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How STILL Not to Debate Intelligent Design (Liars for Evolution)
Access Research Network ^ | 01/09/02 | William A. Dembski

Posted on 01/10/2002 8:12:15 AM PST by Exnihilo

How STILL Not to Debate Intelligent Design


January 9, 2002: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOLLOW-UP STATEMENT BY WILLIAM A. DEMBSKI ON THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT PENNOCK'S NEW BOOK WITH MIT PRESS

How STILL Not to Debate Intelligent Design By William A. Dembski

Robert Pennock has just published _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_ with MIT Press. It includes two essays by me. In a press release dated yesterday, I claimed that Pennock never contacted me about their inclusion. Pennock now claims that he did. He said. She said. Who's right?

Consider the facts. Pennock published two essays of mine in his new book: "Who's Got the Magic?" and "Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information." With regard to the second essay, did he ever in any way refer to that essay, whether directly or indirectly, in any of our correspondence prior to the release of his book? No. He never even hinted at it, and there's no way it could be said that he contacted me about its inclusion in his volume. Pennock therefore never laid out which essays of mine he intended to include.

What about the other essay, "Who's Got the Magic?" Did Pennock ever advert to that essay in any of our correspondence? In April 2001, Pennock sent an email to my colleague Paul Nelson asking him to forward it to me. Nelson did forward Pennock's message to me. I had received no email from Pennock before that date and nothing after until the publication of his book. I read Pennock's email with only two pieces of relevant background knowledge: (1) that he was putting together an anthology for MIT Press titled _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_ and (2) that my colleague Paul Nelson was a contributor to the volume and that he had been explicitly informed that he would be a contributor. My working assumption before receiving Pennock's email was that I would not be a contributor since I had not been similarly informed.

Pennock's forwarded message contained two items relevant here: (1) a short biosketch of me with a request that I correct it for inclusion in "my anthology" (no description of the anthology beyond this was mentioned -- Pennock simply assumed I knew what he was referring to) and (2) an engimatic reference to being able to "add our Meta exchange when I sent in the ms [sic]."

Regarding the biosketch, Pennock did not state that this was a contributor biosketch. With a title like _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_, I took it that Pennock was compiling a "rogues gallery" of ID proponents and simply listing me as one of the rogues. He never used the word "contributor" or anything like it to refer to me in connection with his anthology.

Regarding Pennock's reference to "our Meta exchange," he never referred to my actual essay by title. The Meta exchange comprised my piece on www.metanexus.net titled "Who's Got the Magic?" and his response there titled "The Wizards of ID." I had never signed over the copyright for "Who's Got the Magic?" to Pennock or anyone else for that matter. Was it therefore our entire exchange that he was planning to add, with copyright permissions requests (that never came) still down the road ? Or was it just his portion of the exchange and a summary of mine that he was planning to add to "the ms"? Was his mention of adding it to "the ms" a reference to the MIT anthology or to some other work? Finally, the one other ID proponent whom I knew to be a contributor to Pennock's anthology (i.e., Paul Nelson) had been explicitly contacted about being a contributor. I hadn't.

Pennock's forwarded message was ambiguous at best. Indeed, it came as a complete surprise when I learned last week that my essays were included in his volume. My surprise was not unjustified. I therefore continue to maintain that Pennock never contacted me about the inclusion of my essays in his volume. Indeed, the very fact that Pennock's one piece of communication with me was a forwarded message should give one pause. Pennock, who casts himself as the defender of scientific correctness against ID reactionaries, has been remarkable for being able to uncover obscure work of mine (cf. his previous book with MIT Press titled _Tower of Babel_).

Pennock has been following the ID movement intently for at least ten years. I'm one of the most prominent people in the ID camp. My association with Baylor University and Discovery Institute is common knowledge. Pennock could easily have contacted me directly and informed me explicitly that I was to be a contributor to the volume. Instead, he sent a letter through an intermediary. There was a hint in that forwarded letter that one paper of mine might be appearing in some mansucript, which after the fact proved to be more than a hint. But I saw no reason to give it a second thought without further clarification from Pennock -- clarification he never offered. And what about the other paper, about which there was no hint?

So much for he-said-she-said, my-word-versus-your-word. Such clarifications are needed to clear the air. But they really sidestep the central issue. By not contacting me about the inclusion of my essays in his volume, Pennock merely added insult to injury. The central issue, however, is not the insult but the injury. The injury is that Pennock situated my essays in a book that from its inception cast me and my colleagues as villains and demonized our work.

I'm still a junior scholar, early in my academic career. I don't have tenure. When my contract runs out at Baylor University, I'll have to hustle for another academic job. Under normal circumstances, I would love to have articles of mine (popular or technical) appear with prestigious academic presses like MIT Press. But the inclusion of my essays in _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_ do not constitute normal circumstances.

To fair-minded individuals in the middle with no significant stake in the controversy over Darwinism and intelligent design, I ask: Would you like your work subjected to the same treatment that Pennock and MIT Press gave to my work and that of my colleagues? If you were a feminist scholar, would you want your work to appear in a book titled _Misguided Liberationist Women and Their Critics_? If you were a Muslim scholar, would you want your work to appear in a book titled _Fanatical Believers in Allah and Their Critics_? If you were a Marxist scholar, would you want your work to appear in a book titled _Marx's Theory of Surplus Value and Other Nonsense_?

