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Russell



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,13:10   

Salvador T. Cordova, over at Panda's Thumb, wrote that Dawkins made a lot of "baseless and erroneous claims" about information theory, and that students familiar with the area "can recognize that Dawkins is full of garbage."

I'm not familiar with Dawkins on IT. I'm curious to know what he's written about it, and what serious students of IT have had to say about it, in print or online.

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,13:34   

A poplular article by Royal Truman, PhD in chemistry from Michigan, and quite schooled in information theory has a starting point.

Popular Article on Dawkins

(I don't like AiG, but that's where you can get the first article.  I does a good job of pointing out how poorly Dawkins understands information theory).

A more scholarly article that doesn't mention Dawkins by name but explores the same issues is:
The Problem of Information for the Theory of Evolution

RBH (Richard B. Hoppe, Royal Truman, Myself, and others) explored the topic in more depth here:


Avida

Dembski address the issue :

Displacement Theorem

I recommend the (gasp) AiG article as a starting point.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,16:27   

Your suggested starting point is so flawed and irrelevant, I really don't know where to start. But suffice it to say that nowhere does it suggest that Dawkins made any claims - at all - about information theory.

Dawkins "methinks it is like a weasel" model just demonstrates the concept of how mutation/selection works. That's all. And what it says is pretty much unassailable.

I'm beginning to doubt that Dawkins ever did address information theory, per se .

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,17:14   

Quote (Russell @ Dec. 03 2005,22:27)
... nowhere does it suggest that Dawkins made any claims - at all - about information theory....

In "The Selfish Gene," Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural information transmission.

It's not "information theory" as Claude Shannon would have known it -- but it is a "theory" of information. Except I don't think there is a consistent, rigorous and precise definition of what a meme is. Maybe it's just a metaphor and not a theory?

He's no Claude Shannon, obviously, and his books are light on math. However, that doesn't mean his arguments are immune from mathematical arguments against his claims.

It's possible Dawkins made mistakes in regards to information theory without ever knowing the theory. You can  make a mistake by not applying an idea when it's called for.

I'm not saying he did -- but I confess, while the Answers in Genesis artile is utter rubbish -- that stuff about Avidia almost makes sense.

  
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,17:27   

I for got to include this link:

The Problem of Information...Has Dawkins Solved It?

  
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,17:35   

Quote (Russell @ Dec. 03 2005,22:27)
Your suggested starting point is so flawed and irrelevant, I really don't know where to start. But suffice it to say that nowhere does it suggest that Dawkins made any claims - at all - about information theory.

Dawkins "methinks it is like a weasel" model just demonstrates the concept of how mutation/selection works. That's all. And what it says is pretty much unassailable.

I'm beginning to doubt that Dawkins ever did address information theory, per se .

Quote

If you want to understand life, don't think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The particular polymers used by living cells are called polynucleotides. There are two main families of polynucleotides in living cells, called DNA and RNA for short. Both are chains of small molecules called nucleotides. Both DNA and RNA are heterogeneous chains, with four different kinds of nucleotides. This, of course, is where the opportunity for information storage lies. Instead of just the two states 1 and 0, the information technology of living cells uses four states, which we may conventionally represent as A, T, C and G. There is very little difference, in principle, between a two-state binary information technology like ours, and a four-state information technology like that of the living cell.


Chapter 5, Blind Watchmaker

  
Ian H Spedding



Posts: 1
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2005,21:07   

Quote (Russell @ Dec. 03 2005,19:10)
Salvador T. Cordova, over at Panda's Thumb, wrote that Dawkins made a lot of "baseless and erroneous claims" about information theory, and that students familiar with the area "can recognize that Dawkins is full of garbage."

I'm not familiar with Dawkins on IT. I'm curious to know what he's written about it, and what serious students of IT have had to say about it, in print or online.

Did Cordova cite this essay:

http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/dawkinschallenge.htm

as the one to which Truman was responding and, hence, the proper starting point?

There is also this brief response to Truman's article:

http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/response_truman_o'brien.htm

  
RupertG



Posts: 80
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2005,03:23   

Quote (scordova @ Dec. 03 2005,23:35)
[quote=Russell,Dec. 03 2005,22:27]Your suggested starting point is so flawed and irrelevant...

...I'm beginning to doubt that Dawkins ever did address information theory, per se .

