Eric Harris Übermensch

Barry Arrington (the current owner of the blog, Uncommon Descent – the former “playground” of William Dembski, advocate of “Intelligent Design”) is a lawyer who seems to regard his finest hour when he acted for some victims families in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

Regular readers of Uncommon Descent (come on, admit it – it’s not just me) may have noted Barry’s singular style of posting “gotcha” questions and using the answers and his ability to control what appears on his blog to bolster his claim of “crickets”. (No complaint from me – ID is a lost cause as a philosophical view so whatever Barry does cannot make any difference in the real world – whether he allows discussion or limits it, the hollowness of ID shines through). The latest post, Eric Harris Was Just Paying Attention, seems to blend Barry’s contribution to Columbine with his predilection for the gotcha. Continue reading

Quine, Alston and Hall On What There Is

As we have been discussing ontology as it refers to hidden variables and multiple worlds, I thought there might be some interest in this excerpt from my Hall book, The Roots of Representationism.  It focuses on a shift in Quine’s position subsequent to “On What There Is,” but I think it touches on some of the broader questions of ontology and how one ought to investigate it as well. Continue reading

ID / UD and the War on Materialism

Governing Goals

To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

Uncommon Descent holds that…
Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted. The problem, therefore, is not merely that science is being used illegitimately to promote a materialistic worldview, but that this worldview is actively undermining scientific inquiry, leading to incorrect and unsupported conclusions about biological and cosmological origins. At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.

At its (theistic) core, ID and creationism is angry with materialism / philosophical naturalism. Denyse, as “News”, is quick to assault any mainstream science she can find through her powers of misunderstanding. KF advocates (but can’t defend or explain) immaterial process that enable minds and contemplation. And yet, like our own WJM, they are all functional materialists.

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Corrupt Catholic SCOTUS officially makes women second-class citizens

The Hobby Lobby case.

It’s finally happened.  The conservative Catholic gang have found a case where they could drop their pretense of legal objectivity in favor of (male) bosses’ supposed “religious rights” to interfere with female employees’ personal healthcare.

Note that there is no pretense whatsoever that this decision is fair and equal with respect to its effect on both men and women.  On the contrary, the 5-judge majority make it clear that only women are allowed to be victims of their employers’ religious prejudice under this decision.  The Court wrote that it intends this decision to apply only to forms of contraception specifically for females (which would have been covered by the employees’ insurance under the ACA) and NOT to apply to any other employer “religious” objections such as those against transfusions or vaccines, which might affect both male and female equally.  Hobby Lobby’s paid health insurance will still cover vasectomies. And erectile-disfunction prescriptions.

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The tight grip of the teleological mindset

In a new post at UD, Denyse O’Leary quotes an article from The Scientist (which she misattributes to Science):

Populations of Escherichia coli grown in the lab quickly evolve tolerance when exposed to repeated treatments with the antibiotic ampicillin, according to a study published today (June 25) in Nature. Specifically, the bacteria evolved to stay in a dormant “lag” phase for just longer than three-, five-, or eight-hour-long treatment courses, before waking up and growing overnight until the next round of treatment began.

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Pesky EleP(T|H)ant

Over at Uncommon Descent KirosFocus repeats the same old bignum arguments as always. He seems to enjoy the ‘needle in a haystack’ metaphor, but I’d like to counter by asking how does he know he’s not searching for a needle in a needle stack?

There is then of course much smugness and back-pating, along with “Notice some chirping crickets?”

Well, let’s see what happens in an environment where crickets aren’t moderated or banned…

Genes in Conflict

On the Counterintuitive evolutionary truths thread, I expressed amazement at the sheer number of distinct kinds of intragenomic conflict that have been discovered by science.  In response, Allan Miller recommended the 2006 book Genes in Conflict, by Austin Burt and Robert Trivers. Burt’s name is unfamiliar to me, but Trivers is famous for proposing the theory of reciprocal altruism.

I ordered the book ($23 on the Kindle and $28 for the paperback), and so did Gralgrathor, so I thought it would be nice to have a discussion thread for the book as we read it. Anyone is welcome to join in, of course, whether or not you are reading the book.

ID’s grand quest

Scordova has posted something that caught my attention at UD.

William Dembski:

It’s up to ID proponents to demonstrate a few incontrovertible instances where design is uniquely fruitful for biology. Scientists without an inordinate attachment to Darwinian evolution (and there are many, though this fact is not widely advertised) will be only too happy to shift their allegiance if they think that intelligent design is where the interesting problems in biology lie.

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