Jun 27 2011

Egnor Is Back

Remember Michael Egnor – the creationist neurosurgeon who made a second career out of embarrassing himself with nonsensical blog posts over at the DiscoTute’s blog, Evolution News and Views? His crowning achievement on this score, in my opinion, was his argument that if evolution were true brain cancer should result in improvements in the brain.

I haven’t heard from Egnor in a while, but now I learn that he has his own blog, called “Egnorance.” The name is a nice touch on his part – some bloggers have been using the term “egnorance” to refer to Egnor’s particular brand of nonsense. It is sometimes successful to take a term meant to be derisive and adopt it as your own in order to turn it around. At the least it can take the wind out of the sails of your critics. Unfortunately, the content of the blog is a bad as ever.

This came to my attention because Egnor wrote a blog post responding to my recent post about Michele Bachmann’s creationist stance. Egnor (true to his style) thought he could get a blog post out of my use of the term “creationist” by projecting his own intellectual dishonesty. Egnor does provide an excellent example of the apologist form – exploiting any vagueness in meaning to create confusion and the appearance of sinister intent on the part of those with whom he disagrees.

I don’t expect anyone attempting to critique a blog post of mine to read everything I might have written about that topic before. This is my 1010th post on NeuroLogica – scholarly due diligence only goes so far for a blog post. But Egnor is specifically commenting on my writing in general – so a minimal amount of diligence in looking for posts about the exact topic would have been nice. Even if Egnor had remembered the posts that he has responded to in the past it would have helped. Instead he attempts to interpret my most recent blog post as if it’s the only thing I have ever written on the topic.

The current discussion centers around the definition of the terms “creationism” and “evolution.” Of course there are a range of beliefs under each term – as has been discussed before by me and others. I have clarified the various aspects of evolutionary theory, when specifically relevant to the current discussion. For example, in a previous post I wrote:

There are countless published observational and experimental studies that support various aspects of evolutionary theory – common descent, natural selection acting on variation brought about through mutations and recombination, and the specific relationships among organisms.

It is not practical, however, to go into a lengthy discussion of the various aspects of evolutionary theory and the various forms creationism every time I use either term. I and others use the term “creationism” generically to refer to any form of evolution-denial (a better term that I occasionally use). Apologists, however, like to play semantic games. In a previous post Egnor went as far as to say:

The term creationist in this debate refers to young earth creationism. I’m not a young earth creationist. Therefore when Mr. Sandefur calls me a “creationist,” he’s misrepresenting my views.

Uh, no. Egnor uses a ridiculously narrow (and as far as I can tell, unique to him) definition of the term “creationist” in order to argue that someone else is being dishonest in their use of the term. He tries this gambit again in his new post.

In affirming that nearly all scientists accept evolution, disingenuous polemicists like Novella apply the most general meaning to evolution, and ascribe the most restricted meaning- young earth creationism- to opponents of atheist/materialist evolutionary theory.

Uh, no. Nowhere is any of my writings on the issue can you reasonably infer that I mean “young-earth creationist” when I use the term “creationist.” The fact that I have specifically corrected Egnor on this previously is relevant, since Egnor is trying to use this issue yet again to argue that I am being “disingenuous.”

Let’s continue to compare Egnor’s current blog post with his previous writings  – to see the true meaning of the term “disingenuous.” Regarding Bachmann, I wrote:

She is dead wrong, of course. There is no scientific controversy about the fact of evolution.

The “fact of evolution” seems pretty clear to me – that fact that life on earth is the result of organic evolution. For the purposes of that blog post, it was sufficiently specific – I specifically referred to the fact of evolution, vs any particular mechanisms of evolution, or even the specific evolutionary history of life on earth. Egnor missed the distinction, and runs off the cliff.

All scientists do support evolution, if evolution is defined as change in populations of organisms with time. The fossil record amply documents evolution, but one need not cite scientific data. The population of squirrels in my neighborhood changes subtly each year. The evolution that all scientists support is that kind of evolution.

I disagree that evolution is apparent from casual observation of local squirrel populations – but in any case, this seems like the old “microevolution” gambit. This is the tactic whereby evolution deniers dismiss certain evidence for evolution as just supporting “microevolution”, as opposed to “macroevolution.” This is a false division, however, not based upon any science. Egnor continues:

If evolution is defined as the specific theory that Darwin proposed– that all adaptation occurred by the mechanism of random heritable variation and natural selection– then Novella is utterly wrong. There is a raging debate in evolutionary biology about the genesis of adaptations, and there is utterly no consensus.

Again – Egnor returns to old canards that he has been corrected on numerous times. He likes to refer to scientists who accept evolutionary theory as “Darwinists.” But the theory that Darwin proposed is over 150 years old, and the science has progressed quite a bit since then. This makes for a convenient straw man argument, since Darwin’s name is so iconic and is often thought by the public to be synonymous with evolutionary theory.

Of course the current consensus does not affirm a 150 year old theory without accounting for all that we have learned since. Specifically, Egnor slips in the term “all adaptation” and hopes the reader won’t question it. But all we have to do is say that “most adaptation” is due to random variation acted upon by natural selection, and we can say that there is a robust scientific consensus to support this view. There is vigorous debate about what other mechanisms might be contributing to evolution, and to what degree – but selection acting on variation is still at the core of evolutionary processes. Egnor is using a typical denialist strategy – using debate at the fringes of a theory as if it calls into question the core of the theory. This is the equivalent of using current debates about epigenetics or fine details of genetic theory to call into question that DNA is the molecule of inheritance.

Egnor continues:

If evolution is defined as the transition from one species to another with time, nearly all scientists accept it, although many agree that the evidence is substantially incomplete for most species.

If by evolution Novella means common descent, that is supported by most, but certainly not all, scientists.

Yes – that is mostly what I meant by the “fact of evolution” – the origin of species through evolutionary processes, which means that all species are related through common descent. So Egnor admits that there is a scientific consensus supporting the fact of evolution. But notice how he tries to water it down by saying that “certainly not all” scientists support common descent. First, a robust consensus does not imply nor require unanimity. Second, there is no serious dissent from common descent within the scientific community.

Regarding the completeness of the fossil record, again Egnor tries to create a false impression – a watering down of the evidence for evolution. The fossil record is quite impressive, showing compelling evolutionary sequences for many major groups and species. But of course, since there are millions of species extant today, there isn’t anything like a “complete” fossil record for most species. This is one of those “true but misleading” statements for which denialists are infamous.

Let us also compare what Egnor is now writing to what he has written previously. One might infer from the above that Egnor accepts the consensus (or at least that there is a consensus) that the fossil record supports common descent – although he never explicitly says that he accepts it. I guess he did not want to openly say that he rejects the scientific consensus. But in  a previous post criticizing me he wrote:

The fossil record does not show a “clear pattern of branching descent in the fossil record”, even “to the degree that it is complete.” The fossil record shows punctuated equilibrium, which is stasis in a species for millions of years, then disappearance of the species. New species arise, discontinuous with old species. Even isolated ‘transitional’ forms are rare, and gradual transitions are virtually non-existent.

I have already deconstructed that bit of nonsense above. What, then, does Egnor believe now? Is he admitting his previous error, or is he being “disingenuous” now in order to make his current point. Egnor seems to always be writing in a vacuum – he does not account for the previous writing of the target of his criticism, nor even his own previous writing. Denialists, however, do not need to outline a coherent theory or stance. Their goal is simply to cast as much doubt as possible onto the scientific theory they don’t like.

Next we get to what seems to be the crux of Egnor’s position (if such can be inferred from his writing):

If by evolution Novella means absence of design, one must first define ‘design’.

If design means application of intelligent agency to the origin of life and speciation, then many scientists, even scientists who are atheists and who hold to strong materialist views such as Francis Crick, Leslie Orgel, and Richard Dawkins, have suggested that directed panspermia (i.e. intelligent design) may be the best explanation for some aspects of the emergence and evolution of life.

I have addressed the question of “design” at length previously, such as in this post where I argue that evolution is not the “absence of design.” But “design” is not limited to the “application of an intelligent agency” as I previously pointed out. Design can result from a bottom-up self-organizing process, like evolution. The intelligent design (ID) crowd, like Egnor, attempts to equate design with intelligence, but this is false. The real question is – does life show the signs of a top-down intelligently planned form of design, or a bottom-up evolutionary form of design? Biologists have already addressed this question, and the evidence overwhelmingly supports the latter – evolution. Meanwhile there is no evidence of top-down intelligent design.

Egnor also repeats a very dishonest claim, that he has been called on before – that Dawkins and others support alien-based intelligent design. This is not true – it is a misrepresentation of what Dawkins said on the dishonestly produced Expelled movie in which he was specifically asked the hypothetical question if there were any possible scenario that could explain top-down design in nature if it were discovered. These types of hypothetical questions are always dodgy – what if you found  evidence of something that is anomalous or highly unlikely, what would you think then? Dawkins played along and said that, well, possibly an advanced alien civilization might be an explanation. This was then twisted to claim that Dawkins actually supports this idea – and has been repeated by countless creationist apologists ever since, including Egnor.

Immediately after Expelled was shown, however, Dawkins clarified his position and how he was misrepresented. To continue to portray Dawkins as supporting the idea of intelligent design through directed panspermia is beyond misleading.

One last bit of nonsense from Egnor:

If design means teleology in the sense of directedness or final causation, or more vaguely as some sort of ‘theistic evolution’, there are many scientists who hold to this view. In fact, any scientist who is a Christian, or Jewish (theologically, not just culturally), or Muslim almost certainly holds to some sort of teleology, because the belief that God created the universe necessarily implies some form of teleology in nature.

Egnor is confusing science with the personal beliefs of some scientists. Scientists of many faiths may find some way to accommodate the science with their beliefs – but that does not make their beliefs scientific. This seems to be one front on which creationists (in the broadest sense of the term as meaning anyone who denies evolution to a significant degree) are currently fighting. The comments to NeuroLogica, for example, are full of such arguments – that “atheist Darwinists” are trying to shove their atheistic version of evolution onto society. All the ID proponents want is a little teleology (some directed force at work, rather than “blind” evolution).

And of course they make many errors and misrepresentations in doing so. First of all – there is nothing “atheistic” about science in general or evolution in particular. Science is, in fact, agnostic toward any proposition that is outside the realm of science. That realm involves methodological naturalism – every effect must have a cause, and everything must follow natural laws. This is not a choice, nor is it about belief. Science does not require philosophical naturalism – the belief that there is nothing beyond nature (and therefore scientists can come to scientific conclusions based upon the process of science, but still maintain philosophical/religious beliefs for whatever reasons they choose). But science does require methodological naturalism – because the process of science cannot function otherwise. Any notion that includes miracles or supernatural agency is not falsifiable, and is therefore beyond the reach of the methods of science.

With regard to evolution the question is – did the process of evolution unfold through purely natural processes, or is there some agency at work directing evolution and imposing design on the process? First of all, ID proponents have a hard time stating their theory in a way that is falsifiable. What we can say is that there is no evidence that suggests that there is teleology in evolution – that there is any designing force, or any process at work other than blind natural processes. They are not ruled out a priori (like creationists typically whine about – they lost the scientific battle so they brood about not being treated fairly), there is just no evidence that leads us in that direction. There is no atheist conspiracy, scientists are just following the evidence.

Conclusion

Michael Egnor is giving every sign of continuing the shenanigans that has already made him infamous in skeptical circles. He rabidly and falsely accuses his intellectual foes of dishonesty, when in fact he is demonstrating a shocking degree of misrepresentation of the views and statements of others, while being coy about his own.  He also demonstrates either a short-term memory problem, or an inability (or unwillingness) to follow links or perform Google searches. He cannot even keep from contradicting himself in previous posts. He does, however, provide a convenient example of the apologist/denialist form.

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223 responses so far

223 Responses to “Egnor Is Back”

  1. SteveAon 27 Jun 2011 at 11:27 am

    “I haven’t heard from Egnor in a while, but now I learn that he has his own blog, called “Egnorance.” The name is a nice touch on his part – some bloggers have been using the term “egnorance” to refer to Egnor’s particular brand of nonsense. It is sometimes successful to take a term meant to be derisive and adopt it as your own in order to turn it around.”

    Perhaps a little too clever?

    I think he’s shot himself in the foot with this one.

  2. Karl Withakayon 27 Jun 2011 at 11:57 am

    “some directed force at work”

    Falsifiable claim:

    Assuming an all powerful deity not bound by any physical laws, such interaction would violate the various laws of conservation and thermodynamics, and such violations should, in theory, be detectable.

    If it is actual intervention into the natural processes of the universe by a deity (and not just a result of the dominoes set in motion by a hypothetical prime creator in the beginning who created the laws of the universe that eventually led to the “event”), mass-energy, linear or angular momentum, etc should be appearing or disappearing ex nihilo without physical explanation in order to cause the change that otherwise would not have occurred.

  3. mufion 27 Jun 2011 at 12:18 pm

    What we can say is that there is no evidence that suggests that there is teleology in evolution – that there is any designing force, or any process at work other than blind natural processes.

    If we reserve the term “teleology” only for those ends (in this case, biological functions) reached via foresight (which implies that an intelligent agent, not so unlike a human, is required), then I agree: there is no scientific basis for the idea that natural selection is teleological.

    However, some evolutionary biologists (EBers) apparently use the term more broadly; e.g.:

    So, teleology must exist in any functional relationship, including those in biology. The question is not “is there teleology in biology”; no less an authority on evolutionary biology than the late Ernst Mayr (not to mention Franciso Ayala) emphatically stated “yes”! The real question (and the real focus of the dispute between EBers and IDers) is the answer to the question, “where does the teleology manifest in biology come from”? EBers such as Ernst Mayr assert that it is an
    emergent property of natural selection, whereas IDers assert that it comes from an “intelligent designer”.

    But I guess this is where the term “teleonomy” comes in handy, as a disambiguator between design by foresight and that from hindsight.

  4. steve12on 27 Jun 2011 at 12:20 pm

    “…and such violations should, in theory, be detectable.”

    But once you go down this road, you’re done. Magic makes possible whatever the purveyor of magic wants to make possible. E.g., they might say that the interfering deity also disguises his actions by making them undetectable by instruments, or some such.

    This is why once you entertain any scenario where methodological naturalism isn’t assumed, you’re no longer engaged in science by definition.

  5. mufion 27 Jun 2011 at 12:30 pm

    PS: See here for source of that block quote: http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2010/03/evolution-information-and-teleology-in.html

  6. Jeremiahon 27 Jun 2011 at 12:54 pm

    “Design can result from a bottom-up self-organizing process, like evolution.”
    Right on.

  7. Steven Novellaon 27 Jun 2011 at 1:16 pm

    mufi – hmmm. I read that reference and tried to find the Mayr quote. The only references I can find ascribe the term “teleonomic” to Mayr, not “teleology.”

    In any case – it seems pretty clear that Mayr and other biologists are referring to teleonomy – or the kind of goal directed behavior that a system can display by blindly following natural laws – like a rock rolling down hill.

