Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In A Nutshell

Found this little snippet here:

Rosenblum, who himself is a graduate of Yale Law School and the University of Chicago, gave a lucid explanation of how Neo-Darwinism survives:

First step: Exclude all non-natural causes as a priori inadmissible. Second step: If Darwinian Evolution were true, it would explain observed taxonomic similarities between different living things. Third step: Since no alternative explanation exists to explain those phenomena, Darwinism must be true. … Fourth step: Since Darwinism is true, all explanations based on non-natural causes are vanquished. Note how that which was a priori excluded at the outset is now deemed to have been somehow disproved.

(Jonathan Rosenblum, “The Myth of Scientific Objectivity," Jewish Observer (May, 2006).)


Progress in the battle between Darwinism and ID is judged, by both sides, by who has the most Nobel prize winners and National Academy of Science members (they do!), but for me the whole issue has always been extremely simple. It’s not too complicated for the layman to understand, it’s too simple for the scientist.

Victory: Our Biggest Nightmare

Just in case there was any doubt:

Dems worried the Surge may work

Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina admitted that he is worried that the Surge may work in Iraq and ruin Democratic Party plans to impose a timetable for a surrender. Clyburn is the Majority Whip — No. 3 man in the House — and he said that if Gen. Petraeus has a positive report in September that would be “a real big problem for us” (Democrats).

Yes folks, that is how vested in the defeat of the American Army the Democratic Party has become. One of its major bowers said good news in Iraq would be “a real big problem for us” (Democrats).

In an interview with Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, Clyburn said a U.S. victory in this military campaign would cause the 47 Blue Dog Democrats to hold off on raising the White Flag:

“I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us. We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report.”

Wait a second here: Who is the enemy to Clyburn? The Republican Party or al-Qaeda?

The newspaper story is here. The video is here. My membership in the Democratic Party is 5 years gone.

And from a comment to the post:

Let me also add this quote by Jonah Goldberg. Absolutely spot-on:

“Liberals used to be the ones who argued that
sending U.S. troops abroad was a small price
to pay to stop genocide; now they argue that
genocide is a small price to pay to bring U.S.
troops home.”

My contempt for Democrats and liberals today knows no bounds.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Morphing Through The Great Women Of Art

Very engaging and a little spooky.

Asininity Quickly Recognized

Lots of good analogical reasoning in the comment section responding to this piece which examines whether the perpetrator being chased in Phoenix by the police and followed by news helicopters (which collided, killing four) should be liable for homicide.

Insane Advice

A very odd "workplace etiquette" piece on Yahoo today. The comments are amusing. Everyone thinks the writer is smoking something.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Genuine Real Estate Massacre

This thing is just gathering steam. And look what's already happening:
Fort Myers - You're not going to believe what some brand new townhomes went for on the auction block Thursday night in Fort Myers, considering where prices have been. A three bedroom townhome previously priced at $310,000 sold for about $180,000! First time home buyer Brandon Quarterman, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, was the lucky bidder. He said, 'I'm feeling great. more money in my pocket!"

The two and three bedroom townhouses in the San Simeon development, which is off of Winkler Avenue, were selling for prices we haven't seen in Southwest Florida in quite some time. And that was the whole point. Marketing reps with the developer, Levitt and Sons, say they're trying to quickly unload the fifty homes. Most of them were left over after people and investors backed out of deals when the housing market changed. Levitt and Son's Jama Shaw said, "This is our aggressive approach in moving onto our next phases and new floor plans."

Greg Toher was outraged when he heard the prices some of the homes were going for. Walking out of the auction room, he told us, "$145,000! Unbelievable! We paid $300,000! They just got rid of at least four for $145,000!" He says he closed on his three bedroom San Simeon townhome in December, "You've got to be kidding me, that's not fair."

New buyers may be getting a steal, but current San Simeon homeowners, like Greg, tell WINK News they feel like they've been ripped off. Tara Gionpalo said, "I feel really mad, really sad, hurt."

Victoria Toher said the developer went back on their word, "They promised us they were not going to go below market value." A Levitt and Sons representative told WINK News on Thursday night that the homes did go for fair market value...as determined by the hundreds of bidders at the auction. He went on to say they feel terrible for the homeowners, but the prices were reflective of a challenging real estate market and they're confident it will once again shift in the homeowner's favor.

Bruce Sexton, another San Simeon homeowner who closed on his house in October is not convinced, "I don't think they have loyalty to the people who purchased early. They're just trying to dump the houses and get what they can."

"They promised us they were not going to go below market value." Uhhhh...everything sells at market value by definition.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Ultimate Anti-ID Argument

When all else fails, cry racism:

The Return of Jim Crow

On June 28, the Supreme Court, led by Bush Administration appointees, restricted the ability of public school districts to use race to determine which schools students can attend. As the court's minority pointed out in sharply worded dissents, that decision will, as the majority no doubt intended, sharply limit racial integration of public schools across the nation.

Where does the Discovery Institute -- you know, the ones who claim Darwin's theory of evolution is racist -- stand on this issue?

Well, John R. Miller, a member of Parents Involved in Community Schools, which sued the Seattle school district over its racial tiebreaker plan, is guess what, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and he's written an Op-Ed in the Seattle Times to tell us.

Discovery's Miller wants the country's history of racial segregation forgotten. Where once the opponents of integration blocked the school house doors to proclaim "segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever" they now demand an absolutely color blind system for placing children in public schools. And if that just happens to re-segregate public schools across the country, as white supremacists such as George,Wallace, Bull Connor, Lester Maddox, and Strom Thumond fought to do, well that's just too bad.

"As someone who grew up in Mississippi and Alabama during the civil rights movement," evangelical theologian Charles Marsh recently told Robin Reid at Politico, "my reading is that the conservative Christian movement never was able to distinguish itself from the segregationist movement, and that is one of the reasons I find so much of the rhetoric familiar -- and unsettling."

Those on the Christian right, such as Miller and the Discovery Institute, standing on the shoulders of the segregationists who came before them, want to whittle away at the gains made by the Civil Rights movement.

To do that they've learned to appropriate the language of the civil rights fighters they once opposed. These days they talk more about Lincoln and diversity than race mixing and miscegenation. Neighborhood schools have replaced state's rights.

They no longer erect billboards calling for the impeachment of Earl Warren, instead they try to take credit for the Warren Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling even as they twist its intent and labor tirelessly to lead us back to the days of Jim Crow.

So not only do these folks think, for scientific reasons, that Darwinians simply don't have the evidence and logic for their theory that they claim to have, but even worse, these folks are not racial-quota liberals. And they want to establish theocracy. And they want to keep the races apart. And they are evil.

And they are after your precious bodily fluids.

Evolution Is Simply Silent On The Question Of God

If salamanders on the backs of cars don't prove it, how about this?

Fancisco J. Ayala is an esteemed evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was dubbed the "Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology" by the New York Times. Ayala is not only former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), but he helped found, chair, and organize the AAAS Dialogues on Science, Ethics, and Religion. He’s widely acclaimed by the Darwinian scientific community as a guru on science and religion. So what does Ayala say about evolutionary biology and religion? In May, 2007 Ayala published an article in the prestigious journal Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences USA entitled “Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer,” explaining that “evolution conveys chance and necessity jointly enmeshed in the stuff of life; randomness and determinism interlocked in a natural process..." In case you think that leaves room for God-guided evolution, Ayala states, "In evolution, there is no entity or person who is selecting adaptive combinations.” In fact, Ayala believes that it was “Darwin’s greatest accomplishment” to remove "a Creator" from biology:

It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organization and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process—natural selection—without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.

