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#61 deadlock

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:13 PM

I'm not going to get into exactly what happened at the Smithsonian, as different places give different reports of the details. I am not going to accept whatever conservapedia or the Discovery Institute says, as they do not have a good record of reliability.

Regarding the content of Meyer's paper, it was very poorly received and rejected by the governining council as it "does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings."

As for Dembski, I admit I shouldn't have said he hasn't published anything at all, but the little that he has published doesn't seem to be exactly ground-breaking. I can only find a few people who have even looked at that new paper he is talking about in your link, but they don't seem impressed.
http://boundedtheore...arks-paper.html
"The recently published conference paper of Dembski and Marks, Bernoulli’s Principle of Insufficient Reason and Conservation of Information in Computer Search contains an enormous, undebatable, and embarrassing error in the argument regarding the so-called "search for a search.""

http://msampler.word...representation/
"The fundamental lesson here is that the Dembski-Marks approach to evaluating model assumptions is both arbitrary and a poor reflection of scientific reasoning. Model assumptions are not accepted or rejected based on a numerical measure of how many logical possibilities that are ruled out or how far probability distributions deviate from uniform measures. Rather, model assumptions are accepted or rejected based on predictive and descriptive accuracy, domain of applicability, ability to unify existing models and empirical knowledge, and so on."

Reading what mathematicians in general have made of Demsbki's work doesn't lead me to conclude that he is onto anything interesting.
http://scienceblogs...._lower_lega.php
http://scienceblogs....ack_of_comp.php
http://scienceblogs....dembski_the.php
http://rationalwiki....er_Level_Search
http://www.talkreaso...andsdembski.pdf

There are a vast number of mathematicians making significant contributions to the field, but Demski as far as I can tell is making no impact at all. Were it not for the fact that he is so publically trying to make ID look like science, we would have never heard of him.

As for 'vjtorley' he's welcome to his opinions, but until he can show me his credentials or tell me who the information theorist was that he was talking to I can't really comment. For all I know he could be making it all up.

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Dembski are making no impact only for atheists. Until now I´m not seeing no real technical refutation of his work.

Post links of people who agrees with you is not so much impressive.

I can post many links of people who agrees with Dembski.

#62 Wallace

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:41 PM

No Demsbki is making no impact in the field of mathematics.
"In a recent article on a Focus on the Family website, intelligent design advocate and evolution denialist William Dembski is described as a "leading scientist and mathematician". Now this is a claim that is easy to check. A real leading scientist or mathematician would have published at least a few very influential papers or books, receiving dozens of citations in the scientific literature. So I went over to the ISI Web of Knowledge (formerly Science Citation Index) website, to see how many citations Dembski has received. For a comparison, I chose Paul Vitányi, a colleague of mine who works in a similar area (information theory) and has the advantage of a fairly distinctive name.

I searched for "Dembski, W" using the "author finder" option. I then chose "WA Dembski" to search on (there is another researcher, W. J. Dembski, who actually has one paper that received more citations than all of Dembski's papers). According to ISI, Dembski has 5 items that have received citations. The total number of citations to his work is 5. I then asked for a citation report, and the following graph appeared.
http://bp2.blogger.c...-citations.jpeg

Now, I did the same thing for Paul Vitányi. I chose "PMB Vitanyi" to search on, and found 60 papers cited a total of 358 times. Here's the same graph for Vitányi:
http://bp3.blogger.c...-citations.jpeg

Hands up who here has heard of Paul Vitányi before?

This one is part of a paper that was published - http://www.talkreaso...andsdembski.pdf
Why is that not a refutation?

#63 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 06:57 PM

No Demsbki is making no impact in the field of mathematics.
"In a recent article on a Focus on the Family website, intelligent design advocate and evolution denialist William Dembski is described as a "leading scientist and mathematician". Now this is a claim that is easy to check. A real leading scientist or mathematician would have published at least a few very influential papers or books, receiving dozens of citations in the scientific literature. So I went over to the ISI Web of Knowledge (formerly Science Citation Index) website, to see how many citations Dembski has received. For a comparison, I chose Paul Vitányi, a colleague of mine who works in a similar area (information theory) and has the advantage of a fairly distinctive name.

I searched for "Dembski, W" using the "author finder" option. I then chose "WA Dembski" to search on (there is another researcher, W. J. Dembski, who actually has one paper that received more citations than all of Dembski's papers). According to ISI, Dembski has 5 items that have received citations. The total number of citations to his work is 5. I then asked for a citation report, and the following graph appeared.
http://bp2.blogger.c...-citations.jpeg

Now, I did the same thing for Paul Vitányi. I chose "PMB Vitanyi" to search on, and found 60 papers cited a total of 358 times. Here's the same graph for Vitányi:
http://bp3.blogger.c...-citations.jpeg

Hands up who here has heard of Paul Vitányi before?

This one is part of a paper that was published - http://www.talkreaso...andsdembski.pdf
Why is that not a refutation?

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Jeffrey Shallit


Now and again people write me about why I have not responded at length to Jeffrey Shallit’s criticisms of my work. Here is an explanation that I sent off today to a colleague:

Dear [snip],

I’m afraid I don’t take Shallit very seriously as a critic. It is his habit to harrass anyone who endorses my work (including a mathematician at Oxford and an engineer on the faculty at Sydney, questioning not only their competence to assess my work but also their ethics in endorsing it).

    His criticisms tend to focus on trivialities (he spent three years trying to show that a quote widely attributed to Schopenhauer that I cited in my work was not actually written by Schopenhauer — for the quote, go here). As for some number about which he keeps harping that I miscalculated in my book No Free Lunch, it turns out that when it is calculated correctly, it makes my case even more strongly. There are plenty worse to be found in the literature, as for instance the gaffe early on in Simon Conway Morris’s book Life’s Solution, in which exponent and base are reversed (p, 9). I doubt that Shallit has contacted Conway Morris about this.