    He is not referring to Artistotelean teleology, or something outside the system determining a goal that the system should work towards. Egnor clearly meant this form of teleology – not the “apparent teleology” that biologists have been writing about for decades.

  8. mufion 27 Jun 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Steve: I haven’t read the paper myself, but here’s MacNeill’s end note from an earlier treatment of this topic:

    Mayr, E. (1974) “Teleological and Teleonomic: A New Analysis.” Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume XIV, pages 91 -117)

    Based on MacNeill’s writings, I would surmise that Mayr used “teleology” as an umbrella term, which includes teleonomic (and teleomatic) processes, despite their merely apparent, in-hindsight design effects.

    Ayala is another story, as, according to the Wikipedia entry, “biologist philosopher Francisco Ayala has argued that all statements about processes can be trivially translated into teleological statements, and vice versa, but that teleological statements are more explanatory and cannot be disposed of.”

  9. Karl Withakayon 27 Jun 2011 at 2:20 pm

    steve12,
    True, I almost added,

    “Of course, from an agnostic perspective, any all powerful deity, if it existed (however inherently illogical the concept may be), would have the ability to alter the laws and apparent history of the universe on the fly such that it would be able to hide any evidence of its action or existence from any observers, but this also means it would be impossible to know anything about this deity except that which it chooses to reveal, and even that couldn’t be trusted”

    But at best, that’s an argument against philosophical naturalism, not methodological naturalism. It may be philosophically interesting to some, but it’s functionally useless.

    However, anyone arguing the secretive deity gambit above would essentially be arguing that the actions of their deity are compatible with methodological naturalism and indistinguishable from natural phenomenon.

    It’s kind of the opposite of the Clarke’s third law. In this case, any “miracle” by a sufficiently secretive, all powerful deity is indistinguishable from natural phenomenon.

    Until someone can show that methodological naturalism doesn’t work, it’s the best thing going.

  10. robmon 27 Jun 2011 at 6:11 pm

    What stunned me was how ingenuous poorly argued that Egnor’s post was, and this guy preforms brain surgery. The only way I can make sense of it is that as a mind body dualist Egnor has moved his mind outside his brain, and some of it has gotten lost.

  11. robmon 27 Jun 2011 at 6:12 pm

    oops meant disingenuous.

  12. neverknowon 27 Jun 2011 at 7:58 pm

    “What we can say is that there is no evidence that suggests that there is teleology in evolution – that there is any designing force, or any process at work other than blind natural processes. ”

    It is a mistake to think that natural processes must be “blind,” or mindless. We have no reason at all to assume that there is no intelligence in nature, or that nature is dead and mindless. That is the materialist/atheist view, which is a philosophical position with no basis in science.

  13. Mlemaon 27 Jun 2011 at 8:03 pm

    oh no, neverknow! Do you know what you have done?

  14. neverknowon 27 Jun 2011 at 8:13 pm

    If nature is intelligent, creative and purposeful, then we would expect it to evolve. I think that’s all the Intelligent Design theorists are really saying. Of course they are not all saying exactly the same things, but the central message is essentially just an opposition to the prevailing materialist/atheist view of evolution.

    We can oppose materialism without believing that there is a god outside the system who occasionally steps in and messes with it.

    Most of the ideas thrown back and forth in the evolution debates, from both sides, are outdated and naive.

    There is nothing in science suggesting that complex life forms could have evolved by a mindless process. The Intelligent Design theorists are mostly just saying it seems to be mathematically impossible.

    If the universe is made out of information, as many now believe, evolution towards greater complexity would be expected. I think the universe is alive and naturally generates life forms, and I think evolution is some kind of natural law.

    Egnor is opposing the old idea of a mechanical clockwork universe. Our thinking should have evolved beyond that by now.

  15. Jeremiahon 27 Jun 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “And neverknow is right in everything he says.”

  16. Jeremiahon 27 Jun 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Unless he comes up with a God that I don’t take a shine to.

  17. mufion 27 Jun 2011 at 8:41 pm

    neverknow said: There is nothing in science suggesting that complex life forms could have evolved by a mindless process. The Intelligent Design theorists are mostly just saying it seems to be mathematically impossible.

    They can say it all they want. The hard part is to actually demonstrate it, which (to my knowledge) they have thus far failed to do.

  18. robmon 27 Jun 2011 at 8:47 pm

    “We have no reason at all to assume that there is no intelligence in nature, or that nature is dead and mindless.”

    Other than nature behaves in an orderly way without apparent understanding or regard for the outcome, yes. Nature could have some sort of intelligence, and that would be pretty cool, unfortunately there isn’t any evidence that makes that a necessary conclusion.

    “That is the materialist/atheist view, which is a philosophical position with no basis in science.”

    Kind of correct, it’s called philosophical naturalism, and it’s an inductive leap based on what is currently known in science, but you are correct in that it is a philosophical position. Likewise an evidence free, falsifiable claims free intelligent design, is philosophy not science. The flip side of that coin is that when ID makes falsifiable claims it is trying to be science and has yet to produce real evidence for its claim.

    Currently its not meeting science’s criteria and pouting ‘me too’ and ‘that’s unfair’.

    “If nature is intelligent, creative and purposeful, then we would expect it to evolve. I think that’s all the Intelligent Design theorists are really saying.”

    No, not these ID proponents, they have a specific external designer in mind that happens to fit their IDea of god to a t. Just because that is your position doesn’t mean it’s theirs.

    “We can oppose materialism without believing that there is a god outside the system who occasionally steps in and messes with it.”

    “Egnor is opposing the old idea of a mechanical clockwork universe. Our thinking should have evolved beyond that by now.”

    Why is opposing materialism such a common ground for science denial? Your conflating fact and opinion, then treating facts as relative opinion, if both materialism and not materialism are philosophical positions than that’s that. It doesnot change scientific theories which have a basis in evidence or the conclusions based the theory and evidence as Egnor does.

  19. elmer mccurdyon 27 Jun 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Novella has an amazing knack for stating opinions that I mostly agree with regarding issues that I mostly don’t much care about, and still managing to frame them in ways that annoy me. In this case it’s his tendency to see conspiracy theories everywhere.

  20. elmer mccurdyon 27 Jun 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Meanwhile I await the day he takes a contrarian position on anything.

  21. nybgruson 27 Jun 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I think that’s all the Intelligent Design theorists are really saying

    Then you think incorrectly or not at all. They are unequivocally espousing a sentient god of character.

    We can oppose materialism without believing that there is a god outside the system who occasionally steps in and messes with it.

    You most certainly can but you would be doing so with no basis in reality and adding personal bias to science for the sake of… ideology.

    There is nothing in science suggesting that complex life forms could have evolved by a mindless process

    Actually pretty much everything suggests so. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that a guided sentient process is at all necessary.

    The Intelligent Design theorists are mostly just saying it seems to be mathematically impossible.

    That actually IS what they are saying… and that is because they can’t do math. That has been shown aplenty over at TalkOrigins.

    If the universe is made out of information, as many now believe, evolution towards greater complexity would be expected.

    Many once believed that the universe was born of a turtle and the earth was on its back. Many once believed that the sun was carried in chariot across the sky. I could care less what “many believe” – show me the science, and there is none backing up your claims, nor that of the IDiots.

  22. chionactison 27 Jun 2011 at 11:43 pm

    @elmer – You said, “In this case it’s his tendency to see conspiracy theories everywhere.”

    I see no evidence for this alleged tendency. He has described and explained some tactics used by creationist apologists that he has encountered again and again over the years. For example, he brings up their tendency to play semantic games and gives a clear example.

    Another tactic he mentions (and which can be seen in the Expelled movie) is that evolution by natural selection is often misrepresented as being controversial, when in fact the scientific consensus – based on evidence gained by peer-reviewed research – is that the theory of evolution is quite strong, in the same sense that the heliocentric theory is quite strong.

    You also said “Meanwhile I await the day he takes a contrarian position on anything.”

    Taking a contrarian position for the sake of it wouldn’t be a very worthwhile endeavor. Rather than being a contrarian, I hope he continues making informed posts based on an understanding of the science behind the various topics that he writes about. Because you need to be able to back up what you say with evidence.

    What do you want him to do? Do you want him to say, “Normally, I do research and make an effort to ensure that my blog posts are based on good evidence, and I am careful to note when more research is needed in a given area before we can come to any firm conclusions. But today I’m going to be a contrarian and say that Big Foot is real, in spite of the lack of evidence, because I’m tired of this whole evidence-based approach. Facts, shmacts! I believe in you, Big Foot!”

  23. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:00 am

    Pro: “If the universe is made out of information, as many now believe, evolution towards greater complexity would be expected.”

    Con: “Many once believed that the universe was born of a turtle and the earth was on its back”

    Non sequitur much?

  24. elmer mccurdyon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:02 am

    OK, never mind. I’m just feeling generally angry about various things, and unfortunately this post doesn’t give me anything to actually disagree about. Maybe he’ll oblige me in the future.

  25. Mlemaon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:18 am

    awareness is healing
    self-knowledge is freedom
    now you don’t have to be angry and you will live longer!

  26. elmer mccurdyon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:20 am

    Pttttttthhhhhhh!

  27. Mlemaon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:23 am

    I sure wish you woulda put a lil smiley face there

  28. elmer mccurdyon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:36 am

    :>P

  29. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 12:47 am

    Non sequitur much?

    Only around pompous idiots like you.

  30. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:05 am

    I do seem to bring out your hidden ignorance, which must be frustrating. I hear you’ve exchanged your plants for rocks when you realized they were talking to your goats.

  31. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:17 am

    Pro: “There is nothing in science suggesting that complex life forms could have evolved by a mindless process.”

    Con: “Actually pretty much everything suggests so. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that a guided sentient process is at all necessary.”

    Everything suggests that the microbial were (and apparently still are) selectively mindless?

  32. Enzoon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:39 am

    There is nothing in science suggesting that complex life forms could have evolved by a mindless process.

    - neverknow

    Even if you take the part about no scientific evidence existing to show complex life can evolve from a mindless process as true, I don’t see how you can make the leap to the universe “being alive.” There is certainly no more evidence suggesting the universe is alive. So by your own logic, how do you favor one over the other? And to extend that even further, don’t you feel that adding an undefined, nebulous “intelligence” to the universe introduces a layer of complexity that is unnecessary? Are you really adding it because of bias?

    Again, the study of evolution HAS shown us that complexity can arise from random mutation coupled with natural selection. Everything fits without the need to bring in intelligence. Whether you believe it or not, science has been done that supports that conclusion. So that’s evidence. I just don’t see your logic either way.

    It sounds like you don’t appreciate the time scale involved. Randomness with selective pressure eliminating failures and promoting success can accomplish a lot.

  33. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 2:12 am

    selection |səˈlek sh ən|
    noun
    Biology a process in which environmental or genetic influences determine which types of organism thrive better than others, regarded as a factor in evolution.

    Sounds like an intelligent assessment from a range of options to me.

  34. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 2:14 am

    The only things that the commentary on this or the Bachmann thread shows is that:

    1. The Discovery Institute et al. are good at peddling BS

    2. Cranks with pet theories are good at leading people through an endless runaround of vague nonsense

    3. Cranks and IDers make natural allies because assertions that are sufficiently vague as to be meaningless can easily be made to be mutually supportive.

    Did I miss anything?

  35. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 2:19 am

    Steve12,

    you missed that cranks will defend IDers as their own, and Jeremiah is a troll.

  36. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 2:26 am

    My bad, robm, I did forget that

  37. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 2:35 am

    The only thing I would add is: Dunning-Kruger.

  38. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 2:49 am

    Seriously, what did these threads show better than Dunning-Kruger?

  39. Mlemaon 28 Jun 2011 at 2:49 am

    you missed that ID is not the same as the theories about how life utilizes information.
    and that if we don’t learn about how life utilizes information, atheist scientists will fall victim to the criticism that their view of evolution sounds like “shit happens” (remember Mike12′s criticism?) and thereby encourage theists to again say that “God did it”
    Science needs a way to account for phenomena and processes that appear less and less random as we learn more and more about the actual mechanics involved.

    to stop your investigation at “Randomness with selective pressure eliminating failures and promoting success can accomplish a lot.” (from Enzo) is a cop-out of sorts. We ought to be able to take a supposedly “irreducibly complex” structure (according to ID) and, using a model like nygbrus linked us to:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdwTwNPyR9w
    figure out how random the process really is. It’s just a lonely bacteria, and we ought to be able to learn, in real life, how long it actually DID take to evolve the flagellum. What genetic changes had to happen in a particular succession? And depending on how those happened, what are the chances of them happening randomly? How much time would they need? Does it match what apparently happened? The calculations sound like they’d be mind-boggling. But, prove the randomness and silence the critics. Or account for any adulteration of true randomness.

  40. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:01 am

    Ooh, little nybgrus knows plants and immune systems and selection and anticipation and such require no intelligence to function and those who prove, and I mean prove, him wrong on all counts are cognitively biased. And he can prove it by the preponderance of the biased that agree with him.

    But I invented anticipatory systems and conscious realism and went back in time for process philosophy and quantum spookiness, and will soon be rich and famous, and ignorance after all is bliss.

  41. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 3:07 am

    atheist scientists will fall victim to the criticism that their view of evolution sounds like “shit happens” (remember Mike12′s criticism?)

    That was not a criticism, mlema. That was a brilliant example of Dunning-Kruger guided by pure ideology.

    Science needs a way to account for phenomena and processes that appear less and less random as we learn more and more about the actual mechanics involved.

    It is being done. But not by changing definitions of intelligence or claiming rocks have some kind of anticipatory intelligence or whatever ramshackle mumbo jumbo – by understanding how these processes that are seemingly non-random are indeed based in random fluctuation guided by simple, blind, and patently non-intelligent laws of the universe.

    But, prove the randomness and silence the critics. Or account for any adulteration of true randomness.

    Insofar as a theory can be proven, it has been. And every refutation has been shown to be bad math by the IDiots. As sonic has graciously admitted, the theory is incomplete not incorrect.

    Your statements sound excellent and in principle are well reasoned. But the level of discourse you can expect from your typical IDiot or DiscoTute apologist always culminates in the scientist being like the father of an unriuly child: “No! For the LAST TIME, your ideas are wrong, your math is bad, and you are mis-stating your premises! No dessert for you!” The problem, mlema, is that there is no intellectual honesty on the ID side of things. They are NOT genuinely interested in putting forth a cogent theory or even an honest rebuttal of evolutionary theory. That has been demonstrated innumerable times and we see the results of their efforts here with the likes of neverknow, mike12, and sonic. At least sonic was actually genuine in his/her inquiry and came away more knowledgeable as a result.

  42. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:10 am

    Mlema,

    “We ought to be able to take a supposedly “irreducibly complex” structure (according to ID) and, using a model like nygbrus linked us to:… figure out how random the process really is”

    Seeing that there are three distinct types of flagellum, bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic, based on three different homologus structures, type III secretion system, type IV pilum, and various eukariotic structures respectively, that’s evidence the flagellum evolved at least 3 different times independently.

