Friday, December 04, 2009

Dawkins' Converts


There are many reasons not to go to Richard Dawkins' web site - excremental design is one - but I forced myself after a chance remark somebody made to me. This was to the effect that he had taken to publishing edifying tales of grateful people who had been converted to atheism by the wisdom of St Richard. And so he has. I know people keep pointing out that this new atheism is just old time, evangelical religion by another name, but I didn't realise Dawkins had so heartily endorsed the idea. I wonder what they'll do with his bones when he dies.

70 comments:

  1. That site certainly looks religious what with its wavy serifs, heavenly vistas, and unearthly, slivery light falling on beatific individuals. I wouldn't have credited it unless I'd seen it. A veritable Cult of Reason.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't read any of Dawkins' books, as they've never really appealed - perhaps it's something to do with the covers? Now I've seen the website all has become 'a clear-thinking oasis'and I can confirm with the utmost certainty that this man is not to be taken seriously, nor, indeed, is anyone who presumes to know 'the' answer. I could have hours of amusement on this site though... thanks for pointing it out!

    ReplyDelete
  3. They'll insist his bones be buried in Westminster Abbey, right next to Darwin. If Newton is blocking the way, he'll have to be shifted, simple as that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. He's a scientist. Probably web design arty farty and image is not important to him.

    BTW Brian how's your evolutionary fitness coming along? Or are you lapsed?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I realize that, in this venue, it is impossible to hold this view and be regarded as civilized (let alone moral), and I will remain silent (in this thread) hereafter, but I find it worth noting, if only just once: Some are sincerely convinced that, in this day and in this global community, the continued prominence of our ancestors' religions is not a good thing To those so convinced, Richard Dawkins's devotion to rationality is welcome.

    So, there. Now, back to my meaningless life.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dawkins' books, each more bizarre than its predecessor, begin and end with Dawkins. He has no sources save himself. The man is a disgrace to British science just like Charles Robert Darwin has always been. I predict that Dawkins will either do himself in or end up in an institution as he is obviously certifiable by any ordinary standard. As for his persistent support for Darwin's Victorian fantasy -

    "I never desire to communicate with a man who has written more than he has read...No man was ever great by imitation."
    Samuel Johnson

    P.S. I just finished an essay - "What's wrong with Darwinism." It can be found on the Essay button on the top of my webpage. I would be interested in any response it might evoke from the users here.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry about my last message. Newton IS buried in Westminster Abbey.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A C Grayling - a fire & brimstone atheist - used "Towards The Light" as the title for his last book. It's just so blatantly aping Christianity - especially Grayling's view of humans and history which is intensely Christian. It's almost like militant atheists lack any introspection because they're so caught up in attacking religion.

    ReplyDelete
  9. as a *shudder* marketing kind of person, I can say that one thing that is a current website 'necessity' with any product you are attempting to sell to people is 'customer testimonials'

    ReplyDelete
  10. For how long I wonder, have Barnum & Bailey been web designers.
    This will be the perfect box for the prof's remains, there is apparently ample room inside, the present incumbent trio having shrunk somewhat.
    From it's elevated position himself can contemplate the Gothic horror that is the Doms interior. Relief will be obtained by glancing to the left at the ever changing colours of Richter's window, ah! he will sigh, farben! at last science triumphs over religion.
    At which point one of the three will throw open the lid and hurl Dawkins skeleton into the Rhine.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just a quick comment on Dr. Davison's article: it sruck me (many years ago) that it is entirely possible the present material world is the end result of a process that started some 13.5 Byrs. ago. Borges' "Ever Forking Paths" (from Labyrinths), plus Iris Murdoch's novels (where everything is unpredictable yet inevitable) & the invention of microprocessors suggested that it might be possible. Complexity. Googplplex upon googolplex of interactions.
    This, of course, means no free will, no guilt or innocence, or morality. Surprisingly perhaps, it leads to a compassionate, but not all-excusing, view of human activity.

    However , it does not follow that everything is planned - any more than I know where all the pieces of glass will end up when I knock a tumbler off the table.

    I still blame the parents, though.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A trade in relics of prominent atheists could be an excellent way of raising funds for worthy causes.

    I don't see that there is anything all that wrong with the design of the Dawkins website. The difficulty to me is that the site is confusing to the visitor. It mixes together at least four different things that might be better kept well apart: the sale of products by or about Richard Dawkins; his shorter works, ideas, blog stuff and diary of activities; proselytizing the various campaigns launched in his name such as OUT; and a forum system with logins and membership stuff.

    Too busy all round. Multi-function sites like this are very hard to get right, but that's just me. I'm not sure the picture on the first page of the site showing the prof with his head in a fireplace is all that helpful. But perhaps it is a hint.

    ReplyDelete
  13. First thing the Taliban did when they took control of Afghanistan was to dig up the bones of the "unbelievers" starting at Kabul university.

