Thursday, September 21, 2006

Launch of "Truth in Science."




A new organisation has been launched to shine a spotlight on the origins issue in British Schools. The organisation is called "Truth in Science" and their website is here.

I hope to do a more detailed post on this new venture when I have read more on their site.

68 Comments:

Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

Perhaps you can explain to me why a group calling itself "Truth in Science," which appears to be primarily interested in the debate over Evolution vs Intelligent Design, has more ministers in senior positions (three as Directors or members of their Council of Reference) than biologists (two in their Scientific Panel).

Wouldn't a more description title for this organisation be "Religion in Science"?

4:30 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Their response to their first FAQ question, "Are there scientists who challenge Darwinian evolution on a scientific basis?" is fallacious and misleading.

1) 600 is not "a significant minority of qualified scientists." It is a miniscule minority.

2) A significant minority of the 600 aren't scientists at all (of the order of 15% are mathematicians or engineers).

3) The majority of even the scientists within the 600 have qualifications that are not even remotely relevant to Evolutionary Biology, so are speaking as laymen, not as "qualified scientists."

4) The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis includes mechanisms beyond "random mutation and natural selection," making the 'dissenting' statement essentially meaningless.

4:46 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

As far as I can see there are only three members of the scientific panel: Richard Buggs, Arthur Jones and Tim Wells. They are all biologists two of them with PhD's in evolutionary biology by the looks of things.

8:10 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

OK I see your argument now... you are using the narrow definition of "biologist" requiring recently published research papers.

With regard to the title of the organisation... presumably the ministers you mention believe that their religion is the truth.

9:08 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew Rowell said... "With regard to the title of the organisation... presumably the ministers you mention believe that their religion is the truth."

Andrew, if the directors believe that "their religion" = "the truth" as you appear to be saying, then the title of the organisation could just as easily be "Religion in Science". That would probably be more honest, but unlikely to achieve the organisation's apparent aim of pulling the wool.

11:15 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

I would most probably call a Neuroendocrinologist a Medical Researcher or a Physiologist, not a Biologist.

What possible relevance does "the study of the interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system" have to Evolutionary Biology? The point I was making was that there were more people in senior positions in this organisations with explicitly religious backgrounds than those with relevant scientific qualifications. The obvious conclusion to take from this is that their disagreement with Evolution is religious not scientific.

11:36 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Well Andrew, what this organisation is spouting is clearly not "the truth" - as the misinformation in their FAQ that I listed above demonstrates. That, combined with the clear religious motivations mean that the are clearly more interested in getting "religion" rather than "truth" into science.

11:44 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

The high priesthood of people allowed to say anything in the origins debate becomes ever more select.

11:46 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

I have said NOTHING WHATSOEVER about this group, or anybody else, not being "allowed" to say whatever they please. Claiming that I was is a blatant strawman argument and thus very dishonest.

However, equally, I am "allowed" to point out that they are a bunch of religious zealots, with no valid scientific basis for their claims.

Freedom of speech does not imply freedom from having what you say being laughed at.

Given that you are defending his inclusion, perhaps you could tell me what a Neuroendocrinologist would know about Evolutionary Biology.

12:45 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew said "The high priesthood of people allowed to say anything in the origins debate becomes ever more select."

Andrew, no-one has any problem with the belief that god created life. I wouldn't agree, but you are entitled to your opinion.

The problem is when people, and these so-call "truth" in science people seem to be in this category, pretend that the idea that god created life is a scientific idea. It is not.

If they stick to religion nobody will bother them. If they get involved in trying to teach religion in science classes, they must expect to be challenged. Particularly when, as hrafn points, out they regurgitate discredited DI stuff like the so-called list of 600 "scientists" who "oppose" "Darwinism".

12:51 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally & Hrafn,

It is not suprising that some ministers of religion are involved in this organisation.

The National curriculum requires that ethics be discussed in science lessons. It also suggests that moral and spiritual implications of science need to be taught. Now it just so happens that your most public spokesperson for evolutionary biology is about to publish a book with the highly significant title "The God Delusion." If this is what the public needs to understand about science then it is hardly suprising that ministers of religion are suddenly very interested in the subject!

1:13 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew, I see the truthinscience people make the usual creationist claims about so-called "gaps" in the fossil record. Talk Origns has a nice graphic on the pretty smooth progression of hominid skulls which scientists now have, i.e the progreesion in human evolution.. I'm no scientist, but it looks convincing to me...