    Further more scientists are studying how random evolution really is and how various features evolved, its called evolutionary biology.

    Lastly the laws of physics and chemistry don’t provide for a mechanism for non-random directed mutations, were there evidence to the contrary they would be investigated.

  43. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 3:10 am

    The only thing you’ve proven, Jeremiah, is that you are an idiot troll. You probably do have some kind of point and interesting nuance buried in all the garbage that you spew, but it is most certainly lost.

    Deepak Chopra has some grain of truth to what he says, but 99% of it is garbage that he also thinks is proven.

    Dunning-Kruger

  44. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:19 am

    ” Once life began as single-cell organisms, evolution favored those able to seek nutrients and avoid risks. Receptors sensed the environment, memory traces were laid, and adaptive responses were made. Environmental stress, at times as dramatic as the collision of an asteroid, resulted in extinctions that favored small predators with dorsal nerve cords and cranially positioned brains. Myelination, and later thermoregulation, led to increasingly efficient neural processing. As somatosensory, visual, and auditory input increased, a neocortex developed containing both sensory and motor neural maps. Hominids, with their free hands, pushed cortical development further and began to make simple stone tools. Tools and increasing cognition allowed procurement of a richer diet that led to a smaller gut, thus freeing more energy for brain expansion.
    Multimodal association areas, initially developed for processing incoming sensory information, blossomed and began to provide the organism with an awareness of self and environment. Advancements in memory storage and retrieval gave the organism a sense of continuity through time. This developing consciousness eventually left visible traces, which today are dramatically evident on cave walls in France and Spain.”

    However, we know from the newly resident authority that “There is absolutely nothing to suggest that a guided sentient process is at all necessary.”

  45. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 3:27 am

    And there is nothing in that quoted paragraph the even remotely refutes what I have said.

    But hey, to a retard and average person is smart. Maybe that is why you can see intelligence where there is none.

  46. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:38 am

    So nybgrus, do you still stand by this statement:

    Miema: “same as the human immune system. it doesn’t make up it’s own purpose, but it has to be intelligent and anticipatory to serve the purpose that it has.”

    Nybgrus: I disagree. The immune system is not intelligent. If you wish to define anticipatory as you and Jeremiah seem to be trying to I’ll grant that, but that is no more anticipatory than a rock on a ledge “anticipating” to fall should a sufficient gust of wind arise.
    The immune system does not anticipate who is foreign or not and does not intelligently “decide” that. Autoimmune disease and rheumatic fever are perfect examples of why that is not the case.”

    One if us thinks that’s about the stupidest statement ever made by a self-proclaimed medical student. Which one of use would be wrong to think that?

  47. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 3:46 am

    If it is a statement coming from you, that would be the one to take the stupid cake.

    And yeah, I stand by my statement that the immune system is not intelligent, unless you change the definition of intelligence to something vague and broad enough to be meaningless (which you have been tenaciously attempting to do). Does it have specificity? Absolutely. Adaptivity? You betcha. Is it always functioning in a normal individual? Yup. Would that be considered “anticipatory?” That isn’t such a stretch to say yes, but it certainly is a stretch. Is it intelligent? Nope. Was it designed by an intelligence? Nope. Was it led down its path by an intelligent agency? Nope once again.

    Can Jeremiah play stupid games of semantics? You betcha.

  48. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 3:47 am

    So hard to have a scientifically literate populace when there’s so many ways to get it wrong compared to how many there are to get it right.

    You’ve got your cranks, politicos, religious nuts, new agers, and 1000 sub-agendas vs. scientists arguing over what science is. And we’re always the ones who are cautious while all these other ass holes go around saying they’ve got it all figured out (Dunning-Kruger indeed).

    so annoying…

  49. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:50 am

    Also nygbrus, since you’ve claimed that the previous quoted statement says nothing that even remotely refutes what you’ve said, does the fact that nothing that you’ve said to date is echoed in that paragraph mean that scientific narrative of our evolutionary process is irrelevant?

  50. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:54 am

    steve12, you’ve been smoked out as a fraud and can’t unsmoke it.
    Deal with it.

  51. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 3:57 am

    “does the fact that nothing that you’ve said to date is echoed in that paragraph mean that scientific narrative of our evolutionary process is irrelevant?”

    That’s right nygbrus! There are literally volumes about EB that you NEVER MENTIONED in a couple of days on a blog! This means that you’re wrong about….something….I guess.

  52. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 3:58 am

    Didn’t I smoke you out as ArtfulD, a guy who has to constantly change his name because he realizes that his most current iteration loses all credibility due to posting copious quantities of utter jibberish and being almost universally despised by everyone on this blog?

    Cue your response having something to do with my ignorance of bacteria.

  53. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 4:01 am

    Sorry Jeremiah – I’m still a cognitive neuroscientist who actually does this gig for real, while blog commenting is the extent of your foray into science.

    And I think the funniest part is that all of the pros here know who each other are, and we all agree you aren’t one.

    So who’s the fraud?

  54. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:02 am

    And nygbrus, gotcha on the immune system again. Don’t let your fellow students see what you write here, and especially not your professors – unless it’s one of those podunk schools that only takes the leftovers.

  55. eiskrystalon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:05 am

    If nature is intelligent, creative and purposeful, then we would expect it to evolve. I think that’s all the Intelligent Design theorists are really saying.

    No, they are saying that they want their religion to be taught in science classrooms as fact.

    Everything else that has built up around creationism (ID) is merely bad science, attacks on Darwin and (as we have seen above) wandering, meaningless sophistry.

  56. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 4:11 am

    haha… i was going to respond to jeremiah’s inanity but steve12 beat me to it. Thanks.

    As I said, the thing that actually irks me is that I am sure there is some sort of interesting nuance that is the tiny nugget of a core to Jeremiah’s rambling that I am missing thanks to his idiocy. But I am not motivated to dig through his pile of BS to get to the one tiny interesting grain at the bottom.

    And Jeremiah, I’d be quite happy to have my 1st year students and my professors read what I write. In fact, I know some of them do, including the director of the program :-)

    Oh, and I am at a top ranked medical school, thanks very much for asking. (Better than top 50 worldwide, if you must know).

  57. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:12 am

    steve12, you couldn’t possibly be a cognitive neuroscientist at your level of cognitive intelligence. And none of those who’ve joined you in denial here are pros. The larger reading audience knows this, and the fact that you know I’m reaching some of them with the newer science that has passed you by seems to freak you out.

  58. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:17 am

    nybgrus, we all know that you wouldn’t use that insipid moniker if you wanted anyone to read this stuff and know it came from you.

  59. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 4:19 am

    “As I said, the thing that actually irks me is that I am sure there is some sort of interesting nuance that is the tiny nugget of a core to Jeremiah’s rambling that I am missing thanks to his idiocy.”

    Some of the anticipitory systems stuff does seem intriguing – but some of it was clearly quantum woo on the mechanism end. Some work to know what’s what.

    The idea that the brain is a future prediction machine is pretty old, but certainly true at some level.

    All the intelligence stuff is simply semantic horseshit.

  60. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:22 am

    Heinleiner, All I had to do was google you to see how dumb you were about the bacteria that you actually claimed to be an expert with. Are you still that dumb?

  61. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 4:25 am

    @Steve12: Yeah, that has basically been my take on it exactly. The anticipatory notion seems to be the most likely to have any sort of reality behind it, but certainly not to the extent jeremiah would like us to believe.

    @jeremiah: sorry you don’t like my insipid moniker. But my identity isn’t really that big a secret, much like Orac. And it certainly isnt to my students or my professors. Keep blathering on to make yourself feel better though. Maybe you an nephilimfree can start a support group for “true” scientists made fun of by all us poseurs on the internets?

  62. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 4:25 am

    It’s over Jeremiah. Everyone knows, OK? It’s gonna be alright -calm, breathe.

    The bad news: everyone reading this with scientific training knows you’re claiming to be something you’re not. That’s over. Halloween is in October.

    The good news: you can start the process of applying to grad programs, get the training that you claim to have and then you won’t be a fraud.

    It’s not too late – you just gotta get to work.

  63. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 4:26 am

    Not as dumb as somebody who actually thinks they reach a significant “larger audience” in the comments section of a relatively obscure blog (no offense, Mr. Novella), or who thinks they can successfully change their name without anybody noticing.

    Oh, and seeing as I actually understand the implications of the Lenski experiments, and you don’t? Yeah, I’m going to claim myself as having expert status on bacteria, at least relative to you. Good luck catching up to the rest of us.

  64. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:29 am

    “does the fact that nothing that you’ve said to date is echoed in that paragraph mean that scientific narrative of our evolutionary process is irrelevant?”
    I asked nygbrus that question, and steve12 saw he’d have a problem with it and jumped in to assist. Cause nobody never ‘splained things that way before. And especially nybgrus.

  65. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:36 am

    Heinleimer, according to google, you’ve stated that bacteria don’t learn from experience and don’t make choices. It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved

  66. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 4:43 am

    I asked nygbrus that question, and steve12…

    Thanks for the assist. Us actual scientists and experts(-in-training, in my case) are happy to lend a hand and receive one. I never claimed I was the expert and have more than happily admitted I am still just a student. But delusions of grandeur aside, it is clear who most certainly isn’t any form of scientist or intellectual. (Hint: his name is jeremiah).

    Heinleimer, according to google, you’ve stated that bacteria don’t learn from experience and don’t make choices. It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved

    Then heinleimer is pretty spot on. But maybe the next time I have a beer with an E. coli I’ll ask it if it wouldn’t really rather take control of its life and exhibit some intelligence.

  67. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:59 am

    Well nybgrus, that was an unexpected bonus! Show that to your director, please.

    Also that quoted paragraph on evolution that Steve12 tried to save you from was by an actual neuroscientist – and one who apparently went to a better school than Steve12.

  68. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 5:05 am

    It’s telling, artfulD. The gap between what you think that quote implies about evolution, and its author’s intended meaning.

    Mind the gap!

  69. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 5:08 am

    What’s the intended meaning that I didn’t get?

  70. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 5:13 am

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15157286

    First, how about the title? Evolution of the brain: from behavior to consciousness in 3.4 billion years.

    Second, your belief that this paragraph reinforces your notion that evolution is intelligently guided by the organism itself. Hint: the paragraph does not reinforce this belief.

    This is why the Lenski experiments must haunt you at night, artfulD. They demolish your hypothesis utterly.

  71. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 5:21 am

    The only thing that quote leaves out is the direct connection between adaptation and experience. But it’s not denied. Are you saying that there’s no such implication there?

  72. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 5:22 am

    I was about to say exactly what heinleiner said, but good on ya for beating me to it.

    I never questioned the intelligence of the author of the quoted statement, nor the veracity of it. I questioned the intelligence of the person interpreting it – and with good cause.

    I said the quoted statement did not in any way refute anything I’ve said – because I agree with the statement and because it doesn’t say what you think it says.

    Oh, did I mention? Dunning-Kruger.

  73. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 5:30 am

    The only thing that quote leaves out is the direct connection between adaptation and experience. But it’s not denied. Are you saying that there’s no such implication there?

    Once again so vague as to be meaningless. Of course there is a connection between adaptation and experience – whether it be natural selection, laws of thermodynamics, local environmental changes, what have you there must be some sort connection betwixt the two. So what? That has nothing to do with the crap you have been spouting off, nor is it contrary to anything I or any of the other actual scientists here have been saying, nor does it somehow change the meaning of anything anyone has said.

    If you went to graduate school or studied science at all, it must have been at an institution run by psychics, astrologers, and tarot card readers. Your favorite guest lecturer was likely a dowser.

  74. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 5:31 am

    And look at this first part that’s about the microorganisns that you both still argue have no intelligence or adaptive responsiveness:

    “Once life began as single-cell organisms, evolution favored those able to seek nutrients and avoid risks. Receptors sensed the environment, memory traces were laid, and adaptive responses were made.”

  75. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 5:38 am

    Actually, the only thing that quote leaves out is “We will take this journey from the single cell to human consciousness.” The paper is a commentary on evolution of the brain (the human brain, specifically), which interestingly, PubMed shows that Egnor himself has hijacked (Comment in
    Neurosurgery. 2005 Mar;56(3):E629; author reply E629.
    Neurosurgery. 2005 Apr;56(4):E873; author reply E873.)
    So amazingly, you’ve gotten us back on the actual topic of this blogpost. I am shocked. Are you perhaps Egnor in the flesh?

    As for the direct connection between adaptation and experience. Adaptations often arise due to the accumulation of beneficial mutations by action of natural selection, in a way which reflects most immediately the organism’s past experience. What is key to recognize is that this is not by choice or intention of the organism.

    When a draught occurs, and only finches with beaks of certain dimensions survive, one does not say that the larger beaked finches anticipated the draught. One does say that there was natural genetic variation in beak size, and the appropriate sized beaks survived to reproduce. Intention, choice, self-guidance, has nothing to do with it. (If I had to guess about which paragraph of this post you will choose to pick apart idiotically, it’s this one, friendo.)

    Now, why don’t you address some of my points before you go off asking yet another question?

  76. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 6:36 am

    You’re still ducking the fact that it shows your serious lack of understanding of bacteria and the complexity of their intelligence driven systems, and how the use of intelligence by such microorganisms eventually led to ours.

    As to the finches, I’m on the same page as Fodor and others who point out that form follows function, just as Darwin first believed until he was persuaded otherwise. The finches, in short, did not luck into different beak sizes, these options were preadaptive and chosen by their functionally intelligent processes to fit with the new environmental circumstances they were now experiencing. Natural genetic variation is the usual catch phrase here, but has no mechanism that’s ever been intelligently explained. Precisely because no such mechanism exists outside of the organism’s own making.

    Beak variations in size were anticipated by the intelligently evolved functions of the species. If you can’t explain how that happens purposively, you surely can’t explain how that happens accidentally. A lot has been written about this and I’m not going to waste my time to summarize or cite it here since you’ve already prejudged it as idiotic.
    My goal in any case by this time is to understand how ignorance like yours persists.
    And yes I know that Egnor makes claim to the paper’s authorship.
    That’s why I cited it. Regardless of his creationistic and theistic foolishness, I agree with neverknow that those like him se the same impossibilities mathematically that the other more advanced and/or intelligent and non-theistic evolutionists do.

  77. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 7:09 am

    He laughs at creationists, but is himself espousing the Uncle Daddy Sister-****ing cousin of it in his “bacteria are intelligent” garbgage.

    I just had a FANTASTIC dinner and a couple of beers and a margarita… so all I can do is laugh like a hyena at Jeremiah’s last post. My girlfriend is staring at me… I better explain to her why I am laughing. LOL

  78. SteveAon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:39 am

    Jeremiah: “And look at this first part that’s about the microorganisns that you both still argue have no intelligence or adaptive responsiveness:

    “Once life began as single-cell organisms, evolution favored those able to seek nutrients and avoid risks. Receptors sensed the environment, memory traces were laid, and adaptive responses were made.””