    I counted 14 pics of Richard on the front page, this does suggest a cultist approach?

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an ego this guy has. It's not about Dawkins being a saint, but a god. He is single-minded about there being no others.

    He needs to stop putting himself up as a therapeutic practitioner. I have likened him before as a snake oil salesman, the way he was planning on preaching across the United States. I did not know he had gone this far, but it makes sense. He's completely over the top, not even attempting to maintain dignity, just sucking it all in about his books and the followers he has.

    This is all a problem for science, to have someone like this who has lost it, and is attempting to be a spokesperson for science. These people on science blogs and such need to begin separating themselves and good science from him. It should not be just some of us outside science, who have nothing to gain from following the political leaders and money grants. Serious scientists need to buck up now.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Richard Dawkins and Paul Zachary Myers, his New World equivalent, are having a contest to see who can attract the most disciples. Neither of them ever contributed a scintilla to the only issue which has ever been in question - the mechanism of a long ago terminated organic evolution. They represent the last spastic twitches of Darwin's Victorian fantasy, the most persistent hoax in the history of science, 150 years of mass hysteria fueled by what has become known as the Age of Enlightenment, code for "not only is there no God at present, there never was one."

    The unvarnished truth is that there is no more reason to believe in a single God than there is in a monophyletic phylogeny, but to deny (as every Darwinian must do) that there never were any Gods is without foundation. The reality is that nothing can be established with certainty about God or Gods which leaves the matter pretty much up to the individual. I am convinced there had to have been at least two, one benevolent the other malevolent.

    The realities revealed by the fossil record, centuries of experience and the experimental laboratory all combine to plead for a planned and now fully realized organic evolution in which chance played at best a trivial role. Those who are unable to recognize this are stone deaf to what Einstein called the "music of the spheres" as well as blind as the proverbial bat to the world in which they find themselves. Fortunately, such poor souls are becoming increasingly rare with Pee Zee Myers and Richard Dawkins among the few surviving examples. They both suffer from acute diarrhea of the keyboard.

    "I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read... No man was ever great by imitation."
    Samuel Johnson

    "I read as little of Richard Dawkins as possible."
    Cyrus Noe

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. "There are many reasons not to go to Richard Dawkins' web site - excremental design is one - but I forced myself after a chance remark somebody made to me."

    Is that the opposite to Intelligent Design?

    ReplyDelete
  17. http://jadavison.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/why-banishment/#comment-2505

    This link with comment #683 provides a fascinating insight into richardawkins.net. forum. The link provided there will take you to a thread I introduced into the Dawkins forum in October 2006, a thread which has been carefully shielded from public view for over three years. I discovered this link on "Bing" with the clues 'John A. Davison evolution'. It is conspicuously absent on "Google." I now am convinced that "Google" is in the tank with the ultra-liberal atheist left. It is pathetic when a search engine becomes political.

    My thread, "God or Gods are now dead but must have once existed," sparked twelve pages of frantic opposition which climaxed with my lifetime banishment. It also evoked during my ten day presence over 60,000 views, undoubtedly a forum record.

    The fact that it has been shielded from public scrutiny for so long is testimony to the insecurity of Dawkins and his disciples. Today, as in the past, the Darwinians continue to pretend that they never had credible critics. We are not allowed to exist.

    Needless to say, I prefer "Bing" over "Google."

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I wish the theists would agree on which extreme the atheists belong to. If an atheist agrees with Dawkins, this is taken as rock solid evidence that atheists belong to some kind of cult. On the other hand, if an atheist disagrees with Dawkins, this is taken as equally rock solid evidence that a collapse or schism is occurring.

    This "extremist in any convenient direction" gambit seems to be very popular amongst anti-atheists. When Dawkins joins a debate, his participation is derided as being part of a quasi-religious evangelical campaign; when he doesn't engage in debate, he is accused of being a cowardly evader of criticism. If an atheist says "there is no god", then he or she is accused of fundamentalist certainty; If an atheist says "there is probably no god", then he or she is ridiculed as being weak and indecisive.

    ReplyDelete
  19. ...If an atheist says "there is probably no god" ...

    ..Then surely he's an agnostic?

    ReplyDelete
  20. The problem lies with the definition of the word "atheist."
    The dictionary definition does not include the possibility that God (or Gods) once existed. That is why it is incorrect to brand Nietzsche an atheist. His "Gott ist tot" demands that God once lived.

    On the outside chance that someone might be interested, I wrote an essay on this subject - "What is an atheist?" It can be found by poking the Essay button at the top of my opening page along with another essay - "What is a creationist?" and "What's wrong with Darwinism."

    Essays are great fun as long as they don't have to survive peer review!

    Enjoy

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Very few self-described atheists will actually say "there is no god". The usual position is that the probability of god existing is low, and so for most purposes can be ignored.

