March 16, 2015

"[I]f our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure."

"We need to equip our children with tools to avoid the mistakes of the past while constructing a better, and more sustainable, world for themselves and future generations. We won’t do that by dodging inevitable and important questions about facts and faith. Instead of punting on those questions, we owe it to the next generation to plant the seeds of doubt."

Writes the scientist Lawrence M. Krauss in The New Yorker (in a piece that begins with a bit about Scott Walker's "I’m going to punt" answer on the question of evolution).

493 comments:

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jr565 said...

When National Geographic drew Ambulocetus natans it drew its hind feet as if it had fins. However, when its legs were examined it was determined they were not fins and could move quite powerfully on land. Little basis that it was a waterbound creature at all. When publishing the picture of its skeleton it cleared showed that its hind legs were just hind legs.
Not an example of a land bound whale at all.
BUt look at the story constructed around it. That's the extent of so much of evolution.
They find a single bone, or look at skeletal structure and recreate the entire animal around the finding of a single bone, or say "that bone looks a bit like a foot, why this animal must have had a foot" its clearly a precursor to a whale or a horse.
Based on nothing but the imagination of the person making the claim.

Anonymous said...

Tim in Vermont writes;

If God can self create so can the universe.

If God can always be, so can the universe.

If one is possible, the other is possible.


This does not follow. You're going to need to explain why you think it does.



Revenant said...

God can self create so can the universe. If God can always be, so can the universe. If one is possible, the other is possible.

It is not really that hard.

Well, except for the fact that all three statements are logical fallacies.

Fat Man said...

Questions from the press to a presidential candidate about evolution are not about science. If the candidate were to ask the reporter to clarify whether he meant phyletic gradualism or punctuated equilibrium, the reporter would fall over in an epileptic fit.

The question really means: are you one of us? Scott Walkers answer should be to reframe the question and answer it truthfully. No, I am not a member of the coastal chattering class. I am a proud, middle class, mid-western American. That answer should cause Andrea Mitchell to have the dry heaves, but so what?

As for Krauss, he is a jerk. There are entire classes of literature, art, relationships, and experience that the rest of us call sacred. He denies them and thereby impoverishes his life. But, that is his problem.

If that is all there was to it. I would pass it by. But, Krauss suggestion that his world view is important and should be inculcated in our children by the educational system. Needs to be rejected.

First, science, the empirical, experimental, and observational exploration of the world we live in, is not dependent on the rejection of the sacred. Indeed I would argue that it depends most deeply on our faith in the law like regularity of the phenomena that we encounter. Great scientists of the past like Newton and Einstein recognized this.

One of the deepest barriers to Islam's success in the modern world is that the philosophy of Al Ghazali which rejects the idea of cause and effect has been normative since the 12th century.

Second, many so called scientists demonstrate great faith in things unseen, such as dark energy, dark matter, black holes, and even their bug bear itself evolutionary speciation.

Third, there is nothing scientific about Krauss world view, it is simply warmed over, and not well understood, Epicureanism, a materialist philosophy formulated in the 4th Century B.C.E. Like them, and with just as much evidence and reason, he refuses the sacred, and derides any discourse about the larger world as superstition.

When you walk around staring at the ground, with your fingers tightly in your ears. You will miss a lot of wonderful and beautiful things. Things might fill your heart with awe and reverence, and nourish your spirit with intimations of other dimensions and worlds. This is what Krauss wants, not knowledge, but the deadening of the spirit and the constriction of life.

William said...

The most convincing argument for the non existence of God would be the non existence of the universe, i.e. nothingness as opposed to being......I don't think we can rule out the possibility that God is into post modern irony. It does seem that the greatest scientific advances have been made not due to our disinterested pursuit of scientific truth, but in order to win wars and make money. Our most rational achievements are the direct result of the most irrational parts of our nature.....,,"Tiger, tiger burning bright in the forest of the night"

Revenant said...

Second, many so called scientists demonstrate great faith in things unseen, such as dark energy, dark matter, black holes, and even their bug bear itself evolutionary speciation.

You define "faith" weirdly.

1. All the gravitational attraction we have witnessed is caused by matter.

2. There is more gravitational attraction between stars than can be explained by the matter we can see.

3. Therefore, there must be matter we haven't seen.

There. The "faith based" origins of the idea of dark matter.

Calling evolutionary speciation a matter of faith manages to be even sillier, given that we see it happen on a regular basis both in the wild and in the laboratory. You might as well argue that it is an article of faith that you can ignite gasoline with a match.

Sloanasaurus said...
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Sloanasaurus said...

I don't think it really matters whether someone is skeptical or not about evolution. In fact it would be normal to be skeptical because its a theory that cannot really be proved completely. Its like the big bang: scientists keep coming up with stuff they have never found such as "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy" to explain the Big Bang Theory. It's only a theory that may become a non-theory if someone comes up with a better theory.

Perhaps what really matters is whether someone - a President - would attempt to ban the teaching of evolution. Thus, I think candidates such as Walker should answer these questions by stating that they believe the theory of Evolution should be taught as part of science class and leave it at that. If someone wants to examine the religious explanation they can learn about that in Religion class.

Steve Uhr said...

Jr -- a true scientist should be able to state a hypothetical that would prove an accepted theory wrong. Eg, if one were to find a fossilized cat in the belly of a dinosaur, that would bring the theory of evolution to its knees

Your turn - what hypothetical facts would make you believe that creationism is false?

Sloanasaurus said...

It's kind of strange though to think what life would be like living in the middle ages and ancient times before the invention of things like the telescope and microscope. Back then, just looking at your own hand was a complete mystery - what is it made of? why does it work? etc.. No wonder people were religious. Today, we are at least able to explain every day things, so that life is a little less mysterious. Still when one ventures a little further, it all becomes a mystery once again.

Anonymous said...

ANd here's where I'm not buying it. MIcro evolution, absolutely, macro evolution - magical thinking.

This is the problem I have with the limited understanding of our populace and bringing up evolution in news and sound bites.

Evolution means a million different things.

It all comes down to a clever trick used by Democrats and the media to make Republicans look dumb. It's called the Equivocation fallacy.

As an example, "My son and I went fishing off the bank, and then we deposited our check."

Using the word bank there has two different meanings.

And you never really know what someone means when they say evolution. We all know if you live in hotter climates, your skin will evolve into a darker shade, just as in cooler climates, your skin will evolve into a lighter shade.

This is why anyone who says they don't believe in evolution looks like an idiot.

The devil is in the details.

Revenant said...

scientists keep coming up with stuff they have never found such as "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy" to explain the Big Bang Theory.

Neither of those things was invented to "explain the big bang theory". They were invented to explain observed behavior of the universe today.

I mentioned the origins of the idea of dark matter above. "Dark energy" is much the same: the expansion of the universe is accelerating. The energy to do this hasn't been found. Thus, "dark energy".

If you find a man dead in a field with something that matches a gunshot wound, but can't find the bullet anywhere, you go with "he was shot with a bullet we haven't found" as your working theory until a better one comes along. That's dark matter and dark energy in a nutshell.

Anonymous said...

Revenant;

You define "faith" weirdly.

1. All the gravitational attraction we have witnessed is caused by matter.

2. There is more gravitational attraction between stars than can be explained by the matter we can see.

3. Therefore, there must be matter we haven't seen.

There. The "faith based" origins of the idea of dark matter.


The faith is in your first premise. IE: All the gravitational attraction we have witnessed is caused by matter therefore, all gravitational attraction is caused by matter.

We see premise #2 and instead of concluding, "Maybe some gravitational attraction isn't caused by matter" we put our faith in #1 and assume "Dark Matter".

Terry said...

Revenant wrote:

1. All the gravitational attraction we have witnessed is caused by matter.

2. There is more gravitational attraction between stars than can be explained by the matter we can see.

3. Therefore, there must be matter we haven't seen.


This is circular logic, Revenant.
What they actually have observed is that stars in galaxies seem to be moving in ways that the observed mass of the galaxies' stars cannot adequately explain. 'Dark matter' is an observed effect, not a thing made out of atoms.

Mitch H. said...

Ever notice that most sophomoric arguments about philosophy break down in silly slap-fights over the definition of words? "Sacred", "faith", etc. Partially, it's because to assert the authority to definite is an act of dominance, but just as much, it's because these things break down to axioms - which ones you accept, what foundation any given participant in an argument finds necessary for their world-views to remain consistent.

Upon which utter falsehood in plain defiance of common usage is *your* world constructed?

Revenant said...

The faith is in your first premise. IE: All the gravitational attraction we have witnessed is caused by matter therefore, all gravitational attraction is caused by matter.

So let me get this straight: when scientists discovered there was more gravitational force than the matter they could see could explain, it was an act of faith to NOT invent a mysterious, previously-undiscovered force to explain it?

Could you explain what the non-faith-based theory would be, exactly?

Anonymous said...

Terry wrote;

'Dark matter' is an observed effect, not a thing made out of atoms.

It's assumed, not observed.

Since Premise #1 and Premise #2 contradict each other (All gravitation is explained by matter, except when it's not) something had to be assumed in order to make the theory work.

Equally plausible is that, since not all of gravitation is explain by matter (Because as premise #2 shows, some of what we observe isn't explained by matter unless we assume it) then some gravitation is caused by something else.

Original Mike said...

The existence of dark matter is a hypothesis. It is a very good hypothesis, in that it ties together several otherwise hard to explain observations, but it most certainly is not taken on faith. A lot of effort is currently being expended to find it. If we never do, a new theory will be needed (in fact, other theories have been proposed).

Balfegor said...

Re: Revenant:

The *real* problem with AGW isn't the science behind it (which, right-wing whining notwithstanding, really is pretty solid), but the response to it -- which tends to call for multi-trillion-dollar investments in things that demonstrably will NOT solve the problem in a cost-effective manner.

Also, frankly, if there is significant catastrophic climate change, it doesn't actually matter whether it's anthropogenic or not. Suppose the increase in carbon dioxide were due to massive and unexpected release of carbon dioxide from a large bodies of water. If it's going to inconvenience us, we should try to fix it anyway. Whether or not we were the cause is just finger-pointing.

My preferred solution is gigantic umbrellas at the L1 Lagrange point between Earth and the Sun, because like all men I have always dreamed of blotting out the sun.

In the short term we could just increase the albedo of the Earth by seeding more clouds. Or something. Maybe figure out how to remove more water from the upper atmosphere where its high specific heat can be problematic. A bit leery of geoengineering based on organisms, since one doesn't really have control of that process once one kicks it off. Something more fragile and easier to destroy once we achieve our targets -- like forests -- might be safer.

