Saturday, February 03, 2007

Comments.


The comments section at IDintheUK has been entirely uncensored up till now (apart from really foul comments and obvious advertising.) I would like it to remain like this. I have learned a lot from the very high quality of comments from people on both sides of this argument. This seems to me a great benefit of this kind of site.


In order for this to continue it does require some self discipline on the part of the commenters.

Generally you have responded well to previous pleas.


I would like people to feel free to comment under whatever name they like and to be able to comment annonymously if they so choose. I think that part of good blog behaviour is to respect that choice. Attacks on another commenter because of their background and percieved or actual bias are to be avoided- it is the arguments about the data and its interpretation that we should focus on.


Please try to avoid overly emotive language- I know that many commenters feel very very strongly about this area - It is good to feel strongly about truth and to expose what is not true ruthlessly and energetically. However resorting to the red card "LIAR" is rarely helpful in my experience. Even if you are convinced that someone is deliberately and knowingly lying it is better to suggest that they may be mistaken first and point to the evidence. If you must make an allegation of deliberate, knowing deception please make sure you have a cast iron case and please try to do it as little as you possibly can.

70 Comments:

Anonymous Hrafn said...

"However resorting to the red card "LIAR" is rarely helpful in my experience."

That is hardly surprising Andrew: those accused of lying on this blog have been, almost without exception, those whose viewpoints you have been attempting to defend.

I would agree that pointing out the blatant dishonesty of such people is "rarely helpful" to attempting to defend their viewpoints.

I do not however believe that this de-legitimises a well-substantiated claim that somebody islying.

1:28 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

As a matter of interest Andrew, what is the "helpful" way to address somebody repeatedly, and in spite of all evidence and repeated correction, insisting that "is" means "was"?

And incidentally, it was you who was the only one who resorted to "the red card" on that thread.

1:53 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
Which thread was this?

3:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Methinks Hrafn protesteth too much ....

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

http://idintheuk.blogspot.com/2006/11/michael-behe-and-astrology-what-did-he_8368.html

"To maintain that Behe meant modern astrology when he said "Yes that's correct" is to maintain that he is a liar and that his testimony cannot be trusted based on the evidence that you know what he meant better than he did."

You were maintaining that, although the question was clearly phrased in the present tense, that Behe's answer only applied to historic Astrology.

4:10 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Anonymous:

Anybody is welcome to call me a liar, if they can substantiate the accusation. :)

4:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing is Hrafn I don't believe that anyone is or should be welcome to call you a liar and I would take exception to anyone who did. Isn't the point that Andy is making that the use of such emotive language on a public blog unhelpful to constructive debate?

4:52 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

Even in the deposition statement it was a hesitant yes and asking to be clarified.

However I think from the trial testimony it is clear that Behe is thinking in history of science terms.

He has told us that on both occasions he was thinking history of science terms.

It would have avoided unnecessary confusion if he had used the past tense...sure.

I did not use the red card as far as I can see.

I said:
"To maintain that Behe meant modern astrology when he said "Yes that's correct" is to maintain that he is a liar and that his testimony cannot be trusted based on the evidence that you know what he meant better than he did."

That is I have a choice.... Either to believe what Behe told me that he meant in his deposition.

Or to assume that in his deposition statement he really did mean that he wanted to see horoscopes accepted as a scientific theory.

I pointed out that a necessary consequence of the second option is that I must believe that Behe lied in his email to me.

5:13 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"However I think from the trial testimony it is clear that Behe is thinking in history of science terms."

No Andrew it is not.

It is clear from his trial testimony that the question that he would have prefered to answer was one about historical astrology. However the question he was asked, and therefore the question he had to answer, was phrased in the present tense about astrology in the present.

You are still playing "is"="was" and this is very dishonest.

1) Was the question that Behe was asked phrased in the present tense?

2) Does that mean that he was being asked about astrology in the present?

3) Does that mean that his answer to this question "yes that's correct" was affirming that under Behe's definition, Astrology would currently be considered to be Science?

As far as the red-card goes, I took that to be you accusing me of calling Behe a "liar" - a 'boomerang' red-card perhaps, but still as "unhelpful" and inflammatory as a direct accusation.

And I would not claim that Behe was lying to you. We all have a tendency to remember events in a subjective manner. Behe took a caning over this piece of testimony, so it is not improbable that, by emphasising the incidental discussion of historical astrology and de-emphasising the direct question about astrology in the present tense, in his mind, he came to the impression that he had been talking about astrology in the past.

6:12 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
Do you think that Behe thought that his definition of scientific theory included horoscopes at the time of the deposition?

Do you think that Behe thought that his definition of scientific theory included horoscopes at the actual trial?

6:55 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

1) Yes

2) Yes- (but he may have been thinking the medieval sense of astrology)

3) Does that mean that his answer to this question "yes that's correct" was affirming that under Behe's definition, Astrology would currently be considered to be Science?

This is where I would say we have to ask whether this interpretation is consistent with other statements in the immediate context of the trial testimony.

If there were no other clues then I would agree with you. But there are other clues in the testimony of the trial that there is a confusion of terminology going on here.

7:04 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Do you think that Behe thought that his definition of scientific theory included horoscopes at the time of the deposition?"

Given that what was said was...
"Q. Is astrology a theory under that definition?
A. Is astrology? It could be, yes."


...we have no reason to believe otherwise.

The deposition made no mention of historic astrology, and the immediately previous question were "Using your definition of theory, is Creationism -- using your definition of scientific theory, is Creationism a scientific theory?" and "What about creation science?" - both obviously questions relating to present-day beliefs.

"Do you think that Behe thought that his definition of scientific theory included horoscopes at the actual trial?"

Again, I have no reason to believe otherwise. He was asked a direct question about astrology in the present tense, and answered without qualification or equivocation.

I would also add that, just as ID is more 'sciencey' (at a superficial level) than Paley's Natural Theology, so is modern astrology (which employs computer programs and sophisticated astronomical calculations) more sciencey than historic astrology.

"This is where I would say we have to ask whether this interpretation is consistent with other statements in the immediate context of the trial testimony."

The "immediate context" was that Behe never denied that present-day astrology would be included under his definition. He exhibited considerable preference for discussing historical over present-day astrology at trial (in a rather transparent attempt to reframe his deposition testimony), but when asked about the present, he answered "Yes that's correct". Additionally, at the time that this question was asked, the lawyer had not even mentioned historical astrology even in passing.

Read the deposition & trial testimony Andrew. It is very clear that the lawyer was asking about the present. It is also very clear that, at trial, Behe is desperately trying to reframe the whole issue into historical astrology, to the point that the lawyer actually asks: "I didn't take your deposition in the 1500s, correct?"

Given this attempt at reframing, Behe quite clearly has the difference between astrology-now and astrology-then clearly in mind, so cannot be considered to have been confused when he was asked at trial about astrology in the present tense.

3:51 am  
Blogger allygally said...

FWIW, IMO, we should not use the liar word.

My aim in posting is to show that the creationists are wrong, misguided, muddled and perhaps even silly. That's enough to get the message across to any lurkers. Calling people liars is counter-productive.

If they are liars, they will just smirk and keep doing it. And if they are not, but just mistaken or misguided, they will get angry, and rational discussion goes out the window...lygally

11:31 am  
Anonymous Blaise said...

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the underlying evolutionst strategy behind the 'Liar' charge: Basically if you say someone is a liar, you don't need to take their arguments at face value because the liar doesn't really mean them. This gives the evolutionist a free pass to ignore the background considerations and implicit assumptions made the alleged liar. Imagine the shoe were on the other foot. Dawkins and Dennett have written at mind-numbing and mind-numbed length about the nature of religion, clearly demonstrating complete ignorance of the topic, aside from bad Sunday School experiences, memetically transmitted prejudices and the testimony of like-minded co-prejudiced types. It is hard to believe that these otherwise smart guys really believe the crap they spout about religion. Under the circumstances, then, it is easy to call them liars and accuse them of giving voice to the ignoranti who share their prejudices.

8:27 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"...Basically if you say someone is a liar, you don't need to take their arguments at face value because the liar doesn't really mean them."

No Blaise:

Substantiate a claim that somebody is lying (which is the standard I've set all along) and you can:

1) dismiss the specific claim that they were lying about; and

2) due to their proven dishonesty, place considerably less weight on any unsubstantiated assertion they may later make.

When somebody is proven a liar, it does not automatically make everything they say a lie, it merely places a greater burden of proof on them to back up their claims from readily available, untainted sources.

2:23 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

On the subject of liars, would it be considered to call Lady Hope one:
"Shortly after his death, Lady Hope addressed a gathering of young men and women at the educational establishment founded by the evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody at Northfield, Massachusetts. She had, she maintained, visited Darwin on his deathbed. He had been reading the Epistle to the Hebrews, had asked for the local Sunday school to sing in a summerhouse on the grounds, and had confessed: ‘How I wish I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done.’ He went on, she said, to say that he would like her to gather a congregation since he ‘would like to speak to them of Christ Jesus and His salvation, being in a state where he was eagerly savouring the heavenly anticipation of bliss.’

“With Moody's encouragement, Lady Hope's story was printed in the Boston Watchman Examiner. The story spread, and the claims were republished as late as October 1955 in the Reformation Review and in the Monthly Record of the Free Church of Scotland in February 1957. These attempts to fudge Darwin's story had already been exposed for what they were, first by his daughter Henrietta after they had been revived in 1922. ‘I was present at his deathbed,’ she wrote in the Christian for February 23, 1922. ‘Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought or belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier. We think the story of his conversion was fabricated in the U.S.A. . . . The whole story has no foundation whatever.’"

The Survival of Charles Darwin: A Biography of a Man and an Idea, by Ronald W. Clark, quotation found at:
http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/ladyhope.html

8:57 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

That should have read:
...would it be considered legitimate to call Lady Hope one

9:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hrafn,

I'm very disappointed with you. By citing the Lady Hope story your intent is to slur the whole of creationism. Some people might think it a dishonest approach - don't you?

Here is the same story.

--------------------------------

'Did Darwin recant?

by Russell M. Grigg

Charles Darwin died on 19 April 1882, at the age of 73. To some it was deplorable that he should have departed an unbeliever, and in the years that followed several stories surfaced that Darwin had undergone a death-bed conversion and renounced evolution. These stories began to be included in sermons as early as May 1882.1 However, the best known is that attributed to a Lady Hope, who claimed she had visited a bedridden Charles at Down House2 in the autumn of 1881. She alleged that when she arrived he was reading the Book of Hebrews, that he became distressed when she mentioned the Genesis account of creation, and that he asked her to come again the next day to speak on the subject of Jesus Christ to a gathering of servants, tenants and neighbours in the garden summer house which, he said, held about 30 people. This story first appeared in print as a 521-word article in the American Baptist journal, the Watchman Examiner,3 and since then has been reprinted in many books, magazines and tracts.

The main problem with all these stories is that they were all denied by members of Darwin's family. Francis Darwin wrote to Thomas Huxley on 8 February 1887, that a report that Charles had renounced evolution on his deathbed was 'false and without any kind of foundation',4 and in 1917 Francis affirmed that he had 'no reason whatever to believe that he [his father] ever altered his agnostic point of view'.5 Charles's daughter Henrietta (Litchfield) wrote on page 12 of the London evangelical weekly, The Christian, for 23 February 1922, 'I was present at his deathbed. Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought or belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier … . The whole story has no foundation whatever'.6 Some have even concluded that there was no Lady Hope.

So what should we think?

Darwin's biographer, Dr James Moore, lecturer in the history of science and technology at The Open University in the UK, has spent 20 years researching the data over three continents. He produced a 218-page book examining what he calls the 'Darwin legend'.7 He says there was a Lady Hope. Born Elizabeth Reid Cotton in 1842, she married a widower, retired Admiral Sir James Hope, in 1877. She engaged in tent evangelism and in visiting the elderly and sick in Kent in the 1880s, and died of cancer in Sydney, Australia, in 1922, where her tomb may be seen to this day.8

Moore concludes that Lady Hope probably did visit Charles between Wednesday, 28 September and Sunday, 2 October 1881, almost certainly when Francis and Henrietta were absent, but his wife, Emma, probably was present.9 He describes Lady Hope as 'a skilled raconteur, able to summon up poignant scenes and conversations, and embroider them with sentimental spirituality'.10 He points out that her published story contained some authentic details as to time and place, but also factual inaccuracies—Charles was not bedridden six months before he died, and the summer house was far too small to accommodate 30 people. The most important aspect of the story, however, is that it does not say that Charles either renounced evolution or embraced Christianity. He merely is said to have expressed concern over the fate of his youthful speculations and to have spoken in favour of a few people's attending a religious meeting. The alleged recantation/conversion are embellishments that others have either read into the story or made up for themselves. Moore calls such doings 'holy fabrication'!

It should be noted that for most of her married life Emma was deeply pained by the irreligious nature of Charles's views, and would have been strongly motivated to have corroborated any story of a genuine conversion, if such had occurred. She never did.

It therefore appears that Darwin did not recant, and it is a pity that to this day the Lady Hope story occasionally appears in tracts published and given out by well-meaning people.


