholic f*cking Workers” (a.k.a. Catholic Worker Movement?) organization older or younger than the Catholic Church?

For extra extra credit:

What is the longest-running organization ever, where organization has the commonly understood meaning of a distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority with a head kahuna and established practices, doctrines, rules?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

Who the f@ck cares, since all is shows is abject stagnation & shows how its followers are just a bunch of trolls who need to be told what to think by a book that was put together out of political expediency at the Council of Nicea & originally concocted by a bunch of plagiarizing nomads from 5000 years ago....s

Is the “Catholic f*cking Workers” (a.k.a. Catholic Worker Movement?) organization older or younger than the Catholic Church?

The point wasn't how old they are or are not; it's that yes, Virginia, there are organizations without heads, in contradiction to your, uh, "definition" of "organization:"

the commonly understood meaning of a distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority with a head kahuna and established practices, doctrines, rules

"Commonly understood" apparently means "as understood by SN," but the fact remains that you have pulled this definition out of your a$$.

In any case, back to the actual point, the mere fact that something is old, or has been around for a long time, doesn't mean it's good, or true, or of any value whatsoever.

See the Kalama Sutta.

What is the longest-running organization ever, where organization has the commonly understood meaning of a distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority

As has already been pointed out, you never left the starting gate, Sticky Thighs.

See Noevo, for someone who calls himself a Christian, you seem strangely obseesed with worldly power and authority.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

^ Hey, what happened to "association," Wonder Bread?

Who's the Pope of the Internet? Who's the Pope of Congress? Who's the Pope of the Supreme Court?

Shall I call in Ivan Brunetti?

I may disappoint you shay @1516. To paraphrase Paine, arguing with someone so far down the rabbit hole is akin to administering medicine to the deceased.

Although it is quite the surprise to see a Catholic Creationist I must say (imagine Ed Grimley speaking). Even more so to learn Antonin Scalia, a demon fearing catholic appears to be cut from the same cloth. It's time for the quadrennial playoff twixt the red and blue clowns in the US, so maybe he's just trying to score points for his team amongst the hoi polloi. Go Reds!

Mencken would consider SeeNoevo a "Tennessee Holy Roller" and was prescient in at least one sense:

"On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

ann @1518, I'm not sure what the thing is you mention in your last sentence. The snippet you quote, in context, refers to knowledge/education and the Caesars you invoke, indeed Roman society, were big on that. Even the mob were taught to read and write, while the upper classes got a more thorough education including the musings of Greek scholars. Girls were educated differently than boys, more along the lines of running a tight ship @ home. Sexist, sure, but sensible given that many husbands were off keeping the barbarians at bay.

One of the Greeks they may have learned aboot was Epicurus who raised a conundrum for the faithful of his age:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

^^ Who's the Pope of Market Basket?

You seem to like them thar bidness analogies, chicken hawk.

Who’s the Pope of the Internet?

For some reason, this has got me in a right giggling fit, and is going to have to become a catchphrase or a slogan or something, in one way or another.

It gets better for "our" onanistically braying theocorporatist ass:

Who's the Pope of Darden Restaurants?

ZOOP! goes the Holy Theocorporatist Ghost and the College of Cardinals.

Tell everyone about your clubs, Foghorn.

^ And your handicap, baby, tell everyone about your handicap.

Hey, I have an even better idea, Torquemadito! Remember this and this?

"Before we go any further," are you circumcised?

Yikes! LOL but yikes.

Pope of the Internet? Mickey Rourke? No, wait that's Greenwich Village. The NSA? That's more like it. Insinuating themselves into peoples' lives like the nipple headed old professional virgins in funny dresses because they can.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

ann @1518, I’m not sure what the thing is you mention in your last sentence. The snippet you quote, in context, refers to knowledge/education and the Caesars you invoke, indeed Roman society, were big on that. Even the mob were taught to read and write, while the upper classes got a more thorough education including the musings of Greek scholars. Girls were educated differently than boys, more along the lines of running a tight ship @ home. Sexist, sure, but sensible given that many husbands were off keeping the barbarians at bay.

Greco-Roman literacy rates are estimated to have been in the 5 to 20 percent range. Most people were illiterate, and those who could read and/or write were, for the most part, not well-educated in the contemporary sense of the word, because it's ahistorical nonsense to claim that Greco-Roman civilization was pro-rational or pro-education in some way that Christendom wasn't. The state didn't invest in education, or promote it, or mandate it, or otherwise revere it. It was primarily a privilege of the elite classes in both cases. And in both cases, there was some possibility of upward social mobility via education and traning in the service of the elites for some.

The primary difference is that since education was under the auspices of the Church during the Christian middle ages, and the Church -- as noted elsewhere on the thread -- is a centrally administered, well-organized institutional hierarchy of exceptional longevity, stability and reach, the concept of formal education as we know it today came into being.

As did, eg, universities.

Which is not to say that the vast majority of medieval Christians could even understand a word of Latin, let alone read or write it, and that they weren't therefore sitting through mass listening to nonsense syllables for all they knew. They were. But that's not because the Bible and Christianity came along and wrecked up the mythically rational and pro-education paradise that flourished during classical antiquity. There was none.

Pope of the Internet? Mickey Rourke? No, wait that’s Greenwich Village. The NSA? A girl named John? That’s more like it.

FTFY.

And ftm, if the Bible is so packed with anti-education Kryptonite, why were Jewish males almost guaranteed to be at least literate and quite possibly well-educated over a very long stretch of time during which quite a few pagan kings and rulers came and went who couldn't necessarily do more than sign their own names? If that much?

A lot of it pre-dates the Christian era, after all. (The Bible, I mean.)

Buckaroo Bonzai was perhaps my favorite movie back in middle school, as it turns out. I mean like up there with The Fly (the one with Jeff Goldblum, obviously.)

Bringing to conclusion a matter which never should have advanced beyond #1492, and which was so obvious and generally accepted it SHOULD have gone without saying (but apparently it needed to be said and defended)…

See Noevo: ‘Say what you will about the Catholic Church. But no other organization (i.e. A distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority with a head kahuna and with established practices, doctrines, rules.) in recorded history can come anywhere close to it in longevity.’

Ann: “…the Church — as noted elsewhere on the thread — is a centrally administered, well-organized institutional hierarchy of exceptional longevity, stability and reach…”

Hilaire Belloc: “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine– but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

Thank you, ann and Hilaire.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

Time for an Intermission.

I’m watching some of the PGA Tour’s St. Jude Classic.
It’s in Memphis, which made me think of that rollicking plaintive tune from that band…what’s its name again?

S.N.'s appeal to imaginary Canadian ball-gag fantasies writes itself.

^ "The response to"/"its own response," etc.

It'll never notice one way or another. By design.

Since many of the posts here deal with religion and creation, I figured I'd provide this epic “Our Father”, so to speak.
Actually, it’s Bob Dylan providing, via Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (one of the first bands I ever saw live).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r00SSHwHSmA

“Father of night, Father of day,
Father who take the darkness away,
Father who teaches the birds to fly,
Builder the rainbows up in the sky,
Father of day, Father of night,
Father of black, Father of white,
Father who built the mountain so high,
Shapeth the clouds up in the sky,
Father of loneliness and pain,
Father of night, Father of day,
Father of grain, Father of wheat,
Father of cold, Father of heat,
Father of air, Father of trees,
Dwells in our hearts and our memories,
Father of night, Father of day,
Father who take the darkness away,
Father who teacheth the birds to fly,
Builder of rainbows up in the sky,
Father of loneliness and pain,
Father of night, Father of day,

(Guitar!!!)

Father of night and Father of day,
Father who take the darkness away,

(music)

Father of black and Father of white,
Father who turneth the rivers and streams,
Father of night, Father of day,
Father who take the darkness away,
Father who teacheth the birds to fly,
Builder of rainbows up in the sky,
Father of grain, Father of wheat,
Father of cold, Father of heat,
Father of minutes, Father of days,
Father of whom we most solemnly praise.
Father of loneliness and pain....
Father of night, Father of day....”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 Jun 2015 #permalink

^ Two links. Could random chance have caused Magic Fingers?

I agree with JP @#1511 and ff.

"But apparently not alien to you. So could you explain, from your superior knowledge, how the germs that evolve within me can be affected by antibiotics that someone else, nowhere near me, took?" LW

You have to think outside the box. An antibiotic moderates the terrain, temporarily, because our system excretes them. If they were a requirement for health we would welcome them.

Bit like spraying disinfectant on shxt. After a while the smell breaks through, unless you clear up the shxt.

All humans produce the same kind of shxt, it breeds the same kind of bugs. Put a tourniquet around your neck in the UK and get someone else to do it in the USA. Both develop ganrene within about 7 hours - no one caught it.

If we keep moderating the terrain by taking antibiotics, and not keeping our body clean - we get nasty bugs. That is what MRSA is. Medicine likes to tell us that all these infections are bad luck, genes or lack of vaccines.

That's a spin to get us all to believe in their snake oil.

What is happening now is that so many people have taken antibiotics for irritating non life threatening conditions, we are all more at risk from being colonized by germs beyond our normal physiological ability to cope with.

In a sense what doctors have done is create an inverse herd immunity/susceptibility. Only those who have largely ignored the calling to be medicated at every turn have a chance to survive what is coming.

Rather biblical in a funny sort of way, and to think oracus and co are the authors of this Jones town event looming.

Well done!