    Shallit, besides his obsessiveness in criticizing my work and harrassing those who endorse it, seems also to have no compunction in doing things that are frankly unethical. Thus, for instance, when I was co-editing a book for Cambridge University Press with Michael Ruse titled Debating Design, he wrote to Michael asking that an article of his be inserted in the book without my knowledge — in fact, he explicitly asked Michael not to reveal Shallit’s intentions to me. Michael, appropriately, forwarded Shallit’s letter to me, so I have the documentation.

    Most significantly, Shallit’s critique of my work (along with that of his collaborator Wesley Elsberry) is now several years out of date. I just posted on my designinference.com website a paper on specification that moves the topic forward. Several months ago I posted a paper titled “Searching Large Spaces” that fills in the mathematical details of chapter 4 of No Free Lunch. When I informed Shallit of its existence on my website, he wrote back: “I do not intend to waste my time finding more errors in more work of yours.”

    The irony is that Shallit and Elsberry are making a name for themselves by parasitizing my work. Shallit has published one lengthy peer-reviewed article criticizing my work and has another under submission (coauthored with Wesley Elsberry) titled “Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski’s ‘Complex Specified Information’.” That article first appeared on the web in November 2003 and is under submission with some journal (Shallit and Elsberry are not divulging which). That paper is now completely out of date.

    Best wishes,
    Bill Dembski



#64 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 06:59 PM

Jeffrey Shallit, Part II

In replying to my blog entry of June 23, 2005 (go here for my entry and here for Shallit’s response), Jeffrey Shallit has succumbed to the endearing weakness of revising history in his own favor. I’ll respond to him point for point:

1. With regard to people who endorsed my work and with whom he says he had “spirited and enjoyable e-mail conversations, the reaction I have from these people invariably is: Who is this crazy person? How should I deal with him? How do I get rid of him? Here’s an example:

    Jeffrey Shallit wrote me some really angry posts . . . . He insulted me and then commanded me to read 50-odd pages of shight put out by him and his friends. Bill, I was right in the middle of an investigation into [snip]. So, like, I’m supposed to drop all that and run off to read 50 pages of irrelevant shight just because Shallit demands it? I blew him off and haven’t heard from him since.

Here’s another example:

    His standard tactic is to demand detailed supportive evidence for whatever you say; then, no matter how much effort you go to in this regard, he says you have failed to prove your case and need “real” supportive evidence, and hence wastes your time and exhausts you and amasses a database of your best evidence to boot. It is a common tactic that I have encountered many times before in my debates . . . . It is so easy to say “prove it” and then after your victims have exhausted themselves doing so, follow that up with, “that proves nothing . . . provide real evidence . . .” As I am sure you already know, he is a fanatic. One of the worst I have ever met.

And here’s yet another example:

    We have such fanatics here in [omitted foreign country], too (as you already know). Often persons who hardly know anything about biology and probablity are making a name for themselves by harrassing anyone who carefully analyses the weaknesses of Darwinism and supporting ID. They produce so much nonsense that one could employ at least 10 persons do nothing but to disprove the latest Darwinian rubbish often advertised as scientific facts.

It would be interesting to learn how many people Shallit has actually contacted to undermine my work and reputation. I’m told that when I was awarded the Trotter Prize with Stuart Kauffman at Texas A&M this spring (go here), Shallit contacted twenty people at Texas A&M to investigate my award and express his displeasure.

2. Shallit’s criticisms of my work, insofar as they have any legitimacy, have been responded to at length in The Design Revolution and in my recent papers “Searching Large Spaces” and “Specification: The Pattern That Signifies” (the latter two available at www.designinference.com). Moreover, he now indicates that he won’t be analyzing my future work because, and I quote from a recent email, “I do not intend to waste my time finding more errors in more work of yours.”

But of course, that’s too much to hope. Shallit spent the better part of a sabbatical reviewing my semi-popular book No Free Lunch. He can’t leave ID or me well enough alone (prove me wrong, Jeff). I expect Shallit will be back to his old ways soon enough, annoying those who endorse my work, critiquing the work itself, and, to boot, getting his critiques published in peer-reviewed journals. ID-bashing is after all a growth industry, and Jeff has the advantage of getting in on the ground floor.

(Note that I won’t say that Shallit was “harrassing” my endorsers anymore since he has a lawyer who apparently thinks that my charge of harrassment is actionable. Henceforth I’ll refer to him as annoying my endorsers, rendering their lives unpleasant, or just being a pain. Thankfully, the ID side is heavily endowed with lawyers as well.)

And then there’s Schopenhauer again. Three years it took Shallit to show that a quote widely ascribed to Schopenhauer (24,000 Google hits on the quote) is not really Schopenhauer’s. Shallit apparently thinks this is scholarship. There’s another word for it: pedantry.

3. This error did not affect my conclusion because the numbers were still in the range needed to draw my conclusion. Fine, I’ll concede error. Arithmetic errors are common in mathematical texts. That’s not to excuse them. Rather, it’s to point up Shallit’s obsessiveness in going after me.

4.&5. I have not learned much from Shallit’s criticisms and continue to maintain that they focus unduly on trivialities. Read his work and read mine. As for “Internet stalkers,” that would refer to Shallit’s partner Wesley Elsberry, who for a time maintained a website on me and kept a running tab on all of my professional activities, including posting emails of mine online without my permission. It got to the point that I was afraid to go to the bathroom lest Elsberry report on it. Thankfully, he hasn’t updated his site now for about three years — since right around the time that I first called him an Internet stalker. Coincidence?

6. Accepted his explanation? He offered an apology. I accepted that at the time because it was early in our relationship and I hoped for better from him. But I never accepted his story. He went behind my back and asked my co-editor to keep his correspondence about inserting an article of his secret from me. I continue to find such behavior unethical. Nor do I mean to suggest that his unethical behavior vitiates his critiques of my work (no ad hominem argument here). They fall on their own demerits.

7. I haven’t repudiated anything, if he would but read my newest article on specification. Regardless of whose court he thinks the ball is in, his criticisms are now out of date.

8. How many people know Shallit strictly for his work as a mathematician? How many of Shallit’s fans at the Panda’s Thumb even know what computational number theory is? How many know Shallit for his work bashing ID and me in particular? I suspect more of the latter.


anouther newer link

There is no doubt that Jeffrey Shallit is a stalker whose actions are unbecoming of any true scientist.

