Evo – Devo


Parody or not? You decide (then tell me). Hat tip to Denyse O’Leary at Uncommon Descent. Check out the comments here! Whatever, it’s a slick video. Congrats to the makers.

149 thoughts on “Evo – Devo

  1. OMagain:

    If evolution is in fact directed, and we’re presumably the desired end-product then what were the dinosaurs all about?

    Or to put it more broadly, if evoution is directed, why have 99.9 percent of all species gone extinct?

    And if the “director” is God, as phoodoo obviously believes, then why bother with evolution at all? Why not just create the desired end products?

    And why has the “director” been so slow about getting to those desired end products? It’s almost as if he weren’t there at all, leaving undirected evolution to do the job.

  2. keiths: And why has the “director” been so slow about getting to those desired end products? It’s almost as if he weren’t there at all, leaving undirected evolution to do the job.

    I’m sure it’s something to do with choice and whipped cream or other unintelligible verbiage.

  3. keiths:
    Since I so rarely agree with phoodoo about anything, I think I should speak up in this particular case.By “undirected Darwinian evolution”, phoodoo means “Darwinian evolution that is undirected by an intelligence.”

    Sorry, but I refuse to put words into somebody else’s mouth. If this is what phoodoo thinks, then he should say so. While I suspect that you’re right, and that to phoodoo “undirected” means “without some magical being in charge,” I suspect that he doesn’t want to say so because he’d renounce the foundational equivocation that forms the basis of his rejection of evolutionary explanations: that he means two things: “without a magical being involved,” but extends that to mean “by purely random processes.” Without the false-dichotomy/equivocation his attempt at ridiculing evaporates, since Darwinian evolution is not purely random. It involves the interplay between variation and selection, and doesn’t involve a magical being, since its direction is what results from that interplay.

    keiths:
    Phoodoo is right.That’s not an oxymoron.

    I disagree. I think that phoodoo presented a loaded question, and that you fell for it. But we cannot know until he clarifies.

    keiths:
    (Note Rumraket’s use of the purportedly oxymoronic phrase.)

    I saw that. This means that Rumraket didn’t read phoodoo’s comment too carefully, or didn’t think too far about the oxymoronic nature of the phrase, or about the hidden assumption (false dichotomy) implied and accepted by accepting the terminology.

    keiths:
    If you take “undirected” in the straightforward sense in which phoodoo intended it, the phrase “undirected Darwinian evolution” is not an oxymoron.

    Again, the problem is that then they take it as your agreement with the extended idea that direction implies magical beings, and that everything else would be “purely,” or “merely,” random.

    They hold to a false dichotomy: if it’s not random, then it’s directed, if it’s directed, then it magical being. When you don’t clarify, they take it that you agree with that false dichotomy. I don’t.

    I ask for clarifications because then they have to confront their hidden assumptions. I suspect that this is the reason why phoodoo refuses to answer. I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

  4. keiths,

    Think about it this way: if directed means magical being in charge, then what word should be used for the interplay between variation and selection, or for the effects of gravitation, or etc? If we cannot call them “directed,” then what are they? Undirected doesn’t help. Random shit is undirected too. So what are these? If we say “nonrandom” they will jump to “directed therefore magical being” since you already accepted that direction means magical being.

    See? Never, ever, presume to know what they meant, and never proceed as if what you think they mean made sense. Check it first for coherence. They are getting you to buy into a false dichotomy and equivocation in one go.

    So, I stand by my point: “undirected Darwinian evolution” is clearly and unequivocally an oxymoron.

  5. Entropy,

    We’ve been using the phrases “undirected evolution” and “unguided evolution” for years at TSZ to mean “undirected or unguided by an intelligence.” Phoodoo is just continuing an established practice.

    And there’s nothing idiosyncratic or oxymoronic about those phrases. If your objection were valid, then the phrase “unguided missile” would be an oxymoron.

  6. keiths,

    The problem persists. If that’s common practice here, then you haven’t thought too carefully about what you’re doing. What’s left then to talk about natural processes without implying that they’re just random? Why invite such an equivocation?

    If “undirected” doesn’t come with “by a magical being,” then it means with no direction, and whether the direction depends on the way nature works, or on a magical being, doesn’t matter. Better clear than sorry.