Any evidence for your claims, other Johnny?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

Say what you will (and you will) about the Catholic Church. No other organization (i.e. A distinct body of people under centralized hierarchical authority with established practices, doctrines, rules.) in recorded history can come anywhere close to it in longevity.

According to the Imperial House of Japan, it beats the papacy by either 700-1000 years, or thereabouts, depending on when you think papacy begun.

RE: 1558

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEU-rkbodsc

"All Things Dull And Ugly"
Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album
and
Monty Python Sings

All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot

Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid wings

All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did

All things scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all, Amen

Proper Johnny
Accept no substitutes

I've a response for See Nothing in moderation because I messed up my e-mail addy - Sorry Orac.

@#1566 --

Indeed. If institutional longevity (as defined) is proof of systemic superiority, the Declaration of Independence was a big mistake. As long as there is one, the British Monarchy will always be superior to anything we can cook up.

ann @1569

If institutional longevity (as defined) is proof of systemic superiority,

.... then this discussion thread is clearly superior to almost any others.

By palindrom (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

"Any evidence for your claims, other Johnny?" Greyfookwit

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/amr-report/en/

30 April 2014 | Geneva - A new report by WHO–its first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.

Also common sense, but I predict you have had that taught out of you, don't think too hard birdy.

“Any evidence for your claims, other Johnny?” Greyfookwit

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/amr-report/en/

30 April 2014 | Geneva – A new report by WHO–its first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.

Also common sense, but I predict you have had that taught out of you, don’t think too hard birdy.

All things medical and doctery

All chronic diseases, the lord doc made them all
Each tinky little cough and cold he pushed them deeper in
that vain attempt to clean and build was treated as a sin
that little ache was twarted thus, eventually to become pus

We need more funds to spread the word appeals the doc
without our snakeoils talisman your bodies will live, not
nature has no clue about how to keep us well and
without our drugs and poisons life becomes a living hell

Pay your pension, donate to cause, and when you finally retire we'll take the lot............................................

The whole Catholic church thing is no different to the lord Oruc and his minions NobRed, Grey birdwit, saint Lilady, Helicus..
Dead writings, misogamy, teachings that make little or no sense, cult like vaccine adherence..............
So Bishop NobRed aka Narad the bad, how's your day been on jobsearch?

Other johnny, I said any evidence for your claims. That article did not support your claims it all. It did mention antibiotic resistance, but it did not suggest that germs were not the cause of disease, not did it suggest anything you suggested would help in the matter at all.

Also, it was once "common sense" that black magic caused disease. Think about it.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

Oh Grey birdy, you must be one of those followers of the 'catch a flu belief'. It's a common fallacy that you can catch flu. Even lab experiments at the common cold unit showed only 3% 'caught flu' when virus aerosols were sprayed up their noses! That's worse than a placebo.

As I said earlier, antibiotics temporarily modify the environment but they don't fix why the environment changed to be more conducive to unpleasant colonies.

I can just imagine you with water pouring through the roof of your house, spraying fungicide on that 'annoying' fungal infection in the parlor.

What is it exactly that you don't understand? We all know common sense isn't part of EBM.

Johnny, not everyone who drives drunk gets into an accident. Does that mean drunk driving is perfectly alright?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

Also, if germs are not the cause of disease, antibiotics wouldn't work, and antibiotic resistance would not happen. Given that the article you linked to shows that isn't the case, it's clear you're wrong.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

To ann #1569:

“@#1566 — Indeed. If institutional longevity (as defined) is proof of systemic superiority..."

I agree that longevity is not proof of superiority**.
But neither is novelty.

Nevertheless, longevity is worthy of some respect.

And related to longevity, BREADTH and INFLUENCE is worthy of some respect. One might call it “reach.”
[“the Church — as noted elsewhere on the thread — is a centrally administered, well-organized institutional hierarchy of exceptional longevity, stability and REACH…”]

Regardless of definitional debates about “organization”, I think there is probably no debate about whose REACH is greater – the Catholic Church or the Imperial House of Japan.

I don’t know much of anything about the IHJ and certainly don’t know (sans Googling) the name of its current head. And virtually every person in virtually every country outside of Japan would be likewise clueless.

In contrast, the CC is indeed catholic, and so it reaches, and reaches out to, every people on earth. And many people, Catholic or otherwise, in virtually every country on earth know a good bit about the CC, and could name its current head.

** I DO hope you understood that Belloc’s words, while insightful, were somewhat tongue-in-cheek. After all, he knew, and EVERYONE here knows, that unbelievers will accept NOTHING as “proof of its divinity.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

So, you approvingly quote someone who said he was "bound to hold [the Catholic church] divine," but you not only deny that you are an ecclesiolator, you deny the very existence of that heresy?

Why do I even bother?

And many people, Catholic or otherwise, in virtually every country on earth know a good bit about the CC

Yes, many people do know the almost worldwide touch of the church's evil.

SN is pretty funny, in a limited sort of way: after many and varied utter fails in biology, physics, etc., he tried sticking to what he thinks should be safer turf, i.e. religion, only to be humiliated there as well.

His overt displays of racism and misogyny are florid even if they aren't shocking (coming from him.)

This isn't exactly lepidoptery, but he is something of a specimen, though not a particularly stunning one.

And many people, Catholic or otherwise, in virtually every country on earth know a good bit about the CC

I hereby declare McDonald's to be the One True Church, the Golden Arches its cross, and Ronald McDonald the Savior of us all.

French fries, anybody?

See, it's funny how a supposed all loving, all powerful supreme being - capable of anything, knowing everything and not just at the moment but for all eternity - all of a sudden develops all too mortal and human traits like being too busy to end slavery or end the abuse of women as nothing more than fleshy incubators because of dealing with too many things on the table.

Ya know even if your deity were to cause every priest who phuqqed a child over the last 1800 years, or is similarly murdering the psyche of one ATM, and all those who aided & abetted them to appear in St. Pete's Square and spontaneously ignite, I'd accept IT as divine.

I still wouldn't worship it because that 'miracle' would unequivocally demonstrate your imaginary beast could have intervened and chose not to. Why? Too busy advancing the careers of Tim Tebow or Denzel Washington or fixing March Madness perhaps. No, I bet it's the ulimate non-answer that is always, always trotted out when faith gets backed into a córner - mysterious ways.

As per Epicurus above, my quatloos are on malevolent.

Ya know why I help people? Not because of some reward or punishment divvied out by The Great Celestial Bully. It's the right thing to do and that makes me feel good.

Your earlier wee mind game is pointless as evolution wasn't even in play until the later 1800s, yet the faithful found myriad ways to slaughter each other over the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. Introducing evolution changes nothing.

You wanna be on your knees for limitless eons, good for you. Yoú and doG are peas in a pod. Me? I'm going back to the ocean from whence we came and be recycled as some other form of life.

Your sophomoronic sophistry sickens. [Spits.]

By al kimeea (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

Regardless of definitional debates about “organization”, I think there is probably no debate about whose REACH is greater – the Catholic Church or the Imperial House of Japan.

Don't strain yourself with those goalposts. The "REACH" of the RCC is largely artifactual, and it's not exactly trending in a happy direction. Japan at least has the excuse of WWII, and if one can consider, oh, say, a country to be an "organization," their global influence REACH hasn't exactly been declining.

Of course, your stinking cowardice has already plainly revealed that you think that it is physically impossible for anything to occur that would existententially challenge the RCC (much less all of humanity, which is apparently of no particular concern) without Jesus's stepping in.

This truly highlights the imbecility of your posturing attempts to "argue" about "probabilities" in physics and everything else you have no actual knowledge of or interest in.*

As I've already pointed out – and you have duly cowered from – is that you are doing neither more nor less than insisting on a simple clockwork time bound on the Second Coming. Because you're frankly stupid, it hasn't occurred to you that this implies the existence of the clockwork's mechanism. To which you imagine yourself to have certain, ah, Gnosticky insight.

Or does the Vatican have a Secret Bunker? Hardened against fast neutrons and so forth, of course. Have you seen the Preparedness Document? Does it give a fυck about the laity, or just the Holy Hierarchy and Complete Dungeonmaster's Rules that you actually worship?

But, hey, you like "giving assignments," right? Here's a dandy one: Go find anyone further up in the Holy Hierarchy to endorse your performance here.

Lacking the ability to do this, it's entirely prudent for one to consider whether the Devil in fact shіt you out here with the explicit purpose of making Roman Catholics look really fυcking bad.

* Your foray into linguistics was truly a thing to behold.

^ The italics should have closed after "argue" and only reappeared for "Secret Bunker," but whatever.

^^ One might further note, in the context of disaster planning, that the baroque comedy of apostolic succession in the RCC makes the squabble over the Seventh Patriarch look like a model of organization.

I don’t know much of anything about the IHJ and certainly don’t know (sans Googling) the name of its current head. And virtually every person in virtually every country outside of Japan would be likewise clueless.

It seems that S.N. is lately finding the need to seek refuge in this weird tactic to try, and pathetically fail, to distract from the glaring Humpty Dumpty marketing campaign that he's rolled out.

"I don't know what you're talking about, so virtually every person in virtually every country outside of Japan has no idea who the Emperor of Japan is."

Because, as everyone knows, interest in royal families Does Not Include the freaking zipperheads.

I mean, it is also amusing that he is taking the contents of his own head, "sans Googling," as a yardstick for anything. "I'm a clueless idiot, so everybody else must be too, which means I win at the stupid game I invented! Give me a wafer cookie!"

