Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Fun: Dogbert on evolution – at last!


I’d been hoping Scott Adams, Dilbert’s alter ego, would incorporate his recent questions about Darwinian evolution into some of his work. Here is one example to enjoy.

Also, go here for a link to Adams’ responses to the Prophet of the Pharyngula, who has denounced him as a sinner for having any questions about Darwinism. Oh and here is a link to Dilbert, the baby engineer.


More from David Warren on the Darwinoids

New cartoon on the ID-Darwinism controversy, and a link to more cartoons

Can a conscious mind be built out of software?

Why ordinary people do very bad things

The course Denyse O’Leary will be teaching at St. Mikes at the University of Toronto, starting Tuesday, on why there is an intelligent design controversy.

DaveScot, I agree, This area of "dark energy" investigation, you point out, is full of potential! What exactly is dark energy? What exactly does it do? Can we somehow tap into it for our purposes?" About all scientists know right now is that dark energy, as well as dark matter, is extremely fine-tuned in accordance with the Anthropic principle. The exact nature of it is very ill defined. In my opinion, we know a little bit more, scientifically, about Dark Matter, although it is clear that dark matter is far from being thoroughly understood also. http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/missing_matter_030212.html Quote of Note: "We believe baryons (matter we can see) are drawn to the gravity of the dark matter (hypothesized matter we can't see), so they trace the location of dark matter through space," Mathur said. "One provides a map to the other." In fact, I think this one piece of evidence, I cited, actually solidly confirms the Theistic postulation for Gravity...i.e. (That gravity arises totally independent from matter, from a "higher" dimension in order to enable life to exist in this universe.) Could it be that there is absolutely no material basis to Gravity as Theism would postulate? To me this is a fairly radical idea! Yet an Idea that is appearing to be increasingly true none-the-less! The abstract of the September 1006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force (which, “was established by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee [AAAC] and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel [HEPAP] as a joint sub-committee to advise the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation on future dark energy research”) says: “Dark energy appears to be the nt component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our (materialistic) theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.” Interesting huh?" bornagain77
Borne Imagine an isolated tribe of people living in the world today who've never been exposed to any kind of electronic communication. You and I both know their bodies are literally permeated by weak electromagnetic energy fields carrying everything from conversations to data streams from spacecraft orbiting planets billions of miles away to reruns of "I Love Lucy". How could they even imagine the existence of that world of intelligence? Yet if we were to give them the proper radio tuner they could tap into it. Even more, with a two-way radio they could interact with it. Now imagine that animal brains function like radio tuners for some energy field that we can't yet detect or interact with via any other instrument. This would account for all the phenomena you mention. You can degrade a radio tuner in various ways that restrict its ability receive data but that would not in any way alter the signals themselves. This is analogous to how the brain can be damaged and while its function might be impaired when seen from without it doesn't alter the underlying intelligence which exists separate from the brain. I hadn't given this scenario any serious consideration in the past because I thought physics had a complete description of matter and energy and there was no energy field that could act as a carrier for intelligence that could be completely hidden from us in the way that radio waves are hidden from that isolated tribe I first mentioned. But now I'm given to understand there's an exceedingly weak energy field thought to permeate the entire universe and weak though it is it's so omnipresent everywhere that it makes up 75% of total matter/energy in the universe and we can, so far, only detect it through gravitational interaction with normal matter. This is so-called "dark energy" and its presence is hinted at only through a recent observation that distant galaxies are receeding from us at an accelerating rate. Now that immediately raises the question of how such an incredibly weak uniformly distributed form of energy could directly influence the motion of matter and energy in the normal universe at a finer scale like the matter and energy inside our skulls. Directly, it doesn't seem possible. It would be like trying to move a mountain with a feather. What I wonder is how much gravitational energy it takes to influence quantum events. Could such a diffuse energy field, if not quite totally uniform at the smallest scales, influence quantum outcomes? How much energy does it take to tip the scale of quantum uncertainty to not uncertain? This runs into another large gap in physics - we don't have a theory of quantum gravity. Food for thought. DaveScot
Haven't you posted all this before? Jack Krebs
