Happy New Year

To all TSZ Members and Readers!

The end of the year and the imminent arrival of the new decade made me wonder when exactly Dr Liddle set this blog up. I see it was in (or at least prior to) August, 2011. Lizzie put up her first opening post Where does information come from? here. You can tell it’s the first because the link is to “hello_world”, the example post that comes with the WordPress package. UD addicts may like to follow this link to exchanges between Lizzie and the charming Upright Biped that may have had some part in the birth of TSZ. So TSZ is well on the way to it’s first decade – a remarkable achievement considering Lizzie has not actively participated here for some years.

Then I mused how much material (over 1,300 opening posts, over a quarter of a million comments) has been buried under the scrolling over. Recently, I was reminded by a Vincent Torley post at Uncommon Descent from 2013 that popped up randomly as a blast-from-the-past of an excellent post here by Allan Miller, Journal club – Protein Space. Big, isn’t it?. Having just re-read it, it seems a shame to me that it lies buried deep in TSZ archives. There is also a follow-up article that is equally meaty (Vincent Torley’s acknowledgement). I then wondered whether some posts and threads here merit a bit of re-exposure. We can bring them to the top of the pile as a featured post for a few days to give an opportunity for further discussion in the light, for example, of further developments.

Does anyone else have a suggestion for a post or a comment that they think deserves more attention than it received first time around?

And wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year and decade!

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164 thoughts on “Happy New Year

  1. phoodoo: Alan is another one of Joe’s saints?

    Joe’s favorite saint is la sélection naturelle de latter Darwinists…😉

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  2. Will 2020 be the year in which Elizabeth returns!?

    Happy New Year to everyone (except Adapa).

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  3. johnnyb: His formulas for why RNA world did not exist were the same as the formulas specified complexity.

    Yeah the tornado in a junk yard scenario. Let us suppose there is a cloud of the basic building blocks of biological polymers, and then compute the probability that a chaotic wind will assemble a functional cell from that. An idea which nobody believes in or seriously suggests for that very reason. It’s the quintessential creationist strawman you just never seem able to get beyond. Everyone else got the message, yet creationists are still pretending there are only two options: Either the whole thing came together “miraculously” from some cloud or soup, or it was zapped into doing so with magic by a literal supernatural miracle.

    Nope, just can’t see any other way it could happen. Why do rain drops not fly randomly in all directions? Well there must be an invisible designer pulling them all down in roughly the same trajectory, obviously. It’s either intelligent falling, or utter chaos.

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  4. Mung: Will 2020 be the year in which Elizabeth returns!?

    As certain as Breturn.

    Mung: Happy New Year to everyone (except Adapa)

    Why? Torturer?

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  5. Rumraket: Nope, just can’t see any other way it could happen

    Translation: Any other way but one is acceptable…
    Why waste time to write so much when the obvious can be short?

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  6. Alan Fox:
    Well, for me it is synonymous with “unobservable” (any phenomenon that can be observed, however indirectly, is real) and “imaginary”. I’ve yet to see any legitimate alternative use for the word.

    Just because supernatural is unobservable it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Many here believe that supernatural selection exists, and yet its mechanism, or the effects, are imaginary…

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  7. Alan Fox: Because pursuing a model that purports to undermine evolution should match (at least to the extent it can be used to predict outcomes) biological reality. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    I agree but Tom and Joe assume that when such a model is achieved, it will not apply to biology. Even if it does, natural selection can overcome any obstacle, including any mathematical proof.

    In the end, no matter what ID does, it’s viewed as a failure. And yet, their mathematical model of fitness is total bogus, because they assume that even if one offspring survives out of tens of thousands, or more, it must have been the fittest and therefore selected by nature…What’s the proof for the power of natural selection? Survival of the fittest. If none of the offspring survive, then they are deemed unfit, and the circus continues…
    It’s circular reasoning that has no application in reality… but Darwinists hang on to it like grim death.

