February 13, 2015

The 4 a.m. screen shot puts everything into proportion.



Here's the Phys.org article that went up on Memeorandum at 5:55 ET on Tuesday morning, where it got my attention 5 45 minutes later as I checked my iPhone for the news before I got out of bed. I captured the screen shot and imagined that would make a good blog post. Is our world about to get shaken up? Will presidential candidates be asked if they are comfortable with a universe that's been around forever?

But the first blog post on Tuesday didn't go up until 7:56, and it was about a WaPo columnist's abstruse effort to support his assertion that it's "'trivial to compare' Roy Moore's trying to stop gay marriage in Alabama to George Wallace's blocking the door to racial integration at the University of Alabama." (The columnist thought what Roy Moore was doing is a much bigger deal.)

I'm seeing the old screen shot at 6 a.m. this morning because I plugged my iPhone into my computer just now. I'm remembering what I didn't blog on Tuesday and remembering what I saw on my iPhone this morning as I scanned the latest news from my supine position under the comforter. David Carr has died! He was only 58. He collapsed in the newsroom at the New York Times. Will I blog about his death when I did not blog the death of Bob Simon, reported on Memeorandum at 12:25 a.m. on February 10, whence it was read out loud from across the room by my husband Meade, causing me to ask: "Who's Bob Simon?"?

I had to be told he's one of the "60 Minutes" people. I don't watch "60 Minutes," but I do read the NYT, and I've read and enjoyed David Carr many times. Here's his 2008 article about his life as a crackhead:
To be an addict is to be something of a cognitive acrobat. You spread versions of yourself around, giving each person the truth he or she needs — you need, actually — to keep them at a remove. Let’s stipulate that I do not have a good memory, having recklessly sautéed my brain in fistfuls of pharmaceutical spices. Beyond impairment, there may be no more unreliable narrator than an addict. Recovered or not, I am someone who used my mouth to constantly create one more opportunity to get high.

Here is what I deserved: hepatitis C, federal prison time, H.I.V., a cold park bench, an early, addled death.

Here is what I got: the smart, pretty wife, the three lovely children, the job that impresses.
That's a journalist reporting on the mind of an addict: an addict spreads around versions on the truth depending on what you think anyone listening to you seems to need. And isn't that what we've come to feel the journalists seem to be doing? [Insert reference to Brian Williams.] And isn't that what we expect the politicians to do, for example, when they are asked, as Scott Walker was the other day, about whether they are comfortable with evolution?

At the Facebook post where we have a long thread about Scott Walker's response — saying he needed to "punt" on that question and that it's not the sort of thing politicians should have to talk about —Annie Gottlieb says:
Why do we say we "believe in" evolution? That gives away the fact that "science" is our modern religion, the thing we look to for an explanation of our existence and a hope of defeating death. (The third thing religion supplies, meaning, science is not so good at, although it does somewhat justify social Darwinism if that's your cup of tea.) What's funny about it is that science itself, without the scare quotes, is exposing the fact that we don't yet understand evolution very well at all.
And I say:
Yes, this is something I notice all the time. And people are pressured to believe because of the prevalence of believers -- their domination in positions of authority -- and not because we understand and see the reasoning of the science. So it's not just like religion. It's like authoritarian religion. By the way, some physicists are casting doubt on the Big Bang theory. Will they move into the position of authority at some point? Why does it even matter whether we agree or not? We can't check their work. We can't have an independent position. We're just called upon to be sheep for the Good Shepherd. Might as well go with Jesus. He's pretty good.

120 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

Wow. What a great post.

Bob Ellison said...

This post is disjointed. That might not be a bad thing. We have William Faulkner. But he was a lousy writer. I would suggest dividing this post into the three or four points that you seemed to want to make.

rwnutjob said...

α and Ω

cf said...

Yeah, a real sidewinder post, what fun.

I did not know who Bob Simon was either, but tonight on NPR Fresh Air reran an interview with him from1992, made because he had been held prisoner during the first Gulf War in 1991, and had written a book about it.

It was a good interview and enlarged my notion of who this fellow was. And now you offer up this Excellent reporting he did on himself. Thanks for sharing!

I clink my glass to his name and his life. Praise The Lord for such a Man as Bob Simon.

Bob Boyd said...

The depiction of the Universe looks like a shot glass on its side with the contents about to spill out.
Maybe when the big picture is finally sketched out for us by "Science" an alternate Althouse will blog that physicists have discovered the creator of the Universe was a drug addled bartender at a controversial gay wedding reception on some higher astral plane made nervous by a a pushy mob of thirsty journalists there to create a narrative in the interest of the greater good.

rhhardin said...

Mistakes with consequences are the ones to watch out for.

rhhardin said...

If time had no beginning, we haven't had time to be here yet.

Sean Gleeson said...

I was thinking the same thoughts when I heard of both Walker’s evolution comfort and the Big Bang alternative in the same news cycle. And I have always agreed that it is irrational to “believe” in such theories, even for scientists. If a theory is consistent with our observations, then it is quite possibly true; but that is hardly a warrant to believe it as a certainty.

Fernandinande said...