Anonymous said...

Rev asks;

Could you explain what the non-faith-based theory would be, exactly?

Yeah, simple. Scientists could say, "We don't know, because at this time, we're unable to observe what it is. It could be matter, which we cannot observe, so we'll call it dark matter, or it could be something else entirely."

But for some reason, scientists are hesitant to say, "We don't know."

Revenant said...

This is circular logic, Revenant.

No, it is just plain old ordinary logic:

B, if and only if A.

B.

Therefore, A.

Now, that first statement may be *wrong*, which is why many scientists are currently dedicating their lives to trying to prove as much. But so far they haven't, so dark matter remains a concept.

jr565 said...

ROger Sweeney wrote:

Biologists do not think that this is an omnipotent process. Lots of things can't be done. Cats can't turn into dogs and dogs can't turn into cats. But they do think a carnivorous mammal many million years ago could be the common ancestor of both dogs and cats.

They think that a land animal can turn into a whale. That's as profound as turning a cat into a dog. A whale is a completely different creature than Ambulocetus natans and yet they're saying that natural selection would allow this to happen. I find that highly dubious. But that's how all animals became other animals in evolution. The changes are that drastic.
And all based on finding two separate fossils, one showing a lemur/squirrel like animal and centuries later an ape like animal.
And you read stuff like this:
" Their brains and eyes were becoming larger, while their snouts were getting smaller. At the base of a skull, there is a hole through which the spinal cord passes. This opening is the foramen magnum click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced (literally the "large hole or opening" in Latin). The position of the foramen magnum is a strong indicator of the angle of the spinal column to the head and subsequently whether the body is habitually horizontal (like a horse) or vertical (like a monkey). During the Eocene, the foramen magnum in some primate species was beginning to move from the back of the skull towards the center. This suggests that they were beginning to hold their bodies erect while hopping and sitting, like modern lemurs, galagos, and tarsiers."
Based on finding two separate fossils that look different. Were the skulls beginning to forward, or did they just happen to find a fossil later on who's skull looked different? Remember again, that there are billions of animals that have gone extinct. Why does this have to mean that the ape evolved, and didn't simply look like the ape that was found. Going from a lemur to an ape is a huge jump. Do you see them amount of mutations required to go from a lemur like animal to an ape?

Revenant said...

Yeah, simple. Scientists could say, "We don't know, because at this time, we're unable to observe what it is. It could be matter, which we cannot observe, so we'll call it dark matter, or it could be something else entirely.

So basically your entire objection is semantic? You don't like that they say "dark matter" instead of "that thing we haven't found yet"?

damikesc said...

Second, many so called scientists demonstrate great faith in things unseen, such as dark energy, dark matter, black holes, and even their bug bear itself evolutionary speciation.

I don't believe that. There are things we had no exposure to that we are now able to see. Do we understand dark matter? I'd imagine probably not terribly well. We understand that gravity behaves in ways that indicate something has to be there, but I doubt we will ever fully comprehend dark matter.

It's not faith in something unseen. Creationism is that (and I, personally, feel evolution and creationism aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. One is simply a very in-depth explanation of what happened). It's recognizing that the universe is acting in ways that can only really be explained by the existence of matter.

World of difference in the existence of God (which I firmly believe but cannot prove) and in dark matter (where considerable evidence exists that it exists even if we do not fully understand the nature of that matter)

Revenant said...

If it's going to inconvenience us, we should try to fix it anyway. Whether or not we were the cause is just finger-pointing

Well said. Plus we need to figure out what temperature the Earth ought to be.

It strikes me as unlikely that the Earth, the average temperature of which changes quite a bit, just coincidentally happened to be at the perfect temperature for human existence at the moment that our species' carbon footprint began to increase.

Revenant said...

Since Premise #1 and Premise #2 contradict each other (All gravitation is explained by matter, except when it's not)

eric, you *are* aware that the vast majority of all the matter we think exists has never been seen by anyone... right?

The Earth is something like 4000 miles in diameter. We've drilled 0.1% of the way through it in a few places. So... is it hollow, or is it filled with "matter we can't see", a.k.a. dark matter?

We can see stars, because they are conveniently composed of big glowy fusion and fission reactions. Pretty much everything else, we see because it is conveniently illumuniated BY stars. That still leaves the 99.99999etc% of the universe that isn't stars or positioned for easy observation.

Which is why astrophysicists rely so heavily on inferences from observed phenomena.

Anonymous said...

Rev wrote;

So basically your entire objection is semantic? You don't like that they say "dark matter" instead of "that thing we haven't found yet"?

Maybe it's entirely semantic.

Is Dark Matter just another set of words meaning "that thing we haven't found yet"?

If so, I wasn't aware of that. Which is fine, if that's how they are treating it.

And I agree with you that your logic is sound. I don't know where Terry is coming up with circular. Well, I think Premise #1 and Premise #2 contradict, but only because you used the word "All" instead of "Most" in premise 1. But I don't care to nitpick it, I know what you meant.

The point about faith is, as you said, "dark matter remains a concept"

Some people would call belief in concepts to be faith based.

I don't really care to argue over that. If someone wants to call that faith, I'm fine with that. If you want to say faith is something else entirely, I'm also fine with that.

Terry said...

Revenant, you seemed to be practicing Sunday Supplement Science. Dark matter neither emits nor absorbs energy like ordinary matter made out of neutrons, positron, and electrons.

jr565 said...

"If it's going to inconvenience us, we should try to fix it anyway. Whether or not we were the cause is just finger-pointing"

Fix it how? By totally reworking economies and implementing policies that have no chance of working? China and India are the current worst offenders and they have nothing to do with Kyoto or protocols like it.

damikesc said...

Also, frankly, if there is significant catastrophic climate change, it doesn't actually matter whether it's anthropogenic or not. Suppose the increase in carbon dioxide were due to massive and unexpected release of carbon dioxide from a large bodies of water. If it's going to inconvenience us, we should try to fix it anyway. Whether or not we were the cause is just finger-pointing.

Why do you assume that we CAN fix it?

Why do you assume we SHOULD fix it? If it's not man-made, then why should we try to "correct" nature?

damikesc said...

Fix it how? By totally reworking economies and implementing policies that have no chance of working? China and India are the current worst offenders and they have nothing to do with Kyoto or protocols like it.

And even if we did everything just as requested, the wrecked economies would have a negligible, at best, impact on the environment anyways.

Original Mike said...

Balfegor said: "My preferred solution is gigantic umbrellas at the L1 Lagrange point between Earth and the Sun"

Cool.

fizzymagic said...

If God can self create so can the universe.

If God can always be, so can the universe.


What a remarkably shallow and jejune argument. If you were in 6th grade it would be worth about a B+; for an adult it is worth a D at best.

Try harder. As you say, it's not that hard.

fizzymagic said...

Yeah, simple. Scientists could say, "We don't know, because at this time, we're unable to observe what it is. It could be matter, which we cannot observe, so we'll call it dark matter, or it could be something else entirely."

But for some reason, scientists are hesitant to say, "We don't know."


Apparently you don't know any physicists, as we are all too eager to say "we don't know." It's a badge of honor in physics to prove the conventional wisdom wrong. OTOH, if you are going to claim that dark matter is just some kind of wild guess, you have a great deal of experimental evidence to explain.

P.S. Krauss claims to be a real physicist, but he's really a hack. That much was obvious when I first met him in 1984 or so. The guy in not considered a deep thinker.

Balfegor said...

Re: damikesc:

Why do you assume we SHOULD fix it? If it's not man-made, then why should we try to "correct" nature?

Seriously? I like shoes, clothes, long distance travel, living in rectilinear buildings, air conditioning, the internet. The whole point of civilization is to bend nature to our will. To make gardens of wildernesses, to bring wild beasts to heel, and to eradicate those creatures which displease us. This was the Great Work wrought by our ancestors.

If the temperature gets a bit hot for us, we should figure out how to turn it down.

damikesc said...

Seriously? I like shoes, clothes, long distance travel, living in rectilinear buildings, air conditioning, the internet. The whole point of civilization is to bend nature to our will. To make gardens of wildernesses, to bring wild beasts to heel, and to eradicate those creatures which displease us. This was the Great Work wrought by our ancestors.

If the temperature gets a bit hot for us, we should figure out how to turn it down.


We have already done that. AC exists and works quite well.

So, again, why should we spend billions for this weak theory?

jr565 said...

Steve Uhr wrote:
Your turn - what hypothetical facts would make you believe that creationism is false?

With me its not an either or. I think both are flawed. Evolution has the veneer of science and some of it is in fact scientific. But a lot of it strikes me just as much magical thinking.
"Wait do you really think that Noah literally got two of every animal and put them on his ark?"

"Wait do you really think a land bound animal just developed a blow hole over time and then developed fins where his feet was and is now what we consider a whale?

jr565 said...

Balfegor wrote:
If the temperature gets a bit hot for us, we should figure out how to turn it down.

You believe in evolution right? Shouldn't we adapt to our environment and not try to change the weather patterns. We're not Storm from the Xmen.

jr565 said...

By adapt I mean, if its too hot, we get air conditioning. If there are floods and rising water levels we build levees. Thinking we can change the very weather itself sounds like a massive sci fi undertaking. And why do that when we can address the problems of global warming for much cheaper.

jr565 said...

Not to mention this world has already undergone global warming and global cooling already. We somehow survived it. Why assume that the weather we have now must be the weather we should always have? If you lived in Greenland centuries ago you'd be living in an entirely different environment.

fizzymagic said...

This is circular logic, Revenant.
What they actually have observed is that stars in galaxies seem to be moving in ways that the observed mass of the galaxies' stars cannot adequately explain. 'Dark matter' is an observed effect, not a thing made out of atoms.


Pauli reportedly once said "that's not even wrong." That would apply to what you wrote here. While rotation curves of galaxies were the first evidence for dark matter, they are hardly the only evidence for it. And you completely miss why it was proposed in the first place: it's not that the movement of the stars could not be explained without it, but rather that it predicted the galactic rotation curves very well.

And you appear to be completely unfamiliar with numerous experiments designed to very sensitively search for anomalies in the gravitational force. See, for example, the work of Eric Adelberg at the University of Washington.

In order to propose a better explanation of galactic rotation curves than dark matter, you would have to find something that has exactly the same gravitational effect as a sphere (not disk) of matter but only works at galactic scales. Good luck with that

tim in vermont said...

