Saturday, December 22, 2007

A big welcome from Panda's Thumb

Well now I can add to my resume the fact that I have been attacked by a non-indigenous, arguably ursine species: ailuropoda melanoleuca to be precise. Actually, the attack did not involve the whole animal, but only a short, apparently imperfect, appendage of it.

"Panda's Thumb," a website devoted to purist evolutionary doctrine has taken a swipe at me for having joined Discovery Institute as a contributor to their website.

I'm never entirely sure what to think of organizations that name themselves after mammalian anatomical parts for which they admit to having a low regard, but we know from their most recent post that they do have an attitude. Just shows what an exclusive diet of bamboo will do for you.

I am, according to Panda's Thumb, "a fairly garden variety ideologue, albeit with a better vocabulary than many such." Okay, so they've identified my species, but it goes down hill from there. First they say that my piece criticizing the PBS's "Judgment Day" appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal. Well, sorry, but it only appeared on my blog.

Then the post proceeds to completely ignore the argument I made about Judge Jones' decision in favor of one much more convenient for them to argue against--and follows it by accusing me of a fallacy.

Hmmm. This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

25 comments:

One Brow said...

You had an interesting assumption in your argument.

'There are a lot of assumptions behind this argument, but it is in his statement of the second point where Jones sets himself up. He says that the argument for irreducible complexity is "central to ID". Otherwise, why would he include it in a discussion of whether ID is science?'

Judge Jones decision was quite clear that IC was not a component of ID. The reason that IC was involved in the discussion is that it was a primary argument used by people who were promoting ID at the trial. Your complete failure to produce any quote by Judge Jones that says IC is a part of ID is evident, and your pretense at a false implication is unconvincing.

Evil Bender said...

I'm never entirely sure what to think of organizations that name themselves after mammalian anatomical parts for which they admit to having a low regard.

Have you actually read Gould's essay on the Panda's thumb? I recognize this was an attempt at humor, but if you honestly can't even get right what scientists think about one such detail, that doesn't speak well of you.

Anonymous said...

Some conservative, fundamentalistic versions of Christianity also make the empirical claim that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.

So someone showing that the empirical claim about the age of the earth is false is logically prohibited from also pointing out that the metaphysical claims of Christianity are not science?

Your argument appears bogus to me.

Hannah J said...

Anonymous said: "Some conservative, fundamentalistic versions of Christianity also make the empirical claim that the earth is less than 10,000 years old."

This is mainly because of the first human skeleton we know of (NOT ape) being about that age, not to mention several geological experiments supporting the number. Given today's population and the huge numbers of people we know have died in previous generations, a *normal* reproductive rate, beginning with two people, takes just about this long to produce the numbers of people.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a blogger who actually responds to many posts!

Here is my peculiar take on ID as science and the teaching of it:

1) ID can be considered science in that it does make testable (in a way) claims about the natural world. But to show that our universe is designed when we know nothing about the nature or capabilities of the designer and, even worse, have no known examples of anything in nature which is definitely designed or not designed by a supernatural agent is very difficult. The main approach to this problem is the concept of IC. But again, to show that something can't occur naturally (to rule out all possible paths) is much more difficult than to show that something can happen naturally (find one possible path). So far, at least, nothing existent has been scientifically demonstrated to be IC or to be naturally impossible.

2) In science classes students are mostly taught accepted science facts and a little about the scientific method, with examples of hypotheses which turned out to be incorrect. ID doesn't really fit in here anywhere. At the moment there is no scientific evidence for it. Even if ID is true, the designer may very well have left no traces to indicate design, in which case ID is no different than the idea everything was created last Tuesday and made to look older. In that event, it can never be scientifically validated nor can it be scientifically invalidated.

3) ID can only be science if the designer left behind some proof of design. Perhaps some day with a big enough microscope we will find that every atom is stamped "(C) God, 4004 BC".

4) Of course this is all an issue because so many people believe because of their religion (revealed truth not discovered truth) that there is not only a designer but that the design procedure happened as described in the Bible or some other source. For them religious belief will always trump scientific evidence as a means of learning about nature.

J A Higginbotham

Anonymous said...

The fact that so many proponents of ID make claims similar to hannah j's (in that they are so readily refuted) has also led to a backlash against even considering the idea. A comparable situation occurred in the last century when catastrophism was replaced by gradualism. It took J Harlan Bretz around 40 years to get geologists to accept his hypothesis of the catastrophic Lake Missoula floods which created the scablands and other features of the Pacific Northwest.

jah

Anonymous said...

