Jan 30 2017

Anti-Evolution Bills Continue to Evolve

teacherclassroomstudents01272017gettyAs we enter a new legislative session in many states we are also faced by a new wave of anti-evolution bills. Creationists have been trying to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools since Scopes in the 1920s. They have essentially been unsuccessful legally but successful culturally. For the first half of the 20th century they made the “e” word too controversial for textbooks. Since then they have provided cover for teachers in the Bible Belt to teach creationism or falsely criticize evolution.

In a 2011 survey, only 28% of high school biology teachers reporting following National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences recommendations in teaching evolution, and 13% reported that they openly advocated creationism.

This, of course, refers only to public schools. Private schools can openly teach creationism, which is exactly why Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has spent so much effort and money promoting school vouchers and private schools.

Legally anti-evolution efforts have consistently run up against that pesky First Amendment, which guarantees religious freedom. The Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that the government (Federal or State) cannot promote any specific religion or religious belief. Creationism is a religious belief, not science, no matter how creationists try to dress it up, therefore it doesn’t fly.

Creationist legislators have been experimenting with different tactics to provide legal cover for teachers to teach creationist propaganda in public schools. They cannot overtly teach creationism, so (they figure) maybe they can simply attack evolution. That works for them since they operate under the false dichotomy of – if not evolution, then creationism (whatever flavor of creationism they prefer). So undermining evolution is good enough.

After the failure of Intelligent Design, which a judge correctly concluded was simply warmed-over creationism, they have been taking a “strengths and weaknessnes” approach. Essentially these laws state that teachers are allowed to teach the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, climate change, the Big Bang, and other theories they deem “controversial.” These efforts have been successful in Louisiana in 2008 and Tennessee in 2012.

They have so far failed in a number of other states. So, legislators are getting more sly. The latest round of bills simply do not mention evolution or any other theory specifically. This dodges the claim that the bill is religously biased. John West of the Discovery Institute (who author model bills for states to follow) lays out the strategy:

“Good science is based on critical inquiry, not unthinking dogmatism. If we want to equip today’s students to be tomorrow’s innovators, we need to teach them how to be out of the box thinkers who know how to sift and analyze competing explanations in light of the evidence.”

The idea is to provide legal cover for teachers who want to introduce anti-evolution propaganda into their classroom, under the guise that they are teaching their students critical thinking. The hope is such bills will be more difficult to challenge under the First Amendment, and they may be right.

Hopefully judges will not be fooled by this strategy. As with the Dover case that rejected Intelligent Design, the history and context of such bills is important. In many cases the same legislator is proposing evolving versions of the same bill, clearly showing continuity with creationist efforts. There is no question that such bills are not concerned with critical thinking, but rather with undermining the teaching of evolution.

The problem here is that the deception by creationists is getting progressively more subtle. They started a century ago simply banning the teaching of evolution. When that ultimately failed they shifted to giving equal time to evolution and creationism, which they rebranded as “creation science.” When this fooled no one they again rebranded creationism as Intelligent Design, but they just restated the same old arguments in sciencey jargon. Again, no one was fooled.

Now they are promoting the teaching of “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, and most recently of just allowing teachers to question consensus science, without naming evolution specifically.

It is simple to argue that creationism is a religious belief and teaching it in public schools therefore violates the First Amendment. It is more difficult to explain exactly why a law allowing teachers to challenge consensus science also violates the First Amendment.

First, let’s establish why such a law is both wrong and unnecessary, in any context. The process of science already includes critical analysis, the weighing of evidence, and determining how we know what we know. Therefore properly teaching science should also include these things.

I am, of course, a strong advocate of teaching critical thinking, of questioning everything, and of asking the deeper questions about how scientists know things. This is what science class should be teaching – but teaching properly.

This is not, however, the same thing as simply questioning or denying the strong consensus of scientific opinion. Teachers should be teaching how science works, what hypotheses and theories scientists have put forward, how they have changed over time in response to evidence, and what the current consensus of opinion is and why. This certainly can include legitimate controversies in science.

In fact, one of the skills that science teachers should be teaching is how to determine to what extent a theory is controversial vs rock solid.

Teachers should not be substituting their own opinions for the scientific consensus. Giving students their own quirky view on things is not providing them a proper scientific education. They should be teaching what the scientific community thinks.

The sifting and analyzing of different explanations already happens within the scientific community, and the result of that process should be properly conveyed to students.

If you want to teach students how to think independently, then present to them legitimate controversies in science. Were the dinosaurs wiped out entirely be a meteor, or were they already in decline before the impact? What are the different lines of evidence, what do different scientists believe? Let them debate that with evidence, while understanding what the scientific community thinks.

This gets us to the real problem with these laws – they are essentially motivated reasoning written into law. They are clearly meant not to improve the teaching of science but to make it legally difficult for school boards to enforce quality control in the face of science teachers who are abusing their position to promote their personal religious beliefs.

Let’s say a biology teacher teaches students that “some scientists” believe that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. They are just introducing a “weakness” of evolutionary theory, and the students can decide for themselves how valid the argument is. The problem is, this is a completely bogus argument that has already been thoroughly debunked. It does not represent critical thinking or scientific thinking. It represents pseudoscience and motivated reasoning.

If the school board feels that teaching this nonsense is below the standards of the school they may be blocked from taking corrective action because the teacher can sue them under such a state law. That is the very point of such legislation.

Essentially such laws are meant to block quality control measures. Their purpose is to decrease the quality of science education by making it impossible for school boards to enforce academic quality.

I should also mention that young students are very impressionable. Teachers need to make a specific effort not to impress their personal beliefs onto students. They are authority figures. In fact, they should be teaching students to question them.

If a teacher spends a lot of time teaching bogus “weaknesses” of evolution, it is naive to think that young students will not be strongly influenced by this. (Again, that’s the point.)

Hopefully, state legislators who are not dedicated creationists and judges (if it comes to that) will see the continuity of such laws with prior creationist efforts. They should also see that such laws do not promote but undermine the quality of science education. They serve no purpose other than to undermine science education, and that calls into question the motivation of those promoting them.

 

272 responses so far

272 Responses to “Anti-Evolution Bills Continue to Evolve”

  1. mumadaddon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:20 am

    I have a magic ritual that summons Michael Egnor, which I am conducting right now

  2. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:26 am

    I have no doubt that hardnose might possibly make an appearance too.

  3. SteveAon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:43 am

    mumadadd: “I have a magic ritual that summons Michael Egnor, which I am conducting right now.”

    Make sure that’s the blood of a ‘black’ cockerel you sprinkle over the roasted pig’s heart. Last week I used a white cockerel by mistake and Stephen Meyer materialised in our downstairs bathroom…

  4. Lobsterbashon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:32 am

    I’m concerned that with our new federal administration, many of the people who would have otherwise spent their time battling things like anti-evolution bills will be occupied with bigger fish to fry. Thus, more fundamentalism will slip through the cracks in the next few years. Along with the likes of DeVos, a general erosion of the barrier between church and state in education.

  5. Kabboron 30 Jan 2017 at 9:44 am

    Looks like we need to put the discotute on the defensive, start crafting bills that are all about adding a component to history or political science classes about historical underhanded efforts to undermine the American education system. Simultaneously educational and satisfying.

  6. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:11 am

    Making sure the confusion continues by never defining “evolution” or “creationism.”

    Most people do NOT believe literal biblical creationism.

    Most people do NOT believe evolution resulted from blind chance and natural selection.

  7. Willyon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:21 am

    hn: Polls show that roughly 40% of the US public believes in young earth creationism.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx

    You just make stuff up, don’t you?

  8. Kabboron 30 Jan 2017 at 10:34 am

    40% of people is not ‘most’ so hardnose is technically correct if you use the literal definition of most. However saying ‘most people’, you usually connote a wider margin than 60/40. Saying most people … anything … is not a particularly instructive statement. In the US, most people are female.

  9. SteveAon 30 Jan 2017 at 11:10 am

    I’d be quite content to see creationism taught in schools. Too few youngsters seem to know the importance of Audhumla or Ymir. Most seem never to have heard of them at all.

    More (or less) seriously, perhaps the first step in proving Abrahamic creation myths worthy of study in schools would be to show why they are better than any other culture’s creation myths.

    Why not Apache? Let’s give Kuterastan some air-time for change.

  10. daedalus2uon 30 Jan 2017 at 11:16 am

    HN, so give us appropriate definitions.

  11. Yehouda Harpazon 30 Jan 2017 at 11:40 am

    > If you want to teach students how to think independently, then present to
    > them legitimate controversies in science. Were the dinosaurs wiped out
    > entirely be a meteor, or were they already in decline before the impact?

    That is far too complex for high-school students.

    The honest answer for “teaching critical thinking” is that science
    by now is advanced enough that it is far beyond the capability of
    a high-schooler to criticize it (unless it is a young Einstein). You first
    need to know what is already known and how, and you don’t really
    reach that without few years in University (at least).

    { Can we skip HN in this thread? }

  12. KeithJMon 30 Jan 2017 at 11:50 am

    >The honest answer for “teaching critical thinking” is that science
    >by now is advanced enough that it is far beyond the capability of
    >a high-schooler to criticize it (unless it is a young Einstein). You first
    >need to know what is already known and how, and you don’t really
    >reach that without few years in University (at least).

    But you don’t have to discuss cutting edge science to teach critical thinking. You could do something like start with lamarckian evolution, and then consider how you could disprove it, then discuss evidence that points toward natural selection.

    Or if you want to get away from evolution entirely, discuss Newtonian physics and then move on to situations that it doesn’t cover, and the ramifications of that information.

  13. Yehouda Harpazon 30 Jan 2017 at 12:06 pm

    > But you don’t have to discuss cutting edge science to teach critical thinking.
    > You could do something like start with lamarckian evolution, and then consider
    > how you could disprove it, then discuss evidence that points toward natural selection.

    You are overestimating the capabilities of high-schoolers. Disproving Lamarckian evolution
    is far beyond them. And Lamarckian evolution isn’t science by now. It is part of history
    of science (which is useful to teach too).

    Extensions to Newtonian mechanics are also beyond that level.

  14. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Teach about what Galileo was right about and what Galileo was wrong about.

    Also use this example to show how ridiculous the censorship of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo makes the religion look. Centuries later, dozens of popes later, Pope John Paul II apologized.

    That was too little, too late, but it helps to put the rest of religious propaganda in perspective.

    Why was the Bible wrong?

    Why were the people with divine guidance wrong?

    Why are so many religious people so opposed to truth?

    Why is religion such an obstacle to learning what is real?

    .

  15. BBBlueon 30 Jan 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Wouldn’t it be appropriate to introduce religion, creationism, ID, etc. in a science class or section on critical thinking as an example of what science is not and why?

  16. bendon 30 Jan 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I’m a Sunday school teacher. I think I’ll prepare a lesson on the weaknesses of creationism. Ummm. Maybe a couple lessons.

  17. Steven Novellaon 30 Jan 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Harpaz – I think you are being too pessimistic. You can teach critical thinking at an appropriate level. I really think you need to teach students not just the findings of science but the process of science, which will inevitably involve some controversy.

    The problem here is teaching a fake controversy using invalid debunked claims because of a clear religious agenda.

  18. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Actually, I welcome Darwinists’ use of legal force to compel silence.

    Nothing says “a good scientific theory” like a federal court order banning criticism of it.

  19. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 4:36 pm

    And nothing says “Skeptic” like calling the cops when someone criticizes your theory.

    Open public discussion is so… messy.

  20. mumadaddon 30 Jan 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Folks, it’s quite a convoluted ritual and my local store was all our of chicken bones. Please excuse the delay, but normal service has been resumed.

  21. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I especially love the conflation of good educational policy with jail time if you disagree.

    “Teaching children only the good things about Darwinian theory is good science, and if you disagree in the classroom, you go to jail.”

    That’s a sign of a good scientific theory.

  22. tb29607on 30 Jan 2017 at 5:01 pm

    mumadadd,
    For a minute there I was beginning to questioning your magicalismness.
    Maybe you should try rhino horn next time.

  23. Pete Aon 30 Jan 2017 at 5:01 pm

    “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.” — Michael Egnor.
    https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/egnor-aint-no-kin-to-no-monkey/

  24. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Michael,

    ‘I especially love the conflation of good educational policy with jail time if you disagree’.

    How many ID proponents were jailed in the Dover case? How many creationist teachers have been jailed for repeatedly refusing to follow their schools’ syllabus?

    You should be able to cite many cases.

    ‘Teaching children only the good things about Darwinian theory is good science, and if you disagree in the classroom, you go to jail’. Where did you get that quote? Who said (or wrote) it? I can’t find it anywhere in this thread.

  25. Kabboron 30 Jan 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Oh that was a quote from his good friend the Wiizard of Oz Scarecrow. A straw man who is missing something.

  26. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 5:51 pm

    [How many ID proponents were jailed in the Dover case?]

    None, because they remained silent in accordance with the federal court order.

    You only go to jail (and or are fined) if you disobey a federal court order.

    Federal court to teachers and administrators in Dover (paraphrase): ‘remain silent about Darwinism’s weaknesses. If you speak, you will be fined and/or go to prison.’

    That’s how federal court orders work. Compliance is mandatory by federal law. You are fined and/or imprisoned if you don’t comply.

    Sounds like ‘the scientific method, evolutionary biology style’, to me.

  27. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 5:54 pm

    And don’t get me wrong–I don’t object. Your use of legal force to compel scientific assent does more damage to your theory than the Discovery Institute has ever done.

    It also sets a nice precedent. Perhaps law and science are a good mix. You won’t prevail forever, and it will be our turn.

  28. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 6:14 pm

    We’re certainly in a post-truth age when Michael Egnor justifies his use of jail time as a means of saying he really means something else, such as a fine for flouting a court decision in which the person has been part of. And refusing to state where he’s got his quote.

    And using the word ‘paraphrase’ to indicate that he’s just making stuff up again.

    Conservatives such as Egnor are just liars and well qualified for the Dishonesty Institute.

  29. RickKon 30 Jan 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Aww, poor Michael. You can’t teach religion bald disguised as science in science class. Poor persecuted you.

    No, the courts don’t allow you to teach magic in science class. They don’t (and shouldn’t) allow teachers to fill gaps in our scientific knowledge with whatever religion the teacher believes.

    What a horrible legacy to leave your children – knowing their father devoted his energies to an organization devoted to attacking and downplaying and minimizing and obfuscating every discovery made about nature’s most amazing process. The cdesign proponentsists art the Discovey Institute are the enemies of discovery.

  30. Kabboron 30 Jan 2017 at 6:35 pm

    To be fair, they also won’t let the teachers teach that the United States was founded by Jesus himself 3 years before the native Americans scalped him. Too bad, he was a legendary gunslinger who died before his time.

  31. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 6:43 pm

    [What a horrible legacy to leave your children – knowing their father devoted his energies to an organization devoted to attacking and downplaying and minimizing and obfuscating every discovery made about nature’s most amazing process.]

    It’s not just a horrible legacy.

    It’s a crime.

  32. Steve Crosson 30 Jan 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Michael Egnor,

    I’ll believe you are sincerely interested in the quality of education when you support equal time for ALL competing theories. So … Islam, Buddism, Hinduism, and dozens more, even if you just count the major world religions. Still interested ???

  33. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 7:02 pm

    “The problem here is teaching a fake controversy using invalid debunked claims because of a clear religious agenda.”

    There is a very real and very current controversy and you know it. Evolutionary biologists do NOT agree on the cause of evolution.

    THAT is what the controversy is about. The New Atheists want to teach children that evolution was caused by chance and natural selection, so they will grow up to be atheists, and atheists will be the majority and in charge of everything. And the world will be a wonderful place.

  34. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 7:03 pm

    @Steve Cross:

    Let me sort this out for you, asshole.

    There are two issues here.

    1) One is whether federal courts should be censoring teachers who critique Darwin, using fine or imprisonment.

    2) The other, which has nothing to do with the first, is ‘what is the best curriculum to teach to students?’

    On the first, you are a fucking totalitarian, not a scientists.

    On the second, that is a topic on which reasonable people can differ.

    For me, I support teaching the strength and weaknesses of Darwinism.

    Clear enough for you, asshole?

  35. Willyon 30 Jan 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Dr. Egnor: “Nothing says “a good scientific theory” like a federal court order banning criticism of it.”
    Why don’t you try and find out how many court orders have been issued to defend religious freedom? (I seem to recall that is even in our Constitution, no?) And, no, there is no court order banning speaking out against evolution, is there? IS THERE?

    Which form of creationism do you think should be taught? All of them? Just your version? What facts should be presented as “science” in order to support any version of creationism, from the many Christian versions, to those believed around the world? Do ALL of them have a right to teach YOUR kids and grandkids their “truth”?

    I don’t think that you really THINK at all. You have a belief system that can’t be challenged and anyone who disagrees with you is considered evil and maliciously motivated. You are a mechanic, a true believer, not a thinker.

    Finally, if you really want to go back in history and worry about the force of law, you just might want to consider the horrid history of your fine church. Auto-da-fe, anyone? Witch burning? House arrest for Galileo? bruno? Etc. and etc. and etc.?

  36. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Critical thinking is all about questioning authorities and experts, such as the Catholic Pope, or Sunday school teachers, or your parents.

