Semiotic theory of ID

Upright BiPed has been proposing what he has called a “semiotic” theory of Intelligent Design, for a while, which I have found confusing, to say the least.  However, he is honing his case, and asks Nick Matzke

…these three pertinent questions regarding the existence of information within a material universe:

  1. In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)
  2. If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)
  3. If 1 and 2 are true, then is it even conceivably possible to functionally transfer information without the irreducibly complex system of these two arrangements of matter (representations and protocols) in operation?

… which I think clarify things a little.

I think I can answer them, but would anyone else like to have a go? (I’m out all day today).

1,027 thoughts on “Semiotic theory of ID

  1. UB:

    The flaw in Thorton’s counter-example, as stunning as it was, is that there are many ways in which the ground could become wet, none of which has anything to do with rain. I find it amazing that neither of you grasped this before typing.

    What you identify as the “flaw” in this example is the point of it, one that, apparently, escaped you. Of course there are ways in which the ground can become wet other than rainstorms. It is because there are other ways that the ground can become wet that observing this absolutely reliable entailment of rainstorms nevertheless fails to establish that a rainstorm has occurred. Elements of your reasoning are analogous to this defective inference.

    To wit:

    You’ve tied your argument to an example that has nothing to do with reality, or our written and compiled knowledge of reality. We know thousands of ways that the ground could become wet; we can make them up as we go, over and over again. We would never run out of ideas of how the ground could become wet. Yet you don’t know a single way to record and transfer information that doesn’t entail the physical roles and dynamic relationships as given in the argument you wish to refute.

    You seem unable to refrain from thinking backward about this, again suggesting that the above point eluded you. The issue is not whether there is “a single way to record information that doesn’t entail the physical roles and dynamic relationships as given in the argument you wish to refute.” (I’ll grant arguendo “no.”) That is precisely analogous to asking whether there is even a single way a rainstorm can fail to entail wet ground. (We agree: “no”). However, vis wet ground, the real question at play is whether there are other ways the ground may become wet. (Again, we agree “yes, many.”) Given that, an inference from wet ground to rainstorm can be mistaken. In biology, the question at play is whether there have existed processes other than semiotic processes that may also originate systems displaying your “material entailments.” Here, we say “yes,” you say “no.” You obviously disbelieve it (so what?), but the bottom line is that your “listed material entailments” of recorded information, and hence of a semiotic state, fail to exclude that possibility, however fervently you wish that they did, any more than the fact that all rainstorms wet the ground rules out the possibility of other sources of damp earth.

    In short, the issue in contention (the origin of systems such the functioning genome) remains in play, your semiotic argument notwithstanding.

    I appreciate how you’ve sought to put yourself in the enviable position of not needing any evidence to support your position. You’ll no doubt begin to wax institutionally about empiricism next.

    My “position” in this discussion is that your reasoning over the evidence displays fatal logical flaws. The particulars of the evidence have no bearing on a demonstration of your flawed reasoning over that evidence.

    By my suggestion that a ‘demonstration of recorded information is also a demonstration of a semiotic state’, I make the claim that recorded information is – by necessity – semiotic.

    As I have been saying, this is a claim, only. Adding “of necessity” doesn’t strengthen the claim in the absence of a demonstration of that necessity. You above argue that “recorded information” has certain “material entailments.” Citing references to your “listed material entailments of recorded information” as justification for this leap to a “semiotic state” serves only to circle back to “recorded information,” without justifying the leap. In short, this is another non-sequitur.

    Unless “of necessity” really means, “by definition.” Which prompts me to ask, what is your definition of “semiotic?” And specifically, what does your definition of “semiotic” entail that “recorded information” (and it’s listed entailments) does not? If nothing, then why invoke it? If additional entailments do follow from “semiotic,” then by all means describe them.

    (Oh, and how does one “wax institutionally,” Mr. Harding?)

  2. The current thinking is that the protein system was preceded by an RNA world.

    Nope. That has been superseded by the ribonulceo-protein world. Also you don’t just get to say RNA world, badda-bing, badda-boom, tgranscription and translation.

  3. This sort of reasoning also struck me as peculiar. A always causes B, therefore B is always caused by A, and therefore if we find B, we can conclude A. One need not be a genius to notice a problem here, BUT I think one DOES need to step back and ponder a bit. And after doing so, we can reformulate as follows:

    A is the cause of all possible B, because doctrine requires this.
    B is observed to have many possible causes. of which A is only one.
    This observation is unacceptable, because the whole point is to find A whether it exists or not, and rule out anything else.
    Therefore A is the cause of all possible B, because doctrine requires this.