    Also, if it’s common practice here, then it’s idiosyncratic by definition.

    Unguided missile is an oxymoron.

  7. Entropy:

    Unguided missile is an oxymoron.

    Tell that to the military and aerospace folks who use the term, without hesitation, to refer to a missile lacking a guidance system. They’re all wrong, and Entropy is right?

    The problem persists. If that’s common practice here, then you haven’t thought too carefully about what you’re doing. What’s left then to talk about natural processes without implying that they’re just random?

    That’s easy. Take the unguided missile, for example. You can say that the missile’s path is caused by, or influenced by, or shaped by gravity, air resistance, and the burning of the propellant. It isn’t guided, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s random.

  8. keiths:
    Tell that to the military and aerospace folks who use the term, without hesitation, to refer to a missile lacking a guidance system.They’re all wrong, and Entropy is right?

    That’s not a missile, but a rocket.

    keiths:
    That’s easy. Take the unguided missile, for example.

    Rocket.

    keiths:
    You can say that the missile’s [rocket’s] path is caused by, or influenced by, or shaped by gravity, air resistance, and the burning of the propellant. It’s isn’t guided, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s random.

    I agree, but the creationist will jump to random with no hesitation, which is why I prefer to see the qualifiers right there and then. That way the equivocation is dismantled from the get go, rather than having to make these lengthy explanations that they will ignore regardless to go back and take refuge behind their equivocation.

    Remember that creationists make their claims as if it’s obviously ridiculous to think of anything else but magical beings. Why would it be ridiculous? Because they’re imagining that if there’s no magical being, then it’s abject randomness. Tornadoes in junkyards.

    Come on. You have witnessed this yourself time and again. You have seen them assuming, implying, and mocking, based on the false dichotomy that direction implies magical being, and that what’s left is randomness. So why give them such enormous leeway?

  9. Entropy,

    That’s not a missile, but a rocket.

    It’s both a rocket and an unguided missile. Again, why claim that you are right and the military and aerospace folks are wrong?

    I agree, but the creationist will jump to random with no hesitation, which is why I prefer to see the qualifiers right there and then.

    The last thing we should do is to let our language be dictated by how a bunch of religious nutjobs might misconstrue or distort it. They’re going to misconstrue or distort whatever we say. The solution is to refute the misconstruals and distortions, not to search in vain for language that is immune to them.

    The same issue arises with the use of teleological language in describing evolution. Some evolutionists argue that we should avoid teleological language altogether, no matter how clunky that makes our discussions, because IDers and creationists will fallaciously seize on it as evidence that we are really talking about an agent, with purposes. Why let them dictate the language we use when we can simply point out the fallacy instead?

    There’s an interesting parallel to the point that Steven Pinker makes in the video we’re discussing on the other thread. Pinker has been criticized for stating some factual truths in that video. The critics aren’t generally disputing the truth of those statements, but they’re criticizing Pinker because in stating them, they see him as aiding and abetting the enemy.

    You’re making a similar argument here: that we should avoid the use of some perfectly legitimate terminology simply because the “enemy” might seize upon it, distorting or misconstruing it.

    Better, as Pinker says, to state the truths without hesitation while proceeding to show that they don’t support the claims of the “enemy”. The same goes for our choice of language.

    It’s easy to show that the directed/random dichotomy is a false one. Why not simply do that rather than jumping through hoops on account of the religious nutjobs?

  10. keiths: The last thing we should do is to let our language be dictated by how a bunch of religious nutjobs might misconstrue or distort it. They’re going to misconstrue or distort whatever we say. The solution is to refute the misconstruals and distortions, not to search in vain for language that is immune to them.

    Agreed. I’ll start with the words “directed” and “undirected,” since those words do not imply “by a magical being.” Why allow creationists to dictate what those words mean, when there’s a healthy meaning already available?

    You might like that implication to permeate into your vocabulary, and that’s all right if you’re up to it. I’d rather pass. I prefer to spot the nonsense and absurdities early on, rather than giving them too much leeway.

    keiths: It’s easy to show that the directed/random dichotomy is a false one. Why not simply do that rather than jumping through hoops on account of the religious nutjobs?

