Evolution Intelligent Design

I’m Back

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I’ve been assured that the moneys will be deposited in my Cayman account, so I’m back. The first thing I want to direct your attention to is the letter by the Office of Special Counsel to Richard Sternberg: http://www.rsternberg.net/OSC_ltr.htm. Compare this with the spin that Nick Matzke and the NCSE are trying to put on this affair: http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/08/sternberg_compl.html. Compare also Mike Gene’s commentary at Telic Thoughts: go here.

11 Replies to “I’m Back

  1. 1
    jzs says:

    From the first link, I was unhappy to learn that focusing on personalities was part of the scientific method.

  2. 2

    The cost of scientific dissent

    One recent commenter on this blog wrote, “Biologists and those in closely related fields are nearly unanimous in support of evolution – whether they are Christian, another religion, or no religion at all.”

    It is a small wonder, considering the pro…

  3. 3
    Mats says:

    oh man, Bill, you made me laugh with that slick come back.

    I was like “What will he do now that he left ID? Will he become a militant evolutionist ? Come to think of it, just how do we abandon ID ?” 🙂

  4. 4
  5. 5
    sartre says:

    I have a quick question. In “Irreducible Complexity Revisited” Dembski states that, “Alberts and Wilkins here draw attention to the strong resemblance
    between molecular machines and machines designed by human engineers.” However, Alberts states that, “That I was unaware of the complexity of living things as a student should not be surprising. In fact, the majestic chemistry of life should be astounding to everyone. But these facts should not be misrepresented as support for the idea that life’s molecular complexity is a result of “intelligent design.” To the contrary, modern scientific views of the molecular organization of life are entirely consistent with spontaneous variation and natural selection driving a powerful evolutionary process.

    Also, Wilkins states that, “In closing, it is worth considering for a moment the question of how well the ‘‘machine’’ metaphor when applied to molecular complexes actually holds up. In two respects, the analogy falters. First, these ‘‘molecular machines’’ are products of evolution, not ‘‘design’’ by engineers. (As noted above, several of the articles touch on evolutionary aspects of particular molecular machines.) Second, as noted by von Hippel and Delagoutte they are controlled by different forces.
    While man-made machines, at least the conventional ones
    (not the new nano-machines), are affected by gravity and inertia, molecular machines are most strongly affected by diffusional processes and conformational change. Yet, the articles included in this issue demonstrate some striking parallels between artifactual and biological/molecular machines. In the first place, molecular machines, like man-made machines, perform highly specific functions. Second, the macromolecular machine complexes feature multiple parts that interact in distinct and precise ways, with defined inputs and outputs. Third, many of these machines have parts that can be used in other molecular machines (at least, with slight modification), comparable to the interchangeable parts of artificial machines. Finally, and not least, they have the cardinal attribute of machines: they all convert energy into some form of ‘‘work’’. As von Hippel and Delagoutte conclude: ‘‘[T]hinking about the two worlds [molecular and man-made machines] in parallel is useful and instructive, and the macromolecular machine concept, couched in the language of thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, kinetics and structure, continues to be useful in guiding our thinking about biological processes.’’

    So, even though there are PARALLELS, not COMPLETELY similar. Dr. Prigogine adds to the debate that complexity DOES arise through spontaneous ordering when systems are far from equilibrium through thermodynamic laws. However, he does agree that neo-Darwinism presupposes complexity, but, from a statement that I received from his Center, Prigogine does NOT agree with ID, even though many proponents have twisted his words around. They quote Prigogine et. al., “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.” http://search.yahoo.com/search.....#038;x=wrt

    However, his point is that, “The probability that at ordinary temperatures a macroscopic number of molecules is assembled to give rise to the highly ordered structures and to the coordinated functions characterizing living organisms is vanishingly small. The idea of spontaneous genesis of life in its present form is therefore highly improbable, even on the scale of the billions of years during which prebiotic evolution occurred.

    The conclusion to be drawn from this analysis is that the apparent contradiction between biological order and the laws of physics–in particular the second law of thermodynamics–cannot be resolved as long as we try to under. stand living systems by the methods of the familiar equilibrium statistical mechanics and equally familar thermodynamics. One of our main points here shall be that an increase in dissipation is possible for nonlinear systems driven far from equilibrium. Such systems may be subject to a succession of un stable transitions that lead to spatial order and to increasing entropy production.” http://www.aeiveos.com/~bradbu......html#Eqn2

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02.....ience.html?
    ex=1124683200&en=6540c12cc2bd9070&ei=5070&partner=rssuserland (Alberts rejection)

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.....8/PDFSTART (Wilkins)

  6. 6
    DaveScot says:

    I guess this means I won’t be getting the Darwin in a vise doll. Curses.

    Glad to have you back anyway! 😉

  7. 7
    DaveScot says:

    I think we should take PZ Myers advice on this one:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....tml#c35130

    Says Myers: “Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many schoolboard members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.”

    Maybe we should do some butt-kicking at the Smithsonian by suing the institution and individuals at the institution for civil rights violations against Dr. Sternberg. Just because the OSC doesn’t have jurisidiction doesn’t mean he can’t seek legal redress.

    This *should* be a case the ACLU would take on as ostensibly they’re concerned with civil rights violations. Sternberg should at least appeal to the ACLU for legal help and when they refuse, as I assume they will, add their refusal to the growing pile of NeoDarwinian stink surrounding this affair. Might as well give the ACLU a nice fat black eye at no additional cost to match the black eye the Smithsonian got.

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    “While man-made machines, at least the conventional ones
    (not the new nano-machines), are affected by gravity and inertia”

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wrong.

    Computers are machines. Other than a few exceptions like spinning disks they aren’t affected by gravity or inertia. One might argue that computers are not conventional machines but don’t try to make that argument with anyone born later than 1960 or so… 🙂

  9. 9
    sartre says:

    Dave,

    The point of the entry was to show that in the article presented, the entire story was not told.

    Anyway, ID has a major problem to solve. It has been EXPERIMENTALLY that order and complexity are able to form SPONTANEOUSLY as shown in the Pigogine paper.

    Also, the quote that YOU DID give (even though you don’t remember giving it) is not in this article, even though you cited it. Where is the quote REALLY from?

  10. 10
    DaveScot says:

    Prigogine didn’t get much of anything to form spontaneously and the quote appears to be a paraphrase of what Prigogine did say in the article. My full response is in the comments where the quote first appeared.

  11. 11
    jpcarson says:

    Dr. Rick Sternberg
    Concerned Smithsonian Institute Scientist
    http://www.rsternberg.net/

    Hi Rick Sternberg,

    I do not envy what you have gone through, but you are the very rare exception in getting OSC to do something for a concerned employee. Like it or not, OSC should have closed its investigation immediately, as soon as it learned it did not have jurisdiction over your complaint, because you are not covered by civil service law.

    I think OSC is a years-long, systemic, lawbreaking failure, and that its failures, if not corrected, could contribute to a nuclear 9/11 in an American city in next decade. I think Special Counsel Bloch decided that your complaint was “religiously correct” and gave the go ahead for OSC to conduct an aggressive investigation into your allegations, even though he knew that OSC had no jurisdiction over your complaint because you are not covered federal employee.

    So while you were the beneficiary of OSC’s wrongdoing (in conducting an investigation in an area in which it knew in had no jurisdiction), thousands of concerned federal employees are the victims of it.

    The plus side of your not being covered employee is that you will have better standing to sue for damages in a civil court, and OSC’s findings will be quite valuable to you there.

    Respectfully,

    Joe Carson, P.E.
    prevailing Dept. of Energy whistleblower and litigant against OSC

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