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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Save the fish, kill the people! ( Where does science and religion enter in?)


I recently made both a post and a comment that came from a quote from the Warsaw Senatorial Debate on Saturday, March 6th.

The post, which is also found below this one, is entitled "What's wrong with Washington? Politicians protect fish and kill unborn babies!"

You can read the entirety of the post and you will see that the post was primarily about the experience of attending a grassroots political debate, but it is true that this administration has decided to cut off water access for the Salinas Valley are of California, putting thousands of people out of work and stressing families and children and threatening them with starvation...for the sake of a fish!

The Obama Administration restored the Endangered Species Act in March 2009, which requires agencies to seek approval of the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in order to to determine if actions will affect endangered species. This then brought water management under the purview of a federal agency (nothing like letting the government take over things, right?) and can you guess what happens when the EPA or any similar agency gets involved? Boneheaded decisions that hurt or kill people.

It is another post entirely, but idiotic tree-hugging regulation of the logging industry and in fact general land management in the Western United States has seriously hurt the logging industry and thereby the tax income of Western states that had dependence on logging (Oregon and Washington in particular) while also making the area more vulnerable to terrible forest fires. Bans on brush clearing on the personal property of California home owners has led to deaths and destruction in the last few years. Do a little research on the subject when you get some time.



The results of government trying to take on land management and water management and in fact taking away state, local and personal control of such things is often disaster. The latest Obama administration decisions have been harmful to people living in the United States and particularly in California. In fact, this is not a one-time thing, as this link reveals:

Grape growing, fish protection clash in California

It is a short read, go ahead and read that and come back...But now here is the a look at the specific issue in California:

Water shut off to California farms because of endangered fish!

A couple of excerpts but, again, you should go read this and be sure you understand the issue of the fish.

"Unemployment rates are now 40% because of the water being shut off to farmers. Hundreds of acres of crops are now dead. 1 million acres of fields and orchards also have no aboveground water supply. People have to go to food banks for food. Fruits and vegetable prices have skyrocketed in central California.


Federal water managers cut off water to thousands of California farms as a result of Water has been cut off since March.
Farmers in the nation's No. 1 agriculture state predicted it would cause consumers to pay more for their fruits and vegetables, which would have to be grown using expensive well water.


"Environmentalists are tripping over themselves to preserve every
species that crawls, squirms, swims or flys (sic) but they are content to let humans die," claimed Nunes. " And now they have a government that agrees with them. "


"This Congress and our President have chosen
fish over people in my state." I think the judges decision is wrong," claimed Schwarzenegger. "If you start choosing species, and the smelt and salmon over people, I think you are wrong. I think its a mistake when you see the impacts that it has."


"Water is our life - it's our jobs and it's our food," said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the farm bureau in Fresno County. "Without a reliable water supply, Fresno County's No. 1 employer - agriculture - is at great risk."


The drought would cause an estimated $1.15 billion dollar loss in agriculture-related wages and eliminate as many as 40,000 jobs in farm-related industries in the
San Joaquin Valley alone, where most of the nation's produce and nut crops are grown, said Lester Snow, director of the Department of Water Resources...


If you read the entire article you will have a leg up on understanding the fish versus people situation in California.

It is also a fact that the government promotes abortion by giving money to Planned Parenthood and by allowing legalized abortion in this country. The holocaust against innocent unborn babies has now surpassed by far the death of Jews in World War Two at the hands of both Hitler and Stalin! Roe v Wade was a terrible, unsupportable activist decision by nine people in suitably black robes that has made our society and our government into an entity that does in actuality protect fish and murder babies. This is a statement of fact. Go ahead and click this link if you doubt this.

So now then it was somewhere between disturbing and hilarious that commenters began to scrutinize the morality of choosing fish over people~!

Lava's comment: If you believe in evolution then you should agree with survival of the fittest and that the fish must die to sustain human life, oh well. If you are a creationist then you would believe the welfare of humans is of more consequence than that of a fish.

I just wanted to highlight this statement. Radar, mull this over again. Then let me know if this is what your really think.

I answered: Yes, lava, I think that the life of a human is of more consequence than a fish. On philosophical grounds I would expect both Darwinists and Christians to agree on this point. If not, I would like to hear why...

Hawkeye said this: "Unfortunately, it appears that the view of radical environmentalists is that humans are a blight on nature. They think we are the disease, and if they can just get rid of humanity (starting with someone other than themselves of course), all will be right with the world. Sick."

Creeper then opined, and I will intersperse his blue comments with my point-by-point responses in normal script: If you believe in evolution then you should agree with survival of the fittest and that the fish must die to sustain human life, oh well. If you are a creationist then you would believe the welfare of humans is of more consequence than that of a fish."

A few points spring to mind:

1. The insistence on framing this as rival "religions" leads to this kind of nonsense. You may find this useful in a rhetorical context, but that doesn't mean it's true.

