—Pedant [and MathGirl] “You consider it fair to ask an evolutionist for a detailed step-by-step mechanistic scenario of complex organelle evolution, while providing nothing in the way of a step-by-step mechanistic scenario informed by design theory.”It is not only not “equitable,” it is not even rational. According to your account, all biodiversity was the result of a mechanistic, step-by-step process. According to our account, it was not. So now you are asking us to do what? –to provide evidence for something we say did not happen and that you say did happen? What kind of nonsense is that ?
—”As MathGirl suggested, surely it is equitable for anyone to ask design protagonists to provide better explanations for the origins of biological entities than the mechanistic explanations they find wanting on the part of conventional science.”
Incrementalism and the naturalistic, step-by-step process is your gig, not ours. That fact is, you cannot provide any evidence at all to support your wide-sweeping claim that such a mechanism can do what you say it can do. The counter fact is that we can provide plenty of evidence to support our minimalist claims for design in nature.
Big claims like yours require big support, yet you have none. Small claims like ours require much less support, yet we provide that and more.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Has good stuff here.
I think the deadly problem of suicide is similar to the suicidal problem of socialism, in that in both cases one is prevented from rational calculation.
In order to be a rational economic actor, we must begin with the principle of self-interest, upon which all else depends. People who are not-self interested cannot be relied upon to behave in a rational or predictable manner. They do all sorts of things we would never dream of doing, everything from flying planes into buildings to driving our healthcare system into a ditch. All for you!
One wants to say to Obama: mind your own frakking business. But here is a man who has made a virtue of meddling in everyone else's business his entire adult life, and who has never simply looked after himself. But then, The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).
Isn't self-governance a big enough job for anyone? Isn't the order of the self prior to the organization of the community? Why skip that stage in favor of bossing other people around? This only results in systematic governance by the ungovernable, which is what we are seeing in Wisconsin.
These selfless protesters are not protesting in the name of their rights, but of your obligations.
My friends, if only you knew. If only you knew the extent of the human dysfunction embedded in the very concept of "public employee" (I hope it goes without saying that we are dealing in generalizations). For such people, there is no feedback from the world that says: you are a failure. Or, accurate feedback is experienced as persecution, harassment, "stress."
Please note that it is unfair to compare their wages to those in the private sector, since so many of these selfless idealists are unemployable. They cannot care for themselves, so we must. Thus, they are engaged in the type of bold adolescent rebellion that pits dependent children against their parents. You say you can earn more in the private sector? Okay, let's see you try!
My house, my rules. If you think you can find a better deal elsewhere, go for it! But for public employee unions, it is always Mom and Dad I hate you! Now can you drive me and Cheryl to the Capitol mall protest?
From a comment here:
As some comments here will surely show, it is politically impossible to avoid economic cataclysm now. We can pretend we are still a rich country that can engage in all kinds of boondoggles only by borrowing. The "front" must be maintained at all costs, and that is all we are doing, propping up a facade. Right wing progressives bristle at the mention of cuts in "military" spending and left wing progressives are in the streets over cuts in "entitlements". Neither can be reasoned with and are united in only one thing, seeing that no one but them is in charge.
Nothing will stop this farce from proceeding to its final, and terminal, phase. The Bismarckian Welfare State is tottering toward the grave it dug for itself. And those who depend on it are unable to see what is on the other side of that grave because they are unadaptable and unteachable. The signs of decline are unmistakable and the point of free fall will happen quite rapidly when it is reached. Then we will either learn to live as free men, taking care of ourselves instead of pushing our responsibilities on to others through the State, or we will die.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
According to the leftist narrative re:Wisconsin, that's the role you're playing. Because you're a taxpayer.
Won't Progressive Government please step in quickly to break up the citizen/taxpayer cartel?
Won't Progressive Government please step in quickly to break up the citizen/taxpayer cartel?
Upon reflection, we find that the liberal policies that led to these generous civil service compensation time bombs are in many ways the very reason that that they have become unaffordable. Consider:But teachers should not, I suppose, be expected to be educated enough to understand such things.