    No wonder people like Dembski got frustrated and decided to do something else…

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  8. J-Mac: Good point!
    However, most people would probably know what “evilness” is…
    Alan Fox
    Not sure about that.

    How about an adult having sex with a child?
    How many people do you think would have a hardtime deciding whether it is evilness?

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  9. J-mac: Homosexuals could argue they are the victims of evil, if there is a God. War, crime etc. affects most…

    Alan Fox
    But describing prejudice, discrimination or mistreatment of any disadvantaged group or individual as evil gives no insight into or information about the acts so described.

    Why would you consider homosexuals as a disadvantaged group?
    If they were the majority, would you consider homosexuality to be a disadvantage? Would they?

    My point was more of the nature that homosexuals are more likely not to believe in supernatural, unless IT were some green men from Alpha Centauri, who doesn’t judge people about what the do in the bedroom…

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  10. Mung: Happy New Year to everyone (except Adapa).

    Why thank you Mung! It make me quite happy to know my take downs of your incessant anti-science stupidity and sealioning got you so irritated you felt the need to be a shithead one last time in 2019. 🙂

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  11. I’m considering a redraft of my ‘Evolution of Sex’ musings. John Harshman gave me some useful critiques last time, though I failed to persuade. But I think there is a genuine problem of approach, an incorrect perspective and a misapplication of the mathematical theory, that has dogged the field for years.

    This won’t mean much to people who think 2 frogs surviving from 120,000 eggs is an example of Natural Selection, of course.

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  12. Allan Miller: I’m considering a redraft of my ‘Evolution of Sex’ musings.

    That sounds lovely. That post was what drew me out of lurking here.

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  13. J-Mac: My point was more of the nature that homosexuals are more likely not to believe in supernatural, unless IT were some green men from Alpha Centauri, who doesn’t judge people about what the do in the bedroom…

    The Supernatural judges people on what they do in their bedrooms?

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  14. EricMH: The only criticism I see where you actually address the substance of the EASC paper is incorrect (claiming L is q in section 3) and shows you either willfully misrepresent the paper, or did not comprehend the sections.

    I take this back. That equation is indeed incorrect as you state. I should have used probability distribution p_L generated from L instead of p. Apologies for claiming you willfully misrepresent the paper. Fault is mine for not paying attention to detail.

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  15. johnnyb,

    Calculating a probability for RNA world seems futile. Either something makes chemical sense, or it doesn’t. And that is the obstacle OoL research currently struggles to overcome. I favour RNA for sound theoretical reasons, but don’t wish to underplay the problems. These problems, however, are not combinatorial. Ribozymes as small as 5 residues in length can catalyse aminoacylation, for example, a vital step in protein synthesis. But without knowing anything about initial conditions, whether protein synthesis arose early or late, etc, it seems absurd to argue one can calculate probability, irrespective of polymer length.

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  16. EricMH: I take this back. That equation is indeed incorrect as you state. I should have used probability distribution p_L generated from L instead of p. Apologies for claiming you willfully misrepresent the paper. Fault is mine for not paying attention to detail.

    Thank you for the apology. You and Nemati in fact conceal something very important in the article, and I am less inclined now to think that you did so willfully. To put it plainly, you have hidden the fact that, in what you call “conservation of complexity for ASC,” you apply one measure of algorithmic specified complexity to the input x to a process, and a different measure to the output f(x). When the change in measure is exposed, it is patently absurd to say anything whatsoever regarding conservation. You have derived a relation on different ASC measures, not a bound on the increase of ASC according to a particular measure.

    The two ASC measures are identical in one parameter, the context, but are different in the other parameter, the chance hypothesis. Your expression of the chance hypothesis in the ASC measure applied to the input is p. A way of expressing the chance hypothesis in the ASC measure applied to the output is, with slight abuse of notation, p \circ f^\leftarrow.

    Writing p_L for the probability distribution of random variable L := f(X) is trivial. Intentionally or not, you continue to conceal the fact that you use the function f to transform the chance hypothesis. The probability distribution of X is p, and the probability distribution of L is p \circ f^\leftarrow.

