Tag Archives: pseudo-science

Kentucky Drops Out of the Race

picked up via DeadState (from June 25, 2013) Kentucky’s ‘Creation Museum’ in Financial Trouble Due to Declining Attendance

from Slate
After walking us through the opening verses of Genesis, [Ken] Ham proclaims that “we can say 100%, absolutely for sure, that people lived with dinosaurs!” A series of surreal illustrations features Adam and Eve feeding grapes to vegetarian dinosaurs while lions and cheetahs canoodle with an avaceratops. This herbivorous paradise is wrecked after Cain murders Abel.* “Dinosaurs may have started eating other animals” at this point, Ham tells us, citing Genesis 6:13: “the earth was filled with violence.”

Great pictures are the result.

Jesus and Dinosaurs

Jesus and Dino

Meanwhile, Texas races to the bottom.

DeadState, from September 11, 2013, Textbook reviewers from the Texas State Board of Education are pushing to include creationism in the statewide teaching curriculums of high schools this year.

The Creation Museum hasn’t turned the tide in Kentucky.

In a stark rebuke of creationists and climate change deniers this Thursday, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to approve new science standards that enforce the teaching of evolution and climate science in the state’s schools.

For a lengthy period, opponents of the standards fought hard against the recent rulings, calling them “fascist” and “atheistic,” and that they promoted a “socialistic” way of thinking that leads to “genocide” and “murder.” But the board rejected those characterizations and argued that the standards are essential in ensuring that Kentuckians can compete with the rest of the nation.

However, overall, 70-80% American adults are unable to think clearly about human origins.

cognitive blind spot

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Those HOTS again


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

There’s a certain unintentional symmetry in Dembski hanging category errors on each side of this bridging idea, to backtrack.
GAllup 2010 Evo Poll

78% of American adults according to this poll have some substantial deficit in their Higher Order Thinking Skills.

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The Hard Problem

Evolution Made Us All from Ben Hillman on Vimeo.

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.

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Fodor, Nagel, and Philosophy-In-Decline

Philosophers Rip Darwin
By Michael Ruse
The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Doubters Rip Darwin — Badly” would have been better. In his article, Michael Ruse adds Thomas Nagel to the fold of philosophers seeming to enter a late, demented phase in otherwise illustrious careers. (He discusses Alvin Plantinga too, but he’s been a card carrying creationist for a very long time.)

As always, it’s enough to state the fact: there is not yet an iota of successful science done in the pseudo-scientific field of Intelligent Design. However, on the philosophical side of things, the controversies are different. But, as I’ve maintained previously, scientific research is not utterly contingent on a completely developed philosophy of science, so it’s not likely that any substantial challenge to biological research and demonstration will break free of the usual circularity found in such philosophy.


For 150 years, since the Origin, critics have feared that we humans might become part of the evolutionary picture—not just our bodies, but our minds, our very souls. What makes us distinctively and uniquely human? This worry is still alive and well in today’s philosophical community. Plantinga is open in his fear that Darwinism makes impossible the guaranteed existence of our species. More, for years he has argued that Darwinism is bound up with the metaphysical belief that everything is natural (as opposed to supernatural), and that this leads to a collapse of rational belief and knowledge. The chance elements in Darwinism are simply not compatible with Plantinga’s Christian faith.

This alludes to real problems because there are versions of philosophical naturalism that collide. Are nature’s mechanics run by a strictly determined code that necessarily voids free will? (Etc..) It seems a stretch to imply that if nature is all there is, then some set of singular philosophical assumptions are necessary and inevitable.

But, from the other side, there isn’t any real philosophy upon which to hang the various suppositions of ID.

After all, it is the nexus of designer and materiality, and the mechanics of supernatural intervention that are the only fruitful fields for a science, rather than a superstition, of intelligent design. So, what philosophizing might aid (or underpin,) research into the designer/nature interface? No such coherent and cogent philosophy yet exists. (This noted, Del Ratszch and Bradley Monton are possibly the only mildly worthwhile thinkers on ID.) The problem obviously is research into the interface would tend to be subsumed into the normative philosophy of ‘applied’ science; such as it is.

from a comment to the article:

Thomas Aquinas used logics, reasoning and other qualities that none of the philosophers after him will ever have.

Darwinism is a complete nonsense in the eyes of a contemporary science. The center of Darwinism in London has admitted that, but you won’t! All you do is quoting what this and that guy said!

Open your eyes and think about what it really is! A piece of non-organic matter becomes a human being and yet we relatively know almost nothing about it! Exuse me, but when science tell you that one the sea shrimps has the most sophisticated vision in color (!) than any organizm known on the planet, I have no choice, but to think about the super intelligence behind it! When I know that human optical nerve(relatively thin) is composed of over 6 million cables, each of which is isolated (!) I have no choice, but to think about super intelligence behind it. When I think of the total length of human blood vessels being 2,5 times longer than size of our planet around equator, I am thrilled about intelligence behind it. And knowing that complete blood exchange across the entire human body takes just about 2 minutes, all I can say that all of you “smart” Darwinists either deliberately don’t want to admit the facts of science, or you are just a bunch of complete idiots.

So far, nothing good has ever come out of Darwinism except of a lot of wasted time! Not to mention Hitler who got inspired by it and came with the idea of a holocaust! And no, he was not sick, he just based his ideas an a false science!

This raw comment encapsulates many of the anti-Darwin arguments and their wrongheadedness. As far as the laity goes–and I’m a member–I have discovered over and over again folk proponents of ID invariably have no grasp on biology, biological research, and very rarely can tell you much about either the paperwork of ID or the responses to this paperwork. You know, the responses which have obliterated complexity-based arguments.