#65 TheJarJam

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:42 PM

I'm not going to get into exactly what happened at the Smithsonian, as different places give different reports of the details. I am not going to accept whatever conservapedia or the Discovery Institute says, as they do not have a good record of reliability.

The Discovery Institute has always been open about their beliefs. Even the infamous "Wedge Document" was released voluntarily. We see the exact opposite behavior in Intelligent Designophobics, where bait & switch, conflation, and other trickery is used on a regular basis.


Regarding the content of Meyer's paper, it was very poorly received and rejected by the governining council as it "does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings."


Of course the paper was "poorly received", it presented a challenge to Darwinian evolution. Thankfully how it was received is irrelevant. All that matters is the quality of the work, which the paper passed with flying colors. All three of the paper's reviewers recommended it be published, with the journal's president verifying that the publication was appropriate.

Rather than discrediting Meyer's paper, your dishonest rambling instead reflects upon just how corrupt and politicized the peer-review process has become. This isn't to say that all of the peer-reviewed literature is bad, but there can be no question minority viewpoints are being suppressed due to insecurities. This was further validated with Climategate, the uncovered conspiracy in which scientists were not only caught plotting against opposing viewpoints via destroying the peer-review process, but were also caught lying about data.


As for 'vjtorley' he's welcome to his opinions, but until he can show me his credentials or tell me who the information theorist was that he was talking to I can't really comment. For all I know he could be making it all up.

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If you would've bothered to have followed the link you would've seen that Mr. Torley cites all of his references.

#66 TheJarJam

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 10:03 PM

There is no doubt that Jeffrey Shallit is a stalker whose actions are unbecoming of any true scientist.

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Shallit's usage of the weather to "refute" complex, specified information was one of the most embarrassing things I've ever seen. He needs a new profession, something he stands a chance of being actually good at. Might I suggest professional "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan impersonator?

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#67 deadlock

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:17 AM

This is from a link posted by Wallace.The author is :Mark Chu-Carroll (aka MarkCC) is a PhD Computer Scientist, who works for Google as a Software Engineer. My professional interests center on programming languages and tools, and how to improve the languages and tools that are used for building complex software systems

'Evolution works in landscapes with structure. Another way of putting that is that evolution works in landscapes where the result of a search step provides feedback about the structure of the landscape. But the key takeaway here is that NFL doesn't provide any meaningful rebuttal to information, because we don't expect evolutionary search to work in all possible landscapes!'

This is an example of how an intelligent person can say stupid things blinded by evolution religion.

#68 wombatty

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 03:40 PM

However many "Bible believing Christians" there are that are trained in science and are creationists, they are outnumbered by "Bible believing Christians" who accept evolution.

The most honest creationists admit they believe what they do for theological rather than scientific reasons. Kurt Wise would be one such example;
http://en.wikipedia....s_and_criticism
http://pandasthumb.o...t-creation.html

Todd Wood is another;
http://toddcwood.blo...-evolution.html

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First, truth is not a popularity contest. Second, I agree - though not for your own reasons - that these are 'honest' statements. Contrary to what you suggest, creationists very often highlight the importance of worldviews and their a priori commitment to a biblical/YEC framework. It's unfortunate that evolutionists are not usually as forthright on this issue.

Another example (although he didn't make his views so public) is Andrew Snelling who made it quite clear at the Sixth International Conference on Creationism in 2008.
"What if there was absolutely no evidence that the universe was young? No scientific evidence the universe was young. Would you still believe that it was young? Why? Because God's word teaches it. That's the only reason you need to have to believe the universe is young. God's word says it, therefore I believe it. That's not to say the evidences are not important. Of course they are. Because we're commanded to have a reason for the hope, and to give reasoned answers for what we believe and why we believe it. But we must always remember our Biblical foundations.

So often we fight over the scientific evidence, but are we winning by leaving out our Biblical foundations? Too much of our creation apologetics has therefore been based on the evidence alone. We need to keep arguing from the level of world views. Because ultimately the problem that people have is spiritual, the deliberate rejection of God's word."

Here are the slides from his presentation;
http://www.math.jmu....sm/DSC00413.JPG
http://www.math.jmu....sm/DSC00412.JPG

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You seem to believe such admissions would scandalize the creationist community. The fact that Snelling said what he said at the premier creation science conference should be enough to expose the fallacy of your assertion.

Sorry, these people can have all the PhDs going but they aren't scientists. The second they sign that 'statement of faith' at AIG or ICR they have renounced all right to be referred to as scientists.

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Oh, please. You are apparently ignorant of similar 'statements of faith' by evolutionists (and make no mistake, that is exactly what they are). They are far more rare than those of creationists, but they have been made.

We take the side of science [read: evolution] in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.


The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.

~ Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.


Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.

~ Todd, S.C., correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999.

Here is more relevant material from a previous post of mine:

..consider some of what Michael Behe has endured:

I initially emailed the editor of a journal in the field of evolution about the possibility of publishing a full-length reply-to-critics paper. As seen below, he suggested a very much-shortened paper. The shortened version essentially consisted of section II from the article "In Defense of the Irreducibility of the Blood Clotting Cascade" on this website. I argued that Darwinian scenarios need to include more than just a general invocation of gene duplication to be justified. The correspondence includes: (1) an email from the editor to me; (2) my letter back to him; 3) his letter rejecting the manuscript; (4) the criticisms of the reviewer; (5) a response letter from me.

[The following is an email from the editor of the journal.]

Subject: Re: inquiry about submission
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 10:21:54 ﷓0500
From: [the editor]
To: "Michael J. Behe"

Hi Mike,

I'm torn by your request to submit a (thoughtful) response to critics of your non-evolutionary theory for the origin of complexity. On the one hand I am painfully aware of the close-mindedness of the scientific community to non-orthodoxy, and I think it is counterproductive. But on the other hand we have fixed page limits for each month's issue, and there are many more good submissions than we can accept. So, your unorthodox theory would have to displace something that would be extending the current paradigm.