Any comments?

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/hominids.html

1:48 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

These ministers are providing a fine example of ethical behaviour by their participation in this organisation with its lies and misrepresentation.

The phrase used to describe such behaviour is "lying for Jesus" and is generally considered to be rankest hypocrisy.

Further, I would point out that all three ministers are associated with arch-conservative churches or organisations: two with the Christian Institute, one with the Free Church of Scotland (the "Wee Frees"). Their interest would therefore appear to be sectarian, rather than simply a general interest in ethics.

1:51 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew said..." It is not suprising that some ministers of religion are involved in this organisation."

It doesn't surprise me.... you can always expect evangelicals to be invlolved in spreading creationism. It is just so disappointing to see Christians lying to themselves and others in their desperation to promote their mistaken views on science, particularly when the people they appear to want to lie to most are innocent schoolchildren.

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Minor correction - it is the the "Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)" that the minister belongs to, which is a splinter-group consisting of approximately 20% of the "Free Church of Scotland" (the "Wee Frees") and should not be confused with the "Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland" (the "Wee Wee Frees"), the "Associated Presbyterian Churches" (a splinter group of the "Wee Wee Frees"), or the Scottish arm of Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church. I must admit to having trouble keeping them all straight.

2:02 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn & Allygally,

Can you clarify for me the dishonesty of these ministers. Clear dishonesty should be a disqualifying offence from their duties and certainly from heaven.

2:25 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

The "Truth in Science" organisation is engaging in dishonesty in the claims they make in their FAQ. The ministers are in senior positions in this organisation. Are you claiming that this dishonesty does not reflect upon them?

2:46 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

Presumably your accusation of dishonesty against these ministers is based upon their assent to the answer of the first FAQ which you analysed in your second comment. Is that correct?

ie on the basis of this answer they are "lying for Jesus"

3:47 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

It is on the basis of the dishonesties I listed in my second comment, as well as other lesser dishonesties (e.g. their FAQ question that starts "If Darwinism is flawed..." when it has not been established that it is flawed).

To be hair-splittingly accurate, I would probably claim that 'Truth in Science' is "lying for Jesus," and that its Board of Directors and Council of Reference (which includes the three ministers) in a conspiracy to "lie." But I really think the difference between lying yourself and setting up an organisation to lie for you is just quibbling: the clear intent of this organisation is to misrepresent Evolution in particular and Science generally.

4:31 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Further evidence that 'Truth in Science' is primarily a religious group:

Andy McIntosh: actively associated with the Biblical Creation Society and Answers in Genesis.
Stuart Burgess: one of the speakers at Answers in Genesis' 2006 "Creation Without Compromise" conference at Swanwick in Derbyshire, holds a diploma in Theology from the London Reformed Baptist Seminary.
Steve Layfield: presented a paper at the 2nd National Conference of Creation Activists held in 1998.
Willis Metcalfe: trustee, shareholder and a director of the rabidly anti-Catholic Evangelical Times.
John Perfect: has written for the Evangelical Times.
Gerard Chrispin: Director General of the prison ministries arm of Day One (formerly the Lord’s Day Observance Society).

It would appear that there is a general theme of involvement in the more radical, right-wing, and intolerant varieties of Protestant Christianity among this organisation's hierarchy.

An additional snippet:

"Dr" John Blanchard holds a phony PhD from the Pacific International University diploma mill. This really demonstrates this organisation's dedication to ethics and good education.

4:54 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

If the ministers had given their assent to the following:

"Are there scientists who challenge Darwinian evolution on a scientific basis?
Yes, a significant minority of qualified scientists do not believe that Darwinian evolution can explain the origin of the diversity of life we see around us."

Would they likewise have been guilty of "Lying for Jesus"

4:56 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

As that statement was one of the falsehoods I listed above, then (subject to potentially hair-splitting on "lying" versus "conspiracy to lie") yes.

I really don't know what you're trying to prove with this line of questioning, as you've made no attempt to defend 'Truth in Science's statements. So I'm more than half expecting some attempt at spurious logic and/or twisting what I've said.

5:02 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

I am trying to work out whether your accusation of lying has solid grounds or not that is all. As far as I can see in this particular case it all hangs on what your definition of the word "significant" is. You seem to have set yourself up as the authority on the precise definition of this word.

6:32 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"As far as I can see in this particular case it all hangs on what your definition of the word "significant" is. You seem to have set yourself up as the authority on the precise definition of this word."