    Because before we can do that, the creationists have to state it. Dismantling by implication is less direct, less obvious. You’d have to infer that they’re either equivocating or holding to a false dichotomy. If you ask for clarification, and they give you a definition, then we can tell them, well, that’s a false dichotomy, or an equivocation. Whatever the case.

    I try and ask them for clarification, and they suspect that they might fall into some sort of trap, so they avoid. Meaning my strategy doesn’t go well. But when a creationist has enough honesty, if not intelligence, it’s easier to show them their mistakes this way.

    Example, some william guy (w——? don’t remember). My questions kept him focused enough that I was able to get him to agree that my point made sense, that his stuff wasn’t testable or approachable. At least not scientifically. How did I do that? Instead of trying to make sense of what he was claiming, I asked for the approach to deal with what he was claiming. He had no option but to acknowledge that there’s no approach. Of course, he did not “de-convert,” but he understood my point. So, even if phoodoo won’t even try and might rather deflect, this worked with someone else.

    Same experience with some guy at another forum. He ended understanding that things made sense from an atheistic perspective. He did not de-convert either, and much later I saw that he was back with his previous claims and nonsense. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he found some “creation ministries” bullshit that took him back where he started. I don’t know. But he had that moment of understanding.

  11. keiths: It’s almost as if he weren’t there at all, leaving undirected evolution to do the job.

    Entropy thinks you are an OxyMoron.

  12. Entropy:

    Agreed. I’ll start with the words “directed” and “undirected,” since those words do not imply “by a magical being.” Why allow creationists to dictate what those words mean, when there’s a healthy meaning already available?

    I don’t allow creationists to dictate the meanings of those words. The arguments I make against directed evolution work whether the purported director is a “magical being” or a sophisticated alien. Besides, describing God-guided evolution as “directed evolution” hardly amounts to defining “directed” as “God-guided”!

  13. Entropy,

    Your approach is backfiring on you, and you’ve handed phoodoo a couple of easy victories.

    1. You’ve erroneously claimed that “undirected evolution” is an oxymoron, and he has rightly disputed that.

    2. It’s actually you, not phoodoo, who is trying to redefine “directed” and “undirected” idiosyncratically. To refer to God-guided evolution as “directed evolution”, as phoodoo does, is a perfectly legitimate use of the word. To say that “undirected evolution” is an oxymoron, as you do, is to equate “undirected” with “random and causally uninfluenced.” That’s not what the word means. As I said above, with respect to “unguided”:

    Take the unguided missile, for example. You can say that the missile’s path is caused by, or influenced by, or shaped by gravity, air resistance, and the burning of the propellant. It isn’t guided, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s random [or uncaused].

    Your cause is noble, but your tactics are hurting you. It’s a bad idea to redefine a word for the purposes of blocking an anticipated argument. It makes you look like you are playing word games — because you are. Better to stick to accepted definitions, let your opponent make his argument, and then refute it.

  14. keiths,

    I doubt that we will agree on this keiths. I don’t mind phoodoo having some “victories,” I care more about learning. But, in this case, he did not prevail in any meaningful way. He didn’t dispute anything, he just mocked without giving an explanation. That’s far from a victory.

    I’d say that’s you who’s been trying to give him a victory. Fortunately, what you did was to expose the problem in phoodoo’s thinking, which he didn’t dispute either: that to him “directed” is a way towards a false dichotomy and equivocation.

    I checked the word directed, and nowhere does it say that “by a magical being” is implied. Nowhere does it say that “by some person” or “by some intelligence” is implied either. So, my use of the word is not idiosyncratic. To direct is to give direction to something. The thing that gives direction doesn’t have to be a person. Ducts direct water flows, or air flows, etc. We talk about a natural cavernous tunnel as a place where water is directed from x to y, we talk about ion channels directing ions from one side of a membrane to another, etc.

    Feel free to keep your usage, after all, language evolves. However, I don’t see any reason to adopt it myself, so I’ll keep the usage I know about. Fortunately we can always clarify what we mean. Right?

  15. keiths: It’s a bad idea to redefine a word for the purposes of blocking an anticipated argument.