Where did this come from? Answers in Genesis. To be found here.
Did Darwin recant?

by Russell M. Grigg

Charles Darwin died on 19 April 1882, at the age of 73. To some it was deplorable that he should have departed an unbeliever, and in the years that followed several stories surfaced that Darwin had undergone a death-bed conversion and renounced evolution. These stories began to be included in sermons as early as May 1882.1 However, the best known is that attributed to a Lady Hope, who claimed she had visited a bedridden Charles at Down House2 in the autumn of 1881. She alleged that when she arrived he was reading the Book of Hebrews, that he became distressed when she mentioned the Genesis account of creation, and that he asked her to come again the next day to speak on the subject of Jesus Christ to a gathering of servants, tenants and neighbours in the garden summer house which, he said, held about 30 people. This story first appeared in print as a 521-word article in the American Baptist journal, the Watchman Examiner,3 and since then has been reprinted in many books, magazines and tracts.

The main problem with all these stories is that they were all denied by members of Darwin's family. Francis Darwin wrote to Thomas Huxley on 8 February 1887, that a report that Charles had renounced evolution on his deathbed was 'false and without any kind of foundation',4 and in 1917 Francis affirmed that he had 'no reason whatever to believe that he [his father] ever altered his agnostic point of view'.5 Charles's daughter Henrietta (Litchfield) wrote on page 12 of the London evangelical weekly, The Christian, for 23 February 1922, 'I was present at his deathbed. Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought or belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier … . The whole story has no foundation whatever'.6 Some have even concluded that there was no Lady Hope.

So what should we think?

Darwin's biographer, Dr James Moore, lecturer in the history of science and technology at The Open University in the UK, has spent 20 years researching the data over three continents. He produced a 218-page book examining what he calls the 'Darwin legend'.7 He says there was a Lady Hope. Born Elizabeth Reid Cotton in 1842, she married a widower, retired Admiral Sir James Hope, in 1877. She engaged in tent evangelism and in visiting the elderly and sick in Kent in the 1880s, and died of cancer in Sydney, Australia, in 1922, where her tomb may be seen to this day.8

Moore concludes that Lady Hope probably did visit Charles between Wednesday, 28 September and Sunday, 2 October 1881, almost certainly when Francis and Henrietta were absent, but his wife, Emma, probably was present.9 He describes Lady Hope as 'a skilled raconteur, able to summon up poignant scenes and conversations, and embroider them with sentimental spirituality'.10 He points out that her published story contained some authentic details as to time and place, but also factual inaccuracies—Charles was not bedridden six months before he died, and the summer house was far too small to accommodate 30 people. The most important aspect of the story, however, is that it does not say that Charles either renounced evolution or embraced Christianity. He merely is said to have expressed concern over the fate of his youthful speculations and to have spoken in favour of a few people's attending a religious meeting. The alleged recantation/conversion are embellishments that others have either read into the story or made up for themselves. Moore calls such doings 'holy fabrication'!

It should be noted that for most of her married life Emma was deeply pained by the irreligious nature of Charles's views, and would have been strongly motivated to have corroborated any story of a genuine conversion, if such had occurred. She never did.

It therefore appears that Darwin did not recant, and it is a pity that to this day the Lady Hope story occasionally appears in tracts published and given out by well-meaning people.'

-------------------------------
Where did this story come from? Answers in Genesis! Found here.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i1/darwin_recant.asp

You obviously prefer the dishonest approach. you could have quoted from the Answers site - Why didn't you? Because it didn't serve your purpose.

You spoil your own integrity.

10:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, I pasted twice by mistake. Sorry about that.

10:10 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Anonymous:

The Answers in Genesis account claims:
"The most important aspect of the story, however, is that it does not say that Charles either renounced evolution or embraced Christianity."

What Lady Hope actually wrote was:
" It was one of those glorious autumn afternoons, that we sometimes enjoy in England, when I was asked to go in and sit with the well known professor, Charles Darwin. He was almost bedridden for some months before he died. I used to feel when I saw him that his fine presence would make a grand picture for our Royal Academy; but never did I think so more strongly than on this particular occasion.

He was sitting up in bed, wearing a soft embroidered dressing gown, of rather a rich purple shade.

Propped up by pillows, he was gazing out on a far-stretching scene of woods and cornfields, which glowed in the light of one of those marvelous sunsets which are the beauty of Kent and Surrey. His noble forehead and fine features seem to be lit up with pleasure as I entered the room.

He waved his hand toward the window as he pointed out the scene beyond, while in the other hand he held an open Bible, which he was always studying.

"What are you reading now?" I asked as I seated myself beside his bedside. "Hebrews!" he answered - "still Hebrews. 'The Royal Book' I call it. Isn't it grand?"

Then, placing his finger on certain passages, he commented on them.

I made some allusions to the strong opinions expressed by many persons on the history of the Creation, its grandeur, and then their treatment of the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis.

He seemed greatly distressed, his fingers twitched nervously, and a look of agony came over his face as he said: "I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything, and to my astonishment, the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them."

Then he paused, and after a few more sentences on "the holiness of God" and the "grandeur of this book," looking at the Bible which he was holding tenderly all the time, he suddenly said: "I have a summer house in the garden which holds about thirty people. It is over there," pointing through the open window. "I want you very much to speak there. I know you read the Bible in the villages. To-morrow afternoon I should like the servants on the place, some tenants and a few of the neighbours; to gather there. Will you speak to them?"


"What shall I speak about?" I asked.

"Christ Jesus!" he replied in a clear, emphatic voice, adding in a lower tone, "and his salvation. Is not that the best theme? And then I want you to sing some hymns with them. You lead on your small instrument, do you not?" The wonderful look of brightness and animation on his face as he said this I shall never forget, for he added: "If you take the meeting at three o'clock this window will be open, and you will know that I am joining in with the singing."

How I wished I could have made a picture of the fine old man and his beautiful surroundings on that memorable day!"

(My emphasis)

Lady Hope's account certainly gives every appearance that Darwin "renounced evolution or embraced Christianity."

So in your rush to defend Creationism, you have turned a single charge of Creationist dishonesty into two.

11:20 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Actually, I probably should have bolded the sentence immediately after the two paragraphs I did bold - I just realised that it provides the clearest indication of Darwin's purported embrace of Christianity:
"Christ Jesus!" he replied in a clear, emphatic voice, adding in a lower tone, "and his salvation. Is not that the best theme?..."

11:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrafn,

You have singularly missed my point. I did not say I was defending creationism, you did.

All I am pointing out is your lack of academic credibilty by revealing your bias that you seem to defend with pride.

I did not say I support or reject creationism. As I say I am merely pointing out your bias.

11:56 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"You have singularly missed my point. I did not say I was defending creationism, you did."

You accuse me of slurring Creationism and attempt to introduce a more favourable (but additionally more partisan and proven dishonest) account for Ronald C. Clark's. How is this not attempting to defend Creationism?

And, as I think it is reasonable to assume that Grigg could not have been mistaken or in ignorance of Lady Hope's words, it would seem reasonable to play the "red card" and call him a "liar" for giving an account that is directly contradicted by her words.

"All I am pointing out is your lack of academic credibilty by revealing your bias that you seem to defend with pride."

I quote a respected biographer, you quote a partisan apologist (who I have shown to be directly contradicted by the facts) and I'm the one exhibiting a "lack of academic credibilty[sic]"?

1:41 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:"However resorting to the red card "LIAR" is rarely helpful in my experience."

Yet my pointing out that Antony was lying when he claimed that conservation of amino acid residues was the same as showing that conserved residues are essential for function was very helpful. Would you claim that it was not helpful?

Now, I'm waiting for him to explain how his repeated claims were unintentional. I don't think I'll get a real response, do you?

Do you see that this lie is at the heart of every probabilistic attack on evolutionary theory, Andrew?

4:00 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

Using the liar word changes the whole atmosphere of the discussion and I think this is usually unhelpful.

Are you against the use of probabalistic arguments using figures derived from data like that produced by Axe?

4:31 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

"Using the liar word changes the whole atmosphere of the discussion and I think this is usually unhelpful."

1) I started out using the word "lie," which is very different from the label "liar."

2) But since Antony did finally admit that his claim was false, how was my labeling it as a lie unhelpful?

"Are you against the use of probabalistic arguments using figures derived from data like that produced by Axe?"

I haven't seen an argument derived using figures from Axe's data. Did you even bother to read Axe's papers before blogging about them?

For the record, I am opposed to the use of probabilistic arguments based on the lie of conflating conservation of amino-acid residues with their necessity for function. For that matter, I am opposed to the use of any type of argument based on any lie. Aren't you?

4:47 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

Let me try a rough outline of what I think your view of Behe's positions re astrology.

1. At his deposition when he was asked the question - Does your view definition of "scientific theory" include astrology. He thought hmm... horoscopes, card readers... yes my definition will include these things.

2. At the trial when asked the same question he thought hmm...horoscopes, card readers yes these will be included.
(Despite the comments which frame this answer which clearly point to a history of science interpretation.)

3. At some point subsequent to the trial he became convinced that on both occasions he was not actually thinking hmm...horoscopes, card readers....but was actually thinking history of science medieval astrology.

Is this a fair representation of your view of what happened?

4:51 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Blaise: “Basically if you say someone is a liar, you don't need to take their arguments at face value because the liar doesn't really mean them. This gives the evolutionist a free pass to ignore the background considerations and implicit assumptions made the alleged liar.”

Here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary says:

Lie. Noun.
1. an intentionally false statement.
2. a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression.

So Blaise, Did Duane Gish lie when he said that human proteins are closer in sequence to bullfrog proteins than to chimp? I’d say yes, because this ridiculous mistake has been pointed out to him on innumerable occasions and yet for twenty-odd years he still repeated it at every one of his ‘debates’.

Did Ken Hovid lie when he claimed that the human cytochrome c sequence was closer to the sunflower protein than to that of the chimp? Again, I’d say yes for the same reason as above.

Did David Swift lie when he said Arabidopsis cytochrome c was closer to yeast than to other plant cytochromes c? In this case I’d say no, just sloppy research. However, if there’s a second edition of his book, I will be interested to see whether he continues to make the same claim.

5:07 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,
You said: 'I started out using the word "lie," which is very different from the label "liar."'

For there to be a "lie" someone needs to be a liar. It is true that simply believeing someone else's lie and repeating it is very different from creating a deliberate falsehood oneself.

You asked:
"But since Antony did finally admit that his claim was false, how was my labeling it as a lie unhelpful?"

A person can make false statements because they are mistaken. I just think that assuming that a mistake has been made rather than assuming deliberate falsehood is a better basis for discussion.

You asked:
"Did you even bother to read Axe's papers before blogging about them?"

It is not a question of "bothering" it is a question of limited resources.
I read all that was available on the web on Axes' papers, including quite full summaries at Pandas Thumb. I do not have access to them without buying them which is not my idea of bargain.

You asked:
"I am opposed to the use of probabilistic arguments based on the lie of conflating conservation of amino-acid residues with their necessity for function. For that matter, I am opposed to the use of any type of argument based on any lie. Aren't you? "
Did you need to ask this question?

5:10 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

"For there to be a "lie" someone needs to be a liar."

Everyone lies at some time. If your wife asks you if a particular dress makes her look fat, do you simply tell the truth?

Labeling a statement as a lie is much less inflammatory than labeling a person as a liar. It allows the person to admit not exercising due diligence in initially making the false claim.

"It is true that simply believeing someone else's lie and repeating it is very different from creating a deliberate falsehood oneself."

Not so much. That exception wouldn't apply to Antony's lie, as he claims to be an expert. He didn't attribute his false conflation of conservation with necessity to anyone else, anyway. He simply stated it as fact, despite the fact that its falsehood, even in the specific case he was using, can be determined in seconds.

"A person can make false statements because they are mistaken."

Agreed. However, Antony claimed that his false statement was inadvertent. He only claimed to be mistaken about his claim that he never used the word "essential." I don't see how that works in this specific case--do you? Keep in mind that the lie here is not merely in using the word "essential," but is a fundamental, conceptual lie.

"I just think that assuming that a mistake has been made rather than assuming deliberate falsehood is a better basis for discussion."

Why? Do you think that Antony would have admitted a mistake in such a basic premise?

"It is not a question of "bothering" it is a question of limited resources."

No, it is not. You have practicing scientists commenting here, and they have access to the papers.

"I read all that was available on the web on Axes' papers, including quite full summaries at Pandas Thumb."

I don't see much evidence that you understood them, since you discounted them for contrived reasons.

"I do not have access to them without buying them which is not my idea of bargain."

You do have access to them. I will send them to you.

"Did you need to ask this question?"

Absolutely, since you appear to be avoiding responding to my pointing out that Antony's argument is based on a falsehood.

Now, we know that conflating conservation with necessity is false. Doesn't that make you, Andrew Rowell, adamantly opposed to every argument based on that conflation?

So, have you seen any arguments based on any figures from Axe's data? Why appear to be dodging such a straightforward question?

5:30 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

Your (Behe's?) argument is completely incoherent:

1) Card-reading is not and never was part of astrology.

2) Horoscopes were and still are part of astrology (though have always been much more complex than the horoscopes you see in newspapers).

As such, you (Behe) have done nothing to contrast historical versus modern astrology.

"He thought hmm... horoscopes, card readers... yes my definition will include these things."

Then, Behe believes that not only is astrology (horoscopes) science according to his definition, so is tarot (card-reading), then, now, whenever.