This does not follow. You're going to need to explain why you think it does.

The only way it "doesn't follow" is if you introduce some extra concepts from your religion into the argument.

Since I don't subscribe to these supernatural rules imposed on logic about the natural world, I have to say that if there is a God, God exists as a part of the Universe.

If you think that God is not part of the universe, that's your personal belief.

I am just explaining that this whole Who created what obsession is not a bother for an atheist.

tim in vermont said...

I would probably get a "D" in a test about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin too. :V

tim in vermont said...

So now that I have made my argument eric, why don't you explain to me why it "doesn't follow."

This should be good.

Steve Uhr said...

Jr - you didn't answer my question.

Michael K said...

I've been gone all day and may not read all the comments but this guy is feeding New Yorker readers bullshit, which no count they are eager to consume.

an AP-GfK poll revealed that less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change, evolution, the age of the Earth, and the existence of the Big Bang. Among those surveyed, there was a direct correlation between religious conviction and an unwillingness to accept the results of empirical scientific investigation.

Which of those things is not like the other ?

buster said...

Re Revenant at 4:03:

His reasoning is not circular. The fact that stars behave in a way that cannot be explained by visible matter does not require him to abandon the claim that all gravitational attraction is caused by matter. There is nothing unusual about a developed scientific theory being unable to explain all the data. You don't abandon the theory just because of that. You try to refine the theory by making assumptions you then try to prove. A prominent example is the Higgs boson.

You abandon the theory only when there is a better theory.

buster said...

Scientific theories are not syllogisms.

Michael K said...

I don't want to get into evolution as it stirs up too much wrath. For some pseudoscientist to equate climate change with religion is OK but he has it backwards. It IS religion !

tim in vermont said...

You abandon the theory only when there is a better theory

Right, until then, you maintain your faith in the existing theory. That's how science progresses best, but to suggest there is no faith involved is just silly semantics, or perhaps, ignorance of the real issues at play. One of which is that science is fumbling around in the dark and finds solid footing once in a while, and is always attempting to undermine any solid footing it finds. Maybe the difference you are noting is between "faith" and "blind faith."

buster said...

Original Mike at 4:23 made the point better than I did.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

You are absolutely right that many steps are missing from the stories that evolutionary biologists tell.

However, there are many more fossils than one between lemurs and apes. There are also many more fossils than one between terrestrial "pre-whales" and whales.

Evolutionary biologists do use imagination. But usually, they have studied anatomy and bones (and teeth!). They base their speculations on a lot of knowledge. Of course, that doesn't stop them from being wrong sometimes.

All scientists also agree that dating a fossil to one particular time does not mean that the particular species that left it only lived at that one particular instant. There could have been members of that species both before and after the dated fossil.

Telling evolutionary stories is a speculative enterprise but it is a lot more than wild ass guesses.

Rhythm and Balls said...
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David53 said...

@Revenant

I'll see your Phillip K. Dick reality and raise you a Stephen Hawking reality;

"I don't demand that a theory correspond to reality because I don't know what it is."

Stephen Hawking, a real scientist, says he doesn't know what reality is. Really? He must be a loon.

sinz52 said...

Big Mike sez: "The latest research I've read suggests that the Big Bang never happened."

WHAT???

Terry said...

"Pauli reportedly once said "that's not even wrong." That would apply to what you wrote here. While rotation curves of galaxies were the first evidence for dark matter, they are hardly the only evidence for it."
I never said that it was the onlyevidence for dark matter.
Zwicky found in the motions of galaxies within clusters back in the 1930s. Rubin, Ford, and Thonnard measured it the differential rotation rates of stars in individual galaxies in the late 1970s. Is this wrong? Has anyone gotten a spectrum of dark matter yet? What is it made out of? Atoms? Plasma? Neutrinos?

Roger Sweeny said...

Revenant,

So let me get this straight: when scientists discovered there was more gravitational force than the matter they could see could explain,

They did not necessarily discover more gravitational force. What they discovered was more attractive force--and since the only field forces we know are gravity and electromagnetism and this wasn't electromagnetism, most physicists said it must be gravity from something we can't see. They called that something "dark matter" but that's really only putting a name on our ignorance.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhythm and Balls said...

If Big Oil sez that AGW isn't scientifically supported then AGW can't be scientifically supported.

I think that's the way science works, guys.

tim in vermont said...

No R&B, the way it works is that if one can show any researcher to have ever received any kinds of funds from "Big Oil," such as speaking at a symposium, then that researcher's science is wrong by definition, and there is no need to bother with the arguments that researcher makes.

Roger Sweeny said...

It strikes me as unlikely that the Earth, the average temperature of which changes quite a bit, just coincidentally happened to be at the perfect temperature for human existence at the moment that our species' carbon footprint began to increase.

No doubt. And the earth has never stayed at one specific temperature. But the temperature range of the last few centuries is the background against which fields were cleared and planted, cities were built, etc. We've got an awfully big "installed base."

sinz52 said...

There are two reasons why science and religion keep coming into conflict:

1. Gould is right. Things are better when each stays where it belongs.

Science should not be telling us about moral codes or national policy.

And religion should not be trying to tell us about the natural world.

Modernist Christians and Jews regard the Book of Genesis as mythological, not historical. That's why they don't have a problem with the theory of evolution: They don't have their own view to defend.

2. The other problem is deeper, and it's why some folks recoil at modern science.

Western religion accepts essentialism as axiomatic: Everything is categorized: Humans or beasts, male or female, etc.

One of the disturbing philosophical implications of modern science is its replacement of essences by continuua and duality: Matter and energy can be both waves and particles. "Species" is an arbitrary concept; life continually evolved over time. Animals don't come with little bar codes identifying their species; it's all up to whether they interbreed. Etc.

It's real hard to run a traditional Western society based on continuua though. We have to put practical dividing lines on everything: You can't get a learner's permit to drive before a certain age, you can't drink before a certain age, etc.

And while feminists and fundamentalists disagree about when abortion should be legal, neither wants to decide it for each woman separately on some subjective case-by-case basis.

Rhythm and Balls said...

And what if every such researcher (of the small pool of them that agree) is thus funded, Tim? No conflicts of interest need ever be considered then, either?

I guess that's why science publications are so anti-disclosure. Anti-transparency, pro-bias, very interested in funds from benefactors with a specific outcome at stake.

sinz52 said...

Roger Sweeney sez: "They think that a land animal can turn into a whale. That's as profound as turning a cat into a dog."

This argument, straight out of 1920s Bible Belt fundamentalism, has been refuted ever since.

One of the problems with opponents of evolution is that they refuse to take "no" for an answer. Even though those answers have been around for decades--even for a century or more.

I don't even bother to argue with such people.

I only give them one piece of advice:

If you think you have stumbled on a fatal flaw in evolution that has escaped all the world's scientists since Darwin, there are two possibilities:

1. There is an infinitesimal probability that you are a misunderstood genius who is about to launch a scientific revolution.

2. There is a far greater probability that you didn't do your homework to find out why your idea has long since been known to be wrong.

tim in vermont said...

No conflicts of interest need ever be considered then,

Research is right or wrong. If you think the evaluation of motives is science, I don't know how you ever became and anesthesiologist.

BTW, My daughter has undergone several surgeries recently, unfortunately, and the anesthesiologists have unfailingly been saints. I mean that, honest, sympathetic, careful to explain things in clear terms. Saints.

tim in vermont said...

Gotta run, I hope eric answers my question.

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
And what if every such researcher (of the small pool of them that agree) is thus funded, Tim? No conflicts of interest need ever be considered then, either?

WEll lets also consider the conflicts of interest on those pushing the global waring agenda too. Why are they somehow above reproach?

cubanbob said...

@fizzymagic

The great thing about real science that is ultimately testable and verifiable or falsifiable.
One of the few truly great examples of government funded science, the large hadron collider has been upgraded to the presumed power levels that could produce evidence of dark matter and dark energy. Soon enough when the experiments begin we may indeed find the evidence for dark matter and energy or go back to the drawing board. Inspite of so much retrograde ignorance and stupidity it's wonderful to know that such efforts are not only possible but are being implemented and civilization is progressing.

jr565 said...

Darwin said this:
I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale


Do evolutionists believe Darwin?

Rhythm and Balls said...

The evaluation of motives helps save time and is SOP in medical research, where disclosures are routine. It is not the science itself, but helps explain - in this case - why most of the minuscule proportion of anti-AGW researchers keep insisting on dissents that invariably turn out to be less plausible than the conventional conclusions.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Glad to hear how your daughter's experiences have gone.

cubanbob said...

Rhythm and Balls said...
And what if every such researcher (of the small pool of them that agree) is thus funded, Tim? No conflicts of interest need ever be considered then, either?

I guess that's why science publications are so anti-disclosure. Anti-transparency, pro-bias, very interested in funds from benefactors with a specific outcome at stake.

3/16/15, 6:19 PM"

Sadly what you write as snark is all too often true. There has been quite a lot of retractions due to fraud on the part of the researchers. Its not so much as donor influence although no doubt that is true of some cases but more to the point is publish or perish and the need for funding thereof.

Rusty said...

Blogger jr565 said...
As far as Global Warming goes I think Bjorn Lomborg has it right. Even if its true, you wont be able to fix it by lowering the temperature. So instead d things to offset the problems. It will be a lot cheaper.

Considering that the warming is actually .009 percent of a degree celcius, statiscally insignificsnt, I wouldn't worry too much about it.


"But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species. It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.
ANd here's where I'm not buying it. MIcro evolution, absolutely, macro evolution - magical thinking.

There is a school of thought that posits that genetic change, rather than being the result of billions of years of ponderous morphing , is in fact as result of an organisn reacting to immediate changes in it's environment.

jr565 said...

Darwin was completely wrong about his view of unfettered variation in species. And yet, that's the underpinning of evolution. No one expects bears to turn as big as whales. Bears will be bears. They've vary in size and color, but their ability to vary is limited by their genetics. So you couldn't get animals evolving from common ancestors into completely different animals. I mean really, a land born animal morphos over time into a whale. Give it 50 million years. If the whale still survives it's not going to develop opposable thumbs. The idea is ludicrous.

jr565 said...

Rusty wrote:
There is a school of thought that posits that genetic change, rather than being the result of billions of years of ponderous morphing , is in fact as result of an organisn reacting to immediate changes in it's environment.


Then you wouldn't need milions of years to test evolutionary changes. If the environment was changed you should see animals change, and change DRASTICALLY.

jr565 said...