Still, I appreciate the irony behind having no choice but to believe in the super intelligence and his or her’s brutal, so-called, creation. Hey, and the Thomist reference–as in, one version, the universe being wholly a Catholic one in which almost everybody is going to roast in hell?

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The Medium Is The Message

I’m building up to a brief presentation based in a novel concept about the ongoing bumper car action between theists, atheists and new agers; soon enough.

This video from attorney Victor Zammit has stand-alone appeal. One conclusion from viewing Zammit’s “Eight Reasons Richard Dawkins Is Wrong About the Afterlife” is that I’d not want Zammit to be my lawyer for any reason.

In this video the category errors, faults of logic, and, circular arguments pile up almost until one wants to look away. Yet, it’s really funny too. My favorite parts are the several times when Zammit appeals to the venue of a court of law and its procedures being an apt environment for sorting the controversy out, presumably into the right and wrong parties.

I carry no brief for the new atheists at all since I’m an agnostic, but Zammit here is unable to reach even the low hanging fruit. His most grotesque, albeit garden-variety, category error is to imply something about energy persisting after death in a specific form without declaring how his view reconciles the actual dispersion of embodied energy at death with the presumptive persistence of consciousness he’s enthusiastic about.

But, there’s more:

4) As part of a cumulative case, you have presented several lines of evidence supporting the afterlife. In your opinion, what is the best or most convincing or more hard to refute single piece of evidence supporting the afterlife?

Without doubt, my investigation of David Thompson’s materializations were the most impressive – because we had the time to investigate. Time is critical to come to valid conclusions – and David Thompson’s mediumship passed all tests. My wife and I sat with David Thompson every Sunday night for fifteen months. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that whenever we communicated with intelligences from the afterlife during David Thompson’s materializations, we were in direct contact with beings who are residing in the afterlife dimension. We travelled with David, the medium, and saw him before during and after séances. We helped prepare the room and tape recorded the sittings. On more than seventy occasions we were present when people were reunited with their loved ones and talked with those people after the sessions. They confirmed that they recognized specific mannerisms of their loved ones and spoke of intimate things that no-body in the séance room could have known. My wife’s father came through as did my sister. They confirmed their identity in several ways.

My wife is a professional psychologist with expertise in Scientific Method and with my expertise in the admissibility of objective evidence we came to the inevitable conclusion that the evidence qualified as objective and repeatable. This made the evidence empirical and scientific. Of course closed minded skeptics would not accept our evidence. But again, they did not raise critical issues such as what intervening variables we did not control in our experiments. No hard core skeptic took up my challenge to claim half a million dollars if they could show that there was fraud or negligence taking place in these critical afterlife experiments. Of course one condition was that if the skeptic failed, then the skeptic had to hand over half a million dollars to us. In other words, the challenge was to put up or shut up. Recent experience has shown that they shut up. from subversivethinking

Obviously in this clip Zammit provides no warrant for the decisive appeal to his and his wife’s authority. But, he hasn’t sketched anything ‘scientific’ out here at all. The minimal scientific test of mediumship would be that the channeler could raise the materialization in a controlled experiment and do so repeatedly against a control session.

(Zammit) My particular one-sided bias is the test of objectivity/repeatability. Once the test is passed, and I have had personal experience that it was administered properly, I will rigidly adhere to my decision about my conclusion.

Obviously, this framing of his own objectivity is antithetical to scientific methodology and its component of necessary provisionality.

Both theists and new atheists are working over ultimately circular arguments.

Zammit has a web site.

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At Least, A Clear Statement

One thing I’ll give the Muslim creationist Harun Yahya credit for is that he states his sense of the facts of the matter courageously, whereas, the stateside Intelligent Design crew has come to do everything but state clearly, or do research directly about, their central hypothesis. (born as Adnan Oktar-wikepedia)

Therefore, the process from initial conception to production is quite extensive. In fact, the Sole Owner of all designs is One Who has power over all things. Allah creates all creatures flawlessly through a single command: “be”. This is in the verse: The Originator of the heavens and earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is. (Surat al-Baqara:117) The faculty of creating from nothing and without precedent belongs to Allah alone. Humans just copy these examples. Furthermore, the human designer is himself a wonderful creation. Allah created creatures and humans from nothing and bestowed on humans the skills for designing.

All of these laws of physics are clear proofs that the universe, just like all the creatures within it, is a product of divine design. In fact, the laws of physics are nothing but human explanations and descriptions of the divine order that Allah has created. Allah has created the unchanging laws of order in the universe and put them in the service of humans so that man will reflect upon and understand the Sovereignty of Allah and give thanks for His blessings. One can continue giving countless examples in illustration of the order in the creation of Allah. Every created thing since the formation of the universe millions of years ago has been brought into existence by nothing other than the Omniscience and Sovereignty of Allah.

For Harun there’s no reason to do any research on the facts of the matter of creationism, but at least he identifies the cause of creation. He also has never met an element in the pseudo-science of ID, he didn’t incorporate into his industrial media operation.

On the other hand, Yahya/Oktar is also a garden-variety loon.

After 20 minutes of sound checks, Adnan Oktar made his grand entrance. He’s a burly man with slicked-back hair and a carefully trimmed beard, and he wore his trademark white suit with a black T-shirt. Oktar was gracious throughout our hourlong interview, but the weirdness of the evening quickly emerged. When I asked how so many evolutionary biologists could be wrong, he replied, “We need to talk about the Masons’ role because Masons manage the world through a scientific dictatorship.” When I suggested that scientists would be surprised to hear this, he said that’s because the Masons’ “essential characteristic is that they act secretly and they are invisible.” Meet Harun Yahya. Steve Paulson – Slate Magazine Oct.21.2009

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Do Particles Bounce?