To fund a huge civil service, you need a huge tax base, but the crippling red tape and rules produced by this huge civil service of regulation-generators have driven employers and jobs overseas at a frenetic pace, stunting the growth of that critical tax base.On and on it goes. Every benefit the civil servants have prized is under assault by the effects of the socialist programs of their own side of the aisle. Our government's very growth has been its undoing.
To finance a pension plan, you set aside money every year, and invest it in the stock market; but the recent assault on the private sector has robbed those Wall Street investments of their expected growth, even shrinking their value, requiring ever greater state contributions to meet their obligations.
To gain control of the healthcare industry and maintain their partnership with the trial lawyers, they passed ObamaCare, which has already caused massive increases in healthcare costs and has further damaged the economy... necessitating government's call to increase employee participation in the costs of these benefits at last.
There exists an odd double-standard concerning Catholic observances and almost any other ritual. Culturally nuanced and sensitive Americans would never presume to attend a Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or even Orthodox Christian celebration with an expectation of full participation, but when Catholics ask the same respect for their holiest sacrament, they are criticized for being unreasonable and “exclusionary,” and always there is a whiff of that dreaded word “intolerance.” Other cultures and religions are to be allowed their exclusivities with full respect, but Catholics who base their beliefs on Jesus’ own words, and on reasoned theology and philosophy, tradition and supporting scripture, ought not expect the same courtesy.
And then there’s courtesy. Holy Communion is a great mystery of ponderous depth. People like to call it “a meal” and “a banquet,” and if it were only that, there would still be rules about reception. One does not go into a neighbor’s house, open the fridge, and gobble down the food that has been prepared for a family event, with a careless, “What, it’s for everyone, right?”
Ending slavery is a bigger deal. So by the Wisconsin leftists' own logic we need to side with the GOP.
Well, they're actually not the ones in power, so hey, no big deal:
TRANSPARENCY: U.S. Gov‘t Software Creates ’Fake People’ to Spread Message via Social Networking. “The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage “fake people” on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues. The contract calls for the development of ‘Persona Management Software’ which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.”
That's All Well And Good, But The Connection With "Evolution" Is Merely Assumed, Not In Any Way Whatsoever Demonstrated
Interesting science article, but the references to evolution are the usual mere boilerplate.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I found her cited example of a mispronounced word as an indication of a lack of intelligence to be more than a little amusing. In fact, those who mispronounce words on a regular basis are probably more intelligent than the norm because it indicates that they are learning words from reading them rather than hearing them. The writer has confused ignorance with intelligence; to the extent that a mispronunciation indicts anyone, it indicts the social circle around the mispronouncing individual who have never used the word around him. The assumption that "Arkansas" would be pronounced in the same manner as "Kansas" is a perfectly reasonable one, especially for an Englishman who is no more likely to know the difference between the two than the average American if it is Leicester or Worcester that is found in the East Midlands.
UPDATE: Reader Allan Rossmore writes:
The Wisconsin unions don’t seem to understand that Gov. Walker is just following what they have always asked for. Wealth redistribution. They say that the wealthy should share with the poor. Well, right now, the private sector worker makes about half of what the public sector worker does. Seems like the wealthy public sector should share.
Also, only a very small minority of private workers are unionized. Most of those unionized jobs have become so cost prohibitive that they are now overseas. I would say that with today’s technologies, those unionized school teachers could also be outsourced. Maybe they cannot see the writing on the wall. Or maybe they do.
Depends on the cause, I guess.
A Powerline reader alerts my friend John Hinderaker about something the MSM failed to report:It's such a strange oversight from those obsessed with the rock-bottom non-negotiable principle of racial fairness in all things. Gosh, what gives?