(Francisco J. Ayala, "Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 104:8567–8573 (May 15, 2007).)

Just to make sure you aren’t bringing any kind of purpose or teleology into evolution, Ayala explains that an evolutionary account "does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer." Ayala isn't saying that this "preordained plan" might exist, for he is adamant in saying that "Biological evolution ... is not the outcome of preconceived design." Ayala concludes that Darwin completed a “conceptual revolution” that “is nothing if not a fundamental vision that has forever changed how mankind perceives itself and its place in the universe.”

All this was published in the prestigious journal of perhaps the top scientific body of the entire world, by one of the top science-religion gurus in the Darwinian scientific community.

Nicely Put

I'm not endorsing the whole post, but this is very well said:

The ascent of nature might be able to be explained naturalistically if it produced machine-like entities with no "residue," so to speak. But as we know from our own experience, this is far from the case, "for there exists the dimension of the subjective -- inwardness -- which no material evidence by itself allows us to surmise, of whose actual presence no physical model offers the slightest hint." "Nor would the fullest description of the brain, down to its minutest structures and most delicate ways of functioning, provide any clue of the existence of consciousness, if we did not know about it through our own inner experience -- precisely through consciousness itself."

Waking Up

Promising signs that the multi-culti delusion is beginning to be roundly rejected in Britain.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Great Leaps In Biotechnology

A well-written and moving first-hand account of how recent developments in hearing aid technology are changing lives. Amazing things are happening with medical technology. My Mom, for example, has recently had both of her eye lenses replaced, thereby removing cataracts and severe nearly-lifelong astigmatism. For each eye it was a 90 minute outpatient procedure.

Garbage Myths

Very interesting article entitled "Recycling Rubbish, Eight Great Myths About Waste Disposal". I've long regarded recycling as a substitute liturgical act for leftists, who can't handle the real thing.

But Can't We Just Find A Giant Hydrogen Mine Somewhere, Like Maybe On The Sun?

Study: Renewable Energy Not Green

article begins:

Renewable energy could wreck the environment, according to a study that examined how much land it would take to generate the renewable resources that would make a difference in the global energy system.

Building enough wind farms, damming adequate number of rivers and growing sufficient biomass to produce ample kilowatts to make a difference in meeting global energy demands would involve a huge invasion of nature, according to Jesse Ausubel, a researcher at the Rockefeller University in New York.

Ausubel came to this conclusion by calculating the amount of energy that each renewable source can produce in terms of area of land disturbed.

“We looked at the different major alternatives for renewable energies and we measured [the power output] for each of them and how much land it will rape,” Ausubel told LiveScience.

The results, published in the current issue of International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, paint a grim picture for the environment. For example, according to the study, in order to meet the 2005 electricity demand for the United States, an area the size of Texas would need to be covered with wind structures running round the clock to extract, store and transport the energy.

New York City would require the entire area of Connecticut to become a wind farm to fully power all its electrical equipment and gadgets.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Irreducible Complexity Is A Scientific Concept

Discussed seriously in peer reviewed literature (7 years ago, in fact). See here.

I might add that it is also completely freakin' obvious and self-evident to those not blinded by ideology. Anyway, a pretty interesting article.

Interesting Theory

A semiotics expert and book editor attempts to tease out who "Scott Thomas" is. The author is a leftist, but an apparently reasonable one. There is a bit of uninformed inadvertent slander of the military at the end, but it does not really mar the very well-written piece.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What If They Held A Defeat And Nobody Came?

As good an article as I've seen describing the success of the surge and the fecklesness of the MSM and Democrat Party praying for its failure. A good read.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Human error, illustrated via a runway incursion. The visual part of this clip is an animated map, the audio is the communication between control tower and planes. The worst performer here is the tower controller, second worse are the guys who steered down the wrong taxiway, and the best are the guys who rejected the takeoff clearance. In aviation, the pilot in command has the final responsibility for flight safety, not Air Traffic Control. USAir 2998 absolutely did the right thing, and may well have saved many lives. A good pilot is always aware that the joke could be on him...

Microsoft's Craptacular Offering Is Keeping People From Buying New Hardware

And it looks like hardware manufacturers are starting to resent it. Good.

Acer president Gianfranco Lanci today became the first major PC manufacturer to openly attack Microsoft over the Windows Vista operating system. He was quoted in the Financial Times Deutschland .

Lanci said the operating system was riddled with problems and gave users and businesses no reason to buy a new PC, according to the report.
Taiwan-based Acer is the world's fourth-largest PC manufacturer, after HP, Dell and Lenovo.

"The whole industry is disappointed with Windows Vista," Lanci said.

Despite the long wait between Windows XP and Vista, the latest operating system still lacks maturity, he said. "Stability is certainly a problem," he said.

Users are voting with their feet, Lanci said, so that the Vista launch has had the smallest impact on PC sales of any version of Windows in the history of PC manufacturing. He added the situation didn't look likely to change in the next six months.

Many business customers have specifically asked for Windows XP to be installed on their new machines, Lanci noted.

While industry pundits have detailed user problems with Vista over the past few months, including sluggishness, the expense of acquiring hardware powerful enough to run the OS and lack of support for many critical applications, PC makers have so far looked on the brighter side.

HP, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba have continued offering XP-equipped machines, but these are generally aimed at consumers or small businesses, not large corporate clients.

Microsoft itself says Vista has been a smashing successs, saying it had already sold 20 million Vista licences by March.

Last week the company said its quarterly income was up 13 percent from the same quarter last year, growth it said was partly due to strong Vista sales.

The company has said most Vista users are satisfied and that nearly all software and hardware is compatible.

On the other hand, the company recently told analysts it expects Windows XP to make up a significantly larger part of sales than it had previously expected, at Vista's expense.

Chief financial officer Chris Liddell has told analysts that he expects XP to make up 22 percent of sales in Microsoft's new fiscal year, up from the previous estimate of 15 percent. Vista would make up the remaining 78 percent of Windows sales. Windows XP sales will, in other words, be nearly 50 percent higher in the next 12 months than Microsoft had estimated earlier.

Michael Cherry, analyst with Directions at Microsoft, said part of the problem is that users prefer lower-cost machines that might not work well with Vista.

"Most of the machines I see pitched in catalogs are in the $700 range, certainly under $1,000," said Cherry. "Computers with that amount of hardware are a better fit for XP. With Vista's requirements, people may be thinking about sticking with XP, and putting less money into the hardware."

It's possible, Cherry added, that Microsoft might find itself forced to recognise more reality in the future. "At some point, they might have to consider limiting the availability of XP," to push people to Vista.

The software developer has made at least one move in that direction already. In mid-April, it announced it would terminate sales of Windows XP to resellers and retail after January 2008. User reactions were almost unanimously negative.