Deepak Chopra, the new age maven, regularly contributes to the Huffington Post. Today, he starts out with this:


This year, the world celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. But now that all the backslapping is nearing an end, it may be time to reflect on where things really stand. When Darwin finished writing “Origin of Species” in the fall of 1859 — exactly 150 years ago — the theory of evolution became part of the Newtonian world picture. However, since that time, major puzzles of mainstream science have forced a re-evaluation of the nature of the universe that goes far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.

I’m trying to fathom Chopra writing his opening paragraph and not feeling as if he is about to fling into the Huffington winds something both patronizing to Darwin, and, something idiotic. Alas, to the tune of cash registers ringing, Chopra takes his insights seriously. No, this spiritual advisor to Oprah is onto to something with his colleague, Robert Lanza: the spiritualization of solipsism! Via quantum mechanics!!!

Science obviously investigates what it is able to investigate. There’s no move to re-evaluate the nature of the universe, when nature is posed as a lumpen “nature” in the way that Chopra means, and has meant in the past. Still, Chopra is playing a deceptive word game here too. He actually believes science is quite incapable when it comes to the re-evaluation he’s on about.

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Favorite Humorists

Using Google alerts, the philosopher Bradley Monton drifts on my radar screen with increasing regularity.


He’s a philosophically-minded proponent of the validity of the motive behind the “research” program of Intelligent Design. Also, his work is unintentionally really amusing. Too, I would count myself as a proponent of my (and the,) motivation to find humor, especially unintentional humor, in odd places. For consistent howler potential, ID is second to none.

His paper, Is Intelligent Design Science? Dissecting the Dover Decision (pdf), is worth a close reading for amusement’s sake.


My position is that scientists should be free to pursue hypotheses as they see fit, without being constrained by a particular philosophical account of what science is.

There are lot of hypotheses a scientist or someone else could pursue. What constraints a researcher enforces and suffers under are necessary to an eventual credible claim of verification or falsification. But, what this has to do with a philosophical account of any kind is not a question Monton pursues in his paper. Presumably, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but, we’re still waiting for a cogent entry in the philosophy of ‘supranatural’ science able to issue constraints on ID researchers.

Don’t hold your breath. Still, it would be neat to learn of a philosophical account which unpacks ID’s primary posit: ‘biological systems were designed because their a lot like designed stuff.’

Monton’s paper approaches his four points of contest sideways in each of the four instances.

His kick off is remarkable:

I do, however, have specialized training which will help me to answer the question of whether ID counts as science.

So does ID count as science? I maintain that it is a mistake to put too much weight on that question.


If our goal is to believe truth and avoid falsehood, and if we are rational people who take into account evidence in deciding what to believe, then we need to focus on the question of what evidence there is for and against ID. The issue of whether ID counts as “science” according to some contentious answer to the demarcation question is unimportant.

So it is that his specialized training is inadequate to the task of peeling the onions of a demarcation problem. Whatever the answers are to the demarcation problem, one would have to demonstrate their unimportance, and this is irrespective of their being contentious. I do know you wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who appealed to their own authority and then next told you, “But, I’ve had it with engines!”

Yet, Monton then goes into, sort of, his hollowed out version of the demarcation problem. It’s more funny then reasonable.


I will now argue that it is counterproductive to restrict scientific activity in such a way that hypotheses that invoke the supernatural are ruled out. Specifically, I will argue that it is possible to get scientific evidence for the existence of God. The scenario I am about to describe is implausible, but there is nothing logically inconsistent about it. The point of the scenario is that in the described situation, it would be reasonable for scientists to postulate and test the hypothesis that there is supernatural causation occurring.

I have a better suggestion, why not entertain a plausible scenario? Give it your best shot. In any case, his scenario is riotously funny.

If one works through the rest of his oeuvre, his basic position on ID is clarified: ID hasn’t been proven impossible. In a sense, his paper’s argument is unintentionally ironic: ‘my arguments here may be specious, but this doesn’t mean that better arguments are impossible!’

Amazingly, google alerts turned up more intellectual anti-matter. Via Denyse O’Leary’s Post-Darwinist blog, I came to listen to two interviews with another philosopher, Angus Menuge. He’s given the podcast treatment by The Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin: (1) Agents Under Fire: Part One With Angus Menuge; (2) Rebutting Methodological Materialism.

Menuge. . .much more amusing than Monton, and Monton is very amusing. On one hand, Menuge and Luskin indulge in canard-a-rama. Incredibly, the tornado whirling through the junkyard is revisited in a different guise. On the other hand, Menuge folds in a vague and very extreme picture of a hyper-positivist materialistic naturalism, adds in a fuzzy reference to an irrelevant fault line in the field of theory of mind, dribbles in a riff on downward causation, and then battles the super dooper straw man so conjoined of those disparate and completely unjustified parts. Or, to be more accurate, Menuge doesn’t articulate any justification or reasons why this category mash-up is germane to his vague argument. Maybe it was enough that the argument impressed fawning Luskin.

However, having brought up downward causation, he could at least have speculated about what the import of an over-arching designer is in the context of a particular, well-defined and operationalized system, for which the conceptions of both upward and downward causation are justified and thus may be deployed.

More Menuge.. Is Menuge a young earth creationist?

