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Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Expelled Exposed" Exposed - the saga continues

Here's a useful link to the response to efforts to pretend that scientists whose research convinces them that the universe shows evidence of design do not face persecution.

(I've covered the persecution for years. To say it is not happening is, to me, like saying 9-11 didn't happen. It is always possible for an ideologue to construct an alternate reality - a legend in his own mind, in which the event is not happening. He likes his alternate reality, of course.)

[Evil Disco warning]
Most of the falsehoods in circulation about the film can be traced to a website called "Expelled Exposed" set up by the pro-Darwin National Center for Science Education (NCSE) as part of its PR effort to smear the documentary last year. “Expelled Exposed” alleges that Expelled made “dishonest attempts to make mountains out of molehills and to create martyrs where martyrdom does not exist.” As John West observed in response, "The basic thrust of [“Expelled Exposed”] seems to be the preposterous claim that pro-ID scientists never, ever face harassment, intimidation, or persecution. Not ever! Scientists who claim otherwise—such as biologist Richard Sternberg, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, and Baylor University engineering professor Robert Marks—must be cry-babies or worse. The NCSE's approach is otherwise known as 'blaming the victim.'"

Anyway, this is how the film is doing in DVD: Sales Rank: #294 in Movies & TV (See Bestsellers in Movies & TV)

Popular in these categories: (What's this?)
#8 in Movies & TV > Documentary
#70 in Movies & TV > Comedy

#8 - that's in the Top Ten in docs. Not bad for a film that so many were determined to destroy. Even St. Yoko Ono ... wow!


Junk RNA just like junk DNA? Stuff you should NOT have thrown out with the packaging?

Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, writes:

When large-scale function was detected for non-coding DNA (once called "junk" DNA) Darwinists, knowing that their viewpoint had long boasted that junk-DNA was evidence for common ancestry and that they were losing that argument, responded in one of two ways: Some sought to rewrite history by claiming that evolutionary biology predicted all along that we'd find function for junk-DNA. Others, however, pushed the "junk" back to RNA. They effectively argued, "Sure, we know that most of the genome is being transcribed into RNA, but that doesn't mean that the RNAs have function. Much of the transcriptome might in fact be junk."

Evolutionist biochemist Larry Moran, for example, argued that either "[t]he so-called transcripts are just noise from accidental transcription" or "[t]he regions of junk DNA could be transcribed regularly but the transcripts are rapidly degraded. They do not have a biological function. They are junk RNA." Intelligent design (ID) proponents were quick to predict the demise of that argument, and if a recent paper in Nature is any indication, "junk RNA" may have the same fate as "junk DNA."

Larry Moran? Sounds vaguely familiar. A biochem prof at the University of Toronto. Now and then he mentions me in his online gossip column.

I'd rather he didn't, really, but I am glad to say that the Internet is - with all its faults - a free country. That part I like.

Here's a podcast on the new "junque RNA."

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But it's like, NOT design, okay? It all just happened!

A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution.
It all just happened, okay?
The work also confirms an idea first floated in an 1858 essay by Alfred Wallace, who along with Charles Darwin co-discovered the theory of evolution. Wallace had suspected that certain systems undergoing natural selection can adjust their evolutionary course in a manner "exactly like that of the centrifugal governor of the steam engine, which checks and corrects any irregularities almost before they become evident." In Wallace's time, the steam engine operating with a centrifugal governor was one of the only examples of what is now referred to as feedback control. Examples abound, however, in modern technology, including cruise control in autos and thermostats in homes and offices.

The research, published in a recent edition of Physical Review Letters, provides corroborating data, Rabitz said, for Wallace's idea. "What we have found is that certain kinds of biological structures exist that are able to steer the process of evolution toward improved fitness," said Rabitz, the Charles Phelps Smyth '16 Professor of Chemistry. "The data just jumps off the page and implies we all have this wonderful piece of machinery inside that's responding optimally to evolutionary pressure."
Reality check: Wallace was sidelined by the Darwin mob because he was not a materialist atheist, even though many regard him as by far the more original thinker.

I am sorry, but that is just true. I cannot change history to suit your local drudge museum curator who has a grant or your local textbook writer who has a contract to front Darwin. I would say, however, just quietly ignore those people. They have their money, but they do not have the evidence.

The work is likely to provoke a considerable amount of thinking, according to Charles Smith, a historian of science at Western Kentucky University.
No it will not. In the age of the Darwin cult, it will be ignored. For now. Not forever.


Darwinism and popular culture: Emerging church riffs off Darwin

Recently, I received a press release from Woodlake Books, on behalf of this book:

Awe, Wonder and Evolution: Where Do These Belong in Christianity? Remember when you were a small child and you could sit and watch a bug crawl up a leaf for hours? When catching snowflakes on your tongue was magical? What happens when we grow up?

Life gets busy and we forget. We lose our sense of awe. Not only individually, but culturally. In the 150 years since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, we have gained significant scientific knowledge, but we have also lost our connection to the nature we have learned so much about. Is this how we want to evolve? How do we respond? How do we live faithfully in this changing world?
Since you asked, "How do we live faithfully in this changing world?": Well, we could start with a reality check.

Darwin believed passionately that the universe was without purpose or design, and that species come and go by mere chance. (Natural selection acts on random mutations.)

Where do the authors stand on that? Do they agree or disagree with Darwin? Or are they just riffing off the ol' Brit toff's name, to make a sale?

Look, I don't care. In these times, it's a hard enough life selling books. Don't let me stop you. Still, if this is the emergent church, as they trumpet, I think it will emerge stillborn. Not enough practical relationship with facts.

By the way, two things: I never lost my sense of awe. So speak for yourselves about that stuff, emerging church. And, while we are here, I don't mind evolving away from nature if it helps friends, relatives, and myself to live a better life. Humans have been doing that for thousands of years. We won't easily be stopped.

Find out why there is an inteligent design controversy:

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Intelligent design: Please, shrinks, do not waste any more of your time - oh, but you will, won't you, that's your job ...

From British physicist David Tyler's blog on a recent social science research study:
It would be good practice for researchers to spend a bit of time talking to ID advocates. They could learn first-hand that ID does not perceive its arguments as "God of the Gaps", but as 'inference from evidence'. The argument proceeds from knowledge, not from ignorance.

Furthermore, ID advocates perceive their inferences as part of a scientific process: causation can be according to natural law, stochastic processes or intelligent agency. Science should not be in the business of declaring what the world is like before it has fully explored the solutions space; rather it should identify and test alternative hypotheses for observed phenomena. ID theorists are troubled by the behaviour of some fellow scientists, who do not test ID hypotheses as part of a scientific discourse, but choose to exclude ID on ideological grounds.
I find it amusing that the last thing that many a pundit, grantsman, or theologian would think of doing is to actually read what intelligent design theorists say. It is much easier to form an opinion in the absence of distressing details that create doubt and make one think.

How big a rug do you need?

British physicist David Tyler notes,
Those who only want to sweep scientific controversies under the rug of social and political agendas are not representing the science properly to their students. The way to handle controversy is not for the teacher to take sides, but to help students recognise different perceptions of the same data and to develop strategies for evaluating the various positions. When the principle of critical analysis is applied, it means the hegemony of neoDarwinism as establishment science will be over (because it will have to use reasoned arguments rather than an appeal to consensus). Then, perhaps, we can get beyond the hype and the hubris associated with origins and ultimate causes.
From "Why are not all of us happy neoDarwinians?"

Also, I can't imagine running around Toronto in a puff dino suit.

Oh wait, There isn't a controversy, remember? Remember?


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