"3. At some point subsequent to the trial he became convinced that on both occasions he was not actually thinking hmm...horoscopes, card readers....but was actually thinking history of science medieval astrology."

But given that the theories contained within astrology haven't changed, how is "history of science medieval astrology" different from modern astrology which is what he was, repeatedly, actually asked about?

"Is this a fair representation of your view of what happened?"

No it is not!

Your point (3) is clearly and unambiguously contradicted by Behe's efforts at trial to change the subject from the present which he was asked about, to historic astrology which he was not being asked about. This is a clear indication that he understood that he was being asked about adtrology-now, not astrology-then.

My impression was that he realised that he'd admitted something damning at his deposition, but did not want to directly deny that (present day) astrology would meet his definition of Science (most probably because he had no answer to the obvious follow up question of "what is it about astrology that disqualifies it under your definition?"), so tried to obfuscate his response, by attempting to bring in historic astrology (which was never mentioned in his deposition) at every opportunity.

6:00 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,
"Labeling a statement as a lie is much less inflammatory than labeling a person as a liar."
I agree. But using mistake and mistaken is lowering the inflammatory level still further.

Re situation with Anthony.
I still think that if approached more gently and methodically understanding and agreement can be reached and this is what we should be aiming at in this situation.

Re Axes papers:
"I don't see much evidence that you understood them, since you discounted them for contrived reasons."
Can you point me to my mistake?


Thank you for the offer to send the Axe papers. I would appreciate copies. The email address is andrewprowell and the AT part is googlemail.com

Doesn't that make you, Andrew Rowell, adamantly opposed to every argument based on that conflation?
Yes. Of course.

Would you agree that there is a close relationship between conservation and importance for function?

So, have you seen any arguments based on any figures from Axe's data?
No but I think that in principle these are the kind of arguments that need to be made.

It was particularly the last question that I was asking whether you needed to ask ie:
"For that matter, I am opposed to the use of any type of argument based on any lie. Aren't you?"

Do you need to ask that question given that I said in the blog:
"it is good to feel strongly about truth and to expose what is not true ruthlessly and energetically."

6:08 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

"I agree. But using mistake and mistaken is lowering the inflammatory level still further."

It's not as effective, though.

"Re situation with Anthony.
I still think that if approached more gently and methodically understanding and agreement can be reached and this is what we should be aiming at in this situation. "

I don't. I predict that Antony will bail out.

"Can you point me to my mistake?"

There's nothing controversial about the papers. The only controversy is in what people say about them.

"Thank you for the offer to send the Axe papers. I would appreciate copies. The email address is andrewprowell and the AT part is googlemail.com"

Done.

"Yes. Of course."

Good. So we agree that you are adamantly opposed to Dembski's main argument. That's progress!

"Would you agree that there is a close relationship between conservation and importance for function?"

Yes, but the relationship doesn't come within a mile of Antony's lie--that universal conservation means that a residue(s) is essential for function.

"No but I think that in principle these are the kind of arguments that need to be made."

But no one on the ID side is making any such arguments.

"Do you need to ask that question given that I said in the blog:
"it is good to feel strongly about truth and to expose what is not true ruthlessly and energetically.""

Because I don't always find it consistent with your rhetoric. So when will Andrew Rowell start exposing Dembski's false premise ruthlessly and energetically?

What about David Swift's untrue claim, which Tony explained to you in great detail?

6:35 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"That is hardly surprising Andrew: those accused of lying on this blog have been, almost without exception, those whose viewpoints you have been attempting to defend."

Perhaps it is rather because the claim is highly presumptuous and in my own experience in debating and watching other debates, somewhat ironically, the accusation of lying has been used rather dishonestly. Furthermore, accusations tend to provoke inflammatory rhetoric, that could be a distraction from content filled discussion.

8:52 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Sparky: "in my own experience in debating and watching other debates, somewhat ironically, the accusation of lying has been used rather dishonestly."

Sparky, be precise. Am I wrong to accuse Gish and Hovid of lying?

I think not.

9:18 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

I have written to David Swift.
Where does Dembski conflate conservation with requirement for function?

9:59 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

OK I have displaying my appalling ignorance of astrology! Sorry that made my last comment confusing.

Let me try again to get at what you think happened.

1. At the deposition Behe was thinking hmm... astrology - horoscopes.... yes my definition includes them. He then answers:Is astrology? It could be, yes

2. Subsequent to the deposition he thinks some more about this and decides that this was not a good answer but realises that a straight no will expose him to the question of what rules astrology out but allows ID in. He doesn't want to answer that question so he decides to confuse the whole matter by appearing to confuse present astrology with ancient astrology... arguing that ancient astrology could have had real scientific theory mixed with it.

10:28 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew asked:
"Where does Dembski conflate conservation with requirement for function?"

He's sneaky and implicit about it, but one example is p. 301 of No Free Lunch, in which he's also misrepresenting Axe's data. There, he claims [caps mine]:

"Preliminary indications are that proteins permit a perturbation tolerance factor of NO MORE THAN 10 PERCENT (thermodynamic considerations seem to preclude proper protein folding for more than this percentage of random substitutions). On the other hand, proteins fall into only a limited number of taxonomic groups performing certain types of functions. Thus proteins of a given length and sharing only a few key sites will often be uniquely determined functionally. It follows that the perturbation identity factor will be significantly larger than the perturbation tolerance factor. For enzymes that number appears to be larger than 30 percent. Structural proteins tend to be more tolerant of substitution than enzymes, but it seems safe to say that protein sequences differing in no more than 20 percent of their positions can be presumed to be variants of the same design."

This is a steaming pile of hooey for several reasons:

1) I pointed you to a family tree of myosins, along with alignments of their head domains. They are about 1000 aa residues in length, and they all perform the same functions-hydrolysis of ATP and actin binding. How different are they, Andrew?

2) Dembski cites Axe for the 10 percent figure. Is that what the data in Axe's paper show? Did Axe do any selection? Did he look for other functions?

3) Does MET require that members of protein families with the same function differ by RANDOM substitutions, or is Dembski pulling a fast one? Aren't those substitutions all filtered through natural selection?

11:34 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Perhaps it is rather because the claim is highly presumptuous and in my own experience in debating and watching other debates, somewhat ironically, the accusation of lying has been used rather dishonestly."

Sparky:

You have made an accusation of dishonesty. Please substantiate it!

"Furthermore, accusations tend to provoke inflammatory rhetoric, that could be a distraction from content filled discussion."

For myself, I tend to use the accusation of lying either when the falsehood has been employed repeatedly even after correction, or when the individual making the falsehood is already resorting to "inflammatory rhetoric". In both cases the potential for "content filled discussion" has already ceased.

2:46 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"OK I have displaying my appalling ignorance of astrology! Sorry that made my last comment confusing."

I didn't find it confusing. I think you were confusing yourself. To me it was perfectly clear that theory-of-astrology-then = theory-of-astrology-now (although method-of-astrology-now may use computers astronomical calculations and be generally more 'sciencey'), so that your argument was invalid (irrespective of whether card-reading is in or out).

"Let me try again to get at what you think happened.

1. At the deposition Behe was thinking hmm... astrology - horoscopes.... yes my definition includes them. He then answers:Is astrology? It could be, yes

2. Subsequent to the deposition he thinks some more about this and decides that this was not a good answer but realises that a straight no will expose him to the question of what rules astrology out but allows ID in. He doesn't want to answer that question so he decides to confuse the whole matter by appearing to confuse present astrology with ancient astrology... arguing that ancient astrology could have had real scientific theory mixed with it."


That is a reasonable approximation to what I said. Will you admit that it amounts to, behind the obfuscation, an admission that astrology-now meets his definition?

Do you have an explanation of what happened that better fits the court record of Behe's deposition and trial testimony?

2:55 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

The SOEDict. has two senses for "astrology"

1. Astronomy, esp in its practical aspects, as the measurement of time, prediction of natural phenomena etc - natural astrology

2.The supposed art of foretelling or counselling in human affairs by interpretation of the motions of celestial objects - judicial astrology.

It notes that the first sense is obselete.

As I understand it if you go back in time there was no clear separation between real astronomy and astrology. It was all lumped together as astrology and therefore some elements of what was astrology was actually primitive astronomy.

Is it possible that Behe was thinking of astrology using this obsolete sense of the word?

(a) His wording at the deposition was asking for clarification... it could be.
(b) At the trial it is clear from the context that there is linkage in his mind with a history of science type of argument about astrology.
(c) He has explained in an email that this was in fact the case and that even at the deposition he was thinking of astrology using this obsolete sense.

It is possible that you are right but if that is the case I cannot see any way of salvaging his honesty. If you are right then I cannot avoid the consequence that he lied to me in his email. In other words a necessary consequence of your interpretation is that Behe is a liar. Does that make sense?

9:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrafn,

OK, let's try again. All I am trying to point out is your bias.

I am neither refuting the truth of your comment (That Darwin did not recant and there was a ‘Holy Fabrication’ – a lie) nor agreeing.

Now, do you agree you have a bias?

Why do you aggressively come back at me instead of answering my question?

Do you have one - a bias - or not?

A yes or no will suffice.

9:55 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Is it possible that Behe was thinking of astrology using this obsolete sense of the word?"

No. Obsolete means "not in current usage". Nobody today uses astrology to mean something synonymous with astronomy. We do not talk about the Hubble Astrological Telescope, we do not talk about Radio Astrology. We only use Astrology in terms of horoscopes and related issues.

Therefore there is no reason for anybody today, and particularly not somebody purporting to be a scientist, to interpret "astrology" to mean "astronomy", and most particularly not as a default or an unprompted interpretation.

"(a) His wording at the deposition was asking for clarification... it could be."

You are stretching here.

What he actually said was:
"It could be, yes."
While this is less obviously emphatic than a bald "yes", it is more obviously emphatic than a simple "it could be" which is in turn more emphatic than "it might be".

Regardless, it is definitely an affirmative answer.

"b) At the trial it is clear from the context that there is linkage in his mind with a history of science type of argument about astrology."

No Andrew. The "context" is that he was not being asked about anything to do with History of Science or anything even vaguely historical.

Behe then went, spontaneously, off onto a tangent onto the History of Science in an attempt to obfuscate his answer. This testimony was non-responsive and a complete non sequitor.

The lawyer then dragged him back to the question he was actually asked:
"Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?"

To which Behe answered:
"Yes, that's correct."

He did not answer "it was one once" or "historically, yes".

But regardless of this point, your argument still does not hold up. As I have said before, the historic-theory-of-astrology is the same as modern-theory-of-astrology. If the historic theory was scientific, then the modern one is likewise scientific. Both are unfalsifiable, so neither has been falsified, meaning that you cannot make a "it was a scientific theory but it has since been falsified" argument.

Therefore admitting that historic-astrology is a scientific theory is equivalent to admitting that modern-astrology is a scientific theory.

12:23 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Anonymous:

How is quoting a respected biographer exhibiting a bias?

And what right do you have to claim the moral high ground when your own source lied about what Lady Hope said (as well as being patently partisan)?

I would claim that the only "bias" I am exhibiting is one against dishonesty, in this case Lady Hope's dishonesty and Russell M. Grigg's dishonesty.

If more Creationists tend to be dishonest than honest, then this "bias" will, quite naturally, also apply to most Creationists as well.

1:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrafn,

You are not answering the question. The Answers web article is saying the same thing - Lady Hope fabricated the recantation story - she lied.

What I am saying is that you deliberately chose your source as a way to bash creationism as approving of falsehood, not to expose a lie.

Therefore you exhibit bias.

For the last time because it looks like you will not answer.

Do you have one - a bias - or not (at all)?

Again, a yes or no will suffice. Well, if you can't manage that, I suppose a don't know will do.

Do I wait in vain?

2:30 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
Do you agree that your interpretation requires that I believe that Behe lied to me in his email on this subject?

2:39 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"The Answers web article is saying the same thing - Lady Hope fabricated the recantation story - she lied."

No it is not! It says:
"The alleged recantation/conversion are embellishments that others have either read into the story or made up for themselves."


So anonymous, have you simply failed to read the article you yourself posted, or are you lying?

"What I am saying is that you deliberately chose your source as a way to bash creationism as approving of falsehood, not to expose a lie."

No Anonymous, I picked the first authoritative-seeming description that I came across.

You on the other hand went straight for an essay from a partisan Creationist site with a long reputation for misrepresenting Science.

"Do you have one - a bias - or not (at all)?

Again, a yes or no will suffice. Well, if you can't manage that, I suppose a don't know will do."


That is a stupid question. I have hundreds of biases. I am biased against the colour yellow. I am biased against Hip Hop. Etc, etc.

I am also biased against dishonesty, bad logic and hypocrisy. This tends to make me more than a little crotchety towards most Creationists.

"Do I wait in vain?"

Yes. You didn't ask a sensible question, so I feel no obligation to give you a direct answer.

4:17 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew, first two points:

1) I do not consider whether Behe lied to you or not to be a material consideration in evaluating the court record. People lie. Behe might have, he might not have. The court record is the only solid evidence we have of what happened.

2) As I already demonstrated it doesn't matter whether Behe was talking about historic-theory-astrology or modern-theory-of-astrology. The two are the same, so admitting one as Science, admits the other.

Now to your question:
"Do you agree that your interpretation requires that I believe that Behe lied to me in his email on this subject?"