"The first question that a TRF reader may be asking now is: Haven't I already seen the name of Ahmed Farag Ali somewhere? The second thing that a laymen may want to notice is that this paper has, after 10 months, just one non-selfie citation. That's not too many, you know. Papers that are really transforming physics may get close to 10,000 citations, like Maldacena's AdS/CFT.

The third thing that attentive readers won't overlook is that the preprint isn't really "all about disproving the big bang theory". You will have a hard time to see that "the big bang is no longer the case" is a natural title by which the inkspillers may summarize the preprint."

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Belief in evolution" is a shibboleth. People who couldn't give a scientifically meaningful description of evolution and its mechanisms signal that they subscribe to the currently popular materialistic theology by "believing" in it.

The "SCIENCE" be with you.
And with you too.

Lucien said...

If you "believe" in cosmology, and that the pictures the Hubble telescope takes really do show galaxies that are billions of light years away -- that the universe is at least 13 billion or so years old; and if you "believe" in geology, leading to the conclusion that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, or so, then evolution is not really problematic on religious grounds, is it? For religious purposes in general, if God (eternal meaning outside of time) waited more than 4.539 billion years before creating humans then what theological difference does it make whether he did so by the elegant means of natural selection, or the poetic means of breathing life into a handful of dust, or just by creating souls in hominids?

Is there any major thing that any religion teaches about how to live one's life that turns on the precise method used to create humanity?

Mark said...

I suppose this is one way to ignore the Walker articles in the Washington Post since this staement.

Cillizza, Rampel both have hilarious pieces that you are unlikely to ever cover fully.

The fact that Walker cannot evaluate information for basic validity makes me wonder what kind of executive he really is. As your son says, I don't need a historian to tell me George Washington was the first president. I don't need a scientist to tell me we evolved from apes.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Glenn Beck talked about this Big Bang/Evolution comparison yesterday.

His answer is he doesn't know, now we know (again) neither do scientists who claim to, so just stop claiming to know everything and acting like jerks people who do that.

Iris Dement says "let the mystery be." Makes sense.

On addiction, better to wisely take council from the non-addicts or Churchillian/Gleason type of addicts than the lying leftist chunks of stool who blame addiction for their schizophrenic, hate-fueled existence while claiming appreciable motives.

Hagar said...

Lifespan of 3-4 score and ten, and people get upset worrying about whether the universe has an end or not in X billion years?

Fritz said...

For a scientist to say he believes in something (at least something he has education on) is a shortcut for a statement that the theory makes sense, the evidence fits the theory, and no other theory fits as well. We "believed" in Newtonian physics until Einsteins came along.

When, say, a law professor or politician without any significant education in biology says they believe, it is a mater of having been told by people they trust that it's real, much like religion.

Scientists, of course, are forced to follow that pattern outside their fields of study, which is why so many biologists "believe" in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The "No Big Bang" headline is wildly misleading. Their paper still finds there was a big bang, only it started from something that was not quite a singularity. If their paper is true it will surprise precisely no one, since it was always understood that the singularity was a sign that the equations of general relativity were inadequate to analyse the situation.

rehajm said...

1- And people are pressured to believe because of the prevalence of believers - The devil can cite scripture for his purpose. I recall when I could imagine scientists as objective observers rather than authorities.

2- Here is what I got: the smart, pretty wife, the three lovely children, the job that impresses. - Excepting addicts, NYT employee doesn't carry the cachet it once did. Can we also require some sort of mark-to-market accounting for the value of occupations?

3- spreads around versions on the truth depending on what you think anyone listening to you seems to need. - Can we add this as an accepted definition for journalist in the same way we'we added an alternative definition to marriage?

Unknown said...

"Is there any major thing that any religion teaches about how to live one's life that turns on the precise method used to create humanity?"

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife."

Sebastian said...

"You spread versions of yourself around, giving each person the truth he or she needs — you need, actually — to keep them at a remove."

And:

"That's a journalist reporting on the mind of an addict: an addict spreads around versions on the truth depending on what you think anyone listening to you seems to need."

Close, but not the same thing. "Giving each person the truth he or she needs" better describes what the addict and his enablers do. For example, there once was a politician who gave some voters the "truth" that he was a rational, open-minded pragmatist. People who needed that truth" ate it up.

Fernandinande said...

Annie Gottlieb says: What's funny about it is that science itself, without the scare quotes, is exposing the fact that we don't yet understand evolution very well at all.

I'm not surprised that she doesn't understand evolution very well at all.

AA: So it's not just like religion. It's like authoritarian religion.

That's because you're a lawyer, and think like a lawyer - essentially authoritarian - and not like a scientist: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." -- Feynmann

Bill R said...

The test of a scientific theory is not whether it is "true" or "untrue". The test is - "does it make correct predictions".

For example, Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation was superseded by Relativity but Newton's law is still in use because the math is easy and for ordinary masses and speeds, it makes very accurate prediction.

Evolution is part of what we might call the "Standard Natural History Model". It fits with many observations in Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Physics, and it allows us to make predictions about, for example, what will happen if we overuse antibiotics.

So Evolution is a useful theory. It should be studied.

Like all scientific theories it explicitly excludes Divine intervention. That is one of the ground rules of Science. No miracles.