What I would suggest you do is to write something quite short--a letter--that would fit in, say, three pages or so of [the journal]. Then, if your letter is sufficiently provocative and lively, I might have an easier time convincing the other editors of its worth.

Or this...

Dear Dr. Behe:

We are sorry to have been delayed in getting back to you about the possibility of organizing a dialogue on the question of purposeful intelligent design. We have explored the notion with a number of individuals and have had extensive discussion among ourselves over a period of time.

The editors have concluded that the journal should not undertake this project. The reasons are varied, but primarily they reduce to our general feeling that it is not possible to develop a meaningful discussion when the fundamental assumptions of the arguments are so different: on the one hand, the concept of intelligent design beyond the laws of nature is based on intuitive, philosophical, or religious grounds, while on the other, the study and explanation of all levels of the living world, including the molecular level, is based on scientific fact and inference.

As you no doubt know, our journal has supported and demonstrated a strong evolutionary position from the very beginning, and believes that evolutionary explanations of all structures and phenomena of life are possible and inevitable. Hence a position such as yours, which opposes this view on other than scientific grounds, cannot be appropriate for our pages.

Although the editors feel that there has already been extensive response to your position from the academic community, we nevertheless encourage further informed discussion in appropriate forums. Our journal cannot provide that forum, but we trust that other opportunities may become available to you.

Yours sincerely,

[The editorial board]

Then consider the founding of the prestigious journal Nature (founded specifically as a forum for the propagation and defense of Darwinism). From Wikipedia's entry:

The creation of Nature

Not long after the conclusion of The Reader, a former editor, Norman Lockyer, decided to create a new scientific journal titled Nature, taking its name from a line by William Wordsworth: "To the solid ground of nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye". First owned and published by Alexander MacMillan, Nature was similar to its predecessors in its attempt to “provide cultivated readers with an accessible forum for reading about advances in scientific knowledge.” Janet Browne has proposed that “far more than any other science journal of the period, Nature was conceived, born, and raised to serve polemic purpose.”Many of the early editions of Nature consisted of articles written by members of a group that called itself the X Club, a group of scientists known for having liberal, progressive, and somewhat controversial scientific beliefs relative to the time period. Initiated by Thomas Henry Huxley, the group consisted of such important scientists as Joseph Hooker, Herbert Spencer, and John Tyndall, along with another five scientists and mathematicians; these scientists were all avid supporters of Darwin’s theory of evolution, a theory which, during the latter-half of the 19th century, received a great deal of criticism among more conservative groups of scientists. Perhaps it was in part its scientific liberality that made Nature a longer-lasting success than its predecessors. John Maddox, editor of Nature from 1966 to 1973 as well as from 1980 to 1995, suggested at a celebratory dinner for the journal’s centennial edition that perhaps it was the journalistic qualities of Nature that drew readers in; “journalism” Maddox states, “is a way of creating a sense of community among people who would otherwise be isolated from each other. This is what Lockyer’s journal did from the start.” In addition, Maddox mentions that the financial backing of the journal in its first years by the Macmillan family also allowed the journal to flourish and develop more freely than scientific journals before it.

So, we can either hide our heads in the sand and pretend that evolutionists don't have a priori philosophical commitments that impact their research and claim that creationists must be denied the title of 'scientist' based on theirs (as most evolutionists would prefer), or we can be - ahem, honest - and concede that philosophy (and its attendant commitments) is a necessary antecedent to scientific work go forward from there.

It's pretty embarrassing really.

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Indeed. What's that old saying? 'Physician, heal thyself!'

#69 wombatty

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 09:02 PM

Sorry, these people can have all the PhDs going but they aren't scientists. The second they sign that 'statement of faith' at AIG or ICR they have renounced all right to be referred to as scientists.

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I just picked up a copy of Louis Agassiz's Essay on Classification (edited by Edward Lurie). Lest you doubt Lurie's credibility among evolutionists regarding his characterization of Agassiz, here is Gould (from the linked page):

Lurie was the author of the path-breaking biography, Louis Agassiz: A Life in Science (1960, 1988), a book described by the late Stephen Jay Gould as "the best work on this central figure in the history of American biography and probably the best biography in the last fifty years on the life of an American biologist." Louis Agassiz was designated one of the 100 classic works of Americana in the John F. Kennedy White House Library. Lurie also wrote Nature and the American Mind: Louis Agassiz and the Culture of Science (1974), and was editor and author of numerous scholarly articles on American science and culture.

Also, note the title of the book, which you will no doubt find somewhat...incongruent...with the information below: Louis Agassiz: A Life in Science. Surely, this is a gross oversight by both Lurie and Gould. :P

In any case, here is what we find on the back cover:

A major influence on the development of American scientific culture, Swiss-born Louis Agassiz (1807-73) was one of the greatest scientists of his day. A student of anatomist Georges Cuvier, Agassiz adopted  his teachers pioneering techniques of comparative anatomy to paleontology, and he rose to prominence as a distinguished systematist, paleontologist and educator. Agassiz introduced science to ordinary citizens to an unprecedented degree; people around the world read his books, sent him specimens, and consulted his opinions.

Agassiz was also a staunch opponent of the theory of evolution, and he was among the last of the reputable scientists who continued to reject the concept after the publication of The Origin of Species. All of nature bore testimony to a divine plan, Agassiz believed, and he could not reconcile himself to a theory that did not invoke God's design. Ironically, his 1851 Essay on Classification provided Darwin and other evolutionists with evidence from the fossil record to support the theory of natural selection.

A treasure of historically valuable insights that contributed to the development of evolutionary biology, this volume introduced the landmark contention that paleontology, embryology, ecology, and biogeography are inextricably linked in classifications that reveal the true relationships between organisms. Its emphasis on advanced and original work gave major impetus to the study of science directly from nature, and it remains a classic of American scientific literature.

Now, this is all very interesting. Among Agassiz's considerable accomplishments are these:

1) Rising 'to prominence as a distinguished systematist, paleontologist and educator'

2) Introducing science to ordinary citizens to an unprecedented degree;

3) Having people around the world read his books, send him specimens, and consult his opinions.