    The term "agnostic" implies a more central position, in which both the existence and the non-existence of god are considered strong possibilities (or the belief that the whole question is unanswerable).

    ReplyDelete
  22. hyperdeath

    I am confident that both P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins will claim that not only is there no God now but there never was one. These two are hardcore, hopeless, feckless, hide bound atheists. So were their intellectual predecessors Stephen Jay Gould and Ernst Mayr. There is nothing that can be done for any of them.

    Why don't you ask them? I would but I have been banished from their proceedings.

    ReplyDelete
  23. How low a percentage of probability does God have of existing? There's math to do before one uses the word "probability". There being no statistical formula to review, the use of the word is either to proffer an opinion (She probably just went to the store; There probably is no God; I'm sure he's fine, he probably is; and so forth), or to summarize an argument with metaphor. For instance, if I had just given an argument that supports an atheistic point of view, I might then put an exclamation point at the end by saying, "So God probably does not exist." But no one has ever really calculated the probability that deity does or does not exist.

    ReplyDelete
  24. God doesn't have to exist in order to understanding the world around us. All that is required is the past existence of an unknown number of supernatural "entities." Henry Ford invented the automobile assembly line. Ford is dead, the assembly line persists. That is admittedly simplistic but it gets to the point I am trying to make.

    William Paley's famous quip.

    "Where there is design there is a designer"

    can be improved by substituting "was" for the second "is."

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Re agnosticism: personally I use the definition
    "One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God."
    Rather in the way it is impossible to know whether there are unicorns.

    That's interesting. I've just found this on Wiki:

    "Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them."

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term agnostic, the same man who wrote -

    "Science commits suicide when she adopts a creed."

    Darwinism is the most persistent, most certain form of intellectual suicide ever to impair the progress of science. In that respect it dwarfs the Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics.

    "Darwinians of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your natural selection."
    after Karl Marx

    "Never in the history of human conflict have so many owed so little to so many."
    after Winston Churchill

    "Orthodoxy means not thinking - not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
    George Orwell, 1984

    ReplyDelete
  27. I know of no mystic who is purporting the existence of pink unicorns. Here is an article on Rumi, a mystic from the past: Rumi's Masnavi, part 2: Under the surface.

    Here is an excerpt:

    "The body's eye looks always body-ward
    The soul's eye sees the many-splendored soul
    So phrases formed within the Masnavi
    waylay the superficial, guide the true

    "Masnavi 6: 654-55

    "In the Masnavi, Rumi deals with many of the major questions of Islamic theology, addressing himself not primarily to learned scholars, but to ordinary people, using lively and accessible arguments to capture their attention."

    When the soul's eye looks soulward, there is no pink unicorn (nor is there a teapot, an inane anti-theism argument that has come from looking bodyward, and intended to appeal to bodyward souls). Do you see a pink unicorn when you look soulward?

    This is not to say that many fables and myths were not representative of mystical experiences. But you'd have to look soulward first, and then make the arc to the metaphor, for whatever meaning or elaboration on the experience that the metaphor would yield. But to simply purport that pink unicorns do not exist, misses that point.

    Here's another excerpt from Franklin Lewis' article on Rumi:

    Rumi argues that since the Qur'an contains seven layers of meaning, providing sustenance for both common and elite readers, the perfect teacher should provide a smorgasbord of nourishment to suit the taste and constitution of every potential pupil (Masnavi 3: 1894-7).

    I would estimate that most religions, the ones leading people who look soulward, that can "waylay the superficial, guide the true," are the ones that have those many levels. Part of the reason why we all get it about there being no teapot, is that there is no mystical depth. And we can see this no matter what "level" we are on. As to pink unicorns, I would imagine pink or otherwise, the idea of a unicorn, because it has remained a fabled animal for so long, that it represents some part of us that travels through metaphorical forests. But the depth of whatever teaching could come from that, is not equal to the writings and teachings that can be derived spiritually from the Koran. That the unicorn in this case is pink, might represent something to someone, but does nothing for me. Maybe it is geared toward speaking or attracting just females to some pink unicorn group, but I am guessing.

    So, there is no solid religious ground for the teapot to stand on at all, and only relative wisps that the unicorn may feed, although the latter is probably fun for its adherents. Any teachings that can come from unicorns, esp. pink unicorns, cannot compare with the depths that can come from the Koran.

    ReplyDelete
  28. OK, so I lied. Rus, you seem to miss, or choose not to acknowledge, the point with the teapot. It isn't about spiritual sustenance, which is available from many sources, not all of them mystical (I think about the writing of Fran├žois Jacob). It's about truth claims regarding supernatural agents. When challenging that there is no evidence for the claims, the challenger is reminded that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That's why the teapot, the unicorn, the FSM. The absurdity is intentional, focused on the irrationality of using that argument to support extraordinary beliefs.

