The false equivalence between Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner

In the wake of the Rachel Dolezal scandal, some voices on the right are trying (predictably) to draw a false equivalence between Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner.  Why criticize Dolezal for assuming a black identity, they ask, if we praise Caitlyn Jenner for assuming a female one?

My answer: I criticize Dolezal for lying.  Dolezal lied repeatedly and Jenner didn’t. It’s that simple.

Bad Materialism

In various threads there have been various discussions about what materialism is, and isn’t, and various definitions have been proposed and cited.  In this thread I want to ask a different question, addressed specifically to those who regard “materialism” as a bad thing.  William, for instance, has said that “materialism” was “disproven” in the 18th century, yet laments

the spread of an 18th century myth in our public school system and in our culture at large.

So here is my question: if you are against something called “materialism” and see it as a bad thing (for whatever reason), what is your definition of the “materialism” you are against?

Statistical Hypothesis Testing


The page is quite good, but I’d like the Math Gods that write here to give their thoughts on the relative strengths and applicability of the various models (T test, Chi squared and F-test / Anova)

I’d also welcome discussion on the null hypothesis and what that rejection of it does and doesn’t entail.

Questions welcomed, Design detectives feel free to contribute.


n a piece posted on the Discovery Institute website, responding to bad publicity surrounding the Wedge Document , the author or authors write:

Far from attacking science (as has been claimed), we are instead challenging scientific materialism –  the simplistic philosophy or world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone. We believe that this is a defense of sound science.

So there we have a one definition of “scientific” materialism: “the world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone”.

Continue reading

Alzheimer’s and Evolution

I have to say, while the UD “newsdesk” is terrible source for comment on scientific news, the links themselves are often interesting.  Today, the UD “newsdesk” reports on a pretty interesting study, reported in Nature, here, and a preprint of which seems to be open access here

It’s been apparent for a while from Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) that “risk” alleles for various mental disorders, despite being statistically significant, have extremely small effect sizes.  In other words, while the studies show that many mental disorders are indeed associated with specific alleles (and we already know that many are highly heritable, including schizophrenia, ADHD and Alzheimer’s), there aren’t just a few rogue alleles of large effect (well, there are, but they are far rarer than these disorders), but instead, a whole cocktail of alleles with very slightly raised Odds Ratios for certain disorders (and some are shared between multiple disorders).  This means that the vast majority of people carrying these “risk alleles” are perfectly fine. That would help explain why they have not been weeded out by selection.

Continue reading

Boycott TSZ

I thought about it. But decided not to.

First, as I have said, I think the boycott of UD is irrational. So why should I respond by doing something equally irrational? I shouldn’t.

Second, I think debate should be encouraged not discouraged. Boycotting the main site for the oppositon is hardly conducive to that end. To borrow a phrase from Elizabeth, there’s something asymmetrical here.

And third, I’m the real skeptic here. Unlike you poseurs.

Lots of interesting subjects raised in the UD is Dead Thread.

What is a body plan?
the capacity of the human mind to see what it wants to see
Is biology even science?
Is fantasy better than real life?
Where does the energy come from to move the goalposts?
If everyone accepts ID, why can’t it be science?
Materialism is dead matter
Is the flagellum manufactured or replicated?
is a self-replicating automaton even possible?
If not then entire machine metaphor needs to go. Or is it dead too?
In what sense are physical laws materialist?
Are crop circles made of crops?
Can you spell epistemological verificationism?
What is a genome?
The Multiple Designer Hypothesis

Don’t feel slighted Tom, I figure you’ll start your own thread when you get to it. :)
Unlike Gregory. Is there anything that is NOT designed?

Uncommon Descent is starving

If Uncommon Descent (UD) is not suffering from our departure, then why has the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture stooped to lame promotion of the site? I’m referring to an ID the Future podcast, “Eric Anderson: Probability & Design.” It begins with Casey Luskin singing the praises of UD.

[Eric Anderson…] for the past year has been a contributing author about intelligent design at the great intelligent design blog, Uncommon­ So, quick plug for Uncommon Descent. If you’re an “ID the Future” listener and you’ve never checked it out, go to Uncommon­ And it’s a great ID blog, kind of like It has many participants, and many contributors, of which Eric is one of the main authors there.

And it ends with Casey Luskin steering listeners to UD.

And I would encourage our listeners to go check out the blog Uncommon Descent. That’s Uncommon, and the last word is spelled D-E-S-C-E-N-T, dot com. So “descent” like you’re going down into something. So Uncommon­

Continue reading

The New Atheists–bash, defend, or both

Lots of folks on both sides of the ID divide have strong feelings about prominent New Atheists, particularly the “Four Horsemen” – Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens – and Jerry Coyne.

Here’s a thread in which to air your criticisms of them, or defend them, or a bit of both, as the spirit moves you.


A look at reasons not to have open and honest dialogue (Comments open)

KF has picked up on my previous thread here:

And to his credit he highlights my reasons why I think closed comments monologues do not represent an open and honest way to explore an issue.

I cannot find any of the points refuted but he instead suggests that “The central problem with this is that it (tellingly) brushes aside highly relevant context of abusive threadjacking and insistent accusations/insinuations in response to a thread here at UD that began: “Let’s discuss . . . “

Here is the link to that:

KF claims that “An article that, from the opening words, was an invitation to civil discussion. Which, was met with a threadjacking stunt.”

That’s an interesting take. “…an invitation to civil discussion.”

I hold, as I think does EL and other objectors, that a fair venue is a prerequisite for a fair discussion. A place where people’s comments will not be altered and deleted. Discussions represent an investment of people’s time and UD has, shamefully in my opinion, broken trust with its participants by editing, shouting over and completely deleting the entire history of posters.

This is something that when we see it in history that most people find abhorrent:

And UD as ID’s premier website does itself and its readers a disservice in engaging in it, without acknowledgement.

Having a good debate is helped by having the best venue possible and this is now clearly TSZ as it has a transparent and honest moderation policy, one that has very recently protected KF’s pseudo-anonymity. There is nothing stopping KF posting here unless he fears an honest playing field where he can’t arbitrarily control dialogue. It is the best venue for the reasons above.

If KF finds comments ‘not on topic at’ TSZ, he can simply ignore them. I think many people find massive holes in his FSCO/I concept (Dr. Ewert clearly being one of them) and this would provide him a forum to put his ideas to the test.

Should other entities in the world or on the ‘net be giving KF a hard time then he has TSZ’s sympathies and a statement that we do not endorse or support that sort of thing. There is no reason to try and link those events with TSZ unless you’re looking for an excuse not to have open dialogue.


So the ball’s in your court, KF. FSCO/I, or any other topic you choose.