    And thus reformulated, we notice something very familiar: doctrine trumps observation, conviction trumps evidence, faith trumps reality, emotion trumps intellect. This recurring pattern lies at the heart of every one of these threads.

  4. Nice.

    And your last point is crucial: To demonstrate that a system is not “IC” you don’t have to delineate the actual pathway, merely a plausible pathway. To demonstrate that a mountain is climable you don’t have to identify the route by which it was actually climbed, just that such a route exists.

    This gets back to the assymmetry between evolutionary theory and ID: evolutionary theory mere claims that X is plausible and reasonable, and therefore inferring an ID is not justified, although not of course ruled out.

    ID claims that X is not plausible nor reasonable therefore we can reject X and infer an ID.

  5. Elizabeth:
    Nice.

    And your last point is crucial:To demonstrate that a system is not “IC” you don’t have to delineate the actual pathway, merely a plausible pathway.To demonstrate that a mountain is climable you don’t have to identify the route by which it was actually climbed, just that such a route exists.

    This gets back to the assymmetry between evolutionary theory and ID: evolutionary theory mere claims that X is plausible and reasonable, and therefore inferring an ID is not justified, although not of course ruled out.

    ID claims that X is not plausible nor reasonable therefore we can rejectX and infer an ID.

    How do you know something is even plausible? If it is only “plausible” in one’s imagination, does that count? If yes, why?

  6. Is Upright BiPed simply making the fallacy of the excluded middle?

    All B is caused by A
    C is like B
    Therefore C is caused by A.

  7. Well if C is very B-like and there isn’t any evidence that anything else can produce it, then the only reasonable inference is that A caused C also

  8. Joe G: How do you know something is even plausible? If it is only “plausible” in one’s imagination, does that count? If yes, why?

    Good question. A plausible hypothesis would one that uses well-understood mechanisms, and/or invokes established observations, and ideally generates a prediction: if X is the way the way it was done, then we should see Y. Or even: if X can do Y, then we can do X and see if it produces Y.

  9. Joe G:
    Well if C is very B-like and there isn’t any evidence that anything else can produce it, then the only reasonable inference is that A caused C also

    Well you’ve added the very proviso that is the question at issue! Namely “can anything else produce C?”

    Evolutionary theory says yes, as long as the thing is a self-replicator.

  10. Evidence- no one cares what any “theory” says. People care about the evidence. And to date there isn’t any evidence for a self-replicator and no evidence tat a self-replicator can become a living organism.

  11. ID theory seems to be cast in the form:

    A produces C
    We observe C
    Therefore A produced C

    I think there’s a logical problem with this.

    I also think there’s a problem if A represents humans and C represents life. Nothing has ever been observed to produce life from scratch, so there’s no evidence that intelligence can produce life.

  12. Joe G:
    Evidence- no one cares what any “theory” says. People care about the evidence. And to date there isn’t any evidence for a self-replicator and no evidence tat a self-replicator can become a living organism.

    Joe, living organisms are self-replicators.

  13. petrushka:
    ID theory seems to be cast in the form:

    A produces C
    We observe C
    Therefore A produced C

    I think there’s a logical problem with this.

    I also think there’s a problem if A represents humans and C represents life. Nothing has ever been observed to produce life from scratch, so there’s no evidence that intelligence can produce life.

    Yes, I like this point. My personal hunch is that if we ever succeed in making truly intelligent robots it will be because we have let them evolve.

  14. This is the form pertaining to Intelligent Design from Darwinism, Design and Public Education page 92:

    1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

  15. Elizabeth: Is Upright BiPed simply making the fallacy of the excluded middle?All B is caused by AC is like BTherefore C is caused by A.

    Rather: therefore C is caused by a D which is like A.

    It goes like this. Make a definition of waterways. Point out that both rivers and canals fit the definition. Then claim that the only known way for waterways to come into existence is when humans intelligently design and construct them. Then we can infer that rivers were intelligently designed.

    That might even have seemed reasonable to some people in early canal building cultures, but if the gaps in our knowledge of river formation are closed, then there’s no longer any need for the Intelligent Designer of the waterways.

