Former DI Employee Whistle Blower

From here:

” Despite the scientific-sounding name, a former Discovery Institute employee says it’s anything but.

“DI is religiously motivated in all they do,” the person said, requesting anonymity. “One way to tell that the motivation is religion, and not science, is to compare DI work product to tech papers produced by working scientists in the field of biology or subfield of evolutionary biology. The two kinds of work product look very different, read very different, and were produced by very different means.” ”

” “Critical thinking, critical analysis, teach the controversy, academic freedom—these are words that stand for legitimate pedagogical approaches and doctrines in the fields of public education and public education policy,” said the former Discovery Institute employee. “That is why DI co-opts them. DI hollows these words out and fills them with their own purposes; it then passes them off to the public and to government as secular, pedagogically appropriate, and religiously neutral.” ”

” “I will take out all references to creationism and just focus on the stupidity of evolutionary theory,” Pennington wrote. “I believe they can be shown in classrooms… I know what to say and what not to say.” Other supplemental materials Pennington created say, “Macroevolution has never occurred,” and promote the creationist theory of irreducible complexity, which was debunked by scientists during the Kitzmiller trial. ”

Click through to the full article.

Evodice Part 1: Fitness

Hi everyone!

A while ago over at AtBC I had the notion of using dice to try and show how fitness and luck combine during the selection process. I (with the Help of Wes Elsberry) thought that using dice might be a good way to explore this and other concepts such as mutation, sexual selection etc.

So.. here we go.

Imagine a die. It has 6 sides. Let’s call these [A,B,C,D,E,F]. In the dice we all know and love each side has a number associated with it, let’s write that as [1,2,3,4,5,6]. So far so good? – so the “B” face is 2. The “E” face is 5.

Now let’s imagine the life of dice is gladiatorial and to “win” a die must roll higher than another competing die on a single trial of one on one dice combat. If he (I think of them like little people, I can’t write “it” any more) rolls a high number, his odds are better, so fitness clearly scales with numbers. So for our normal die, We’ll call him Norm, his fitness (total) is 1+2+3+4+5+6=21 and his average fitness is 21/6 sides = 3.5. Let’s imagine the Lord of the Dice is a nerdy dungeonmaster called KeithS. He hasn’t decided what happens if two dice roll “The dreaded tie” yet. Maybe dice purgatory? I just really wanted KeithS in this.

Now there’s no reason why a dice has to be [1,2,3,4,5,6]. Norm is, but let’s compare him to the other challengers:

Norm [1,2,3,4,5,6]
Uptight BiPolar [1,1,1,6,6,6]
Low SD [3,3,3,4,4,4]
IDist [1,1,4,5,5,5]

They all have the same average fitness (3.5) as I described above. How do you think they fair in head to head match ups? I’ll reveal the answers via the power of EXHAUSTIVE ENUMERATION in a while. If no one cares then You’ll never know and KeithS wins. No-one wants that!

Let’s Roll!

Justifications for believing a historical narrative

A major bone of contention between us (TSZ) and our friends at Uncommon Descent is origins, how things came to be.
It is pretty clear from their recent writings that despite earlier protestations to the contrary, UD is a Christian apologetics website looking to boost and support the Christian story of origins.

Barry has claimed: “The documents constituting the New Testament are vouchsafed with the blood of the martyrs. Nothing else comes remotely close.”

Islam and the Heaven’s Gate cult also have had people willing to die for them. So, they come close. Also, not all of them can be true given their contradictory truth claims. We can therefore rule out wanting to die for something being a guarantee of truth.
KirosFocus looks to bolster the argument with “with 500 core witnesses, not one of whom could be turned by the threats or inducements of state agents determined to uproot what they saw as a potential source of uprisings”, but as far as I can tell this is poor thinking, he is citing the bible to support the biblical account (1 Cor 15:1) – So the number is irrelevant, we are still left with only the primary source.

KF also tells us, “we have four eyewitness lifespan biographies, one of which is volume 1 of the earliest history of the Christian movement, credibly initially complete c 62 AD. a two-volume work that has been abundantly vindicated as to habitual, detailed accuracy and capturing nuances of setting in ways not plausible for people projecting back from later times. This consciously historical work uses a second biography as a major source, reinforcing the conclusion”

This is closer to the truth; there are four accounts that were written at the earliest decades after the purported events all of which are part of the bible, not independent support for it. I image that people at that time would understand the nuances of biblical times far better than we do, so I’m not sure there’s any argument about ‘good context’ to be made.
See also (

So my question is, outside of the bible, what historical evidence do we have for the story of Jesus? Having been told by Barry “The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most reliably documented events in all of human history.” ( I’d like to see those documents, the non-biblical ones.

The scientific aim is obviously to have a consilient picture of events, multiple independent and reinforcing narratives, like this:

Biblical Problems*: Jesus’ Birth

*Title changed to appease Mung 😉

I’ve not had any refutation / substantive critique from Christians and Sophisticated Theists(c) so I’ll put this here. Are they using ancient words wrong? Is the birth of Jesus story figurative? Does it matter to Christianity if it is not actually true? (I suspect its nearly as important as the resurrection)

Gay marriage and cakes: Not the post you expect.

