Sandbox (1)

Sometimes very active discussions about peripheral issues overwhelm a thread, so this is a permanent home for those conversations.

1,772 thoughts on “Sandbox (1)

  1. Gregory:The problem is with evolution in illegitimate situations and disciplines. I write about this a lot, speak and publish on it too, so please be patient if I am expecting a lot or seemingly inflexible in my post-evolutionary or non-evolutionary thought. Some people don’t even think this is possible, so it very much depends on who is the audience and at what stage they are in questioning the proper limits of evolutionary thinking.

    Alan, Lizzie, Guano me if you must but this has to be called out and I can only do it rudely. I left it for its own post for that reason.

    Gregory, this is pure, unadulterated, condescending bullshit. Your ‘Moses-bringing-the-tablets-down-from-the-mountain-to-the-great-unwashed-masses’ routine is insulting, patronizing crap and you need to shove back up where it came from and leave it there.

    Ahem. That is all. Now back to the proper discussion.

  2. Please quote where I said anything like what you imagine:
    “scientists are just socially crippled hunchbacks limping around in the dark recesses of their laboratories totally unaware of the “real” world around them.”

  3. “Belief in never-ending progress” is not the same as evolutionism. Progress and process have different meanings.

    Likewise, ‘bad’ or ‘good’ is not really the point. Where it is inaccurate or incomplete to use the term ‘evolution,’ an alternative term should be used instead. Do you agree with that Aardvark?

  4. It’s more like walking into a den of evolutionists (many of whom will actually deny it) and informing them that there are identifiable limits to evolutionary theories and that evolution should no longer be elevated into a universalistic worldview. Do they need to be ‘washed’? That’s your question, not mine.

  5. not agreeing nor disagreeing, I am trying to get a sense of you. this is my last post for today. see you tomorrow.

  6. Ok, so I lied. This will be last. When I say I am trying to get a sense of you, think of what happens when you visit an optometrist to get a prescription for glasses. They constantly switch back and forth between different strengths of refraction and say, “is it this one, or this one?” I am trying to narrow you down so I can figure out what you are alleging. If you have the patience for it, I will too.

  7. Gregory,

    It would be nice if DNA_Jock would contact Sanderson and simply tell him he is ‘no scientist’ and then promptly hang-up the phone. I don’t think Sanderson would think much of that, especially not coming from a DNA_Jock.

    I don’t understand why it would be “nice” to call a stranger up, tell them they are not X, and promptly hang-up the phone. Sounds pretty rude to me. Why would I call him “no scientist”? He brings a scientific approach to his sociology, supporting his ideas with data, and he also writes coherently. My first impression is that he is a pretty smart guy. I suspect discussing PoS with him on the phone would be educational. With Gregory, not so much.

    We’ve heard your condescending anglo-saxon PoS logic many, many times before folks. There’s no ‘science envy’ going on here; rather, there is recognition from moves like E.O. Wilson’s that biologists envy social scientists more than vice versa. Otherwise, Wilson would have stayed in his lower biological realm studying ants, instead of trying to elevate his relevance by claiming to have created a theory/paradigm (called sociobiology) about human beings. The same goes for Dawkins’ ridiculous coinage of ‘memes’ to rhyme with ‘genes’. Trying to be relevant to people; trying too hard and becoming unscientific in the process.

    So your refutation of my suggestion that you, Gregory, are suffering from science-envy is to point out that E.O.Wilson migrated from biology to sociobiology. Compelling.
    As I recall, Dawkins’s coinage of ‘memes’ was a pedagogical tool: he was trying to educate a lay audience about the power of differential replication. The “meme” meme has been rather successful, at least on the internet.

    [snip]
    On the question of ‘why does this matter to people?’ the field of anthropology dwarfs the field of biology by multiple powers.

    Reeeally! [Does a quick thought experiment]. I disagree, and I think your envy is driving you to new heights of condescension.

    But *if* (which takes caution against the anti-science label) you folks are *only* interested in biology, chemistry and physics, that is, if that is how you so narrowly define ‘science’, then none of these broader questions and themes because they involve HUMANITY will matter to you. If that’s the case, please do just retreat back into your little research boxes while the rest of us go on with our meaningful daily activities. And if you’ve concluded that daily human activities are *not* meaningful based on your naturalistic reductionism to lower and lower levels of complexity, then please don’t teach that stuff to your children and their friends, because the smiles I see on childrens’ faces around the world betrays the dank and soulless offices and laboratories of many ‘scientists’ who became disenchanted by over-rationalisation of the world.