Hannah J said...
Anonymous said: "Some conservative, fundamentalistic versions of Christianity also make the empirical claim that the earth is less than 10,000 years old."

This is mainly because of the first human skeleton we know of (NOT ape) being about that age, not to mention several geological experiments supporting the number. Given today's population and the huge numbers of people we know have died in previous generations, a *normal* reproductive rate, beginning with two people, takes just about this long to produce the numbers of people."

Perhaps Hannah should read a little more about physical anthropology and archaeology. The oldest anatomically modern people are ~195,000 years old and from Ethiopia. Archaic Homo sapiens go back at least 300,000 years. Check out the book _From Lucy to Language_ by Ian Tattersoll (spelling?) from the American Museum of Natural History.

Anonymous said...

Hannah J said...
Anonymous said: "Some conservative, fundamentalistic versions of Christianity also make the empirical claim that the earth is less than 10,000 years old."

This is mainly because of the first human skeleton we know of (NOT ape) being about that age, not to mention several geological experiments supporting the number. Given today's population and the huge numbers of people we know have died in previous generations, a *normal* reproductive rate, beginning with two people, takes just about this long to produce the numbers of people."

See this site for a concise answer to the claim above concerning population growth:
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB620.html

Hannah J said...

Anonymous (comment 7) said: "The oldest anatomically modern people are ~195,000 years old and from Ethiopia. Archaic Homo sapiens go back at least 300,000 years."

By which method? Radiocarbon dating, which doesn't work that far back? Or some other guesswork method? Don't make the dates fit the theory. Please.

Anonymous said...

hannah j wrote:
" "Anonymous said: "Some conservative, fundamentalistic versions of Christianity also make the empirical claim that the earth is less than 10,000 years old."

This is mainly because of the first human skeleton we know of (NOT ape) being about that age, not to mention several geological experiments supporting the number."


Not sure why you thought I was talking about the age of human skeletons. I was clearly making reference to the age of the earth.

And those fundamentalists who interpret the Bible literally believe as they do because of the Bible not because scientific evidence led them to that position.

Hannah J said...

Wow! Four people, same name (the poor, overworked "Anonymous"), all picking apart my comment. I'm quite pleased. They've even provided sources to augment the semi-arguments they give! Sure, Darwinianism has proved just about everything: see http://www.christianpost.com/article/ 20071221/0588_Intelligent_Design_Group _Identifies_Failures_of_Darwinism.htm.

Cao said...

Muscidifurax raptorellus, Hannah has a point.

Some of Darwin’s failed predictions include:

• The failure of evolutionary biology to provide detailed evolutionary explanations for the origin of complex biochemical features

• The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution

• The failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for universal common descent

• The failure of genetics and chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code

• The failure of developmental biology to explain why vertebrate embryos diverge from the beginning of development.

Anonymous said...

hannah_j
your link http://www.christianpost.com/article/20071221/0588_Intelligent_Design_Group_Identifies_Failures_of_Darwinism.htm
goes to this article:



Christian Slate Garners Most Votes from U.S. Iraq Expats
By
Audrey Barrick
audrey@christianpost.com
Tue, Dec. 20 2005 10:12 AM ET

A slate of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians drew in the most votes from Iraqi expatriates in the United States who had earlier expressed doubts over Christian representation in the new parliament.

...


Is that your best shot?
jah

Hannah J said...

Jah, you didn't put the whole link into the browser. I had to split it up with spaces because it was so long. Try looking at the entire thing next time.

Anonymous said...

Hannah J said...
Anonymous (comment 7) said: "The oldest anatomically modern people are ~195,000 years old and from Ethiopia. Archaic Homo sapiens go back at least 300,000 years."

"By which method? Radiocarbon dating, which doesn't work that far back? Or some other guesswork method? Don't make the dates fit the theory. Please."

Here is some homework for you Hanna J. Go to a library such as can be found at any major university and look up this paper:

McDougall, Ian, Francis H. Brown & John G. Fleagle. 2005. Stratigraphic placement and age of modern humans from Kibish, Ethiopia. Nature 433:733-736.

When you are done, let us know the scientific reasons why you think the dating methods used are incorrect

Motheral said...