    But there’s an added problem with making the argument for life itself. While the rivers could be attributed to our distant ancestors, or similar intelligent animals, the first life would require dead designers, which is why I say: not A, but a D which is like A.

    We make many things that are analogous to other things that we observe in the world, but it does not follow that those things are designed. When a flower sends a sign to a specific species of insect, we can say that there is a transfer of information which involves a protocol. But the system isn’t irreducibly complex.

  16. Translated:

    1. Complex things are the product of a designing agent
    2. Living things are complex things,
    3. ???????
    4. Therefore Living things are the product of a designing agent.

    I’m sure ID proponents recognize the fallacy, so they sneak in statement 3, which is equivalent to saying that all complex things are the product of a designing agent.

    But when that is made explicit, it is assuming the conclusion. Basically you are simply asserting your conclusion. The whole ID argument boils down to denying the efficacy of evolution. That’s it. that’s all there is.

    You have never seen an example of a designing agent making life from scratch. You have never observed a designing agent other than humans, and you have not observed humans creating life from scratch.

    So basically you are asserting that your invisible friend is the designer of life.

  17. You mean mistranslated. So much for your “good faith”.

    1. Complex things are the product of a designing agent

    1- The design inference requires more than mere complexity. Mere complexity can arise without a designer.

    2. Living things are complex things,

    2- Living organsisms are more than just merely complex

    3. ???????

    3- Materialism doesn’t have any explanation for living organsims

    4. Therefore Living things are the product of a designing agent.

    Due to our knowledge of cause and effect relationships that is the inference. And we hold that inference can be falsified if necessity and chance are ever demonstrated capable of producing a living organism from non-living matter.

    It is called extrapolation. If we actually observed the designer in action then we wouldn’t need science as design would be a given.

  18. Allan: The current thinking is that the protein system was preceded by an RNA world.

    Joe: Nope. That has been superseded by the ribonulceo-protein world.

    Nope. There is still some debate on this matter but either way, it does not change one iota of what I wrote. IDists have seized upon this RNP notion as though it confirms the assumed fact that out of the OoL came a ribosomal protein factory, just like modern life – the work of one set of ‘Darwinists’ is accepted without murmur, because it supposedly invalidates the assumptions of another set. Selective, much?

    The key point for the genetic code (and hence the “Semiotic” argument) is that protein synthesis via the code is mediated by a ribosomal mechanism. That is not the only conceivable mechanism of protein synthesis, but it is the only one involving rRNA passing along a strand of mRNA and attaching amino acid subunits passed by tRNA charged by aaRSs – the mechanism that, in the modern version, has the quality of a representational code, because there is (NOW) a tRNA for every non-STOP codon, and a variety of acids in the set of aaRSs (which are all protein).

    The catalytic step in the ribosome is condensation, one of the commonest ‘joining’ methods in biological catalysis, removing an -OH residue from one molecule and an -H from the other to allow two carbons to be joined directly, expelling a molecule of water (yes, one molecule of water! Who’d have thought it?). Condensation is catalysed by the RNA, not the associated protein, and therefore proves RNA capable of one of the most widespread catalytic mechanisms of all. It may indeed be the case that a ribosome is not capable of operating without some kind of stabilising polypeptide – but there are no grounds for insisting that the only way to make a stabilising polypeptide is via a ribosome.

    In the hypothetical pre-ribosomal world, if protein existed, it was condensed, and specified, by some non-ribosomal method. Whether that was ‘semiotic’ or not (or even real) is another matter. But the point, again, is to demonstrate a possible natural means by which the supposedly “semiotic” genetic code may have arisen. And unless you can come up with a sensible objection to the biochemical argument, it stands, as reason to doubt that the genetic code is IC.

    “Sensible” would need a bit more effort than:

    Also you don’t just get to say RNA world, badda-bing, badda-boom, tgranscription and translation.

    What, because that would be too much like “Designer, badda-bing, badda-boom, transcription and translation”, and you have copyrighted that methodology?

  19. Due to our knowledge of cause and effect relationships that is the inference. And we hold that inference can be falsified if necessity and chance are ever demonstrated capable of producing a living organism from non-living matter.

    It is called extrapolation. If we actually observed the designer in action then we wouldn’t need science as design would be a given.

    Of course we do see evolution, so in the absence of any evidence of some other process, evolution is the default for the process by which life changes and diversifies.