"Creationism" is a dirty word in contemporary academic culture and Pennock knows it. What's more, as a trained philosopher, Pennock knows that intelligent design is not creationism. Intelligent design refers to intelligent processes operating in nature that arrange pre-existing matter into information-rich structures. Creation refers to an agent that gives being to the material world. One can have intelligent design without creation and creation without intelligent design.

The central issue is not that Pennock and MIT Press wanted to publish my essays but that they wanted to situate them in such a way as to discredit me, my work, and that of my colleagues. When I debated Darwinist Massimo Pigliucci at the New York Academy of Sciences last November, he stated: "Any debate between creationists and evolutionists is caused by the failure of scientists to explain how science works and should in no way be construed as a genuine academic dispute whose outcome is still reasonably doubtful." Pennock would agree, though he would add that the failure is also on the part of philosophers and not just scientists.

According to Pigliucci and Pennock, intelligent design proponents are not scholars to be engaged on the intellectual merits of their case. Rather, they are charlatans to be discredited, silenced, and stopped. That's the whole point of _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_. It's not a work of scholars trying to come to terms with their differences. It's not a work attempting to bring clarity to a "genuine academic dispute." It's a work of damage control to keep unwanted ideas at bay. It's what dogmatists do when outright censorship has failed.

--30--

File Date: 01.09.02


TOPICS: Editorial; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: crevolist
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More Liars for Evolution
1 posted on 01/10/2002 8:12:16 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: crevo_list
bump
2 posted on 01/10/2002 8:12:41 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: Exnihilo
More Liars for Evolution

This from the person who told me in a prior thread that they would only interact with those who wrote you with reasoned discourse.

Then you write this.

Please take a moment to consider your actions before you post, please.

3 posted on 01/10/2002 8:19:19 AM PST by ThinkPlease
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To: Exnihilo
Intelligent design refers to intelligent processes operating in nature that arrange pre-existing matter into information-rich structures.

That sounds like standard Evolution theory to me. Survial of the fittest IS the intellegent process. That's how the decision gets made on how to arrange pre-existing matter into information-rich structures.

4 posted on 01/10/2002 8:21:11 AM PST by narby
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To: Exnihilo
Bump for later
5 posted on 01/10/2002 8:31:12 AM PST by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: ThinkPlease
I suggest you go back and read some of jlogajan's posts :) Besides, Pennock IS a liar for evolution.
6 posted on 01/10/2002 8:38:45 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: narby
That's how the decision gets made on how to arrange pre-existing matter into information-rich structures.

Are you stating this as an empirical fact of science?

Beyond that, please try and stick to the topic of the post. Thanks.
7 posted on 01/10/2002 8:39:48 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: Exnihilo
More Liars for Evolution

The really big lie which is being promulgated by the evos is that the dialectic is between evolution and religion. That's BS. In order to have a meaningful dialectic between evolution and religion, you would need a religion whicih operated on an intellectual level similar to that of evolution, and the voodoo doctors down in Haiti would probably not be interested.

The real dialectic is between evolution and mathematics. Professing belief in evolution at this juncture amounts to the same thing as claiming not to believe in modern mathematics, probability theory, and logic. It's basically ignorant.

Evolution has been so thoroughly discredited at this point that you assume nobody is defending it because they believe in it anymore, and that they are defending it because they do not like the prospects of having to defend or explain some axpect of their lifestyles to God, St. Peter, Muhammed...

To these people I say, you've still got a problem. The problem is that evolution, as a doctrine, is so overwhelmingly STUPID that, faced with a choice of wearing a sweatshirt with a scarlet letter A for Adulteror, F for Fornicator or some such traditional design, or or a big scarlet letter I for IDIOT, you'd actually be better off sticking with one of the traditional choices because, as Clint Eastwood noted in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

God hates IDIOTS, too!

The best illustration of how stupid evolutionism really is involves trying to become some totally new animal with new organs, a new basic plan for existence, and new requirements for integration between both old and new organs.

Take flying birds for example; suppose you aren't one, and you want to become one. You'll need a baker's dozen highly specialized systems, including wings, flight feathers, a specialized light bone structure, specialized flow-through design heart and lungs, specialized tail, specialized general balance parameters etc.

For starters, every one of these things would be antifunctional until the day on which the whole thing came together, so that the chances of evolving any of these things by any process resembling evolution (mutations plus selection) would amount to an infinitessimal, i.e. one divided by some gigantic number.

In probability theory, to compute the probability of two things happening at once, you multiply the probabilities together. That says that the likelihood of all these things ever happening, best case, is ten or twelve such infinitessimals multiplied together, i.e. a tenth or twelth-order infinitessimal. The whole history of the universe isn't long enough for that to happen once.

All of that was the best case. In real life, it's even worse than that. In real life, natural selection could not plausibly select for hoped-for functionality, which is what would be required in order to evolve flight feathers on something which could not fly apriori. In real life, all you'd ever get would some sort of a random walk around some starting point, rather than the unidircetional march towards a future requirement which evolution requires.