At Microsoft, "Giving people what they want," is not just a slogan. It's their motto.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Blast From The Past

Nicely done:

The Way I See It

I originally posted this as a comment over at Uncommon Descent:

The whole idea of a material basis for mind has always seemed radically incoherent to me. To the degree to which we can say, “see, here is a physical explanation for everything that goes on in a human being, consciousness is not a separate category of causation beyond the physical–it is exactly to that degree that we have made the case that a human being shouldn’t be conscious! If physics takes care of the whole show in every important detail, then consciousness is not even implied as a byproduct. It’s not needed, it’s not a cause, so why the heck does it even bother to exist?

Or to put it another way:

Does a doorbell need to be conscious to operate properly? How about a calculator? How about a computer? If no, then how in the world does thinking of the brain as a physiological computer explain consciousness as some sort of “emergent property?” If computers don’t need consciousness in any way, shape, or form to do what they do, then how does what amounts to a more elaborate computer generate a wholly unnecessary and superfluous consciousness?

Consciousness is an axiom, not a conclusion. It is at the start of chains of inference, not at the end. One of the most purely empirical data points we have is that we, each of us, are conscious. The idea of materialism, particles and laws is derived, and not immediately empirical (it took centuries of conscious observation and inference to come up with the materialist idea, it takes a moment to “sense” our own consciousness). It seems odd to try to explain a cause (consciousness) in terms of its effects (the ideas of materialism, particles, and laws). In fact, it is ass-backwards.

As far as I’m concerned, even if the Darwinists had a decent explanation of material evolution (which they don’t), their notion that material evolution has led to consciousness is entirely out to lunch. This alone would disqualify their grand materialist creation story.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Some Hate Is More Equal Than Others

Escellent Greg Koukl column re:hate crimes legislation.

Here's one little slice I liked:

Hate crime legislation changes all that. Now motive as well as conduct can be punished. This is a frightening step. "At the end of the day," wrote former ambassador Alan Keyes, "government can govern men's actions; it cannot govern their hearts. And when it attempts to govern their hearts, that is simply an excuse for the worst kind of tyranny."

Keyes’ remarks are not mere hyperbole. In April 2004, by a vote of 59 to 11, the Canadian Parliament passed bill C-250 criminalizing the expression of “hate” for homosexuality. The text reads:

Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of ... an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

This is just the first step. Svend Robinson, the MP who authored C-250, wants the law to go beyond punishing incitement to hatred to criminalizing the anti-homosexual speech itself. It makes one wonder how an unfettered debate on same-sex marriage will be able to proceed (“All those opposed to same-sex marriage…you’re under arrest”).

Ah, So Now I Understand

A journalist explains what journalism is really all about and how we shouldn't be upset. The comments are worth reading, too.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Striking A Brave Blow For Science!

If you have the facts on your side, pound on the facts. If you don't have the facts on your side, pound on the table.

Two posts so far.

Update: Already, a chorus of adorers.

But at least one guy doesn't think it's all that great an idea:

This is hardly fair or appropriate. Behe may be bad science, as bad, or worse than selectionist Darwinism, but this type of response borders dangerously on disguised censorship.

No kidding.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Most Unusual Instapundit Post

Glenn Reynolds has always seemed a little "light" philosophically, but this covers some profound ground.

"I'd Love To Get Paid The Big Bucks By The Boston Globe To Free-Associate About Catholicism."

Great fisking here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Some Photos

A few of the latest:

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Big versions here, here, here, here, and here.

Some Philosophical Reasoning

Well stated:

"So," the opponent of ID then answers, "ID is unfalsifiable. Behe is saying that the events that make up the evolutionary history of life could be interpreted as 'natural' - the inevitable outcome of the starting circumstances. If it is natural, how does that differ from a naturalistic explanation? Surely all you are doing is invoking some external agency, which is an unnecessary philosophical/theological step."

To which my answer would be: Riiiiiiiiiight. So I toss a coin and it comes up heads, That's luck. I do it again. Heads - luck again. I do it a hundred times, all heads. Luck. I shuffle a pack of cards and deal them - all the spades in order, then all the hearts in order, then all the diamonds in order, then all the clubs in order. Luck. I press keys at random on a computer, and come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Luck.

What Behe is saying is, yes, you could possibly contrive a series of circumstances in which events happen in such a way that we end up where we are today. But to describe this as the outcome of "random" mutations, and the design of the universe as being "lucky" would be disingenuous. If things are that specific - tailored that carefully to produce life - then darwinism is certainly not the right picture, because this is not a "random" outcome - it is highly non-random, just as the circumstances that led to the moon being the size it is must have been highly specific, and the fine tuning of fundamental constants is also highly non-random. As has been pointed out before, once a sufficiently low level of probability is reached (Ford and Arthur turning into penguins?), we basically say, "Impossible." I don't believe that it is reasonable to say that something is so improbable that it is (to all accounts and purposes) impossible, but then shrug and say, "Well, it happened. We're here, aren't we?"

Let's put it another way. Suppose the world in which we find ourselves does turn out to be an incredibly low-probability outcome. In these circumstances, what would falsify the darwinian view of the world? If you can say that, no matter how improbable the outcome, it was just random mutations getting lucky, then under what circumstances can you say that darwinism isn't true? If there are none, then darwinism is every bit as unfalsifiable as it is claimed ID is by its opponents.

A Certain Lack Of Credibility

I've never seen quite this angle on Richard Dawkins. The short piece is well written and brings up a very good point.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Succinctly Expressed

From here:

It is a myth that George Bush lost the election in 2000. He lost the popular vote, but that is not how elections are decided. Both George Bush and Al Gore based their electoral strategies on the rules in place at the time, which determines the winner on the basis of electoral votes. Saying after the fact that the Presidency should go to the winner of the popular vote is like saying that the 1964 World Series Championship belongs to the Yankees because they scored more total runs, although the Cardinals took four games out of seven.

It is a myth that George Bush stole the vote in Florida. Every recount has given the victory there to Bush. There is no doubt in my mind that the real villain of 2000 is Al Gore. His challenge of the electoral results was blatantly unfair (recall, he wanted to recount only in certain precincts where he hoped to gain votes) and served only to transform a close election into an illegitimate one. Instead of working to unite the country, Gore set an example of deep partisan bitterness that maximized the long-term damage of the 2000 election for American politics.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Most Popular Science Blogger

P.Z. Meyers has been highlighted by Nature Magazine as having the most popular science blog. One of his recent science posts is highlighted here:

"My cause is simply the truth — the truth stated plainly and openly." So says PZ Myers. So what is the truth? The Champion of Truth and Ambassador of Science will now tell us The Truth.

There is no god, or to say it in the most optimistic and sensitive way possible for a rational person, there is absolutely no evidence for a god…..You've got crazy-ass megalomaniacal evangelical kooks telling people to hate their gay/muslim/hindu/godless/female/evolutionist neighbors, you've got mobs believing them, you've got people electing presidents on the basis of how fanatically they will wage a crusade, and you've got even more swooning with the vapors at anyone who criticizes religious belief. Religion makes you nuts. It makes ordinary people identify with invisible spirits, it turns them into caterwauling flibbertigibbet idiots at any slight to a magic man who has never done a thing for them, and it makes them center their lives around head-dunkings and cracker-eating and gibbering chants to an unheeding phantasm.