    But it is ALSO about questioning the mainstream scientific consensus, and research funding by powerful corporations and agencies.

    I never see you “Skeptics” being skeptical about the CDC or the FDA.

    You trust anything, as long as it supports the idea that human scientists are smarter than nature.

  37. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 7:37 pm

    @Willy:

    [And, no, there is no court order banning speaking out against evolution, is there? IS THERE?]

    Quotation from Judge Jones’ federal court order:

    “… we will enter an order permanently enjoining defendants from maintaining the ID policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.”

    There is a court order “permanently enjoining” curricular policy in Dover that “denigrate[s] or disparage[s]” Darwinism.

    In other words, if the district sets curriculum that criticizes Darwin, it is a violation of a federal court order.

    A federal crime, in other words.

  38. chikoppion 30 Jan 2017 at 8:03 pm

    [hardnose] But it is ALSO about questioning the mainstream scientific consensus, and research funding by powerful corporations and agencies.

    High school students need to be taught the scientific method and basic principles. They are no more capable of assessing expert research than a home economics student is capable of running an investment firm. For that matter, neither are most high school science teachers.

    [michaelegnor] “… we will enter an order permanently enjoining defendants from maintaining the ID policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.”

    Right. A public school that requires science teachers to not teach science and instead proselytize to students is violating both the public trust and the separation clause.

  39. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 8:12 pm

    @chi:

    [A public school that requires science teachers to not teach science and instead proselytize to students is violating both the public trust and the separation clause.]

    Discussing the problems with Darwin theory and discussing ID is proselytization?

    I thought it was just open discussion of science.

  40. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 8:15 pm

    [A public school that requires science teachers to not teach science and instead proselytize to students is violating both the public trust and the separation clause.]

    And what’s this nonsense about “requiring science teachers to not teach science”?

    The full evolutionary biology curriculum was taught in Dover.

    The only “teaching” of ID was the reading to students (by an administrator) of a 2 minute statement that ID is an alternate theory, and referring students to a book in the library if they were interested.

    How is that “requiring science teachers to not teach science”?

  41. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    Federal court to teachers and administrators in Dover (paraphrase): ‘remain silent about Darwinism’s weaknesses. If you speak, you will be fined and/or go to prison.’

    A better paraphrase would be that if you continue to violate the Constitution and use the public schools to spread anti-science propaganda, you will receive a letter from a legal group about your violation of the rights of Americans.

    Your paranoia is showing.

    The witnesses for the Creationists in Dover could not come up with any weaknesses in evolution, but they did expose the absurdity of Intelligent Design, which is just a legal fraud used to introduce Creationism into the science classroom.

    Why are Creationists so afraid of science?

    A Catholic Creationist? Aren’t you and the rest of your ilk embarrassed at how you reject your own religion?

    The recent popes have acknowledged that evolution is real and Intelligent Design is just a fraud to indoctrinate children against science.

    .

  42. Steve Crosson 30 Jan 2017 at 8:25 pm

    “I thought it was just open discussion of science.”

    Genuine science is supported by evidence and makes testable (and successful) predictions.

    ID religion competing theories have no convincing evidence and can’t even agree among themselves which “Designer” is the correct one.

  43. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 8:26 pm

    @Rogue meDick:

    [Why are Creationists so afraid of science?]

    Do I, who have blogged in this hate storm for a decade under my own name (unlike you, coward) strike you as “afraid”?

  44. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:29 pm

    “The recent popes have acknowledged that evolution is real and Intelligent Design is just a fraud to indoctrinate children against science.”

    Intelligent Design has never said anything against evolution.

  45. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    @Rogue meDick:

    [Why are Creationists so afraid of science?]

    Do I, who have blogged in this hate storm for a decade under my own name (unlike you, coward) strike you as “afraid”?

    If you don’t know who I am, it is only because you haven’t looked.

    The only fear I see is in your repeated use of logical fallacies to attempt to hide from reality.

    You even reject reality when it comes from your own Pope Francis, calling him a fraud.

    .

  46. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Hardnose,

    “I never see you ‘skeptics’ being skeptical about the CDC or FDA”. Because you never look.

    And evolutionary biologists DO agree what causes evolution. It’s not chance and random selection. The cause of evolution is changing environments acting on reproductive populations (which includes changing competitors, predators and prey, as well as climate change). Natural selection is just a mechanism of evolution – a guiding or organising force, not a driving force – acting on natural variation within populations.

    This has been explained to you so many times, and you’ve never answered it, so I suspect you’re just as egnorant and dishonest as Michael Egnor.

    Michael Egnor,

    Still haven’t provided a source for your quote.

  47. chikoppion 30 Jan 2017 at 8:50 pm

    [michaelegnor] The only “teaching” of ID was the reading to students (by an administrator) of a 2 minute statement that ID is an alternate theory, and referring students to a book in the library if they were interested.

    How is that “requiring science teachers to not teach science”?

    There are THREE clauses in the injunction you cited.

    “… we will enter an order permanently enjoining defendants (1) from maintaining the ID policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, (2) from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and (3) from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.”

    An administrator impeding on a science class to read proselytization material is implementing public school policy in violation of the court order.

    If a school maintained a policy of having an administrator appear in front of a History class to proclaim that the Quran is a historically legitimate recounting of factual events, available in the library should anyone be interested, the offense would be equivalent.

  48. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:52 pm

    hardnose,

    Intelligent Design has never said anything against evolution.

    Are you claiming that Intelligent Design is a creature that expresses its opinion on science?

    Did you use The Wisdom of Chopra to write that?

    I got this one – “The physical world nurtures subjective space time events”

    What next? Be sure to drink your Ovaltine?

    .

  49. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:54 pm

    “Are you claiming that Intelligent Design is a creature that expresses its opinion on science?”

    Intelligent Design is a movement within evolutionary biology that expresses its opinion on science.

  50. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 8:55 pm

    @backfiend:

    “This has been explained to you so many times, and you’ve never answered it”

    You “explained” your idea about evolution countless times. None of those times did it make any sense. How can I answer something that doesn’t make sense?

  51. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:05 pm

    hardnose,

    “Are you claiming that Intelligent Design is a creature that expresses its opinion on science?”

    Intelligent Design is a movement within evolutionary biology that expresses its opinion on science.

    You appear to be putting ketamine in your Ovaltine.

    You should stop.

    The similar endings do not mean that the substances are similar.

    Intelligent Design is a legal scam concocted by the Discovery Institute.

    The Discovery Institute is an anti-science propaganda organization that encourages school districts to take a public stance on teaching the religion of the Discovery Institute in science classrooms. Then the Discovery Institute claims that the school officials did everything on their own and the Discovery Institute is not liable for their actions.

    The Discovery Institute teaches the banality of Intelligent Design.

    .

  52. TheGorillaon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Make teleology great again

  53. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Hardnose,

    Evolutionary biology doesn’t make sense to you. How can I assist you in acquiring some sense?

  54. RickKon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:11 pm

    hn: “Intelligent Design is a movement within evolutionary biology that expresses its opinion on science.”

    Baloney

    In theory, that may be true. In practice however, ID is an advertising campaign and a tool for fundamentalist Christians who see it as a wedge with which to drive Genesis back into science classes and public policy.

    Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the ID “researchers” are not the actions of scientists seeking actual truth. They do not attempt to convince their scientific peers with weight of evidence. They treat criticism as an attack, as a shunning, rather than as part of the gauntlet that any new scientific idea must run. The ID proponents appeal directly to the public with scientific-sounding books like “Signature in the Cell”, using math and terminology that the vast majority of the general public is not equipped to critique.

    And they use lawyers and press releases. The Discovery Institute in Seattle is promoting intelligent design with a media machine that is churning out several press releases every week. Using funding from Young Earth Creationists, the lawyers and politicos who head the Discovery Institute keep the ID “manufactroversy” in business.

    From the Discovery Institute’s own documents:

    “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

    “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”

    If there are any actual honest ID “scientists”, people actually trying to study something scientifically and trying to devise actual falsifiable tests, they are lost in sea of bamboozle and mis-direction that is the heart and soul of the “Intelligent Design” lobby.

    The pseudoscientific advertising machine of the Discovery Institute most closely resembles the ad campaigns by Big Tobacco in the late 60s. But where Big Tobacco were (by their own admission) marketing doubt in the science that showed smoking causes cancer, the Discovery Institute (by its own admission) markets doubt in the materialist science of evolution.

    These are not the ACTIONS of people of science. They are the actions of people of politics and religious ideology.

    So don’t for a minute consider Intelligent Design to be anything other than an advertising strategy paid for and promoted by conservative Christian activists.

  55. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 9:12 pm

    [Intelligent Design is a movement within evolutionary biology that expresses its opinion on science.]

    Precisely. ID is a theory of evolution that posits that intelligent agency is the best explanation for some aspects of biological evolution.

    ID is in fact the oldest theory of evolution (it was the view of all biologists of all or no religious faith until the late 19th century).

    Contra the Darwinists here, ID is not proselytizing, any more (or less) than atheistic Darwinism is proselytizing.

    In fact, when boiled down, ID and Darwinism are merely the “Yes” and “No” answer to the scientific question: does biology manifest intelligent agency in its structure and function.

    If ID isn’t science, then Darwinism isn’t science, because they are merely opposing answers to the same question.

  56. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 9:16 pm

    [These are not the ACTIONS of people of science. They are the actions of people of politics and religious ideology.]

    I can quote just as many Darwinists who insist the Darwin’s theory is a vehicle of atheism as you can quote ID’ers who insist that ID is a vehicle of theism.

    If you must ban one from schools, based on religious quotes from advocates, you must ban both.

  57. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:23 pm

    @bachfiend: “Evolutionary biology doesn’t make sense to you. How can I assist you in acquiring some sense?”

    Your version of it doesn’t.

  58. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    ID is in fact the oldest theory of evolution (it was the view of all biologists of all or no religious faith until the late 19th century).

    There is an excellent book by Rebecca Stott, called Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution, which looks at the various beliefs of the people who wrote about evolutionary explanations similar to those of Darwin and Wallace.

    Furthermore, Darwin and Wallace recognized evolution independently.

    The idea that everyone believed in a Big Brain waving a magic wand around as the origin of life is a nice idea, but it appears to be just an example of you making unreasonable assumptions, again.

    .

  59. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:30 pm

    “These are not the ACTIONS of people of science. They are the actions of people of politics and religious ideology.”

    It’s human nature to make anything into a religion or an ideology. Don’t tell me the New Atheists haven’t done about the same thing.

    But Intelligent Design is, as you acknowledged, more than just religious dogmatism. It’s a mathematical approach that finds fault with neo-Darwinism.

  60. chikoppion 30 Jan 2017 at 9:31 pm

    [michaelegnor] Precisely. ID is [an unsubstantiated and ideologically-motivated hypothesis] of evolution that posits that intelligent agency is the best explanation for some aspects of biological evolution.

    Fixed it for you.

    ID is in fact the oldest theory of evolution (it was the view of all biologists of all or no religious faith until the late 19th century).

    Appeal to antiquity. We also don’t teach spontaneous generation or phlogiston theory. Maybe we should? After all, these are ‘alternate’ theories.

    If ID isn’t science, then Darwinism isn’t science, because they are merely opposing answers to the same question.

    Except that’s not how science works. It isn’t based on false equivalency. When the evidence for ID is equivalent to the evidence for Modern Synthesis, then, and only then, will it become a scientific discussion. Science is established via the scientific method, not philosophical speculation.

  61. Willyon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Dr. Egnor: Dishonesty and selective quotes will get you nowhere. Or, perhaps, you can’t grasp the meaning of “requiring”.

    Meanwhile, you ducked out on most of my points. Typical for your oh-so selective responses.

    Here’s a simple challenge: Provide ONE SINGLE fact that supports the idea that a creator participated in our existence. Further, provide ONE SINGLE FACT that demonstrates that said creator is the Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu, or…) god. Tell us how preaching ID is “science”.

  62. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:33 pm

    “Furthermore, Darwin and Wallace recognized evolution independently”

    No, evolution was recognized long before either of them.

    Darwin and Wallace were famous for recognizing the role of natural selection in evolution. Darwin thought it might be one of the causes of evolution, while Wallace thought of it more as a cybernetic governor, that prevents evolution.

    I agree with Wallace.

  63. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:36 pm

    hardnose,

    “Furthermore, Darwin and Wallace recognized evolution independently”

    No, evolution was recognized long before either of them.

    Your response does not contradict what I wrote.

    .

  64. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 9:39 pm

    @Willy:

    [Here’s a simple challenge: Provide ONE SINGLE fact that supports the idea that a creator participated in our existence.]

    Arguing theology with you would be like arguing quantum mechanics with a marmot.

    I’d rather gouge my eyes out.

  65. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    [Here’s a simple challenge: Provide ONE SINGLE fact that supports the idea that a creator participated in our existence.]

    Arguing theology with you would be like arguing quantum mechanics with a marmot.

    I’d rather gouge my eyes out.

    This appears to be typical. You have nothing.

    Being flummoxed, you run away and claim victory, rather than admit that you have nothing.

    This seems to be another demonstration of your fear of having to defend your voodoo.

    .

  66. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 9:56 pm

    @Fraud Medic:

    [rather than admit that you have nothing.]

    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/08/aquinas-first-way.html

    Do provide me with your insightful critique of Aquinas’ argument.

  67. Pete Aon 30 Jan 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Why am I picturing playing chess with a pigeon?

  68. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Hardnose,

    ‘Darwin and Wallace were famous for recognising the role of natural selection in evolution. Darwin thought it might be one of the causes of evolution, while Wallace thought it more of a cybernetic governor, that prevents evolution’.

    Reference please. Natural selection as a mechanism for preventing deleterious change within populations and preventing evolution was recognised before Darwin and Wallace. Natural selection as a mechanism allowing change within populations in response to external change was observed by both Darwin and Wallace simultaneously.

    Wallace, though, had some strange ideas, such that human intellect and consciousness can’t be explained by evolution and that the human spirit persists, in keeping with his spiritualist beliefs, after death.

  69. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    What caused any supposed first cause?

    Provide evidence.

    Willy did write – Provide ONE SINGLE fact that supports the idea that a creator participated in our existence.

    I did not go to your blog, so I don’t know how you screwed up Aquinas, but I am guessing you did not provide even one fact.

    Michael Egnor, are you wearing your quantum marmot costume, again?

    .

  70. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 10:08 pm

    @Fraud Medic:

    It’s an ancient argument for God’s existence, that dates to Aristotle. I laid the argument out for you, precisely and in detail.

    Awaiting your informed critique…

  71. hardnoseon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:08 pm

    “Wallace, though, had some strange ideas, such that human intellect and consciousness can’t be explained by evolution and that the human spirit persists, in keeping with his spiritualist beliefs, after death.”

    “Strange” ideas? That’s what most people have always believed. It would only seem strange if you have been inhabiting an ideological echo chamber for many years.

  72. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 10:11 pm

    @Fraud medic:

    [What caused any supposed first cause?]

    The First Cause argument is Aquinas’ Second Way.

    I gave you Aquinas’ First Way, which is the Prime Mover argument.

    You don’t even know what the words mean.

  73. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    @Fraud medic:

    [What caused any supposed first cause?]

    The First Cause argument is Aquinas’ Second Way.

    I gave you Aquinas’ First Way, which is the Prime Mover argument.

    You don’t even know what the words mean.

    I am guessing you did not provide even one fact.

    Michael Egnor, are you wearing your quantum marmot costume, again?

    .

  74. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Michael,

    Premise 1:

    Change in nature is elevation of potency (an attribute a thing does not have, but could have, under the right circumstances) to act (the actual thing).

    If the first premise fails, then the whole argument falls. How does a species (or rather a reproductively isolated population) acquire the attributes necessary for a new species to arise? How? Why? What evidence is there for potency actually being a meaningful concept?

    It’s just a rephrasing of your teleological delusion, your insistence that evolution has aims and goals, for which there isn’t the slightest evidence.

    Hardnose,

    Just because many people have believed something for a long time doesn’t make it true, when there’s no adequate evidence for it. Believe if you will that there’s an afterlife, that you’ll continue to exist in some non-material manner after your death (besides in the memories of your friends and relatives) – but that’s a matter of faith not knowing.

  75. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 10:25 pm

    @ Fraud:

    [I am guessing you did not provide even one fact.]

    All you do is guess.

    I gave you the detailed argument.

  76. Rogue Medicon 30 Jan 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    @ Fraud:

    [I am guessing you did not provide even one fact.]

    All you do is guess.

    I gave you the detailed argument.

    Got it.

    No facts.

    Just excuses.

    Is that quantum marmot costume getting itchy?

    .

  77. michaelegnoron 30 Jan 2017 at 10:29 pm

    @bach:

    Potency is perhaps the oldest metaphysical concept. It refers to the potentiality for change in things that exist. All things that can change have potency of one sort or another.

    The Prime Mover argument uses the concept of potency (and other concepts) to demonstrate God’s existence. It only requires one thing in the universe to have potency.

    So your bizarre rambling “critique” about species etc. is witless and irrelevant to the argument.

  78. chikoppion 30 Jan 2017 at 10:50 pm

    A) If we allow for an infinite universe there can be no ‘first’ anything (that’s not how infinity works).

    B) The cause of this (non-infinite) universe need not be within this universe or have any means to influence it beyond the precipitating event.