    Earlier, commenters were comparing definitions of atheism. Very simple, I think: Atheism is acceptance that we cannot possess knowledge that cannot be acquired rationally. That's it. Nothing about awe, nothing about reverence, nothing about mystery; all of these are accessible to all. It's about knowledge that cannot be acquired rationally. The believer claims to possess it, the atheist accepts that this cannot be claimed. Consequently, one can easily be both an atheist and a Christian or Muslim, provided that one does not regard theism as essential to Christianity nor Islam in all of their magnificence and mystery.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi kynefski,

    The only reason that the atheist is showing that a diety cannot be claimed, is that he or she is only looking at the physical. This is not a rational thing for a spiritual being to do. So a conflation takes place, that lumps diety in with pink unicorns, that get lumped in with teapots. There is nothing rational about that. It is either purposeful conflation by sleight of hand via shifting categories followed by overgeneralization, or ignorant conflation in the definitive sense, having fallen for sleight of hand. Spirituality can be claimed because it is what we are made of. We start there. We are the ones arguing one way or the other. Us, not our bodies, brains or fingers. There is no need to argue if we are all biological machines. But I thought all this was clear, and could not be disacknowledged as you have done. Maybe another excerpt from the article is in order:

    Two different things: The sea's eye and its foam
    Forget foam! See with the eye of the sea!
    All surging of that foam comes from the sea –
    How strange, you look to foam and see no sea!

    Masnavi 3:1270-71


    You want to look at seafoam for evidence of unicorns and teapots, but not for evidence of the sea?

    ReplyDelete
  30. John A. Davidson is a raving loony. Mr. D... Just because you think the world is out to get you, doesn't mean it is.

    ReplyDelete
  31. If it can't be disacknowleged, how did he manage to do it?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Kynefski took away from the discussion the first two lines of the very first excerpt from the post:

    The body's eye looks always body-ward
    The soul's eye sees the many-splendored soul


    . . . and then went on as if no such idea had been forwarded. That is disacknowledgment. As opposed to acknowledging it, he pretended it was not there. Acknowledging what I entered into the discussion precluded this line of throught as if it was rebuttal:

    When challenging that there is no evidence for the claims, the challenger is reminded that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    I found myself being put up as a straw man: disacknowledgment.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Tom P. obviously a cowardly alias.

    It is not Davidson, it is Davison as in John Davison Rockefeller, a distant relative.

    I do not believe the "world is out to get" me. Quite the contrary, I welcome the cowardly blowhards to acknowledge my existence.

    I suggest you inform Richard "blind mountaineering watchmaker" Dawkins and Pee Zee "randomly ejaculating" Myers that I am here waiting for them to present themselves for a long overdue public confrontation.

    I predict they won't show because they are terrified of me and especially of my sources, among the finest biologists of the post Darwinian era. They continue to pretend we do not exist just as Darwinians always have.

    "Davison is the Darwinian's worst nightmare."
    Terry Trainor

    "A doctrine which is unable to maintain itself in clear light, but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind with uncalculable harm to human progress."
    Albert Einstein

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Rus

    "I know of no mystic who is purporting the existence of pink unicorns".

    So if such a mystic did exist, would that necessitate the existence of said unicorns?

    And how would I go about disabusing Dinsdale Piranha of the existence of Spiny Norman?

    ReplyDelete
  35. John A. Davison:

    If you replace "terrified" with "uninterested", "worst nightmare" with "very minor nuisance", and "cowardly blowhards" with "people with far better things to do", then you'll be much closer to the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Kynefski took away from the discussion... etc

    Rus, if it appeared that I was dismissing your perspective, I apologize in all sincerity. Not the sincerity of a comments thread, but the sincerity of a person talking to you eye to eye. I was addressing the Bertrand Russell thing, and that was all.

    The body's eye looks always body-ward
    The soul's eye sees the many-splendored soul


    I am in full agreement.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yes, a cowardly alias with a link to my blog that has my name and where I live. And I doubt that either Dawkins or Myers care enough about you to waste their time feeding your paranoia.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Tom P.

    Anonymity is the bane of rational discource, a devastating defect in internet communication. I do not tolerate it on my website and always respond to it wherever I encounter it. So far Bryan Appleyard has allowed me to hold forth here. I have little more to offer but your insistence on being a pompous boor demands a response.

    I regard the Myers/Dawkins biumvirate as a major threat to scientific and social progress and worthy of all the attention I can muster. Their intellectual demise is very high on my agenda of goals I intend to reach before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    I believe it is my Providence, my "prescribed" fate to expose these two for what they have proven themselves to be - intolerant, hide bound, sociopathic ethical defectives hell bent on their own destruction. I am only trying to help them along.

