Custom Search

Thursday, August 17, 2006

From nearby blog: Dembski evolves into a flagellum

As I might have mentioned, I'll be a bit light blogging in the next few weeks, as I tackle revisions to forthcoming The Spiritual Brain (Harper 2007).

Meanwhile, discover how Bill Dembski, an ID math guy, evolved into a flagellum, demonstrating that Darwinism is true.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Labels: , , ,

If they were really bright: Wouldn't they know that calling themselves "the brights" makes them idiots?

A while back, a group of materialists decided to dub themselves "the brights," because you are supposed to be really smart if you are one of them, even if you are a village atheist who is just plain underdeveloped in a number of ways.

I don't care if they don't believe traditional religions, but making theselves out be super clever on that account meant setting themselves up for comedy. Now a parody site, the brites has appeared. Saves me work. I would have called mine the "brillo pads" but I guess not everyone has had to scrub as many floors as I have, so they might not get the joke.

Labels: ,

Octopus eats shark?: Ock knows his eats

Recently, I blogged on Google videos on the ID controversy, and to entice readers, offered the video Octopus eats shark, where the eight-legged wonder surprises its keepers:

Zoologist Norbert Smith, for whom Octopus eats shark is a favourite, offered a comment on the octopus (cephalopod) as a creature unlikely to be the victim of a stupid shark, as the zoo curators had originally assumed*:

Cephalopods are certainly the most intelligent of invertebrates. While attending college, I built a 100 gallon refrigerated salt water aquarium and kept a small octopus, crabs, starfish and other tide pool critters...not an easy task for one living in western Oklahoma. The tank was divided by a vertical glass petition and on several occasions the octopus would get to the other side and to devour the crabs. Lacking a skeleton, it squeezed through the narrow 1-2 millimeter space alongside the petition!

I often studied in a recliner next to the aquarium. Without fail, as soon as I was seated the octopus would leave its rock cave and paste himself on the glass next to me apparently just to watch me study. I knew it was watching, because the slightest hand or head movement by me would elicit rapid color changes around his eyes and head. Remember, the chromatophores of cephalopods are controlled neurally, unlike the much slower responding hormonally controlled chromatophores of chameleons and fish. They can also instantly change their texture from smooth to rough by raising small pimple-like structures all over their body. Mating in octopuses and several other cephalopods is triggered by color changes in the female. The male can read the female's mood by her color. Wouldn't that save a lot of money spent on wine and dinner? And to think some consider cephalopods primitive. I disagree and miss my octopuses still.

*(even though the octopus is an invertebrate, and therefore supposed by some to be necessarily stupider than a vertebrate like the shark)

As for wine and dinner, forget the romance and the sharks. My taste runs to

whiskey and soda
and cephalopoda
served on crackers with cheese.

Oops, did I say something wrong? Is PETA coming to get me? "Look, honest, it was dead when I opened the can. I was only laying it out on crackers to, like, show respect .... " Maybe I better become a vegetarian and dine on mince and slices of quince.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Labels: , ,

Intelligent design and popular culture: Man walked with the dinosaurs?

A friend writes to say,

While I was at the Tyrell Museum last Thurs. I kept thinking about [Canadian politician] Stockwell Day and his statement that dinosaurs and humans were both living on Earth 4,000 years ago. Mystifying. Very Walt Disney. And this guy is the Minister of National Defence.

Actually, the time frame Day had in mind must have been six thousand years ago, according to the chronology of young earth creationism. Four thousand years ago was the time that the Jewish patriarch and matriarch Abraham and Sarah headed into the desert. Also, Gordon O'Connor is our Minister of National Defence. Day is actually Minister of Public Safety (= anti-terrorism) - and given that Canada recently rounded up a bunch of suspected terrorists, I can't assume he is doing a bad job of it.

I don't have much use for young earth creationism, but I strongly oppose the assumption that a person who holds that view cannot function well in a job where all the important issues occur in real time today. That's a form of prejudice unjustified by the facts. While writing By Design or by Chance?, I interviewed accomplished scientists who were - for religious reasons - YECs.

I am sure that if you need a doctor to hit you up with an injection to save your life, you are not going to ask him how old he thinks the Earth is. How old will you be if you throw off his aim?

In any event, I replied,
I've always found something touching about the wishful belief that humans and dinosaurs once lived together.

It's sort of like wishing we could interact with space aliens.

(There may well be space aliens, but if they are 83 million light years away, we cannot interact with them.)

In the one case, it is a gulf of time and the other of space.

Now, I can't condone believing nonsense, but I can never quite condemn people for wishing intensely to close a gap.

Oddly, Carl Sagan's desperate wish for space aliens was not different in quality from the YEC's longing to walk with dinosaurs. One wants to abolish space and the other time.

Well, okay, okay, maybe someday ... but tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.

Labels: , , , ,

Intelligent design and popular culture: Clean, new stuffed toys ...

Marvin Olasky comments on growing awareness of staged photography in Lebanon:
Here are just three examples of pro-Hezbollah staged photography courtesy of Reuters, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse:

- Photos of bombing sites with clean and undamaged toys and stuffed animals perfectly positioned in front of them for maximum poignant impact. It's possible that Mickey Mouse and others merely sprung up at those spots, but it's much more likely that their placement was the product of intelligent design.

[ ... ]

Most major newspapers and magazines have not admitted their complicity, but three cheers for Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times, who noted that the stuffed toys poised atop rubble were "miraculously pristinely clean and apparently untouched by the devastation they purportedly survived. (Reuters might want to check its freelancers' expenses for unexplained Toys "R" Us purchases.)"

Sounds like a plan, that last point.

Various pundits have taken to wondering in print what use the design inference is in science. Well, they might want to look at how it works in the blogosphere to get some tips. Olasky is not very hopeful that the legacy media will learn anything, but we will see.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
Blog policy note:Comments are permitted on this blog, but they are moderated. Fully anonymous posts and URLs posted without comment are rarely accepted. To Mr. Anonymous: I'm not psychic, so if you won't tell me who you are, I can't guess and don't care. To Mr. Nude World (URL): If you can't be bothered telling site visitors why they should go on to your fave site next, why should I post your comment? They're all busy people, like you. To Mr. Rudeby International and Mr. Pottymouth: I also have a tendency to delete comments that are merely offensive. Go be offensive to someone who can smack you a good one upside the head. That may provide you with a needed incentive to stop and think about what you are trying to accomplish. To Mr. Righteous but Wrong: I don't publish comments that contain known or probable factual errors. There's already enough widely repeated misinformation out there, and if you don't have the time to do your homework, I don't either. To those who write to announce that at death I will either 1) disintegrate into nothingness or 2) go to Hell by a fast post, please pester someone else. I am a Catholic in communion with the Church and haven't the time for either village atheism or aimless Jesus-hollering.

Labels: ,

Who links to me?