If you threw a human being into an ocean (with oxgen masks etc) and made him live there for a million years, his progeny are not going to suddenly or even gradually turn into mermaids. Even though it would be advantageous for them to be able to breathe underwater. Hunans do not have it in them to grow gills.

jr565 said...

I should have said, if you threw a group of humans into the ocean. NOt a single person.

Rhythm and Balls said...

It's really not that complicated. Variation (of whatever scale) exists, DNA doesn't replicate with 100% accuracy (but something almost as high), and the few changes of those that might happen to be advantageous are selected for. It doesn't mean some species aren't more stably adapted than others.

All the other verbiage just posted doesn't change any of it. Evolution's true. And AGW's similarly well-supported.

I don't want to discourage dissenters from chiming in, at least on the evolution thing, which I know more about - as it really does help explain not only a disappointing political/social reality but hopefully a way of understanding what misunderstandings have led to it.

Original Mike said...

@cubanbob said: "the large hadron collider has been upgraded to the presumed power levels that could produce evidence of dark matter and dark energy. Soon enough when the experiments begin we may indeed find the evidence for dark matter and energy"

There's little chance of that, though since we don't know what dark matter and energy are, it's possible.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I thought this was a good view into were the more stubborn misunderstandings arise.

Dawkins is being uncharacteristically patient here. It's inspiring, while reminding one of the unavoidable disappointment realized by the fact that some of this will just be too difficult for some to accept - whether psychologically or otherwise.

I suppose biology has become just that complicated.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Some things that the mind can't accept are still nevertheless true.

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
Variation (of whatever scale) exists, DNA doesn't replicate with 100% accuracy (but something almost as high), and the few changes of those that might happen to be advantageous are selected for. It doesn't mean some species aren't more stably adapted than others

I never said variation didn't exist. Of course it does. New traits or ogans don't come about because of natural selection though. Variation is limited by the genetics of the animal.

As Stephen Jay Gould remarked: The essence of Darwinism lies in a single phrase: natural selection is the creative force of evolutionary change. No one denies that selection will play a negative role in eliminating the unfit. Darwinian theories require that it create the fit as well"
It does the former but not the latter.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

No biologist believes in unfettered variation but every biologist believes that the amount of variation in a species is not fixed. You sound like you think it is. But mutations are real and constantly happening.

Biologists believe that given the right mutations and enough time, substantially new living things can come into existence. When I say the "right" mutations, I mean something that makes the thing it creates more likely to survive and leave offspring with that same mutation. Most mutations won't be that way. But biologists are fairly sure there will be some. You don't seem to agree.

Paco Wové said...

"If you threw a human being into an ocean (with oxgen masks etc)..."

Well, this topic really wound you up, jr565.

I wish I could come up with a more polite way to say this, but... you know nothing about evolutionary theory. It is obvious from your comments here that you've never studied it, or any of its underpinnings, in the slightest.

Criticizing theory is fine, and there is lots of uncertainty, but dude. You are exemplifying "not even wrong" on this thread.

Go learn some real genetics, geology, and ecology, and come back and we can talk. Until then you are speaking as a child.

Theranter said...

Similarly, there is HR 1030, just looking for replication validation in science that the EPA uses to implement regs. Prez says he will veto it. HR 1030 "The Secret Science" Bill.
http://revkin.tumblr.com/post/112637334037/white-house-unhappy-with-gops-secret-science

Original Mike said...

@sinz52 (6:22pm) had good advice for you, jr565.

AReasonableMan said...

jr565 said...
Hunans do not have it in them to grow gills.


Not strictly true. Human embryos go through a stage where they have slits and arches in their necks like the gill slits and gill arches of fish.

jr565 said...

Paco wrote:
wish I could come up with a more polite way to say this, but... you know nothing about evolutionary theory. It is obvious from your comments here that you've never studied it, or any of its underpinnings, in the slightest.

Sure I have. I was describing Darwinism. Now Evolutionary theory has come a long way since Darwin, but it still believes in macro evolution. Im skeptical of that.

jr565 said...

sinz52 do you think that the whales common ancestor walked on land?

jr565 said...

AReasonableMan wrote:

Not strictly true. Human embryos go through a stage where they have slits and arches in their necks like the gill slits and gill arches of fish.

Do you think that humans will one day have a genetic defet that allows some to breath underwater. At that over time they will then lose their legs and develop fins?

MadisonMan said...

Right, until then, you maintain your faith in the existing theory

A theory is correct until facts disprove it. Faith is not involved.

Maintaining your faith in a disproven theory is an act of foolishness, not faith.

I'm speaking of the scientific definition of theory, by the way.

Terry said...

"Modernist Christians and Jews regard the Book of Genesis as mythological, not historical. That's why they don't have a problem with the theory of evolution: They don't have their own view to defend."
As long as you don't consider "historical" to mean "true", and "mythological" to mean "not true."
History is, after all, a work of the imagination.

chickelit said...

jimbino askes:

5. What are the justifications for taxing living non-breeders now for the future benefit of the progeny of the breeders, especially since they are a major factor in any anthropogenic climate change?

One justification is the upkeep of National Parks. Emerging breeder populations are known to shun them, and the park system's existence is endangered.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Noted evolutionist Stephen jay Gould had this to say:
“Every paleontologist knows that most species don’t change. That’s bothersome….brings terrible distress. ….They may get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that’s not due to imperfection and gaps but stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don’t change, its not evolution so you don’t talk about it.”

He had to come up with an alternative theory on evolution to explain this lack of change. So put me down as skeptical because I like Stephen jay Gould who knows an awful lot about evolution recognize that animals basically stay the same.
Recognizing this fact it's highly dubious that animals would change so drastically that they change over time from a land based animal with four legs to a whale.

chickelit said...

The "who is better funded" argument is a no-brainer. Pick up any well respected, peer reviewed journal dedicated to the broad panoply of science, e.g., Britain's Nature or the American counterpart, Science and you will see an AGW-funded study. The latter even specializes in hand-wringing "what can we do about it" editorials.

In the chemical sciences, it's hard to nail down a trade journal which represents the fossil fuel industry's side. It used to be Chemical & Engineering News until they too sold out and jumped on the AGW bandwagon.

The truth is that AGW and the political agenda designed to counter it would be a terrific source of tax revenue for Governments of every stripe. Ergo the Governmental support at all levels.

To paraphrase a long-gone mural painted on the side of the old Miffland Street Co-Op: "Control of Carbon Is Control Of The Life Inside Us."

sinz52 said...

I've always found it amazing that humans could start doing algebra a thousand years ago for entirely mundane applications, and now find that mathematics is the language in which the workings of the entire universe are expressed. Without algebra, you can't understand quasars or galaxies or subatomic particles.

Logic and mathematics themselves are the only things whose origins science cannot explain. The response of atheists--that if the universe didn't work by logic, we could not exist to notice it--is no longer satisfying, now that we can imagine other universes with totally different laws (or no laws).

OTOH, that doesn't mean that the "inventor" of mathematics was anything like the Judeo-Christian God. (Whom most ordinary folks imagine to be some white-bearded old patriarch living in Heaven, like in the Michelangelo fresco.)

The Prime Mover could just be some self-referential, supremely elegant mathematical equation that bootstraps itself (and then everything else). It could be some Java code. It could be anything.

Frank Tipler, a physicist and devout Christian, believes that what we usually think of as "God" is really just a cosmological singularity that will exist in the far future of the cosmos.

I regard that as a far more awesome (and hence satisfying) conception of God than some old guy with a white beard sitting on his butt in Heaven.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

*Sigh.* I just wanna talk about fashion.

YoungHegelian said...

Holy Shit! 300 comments! Did Sara Palin take up paleontology or sumthin'?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

sinz52 said...I regard that as a far more awesome (and hence satisfying) conception of God than some old guy with a white beard sitting on his butt in Heaven.


Damn I hope you're referencing Stella, that would make my night.

Michael K said...

"Frank Tipler, a physicist and devout Christian, believes that what we usually think of as "God" is really just a cosmological singularity that will exist in the far future of the cosmos."

Richard Feynmann asked Herman Wouk, after he had interviewed him for his books about World War II, if he knew Calculus. Wouk said no. Feynmann said "You should learn it because it is the language that God speaks."

I'm fine with this idea. I consider myself an agnostic but am willing to accept such a construct.

Atheists are awfully arrogant types.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

Gould has been dead for nearly 13 years now but he hated, HATED, HATED, HATED when people took his words to suggest that evolution did not happen. He very much believed it did. He often wrote that nothing he said called into question the reality of evolution--only some of the timing and mechanisms.

The fact that most species don't change most of the time does not mean that some species do not change some times. And given millions and millions of years, that makes a lot of change.

Most people do not constantly change their marital status. That does not mean that they don't change it some times. Most people do not change jobs constantly. But that does not mean that they keep the same job forever.

sinz52 said...

I see folks are quote-mining Stephen Jay Gould to insinuate that he somehow admitted that evolutionary theory is basically flawed.

Quote-mining is a standard ploy among creationist critics of evolution. They wait till someone says something that they can wrench out of context and misuse.

For you quote-miners, here are some more quotes by Stephen Jay Gould:

"Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. The punctuations occur at the level of species; directional trends (on the staircase model) are rife at the higher level of transitions within major groups."

"The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as science collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need to invoke miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's history into the biblical span of a few thousand years; their unwillingness to abandon claims clearly disproved, including the assertion that all fossils are products of Noah's flood; and their reliance upon distortion, misquote, half-quote, and citation out of context to characterize the ideas of their opponents."

"Creationist critics often charge that evolution cannot be tested, and therefore cannot be viewed as a properly scientific subject at all. This claim is rhetorical nonsense."

Original Mike said...

"I'm fine with this idea. I consider myself an agnostic but am willing to accept such a construct.

Atheists are awfully arrogant types."


I consider myself an atheist, but if you're going to open up the definition of God to include the calculus I'm going to accuse you of moving the goalposts.

jr565 said...

Roger wrote:
jr565,

Gould has been dead for nearly 13 years now but he hated, HATED, HATED, HATED when people took his words to suggest that evolution did not happen. He very much believed it did. He often wrote that nothing he said called into question the reality of evolution--only some of the timing and mechanisms.

and yer he was pointing out flaws with evolution, requiring him to come up with an alternative hypothesis. I'll cede his points on the flaws of traditional evolutionary theory, and simply say I'm similarly unpersuaded by his hypothesis.

jr565 said...

