Friday, March 29, 2013

Stephen Meyer needs your help!

Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute will soon pulbish another ID book on the Cambrian explosion.

Since nothing new in ID (ID-news is a joke, ID = God did it.), we hope semone may help poor Stephen with his book. Stephen Meyer is of about the same caliber as Casey Luskin who have writen a lot about the second law of thermodynamics because the 2LOT is evidence that evolution is impossible, evolution  would be a 'violation of the 2LOT'.

I won't make any arguments abotu the 2LOT here, excpet to say that as far as I can tell,  the 2LOT simply is an expression of what it implies to use energy. To perform work, any kind of physical work, energy is needed. As soon as all free energy (at the location in question) has been 'consumed', furher activity is impossible.

Since we live at a place where there are rich soruces of free energy available wherever we look, there is plenty of room for arguing Luskin's claims but that doesn't belong here.

But a fine post regarding the Cambrian is available at the Pandas Thumb here: 

A little quote from there:
"Modern hagfish are craniates, they’re not true vertebrates. The oldest known true vertebrate is Arandaspis, a jawless fish, from the Ordovician, 480-70 Mya, some 50 million years after the early Cambrian. The first jawed fish (gnathostomes) appear in Late Ordovician (less than 461 Mya.)
So it took 70 million years after the Cambrian “explosion” for their Intelligent Designer to put a jaw on a vertebrate. 70 million years is a heck of a long time to design a jaw, considering that it’s just a modified version of the rib bones that separate a fish’s gills. A real intelligent designer could have come up with that in an afternoon."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Origins of life

Origins of life is not a subject I bother much with; I don't see no need for that. I accept the fact that we have life on this planet, and it would have to be a very strange world indeed if it was the result of divine intervention. Because I do not believe in fairytales about talking snakes and crazy Gods.

But I have an interest in the subject, in that I like to know about new research findings and results.  In due time, if there is a solution, 'we' are going to find it. Even if we may not be able to recreate the exact path, recreate the entire sequence of events played out.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Creationists are so funny!

One would think that YEC creationism (The Earth was created ~6000 years ago, there were dinosaurs on the ark & much more) and Intelligent Design creationism (Evolution is ok, it just needs a little help from God sometimes) are as incompatilble as can be.

But that is not the case, in 2009 YEC creationist Lita Cosner of CMI wrote a REVIEW of
the 2004 published book Why Intelligent Design Fails" and concluded "... that 'there was nothing in the book to cause discomfort to an “informed creationist"

Jeffrey Shallit and Wesley R. Elsberry wrote a chapter in WIDF and responds to Cosner's review in the link above. Read Elsberry's response here: Why Intelligent Design Fails.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life Deep Within Oceanic Crust Sustained by Energy from Interior of Earth

There is a tendency to view planet Earth as created to be a solid platform for life. But that is not the case.
The planet initially was most inhospitable and badly suited for higher life forms. It didn't have a breathable atmosphere,  and many of the properties of our planet we take for granted are in fact the product of an extended period of chemical processes - with the eventual introduction of "primitive" life forms, i.e. single celled; bacteria.

Life made Earth habitable.

Instead of me trying to explain things, it is better that I provide links for sources to speak for themselves. I learn a little more myself in the process, I often know what to look for but may be ignorant about the details. Would be funny if it wasn't so; a non-professional can't be expected to know the details of all the fields upon which all the scientific exploration of the fascinating four billion years of planet history rest.

I first learned about an got interested in this particular field when I read books by James_Lovelock

I don't think we need take the 'Gaia hypothesis' too seriously. I don't think it is intended as anything but a metaphor to convey the concept of interdependence; life on the planet is a veritable "machine" where all the parts, even the most humble and seemingly insignificant plays a crucial role. And the planet itself is an active partner as well. We live on a habitable planet, we have a habitable planet because there is life on the planet. Without life, the planet would not be habitable! At least not for higher life forms, say, like the one we belong to...


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What, no comments?

I don't have many readers and that is ok, but I just wonder, why is there not a single comment?

I am curious about who may have read this blog, how they happened to get here, and if they found anything of interest?

I have not been able to spend much time on making the blog more attractive, visually or contentwise, I only wish it could be better but I am afraid there isn't much to be done about that at present.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Wiley Online Library

Research such as referenced in the article from the Wiley online library
quoted below, would that be possible from the viewpoint of Intelligent Design?
If god did it, what's the use?

