Friday, January 12, 2007

Intelligent Design and Evolution have the same status as scientific theories.

Royal Holoway University of London are hosting a debate on the above proposition on 21st February at 5.00pm.
Steve Fuller graduated as a sociologist and then studied the history and philosophy of science and has focused on the writings of Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. He describes himself as a secular humanist.

He has commented on the Dover judgement (in which he was a witness) here.
He has explained how he became involved in the ID debate
here.
A brief outline of a previous debate with Jack Cohen is
here.

Lewis Wolpert is a developmental biologist who was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980 and was awarded the CBE in 1990. He was for 4 years Chairperson of the Committee for Public Understanding of Science. He is a well known rationalist.

Given that we have a rationalist debating a secular humanist this hardly looks like a standard religion versus science debate!

176 Comments:

Blogger Tony Jackson said...

"Intelligent Design and Evolution have the same status as scientific theories"

Ha, Ha, Ha. You're joking right?

Answer me this:

What would an "Intelligent Design" research paradigm actually look like? I mean, if I wrote a grant to the "Intelligent Design Research Council", what on earth would I say?

How could I show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy"?

How could I arrange an experiment to investigate the nature and identity of the Designer?

9:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still cannot work out what Fullers point is, despite reading some of the stuff that he seems to have put out, for example what has been linked to in the above post.
He seems to be for free enquiry, and appears to consider schools as being singularly suited for this.

(NOw, I would like to see more free enquiry in schools, but only as part of the learning process, in a more exploratory way.)
guthrie

9:57 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Having read through Fuller's Dover trial testimony, it is ambiguous and equivocal in the extreme. Notable highlights:

* He is a Philosophic Naturalist, but opposed to Methodological Naturalism.

* He is opposed to 'Scientific Theories' being defined as "well substantiated" (thus basically wishing to remove the distinction between scientific theory and scientific hypothesis).

* He admits that inferring ID from negative arguments against evolution is a (logically invalid) "conclusory proposition".

* He admits that ID has not "produced an affirmative test for supernatural causation" nor has it been "empirically tested".

So, if you allow supernatural explanations to be "scientific" and wholly unsubstantiated hypotheses to be "theories" then ID is a "scientific theory" -- but then so is "God did it", "the fairies at the bottom of the garden did it" or "nobody did it and the whole thing is just somebody's dream".

This form of radical postmodernism reduces the words it is defining to semantic meaninglessness. As such, it is profoundly unhelpful.

In practical terms, Fuller's redefinitions would encourage wasting scientific resources on relatively unproductive (and frequently downright frivolous) tracks in the the name of "a kind of pluralistic playing field of science where you have lots of different theories of roughly equal stature."

3:04 am  
Blogger allygally said...

"This form of radical postmodernism reduces the words it is defining to semantic meaninglessness. As such, it is profoundly unhelpful."

You are too nice. He's an egocentric fool. I know ad mominem is wrong, but sometimes it's true. Fuller likes to see his name in lights and to be thought of as "a maverick", way too clever for the mundane day to day details of science, or the dull workhorses of academia stuggling with such trivia as proof and logic.

I know it doesn't mean that he is wrong. But it's nice to get it off my chest.

10:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely some pro-ID people read this blog?
guthrie

11:07 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Allygally:

I wouldn't consider it in the least bit nice have anything I wrote described as "profoundly unhelpful" "semantic meaninglessness". ;)

My impression of Fuller is that he is a Philosopher/Sociologist of Science who writes primarily about other Philosophers of Science and long-dead scientists. As such he never has to dirty his hands on the workings of a real science department, making real research funding decisions and solving real problems in a real lab.

To him Science is therefore all grand revolutions where the plucky new theory overturns the older more hidebound one, with none of the hard work, blind alleys and red herrings that real science has to contend with.

1:39 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

An excellent article on Fuller and his mindset can be found at:
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Fuller.cfm

5:22 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Hrafn said:

An excellent article on Fuller and his mindset can be found at:
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Fuller.cfm


Excellent? In what sense? That it reinforces your prejudices? Regardless of what you make of Fuller's views, this article is transparently a hatchet job that mixes his views with all sorts of other people's views. Obviously, Levitt and Fuller have a history -- which Levitt makes abundantly clear. It's too bad Fuller doesn't respond to the piece anywhere -- at least I haven't found it. Perhaps he thought it wasn't worth the effort. I note he did take a swipe at some blogger who confused him with the Discovery Institute supremo Stephen Meyer. So he's clearly read Levitt's piece. By the way, you might want to look at Fuller's entry in Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Fuller_%28social_epistemologist%29

5:58 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Dolores

Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments. I work in a biochemistry department in a leading UK university. I can assure you that my colleagues are all acutely tuned to new developments likely to be important in their field (they have to if they want to keep at the top of their game). So out of interest, I recently asked my colleagues whether they had ever heard of Steve Fuller. None had – NONE - and that even included one person who had just come from Warwick University! I have to tell you bluntly that that says everything you really need to know about Fuller as a serious academic.

6:46 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,
"I have to tell you bluntly that that says everything you really need to know about Fuller as a serious academic."

You could argue that this tells us a great deal about the overspecialisation of the UK science education system. How much philosophy of science do most UK scientists know?

Interesting that "Kuhn vs Popper" was Book of the Month for February 2005 in the US mass circulation magazine, Popular Science!

Are you saying that Fuller does not merit the status of a "serious academic"? He is just playing?

7:07 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

"Are you saying that Fuller does not merit the status of a "serious academic"? He is just playing?"

Yes.

Academic scientists are obsessed with who's doing what and how it impacts their field. They have to. The fact that Fuller hasn't really made the radar screen yet among working scientists speaks volumes.

Now admittedly, this will probably start to change as the ID nuttiness attracts more publicity over in this country and scientists increasingly wake up to what's going on. But you're kidding yourself if you think he's going to get a sympathetic hearing from the workers at the coal-face.

The excellent Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels provides a good summary of my position:

http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/infocusprint.php?num=30&subject=Steve%20Fuller

10:33 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Excellent? In what sense?"

In the sense that it has a high degree of explanatory power in explain some of Fuller's odder views and foibles.

"That it reinforces your prejudices?"

You are projecting again Dolores. You may evaluate new information purely on the basis of how well it reinforces your prejudices. That does not mean that others do.

"By the way, you might want to look at Fuller's entry in Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Fuller_%28social_epistem"


Been there, read that. Likewise the Wikipedia articles on Sociology of Science, Science Studies, Science Wars, etc.

1:50 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Are you saying that Fuller does not merit the status of a "serious academic"? He is just playing?"

One of the problems of Fuller's position is that it seems to have little success in explaining how successful science is actually done.

Yes, in the past Science has gone through a number of paradigm shifts and "revolutions". However, as it matures, these shifts become smaller and less frequent. A theory based on these shifts thus has decreasing explanatory power over time, and facilitating these shifts becomes less important in facilitating scientific progress.

Fuller thus desperately needs ID to succeed, in order to validate his call for a "a kind of pluralistic playing field of science where you have lots of different theories of roughly equal stature."

So, my answer would probably be "no, Fuller is not a serious academic" (in that he is blatantly attempting to re-engineer reality to fit his theory), but "no, he is not just playing" (in that his academic reputation is riding on his ability to re-engineer reality to give himself a success).

1:59 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

In my opinion, rather than (futilely) attempting to engineer ID's success, in order to be able to explain that success, Sociology of Science should be drawing lessons from ID's failure. Here are some suggestions:

Religious motivations and Science
Whilst a generalised religious/spiritual wonder at the universe has frequently been a spur to successful scientific research, a desire to scientifically "prove" an issue of religious doctrine (e.g. the Genesis Flood, a Young Earth, Special Creation, etc) has proved to be repeatedly unsuccessful scientifically.

Pragmatism, self-interest and momentum
Scientists aren't just interested in what is true, but also in what is useful (either in terms of direct practical application or in terms of spurring further scientific discoveries).

From this point of view, Irreducible Complexity, even if it were true, does not open any new theoretical or practical avenues.

Likewise Complex Specified Information lacks the clarity and rigour necessary to allow it to be applied either practically, or as an instrument of further research (even were it to gain sufficient theoretical coherence to gain acceptance).

Thus neither of these concepts have any real chance of gaining momentum scientifically, and building a body of scientists who have an interest in their further development.

This in turn could explain the fact that ID tends to have more would-be scientists than purportedly-scientific projects. Which in turn would tend to explain the relatively low productivity of many of these academics (and of the ID movement in totality), and the fact that they tend to spend more time nibbling at the edges of evolution, than forwarding a revolutionary new paradigm of their own.

2:22 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Interesting that "Kuhn vs Popper" was Book of the Month for February 2005 in the US mass circulation magazine, Popular Science!"

Fuller seems to be extremely successful at being controversial, and thus at having a high public profile. He seems however to have very little success at explaining how successful science is done, let alone explaining how it could, in a anything even vaguely resembling a practical manner, be conducted more successfully.

As such, he is more a media gadfly than a serious academic, and his writings are likely to have very little long-term impact in Academia, after he is no longer around to promote them by stirring up controversy.

2:42 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

hrafn has pretty much said it all....

What's going on in UK universities? We have a professor of sociology championing ID and a professor of thermodynamics who doesn't understand thermodynamics.

It's enough to make me a grumpy old scientist!

9:02 am  
Anonymous golem said...

Tony Jackson said:

I work in a biochemistry department in a leading UK university. I can assure you that my colleagues are all acutely tuned to new developments likely to be important in their field (they have to if they want to keep at the top of their game).


Are you the Tony Jackson at Cambridge? I'm just guessing from a quick web search. If so, Jesus!, you're so specialised that if what you say is literally the case, then very few practising scientists would ever enter your radar!

11:30 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

Hrafn said:

Fuller seems to be extremely successful at being controversial, and thus at having a high public profile. He seems however to have very little success at explaining how successful science is done, let alone explaining how it could, in a anything even vaguely resembling a practical manner, be conducted more successfully.

As such, he is more a media gadfly than a serious academic, and his writings are likely to have very little long-term impact in Academia, after he is no longer around to promote them by stirring up controversy.


Your command of evidence is truly pathetic. First, you cite an article that doesn't even provide a traceable citation to Fuller's own words, and then you claim he is merely a media gadfly. You clearly don't know what it is to be a serious academic or a media gadfly -- perhaps becuase you are neither yourself?

How can you expect supporters of evolution and intelligent design to take each other seriously, if this the level at which you evaluate what people say?

1:01 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"
Your command of evidence is truly pathetic."


Dolores: your basic literacy skills are non-existent.

"First, you cite an article that doesn't even provide a traceable citation to Fuller's own words..."

WRONG!

First, I cited Fuller's own testimony from the Dover trial. Then in an attempt to understand his decidedly odd and unworkable views, I read up various articles on and by him, and various related Wikipedia articles.

"...and then you claim he is merely a media gadfly."

Yes, because he simply stirs up controversy rather than offering anything practicable.

I challenge you (and anybody else who might wish to endorse Fuller) to explain how a Science Department might put into practice Fuller's "pluralistic playing field of science where you have lots of different theories of roughly equal stature."

And Dolores:
I am tired of your shrill and unsubstantiated accusations. You sound like you're channelling Ann Coulter (and come across as equally ill-informed, muddled and mean-spirited).

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Oh and Dolores:
If you think that either Levitt or myself have misrepresented Fuller's positions, then cite evidence of it.

Vague accusations don't impress.

2:12 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Roughly speaking, science is currently a meritocracy, with resources allocated to scientists and/or lines of inquiry that are proving fruitful (give or take some misallocation due to departmental politics, etc).

What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas (it would have to be externally-enforced, as the science departments would most likely be in the grip of the existing orthodoxy). Who would oversee this redistribution? One might suspect a Sociologist-Tzar from the Science Studies Department. Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?

3:05 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Hrafn,

Wow, not only is your grasp of evidence pathetic from a scientific standpoint, but from a legal standpoint as well. You would have the accused bear the burden of proof on the basis of some undisclosed bit of court testimony the accused allegedly made and an innuendo-laced article without references!

Also, while you're re-taking that critical thinking course, you might try to curb your rampant sexism. Your identification of me as a woman ('Ann Coulter' as a reference point) seems to have given you an excuse to ramp up your level of irritation by an unncessary use of boldface. Let me guess: you don't have girlfriend...

5:11 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Dolores

Calm down a bit and answer the key point that hrafn (and I) made.

ie from hrafn

"Roughly speaking, science is currently a meritocracy, with resources allocated to scientists and/or lines of inquiry that are proving fruitful (give or take some misallocation due to departmental politics, etc).

What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas (it would have to be externally-enforced, as the science departments would most likely be in the grip of the existing orthodoxy). Who would oversee this redistribution? One might suspect a Sociologist-Tzar from the Science Studies Department. Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?"

This goes to the heart of the issue and was sort of the point I was making in the first post about what on earth an ID research paradigm would even look like. "Goddidit" is not likely to be very productive as a serious scientific research programme.


ps: Golem. My research interests are no more specialised than any other academic scientist (and a lot less specialised than many). I teach foundational biochemistry courses to undergraduate Medic and Vet students and more specialist courses to final year biochemistry undergraduate and graduate students. This is important as it keeps me in touch with the basics.

5:42 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"You would have the accused bear the burden of proof..."

You're the ones accusing myself and Levitt of in some way misrepresenting Fuller. Put up or shut up, you mutant attack chihuahua!

"..on the basis of some undisclosed bit of court testimony the accused allegedly made and an innuendo-laced article without references!"

Dolores you are a moron!

The Dover trial transcripts are available online at a number of places:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html
http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?page_id=11
http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts2.htm

(How else do you think I was able to provide a direct quote from his testimony?)

But you're just too stupid to look them up.

"...you might try to curb your rampant sexism. Your identification of me as a woman ('Ann Coulter' as a reference point)..."

Ann Coulter, like yourself, is mean-spirited (she has been described as "the queen of mean"), and never lets the facts get in the way of a wild accusation. So, I found the comparison to be apt, and your accusation of sexism to be wildly premature (being based simply on the fact that I don't like you and don't like Coulter). You both suffer from blatant Right Wing Authoritarian personality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Wing_Authoritarianism)
which probably explains your tendencies towards shrill accusations and your aversion to facts and logic.
(Before you repeat the "sexism" accusation again, there are numerous male RWA as well).

All you have done is repeatedly throw accusations. You have not even attempted to make a rational argument about Fuller's ideas, let alone back up your argument with facts.

You are thus a troll and a complete waste of time.

5:57 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Let's try this another way Dolores:

Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that I am the nasty, prejudiced, illogical, evidentially-impaired, sexist, kitten-drowning, meanie that you are trying to portray me as.

That does not affect the following argument:

Assertion: Fuller's ideas are unworkable.

Conclusion: because of this, his ideas make an uncompelling defence of ID as a "scientific theory".

Either disprove the assertion (by demonstrating how Fuller's ideas are workable) or the conclusion (by demonstrating how, even if Fuller's ideas are unworkable, they still give meaningful support to ID's status as a scientific theory).

2:31 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,
I asked whether you thought that Fuller was a serious academic or whether he was just playing at being an academic.
You said that he is playing.

The reason you gave was:
"The fact that Fuller hasn't really made the radar screen yet among working scientists speaks volumes"

My response was to ask about how specialised scientists are and whether most of them do a lot of reading in philosophy of science.

"Academic scientists are obsessed with who's doing what and how it impacts their field"

Yes but how many think of philosophy of science as impacting their field?

9:55 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Yes but how many think of philosophy of science as impacting their field?"

In the case of Fuller's ideas: few if any, as his ideas are too unworkable to impact on any field in science.

12:07 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

"Yes but how many think of philosophy of science as impacting their field?"

Not many. There are some issues to do with philosophy of science that are worth thinking about - eg the limitation of reductionism is a familiar chestnut. If Fuller had stuck to that sort of stuff he might have got a more respectful hearing. But he's way off field when he talks about ID.

Look, this is the important point: I have seen no ID advocate even come close to suggesting a coherent testable set of experiments to explore ID - NONE. Note, it's not good enough in such cases to just think of some critical test of evolution - scientists do that all the time anyway. No, you have to come up with positive experiments that will test for the existence of supernatural design. And how the Hell do you do that? As I said before, what possible experiment could you conduct to show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy?". And what control would you use in such an experiment? Remember, controls are important. You need them to rule out alternative explanations for your data. No ID advocate I has even come close to suggesting such experiments.

12:23 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Hrafn and Tony Jackson:

You men!

Listen, sweeties, science may be self-selecting, self-organzing and self-perpetuating but that doesn't mean it's a 'meritocracy' -- that is, unless you can define 'merit' in some non-question-begging way.

Also, what is this business about science funding being controlled by scientists? What about the increasing role played by business in science, especially in the biomedical sciences? Scientists are often complaining about the distortive role of money on the research agenda. Why do you act as if scientists are in control of the show, when they're nowadays losing what little grip they ever had? Fuller at least proposes a way of organizing science. You guys just prefer entropy...

(And I hate to have to say this again, but your latest response to me demonstrates what a pitiful grasp you have of making a reasoned argument. The more you say, the more superficial your understanding appears. Weblinks are no substitute for demonstrating you have some grasp of the context that you're cutting-and-pasting from.)

Finally, I'm impressed that Tony Jackson knows how to communicate with undergraduates who are training in different fields. The relevance of this to your taking any serious notice of matters outside your own field completely eludes me. For example, who DO you take seriously in thinking about your research, other than a potential co-author? Name some people somebody reading this blog might have heard of. I'd really like to know your threshhold for influence.

1:28 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Dolores

I repeat my quesitons:

1) Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments.

2) What possible experiment could you conduct to show that 'X was designed by a supernatural big guy?'.

3) What controls would you use in such an experiment?

These are very straightforward questions put to you in straightforward language. Alot of science is about asking the right questions - questions that can be answered by experiment or observation. Do you see the problem with ID?

You also ask:
"How can you expect supporters of evolution and intelligent design to take each other seriously, if this the level at which you evaluate what people say?"

