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New York Academy of Sciences keeps the world safe for Darwinism

Go here and here for an account of a conference held last weekend by the New York Academy of Sciences entitled “Teaching Evolution and the Nature of Science” (See here for the conference webpage, and here for the event flyer). With a Darwinian all-star lineup (Bruce Alberts, Ken Miller, Rob Pennock, etc.), speakers instructed the audience how to best indoctrinate students and maintain Darwinian control of the academy.

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18 Responses to New York Academy of Sciences keeps the world safe for Darwinism

  1. Dumbing down of the masses has never been so popular or easy! With our new conference “Teaching Evolution and the Nature of Science” you too can participate in the protection of pop-science from the savages. All you need to do is call 0800-EVOLUTION-DOGMA and register to attend one of our courses and become a bonafide member of our elite circle.

    - Recieve easy to use question side-stepping techniques (Richard Dawkins endorsed)
    - A pile of outdated literature to use as overwhelming evidence on feisty students
    - Free Prozac for when you just can’t find the answer to another question
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    - Link up with the nations leading lights on public re-education of science (Chinese re-education camp trained!!)
    - Great coffee breaks

    But that’s not all!! Call now and recieve a free cardboard cut-out monkey facemask (with elastic band) that you can wear to the conference and an anti-ID slogan protest placard.
    Don’t delay call today!! Brought to you by the New York Academy of psuedo-Sciences.

    (Terms and condtitions apply – batteries not included. We reserve the right to change our tune, facts, evidence and definitions at random. EVOLUTION-DOGMA(TM) is a registered trademark, any percieved infringements or criticism will be met with staunch calls for separation of church and state, cries of ad-hominem attacks and termination of tenure for non-party academics nationwide)

  2. Sorry – last bit should read:

    EVOLUTION-DOGMA(TM) is a registered trademark: WARNING! Any percieved infringements or criticism is a violation of federal law and will be met with staunch calls for separation of church and state, cries of ad-hominem attacks and termination of tenure for non-party academics nationwide)

  3. Robert T. Pennock…suggested that the key feature of evolution is that it passes the pragamatic test: evolutionary processes work in both engineering and computer programming, producing efficient products that would not have been proposed by intentional design, including an antenna used by NASA. I asked him later about the prominent roles played by engineers and chemists (who have careers centered around goal oriented design) in providing creationist arguments with academic credentials, and he suggested that ultimately, the success of evolved designs will win over these fields.

    BZZT. Wrong. Nothing happens with the programs (genetic algorithms, evolutionary computation) without them being given a goal. They’re automated trial-and-error mechanisms. Trial-and-error requires a standard with which to compare the trial and determine whether it’s an error. Evolutionary processes they are — teleological evolutionary processes, incompatible with Darwinism, but fully consistent with — indeed, a demonstration of — intelligent design.

    Bruce Alberts [described] his research on DNA polymerases, and included a mind-blowing real time animation of the enzyme at work making a copy of the DNA (still trying to find a link to that…). Oddly, he explicitly and repeatedly used the term “machine” to describe this collection of proteins, despite acknowledging that ID proponents had used his words to suggest such enzymes were analogous to human designed machinery.

    That because it’s a machine.

  4. “He even suggested that science itself can be viewed as a selective process that discriminates among competing ideas. In contrast, he presented ID as a negative argument against evolution with no explanatory power.”

    Assuming he’s correct, and ID is disqualfied because it has “no explanatory power”, then what if it turns out that the appearance of design is the result of actual design? Doesn’t that mean that the “explanatory power” test prevented us from discovering the truth? Is science about discovering truths about the physical world, or is it about discovering only those truths that are compatible with a set of arbitrary conditions, our worldview, or whatever?

  5. *stands and applauds lucID.

    Thank you for saving me the energy. :)

  6. Regarding

    ….key feature of evolution is that it passes the pragamatic test: evolutionary processes work in both engineering and computer programming…

    Does anyones else see the irony in man-made computer software….i.e the intelligence that created the ‘evolution’ software and got it to run. Below is a link to another article about ‘Darwin in the machine’. Why can they not see that ‘intelligence’ (them) have created sub-routines to run on priciples that they ‘designed’….utterly bewildering…

    http://www.popsci.com/popsci/s.....drcrd.html

  7. “He even suggested that science itself can be viewed as a selective process that discriminates among competing ideas. In contrast, he presented ID as a negative argument against evolution with no explanatory power.”

