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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Science or Mythology? The Ruling Paradigm = Wizard of Oz wearing the Emperor's New Clothes

One commenter remarked that I was frustrated by not being able to disprove evolution.   I replied that there was no evolution to disprove, to paraphrase, that it was like proving there is no Easter Bunny.   It is hard to prove there is no Easter Bunny (have you looked EVERYWHERE?) but it is quite easy to show that people buy the candy and the eggs and that people are spotted hiding things in yards and parks and stand in lines at stores with baskets and fake grass, etc.   So we CAN provide large amounts of evidence that people are doing the things that the Easter Bunny gets credit for...just as for years I have presented massive amounts of information that supports Creationism.  Really, the evidence of the fossil record, of long term experiments, of records of animal husbandry, the discoveries about how the cell operates, the amazing DNA coding system, of human history and artwork and in every scientific area of investigation Creationism and/or ID has trumped evolution in terms of evidence.  Try to find real evidence FOR evolution and Darwinists start telling you stories.

Click to view the gif

Really, click the gif, you will not be sorry!   I mean, if you are going to swallow fairy tales they should at least be funny, too.   None of this boring and stupid faked Pakicetus nonsense for me!!!

As also mentioned in a comments section earlier, there is a fellow by the name of PZ Myers who enjoys blogging about Darwinist fairy tales (His blog might as well be named *Poof*) while saying nasty things about ID proponents and Creationists while ALSO propping up the most preposterous of Darwinist BS. This is a large part of the problem of secular science right now, instead of dissent and creativity and enquiry being VALUED, they are being STIFLED while pretty much any garbage from the "right" authors and/or schools get published automatically.   It isn't just Myers, it is the entire corrupt system that is in place.  Darwinists have settled comfortably into positions of power and simply have turned themselves from scientists into gatekeepers, guarding the Metaphysical Gate while ignoring the science part almost entirely.  The article below illustrates this pretty clearly:

Peer-Review and the Corruption of Science

Jonathan M. September 13, 2011 6:00 AM | Permalink
The Guardian features an interesting opinion column by the renowned British pharmacologist David Colquhoun. The article bears the intriguing headline, "Publish-or-perish: Peer review and the corruption of science." The author laments that "Pressure on scientists to publish has led to a situation where any paper, however bad, can now be printed in a journal that claims to be peer-reviewed."
Colquhoun explains,
The blame for this sad situation lies with the people who have imposed a publish-or-perish culture, namely research funders and senior people in universities. To have "written" 800 papers is regarded as something to boast about rather than being rather shameful. University PR departments encourage exaggerated claims, and hard-pressed authors go along with them.
The author proceeds to list a few examples of the failure of the peer-review system to ensure robust and accurate journal content. He argues that part of the reason for the lapse in academic publication standards is the pressure on academics to publish many papers. If a scientist publishes frequently, that should actually call into question, rather than enhance, his credibility as a diligent and focused researcher.

Those of us who follow the professional literature (or even the blogosphere) may recall the Nowak et al. (2010) paper that appeared in Nature back in May of last year. It was regarded by many evolutionary biologists (most notably University of Chicago's Jerry Coyne) as a "misguided attack on kin selection."

Coyne noted,
If the Nowak et al. paper is so bad, why was it published? That's obvious, and is an object lesson in the sociology of science. If Joe Schmo et al. from Buggerall State University had submitted such a misguided paper to Nature, it would have been rejected within an hour (yes, Nature sometimes does that with online submissions!). The only reason this paper was published is because it has two big-name authors, Nowak and Wilson, hailing from Mother Harvard. That, and the fact that such a contrarian paper, flying in the face of accepted evolutionary theory, was bound to cause controversy.
I have often read papers, published in reputable journals, that I thought should not have passed through peer-review. Consider, for example, this paper, published in PLoS Biology in May of last year. Indeed, the esteemed atheist blogger PZ Myers wrote about it in a blog post headlined "Junk DNA is still junk" (to which I responded briefly here). The paper erroneously concluded "Overall, ...we find that most of the genome is not appreciably transcribed. [emphasis added]"