ANDREW: THAT IS A BLATANTLY DISHONEST RHETORICAL TRICK!

I do NOT have to "set [myself] up as the authority on the precise definition of [the word significant]" to know that a small fraction of 1% (which is what 600 is of the hundreds of thousands of science PhDs, even leaving aside the significant minority of signatories that are mathematicians or engineers, not scientists) is not a "significant minority" of scientists but is miniscule.

6:39 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

It is not a "rhetorical trick" to insist on the importance of the definition of words in a serious case of an accusation of dishonesty. You do not seem to be aware of what you are doing. You have a definition in your mind of what constitutes a "significant minority" you accuse christian ministers of being "liars for Jesus" and of the "worst kind of hypocrisy" on the basis of your own definition of the the two words "significant minority." I presume that you have in your mind a precise percentage that would constitute "a significant minority" and you are still insisting that everyone else in the universe conforms to your definition or be branded a liar.

A "minority" is generally accepted as being less than 50%. So even if there was only 1 legitimate scientist on the list that would constitute a minority would it not?

The word "significant" has 3 senses in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary and the only possible sense in this context is the second: "Important, notable, consequential."

Now the judgement about whether the scientists on this list constitute an "important, notable or consequential minority" is not down to a matter of percentages and is always going to be subjective. However I think few would deny that for the ministers in question the fact that there are at least some relevantly qualified scientists who signed the statement is "important, notable or consequential." Therefore your accusation of dishonesty is groundless and at least in this instance it ought to be withdrawn.

8:20 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

It is abundently clear, from the fact that they are talking about numbers and about a "minority" that they are talking about a numerically significant minority. If they were talking about the significance of indivudual signers (for instance) tthey would have mentioned he prominance of individual signers.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that there are 1 million science PhDs world wide (I suspect that this would be on the low side). This would make the signers 0.06% or 1 in 1,667. This minority is not an "important or notable" one, it is miniscule. It is probably of a similar order of magnitude to the number of scientists who believe in alien abductions or that Elvis is still alive. It is the tiny outer fringe.

By any reasonable definition of "significant minority" this isn't one. You appear to be arguing that any minority can be a significant one which basicly renders the word "significant" to be meaningless. This is a very dishonest definition.

Just because something is "subjective" does not allow you to completely subvert definitions. Colours are subjective, but it is still a lie to call something white that is almost black.

The accusation of dishonesty against both 'Truth in Science' and yourself STANDS

3:27 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Further on 'Truth in Science' and Andrew's ludicrous claims...

Speaking as somebody who has, in a professional capacity, both had to write up, and critique writeups of, quantitative analysis, my professional (but subjective) opinion would be that to call a minority of 10-50% "significant" would be uncontroversial, 5-10% debatable, 1-5% tendentious, and below 1% outright fallacious. I am sure that others might draw the borders slightly differently, but strongly doubt that anybody acting reasonably would consider calling the number of signatories a "significant minority" even debatable.

Looking at it from another viewpoint, the minority is sufficiently small that there could be hundreds of (mutually exclusive) minorities of a similar size. To call a minority "significant" when it is only one voice among hundreds, is patently absurd.

5:32 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Among the lesser misleading claims in the FAQ is mention of Michael Denton, who although he wrote Evolution: a theory in crisis, has since explicitly repudiated his anti-evolutionary position in Nature's Destiny:

"It is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science - that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes. This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called "special creationist school". According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving the suspension of natural law. Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world - that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies."

Citing since-repudiated positions, without mentioning their later repudiation, is just one element in a well-worn dishonest Creationist tactic known as "quote-mining".

6:00 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

I noticed that 'Truth in Science' is repeating many of Wells' discredited Icons of Evolution canards. In the 'Peppered Moth' icon, they make the following quote to support their case:

"I ‘know’ that Tutt’s differential bird predation hypothesis is correct because I ‘know’ about peppered moths…However, for those who do not ‘know’ the peppered moth, whether they are scientists, teachers or members of the public, this should not, indeed it must not be enough."

However, what Dr Majerus said was:
That said, my own conviction that bird predation is largely responsible is not based purely on empirical data from experiments published in the literature. I ‘know’ that Tutt’s differential bird predation hypothesis is correct because I ‘know’ about peppered moths. For those who have never seen a peppered moth in the wild, which is almost everybody, for those with anti-Darwinian agendas, and for scientists, well-trained in rigour, stringency and experimental controls, for differing reasons this statement must seem insufficient if not heretical. However, I stick by it.