And the real killer, i.e. the thing which simply kills evolutionism dead, is the following consideration: In real life, assuming you were to somehow miraculously evolve the first feature you'd need to become a flying bird, then by the time another 10,000 generations rolled around and you evolved the second such reature, the first, having been disfunctional/antifunctional all the while, would have DE-EVOLVED and either disappeared altogether or become vestigial.

Now, it would be miraculous if, given all the above, some new kind of complex creature with new organs and a new basic plan for life had ever evolved ONCE.

Evolutionism, however (the Theory of Evolution) requires that this has happened countless billions of times, i.e. an essentially infinite number of absolutely zero probability events.

And, if you were starting to think that nothing could possibly be any stupider than believing in evolution despite all of the above (i.e. that the basic stupidity of evolutionism starting from 1980 or thereabouts could not possibly be improved upon), think again. Because there is zero evidence in the fossil record (despite the BS claims of talk.origins "crew" and others of their ilk) to support any sort of a theory involving macroevolution, and because the original conceptions of evolution are flatly refuted by developments in population genetics since the 1950's, the latest incarnation of this theory, Steve Gould and Niles Eldredge's "Punctuated Equilibrium or punc-eek" attempts to claim that these wholesale violations of probabilistic laws all occurred so suddenly as to never leave evidence in the fossil record, and that they all occurred amongst tiny groups of animals living in "peripheral" areas. That says that some velocirapter who wanted to be a bird got together with fifty of his friends and said:

Guys, we need flight feathers, and wings, and specialized bones, hearts, lungs, and tails, and we need em NOW; not two years from now. Everybody ready, all together now: OOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

You could devise a new religion by taking the single stupidest doctrine from each of the existing religions, and it would not be as stupid as THAT.

But it gets even stupider.

Again, the original Darwinian vision of gradualistic evolution is flatly refuted by the fossil record (Darwinian evolution demanded that the vast bulk of ALL fossils be intermediates) and by the findings of population genetics, particularly the Haldane dilemma and the impossible time requirements for spreading genetic changes through any sizeable herd of animals.

Consider what Gould and other punk-eekers are saying. Punc-eek amounts to a claim that all meaningful evolutionary change takes place in peripheral areas, amongst tiny groups of animals which develop some genetic advantage, and then move out and overwhelm, outcompete, and replace the larger herds. They are claiming that this eliminates the need to spread genetic change through any sizeable herd of animals and, at the same time, is why we never find intermediate fossils (since there are never enough of these CHANGELINGS to leave fossil evidence).

Obvious problems with punctuated equilibria include, minimally:

1. It is a pure pseudoscience seeking to explain and actually be proved by a lack of evidence rather than by evidence (all the missing intermediate fossils). Similarly, Cotton Mather claimed that the fact that nobody had ever seen or heard a witch was proof they were there (if you could see or hear them, they wouldn't be witches...) The best example of that sort of logic in fact that there ever was was Michael O'Donahue's parody of the Connecticut Yankee (New York Yankee in King Arthur's Court) which showed Reggie looking for a low outside fastball and then getting beaned cold by a high inside one, the people feeling Reggie's wrist for pulse, and Reggie back in Camelot, where they had him bound hand and foot. Some guy was shouting "Damned if e ain't black from ead to foot, if that ain't witchcraft I never saw it!!!", everybody was yelling "Witchcraft Trial!, Witchcraft Trial!!", and they were building a scaffold. Reggie looks at King Arthur and says "Hey man, isn't that just a tad premature, I mean we haven't even had the TRIAL yet!", and Arthur replies "You don't seem to understand, son, the hanging IS the trial; if you survive that, that means you're a witch and we gotta burn ya!!!" Again, that's precisely the sort of logic which goes into Gould's variant of evolutionism, Punk-eek.

2. PE amounts to a claim that inbreeding is the most major source of genetic advancement in the world. Apparently Steve Gould never saw Deliverance...

3. PE requires these tiny peripheral groups to conquer vastly larger groups of animals millions if not billions of times, which is like requiring Custer to win at the little Big Horn every day, for millions of years.

4. PE requires an eternal victory of animals specifically adapted to localized and parochial conditions over animals which are globally adapted, which never happens in real life.

5. For any number of reasons, you need a minimal population of any animal to be viable. This is before the tiny group even gets started in overwhelming the vast herds. A number of American species such as the heath hen became non-viable when their numbers were reduced to a few thousand; at that point, any stroke of bad luck at all, a hard winter, a skewed sex ratio in one generation, a disease of some sort, and it's all over. The heath hen was fine as long as it was spread out over the East coast of the U.S. The point at which it got penned into one of these "peripheral" areas which Gould and Eldredge see as the salvation for evolutionism, it was all over.

The sort of things noted in items 3 and 5 are generally referred to as the "gambler's problem", in this case, the problem facing the tiny group of "peripheral" animals being similar to that facing a gambler trying to beat the house in blackjack or roulette; the house could lose many hands of cards or rolls of the dice without flinching, and the globally-adapted species spread out over a continent could withstand just about anything short of a continental-scale catastrophe without going extinct, while two or three bad rolls of the dice will bankrupt the gambler, and any combination of two or three strokes of bad luck will wipe out the "peripheral" species. Gould's basic method of handling this problem is to ignore it.