But until such time as IDers also answer question 2 and 3 above, I don't see why I SHOULD take them seriously as scientists (taking them seriously as a sociological phenomenon is a different matter).

2:02 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"What about the increasing role played by business in science..."

Business-driven research is even more harshly meritocratic than academic research. Good research = good products = good returns to shareholders, and if shareholders don't get these returns they tend to sack the Board of Directors.

"Fuller at least proposes a way of organizing science."

Nope! Fuller doesn't make any organisational proposals at all. All he does is propose a utopian (or most scientists would say, dystopian) pipe-dream, without ever bothering to explain what organisational structures would bring it about.

(Oh and in response to your little parenthetical Dolores: I don't give the proverbial pair of foetid dingo's kidneys what you think of me. You lack anything even vaguely resembling the facilities for objective evaluation, so it's all just water off a duck's back.)

And if you could actually read, you would notice that my "latest response" to you contained no weblinks whatsoever, just the following:

Assertion: Fuller's ideas are unworkable.

Conclusion: because of this, his ideas make an uncompelling defence of ID as a "scientific theory".

Either disprove the assertion (by demonstrating how Fuller's ideas are workable) or the conclusion (by demonstrating how, even if Fuller's ideas are unworkable, they still give meaningful support to ID's status as a scientific theory).


A challenge that you have ignored - just as you have ignored Tony's repeated challenges.

2:42 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

I would like to note that Fuller's defenders on this thread (Dolores and Andrew) have both been very careful to say nothing whatsoever about the contents of Fuller's ideas.

From this I would conclude that the contents of his ideas don't actually matter to them, only that he supports ID, so must be a good person with good ideas.

Dolores then takes things a step further. As I have poked holes in Fuller's ideas, I must be a bad person, and deserve to have all sorts of nasty things said about me (whether the nasty things are true, or even make any sense whatsoever is of secondary importance, if any importance at all).

2:53 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Tony Jackson said."Dolores I repeat my quesitons:

1) Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments.

2) What possible experiment could you conduct to show that 'X was designed by a supernatural big guy?'.

3) What controls would you use in such an experiment?

These are very straightforward questions put to you in straightforward language. Alot of science is about asking the right questions - questions that can be answered by experiment or observation. Do you see the problem with ID?"

And hrafn said: "Assertion: Fuller's ideas are unworkable.

Conclusion: because of this, his ideas make an uncompelling defence of ID as a "scientific theory".

Either disprove the assertion (by demonstrating how Fuller's ideas are workable) or the conclusion (by demonstrating how, even if Fuller's ideas are unworkable, they still give meaningful support to ID's status as a scientific theory).

A challenge that you have ignored - just as you have ignored Tony's repeated challenges."

I have been lurking on ( and occassionally contributing to) this blog for about a year. The questions you ask have been asked before many times and in many ways. I predict you will noy get an answer, because the IDers have no answer...

You will get waffle and obfuscation and subject-changing and prestidigitation... but you will never get the ID mob to explain their experiments, their thinking (excepet in the most general and generally religious terms).

You might get abuse, but not from Andrew, he seems a nice fellow, if misguided.

I also predict that we have heard the last of Dolores. He/she has nothing sensible to say and lacks the ability to express even that. It's a troll and will not be back, because you have asked hard questions that he/she/it cannot answer.

4:07 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"I also predict that we have heard the last of Dolores. He/she has nothing sensible to say and lacks the ability to express even that. It's a troll and will not be back, because you have asked hard questions that he/she/it cannot answer."

Allygally: you seriously misunderestimate Dolores. As she has already proved, there is no question so hard that she can't ignore it in favour of some nit-picking irrelevance or some random insult.

If she doesn't want to answer the question (and the questions have been about Fuller's ideas, which is a subject she doesn't want to touch with a ten-foot barge pole), then of course that question never really existed, did it?

4:35 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Tony Jackson said...
Dolores

I repeat my quesitons:

1) Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments.

2) What possible experiment could you conduct to show that 'X was designed by a supernatural big guy?'.

3) What controls would you use in such an experiment?

These are very straightforward questions put to you in straightforward language. Alot of science is about asking the right questions - questions that can be answered by experiment or observation. Do you see the problem with ID?


Tony, dear, there is something so sweetly pathetic about your questions that I hate to burst your bubble. You are so right that science is about asking the right questions. Too bad you don't practise what you preach:

(1) I'd like know how you'd answer the question ask of Fuller for the likes of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett or whomever else might be your favourite poster boy for evolution: Have these guys ever changed how scientists do real, manly science? In any case, if you bothered to check Fuller's CV, he seems to have refereed for all sorts of grant agencies around the world. So somebody must take his advice seriously.

(2) Well, isn't this question just a generalisation from how you show X was designed by a natural little guy? If we can do that for humans, why can't we scale up for God? Oh, I forgot, God doesn't exist...Is that what I'm supposed to say at this point? While I'm at it, I think I have second thoughts about whether humans are capable of intelligent design. All those artefacts that look designed are really the product of self-organizing motions by self-deceived creatures (a.k.a. us). Hey, why not be naturalistic all the way down! Don't stop with God -- deny intelligence to humans as well!

Oh, I forgot, you've already denied my intelligence. So you're almost there! Now, it's only small step -- as small as going back and re-reading your own blinkered prose -- for you to complete the circle and deny your own intelligence.

12:02 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

hrafn said:
Allygally: you seriously misunderestimate Dolores. As she has already proved, there is no question so hard that she can't ignore it in favour of some nit-picking irrelevance or some random insult.


The feeling is mutual, my dear. I am still amazed that you have yet to provide any adequate account of Fuller's views, yet you place the burden of proof on me to show that your interpretation is wrong. I really think you post on this blog simply for purposes of self-reinforcement -- a bit like a temperance union member who gets off from hanging out in pubs.

12:07 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"I am still amazed that you have yet to provide any adequate account of Fuller's views..."

Dolores, my dear, sweety:

I would be oh so wounded by harsh comments ... if it weren't for the fact that you have yourself GIVEN NO ACCOUNT OF FULLER'S VIEWS WHATSOEVER (nor any substantiated specifics on how my account of his views is inadequate).

This lack of substantive contribution is what makes you a troll my dear sweet Dolores, a vacuous pustule on the face of the blogosphere.

But at least your determined dodging of every hard question, combined with spurious invective does at least prove my prophecy to Allygally correct. Thank you for that -- it's always nice to be proved correct. :)

2:18 am  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"I challenge you (and anybody else who might wish to endorse Fuller) to explain how a Science Department might put into practice Fuller's "pluralistic playing field of science where you have lots of different theories of roughly equal stature.""

It really shouldn't be an issue of how to put into practice a philosophically neutral science, but it is why did it take us this long to emphasize it? One dogmatic philosophical position is as bad as another. Materialism, Biblical fundamentalism, etc. all depend on bullying researchers and maintaining a strangle hold on education and trying to maintain power by forcing those who disagree out of their jobs and silencing dissenting voices that don't conform to their agenda.

Sparky

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sparky:

What Fuller proposes is not "philosophically neutral science" so much as philosophically neutered science, in that it is wholly unworkable.

He is in bed with the "Biblical fundamentalist" Young Earth Creationists, who are the main group promoting ID in Britain ('Truth in Science' is pretty much wall-to-wall YEC).

Nobody is "forcing those who disagree out of their jobs" -- so I don't see what you're making a fuss about. And how can anybody be "silencing dissenting voices" when the Creationists have been so stridently vocal?

12:49 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Anonymous,

My point in the blog was that Fuller is a very strange fellow to be found in the same bed as YECs. The reason he is doing what he is doing must be radically different from the reason that YES's are behind TiS.

Would you say that Dawkins is stridently vocal?

Nobody being forced out of jobs???
Richard Dawkins has called on Leed's University to take further action against Andy MacIntosh. There was at least one scientist in Alan Fersht's Lab who wanted him to kick Douglas Axe out of the Lab because he was funded by Discovery and what happened in response to Richard Sternberg's publication of Steven Meyer's article was interesting to say the least. Forest Mims at Scientific American... the list could go on. It is clear that it is more than just incompetent fools whinging about legitimate dismissal.

1:47 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Philosophically neutered science:

“If we've defined science such that it cannot get to the true answer, we've got a pretty lame definition of science.” (Douglas Axe)

1:51 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"He is in bed with the "Biblical fundamentalist" Young Earth Creationists, who are the main group promoting ID in Britain ('Truth in Science' is pretty much wall-to-wall YEC)."

I know this may be provocative but I will say it anyway, does it really matter who supports an idea? Is not the question they posed more important (to science) than their religous convictions? Sure YEC is definitely wrong. Does that mean ID is wrong?

Using someones religous convictions as a means of discrediting their argument is an ad hominem fallacy. Should not the scientific support or discrediting of a theory or hypothesis depend on the merits of that theory or hypothesis alone?

Now to make the argument that ID is wrong based on an evidential or empirical basis is good, and it would help IDists develop their theory and actually build it into something useful, but philosophical objections should be left in the realm of philosophy, and presumptuous generalizations like "IDists are funadmentalists" should not be used since it is clear that not all people can fit into these neat categories that critics of that movement would assign them.

2:59 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Sorry Andrew, that last "Anonymous" was me (I hadn't realised that the "Choose an identity" setting was mis-set.

"The reason he is doing what he is doing must be radically different from the reason that YES's are behind TiS."

And I have suggested what his reason is: a desire for a successful 'alternative science' to prove his ideas a success.

"Would you say that Dawkins is stridently vocal?"

Yes. But as nobody is claiming that Dawkins is being "silenced", I would say that this is irrelevant.

"Richard Dawkins has called on Leed's University to take further action against Andy MacIntosh."

1) MacIntosh hasn't been sacked (at least not yet).

2) Dawkins wasn't suggesting MacIntosh for "disagreeing" (or even for being very publicly and vocally a Creationist, which he has been for a number of years without Dawkins calling for him to be sacked) but for blatantly misrepresenting Thermodynamics. This is professional malfeasance for which a professor should be sacked.

"There was at least one scientist in Alan Fersht's Lab who wanted him to kick Douglas Axe out of the Lab because he was funded by Discovery..."

Was he kicked out? NO! So what is your problem?

"...and what happened in response to Richard Sternberg's publication of Steven Meyer's article was interesting to say the least."

Yes. Sternberg committed professional malfeasance by subverting the editorial policy of a journal in order to get an associate's paper published, in spite of the fact that the paper was woefully substandard and completely off topic.

"What happened" was that a number of scientists talked quite a bit about what happened, decided that there wasn't really anything they could do about it, other than keeping a closer eye on him.

He was not fired. He was not persecuted.

Sternberg then enlisted the Culture Warriors at the heavily politicised OSC to help him pretend to be a victim.

Sternberg is clearly and unambiguously the villain of this incident.

"Forest Mims at Scientific American..."

Forrest Mims was never hired by Scientific American in the first place.

"... the list could go on.

Only in Creationists' paranoid persecutory fantasies.

"It is clear that it is more than just incompetent fools whinging about legitimate dismissal."

It isn't?

MacIntosh has proven himself incompetent at Thermodynamics.

Sternberg proved professionally incompetent as an editor (through clear malfeasance and blatant conflict of interest).

Mims has proven to be a complete crank (including illegally recording a phone call with Piel).

But most importantly none of them have actually been fired!

3:21 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

“If we've defined science such that it cannot get to the true answer, we've got a pretty lame definition of science.” (Douglas Axe)

Andrew:

Can you demonstrate a single "true answer" that science has eliminated due to Methodological Naturalism?

3:23 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

You continue to avoid discussing Fuller's ideas, let alone addressing arguments that both Tony and myself have made that they are unworkable.

May I take this silence (in the face of repeated challenges) as an admission by yourself that his ideas are indeed unworkable?

3:28 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Sparky said: "Sure YEC is definitely wrong. Does that mean ID is wrong?"

The argument over ID is not whether it is "right" or "wrong". It is over whether ID is science or not. YEC is not "wrong". It's religion. It's not science. ID is not "wrong". It is an old theological concept. It is religion. It's not science.

"Using someones religous convictions as a means of discrediting their argument is an ad hominem fallacy."

Not when they are hiding their religion and pretending its science, as the IDers do. Then it is necessary to reveal their religious motivation in order to better refute their "error" or "lie" (you choose).

"Should not the scientific support or discrediting of a theory or hypothesis depend on the merits of that theory or hypothesis alone?"

Yep. Of course it should. But...ID is not a "theory". It is barely a hypothesis. It is not "credited" by science, so it is not necessary to discredit it. It provides no evidence, it has not been properlly defined, published or peer reviewed and it is not falsifiable. IT IS NOT SCIENCE. Sorry for shouting...

"to make the argument that ID is wrong based on an evidential or empirical basis is good, and it would help IDists develop their theory and actually build it into something useful"

We've tried that approach. IDers ignore evidence. Naturally enough since their worldview is faith based. If you "believe" you don't need evidence. THey have had 10 years to "build it in to something useful" and they have failed miserably. To be honest, I don't think they have even bothered to try.

"philosophical objections should be left in the realm of philosophy,"

It's difficult to refute religious ideas without using philosophical arguments. Of course if ID was SCIENCE, it would be a different matter. But it's not.

Anyway, isn't Fuller's whole game to change the philosophy of science. Should he butt out, do you think?

"presumptuous generalizations like "IDists are funadmentalists" should not be used since it is clear that not all people can fit into these neat categories that critics of that movement would assign them."

They are creationists. The DI is a far right think tank with the political aim of changing the US constitution to get religion taught in schools. ID is a trojan horse for that political aim. ID is creatonism in a cheap tuxedo (not my original quote, but apt anyway).

You should read the Dover trial at the addresses provide by hrafn earlier.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html
http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?page_id=11
http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts2.htm

There you can see that the IDers had their day in court as they always said they wanted... and they lost. By the evidence of their own words, Fuller chief among them, ID is creationism. ID is creationism. It is religion. It's not science.

If you understand that you will be a long way to understanding where Fuller is in error.

3:33 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"I know this may be provocative but I will say it anyway, does it really matter who supports an idea?"

You were the one condemning "Biblical fundamentalism" Sparky, not me.

"Now to make the argument that ID is wrong based on an evidential or empirical basis is good, and it would help IDists develop their theory and actually build it into something useful..."

That's already been done Sparky.

William Dembski's response is to say "it's not ID's task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories" and to ban anybody criticisng his theories from his blog, and delete anything they said.

3:37 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Sparky said: "Sure YEC is definitely wrong. Does that mean ID is wrong?"

Well if ID could be shown to be wrong, that would be a distinct improvement! But to use Wolfgang Pauli's famous put-down, ID is "not even wrong", and that's the core of the problem.

Andrew look, I agree with Allygally, you sound a decent guy (if misguided), so do you not see that if you can't devise an empirical or observational test for ID, then it's not science? That's all there is to it really. End of story.

4:49 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,

Darwin himself proposed that his theory could be falsified by the presence of an irreducibly complex structure:
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.”
ID says "look we reckon that life itself is IC and there are other examples which you can have a good argument over e.g the rotary motor function of the flagellum."

What is unscientific about that?
Isn't that how science is supposed to work?

I put up what I thought was the main prediction of ID here with another post here. Axe, Seelke and Behe are doing work on this kind of argument.

5:30 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
"May I take this silence (in the face of repeated challenges) as an admission by yourself that his ideas are indeed unworkable?"

Usually my silence means (a) I don't know the answer or (b) I haven't got time to write the answer I want to write or(c) I am reading some more and thinking about it.

You would be unwise therefore to read more into my silence than this.

In this case I just don't know enough about Fuller's ideas to be able to comment on them. I have not read any of his books or articles.

I simply thought it was fascinating to see that a totally non-religious professor is debating with another toatlly non-religious professor about whether ID is science or not. This substantiates my view that this argument is not simply religious people vs logical scientists.

5:41 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
"clear malfeasance"
Is that what you meant?
Malfeasance has the meaning of illegal/criminal/evil

You, presumably, feel entirely comfortable with all the examples I listed. I have looked into them carefully and I don't.

I felt that Mike Gene expresed my own feelings best in his discussion with Nick Matzke on Telic Thoughts.

5:52 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"The argument over ID is not whether it is "right" or "wrong". It is over whether ID is science or not. YEC is not "wrong". It's religion. It's not science. ID is not "wrong". It is an old theological concept. It is religion. It's not science."


Aristotle came before Aquinas; I would say at worst, ID is a philosophical concept. In order for Intelligent Design to be Theology, it would have to receive its authority from some form of religious inspiration like the Qur’an, the Bible, or the book of Mormon. Rather I see the ID movement as struggling against the system and fighting tooth and nail to have their work peer reviewed and published in respectable sources.

"Not when they are hiding their religion and pretending its science, as the IDers do. Then it is necessary to reveal their religious motivation in order to better refute their "error" or "lie" (you choose)."

If it is error, I don’t think such low tactics are needed. If it is a lie, then all that is needed is exposure and the evidence will end it. The problem is I do not see it as either one of the two rather the crowd is mixed. There seems to be many fundamentalists yet at the same time there is many scientists who appear genuine as well, and I cannot take the easy way out by assuming all to be wicked merely because they disagree with the majority.

Furthermore, this appears to be one of those situations that the questions are more important than the answers so regardless of who is asking the question, and what their motivations are, the question is begging to be asked, and IDists and sympathizers seem to be the only ones asking it.


"We've tried that approach. IDers ignore evidence. Naturally enough since their worldview is faith based. If you "believe" you don't need evidence. THey have had 10 years to "build it in to something useful" and they have failed miserably."

Now that may be true for some, but you are over-generalizing here. Remember, Darwin’s theory was not mainstream in a day. :P

"It's difficult to refute religious ideas without using philosophical arguments. Of course if ID was SCIENCE, it would be a different matter. But it's not."

Maybe it is or maybe it is not, but if the scientists asking the questions can work together, it can become science if it isn’t already.

6:42 pm  
Blogger Gary said...

"Answer me this:
....
How could I show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy"?

How could I arrange an experiment to investigate the nature and identity of the Designer?"
---------
Once again a Darwinist is making a fool of himself. Attacking a strawman and thinking himself smart for it.