The case of a christian cake making couple refusing to make a wedding cake for lesbian couple in Oregon has made the news recently:

That’s the HuffPo’s account, a publication that I find to be quite a crappy rag, made worse by endorsement of all things Chopra and Woo. There is much celebration of the ruling in some liberal circles, and I’m going to put a few general thoughts here before I continue:

  • There are anti-discrimination laws in Oregon.
  • The cake makers violated those laws.
  • The couple should have a nice cake.
  • Don’t pick a career that will conflict with your religious views (faith healing MD, Amish Arline Pilot, etc)

That being said, $135k damages for not getting a fucking cake?? And against a small business of people who don’t have the same religious views as me but seem pretty decent otherwise. Sure they could learn a little tolerance and empathy, but couldn’t we all? Speaking of which, here is a list of the ‘physical harm’ caused by not receiving the cake. (quick side note, I’m sure that friction with non-accepting factions of society is terrible and persistent and I wish it didn’t happen, but this is about NOT GETTING A CAKE):

“Mental Rape”? “Loss of appetite” and ‘Weight gain”? 88 symptoms in total. Have a read.

I think liberals need not hold up these folks as champions of equality. I’m calling bullshit on the monetary damages and the symptoms as well.

I wish the lesbian couple had forgiven the christian cake-makers, instead showing them their shared humanity and the positive values they can hold. Instead we fan the flames of the culture war and give the religious right something legitimate to gripe about; I can see no way that the damages are legitimate or that the ruling is in any way proportionate / fair. Legals scholars (we have a coupe I think) – please correct me if I have misunderstood any of this.

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.


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.


…How to have a conversation, (comments open).


I see out good friend whose real name shall not be used despite he himself perpetually linking to it on his website, KirosFocus, has written another copypasta filled FYI / FTR:

Look, KF, You’re clearly reading TSZ and would like to participate. You can have Admin privileges and start threads. The only thing you can’t do it edit, moderate them or delete them for reasons other than listed in the site. (It is better if moderators don’t moderate their own threads, IMHO).

It is my opinion that your FYI / FTR posts are a bad idea. Here’s why:

  • By not allowing criticism to be directly attached to them you are not proceeding in the most intellectually honest way.
  • You keep relinking to them so criticisms have to be redrafted after every ‘reboot’
  • You post on a blog that censors, edits and even DISSAPEARS whole commenters.
  • No rationale or many times even acknowledgement is given by the moderators.
  • The above are hallmarks of dogma, not honest inquiry.

If your ideas are good, they’ll hold up under scrutiny. Exposing them to pointed criticism may help you refine them. A quick check shows non constitutional crises in a certain island that shall not be named, so it’s a great time to take the plunge, with a hearty “BYDAND!”


[title truncated by Lizzie]

What unforeseen secret will we discover in the near future?

A little fun, where you can unleash you inner crank / woomeister. Do you think there is anything we’ll discover in the future that will radically change things? Examples include but not limited to:

Life on Mars, Signals from ET, FTL travel,  PSI phenomena, Limitless energy, Immortality, Message from God, Real AI, Crashed UFO, Atlantis, Decent country music,  etc.

Have some fun with this. No-one is judging*


*Probably not true.

More Anti-Materialism at UD

The WEDGIES are at it again, this time talking about NDEs (last time it was dreams producing CSI)

Heres’s the link:

and the old one

Both posted by Barry Arrington on NKendall’s behalf.

This thread is for commentary for those of us who can’t participate there.

Algorithmic Specified Complexity and the Game of Life

Ewert, Dembski, and Marks have a forthcoming paper: “Algorithmic Specified Complexity and the Game of Life” – It appears to be behind paywalls though. Can anyone provide a copy?

Please note, any comments not directly addressing the math or mechanics of this post will moved to Guano (thanks Neil and Alan)

My earlier post:

1. In Conway’s Life:
2. There is the Glider-Producing Switch Engine
3. It is coded by 123 “On Cells” but requires a space of 67×60 in a specific configuration.
4. That’s 4,020 bits, > UPB.
5. It contains well matched parts : 4bli,3blo,2bee,1boat,1loaf,1ship,1glider
6. It occurs naturally out of randomly configured dust :
7. It can evolve from a much smaller entity (“time bomb” – 17 active cells):

Possible criticisms:

Information is hidden somewhere
This is under “standard” Life rules (B3/S23) which means there is precious little exogenous information:

1.Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population.
2.Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
3.Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
4.Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.


These are not self-replicating
This is not actually a requirement of Specified Complexity and it does send off some of its parts into the life universe.

Also interesting – some musings on how big a life universe might have to be to support self-replicating life:

Spontaneous generation of >500 bits of functional information as well matched sub-components

It’s a quicky:

1. In Conway’s life:
2. There is the Glider-Producing Switch Engine
3. It is coded by 123 “On Cells” but requires a space of 67×60 in a specific configuration.
4. That’s 4,020 bits, > UPB.
5. It contains well matched parts : 4bli,3blo,2bee,1boat,1loaf,1ship,1glider
6. It occurs naturally out of randomly configured dust :
7. It can evolve from a much smaller entity (“time bomb” – 17 active cells):


Barry Arrington fails at logic again

Here’s Barry’s latest:

I’ve saved the web page in case he ‘disappears’ it, as he tends to do.

Barry is making the case that some irrational beliefs may cause outcomes that are still beneficial and so are not selected against (religion, anyone?).

He does this in reply to Piotr’s comment:

“As far as I can see, thought processes which allow us to understand the world and make correct predictions (and so are empirically “true”) are generally good for survival.”

Please note “GENERALLY good for survival”

in most cases; usually.

(from google search)

Barry, its time for you to learn about ‘distributions’. Do you think the correctness of belief is orthogonal to taking an action that is likely to improve survival chances?

I think given this and yesterdays comment:

“Your comment is classic.

ID Supporter: You can’t make a dog from a finch.

Darwinist: Yeah, but some finches are really really different from each other. I have now refuted your point.”

(Dogs don’t give birth to finches, Checkmate evolution!) – You should actually take some biology and logic classes. Spend less time on your apologetics and ‘rules of logic’ and actually learn something about biological origins.