    We know less about the origin of life, but we know some things about chemistry.

    Which is a lot more than we know about sky fairies.

    It is simply stupid beyond imagination to assert a non-existent thing to be a cause.

  20. Joe, you said above

    “1- The design inference requires more than mere complexity. Mere complexity can arise without a designer.”

    How do you know which thing exhibiting complexity is designed, and which not?

    And if a non-designed complex thing is found to have a biological function, where does that leave ID?

    Two more questions for you to avoid, Joe!

  21. It is simply stupid beyond imagination to assert a non-existent thing to be a cause.

    Well, maybe not stupid, but certainly deluded. The non-existent thing is asserted to exist, and THEN asserted to perform magic. Consider Kurt Wise, who is clearly intelligent, knowledgeable, willing to concede that his beliefs are incompatible with all observation, and STILL unable to let go of them. This is a matter of neural organization in the brain, not a matter of stupidity.

  22. A person who is not stupid can nevertheless have stupid ideas.

    Ascribing causation to nonexistent entities is a stupid idea.

    There have been times in science when invisible forces have been deduced from regular phenomena. Gravity, electromagnetic radiation, ionizing radiation, dark matter and energy.
    What separates these causative agents from intelligent designers is not their existence vs nonexistence, but their specific properties that are bot regular and testable.

    What Joe and other ID advocates posit is a capricious, historical agent having no attributes.

  23. ID is not anti-evolution. And evolution depends on the origin of life.

    Also you assert a non-existent thing to be a cause.

  24. How do you know which thing exhibiting complexity is designed, and which not?

    It’s call INVESTIGATION. Do you think forensic scientists, archaeologists and SETI researchers flip a coin?

    And if a non-designed complex thing is found to have a biological function, where does that leave ID?

    As Dr Behe said all those years ago- that’s right in writing- it all depends on how complex.

    Finding a three-part configuration produced by natural selection or drift would not mean no design inference for a 3 parts, or fewer, configuration.

    As for avoiding questions- strange that you always avoid mine and never produce any positive evidence for your position…

  25. 1- We have direct onservational evidence of designers transcribing and translating

    2- I cannot make a sensible objection to a nonsensical scenario

  26. 1. Complex things are the product of a designing agent
    2. Living things are complex things,
    3. ???????
    4. Therefore Living things are the product of a designing agent.

    The problem ID proponents have is that #3 infers a mechanism, about which ID theory is supposedly agnostic. What is worse, is that an Intelligent being may have indeed designed the universe to evolve just as Science has described. In which case, the mechanism — “Darwinian Evolution” — would necessarily be evidence of Intelligent Design. So it’s on faulty theological grounds that the ID enterprise has been constructed.

    “You have to ask yourself a question. How can God guide an undirected process? It’s not so much a theological problem, it’s just a basic logical problem. So I think you can be a theistic evolutionist but not a theistic Darwinist and be logically consistent.”
    — Stephen Meyer

    Accordingly, any undirected process – like gravity or entropy – can not be guided by God. Apparently this realization and its implications have yet to occur to ID proponents like Stephen Meyer. I can’t wait to see how Intelligent Design will upend Quantum theory, or, redefine God such that Quantum events are beyond his knowledge and power.

  27. I really don’t have any problem with Deism, fine tuning and the like. I think they are vacuous, but not obviously wrong. If it comforts people to think that a deity is looking after them, so be it.

    The argument that some invisible agency steers mutations toward some end seems to be objectively wrong. Actual experiments seem to rule out any advantage to having a bias in the generator of variation, and none has been detected. Again, it is not obviously wrong, but it contributes nothing.

  28. Actual experiments seem to rule out universal common descent and just about everything evolutionism claims.

  29. Joe G:
    Actual experiments seem to rule out universal common descent and just about everything evolutionism claims.

    Citation?

  30. The argument that some invisible agency steers mutations toward some end seems to be objectively wrong.

    That well may be the theology of some, but that’s not the Catholic theology per se. Of all the possible histories that could exist, God chose the one where in evolution led to the human form, and so on (a.k.a. God’s Plan, Divine Providence, etc.) Such is the power of omnipotence. Thomas Aquinas addressed this is detail, but this is a sufficient summation:


    The Summa Theologica, part I

    14. Of God’s Knowledge
    (9) Whether God has knowledge of things that are not?

    Objection 3: Further, the knowledge of God is the cause of what is known by Him. But it is not the cause of things that are not, because a thing that is not, has no cause. Therefore God has no knowledge of things that are not.