So once again - listen up:
ID has nothing to say about the designer - neither who he is or isn't, nor what he is like.

ID ONLY posits that design is evident and empirically detectable using probabilistic algorithms (based on concurrent coherency stats), abductive reasoning and information theory.

That's it. Nothing about the designer needs to be known. Nothing about the designer even needs to be addressed.

"supernatural causation"?

ID does not even posit supernatural causation! It posits evidence for design. Period.

No designers, supernatural or not are posited. Crick's aliens (panspermia) may do as well as a "god" entity. ID infers that the designer must be hyper intelligent, hyper capable etc. Supernature (metaphysical) is one VALID sub-theory - that's all.

Got it? Get it! And stop whining the perpetual strawman nonsense, pleeeaaassee!!!

BTW, there are already ID-centric research programs out there, working from the ID stance and it's propositions and predictions.

Grow up you Darwhiners and instruct yourselves as to what ID is and is not before you go snotting forth the usual strawman bs.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Andrew,

As you know, Michael Behe claims that certain molecular structures in the cell are ‘irreducibly complex’, by which he means that these structures have so many functionally interlocking parts that the removal of any one of them leads to its inactivation. He further claims that such ‘irreducibly complex’ structures could not have evolved by classical evolutionary mechanisms because the presumed intermediates would have no function.

But ‘irreducible complexity’ is not evidence for intelligent design. Even if Behe is right - and by the way Andrew, he’s not - all that would show is that mutation and natural selection are inadequate to explain evolution. It says nothing positive about intelligent design. Remember, ID poists a supernatural designer and that automatically raises a whole host of questions:

1)Who is the Designer?

2)Where did s/he/it come from?

3)Is there just one designer or are there many?

4)How did the Designer do the designing?

5)When did the Designer do the designing?

6)Is the Designer still designing or has s/he/it retired?

So, I repeat my question for the umpteenth time. How on earth can you set up a controlled experiment to detect supernatural design. Note the emphasis on the word ‘controlled’ – that’s really important, because you need to rule out other explanations for any data that you might get. But, since we don’t know anything about the identity of the designer, or how s/he/it operates, there is no way even in principle that we can do this.

ID is intellectually sterile.

7:29 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

One more thing, then I'll stop. This is reproduced from a post I made a few days ago over on Will Crawley's blog.

It’s all very well saying “look at the blood-clotting cascade – it’s really, really complicated so it must have been designed”. But the natural world is full of organisms that have far less benign adaptations. Have you ever wondered where Ridley Scott got the inspiration for the Alien movies? See this amazing David Attenborough video clip about the eerie Cordyceps fungus and find out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tga-UG9oUYc&mode=related&search=

(you might need broadband).
Or consider this: right now tens of thousands of children in the third world are going blind because a parasitic filarial worm is burrowing into their eyeballs. In both cases (and of course there are countless more I could have used), the organisms concerned posses highly sophisticated adaptations to achieve their goals. The way that Cordyceps selectively reprograms the ant’s brain is an amazing story that is only vaguely understood and the multiple interlocking molecular adaptations that enable the filarial worm to outsmart and evade the human immune system are likewise astonishing. From the application of his own logic, Behe would have to claim that these adaptations are ‘irreducibly complex’ and were therefore designed. I think it is interesting to consider why Behe didn’t choose these or similar cases as examples for his book. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it was because in that case, he would be forced to confront some awkward philosophical questions about the personality of his designer.

But hey, maybe there's more than one Designer. Maybe there are two, a nice one who makes pretty things like butterflies and a nasty one who makes the smallpox virus. Once you start down this road, there's no end to it. But you're sure not doing science anymore.

7:45 pm  
Blogger Gary said...

"Likewise Complex Specified Information lacks the clarity and rigor necessary to allow it to be applied either practically, or as an instrument of further research (even were it to gain sufficient theoretical coherence to gain acceptance).

Thus neither of these concepts have any real chance of gaining momentum scientifically, and building a body of scientists who have an interest in their further development."

Prove it please.

Clearly you cannot. Because information theory is already being applied through systems biology and information theory to the genome. Obviously you didn't know that.

Information theory - a very rigorous and clear science for decades - all by itself is already demolishing most of Darwinisms old out-dated strongholds.

Only religious motivations hinder Darwinists from seeing the truth.

Shannons theorems and Gitt's laws of information are together undoing nonsense postulations, based on ignorance of macro-evo theory. The ignorant statements of the quoted poster are proof of this.

Unbelievable. Darwinists are totally incapable of even explaining where the complex CODED information systems, contained in bio systems and fully concurrently and coherently functional, even came from.

Let alone the fact the no coded information system can arise through non-rational processes.

That is a known impossibility that Darwinists have yet to admit. Just denial of the obvious as usual.

Coded information can ONLY exist where there is a sender with a purpose. No other possibilities exist. Code implies information communications conventions and protocols, with error trapping mechanisms. Do we find this in DNA/RNA? Yes.

Start reasoning from an unbiased stance, looking at all the facts without all the evo hype, propaganda, speculations, just-so stories, unfounded narrative explanations with no evidence whatsoever, data twisted into to fit NDT against the grain, etc....

History will ultimately judge neo-darwinisim as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.” - Lynn Margulis - biology professor, University of Massachusetts

8:05 pm  
Blogger Gary said...

tony: More bs comments. You really should try researching, reading and understanding before spewing forth illogical nonsense.

Such as the crap you publish here.

8:07 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Gary wrote:

"Prove it please."

Easy. The number of papers published that contain new data from tests of ID hypotheses is zero, and will remain at zero.

Zero new data is scientific sterility.

"Clearly you cannot."

Clearly I can.

"Because information theory is already being applied through systems biology and information theory to the genome. Obviously you didn't know that."

I knew that, and I suspect that Tony does too. What you don't seem to understand is that the people actually doing systems biology don't embrace ID.

Are they just not as smart as you are, Gary? If so, why do they generate real data while ID proponents engage in nothing but apologetics?

8:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats quite a list Gary. I assume that all these papers proving that information theory etc make mincemeat of Darwinian evolution are freely available, so you can back up your claims?
guthrie

10:38 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Allygally said: “You might get abuse, but not from Andrew, he seems a nice fellow, if misguided.”

Having read Garry’s rant, I see what you mean about abuse.

“So once again - listen up: ID has nothing to say about the designer - neither who he is or isn't, nor what he is like.”

Er…so once we decide that Goddidit, is that it? Where do we go after that?

“Shannons theorems and Gitt's laws of information are together undoing nonsense postulations, based on ignorance of macro-evo theory.”

Sorry, this is just techno-mumble.

“… information theory is already being applied through systems biology and information theory to the genome. Obviously you didn't know that. Information theory - a very rigorous and clear science for decades - all by itself is already demolishing most of Darwinisms old out-dated strongholds.”

Calm down Garry. I meet and interact with systems biologists everyday. Yet never once has any systems biologist in my university approached me pale and trembling in the corridor to announce they have made discoveries that demolish ‘Darwinism’. Incidentally, the use of the word ‘Darwinist’ as a term of abuse is interesting and a bit of a giveaway. For the record I’m a biochemist, but even the scientists I know who study evolution don’t call themselves ‘Darwinists’ – the correct name is ‘evolutionary biologists’.

“BTW, there are already ID-centric research programs out there, working from the ID stance and it's propositions and predictions.”

Really? Name these research programmes. References to published papers in peer-reviewed journals please, and a short explanation of how these papers support ID would also be nice. I repeat what I said at the start of this thread: what exactly would an ID research paradigm actually look like? So far I have seen nothing from the ID crowd that remotely resembles such a programme.

“tony: More bs comments. You really should try researching, reading and understanding”.

Actually, researching, reading and understanding are largely what I do for a living. What do you do Garry?

12:33 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Usually my silence means (a) I don't know the answer or (b) I haven't got time to write the answer I want to write or(c) I am reading some more and thinking about it."

You started the discussion on Fuller Andrew, yet you either (a) don't know what his ideas are, (b) don't have time to address them (but do have time to digress onto irrelevances such as Mims, Sternberg & co), or (c) haven't read/thought about his ideas.

Very impressive.

DO YOU THINK FULLER'S IDEAS ARE WORKABLE ANDREW?


Read his ideas now, think about them now, give us an answer.

"You, presumably, feel entirely comfortable with all the examples I listed. I have looked into them carefully and I don't."

For the point of this discussion Andrew, I DON'T CARE!

You raised them in support of Sparky's claim of "forcing those who disagree out of their jobs".

NONE OF THE PEOPLE YOU LISTED WERE FORCED OUT OF THEIR JOBS, SO ALL OF THEM ARE IRRELEVANT.

If you want to start a thread on "poor victimised Creationists" then by all means do so, I will happily pull apart your arguments there. I however refuse to get sidetracked on this thread, particularly as you have still failed to address the central point, to date, of this thread: that Fuller's ideas are unworkable

2:25 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Likewise Complex Specified Information lacks the clarity and rigor necessary to allow it to be applied either practically, or as an instrument of further research (even were it to gain sufficient theoretical coherence to gain acceptance).

Thus neither of these concepts have any real chance of gaining momentum scientifically, and building a body of scientists who have an interest in their further development."

Prove it please.


Certainly Gary.

Evidence of Dembski's lack of clarity and rigour can be found in any number of reviews of his work, e.g.:

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/jello.cfm
http://www.talkorigins.org/design/faqs/nfl/
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dem_nfl.cfm
http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/shallit.pdf
http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/dembski.pdf

That CSI is of no practical use, nor of use in further research is evidenced by the fact that nobobdy is using it. If they were, you can be certain that Dembski would make a great issue about it, rather than being reduced to crowing about anything that even vaguely resembles his ideas.

You can find further details of this lack of usefulness here:
http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/nflr3.pdf

3:04 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Sorry, I got the two links to pdf files mixed up.

This link should have been in the first list:
http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/nflr3.pdf

This link was the one that was meant to be the "further details of this lack of usefulness":
http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/shallit.pdf

3:22 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,
With regard to Behe's IC argument:
"Even if Behe is right - and by the way Andrew, he’s not and by the way Andrew, he’s not"

You know for certain that there are no cases of IC objects in biology?
Life is not IC? The rotary motor function of the bacterial flagellum is not IC? You know this? How?

"all that would show is that mutation and natural selection are inadequate to explain evolution"

It would nevertheless be a huge revolution in biological thinking. Would you agree that if this did happen biologists would have to be more open to design type thinking.

10:39 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,
You said:
"Remember, ID poists a supernatural designer"

No it doesn't. It suggests that intelligent design should not be excluded from science by definitional fiat. Directed Panspermia is an ID hypothesis.

10:42 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,

Can I rephrase your question:
"How on earth can you set up a controlled experiment to detect supernatural design."
to
"How on earth can you set up a controlled experiment to detect design."

Are you happier with that as a legitimate scientific question?
Are you happy with SETI?

11:05 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
"Can you demonstrate a single "true answer" that science has eliminated due to Methodological Naturalism?"
What evidence would you accept as a demonstration?

Can you demonstrate that Methodological Naturalism will not eliminate any true answer?

11:14 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"What evidence would you accept as a demonstration? "

An "answer" that is generally accepted as "true" and "scientific" (i.e. not a matter of aesthetics, moral philosophy, etc) but which has been ruled out by Methodological Naturalism (presumably for being invoking the supernatural).

"Can you demonstrate that Methodological Naturalism will not eliminate any true answer?"

That question is far too open-ended to have an answer (as I don't know every true answer that might exist). In any case, I don't need to answer it. All I needed to do was to show that we have no evidence that we have "defined science such that it cannot get to the true answer" -- so therefore no evidence that "we've got a pretty lame definition of science."

I would also note that in spite of the fact that you have had time for four further posts, you still have not addressed Fuller's ideas.

11:43 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Can I rephrase your question:
"How on earth can you set up a controlled experiment to detect supernatural design."
to
"How on earth can you set up a controlled experiment to detect design."


Speaking for myself, I would not permit such a rephrasing.

Natural design imposes a degree of limitation on available methods and motives, that allows a concrete, testable hypothesis to be formed.

Supernatural design on the other hand makes no such limitations, so that ANYTHING from a grain of sand on the beach to a mountain could be designed, by supernaturally inscrutable means, for supernaturally inscrutable motives. As, under this hypothesis, anything could have been designed, it is obviously a completely untestable hypothesis.

11:54 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
You said:
"What evidence would you accept as a demonstration? " An "answer" that is generally accepted as "true" and "scientific" (i.e. not a matter of aesthetics, moral philosophy, etc) but which has been ruled out by Methodological Naturalism (presumably for being invoking the supernatural).

In other words you are here arguing for a "scientific" demonstration that methodological naturalism is false... but you also argue that methodological naturalism defines what is truly scientific.... have I got something muddled here?

11:58 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"In other words you are here arguing for a "scientific" demonstration that methodological naturalism is false... but you also argue that methodological naturalism defines what is truly scientific.... have I got something muddled here?"

Yes, you have something muddled.

That a Shakespearean sonnet is beautiful may be a "true answer" but it is not a scientific answer, whether Methodological Naturalism applies or not. It is an aesthetic answer. To call a definition of science "lame" for excluding it is therefore unreasonable.

What I was getting at was a "true answer" that was "scientific" in every way except for following Methodological Naturalism. By "scientific" it would most probably be some combination of empirical, testable and/or falsifiable.

You still have not addressed Fuller's ideas.

1:01 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Andrew: “You know for certain that there are no cases of IC objects in biology? Life is not IC? The rotary motor function of the bacterial flagellum is not IC? You know this? How?”

It’s been over ten years since Behe announced his ‘discovery’ of ‘irreducible complexity’. That’s plenty of time in today’s fast-paced biochemistry to have a genuine discovery recognized or if not accepted, then at least talked about (for comparison, it took less than ten years from the discovery of RNA interference to the recent award of Nobel prizes). So how has the concept of ‘irreducible complexity’ fared among practicing scientists ie, among those who are most likely to use it if it’s a real and important insight? Go to PubMed and type in “irreducible complexity”. How many hits do you get? I got 7. Of these, only three are concerned with Behe’s definition (and all of them are critical). The rest are completely off topic - although I must admit that one by Hanly MA (Int J Psychoanal. 1993 Oct;74 ( Pt 5):1049-61) entitled “Sado-masochism in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: a ridge of lighted health” does seem to be worth a read.

Why have real scientists reacted to Behe’s claim with a big yawn? Probably for a number of reasons but chief among them are:

1) It’s not true to begin with. The claim is that if you knock out one protein from a system, then the system stops working altogether. Behe makes this sound like it’s an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but it isn’t! Whether or not the system stops working – and if it does, whether or not the cell dies, is CONTEXT -DEPENDENT. I’ll illustrate this with reference to my own work on clathrin-coated vesicles. These structures help take hormones and other molecules from the outside of the cell into the interior. Behe mentions them briefly in the chapter where he talks about intracellular transport. Like many such structures, they are composed of several functionally integrated protein components. I have no doubt that Behe thinks the clathrin-coated vesicle is ‘irreducibly complex’. But if you knock-out clathrin in say yeast, you get very different results depending on the particular strain of yeast you use. In one strain (ie one genetic background) it’s lethal, in another it isn’t. We’ve shown the same phenomenon if you controllably remove clathrin in vertebrate lymphocytes (see Wettey et al., Science vol 293 pages 1521-1525 (2002)). Have you heard of ‘suppressor mutations’? Behe must surely have because he’s supposed to be a professor of biochemistry, although it’s interesting that he doesn’t mention them in his book. These are genes that when changed, can alleviate or suppress altogether the deleterious effects of some otherwise inactivating mutation. There are lots of examples and they refute simple-minded ‘irreducible complexity’.

2) Even if there really are ‘irreducibly complex’ structures, they can still evolve by known evolutionary mechanisms. In an early review of ‘Darwin’s Black Box’, the evolutionary biologist Allen Orh explained the point: “An irreducibly complex system can be built gradually by adding parts that, while initially just advantageous, become—because of later changes—essential. The logic is very simple. Some part (A) initially does some job (and not very well, perhaps). Another part (B) later gets added because it helps A. This new part isn't essential, it merely improves things. But later on, A (or something else) may change in such a way that B now becomes indispensable. This process continues as further parts get folded into the system. And at the end of the day, many parts may all be required. The point is there's no guarantee that improvements will remain mere improvements. Indeed because later changes build on previous ones, there's every reason to think that earlier refinements might become necessary.” Re-reading Behe’s book, I’m struck by what I think is his fundamental misunderstanding. Behe seems to think that if you knock-out one protein from a structure in a modern organism, then you’re recreating the ancestral structure, but of course you’re not! ALL the components of a structure can change during evolution. That’s the point Orh was making.


“"How on earth can you set up a controlled experiment to detect design."

See answer from Hrafn.

“You said:"Remember, ID poists a supernatural designer" No it doesn't. It suggests that intelligent design should not be excluded from science by definitional fiat. Directed Panspermia is an ID hypothesis.”

Come now Andrew, don’t be disingenuous. Everybody knows that the people pushing ID have a religious agenda. Are you seriously telling me that you think it’s OK to believe the Intelligent Designer was a Time Lord, or a Jedi Knight or Slartibartfast?

1:03 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,
I have read a good deal of the anti-ID literature. I know these responses i have read Ken Miller's arguments etc I have read Matzke's arguments but I am still convinced that there is more than hot air in this argument. You can sigh and shake your head pityingly if you wish but that is still my position.

"Are you seriously telling me that you think it’s OK to believe the Intelligent Designer was a Time Lord, or a Jedi Knight or Slartibartfast?"

If you think that you can shut this argument down as simply a new form of creationism than I think you have seriously misunderstood the argument, its history and the thinking of those involved. Even if all the proponents were fundamentalist evangelical theocrats (which they are not) this would not alone be sufficent to reject their arguments as false.

1:54 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"If you think that you can shut this argument down as simply a new form of creationism than I think you have seriously misunderstood the argument, its history and the thinking of those involved."

