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Is The Skeptical Zone an instance of Internet III?

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Tooling around looking for news, I came across this post, which Barry wrote about a site called The Skeptical Zone (TSZ):

The site has a sort of symbiotic relationship with UD, because many, if not most, of the posts there key off our posts here.

Wow. This must really be Internet III.

Used to be that booted trolls would found solo blogs to rant about us for a few weeks, and then (one guesses) turn sixteen, get a job at the car wash legally, and discover what “the value of one’s time” means. TSZ seems really organized by comparison.

While we are here, a regular commenter who would probably really enjoy TSZ, if he doesn’t visit it already, appended a comment to “Are we and rats powerless against the urge to stuff ourselves with Oreos?”, to the effect in part that:

At no point in the published material do they claim that we (or rats) are powerless against our urge to stuff ourselves with Oreos.

But we hold on to the hope that our longtime commenter is not nearly so naive as to believe what he is saying. Indeed, one of the explicit purposes of such research (otherwise, why bother?) is to identify evidence that disapproved foods act like drugs, reducing our control over our actions.

Intrusive legislation follows, of course, and that was part of Satel’s point in the original post.

When former New York mayor Bloomberg tried banning large size soda pop, for the good of citizens, an evolutionary biologist chimed in, announcing that we evolved to need coercion.

Presumably, we have all turned out to be nutritionally reckless because there was no paleolithic Nanny Bloomberg to supervise us.

Worse, U.S. judges (judges!) have shown themselves to be creationist denialists after all. They have driven Nanny Bloomberg’s law to extinction.

As for TSZ, as Barry noted, skepticism of the faculty lounge’s received opinion is no more likely a goal of theirs than constitutional liberty is a goal of the “soda ban” mayor or his friendly neighbourhood evolutionary biologist.

It’s too bad in a way because “skepticism” used to be a meaningful word.

Note: “Evolved to need coercion” is, by contrast, a repulsive concept in this universe or any other that may happen to exist.

10 Replies to “Is The Skeptical Zone an instance of Internet III?

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    Nice post. Darwinian evolution exists as a “viable” theory only through coercion by self-appointed tyrannical nannies.

  2. 2
    vikingmom says:

    The first comment by Mapou above is so well worded, all I can say is “Agree!”

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    The majority of the people at the Skeptical Zone are anything but. I’ve yet to see the least amount of skepticism from them in their unquestioned faith that blind material processes can build the unfathomed levels of complexity we are finding in life.

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – published online May 2013
    Excerpt: In the last decade, we have discovered still another aspect of the multi- dimensional genome. We now know that DNA sequences are typically “ poly-functional” [38]. Trifanov previously had described at least 12 genetic codes that any given nucleotide can contribute to [39,40], and showed that a given base-pair can contribute to multiple overlapping codes simultaneously. The first evidence of overlapping protein-coding sequences in viruses caused quite a stir, but since then it has become recognized as typical. According to Kapronov et al., “it is not unusual that a single base-pair can be part of an intricate network of multiple isoforms of overlapping sense and antisense transcripts, the majority of which are unannotated” [41]. The ENCODE project [42] has confirmed that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in higher genomes, wherein a given DNA sequence routinely encodes multiple overlapping messages, meaning that a single nucleotide can contribute to two or more genetic codes. Most recently, Itzkovitz et al. analyzed protein coding regions of 700 species, and showed that virtually all forms of life have extensive overlapping information in their genomes [43].,,,
    Conclusions: Our analysis confirms mathematically what would seem intuitively obvious – multiple overlapping codes within the genome must radically change our expectations regarding the rate of beneficial mutations. As the number of overlapping codes increases, the rate of potential beneficial mutation decreases exponentially, quickly approaching zero. Therefore the new evidence for ubiquitous overlapping codes in higher genomes strongly indicates that beneficial mutations should be extremely rare. This evidence combined with increasing evidence that biological systems are highly optimized, and evidence that only relatively high-impact beneficial mutations can be effectively amplified by natural selection, lead us to conclude that mutations which are both selectable and unambiguously beneficial must be vanishingly rare. This conclusion raises serious questions. How might such vanishingly rare beneficial mutations ever be sufficient for genome building? How might genetic degeneration ever be averted, given the continuous accumulation of low impact deleterious mutations?
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