As always, my consul with respect to proponents of ID is brute simple: please, start theorizing the operations of the designer’s agency, so your movement (or research program,) can quickly depart the long discredited agenda of trying to overturn naturalistic biology, and, trying to subvert the demonstrable efficacy* of natural science.

IDers, you really do not require philosophers and their philosophical accounts. If you do, best to find some brilliant, less funny, ones.

*It would be world-shaking at such point that any ID biologist verifies a single, ‘starter,’ hypothesis.

William Dembski in 2005:

For ID to win the day, however, will require talented new researchers able to move this research program forward, showing how intelligent design provides better insights into biological systems than the dying Darwinian paradigm.

Close, but not close enough. Better: showing how intelligent design provides better understanding of the development of biological systems. Tis most of the ball game–riding on the better replacing the merely good.

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via Ron Chusid, from an interview of Rush Limbaugh by Matt Drudge.

Context: a full skeleton of an early presumed primate, Darwinius masillae, was discovered (story@Pharyngula; This is an important new fossil, a 47 million year old primate nicknamed Ida. She’s a female juvenile who was probably caught in a toxic gas cloud from a volcanic lake, and her body settled into the soft sediments of the lake, where she was buried undisturbed.

RUSH: Drudge had as a lead item up there this morning on his page a story from the UK, Sky News: “Scientists Unveil Missing Link In Evolution.” It’s all about how Darwin would be thrilled to be alive today. “Scientists have unveiled a 47-million-year-old fossilised skeleton of a monkey hailed as the missing link in human evolution.” It’s a one-foot, nine-inch-tall monkey, and it’s a lemur monkey described as the eighth wonder of the world. “The search for a direct connection between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom has taken 200 years – but it was presented to the world today —” So I guess this is settled science. We now officially came from a monkey, 47 million years ago. Well, that’s how it’s being presented here. It’s settled science. You know, this is all BS, as far as I’m concerned. Cross species evolution, I don’t think anybody’s ever proven that. They’re going out of their way now to establish evolution as a mechanism for creation, which, of course, you can’t do, but I’m more interested in some other missing link. And that is the missing link between our failing economy and prosperity.

Chusid believes this clip from the interview pegs Limbaugh as a creationist of some sort. The Rush-o-saur has never gone on record about origins. He may be against evolutionary biology in a doctrinaire sense, but his riff here is just ignorant in five different ways. “you can’t do”!!! LOL

That there is a doctrinaire non-argument against any research result that is employed anytime evolutionary findings hit the table, probably has something to do with the perceived offense given by biology to the varieties of foundationalism which infect anti-Darwinists. The idea being that human morality just can’t issue should there be found links to monkeys.

This monkey business constitutes a kind of memetic thread that peaked with the 1960 movie Inherit the Wind, the movie about the 1925 Scopes trial. (The movie followed by five years the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee.)

As far as the origins of morality goes, it’s a fascinating problem for paleo-social-anthropology. I’d be surprised were I to learn Limbaugh is a young earth creationist, yet from that particular foundationalism human morality is worked out via the fall and the wisdom of patriarchs, and a bit of incest.

I wonder what the Rushster would answer if asked ‘what are the origins of conservative morality?’ Probably his answer would be appallingly ignorant…too.

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Dr. Brian C. Melton, Assistant Professor of History at Liberty University, writing at the web site Intellectual Conservative, Human Origins and a Side of Fries: Refuting a Popular Neo-Darwinian Position.

[A] A prime example of this appeared in Expelled, when Dawkins expressed a willingness to accept evidence of cellular intelligent design if it came from aliens, but not if it implied that God existed. While there is manifestly less proof to support the idea of extra-terrestrial life than a supernatural God, the general concept at least fits in with Dawkins’s naturalistic biases, and so he finds it acceptable. Evidence has nothing to do with it.

Brian, the word evidence meaningfully appears in your sentence [A] in two instances: (1) accept evidence if it came; and (2) not [accept] if it implied.

Evidence does have something to do with the difference between its coming from or coming about, and, its pointing toward some implication. But how to research the mechanics of the designer’s biological agency?

The ID crowd argues furiously in favor of this latter implication, that a designer is implied by inferences drawn from the current evidence. Yet, they understand that their understanding as much is impossible to demonstrate within any naturalistic verification methodology, (eg. science,) given the requisite supernatural causation and its mechanics or miraculous (pre?) mechanics.

So, marching off in the direction of “creation science” and post-science, why is it the proponents of creationism get so exercised by science when ID’s verification can’t even exist within the scientific framework?

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By way of the blog of Florida Citizens for Science comes a capture from the notes of a Taylor County Florida school board meeting.

Upon motion by Danny Lundy, seconded by Darrell Whiddon the Board adopted/approved the: 1.) Resolution regarding the new Sunshine State Standards for Science.

The adopted resolution is as follows:
Whereas, the Florida Department of Education has drafted and is now proposing new Sunshine State Standards for Science, the Taylor County School Board opposes the implementation of the new standards as currently presented.
Whereas, the new Sunshine State Standards for Science no longer present evolution as theory but as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence,” we are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Lundy and Whiddon, despite being ignorant, get props in my book for at least considering the begged-question that is primary to the whole project of teaching religion in biology classes. If God created the entire universe, it surely is worthwhile to wonder how. If the entirety of the scientific project stands on the pinhead of a creation tale, might as well begin to sort out how that could be the case. Except…not in science class.

The young earth creation tale is a candidate.

(excerpt from Billions of People in Thousands of Years?)