BTW…in no MSM coverage I have seen is there ANY note that the crowd is “predominantly white”…. Why is that?Guess, they were just too busy looking for those fourteen missing Democratic state Senators, you know the folks who skipped out on their duties. I mean, normally those in the media notice such things. John, however, isn’t quite sure why they forget to notice the race of the protesters:
We all remember how liberal news coverage of tea party rallies rarely failed to note that they were “predominantly white.” Somehow, that is no longer a salient fact when the same outlets cover illegal sick-outs by Wisconsin teachers. Why would that be?UPDATE: Similarly confused, Tigerhawk is asking the same question as John:
Compare to MSM coverage of the Tea Party, which dissected its demographics to the point of an obsessive compulsion. What can possibly account for the mainstream media’s disinterest in the diversity of pigmentation in the pro-union crowds demonstrating against Republicans in Wisconsin? I am baffled and mystified, and cannot imagine why this question would not be of great interest, just as it was during the summer Tea Party rallies.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
And the GOP are hopeless castrati.
Even as criticism of the president's abdication of all responsibility on matters fiscal escalates and deeply penetrates into the public's consciousness, the House GOP is losing the initiative with its strongest supporters.
The messages from the GOP leadership are mixed, and none of them convey the expected sense of urgency on spending and Obamacare that drove the November vote. As I tried to explain to some Members yesterday, last week's fiasco courtesy of the appropriators cost the Republican caucus an enormous amount of credibility. Thus requests from them for patience are much, much harder to sell, and perceived wobbliness on the repeal of Obamacare is another blow to the new majority's reputation.
"What," people are asking, "are they waiting for?"
That, and "What are they afraid of?"
Certainly not the base, but apparently they are very much afraid of the MSM and any talk of a "government shutdown," proving that the specter of 1995 hangs over the leadership, despite the fact that almost everything has changed in the past 15 years.
A decade-and-a-half ago there hadn't been a panic of 2008, soaring sky high deficits and examples of sovereign debt crises.
In 1995 there wasn't an alternative media that extended much beyond Rush, and there certainly wasn't a massive new job-killing law that had been jammed down the public's throats and which had been ruled unconstitutional.
In short, the House GOP doesn't have to fear a "government shutdown" killing its approval rating with the public like it did in 1995.
But tt does have to fear a surrender on either spending or Obamacare, and punting to the fall will be understood as surrender.
Imagine Churchill spending most of the '30s arguing for rearmament and then, having arrived back at the Admiralty, informing the Cabinet and the public that his plans would have to wait their unveiling for half-a-year or more.
The GOP won their majority more than three months ago. It passed a symbolic repeal of Obamacare which could and has gone nowhere in the Senate, but now it has real leverage because of the ticking clock of the CR and the debt ceiling. Whatever it demands and is willing to fight for, it will get.
I think what Paul Ryan was trying to argue on my show yesterday was that the battle over spending and Obamacare would be better joined later --in the fall-- on ground much to be preferred to the CR and the debt ceiling.
What I think he and the Speaker and the rest of leadership are hearing now is that the people who sent them there don't agree with this timetable, and that the battle is best joined now, especially in light of the president's epic irresponsibility on the budget.
The buzz about "grand bargains" and "secret deals" is also fueling the suspicion among Republican regulars, conservative volunteers and the new Tea Party contingent as conservatives have always lost such negotiations, have always been taken to the cleaners by promises of spending cuts in exchange for tax hikes.
It is hard to discern a strategy on the part of the House GOP at this moment, and all the talking points --yesterday's list involved bites of various apples and the "open amendment" process-- aren't helping the cause. Not one person I know was motivated by the "open amendment" process as they worked for a new majority last year.
What they do want is an open confrontation with the Senate Democrats and the president over Obamacare and the spending nightmare. It has to come, so let it come now, closer to the election of 2010 and the message it sent and while there is focus and resolve.
Lay out the plan on spending for the rest of FY '11, both its timing and its details. Announce that it is "take it or leave it," and let the Senate explain why it won't go along. On the FY 2012 budget, don't wait around for the CBO and don't go wobbly on the entitlements. The president's incredible fecklessness left an opening the House GOP could only have prayed for on Social Security and the other entitlements. Put forward a plan and let the Democrats scream. It has to be done because unlike the president the Republicans ran on fiscal responsibility. The clock is working against the GOP, not the Democrats.