Berceuse, From the evidence I've seen, I believe reality is ultimately spiritually based and on top of all that, I believe we are spiritual beings that are built on top of this "spiritual" reality. Everything turns out to be spiritual through and through! For instance, How the consciousness relates to the body has two prevailing schools of thought challenging each other for the right to be called the truth. The first school of thought is Theistic in its philosophy; consciousness is a independent and separable entity from the brain. This school of thought implies it is possible to live beyond the of our brains. The second school of thought is Materialistic in its philosophy; consciousness is an dependent and inseparable product of the brain. This school of thought implies we die when the brain dies. Knowledge has recently come to light, establishing the first school of thought as the truth. Neuro-physiological (brain/body) research is now being performed, using a new scientific tool, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This tool allows scientists to study the brain non-invasively. TMS can excite or inhibit normal electrical activity in specific parts of the brain, depending on the amount of energy administered by TMS. This tool allows scientists to pinpoint what is happening in different regions of the brain (functional mapping of the brain). TMS is wide-ranging in its usefulness; allowing the study of brain/muscle connections, the five senses, language, the patho-physiology of brain disorders, as well as mood disorders, such as depression. TMS may even prove to be useful for therapy for such brain disorders. TMS also allows the study of how memories are stored. The ability of TMS for inhibiting (turning off) specific portions of the brain is the very ability which reveals things that are very illuminating to the topic we are investigating. Consciousness and the brain are actually separate entities. When the electromagnetic activity of a specific portion of the brain is inhibited by the higher energies of TMS, it impairs the functioning of the particular portion of the body associated with the particular portion of the brain being inhibited. For example; when the visual cortex (a portion of the brain) is inhibited by higher energies of TMS, the person undergoing the procedure will temporarily become blind while it is inhibited. One notable exception to this "becoming impaired rule" is a person's memory. When the elusive "memory" portion of the brain is inhibited, a person will have a vivid flashback of a past part of their life. This very odd "amplification" of a memory indicates this fact; memories are stored in the “spiritual” consciousness independent of the brain. All of the bodies other physical functions which have physical connections in the brain are impaired when their corresponding portion of the brain loses its ability for normal electromagnetic activity. One would very well expect memories to be irretrievable from the brain if they were physically stored. Yet memories are vividly brought forth into consciousness when their corresponding locations in the brain are temporarily inhibited. This indicates that memories are somehow stored on a non-physical basis, separate from the brain in the "spiritual" consciousness. Memory happens to be a crucially integrated part of any thinking consciousness. This is true, whether or not consciousness is physically or spiritually-based. Where memory is actually located is a sure sign of where the consciousness is actually located. It provides a compelling clue as to whether consciousness is physically or spiritually-based. Vivid memory recall, upon inhibition of a portion of brain where memory is being communicated from consciousness, is exactly what one would expect to find if consciousness is ultimately self-sufficient of brain function and spiritually-based. The opposite result, a ening of memories, is what one would expect to find if consciousness is ultimately physically-based. According to this insight, a large portion, if not all, of the one quadrillion synapses that have developed in the brain as we became s, are primarily developed as pathways for information to be transmitted to, and memories to be transmitted from, our consciousness. The synapses of the brain are not, in and of themselves, our primary source for memories. Indeed, decades of extensive research by brilliant, Nobel prize-winning, minds have failed to reveal where memory is stored in the brain. Though Alzheimer’s and other disorders affect the brain’s overall ability to recover memories, this is only an indication that the overall ability of the brain to recover memory from the consciousness has been affected, and does not in any way conclusively establish that memory is actually stored in the brain. In other compelling evidence, many children who have had hemispherectomies (half their brains removed due to life threatening epileptic conditions) at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, are in high school; and one, a college student, is on the dean’s list. The families of these children can barely believe the transformation; and not so long ago, neurologists and neuro-surgeons found it hard to believe as well. What is surprising for these people is that they are having their overriding materialistic view of brain correlation to consciousness overturned. In other words; since, it is presumed by Materialism that the brain is the primary generator of consciousness; then, it is totally expected for a person having half their brain removed to be severely affected when it comes to memory and personality. This is clearly a contradiction between the Materialistic and Theistic philosophies. According to Materialistic dogma, memory and personality should be affected, just as badly, or at least somewhat as badly, as any of the other parts of the body, by removal of half the brain. Yet, as a team of neuro-surgeons that have done extensive research on the after effects of hemispherectomy at John Hopkins Medical Center comment: "We are awed by the apparent retention of the child’s memory after removal of half of the brain, either half; and by the retention of the child's personality and sense of humor." Though a patients physical capacities are impaired, just as they were expected to be immediately following surgery; and have to have time to be "rewired" to the consciousness in the brain, the memory and personality of the patient comes out unscathed in the aftermath of such radical surgery. This is exactly the result one would expect, if