A religion is a belief system, creeper, and evolutionists certainly fit the bill. Darwinism just casts aside the work of great scientists of the past who showed that life does not spring from non-life and that entropy increases while energy decreases unless directed energy is added from outside the system. Darwinism posits growing complexity and new systems and processes developing in organisms and yet what we see in the real world is a set of genetic information that is already in place, being naturally selected by environment and sometimes being lost. All attempts to test Darwinism have failed. It is simply an hypothesis that does not fit the evidence well and has been accepted as a ruling paradigm for philosophical and not scientific reasons.

Almost every time you say someone "believes in evolution", what you're actually referring to is someone accepting the scientific theory of evolution as a valid explanation for the variety of life around us. Which is not a religious belief or moral framework unto itself, and is in fact compatible with quite a range of religious beliefs or moral frameworks.

Evolution is not a theory. To be a theory it must have tested out as a possibility, which it has not. Were it tested and found workable by several different scientists and if the results were the same every time, then it would be a theory and in fact be on the way to being accepted generally as scientific law. Even then it might later be shown to be not quite accurate (hence Newtonian physical laws are no longer laws per se) but sadly for Darwinists any tests devised to promote Darwinism as a theory have failed.

Framing it as a belief in something, and hence perhaps as something prescriptive - as opposed to seeing the theory of evolution merely as descriptive, which is what it is - leads you to erroneously conclude that the theory of evolution comes with an agenda attached. Which it doesn't.

Of course it has an agenda! Richard Dawkins, the "high priest" of Darwinism today, said,

"An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, page 6.

Darwinism is an escape hatch for scientists to avoid the issues of the formation of time, matter and especially life. This is far more difficult in these times, when we now recognize that organisms are almost infinitely more complex than Darwin had imagined.

2. It's not an either/or choice - either fish dies or man dies - as is implied here. As a wise man once said, man and fish can coexist peacefully. What is the actual reason given for protecting the fish, and what is the actual impact on humans? I suspect once you look at these actual facts instead of polemicizing, you'll find a different argument emerging.

Not. First of all, you are avoiding the abortion issue entirely and conveniently. Secondly even the Governor of California was angered by the decision to impoverish large numbers of Californians and the damage to the production of agricultural products for the sake of a little and irrelevant fish. I am sorry if you do not understand why keeping people alive is of more importance than preserving one small population of fish. Whether we are talking about a Delta Smelt or a Salmon or a Snail Darter we are talking about one tiny population of some sub-species of a fairly common fish.

3. "If you are a creationist..." then surely the extinction of any species (presumably put on Earth by God for a purpose) should be highly problematic.

I'm not just talking about being a good shepherd of the Lord's creation (though that should surely also be on the mind of any Christian and steer them towards environmental protection), but surely taking such an irreversible step to damaging the Lord's creation should be deeply troubling to a creationist.

You completely misunderstand the creationist position. God made the animal world with a very rich genetic code that allows various kinds of animals to adjust to environmental changes. There is more than one variety of animal that can fill a role in the food chain. In my lifetime I have seen a species of mussel begin to flourish in Lake Michigan, Gulls expand their ranges from the close vicinity of the Great Lakes so far that we call them "Farm Gulls' in these parts, deer herds growing dramatically and Canada Geese making the decision to move their permanent residence to Indiana. Animals and plants alike will find a way to fill a niche in the life cycle that God designed and the fact that multiple varieties of animals can fill in the gaps is a testament to great design.

If man was told (Genesis 9:3) "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. " and earlier (in Genesis 1:28) "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." ? I suggest that God intends man to have charge over the rest of the world and also that God values the life of man greatly whereas the animals and plants are to be primarily for our benefit.

Or is it all just "we own the world, we're God's favorites, so we can do whatever the heck we want"?

Because that's how you're coming across here...

You commenters are the ones who are just fine with babies being slaughtered while expressing such concern for a fish. Do you really think you have a logical argument here, a moral high ground here? How ludicrous that you rally to the support of a fish and give nary a thought for the farmers and laborers of Central California and their families. How interesting that you do not even write one word about all the babies being murdered legally here in the United States. How is it that these unborn have fewer rights than captured Islamic terrorists?! This kind of thinking is in my opinion not just stupid but actually tends towards evil. You prefer a fish over a man, a woman, a baby???!!!

SCIENCE VERSUS RELIGION

There are three primary schools of thought concerning origins. Two of them begin with a presupposition and the other is simply and strictly scientific.

1) Creationism presupposes a Creator God. We believe that God created and also that He made sure we had a written message from Him, the Bible, that not only provided an account of the beginning of all things but also the early history of mankind, the beginning of the table of nations and a definitive moral code. The Bible is a book of history and wisdom and morality and it is a book that declares a way of salvation for those who will believe. It is evidence to be considered when viewing the beginning of all things. A creationist believes that God is always right about matters of science but that the Bible is a scientific reference book and an eyewitness account rather than a scientific textbook.

There are "Godofthegaps" creationists and (my brain hurts here) theistic creationists but all creationists believe God created and begin looking at the evidence from that starting point.