[several paragraphs ommited]...

I know the peppered moth, and I know that J.W. Tutt was essentially correct in his explanation of the rise of carbonaria. However, for those who do not ‘know’ the peppered moth, whether they are scientists, teachers or members of the public, this should not, indeed, it must not be enough. So, what is needed to prove whether changes in frequencies of the peppered moth are indeed the result of differential bird predation? And, can the declining reputation of the peppered moth be reversed?"

Dr Majerus then proceeded to present evidence for the differential predation hypothesis.

'Truth in Science's grossly selective quotation amounts to lying by omission, in that their omissions completely reverse Dr Majerus' intent.

This is quote-mining at its very worst.

These people are "LYING FOR JESUS" pure and simple! And no quibbling on Andrew's part about subjective meanings or definitions can alter this fact.

6:52 am  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

Even with degrees, these people are cranks. Crackpots. They should be ashamed of themselves.

It used to be that Christians were the dissidents to Darwinism -- at least they were honest. People who simply use a Marxist dialectic tactic, opposing science with flim-flammery, should be run out of town on a rail.

Teach the facts first. Kids can't analyze controversies without the facts. These crank science advocates argue to teach the facts not at all -- that's bad pedagogy, and dishonest. hrafn is right.

Have these people no honor? Were you mentioning them to promote their skullduggery, or to expose it?

9:02 am  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

To join the "high priesthood" of those who can say something in the evolution debates, one needs data alone. These people bring no new data, no new thoughts.

It's a sheer democratic priesthood, but it's also meritocratic -- and these charlatans don't merit what they claim. They haven't done the work, they haven't paid their dues, and they advocate crank science. Shame on them.

9:05 am  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

Well, let's have the kids discuss this one: "Should ministers be defrocked when they unethically present faux questions as serious questions in science for school children to discuss, thereby wasting the time and education of the children?"

Teach the controversy -- should certified liars be allowed to preach?

9:07 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Ed Darrell said..."these charlatans don't merit what they claim. They haven't done the work, they haven't paid their dues, and they advocate crank science. Shame on them. "

It's worse. THey advocate teaching crank science in our schools to defenceless children... they deserve more than cries of shame. They deserve to be labeled for the liars they are.

3:03 pm  
Blogger Lifewish said...

Andrew: just out of curiosity, how did you find out about the website? Is there a mailing list I'm not on or something? :)

11:17 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Lifewish,
I posted this blog piece after reading about the site on the Discovery Institute Blog: here.

11:27 am  
Blogger Richard H said...

Andrew - you surely are aware of the Discovery Institutes underhanded Wedge Project....and I quote:

"The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy"

Also.....

"Governing Goals

* To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

* To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.
"

Anything associated the Discovery Institute in anyway shape or form is discredited in my book.

Do you support the discovering institute? Did you have innoculations when you were younger? Was that a product of materialistic science? Would you have less chance of being alive today without those innoculations?

Food for thought...

11:00 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

I've just been looking at their website and it doesn't take long to see the agenda here. It concerns me that the first item in the 'Lesson plan' is the Argumentum ad nauseam - IC - an idea that has been proved fallacious, at best. If that is their opening gambit I think they have massively underestimated their audience here although, sadly, some will buy into it.

It is clear their only agenda is to subvert the development of rational scientific thinking by introducing the 'Truth' (that's with a capital T). Where better to start than with impressionable minds. If their concerns were genuine they might have called it 'Honesty in Science' but that would have ruled-out their, and the DI's, junk teaching.

I sincerely hope the science teachers who will have to deal with the inevitable barrage of junk mail they will recieve from these people deal with it appropriately and treat their fellow teachers to a new set of coasters in the staff room.

9:18 pm  
Blogger Lifewish said...

Ah right, I thought Andy might've mentioned it to you was all.

Speaking of which, is the Workington event open to the general public?

3:48 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

Sorry for the long delay.

Re "significant minority"

Having looked just a little at the general usage of this I am inclined to withdraw what I said earlier and acknowledge that Hrafn is correct here.

A significant minority is generally a much larger proportion than 600 out of the total number of scientists. The only way it can be called a significant minority is by virtue of the significance that there are scientists who are prepared to stick their neck out like this despite the serious career implications of doing so. It is not a meaningless statement nor an insignificant act especially on the part of biologists to sign this statement.