    Did you not notice the full-stop after ‘risks’? This is an incredibly brief summary of development that takes us from single-celled organisms to complex brains in six lines. Six (count them). That you think you can tout this text (essentialy a whimsical preamble) as some sort of proof of anything is beyond belief.

  79. neverknowon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:50 am

    “the study of evolution HAS shown us that complexity can arise from random mutation coupled with natural selection.”

    That is not true., not even close to being true. That idea is accepted on materialist/reductionist faith. It is accepted out of a preference for believing in a mindless dead universe.

  80. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 8:12 am

    @neverknow: If you keep listening to creationist bullshit like that from the DiscoTute, Ken Ham, and William Lane Craig your brain will melt into a runny goo and pour out of your ears.

    It is accepted because it is empirically observed and corroborated with other lines of evidence. The fact that it doesn’t need an intelligent agency to work is simply fact. Since nothing has been shown to be in need of such agency, the parsimonious assumption is there is no such agency. The fact that you can’t deal with that has nothing to do with science or the evidence. It is entirely in your own head.

  81. BillyJoe7on 28 Jun 2011 at 8:34 am

    I think Jeremiah has outlived his usefulness here.

    There was a time when it was just me and ccbowers who were calling him on his nonsense (in now his fourth incarnation on this blog) – pretending a particular fringe science was actually progressive cutting edge science. Bacteria communicating intelligently with one another; finches choosing their beak sizes; the intelligent universe; the conscious universe; the quantum connection; the inpenetrable language; links that don’t say what he thinks they say; taking anthropomorphisms, mataphors and analogies as the real thing; the abuse; everyone is an idiot who doesn’t understand.

    It is pleasing to see confirmation from the professionals who have now entered the fray that our instincts were correct about this individual.

    My only regret is that ccbowers is no longer here to join in the fun in seeing our hoary old enemy annihilated.

    Raise you glasses, lads, the game is over. :D
    (though I know the drawing and quatering will go on for some time yet ;) )

  82. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 9:09 am

    LOL!

    Hear, hear BillyJoe!

  83. mufion 28 Jun 2011 at 10:15 am

    BillyJoe: I’ve recently seen ccbowers commenting over at Rationally Speaking. If I spot one again, I’ll point him this direction.

    Speaking of Rationally Speaking, I was reminded of this thread (and related ones) while reading Massimo Pigliucci’s latest entry this morning; for example:

    …science itself works because it is a social process of continuous peer review, where individual biases are countered by other individual biases (and by the existence of an actual physical world that doesn’t care about human biases).

    and

    When commenting on the fact that a relatively small percentage of people is capable of sound reasoning (for instance in the famous Wason selection task — which I teach in my critical reasoning course), the authors say: “this is an acquired skill and involves exercising some imperfect control over a natural disposition that spontaneously pulls in a different direction.”

    These lessons are hardly new here, although they often seem more honored in the breach. (Did someone say Dunning-Kruger?)

  84. Enzoon 28 Jun 2011 at 11:14 am

    I suppose some of you feel the path a river carves out for itself requires intelligence. There is certainly no evidence to suggest it doesn’t.

  85. ccbowerson 28 Jun 2011 at 12:05 pm

    “The finches, in short, did not luck into different beak sizes, these options were preadaptive and chosen by their functionally intelligent processes to fit with the new environmental circumstances they were now experiencing.”

    What is a “functionally intelligent process” and how does it impact genetics? (i.e. through what mechanism)

  86. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:18 pm

    “There is certainly no evidence to suggest it doesn’t.”

    Enzo, I underestimated you. That was a keeper.

  87. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:27 pm

    And the prime example of the Dunning-Kruger effect is BillyJoe7, the “cocky” little runt from Mooroolsbark who has come out of his self-pleasuring reveries to pick up his socks and tell us how well he’s learned to self evolve his own flagellum.
    Billy, I think it’s time to alert the Mooroolbark media, don’t you?

  88. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Nurse Bowers, nice of you to rejoin your fellow Philistines.

    How does a functionally intelligent process impact genetics? Genetics doesn’t need impacting, it IS the process. All mechanisms for inheritance of acquired characteristics are functionally intelligent.

    And it’s remarkable how this coterie of “pro” dunces here cannot grasp that. Mechanics that work on the engines of life but have no idea how they run. Energy in, energy out. Mechanism, schmechanism, shit happens. No stinkin’ intelligence needed.

  89. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:21 pm

    “nybgrus on 28 Jun 2011 at 7:09 am
    He laughs at creationists, but is himself espousing the Uncle Daddy Sister-****ing cousin of it in his “bacteria are intelligent” garbgage.”

    (Did someone say Dunning-Kruger?)

  90. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Jeremiah! What did we talk about last night?

    Get working on those applications! GO GO GO! No time for this nonsense!

  91. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:33 pm

    And mufi, I don’t think Allen MacNeill will be all that happy that you’ve joined these jerkoffs’ circle. He clearly doesn’t share these views of life as a non-intelligent functioning process. Ask him if bacteria use intelligence or if it’s “all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

  92. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 1:47 pm

    steve12, the grad programs that still produce the likes of you? Been there, done that, recovered, am now in the process of retuning and retooling at least one of them. We’re adding intelligence to the curriculum. It’s anticipated.

  93. mufion 28 Jun 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Did someone here invoke Allen MacNeill?

    From his latest entry:

    …According to Mayr, the difference between the “behavior” of dropped rocks and genuinely purposeful processes is the presence or operation of a pre-existing information-containing program in the latter. Rocks do not fall because there is an encoded program in nature that makes them fall. They fall because there is a force (i.e. a law of nature) that causes them to fall. However, a bird has wings because there is a program encoded within its genome which, as the result of interactions between the “phenome” of the bird and its environment, causes the construction and operation of wings.

    To say that natural selection is teleological would therefore require that there be a pre-existing encoded program somewhere that would cause natural selection to bring about its effects. This is ridiculous for at least two reasons:

    • there is no such program as far as we can tell (where would it be encoded?), and

    • this would require that natural selection be a process in and of itself, rather than the outcome of the four processes listed above [viz. variety, heredity, fecundity, and demography -mufi].

    If so, then can a non-teleological process like natural selection be meaningfully described as “intelligent”? I suppose the answer depends on how loosely we define that word.

  94. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 2:00 pm

    mufi,

    don’t you know intelligence means whatever jeremiah says it means whenever he says it. So by his own (lack of) definition he is always right and can win any debate if he’s creative enough, but he still resorts to insults doesn’t he.

  95. Navinabobon 28 Jun 2011 at 2:08 pm

    The other silly thing about using the abstract of the article “Evolution of the brain: from behavior to consciousness in 3.4 billion years” as some sort of proof of ID is the fact the Joan Oro was an atheist according to his friend Joan Oller. He wrote that Oro felt that “life, any form of life, even human life, was the result of chance.” A source may exist that refutes that, but so far I’ve not found one.

    The opinion that Jeremiah is “reading into” the article as opposed to “understanding” article is likely the correct one.

  96. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 2:18 pm

    What’s you Ph.D. in Jeremiah?

  97. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:37 pm

    steve12, I love the irony. You and everyone else here uses aliases, and hides any identifying details of their education, the schools they attended, CVs, etc.
    Little nanny loving nybgrus pretends to be Dan to find out mine, and now you hide behind an alias to do the same. Heinleiner goes to his great and only effort to somehow prove that use of any alias is wrong, and uses one to do so. BillyJoe7 uses his for protection from retaliation so he can shoot obscenities at all messengers of fringe cutting science.
    And to top it off, I’m likely the only one of you that’s actually using the name he was born with.
    Yet you seem to think you’re safe to claim you’re a neuroscientist when it’s clear from your poopooing of anticipatory systems that you not only haven’t heard of it before, you’ve not done the type of research that should have called attention to it.
    A scientist does research, a practitioner could, but doesn’t have to.
    You clearly should but never have, apparently not even as a lab rat.
    None of you naysayers has ever been more than a lab rat, if even that. BillyJoe7 thinks lab is a kind of dog that watches while he flagellums.
    Mufi quotes from one of the better scientific blogs to demonstrate he hasn’t understood a word of what was said there.
    I’m a scientist engaged in evolutionary research. Part of it involves running some of the tangentially related research up the flag to see who salutes. On this particular site, I learn a lot from seeing who doesn’t.

  98. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:52 pm

    “I’m a scientist engaged in evolutionary research. Part of it involves running some of the tangentially related research up the flag to see who salutes. On this particular site, I learn a lot from seeing who doesn’t.”

    That has got to be the most nonsensical explanation thus far, what are studying? Evolution of responses to trolls?

  99. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Or is it titled Intelligence Directs the Evolution of Intelligence to Manifest It’s Intelligence? Intelligence.

  100. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Ooh, robm, are you offended that I left you out? I certainly hoped with great anticipated that you would be.

  101. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I’m just curious what kind of scientist seeks validation (or attention) in the comments of a blog about neurology and skepticism rather than from peer review? Or at least the comments section of a blog about evolution.

  102. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 4:15 pm

    # Jeremiah on 28 Jun 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Wow – all that I still don’t know what your credentials are.

    I asked a simple question that doesn’t require divulging you ID:

    What is your Ph.D. (other?) in Jeremiah?

    That’s the strangest answer to that question ever…

  103. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Well, robm, is it then the fact that anyone that comments on a blog about their scientific interests is therefor not a scientist? Although I can see from your own banalities why you might think so. You’ve clearly researched nothing that requires publication. Ever benefit from anticipating feedback?

    Also for steve12, I’m likely the only Jeremiah in that field, so stop again with the crap.
    Or I know what, give us some name other than Steve to play with.
    Then maybe I’ll leave another clue.

  104. mufion 28 Jun 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Just for the record: I have no scientific credentials, as they’re not necessary to be a web/software developer (although an affinity for logic and learning how things work certainly helps).

    That said, I think it’s fair to say that, when an evolutionary biologist (Allen Macneill, in this case) calls the idea that “natural selection is teleological” is “ridiculous”, he probably doesn’t endorse the idea that natural selection is “intelligent” (unless he has some idiosyncratic definition of that word in mind).

    But if there is evidence to the contrary, I’m willing to examine it. Thus far, I’ve certainly not seen any.

  105. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 4:51 pm

    “Also for steve12, I’m likely the only Jeremiah in that field, so stop again with the crap.”

    What’s your credentials again? I’m still not getting it.

  106. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 5:05 pm

    “Ever benefit from anticipating feedback?”

    Sure, from those I think will provide helpful feedback, it’s important to value input from others.

    “None of you naysayers has ever been more than a lab rat, if even that”

    [about steve12]“Yet you seem to think you’re safe to claim you’re a neuroscientist when it’s clear from your poopooing of anticipatory systems that you not only haven’t heard of it before, you’ve not done the type of research that should have called attention to it.”

    Well Ok, not some others, the ones who respond to most of your posts.

    “Part of it involves running some of the tangentially related research up the flag to see who salutes. On this particular site, I learn a lot from seeing who doesn’t.”

    So you come here looking for non-expert feedback that you don’t value because it comes from non-experts, except when it does, and then you doubt their credentials. And then you throw around a variety of insults at those who provide feedback and ask questions. It seems odd.

  107. Enzoon 28 Jun 2011 at 5:19 pm

    What’s the consensus on whether or not completion of a Ph.D. requires intelligence?

  108. 2_wordson 28 Jun 2011 at 5:20 pm

    The vebosity is for “the larger reading audience.” It is a fight for the silent majority. Who have been reached and are out there, impressed into silence.

    People who disagree with Jeremiah, know he is “reaching some of them,” and it freaks out someone or something…

    Also, I am a scientist and you are not.

  109. BillyJoe7on 28 Jun 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Sounds like Jeremiah is really pissed off that even a non propfessional like myself was able to easily see through his nonsense. As I said before, I feel vindicated by the other responders here. Thanks to all of you.

  110. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I receive excellent feedback from Miema, for example, and sonic, and neverknow, and enzo, and the dialog with Mike12 was enlightening as to how his rationalization process works. Mufi is a marvel at making equivocation seem rational, and the dialog with niche geek was informative as to how some non-experts will express their curiosity, etc. So you may not think non-expert feedback is important, but I happen to have found that in entering into new territory, it’s by far the most important.

    But look at your own response just now. You assume that because I find value in the non-responsive, I don’t find any in the positive responders. But if I didn’t, why do I take such pains to answer all their questions? One answer would be that taking pains with Niche gave me the opportunity to bring in anticipation systems and practice in explaining process a but differently than I might have otherwise.
    Part of my research involves gaining insight into how those with different levels of understanding deal effectively with each other.
    Does learning effectively increase the level or merely broaden it, and so forth.
    Relate that to this forum, and see what I see as to who accepts responsibility for understanding and who doesn’t. Who shoots the messenger to avoid the message and why? Does relative ignorance have an evolutionary advantage, and if so, is it a function of culture or a necessary cause of cultural diversity.
    I could go on but I realize I’m now getting feedback from myself, so I’ll do the rest offline.
    And if you’ll look carefully, I’ve used sarcasm and ridicule, true, but seldom if ever have I insulted anyone gratuitously until after they’ve tried that tactic first. But I do so love those record setting meltdowns from little Nygbrus.

  111. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 6:14 pm

    BillyJoe7, you haven’t seen through shit since they manufactured Shinola. You set the best example of unremediable low level cognizance I’ve ever found. Go back and do what you do best and publicly remediate that other form of impotency.

  112. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Jeremiah, you ignorant slut (to borrow an SGUism from Mr. Novella.) Natural genetic variation has not been adequately explained by any mechanism? How about:

    Mutations are the ultimate source of genetic variation because they alter the order of bases in the nucleotides of DNA. Mutations are likely to be rare and most mutations are neutral or deleterious, but in some instances the new alleles can be favored by natural selection.
    Genetic variation can also be produced by the recombination of chromosomes that occurs during sexual reproduction, called independent assortment.
    Crossing over and random segregation during meiosis can result in the production of new alleles or new combinations of alleles. Furthermore, random ferilisation also contributes to variation.
    Variation and recombination can be fascilitated by transposable and transposed genetic elements, commonly known as endogenous retroviruses, LINEs, SINEs, etc

    How about if I can rebuke your hick-ignorant claims with a mere glance at Wikipedia, you officially concede?

  113. sonicon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:18 pm

    It seems Egnor missed the point that Dawkins was making–
    (From the article linked in the post)–

    “The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such ‘Directed Panspermia’ was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved, if not by Darwinian selection, by some equivalent ‘crane’ (to quote Dan Dennett). My point here was that design can never be an ULTIMATE explanation for organized complexity. Even if life on Earth was seeded by intelligent designers on another planet, and even if the alien life form was itself seeded four billion years earlier, the regress must ultimately be terminated (and we have only some 13 billion years to play with because of the finite age of the universe)…”

    So if we find that design is a better explanation for what we observe here on Earth, that would prove alien beings that evolved in a manner that agrees with Dawkins basic philosophy exist and are responsible for the design.