And there's one other thing which should be obvious to anybody attempting to read through Gould and Eldridge's BS:

The don't even bother to try to provide a mechanism or technical explaination of any sort for this "punk-eek"

They are claiming that at certain times, amongst tiny groups of animals living in peripheral areas, a "speciation event(TM)" happens, and THEN the rest of it takes place. In other words, they are saying:

ASSUMING that Abracadabra-Shazaam(TM) happens, then the rest of the business proceeds as we have described in our scholarly discourse above!

Again, Gould and Eldridge require that the Abracadabra-Shazaam(TM) happen not just once, but countless billions of times, i.e. at least once for every kind of complex creature which has ever walked the Earth. They do not specify whether this amounts to the same Abracadabra-Shazaam each time, or a different kind of Abracadabra-Shazaam for each creature.

I ask you: How could anything be stupider or worse than that? What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

8 posted on 01/10/2002 8:43:24 AM PST by medved
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To: medved
What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

What do you believe which explains the available but obviously incomplete information about our existence?

9 posted on 01/10/2002 9:03:03 AM PST by Semper
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To: Exnihilo
I believe in intelligent design.. its being influenced by the Smurfs that currently reside in my Colon..
10 posted on 01/10/2002 9:13:59 AM PST by Paradox
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To: medved
What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

Reading this thread.

11 posted on 01/10/2002 9:20:14 AM PST by stanz
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To: Exnihilo
What is the problem with seeing evolution theory as just an on-going attempt to incorporate available information into an intelligent design scenario. It is fairly difficult to accumulate information about the universe and NOT perceive intelligent design. "Random" is just a human concept based upon incomplete information. There is "Nothing by Chance" - which is the title of a very interesting book by Richard Bach.
12 posted on 01/10/2002 9:27:31 AM PST by Semper
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To: medved
I ask you: How could anything be stupider or worse than that? What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

Oh you mean the "proven" science of Evolution the facts of which can be found in museums throughout the world? That would be to literally believe the scriptures in the Old Testament that transcribe ancient folklore that was handed down from generation to generation verbally well before recorded history. Now that is DUMB and quite Anti-Science in my view. Since Creationists, such as yourself, don't have the FACTS on your side, your apparent tack lately seems to be to make utterly absurd absolute statements founded purely in emotion and devoid of all logic and facts.

13 posted on 01/10/2002 9:28:59 AM PST by WRhine
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To: Semper
What do you believe which explains the available but obviously incomplete information about our existence?

The point is, you could believe ANYTHING, and be better off than being an evolutionist. Voodoo, Rastifari, Santaray, the doctrine of the Great Pumpkin and pumpkinism, shamanism, thuggism...

Ever see the list of several hundred organizations they make people swear never to have heard of for federal investigations? I mean, you've got the red dragon tong, the green dragon tong, the society for the restoration of the Hohenzollern monarchy, commies, nazis, the Klan, the black panthers, the crips, the bloods, the black hand and God knows what all, and the basic charter for each and every single one of them makes more sense logically than evolution does.

14 posted on 01/10/2002 9:31:41 AM PST by medved
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To: Semper
"Random" is just a human concept based upon incomplete information.

Very much so, but there is actually more to it than that. Many times it isn't that we have incomplete information, but that we literally have insufficient memory to model information that is too large relative to the capacity of the finite state machinery we call our brain. On finite state machinery, you can mathematically detect a vastly larger finite state process. The problem is that when the finite state process being measured becomes too large relative to the finite state machine being used to detect it, the process will appear mathematically random. Because of this limit, as computers have increasingly large memories available to them they will gain the ability to detect patterns in the universe that exceed current human capacity. It is also very plausible based on these facts that it will eventually be possible to have a computer that can detect every finite state (i.e. non-random) process in the universe.

15 posted on 01/10/2002 9:50:33 AM PST by tortoise
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To: medved
Take flying birds for example; suppose you aren't one, and you want to become one. You'll need a baker's dozen highly specialized systems, including wings, flight feathers, a specialized light bone structure, specialized flow-through design heart and lungs, specialized tail, specialized general balance parameters etc.

For starters, every one of these things would be antifunctional until the day on which the whole thing came together.

I ask you: How could anything be stupider or worse than that? What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

Making assumptions about evolution that are not reflected in the fossil record i.e. misrepresenting the evidence of mutation and adaptation by declaring that various intermediate traits are "antifunctional" until they arrive at some contemporary form.

That would be worse. That would be stupider.

16 posted on 01/10/2002 9:51:50 AM PST by Wm Bach
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To: Exnihilo
"More Liars for Evolution"

Sort of like saying "More Small-Minded Idiots for Creationism".

Not very nice is it? As my grandmother used to say "If you haven't got anything nice to say, at least be polite. And mind your manners."

17 posted on 01/10/2002 9:58:36 AM PST by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Wm Bach
I think what you mean is that under current evolutionary theory that whales evolved from cows that while the cow swimming in the ocean is waiting for a mutated/adapted mate its tail was functional enough to allow it to escape its predators. Is this correct?

I wouldn't want to assume that these partially adapted/mutated links were anti-funtional either.

18 posted on 01/10/2002 10:02:30 AM PST by Z.Hobbs
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To: medved
For starters, every one of these things would be antifunctional until the day on which the whole thing came together, so that the chances of evolving any of these things by any process resembling evolution (mutations plus selection) would amount to an infinitessimal, i.e. one divided by some gigantic number.