The past ten days have been very tough on the GOP because it seems to have lost confidence in its platform. This is clearly just lousy messaging and a desire to move carefully along someone's idea of a script. But it isn't working and has to change before the public simply gives up on the new majority as just the return of the Beltway Republicans of 2006.
Now this is a hard-hitting post against Obama (who seems to be losing even that crazed drama queen Andrew Sullican). It ends thusly:
I suppose Sullivan was one of the last to figure this out. The only mystery is why anyone would be surprised by Obama's failure to lead. Can you name a single occasion in his life when Obama has ever shown leadership? I can't.
Obama's game is transparent, isn't it? He is playing a game of chicken. He puts forward a series of proposals that he knows are more or less insane; but he also believes that Republicans will come to his rescue. They, not being wholly irresponsible, will come up with plans to reform entitlements--like, for example, the Ryan Roadmap. Ultimately, some combination of those plans will be implemented because the alternative is the collapse, not just of the government of the United States, but of the country itself. But Obama thinks the GOP's reforms will be unpopular, and he will be able to demagogue them, thus having his cake and eating it too. Is that leadership? Of course not. But it is the very essence of Barack Obama.
It's all in this pie chart.
HOW DEEP ARE THOSE PROPOSED SPENDING CUTS? NOT VERY. “The next time you hear howls of anguish over deep, tough, painful cuts in the federal budget, you might want to ask yourself how you’d feel if you had 7 percent more to spend next year than you did last year.”
Monday, February 14, 2011
So my post on the liberal slant in academia has garnered what I believe to be a record number of comments, many, even most of them, pretty angry. And as I predicted, the positions are very much reversed from the normal take on such things. Conservatives are explaining how bias can be subtle and yet insidious; and liberal, many of them academics are saying that you can't simply infer bias from statistical underrepresentation, and sarcastically demanding to know whether I really think that people are asking candidates for physics professorships who they voted for in the last election.
They're all right, of course: you can't simply infer bias from statistical underrepresentation, and yet bias can be subtle and yet insidious. I thought it might clarify the argument a bit to outline how I think bias works in institutions, even though much of it should be old hat, particularly for social scientists.
Most people, when they are accused of being a member of an in-group that is excluding some other set of people, immediately define bias in the narrowest possible terms: conscious, direct personal discrimination. Did we make an explicit rule that no person of that persuasion could be hired? No we didn't. Well, then, no bias!
Those people offered their own alternate theories, which boiled down to:
Smart people are almost always liberal
Curiousity and interest in ideas is a liberal trait
Conservatives are too rigid and authoritarian to maintain the open mind required of a professor
Education erases false conservative ideas and turns people into liberals
Conservatives don't want to be professors because they're more interested in something else (money, the military)
Conservatives don't want to be professors because they're anti-intellectual
Conservatives hold false beliefs that make them ineligible to be professors
So what's happening in academia? Is it simply that conservatives are less interested or qualified, or are being turned into liberals by the process of education, as my interlocutors have argued, or is there more going on here?
The evidence offered for proposition that it's all the hiring pool is pretty weak. There's an awful lot of gross stereotyping: there are no conservatives because creationists can't be professors; because conservatives are hostile to new ideas; because reflective thinking inevitably turns you into a liberal.
One of the things the legacy of racism has taught us is just how good dominant groups are at constructing narratives that justify their dominance. Somehow, the problem is never them. It's always the out group. Maybe the out group has some special characteristic that makes them not want to be admitted to the circle--blacks are happy-go-lucky and don't want the responsibility of management, women wouldn't deign to sully themselves in commerce, Jews are too interested in money to want to attend Harvard or go into public service. These explanations always oddly ignore the fact that many members of the out-group are complaining about being excluded.
