The L Word

‘Stay the fuck home’. A less effective means of gaining general co-operation from the instinctively anti-establishment would be hard to imagine. How about you get the fuck out of my face? Our more formal UK government messaging has plumped for the ‘will-no-one-think-of-the-the-children’ emotional arm-twist of ‘Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives’. This appears at the foot of the rash of notices that has appeared all over my own rural region requesting people to approach a farm gate on a public path as they would open heart surgery, and disinfect or wear gloves before touching. After a day slapping cows’ backsides (I am hazy on the details of the profession!), it would be too much to expect farmers to take responsibility for their own biosecurity, and wash their own hands before dining.

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Who would be worse than the orange guy to lead the US through this time?

I have been thinking about this.  Who can one name, who is not in jail, and who would be eligible to be President, who would actually be worse than this moron, to lead the country through this crisis right now?  Someone who is even more self-centered, who knows less about the world, less about proper management, who has had more business failures, who is even more divisive, who has more staffing problems, who is more petty, more insulting to reporters asking tough questions, and who generally would fuck things up even more than him?  This is truly not an easy question to answer. Any suggestions?  I am seriously finding it hard to name someone.

The republicans sure picked a doozy.

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Questions for Christians and other theists, part 8: the Trinity

One of the strangest doctrines in all of Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. This doctrine holds that there are three divine persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost — yet only one deity. Each of the three persons is fully God, and not just a part of God. A famous diagram known as the “Shield of the Trinity” compactly summarizes the idea:


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Amongst the billions of species today is evolution going on? No! Why not !

if evolutionism is the mechanism for biological changing of bodyplans then it must be a option it could happen today, and relative to billions of species, it should be happening to a powerful percentage. new population by the millions should be newly created with need for new scientific names. Yet i say there are none or less than six.  WHY? I say because evolutionism is not accurate as a mechanism . it never existed. other mechanisms exist. the great evidence against evolutionism is the very unlikely situation of it not having occurred in the last twenty years in great, or any, numbers. Very unlikely but i offer the issue.

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List of Hot Air Skeptics

Alan seemed to insinuate in my last thread that I didn’t explain WHY I think skeptics are full of hot air.  So, in order to do so in a manner in which hopefully he can better understand, first I think I should start with a list of who these skeptic mouthpieces are, and then I can perhaps later fill in some of their statements, some of their backgrounds, and some of their beliefs.  I hope this will ease Alan’s concerns.  So, off the top of my head, here are some of the top ones I can think of.  Sort of a Hall of Fame of atheist windbags. Guys who know everything about the universe, because they tell you so. Should be a useful database that we can refer back to later in other conversations. More added later:

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Sex – a matter of perspective

I am sure that many readers have already concluded that I do not understand the role of sex in either organic or biotic evolution. At least I can claim, on the basis of the conflicting views in the recent literature, the consolation of abundant company.

– George C. Williams, Sex and Evolution, 1975

 

What’s sex all about? This question has been exercising biologists since well before Williams’s time, but in the 1970’s, with the rise of ‘gene-centrism’ and the related controversy over group selection, a succession of prominent authors grappled with the problem, trying to fit it with current evolutionary theory to no-one’s particular satisfaction. Males were deemed an impediment to a female’s efforts to maximise her reproductive output, time wasted on these feckless types resulting in her only passing on 50% of her genes per offspring. From the perspective of a ‘selfish gene’, meanwhile, getting into every offspring seems a preferable fate to only getting into half of them. On the basis of these apparent large costs, a cryptic offsetting benefit of corresponding magnitude was assumed. Like Godot, it is yet to appear.

Yet sex is widespread. All eukaryotes either do it now, or possess tell-tale signs that their recent ancestors did. Given that it appears costly to individuals, and genes, how did it evolve and why does it persist?

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Conscious Perception: Continuous or Discrete?

A short 9-page paper presents a model of conscious perception as a discrete process:

 

Time Slices: What Is the Duration of a Percept?

 

Abstract

We experience the world as a seamless stream of percepts. However, intriguing illusions and recent experiments suggest that the world is not continuously translated into conscious perception. Instead, perception seems to operate in a discrete manner, just like movies appear continuous although they consist of discrete images. To explain how the temporal resolution of human vision can be fast compared to sluggish conscious perception, we propose a novel conceptual framework in which features of objects, such as their color, are quasi-continuously and unconsciously analyzed with high temporal resolution. Like other features, temporal features, such as duration, are coded as quantitative labels. When unconscious processing is “completed,” all features are simultaneously rendered conscious at discrete moments in time, sometimes even hundreds of milliseconds after stimuli were presented.

(H/T J-Mac)

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Why Skeptics Are So Full Of Hot Air.