Roger Sweeney wrote:
"No biologist believes in unfettered variation but every biologist believes that the amount of variation in a species is not fixed. You sound like you think it is. But mutations are real and constantly happening"
I beleive any variation is fettered by your DNA. Thst beign said there is a lot of variation encompassed in that. But it would allow for things like changes in height, changes in eye color, or beak size. Not suddenly developing traits that are not allowed because of the limits of your DNA.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

I beleive any variation is fettered by your DNA.

I completely agree. But that variation changes your DNA and CHANGES THE FETTERS. What is now possible is different from what was possible before. The next change changes the fetters again. Given enough time there can be quite a lot of change.

As far as biologists know, there is no essence of cat or essence of dog that says to change "this far and no farther."

Anglelyne said...

chickelit: One justification is the upkeep of National Parks.

Droll, c-lit, very droll.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
Feynmann said "You should learn it because it is the language that God speaks."


No results found for "You should learn it because it is the language that God speaks."

Atheists are awfully arrogant types.

When you get done making up quotes, go find us a rainbow unicorn.

jr565 said...

Back in 2006 they found a dolphin with four flippers and hypothesize that the extra fins were vestiges of the dolphins legs,and Thet it used to be land roaming dog like creature which was driven into the sea to escape predators.

COME ON! That is beyond ridiculous. They can't possibly beleive this. And you say that it's not like evolutionist are suggesting that dogs can turn into cats. No they are saying that dogs can turn into Dolphins.

"Recent fossil finds support the belief that, 50million years ago, forerunners of the present deep-sea mammals had limbs and were quick on their feet."
What fossil records support this? Seriously. And those are some serious mutations. A dog over time evolving to a dolphin? Not just one mutation but countless mutations, so vast as to completely change the organism. That simply doesn't happen.
"The creatures, which belonged to a group called Pakicetids, looked like a cross between a wolf and a tapir and had large heads, long powerful tails, spindly legs and ankle bones well adapted for running.
They also had bones in their ears which are unique to cetaceans, the sea family to which whales and dolphins belong.
It is thought the dolphin's land-loving ancestors first crawled into the sea to escape predators or seek food between 50million and 35million years ago."

ah so it crawled into the sea to escape predators. did it sit in the water for 15 million years waiting for its legs to grow smaller?
,Their hind legs became smaller and smaller before eventually disappearing altogether. The new aerodynamic shape reduced drag in the water, speeding their swimming."

so this was a gradual change. Apparently then this creature had the legs it had when it was a land creature while it was swimming around in the ocean. How long did it take for these legs to become flippers? Millions of years? And it also developed a layer of blubber. Again gradually.

This is true OR there is simply a dolphin out there with an extra set of flippers.
Do YOU beleive that the scientists saying Dolphins used to run around in all fours are are on acid when coming up with their theories? Because it's claims like this that make me say bullshit to macro evolution. If you want to say I'm misstating what the scientists said about this dolphin, then correct me. but it seems like you have the problem justifying such dreck as science.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-414678/Dolphin-wheel-drive-stuns-scientists.html

jr565 said...

Back in 2006 they found a dolphin with four flippers and hypothesize that the extra fins were vestiges of the dolphins legs,and Thet it used to be land roaming dog like creature which was driven into the sea to escape predators.

COME ON! That is beyond ridiculous. They can't possibly beleive this. And you say that it's not like evolutionist are suggesting that dogs can turn into cats. No they are saying that dogs can turn into Dolphins.

"Recent fossil finds support the belief that, 50million years ago, forerunners of the present deep-sea mammals had limbs and were quick on their feet."
What fossil records support this? Seriously. And those are some serious mutations. A dog over time evolving to a dolphin? Not just one mutation but countless mutations, so vast as to completely change the organism. That simply doesn't happen.
"The creatures, which belonged to a group called Pakicetids, looked like a cross between a wolf and a tapir and had large heads, long powerful tails, spindly legs and ankle bones well adapted for running.
They also had bones in their ears which are unique to cetaceans, the sea family to which whales and dolphins belong.
It is thought the dolphin's land-loving ancestors first crawled into the sea to escape predators or seek food between 50million and 35million years ago."

ah so it crawled into the sea to escape predators. did it sit in the water for 15 million years waiting for its legs to grow smaller?
,Their hind legs became smaller and smaller before eventually disappearing altogether. The new aerodynamic shape reduced drag in the water, speeding their swimming."

so this was a gradual change. Apparently then this creature had the legs it had when it was a land creature while it was swimming around in the ocean. How long did it take for these legs to become flippers? Millions of years? And it also developed a layer of blubber. Again gradually.

This is true OR there is simply a dolphin out there with an extra set of flippers.
Do YOU beleive that the scientists saying Dolphins used to run around in all fours are are on acid when coming up with their theories? Because it's claims like this that make me say bullshit to macro evolution. If you want to say I'm misstating what the scientists said about this dolphin, then correct me. but it seems like you have the problem justifying such dreck as science.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-414678/Dolphin-wheel-drive-stuns-scientists.html

Anglelyne said...

Paco: I wish I could come up with a more polite way to say this, but... you know nothing about evolutionary theory. It is obvious from your comments here that you've never studied it, or any of its underpinnings, in the slightest.

jr565: Sure I have.

No, you haven't. Obviously.

I was describing Darwinism. Now Evolutionary theory has come a long way since Darwin, but it still believes in macro evolution. Im skeptical of that.

I can only echo Paco. "Dude, you are exemplifying 'not even wrong' on this thread." Repent now.

n.n said...

As usual, discussion of topics outside of the scientific domain, including "universal" and human creation, designed, evolutionary, and spontaneous, lead to conflicts of faith.

There are few people, agnostic or other, willing to acknowledge the limits encouraged by the scientific method in both time and space. They seek the comfort of created knowledge in pseudo-scientific speculation and indulge in assumptions of uniformity and independence.

They have, once again, lead people out of the scientific domain, past the philosophical domain, into the faith domain, and even fantasy (e.g. spontaneous conception), and for exactly the same reasons as have justified past departures.

Oh, well, clearly nothing is sacred, not even science, which is subject to narcissistic interpretation and exploitation for personal returns.

Anonymous said...

I hear the same things, Anglelyne, that I know nothing.

Not, you know, counter arguments, facts, evidence, or logic. Just, I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm sure you can put jr565 in his place. We are waiting.

Laslo Spatula said...

Scarlett Johansson's Breasts, if caused by Global Warming, prove Global Warming to be True.

The Scarlett Johansson Breast Theory.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

Is THIS not proof enough of Scarlett Johansson Breast Theory?

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Sometimes I am Old-School Laslo.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Ok n.n. So science has limits, but faith doesn't. I think I agree with you on that, even if I recognize that it's part of the problem, despite what might seem to be your erroneous belief that it's the solution.

Science's limits are temporary - subject to the available evidence. Faith's limits are eternal. And knowledge keeps increasing. That's quite a conundrum, for the believers.

Best replace belief with sentiment. It's the only appropriate progression.

Smilin' Jack said...

My God. Over 300 comments on the "theory" of evolution. Between creationists and those who try to engage them in rational discussion, I have to root for the creationists. Crazy can sometimes be cured, but there's no cure for stupid.

Rusty said...


Then you wouldn't need milions of years to test evolutionary changes. If the environment was changed you should see animals change, and change DRASTICALLY.

Sure. If the conditions are right.

Bob Ellison said...

Don't know much about evolutionary theory, but it sure seems like a blast! Those orangs look kinda cute, with that red hair and all.

buster said...

Michael K said:

"Atheists are awfully arrogant types."

Atheists don't seem to understand that it's just as hard to disprove the existence of God as it is to prove it. And for the same reason: atheists and theists are giving different answers to the same question.

A good example of an arrogant atheist is Richard Dawkins. Insofar as I understand him, his argument for atheism is that the existence of God can't be scientifically proven. That's because the question whether God exists is not a scientific question. Dawkins doesn't seem to understand the limits of scientific reasoning. Which is to say that he doesn't understand the logical structure of scientific reasoning. He is arrogant because he is unaware of his ignorance.

jr565 said...

When did I argue creationism. I just think macro evolution is making some wild claims that are based on magic thinking.

Original Mike said...

"Atheists don't seem to understand that it's just as hard to disprove the existence of God as it is to prove it."

Who's trying to prove anything? Not me. I don't believe. I could not care less what you (or anyone else) believe.

chickelit said...

Anglelyne said...

Droll, c-lit, very droll.

Apt though, no?

"Drolling" is a softer form of trolling.

Original Mike said...

Although, now that I've been informed that God = calculus, I guess I either have to convert or give my physics degree back.

steve uhr said...

Eric and jr -- audit an intro course in evolutionary theory at your local college or university. Then -- assuming you have an open mind -- you may come to realize that "dogs can't become cats" is not the killer argument you think it is.

Evolution is not one living species turning into another living species. Obviously that cannot happen. It is about species today sharing common ancestors. The fossil evidence of this is overwhelming. Sure Darwin didn't get it all right. Neither did Newton or almost every other scientist for that matter. DNA, the means by which genes are transmitted, wasn't even discovered until the 1950s.

Consider this hypo -- you have 2000 mice that you split into two groups. Slowly one group travels North toward the Artic and the other travels south to the equator. After tens of thousands of generations, the northern group is well adopted to their climate and ditto for the southern group. Then they are all brought back together -- doesn't it seem quite likely that the two groups after that much time apart faced with very different environmental pressures look very different and could no longer interbreed? i.e., they have become separate species.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

Dogs have been around for maybe 20,000 years. There were no dogs 50,000,000 years ago.

Instead, the article mentions "a group called Pakicetids, looked like a cross between a wolf and a tapir" but which "also had bones in their ears which are unique to cetaceans, the sea family to which whales and dolphins belong." And yes, it does say that over millions of years, the legs could shorten, the body become streamined, and blubber develop.

These things happen gradually. No conscious entity causes them. They don't happen if they don't raise the survival prospects of the creature and its progeny.

The article mentions that "Recent fossil finds support the belief that, 50million years ago, forerunners of the present deep-sea mammals had limbs and were quick on their feet." So it's more than "a dolphin out there with an extra set of flippers." I don't know but I would be very surprised if there weren't other fossils, too. Though certainly not enough to make a smooth line with no missing links. There never is.

You may not believe a lineage starting at a land creature could, after millions of years, wind up with a dolphin, and everyone is entitled to sarcasm. But please don't misrepresent what is written.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I just think macro evolution is making some wild claims that are based on magic thinking.

And yet, we have much more evidence for that than for ANY ALTERNATIVE!

