Intelligent Design

Timaeus Exposes Larry Moran

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All that follows is from UD commenter Timaeus:

Larry Moran wrote:

“I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.”

Perhaps teaching is not your strong point, Larry. There is some empirical evidence of that, I believe.

Or perhaps it is expertise that is the problem. Last time I checked your website for your publications on evolutionary theory, I found many popular articles on ID and creationism, and some apparently self-published biochemical data on your university website. I couldn’t find a single article on evolutionary theory in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject for over 10 years into the past. For someone who has so many opinions on evolution, and voices them so loudly in non-professionally-controlled environments such as blog sites, you are surprisingly absent from the professional discussions. Perhaps you can explain the inverse relationship between your popular involvement in debates over evolution and your visibility in the technical books and articles on the subject of evolution.

It strikes me that spending hundreds of hours every year trying to convince ID people and creationists they are wrong would not be as profitable a use of a Toronto professor’s time as actually researching evolutionary mechanisms and publishing the findings at academic conferences, in books, and in journals.

[TIME PASSES]

I’ll take Larry Moran’s silence on my request for a list of his recent peer-reviewed publications in evolutionary biology as a concession that he has no such publications. I.e., I will infer that he is a commentator on debates over evolutionary theory, not an evolutionary theorist himself.

Of course, being a commentator on something is not a bad thing in itself. For someone to say: “Gould says such-and-such about evolutionary mechanisms, and Futuyma says something different, and Coyne says something different, and here are some of the points over which these men have disagreed” — that would be pedagogically useful for many readers. But that’s not the way Larry Moran has ever written about evolution.

Larry writes in this fashion: “Evolution doesn’t happen that way; it happens this way.” That is, Larry does not merely describe what the experts think, and indicate areas of possible strength in weakness in their various views, but tells his readers which views are right and which are wrong, which evolutionary biologists know what they are talking about and which don’t. He poses as someone who can referee the conflicts, who stands above all the others and can pass judgment on their scientific competence and the correctness of their theories, and, in a pinch, when none of them is right, can tell us the way evolution really happened, on his own authority. This is pretty arrogant for a guy with no recent publications in the field, and whose work (as far as I can tell) is never or rarely cited by Shapiro, Newman, Wagner, Jablonka, or any of the other currently important evolutionary theorists.

Larry has an inflated idea of his own importance within evolutionary theory. In fact, in reality, he is just one more of 10,000 guys in the world with a Ph.D. in biology or biochemistry or genetics who is under the illusion that knowing one of those fields automatically makes one an expert on evolutionary theory and evolutionary mechanisms. But the people who actually *do* evolutionary theory seem to take little notice of Larry Moran (or his blog site) at all.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Larry regularly gets invited to big conferences on evolutionary theory to be the keynote speaker; maybe his judgments are revered around the world the way Ernst Mayr’s used to be. If so, I’ll be glad to be corrected, and to retract my statements. Someone here can write in with evidence of the hundreds of times Larry’s research on evolutionary mechanisms have been cited in the literature, with the details of the publications Larry hasn’t bothered to list on his web site, etc. What I can see for the moment, however, is that Larry Moran is a nobody in evolutionary theory, a biochemistry teacher at Toronto with an interest in evolutionary theory who is convinced he knows more about it than almost everyone else on the planet, but with no track record to corroborate that opinion.

That’s the problem with the internet age. Through web sites and blogs, it gives people the ability to be prominent, and many readers assume that prominence equals importance. But it doesn’t. The Kardashians and Paris Hilton are as prominent in popular culture as Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep, but they aren’t nearly as important. To be important, as opposed to prominent, one has to demonstrate ability. *Ability*, not the verbal fluency to hold forth on a subject on a blog site. And in science, ability is proved not on blog sites but at conferences, in articles, and in books. So what is needed is a list of Larry’s publications in these venues.

255 Replies to “Timaeus Exposes Larry Moran

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    One wonders, will that shut him up for good?

  2. 2
    KevNick says:

    Larry is delusional. Even if someone presents evidence against his beliefs on evolution, he will say to himself and then publicly:”… so, so many scientists over so many years have been wrong…”

    I guess Moran doesn’t read much besides his regular “bible reading”. He should look at some famous losers like astronomer Ptolemy.

    He believed for over 1500 years, and the most of science with him, that the earth was the center of the universe.

    Carl Sagan summed it up really well of Ptolemy: “His Earth-centered universe held sway for 1,500 years, a reminder that intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.”

    What about boneheads?

  3. 3
    beau says:

    I posted something similar to this, though much less eloquent, on PZ Myers blog. Seems like a logical question to me. His readers didn’t think so.

  4. 4
    Eric Anderson says:

    Hmmm . . .

    Timaeus has made some excellent points over the years. And has some valid observations above as well.

    But I’m not sure the lack of publications or the lack of notoriety in a field is the measure of relevance or correctness or ability to analyze the issues. After all, the vast majority of people who look at issues and hold opinions on those issues are not the noted “experts” in their fields. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that some of the so-called “experts” are way off base from time to time, and it is sometimes the layman — the “office boy” as Philip Johnson referred to — who discovers the discrepancies and the holes in the theory, partly because he isn’t steeped professionally and socially in the prevailing paradigm.

    My guess is that Timaeus objects not so much to (a) Moran’s lack of publications and notoriety in the field as to (b) Moran’s holier-than-thou, everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-an-IDiot attitude, in light of the lack of publications and notoriety in the field. Is that the real concern?

    If so, I can understand calling Moran out on that.

    Yet there are many others who are alleged experts in their field whose attitude is just as bad — Jerry Coyne springs to mind, for example. I don’t care a whit whether Jerry Coyne is the most well-published and most sought-after professor in his field. His unreasonable attitude and embarrassing lack of basic logical rigor when it comes to the question of design and evolution means that he has absolutely no credibility on that particular issue. Coyne is just one example. Others abound.

    No doubt Moran should be called on the carpet for his attitude, and it would be wonderful if he would be more civil and professional in his demeanor. But the more substantive issue is whether he is right or not.

    As to that question, I don’t care whether he is the world’s foremost acknowledged “expert” or the “office boy.”

  5. 5
    Timaeus says:

    Eric:

    I partly agree with you. Yes, Moran’s condescending manner to ID folks is certainly the initial irritant. But it’s even more irritating when it’s not based on any accomplishment of his own within evolutionary theory. If he were Ernst Mayr or Stephen Jay Gould, I would still complain about his haughty and dismissive manner; but in the case of those people I would acknowledge that the haughtiness sprang out of their awareness of their own massive intellectual accomplishment in the field of evolutionary theory — an accomplishment acknowledged by many others beside themselves. In Larry’s case, I don’t see what the basis of the haughtiness is. It seems to be merely his own private judgment that he knows more about evolutionary mechanisms than anyone else, that he thinks more clearly than anyone else, etc.

    How does one acquire such colossal conceit? I’m about the same age as Larry, and I have great knowledge of a few intellectual fields, and academic publications to boot; but my sense of my own knowledge is always colored by my sense of the vast amount that I don’t know, and by how complex judgments in my field are, how easy it is to go wrong when one makes sweeping, unqualified, confident judgments, how wrong I have sometimes been *precisely when I was the most sure that I was being entirely logical and flawless and rigorous in my reasoning*. I can’t imagine going on a blog site and, say, sweepingly dismissing Aristotle and sweepingly endorsing Kant (or, even worse, saying that neither Aristotle nor Kant nor anyone so far has really understood the issue, but I do). My instinct would always be to say: Aristotle seems to have grasped this part of the puzzle better than most, but his explanation of point A seems inadequate; Kant, on the other hand, has dealt with point A with a precision lacking in Aristotle, but is not as good at explaining the cause of B and C. But that sort of intellectual caution, intellectual humility, seems alien to Larry’s personality. He just runs through the world of evolutionary theory like a crusading knight, declaring the winners and losers, in a form of presentation that is often very rhetorical and not properly expository with appropriate academic qualifications.

    He could not write in that style in an academic journal of evolutionary theory. Any article written in that style would be rejected. So would any book, if written for a serious academic scientific publisher. And if he went to a big conference, e.g., the Evolution conference in the USA (which I gather he rarely or never deigns to attend), and read a paper in the style of his blogs, he would be severely taken to task on the conference room floor during the question period. But on a blog owned by himself, he can write with perfect academic irresponsibility, declaring the absentee other evolutionary theorists wrong and himself correct.

    This is not the way natural science has ever been done. It does not belong in the arena of culture war and popular rhetoric. It belongs in the arena of sober professional discussion. And its aim should not be victory — not the aim of crushing everyone’s evolutionary theory but one’s own — but truth. And truth always, or nearly always, requires retracting some of one’s points, or qualifying them, or admitting that many things aren’t understood. To say “evolution doesn’t work that way; it works this way” is impertinent. What should be said is that there are many different weightings of proposed evolutionary mechanisms, and that equally learned scientists disagree about such weightings, and that the judgment one is offering is offered in tentativeness and humility. But that is not the Moran style.

    Of course, as you point out, it also is not the Coyne style, or the Myers style, or the Ken Miller style, or the Eugenie Scott style, or the Nick Matzke style, or the style of most of the people who post on Panda’s Thumb. I’m not singling out Moran alone for overconfidence and dismissiveness of contrary views. But it is interesting that often the people who are the most dismissive of the views of others are those with the least scientific accomplishment themselves — or those who at one time had accomplishments themselves, but as they have become older have tended to “coast” and involve themselves more in popular book-writing, blogging, flashy stage debates, etc. (e.g., Dawkins, Coyne, Ken Miller).

    You say that someone might not formally be an expert in a field, but make sound judgments. I concede that this sometimes happens. For example, a physicist might be able to criticize an engineering professor on some points, or even develop a new engineering principle. But precisely if it is the case that Larry can make judgments in evolutionary theory as good as or better than the people who are the certified experts in it, he should have no trouble publishing his results in peer-reviewed journals of evolutionary biology. His accuracy of knowledge and acuity of reasoning would be recognized by those in the field, and rewarded by publication. Why would he limit his observations to blog posts which have absolutely no credibility within the scientific world? (You may remember when, a couple of years ago, Elizabeth Liddle went on here at great length about the process of peer-review and how peer-review greatly improves the outcome of scientific articles, catching all kinds of errors great and small before the article is published. Does Larry agree with that? Or does he think that scientists shouldn’t have to write up their insights formally and submit them to technical journals for peer review, but can do science just as well by merely shooting from the hip on a blog site?)

    Further, if he really is as insightful as the specialists in the field, one would think that some of his remarks would be appearing in their own peer-reviewed work, e.g., “This new result, which one cannot find in the work of Futuyma or Lewontin or Ohno or Wagner, was first established by Larry Moran of Toronto in his Sandwalk column of 7/16/2012, and has proven central to our own research in this paper.” Where are such references?

    So sure, I grant that the “outsider” — the biochemist who is not an evolutionary theorist per se but knows his own science well and has a keen interest in evolution — could contribute to evolutionary theory. But “contribution” in science doesn’t mean a blog post, and it doesn’t mean popular refutations of IDers and creationists. I’m just asking for a list of Larry’s contributions to evolutionary theory. He’s been a prof for what, 30 years now? — and he talks and acts as if he is a force to be reckoned with in evolutionary theory; surely there should be some professional track record of his writings on evolutionary mechanisms. I’m just asking for that record, so I can look it up, and decide whether Larry Moran is a brilliant evolutionary theorist — one of the best in the world, as he clearly thinks — or a barroom debater who is good at arguing on his feet but incapable of the sort of detailed documentation and argument that is expected of a research scientist in the field of evolutionary theory.

  6. 6
    bFast says:

    Eric A, I personally see the “Moran’s holier-than-thou, everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-an-IDiot attitude” to be the fundamental point. Despite a lack of recent publication track record (assuming it is true), Dr. Moran surely has much more education then myself on the topics of biology and evolution. However, he has been embarrassingly quick to call people idiots. He thinks he knows far more than he demonstrates that he knows with evidence-based analysis. And generally he comes across as the wrong end of the donkey, so to speak.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    Timaeus:

    But that sort of intellectual caution, intellectual humility, seems alien to Larry’s personality. He just runs through the world of evolutionary theory like a crusading knight, declaring the winners and losers, in a form of presentation that is often very rhetorical and not properly expository with appropriate academic qualifications.

    The shrill tone of people like Moran, Coyne and Dawkins is a sign of desperation. This culture did not exist 20 years ago. It’s a sign of desperation that I think is being fueled by the advent of the internet and the easy access to vast sources of information. Many people can now cheaply and quickly conduct their own research without being told how to think by others. The barbarians are at the gates and the high and mighty are panicking. I can sense the beginning of the end for the materialist age. It will eventually all be forgotten by history but I can’t wait to see how it unravels and crashes.

  8. 8
    soundburger says:

    Larry is truly deserving of this post. He brings it on himself with his arrogance and belligerence. He talks about critical thinking all the time, but never seems to actually display, or demonstrate, any.

    This is something that seems quite common among the spokespersons of the antitheist/materialist movement. Contradictions like the above are conspicuous.

    In addition to Larry, you have Jerry Coyne, who sees himself as a crusader bent on destroying the pernicious grip of religion. A fighter, in other words. And yet he is a fighter with an exceedingly thin skin. He cries ‘atheist bashing’ every time a post or article criticizes the New Atheists, no matter the reason for the criticism.

    Then you have Sam Harris, who claims that we have no free will, but then chides Noam Chomsky for not taking ‘intent’ into account when considering acts of violence. As if intent were possible in the absence of free will. Just talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    On this site, we have Carpathian discussing the ‘immaterial’ nature of human codes, seeming not to get that if he is going to claim we live in a material and mechanistic universe, he needs to explain the very existence of that which is ‘immaterial’. But he doesn’t. If it serves his purpose for there to be immaterial things, he posits them. Similarly, if Coyne wants to bash theism but then turn around and call foul each time his own team is criticized, he goes right ahead. If Larry wants to trumpet on and on about this critical thinking skills without actually possessing them, off he goes.

    If atheism was truly the liberating force (at least some of) the above men seem to think it is, we would expect to see less of such blatant gaps in their reasoning.

  9. 9
    Box says:

    Irrespective of what Larry Moran deserves or not deserves, this come across as very snobbish posts by Timaeus. His message seems to boil down to: only the certified experts in a field have the right to speak up. When pressed by Eric Anderson all he can come up with is one exception to his rule: another certified expert in a closely related field …

    Timaeus:

    You say that someone might not formally be an expert in a field, but make sound judgments. I concede that this sometimes happens. For example, a physicist might be able to criticize an engineering professor on some points, or even develop a new engineering principle.

  10. 10
    nad med says:

    Then do not forget that those atheists are really insane since if materialism is true then there is no truth , no reference line , no logic , no minds ….so in the end are we debating with mere bags of moving molecules ?
    Their defence of materialism destroys their existence as sane minds but they are blinded by arrogance and prejudice ……hopeless case .

  11. 11
    Dr JDD says:

    Agreement aside, another point to consider is the effect this has on others.

    I left academia a number of years ago in favour of industry as I found the whole system quite irrelevant to translational science and filled with and fueled by egos and arrogance. Politics and who you knew determined your career more than anything. God help you if you dare challenge the consensus.

    One thing I have noticed about different departments and companies I have seen grow in industry is how it takes just a few strong characters of a particular type to for the dominant culture. Usually these are the ones that are loudest but those most respected can impact. That is why we are so careful to assess personality when interviewing candidates and take it into consideration just as much if not more so than their scientific CVs.

    This when the leaders and loudest members of a field are so indignant, unengaging with critique, arrogant and rude, we can guarantee that is the culture being fostered in the next generation.

    The ID camp would do well to avoid having this culture rub off on them too.

  12. 12
    Axel says:

    Yes, nad med. It shouldn’t surprise us that in ridiculing ID and its adherents, such numb-skulls are ridiculing Einstein’s scientific world-view, a world-view he plainly enjoyed waxing very lyrical about – not to speak of that of his other great paradigm-changing contemporaries, and the common-sense, fortunately of the vast majority of mankind.

    They are nothing more than ephemeral pimples on the backside of human thought and discovery, as arrogant as they are fatuous.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Dr JDD

    This when the leaders and loudest members of a field are so indignant, unengaging with critique, arrogant and rude, we can guarantee that is the culture being fostered in the next generation.

    Good points. The younger generations are shaped by their teachers and leaders. Coyne, Dawkins, Myers, Moran and other of the most prominent shrill-atheist types are generally older – in their 60s and 70s. They’re cultural heroes to kids who are generally clueless and would normally follow rock-stars around (but there aren’t any of those any more). So, the neo-atheists are the voices of cultural destruction that kids are taught to love and emulate in the revolutionary model of society.

    But an ID viewpoint points to order and purpose – the beauty of the universe as a given intent — symmetries, balance, harmony, marvelous complex functionality … all of that should help shape one’s thinking and attitude.

    It would be very refreshing and healthy for students to be shaped by those ideas, rather than the chaos of materialistic nihilism that they are getting from the new atheists.

    I think we also have to be careful about being drawn into a personality conflict. The neo-atheists are agitators and attention-seekers so the bad-boy routines are all part of the circus act. Anybody who is reasonable enough to stand back and look at them dispassionately will see how insane that attitude really is — and more importantly, that they really have very little to say.

    That’s the great thing about nihilism (in a sense) — it’s just nothing. There’s no reason even to argue about anything, except that if one didn’t argue (that is, attack, insult, berate, condescend), it would be an even more lonely existence.

  14. 14
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: I’ll take Larry Moran’s silence on my request for a list of his recent peer-reviewed publications in evolutionary biology as a concession that he has no such publications. I.e., I will infer that he is a commentator on debates over evolutionary theory, not an evolutionary theorist himself.

    Larry Moran has published many scientific papers, including a number just on the HSP70 gene family found in the journals Gene, Developmental biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Biology, …

    Larry Moran has a PhD from the Department of Biochemistry at Princeton, and is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.
    http://biochemistry.utoronto.c.....e-a-moran/


    If we were to make an appeal to authority, then we might want to note this:

    NATIONAL ACADEMY of SCIENCES: “The theory of evolution has become the central unifying concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines. In contrast, the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested.”
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.ph.....038;page=1

  15. 15
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel #14,

    For one thing, from the logics point of view, their ‘in contrast’ is erroneous because before making that claim they need to demonstrate that design and evolution are mutually exclusive. My take on this is that evolution does happen within its limits (which are fuzzy but tangible); and yet this is perfectly compatible with the concept of design in biology.

    Secondly, there is no such thing as the theory of evolution. Many evolutionary biologists understand the phrase ‘the theory of evolution’ in different ways. In particular, it appears that the number of qualified supporters of Darwinian evolution is relatively small nowadays.

    Given all that, I doubt the authority of that claim.

  16. 16
    steveO says:

    Timaeus

    You are to be commended for a well written take-down and for obviously having the patience to actually read L. Moran’s posts.

    I find them of little value and usually just skip over them and go straight to the responses. I feel sorry for his students who find themselves in a captive audience.

    What would you say to those who might dismiss your posts as ad-hominem attacks?

    I don’t think they are but I expect you could articulate why in a more succinct manner.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  17. 17
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Given all that, I doubt the authority of that claim.

    What you mean is that you quibble with the claim. The authority itself is substantial. As this is a thread concerning ad hominem, and its counterpart, authority, we note that virtually every scientific organization involved in biology supports biological evolution as a scientific theory.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science: The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry. It is the foundation for research in many areas of biology as well as an essential element of science education.
    http://archives.aaas.org/docs/.....doc_id=432

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    Meanwhile, Larry Moran wrote the textbook, Principles of Biochemistry, now in its 5th edition, which is based on an evolutionary approach to teaching biochemistry.
    http://www.amazon.com/Principl.....0321707338

  19. 19
    Starbuck says:

    Timaeus , forget recent, lets see any peer reviewed publications that you have published in evolutionary biology, i bet we’ll hear crickets

  20. 20
    bFast says:

    Zachriel, nice defense. Evidence based. You didn’t address Larry Moran’s “holier-than-thou, everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-an-IDiot attitude” however.

    In case you get tempted to think that all IDers would see all opponents as “holier than thou”, let me point out two who are not. For starters, I have enjoyed dialoging with you over the years. You make an evidenciary case. You dialog with respect.

    The other was Dr. MacNeil. I miss him. I think that this site sorely needs well-studied, respectful, opponents. I hang out here to learn. I am very happy to learn where I am wrong.

    Larry Moran has been good at getting my dander up. He hasn’t been very good at all at teaching me. (Though I do have a richer understanding of his pet theory — neutral theory. But I got there by pulling teeth, and by having his keyboard yell at me that I am an idiot repeatedly.)

  21. 21
    Andre says:

    These days they introduce bloggers as experts on radio shows and events….

  22. 22
    Zachriel says:

    bFast: You didn’t address Larry Moran’s “holier-than-thou, everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-an-IDiot attitude” however.

    Not fond of it. Seen worse, though.

    Galileo apparently got everyone’s dander up, while Newton was just weird and prickly.

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this claim:

    “The theory of evolution has become the central unifying concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines. In contrast, the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested.”

    and this claim:

    The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry. It is the foundation for research in many areas of biology as well as an essential element of science education.

    Those claims are false. As to the false claim that Darwinian evolution is the “central unifying concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines’.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. Biological science functions quite well without the Darwinian ‘just so stories’ that are added on as a ‘narrative gloss’ after discoveries in biology are made.