    "Never murder a man when he's busy committing suicide."
    Woodrow Wilson

    I disagree. The vampire of atheist Darwinism requires special attention which I am more than willing to provide for so long as I am able. The following is my most recent effort.

    http://jadavison.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/evolution-is-finished/#comment-2508

    #188

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. "I have little more to offer but your insistence on being a pompous boor demands a response."

    You were so close to writing an accurate sentence for a change. Just change "your" to "my" and then remove everything after "boor".

    ReplyDelete
  40. Yo, Tom, lighten up. I can't make sense of what John says, but his persona - the intellectual hero set to topple the corrupt edifice - is entertaining, and he has not spoken rudely to anyone who has not spoken rudely to him.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thank you kynefski.

    I am of the opinion that many human beings require someone or something to loathe as part of their daily regimen. Internet forums serve to satisfy the needs of such types.

    I must apologize for not noticing sooner that clicking on the user's name would direct one to that person's home page if he has one. About the only thing I learned from that is that I seem to be the only biologist here. Don't misunderstand me as I am not a snob at all. Nor do I have delusions of grandeur. I am just a retired physiologist who has always been interested in how things work. Darwin's proposal can only generate intraspecific varieties and subspecies none of which are incipient species in any event.

    "Microevolution by accumulation of micromutations - we may also say neo-Darwinian evolution - is a process which leads to diversification strictly within the species---."
    Richard B. Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution, page 183.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. "Darwin's proposal can only generate intraspecific varieties and subspecies none of which are incipient species in any event."

    A person must be a true narcissist to insist that only he is right and all of science is wrong. And now I am sure that we will get John comparing himself to Einstein and Newton and how Darwin was a terrible scientist because he didn't speak Swahili.

    ReplyDelete
  43. John, I trust you understand that, as generally understood, macroevolution is just microevolution plus time.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Tom P.

    Charles Darwin was not a scientist of any sort. He was a second rate naturalist. Alfred Russel Wallace was a much better naturalist and a first class scientist who had the good sense to completely abandon the nonsense he co-authored with Darwin in his youth. Consider the title of his last book -

    "The World of Life: A Manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose."

    I realize I am wasting my time but here is something that one does not have to be a scientist to understand. All the information necessary to produce a complete human being is contained inside a single cell, the fertilized egg. All that I have proposed is that the same situation existed in the early flora and fauna. This notion, like much of what I have proposed is not original with me but can be traced back to William Bateson, the father of modern genetics, Reginald C. Punnett and especially Leo Berg, in my opinion the greatest evolutionist of all time.

    Viewed in this way phylogeny becomes in perhaps even large part the LOSS rather than the GAIN of information over the millions of years that evolution took place.

    Evolution can thus be compared to a block of marble which gets progressively chipped away until only the contemporary and final products remain. The chips represent the millions of species that became extinct leaving the contemporary biota as the climax products of a planned scenario. This model also compares favorably with the development of the individual which also involves the loss of potential with time. The death of the individual corresponds with the extinction of the species. Incidentally, evolution is finished and only extinction remains.

    How does that grab you? I bet that really smarts doesn't it? I certainly hope so.

    I hope that is radical enough to convince you that I am daft. Now spread the word wherever you can. Davison is crazy.

    It doesn't get any better than this.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi Tom,

    Why not develop an argument instead of these one- and two-liner reactions you've been posting--almost as if to silence someone, or as if "all of sceince" may be watching or some such thing? I'd love to read what you would have to say. But, nothing gets forwarded the way you are doing it, though, almost 100% insult with allusions to someone's thought processes, maybe something you've read, or something you've come to conclude for yourself. I think you may be more intelligent, and a more independent thinker, than your posts would have you come across--as a snide person, or some pull-toy doll that gives insults. Put forward your ideas--what is "all of science" doing these days that sparked your comment--your thoughts and how you have come to arrive at them--instead of trying to put down the person you are arguing against. Please. Feedback with suggestion as a critical reader is what I offer here, nothing else.

    Yours,
    Rus

    ReplyDelete
  46. kynefski

    I do understand that most people believe that macroevolution is microevolution plus time. That is definitely not true.

    "An hypothesis does not cease to be an hypothesis when a lot of people believe it."
    Boris Ephrussi

    The major obstacle to our understanding of phylogeny resides in the fact that it is no longer occurring.

    I have presented my theses in my several papers, my website and several other places, notably ISCID's "brainstorms" forum where I still hold forth, virtually alone. I am not prepared to repeat that performance here or anywhere else as it is not necessary.

    It is true that I have not been very successful in weaning others from the Darwinian titty. If I am wrong then so are all my sources, a group with which I proudly identify.

    "A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than the giant himself."
    Robert Burton

    I am that dwarf and never pretended to be anything else.