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  17. Corneel: The Supernatural judges people on what they do in their bedrooms?

    Some think so and due to that they chose not to believe in the Supernatural.
    Makes sense…

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  18. Allan Miller: This won’t mean much to people who think 2 frogs surviving from 120,000 eggs is an example of Natural Selection, of course.

    Or “…as Cuenot said — that natural selection is nothing but blind mortality which selects nothing at all…”

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  19. J-Mac: Some think so and due to that they chose not to believe in the Supernatural.
    Makes sense…

    I don’t think it works that way. I rather suspect that most either come to believe that they ought to suppress homosexual feelings, or choose not to believe the people telling them that the Supernatural cares about such things.

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  20. Tom English: To put it plainly, you have hidden the fact that, in what you call “conservation of complexity for ASC,” you apply one measure of algorithmic specified complexity to the input to a process, and a different measure to the output

    Interesting, I look forward to reading your writeup. If there is a fundamental flaw in the second half, as you claim, then I’ll retract it if it is unfixable.

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  21. Corneel: I don’t think it works that way. I rather suspect that most either come to believe that they ought to suppress homosexual feelings, or choose not to believe the people telling them that the Supernatural cares about such things.

    I agree that is the way it should be…

    Unfortunately, some claim that if the Supernatural exists, He should have never design people with homosexual feelings, or an urge for oral sex, bestiality, etc. So, they come to think that they must be the product of mindless processes…

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  22. johnnyb: Hubert Yockey. His formulas for why RNA world did not exist were the same as the formulas specified complexity.

    All I remember about Hubert Yockey is, when he died, his daughter was in touch at Panda’s Thumb at pains to correct the impression that he was in any way an advocate of “Intelligent Design”. That reminds me of the late Robert Shapiro (I had some contact with him around the time of the Dover saga – he was, in his view, misrepresented over a review of Darwin’s Black Box) another sceptic of RNA world. Funnily enough, swayed as I was by Professor Shapiro, an ID advocate with his own style of rejecting OOL hypotheses, Upright Biped, convinced me RNA world has the appeal of both being genetic store and catalyst, neatly sidestepping the egg/chicken paradox of which came first, catalytic function or storage system.

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  23. J-Mac: Many here believe that supernatural selection exists, and yet its mechanism, or the effects, are imaginary…

    Well, not sure about that. Take the humble cabbage. The selective breeding of the wild cabbage has resulted in an enormous phenotypic variety in cultivars. I don’t think any of this is (or needs to be) attributable to the “supernatural”.

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  24. J-Mac: In the end, no matter what ID does, it’s viewed as a failure.

    Viewed as a failure? What has “ID” done that could be considered as useful, interesting or new?

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  25. J-Mac: Unfortunately, some claim that if the Supernatural exists, He should have never design people with homosexual feelings, or an urge for oral sex, bestiality, etc. So, they come to think that they must be the product of mindless processes join the Westboro Baptist Church

    FTFY

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  26. J-Mac: How about an adult having sex with a child?

    What about torturing a child for fun Cooking and eating a child? Eating a child raw? Slowly eating a living child? Were I to hear of such happening, I’m sure I would be no less revolted than most people and want to do all in my power to stop them and deal with the perpetrators. I might even describe such perpetrators as evil. That doesn’t answer the question “what is evilness?”.

    How many people do you think would have a hardtime deciding whether it is evilness?

    Deciding whether it (what is “it” represent here?) is evilness gets you nowhere. There is no coherent entity that can be described as evilness. We may colloquially call various acts and actors evil but I doubt we can agree on a scale of evil. I certainly reject the adjective “evil” used in a binary fashion.

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  27. J-Mac: Or “…as Cuenot said — that natural selection is nothing but blind mortality which selects nothing at all…”

    Let’s hope there’s no-one round here labouring under such misapprehensions, then.