    Well Gregory, your first two “if” statements are not equivalent, so you have constructed a strawman there. But a rather revealing one. “Dank and soulless” 😮

  8. It’s more like walking into a den of evolutionists (many of whom will actually deny it) and informing them that there are identifiable limits to evolutionary theories and that evolution should no longer be elevated into a universalistic worldview.

    We still await evidence of this alleged “universalistic worldview.”

  9. Gregory: It’s more like walking into a den of evolutionists (many of whom will actually deny it) and informing them that there are identifiable limits to evolutionary theories and that evolution should no longer be elevated into a universalistic worldview

    That’s great. I’m sure there are limits. And it’s great that you want to educate others.

    But what the hell does “and that evolution should no longer be elevated into a universalistic worldview” even mean?

    I don’t think that evolution is really anything to do with a worldview at any level. It’s an explanation for an observed set of data. Worldview? Perhaps in Darwins day when all there was was “god diddit” and no other explanation for the diversity of life.

    But now, meh, not so much. I was an atheist before I’d heard of evolution.

  10. It seems that key to some of Gregory’s misunderstanding is the incorrect assumption that Darwin coined the word “evolution”.

  11. The word ‘evolution’ in English? Certainly it was not coined by Charles (or Erasmus) Darwin. Your supposed ‘key’ doesn’t fit.

    Henry More wrote of the “evolution of outward forms spread in the world’s vast spright,” (1647), and later that “the whole evolution…of ages, from everlasting to everlasting, is…represented to God at once.” (1667)

    Older quotes using the term ‘evolution’ (and cognates) are welcome. One view is 1622 for ‘evolution’ and 1641 for ‘evolve.’

  12. Gregory:

    Please quote where I said anything like what you imagine:“scientists are just socially crippled hunchbacks limping around in the dark recesses of their laboratories totally unaware of the “real” world around them.”

    Apparently Gregory is now denying that he ever said this:

    First, physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists and other natural scientists usually don’t study ideology, philosophy or theology/worldview as part of their research. That should be easy to admit. How about it, Mike? Instead, these scientists are often lab junkies or fieldwork isolated wanderers. Quite often they are very anti-social, though of course not always. Let’s be clear; this is not getting too personal or ad-hominem in any way – and it stands as the obvious correlation to what Mike himself says about what the ‘researchers’ he observes are doing.

    And what was it he said about “social science envy”?

    And if Mike’s picture is really accurate, then it’s no wonder that more and more natural scientists are suffering from ‘social science’ envy (just as before it was suggested that biologists suffer from ‘physics envy’); since social scientists have a more full life outside of their laboratories (even if just because they work normal 35-40 hour weeks!). If the social world, the world of human society is one’s ‘laboratory,’ then that is much richer and relationally rewarding and stimulating than dirt, rocks, cockroaches, bunnies or merely physical objects. Well, at least I’ve found it to be that way!

    As I have already said, these are caricatures; they are not anything that is based on research or reality. They instead match up quite well with the sectarian political hatreds we see over at UD, where he hangs out.

    I stand by my assessment. He is not a scholar of any kind. He is all puffery and pretense.

    Nobody in the social (Or should I say antisocial?) sciences could do any type of research with Gregory’s obvious conceptual deficiencies and lack of research skills.

  13. No, he appears to be aware of that. Rather he seems to be conflating “evolutionism” = a school of thought within sociology/anthropology/history – his area of study – (yawn), with “evolutionism” = a purported atheist dogma and favorite creationist insult.
    Vague allusions to “evolutionism” = a branch of scientism, coupled with references to the evils of Social Darwinism are used to try to tie the two together.
    Mainly it’s about an obsession with labels, especially “-isms”. That and incoherent name-dropping self-aggrandizement.

  14. Mike Elzinga,

    And he did say “please do just retreat back into your little research boxes while the rest of us go on with our meaningful daily activities

    But Mike, he never said these recesses were dark, he said they were dank and soulless.
    😉

  15. Moderators, this is really going to far. Mike is being nasty. It is already slanderous.

    Given that he *still* won’t admit the evidence that it is not *only* IDists and YECists who write and speak of ‘evolutionism,’ the conclusion seems to be that Mike Elzinga is not worth the server space to host his posts.