4) Write a book that 'remains a classic of American scientific literature'

5) Write a book that 'provided Darwin and other evolutionists with evidence from the fossil record to support the theory of natural selection'.

How does one tally such an impressive record of scientific accomplishment depsite having - very famously, no less - 'renounced all right to be referred to as a scientist'? What are we to make of item 5, above? How is it that Darwin and his acolytes, 'men of science' that they were, found in the work of this scientific poser evidence to support a scientific theory (the theory of natural selection*)? What was Darwin and company doing consulting the work of this man who had publicly forsaken the very core of the scientific enterprise? Does this mean that Darwin's theory, insofar as it incorporates the work of Agassiz and its progeny, is unscientific? Indeed, had Darwin himself 'renounced all right to be referred to as a scientist' by marshaling the work of this non-scientist in formulating his theory of evolution?

*It's important to note that the theory of natural selection (pioneered in important ways by creationist Edward Blythe) is not at all synonymous with, and quite separable from, the theory of evolution.


As if to underscore all of this, Lurie writes the following in the Editor's Introduction:

It was precisely this appreciation of his stature in American society that prompted Agassiz to plan the publication of a series of monographs for the instruction of the public on the meaning of natural history.

~ p. ix

Of all the nerve! A man who had 'renounced all right to be referred to as a scientist' presuming that he had any right or qualification to instruct the public on scientific matters.

During the next few years Agassiz worked intensely, aided by the spiritual and monetary support that had always blessed his popular efforts. In 1857 his labors were rewarded when Little, Brown, and Company published the first two volumes of his Contributions to the Natural History of the United States. The oversized, heavy, lavishly illustrated, finely printed volumes were in themselves physical testimony to the dominance of their author in national and international science and culture.

~ p. ix

How did such an unscientific man hold not only a major publisher, but the scientific establishment of an entire nation, nay the entire world, in such thrall? If said establishment was duped so successfully by Agassiz, what credence should we accord their subsequent judgement of Darwin's theory?

The greater portion of volume one was entitled Essay on Classification in which Agassiz delineated the theoretical principles and philosophy of his craft that made comprehensible the subsequent special studies. The Essay was the intellectual core of Agassiz's monumental publication, and he was very proud of it. Its pages contained the fundamental truths that had guided his long and distinguished examination of nature's creations. At a time when naturalists were debating divergent conceptions of the meaning of natural history he confidently expected his treatise to be the full and final explanation of the organic world.

In 1859, at the behest of 'friends in whose opinion I have the greatest confidence," Agassiz published a separate edition of the Essay in London. The volume appeared just a few months before Darwin's Origin of Species. Those naturalists who had urged Agassiz to bring his book before the English public - Sir Richard Owen, William Buckland, and Adam Sedgwick - found Darwin's ideas intolerable. The Essay and the Origin represented two entirely opposed interpretations of nature, and no sharper contrast between the assumptions of special creationism and the concept of evolution of species has ever appeared than in the language of these two volumes.

~ pp. ix-x

What's this? A volume of views diametrically opposed to those of Darwin and it is judged to be scientific? And the author of said volume - an avowed believer in special creation - referred to as a distinguished scientist? What mean these strange words?


All sarcasm aside, either you can ditch your facile notions of what does and does not qualify (or disqualify) one as a scientist, or you can continue to propound such nonsense as contained in your post above - at which point 'you will have renounced all right to be taken seriously in this debate'.

An awful lot of professional creationists, who make presentations to the public etc, have no training at all in any field. Here's a prime example - .

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And an awful lot of professional creationists who make presentations to the public (most, in fact) have plenty of training in various fields. In any case, why the pretense here that qualifications even matter to one such as yourself? Having proclaimed that professional training and PhDs are invalidated by a profession of faith, why should you find it at all relevant that a given creation speaker has no training? You wouldn't regard the words of a creationist PhD (John Sanford or David Menton, for instance) any more credible than those of the man in the YouTube clip, so why the distinction?

#70 Guest_solja247_*

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 09:23 PM

even the pseudo-science of evolution


Thats like saying gravity is a pseudo science.

Evolution is a fact. The majority of scientists believe it! I am at a Christian college and the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact. Why do so many scientists believe it? You dont believe in evolution where is your evidence? (Dont post answersingenesis)

#71 wombatty

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 03:20 AM

Thats like saying gravity is a pseudo science.

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Not even close. Gravity can be observed and tested in real time, evolution cannot. When evolutionists do make claims of 'evolution happening before our eyes' it is invariably an example of variation within a kind. For instance, Darwin's Finches or bacterial resistance to anit-biotics; we see a lot of cyclic fluctuation around a mean (e.g. size and shape finch beaks) and the finches are still finches and the bacterial are still bacteria. Whatever it is, that is not evidence of large-scale macro-evolution. Further, it is not only something which creationists have never disputed (see note and link on natural selection and Edward Blythe in my immediately previous post), it is a key part of creationary theory, particulary in regard to the repopulation of the earth after the Flood.

The gravity analogy is a favorite one among evolutionists and and it's quite lame. Dave S. over at UncommonDescent had a good post on this some time ago:

We often hear from Darwinists that “the theory of evolution is as well tested as the theory of gravity”. Strangely though, we never hear physicists saying that the theory of gravity is as well tested as the theory of evolution.

Anyhow, I was just reading yet another Darwinian Narrative on the genetic similarities and differences between man and chimp but how we don’t really know which differences are the important ones. In point of fact, we don’t really know if the DNA differences are even significant. The only thing we really know is that a chimp is a chimp because its mother was a chimp. Beyond that, it’s nothing but guesswork.

Then I thought about how this compares to the theory of gravity. We know enough about gravity so that we routinely spend billions of dollars launching interplanetary unmanned exploratory spacecraft that, with exquisite precision predicted long before the craft is launched, it moves about the solar system, arriving at known points within meters and seconds years after it is launched and after having traveled circuitous routes for billions of miles. Contrast that with how well we can predict what it takes to turn a chimp into a human. That, my friends, is a true example of how well the theory of evolution has been tested. It hasn’t been tested at all. It’s nothing but WAGs and hand waving. Gravity, on the other hand, is indeed well tested. And that’s why you’ll never hear a physicist saying the theory of gravity is as well tested as the theory of evolution.