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  28. DNA_Jock: join the Westboro Baptist Church…

    Yeah unfortunately gay-hate and discrimination is a lot more widespread and mainstream among evangelical christians, jews, and muslims, than just the extremely tiny minority that are members of Westboro. There is no shortage of anti-LGBTQ hate-preachers out there.

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  29. Rumraket: Yeah unfortunately gay-hate and discrimination is a lot more widespread and mainstream among evangelical christians, jews, and muslims, than just the extremely tiny minority that are members of Westboro. There is no shortage of anti-LGBTQ hate-preachers out there.

    “…There is nothing wrong with Christianity, but the trouble is with you Christians. You do not begin to live up to your own teachings…” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

    In other words, if one doesn’t know how to treat people, no matter what their beliefs or lifestyle, he/she should ask himself/herself: What would Jesus do?
    Was Jesus most known for? For hating people, or rather, for welcoming sinners?

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  30. J-Mac: You do not begin to live up to your own teachings…

    That’s what the hate-preachers are saying while referencing Leviticus 18:20, and 20:13, and scolding liberal Christians who “change the word”.

    Not my fight though.

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  31. J-Mac: It’s up to you, and not up to me,to make sure of that…

    Fuck all I can do about educating you, or anyone else who goes in with their ears blocked up. I have tried; I can spoon feed but not force feed.

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  32. Rumraket: That’s what the hate-preachers are saying while referencing Leviticus 18:20, and 20:13, and scolding liberal Christians who “change the word”.

    They obviously don’t remember this:

    John 8:1-11 (NLT)

    “8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

    4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

    6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

    9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

    11 “No, Lord,” she said.

    And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

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  33. Allan Miller: Fuck all I can do about educating you, or anyone else who goes in with their ears blocked up. I have tried; I can spoon feed but not force feed.

    Why do you have to be mad? I’d thought you’d be happy that your speculation were exposed by Harshman and others…

    If evolution doesn’t work, shouldn’t you be relieved?
    Shouldn’t science follow the evidence wherever it leads, and not where you would like it to follow? Otherwise, what’s the point of doing science, if only one result is accepted, right or wrong?

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  34. J-Mac: Why do you have to be mad? I’d thought you’d be happy that your speculation were exposed by Harshman and others…

    Who’s mad? 🤣 As I said, I welcome John’s informed critique. What I don’t welcome is the wilful and persistent ignorance displayed by others hereabouts. John knows what he’s talking about. You, on the evidence before me, not so much. When people don’t trouble to properly understand a subject they presume to critique, a certain testiness is permissible.

    If evolution doesn’t work, shouldn’t you be relieved?

    I have no idea why you would say that. I don’t know why evolution working should worry me, nor why it not working would be a matter of relief.

    Shouldn’t science follow the evidence wherever it leads, and not where you would like it to follow? Otherwise, what’s the point of doing science if only one result is accepted, right or wrong?

    Science is hardly an attempt to leave all questions open! It tries to get to the heart of the matter – to at least attempt to find out which answer fits most closely to the evidence and logic of the situation. To be curious.

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  35. J-Mac: Corneel: I don’t think it works that way. I rather suspect that most either come to believe that they ought to suppress homosexual feelings, or choose not to believe the people telling them that the Supernatural cares about such things.

    J-Mac: I agree that is the way it should be…

    For clarity: I think only the latter part of my statement is the way it should be; homosexuals shouldn’t believe people who tell them that God disapproves of their homosexuality. That may not always be an easy option.

    J-Mac: if the Supernatural exists, He should have never design people with homosexual feelings, or an urge for oral sex, bestiality, etc.

    Oral sex is off-limits too? The Supernatural is surprisingly prudish, isn’t It?

    J-Mac: What would Jesus do?
    Was Jesus most known for? For hating people, or rather, for welcoming sinners?

    J-Mac, I think it is commendable that you stand up against gay-hate. But if you want to make gay people feel accepted and welcome, you might want to reconsider calling them sinners.

