Birdblog

A conservative news and views blog.

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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Science At The Service of Liberalism

Human Events Online has a piece about left-wing manipulation of science to advance the ``progressive`` agenda. Anyone who followed the firestorm after my Darwin piece in the American Thinker should recognize the pattern.

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15 Comments:

Anonymous KWWilliams said...

What pattern is that? Someone posts a lie (such as "mathematicians proved evolution impossible") and people rush to refute it?

You would rather that people posted lies and others simply sat back and watched?

8:50 AM  
Blogger Alnot said...

Calling the truth a lie is like saying math has nothing to do with science. Such denial is typical and there is even a Bible verse that says it. So far kw and his ilk cannot refute the math so they call the messengers liars and other assorted hype. When are these liberals ever going to grow up and become responsible adults?

1:00 PM  
Blogger Morris said...

Science twisted to suit an agenda is no longer science - it becomes a religion. Which is of course evolutionism is. I love the comment I heard recently which succinctly points out how ridiculous the idea of evolution is: "First there was nothing and then there was a big bang" There are many things in nature so complex that they literally had to be created instantly, operational, to be able to live and continue.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous KWWilliams said...

Alnot:

The math that most people use to "disprove evolution" is easily refuted: they are solving a problem that mischaracterises evolution. They always try to solve for a unique solution. The best analogy is the lottery: the chances of you winning the lottery is extremely low, and you would be an idiot to bet on winning the Powerball this week. On the other hand, it's quite likely that *someone* will win the lottery this week. I can go and prove that for each individual, it is nearly impossible for them to win the lottery. I would be foolish to then claim that it is impossible for the lottery to be won. That's what these "disproofs of evolution" do ... they calculate that a specific result is very unlikely, and neglect that *some* result is very likely.

The real problem is not that the math is difficult to refute, it is that so few members of the general public understand the math involved that they are easily tricked by those that do. What is shameful is that people that do understand it think that is is OK to be deceitful so long as they do it in the name of their religion. That kind of behaviour demeans both science and religion.

Morris:
What do you think the Big Bang has to do with evolution? If new evidence was discovered that made it seem likely that the universe was actually a steady state model or an oscillating universe, the theory of evolution wouldn't be impacted in the slightest.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Alnot said...

The lottery anaology does not cut the mustard kw. The lottery is long odds. Evolution is impossible odds. Yer a bit long winded like most baffle em with bs artists but the Creator cuts right through to the heart of things. Maybe you should give him a try? You have heaven and happiness to gain and a wasted life to lose. I used to have many questions but having a personal savior who saved me from myself has answered enough of mine to satisfy me and I am truly hard to please.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous kwwilliams said...

Alnot:

Care to actually quantify those odds, or would you rather just try to baffle me with BS?

4:46 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

KW

I did a google search, and the first website I found quotes a number of 1X10exp67, according to Geophysicist Charles Braxton. That`s 67 extra zeroes. According to the Missouri Lottery Commission your chances of winning Powerball are 2.5 billion to 1; big, big, big difference!

It is a shame so few people understand anything except the anointed! How dare anyone who disagees actually think when Darwinists do it so much better!

You still haven`t answered the question about my blog. I`m tempted to believe that you check this site solely to argue Darwin. That would be very sad.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous kwwilliams said...

Timothy:

Braxton's calculation was based on the probability of a single, unique 101 amino acid protein occuring, presuming that no portion of it could occur by hooking smaller proteins together. His processes were wrong (complex molecules generally from by combining smaller, less complex molecules), and he fell into the lottery trap.

What he needed to calculate was the probability of no proteins forming, not the chances of his unique 101 element protein forming. Again, the chances of a deck of cards being in one particular order is infintesimally small, but it will have *some* order. Same thing, just bigger numbers.

What question about your blog haven't I answered? Where? If you search your blog, you will also see that I made comments about your hate crime postings (where I agreed with your result, even though I think your logic was wrong).

What would be so sad about me simply monitoring your site for creationism, anyway? I think of it as a noble calling. I am very saddened by this whole issue. We have an enormous public (like alnot) that really can't follow the math, so they wind up choosing what to believe based on trust and faith. Not surprisingly, they trust their minister more than they trust me. The problem is that their minister couldn't follow the math either, so he trusted someone else, who trusted someone else, who finally trusted someone like Behe, Dembski, or Baugh. Those three have chosen to misstate and misrepresent the math to show evolution as impossible. The problem is that they know the math doesn't say that ... they seem to be of the opinion that as long as they deceive in the name of Christ, their deceptions will be forgiven.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Kw, if you say that the number is wrong, then what IS the number you would agree with? Show me the money, KW.

It seems that there is disagreement over the issue. Why haven`t we created life from scratch out of these amino acid proteins? We are operating under controlled conditions in the lab, after all, and should be able to greatly increase our chances over random events.

Still, I`d love to play poker with you; high stakes, of course!

If you couple this with the numerous other problems, you begin betting on an aweful long shot.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

I`m not a mathematician, but it seems that this string of accidents causing the formation of molecules into ever larger structures is the equivelent of winning the lottery repeatedly.

Oh, and since you think it is only religious nutjobs who disagree with you, I`d also like to post quotes from some scientists who you can hardly be impugned with Creationism:

Francis Crick (awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA): "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have to have been satisfied to get it going" (Francis Crick, Life Itself, Simon & Schuster, N.Y. 1981, p. 88).

Dr. Harold C. Urey (Nobel Prize winning Chemist): "All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. But, we believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did" (interview in "Christian Science Monitor," January 4, 1962).

Guess their pastors told them to say that!

