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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Design of the "Flying Lemur"

The "flying lemur" is one of those creatures that has a name with no bearing in reality; it does not fly, and it is not a lemur. (Sort of like the guinea pig, it is not from Guinea and is a rodent.) It's a tree-dwelling glider. The better name for this strange creature is "colugo". No relation to the interviewer Neil Cavuto, he is not a tree dweller and does not glide, and the names are spelt rather differently. 

Wikimedia Commons / Colugo / Lip Kee Yap

The colugo has nasty sharp pointed teeth, but it eats leaves. The big eyes are your first clue that it is nocturnal. They are puzzling, since their classification has been disputed until it was given one of its own. One of the most amazing features is the ability to easily glide for long distances. The surprising Cavuto colugo is an example of the creative work of their Designer.
You might think the colugo (ka-LOO-go) of Southeast Asia is a clumsy creature—well, maybe at first glance. On the ground, these odd, squirrel-like creatures seem to flop and jump along with the awkwardness of a baby bird. They also make climbing a tree look like a laborious process, which involves scraping at the bark with sharp claws and then hopping up quickly on their tiny paws. You get exhausted just watching them.

But once they’ve reached high into the canopy of the rainforest—the place where they belong—something amazing happens. These clumsy ground-walkers take to the air in an elegant display of aerodynamics. They glide like no other mammal on earth and prove, once again, that our ingenious Creator knows how to surprise us.
To finish reading, fly on over to "Colugos—Soaring Above Expectations".

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Instincts and Preprogramming

We have Basement Cat. I like to watch what I call the "feline machine" in action. She likes to stalk the birds on the porch through the screen door and will occasionally lunge at them, causing a flurry of avian panic. But she's never been an outdoor cat and never been the fierce huntress that she considers herself. One time, I put my hand in something wet on the porch railing (I think it was squirrel pee) and wiped it off. There was still a faint smell on my hand even after rinsing. I was petting Basement Cat later, and she started biting me. Not the playful bites, either. Eyes dilated, all that. She wanted blood; the predatory instinct kicked in.

Basement Cat using e-book reader as a pillow, picture by Robert Sorensen © 2014
No instinct here, just cuteness.
Humans and animals are born preprogrammed with an assortment of reflexes and instincts. They could not have been learned many behaviors, but they do things anyway. There is no rational evolutionary explanation for this. Like a computer with a basic operating system, we are given certain instincts from our Creator, and then build from there.
As a newborn infant, how did you know to do the things that you were never taught?

At first that question might strike you as nonsense. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Huh? Babies don’t know anything they didn’t actively learn. We’re all born with a brain that’s a blank slate, and after we’re born, we begin to learn through experiences, through environment, and through lessons taught by others.”

However, the notion that humans (or animals or insects) are born with a brain that is devoid of knowledge, simply waiting for a chance to sponge it up, is incorrect. To draw a rough analogy, a computer can be assembled with every physical component in place down to the last screw, but it can accomplish nothing until information is installed onto its motherboard.
You can read the rest by clicking on "Ready-Made Instincts".

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Silence is Another Problem for Peer Review

First, an update. I was informed by Radar's wife that he had knee surgery one week ago. It was successful, but he is in considerable pain. We are asking the Christian readers to join us in praying for his full and rapid recovery. -CBB

Although some people hide behind the "Yeah, but it's not peer reviewed!" concept, secular peer review processes have some serious drawbacks. In addition, people who believe in Scientism (where "science" is the only way to discern truth) do a disservice to scientists by expecting them to be more than human. Although they should have higher standards of integrity and objectivity, they are human and subjected to avarice just like you and me. (Also, some people think that scientists are completely objective and dispassionate, but that ignores both the scientific process and human nature.) They also seek success, recognition and grant money.