In probability theory, to compute the probability of two things happening at once, you multiply the probabilities together. That says that the likelihood of all these things ever happening, best case, is ten or twelve such infinitessimals multiplied together, i.e. a tenth or twelth-order infinitessimal. The whole history of the universe isn't long enough for that to happen once.

Part of your problem is that you are bad at math. This isn't the correct application of probability theory to the issue at hand. Your conclusions are going to be wrong if your premises are false.

Luckily for you, "God only hates idiots" so being ignorant of mathematics doesn't automatically put you on the hate list. Of course, if you continue to blindly assert these things without boning up on the statistics and probability theory, then maybe you are an idiot.

19 posted on 01/10/2002 10:02:45 AM PST by tortoise
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To: WRhine
Help! I need your help.

Can you post or send me one of those ""proven" science of Evolution facts"? Thanks.

20 posted on 01/10/2002 10:10:00 AM PST by Z.Hobbs
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To: Exnihilo
Intelligent design refers to intelligent processes operating in nature that arrange pre-existing matter into information-rich structures.

Unfortunately, this sentence doesn't make any sense. No process is intelligent, but follows simple rules which may or may not be iterated a vast number of times to yield complex results. Without external enthalpy, a process will only yield more entropy. However, with external enthalpy a process can be driven backward to create a reduction in entropy (locally at least). Of course, it gets interesting when you consider that essentially everything in the universe is fundamentally a dumb process.

21 posted on 01/10/2002 10:15:21 AM PST by tortoise
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To: tortoise
It is also very plausible based on these facts that it will eventually be possible to have a computer that can detect every finite state (i.e. non-random) process in the universe.

That is assuming that there is a finite quantity of states and therefore a finite universe. That may not be the case. Whatever the case however, the more information we obtain and understand, the more difficulty the biblical literalists will have.

22 posted on 01/10/2002 10:22:36 AM PST by Semper
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To: Semper
What men... believe---really matters!
23 posted on 01/10/2002 10:25:00 AM PST by f.Christian
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To: tortoise
No process is intelligent, but follows simple rules

The process itself may not be intelligent but it is evidence of intelligence. The existence of rules is a manifestation of intelligence.

24 posted on 01/10/2002 10:27:47 AM PST by Semper
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To: f.Christian
What men... believe---really matters!

If men believe the world is flat (creationism), that will be THEIR reality but it will not be a true scientific fact (evolution).

25 posted on 01/10/2002 10:30:47 AM PST by Semper
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To: Semper
Evolution didn't blow a tire--engine--run out of gas...just the bottom of the cliff--hill....crash!
26 posted on 01/10/2002 10:37:06 AM PST by f.Christian
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To: medved
I ask you: How could anything be stupider or worse than that? What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

Very good summation! A bit long, but it was worth the read. Most responses to your post were expected - so typical.

27 posted on 01/10/2002 10:39:22 AM PST by FreeTally
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To: medved
How could anything be stupider or worse than that? What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

Dunno. Earth orbiting Saturn pretty much fits the bill...

28 posted on 01/10/2002 10:42:20 AM PST by Junior
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To: Junior
Evolution is bunk--- Creation is science!
29 posted on 01/10/2002 10:45:25 AM PST by f.Christian
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To: tortoise
No process is intelligent

Really? Is solving a differential equation an intelligent process? Oh! Wait.. you mean a natural process.. I see. I'm glad to see that your a priori commitment to scientific naturalism isn't blinding you from other possibilities. LOL!
30 posted on 01/10/2002 10:49:55 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: tortoise
Out of curiosity.. is it possible for anyone on this website to actually post responses to the original post at hand? It seems like I post an article, and then everyone debates crevo as if the article I posted were debating the issue.
31 posted on 01/10/2002 10:51:57 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: medved
The point is, you could believe ANYTHING, and be better off than being an evolutionist.

I believe you're wrong.

32 posted on 01/10/2002 10:53:31 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Semper
If you paid even a shred of attention to the thread, you would know that we are discussing something totally unrelated to this. ID theorists do not deny evolution!
33 posted on 01/10/2002 10:53:48 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: f.Christian
What a topsy-turvey world; planet; globular mass; mental state you must live in; inhabit; exist within!

Ack! Thhppt!

34 posted on 01/10/2002 10:56:49 AM PST by Junior
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To: Semper
"Random" is just a human concept based upon incomplete information.

No. The concept of random has nothing to do with incomplete information. There are (a few) incomplete information problems wherein one assumes that missing data is "random" (all this is a very loose descripton.) The quantum mechanical description of matter implies that there are "random" (not a-causal, random) events that cannot depend on incomplete information. Quantum mechanics works very well.

There is "Nothing by Chance" - which is the title of a very interesting book by Richard Bach.

Then Mr. Bach's theory of matter must show testable disagreement with quantum mechanics. Ping me when Bach publishes his (refereed) experiments showing where QM fails.

35 posted on 01/10/2002 11:00:35 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: tortoise
Our current understanding may be finite, but since we only use, at most, about 10% of our brain capacity, we have no way of knowing for sure if our brain capacity in finite or not.