That's how science works. The better explanation. Not pretending that no explanation has any evidence.

Big animals still use DNA. Big animals still use DNA. Big animals still use DNA. Big animals still use DNA.

Big animals still appear in the fossil record and then die out. Big animals still appear in the fossil record and then die out. Big animals still appear in the fossil record and then die out. Big animals still appear and then are replaced.

If it's easier for you jr (and one hastens to wonder would be an easy enough example for you to accept), there are gradual changes that can be found in the big organisms, some perhaps affecting one trait. But it's this whole issue of gradualism that you seem to be vexed by.

Millions of years is a long time. If you use a flip book cartoon, there's not much change from one frame to the next. But the overall effect, when sped up, is dramatic movement. Such is evolution. It's really not that hard, once you reconcile the fact that millions of years is a scale that no human being has a way of personally comprehending.

Abstract thought is your friend.

buster said...

Original Mike said:

"Who's trying to prove anything. Not me. I don't believe."

Then you're an agnostic, not an atheist.

Agnostics don't believe. Atheists believe. Theists believe the opposite of what atheists believe.

jr565 said...

When did I argue creationism. I just think macro evolution is making some wild claims that are based on magic thinking.

Original Mike said...

@buster, But I want to be an atheist, just to piss off Michael K.

I was raised Catholic. I came to believe that the God of my religion, actively intervening in the affairs of the human race, does not exist. That's why I think of myself as an atheist.

As to how the universe came to be here at all? I do not have a clue.

Rhythm and Balls said...

When did I argue creationism. I just think macro evolution is making some wild claims that are based on magic thinking.

Fossils are not magical thoughts. They are relevant facts, and therefore "evidence".

You are committing the fallacy of argument from personal belief. Just because you're incapable of believing something, you think it must be wrong.

That is not how knowledge works.

Michael K said...

"When you get done making up quotes, go find us a rainbow unicorn."

This is why I don't like these creationist posts.

Here is the full quote from Wouk and it was a story on his 94th birthday.

Let's see if I can find the link. You could read this but you won't.

Or this but you won't.

Or this but you won't.

There's lots more but, at this point, all I can say is fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

Goodbye.

William said...

It was people grounded in the Book of Genesis who developed the theory of evolution. The Navajos, the Greeks, the Hindus all had their origin stories, but they did not develop a theory of evolution. So maybe our myths have some power.

chickelit said...

From a chemical standpoint, the origin of life poses a couple of questions. The first one is the origin of molecular building blocks like amino acids and nucleic acids; the Miller-Urey Experiment and subsequent iterations largely solved this. The second problem is the origin of homochirality -- why biomolecules are "lefthanded" rather than "righthanded" and vice versa -- this is an active area of research and speculation.

buster said...

@ Original Mike:

It's not my place to explain to you what you think. But it sounds to me that you stopped believing in God, not that you proved to yourself that God doesn't exist.

Rhythm and Balls said...

To deny "macro evolution", I could see a limited number of scenarios.

1. Denial that fossilized organisms, dated by C14 to a time period, represent animals that lived during the times to which they've been dated.

2. Denial that these organisms used the same DNA that all life does, and that the changes in that DNA reflected whether it continued existing in that form.

3. Pretending that microbes use a special kind of DNA and exhibit special characteristics reflected by their DNA, that big/visible organisms should somehow be prevented from using. Even though they do still use that same language of life.

These three observations add up to the fact that "big" organisms evolve by the same mechanisms that "small" ones do. It's solid. There's no magic - let alone "magical thinking". But it can be disproven.

But that would require refutation, by REAL observable evidence, of something that effectively contradicts all that.

I challenge you to present any such evidence.

You might have to go out into the field and get out of the armchair to find it, though.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Oh, and for #3, in these "big" animals we also find that changes in DNA are accompanied by changes in structure and/or function - just like in the "small" ones.

The only magic, is pretending that there's a magical dividing line between big and small lifeforms so as to prevent the DNA-characteristic link that's universal to all life and that has been observed to be liable to change in all lifeforms.

Anglelyne said...

eric: I hear the same things, Anglelyne, that I know nothing.

Not, you know, counter arguments, facts, evidence, or logic. Just, I don't know what I'm talking about.


If you show up on a general interest forum announcing "I don't believe in macroevolution, I demand that you provide me with the facts, evidence, and logic in a blog comment to persuade me that it happens, 'cause this land whale stuff seems pretty crazy to me", then, yeah, it's a pretty good bet that you don't what you're talking about. What, you think it can be explained in three paragraphs or something?

There's nothing wrong with being ignorant about a subject, eric. You just don't qualify as a sceptic on that subject.

You don't see me bloviating one way or the other about AGW, because, aside from recognizing that it's politicized, I simply haven't put in the time and effort necessary to have an informed opinion on the matter, therefore any "skepticism" I claim toward the subject ain't worth a bucket of warm spit. And I'm just not enough of a pompous ass to start demanding that people give me "evidence" to convince me one way or the other about a complex subject whose basics I haven't bothered to master.

I have put enough time and effort into understanding the subject that jr565 is rambling on about like God's own ill-informed fatuous wino, at least enough to recognize when someone doesn't know what hell he's talking about.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Dawkins was fond of quoting a fellow biologist who was asked what sort of evidence would effectively disprove evolution.

His answer: RABBITS in the Precambrian.

Dawkins used to say it with certain stern emphasis that sounded amusing.

Anglelyne said...

chickelit: Apt though, no?

Oh, yes indeed.

Original Mike said...

In the popular sense of the term, an "agnostic", according to the philosopher William L. Rowe, is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God, while a theist believes that God does exist and an atheist does not believe that God exists.

That's my sense of the meaning of the terms, and by that definition, I'm an atheist w.r.t. terrestrial religions and agnostic w.r.t. the origin of the universe. (BTW, not trying to be argumentative)

Rhythm and Balls said...

Searching precambrian rabbits yields some funny images.

For shits and giggles, I found this one funny, also.

PianoLessons said...

Fallacy here that the central tenet of science is to assume nothing is sacred.....what? This is simply not a valid premise. This author needs to get schooled.

Science actually relies very much known truth….sacred truths. Sometimes they may get a bit dogmatic but…..they do their very best to be logical. After all – we do all still agree that 2 + 2 still = 4…..right? (this actually worries me that folks are out there trying to disprove this today…yikes).

Nothing is more difficult than to challenge the trending dogma of empirical science....ask Pasteur or Curie - or many, many other scientists who swan upstream against all odds to fight the tyranny of empirical scientific dogma elites…..

Without those anti-dogma thinkers, where might we be?

Science is nothing more or less than all the academic disciplines - a country club of old , balding, babbling white men (LOL) vs new critical , not so white, creative and problem solving critical thinkers who have epistemological goals to actually create NEW knowledge (and this BTW is not always the greatest thing - ask Einstein regarding the Atom Bomb in 1945).

It is nothing new. It has always been the challenge of the old guard vs the new thinkers and I hope it remains thus because I believe the newest and brightest scientists in our own time are far more worried about AI and robot control than the trendy corporate, progressive lie that global warming means USA has to send billions of dollars to third world countries because we have the most wealth (note – not the biggest global carbon footprint).

buster said...

@ Original Mike:

Fair enough. I don't want to argue about definitions. I do think, however, that there's a difference between your position (as I understand it) and Dawkins' position.

William said...

When I was young, the great scientific prophets of modernity were Darwin, Marx, Freud, and Einstein. Marx has been almost completely discredited. There's some residual pull to his theories in the universities, but his followers lack the fervor of earlier generations. Everywhere except Cuba and the academy, they're considered flat earth loonies. A lot of Freud has also been called into question. He has fallen afoul of feminists. That's a point in his favor but, despite that, he seems truly misinformed on a lot of subjects. No don't think Hillary would be a wiser, more nature woman if she had a vaginal as opposed to clitoral orgasm. Perhaps that question could be addressed at her next pressed.......I'm not the go- to person when it comes to explaining Einstein. However, I've heard it said that God does play dice with the universe and a lot of quantum mechanics is random and not at all what Einstein spent years looking for. Dumkopf.....The only one of the four horseman of science who made it out of the twentieth century with his reputation intact and growing was Darwin.......So when people say we should respect science, they are ignoring the fact that a lot of what they at one time claimed to be science was, in fact, bunkum.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Elmer Fudd used to hunt Precambrian rabbits.

Be vewwy quiet. Weah hunting Pweecambweean wabbits.

Rhythm and Balls said...

So when people say we should respect science, they are ignoring the fact that a lot of what they at one time claimed to be science was, in fact, bunkum.

Perhaps one day the Bible will be proven to be scientific fact.

That sounds blasphemous, to me. But luckily I grew up not being taught to rely on faith or to lack appreciation for non-literal works.

The Bible's a metaphor, dudes. Get with it. There are no precambrian rabbits or crocoducks. At some point we just have to accept that and move on, regardless of whatever hope the least informed have of someday disproving that.

When they do, I'll make sure to listen.

jr565 said...

It's easy to say something just happens, but think about how it happens logically and it becomes absurd thst it would happen thst way.
For example, I'd imagine most evolutionists would say that Quadrupeds evolved from fish in the sea. There is first no fossil records supporting this assertion.

But more importantly, this is absurd, in order to evlpolve from a fish based organism to a land based organism it would need to replace gills with lungs fins would need to be replaced by feet your kidneys would need to be changed to work in a non aquatic environment. Meanwhile the fish who haven't evolved yet, still have to live in the water. Otherwise you'd die within minutes.

How then could it be achieved gradually? You'd have to essentially be born with the characteristics thst would allow you to survive out of the water all at once, otherwise you wouldn't. You couldn't do it gradually since you'd need functioning body parts to survive in said environments. If you were a fish and had a genetic defect that gave you lungs instead of gills you'd better be outside of water pretty quick otherwise you drown. And if you somehow landed on ground but still had fins you'd flop around since you couldn't even sit upright. So how are you surviving. Gradual change woulsnt in fact work.
All of those mutations would need to occur during the lifespan of a single animal. Otherwise the offspring couldn't survive in either environment.
So logistically the idea that a fish could make this transition is really hard to fathom. Let alone the idea that it would survive while it mutated slowly. Does any one envision that any animal would have mutations so drastic as to change their entire structure in a single generation.
Evolutionists then suggest preadaptation. Animals start developing the traits they will need out of the water while still in the water. how is it an advantage while they are still in their existing environment. And what process would cause a fish to start developing a lung? Imagine if a fish's fins started turning into legs. This would be a gradual process correct? So then for millions of years these fish would be developing into worse swimmers, since it's fins wouldn't function as either fins or legs. What's happening with is gills while its pre adapting? Are they turning into lungs? So then in fact those fish would be handicapped unable to breathe well in water and not yet able to breathe on land either. For millions of years.
Survival of the fittest? Those fish would be the ones most assuredly to die.