    Reply to Objection 3: The knowledge of God, joined to His will is the cause of things. Hence it is not necessary that what ever God knows, is, or was, or will be; but only is this necessary as regards what He wills to be, or permits to be. Further, it is in the knowledge of God not that they be, but that they be possible.

    (13) Whether the knowledge of God is of future contingent things?

    I answer that, Since as was shown above (Article [9]), God knows all things; not only things actual but also things possible to Him and creature; and since some of these are future contingent to us, it follows that God knows future contingent things.

    In evidence of this, we must consider that a contingent thing can be considered in two ways; first, in itself, in so far as it is now in act: and in this sense it is not considered as future, but as present; neither is it considered as contingent (as having reference) to one of two terms, but as determined to one; and on account of this it can be infallibly the object of certain knowledge, for instance to the sense of sight, as when I see that Socrates is sitting down. In another way a contingent thing can be considered as it is in its cause; and in this way it is considered as future, and as a contingent thing not yet determined to one; forasmuch as a contingent cause has relation to opposite things: and in this sense a contingent thing is not subject to any certain knowledge. Hence, whoever knows a contingent effect in its cause only, has merely a conjectural knowledge of it. Now God knows all contingent things not only as they are in their causes, but also as each one of them is actually in itself. And although contingent things become actual successively, nevertheless God knows contingent things not successively, as they are in their own being, as we do but simultaneously. The reason is because His knowledge is measured by eternity, as is also His being; and eternity being simultaneously whole comprises all time, as said above (Question [10], Article [2]). Hence all things that are in time are present to God from eternity, not only because He has the types of things present within Him, as some say; but because His glance is carried from eternity over all things as they are in their presentiality. Hence it is manifest that contingent things are infallibly known by God, inasmuch as they are subject to the divine sight in their presentiality; yet they are future contingent things in relation to their own causes.

  31. Joe:

    1. We have direct onservational evidence of designers transcribing and translating

    What has that to do with the price of fish? We don’t have observational evidence of designers transcribing and translating through the medium of mRNA and ribosomes, nor of designing such chemical manifestations of assumed symbology ab initio. Whatever stenographers, programmers and Babelfish can do is utterly irrelevant.

    2- I cannot make a sensible objection to a nonsensical scenario

    It may seem nonsensical to someone who knows next to nothing about biochemistry.

    What is funny about this is the way you (via Uncles Casey or Cornelius) point to RNP as the supposed death knell of the RNA World, and with it any possibility that the Genetic Code had a precursor. You can only think of one way to make protein, so that must be the way it has to be made. Better yet, the methodology used to infer a deeper connection in time between the protein and RNA contents of the ribosome is that of common descent and the molecular clock. They did sequence comparisons and inferred relationships and divergence times between the various elements. That is, those methods that elsewhere the Gruesome Twosome will fight tooth and nail to discredit were a central method in this piece of research. Yet they hold it up as worthy science in their desperate attempt to keep the OoL and Genetic Code as contemporary events, despite being based on a methodology that they don’t consider valid. That’s why you shouldn’t go to lawyers for your biochemistry tuition.

    The RNP research is perfectly respectable, though not conclusive – the possibility that what we call “RNA world” had protein in it an entirely likely one. But it does not force us to a conclusion that those proteins were made by a ribosome. Any catalytic RNA with a condensation capacity would do, without a requirement for a linear input specification in the modern manner (ie the Genetic Code).

  32. Allan,

    All you have are promissory notes. You can’t even get the RNA world started. Lincoln and Joyce had that “self-sustained replication of RNAs” that required two strands to make it work- one for teh template and one that catalyzed one bond. That means they seeded the mixture with RNA sequences that only require one bond to make a longer sequence.

    One bond.

    Also it has nothing to do with what anyone can “think of”. As I said imagination is not evidence. And just because your position REQUIRES there be some much more simple genetic code, that odes not mean there was one.

  33. Joe G,

    Joe G: Actual experiments seem to rule out universal common descent and just about everything evolutionism claims.

    Fascinating. Which “actual experiments” do you refer to, which “seem to rule out universal common descent”?