Quite remarkable things have been done by people (mothers lifting tractors off of children, idiot savantry, etc.) which argues the the 90%+ part of the brain that we don't use is quite remarkable.

I would argue that to make a computer that knows all finite-states would be impossible with our current understanding of computing technology.  For one thing, there is the infinite recursion problem, because you also have to know the finite states inherent in the computers, but since you recurse, you also have to know all those states too...).
36 posted on 01/10/2002 11:03:23 AM PST by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: f.Christian;Exnihilo;tortoise;VadeRetro
The following was posted on another thread by VadeRetro:

Kristol agrees with this "There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people," he says in an interview. "There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."

I would modify that to say there are different interpretations or understandings of truth for those groups. But whatever, it is difficult to discuss something as complex as existence between groups - which is what we seem to be doing here.

37 posted on 01/10/2002 11:07:51 AM PST by Semper
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To: Junior

How could anything be stupider or worse than that? What could possibly be worse than professing to believe in such a thing?

Dunno. Earth orbiting Saturn pretty much fits the bill...

BUUUUUUURRRRNNNNN!!!!! </Kelso voice>

38 posted on 01/10/2002 11:09:53 AM PST by jennyp
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To: Semper
Where do information-rich structures (so necessary for evolution) evolve from?
39 posted on 01/10/2002 11:10:26 AM PST by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
Don't ask questions like that!! You're talking about abiogenesis, and you'll quickly be told that "evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis". This is the ultimate cop out of course, but that's what you'll be told. Otherwise, you'll get a cute story about amino acids linking together, some how forming RNA, and magically becoming DNA, and at the same time developing the ability to convert energy into a usable form! The yarns they will spin make Grandma's stories seem boring!
40 posted on 01/10/2002 11:15:10 AM PST by Exnihilo
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
but since we only use, at most, about 10% of our brain capacity

This is something of an urban legend. No one knows what capacity of our brain we use, I have seen estimates of 70% or more, with the remaining 30% being redundant but still usefull. The 10% figure is something somebody once through out, and it has stuck like fact. I'll let the rest of your post stand though.. I just like to stomp on these little "factiods" though..

41 posted on 01/10/2002 11:18:15 AM PST by Paradox
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To: Z.Hobbs
Can you post or send me one of those ""proven" science of Evolution facts"? Thanks.

Ok, take a field trip to your local museum and use your eyes and your mind when looking at the fossils of past life forms that are hundreds of millions of years old proving how life has progressed over time. If that doesn't work for you, go to your local library and check out some books on evolution. You might be pleasantly surprised as to how well documented evolution really is! If that doesn't work for you, check out Junior's links on evolution on FR.

42 posted on 01/10/2002 11:22:58 AM PST by WRhine
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To: Physicist;Godel;Nebullis
Hmmmm... So basically, Dembski is angry that Pennock didn't ask him personally beforehand if he wanted his essays to be included in the book. Apparently Pennock has said otherwise.

Aside from the he said/he said aspect of this tiff, I'd like to hear from you published scholars out there: What is standard procedure when an editor is compiling a book of academic essays like this? I'm sure that, at the least, Pennock's publisher contacted Dembski's publisher, if only to find out where to send the royalty check? (Or do authors who got their essays included in a book normally get royalty checks?)

Who else should we ping who would know about this sort of thing?

43 posted on 01/10/2002 11:24:42 AM PST by jennyp
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Then Mr. Bach's theory of matter must show testable disagreement with quantum mechanics. Ping me when Bach publishes his (refereed) experiments showing where QM fails.

Mr. Bach's conclusion is not based upon matter, it is based upon his father's teaching and his own life experience. His application of this understanding produced a life which I would certainly judge to be successful: Best selling author, pilot extraordinare and owner of all manner of exotic aircraft, cover of Time, married to a former movie star, successful children, etc. An early foundational flying adventure is the subject of his book.

I do not dispute your understanding of quantum mechanics and its relevance to present day science; but I will point out that science is always changing with the accumulation of information, and throughout history what was taken for absolute fact later proved to be illusionary. Which brings us to Richard Bach's best and favorite book, "Illusions". A small book but a great consciousness expanding experience.

44 posted on 01/10/2002 11:38:22 AM PST by Semper
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
Our current understanding may be finite, but since we only use, at most, about 10% of our brain capacity, we have no way of knowing for sure if our brain capacity in finite or not.

How do you know that we use 10% of our brain capacity, especially since the mind cannot ultimately be reduced to matter?

It is impossible to know the limit of thought. But since the mind (an aspect of the spiritual soul) has the power to apprehend all things presented to it, it is in a sense all things, as Aristotle said.

45 posted on 01/10/2002 11:42:47 AM PST by Aquinasfan
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To: tortoise
Luckily for you, "God only hates idiots" so being ignorant of mathematics doesn't automatically put you on the hate list. Of course, if you continue to blindly assert these things without boning up on the statistics and probability theory, then maybe you are an idiot.

My college degrees are in math; I have about 70 semester hours of math courses. You will find that one of the biggest contingents of anti-evolutionists consists of mathematicians who view evolution as I do for the same basic reasons.

The Wistar Symposia which you read about amounted to a confrontation between a number of the world's best mathematicians and a gaggle of evos. The mathematicians told the evos they were FUBAR and the evos to this day are in denial.