It's not an "argument" Andrew, it is an assertion, an assertion bare of any substantiation and, through continuing exposure, an increasingly threadbare assertion at that.

You still have not addressed Fuller's ideas.

4:17 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"I have read a good deal of the anti-ID literature."

But have you bothered to look at the DATA? If you're going to credibly claim that ID has any status as a theory, there must be mountains of data that were produced from experimental tests of it.

"I know these responses i have read Ken Miller's arguments etc I have read Matzke's arguments but I am still convinced that there is more than hot air in this argument."

If you're referring to the ID argument, there aren't any data. Your labeling it as a "theory" is laughable. Theories have been extensively tested and used to produce huge amounts of new data.

"If you think that you can shut this argument down as simply a new form of creationism than I think you have seriously misunderstood the argument, its history and the thinking of those involved."

The argument is pseudoscientific.
Its history is pseudoscientific.
The thinking of those involved is entirely pseudoscientific.

The evidence? It has yet to produce a single new datum. Its adherents have no faith that it will, so they engage in apologetics instead of science.

"Even if all the proponents were fundamentalist evangelical theocrats (which they are not) this would not alone be sufficent to reject their arguments as false."

What's sufficient to reject their argument as unscientific is the fact that they don't use it to produce any new data. They lack the faith to put it to a single experimental test. Instead, they spin existing data.

6:19 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

"I have read a good deal of the anti-ID literature. I know these responses i have read Ken Miller's arguments etc I have read Matzke's arguments but I am still convinced that there is more than hot air in this argument. You can sigh and shake your head pityingly if you wish but that is still my position."

Shorter version: Andrew stamps feet on ground, puts fingers in ears and says "I still can't hear you!!!"

8:52 pm  
Blogger Weapon of Mass Instruction said...

I would be interested in an audio version of the debate.

11:23 pm  
Blogger Weapon of Mass Instruction said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:23 pm  
Blogger Weapon of Mass Instruction said...

I wonder what smokey means about data.


If he means evidence, I have yet to see any evidence for evolution.

11:32 pm  
Blogger Weapon of Mass Instruction said...

The argument is pseudoscientific.
Its history is pseudoscientific.
The thinking of those involved is entirely pseudoscientific.



And every scientist that made any significant breakthroughs just happen to believe in a Creator.

Your ignorance makes me giggle.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Weapon of Mass Instruction said...

What's sufficient to reject their argument as unscientific is the fact that they don't use it to produce any new data. They lack the faith to put it to a single experimental test. Instead, they spin existing data.

Ha! There is not one tenable data that is a direct result of GTE. Try again.

11:37 pm  
Blogger Gary said...

Ah yes. The standard Darweenie's nonsense responses. I've seen them too many times, indeed ad nauseum.

Links to talkorigins bs are useless.

Fortunately the facts (always denied, ignored or unknown of Darweenies) show the truth about NDT's persistent use of strawman and affirming the consequent fallacies. Not to mention speculations, just-so stories and narrative "science" being passed off as true science.

"Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless." Prof. Louis Bounoure,President Biological Society of Strassbourg, Director of the Strassbourg Zoological Museum, Director of Research at the French National Centre of Scientific Research.

The constant Darwinist argument amounts to Doug Adams', "I don't believe it. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it".

Like I keep saying (and finding more and more people agreeing), "The use of NDT pseudo-logic cripples the mind."

"Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con-men, and the story they are telling may be the GREATEST HOAX ever." Dr. T. N. Tahmisian, Physiologist. Atomic Energy Commission.

Darwinism is not science. It is the materialist creation myth.

BLOG

2:29 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,
[Andrew stamps feet on ground, puts fingers in ears and says "I still can't hear you!!!"]

Reading carefully and thoughtfully the best Anti-ID literature is described as putting fingers in my ears? How do you suggest I take them out?

7:37 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Gary thinks that links to the opinions of prominent Information Theorists, on how shoddy Dembski's work is, are "useless".

I THINK THAT THIS PROVES THAT GARY IS HIMSELF USELESS.

8:22 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Reading carefully and thoughtfully the best Anti-ID literature is described as putting fingers in my ears? How do you suggest I take them out?"

No Andrew. Claiming, without substantiation, and in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that your designer is not necessarily supernatural, and that ID is not Creationism, is "stamping feet on ground, putting fingers in ears and saying "I still can't hear you!!!"

You still have not addressed Fuller's ideas.

ARE YOU EVER GOING TO DO SO?

You were after all the one who brought Fuller up, and provided numerous links to his viewpoint.

8:29 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

Just thinking about what you said yesterday.

Do you hold that methodological naturalism is a necessary definition of scientific practice or can something be truly scientific which is inconsistent with methodological naturalism?

10:18 am  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"NONE OF THE PEOPLE YOU LISTED WERE FORCED OUT OF THEIR JOBS, SO ALL OF THEM ARE IRRELEVANT."

Actually while he may not have directly been fired, those working at the institute clearly made the working environment hostile enough that Sternberg felt the need to leave.

Sternberg on his website writes:

"After Smithsonian officials determined that there was no wrong-doing in the publication process for the Meyer paper and that they therefore had no grounds to remove me from my position directly, they tried to create an intolerable working environment so that I would be forced to resign."
http://www.rsternberg.net/

Now whether Sternberg is making it up you will have to decide for yourself, but from what I have read of the reports, there seems to be a lot of validity to his claims.

As for Andy McIntosh, I would say he is in danger of losing his job, leastwise it isn't very sporting when someone with the pull of Richard Dawkins asks that he be fired from he job because the two disagree. That's not how science is done, that is Machiavellian.

1:21 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Do you hold that methodological naturalism is a necessary definition of scientific practice or can something be truly scientific which is inconsistent with methodological naturalism?"

Irrelevant Andrew. The question is are there any "true answers" that would be 'scientific', except for the fact that the violate Methodological Naturalism?

If there are not, then even if a definition of science excludes answers that violates Methodological Naturalism (as most scientists would contend), and even if you accept Axe's assertion, then you still have not proven it to be "pretty lame definition of science."

You still have not addressed Fuller's ideas.

ARE YOU EVER GOING TO DO SO?

You were after all the one who brought Fuller up, and provided numerous links to his viewpoint.

1:30 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Actually while he may not have directly been fired, those working at the institute clearly made the working environment hostile enough that Sternberg felt the need to leave."

BALONEY!

At the time, Sternberg apparently only worked at the Smithsonian after hours, which would mean that he would not have sufficient contact for any alleged "hostility" to have an impact.

And after this alleged "hostility" he did not leave, but remained a Research Associate until the term of that secondment expired in November 2006. Thereafter, due to his lack of a sponsor (his original sponsor having died 15 days after his original appointment, leaving him with vatious 'default' sponsors for the remainder of his appointment) he was appointed as a Research Collaborator.

As far as I know, none of Sternberg's claims of persecution have been substantiated. All of them have relied upon distortion and misrepresentation of the facts in order to present him as some sort of Creationist martyr.

I would recommend anybody wanting to know the full facts of the case to read the appendix to Souder's partisan report, which contains the unvarnished facts:
http://www.souder.house.gov/_files/AppendixtoReportIntoleranceandthePoliticizationofScienceattheSmithsonian.pdf

2:18 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"As far as I know, none of Sternberg's claims of persecution have been substantiated. All of them have relied upon distortion and misrepresentation of the facts in order to present him as some sort of Creationist martyr."

The staff investigation seems to disagree with you. Care to comment?

"I would recommend anybody wanting to know the full facts of the case to read the appendix to Souder's partisan report, which contains the unvarnished facts:
http://www.souder.house.gov/_files/AppendixtoReportIntoleranceandthePoliicizationofScienceattheSmithsonian"

I have read it, and I am not exactly sure how this supports your particular position.

The Congressional Report says quite clearly:

"The staff investigation has uncovered compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated by Smithsonian officials."

What I am so curious about is; why is this so hard to accept? Why would you choose to operate on the naive presupposition that all scientists are magically nice guys/gals? You already know such feelings exist towards ID advocates, why is this so difficult for you to believe?

6:05 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Sparky said "The Congressional Report says quite clearly:.."

Sparky, my info is that there was no Congressional Report.

Can you produce a reference?

8:27 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

allygally,

here:
http://www.souder.house.gov/sitedirector/~files/IntoleranceandthePoliticizationofScienceattheSmithsonian.pdf

8:57 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

PS

I tried the link you gave but the page was not found.

8:57 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,

Go to this page:

2 top links


The two top links provide the report and the appendix.

9:19 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew, Sparky, as the front page of the report says, it is a "STAFF REPORT
PREPARED FOR
THE HON. MARK SOUDER
CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE,
DRUG POLICY AND HUMAN RESOURCES
DECEMBER 11, 2006"

In other words, Mr Souder's staff produced this report and published it with a congressional logo. It is not a congressional report. It is not produced or endorsed by congress or a committe or sub committe of congress. It is Mr Souder's take on the Sternberg incident. No more.

The equivalent in the UK would be if an MP had her researcher produce a report and printed it on Parliamentary headed notepaper, claiming that it was a "Parliamentary Report".
But it would not be a Parliamentary report, and if the MP claimed that it was, she would be considered dishonest.

The Souder report has no credibility. It does not enhance Sterberg's case one whit.

11:32 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

WMI wrote:
"I wonder what smokey means about data."

The stuff that advances science. The stuff that real scientists publish.

"If he means evidence, I have yet to see any evidence for evolution."

It's not my fault that your eyes are closed. You're also missing my point, which is that testing of evolutionary theories produces evidence that does far more than support evolution.

"And every scientist that made any significant breakthroughs just happen to believe in a Creator."

Virtually none of the scientists that have made any significant breakthroughs believes in creationism or ID.

More importantly, absolutely zero of the significant breakthoughs have come from testing an ID or creationist hypothesis.

"Ha! There is not one tenable data that is a direct result of GTE."

Sure. There are loads. Also, if you knew anything about science, you'd know that the singular of data is datum. There's no such thing as one data.

"Try again."

Try what? Pointing out that no one has produced any new knowledge from testing an ID hypothesis?

How's this for direct testing of a sexual selection hypothesis:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/pq1q651p0232t183/

And doesn't every time a molecular geneticist does a clustal alignment constitute a direct test of common descent?

Have you ever looked at a sequence alignment, or better yet, a tree derived from one?

12:23 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"Reading carefully and thoughtfully the best Anti-ID literature is described as putting fingers in my ears?"

Since the "best Anti-ID literature is the primary literature that includes the data, you aren't reading the most relevant scientific literature.

"How do you suggest I take them out?"

Look at the data from the primary literature, not apologetics. I predict that you won't, because you're afraid of what you will learn.

You have no faith in your ID position.

12:27 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

OK, Let's concentrate on the origin of the bacterial flagellum and abiogenesis. Can you direct me to the relevant primary literature that demonstrates that these processes
(a) Could occur without ID.
(b) Did actually occur without ID.

I disagree with your negative view of secondary literature otherwise science education would be impossible. Key experiments can be explained in many fewer words than the primary literature uses.

7:29 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,
re Souder's report.
Are you saying that the appendix is a fairy story? Have you read it?

7:30 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew Rowell said..."Allygally, re Souder's report. Are you saying that the appendix is a fairy story? Have you read it?"

Andrew, I am saying that the Souder report is not a congregressional report as claimed (to give it some spurious authority that it does not desreve). Do you agree that the Souder Report was not issued with the authority of congress as a whole nor from a committee or sub committee of congress. It does not carry the authority of congress as an institution?
Do you agree. We can move on to the report and appendix, if you wish, after we get agreement on the status of the report.

9:18 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Why ‘irreducible complexity’ is bunk. Part two.

After Andrew asked me to say what I thought of Behe’s big idea, I gave a rather lengthy post about why most serious scientists are underwhelmed by ‘irreducible complexity’. For brevity’s sake I stopped after making just two points, but I want to emphasize that doesn’t by any means exhaust the criticisms. Here is another reason why ‘irreducible complexity’ is not just wrong but deeply misleading.

Inappropriate use of the machine analogy.

To illustrate the concept of ‘irreducible complexity’ Behe gives the mousetrap as an example. See! If we remove this spring, or that wire, then the mousetrap doesn’t work any more – that means it’s ‘irreducibly complex’ and so it must have been designed. He then extends this analogy to the inner working of the cell. Here too you find ‘molecular machines’ - marvels of nano-technology that are far, far more sophisticated than mere mousetraps. Remove this or that protein component and he claims they will inevitably stop working. So just like the mousetrap, they are ‘irreducibly complex’. To show why this is simplistic, I’ll walk you through a real scientific experiment that has really been done. As an added bonus, it involves one of the topics that Behe covers in chapter 5 of Darwin’s Black Box (how proteins are sorted between different compartments inside the cell), and which Behe confidently assures us illustrates the principle of ‘irreducible complexity’. Don’t be put off by the jargon, there is very little of it and I’ll explain each step as we go.

OK, proteins are transported between compartments inside the cell by means of structures called coated vesicles that leave from one internal compartment and travel to another. These vesicles contain multiple different protein components that interact together to give a functioning system. In yeast, two proteins with the awkward names Ypt1p and Sly12p are involved in one step in this process. Now, if you inactivate Ypt1p, then one type of coated vesicle fails to dock with its target compartment, transport stops and the cell dies. “Look!” says Behe, “a clear case of ‘irreducible complexity’”. But, if you tweak the yeast a little bit so that it now makes more of the other protein (Sly12p), then the pathway starts to work again! Clearly, the system as originally envisaged cannot be ‘irreducibly complex’ (because remember, we’ve now got a functioning pathway without using Ypt1p). But the more interesting question is how did this activity get restored? If you’re stuck with the mousetrap analogy, then this result is utterly baffling. You will never fix a broken mousetrap by just throwing more screws at it. But of course, ‘molecular machines’ aren’t literally made out of bits of metal or wire or plastic. They’re made out of …… molecules! And the behaviour of molecules is dominated by the laws of statistical thermodynamics. In this particular case, my guess is that Ypt1p helps promote an interaction between Sly12p and other components of the coat. In the absence of Ypt1p, this interaction falls apart because the normal cellular concentration of the proteins is too low to keep them associated. But if the yeast now makes more of Sly12p, the simple law of mass action pushes the equilibrium over and restores the complex. Down at the ‘nano-level’, molecules are constantly vibrating and bending, tumbling and crashing into each other, transiently sticking to one other and then falling apart again. It’s a riot down there, and it’s a totally alien and counter-intuitive world IF you only think in macroscopic terms.

Why does this matter, and why am I bothering to post about this on your blog? Well for several reasons. Firstly, I suspect that many people more or less sympathetic to Behe lurk at your site and I really want you all to see - in detail – why scientists dismiss Behe. It’s not because we’re hidebound stick-in-the-muds who can’t see the future. It’s because on multiple levels Behe is just wrong in his technical details. Period. Unfortunately, the reasons are tricky to explain to non-scientists and don’t lend themselves to glib PR sound-bites in the way ‘irreducible complexity’ does. Secondly, and most frustratingly, these mistakes have been repeated explained to Behe, yet he still goes on about bloody mousetraps as if all the criticism has just washed over him. There is an obvious similarity with McIntosh here. In both cases, despite being well aware of the scientific criticism of their work, they continue to bang their drum, presumably for their own particular theological reasons. Behe and McIntosh are not writing for a serious scientific audience anymore but are happy to peddle their stuff to an audience that knows little science. As someone involved in teaching and research, and who has also been involved in promoting the understanding of science to the wider public, I think this is incredibly frustrating because it promotes active falsehoods.

10:05 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

I think your line of 'argument' throughout this thread has very clearly demonstrated why ID argumentation is so badly flawed. Your comments have been nothing but a parade of non sequitors, irrelevancies and nit-picking-on-minor-points.

You have not once addressed the arguments of Tony, Allygally or myself head on, let alone addressed why Fully thinks that ID is a scientific theory -- which is after all the original topic of this thread.

10:25 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,
I do not understand how these congressional reports work but I get the impression that this is more than Mark Souder's assistant writing him a critical report on the Sternberg saga. Ted Agres calls it a "congressional report" and says it was prepared in connection with with his chairmanship of the Government Reform subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources.

Whatever its status it does provide additional insight into what went on behind the scenes and deepens my feelings of unease about what happened in response to Sternberg's decision.

10:46 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,

Thanks for your comments.
I will look into the transport issue as a separate post later all being well. I do appreciate very much you being involved in the discussion here and giving us some of your time.

Thank you.

10:52 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"...but I get the impression that this is more than Mark Souder's assistant writing him a critical report on the Sternberg saga."

The Sternberg 'investigation' is not mentioned in either the list of "Current and Past Investigations" by the Oversight Committee:
http://oversight.house.gov/investigations.asp
nor in the "Chronology":
http://oversight.house.gov/chronology.asp

It would appear to be purely a private hobby-horse of Souder's.

11:18 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Here’s something else for you to think about. Once more, I’ll walk you through a real experiment that has recently been done – the sort of data that smokey, allygally, hrafn and myself have been imploring you to examine. Again, I’ll keep the jargon as simple as possible so that you can keep your eye on the big picture.

This story concerns another part of the transport machinery inside cells. In yeast, there are two proteins called REP and GDI that have to function together to control a third protein called Rab. In modern organisms, REP and GDI are both incredibly specific in their activity, and so both are needed to keep Rab active. It’s a good example of the sort of interlocking functionality that Behe makes a big deal about. So how could this system have possibly evolved? It turns out that the underlying gene sequences of both proteins clearly show them to be related. Furthermore, mutant REPs have been isolated which do indeed possess both REP and GDI activity. So we have two competing explanations for the origin of this system:

1) The genes encoding the present highly specialized REP and GDI evolved by a well-understood process of gene duplication and divergent selection from a common ancestor. A common ancestor, whose protein product possessed properties similar to the mutants described above and that could carry out both jobs. This hypothesis leads naturally to a host of specific predictions that can be tested further, both in the lab and by analysis of animal genomes using bioinformatics.