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  36. Alan Fox: What about torturing a child for fun Cooking and eating a child? Eating a child raw? Slowly eating a living child? Were I to hear of such happening, I’m sure I would be no less revolted than most people and want to do all in my power to stop them and deal with the perpetrators. I might even describe such perpetrators as evil. That doesn’t answer the question “what is evilness?”.

    Deciding whether it (what is “it” represent here?) is evilness gets you nowhere. There is no coherent entity that can be described as evilness. We may colloquially call various acts and actors evil but I doubt we can agree on a scale of evil. I certainly reject the adjective “evil” used in a binary fashion.

    So, instead of trying to focus on what evilness might be, why not do the opposite?
    “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

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  37. Allan Miller: Who’s mad? As I said, I welcome John’s informed critique. What I don’t welcome is the wilful and persistent ignorance displayed by others hereabouts. John knows what he’s talking about. You, on the evidence before me, not so much. When people don’t trouble to properly understand a subject they presume to critique, a certain testiness is permissible.

    All credit to Harshman.
    Solid science should be able to withstand any criticism, even of an uniformed teen…

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  38. Allan Miller: I have no idea why you would say that. I don’t know why evolution working should worry me, nor why it not working would be a matter of relief.

    So, no need to worry about it anymore then😊

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  39. Allan Miller: Science is hardly an attempt to leave all questions open! It tries to get to the heart of the matter – to at least attempt to find out which answer fits most closely to the evidence and logic of the situation. To be curious.

    Science shouldn’t be about supporting preconceived notions…It should be about finding the truth, even if it may cause some inconvenience, or embarrassment, no?

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  40. Corneel: For clarity: I think only the latter part of my statement is the way it should be; homosexuals shouldn’t believe people who tell them that God disapproves of their homosexuality. That may not always be an easy option.

    What if they feel guilt?

    Corneel: Oral sex is off-limits too? The Supernatural is surprisingly prudish, isn’t It?

    Who am I to judge? Maybe there is reason (s) we don’t know why?

    Corneel: J-Mac, I think it is commendable that you stand up against gay-hate. But if you want to make gay people feel accepted and welcome, you might want to reconsider calling them sinners.

    I’m the one who needs to be forgiven the most out of all sinners…
    Didn’t Jesus say that ‘those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick…”

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  41. J-Mac: Solid science should be able to withstand any criticism, even of an uniformed teen…

    I think Johannes “Jojo” Betzler was a uniformed pre-teen.
    <ggg>
    On a more serious note, it is not “science” that gets testy at any ongoing display of wilful ignorance, but rather individuals who are trying to explain stuff.

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  42. DNA_Jock: I think Johannes “Jojo” Betzler was a uniformed pre-teen.
    <ggg>
    On a more serious note, it is not “science” that gets testy at any ongoing display of wilful ignorance, but rather individuals who are trying to explain stuff.

    Yeah,
    This reminds me of a “client” who tried to explain to me how her oncologist tried to explain it to her how the drug of his choice was going to prolong her life, by hopefully few months, to do the will and enjoy life while waiting for a certain death, by causing more mutations in her brain cells that were killing her in the first place…
    I guess wilful ignorance has many faces… sadly…

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  43. J-Mac: I guess wilful ignorance has many faces… sadly…

    I’ll say! But you explained to her how she had misunderstood the oncologist, right? What exactly did you say to her?

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  44. J-Mac: So, no need to worry about it anymore then

    Why? I mean, I’m not, but you haven’t really said why either I should or, alternatively, shouldn’t.

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  45. J-Mac: Science shouldn’t be about supporting preconceived notions…It should be about finding the truth, even if it may cause some inconvenience, or embarrassment, no?

    Indeed. Of the two of us, I’d say the Bible-quoting one is probably the one trying to make things fit preconceived notions. You can’t handle the truth! 🤣

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  46. DNA_Jock: I’ll say! But you explained to her how she had misunderstood the oncologist, right? What exactly did you say to her?

    Misunderstood??? How so, exactly?

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