But what Champion of Truth would be a champion without a Prescription for All? Dr. Truth dazzles us with his Inner Strength and beckons everyone to follow.

You've been given your prescription, people of faith: you believe in a lot of goofy, stupid, ridiculous ideas. You can resign yourself to them if you aren't strong enough to part from them — I'm not going to follow you to church and drag you out with a choke-chain — or you can wake up. It's all up to you. One thing you don't get to do is silence the people who point and laugh.


Behe Responds To Dawkins

Excellent rebuttal (note I said rebuttal, not refutation. I know the difference between those two words. Do you? Many Darwinists do not seem to, seeing as they regard Ken Miller's rebuttals of Behe to be "refutations", which is nothing short of absurd).

Here's one good point:

At the end of his review Dawkins chides me for lack of peer-reviewed publications. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. If Dawkins himself has many peer-reviewed research publications in the last few decades, he must be writing them under a pseudonym. Dawkins’ hypocritical complaint makes a nice little example of Darwinian gate-keeping. The nebulous, wooly-minded scenarios Dawkins spins in his books, of the origins of bat echolocation, spider webs, and so on, have no real justification in peer-reviewed publications. Yet Dawkins is free to write trade books without howls of protest from the scientific community because his stories fit the way many scientists want the world to be. But if (ahem...) someone publishes a book critically analyzing the data from a different perspective, the reaction is dramatically different.

Editing Is Paring Things Down To What We Wish You'd Said

Details here.

Wedge Document Defended

A very good explanation and defense of the Discovery Institute's "Wedge Document" may be found here (PDF).

Darwinists: believe it or not, the entire impetus behind the ID movement is spelled out there. There are no hidden agendas. There are no secrets. There is not a set of "real" motivations carefully hidden below the surface. The motivations are precisely as described in the document. Your assumption that this is all really a hidden attempt by scientific ignoramuses to impose religion is simple projection on your part.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tough Words

Hugh Hewitt:

Jake [Tapper]'s exchange with Harry Reid is linked here, and the comments to this one are all over the map. Jake did a fine bit of hard questioning with Harry Reid, and he held it up in our exchange as proof of his "objectivity," but of course it is nothing of the sort. It is evidence instead of a capacity to ask difficult questions of Democrats, a capacity which has been infrequently used by Tapper and wholly unused by most MSMers in the Beltway-Manhattan media elite. That's why it has attracted such attention --it is so rare.

When an elephant shows up in your backyard, it isn't evidence that you run a zoo, it is an extraordinary occurrence that everyone talks about and points to. Please list the examples below or send me e-mails of MSMers posing questions to leading Dems as pointed as this one question posed to Reid. When that list hits 100 good examples in a month, I'll begin to believe MSM has turned a corner. The Dems are running both Houses of Congress and have been given a free ride by the left-dominated MSM. Senators Clinton, Edwards and Obama are also strolling through the long campaign without any serious questioning of their understanding of what will happen if we leave Iraq, or whether military force should be used to stop Iran's nuclear program or whether they believe Ahmadinejad's statements about Israel disappearing in a flash.

Jake Tapper is in denial about the collapse of MSM credibility, just like every other MSMer I have ever interviewed (or been interviewed by.) Jake seems genuinely unaware of what millions of Americans see every day: He and the guild roll over for the Democrats, rarely if ever even offering a tough question much less a series of them. They advance a narrative of Iraq fed by their own prejudices and are oblivious to counter-arguments and facts. Worst of all, they genuinely believe that the debate inside the Beltway matters most of all, when in fact like the products of most closed systems, their interpretive skills are underdeveloped and their biases so deeply embedded as to be unrecognizable by anyone living under the dome. Thus they are surprised by McCain's collapse, the uproar over the immigration bill, and the political suicide being undertaken by Senators Domenici and Smith.

It isn't journalism they practice, but a sort of high-end yodeling: shouting out cliches which, when echoed back, they take for proof positive of their prejudices. It is all very amusing --until you realize that the lives of millions of Iraqis and eventually millions of Americans areimperiled by their collective incompetence. Walter Duranty was knowing dupe of mass murderers, and this generation of MSM dupes are not knowing at all. But their reckless disregard for the obvious consequences of their one-sided approach to the war and politics will be as infamous as Duranty's, and the disdain for their "work" just as deep a generation down the road.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Excellent Summation

Denyse O'Leary tells us what really is in Behe's latest book, and then shows us how it is being "argued" against. It is quite a hilarious contrast.

Darwinists. Poor things. They're not used to having to argue for their position (argument is more than saying "here's the way it is"; you also have to answer arguments as they are actually given by critics, but that whole idea seems to be an insult to the tender sensibilities of Darwinists), so they throw their little tantrums and start calling names. Or appeal to the infallible arbiters of all scientific authority, Federal judges. Or, as Michael Ruse does, bolster their case by raising that ultimate specter of infamous villainy, George W. Bush, even associating the Intelligent Design movement with the Iraq war, just for good measure. Anything to get you not to read Behe's book(s) (which most of the "free-thinkers" I've encountered in this debate are proud to proclaim they have not and will not read)!

Quite an effective and honorable scientific counterargument you've got going there, guys. Do keep it up. There is a whole world to be converted!

This Isn't Rocket Science

Mark Shea responds to a couple of critics.

One of them says in a column,

Yesterday ubermodel Giselle Bundchen spoke out against the Catholic church's condom ban during Rio's Fashion Week. That isn't terribly surprising. I'm with her and we both may be with an increasing number of people inside the Vatican who are questioning the policy - possibly even the Pope. I find it horrifying that condoms that can save lives throughout the world are spiritually banned.

A commenter to the column states the obvious:

Let's see, now... the Catholic Church forbids fornication.

So, by definition, anyone in the Third World who's out fornicating and infecting others with the HIV virus is plainly IGNORING whatever the Church says about sex.

And yet, you think people who ignore Church teaching on chastity and monogamy are meekly obeying the Church's teachings on contraception?

Ya might wanna rethink that.

And a comment to Shea's post:

I'll use my Bass Amp analogy: The manual with my bass amp warns not to submerge it it water because serious injury or death could result from electrocution. Why? Because the amp wasn't designed for that. So when I submerge it water anyway and I get killed my family can't be serious by going to the company and say it's their fault for not educating me how to safely submerge my amp in water.

So it is with sex and condoms. Man's sexuality was not designed for fornication, and it is a rank lie for health officials to tell them there is a safe way to fornicate.

Shea also has a nice round-up of reactions to the latest "controversial" actions of the Pope.

Let's Say You Are A Republican Senator. And Let's Say You An Idiot. But I Repeat Myself.

Hugh Hewitt:

I believe in party politics, and the silly folks arguing for “non-partisan” or “bipartisan” approaches to politics distinguish themselves chiefly as ignorant of American political history or thoroughly deceptive in their appeals to the public.

What, I wonder, was the non-partisan approach to slavery? In 1860, the Democrats were for it, and the newly created Republicans against it. There wasn’t a lot of “common ground” on which to meet and confer.

Now we are engaged in another great debate about in which there is almost no middle ground, because the parties are –by and large, with some rare exceptions—approaching the issue from wholly different points of view: the war.