Let us start in the beginning with one male and one female. Now let us assume that they marry and have children and that their children marry and have children and so on. And let us assume that the population doubles every 150 years. Therefore, after 150 years there will be four people, after another 150 years there will be eight people, after another 150 years there will be sixteen people, and so on. It should be noted that this growth rate is actually very conservative. In reality, even with disease, famines, and natural disasters, the world population currently doubles every 40 years or so.

Evolutionists are always telling us that humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. If we did assume that humans have been around for 50,000 years and if we were to use the calculations above, there would have been 332 doublings, and the world’s population would be a staggering figure—a one followed by 100 zeros; that is

This figure is truly unimaginable, for it is billons of times greater than the number of atoms that are in the entire universe! Such a calculation makes nonsense of the claim that humans have been on earth for tens of thousands of years.Simple, conservative arithmetic reveals clear mathematical logic for a young age of the earth. From two people, created around 6,000 years ago, and then the eight people, preserved on the Ark about 4,500 years ago, the world’s population could have grown to the extent we now see it—over 6.5 billion.

With such a population clearly possible (and probable) in just a few thousand years, we could actually ask the question, “If humans were around millions of years ago, why is the population so small?” This is a question that evolution supporters must answer.

Dr. Monty White is now a young-earth creationist; however, as a young Christian, he believed in theistic evolution. Since 2000, he has been the CEO of Answers in Genesis—UK.

Hmmm, the doubling factor starting at two persons could be based upon:

Adam & Eve

two children, boy and a girl, by the time Adam & Eve are 30

Total 4; world population has doubled in 30 years; doubling factor=30 years.

Creation Control we have a problem. Now the two offspring need to procreate. But with whom? With mom, dad, each other?

I believe we’ll need to do some research!


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From a little-read but always amusing web site called, Intellectual Conservative. Article: Darwin’s Lapdog Thinks You’re an ID-iot! By Jeff Osonitsch

Money quote:

Johnson claims that ID is not scientific because “it predicts nothing, since it essentially states that everything is the way it is because God wanted it that way.” In fact, ID begins, according to the Discovery Institute, with the hypothesis that “if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of complex and specified information. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information.” They cite the concept of irreducible complexity as one example. This conforms to the scientific method of hypothesis, experimentation, and observation, leading to a conclusion.

Actually Jeff, your offered hypothesis itself contains several unproved hypotheses. The important one is: a natural object contains high levels of complex and specified information.

ID’s pseudo-scientific project wholly turns on this fundamental violation of hypothesis generation: it takes unproved vague propositions as being proved, and then argues for a method of proving a different proposition as if it isn’t the same as what it already takes as given and proven.

Look at this way:

Rocks are hard. (posit)

Hardness is always a product of design. (hypothesis masked as posit)

Rocks are designed. (pseudo-hypothesis)

Reverse the direction of the utterance: first you have a natural object, then you decide what makes it so, next you bolt “design” onto what makes it so, and end up with: the object must be designed. “See the bolts!”

Furthermore, if one cares not a wit about design and tracks back to constituents of the object, constituents that must predate its becoming the sort of object that must be complex, it must also be so that those constituents must be complex in only slightly less ‘complex’ terms than the so-called natural object.

(I count this as the main reason why the Discovery Institute hasn’t taken on the field of cosmology.)

In any case, you can’t hide your conclusion in the hypothesis and then say you’re doing science by inferring back to the hidden conclusion using only the terms of the same.

If the ID crowd is to do science, they’re compelled to do science about the agency of the designer be it revealed in evidence of the agent’s interference, or, maybe there is evidence of the heavenly workshop.

The author is so unaware of the logical stinker he’s peddling that the rest of the article is fabulously and unintentionally knee-slapping. Jeff is, on philosophical matters, apparently, dumb as a box of rocks.

Yet, he also writes,

In lieu of any actual argument, Johnson, like all Darwin sycophants, continually uses the straw-man tactic of culling the evolutionary examples he cites from the domain of micro-evolution – the universally accepted (and scientifically observable) concept that small changes occur within a given species such as when a bacterium develops a resistance to antibiotics – rather than citing an example of macro-evolution, or how one species transmogrifies over time into an entirely new species. There is a very simple reason for this sleight-of-hand: there is virtually no compelling evidence to support this, the cornerstone of Darwin’s theory – even after 150 years of looking.

Let’s see, how many examples of transitional fossils would one need to satisfy Jeff?

1? 5? 10? A zillion?

Jeff then takes on religion,

…one simply cannot be a Christian if he rejects the concept of a Creator.

This is because, presumably, the definition of a Christian is somebody who accepts the concept of a creator? And this rule of membership is found where?

Same mistake writ in a different domain. …funny stuff.

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It seems some leading lights of the anti-God, pro-evolution have become ensnared by an “op” of the intelligent design brotherhood. The NYT reports today the film, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” is a scree made to support ID and issues of academic freedom. Presumably the academic freedom is not free enough to allow non-scientific viewpoints in biology departments.

The article has lots of juicy tidbits about the nonsensical view of IDers, yet, at the same time, I think being entrapped in this movie serves Richard Dawkins and Eugenie Scott and other A-listers, right. They should have conducted a bit more peer review, as it were.

Anyway, from the article we learn:

(Narrator Ben Stein) He said he also believed the theory of evolution leads to racism and ultimately genocide, an idea common among creationist thinkers. If it were up to him, he said, the film would be called “From Darwin to Hitler.”

…an intellectually bereft idea just on the face of it.

(Producer Ruloff) He said he knew researchers, whom he would not name, who had studied cellular mechanisms and made findings “riddled with metaphysical implications” and suggestive of an intelligent designer. But they are afraid to report them, he said.