Quote

If you want to understand life, don't think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The particular polymers used by living cells are called polynucleotides. There are two main families of polynucleotides in living cells, called DNA and RNA for short. Both are chains of small molecules called nucleotides. Both DNA and RNA are heterogeneous chains, with four different kinds of nucleotides. This, of course, is where the opportunity for information storage lies. Instead of just the two states 1 and 0, the information technology of living cells uses four states, which we may conventionally represent as A, T, C and G. There is very little difference, in principle, between a two-state binary information technology like ours, and a four-state information technology like that of the living cell.


Sal, you're not confusing information theory and information technology, are you? The two are only remotely connected, at least as far as daily practice is concerned. By mentioning information technology, Dawkins cannot be said to be talking directly about information theory.

It's a bit like criticising someone for not properly understanding quantum theory or Maxwell's equations when they talk about solar-powered transistor radios.

You need examples of Dawkins talking about information theory.

R

--------------
Uncle Joe and Aunty Mabel
Fainted at the breakfast table
Children, let this be a warning
Never do it in the morning -- Ralph Vaughan Williams

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2005,06:27   

Again, Dawkins's comparison of nucleic acid sequence to digital information storage is completely unremarkable, unassailable, and has nothing to do with information theory.


Let's cut to the chase. Here's what you wrote:
Quote
Dawkins effectively makes a lot of baseless and erroneous claims about information theory, and until one is more educated in these topics one does not find the holes. At our last IDEA meeting we had quite a number of computer science and electrical engineering students at the senior undergrad and PhD level. They have an appreciation for communication and information theory and the open minded ones can recognize Dawkins is full of garbage.  


You have yet to show me where Dawkins even mentions information theory, and the couple of examples you've brought up that could remotely, tangentially, indirectly be related to topics that might be related to information theory are unassailable.

So, before we can continue this discussion, we have to get this straight.

(1) Does Dawkins, in any of his published material, address information theory?

(2) Regardless of the answer to (1), specifically what  are the "baseless and erroneous claims" you're referring to?

(3) What, specifically, did your IDEA club communications/information theory students identify as "full of garbage"?

Now, I see ID as more of an exercise in public relations than science or logic; I think you do, too. And one would be pretty foolish - or at least unrealistic - to hold the advertising industry to any standards of honesty or accuracy. But ID at least pretends to have a scientific basis, and it's on that notion that this discussion is premised.

So, before we go any further, do you want to edit the quote, above, to say what you honestly think is defensible, or do you stand by what increasingly appears to be either bluster too hastily slapped together or intentionally dishonest?

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stevestory



Posts: 8994
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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2005,10:19   

If Information Theory blew holes in evolution, there would be good evidence of it. You would be able to find papers, editorials, something, published by the IEEE or the Information Theory Society thereof, which discusses this. Dembski or Behe would be invited to IT conferences. Highly regarded Information Theory researchers would have made comments to that effect. But none of this evidence exists. Information Theory blows holes in evolution only in the minds of some zealots like Salvador Cordova.

   
Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2005,11:05   

Quote
Information Theory blows holes in evolution only in the minds of some zealots like Salvador Cordova.
I suspect that you're right about that.

But Cordova has written very much giving the impression that he has some specific statements by a specific author (Dawkins) that he can point to as being clearly incorrect. He even went so far as to say any "open minded" student of these matters can see that Dawkins is "full of garbage".

Now that's a fairly serious accusation to level at someone whose whole career is based on education in the area of biological evolution. I would go so far as to say that, unless there is some substance behind it, such casually calumnious remarks would be unethical.

And, while not religious myself, I want to believe that Christianity is a good thing for believers. But, heck, if it can't even inspire ethical conduct, my faith in its ability to inspire the kind of above-and-beyond goodness ascribed to Christ is shaken.

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scordova



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Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2005,13:20   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 04 2005,16:19)
If Information Theory blew holes in evolution, there would be good evidence of it. You would be able to find papers, editorials, something, published by the IEEE or the Information Theory Society thereof, which discusses this. Dembski or Behe would be invited to IT conferences. Highly regarded Information Theory researchers would have made comments to that effect. But none of this evidence exists. Information Theory blows holes in evolution only in the minds of some zealots like Salvador Cordova.

Quote
The fact that an opinion is widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd.

-- Bertrand Russell

  
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2005,13:26   

Dawkins showcases the Weasel Program in pages 46-50 of Blind Watchmaker.

He programs (as in designs) the selective forces to illustrate that blind unthinking, undesigned forces of nature can build complexity.

He is failing to account for the information flow from the hand of the programmer to the final end product:  "METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL"

From an analysis of information theory, it should be evident, his meddling, his design is what is the most important causal element in the end product, not blind forces.  Yet he uses this to argue that's how haemeglobin is formed.  Well, in that case haemeglobin is design.   :D


The effective defintion of information (ala Shannon): "that which reduces uncertainty".

