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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Blog on hold till June 15

Because I am writing a book and working for a living, I have regretfully decided that the only time management solution is to put this blog on hold until June 15, 2011.

I thank all regular readers and occasional donors.

Always glad to share a good read and thoughts thereon. The blog search box at the top left will give you access to all past stories.

I will still be blogging at Access Research Network (bottom row of headlines), Salvo, and Uncommon Descent.

Good luck to all in the happy hunting ground of materialist nonsense that so much pop science has become.

Design of his body gives injured pantheist shivers

A friend notes this pantheist discovering what design means:
ecause I had just been reading Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box where he explains the obstacles to Darwin’s theory of evolution, namely gradualism in the face of all the scientific advances since the discovery of the microscope, DNA etc., I was particularly interested by the way a health professional such as Doctor #2 phrased his explanation of why I shouldn’t be too worried about the blow to my side: “Whoever designed us has done an excellent job of hiding most of the liver behind the ribcage…”

. I had just been reading hundreds of pages proposing an alternative to Darwin’s evolutionary theory, namely the argument for intelligent design and what he was saying convince me that we were on the same page. Of course the argument for design vs undirected process has been going on long before Darwin but the word "design" triggered something in me. The fact that this doctor was talking about our ‘design’ as if it was purposefully done by someone (or something) gave me a shiver.
Hope his liver recovers. That's the design of life.

Wordle: Untitled


Open letter: Do you want to pay each time you look at my blog, or any blog?

Think of the implications ...

While this is happening in Canada, it could certainly be happening where you are too. Find out.

Go here for context.

A friend writes,

I wanted to pass along something I read today... As you are aware, my line of work greatly depends on Internet access. Please take the time to read this and at the very least, sign the petition at if you agree that this issue must be quashed.

Originally all ISPs in Canada were using Usage Based Billing (UBB) models for dial-up access. The large providers like Bell and Rogers argued to the CRTC that they should be able to provide unlimited access. This was allowed, and it effectively put all the small independent ISPs out of business because they couldn’t compete with companies the size of Bell. Now, they are arguing the opposite.

Bell wants to be able to charge UBB not only to home owners, but also small ISPs who rent lines from Bell. Bell’s plan is to charge the same rate to both. How would a small independent ISP be able to offer competitive rates if they are paying the same as the customer base? In a recent appeal Bell offered ISPs a 15% discount. Sadly most businesses need at least a 24 - 28% profit margin in order to cover costs.

Rogers, Shaw and Cogeco have always had unlimited download capacity. In fact, I remember a series of TV ads a number of years ago where they flaunted this as a selling feature. My own ISP (Cogeco) started this in January of this year, and I was switched over from an unlimited plan to a UBB plan. When I called to inquire, I was told by customer service that this is the way it is now, and Bell is doing it too — too bad. When I checked Bell’s web page they had already started their UBB. My Internet rate WAS $34 per month for unlimited. I know pay $60 a month for 125g per month. The worst of this is that they WILL NOT guarantee transfer speed. They can only promise that speeds “can be UP TO 30mbps”.

According to Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, the true cost of supplying bandwidth to users is about $.01 per gig. True, he probably has an agenda, so lets multiply that by 10 and say its really $.10 per gig. If I am receiving 125gig per month, then the cost to Cogeco is $12.50 for bandwidth, if I use ALL of it. The remaining $47.50 is money in the bank for Cogeco.

Why else should you care?

Well, Bell, Shaw, Cogeco, and Rogers are all multi-service providers. They provide TV, Internet, Phone, and a couple provide cell phones. As media providers they all have a vested interest in eliminating as much outside competition as possible.
Read more »

Shut up and pay, you morons ...

Here, British physicist David Tyler asks, "Are 72% of biology teachers hindering scientific literacy in the US?"
Some have described the survey as shocking. The authors of the report are gloomy about their findings. The perceived problem is this: evolutionists have won court cases bearing on the teaching of evolution in schools; state curricular standards have been revised to reinforce the status of evolutionary theory in biology - but despite all this, "considerable research suggests that supporters of evolution, scientific methods, and reason itself are losing battles in America's classrooms". The problem is that only 28% of teachers are forthrightly explaining evolutionary biology.
The fact that the 60% who teach microevolution (minor, demonstrated instances of evolution) are called "the mushy middle"makes the agenda clear: Tax funding to and court judgments, to teach Darwinism as a belief system about life when it is less and less supported by evidence.
... they want to target teachers in training:

"More effectively integrating evolution into the education of preservice biology teachers may also have the indirect effect of encouraging students who cannot accept evolution as a matter of faith to pursue other careers. Effective programs directed at preservice teachers can therefore both reduce the number of evolution deniers in the nation's classrooms, increase the number who would gladly accept help in teaching evolution, and increase the number of cautious teachers who are nevertheless willing to embrace rigorous standards. This would reduce the supply of teachers who are especially attractive to the most conservative school districts, weakening the cycle of ignorance."

For more, go here.
So shut up, you morons, and pay. Your science-talented kids can mow lawns for mediocrities shouting the shoot for Darwin. It's not your money and they're not your kids, and all truth is Darwin's truth.

Or not.


Readings for Evolution Sunday I

Via this:

Here's what atheist evolution gurus think of Christian Darwinists:
I, at least, think the NCSE shouldn’t take the theological position that faith is consistent with science. And the NCSE should limit its discussion about faith to saying that there are a variety of views about the consilience of science and faith and somebody in conflict should consult his/her minister. People like Larry Moran, P.Z., and I have been saying this for years, but it doesn’t seem to have penetrated Josh’s consciousness.
"Josh" is a professional Darwin lobbyist who carries out boss Eugenie Scott's dictum that a dog collar is worth two white coats, when working the crowd.