    ‘It’s becoming extremely problematic to explain how the genome could arise and how these multiple levels of overlapping information could arise, since our best computer programmers can’t even conceive of overlapping codes. The genome dwarfs all of the computer information technology that man has developed. So I think that it is very problematic to imagine how you can achieve that through random changes in the code.,,, and there is no Junk DNA in these codes. More and more the genome looks likes a super-super set of programs.,, More and more it looks like top down design and not just bottom up chance discovery of making complex systems.’ –
    Dr. John Sanford
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....dM_s#t=31s

    Skepticism properly exercised would demand some pretty convincing evidence that blind material processes can generate multiple levels of overlapping coding that our best programmers cannot even conceive of, but what do we get from the supposed skeptics of the skeptical zone? Not a peep! No matter what evidence is presented to them, unguided evolution is the unquestioned answer for how such highly integrated coding came about. Even though these ‘skeptics’ have not one example that they can point of blind material processes generating such integrated complexity:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations)
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    and even the supposed beneficial mutations of Lenski’s bacteria were not truly beneficial:

    Richard Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiments with E. coli and the Origin of New Biological Information – September 2011
    Excerpt: The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski’s research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT.
    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51051.html

    Basically, Darwinists/The Skeptical Zone cannot show any convincing evidence whatsoever for even the first few baby steps towards building the unfathomed levels of integrated coding being found in biological life.,,, And yet the skeptics of the skeptical zone accept that all life happened by blind material processes without the slightest hint of doubt. In fact many Darwinists/Skeptics are well known for the deep hostility they harbor for anyone who doubts their unfounded materialistic beliefs!,,, Thus, true skepticism was never welcome in ‘The Skeptical Zone’ in the first place! Like many other things in Darwinism, the name ‘the skeptical zone’ itself turns out to be a deception of the way things truly are.

  4. 4
    Alan Fox says:

    The site has a sort of symbiotic relationship with UD, because many, if not most, of the posts there key off our posts here.

    Well, we’re keeping a watchful eye on you. So long as “Intelligent Design” Creationism continues to advance in the Italian fashion, that’s all we need to do. 🙂

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Fox states:

    Well, we’re keeping a watchful eye on you. So long as “Intelligent Design” Creationism continues to advance in the Italian fashion, that’s all we need to do.

    Yet,,,

    Nearly HALF of Americans believe in creationism – 2012
    Excerpt: About 46 percent of people say creationism explains the origin of humans.
    About 32 percent of Americans believe in so-called ‘Intelligent Design’,,,
    In all, 78 percent say God played a role in the development of the human race.
    Just 15 percent say humans evolved without the assistance of God, a Gallup poll finds.
    The number of creationists has actually gone up since Gallup began conducting the survey in 1982.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....ution.html

    So if Intelligent Design and/or Creationism continues to be the majority opinion in America, despite the valiant attempts at disinformation, slander, and ‘EXPELLING’, you and yours have put into denying the truth for the past century and a half, then you and yours will be content to just lie, slander, and ruin lives as you have done? Well how mighty generous of you? But if you don’t mind me asking, what oh what will you guys do if the numbers don’t go your way besides just telling lies, slandering hinest people, and ruining careers?

    EXPELLED – Starring Ben Stein – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-BDc3wu81U

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

    Slaughter of the Dissidents – Dr. Jerry Bergman – June 2013 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v5nAYU2GD0

    Will you atheists start shooting people if the numbers continue to go against you? Actually that is what I’m afraid of if atheists ever grow in numbers and gain real political power in this country!

    If You Thought Religion was a Bad Idea…Check Out Atheism – Kirk Durston – June, 2012
    Excerpt: To summarize why purely atheistic societies are so dangerous, they not only killed for the cause of advancing a purely atheistic society, but their moral guardrail has no grounds. Thus, extraordinary democide can result, because a portable, hand carried moral guardrail is no guardrail at all.
    http://powertochange.com/wp-co.....s-2012.pdf

    Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union
    Excerpt: Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, Christianity was suppressed and persecuted to different extents depending on the particular era. Soviet policy toward religion was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religion.[1]

    The state was committed to the destruction of religion,[2][3] and destroyed churches, mosques and temples, ridiculed, harassed and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with atheistic teachings, and generally promoted atheism as the truth that society should accept.[4][5] The total number of Christian victims of Soviet state atheist policies, has been estimated to range between 12-20 millions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P......80.931928

    Music and Verse:

    Skillet – Awake and Alive
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aJUnltwsqs

    Luke 6:44
    Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.