    C) Aquinas’ notion of ‘potency’ is quaint. An acorn is energy and mass. It can become chemical energy, its matter can be dissipated and undergo state change, its molecules can be chemically recombined, its atoms can be fused or decay into different elements, its neutrons can decay into protons and electrons. All due to ‘natural’ processes. There is no intrinsic ‘potency’ unique to an acorn or any other thing.

    D) Even were there a valid argument for a ‘first cause’ Aquinas’ progression tells us absolutely nothing about it. Slapping the name ‘God’ on it does nothing to illuminate properties.

  79. bachfiendon 30 Jan 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Michael,

    ‘All things that can change have potency of one sort or another. The Prime Mover argument uses the concept of potency (and other concepts) to demonstrate God’s existence. It only requires one thing in the universe to have potency’.

    OK – what is this one thing in the universe that has potency, which can change? So species can’t have potency, can’t change, because they aren’t this ‘one thing’? And it can’t be your God, since you’ve claimed in the past that God doesn’t change.

    A concept isn’t a real thing. It need not necessarily be true. I have a concept that you’re an ignorant dishonest idiot, but that doesn’t make it true.

  80. sarah_theviperon 31 Jan 2017 at 2:18 am

    This is somewhat related I guess I took some Hebrew in college with the local Rabbi. Not a religious thing, an archaeology thing. There are some differences between the Hebrew and the typical English translation. Most notable to me that the Adam is actually created as both male and female, a hermaphrodite. I also hate the English translation “Eve” it is Hava in the Hebrew, and it comes from the word for life. The very idea of treating it as literal is so weird to me. Hebrew is a very poetic language, and the people who wrote that story were a poetic people.

  81. The Cricketeron 31 Jan 2017 at 8:40 am

    All scientific theories are built on A.D. de Groot’s empirical cycle and then reviewed over time to see if it still holds true, maybe the creationists should apply this system to their theory? At the moment they have gone straight to belief as their only truth and evidence…

  82. Marshallon 31 Jan 2017 at 8:51 am

    Michael Egnor,

    Do you think that all Creation stories from every religion should be taught in the biology classroom?

  83. Kabboron 31 Jan 2017 at 10:03 am

    Marshall,

    Of course he doesn’t, that would be crazy. All he wants is to decriminalize the teaching of things that are religiously motivated and demonstrably false in biology class. It’s that simple! While we’re at it, let’s include a section in chemistry class that is all about how carbon dioxide doesn’t really exist and is a media myth. Then lets talk about how we can cure everything wrong with our bodies using only water in health class.

    Why not make the entire school curriculum all about spreading misinformation? It’s only children after all, what does it matter?

  84. Willyon 31 Jan 2017 at 10:39 am

    Not to worry, Dr. Egnor I won’t, nor could I, argue theology with you. I will note that you seem to believe that Aquinas’ arguments are facts then, worthy of being treated as science?

    It’s comical that you are so certain of your beliefs on religion and climate that you are convinced that those who don’t agree are necessarily criminals.

  85. Steven Novellaon 31 Jan 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Michael – you are attempting to rewrite history.
    It was the creationists who passed a law banning the teaching of evolution, and jailed and then fined Scopes for defying that law.

    There have never been any laws passed demanding the teaching of evolution or prohibiting scientific criticism of evolutionary theory. The judgments have all been in reaction to laws passed by creationists trying to force schools to teach some version or other of creationism, or to undermine or weaken the teaching of the current consensus on evolutionary theory.

    It is the creationists who are passing laws trying to put a legal thumb on the scale – not those who accept the consensus on evolution.

    The Dover judgment was that a law requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design was unconstitutional. The evidence in court was compelling for the conclusion that ID was just rebranded scientific creationism. There literally was a cut and paste in the recommended book replacing “creationist” with “design proponent” and similar. Trying to pretend now that ID is a scientific theory is ridiculous.

    We are the ones saying that science classrooms should teach science as determined by the consensus of the scientific community – ideas that win support among scientists because of logic and evidence.

    You, the Discovery Institute, and its ilk are the ones furiously trying to pass laws to use politics and legal thuggery to distort the normal process of science, and to win for your beliefs through legal means what you have utterly failed to win through logic and evidence and the normal scientific process.

    This is the point at which you will cry “conspiracy” but that is bullshit and no one buys it.

    Your rewriting of history is transparent propaganda. It is Orwellian in its utter disregard for the facts, not unlike ID itself.

  86. Steve Crosson 31 Jan 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Judging from past history, I suspect that ME has left the building already, but I’m going to post this anyway. I’ll save a copy to post next time he decides to grace us with his presence, but I would welcome any additions or critiques.

    **********

    Michael Egnor,

    Before we can decide what should be taught in Science classes, we really need to agree on why we teach Science in the first place. I hope you’ll agree that we educate our children in the hope they will be better equipped to have successful and happy lives. And that, in general, we all benefit in a society whose members are able to coexist peacefully and cooperatively.

    To that end, we teach things like language skills to facilitate communication. And mathematics to enable people to engage in things like commerce, construction, and countless other activities that literally depend upon common definitions and understanding.

    At the most fundamental level, Science is humanity’s quest to understand the world we live in — at least the parts that can be empirically validated. In other words, the scientific method is a process that has been refined over millennia to become the best (and, so far, only) tool that is able to reliably identify cause and effect relationships.

    The benefits are enormous. For almost any desired goal, science helps us identify the steps required to achieve it. Instead of, often wasted, random actions, we can pursue food, shelter, anything at all in the most efficient way possible. Science works!!

    The process of science is always the same. Speculate, test, refine, repeat — over and over until what started as speculation has been refined into a dependable guideline that can be used to reliably predict the end result of a particular action.

    Science is a tool which has been spectacularly successful in helping us understand and manipulate the world we live in. The benefits of teaching the scientific method to everyone possible should be self-evident. Even though only a small minority of students ever go on to become actual “scientists”, it is still extremely useful and important for EVERYONE to understand how scientists go about trying to increase our understanding of the world, and why and when a high level of confidence is justified.

    When you try to challenge the scientific consensus simply by claiming that “something is too complicated and impossible to understand without some, as yet, unknown factor”, you add NOTHING to the conversation. Scientists are fully aware they don’t know everything — that’s WHY they keep looking. But far worse, when you claim that ignorance is just as valid a world view as scientific knowledge, then you willfully undermine the only tool we have that has EVER produced consistent, reliable results in our understanding of how the world works.

    That same scientific method is the basis for everything that we can state with a reasonable degree of certainty. Whether it is the choice of foods which are safe to eat, or the successful treatment of disease, or our understanding of how organisms evolve, it works the same every time. You can’t just declare it to be wrong part of the time because the results make you uncomfortable.

    There may well be some prime mover or perhaps even something akin to your preferred definition of a god, but, so far at least, it has not chosen to make its existence known in an empirically testable way. Therefore, science makes no claims at all about what it may be or whether it exists or not.

    What does seem certain is that, if something is indeed pulling the strings, it doesn’t haven’t any apparent objection to our trying to unravel them. Moreover, when lots of different people look carefully at the same sets of strings, surprisingly large numbers of them tend to reach identical conclusions about the type of knot involved.

    Contrast that with your fellow believers. Even after millennia, there is still no agreement on which evidence-free speculation is most likely. Sure, lots of people claim to have “evidence”, but none of it is very convincing. Which should be obvious since you haven’t managed to convince everyone else. And thousands of years of philosophical debate still haven’t been able to resolve anything at all useful.

    Over and over again, Science manages to produce results. Religion has not been nearly as successful or dependable. No religious belief system has ever been able to make precise, accurate, reliable predictions about future events. No religion can guarantee that a recommended action (e.g. prayer) will bring about a specific future event. Yet science is able to routinely make extremely precise predictions, often with virtually 100% accuracy.

    It is actually your side which is unwilling to have an honest debate. You are terrified that your speculative definition of “God” is vanishing in the increasingly small gaps of our knowledge. Rather than admit that you have no good evidence for, and just simply don’t know what is really out there, you are trying to destroy the foundation of what is the basis for everything that we actually do know.

    Honestly, I really don’t care what you believe. My mother derives great comfort from her belief, and that is fine with me. But don’t try to force your beliefs on me or anyone else. Especially, when by doing so, you are literally throwing out the baby with the bath water.

  87. Pete Aon 31 Jan 2017 at 2:49 pm

    To add evidence to Dr. Novella’s reply to Dr. Michael Egnor (who is strongly affiliated with the Discovery Institute and its ideological regimes):
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cdesign_proponentsists
    https://ncse.com/creationism/legal/cdesign-proponentsists

  88. Rogue Medicon 31 Jan 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    Provide evidence.

    Willy wrote – Provide ONE SINGLE fact that supports the idea that a creator participated in our existence.

    You have only provided excuses.

    Are you telling us that Arguing theology discussing facts with you would be like arguing quantum mechanics with a marmot.

    Do you have any facts to support your claims?

    .

  89. Pete Aon 31 Jan 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Rogue Medic,

    Egnor does not need facts to support his actions, nor the actions of the Discovery Institute and its affiliates.

    IIRC, Egnor has already stated that he hears the Holy Spirit speaking to him directly.

  90. Steve Crosson 31 Jan 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Egnor has already stated that he hears the Holy Spirit speaking to him directly.

    Why is it that this supposedly omnipotent, omniscient Holy Spirit can never provide even one single good argument that could convince all of us nasty skeptics?

    It is not like he has been shy about revealing himself in the past, at least according to the bible.

  91. Pete Aon 31 Jan 2017 at 4:46 pm

    “Why is it that this supposedly omnipotent, omniscient Holy Spirit can never provide even one single good argument that could convince all of us nasty skeptics?”

    Because us nasty skeptics are doomed to an afterlife in Hell for our refusal to believe the true believers: the earthlings who are appointed to guide us.

    Of course, when we eventually continue this discussion in Hell, it will be interesting to see the expression on the Pope’s face as he exclaims “Oh crap, I really should’ve listened to Dr. Michael Egnor!” — likewise for the governors of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the Mormons, Scientologists, the Jews, the Hindus, Muslims, et al.

    I’m looking forward to Satan properly explaining to us, using logic plus evidence, the reason for the obfuscation of the Catholic Trinity 🙂

  92. hardnoseon 31 Jan 2017 at 5:17 pm

    “Just because many people have believed something for a long time doesn’t make it true, when there’s no adequate evidence for it.”

    There is no evidence against afterlife. And there is a lot of evidence for, but you wouldn’t know if you get your information from CSICOP.

  93. bachfiendon 31 Jan 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Hardnose,

    There’s no adequate evidence for the afterlife. There’s a lot of sh*tty inadequate evidence, which is why the incredulous, such as you, believe in it.

  94. Rogue Medicon 31 Jan 2017 at 5:36 pm

    hardnose,

    Evidence for some kind of afterlife?

    A person has a near death experience.

    The person was not actually dead.

    The person claims that during his near death, he had the same experiences he believes he would have had if he had rally been dead.

    The person does not stay in this wonderful place because of some excuse.

    Perhaps the person wanted to continue to have free will and make ending up in heaven less certain.

    Nobody is surprised that the person’s preconceived notions of an afterlife are confirmed, although they do not agree with the Bible the believer is supposed to be rewarded for obeying.

    But you, hardnose, think there is valid evidence?

    You would probably find yourself in a place where you are taken seriously and not realize until later that this is your own personal variation on No Exit.

    .

  95. MosBenon 31 Jan 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Not all evidence is created equally. The standard for proving the existence of an afterlife should be the same as the standard for proving anything else.

  96. Pete Aon 31 Jan 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Before you die, there is indeed nothing to refute the existence of an afterlife. After you die, you will either: discover that you were correct in believing in an afterlife; or you will never know that you were wrong.

  97. hardnoseon 31 Jan 2017 at 6:23 pm

    “Nobody is surprised that the person’s preconceived notions of an afterlife are confirmed, although they do not agree with the Bible the believer is supposed to be rewarded for obeying.”

    People that had no preconceptions of an afterlife had NDEs anyway.

    Thousands of cases have been collected of children who remember past lives.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_B._Tucker#Reincarnation_research

  98. hardnoseon 31 Jan 2017 at 6:42 pm

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/02/there-is-a-paranormal-activity-lab-at-the-university-of-virginia/283584/

  99. hardnoseon 31 Jan 2017 at 6:45 pm

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/ian-stevensone28099s-case-for-the-afterlife-are-we-e28098skepticse28099-really-just-cynics/

  100. hardnoseon 31 Jan 2017 at 6:53 pm

    [I’d be happy to say it’s all complete and utter nonsense—a moldering cesspool of irredeemable, anti-scientific drivel. The trouble is, it’s not entirely apparent to me that it is. So why aren’t scientists taking Stevenson’s data more seriously? The data don’t “fit” our working model of materialistic brain science, surely. But does our refusal to even look at his findings, let alone to debate them, come down to our fear of being wrong? “The wish not to believe,” Stevenson once said, “can influence as strongly as the wish to believe.”]

  101. Rogue Medicon 31 Jan 2017 at 7:24 pm

    hardnose,

    One researcher is the source of the evidence?

    What is done to avoid the planting of false memories in the minds of the subjects?

    Interviewers planting false memories was the source of the McMartin Preschool accusations.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin_preschool_trial

    Considering that there are far more dead people than living people, there should be overwhelming evidence.

    .

  102. jsterritton 31 Jan 2017 at 7:25 pm

    “It was the creationists who passed a law banning the teaching of evolution, and jailed and then fined Scopes for defying that law.”

    Thanks as always, Dr Novella, for getting to the meat of the matter. Although I seem to remember that Scopes was never jailed, legal scholars with only a passing understanding of case law re creationism/evolution cases know that there has never been a law prohibiting the teaching of creationism/ID. Rather, there have been a litany of statutes (including many at the state level) forbidding the teaching of the consensus science of evolution. A brief history:

    Arkansas’ 1960s-era “anti-evolution” statute was a law proscribing the teaching of evolution. That benighted state later passed a “balanced treatment” statute that was similarly struck down by a federal court for violating the Establishment Clause. (McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 1982.)

    Repeat offender Louisiana crafted its “Creationism Act,” which prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools, except when it was accompanied by instruction in “creation science” (whatever the f*ck that is). Unsurprisingly, the Act was struck down by SCOTUS for violation of the Establishment Clause. The Court further made the point that science education is undermined when it is forbidden to teach evolution absent religionists’ (Christians’) dogma being taught alongside the real science. (Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987.)

    Then, in the heady days of ID, the Dover Area School District of York County, Pennsylvania, “changed its biology teaching curriculum to require that intelligent design be presented as an alternative to evolution theory, and that Of Pandas and People, a textbook advocating intelligent design, was to be used as a reference book.” Again, this clearly anti-evolution policy was squashed by the courts as a clear violation of the Establishment Clause (duh).

    Peppered throughout these attacks on teaching science were “Lemon Test” statutes (they all failed). These tried to sneak in privately-funded (i.e., by religious groups) proselytizers and “teachers’ aids” to educate the youth about Jesus riding dinosaurs.

    There have been no anti-creationism laws — only rebukes of slippery anti-evolution laws, statutes, and school district policies that were in clear violation of the Constitution. Egnor and his ilk have been trading on the false equivalency of creationism/evolution for so long, they cannot even begin to understand that evolution is not a belief, but one of the most concrete and unassailable scientific theories ever studied. They should feel a burning shame for likening their magical and unsupported beliefs, no matter how sincere, with the evidentiary avalanche of scientific proof for evolution. Moreover, they should be intellectually embarrassed for their god of the (ever-diminishing) gaps nitpicking of real scientific knowledge.

    If evolution were categorically disproved tomorrow, it wouldn’t make creationism one jot more valid a hypothesis than it is today.

  103. cozyingon 31 Jan 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Can you imagine if hardnose drafted the curriculum?

  104. Willyon 31 Jan 2017 at 10:04 pm

    It is STUNNING to ponder the dishonesty of Dr. Egnor. He pops in, makes silly statements, criticizes and mocks folks for not being “fluent” in theology (the study of fairies) and Aquinas (while ignoring the fact that Aquinas is not even close to be universally accepted), calls people who disagree with him “criminals”, responds VERY selectively to SOME posts, and then disappears. We know he’s lurking out there, reading every single post on this blog. He’ll always be back, but he won’t give us the courtesy of an honest engagement. Just snark and condescension. A typical “Christian”.

  105. Sylakon 31 Jan 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Talking of high school, Egnor level of name calling is probably adequate in that regard. Are you like 10 year mentally ( although the 10 year old I know are much more mature) ? Wow. Lately, this comment section as, sadly, descended into ugly muddy territory. Steven posts are always as good and insightful fortunately. It’s funny to see the troll argue each others over their non senses but it does derail the discussion. Sometimes I will see a good or funny comment by someone, I want to reply but see there’s already over 100 entries. I usually start scrolling through them reading a little ( i have some pervert fascination with the troll non sense and aggressive behavior) but it all end up sounding like this after a while ( no offense to regular commenter but to the troll yes, please be offended) : https://youtu.be/YHjQZJ1RLQA

  106. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 12:25 am

    Trolls prefer to hit and run. It’s really hard to stay and deal with the consequences of your actions.