You can create a coherent theory without miracles, it fits, generally, with what we observe so Evolution looks like a useful theory.

But the assumption "No Miracles" is the assumption, not the conclusion.

It may be that God created the universe exactly as described in Genesis along with the galactic red-shift and fossils in the ground.

Or it may be that God created the universe 15 minutes ago along with us and our memories of our grandmothers.

Or it may be that the natural history model is more or less correct but, as we Catholics believe, the entire universe is a manifestation of the will of God. We are, admittedly, a little vague on the details.

Or it may be that there is no God and no first cause and, as Stephen Hawkings says. We exist because the math works.

Whether any of these speculations are true or untrue is unknowable.

Whether anyone "believes" in "Evolution" is irrelevant. The sole test is of a scientific theory is "Does it agree with experiment".

So Evolution is a useful theory, it is generally consistent with observation and is out best interpretation of natural history.

Does it tell us whether or not God exists. Sorry, no.

Laslo Spatula said...

My Universe began with the beginning of Laslo. I will take my Universe with me to the grave, upon which it will become part of the Greater Universe.

With each comment I breathe my life into you.

You're welcome.


I am Laslo.

sprx said...

"Believe" is a loaded word that means different things to different people and different things to the same person in different contexts. If believe means to accept something as true for the time being based on the recommendations of others who have studied it more than I care to, then I believe in evolution. If believe means that I swear undying fealty, forsaking all other beliefs that may be shown to be contradictory to, evolution, then I guess I don't. The latter is closer to what Christians (and maybe other religious "believers") have traditionally been expected to mean by "believe", so it's not surprising that many are reluctant to use that word for something they don't understand well, or care much about, such as evolution, (or "climate change").
Especially in contexts where the question "Do you believe in...?", itself seems to be designed to back them into the questioner's preferred corner.

garage mahal said...

Walker can't alienate the fundies, so the unintimidated one had to punt. Bold. Brave. Fresh.

tim in vermont said...

Very few people believe in natural select in any deep way. Many fewer than claim to do so. Everybody has some level of desire to imagine the universe is a just place where fairness is possible.

Feminists are the crypto Creationists that come to mind most readily, with their quaint faith in the fundamental identity of the sexes.

Global warming alarmists are not far behind, imagining that the Earth must be perfect just the way it is and that any violation of "Gaia's Plan" is an abomination. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gaia That's us? Right?

Ann Althouse said...

"The depiction of the Universe looks like a shot glass on its side with the contents about to spill out."

Why put it on the side? There's no point of view that is represented by that position (other than our tendency to picture time going from left to right... or imagining some need for things that go to proceed horizontally).

Set that glass upright!

tim in vermont said...

And I have always agreed that it is irrational to “believe” in such theories, even for scientists.

Scientists must behave as if they believe theories because without this belief, progress as we know it is not possible. That is why I sort of laugh at the idea of scientific skepticism, sure they have to be skeptical about particular theories, but they have to have *faith* in the scientific method. There is no guarantee that the universe is comprehensible to humans, to act is if it must be is an act of faith, and scientists indulge this faith absolutely.

Science has no monopoly on truth, just that they have developed a clever way of thinking that brings humanity lots of benefits.

sprx said...

Are there deep ways and shallow ways to "believe"? Or is it just a matter of how long you are willing to continue asserting your belief (whatever it is) in the face of scoffing/scorn/ostracism/persecution/torture/death?

Where are evolution's martyrs? (OK besides the Scopes guy - $100 fine, overturned.)

Terry said...

Whether or not you believe in evolution is not as important as whether you like evolution. I don't like evolution. It's become just a goofy thing to explain why things are the way that they are.
Why do men have more nose hair than women? Why, it's because for thousands and millions of years men used their larger size and greater strength to crowd women away from campfires, and consequently grew longer and thicker nose hair to filter out soot and smoke. You can use evolution to justify anything.
Some people say that Jewish dietary laws served evolution be reducing the chance of food poisoning or food-spread disease among Jews. Really? That's why there are more Jews than Christians in the world? Oh, snap, there are two billion Christians and only thirteen million Jews. Gonna need a new thesis for my paper!

JSD said...

I noted that David Carr described himself as a church-going Roman Catholic. So I guess everybody at the Times didn’t have a walking fish symbol on their car.

I rather believe in God. Not in a church-going biblical sense. More in an existential sense. The alternative is depressing to me and implies nihilism. Why bother with family, work, and friends if we’re just the result of some random scientific event.

I like the shot glass on its side. It depicts the tequila going down.
Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa' dentro!

Roger Sweeny said...

Mark (2/13/15, 7:52 AM): Most scientists would say that we did not evolve from apes. Both we and apes evolved from a common ancestor that hadn't become human or ape yet, a pre-ape/pre-human.

Terry said...

If not being a nihilist is a survival characteristic, that means that you could have evolved to NOT believe in evolution. Religious people would therefore be more evolutionarily advanced than atheists.

Ann Althouse said...

"... I don't need a historian to tell me George Washington was the first president. I don't need a scientist to tell me we evolved from apes."

