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CNN deep sixes whole science team – remember, these are the people who CARE about science!

Whereas you, like, don’t, m’kay?

This from Curtis Brainerd at Columbia Journalism Review (December 4, 2008)

CNN is not the only television network that has been slashing science jobs. According to The Washington Post, “NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel [last week], axing the entire staff of the “Forecast Earth” environmental program during the middle of NBC’s ‘Green Week,’ as well as several on-camera meteorologists.” Gannett has eliminated roughly 1,800 jobs this week at newspapers around the country, though it’s unclear which beats have been most affected. And Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine recently nixed its bureau in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where NASA launches its rockets and shuttles. Cowing, at NASAWatch, says that he is simply shocked “that at a time when science and technology should be on everybody’s lips, this expertise is suddenly not in demand.”

Remember this, folks, when they tell you that they support Darwinism because they “believe in” science.

If local charities believed in the poor the way these people believe in science, Toronto’s poor would be a bunch of skeletons lining the sidewalks … not a bunch of people with caps out in the street.

Well, at least we can still hear Wolf Blitzer freaking out about supposed apocalypses. My cup runneth over, but not with anything I want to drink.

Also, just up at The Mindful Hack: Read More ›

Expelled!: A chat with Walt Ruloff, plus some thoughts interspersed

Recently, I interviewed Walt Ruloff, the Canadian producer who put serious money into Expelled, a documentary about the ID guys, which I first learned about, perhaps accidentally, in August 2007.*

Any design hypothesis attracts hordes of trolls. So I asked Walt the obvious question, “Would you guys have made the film if you knew how much trouble it was going to be?”

His reply was, “Yes, and we would have done it differently.”

No doubt he would. The Darwinists have all the pop science journalists on auto dial. They need only ring them up and bitch. Indeed, that is precisely what Richard Dawkins did. One might have expected a professor of the public understanding of science (Dawkins’s most recent job) to prefer a life in science rather than in soap opera, but people do what they can, not what they can’t.

For me, the big question is, why didn’t Walt Ruloff know all this? Why didn’t he talk to anyone who could tell him what everyone knows: Legacy media simply cannot give a fair hearing to the question of whether design is part of the makeup of our universe.

Hundreds of sniffy film critics had to enter the fray against his film, no matter what it was like. . They don’t know anything at all about the science, but they do know that there is no design in the universe. It was interesting and instructive to note that many critics made use of anti-Expelled resources supplied by the Darwin lobby. Showing the flag, I guess.

In later posts, I will comment in more detail on the role of legacy media in preventing informed discussion, but for now briefly: The dying establishment media were not always the red ink-a-sauruses we see today. They were once young and vibrant. Of course, they grew up with and imbibed materialism, often the crass know-nothing materialism that underlies pop science media articles like this one, the target of much well-justified criticism. But the people who honestly believe the worldview that underlies such articles know that they are justified in asking no questions, and assuming that Ruloff and Ben Stein “must” be lying. And plenty of boozy wakes for dead ideas await them.

So, of course, Ruloff’s film – while it did reasonably well in sales (#5 in political documentaries and #6 in DVD documentaries as I write this, 8:48 am EST) – was trashed by “cool” critics, including many Christian ones. Read More ›

Neurosurgeon: Evolutionary medicine = ad-hoc and untestable guesses

I recently watched a PowerPoint presentation that neurosurgeon Michael Egnor gave at Birmingham, Alabama last month on “why we got eugenics.” He said pretty clearly something that I have been driving at for some time:

Evolutionary explanations are merely stories appended to the proximate (scientific) explanations. They contribute nothing to the scientific understanding of the disease beyond the contribution of the proximate explanations.

Evolutionary stories are ad-hoc and generally untestable guesses, and offer no meaningful framework for science. The proximate explanations (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, etc.) are the framework for science.

Strategies for disease treatment and prevention depend on data from the relevant medical sciences, not on speculative stories about origins.

Darwinian medicine is scientifically vacuous, and the Darwinian theory of human origins is the antithesis of human exceptionalism and human dignity.

Of course. The whole concept of evolutionary medicine is a waste of time for a very simple reason: Read More ›

The nature of life and design detection

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a motorcycle when he spotted a well known heart surgeon in his shop. The surgeon was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike. The mechanic shouted across the garage,

“Hey Doc, can I ask you a question?”

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked,

“So, Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take valves out, fix ’em, put ’em back in and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?”

The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over and whispered to the mechanic …

“Try doing it with the engine running!”

So why can’t the patient’s system just be shut down the way a machine is turned off? Doctors can indeed place a person’s body on bypass, in a technical state of death, but they must in reality keep it alive. Once the cells die, the hope of recovery ends – and that is especially significant for brain cells. So the body cannot really just be shut off, the way a machine can.

