Andre: “PCD stops unguided evolution in its tracks”

UD commenter Andre has a bad case of PCD OCD.

PCD stands for “programmed cell death”. Andre is convinced that it is the death knell not only of cells, but of modern evolutionary theory. He has been spamming the “bomb” thread at UD in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade us of this. (112 mentions of PCD in that thread, but no intelligible argument from Andre.)

Rich suggested that we set up a thread for him here, which I think is a great idea.

Here you go, Andre.  Tell us why PCD is an unguided evolution killer, and be prepared to learn why it is not.

Compressed Sensing / Sampling

I’m still trying to push ID forward as science. I previously suggest Bendford’s Law might be a fruitful avenue for ID research, but there were no takers I know of. Recently I came across Compressed Sensing, and I think this might also be a concept IDist want to explore. Here is the Wikipedia page:

See also:

It seems to be able to recreate structured datasets with surprisingly high fidelity from very low samples. Could it be used to find a hallmark of design?
So, Barry@UD – time to stop the apologetics wagon and do some science. Unfortunately you’ve banned the brightest minds at UD but a couple of the regulars might want to have a crack at this?

Michael Graziano: Are We Really Conscious?

He raises the question in the New York Times Sunday Review:

I believe a major change in our perspective on consciousness may be necessary, a shift from a credulous and egocentric viewpoint to a skeptical and slightly disconcerting one: namely, that we don’t actually have inner feelings in the way most of us think we do…

How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t. The brain has arrived at a conclusion that is not correct. When we introspect and seem to find that ghostly thing — awareness, consciousness, the way green looks or pain feels — our cognitive machinery is accessing internal models and those models are providing information that is wrong…

Continue reading

Expunge the Mung

The assertion has been put forth that I said I would never post here at TSZ again.

Alan Fox:

Welcome back, mung. Didn’t you say that you would never darken our door again? By your moral compass, don’t you have to call yourself a liar, now?

I’ve been searching for the post in which I made a statement that I would never post here again. I do recall being excessively miffed about something that petrushka wrote about me that I thought was egregiously false. Something about animals being meat puppets. But I haven’t yet been able to locate my response to that post.

What post is Alan is referring to?

Are Biological Laws More Like Evolving Habits Than Fixed Rules?

Rupert Sheldrake obviously thinks so.  (I have no idea myself, but would be interested in comments on his piece by those who do.)


A New Science of Life

The idea of natural laws is embarrassingly anthropomorphic; it’s time for a rethink.
Rupert Sheldrake | Scientist, author, A New Science of Life, The Science Delusion


The hypothesis of morphic resonance proposes that memory is inherent in nature. The laws of nature are more like habits. Each species has a collective memory on which all individuals draw and to which they contribute.

Continue reading

Some questions about music in the head

1.How many of you have a song or some other piece of music “playing” in your head, right now?

2. During roughly what percentage of your waking time do you have “mental music” playing (that is, when you’re not listening to an external source of music)?

3. How much voluntary control do you have over the music playing in your head?  If a song you don’t like starts to “play”, are you able to replace it with something you like better, or do you get stuck with “earworms” – songs that you can’t get rid of despite trying?

Continue reading

Critique of Dembski’s not-so-new argument, at PT

We interrupt all this philosophy for a brief announcement: I have written a critique of the arguments William Dembski used in his talk on 14 August at the Computations in Science Seminar at the University of Chicago, which can watch on this Youtube video. These were based primarily on the Conservation of Information (CoI) argument of William Dembski and Robert Marks, and these were in turn based on their earlier Search For a Search (SFS) argument. Neither those arguments nor my response are new, but I hope that the new post will explain the issues clearly.

The critique will be found here, at Panda’s Thumb.

I suspect that most of the discussion will occur at PT but I will try to respond here as well.

On the Moral Objection to Catholicism

Alan Fox:

Both Feser and Torley are both staunch Catholics, a religion that I find pretty objectionable (above all for it’s interference in private life and thought, the readiness of its leaders to tell others how to behave, oppression of women and minorities…).

Q1: Are these objections not all moral?

Q2: Are there other unlisted objections, and are they not also moral objections?

Q3: Is there any religion Alan Fox does not find objectionable?

Q4: Is there an objective basis for Alan’s objections?