2) A supernatural Big Fella (or it could have been a space alien from the planet Tharg - we’re not sure about that), poofed the system into existence at an indeterminate time in the past using mechanisms that we’re not allowed to know anything about, while at the same time being very careful to leave plenty of clues around the genome to make it look as if the system evolved.

Andrew, I beg you pleeeese….. Can you still not see the problem with ID?

11:39 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew said: "Whatever its status it does provide additional insight into what went on behind the scenes and deepens my feelings of unease about what happened in response to Sternberg's decision."

Not the case. Sternberg was clearly guilty of bending the rules. And hrafn says earlier in the thread that he was not fired - and you have not challenged that, so what's the beef?

Claiming that Souder the report is a "Congressional" report is an attempt to add weight to his complaints of ill-treatment. The report itself is clearly headed "Staff Report for the Hon Mark Souder..." His staff produced it to order.

Andrew, as an ex-Christian, it sometimes troubles me that you seem unconcerned about actions (let's be generous) verging on the dishonest, from creationists - Sternberg's attempts to sneak papers through the editorial process, claiming that reports have a provenance that they do not deserve so as to give them a spurious and undesreved authority.

How do you square this with the commandment not to lie?

11:55 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,

Are you entirely happy with Sternberg's treatment following the publication of Meyer's paper?

12:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Andrew, as an ex-Christian..."

There is no such thing as an ex-Christian. The Bible clearly teaches that true Christians will persevere with their faith unto death. Anyone considering themselves to be an ex-Christian has never been enlightened as to the Truth by the Holy Spirit of God, and therefore it is understandable that they may fail to comprehend the idea of a Creator and Intelligent Design.

1st Corinthians 2:14

12:35 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

“More importantly, absolutely zero of the significant breakthoughs have come from testing an ID or creationist hypothesis.”

Smokey that is certainly understandable since ID is such a new theory, but as reasonable as that would be I am not sure it is accurate. As I recall ID advocates were predicting function for non-coding dubbed “Junk DNA” for a long time. So far, we have only unraveled a little bit of the mystery that this non-coding DNA contains, but the discoveries have been nearly revolutionary.


“Not the case. Sternberg was clearly guilty of bending the rules.”

Evidence please?

“Claiming that Souder the report is a "Congressional" report is an attempt to add weight to his complaints of ill-treatment. The report itself is clearly headed "Staff Report for the Hon Mark Souder..." His staff produced it to order.”

I would find it funny then that The Scientist, the World Net Daily, CBN news, and Pandas Thumb all seem to be confused about this. It would be rather odd if they all happened to make the same mistake. Perhaps you should double check with them.
http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/38440/
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53400
http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/75415.aspx
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/12/lame_ducks_weig.html

“A supernatural Big Fella (or it could have been a space alien from the planet Tharg - we’re not sure about that), poofed the system into existence at an indeterminate time in the past using mechanisms that we’re not allowed to know anything about, while at the same time being very careful to leave plenty of clues around the genome to make it look as if the system evolved.”

That’s a strawman, whether it is intentional or not I cannot be sure. After all I am not sure how informed/misinformed/uninformed you are about Intelligent Design, but I would not go as far as to say we cannot know anything about the mechanisms. Look at Mike Gene’s Frontloading Hypothesis, or Davidson’s Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis, both of these outline mechanisms of how design was implemented without any *poof* or any necessary supernatural interference. When a critic says the Designer of ID must be God, or must be supernatural, it seems to me they either 1 have no imagination or 2 are willfully ignoring other possibilities in order to have more ammo to criticize ID.

12:49 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"As I recall ID advocates were predicting function for non-coding dubbed “Junk DNA” for a long time."

Could you please explain how this 'prediction' derives from ID.

Also, that some "junk DNA" later turns out to have a function is inherent in its definition:
"a collective label for the portions of the DNA sequence of a chromosome or a genome for which no function has yet been identified."

"Evidence please?"

Certainly:
"Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history."
http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

"I would find it funny then that The Scientist, the World Net Daily, CBN news, and Pandas Thumb all seem to be confused about this."

Panda's Thumb:
"The opinion was prepared by congressional staff and was commissioned by Congressman Mark Souder, the chairman of the subcommittee on criminal justice, drug policy, and human resources, and who in 2000 co-hosted a Discovery Institute briefing on intelligent design aimed at persuading congress that ID needed political support."
(No mention of it being an "official" Congressional report here.)

World Net Daily (often referred to as "World Nut Daily") is notoriously partisan, inflammatory and inaccurate.

CBN is the mouthpiece of notorious raving fanatic Pat Robertson.

Neither are legitimate news sources.

1:21 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Sparky:

“When a critic says the Designer of ID must be God, or must be supernatural, it seems to me they either 1 have no imagination or 2 are willfully ignoring other possibilities in order to have more ammo to criticize ID.”

So are you saying that the Designer really could have been a space alien? Er.... in that case, who designed Him (or Her, or It)?

1:31 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Just to provide interested readers with the other side of the story from the council statement that Hrafn linked to:
Richard Sternberg's account is here

2:30 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Just to provide interested readers with the other side of the story from the council statement that Hrafn linked to:
Richard Sternberg's account is here"


Interesting that Sternberg doesn't substantiate a single claim that he makes.

Also interesting that he makes no mention of his association with Meyer & ID (through RAPID & ISCID) and the clear conflict of interest that this entails.

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Shorter Andrew:

"I neither know nor care what Fuller's ideas are, nor why he thinks ID is a scientific theory. That he says it's a scientific theory is good enough for me.

I know in my heart that Steinberg is a martyr, so everybody who says so must be credible (no matter how unsubstantiated and partisan their claims are)."

3:31 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

STATEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL OF THE BIOLOGICAL
SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON

The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," in vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml), which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings. "

Andrew, seems very clear to me. Why do you persist in believing that Sternberg was badly done by?

Do you really beleive that there is some dastardly plot to unfairly dismiss someone that nobody had ever heard of, thus creating a nice controversy for creationist conspiracy addicts to latch on to?

And what do you think of Sternberg's evasion of the standard practice? Do you admire it? or is it reprehensible?

3:39 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"Could you please explain how this 'prediction' derives from ID."

"Also, that some "junk DNA" later turns out to have a function is inherent in its definition:
"a collective label for the portions of the DNA sequence of a chromosome or a genome for which no function has yet been identified.""


Function is relevant to design. Design must predict function. If there is not purpose or intention, there is not design. Junk DNA by many evolution proponents is considered an evolutionary relic. Design predicted function, function was revealed. That is a fulfilled prediction.


“Certainly:
"Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history."
http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html”


According to Sternberg, that claim is not true, and the paper went through all the standard proceedure for peer-review. Sternberg himself was in fact a member (leastwise functionally) of the council, so if this were any other paper no one would have cared. Interestingly enough he (Sternberg) went through extra measures to make sure this wouldn’t happen… poor guy. This guy isn’t even an ID advocate.
http://www.rsternberg.net/publication_details.htm#Process

"No mention of it being an "official" Congressional report here.)"

*Sigh*


“CBN is the mouthpiece of notorious raving fanatic Pat Robertson.”

Wow I did not know… It figures, I do not pay much attention to Pat Robertson.

Ok fine lets look at The Scientist then shall we? Now you could just look at the sub-heading, or you could come across this quote further down the page:

“In August 2005, the subcommittee staff initiated its own investigation, resulting in the current report, which largely corroborates the OSC findings.”

Game.

http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/38440/


"So are you saying that the Designer really could have been a space alien? Er.... in that case, who designed Him (or Her, or It)?"

Yes, I am saying that, although,him/her/it could be more than just a space alien, but why do we have to know who designed the space alien to know the space alien designed us? (and investigate that design)

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"I know in my heart that Steinberg is a martyr, so everybody who says so must be credible (no matter how unsubstantiated and partisan their claims are)."

hrafn,

There is no need to be nasty.

3:45 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,
If you have read Sternbergs website, the OSC report and the Souder report and appendix (which provide quite a lot of email coverage of what was happening) and you are still perfectly happy with what happened then I simply say that we have got different views over what constitutes fair, open and just dealings. If the situation were inverted with an evolutionist being treated like this by a state funded organisation dominated by creationists I am not convinced that you would be entirely happy...

4:06 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Function is relevant to design. Design must predict function. If there is not purpose or intention, there is not design."

This is sheer drivel. "Function" is not equivalent to "purpose or intention".

"According to Sternberg, that claim is not true..."

And we're expected to take Sternberg's uncorroborated word for this, in spite of his clear conflict of interest?


“In August 2005, the subcommittee staff initiated its own investigation, resulting in the current report, which largely corroborates the OSC findings.”


An 'investigation' by "subcommittee staff" who were political appointees of a Creationist subcommittee chairman, that had no official status. I.e. a political hatchet job.

4:09 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Sparky said: "Design predicted function, function was revealed. That is a fulfilled prediction."

Sparky, This is the first time I have heard that ID scientists predicted that "junk dna" actually had a function, and that more orthodox scientists failed to do so.

Can you tell me the name of the ID proponent who predicted this? And which scientific journal he/she published the prediction in?

A name or names, a date or dates and the name of a journal or journals. That's all we neeed.

4:19 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"If you have read Sternbergs website, the OSC report and the Souder report and appendix (which provide quite a lot of email coverage of what was happening) and you are still perfectly happy with what happened then I simply say that we have got different views over what constitutes fair, open and just dealings."

Andrew:

The only SPECIFIC accusation that has been levelled on this thread about Sternberg's treatment is that he was fired or forced to leave.

This was FALSE.

Make a SPECIFIC accusation about how Sternberg unfairly treated, and back it up with substantiating EVIDENCE.

OTHERWISE THERE IS NO QUESTION FOR MYSELF OR ALLYGALLY TO ANSWER!

4:19 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew,I posted this: "I am saying that the Souder report is not a congregressional report as claimed (to give it some spurious authority that it does not desreve). Do you agree that the Souder Report was not issued with the authority of congress as a whole nor from a committee or sub committee of congress. It does not carry the authority of congress as an institution?

Do you agree. We can move on to the report and appendix, if you wish, after we get agreement on the status of the report."

You replied "I do not understand how these congressional reports work"

My point is that it is NOT a congressional report.

"but I get the impression that this is more than Mark Souder's assistant writing him a critical report on the Sternberg saga."

It's not about impressions, I'm afraid. It is a staff report, not a congressional report.

"Ted Agres calls it a "congressional report""

Who he?. Why is he trustworthy?

"and says it was prepared in connection with with his chairmanship of the Government Reform subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources."

Whose chairmanship of the subcomittee? Why would Justice, Drugs and HR committe be concerned with Sterberg's misdemeanours?

"Whatever its status"

It's status is important if you are claiming that it has the authority of the US congress, and it does not.

"it does provide additional insight into what went on behind the scenes"

Only if it's content and conclusions are correct. And if those who created it are ptretending it is an official congressional document when it is nothing of the kind, then that puts questions against their honesty, motivation and the content and conclusions of their document.

"and deepens my feelings of unease about what happened in response to Sternberg's decision."

Sterberg broke the rules. Sometimes you get away with these things, sometimes you don't. Tough on him.

So, if we can agree that this is a report from committee staff from the office of Mark Souder, and not an official authorised congressional report, we can move on to the substantive issue.

4:39 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,
Ted Agres is the writer who wrote this piece for "The Scientist." It seems that whatever the status and basis of the appointment of the researchers, they did have access to and were able to publish new email material as a result of their investigation.

5:49 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"OK, Let's concentrate on the origin of the bacterial flagellum and abiogenesis."

The latter has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution, Andrew. There are theories of evolution, but only hypotheses about abiogenesis. This also illustrates the lie that is title of your post. Why are you trying to change the subject when challenged?

"Can you direct me to the relevant primary literature that demonstrates that these processes
(a) Could occur without ID."

1) For virtually all of the components, homologs that function in other processes have been identified. You don't even need to look at the primary literature to know this, as the sequence data are freely available. You could do the BLASTs yourself, if you were remotely interested in science.

Delahay RM, Knutton S, Shaw RK, Hartland EL, Pallen MJ, Frankel G. (1999 Dec 10) The coiled-coil domain of EspA is essential for the assembly of the type III secretion translocon on the surface of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli.
J Biol Chem, 274(50):35969-74.

Komoriya K, Shibano N, Higano T, Azuma N, Yamaguchi S, Aizawa SI. (1999 Nov) Flagellar proteins and type III-exported virulence factors are the predominant proteins secreted into the culture media of Salmonella typhimurium.
Mol Microbiol, 34(4):767-79.

Young GM, Schmiel DH, Miller VL. (1999 May 25) A new pathway for the secretion of virulence factors by bacteria: the flagellar export apparatus functions as a protein-secretion system.
PNAS, 96(11):6456-61.


2) There's no such thing as THE bacterial flagellum, because there's not a single bacterial flagellum (this proves that you can't even be bothered with the secondary literature, as this misconception is dispelled even in Wikipedia). There is an archaeal flagellum that isn't homologous. Why design it twice? Why does your Designer reuse designs in some cases but not in others?

Faguy, D. M., K. F. Jarrell, J. Kuzio, and M. L. Kalmokoff. 1994.
Molecular analysis of archaeal flagellins: similarity to the type IV pilin-transport superfamily widespread in bacteria.
Can. J. Microbiol. 40:67–71.3:411–413.

Mattick, J. S., and R. A. Alm. 1995. Common architecture of type 4 fimbriae and complexes involved in macromolecular traffic.
Trends Microbiol. Sci. 3:411–413.


"(b) Did actually occur without ID."

The same. ID doesn't predict the relationships between homologous genes that MET does.

Now, what data were predicted a priori by ID proponents? We both know that they haven't produced any data by testing predictions of ID hypotheses.

As for abiogenesis, the Nobel-winning work of Tom Cech in ribozymes strongly supports the RNA World hypothesis (which is not a theory).

"I disagree with your negative view of secondary literature otherwise science education would be impossible."

You're grossly misrepresenting my position, Andrew. You are claiming that tens of thousands of scientists are wrong while simultaneously avoiding the primary literature. I never claimed that the secondary literature wasn't useful for education, although I'd argue strongly that the tertiary and quaternary literature is better.

Your attempt to misrepresent me is pure fraud, and you know it. Scientific controversies are only resolved by data, not pathetic quote-mining.

"Key experiments can be explained in many fewer words than the primary literature uses."

But that involves skipping most of the experiments. I'm game, though. Since you are feigning interest in abiogenesis, why don't you describe Cech's Nobel-winning experiments for me? Please put special emphasis on the reasons why the data amazed Cech as well as virtually everyone else.

"Are you entirely happy with Sternberg's treatment following the publication of Meyer's paper?"

I'm not. He should have been punished for his completely unethical behavior. Meyer should be sued by the journal for double-publishing.

7:40 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

I wrote, “More importantly, absolutely zero of the significant breakthoughs have come from testing an ID or creationist hypothesis.”

Sparky replied: "Smokey that is certainly understandable since ID is such a new theory,..."

Doubly wrong. ID is neither new nor is it a theory. Scientific theories have lengthy track records of making accurate predictions.

"... but as reasonable as that would be I am not sure it is accurate. As I recall ID advocates were predicting function for non-coding dubbed “Junk DNA” for a long time."

Others have pointed out that the term was used for DNA for which a function had not YET been found, so it's dishonest to pretend that real scientists were hypothesizing that it had no function at all.

And if they were doing so, why weren't they the ones who made the discoveries?

"So far, we have only unraveled a little bit of the mystery that this non-coding DNA contains,..."

"We"? You aren't doing anything.

"... but the discoveries have been nearly revolutionary."

How so? And what specific ID hypotheses were being tested?

The bottom line is that no ID proponent has faith.

7:54 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Sparky, since you seem to be very keen to use ID insights to predict the finer points of vertebrate genome structure, lets see if you can indeed make a prediction. Scattered around our genomes, humans and other mammals have a family of genes encoding olfactory receptors – these are proteins we need for our sense of smell. Dolphins are mammals too. But, given that they keep their blowholes shut under water and use their nasal cavities for sound generation, it’s not surprising that dolphins have no sense of smell. Recently, a team of molecular biologists went fishing in the dolphin genome to see if they could find olfactory receptor genes. What prediction does ID make about whether they will find these genes and if they do, what state do you predict they will be in?

11:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was FALSE.

Hrafn, do you seriously have nothing better to do rather than hang out at this blog? Wow, you're addicted to it eh... Oh and the proper grammar would be:

This is FALSE.

Was is passed tense. What's false is false.

5:11 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Was is passed tense."

Need I say more? :D

5:44 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Sparky says: “Junk DNA by many evolution proponents is considered an evolutionary relic. Design predicted function, function was revealed. That is a fulfilled prediction.”

And that is a highly dishonest claim. Molecular biologists know perfectly well that there are likely be functional segments within the noncoding regions of genomes. But you’re underestimating the scope of the problem. I’m using rough (and very generous) numbers here, but in the human genome say 3% is coding with maybe twice that value as regulatory sequences. Another 15% or so seems to be highly conserved with mouse so it too could be functional. Even so, it would still remain that well over three quarters of the genome has no clear function and that includes all the endogenous retroviral sequences (most of which are degraded remnants), pseudogenes, simple sequence repeats etc. So, be precise Sparky. What exactly are you predicting here? Are you saying that the whole thing is functional? In that case, I think the evidence is already stacked against you. But a vague “there might be some function to it” isn’t good enough to be useful in the real world.

But if you really do have better insights, then you or your ID friends should write them up. I’m serious. Nobel prizes have been won for less! But of course you won’t. Like Smokey says, the ID crowd don’t seem to be interested in actually doing any of this work themselves. They just seem to think it’s clever to sit on their arses and throw peanuts at the real workers.

9:58 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Tony said: "But if you really do have better insights, then you or your ID friends should write them up. I’m serious. Nobel prizes have been won for less!"

Tony, you will not get an answer from Sparky. The claims she makes are untrue. I asked this question a couple of days ago... "Sparky, This is the first time I have heard that ID scientists predicted that "junk dna" actually had a function, and that more orthodox scientists failed to do so.