    "If you tell the truth, you can be certain, sooner or later, to be found out."
    Oscar Wilde

    "Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!"
    Gregor Mendel

    ReplyDelete
  47. "The major obstacle to our understanding of phylogeny resides in the fact that it is no longer occurring."

    phy·log·e·ny (f-lj-n)
    n. pl. phy·log·e·nies
    1. The evolutionary development and history of a species or higher taxonomic grouping of organisms. Also called phylogenesis.
    2. The evolutionary development of an organ or other part of an organism: e.g.the phylogeny of the amphibian intestinal tract.

    But I didn't think you believed in evolution? Or do you have a different definition of evolution to everyone else?

    And why should it have arbitrarily ceased? What evidence is there to suggest that it has? If it has, then it is not evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  48. This is not a science blog and in any case I don't waste my time arguing with idiots. "Don't argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Or how about, "Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." Or "Don't cast pearls before swine."

    ReplyDelete
  49. traherne, Tom P. and others as well.

    I have no idea where you got the notion that I don't believe in evolution. I KNOW that evolution occurred. I DO NOT KNOW that it is still occurring and neither does anyone else. Some may think it is occurring but none have answered my several challenges to provide the evidence that supports their belief.

    I am getting a little tired of being misrepresented, let alone being abused so I will bid this blog farewell and seek another venue to infect with my heresies.

    I want to thank and congratulate Bryan Appleyard for allowing me to hold forth here. His tolerance is unusual and refreshing in an era of intolerance, intellectual bigotry and rampant atheism.

    Everyone is welcome at my weblog so long as they are willing to present their real names. I have found that to be an effective deterrent to unfettered vitriol and personal defamation

    So confident am I of my thesis that I invite, even promote insults as long as they come from real people who are willing to let the world know what they really think about me, my science and the contributions of the sources on whose science my own securely rests.

    "I'm an old campaigner and I love a good fight."
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. "I KNOW that evolution occurred. I DO NOT KNOW that it is still occurring and neither does anyone else."

    An odd statement. So when did it stop? 20 minutes ago? An hour ago? 10 million years ago? There seems to be bacteria evolving this very minute to be immune to our antibiotics that would consider your statement to be incorrect.

    In any case, your statement is opinion not science. How exactly does one test it? "Look that bird over there is still a bird even though I've been staring at it for 20 minutes. Proof that evolution stopped!"

    ReplyDelete
  51. Tom P.

    I am through trying to communicate here. The answers to your questions can be found on my blog and elsewhere.

    "You can lead a man to the literature but you cannot make him read."
    after the horse that refused to drink.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi Tom,

    You said:

    This is not a science blog and in any case I don't waste my time arguing with idiots.

    And:

    Or "Don't cast pearls before swine."

    What are you accomplishing, then, if not wanting to put forward an argument--just hanging out with the swine, keeping your pearls in your pockets? Or should any reader here take your comments only with a grain of salt, as no argument will ever get developed for the idiots you disagree with?

    ReplyDelete
  53. I am more than happy to discuss things with reasonable people. I don't consider anti-evolutionists reasonable any more than I consider ghost chasers or people who believe in alien kidnapping to be reasonable. If the argument is, "I have a BS in accounting but I have studied evolution and know more than all the scientists on the planet," then I have no interest in having a discussion with you... about evolution. If you want to do a comparative analysis of the music of Crowded House vs. Split Enz then I am willing to talk to you.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I KNOW that evolution occurred. I DO NOT KNOW that it is still occurring and neither does anyone else

    Just today, I was working with carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae, bacteria that have evolved resistance to one of the few classes of antibacterial agents that had previously been effective against them.

    Go ahead, John, explain to the families of the people being killed by these bastards that this is some kind of post-evolutionary anomaly.

    And, yeah, I know this is microevolution. But it's also "specified complexity", and it's all about the mechanism.

    Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Tom,

    You therefore insist on being unreasonable yourself. So your code that we should all have figured out with your explanation, is that when you are being unreasonable, it is because you find the person you are arguing with to be unreasonable. We should then say to ourselves, "Oh, Tom is always unreasonable in this blog, because he senses there are unreasonable people here--but at a science blog, aha, the very reasonable science blogs, he would be very reasonable, impressively reasonable most likely." Then, our reward for becoming reasonable enough that we would change our minds without any argument, would be to be able to extract from you your reasonable side. Of course, once we would agree with you, there would no longer be any need for you to develop any argument either, since everyone would be in agreement, such as must take place at the very reasonable science blogs. Is that what you mean, or am I being an idiot?

    ReplyDelete
  56. kynefski

    I do not regard resistance to antibiotics and insecticides as examples of creative evolution and here is why. They are reversible. Insecticide resistance is lost when the insecticide is no longer used. The same can be said or many other reversible phenomenena. For example, dog breeds when they become feral, in a few generations revert back to the wolf phenotype as selection against the domesticated genotypes takes place. Natural selection is not a creative force at all. Quite the ocntrary, it is conservative, preserving and even restoring what we call the wild type for as long as possible.