    I think the trolls read blogs like this to check out our arguments against them. They test out their rhetoric here and see how it plays. I think it would be foolish to assume they don’t learn something. They take our language and use it against us. People like Alex Jones have really cleaned up some of their more insane arguments. Terms like “fake news” mean nothing now, trump and others have labeled legitimate news sources “fake news.”

  107. BillyJoe7on 01 Feb 2017 at 6:58 am

    cozy: “They take our language and use it against us”

    I’ve noticed that also.
    Good we agree on something 🙂

  108. Steven Novellaon 01 Feb 2017 at 7:00 am

    jsterritt – I said jailed, not imprisoned. He was never sentenced to prison, just fined. But he was arrested, which usually means you spend at least a little time in jail. I checked several sources to try to confirm that detail, but they only say he was arrested, so I guess I’m not sure he actually spent any time in a jail. The movie portrayed it that way, but that means nothing. It would be an interesting historical detail to nail down.

  109. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 8:08 am

    [Trolls prefer to hit and run. It’s really hard to stay and deal with the consequences of your actions.]

    Says the anonymous commentor who I’ve never heard before.

    I’ve been posting under my own name, at considerable professional risk, for a decade, and have posted over 2500 posts on my own blog and ENV, engaged in protracted debates including with the owner of this blog.

    I don’t run from fights. I do have a life, and I don’t have all the time in the world to engage undereducated narcissists.

  110. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 8:19 am

    Regarding Scopes, he was convicted of teaching human evolution (the only kind of evolution instruction that was prohibited in Tennessee) and he was fined. The verdict and fine were thrown out on appeal.

    Scopes taught out of a book called Civic Biology, which contained eugenic screeds and was overtly racist.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/12/does_jerry_coyn079881.html

    I find it ironic that you Darwinists demand punishment for a teacher who refers to ID in a classroom, but you declare a hero a teacher who teaches children that blacks are closer to apes than whites and the reproduction of blacks should be curtailed.

  111. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 8:26 am

    @Willy:

    [It is STUNNING to ponder the dishonesty of Dr. Egnor. He pops in, makes silly statements, criticizes and mocks folks… but he won’t give us the courtesy of an honest engagement.]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

  112. mumadaddon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:34 am

    That’s it, anything you can do to distract from the point that ID is not science.

    Do you really find that in any way compelling? That false equivalence is shameful.

  113. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 9:01 am

    If ID isnt science, how do claim that its wrong, from a scientific perspective?

    Are you admitting that theres no scientific evidence against it?

  114. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:32 am

    “I don’t run from fights. I do have a life, and I don’t have all the time in the world to engage undereducated narcissists.”

    Likewise, I don’t run from fights, and I do have a life.

    Unlike you, I do have the time to engage with undereducated narcissists.

  115. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:49 am

    “undereducated narcissists”??? When did this thread devolve to a discussion of Trump?

  116. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:51 am

    @michaelegnor

    I didn’t know about you until this discussion. “Professor in the department of pediatrics at Stony Brook.” I would have expected an intellectually honest and professional discussion from someone of your education. Eye opening to say the least, how far a person can go with their education and still be hamstrung by motivated reasoning.

  117. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:56 am

    I wonder if his employer, colleagues and patients are aware that he spends his spare time attacking and degrading scientific discussion?

  118. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:03 am

    Lobsterbash,

    http://americanloons.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/119-michael-egnor.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Egnor

  119. mumadaddon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:04 am

    “If ID isnt science, how do claim that its wrong, from a scientific perspective?

    Are you admitting that theres no scientific evidence against it?”

    What is the point in inviting us to knock down these childish and stupid arguments? Surely you can see how obviously fatuous they are. Any vestige of intellectual honesty you had has now died. Congratulations…

  120. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:05 am

    @Lobster:

    Nice threat.

    It’s already been done. My colleagues mostly agree with me, and I’m tenured.

    So the hate mail and phone calls demanding that I be fired are to no avail.

    Good try, scum.

  121. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:06 am

    @muma,

    [Are you admitting that theres no scientific evidence against it?”]

    There’s scientific evidence for, and against, ID.

    Just like Darwinism.

    Which means that both are science.

  122. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:12 am

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Darwinism

  123. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:14 am

    @Michael

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that your colleagues “mostly” agree with you. You strike me as an obscurantist, well versed in obtaining agreement and support through lack of clarity. Allow them to review the full gamut of literature available online about you and your pet project.

  124. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:16 am

    Dr. Egnor “Are you admitting that there’s no scientific evidence against it?”

    Will you admit there is no scientific evidence against fairies or unicorns?

    Surely you realize we teach things we have evidence FOR?

  125. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:25 am

    @Lobster:

    [Allow them to review the full gamut of literature available online about you and your pet project.]

    After you threaten my job because of my opinions, I’ll give your advice all the attention it deserves.

    I do thank you for making the ugliness of the Darwinian mob so obvious.

  126. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:26 am

    Lobsterbash,

    In which category are you using the word “colleagues”? I’m certain that his colleagues who are affiliated with the Discovery Institute “mostly” agree with him.

  127. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:28 am

    Egnor,

    You and the Discovery Institute are the “Darwinian mob”.

  128. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:30 am

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    Provide evidence.

    It does not matter who you are. It only matters if you can provide valid evidence.

    Aquinas did not provide evidence in any of his explanations for why he believes that his personal interpretation of the Gods is real.

    In spite of all of your education, you fail to understand that, or you just don’t care and continue to try to distract with irrelevant information.

    The Book that Changed America explains how important evolution was for abolitionists in demonstrating that the Biblical endorsement of slavery is wrong.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2017/0124/The-Book-that-Changed-America-tells-the-deeper-story-of-Darwin-in-the-US

    Why didn’t your Gods know that slavery is wrong?

    Colossians 3:22.

    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

    1 Timothy 6:1-2

    6 Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed.

    2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. These things teach and exhort.

    Ephesians 6:5-9

    5 Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

    Luke 12:47-48

    47 And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes;

    48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.

    Leviticus 25:44-46

    44 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. 45 Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have [a]produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46 You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your [b]countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.

    There are more cases of your Gods endorsing slavery.

    Why didn’t your Gods know slavery is wrong?

    Why do you have such low standards for your Gods?

    Abolitionists recognized that evolution demonstrates that humans are the same, regardless of race, but you don’t understand.

    .

  129. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:31 am

    Egnor,

    There’s scientific evidence for, and against, ID. Just like Darwinism. Which means that both are science.

    There is evidence for and against: homeopathy, ancient aliens, past life therapy, crystal healing, psychics, atheism. Those things are all science by your own weak logic and vague definitions.

    It’s such careless intellectual behavior that led you to all the flawed positions you currently hold.

    Someone really needs to review the meaning of evidence and the nature of science. You should also learn how to make logically consistent definitions that don’t undermine your own stated objectives. Every major piece of evidence for creationism/ID has been debunked and exposed. If you have some ‘scientific evidence’ to support your claims offer it up, I’ll knock it down for you.

  130. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:31 am

    @Willy:

    Of course there’s scientific evidence against fairies and unicorns. No one has ever produced a specimen, which is strong evidence that they don’t exist.

    There’s a difference between a scientific hypothesis that has been disproved, and a hypothesis that is not scientific to begin with.

    Fairies (or ether or phlogiston) are hypotheses about physical facts that have been refuted by evidence (or lack thereof).

    The belief that mercy is better than justice is a hypothesis that is not scientific, because it is not confirmable or refutable by facts about the natural world.

    You’re not too bright, are you?

  131. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:31 am

    @Michael

    I had and have no intention of threatening your job or engaging anybody in your life. I am simply openly expressing my dismay with you and your position. The fact that you jump to these conclusions about my intentions suggests you are suffering from a persecutory delusion. Sorry man. You must really believe you’re doing God’s work or something, to come here and suffer so, exchanging words with the likes of us evidence-based thinkers.

  132. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:33 am

    @Pete A

    Of course I meant Stonybrook colleagues. I didn’t think about the DI colleague angle until after I posted.

  133. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:38 am

    Lobsterbash,

    Egnor hears and heeds the voice of the Holy Spirit. This completely trumps all evidence- and logic-based thinkers.

  134. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:42 am

    “No one has ever produced a specimen…” Oh, the irony.

    As for “bright”, I’m not so sure about you.

  135. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:44 am

    @cozying:

    [There is evidence for and against: homeopathy, ancient aliens, past life therapy, crystal healing, psychics, atheism.]

    True. The evidence against is quite a bit stronger than the evidence for, so it’s reasonable to conclude that they are not true. That’s how science works. I know this is news to you.

    I point out that the history of science is full of theories we now consider silly (astrology, epicycles, ether, phlogiston, vitalism, etc). But each of these were (and are) scientific theories. They are just scientific theories for which we now have sufficient evidence to conclude that they are wrong.

    The theory that you will get rich if you are a Scorpio and the moon is in Sagittarius is a scientific theory. When that happens, and you do not get rich, then that theory is disproved.

    The theory that you can make lead into gold by heating it to 1000 degrees with eye of Newt and saying a chant is a scientific theory. Such things were part-and-parcel of alchemy, which was pursued by the best scientists of its day. That scientific theory was proven wrong.

    Science is the systematic evidence-based investigation of the natural world. It includes many things that are now discredited, but they remain scientific hypotheses, just discredited ones.

    If they weren’t scientific theories, how could you discredit them with evidence?

    [Someone really needs to review the meaning of evidence and the nature of science.]

    I just did. You just need to get up to speed.

  136. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:47 am

    @Lobster:

    [I had and have no intention of threatening your job or engaging anybody in your life.]

    So you’re a liar as well as a thug.

    As I said, I appreciate your uncommonly clear example of the way Darwinists debate science.

  137. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 10:49 am

    @cozying:

    [It’s such careless intellectual behavior that led you to all the flawed positions you currently hold.]

    I hold to Aquinas’ First Way.

    How is it flawed, using you oh-so-careful intellectual behavior?

  138. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:50 am

    Lobsterbash, Addressing Egnor’s comments will inevitably yield the same result as playing chess with a pigeon:

    Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Pigeon_chess

  139. jsterritton 01 Feb 2017 at 10:58 am

    @Steven Novella…

    I think the courageously non-anonymous troll would prefer the 2010 “Alleged,” which was a hack job on the Scopes trial that equated evolution with eugenics (you know, because science). At the film’s end, it is revealed that Nebraska Man was a pig tooth and that all genuine fossil evidence supporting evolution “could be picked up by William Jennings Bryan’s butt cheeks in one squat!” (Yes, an actual line from the movie; other gems include voiceover which describes Darrow as “defending murderers and railing against fundamentalist Christianity” (talk about redundant!) while Bryan “fights for the Bible and the working man.”) My memory of this train wreck of a movie is dim, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the filmmakers had the Scopes character taken out and shot.

    According to the Discovery Institute, “‘Alleged’ seeks to tell the real story behind the infamous 1925 Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee that pitched Darwinian evolution against belief in God.” And in the opinion of the Institute, a DVD or Blu-ray copy makes a great “Gift Idea!”

    NB: According to one source from my legal history days, Scopes “was arrested as a formality but was not detained.” [1]

    _______
    [1] http://darrow.law.umn.edu/trialpdfs/SCOPES_TRIAL.pdf

  140. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:10 am

    @Pete A

    What’s amazing to me is the stamina he has to keep going with this. I’m guessing he’s dropped in on threads like this, throwing mud and specious arguments, countless times… to no effect. It’s entirely a fruitless endeavor because no minds will be changed.

    Any appeal for him to read legitimate scientific sources will be dismissed, and his claims and arguments will remain steadfast no matter the counter-argument. Someone could compile the best possible list of material for him to read and he would either not read it (“Darwinist propaganda” or something similar) or would read some of it, perceive what he wants to perceive and dismiss it entirely.

    Does he think he will change the minds of those who respect the evidence, with arguments and ideas backed by none?

    It’s as if one would have to stay locked in a cage with someone like this for a protracted time, with a huge pile of books at the ready, and deliberately, painstakingly go over every single axiom starting from the very bottom.

  141. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:14 am

    Egnor,

    The history of creationism/ID is filled with mistakes.

    True. The evidence against is quite a bit stronger than the evidence for, so it’s reasonable to conclude that they are not true. That’s how science works. I know this is news to you.

    History is not on your side. Science explains more and more of the world as time goes on. Religion explains less and less. The old ‘scientific evidence’ for creationism is hilarious. Examining this issue in its historical context, you are left with this sense that creationists just scramble to find anything to justify their beliefs. Go back and read the arguments from 20 years ago. It’s hilarious.

    All major arguments for creationism/ID have been debunked. I asked you for your scientific evidence you said nothing.

    Aquinas was a joke. He was a priest, he wrote things that were used as justification for the subjugation of women. He believed in witchcraft and literal demons. All he did was plagiarize everything from Aristotle and throw God into all the gaps. Wait, isn’t that exactly what you do?

    You steal all the relevant tidbits you like about the scientific method and evolution, and then toss god into the gaps. You are left explaining the unknowns because you are too lazy to come up with something truly original. Remember the irreducible complexity arguments? What happened to the divine spark? Adam and Eve? You used to be able to explain all of creation, now you are stuck giving unscientific arguments about geology and DNA. You lost so much ground, how do you feel about that? What will you explain in 50 years, probably nothing.

  142. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 11:15 am

    @cozying:

    [Every major piece of evidence for creationism/ID has been debunked and exposed.]

    Using science?

    Let’s see some of your oh-so-careful intellectual behavior! (I can’t stop laughing).

  143. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:17 am

    “[Egnor] I hold to Aquinas’ First Way.”
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_first_cause
    http://www.rationalskepticism.org/christianity/aquinas-masturbation-is-worse-than-rape-t41993.html

  144. chikoppion 01 Feb 2017 at 11:19 am

    [michaelegnor] Science is the systematic evidence-based investigation of the natural world. It includes many things that are now discredited, but they remain scientific hypotheses, just discredited ones.

    If they weren’t scientific theories, how could you discredit them with evidence?

    Hypothesis != Theory

    Theory != a speculation that has not been disproven

    Philosophy != Science

    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed, preferably using a written, predefined, protocol of observations and experiments. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.

    It is important to note that the definition of a “scientific theory” (often ambiguously contracted to “theory” for the sake of brevity, including in this page) as used in the disciplines of science is significantly different from, and in contrast to, the common vernacular usage of the word “theory”. As used in everyday non-scientific speech, “theory” implies that something is an unsubstantiated and speculative guess, conjecture, idea, or, hypothesis; such a usage is the opposite of the word ‘theory’ in science. These different usages are comparable to the differing, and often opposing, usages of the term “prediction” in science (less ambiguously called a “scientific prediction”) versus “prediction” in vernacular speech, denoting a mere hope.

  145. tb29607on 01 Feb 2017 at 11:26 am

    I wonder if ME can describe an experiment and the results that would convince him that intelligent design is a discredited scientific theory.

  146. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:27 am

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    Provide evidence.

    It does not matter who you are. It only matters if you can provide valid evidence.

    Aquinas did not provide evidence in any of his explanations for why he believes that his personal interpretation of the Gods is real.

    In spite of all of your education, you fail to understand that, or you just don’t care and continue to try to distract with irrelevant information.

    .

  147. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:29 am

    Egnor,

    Bring it on. I’m still waiting for your best arguments promoting creationism/ID.

    You’ve only been asked 3 times and since replied to me multiple times without giving a single argument for your position. You’ve instead chosen to insult me and brag about your professionalism. Like there isn’t pages and pages online dedicated to detailed breakdowns of your best arguments. All you did is hit and run. You have no substance. Isn’t it interesting that your god didn’t bless you with the ability to argue well and prove yourself to us atheists?

  148. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 11:30 am

    @Cozying (who has such oh-so-careful intellectual behavior!) :

    [The history of creationism/ID is filled with mistakes.]

    The history of science is filled with mistakes.

    [Science explains more and more of the world as time goes on. Religion explains less and less.]

    That science gets better with time is to be expected. The same with engineering, metallurgy, and toaster manufacturing.

    Theology is not natural science, and it deals with very different things, like eternity, First Cause, purpose, teleology, etc. There have been profound developments in theology, but theology is not a natural science, so it does not accumulate tangible technological advances as natural science does.

    [The old ‘scientific evidence’ for creationism is hilarious. Examining this issue in its historical context, you are left with this sense that creationists just scramble to find anything to justify their beliefs. Go back and read the arguments from 20 years ago. It’s hilarious.]

    Old science textbooks are just as funny. I used to spend a lot of time in my library in college and med school looking at the 19th century texts. They were hilarious.

    If you want subjects that aren’t funny in antiquity, try mathematics and metaphysics.

    [All major arguments for creationism/ID have been debunked. I asked you for your scientific evidence you said nothing.]

    Another example of my oh-so-careless intellectual behavior.

    [Aquinas was a joke. He was a priest, he wrote things that were used as justification for the subjugation of women. He believed in witchcraft and literal demons. All he did was plagiarize everything from Aristotle and throw God into all the gaps. Wait, isn’t that exactly what you do?]

    Oh great. A Christian-hating SJW. I won’t waste my time.

    [What will you explain in 50 years, probably nothing.]

    Both you and I will have a lot to explain, in probably less than 50 years. Good luck.