Dawkins conceptually reduces the space of possible selection forces, he designs them, they are anything but "natural".

Yet this garbage was fed to Verhey's class with no critical challenge.  How is an a 18-year old out of high school going to be able to discern Dawkins sleight of hand.

This kind of sleight-of-hand being passed of as truth is distressing.



Salvador

  
PaulK



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2005,20:24   

Salvador states
"This kind of sleight-of-hand being passed of as truth is distressing."

I hope that he is referring to his own post, because it is there that you will find falsehoods passed off as truth.

The weasel program is presented as a simple example of cumulative selection - the theme of the chapter.  Dawkins does not present it as a model of evolutionary processes.  He explicitly states on p50 that evolution does not use comparison to a single, distant target - that the selective process of evolution is "always short term, either simple survivial or, more generally, reproductive success".

In short Salvador's claim is based on a misrepresentation, clearly contradicted by the short section of text - a mere 6 pages - which he cites.

Dawkins does not say that the weasel program represents how haemoglobin was formed.  Dawkisn says instead that calculations of the probability of haemoglobin evolving which do not take account of the cumulative selection of evolution are wrong.

Dawkins does not state that the selective process in the weasel program is that of evolution - he explicitly states that they are different.

The selective forces he invokes for evolution are entirely natural.

On all these points Salvador's claims are false - and to know that all he had to do was read 6 pages of text - the very pages he himself cited.

  
stevestory



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,03:06   

Quote


Claim CB102:
Mutations are random noise; they do not add information. Evolution cannot cause an increase in information.
Source:
AIG, n.d. Creation Education Center. http://www.answersingenesis.org/cec/docs/CvE_report.asp
Response:

  1. It is hard to understand how anyone could make this claim, since anything mutations can do, mutations can undo. Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve. We have observed the evolution of

         * increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
         * increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
         * novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
         * novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

     If these do not qualify as information, then nothing about information is relevant to evolution in the first place.


   
stevestory



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,03:27   

Quote
  2.  A mechanism that is likely to be particularly common for adding information is gene duplication, in which a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. Genetic sequencing has revealed several instances in which this is likely the origin of some proteins. For example:
         * Two enzymes in the histidine biosynthesis pathway that are barrel-shaped, structural and sequence evidence suggests, were formed via gene duplication and fusion of two half-barrel ancestors (Lang et al. 2000).
         * RNASE1, a gene for a pancreatic enzyme, was duplicated, and in langur monkeys one of the copies mutated into RNASE1B, which works better in the more acidic small intestine of the langur. (Zhang et al. 2002)
         * Yeast was put in a medium with very little sugar. After 450 generations, hexose transport genes had duplicated several times, and some of the duplicated versions had mutated further. (Brown et al. 1998)
     The biological literature is full of additional examples. A PubMed search (at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi) on "gene duplication" gives more than 3000 references.

  3. According to Shannon-Weaver information theory, random noise maximizes information. This is not just playing word games. The random variation that mutations add to populations is the variation on which selection acts. Mutation alone will not cause adaptive evolution, but by eliminating nonadaptive variation, natural selection communicates information about the environment to the organism so that the organism becomes better adapted to it. Natural selection is the process by which information about the environment is transferred to an organism's genome and thus to the organism (Adami et al. 2000).

  4. The process of mutation and selection is observed to increase information and complexity in simulations (Adami et al. 2000; Schneider 2000).

Links:
Max, Edward E., 1999. The evolution of improved fitness by random mutation plus selection. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/fitness

Musgrave, Ian, 2001. The Period gene of Drosophila. http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr01.html
References:

  1. Adami et al., 2000. (see below)
  2. Alves, M. J., M. M. Coelho and M. J. Collares-Pereira, 2001. Evolution in action through hybridisation and polyploidy in an Iberian freshwater fish: a genetic review. Genetica 111(1-3): 375-385.
  3. Brown, C. J., K. M. Todd and R. F. Rosenzweig, 1998. Multiple duplications of yeast hexose transport genes in response to selection in a glucose-limited environment. Molecular Biology and Evolution 15(8): 931-942. http://mbe.oupjournals.org/cgi/reprint/15/8/931.pdf
  4. Hughes, A. L. and R. Friedman, 2003. Parallel evolution by gene duplication in the genomes of two unicellular fungi. Genome Research 13(5): 794-799.
  5. Knox, J. R., P. C. Moews and J.-M. Frere, 1996. Molecular evolution of bacterial beta-lactam resistance. Chemistry and Biology 3: 937-947.
  6. Lang, D. et al., 2000. Structural evidence for evolution of the beta/alpha barrel scaffold by gene duplication and fusion. Science 289: 1546-1550. See also Miles, E. W. and D. R. Davies, 2000. On the ancestry of barrels. Science 289: 1490.
  7. Lenski, R. E., 1995. Evolution in experimental populations of bacteria. In: Population Genetics of Bacteria, Society for General Microbiology, Symposium 52, S. Baumberg et al., eds., Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 193-215.
  8. Lenski, R. E., M. R. Rose, S. C. Simpson and S. C. Tadler, 1991. Long-term experimental evolution in Escherichia coli. I. Adaptation and divergence during 2,000 generations. American Naturalist 138: 1315-1341.
  9. Lynch, M. and J. S. Conery, 2000. The evolutionary fate and consequences of duplicate genes. Science 290: 1151-1155. See also Pennisi, E., 2000. Twinned genes live life in the fast lane. Science 290: 1065-1066.
 10. Ohta, T., 2003. Evolution by gene duplication revisited: differentiation of regulatory elements versus proteins. Genetica 118(2-3): 209-216.
 11. Park, I.-S., C.-H. Lin and C. T. Walsh, 1996. Gain of D-alanyl-D-lactate or D-lactyl-D-alanine synthetase activities in three active-site mutants of the Escherichia coli D-alanyl-D-alanine ligase B. Biochemistry 35: 10464-10471.
 12. Prijambada, I. D., S. Negoro, T. Yomo and I. Urabe, 1995. Emergence of nylon oligomer degradation enzymes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO through experimental evolution. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 61(5): 2020-2022.
 13. Schneider, T. D., 2000. Evolution of biological information. Nucleic Acids Research 28(14): 2794-2799. http://www-lecb.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/paper/ev/
 14. Zhang, J., Y.-P. Zhang and H. F. Rosenberg, 2002. Adaptive evolution of a duplicated pancreatic ribonuclease gene in a leaf-eating monkey. Nature Genetics 30: 411-415. See also: Univ. of Michigan, 2002, How gene duplication helps in adapting to changing environments. http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2002/Feb02/r022802b.html

Further Reading:
Adami, C., C. Ofria and T. C. Collier, 2000. Evolution of biological complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 97(9): 4463-4468. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/97/9/4463 (technical)

Hillis, D. M., J. J. Bull, M. E. White, M. R. Badgett, and I. J. Molineux. 1992. Experimental phylogenetics: generation of a known phylogeny. Science 255: 589-92. (technical)

   
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,14:38   

Quote


PaulK wrote:

The weasel program is presented as a simple example of cumulative selection - the theme of the chapter.  Dawkins does not present it as a model of evolutionary processes.


LOL!  They what the heck does it it present?  

Dawkins writes:
Quote

What about cumulative selection...?   We again use our computer monkey...What matters is the difference between the time taken by cumulative selection, and the time which the same computer, working flat out at the same rate, would take to reach the target phrase if it were forced to use the other porcedure of single-step selection....


If, however, there was any way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences.  As a matter of fact that is exactly what happened on this planet
....
It is amazing that you can still read calculations like my haemoglobin calculation, used as though they constituted arguments against Darwin's theory...the most important ingredient is cumulative selection.


Uh, PaulK, Dawkins uses the computer to illustrate cumulative selection and then says that cumulative selection was exactly what happened, and uses it in the context of Haemoglobin are you missing something?
:D

  
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,14:43   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 14 2005,09:06)
Quote


Claim CB102:
Mutations are random noise; they do not add information. Evolution cannot cause an increase in information.
Source:
AIG, n.d. Creation Education Center. http://www.answersingenesis.org/cec/docs/CvE_report.asp
Response:

  1. It is hard to understand how anyone could make this claim, since anything mutations can do, mutations can undo. Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve. We have observed the evolution of

         * increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
         * increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
         * novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
         * novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

     If these do not qualify as information, then nothing about information is relevant to evolution in the first place.


Steve Uses a strawman.  Where did I say I agreed with Answers in Genesis on no increase of information.

What makes you want to attribute something they said as equivalent to my position?

  
scordova



Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,14:50   

Quote

Dawkins does not say that the weasel program represents how haemoglobin was formed.  Dawkisn says instead that calculations of the probability of haemoglobin evolving which do not take account of the cumulative selection of evolution are wrong.

Dawkins does not state that the selective process in the weasel program is that of evolution - he explicitly states that they are different.