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but how are you finding out about Washington and evolution except by referring to the works of historians and scientists. You're not doing your own work here, unless what you're imagining to be your own work is the reference to the works of historians and scientists. A minimally scientific cast of mind would lead you into some reflection about how you know what you feel you know. Examine the substance of your knowledge. Even where you think what you know is based on personal observation of events, you could be mistaken: memory is not a movie of the past.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, I knew my son could not have written the quote Mark attributed to him. Mark said: "As your son says, I don't need a historian to tell me George Washington was the first president. I don't need a scientist to tell me we evolved from apes."

Go to the Facebook link and search and you'll see that it was Alex Knepper who wrote: "'Do you believe George Washington was our first president?' 'I don't know, man. I'm not a historian. I haven't examined the primary evidence for myself. I don't see how knowing whether Washington was really our first president or not has anything to do with what a president does nowadays. I'm going to punt on this question.'"

chickelit said...

"Give the people miracle, mystery, and authority and they will follow."
~The Brother's Karma's Off

Scientists are trying that right now with carbon demonization. If catastrophic warming doesn't occur, it will be because of their learned intervention.

The end goal is further tithing the Government.

See the 2009 Althouse post Losing Our Religion.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark, you wrote: "The fact that Walker cannot evaluate information for basic validity makes me wonder what kind of executive he really is. As your son says, I don't need a historian to tell me George Washington was the first president. I don't need a scientist to tell me we evolved from apes."

But my son plainly didn't say that, so your smugness about evaluating information for basic validity is especially ridiculous. It shows the value of restraint in an executive. I sure wouldn't trust you with handling even pretty basic information, like filling out forms in a bureaucratic setting.

Tank said...

Mark said...

***

I don't need a scientist to tell me we evolved from apes.


Based on personal observation, I'm pretty sure that men evolved from dogs and women evolved from cats. No?

Ann Althouse said...

I wouldn't trust Mark to record which way the wind blows.

Ann Althouse said...

Is the theory of evolution that we "evolved from apes" or that we have a common ancestor with apes? Does anyone think they can answer that question without consulting the work of scientists?

chickelit said...

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

Tank said...

Beware:

Momma grizzly on the prowl.

Ouch !!!

sprx said...

Walker missed a golden opportunity to quote Hillary:

"What difference at this point does it make?"

EDH said...

The science is settled: suffering a heart attack while shoveling all this snow is because of Climate Change and High Cholesterol.

Ann Althouse said...

And let's be far to Alex Knepper. He only made a remark about Washington. He did not say "I don't need a scientist to tell me we evolved from apes." That's just Mark on his own.

And Mark, I hate to tell you, but scientists do not say that we evolved from apes. That's something you came up with somehow. I wonder where you got that. In your own mind that regards itself as scientific, quite unscientifically.

Ann Althouse said...

I think there are more than one commenters on this blog who go under the name "Mark." The Mark who's attacking people here, who's getting my pushback, doesn't have an available profile when you click on his name. I think there are other Marks. Take note.

chickelit said...

I think there are other Marks. Take note.

I believe there is a missing link between Mark and another commenter in this thread.

Hagar said...

We are a species of apes.

Tank said...

When I actually read Darwin (and what a slog that was !!!) I was impressed by the number of questions Darwin had. A chapter full, if I recall.

It is fair to say that Darwin was not smug. Well, at least not in his writing.

garage mahal said...

We've heard of evolution, how about De-evolution?

Michael K said...

"The fact that Walker cannot evaluate information for basic validity makes me wonder what kind of executive he really is. "

And your evidence for this is what ?

Oh sorry, lefties don't need no stinkin' evidence.

chickelit said...

Garage wrote: We've heard of evolution, how about De-evolution?

HaHa, pretty funny, actually. IBut dare you to draw an equivalent one with Obama as the end link.

Ain't immunity grand?

Smilin' Jack said...

Whether any of these speculations are true or untrue is unknowable.

Are you sure that's true?

And Mark, I hate to tell you, but scientists do not say that we evolved from apes.

Well, I'm a scientist and I say that not only did we evolve from apes, we are apes.

Mark said...

"And Mark, I hate to tell you, but scientists do not say that we evolved from apes. That's something you came up with somehow. I wonder where you got that. In your own mind that regards itself as scientific, quite unscientifically."

--No matter how the calculation is done, the big point still holds: humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos are more closely related to one another than either is to gorillas or any other primate. From the perspective of this powerful test of biological kinship, humans are not only related to the great apes – we are one. The DNA evidence leaves us with one of the greatest surprises in biology: the wall between human, on the one hand, and ape or animal, on the other, has been breached. The human evolutionary tree is embedded within the great apes.

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics

Go ahead, argue with the Smithsonian.

Go over and tell Henry Bunn on campus he's wrong as well, he was quite clear about this in the graduate level seminar I took with him a few decades ago.

Ann Althouse said...

"Give the people miracle, mystery, and authority and they will follow."

Yeah, I was just talking about that here with Meade. The subject got to be how people without religion keep from going toward autonomous individual selfishness and how the "social justice" frame of mind seems to work for some people. But why does it work and how? I think it keys into authoritarianism.

garage mahal said...