Have you noticed that sn seems to be probing around other blogs here, leaving a stupid remark, sometimes returning, sometimes not. He was pushing his "soft tissue found in fossils "line a few other spots.

Regarding dean #1590’s
“Have you noticed that sn seems to be probing around other blogs here, leaving a stupid remark, sometimes returning, sometimes not.”

I tried to post on another blog a couple hours ago.
http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/06/15/what-is-the-magna-carta/

However, my post there is still “awaiting moderation.”

I’ll try posting it here below:

The 800th anniversary of the awesome Magna Carta.
Worth reflecting on, and being thankful for.

“And indeed, Magna Carta conceives rights in NEGATIVE terms, as GUARANTEES AGAINST STATE COERCION. No one can put you in prison or seize your property or mistreat you other than by due process. This essentially NEGATIVE CONCEPTION OF FREEDOM is WORTH CLINGING TO in an age that likes to redefine rights as entitlements—the right to affordable health care, the right to be forgotten and so on… they saw parliamentary government NOT as an expression of MAJORITY RULE BUT as a GUARANTOR OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.”
http://www.wsj.com/articles/magna-carta-eight-centuries-of-liberty-1432…
………..

I’m not at all sure how most of Greg’s piece has anything to do with the Magna Carta, but I have a couple observations:

“Then, something like climate change happens. Not the globally devastating climate change we are seeing today, but something likely more regional and not as severe, but that affects everyone’s gardens in roughly the same way. Over here you have famine more often, but over there you have higher productivity many years in a row. Maybe there is a three year long drought that causes mass migration, or maybe there is a summer with out a winter.”

That paragraph seems to describe what man has experienced throughout recorded history. Except for “the globally devastating climate change we are seeing today”.

I don’t know what Greg’s talking about.
Greg, what is the ONE GREATEST globally devastating climate change we are seeing today?

“In any event, the pot is stirred, but when you stir the Stone Soup of society over a large area, you don’t increase homogeneity like when you put all the different stuff in a blender to make a smoothy.”

In the U.S., the metaphor of a “melting pot” is usually used instead of the more modern “blender.” But regardless, although you might put IN to the blender Italian prosciutto, Irish potatoes, African camel’s milk, and Japanese ginseng, you don’t expect to get OUT of the blender those same things. In a very real sense, what results is not Italian or Irish or African or Japanese.

I don’t have a name for the hypothetical recipe above. Perhaps I’d call it “Cut out the hyphenated-American crap.” Or maybe “How about you learn to speak English when you decide to become an American?”
Or maybe “Damn the Diversity. Up with Unity.”

Who knows? Maybe it’ll end up in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, just in time for the Fourth of July.

“Instead of the guy in charge (and it will almost always be a guy because men can’t have babies and thus feel the need to take over everybody else’s junk all the time) …”

Remarkable. But I’ll make no remarks about it right now. Instead, I’m just going to give it an instant replay for all to consider. YOU make the call!
“Instead of the guy in charge (and it will almost always be a guy because men can’t have babies and thus feel the need to take over everybody else’s junk all the time) …”

“Instead of the guy in charge… being older and stronger and better connected than the other guys in a village, the guy in charge is the one with an extra 100 horses or a better blade or a clever strategy like stabbing the other guys up close instead of throwing something at them. This is how you get a king.”

Let’s see. That first king might have a bloodless but nevertheless liberty-crushing reign. The second may spill some blood in defense of liberty.
Either way you get a king.

Which king is better?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

S.N. did predictably cower from that whole "immanence" thing. But I had already profaned his tender, LPGA lovin'* ass, I suppose.

* Great stuff there. Check it out:

With a fully White mother, Barack is also the closest thing to a Black to ever be president.

I'd love to epoxy that to his chest, drop him off in Washington Park – maybe with a spritz of banana essence – and watch his attempts to Dale Carnegie the joint up.

However, my post there is still “awaiting moderation.”

I’ll try posting spam it here below instead

FTFY, pathetically lily-livered attention whore.

See Noevo@1579

Nevertheless, longevity is worthy of some respect.

Nope. Slavery was an institution much before the Catholic Church; personally I see no reason why it should be granted respect just because of this. Institution being a different thing from organization in this context. That being said, I think the comparison still works; in a vacuum (as your statement was) longevity is simply a trait. It means something has been around for significant peroid of time; nothing more, nothing less.

And related to longevity, BREADTH and INFLUENCE is worthy of some respect. One might call it “reach.”

One might also say another group with significant reach is ISIS. They are certainly not worthy of respect. These traits you listed only describe form, they say nothing about substance.

I don’t know much of anything about the IHJ and certainly don’t know (sans Googling) the name of its current head. And virtually every person in virtually every country outside of Japan would be likewise clueless.

Akihito and the previous emperor was Showa. I've watched a lot of anime. Your view seems very ethno(culturo?)centric.

I probably need to read back a bit to get a handle on this conversion but what the heck is this See Noevo even going on about? "My religion can beat up your religion?" A dick measuring contest between gods?

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

To capnkrunch #1593:

Me: “And related to longevity, BREADTH and INFLUENCE is worthy of some respect. One might call it “reach.””

You: “One might also say another group with significant reach is ISIS. They are certainly not worthy of respect.”

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re not trying to draw an equivalence between ISIS and the Catholic Church.

“These traits you listed only describe form, they say nothing about substance.”

That’s an interesting choice of words. Are you familiar with Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy? I THINK it delves quite a bit into “form” and “substance”. If you are familiar, do you think A-T thought on form and substance is valid?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

See Noevo@

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re not trying to draw an equivalence between ISIS and the Catholic Church.

As far as both of them having significant reach, yes, I am comparing them. That was where my comparison ended though, I wouldn't call it "trying to draw an equivalency" between them. I was simply making the point that reach in and of itself is not reason for respect. If you want to make the case that the Catholic Churh has significant reach and uses it for good which is worthy of respect, then great. That is not what you said however.

That’s an interesting choice of words. Are you familiar with Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy? I THINK it delves quite a bit into “form” and “substance”. If you are familiar, do you think A-T thought on form and substance is valid?

Ah, I didn't really mean anything that deep. A more concrete analogy would be to look at an institution as a computer program. Longevity and reach might correspond to date created and file size. This metadata is certainly useful but it tells you nothing about how well the program works which is what actually matters. I guess metadata vs content would've been a better starting point than form vs substance given all the added metaphysical meaning behind the latter.

Speaking of metaphysics, I don't really understand well enough to comment and I'm sure if I try I'll only make myself look stupid to the people here who actually know what they're talking about. I believe sadmar would be the guy to ask if you're interested discussing philosophy.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

A more concrete analogy would be to look at an institution as a computer program.

You fool, information theory is S.N.'s very field of expertise.

To capnkrunch #1596:

“A more concrete analogy would be to look at an institution as a computer program. Longevity and reach … tells you nothing about how well the program works which is what actually matters.”

But if a computer program works in such a way that many highly intelligent (and less intelligent) people (and even a former agnostic/atheist such as myself) “purchase” that computer program, even today, 2,000 years after its product launch… then, THAT might tell you something.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

But if a computer program works in such a way that many highly intelligent (and less intelligent) people (and even a former agnostic/atheist such as myself) “purchase” that computer program, even today, 2,000 years after its product launch… then, THAT might tell you something.

I cannot begin to describe how delicious your screaming technological ignorance and the insane analogies that flow from it really are.

@ capnkrunch

I believe sadmar would be the guy to ask if you’re interested discussing philosophy.

Sadmar already had a go at it, around #1322. Our visitor complained the words were too big.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

@ capnkrunch

Missed this part in your previous post:

I probably need to read back a bit to get a handle on this conversion but what the heck is this See Noevo even going on about? “My religion can beat up your religion?” A dick measuring contest between gods?

I will save you some time and say "yes, that's about it", with "religion" being about any topic S.N. decides to focus on.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Jun 2015 #permalink

@capnkrunch

It might also help to know that sn, who is also an expert on cosmology and so can dismiss it out of hand without providing any evidence, said at Ethan's blog that nobody should ever spend time or money studying anything that didn't have an immediate application.

When someone starts from that viewpoint it's only a short step into the lunacy sn demonstrates.

Horatio,

If God is omnipotent, can He create a boulder so large that He cannot lift it?

It seems no one has heard from Him since he was first asked this question a couple of thousand years ago. I assume He has been giving it some thought.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

See Noevo: A more apt analogy would be that for most of its history, the Catholic Church was like a piece of software that required people to pay extra money every time that they wanted it to do what it was supposed to do, with all the source code in FORTRAN, and published by a company that employed goons to beat up anyone who tried to compete. The Protestant Reformation happened for a good reason: The Catholic Church had all but abandoned the teachings of Christ by the sixteenth century.

Now, back on topic: What explanation do you have for all the coal, oil, and natural gas appearing exactly where the evolutionary biologists say they did?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

ann @1550 & 1552

I didn't mean to give the impression that there was some kind of empire wide public school system and was really thinking only of the core of the empire - the boot of Europe and the larger cities. I could have been more clear. I doubt schooling extended to the far reaches of Gaul or Dacia. Education wasn't controlled by the state, it was under the auspices of the freehand of the market.

It seems the rate of literacy of the ancients is still hotly contested amongst those whose knowledge of the subject far exceeds two plain folk on the intertubes. It hovers around the numbers you mentioned.