Then,

Evolution is a fact. The majority of scientists believe it! I am at a Christian college and the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact. Why do so many scientists believe it?

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I find it interesting that you support your position in two ways:

1) First, that 'the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact'; and

2) Second, the fact that 'so many scientists believe it'.

Now, I must point out that both of your reasons are logical fallacies; the first is an argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority) and the second, an argumentum ad populum (appeal to numbers/popularity).

As if that weren't bad enough, you then turn around and demand that creationists refrain from doing the same and instead offer evidence to support their position:

You dont believe in evolution where is your evidence? (Dont post answersingenesis)

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Why the double-standard? How is it that you consider the mere existence and/or number of PhDs at your school (and elsewhere) to be a valid argument on behalf of evolution, but dismiss the PhDs at AiG (CMI, ICR, etc.) as invalid support for creation?

If you would demand evidential support for the creationist position, you must be prepared to offer it for you own. In any case, logical fallacies don't cut the mustard. Thus, I challenge you to meet your own standard:

You believe in evolution where is your evidence? (Dont post anything about the PhDs at your school or elsewhere).

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#72 Ron

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 04:57 AM

Thats like saying gravity is a pseudo science.

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Gravity is an empirically proven commodity, evolution is not.

Evolution is a fact.

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Evolution is a model. An unobservable hypothesis without the empirical substantiation of the scientific method.

The majority of scientists believe it! I am at a Christian college and the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact. Why do so many scientists believe it? You dont believe in evolution where is your evidence? (Dont post answersingenesis)

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Your argumentum ad numerum holds no more weight than did the Dredd-Scott decision, or Pol Pot's wanton massacres.

And if someone wants to post "Answers in Genesis", they have every right to do so, as your ad Hominem attack against them will hold no weight here either.

Here's what you need to do;

1- Read the rules of the forum so that you understand what equivocation is:
http://www.evolution...forum_rules.htm

Equivocation, particularly regarding what "evolution" means. It is intellectually dishonest to claim that micro-evolution (something everyone agrees occurs) proves that all life originates from a common ancestor.


2- When you make an assertion such as "Evolution is a fact", YOU need to provide the evidence that backs up your statement.

3- Don't pretend that you have the power to limit another persons evidential sources and links.

The above is a warning...

#73 Yorzhik

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:51 PM

Thats like saying gravity is a pseudo science.

Evolution is a fact. The majority of scientists believe it! I am at a Christian college and the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact. Why do so many scientists believe it? You dont believe in evolution where is your evidence? (Dont post answersingenesis)

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And there's even more than what WB and Ron posted.

Gravity is an effect. There are a number of theories that try and determine how the effect happens.

Evolution is a theory on how an effect happens. The effect is the diversity of life we have on the planet today.

Therefore, if you want to compare evolution to gravity, you must compare it to one of the various theories of gravity. Which theory of gravity do you hold to?

If you want to compare gravity to something to do with evolution, you can only point to the fact that life is diverse today and it got here somehow. We all agree life is diverse so there is no need to discuss it.

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 04:13 PM

Not even close. Gravity can be observed and tested in real time, evolution cannot. When evolutionists do make claims of 'evolution happening before our eyes' it is invariably an example of variation within a kind. For instance, Darwin's Finches or bacterial resistance to anit-biotics; we see a lot of cyclic fluctuation around a mean (e.g. size and shape finch beaks) and the finches are still finches and the bacterial are still bacteria. Whatever it is, that is not evidence of large-scale macro-evolution. Further, it is not only something which creationists have never disputed (see note and link on natural selection and Edward Blythe in my immediately previous post), it is a key part of creationary theory, particulary in regard to the repopulation of the earth after the Flood.


You sound very learned in the evolution/creation debate. There is a great forum called:

http://www.evcforum.net/

If you think you have what it takes go there, instead of hiding in a creation forum.

Now, I must point out that both of your reasons are logical fallacies; the first is an argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority) and the second, an argumentum ad populum (appeal to numbers/popularity).


No. Appeal to authority, as a fallacy, is like saying I watched Nemo and I saw fish talk, therefore fish can talk.

ad populum? um no.

I am a Christian cos the majority of people on Earth are Christian. (Thats a fallacy)

You have to understand some people do have authority, like sciencetists.

Why the double-standard? How is it that you consider the mere existence and/or number of PhDs at your school (and elsewhere) to be a valid argument on behalf of evolution, but dismiss the PhDs at AiG (CMI, ICR, etc.) as invalid support for creation?


What was interesting. Yesterday I was sure one of the lecturers at my school was a YEC. I heard him use the Pascal arguement...However, when I asked him I was suprised that he didnt want to be labled. Creationists have some serious problems and being a YEC you dismiss science and create crazy theories like the crocoduck...
The facts are against a Young Earth.

If you would demand evidential support for the creationist position, you must be prepared to offer it for you own. In any case, logical fallacies don't cut the mustard. Thus, I challenge you to meet your own standard:


I wont mate. I will do my research. However the geologic column kills creation.

Your argumentum ad numerum holds no more weight than did the Dredd-Scott decision, or Pol Pot's wanton massacres.


Was it neccessary to bring Pol Pot into it?

And if someone wants to post "Answers in Genesis", they have every right to do so, as your ad Hominem attack against them will hold no weight here either.


Not ad hominem.

Ad hominem is like; 'Your American so you wouldnt be smart enough to understand evolution.'

Answersingenesis, is too simple. Im sorry.

2- When you make an assertion such as "Evolution is a fact", YOU need to provide the evidence that backs up your statement.


Do I honestly have to? Go read a scientific journal.

3- Don't pretend that you have the power to limit another persons evidential sources and links.

The above is a warning...


I am not pretending I am saying if that is all creationists have no wonder why people call pure YEC creationism psuedo-science.

#75 Cata

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 07:41 PM

Evolution is a fact.


And where's your evidence? Anything besides "these animals look similar"?