“quite contrasting evolutionary origins” doesn’t seem to fit with the ID perspective, suggesting that the ID perspective is the product of cataracts in the eyes?

… An analysis of cross-inoculation experiments suggests that the resistance is often the product of pathogen specialization. Understanding the contrasting evolutionary origins of resistance is critical for studies on the genetics and evolution of host–pathogen interactions in human, agricultural, and natural populations. Research on human infectious disease using animal models may often study resistances that have quite contrasting evolutionary origins, and therefore very different underlying genetic mechanisms. …

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Home schooling in the USA

Not even in the USA, all Christians are creationists. But th USA scores pretty low on statistics of science vs. creationism.

But there is hope, 
Home schooling in the USA

More about Duane Gish of the ICR

I don't mind linking to a creationist site; exposure to creationist BS is a powerful vaccine.
Pigeon Study confirms Creation

I am waiting for a similar explanation of how the best birds, penguins, walked to Antarctica.

If they also will demonstrate that ring species are evidence of creation, the debate may soon be ended and the Bible proven to be 100% Gospel truth.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Duane Gish passses away.

I guess it shows how little I care about creationists that I have to edit my introduction to this article:

Originally I said Gish was a Discovery Institute fellow. Then I changed it to CMI; Creation Ministries, but now I think I've got it right:


The well known creationist Duane Gish of YEC outfit, ICR, Institute of Creation Research, recently passed away.

(Comments at Pandas Thumb  as well, 
in a thread about a Neil Shubin video)


From the text:

“. In contrast to the 1984 audience, who came in yellow buses and thumped bibles on their knees, this audience impressed me as relatively savvy.”

