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Dr. William Dembski at ID The Future

Dr. William Dembski was recently interviewed by Casey Luskin at Intelligent Design The Future. The Design of Life: What the Evidence of Biological Syste… Intelligent Design The Future Dembski’s The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence in Biological Systems is discussed, which he coauthored with biologist Dr. Jonathan Wells. The question discussed is whether the appearance of design in biological systems is an illusion, as Richard Dawkins contends, or whether it is real. Dembski and Wells’ informative book give evidence that design in biological systems is indeed real. Biological systems appear designed because they actually are designed.

Climategate at Wikipedia vs. Conservapedia

Go here for Wikipedia’s treatment of Climategate and here for Conservapedia’s treatment of it. True to form, Wikipedia argues that the hacking of the CRU server changes nothing. Conservapedia, by contrast, treats Climategate as further confirmation that AGW is a ruse. Interesting is the following quote from their Climategate article: It was reported that, despite Climategate related pages being the most-read articles of the UK’s Telegraph entire online operation, mysteriously when attempting to search using Google -– it didn’t feature links related to Climategate.[67] James Delingpole from the Telegraph noted, “Instead, the top-featured item is a blogger pushing Al Gore’s AGW agenda. Perhaps there’s nothing sinister in this. Perhaps some Google-savvy reader can enlighten me.”[68] Google.com has been accused before Read More ›

“The Known Universe”

Here’s a fun video produced by the American Museum of Natural History:

Climategate: If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the freezer

Yes, there has definitely been a chill around climate science in recent weeks. Brrr!!

Patrick J. Michaels, who used to study and write about climate, comments on Climategate:

After Messrs. Jones and Mann threatened a boycott of publications and reviews, half the editorial board of Climate Research resigned. People who didn’t toe Messrs. Wigley, Mann and Jones’s line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results.

This happened to me and to the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer, who also hypothesized that global warming is likely to be modest. Others surely stopped trying, tiring of summary rejections of good work by editors scared of the mob. Sallie Baliunas, for example, has disappeared from the scientific scene.

GRL is a very popular refereed journal. Mr. Wigley was concerned that one of the editors was “in the skeptics camp.” He emailed Michael Mann to say that “if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official . . . channels to get him ousted.”

Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Wigley on Nov. 20, 2005 that “It’s one thing to lose ‘Climate Research.’ We can’t afford to lose GRL.” In this context, “losing” obviously means the publication of anything that they did not approve of on global warming.

Soon the suspect editor, Yale’s James Saiers, was gone. Mr. Mann wrote to the CRU’s Phil Jones that “the GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership there.”

It didn’t stop there. Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory complained that the Royal Meteorological Society (RMS) was now requiring authors to provide actual copies of the actual data that was used in published papers. He wrote to Phil Jones on March 19, 2009, that “If the RMS is going to require authors to make ALL data available—raw data PLUS results from all intermediate calculations—I will not submit any further papers to RMS journals.” (Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2009)

Now, in assessing Climategate, I must begin by making clear that I have no axe to grind. The planet could be warming up, and human activity could be partly responsible. I am all for ecology; I just wish most of the people fronting environmentalism in my zone were not fashionable urbanites who can’t imagine that our ecology, which has existed since the close of the last local Ice Age , may be sturdier than they think. 

To say nothing of  ambitious politicos looking to gain power that a constitutional monarchy or republic would not normally permit.

Actually, according to the Canadian Museum of Nature, we – at any rate – are still in an Ice Age (Quaternary Period). Well, that maybe explains why we don’t grow bananas here, though we import plenty.

Meanwhile, here’s another of the burgeoning mass of stories on the Climategate scam: Read More ›

Signature in the Cell: Darwinist demands to rewrite product copy

But why should that be a surprise? Of course, Darwinists don’t want anyone to read Signature in the Cell. Darwinism is a tax-funded origins cult, especially noxious in countries like the United States and Canada, which do not have and – for good reasons* – do not want established religions.

Yes, I have in my files a recent brownbagged letter, written to Amazon by a Darwinist, demanding that the editorial description of Signature be altered to reflect Darwinist bias.

Some useless flunky actually assured the Darwinist that these changes would indeed be made.

When I protested, I received an insulting e-mail assuring me that the ‘Zon guys understand that I might be upset, but that Amazon does not “support or promote hatred or criminal acts.”

Upset? That doesn’t cover the half of it.

I am a Canadian free speech journalist. A minor one to be sure but we have been kicking butt up and down the country with benighted sons of ditches like him, and their arrogant bosses.

I have had a good relationship with the ‘Zon over the years, and sold many books for them. But … if they cave to some aggrieved Darwin scammer – just another tax burden, really – I am transferring all my business to Barnes & Noble, and I recommend that all good citizens do the same.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with me about Darwinism. Why on earth should these people have dictatorial rights over a private company’s business?