    What these fellows apparently do not realize is that NDE has no explanatory power either unless you deal with particulars. The mere mantra “environmental selection acting against genetic mutations caused this particular feature” explains precisely nothing. It is a mere statement of faith, if you will. What counts is a blow by blow description of the progression that led to the feature. Until you can provide that, it’s all mere hot air.

    We know that NDE working at the micro level can cause certain feature changes. How do we know this? Because we’ve witnessed it. We can demonstrate it. Extrapolating that to a feature such as the flagellum is not science. It’s a statement of faith. It’s like saying that because bees can make hives, that they can also build skyscrapers. I say challenge them prove it, instead of merely spouting their ideology.

    The fact is, there is no evidence whatsoever that the flagellum could be built based on what we know by experience. NDE provides absolutely no explanatory power with regards to it’s existence, except as a statement of faith. No particulars, no explanation.

  8. “We know that NDE working at the micro level can cause certain feature changes. How do we know this? Because we’ve witnessed it.”

    Actually, this is not entirely true. Darwinian evolution is _random_ mutation plus natural selection. In almost every case, known changes are NOT RANDOM, even in the “not directed towards organismal fitness” sense.

    Take any demonstration of a mutation. Then, ask what the _evidence_ is that the mutation was random.

    We _know_ that there are slight errors in copying. What we don’t know is that this process has _ever_ done anything other than maim an organism. You see Darwinists try to wiggle around this when you have bacteria actually switching DNA Polymerases to _induce_ specific genetic changes based on need, and you have Darwinists claiming that this is still a random process, just “different” copying errors, that just “happen” to induce the right changes at the right time without damaging the rest of the organism.

    Riiiiiiggggggghhhhhhttttttt……

  9. Ken – Mr. Strawman – Miller is the most disingenuous person involved in this entire witch hunt “debate”. He’s not taken very seriously by ID proponents… and rightly so.

  10. Particulary amusing and really the whole gist of the situation in the second paragraph of the first article:

    Teaching evolution even in the absence of controversy can be a challenging thing.

    Not challenging. Impossible. Thanks to all of us and those like us everywhere.

    Focus too much on the detailed evidence, and the big picture can get lost.

    Lost is right. Irretrievably. Because once the actual evidence is laid out in an environment where it and its interpretation can be challenged it becomes evidence that the story of a long past evolution driven by random mutation and natural selection has no substance to it. That story is indeed lost if there is too much focus on the evidence.

    Present the broad overview of evolution’s explanatory power, and it’s easy to skip over the wealth of data that supports the theory.

    Not easy. Requisite. Because the wealth of data doesn’t support the notion that random mutation plus natural selection explains anything. Or conversely, it explains everything and thus explains nothing. The data must be skipped over if the big fraud picture is to survive.

  11. “We _know_ that there are slight errors in copying. What we don’t know is that this process has _ever_ done anything other than maim an organism.”

    I stand corrected.

  12. Mike1962:

    “We know that NDE working at the micro level can cause certain feature changes. How do we know this? Because we’ve witnessed it. We can demonstrate it.”

    NDE is built on the idea that the ultimate source of all change is random mutation which may (selection) or may not (drift) be filtered. Can we really demonstrate that mutations are random? I’ve asked many times what tests were performed to demonstrate that any claimed random mutations had no cause and were thus demonstrated to be truly random. So far I’ve been met with either the sound of crickets chirping or an honest admission that random means nothing more than there’s insufficient data to determine the cause.

    Indeed, the best physics informs us that at the atomic scale and larger, in the natural chain of events, there is a cause for every effect and if enough state information is known every effect can be traced to a cause right back to the big bang singularity. At the quantum scale there is heated debate over whether anything is truly random (quantum uncertainty) or whether there is hidden state information that our present theories, known to be incomplete due to no theory of quantum gravity, do not describe.

    Well educated computer programmers needing a source of random numbers are (or should be) aware that everything is pseudo-random. So we call our sources of random numbers pseudo-random number generators. In the interest of honesty and accuracy evolutionary biologists should stop saying random mutation and start saying pseudo-random mutation.