No. Not only is court cross-examination stressful (thus likely to distort memories), I think that he's been obfuscating and reframing what he said for so long that he doesn't have any clear idea what he said or originally meant any more. But this makes what he says he remembers no more reliable than if he had been lying to you.

4:30 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

If I choose to believe that Behe was telling me the truth in his email to me (which I do) then I am forced to the conclusion that there is some considerable confusion in what was said in the deposition and the courtroom.

I had a look again at what he said:
I was not thinking of the modern superstition of astrology, but of the idea of astrology in the middle ages, when people were trying to discern what forces actually were in play in nature. After all, if planetary bodies such as the moon and sun could affect the tides on earth, perhaps they could affect other things as well, such as people's behavior. We now know that to be wrong, but at the time it was a reasonable idea, based on physical evidence.

I agree that this knocks on the head my obselete sense explanation.

Do you disagree with Behe that at some point the astrology idea could have been a hypothesis worth thinking about.

4:58 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"If I choose to believe that Behe was telling me the truth in his email to me (which I do)..."

Then your assumption is completely arbitrary.

"I was not thinking of the modern superstition of astrology, but of the idea of astrology in the middle ages, when people were trying to discern what forces actually were in play in nature. After all, if planetary bodies such as the moon and sun could affect the tides on earth, perhaps they could affect other things as well, such as people's behavior. We now know that to be wrong, but at the time it was a reasonable idea, based on physical evidence."

This is wrong on a number of levels. Firstly, the tides (which simply ebb and flow) are not analogous to the complex influences that astrology posited for the planets and constellations. Secondly, sun and moon's effect on the tides flows directly from the clear and unambiguous regularities that the tides follow. Astrology has no terrestrial patterns that it is attempting to account for. It is rather an attempt to create a (mythologically-based) pattern where there is none. Thirdly, Astrology was eventually rejected because it was unfalsifiable (and always had been so), not because it was falsified. Therefore any specific definition of Science that rejected present-astrology would necessarily reject historic-astrology.

5:34 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

I would conclude that Behe's account to you neither fit the facts of astrology nor of the court record. I would therefore discount it as a rather weak attempt at after-the-fact rationalisation of the very embarrassing admissions he made.

5:41 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

THIS is what is at stake, as excerpted from Aritstotle in his The Rhetoric:

>> Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible . . . Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile . . . Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question . . . .>>

In short, manipulating perceptions through twisting words and through slanders is a stock in trade of the dishonest retorician, or at minimum the emotionally so-worked up that one spews off slanders without recognising that one is being most uncivil and uncharitable in dealing with those who happen to differ.

As the pattern recently and even currently shown here and here -- cf especially the attempt to insist even though H has no technical basis to do so that Mr Bradley was a layman out of his depth on thermodynamics -- abundantly confirms, Hrafn unfortunately fits exactly this context.

You will notice that in each case H subjects those he targets to the worst possible, agenda-serving, too often slanderous interpretation, and that he is often quite unwilling to yield to evidence or apologise for wronging others.

As to the habitual resort to "liar" and "lie," let us just note that decent people do not rush to that as their FIRST interpretation of those who disagree with them or their ideas, and such people will if they in a moment of anger or the like make such a claim and evidence is shown, will back down and apologise for going too far.

The threads just linked will show that this pattern of losing one's cool in a moment of heat then thinkingbetter of it is exactly NOT that which H resorts to.

On Mr Behe and his statement on astrology, it should be clear enough in phil of science, that:

1] The demarcation of science/non-science is a rather difficult issue in general, and indeed we are at this point really doing so on a case by case family resemblance basis. [Arguments in any case should be decided on the merits not by whether or not they can gain a prestige label.]

2] Across time, astrology has been regarded as in effect what we would today call a science, relative to what was credible at the past time relative to generally plausible worldviews. Indeed, Newton's thought, in the words of Keynes [on sinpecting papers passed on tohis family), would look more like the last of the ancient Magi than the first of the modern scientists -- e.g. his works in alchemy for instance were a major, ultimately futile effort!

3] Similarly, Kepler was an astrologer (and supported his astronomy from his astrology . . .) . . . making a famous prediction of a storm that according to Koestler when it happened was greeted with "The Kepler is coming!" In short, at the time in question, standards and worldviews were different from how we would think today. I have seen it argued thatthe heyday for macic was not he middle ages but the same time that saw theemergenceof the modern world, and that magic did not make it intothe domain of acceptable technologies because it was unreliable. I leave it to the technical observers to remark more conclusively on this -- I only report what I read a long time ago now.

4] In a time when occult influences were viewed as credible -- including, on at least one interpretation I have run across, Newton's view of gravitation -- it would indeed have made sense to view astrology as reasonably credible and respectable as it was pursued by the learned using fairly similar tools and techniques to what we view today as Astronomy. [BTW, alchemy and chemistry bear a similar relationship . . .)

5] In such a context the pressing of Behe's remarks to try to make him out to be an idiot who thinks that current astrology is a science -- and NB Behe is NOT an expert in the detailed history and philosophy of science so far as I know, to make an authoritative ruling on that matter but simply a scientist grappling with the sort of issues that crop up when sciences go into crisis periods -- is reflective of rhetorical agendas rather than any serious attempt at mutually respectful, truth-seeking dialogue.

6] Note, this last comes from the same side whose advocates consistently -- and in the teeth of strong protest, as well as serious argument and evidence from those qualified in the relevant sciences and philosophy -- conflate design theory with biblical creationism [to gain thereby rhetorical, policy and courtroom advantages] and who refuse to recogtnise that an empirically anchored inference to INTELLIGENT ACTION is not the same as an inference to the supernatural.

______

It is time to do a lot better than that, H and co.

Trust this is helpful, Andrew.

TKI

2:31 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Kairosfocus:"As to the habitual resort to "liar" and "lie," let us just note that decent people do not rush to that as their FIRST interpretation of those who disagree with them or their ideas, and such people will if they in a moment of anger or the like make such a claim and evidence is shown, will back down and apologise for going too far."

kairosfocus, please read my past posts above about Duane Gish and Kent Hovind (sorry I spelled his name wrong last time - but we all know who I mean). Please tell me honestly whether you think I was wrong to call both of them liars.

Hint: read the Oxford English Dictionary definition carefully before responding.

I previously challenged sparky on this question and s/he never got back, but I think it's a fair question.

4:39 pm  
Blogger umbjm said...

KF wrote,
Note, this last comes from the same side whose advocates consistently -- and in the teeth of strong protest, as well as serious argument and evidence from those qualified in the relevant sciences and philosophy -- conflate design theory with biblical creationism [to gain thereby rhetorical, policy and courtroom advantages]

Aren't you conflating the notion of design with theory, which has a clear definition as something that has successfully made many, many predictions?

In fact, ID proponents have neither made nor tested any predictions of the notion of ID.

and who refuse to recogtnise that an empirically anchored inference to INTELLIGENT ACTION is not the same as an inference to the supernatural.

What you fail to realize is that "empirically anchored" falls far short of real science. One has to test predictions from the inference to be doing science, and to date, every ID proponent on the planet lacks the courage/faith/integrity to do so.

6:21 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew et al:

I have no intention to engage in a long dragged out back-forth on points and rabbit trails in this thread. However, some remarks are in order as follows:

1] TJ: Distractor on Gish etc

I am not going to get into a long dragged out discussion of a claimed rogues gallery. [Gish et al, who I do not claim to speak for, can speak up for themselves. I would not at all be surprised, on long observation of the rhetoric at work, that there is a very different side to the story that we are not hearing about, which would put matters in a different context. But, I have no intention to try to go dig up remarks and engag in a back-forth on this one. That would be a secondary level rabbit trail off this rabbit trail from the principal point of this thread: abusive commentary, and on that I speak as a victim. So, I refuse to lose focus. Not least, observe carefully: Gish is a leading debater for Biblical Creationism, so why is his name being dragged into a discussion over a different movement, Design thought and now theory?]

My comments regarding H and his ilk were highly specific, with links to cases in point. Look them up, and see if H has treated Professor Bradley fairly. Or, a long list of others.

Finally, has he treated me fairly [starting with giving out my name without my permission, in a context in which I am using a moderate degree of concealment to minimise exposure to abusive spam and to possible identity theft etc. while allowing responsible people to contact me through appropriate mechanisms]?

Or, is it that he and his ilk – as Aristotle warns of -- immediately switch topic from the matters on the merits, to asserting accusations that are too often ill-founded and uncharitable at best, slanderous or willfully deceptive at worst? [In the case of a distinguished professor such as Walter Bradley, it turned out that H has not got even a first level in Thermodynamics but set out to assert based on a selective and misleading citation from his online resume, that the professor was a layman speaking out of his depth on thermodynamics. I spoke up in the first instance as one who has studied physics and knows about of the likely background of such a man with such a resume, as well I have read his major work on the subject, TMLO. All too soon, I was labelled a liar and others were dragged in too. The back-forth is there for all to see. Nary an apology in sight.]

We see there at minimum a habitual resort to slander and the epithet "liar" as soon as issues of disagreement come up, plainly tied into the slanderous Dawkinsian agenda that any one who disagrees with the secularist evolutionary materialist view is/must be "ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked." And if the first three do not apply, the the last must and liar is an easy epithet.

Such behaviour is uncivil, and is a distraction from discussion on the merits.

2] U: Aren't you conflating the notion of design with theory, which has a clear definition as something that has successfully made many, many predictions?

First, this is of course a side-point and an intended distraction from the point. (It is also intended to imply that I am just as bad as those whom Andrew is trying to regulate.)

Second, it reflects a fundamental misunderstadning of the nature of science and of explanation and prediction in that context in science. Here are a couple of relevant classic dictionary definitions, which if you track back to the threads in which I did engage in a back-forth, were already addressed:

>>science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990 -- and yes, they used the "z" Virginia!]

scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]>>

In that context, I have echoed and amplified the common summary, namely:

that science seeks to describe, explain, predict and influence or control the world using empirically anchored observation, abductive inference to [provisionally] "best" explanation, deduction and testing of consequences, inductive generalisation and applications of the findings, including critical dialogue in the community of informed peers. [I discuss in slightly more details here, with onward issues. U should do some serious reading in phil of sci to see that all is not as cut and dry as s/he may think. Try out names such as not just Popper but Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend, Laudan, Rorty and many, many more.]

In short, prediction is not the defining be-all and end-all of scientific theories or the scientific enterprise generally; nor are those trained only in science but not in the history and phil of sci the best to speak with expertise on the thorny issues connected thereto. Indeed, since philosophical sophistication is not now common among scientists [it once was – e.g. Bohr!], such men are often laymen out of depth on matters here, including Mr Dawkins in particular. Similarly, there are several secularist philosophers of science or related fields who give highly misleading one-sided, caricatured and agenda-serving views on design theory that exploit the general ignorance on the subject to poison the mind and distort the discussion, starting with Ms Barbara Forrest, who is of course also an atheist activist.

Back on this point: it is IMHCO – and that of a lot of those who are far more learned on the subject than I -- better to view prediction as a species of explanation, i.e. Using models/dynamics to work out the forces and constraints acting thus project likely outcomes of future situations to be explored empirically; with predictive success/failure having the capacity to eliminate those theories that fail, as a true explanation can only properly imply true predictions. But there is an asymmetry: predictive success does not entail truth or even understanding.

Further to this, accuracy of prediction is not at all a criterion of ultimate truth, even when it is found. For instance my home discipline has in it the most famous single theory in science, Newtonian Dynamics. For 200 years from the 1680s on this was the best confirmed theory in all science, the very benchmark of scientific success. Then, from about 1880 to 1930, the limitations were sharply exposed and now this is viewed as an approximation for large, slow moving bodies; Quantum and Relativity and their derivatives coming into play when the Newtonian model breaks down. In that context, Newtonian Dynamics still makes quite accurate predictions, but there is no claim for ultimate truth in it! (In the ancient world too, quite accurate predictions of eclipses etc were made without any proper understanding of the underlying dynamics; indeed, the link to occultic astrological thought was of course quite heavy.]

And, like it or lump it, design theory is a partly re-emerging paradigm in science which is legitimate in the context that we seek causes/explanations rooted in: [1] chance, [2] natural regularities and/or [3] agency depending on the circumstances at work.

U seems to be concerned on its predictive track record.

The competitive explanatory track record must first be constrained by accuracy to what we know about the sources of functionally specific, complex information. Namely, in all cases where we do know the causal story directly, such a phenomenon traces to an intelligent agent. Thus, the inference thereto, is based on what we do know based on a massive empirical database.

Such empircally anchored accuracy in explanation is far more relevant to understanding why it is proper to make reference to design theory as a re-emerging paradigm, especially as we are in large part engaging in retrodictive explanation on the aspects where design theory and the broad evolutionary materialist programme – cosmological, chemical, macro- and miceo biological, socio-cultural – both address origins. [Note that origins science is rather special, as it addresses the unique, not directly observable and obviously unrepeatable past; through plausibility of descriptive and explanatory scenarios and presently observed data. Such a history-linked explanatory enterprise is always even more provisional than scientific efforts that address situations we can directly observe and experiment with today; so humility and open-mindedness are even more important – but, due to the linked worldview issues and agendas, too often are missing in action.. (I need not elaborate on a pet peeve of mine: computer models and simulations are not experiments or observations -- save of algorithms and their underlying data and assumptions at work.)]