Oh wait, if you are a Darwinist, maybe you know that you are right, and you should rule, and that no one must be permitted to simply publish a book showing that your theories are inadequate to nature, without your interference.

Well then, the remaining good citizens must step into the breach. Read More ›

Neuroscience and popular culture: How much are journalists to blame for pop science culture?

Don’t blame journalists, says Jonah Lehrer here on the reporting of science. He makes some excellent points:

Scientists are almost never subjected to critical coverage in the mainstream media. Quick: name the last newspaper or magazine article that dared to criticize or skeptically analyze a piece of published research. If you had trouble thinking of an article, it’s because it almost never happens. And this isn’t because science is perfect. As a JAMA study reported last year, almost a third of medical studies published in the most prestigious journals are wrong. Flat out false. These are the same studies that get that get faithfully recited in our daily newspapers day after day. This gullible reporting stands in sharp contrast to the way scientists actually perceive things. When I talk to scientists, I’m always impressed by the way they criticize the research of their peers. To take a recent example: a few weeks ago I spent over an hour listening to a neuroeconomist elegantly dissect a very influential fMRI study. (Other scientists subsequently echoed his criticisms.) And yet this same study has been covered extensively in the press, with nary a hint of skepticism. The fact is, science journalists suffer from an excess of politeness. We are intimidated by all the acronyms, and forget to ask difficult questions. But this is our duty. Most researchers, after all, are funded by tax dollars. They have an obligation to explain their research to the public.

He recommends that we stop letting science journals control the flow of news. I agree, except that in areas like “evolutionary psychology,” public funding usually means a licence to propound whatever you want, and call it science. Anyway, assuming we all agree that this situation is a problem – in the phrase of the old folk tale – who will put the bell on the cat?

Look, I am a science journalist myself, and I say yes, blame science journalists. Too many of us just do not even think to ask enough of the right questions about too many stories.

In fairness, when we do ask, as Lehrer implies, we run into problems. Read More ›

Russia affected by Climategate

The Russians apparently don’t know when to just play ball with these Climatologists who manipulate data attempting to evidence Global Warming. It seems that the tribalism of Climatologists, the political motivation desperate to prove Anthropogenic Global Warming,  is lost on them. An article at RIONOVOSTI rep0rts that the Russians are also claiming that UK Climatologists have manipulated their climate data.

Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory.

Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports.

Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

Read More ›

Himmelfarb on Darwin: An Enduring Perspective After 50 Years, Part 4

Since writing Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Gertrude Himmelfarb has moved on to treat a wide range of topics. Nevertheless, her influence as an especially cogent historian of the man and his theory continues. A few have taken notice. Margaret A. Fay, for example, mentions her “insightful and lucid analysis.”1Philosopher/theologian Edward T. Oakes, S.J., PhD, wrote: “I awoke from my own Darwinian dogmatic slumbers only late in life, when I first read Gertrude Himmelfarb’s tour de force of a biography . . . .”2 M. D. Aeschliman’s Angels, apes, and men praised her “devastating” critique for exposing “the internal inconsistencies and willful obfuscations that have characterized Darwinism from the beginning,” yet noted the conspicuous neglect of her work by those suspiciously interested in promoting the Darwin brand.

Neglected perhaps but not without opportunites for exposition. Four years ago the publication of edited compilations of Darwin’s works, E. O. Wilson’s From So Simple a Beginning: The Four Great Books of Charles Darwin and James D. Watson’s The Indelible Stamp: The Evolution of an Idea, offered treatments by two of this “tormented” evolutionist’s most adoring fans and the occasion for a reply by Ms. Himmelfarb.

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Uncommon Descent Contest Question 15: Can Darwinism – or any evolution theory – help us predict life on other planets? – Winner announced

This one is for people interested in theories about life on other planets.

At Britain’s Telegraph (November 04, 2009), Tom Chivers advises that “Darwinian evolutionary theory will help find alien life, says Nasa scientist.”

We learn two competing views:

And so the limits of Darwinian evolution will define the range of planets that can support life – at least Earth-like life.”


… alien life may not be entirely Earth-like. Dr Baross said: “I’d like to point out there are many different ways for non-Earth-like life to not use light or chemical energy but use some other form like radiation energy, wave energy, or ultraviolet energy.”

And then how can we know that they proceed by Darwinian evolution?

More “here.

So, for a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD, about the uniqueness of Earth, provide the clearest and most useful answer to this question: Would any theory about the evolution of life on Earth predict the course of life on other planets, and if so which one and why? More re contest here.

Before I announce the winner, I would like to thank Access Research Network for kindly offering a shelf of books by mathematician David Berlinski – a self-confessed Darwin skeptic and widely enjoyed wit – as prizes for future contests. You can view their catalogue here.