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.,,, In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2816

    There is not one major scientific breakthrough that is attributable to the ‘Darwinian narrative’

    Science Owes Nothing To Darwinian Evolution – Jonathan Wells – (4:32 minute mark) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfWb8BaXoRc

    In fact, the ‘Darwinian narrative’, is so far as it might have served as a fruitful, and guiding, catalyst for successful exploration into biology, has actually inhibited scientific progress instead of driving science forward (such as junk DNA and vestigial organs, etc..). This is since the Darwinian narrative has given, and continues to give, many foundationally false predictions as to what will be found in biology:

    Darwin’s (failed) Predictions – Cornelius G. Hunter – 2015
    Excerpt: This paper evaluates 23 fundamental (false) predictions of evolutionary theory from a wide range of different categories. The paper begins with a brief introduction to the nature of scientific predictions, and typical concerns evolutionists raise against investigating predictions of evolution. The paper next presents the individual predictions in seven categories: early evolution, evolutionary causes, molecular evolution, common descent, evolutionary phylogenies, evolutionary pathways, and behavior. Finally the conclusion summarizes these various predictions, their implications for evolution’s capacity to explain phenomena, and how they bear on evolutionist’s claims about their theory.
    *Introduction
    Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?
    Responses to common objections
    *Early evolution predictions
    The DNA code is not unique
    The cell’s fundamental molecules are universal
    *Evolutionary causes predictions
    Mutations are not adaptive
    Embryology and common descent
    Competition is greatest between neighbors
    *Molecular evolution predictions
    Protein evolution
    Histone proteins cannot tolerate much change
    The molecular clock keeps evolutionary time
    *Common descent predictions
    The pentadactyl pattern and common descent
    Serological tests reveal evolutionary relationships
    Biology is not lineage specific
    Similar species share similar genes
    MicroRNA
    *Evolutionary phylogenies predictions
    Genomic features are not sporadically distributed
    Gene and host phylogenies are congruent
    Gene phylogenies are congruent
    The species should form an evolutionary tree
    *Evolutionary pathways predictions
    Complex structures evolved from simpler structures
    Structures do not evolve before there is a need for them
    Functionally unconstrained DNA is not conserved
    Nature does not make leaps
    *Behavior
    Altruism
    Cell death
    *Conclusions
    What false predictions tell us about evolution
    https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/home

    Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?
    Excerpt: The predictions examined in this paper were selected according to several criteria. They cover a wide spectrum of evolutionary theory and are fundamental to the theory, reflecting major tenets of evolutionary thought. They were widely held by the consensus rather than reflecting one viewpoint of several competing viewpoints. Each prediction was a natural and fundamental expectation of the theory of evolution, and constituted mainstream evolutionary science. Furthermore, the selected predictions are not vague but rather are specific and can be objectively evaluated. They have been tested and evaluated and the outcome is not controversial or in question. And finally the predictions have implications for evolution’s (in)capacity to explain phenomena, as discussed in the conclusions.

    One should think that such a dramatic failure in the predictive power of a theory would falsify that theory.
    Yet that stark failure in predictive power for Darwinian evolution just highlights why Darwinism is more properly thought of as a pseudo-science instead of a real science.
    Darwinism simply has no rigid mathematical basis, as other overarching theories of science have, to experimentally test against so as to potentially falsify its claims.

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.,,
    Consistent with the laws of conservation of information, natural selection can only work using the guidance of active information, which can be provided only by a designer.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) – Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher

    Popper stated this in regards to the falsifiability of a theory:

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    And in regards falsifiability, Intelligent Design is head and shoulders above ‘Darwinian narratives’ in inviting attempts to falsify its claim that only Intelligence can generate non-trivial levels of functional information and/or complexity:

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

    When push comes to shove scientifically speaking, Darwinists simply have no empirical evidence whatsoever to support their grandiose claims that unguided material processes can generate the unbelievably sophisticated functional complexity we find in life. For instance, four decades worth of lab work is surveyed here, and no evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution surfaces:

    “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/

    Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper in this following podcast:

    Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_46-08_00

    For you tech geeks, here is a video that goes through the technical aspects of Behe’s paper:

    Biological Information – Loss-of-Function Mutations by Paul Giem 2015 – video playlist
    (Behe – Loss of function mutations are far more likely to fix in a population than gain of function mutations)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzD3hhvepK8&index=20&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUUhiC9VwPnhl-ymuObyTWJ

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Could I lobby for a different title for the OP? The thought of Dr. Moran being exposed … well … *shudders*

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    How does one acquire such colossal conceit?

    I’ve been told it’s a Canadian thing.

  26. 26
    bFast says:

    Mung, “I’ve been told it’s a Canadian thing.” Um, we Canadians are known for exactly the opposite.

  27. 27
    bFast says:

    Zachriel, “Not fond of it. Seen worse, though.”
    Yes, do you remember that discussion I was trying to have with you on panda’s thumb I think it was. Oi your colleagues were harsh, judgemental, holier than thou. Worse than Larry Moran? Yup.

    My conclusion, evolution has been very poor at adapting considerate, decent evolutionary biologists.

  28. 28
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    bFast: You didn’t address Larry Moran’s “holier-than-thou, everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-an-IDiot attitude” however.

    Not fond of it. Seen worse, though.

    Says the man who refers to himself as a “we”. You are not just conceited, Zachriel, you are bloated with it to the point of rupture. LOL.

  29. 29
    Dr JDD says:

    I don’t know a single person who rejects evolution as an evidence-based theory that observably occurs.

    Let’s play Prof Moran’s game: let’s have a discussion when you actually are able to grasp what IDers, heck, even Creationist crackpots like myself object to. Go on. I know you can do it.

  30. 30
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    Your answers are not to the point. I did not say that Larry Moran was not a competent scientist and I did not deny that he had publications in biochemistry. I asked for his documented achievements *as an evolutionary theorist*. I am unaware that most evolutionary theorists consider Larry Moran to be one of their number, and I am unaware of any recent peer-reviewed work of his that is specifically on evolutionary theory.

    I don’t object to a scientist who is not a specialist in a field commenting on that field if and when he has something relevant to say about it; my only objection is to scientists who speak, write, and act as if a field that is only a hobby for them (based on their actual contributions to it, as measured by normal scientific standards) is a field in which they are capable of rendering final judgments.

    I have met an advanced mathematical cosmologist, holding a post at a major university, who frankly told me that he was incapable of judging some of the work of Hawking, because the mathematical techniques involved were very specialized and difficult; if that is what one *cosmologist* says about some work *in cosmology*, what should a *biochemist* say about the most recent theoretical advances *in evolutionary theory*? Isn’t the appropriate stance of such a person the stance of a learner rather than of a judge and referee?

    If Moran regards his blogging as merely a fun activity, the equivalent of a bunch of the boys getting together in the bar after work and BS-ing about all kinds of subjects they know in only a half-baked way, then fine; I have no objection to scientists letting their hair down in their off-hours — speculating and making claims that they know in their heart of hearts they can’t prove and haven’t really researched. But Moran apparently takes himself quite seriously as an evolutionary theorist, and regards himself as having a mission to straighten out, not only IDers and creationists, but even the leading evolutionary theorists themselves. He seems to think of himself as knowing more about evolutionary theory than virtually anyone else on the planet. At least, his way of writing about it gives that impression very strongly. It’s this pretension that I’m asking him to justify, by presenting his track record of actual accomplishment in the field, measured in the normal way that science measures accomplishment. Saying, “Look, I have a Ph.D. in a related natural science, I’m really smart, I’ve read a lot about this and I know a lot about this,” is not considered documented accomplishment in any area of natural science known to me.

  31. 31
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @17:

    . . . every scientific organization involved in biology supports biological evolution as a scientific theory

    “Evolution” defined as what?

  32. 32
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @18:

    You can’t take Amazon comments very seriously, but I laughed when I saw the top two most helpful reviews. The first one concludes:

    “In all my science courses this is probably the worst book I have ever encountered and have resorted to using other sources for learning most concepts as this book does not explain things clearly.” The next review is just as flattering.

    Anyway, not germane to the substantive issue here, but just gave me a chuckle . . .

  33. 33
    Timaeus says:

    Starbuck:

    The difference between myself and Moran is that I don’t blog regularly on evolution, don’t present myself as an expert on evolutionary theory (as opposed to an intelligent person who has done some reading on the subject), and don’t pose as the referee on the work of the leading evolutionary theorists regarding evolutionary mechanisms. I don’t claim to know how evolution happened and I don’t claim to be able to apportion the appropriate causal weight to all the known, alleged, and as yet unknown potential mechanisms. Moran’s stance is much less modest, and therefore his claim to knowledge rightly should come under much more scrutiny.

    It is interesting that evolutionary theory, along with only a few other areas of science (global warming being one), attracts so many bloggers who (a) claim to have expertise in some science, but (b) are not actually specialists in the science they are blogging passionately about. You don’t see solid-state physicists blogging passionately about advanced theoretical questions in thermodynamics; you don’t see organic chemists blogging passionately about advanced questions in quantum chemistry; you don’t see professors of civil engineering blogging passionately about theories in ceramic engineering. Most highly-trained scientists are very reticent to jump into public debate — either in the academy or in the world of popular discourse — in areas in which they are not actively researching and publishing. But for some reason, evolutionary theory, climatology, multiverse theory, and a few other areas are like magnets which invite Ph.D.s to recklessly abandon that normal scientific caution and modesty, and weigh in loudly and aggressively. Have you never wondered, Starbuck, why that should be the case? Could it be that something about these particular subjects connects with certain personal or world-view biases that these blogging scientists have?

    If there is strong emotional involvement with the subject under discussion, all the more is it necessary for the person doing the arguing to establish his track record of sober, emotionally detached research and publication in the area under discussion.

    I’m quite happy to listen to Larry Moran or anyone else listing what they believe to be the mechanisms of evolutionary change and weighting them and humbly proposing to explain the origin of this or that feature of living things (winged flight, for example, for which I await Larry’s evolutionary explanation). I’m not happy to listen to self-appointed referees laying down the law, week after week, in column after column, regarding who is ignorant, who is wrong, etc., in areas in which their own expertise has not been demonstrated.

  34. 34
    nad med says:

    Now see that “”expert in nonsense “” attacking the true experts because they refute his nonsense :
    Genomics journal is about to embarrass itself with a special issue on junk DNA

    The journal Genomics is a journal devoted to the study of genomes. It describes itself like this …
    Genomics is a forum for describing the development of genome-scale technologies and their application to all areas of biological investigation.

    As a journal that has evolved with the field that carries its name, Genomics focuses on the development and application of cutting-edge methods, addressing fundamental questions with potential interest to a wide audience. Our aim is to publish the highest quality research and to provide authors with rapid, fair and accurate review and publication of manuscripts falling within our scope.
    They claim that all submissiosn are subjected to rigorous peer review and only 25-30% of submissions are accepted for publication.

    The composition of genomes is important so it’s no surprise that the journal is interested in publishing articles that address the junk DNA debate. In fact, it is so interested that it is going to devote a special issue to the subject for publication in February 2016.

    That’s the good news. Now for the bad news ….
    Special issue on the functionality of genomic DNAs

    Guest Editors:

    Prof. Shi Huang
    State Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics
    Central South University , China
    huangshi@sklmg.edu.cn

    Prof James Shapiro
    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    University of Chicago
    jsha@uchicago.edu

    The field of genome evolution and population genetics has for the past half of a century assumed that genomic DNA can be divided into functional and non-functional (“junk”) regions. Experimental molecular science has found little evidence for this assumption. A majority of the noncoding parts of the human genome are transcribed, and numerous experimental researchers have now recognized an important functional role in the so called junk DNA regions, such as syn sites, lncRNA, psudogene transcripts, antisense transcripts, microRNA, and mobile elements. In fact, evidence for functional constraints on noncoding genome regions has long been recognized. New theoretical frameworks based on less arbitrary foundations have also appeared in recent years that can coherently account for the reality of far more functional DNAs, as well as all other major known facts of evolution and population genetics. Nonetheless, there still remains a large gap in opinions between bench scientists in experimental biology and those on the theory side in bioinformatics and population genetics. This special issue will aim to close that gap and provide a view of evidence from a perspective that all genome regions have (or can easily acquire) functionality.

    The special issue on the functionality of genome will focus on the following tentative topics:
    Theoretical foundation for all genome regions to be functional. It will cover both the theory and all major features of genome evolution.
    Functional studies on junk DNA regions, including lncRNA sequences, viral DNAs and mobile elements
    Functionalities associated with genome spatial organization in the nucleus
    Isocores and compositional constraints on genomes
    Genetic basis of complex traits and diseases focusing on the collective effects of normal genetic variations
    Cancer genomics
    Roles of repetitive DNA elements in major evolutionary transitions
    Correlations of genome composition and organismal complexity
    Epigenetics
    Evo Devo and extended synthesis
    Important dates:

    First submission date: July 1, 2015
    Deadline for paper submissions: October 1, 2015
    Deadline for final revised version: December 1, 2015
    Expected publication: February 2016
    Some of you will recognize the names of the guest editors. Jim Shapiro is one of the poster boys of Intelligent Design Creationism because he attacks evolutionary theory. He’s one of the founders of the “The Third Way.”

    You may be less familiar with Shi Huang. He is also part of the Third Way movement but we’ve recently learned a lot more about him because he posts comments under the name “gnomon.” You can see some of his comments in this thread: Ford Doolittle talks about transposons, junk DNA, ENCODE, and how science should work. Shi Huang appears to have a great deal of difficulty expressing himself in a rational manner.

    Those guest editors will publish papers that “… provide a view of evidence from a perspective that all genome regions have (or can easily acquire) functionality.” In other words, skeptics need not apply.

    The controversy is over the amount of junk DNA in genomes. There are two sides in this controversy. Many scientists think there is abundant and convincing evidence that most of our genome is junk. Other scientists think that most of our genome is functional. It looks like Genomics is only interested in hearing from the second group of scientists. That’s why they appointed guest editors with an obvious bias. Those guest editors also happen to be skating very close to the edge of kookdom.

    This is not how a credible science journal is supposed to behave.(((( who are you larryboy to say that nonsense )))).

    Posted by Laurence A. Moran at 11:05 AMs
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    Labels: Evolutionary Biology, Genes, Genome

  35. 35
    Andre says:

    I maintain, Prof Moran does not understand evolution.

  36. 36
    Andre says:

    What I can say with absolute certainty is that Prof Moran believes in magic.

  37. 37
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: If Moran regards his blogging as merely a fun activity, the equivalent of a bunch of the boys getting together in the bar after work and BS-ing about all kinds of subjects they know in only a half-baked way, then fine

    Biochemistry is much more closely related to evolutionary biology than bartending.

    Timaeus: I did not say that Larry Moran was not a competent scientist and I did not deny that he had publications in biochemistry. I asked for his documented achievements *as an evolutionary theorist*.

    A biochemist would certainly be trained in evolutionary theory. Biochemistry is a related field, and one that often depends on evolutionary theory. Heat shock proteins, one of Moran’s particular interests, help reveal deep homologies in evolution.

  38. 38
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    Biochemistry is a related field, and one that often depends on evolutionary theory. Heat shock proteins, one of Moran’s particular interests, help reveal deep homologies in evolution.

    Deep homologies. Code words for “have not evolved.”

    Can’t be explained by evolution? Push it back into the last common ancestor. An entity of ever increasing mythical proportions.

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Code words for “have not evolved.”

    Britannica: “Homology, in biology, similarity of the structure, physiology, or development of different species of organisms based upon their descent from a common evolutionary ancestor.”

  40. 40
    Mung says:

    Get a life Zachriel.

    Heat shock proteins are ubiquitous proteins found in the cells of all studied organisms. Many types of stress, including heat, induce expression of a family of genes known as the heat shock protein genes. Heat shock proteins originally were discovered when it was observed that heat shock produced chromosomal puffs in the salivary glands of fruit flies (Drosophilia). The DNA sequence that makes up this family of genes is highly conserved across species. This family of genes originally was named because of their expression after exposure to heat. However, the genes are now known to be induced by a wide variety of environmental or metabolic stresses that include the following: anoxia, ischemia, heavy metal ions, ethanol, nicotine, surgical stress, and viral agents. Thus, the term “heat shock protein” is a misnomer because many agents other than heat induce the expression of the heat shock protein gene. Consequently, “stress protein” is the preferred term.

    HERE

  41. 41
    Mung says:

    All organisms respond to heat by inducing the synthesis of a group of proteins called the heat-shock proteins or hsps. The response is the most highly conserved genetic system known, existing in every organism in which it has been sought, from archaebacteria to eubacteria, from plants to animals

    HERE

  42. 42
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    1. “A biochemist would certainly be trained in evolutionary theory. Biochemistry is a related field, and one that often depends on evolutionary theory. Heat shock proteins, one of Moran’s particular interests, help reveal deep homologies in evolution.”

    This is mostly wrong. I thought you knew something about science, but now I’m beginning to think you are just another internet BSer faking scientific knowledge.

    Point A. A biochemist is not necessarily “trained in evolutionary theory” *at all* — and certainly there is nothing in biochemistry programs that makes someone a specialist in evolutionary theory. I knew personally the entire body of undergrad biochemistry majors at my university (a major research university), and evolutionary theory was no part of their biochemistry program proper. Many of them — those who came in from biology rather than chemistry — had taken a freshman “genetics and evolution” course — but that was basic biology taken *before* the biochemistry proper started — and there was no evolutionary theory in their program after that. Don’t make stuff up.

    Point B. Your claim that biochemistry often depends on evolutionary theory is complete horsecrap. Biochemistry is a 100% a-historical science, whereas evolutionary theory is a historical “science.” The dependence is entirely the other way around. You cannot do evolutionary theory without some knowledge of biochemistry, whereas evolutionary theory is parasitic upon solid experimental sciences like biochemistry. If all the evolutionary biologists in the world died tomorrow, biochemistry would carry on just fine. Molecules are what they are, and obey the laws that they obey, and combine and react as they do, and speculations about the evolutionary origins of plants and animals make no difference to those objective laws and chemical operations.

    Point C. Even if “heat shock proteins” did imply something about evolution, your claim about the dependency of biochemistry on evolutionary theory would not follow. It would mean that from biochemistry (i.e., from the characteristics of “heat shock proteins”) we can draw some inferences about evolution, not that we learned anything about the chemical or physical properties of “heat shock proteins” from evolutionary theory. The empirical science (biochemistry) remains independent of the speculative historical theorizing. The speculative inferences (about homologies, etc.) remain contestable, whereas the biochemistry on which the speculations are based, being lab-verified, remains reliable.

    2. If you think that biochemistry and evolutionary theory are so necessarily interrelated that a biochemist can just automatically engage in high-level evolutionary theory (which is what we are talking about, Larry Moran, biochemist, posing as the reigning lord of evolutionary theory), then you must agree that Michael Behe, also a biochemist, necessarily knows a great deal about evolutionary theory. Is that your position, that Behe knows a great deal about evolutionary theory because of his training (both doctoral and post-doctoral with the NIH) as a biochemist?

    Or is your position that only atheist biochemists know lots about evolutionary theory, and Christian biochemists know nothing at all about it?

    Your remarks are desperate, Zachriel.

    The fact is, I’ve asked for proof that Moran has any proper academic track record in evolutionary theory, and neither you nor anyone else here will tell me what Larry has published. I wonder why.

  43. 43
    Querius says:

    Wow, Timaeus–what a slam dunk response! Evolutionary theories are right up there with phrenology. lol

    -Q

  44. 44
    Seversky says:

    I wonder what Barry Arrington’s respone would be if someone attacked his knowledge of law in the same way that Timaeus has sneered at Professor Moran’s knowledge of evolution?

  45. 45
    TSErik says:

    @Timaeus 42

    “I knew personally the entire body of undergrad biochemistry majors at my university (a major research university), and evolutionary theory was no part of their biochemistry program proper.”

    I buy this 100%. I can say that in my experience in my undergrad (biomedical science and microbiology) I only had a portion of one unit that could be considered big picture Neo-Darwinian theory. Most everything I’ve learned on NDE has been through autodidactic study.

    Throughout the whole program concepts of evolution as far as microevolution or adaptation are approached again and again as they relate to the subject. NDE was never really considered relevant to the greater topics.

  46. 46
    scottH says:

    TSErik
    Agreed. I’m finishing my undergrad in Bio and every class that mentions Evo my professors give the same vague examples of micrevolution. Throw in the Miller-Urey experiment and a few just so stories and that’s about it. I thought biology only made sense in the light of evolution? For a theory that explains everything, I’m sure not hearing about it. Who knows, maybe I happen to get the professors that don’t know about Evo either.

  47. 47
    Mapou says:

    Timaeus @42,

    Bravo. Here’s to hoping that Zachriel will run away with his tail between his legs. But I know it’s wishful thinking on my part. Zachriel refers to himself as a “we”. It’s because he is possessed by a demon with many heads, a legion of maleficent spirits. Cut off one head and another appears in its place. We are going to need a more inventive approach to this exorcism. 😀

  48. 48
    Mapou says:

    “Biology only make sense in the light of evolution” is a favorite refrain of the evotard choir.

  49. 49
    TSErik says:

    @scottH

    Throw in the Miller-Urey experiment. . .

    Right!? I had an instructor vehemently assert that the Miller-Urey experiment completely solved the abiogenesis issue.

  50. 50
    scottH says:

    TSErik
    So have I. Yet it’s still an issue…

  51. 51
    Zachriel says:

    Mung (quoting): The DNA sequence that makes up this family of genes is highly conserved across species.

    Do you know what is meant by a “family of genes”?
    http://figshare.com/articles/_.....es_/711306

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    I wonder how much money I could make if I tell people about the OOL prize and then sell Miller-Urey kits.

    I should keep track of how many sold to bio-chem professors.

  53. 53
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: A biochemist is not necessarily “trained in evolutionary theory” *at all

    We checked several university websites, they all seem to require a background in biology and genetics, which, as you know, currently includes evolution. There’s even a sub-specialty of biochemistry called evolutionary biochemistry.

    Timaeus: Biochemistry is a 100% a-historical science, whereas evolutionary theory is a historical “science.”

    The citation to Lindquist & Craig provided by Mung concerns chemists discussing evolution.

    Timaeus: It would mean that from biochemistry (i.e., from the characteristics of “heat shock proteins”) we can draw some inferences about evolution, not that we learned anything about the chemical or physical properties of “heat shock proteins” from evolutionary theory.

    Biochemistry often involves understanding the evolutionary history of a molecule. For instance, Mung cited two chemists, Lindquist & Craig, who discuss the evolution of heat-shock proteins.

    Timaeus: you must agree that Michael Behe, also a biochemist, necessarily knows a great deal about evolutionary theory.

    Behe does have some understanding of evolutionary theory, but he is simply wrong.

    Timaeus: neither you nor anyone else here will tell me what Larry has published.

    Have you considered looking it up yourself?

    Nicholson, Williams & Moran, An essential member of the HSP70 gene family of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is homologous to immunoglobulin heavy chain binding protein, PNAS 1990: “An evolutionary comparison of amino acid sequences of 34 HSP70 proteins from 17 species suggests that BiP genes share a common ancestor, which diverged from other HSP70 genes near the time when eukaryotes first appeared.”

    Lowe & Moran, Molecular Cloning and Analysis of DNA Complementary to Three Mouse M, = 68,000 Heat Shock Protein mRNAs, The Journal of Biological Chemistry 1985: “The data suggest that there are marked differences in the evolutionary constraints for hsp7O proteins in different species”

  54. 54
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    I did “look it up myself.” I looked in the logical place — on Larry’s own university website. Science professors — as you would know if you were actually a scientist yourself, instead of an internet faker — very frequently provide a c.v. on their institutional websites. When I last looked at Larry’s I was shocked at how little he had published of a non-popular nature in the past ten years, especially since his atheist gang is always belittling ID people for not being real scientists because they don’t publish enough. In any case, if the two pieces you cite were on his website, I’ve already seen the references.