  16. Moderators, this is really going to far. Mike is being nasty. It is already slanderous.

    This moderator thinks that Gregory has said nastier things about Mike than Mike has ever said about Gregory.

    The way to end the nastiness is to move on. You have completely failed to make a case that there is a problem of evolutionism. So let’s drop that discussion entirely, and move onto the other topics being discussed.

  17. You have got to be joking, Neil. What have I said about Mike Elzinga that compares to this slanderous false statement: “He is not a scholar of any kind”?

  18. Evolutionism is the exaggeration of ‘evolution’ into non-biological, non-natural scientific realms. That should be easy to agree with, shouldn’t it petrushka? But it would mean you should speak out against socio-biology. Will you?

  19. What have I said about Mike Elzinga that compares to this slanderous false statement

    I don’t see that as a slanderous statement. It’s a kind of expression often made about people whose writings one does not respect. I did a google search for “not a scholar of any kind” (with the quotes), and got back 9890 links. Some of those were of people declaring themselves to not be scholars, and some were declaring others to not be scholars.

    I see your repeated mention of Kalamazoo as nastier.

  20. Evolutionism is the exaggeration of ‘evolution’ into non-biological, non-natural scientific realms.

    It is hard to see how this is even possible. The word “evolution” was already being used in non-scientific realms before it became a term of art in biology.

  21. O.k. Neil, that’s fine then. I don’t respect Mike Elzinga’s small minded denial of evolutionism by non-IDists and YECists.

    Alan Fox has admitted it. But neither you nor Mike is obliged to face reality.

    Mike’s 50 years of experience in physics obviously didn’t provide him with very much knowledge if all he can see are IDists and YECists, while another large discourse regarding ‘evolutionism’ entirely missed him. But then again, a physicist, nobly working 60-80 hrs per week for the good of humanity, entirely self-less and objectively superior like Mike makes himself out to be (but which sociologists of science know is far from the truth) probably shouldn’t be expected to know about ‘evolutionism’ as it is used in the Academy.

    Sure, so Mike can and should be forgiven for his igorance of the actual uses of ‘evolutionism’. Perhaps if only he will humbly admit that would he qualify as the ‘neutral’ scholar, genuinely open to new evidence that he makes himself out to be. Because in this case, he has demonstrated nothing but close-mindedness and anger at a target which I don’t represent (IDists and YECists).

  22. Gregory:
    Evolutionism is the exaggeration of ‘evolution’ into non-biological, non-natural scientific realms. That should be easy to agree with, shouldn’t it petrushka? But it would mean you should speak out against socio-biology. Will you?

    Okay, that’s what I suspected. Thank you for the clarification.
    So, by definition your “evolutionism” has nothing to do with biology.
    Maybe it’s time for you to admit that within the context of biology only IDists and YECists use the term ‘evolutionist’.

    As an aside: if “socio-biology” is a branch of biology, then “evolutionism” has (according to your definition) nothing to do with it. Why even bring it up?
    You appear to be introducing another overly vague “Humpty-Dumpty” word into the discussion.

  23. O.k. Neil, that’s fine then. I don’t respect Mike Elzinga’s small minded denial of evolutionism by non-IDists and YECists.

    Alan Fox has admitted it. But neither you nor Mike is obliged to face reality.

    I will neither deny nor affirm evolutionism, until I know what it means. I don’t sign blank checks.

  24. “Maybe it’s time for you to admit that within the context of biology only IDists and YECists use the term ‘evolutionist’.”

    That could very well be the case. I haven’t reviewed the literature in ‘the context of biology’ to say either way. I’m not defending either IDists or YECists on this topic, nor do I represent them.

    ‘Socio-biology’ isn’t / wasn’t (some say it is now dead) clearly “a branch of biology” as much as an attempt to force reductionistic views onto social sciences, especially sociology. It has a deep influence, though, on the subfield of evolutionary psychology.