the consciousness is ultimately independent of brain function and is spiritually-based. This is totally contrary to the results one would expect if the consciousness were actually physically-based, as the materialistic theory had presumed. In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: "Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications." This is stunning proof of consciousness being independent of brain function. The only child not to have normal or improved intellect is the child who remained in a coma due to complications during surgery. It is also heartening to find that many of the patients regain full use, or almost full use, of their bodies after a varying period of recuperation in which the brain is “rewired” to the consciousness. II Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent (Our Body), is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Yet, more evidence for the independence of consciousness is found in Dr. Pim van Lommels' study of sixty-two of his cardiac patients who had near experiences (NDE’s). NDE's are the phenomena of someone being physically for a short time; yet, when they are revived, they report they were in their spiritual bodies, outside of their physical bodies and taken to another dimension. Dr. Lommel's research found no weakness in the Theistic presumption of a spiritually independent consciousness. He and his colleagues published their research in the peer-reviewed journal (Lancet, Dec. 2001). Not only did their research not find any weaknesses in the Theistic presumption; their findings severely weakened or ruled out all Materialistic presumptions that had been put forth such as anoxia in the brain, release of endomorphines, NMDA receptor blockage or medications given. Their findings also ruled out suspected psychological explanations as well; such as a coping mechanism brought on by the fear of imminent or fore-knowledge of NDE. They even had a patient in the NDE study who identified the exact nurse who took his dentures while he was in cardiac arrest. This is something only someone who was conscious of the operating room, even though he was physically , could have seen the nurse doing (Many NDE report floating above their bodies, observing the operating room from the ceiling, before going to another dimension). In other similar studies, cases in which was extracted at the time of the NDE did not support the anoxia or hypercarbia theories. It is also established that the administered to the patients, such as painkillers, appeared to inhibit and confuse rather than cause the NDE. The combination of all data from recent and retrospective research provides a large amount of evidence, which can no longer be ignored or explained away. The fact that clear, lucid experiences were reported during a time when the brain was proven to be devoid of activity (Aminoff et al., 1988, Clute and Levy 1990, de Vries et al., 1998), does not sit easily with the current scientific belief system of materialism. In another fascinating study (Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper, 1997) of thirty-one blind people who had a NDE, twenty-four of the blind people reported that they could see while they were out of their physical bodies. Many of them had been blind since birth. Likewise, many deaf people reported they were able to hear while they were having a NDE. As well, the spiritual realm is the foundation of reality itself. What is Truth? To varying degrees everyone looks for spiritual truth. A few people have traveled to distant lands seeking gurus in their quest to find “Truth”. People are happy when they discover a new truth into the mysteries of life. People who have deep insights into the truth of how things actually work are considered wise. In the bible Jesus says “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” as well as “I am the TRUTH, the way, and the life.” So, since truth is considered such a good thing, let us look for truth in a common object; a simple rock. Few people would try to argue that a rock is not real. Someone who would argue that it is not real could bang his head on the rock until he was satisfied the rock is real. A blind man in a darkened cave would feel the rock hitting his head just as well as a sighted man who saw the rock coming. The rock is real and its reality is not dependent on our observation. Having stated the obvious lets look at what the rock is actually made of. A rock is composed of three basic ingredients; energy, force and truth. From Einstein’s’ famous equation (e=mc2) we know that all matter (solids, liquids and gases) of the universe is made of energy. This energy is “woven” by various forces into the atoms of the rock. The amount of energy woven by these complex interactions of various forces into the rock is tremendous. This tremendous energy that is in the rock is clearly demonstrated by the detonation of atom . This woven energy is found in each and every individual “particle” of every atom in the trillions upon trillions of atoms in the rock. Woven energy is the “substance” of the rock. It is what gives the rock its physicality of being solid. Yet there is another ingredient which went into making the rock that is often neglected to be looked at as a “real” component of the rock. It is the transcendent spiritual component of truth. If truth did not exist the rock would not exist. This is as obvious as the fact that the rock would not exist if energy and/or force did not exist. It is the truth in and of the logical laws of the universal constants that govern the energy and force of the rock that enable the rock to be a rock in the first place. Is truth independent and nt of the energy and force? Yes of course, there are many philosophical truths that are not dependent on energy or force for them to still be true. Yet energy and force are always subject to what truth tells them they can and cannot do. That is to say, the rock cannot exist without truth yet truth can exist without the rock. Energy and force must