First, let me issue a caution. I'm putting this thread under the "religion" category. And I'll be talking about Satan. For people who think that belief in God is ridiculous, or who think that believing that God exists might be reasonable, but believing in Satan is really whacky, the only value you might get from the following discussion is a good laugh. For those who are willing to entertain the notion that not only does God exist, but Satan might exist as well, then perhaps my thoughts might have some value. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for September, 2009
See Orac's critique here
I do not mean that the doctrine of Evolution as held by practising biologists is a Myth. It may be shown, by later biologists, to be a less satisfactory hypothesis than was hoped fifty years ago. But that does not amount to being a Myth. [Evolution]is a genuine scientific hypothesis. But we must sharply distinguish between Evolution as a biological theorem and popular Evolutionism or Developmentalism which is certainly a Myth.
"The Funeral of a Great Myth" – C.S. Lewis
Intrinsic intentionality and inherent goal-directedness of eukaryotic cells is defended by Tecumseh Fitch and minimal molecular autonomous agents are characterized in "On emergence, agency, and organization" (by Stuart Kauffman and Philip Clayton).
The "aboutness" and "goal-directedness" of eukaryotic cells and how it relates to nano-intentionality is defined as follows (p14):
The crucial pre-mental properties of a cell are that it can
1) respond to (somewhat) novel circumstances, eventualities for which it is not specifically-prepared by the evolutionary "memory" instantiated in its DNA.
2) discover, through an individual process of trial and error, some "adaptive" (in the physiological sense) response or solution.
3) in various ways incorporate the results of this discovery into its own structure, thus "recording" or "remembering" (in a non-mental sense) this past, individual history.
Carl Woese and Nigel Goldenfeld offer a scathing history of how the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis stagnated the study of evolution in microbiology.
"This is the story of how biology of the 20th century neglected and otherwise mishandled the study of what is arguably the most important problem in all of science: the nature of the evolutionary process. This problem has suffered the indignity of being dismissed as unimportant to a basic understanding of biology by molecular biology; it went effectively unrecognized by a microbiology still in the throes of trying to find itself; and it became the private domain of a quasi-scientific movement, who secreted it away in a morass of petty scholasticism, effectively disguising the fact that their primary concern with it was ideological, not scientific. Despite this discouraging beginning, our story will end well: the study of the microbial world at the beginning of the 21st century is liberating biology from the Procrustean bed of dogma on which it has been cast for so long, and a new understanding of evolution as a process is already beginning to form, in a manner that will eventually supersede the scientifically stultifying language-culture of the 20th century."
Read the rest of this entry »
In his book, The Language Of God, Francis Collins offers some theological objections to Intelligent Design. One of them is the following: Read the rest of this entry »
Dembski posted Penance among the pagans: Robert Wright grovels before George Johnson at UD. Quoting Dembski:
Go here for their Bloggingheads discussion, which really amounts to a confessional in which Wright is the penitent and Johnson the confessor. Wright can’t fall enough over himself for giving ID too much place at his Bloggingheads forum. Discourse in our culture has become truly pathetic.
Indeed. Discourse has become truly pathetic. Dembski is using a particular incident to focus attention on a broader societal problem. Grown men acting like little boys when caught running afoul of politically incorrect behavioral norms. It's time for those interested in more than gauging which way the wind is blowing, to man up and give a "what of it" response to the high priests who want to know why IDist so and so is allowed blogging time. It's time to let an accuser know in no uncertain terms that he is behaving like a first class jerk when insinuating that opposition to health care proposals has something to do with racism. In short it is time to take back free and open discourse from those who would quash it in the name of their pet concerns.
Warning: If anyone posts something I consider off topic on this thread, I will send their comments to the memory hole. If you want to continue discussing weasels, go two threads down.
Yesterday, I read and e-mailed Behe's latest post at his blog. Afterwards, it occurred to me that my friends would notice that his blog now flies under the banner, "Uncommon Descent," and wonder if Behe has now rejected the theory of common descent. Behe has reacted with frustration in the past when his critics have expressed surprised that he accepts common descent. Perhaps he should understand that they may wonder if he's changed his mind. I suggest that he add a disclaimer to his profile. Something simple, such as: Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Behe's latest post at his blog records yet another failed attempt to publish a comment to a paper that supposedly refuted his argument for irreducible complexity. But Behe was quick to note that he's by no means the only one having trouble getting their comments published, and referred readers to this example, by Prof. Rick Trebino. It's a humorous narration of actual events. At the end, Trebino gives his suggestions on how to correct a badly flawed system.
I'm changing the title of this thread, and all of you can continue discussing whatever it is you want to discuss.
Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein has been confirmed Director to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by a vote of 57-40 in the Senate. Sunstein has been controversial based on his views that the internet should be regulated according to some fairness doctrine and that animals should enjoy the right to sue humans. Undoubtedly Cass has somehow been the victim of wing nuts. I actually have some sympathy for tort reform and have come across a test case which could serve as a legal precedent template in this brave new world.
First, let me quote part of Michael Behe's argument, from his book, The Edge of Evolution, that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor: Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Maher, primarily known for his anti-religious views, also harbors deep seated anti-science views. From medicine to HIV, and yet he is apparently being given a Richard Dawkins Award.
Note one of the major criteria for the award: “Advocates increased scientific knowledge.” Certainly Maher earns an EPIC FAIL on that aspect, at least. Given that Richard Dawkins made an excellent two-part documentary about pseudoscience for the BBC, entitled The Enemies of Reason, the second part of which was primarily about quackery and medical pseudoscience, you’d think that he’d be unhappy about having an award bearing his name be given to a person who would not have been out of place as one of the quacks that Dawkins skewered in the second half of his documentary, The Irrational Health Service.
This echoes a common theme that is written about much here in this blog, with regard to Animal Rights activists .