There is actually a pretty good response to this article here. The methodology of the PLoS Biology article is fatally flawed, for they use a program called "RepeatMasker", which screens out all the repetitive DNA. But given that about 50% of our genome is comprised of repetitive DNA, the conclusions drawn by the authors seems to be a little disingenuous to say the least! In fact, the official description of RepeatMasker itself states that "On average, almost 50% of a human genomic DNA sequence currently will be masked by the program."

As if that weren't bad enough, the researchers then base their results "primarily on analysis of PolyA+ enriched RNA." But we've known since 2005 that, in humans, PolyA- sequences are twice as abundant as PolyA+ transcripts. So the authors not only exclude half the genome from their research, but also completely ignore two thirds of the RNA in what remains!

By citing that paper PZ Myers didn't do his own credibility any favors. The point being made by Myers is a false one anyway because it is known that even DNA that is not transcribed can play important roles.

Then there was, of course, that recent paper in PNAS telling us that "There's plenty of time for evolution" (also paraded by Myers). The substance of the argument presented in this paper was terrible (for some of the reasons why, see here and here). Reading that paper when it came out, I was frankly astonished that it was able to pass through peer-review.

(Actually, look below the break and see that I have copied one of these critiques for you, because I do not expect many readers will check all these links.   I have provided one that by itself does a great job of illustrating the paucity of evidence that Darwinism subsists upon)

Back in June of 2009, a paper appeared in PNAS by Ghosh et al. purporting to demonstrate the production of endospores in the genus Mycobacterium (which includes many pathogens such as M. tuberculosis and M. leprae). Traag et al. (2010) document the problems with the paper:
Here, we report that the genomes of Mycobacterium species and those of other high G+C Gram-positive bacteria lack orthologs of many, if not all, highly conserved genes diagnostic of endospore formation in the genomes of low G+C Gram-positive bacteria. We also failed to detect the presence of endospores by light microscopy or by testing for heat-resistant colony-forming units in aged cultures of M. marinum. Finally, we failed to recover heat-resistant colony-forming units from frogs chronically infected with M. marinum. We conclude that it is unlikely that Mycobacterium is capable of endospore formation.
As ID proponents know only too well, the peer-review system has not only become corrupted in allowing substandard content into the academic market. It has also been turned into a gate-keeping system for imposing ideological conformity. Recently, an editor resigned over the publication of a seminal article by Roy Spencer and William Braswell. The paper's purpose was to demonstrate that one of the feedbacks that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been treating as a positive feedback is really a negative feedback. You can read Roy Spencer's defense of his paper here.

In a similar incident in 2004, Smithsonian Institute evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg was punished and pressured to resign following the publication of a pro-ID article by Stephen C. Meyer in a journal of which Sternberg was the editor.

In still another incident, a recent pro-ID paper authored by mathematician Granville Sewell was retracted from publication (after it had been subjected to peer-review and approved) as the result of a complaint from a blogger writing to the journal's editor. The journal, Applied Mathematics Letters has since apologized and paid $10,000 in compensation to Dr. Sewell.
What's to be done? Colquhoun makes the following recommendation:
There is an alternative: publish your paper yourself on the web and open the comments. This sort of post-publication review would reduce costs enormously, and the results would be open for anyone to read without paying. It would also destroy the hegemony of half a dozen high-status journals.
And, indeed, this is exactly how the Biologic Institute-associated journal Bio-Complexity operates. This peer-reviewed journal, dedicated to discussions surrounding the respective scientific merits of neo-Darwinian evolution and intelligent design, is published freely on the web and is open for comments and published responses, hence allowing -- even encouraging -- post-publication review.
Colquhoun further suggests, would be essential to allow anonymous comments. Most reviewers are anonymous at present, so why not online? Second, the vast flood of papers that make the present system impossible should be stemmed. I'd suggest scientists should limit themselves to an average of two original papers a year. They should also be limited to holding one research grant at a time. Anyone who thought their work necessitated more than this would have to be scrutinized very carefully. It's well known that small research groups give better value than big ones, so that should be the rule.
The benefit of such a system, as Colquhoun notes, is that "With far fewer papers being published, reviewers, grant committees and promotion committees might be able to read the papers, not just count them."