The majority of scientists believe it!


That is ad populum. The number of people who believe something has no relation to its truth.

You dont believe in evolution where is your evidence?


The burden of proof is on you. You make the claim that people evolved from pond scum, you have to support it.

(Dont post answersingenesis)


I have every right to, and I will if necessary. Answers in Genesis is one of the best Creation sites that does a lot of research whenever something is posted there.

#76 wombatty

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 07:59 PM

You sound very learned in the evolution/creation debate. There is a great forum called:

http://www.evcforum.net/

If you think you have what it takes go there, instead of hiding in a creation forum.

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Interesting that you assume that I am 'hiding'.

No. Appeal to authority, as a fallacy, is like saying I watched Nemo and I saw fish talk, therefore fish can talk.

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I don't know where you get your information, but your example here is not one of 'appeal to authority'. Here is the definition, courtesy of The Skeptics Dictionary:

Appeal to Authority

The appeal to authority is a fallacy of irrelevance when the authority being cited is not really an authority. E.g., to appeal to Einstein to support a point in religion would be to make an irrelevant appeal to authority. Einstein was an expert in physics, not religion. However, even if he had been a rabbi, to appeal to Rabbi Einstein as evidence that God exists would still be an irrelevant appeal to authority because religion is by its very nature a controversial field. Not only do religious experts disagree about fundamental matters of religion, many people believe that religion itself is false. Appealing to non-experts as if they were experts, or appealing to experts in controversial fields, as evidence for a belief, are equally irrelevant to establishing the correctness of the belief.

The irrelevant appeal to authority is a type of genetic fallacy, attempting to judge a belief by its origin rather than by the arguments for and against the belief. If the belief originated with an authoritative person, then the belief is held to be true. However, even authoritative persons can hold false beliefs.

Appeals to authority do not become relevant when instead of a single authority one cites several experts who believe something is true. If the authorities are speaking outside of their field of expertise or the subject is controversial, piling up long lists of supporters does not make the appeal any more relevant. On any given controversial matter there are likely to be equally competent experts on different sides of the issue. If a controversial claim could be established as true because it is supported by experts, then contradictory beliefs would be true, which is absurd. The truth or falsity, reasonableness or unreasonableness, of a belief must stand independently of those who accept or reject the belief.

Finally, it should be noted that it is not irrelevant to cite an authority to support a claim one is not competent to judge. However, in such cases the authority must be speaking in his or her own field of expertise and the claim should be one that other experts in the field do not generally consider to be controversial. In a field such as physics, it is reasonable to believe a claim about something in physics made by a physicist that most other physicists consider to be true. Presumably, they believe it because there is strong evidence in support of it. Such beliefs could turn out to be false, of course, but it should be obvious that no belief becomes true on the basis of who believes it.

In short, you commit this fallacy when you say 'It's true because so and so believes it'. This is precisely what you did:

Evolution is a fact. The majority of scientists believe it! I am at a Christian college and the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact. Why do so many scientists believe it?

View Post

You are explicitly appealing to the authority of scientists - as if that establishes truth. This is a text-book case of the fallacy of 'appealing to authority'. Want to try again?

ad populum? um no.

I am a Christian cos the majority of people on Earth are Christian. (Thats a fallacy)

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Again, where do you get your information? From The Skeptics Dictionary:

ad populum fallacy

The ad populum fallacy is the appeal to the popularity of a claim as a reason for accepting it.

The number of people who believe a claim is irrelevant to its truth. Fifty million people can be wrong. In fact, millions of people have been wrong about many things: that the Earth is flat and motionless, for example, and that the stars are lights shining through holes in the sky.


The ad populum fallacy is also referred to as the bandwagon fallacy, the appeal to the mob, the democratic fallacy, and the appeal to popularity.

The ad populum fallacy is seductive because it appeals to our desire to belong and to conform, to our desire for security and safety. It is a common appeal in advertising and politics. A clever manipulator of the masses will try to seduce those who blithely assume that the majority is always right. Also seduced by this appeal will be the insecure, who may be made to feel guilty if they oppose the majority or feel strong by joining forces with large numbers of other uncritical thinkers.

And again, this is exactly what you did:

Evolution is a fact. The majority of scientists believe it! I am at a Christian college and the scientists there (who have PHDs) believe in evolution it is plausible and a fact. Why do so many scientists believe it?

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You do understand that these fallacies are precisely and formally defined in the field of logic, don't you? They aren't just clever turns-of-phrase. You committed both of these fallacies within the space of three sentences. You argument simply crumbles as it is based on this fallacious reasoning.

You have to understand some people do have authority, like sciencetists.

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And herein lies the fallacy; you clearly assume that this 'authority', such as it is, validates their position on the issue. Yet, you dismiss the YECs with PhDs and other professional qualifications. You presumably do so because there are so few of them relative to their evolutionist counterparts. In other words, when you are called on your appeal to authority bluff, you fall back on your other fallacy - argument from popularity/numbers. It's fallacious through and through - your argument holds no water.

What was interesting. Yesterday I was sure one of the lecturers at my school was a YEC. I heard him use the Pascal arguement...

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Do you mean Pascal's Wager? If so, I'm not sure why this would lead you believe he was a YEC as Pascal's Wager has to do with God's existence not evolution vs. creation. I'm not familiar with any 'Pascalian' arguments in favor of YEC or against long ages or evolution (correct me if I'm wrong here).

However, when I asked him I was suprised that he didnt want to be labled.

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From the sound of it, he might well have been confused at your drawing such a conclusion from his explication of Pascal's Wager - a classic non-sequiter (yet another logical fallacy) if ever there was one. I don't know if he was a YEC or not, but the YECs I know are not at all bashful about it.

cont...

#77 wombatty

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:47 PM

The facts are against a Young Earth.

[...]

However the geologic column kills creation.