From the pseudonymous Mike Gene’s The Design Matrix: A Consilience of Clues: Read More ›

What aspect of life on the Earth requires supernatural powers?

Some people who support ID doggedly hold that life on the planet earth requires a supernatural agency to make it happen. Others who don’t support ID also doggedly hold that ID requires a supernatural agency. I’ve asked, many times, what is it about the construction of organic life on this planet that requires supernatural intelligence to make it happen? What laws of physics or chemistry must be violated to produce any aspect of any living organism thus far examined? I admit that the origination and diversification of organic life on the earth seems best explained by participation at some point or points by an intelligent agency but I don’t see where a supernatural intelligent agency able to bend or break Read More ›

Design Detection Reported on CBS’s 60 Minutes

This evening the CBS News show 60 Minutes reported on an impressive example of design detection in the on-line poker world.    Online gambling has grown in a few short years to a 16 billion dollar a year industry, and a big part of that growth has come from internet poker.  Recently several professional gamblers at one of the larger internet poker sites, Ultimatebet.com, noticed that some of their opponents were playing extremely poorly, yet winning consistently.  They suspected cheating.    One of the professionals obtained tracking data on one of the suspected cheaters, and after running the numbers determined that the suspect’s winning hand percentage was 13 standard deviations away from the mean percentage.  This is equivalent to winning Read More ›

Judge Jones and the double standard

In the Kitzmiller vs. Dover decision the honorable Judge Jones writes (or rather, to be more accurate, regurgitates from the complainants): While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science. This self-imposed convention of science, which limits inquiry to testable, natural explanations about the natural world, is referred to by philosophers as “methodological naturalism” and is sometimes known as the scientific method. Methodological naturalism is a “ground rule” of science today which requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify. If only this was true. If this were the true ground rule of modern science then how is it that the chance Read More ›

Stuff that should be a joke, but Brit toffs are fronting it, so …

Jennifer Gold reports for Christian Today (November 24, 2008) that The results of a new poll out today by faith-based think tank Theos have revealed that eight in 10 people in Britain are unaware that 2009 marks two major Charles Darwin anniversaries. Across the country, special events and celebrations are being planned for next year to mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth on 12 February and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species on 24 November. Yet the results of the ComRes poll out today reveal that only 21 per cent of the population are aware of the two anniversaries. The publication of the results coincides with the unveiling of a programme of major events Read More ›

Children are born with a belief in God

Researchers from Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind have found evidence that children are predisposed to believe in God or a supreme being. This is because of a natural assumption that everything in the world exists for a purpose and was therefore created. Dr Justin Barrett was reported in the UKs Daily Telegraph as saying that young children appear to have an inherent faith even when it has not been taught to them by family or school. Even children raised on a desert island without any external infuence would start out with a belief in God. Commenting on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said “The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown Read More ›

Anthropology: It’s now down to Darwinism vs. humanism – does mind matter?

Get a load of this: Today, anthropology is at war with itself. The discipline has divided into two schools of thought – the social anthropologists and the evolutionary anthropologists. The schism between the two is simple but deeply ingrained. Academics in the subject clearly align themselves with one side or the other; once that choice is made it defines their career. The division lies in the question of whether or not anthropology is a science, and if it accepts that Darwinian evolutionary theory guides research into human behaviour and the development of societies. In other words, Darwinism is once again spreading its malign influence into some hapless discipline. Personally, I would ask one single, simple question of anyone who wants Read More ›

Now Materialists Are Trying to Turn Occam’s Razor On Its Head

 Give me a break will ya.  In their feverish efforts to prop up the teetering materialist paradigm, to justify the unjustifiable, our materialist friends have now resorted to saying, essentially, black is white.  In a recent post a commenter turns Occam’s Razor on its head when he states:


It is a common misconception among ID supporters that scientists deliberately defy Occam’s Razor and pursue multiverse theories simply because they are uncomfortable with the idea of a designer.  This is false.


The commenter cites physicist Aurélien Barrau in support.  In this article Barrau states:


In any case, it is important to underline that the multiverse is not a hypothesis invented to answer a specific question.  It is simply a consequence of a theory usually built for another purpose. Interestingly, this consequence also solves many complexity and naturalness problems.  In most cases, it even seems that the existence of many worlds is closer to Ockham’s razor (the principle of simplicity) than the ad hoc assumptions that would have to be added to models to avoid the existence of other universes.


The sheer presumption, the overweening fatuity, of these statements (both the commenter’s and Barrau’s) beggars belief.  One must conclude that either they simply have no idea what Occam’s Razor means or they are deliberately trying to distort its meaning to support their conclusion.  I suspect the latter.