Bob Bass is one of America's best mathematicians. Bob is a former Rhodes scholar and a student of Aurel Wintner's and Soloman Lefschetz's. Bob is credited with a dynamical derivation of the familiar Titus/Bode law in celestial mechanics, amongst other things. Read some of what he has to say about evolution:

Why cannot we agree to call what Darwin documented mere "micro-evolution," and stipulate that literally NO ONE doubts the reality of micro-evolution? As Michael Denton proves in his book "Evolution, a Theory in Crisis," micro-evolution was a "Partial Discovery," Adaptive resistance by bacteria to various drugs and adaptation to different amounts of soot on trees by peppered moths (Kettlewell) does not suggest that bacteria can ever become anything other than bacteria nor that moths can ever become anything not recognizably moths.

What the debate is about is whether or not any known or even conceivable chance-mutation based plus natural-selection based mechanism can lead to a radical increase in (or radical transformation of) the information content of the genome of the species in question. (This can be quantified via rigorous mathematics, as in "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution," published by the famed Wistar Institute of the U of PA after a bunch of the world's greatest mathematicians [including Ulam, the co-inventor of the H-bomb] debated a group of neo-Darwinian biologists.)

Further, the infinite unlikelihood of stochastic increase in the information content of a genome can be proved rigorously as a mathematical theorem in Information Theory (as published by Yockey, who wilfully avoids the theistic implications), which is almost the same as the Law of Increasing Entropy in Thermodynamics (and the hand-waving high-school-level efforts of neo-Darwinian efforts to discredit this creatonist argument are truly pathetic).

The great palaeontologist Schindewolf let the cat out of the bag once and for all when in hiis monumental "Grundfragen der Paleontologie" he demonstrated painstakingly that the Fossil Record, objectively viewed (without preconceptions) is _precisely the opposite_ of what one would expect if all living creatures had a common ancestry.

After this, honest palaeontologists had no choice but to admit what Gould & Eldridge confessed in their Punctuated Equilibrium model in the early 1970s: the fossil record, far from looking like a bush with branches joining everything and proceeding backwards in time to a central trunk, looks like a bunch of unrelated parallel straight lines! That is, genera appear abruptly, persist _almost_ unchanged over allegedly (uniformitarian-clocked) "vast" periods of time, and then suddenly become extinct. [They would still be telling us with straight faces that the Coelecanth became extinct "65 million years ago" if living specimens had not been found recently, off of Madagascar, by the dozens.]

G&E faked the punk-eek diagram to look something like a bush by postulating that there are hidden horizontal jumps [shown in dotted lines] which connect the vertical straight lines! In other words, the creature goes off stage to some unseen anteroom where a Goldschmidt-Schindewolf ("hopeful monster") macro-mutation takes place. (G&S admitted that an intellectually honest student of the fossil record can only postulate that "one day a reptile egg cracked open and a bird walked out.") But the number of _simultaneous_ point-codon misreplications (or other random accidents to points of the genome) which would have to take place in order to introduce a step toward a new organ or a new body plan, while at the same time providing the hopeful-monster with a _differential reproductive advantage_ (the essence of stochastic neo-Darwinism) is so unlikely that it is a better hypothesis (if one shaves regularly with Occam's Razor) to postulate a sort of "miracle" (e.g. Divine Intervention or else deliberate genetic engineering by intelligent Space Aliens) than to hope that stochastic neo-Darwinism can cut it [in view of the now plainly apparent existence in Molecular Biology of "irreducible complexity" as documented in their books by Denton, Behe, ReMine and others].

I had been studying the evidence from the historical chronometer provided by Amino Acid Racemization, according to which the entire alleged "geological column's" life-forms-history cannot be longer than 100,000 years, when I chanced upon the Gould-Eldridge paper right after they published the "punk-eek" doctrine, and since I saw that the vertical lines would have to be collapsed from "millions" of years to a much shorter time-scale, I decided that their theory was "Collapsed Equilibrium" and laughed out loud.

Many intellectually honest students of the history of life have exclaimed, "if you are going to postulate Macro-Mutations you might as well go back to Special Creation and have done with it!"

Of course, vitalists like Cambridge biochemist Rupert Sheldrake can claim that the collective unconscious of the genus in question can prompt a macro-mutation, which Ev Cochrane's favorite neo-Lamarkians would call "Lamarkian evolution," but once you allow invisible spiritual forces (such as Sheldrake's _resonances_ in "biomorphic fields" [pretty much equivalent to E.H. Walker's thesis that consciousness is "real but non-physical" and constitutes the mysterious "hidden variables" in quantum mechanics, which via the resolution of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox via Bell's Inequalities has "proved" the "NON-LOCALITY OF REALITY[!]"]) then you have admitted the existence of both Satan and the Holy Spirit! In fact, if you take 3 accepted propositions of 3 great psychiatrists (Freud, Jung, Rhine), namely that the _unconscious_ mind has an "id" which is in tension between "eros" and "thanatos," then you can point out that "Holy Spirit" = "telepathic collective unconscious eros" and "Satan" = "telepathic collective unconscious thanatos," but the National Academy of Science will then blow the whistle and certify to the Supreme Court that you are an "unscientific" & contemptible "fundamentalist" who should not be allowed to speak, much less deserve equal time to expose to the children of the taxpayers that the government is brainwashing them with an explicitly atheistic doctrine [see the NAS position paper submitted to the Supreme Court during the "Scopes II" trial's appeal] and thus using tax dollars to create an Established Religion in violation of our Constitution.