U may therefore find the discussion of "the positive case for design" here of interest as a first brief step, and the wiki here on design theory and research, also of interest.

But, again, this is in rhetorical effect, again a distraction from the issue at stake for the thread: the need of basic broughtupcy in commentary. That should not be ducked, if any serious progress is to be made.

Worse, the distraction is in fact a case in point of the abusive attitude that Andrew has tried to address. This is revealed in stark details by:

3] empirically anchored" falls far short of real science. One has to test predictions from the inference to be doing science, and to date, every ID proponent on the planet lacks the courage/faith/integrity to do so.

Again, this is a further diversion, and embeds not only a misunderstanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise, but also an irresponsible misrepresentation that Design theorists are not doing empirically based research, joined to a slander against men who ARE doing such research, starting with say Mr Scott Minnich and others. I excerpt from the onward linked on this researcher:

>> [DI]Biochemist Michael Behe used the flagella to illustrate the concept of irreducible complexity and Minnich takes the argument to the next level crediting the design paradigm to leading to new insights in his lab research at the University of Idaho . . . . [ISCID] Dr. Minnich's research interests are temperature regulation of Y. enterocolitca gene expression and coordinate reciprocal expression of flagellar and virulence genes.

Scott Minnich is widely published in technical journals including Journal of Bacteriology, Molecular Microbiology, Journal of Molecular Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Microbiological Method, Food Technology, and the Journal of Food Protection . . . .

[Uidaho] Selected Publications . . . . Monday S.R., Minnich S.A., Feng PC. 2004. A 12-base-pair deletion in
the flagellar master control gene flhC causes nonmotility of the
pathogenic German sorbitol-fermenting Escherichia coli O157:H-
strains. J Bacteriol. 186:2319-27 . . . . Ely B., Ely T.W, Crymes W.B. Jr, Minnich S.A. 2000. A family of six
flagellin genes contributes to the Caulobacter crescentus flagellar
filament. J. Bacteriol. 182:5001-4.>>

In context, Minnich has addressed the iconic bacterial flagellum and the related Y pestis etc TTSS injection pump, which uses in effect a subset of the genes for the flagellum to create a toxin injector. As Peterson discusses at popular level, this lab based research is highly relevant to the debates over design theory:

>> Behe's most famous example [of irreducible complexity in empirically observable action] is the bacterial flagellum . . . If you take away the driveshaft from the flagellar motor, you do not end up with a motor that functions less well. You have a motor that does not function at all. All of the essential parts must be there, all at once, for the motor to perform its function of propelling the bacterium through liquid . . . . that is precisely what Darwinian evolution cannot accomplish. Darwinian evolution is by definition "blind." It cannot plan ahead and create parts that might be useful to assemble a biological machine in the future. For the machine to be assembled, all or nearly all the parts must already be there and be performing a function. Why must they already be performing a function? Because if a part does not confer a real, present advantage for the organism's survival or reproduction, Darwinian natural selection will not preserve the gene responsible for that part. In fact, according to Darwinian theory, that gene will actually be selected against. An organism that expends resources on building a part that is useless handicaps itself compared to other organisms that are not wasting resources, and will tend to get outcompeted . . . .

Behe the biochemist . . . search[ed] the relevant scientific journals, books, and proceedings of meetings to find out what the Darwinists had really proven about the origin of complex biochemical systems . . . . "There has never been a meeting, or a book, or a paper on details [key operative word -- just so stories and/or hand waving will not do] of the evolution of complex biochemical systems" . . . Behe, recalling the "fierce resistance" he encountered after the publication of Darwin's Black Box, remarks that much of it came from "internet fans of Darwinism who claimed that, why, there were hundreds or thousands of research papers describing Darwinian evolution of irreducibly complex biochemical systems." Except that there aren't.

Well, this sent the Darwinians scrambling. Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University who argues in favor of Darwinian evolution, made a splash when he announced (and he bolded the language in his article) that "the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex." Miller cited a cellular structure known as the type III secretory system (TTSS) that allows certain bacteria to inject toxins through the cell walls of their hosts . . . .

But . . . the bubonic plague bacterium already has the full set of genes necessary to make a flagellum. Rather than making a flagellum, Y. pestis uses only part of the genes that are present to manufacture that . . . injector instead. As pointed out in a recent article by design theorist Stephen Meyer and microbiologist Scott Minnich (an expert on the flagellar system), the gene sequences suggest that "flagellar proteins arose first and those of the pump came later." If evolution was involved, the pump came from the motor, not the motor from the pump. Also, "the other thirty proteins in the flagellar motor (that are not present in the [pump]), are unique to the motor and are not found in any other living system." . . . In short, the proteins in the TTSS do not provide a "gradualist" Darwinian pathway to explain the step-by-step evolution of the irreducibly complex flagellar motor.>> [This is of course already discussed in my linked introductory survey.]

Go to the relevant Wiki, onlookers, and look around. Ten see if there has been a responsible engagement of the facts on the ground before making global, accusatory assertions like:

>>U: . . . every [so also each and every one!] ID proponent on the planet lacks the courage/faith/integrity [such are alleged to be dishonest cowards by direct implication] . . . >>

On facts such as excerpted, this should be apologised for and such inflammatory statements should be avoided in future.

I gave more details on this as it shows the pattern we are discussing, though at a more subtle level: implications instead of direct accusations. This too, is unacceptable and irresponsible.

______________

Cheerio


TKI

9:48 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

kairosfocus said: “TJ: Distractor on Gish etc, I am not going to get into a long dragged out discussion of a claimed rogues gallery.”

I don’t want you to. Just a simple yes or no answer to my question will suffice.

As for the rest of your post, well there’s a huge amount there and I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with all of it (especially not the philosophy of science stuff), so I’ll just focus on one aspect that fits with my main interest.

Distilling your thoughts down, I think that one of the things you’re trying to say is that there’s a lot of very exciting cutting edge work in ‘design theory’ out there and we fuddy-duddy old scientists really better start paying attention.

As evidence, you trot out Behe and ‘irreducible complexity’ yet again. To which I have to refer you to innumerable older posts on other threads in which I and others explain why this whole ‘irreducible complexity’ thing is a boring red-herring.

More interestingly, you quote the published work of a microbiologist called Scott Minnich. Yes indeed, the Journal of Bacteriology is a real journal and is genuinely far more impressive than Rivista di Biologia. So I had a quick look at one of the papers:

Bert Ely, Tracey W. Ely, William B. Crymes Jr., and Scott A. Minnich
A Family of Six Flagellin Genes Contributes to the Caulobacter crescentus Flagellar Filament. Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 182, 5001-5004, (2000).

The problem is, there’s absolutely nothing in this paper that remotely addresses the issue of intelligent design. Quite the opposite in fact since the very first figure of the paper shows a phylogenetic tree constructed from flagellin sequences!

Am I missing something here? Perhaps we could start a new feature: an on-line journal club in which kairosfocus and his friends describe a published paper and say why it supports ID and we patiently explain why it doesn’t.

3:54 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Tony wrote:
"Perhaps we could start a new feature: an on-line journal club in which kairosfocus and his friends describe a published paper and say why it supports ID and we patiently explain why it doesn’t."

I'd participate, but only with some ground rules that would help Andrew see why quote-mining is so transparently dishonest to us working scientists:

1) No quoting.
2) Every question/challenge must be related to the relevant data in the paper.
3) Gordon's posts must be limited in length.

Andrew, the point I'm trying to make here is that when real scientists read/discuss a paper, the text (other than the discussion) is secondary; it merely illuminates the data in the figures and tables. A journal-club presentation usually consists of only presenting the data from figures and tables; IOW, we primarily read papers by looking at the pictures.

6:22 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew (et al and onlookers):

First, I noticed this perspective on the advocacy group, British Centre for Science Education overnight. Mr Anderson's comments may help us see that we are dealing with the ethos and strategy of at least one wing of the secularist subculture in the UK [and elsewhere too . . .]: attack the man, do not cogently address the issue on the merits. Key excerpt:

>>The BCSE's leaders have, in private e-mails to me, in their forums, and on their website, described me or my blog variously as a child abuser, "clown", "liar", "fool", "stupid", "fundamentalist", "completely without standards or [conscience]", "cowardly", "gutless", "little weasel", "god boy", "extremist" . . . [goes on for a long time . . .] . . . . The point is to compare all the activity and abuse above, with what the BCSE haven't done by way of response.>>

What is it that has not been done: address the issue on the merits being raised by this new blog: what is the BCSE's own agenda as a pressure group (which of course they have a perfect right to form, and then others to critically assess), and what is their credibility to be say cited in the UK Parliament as authoritative [which according to A has happened).

Now, of course, I am not here widening the debate, only pointing out that there is a lot of rage-driven rhetoric out there, driven by the Dawkins style attitude that one who differs with evolutionary materialism can only be one or more of: ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked [in the exceptionally so sense]. To do that they are committing several irrelevancies, and are deeply polarising and poisoning the atmosphere.

That is not healthy for anyone.

Now, overnight I see there have been a couple of comments, but observe also that there simply has been no acknowledgement that polarising ad hominems are inappropriate for resolving the issues at stake. Sad.

I will take up a few points:

1] TJ: Just a simple yes or no answer to my question will suffice.

My point is, that such matters are seldom so simplistic as a "yes-no" answer -- which is prone in the sort of polarised context we have seen, to be twisted into a feed to an agenda of deceptive rhetoric.

For instance, as Mr Anderson reminds us -- as a good biblical Christian Minister, we are ALL of us prone to error and sin, so the issue of whether one is in the wrong (including of course lying) on occasion is simple to answer: yes.

But, that does not address whether one is fundamentally on the side of the angels or the demons, i.e. does one show penitence in general and in specific cases, by whatever moral light one has, and does one then seek to walk in that light towards the truth? [Cf Rom 2:5 - 11.] Or, does one instead fit in under Jesus' rebuke to those who heard him:

>>Jn 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.">>

For Mr Gish, it is perfectly possible that he has been caught out in a falsehood here, but equally, it is perfectly possible -- on track record of the sort of rhetorical games he addresses at length in his mid 90's Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics, after 20 years of debates, that he has as usual been abusively misrepresented.

What is not in doubt is that he has been over a very long time so effective as a debater for his YEC position, that after many losses to him [mostly due to his evolution critique emphasis that highlights the mounting pile of anomalies faced by the NDT etc as these theories and models try to account for the claimed major phenomenon, macroevolution; and also as evolutionary materialists try to account for the postulated prior -- note the shift here to beyond NDT proper -- chemical evolution] many leading evolutionary materialists refused to further debate him and counselled that others should not debate him, on whatever excuse. [Cf two cases in point of debates here and here. Here is ICR's response to the “standard” rebuttal attempts against it and its spokesmen, which will sound ever so familiar. This summary on a debate in the newspapers among the scientific community at Los Alamos – the bomb builders boys and their colleagues [not exactly a context for ignoramuses] - is also relevant.

Observe in particular the distinction Morris makes between:

[a] Biblical Creationism, and

[b] Scientific Creationism;

. . .that is the issues at stake are broader than just the interpretations of Genesis etc; and his implication that there exists an empirically based common ground that we can all address through scientific methods.

I think the late founder of Modern Creationism – with whom I once had a mutually respectful clarifying correspondence on thermodynamics and origins [he promptly clarified that indeed there is a significant difference between order and what I now term functionally specified, informationally rich complexity, raising the question of the origin of such FSCI] -- is right on that point. (I came away with a very deep respect for this man, who was willing to go into a personal back-forth with an unknown from way out in the boondocks; indeed he and a colleague once sent to me -- on a letter of inquiry -- some fairly expensive materials without even an order being made. I paid for the items as soon as I received them! The attitude and fundamental decency of these men deeply impress me to this day. Totally different from what is on display in this blog and elsewhere from their critics.)

In essence:

(i) The Creationists often think this scientific common ground on origin and diversity of life is sufficient to anchor the worldview of theism, in particular a theistic account of origins.

(ii) Design thinkers think that is reading too much of a particular worldview into the matter; one may infer to intelligence but not decide SCIENTIFICALLY on whether said intelligence on OOL on this planet and its diversity, is within or beyond nature.

(iii) The evolutionary materialists, a la Dawkins, think that they can use the science of origins as decisive evidence to persuade the public that there is no ground for inferring to intelligent action on origins or to a capital-C Creator.

(iv) I think that of the three, the ID thinkers hold the balance on the SCIENTIFIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL merits, especially once we look at the nanotechnology of life at cellular level and try to account for it. When we go to the issue of the finetuning of the cosmos and its unity, I think that on what is now a worldviews debate, theism is the best explanation for such a plainly intelligently designed observable universe, across the major tests: factual adequacy, coherence, explanatory power. But note, this is now beyond science as such, it is a philosophical debate.

So, having clarified the scientific and phil issues in a nutshell, back on the demand for yes/no: in absence of detailed examination, I cannot sensibly simply answer yes or no [beyond, yes, we are all sinners so lying is POSSIBLE, as opposed to shown beyond reasonable dispute], given the known poisoned context. (Provide me with a fair, links-and cites based summary on both sides of the claim – I will pay no attention to a debate majoring on abuse and accusations -- and I might be able to say more.)