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This is, of course, one of the central points of contention isn't it? YECs would heartily disagree and marshal solid evidence in favor of their position. A prime example is Earth's Catastrophic Past, Dr. Andrew Snelling's newly published, two-volume follow up to Morris & Whitcomb's classic The Genesis Flood:

Posted Image

Now, don't get me wrong: I am not saying that the existence of said volumes establishes the YEC position as true (I won't join you in your fallacious reasoning). I point it out to demonstrate that, contrary to common caricature - that YECs simply dismiss their opponents' arguments out-of-hand for exclusively theological reasons - YECs do actively engage the substance of their opponents' arguments. Swiping a bit from a previous post of mine, here is a some excerpts and (my) commentary from the forward to The Genesis Flood:

On the other hand, the forward to this book was written by John C. McCampbell, PH.D., then Professor & Head, Department of Geology at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, was less than enthusiastic about the conclusions of the book:

From the writers point of view, as a professional geologist, these explanations and contentions are difficult to accept. For the present at least, although quite ready to recognize the inadequacies of Lyellian uniformitarianism, I would prefer to hope that some other means of harmonization of religion and geology, which retains the essential structure of modern historical geology, could be found.

~The Genesis Flood the Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications; pg. XVII


Nevertheless, he is very fair and respectful and gives the authors their due:

This book is an exception to such conformist thinking [i.e. mainstream geology]. The Genesis Flood places before the reader in clear and comprehensive fashion the theological and scientific basis for a literal acceptance of the Biblical account. The authors have carefully considered and developed their arguments, supporting each of them with an abundance of recent and authoritative documentation.

The reader who desires to accept the Biblical account literally and without reservation will discover that the authors have shown such a position to be supported by excellent proof and sound interpretation. They have clearly shown that the Bible teaches a unique creation and subsequent worldwide Deluge, and that the major facts of geology and other sciences can be satisfactorily oriented within this framework.

~The Genesis Flood the Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications; pp. XVI-XVII

Here was a non-YEC geologist who had the honesty and intellectual integrity to admit that a solid, scientific case can be made for YEC/Flood Geology (the 'murderous' geological column notwithstanding)- and that was back before the secular geological establishment starting trending away from strict uniformitarianism and toward 'neo-catastrophism' (i.e. moving in our direction, scientifically speaking). Snelling's new two-volume work follows in this worthy tradition.

I wont mate. I will do my research.

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Well, I'll give you a point for being up-front. But you do realize that you look a little silly demanding that we provide evidence for our position while refusing to do so yourself?

Also, in the course of your research, you might want to do some reading up on logic. Doing so will not only help you to make better arguments, it will help you avoid making fallacious ones.

Not ad hominem.

Ad hominem is like; 'Your American so you wouldnt be smart enough to understand evolution.'

Answersingenesis, is too simple. Im sorry.

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Do you enjoy shooting yourself in the foot? :blink: After denying that you made an ad hominem argument, you actually demonstrate that you do understand the proper definition of ad hominem. Good, so far. But then you go on to make an explicitly ad hominem argument against AiG: they are 'too simple'. 'Too simple', I presume, to understand evolution. So, to paraphrase your own correct statement of the ad hominem fallacy:

Your from Answers in Genesis, you are 'too simple' to understand evolution.

You do see the problem here, don't you?

Do I honestly have to? Go read a scientific journal.

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<_< For Pete's sake, again with the appeal to authority fallacy? You really must stop doing this - it makes you look foolish.

I am saying if that is all creationists have no wonder why people call pure YEC creationism psuedo-science.

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:o And again with the argument ad populum (i.e. 'people'). In any case, creationists understand full well 'why people call pure YEC creationism psuedo-science', and it has as much, if not more, to do with philosophical and spiritual issues as it does with science.

Circling back to the beginning:

You sound very learned in the evolution/creation debate. There is a great forum called:

http://www.evcforum.net/

If you think you have what it takes go there, instead of hiding in a creation forum.

View Post

Is this where you've been hiding (until now)? This isn't where you learned about logic, is it? :P

#78 Ron

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 05:00 AM

No. Appeal to authority, as a fallacy, is like saying I watched Nemo and I saw fish talk, therefore fish can talk.

ad populum? um no.

I am a Christian cos the majority of people on Earth are Christian. (Thats a fallacy)

View Post


You obviously have a problem understanding the full scope of logical fallacies. A little more time at the library should help, but, I would wonder if you might be purposefully dodging the portions you don’t like.

You have to understand some people do have authority, like sciencetists.

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Scientists have no more authority than anyone else. Especially those who ignore the scientific method, and allow their evolutionary world view to inhibit their research.

I wont mate.

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But you already have.

I will do my research. However the geologic column kills creation.

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The geologic column is a fabricated device used by evolutionists to prove evolution using circular reasoning.


Was it neccessary to bring Pol Pot into it?

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Because Pol Pot is a prime example of how your attempted argumentum ad numerum was used.

Not ad hominem.

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Again, you obviously have a problem understanding the full scope of logical fallacies. A little more time at the library should help, but, I would wonder if you might be purposefully dodging the portions you don’t like.

#79 Ron

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 05:01 AM

Ad hominem is like; 'Your American so you wouldnt be smart enough to understand evolution.'

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The Ad hominem abusive you are attempting to use (but were busted in your attempt) was a belittling of an organization (simply because you don’t like them). Your obvious distain of them kept you from showing legitimate and substantial reasoning for rejecting their message. Instead, you attempted to control the discussion by saying they are not allowed in it. And that is an Ad hominem abusive.


Again, you obviously have a problem understanding the full scope of logical fallacies. A little more time at the library should help, but, I would wonder if you might be purposefully dodging the portions you don’t like.


Answersingenesis, is too simple. Im sorry.

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Again with the Ad hominem abusive!!! Really?

Do I honestly have to?

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Yes, absolutely, when you make an assertion such as "Evolution is a fact", YOU need to provide the evidence that backs up your statement. And, if you were being honest, you would have already known this.

Go read a scientific journal.

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I do, on a regular basis. But, anymore, I have to sift through (and look past)the chaff of evolutionary world-view to find any facts.


I am not pretending

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Yes you are, because you have yet to provide anything but you’re a priori opinion as a basis for your assertions.

#80 Yorzhik

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 06:41 AM

Can someone mention "your" and "you're" please?




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