Would you be happy(well happier anyway) with something like this:

There are 600 scientists who have taken the significant step of signing etc etc.

With regard to the charge of lying I think however that you use that too readily. It is to make an intentionally false statement. I can see a situation where this usage of significant minority could have been used without the intention of deciet especially where the actual number of the scientists who have signed is clearly given.

9:15 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Richard,

I am heartily in favour of all that you have quoted from the Discovery institute. I would say that every Christian must be heartily in support of those statements. There should be nothing suprising or worrying about them.

I do not understand at all your connection with innoculation... can you explain?

9:34 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Brian,
You said:
"IC - an idea that has been proved fallacious"
Can you point me to the "proof" please?

9:36 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"With regard to the charge of lying I think however that you use that too readily. It is to make an intentionally false statement. I can see a situation where this usage of significant minority could have been used without the intention of deciet especially where the actual number of the scientists who have signed is clearly given."

No Andrew. Whilst they mention the 600 (not all of which are scientists), they make no mention of how small and insignificant a proportion of all scientists this is. In isolation, 600 may seem like a significant number, it is only in the correct context that it is shown to be insignificant

Also you have not addressed the gross dishonesty of the Majerus quote-mine, nor any of the other issues of TiS dishonesty that I have raised.

The accusation of lying stands.

3:27 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

The point I was trying to make is that I agree that the use of "significant minority" can be seen as misleading and hence my suggested alternative pointing out that the "significant" is not meant to be a numerical one but simply a significant act by these scientists. Are you happy that if the "significant" modifier applies to the act of the scientists rather than implying a largish minority then the charge of dishonesty in this respect can be withdrawn?

10:39 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

Regarding Denton. Are you saying that Denton has repudiated all that he wrote in "Evolution: a theory in Crisis"?

Is it quote mining to simply state that Michael Denton wrote a book length critique of Evolution and called it "Evolution a Theory in Crisis"

10:45 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

If what you were saying is true, then it would have been expressed as "significantly, a minority of scientists" not "a significant minority of ... scientists." The TiS FAQ-answer lists no potentially "significant" feature of the minority other than its size. The clear implication is that it is the size that is significant.

I'm afraid that I'm not familiar with Denton's work beyond the above quote from a review of his latest book. However, given that the paragraph is clearly intended to set the scene for his later arguments (it is part of the introductory "Note to the Reader"), it is highly unlikely to be unrepresentative of his general position (and is equally clearly not a position that evolution is in any way a "theory in crisis"). Also the fact that he has taken a job on the far side of the Pacific Ocean supports the contention that he is at least disengaging from the Creationist culture wars. It is most certainly quote-mining to play up an author's previous position, without mentioning the fact that he has since disavowed it.

I note that you continue to refuse to discuss the Majerus quote-mine.dk

12:05 pm  
Blogger Michael J. Iliff said...

If one (or the 600 in this case) turned out to be right, would that be a significant minority?

1:23 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

TiS has replaced their Majerus quote-mine with a contiguous paragraph quote. Unfortunately they still cannot resist the urge to be dishonest, and claim that...
"Indeed – Dr Majerus may well come up with good data to support the hypothesis that bird predation has caused changes in the frequency of the different types of peppered moth – but until then school children should be given the opportunity to understand the controversy which surrounds the experiments."
...in spite of the fact that, in the paragraph immediately after the one which they quote, Majerus presents evidence supporting the hypothesis.

3:01 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

michael:

Firstly, this minority has already "turned out to be right," as their bogus "dissent" says no more than the orthodox Modern Evolutionary Synthesis already does - that mutation plus natural selection is insufficient to explain evolution (which is why the MES also includes Recombination, Genetic Drift and Genetic Flow). So even from the point of view of their statement, not the size of the minority, this is still in no way "significant."

Secondly, even if it were a genuine dissent, and one that was later proved to be correct, it might be described as a "prescient" or "ahead-of-its-time" minority, but still not a "significant minority." The juxtaposition of these two words clearly indicates that it is talking about size - just as an "overwhelming majority" is clearly not talking about the strength of personality of its leader.

3:17 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Michael J. Iliff said..." If one (or the 600 in this case) turned out to be right, would that be a significant minority?"

If they turned out to be right, everyone else would agree with them, in which case they would be in majority.....