    And that’s science in the early 21st century.

  114. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:20 pm

    That Wiki stuff seems to be adequate for ignorant sluts like you, Heinie, who I’ve come to realize can’t visualize intelligence being exercised on other than a strictly arbitrary basis. Bacteria can’t use it, so clearly we can’t “commonly descend” from ours to anything like theirs. The idea that intelligence kicks in magically somewhere up the line from them is eerily similar to the creationist concept of the soul as a functional necessity.
    But your education seems to be at the rote learning level, and if it’s written on the proper paper then it must be true.
    You have no idea where mutations come from or of what directs them when they come. “Transposable and transposed genetic elements” you say? Well hell if they’re there they must come from somewhere.
    Of course the writers of your scripts can manufacture what seems plausible to you as adequate, but for those of us that learn from our own extensive efforts, it’s not only inadequate, it’s fundamentally wrong.
    And if you don’t know of the mountain of work and evidence that exists to demonstrate how wrong it is, you’re a bigger fool than ever. And if you haven’t read and had some doubts that further need examining, your condition is incurable.
    You can rant and rave and swear and plug your ears to kill the message with the messenger, but it gets through regardless, and you can’t unpublish all those books and papers.

    (I still can’t get over that a belief in chemically activated bacteria still persists at some levels, but am not surprised that it’s still yours.)

  115. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 7:33 pm

    “You have no idea where mutations come from or of what directs them when they come.”

    Hahah. Tell me, Jeremiah, where do mutations come from? Tell me, oh enlightened one. I haven’t had my fill of hilarious jokes yet.

  116. neverknowon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:35 pm

    We know that there are genetic variations, and we know that the ones that don’t survive don’t survive. It couldn’t really be otherwise. We know that evolution happened, but we don’t know how or why. Neo-Darwinists like to insist that they do know how and why evolution happened., even though they don’t. Their mind tricks them into thinking that if they can observe genetic variations and they can observe natural selection, and they know that evolution happened, then the natural selection of genetic variations MUST have CAUSED evolution.

    And if you ask them why, and keep asking, they will eventually admit that the reason their theory MUST be true is because it is the only theory that doesn’t require nature to be guided by any kind of intelligence. And therefore it MUST be true because they have already decided to be atheists.

  117. robmon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Actually neverknow it must be true because of mountains of genetic evidence that genetic variation is what gets selected. btw I was unaware Francis Collins had decided to become an atheist.

  118. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 7:49 pm

    this has become downright comical. I do particularly love how Jeremiah claims we hide behind anonymity (once again – our credentials don’t actually matter since our arguments are actually valid) but that his moniker somehow isn’t hiding. Because there is, apparently, only one Jeremiah in the world and we all obviously know who that is. Perhaps if I signed on as “John” and said, “Well of course you must know who I am now” that would suffice to stifle such an argument? Of course not. And of course, my name isn’t John. But, as I said before – it really isn’t a big secret who I am and if you cared enough you could find out. But that doesn’t matter since who I am makes no difference to the actual arguments I make. As Mufi has pointed out, he has no credentials in science, and yet he consistently makes vastly more intelligent arguments that Jeremiah.

    But of course, we all knew that. Which is why he loves to associate with crackpot idiots like neverknow and mike12.

    I won’t even bother with the rest of the drivel ensuing from Jeremiah. It would likely kill off too many brain cells trying to read it all, let alone refute it.

    You don’t have to, of course, but I’d love it if you just left Jeremiah. You are a fraud, a troll, and everyone here knows it. You really have outlived your sock puppet. So do us all a favor and crawl back from whence you came so the actual scientists and those actually interested in reasoned discourse can do so.

    Was that another tantrum?

  119. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Neo-Darwinists like to insist that they do know how and why evolution happened

    Wrong again. But I don’t even have the energy to continue educating people here on evolutionary theory. I spent my time with Sonic and am quite pleased he has actually modified his thinking on it and become more intellectually honest and interested on the topic. I suggest you search and read through my exchanges with him.

    I don’t have the desire to enlighten you as well.

  120. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 7:56 pm

    That the best you can do, Heinie? Mutations that cause behavioral changes come from an application of intelligence by the organism in the same way that every other physical aspect of their forms are built BY each and every known organism. And those are the only mutations that effectively drive the process. Accidentally undirected zaps from some cosmic source have zip ability to form the calculative strategies that all functional behaviors represent.

    Did you ever crack a book or paper about adaptive mutation? Of course not. When you inevitably saw the term bacteria used as a prime example for the process, you freaked and stormed out of the library.

  121. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 8:05 pm

    whoops, just realized that the “he” in “But of course, we all knew that. Which is why he loves to associate with crackpot idiots like neverknow and mike12.” sounds like it is referring to Mufi – sorry mate! It was jeremiah to whom that referred. I figured you’d know, but just wanted to make sure.

  122. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 8:16 pm

    “That the best you can do, Heinie? Mutations that cause behavioral changes come from an application of intelligence by the organism in the same way that every other physical aspect of their forms are built BY each and every known organism. And those are the only mutations that effectively drive the process. Accidentally undirected zaps from some cosmic source have zip ability to form the calculative strategies that all functional behaviors represent.”

    Amazing, and I thought mutations came from errors in replicating DNA. I guess I’m just too dumb to see that errors in replication machinery due to chemical and physical limitations implies application of intelligence by the organism.

    Oh wait, nevermind. I’m not retarded. Piss off, you deluded moron.

  123. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Yes, little nybgrus that was a form of tantrum, no more effective than usual however.
    “Our credentials don’t actually matter since our arguments are actually valid,” he says. Your credentials, if you had any, would be the only thing that mattered, if only to add to the mystery of why your arguments are so pathetically half-backed.

    “But I don’t even have the energy to continue educating people here on evolutionary theory. I spent my time with Sonic and am quite pleased he has actually modified his thinking on it and become more intellectually honest and interested on the topic.”

    You are seriously deluded if you think that your version of how life activates is in any way educational:
    If ‘It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved,’ Then heinleimer is pretty spot on.”

    That was you talking, was it not, or is there ab even dumber nygbrus out there in the bush?

    And do you really think you’ve educated sonic in any fundamental way? He’s so much ahead of you in all respects it’s pitiful. He’s playing with you and giving you a pacifier here and there to suck on. Try educating BillyJoe7 instead – but beware of any wooden pacifiers.

    Reasoned discourse? Like you’re having now with neverknow?
    Not working for you.

  124. Jeremiahon 28 Jun 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Heinie writes:
    “Amazing, and I thought mutations came from errors in replicating DNA.”
    So sequential errors account for algorithmic changes in every biological function and turn randomly assembled data into abstract thought processes? Like monkeys with their little heinies at a typewriter.

    Who’s the mental moron now? Reduplicative paramnesia in the flesh. A specimen for pinning to the nearest wall.

  125. Heinleineron 28 Jun 2011 at 8:57 pm

    No, you incredible git. Random “errors” with nonrandom selection OF those “errors” accounts for most changes in biological function, a.k.a. evolution by natural selection.

    Seriously, go read The Blind Watchmaker, then come back. It’ll do you some serious good, or at least it’ll get you to shut up about organisms being somehow able to determine whether or not their mutation is useful. That’s up to natural selection to decide.

  126. nybgruson 28 Jun 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Like monkeys with their little heinies at a typewriter.

    I love how he uses the single most abused, laughable, refuted, and asinine argument in the history of creationist bullshit and somehow thinks that is worth anything.

    Now you’re just getting agravated but it is still fun to poke around at idiots like you Jeremiah. I know, I’m a bit of a sadist when it comes to that – but I have little pity for morons who think they know everything and yet come up with arguments so laughably stupid.

    I honestly think you are really stupid enough that you genuinely think what you are saying not only makes sense but is somehow ground breaking – oh, you lone maverick you. If only the establishment would listen! But it is getting so over the top, I can’t be sure he isn’t a Poe. But then again, nephilimfree isn’t a Poe, so….

    Keep typing Jeremiah. It’s deviously entertaining to me.

  127. ccbowerson 28 Jun 2011 at 9:28 pm

    “Nurse Bowers, nice of you to rejoin your fellow Philistines.”

    I have told you before that I am not a nurse, but you attempt at misrepresenting this is an example of your intellectual dishonesty. At the same time you refuse to indicate your own education when asked, because you are reluctant to admit you have have no PhD. There is nothing wrong with that, really, its ok. The existence or non existence of a rigorous formal education have no bearing on the fact that your “arguments” are wishful thinking

  128. Enzoon 28 Jun 2011 at 9:30 pm

    - Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
    *Neo: What truth?
    -Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
    *Neo: There is no spoon?
    -Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

    Spoon boy talking about the type of logic going on here. Bending facts by fitting them into preconceived notions.

    Similarly, do not try and fit adaptive mutations into a context whereby there is a DEFINED, preconceived danger to which mutations are then “intelligently” harnessed to to solve. No.

    Instead, realize that organisms evolved a system to BROADLY adapt to BROADLY defined “stress.” How? By the only known mechanism to make adapations: mutations. Broadly increasing mutation rate in the hopes that you get lucky, overcome the stress and survive to make more of yourself. I hear that’s important for selection and promotion through time.

    Generally speaking*, it’s not a matter of 1.) Realize you are under a specific threat 2.) Determine the cause of the problem 3.) Arrive at a solution to alleviate the stress 4.) Specifically derive a mutation to fix yourself by using the solution knew to be the solution.

    If it was as steps 1-4 suggest and there is an intelligence behind the process, then you would expect EVERY organism in a collection (bacteria colony, tumor, forest, whatever) to be able to arrive at the same conclusion, make the change and survive in the same way every time. Over and over. You would also expect mutations that specifically address the problem vs. mutations that fix the problem indirectly (i.e. – you fix the broken front door to get in the house rather than going around to the back door to get in the house). This isn’t what happens.

    Again, it’s important to stress terms like specific and defined here because there DO exist mechanisms to increase the chance of adaptation, but they evolved to exist. There are no laws in biology or physics that allow for direct sensing of a de novo problem.

    As a hypothetical (since we love those), if you could determine a multi-pronged stress that has a sufficiently low probability of being overcome by random mutations, there could be no random adaptation to it (in an appropriate time scale). So, if the maximum rate of random mutation is X and there exists a stress that would require a number of adaptive mutations such that X cannot make them in an appropriate time scale, there will be no adaptation. Intelligence in the system would imply that X could be overcome because selective mutations would be greater than X by definition.

    Look, if you believe that all this evolved because an intelligence set it up that way, that’s your faith and you have a right to it. But you can’t dismiss the science that says it’s not necessary.

    I believe in evolution through random mutations and I am NOT an atheist. I just don’t let faith impact the science. I don’t pretend to know the mind of god or the universe.
    __________
    *I say generally here because there are sensors of stress that have pre-defined responses that are implemented when specific methods to detect the stress are triggered. Say in starvation for mammalian cells, for example. These sensors are evolutionary adaptions, evolved as any other system.

  129. ccbowerson 28 Jun 2011 at 9:31 pm

    “All mechanisms for inheritance of acquired characteristics are functionally intelligent.”

    So what does adding this vague concept of intelligence add to the known mechanisms of inherentace? What novel predictions does it make that can differentiate it from non-intelligent processes? So far you have failed to show anything novel stemming from your desire for evolution to be “functionally intelligent” process, whatever that is supposed to mean

  130. steve12on 28 Jun 2011 at 11:10 pm

    “I’m a scientist engaged in evolutionary research.

    So you’re an evolutionary biologist?

    “Part of it involves running some of the tangentially related research up the flag to see who salutes. On this particular site, I learn a lot from seeing who doesn’t.”

    So you’re a philosopher of science examining paradigm shift?

    “Part of my research involves gaining insight into how those with different levels of understanding deal effectively with each other.
    Does learning effectively increase the level or merely broaden it, and so forth. Relate that to this forum, and see what I see as to who accepts responsibility for understanding and who doesn’t. Who shoots the messenger to avoid the message and why? Does relative ignorance have an evolutionary advantage, and if so, is it a function of culture or a necessary cause of cultural diversity.
    I could go on but I realize I’m now getting feedback from myself, so I’ll do the rest offline.”

    So you’re a psychologist studying attitude change and meta-awareness?

    So, uhhh – what are your credentials again? Somehow that’s still gone unanswered….

  131. Mlemaon 28 Jun 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Enzo:

    I am interested in what you say @ 28 Jun 2011 at 9:30 pm

    regarding: how organisms increase their mutation rate?
    Do you have any suggestions as to where I could learn more about how this happens?
    thank you

  132. Mlemaon 29 Jun 2011 at 12:17 am

    Enzo, also, if you would,
    here is a video with a theory about how a bacterial flagellum might form in a step-by-step process
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdwTwNPyR9w

    here are some captions from some of the steps:
    an adhesive protein is secreted but remains bound
    further polymerization forms a pilus
    attachment of pilus to membrane increases strength

    can you tell me how what appear to be structural changes happening based on chemical reactions at the cell membrane are reflected in the bacteria’s DNA, so that the new structure can be inherited?

    I apologize if there’s something basic here i don’t understand.
    But I don’t understand how you get from changes in the structure of the cell itself something that could then be heritable.

    Is each of these steps supposed to be initiated by a genetic mutation? Is that part of the description assumed?
    how do you get something like:
    association of export apparatus with secretin
    (another one of the steps)
    to be heritable?

  133. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 12:29 am

    So much dumbness concentrated here, so little do I find I care, but pro forma and all that I’ll sum up the obvious without the boring details.
    Bowers: There are no biological processes that are non-intelligent.
    Natural selection is a meaningless term without some problem solving capacity inferred. No selection without anticipation of the consequences.

    Enzo: It’s not about perceiving danger if its not about anticipating consequences first. Life did not acquire its adaptive processes full born to use. Stress is a cover all term for a variety of needs. And Enzo, I respect your input, but we can’t have a peaceful dialog in this hostile atmosphere. So skimming tops, the only known mechanism to make adaptations: The process of strategic choice where accidents of nature were found to be optionally avoidable or advantageous. Mutation thus another word for accidental change, but where advantage must be taken more than given.
    Adaptive mutation is a term of art, simply put, the art acquired of turning accident to purposeful or purposive advantage for he shortest term. Voila, first use of the biological version of intelligence. But a use that from the start was cooperative – no microbe or man is an island. And where adaptive change is concerned, no island is potentially the same.no island is adaptively the same.
    The rest is a history that I’d love to go over with you in detail, but obviously not here. Consider evolution as the consequence of a continuum of processes, and not a process in and of itself.
    You say, “There are no laws in biology or physics that allow for direct sensing of a de novo problem.” I say there would be no laws if that’s not exactly what they’ve come to be for.

  134. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 12:35 am

    Nygbrus, Heinie and coterie, one word, bacteria. Bwahahahahahaha.

    Steve12, you’re getting warm, but what we’ve got here is a failure of anticipation.