    So… two articles, one from 1985 and one from 1990. So on your evidence, even if we count those two articles as “evolutionary theory” (which is debatable), you can’t produce an article from Larry in the past 25 years. So the most you can say, based on your own personal knowledge of his publications, is that he used to be an evolutionary theorist, 25 years ago. And that qualifies him today, in 2015, to play referee over the world’s top evolutionary theorists? Give me a break.

    Glad you admit that Behe has some understanding of evolutionary theory. But you are still not getting the point. Behe himself, when speaking autobiographically in several different spots, says that he did *not* learn evolutionary mechanisms as a biochemist; indeed, he says that he, like most people in the life sciences, originally just took it for granted that Darwinian evolution was true and that buried in science libraries were thousands of articles showing the step-by-step molecular means by which evolutionary change had occurred. That is, he assumed that not ordinary biochemists like himself, but specialist evolutionary biologists (albeit with some knowledge of biochemistry), were looking after the causal explanation end of Darwinian theory. It was only when he investigated the evolutionary biology literature for himself (which he hadn’t done before, it evidently not being necessary for his own research) that he discovered that the Darwinian explanations weren’t there, or were sketchy or defective. So obviously one can go all the way to a Ph.D. in biochemistry without studying evolutionary theory in any detail.

    I am not arguing that no biochemist ever voluntarily takes undergrad or graduate courses in evolutionary theory. I am not arguing that no biochemist ever takes up evolutionary theory as a research subject. I am not arguing that a biochemist could not happen to know a great deal about evolution. I am not saying that Larry Moran cannot know anything about evolution because he is a biochemist. I am merely disproving your false claim that a biochemist necessarily knows any great amount about evolutionary theory. That simply is not true, and you should disabuse yourself of that notion immediately.

    My complaint is not that Larry Moran is a biochemist who talks about evolution; it is that he is a biochemist who talks about evolution as if he were an authority on the subject, without having any visible proof of his authority in the subject. If you look at the c.v. of Ayala, or Mayr, or Dobzhansky, or Gould, etc., you will see what it means to be an authority on evolutionary theory. It means having proved to the scientific world, time and time again, through publication in the peer-reviewed academic venues, that one has mastered the field. Perhaps Larry Moran has done so; I don’t say that he hasn’t. I say there is no visible evidence that he has. What I see is a man who talks very volubly and very frequently about evolution, and has enough knowledge of it to make his talk superficially plausible to legions of internet readers, most of whom are not themselves qualified to assess evolutionary theory at a high level and wouldn’t know it if he was “snowing” them. What I don’t see is a man who does active research and publication in the field. Normally a person is who not active in research and publication in a field is not considered a world expert on it. You would know this, if you were actually a scientist yourself.

    I notice that you “prove” things by looking them up on websites. My opinions about scientific matters come not primarily from websites but from long personal contact with people in the sciences, from my undergrad days forward. Perhaps that is why I have a more realistic view of what science is about than you do.

  55. 55
    Timaeus says:

    steveO:

    I’ll answer your gentle and fair question with an example. Suppose I started writing a weekly blog on medical issues. Suppose that every week I commented aggressively on opinions voiced by top U.S. medical authorities, stating who was right and who was wrong regarding compulsory vaccinations, AIDS, alleged genes for homosexuality, and many other subjects. Suppose I dripped with disdain for people who disagreed with me, and suppose I was never observed to give even an inch on an opinion once I had planted my feet. Now suppose that someone said to me:

    “You sound awfully sure of yourself on these issues. You never modify your views, and you stand in judgment on some of the most celebrated surgeons, physicians, and medical researchers in the nation. Can you tell us what medical experience you have that gives you this confidence that you know more than all of them? Do you have an M.D. degree? Have you ever practiced medicine? Have you ever personally done research involving clinical trials? Have you ever published anything in a peer-reviewed medical journal?”

    I would not take such a line of argument as “ad hominem” — not if “ad hominem” implies an *inappropriate* focus on the person’s background. Anyone has a right to ask about another person’s qualifications. No one would think of hiring a barber to take out his appendix, just because barbers have some experience with cutting tools. We all would want a qualified surgeon. And you wouldn’t entrust engine repairs to your car to someone who had no track record at fixing cars, though he was really good at fixing bicycles.

    I’m asking Larry Moran to produce his body of work in evolutionary theory, just as I would ask a doctor to produce his medical license or medical school transcript or record of internship. If he has the body of work, he won’t object to the question. He will only object to the question if he doesn’t have the body of work. If asking that question is “ad hominem” then I have to plead guilty to the charge of “ad hominem” remarks.

    Note that I am not saying that any particular statement of Larry’s is *false* merely because Larry might not be formally an evolutionary biologist. That would be a bad kind of “ad hominem” argument. I’m asking, rather, what accomplishments of his in the field of evolutionary biology have led him to regard himself as one of the world’s greatest evolutionary theorists.

    If I asked Mozart why he thought of himself as a greater musician than Haydn, he might give me a list of his concertos, keyboard pieces, and other works, and say: “these are better overall than anything Haydn has produced.”
    I’m asking Larry why he thinks he knows more about evolutionary theory than Shapiro, Wagner, Jablonka, etc. I’m asking him to objectively estimate his own accomplishments in the field of evolutionary theory, and to show us those accomplishments so that we can decide whether those accomplishments are as great as he thinks they are.

    Is that a personal attack? I don’t think so. But of course atheist evolutionists are a prickly bunch and may well take it in that way. Well, too bad. Moran dishes it out to people, with withering scorn. If he can’t take the heat, he should get out of the kitchen. And I’ve actually challenged him much more politely than he usually challenges ID people.

    Either Larry has a track record in the field, or he doesn’t. If he has it, let him produce it.

  56. 56
    skram says:

    Timaeus,

    I think your requirement of being an active researcher in evolutionary biology is a bit over the top. Moran teaches evolutionary biology at the college level: Molecular Evolution BCH447H. At the University of Toronto, a top institution of higher education in Canada. That already establishes his competence in the subject.

  57. 57
    Mung says:

    Yet I think we’re still waiting for Larry’s review of Masatoshi Nei’s Mutation-Driven Evolution.

  58. 58
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    Your reasoning is deeply flawed.

    First of all, did you determine whether that course was an undergraduate or graduate course? If it was only an undergraduate course, it doesn’t necessarily indicate cutting-edge professional knowledge on the part of the instructor. Even if it was a graduate course, it might not indicate that — I’ve attended graduate courses where the professor’s knowledge was not exactly cutting edge.

    Second, teaching a subject does not at all establish one’s *advanced* competence in the subject. One’s competence in the more advanced aspects of one’s field may become out of date. The way to keep one’s competence up is to be constantly researching and publishing.

    Lots of professors use the same old lecture notes, year after year, and don’t keep up to date. Unless you yourself have taken Moran’s course, or have seen his notes, you have no idea at all of the quality of the material, or how up-to-date it is, or whether most evolutionary biologists would think it was good material. Especially since evolutionary biology is not even close to your field.

    Yes, Toronto is a good institution overall, but it doesn’t follow that everyone who teaches there is equally good, and it doesn’t follow that all its professors will keep up the research end once they get tenure. You of all people should know that, since you argued here until you were blue in the face that Iowa State was *right* to deny tenure to Gonzalez, one of the reasons cited by you being a drop-off in research productivity. So now you are saying that research productivity isn’t important for a tenured professor to maintain? It’s OK if he just teaches? Are you changing your tune, skram? You didn’t think 15 articles in 4 years was good enough to keep Gonzalez on the payroll, but you think apparently zero articles in the past 10 years is good enough to justify keeping Moran on the payroll?

    Also, you badly confuse being able to expound a subject with being a leading expert in it. If you bothered to read my original comments carefully, you will see that my complaint was not that Larry Moran knew nothing at all about evolutionary theory. He might well know enough about evolutionary theory to teach students that Ohno believes this and Dawkins believes that and Shapiro believes that, etc., and even, as I said above, to point out strengths and weaknesses in the various positions. My complaint was never that Larry knew nothing about evolutionary theory, but about his dialogical stance, which has always been (at least on his blog site) that of one of the greatest experts on evolutionary theory around, dismissing the views of those who don’t agree with his views of evolutionary mechanisms, and speaking as if he can referee between the big guns.

    No one has the right to that kind of rhetorical superiority unless he has a *record of achievement* greater than that of the people he is condescending to, dismissing haughtily, etc. I am asking for evidence that Larry Moran has produced scientific research *in the field of evolutionary biology* (undergrad textbooks in biochemistry don’t count) in the past 10 years, research that is *widely read, used, and admired by the worldwide community of evolutionary biologists*. Only such a record could justify the haughtiness that he employs in his writing about evolutionary theory.

    His fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants arguments on his blog site do not count as research. If you know of peer-reviewed publications of his in evolutionary biology which are not listed on his website, trot them out.

    I’m open to the conclusion that he is the greatest evolutionary biologist since Ernst Mayr. But I won’t accept his say-so for that. I want the judgment of the community of evolutionary biologists. Show me that the community of evolutionary biologists has as high an opinion of the evolutionary theory of Larry Moran as Larry Moran does. If you can’t do that, I’ll look for someone else who can. (And nothing is stopping Larry himself from putting up a new c.v. on his website with the scores of recent peer-reviewed articles he neglected to list before.)

  59. 59
    skram says:

    Timaeus,

    For someone claiming to be in academia, you seem to know very little about its workings. It’s pretty easy to tell from the course number that it is a senior-level undergraduate course (the listed prerequisites are sophomore and junior-level).

    I doubt that there is anyone here on the ID side who understands evolution at the senior undergraduate level, certainly not Denyse. Someone who teaches at that level at U Toronto is more than qualified to teach people here. One needn’t be “the greatest evolutionary biologist since Ernst Mayr” to do that.

  60. 60
    beau says:

    Skram,

    You seem to be missing the point. I read Sadwalk daily and Professor Moran belittles professors, authors or the regular dummy like myself. His commentators on his blog sing in harmony how “Idiots” don’t publish papers in reputable journals. Their lack of publication is often reason to dismiss them in general. You can’t have it both ways. Although, to be fair, Professor Moran will claim anyone who isn’t aligned with his belief “doesn’t understand evolution”. Admittedly I’m a casual observer but I’d think if Professor Moran is indeed a high caliber scientist he’s wasting his gift.

  61. 61
    evnfrdrcksn says:

    Where do you teach, Timaeus?

  62. 62
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    I see that you continue to show the same stubbornness and uncooperativeness in conversation that you used to show at Telic Thoughts. You argue to win a public victory, not to shed on light on the subject under discussion.

    If *you* knew universities, you would know that not *all* universities use the same system of designating their courses. I didn’t happen to remember Toronto’s system offhand, which is why I asked the question. In fact, I did suspect that it was an upper-year undergraduate course, based on the numbering, but didn’t want to say so dogmatically. I have seen cases where graduate courses use such numberings. I was merely being cautious, not wanting to assert something without certainty, and you jump on me for it. That is petty.

    Typically, you ignore virtually every argument I made in my post — presumably because you have no answer to the arguments.

    Your reading comprehension, or possibly your attention span, leaves something to be desired. I never said that Larry Moran was not qualified to teach some people here some things about evolution. Did you even try to grasp my point? I even restated it for you, since you obviously did not get it right from my (very clear) initial statements; but it still appears to have sailed past you.

    I said that Larry Moran writes about evolutionary theory superciliously, and writes as if he has a better understanding of the most advanced theoretical questions about evolutionary mechanisms than almost anyone else in the world. It is not just ID people and creationists that he condescends to; he even writes dismissively about the views of other atheist evolutionary theorists with whom he disagrees. He does not write as if he might be wrong; he writes “evolution doesn’t happen that way; it happens this way” as if he has the matter very much under control and that others who don’t hold *his* views on evolutionary mechanisms just don’t think straight. He shoots down the books and ideas of well-published evolutionary theorists (even atheists like himself) holding prestigious positions at places like Chicago, while his own publication record in the field is, as far as I can tell, extremely spotty, so spotty that if he were in Gonzalez’s position at Iowa State he definitely would not have been awarded tenure.

    Who appointed this guy–a guy with no academic visibility in the professional world of evolutionary theory for over 10 years now–judge and jury of correct evolutionary theory? Who gave him the right to speak to the people who actually *are* researching and publishing in the field as if he were Moses and they were the lowly Israelites at the foot of the mountain?

    As far as I can tell, his blogging position as the Arbiter of Opinions Regarding Evolutionary Mechanisms is a self-appointment.

    This has nothing to do with ID. I would have the same objection to Moran if I were a hardened atheist.

    He *doesn’t* claim merely to have a good general understanding of evolutionary theory, adequate to teach Toronto undergrads. He thinks of himself — very plainly — as one of the big guns in the field. But who else in the field thinks of him as a big gun? That’s what I want to know.

    If you have information on what Larry has published in the past ten years, or if you have information on how the leading evolutionary theorists of the world regard Larry’s work, then speak up. If you don’t have information of this kind, your responses to me are useless, and worse than useless, simply flak for the sake of offering flak. If you can’t stay on topic, I wish you would simply be silent.

  63. 63
    Timaeus says:

    In answer to the question in 61 above — which may be asked with gentle or malign intention — I will say that I have taught at several different institutions of higher education, including major research universities, regional universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges. I have taught in several different departments, have served on departmental committees, examined graduate theses, designed curriculum, and published many books and articles. I do not intend to give my current location to anyone here. And my current location has nothing to do with the point at hand, which is: why is a guy with no visible track record in evolutionary theory posing as one of the world’s authorities in the field, and why should anyone treat him as such? Why shouldn’t he be treated as simply as an opinionated biochemistry professor with a far-below-standard academic publication record in the field he is opinionated about?

  64. 64
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: So… two articles, one from 1985 and one from 1990. So on your evidence, even if we count those two articles as “evolutionary theory” (which is debatable), you can’t produce an article from Larry in the past 25 years.

    Quite a few research articles, if you look. He has since moved into teaching biochemistry from an evolutionary perspective. If your argument is that he is dated, well, he is getting rather gray.

    Timaeus: It was only when he investigated the evolutionary biology literature for himself (which he hadn’t done before, it evidently not being necessary for his own research) that he discovered that the Darwinian explanations weren’t there, or were sketchy or defective.

    Are you conflating darwinism with evolution? Moran doesn’t reject the importance of natural selection to adaptation, but believes that many changes on the molecular level are due to other mechanisms.

    Timaeus: Perhaps Larry Moran has done so; I don’t say that he hasn’t. I say there is no visible evidence that he has.

    We’ve provided some such evidence, and pointed out that you can find more if you look. Biochemistry can be rather dry, though.

    Lowe & Moran, Proteins related to the mouse L-cell major heat shock protein are synthesized in the absence of heat shock gene expression, PNAS 1984: “Using a fragment of a cloned gene encoding the Drosophila melanogaster Mr 70,000 heat shock protein (hsp70), we have shown that this protein has been highly conserved during eukaryotic evolution.”

    Timaeus: My opinions about scientific matters come not primarily from websites but from long personal contact with people in the sciences

    Good for you.

    Timaeus: You sound awfully sure of yourself on these issues. You never modify your views, and you stand in judgment on some of the most celebrated surgeons, physicians, and medical researchers in the nation.

    Moran’s opinions are well within the mainstream for molecular evolution, his specialty.

    An appeal to authority is valid when

    * The cited authority has sufficient expertise.
    * The authority is making a statement within their area of expertise.
    * The area of expertise is a valid field of study.
    * There is adequate agreement among authorities in the field.
    * There is no evidence of undue bias.

    The proper argument against a valid appeal to authority is to the evidence.

    You are arguing Moran doesn’t have sufficient expertise, but as he did scientific research in molecular evolution, as he teaches the subject, and even wrote a textbook on the subject, he is a valid authority in the field of molecular evolution. Moreover, Moran supports his statements by referring to scientific evidence.

  65. 65
    Mung says:

    Ah, the old if you don’t know enough to counter me I don’t have to know what I’m talking about ploy. Always a perennial favorite at blog sites.

  66. 66
    Curly Howard says:

    Hey Timaeus, you never told me what paper you corrected a mistake in and what the mistake was.
    Are you still refusing?

  67. 67
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    So you still can’t name a single article on evolutionary theory published by Moran in the past 10 years in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. I rest my case.

    Also, you are as dense and as incapable of comprehending the English language as skram is. I never said that Moran was not competent in evolutionary theory. Lots of professors are “competent” in a subject without being world-class authorities in a subject. And my complaint is not that Moran knows nothing about evolutionary theory, but that Moran writes as if he is a world-class authority in the subject, when, based on the evidence, he is just another biochemist who has taken an interest in the subject of evolution, no more knowledgeable about evolution than three or four thousand other biologists or biochemists around the world. Yet he writes in a lordly manner, as if he is needed to correct all the wrong thinking about evolution that evolutionary biologists hold.

    In replying to my remarks about Behe, you wandered into Moran’s views on selection, showing that you completely misunderstood the point of what I said about Behe, which was not to contrast Behe’s view of evolution with Moran’s, but only to show that Behe’s advanced training in biochemistry did not require any substantive training in evolutionary theory. I’m waiting for you to withdraw your claim that a biochemist necessarily knows anything substantive about evolutionary theory, but I don’t suppose you are man enough ever to admit an error.

    Your continued use of “we” means either that you have a psychological problem, in which case you should see the appropriate kind of medical practitioner, or that you are a pompous ass trying to draw attention to yourself by writing “royally.” But all you’ve drawn attention to is your pomposity — and your lack of knowledge of this subject-matter.

    You get an F for your efforts, Zachriel. You have failed to provide the evidence I’ve asked for. I want to be convinced that Larry Moran is one of the world’s leading experts on evolutionary mechanisms, and is regarded as such by the leading experts themselves. Show me the evidence for this, or be quiet.

  68. 68
    bFast says:

    Zachriel, “Behe does have some understanding of evolutionary theory, but he is simply wrong.”

    How so? I think Behe has two predominant theories, his “irreducible complexity” argument exemplified by the bacterial flagellum, and his “edge of evolution” argument which, supported by formal study, suggests that if two mutations are required to achieve an effect, and if neither offers any selective advantage on its own*, then within mammalia, it would probably never happen.

    Please show why Behe is wrong on these two points.

    * Note that Larry Moran suggests that the benefit must be more than “slight”, or selection will not care.

  69. 69
    Box says:

    What is an evolutionary biologist field of expertise? Non-existent evolutionary mechanisms?

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: I never said that Moran was not competent in evolutionary theory.

    Not just competent, but did research in molecular evolution, is a university profession teaching molecular evolution, wrote a textbook, now in its 5th edition, on biochemistry using an evolutionary approach. That makes him a competent authority. It doesn’t, however, necessarily make him right.

    Timaeus: And my complaint is not that Moran knows nothing about evolutionary theory, but that Moran writes as if he is a world-class authority in the subject, when, based on the evidence, he is just another biochemist who has taken an interest in the subject of evolution, no more knowledgeable about evolution than three or four thousand other biologists or biochemists around the world. Yet he writes in a lordly manner, as if he is needed to correct all the wrong thinking about evolution that evolutionary biologists hold.

    So your concern is his tone, his lordly manner, not his expertise?

    Timaeus: Behe’s advanced training in biochemistry did not require any substantive training in evolutionary theory.

    Molecular evolution is a specialty, however, any biochemistry major will have studied biology, which, as you know, includes evolutionary theory. Perhaps Behe didn’t pay much attention.

    In any case, molecular evolution happens to be Moran’s specialty.

  71. 71
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel, stop being a fool. The amount of evolutionary theory that is absolutely required of biochemistry majors in the vast majority of schools is *minimal*. If you are actually in the life sciences, you must know that, and therefore you are being stubborn. And if you’re not in the life sciences, or haven’t at least rubbed shoulders with life scientists to the extent that I have, then you don’t know what you’re talking about, so you should stop talking.

    If Larry Moran knows a great deal about evolutionary theory, it is *not* because he took the minimum amount of biology required in an undergraduate biochemistry program. His knowledge of evolutionary theory would require much study of evolutionary theory beyond that minimum. You stated or implied that biochemists *as such* know a considerable amount about evolutionary theory, and that’s just dead wrong, but you’re too proud and stubborn to admit it.

    Whether or not molecular evolution is Moran’s specialty is irrelevant to the discussion. Someone can have a specialty and still not be very great in his field. Every university professor has a specialty, but not every university professor is a world-class figure within that specialty. Some are only mediocrities in their specialty, and some are actually quite poor in their specialty. I have met dumb specialists in mathematics, biochemistry, biology, history, philosophy, musicology, etc. I have also met dumb doctors, dumb lawyers, dumb accountants, dumb engineers, dumb computer programmers (some of them paid $200,000 a year by outfits like Microsoft) etc. Having a formal area of expertise doesn’t make you any good at that area of expertise. Fakery is possible, and falling behind the times in knowledge is possible.

    The way the academic world sorts out who is excellent, who is good, who is mediocre, and who is poor, is, generally speaking via publications. If Moran is in the “excellent” category when it comes to evolutionary theory, he will have a large number of publications in that field. If he has them, he can produce them. You clearly can’t produce them on his behalf. You can’t name one later than 1990. But that won’t stop you from arguing. That’s what you’re here for — to reflexively say “nay” when anyone on the ID side says “aye.” The idea of conceding a point to anyone on the ID side is alien to your polemical, partisan nature.

    The question on the table is: “Is Larry Moran the great authority on evolutionary biology that he thinks he is?” If you have evidence pertaining to that question, trot it out. The fact that he is a biochemistry professor who teaches one undergraduate course on molecular evolution is insufficient evidence to sustain the thesis. Let’s see the list of publications. Let’s see the list of testimonials from Gunther Wagner, Eva Jablonka, James Shapiro, Allen Orr, Richard Lewontin, etc. regarding how much they have learned about evolutionary theory from reading the work of Larry Moran. If you can’t provide such evidence, stop BS-ing and go away.

  72. 72
    skram says:

    Timaeus,

    I was responding to your opening post:

    Larry Moran wrote:

    “I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.”

    Perhaps teaching is not your strong point, Larry. There is some empirical evidence of that, I believe.

    Or perhaps it is expertise that is the problem. Last time I checked your website for your publications on evolutionary theory, I found many popular articles on ID and creationism, and some apparently self-published biochemical data on your university website. I couldn’t find a single article on evolutionary theory in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject for over 10 years into the past. For someone who has so many opinions on evolution, and voices them so loudly in non-professionally-controlled environments such as blog sites, you are surprisingly absent from the professional discussions. Perhaps you can explain the inverse relationship between your popular involvement in debates over evolution and your visibility in the technical books and articles on the subject of evolution.

    It strikes me that spending hundreds of hours every year trying to convince ID people and creationists they are wrong would not be as profitable a use of a Toronto professor’s time as actually researching evolutionary mechanisms and publishing the findings at academic conferences, in books, and in journals.