But pretending that a list of 600 names, some of whom are lawyers, engineers, mathematicians and some of whom are no longer (or never were ) active in relevant fields, is "significant", is misleading. Lying if we are talking straight.

4:13 pm  
Anonymous brian said...

Andrew

I dare say you have read more refutations of IC than I have so let me put another point to you.

Suppose I am genuinely convinced that oxygen interacting with burning matter really is a myth after all and there really is such a thing as phlogiston. Would it be right that I lobby my LEA to get the science curriculum changed? Would I be correct in assuming that all the scientic endeavour that led to the abandonment of 'phlogiston' as an explanation for burning matter was a conspiracy and that I really know the truth?

One of the nice things about science is that it's OK to have a theory (idea) about anything, however wacky it is. However, when someone comes along with an alternative, plausible explanation choosing to ignore the new ideas because it refutes the orignal idea only weakens your position and renders your point un-scientific.

This is where the ID crowd let themselves look foolish. When Behe made his claims about flagellar IC he may have had a valid point? However, ten+ years of real research has shown his arguments don't stand up to the scrutiny that the scientific method demands. The logical thing to do would be to say - OK the flagellar isn't IC but 'x', 'y' or 'z' may be? Why hasn't that happened?

Instead they are still peddling a de-bunked idea as an 'alternative' to real science and looking foolish as they do it - only now they are trying to do it over here.

Thankfully, science isn't front-loaded with the one Truth.

5:00 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

"significantly, a minority of scientists"

Yes, I prefer your phrasing. But I still think that "lying for Jesus" was going far too far.

I am not refusing to look at any of your other points... I am just trying to deal with them one at one that is all.

6:22 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Brian,

The evidential basis for oxidation reactions is very different from that for the non-intelligent origin of life and of highly complex biological machines including the bacterial flagellum.

9:30 pm  
Anonymous brian said...

That is my point - there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that the flagellum is NOT IC and it is being ignored because it contradicts the original postulate (IC). There is no counter-argument - just ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist. Do you honestly believe this is how science should be conducted? Is this a model of inquiry that should be taught in schools - have an idea but ignore anything you don't agree with! Wouldn't life be simple?

11:35 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Yes, I prefer your phrasing. But I still think that "lying for Jesus" was going far too far."

So you would rather argue that TiS is illiterate rather than lying on this point? Big improvement! This still leaves them discredited as a purported source of educational improvement.

And this still does not address their other dishonesties.

1:12 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Brian,

I have been following the flagellum story very closely but I seem to have missed the proof that motor function of the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex. Presumably this is available on the web. Would you mind pointing us to it?

2:56 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

hrafn,

I seem to have lost a comment on the Marjerus quote so I will try again....

The purpose of the quotation was to establish the point made in the preceding text. That is that Marjerus was carrying out more careful experiments because there were serious problems with the Kettlewell study.

This is indeed what Marjerus is saying in the quote and at no point in the lecture that I can find does he claim that his work has conclusively demonstrated the validity of the differential bird predation hypothesis. It is hard work which is ongoing. I am not aware that he has published a demonstration as yet.

3:07 pm  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

Andrew,

I have been following the flagellum story very closely but I seem to have missed the proof that motor function of the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex. Presumably this is available on the web. Would you mind pointing us to it?

(A solid definition of IC might help your case.)

3:44 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

No Andrew.

The purpose of the original Majerus quote-mine (pulling together phrases from two widely seperated paragraphs - a clear indication of dishonest intent) was to give the impression that Majerus' support of the hypothesis was no more than an unsubstantiated personal opinion -- LYING BY OMISSION, by omitting such phrases as "empirical data from experiments published in the literature", "For those who have never seen a peppered moth in the wild" and "So, what is needed to prove whether changes in frequencies of the peppered moth are indeed the result of differential bird predation? And, can the declining reputation of the peppered moth be reversed?" that show that he is not speaking merely from unsubstantiated personal opinion, but from direct observation, experimental data and an understanding of where the scientific research is going.

It is quite simply a logical fallacy to believe that proving evidence for a claim to be imperfect in some way proves that claim to be false.

There has, as yet, been no experimental data that falsifies the differential predation hypothesis, so this hypothesis STANDS! This is how science works.

Any creationist who tries to pretend otherwise is LYING!

TiS is pretending this, so TiS is lying.