obey the truth that is above them or else it can’t possibly exist. Since truth dictates what energy and/or force can or cannot do, truth tes energy and force. Energy and force do not te truth. If all energy and/or force stopped existing the truth that ruled the energy and force in the rock would still be logically true. Thus, truth is eternal. The logical truth existed before the rock existed. The logical truth exists while the rock exists. The logical truth will exist after the rock is long gone. It is also obvious that truth is omnipresent. The truth that is in the rock on this world is the same truth that is in a rock on the other side of the universe on another world. Thus, truth is present everywhere at all times. It has been scientifically proven, by quantum non-locality, that whenever something becomes physically “real” (wave collapse of entangled electron) in any part of the universe this “information of reality” is instantaneously communicated everywhere in the universe. Thus, truth is “aware” of everything that goes on in the universe instantaneously. This universal awareness gives truth a vital characteristic of being omniscient. This instantaneous communication of truth to all points in the universe also happens to defy the speed of light; a “truth” that energy and even gravity happen to be subject to. This scientific proof of quantum non-locality also proves that truth is not a “passive” component of this universe. Truth is actually scientifically demonstrated to be the “active” nt component of this universe. Truth is not a passive set of rules written on a sheet of paper somewhere. Spiritual Truth is the “living governor” of this universe that has dominion over all other components of this universe. Well, lets see what we have so far; Truth is eternal (it has always existed and will always exist); Truth is omnipresent (it is present everywhere in the universe at all times); Truth is omnipotent (it has dominion over everything else in the universe); Truth has a vital characteristic of omniscience (it knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe); and Truth is active” (it is aware of everything that is happening and instantaneously makes appropriate adjustments wherever needed in the universe). Surprisingly, being eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and active are some of the very characteristics that are used by theologians to describe God. Thus, by the strict rules of logic this means spiritual truth emanates from God. So in answer to our question “What is Truth?” we can answer that truth comes from God. Jesus says that He is “The Truth”. This is a VERY fantastic claim! If Jesus is speaking a truth, which I believe He is from the personal miracles I’ve seen in my life, then by the rules of logic this makes Jesus the ultimate and all encompassing expression all God’s truth in this universe. In other words, all individual truths of this universe, such as all the laws of physics, and all the ones in philosophy, find their authority and ultimate expression in Jesus Christ. So in my foundational belief the reason why Judeo/Christian cultures have contact with “The Being of Light” in NDEs and other cultures do not is because we have accepted the ultimate truth into our spirits somehow. Of course the fact that a huge majority of children are automatically seeing the “Being of Light” means that we are born out of this truth and somehow lose our connection with this universal spiritual truth that has authority over everything! bornagain77
bornagain, that's an interesting study. But one could say Penfield just "threw in the towel." Just playing devil's advocate here. As for the cartoon, it was pretty funny, but I can already hear the Darwinists chanting "straw man." They always do. Berceuse
DavidBrennan wrote: "Just where I go to get substantive cultural and scientific data: a completely lame, inane cartoon." Oh please.It's very funny and is another reminder that Darwinism is in serious trouble. Questions that arise in "pop culture" will cause many people to investigate Darwinism for themselves. Then they will find, like most of us here have, that it's total cr*p. shaner74
I thought this following research was fascinating in regards to consciousness: Interrupting the electrical fields of local neuronal networks in parts of the cortex also disturbs the normal function of the brain, because by localized electrical stimulation of the temporal and parietal lobe during surgery for epilepsy the neurosurgeon and Nobel prize winner W. Penfield could sometimes induce flashes of recollection of the past (never a complete life review), experiences of light, sound or music, and rarely a kind of out-of-body experience. These experiences did not produce any transformation.(15-16) After many years of research he finally reached the conclusion that it is not possible to localize memories inside the brain. http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel_skeptic_response.htm bornagain77
I also vote no, for this succinct reason: Consciousness is the one thing a computer does not need to operate correctly. So how does proclaiming that my brain is a neural computer explain my consciousness? Matteo
"Can a conscious mind be built out of software?" I vote no. mike1962
If we are on the subject of humor, I recently noticed something and detailed it here: http://tinyurl.com/2dc8qk Matteo
Best laugh I've had in days. dacook
Have you considered casting a write-in ballot for Dogbert? I am still waiting to hear Catbert's view. - d. O'Leary
I love Scott Adams! I can't believe the heat has gotten from this. Off topic, but is anyone else part of the AAAS here? My school gave me free membership and subscription to Science and that's cool, but the AAAS also gave my address to the NCSE who had the audacity to mail me asking for money to fight the "antievolutionists." Also, is there anyone worth voting for in their election who hasn't sold their soul to Darwin? jpark320

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