Finally, you STILL haven`t answered the question; do you visit my blog because you like reading it, or are you monitoring what I say so you can attack any reference to Darwin? I`ve noticed this on other blogs; there is always one person who appears ONLY when the writer mentions Darwinism. The reason this is sad is because it illustrates just how much you BELIEVE, and how important this is to you. Why? This proves my assertion that Darwinism is more faith than science. The fact that you guys leave sentinals to watch your enemies speaks volumes.

If I am really wrong, and am mischaracterizing you, I apologize. Can you unequivocally, truthfully say I`m all wet on this?
I don`t mind disagreement on any issue, and if I am wrong about you, again I apologize.

4:26 PM  
Blogger TJ Willms said...

I find this entire string of conversation to be “irreducibly complex”,

and I’m out of here.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous KWWilliams said...

I don't watch "enemies" ... I just keep an eye on people that are unwittingly aiding in deluding others. I've come to the conclusion that you genuinely believe in creationism, and aren't actively lying. Still, every time you write something and it stands unchallenged, it gains that much more credibility in the eyes of others. Other people keep an eye on Holocaust deniers, I keep a watch on creationists. Not much different.

There are people that I would describe as enemies ... those that take the time to research the facts, and then concoct lies to try to persuade the masses that reality doesn't matter.

I would be a fool to attempt to calculate the probability of biogenesis. To know that, I would have to know far more about early conditions on this planet than I could possibly claim to know. That is why evolution is properly described as the origin of the *diversity* of life, not the origin of life. It may have been natural causes here, made from materials imported from comets (which have been shown to contain amino acids), other sources, or, indeed, the hand of God. No one can demonstrate conclusively one way or the other. One of the nice things about science: it's OK to say "we don't know."

What can be conclusively demonstrated is that however that first organism got here, many billions of years ago, we are all its descendants. There just isn't any rational doubt left about that issue.

As for why I read your blog ... in general, I find it entertaining and illuminating. The way you think is so different than the way I would approach anything that I find it educational to see how you do it. I especially enjoy the way you conflate your opponents with liberals. For example, you seem to think I am a liberal. However, I believe in things like capital punishment for all second offenses, regardless of severity; that we should have used our military posturing in advance of Iraq to launch a military action ranging from Israel to Iran, unifying the entire region under American rule; limiting the power of eminent domain; and many others associated with hyperconservatism.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

KW

I`m glad you enjoy my blog, and aren`t merely reading out of duty. We can agree to disagree on issues-including Darwinism. If you want to argue your side you are welcome-let`s just keep the discussion to a dull roar (I have many other issues on my plate, and time is precious!)

I am NOT a Creationist, nor an Intelligent Design supporter per se. (You really should use their preferred name, otherwise I`m going to start refering to Darwinists as Perpetual Motion People.) If you look through my archives, you will notice that I have stated this plainly. What I disagree with is DARWINIAN evolution. I believe that there has been an evolutionary process, but I don`t think it works the way Darwinists think. Natural Selection is attractive because of its simplicity, and I believe it has blinded scientists for decades; nobody WANTS to find any other answers.

I`m not at all certain that I.D. will succeed, either, because it comes too close to an unprovable-the existence of God. I think free will is tied to the ambiguity of God`s existence, and anything that can prove that existence will thwart the Divine Will. I believe God works through nature, and I believe that those natural processes are the most we will find conclusively.

A good deal of my argument is done rhetorically; my original piece was the case AGAINST Darwin, if you remember, and I never once argued for I.D. Do I think I.D. should be taught in schools? I think it should be mentioned. Consider that we talk about gravitons, which have never been proven to exist, or string theory. We used to teach the concept of the ether (which was disproved by the Michaelson-Morley experiment, and Einstein`s subsequent explaination of the results) and most schools teach the concept as a matter of the history of science. They also teach the Geocentric theory, Hubbles steady-state theory, etc. Also, an electric current actually moves from positive to negative-contrary to the way students are taught! (This was because Franklin had to guess which way the current moved-he guessed wrong and by the time we figured it was too difficult to correct such a minor mistake.)

The Catholic Church allows belief in Darwinism, I might add, and I USED to accept Darwinism uncritically; at one time I held the same opinions you hold. Over time I came to turn against these views because they struck me as increasingly implausible.

To return briefly to the business of statistics, I came across a much larger numbers-10exp930 was attributed to Hubble (I can`t verify that HE was the source.) Even allowing for your smaller processes creating that 101 amino acid protein, I still suspect that the numbers involved are staggering-and that is just the creation of this protein! Consider the probability of cell formation; our old pal P.Z. Myers took umbrage with me for suggesting that viral material predated the cell-which means that, according to Professor Myers the cell came into existence spontaneously, or nearly so. What kind of odds are we looking at for this? The cell is a miracle of complexity.

Anyway, K.W. let us pound our swords into plowshares, and agree to disagree. If you want to come and argue your case on this, or any other issue, you are more than welcome. I will, of course, continue to make my case as best I am able.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

I misspoke above-I meant Fred Hoyle, not Edwin Hubble. Again, I`m not certain it was he; if I get time I`ll try to look it up.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous kwwilliams said...

The whole argument with probability is that is doesn't wash at all as a "random" process. Assuming that there was not a supernatural force involved, there has to have been, at some time in the past, somewhere, an environment conducive to building proteins/RNA/DNA/some other precursor. Unti we have evidence of what that was, we can't calculate a number.

Think of the difference between the odds of a snowflake occuring by water molecules spontaneously jumping into place, and a snowflake occuring through the regular crystallisation process of water. One is ridiculously improbable, one is inevitable.

There really aren't all that many "Darwinists" anymore. The amazing thing about Darwin is how much he got right, despite having no knowledge at all of genetics, and no clear model of inheritance at all. Natural selection is now considered to be one of many factors, not the sole factor. Still, no demonstrable need for supernatural factors, though.

10:50 AM  

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