    The context of my response in the “What is Science?” thread, which seems to have been totally forgotten by the character assassinators and pro-evolutionism advocates here, is that evolutionary biology limited to its own realm is not that problematic. It is ‘evolutionism’ exaggerated outside of biology that is problematic. It sounds like you agree with me DNA_Jock, but just want to make sure that I am nevertheless still respecting the sovereign realm of biology and biologists. If that’s the case, then we’re on the same page.

    If that’s so, then I’d expect you to be willing to admit that it is not *only* IDists and YECists who use the term ‘evolutionism’ outside of biology. How about it?

  25. “I will neither deny nor affirm evolutionism, until I know what it means. I don’t sign blank checks.” – Neil Rickert

    Apparently you don’t have any opinion or knowledge about it, Neil. After your ID philosophy claims that you couldn’t/wouldn’t back up, here’s another declaration of your lack of knowledge.

    Sure, don’t sign a blank check. But at least do some research to get informed and make your own opinion. If you don’t want to express it publically here, that’s up to you.

    Otherwise, what’s the point if you’re simply asking other people to put words into your mouth, to do the work for you. You sound very unscholarly and lacking curiosity to learn something new, Neil.

  26. ‘Socio-biology’ isn’t / wasn’t (some say it is now dead) clearly “a branch of biology” as much as an attempt to force reductionistic views onto social sciences, especially sociology.

    I never saw sociobiology as an attempt to influence the social sciences. To me, it looked like an extension of biology and a dubious extension at that.

  27. But at least do some research to get informed and make your own opinion.

    I’ve only one life to live. I don’t need to waste it on wild goose chases.

    I looked at several of the references that you provided. They led me to wonder whether sociology has respectable standards.

  28. An ‘extension’ of biology where, into what? An over-extension perhaps?

    Some sociobiologists claimed to be able to swallow up the social sciences with biological explanations for social behaviour and action.

  29. Gregory:
    The word ‘evolution’ in English? Certainly it was not coined by Charles (or Erasmus) Darwin.

    Exactly my point.

    It is you who seems to think the word “evolution” does not have an older meaning of change (esp. progress) over time.

  30. Neil, now you’re getting personal by questioning the standards of the field(s) I work in. You’re apparently a computer scientist by profession. If I started desparaging the standards of your field you’d likely get defensive.

    There’s a lot of good sociology, which benefits society and improves living conditions for individuals and groups. Please don’t feed too hard on cynicism to doubt this.

    I don’t consider evolutionary sociology to be among the beneficial contributions of the field. Just like you probably don’t consider hackers to be a positive representation of what it means to be a programmer. It is the failure of sociologists to protect themselves from evolutionist exaggerations that led to this mess.

    At some point, Neil, given that you are not a social scientist, you’ll have to make a decision. I’ve started a new thread and you’re welcome to express yourself there. But please do not defend a person questioning if I am employed as I am and slandering me as a fool. It may be that I am aware of things regarding the ideology of evolutionism that you are not, that Mike is not, or even most others here. Why not respect that possibility?

    You should of course be skeptically cautious of my claims, while at the same time realising that if you completely do not trust me, then no positive communication will result between us.

    Acting to defend a physicist as the gatekeeper of what counts as ‘science’ while ignoring that he couldn’t or wouldn’t address direct evidence revealing his lack of knowledge is simply not helpful in this regard.

  31. “It is you who seems to think the word “evolution” does not have an older meaning of change (esp. progress) over time.”

    Then you are simply mistaken.

  32. Neil, now you’re getting personal by questioning the standards of the field(s) I work in.

    No, there is nothing personal about it.

    You have been hurling insults at me. Your latest was to imply that I am a lazy bum for not knowing what is evolutionism. So I simply explained the steps that I took to find out, and why they did not lead anywhere.

    If I had wanted to insult the field of sociology, I could have done that several days ago when I looked at those references.

    Just stop the insults. Stop the demands that people give answers to questions that are outside their knowledge.

  33. There’s a lot of good sociology, which benefits society and improves living conditions for individuals and groups.

    I am well aware of that. I have some colleagues from the sociology department (now retired) whose work I respect.

    I don’t consider evolutionary sociology to be among the beneficial contributions of the field.

    Then why are you so bothered that most people here don’t take it seriously?

    It is the failure of sociologists to protect themselves from evolutionist exaggerations that led to this mess.

    In that case, it is a problem that you should be taking up in your discipline. This is the wrong place to address those issues.