    It’s also a bad idea to leave a word’s misconception go unchallenged thus allowing an equivocation and hiding of a false dichotomy.

    keiths: It makes you look like you are playing word games

    I made the meaning very explicit. Word games rely on hiding definitions so that they can be changed when convenient to the game. I suspected that, for phoodoo, “undirected” meant “with no intervention of my imaginary magical being,” which hides the false dichotomy. By making the meaning explicit myself, he’d have to make his meaning explicit, thus leaving him nowhere to hide the false dichotomy, which is the very basis for the misconception in the first place.

  16. Entropy,

    I checked the word directed, and nowhere does it say that “by a magical being” is implied. Nowhere does it say that “by some person” or “by some intelligence” is implied either.

    Of course it doesn’t, but that isn’t the question. The question is whether it’s legitimate to refer to evolution guided by God as “directed evolution”. The answer, of course, is yes.

    You’re making a simple logic mistake: the fact that “directed” doesn’t imply “guided by God” does not mean that “guided by God” doesn’t imply “directed”. “A doesn’t imply B” does not mean that “B doesn’t imply A”.

    Phoodoo is perfectly correct to refer to God-guided evolution as “directed evolution”. Isn’t it obvious that “evolution directed by God” qualifies as “directed evolution”?

  17. Entropy:

    So, my use of the word [“directed”] is not idiosyncratic.

    It’s your use of the words “undirected” and “unguided” that’s idiosyncratic. I explained this already:

    To say that “undirected evolution” is an oxymoron, as you do, is to equate “undirected” with “random and causally uninfluenced.” That’s not what the word means. As I said above, with respect to “unguided”:

    Take the unguided missile, for example. You can say that the missile’s path is caused by, or influenced by, or shaped by gravity, air resistance, and the burning of the propellant. It isn’t guided, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s random [or uncaused].

    It doesn’t help your case when you make basic logic mistakes, criticize a legitimate use of the word “directed”, and falsely declare “undirected evolution” to be an oxymoron.

    In your eagerness to thwart phoodoo’s anticipated argument, you deployed some tactics that backfired on you. And those tactics weren’t even necessary. It’s easy to defend evolution without resorting to them.

    You handed a couple of easy victories to phoodoo for no good reason.

  18. keiths:
    Of course it doesn’t, but that isn’t the question.The question is whether it’s legitimate to refer to evolution guided by God as “directed evolution”.The answer, of course, is yes.

    Of course that’s legitimate keiths. I never objected that. I said that undirected Darwinian evolution was an oxymoron.

    keiths:
    You’re making a simple logic mistake:the fact that “directed” doesn’t imply “guided by God” does not mean that “guided by God” doesn’t imply “directed”.“A doesn’t imply B” does not mean that “B doesn’t imply A”.

    I never made that mistake. I truly don’t know where you’re getting this from.

    keiths:
    Phoodoo is perfectly correct to refer to God-guided evolution as “directed evolution”.Isn’t it obvious that “evolution directed by God” qualifies as “directed evolution”?

    It qualifies all right. I never said otherwise.

    keiths:
    It’s your use of the words “undirected” and“unguided”that’s idiosyncratic.I explained this already:

    Nope. You said that the use of the word undirected referred to “a magical being” here at TSZ, which means that’s an idiosyncratic usage by definition. Now you seem confused about what the problem with phoodoo was.

    keiths:
    It doesn’t help your case when you make basic logic mistakes, criticize a legitimate use of the word “directed”, and falsely declare “undirected evolution” to be an oxymoron.

    That it is legitimate to say that something guided by a magical being is directed, that doesn’t make it legitimate to say that something that’s not guided by a magical being is undirected. The most that could be said is that, if it is directed, it’s not directed by the magical being.

    Thus, I was right to declare “undirected Darwinian evolution” to be an oxymoron. Here’s phoodoo’s comment for your reference. My comment is right after that.

    keiths:
    In your eagerness to thwart phoodoo’s anticipated argument, you deployed some tactics that backfired on you. And those tactics weren’t even necessary.It’s easy to defend evolution without resorting to them.