  34. You can’t even get the RNA world started

    I can’t get any world started. I’m not that powerful. We are talking of the genetic code, and hypotheses by which it may have arisen from precursors which did not possess it. Where those precursors came from is irrelevant to the ‘semiotic’ issue. Peel the onion one layer at a time.

    And just because your position REQUIRES there be some much more simple genetic code, that odes not mean there was one.

    My position REQUIRES absolutely nothing. I am interested in what actually is true. If Designer, fabulous. If not Designer, just as fabulous. I really have no preference. But a position that appears to REQUIRE the genetic code to be complex and IC seems curiously dogged in its determination not to consider alternative hypotheses. Ideally, you consider them before your critics do. It is a vital part of doing science – thinking that you may be wrong, and considering – seriously considering – alternative explanations for the patterns your pet theory is designed to explain.

    And, perhaps just occasionally, you may consider why, almost universally, people who are up to speed on the science don’t stick a Designer behind every currently unopened door, while those who do are almost exclusively drawn from the ranks of the non-expert. If it’s Designers all the way down, why even bother trying to push the door open? Why do science at all?

  35. There isn’t any evidence for any precursors. That is a figment of your imagination.

    My position REQUIRES absolutely nothing.

    Not even supporting evidence.

    And what makes you think IDists have not considered alternative sources for the GC? We realize that imagination is not evidence.

    And, perhaps just occasionally, you may consider why, almost universally, people who are up to speed on the science cannot support their position.

    If it’s Designers all the way down, why even bother trying to push the door open? Why do science at all?

    1- No one said it’s designers all the way down

    2- we do science so that we can understand the design

    the same question can be asked of you- if it is sheer dumb luck all the way down, then why do science at all seeing taht sheer dumb luck can’t be tested….

  36. Joe

    There isn’t any evidence for any precursors. That is a figment of your imagination.

    Fuck off, Joe.

  37. Joe is the reason bars have to have bouncers. There is always one asshole.

    But of all the bars in all the towns in all the world … ! Still, I’ve always fancied a trip to Guano. I wonder if I’ll meet anyone interesting there … ?

  38. Allan Miller: But of all the bars in all the towns in all the world … ! Still, I’ve always fancied a trip to Guano. I wonder if I’ll meet anyone interesting there … ?

    I am actually amazed at the repeated attempts of some participants here to have a meaningful discussion with Joe. His comments, since they invariably start out in the sewer (on the intellectual as well as social level), will do nothing but derail the thread into the sewer if enough participants engage with them. Many threads on this blog are testimony to that. My default strategy has therefore been to simply ignore the indiscriminate flinging of feces from his direction, and attempt to stay on topic of the thread / engage with folks that are interested in a meaningful discussion.
    Not that rolling in Guano can’t be fun from time to time (and I expect to also meet you guys there with this comment), but I think it would be more productive to the rest of the blog to engage Joe only on the level of his choice – in Guano.

  39. madbat089: “I am actually amazed at the repeated attempts of some participants here to have a meaningful discussion with Joe. ”

    For me and maybe some others here, the conversation isn’t really with Joe as much as it is with the “audience” that’s listening.

    We just have to keep documenting the fact that they have no real point that they make.

    Every time we’re cool, calm and collected when talking to the “Joe’s”, “UPB’s” and “WJM’s” of the world, they lose, since the best weapon they can muster is never built on any sort of foundation.

  40. Toronto: Every time we’re cool, calm and collected when talking to the “Joe’s”, “UPB’s” and “WJM’s” of the world, they lose, since the best weapon they can muster is never built on any sort of foundation.

    That is very true, of course, and a valid reason to engage. However, the answers to the “Joes” of this world are not always cool, calm and collected. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame e.g. Allan for asking Joe to “fuck off” after the flood of intellectual guano and verbal abuse he received from Joe – we are all humans with limited tolerance levels. But that’s when the threads inevitably get dragged down into the collective sewer, because after prolonged exchanges with Joe most people understandably lose their patience and fling the feces back (the more kudos to those who don’t lose their patience).
    Just an observation, really. I’m not making the rules on this blog, and I don’t really want to, either. I would just personally enjoy regular threads to remain above the guano level, and that’s why I choose to not interact with Joe’s comments, because I know I’d likely also lose my patience after a while. This way I am not in danger of contributing to the distribution of guano…
    :)

  41. Toronto,

    It is obvious to all reading that you guys do not have a point to make.

    We are still waiting for testable hypotheses for your position. Why is that?

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