  135. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 12:44 am

    Miema, you ask good questions and I hope the philistines will leave you and enzo alone to discuss the answers. But of course they won’t.

  136. Enzoon 29 Jun 2011 at 12:47 am

    Hi Mlema,

    Do you have access to PubMed articles? Here are some to get you started

    PMID: 15207867 “Adaptive mutation and amplification in Escherichia coli: two pathways of genome adaptation under stress.”

    and

    PMID: 956036 “Mutation and cancer: the antecedents to our studies of adaptive mutation.”

    It is actually pretty difficult to find approachable reviews on the subject, as the hypotheses around this description were made starting back in the early 90s. The science now is more focused and so reading up on the broad basis becomes more difficult.

    I really am not that familiar with the process in bacteria, but in cancer there is a great deal of complexity feeding into the system. You’d have to look into things like signaling pathways that become disregulated between the tumor and its microenvironment, error-prone DNA repair pathway activation and substitution, somatic hypermutation, over/under-expression of repair factors and transcriptional regulators, uncoupling of growth arrest and cellular senescence with DNA replication, aneuploidy/multiploidy. Basically what happens in cancer is cells adopt the “grow no matter what” kind of state, which means the cells makes all kinds of mistakes with their DNA, leading to a lot of mutations very quickly. And they are selected for rapid, greedy growth.

  137. steve12on 29 Jun 2011 at 12:49 am

    Just curious, Jeremiah: what are your credentials again?

  138. nybgruson 29 Jun 2011 at 1:00 am

    @mlema:

    That is indeed a very good question. The answer is very complicated, but simply put it is that you need not have a change in DNA to effect the changes you speak of. The best anology I have heard is to think of DNA as a recipe instead of a blueprint.

    In a blueprint, say for a skyscraper, you must follow each and every step, put every nut, bolt, etc in place. For the building to change, you must change the blueprint and specifically refer to, say, an extra floor being built.

    In a recipe, say for a cake, you have a certain set of hardware and software at your disposal (mixing bowl, egg beater, spatula, flour, eggs, milk, sugar, etc). You can follow a blueprint to build an exact replica of a cake every time, but if you change the proportions you can get a different cake. Or if you do the operations in a different order. Like say, the difference between a meringue, a German chocolate cake, and a flourless chocolate cake. They all use essentially the same ingredients and generally the same principles, but the proportions of ingredients are different and what you do to each ingredient can vary as well (beating whites into a meringue).

    An organism is not nearly so much a blueprint as it is a recipe. Just like I can use the exact same recipe twice over to make a double layer cake, so can an organism use the same DNA twice over to make an extra monomer for the polymerization. Epigentic factors combined with environmental factors can predispose and make more favorable such changes. Additionally, you can have a small mutation in the regulatory genes which would lead to profoundly different body plans with almost the same exact genome – hence the small difference in DNA between us and chimps, but such vast phenotypic differences.

    I suggest you look into early embryonic development, specifically homeobox and sonic hedgehog genes for more of a discussion of such things. In terms of bacteria developing a flagellum, that is actually more simple than embryonic development, and has more to do with environmental pressures than regulatory genes.

    And no need to apologize – I think the non-troll denizens of this blog welcome genuine and insightful questions like yours. Not everyone is well versed in evolutionary biology (as Jeremiah continues to prove over and over and over and over again).

    I hope that little bit helped get you moving in the right direction. Let me know if not.

  139. Enzoon 29 Jun 2011 at 1:03 am

    Hi again Mlema,

    Yes, a genetic mutation is assumed. Once you have made a protein (an adhesive protein, for example) from DNA, whatever happens to that protein will usually not become heritable. If the protein is damaged, for example, the DNA template for the protein will make new, undamaged protein just fine.

    As an example of what can happen in a very gradual sense…

    The protein is normally supposed to be secreted, right? Well, if the DNA is mutated such that one amino acid (basic building block of a protein) is changed, the protein’s behavior can change. How? There are 20 amino acids, they fall into different classes based on their properties. Some help a protein stay in solution (water loving) and some want to make a protein avoid water (it’s called hydrophobic). If mutation causes a water-loving building block to change into a hydrophobic building block, it now suddenly may want to associate with another protein (to keep the hydrophobic building block away from water). Or, since the cell membrane is lipid (also a hydrophobic molecule), the protein may want to stay with the cell surface instead of be secreted. And slowly you build your way to tight, meaningful protein-protein complexes. This is just a very, very basic example. Obviously one mutation is usually not enough. But over billions of years, a lot can happen.

    Hope that helps.

  140. Mlemaon 29 Jun 2011 at 1:26 am

    yes. Thank you so much.

  141. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 1:50 am

    Poor little nybgrus,
    “Explanation” by simplistic analogy is your forte, but comparison of two unexplained events falls short of explaining either.

    And worse, there’s your regurgitated nonsense like this

    “If mutation causes a water-loving building block to change into a hydrophobic building block, it now suddenly may want to associate with another protein (to keep the hydrophobic building block away from water).”

    How does an accident cause a molecular construction bereft of intelligence to think? Does it activate an anticipatory process, one with a built in purpose but no way to assess its means?

    Miema is expected to make sense of this rote recitation?

    Why don’t you shut up and let Enzo talk? Afraid of the competition from a real scientist with your pretentious version?
    Why of course you are, as well you should be, bacteria boy.

    You made her thank you, and that’s proof enough for pudding.

  142. Heinleineron 29 Jun 2011 at 1:55 am

    Now I know you’re insane, Jeremiah.

    1. You quote something ENZO said. (1:03 a.m.)

    2. You poo poo all over ENZO’S correct explanation.

    3. You then tell nybgrus to shut up and let ENZO talk.

    You’re clearly slipping at this point, in your self-aggrandizing rage-delirium. I am VERY much looking forward to your rationalization of this.

  143. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 2:13 am

    Heinie, I didn’t poo poo, I respectfully disagreed. And in response to his respectful disagreement with me. That’s how it’s supposed to work, you incredibly stupid moron.

  144. Heinleineron 29 Jun 2011 at 2:16 am

    I’m sorry, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.

    Poor little nybgrus,
    “Explanation” by simplistic analogy is your forte, but comparison of two unexplained events falls short of explaining either.
    And worse, there’s your regurgitated nonsense like this
    “If mutation causes a water-loving building block to change into a hydrophobic building block, it now suddenly may want to associate with another protein (to keep the hydrophobic building block away from water).”

    You basically attacked nybgrus for what Enzo said.

    And I’m sorry, but if you can’t understand why hydrophobic molecules are hydrophobic, and why they DON’T need an intelligent process to be hydrophobic, then there’s no hope for you, you worthless sack of flesh.

  145. eiskrystalon 29 Jun 2011 at 4:20 am

    Go back and every time you read the word “intelligence” in Jeremiah’s text mentally insert the word “quantum” instead. It’s like stepping back in time by 5 years…

    …and strangely still makes as much sense.

  146. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 5:45 am

    Heinie,
    I like Enzo. He has a certain wisdom behind his beliefs. His version of how life started isn’t all that bad – and neither of us has stopped learning. And I’d never try to stop his message out of fear that it would somehow reveal the hidden defects of my own.

    On the other hand, there’s nothing there behind nybgrus’ oh so carefully constructed facade. The fear that it will crumble if someone gets a peek into the emptiness behind it is palpable. He’s manic and petulant in turn. His intuitive thought processes seem off the track somehow. Insight just isn’t there. People undoubtedly laugh at him behind his back which doesn’t help.
    They don’t like him, and why would they.
    They probably don’t like you either. You’re seriously dishonest.

    Here’s the part you left out of what I said that pertains to nybgrus version versus enzo’s:

    “How does an accident cause a molecular construction bereft of intelligence to think? Does it activate an anticipatory process, one with a built in purpose but no way to assess its means?”

    I can understand why hydrophobic molecules are hydrophobic, And it’s not because “mutation causes a water-loving building block to change into a hydrophobic building block” for no reason other than it just does. That doesn’t explain shit about how an accident could cause change in function through a change in form and nothing involved supplies direction to the change.

    You’re just another mindless turd if you think otherwise. And of course you are in any case.

  147. SteveAon 29 Jun 2011 at 8:04 am

    Jeremiah: “On the other hand, there’s nothing there behind nybgrus’ oh so carefully constructed facade. The fear that it will crumble if someone gets a peek into the emptiness behind it is palpable. He’s manic and petulant in turn. His intuitive thought processes seem off the track somehow. Insight just isn’t there. People undoubtedly laugh at him behind his back which doesn’t help. They don’t like him, and why would they.”

    A classic example of projection.

  148. ccbowerson 29 Jun 2011 at 9:29 am

    “There are no biological processes that are non-intelligent.”

    So your argument is simply an assertion? Forget that no ones seems to know what you mean by intelligence in this context… how would one distinguish an intellligent biological process
    from a dumb one? So far you have failed to point to any evidence that your assertion of “intelligent processes” distinguishes itself in any meaningful way. It appears to be unneccesary to explain anything, and is just an add-on that you prefer.

  149. PhysiPhileon 29 Jun 2011 at 9:51 am

    Jeremiah,

    Please tell me if this is an appropriate understanding of your issue on intelligence:

    As a premise, we know that single molecules are not intelligent. We know that humans (and probably other mammals) are intelligent. Instilling humans and life similar to humans with intelligence is analogous to instilling humans with a soul because we don’t have a mechanism for the instillation process of either one of these attributes. Therefore, intelligence must have been a guiding impetus to creating human intelligence.

    If my characterization of your position is correct, it is my opinion that you are creating a false spectrum in that intelligence (with anticipatory) properties emerges from complex molecular interactions and because we can’t create an exact demarcation between intelligence and non-intelligence does not mean we can’t anything meaningfully to separate the two properties when looking at life.

  150. mufion 29 Jun 2011 at 11:35 am

    PhysiPhile:

    Yes, but if one starts from (and holds fast to) the premise that mind (or some mental trait, like consciousness, intelligence, intentionality, etc.) is foundational to reality, then it’s simply a matter of finding the scientific research that provides support for that premise (or so it might seem on the surface to an untrained eye).

    That is how I would characterize Jeremiah’s position and modus operandi (verbal tactics aside).

  151. Enzoon 29 Jun 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I said…

    “If mutation causes a water-loving building block to change into a hydrophobic building block, it now suddenly may want to associate with another protein…”

    In response…

    How does an accident cause a molecular construction bereft of intelligence to think? Does it activate an anticipatory process, one with a built in purpose but no way to assess its means?”

    — Jeremiah

    Look, I just wanted to answer Mlema’s question. I have no interest in getting wrapped up in this. That being said, I thought I would clarify the position because it seems to have been missed.

    The mutation is random. It does not cause a molecular construction to think. Acquired binding does not imply that there was anticipation of being able to bind another protein because of the mutation.

    If the confusion about what I said stems from the usage of the word “want,” I simply meant “want” as a summary of thermodynamic law. The protein does not have desire. No part of the system had desire. Hydrophobic parts associate with other hydrophobic parts in an effort to minimize energy and maximize entropy according to the laws of thermodynamics. I’m happy to explain this further.

  152. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 2:11 pm

    PhysiPhile
    If you see intelligence as an emergent property of interaction, you are assuming that it is not an inherent property of the interacting forces. But if the theories that concern anticipation are correct, it turns out that intelligence is an inherent property of all material. And the common usage of the term becomes in conflict with its more scientific usage.
    Which will make it necessary to be more specific about the context of its usage. And depending on how quickly our culture evolves to expand the context, the inherent quality of intelligence in the universe will be a given, and we’ll be concerned with intelligence as a simply matter of how it’s “intelligently” it’s used by something.
    A rock will still be a rock, still seen as something with no ability to actively outsmart us, but understood as nevertheless a thing that contains the ability to intelligently resist our efforts to destroy its form.

  153. mufion 29 Jun 2011 at 2:58 pm

    If you see intelligence as an emergent property of interaction, you are assuming that it is not an inherent property of the interacting forces.

    Sounds like a safe assumption, given a typical understanding of “intelligence” as a reference to human “abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving.” *

    Sure, it’s possible to extend the concept further (e.g. to include human artifacts and other organisms; albeit, not without some controversy). But the wider its extension, the more its meaningful basis in human interactions is lost.

    All the more so, when the concept is extended to cover all physical interactions.

  154. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Enzo,
    Sorry for my admittedly stupid error as to who it was here that said what. Everybody jumping in to answer or deflect the answers to another’s questions can be confusing, and commentary tends to be remembered for the contentions which we (or me in any case) then associate with its most likely contender. Which I didn’t see as being you.

    But which I still see as inadequate for explaining how mutation supposedly makes the change from one intelligently constructed process to another with a consistency that is somehow directed in all cases by accident.
    The use of metaphors was not the problem. The seeming ability for an accidental process to give intelligent direction is.

    I don’t need a further explanation of the thermodynamics. I need a further explanation of the remarkably intelligent properties of matter that emerge from nature’s somehow selective use of random accident.

    But this is not the forum for you and I to have a relatively intelligent discussion without the constant interruption endemic to the process here.

  155. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Mufi argues that scientific assessments of the truth depend on the consequences that result from that assessment in terms of some potential disturbance of our cultural tranquility or something.
    Hemlockian logic?

  156. Enzoon 29 Jun 2011 at 3:45 pm

    “But which I still see as inadequate for explaining how mutation supposedly makes the change from one intelligently constructed process to another with a consistency that is somehow directed in all cases by accident.”

    …But it’s not directed. And it isn’t intelligently constructed. A given genetic locus that encodes a given protein has been mutated randomly millions of times. Most mutations have no effect (protein functions as normal). A smaller number of mutations is deleterious to the protein’s functions (the protein doesn’t work — organism dies). So out of millions of mutations, one goes on. It’s no different than a tournament — best player goes on to next tier.

  157. mufion 29 Jun 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Humpty Dumpty strikes again.

  158. mufion 29 Jun 2011 at 4:09 pm

    It’s no different than a tournament — best player goes on to next tier.

    Enzo: Aha! And, since the best player is probably intelligent (e.g. in the kinesthetic sense), ergo, so too are the winners of natural selection! :-)

    Seriously, though, you must know by now that he’s only going to take such metaphors (especially those from the source domain of human cognition and interaction, where our prototype for intelligence most likely resides), interpret them as literally as possible, and then use them as “evidence” to support his assertion that all physical processes are “intelligent.”

    And the cycle continues…

  159. Enzoon 29 Jun 2011 at 4:11 pm

    @mufi

    Haha. I specifically didn’t say poker tournament for that reason.

  160. sonicon 29 Jun 2011 at 4:23 pm

    The area of directed mutation (aka adaptive mutation) is one that is under investigation and there are lots of questions associated with it.
    Intelligence is not well defined enough to be useful to the discussion- as there is no test for it. (No particle of it- can’t be quantized- doesn’t exist as a scientific subject.) One might view the SOS response (for example) as an indication of intelligent action. But there is no way to determine that. One might consider that writing a response like this is an act of intelligence. But there is no test for that either.
    Some will see that there is an underlying intelligence to the universe or some part of it (Einstein for example) Others will see particles in space.
    No accounting for taste.