The winner is Read More ›

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 14: Is backwards or forwards time travel really possible? Winner announced

This was another one for physics buffs. Contest 13, here, asked: “The Large Hadron Collider is back up and running, but why?” The question there was whether what we would learn is worth nine billion dollars. Two physicists have suggested that Hadron’s woes are due to particles travelling back in time. Their theory has been received with the amusement one might expect, but it raises an interesting question, one that is a staple of sci-fi literature – is forward or backward time travel possible, even for particles?

This time the question was:

For a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD, about the unique position of Earth, provide the clearest answer to this second question: Is backwards or forwards time travel really possible, even for particles? Why or why not? What are the consequences if it is true?

Before I announce the winner, I would like to thank Access Research Network for kindly offering a shelf of books by mathematician David Berlinski – a self-confessed Darwin skeptic and widely enjoyed wit – as prizes for future contests. You can view their catalogue here.

The winner is: Read More ›

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 13: The Large Hadron Collider is back up and running, but why? Winners announced.

Here’s the contest (excerpt follows)”

This one is for physics buffs. The Large Hadron Collider (called by some the God Machine) has suffered considerable woe recently – most recently when a passing bird dropped a piece of bread on it, though it appears to be back up and running.

Go here for the rest. Basically, two physicists suggested that time travel on the part of the Higgs boson might explain that:

A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

So the question was,

For a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD, about the unique position of Earth, provide the clearest answer the following question: Nine billion dollars and 15 years later, what is the Large Hadron Collider likely to tell us that is worth the cost and trouble?

Before I announce the winner, I would like to thank Access Research Network for kindly offering a shelf of books by mathematician David Berlinski – a self-confessed Darwin skeptic and widely enjoyed wit – as prizes for future contests. You can view their catalogue here.

The winners (both of whom must provide me with a valid postal address at oleary@sympatico.ca, in order to receive their prizes) are Read More ›

Himmelfarb on Darwin: An Enduring Perspective After 50 Years, Part 3

In this the third installment on Himmelfarb’s analysis of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, its rise to an ideological ism, its social application, and the nature of the so-called “Darwinian revolution” are discussed. Those interested in the earlier posts should refer to 12/14 for part 1 and 12/15 for part 2.

Himmelfarb’s chapter on Darwinism opens by observing that when applied to a variety of social contexts it could have a “free and loose” translation which provided the added advantage of giving it “license to a variety of social gospels” (p. 412). Applied to many social issues, Darwinism was ambiguous. Darwinism, for example, could argue against slavery, the greatest endorsement of which came from Darwin himself who was an outspoken critic of this “peculiar institution.” Recently Adrian Desmond and James Moore elevated this to a motivating factor for Darwin’s theory in their Darwin’s Sacred Cause. The thesis is plausible, after all, Darwin’s Origin was written and published when the slavery controversy (which the British Empire had abolished earlier in 1833) raged in America.  But as Himmelfarb points out the implications of Darwin’s evolutionary theory could be taken in other ways:

Read More ›

Climategate: Why Those Emails Are Lethal

There’s an interesting article by Melanie Phillips at Spectator about why the emails from East Anglia, which sparked “Climategate,” really do change things. This is, of course, contrary to the assertion of folks like Al Gore who claim that the matter is settled and that these emails aren’t important to the whole situation. In reality these findings do change things, so one must wonder who is the denier now? Who is denying reality? It doesn’t seem to be the folks that deny Anthropic Global Warming, rather it is the scientists that steadfastly hold to AGW when it cannot be evidenced to be occurring. I would much rather deny AGW than deny reality and change reality to fit my notion of AGW, as these scientists have done. This is what comes to light in these emails. Changing reality.

In the Mail on Sunday, David Rose has dug into the email correspondence at the heart of the East Anglia CRU ‘Climate-gate’ scandal and found that, far from being a few carelessly written messages taken out of context, they are – surprise, surprise — a game-changer. He writes correctly that they strike at the very heart of anthropogenic global warming theory by showing that the ‘evidence’ that post-industrial revolution temperatures are unprecedented is a manufactured fiction – and that at least some of these scientists, themselves at the very heart of promulgating AGW theory, knew perfectly well that the evidence did not support their claims.

Read More ›

Coffee!! Marxists celebrate Darwin, denounce design – and line up all afternoon for sausages, unless they are Party members, in which case …

Oh, wait. The Marxists who sponsor this site probably live in an oppressive capitalist state where one can just go buy sausages on the way home from work. Beef, pork, turkey, veggie, stuff I couldn’t even name … Anyhow, in this year of all years when tax burdens celebrate Darwin, Marxists pile in. A friend points me to this: November marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. This book revolutionised thinking about the living world because for the first time it provided an explanation for the evolution of species, something that was long suspected by scientists. Darwin’s simple idea  change by natural selection  is arguably the single most important foundation-stone upon Read More ›