Can you tell me the name of the ID proponent who predicted this? And which scientific journal he/she published the prediction in?

A name or names, a date or dates and the name of a journal or journals. That's all we neeed."

I got no answer. There is no chance that Sparky will respond. She, like most of the creationists on this thread, has no real idea about science or this particular issue. She just repeats things he read on AIG or the DI some other IDiot website.

I had read this claim before, that ID "predicts" that so-called "junk DNS" would have a purpose, but I have never seen anyone on the DI site or in any discussion or publication actually identify which scientist made those predictions, which specific predictions they made, what proof there is to show that the predictions are true, which scientific publications took those sceintists work, subjected it to peer review, what were the outcomes of any peer review, where the prediction was published, what the response scientific community was to these predictions...

So No. You wil not get an answer from Sparky, and even if you do it will not have any detail or facts to back up her assertions.

I predicted that Dolores would go from this thread. She went, only to be "replaced" by Sparky. I now predict that Sparky will disappear from this thread, only to be replaced by "somebody else", with the same rehashed, religious pseudo scienctific pseudo facts supporting pseudo arguments and pseudo logic to reach pseudo conclusions... It's a merry-go- round of delusional religious extremists..... They can't stand facts and logic. It kills them off, like Dracula in the morning light. But they somehow "resurrect" themselves in different guises, only to pursue the blood of innocent scientists afresh and anew....

So. Will "Sparky" answer the question? Or will "somebody else" show up to continue the circle of lying for Jesus?

12:34 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Actually, I disappeared from this thread because I have a life and you simply shifted the burden of proof with regard to Fuller. Strange as it sound, you clowns didn’t answer my questions effectively so I lost interest for a while. I know you people think yourselves fair and honest, blah, blah, but sweetie, it doesn’t look that way from where I stand.

Now after all this crap has flowed along this bog – sorry, blog! – what would it take to provide an alternative research programme to modern evolutionary theory worthy of being taught at least in universities? Would it be enough for an avowed ID supporter to publish a novel finding that he said was deducible from ID – and demonstrated this point in a peer-reviewed scientific publication? Or would you not count that, if that same finding could also be explained in strictly evolutionary terms? And do you think that someone who explicitly derived their research from ID principles actually make it through the peer-review process?

Just how stacked do you think the deck is against ID? And be honest!

1:05 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Allygally: "Tony, you will not get an answer from Sparky"

Yeah, you're right of course!

On the other hand, I do still hope against hope that we might be doing a little bit of good here because, as I said a few posts ago, I suspect that alot of people thinking about ID probably lurk here, so anything we can do to expose the utter vacuity of the ID camp must help.

And now for something completely different, yet at the same time very familiar:


One of the ways molecular biologists infer evolutionary relationships between genes in different species is to compare their DNA sequences letter by letter to spot similar patterns that would indicate divergence from a common ancestor. There are sophisticated computer programs that do this automatically, and these are used routinely in any rigorous analysis, but often the similarities are so striking that you can easily do a quick comparison just by eye.

Interestingly, the logic can be applied to any historical process that involves textural copying with high but not perfect accuracy. For example, a colleague of mine has used these same techniques to unravel the historical relationship between different Mediaeval manuscripts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

So in the same spirit, I give you two interesting articles. One is on the Truth in Science website at:

http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/site/content/view/55/65/

by Paul Garner entitled ‘Horse Evolution’.

The other is on the web site of ‘The Biblical Creation Society’, an apparently young-Earth creationist fundamentalist outfit at:

http://www.biblicalcreation.org.uk/scientific_issues/bcs146.html

It’s entitled ‘A creationist view of phylogenetic change in the equid family’ by er....Paul Garner.

There are some fascinating sequence similairtes between these two articles. Eg, from the Truth in Science article:

“According to current thinking, the root of the family tree of the horse is to be found in a creature called Hyracotherium, whose fossils are known from the Lower Eocene of North America and Europe.”

Then from the Biblical Creation Society site:

“According to current thinking, the root of the family tree of the horse is to be found in a small creature called Hyracotherium, whose fossils are known from the Lower Eocene of North America and Europe.”

And so on, even one of the diagrams is exactly the same. On the other hand, there are also some clear examples of deletions. In particular, every reference in the Biblical Creation Society article to the Biblical Flood or young Earth creationist concepts like ‘created kinds’ have been removed from the corresponding Truth in Science article – a clear case I would think of selection (albeit this time presumably with the help of a ‘designer’ of some sort).

Now the thing is, Truth in Science make a big song and dance about how they are only concerned with opening up a ‘legitimate debate’ about origins etc, and that, while individual members of their organisation may be Biblical literalists, that’s really just a private matter...honest...

My quick and admittedly informal phylogenetic analysis suggests that somebody in Truth in Science isn’t being very truthful.

1:41 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Strange as it sound, you clowns didn’t answer my questions effectively..."

Dolores, my dear sweet vacuous troll.

You didn't ask any questions, beyond some inane rhetorical flourishes and blatant baiting.

Now go and gnaw ineffectually on somebody else's ankle, you toothless mental pygmy.

1:54 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Tony:

I think you are getting Truth (capital-t) mixed up with truth (small-t).

To a fundamentalist Biblical literalist, (Bible-based) religion is the (capital-t) Truth.

So by 'Truth in Science' they actually mean 'Religion in Science' rather than that any of their claims are in any way (small-t) truthful.

2:00 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

hrafn: "To a fundamentalist Biblical literalist, (Bible-based) religion is the (capital-t) Truth. So by 'Truth in Science' they actually mean 'Religion in Science' rather than that any of their claims are in any way (small-t) truthful."

Ha. Good point! Yet curiously, when this issue has been put to McIntosh point blank (eg I'm thinking of the Paxman interview on Newsnight a few months ago), he denies any religious motivation to TIS. Does anybody really believe we're fooled by this?

remember you guys:

"Thou shalt not lie"

2:25 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Yet curiously, when this issue has been put to McIntosh point blank (eg I'm thinking of the Paxman interview on Newsnight a few months ago), he denies any religious motivation to TIS."

O'course. :)

To tell the truth on this issue would let the cat out of the bag, and hamper their promotion of the Truth.

"Does anybody really believe we're fooled by this?"

Given the frequency that Creationists have repeated this trick over the years, I presume they must think that somebody will be fooled by it. Now what was it they say about repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result from the latest attempt than from the previous ones?

4:02 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Hrafn said...
"Strange as it sound, you clowns didn’t answer my questions effectively..."

Dolores, my dear sweet vacuous troll.

You didn't ask any questions, beyond some inane rhetorical flourishes and blatant baiting.

Now go and gnaw ineffectually on somebody else's ankle, you toothless mental pygmy.



Wow, you're dumber than I thought. You're perfectly happy to go round in circles about stupid little ID incidents -- about who's lying to whom -- but when it comes to the big issues, you're stone silent.

I'll leave you in peace to dwell in minutiae but I think the ID brigade can sleep better at night that Dad's Army is patrolling the evolution's perimeter

6:13 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Dolores: "Wow, you're dumber than I thought. You're perfectly happy to go round in circles about stupid little ID incidents -- about who's lying to whom -- but when it comes to the big issues, you're stone silent. I'll leave you in peace to dwell in minutiae but I think the ID brigade can sleep better at night that Dad's Army is patrolling the evolution's perimeter"

Translation: I can't think of anything intelligent to say about any of the issues raised in this thread, so I'll just throw some abuse around and then go….

6:54 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Dolores wrote:
"...what would it take to provide an alternative research programme to modern evolutionary theory worthy of being taught at least in universities?"

Why would the goal be teaching? Isn't that a long way downstream from the things they have yet to do?

"Would it be enough for an avowed ID supporter to publish a novel finding that he said was deducible from ID –"

No, his mere claim after the fact wouldn't be much of a test.

"... and demonstrated this point in a peer-reviewed scientific publication?"

It would take lots of those, except that most people would need to agree that the finding was predicted by ID and not by MET.

" Or would you not count that, if that same finding could also be explained in strictly evolutionary terms?"

It wouldn't be an experimental test if it could.

"And do you think that someone who explicitly derived their research from ID principles actually make it through the peer-review process?"

Absolutely. To which peer-review process do you refer? For funding, or for publication?

11:57 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Wow, you're dumber than I thought."

My dear sweet Dolores, you don't think, so why should I be in the least bit insulted by the above line?

You're perfectly happy to go round in circles about stupid little ID incidents...

Actually, no I'm not. I told Andrew that I thought that whole line of discussion to be an irrelevance. However, given that I could get neither you nor Andrew nor Sparky to actually discuss Fuller's ideas (all I get is polite irrelevancies from Andrew and Sparky and abusive irrelevancies from yourself), there is little else for me to respond to.

...but when it comes to the big issues, you're stone silent."

My first couple of posts were on the "big issues", it was only when you entered the conversation that it degenerated into irrelevancy. But then, such degeneration is to be expected when a troll enters a conversation.

3:10 am  
Blogger allygally said...

S. Did the debate take place? What happened?

11:01 am  
Blogger Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

Tony: I'm not actually bothered who presents the horse evolution argument. It could be presented by La-La on Tellytubbies, for all I care. What I want to know is, is there a refutation of it?

This is a major frustration with the whole debate - particularly from opponents of ID. You are much more interested in attacks on character than argument. Now, the obvious interpretation would be that you don't have the arguments. I still live in hope that somebody is going to convince me otherwise.

11:30 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Paul: "This is a major frustration with the whole debate - particularly from opponents of ID. You are much more interested in attacks on character than argument. Now, the obvious interpretation would be that you don't have the arguments. I still live in hope that somebody is going to convince me otherwise."

No Paul. I am concerned that the posting of (I'm guessing - apologies in advance if I'm wrong) your article on the Truth in Science web site and a very similar one on a Young Earth Creationist site is dishonest given that the TIS article was carefully doctored to remove any obvious YEC credentials. If it needs spelling out for you, it's dishonest because TIS likes to claim that it is only interested in ‘good science', when in fact it is clearly peddling old-style creationism by stealth.

Get a paleontologist to debate fossil horses with you. I'm a biochemist. I am however more than happy to debate Behe. See my earlier and extensive posts to see why I am unimpressed with anything the ID crowd have yet come up with from a scientific perspective within my field of biochemistry and cell biology.

As I said right at the start of this thread, the fundamental problem I have with ID is that there is no conceivable experiment that could be done to test for the presence of a supernatural designer.

Please tell me what an ID research paradigm would actually look like. I have asked this question quite a few times now and still haven't received an answer.

12:02 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Tony said:"the fundamental problem I have with ID is that there is no conceivable experiment that could be done to test for the presence of a supernatural designer.

Please tell me what an ID research paradigm would actually look like. I have asked this question quite a few times now and still haven't received an answer."

I'm sure Paul doesn't have an answer either. The question has been asked over at his own blog, exiledfromgroggs (where incidentally you are currently starring), but never yet addressed, never mind answered.

2:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, the problem with the horse argument is that firstly, as has been pointed out, it has been edited down for TiS, thus denying its origins.
In fact the essays assertions only make sense within the Creationist paradigm, which is carefully avoided in the TiS version of it.

Tony- I've been pointing out what you just did on several places online, and written a wee essay for the "science, just science" website on the very topic. Did you notice it yourself or see me using it somewhere?

guthrie
(to be continued....)

6:28 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew: moving on again. Just for the record, hese are some of the outstanding questions from the last thread...do you think there is any cahnce of them being addressed?

"Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments."

"Oh and Dolores:
If you think that either Levitt or myself have misrepresented Fuller's positions, then cite evidence of it."

"What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas ..Who would oversee this redistribution?"

"Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?"

"what possible experiment could you conduct to show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy?". And what control would you use in such an experiment?"

"Can you demonstrate a single "true answer" that science has eliminated due to Methodological Naturalism?"

"1)Who is the Designer?

2)Where did s/he/it come from?

3)Is there just one designer or are there many?

4)How did the Designer do the designing?

5)When did the Designer do the designing?

6)Is the Designer still designing or has s/he/it retired?"

"I assume that all these papers proving that information theory etc make mincemeat of Darwinian evolution are freely available, so you can back up your claims?"

"Come now Andrew, don’t be disingenuous. Everybody knows that the people pushing ID have a religious agenda. Are you seriously telling me that you think it’s OK to believe the Intelligent Designer was a Time Lord, or a Jedi Knight or Slartibartfast?"

"“BTW, there are already ID-centric research programs out there, working from the ID stance and it's propositions and predictions.”

Really? Name these research programmes. References to published papers in peer-reviewed journals please, and a short explanation of how these papers support ID would also be nice. I repeat what I said at the start of this thread: what exactly would an ID research paradigm actually look like? So far I have seen nothing from the ID crowd that remotely resembles such a programme."

"Do you agree that the Souder Report was not issued with the authority of congress as a whole nor from a committee or sub committee of congress. It does not carry the authority of congress as an institution?"

"Do you really beleive that there is some dastardly plot to unfairly dismiss someone that nobody had ever heard of, thus creating a nice controversy for creationist conspiracy addicts to latch on to?"

"what do you think of Sternberg's evasion of the standard practice? Do you admire it? or is it reprehensible?"

"Sparky, This is the first time I have heard that ID scientists predicted that "junk dna" actually had a function, and that more orthodox scientists failed to do so.

Can you tell me the name of the ID proponent who predicted this? And which scientific journal he/she published the prediction in?

A name or names, a date or dates and the name of a journal or journals. That's all we neeed."

"Did the debate take place? What happened?"

6:31 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Hi Guthrie

I googled many of the names on the TIS website to see their wider affiliation and got a creation ministry site for PG in the first half-dozen.

Now I see your site. Yeah, you got there first!

7:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My second point about the creationist essay on the evolution of the horse is that the conclusion is invalid, since clearly evolution has taken place in the horse line, to turn them from a small mammal about the size of a cat, changed their feet and toes, and into the creatures we see today.

Moreover, Garners essay is strangely silent on dating. As far as I (not being a paleontologist and also lacking access to a university library) can tell, the general description of the evolution of horses is accurate for the time of writing of the essay. But the essay does not directly mention the tens of millions of years over which the evolution took place, instead reffering simply to the epochal names.
This leads me to wonder exactly how this is reconciled with the references to the flood, and the lack of fossilised humans and suchlike from the pre-flood era.

Unless of course Garner is a YEC, and I believe he is.

Thus, what we have with the horse essay is a Creationist trying to hand wave away the real problems with his viewpoint.

guthrie

7:35 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

Ok I apologize I took so long to get back to you, busy weekend.

""Function" is not equivalent to "purpose or intention"."

True, function is not equivalent, but it is an effect of purpose. X was designed for… therefore X’s function will be…

"And we're expected to take Sternberg's uncorroborated word for this, in spite of his clear conflict of interest?"

Was his word uncorroborated? I already mentioned the investigation supported his claims. That sounds like a lot of corroboration to me. Even if you were to argue it is partisan, the Smithsonian is obviously partisan to in this circumstance as is the panda’s thumb, etc.

"An 'investigation' by "subcommittee staff" who were political appointees of a Creationist subcommittee chairman, that had no official status. I.e. a political hatchet job"

What do you mean no official status? The chairman has the power of a deity in his own subcommittee. Furthermore, IDists or Creationists are not capable of hatchet jobs, since the power of the mob is clearly on the side of the Darwinists. One more point, merely because the Chairman was creationist does not mean that any other creationists were in the position to be appointed to the investigation, actually I believe it is probable that they were not. So it is likely you have a more objective investigation, of course you are free to offer evidence to the contrary if you can.


"“Sparky, This is the first time I have heard that ID scientists predicted that "junk dna" actually had a function, and that more orthodox scientists failed to do so. Can you tell me the name of the ID proponent who predicted this? And which scientific journal he/she published the prediction in?”"

I am surprised, that you haven’t heard it. That seems to be a common ID talking point or at least it used to. Now I don’t believe the prediction was peer-reviewed, something that hopefully will become more common in future ID predictions, however I do recall most ID scientists and advocates predicting it.
An example
http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1156

"Sterberg broke the rules."
According to one partisan source yes, but his side says he didn’t… is there any neutral source of information we can use? (other than the investigation that corraborates his story not yours)

Of course I have to wonder, are you denying that sternberg was called a creationist? it is well established that NCSE director E. Scott was spreading that misinformation. Also that the hatchet job was so bad that Sternbergs friends had to circulate his resume to even prove he was a scientist... do you deny any of this?

"Recently, a team of molecular biologists went fishing in the dolphin genome to see if they could find olfactory receptor genes. What prediction does ID make about whether they will find these genes and if they do, what state do you predict they will be in?"

The problem with these sort of specific predictions is they tend to be rather opportunistic and may not support one theory over the other as after the results are in both can claim to have ‘expected’ or ‘predicted’ the outcome and apply their various interpretations. For instance with regard to ‘junk’ DNA if it exists in a cell it is an evolutionary prediction fulfilled because it adds to the fitness of the organism providing more potential variation that can lead to reproductive success, however if it doesn’t have any it merely has lost the extra baggage to allow more energy for reproduction. Do you see what I am getting at here? However, I will humor you.

"But if you really do have better insights, then you or your ID friends should write them up. I’m serious. Nobel prizes have been won for less! But of course you won’t."

I think it is highly presumptuous to dictate to me or any others what we will or will not do. The real difficulty is anyone who aligns themselves with Intelligent Design is not allowed to publish or they are burned for heresy (proverbially) there is already a reasonable amount of peer reviewed literature in support of the ID movement, more will come with time, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

"And that is a highly dishonest claim. Molecular biologists know perfectly well that there are likely be functional segments within the noncoding regions of genomes. But you’re underestimating the scope of the problem. I’m using rough (and very generous) numbers here, but in the human genome say 3% is coding with maybe twice that value as regulatory sequences. Are you saying that the whole thing is functional? In that case, I think the evidence is already stacked against you. But a vague “there might be some function to it” isn’t good enough to be useful in the real world."