More troubling is that these volitional arguments are almost always combined with denigration: the out group is stupid, greedy, mean, violent, overemotional, corrupt . . . whatever. As indeed these arguments are when they're deployed against conservatives in my comment threads. In fact, it seems clear to me that many commenters have taken the underrepresentation of conservatives in academia as vindication of their beliefs--if conservatives can't make it in academia, that proves that conservatives are not smart, and liberal ideas must be better. This is possible, of course. It's also possible that academics are validating their own bias by systematically excluding those who disagree with them.
So while in theory, it's true that you can't simply reason from disparity to bias, I have to say that when you've identified a statistical disparity, and the members of the in-group immediately rush to assure you that this isn't because of bias, but because the people they've excluded are all a bunch of raging assholes with lukewarm IQ's . . . well, I confess, discrimination starts sounding pretty plausible.
When that group of people is assuring you that the reason conservatives can't be in charge is that they do not have open minds . . . when the speed and sloppiness of their argument make it quite clear that they rejected the very possibility of discrimination without giving it even a second's serious thought . . . well, I confess, it starts sounding very plausible. More plausible than I, who had previously leaned heavily on things like affinity bias to explain the skew, would have thought.
And with apologies to all the brilliant, open-minded, scientifically grounded liberal academics who suggested this one, it's also not because academia simply weeds out illogical people who can't handle the scientific method. Professors are overwhelmingly pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, anti-military, and in favor of redistribution and regulation programs. These aren't a matter of logic and scientific evidence; they're value judgements. Moreover, they cluster in a way that suggests something other than rational analysis driving the decision--why should your views on military operations in Iraq, or climate change, be correlated with your views on abortion?
Note that this also excludes the thesis that professors aren't really that liberal, but just self-identify that way because conservatives are so terribly anti-intellectual. Professors are mostly of one mind on most of the major liberal political issues.
There are three potential arguments for why it's a problem. One if the harm it does to conservatives. But the others are the harm it does to academia, and to the rest of us. I think the latter are by far the bigger problems. Not to trivialize the conundrum faced by conservatives who want to be professors . . . but it's not like they're ending up as longshoremen. The other two problems are much more broadly harmful.
Excluding conservatives means that academia is losing the trust of the more conservative members of society. Academics are incredulous and angry about this--the way that many whites are when they hear rumors are spreading in the black community that AIDS was deliberately created and released by the government to destroy them. But the mistrust of the government in the black community is not crazy--not after things like the Tuskeegee Syphilis experiment. Nor is it crazy to think that academia wields its prestige like a club against conservative ideas--or even conservatives themselves, as with the steady stream of studies that characterize conservatives as authoritarian, less open to experience, and so forth. Conservatives point out that the questions are more than occasionally loaded, and the studies are done on psychology students, an overwhelmingly liberal group whose few conservatives may not look much like conservatives in the wild. Yet the academics in question more than occasionally participate in the denigrating connotations this information is given in the media.
Which hints at the other problem with excluding conservatives: it makes scholarship worse. Unless we assume what to many liberals is "proven" by their predominance in academia--that conservative ideas have no merit--leaving conservatives out means that important viewpoints are excluded. We are never the best interrogators of our ideas. It requires motivated critics to lay bare our hidden assumptions, our misreading of the data, our factual inaccuracies. No matter how scrupulously honest you try to be, you are no substitute for an irritated opponent thinking, "That can't possibly be right!"
If you build a group with the same assumptions, you can all too easily go wrong.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
“Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”
In the New York Times, no less.
Friday, February 04, 2011
If someone is this big a philosophical dunce, his worldview represents no rational threat whatsoever.
The same idiots who triumphantly spout "OH YEAH, THEN WHO MADE GOD?!?!" don't really think anything needs a cause to come into existence in the first place.
The same idiots who triumphantly spout "OH YEAH, THEN WHO MADE GOD?!?!" don't really think anything needs a cause to come into existence in the first place.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
To this Gil Dodgen post:
I agree, and to elaborate a little, it is my view that the heart of Darwinism is not really random mutation/natural selection, but rather it is the proposition that all major changes to living organisms can and have come about through long series of minor changes. It is this proposition for which there is absolutely no scientific evidence, not in laboratory studies, observations in nature, nor in the fossil record.