Dawkins uses the computer to illustrate cumulative selection and then uses cumulative selection as an explanation for the haemoglobin's formation circumventing the barrier of random chance.

Quote


The selective forces he invokes for evolution are entirely natural.


The selective forces he invokes are without any empirical basis, he's passing of speculation as absolute fact.  On what basis can he claim that such selective forces existed in the past?   Dawkins only asserts, "As a matter of fact that is exactly what happened on the planet".  

Baseless assertion, and his own WEASEL program showed that for the selective forces to be effective, they had to be designed.  He's presuming nature makes such selective forces, that's pure speculation, and there are good reasons to even reject the speculation.  In either case, he's passing off speculations as empirical facts.  Teaching school kids this is not science education, that's indoctrination and deceptive practice....

  
PaulK



Posts: 37
Joined: June 2004

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,20:26   

Dawkins uses the weasel program as an example of cumulative selection.  Just as your quote says.  Unfortunately for your argument that is all it says - it offers no support for your claims.  Worse for you, as I have shown, Dawkins also explicitly states that the selective mechanism of evolution is different to that in the weasel program on p50.

Thus your argument is based on a misrepresentaion of Dawkins views, explicitly contradicted in the very pages you cited.


As to the rest of your second post:

1) There is no reason to doubt that natural selection was operational in the past.  All the scientific evidence is consistent with such a conclusion.

2) Simply showing that selection can work with design does not prove that it can ONLY work with design.  Your assertion that the weasel program proves the latter is a clear logical error.

None of your assertions - not even your denial of the huge body of scientific evidence supporting evolution - is relevant to the central point of this thread.  

Finally if you really beleive that science education should leave out the mainstream consensus view of the vast majority of working scientists - just because it contradicts your opinions - then I have to say that you obviously have no commitment to good education.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2005,23:39   

hey, there's a reason i call him "slaveador".

... and it's not just his behavior towards Dembski.

he's a slave to his artificial constructs.

he is just to be pitied and waved away.  I've rarely seen him engage in rational discourse, and he seems to be getting more and more unable to do so.  take a look at his "discussion" with lenny in the other thread.

Sal always has and always will be the perfect poster boy for exactly what is wrong with the whole "ID" movement.

All of it's supporters take a narrow view of whatever they see, and are blind to the rest.  Just like PaulK has shown here, as but one very small example, Sal limits his knowledge of Dawkins to the very few lines of text that he thinks supports his artificial constructs, and ignores the rest.

ID would not EXIST at all if it wasn't for the exact mindset and behavior shown by Slaveador here.

I personally think it's a psychological condition, and folks suffering from it should seek medical attention, rather than trying to change laws and invade school boards.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8994
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2005,03:59   

Quote
salvador said:

Quote
The fact that an opinion is widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd.

-- Bertrand Russell
Salvador forgot to mention the context of Russell's quote. The widely held opinion Russell calls absurd refers to christianity.

   
stevestory



Posts: 8994
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2005,04:04   

Also be aware that Salvador manipulated the quote. The real quote is
Quote


"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible."

I understand why Salvador tried to mislead--christianity is a much more widespread belief than evolution.

   
sir_toejam



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2005,08:45   

er, not that evolution is a belief, as it's an entirely observable phenomenon.

  
stevestory



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2005,09:11   

Well, it's not a faith-based belief, but it is a belief in the broad philisophical sense that every statement you consider true is something you believe.

   
J. G. Cox



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Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2005,11:09   

Scordova wrote:
 "On what basis can he claim that such selective forces existed in the past?"

 answer: the principle of uniformitarianism, without which most science is impossible.

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2005,13:01   

Quote (J. G. Cox @ Dec. 15 2005,17:09)
Scordova wrote:
 "On what basis can he claim that such selective forces existed in the past?"

 answer: the principle of uniformitarianism, without which most science is impossible.

MmmHm.
That, and the absolute logical necessity of differential survival of varying replicators in an environment of finite resources.

Sheesh, Sal.

--------------
The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 17 2005,16:01   

I see that, after a long hiatus, Cordova has returned to this thread, but still without addressing the central issues that prompted me to start it:
Quote
specifically what  are the "baseless and erroneous claims" you're referring to?
and
Quote
What, specifically, did your IDEA club communications/information theory students identify as "full of garbage"?


--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
Russell



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 19 2005,07:45   

In light of Cordova's failure to defend his casual calumny, would it be premature to label his bluff called, his number had, and his comportment here an excellent advertisement to avoid like the plague whatever version of religion he credits as his ethical foundation?

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
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