Several years ago, at the beginning of 2016, on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe forums, there was a thread about driverless cars.  All the skeptics were going on about how great it was going to be, how it will be here in two years, five years at the most, how we will overcome all the “small” problems by 2017, maybe 2019 at the latest, blah, blah.  And at the time, I had told them, well, you may want to hold on a while, its not quite as easy as you think.  And how was that met?  By a barrage of insults, of you ridiculous troll, what do you know about anything, if you wouldn’t be so ignorant and just learn, can we just block this guy moderator, on and on it went… (typical skeptic fare).

That thread was viewed 117,000 times.  There was exactly ONE person who was adamant that their time frames were wrong, that we still have a long way to go.  And boy, they sure didn’t like that.  Looking back now at the litany of nonsense the skeptics spewed kind of makes me laugh now.  Its the same nonsense you see here at TSZ every day.  Now, in 2020, some of the most ardent skeptic cheerleaders have reluctantly finally started to admit, ok, yea, you was right, it was a a lot harder than we all said.

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Behe vs. Swamidass I, as “God and/or Evolution?” Time to yawn, politely applaud or cheer?

The biggest news of this week for the “conversation” this blog is in some small way a part of will likely be the discussion between Drs. Michael Behe and S. Joshua Swamidass in Texas. The answer for both men to the polemical question above is not “God w/out evolution”, but rather “God with evolution,” iow both God and evolution. So what else important is there left for them to disagree about? http://www.veritas.org/location/texas-a-m-university/

For Behe, “evolution” has a narrower meaning than it does for Swamidass. One key question, that likely won’t be asked, is: how wide is Swamidass’ meaning of “evolution” and where does it stop (i.e. what doesn’t ‘evolve’)? Is Swamidass, who somewhat incredulously claims to be neither a creationist nor an evolutionist, actually both? One of the biggest challenges unaddressed still by Swamidass regarding his evolutionism will be met when he starts describing or explaining the “limits of evolutionary theories”, rather than only “the great possibilities of evolutionary theories”, now as we live in a post-Darwinian, extended synthesis scenario.

We may nevertheless hope for some reconciliation, or even a moment or two of peace amidst an artificial storm in the USA involving “Intelligent Design”, evolution, and creationism. Those moments will likely constitute a rare pause in their otherwise contrary apologetics approaches, both taking a “public understanding of science” attitude of pedagogical communication to the stage. We may thus, purely on the communications front, simply get either a parody of abstract intellectualism driven by “religious” or “quasi-religious” agendas, or more positively, a few simple concessions of common ground that shouldn’t be too difficult for either of them to find, or to make towards each other.

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Definitions involving “Intelligent Design”: DI Fellows’ language vs. Everyone Else’s

Not long ago in a comment here, I posted a short version of definitions involving the Discovery Institute’s “Intelligent Design” (ID) paradigm, hypothesis, movement, theory, inference, policy, heuristic, or whatever one wants to call it, depending on which person they’re speaking with. This was done because the person in the conversation I was responding to appeared to be, to me at least, quite obviously conflating two meanings into one term (thing & theory). And he didn’t seem to realize that he was doing it. (Aside: there appear to be multiple reasons why people tempted by ideological Intelligent Designism [IDism] or repelled by it, may feel they need to intentionally conflate definitions of ID.) I wondered what might be the issue with what was merely an attempt to lay out simple definitions, for mutual benefit towards clearer communications, or ‘operations’ as some people here like to call it.

Within days, to my surprise, I discovered the exact same thing in a long exchange with a Discovery Institute () Fellow on a social media platform. This person too conflated two meanings into one. Why also is that? And this person wanted to equivocate over whether or not there even is a “movement” at play, before finally conceding that yes, indeed, there is = the IDM based at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, USA. The conversation reminded me of previous ones at Uncommon Descent & BioLogos with Eddie, now of Peaceful Science and Potiphar, who only begrudgingly, after listing off a number of ways that this “Movement” could only properly or ‘officially’ be spoken about, according to his somewhat “philosophistic” definition of “Intelligent Design theory” (IDT), conceded the point of there being a “Movement”, with all of DI-CSC’s Fellows admitted as members.

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If ID is false, why can we detect human engineered virii?

There is a strong suspicion the coronavirus is an escaped specimen from a Chinese lab.

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.30.927871v1.full.pdf

An Indian scientist has purportedly discovered HIV inserted into the coronavirus. If true, this is pretty conclusive evidence the virus is humanly engineered, i.e. intelligently designed.

So, herein lies the conundrum. According to popular imagination, ID is both bad science and false (remember, good science is the falsifiable sort ;). If true, then it should not be possible to detect intelligent intervention in the genetic code.