2) Darwinism presupposes blind chance as the engine that drives the Universe from beginning until now. Most Darwinists are now part uniformitarian and part catastrophist and as the evidence get more difficult to fit into the original Darwinian premise the corollaries increase. Nevertheless, Darwinism/macroevolution/neo-Darwinism or whatever you wish to call it is no more than an unsupportable hypothesis that has been acclaimed as accepted science but when the evidence is considered carefully becomes an emperor with no clothes. Perhaps the most obvious proof is that speciation through natural selection is what Darwinists have depended upon as proof that evolution happens whereas we know now that speciation is simply the selection of preexisting genetic materials. Some commenters have yet to catch on to this idea.

In any event, Darwinists begin with the supposition that there is no God or in fact any supernatural force or being that can possibly be considered when looking at the evidence.

3) The only position that is strictly scientific and evidence-based without supposition is Intelligent Design. People like Michael Behe have researched and presented evidence that is presented without either presupposition. They do not call upon the belief in God nor do they throw the possibility of God away. Intelligent Design is entirely neutral towards the concept of who or whom or by what means life has been designed. Instead these scientists decided to ignore philosophical arguments and simply review the evidence and publish the results.

The hilarious failure of Judge Jones in the "Dover" case to recognize the religious nature of Darwinism and label ID as a religious enterprise is a fascinating case of logic turned on its head. Even I, a dedicated Young Earth Creationist, recognizes that Behe and I would disagree about many things but I do respect his premise. Behe just looks at the evidence and is agnostic about whether a God was involved in any aspect of the evidence. He simply studies organisms and how they work and then provides the analysis of their workings. He then makes a hypothesis that life was designed based only on evidence and not on presupposition or belief. He has also studied mutation as a vehicle for evolutionary advancement and, to his satisfaction, falsified mutation as a means of adding information to organisms and therefore being in any way part of design.

The Discovery Institute mission statement:

Discovery Institute's mission is to make a positive vision of the future practical. The Institute discovers and promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Our mission is promoted through books, reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute's own publications and Internet website ( http://www.discovery.org).

Current projects explore the fields of technology, science and culture, reform of the law, national defense, the environment and the economy, the future of democratic institutions, transportation, religion and public life, government entitlement spending, foreign affairs and cooperation within the bi-national region of "Cascadia." The efforts of Discovery fellows and staff, headquartered in Seattle, are crucially abetted by the Institute's members, board and sponsors.

Nothing about God. Now here is a small portion of the list of Fellows of the Institute, just from the CSC portion:


Information about Center Fellows and the Research Fellowship Program

Program Directors
Stephen C Meyer


Associate Directors
John G West


Senior Fellows
Michael J Behe
David Berlinski
Paul Chien
William A Dembski
David DeWolf
Guillermo Gonzalez
Bruce L Gordon
Michael Newton Keas
David Klinghoffer
Jay W Richards
Jonathan Wells
Benjamin Wiker
Jonathan Witt

This is just a partial list of some brilliant minds who are focused on issues that concern our futures and our daily lives.

~

I respect the work ID people do. I prefer the work of the folks at institutions such as Creation.com and Answers In Genesis and Institute for Creation Research because they are, like me, including God and the Bible in the set of evidence being considered. I doubt any minds equal to Berlinski or Sarfati ever inhabit this blog but if they ever do I would be gratified. I met the Sarfatis at a conference three years ago and although his mind is remarkable his geniality and gentlemanly behavior are equal to his intellect. (When commenters trash Sarfati anyone with great familiarity with the worlds of science or chess would identify such commenters as foolish in the extreme). Second graders might laugh out loud when you yell, "poop!" Grown-ups are supposed to be beyond such behavior.

When you really get down to it the only people who are not beginning with a presupposition are the Intelligent Design folks. Sorry folks, but the truth hurts sometimes...

Now I do not mind being identifed as a Young Earth Creationist and admitting that I come to the table with my presuppositions in my kit bag. You Darwinists can howl at the moon and fling poo but you have a big old set of presuppositions and you cannot hide them.

41 comments:

Rabby said...

Great post. To think that environmentalists would allow humans to die and animals to live...wait; that doesn't actually surprise me. Liberals are the king of hypocrites. Hiring people to live "environmentally sound" for them so they can live like the average (or in most cases, worse than average) citizen. Honestly, I'm so fed up with it all it makes me sick. To think common sense has become so scarce...

Jon Woolf said...

Believe it or not radar, you weren't doing too badly here, until you decided to connect this post to your holy crusade against evolutionary theory.

Evolution is not a theory. To be a theory it must have tested out as a possibility,

Which it has. Many times. And it has passed, every single time. Not a single fossil, not a single gene, not a single organism, not a single discovery of any kind has been made in any branch of any relevant science which contradicts the basic theory of evolution. Not even one, in almost a hundred and fifty years.

And no, your incessant repetition of your argument from incredulity does not count as an argument against evolution. Nor does the Disco Institute's penchant for quote-mining and deceptive doubletalk. The fact that your mind is too limited to grasp the full glory of Nature is your problem, not Nature's. There is a grandeur you cannot grasp in this view of Life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

creeper said...