Anonymous said...

What, you think it can be explained in three paragraphs or something?

Obviously these just so stories about how evolution is supposed to work can't be explained in books and books and books, let along three paragraphs.

Your excuse for being dismissive of him, however, is just that, an excuse. There are more people here than just jr565. Lot's of observers and commentators.

Even if you didn't think he knew enough about it, there's an excellent chance others do.

Or, you could just be dismissive because you're bloviating on a subject you really don't know about.

Anonymous said...

When did I argue creationism. I just think macro evolution is making some wild claims that are based on magic thinking.

There is no room for disagreement here.

Therefore, they must make you defend creationism, because making a positive argument for their position ends up making them look like ignorant fools.

I've seen this too many times to believe. Again and again and again the debate is, "Show evidence supporting your position on evolution and argue the case." and time and again the case is, "Creationists are dumb and the only logical result of Creationism being wrong is evolution is fact."

Silly.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Um, just to clarify - there is no such thing as an "evolutionist". This is a made-up term. It's vocabulary used to stigmatize biologists, as biologists have no other way of continuing to advance the field if they were to pretend that there are facts that throw evolution into serious doubt.

So it's stigmatizing (or would be) and assumes that evolution is controversial. Evolution's not controversial. What's controversial is pretending you can do science and advance the field and knowledge and believe in unvalidated dissents of mainstream theory without a single piece of factual evidence to show for it.

Behold the consequences of the tv age. Anything that can be imagined should be believed, and facts are what you find to be personally relevant. After all, if it can be drawn in a studio and broadcast to the world, who's to say what pieces of physical data exist or don't exist?

TV has made us believers once again. Undoing that damage seems to be taking a few generations more than one would hope.

jr565 said...

why would the word evolutionist be remotely controversial?

Rhythm and Balls said...

Here comes eric, the White Knight of Personal Belief, imploring us to the idea that facts are optional.

Foolish scientists, having such high regard as you do for facts! You will be proven wrong! Fossils, radiocarbon dating, DNA, and phenotype analysis are no match for simply dismissing the relevance of all these things!!!

They are not relevant because some of us, who never work with and probably never understood these things, say so!

So take that Insolent Scientists!

(Insert cackle here reminiscent of the Green Witch of the West from Oz).

Original Mike said...

(I can't believe I'm engaging)

And what process would cause a fish to start developing a lung?

Rhythm and Balls said...

why would the word evolutionist be remotely controversial?

It's a made-up word.

It has no utility in biology or science.

It implies, etymologically, that evolution is an ideology.

It therefore has no meaning, except to those who have problems accepting the facts of evolution.

So the only ones using it are the ones who like to pretend that evolution is controversial. Even though evolution is not remotely controversial to the people who deal in it.

You can deny it exists, just like I can deny that Caesar's Palace exists.

And then I could come up with a name of "Ceasar's Palace-ists", so that I could stigmatize those silly people who seem to believe (erroneously) that Caesar's Palace actually exists.

If only they knew how arrogant they are. Assuming the reality of going into that casino and staying the night makes it real! What dupes! What magical thinkers!

PianoLessons said...

You have a lot of folks here who need a Logical Fallacy 101 refresher course:

If God can do anything, can he create a stone so heavy that he can't lift it?

Contradictory Premises = an invalid argument.

So MANY seem to defy logic here and demand their audience to oppose....their fallacious reasoning.

I am a bit shocked - looking through comments here - how many people advance invalid arguments and also don't seem to know how to dismiss invalid arguments.

Good Grief - in my Chicago Catholic school eduction we had Logic as a required course for 4 years.

The absence of it among these 300 commenters is.....disconcerting to me.

I am now thinking curriculum reform 6-12 - add Logic courses (if we can train teachers to execute the task?) to the mandated and funded English curriculum?

That's how it worked back in the day.


jr565 said...

Evolutionists used to posit thst the coalecanth were the missing link between fish and land based organisms. They suggested that the fish gradually grew feet. Because the fish has naturally bony fins. The suggestion was thst those fins looked Iike pre evolved feet. Of course the coalecanths fin bones aren't attached to their back bone whereas land based animals legs are. No matter, the evolutionists ran with it.
Until someone caught said fish in 1938. Presumed to have been extinct for millions of years it haven't evolved one jot, didn't have legs and what was presumed to be a ling was nothing but a swim bladder. In other words nothing thst was presumed was in fact accurate.
And this is the extent of much of this science. That fish looks like it has feet, it must have been the missing link between fish and land based creatures. Oh, there are no feet at all. Oops.
Maybe there is no missing link between fish and land based animals because such an event never occurred and there is not such animal. And the fish thst supposedly are developing fish aren't. And why would they?

chickelit said...

@Pianolessons:
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
~Max Planck

chickelit said...

R&B wrote: Um, just to clarify - there is no such thing as an "evolutionist".

Will you stipulate that there is no such thing as a Christianist? How about a Sullivanist?

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
why would the word evolutionist be remotely controversial?

It's a made-up word.

It has no utility in biology or science.

It implies, etymologically, that evolution is an ideology.

It therefore has no meaning, except to those who have problems accepting the facts of evolution.

So the only ones using it are the ones who like to pretend that evolution is controversial. Even though evolution is not remotely controversial to the people who deal in it.

evolutionists are simply people who believe in evolution. Same as creationists are ones who beleive in creationism. I would call evolutionists evolutionists even if I was 100% gung-ho on evolution. I would be an evolutionist. And all words are made up words.
And evolution of course is an ideology. Are you kidding me?

PianoLessons said...

How many commenters here have ever taken a Philosophy course or two?

How many have understood the centuries of scholars who debated the existence of God?

How many know have any roots at all in the timeline of the discourse of this very question?

How many know how philosophers and theologians worked their whole lives trying to answer questions they seem to be able to answer so casually?

I'm out - but this discussion has taught me quite a lot about why many in academia agree- philosophy is as dead as Latin....a lost knowledge.

It makes me sad...really.

It makes me realize the robots probably will end up in charge.....

Rhythm and Balls said...

There's some hag in a habit apparently arguing that facts are anti-philosophical. Ok, I admit. It's real world stuff, these facts - philosophy need not apply. Arguments in a box are no longer necessary. Hey look, a non-fact! Chase it, habit-wearing lady! Chase it! Argue it! Discuss it amongst yourself!

Rhythm and Balls said...

No science is properly speaking an ideology because by definition it can never prevent itself from changing in response to the data, facts, and evidence that its theories (i.e. explanations) rely on.

Rhythm and Balls said...

This is a science discussion, Chickie.

If you want to make yourself useful, help us explore the chemistry of abiogenesis. Because that does remain quite a fanciful conundrum to better resolve. How did enzymes first appear? Deny it all the jrs in the world want, evolution happens on a daily basis. But abiogenesis, it would appear, does not. Your thoughts?

Recent cosmologists seem to have become increasingly fond of a space seeding (panspermia) theory, perhaps because of these reasons. Who knows.

Rhythm and Balls said...

And all words are made up words.

This is true for babies.

Adults have to use words that have meaning for the people they're conversing with.

In this forum, you are conversing with people who actually understand science. So you should use the words that have meaning to them.

jr565 said...

The Chordata is one of the phyla that emerged in the Cambrian age. Vertebrates (fish, birds,amphibians etc) are a subgroup of chordata. The argument was that chordates evolved from invertebrates.

evolutionary paleontologists try to view every phylum as the evolutionary continuation of another phylum, they claimed that the Chordata phylum evolved from another, invertebrate one.
However in 1999 a 530 million year old fish Pikaia was discovered. Meaning that vertebrates evolved at the same time as invertebrates. And invertebrates were not in fact it's ancestor. So they were wrong. Again.
is there doubt then thst chordates evolved from invertebrates? On what basis did we have thet belief in the first place? Simply because we hadnt yet found Pikaia.
And it sounds rational. Well of course invertebrates come before vertebrates. but, no. Maybe there is no evolving from invertebrates to vertebrates. Maybe vertebrates and invertebrates both exist at the same time independent of one another. maybe there are both vertebrates and invertebrates even before the Cambrian period and we simply haven't found the fossils yet.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I'm hearing a lot of maybes, less facts. Not sure where you got these ideas, but I'm sure there's a biologist somewhere working on any unresolved questions that might legitimately arise from them. There is no conspiracy of science preventing the discovery of answers or new explanations to any unresolved issues in the fields. That's precisely what they're incentivized to do.

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
And all words are made up words.

This is true for babies.

its true for all words. We simply accept the definition of said words.

"Adults have to use words that have meaning for the people they're conversing with.

In this forum, you are conversing with people who actually understand science. So you should use the words that have meaning to them."
Word usage is not defined by scientists or those thst understand science. If you asked 100 people what an evolutionist was 99 would say it was someone who believes in evolution. You might want to look up word etymology and roots of words

Here, I'll do it for you.
-ist, suffix of a noun denoting a person who practices or is concerned with something.
So,then an evolutionist would be one who practices or is concerned with evolution.
Learn English.

chickelit said...

R&B wrote: If you want to make yourself useful, help us explore the chemistry of abiogenesis.

This woman is probably light years ahead of anyone and is giving a public lecture tomorrow night: link.

I used to follow her work on asymmetric catalysis. These days, I'm doing kitchen table & garage chemistry. I get my challenges tutoring students.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Learn English.

Learn to use relevant language as it is actually used by your audience, you bezonian, clodpoll, dunderwhelp, fustilarian, grout-head, jubbernowl.

You wouldn't use vulgar language in a professional presentation.

Actually, I wouldn't rely on you for advice on speaking or writing, at all. Sometimes I think you copy and paste into your comments snippets of things you've found online.

Usually I suspect this when your trademark run-on sentences start magically assembling themselves into a form of coherent grammar.

chickelit said...

We need to dispel once and for all the notion that there is something disreputable about the words creationist, evolutionist, chistianist, sullivanist, etc. The suffix "ist" merely implies a "disciple thereof" or "a student of the discipline of." If what I say be not true then need need to rid ourselves of words like "chemist", "biologist," "physicist," or more generically, "scientist."