We know, at least could guess, that the niggling metaphysical implication is an instance of foundational methodological naturalism or its defeat. If it’s the former, it is–yet another–example of misunderstanding what the pragmatic predicates are to scientific research, and, if it’s the latter, it’s probably an example of a leap to an unsupported supposition.

Meanwhile, Mike the Mad Biologist has served up a response to a two year old article of Matt Yglesias. Yglesias wrote 9/21:

Last but not least, nothing whatsoever of practical importance hinges on whether or not life on earth originated as a result of intelligent design. The theory is exceedingly silly pseudo-science, but it doesn’t actually threaten anything. There is, moreoever, no reason to think it’s especially crucial for the average citizen to have an accurate grasp of state-of-the-art biological theory.

Whether your axe to grind is the infiltration of nonsense/non-science or creationism concealed under the cloak of Intelligent Design into science classes, both are significant threats to education.

However, Mad Mike offers a set of off target reasons in support of taking the threat of bad biology education seriously. They are, with one exception, themselves ridiculous.

A basic understanding of evolution is important for all people, not just scientists. Here’s one example: antibiotic resistance. The evolution of antibiotic resistance is a problem we can all address, only if we understand how the use of antibiotics selects-as in natural selection-for antibiotic resistant genotypes. I don’t expect people to be able to derive the neutral theory, but this we all must understand.

In tests of practical knowledge, it is found that most adults can’t pinpoint Paris on a globe. The sketch of evolution given in a high school class is where most people’s exposure to and knowledge of biology will come to an end. Mike doesn’t explain why his example is so pregnant. How the basic development of scientific knowledge unfolds amongst the laity, so-to-speak, seems beyond him. Most people will go through life knowing little of science or Paris. That’s not good but hoping tons of people to know about antibiotic resistance is hoping for way too much.

This is about education, not just politics. My experience has been that students who are exposed to evolutionary biology in high school (and are taught it well) have a much easier time grasping the harder material in college.

This is a straw man. Well-educated students obtain critical thinking tools able to serve their advancement through college and eventual subject area specialization. But the harder material points in the direction of the suggestion that high school biology is a most excellent preparation for college biology. Of course it is and there can’t be any advancement toward mastery of biology without sure-footed understanding of the basics of evolution. Doh. I don’t think there is any risk of dumbing down medical education for reasons Mike is apparently unaware of.

Evolutionary biology is very different in that the basic foundation is theoretical (not the case studies and examples). Unlike math, it’s a very different way of thinking because there is a strong historical component as well as a good deal of math. For example, there are very few high school courses where one implicitly or explicitly has to compare Aristotlean typological thought with Darwin’s population based approach. That’s good for your brain.

Bearing down on particulars here constitutes another straw man; not the best argument. One can study, as I did in prep school decades ago, biology and not engage the history of biology at all. Mike has a definite curriculum in mind! Yet is apparent that his view is better posed more generally: good science education helps build cognitive advantages. Doh! Ironically, I have long been aware of the weak philosophizing scientists do when they don’t know much about the philosophy of science. They don’t need to know anything about this philosophy to be able to do scientific work. When I read insipid elevation of biology’s difference as a discipline, I am reminded of this common shortfall.

Anyone who says that the religious right won’t try to target evolution is simply demonstrating a sorry lack of imagination

Yglesias’s primary assumption is that the battle between science and creationism (etc.,) exists but that it is irrelevant. He’s wrong of course but Mike seems to have worked himself up here.

The idea that a basic understanding of the world around us shouldn’t belong to the ‘little people’ is utterly arrogant. Say what you will about us eggheads, at least we think everyone potentially can understand what we’re talking about.

Mike could have, done some homework before making his anti-science capper. Not everybody can understand biology, and the constraints on understanding are well-studied in the field of cognitive psychology, and in studies about variations in cognitive ability. Oddly, Mike spends a lot of time arguing for a salutary very advanced understanding, and then ends with irrational generalizing about everybody’s potential.

This strikes me as a sideshow. If how science works is taught first, the charlantry on the fringes only can survive among fellow irrational travelers. I sympathize with Mad Mike but he drills down beyond where the real action takes place: explaining what science is and how it is conducted.

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Bill Maher embarrassed Mike Huckabee and himself during a brief inquiry into the Republican candidate’s position on evolution on a segment on Maher’s show Sunday.

Maher’s sloppy question, “Don’t you believe we’re descended from monkeys?” is obviously the wrong formulation because homo sapiens sapiens is not descended from monkeys as far as anybody knows. (The lines of descent for monkeys and man remain divergent as they descend toward different proto-types.) Better question: “Do you believe evolution accounts for the development of man from his non-human ancestors?”

Still, Huckabee’s casual attempt to dodge the question made for some rollicking self-exposure. He basically stated that ‘we really don’t know!’ But, to some extent, if not a large extent, much is known about the 3-4 million year development of homo sapiens sapiens from primitive homo-typical bi-pedal forms. Not only this, but Huckabee admitted implicitly that an eighth grader should know the sketch of development, yet this junior high knowledge was beyond him!

Should a President embrace or reject well-known scientific knowledge? Alas, in the majoritarian ignorance of the American people it is amazing the litmus test would favor ignorance. Still, there were lots of more pointed questions Huckabee which could have been (and should be) pitched to his, alas, tiny mind.

Such as:

Do you think alternatives to scientific understanding of human origins should be taught in public schools? Why? What is the principal challenge posed to current understanding this alternative proposes?

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Alright, I waded through Behe’s Edge of Evolution.