Yet, this recent news item purports to be exactly that: identification of intelligent intervention in the genetic code.

Please explain this to me like I am 5: how can ID be both bad science and false, yet at the same time it is possible to identify intelligent intervention in the genetic code? If we can do so for the recent past, why can’t we do the same for the distant past?

Thanks!

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One question you’d like to ask God

Many people, including the religious, have questions they would like to ask God. Let’s see which ones are the most popular.

One question you’d like to ask God
  • Add your answer

Do you have a question you’d like to ask God that is not mentioned in the poll? Write it in the comments section.

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Is anything in biology , man, beast, plant, in millions etc of species evolving as we speak?

I say no but why do evolutionists?

This is a sly way to demonstrate how unlikely evolutionism is on a probability curve.when on thinks of the millions (billions?) of segregated populations in biology(species) then it should be a high, or respectable percentage, are evolving as we speak to create new populations with new bodyplans to survive in some niche. By high I mean millions, with a allowance for mere hundreds of thousands. YET I am confident there is none evolving today. further i suspect evolutionists would say there is none evolving today. WHY? If not today what about yesterday or 300 years ago? Why couldn’t creationists say its not happening today because it never happened? Its accurate sampling of todays non evolution for predicting none in the past!

i think the only hope (hope?) is if evolutionism said , under pE influence, that all biology today is in the stasis stage and just waiting for a sudden need to change, qickly done, then stasis again. Yet why would it be that stasis has been reached so perfectly today relative to the enormous claim of the need in the past for evolutionism?

Anyways i think creationists have a good point here but willing to be corrected.

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15.5 hours.

Over two working days.

In this comment colewd says: “Let’s start with this overview.”

An “overview” that according to this tool contains 187153 words.

Where those words according to this tool will take over 15 hours to read.

15 hours for an “overview”. 15 hours.

If only there was some way to take a sprawling set of claims and refine them down into a core that could then be reviewed by others and feedback given until it is a reasonable size (typically 3,000 to 10,000 words on the average scientific paper) where all claims have been tested by other experts and errors removed.

It seems to be it’s a strategy. Never get pinned down on anything too specific and you never have to be wrong. Hence the sprawl.

colewd, do you seriously expect people to spend 15 hours reading an “overview”? How long is the main argument? A million or two words?

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Does Swamidass’ new “genealogical adams and eves” hypothesis unknowingly serve to “make God a monster”?

As 2020 both cools down in temperature and heats up in rhetoric, here is a response to S. Joshua Swamidass’ recent book that deserves more air time given how a few evangelical Protestant theologians and apologists are expressing surprised praise at it, calling it a ‘game changer’ because of ‘genealogy’ vs. ‘genetics’. I would consider it a ‘game changer’ only in a borrowed or catch-up sense of that term, given Swamidass’ YECist+ audience. Any thoughts here on this critical review of the book by a fellow evangelical active at BioLogos?

From what I’ve read so far, I do not see that Swamidass “makes God a monster” in the book. That rather appears to be what comes from Johnson’s hermeneutics, rather than Swamidass’ intentions or expressions. BioLogos was similarly confused, and hadn’t read Kemp, much like Swamidass (that is, until he finally did). Swamidass has previously written about dungeons & suffering, which perhaps by some people may be mistaken as ‘monstrous’. It would be more appropriate and charitable to say, ‘he knows not what he does’ by opening this rift. Thus, he speaks about “what it means to be human?” as a distant (methodological) naturalist, with an important background personal concern involving local fellow YECists and activistic sociology behind the book’s publication (e.g. choice of publishing house).

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Quantum jitters behind DNA mutations

It was just a matter of time before quantum mechanics were to be identified as the driving force behind DNA mutations…

“In the past, we knew DNA polymerases make mistakes during DNA replication but did not know how they do it,” said Zucai Suo, Ph.D., Ohio State professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “Now, our study provides a mechanistic sense for how the mistakes arise.”

The results provide “convincing validation for the chemical origins of mutations proposed by Watson and Crick in 1953,” said Myron Goodman, Ph.D., a professor of molecular biology and chemistry at the University of Southern California, who was not involved in the study. “It is significant scientifically, and even though it took about 65 years to prove, it also demonstrates the folly of ever betting against Watson and Crick.”

One of the surprising discoveries made by the team was that the frequency at which bases shifted their shapes varied with DNA sequence. In one of their experiments, Ohio State biochemists Zucai Suo and Walter Zahurancik essentially counted the number of times that polymerases incorporated the wrong base into the DNA. They found that mistakes were indeed not uniform: they appeared more frequently in some sequences than others. For example, a region with more Gs and Cs might form more quantum jitters, and subsequently more mutations, than an area that was rich in As and Ts.

But, it doesn’t end there…

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