    At some point, Neil, given that you are not a social scientist, you’ll have to make a decision.

    Why? That’s where you have failed. You have not even attempted to make a case that there is something important to most of the people who post here.

    But please do not defend a person questioning if I am employed as I am and slandering me as a fool.

    I am not defending Mike. I’m sure he does not need it. You requested moderator action, so I responded on why I did not see a need for such action.

    You should of course be skeptically cautious of my claims, while at the same time realising that if you completely do not trust me, then no positive communication will result between us.

    This is your communication failure. If you were doing an adequate job of presenting your position, then positive communication would not depend on whether I trust you.

  34. Gregory:
    Alan, I was told by another Moderator that I could not move comments to Guano. I looked for that option and didn’t find it. Can you link to the site rules for authors/contributors? My intention was to keep the thread on-topic, not to break site rules. I have copies of the deleted posts, if they should be re-posted in Guano. [emphasis added]

    So you have deleted some posts. Nice going, Greg. You’re lucky that TSZ is run by Lizzie and not by me, because if I was in charge here, I’d have banned your Creationist ass for deleting posts.

  35. This is a meta-comment on Gregory’s thread. So I am putting it here.

    Gregory wrote:

    Category 1) Individual living organisms. – Alan Fox
    Similar to this, Joe Felsenstein said “Anything living that does not pass on a genotype to descendants” and Neil Rickert said “the aging process.”

    That misrepresents what I wrote here. I did not actually list anything that does not evolve. I did provide examples of what I would not personally choose to describe as evolution.

    I’m not sure what is Gregory’s understanding of language. For me, I cannot give examples of what does not evolve without first having a clear definition of “evolve” that is to be used in the answer. Meanings are notoriously flexible.

    Gregory continued with an appallingly wrong statement about selection and about what evolves. Others have already pointed out the problem, so I won’t say more on that.

  36. Second this. Several of my posts have been outright deleted (not moved to guano). At least one has had its contents drastically changed and not by me.

    If the thread starter is responsible for these despicable and cowardly acts he should be banned immediately.

    Anyone going to ‘fess up?

  37. Here is what thorton originally posted in Gregory’s thread (before that post was edited:

    Non-Evolvable Things

    Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
    Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
    Brown paper packages tied up with strings
    These are a few non-evolvable things

    Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
    Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
    Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
    These are a few non-evolvable things

    Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
    Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
    Silver white winters that melt into springs
    These are a few non-evolvable things

    A non-scientist
    With a dumb claim
    Makes me shake my head
    I simply list those non-evolvable things
    And then laugh out loud instead!

  38. A quick note.

    I have my RSS reader (“akregator” on linux) following comments here. This is an imperfect procedure. The RSS reader checks around every 30 minutes. The site only provides the 20 most recent comments. The RSS reader will delete its copy after a few weeks.

    If a comment is deleted after my RSS reader has picked it up, then I will still have that copy (until it ages out).

    If a comment is edited, and is still among the most recent 20, then I will only have the edited copy. But if it is edited when it is not within the most recent 20, I will have a copy prior to the editing. That is how I found the content of what was in thorton’s comment before it was edited.

  39. The big question is who edited it without my knowledge or permission?

    Moving posts to guano is one thing. Changing the contents of a post and leaving it there in the thread with the original poster’s name is something entirely different.

    Whoever did it needs to come forward with a damn good explanation.

  40. The general answer is that the author of a thread can edit and delete comments within that thread, though site policy is that they should not.

    An Administrator can edit and delete comments in any thread.

    An Administrator can move comments between threads.

    I am uncertain of an author’s ability to move comments. I think (but am not sure) that an author may be able to move a comment to another thread of which he/she is the author, but probably not to threads of which he/she is not an author.

  41. I am uncertain of an author’s ability to move comments.

    They can – I did that very thing in response to some Robert Byers posts that were way off topic. I created a new thread especially for them, which I did not feel to be outrageous censorship. Essentially, the new thread was a proxy for a more deeply-nested ‘reply’ parameter. But perhaps on reflection the most unexceptionable policy is to leave content where its author placed it.

  42. Pardon my bemusement; but the TSZ appears to be increasingly like a Mad Hatter’s tea party. Is Alice by any chance a relative? 🙂

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