    In a nutshell, you were saying that Larry Moran isn’t qualified to teach IDers and creationists some evolution because he isn’t a good teacher and hasn’t done any relevant research. Given the level of understanding of evolutionary theory by your side, Moran is more than qualified to do what he does.

    Perhaps you have developed some other theme later in the comments, but that is not relevant to your opening post.

  73. 73
    velikovskys says:

    Timeous:
    Your continued use of “we” means either that you have a psychological problem, in which case you should see the appropriate kind of medical practitioner,

    I believe you have made this observation before ,could you please provide your academic credentials in psychology?

    or that you are a pompous ass trying to draw attention to yourself by writing “royally.” But all you’ve drawn attention to is your pomposity — and your lack of knowledge of this subject-matter.

    Don’t forget the other options T.

    You get an F for your efforts, Zachriel.You have failed to provide the evidence I’ve asked for.

    Orginally you responded to Larry’s smart ass comment with one of your own
    Larry :I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.”

    Timeous :Perhaps teaching is not your strong point, Larry. There is some empirical evidence of that, I believe.
    Or perhaps it is expertise that is the problem. Last time I checked your website for your publications on evolutionary theory, I found rmany popular articles on ID and creationism, and some apparently self-published biochemical data on your university website. I couldn’t find a single article on evolutionary theory in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject for over 10 years into the past.

    So it seems at least at first, you only required enough expertise to undertake the Sisyphean task to successfully teach Denyse, which you defined as peer reviewed paper within 10 years. Seems at bit arbitrary, but whatever.

    I want to be convinced that Larry Moran is one of the world’s leading experts on evolutionary mechanisms, and is regarded as such by the leading experts themselves

    So the goalposts have moved considerably T, perhaps upon reflection perhaps you realized the goal of teaching Denyse would required a world leading expert to have a chance to succeed.

  74. 74
    bFast says:

    Zachriel, in 68 above I asked: Zachriel, “Behe does have some understanding of evolutionary theory, but he is simply wrong.”

    You didn’t punt and run did you?

    I believe that Behe put two serious challenges on the table. The first has been responded to with a “just so” story or two. This seems to be the way of evolutionary biology. Y’all are so cocky about your philosophical position that you don’t feel a need to put the challenge to the test.

    The physicists, on the other hand, seem to take challenges to their theories very seriously. They spend millions, nay billions, of dollars on experiments to confirm or falsify their positions. When is a study that has attempted to get flagellum from non-flagellum going to be published? That’s the way science should be done.

  75. 75
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: The amount of evolutionary theory that is absolutely required of biochemistry majors in the vast majority of schools is *minimal*.

    Here’s our original exchange.

    T: If Moran regards his blogging as merely a fun activity, the equivalent of a bunch of the boys getting together in the bar after work and BS-ing about all kinds of subjects they know in only a half-baked way, then fine

    Z: Biochemistry is much more closely related to evolutionary biology than bartending.

    Timaeus: Whether or not molecular evolution is Moran’s specialty is irrelevant to the discussion.

    Of course it’s relevant.

    Timaeus: Someone can have a specialty and still not be very great in his field.

    Quite true. Moran has published research on molecular evolution in many high-impact scientific journals.

    Timaeus: Every university professor has a specialty, but not every university professor is a world-class figure within that specialty.

    True again. However, we can generally rely upon them to state mainstream views in their field.

    Timaeus: You clearly can’t produce them on his behalf.

    We’ve provided three previously.

    Brown, Lowe & Moran, Expression of heat shock genes in fetal and maternal rabbit brain, Neurochemical Research 1985: “Cloned fragments of members of the Drosophila and mouse major heat shock (hsp70) gene family were used to demonstrate that homologous sequences are present in the rabbit genome.”

    Timaeus: The question on the table is: “Is Larry Moran the great authority on evolutionary biology that he thinks he is?”

    How great does he think he is?

    velikovskys: So the goalposts have moved considerably T, perhaps upon reflection perhaps you realized the goal of teaching Denyse would required a world leading expert to have a chance to succeed.

    Heh.

    bFast: You didn’t punt and run did you?

    Perhaps someone might start a thread on Behe’s claims.

  76. 76
    Mung says:

    Zachriel,

    …the search for homologous genes is quite futile except in very close relatives”

    – Ernst Mayr

    Guess he was wrong eh? One wonders why he would ever think such a thing.

  77. 77
    Timaeus says:

    velikovsky:

    I didn’t move any goalposts. But I did write somewhat sloppily at one point. I originally made two points, one about Larry as teacher (and that’s the only point I meant to be connected to his remark about Denyse), and the other about Larry as world-class expert on evolutionary biology. However, the way I left things, there might have been initial doubt whether I meant that Larry didn’t know enough evolutionary biology to teach Denyse something or that Larry wasn’t the uber-expert in evolutionary theory that he makes himself out to be. I take the literary blame for that.

    I would have thought that the rest of my remarks in the quoted passages, plus my subsequent clarifications in my answers here, would have made it clear that I wasn’t interested in the comparative knowledge of Larry and Denyse, but the absolute knowledge of Larry as evolutionary expert. But I admit that the opening was not tidy. I wrote too hurriedly. I yield that point.

    Of course, my original comments were not a column of their own, but were addressed to Larry himself, in another column. Had he asked me for clarification, for an explanation of what I was saying about his expertise, I would gladly have given it. But he did not reply. Then, I found that my comments had been reproduced as a column here. I did not request this showcasing, but that’s what was done. In any case, since this new column was put up, I have made sufficiently clear many times that my focus is not on whether Larry Moran knows more evolutionary biology than Denyse (I would guess that he does), but whether Larry Moran is the uber-expert on evolutionary biology that he thinks he is.

    When ID people present a publication record to the world that is deemed inadequate, they are savaged for it. But when an atheist scientist who purports to be a world-class expert on evolutionary theory presents an almost empty publication record for over a decade, no one on the atheist side says anything. Double standard, or what?

  78. 78
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    “Moran has published research on molecular evolution in many high-impact scientific journals.”

    But you haven’t given a single example of such research dated after 1990.

    “How great does he think he is?”

    Read his blog. It comes across pretty clearly.

  79. 79
    Timaeus says:

    velikovsky:

    To further clarify regarding Larry and Denyse, my objection was not that Larry might share some biological knowledge with Denyse; my objection was to the notion that *Larry’s* view of “how evolution works” is *the* view of “how evolution works” that *all* great evolutionary biologists agree with. There is considerable high-level disagreement among the world’s top evolutionary biologists about how evolution works, and there is no reason why *Larry’s* account of how evolution works should be accepted as the correct one, just on Larry’s say-so.

    I don’t mind Larry having opinions about evolutionary mechanisms, but no one set him up as the arbiter of truth when it comes to evolutionary mechanisms. It’s his general mode of self-presentation, as if he is such an arbiter, as if other evolutionary biologists don’t think as clearly as he does or don’t understand evolutionary mechanisms properly, that irks me.

    That said, I am waiting for the list of Larry’s recent publications in evolutionary biology. So far, no one here has produced even one. I don’t deny he has them, but I don’t see them. And I don’t deny that some evolutionary biologists respect him, but I’ve never seen their statements to that effect. I am willing to be enlightened by testimonials from the giants that Larry is a giant, and by a list of peer-reviewed publications. Otherwise, I have no reason to see him as anything but an academically trained and therefore presumably competent biochemist who teaches an undergrad course in molecular evolution but is not a figure of great moment in the world of evolutionary theory.

  80. 80
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    Thanks for your clarification. See my response to Velikovsky, where I deal with the good point that you raise.

    I expect, when I have given long and generous replies to many people in a discussion, clarifying and amplifying my views, that people who criticize my statements will criticize them in the light of the whole discussion, and not seize upon them in isolation. I admit that the opening quotation by itself could have misled readers about what my argument was, but the subsequent discussion should have set people back on track.

    In any case, now that you know what my *intended* argument was, how about responding to some of my points? For example, would Larry have got tenure at Iowa State with his publication record of the past 10 years? Should he have? Is it responsible for a professor at the top of the salary grid at a world-class research university to coast when it comes to publication? And if a professor has been coasting for some time, apparently blogging and writing popular articles against ID and creationism more than pieces of research, is he justified in regarding himself as one of the world’s leading lights in evolutionary theory? (Or, mutatis mutandis, in any scientific field?) I have heard people say that Behe is no longer a scientist, that Dembski is no longer a scientist, etc., because they haven’t published much in their technical fields for some time, but instead write about ID and evolution in the popular arena; should not the same objections be raised when people like Moran (and Ken Miller, and, lately, Jerry Coyne) move more and more away from research and publication and into culture-war politics? Why do atheists get a free pass for behavior that is deemed blameworthy on the ID side?

  81. 81
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Guess he was wrong eh?

    Notice he doesn’t say genes don’t have homologues, only that they couldn’t be identified because of interspecific sterility. New technology resolved that issue.

    Timaeus: But you haven’t given a single example of such research dated after 1990.

    So your argument isn’t his qualifications, but that he is dated?

    Timaeus: Read his blog.

    Been there. When speaking to people who think they know evolution, clearly don’t, and don’t want to learn, Moran has no patience.

    Timaeus: my objection was to the notion that *Larry’s* view of “how evolution works” is *the* view of “how evolution works” that *all* great evolutionary biologists agree with.

    Moran appreciates that other scientists don’t hold his views on all outstanding issues. He also understands that evolutionary theory has changed over time. You might want to provide specific examples of what you find irksome.

  82. 82
    bFast says:

    “When speaking to people who think they know evolution, clearly don’t, and don’t want to learn, Moran has no patience.”

    When speaking with people who know evolution better than he thinks they do, and who are willing to learn he has no patience either. The only people he seems to have patience for are those who declare their allegiance to Lord Moran.

  83. 83
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    “So your argument isn’t his qualifications, but that he is dated?”

    The two go together. If he does not know the developments in the area of evolutionary mechanisms since 1990, he cannot be counted as a current expert on evolutionary theory.

    Note the “if” above; I am *not* saying that he does not know the developments. I’m asking for *evidence from his peer-reviewed publications* that he knows the developments and *confirmation from the acknowledged giants of evolutionary theory today* that he knows the developments. You have come up with no such evidence or confirmation. And apparently have no intention of doing so. Since you aren’t going to try, just let it drop.

    “When speaking to people who think they know evolution, clearly don’t, and don’t want to learn, Moran has no patience.”

    As I’ve said, Moran speaks in a superior manner not just to fools, but even to (or about) major evolutionary theorists. He sees himself as having a deeper understanding of evolution than all of them. It is rare when someone with no publications in a field for years is actually superior to those who have been actively publishing up to the present. Hence my question: where does he get his confidence? Why doesn’t he write more tentatively? And if he is really so sure of all his dismissive statements and confident assertions, why hasn’t he published them in an appropriate professional form? Is it laziness? Or some other reason?

    There is plainly a double standard here: atheists don’t have to live up to the same standards that ID people are expected to. So if Behe doesn’t publish enough in peer-reviewed journals, he is not (according to your atheist buddies) a scientist any longer, but if Moran doesn’t bother to publish in peer-reviewed journals, he is still a top evolutionary expert. Right.

  84. 84
    soundburger says:

    It is also worth noting that, according to some of his students, who took the time to post about him on Rate My Professor, Professor Moran exhibits the very same tone and attitude that the people at UD and EN&V are all too familiar with.
    The written reviews are very few, and there IS one that praises him and credits him for a career in science. A glowing testimonial.
    But the majority talk about an arrogant prof who is more interested in showing off knowledge than teaching, puffing himself up, and behaving more as an authority than a steward of knowledge.

    So, if we can see the same pattern, whether it is to undergrads he is responsible for teaching, ID proponents he considers ‘unteachable’, and even distinguished colleagues, is it really necessary to pick at Timaeus’ statements as if salvaging poor, misunderstood Larry Moran is the most important thing in the world?

    If he wants to defend himself, he has a forum. Why should it matter so much to anyone else?

  85. 85
    Querius says:

    Timaeus,

    Personally, I think Zachriel is simply trying to waste as much of your time as possible. Your responses provide a lot of insight for which I’m sure a lot of people are appreciative.

    -Q

  86. 86
    wd400 says:

    As I’ve said, Moran speaks in a superior manner not just to fools, but even to (or about) major evolutionary theorists

    Which major evolutionary theorists would that be?

  87. 87
    Querius says:

    Mapou,

    Bravo. Here’s to hoping that Zachriel will run away with his tail between his legs. But I know it’s wishful thinking on my part.

    Not a chance. I reveal why further down.

    Zachriel refers to himself as a “we”. It’s because he is possessed by a demon with many heads, a legion of maleficent spirits. Cut off one head and another appears in its place. We are going to need a more inventive approach to this exorcism.

    I noticed that too. He never responded to my repeatedly asking whether it was his habit of employing the majestic plural, or whether he had a tapeworm. You raise a new possibility. For the sake of parsimony, let’s first consider the possibility that we’ve been communicating with a bot that some programmers designed for random argument (hence the “we”). The point isn’t the strength of any argument, but rather the sheer volume of posts by the Z-bot that are on the verge of drowning UD.

    If so, my compliments to the programmers for a credible, though not particularly brilliant implementation. 😉

    -Q

  88. 88
    skram says:

    Timaeus,

    It seems like Barry slapped together two unrelated comments of yours in the opening post. I objected to the first one and you conceded the point. Fine.

    Your second point seems to be that Moran is not an actively working scientist in the field of evolutionary biology. This is obviously true.

    You then complain that “Larry has an inflated idea of his own importance within evolutionary theory.” I have not read his blog in a long time and therefore cannot comment on that.

    In your latest comment you write:

    As I’ve said, Moran speaks in a superior manner not just to fools, but even to (or about) major evolutionary theorists. He sees himself as having a deeper understanding of evolution than all of them.

    Could you perhaps present some actual quotes with links to his blog?

  89. 89
    Curly Howard says:

    Hey Timaeus, so what paper was it and what was the mistake? It shouldn’t be too hard to point me in the right direction.

    And has upright biped said anything about wolfenden et al. 2015 PNAS? He should at least read the science daily piece on the research, from what I remember it flies in the face of his translational system babble. I’m just curious what he has to say about it.

  90. 90
    Mung says:

    Which major evolutionary theorists would that be?

    There are none. Move Larry Moran to the head of his class!

  91. 91
    Mung says:

    Curly Howard:

    And has upright biped said anything about wolfenden et al. 2015 PNAS?

    Why would he waste his time on such nonsense?

    …from what I remember it flies in the face of his translational system babble.

    I’d get that memory of yours checked if I were you.

  92. 92
    Curly Howard says:

    You’re right Mungy, he wouldn’t waste his time on actual science. Just like the rest of UD.

  93. 93
    bFast says:

    Soundburger (84), checked out ratemyprofessor.com Was baffled by the A- they rated him as. Their thermometers looked less than terrible, but most of the ratings were 1, as low as can be rated. I don’t think their termometers are right, I think the thermometers start at 0.

    I see 18 poor ratings, each giving him a 1 for helpfulness. I see 2 good ratings. Looks like ratemyprofessor tries to present poor professors in a positive light, but when you read the details, you conclude that this is not the professor of choice.

    One quote, “OMG this guy needs to GROW UP. He acts like a spoiled brat playing king of the castle with his little throne in biochemistry.” Nailed it.

  94. 94
    Curly Howard says:

    We’re judging merits based on ratemyprofessor.com now?
    Man, UD just keeps getting better and better.

  95. 95
    mike1962 says:

    Larry Moran’s page on Rate My Professor:

    http://www.ratemyprofessors.co.....?tid=39948

  96. 96
    Mung says:

    UD just keeps getting better and better.

    I agree!

  97. 97
    mike1962 says:

    Curly Howard: We’re judging merits based on ratemyprofessor.com now?

    I won’t comment on Moran’s credentials or expertise.

    But the charge of him being a jackass apparently has some weight outside of ID circles.

  98. 98
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    Thanks for your further comment, and for graciously accepting my admission of misleading writing.

    Thanks also for this:

    “Your second point seems to be that Moran is not an actively working scientist in the field of evolutionary biology. This is obviously true.”

    You are the first person on “the other side” to agree with me about this. I give you points for granting that an ID person can occasionally say something that is true, and for not reflexively saying the opposite of what I say, as Zachriel does.

    I do not have time to dig back into Moran’s old columns now and find, in his various book reviews and ad hoc comments on the theories of various evolutionary biologists, the comments which have struck me as dismissive, know-it-all, supercilious, arrogant, overconfident, etc. But if you read his columns regularly, you will not see the comments like: “To be sure, I’m not an active evolutionary biologist, but it seems to me, from reading the literature, that Shapiro has a different conception of evolutionary novelty from that of most evolutionary biologists, and I wonder if he can sustain his view in light of the following considerations…”; instead, you will find stuff sounding more like (invented example): “Shapiro is way off-base on the origin of evolutionary novelty, which is caused not by organismal self-engineering but by …” There is never any sense in Larry’s writing that he, along with everyone else, is struggling with very difficult theoretical problems and an evidentiary base that is often lacking or hard to interpret. There is never any sense that equally brilliant evolutionary theorists may legitimately disagree in a fundamental way over mechanisms. One always gets the sense that the way evolution works is (in the main, though some details remain to be cleared up) a solved problem, and that Larry knows the solution; and that others, who think evolution works in a way quite different from the way Larry defends, have the wrong answers to the problem and get only a C minus in the course.

    Of course, I’m leaving aside his arrogant dismissals of ID people as IDiots and his deliberately provocative use of the phrase “intelligent design creationism” and so on. I’m here speaking only of how he conceives of his theoretical understanding in relation to his atheist biologist peers (presuming he thinks he has any peers).

    I suppose that things like that bother me more than they do most people. But the point I wanted to make was not simply that Larry tended to be far too sure of himself and too quickly dismissive of disagreement (lots of academics are like that), but that only someone who was at the very heart of evolutionary biology research, in a very strong position as a world leader in the field, would be entitled to such a superior attitude — though of course even then it would not be an admirable dialogical stance.

  99. 99
    skram says:

    Timaeus,

    Suppose, arguendo, that Larry Moran is an arrogant son of a bitch who has nothing useful to say about evolutionary biology. Why bother reading his blog?

  100. 100
    Andre says:

    Skram

    I use to read his blog and I use to ask him questions but since Prof Moran thinks he knows it all it has been a tad frustrating trying to learn anything from him, besides, when you ask him a question he does not like his standard response is;

    “You don’t understand evolution”

  101. 101
    Querius says:

    Teaching effectively is an important, often undervalued skill when you consider that universities are actually supposed to try to provide their students with an education commensurate to their tuition and the crushing debt load that students often have to shoulder. In addition, empathy, curiosity, and enthusiasm are critical personal qualities in an excellent teacher.

    As many of you know by experience, having a few outstanding professors in a college education is better than winning the lottery, in that they exert a profound life-long influence on their students!

    So, I’d imagine knowing that students avoid you at all costs must be devastating to one’s self-esteem and could explain the type of behavior described on ratemyprofessor, especially in light of the glowing recommendations that several other professors in the department received from their students.

    This has got to hurt! I’m serious when I say that someone with the low marks that Professor Moran has been receiving should get professional counseling, which is not at all meant as a slight. Taking classes in instructional design and delivery would provide him with essential skills, but the counseling is perhaps a first step for a change in attitude. What little I remember from my (required) psych class, a change in attitude won’t occur without a strong emotional experience.

    I do sincerely wish Professor Moran a better life, regardless of his evolutionary convictions.

    -Q

  102. 102
    skram says:

    Andre,

    Is the conversation of Andre Gross and Laurence A. Moran in this thread a representative sample?

  103. 103
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    Excellent question.

    I don’t, as a rule, read his blog, for the same reason that I don’t, as a rule, read other anti-ID blogs. I get tired of the condescension, the personal name-calling, the arrogance, and the frequent intellectual bluffing that characterize these venues. But I was often directed to it both by pro-ID writers who seemed worked up against him, and by anti-ID writers who seemed to regard him as some kind of guru of evolutionary theory. So I read some of it.

    A number of individual points he makes, I could probably agree with. For example, he says he is not a “Darwinist” and I presume that by that he means that a good degree of evolution has nothing to do with natural selection. Well, I agree with that. But overall I find his tone off-putting, and I also find the general premise of these sites — i.e., that one settles major theoretical questions (whether on evolution, global warming, multiverses, or whatever) via blog debates between groupies, critics, and a guru-blogwriter — to be preposterous, and to generate undignified, vulgarian behavior on the part of the scientists involved.

    I’m not against popular internet discussions where people who don’t pretend to be experts, and who don’t represent their judgments as the final word on a subject, sharpen their wits by arguing about evolution, and I’m not against genuine academic discussions about evolution, policed by traditional academic rules; but the blogosphere has created a new, in-between kind of debate over evolution, led by scientists who are taking time off from their day jobs to become internet stars and gain internet followings, and who seem to think that their pronouncements on these academically unchecked sites have the same epistemological status as the conclusions of a well-executed research program. I really dislike this trend. It blurs the distinction between serious academic discussion and bar-room conversation in what is to me a dangerous way. Larry Moran, Jeffrey Shallit, P.Z. Myers, and others are guilty of this. My raising the question of Moran’s academic achievement in the field he mouths off about is meant as a sort of check against this kind of venture. If Larry represented himself only as the cranky old “Joe Pine” of evolutionary theory (hands up, those who are old enough to remember that U.S. radio phone-in program!), it would not be a problem, but since he conveys the impression of world-class expertise, I thought it was quite legitimate to ask just what his expertise was, and for documentation of it.

    Of course, those who will defend Larry merely because he is anti-ID and anti-creationist and atheist and therefore on “their side” will brush aside my concern — as we see here; but there may be some less partisan people out there who just assumed that Larry was someone like Mayr or Ayala or Gould, and trusted him on that basis, but who would be a bit more skeptical of his pronouncements if they realized that his expertise in evolution was more limited than he makes out. It is for those people that I have offered my comments.

  104. 104
    soundburger says:

    Curly, no one is judging ‘merits’ based on ratemyprofessor.com.

    The point is that a case is being made that Larry’s personality, specifically his arrogance, is an obstacle to his ability to ‘teach’. His own students seem to feel the same way that people that encounter him?on the blogs are. He is a know-it-all. He says he has been trying to ‘teach’ ID people, but it seems that to him, ‘teaching’ simply means trying to make people agree with him. If they don’t he calls them stupid, idiots, etc.

    He may have all the credentials necessary, but his teaching, no matter to whom, would go better with humility that he neither seems to possess or consider a virtue.

  105. 105
    Andre says:

    Skram,

    That was just about the last post I made on Sandwalk, after trying and trying and trying……

    I’ll let Andy speak….