But again, all of this is at one level off-topic, as the issues on this thread and the relevant facts are obviously not in doubt – or the secularists would hotly dispute them. Besides, as noted already, Mr Gish is a representative of the YEC movement, not -- and they have been sharply critical of the latter -- the ID movement. (That is, there lurks here the further question of a known agenda of misrepresentation.)

2] I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with all of it (especially not the philosophy of science stuff)

Onlookers, TJ made phil of sci issues central above, and so I took them up on the merits.

He now ducks them and their implications to rush on to his favourite point: he has not got the time or inclination – his priotities and attitudes lie elsewhere than addressing the core issues he himself raised, on the merits. (And, he was just in effect complaining that I was not addressing his own questions . . . !!!)

We can easily enough see why: once one gets beyond the level of slogans and simplistic assertions, the matter of defining and demarking science/non science is a ticklish PHILOSOPHICAL matter. In particular, it has been seriously claimed that any attempted demarcation that includes NDT will include ID and any that excludes ID will also exclude NDT etc if consistently applied.

That is, we are looking at the classic issue of selective hyperskepticism in service to an agenda, not the truth. Notice, again, there is no taking up of the core question this thread addresses: civility.

3] there’s absolutely nothing in this paper that remotely addresses the issue of intelligent design. Quite the opposite in fact since the very first figure of the paper shows a phylogenetic tree constructed from flagellin sequences!

Here, TJ immediately fails to address the context of my remarks: Mr Minnich is precisely a journal-published expert in the specific field of the bacterial flagellum and the related TTSS. In that context, he has addressed the “IC refuted” issue put up by Mr Miller, and has shown that the facts in question show that if evolution was involved it runs from flagellum to TTSS, not the other way around; thus, the attempt to dismiss the IC in this case fails.

Then also TJ evidently conflates YEC and ID.

Many design theorists accept degrees of macroevolution, up to -- in the case of Mr Behe, for instance -- common descent. That is, such thinkers often accept the general reconstruction of the past as documenting macroevolution over time, but dispute that the major mechanism was chance plus necessity only. Cf the argument in Meyer's peer-reviewed paper, and Lonnig's also peer reviewed paper; which I have specifically excerpted and linked.

That is, TJ is tilting at a YEC strawman.

I invite him to look here for a more technical level presentation of the matter by Minnich and Meyer, than the one I excerpted yesterday. The abstract reads:

>>The bacterial flagellum represents one of the best understood molecular machines. Comprised of 40 parts that self-assemble into a true rotary engine, the biochemistry and genetics of these systems has revealed an unanticipated complexity. An essential component to assembly is the subset of parts that function as a protein secretory pump to ensure and discriminate that the correct number of protein subunits and their order of secretion is precisely regulated during assembly. Of further interest is the recognition of late that a number of important plant and animal pathogens use a related protein secretory pump fused to a membrane-spanning needle-like syringe by which a subset of toxins can be injected into target host cells. Together, the flagellar and virulence protein pumps are referred to as Type III Secretion Systems (TTSS). The archetype for TTSS systems has been the pathogenic members of the genus Yersinia which includes the organism responsible for bubonic plague, Y. pestis. Our interest in the Yersinia centers on the coordinate genetic regulation between flagellum biosynthesis and virulence TTSS expression. Y. enterocolitica, for example operates three TTSSs (motility, Ysa, and Yop), but each is expressed under defined mutually exclusive conditions. Y. pestis has lost the ability to assemble flagella (the genes are present on the chromosome) and expresses only the Yop system at 37oC, mammalian temperature. Using a combination of microarray analysis, genetic fusions, and behaviors of specific engineered mutants, we demonstrate how environmental factors influence gene expression of these multigene families, where the influence is exerted within each system, and propose why segregating these systems is critical for the organism. Our model further offers an explanation as to why an important subset of human pathogens has lost motility during their histories.>>

This should help onlookers see why the accusation of not doing relevant research adn of theroefore being cowardly deceivers is a slander. (Notice,this has not been withdrawn.)

4] S: repeating the “crime”

First, you have here without my permission used my personal name -- and over my repeated protest on the point. This is exactly the problem that Andrew has addressed in this post.

Onlookers: observe that S here -- like H -- is using anonymity but refuses to accord the same right to others. What does that tell us on civility, respect for others and simple moral consistency?

5] Journal club: those dumb, and/or dishonest fundies . . .

Onlookers: observe I have taken up a primary, longstanding issue, on observing H's attempted dismissal of the relevance of thermodynamics to OOL issues. I gave my case in outline not shunning the basic maths, invited discussion on the merits, excerpting and linking my own summary [and the presentation in TMLO].

I was met with abuse and dodges, by one who was forced to admit that he has not got any qualifications in thermodynamics, but who was sitting in judgement on the qualifications of a research professor who has presented for 25 + years on the subject in major university campuses and was well received. . The only serious technical link H provided admitted that the single chapter it actually reviewed was technically correct, then ducked out when the meat of the matter was on the table: the origin of FSCI by natruralistic [cance pluys necessity only] mechanisms..

In that general context [in a then more current thread], S and others raised issues on Axe's work that amounted to a claim that the title and abstract were utterly opposite to the substance.

When I raised the point that that title and abstract evidently passed peer review and so it was on the face of it maximally unlikely that the objection had serious merit, I saw the lame excuse – actually, presented as a personal attack -- that journal articles can have their titles changed post review.

I immediately pointed out that such would not normally reverse the meaning dishonestly [and the Journal in question is not exactly a hotbed of fundy YEC advocates!], and have yet to see a response on the merits, having continued to monitor the thread.

But here there is now the snide inference that I am systematically misrepresenting or too dumb to see the main point and merits. Sorry, S and TJ, we are well able to see the balance of the matter on the merits, and who has been responsible -- and who has been abusive and irresponsible.

It is plain that a secularist agenda is being pushed, and that those who wish to advance it it are not too concerned over fairness and respect in their rhetorical tactics. (the outrage that H showed when I used a test case of the mildest possible satire, “dearie” used ironically, was telling. Sauce for the goose . . .)

6] Length

“When all else fails, object to style.”

Perhaps, onlookers can see that it takes more details to rebut accusations than to make them -- especially when dealing with selectively hyperskeptical, abusively accusatory critics who seem to think those who disagree with them must be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked..

_____________

Andrew: it is plain that the point I made earlier applies. Once you keep a more or less open forum policy, you will attract a circle of persistent, abusive objectors. When they are challenged, they will resort to more abuse. If you discipline or regulate such then they object to "censorship."

"Heads I win, tails you lose," in effect.

Not at all. I think it is proper to insist on civility, accountability [notice that one can trace back to me and submit corrections, which will be acted on! That invitation stands open . . .] and speaking to the merits.

Those who persistently refuse to adhere to such civility show themselves to be wanting in basic broughtupcy and that they have nothing serious to say on the merits.

Onlookers, draw you own conclusions from that.

All the best . . .

TKI

11:14 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

To TJ:

Correction and clarification:

1] In the above I inadvertently conflated your comment with that of U. (In previous threads, some of the points you have made have put the issues of phil of sci in the cntre of the matter at stake.)

2] In the above, this centrality of philosphy comes out in your attempted contrast between ID theorists and "scientists."

3] In short, you are implicitly defining that science is constrained by so-called methodological naturalism; which is historically false and philosophically suspect.

3] Note, onlookers: Mr Minnich is a qualified experimentalist, has published in the relevant fields, and has in particular addressed at peer reviewed level based on his lab research and findings, the issues on the flagellum vs the TTSS. [The above cited paper is from a peer-reviewed conference and is highlighted by Di as one of hte peer reviewed articles supportive of Design.]

I trust -- in light of at least one bitter experience in another forum -- this will help prevent yet another rabbit trail.

TKI

12:17 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Kairosfocus: I guess I’m still missing something, so maybe you can help me out here. I’m reading this paper by Minnich and Meyer that you recommended to me (and which does not appear to have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal). In what way exactly does this paper provide positive evidence for ID?

All we have here is an assertion that the bacterial flagellum is ‘irreducibly complex’, and as for new data, there is just one western blot. Come on kairosfocus, let’s get down and dirty. Have a look at Figure 2 of the Minnich and Meyer paper. What does it show? And please explain to me why you think the data in this figure supports ID, because I can’t see the connection.

I’ve already explained why you won’t find most biochemists loosing sleep over ‘irreducible complexity’. But let’s grant you that such systems can in fact be reliably detected. Behe says that ‘irreducible complexity’ cannot in principlebe created by known evolutionary mechanisms. But that’s not true. There are several different ways that evolution could in principle generate such structures.

Nevertheless, let’s bend over backwards here and just for the sake of argument accept everything Behe says. All that would mean is that our modern theory of evolution is inadequate. It would not be evidence for a Designer.

Remember, you are the ones who claim there is a designer (whether a supernatural entity, a space alien or whatever). So the onus is squarely on you to provide positive evidence for said entity. You haven’t done it. You haven’t even begun to do it. In fact, you haven’t even got out of bed and put your socks on yet.

12:59 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew and onlookers:

The response by TJ is a classic of just the problem complained of in this post and thread.

He seems to assume that he can assert away and deny facts and implications, starting with the credible evidence that Mr Minnich has done relevant empirical research and has presented his findings to his peers in a perfectly acceptable way that passed peer-review: a Conference presentation.

Then, he ignores the issue at stake in the thread; abusive commentary by secularists. Nowhere do we see an apology on his behalf or an intervention to correct his associates.

That shows that the underlying problem is plain and Andrew you have to act if your blog is not to be simply captured to propagate slanders and misrepresentations as well as misleading information.

I will respond on a few selected points:

1] TJ: I’m reading this paper . . . which does not appear to have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal

The paper, as noted above, was a peer-reviewed conference presentation, published in the proceedings. That is perfectly legitimate and often done, and you have by implication held that I claimed that the paper was in a Journal not a proceedings, then knocked over this strawman. Shoddy!

That, further – and on the point of this thread -- is an implicit slander in the teeth of what I did, explicitly, say and link. The obviously intended effect [by a person who claims to be a scientist so should know all about attending and presenting at conferences and publishing in peer-reviewed proceedings] is to drag yet another red herring across the track of truth and fairness, t hen pull attention away to a convenient strawman that can be pummelled and burned triumphalistically.

In short, we see yet again, abusive rhetoric in an evolutionary materialism-supportive comment.

2] All we have here is an assertion that the bacterial flagellum is ‘irreducibly complex’, and as for new data, there is just one western blot.

Onlookers, compare the already excerpted, peer-reviewed abstract:

>>The bacterial flagellum represents one of the best understood molecular machines. Comprised of 40 parts that self-assemble into a true rotary engine, the biochemistry and genetics of these systems has revealed an unanticipated complexity. . . . Of further interest is the recognition of late that a number of important plant and animal pathogens use a related protein secretory pump fused to a membrane-spanning needle-like syringe by which a subset of toxins can be injected into target host cells . . . The archetype for TTSS systems has been the pathogenic members of the genus Yersinia which includes the organism responsible for bubonic plague, Y. pestis. Our interest in the Yersinia centers on the coordinate genetic regulation between flagellum biosynthesis and virulence TTSS expression. . . . Y. pestis has lost the ability to assemble flagella (the genes are present on the chromosome) and expresses only the Yop system at 37oC, mammalian temperature. Using a combination of microarray analysis, genetic fusions, and behaviors of specific engineered mutants, we demonstrate how environmental factors influence gene expression of these multigene families, where the influence is exerted within each system, and propose why segregating these systems is critical for the organism. Our model further offers an explanation as to why an important subset of human pathogens has lost motility during their histories.>>

Cf. the also already posted Peterson remark on the context implied in the above:

>> Behe's most famous example [of irreducible complexity in empirically observable action] is the bacterial flagellum . . . . Darwinian evolution is by definition "blind." It cannot plan ahead and create parts that might be useful to assemble a biological machine in the future. For the machine to be assembled, all or nearly all the parts must already be there and be performing a function. Why must they already be performing a function? Because if a part does not confer a real, present advantage for the organism's survival or reproduction, Darwinian natural selection will not preserve the gene responsible for that part [but will on average select against it as wasteful and inefficient relative to unburdened competitors in the environment] . . . .

Behe the biochemist . . . search[ed] the relevant scientific journals, books, and proceedings of meetings to find out what the Darwinists had really proven about the origin of complex biochemical systems . . . . "There has never been a meeting, or a book, or a paper on details [key operative word -- just so stories and/or hand waving will not do] of the evolution of complex biochemical systems" . . . .

Well, this sent the Darwinians scrambling. Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University who argues in favor of Darwinian evolution, made a splash when he announced . . . that "the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex." Miller cited a cellular structure known as the type III secretory system (TTSS) that allows certain bacteria to inject toxins through the cell walls of their hosts . . . .

But . . . the bubonic plague bacterium already has the full set of genes necessary to make a flagellum. Rather than making a flagellum, Y. pestis uses only part of the genes that are present to manufacture that . . . injector instead. As pointed out in a recent article by design theorist Stephen Meyer and microbiologist Scott Minnich (an expert on the flagellar system), the gene sequences suggest that "flagellar proteins arose first and those of the pump came later." If evolution was involved, the pump came from the motor, not the motor from the pump. Also, "the other thirty proteins in the flagellar motor (that are not present in the [pump]), are unique to the motor and are not found in any other living system." . . . In short, the proteins in the TTSS do not provide a "gradualist" Darwinian pathway to explain the step-by-step evolution of the irreducibly complex flagellar motor.>> [This is of course already discussed in my linked introductory survey.]