Which is not to say that the vast majority of medieval Christians could even understand a word of Latin, let alone read or write it, and that they weren’t therefore sitting through mass listening to nonsense syllables for all they knew.

Apparently the origin of the phrase hocus-pocus, IIRC.

I take it you didn't go poke around the site Sarah A found so enlightening. It is quite impressive for the work of only one man.

In the same epistle, Paul set up the first Christian defence against intellectual and scientific criticism. He argued that it is only by achieving ignorance and foolishness that one finally attains God's promise.

I Corinthians 3:18-20
Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written:

"He catches the wise in their craftiness. [Job 5:13]"

and again:

"The Lord knows that the thought of the wise are futile. [Psalms 94:11]"

Paul's passage above shows that, ultimately, reason has no place in Christianity. As the ex-nun Karen Armstrong asks:

"Are all men's thoughts - Einstein's, Pasteur's, Plato's - useless? ... [Paul's attitude] - flung Christendom into the Dark Ages, by denying human achievements of learning and culture ... haven't we all met Christians who use the teaching of Paul to adopt a contrived Philistinism, a denial of intellect and culture, that makes a great display of superiority? Then there are the fundamentalists, who refuse to look at Biblical criticism ... At the opposite pole ... Catholic teaching on contraception goes against all charity, all wisdom, but it is an assertion of "God's foolishness" in the face of the wisdom of the world"

The last bit from another ex-nun, there's a trend developing.

It seems the anti-rational/knowledge bits are largely to be found in the New Testament, which answers your question @1552. We also have that uber-mensch Luther chiming in:

“Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

Thankfully, in this day and age, that struggle is now on the other foot.

I earlier mentioned the 42/10 meme (contemporary evidence of Jesus/Emperor Tiberius), but didn't limn the results of the scholarly analysis. It turns out there are several dozen facts supporting Tiberius and 0, zero, contemporary mentions of Jesus. In fact there are around 100 or so ancients writing of then current events and no mention of an itinerant apocalyptic death cult preacher shaking up a very tiny backwater of the empire (much less China or Japan or Central America).

There are many references of those Krazy Kristians, but only 1 of their Holey Man. It is considered a later insertion by christians. Another of their useful lies, I guess: Here's Celsus from somewhere in the 100sCE:

Christians usually flee headlong from cultured people who are not prepared to be deceived, but they trap illiterate folk ... Their injunctions are like this, "Let no one be educated, no one wise, no one sensible draw near. For these abilities are thought by us to be evils. But as for anyone ignorant, anyone stupid, anyone uneducated, anyone who is a child, let him come boldly." ... Some of them do not even want to give or receive a reason for what they believe, and use such expressions as "Do not ask questions; just believe." and "Thy faith will save thee." And they say, "The wisdom of the world is an evil, and foolishness is a good thing."

and

But whenever they get hold of children in private and some stupid women with them, they let out some outstanding statements as, for example, that they must not pay any attention to their father and school teachers, but must obey them; they say that these talk nonsense and have no understanding, and that in reality they neither know, nor are able to do anything good, but are taken up with empty chatter. But they alone, they say, know the right way to live, and if the children would believe them, they would become happy and make their home happy as well. And if just as they are speaking they see one of the schoolteachers coming, or some intelligent person, or even the father himself, the more cautious of them flee in all directions; but the more reckless urge the children on to rebel.

Christianity setup schools not to teach natural philosophy, but to promulgate dogma resulting in the persecution of Galileo, among others and with Copernicus publishing his work posthumously so as not to suffer the rather gruesome fate of Bruno, who posited a cosmology closer to what we now know although still deity driven.

For the Johnny who can't tell the difference between a virus and a bacteria, what colour is the sky in your world? I wonder if you've ever been deathly ill. If you do fall prey to some nasty infection (hopefully not), is it because you weren't clean enough?

By al kimeea (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

@SeeNoevo - does the Catholic church still sell indulgences? With the whole papal infallibility and so forth, I can't imagine such a perfect, everlasting institution changing anything proclaimed in its history. Darn that stupid printing press and increasing literacy interfering with the church's ability to ignore its own Scripture and teach whatever it felt like in its place. If they hadn't made the constantly dissatisfied Luther a teacher at university (forcing him to read those texts himself), they might have delayed the Reformation another decade or so (but maybe not; it was kind of inevitable).

SeeNoevo, one of your problems in your argument and why you make no headway is your response boils down to, "Well, God, Bible and Catholic Church. Worse, the last of your arguments supports evolution! Doubling down, moving goal posts or changing topics completely do not win a debate. If your opponents do not credit any of your supporting arguments as coming from a credible source, they will not be swayed by those arguments. You are just wasting time if you cannot provide anything more concrete.

Or maybe “How about you learn to speak English when you decide to become an American?”

Given your enormous levels of bigotry and racism, coupled with general lack of education and knowledge of history, it isn't a surprise you don't know that immigrant families never immediately learned English when they came here: it was always a generational change.

Didn't close my quotes after Catholic Church.

@al kimeena:

The problem with your assertions and arguments, for the most part, is that you are starting with a conclusion - "religion (Christianity, at least) is stupid, evil and wrong" - and working backward from that conclusion. You are not doing history, you are doing polemics.

This is one reason why many educated people don't take, say, Richard Dawkins very seriously at all when he talks about much beyond evolutionary biology.

Part of the reason the "Christianity is the cause of Rome's fall and the Dark Ages!" argument is that it:
a) Ignores every other issue the late Western Roman Empire suffered, including overpopulation, resource depletion, widespread corruption, gross inequality, and so on...
b) Ignores the Eastern Roman Empire, which was equally Christian, but held on much better.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

I mean, part of the reason it fall flat.

Also, I should note that al seems to enjoy quoting Scripture out of context just as much as See does.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

I'm well aware of how Rome fell, what happened after christianity grabbed the reins and The Schism.

Funny, when people provide links to sources I follow them which doesn't seem to be happening in this regard.

if the verses are out of context, rather than assertion, how about correction.

Strawman arguments and deflection, one of the hallmarks of medi-wooligans

By al kimeea (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

Al, remember I Corinthians 3:18-20? The full chapter spoke of schisms and divisions in the church. The "wisdom of this world" he spoke of probably had nothing to science, and was more likely some form of Gnosticism or similar.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

@al kimeena:

The link you provided is not to a work of academic merit. All the author does is pick random verses - yes, out of context - and rant about them; if that's what I was interested in reading, I'd go find a creationist screed or something.

Besides that, the author makes hardly any citations, never cites any primary sources, and what few citations he does provide are to non-academic popular books. I am not impressed.

BTW, stomping your foot and sticking your lower lip out when somebody criticizes your arguments instead of addressing the criticisms is not going to get you a lot of credit.

^I forgot to mention that "Rejecting Pascals' Wager" has web design worthy of 1995, which doesn't necessarily invalidate any of its arguments, but is kind of chuckle-worthy.

I take it you didn’t go poke around the site Sarah A found so enlightening. It is quite impressive for the work of only one man.

No, I did. Really, the whole of my dissent from it could be summed up by my response to the first sentence on the page you linked to:

Christianity, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason.

This is true to the extent that faith, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason. But it's not truer of Christianity than it is of any other faith. And if your aim is to examine the particular ways in which it's true of Christianity, you just mess yourself up right out of the gate by not acknowledging that.

I suppose it is kind of pedantic of me. But I believe in defining your terms.

Likewise:

Christianity setup schools not to teach natural philosophy, but to promulgate dogma resulting in the persecution of Galileo, among others and with Copernicus publishing his work posthumously so as not to suffer the rather gruesome fate of Bruno, who posited a cosmology closer to what we now know although still deity driven.

^^That's not something "Christianity" did. The Catholic Church was an enormously powerful quasi-imperial political force for centuries. And it acted like one. Obviously -- even self-evidently -- it was able to do that in part because its own indispensability is a foundational tenet of the faith.

But nevertheless. If you say "this is how Christians act, what Christianity is, etc." rather than "this is how institutional power that's accountable to no one acts, how it is, etc." you miss a very key point. Because again: That's what happens when you don't define your terms. It's inherently inimical to reason.

For example. If I read you correctly, you're arguing that Greco-Roman education was under the auspices of the free market. First of all, to what, exactly, do you attribute the poularity of Christianity? And second of all, what light does it shed on the world as it is now or as it was then to suggest that people who lived in a pre-industrial largely agrarian economy prior to the invention of the printing press were mostly illiterate because either: (a) free market (if pre-Christian); or (b) the Church (if post-Christian)?

As far as I can see, all it does is obscure the much more instructive fact that until quite recently, most people couldn't read, didn't have time to, and wouldn't have had anything to read if they did, for reasons that had nothing to do with religion.

In any event. I respectfully dissent from the argument you're making. But maybe we should just agree to disagree. To each his/her own.

Cheers.

See Noevo@1598

But if a computer program works in such a way that many highly intelligent (and less intelligent) people (and even a former agnostic/atheist such as myself) “purchase” that computer program, even today, 2,000 years after its product launch… then, THAT might tell you something.

You're focused way too much on the specifics of the metaphor and even then your argument doesn't hold. What about the ubiquitous Ask toolbar? What about malware? Sure it might "tell you something" but that something isn't neccessarily positive as you imply.

Other popular but awful things: misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals. Back to my original point, popularity, reach, longevity, these are just descriptors. They are completely neutral. In a vacuum none of those traits makes something worthy of respect. This was the point I was trying to make that you have now twice ignored in order to quibble over some minor part of my delivery.