  6. 6
    Mark Frank says:

    I usually try to avoid talking about people on this forum but as the OP is aimed fairly squarely at people including me I am going to indulge.

    I am guessing that News in this case is Denyse because there is a lot of innuendo and discussion of motives and people and very little straightforward statement of facts. 

    I wrote:

    At no point in the published material do they claim that we (or rats) are powerless against our urge to stuff ourselves with Oreos.

    I may be wrong. That is easily demonstrated by quoting the place in the published material where the claim is made. What we get instead is:

    Indeed, one of the explicit purposes of such research (otherwise, why bother?) is to identify evidence that disapproved foods act like drugs, reducing our control over our actions.

    This does not contradict what I wrote but Denyse, being an experienced journalist, knows how to give that impression by:

    * equating reduced control and powerless 

    * talking about such research instead of this particular piece of research by a bunch of kids

    * vaguely referring to explicit purposes (if they are explicit then they should be written somewhere – reference please).
    As to the question – why bother? Well we could try reading what they wrote in the press release:

    In a study designed to shed light on the potential addictiveness of high-fat/ high-sugar foods

    i.e. to find out how addictive such foods are. As it happens I think the criticisms of the experiment are well founded for scientific reasons – but hey it was a student project and the publicity got out of hand (tough on the rats though to sacrifice themselves to dubious science)

    PS – I am long standing contributor to TSZ and spend more time there than here as the debate is more open, straightforward and less repetitive. Several UD regulars also post there quite frequently and unlike UD they are in no danger of being banned or moderated on account of their views or arguments.

    PPS Would that I were sixteen, but as it happens I am almost the same age as you are.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: AF has basically been around UD since its beginning. That he — after much, well-merited correction — still insists on using a malicious and inaccurate conflation of design theory with creationism speaks sad volumes on not only want of basic respect for others, but also on want of even more fundamental integrity and exposes a toxic rhetorical intent to poison the well. That speaks volumes about what we are up against, and on the worldview-cultural agendas involved with evolutionary materialism and its fellow traveller ideologies. All of which are of course are on all too revealing display at TSZ. $0.02 KF

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    MF:

    Methinks we need to consider the contrast: habituating, vs addictive.

    Many things can induce us into unhealthy or dangerous habits, and such habits can be psycho-socially and even spiritually enmeshing and entangling — consider the phrase: comfort foods, or drowning one’s sorrows in one’s cups — but that is very different from actual, objective chemical addiction. Where also, even mild chemical dependencies (I think here, coffee) can be managed through self discipline.

    For, there is such a thing as the discipline of moderation that leads to self control, AKA temperance.

    And in turn, that points to how we are more than merely biochemical machines, produced, programmed and controlled by blind mechanical forces. That underlying presumption that is far too pervasive in our day, is inherently self refuting, but is institutionally enforced by a dominant ideology and its thought police. It leads to a fundamentally flawed vision of humanity and enables those who are all too eager to use such to enable THEIR addictive pattern: dominance over others through abuse of powers of government, here in the form of the overbearing nanny state.

    As in, what Plato warned against so long ago in The Laws, Bk X, as what evolutionary materialism opens the door to:

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily “scientific” view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them.

    KF

    PS: TSZ is — as has repeatedly been shown — little more than a nest of willful slanderers and enablers of slander. What I just had to call out AF on is a classic in point.

  9. 9
    Mark Frank says:

    By the way – can News or anyone explain what is meant by Internet III in the OP? I have heard of Web 3.0 but that is refers to the semantic web.

  10. 10
    jstanley01 says:

    News wrote:

    Used to be that booted trolls would found solo blogs to rant about us for a few weeks, and then (one guesses) turn sixteen, get a job at the car wash legally, and discover what “the value of one’s time” means.

    In light of which, a couple of cliches spring to mind.

    “Too much time on their hands,” obviously. “Get a life,” for another, although in some unknown number of specific instances it may be more precisely a matter of, “Get a job,” as cozy as mom’s basement may be after straining ones’ brain for so long post-graduate.

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