Colquhoun is to be commended. The goal of the peer-review system ought to be the ensuring of factual accuracy and the highlighting of necessary revisions and corrections. Its goal should not be the enforcement of ideological and paradigmatic conformity, nor should it be the upholding of "consensus science." Post-publication review ought to be encouraged, and moves should be made to make journal content more frequently open-access.


As I promised, just one of the many linked papers:

Breaking News from the Academy: There’s Plenty of Time for Evolution!January 14th, 2011 by Douglas Axe

If you search the current issues of professional science journals, I doubt you’ll find any papers titled “The Moon Orbits the Earth” or “Copper Conducts Electricity.” Assertions like these would work as section headings in an elementary science textbook, but no scientist would consider them newsworthy, for the simple reason that they aren’t.

Things are different in evolutionary biology, though. Here is a field that somehow never outgrew the need to reiterate its most basic tenets, as though its practitioners never had enough confidence in them to let them stand on their own two feet.

I think it has to do with evidence-envy. If someone were to claim not to believe in gravity or electricity, we could devise any number of ways to impress upon them the realities to which those words refer. No stern lecturing. No scolding. No indoctrinating. Just a simple demonstration followed by the words, “We call that electricity.” Even dogs and cows seem to get it.

Lacking recourse to anything comparably compelling, Darwinists have always relied heavily on mere repetition of their core beliefs. If you can’t prove something, sometimes you just keep asserting it with an authoritative tone in prominent places, hoping that it will catch on. From what I can tell, that appears to be the most plausible explanation for a paper by Herbert Wilf and Warren Ewens titled “There’s Plenty of Time for Evolution”, which just appeared in the highly regarded Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [1].

Think about it. The paper’s title amounts to an assertion that Darwinism is plausible. Leaving aside the question of whether it really is plausible, what are we to make of the fact that an esteemed science journal considers such an elementary assertion to be worthy of publication? If the experts responsible for approving the paper really considered the plausibility of Darwin’s theory to be an open question when the paper was received for review (just three months ago), then reasonable caution ought to dictate that they still do. After all, we’re talking about a 2½-page document that cites a mere two pieces of prior work, neither of which deals directly with the main subject. Surely no one would take such a slim contribution to be the final word on this hotly debated subject.

I suspect instead that all of the people involved (authors, editors, and reviewers) have been faithful Darwinists for some time. If so, then the paper was never really meant to be scrutinized the way most scientific papers are. That would explain how Wilf and Ewens manage to pass their paper off as refuting “an evolutionary model often used to ‘discredit’ Darwin” without actually citing any cases where that model was used. Needless to say, a gaping omission like that would be unacceptable under normal circumstances.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and it seems that Darwinism has fallen on desperate times. So here we have a new research paper that reads very much like a mathematically embellished version of the simplistic “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL” argument put forward twenty-five years ago by Richard Dawkins [2].

In case you missed it the first time around, here’s my two-sentence synopsis. Although it would take eons for unassisted random typing to generate the Shakespearean line METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL, the task becomes very manageable if something can select the best line from among the many lines of random gibberish, where ‘best’ means most resembling METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL (however slight that resemblance may be). Couple this with the ability to breed slight variations on what was just selected, and voilá!— a line from Shakespeare materializes right before our eyes.