    Sorry keiths, but you were the problem. You missed my point and you misread phoodoo’s (apparently). I never objected to saying that something guided by a magical being could be called “directed.” That’s a legitimate use of the word. I objected to calling Darwinian evolution, undirected. Read that carefully.

    keiths:
    You handed a couple of easy victories to phoodoo for no good reason.

    No keiths, you handed a couple of rhetorical “victories” to phoodoo for no good reason.

    Can you stop this already? No. Sorry. You go on if you wish. Whether you get it or not, I’m done with this theme.

  19. keiths:

    You’re making a simple logic mistake: the fact that “directed” doesn’t imply “guided by God” does not mean that “guided by God” doesn’t imply “directed”.“A doesn’t imply B” does not mean that “B doesn’t imply A”.

    Entropy:

    I never made that mistake. I truly don’t know where you’re getting this from.

    Sure you did. I got it from this, for instance. You wrote:

    Think about it this way: if directed means magical being in charge, then what word should be used for the interplay between variation and selection, or for the effects of gravitation, or etc?

    “Directed” doesn’t mean “magical being in charge”, not even to phoodoo. You are making the simple logical mistake I described above, as well as ascribing a straw man position to phoodoo.

    Do you seriously think that phoodoo would object to saying “The policeman directed traffic”, on the grounds that policemen aren’t magical beings? Of course not.

    He is using “directed” correctly when he refers to God-guided evolution as “directed evolution.” Evolution directed by God is “directed evolution”. Traffic directed by a policeman is “directed traffic”.

    Neither of those implies that “directed” means “magical being in charge”.

    Entropy:

    Can you stop this already? No. Sorry. You go on if you wish. Whether you get it or not, I’m done with this theme.

    I can see that you’re upset about this, but denying your mistake isn’t going to make things better. Why not figure out why it happened and resolve to do better next time?

  20. Entropy:

    You said that the use of the word undirected referred to “a magical being” here at TSZ, which means that’s an idiosyncratic usage by definition.

    No. Here’s what I actually said:

    We’ve been using the phrases “undirected evolution” and “unguided evolution” for years at TSZ to mean “undirected or unguided by an intelligence.” Phoodoo is just continuing an established practice.

    And there’s nothing idiosyncratic or oxymoronic about those phrases. If your objection were valid, then the phrase “unguided missile” would be an oxymoron.

  21. Entropy:

    Thus, I was right to declare “undirected Darwinian evolution” to be an oxymoron.

    No, for reasons I’ve already given. If “undirected Darwinian evolution” were an oxymoron, then “unguided missile” would be too, by the same reasoning. It’s bad reasoning, based on your idiosyncratic redefinition of “undirected” and “unguided”:

    To say that “undirected evolution” is an oxymoron, as you do, is to equate “undirected” with “random and causally uninfluenced.” That’s not what the word means. As I said above, with respect to “unguided”:

    Take the unguided missile, for example. You can say that the missile’s path is caused by, or influenced by, or shaped by gravity, air resistance, and the burning of the propellant. It isn’t guided, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s random [or uncaused].

    It’s perfectly legitimate to refer to such a missile as “unguided”, even though its trajectory is shaped by causal influences. Likewise, it’s perfectly legitimate to refer to evolution as “undirected Darwinian evolution”, even though its trajectory is shaped by causal factors including variation and selection.

    “Undirected Darwinian evolution” is not an oxymoron.

  22. Entropy,

    What happened to your comment? I was about to respond to it, and now you’ve replaced it with nothing but this:

  23. petrushka,

    I like arguments about definitions that depend on there being one true definition.

    Entropy’s your man, then. To him, “undirected” can only mean “random and uninfluenced by anything.”

  24. keiths,

    I decided not to insist. I thought you’d write the whole thing you’ve been writing yet again, even though that was but one point.

  25. keiths:
    Entropy’s your man, then. To him, “undirected” can only mean “random and uninfluenced by anything.”

    While to you it can only mean “not influenced by an intelligence.” It takes two to tango.

    (shuts eyes expecting another flood)

  26. Entropy,

    It’s very bad form to erase your comments. If you post a comment and then find yourself having second thoughts about it, leave it in place but add something like

    ETA: Never mind.

    …or something like that. It’s a matter of courtesy to those who may have seen your comment and begun working on replies.