  149. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 11:32 am

    @tb29607:

    [I wonder if ME can describe an experiment and the results that would convince him that intelligent design is a discredited scientific theory.]

    If Richard Dawkins endorsed it…

  150. Lobsterbashon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:32 am

    @cozying

    Be careful not to feed the narrative. It’s possible to have a degree of religious faith and still respect scientific rules of engagement. I’m atheist, so I’m not saying this out of defensiveness.

  151. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:35 am

    Lobsterbash,

    “It’s as if one would have to stay locked in a cage with someone like this for a protracted time, with a huge pile of books at the ready, and deliberately, painstakingly go over every single axiom starting from the very bottom.”

    The Discovery Institute is trying its very best to ensure that all shelves of primary and secondary school libraries are systematically reduced to contain only one book: The Holy Bible — the unaltered word of God.

  152. jsterritton 01 Feb 2017 at 11:35 am

    michaelegnor…

    You are either genuinely or willfully ignorant of the technical terms used in science and the distinctions between them. You are making the layperson’s mistake of confusing “hypothesis” with “theory.” In fact, you use them interchangeably, which is either very stupid for an educated person or transparently disingenuous. Your astrological and alchemical examples are of hypotheses, not theories (they are also pitiful choices since they predate modern science altogether; you seem to be arguing that since magical nonsense used to comprise science, it is still reasonable to offer magical nonsense as science). ID is likewise not a theory, except in that word’s colloquial use meaning “speculation” or “a guess.”

    The Merriem-Webster dictionary helps illuminate this head-scratcher such that small children can understand that a word can have two (or more) uses. Theory: 1. “a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena” and 2. “an unproven assumption; conjecture.”

    Scorpios becoming rich, transmuting lead into gold, and your ID hobbyhorse all fall into the category of conjecture. Neither Aristotle, who was very forgiving when it comes to evidentiary bars, nor Descartes, nor Bacon would today accept the cherry-picked “evidence” supporting such guesswork since it has been vastly overwhelmed by more successful theories (definition 1).

    That our knowledge remains incomplete does not make all incomplete knowledge equivalent.

  153. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 11:35 am

    @Cozying:

    [You’ve instead chosen to insult me and brag about your professionalism… Aquinas was a joke. He was a priest, he wrote things that were used as justification for the subjugation of women…]

    You’ve insulted yourself.

    I deal with intellectually serious people seriously.

    You’re not close.

  154. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 11:39 am

    @jsterritt:

    [Neither Aristotle, who was very forgiving when it comes to evidentiary bars, nor Descartes, nor Bacon]

    All of them were passionate theists and creationists (Aristotle was the originator of the Prime Mover argument), and all of them (like all of the great scientists of antiquity) thought atheists were insane.

    When you are defending atheism, can’t you quote anyone except theists?

  155. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:40 am

    I’m not a Christian hater. Aquinas really did believe in witchcraft and literal demons roaming the countryside. His writings were used to justify all sorts of horrible things. He did lift quite liberally from Aristotelian philosophy and insert god into the weak gaps that philosophers had trouble with.

    These are facts. Bragging about Aquinas, using him to explain how science is wrong and creationism is legit, is not something you would do if you knew the history.

  156. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:42 am

    Egnor,

    You keep talking. But I don’t see a single argument for creationism/ID using your so-called ‘scientific evidence.’ I see playing the victive, evasive tactics and insults tho.

  157. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 11:55 am

    Egnor,

    [The history of creationism/ID is filled with mistakes.]
    The history of science is filled with mistakes.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

    That science gets better with time is to be expected. The same with engineering, metallurgy, and toaster manufacturing.

    Yeah dude so engineering is also a science. Just like metallurgy.Toaster manufacturing is also process heavily dependent on breakthroughs in science and technology. This again shows how your personal definition of “science” differs greatly from any dictionary. Again using inconsistent logic and vague definitions to argue for creationism. You couldn’t possibly be right because your logic is so deeply flawed.

  158. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 11:59 am

    @Cozying:

    [I’m not a Christian hater.]

    Quote: “Aquinas was a joke. He was a priest…”

    Christian hater.

    [Aquinas really did believe in witchcraft and literal demons roaming the countryside.]

    I don’t know about witchcraft (there are people who call themselves witches and do evil things), but I certainly believe in demons.

    [His writings were used to justify all sorts of horrible things.]

    Like any prominent thinker in history. His writings were also a foundation of the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution. Much of modern legal theory is abased on Thomist principles, especially the principle of double-effect. He is the most influential philosopher since antiquity. Thomism has done much good.

    [He did lift quite liberally from Aristotelian philosophy and insert god into the weak gaps that philosophers had trouble with.]

    He used Aristotle for a framework for Christian philosophy, and did it with remarkable insight and skill.

    [These are facts. Bragging about Aquinas, using him to explain how science is wrong and creationism is legit, is not something you would do if you knew the history.]

    I’m a Thomist, and I know the history and philosophy of Thomism better than you ever will.

    While you’re at it, miss “careful intellectual behavior” and Christian hater who uses “priest” as an insult, let me know what’s wrong with Aquinas’ First Way. If you think the guy’s a joke, you should have no trouble demolishing his argument, in a careful intellectual way. 😉

  159. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    The Book that Changed America explains how important evolution was for abolitionists in demonstrating that the Biblical endorsement of slavery is wrong.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2017/0124/The-Book-that-Changed-America-tells-the-deeper-story-of-Darwin-in-the-US

    Why didn’t your Gods know that slavery is wrong?

    Colossians 3:22.
    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

    1 Timothy 6:1-2
    6 Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed.
    2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. These things teach and exhort.

    Ephesians 6:5-9
    5 Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

    Luke 12:47-48
    47 And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes;
    48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.

    Leviticus 25:44-46
    44 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. 45 Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have [a]produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46 You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your [b]countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.

    There are more cases of your Gods endorsing slavery.

    Why didn’t your Gods know slavery is wrong?

    Why do you have such low standards for your Gods?

    Abolitionists recognized that evolution demonstrates that humans are the same, regardless of race, but you don’t understand.

    .

  160. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Once again, Egnor confirms the accuracy of:
    http://americanloons.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/119-michael-egnor.html

    Egnor is a neurosurgeon and creationist, and one of the more recent additions to the Discovery Institute’s rooster of loons. He is also an idiot. His main anti-science strategy is attacking materialistic neuroscience and an attempted revival of dualism (taken up also by e.g. O’Leary), completely oblivious to any of the literature on the subject (and to fallacies such as the fallacy of division and denying the antecedent).

    See also:
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Non-materialist_neuroscience

    Non-materialist neuroscience is one of the latest fronts in the war on science.

    Unsurprisingly, the movement is spear-headed by intelligent design lackeys from the Discovery Institute and related affiliates. The primary proponents of the movement are Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon and recent contributor to the Discovery Institute blog…

  161. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Egnor,

    …Christian hater who uses “priest” as an insult…

    The original thing I said:

    Aquinas was a joke. He was a priest, he wrote things that were used as justification for the subjugation of women. He believed in witchcraft and literal demons. All he did was plagiarize everything from Aristotle and throw God into all the gaps. Wait, isn’t that exactly what you do?

    So you cut off what I said at ‘priest,’ that’s deliberately dishonest. Clearly I used priest to contextualize the fact that he was a theist using motivated reasoning. Just like you. You also don’t deny that witchcraft exists and believe in literal demons, just like him.

    Many people would say that Marx, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Nietzsche, Kant, are the most influential thinkers since antiquity. I can’t think of a single modern philosopher who has anything nice to say about Aquinas. Oh wait I can, religious philosophers that start with the premise that god must be real, they love that overrated plagiarist.

    Please show me the evidence for demons. Or witchcraft. Or creationism. I’m still waiting.

    Look how far you got from arguing for creationism and against evolution. Now you are talking about Aquinas and how witches and demons might be real like a true critical thinker. Did god give you this wonderful misdirection ability to compensate for your lack of rationality?

  162. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 12:47 pm

    “[Egnor] Both you and I will have a lot to explain, in probably less than 50 years. Good luck.”

    Egnor,

    You remind me of the failed threats and promises of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watch_Tower_Society_unfulfilled_predictions
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Second_Coming

  163. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Dr. Egnor declares (not too far above) that unicorns and fairies can be dismissed because of a lack of evidence for them, but…demons…why, they are real!?!?

    cozying: Dr. Egnor ALWAYS goes to Aquinas, always. He says Aquinas’ “logic” proves the existence of a creator and that personal revelation to him reveals that creator to be the god of the bible. He enjoys belittling people who don’t want to waste the time to study “theology” and Aquinas. He seems to not recognize that Aquinas isn’t even close to universally accepted. Hey, he’s convinced by it, so everyone should be! The rest of us are, in his word “criminals”.

  164. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Willy, Egnor and the DI endlessly espouse straw-man ‘Darwinian arguments’.

    The DI pretends that those who oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design Creationism in school science lessons are, instead, insisting upon the teaching of On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin, 1859.

  165. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I feel like it’s important to contextualize his hero. Just so random observers are aware that he wasn’t an intellectual champion. He was motivated by his beliefs and also believed some crazy things like demons and witchcraft.

    The fact that Egnor then doubled down on these historical facts, instead of seeing the problems, is just too perfect.

    Instead of giving ground and admitting that Aquinas wasn’t perfect, he chose to say yeah witchcraft might be real and demons are real. In a conversation that started about evolution vs creationism, this is pretty funny to me.

  166. Pete Aon 01 Feb 2017 at 1:37 pm

    cozying,

    Which witch is the real witch; and which witch is the falsely-accused witch. Egnor knows from history how best to test which is which.

  167. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:01 pm

    ME has acknowledged the reality of demons in at least one previous thread.

  168. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:33 pm

    REINCARNATION EVIDENCE:

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/ian-stevensone28099s-case-for-the-afterlife-are-we-e28098skepticse28099-really-just-cynics/

    # hardnoseon 31 Jan 2017 at 6:53 pm
    [I’d be happy to say it’s all complete and utter nonsense—a moldering cesspool of irredeemable, anti-scientific drivel. The trouble is, it’s not entirely apparent to me that it is. So why aren’t scientists taking Stevenson’s data more seriously? The data don’t “fit” our working model of materialistic brain science, surely. But does our refusal to even look at his findings, let alone to debate them, come down to our fear of being wrong? “The wish not to believe,” Stevenson once said, “can influence as strongly as the wish to believe.”]

    **** The data don’t “fit” our working model of materialistic brain science, surely. But does our refusal to even look at his findings, let alone to debate them, come down to our fear of being wrong? ****

  169. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:33 pm

    “ME has acknowledged the reality of demons in at least one previous thread.”

    Not such a crazy idea if the universe is made out of information.

    **** The data don’t “fit” our working model of materialistic brain science, surely. But does our refusal to even look at his findings, let alone to debate them, come down to our fear of being wrong? ****

  170. Steven Novellaon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Michael – you completely dodged my point with a non-sequitur.

    The history of the last century is one of creationists trying to use legal means to force the teaching of creationism or ban or hinder the teaching of evolution. Those who accept evolution have not used the law to promote evolution, they have only reacted to creationist laws by demonstrating in court that they are unconstitutional.

    Your characterization of this history is demonstrably wrong. It is naked propaganda. You have not acknowledged nor countered this point, but rather feebly dodged with a non-sequitur about the quality of a biology textbook in the 1920s. This is incredibly intellectually dishonest.

    On the second point of whether or not ID is a scientific hypothesis, it depends on how it is framed. To the extent that ID is falsifiable, it has essentially been falsified. ID proponents have also dishonestly dodged this reality by rendering their own hypothesis non-falsifiable, and therefore not science. They try to have it both ways, and you are following their strategy nicely.

    I discuss this in detail here: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/is-intelligent-design-falsifiable/

  171. mumadaddon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Pahahaha! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous…

  172. mumadaddon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Sorry, that last was aimed at hn, in case it wasn’t obvious.

  173. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:37 pm

    “he wrote things that were used as justification for the subjugation of women.”

    So I guess that means you don’t believe anything said by any man, anywhere, any time before the modern politically correct era.

  174. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 3:37 pm

    “Pahahaha! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous…”

    **** The data don’t “fit” our working model of materialistic brain science, surely. But does our refusal to even look at his findings, let alone to debate them, come down to our fear of being wrong? ****

    Yes, mumadadd, you are ridiculous.

  175. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Steven,

    I have no problem with using the ordinary methods of curriculum development in schools. Some of this involves state (or federal) laws, and some involves curricular policy at the local or higher level. That’s how schools work, and is a necessary part of curricular development.

    In Tennessee in the 1920’s there was a state law that banned the teaching of human evolution. It did not ban the teaching of evolution generally, nor did it ban the teaching of Darwinism or natural selection, as long as it did not address human origins.

    Scopes was convicted of breaking this law. The penalty was a $50 (the $100 dollar fine was a mistake, and the conviction was thrown out in appeal on procedural grounds anyway).

    There has never been a law that banned teaching creationism or ID in schools. The reason is obvious: such a law would never pass.

    So in order to force their way around the democratic process, Darwinists have used the courts to censor opposition to Darwin’s theory.

    The argument that criticizing Darwin’s theory violates the First Amendment (which was Jones’ finding in Dover) is bizarre on it’s face. Obviously criticizing a scientific theory doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause (it doesn’t establish a national church), and it certainly seems that a federal judge prohibiting the criticism of a scientific theory violates the free speech clause in a much more obvious way.

    What enrages me is that scientists endorse such censorship. The scientific community has behaved shamefully by using courts, rather than reason and discourse, to impose it’s views.

    To put it bluntly, this will come back to bite you. As you see now with the current political power structure, the game can be played both ways. You will regret not defending free speech and open discourse.

  176. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 4:06 pm

    HN,

    So I guess that means you don’t believe anything said by any man, anywhere, any time before the modern politically correct era.

    Very interesting that you use the world “believe.” You have got to be one of the most inconsistent people I’ve ever met. You claim that we aren’t true enough skeptics because we don’t doubt everything the way you do. Then on other occasions you argue that Uri Geller must have had powers because all the stories about peoples keys being bent can’t be wrong.

    No I don’t ‘believe’ Aquinas’ thoughts on just about anything. I certainly don’t believe in witchcraft or demons. Since he plagiarized everything, it’s no coincidence that he also took Aristotle’s thoughts on women literally. Going so far as to compare women to another inferior species.

    Kant wrote some pretty racist stuff and thought his German race to be the best. I don’t think his work on morality is to be ignored tho. In the case of Aquinas there is just nothing of substance there. Kant was able to write moral philosophy without including his racist views. Aquinas was not able to write anything that didn’t depend on God to fill in the gaps. The fact that Egnor thinks Aquinas is the most significant philosopher shows how biased he is.

  177. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Egnor,

    To put it bluntly, this will come back to bite you. As you see now with the current political power structure, the game can be played both ways. You will regret not defending free speech and open discourse.

    Actually the courts found in all the relevant recent cases that intelligent design was just a cover for creationism. They then referred to the previous rulings and considerations. Teaching creationism is a fundamental Christian religious practice. All the lawyers had to do was demonstrate that to be true. Once they show that it’s easy to see how public schools shouldn’t be forced to teach a religious concept.

    Your vague threats and offensive comments show a disturbing pattern of behavior. Your argument is that your position is valid scientifically, even though when challenged, you can’t convince scientists. All attempts to make scientific hypotheses fail or are quickly falsified. When you can no longer make scientific statements your argument ventures to the unfalsifiable woo woo land.

    You can’t win the fight fairly. Now you are praising the current administration not for doing anything to support your argument scientifically, but just for winning. Yes congratulations a bunch of religious fanatics like you are now going to have a change to write the law and get creationism in school. You succeeded by using deception and misinformation. Creationism will still become no more scientific.

  178. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 4:24 pm

    @Cozy:

    [… Going so far as to compare women to another inferior species.]

    Who would ever draw that conclusion…

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/01/22/most-embarrassing-photos-from-the-women-who-love-abortion-and-hate-trump-march/

  179. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    So in order to force their way around the democratic process, Darwinists have used the courts to censor opposition to Darwin’s theory.

    No.

    The courts have looked at the American Constitution and its prohibition on establishment of religion.

    Not being fooled by Creationism, nor by Creationism with a mustache and sunglasses as a disguise, the courts have recognized that having religion taught in science classrooms would be a clear choice of a favored religion.

    Catholics reject Creationism and do not teach Creationism in the science classrooms of Catholic schools. Catholics would be discriminated against by having teachers (agents of the government) preach a religion contrary to Catholicism in public schools.

    Back to your continuing failure to provide valid evidence of your Intelligent Designer

    Provide evidence.

    It does not matter who you are. It only matters if you can provide valid evidence.
    Aquinas did not provide evidence in any of his explanations for why he believes that his personal interpretation of the Gods is real.

    In spite of all of your education, you fail to understand that, or you just don’t care and continue to try to distract with irrelevant information.

    .

  180. jsterritton 01 Feb 2017 at 5:19 pm

    @michaelegnor

    “All of them were passionate theists and creationists.”