    Furthermore, Mendelian allelic mutations have nothing to do with evolution either as they too are freely reversible.

    The one thing that distinguishes real evolutionary change from these phasic changes is irreversibility. No amphibian ever changed into a fish, no mammal or bird into a reptile etc, etc. The evolutionary phenomenon has been an ascending goal-directed process which I believe is now complete with the present biota which will not undergo further change and will probably, like those several which have preceded it, become extinct.

    I will carry this one step further. It is my conviction that obligatory sexual reproduction is incompetent as an evolutionary device. All the selection in the world cannot transform any species into a new member even of the same genus. Also, the sole purpose of the male in the history of creative evolution was to arrest that line at the level that sexual (Mendelian) reproduction became the sole instrument for futher change. Males are purely anti-evolutionary.

    Now I am certain that this will convince everyone that I am definitely daft, so let me reinforce that response with a few more comments.

    Evolution, when it did occur, employed a different means which I have proposed as the semi-meotic hypothesis (SMH)which I published in 1984. It remains untested and accordingly valid to this day.

    Mendelian genetics, sexual reproduction, population genetics, natural or artificial selection, none of these ever had anything to do with creative evolution. The entire fabric of the Darwinian model is dead wrong today as it was at its inception. That is what prompted the essay which I recomended - "What's wrong with Darwinism."

    I do not intend to further extend this thread because it is perfectly clear that my work, like that of my sources, is unfamiliar to this audience. Those who are willing can find a full exposition of my evolutionary science in my papers which are all available on my website and on other forums where I have defended my convictions time and time again. It has proven to be a monumental waste of my time. That does not mean that I am wrong.

    I am not the first to recognize the dismal failure of the neo-Darwinian paradigm.

    "To insist, even with Olympian assurance, that life appeared quite by chance and evolved in this fashion, is an unfounded supposition which I believe to be wrong and not in accordance with the facts." page 107

    and

    "A cluster of facts makes it very plain that that Mendelian allelomorphic mutation plays no part in creative evolution. It is, as it were, a more or less pathological fluctuation in the genetic code. It is an accident on the 'magnetic tape' on which the primary information for the species is recorded." page 243.
    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  57. Evolution, when it did occur, employed a different means which I have proposed as the semi-meotic hypothesis

    Thank you, John, for giving us the tag. Do you have a simple statement of this that is not embedded in a treatise? By this, I don't mean to be snarky, I just mean to save myself some time.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Russ, suppose you were on a blog and someone insisted that the Earth was flat. There is plenty of scientific information to prove the Earth is not flat but this person has convinced themselves that only they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. Would you spend your time trying to convince this person they were wrong when you know that they will never change their mind no matter what you post?

    ReplyDelete
  59. kynefski

    I am not on trial here and do not choose to be further engaged or respond to questions I have already answered. My work, like that of my sources, is freely available to anyone who is able and willing to comprehend it.

    There is no room for either debate or discussion in science. Debates are for lawyers, philosophers, politicians and other questionable types. Furthermore, debating is a team sport. I prefer one on one confrontation myself.

    Science is nothing but discovery and discoveries are only acceptable to prepared minds of which there have always been far too few.

    I am still looking for a venue that will sponsor a confrontation between myself with my sources and either or both factions that still dominate the "origins" debate. The "Fundies" and the "Darwimps" are both dead wrong. I believe, with Robert Broom, that the truth lies elsewhere in a planned evolution which I am convinced is now finished. The problem was identified by Einstein long ago.

    "Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."
    Ideas and Opinions, page 28.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  60. My unpublished "An Evolutionary Manifesto: A New Hypothesis for Organic Change" was written for consumption by my undergraduate Biology students who had no difficulty understanding it. All that is really required is a rudimentary understanding of Mendelian genetics, mitosis and meiosis, the mechanism by which the diploid (2N) number of chromosomes becomes reduced to the haploid (1N) number. This reduction takes place universally in two steps. First the chromosmes are duplicated to yield a 4N configuration. This then is followed by two steps to reduce the chromosome sets to 1. It is the first division which I believe is responsible for creative evolution. There is not an organism on earth that produces its sex cells in a single step. I believe that meiosis recapitulates the history of evolution in which the first division provides the mechanism for the instantaneous production of new species.

    Now all this is explained with diagrams in the paper to which I refer. Having digested that material, feel free to ask me questions on my weblog. I am always happy to answer any question that I am able to answer.

    The problem for the Darwinians is they imagine that they already have all the answers. In short, they are not scientists.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  61. Thanks. I had run across that online, but not with the figures. You've introduced me to an important source of genetic variation.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Hi Tom,

    Now you are doing the same thing to me, trying to act as if all of science is behind anything you say, just like the earth is not flat, such that you must be right and don't have to make any argument. I'm giving you feedback that unless you back up what you say, you don't sound like you know what you are talking about. It sounds more like you are following what others have told you to say, as if you are a pull-toy doll. That's to be dogmatic.