Narad@1597
Clearly. Bad move on my part bringing the 'discussion' into See Noevo's home court. I'm don't think I have an answer to the "laptop on the moon" paradox.

Helianthus@1600/1
Thanks for saving me the trouble. The response to sadmar was worth going back and reading.

dean@1602
I read some of the comments over at Starts With a Bang. In addition to the "immediate application" argument I also see "your theory isn't perfect so we should scrap it for my theory. My theory isn't perfect but who cares! It doesn't have to be, it's not science."

Also thanks for turning me onto Ethan's blog. I've never ventured far from RI here.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

Small clarification to my previous comment.

Other popular but awful things: misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals.

I used "other" meaning in addition to my previous examples of the Ask toolbar and malware; this was not an implicit statement that the Catholic Church is awful. I suppose I should have written "prolific" instead of "popular." Just want to clear that up before See Noevo uses it as a reason to ignore the rest my comment.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

To ann #1616:

“Really, the whole of my dissent from it could be summed up by my response to the first sentence on the page you linked to: “Christianity, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason.” This is true to the extent that faith, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason. But it’s not truer of Christianity than it is of any other faith.”

I don’t think faith is “fundamentally anti-reason.” I think faith is different than reason but faith is supported by, and works with, reason. They MUST go together.

Otherwise, to hell with “faith alone”. (And to hell with reason alone.)

I think St. Peter would agree:
“but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always BE PREPARED to MAKE A DEFENSE to any one who calls you to ACCOUNT FOR the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” [1 Peter 3:15]
(I don’t think Peter wouldn’t look kindly on an argument such as “Well, I can’t or won’t justify my faith. It’s just what I feel and what I believe.”)

And of course, so does the Church. For example: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j…

I myself came to faith THROUGH reason. Others may come to faith via more experiential, mystical or even revelational means. But even then, the Christian should fortify the faith with reason. Again, one must have fides ET ratio.

This is also why Catholic seminaries, from my understanding, require a grounding in philosophy BEFORE one begins studies in theology.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

To capnkrunch #1617:

“Other popular but awful things: misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals. Back to my original point, popularity, reach, longevity, these are just descriptors. They are completely neutral. In a vacuum none of those traits makes something worthy of respect.”

And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution.

Oh, yes they are.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

See: Evolution isn't a religion. It doesn't make value judgments. Don't conflate evolution with atheism. When you do so, you're no better than Richard Dawkins.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

See Noevo@1620

And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution.

Oh, yes they are.

What does this even mean? You've once again ignored my point. You said longevity and reach are all things worthy of respect. I gave examples of things with longevity and reach that are not worthy of respect. I even told how to fix your argument but you also ignored that and and opted for this drivel instead. For someone who claims to be a man of reason you are doing a piss poor job of showing it.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

al kimeaa: "See, it’s funny how a supposed all loving, all powerful supreme being – capable of anything, knowing everything and not just at the moment but for all eternity – all of a sudden develops all too mortal and human traits like being too busy to end slavery or end the abuse of women as nothing more than fleshy incubators because of dealing with too many things on the table."

Yes, this is pretty much why I'm not a Christian. I don't let men boss me around in real life (unless they happen to be my employers), why would I let an uberman force me into a drab, joyless life? As I said on another thread, God and Christians tend to be more malevolent then benevolent- why do we assume God approves of multi-celled life?

Also, SN, you must be trolling. No Christian would listen to Dylan. Or are you one of the Discovery Institute's paid trolls? Furthermore, reason and faith are totally, utterly incompatible.
Finally, aren't you, as a Christian, supposed to support misogyny, homophobia and probably racism? You seem to be saying those are bad things, which is an odd thing for someone as religious as you to say.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

PGP if you ever got anything right about Christianity, I think I would have to check the ambient temperature in Hades.

PGP's what you get when you take the premises of fundamentalist Christianity and follow them to their logical conclusion.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

I don’t think faith is “fundamentally anti-reason.” I think faith is different than reason but faith is supported by, and works with, reason.

Believe it or not, I don't think we're really in disagreement on this one. I was just echoing the phrasing of the line I quoted, because....Well. While not exactly, precisely true, it seemed to me to be close enough for the immediate purpose to which I was putting it -- ie, pointing out that it's ridiculous, nonsensical and biased to say that Christianity is fundamentally anti-reason.

I mean, nobody can be all pedantry, all the time. I guess I kind of fell down on the job.

But fwiw, I agree that faith is different than reason. And discrete from it, even. I also agree that it can be supported by reason and work with it. And I agree that that's a better way of putting it.

I would further say that all people rely on faith more or less continually in the course of their daily lives in some way, shape or form, and probably couldn't get by without it. It's human nature.

That's not necessarily religious faith, though.

They MUST go together.

I certainly agree that it's a good idea. So if that's what you mean, I agree. But I would also say that faith is beyond reason. Inherently. So if there's a conflict, one or the other has to yield, imo. And I have a feeling we might not agree about that.

And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution.

Oh, yes they are.

I too do not know what this means. Misogyny, racism, and prejudice against homosexuals are to evolution as banana, area rug, and Spirograph are to Catholicism. As far as I know.

But it's been a while since I took the SATs.

Could you rephrase?

“misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals”

He's referencing some of the things he holds most dear.

@capnkrunch:

I read some of the comments over at Starts With a Bang. In addition to the “immediate application” argument I also see “your theory isn’t perfect so we should scrap it for my theory. My theory isn’t perfect but who cares! It doesn’t have to be, it’s not science.”

It's even worse than that. The "navigation" argument immediately collapses, with the most recent example being the tying of GPS to the second iteration of the International Celestial Reference Frame.

Moreover, as a random attention-seeking interloper, he failed to realize that Ethan isn't a Multiverse Maniac in the first place. His version of cosmology has nothing to do with the real world and everything to do with regurgitating partially digested creationist talking points.

But this has been gone over before. He makes an idiotic stink about things that he's totally ignorant of (there's an encore going on at EvolutionBlog) and then changes the subject if he gets the slightest opportunity.

As for "Starts with a Bang" itself, I largely gave up when Ethan started using it as a redirector to the unsightly medium.com except for the comments. Make up your mind, already.

GF: I am not, and never have been a Christian. I just observe them.

Shay: What part of my comment was wrong? SN is obviously a fundamentalist, which means he doesn't support rights for anyone who isn't a fetus or a straight male.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

^ I failed to mention that the "navigation argument" wrapped itself of with a snide, off-topic stupidity that is noteworthy only as a proof that Odorama isn't strictly necessary – when everybody has gone home except for an attention-whoring imbecile, the stench of the pathetic, freshly shіt-eating grin actually oozes from the screen.

What part of my comment was wrong? SN is obviously a fundamentalist,

First of all, he's a Catholic with very socially conservative views.

Second of all

No Christian would listen to Dylan.

Dylan is himself not only Christian, but born again. Has been since the '70s. And his work often reflects it.

Even if that wasn't the case, virtually everyone likes and listens to music.

Furthermore, reason and faith are totally, utterly incompatible.

They're not totally incompatible. They're utterly incompatible to a degree.

Finally, aren’t you, as a Christian, supposed to support misogyny, homophobia and probably racism?

I don't know how many times this has to be pointed out to you. But that's an offensive, overly broad and bigoted characterization. Outlandishly so, even. I mean, have you ever noticed that the Reverend Martin Luther King was a Christian?

It appears that there's more question about whether Bob Dylan's Christianity is intact than I realized.

I regret the error.

Ann: I thought Dylan was Jewish. And, no music isn't for everyone, Christians are supposed to only listen to Perry Como or "Christian artists."

My apologies to SN, sort of. Catholics still mostly think that fetuses are more important than women, they're okay with gays as long as the gay people don't actually dare to exist in their vicinity or are willing to never, ever have a partner or be happy. Catholic women are also not allowed to be happy or, you know, have opinions.

MLK was a very good man, but that doesn't mean he didn't have prejudices or turn a blind eye to certain things. Like say, Gandhi being a racist. At least two of MLK's kids have been active in anti-gay movements. Though I will note that Corretta King was an advocate for glbt people, so it's hard to say where he'd come down on that.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

No Christian would listen to Dylan.

Roger McGuinn, formerly of the Byrds, is a born-again Christian of many years standing (about 30 years, I believe). Despite my atheism, I am still a huge fan because he is relatively low-key about it, and doesn't proselytize.

In concert, he still plays the Dylan hits , including Tambourine Man, My Back Pages, You Ain't Going Nowhere to name a few. He deliberately does not do "Christian Music", except for a few traditional country and folk songs with a Christian theme, probably no more than the average folk troubadour.

To capnkrunch #1677, #1622:

Me: “But if a computer program works in such a way that many highly intelligent (and less intelligent) people (and even a former agnostic/atheist such as myself) “purchase” that computer program, even today, 2,000 years after its product launch… then, THAT might tell you something.”

You: “You’ve once again ignored my point. You said longevity and reach are all things worthy of respect…You’re focused way too much on the specifics of the metaphor and even then your argument doesn’t hold. What about the ubiquitous Ask toolbar?”

What is the longevity, and I might add, reliability, of “Ask toolbar”?

“What about malware?”
What is the longevity of “malware”? Is the purpose of malware what you call “positive”? Is “positive” good or bad?

The “computer program” of the Catholic Church not only has almost incredible longevity, it also has stability and has reach,
and MOST IMPORTANTLY, after 2,000 years, provides results so “positive” that many highly intelligent people “buy” it.