Oh boy.

Judging by the increasing desperation and frequency of your Gish gallops of late, it seems we’ve hit a bit of a sore spot. Just to remind you, off the top of my head you still owe answers re. “speciation is information loss” (define “information”; define “new creatures”) and “flood sorting” – what mechanism could account for the consistent sorting of fossils in the fossil record?

"A religion is a belief system, creeper, and evolutionists certainly fit the bill.”

You’re conflating a bunch of things and making an awful mess in the process. It may have something to do with your use of terms like “Darwinism” and “evolutionism”, whose definition you change from one moment to the next. Sometimes they may mean atheism (I guess most of the time), but you can’t equate that with an acceptance of the scientific theory of evolution. They are not one and the same thing at all, and so I would ask you to use more precise terminology.

You may think of atheism as a belief system, though that would be like saying that theism is a belief system – it covers far too many different beliefs to serve as a workable definition.

As for an acceptance of the scientific theory of evolution as the most likely explanation for the variety of life we see around us, that is not a belief system at all, as confirmed by the fact that people of all faiths accept evolution as the most likely explanation.

”Darwinism just casts aside the work of great scientists of the past who showed that life does not spring from non-life “

Scientists “cast aside” the work of great scientists of the past all the time – if evidence consistently indicates a different, more likely explanation. But in the case of Pasteur, you’re once again being disingenuous. Pasteur proved that certain forms of life (e.g. bacteria) do not appear fully-formed. He did not (and of course could not) prove that life could never arise from non-life.

So it’s a complete non-sequitur to claim that because Pasteur showed that bacteria did not come from non-life, that he allegedly proved that non-life could never turn to life.

You consistently ignore this point, so I wonder if you don’t understand it, or you disagree with it, or you prefer to spread lies.

”and that entropy increases while energy decreases unless directed energy is added from outside the system.”

The 2nd LOT again? As you already noted “unless energy is added from outside the system”, which is of course clearly the case on planet Earth. We receive constant energy input from the sun.

Second, are you still of the opinion that your own birth, or anyone’s birth, violates the 2nd LOT? To connect the dots in a YEC universe, you have to come up with such an outlandish world that it’s impossible for us to live in it. Not exactly what you’d call “following the evidence where it leads”...

”Darwinism posits growing complexity and new systems and processes developing in organisms and yet what we see in the real world is a set of genetic information that is already in place, being naturally selected by environment and sometimes being lost.”

The fossil record certainly indicates otherwise. If it were as you claimed and all species were created as the original kinds, with all the genetic information in place for all future eventualities, with for example a wolf with all the genetic information for all potential future dog variations already contained in that original wolf, then we’d be looking at organisms close to our modern species in all layers... instead of a consistent progression of different kinds of organisms evolving and dying out.

That’s direct evidence that this notion (it’s too basic to even call it a hypothesis) is a complete and utter non-starter.

-- creeper

creeper said...

”All attempts to test Darwinism have failed. It is simply an hypothesis that does not fit the evidence well and has been accepted as a ruling paradigm for philosophical and not scientific reasons."

All this tells us is that you have yet to crack a few books. The theory of evolution has been tested in countless ways, most of which have been kindly pointed out to you by numerous commenters on your blog. And yet you have the audacity to claim that all such attempts have failed.

But then again, you are the guy who claimed that the theory of evolution had been refuted because bacteria did not turn into something other than bacteria in a lab experiment, which means you're not in possession of the most basic facts re. either biology or the theory of evolution.

And before you say it, this is not an ad hominem. Another subject in which you've proven to be quite learning-resistant.

Evolution is not a theory. To be a theory it must have tested out as a possibility, which it has not. Were it tested and found workable by several different scientists and if the results were the same every time, then it would be a theory and in fact be on the way to being accepted generally as scientific law. Even then it might later be shown to be not quite accurate (hence Newtonian physical laws are no longer laws per se) but sadly for Darwinists any tests devised to promote Darwinism as a theory have failed.”

The gobsmacking ignorance is just too much sometimes. Here are some facts:

1. The theory of evolution is in fact a scientific theory.
2. It has been tested and found workable not just by “several different scientists”, but by thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of them, consistently over time, and it has consistently panned out.
3. The theory of evolution will not become a scientific law with further confirmation, since a scientific law is substantively different. The theory of evolution will always remain a theory (in the scientific sense).
4. Newton’s laws are still scientific laws. It’s just that their area of application has been constrained somewhat.

” Not. First of all, you are avoiding the abortion issue entirely and conveniently.”

Sorry, I must have missed something – how did abortion tie into this fish issue again?

”God made the animal world with a very rich genetic code that allows various kinds of animals to adjust to environmental changes.”