    Do you really not see how you’re making my point for me? Aristotle, Descartes, and Bacon — like virtually all classical and Enlightenment proponents of science — had absolutely no idea how to go about doing it. Cartesian and Baconian “scientists” (let alone classical era thinkers) almost literally pulled ideas out of their asses — mostly of the “self-evident” variety — which they postulated as “laws,” whether derived from God or capital-N Nature. These laws were not to be challenged by science, but serve as the foundation upon which everything would ultimately be understood. Until the notion of falsification came along to shore up what people had been misidentifying as the “scientific method,” the so-called scientists of pre-modernity were precisely the storytellers, shaman, alchemists, philosophers and other noodle-brained cultists you so venerate (i.e., religionists with their voodoo substitutions for science). You see, they had nothing better to work with.

    Yet surely Aristotle, Descartes, and Bacon would eagerly jettison their dearly-held philosophies in the face of better evidence. Because they were scientists. Science is not incompatible with theism, but your ad hoc system of nitpicks — wherein you claim theologians, polytheists, and philosophers as supporters of your absurd creation mythos and claims to scientific rigor — is.

    You invoke Descartes’ “proof” of the existence of God, not because it is sound (it isn’t), but because it suits you. Same with Aristotle’s prime mover sophistry. Both are based on tenuous and unknowable presumptions, yet you laud them because they kinda jibe with your own lazy navel-gazing. In the 800 years since the obsolete musings of Aquinas (and the millennia since Aristotle) a new and better system of acquiring knowledge emerged, with new and better tools than philosophy could offer. Empiricism and falsification replaced overconfidence in logic and received wisdom. Today, Newton would be a great physicist, but he’d probably give alchemy and numerology a pass.

    You’re still playing at metaphysics and defensive politicking. You are a relic, much like Thomism.

    Thumbing your nose and kicking at the shins of evolution — not to mention making unsupported, immodest claims about your own intelligence, wit, and prolificacy — is not science (or even sound argument). Denigrating a scientific theory doesn’t magically elevate your metaphysical mush-brained guesswork to anything more than desperate, pushy ideology.

  181. bachfiendon 01 Feb 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Hardnose,

    Stevenson’s evidence of reincarnation is absolutely ‘convincing’. The Sri Lankan case of the toddler remembering a previous life in which she was drowned by her brother (hopefully it’s not the best case) will convince any ‘sceptic’. Obviously any parents hearing from their toddler that she’s had a previous life will drop everything and contact Stevenson immediately who will rush to Sri Lanka and investigate the case thoroughly with the toddler’s memories uncontaminated by telling and retelling of the story, and questioning by the parents, who’d be inadvertently leading the child to recount details in keeping with the parents’ knowledge and beliefs.

    The alternate explanation is that Stevenson has just been recording implanted false memories. There’s nothing for other scientists to investigate. Stevenson has just accumulated anecdotes. Scientists reexamining Stevenson’s evidence will just be reexamining anecdotes which have been further contaminated by Stevenson.

    The Scientic American claim that moles are rarely seen on the soles of the feet is just wrong. Moles do regularly occur on the soles of the feet, and in people blessed with natural pigmentation protecting them from malignant melanoma, is the precursor lesion to melanoma.

  182. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 6:24 pm

    “you argue that Uri Geller must have had powers because all the stories about peoples keys being bent can’t be wrong.”

    Did you twist that intentionally, or do you just naturally twist things?

  183. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 6:34 pm

    “The alternate explanation is that Stevenson has just been recording implanted false memories.”

    So, a scientist has spent many years researching something, and you can find a fatal defect after thinking about it for 2 minutes.

    These stories don’t prove reincarnation, but they strongly suggest something like it does happen. You really think it’s all just an amazing bunch of coincidences and mistakes? Anything to hang on to materialism.

  184. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 6:42 pm

    “So, a scientist has spent many years researching something, and you can find a fatal defect after thinking about it for 2 minutes.”

    Now THAT is funny, I don’t care watcha say.

  185. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Dr. Egnor: Should “free speech” include the right of practitioners of reiki, acupuncture, and chiropractic to teach at publicly funded schools? Does the right to “free speech” end once your particular grievances are satisfied?

  186. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 6:54 pm

    hardnose,

    You really think it’s all just an amazing bunch of coincidences and mistakes?

    Some people are easily amazed.

    If there is some ability that is not magic, but real, why can’t anyone provide valid evidence?

    Why are the biggest names (most convincing practitioners) so easily exposed by James Randi and others?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9w7jHYriFo

    .

  187. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 7:05 pm

    I really didn’t think anyone, except for fools, defended Uri Geller anymore.

  188. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 7:30 pm

    “Why are the biggest names (most convincing practitioners) so easily exposed by James Randi and others?”

    Stevenson and Tucker were not exposed by anyone.

  189. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 7:44 pm

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/no-way-could-explain-cia-scientist-convinced-uri-gellers-psychic/

    Well you can believe James Randi, or you can believe the scientists at SRI or in the CIA who studied and worked with Geller.

  190. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 7:44 pm

    All those scientists are fools, only James Randi is intelligent.

  191. cozyingon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:23 pm

    HN,

    Did you twist that intentionally, or do you just naturally twist things?

    What you originally said in response to me asking if you thought Uri Geller had abilities:

    I don’t have a definite opinion on Uri Geller. Lots of people swear they had to get all new keys after watching him on TV, because all of them were bent.
    I don’t assume all those people are idiots. I just do not know. I had no personal experience like that.

    So yes. You think Geller has powers. That’s the implication of what you said. You could have said you didn’t believe. You instead chose to give evidence and an ad populum.

  192. bachfiendon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Hardnose,

    James Randi has noted that the easiest people to fool are scientists, who study nature, which although difficult and hard to understand, doesn’t set out to fool people. Magicians, such as Uri Geller, though…

    If there was anything in Uri Geller’s key bendeng at a distance talents, and the CIA were convinced by them, then why didn’t they use him to sabotage Iran’s, North Korea’s and Iraq’s (nonexistent) nuclear programmes? It would have been much cheaper (even if they paid him millions) and effective.

    The problem with afterlife studies is that they’re not particularly controlled. Stevenson didn’t get access to the children claiming previous lives for a considerable period allowing memories to change. Even standard NDEs aren’t particularly controlled with the patients giving their accounts hours, even days after the near deaths, so it’s unknown whether the memories come from the time of the near death or from the subsequent period when the patients are sick but not near death.

    We need some controlled experiments. Theists such as you and Michael Egnor should be willing to act as experimental subjects. After all, you’ve got the motivation to prove that the afterlife exists. I suggest a controlled experiment with resuscitation facilities available. The experimental subjects would be injected with a short acting muscle relaxant such as succinylcholine choline to paralyse respiration, causing cerebral hypoxia and (if well done) a flat EEG. The subjects could then be resuscitated with artificial respiration and, when the short acting muscle relaxant has worn off, questioned as to whether they had a NDE. And, if they had one of the common out of body experiences, to add some objective evidence, whether they could remember some information not visible from their physical location, such as a coloured number on the upper surface of a screen immediately above their heads.

    Theists should be eager to prove that something they’re convinced exists actually exists. And if by some mishap they don’t survive the experiment – well, they haven’t lost much. They’ve got eternity in the afterlife. And they’d be martyrs to the cause, dying in the quest to bolster the belief of fellow believers.

  193. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:36 pm

    “So yes. You think Geller has powers. That’s the implication of what you said. You could have said you didn’t believe. You instead chose to give evidence and an ad populum.”

    Oh just stop. I said I didn’t know.

    But now I am reading more about him. It seems everyone who knew him since he was a child witnessed these things.

  194. hardnoseon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:37 pm

    “James Randi has noted that the easiest people to fool are scientists”

    Oh please.

  195. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:44 pm

    hardnose,

    “Why are the biggest names (most convincing practitioners) so easily exposed by James Randi and others?”

    Stevenson and Tucker were not exposed by anyone.

    Stevenson and Tucker are practitioners of paranormal powers?

    I have never heard of them before today. Can you provide a link to them demonstrating their powers?

    Well you can believe James Randi, or you can believe the scientists at SRI or in the CIA who studied and worked with Geller.

    and

    All those scientists are fools, only James Randi is intelligent.

    As Randi has explained, it often takes a magician to see through the tricks of other magicians.

    If the CIA had let a magician set up the experiments in a way that they could not be easily manipulated by a magician, they would not have embarrassed themselves so blatantly.

    You make it about reputation, when any reasonable person can watch Randi expose these frauds and recognize that all they are doing is magic tricks.

    Claiming that other people have been fooled, therefore it is real, is silly. You are choosing to continue to be fooled, rather than to learn from your mistakes.

    .

  196. Steven Novellaon 01 Feb 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Michael – But no one has ever passed or proposed a law to prohibit criticism of evolution. You are just making that up.

    Again, it is creationists who passed the laws. The defenders simply showed that those laws were unconstitutional – because, upon careful review of the details is was clear that the criticism of evolution was religious and not scientific. You can pretend otherwise, but those are the facts.

  197. bachfiendon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Hardnose,

    ‘It seems everyone who knew him (Uri Geller) since he was a child witnessed these things’.

    Reference, please.

    You’re a credulous fool, and not a sceptic. You’re only doubtful about things that challenge your worldview, which you reject without evidence.

  198. Willyon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:04 pm

    hn: In the late 1970s, when I was more gullible, but never as gullible as you, I went to a Geller PERFORMANCE. Here’s how he “psychically” “bends” keys. He calls a “volunteer” to the stage, he FONDLES the volunteer’s keys, then does his “psychic magic” on them and–voila!–the keys are bent! Then he asks the audience to examine their keys to see if his “powers” perhaps exceeded his focus on the volunteer’s keys. Let’s be clear here; we aren’t talking about keys severely bent, just slight twists and warps. Even as naive as I was then, I came away feeling I had just witnessed a crock of poo.

    Perhaps you can detect that one or more of your own keys isn’t perfectly straight? If yes, why, it was ME! I bent them! What’s really remarkable about my feat is that I have NO IDEA where you are! My powers had to cover the entire globe in order to oh-so slightly twist your key!

    You are naive fool. Period.

  199. Rogue Medicon 01 Feb 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Willy,

    One of the locks I regularly use has been malfunctioning.

    It appears that your powers extend beyond just keys to the locks the keys are supposed to open.

    And your powers are retroactive.

    I am convinced!

    .

  200. michaelegnoron 01 Feb 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Steven:

    [Again, it is creationists who passed the laws. The defenders simply showed that those laws were unconstitutional]

    In other words, the creationists used the normal democratic process of legislation and curricular development in school districts to set curricular policy for their children.

    Darwinists used federal courts to impose censorship– Jones’ order was to not “disparage” Darwin’s theory–on schools, outside of legal routes of curricular development and outside of the laws passed by the people.

    The assertion that mere discussion of the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory and the issues involving ID violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause is ridiculous on it’s face and is unworthy of discussion.

    It is raw censorship–the raw abuse of federal power. You and “scientists” who support it should be ashamed. It speaks to the weakness of your theory that you must resort to such methods to shield it from scrutiny even by schoolchildren.

  201. bachfiendon 01 Feb 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Michael,

    OK, let’s have schoolchildren be taught the weaknesses of religion, in particular Christianity. There are plenty of Hindus and Buddhists who’d volunteer to perform the role.

    You reckon Christianity is the only ‘true’ religion. You should welcome it being examined critically in public schools. When it survives critical examination (as you presumably do), then you would be happy, with faith reinforced.

  202. chikoppion 01 Feb 2017 at 11:53 pm

    [michaelegnor] The assertion that mere discussion of the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory and the issues involving ID violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause is ridiculous on it’s face and is unworthy of discussion.

    It is raw censorship–the raw abuse of federal power. You and “scientists” who support it should be ashamed. It speaks to the weakness of your theory that you must resort to such methods to shield it from scrutiny even by schoolchildren.

    It’s fine to examine a scientific theory critically, from a scientific perspective. It is NOT fine to suggest that a theological position, unsupported and unestablished by the scientific method, is in any any way a legitimate framework for critique.

    ID has zero scientific credibility, which is why you are trying to sell it to school children rather than do the actual work of validating it methodologically. Your crusade is itself an admission that ID cannot withstand scientific scrutiny and has no place in public science curriculum.

  203. bachfiendon 02 Feb 2017 at 12:07 am

    And anyway – it wasn’t scientists who brought on the court case against the Dover school board. They didn’t have any legal standing. It was parents of students at the school.

    For a court case to be brought against creationists, it’s necessary to have plaintiffs who are affected. They can have scientists giving testimony, as too did the ID creationists. Unfortunately for them, they put up a pisspoor defence and lost. It’s been suggested that they deliberately lost so that the school board would be able to appeal to a higher court which would have a wider jurisdiction if and when they optimistically won.

    In the meantime, the parents engaged their democratic rights and voted the school board out, so an appeal became a moot point.

  204. Rogue Medicon 02 Feb 2017 at 1:08 am

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    The courts have looked at the American Constitution and its prohibition on establishment of religion.

    Not being fooled by Creationism, nor by Creationism with a mustache and sunglasses as a disguise, the courts have recognized that having religion taught in science classrooms would be a clear choice of a favored religion.

    Catholics reject Creationism and do not teach Creationism in the science classrooms of Catholic schools. Catholics would be discriminated against by having teachers (agents of the government) preach a religion contrary to Catholicism in public schools.

    It is amusing that you choose to side with the Creationists against the Catholics.

    The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve. – Pope Francis

    .

  205. hardnoseon 02 Feb 2017 at 8:38 am

    Daryl Bem is a magician also, just like Randi. That’s how he got involved in psi experiments, trying to find problems with them. His conclusion was different from Randi’s — he found that at least some of the experiments were good.

    Maybe Randi is not the all-knowing god you perceive him as.

  206. Willyon 02 Feb 2017 at 10:20 am

    Then again, hn, maybe your alternate reality isn’t reality at all.

  207. Rogue Medicon 02 Feb 2017 at 10:22 am

    hardnose,

    Daryl Bem’s research fails reproducibility.

    If it only happens when the magician is pulling the levers, it probably is not science.

    Why do the standards keep needing to be lowered in order to make paranormal abilities look real?

    Real science requires raising the standards to separate any signal from the noise.

    Positive research on paranormal abilities appears to be an indication of an inability to tell the difference between signal and noise.

    .

  208. Willyon 02 Feb 2017 at 10:58 am

    Rogue Medic: My apologies for my unintended consequences to your lock. I should have been more careful, but, going back and forth through time as I do, well, I just get confused sometimes. Too, the power just overrules me at times. I am in a very real way a slave to it. I am but a tool for the unseen forces.

  209. SteveAon 02 Feb 2017 at 11:21 am

    Hardnose

    Any competent magician who’s watched Geller at work, knows how he does his tricks. Most will also tell you that he doesn’t do them particularly well. Geller is different from the ordinary run of mediocre magicians only in that he claims to have ‘real’ powers.

    It’s the same kind of shtick that you can find in any magician’s box of tricks, he just dresses it up in paranormal clothing.

    Would you still have faith in his claims if he told you he could materialize a rabbit inside a top-hat, or really cut a lady in half?

    If a really skilful trickster, like Derren Brown, declared all his ‘powers’ were real, you’d probably worship him as a god – ‘cause, y’know, no ordinary person could possibly do that kind of spooky stuff.

  210. Rogue Medicon 02 Feb 2017 at 11:21 am

    Willy,

    A lot of good that does me now, surrounded by police as I try to explain that this is the key to Fort Knox, and I just need to get enough to buy some milk and cookies.

    Bend it back, please. Without cookies, I turn into a Yeti.

    .

  211. cozyingon 02 Feb 2017 at 11:54 am

    On Derren Brown,

    I have heard new age people argue that he actually has real psi abilities. But he can’t accept it so he has to justify it with all his explanations. His powers manifest from the subconscious and he fears his own potential.

    The only problem is that he’s written books explaining in detail what he does and you can follow these guides and learn the tricks. When I say this they counter: yes he passes down his psi techniques to the most faithful.

  212. Willyon 02 Feb 2017 at 12:02 pm

    RM: I’m trying to fix it (I knew about your problem BEFORE your post!), but there’s a goddam skeptic somewhere in neighborhood and my efforts are failing. I hope your jailer will bring you milk and cookies.

    If you do turn into a Yeti–get some clear photos!

  213. Rogue Medicon 02 Feb 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Willy,

    I pose for hours in front of some photographers, but there seems to be a field that distorts the images that appear.

    At first, I thought that it was due to poor technology, but after seeing the video of Trump putting his human costume over his lizard self, I realize that the problem is not technology.

    My Blue Yeti is starting to emerge.

    Expect all cameras in the area to malfunction.

    All this over cookies.

    .

  214. jsterritton 02 Feb 2017 at 12:31 pm

    @michaelegnor

    “The assertion that mere discussion of the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory and the issues involving ID violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause is ridiculous on it’s face and is unworthy of discussion.”

    That is a very interesting statement coming from someone who stumps exclusively for “teaching the controversy.” As has been said before, you really must have your cake and eat it. Discussing whether ID violates the Establishment Clause (which has been exhaustively — and clearly — demonstrated to be the case) is a no-no. But breaking/circumventing the law to continue insinuating your religious dogma into curricula is utterly sacrosanct (the free exchange of ideas). You speak like a First Amendment absolutist, while also taking a piss on others’ rights to free speech. In a word, you’re a hypocrite.