I bought it and I didn’t even need a money-back guarantee.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

SN: You're ignoring all the people your lovely 'program' stampeded over and is still hurting today. That's not a benevolent program, it's purely a weapon. Just ask the 10-year olds who are forced to give birth, the environmentalists who are going to get double-crossed, or all the kids your beloved priests raped.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

To ann #1627:

Me: “And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution. Oh, yes they are.”

You: “I too do not know what this means. Misogyny, racism, and prejudice against homosexuals are to evolution as banana, area rug, and Spirograph are to Catholicism. As far as I know.”

Then you don’t know enough. And the SATs won’t help you.

Could I rephrase? Yes. How about this:

1)Evolution is value-less. There is no “good” or “bad” in evolution. In evolution there is only life, change and death. But again, death isn’t “bad” and life isn’t “good”, because there is no “bad” or “good”.

2)All living organs and organisms are the result of this value-less process (according to evolutionists). One such organ is the brain, from which come, among other things, what humans might call “value judgments”, such as ‘Racism is bad’ or ‘Racism is good’ [or even ‘Racism is ridiculous, because there are no races. There’s only one race, the human race. Just ask the genteticists.’]

3)Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong. Everything is subjective, really like matters of taste. Some think vanilla is not only good, but is better than chocolate. Some say the same about pro-abortion vs. pro-life. Whatever. Vive la difference. Or to hell with the difference. Whatever.

That’s what I meant by saying “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution. Oh, yes they are.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

@#1638 --

This is as inarguably true of evolution as it is of rock music, hoagies and architecture.

But I'm still not sure I see your point.

Ann: I thought Dylan was Jewish.

He famously (VERY famously) converted back in the late '70s/early '80s. ("Gotta Serve Somebody," etc.)

And, no music isn’t for everyone, Christians are supposed to only listen to Perry Como or “Christian artists.”

Oh, brother. I give up.

I’m a bit surprised of all the talk about Bob Dylan since #1558.
I guess commentary on such afterthoughts is one of the reasons we’re at over 1,600 posts here.

Well, I’ll go with the flow a little bit.
This isn’t one of my favorite melodies from Dylan, but it’s one of his better lyrics. It was probably written back in his born-again days. But even if he’s no longer Christian, the lyric is still profound, simple and true:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8sI5WekW78

By See Noevo (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

To ann #1639:

“This is as inarguably true of evolution as it is of rock music, hoagies and architecture.”

Not really. Rock music, hoagies and architecture were produced by evolution, that is, by our evolved brains. Nothing objectively “good” or “bad” about them.
Speaking of food, the Wall Street Journal had an article this past weekend on the evolution of cooking: http://www.wsj.com/articles/cooking-has-a-place-in-human-evolution-1433…

“But I’m still not sure I see your point.”

When’s the last time you had your "eyes" checked?

But “hoagies”? Are you from the Philadelphia area? I am.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

I like that one too, although his stuff has never really loomed all that large in my personal pantheon, with a few exceptions. For which I blame myself, not him. But so it be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixw6YUlkrn8

^^I love that song.

We should just make this a dedicated music video thread, imo.

What part of my comment was wrong?

Shall we start with the "Christians don't listen to Dylan"?

@#1642.

Yes, I know. No, I'm not. But I have family who are. So I speak the lingo.

I bought it and I didn’t even need a money-back guarantee.

Well, I wouldn't expect your cheap cult to be confident enough to offer a guarantee. If they don't have faith in their product, why should you?

The best deal out there is

ETERNAL SALVATION -- OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK

http://www.subgenius.com/pams/pam2p1.html

Also see -
(Not safe for work or small children)
https://youtu.be/Qt9MP70ODNw
(Not safe for work or small children)

Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong.

I don't see how your conclusion (a valueless process cannot produce values or organisms with values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong) logically follows from its precedent (all living organs, including the brain, and organisms are the result of a value-less process ),

Why not?

Shay: Well, they can, but I'm sure they're not allowed too.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

You effing idiot, yes, we are.

My favorite track from it is this

Given that your sorry ass is apparently back from JACK IN THE BOX, don't you think you have more pressing things to attend to?

But fυck, if you're still smeared with Jack's Secret Sauce and want to (weirdly, given your loathing of its original concept) "play" Dylan instead, let's at least try something appropriate.

See Noevo@1636

The “computer program” of the Catholic Church not only has almost incredible longevity, it also has stability and has reach,
and MOST IMPORTANTLY, after 2,000 years, provides results so “positive” that many highly intelligent people “buy” it.

Ok, let's drop the metaphor. You've twisted it much further than I ever intended (or indeed than makes sense). I simply wanted to illustrate the difference between "metadata" (longevity, reach, etc) and "content" (actions). I agree with you that positive results are most important. None of the other traits you listed are worthwhile without them. That however, was not your original argument. You claimed that longevity and reach are worthy of respect in and of themselves. That the CC is good was never what I took issue with, my personal feelings towards it are pretty neutral. My contention was that you claimed it was good simply because it is old and influential.

@1683
As JGC mentioned in #1647 your conclusion doesn't follow. I'm pretty sure there's a good old fashioned syllogistic fallacy in there, maybe Narad can name it for us. Regardless your entire premise is flawed.

A process is "a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner." A process (action) can't possibly have the same traits as a human (object). Following your logic to the leads us to a bizarro world where every process is also its own product.

The process that Dictionary.com gave as an example was decay. Consider a decaying carcass (morbid, huh?). The process of decay is a series of chemical reactions. These reactions have no smell themselves, the are simply the rearranging of chemicals. However, they produce chemicals such as putrescine and cadaverine which do indeed possess a distinctive odor.

Your current argument seems to be that values/ morals could only have possibly been given to us by God because only he has values to give. Personally, I subscribe to a very simple value system which is pretty much just the golden rule*. This can be explained by evolution. The ability to empathize would confer an evolutionary advantage to a member of a social species such as ourselves. Where did empathy come from?

To be honest this is getting outside my area of knowledge but I would hazard that emergence can explain it. Consider a pile of sand. As you continue adding grains of sand to it it eventually reaches a tipping point. Prior to this each grain of sand didn't affect the entire pile much but the next grain of sand will cause an avalanche. This avalanche may even trigger more and more and in this way a change on the micro scale (+1 sand) can cause sweeping changes on a macro scale (cascades of avalanches). Adding the grains of sand would be random genetic variance and the avalanche is the development of empathy.

The exact mechanisms by which thoughts and emotions arise are far outside my knowledge but the take away is that in a complex system miniscule changes can have profound effects and behaviors or patterns that were not present previously can develop.

*before you claim that is a CC construct let me say no, it isn't. It may have been most famously verbalized in the bible but it has been around as written/spoken word much longer than Christianity and likely as a human characteristic even longer.

RE: Bob Dylan
I like to joke that my favorite Bob Dylan is All Along the Watchtower...by Jimi Hendrix. Its not a very good joke but that's never stopped me.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 16 Jun 2015 #permalink

You’ve twisted it much further than I ever intended

That's not what he's doing. In fact, I'm confident that nothing you've written has been "processed" by S.N.'s Divine "INSTRUCTION-rich" trans-Turing supercomsmurter*

I mean, I could go on at length about the grasping, fraudulent history of the word metadata, but S.N. just isn't paying attention in the first place. I'm amazed that it hasn't had the sense to switch over to intoning from a "fresh," cheap Protestant tract involving "epigenetics" yet.

* 'Solves' desperately complicated climate PDEs, BTW. AND THE HALTING PROBLEM (but, really, c'mon, that's freaking "gay 'science'").

@ capnkrunch 1653

Your current argument seems to be that values/ morals could only have possibly been given to us by God because only he has values to give.

A philosophy nerd has put together a flash game treating about the issue of what should be the ultimate source of morality.

Being a complete noobs myself in such matters, I was of course enthralled. People with more background in philosophy may be less impressed. I would expect that summarizing 6000+ years of philosophical debates into a game cannot be done without seriously cutting corners.
I won't spoil the conclusion of the game. I will just say the author hadn't the arrogance to believe he/she has the definite answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe and the rest.

One point I remember from the Greek philosopher/priest character who contended that morality comes from the gods was that such a position only displaced the question. Do the gods create values, or do the values they give us come from a more universal source?
With the latter, faith is not the only way to learn right from wrong.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 17 Jun 2015 #permalink

To capnkrunch #1653:

“Ok, let’s drop the metaphor. You’ve twisted it much further than I ever intended (or indeed than makes sense). I simply wanted to illustrate the difference between “metadata” (longevity, reach, etc) and “content” (actions). I agree with you that positive results are most important. None of the other traits you listed are worthwhile without them. That however, was not your original argument. You claimed that longevity and reach are worthy of respect in and of themselves. That the CC is good was never what I took issue with, my personal feelings towards it are pretty neutral. My contention was that you claimed it was good simply because it is old and influential.”

OK, we can drop your metaphor. But some final clarifications may be in order:

1)My initial statement in #1492 was NOT that the CC was good, nor even that it was worthy of respect. My initial statement was only that as an organization, specifically defined, it was unrivaled in longevity, and that I felt it would still be standing at the end of the world.

2)My secondary and much later statement, way down in #1579, was that longevity and reach are worthy of “SOME respect”. That is, “SOME” respect. [The same could be said of poison ivy.]

3)My third statement in #1598 was that the CC program is still purchased today, even by highly intelligent people.