Again, this is the first inkling of a possible hypothesis with nothing to back it up whatsoever. And if it’s all about continuously losing genetic information (which you haven’t explained or demonstrated even the tiniest little bit... for obvious reasons), then that is a poor way for organisms to adapt to changes in environment.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

creeper: If it were as you claimed and all species were created as the original kinds, with all the genetic information in place for all future eventualities, with for example a wolf with all the genetic information for all potential future dog variations already contained in that original wolf, then we’d be looking at organisms close to our modern species in all layers... instead of a consistent progression of different kinds of organisms evolving and dying out.

Well.... not necessarily. It's possible that the genetic code might contain programming that turns certain traits off and other traits on, perhaps at predetermined times, perhaps in response to environmental stimuli.

Not that that helps radar's case any. His claim that "... what we see in the real world is a set of genetic information that is already in place, being naturally selected by environment and sometimes being lost" collapses completely when faced with the issues of new dominants and allele density. Many genes in the human genome (and in many other organisms' genomes as well) come in dozens of different alleles. Some of these alleles must be of recent origin because they are genetically dominant, yet we know when they first appeared in the population. Other genes have so many alleles that it would take hundreds of thousands of years at observed mutation rates to generate them all. Yet radar says that all of these organisms went through huge genetic bottlenecks less than five thousand years ago.

Mazement said...

If you believe in evolution then you should agree with survival of the fittest and that the fish must die to sustain human life, oh well.

OK, I see where you're confused. You're making two basic mistakes.

One is that you're confusing Natural Law with Moral Law. "Survival of the fittest" is an observation about the natural world, not a guideline for human behavior.

You might as well say, "If you believe in gravity, then you should take things off of high shelves and put them on the ground where they belong."


The other mistake you're making is that you think that mainstream environmentalists think that fish are more important than people. There might be a handful of crackpots that believe that, but they're not the main driving force behind the environmental movement.

Another argument for protecting fish is the "canary in the coal mine" argument: If people do too much damage to the environment, then the marginal species will be the first ones to die off, but as things get worse the "fitter" species and eventually humans will start to die. It's better to start repairing the damage early, when we see that marginal species are at risk.

Suppose it turns out that the environment is being damaged because there are too many farms in an area. If some of them get shut down, then that's unfortunate, but if the economy's in good shape then we-as-a-society can afford to give the farmers whatever support and retraining they need. On the other hand, if we just ignore the problem and wind up with another Dust Bowl situation, then we-as-a-society will get overwhelmed and too many farmers will be forced into grinding poverty.

There's also a more subtle reason to proect fish, which is that it's foolish to destroy stuff that you don't understand. What if these fish have an unusual resistance to some specific disease or toxin, and we could make practical use of it if we understood it? Maybe biologists 100 or 200 years from now will discover it if they have the opportunity to study these fish in their natural habitat.

creeper said...

For some reason my "people of all faiths" link in my comment above got mangled. Here is the link:

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1105/darwin-debate-religion-evolution

-- creeper

scohen said...

Radar,
Once again you get only half of the story right, but living so far from the action, you can be forgiven.

The issue is much more complex than you make it out to be. Not only is the water important to the delta smelt, but it's also very important to commercial and recreational fisherman. The California stocks of salmon are at dangerously low levels, and the diversion of the water is primarily to blame. The salmon season has been canceled for three years now, and if you want to frame this as a fish vs. jobs issue, you have to include the fisherman who are going without any income for three years.

California has been in a drought for three years now, and water is extremely important, yet rather than plant more hardy crops, the farmers in the central valley plant water intensive crops that will wither and die without massive irrigation. Since the farmers are also last in line for water, there's also a valid argument that the pumping wouldn't do much to help out anyway.

I recommend you listen to the following episode of Forum, which gives a fairly good overview of the situation.

Anonymous said...

This is radar from a different computer and at work. Very busy today and may not get to comments until tomorrow but I did want to thank scohen for a thoughtful response to one part of the post.

Yes, I did live in California near both the City, San Jose and Monterey and I have family and friends from around Poway up to past Sacramento. I have heard a lot about this issue. I agree that it is not simply save a fish and starve people cut-and-dried. I do intend to have a thoughtful dialogue with you about this when I get time to get back to this blog.

schohen, do you understand the aspect of information loss involved in speciation and do you have a comment on that issue as a separate matter?

Thanks, radard

scohen said...

"schohen, do you understand the aspect of information loss involved in speciation and do you have a comment on that issue as a separate matter?"

If we're talking about your definition of information then I think that's it's woefully under-specified and biased towards your conclusions. Creeper brought up tree rings as a counterexample of information that is transmitted without any purpose and without any intelligence, yet I doubt you'd argue that it was information.

Similarly, when we're talking about DNA, you seem to be conflating expression of a trait with losing information. This is problematic because even though a trait is not expressed, the genes for the other option can still exist. Many of your examples from the world of dog breeding suggest this. Dog breeders often select for recessive and deleterious traits --they do so by using inbreeding and other techniques to limit the variation in their stock. This is actually harmful in a genetic sense, and makes for some fairly poor dogs (regardless how successful they might be in the ring).

To sum up, I think you are saying --or trying to say-- that over time there is a net decrease in variation, not in information. I think this error comes from viewing things from the perspective as an individual rather than a population.