    “Cubist are behaving true to form, but hardly true to the spirit of National Ask an Atheist Day, which calls for ‘courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike’.

    That rarely happens here, but I hope that if some of the organizers of the event were to pay a call, they would call out doofus behavior where they see it.

    you see at Prof Moran’s blog all you get is a bunch of know it all oafs, that are so opinionated you can squeeze it out of them like orange juice. Nobody there gives one hoot about truth, only what they believe, call them out and there is a run around every question like a gazelle trying to dodge a lion.

  106. 106
    skram says:

    Andre,

    I thought Larry Moran gave you an honest answer. You didn’t seem to like his answer, so you started needling him and he called you out. Is that a fair summary of the transaction?

  107. 107
    Andre says:

    Skram…..

    Lol… Prof Larry Moran playing victim…… shame……. He only did that because he could not really backup his ask me anything post…… He tried but is this an honest answer?

    My questions….

    Anything?

    I’ll ask four, you can pick one.

    1. Why are we here?
    2. How does dead matter come alive?
    3. When did random mutation and natural selection start?
    4. How is it that a creature like ourselves, that stem from these unguided processes have the ability to contemplate it?

    The great Prof Larry Moran’s answers…

    1. I don’t know. The question doesn’t have much meaning for me.

    2. When things die they don’t come back alive.

    3. I don’t know. Presumably it was when the first primitive cells developed a DNA or RNA genome.

    4. Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them.

    You’re welcome.

  108. 108
    Andre says:

    Please focus particularly on question 4 and its answer…..

    How is it that a creature like ourselves, that stem from these unguided processes have the ability to contemplate it?

    Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them.

    How on earth is that even a reasonable answer Skram?

  109. 109
    Andre says:

    This is a Professor at a highly regarded or reputable University (take your pick), my eight year old son would rip me a new one if I tried to give him such a lame duck nonsense answer. And this is a professor preparing our youth for the future? WTF? Are you ok with that?

    Critical thinking? Are you as deluded as Prof Moran? Are you?

  110. 110
    Andre says:

    But lets contrast Professor Moran with another Biochemist Dr James tour, you know that guy that builds molecular cars?

    Here is his Bio……

    http://chemistry.rice.edu/Facu.....iceID=1027

    Who do I believe here Skram? Know it all Prof Moran or humble Prof Tour? Which one would you entrust with your children’s education?

  111. 111
    Andre says:

    Skram

    So when Dr Tour and here is his academic rap sheet;

    Tour has over 550 research publications and over 75 patents, with an H-index = 104 (91 by ISI Web of Science) and i10 index = 416 with total citations over 52,000 (Google Scholar). Tour was named among “The 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today” by TheBestSchools.org in 2014; listed in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch.com in 2014; and recipient of the Trotter Prize in “Information, Complexity and Inference” in 2014; and was the Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, June, 2014. Tour was named “Scientist of the Year” by R&D Magazine, 2013. He was awarded the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, 2012, Rice University; won the ACS Nano Lectureship Award from the American Chemical Society, 2012; was the Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, June, 2011 and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2009. Tour was ranked one of the Top 10 chemists in the world over the past decade, by a Thomson Reuters citations per publication index survey, 2009; won the Distinguished Alumni Award, Purdue University, 2009 and the Houston Technology Center’s Nanotechnology Award in 2009. He won the Feynman Prize in Experimental Nanotechnology in 2008, the NASA Space Act Award in 2008 for his development of carbon nanotube reinforced elastomers and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society for his achievements in organic chemistry in 2007. Tour was the recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2007. He also won the Small Times magazine’s Innovator of the Year Award in 2006, the Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Innovator Award in 2006, the Alan Berman Research Publication Award, Department of the Navy in 2006, the Southern Chemist of the Year Award from the American Chemical Society in 2005 and The Honda Innovation Award for Nanocars in 2005. Tour’s paper on Nanocars was the most highly accessed journal article of all American Chemical Society articles in 2005, and it was listed by LiveScience as the second most influential paper in all of science in 2005. Tour has won several other national awards including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry.

    So when Dr Tour makes the claim that nobody really understands macro-evolution and Prof Moran in his usual pompous arrogance says he does who do we believe the guy with almost no papers or the guy with 550?

  112. 112
    Curly Howard says:

    Oh brother.
    People, please. I’ve seen some great professors get terrible reviews on ratemyprofessor.com

    The fact that ratemyprofessor.com is even being used as a source of reliable information here just goes to show the absurdity of UD.

    I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised though.

  113. 113
    skram says:

    Andre:

    Are you as deluded as Prof Moran? Are you?

    Good bye, Andre.

  114. 114
    Andre says:

    Bye Skram!

  115. 115
    Timaeus says:

    Curly:

    I concede that it would be wrong to dismiss Larry Moran as a researcher on the grounds of negative student reviews of his teaching. He might well be a great researcher, even if (I offer no opinion on the subject) he is a poor teacher. Hence, I deliberately avoided mentioning the student reviews or linking to them, so as not to introduce any prejudice, and I focused only on the lack of peer-reviewed research.

    However, I don’t think the people here who drew attention to the teaching evaluations were using those evaluations as evidence that Larry was a poor researcher. I think they were suggesting that there was a thematic connection between his striking lack of positive connection with his students and his argumentative behavior on his website. And there may be something to that, but if so, it falls under the subject of character analysis, not the subject of the ranking of Larry Moran in the world of evolutionary biology.

    It was only the latter subject that I was concerned about, i.e., why does this guy think he is so important a figure in modern evolutionary theory, and why are so many people willing to take him as a major figure purely on his say-so, without even checking to see if he has actually produced anything on evolution other than blogs?

  116. 116
    EugeneS says:

    Mung #52,

    Your sense of humor is really great. I enjoy reading a lot of your posts 🙂

  117. 117
    steveO says:

    Timaeus, thanks for your reply at #55. I understand and I think a key word you used and emphasized in your response is *inappropriate*.

    Here even Wiki agrees: “When used inappropriately, it (ad hominem) is a fallacy”.

    Also from wiki: “Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact..”.

    It seems to me that you have with clear insight picked up on and are appropriately raising an issue of credibility when he positions himself in a higher tier of expertise than he appears to deserve.

  118. 118
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: If he does not know the developments in the area of evolutionary mechanisms since 1990, he cannot be counted as a current expert on evolutionary theory.

    As he is a professor of biochemistry teaching molecular evolution, a scientist who did research in molecular evolution in the 1990s, and just recently published an updated edition of his textbook on biochemistry taught with an evolutionary approach, he can reasonably be considered an expert on molecular evolution. Not sure why that would even be considered controversial.

  119. 119
    Zachriel says:

    OFF-TOPIC

    Querius: He never responded to my repeatedly asking whether it was his habit of employing the majestic plural, or whether he had a tapeworm.

    A number of theories have been proposed concerning our use of nosism. If Zachriel were legion,

    best friend is a pooka
    committee
    gaggle of grad students
    commune of pedants
    group of poseurs
    ultimate expression of internet group think
    hive
    weird cult
    collective pseudonym like Bourbaki
    five guys
    collective
    tri-unity
    plurality
    imaginary playmates
    being of more than one mind
    royalty, pluralis majestatis
    the Z-team, a team of Zachriels
    schizophrenic
    because it annoys you
    editorial, pluralis modestiae
    someone with a tapeworm
    dissociative identity disorder
    a bizzare pseudo-world affectation
    Jovian clique
    nervous tick
    possessed by demons
    a group of concerned citizens
    Got a mouse in your pocket?
    fellow at a Darwin institute
    gang of Z
    elaborate avatar created by a theist to explore the worldview of materialism
    a bot that some programmers designed for random argument

  120. 120
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: why are so many people willing to take him as a major figure purely on his say-so

    Who’s taking Moran as a “major figure”? The question is whether he is a valid authority on evolution, when he is obviously qualified in molecular evolution. That doesn’t make him right, and an appeal to authority is only valid when there is a sufficient consensus in the field, and the authority is speaking to that consensus. There is a consensus concerning the fundamentals of evolution, including the common ancestry of people and pufferfish.

    Again, you might want to provide specific examples.

  121. 121
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “Not sure why that would even be considered controversial.”

    It’s a matter of taste and measure and of your own personal educational standards. As somebody else pointed out, who do you believe more (for argument’s sake assuming they are of equal caliber in science): a person who says ‘nobody really understands how this works’ or a person who says ‘I understand it, nobody else does’?

    At face value (even before looking at their research record), I would be inclined to give credit to the former because it may be a sign of sober skepticism, a valuable merit of a good scholar. But then again, it is a matter of standard.

  122. 122
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: It’s a matter of taste and measure and of your own personal educational standards.

    You’re on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. You can ask your congenial bartender friend or cranky Larry Moran concerning a question about molecular evolution. More than likely, if you really wanted to win that million dollars, you would ask the professor of biochemistry who did research in molecular evolution. But, as you said, it’s a matter of taste.

    EugeneS: ‘I understand it, nobody else does’?

    Is that a supposed quote from Larry Moran?

  123. 123
    soundburger says:

    Curly writes, “The fact that ratemyprofessor.com is even being used as a source of reliable information here just goes to show the absurdity of UD.

    I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised though.”

    Look how interesting that is. Curly says that the absurdity of an entire site can be exposed by a few comments. In fact, he expresses a great deal of certainty about that.

    On the other hand, a few comments from actual students of Larry Moran can in no way be considered acceptable, as Curly would have it, with regard to considering Moran’s behavior.

    This is not only a double standard, it is an egregious one. For we here are considering a variety of different perspectives on the abilities and demeanor of Professor Moran. Timaeus, the original poster, did not even mention the ratemyprofessor.com site. Considering the original post and the 122 comments so far, the amount of time spent looking at Larry’s poor assessment by his students is much less than ten percent of the discussion here.

    But that’s all Curly needs to dismiss and discredit the whole site. Notice that. He is doing the exact thing that he justifies dissing this whole site for. And he is the ONLY one actually doing that, because absolutely NOBODY here is relying solely on ratemyprofessor.com as a slam dunk case against Larry.

    Poorly done, Curly.

  124. 124
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “More than likely, if you really wanted to win that million dollars, you would ask the professor of biochemistry who did research in molecular evolution.”

    Of course, I would. The problem is, how do you know unless you look at their research in detail and judge for yourself? This is why I said it is a matter of standard.

    At face value though, before you actually turn to their research record, the first of the two is more credible, to me.

  125. 125
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Of course, I would. The problem is, how do you know unless you look at their research in detail and judge for yourself?

    If you already knew everything about molecular evolution, you wouldn’t have to call upon a university professor. We’re talking about an appeal to authority, which is a type of inductive argument. The professor could be a kook, or have unorthodox views that prevents him from giving you the orthodox response, or simply not know the answer to the particular question; but a professor teaching molecular evolution, having written a textbook on biochemistry with an evolutionary approach, who did research in molecular evolution, would be much more likely to have the correct answer than “a bunch of the boys getting together in the bar after work and BS-ing about all kinds of subjects they know in only a half-baked way.”

  126. 126
    Curly Howard says:

    Timaeus, the guy literally wrote the book on biochemistry and he teaches an upper level molecular evolution course at a major university. His job it appears has shifted from research solely to education, which often occurs with tenured professors. He doesn’t even have a research lab at Toronto to my knowledge. He knows biochemistry and evolution and is trying to spread knowledge, though whether he goes about it the wrong way is up for debate.

    While you’re here, what was the article and mistake Timaeus?

    Great overanalysis, Burger. There are many reasons UD is absurd, the fact that people are using an anonymous website where disgruntled students (anyone could post there actually, maybe you or your friends have) trash their professors as a useful source of information, is just one of those reasons. A former professor of mine had an oversized ego as well and many poor ratings; he was a great professor in my opinion and is currently on the cutting edge of research in mammalian development.

  127. 127
    Mung says:

    Andre @ 107. Priceless.

    The one explanation Larry does offer is a Darwinian answer.

    “Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them.”

    Of course, for brains to evolve, they first have to exist.

  128. 128
    Mung says:

    Timaeus, the guy literally wrote the book on biochemistry…

    You crack me up. Really.

  129. 129
    Mung says:

    One has to wonder whether there were no biochemistry textbooks when Larry Moran was learning biochemistry.

    Larry Moran’s textbook did not come out until 1994 (iirc), and he wasn’t the sole author.

    Meanwhile, by way of comparison, Lehninger’s Biochemistry came out in 1970.

  130. 130
    Curly Howard says:

    Mungy, I’m sorry you’ve reached the point in your life where posting comments that are completely devoid of substance on the blog equivalent of Monty Python is the highlight of your day.
    Let me know if you ever actually have something to say.

  131. 131
    Mung says:

    Translation: “You’ve just made me look like a fool, so do shut up.”

    Sure Curly, I’ll leave you to it. You really don’t need my help.

  132. 132
    Curly Howard says:

    Man, what planet are you on Mungy?
    Nothing you’ve said is even remotely intelligent.
    You’re trying to downplay the fact that the guy wrote a biochemistry textbook by pointing out that it’s not the only biochemistry textbook or the first?
    Ok. Let me know when you even understand basic biochemistry.

  133. 133
    wd400 says:

    So, I’ll ask again, are there any examples of Moran dismissing prominent evolutionary theorests. Especially in a way takes Moran himself look like a leading light in the field? Thus far this claim seems to be supported only by Timaeus’ assertions.

    I also think the claim that people on Moran’s “side” are unable to crticise him is a bit strange. When UD occasionally stumbles into biology it’s common for commenters with very little understanding of biology to write of the entire discipline of evolutionary biology (or “Darwinism”) as being some sort of atheist conspiracy, often with vitriolic language. Very few IDers seem keen to reign in such posters, so why focus on how supporters of evolution react to Moran’s post.

  134. 134
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    I suspect that you know very little about biochemistry.

    If you knew anything about it, you would know that a general textbook in biochemistry (like a general textbook in any science — do you know *any* natural science at all, or are you just a BSer?) will cover the whole range of subjects needed to introduce someone to biochemistry, not just the professor’s special interest within biochemistry. So while there might be a chapter or two on “molecular evolution,” there will be much else in the textbook that has nothing to do with “molecular evolution.” In any case, textbooks do not count as pieces of research; they are digests of existing knowledge. The fact that Larry wrote a biochemistry textbook for undergrads has no bearing on his expertise in graduate and post-graduate discussions of evolutionary mechanisms, which is what we are talking about. If you are going to do what Larry does — review books on evolutionary theory on your website, and sneer at their contents on your website, you need to have a higher level of knowledge of evolutionary theory than the level of knowledge needed to write the chapters in a biochemistry textbook. If you don’t know this, Zachriel, you know diddly about science education — which of course I have long suspected.

    Of course, you yourself haven’t even bothered to obtain Larry’s textbook or examine it; you are just reflexively defending him based on the fact that he wrote one. And this is so typical of internet Darwinists, to attack or defend based on hearsay.

    Curly:

    Why are you so concerned over whether or not Mung understands basic biochemistry, while Zachriel, who seems to be a complete ignoramus about the field (based on his stupid comments here), gets a free pass? You Darwinists never criticize each other in public — which shows that you are a partisan movement, not a group of individuals aiming at truth and therefore willing to disagree among yourselves.

    You’re also being hypocritical, Curly, in just giving Moran a pass for shifting away from research to education. If an ID person does that (e.g., Behe, who published something like 36 technical articles in biochemistry but now works more on teaching and ID stuff), you and your pals are all over Behe, saying he is “no longer a scientist” etc. and is utterly incompetent to discuss evolutionary theory because he is not working in the field, but if Moran does the same thing, he can talk about evolution all he wants, deciding which major evolutionary theorists are wrong and which are right? Give me a break, Curly. You are so partisan it’s disgusting.

    Only skram here is being intellectually honest. He concedes my point that Larry appears to have stopped doing active research in evolutionary theory; and in science, once one stops doing active research in a field for an extended period (like, 10 years or more), one is not considered “current” and one’s qualifications to judge the work of those who are still current are in question. That does not mean that one cannot offer comments, even good comments; it does mean that one should offer one’s comments modestly, as coming from a junior partner rather than the senior partners of the firm.

    Larry writes as if he the senior partner and major shareholder, and that’s what I’m objecting to. He hasn’t earned that status in evolutionary theory, not even if you take his lifetime publications into account, let alone his paltry output in the past 10 years. He’s essentially now nothing more than an interested outsider in evolutionary theory, a biochemist with some knowledge but not a major player, and he should act accordingly. But the ego that drives scientists to run blog sites is not compatible with such professional humility.

    This is my last word on the subject. Larry’s silence, to me, proves that I am on target regarding his research output. I will respond to him if he posts here, with information I did not previously have available about his work, but I won’t further respond to his groupies, who are merely apologists with no interest in addressing my argument honestly.

  135. 135
    wd400 says:

    I won’t further respond to his groupies, who are merely apologists with no interest in addressing my argument honestly.

    Do you have any interest in presenting it honestly? Can you please point to some examples of his dismissing leading evolutionary theorists in the way you describe?

  136. 136
    Mung says:

    Yes, he declined to review Masatoshi Nei’s Mutation-Driven Evolution.

  137. 137
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    He called the selection-centric view “the IDiot version of evolution”. When I pointed out that Dawkins holds the IDiot view, he did not object.

  138. 138
    wd400 says:

    Mung,

    And dismissed Nei in the way Timaeus describes. Given Moran’s views I think that’s very unlikely, but show me the link if so.

    SA,

    Well, show me the link if you like, but Dawkins is not a leading evolutionary theorist.

  139. 139
    Mung says:

    wd400, he declined to review it.

    Perhaps he just didn’t feel qualified to review it, not being up-to-date and all on the latest and greatest in modern evolutionary theory.

    😉

  140. 140
    wd400 says:

    Well, the book is not great. I think it’s more likely Moran didn’t want to say as much about someone who was central to establishing the neutral theory.

    Whatever the reason for Moran no reviewing Nei’s book, we still don’t have an example of the way in which he has dismissed leading evolutionary theorists…

  141. 141
    soundburger says:

    Curly writes, without a shred of supporting evidence, concerning Larry Moran’s reviews on ratemyprofessor:

    “anyone could post there actually, maybe you or your friends have”

    thus abdicating any possibility of being taken seriously. Just conspiracy theory nonsense produced by nothing other than your own extreme bias.

    Why on earth would anyone go over to rmp to slam Larry’s teaching abilities without actually taking a class from him? What a stunningly ridiculous idea that is. People on UD etc. have plenty of other things to debate and take issue with about Larry Moran.

    Your insinuation, which you just made up and convinced yourself sounds plausible, shows that your mind is clouded by bias.

    THIS is actually why many of us here dislike Larry Moran. His continual demonization of the other side encourages ‘arguments’ like yours and brews an Us vs. Them Koolaid that you have drunk with relish.

  142. 142
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: do you know *any* natural science at all

    We’re not discussing natural science.

    Timaeus: So while there might be a chapter or two on “molecular evolution,” there will be much else in the textbook that has nothing to do with “molecular evolution.”

    Moran’s textbook is structured based an evolutionary approach. First, they — reasonably — assume the biochemistry student has already studied evolutionary biology. They start with simple fundamental principles or pathways or processes, then show how more complex systems evolved from there. Topics include how the structures of proteins show evolutionary relationships, domain evolution, convergent evolution, evolution of metabolic pathways, evolution of enzymes, and the evolution of metabolic cycles.

    Timaeus: In any case, textbooks do not count as pieces of research; they are digests of existing knowledge.

    Quite so! The writer of a recent edition of a university textbook has digested “existing knowledge”.

    Timaeus: you yourself haven’t even bothered to obtain Larry’s textbook or examine it

    Considering you are still unaware that the textbook takes an evolutionary approach, even after being repeatedly informed, your comment has a certain special irony.

  143. 143
    Curly Howard says:

    I’m not concerned Timaeus, and I’m willing to bet he doesn’t understand much of it. I haven’t paid any attention to the other conversations going on here, I’m mainly waiting for you to point out the paper and mistake you told me about a while ago. I also don’t know anything about behe nor have I ever attacked his work, but maybe it’s possible that Moran and the like present largely agreed upon science, while behe attempts to contradict what most are in agreement with. Both can say what every want, but I would think that behe would need some heavy research firepower to back his claims…. but he doesn’t research anymore.

    As seems to be typical here, you attack how something’s being said instead of what is actually being said. Get over it. The guy is going to say what he wants, how he wants. If ID had some science behind it, maybe your feelings wouldn’t be so hurt and you’d actually have an argument.

    Dont forget to let me know about that article and mistake, I’m not sure why it’s so hard to point it out.

    Ratemyprofessor is anonymous and anyone can contribute, burger. You’re here on UD writing lengthy posts about nothing, it wouldn’t really surprise me if someone like you, with their feelings hurt like Timaeus’, went ahead and left a bad grade on Morgan’s page.
    And nobody is better at promoting the “us vs. them” attitude than the people here at UD.

  144. 144
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel, you wrote:

    “We’re not discussing natural science.”

    You’re discussing biochemistry. Biochemistry is a natural science, you dork!

    As for the rest, you can gush over and fondle Larry’s textbook all you like. It doesn’t make him a leading figure in evolutionary theory, and it doesn’t guarantee that his judgments of other evolutionary theorists are sound. It just means he’s one of thousands of scientists — the majority of them not world leaders in their fields — who have written an undergraduate textbook. Big deal!

    If you were a man, you’d just concede that you have no evidence of any recent *research* activity or *research publications* in evolutionary theory on Larry’s part, and that you have no evidence that any substantial number of the world’s leading evolutionary theorists regard Larry as their peer (let alone their superior), and, since that was the only thing I was trying to establish, you’d stop arguing. But you apparently don’t have the strength of character required to make that kind of concession. You’ll continue talking about that textbook until hell freezes over, because your argument doesn’t have another leg to stand on. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

  145. 145
    Timaeus says:

    Curly:

    How something is being said is very important. Arrogance and abrasiveness, dismissiveness and name-calling, get in the way of genuine conversation. This is why Matzke, Shallit, Moran, Myers, Abbie Smith, etc. have made evolution/design conversations worse rather than better. In serious academic environments, such behavior isn’t allowed; sections of articles containing verbal aggression or personal characterizations are rejected by journal referees, speakers at conferences are dressed down by the chair of the session for unprofessional manners, etc.

    Do you think that Dawkins’s sentence about anyone who does not believe in evolution being stupid, ignorant, dishonest, etc. would have been allowed in a mainstream journal of evolutionary theory? It would have been caught right away and red-pencilled for omission by the editor and referees. Do you think that if Larry Moran referred to “IDiots” in an article submitted to Science or Nature, it would be allowed to stand? Professionally, scientists are supposed to behave like gentlemen; yet on the internet, a Ph.D. can act like a jerk and get away with it. I think such people should be called out.