I am not being dishonest, I didn’t say Molecular biologists didn’t know that. I am saying many would likely see the “junk” DNA as an evolutionary relic and ‘predict’ or leastwise not be surprised if there is no function or purpose for the information anymore. It seems a theory of ID would have the opposite prediction. I realize there is a lot of DNA that we have not discovered purpose or function for yet, but to claim that this is problematic for ID is an argument from ignorance. Simply because we have much more to learn about this non-coding DNA does not mean it has no purpose.
Of course the idea of now functionless (or supposedly) but highly conserved DNA now and in other earlier creatures has some interesting implications as well. I recall the frontloading hypothesis predicts this as a mechanism for guided Evolution.
http://news.ucf.edu/UCFnews/index?page=article&id=0024004105bd60439010c0c76ce2f004299
an example.

"So No. You wil not get an answer from Sparky, and even if you do it will not have any detail or facts to back up her assertions."

I am a guy and I did give an answer.

"I got no answer. There is no chance that Sparky will respond. She, like most of the creationists on this thread, has no real idea about science or this particular issue. She just repeats things he read on AIG or the DI some other IDiot website."

Now that’s not fair, a guy takes a weekend vacation and he is called a female and told he will not respond because he is brainwashed. Relax, I am still here.

Although I have to point out that there are a lot of students looking at these blogs and discussions, your unkindly demeanor is likely to alienate them who may have even joined your side.

"Dolores you are a moron!"

Real mature.

"So. Will "Sparky" answer the question? Or will "somebody else" show up to continue the circle of lying for Jesus?"

Excuse me? I came here to engage you rationally and now I am just “lying for Jesus?” What gives? I did not bring anything religious to the discussion at all. Why the accusations? Do you treat everyone this way, or only those you disagree with?

8:33 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

"Recently, a team of molecular biologists went fishing in the dolphin genome to see if they could find olfactory receptor genes. What prediction does ID make about whether they will find these genes and if they do, what state do you predict they will be in?" The problem with these sort of specific predictions is they tend to be rather opportunistic and may not support one theory over the other as after the results are in both can claim to have ‘expected’ or ‘predicted’ the outcome and apply their various interpretations.”

Come on sparky, you have to explain why - uniquely among mammals - the ceteans have nothing but deleted and broken olfactory receptor pseudogenes in their genomes. Does ID specifically predict that? No, of course it doesn’t.

Here’s another example (let’s not confine ourselves just to animal genomes). In the rice nuclear genome, there are large numbers of chloroplast DNA sequences in varying states of degradation (nearly 1% of rice chromosome 10 for example is chloroplast DNA sequence). How does ID explain that? It doesn’t.

”The real difficulty is anyone who aligns themselves with Intelligent Design is not allowed to publish or they are burned for heresy (proverbially)”

This is a conspiracy theory of how science works. Look, the scientific literature is vast and is most certainly not monolithic. The other day I came across a paper in a peer-reviewed journal claiming that some microbes sampled from the high atmosphere were examples of extraterrestrial life. To put it mildly, that isn’t orthodox! Yet it still got published. So honestly, if there was any merit at all in any of the things you’re saying, then it really should be possible for you or your friends to publish them.

“there is already a reasonable amount of peer reviewed literature in support of the ID movement, more will come with time, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Didn’t Gary make that same claim? Here’s what I said to him:

“Really? Name these research programmes. References to published papers in peer-reviewed journals please, and a short explanation of how these papers support ID would also be nice.”

Funnily enough, Gary never got back to me on that…..

” “the frontloading hypothesis” predicts this as a mechanism for guided Evolution.
http://news.ucf.edu/UCFnews/index?page=article&id=0024004105bd60439010c0c76ce2f004299 “

er sparky…. That link you gave was for a report of the recent completion of the sea urchin genome sequence. There’s nothing there to support ID.

”Now that’s not fair, a guy takes a weekend vacation and he is called a female and told he will not respond because he is brainwashed. Relax, I am still here.”

Good, I was beginning to miss you….

10:39 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Sparky wrote:
"I am surprised, that you haven’t heard it. That seems to be a common ID talking point or at least it used to. "

Talking points aren't necessarily predictions, Sparky.

"Now I don’t believe the prediction was peer-reviewed, something that hopefully will become more common in future ID predictions, however I do recall most ID scientists and advocates predicting it."

Predictions don't need to be peer-reviewed. If the predictors believe their predictions are correct, they are eager to test them for themselves.

"An example
http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1156"

Um, Sparky...this is gibberish:
"(4) The genetic code will NOT contain much discarded genetic baggage code or functionless "junk DNA"."

First of all, showing that SOME "junk DNA" has a function doesn't help in the context of this prediction. You'd have to address the vast majority of it. Even worse, MET predicts which bits of "junk" are more likely to have a function--the parts that landed in existing genes, because they then become subject to natural selection. If you'd like to predict that a single repeat in the middle of a block of 1000 tandem repeats has an essential function, I'll bet my house that you're wrong.

Second, the genetic code represents the mapping of codons to amino acids. The ignoramus who wrote this is conflating "genetic code" with "genome."

Third, the predictions need to have the potential to falsify the hypothesis. At what ratio of nonfunctional/functional "junk" sequences does this prediction become false? It's too vague to be useful.

11:20 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"True, function is not equivalent, but it is an effect of purpose. X was designed for… therefore X’s function will be… "

Purpose is neither necessary nor sufficient for function. Your argument is therefore a meaningless muddle.

"I already mentioned the investigation supported his claims. That sounds like a lot of corroboration to me."

An "investigation" conducted by a bunch of notorious culture warriors who lacked jurisdiction, and whose conclusions are not themselves supported by the facts, is no corroboration at all.

"Even if you were to argue it is partisan, the Smithsonian is obviously partisan to in this circumstance as is the panda’s thumb, etc."

So let the evidence speak for itself. Make a specific accusation of mistreatment of Sternberg and substantiate with the evidence on record.

"The chairman has the power of a deity in his own subcommittee."

So why is this investigation on Sounder's website not that of the committee? Why is there no evidence that it was every entered into the congressional record, voted upon or similar?

A chairman may have "the power of a deity in his own subcommittee" and so the ability to have the subcommittee staff write whatever he likes, but it does not become official until it is entered into the record and voted upon.

"According to one partisan source yes..."

No Sparky: according to the organisation he was working for at the time!

"it is well established that NCSE director E. Scott was spreading that misinformation."

No it is not. Scott was actually preaching moderation and restraint at the time.

"Also that the hatchet job was so bad that Sternbergs friends had to circulate his resume to even prove he was a scientist... do you deny any of this?"

Yes I do. Sternberg's conduct was so bad that it led some colleagues to briefly question his status. But this is a storm in a teacup that you are misrepresenting.

Let's face it Sparky, you're simply making it up as you go along. Your facts are non-existent. You accept any assertion from the Creationist side as fact, no matter how unlikely. And your logic is so muddled as to be non-existent.

You have nothing to offer.

8:18 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

"Oh and Dolores:
If you think that either Levitt or myself have misrepresented Fuller's positions, then cite evidence of it."

"What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas ..Who would oversee this redistribution?"

"Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?"


allygally, dearest, you are completely thick. i won't deal with all the other hares you've set loose. but these are easily dealt with:

(1) that some antediluvian mathematician on your favourite website writes an unsourced article about Fuller does not place the burden of proof on me to defend him. All this shows is just how willing you are to believe whatever is published on Talkorigins. Have you ever heard of 'innocent before proven guilty'. If you like the legal presumption the other way round, move to France!

(2) You also don't seem to understand that scientists are NOT in control of science education at the secondary school level. Yes, they write the textbooks and other teaching materials that get used, but the decisions about which of these materials get used in which schools is left to government and local authorities. In that respect, what Fuller is saying is not politically impossible at all. It may be unpalatable to lapdogs of the scientific establishment. But frankly, if there are enough votes in it, Fuller's proposal will be taken seriously.

1:43 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Dolores, you mentally-defective troll, it wasn't Allygally who wrote that but myself.

"(1) that some antediluvian mathematician on your favourite website writes an unsourced article about Fuller does not place the burden of proof on me to defend him."

I was not asking you to "defend him" but to substantiate your own accusations of misrepresentation.

PUT UP OR SHUT UP!


"(2) You also don't seem to understand that scientists are NOT in control of science education at the secondary school level."

My understanding doesn't come into it, as I was at no time on this thread discussing secondary school science education.

Dolores, you lack anything vaguely resembling the reading comprehension skills to carry on even a basic conversation, let alone one on Philosophy of Science. So why don't you be a good little troll and go back under your bridge.

4:33 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

I would like to point out that although Andrew started this thread on the topic of Fuller and his ideas:

1) No Creationist (ID, YEC or otherwise) has even attempted to discuss Fuller's ideas.

2) No Creationist has attempted to rebut my argument (based on Fuller's own testimony about his ideas at the Dover trial), that his ideas are unworkable.

MAY I TAKE IT FROM THIS CONTINUED STONEY SILENCE THAT NOBODY CAN REFUTE THIS?

4:41 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

A small reminder of the main points I raised:

Having read through Fuller's Dover trial testimony, it is ambiguous and equivocal in the extreme. Notable highlights:

* He is a Philosophic Naturalist, but opposed to Methodological Naturalism.

* He is opposed to 'Scientific Theories' being defined as "well substantiated" (thus basically wishing to remove the distinction between scientific theory and scientific hypothesis).

* He admits that inferring ID from negative arguments against evolution is a (logically invalid) "conclusory proposition".

* He admits that ID has not "produced an affirmative test for supernatural causation" nor has it been "empirically tested".

So, if you allow supernatural explanations to be "scientific" and wholly unsubstantiated hypotheses to be "theories" then ID is a "scientific theory" -- but then so is "God did it", "the fairies at the bottom of the garden did it" or "nobody did it and the whole thing is just somebody's dream".

This form of radical postmodernism reduces the words it is defining to semantic meaninglessness. As such, it is profoundly unhelpful.

In practical terms, Fuller's redefinitions would encourage wasting scientific resources on relatively unproductive (and frequently downright frivolous) tracks in the the name of "a kind of pluralistic playing field of science where you have lots of different theories of roughly equal stature."

Source:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html
http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?page_id=11
http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts2.htm

What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas (it would have to be externally-enforced, as the science departments would most likely be in the grip of the existing orthodoxy). Who would oversee this redistribution? One might suspect a Sociologist-Tzar from the Science Studies Department. Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?

5:04 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"Purpose is neither necessary nor sufficient for function. Your argument is therefore a meaningless muddle."

Function is necessary for purpose and purpose and function will align unless there is an accident or mistake.

"An "investigation" conducted by a bunch of notorious culture warriors who lacked jurisdiction, and whose conclusions are not themselves supported by the facts, is no corroboration at all."

No it is corroboration, although if you can prove that these are fundamentalists, it will mean that neither of us has produced corroboration that is not partisan however if you cannot it leaves open the very real possibility that the investigation was fair making it very likely he was in fact discriminated against.

“So let the evidence speak for itself. Make a specific accusation of mistreatment of Sternberg and substantiate with the evidence on record.”

Ok. I will start with 2. The lies about Sternberg were so copious that his friends had to circulate his resume just to prove he was a scientist. Also the Director of the NCSE spread misinformation that Sternberg was a Young Earth creationist.

Krauze has written on this already.
http://telicthoughts.com/blame-the-victim-id-critics-attack-sternberg/
http://telicthoughts.com/sternberg-in-the-scientist/
http://telicthoughts.com/eugenie-scott-director-of-ncse-spreading-misinformation/

There was some very interesting information in that last link.

So why is this investigation on Sounder's website not that of the committee?

That is an interesting inquiry. I will look into that. Being the chairman, if Souder wanted it to be discussed and voted on, it would be and nothing could stop it, so I have no doubt that it happened in the subcommittee.

A chairman may have "the power of a deity in his own subcommittee" and so the ability to have the subcommittee staff write whatever he likes, but it does not become official until it is entered into the record and voted upon.

The committee does not vote on whether or not he was discriminated against or not, but my understanding is whether the investigation should take place. Needless to say, it did.

No Sparky: according to the organisation he was working for at the time!

And that is exactly why it is partisan, that is the organization in question of course they do not want to look like they discriminated.

“You accept any assertion from the Creationist side as fact, no matter how unlikely. And your logic is so muddled as to be non-existent.”

“You have nothing to offer.”

Hopefully extended experience in discussion with me will prove otherwise, as I do not hold that to be an accurate depiction of reality.


“Talking points aren't necessarily predictions, Sparky.”

Why not, I recall many ID advocates saying ID predicts this. (function for junk dna)


“Predictions don't need to be peer-reviewed. If the predictors believe their predictions are correct, they are eager to test them for themselves.”

Good then it was a prediction, as I have no doubt any ID scientist would have loved to test those predictions given the opportunity.

“First of all, showing that SOME "junk DNA" has a function doesn't help in the context of this prediction. You'd have to address the vast majority of it. Even worse, MET predicts which bits of "junk" are more likely to have a function--the parts that landed in existing genes, because they then become subject to natural selection.

Third, the predictions need to have the potential to falsify the hypothesis. At what ratio of nonfunctional/functional "junk" sequences does this prediction become false? It's too vague to be useful.

Ok I predict we will find purpose for the vast majority of it within a reasonable timetable (one that we discuss and mutually agree upon).

http://news.ucf.edu/UCFnews/index?page=article&id=0024004105bd60439010c0c76ce2f004299 “

er sparky…. That link you gave was for a report of the recent completion of the sea urchin genome sequence. There’s nothing there to support ID.

The Frontloading Hypothesis predicts that genes for later development were will be discovered in earlier forms of life because they were frontloaded at an early stage to control how life developed. The previous link provides evidence for that hypothesis.

Didn’t Gary make that same claim? Here’s what I said to him:

“Really? Name these research programmes. References to published papers in peer-reviewed journals please, and a short explanation of how these papers support ID would also be nice.”

Note, that I did not say merely journals but I said “peer-reviewed literature”.

Peer-Reviewed Journals:

The Meyer paper (need I say more?) estimating levels of CSI generated during the Cambrian Explosion and discussing and refuting attempts at “explanations.”

Michael Behe and David W. Snoke, “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues,” Protein Science, 13 (2004). (testing for irreducible complexity)

John A. Davison, “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis,” Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 155-166. (advocating Davidson’s ID hypothesis)

Note there are a lot more of these I could cite but this should suffice the discussion for now.

Peer reviewed Scientific Anthologies:

Behe, M. J., Design in the details: The origin of biomolecular machines. DDPE Pp. 287-302 (more peer reviewed support from Behe for Irreducible Complexity)

Meyer, S. C., Ross, M., Nelson, P. & P. Chien, The Cambrian explosion: biology’s big bang, DDPE, Pp. 323-402. (PDF, 2.33MB) (More on the introduction of information to the biosphere)

Dembski, W.A., Reinstating design within science, DDPE, Pp. 403-418. (Dembski with more peer reviewed support for the information theory and a basis for detecting the prior actions of a designing agent)

I could also cite more of these.

Peer-Reviewed Books:

W.A. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). (The title really says it all)

Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (The Free Press, 1996). (Behe presents the argument from irreducible complexity)

Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories (Philosophical Library, 1984, Lewis & Stanley, 4th ed., 1992). (Again title says it all)

I didn’t even break a sweat. Of course my posts are getting frustratingly long I am going to have to do something about this. If I missed anything just remind me.

9:14 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Function is necessary for purpose and purpose and function will align unless there is an accident or mistake."

This sentence is self-contradictory. If purpose and function may not align (due to accident or mistake) then function is not necessary for purpose (and so purpose is not sufficient for function, as I originally argued).

You have wandered so far away from your original attempt to justify how the (extremely vague) 'prediction' of "function for [some/all?] non-coding dubbed “Junk DNA”" that I think this line of inquiry should be put to rest.

Either re-express your justification from scratch, or let it drop.

"The lies about Sternberg were so copious..."

This is not a SPECIFIC accusation!

WHAT LIES? WHO SAID THEM?


"Being the chairman, if Souder wanted it to be discussed and voted on, it would be and nothing could stop it, so I have no doubt that it happened in the subcommittee."

Yet we have no evidence that it ever gained any official stamp of approval, and it was instead simply put up on Souder's own website during the 'lame duck' session of Congress after the election (during which short period of time we have no indication that Souder's subcommittee even met).

"Krauze has written on this already.
http://telicthoughts.com/blame-the-victim-id-critics-attack-sternberg/
http://telicthoughts.com/sternberg-in-the-scientist/
http://telicthoughts.com/eugenie-scott-director-of-ncse-spreading-misinformation/

There was some very interesting information in that last link."


Another bunch of innuendo, misrepresentation and unsubstantiated assertion. The only thing in there resembling evidence is that Eugenie Scott drew the incorrect, but quite reasonable, inference (based on his involvement with the Baraminology Study Group) that Sternberg was a YEC. When countervailing evidence was presented to her, she informed the Smithsonian of it. Whilst Sternberg may not be a Young Earth Creationist, it is clear (from his involvement with RAPID and ISCID) that he is nonetheless a Creationist. So he is not a "younf Earth Creationist" but rather "a Creationist closely associated with Young Earth Creationists". A difference, I will admit, but hardly sufficient of one to make a claim of "misinformation", particularly as the discrepancy was corrected as soon as it was identified.

"And that is exactly why it is partisan, that is the organization in question of course they do not want to look like they discriminated."

Do try to keep up Sparky. By the time the article was published he was no longer editor for this organisation, the Biological Society of Washington (it being published in the last edition he was editor for, a fact that is hardly coincidental), so could not possibly have been discriminated against by them as he was no longer working for them. The claim that they were not partisan therefore stands.

"Peer-Reviewed Journals:

The Meyer paper..."


Given that the Biological Society of Washington has disavowed this paper in the strongest possible terms, it has no status, other than to be an embarrassment to its author and editor.

"Michael Behe and David W. Snoke, “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues,” Protein Science, 13 (2004). (testing for irreducible complexity)"

This paper never mentions irreducible complexity. It's results also show (as was admitted under cross-examination at Dover) that, even given its unreasonably harsh assumptions, evolution was still possible.