But we've been over this before. I have repeatedly offered to show you how randomness can lead to order when there is a correction factor involved (just like how natural selection works), but you said that it wouldn't change your mind on the matter.

Yet 'operational science' marches on. NASA uses genetic algorithms modeled after natural selection to create antennas among other things. Look at the results, no human would design antennas like that, yet they're magnificently efficient. If you are right and natural selection was the same as 'random chance', then this would be impossible.

scohen said...

"schohen, do you understand the aspect of information loss involved in speciation and do you have a comment on that issue as a separate matter?"

If we're talking about your definition of information then I think that's it's woefully under-specified and biased towards your conclusions. Creeper brought up tree rings as a counterexample of information that is transmitted without any purpose and without any intelligence, yet I doubt you'd argue that it was information.

Similarly, when we're talking about DNA, you seem to be conflating expression of a trait with losing information. This is problematic because even though a trait is not expressed, the genes for the other option can still exist. Many of your examples from the world of dog breeding suggest this. Dog breeders often select for recessive and deleterious traits --they do so by using inbreeding and other techniques to limit the variation in their stock. This is actually harmful in a genetic sense, and makes for some fairly poor dogs (regardless how successful they might be in the ring).

To sum up, I think you are saying --or trying to say-- that over time there is a net decrease in variation, not in information. I think this error comes from viewing things from the perspective as an individual rather than a population.

But we've been over this before. I have repeatedly offered to show you how randomness can lead to order when there is a correction factor involved (just like how natural selection works), but you said that it wouldn't change your mind on the matter.

Yet 'operational science' marches on. NASA uses genetic algorithms modeled after natural selection to create antennas among other things. Look at the results, no human would design antennas like that, yet they're magnificently efficient. If you are right and natural selection was the same as 'random chance', then this would be impossible.

scohen said...

oops... sorry about the double post. Looks like we had a small blogger glitch.

radar said...

scohen, who designed the program you refer to?

But we've been over this before. I have repeatedly offered to show you how randomness can lead to order when there is a correction factor involved (just like how natural selection works), but you said that it wouldn't change your mind on the matter.

Yet 'operational science' marches on. NASA uses genetic algorithms modeled after natural selection to create antennas among other things. Look at the results, no human would design antennas like that, yet they're magnificently efficient. If you are right and natural selection was the same as 'random chance', then this would be impossible.


scohen, you are so close to understanding this...NASA designed a program modeled after natural selection. God designed natural selection. The people who designed the program were following in God's footprints, good on them! But you are actually proving my point. Think on it for awhile...

radar said...

As to the fish, I have seen the salmon runs up and down the Northwest Pacific on up into Canada and Alaska. Man has made troughs for Salmon to get upstream more efficiently to their spawning grounds (how do they know where to go and what to do?) and takes just part of the harvest. At the right time anyone could just walk up and fill a pickup truck full of Salmon.

If we let Californians decide how water gets used or, in the case of shared watersheds, a consortium that puts the needs of man above that of fish it would be a huge improvement over the idiotic EPA mentality that says when you exhale you are poisoning the atmosphere! Ludicrous.

If we have learned anything from the late 19th and early 20th century (not much) we have learned that greed unchecked is a bad thing but government unchecked is worse. It winds up giving greed a place at the table wearing a bulletproof vest.

We are better off ceasing national management of environment altogether and ownership of land altogether. We were born a collection of states with a limited federal government. We have become like a middle-aged man who is twice his healthy size. The fat that is federal government will kill us if we do not lose it first.

radar said...

Most of these comments are such propaganda that it boggles the mind.

Who has ever "proved" evolution, ever?

How hard is it to wrap your mind around speciation? Farmers, breeders and growers for many centuries have learned to select traits OUT.

A new organism does not appear when disease ravages the population. It is just that the organisms that already have the capacity to withstand the disease survive and the rest do not. If not, a disease would kill all the organisms before they had time to "evolve" a cure. No, resistance is in the gene pool already and those who have it will live and procreate.

scohen said...

"NASA designed a program modeled after natural selection. God designed natural selection."

Is that the same natural selection you repeatedly call 'chance'?

And, if what you say about information only being able to be removed by natural selection, then where did the antenna designs come from? Was it present in the initial random bit-strings?

No, the genetic algorithm created them with no help from engineers. The antennas were created exactly the same way that every other structure in nature has been created, iteratively over millions of generations.

scohen said...

At the right time anyone could just walk up and fill a pickup truck full of Salmon.

There has been no salmon harvest here in three years because the existing stocks are near collapse. You cannot fill a truck of salmon here.

If we let Californians decide how water gets used

Californians do decide where and how water gets used. The regional EPA is in the hands of Californians. This is not a fish vs. man issue --people lose jobs whether or not the pumps are turned up all the way.
Why don't the farmers have to sacrifice like the fishermen do? They still farm almonds in Salinas. Why can they farm such a water intensive crop when water is so scarce?