    You apparently think it doesn’t matter if people are rude, arrogant, or write or speak in such a way as to get under other people’s skin. You seem to think everyone should turn a blind eye to bad manners, arrogance, etc. and just “concentrate on the argument.” I totally differ. To respond to the argument of someone who is being personally a jerk is to reward and reinforce the jerkish behavior. To refuse to pay any attention to the argument until the person stops acting like a jerk is to begin the job of eliminating the jerkish behavior. Any parent, any schoolteacher knows this.

    I will continue to focus, from time to time, on how things are said. If you find that focus uninteresting, don’t read my posts.

    As for your nattering, nagging question, if you gave the matter a moment’s thought, you would know why I will not ever answer your question, and would stop asking it. Let me spell it out for you: I cannot identify to you the material I corrected without giving out information that would lead, with very little trouble, to my identity. I do not intend to give out information leading you or anyone else here to my identity. Can you grasp that?

    If you don’t believe that I offered some scientific corrections to a publication which were accepted by the scientist, I don’t really care. I don’t get my self-esteem from what people on the internet think of me. I don’t lie, and I know what I have done. I told you the truth. I don’t expect you to regard my word as proof. I never intended to offer you proof. If you were expecting proof, I’m sorry you are disappointed. I can’t even remember why I mentioned it in the first place. Probably you were accusing me of knowing nothing about science, or the like. If so, I was simply indicating that that was not the case. But I shouldn’t have bothered to give examples that I couldn’t confirm. Clumsy argumentative tactics on my part. But I didn’t lie.

    Believe whatever you want about me, but let this go. No one here wants to read your repeated questions for an answer that will never be forthcoming. They just irritate everyone.

  146. 146
    soundburger says:

    Curly writes,

    ” You’re here on UD writing lengthy posts about nothing, it wouldn’t really surprise me if someone like you, with their feelings hurt like Timaeus’, went ahead and left a bad grade on Morgan’s page.”

    Okay, now you have really trapped yourself. If you would not be surprised if me or ‘someone like me’ would pretend to be a student to give LM a bad grade, then that means that either:

    a.) you feel the same way about partisans on YOUR side of the fence. I.e. they might possibly write nasty things about ID educators even if they had never taken a class from them, and that wouldn’t surprise you OR

    b.) You are convinced that such would NEVER be the case from people like you, on your side of the fence, because they have so much greater integrity. All of them.

    So which are you, a cynic who believes that people who disagree about these matters should not be trusted and can be expected to act without integrity to further even nebulous goals, or

    a blind, myopic, partisan fool who has so fallen into an Us vs. Them mentality that your ability to reason is thoroughly shot?

    I’m curious.

  147. 147
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: You’re discussing biochemistry.

    No, we’re not discussing biochemistry, but your ad hominem attack on Larry Moran, and the counterpart, appeal to authority.

    Timaeus: you can gush over and fondle Larry’s textbook all you like.

    We just pointed out an interesting irony, that you would complain that we “haven’t even bothered to obtain Larry’s textbook or examine it,” when it’s clear you “haven’t even bothered to obtain Larry’s textbook or examine it.” If you had, you would understand that 1) the student is expected to have already studied evolutionary biology, and 2) that the textbook takes an evolutionary approach to the study of biochemistry.

    Timaeus: It just means he’s one of thousands of scientists — the majority of them not world leaders in their fields — who have written an undergraduate textbook.

    One doesn’t have to be a “world leader in their field” to be a valid authority.

    An appeal to authority is valid when

    * The cited authority has sufficient expertise.
    * The authority is making a statement within their area of expertise.
    * The area of expertise is a valid field of study.
    * There is adequate agreement among authorities in the field.
    * There is no evidence of undue bias.

    The proper argument against a valid appeal to authority is to the evidence.

    One doesn’t always have to go to a “world leading” doctor to get a valid medical opinion.

  148. 148
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    You’re being a stubborn fool. You *are* discussing biochemistry — it is you who keeps coming back to Larry Moran’s biochemistry textbook and its contents, even though the subject is not undergraduate textbooks in biochemistry but postgraduate research in evolutionary theory.

    I ask you again: what *original research* publications has Larry got in evolutionary theory since 1990? And more particularly, in the past ten years? I can’t find any. If you can’t find any, either, be a man and admit it.

    By the way, I looked up some information on the textbook. You are grossly misleading the readers here. Moran is not the sole author of the textbook. The 5th edition of 2011 has *four* authors, so it is not Moran’s work alone; he gets credit for only part of it — likely about a quarter. And in fact, it is a reworking of earlier versions, which go back as far as 1993, and those editions had 5 or more authors, so he can take even less credit for them. But even if we use the 5th edition, and give him credit for a quarter of it, the situation is the same: he’s merely a co-author of a collective project. So the alleged knowledge of evolutionary theory presented in the book can’t be attributed to Moran alone.

    Your pious little “dictionary definition” of “valid authority” has the silly schoolmarm-lesson look of something written by the idiots at Wikipedia. In any case, I never for a moment denied that Larry was an “authority” in biochemistry or even in some specialty called “molecular evolution.” I never said that he was incapable of offering a “valid opinion” on biochemistry or even on certain areas of evolutionary theory. What I said was that he had not demonstrated sufficient research expertise in evolutionary theory overall (and evolutionary theory overall includes much, much more than just “molecular evolution”) to be in a position to pose as arbiter of good and bad evolutionary theory at the highest levels of theoretical discussion.

    Your continued pompous use of the pronoun “we” shows you to be puerile and attention-seeking. Why don’t you grow up? You’re impressing no one.

  149. 149
    Mung says:

    But Timaeus, Larry Moran literally wrote the book on biochemistry.

  150. 150
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: You *are* discussing biochemistry

    No. We’re discussing the thread topic, “Timaeus exposes Larry Moran”. You are using ad hominem to undermine Moran as an authority. It’s a weak form of argument, even weaker when so poorly supported by the facts.

    You don’t like his tone. Yes, his tone is probably counterproductive. But your own tone is not the best. You call names. You get upset when facts are provided that contradict your position. You may sneer and stamp your feet, but it doesn’t change whether your argument is sound.

    Who cares? It just means the signal-to-noise level in your comments is lower than it might be otherwise. It just means readers have to wade through maybe 50% of the text to find your relevant arguments. Fortunately, our patented (not really) DeSnark® desnarkification filtering system does most of the work.

    Then again, this is a thread on ad hominem.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....38;t=1m14s

    Timaeus: I ask you again: what *original research* publications has Larry got in evolutionary theory since 1990?

    As we already stated, Moran moved out of research on molecular evolution into teaching. He then wrote a university textbook on biochemistry using an evolutionary approach.

    Timaeus: And in fact, it is a reworking of earlier versions

    That’s what is generally meant by an “edition”.

    Timaeus: So the alleged knowledge of evolutionary theory presented in the book can’t be attributed to Moran alone.

    Moran clearly has a professional knowledge of molecular evolution.

    Timaeus: What I said was that he had not demonstrated sufficient research expertise in evolutionary theory overall (and evolutionary theory overall includes much, much more than just “molecular evolution”)

    Actually, molecular evolution is where much of the most important research has occurred. It’s how scientists can peer into life before the age of fossils. It’s how scientists can determine the importance of neutral forces or horizontal mechanisms in evolution. It’s how scientists have unraveled many of the mysteries of phylogeny. Theoretical changes have largely occurred in response to studies of molecular evolution.

    Mung: Larry Moran literally wrote the book on biochemistry.

    Yes, he did, with an evolutionary approach consistent with his research experience.

  151. 151
    wd400 says:

    Professionally, scientists are supposed to behave like gentlemen

    Do you know, they even let women be scientists in some places. I’m also not sure you’ve either spoken to a scientists at a conference or read many peer reviews.

    Anyway, still waiting for an example of Moran dismissing leading evolutionary theorists. Just one would be a start…

  152. 152
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    From the publisher: James A. Shapiro proposes an important new paradigm for understanding biological evolution, the core organizing principle of biology.

    Oh, right – you disagree with Shapiro so he’s not “a leading evolutionary theorist”.

    Nobody that holds Dawkins’ view on evolution can be either. That’s pretty convenient.

    You didn’t know that Mr. Moran openly “dismisses” Richard Dawkins and you taunt me to give you a link?

    Quote in the OP, then comments #4 and #8 follow, with Moran explicitly calling Dawkins’ view “the strawman” version of evolution.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-argument/

  153. 153
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel,

    You miss the point of Moran’s anti-design rants. Among other things, he claims that IDists are IDiots because they don’t understand the difference between ancient Neo-Darwinism and his more modern version of neutral evolution, which has allegedly been sandblasted clean of all previous imperfections. Translation: IDists are stupid because they are not modern. Now we find that Moran is not up to date with his own research, even though he pontificates as one who is on the cutting edge.

    Another irony is the fact that neutral evolution has been around since the 1960’s, so the mere act of cleaving to that paradigm does not, by itself, indicate that Moran is in step with his contemporaries. Indeed, there are plenty of well-published, up to date, Darwinian naturalists who disavow neutral evolution altogether. Indeed, they continue to call themselves “Neo-Darwinists.” Moran wouldn’t dare call them idiots for rejecting his paradigm nor would he imply that they don’t know the difference between naturalism and neutralism.

    Accordingly, Moran is recklessly presumptuous to claim that ID proponents are ignorant of neutral evolution simply because they use the term “Darwinism.” In fact, Darwinists and ID proponents typically define that term the same way—as one who embraces unguided macro-evolution. Obviously, that definition includes both naturalism and neutralism. So Moran doesn’t even know what he is arguing against. Even so, that doesn’t prevent him from sustaining this same stupid claim, which I have called him on numerous times. He has never responded. Would you care to?

  154. 154
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    Do you know, they even let women be scientists in some places.

    Classic wd400. Completely misses and ignores any higher-level arguments, but puts a laser-focus on various phrases in the text.

    You win ten points for that one wd! Spelling corrections count for 2. Catching politically insensitive remarks gives you 5 times that amount. You’re doing great. Evolutionary biologists are clearly a lot smarter than everyone else. Plus they’re sensitive guys!

  155. 155
    beau says:

    Does Denis Noble count? Nessa Carey, the 400 scientists at the encode project?http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....n.html?m=1

    Stuart Kaufmann
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....d.html?m=1

  156. 156
    wd400 says:

    SA,

    Shapiro is a very fringe evolutionary biologist, but even there I’m waiting for the haughty dismissal I’m beginning to think exists only in Timaeus’ (and I guess your) mind.

    I didn’t “taunt” you for a link, I wanted to see an example of the subject that has lead Timaeus to spend so much time listening to himself type. Even in your link all Moran says is that the Selfish Gene version of evolution is incomplete. Dawkins has not written a science paper for many decades, so even that mild dismissal doesn’t get us to the “leading evolutionary theorists” has being going on about.

    As to the claim my other I “completely misses and ignores any higher-level argument”. What argument? Timaeus apparently refuses to support his posts. I also happen to think exclusionary language is a genuine problem, and Timaeus weridly antiquated way view of the way scientists discuss topics is relevant.

  157. 157
    wd400 says:

    Beau, I don’t who Nessa Carey is, but Nobel isn’t an evolutionary biologists and neither are the ENCODE crew.

    EDIT: google tells me Nessa Carey is also not an evolutionary biologist. Here’s Moran’s post on here book, which provides links describing why Carey’s claims are wrong

    So, not an evolutionary biologists let alone a leading one and no out of hand dismissal of her work…

  158. 158
    Box says:

    WD400: (…) we still don’t have an example of the way in which he has dismissed leading evolutionary theorists…

    Which ppl do you regard to be leading evolutionary theorists? I really would like to know.

  159. 159
    Mapou says:

    wd400:

    Shapiro is a very fringe evolutionary biologist

    I’d like to hear from design biologists for a change. Evolutionary biologists bore me to death with their silly dogma.

  160. 160
    Timaeus says:

    wd400:

    What qualifies you to decide who is, and who is not, a “fringe” evolutionary biologist? What is your expertise in the field, that you can make such assignments?

    Shapiro has, as far as I can tell from publication record, contributed more to evolutionary biology than Moran has. So if output is the criterion, he is no more “fringe” than Moran is.

    Or are there other criteria you are employing?

    And does “fringe” imply “not theoretically or empirically competent” or “wrong”; or does it mean only “holding to a non-majority position? If the latter, is it an intellectual or scientific sin to hold to a non-majority position?

  161. 161
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    Shapiro is a very fringe evolutionary biologist, but even there I’m waiting for the haughty dismissal

    You might try googling Moran and Shapiro. Use their first names and something about evolution. Then again, you already dismissed Shapiro so why bother?

    I didn’t “taunt” you for a link,

    Did so.

    Even in your link all Moran says is that the Selfish Gene version of evolution is incomplete.

    That’s all he said? Strange that the pedant suddenly becomes vague and inaccurate when referencing quite a lot of text by Larry. I was going to quote directly but it’s more fun watching you distort what is actually there.

    Dawkins has not written a science paper for many decades, so even that mild dismissal

    What mild dismissal? I thought we saw “all he said”?

    As to the claim my other I “completely misses and ignores any higher-level argument”. What argument?

    I know. You’ve offered nothing but a denial of evidence. But the only way to get you to type more than a sentence is to make sure it’s a trivial discussion. I should offer some spelling errors for you to focus on also.

    I also happen to think exclusionary language is a genuine problem,

    Wow – you do actually have something to say. Language is a problem — and spelling. And grammar also!

    and Timaeus weridly antiquated way view of the way scientists discuss topics is relevant.

    Now it’s my turn to score some points. You didn’t write that correctly, wd! Mixed up language combined with poor spelling is a problem! 3 points for me. I’m doing great!

  162. 162
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    You moved the goalposts. Originally, I asked for evidence of substantive peer-reviewed research in the past decade by Moran. Your first response was to cite articles from 1985 and 1990. I pointed out that those articles were very old, and would not qualify one as a leader in evolutionary theory today. Without conceding the point and withdrawing the examples, you switched focus and started yapping about an undergraduate biochemistry textbook for which Moran was only approximately 1/4 or 1/5 responsible. And that’s what you’ve been talking about ever since — while all the while perversely denying that your subject has been biochemistry or Moran’s knowledge of biochemistry or Moran’s textbook of biochemistry.

    Of course I never denied that Moran had great knowledge of biochemistry, never criticized his textbook (I have heard it is good, and don’t contest that), and never even said that he didn’t know a lot about evolution. But there are senior physics textbooks written by people who know a lot about physics; that doesn’t make those writers world-class experts in quantum theory or string theory or multiverse theory etc. I am sure that Moran knows a good deal about evolutionary theory. What I doubt is that he is currently one of the big guns in the field, or has been thought of as such in recent years. My argument is merely that he should adjust the degree of certainty with which he expresses himself to his relative intellectual rank within the community of evolutionary theorists. If you find that argument offensive or unreasonable, so be it. I won’t withdraw it. And now, whether or not you are done with this, I am.

  163. 163
    wd400 says:

    Which ppl do you regard to be leading evolutionary theorists? I really would like to know.

    Well, the claim is from timaeus’, you’ll have to ask him who he’s thinking of. Good luck though.

    For me, off the top of my head and including only people working at the moment, here are some names.

    Sally Otto, Demetri Petrov, Hopi Hoekstra, Tomoko Ohta, Allen Orr,Mike Lynch, Brian and Deborah Charlesworth

    I’m sure I’m missing many.

  164. 164
    wd400 says:

    What qualifies you to decide who is, and who is not, a “fringe” evolutionary biologist? What is your expertise in the field, that you can make such assignments?

    I’m an evolutionary biologist. I can make such an assesment because I am familiar with the field and Shapiro’s impact on it, which is minimal.

  165. 165
    wd400 says:

    SA, you appear to have lost the plot.

    If you have something substantive to say, or an example of Moran’s supposed dismissal evolutionary biologists then please provide the links that support that.

  166. 166
    Timaeus says:

    wd400:

    A woman can behave, as it were, like a traditional “gentleman,” i.e., with gracious manners, conceding points to an opponent, adopting a tentative tone, etc. Besides, if I had said “gentlemen and ladies,” you could just as easily have pilloried me for that. I was once told by a woman that “ladies” — the balancing term to “gentlemen” — is an inherently sexist term. One can’t win with political correct oversensitives, who are ready to seize upon every incidental word uttered and make an issue out of it, rather than focus on the subject at hand. But if you like, get rid of “gentlemen” and substitute “scientists with civilized and intellectually generous dialogical manners” — which I thought was rather obviously my intention. I would have no objection to such an amendment. Anything to make you feel comfortable.

    And yes, I am fully aware that women can be scientists, and good ones. (Lynn Margulis’s attack on neo-Darwinism comes to mind, as does Barbara McClintock’s research, which inspired Shapiro and many others.) Interestingly, though, the vast majority of the leading culture-warrior atheist (and occasionally Christian) scientists are men: Moran, Shallit, Myers, Rosenhouse, Matzke, Dawkins, Stenger, Harris, Dennett, Atkins, Miller, Matheson, etc. It seems that female scientists are not as attracted to bellicose exchanges of intellectual one-upmanship in popular venues as males are. I wish that attitude would rub off on the males.

  167. 167
    Mung says:

    Timaeus, would that Barbara McClintock, the very fringe evolutionary biologist?

  168. 168
    Timaeus says:

    wd400:

    If you are an evolutionary biologist, why can’t you tell us who you are and where you work? Not being an ID proponent, you can’t possibly lose your job, grants, career, etc. if your employer knows your real name (which is unfortunately the case for myself and several others here).

    Regarding Shapiro and other “fringe” evolutionary theorists, you haven’t answered my question whether “fringe” means “wrong, incompetent, etc.” or only “in the minority.”

    Interesting that your list of major evolutionary theorists today does not include Larry Moran. That reduces our disagreement to whether or not Larry is sometimes overconfident or dismissive in tone or expression. I don’t have time to go through all his old blog posts now to find examples of the latter, but I have seen them. In any case, if you agree with me about the non-major status of Moran, I’m happy with that much. Tell it to Zachriel. And while you are at it, explain to him why a scientist at a major research institution such at Toronto would be expected to keep producing new research in order to be considered in the front line of his field. He does not seem to understand the difference between a textbook writer and a front-line researcher.

    I’m also heartened to see that your list of “big guns” does not include P.Z. Myers, Eugenie Scott, Kevin Padian, Ken Miller, Nick Matzke — many of the biggest mouths who claim or have claimed to speak as the voice of contemporary evolutionary theory. How about the guy at Cornell who used to post here — Allen McNeill? Is he a “biggie” in your view? And that guy who posts at the Skeptical Zone — Felsenstein — is he a big gun? How about Wesley Elsberry?

    For that matter, to mention someone less involved in culture-war polemics, how about Simon Conway Morris?

    Interesting also that you include Allen Orr — an ID critic with a degree of moderation and class in his rebuttals of Behe etc., but not Jerry Coyne — an ID critic who is more obviously partisan and thuggish.

    Overall, there seems to be an almost complete separation between those you consider to be leading evolutionary theorists, and those who have anointed themselves the defenders of evolution and crusaders against ID in the popular arena. Interesting. I think you and I could do business.

  169. 169
    wd400 says:

    The reasons I remain anonymous are my own, and no one else business.

    I don’t think Moran is a leading evolutionary biologists. He certainly knows a lot more about molecular evolution that most biochemists and much more about the history of molecular biology that most people working in genomics. I’ve often seem him criticize scientists in those fields for not understanding the evolutionary background to their work, and he’s qualified to do that.

    What I’m trying to get to you to show me is an example where he acted as if he was a “leading evolutionary theorist” when dismissing someone who was in fact a leader in the field.

    I told you what I meant by fringe — Shaprio’s ideas have had very little impact on evolutionary biology. He could be right*, but he’s not convinced many evolutionary biologists of that so he can hardly be said to be “leading” anything!

    It’s true that many of the best evolutionary biologists don’t spend much time on ID, though Joe Felsenstein is certainly a great evolutionary biologists and Coyne (with Orr) wrote the book on speciation. Most evolutionary biologists simply ignore ID, which has very little if any scientific relevance. It is , of course, possible to defend evolutionary biology without being the reincarnation of Dobzhansky.

    *he’s not

  170. 170
    Mapou says:

    wd400:

    Most evolutionary biologists simply ignore ID, which has very little if any scientific relevance.

    You know, I agree that ID, which restricts itself to the detection of design, does not do much for science. The problem with ID is that its proponents have been sitting on it for years while arguing back and forth with Darwinists (a waste of time, in the end). I say it is high time that the theory of intelligent design be expanded. There is a lot that we know about intelligent design from watching humans. Most of the things that the Darwinists get right about life on earth (e.g., the hierarchical organization of lifeforms) can be easily inferred from the many known cases of complex intelligent design by humans. We know, for example, that design over time always results in a mostly nested hierarchy. Modern software design would be a total mess if it did not encourage and enforce a class hierarchy.

    My question is, why does the ID camp refuse to touch this? Why allow the other side space to boast about their predictions when we can make the same and better predictions direct from fundamental design principles? I may be wrong but I suspect that this reticence has to do with where most of the funding for ID research is coming from. Telling it like I see it, as always.

  171. 171
    Querius says:

    Timaeus @ 115

    However, I don’t think the people here who drew attention to the teaching evaluations were using those evaluations as evidence that Larry was a poor researcher. I think they were suggesting that there was a thematic connection between his striking lack of positive connection with his students and his argumentative behavior on his website.

    Exactly. Except as you keep pointing out, not participating in any current research tends to disqualify someone as a “researcher.” Throwing his towering intellect into teaching doesn’t seem to be received well by his students, presumably the object of his efforts. Remedial action or reassessment seems to be indicated.

    “Fringe” is the label is commonly used by modern academics to smear each other instead of the more traditional poo.

    What these Champions of the Consensus fail to recognize is that *all* significant advances in science are introduced by researchers who represent fringe views, and that science indeed seems to advance one funeral at a time.

    Keep up the great posts.

    -Q

  172. 172
    Box says:

    WD400, thks for the list.

    WD400: Most evolutionary biologists simply ignore ID, which has very little if any scientific relevance.

    Sure. It is of course of little scientific significance that the universe is found to be fine-tuned and that by reasonable inference the information we find in life stems from an intelligent source.
    Just ignore it. Move along ppl, nothing to see here.

  173. 173
    wd400 says:

    What scientific relevance does ID, as a movement rather than a goal, have box?

  174. 174
    Box says:

    WD400,

    I’m not sure I understand your question.

  175. 175
    wd400 says:

    When you got all sarcastic about about mainstream evolution ignoring ID above you mentioned only the goals of ID. I want to know why we should care about ID. What scientific finding, methods or predictions has ID made that generated that evolutionary biologists should care about.