  161. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Enzo, you run the risk here of having someone who is less well informed than you to reinforce your misconceptions rather than allow you to discuss the possibility that there are some newer and better conceptive solutions that apply. Mufi’s egg has rotted in it’s shell, Open at your own risk.

    And even if you seem to think a player’s intelligence is limited to the nature of the game, you’re seeming wrong. All games are competitive, and competition requires the players to have the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills if they have any chance of even getting in the game.

    Nice comment from sonic, however. He’s a player.

  162. mufion 29 Jun 2011 at 5:19 pm

    sonic said: Intelligence is not well defined enough to be useful to the discussion- as there is no test for it.

    I suspect that a pychometrician would beg to differ with you.

    But I would agree with you insofar as there is no unanimous or monolithic way to test for it. And once we move beyond the human domain, the problem only escalates.

    But, apparently, that does not deter you-know-who from seeing intelligence everywhere and in everything, thereby diluting the word and concept to the point of meaninglessness.

  163. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Youknowwho has the support of philosophers and scientists whose job since their times of service to their cultures began has been to add meaning to the concepts in their cultures, not to diminish it.
    Mufi would have Einstein burned at the stake rather than disturb the public state of equanimity.

  164. Heinleineron 29 Jun 2011 at 5:46 pm

    “Mufi would have Einstein burned at the stake rather than disturb the public state of equanimity.”

    Yeah, ’cause you know, nobody has ever interpreted pseudoscience from Einstein by taking the things he has said out of context. Not once. And certainly not in this case!

  165. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 6:16 pm

    With exception of almost every poster that agrees with you that if intelligence does not exist in bacteria, how could it possibly have had a prior existence in the universe where bacteria have miraculously sprung from.

  166. nybgruson 29 Jun 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Everybody jumping in to answer or deflect the answers to another’s questions can be confusing,

    Only to you Jeremiah. The rest of us can follow it all pretty well. I do find it interesting that you have chosen to hate on me, but seem to love Enzo, even though (s)he and I seem to fully agree, say the same things, and both think you are an idiot.

    Oh, and you do seem to need the 2nd law of thermodynamics explained to you again since you seem to think that hydrophobic interactions are best explained through intelligence rather than simple thermodynamics.

  167. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 7:46 pm

    No, nygbrus, you idiot, the dispute is about whether undirected random accidents can with such consistently cause functional changes in material formations without any direction from either the causative forces or the internal forces in the material objects that determine how the functions will consistently reconstitute their forms.

    I like enzo because his opinions are at least based on his rational examination of the concepts. Yours are based on taking those opinions literally to heart with no apparent ability to re-examine any on your own.
    You’ve parroted his original contention here and parroted his response without any show of understanding either.

    I like enzo for his honesty.
    You are the poster boy for what could be generously called intellectual dishonesty.

    Enzo thinks I am idiot? If so, he’s kept it to himself.
    Since he’s also not an atheist by his own admission here, he may think you’re also an idiot for your outspokenly expressed hatred of religion in any form or fashion.

  168. nybgruson 29 Jun 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Oh Jeremiah, you truly are a dolt.

    “the dispute is about whether undirected random accidents can with such consistently cause functional changes in material formations without any direction from either the causative forces or the internal forces in the material objects that determine how the functions will consistently reconstitute their forms.”

    Nope. Nobody has EVER said the “random accidents” are undirected. They are directed by the fundamental laws of the universe and selected for by likelihood of reproducibility.

    YOU are the dolt adding unnecessary layers of “intelligence” to it – which you can’t even define properly (and please, for the love of the FSM, DON’T TRY AGAIN).

    Enzo’s statements and mine are identical in nature – you are somehow choosing to interpret them through a different lens.

    Atheism has NOTHING to do with it. Enzo may well be a theist but unlike you or mike12 can actually form cogent thoughts and understand the science. That demonstrates how you need not filter facts through an ideological lens and add extra layers of complexity, as you and mike12 are prone to do. The fact that I am ALSO anti-theist also has no bearing on the discourse. As I explained numerous times before – I am not de facto against individual theists – I am against religion as a whole and specific theists for specific reasons.

    Your an ideologically blind idiotic blowhard and several have called you out on it here. Nobody has openly agreed with what you’ve said, and only neverknow is in some level of agreement, mostly tacit. Why can’t you get that through your thick skull?

    Of course, I could care less. It is rather fun watching you flail around like a rabid mongoose and getting to vent at what you represent is a nice release for me. (I say “what you represent” since I don’t know or care to know you IRL and your arguments/style of argumentation is so hackneyed on the web that I could substitute any creationist idiot for you and would barely be able to tell the difference.)

  169. Mlemaon 29 Jun 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Jeremiah:

    “the dispute is about whether undirected random accidents can with such consistently cause functional changes in material formations without any direction from either the causative forces or the internal forces in the material objects that determine how the functions will consistently reconstitute their forms.”

    you’re trying to get people to see causative forces, which themselves have no material formation (except that which represents them, perhaps as an icon of sorts) Those forces can only be “seen” through something like a violation of the laws of probability. But this is problematic with evolution because people won’t agree on what is improbable. For many people, whatever exists was very likely to come into existence! I think you’ve shown us evidence of intelligence in what might be more “closed” systems. Outside that, many people are gonna stick to “shit happens” (please excuse) at least for a while…or…maybe until hell freezes over! :-)

    oh, and please stop picking on my friends nygbrus and BillyJoe7!

  170. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Nygbrus writes, and I kid you not:
    “Nobody has EVER said the “random accidents” are undirected. They are directed by the fundamental laws of the universe and selected for by likelihood of reproducibility.”

    Is that how it works with water molecules? My interest is in coaxing out all the ways that actual scientists defend the stochastic process of selection. You, under the pretense of being one, not only have no new defenses to offer, you have no idea what it is you’re supposed to be defending.
    How do fundamental laws direct accidents that construct the templates for biological algorithms? And where lies the necessarily intelligent selection process that is smart enough to determine “likelihoods” from an array of randomly produced templates waiting to be selected from the wrong end of the process for how well they function?

    Just rhetorical questions for the listening public, since you won’t understand them any better than the previous ones.
    Although I must remind them again that I didn’t really invent any of these concepts that seemingly would add unnecessary layers of “intelligence” to the selective processes.

  171. Jeremiahon 29 Jun 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Miema,
    Spare the rod and spoil the children?
    I was going to make a joke about BillyJoe7 and the sparing of the rod, but then would that be fair to nygbrus who may not have a rod to spare.

  172. Mlemaon 29 Jun 2011 at 11:35 pm

    yes Jeremiah, I do believe in sparing the rod. Especially when the misbehavior is unintentional. People end up where they are for a myriad of reasons. Their viewpoints, personalities, and various capabilities are not COMPLETELY under their own control.
    No one gets enlightened to the control that they do have through ridicule, mockery, etc. And the older we get, unless we’ve developed a habit of examining our own beliefs, thought processes, etc., the harder it is to change. And, most unfortunately, unlike little children, old farts like me don’t have any cuteness to make up for our churlishness.
    you’re like a prickly pear: something valuable to be gained from you, but beware the barbs! Where is your mercy?

  173. nybgruson 30 Jun 2011 at 12:58 am

    My interest is in coaxing out all the ways that actual scientists defend the stochastic process of selection. You, under the pretense of being one, not only have no new defenses to offer, you have no idea what it is you’re supposed to be defending.
    How do fundamental laws direct accidents that construct the templates for biological algorithms? And where lies the necessarily intelligent selection process that is smart enough to determine “likelihoods” from an array of randomly produced templates waiting to be selected from the wrong end of the process for how well they function?

    Bullshit. Read “The Blind Watchmaker” and all the answers to your questions are there. You don’t care about coaxing anything out – you make up your own mumbo jumbo from half cocked ideas you get from barely understanding the majority of scientific literature on the topic. You even beg the question: “And where lies the necessarily intelligent selection process that is smart enough to determine “likelihoods” from an array of randomly produced templates…” You are making an assumption the the selection process need be intelligent. That is an added layer of ideological complexity not supported by the science. Period.

    You are asking interesting questions – all of which have been answered and none of which require your bizarre notion of intelligence. You are disingenuous to an extreme and a troll to boot.

    Keep flailing.

  174. nybgruson 30 Jun 2011 at 1:01 am

    @mlema: Thanks for the step-in, but I don’t really need it. I do not think there is anything of use to be gained from Jeremiah, except to consistently expose his dishonest tactics for anyone else interested to see (well, and my own venting towards him, but that is a selfish and guilty pleasure).

    I do agree with you though, that in principle, there should be no need for such barbed discourse – but when the likes of Jeremiah or mike12 refuse to be anything else, I am quite happy to throw down. You can see the complete difference in tone and content I took with Sonic as an example.

  175. Jeremiahon 30 Jun 2011 at 1:32 am

    Miema, I was just about to send a note that I’d consider turning the other cheek because you’ve asked me to. But look what just happened. Your little friend can’t handle what he sees as barbed discourse. Mike12′s wit was a bonus and the best part of the contest was a try to match wits with him. But it seemed to infuriate
    the little people.
    I suppose it might be merciful to let him self-destruct and not help it along. He’s already said enough to bury him with anyone that knows the real nybgrus. I’ll try my best to feel the pity that the real one might have coming.

  176. mufion 30 Jun 2011 at 9:29 am

    Mlema said: For many people, whatever exists was very likely to come into existence!

    Sure, in hindsight, it’s easy to say “it could not have been otherwise.” That we’re so poor at predicting the future (outside of some relatively simple, highly controlled experimental situations), however, seems to me an important qualifier of any statement of likelihood – even with regards to the past.

    …many people are gonna stick to “shit happens” (please excuse) at least for a while…or…maybe until hell freezes over!

    Well, unless we delude ourselves into thinking that we have complete control over events, that expression seems quite applicable (albeit, crude and somewhat doctrinaire).

    I prefer: “What if the hokey-pokey really is what it’s all about?”

  177. Mlemaon 30 Jun 2011 at 11:30 am

    oh Jeremiah
    oh nygbrus
    why must you fight?
    please know: it’s not really necessary. You can trust people to make their own decisions about the value of what you say.
    But, perhaps you both get some sort of enjoyment out of it. That’s OK. It may be entertaining to others as well! So have at it!
    no spitting

  178. Mlemaon 30 Jun 2011 at 11:41 am

    mufi, you say tomayto, I say tomahto
    i don’t accept that the tomato simply appeared on my plate
    but i do know what’s gonna happen to it given enough time

  179. mufion 30 Jun 2011 at 11:49 am

    Mlema: Who said that the tomato simply appeared on your plate?

    There’s not much that’s simple about the universe, which is why it’s so difficult to understand.

  180. mufion 30 Jun 2011 at 11:54 am

    PS: Perhaps part of the problem is that we assume that the universe is understandable. (I’ll call this the “rationalist fallacy.”) Yet, wishful thinking aside, our limited ability to problem-solve hardly seems like a lightening rod to transcendent truths, does it?

  181. steve12on 30 Jun 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I didn’t think this discussion could go further downhill, and yet there it went. Glad I could contribute.

    BTW, Jeremiah – what were your credentials again? I missed it somewhere along the way…

  182. Jeremiahon 30 Jun 2011 at 1:58 pm

    BTW, I missed your explanation of how “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

  183. Navinabobon 30 Jun 2011 at 3:03 pm

    It is a bit odd that Jeremiah made so much effort early on in his tirades going after everyone’s education and anonymity but only offered cryptic clues and vague replies when asked to provide his own education or identity.

    Science experts and bloggers rarely keep that information secret, especially when providing an opinion rooted in their expertise. Is he ashamed of his behavior? While not the only name-caller here, I doubt he’d be particularly proud of his comments if he were to show this discussion to his peers.

    Or maybe he has no formal education? Maybe his research organization is something akin to The Institute for Creation Research or some nonsense?

    In the end it wouldn’t matter a whole lot, but it might provide a common language to communicate with if we know what shared knowledge base we might have.

  184. Jeremiahon 30 Jun 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I go after people who claim their message is correct, no matter how illogical or contrary to the latest science on the subject, BECAUSE they say they have the credentials to prove it is. If that’s their only argument, let’s see the proof, because frankly some of the claims these people make are unprovable and indefensible any other way.

    The best example is the remarkable commonality of belief in this outdated version of the biological process that we’ve commonly descended from:
    “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

    My research organization works in cooperation with others that have amassed a body of evidence to demonstrate the exact opposite, and that none of the usual creationist or mother naturist magic is involved. My work product is a testimony to my credentials. Disagree with what I have to report about it, fine, that’s how we advance in the real world. (Obviously not in this little cyberworld niche, the only venue where sequential evolution is reversible.)

    Clearly both sides of that fight don’t want to come to any middle ground, but the middle ground is there and I’m standing on it.

    The place to look for me is behind the gate of Dangerous Ideas (sign by courtesy of Edge).

  185. Navinabobon 30 Jun 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Great, name the Research Organization so we can examine their body of evidence and determine their worth as it applies to the modern scientific consensus. If true it’d be an exciting opportunity for you.

  186. Jeremiahon 30 Jun 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Go do like your pals here and publicly excite yourself. You can’t even understand the basic concepts of anticipatory systems, conscious realism, adaptive mutation, facilitated variation, semiosic systems, &c.

    BTW, I missed your explanation of how “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

  187. Mlemaon 30 Jun 2011 at 9:15 pm

    mufi, I feel like you are trying to tell me something or ask me something, but after reading your recent posts several times, I just don’t understand what that is. I admit my comprehension is often wanting, but if you are willing to try to restate your comment or question, I’m eager to understand.
    but based on what I THINK you’re saying:
    I said:
    …many people are gonna stick to “shit happens” (please excuse) at least for a while…or…maybe until hell freezes over!
    you said:
    Well, unless we delude ourselves into thinking that we have complete control over events, that expression seems quite applicable (albeit, crude and somewhat doctrinaire).

    The “shit happens” (sorry) was my way of trying to describe how many people “accept” the formation and evolution of life on earth to have happened. They see no evidence of anything but happy accidents (a hokey-pokey?). From what I’ve read, this is not the exclusive current scientific viewpoint.
    But what does that have to do with us thinking we have control over events?

    Then:
    Mlema said: For many people, whatever exists was very likely to come into existence!
    and you said:
    Sure, in hindsight, it’s easy to say “it could not have been otherwise.” That we’re so poor at predicting the future (outside of some relatively simple, highly controlled experimental situations), however, seems to me an important qualifier of any statement of likelihood – even with regards to the past.

    But, again, I was talking about evolution. Some people see nothing improbable about life existing and evolving. I don’t have a problem with that. Obviously, life is possible, because it happened. And how DO we figure the probability? We run into the problem of a possibly infinite field of possibilities. But it sounds like maybe you thought that I was implying “it could not have been otherwise”, whereas really that is least like what I’m thinking.