IBut dare you to draw an equivalent one with Obama as the end link.

That's not my handy work.

chickelit said...

That's not my handy work.

I'll bet it works your hand, though!

Drago said...

garage mahal: "We've heard of evolution, how about De-evolution?"

Middle school humor from someone who topped out in middle school.

Entirely predictable.

Not to worry. We don't expect anything more.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark, you are being completely incoherent. You're not reading other people seriously, and you're not even keeping track of your own remarks. You show no concern for all your mistakes, and you seem to think that somehow you have a main point that's basically true enough.

Why did you talk about not needing science to know what you know, then when you saw you were wrong, you cited science for what is right? You obviously don't care much about getting anything right.

So tell us again what was so bad about Scott Walker hesitating and not wanting to make a particular statement about something he'd not thought through? That's not a good executive? I'd rather have an executive who knew what he didn't know and was scrupulous about precision, than your brand of smug half-assery.

Mark said...

Yes, the guy who calls himself unintimidated cannot answer a straight question.

And if you want to critique someone for being disorganized, perhaps you should look at your post.

Bob Ellison pointed that out, but instead of addressing it you attack others for your very fault on this thread.

Dont you have a class to teach, or are you the fat that needs cutting at the UW?

chickelit said...

@Garage: My version of the same "de-evolution" would begin with Jefferson and end with a simian David Axelrod leashed to smiling organ grinder -- smiling in a Cheshire cat way.

Smilin' Jack said...

The subject got to be how people without religion keep from going toward autonomous individual selfishness...

Actually, I've always wondered how people with religion keep from going toward autonomous individual selfishness. I mean, if you're dumb enough to believe in something like Christianity, you're dumb enough to believe in pretty much anything. So why not believe in something fun? "My God wants me to go to orgies on Saturday nights, not boring sermons on Sunday mornings."

garage mahal said...

@Garage: My version of the same "de-evolution" would begin with Jefferson and end with a simian David Axelrod leashed to smiling organ grinder -- smiling in a Cheshire cat way.

Let me know if this develops in picture form!

Drago said...

Althouse: "That's not a good executive? I'd rather have an executive who knew what he didn't know and was scrupulous about precision,"

There's the rub, isn't it?

No politician is ever going to be "precise" enough in a discussion regarding deep scientific theory/analysis that requires a clear understanding of the difference between philosophy and science.

Further, since evolution (such as it "is" and regardless where on the spectrum of "belief" a philosopher and/or scientist falls) is a "process" that happens to be bounded by natural laws, this "process" really doesn't make philosophic claims anymore than other physical processes, i.e., heat transfer, make.

This was an impossible "rabbit hole" type of question (for Walker) given the incredible range of "belief" represented by biologists/molecular biologists et al and philosophers.

Drago said...

garage: "Let me know if this develops in picture form!"

Uh, this is rather a simple picture one can conjure in one's own mind rather easily.

Assuming one has the ability to "think" beyond a 2nd grade level.

Drago said...

Mark: "Yes, the guy who calls himself unintimidated cannot answer a straight question."

LOL

"....a straight question."

Full. Stop.

You are excused.

chickelit said...

Drago said...Uh, this is rather a simple picture one can conjure in one's own mind rather easily.

Exactly. Words let me draw what cannot be cartooned.

#JeSuisCharlie

chillblaine said...

"Do you believe in evolution?" as a gotcha question was asked in the 2007-8 Republican Primary debates.

Walker has essentially said that he rejects the premise of the question. Are they asking if they understand natural selection? Or are they asking if we evolved from chimps?

I would like it if more politicians would echo Bryce Harper's "That's a clown question, bro."

chickelit said...

The depiction of the Universe looks like a shot glass on its side with the contents about to spill out.

My first thought on seeing that drawing was that it couldn't possibly comprise the components. And it doesn't.

I think the same way about the iconic Periodic Table of the Elements.

garage mahal said...

This was an impossible "rabbit hole" type of question (for Walker) given the incredible range of "belief" represented by biologists/molecular biologists et al and philosophers

Yes there is such a wide range of disagreement among biologists on evolution. You are a stone cold idiot.

traditionalguy said...

I like the brave new Universe. It is eternal. And it is filled with a quantum fluid of mass-less particles.

The Creator of that Universe is good at His work.

Drago said...

garage: "Yes there is such a wide range of disagreement among biologists on evolution. You are a stone cold idiot."

LOL

The most ignorant poster on these (and any other boards I've seen) calling others stone cold idiots.

The fact that you have no idea of the range of beliefs between atheist philosophers/scientists as well as deist philosophers/scientists is simply par for the course for someone of your astonishingly limited intellect.

So go ahead garage, what is the most compelling set of "facts" which you believe present the strongest support for evolutionary theory (as a conceptual model)?

Of course, you won't even understand the question.

You are that dumb.

Drago said...

By the way garage, you might want to reference the work of a few of these authors (who themselves might share some "category" similarities but cannot agree on some major philosophical answers to evolutionary theory questions.

Francis Collins
Keith Miller
Michael Ruse
Erwin Frey

There are many others.

But you didn't even know they existed.