4:04 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

Has Behe re-defined IC, again - I hear he has a new book out? Does IC now 'include things that CAN have parts missing and STILL function because otherwise I may be wrong, again'

Just asking for clarification before we go on this merry-go-round again.

4:08 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Jeffahn:

It's quite simple. Only Behe knows what IC means at any given time, so only Behe can know if something is IC. Therefore anything Behe says is IC must be IC. Of course this means that something could be IC without being in any meaningful way "irreducible," but hey, who cares? :D

4:10 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

1. The quote from the papaer referenced is a single unbroken quote and not from separate paragraphs.

2. The purpose of the quote
"was to give the impression that Majerus' support of the hypothesis was no more than an unsubstantiated personal opinion"
The purpose of the quote was to establish that Marjerus was not happy with the present state of the evidence for the differential predation hypothesis and was carrying out the necessary experiments to remedy this situation.

3. There is no attempt to claim that the differential predation hypothesis is false that I can find on the website.

I fail to understand the charge of deliberate falsehood.

11:59 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

Learn how to read!

Their original quote-mine was:
"I ‘know’ that Tutt’s differential bird predation hypothesis is correct because I ‘know’ about peppered moths…However, for those who do not ‘know’ the peppered moth, whether they are scientists, teachers or members of the public, this should not, indeed it must not be enough."

There are three complete paragraphs seperating the first phrase from the second!

As I myself have already pointed out, they have since replaced this quote-mine by a single paragraph (apparently because so many people complained about the dishonesty of it).

The purpose of the TiS Peppered Moth page is clearly to present the false impression that the differential predation hypothesis is in some way discredited.

5:33 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew Rowell said..."I have been following the flagellum story very closely but I seem to have missed the proof that motor function of the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex."

Andrew, surely the onus is on the ID folk to show that the IS irreducibly complex? So far there is no proof that it is, beyond Behe's claims. But, as he refuses to agree a definition of IC, the whole thing seems pointless. Can you clarify: what is the definitio of IC and what is the proof that the flagellum is IC?

9:30 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrw, If the odds against an organism existing without a designer are immense, why should the odds against the organism being designed be any less immense?

9:37 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

hrafn,

re Peppered moth quotation.
Thank you for providing the original "quote-mine"

1. The purpose of the peppered moth page (it seems to me) is twofold (a) to make the point that this is an example of a very small scale change.

(b)to make the point that the experiments behind the original story are flawed experiments.

The "quote-mine" you maintain as a clear example of "lying for Jesus" was seeking to establish from the current research of Michael Marjerus that the flawed nature of the original experiments is not simply a creationist objection to facts.
Do you recognise (with Marjerus) that the original experimental data was flawed? How else was the author of this page to indicate that Dr. Marjerus agreed with the flawed nature of the original experiments than by quoting something like this.

2. The differential predation hypothesis is a good hypothesis and in my view it is most likely correct. I think it is a good and helpful example of micro-evolution in action. However what this controversy shows is the huge amount of work and ingenuity that is required to demonstrate that thuis kind of hypothesis is true. That I think is useful for biology students to be aware of.

In this case "He doth protest too much methinks"

11:21 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,

"If the odds against an organism existing without a designer are immense, why should the odds against the organism being designed be any less immense?"

There are clearly real designers and there are real evidences of design. So however improbable a designer is... there is clearly one sort of designer that we have evidence of.

We surely therefore cannot rule out the possibility of other designers having an effect in the universe.

12:25 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"The "quote-mine" you maintain as a clear example of "lying for Jesus" was seeking to establish from the current research of Michael Marjerus that the flawed nature of the original experiments is not simply a creationist objection to facts."

YOU ARE LYING ANDREW!

The original quote-mine said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about "the flawed nature of the original experiments." ZERO! ZIP! NADA! It merely cast vague and excessive doubt over the hypothesis as a whole, by carefully omitting all the positive things Marjerus said about it.

THIS IS LYING BY OMISSION!

The level of the lie is measured by the level of the omission - and they scrounged through five whole paragraphs to piece together fragments to make just one sentence.

4:33 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"There are clearly real designers..."

And real designers make things for real motives, using real technologies. Information about these motives and technologies allow us to demarcate what such a real designer would or could design, making it possible to identify the works of these real designers.

Given that ID-proponents avoid making such definite statements about their designer, there is no way of knowing what this designer would or could design, so this "unreal" designer has zero explanatory power, and thus is eliminated on the principle of parsimony.

4:42 pm  

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