It provides no positive argument. At all. Counting here its argument from incredulity just for what it is: what biologists can’t readily explain to Behe’s satisfaction must allow for some other explanation. His acceptance of some features of evolution turns out to be complete non-acceptance because he’s enthused by the presumably magical cause at nearly the lowest level, the level everything above it developmentally biological rests upon, so-to-speak. If he has an idea about a superior explanation he offers it nowhere in his book.

Behe, from his Amazon blog. “Like Coyne, Carroll simply overlooks observational evidence that goes against Darwinian views.”

The biologist’s understanding of biological development may come to views that refine or overturn Darwin, but, when this happens, biologists will apprehend a demonstrably superior expanation of how this biological development occurs in nature. Behe hasn’t offered anything explanatory at all.

Behe: “That data demonstrates random mutation doesn’t explain the elegance of cellular systems.”

Okay, said elegant systems are explained by what theory of Behe’s?

By the way, pragmatically, the hallmark of design is anticipation of the prospective result of agency-in-application-to-a-result. Where there is design there is likely to exist evidence of anticipation. This allows us to discern the marvelous apparent undesigned representational veracity of the cloud looking like a bunny rabbit from a designed drawing of a bunny rabbit. Consider what cognitive features anticipation, thus design, are predicated by, contingent upon. You may arrive at a thrilling insight.

On July 1 Richard Dawkins demolishes Behe in the NYT Book Review pointing out that his central hypothesis has already been subjected to definitive experimentation.

But let’s follow Behe down his solitary garden path and see where his overrating of random mutation leads him. He thinks there are not enough mutations to allow the full range of evolution we observe. There is an “edge,” beyond which God must step in to help. Selection of random mutation may explain the malarial parasite’s resistance to chloroquine, but only because such micro-organisms have huge populations and short life cycles. A fortiori, for Behe, evolution of large, complex creatures with smaller populations and longer generations will fail, starved of mutational raw materials.

If mutation, rather than selection, really limited evolutionary change, this should be true for artificial no less than natural selection. Domestic breeding relies upon exactly the same pool of mutational variation as natural selection. Now, if you sought an experimental test of Behe’s theory, what would you do? You’d take a wild species, say a wolf that hunts caribou by long pursuit, and apply selection experimentally to see if you could breed, say, a dogged little wolf that chivies rabbits underground: let’s call it a Jack Russell terrier.

Read the review for the astonishing payoff!

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I’ve been trudging through the commentaries on Behe and his new book. This is exhausting. I know how it ends.

In a nutshell, Behe has accepted all but the remarkable causal supposition of modern evolutionary explanation. This rejected supposition in sum is that the natural evolutionary mechanics, especially random mutation, are commensurate with the results of biological complexity.

This public thrashing ends with Behe being taken to task for re-introducing a God of the gaps. This time those gaps are found between the researchable landscape of biology and the non-researchable landscape that supposes a designer’s intervention.

John Coyne: What has Behe now found to resurrect his campaign for ID? It’s rather pathetic, really. Basically, he now admits that almost the entire edifice of evolutionary theory is true: evolution, natural selection, common ancestry. His one novel claim is that the genetic variation that fuels natural selection–mutation–is produced not by random changes in DNA, as evolutionists maintain, but by an Intelligent Designer. That is, he sees God as the Great Mutator.

At this late stage of the ID instigation it should come as no surprise that Behe’s argument cannot escape fatal errors. After all, he’s utilizing a conception, design he’s defined a priori solely for the purpose of arguing it to be true post facto. In doing this he’s required–of himself–to create a tortuous argument that is both post-scientific and illogical.

I latch upon the post-scientific because regardless of the fatal flaws in Behe’s argument, we know it ends with his necessarily pointing in the direction of a supernatural intervention able to penetrate nature without leaving any trace. I assume the reason the ID researchers don’t go after any material facts about the supposed intervention is that they themselves assume their designer works without leaving evidence. Thus: post-science.

Arguments against ID are worthwhile and the best ones leave no valid ID leftover in their wake, yet all such arguments strike me as red herrings in the context of the supernatural supposition. It occurred to me, knowing in advance that the speculative literature about the ‘super-nature’ of the designer is barren, that the term design itself rests on an anthropomorphic assumption. We understand that something is designed because we have only human examples of processes of design and this is because the process of design itself results from human intentionality and the implementation of an operational intention to plan out the making of something. In other words, for example, design is an enactment of a particular human consciousness, so to speak of its particularity is also to recognize that short of this instrumental consciousness all other enactments in nature are instances of building, not design. Spiders build their webs. The spider doesn’t design and then build the web.

But, this is only supposed. Design is conceptualized clearly as a matter of describing what is expected to be evidence of observable elements of the process of design. This underlines design being a term about human activity, and a term defined in its own terms to be so. The ID crowd might come up with a new term to at least puncture the language game.

That they do not highlights the central importance of the anthropomorphic conceit, (reversed as: “in the image of God.”) This makes sense in terms of the language regime: a super-human consciousness is able to design just like conventional human consciousness does. God may use the greatest CAD workstation ever created, is an inveterate tinkerer, and is able to employ the most exquisite heuristics known to God and man alike.

But, all this is done with no trace of the intervention and penetration into concrete nature. My own sense, besides that this tracking of assumptions to where they must begin reveals the assumptions to be magical and reflexive nonsense, is that there cannot be any post-science about the super-nature of a creator if there is no trace of this creator’s, as it were, implementation.

To me, the design inference is unsupportable simply because of this anthropomorphic conceit. Ask yourself how one could infer a process of design that is untraceable to the designer? Also, why can’t we get into the head of God, or into the spider’s head?