4)In my fourth statement in #1636 I was more specific, saying that these intelligent people buy the CC program NOT blindly but buy it because the CC program “WORKS in such a way”, even in what you might call a “POSITIVE” way.

So, when a computer program (and/or metadata)
-has virtually unrivaled longevity and reach, AND
-WORKS in such a way that highly intelligent people STILL want it, 2000 years after it was started,

Then, well, you really got something.
Contrary to what you say, I never “claimed it was good simply because it is old and influential.”

Yours wasn’t a bad metaphor.
It just worked better for me than for thee.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 17 Jun 2015 #permalink

Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong.

I must have misread that.

I agree with JGC. That's not inarguably true of evolution (or rock music, not including the part about producing organisms). If organisms evolve enough capacity for thought and feeling to be capable of moral discernment, then they are.

On an unrelated note, I think it's to the credit of all concerned that we got through that much Dylan without anyone posting "Idiot Wind" or "Positively West 4th Street" at anybody else.

It's almost enough to give a person faith, or something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8WSR7we2EI

See Noevo@1656
First, I'd like to note that this is the 4th time in a row that you've focused on my delivery instead of the actual meat of what I've been saying. Not that it surprises me, I just don't think it can be pointed out enough.

You are not quite metaphoring properly. You are using some terms from my metaphor but you are applying them to the church as itself, not as a program like the metaphor does. I think you even realize this yourself because you've been putting quotes around words like 'purchase'. You referred to the church as a 2000 year old program. Computer programs have been around for far less. You took my examples from in context (Ask TB and malware) and compared them to something out of context (the 2000 year old church).

Just because you called it a program doesn't mean you are describing it from within the framework of my metaphor. In fact, that destroys the whole purpose of creating a metaphor in the first place.

As a final and arguably most important point, you missed the entire purpose of my metaphor in the first place. You said longevity and reach were things worthy of respect. I called those things metadata and said you can have 2 files with the same metadata and one could be a useful utility while the other is malware. Likewise two things may have the same amount of longevity and reach could be as seperate as the church and slavery.

Keep in mind this all started because when I simply used form and substance you tried to distract by bringing up philosophy. From the beginning (or when I got here at least) every defense you've used has been rhetorical. This suggests to me that your ideas hold no merit on their own, else you'd be able to mount a much stronger defense.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 17 Jun 2015 #permalink

Grey Falcon @1613, I'll get back to you. Been busy. My commiserations on your IT job being sent to India. Mine ended up in Chennai I think. We got to train our replacements with mgmt all the while spouting they will augment us not replace us. How sending local buying power half way around the world advances the local economy has yet to be properly explained.

Ann @1616 - semantics, but as you wish

JP'd @1609, 1614 - you must have good ears to hear me in the comfort of my parent's basement

Now we add ad-hom and poisoning the well to your list of conduct unbecoming.

You know what is also chuckle-worthy, or maybe a guffaw or a snort-chortle? You thinking believing a polemic and "doing history" are two mutually exclusive things.
Also from radicaltruth.net - "How are Christians to respond to challenges from both the irreligious and those of other religious persuasions? We are to engage in apologetics and polemics."

Here's the bibliography (sound it out JP'd, you can get it) of the chuckle-worthy site." Probably a couple of hundred references including:

Bart D. Ehrman - an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Issac Asimov - we all know he has no chops

Karen Armstrong - OBE FRSL is a British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical Christian faith. - as a former nun, you'd think she'd have something germane to say

Samuel George Frederick Brandon - was a British priest and scholar of comparative religion. He became professor of comparative religion at the University of Manchester in 1951.

Neil Asher Silberman - is an archaeologist and historian with a special interest in history, archaeology, public interpretation and heritage policy

Israel Finkelstein - is an Israeli archaeologist and academic. He is the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University.

Stephen Jay Gould - was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation.

Frederick Clifton Grant – was a New Testament scholar. He was professor of Biblical Theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Robert Solomon Wistrich - was the Erich Neuberger Professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the head of the University's Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.

Amongst many, many dozens more. Some of them may be popular books, so what if the work was put in to ensure their veracity, and you can't get much more primary than Celsus.

So, it is quite obvious you looked a a single page. You're not unimpressed, you're uninterested, not to mention lazy and obtuse. Or maybe a professional liar for Jesus.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 17 Jun 2015 #permalink

the CC program is still purchased today, even by highly intelligent people.

To calibrate things, Marty, do you consider yourself a highly intelligent person?

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 17 Jun 2015 #permalink

@al kimeea:

I have no idea where you live; I wouldn't presume to mock you for living in your parents' basement even if you did. This economy hasn't been easy on any of us.

I read the page you specifically linked to, and I poked around a little bit as well. I am unimpressed, but you're right, I am also uninterested. The author plucks Bible verses completely out of context and then makes very broad, bold and incorrect historical arguments based on them.

I'm not sure how I feel about Karen Armstrong, as it's been a while since I read her books - I read several of them as a teenager, and then one or two new ones that came out when I was in college. I'd have to revisit them to form an opinion on the scholarship and arguments, I think.

Regardless, the author of the site you linked to makes a very strange reading of this statement of Armstrong's which he quotes:

haven't we all met Christians who use the teaching of Paul to adopt a contrived Philistinism, a denial of intellect and culture, that makes a great display of superiority? Then there are the fundamentalists, who refuse to look at Biblical criticism

She seems to be crying out against Biblical literalism and fundamentalist Christianity here, which I also find simplistic and silly, as well as harmful. But the author of the page then writes:

Armstrong is right. Paul, more than anyone else, was responsible for pushing the western world into the dark ages; an age of intellectual oblivion that was to ensnare Europe for more than a thousand years.

This is just a dishonest reading of Armstrong. I notice there are also a lot of ellipses in the quote provided; I don't have the time right at the moment to track down the original, but given his dishonest-on-the-face-of-it reading, I distrust the way he has even quoted her.

Yah, that is a long bibliography he has there, but again, a lot of them are popular works, and in any case, it's not just the sources you list, but the way you use them, and the way you represent them, that counts. The list you make above comes off more as an argument from authority than anything: Asimov! Armstrong! Etc.!

Yes, a lot of those authors are very intelligent people, and I would not deign to say otherwise, but context matters, and again, how one uses one's sources.

Yes, I would argue that writing polemics and making cogent arguments based on historical fact are two different things. I'm confused as to why you offer a quote from "radicaltruth" stating that Christians should engage in polemics. I'm not any more interested in reading Christian polemics than I am in reading anti-Christian polemics.

I'm no fan of Paul, incidentally, and I'm not a Christian, which makes it pretty funny that you accuse me of being "a professional liar for Jesus." I personally just don't believe the specific truth claims of Christianity, but I have plenty of respect for Christians who understand their faith in a nuanced way and actually try to practice it. In the "History" section of "Rejection of Pascal's Wager," for instance, the author keeps making exclamation-point-laden statements that the events of the OT are not historical fact! This is a classic strawman argument, at least if he is attempting to de-convert those educated Christians for whom this is not a revelation.

Re: polemics vs. history again: it is, I presume you know, bad science to start with a conclusion and attempt to prove it. It is similarly bad history to do so, and, believe it or not, bad literary criticism. It is frowned upon within the scholarly community in general.

Your argument about how Christianity plunged Europe into the "Dark Ages" has some major flaws, for instance, which were pointed out by Gray Falcon. Rather than address these, you made this reply:

I’m well aware of how Rome fell, what happened after christianity grabbed the reins and The Schism.

Funny, when people provide links to sources I follow them which doesn’t seem to be happening in this regard.

if the verses are out of context, rather than assertion, how about correction.

Strawman arguments and deflection, one of the hallmarks of medi-wooligans

That is obnoxious. Can you see why?

Paul, more than anyone else, was responsible for pushing the western world into the dark ages; an age of intellectual oblivion that was to ensnare Europe for more than a thousand years.

Moreover, it's neither true nor accurate that Europe was in a state of intellectual oblivion for more than a thousand years, or that Paul was more responsible than anyone else for what did happen.

He had nothing to do with the Carolingian renaissance, for example. Or the influx of Vikings.

I mean, a thousand years is a long time. Europe is a continent. Paul, though a very influential figure in Christianity, was just one man. It's an absurd thing to say.

@Mrs Woo:
Actually, there are still indulgences in the RCC, but it's more of the "do some prayers"- kind, not the "gimme the money".

The wiki-article explains it somewhat, but I'll try to summarise it from my Grissomite Catholic[1] POV.

According to the RCC, man is gifted with reason and the ability to distinguish Good from Evil. It's not perfect, since it's marred by Original Sin (there go the Pelagians), but he is not utterly depraved (vide Calvinism). As such, the idea of the confessor being the accuser makes some sense, since you know you did something wrong (BTW, Neil Gaiman gets this quite right in some of his texts, but then, the guy is a big Chesterton fan AFAIK). Of course, it's not perfect, vide SN. ;)

Confession absolves you from sin, but it doesn't nullify all consequences. To use a somewhat problematic comparison, when you beat someone up you might be forgiven by him, but you still have to do time for GBH.

The idea with indulgences is similar, the sin is confessed and thus forgiven by god, but the sinner still has to do some atonement. Where indulgences are one way of doing it. And of course an easy way out, when you just pay some money.

BTW, sorry for disconnecting somewhat from the discussion, I'm somewhat up to there in work, have to prepare my holidays and tomorrow buy some used Newton reflector. I'll resume ASAP.

