"When I get new evidence I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes
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- If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
- “It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
- All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
- Totally Astonishing Images from the 2013 Art of Science Contest May 21, 2013This isn't an alien world — it's a representation of the winds traveling from East to West (in blue) and West to East (in red) here on Earth. And this is just one of the fantastic images that won the 2013 Science As Art contest at Princeton University. See a few more below.Read more... […]
- Damon Lindelof admits the Star Trek underwear scene was "gratuitous" May 20, 2013Still scratching your head over the random underwear scene with Alice Eve in Star Trek Into Darkness? Head producer and writer Damon Lindelof has finally "copped" to the fact that the nudity was completely gratuitous.Read more... […]
- Teen Wolf trailer unleashes the Alpha Werewolf Pack May 20, 2013Here it is — the very first Teen Wolf trailer with footage from the new season, and it's stuffed with hairy man-candy. Read more... […]
- Read This Week’s DVDs or this catbus will eat these children May 20, 2013He’ll do it, too! This catbus is a monster! A giant, furry, adorable monster who stars in the greatest kids’ movie of all time! Plus sexy vampires, underage werewolves, badass bike messengers and more, all in this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases!Read more... […]
- If Earth Had a Ring Like Saturn May 20, 2013Our planet is lucky enough to have a large moon orbiting not too far away, which makes for very pretty moonlit nights. But for spectacular skies it might almost be worth trading in our moon for a ring like Saturn's. Read more... […]
- Totally Astonishing Images from the 2013 Art of Science Contest May 21, 2013
Tag Archives: intelligent design
We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. (excerpted from current State of Texas Education Standards)
My presentation was titled “An Information-Theoretic Proof of God’s Existence,” in which I showed how the type of information we find in living systems is beyond the creative means of purely material processes, so that if we backtrack this information in time, the amount of information that needs to be accounted for only intensifies. This leads to a regress of information that naturally points to some ultimate source of information. Who or what is such an ultimate source of information? From a naturalistic perspective, such a source remains a mystery. But from a theistic perspective, such an information source would presumably have to be God. (William Dembski, providing link between intelligent design and at least a nominally theistic entity.)
Creationists do not present arguments about the possible operational workings of supernatural intervention in natural mechanics. This has always surprised me because their other arguments, finally, are contingent on an intervention of some sort. Dembski writes with a straight face about information sourced in a domain ascertainable from the theistic perspective making its way to the domain in which its requisite informed operations occur and are ascertainable from a naturalistic perspective. He does not suggest how information ultimately arises in one domain and goes on to penetrate the other domain. He does suggest one could backtrack as if such information sets out a trail of crumbs!
so that if we backtrack this information in time
78% of American adults according to this poll have some substantial deficit in their Higher Order Thinking Skills.
Actually, the proposition here over-generalizes, but it is apparently true for biological life.
I don’t track the follies of Intelligent Design anywhere near as closely as I used to, yet I do maintain a tag search and every now and then I am moved to go check out the ‘action,’ always with the hope what I encounter will be amusing, and, rich as a qualitative data set about how people approach talking with each other.
Uncommon Descent, ‘serving the intelligent design community,’ is a dependable source of circularity and a time waster over many years. I got a nice positive at the end of March. I’ve let it, the comment thread, percolate since then. It is: worthy.
The set-up is a article, On the Computation of CSI, by Mathgrrl. Here is the equivalent of its abstract.
In the abstract of Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, William Demski asks “Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?” Many ID proponents answer this question emphatically in the affirmative, claiming that Complex Specified Information is a metric that clearly indicates intelligent agency.
As someone with a strong interest in computational biology, evolutionary algorithms, and genetic programming, this strikes me as the most readily testable claim made by ID proponents. For some time I’ve been trying to learn enough about CSI to be able to measure it objectively and to determine whether or not known evolutionary mechanisms are capable of generating it. Unfortunately, what I’ve found is quite a bit of confusion about the details of CSI, even among its strongest advocates.
Setting aside the effort to configure a worthwhile computational platform for ID, the post and its continuing offshoot oneand offshoot two, interest me because Mathgrrl, (who is seemingly Lauren Taalman of James Madison univesity,) has made her effort without also grinding any axe. My further interest, then, is to see what happens as a matter of the responses to her generous and sincere effort. How soon will bad will arise by design (!) to meet her good will?
The answer, of course, is: instantly. 11:17am. However, overall the discussion proceeds without much aggression. (It’s not besides the point that Dembski’s CSI has been discredited, but, in another sense the dialogs are seeking to discover a corrective or more correct estimate.) Alas, it turns out a moderator is riding the posts too, so some of the action only saw the light of day briefly.
As a Batesonian, I was amused to read this (#367):
I am saying, per my previous post, and interminable posts prior to this on other threads, that is it impossible, IN PRINCIPLE, i.e. it is logically impossible, to explain information in terms of algorithms and/or physical laws. This so obviously true that it is scarcely worth repeating. So I won’t. You will sooner be able to create a square circle as to generate information with time and physics. Information is impossible without reason, language, free will, and intentionality. That is, a mind. Or Mind in the case of life.
Having now created the square circle, what say you? Why would information require logic to be represented in any possible explanation of information, and this given too in any possible ‘terms?’ Oh look, my square circle just rolled up my stairs!
In the main the discussants don’t reconcile Mathgrrl’s urge to define CSI with greater specificity with the ID company line, that Dembski’s conclusions have already completed the endeavor. All in all, not very amusing, except for the usual category mashing, and this–as always–in the context of the unspoken problematic implied by some kind of computationally clever designer found somewhere beyond nature and biology. And, maybe this designer was/is, like, undesigned?
Then: pay dirt. Mathgrrl Lives Down to Expectations on April 14. The post’s subject remains calm. She should get a medal. Between this and the action over at the unintentionally very amusing comment spew at intelligentreasoning blog, I am suddenly delivered to the social psychological nirvana I was hunting for.