When the sun arises tomorrow morning, you will "reset" to not knowing those names all over again.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Here's how I might have answered the question if I was in Walker's position ( and I had a whole lot of time to think of an answer. ):

I am perfectly comfortable with the idea of evolution.
I am perfectly comfortable with the idea of creation.
I am perfectly comfortable that God could have brought the universe into existence in either of those ways.
I am perfectly comfortable that there is so much evidence for evolution that it would require a miracle, a literal miracle, for the universe to have been formed by creation.
I am perfectly comfortable with the idea of miracles.
And I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that none of this is in any way relevant to the role of the presidency in our system of government.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark says: "Go over and tell Henry Bunn on campus he's wrong as well, he was quite clear about this in the graduate level seminar I took with him a few decades ago."

Mark, you failed to correctly report what was on a Facebook page that you had a link for. Why would I trust you to correctly relay what your teacher said a few decades ago? Your credibility is nil.

Meade said...

Bliss For President.

Bob Boyd said...

"Set that glass upright!"

That's what the guy who ordered the shot said

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.

traditionalguy said...

The Darwinian evolution theory assumes as a corollary that all DNA coded celluar life on this unique one in a trillion perfect life supporting planet descends link by link from an accidentally assembling life form ( itself from a one in a trillion chance of assembling proteins) finally is the ONE of those accidents that instead of dying accidentally divides in two and grows and learns to reproduce itself.

At this point honest modern science punts, just like Governor Walker did, and only speculates that life on earth came here from a visitation by a spacecraft or an asteroid. But that only relocates where those statistically beyond possible Accidents happened.

Bob Boyd said...

"Why put it on the side?"

Why make the Bang big?

MayBee said...

Can anybody else not get to the Althouse homepage?

amba said...

"We can't check their work." Ha! That gives me a hilarious image of an ordinary citizen in Snopes/Sherlock mode, with trademark magnifying glass, going out 14 billion light years to the edge of time to see for him/herself.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

traditionalguy said...

The Darwinian evolution theory assumes as a corollary that all DNA coded celluar life on this unique one in a trillion perfect life supporting planet descends link by link from an accidentally assembling life form ( itself from a one in a trillion chance of assembling proteins) finally is the ONE of those accidents that instead of dying accidentally divides in two and grows and learns to reproduce itself.

At this point honest modern science punts...


Why in the world would honest modern science punt at this point?

Assuming the odds you've given*, and the number of planets in the universe, and the number of molecules available to interact, and the billions of years in which to do so, it would be wildly unlikely for life not to evolve.


*I'm going to punt on fact-checking those odds. They may be greater or lesser than you state, and the science on this point is probably not too exact.

virgil xenophon said...

What traditionalguy said...

And "settled science" re: Darwin? Looks like a lot of people have never read their Thomas Kuhn and his 1962 work on "paradigm shifts"..

Rusty said...

We are all primates, Hagar. Of which apes and humans are members.


"Why put it on the side?"

I think it was the artists attempt to give the rendering a 3d representation. or am I being pedantic?


Mark said...

Ann, you are wrong about evolution. I am not alone in noting this fact.

You can either go with your personal takedown or admit when you are wrong in that case.

There are no lengths you will not go, no depths too low to stoop to in your defend of ol' bald spot. Its pathetic.

And meanwhile you suck off our tax dollars while spending weekdays here at your second job. If there is a something the UW should cut its profs who dont teach or do academic work during office hours.

virgil xenophon said...

ignorance is bliss/

On the statistical chance for life in the universe you should read "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe." by Ward & Brownlee..

Birches said...

I just finished reading through the fb thread. It appears your son and his friend don't understand the difference between being prolife and the theory of evolution. Josh Jacobs says, " I'm fairly concerned that an individual who rejects evolution is probably also an individual who would reject federal funding for any medical therapies involving stem cells, three person IVF, certain kinds of gene therapy, therapeutic cloning." Your son liked this comment.

There are plenty of people who "believe" in evolution, but are concerned about how created life is used, since we know "scientifically" when life begins. Many Catholics would be among them. But somehow the scientific facts about when life begins is not something up for debate among the Coastal Media Elite. Your son and Josh JAcobs didn't need to know what Scott Walker thinks about stem cells and three way IVF by knowing how he feels about evolution, it's more obvious by the fact that Scott Walker is prolife.

The question was tribalism, nothing more, nothing less.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

virgil xenophon said...

On the statistical chance for life in the universe you should read "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe." by Ward & Brownlee..

Why? I already know that the statistical chance for life in the universe is 1. I don't even need to consult with a scientist on that one. :)

UNTRIBALIST said...

"Examine the substance of your knowledge. Even where you think what you know is based on personal observation of events, you could be mistaken..." Said AA without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness.

garage mahal said...

There are no lengths you will not go, no depths too low to stoop to in your defend of ol' bald spot. Its pathetic.

Scott Walker is perfect in every way.

traditionalguy said...

@ Ignorance is bliss... I misspoke saying one in a trillion because I don't know the word to use for 10 to the 57th power. I'll just say it far exceeds the number of atoms in the universe.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

traditionalguy said...

I misspoke saying one in a trillion because I don't know the word to use for 10 to the 57th power. I'll just say it far exceeds the number of atoms in the universe.