So, to set things straight, we will discuss first, what the Razor means, and secondly how it applies to the multiverse. Read More ›

More ridiculous Darwin hagiography …

Darwin was a classic Brit toff of his generation – crumpets and tea and genteel unbelief sat well with administering the parish church. Indeed. British physicist David Tyler tells us,  In an informative essay, Janet Browne reflects on three Darwin commemorations: his funeral in Westminster Abbey, the 1909 centennial and the 1959 celebration. Each grasped the “opportunity to push an agenda, and even to adapt the past, so telling us what we like best to hear”.  For sure. I defy anyone to read this ridiculous hagiography, and not realize that something is fundamentally wrong with the Darwin picture. Are people really expected to sit through this in museums? (I guess so. But if they walk out, good for them!) Still, don’t Read More ›

Peppered Moth Idolatry

The venerable peppered moth (Biston betularia) has popped up a couple of times in recent posts.  It seems that some of our Darwinian commenters (see, e.g., qwerty017 in comment [2] here) have not gotten the memo – the peppered moth myth has been completely exploded.  Don’t take our word for it.  Uber-Darwinist Jerry Coyne says in the November 1998 edition of Nature:  “For the time being we must discard Biston as a well-understood example of natural selection in action.”  Why else would the popular school text Biology pull its discussion of Biston as an example of “evolution in action”?


My purpose in this post is not, however, to re-hash the vast debunking literature.  Instead, when I did a brief internet search on the subject I was intrigued by an astonishing display of Darwinian “It’s just gotta be” psychology on display in this New Scientist article.  Read More ›

Not just aliens: The multiverse has gotta be out there too!

According to Tim Folger in Discover Magazine (November 10, 2008), “Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator:” is “the Multiverse Theory.”

The staggering challenge is to think of a way to confirm the existence of other universes when every conceivable experiment or observation must be confined to our own. Does it make sense to talk about other universes if they can never be detected?

[ … ]

The credibility of string theory and the multiverse may get a boost within the next year or two, once physicists start analyzing results from the Large Hadron Collider, the new, $8 billion particle accelerator built on the Swiss-French border. If string theory is right, the collider should produce a host of new particles. There is even a small chance that it may find evidence for the mysterious extra dimensions of string theory. “If you measure something which confirms certain elaborations of string theory, then you’ve got indirect evidence for the multiverse,” says Bernard Carr, a cosmologist at Queen Mary University of London.

[ … ]

When I ask Linde whether physicists will ever be able to prove that the multiverse is real, he has a simple answer. “Nothing else fits the data,” he tells me. “We don’t have any alternative explanation for the dark energy; we don’t have any alternative explanation for the smallness of the mass of the electron; we don’t have any alternative explanation for many properties of particles.

“What I am saying is, look at it with open eyes. These are experimental facts, and these facts fit one theory: the multiverse theory. They do not fit any other theory so far. I’m not saying these properties necessarily imply the multiverse theory is right, but you asked me if there is any experimental evidence, and the answer is yes. It was Arthur Conan Doyle who said, ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

A story like this leaves me with three key questions:

1. What is the likelihood – given that the article makes clear that so much is speculative – that small amounts of ambiguous data will be over-interpreted and professions of faith in the multiverse demanded – the way Darwinian evolutionists must believe in the Peppered Myth. In that case, the data are ambiguous, but the call to conversion is not.

It is overwhelmingly clear is that most of the people interviewed have an emotional aversion to the idea of design in our universe, which would make them unreliable judges of ambiguous data from the Large Hadron Collider (which is currently out of commission for a couple of months due to a superconductor failure).

2. The mantra “we don’t have any alternative … ” is downright spooky. It sounds like these people are preparing themselves to interpret anything they do find as evidence for what they need to believe.

3. If they do not find anything that even they can interpret as evidence for a multiverse, does that count against the theory or must it be true anyway? (I fear I know the answer to that one. It likely means building an even bigger Collider … )
Note: If you like this and other related posts archived at Colliding Universes, you can vote for Colliding Unverses at the Canadian Blogger Awards, sci-tech division. Vote early, vote often, and vote for me, of course.
See also: No escape from philosophy through equations?
Now, remind me again why we need this multiverse theory in the first place …
Letter: Multiverses are nonsense but so is much contemporary physics, plus … Read More ›

Some Thanks for Professor Olofsson

I’m halfway through mathematics Professor Peter Olofsson’s essay titled Probability, Statistics, Evolution, and Intelligent Design which originally appeared in the journal Chance. The first thing I want to thank PO for is stating this early on: Although [religion] is of interest in its own right, in fairness to ID proponents, it should be pointed out that many of them do not employ religious arguments against evolution and this article does not deal with issues of faith and religion. The second thing I’d like to thank him for is describing ID as a valid scientific hypothesis in the discussion of the explanatory filter and the flagellum. PO brings up the same argument I’ve always pointed out when he talks about the Read More ›