I notice you don't actually address any of the PT post's about you, not even that alleged logical fallacy.

Motheral said...

Oops, sorry, I left out one word. Take Two:

I notice you don't actually address any of the PT post's statements about you, not even that alleged logical fallacy.

Anonymous said...

Cao said...
"Muscidifurax raptorellus, Hannah has a point.

Some of Darwin’s failed predictions include:

• The failure of evolutionary biology to provide detailed evolutionary explanations for the origin of complex biochemical features

• The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution

• The failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for universal common descent

• The failure of genetics and chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code

• The failure of developmental biology to explain why vertebrate embryos diverge from the beginning of development."

Why didn't the Discovery Institute's top scientists testify to this at the Dover trial? Where were they?

Anonymous said...

hannah j wrote:
Wow! Four people, same name (the poor, overworked "Anonymous"), all picking apart my comment. I'm quite pleased.

Yet you still haven't explained why you assumed the age of human skeletons has anything to do with the age of the earth.

I'm not really interested in persuading you to believe in any scientific theory whether it be that of gravity or of evolution.

I'm just curious as to why you can't seem to respond to what I actually wrote.

Anonymous said...

hj wrote: Jah, you didn't put the whole link into the browser. Try looking at the entire thing next time.

---
That's what I did. I took out the %20 that the spaces turned into (the last was something different) and put link in.
It didn't work. That's why I asked.

jah

Anonymous said...

hi hannah
I am assuming you think the earth is around 10,000 years old although you never explicitly stated so. Scientists think the earth is around 4.5 billion years old. That is quite a difference - a factor of about 500,000. It is as if I ran a marathon in 4 hours and you did it in 0.03 seconds.

Using a growth formula starting with 2 people is certainly one way of estimating the earth's age. What formula did you use?

1) What would scientific evidence would it take to convince you that there are better ways of estimating the earth's age and it is in fact in the billions of years? Is the answer none, since you know from Biblical exegesis that it is around 10,000?

Population growth rates are not a fundamental constant but depend on many variables. How do you take into account such factors as WWII, the Black Plague, the use of agriculture, the plow, animal raising, etc?

There are many other scientific estimations which are inconsistent with an estimate of thousands of years. One of the most quantitative of these is radioactive decay (not just of carbon, but of many other elements (lead/lead isochrons and others). These independent techniques produce similar answers. Also there are far fewer assumptions and interfering factors. The science and mathematics involved in understanding these methods is not very complicated. [See e.g. G Brent Dalrymple.]

2)Western scientists started with idea the earth was around 6000 years old, based on interpretation of the Bible. But when people began to examine the earth, this view gradually changed to that of an old earth. What new reasons are there to return to a discarded concept?

You and everyone else are entitled to believe whatever you want about the age of the earth. But if you persist in claiming there are valid scientific reasons to believe in a young earth without providing a better explanation than the current old-earth model, then you will never convince anyone (secular or religious) who bases their opinions on experimental evidence.

jah

Anonymous said...

Well cao, you bring up many points which would take someone who knows biology (I don't) quite a while to discuss.

But one issue is that you seem to feel there is a problem with science since it can't explain some things. But that is what science is, studying the natural world to try and figure out how it works. Years ago, no one had any reasonable explanation for the source of the sun's energy. But rather than just assume it was powered directly by God, people did research until nuclear fusion was discovered. So my question for you is: when should scientists look for natural explanations for natural phenomena and when should they just give up and declare that God did it supernaturally?

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Anonymous said...

Oops, that last was by me -
jah

Anonymous said...

Your original blog said:

"First that ID is not science, and, second, that ID makes false claims."

ID theory is not science.

ID people make claims against evolution like "irreducible complexity" that are false.
They make these claims with the hope that someone who believes the claim might suspect that ID (as supposedly the only alternative) is true.

Hannah J said...

jah said:

"Population growth rates are not a fundamental constant but depend on many variables. How do you take into account such factors as WWII, the Black Plague, the use of agriculture, the plow, animal raising, etc?"

Oh, I thought it was just MY piddling creationist, non-scientific brain believing that catastrophism is a legit explanation for certain phenomena, and that it just happens to shed doubt on some of evolution's largest claims! A global flood, for example...it COULDN'T have happened, could it. There's NO hard evidence for it, is there. Hm. Oh well, if you want to criticize me for *getting off topic*, fine. Be that way, *tolerant* evolved apes.