I think most Republican senators up for re-election in 2008 who are seen by GOP voters to side with Harry Reid on the war will be swept away by Democratic challengers powered by fierce grassroots organizations even as they are deserted by Republican activists for whom resolve in the war is a non-negotiable priority. These races won’t even be close. The divide between the parties on the war is deep, and the base of the GOP simply will not turn out for, much less work for, round-heeled Republicans.

Parties matter, and the Republican party will purge the defeatists from its ranks, even if it means a horrible cycle or two. Clarity on this issue matters more than a couple of more votes in the Senate. The Republican Party is the party of resolve, the party committed to victory in the long war, and it will not welcome among its numbers, defeatists, no matter what their views on the advantages of low marginal tax rates.

This is as obvious as anything in American politics can be, but still many GOP senators –driven to distraction by MSM and polls?—think otherwise. They read in the results of the elections of 2006 a rejection of the war as opposed to a rejection of stalemate, profligate spending and scandal. Because they cannot conceive of victory, they cannot conceive of voters for whom only victory matters. What a surprise they are in for.

I hope the GOP senators who are good votes on most issues realize that the dynamic is completely different on the war votes. Voting with Harry Reid on the most important issue of our time makes that senator an afterthought –an incumbent not worth fighting for. Indeed, it makes him or her worth defeating.

Impressive. And Refreshing.

Fred Thompson seems eloquent and no-nonsense in this column he wrote for the Powerline blog. In this he quite gently and calmly eviscerates the ever-popular-with-the-MSM-and-other-demogogues notion that lawyers should be tarred by association with the clients they've represented.

The guy can actually express himself, too. A rare politician.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

If Your Theory Has Any Merit, Please Do Tell Us Who Is Doing Any Of This Fabled ID "Research". We Want To Persecute Them.

The Guillermo Gonzales tenure denial case is pretty well summed up here.

The Guy Must Be A Closet Creationist

Interesting quote found here:

"Glib generalizations [according to the author] come from the assumption shared by many biologists that natural selection is the only mechanism of evolutionary change, and hence every observed feature of organisms must have come about because of natural selection." This mechanism is highly prized because they think it can do anything. They claim it is the great creator of complexity. But the concept is qualitative, not quantitative, and there are inadequate checks to avoid the pathways to fantasy. "This conveniently licenses anyone to concoct any adaptive story about anything biological and put it forward as a serious contribution to the science of evolution."


"The problem with natural selection is that if it explains everything, it explains nothing, and instead it becomes an exercise in story telling. [. . .] The challenge for those who would invoke natural selection as causing any biological feature is therefore to propose a specific adaptive mechanism, to deduce attributes that would differ according to which hypothesis were correct and then to make the necessary observations or comparisons."

But doesn't this guy see? Natural selection is such an elegant logical explanation that it just has to be true! About everything!

Pass This Along To Your Global Warming True Believer Friends

Excellent piece pretty thoroughly demolishes the case for the whole hyped-up "crisis" using scientific evidence from past warming/cooling cycles caused by--get this--the sun.

Seeing The Light

Interesting Op Ed in the NYT.


Over 18 months, I traveled to 20 states listening to women of all ages, races, tax brackets and points of view speak at length on the issues they care about heading into ’08. They convinced me that the conventional wisdom was wrong about the last presidential contest, that Democrats did not lose support among women because “security moms” saw President Bush as the better protector against terrorism. What first-time defectors mentioned most often was abortion.

Why would that be, given that Roe v. Wade was decided almost 35 years ago? Opponents of abortion rights saw 2004 as the chance of a lifetime to overturn Roe, with a movement favorite already in the Oval Office and several spots on the Supreme Court likely to open up. A handful of Catholic bishops spoke out more plainly than in any previous election season and moved the Catholic swing vote that Al Gore had won in 2000 to Mr. Bush.

The standard response from Democratic leaders has been that anyone lost to them over this issue is not coming back — and that regrettable as that might be, there is nothing to be done. But that is not what I heard from these voters.

Many of them, Catholic women in particular, are liberal, deep-in-their-heart Democrats who support social spending, who opposed the war from the start and who cross their arms over their chests reflexively when they say the word “Republican.” Some could fairly be described as desperate to find a way home. And if the party they’d prefer doesn’t send a car for them, with a really polite driver, it will have only itself to blame.

What would it take to win them back? Respect, for starters — and not only on the night of the candidate forum on faith. As it turns out, you cannot call people extremists and expect them to vote for you. But real respect would require an understanding that what supporters of abortion rights genuinely see as a hard-earned freedom, opponents genuinely see as a self-inflicted wound and — though I can feel some of you tensing as you read this — a human rights issue comparable to slavery.

Again and again, these voters said Democrats are too unwilling to tolerate dissent on abortion. It is a point of orthodoxy no more open to debate within the party than the ordination of women is in Rome.

Democratic Party leaders should also stop pushing the perception that Republicans are natural defenders of the faithful. For years, they have done just that by tirelessly portraying our current president as this committed — indeed, obsessed — pro-lifer who would stop at nothing to see Roe overturned. Karl Rove couldn’t have said it better himself; this was better advertising than hard money could buy.

Today, in a similarly oblivious way, the leading Democratic presidential contenders are condemning the Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold a ban on the procedure known as partial-birth abortion. An overwhelming majority of Americans, polls show, support a ban. Legal scholars have underscored the narrowness of the ruling in the partial-birth case, Gonzales v. Carhart, which does not even outlaw all late-term abortions. Yet the leading Democratic candidates, all of whom are lawyers, choose to overstate its impact.

Hillary Clinton called the decision “a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that ... recognized the importance of women’s health.” Barack Obama echoed that it “dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women.” Though John Edwards was one of only two United States senators who did not cast a vote on the bill in 2003, he, too, found the decision to uphold that law “ill-considered and sweeping,” and “a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election.”

Actually, it is a stark reminder of how fully capable they all are of losing it. A Democratic senator I spoke with recently did not see the disconnect between public opinion and the party’s position on Carhart as any reason to worry: “Make no mistake; this is a pro-choice country, period.”

But in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 41 percent of respondents favored stricter limits on abortion, with an additional 23 percent saying it should not be permitted at all.


Would Democrats who hate Carhart really switch parties or stay home on Election Day if their leaders began to acknowledge such distinctions? After the last seven years, I don’t think so. Yes, the abortion-rights lobby has raised a lot of money since the ban, but the statements of the Democratic candidates will cost them, too. This issue has been very, very good to the Republican Party — and there is plenty more where that came from.

But if the Democrats threw in the towel on abortion, then what would be their reason to exist?

Fun With Dr. Science

Amusing video clip as Jay Leno experiences heavier than air demonstration.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

One Of The Root Arguments Is Essentially Spurious

Darwinists often state something along the lines of: "If human beings in a relatively short amount of time can breed several varieties of dogs/pigeons/roses, just think of what nature can do given the vast span of 1 billion years!" The underlying principle seems to be that intelligence working over a short period of time has little chance of prevailing over an entire universe with eons of time available to it.

But, really, this makes no sense at all. Let's look at an example. A human being can in very short order place a pack of cards in order. By the reasoning mentioned above, it should be the case that a big enough assembly of blindfolded card shufflers should be able to perform the same task, given enough time, since nature and time handily beat intelligence working over short periods.