In short, experimental work in the context of competing predictions, that shows that the ID explanation is the more credible.

But, no apologuy for dismissing Dr Minnich's credentials, or the relevance of his experimental work . . . just more and more agenda serving accusations in the teeth of already available evidence.

3] There are several different ways that evolution could in principle generate such structures . . . . Nevertheless, let’s bend over backwards here and just for the sake of argument accept everything Behe says. All that would mean is that our modern theory of evolution is inadequate. It would not be evidence for a Designer.

First, observe the capital D, in the teeth of his later remarks that imply that he KNOWS that on FSCI and IC in life issues, Design thinkers and theorists have strongly stated that an inference to design is different from an inference to Designer, aka God.

Why then does he do this? ANS: To imply that these thinkers and theorists are dishonest. Shoddy.

Then, is chance plus necessity only evolutionary materialism in principle capable of generating FSCI and IC?

The rhetorical trick therein is the fact that in principle there is nothing in logic or physics to forbid that a tornado passing through a junkyard could assemble a fully functioning jumbo jet, as Sir Fred Hoyle pointed out, but then went on to raise the real principle at stake -- probabilistic resources.

To see the point, consider a simpler case:

* a million PCs with floppy drives set up so that say a zener diode noise source would randomly wipe the disks with magnetic fields every 30 seconds and test for a formatted document or program.

* Over a year, that would give some 10^12 runs.

* What fraction of those runs would be likely to generate such? [After how many years on average would such give rise to a functioning program or document? Or, why would this be most credible as a waste of time as the exercise would predictably simply deformat the floppy?]

* ANS: negligible, as the required FSCI rich states are maximally sparse in the possible configuration space. [Such a test is within reach of those who would want to argue that the FSCI issue is not a real one!] Notice there is no rush to generate such a real test – the simulations of targetted texts like “Methinks it is like a weasel” etc are highly misleading here. The smarts were built into the programs and the formatted data long since . . .

* ANS 2: Guess why Mr Gates pays expensive programmers to create software instead of doing random wipes?

Next, look at the claim that all that would imply is that current theories of evo are wrong, it would not lead to inference to a designer as the best inference.

For, in fact, we are able to exhaust the credible sources of FSCI, and the answer is that we know routinely that agents are the source of FSCI when we see it.

So, let us disassemble the basic underlying assertion of selective hyperskepticism on TJ's part:

4] you are the ones who claim there is a designer (whether a supernatural entity, a space alien or whatever). So the onus is squarely on you to provide positive evidence for said entity. You haven’t done it. You haven’t even begun to do it.

a] There are three major causal forces in our world: chance, natural regularities [necessity], agency.

b] We can assert a null hyp that a given FSCI and/or IC [a subset] case is the product of the first two only. Then we can see if this exhausts the available probabilistic resources of a situation, which would make this hyp reasonable to reject.

c] In fact, this is routinely used in statistical inference, and in the distinction between signal and noise in systems that create, transfer or store information.

d] We also know that in every case where we directly know the causal story, FSCI-rich systems are produced, even routinely, by agents. For instance the computer TJ used to type the above, and the message he posted to challenge the inference to design as credible.

e] So, on an inference to best explanation basis [the root of scientific thought] we freely infer that the cases [i] the molecular nanotechnology of life, [ii] the further increments in FSCI in the bodyplan level diversity of life, [iii] the associated finetuning of the observed cosmos that fosters the emergence and survival of life, are all FSCI credibly beyond the reach of chance or necessity alone. In each case, the empirical basis for the FSCI is huge.

f] So, on the same IBE basis leading to abduction-deduction-induction, relative to what we do empirically know on the source of FSCI and IC, a subset, these phenomena are credibly produced by intelligent agency.

g] That is, evolutionary materialist models of the origin of the cosmos, life, biodiversity at body plan level, etc are inferior relative to factual adequacy, coherence and/or explanatory power; relative to one that infers to intelligent agency.

Now, this evidence has been presented as a summary above, and is massively documented elsewhere.

I think that for the ordinary, unprejudiced mind, more than adequately, the burden of proof for the legitimacy and credibility of inference to design-based explanations for such cases, has been met. (Besides, I think it is those who assert that the sufficiently improbable to exhaust the resources of this planet and/or the observed cosmos is the preferred explanation to the exclusion of all others and of the exposing of anomalies in educational contexts, who properly have a real – and massively unmet --burden of proof to meet.)

Eloquent inadvertent testimony of this is the failure of evo mat advocates to consistently address matters on the merits but instead to resort to the pattern of abuse that this thread discusses.

_________

So, we can see what is really going on, and why.

Andrew, you are going to have to take back control of your blog, or it will become simply a captured mouthpiece for evo mat propaganda, specialising in slanderous accusations and misleading assertions.

Cheerio

TKI

11:35 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

TJ, FYI:

I have had second thoughts on leaving it to you to follow up on the DI note on this paper as peer-reviewed; after all, you did not go to the DI web to see if this was in fact so before implying/succesting that the paper was not peer reviewed, even though the CSC opening page lists the required list of inter alia peer reviewed papers as its very first link.

Excerpting:

>>Scott Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer, “Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits,” Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece, edited by M.W. Collins and C.A. Brebbia (WIT Press, 2004). (PDF, 620KB)

This article underwent conference peer review in order to be included in this peer-edited proceedings. Minnich and Meyer do three important things in this paper. First, they refute a popular objection to Michael Behe’s argument for the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum. Second, they suggest that the Type III Secretory System present in some bacteria, rather than being an evolutionary intermediate to the bacterial flagellum, is probably represents a degenerate form of the bacterial flagellum. Finally, they argue explicitly that intelligent design is a better than the Neo-Darwinian mechanism for explaining the origin of the bacterial flagellum. >>

I think that this is reasonable evidence for the ordinary unprejudiced mind that this paper credibly [absent positive impeaching evidence] is just what was just said -- a conference papwer that appeard in the peer -reviewed proceedings,and argued as above.

TKI

11:59 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Kairosfocus: Calm down a bit and try and stay focused on the substantive issue.

In all seriousness, can’t you see the problem? You insist that there’s lots of exciting work in ‘design theory’ being published and send a list of these publications. Since you yourself selected these works, I have to assume that they represent the very cream of the crop.

So what do I find when I read them? Firstly we have some papers from Scott Minnich in the Journal of Bacteriology that are OK as far as they go, but don’t mention intelligent design at all! Then there’s a conference presentation (I repeat, not published in a peer-reviewed journal) by Minnich and Meyer that's long on assertion but very short on data. That’s it.

Casting a wider net to find other ID papers, we rapidly descend into the hallucinogenic lunacy of John Davison and his babblings in Rivista di Biologia. Or there’s Behe’s weird fantasy that the designer built the first cell complete with every gene in the biosphere switched off, but ready to be activated at some pre-appointed time in the distant future.

Real science is about constructing and testing hypotheses. It’s about doing experiments carefully with the appropriate controls. It’s about data and more data.

Now can you see the problem with ID?

And to repeat my question (that I notice you haven’t answered): look at Figure 2 from the Minnich and Meyer conference paper. What does it show, and how exactly does it support ID?

2:09 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew and Onlookers:

Observe, again the refusal on the part of evo mat advocates to be accountable over abusive rhetoric.

In that context, sadly, Mr Jackson seems to think he can distract this thread into a general debate over ID, with a heavy emphasis on contemptuous comments against leading ID theorists and thinkers.

Is this the attitude that should dominate in not only this blog but the general public square and especially in the education system?

Now, I will take up several of his points:

1] TJ: Calm down a bit and try and stay focused on the substantive issue.

Mr Jackson, kindly re-read the post by Andrew at the head of the thread, to see just what the real “substantive issue” for this thread is: abusive commentary by evo mat commenters. My speaking in this thread is as a VICTIM of such abusive commentary, and it is reasonable for me to expect that responsible commenters will respect that, and will distance themselves from shabby tactics.

Onlookers, observe the brazen attempt to drag a red herring across the track, to draw away attention from a major and serious problem of abuse, out to a convenient strawman to be pummelled and then triumphalisticaly burned.

In short, a case in point of destructively irresponsible commentary intended to capture this blog to propagate accusations, slanders, misrepresentations and distortions.

2] You insist that there’s lots of exciting work in ‘design theory’ being published and send a list of these publications. Since you yourself selected these works, I have to assume that they represent the very cream of the crop.

In fact,the truth is, as TJ must know, from say this thread, I have instead explicitly and repeatedly pointed to a pattern of censorship in defense of an orthodoxy in trouble, by abusive tactics up to and inclusive of career busting and slander. In short, this is TJ putting words in my mouth that don't belong there.

In the real-world context, it is very hard indeed to have a serious work on ID published -- except in cosmology. [I guess the long history of scientific revolutions in physics and related disciplines makes for a different attitude . . . nowadays. (As recently as 100 or so years back, Boltzmann committed suicide, in part triggered by the pain of the attitude of his peers to his breakthrough ideas on the microstructure and behaviour of matter. Remember, Einstein's paper on Brownian motion was regarded as the first more or less direct demonstrative evidence for the molecular/atomic view; and , it addressed a longstanding phenomenon through a re-interpretation, i.e dating to 1827. This 1905 implicitly critical review and new analysis work on old observations that had been shunted from one discipline to another seeking explanation, materially contributed to his Nobel Prize, and at the time in question, Annalen Der Physik was in fact evidently NOT a peer reviewed journal. (The prominence of peer review is really a post WW II phenomenon, in part driven by funding decisions of the US Government. )]

Note, I here repeat my link to Tipler on the problems that peer review can often run into,and the troubling report on the case of a critical but fair minded journal editor who is a process structuralist, here and here.

3] . . . we have some papers from Scott Minnich in the Journal of Bacteriology that are OK as far as they go, but don’t mention intelligent design at all! Then there’s a conference presentation (I repeat, not published in a peer-reviewed journal) by Minnich and Meyer that's long on assertion but very short on data. That’s it.

Onlookers: first, I have cited some of Mr Minnich's general work, to show that he is an expert practitioner in the field in general, as his resume indicates. This, I have already pointed out above so TJ must be aware of that, but it is conveniently ignored/distorted in pursuit of an agenda. Again, putting convenient agenda-serving words in my mouth.

Second, the paper in question is a lot more than TJ is willing to acknowledge -- notice he has not really addressed it on the merits of the case being made, in the context that is also highlighted. [I also observe that he has decided not to follow up on the argument in the main that he brought up, once I gave a response with onward links on the basic scientific status of the inference to design. This "on to the next objection" attitude is telling.)

Third, I repeat, publication through conference presentation and publication in proceedings is a very legitimate, well-used means of peer-reviewed scientific publication. [Put up nonsense in such a conference and you are liable to be shredded; indeed such starts at the terror fitted level of the presentation of uindergrad projects to fellow students and profs . . . I can recall some people reduced to tears literally.] TJ as a self-confessed practitioner is doubtless fully aware of such facts but wishes to mislead the ignorant. That's not cricket.

4] hallucinogenic lunacy . . . weird fantasy . . . Real science is about constructing and testing hypotheses. It’s about doing experiments carefully with the appropriate controls. It’s about data and more data.

Observe first the decision to use ridicule instead of addressing the case on the merits; starting with the summary I made above and in the onward linked.

And, further note that he has in front of him a specific case of an expert, well-published research-level scientific practitioner working in a specific lab, using key experimental techniques, and publishing broadly on the flagellum and the related toxin injector in the general scientific literature.

Now, in a conference which addresses design in nature, [from a perspective that is looking at reverse engineering nature, i.e. a major plank in the ID platform; partly funded by the "future weapons boys" BTW, which is of course quite a mixed blessing], that researcher presents to peers his report on his investigations in the context of the debate between Behe and Miller et al. [Cf Dembski's take here, relating to yet another then upcoming peer-reviewed work, a book of essays in a scientific debate with contributors from both sides, published by Cambridge.]

What do we see in response: ducking, dodging and asserting.

Telling.

But, we also see a point hat I will excerpt again:

5] Real science is about constructing and testing hypotheses. It’s about doing experiments carefully with the appropriate controls. It’s about data and more data.

Having first raised issues tinged with phil of sci,then dismissing them when I took them up in response to him and others, TJ now returns to the phil of sci field when he thinks he can score a point with it.

First, the design theorists are here doing exactly that, constructing and subjecting hypotheses to empirical observability based tests, tests that they are passing. [NB also, the outline of a programme here and here -- observe how not one of the evo mat advocates ahve seriously engaged this Wiki by the people who are developing ID as a research programme.]

In this case, Behe highlighted that there is a pattern in nature that deeply resembles engineering artifacts, evident irreducible complexity, and highlighted the flagellum as a case in point.