I think this is an issue where you're just choosing the side against your perceived 'enemy', which in this case is environmentalists. You do understand that turning on the pumps and killing the smelt means that salmon have no water and no food. They will all die and an entire industry will disappear.

All of this for more almonds, strawberries and garlic. It's not like the Salinas valley hasn't been able to grow anything for three years, they just can't grow at the capacity the large farms want.

Jon Woolf said...

radar,

Farmers, breeders and growers for many centuries have learned to select traits OUT.

They've also learned how to generate new variants. One very common way to do this is irradiation. A researcher zaps a bunch of seeds with ionizing radiation, usually alpha or gamma rays. Then they plant the seeds and see what grows.

As you might imagine, a lot of the seeds don't grow at all. Most of those that do, grow more or less normally. But every now and then, one of these radiation-induced mutations (hey, where'd that word come from?) produces a line of plants that has a useful new trait. Then that line is propagated, and we get a new crop-strain out of it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.redstate.com/haystack/2010/03/09/obama-the-will-of-the-people-be-damned-ill-decide-who-can-go-fishing/

Obama: The Will Of The People Be Damned - I’LL Decide Who Can Go Fishing

radar, from work. When will people wake up and see this government is determined to take over everything?

scohen said...

Radar,
What does that link have to do with the current discussion?

Please stay on topic, it's much easier to have a discussion when you aren't injecting a non-sequitur.

creeper said...

To be fair, this "radar from work" character may well be a hoax. Radar may be ludicrously incoherent at times (even in this very thread), but (1) he sounds different here and (2) it doesn't take a whole lot of effort for him to log in even if he is "at work".

(Oh, and for some reason (or more likely no reason at all), my word verification right now is "conning". I'm not kidding.)

-- creeper (conning)

creeper said...

But just in case it is you, Radar, what made you Rip van Winkle all through the Bush years?

Hypocrite.

-- creeper.

Anonymous said...

radar

I am working late. But schohen you are so close to getting it.

Who WROTE your program? Did it appear magically from nowhere by no means or did someone MAKE it? You see what I mean? It was INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED. I know you are a smart guy, probably smarter than me, and you can cut through the propaganda and get this. Think.

radar

Anonymous said...

Bush never tried to take over the entire USA like Obama. He has now taken banks, automobile companies and is trying to take over the healthcare industry (and the decisions about who gets care and who doesn't) plus get control of ALL waterways and grab lots of additional land. He wants control of the media and the internet.

Do you not see where this is going, people? The liberals called Bush a Nazi but it is Obama and his administration who are doing the things that the Nazi's did at the beginning of their takeover of Germany and what Mussolini did in Italy. Did the trains run on time? Yes.

This is what happened in Russia, in Germany, in Italy...this is what has happened in Cuba and Venezuela. Do you people not know your history?

I am John Galt.

radar said...

Back in the house!

creeper said...

"Did it appear magically from nowhere by no means or did someone MAKE it?"

AKA the Creationist false dichotomy.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Think."

Brought to you by the guy who thinks that if bacteria don't turn into something other than bacteria in a lab experiment, then the theory of evolution has been refuted.

Some chutzpah, huh?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Bush never tried to take over the entire USA like Obama."

...

"Do you people not know your history?"

Automatic disqualification.

-- creeper

radar said...

creeper, is everything you say propaganda?

Bacteria, fish, fruit flies, bears, no matter what you name macroevolution has NEVER been observed.

Natural selection, which is actually a part of the coding of the organism, is mistaken for Darwinist evolution because he, of course, thought that it would explain things. It doesn't.

Darwin depended upon the findings of Charles Lyell, which were wrong and in fact in the case of Niagra Falls were obviously wrong when written as well as now.

schohen has been part of the writing of a program that "evolves" but at least I think he is beginning to realize that it was a program that is acting according to instruction. All creatures are like that. All have been designed with remarkable self-replication and self-adjustment mechanisms.

creeper said...

"Most of these comments are such propaganda that it boggles the mind."

Not sure if it counts as propaganda if it happens to be objectively true.

"Who has ever "proved" evolution, ever?"

I hope that you put "proved" in quotes because you know it's not the right word to use here. What you probably mean is "have testable and falsifiable predictions about the theory of evolution been made, and have they been confirmed?", right?

Well, that's a pretty easy question to answer in the affirmative. Not that hard to find answers by simply googling it either, if you happen to be interested. There's a slew of them here, for example.

-- creeper (choin)

creeper said...

"creeper, is everything you say propaganda?"

Hardly. Feel free to refute any or all of it. Why so shy? So far you're just piling one fallacy on top of another.

-- creeper

radar said...

I suspect only scohen even understands the information problem. But I will try to help here.

We find that populations (have you ever heard of extinctions of subspecies? Of course) that are separated and adjust to their respective environments can lose so much information that subspecies from one extreme cannot even mate with those from another.

http://radaractive.blogspot.com/2009/07/in-regards-to-canards-natural-selection.html

http://radaractive.blogspot.com/2009/06/five-canard-stud-taking-down-darwinist.html

This is not even difficult to understand. There are various Dawkins-types trying to invent genetic systemic traits that are completely nonsensical but do not be misled. Get back on track. Where does the information come from?

creeper said...