This is why the rulers of publicly permitted speech will not admit Rhine into the same pantheon with Freud & Jung, and why the "Skeptical Inquirer" crowd so desperately wants to disparage Walker, and why "Nature" pronounced Sheldrake's book "fit for burning." Once the biologists can be forced to admit what Berkeley nuclear physicist Stapp calls "the greatest discovery of modern science" (EPR non-locality of reality), or what Einstein disparaged as 'spooky instantaneous action-at-a-distance,' then it is all over for the Reductionist-Materialists and the most perceptive of them will perceive what Sheldrake has already noted, namely that the proposition "if two particles ever interact then they are forever linked [instantaneously] through space & time" leads one via impeccable Aristotelion syllogisms to the realization that it is _unavoidable_ to admit the validity of and to endorse the Catholic doctrine of the "Real Presence" in the Sacrament of the Mass [visualize a chain of Bishops with each having his hand on the shoulder of his predecessor in an unbroken chain of Apostolic Succession back to Jesus].

I spoke yesterday with a Catholic Priest who used to be a District Attorney and knows how to present a case to a jury, and he told me that "nuclear physicists who work daily with sub-atomic 'transubstantation' [transmutation] have no difficulty with the Real Presence, it is the ignorant biologists whose world-view is frozen into a 19th-century view of billiard-ball mechanics, who insist that only Reductionist Materialism is 'scientific'."

In the 1930's, Richard Goldschmidt, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Insititute for Genetics, was considered a world-class expert, but Hitler pasted on the wall a genealogical chart showing that Goldschmidt's ancestry included many famous medieval Rabbis, and so he was chased out of Germany. His book "The Material Basis of Evolution" (Yale U Press) opens with a list of challenges to neo-Darwinism which, without postulation of macro-mutations, Goldschmidt prophesies cannot and never will be answered. His list includes the hollow tooth of a snake, and the correlated poison glands. Where is the differental reproductive advantage in a hollow tooth absent poison? How will the poison be injected absent a hollow tooth?

Most of you are too young to remember the Luftwaffe's Me-163B rocket-plane which literally flew circles around Allied bombers toward the end of the War, but its powerful liquid fuels consisted of a hypergolic [self-igniting] combination of Hydrogen Peroxide (the oxidant) and Hydrazine (the fuel). Now the Bombardier Beetle (as presented in detail in both secular & creationist literature) happens to have two parallel tanks toward its rear, together with a Combustion Chamber into which the H2O2 & carbonate are inserted and produce a fiery steam-blast that incapacitates the predatory frog's tongue for several hours. This miracle of hypergolic biochemistry actually includes two additional miraculous enzymes, one of which renders the H2O2 non-explosive until it is injected into the Combustion Chamber, and the other of which reactivates the H2O2 and allows it to explosively oxidize the fuel _after_ they have both been injected into the beetle's rear-directed Combustion Chamber (complete with Venturi-shaped Exhaust Nozzle). To believe in the intellectually bankrupt dogmas of the Church of Neo-Darwinism, one has to believe that each of these 5 miraculous elements of the beetle's rocket-flame defense system came into existence as a random accident of point-mutation of a SINGLE codon [i.e. one letter of a 4-letter alphabet whose words & sentences define the Genetic Code] which just happened to have a _differential-reproductive advantage_(!) and so spread throughout the entire population's genome _separately_, just waiting for the day when all 5 elements would be operably in place (_and_ functionally wired to its nervous system in order to be switched on when needed) so that Mr. Beetle can suddenly escape death by singeing Mr. Frog for the first time!

Honestly, is it not more plausible to admit that YHWH said "let there be Bombardier Beetles"?

Bob Bass

46 posted on 01/10/2002 11:42:59 AM PST by medved
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To: tortoise
Part of your problem is that you are bad at math.

This would imply you are good at math, no?

47 posted on 01/10/2002 11:43:29 AM PST by Woahhs
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To: medved
I forget where I read this but it place the Evoloution/Creation debate in the proper light!

Quote:"Evoloution is the scientific evidence of God's handiwork!"

48 posted on 01/10/2002 11:50:35 AM PST by Mad Dawgg
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To: Exnihilo
The point is, you could believe ANYTHING, and be better off than being an evolutionist.

I believe you're wrong.

For picky people, I'd likely need to qualify that. You won't (necessarily) be better off financially and your love life won't necessarily be in better shape, but you will be better off in terms of not being guilty of believing in flagrantly stupid things.

49 posted on 01/10/2002 11:51:15 AM PST by medved
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To: Paradox
I believe in intelligent design.. its being influenced by the Smurfs that currently reside in my Colon.

That's ridiculous. You are a cad, sir.

Anyone with half a brain can see that Smurfs have nothing to do with it. What actually influences the design are tiny wood nymphs (yes, wood nymphs are different than Smurfs) that reside in my small intestine (not the colon, which is a part of the large intestine).
50 posted on 01/10/2002 11:51:29 AM PST by abandon
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