Consider too that the evidence for design in man created examples is not complexity alone but is rather the evidence of the process of design; planning, documentation of trial and error, supplemental tools, recipes, blueprints, staged elements, and all other types of necessary instrumentality, etc.

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Post-creationist Michael Behe has a new book, The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, and I’ll be adding to my comments here over the next few days. I am not in any way qualified to evaluate the book’s technical argument and ty\he arguments of Behe’s critics unless all such arguments are couched in terms a very intelligent layperson can deal with. Over the many years of my own interest in the whole controversy there have been plenty of those kinds of arguments. Alas, Behe, even if he has attempted to write for intelligent people, has not made any arguments that I am able to analyze and evaluate as being secure in simply the non-technical terms they articulate. On the other hand, others have beat down his arguments in terms I can understand.

This said, no intelligent design proponent has addressed the central question-begging feature of their hypotheses at all. If I split this central feature in two, one of the sides would be meta-biology and would be concerned with how anyone could provide a propositional argument, operationalize it, and then verify the method and argument via which inferences about design could be made from the facts of biology.

The other half is similar but would be defined by a philosophical argument able to ramify a truth claim, or claims, about the same subject matter, albeit this would fall short of a biological hypothesis, and would be only an argument in the domain of the meta-philosophy of science. (Although there could also be a theological argument, I have no idea how one would discern and implicate a warrant for a truth claim in a theological argument.) Obviously such argument-critical propositions, operations, hypothesizing, and claims all have to be true enough. This leads, as I’m inclined to sense a core problem, to a single question: whether the agency of a designer operates wholly from within nature, or, not.

The latter form of argument, with its implicit supernaturalistic supposition, has not been adequately argued anywhere. I would go as far to suggest it cannot be argued successfully until a trace of instrumental agency, regardless of whether it is generated ‘outside of nature,’ is discovered. Without this discovery, all arguments of the latter type are infected by supposing the conclusion is equal to the first term of the argument: the designer is the only explanation because design is self-explanatory; design explains design; common form: complexity implies design.

In the former case, a wholly philosophical naturalistic argument ‘from design’ imposes naturalistic requisites. My own sense is this argument also is required to be dragged back to cosmological ‘first things’ because any argument plugged in elsewhere simply begs the question of at what point of natural development it is necessarily first instantiated. Clearly this eventually requires such an argument to be made about the very first developmental events being designed.

No sound naturalistic argument of this sort has been made outside of the encumbered deistic supposition; and that idea is only supposed. It suffers from the same problem as the supernaturalistic supposition. It supposes its terms and then sets out to take those suppositions as being true.

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The truths of science and faith are complementary: they deal with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God.

It does not strike me as anti-science or anti-reason to question the philosophical presuppositions behind theories offered by scientists who, in excluding the possibility of design or purpose, venture far beyond their realm of empirical science.

The unique and special place of each and every person in creation is a fundamental truth that must be safeguarded. I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine man’s essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos. I firmly believe that each human person, regardless of circumstance, was willed into being and made for a purpose.

Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

Unfortunately, Brownback obviously doesn’t recognize, perhaps is unable to recognize, the simple logical flaws in his string of suppositions. On the face of his editorial, there is a measured reasonableness. Yet, even the slightest scratch of the surface reveals a collision not of fact so much as of propositions.

Biologists would tomorrow gather to study the phenomena of divine or intelligent design if there were phenomena to actually study. The mechanisms of design are only excluded because they haven’t materialized. Such phenomena aren’t prevented from materializing at a future point should they exist and should they be found.

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An underling of Georgia state legislator Ben Bridges writes a memo tagging a Jewish Pharisee conspiracy as the cause of “secular evolution science”. Then, after lying about it in the aftermath of the memo’s stirring the pot, State rep. Bridges admits, courtesy of talkingpointsmemo:

Asked if he agreed with the Kaballah evolution conspiracy theory and the earth’s lack of motion, he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory. I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie why teach anything?”

If this kind of thing interests you, by all means follow links back to the memo, and media hullabaloo in Georgia.

Rep. Bridges had help and it all leads back to fixedearth.com.


WHAT IF – the Bible teaches a stationary earth (just like everyone agreed it did until Copernican and finally Newtonian “mathematics” scared the churches into thinking that “science” had proof of heliocentricity)?

WHAT IF   – Today’s Copernican-dependent, evolution-based “creation scenario” for the Universe, the Earth and all life forms including mankind is directly derived from ancient and current writings of Bible-bashing, Christ-hating Rabbinical Kabbalists??

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These videos are so funny that I’ll post several. They unwittingly prove a number of points. One: circular arguments can be humorous. Two: should we learn there is an intelligent designer, said designer has a big sense of humor, proved by the design of guileless pseudo-logicians and tautologists who serve as spokespersons for winking intelligent designers. Three: the ‘all at once’ argument is my candidate for silliest pseudo-argument for a designer because the questions it begs point directly toward evolutionary solutions, and not toward the syllogistic nonsense paid off by the equation: amazing! = design!.

Please note baby giraffes are nowhere as amazing as are their gravity burdened elders.

Of course this all begs the question of who designed the designer. Amazing!!!

Wait, this is not the silliest argument. Recently I heard a minister on NPR offer the ‘fact’ that scientific observation couldn’t have occurred before there was science, so “nobody was around to observe what actually happened and there can be no science about what happened prior to the existence of science itself”. Alas, a caller in response fumbled the rejoinder by not inquiring how anybody could actually know that the Minister was ‘happening’.

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