    Again this can only be my viewpoint, because of the problem testing out what is truly probable.

  188. Mlemaon 30 Jun 2011 at 9:25 pm

    mufi:
    “There’s not much that’s simple about the universe, which is why it’s so difficult to understand.”

    I don’t disagree with that, but, respectfully, what is your point?

    “our limited ability to problem-solve hardly seems like a lightening rod to transcendent truths”

    Sorry, but again, I just don’t understand what you’re trying to teach me here. And again, I admit it’s likely my comprehension falling short, but I do want to understand.
    Please show me where and how I may have implied that our problem-solving abilities are lightning rods to transcendent truths and I will try to restate my comment.
    thanks

  189. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 1:57 am

    “I go after people who claim their message is correct, no matter how illogical or contrary to the latest science on the subject, BECAUSE they say they have the credentials to prove it is.”

    I’m not right because I’m credentialed. I’m right because I’m making sense. We were arguing about was this paper, which you endorsed as being seminal to cog sci:

    http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/ConsciousRealism2.pdf

    But it’s nonsense to even say that this is a science paper. It’s speculative metaphysics – something I bet even Hoffmann would agree with, and here’s why:

    There is no good piece of empirical evidence that consciousness causes physical reality through some sort of quantum process, making this paper nothing but a bunch of metaphysical speculation. THAT is why I’m right, not because I am credentialed.

  190. nybgruson 01 Jul 2011 at 2:05 am

    I go after people who claim their message is correct, no matter how illogical or contrary to the latest science on the subject, BECAUSE they say they have the credentials to prove it is.

    Been busy all day, but yeah. Yet another BS comment from Jeremiah. In fact, I have said specifically that my credentials don’t matter since it is my argumentation and understanding of the science that is key.

    Jeremiah was the first to bring up credentials, complained I wouldn’t give mine (even though I said they don’t matter AND gave them, limited as they are), claims his are impeccable (but won’t give them), and NOW claims that he only goes after people because of their claim to credential. HA! You really are a raving lunatic.

  191. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 2:26 am

    Yeah, same here. Said I must be an amateur, but when I responded I wasn’t I was arguing only from my credentials.

    I am morbidly curious about the dude, though. I can sort of understand why someone might get a little thrill from running a con that people are buying. But when you say that you’re X, and everyone in unison goes “Uhhh – no, you’re not” – what’s the fun?

    It’s like trying to pick up a girl at a bar by saying you’re in the CIA – it’s only fun if they buy it.

  192. Jeremiahon 01 Jul 2011 at 2:28 am

    nybgrus, you’ve been bragging about your “credentlals” since before I ever actually responded to any of your babyshit. You gave credentials because you have NO ideas, and are unable to understand in any depth those that you’ve read about as well. Your argumentation is legendary in your own baby mind. Swearing doesn’t carry any well thought out meanings last I was told.
    Your level of “education” in the evolutionary sciences comes down to recommending books like Blind Watchmaker which have been outdated for years.
    The watchmaker is blind because nothing can make a biological “watch” except the watch itself. Except for idiots who argue endlessly that they’ve been shown how nothing made the universe.
    Bwahahaha!
    BTW, I missed your explanation of how “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

  193. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 2:43 am

    Maybe he’s a really amazing bot with a lot of science-ey phrases and insults programmed in, and someone’s just messing with us?

  194. Jeremiahon 01 Jul 2011 at 2:53 am

    steve12, do you really think Hoffman would agree that his paper was NOT science. He uses his real name of course, has published a raft of scientific papers, has academic backing, published CV, etc. And to his credit, he doesn’t have to post on blogs where he can be anonymously attacked by fools.
    And I don’t recall that anyone asked for your credentials. Although for sure you came off like an amateur (and still do) and had to claim credentials to maintain your right to judge Hoffman’s paper as so much crap.
    The only people here that back you up in unison are the ones that are also dumb enough to poo poo the Hoffmans, &c. But of you value the approval of dummies, by all means continue to be one (not as if you have a choice to be reborn at a higher level.)
    BTW, I missed your explanation of how “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

  195. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 3:01 am

    “steve12, do you really think Hoffman would agree that his paper was NOT science.”

    He has plenty of scientific papers, but this was speculation. I think he knows the difference between the two – you don’t. Plenty of scientists publish speculative works – nothing wrong with it.

    And how were my fact wrong about the paper? You don’t seem to address those becasue you cannot.

    Calling someone an amateur is tantamount to asking for their credentials.

    “BTW, I missed your explanation of how ‘It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.’ ”

    I didn’t say this, don’t know what it’s in reference to, and don’t care to search through the fake debate above to find out. We wer earguing about Hoffmann’s paper, and you have not responded to my argument.

    And while I have you, Jeremiah: what were your credentials again?

  196. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 3:09 am

    “He uses his real name of course,”

    And how does an anonymous poster bust my balls about being anonymous?

    It’s confirmed: he’s a bot. Only a bot would do something this weird, and do it over and over. People make more clever insults than this.

    Jeremiah5000, you’ve been revealed!

  197. Jeremiahon 01 Jul 2011 at 4:09 am

    You mean you’re not with nygbrus, who said that quote was spot on about microbial life?
    And I busted your balls about being unable to post a paper under your name, but quite able to bust the ones that do with your anonymously alleged credentials as your only argument.

  198. nybgruson 01 Jul 2011 at 4:15 am

    I agree with you steve12. He does some really friggin’ off-kilter. We are currently covering mental health in school right now – perhaps I’ll learn something that could give me some insight?

    I’d fire back about the credentials thing, but seriously – this is like dealing with nephilimfree. What goes into his head has absolutely nothing to do with what was said or what comes out.

    I could write “Blorp jarhk jeem hap tarf farp teep feep” and Jeremiah would find some way to use that to blast me about my “credentials,” insert a vague sentiment about intelligence, claim himself to be a scientist (who is apparently infatuated with Hoffman – hmmm… maybe he IS Hoffman?), whine about everyone else being anonymous whilst himself remaining anonymous, and otherwise completely ignore what was said.

    I too am morbidly curious though Steve. There really is some sort of screw-loose up in there.

  199. SteveAon 01 Jul 2011 at 7:09 am

    nybgrus: “Blorp jarhk jeem hap tarf farp teep feep”

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

  200. SteveAon 01 Jul 2011 at 7:12 am

    Does a bedroom qualify as a ‘research organization’?

    I suppose if you write a sign that says so and stick it to the door…

  201. mufion 01 Jul 2011 at 9:58 am

    Mlema: I’d like to get explain, but I apologize for having to leave you hanging. (My fun here has caught up with me, and I have a lot of work to tie up before I leave for vacation.)

    So, for now, let’s just say that I endorse the “shit happens” doctrine. :-)

  202. Jeremiahon 01 Jul 2011 at 2:06 pm

    BTW, I missed your explanations of how “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

    Steve12Nybgrus&AssociatesJointVentureSignOnBasementDoor:
    Natural Magic, Ltd. We Make Shit Happen To You Here.

  203. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I’ll answer when you answer my objections to Hoffman’s paper, especially considering that you submitted it.

    Seriously – I’ll go back, find where that statement was made, and defend it (even though I didn’t say it) if you cite evidence that reality doesn’t exist until consciousness causes wave function collapse, allowing for reality a la that Hoffman paper. Real evidence, not aphorisms, suppositions, and insults. If you try in good faith, I’ll bite.

    Now run along and gather your evidence, Jeremiah. Good bot!

  204. Jeremiahon 01 Jul 2011 at 4:59 pm

    steve12,
    The Hoffman paper was submitted by davidsmith on 09 Jun 2011 at 7:20 am

    Nice of you to defend the statement that I quoted. Because you’ll find that it was made by me as a logic trap for all of you who have so far walked into it.

    Your “if” trap of misstating Hoffman’s premise isn’t working for you.

  205. nybgruson 01 Jul 2011 at 7:15 pm

    BTW, I missed your explanations of how “It’s all done by an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

    We know you missed it. Which is why you are a dullard and being laughed at here. It has been explained, over and over, and is the basis of pretty much every reference tossed your way. The fact that you can’t (or more likely won’t) understand what we have been saying is not our fault. You’re the ideological moron.

  206. robmon 01 Jul 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Not only that jeremiah missed it when he was getting his PhD in what ever field he’s in that studies evolution, all those biology and chemistry courses and not one covered DNA replication and repair?

    If jeremiah does have a degree of any sort in the sciences my bet would be he works in evo psych. Think about it pulling together scattered bits of research to create grand narratives and just so stories, it all makes sense! Or he got his degree in literature same processes apply.

  207. Mlemaon 01 Jul 2011 at 8:48 pm

    mufi,
    well, thanks for replying. You could have saved me some time considering your comments if you’d simply said the last first.
    But I’m not hanging. What is there to explain? You gave your opinion and now I understand it.
    have a nice vacation!
    M

  208. steve12on 01 Jul 2011 at 10:18 pm

    “The Hoffman paper was submitted by davidsmith on 09 Jun 2011 at 7:20 am”

    Who cares who the first person to ever bring it up at neurologica is? Here you brought it up to me:

    # Jeremiahon 20 Jun 2011 at 1:55 am

    I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but this dodge is actually beneath you.

    “Your “if” trap of misstating Hoffman’s premise isn’t working for you.:”

    Well then state the premise! In what kind of discussion do you tell someone that they got the premise of an argument wrong without clarifying what the correct premise is? STATE THE PREMISE.

    And oh yeah, I was just wondering: what were your credentials again? I missed it above…

  209. Jeremiahon 01 Jul 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Logic traps

    They are traps that require higher levels of cognitive abstraction than levels the suckers like ngybrus had to anticipate and avoid.

    Once they get caught in it, they struggle to get out but can’t.

    Robm comes up DNA replication and repair? But how does an autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved replicate and repair with no calculative choice made in the process?

    Good nature’s god folks, even evo-psychs won’t get that wrong.

  210. Jeremiahon 02 Jul 2011 at 12:06 am

    Steve12, “In what kind of discussion do you tell someone that they got the premise of an argument wrong without clarifying what the correct premise is? STATE THE PREMISE.”

    “if you cite evidence that reality doesn’t exist until consciousness causes wave function collapse” was the premise that you challenged me to refute. But the trap was of course that this was not Hoffman’s premise. You know it and I know it. Or if you really didn’t know it, you were, like nygbrus and robm, struggling to escape my trap.
    And since neither I nor Hoffman have made that claim about reality, I have no obligation or reason to cite evidence to the contrary.

  211. nybgruson 02 Jul 2011 at 12:14 am

    Struggling to escape your trap? More like struggling not to let your BS get all over me.

  212. Jeremiahon 02 Jul 2011 at 12:31 am

    @Nygbrus,
    “It has been explained, over and over, and is the basis of pretty much every reference tossed your way.”
    But then how by your logic was that evolutionary concept “right on” when not even Dawkins has explained microbial behaviors as the function of a choiceless “autonomic chemical reaction system with no intelligence involved.”

    Cue in the pretense that you’ve been horrified and scandalized by such effrontery, and let that stand for an explanation as your usual.

  213. Jeremiahon 02 Jul 2011 at 12:55 am

    For the record, this was my evo-psych like take on Hoffman’s premise:

    Jeremiah on 11 Jun 2011 at 11:52 am
    “Put simply, CR posits that if experience is causative then whatever gets the direct benefit of it must be in that sense conscious of it.
    Conscious in this context is akin to aware. The functional entity forced to react is thus made aware of the force.
    As Hoffman indicates in his paper, we’re not talking about advanced features of consciousness such as self consciousness when we’re applying the CR concept to other than biological forms.
    Rather than the red herring assertion here that it’s consciousness somehow causing the collapse of the wave function, it’s more like the exact opposite – that an elementary form of consciousness is caused by the so-called collapse.”

  214. steve12on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:55 am

    WTF? How do you turn this into a run around? Seriously: give me a brief summary of what Hoffman’s saying since I got it wrong.

    That’s all – real simple. Why can’t you do that?

    And throw in your credentials when you get a chance. I think I missed them above.

  215. Mlemaon 02 Jul 2011 at 1:34 am

    steve12,

    From the abstract of Hoffman’s “Conscious Realism
    and the Mind-Body Problem”
    downloadable here:
    http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/HoffmanPubs.html

    “Conscious realism states that the objective world consists of conscious agents and their experiences; these can be mathematically modeled and empirically explored in the normal scientific manner.”

    Jeremiah’s comment on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:55 am, IMO, aligns with the gist of Hoffman’s theory.

    I wish he didn’t feel the need to so vehemently try to communicate of defend his understanding. It’s not healthy Jeremiah. Get out in the sunshine and “nevermind the bollocks”
    (I need to take my own advice) :-)

  216. steve12on 03 Jul 2011 at 10:29 am

    Mlema:

    I wasn’t being honest. I understand what Hoffman was saying just fine. Jeremiah doesn’t, and I wanted him to make a positive statement that would reveal that he doesn’t even understand his own BS.

    So basically, the Hoffman paper is bunch of unsupported conjecture (which is fine, he doesn’t claim it to be anything else) that Jeremiah doesn’t even understand.

    and that’s funny to me…

  217. Jeremiahon 03 Jul 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Miema, I’ll let you be the judge of who understands what. And of course Steve12 wasn’t being honest then or now. He got caught in my trap and now’s been caught in several lies as well. Note that all he could do was read the sentence from the abstract that you wrote, and say he understood it “just fine” as unsupported conjecture. 36 pages of “conjecture,” including 6 pages of supporting references and acknowledgments.
    But he claims (anonymously) he has credentials that authorize him to say out of hand that the stuff is crap. He doesn’t need to show no stinkin’ understanding.

  218. steve12on 03 Jul 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Unreal: Jeremiah is so full of shit, he doesn’t understand himself.

    It’s so meta….

  219. Jeremiahon 03 Jul 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Get punked much?

  220. steve12on 03 Jul 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Are you serious? Is this all a punk?

    I’ll give you a a LOT of cred if this was all a punk! You really have that crank character down…

  221. Jeremiahon 03 Jul 2011 at 4:55 pm

    What were you supposed to be again, a neuroscientist? There’s always the lowest one in any class, so I suppose that’s possible.
    But you’re still the one inside the punk trap.

  222. steve12on 03 Jul 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Jesus – you don’t even know what it means to punk someone!

    So disappointed – I was hoping this was an Andy Kaufmann-esque rouse, but it turns out you’re just a schmuck. Now I really am done with you.

    In parting, I will generously (you’re welcome) provide feedback for you, however.

    The only real skills that you have are (A) telling everyone how much smarter you are then them and (B) thinking so vaguely about complex subjects that you can’t really be wrong (i.e., not even wrong). You will have no choice but to continue to work out of your bedroom instead of a lab until you at least fix B.

    “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul”

    love,

    Steve12

  223. Jeremiahon 03 Jul 2011 at 6:26 pm

    But you’re still the one inside the punk trap.

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