So: the odds of getting an ordered pack of cards from a random shuffle is 52 factorial, which comes out to 8 * 10^67. Now a human being is composed of about 10^29 atoms, or roughly 10^30 subatomic particles. There are about 10^80 particles in the entire universe. If all of those particles were tied up in blindfolded card shufflers, we'd have about 10^50 shufflers. If each one of them could complete a shuffle in 1 second, it would take about 10^18 seconds to get that ordered deck. The universe has been in existence for about 4.6 * 10^17 seconds (so we're halfway there!).

In summary, if all the mass of the universe had been tied up in blindfolded card shufflers (very fast ones, at that), we still wouldn't have gotten that ordered deck, something that one unblindfolded person can yield in about a minute.

The principle that unguided nature can outperform intelligent action is simply false as a general proposition, and should not be used as part of an argument supporting the Darwinian story.

The fact that human beings can produce varieties through selective breeding is no basis for claiming that unguided nature can. Intelligent agents have an immense advantage over blind nature. If mankind has not been able to breed new species from other species (i.e. selecting catlike characteristics from dogs, eventually yielding a cat), then there is no compelling reason to expect blind nature to be able to do so, at least not based on the argument that "time and variation is all it takes".

Quite Completely Insane

NYT: Chastity causes STD's. H/T Mark Shea.

Behe Comes Out Slugging

Darwinists as a rule never show the slightest interest in rebuttals to their own rebuttals to ID arguments (and they also have the sad tendency to regard any first-round rebuttal of theirs as "a devastating refutation, CASE CLOSED!!!!"). It's childish, really.

Behe gives them what for here:

Today I have continued my response to University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, which began yesterday and will conclude tomorrow. Just a reminder that I'm only quoting the portions of his response that I specifically address here because it quickly gets awkward to include all of the context. Readers who want to see the full back-and-forth should read his posted review and response.


1. There is no evolutionary expectation that complex protein-protein interactions will evolve in a parasite adapting to a new drug.


Darwinism purports to account for the complexity of cellular machinery which, along with much else, involves very many protein-protein interactions. Yet if “there is no evolutionary expectation that complex protein-protein interactions will evolve” in any particular circumstance, then for those skeptical of Darwinism, what independent reason is there to suppose the protein-protein interactions we do find in the cell evolved by random mutations? I can’t think of any. So I and a lot of other people want to decide what Darwinian processes can do based on evidence, not supposition. And the evidence is decidedly against it.

It’s myopic to view these results, as Coyne does, simply as “a parasite adapting to a new drug.” Rather, they are data that bear directly on the question, “What can Darwinian processes do given an astronomical number of opportunities?” In the past, we did not have enough data to address that question. Now we do, and observational evidence indicates the answer is, “Not much at all”. And as I show in the book, the results with malaria mirror results with E. coli and HIV, which are very different organisms in very different circumstances. In a truly enormous number of opportunities, nothing much of fundamental biochemical interest happened.


2. Behe’s probability calculations, on which his entire argument rests, are flatly wrong because they assume that adaptation cannot occur one mutation at a time.


Here is where Professor Coyne and other Darwinist reviewers really miss the boat and overlook the considerable power of the malaria results. The number I cite, one parasite in every 1020 for de novo chloroquine resistance, is not a probability calculation. Rather, it is a statistic, a result, a data point. (Furthermore, it is not my number, but that of the eminent malariologist Nicholas White.) I do not assume that “adaptation cannot occur one mutation at a time”; I assume nothing at all. I am simply looking at the results. The malaria parasite was free to do whatever it could in nature; to evolve resistance, or outcompete its fellow parasites, by whatever evolutionary pathway was available in the wild. Neither I nor anyone else were manipulating the results. What we see when we look at chloroquine-resistant malaria is pristine data — it is the best that random mutation plus selection was able to accomplish in the wild in 1020 tries.

Let me elaborate that last point. The fact that de novo chloroquine resistance is observed to be an event of frequency 1 in 1020 means that mutational events of greater frequency are of little help, because events of greater frequency would have been expected to occur many times in the same time interval. For example, if a single point mutation such as K76T alone in PfCRT in the wild were sufficient to confer chloroquine resistance, then resistance would occur de novo in virtually every person treated with chloroquine, as it does in almost every person treated with atovaquone. In 1020 parasites that single mutation would have been expected to have occurred about 1010 times or more. What’s more, every other possible single point mutation, at every position of the parasite’s genome, would also be expected to have occurred roughly the same number of times. And enormous numbers of other types of mutations — deletions, insertions, gene duplications, and more — in every gene of the parasite, would also have occurred. The result: a very few mutations helped the parasite a bit; the overwhelming number of mutations did not help at all.


3. The probability calculations are also wrong because Behe’s argument is based on specifying a priori: the identical pair of mutations that occur in chloroquine-resistant malaria. He neglects the possibility (indeed, the certainty) that many other mutations that cause interactions between proteins and other molecules can also be adaptive.


Coyne is wrong again, for the same reason. I did not “specify[] a priori” exactly which mutations had to occur to be adaptive. Was I somehow out in the wild in Africa and South America telling the parasite which mutations to try? The parasite was free in nature to do whatever it could. The results are not a priori; they are entirely a posteriori, observational data. Moreover, I did not “neglect the possibility” (let alone “the certainty”) of anything. Nobody told the parasite to restrict mutations just to its pfcrt gene. If other mutations could have been adaptive, Plasmodium falciparum had 1020 chances in the wild to find them, to come up with whatever it could muster. In the malaria data, we simply observe the exceedingly modest results.

Incidentally, this bears on Coyne’s comment on Miller’s review that “one of the two mutations that Behe claims are ‘required’ for CQR is not actually required (Chen et al. 2003, reference accidentally omitted from Miller’s piece).” If you read that paper you see that, yes, A220S is not found in some resistant strains, as it is in most. (By the way, I was always quite careful in my book to state that A220S had been found in most strains, because I was quite aware of the several exceptions.) However, one also reads that the strains missing A220S have several other, novel mutations, which may be playing a comparable role in them that the mutation at position 220 plays in most other strains. My argument does not depend on exactly which changes are needed in the protein. Rather, the important point is that multiple changes appear to be required for resistance in the wild.

And for the life of me, I don’t see why that proposition — that two mutations might be needed for some adaptations, and that that would be a big evolutionary impediment — is being treated by Coyne and other Darwinists with such horror. It certainly has been discussed in the evolutionary literature in the past. In my book I quote Allan Orr remarking, “Given realistically low mutation rates, double mutants will be so rare that adaptation is essentially constrained to surveying — and substituting — one-mutational step neighbors. Thus if a double-mutant sequence is favorable but all single amino acid mutants are deleterious, adaptation will generally not proceed.” All I have done is to point to an example of the situation he envisioned, to quantify it, and to argue that it’s likely to be a fairly general phenomenon. Why the shock?

I'll be pleasantly surprised if the Darwinists even generally acknowledge the existence of Behe's counter-rebuttal. They're too busy dancing in the end-zone.

Monday, July 09, 2007

"Evolved" Is Not A Synonym For "Exists"

Denyse O'Leary:

Recently, I was blogging on the grammar of speculation: grammatical uses that help speculation disguise itself as fact - in particular the use of "would have" (scroll down to second point, regarding "would have") where one dare not say "did." Now a friend writes to note the use of "have evolved" as a synonym for "exist."