Saladin's Assessment of the Debate

[Assessment of the debate from Creation/Evolution Newsletter 8(6) : 11,14 (Nov/Dec 1988).]
Saladin-Gish Debate
May 10, 1988, at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Reported by Kenneth S. Saladin
Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA 31060
My second debate with Duane Gish took place before an audience of about 800 last spring at Auburn University. It differed only in detail from our 1984 debate (see C/E N 4(4): 11-12), and Gish was utterly predictable.
In my 45-minute opening, I discussed the philosophy of science and contrasting attributes of creationism, age of the cosmos, origin of life, fossil stratigraphy, transitional fossils, and evidentiary examples from embryology and atavisms. I finished with a stern critique of creationist credibility, with slides and quoted passages on Gish's fire-breathing dinosaurs, Morris's non-living plants, a Creation Research Society Quarterly article on the theology of radioactivity, Gish's misquotation of authority, and creationist "arkeology."
My fundamental format and technique were similar to 1984. I change slides about every 40 seconds, but keep my graphics simple. Many were no more than a color photograph of a grizzly bear or a solar flare, for example -- something attractive to keep the audience alert and form a visual association with an organism or concept under discussion. I used one of my students as a projectionist and we rehearsed in advance so he could change slides at the appropriate moments without my calling for them. In 1984 some audience members commented that this created a notably smooth and effective presentation (one was "almost mystified" at how appropriate pictures kept coming up without my saying anything). My principal improvement in 1988 was probably in speaking style. I was more experienced and comfortable before a large audience and, I felt, gave a smoother presentation.
One new tactic I introduced to this debate was to gig Gish with tape recordings of his statements in previous debates. When the NCSE met in Los Angeles in 1985, Fred Edwords debated Gish on a KABC radio talk show. A caller asked Gish about the quest for Noah's ark, and while Gish denied that any evidence of the ark had been found, he also denied that ICR sponsors expeditions to look for it. The next evening Karl Fezer and I visited the ICR and were entrusted by a secretary to roam their creationist museum after hours alone. (She asked us to lock up the ICR when we left! See our report of this foray in C/E N 5(3):16-17.) We listened to a sound-slide program on Noah's ark which proudly affirmed that the ICR does sponsor these expeditions. In 1986, Gish debated David Schwimmer at the University of Georgia, and in the Q/A period I confronted Gish with this contradiction. He sarcastically accused me of fabricating it and again denied ICR involvement.
So I entered our debate this year prepared to repay him for his sarcasm, armed with a microcassette onto which I had dubbed the seminal portions of the Gish-Edwords and Gish-Schwimmer debates. I played Gish's twofold denial over the PA system, then showed slides of several Acts & Facts accounts of these expeditions, culminating with an unequivocal affirmation of sponsorship in the November 1986 issue. In his rebuttal, Gish seemed a bit flustered and claimed he couldn't hear the tape I played, but notwithstanding the slides I had just shown, he stood up and denied sponsorship once again. Auburn is a university with a conspicuous contingent of faculty creationists, but perhaps because of statements like this, Gish seemed to enjoy little credibility or support that evening. I was told several of his supporters got up and walked out during his presentation, and with statements like this it was little wonder why.
Another element in my presentation was to reveal, more assiduously than before, Gish's misquotations of the scientific literature. Knowing that Gish rests much of his cause on "plausible deniability," I came armed with a veritable library of books and periodicals he commonly cites. Gish cites Romer (Vertebrate Paleontology, p. 338) to the effect that bats appear fully developed in the middle of Eocene with no trace of ancestry. I held up Romer's book and read from an earlier chapter (p. 212), where he says that, while bats appear fully developed by the middle Eocene, in the early Eocene their insectivore ancestors. I also attacked Gish's misrepresentation of Gavin de Beer (Homology: An Unsolved Problem). I had this paper with me in the original as well, and read passages diametrically opposite from what Gish avows that de Beer wrote. My concluding slide was the cover cartoon from Creation/Evolution No. XI.
Gish gave his usual fossilized opening statement, but he and his audience partisans struck me as surprisingly subdued compared to the other debates of his that I've attended. He discussed the Big Bang and Cosmic Chicken, the hydrogen-to-humans scenario, thermodynamics, the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe statistical argument, fossil transitions, human origins, and the Oxnard-Zuckerman argument. There were only two new features of his presentation: he dwelt at length on the supposed inexplicability of metamorphosis in the monarch butterfly, and he gave a juvenile gloss on Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Apparently he never read any further than the flap of the dust jacket, and he reminded me of a fifth-grade student trying to fake a report on a book he'd never read.
In 1984, I worked frantically during the intermission to prepare my first rebuttal. This year, I had a prepared rebuttal in advance from Gish's 1984 statement, and a card file to cover anything new. Gish was so true to form I had no need to prepare during the Intermission, so while he prepared his notes I went down and mingled with the audience, distributed NCSE literature, and basked in audience adulation.
Rebuttals were quite straightforward, and I especially enjoyed taking apart the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe's other biological beliefs: insects smarter than humans and not letting on, flu epidemics from outer space, and Wickramasinghe's trial testimony that Gish's views on evolution are "claptrap" and could not be supported by any rational scientist.
In the question/answer period the audience was surprisingly hostile toward Gish. Questions put to me were no more challenging than "Do you think evolution can be harmonized with belief in God?" and "What if they did find Noah's ark?" The only one for which I had no ready answer is why organisms now use only the L-isomer of amino acids. Gish was piqued when the first questioner, Georgia State University biologist Fred Parrish, addressed him as Reverend Gish and questioned his integrity as a Christian. Others attacked his statistical "proof" of the impossibility of things which in fact do happen, his abuse of thermodynamics, and his reliance on popularized rather than refereed scientific literature. In contrast to the 1984 audience, who came in yellow buses and thumped bibles on their knees, this audience impressed me as relatively savvy.
To anticipate and defuse the secular humanist attack, my closing statement focused on anticreationist opinion of clerics ranging from John Paul II to Baptist and Episcopal leaders in Georgia. I described and displayed the compilation in which the Fransiscan physician Ed Friedlander has photocopied statements from Gish's literature alongside photocopies of the sources cited by Gish to demonstrate Gish's habit of distortion.
Gish had the last word and retorted, "Sure there's a lot of liberal theologians on the side of evolution. Why wouldn't they be? All these liberal theologians are for ordaining homosexual ministers, for legalized abortion... Of course they're for evolution!" The debate format did not allow me an opportunity to come back and ask if the had meant to include John Paul II among these "liberal theologians."
Following the debate I was surrounded by well-wishers and chagrined creationist students. They were especially interested in comparing Gish's writing with the Romer and de Beer literature, and seeing Ed Friedlander's paper, which some people subsequently requested from me by mail. The creationists at my table seemed as disappointed with Gish's performance as Democrats reviewing the last Bush-Dukakis debate. The student organizer seemed almost grudgingly to present me with the check for my expenses and honorarium. He had written to me in advance, "We will do our best to publicize to supporters of both sides. However, it must be realized that Auburn is a small town in the Deep South [and probably will have] a bias toward Dr. Gish's theory." As it turned out, I had no complaints about this audience, but I think Gish and the organizers were a bit chagrined by it.
The debate is recorded on a videotape of so-so quality, a pair of good 90-minute cassettes, and a verbatim transcript of 90+ pages. The transcript includes both post-debate annotations and research into Gish's literature citations. I will send a four-page, detailed outline of the debate (the table of the contents of the transcript) free to anyone who requests it, but I regrettably do not have the time to honor individual requests for copies of the tapes or entire manuscript. I expect to have these available for distribution through the NCSE by January, and presumably their availability and price will be announced in this newsletter.
I wish to express my appreciation to Auburn University philosophy professor Delos McKown, who was originally invited to confront Gish and recommended me in his stead; and to my students who helped with literature distribution and recording the debate. If I can extend any wishes to Dr. Gish, they are for good health and a long life, so my colleagues and I will have many more opportunities to publicly reveal the mendacity of America's most capable exponent of "scientific" creationism.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A quote for Gary Gaulin