    For the record: Judge Jones concluded that “compelling evidence strongly supports plaintiff’s assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.” In comparing early and post-Edwards drafts of Pandas, he wrote: ” (1) the definition for creation science in the early drafts is identical to the definition of ID [intelligent design]; (2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist) which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and (3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards.” [1]

    Call it censorship all you want, but it was your lame-brained Institute that clearly broke the law (Edwards) by trying to rebrand creationism as ID. It’s no one else’s fault that you guys did such a piss-poor job of rebranding your religion as science. But don’t take it too badly, no one could have done a better job, because creation as science just isn’t a thing.

    All you have is god-of-the-gaps nitpicks that continue to crumble under light scrutiny. I am surprised that you come here to lambaste us for our sins, when you are personally guilty of undermining (or attempting to undermine) the US Constitution.

    _____
    [1] http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMlim055660

  215. Pete Aon 02 Feb 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Rogue Medic,

    Real science requires raising the standards to separate any signal from the noise.

    Positive research on paranormal abilities appears to be an indication of an inability to tell the difference between signal and noise.

    Yes indeed: signal-to-noise ratio, when properly measured, is a far better indicator for most things than is a single-sided or a two-sided p-value.

    It seems to me that p-values, rather than signal-to-noise ratio, are used in the vast majority of research simply due to tradition. Nobody has ever been able to state a succinct easy-to-understand definition of p-values — hence p-values remain the ‘magic wand’ to wave over collected data.

    The proponents of the idea that the universe is made out of information ought to be strong advocates of using signal-to-noise ratio measures; and be highly suspicious of research that uses p-values (due to the ease with which p-values can be hacked either deliberately or inadvertently).

  216. hardnoseon 02 Feb 2017 at 2:17 pm

    “Why do the standards keep needing to be lowered in order to make paranormal abilities look real?”

    Just the opposite happened. Parapsychologists have continuously raised their standards, to way above normal psychology standards. They expect to be attacked by Randi and his friends, so they make their experiments air tight.

    I was thinking about being a parapsychologist, so I became familiar with the history and literature. I am sure that none of you here have done that.

  217. mumadaddon 02 Feb 2017 at 2:44 pm

    “I was thinking about being a parapsychologist, so I became familiar with the history and literature. I am sure that none of you here have done that.”

    Only because I couldn’t get a job when I was 10!

  218. jsterritton 02 Feb 2017 at 2:53 pm

    “Parapsychologists have continuously raised their standards, to way above normal psychology standards.”

    Since I know we’ll never, ever see any kind of citation or evidence for this claim from its author, I went to what seemed a likely source for insight into parapsychology. Enjoy!

    From the Parapsychological Association:

    Many students and adults would like to study human consciousness, parapsychology, transpersonal psychology, or some combination of these fields. While these topics are of great interest, the number of courses and degrees available in these topics are – surprisingly – very few. People often believe that there are active undergraduate or graduate-level programs at universities known for having parapsychology labs. Unfortunately, this is not true. At present the only universities that teach graduate-level courses on parapsychology are outside of the United States, in Europe.

    In terms of realistic career advice, note that parapsychology is considered “marginal” by mainstream psychology. If your goal is a tenured faculty position at a major university, with plenty of time for research, any degree with an emphasis in parapsychology will not be looked upon with favor. Parapsychologists usually make a living teaching or doing another conventional job.

    Some students solve the problem of wanting the advantages offered by a mainstream academic position, but without giving up their greater interests in parapsychology, by going to a mainstream school (where they are wisely discrete [sic] about their deeper interests), learning how to conduct research in some well-accepted discipline, and then quietly joining the Parapsychological Association and/or reading the primary parapsychological journals.

    Scientific parapsychology is a minuscule field, with only a few dozen people in the entire world working in it.

  219. Rogue Medicon 02 Feb 2017 at 3:03 pm

    hardnose,

    “Why do the standards keep needing to be lowered in order to make paranormal abilities look real?”

    Just the opposite happened. Parapsychologists have continuously raised their standards, to way above normal psychology standards.

    Provide valid evidence to support your claim.

    .

  220. Pete Aon 02 Feb 2017 at 3:19 pm

    “[hardnose] Parapsychologists have continuously raised their standards, to way above normal psychology standards.”

    No! The opposite is true:
    http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/what-crisis-reproducibility-crisis
    http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/03/p-values.aspx

  221. Willyon 02 Feb 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Ya just gotta laugh!

  222. CKavaon 02 Feb 2017 at 6:58 pm

    [hardnose] Parapsychologists have continuously raised their standards, to way above normal psychology standards.]

    There are times when I think that hardnose really is just trolling. No-one could assert this seriously if they looked into the literature with even a modicum of objectivity.

  223. hardnoseon 02 Feb 2017 at 7:27 pm

    “No-one could assert this seriously if they looked into the literature with even a modicum of objectivity.”

    I’m sure you haven’t looked into it, and if you did you wouldn’t know how to evaluate it. All you do is read CSICOP and skepdic and believe whatever they say.

  224. Rogue Medicon 02 Feb 2017 at 8:48 pm

    hardnose,

    “No-one could assert this seriously if they looked into the literature with even a modicum of objectivity.”

    I’m sure you haven’t looked into it, and if you did you wouldn’t know how to evaluate it. All you do is read CSICOP and skepdic and believe whatever they say.

    Then we can expect you to provide valid evidence to support your claim or admit that your claim was just a bluff?

    When you make ridiculous claims (and they have been ridiculed), but you do not support them with any valid evidence, you and Michael Egnor repeatedly demonstrate that you are wrong.

    .

  225. Willyon 02 Feb 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Hardeharharhar!!!!!!!!!!!

    hn: Did I bend any of your keys?

  226. CKavaon 03 Feb 2017 at 12:06 am

    You are an ideologue hardnose but I’m not entirely convinced you believe everything you say. I think it would be very hard to be so transparently credulous and still make so many non-ironic, self-aggrandising statements about how critical/skeptical you are.

    In a recent thread you declared that you “love statistics” but yet you have repeatedly displayed a poor grasp of even basic statistical and experimental methods/standards.You declared, for instance, that regardless of a lack of statistical difference by eyeballing the data in the Seralini study you can see there is a ‘real’ difference in groups, you failed to see any problem in running over 36 mean comparison tests using an uncorrected p<.05 as the threshold for 'significance' and you fawned over Bem's research, despite it being used by statisticians as a paradigmatic example of the inappropriate statistical methods prevalent in psychology.

    All of that, combined with thousands of other statements, means you seem to have no foundation to 'evaluate' the quality of studies and this is reflected in absolutely indefensible statements like parapsychology is a field with high methodological standards.

  227. hardnoseon 03 Feb 2017 at 8:29 am

    “fawned over Bem’s research, despite it being used by statisticians as a paradigmatic example of the inappropriate statistical methods prevalent in psychology.”

    I didn’t fawn over it. I said it should not be ignored by “materialists.”

    Yes, “materialists” decided that estimates of how probable an effect is should be included in the analysis. So if they estimate probability low enough, they can erase the effect in any experiment they don’t like.

    That was never done in psychology, since ranking the probability of something being true is mostly a subjective judgement. But “materialists” have to make sure they have a loophole.

    (By the way, in case you want a definition of “materialist,” I think it could be defined as someone who believes intelligence and consciousness are generated by the brain.)

  228. Rogue Medicon 03 Feb 2017 at 10:20 am

    hardnose,

    That was never done in psychology, since ranking the probability of something being true is mostly a subjective judgement.

    Are you claiming that Geller is a God and it is impossible when he will do something insane, such as drown everyone, throw a tornado at the Slavery Belt Bible Belt, answer a prayer with something almost like what was prayed for, . . . ?

    Lowering the quality of the study to allow devout Eurekas is not good science, no matter how much you think mysticism should be a part of science.

    .

  229. Pete Aon 03 Feb 2017 at 11:17 am

    hardnose,

    “(By the way, in case you want a definition of ‘materialist,’ I think it could be defined as someone who believes intelligence and consciousness are generated by the brain.)”

    I said in a previous comment on a different article that “I am NOT a reductionist, materialist, skeptic” and I really enjoyed your excellent reply: “Then what are you doing here? TROLL!!” You gave me a much-needed pause for thought, for which I thanked you.

    The human brain with its circa 90 billion neurons — which are interconnected by countless and constantly changing synapses — is the most extraordinarily complex thing that we currently know to exist in our universe. But, our brain by itself does not generate our moment-by-moment self-awareness and behaviours, or our dreams while we sleep: our brain receives inputs from our highly-complex physiological bodily sub-systems.

    Many years ago, I went to a really nice pub with a good friend. We enjoyed wonderful food then sat by the log fire enjoying quality conversation while sipping fine whisky and smoking exquisitely aromatic cigars. Our experience of that event results from, at least, the involved: biology; chemistry; neurology; physics; and psychology. The sum of which is far beyond the learning capacity of any one person during their lifetime.

    Just because I (and every other individual) cannot thoroughly understand each of the branches of science involved in that memorable experience, is not an excuse to invoke an as yet unknown: cosmic consciousness/information theory; god(s); higher dimension(s); parapsychology; or the quantum flapdoodle that Chopra et al. are so fond of promoting.

    I don’t understand anywhere near enough 21st-century epistemology and science to ever become a reductionist, materialist, skeptic.

  230. jsterritton 03 Feb 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I can find no evidence of Bem’s results being replicated (and of course HN will never provide any, just the unsupported claim).

    Here’s Chris French (one of many scientists who failed to replicate Bem’s experimental outcomes) writing for The Guardian:

    “It was agreed that a replication attempt would take place at each of the three institutions. All three attempts would follow the same procedures as those used by Bem, including using the same number of participants, and the experiments would be pre-registered. Regardless of outcome, we would write up our results and submit them for publication.

    “As can be seen from our published report in PLoS ONE, none of us produced results that supported the effect reported by Bem (neither did Eric Robinson in a paper published in July 2011 in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research).

    “Many commentators strongly criticised the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for publishing Bem’s paper in the first place, though it had been put through the same peer review process as other submissions.”

  231. Pete Aon 03 Feb 2017 at 1:23 pm

    and the experiments would be pre-registered

    Yes indeed: that makes a huge difference to the results obtained because it disallows both: changes in methodology during the experiment; and changes in the analysis methodology after the experiment.

  232. jsterritton 03 Feb 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Here is another HN claim regarding Bem’s experiments from a year ago:

    “According to physics, time can be bi-directional. This is well-known and accepted.”

    Also: “Time being bi-directional is accepted in physics.”

    For someone who claims to be a scientist, HN flaunts a disturbing ignorance about physics. The statement “time can be bi-directional” makes no sense. HN is probably confusing his made-up phenomenon with time reversal symmetry, which exists only abstractly in math, but is “broken” in real life by the arrow of time, which is basically entropy (give or take some random quantum fluctuations). Time reversal symmetry only exists (i.e., is not broken) as part of the theorem of CPT symmetry. In CPT symmetry, time is still not “bi-directional” (whatever that means — there are more than two directions!). CPT simply posits that if you reverse everything (matter/anti-matter (charge conjugation or “C”), handedness (parity or “P”), and time or (“T”)), the universe would be identical/symmetrical, because everything would effectively be exactly the same. Duh.

    In other words, unbroken time symmetry is allowed only under CPT and could have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on Bem’s — or anyone’s — experiments.

  233. jsterritton 03 Feb 2017 at 3:21 pm

    @Pete A

    Pre-registration is crucial to protecting studies from precisely the kind of post hoc data massaging that Bem has been rebuked for (multiple comparisons, Texas sharpshooter bias). Further, it allows researchers to submit for review their proposed methodology and methods of statistical analysis. This would save researchers the embarrassment of making errors and remove any temptation to manipulate findings due to bias (e.g., p-hacking).

    To me, Bem’s results seem custom tailored to appeal to true believers and the credulous/sensational press. Failure to replicate results using such simple and straightforward experiments cinches it. But that won’t stop the HNs of the world from embracing the debunked outlier over the multiple and earnest attempts at replication. Sigh.

  234. Pete Aon 03 Feb 2017 at 4:17 pm

    jsterritt,

    Experiments in parapsychology that use a p-value threshold of 0.05 is, in and of itself, a clear declaration that p-hacking and p-value obfuscation is their chosen modus operandi.

    Using a p-value threshold of 0.05 might be able to yield a 1 in 20 chance of a false positive result when both the prior probability and the prior plausibility are very close to unity. When the prior probability and the prior plausibility are very close to zero, such is in the field of parapsychology, a p-value of 0.05 is expected to yield false positive rates of 70-80% when using the very best peer-reviewed methodology, let alone questionable methodologies.

  235. Pete Aon 03 Feb 2017 at 5:47 pm

    The forward arrow of time that is supported by both The Second Law of Thermodynamics and meticulous observation is not sufficiently supported by 21st-century astrophysicists, cosmologists, mathematicians, philosophers, nor by theoretical physicists.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics is very likely to remain true if, and only if, everyone fully understands and appreciates its many caveats. E.g., Who can definitively tell us whether our universe is a totally closed and isolated system: if it leaks energy in a similar way to black holes; or if it gains energy from its surrounding multiverses. [Rhetorical questions].
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics

    My rhetorical questions are intended to show that ‘god of the gaps’ type arguments are not a substitute for the current gaps in scientific knowledge; they are the very antithesis of 21st-century science and reason.

    I honestly state such things as “I don’t know!” and “I’ve learnt so very much from being wrong. I sincerely thank you for correcting me.” Whereas ME and HN seem to have the complete opposite approach to: life and death; empathy and compassion.

  236. jsterritton 03 Feb 2017 at 6:23 pm

    @ Pete A

    “Experiments in parapsychology that use a p-value threshold of 0.05 is, in and of itself, a clear declaration that p-hacking and p-value obfuscation is their chosen modus operandi.”

    Very well said! Even a cursory glance at Bem’s results (without needing to consider criticisms of bias, p-hacking, multiple comparisons, etc) show just a tiny divergence from chance. Guessing at which curtain an “erotic” image was behind, 100 subjects in multiple sessions outperformed chance by only a little over 3% (p=.03). What I found equally yawn-inducing was that when the images were “non-erotic,” subjects underperformed chance by about 2%. Having “proved” that people are incapable of using “psi” to win at Let’s Make a Deal, Bem decided that the slight trend toward guessing where porn is was significant (I’m sure that a similar p-value could have been found for redheads, lefties, or any other post hoc comparison). Bad science!

  237. Pete Aon 03 Feb 2017 at 7:59 pm

    jsterritt,

    A five-sigma level translates to one chance in 3.5 million that a random fluctuation would yield the result. This level of certainty was required in order to assert that a particle consistent with the Higgs boson had been discovered in two independent experiments at CERN,[7] and this was also the significance level leading to the declaration of the first detection of gravitational waves.[8]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation

    Whereas parapsychology is making an increasing mess of itself by continually p1ssing into the wind with its p-value!

  238. hardnoseon 03 Feb 2017 at 11:22 pm

    “Many commentators strongly criticised the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for publishing Bem’s paper in the first place, though it had been put through the same peer review process as other submissions.”

    They criticized the journal because they don’t like parapsychology.

    “When the prior probability and the prior plausibility are very close to zero, such is in the field of parapsychology”

    In YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM the plausibility is close to zero. If you impose your belief system on science, it would not be science.

  239. Pete Aon 04 Feb 2017 at 4:11 am

    The prior plausibility of gravitational waves was high because they were predicted by exiting theory. Even so, the detection of them had to pass a five-sigma level test.

    Parapsychology is not predicted by existing theory therefore its prior plausibility is close to zero. Using a p-value of 0.05 will lead to a high rate of type I errors, which is exactly what we see in the results: false positives; replication failures.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_I_and_type_II_errors#Type_I_error

  240. jsterritton 04 Feb 2017 at 2:32 pm

    “In YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM the plausibility is close to zero. If you impose your belief system on science, it would not be science.”

    No, no, no, and no!

    Prior plausibility is based on the compatibility of a claim with known and well-verified scientific facts in physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Dismissing a claim’s prior plausibility out of hand (or by calling it a “belief”) is special pleading.

    The only person allowing their personal belief system to override the prior plausibility of “psi” phenomena is HN (surprises, surprise).

  241. jsterritton 04 Feb 2017 at 3:40 pm

    “They criticized the journal because they don’t like parapsychology.”

    No, they criticized the journal because they published a study that failed to weight its statistical analysis for prior plausibility and “combined data-peeking, liberal thresholds, study recombination, flexible hypotheses, and selective measures” to craft a perfect recipe for spurious results. [1]

    These criticisms were vindicated utterly by the subsequent avalanche of replication failures.

    It is possible (although highly implausible) that the critics were in fact clairvoyants who magically foresaw the irreproducibility and other flaws of Bem’s study in their crystal balls. A good parapsychologist should investigate!

    ________
    [1] http://www.talyarkoni.org/blog/2011/01/10/the-psychology-of-parapsychology-or-why-good-researchers-publishing-good-articles-in-good-journals-can-still-get-it-totally-wrong/

  242. bachfiendon 04 Feb 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Hardnose,

    You have a naive belief that peer review means that the findings in a journal article are Truth. It’s been estimated that at least 30% of psychology articles are just wrong. Even being charitable to Bem’s article, and there’s a 70% that it’s right, it only increases the probability that precognition exists.