He refers to an abstract of a Nature paper just out this month, which announces:

Multiple mechanisms have evolved that contribute to this exquisite specificity, including the structure of the catalytic site, local and distal interactions

He asked the author:

You use the phrase "have evolved". Is this phrase used interchangably with the word "exist" or have you specific evidence related to the evolutionary origin of these pathways?

The author's answer:

In the context of this abstract "exist" would be interchangable although we do believe that these pathways have evolved over time.

My friend suspected as much. "Have evolved" was not demonstrated in the paper, and perhaps not anywhere else either. It is a statement of faith.

In general, be suspicious of terminology that is more complex than necessary. There lie propaganda or euphemism. In this case, for instance, "exist" describes what was actually observed, and "have evolved" is a disguised statement of faith. Read George Orwell's Politics and the English Language.

You Couldn't Ask For A Better Illustration

Compare this and this.

It seems crystal clear to me. Darwinists are afraid to debate. Deathly afraid. They seem hellbent on losing the argument via simple forfeiture, as well as by being distinctly unlikeable via ad hominem attacks and undisguised insults. It's a losing strategy.

Walk In The Hills

Foothills Park, Saturday afternoon, with the fog waterfalling over Skyline Ridge. Used my Nikon D40, polarizing filter, Adobe RAW converter.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Bigger versions here and here.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Consensus Building Through The Endless Recycling Of Disinformation

Bruce Chapman:

A Science Myth from the New York Times

On June 26 the New York Times ran an article by Douglas H. Erwin, senior scientist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, in which he stated as demonstrated fact the power of natural selection to create the eye. We now can see (forgive the pun) that natural selection “is the primary agent in shaping new adaptations.”

His example? “Computer simulations,” he declares, “have shown how selection can produce a complex eye from a simple eyespot in just a few hundred thousand years.”

Really, Dr. Erwin? Where is your proof of this important fact? What computer simulations, published where and when and by whom? Just a citation or two will do.

One also might scoff at the exaggerated faith shown computer simulations in general, since they frequently cannot even predict next week’s weather accurately. But leave that topic alone for now. Let’s just have the evidence of published computer simulations referred to by Dr. Erwin.

One suspects that the Erwin claim is based on Dan Nilsson & Susan Pelger’s study, “A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve,” Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B (1994) 256, 53-58. However, as Dr. David Berlinski pointed out a few years ago in Commentary, that paper contains no computer simulation whatsoever, a point obvious to anyone reading it and confirmed in writing by its senior author. It was Richard Dawkins who conveyed the widespread impression to the contrary, both in River out of Eden (1995) and The New Statesman of July 16, 1995. The thesis that there exists a computer simulation for the development of the eye is an urban myth that has built upon Dawkins’ uncorrected error.

Details may be found in Volume 115, Number 4 of Commentary, April 2003, under the title “A Scientific Scandal.”

The New York Times should retract Dr. Erwin’s claim or substantiate it. So should Dr. Erwin. This isn’t hard to research and the reply should not be fudged with the name-calling and hand waving that has become standard Darwinist dialogue. Either there are actual computer simulations that back the Dawkins/Erwin/New York Times assertion about evolution of the eye by natural selection, or there are not.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Darwinists Are In A Hole, But Their Only Strategy Is To Dig Faster

Michael Egnor:

On June 18th, blogger Pat Sullivan posted his thoughts on the difficulties that Darwinists are having with the public acceptance of their theory. Pat is an entrepreneur and a marketing expert who is the creator of ACT! and SalesLogix, software programs that help businesses with marketing and customer relations. When it comes to marketing, he knows what he’s talking about. He observes:

What interests me as a marketing observer is this; after tens of thousands of exposures to the Darwin marketing "message" only some 34% of people buy the message. And with almost NO exposures to the contrary message except in Sunday school and mom and dad, 66% of people believe we were created by a designer. Personally, I believe the main reason this is the case is the ease with which people look at the world and readily conclude it looks designed. The arguments to the contrary just are really hard to follow.

Pat notes that I.D. makes a lot more sense to people:

An example. The concept of "irreducible complexity" put forth by Dr. Michael Behe in his book "Darwin's Black Box". I read the book and it was very easy to follow. He uses the concept of a mousetrap to get his point across. I came across a rebuttal to Behe's concept written by longtime Darwinist Dr. Ken Miller, author of "Finding Darwin's God". Now I am not a scientist but I probably would not be considered stupid by most people. (For sure some though!) I read his entire rebuttal of Behe's work. I don't follow the logic of it at all. It is too complex [for the record I find Miller's rebuttal simply lame, and the opposite of "too complex"]. I find that generally this is true of most stuff I read by Darwinist's rebutting ID stuff. I really try to follow their arguments and find myself bewildered. As a marketer this explains why most people simply say, "it looks designed, it is designed, next question".

Pat concludes:

If Darwinism is ever going to succeed it is going to have to find ways to explain itself in easy to follow, yet credible ways to get people to believe it. You should not have to be a trained biochemist to understand Darwinism. I expect this won't happen and ID as a scientific idea will gain a lot of ground in the mind of the marketplace.

The Darwinists’ reply to Pat’s observations was scathing. Pat was attacked by Darwinists Orac and P.Z. Myers. In reply to a rhetorical question that Pat asked about the historical emergence of writing, Myers opined:

This should win a prize for the dumbest excuse from a creationist that I've heard in, oh, about 24 hours...

This same creationist also makes a "marketing" argument, that creationism is better because it is easier to understand than evolution. He claims to have read both Darwin's Black Box by Behe and Finding Darwin's God by Miller, and that Behe's book was easier and used a mousetrap to "get his point across", while Miller's book was too complex. That's an interesting example of selective memory: both books deal with similar subjects on a roughly similar level. Behe's book has details (some of which are wrong) of cilia and blood-clotting cascades and such, all of which seemed to have slipped out of this creationist's memory. Miller's book deals with similar subjects, but doesn't make the stupid errors Behe's does.

Yet all Mr Marketer remembers is that mousetraps don't evolve.

Darwinists would be well-advised to pay careful attention to Pat’s observations about Darwinism's problems with public acceptance. Contrary to Pat’s self-deprecating comments, he’s obviously a very smart guy. Pat has real insights into Darwinism's credibility problems, and Pat speaks for millions of Americans who question Darwinists’ dogmatic assertions and their venomous denigration of thoughtful people who ask questions about their science. Sneering ad hominem attacks from a scientist (Myers) and from a physician (Orac) are lamentable, and Myers’ and Orac’s unprofessional behavior contributes to Darwinism’s growing problem with public credibility.

Yes. The insults hurled by former chess-club Poindexters don't really do much to support Darwinism in my (or most people's) mind. Sneering contempt for those who see the real holes in the theory only weakens the case. And sneering contempt is all that is on offer, apparently.

Friday, July 06, 2007


The Onion:

Middle East Conflict Intensifies As Blah Blah Blah, Etc. Etc.

April 26, 2007 | Issue 43•17

MIDDLE EAST—With the Iraq war in its fifth year, the war in Afghanistan in its sixth, and conflict between Israel and the rest of the region continuing unabated for more than half a century, intelligence sources are warning that a new wave of violence in the Middle East may soon blah blah blah, etc. etc., you know the rest.