    Or should I do the same thing back at you, and mention that I'm right, because all of science is behind what I say, just like the earth is round? What are your specific ideas on the matters that are being brought up in this thread, and that you are objecting to?

    ReplyDelete
  63. kynefski

    I am sorry if I come off as a hostile old malcontent which is probably a pretty accurate description. It is also perfectly possible that I am paranoid. I am reminded of Henry Kissinger's quip -

    "Even a paranoid can have enemies."

    God knows I have plenty of enemies - silent, mostly anonymous enemies who pretend I do not exist. Richard Dawkins has never mentioned my name and P.Z. Myers no longer does which I take to be a good thing. Myers figures that now that I am in his "Dungeon," his "Hate File," that I am finished.

    I have been banished four times from Uncommon Descent and Bill Dembski is on record as saying that he thinks I am "nuts" according to Davescot aka David Springer. Of course Dave is banished now too! He and I have a contest going on who can be banished the most times. I am way ahead.

    It is great sport.

    The blind pianist George Shearing was once asked - "Have you been blind all your life?" his response - "Not yet."

    Now in my eighties, I'm always pleased when I can still stir the scientific pot as that is the stuff that progress is made of.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  64. @ Bryan Appleyard

    "Darwinism is neither a religion nor an “ideological belief system”.

    There are no Darwinist Popes or Archbishops. There are no Darwinist churches. Darwinists do not gather together every Sunday to sing the praises of evolution and pray to the Great God Darwin to be forgiven for not being as fit as he would have liked.

    There is no Darwinist political party nor any Darwinist Prime Minister or President (certainly not in these here Yoonited States). There is no handy Darwinist political tract like Mao’s Little Red Book and even the Nazis didn’t want his books on their library shelves.

    There are evolutionary biologists who follow the procedures of methodological naturalism in the practice of their discipline, some – although by no means all – of whom also subscribe to the metaphysical beliefs of philosophical naturalism.

    But as for Darwinism, if the word refers to anything at all it is to all those aspects of secular science and culture which believers find objectionable, bundled together as a strawman – whether soaked in oil of ad hominem or not – which can be beaten whenever there is a need to vent frustration. It is a handy scapegoat to blame for all the perceived ills of society."

    Pinched from Seversky, a commenter at Uncommon Descent, but seems relevant here.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Alan Fox follows me around like a dog. He is one man goon squad representing the interests of Pee Zee Myers, Richard Dawkins and Wesley Elsberry.

    I love it so!

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  66. There's a whole lot of praying to the almighty buck, and to the fat ego god of political power going on in "science" nowadays. As scientists step into public policy, as they are hired for profiteering by profit-driven corporations, and as they compete for grants and other moneys, they've got their archbishops preaching their hubris and gospels, this time in the name of almighty science.

    (Sorry for the spillover, but I am over at Frank Wilson's blog, where there seems to be a movement to not do a thorough vetting of the data following the climatology e-mails.)

    There have been those who have attempted to carry the banner of Darwinism, who have conflated the wisdom in religious teachings with the actions of people who would use such teachings for their own personal gain of power and money. All the while, all the scientists are not wearing halos either. What goes around is coming around. How's the song go? Further on up the road? You're gonna reap just what you sow. That old saying is true. You just wait and see.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Darwinism is very definitely a religion, complete with a single God, Charles Darwin and a bunch of patron saints, Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, William Provine, Paul Zachary Myers and Richard Dawkins, atheists all. Their altar is a roulette wheel flanked by a pair of very fuzzy dice on one side and a Bingo board on the other.

    The motive of this "movement" is to destroy the Judeo-Christian ethic on which Western Civilization has flourished and replace it with Universal Atheism. Myers and Dawkins have been remarkably successful in recruiting thousands to their common purpose. In their zeal they have each abandoned any semblance of science to become pathetic purveyors of hate toward every aspect of society which represents the Christian ethic.

    According to Myers, then President George W. Bush was "asshole-in-chief" and Pope Bendict XVI is now benny, who wears funny hats.

    They are committing suicide and are totally unaware of their impending doom. Their desperate sociopathic antics have become a spectator sport for real scientists llke myself to relish with perfect abandon.

    Neither Myers nor Dawkins have ever published a word on the only issue which has ever been at stake - the mechanism of a long ago terminated organic evolution. Neither have any of their many Darwinian predecessors. They are all victims of their "prescribed" destiny to be perfect losers, pawns in the history of evolutionary science, mere footnotes at the bottom of the pages of scientific progress.

    It doesn't get any better than this.

    I love it so!

    "Science commits suicide when she adopts a creed."
    Thomas Henry Huxley

    "No man was ever great by imitation."
    Samuel Johnson

    ReplyDelete