  176. 176
    KevNick says:

    Wd400,

    Why don’t you respond to my challenge to coward Moran and provide one piece of evidence that convinced you that life originated on its own without superior intelligence we know about. If you do, for verifiable evidence for the origins of life I will pay you $100.000. If you have 2 it is $1.000.000. I’m willing to put my life on it that you and morans will be emptyhanded. Test me out… please

  177. 177
    Mapou says:

    OT:

    Why is Joe G. banned from commenting on UD? Joe’s contributions to UD have been invaluable. I say, ban the prevaricating Darwinists, not Joe.

  178. 178
    soundburger says:

    What Larry Moran seems most prominent in, in fact, is his atheism. He is a prominent Canadian atheist and ‘skeptic’. He is this more than an educator and researcher. And that’s fine.

    It’s also interesting, because a number of prominent atheists, such as P.Z. Myers, Richard Dawkins, and Jerry Coyne are biologists who happen to be tenured professors whose work in their field is not now, or has never been cutting edge. In physics, Laurence Krauss is also more prominent as an atheist than a theorist.

    Yet, why is it that such folk always accuse ID of being not an actual science, but simply religion in disguise? Religion is generally led by priests, pastors, etc. And there don’t seem to be many (are there ANY?) of them in the front ranks of ID.

    Yet, it seems like the people who are most strongly pushing the opposite of ID, the idea that no intelligence was ever necessary to account for the wonder and complexity of life, are all prominent atheists. They are dedicated to promoting atheism, through books, blogs, conferences, debates, etc. Their credentials as scientists are used to give them greater credibility. But the cause is atheism. They all believe the world would be a better place without religion, and advocate for this.

    So, on the ID side, no priests spearheading the movement.
    On the materialist side, prominent atheists lead the charge.

    Which seems more like a religion?

  179. 179
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: you disagree with Shapiro so he’s not “a leading evolutionary theorist”.

    Shapiro has proposed some interesting ideas, but he hasn’t yet got the goods to support his claims.

    StephenB: Among other things, he claims that IDists are IDiots because they don’t understand the difference between ancient Neo-Darwinism and his more modern version of neutral evolution

    From what we have seen, he calls them IDiots because they refuse to learn. Seriously, IDers will show up on his blog and try to argue as to whether humans share ancestry with other apes.

    StephenB: Indeed, there are plenty of well-published, up to date, Darwinian naturalists who disavow neutral evolution altogether.

    The debate concerning the relative importance of natural selection has been going on since Darwin. Neutral theory is widely accepted.

    StephenB: Moran is recklessly presumptuous to claim that ID proponents are ignorant of neutral evolution simply because they use the term “Darwinism.” In fact, Darwinists and ID proponents typically define that term the same way—as one who embraces unguided macro-evolution.

    While darwinian has several meanings, biologists generally use the term to mean evolution by natural selection. A darwinist is someone who thinks that natural selection is a paramount mechanism in evolution. Moran is not a darwinist.

    Timaeus: Originally, I asked for evidence of substantive peer-reviewed research in the past decade by Moran.

    As already pointed out, Moran moved into teaching in the 1990s.

    Timaeus: I pointed out that those articles were very old, and would not qualify one as a leader in evolutionary theory today.

    One doesn’t have to be a “leader in evolutionary theory” to be a valid authority on molecular evolution. Moran worked as a researcher in the field, and now teaches the subject at the university level.

    Timaeus: But there are senior physics textbooks written by people who know a lot about physics; that doesn’t make those writers world-class experts in quantum theory or string theory or multiverse theory etc.

    No, but they probably know enough about physics to be considered an expert, especially with regard to mainstream views.

    Timaeus: My argument is merely that he should adjust the degree of certainty with which he expresses himself to his relative intellectual rank within the community of evolutionary theorists.

    Where does Moran claim to be a “leader in evolutionary theory”?

    soundburger: In physics, Laurence Krauss is also more prominent as an atheist than a theorist.

    Krauss is very prominent in the physics community, and has published many journal research papers.

    Just because someone is publicly prominent doesn’t mean they haven’t done significant scientific work. Most science isn’t revolutionary in scope, nor have mass appeal. Most science is collecting bugs or counting colonies or analyzing data.

  180. 180
    Mung says:

    Mapou:

    Why is Joe G. banned from commenting on UD?

    Go back and review Joe G.’s comments just prior to his being banned. Pretty sure he was warned.

    Pretty freaking funny that in all the whining over at TSZ (and here) over “Aurelio Smith” no one seems to have noticed the absence of Joe.

  181. 181
    Querius says:

    soundburger @ 177,

    Good points.

    It seems that a lot of “leading evolutionists” are simply promoting an atheistic world view painted over with a thick layer of 19th century evolutionary theory that’s been bubbling and flaking off for 150 years.

    I’m not convinced that their atheism is a religion, but it definitely takes the place of religion as evidenced by their histrionics in defense of various versions of evolution.

    Just sayin’

    -Q

  182. 182
    Curly Howard says:

    Why not just give me the title of the article and tell me to find the mistake myself, Timaeus? I really don’t see how your personal info could possibly be found through a journal website if you directly emailed the primary author. Your story sounds even less likely to be true now.

    A cynic, burger. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum and I know there are people at every point in between as well. No matter the side.

  183. 183
    soundburger says:

    Curly, I appreciate that. I am glad that you concede that there is misbehavior on both sides of heated topics such as this. However, I still find it extremely unlikely that the evaluations on RMP were not created by students. I think the reasons are clear enough, so won’t go into them unless asked to do so.

    Querius, thank you. No, not a religion, but certainly like one in terms of the zeal with which some promote it. At least enough like a religion that it seems hypocritical for them to continually refer to ID as religion in disguise. Their form of materialist, all-you-need-is-time (two types, the time needed for species to evolve, and the time THEY need to finally and firmly prove their theories and disprove god) certitude (faith?) is atheism flashing a ‘Hey, I’m a Scientist!’ card.

  184. 184
    Box says:

    WD400: I want to know why we should care about ID. What scientific finding, methods or predictions has ID made that generated that evolutionary biologists should care about.

    My short answer is, that central to ID is the idea that information can only be produced by intelligence.

    Our experience-based knowledge of information flow confirms that systems with large amounts of specified or functional information invariably originate from an intelligent source. The generation of functional information is “habitually associated with conscious activity.” Our uniform experience confirms this obvious truth.

    [Stephen Meyer, DD]

    Due to its inability to present any evidence to the contrary, this insight hangs over evolutionary biology like a sword of Damocles.

  185. 185
    Box says:

    follow up #183

    (…) In other words, our uniform experience of cause and effect shows that intelligent design is the only known cause of the origin of large amounts of functionally specified digital information. It follows that the great infusion of such information in the Cambrian explosion points decisively to an intelligent cause.
    Intelligent design stands alone as an explanation for the origin of genetic information for another reason: purposive agents have just those necessary powers that natural selection lacks as a condition of its causal adequacy. We have seen that natural selection lacks the ability to generate novel information precisely because it can only act after new functional information has arisen. Natural selection can favor new proteins and genes, but only after they perform some function (influencing reproductive output). The job of generating new functional genes, proteins, and systems of proteins therefore falls entirely to random mutations. Yet without functional criteria to guide a search through the space of possible sequences, random variation is probabilistically doomed. What is needed is not just a source of variation (i.e., the freedom to search a space of possibilities) or a mode of selection that can operate after the fact of a successful search, but instead a means of selection that (a) operates during a search—before success—and that (b) is guided by information about or knowledge of a functional target.

    [Stephen Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt]

  186. 186
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    You make up, off the top of your head, this statement:

    “As already pointed out, Moran moved into teaching in the 1990s.”

    This implies that earlier he was doing research, not teaching, and then moved into teaching, not research. That would be wrong. Larry would have been originally hired at Toronto do to both teaching and research. So it is not as if he started out exclusively as a researcher, then switched to teaching. He started out doing both. But later, he continued with the teaching, while slacking off on the research.

    It is perhaps a certain provincialism derived from your experience (or more likely hearsay knowledge) of certain American research universities or university departments, where there are professors hired solely to do research, which causes you to make this error. You imagine that Toronto is something like that. But in most countries outside of the USA (and even in the USA at many if not most universities) the job teaching/research is a package deal. You don’t switch from one function to the other; you do both.

    Your willingness to invent a partial academic biography for Moran, when you don’t even live in his country, don’t know the university system there, and have never set foot on the campus of his university, let alone in the halls of his department, and further, haven’t taken the time to ask him about it, is revealing. I hope you are not a scientist, if this an example of how rigorous your research techniques are.

  187. 187
    Timaeus says:

    Curly:

    You are not listening, and not even thinking straight. (Perhaps imitating your namesake.) There is no way I could indicate the work I corrected without making you aware of both title and author, and from that you could easily find out from the author, if you wished, who submitted the corrections. And I don’t intend to give you that opening. Not even if you promised not to use it. I don’t know who you are, and therefore your promise can mean nothing to me.

    Give it up, Curly. As I already said, if you don’t believe me, I don’t care. Whether you respect or disrespect my knowledge is a matter of utter contempt to me.

  188. 188

    WD400 said:

    I want to know why we should care about ID. What scientific finding, methods or predictions has ID made that generated that evolutionary biologists should care about.

    Well, virtually all of science proceeds as if ID is true – it seeks elegant and efficient models; it reverse engineers biological systems; it describes evolution in teleological terms; it refers to natural forces and laws as if there is some kind of prescriptive agency guiding matter and energy; it assumes that the nature of the universe and human comprehensive capacity have some sort of truthful, factual correspondence.

    IOW, no matter how much one insists that science progresses because it only accepts materialist explanations, the fact is that science only came to exist and only advances because it rides on ID assumptions. Take away those assumptions and all science can be is personal feelings and politics.

  189. 189
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, that was beautifully concise!

    I’m borrowing it.

  190. 190
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: Larry would have been originally hired at Toronto do to both teaching and research.

    Quite possibly. His university website lists his research interests as molecular biology and undergraduate education. Education is also a field of study, in case you didn’t know. If you don’t feel he is pulling his weight, perhaps you can take it up with the University of Toronto.

    Did you answer the question? Where does Moran claim to be a “leader in evolutionary theory”?

  191. 191
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung, I did notice absence but did not realise, banned. KF

  192. 192
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    While darwinian has several meanings, biologists generally use the term to mean evolution by natural selection. A darwinist is someone who thinks that natural selection is a paramount mechanism in evolution. Moran is not a darwinist.

    No. A Darwinist is one who holds that evolution proceeds by naturalistic mechanisms alone and needs no designer. ID defines it that way because Darwinists equivocate with the word “evolution” in order to mislead uninformed observers into believing that ID is anti-evolution, which it is not.

    Accordingly, the only way to distinguish guided evolution from unguided evolution is to classify the first paradigm as ID and the second paradigm as Darwinism. Under that definition, Larry Moran is a Darwinist. You are a Darwinist. Richard Dawkins is a Darwinist. For that matter, Ken Miller is a Darwinist.

    The distinction between naturalism and neutralism is an intramural dispute that has nothing to do with the conflict between ID and Darwinism. If Larry Moran does not understand the debate, that is his problem. The issue is, and always has been, guided evolution vs. unguided evolution—ID vs. Darwinism.

    If you disagree, show me another way to make the critical distinctions that define the debate. Show me another way to differentiate between those who hold that design is real that those who hold that it is an illusion.

  193. 193
    wd400 says:

    Box and WJM,

    Prehaps I should make myself clear: I’m not looking for philosophical pronouncements, much less religious ones which are made irrelevant by the fact many evolutionary biologists are themselves religious.

    ID is claimed to be a scientific movement, so I’d like to know which products of the movement evolutionary biologists should care about. Findings or new methods, for instance.
    EDIT:

    (and to save you the time, don’t bother with CSIwhich, in the form most recently defended [pdf]just says improbable events are improbable, which is not much of a contribution!)

  194. 194
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: A Darwinist is one who holds that evolution proceeds by naturalistic mechanisms alone and needs no designer.

    As already stated, the term has many related definitions. In biology, darwinian often refers to evolution by natural selection. That is certainly how Moran uses the term.
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....inist.html

    StephenB: Accordingly, the only way to distinguish guided evolution from unguided evolution is to classify the first paradigm as ID and the second paradigm as Darwinism.

    Lynn Margulis once said “It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist… I am definitely a Darwinist though.” She meant that selection was the mechanism by which new variations became fixed in a population, but that the sources of variation were much more complex than allowed in naïve neo-darwinian thought.

    StephenB: The issue is, and always has been, guided evolution vs. unguided evolution—ID vs. Darwinism.

    It’s not that Darwinism is never used that way, but the problem with it is that the use conflicts with a common scientific meaning.

    Another problem is you have set up a false dichotomy. Even if we accept Darwinism to mean the modern theory of evolution, falsifying the modern theory doesn’t necessarily mean some other natural theory couldn’t be devised.

    Furthermore, ID is a vague and general claim, not a scientific theory, while Darwinism and modern evolutionary theory are scientific theories.

  195. 195
    Mapou says:

    The difference between Joe G. and Zachriel is that Joe is sincere in his convictions whereas Zachriel and his demons are weavers of lies and deception. So why is Joe G. banned while Zachriel and demons continue to spew their anonymous lies on UD?

    I therefore protest the decision to ban Joe.

  196. 196
    Mung says:

    kf, I don’t know that Joe was banned but I thought it was a reasonable inference. Mapou seems to be confirming it.

  197. 197
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    As already stated, the term has many related definitions. In biology, darwinian often refers to evolution by natural selection. That is certainly how Moran uses the term.
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2…..inist.html

    No, that definition is irrelevant to main problem of design vs. no design. Moran uses the term in order to make it appear as if the debate is about naturalism vs neutralism. That is a separate issue.

    StephenB: Accordingly, the only way to distinguish guided evolution from unguided evolution is to classify the first paradigm as ID and the second paradigm as Darwinism.

    Lynn Margulis once said “It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist… I am definitely a Darwinist though.” She meant that selection was the mechanism by which new variations became fixed in a population, but that the sources of variation were much more complex than allowed in naïve neo-darwinian thought.

    Irrelevant to the debate over design vs. the appearance of design. That debate allows only one definition of Darwinism, ie. evolution by naturalistic means alone. Lynn Margulis is a Darwinist insofar as she objects to ID, but she is a non-Darwinist insofar as she objects to the primacy of natural selection. The meaning of Darwinism is decided by the context of the debate.

    SB: [The issue is, and always has been, guided evolution vs. unguided evolution—ID vs. Darwinism.]

    It’s not that Darwinism is never used that way, but the problem with it is that the use conflicts with a common scientific meaning.

    That is the only way the term can be used in the context of ID (design is real) and Darwinistic evolution (design is an illusion). If you know of another way to frame the issue in that context, I am open to it.

    Another problem is you have set up a false dichotomy. Even if we accept Darwinism to mean the modern theory of evolution, falsifying the modern theory doesn’t necessarily mean some other natural theory couldn’t be devised.

    The issue has nothing to do with what may be claimed in the future. It is about using labels to describe what is being claimed right now. The dichotomy between design and no design is real. If guided evolution is true, then both natural and neutral evolution are false. If either natural or neutral evolution is true, then guided evolution is false. Moran seeks to muddle that issue.

    Furthermore, ID is a vague and general claim, not a scientific theory, while Darwinism and modern evolutionary theory are scientific theories.

    Nope. ID claims that design is real and scientifically detectable; Darwinism (both natural and neutral) claims that design is illusionary and cannot, therefore, be detected. That is the essence of the debate. There is only one way to characterize that debate: ID vs. Darwinism. If you know of another, please disclose it. (This is my second challenge.)

  198. 198
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Moran uses the term in order to make it appear as if the debate is about naturalism vs neutralism.

    The debate is between largely between selectionism and neutralism.

    StephenB: Accordingly, the only way to distinguish guided evolution from unguided evolution is to classify the first paradigm as ID and the second paradigm as Darwinism.

    Ignoring our objections don’t make them go away. As already pointed out, it’s a false dichotomy. There may be many naturalistic theories of evolution.

    StephenB: That debate allows only one definition of Darwinism, ie. evolution by naturalistic means alone.

    That’s just silly. Semantics don’t make for an argument, though using words willy-nilly can lead to confusion.

    StephenB: The dichotomy between design and no design is real.

    Perhaps, but sticking a label on it doesn’t constitute an argument, and in this case, just leads to confusion. Margulis is a darwinist, but Moran is not.

    StephenB: Moran seeks to muddle that issue.

    The actual scientific debate has been over how important neutral theory is to evolution. Moran is steeped in that controversy. There is no scientific debate over ID.

    StephenB: ID claims that design is real and scientifically detectable

    Can’t get much vaguer than that.

    This is what is meant by being specific: Humans and hamsters share a common ancestor. Bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics. Tyrannosaurus Rex once roamed the Earth.

  199. 199
    tlawry says:

    I find this fussing over the qualifications of biology professors to discuss evolution rather puzzling since evolution critics seem remarkably uninformed. In particular, there is a well known result from JBS Haldane which says that if a mutation produces a 1% increase in survival, then there is a 2% chance that the mutation will be permanently “fixed” in the population. In other words, 49 out of 50 of such mutations will lose the luck of the draw and die out. This would seem to be obvious grist to the evolution skeptic’s mill, and yet I have never
    seen any creationist or ID proponent mention this basic fact.

    How many readers of UD have ever heard of this? For extra credit, what is the full formula for the fixation probability?

  200. 200
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    The debate is between largely between selectionism and neutralism.

    The debate between selectionism and neutralism is not directly relevant to the debate between design and non-design. I have already pointed that out.

    SB: That debate allows only one definition of Darwinism, ie. evolution by naturalistic means alone.

    That’s just silly. Semantics don’t make for an argument, though using words willy-nilly can lead to confusion.

    You are very confused. We are not, for the moment, talking about arguments, we are talking about the appropriateness of the descriptive labels that are being used. It isn’t even possible to have a rational discussion unless terms are defined in the proper context. Do you understand the difference between a descriptive label and an argument? It appears that you do not. The term “Darwinism” is not an argument. It is a descriptive label that ID uses to identify those who embrace naturalistic, unguided evolution, which includes both selectivists and neutralists. It is also a descriptive label that Moran uses to differentiate between one kind of naturalistic evolution (selectivism) and another kind of naturalistic evolution (neutralism). It appears that you cannot grasp the difference between those two descriptive terms and the contexts in which they are being used.

    Perhaps, but sticking a label on it doesn’t constitute an argument, and in this case, just leads to confusion. Margulis is a darwinist, but Moran is not.

    Of course a label doesn’t constitute and argument. It constitutes a categorical description. As I explained earlier, the context of the debate determines the definition or the categorical description of Darwinism. You evaded that point, presumably because it is an inconvenient truth.

    In the context of the debate between designed evolution and naturalistic evolution, both Moran and Margulis are Darwinists. In the context of selectivism vs neutralism, neither Margulis or Moran are Darwinists. There is no universal, non contextual, definition of Darwinism. I don’t know why that point is so difficult for you to grasp.

    The actual scientific debate has been over how important neutral theory is to evolution. Moran is steeped in that controversy. There is no scientific debate over ID.

    Oh, I get it. It’s over because you say so. There is no scientific debate because you say so. Sorry, things don’t work that way. In fact, there is plenty of evidence for design in biology. On the other hand, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that naturalistic processes alone, whether described in selectivist or neutral terms, can produce biodiversity. If you disagree, please produce the evidence.

  201. 201
    Querius says:

    Wow, 200 posts!

    tlawry, yes, I’m familiar with Haldane’s dilemma as a sort of evolutionary speed limit.

    -Q

  202. 202
    wd400 says:

    Ok, but what about the result tlawry is talking about?

  203. 203
    Querius says:

    So why is it called Haldane’s dilemma?

  204. 204
    wd400 says:

    What? The result tlawry is talking about is from Haldane, but not his so-called dilemma which is preceeds bu about 30 years.

  205. 205
    soundburger says:

    Seriously, as with so many other things about Larry Moran, it is just nitpicking and manufactured outrage that he pretends to take offense at being called a “Darwinist”.

    His blog is called Sandwalk. On the home page you can see a depiction of the Sandwalk with this explanation, “The Sandwalk is the path behind the home of Charles Darwin where he used to walk every day, thinking about science. You can see the path in the woods in the upper left-hand corner of this image.”

    He also posts two quotes from Darwin on his home page, both of which are related to how his own theory dispels the notion of design in nature.

    So, yes, Larry Moran, you are a Darwinist. Huff and puff all you want.

  206. 206
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    What I said was true. I’m familiar with Haldane’s dilemma. The computations regarding the difficulty of a hypothetical beneficial mutation from taking hold in a genome, I got from a different source.

    So, why is it called Haldane’s dilemma?

    -Q

  207. 207
    wd400 says:

    … so familiar that you confused it for something entirely different?

    I don’t know why Haldane’s substitution load is called a “dilemma”.

  208. 208
    Curly Howard says:

    Oh Timaeus, it’s a submitted correction now? Last time it was just an email asking the researcher if they made a mistake, and they commended you on your attention to detail.

    Is this a fish story or just a plain old fairytale?

    I’m going with fairytale.

  209. 209
    bFast says:

    soundburger (204), well said. Larry Moran is clearly a Darwinist by his own confession — no matter what he says.

  210. 210
    soundburger says:

    Thanks, bFast

    From an online dictionary:
    “-ist: a suffix of nouns, often corresponding to verbs ending in -ize or nouns ending in -ism, that denote a person who practices or is concerned with something, or holds certain principles, doctrines, etc.:
    apologist; dramatist; machinist; novelist; realist; socialist; Thomist.”

    In the case of names, in addition to Darwinist, well known ones are Peronist, Maoist, and in Spanish, Sandinista.

    There really aren’t any such ‘-ist’ usages for scientists, that I can think of. They inevitably are used in cases of ideologies, whether political or economical.
    And that’s what Darwinism is. It’s an ideology that is based on the idea that Charles Darwin’s theory and writings have made it possible to be, in Richard Dawkins’ words (which Larry used to quote on his home page) a ‘intellectually fulfilled atheist’. Charles Darwin can thus be seen as a standard bearer of a movement to do away with reasons for believing in god, and he remains that today even as his theories are gradually being replaced.

    As I wrote before, Larry’s greatest notoriety comes not as a scientist, but an atheism advocate, and from his own web page it is obvious that Charles Darwin is a personal hero of his. Thus, he is a Darwinist. There really isn’t any valid argument he can make to the contrary.

  211. 211
    Mapou says:

    tlawry:

    I find this fussing over the qualifications of biology professors to discuss evolution rather puzzling since evolution critics seem remarkably uninformed. In particular, there is a well known result from JBS Haldane which says that if a mutation produces a 1% increase in survival, then there is a 2% chance that the mutation will be permanently “fixed” in the population. In other words, 49 out of 50 of such mutations will lose the luck of the draw and die out. This would seem to be obvious grist to the evolution skeptic’s mill, and yet I have never
    seen any creationist or ID proponent mention this basic fact.