The inimitable Jerry Coyne, attack by under-Darwin lobbyist Josh, roars back:
Having read my post from last Sunday, in which I discussed—civilly!—science and religion with a reading group at Chicago’s First United Methodist Church, Rosenau has somehow concluded that I’m an accommodationist!
But why are they all so upset? Does anyone imagine that the people who sit through Evolution Sunday and twiddle their cause-of-the-month buttons, placid and questionless, would be troubled by the idea that they are despised? Accommodationists expect to be despised when they join what they think is the winning side.

I don't despise them; I am concerned for their future.


Design without creation? Sure.

The Darwin lobby insists that design in nature must mean "creationism", which is currently as popular among Our Moral and Intellectual Superiors as any kind of actual dissent from their easily falsified nostrums.

Philosopher of science Del Ratzsch, whose work first inspired me to write By Design or by Chance?, offers an example of design without creation, where origin of life is concerned:
For instance, suppose that we finally discover that life can arise spontaneously but only under exactly one set of conditions. One must begin with 4003.6 gallons of eight specific, absolutely pure chemicals, exactly proportioned down to the molecule. The mixture must then be sealed into a large, light green Tupperware container with one sterile copy of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Do that, and life develops spontaneously by natural means (catalyzed by the precise surface characteristics of "Sgt. Pepper"). Its development, subsequent reproductions and characteristics are completely according to normal natural laws. And life in this case was not directly specially created. But those initial conditions involve interjection of deliberate intent and design with a vengeance." (Ratzsch D., "Design, Chance & Theistic Evolution," in Dembski W.A., ed., Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design, InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, p. 291)
Now, a dullard might object that Del's is an unlikely recipe for life; his point is, of course, that a recipe is design using existing ingredients, not creation ex nihilo of the ingredients along with the design.

Intelligent design theorists are harassed, in my view, for the precise reason that the origin of life really is best attributed to design, not law or chance, as Signature in the Cell (Harper One, 2009) affirms.

The law and chance people know well that that is what it looks like, and are constantly advising the rest of us not to trust our lyin' eyes.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Edge Question: Which science concept would make everyone think better?

Wordle: science terms 1

Here is the "Edge World Question Center", a leading materialist think tank, with 2011's Question:

James Flynn has defined "shorthand abstractions" (or "SHA's") as concepts drawn from science that have become part of the language and make people smarter by providing widely applicable templates ("market", "placebo", "random sample," "naturalistic fallacy," are a few of his examples). His idea is that the abstraction is available as a single cognitive chunk which can be used as an element in thinking and debate.

The Edge Question 2011


The term 'scientific"is to be understood in a broad sense as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be the human spirit, the role of great people in history, or the structure of DNA. A "scientific concept" may come from philosophy, logic, economics, jurisprudence, or other analytic enterprises, as long as it is a rigorous conceptual tool that may be summed up succinctly (or "in a phrase") but has broad application to understanding the world.

[Thanks to Steven Pinker for suggesting this year's Edge Question and to Daniel Kahneman for advice on its presentation.]
164 contributors, many whose names you will recognize, participated.

Any thoughts of your own? Go here to comment.

Note: Interesting, how many key words from medicine easily come to mind, yet medicine has slowly been moving away from a materialist paradigm, as Mario Beauregard and I noted in The Spiritual Brain.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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Excitable DNA: Could design have predicted that?

Here, Jonathan McLatchie comments on the new finding of the “excited state” of the double helix:
An interesting paper published in Nature by Evgenia et al. documents the ability of the DNA double helix to exist in a functional alternative form for 1% of the time, called an "excited state." What does this mean for neo-Darwinism?

[ ... ]

As the papers' authors suggest, those results may imply that the DNA molecule is responsible for coding for excited state Hoogsteen base pairs as a means by which it can expand its structural complexity beyond that which it is able to achieve through classical Watson-Crick base-pairing.

If this prediction is correct, then it succeeds in adding a whole additional layer to the information enigma. This, of course, raises the pertinent issue of whether this discovery sits more comfortably with a neo-Darwinian paradigm or with an ID paradigm. Since neo-Darwinism, to date, may be considered to be demonstrably impotent to account for that specific property of living systems -- namely, information -- I would be inclined to significantly favour the latter.
Okay, but - what Jonathan and others need is to make successful predictions in advance. That’s what gets people’s attention.

Fact is, neo-Darwinism is a shambles, except for the taxpayer and the friendly judge. And for that very reason any fact, fiction, or nonsense can be cited as supporting it. Successful advance predictions are one of the few ways to break through in such cases.

This is the sort of thing I mean:
The 3 fundal height measurement techniques studied were: a tape measure method that included the upper curve of the uterine fundus in the measurement; a second tape technique that did not include the upper curve; and a caliper technique measuring from the symphysis pubis to the uterine fundus. Blank tapes were used so that clinicians were blinded and the numerical markings on the caliper were concealed with tape. Fundal height measurements were obtained in succession using the 3 techniques and each was obtained twice by 2 different examiners. The clinician marked the tape with ink at the appropriate point and, once all of the measurements had been obtained, the data collection material was placed in a sealed envelope until all of the participants had been assessed.


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