Here is a quote from Robert B. Laughlin's A Different Universe" - (Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Up).

A book that I keep returning to, I have found it not only a very good read but also one of the most interesting books that I've read for a long time. I strongly recommend it! It is like a piece of music you want to hear again and again. 

I offer this quote for Gary Gaulin to study. Gary is the advocate of a "theory" he spent forty years developing - by writng a Visual Basic program that he thinks is a true simulation of life and billions of years of evolution. He thinks his 'theory' is the real theory if Intelligent Design. It is based on his belief that molecules and cells are intelligent.

But let's listen to Laughlin:


Seeing structures like these for the first time causes even a hard boiled reductionist to pause and wonder whether they might be caused by some agency other than elementary quantum mechanic It is one thing to explain ordered crystals of atoms with simple microcroscopic rules, but quite another to do so with complex lifelike structures and shapes, especially when one cannot deduce from first principles that these shapes should emerge. But this common and perfectly reasonable viewpoint is exactly backward. In a world with huge numbers of parts the unusual thing is not complexity but its absence. Simplicity in physics is an emergent phenomenon, not a mathematically self-evident state from which any deviation is a worrisome anomaly.
It is somewhat easier to explain and defend this assertion if you substitute the word random for complex. Thus you roll a die and the number three comes up at random. This statement means that YOl did not know ahead of time which face would come up, that it is something unpredictable, and that the degree of unpredictability is measured by the number of possible outcomes, in this case six. Then is nothing random about the number three itself once it has been selected. It makes no sense for any particular die face to be "random.' Similarly, it makes no sense for an isolated shape to be “complex” Only the selection of one shape out of many, a physical process, can be complex. When we say a shape is complex we really mean that the physical process by which it forrned is unstable and with a slight nudge could have generated one of many different shapes. Similarly, we say a shape is simple if it is guaranteed to be forrned by a physical process the same way every time, even when nudged fairly violently.
Once you understand that simplicity in nature is the exception. rather than the rule, it becomes easy to imagine that lifelike patterns might emerge if the microscopic circumstances were suitable. It is not possible to prove that they emerge, but it is possible to prove that their emergence is reasonable and does not violate common sense.
One does so by means of complexity theory, a branch of mathemathics borne  in the 1970s that subsumes the topics of chaos, fractals, and cellular automata. The strategy of complexity theory is to so sim­plify and abstract the equations of motion of matter that they can be solved reliably by computer. This abstraction, however, is a pact with devil, since the resulting equations so grotesquely distort things that you no longer have a faithful representation of nature. The value of complexity theory is thus limited to showing that emergence of complex patterns is reasonable. It cannot supply predictive models of any natural phenomenon, and it is certainly not a fundamentally new way of thinking.
A simple example of such a model is the mountain range fractal. A computerized map grid is refined again and again, each time as­signing a fictitious height to the new grid point that is the average of eights of the adjacent old ones plus a random increment that becomes smaller and smaller as the refinement proceeds. The heights generated simulate the appearance of real mountain ranges so effectively that they are often used in movies to generate backdrops, 

I am reminded of Gary's model of life: Like we can create real life-like models of mountaions and ranges in a computer, and we would create such even if we'd never observed a real mountain; Gary's model of life and evolution is not equivalent with real life and evolution.   Look-alikeness is not evidence of identicality.

How Did Early Primordial Cells Evolve?

From Science Daily:

 How Did Early Primordial Cells Evolve?