    How many readers of UD have ever heard of this? For extra credit, what is the full formula for the fixation probability?

    It’s all irrelevant crap because it omits the fact that every living organism must have a DNA repair mechanism. Without this mechanism, everything would die.

    1. If evolution via mutations/selection were true, how does the gene repair mechanism know which mutations to repair and which ones to ignore in order for evolution to work?

    2. How did this indispensable gene repair mechanism evolve since it must be in place right from the start to prevent certain death and destruction?

    3. Why are Darwinists and atheists so freaking stupid? What bugs you people?

  212. 212
    Mung says:

    Biochemist Marcel Florkin was born in Liege, Belgium on August 15, 1900.

    Florkin became the first chair of the newly formed Department of Biochemistry on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Liege in 1934…

    …Florkin published over sixty scientific volumes and came to be recognized as one of the founders of modern biochemistry.

    But Larry Moran gets all the credit, after all, “the guy literally wrote the book on biochemistry.” In 1994, no less.

    Hilarious.

  213. 213
    Mung says:

    Is stupid a prerequisite for being an ID critic?

  214. 214
    Mung says:

    Moreover, the approach isn’t even original.

    L’évolution biochimique

    Yet Larry Moran, half a century later, “wrote the book.”

    lol

  215. 215
    Timaeus says:

    Curly wrote:

    “I’m going with fairytale.”

    It doesn’t surprise that Curly would go with a fairy tale. That’s about the epistemological status of the Darwinian account of the origin of new body plans, and he goes for that one, too.

  216. 216
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: The debate between selectionism and neutralism is not directly relevant to the debate between design and non-design.

    No, but there’s no scientific debate over design in biology, other than the implications of human design.

    StephenB: That debate allows only one definition of Darwinism, ie. evolution by naturalistic means alone.

    Argument by fiat.

    StephenB: The term “Darwinism” is not an argument. It is a descriptive label that ID uses to identify those who embrace naturalistic, unguided evolution, which includes both selectivists and neutralists.

    Look, you can talk whatever gibberish you want, but if you want to be understood, then it’s important to find words that aren’t already loaded with meanings, especially in a scientific context.

    In the cultural sphere, the term does have a political advantage in that it suggests a cult of personality; like Newtonist or Marxist.

    StephenB: It appears that you cannot grasp the difference between those two descriptive terms and the contexts in which they are being used.

    We’re quite aware of the importance of context. Moran is using it in a scientific context, while ID merely pretends to be science. If it were science, they would avoid using terms that can be so easily misconstrued. Here’s a simple example.

    Moran: I’m not a Darwinist.
    This thread: Yes you are! Nanny nanny boo-boo!!

    StephenB: There is no scientific debate because you say so.

    No. There’s no scientific debate because there is no scientific debate. ID only exists as a cultural and political phenomenon.

    soundburger: In the case of names, in addition to Darwinist, well known ones are Peronist, Maoist, and in Spanish, Sandinista.

    There really aren’t any such ‘-ist’ usages for scientists, that I can think of. They inevitably are used in cases of ideologies, whether political or economical.

    And that’s what Darwinism is. It’s an ideology that is based on the idea that Charles Darwin’s theory and writings have made it possible to be, in Richard Dawkins’ words (which Larry used to quote on his home page) a ‘intellectually fulfilled atheist’.

    Case in point. Notice how the term is being used to describe a cult of personality rather than a scientific theory. You might want to clean up your own domain before insisting that the scientific community adopt your usage.

    Mapou: How did this indispensable gene repair mechanism evolve since it must be in place right from the start to prevent certain death and destruction?

    It’s thought that simple replicators, such as RNA polymers, started the process without the need for a repair mechanism.

  217. 217
    soundburger says:

    Zachriel writes,

    “In the cultural sphere, the term does have a political advantage in that it suggests a cult of personality; like Newtonist or Marxist.”

    Nothing wrong with that, as there is a cult of personality formed around Charles Darwin. That’s why there is a Darwin Day and why Larry Moran has named his site Sandwalk.

    It’s also why Alfred Russel Wallace rarely is mentioned by people such as Moran, Coyne and Dawkins. His research and theorizing were fine, but his conclusions and, let’s face it, his spiritualism, just aren’t seen as helpful to the cause.

  218. 218
    Zachriel says:

    soundburger: Nothing wrong with that, as there is a cult of personality formed around Charles Darwin. That’s why there is a Darwin Day and why Larry Moran has named his site Sandwalk.

    Yeah, like people who worship the idol of Newton.
    http://idkpal.files.wordpress......g_3858.jpg

    Or those Einsteinists.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....tongue.jpg

  219. 219
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    Mapou: How did this indispensable gene repair mechanism evolve since it must be in place right from the start to prevent certain death and destruction?

    It’s thought that simple replicators, such as RNA polymers, started the process without the need for a repair mechanism.

    And this makes sense to you? This is science because of what again? Man, go sit in a corner or something. You’re boring.

  220. 220
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    Look, you can talk whatever gibberish you want, but if you want to be understood, then it’s important to find words that aren’t already loaded with meanings, especially in a scientific context.

    I have demonstrated that you confused an argument with a definition. That confusion is evident in everything that you write. Your present comment simply amplifies that same confusion. I challenge you to explain how ID’s definition of Darwinsm is “loaded.”

    In the cultural sphere, the term does have a political advantage in that it suggests a cult of personality; like Newtonist or Marxist.

    ID defines “Darwinism” as naturalistic, unguided evolution. Moran defines “Darwinism” as selectivism. In order to evade that simple fact, you are wallowing in irrationality and introducing all manner of irrelevant topics.

    We’re quite aware of the importance of context.

    We? Are you two people? I am quite serious when I ask that question.

    Moran is using it in a scientific context, while ID merely pretends to be science. If it were science, they would avoid using terms that can be so easily misconstrued. Here’s a simple example.

    Neither definition can be misconstrued. Each can be clearly understood. Your comment that ID “pretends” to be science is refuted by the fact that you don’t even know what ID is arguing.

    Moran: I’m not a Darwinist.
    This thread: Yes you are! Nanny nanny boo-boo!!

    Did you not even read the article you alluded to? Moran acknowledges both definitions. He just wants to forget about the first one, so he says that it no longer applies in any context. He is obviously wrong. .

    In fact, he is a Darwinist according to his first definition and a non-Darwinist according to his second definition. His claim that the second definition supplanted the first definition is not true. He would just prefer not to deal with that aspect of it—and with good reason.

    Here is what is really going on. Darwinists realize that natural selection is not up to the task, so, in desperation, they are now beginning to place the same mindless faith in genetic drift that they once placed in natural selection. The fact remains that there is no evidence that any naturalistic process can produce biodiversity or drive the evolutionary process through all the taxonomic levels. It is a total act of faith on the part of Darwinists. You (or Moran) can produce no evidence that any natural process can produce biodiversity because no such evidence exists.

    No. There’s no scientific debate because there is no scientific debate. ID only exists as a cultural and political phenomenon.

    No scientific debate? How can you say that when you do not even know what ID is arguing? I challenge you to summarize ID’s argument.

  221. 221
    Querius says:

    wd400 @ 206 persisted,

    … so familiar that you confused it for something entirely different?

    Actually, the predicted maximum rate of change in a genome is intimately related with the fixation (or not) of a genetic novelty. As I said, I learned this from a different source.

    I don’t know why Haldane’s substitution load is called a “dilemma”.

    Since you don’t know where the term Haldane’s dilemma originated, I looked it up in Wikipedia for you. Here’s what the article said:

    Origin of the term “Haldane’s Dilemma”

    Apparently the first use of the term “Haldane’s Dilemma” was by palaeontologist Leigh Van Valen in his 1963 paper “Haldane’s Dilemma, Evolutionary Rates, and Heterosis”.

    At p. 185 Van Valen writes:

    Haldane drew attention to the fact that in the process of the evolutionary substitution of one allele for another, at any intensity of selection and no matter how slight the importance of the locus, a substantial number of individuals would usually be lost because they did not already possess the new allele. Kimura (1960, 1961) has referred to this loss as the substitutional (or evolutional) load, but because it necessarily involves either a completely new mutation or (more usually) previous change in the environment or the genome, I like to think of it as a dilemma for the population: for most organisms, rapid turnover in a few genes precludes rapid turnover in the others. A corollary of this is that, if an environmental change occurs that necessitates the rather rapid replacement of several genes if a population is to survive, the population becomes extinct.

    That is, since a high number of deaths are required to fix one gene rapidly, and dead organisms do not reproduce, fixation of more than one gene simultaneously would conflict. Note that Haldane’s model assumes independence of genes at different loci; if the selection intensity is 0.1 for each gene moving towards fixation, and there are N such genes, then the reproductive capacity of the species will be lowered to 0.9N times the original capacity. Therefore, if it is necessary for the population to fix more than one gene, it may not have reproductive capacity to counter the deaths.

    And now you know.

    But my question, which you’ve ducked, was why was this considered a “dilemma”?

    -Q

  222. 222
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, could you please email me? KF

  223. 223
    Querius says:

    StephanB @ 219 wonders:

    We? Are you two people? I am quite serious when I ask that question.

    Zachriel has been asked this question on many occasions. The leading speculations here are

    * He is using the majestic plural

    * He has a tapeworm

    * He is host to a host of demons

    Zachriel responded to these speculations with an extensive list of additional possibilities. In response, other contributors then recommended psychological counseling, but I disagree.

    I think deworming would be more effective. 😉

    -Q

  224. 224
    wd400 says:

    Really Querius? You made a mistake.The result referred to by tlawry is not Haldane’s dilemma/

    I can see that it’s a bit embarrassing that you made that mistake while trying to demonstrate your knowledge of evolutionary biology, but persisting that you’ve made no error (?) hardly saves face.

    Your own quote describes why Van Valen thought of Haldane’s substitution cost arguments as a ‘dilemma’ for populations.

  225. 225
    tlawry says:

    Mapou #210

    I said:

    I find this fussing over the qualifications of biology professors to discuss

    evolution rather puzzling since evolution critics seem remarkably uninformed. In

    particular, there is a well known result from JBS Haldane which says that if a

    mutation produces a 1% increase in survival, then there is a 2% chance that the

    mutation will be permanently “fixed” in the population. In other words, 49 out of

    50 of such mutations will lose the luck of the draw and die out. This would seem to

    be obvious grist to the evolution skeptic’s mill, and yet I have never
    seen any creationist or ID proponent mention this basic fact.

    How many readers of UD have ever heard of this? For extra credit, what is the

    full formula for the fixation probability?

    You responded:

    It’s all irrelevant crap because it omits the fact that every living organism must

    have a DNA repair mechanism. Without this mechanism, everything would die.

    1. If evolution via mutations/selection were true, how does the gene repair

    mechanism know which mutations to repair and which ones to ignore in order for

    evolution to work?

    2. How did this indispensable gene repair mechanism evolve since it must be in

    place right from the start to prevent certain death and destruction?

    3. Why are Darwinists and atheists so freaking stupid? What bugs you people?

    My Answers:

    1) The DNA repair mechanism has nothing to do with it. DNA repair has a 1% failure

    rate. The mutations which are NOT repaired are those which natural selection acts

    on. The supposition that DNA repair “knows” which mutations to fix is a pure fanasy

    which presumably originates with you, it has nothing to do with how natural

    selection works.

    2) If DNA repair is essential for life, then it is part of the question of the

    origin of life, not life’s evolution after it originated. If you care so much about

    these issues, surely you should know about the distinction between the evolution

    and the origin of life. You cannot use questions about life’s origin as a stick to

    beat evolution, they are separate issues.

    3) You think people are “stupid” if they disagree with you, but in fact it is you who doesn’t understand the questions let alone the answers.

    Here’s a simple question for you. Why is natural selection a semi-random process rather than a strictly random process? Hint: You already know of the answer, the question is whether you understand that it is the answer.

  226. 226
    Upright BiPed says:

    KF: “SB, could you please email me?” KF

    And hey SB, I have question I would like to ask you as well. Check your email. 🙂

  227. 227
    kairosfocus says:

    UB, could you email me, too? KF

  228. 228
    StephenB says:

    UB, KF, I e-mailed KF earlier this afternoon, so, hopefully, we can connect soon.

  229. 229
    Robert Byers says:

    I wrote a paper called “Post flood Marsupialism Explained” by Robert Byers. Just google.
    I failed to get it published in the few crsationists publications.Yet its “published” on the internet and so DOES that make me a expert?
    I might trump almost everyone here!

  230. 230
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    Notice that fixation is mentioned by Van Valen in his paper on Haldane’s dilemma here:

    That is, since a high number of deaths are required to fix one gene rapidly, and dead organisms do not reproduce, fixation of more than one gene simultaneously would conflict.

    So, here’s the connection that you incorrectly characterized as “something entirely different.” And by your own admission, you did not know where the term Haldane’s dilemma” came from. Really?

    I said as a generalization

    tlawry, yes, I’m familiar with Haldane’s dilemma as a sort of evolutionary speed limit.

    tlawry’s statement was that ID proponents were unfamiliar with some of the more damning evidence against evolution, and he gave an example involving fixation. However, Haldane’s dilemma is the major obstacle, and the rate of fixation is related, making it worse.

    I clearly stated that my source for the likelihood of even a beneficial mutation from disappearing from a population came from another source, not Haldane.

    And you’re still ducking the question of why it was called Haldanes dilemma. Frankly, I don’t believe you can articulate it in your own words.

    -Q

  231. 231
    Curly Howard says:

    Good one, Timaeus!
    Enjoy nipping at the heels of science for the rest of your life. We’ll try not to step on you.

  232. 232
    wd400 says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever run across someone so unable to admit such an clear mistake. There would have been no shame in saying “oh, I confused this result with Haldane’s dilemma” to start with. Maintaining you were right all along is just not credible.

    Van Valen quote is pretty straightforward. He imagines Haldane’s substitution cost from the point of view of population evolving to match a changing environment. The “dilemma”, such as it is, is that the more excess reproduction the population spends on fixing one allele the less able it is to fix alleles at other loci. Investing in one substitution limits their ability to make future substitutions.

    (This is of course conditioned on the assumptions in Haldane’s paper holding in real populations, which they do not)

  233. 233
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever run across someone so unable to admit such an clear mistake.

    Baloney. The only mistake is your continued deliberate misinterpretation of what I said. Also note

    “Unless selection is very intense the number of deaths needed to secure the substitution by natural selection, of one gene for another at a locus, is independent of the intensity of selection. It is often about 30 times the number of organisms in a generation. It is suggested that in horoletic evolution, the mean time taken for each gene substitution is about 300 generations. This accords with the observed slowness of evolution” – JBS Haldane, The Cost of Natural Selection (1957), page 524. (emphasis mine)

    Ok. Apparently, you can articulate Haldane’s dilemma after all. Are you sure you didn’t know what it was previously or were you just being disingenuous?

    -Q

  234. 234
    wd400 says:

    I don’t know if you really think you weren’t confused, you are still too clueless to know the two results are different if you are now just lying. But I can’t say I really care.

    I never claimed to not know what Haldane’s dilemma was, just that I didn’t know why is was called a dilemma.

  235. 235
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Haldane’s Dilemma – thanks to BA77 for citing this paper.

    The ape-to-man scenario requires the fixation of tens of millions of mutations within each lineage. Most such mutations would necessarily have been nearly-neutral in their effect, but none can be assumed to have been perfectly neutral. It is widely agreed that many such fixations would have been slightly deleterious. Yet to enable a net increase in fitness (i.e., allowing increased intelligence in the human lineage, etc.), and even to simply avoid extinction due to accumulating deleterious mutations, the large majority of these tens of millions of fixations would have had to have been beneficial. The scenario clearly demands over ten million beneficial fixations. Yet the fundamental problem of Haldane’s Dilemma only permits the selective fixation of hundreds, or at best, thousands of beneficial mutations in that six million year time period. The ape-to-man scenario falls short of the needed beneficial fixations by a factor of at least three orders of magnitude.

    http://media.wix.com/ugd/a704d.....fa9c20.pdf

  236. 236
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: even to simply avoid extinction due to accumulating deleterious mutations, the large majority of these tens of millions of fixations would have had to have been beneficial.

    Most mutations are neutral or nearly so.

    Only a couple of hundred genes have been fixed since the divergence of humans and other apes. Haldane didn’t find a problem. He indicated that evolution can only move so quickly, given his assumptions, but that is well within the observed rates of change in the fossil record.

  237. 237
    Querius says:

    wd400 @ 234 noted,

    I never claimed to not know what Haldane’s dilemma was, just that I didn’t know why is was called a dilemma.

    Yes, I stand corrected.

    So, do you agree with “Haldanes Ratchet” proposed by Rupe and Sanford in the paper linked by SA in 235?

    Just curious, that’s all.

    -Q

  238. 238
    SamHManning says:

    “I’m not happy to listen to self-appointed referees laying down the law, week after week, in column after column, regarding who is ignorant, who is wrong, etc., in areas in which their own expertise has not been demonstrated.”

    It would appear that the irony is lost on this Timaeus.

  239. 239
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    What rates of change in the Fossil record are you talking about?

  240. 240
    Mung says:

    Haldane did expose a problem but it gets swept under the rug.

    Zachriel: Only a couple of hundred genes have been fixed since the divergence of humans and other apes.

    How do you know this?

    These are genes that are shared? Novel genes?

  241. 241
    wd400 says:

    Q, the string of baseless assertions in the quoted text suggest the whole thing is an exercise in giving pseudomathatical support to the authors’ existing beliefs. So, no, I don’t agree with it.

  242. 242
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The ape-to-man scenario requires the fixation of tens of millions of mutations within each lineage.

    This assumes that ape-to-man is a question of mutations. Evolution offers nothing to support that. To even make the proposal that ape-to-human is possible, evolutionists have to define what a human is, and they don’t have the tools or capabilities or even the authority within their discipline to do that.

    But, of course, many people grant evolutionists the privilege of defining what it means to be human. Thus we have ‘modified deuterostome’.

    A human being is irreducibly complex – and therefore, cannot have evolved. You can’t reduce consciousness or self-identity into physical component parts.

  243. 243
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Professor Moran:

    “I have never published a paper in the scientific literature on evolutionary theory.”

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.fr/20.....heory.html

  244. 244
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: What rates of change in the Fossil record are you talking about?

    You might look at Gingerich, Rates of evolution on the time scale of the evolutionary process, Genetica 2001.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....01fig8.jpg

  245. 245
    Querius says:

    wd400 @ 241,

    Thanks. As I said, I was just wondering.

    -Q

  246. 246
    SamHManning says:

    Mung writes:
    #240

    Haldane did expose a problem but it gets swept under the rug.

    Surely you are not referring to ReMine’s folly?

    “Perhaps the only disagreement I ever had with Crow concerned the substitutional load, because I never thought that the calculations concerning this load, which he and others carried out, were appropriate. From the very start, my own calculations suggested to me that Haldane’s arguments were misguided and indeed erroneous, and that there is no practical upper limit to the rate at which substitutions can occur under Darwinian natural selection.”

    Warren Ewens

    Not that it matters. ReMine does not meet Tim’s criterion for speaking on the subject. Nor, I suspect, does mung.

  247. 247
    SamHManning says:

    Eric says (#4):

    Yet there are many others who are alleged experts in their field whose attitude is just as bad — Jerry Coyne springs to mind, for example. I don’t care a whit whether Jerry Coyne is the most well-published and most sought-after professor in his field. His unreasonable attitude and embarrassing lack of basic logical rigor when it comes to the question of design and evolution means that he has absolutely no credibility on that particular issue.

    I am never surprised at the number of anti-evolutionists that apparently see themselves as experts in logic, evolution, and ID – even though it is almost a certainty that none of them meet Tim’s criteria for being able to discuss such things. I suspect it is largely projection on their part, for I see no real logic in ID whatsoever, and few of the articles, essays, or comments on this site indicate that their authors possess the knowledge of logic, evolution, or ID that is asserted or implied.

  248. 248
    Mung says:

    SamHManning: Surely you are not referring to ReMine’s folly?

    I am referring to the cost of substitution.

    What do you mean about ReMine’s folly?

    If you’re not qualified to discuss it I’ll understand.

  249. 249
    Zachriel says:

    Appeals to authority have only limited value, and then only to those without expertise in a field. The entire thread seems to boil down to Timaeus doesn’t like Moran’s attitude.

  250. 250
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Appeals to authority have only limited value, and then only to those without expertise in a field.

    We determine who has expertise in a field through an appeal to authority.

  251. 251
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: We determine who has expertise in a field through an appeal to authority.

    One way is through credentialing. Another is through reputation within a field. Appeals to authority are inductive arguments, and the purpose is determining a level of confidence. For instance, when boarding a commercial airliner, we might assume the pilot has been properly trained and licensed, and for the most part, this is a valid assumption.

  252. 252
    wd400 says:

    The entire thread seems to boil down to Timaeus doesn’t like Moran’s attitude.

    …though he can’t point to an actual example of the thing he’s so concerned about.

  253. 253
    SamHManning says:

    Mung @248:

    SamHManning: Surely you are not referring to ReMine’s folly?

    I am referring to the cost of substitution.

    What do you mean about ReMine’s folly?

    The same – ReMine’s take on Haldane’s “dilemma”. It is folly because ReMine does not know and cannot tell us what the common ancestor of humans and chimps was such that his calculated (a worthless calculation given Ewen’s statement) 1667 beneficial mutations could not account for human evolution from this unknown ancestor.

    If you’re not qualified to discuss it I’ll understand.

    I believe that I am far more qualified than you are, given the content of your posts. But you have a facade to burnish, so I understand.

  254. 254
    SamHManning says:

    Silver Asiatic @243:

    Professor Moran:

    “I have never published a paper in the scientific literature on evolutionary theory.”

    Do you suppose the author if this article, Timaeus, has done so? Have you? Have any of the Biologic Institute fellows?

  255. 255
    Box says:

    SamHManning,

    Professor Moran: “I have never published a paper in the scientific literature on evolutionary theory.”

    SamHManning: Do you suppose the author if this article, Timaeus, has done so?

    Do you have reading comprehension issues?

    Timaeus #33:

    The difference between myself and Moran is that I don’t blog regularly on evolution, don’t present myself as an expert on evolutionary theory (as opposed to an intelligent person who has done some reading on the subject), and don’t pose as the referee on the work of the leading evolutionary theorists regarding evolutionary mechanisms. I don’t claim to know how evolution happened and I don’t claim to be able to apportion the appropriate causal weight to all the known, alleged, and as yet unknown potential mechanisms.

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