"schohen has been part of the writing of a program that "evolves" but at least I think he is beginning to realize that it was a program that is acting according to instruction. "

His handle is "scohen", by the way.

Yep, it's a program acting according to instruction, but it still makes use of iterative processes, as does evolution by natural selection. Again, you can only carry the analogy so far.

-- creeper

radar said...

Thank God Anthropic Global Warming was only given a few years to propagandize, I think we will have that idiocy killed off in another year or two.

Darwinism will be much harder to kill because it blinds followers to the simplest of logic. Like the Cowardly Lion crying "I DO believe in spooks, I DO believe in spooks!" they claim Darwinism is a theory and moreover a proven fact. Why? Well, because EVERYONE KNOWS IT IS TRUE. That allows people to turn off their brains. Wow. Darwinism is an epic fail. It is a sloppy hypothesis at best and one that is mostly just-so stories.

creeper said...

"Bacteria, fish, fruit flies, bears, no matter what you name macroevolution has NEVER been observed."

Willful ignorance at its finest. We've even discussed some of these on your very blog.

What stands in the way of this discussion is your inability to properly define terms like "macroevolution" and "speciation" and, closely related to that, "information" and "new creatures".

Why do you keep shying away from such basics?

-- creeper

radar said...

So let us ask one more time. If I spot you the matter and the energy and time, where does the information come from? Someone needed to write scohen's program. Someone needed to write the program we call DNA. Someone needed to write the program we call photosynthesis. You people cannot seriously believe these things just happened, really?

creeper said...

"they claim Darwinism is a theory and moreover a proven fact"

So the definition du jour of "Darwinism" is "the theory of evolution", is it? Do keep us up to date for when you want "Darwinism" to mean something else.

Yes, the theory of evolution is in fact a scientific theory. That's not propaganda or whatever you want to call it. Denying that only makes you look uneducated.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"If I spot you the matter and the energy and time, where does the information come from?"

1. We're all spotted the matter and the energy and the time. You never explained why, for example, time itself must have had a creator, so you have no call to get all big-headed about this. You don't know where it came from. Nobody does.

2. Re. "where does information come from":

DEFINE INFORMATION.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Darwinism is an epic fail. It is a sloppy hypothesis at best and one that is mostly just-so stories."

Projection at its finest. "Just-so stories" are the kind of stuff you see when you have to invent rays of light being created in mid-travel to justify us being able to see stellar objects more than 6,000 light years away. Or trying to come up with some kind of sorting mechanism to explain the fossil record to match a young Earth and a global flood. You're not proceeding from the evidence, you're picking an outcome you like and then lie to get there.

I've given you a link to numerous falsifiable predictions that back up the theory of evolution.

My prediction is that all you can shoot back with are either an ad hominem argument ("I don't like that website") or simple evasion.

Falsify it.

-- creeper

radar said...

Yep, it's a program acting according to instruction, but it still makes use of iterative processes, as does evolution by natural selection. Again, you can only carry the analogy so far.

Are you kidding me? Yes, it is a program but...but what? It is a program that was written by copying some aspects of the basic design of organisms. How can you possibly be so dense? It is a program, it was written. It didn't just pop into existence from nowhere. Men worked long hours designing it.

You guys keep falling back from the fight because you cannot account for the information and you will not admit the problem. It is like trying to convince a crackhead that he has a problem and that he is addicted to crack. Until he sees that he has a problem he cannot even begin to overcome it. Even then many hard steps lie ahead.

I realize many of you have been brainwashed since childhood and you do not even understand that you are not making logical arguments but simply parroting your teachers. It doesn't mean you are stupid but that you simply have not yet grasped what has been done to you.

Darwinism has failed any test it has taken and cannot be called a theory nor a fact. It is simply the religion of the ruling class, the modern paradigm of the Humanist.

scohen said...

"schohen has been part of the writing of a program that "evolves" but at least I think he is beginning to realize that it was a program that is acting according to instruction"

First off, it's scohen (as in S. Cohen) ;)

Yes, I have written genetic algorithms before and no, it doesn't act according to its instruction. Sometimes they converge on a local maximum and don't get great results. Other times, they impress the hell out of you with what they come up with.

Hmm... sounds familiar.

Radar, I'm positive it's you who needs to think here. Where did the antennas come from? Who designed them? The answer is, of course, no one.

"It is a program, it was written. It didn't just pop into existence from nowhere. Men worked long hours designing it."

Much like all programs. In this analogy, the program is life and the way it works is evolution via natural selection. The difference between the beginning of life (writing the program) and evolution (running the program) couldn't be any clearer.

Also important to note is that what the people (not going to be sexist and say men) worked on was the fitness function (the selection part of natural selection). They didn't work on actually designing antennae, yet it produced something that looks very designed.

Design without a designer? Call up Behe.