Indeed, when you pin Darwinists down, they can’t even come up with detailed hypothetical scenarios for such Darwinian evolutionary paths, not for the bacterial flagellum, nor the feather, nor the avian lung, nor the life cycle of the sheep liver fluke, nor the evolution of whales, etc., etc., etc.
The problem with the Darwinian position is easily diagnosed: it is a clear case of hasty generalization followed by a shifting of the burden coupled with the demand for an unreasonable standard of “disproof”.
Because RM & NS can generate some biological variance, it is assumed that they can generate all biological variance found today and in the fossil record. That is clearly a case of hasty generalization.
Then, they shift the burden. Instead of formally (empirically or through a valid mathematical analysis) demonstrating RM & NS to be at least plausibly capable of producing a variety of biological target features (winged flight, the bacterial flagellum), they assert only the bare possibility that RM & NS could have generated it, then expect critics to prove that it is impossible for RM & NS to generate the feature in question.
These are very easily-recognizable logical fallacies. It is not up to critics to prove it is impossible for RM & NS to generate the flagellum or winged flight; it is up to advocates to formally demonstrate the scientific plausibility of RM & NS to generate those features.
That has not been done, yet it is claimed as a scientific fact.
It is really a mind-boggling case of ideological bias.
One of the obfuscations that Darwinists use is to conflate the entirety of evolutionary theory with the specific capacity of RM & NS to plausibly generate what they are claimed to generate.
When asked for formal predictions, they often point to predictions about what kind of fossils will be found where, and in what strata, or point out predictions of so-called intermediary fossils or genetic connections found in the lab, such as the amount of genetic similarity found between apes and humans; or they point out that all living creatures share some similar DNA.
Those references are non-sequiturs; they have nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not RM & NS have been shown to be able to produce what they are claimed to have in fact produced. A footprint where it doesn’t belong doesn’t invalidate RM & NS theory; a perfect lineage of transitional fossils of every living creature doesn’t support RM & NS theory one iota. The ability to predict how much DNA is shared between two species – again – doesn’t demonstrate RM & NS to be capable of doing what it is claimed to do.
Darwinist often conflate evidence for common descent and the current evolutionary timeline with evidence for the creative power of RM & NS.
The trick is knowing and identifying what simplifying assumptions can be made and which cannot, in order to produce a valid computational result that conforms with physical reality.
And therein lies the essential difference between an Engineer and a Scientist. Most (if not all) pure scientists risk only their reputations and future grant money if they’re mistaken, let alone careless or even fraudulent in their findings. Engineers, OTOH, risk peoples lives and property. When Engineers are careless, bridges collapse, buildings fall, planes crash etc. Engineers often must pass rigorous certification and licensing exams as a prequisite to working in many industries, long before they ever get a chance to prove out a design. We care very much that our engineers be right, but our scientists not so much.
Darwinism is pseudoscience. … is held to a low standard of evidence that would be laughed at and ridiculed by any legitimate scientist in any rigorous field of scientific endeavor.
As would most engineers, and there are more engineers than scientists with a far more realistic grasp of physical complexity and the difference between design (what engineers do) and accident (what engineers avoid).
I have often wondered why ID seemingly constrains itself to discourse within the “scientific” community when the engineering community is just as savvy in theory and more sophisticated in the application of theory to reality, and often has far more credibility with society because engineered things objectvely, predictibly and provably “work” whereas most scientific endeavors merely “study”, the findings of which often meet no standard of objectivity.
Engineers, I would think, are generally a much more receptive audience to inconvenient facts and omissions than are scientists.
you still don’t get it guys, engineers? you’re not scientists, and if you were, you still have to be biologists, but that’s not enough either, you must be evolutionists, or you couldn’t possibly understand the issues.
UNLESS, you DO buy in to evolution, and then you could be a hollywood script writer, OR anything else, and your opinions are as valid as those of Darwin.