  13. “Does anyones else see the irony in man-made computer software….i.e the intelligence that created the ‘evolution’ software and got it to run. Below is a link to another article about ‘Darwin in the machine’. Why can they not see that ‘intelligence’ (them) have created sub-routines to run on priciples that they ‘designed’….utterly bewildering…”

    Re: John Roza’s system in particular:

    Roza’s machine is basically a sophisticated version of Richard Dawkin’s METHINK’S IS IT A WEASLE computer program. His system is manifestedly governed be preset goals entered by a human. Generations matching the predetermined goal string are rewarded with persistence, and non-matches are not. This is artificial selection not natural selection. Natural selection has no goals and no purposes. Ah, I can already hear the rejoinder: the inhabitability of a species to its environment is the “goal” in natural selection to which survivability is rewarded with persistence. True, but selection is only one half of the mechanism. It takes the proper mutations for selection to act upon. But it is mutation-as-source that is the contraversial issue. Everyone accepts that natural selection exists. The contraversy is whether a random-mutation based framework is capable of providing the appropriate fodder for selection to “reward” with persistence.

    Roza’s system is not an analog to the NDE mutation/selection mechanism. The generators of Roza’s “mutations” are complex and engineered by an intelligent source along very directed lines.

  14. DaveScot: You cannot imagine the discussions I have tried to have over the question of randomness. I went around the bend trying to nail down the meaning of this one with a TE a couple of months back. He kept insisting that God made and planned everything and that life is no accident, but then insisting just as stridently that the way God does this is through randomness. I could not get him to admit that the very MEANING of the word random, (and I used the Webster’s definition) contains the concept of “undirected and without purposeful goal”. Therefore it is simple logic that you cannot believe, simultaneously, in something being both random and designed. That is aside from the question of whether or not the mutations which are claimed to be the basis of all evolutionary change really ARE random or not.

  15. DaveScott: “Well educated computer programmers needing a source of random numbers are (or should be) aware that everything is pseudo-random. So we call our sources of random numbers pseudo-random number generators. In the interest of honesty and accuracy evolutionary biologists should stop saying random mutation and start saying pseudo-random mutation.”

    While it is true that all algorithmic random number generators generate pseudorandom numbers, this hardly proves that all random numbers are pseudo-random.

    Consider, for instance, an algorithm which maintains a looping counter. The number of computer T states between counts is the same in all cases. This can be achieved simply by making a loop that increments an integer. The integer will wrap around without t state modification. Then consider that a trigger which has nothing to do with the computer is used as a trigger point selecting a number. This is often achieved with a “press any key” command. Assume also that the counter loops hundreds, even thousands of times between external inputs. The result is a TRUE random number.

    Though distributed curves far exceed true randomness in nature, nature is (or at least no-one has proven otherwise) a source of true random signals.

    As it is true that no algorithmic random number generator can produce a true random number, one must conclude that true randomness is not caused by an algorithm.

  16. Sorry, bFast, it’s still a pseudo-random number. It meets a specification and can, in principle, be predicted with full knowledge of the specification.

  17. Hmmm, let’s see

    dictionary.com — pseudo-random: “Of, relating to, or being random numbers generated by a definite, nonrandom computational process.”

    wikipedia.org — pseudo-random: “Because any PRNG run on a deterministic computer (contrast quantum computer) is necessarily a deterministic algorithm, its output will inevitably have one property that a true random sequence can never have: guaranteed periodicity.”

    The methodology outlined above will not produce “guaranteed pariodicity”. It is not the direct result of a “computational process”. Further, I bet bones it can’t be predicted, no matter how much knowledge of the specification of when a user will press a key you have. If you can predict it, let me suggest that you publish your findings on sheldrake.org

    The only lack of “random” that the above specification has is that it is a random value within the scope of the available integers (probably 0 and 65535).

    Let me suggest that you conclude that the above method is not true random solely because you have a philisophical committment to believing that true random, for some reason, can’t exist.

  18. Comment #13 by Mike:
    >“Does anyones else see the irony in man-made computer software….i.e the intelligence that created the ‘evolution’ software and got it to run. Below is a link to another article about ‘Darwin in the machine’. Why can they not see that ‘intelligence’ (them) have created sub-routines to run on priciples that they ‘designed’….utterly bewildering…”

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