It’s an old argument with an embarrassingly obvious flaw. Yes, meaningful text can evolve very rapidly if selection has foresight or (equivalently) if miraculously helpful fitness functions can be assumed. But alas, neither of these happy circumstances follows from the impersonal kind of selection that Darwinists are committed to.

Dawkins’ illustration makes this abundantly clear, in spite of his intent. He proposed (in my antique copy of his book, it’s on page 48) that this:
is somehow manifestly more fit than this:
but I can’t imagine why it would be, unless the selector (like Dawkins) knows exactly where he wants to go with it. If he does… well, that’s called intelligent design.

In the end, whether evolution has plenty of time or not depends on what you want to ascribe to it. It copes well with the most favorable adaptations conceivable (those offering substantial benefit after a single nucleotide substitution), but even slightly more complex tasks involving just two or three mutations can easily stump it [3,4]. The key question, then, is this: What, of all life’s marvels, can be accounted for in terms of the single-change adaptations that Darwinism explains? And the answer, if we take Dawkins’ illustration seriously, is: Nothing that approaches the complexity of a six-word sentence.

You don’t need a biology degree to see that this leaves Darwinism in a difficult position. In fact, oddly enough, it seems that biology degrees only make it harder to see.

[1] doi:10.1073/pnas.1016207107
[3] doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2010.2
[4] doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2010.4

by E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.
September 14, 2011

In a recent Republican presidential debate, candidate John Huntsman, incredulous that other candidates question dangerous, manmade global warming, insisted that “Republicans can’t run away from science.” Candidate Rick Perry, challenged to name scientists who support his skepticism, was stumped.

Are people who are skeptical of dangerous, manmade climate change “running away from science”?

No. The essence of science is free inquiry. As philosopher of science Robert K. Merton wrote, “Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.” The appeal to consensus—real or imaginary—to silence skepticism is fundamentally anti-scientific.

But that’s precisely what lies behind both Huntsman’s incredulity and Perry’s inability to name scientists who question belief in “global warming” or “climate change”—code names, really, for Catastrophic, Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW).

A small cadre of true believers and self-serving politicians has foisted on the world, and the mainstream media have uncritically embraced, the false claim of “scientific consensus” about CAGW. This and their concerted efforts to silence credible dissent are the antithesis of true science.

The inconvenient truth for the fear mongers is that literally thousands of scientists, from all specialties, deny CAGW. For examples:

Equally alarming as the denial of this widespread dissent is that true believers in CAGW have surreptitiously made their false claim seem credible by commandeering control of peer reviewed journals to block publication of research that undermines CAGW. The most recent example is the outcry from true believers when Remote Sensing published a critically important article by climatologist and Cornwall Alliance scientific advisor Dr. Roy Spencer that showed that added greenhouse gases warm the Earth far less than alarmists predict—implying that there’s no need to waste trillions of dollars and impoverish millions of people to fight global warming. The outcry led to the journal editor’s resignation, which will have a chilling effect on other editors considering dissenting articles.

Scientists, scholars, candidates, and Americans who do not believe in CAGW are not running away from science. They are, instead, running away from politicized science and embracing real science.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.
I will now present just one of the many backtracking and desperate so-called scientists who are trying to hide the truth that the entire CAGW story was built from lies and misconceptions in order to enrich people like the King of Hypocrisy, Al Gore, who tried to scare people into agreeing to anti-job/anti-energy and therefore anti-American legislation that would enrich Al Gore. 

Believing in Al Gore is like, well, this poor guy trusting the driver:

Not a good idea... 

Hockey Stick Smoke and Fire?

‘Hockey Stick’ Creator Michael Mann Seeks Court’s Help to Ensure No Inquiry, No ‘Exoneration’

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Contact: Paul Chesser, Executive Director,

Dr. Michael Mann, lead author of the discredited “hockey stick” graph that was once hailed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the “smoking gun” of the catastrophic man-made global warming theory, has asked to intervene in American Tradition Institute’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that seeks certain records produced by Mann and others while he was at the University of Virginia, for the purpose of keeping them hidden from the taxpayer.