"Tensions in the region are extremely high," said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, who added the same old same old while answering reporters' questions. "We're disappointed by the events of the last few months, but we're confident that we're about to [yakety yakety yak]."

The U.N. has issued a strongly worded whatever denouncing someone or something presumably having to do with the vicious explosive things that raged across this, or shattered the predawn calm of that, or ripped suddenly through the other, killing umpteen innocent civilians in a Jerusalem bus or Beirut discotheque or Fallujah mosque or whatever it was this time.

In the aftermath of a whole series of incidents, there have also been troubling reports of just fill in the blanks. Middle East experts say the still somehow worsening situation has inflamed age-old sectarian tensions between the Sunnis, Shiites, Semites, Kurds, Turks, Saudis, Persians, Wahhabis, radicals, extremists, Baathists, mullahs, clerics, et al, which is likely to lead to more gurgle-gurgle over the coming weeks and months.

A certain number of U.S. troops were also killed somewhere in some tragic fashion, while a much greater number were wounded. Meanwhile, impoverished or oppressed supporters of whichever faction carried out the attack or ambush probably celebrated, angering an angry U.S. public that is already angry. Locals are calling for an investigation into excessive force or outright corruption by military or political officials on one of the 15 sides of the various conflicts, although the implicated party has categorically denied wrongdoing, just like they always do, without fail, every time this happens, which is daily, it seems.

And in Afghanistan, the Taliban.


Also, Ahmadinejad, Iran's nuclear program, bin Laden at large, Moqtada al-Sadr, Moqtada al-Sadr's militia, Fallujah, renegade mullahs, embedded and/or beheaded journalists, oil revenues, stockpiles of former Soviet armaments, freedom, racism, Halliburton, women's role in Islamic society, the Quran, withdrawing troops, economic disparities, Sikhs, Pakistanis, oil, rebuilding, stories of hope, the Saudi royal family, the Holy Land, insurgents, and the tragedy of Sept. 11th.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bluff And Bluster

A response to Dawkins' review of Behe:

Richard Dawkins reviewed Mike Behe’s new book The Edge of Evolution in the June 30 New York Times Book Review. Dawkins offered no surprises. Much of the review was simply a sneer:

I had expected to be as irritated by Michael Behe’s second book as by the first. I had not expected to feel sorry for him…[this] is the book of a man who has given up. Trapped along a false path of his own rather unintelligent design, Behe has left himself no escape. Poster boy of creationists everywhere, he has cut himself off from the world of real science.

Nothing new here. Dawkins uses the standard Darwinist ad-hominem attacks. What’s remarkable about the review is Dawkins’ lack of substantial scientific criticism of Behe’s point in Edge of Evolution. Behe makes the observation that there are limits to the amount of specified complexity that random mutation and natural selection can generate, and that there is reason, based on evidence such as the biochemistry of drug resistance of the malaria parasite, to infer that random mutation and natural selection may be adequate to explain some, but not all, observed biological complexity. It’s a fair and obvious question: how much functional biological complexity can random mutation and natural selection actually generate? Can it account for all of the biological complexity that we actually observe?

Dawkins answers Behe in three ways. First, after the sneers, he quotes Judge John E. Jones’s decision in the Dover case, labeling the Dover citizens’ efforts to discuss intelligent design and to freely criticize Darwin’s theory in schools “breathtaking inanity”. Then he extols biologist Ken Miller’s speculations as to how the bacterial flagellar motor ‘could have’ evolved as offering decisive refutation of Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity. Neither of Dawkins’ answers involves a scientific refutation of Behe.

Finally, Dawkins offers science, and I assume it’s his best shot. He points out that dog breeding provides evidence that mutation rates don’t limit evolutionary change. He cites Jack Russell terriers! We’ll leave aside Dawkins’ highly questionable assumption that the variation with which dog breeders work is primarily the result of new mutations, rather than established variation in the population. In his dog breeding analogy, Dawkins uses a bit of ‘pseudo-Darwinism’, a rhetorical tic in which Darwinists try to defend Darwin’s theory of random variation and natural selection by invoking either non-random variation (bioengineering) or artificial selection (breeding). Dawkins’ invocation of pseudo-Darwinism means one thing: he doesn’t have actual convincing examples of the generation of significant new specified biological complexity by real Darwinism- random mutation and natural selection. Which is Behe’s point.

Dawkins assumes dog breeding is some kind of clincher. Now if breeders could take nothing but chihuahua's and yield an Arctic wolf, then my ears might perk up. But starting with something hardy like the wolf and breeding something scrawny and freakish like a chihuahua, well, not so much.

George Gilder Interview

Here. Fascinating and not too lengthy.

Some Definitions

Gagdad Bob:

A "moderate judge" is one who will strike a balance between what the Constitution says and what the left would like it to say.

The Democrats are the pro-choice party, meaning the party that wants to choose how to direct your retirement, where to send your children to school, and how best to spend your money. They also want a fairness doctrine to make sure that the free marketplace of ideas doesn't accidentally result in fairness.

When liberals accuse you of suppressing their freedom of speech, it means that you are criticizing them, or perhaps even censoring them. But when you censor conservatives or suppress their freedom of speech, it is called a speech code. Calling President Bush a liar is a courageous act of speaking truth to power, while criticizing the liberal stance on the war is questioning their patriotism. Likewise, dissent is the highest form of patriotism, unless it is directed against global warming hysteria. Global warming is what will destroy the earth if it it isn't first destroyed by global cooling.


A homeless person is what you call a chronically mentally ill person during a Republican administration. Similarly, during a Democratic administration, deficit spending is investing in our children's future. During a Republican administration it is called mortgaging our children's future. Tax cuts involve stealing the government's money in order to give it away to taxpayers. Democrats will not raise taxes. Rather, they will just just repeal President Bush's tax cuts.


Multiculturalism, of course, involves seeing beauty in all cultures but your own. Diversity is the philosophy that treasures neo-Marxists of all skin colors and sexual deviations. When a liberal uses the word tolerance, this actually means approval and celebration of differences. If you merely accept differences, this means you are intolerant of them. For example, if you only tolerate homosexuality, you are a homophobe.

Everyone in Hollywood believes the same thing. That's why they are such rebellious individualists.

A Vietnam war veteran is a baby killer, but a conservative who avoided being a baby killer is a chicken hawk. A war hero is a baby killer such as John Kerry who opposes the Iraq war. A quagmire, of course, is any war opposed by liberals. Otherwise, you will never hear the word "quagmire" used in human discourse.


Homosexuality is a genetically caused condition that renders one incapable of engaging in sexual relations with the opposite sex. Its opposite, heterosexuality, is an arbitrary gender identification caused by cultural conditioning. Similarly, there is no such thing as the homosexual lifestyle, while queer studies departments engage in the study of the homosexual lifestyle.

Nikon D40, ISO 1600, Natural Light, My Mom's Cat Spike

I'm not getting into cat blogging, but this turned out nice.

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Full size version here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Dog Of An Argument

One aspect of Dawkins' "devastating" NYT book review of Behe is critiqued here.

Monday, July 02, 2007