    Using Bayes’ theorem, how much it increases the probability can be calculated, admittedly making assumptions (but you’re free to come up with your own assumptions to use if you can justify them).

    I assume that the prior probability that precognition exists prior to Bem’s study as 10%, which I think is generous – bookmakers and casinos make fortunes off punters who aren’t able to foresee the results of bets. So after Bem’s study, taking 70% as the probability that it would give the results it did if precognition exists, the conditional probability becomes:

    (0.10 x 0.70) / [(0.10 x 0.7) +( 0.9 x 0.3)], or around 0.20.

    So Bem’s study doubles the probability that precognition exists – precognition of very small effect allowing people to predict less than one porn image per trial.

    And then with the 10 attempted negative replications of Bem’s study, the conditional probability can be recalculated for each one.

    For the first negative replication, the probability that precognition doesn’t exist is:

    ( 0.8 x 0.7 ) / [( 0.8 x 0.7 ) + ( 0.2 x 0.3 )] or around 0.90, meaning that the probability that precognition exists is 10% – back to the pre-Bem probability. And each subsequent negative replication further decreases the probability. The second becomes:

    ( 0.9 x 0.7 ) / [( 0.9 x 0.7 ) + ( 0.1 x 0.3 )] or around 0.95, meaning that the conditional probability that precognition exists after the second negative replication is now 5%. And so on.

    You’re free to make your own estimates, provided you can justify them, and do your own calculations.

  243. jsterritton 04 Feb 2017 at 6:06 pm

    “You’re free to make your own estimates, provided you can justify them, and do your own calculations.”

    Sorry, bachfiend, but you’re tapping a dry well.

    Thanks for the math!

  244. hardnoseon 04 Feb 2017 at 6:59 pm

    “You have a naive belief that peer review means that the findings in a journal article are Truth.”

    That’s ridiculous, I never said anything like that. Just the opposite.

  245. hardnoseon 04 Feb 2017 at 7:01 pm

    “failed to weight its statistical analysis for prior plausibility”

    Weighting for prior plausibility is a ridiculous idea, the desperate attempt of materialists to deny research they don’t like.

  246. hardnoseon 04 Feb 2017 at 7:02 pm

    “Parapsychology is not predicted by existing theory therefore its prior plausibility is close to zero.”

    Just because you don’t know about the theories doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  247. jsterritton 04 Feb 2017 at 7:23 pm

    HN…

    There is no particular reason that the JPSP should have declined to publish Bem’s study. You are almost right in your claim that critics of the prestigious journal for publishing it “[didn’t] like parapsychology” (except that those critics were absolutely correct in guessing that the study would — contrary to its conclusions — prove negative). But the only “evidence” that you provide for the debunked study’s veracity/legitimacy is that it passed peer review and was published.

    Since you cannot provide any other evidence for the “positive” results of Bem’s demolished conclusions — yet choose to believe in them anyway — you just complain that your words have been misrepresented.

    Why not own up and admit that, after ten failed replication attempts and Bem’s own “liberal” use/abuse of researcher degrees of freedom, you choose to believe Bem over the scientific method? Why not own up and claim your beliefs for what they are (i.,e. just that: beliefs), instead of embarrassing yourself by insisting on your belief’s scientific credibility (which is nil)? And while you’re at it, why not give the commenters here their due for crunching numbers and providing facts to better inform your religious-y belief in magic?

    For that matter, why not address a single call for evidence and citations for any of your special pleading claims challenged by commenters here?

  248. bachfiendon 04 Feb 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Hardnose,

    “‘You have a naive belief that peer review means that the findings in a journal article are Truth.

    ‘That’s ridiculous, I never said anything like that. Just the opposite'”.

    Good – that means that you think that because Bem’s paper was peer reviewed, it means that it’s not true.

    Makes as much sense as anything else you’ve written.

  249. BillyJoe7on 04 Feb 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Running in the hills this morning, I met another runner who told me that he had seen a koala on the trail a few kilometres back. Somehow I didn’t question that, especially as I’d seen a koala only last week in the roughly the same spot, so I kept a watch out. Further along the trail I met another runner who told me that he’d just seen an armadillo on the trail. Somehow I didn’t think it was worthwhile looking out for that armadillo, just looked at the guy sorta strange like and noticed the fool wasn’t wearing a hydration pack.

    Note: I live in Australia where there are no armadillos in the wild, but heaps of koalas

  250. bachfiendon 04 Feb 2017 at 10:10 pm

    BillyJoe,

    Perhaps he meant an echidna instead of an armadillo? If that’s the case, I’d be kicking myself for not looking. I’ve never seen an echidna in the wild (I’ve seen a platypus though – not that there was much to see, the upper surface of an aquatic animal in a dam at dusk isn’t much to write about).

    Bill Bryson claimed in ‘Down Under’ to have seen an echidna just casually strolling through Kings Park in Perth, a place I’ve visited many times over the years, both walking and running along the many paths there and never seen even a hint of one).

    I promptly took a disliking to Bill Bryson, out of envy.

  251. BillyJoe7on 05 Feb 2017 at 1:46 am

    bachfiend,

    Not really a true story – but you probably knew that – just making up an example to illustrate the importance of prior probability. To not use prior probability is like forgetting all you know and starting from scratch everytime you want to find something out. It’s a fool’s errand – literally.

    Also having a dig at the troll – but too easy. 😀

    But I do run in the hills, usually on Sunday mornings – presently training for the Roller Coaster Run in three weeks time, which is a 43km mountain trail run with a total of 2km vertical ascent and 2km of vertical descent (because you loop back to where you started). I’m hoping just to finish. 🙂

    But I’ve lost count of the number of echidnas I’ve seen in the wild. Mostly at our holiday destination at Sandy Point near Wilson’s Promontory, but also in the Dandenong Ranges where I run. Also lyrebirds, but not as many. Lots of wallabies and the occasional kangaroo in the foothills. Flocks of sulfur-crested cockatoos and, at present, the odd damn March Fly – and it aint March yet! But my experience of platypus is much like yours. You definitely know it’s a platypus but there’s only a glimpse followed by a splash and it’s gone.

  252. hardnoseon 05 Feb 2017 at 11:34 am

    If you are ignorant about the parapsychology research, and all you know about is JREF and CSICOP, you would rate the plausibility of psi as zero.

    If you actually know something about parapsychology, and you have read about it from more than one perspective, you would rate the plausibility of psi as somewhere above zero, or maybe pretty high.

    If you are a devout Sean Carroll materialist (nature is dead, life is not alive, the universe is made of little bits of “matter”), your rating would be low.

    If you believe the universe is made of information, if you have progressed beyond outdated notions from the 19th century, then your rating would not be low, might be high.

  253. Pete Aon 05 Feb 2017 at 11:54 am

    hardnose,

    “[Pete A] Parapsychology is not predicted by existing theory therefore its prior plausibility is close to zero.”

    Just because you don’t know about the theories doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    There is no accepted theory[1] of parapsychology, there are only hypotheses. Which is why I wrote [emphasis added]:
    QUOTE
    The prior plausibility of gravitational waves was high because they were predicted by exiting theory. Even so, the detection of them had to pass a five-sigma level test.

    Parapsychology is not predicted by existing theory therefore its prior plausibility is close to zero. Using a p-value of 0.05 will lead to a high rate of type I errors, which is exactly what we see in the results: false positives; replication failures.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_I_and_type_II_errors#Type_I_error
    END QUOTE

    Please learn the difference between a theory and a hypothesis; and please learn to understand, rather than love, statistics!

    [1] http://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/articles/koestler-parapsychology-unit

  254. chikoppion 05 Feb 2017 at 12:08 pm

    @hardnose

    Can you demonstrate what sample size is required to achieve a power of .8 or .9 given an alpha of .05? Also, should alpha or beta be favored in this sort of testing?

    Hint: it has nothing to do with the metaphysical biases of the researchers.

  255. Pete Aon 05 Feb 2017 at 12:10 pm

    “[hardnose] If you believe the universe is made of information…”

    Yes, it does require belief because there isn’t an accepted theory.

  256. bachfiendon 05 Feb 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Hardnose,

    Stop waffling. Do as I challenged you to do. What is your prior probability for precognition before Bem did his study which was published in 2011. What probability would you assign to Bem producing the results he did if precognition exists. The same for the case that precognition doesn’t exist. Calculate the conditional probability for precognition after Bem’s study. Do the same for each of the following 10 negative replication studies. What does the conditional probability now look like.

    Waffling about the probability of psi being above zero is just wasting our time. Be specific. Experiments and replicated experiments are very important – critical in fact.

  257. Pete Aon 05 Feb 2017 at 3:42 pm

    bachfiend,

    Your reply to Hardnose, has compelled me to correct my previous statement to him, which was:

    “Please learn the difference between a theory and a hypothesis; and please learn to understand, rather than love, statistics!”

    to:

    Please learn the difference between:
    1. a theory and a hypothesis;
    2. a prior probability and a prior plausibility;
    3. your love for and your misunderstandings of statistics.

  258. Rogue Medicon 05 Feb 2017 at 4:06 pm

    hardnose,

    Just because you don’t know about the theories doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    Are you referring to scientific theories?

    Provide links to the research supporting these theories.

    Do you understand that a secret theory is not a scientific theory, since a scientific theory has repeatedly been tested and survived testing?

    The failure of replication means that psi experiments have not survived testing. Therefore, psi claims do not qualify as a scientific theory.

    Don’t worry, you can still come up with some psi hypotheses and these can be tested. If any of these survive testing and can be replicated, then you may end up with a theory.

    .

  259. jsterritton 05 Feb 2017 at 5:00 pm

    “If you are ignorant about the parapsychology research, and all you know about is JREF and CSICOP, you would rate the plausibility of psi as zero.”

    1. Assume we are ignorant. What research are you talking about? You will have to provide solid, positive evidence of supernatural “psi” phenomena in order to bump up prior plausibility. There is no pre-clinical research (let alone a proposed mechanism of action) that I am familiar with that would accomplish this. All the human research of reasonably good quality is either equivocal (and dubious) or negative. Bem’s is the best study I’ve ever seen on its kooky subject and it’s an abject failure.

    2. Why are you so hung up on prior plausibility? Take your pick of failures regarding Bem’s study, starting with the fabulous and definitive replication failures. But you can also choose à la carte from a menu of fatal (and near-fatal) flaws: publication bias, data-peeking, liberal thresholds (researcher degrees of freedom), study recombination (ditto), flexible hypotheses (ditto plus p-hacking), and other “selective measures.” Put them all together and Bem’s is a garbage study without any Bayesian statistical reanalysis.

    3. Why would a so-called “materialist” reject solid evidence supporting “psi” phenomena? This is just a straw man or childish attempt at well-poisoning. Same goes for your stupid presumptions about us remaining benighted and ignorant because of the sources you claim we rely on (this is more well-poisoning and red herring nonsense). You know perfectly well that each and every one of us commenting here is searching Pubmed and Google Scholar and coming up empty for evidence supporting your secret theory (excellent neologism, @Rogue Medic!).

    In other words including the infamous Bem study and its epic failure, where is a single jot of scientific evidence supporting “psi” phenomena that isn’t tenuous or, as you seem to prefer, requires uncritical acceptance and credulous belief that runs exactly counter to the evidence?

  260. Pete Aon 05 Feb 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Rogue Medic,

    I find it extremely disturbingly absurd that Hardnose is both a software developer, and is someone who believes in the ‘findings’ that ‘psi’ can influence computers — even their random number generators that provide their cryptography-based services.

    I can’t help thinking that, rather than thoroughly testing the software that he produces, he will attribute the occasional errors that he has made to simply adding confirmation of ‘psi’ influences on computers and other hardware devices.

    Fortunately, the teams who design fly-by-wire military aircraft have candidate selection processes that would prohibit him from coming anywhere near the development of their intricate hardware and software systems!

  261. hardnoseon 05 Feb 2017 at 7:30 pm

    “he will attribute the occasional errors that he has made to simply adding confirmation of ‘psi’ influences on computers and other hardware devices.”

    It’s always good to have an excuse.

  262. hardnoseon 05 Feb 2017 at 7:31 pm

    “the fabulous and definitive replication failures.”

    You only hear about the failures from JREF and CSICOP. There were at least as many successes.

  263. hardnoseon 05 Feb 2017 at 7:35 pm

    For example, statisticians evaluated Stargate at SRI and concluded the results were definitely positive. The research was shut down for political reasons and/or because people do not have much conscious control over their psi abilities. It was not considered the best use of intelligence resources.

    But no one found scientific reasons for discontinuing Stargate.

  264. hardnoseon 05 Feb 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Bem devoted a lot of time to his precognition research. He had no possible motivation to waste time trying to fabricate positive results.

    Calling his research garbage or an epic failure is just an ideological/emotional response.

  265. bachfiendon 05 Feb 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Hardnose,

    And your references for concluding that Stargate was producing statistically significant results?

    If Stargate was producing useful intelligence then I doubt that it would have been closed down for political reasons.

    Like all psychic predictions, it produced a lot of misses and a few vague hits which had to be fitted after the events. Nothing significant.

  266. jsterritton 05 Feb 2017 at 8:11 pm

    “You only hear about the failures from JREF and CSICOP. There were at least as many successes.”

    1. Please identify these successful replications of Bem’s positive results.

    2. You can “hear” about Bem’s failures everywhere. They are evident in his published study in the JPSP and reported on here [1], here [2], here [3], here [4], here [5], and here [5] — just a few examples.

    Why do you lie so baldly?

    ______
    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Bem
    [2] http://www.nature.com/news/replication-studies-bad-copy-1.10634
    [3] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/mar/15/precognition-studies-curse-failed-replications
    [4] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0033423
    [5] https://www.wired.com/2010/11/feeling-the-future-is-precognition-possible/

  267. jsterritton 05 Feb 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Also: here [1], here [2], here [3], here [4], here [5], and here [5].

    There are literally thousands of hits reporting, studying, and explaining Bem’s epic fail — from Science and Nature to the UK tabloids.

    What gives you the false sense of confidence, the temerity, and the intellectual dishonesty to think that your BS claims aren’t transparent lies?

    You are a liar and a nitwit.

    ______
    [1] http://psycnet.apa.org/psycarticles/2012-23130-001
    [2] http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6280/1433
    [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706048/#ref-120
    [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4269995/
    [5] http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/online_marketing/facultyCV/papers/nelson_correcting.pdf

  268. chikoppion 05 Feb 2017 at 8:45 pm

    [hardnose] Calling his research garbage or an epic failure is just an ideological/emotional response.

    No, the point everyone is making is that the research had insufficient statistical significance to reject the null hypothesis.

    I’ll ask these questions again. Can you demonstrate what sample size is required to achieve a power of .8 or .9 given an alpha of .05? Also, should alpha (type I) or beta (type II) be favored in this sort of testing? These are objective questions.

  269. jsterritton 05 Feb 2017 at 8:51 pm

    “You only hear about the failures from JREF and CSICOP. There were at least as many successes.”

    Um, no there weren’t. I can find hundreds of hits reporting on the stellar replication failure of Bem’s JPSP study — from Science and Nature to the UK tabloids & from Wired to Wikipedia. Even someone as incurious as you should be able to follow the links to the Pubmed results that cite Bem’s debunking.

    What gives you the false sense of confidence, the temerity, and the intellectual dishonesty to think that your BS claims won’t be called out instantly as transparent lies? Why won’t you ever provide one of these so-called “successes?” (Hint: it’s because you’re a liar and a fraud).

  270. CKavaon 06 Feb 2017 at 12:24 am

    Cue hardnose linking to Bem’s equally problematic meta-analysis of ‘replications’.

  271. Rogue Medicon 06 Feb 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Pete A,

    I can’t help thinking that, rather than thoroughly testing the software that he produces, he will attribute the occasional errors that he has made to simply adding confirmation of ‘psi’ influences on computers and other hardware devices.

    Can you practice blood-letting on computers?

    hardnose could make a fortune, if he promotes it well. the Jesus people are making a fortune off of his do-it-yourself adventure.

    .

  272. tomdmeyeron 16 Feb 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Steve,

    I apologize if this was already brought up in the comments, but I’ve seen very little to support your allegation that DeVos’s advocacy for vouchers and private schooling is motivated “exactly” by a desire to teach creationism.

    I’ve not come across any statements from DeVos indicating as much. Neither of the mainstream profile I’ve read* offered much to support your thesis, or even much to suggest that DeVos actually is a creationist beyond association and generally citing her religiosity. Indeed, the only direct mention of the subject in either piece was a source in the WaPo who said DeVos “will not likely be one to focus on curriculum issues like evolution and creationism.” I have seen that she made some creationist-friendly statements during her confirmation, but that’s the strongest evidence I’ve seen.

    To see if I missed something, I did a site search* on the Discovery Institute for her name. The only hits I found are two recent articles about her and one event announcement in a venue that (I think) is named after DeVos and her husband.

    Besides, even if DeVos is a creationist, it doesn’t necessarily follow that teaching creationism is her primary motivation for supporting vouchers and private schooling.

    * (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/11/23/betsy-devos-trumps-education-pick-is-a-billionaire-philanthropist-with-deep-ties-to-the-reformed-christian-community)

    ** http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/betsy-devos-education-trump-religion-232150

    *** https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=site:discovery.org+devos

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