  27. Entropy:

    While to you it [“undirected”] can only mean “not influenced by an intelligence.”

    No, and my argument doesn’t depend on that, either.

    You claim that “undirected evolution” is an oxymoron, and that claim does depend on a single (and very idiosyncratic) definition of “undirected”.

  28. keiths:
    No, and my argument doesn’t depend on that, either.

    Of course it does. Otherwise you would not mind if I think about the interplay between variation and environment as directed.

    keiths:
    You claim that “undirected evolution” is an oxymoron, and that claim does depend on a single (and very idiosyncratic) definition of “undirected”.

    1. “undirected Darwinian evolution” keiths.

    2. Thinking of the interplay between variation and the environment as directed is not idiosyncratic. Thinking of directed as forcefully implying “by an intelligence,” is idiosyncratic.

    3. I made my point very clear.

    4. All phoodoo needed to do was to tell me that he meant “by an intelligence” and then the problem solves and shows the hidden assumption: that to phoodoo directed meant, at least in that case, by an intelligence. I cannot read minds keiths. I told phoodoo as much. He could have meant undirected as in “with no direction” (funny that), which can be thought of as “random.” How could I know unless I make my meaning explicit? Unless I ask for clarification? Didn’t you see that I asked for clarification and phoodoo just wouldn’t clarify anything?

    So, if you think I’m guilty of holding to a single definition, then look at yourself in the mirror.

  29. Entropy,

    Of course it does. Otherwise you would not mind if I think about the interplay between variation and environment as directed.

    I don’t mind that use of “directed”. It’s perfectly fine to say that the course of evolution is directed by (among other things) the interplay between variation and the environment. I don’t mind that, just as I don’t mind it when someone says something like “the blockage directed the water into a neighboring channel.”

    What I do mind is your claim that “undirected Darwinian evolution” is an oxymoron. It clearly isn’t, for the same reason that “unguided missile” isn’t.

  30. keiths,

    Sorry, but, since Darwinian evolution is directed, then undirected Darwinian evolution is an oxymoron. That’s straightforward. Maybe you don’t know what the word oxymoron means (?)

    P.S. Just in case, if we put all of that together it would read:
    undirected directed evolution.

  31. Entropy,

    Apparently you missed the import of petrushka’s comment:

    I like arguments about definitions that depend on there being one true definition.

    There is no “one true definition” of “directed”. Isn’t that obvious?

    “Directed evolution” is the opposite of “undirected evolution” only if “directed” is being used in the same sense in both phrases. Since you and phoodoo aren’t using it in the same sense, your argument is invalid.

    “Undirected Darwinian evolution” would be an oxymoron only if your preferred meaning were the only meaning. It isn’t.

  32. keiths: “Directed evolution” is the opposite of “undirected evolution” only if “directed” is being used in the same sense in both phrases.

    Agreed, which is why I was very clear about what I meant in my comment to phoodoo. He didn’t say anything about what he meant. Again, I asked for clarification. Did he make any attempt at clarifying? Of course not.

    As I said, I don’t read minds.

    keiths: Since you and phoodoo aren’t using it in the same sense, your argument is invalid.

    Well, given my inability to read minds, I cannot know how far was phoodoo’s definition, or whether he understands that something that is not directed “by an intelligence” can be directed by other natural phenomena. This is why, again, I was clear about what I meant and asked phoodoo to clarify.

    How hard is that to understand?

  33. Entropy,

    You don’t need to read anyone’s mind, including phoodoo’s, to know that “undirected Darwinian evolution” is not an oxymoron.

    Here’s the problem, in a nutshell. You write:

    Sorry, but, since Darwinian evolution is directed, then undirected Darwinian evolution is an oxymoron.

    That assumes that your preferred definitions of “directed” and “undirected” are the only legitimate ones. But as I pointed out above:

    It’s perfectly legitimate to refer to such a missile as “unguided”, even though its trajectory is shaped by causal influences. Likewise, it’s perfectly legitimate to refer to evolution as “undirected Darwinian evolution”, even though its trajectory is shaped by causal factors including variation and selection.

    “Undirected Darwinian evolution” is a perfectly legitimate phrase. It’s not an oxymoron.