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
I'm hearing a lot of maybes, ls facts"
Funny, thst my exact problem with evolution. Maybe the vertebrates evolved from invertebrates, only we have a fish here that disproves the whole notion. So maybe not. Maybe this fish has developing feet and is the missing link between fish and land animals. Except we find the fish and it doesn't have feet so maybe not. How many times do we have to hear thst the animal has a partially formed foot only to later learn thst it wasn't a foot to begin with. Or Dolphins with extra flippers really have vestigial feet and used to be dog like creatures thst roamed the earth. Before they changed oh so gradually into Dolphins through some obscure process thst wouldd take millions of years but would inconvenient said animal for the millions of years until it became a dolphin.
I'm skeptical of the current claim because I've heard the fin is the foot arguments when it comes to evolution how many times?

jr565 said...

Ritmo there is nothing vulgar about using the word evolutionist. It's standatd usage of the suffix -ist. Now suddenly evolution is so sacred you can't even use suffixes properly anymore?

chickelit said...

The suffix -ist is really the twee version of the agent suffix -er so common to Anglo-Saxon English. And that's what this Krauss piece was really about in the first place: he's upset at Walker because he's a "walker" and not and "walkist."

Forget evolution - I'll virtually guarantee that Krauss' beef with Walker is his lack of a college degree. Full stop.

I whiffed elitism when I first read this article this morning. Now the stench is suffocating.

Rhythm and Balls said...

You're missing the point, Chick. All biologists accept evolution, because none of their work could progress without it. Therefore, "evolutionist" is as meaningless a word as would be "gravitationist", for the same reasons. No physicist has any dispute with gravity as the explanation for the attraction of masses.

But it would be a neat term of art, a la those who, like jr, might have an issue with the theory of gravitation.

Similarly, we don't have relativitationists, either.

These would be terms made-up by people who assume there to be fringe interests among the mainstream. There is, unfortunately, a conventional acceptance of them, but it is unfortunate and never used by the people you are labeling as such.

No one refers to a "Lewis acidist" or a "Mendeleyevist" or an "elementalist". They just say "chemist". Same with evolution. The people who deal in it are called "biologists". End of story.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Jr you're skeptical of what could happen over millions of years. You're skeptical of, it seems, the truism that longer passage of time allows, obviously enough, for more things to happen.

That's what you're skeptical of. It's rather obvious.

I used the example of vulgarity as an analogy.

We're not going to agree because you have as your fundamental goal the idea that you're going to disprove evolution. You're not. Not tonight, anyway.

Not because it couldn't be done. But because it doesn't seem that you know enough about it, and are paralyzed by incredulity.

Of course, stranger things have happened. But I'm tired.

Send your manuscripts to Nature, Development or Cell. They are peer-reviewed and can probably clarify where your earth-shattering insights have gone wrong or right.

Good night.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Walker is an ignorant person. Full stop.

It is not elitist to be anti-ignorance.

Terry said...

"It is not elitist to be anti-ignorance."
Neither is it ignorance to be anti-elitist.
How much does Hillary know about evolution compared to Walker? It's only important to you that she says she believes, R&B.

William said...

At last, my chance to get in the last word. The question is not why do so many ignorant people deny the science of Darwin, but why did so many educated people affirm the malarkey of Marx as a science......For most people, a belief or disbelief in evolution has no real bearing on their lives. The people who believe in Marxism, on the other hand, have to wait in long lines to buy toilet paper,......I read through most entries here with interest. I don't know if jr565 is right, but his arguments are not ignorant or illogical. That said, I see very little evidence of purposeful, divine guidance in the nature of humanity. Hegel said that God is mankind seeking consciousness, but it will take quite a while longer before that happens. Maybe our divine purpose was to develop space traveling AI robots,

Bruce Hayden said...

I am coming to this late - having spent the day with my partner having surgery.

That said, the problem that I see with evolution is that it is seen as an all or nothing sort of thing. We can see how single mutations result in changes. We have a decent handle on the chances of such happening, and the types of mutations and changes that do happen. And, can show single advantageous mutations prospering. Interesting to me, last week or so some independent evolution was shown, with essentially the same advantageous mutation occurring on a somewhat regular basis (I think that it was reestablishing mobility in certain species).

But, we presumably stand at the end of billions, if not trillions, of these mutations and changes. Can we say definitely that we, as a species (and we individually) are the direct result of greedy genes and competitive evolution? I don't think so. There are huge gaps in the evolutionary record, involving dozens, if not more, mutations. We know how frequently they occur, and statistically, those genetic jumps could be purely evolutionary. But were they? We just don't know. There is still room for a divine finger pushing evolution in our direction. Maybe. We just don't know, and won't most likely know in our lifetimes.

Which is why I don't stay up late worrying about "evolution". It is rational ignorance on my part - it doesn't affect how I live my life, and so it pays for me to not get too tied up in debating the issue.

Fen said...

Fen: Anyone who refers to AGW theory sketpics as "science deniers" is biased and cannot be counted as a source. What else ya got?

Rev: Fen, you truly are a dumb motherfucker.

And yet, you are the one who has to call people names in a lame attempt to browbeat your way out of the argument. Shows you haven't kept up with the actual science - you just parrot whatever some hack in a lab coat tells you.

1. "Climate change deniers" was in quotes for a reason: that isn't what I call them.

Hey "dumbass motherfucker", I was talking about the source you linked to - him not you - moron.

Fen said...

"Foolish scientists, having such high regard for facts!"

The same scientists that were busted altering the temperature record to make Global Warming seem real?

Gotta say, for "fact-based" athiests, you guys sure put a lot of FAITH in what some guy in a lab coat tells you.

Even the Christians don't deify their priests the way the Global Warming Alarmist crowd does.

Fen said...

cubanbob: Sadly what you [Ritmo] write as snark is all too often true. There has been quite a lot of retractions due to fraud on the part of the researchers. Its not so much as donor influence although no doubt that is true of some cases but more to the point is publish or perish and the need for funding thereof.

Ritmo assumes money is the only driver of corruption. And he calls other people ignorant...

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Perhaps someday science will explain why smart people bicker with stupid people anonymously on the internet.

sparrow said...

Tim,
That theory would work except it's contrary to science in two senses. First no self-creation has ever been observed and second physics points to a definite beginning for the material universe and a lowest entropy endpoint. Since it's bounded, the universe itself it not much of a candidate for a fully self sufficient eternal source. So the choice is still infinite regress or an external source that exists of itself (I am that I am).


Fernandinande said...

Original Mike said...

Michael K. "I'm fine with this idea. I consider myself an agnostic but am willing to accept such a construct.
Atheists are awfully arrogant types."

I consider myself an atheist, but if you're going to open up the definition of God to include the calculus I'm going to accuse you of moving the goalposts.


Since science and religion are incompatible, nearly all good scientists, including Feynmann, are atheists, not weasels like the dishonest and arrogant Michael K.: "Agnostic for me would be trying to weasel out and sound a little nicer than I am about this." -- R.F.

MadisonMan said...

What Angelyne said at 10:16 PM.

It is exhausting trying to correct the misinformed ramblings of "smart" people on a blog because what you really have to change is their belief system.

Laslo Spatula said...

The increasing prevalence of anal sex and the corresponding drop in birth rate will cause an evolutionary change: the dawning of the anal uterus. The anal uterus will not be sex-specific, finally allowing males to give birth (or have abortions).

There will be social stigma, of course: there will be 'vagina babies' and 'ass babies', and the 'ass babies' will be disdained by the former. 'Ass babies' will find themselves fighting to be accepted as having equal civil rights: there will be marches and protests and riots and assassinations, most likely.

Or this will eventually lead to a situation akin to Eloi and Morlocks. Science can be tricky that way.

I am Laslo.

Fernandinande said...

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
Perhaps someday science will explain why smart people bicker with stupid people anonymously on the internet.


That question sounds too complicated for mere science-y stuff as practiced by encephalized apes, therefore "god did it".

tim in vermont said...

First no self-creation has ever been observed and second physics points to a definite beginning for the material universe and a lowest entropy endpoint

First self creation happens all tkhe time.

At the quantum scale, space is a writhing, frantic, ever-changing foam, with particles popping into existence and disappearing in the wink of an eye. This is not just a theoretical idea—it's confirmed. How can this bizarre idea be true?

Even though in classical physics we are taught that energy is conserved, which means it cannot change, one of the tenets of quantum mechanics says that energy doesn't have to be conserved if the change happens for a short enough time. So even if space had zero energy, it would be perfectly OK for a little energy to pop into existence for a tiny split second and then disappear—and that's what happens in empty space. And since energy and matter are the same (thank Einstein for teaching us that E=mc2 thing), matter can also appear and disappear.
- Fermilab Today

Second, the universe is not bound by mankind's ability to conceive of it. I think this all got sorted by theologins in their arguments with St Anselm.

Sure there is room for God before the big bang. The only question I am answering is that the idea of an "un-caused cause" does not trouble an atheist in the least. Even one who thinks about the issue. Theists seem to think this is some kind of trump card that must produce an "ah" moment in any thinking person, but it isn't. There is no proof of God to this point, and you are going to have to rely on faith, sorry.

sparrow said...

Science and Religion are not necessarily at odds, although that's frequently true in practice. Science is just material empiricism; metaphysics is outside it's realm. Rejecting or accepting God is a philosophical or theological decision: it is not empirically testable. The expansion of science as a solution for all problems is a failure to recognize it's limits. Science is utilitarian: it tells you nothing useful about transcendent truths, morality or beauty. There's no denying the great material benefits of Science, but you ignore reality if you think everything fits in that little box.

Laslo Spatula said...

There will be social resistance to the marriage of 'vagina babies' and 'ass babies'. Terms like 'mulatto' and 'octoroon' will be used dismissively for the offspring of such parentage.

History has a way of repeating itself.

I am laslo.

sparrow said...

Tim,

I'll concede your argument because I was an atheist for 37 years and the un-caused cause pitch never made much impact on me at all. I was converted by the love of beauty.

Laslo Spatula said...

Are 'ass babies' capable of Salvation? The Pope will have a big decision to make.

I am Laslo.

sparrow said...

Also I don't buy the quantum argument > rather this is just change of one quantum state to another with the whole conserved.

MadisonMan said...

Turn the page.

Laslo Spatula said...

I believe the Pope will decide that 'ass babies' are capable of Salvation: it seems like a Pope-like thing to do.

Other denominations might have more trouble with the question, with some possibly considering them of the Devil. Hopefully 'ass-babies' aren't born with horns.


I am Laslo.

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