Do you have a link for that number? The cases I've seen that come up with numbers like that all badly misunderstood the science involved.

chickelit said...

garage mahal said...
There are no lengths you will not go, no depths too low to stoop to in your defend of ol' bald spot. Its pathetic.

Scott Walker is perfect in every way.


Who said Walker was perfect? Perfection is inhumanely boring -- like the chemistry of the noble gasses.

Gabriel said...

Oh good Lord.

Of course you can check the work of physicists. It's just HARD. There are people (philosophers of science, other physicists) who make a career out of it.

I can't check the work of all the judges and lawyers, or all the accountants, or all the mechanics, but I do not therefore declare that law and money and automobiles are therefore simply unknowable and we might as well go with what the Bible says about them.

garage mahal said...

Who said Walker was perfect?

You don't think many Walker supporters have a creepy devotion to him?

Gabriel said...

@traditional guy: I misspoke saying one in a trillion because I don't know the word to use for 10 to the 57th power. I'll just say it far exceeds the number of atoms in the universe.

I agree with you on the numerator (1) but you're just making up a denominator.

We know life exists on one planet. We don't know how many planets that could have developed life exist, there's too many unknowns, but we find more and more planets with the right conditions for liquid water the more we look; somewhere between about three and a dozen in our near neighborhood. Earthlike planets appear to be far more common than anyone guessed.

The problem with God of the Gaps is that as we learn more God gets smaller. Once God gets too small, religious believers who have gone with God of the Gaps has to play the "that's what God meant all along" card and find new gaps to discover Him in.

(See also Book of Mormon and pre-Columbian civilizations. In the old days, the Nephites covered the continent with their horses and war chariots; nowadays the Nephites are understood to have lived in a tiny corner of the Yucatan, using tapirs to pull tiny wagons.)

chickelit said...

You don't think many Walker supporters have a creepy devotion to him?

I don't know if devotion is the right word. It's not the pagan idolatry we still see with Obama: Sheppard Fairy style iconography for example. If we start to see that I will join you in mocking.

Here's a question for you garage: why is it that we already know about Walker's college days but yet next to nothing about Obama's save what was written in his numerous autobiographies?

garage mahal said...

It's not the pagan idolatry we still see with Obama:

Oh please.

chickelit said...

Oh please what? There's no reason for those same journolists to keep protecting candidate Obama, is there?

Rhetorical -- there's no reason except that a myth is still being built -- a myth that will exceed putting a historical marker in Chicago at the very spot where POTUS and FLOTUS had their first kiss on their first date.

garage mahal said...

The "but what about Obama" defense has never been particularly impressive. I don't know anyone on the left that worships Obama like Walker supporters worship him.

Chris said...

"Set that glass upright!"

Spoken like a blogger. Your singularity is at the bottom.

chickelit said...

garage wrote: I don't know anyone on the left that worships Obama like Walker supporters worship him.

I seriously doubt that this is the work of Walker people.

Anyways, we're off topic and we will never see eye to eye on this.

Drago said...

garage the hopeless: "I don't know anyone on the left that worships Obama like Walker supporters worship him."

The left actually worships obama.

And they will continue to.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS507US507&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=newsweek%20obama%20is%20god

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

But hey, actual worship of obama vs more of garage's usual BS.

What will you believe, garage or your lying eyes?

Revenant said...

I'm amused at how widely that the "zomg no big bang" story is spreading. The actual paper isn't remotely as sensationalistic.

Gabriel said...

@Revenant:I'm amused at how widely that the "zomg no big bang" story is spreading. The actual paper isn't remotely as sensationalistic.

You are not a stranger to how science journalism works: hype a tentative conclusion and omit any qualifications or contrary evidence.

I am not amused, and not surprised.

But I don't see how a universe that has always existed is any comfort to creationists, except that it is one more time they will say "since scientists don't agree they clearly don't know what they're talking about, therefore Jesus".

Which does give them a break from "since scientists all agree they're all wrong and in on it together".

traditionalguy said...

The only reference I can find on a short notice is a quick review of Chapter 10 of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. He gathers the best science available in 2002 and tells it very clearly.

The stubborn ignorance side of Creationists which is celebrated in The Monkey Trial is their clinging to a "Young Earth" ideology taken from 1800s literalist bible teachers. Our 5 billion year old earth with 4 billion years of life on it is of course well proven.

The Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 1:2 scripture explains that there was an old creation that was destroyed by judgement and subsequently renewed before the revelation of the first of Adam's race.

Drago said...

Revenant: "I'm amused at how widely that the "zomg no big bang" story is spreading"

In the age of the great anthropocentric global warming hoax ("ZOMG the polar ice sheet are melting and the polar bears are drowning" and "all the glaciers are retreating" and "soon there will be no more snow"), are you really amazed at how widely this stuff gets spread?

Fracking, nuclear power, GMO, vaccinations, etc.

The list of lefty-freakouts designed to garner greater centralized power is endless.

Endless.

n.n said...

We have come full circle. A pseudo-science has replaced faith in an extra-universal entity with secular or pagan beliefs in mortal gods.