Specifically over the weekend ATI’s Environmental Law Center received service from two Pennsylvania attorneys who seek the court’s permission to argue for Dr. Mann to intervene in ATI’s case. The attorneys also filed a motion to stay production of documents still withheld by UVA, which are to be provided to ATI’s lawyers in roughly two weeks under a protective order that UVA voluntarily agreed to in May. Dr. Mann’s lawyers also desire a hearing in mid-September, in an effort to further delay UVA’s scheduled production of records under the order.

Dr. Mann’s argument, distilled, is that the court must bend the rules to allow him to block implementation of a transparency law, so as to shield his sensibilities from offense once the taxpayer – on whose dime he subsists – sees the methods he employed to advance the global warming theory and related policies. ATI’s Environmental Law Center is not sympathetic.

“Dr. Mann’s late-hour tactics offer the spectacle of someone who relies on the media’s repeats of his untrue claims of having been ‘investigated’ and ‘exonerated’ – that is, when he’s not sputtering ad hominem and conspiracy theories to change the subject,” said Christopher Horner, director of litigation for ATI’s Environmental Law Center. “Mann has tried whatever means possible to ensure he remains free of any serious scrutiny, and this just appears to be his last gasp.”

Dr. Mann’s move is therefore gratifying, and ATI will agree to his out-of-state lawyers’ motion to appear. But ATI will ask the court to uphold Virginia’s abundantly clear law, that Dr. Mann has no interest in records that are purely the property of the taxpayer.

ATI will present to the court how Dr. Mann understood, as an unambiguous and agreed-upon condition of his employment, that he had no expectation of privacy when he used UVA’s public email system. ATI therefore looks forward to seeing if, given the opportunity, UVA will defend the idea that any of its own policies be upheld in court. Since Dr. Mann has no property interest in the taxpayer-owned records sought by ATI, he has no standing and therefore should not be entered in the case. Dr. Mann wants, after the fact, for UVA to throw out policies he accepted as a condition of living off of taxpayer dollars, in order to cover up public information and to evade scrutiny.

To the extent Dr. Mann, the university, or their obstructionist backers like Union of Concerned Scientists continue to argue he has been “cleared” or “exonerated,” or that any substantive investigation has taken place, those pleadings are undermined by their persistent efforts to squelch inquiry. As a result, all the public sees is an effort to sweep Climategate revelations under the rug in order to preserve the biggest taxpayer-financed gravy train for science and academia in decades. Hence we see the Rasmussen Reports poll last month that showed a strong majority of the public believes scientists who study climate change have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs.

“Virginia’s courts do not brook conspiracy theories as the basis for intervention in run-of-the-mill Freedom of Information Act litigation,” said Dr. David Schnare, director of ATI’s Environmental Law Center. “Dr. Mann – having failed to prevail in the court of public opinion – cannot now strut into court, soap box in hand, and expect a warm welcome.”

See case documents, press releases, media coverage, commentary, broadcast interviews, etc. pertaining to ATI v. University of Virginia by clicking here.
Michael Mann.  The IPCC.  The CRU.  The UN.  Phil Jones.  The list of deceptive individuals and groups keeps going and going.   Meanwhile, unlike Darwinism, scientists are actually considering this issue with open minds and they are turning away from CAGW in droves.
Extra credit reading for the critical thinkers: 
Weather weirding: back to the 1950′s
Or NOT: 

Rapid Sea Level Rise? To the Contrary, Nature Says

“The short-term rate of global sea level rise has decreased by about 25% since the release of the AR4—and a new paper shows that some 15% of the observed rise comes not from global warming, but instead from global dewatering…. [R]ather than raising its projections of sea level rise, perhaps the IPCC ought to consider lowering them once again.”

Read the rest here...