John A. Davison is a notorious crank, even by ID standards and Rivista di Biologia has notoriously low editorial standards (it's edited by an Italian Creationist who will publish just about anything from the fringe of science).

"Peer reviewed Scientific Anthologies" & "Peer-Reviewed Books"

These are oxymorons: anthologies and books are not subject to rigorous peer review (and often aren't peer-reviewed at all).

"I didn’t even break a sweat."

Only because you simply swallowed the Disco Institutes's dishonest line on these publications, hook, line & sinker.

2:36 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

The U.S. Government Printing Office provides a searchable database of all Congressional Reports here:
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/index.html

The Souder report is not in this database, ergo it is not a Congressional Report.

3:01 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

Hrafn, you’re the first person I’ve run across who is so egotistical that he’ll jump at the opportunity to take personal credit for his own views, however stupid.

You realize, of course, that you’re still just shifting the burden of proof but I will humour you one more time.

First of all, the trial testimony is hardly the best place to get the full measure of anyone’s views. And you have this nasty tendency to read the worst into anything that seems to support ID. So, you conclude from Fuller’s endorsement of supernatural theories in science that he would therefore endorse ANY supernatural theory. No one seemed to ask him where he would draw the line, but it doesn’t follow he doesn’t draw one.

Also, if you weren’t so beholden to Levitt for your thinking about Fuller, you might have questioned the business about his holding ‘radical postmodernist’ views. Does anyone who hold such views consider him one of their own? The Wikipedia entry on Fuller doesn’t make Fuller sound like very much of a postmodernist. And in the various things he’s said in blogs since the trial, he’s never declared himself a postmodernist. If anything, Fuller seems to have a rather complicated relation with postmodernism, which for great minds like yourself may come across as ‘ambiguous and equivocal’.

As for Fuller’s political ideas about science being unworkable, I’m not sure why you think the opinions of supporters of ID, creationists, etc. are particularly relevant. His views here don’t seem to have been developed with ID in mind. My only point is that the fact that a few vocal scientists who seem to make a living fighting with sociologists don’t like Fuller’s idea is neither here nor there. They would not be making the relevant decisions. In any case, it’s not clear whether Fuller’s political views are actually relevant to the Royal Holloway debate, given its stated topic! Again, you just seem to be projecting your own preoccupations …

11:02 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"So, you conclude from Fuller’s endorsement of supernatural theories in science that he would therefore endorse ANY supernatural theory."

No. I have however shown that this would be a logical consequence of his ideas.

"No one seemed to ask him where he would draw the line, but it doesn’t follow he doesn’t draw one."

He has already made it clear that the line should not be drawn for supernatural theories nor theories that aren't well substantiated, nor even theories that lack affirmative tests and empirical testing.

In fact he has tended to give the impression that he is against any lines being drawn on general principles.

"Also, if you weren’t so beholden to Levitt for your thinking about Fuller, you might have questioned the business about his holding ‘radical postmodernist’ views."

Dolores, I came to the "radical post-modernist" impression completely independently of, and before I had read, Levitt's article (as the chronology of posts should indicate). What word would you use to describe Fuller's aim of "a kind of pluralistic playing field of science where you have lots of different theories of roughly equal stature" if not 'post-modernist'?

"As for Fuller’s political ideas about science being unworkable, I’m not sure why you think the opinions of supporters of ID, creationists, etc. are particularly relevant."

IDers are using his ideas as support for their claim that ID is a 'scientific theory'. As such, they should be able to defend these ideas.

"His views here don’t seem to have been developed with ID in mind."

They aren't? Then why does ID seem to be the only form of 'alternative science' that he is supporting?

"My only point is that the fact that a few vocal scientists who seem to make a living fighting with sociologists don’t like Fuller’s idea is neither here nor there."

I would suspect that most scientists would see little to like about Fuller's ideas. However, I also suspect that a vast majority of them have not even heard of Fuller, let alone know what ideas he is promoting. Can you point to any scientists (outside those affiliated to ID or some other form of creationism, who would thus have an ulterior motive) who see value in Fuller's ideas?

"In any case, it’s not clear whether Fuller’s political views are actually relevant to the Royal Holloway debate, given its stated topic!"

I have drawn a direct link between Fuller's ideas and why he thinks that ID is a scientific theory. Is it so unlikely that a Sociologist of Science's ideas about Sociology of Science should inform his opinion as to whether something on the fringe of science is a scientific theory? I would have thought that it would be perfectly obvious.

12:43 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

I think that when a Philosopher/Sociologist of Science tells a Scientist "there are other paradigms for doing science", the Scientist will tend to reply "how can they help me do science more efficiently?" If the Philosopher/Sociologist cannot present a compelling answer, then the Scientist will simply ask "then why should I change from my present one?"

I don't think that Fuller has even attempted to answer this hypothetical Scientist's question, and until he does, I suspect that most scientists would regard him as an irrelevance and a media sideshow.

1:18 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

hrafn, you fail to understand several key points, all of which go to show the small orbits in which you travel:

(1) First, your use of 'logical' in saying that Fuller's view implies supporting all supernatural theories only makes sense if logical = possible, not logical = necessary. Yes, he MAY support all such theories, but no, nothing he says implies that he does or even that he must. Learn a bit of logic, homeboy.

2)What you describe as evidence of Fuller's postmodernism (and are these his words?) could equally be described as Fuller's radically democratic approach to science. It is possible to argue the merits of democratising science without dragging in postmodernism, which I rather doubt you know much about. And I might be too generous to suggest that you know much about democracy!

(3) Presumably, if Fuller was called as an expert witness, it wasn't because he was doing special pleading for ID. If he was as transparently supporting ID as you suggest, you would have expected the cross-examination to reveal this in the trial. It didn't, did it? In fact, he doesn't seem to have much connection with the normal run of ID supporters at all. There may be a much more principled issue here than whether ID is true or false.

4:27 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Oh, hrafn, sweetie,

I forgot to mention that this whole dispute is about what to teach kids in secondary school science classes, not what the best scientists think the best research should be, blah, blah. Save that discussion for another blog. So, all your huffing and puffing about what scientists believe is only part of the noise that educators need to sift through.

4:34 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Sparky wrote:
"Why not, I recall many ID advocates saying ID predicts this. (function for junk dna)"

Well, they claim it for most or all, while the papers, written by people testing MET, only address a tiny fraction of "junk" DNA.

"Good then it was a prediction, as I have no doubt any ID scientist would have loved to test those predictions given the opportunity."

No ID scientist has tested a single prediction--ever. They are intellectual cowards.

I asked, "Third, the predictions need to have the potential to falsify the hypothesis. At what ratio of nonfunctional/functional "junk" sequences does this prediction become false? It's too vague to be useful."

Sparky replied:
"Ok I predict we will find purpose for the vast majority of it within a reasonable timetable (one that we discuss and mutually agree upon)."

You're on. I predict that we will only find functions for a tiny fraction of it, and that none of those discoveries will come from scientists who promote ID.

I hope you have a nice house...

"The Frontloading Hypothesis predicts that genes for later development were will be discovered in earlier forms of life because they were frontloaded at an early stage to control how life developed. The previous link provides evidence for that hypothesis."

No, it doesn't. Claiming that it does is pure sophistry.

"Peer-Reviewed Journals:

"The Meyer paper..."

No data, Sparky.

"Michael Behe and David W. Snoke, “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues,” Protein Science, 13 (2004). (testing for irreducible complexity)"

Your parenthetical is a pure lie, Sparky. They didn't test for anything. They did a SIMULATION that they misinterpreted. There's no test of any ID hypothesis there.

"John A. Davison, “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis,” Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 155-166. (advocating Davidson’s ID hypothesis)"

Advocacy ain't data.

"Note there are a lot more of these I could cite but this should suffice the discussion for now."

You have yet to cite a single datum.

"Peer reviewed Scientific Anthologies:..."

Where is your evidence that these "Anthologies" were peer-reviewed? NONE of the reviews I've written were peer-reviewed.

"I could also cite more of these."

It would only prove my point--ID isn't science, because it produces zero data.

"W.A. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). (The title really says it all)"

Well, no, you'd have to read the book to see that Dembski doesn't understand biology, and is afraid to actually apply any calculations to an actual biological system.

"I didn’t even break a sweat."

Of course not! There aren't any data, so you have nothing but sophistry. Sophistry is easier than science, which is why ID advocates do no science at all--even when they have training and have successfully produced data before they embraced ID.

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"First, your use of 'logical' in saying that Fuller's view implies supporting all supernatural theories only makes sense if logical = possible, not logical = necessary."

You don't have a clue what your talking about. I said "logical consequence" and I meant "logical consequence".

1) Fuller believes that being supernatural is not a barrier to being considered a scientific theory.

2) Fuller believes that not being well substantiated is not a barrier to being considered a scientific theory.

3) Fuller believes that not lacking any affirmative tests or empirical testing not a barrier to being considered a scientific theory.

4) Further, Fuller believes all these things about a single purported 'theory', ID (so it cannot be the case that he would not consider them to be a barrier individually, but would consider them to be a barrier collectively).

AS A LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE Fuller believes that being supernatural, not well substantiated and lacking any affirmative or empirical tests is not a barrier to being considered a 'scientific theory'.

This sets the bar so low that any wacko hypothesis (up to and including "the faeries at the bottom of the garden did it") can be considered a 'scientific theory'.

QED.

"What you describe as evidence of Fuller's postmodernism (and are these his words?) could equally be described as Fuller's radically democratic approach to science."

It is not "democratic", in that democratic means that majority rules, and what Fuller is suggesting is the empowerment of every single, obscure, fringe minority at the expense of the majority.

"If he was as transparently supporting ID as you suggest, you would have expected the cross-examination to reveal this in the trial."

This argument is patently illogical.

As far as I know, Fuller has never had never been called as an expert witness before Dover. Also, no other area of pseudoscience creates nearly as much litigation as Creationism. It would therefore not be suspicious, nor worthy of cross-examination, that Fuller had only appeared in an ID trial.

Since this trial, ID has been the only 'alternative science' that Fuller appears to have been associated with, hence my comment. This is possibly because it is the 'alternative science' that generates the most controversy and media coverage.

"Oh, hrafn, sweetie, "

Dolores, choke on your own saccharine, you insincere vacuous troll.

"I forgot to mention that this whole dispute is about what to teach kids in secondary school science classes, not what the best scientists think the best research should be, blah, blah."

Poor pathetic Dolores hasn't learnt to read (and so should be sent back to kindergarten).

The topic of the the debate that sparked this discussion did not mention "school".

Andrew's original post that started this thread did not mention "school".

The word "school" was only used three times in this entire thread before you made your baseless claim.

This thread is not about schools, but about Fuller's belief that ID should be considered a scientific theory.

5:58 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

hrafn said:

AS A LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE Fuller believes that being supernatural, not well substantiated and lacking any affirmative or empirical tests is not a barrier to being considered a 'scientific theory'.

This sets the bar so low that any wacko hypothesis (up to and including "the faeries at the bottom of the garden did it") can be considered a 'scientific theory'.

QED.


Sorry, sunshine, no prize for this last step. You've basically conceded my point, which is all that Fuller said was that he opened the possibility for other supernatural theories to be considered scientific. Since he was not questioned further on the matter, he did not qualify it further. He did not say that every other supernatural theory was permissible -- unless, sweetie, you believe he was making a deductive argument during the trial. Try harder, please!

9:51 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"You've basically conceded my point, which is all that Fuller said was that he opened the possibility for other supernatural theories to be considered scientific."

Dolores, I made that point myself in my very first post on this thread (being "opposed to Methodological Naturalism" is the equivalent to opening "the possibility for other supernatural theories").

You really should learn how to read, it really is a useful skill.

"He did not say that every other supernatural theory was permissible..."

No. And I never said that he did.

What he said was that it didn't matter that the supernatural theories were't well substantiated and weren't empirically or affirmatively testable. This is the part that makes it open slather, as it removes the remaining barriers to any hypothesis being considered a 'scientific theory'.

Again, you really should learn how to read, it really is a useful skill.

2:04 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

hrafn said:

What he said was that it didn't matter that the supernatural theories were't well substantiated and weren't empirically or affirmatively testable. This is the part that makes it open slather, as it removes the remaining barriers to any hypothesis being considered a 'scientific theory'.

Again, you really should learn how to read, it really is a useful skill.


Sweetie, I'm afraid you don't know how to read, at least you didn't read his testimony carefully. It's clear Fuller believes that there is good precedent from the history of science that supernatural theories that start off as unsubstantiated turn out to bear proper scientific fruit. So he's not opening the door to just any old supernatural theory. I think you still can't get your head around the idea that maybe more than just the dominant paradigm should be taught in a science class.

By the way, I'm not a scientist. Are you, sunshine -- or are you one of those computer jockeys who plays boy racer scientist on the internet?

7:23 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

The Saccharine One has returned, and drips the following poison:

"It's clear Fuller believes that there is good precedent from the history of science that supernatural theories that start off as unsubstantiated turn out to bear proper scientific fruit."

Actually, Fuller's testimony was more ambiguous than that:
But, of course, a lot of the things that were called supernatural include things like, well, Mendel's genes or atoms, right. Before it was possible to actually detect empirically the motion of atoms and so forth, Atoms were regarded as cult entities."

So he is not talking a "supernatural theories" so much as phenomena that were thought of as "supernatural" (just as lightning was, even in Ben Franklin's time) but are now studied scientifically as natural phenomena.

Fuller's testimony yields no example where a supernatural theory is later accepted as scientific.

3:23 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

hrafn, you sweet buffoon,

Fuller, unlike you, can tell the difference in the status of what, say, Mendel was saying BEFORE and AFTER it was accepted as scientific. Yes, what you say applies to how we think about the matter now with 20/20 hindsight -- but not about they thought about the matter when Mendel first wrote. Please try harder!

11:22 am  
Anonymous dolores said...

hey, hrafn,

kairosfocus on one of the other blogs here has denounced you as a scientific incompetent. is that right? i'd hate to think i've been wasting my valuable time with someone as ignorant as myself! here, i thought that once you overcame your misogyny, you might teach me something. but i guess you're a fraud....

12:04 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

O Poisonous One:

How were Mendel's Laws of Inheritance ever supernatural (even before they were "accepted as scientific")?

You can find a translation of the paper in which he presented them here:
http://www.mendelweb.org/Mendel.html

What in his theory is supernatural?

"kairosfocus on one of the other blogs here has denounced you as a scientific incompetent."

kairosfocus is merely pissed that I know enough about science generally to know that Walter L Bradley (a Mechanical Engineer specialising in Fracture Mechanics) has no particular expertise in Biological Thermodynamics, and so should be given considerably less weight than a genuine expert in this field, on the topic of the thermodynamics of Abiogenesis and Evolution, but that I have admitted that I don't have sufficient detailed knowledge of thermodynamics to hold a debate on the details of Bradley's claims.

Given that I have never represented myself as an expert Thermodynamacist, I don't think this makes me a "fraud".

I know a reasonable amount about Science generally, and quite a bit about Statistics and Formal Logic.

As for me being able to "teach [you] something", that rather depends on what you want to learn.

If you want to learn about biology, then I would suggest you listen to Tony Jackson, Ian Musgrave, or Matt Inlay. They know considerably more about that field than I do.

3:19 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Dolores wrote:
"Fuller, unlike you, can tell the difference in the status of what, say, Mendel was saying BEFORE and AFTER it was accepted as scientific. Yes, what you say applies to how we think about the matter now with 20/20 hindsight -- but not about they thought about the matter when Mendel first wrote. "

So, Dolores, have you bothered to read what Mendel first wrote?

Fuller is a joke.

5:59 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

“Well, they claim it for most or all, while the papers, written by people testing MET, only address a tiny fraction of "junk" DNA.”

So there you have it. A prediction of ID is getting positive results at least thus far. So I no longer want to hear that “ID makes no predictions.”\

No ID scientist has tested a single prediction--ever. They are intellectual cowards.

I will half grant you this point. It seems to me that you are right, and no mainline ID scientist (that I have heard of) has done any experiments in an attempt to validate or falsify the ID hypothesis save Dembski. Dembski as we all should know by now has applied his design inference to the Flagellum, independently confirming its design. This corroborates with Behe’s test. A lot of ID research is published by evolutionists themselves because it is the information that is important. As for the publications of IDists themselves, I remain optimistic, that this sort of research will become commonplace in the future.

“I predict that we will only find functions for a tiny fraction of it,”

Alright looks like we have a little bet here.

“No, it doesn't. Claiming that it does is pure sophistry.”
No it isn’t, that is essentially the thesis of FLE.

“No data, Sparky.”

I disagree. It clearly argues for ID, and it passed peer-review, and it has enough data because it is a review of other journals, I can’t help it if you have a personal problem with that work, but data is clearly present whether you agree with the data or won’t allow yourself to accept it.

“Your parenthetical is a pure lie, Sparky. They didn't test for anything. They did a SIMULATION that they misinterpreted. There's no test of any ID hypothesis there.”

A simulation IS a test. Yes there is. It tested Irreducible complexity.

“Advocacy ain't data.”

Every scientist advocates their own hypothesis, and it is only possible WITH data. Yes there was data, so this is three so far. Data was presented.

Where is your evidence that these "Anthologies" were peer-reviewed? NONE of the reviews I've written were peer-reviewed.
Oh no. I am not going there. First I will have to cite evidence, then evidence that my evidence is evidence, then evidence that my evidence of evidence is evidence ad nauseum. Look if you are going to ignore the evidence I give you that’s fine, but don’t act like you actually are looking for evidence then. If you don’t believe they are peer-reviewed then look them up and find out for yourself.


Well, no, you'd have to read the book to see that Dembski doesn't understand biology, and is afraid to actually apply any calculations to an actual biological system.

Yes I am sure no one would have caught that in peer-review.



“Of course not! There aren't any data, so you have nothing but sophistry.”

Gee wiz what about those other citations that you ignored? This is all just a bunch of handwaving. You have not cast any doubt on any of the peer reviewed literature I cited. I am waiting for you to demonstrate something to that effect, because you seem so sure of yourself. Don’t make me wait too long.

7:44 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home