Miller [BTW, a confessing Christian], responding, put up Y pestis and co as a counter-example. Minnich, who works on the flagellum and related systems, puts up empirical data from both the literature and his own work, in a serious conference, that shows -- and note my link here to the conference proceedings abstracts page:

>>The bacterial flagellum represents one of the best understood molecular machines. Comprised of 40 parts that self-assemble into a true rotary engine [this is after all, a reverse engineering nature conference, with an obvious interest in nanotechnology!], the biochemistry and genetics of these systems has revealed an unanticipated complexity [i.e. the NDT did not predict or expect this] . . . . Of further interest is the recognition of late [i.e Behe-Miller issue] that a number of important plant and animal pathogens use a related protein secretory pump fused to a membrane-spanning needle-like syringe [the TTSS, which uses a subset of the genes for the flagellum] by which a subset of toxins can be injected into target host cells . . . The archetype for TTSS systems has been the pathogenic members of the genus Yersinia which includes the organism responsible for bubonic plague, Y. pestis. [Y pestis is in view] Our interest in the Yersinia centers on the coordinate genetic regulation between flagellum biosynthesis and virulence TTSS expression [i.e his investigation and report are on the current issue, and throw light on the reuse of subsets of genes to create related systems; such modularity is of course strictly irrelevant tot he point that the system in the main in view is irreducibly complex: knock out any one of its core parts and it stops working, so we have to account for on NDT, how multiple integrated tightly coupled parts embedding FDCI came together all at one to make the flagellum go] . . . . Y. pestis has lost the ability to assemble flagella (the genes are present on the chromosome) [i.e. the TTSS is evidently derivative of the flagellum, not the other way around, i.e we see loss of used information, not a step to creating that information step by step by random, incremental elaborations] and expresses only the Yop system at 37oC, mammalian temperature. [targetting -- a hint to the military boys, I suspect . . .] Using a combination of microarray analysis, genetic fusions, and behaviors of specific engineered mutants, [lab techniques based on the knockout principle, crudely put] we demonstrate [i.e. experimentally] how environmental factors influence gene expression of these multigene families, where the influence is exerted within each system, and propose hyp for further testing] why segregating these systems is critical for the organism. Our model further offers an explanation as to why an important subset of human pathogens has lost motility during their histories. [i.e he addresses the conceptual issue of which way did the evolution go: TTSS to BF or the reverse, and the answer is plain, given the telltale fact of the presence of the unexpressed genes in Y pestis, etc]>>

Thus, Minnich's work and before him, Behe's, are squarely within the ambit of science:

seeking to accurately observe, describe, explain, predict and influence/control the forces and phenomena of the natural world, in a social context of the ongoing dialogue of informed and interested peers.

Especially at times when anomalies begin to pile up, that pattern of work includes critical reviews and provocative conceptual analyses and proposals, which may be controversial. A hundred years ago [and two to three hundred years before that] it was the turn of physics.

Now, it is the turn of biology as the significance of functionally specific, complex information in biosystems is more and more recognised, in the wider context of the known cause of FSCI in the cases where we do directly know the causal story. Namely, intelligent agency.

And, nope, it is YOU who will need to show us that "Fig 2" disestablishes the significance of the work of Minnich, given the above.

_________

Onlookers, the pattern is quite plain, and I see little reason to run down every rabbit trail or red herring that may be dragged across the track.

Let us see for ourselves just what sort of agenda we are dealing with on the part of the likes of H, U, S and TJ; then let us act in our own defense before it is too late.

TKI

10:12 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Sigh…..

My point is really a rather modest one and it’s this: I’m asking you to explain to me where exactly in the papers and conference proceedings by Minnich and friends is there any positive evidence for ‘Intelligent Design’? I don’t see it.

The Minnich and Meyer conference paper does at least bring up the idea of a designer, but where in that paper is the data supporting the assertion? Merely quoting verbatim from the abstract of the paper isn't good enough.

The reason I’m focusing on figure 2 of that paper is because that’s the only piece of new data that’s presented in the whole paper. So to my simple mind it seems natural to concentrate on this figure if I want to find data supporting the paper’s claim for ‘Intelligent Design’. Unfortunately, all I see is a western blot.

OK, so maybe I was harsh in my description of Behe and Davison and should lean to hold my tongue (but it’s difficult). Behe claims that the designer put all the genes in the biosphere into a single first cell (but switched off) and then somehow s/he/it switched subsets of these genes on again at various points during Earth’s history. I think Davison is arguing for something similar, although with him it’s hard to tell.

Honestly, don’t you see that this has got ‘crank’ written all over it?

11:52 am  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"You have made an accusation of dishonesty. "

Whom did I accuse?

12:25 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew and onlookers:

Observe that there is up to date still no evident recognition – I was a bit harsh is not good enough -- that there is serious wrongdoing here on the part of abusive secularist commenters who have repeatedly distorted, misrepresented and slandered, much less, a willingness to acknowledge and turn from wrongdoing.

[Cf the thought police mentality on view in the NYT report on Dr Marcus Ross, observing the attitude of the NCSE of the USA and some colleagues especially carefully. Thank GOd there are some fair minded people out there too.]

Is this sort of thought-police, inquisition mentality what we wish to encourage?

Now, on a few points of note:

1] TJ: My point is really a rather modest one and it’s this: I’m asking you to explain to me where exactly in the papers and conference proceedings by Minnich and friends is there any positive evidence for ‘Intelligent Design’? I don’t see it.

Maybe, that is your point/agenda -- and it rather reminds me of the saying that "there is none so blind as s/he who WILL not see" -- but that is utterly beside the point of this blog thread, on abusive commentary. But, since it is the assumption that “we” have cornered the market on being right that seems to drive the thought police mentality, I think a few observatons are in order.

To start. Before you demand "positive evidence" you first need to look hard in the mirror, and ask yourself whether you have become a victim of the fallacy of the closed mind, aided and abetted by selective hyperskepticism and worldview level question-begging. All of this I have pointed out above and linked as issues to be addressed.

I have also long since outlined in summary the reason why inference to design is at least as credible as to the other major causal forces, chance and necessity, in general.

I am confident that absent worldview level question-begging, we routinely infer to design in many many fields of science and day to day life. I simply ask that we use the same principles consistently as we look at certain test cases.

In the particular case of life forms and the nanotechnology of life, we are looking at the most sophisticated cases of functionally specific, complex information we know of. Such FSCI is vastly beyond the probabilistic resources of the cosmos in which we live and observe, and so since we know the source of FSCI is in all cases where we directly observe the cause in action, agency, inherently the mere existence of FSCI is strong, positive evidence for design. (I will expand below.)

That is plain to all, save those locked into the now failing evolutionary materialist paradigm, and its question-begging methodological naturalism. [Observe onlookers, I have repeatedly invited an assessment of the case on the merits, and only have met silence, distractors, evasions and personal attacks; guess why.]

In the case of Minnich's peer reviewed presentation and paper, the relevant evidence is in the context of the fact that there are simply NO -- NADA -- ZILCH -- detailed, credible NDT or similar evo mat pathways to ANY complex biological system (discounting the usual just-so stories that work by appealing to the sort of assumptions I have just criticised in a nutshell).

Further to this, there is positive empirical evidence presented by Minnich [whoever originated it is irrelevant to the case in point] that the proposed intermediate, the TTSS, is in fact if anything derivative of the flagellum, and that there are other interesting related features that all point to FSCI way beyond the reach of chance and undirected natural forces in the gamut of the observed cosmos.

Where unaided chance and natural regularities rapidly run out of probabilistic resources, we do know that the intervention of agency is capable of generating FSCI. So, the real issue is that we only need to look with an open mind.

2] Merely quoting verbatim from the abstract of the paper isn't good enough.

I cited the abstracet, which invited reading the paper in context, having also summarised that context, complete with onward links on the discussion. I then provided brief notes at appropriate points in the abstract which again invited examination of the context – which is being studiously avoided.

All of this, TJ wishes to brush aside in the hopes of turning around the burden of proof so that he can assert his own causal story by default in a context of begging the basic questions.

No, TJ, it is YOU who need to show us that NDT or similar, and associated OOL and cosmological theories consonant with your evo mat views, can credibly account for the relevant data. That, in light of what we have recently learned, in part from Mr Minnich's work in his lab, includes;

* the credible origin of the codes of life by chance + necessity only and the associated algorithms and information systems that physically implement them at cellular level [Cf these two peer reviewed papers by Trevors and Abel, here and here on this.]

* the similar origin of DNA, RNA, Ribosomes, enzymes and the rest of the molecular machinery of the cell, starting from a credible prebiotic situation [oxygen poisoning, UV radiation, cosmic rays and panspermia, heat effects at hydrothermal vents, etc, and homochirality all have to be addressed; within the ambit of the 13.7 or so BY and ~ 10^80 atoms claimed to be available.]

* If you resort instead to a quasi-infinite universe as a whole with randomly distributed laws and situations in subcosmi, so that by evo mat anthropic principles you assert that even astonishingly improbable things are "bound"/"unsurprising" to happen in such a gamut, you have to justify that such is based on OBSERVATIONS, and is not an ad hoc patchwork designed to prop up evo mat by speculative metaphysics.

* On life systems, you then have to come up with a plausible account for the emergence of the cell, one that reckons with the thermodynamics and information challenges previosuly discussed an linked. ("Open systems can increase their order" does not cut it; you need to account for the ORIGIN of the FSCI-rich energy conversion devices that in the cell process input energy to generate the complex ordering work that we see in metabolic systems. As I long since noted, simple importation of raw energy into systems tends to create more netropy not less; and Prigogine himself only HOPED that his dissipative structures might suggest a way forward; you have got to show, not hope that say a convectional process or the like or an oscillating chemical reaction might give rise to the systems of life, or autocatalysis of randomly formed RNA etc might do it. If you resort to RNA worlds, you have to account for chirality and for the generation of the relevant monomers under natural conditions, not to mention for all these molecules the breakout from interfering cross-reactions etc..)

* one of these cellular machines is the flagellum, and another is the derived TTSS which uses a subset of the genes to generate a second functioning machine. [Such code reuse is one of the highest arts in microcontroller design -- one that I never even tried to do when I designed such systems! Thank God, I had enough RAM and ROM to spare, so I did not have to create code where I could execute code as code in one frame and as data in another etc or as a second code etc . . . DNA does stuff just like this. Also you need to account for Introns and switch and control mechanisms that give rise to the structured tissues of the body, on the wider issue in the Cambrian revolution.]

* By random changes and natural forces within the gamut of the earth and its history of life as reconstructed through geological studies [we are working within that paradigm for the sake of this argument] you therefore have to to account in credible details for how we get to a flagellum which just happens to have in it reusable code that generates the TTSS. (And no I will not accept the "well you can't imagine it" or the "we are working on it" excuses.)

In short, I have serious reason for my doubts, driven by familiarity with the nature of information processing systems and their creation on the software and hardware side, as well as the difficulties of generating the required underlying codes and algorithms.

Notice how Sir Fred Hoyle, on looking at the collection of enzymes in life systems alone, estimated that the odds of such by chance were of reasonable order 1 in 10^40,000. That is so far beyond the reach of chance + undirected natural forces in the gamut of the observable universe, that onlookers will see why I strongly insist that it is TJ and his ilk who have a major, unmet burden of proof.

3] to my simple mind it seems natural to concentrate on this figure

In short, let's ignore the context and issues and try to make one point in isolation look like it is insignificant. Sorry, I ain't buying that.

Tell me, TJ, have you ever designed a serious, functioning information-based system? Did you use random chance as your dominant design method?

4] maybe I was harsh in my description of Behe and Davison and should lean to hold my tongue (but it’s difficult).

No, TJ, you and your ilk have systematically misrepresented, slandered and ridiculed those who have questioned the claims your movement has made, in light of the sort of information generation challenges just noted above in outline.

That sort of insistent, widespread and sustained abusive and destructive misbehaviour in the teeth of strong protest and correction, requires an apology and retraction that is as public as the malicious accusations made.

5] don’t you see that this has got ‘crank’ written all over it?

Actually, what I see is something that has CON JOB written all over it: the abusive misbehaviour and deceitful rhetoric I am complaining about in this thread.

When your side properly accounts for the rise of FSCI and IC in the evident cases all over the natural world, then we can talk about whether or not Behe's particular explorations as to where the design may have come from can then be discussed with profit.

int he meanwhile, I am not answering to distracting side-issues thrown up by those who imagine they can see fern seed at a mile when they say they can't see the elephant in the middle of the room. And worse, who on long track record have not got he broughtupcy to acknowledge and turn from serious, sustained bullying.

_____________

Andrew, the issue is plain.

TKI

10:56 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

A bit of a PS, overnight.

The Dr Marcus Ross of the NYT story linked yesterday, has published in a Geoscience Educational Journal, an interesting cladistic analysis -- yes/no/ don't care states and all (I love it, as an old hand at digital state tables . . .) -- of the various major positions taken relating to design/designoid, on the issue of origin and macro-/body plan- level diverity of life.

It is worth a read for those interested in a fair assessment of the issues and to avoid misrepresenting and slandering people and movements, here.

It also shows this man's attitude, and shows up the thought police agenda of those who would rob him of his qualifications -- and BTW, on notes I have seen on the NYT story, that was a real issue.

So, as this thread seems to be drawing to a close, kindly observe the confident assertion of the now missing in action HRAFN in the first comment; with what has happened as the thread developed and the other side of the story was heard.

I repeat: we need to move to discussions on the merits, and those who have resorted to slander and misrepresentations of those who have spoken up on the often suppressed issues surrounding the evo mat agenda in science,need to apologise, correct their misrepresentations and slanders, and mend their ways.

For instance, Hrafn owes Dr Bradley a MAJOR apology.

Failing that they should be disciplined for abusive, destructive speech.

Cheerio

TKI

9:07 am  
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9:07 pm  

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