  34. keiths,

    Of course that’s my preferred definition. I never said it wasn’t. The point is that I was very clear about my terms. Then I asked phoodoo, at least three times, to tell me if he understood my point, and that, if he did and still felt like it was not an oxymoron he explained why. If phoodoo was meaning “not directed by magical being,” he could have said so, and then I’d ask him if he understood that natural processes can also have a direction. All clean and clear from that point on. Why do you oppose such a thing, I cannot understand.

    As per your missile, well, you’re using “guided” and “directed” as interchangeable (sometimes they are interchangeable. and maybe you don’t think they always are, but it appears as if you think they are). Had phoodo said “unguided” instead of “undirected,” my point would have started with “depending on how guided is defined …” talked about metaphors, etc. Why? Because “guided” implies a bit more than just a direction, like a system to correct direction and / or to ensure reaching some destination.

  35. Entropy,

    You keep talking about what phoodoo did or didn’t do, as if that were relevant. It isn’t.

    You claimed that “undirected Darwinian evolution” is an oxymoron. That’s false. It isn’t an oxymoron, for reasons already given.

    The mistake was yours and no one else’s. Not phoodoo’s, not mine, not petrushka’s. Phoodoo correctly pointed it out. Now you’re compounding the error by denying it.

    You were so focused on thwarting phoodoo’s anticipated argument that you unnecessarily made a false statement. Don’t do that! Let the other guys make the false statements.

    We’ve got the truth on our side. Let them make their arguments however they wish. We simply need to step in afterwards and point out their mistakes and distortions.

  36. Entropy,

    You may have heard people citing “jumbo shrimp” as an example of an oxymoron. It’s not, of course, and the reason it isn’t an oxymoron is similar to the reason that “undirected Darwinian evolution” is not an oxymoron.

    Each of these phrases would be a true oxymoron only if one of its constituent words had only a single meaning. That’s not the case.

    Think about it.

  37. keiths: You claimed that “undirected Darwinian evolution” is an oxymoron

    And I explained why in very clear terms. So, again, if phoodoo had a different definition in mind he could have said so. I’m telling you what phoodoo didn’t do, because that’s the real issue here. You cannot assume that I read minds. Since I was clear about what I meant, there’s no issue on my part. The issue is in the lack of clarification. Under the most common definition of directed, the direction doesn’t have to be given by an intelligence. Thus, if phoodoo had a different definition in mind, he could have said so. I don’t read minds.

  38. keiths,

    What makes you think that Petrushka was talking just about me? Why couldn’t that be about both of us? I’m sufficiently self-aware to understand that we’re both making too much of a deal out of this, and that such is because of our different views about definitions (and my incapacity to read minds).

  39. Entropy,

    And I explained why in very clear terms. So, again, if phoodoo had a different definition in mind he could have said so. I’m telling you what phoodoo didn’t do, because that’s the real issue here.

    I’ve addressed that already:

    You keep talking about what phoodoo did or didn’t do, as if that were relevant. It isn’t.

    You claimed that “undirected Darwinian evolution” is an oxymoron. That’s false. It isn’t an oxymoron, for reasons already given.

    If you find yourself making false statements in order to defend evolution, you’re doing it wrong.

    The truth is on our side. We don’t need to make false statements or play word games in order to prevail. Leave those tactics to our opponents.

  40. keiths:
    I’ve addressed that already:

    Sorry, but you’re not phoodoo.

    keiths:
    If you find yourself making false statements in order to defend evolution, you’re doing it wrong.

    It wasn’t a false statement. I was clear about what I meant. Given the most usual definition for directed, that was an oxymoron. If phoodoo was using a different definition involving the idea of direction being solely the act of a mind or a magical being, or whatever else, he could have said so. He didn’t.

    keiths:
    The truth is on our side. We don’t need to make false statements or play word games in order to prevail. Leave those tactics to our opponents.

    What false statement? What word game? Again, word games are dependent on hiding your definitions. I did not do such thing. I put my definitions in the open. I suspect that phoodoo preferred word games, which might be why he wouldn’t clarify.

    Really keiths, how many times before you understand that it cannot be a game or a false statement if I explain clearly what I mean?

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