Without the scientific method, it is not science. Inference will lead to philosophy, which may eventually be included in the scientific domain with improved knowledge and skill. Any speculation that will never reasonably transition from the philosophical to scientific domain is strictly an article of faith.

The determination of universal and human origins are both articles of faith.

It's amazing that so many people do not appreciate the remarkable achievement of the scientific method. They do not understand the limitations of natural and enhanced human perception, and the necessary limitations of the scientific domain.

Oh, well. Everyone has a faith, and find comfort in believing a universal truth. Nothing has changed. If anything, modern pagans or seculars are not only as primitive (e.g. human sacrifice) as their ancestors, but have corrupted the best tool invented to advance the human condition. All as they follow the secular profits of wealth, pleasure, and leisure.

n.n said...

We understand evolution, including Darwin's anthropomorphization, as a process: chaos, very well or not at all. The limitation of our perception and thereby science is that most physical processes are incompletely or insufficiently characterized and unwieldy. We understand the principles of evolution, a chaotic process, and because of that, we have adopted a scientific method that constrains speculation about phenomenon in both time and space, or perhaps just space, as time is a virtual dimension overlaid on motion.

Unfortunately, the scientific method, like religion or moral philosophy, can only guide but not determine an outcome. People are still free to conflate science with philosophy and faith, and they did, they do, and most people will buy it hook, line, and opiates.

It's not amusing to watch faiths compete and undermine the credibility of the best tool known to humanity.

That said, it's worth noting that the great advancement of science came with the normalization of Judeo-Christian philosophy, which for the first time separated God, gods, and Nature, divine and chaotic processes. The great advancement in Judeo-Christian philosophy came when people rejected left-wing establishment of monopolies by presumptive mortal gods.

n.n said...

traditionalguy:

Both the old and young Earth theories are articles of faith. The latter relies on ancient myths of God. While the former relies on the unscientific principle of uniformity and the certified opinion of mortal gods. Both reject the chaotic nature of the scientific domain and the necessary limitations imposed by the scientific method. Both represent liberal indulgences in personal faith.

Still, it's interesting to note that the old Earth believers are unlikely to acknowledge their faith, and through their need to know, or rather claim knowledge of universal truths, have objectively caused an unprecedented corruption of science as they pursue capital, control, and narcissistic dominion.

Meade said...

Blogger garage mahal said...

"Scott Walker is perfect in every way."

THIS!

Gabriel said...

@Drago:In the age of the great anthropocentric global warming hoax...

All of the evidence that you believe to indicate that climate science is a hoax, without exception, is evidence that was collected and disseminated by climate scientists themselves.

If this actually were a hoax, that would not be the case.

They're not burying this evidence, they're publishing it, and that's the only way the climate "skeptics" (only a handful are active climate researchers) ever hear of it.

Gabriel said...

@n. n.:Both the old and young Earth theories are articles of faith. The latter relies on ancient myths of God. While the former relies on the unscientific principle of uniformity and the certified opinion of mortal gods.

a) Isotope ratios--which of these categories to they fall into?

b) What living geologist explains the Channeled Scablands as the operation of "the unscientific principle of uniformity" which was the latest thing in geology about 200 years ago?

I don't understand why you think it is acceptable to lie for your faith. If you are not lying, you are profoundly misinformed as to the state of science on the age of the earth, since you are relying caricatures that are decades or centuries out of date.

Gabriel said...

Out of one side of its mouth, the creationist movement argues that it's unscientific to reject Creation given the so-called "fine tuning" of fundamental constants.

Out of the other side of its mouth, the creationist movement argues that assuming that the fundamental constants have never changed is an unscientific "principle of uniformity", and that the scientific position is to assume that they have changed over time exactly as needed to reconcile geologic, astronomical, and paleontological evidence in just such a way as to exactly reconcile with an interpretation of a Bronze Age narrative, despite that every rock, fossil, and star needs its own individually applied correction factor.

Gabriel said...

Needless to say, if the fundamental constants have changed over time, in what sense can the existence of life depend on their "fine tuning"? We're always hearing from creationists that any tiny deviation of them makes the universe we see utterly impossible...which is of course a caricature of a mainstream scientific position.

But the creationist program is purely a set of mutually incompatible distortions or caricatures of science. It is analogous to the defendant who argued that he didn't steal the car, he borrowed it, and it was his friend who stole it, and he was in another state at the time, and the car was already wrecked before he got there.

chickelit said...

a) Isotope ratios--which of these categories to they fall into?

Isotope ratios are a fact, not a theory. Their measurements have improved in my lifetime.

Gabriel said...

@Chickelit:Isotope ratios are a fact, not a theory.

Why do you think theory and fact are opposites?

A theory is the context into which facts fit (or don't). A theory cannot become a fact any more than a horse race can become a racehorse.

The isotope ratios in rocks are one of the many, many facts that are support the theory of evolution, as well as some other theories from geology and astronomy and physics.

chickelit said...

Why do you think theory and fact are opposites?

That's not what I meant at all. Theories are wholly man-made; facts are not.

In grad school, I kept a 1912 drawing on the wall next to my desk. It depicted a ship labelled "theory" ramming an iceberg labelled "fact."

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