What value is there in doing a study, recording all the steps and set-up, making notes and then saying, "Here is the study. It was a waste of time?" Actually, it has quite a bit of value. There is a disputed quote attributed to Thomas Edison about his failures in inventing the light bulb: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". Even if he did not say it, there is some value to that remark. Just like reporting a failed result in a peer reviewed paper, scientists can help other scientists and not give artificially inflated value to successful results.
Sociology is under scrutiny, but the issues apply to all of science.

Is there a message in nothing? Yes, Jeffrey Mervis said in Science Magazine. When a scientist gets a null or empty result, that’s still a result. It should be announced, so that other scientists know what doesn’t work, not just what works. Publication of null results is valuable. It saves time by avoiding needless repetition. It also presents a more accurate picture of the world. As PhysOrg’s headline by Bob Yirka reads, “lack of published null result papers skews reliability of those that are published.” That’s a serious charge. It means that published papers suffer credibility loss when null results are not shared.

The question of what to do with null results has plagued medical research, where people’s lives could be on the line. The Stanford team now found similar publication bias in social and behavioral sciences.
To review the rest of this article, click on "Peer Reviewed Science Can Mislead in a Major Way".

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Misotheists Misfiring

Although it is usually quite tedious to deal with militant Internet atheopaths, sometimes we have to give warning to thinking people to show what these arrogant, manipulative and frequently vile people are like. They wonder why some of us do not wish to spend our time interacting with them and their overgrown egos that need constant coddling. Here are some reasons why.
  • They often start with the assumptions that, because they are atheists, that somehow makes them more intelligent than "theists". It is also quite often a result of prejudicial conjecture.This "smarter than you" claim falls to the ground because not only is it related to the genetic fallacy, but their claims are instantly refuted because their conversation is loaded with logical fallacies. 
  • Watch for personal insults, usually the first line of attack. Quite often, they appeal to pride and ridicule. 
  • Then, they attempt to put their opponents on the defensive. This attempt at manipulation usually involves the aforementioned appeal to pride and ridicule, plus using the straw man fallacy; guess what, Buttercup? We do not need to defend positions that we do not hold, and putting words in our mouths show how shallow and disingenuous you are.
  • These militant misotheists claim to know your motives. This is often used with the straw man and with ridicule, but unless they have magical powers (a concept they deny), they have no idea what is in someone's heart and mind.
  • Swarming like piranhas. This is most common in social media. Just block them and move on to something more productive.
  • Attacking "theists" is an attempt to justify their unbelief, and the arguing never stops even when they are shown to be full of hot air. If they can manipulate someone into acting "bad" or not giving an answer that they deem to be sufficient, they will cry, "Victory is mine!" The Atheist Handbook® instructs them to never allow a "theist" to be right about anything of substance.
  • They are such bullies, they will try to make someone feel guilty for not following their arbitrary rules for posting, conversation, engagement and so on. Somehow, they demand the "right" to say whatever they want, whenever they want, and you are the bad guy if you do not cater to their whims. We are under no obligation to give them a platform for their insults, fallacies and hatred, although their massive egos compel them to state opinions (no matter how uninformed) as well as personal attacks.
I have better things to do than fall for misotheist trickery.
Yet, all of their game playing is simply a waste of the thinking person's time and energy. They try to build up their egos and strive for bragging rights to their friends who also lack intellect, character and integrity. Here is an example of dismantling a letter from an angry atheopath.
This week’s feedback is an example of the uninformed misotheistic elephant hurling that we normally don’t publish because it breaks our feedback rules. But we wanted to show the sort of thinking out in cyberspace, and also show that there are good answers to objections to Christianity. The response shows that Christianity has provided the foundation for science, alleviation of poverty and rejection of superstition.
If you have the courage to finish reading, you can click on "Mangling Misotheism". By the way, since atheist narcissistic sociopaths seem to be the only ones leaving comments, guess what you can't do? Hey, you might want to rub some aloe on that burn. Addendum: I was called a coward by someone posting anonymously. Doubly ironic, hiding behind anonymity to call me a coward, and also proving me right at the same time!