[1] ‘I suppose I practice a kind of secular Catholicism that involves ritualizing certain aspects of everyday life and imbuing them with a spiritual intensity they might not otherwise possess, but I don’t want to put too fine a point on it.’ Gill Grissom, "Double-Cross", CSI.
And then, I usually say I'm about as Roman Catholic as Noam Chomsky is Jewish...

By Trottelreiner (not verified) on 18 Jun 2015 #permalink

To ann #1657:

Me: “Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong.”

You: “That’s not inarguably true of evolution…If organisms evolve enough capacity for thought and feeling to be capable of moral discernment, then they are.”

It is arguable that organisms could evolve ANY capacity for thought and feeling at all. I certainly would argue they can’t evolve such things.
And it is INarguable that the biological evolution of thought or feeling (or even just brains) has ever been observed.

And what’s with the “moral discernment”?
In the atheistic evolutionist’s view, “MORAL” discernment or morality is nothing more than a matter of taste. Flies are attracted to feces but humans are not. And some humans say abortion is always gravely wrong, and some other humans say it’s not. It's all just 'De gustibus non est disputandum.'

Oh, the atheistic evolutionist MIGHT not be AWARE that this is her position on morality, or specifically, on OBJECTIVE right and wrong.
But it most certainly is.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 18 Jun 2015 #permalink

@SN:
Counter-Question: How is it any easier for an ID proponent to assume something is "objectively right or wrong"? The Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever created wasp larvae that eat living caterpillars from the inside, male ducks that gangrape, err, gangcopulate by force their females to death, lions doing things Richard II most likely didn't etc. ad nauseam. And God saw it was good...

OTOH, it's quite easy for an evolutionary biologist to assume highly social but not eusocial evolving empathy to heighten cooperation (or deception) and latter on learning some code of behaviours to go by. Not adherring to said code likely gets you a stick on the head or worse.

By Trottelreiner (not verified) on 18 Jun 2015 #permalink

On an unrelated note, I think it’s to the credit of all concerned that we got through that much Dylan without anyone posting “Idiot Wind”....

Given that I've blocked Y—be scripts from this browser, I haven't even seen the raw link dumps.

It is of course noteworthy that Mr. Chastity/Call*-to-Celibacy would choose Blood on the Tracks as a blind favey-fave, but I would expect most to understand that "Idiot Wind" assigns far too much credit for such a purpose.

Si Tu Dois Partir almost would pass muster.

* Who's been on the other end of the line?

I have wondered this a lot. How physicians can deny evolution, but it is really like anyone else denying evolution. It comes down to ideology blinding a person's sense of reason. You can compartamentalize anything, and may be easier to do so if you're very intelligent - better at rationalizing. I actually had one medical student that told me that their undergraduate degree -from a bible college of some sort - was in evidence against evolution. I could hardly believe it.
My Darwin's Kidneys blog will have a lot of posts about evolution, but is still new so don't have many essays up yet.
http://darwinskidneys.blogspot.com/

By Rich Feldenberg (not verified) on 19 Jun 2015 #permalink

To Rich Feldenberg #1669:

You say you “actually had one medical student that told me that their undergraduate degree -from a bible college of some sort – was in evidence against evolution.”

So, it sounds like you have students under you.
Dr. Ben Carson made it through medical school, and seems to have attained even greater world-renown than you as a medical doctor.

How have your evolution-believing med students compared to your evolution-DISbelieving students, in terms of academics and practice?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 19 Jun 2015 #permalink

Carson has gained world renown not as a doctor but rather as a member of the Republican Party's rapidly growing lunatic fringe.

Shay: Yah, Carson's lost whatever brain power he once possessed. Frankly, the colleges he and Jindal graduated from should rescind their degrees.I bet he was never a good doctor in any case.

SN: Something tells me the evolution denying doctors aren't very good at their job, and that they are much more willing to let their patients die (especially if those patients are women, who don't count as human to God). So much for morals.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 19 Jun 2015 #permalink

Dr. Ben Carson made it through medical school, and seems to have attained even greater world-renown than you as a medical doctor.

Just to review, you are renowed for being a 59-year-old male from the Philadelphia area who appears to be childless and devoid of female companionship, leading to a misogynistic streak that you have trouble concealing, and specializes in saying really stupid things about subjects he has no understanding of and eventually throwing tantrums, right?

Maybe some doctors deny evolution because of the skullduggery with skulls and such.

From a book review by Nicholas Wade of Ian Tattersall’s “The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack”.
=================
"The Piltdown hoax is recounted in “The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack” as a lesson in how easily paleoanthropologists—those who study human fossils—can be misled by notions that play to their prejudices. The author, Ian Tattersall, is himself a paleoanthropologist and has watched the antics of his profession for many years from a front-row seat at the American Museum of Natural History. His account of the field raises the wider issue of how, despite the supposed rigor of the scientific method, whole communities of scientists can occasionally be blown far off course by nonscientific motivations.

One of paleoanthropology’s problems, as Mr. Tattersall sees it, has been professional isolation from other sciences. From its beginnings in the 19th century, the subject was dominated by anatomists who paid minute attention to bone shapes and little to taxonomy or other relevant biological disciplines. These anatomists would make oracular pronouncements, which were basically intuitions beyond the reach of scientific analysis. One advised the young Mr. Tattersall that if he stared at the fossils for long enough, the bones would speak to him.

… Mr. Tattersall is unsparingly critical of the mental habits of his fellow paleoanthropologists. He describes the profession as one “whose practitioners are often slow to change their minds, even in the face of compelling evidence.” For years they resisted the assertions of molecular biologists that hominid fossils must be far younger than assumed. Until the arrival of cladistics, a more rigorous form of biological classification, debates among paleoanthropologists about how one hominid species was related to another were far from scientific, and “salesmanship was at a greater premium than rigorous reasoning was.”

Bad scientific habits, Mr. Tattersall believes, have been so pervasive that to the present day they distort knowledge of the human past. “If the entire hominid fossil record were to be rediscovered tomorrow and analyzed by paleontologists with no horses already in the race, it is pretty certain that we would emerge with a picture of human evolution very different from the one we have inherited,” he writes.

The author concedes that not all his colleagues will agree with everything he says. Still, he has presented a scalding indictment of a scholarly community and shown how easily nonscientific motives can influence supposedly scientific conclusions. Fraud in science is all too common, but failings in objectivity, especially when part of a community groupthink, are harder to detect and far more corrosive.

It doesn’t happen often, but whole communities of scientists do fall into error, sometimes for decades, when strong emotions drag them off course. Leading geophysicists resisted for decades the idea, proposed by a mere meteorologist, that the Earth’s continents had drifted. Chauvinism induced French physicists to believe for years in a colleague’s supposed discovery of N-rays, which they saw as an achievement to rival the German discovery of X-rays.

Such debacles raise the pertinent question of whether peer review and other safeguards are always successful in protecting science from political infection. When climatologists warn of global warming, for instance, could their political passions somehow leak into the parameters of their climate models? At first glance one might dismiss any such thought as ridiculous. But read Mr. Tattersall’s lively memoir about how unscientifically an entire scientific community can behave, even when no issue of national politics is involved, and you may start to wonder."
===================

By See Noevo (not verified) on 19 Jun 2015 #permalink

Enter by the NARROW gate; for the gate is WIDE and the way is EASY, that leads to DESTRUCTION, and those who enter by it are MANY.
For the gate is NARROW and the way is HARD, that leads to life, and those who find it are FEW.” [Mat 7:13-14]

Before I choose a gate, I want to know:

Do the gates lead to the same place?

Is the wide gate for vehicular traffic and the narrow gate foot traffic? If so, am I driving a vehicle?

Is it assigned seating or general admission? History shows that general admission and narrow gates can be problematic.

Which has the shorter queue?

Are there other gates leading to the same place that are closed but available? Has anyone tried opening them? Why are they all queuing up at one gate when there are three other perfectly good gates right next to it that nobody is going through?

Is there some unnecessary hazard at one of the gates - say, a crocodile or a group of robbers - which I could avoid by taking the other gate?

Do I really want to go to where the gate leads? Does the sign above it say, "this way to the Egress" or "abandon hope all ye who enter here"?

Which gate can I fit through? While most gates are wide enough for the average person, I'd hate to try to go through one where I'd get stuck. Then someone would have to call the rescue squad, people would be yelling, and my picture (from an unflattering angle) would be all over social media with "clever" captions like "Shouldn't have taken the narrow gate, dude." That would be embarrassing, unless I could find some way to cash in.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 28 Jun 2015 #permalink

You people amaze me with all your high-falutin', grandiose pretension of supposed enlightenment. One quick question. You dearly love to ridicule Conservatives/Republicans who express any belief in a higher power. Yet, when those on the left engage in the same expression of beliefs (obamao & the clintons, included), you always give them a pass. I suppose this is because of some tacit understanding among you elitist wannabes? "Oh, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we HAVE to say that because of a certain element in our base (HMMMM, now WHO might that be?!?!), but we - the only ones who count - know better. Can you say hypocrite? Can you say bald-faces liars? You cretins make me ill.

One quick question. You dearly love to ridicule Conservatives/Republicans who express any belief in a higher power. Yet, when those on the left engage in the same expression of beliefs (obamao & the clintons, included), you always give them a pass.

Unless you have any examples of this, I'll just assume that either your comment was intended for some other blog or you're one hell of a dumbass cracker.