Lysenko and the creationists

I used to have a theory that you could deduce a writers political allegiance from the words and phrases they used. This provided a sport for me and some friends as we would attempt to deduce the political party membership of speakers. It didn’t work very well with the mainstream parties but we were quite successful with the minor parties. For example “at the end of the day” was often used by New Zealand First members and “the reality of the situation” by members of the Socialist Unity Party.paradigm

Francis Wheen, in his book: How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions, describes a similar situation during the early period of the Thatcher’s Tory government in the UK. He says that people were wise to cover their ears and run away whenever politicians or commentators of the day used the word paradigm as it was an indication  of dishonest, and often inhuman, policies. We had the same thing here in the 1980s with the phrase “there’s no other way.”

I react the same way to the words “paradigm,” “materialism,” “naturalism,” “Darwinist,” and “Darwinism.” They usually indicate to me a dishonest attempt to attack science and/or impose anti-scientific ideas.

The dogmatism of Lysenko

I have been reading about Lysenko and Lysenkoism in the USSR and realise that similar dogmatic words and phrases were used to attack genuine science there. Lysenko was advancing pseudo science and attacking genetics during the Stalin and Khrushchev periods. Political support enabled him to suppress biological science with disastrous consequences for the country and individual scientists (Peter Pringle’s The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov gives the story of one of his victims).

In 1964 Andrei Sakharov and other Soviet scientists managed to prevent the election of Nikolai Nuzhdin (a Lysenkoist) as full member of the Soviet Academy of Science (see Andrei Sakharov: Memoirs). Sakharov said, in his speech,:

“Together with Academician Lysenko, he is responsible for the dissemination of pseudo-scientific views, for adventurism, for the degradation of learning , and for the defamation, firing, arrest, even death, of many genuine scientists.

I urge you to vote against Nuzhdin.”

When Lysenkoists launched a counter attack Sakharov copmpalined to Khrushchev. Despite a personal relationship with Sakharov, Khrushchev was still imbued with Stalinist dogmatism in this area and defended Lysenko. Arguing with his daughter, Rada, Khrushchev complained of unfair treatment of Lysenko by “anti-scientific Weissmanist-Morganist idealists” (see William Taubman: Khrushchev: The Man and His Era). (In a spooky parallel with today’s US Republican Vice-presidential candidate  Sarah Palin, Khrushchev also criticised geneticists for working with fruit flies instead of cows!)

Shortly after, Khrushchev was deposed, Lysenko’s position eroded and formally purged scientists were reinstated.

Lysenkoism – creationism parallels

The anti-science ravings of Khrushchev and the Lysenkoists parallels almost exactly the tactics of today’s creationists:

  • They labelled honest scientists as Weissmanists and Morganists – creationists use the Darwinist label.
  • They accused scientists of idealism – creationists accuse them of materialism.

It’s interesting how similar the dogmatism of the Soviet Lysenkoists and today’s creationists is.

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59 responses to “Lysenko and the creationists

  1. Dogmatists love to simplify the world. Kind of like reducing the number of pixels in a picture. If you keep doing this all pictures end up looking very similar – two pixels, one dark, one light.

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  2. Dogmatists love to simplify the world. Kind of like reducing the number of pixels in a picture. If you keep doing this all pictures end up looking very similar – two pixels, one dark, one light.

    I agree, like the dogmatic scientific materialists. It’s probably not their fault though, nature or God forgot to endow them with imagination…

    And I’m wondering Ken, whay is it always my side that is accused of these crimes of language? Your side is pure and innocent? Don’t terms like “creationist” and “YEC” carry their own negative meaning?

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  3. Another trait of dogmatists is that dogmatists think all conversations are about them. And when they aren’t, they turn them into such conversations by the use of some non sequitur.

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  4. Do you just make stuff up as you go along Konrad?

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  5. “Don’t terms like “creationist” and “YEC” carry their own negative meaning?”

    Yes, but “Darwinist” carries a negative meaning in the same stupid, unnecessary way that “gay” does. The negativity is founded on fundamental misunderstandings about science and what one might term ‘nature’. Whereas “Creationist” carries a negative entailment in the same accurate way that the terms “crystal-healing” or “flat-earther” does. The negativity stems from the fact that these are all non-evidence-based theories of no particular use.

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  6. The negativity stems from the fact that these are all non-evidence-based theories of no particular use.

    You mean like your non-evidence-based theory that the universe was created by a pre-existing material source?

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  7. You mean like your non-evidence-based theory that the universe was created by a pre-existing material source?

    That’s not a non-evidence-based theory, though. The only evidence we happen to have is material, there is currently no reason to hypothesise a cause other than a material one.

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  8. @ James – November 19, 2008 at 2:03 am

    “And I’m wondering Ken, whay is it always my side that is accused of these crimes of language?”

    Well, I guess it’s because I’m only accusing the dogmatists of being dogmatic (although that’s a coarse analysis because I have often criticised dogmatic thinking by people who are otherwise good scientists).

    Interesting, though, is that you accept Lysenko and Khrushchev as on “your side.” Might I also suggest Stalin and Mao for your team. In essence the dogmatism is the same as yours.

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  9. You mean like your non-evidence-based theory that the universe was created by a pre-existing material source?

    I think I have missed something. Who said that? I don’t think science says much about this right now. Well, except perhaps from the Big Bounce theory which stands on top of some observations and rigorous mathematics -which I would never call “non-evidence-based”… As opposed to supernatural causes which stands on top of… nothing.

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  10. @ Matty on 5 – very well put :-) I shall have to remember that one!

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  11. I think I have missed something. Who said that? I don’t think science says much about this right now. Well, except perhaps from the Big Bounce theory which stands on top of some observations and rigorous mathematics -which I would never call “non-evidence-based”… As opposed to supernatural causes which stands on top of… nothing.

    Big Bounce? Yeah, guess you can make anything up to avoid the obvious… It’s interesting that you even brought this up. You guys are trying hard to make matter and energy eternal – I wonder why that is…

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  12. James, it is interesting that you constantly assume science is working from its conclusions backwards. For the record, that is not how science works, that is how theists work. You ought to bear in mind that Stavros cited the theory is built out of ‘observations and rigorous mathematics’, not hope and Scripture.

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  13. James making stuff up is your domain and that of religions -it is not the domain of science. You have proven that many times in the past and keep doing it.

    And try matching 1% of the intellectual capabilities of the minds behind the Big Bounce theory before dismissing it so easily just because it doesn’t fit your predetermined conclusions!

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  14. And try matching 1% of the intellectual capabilities of the minds behind the Big Bounce theory before dismissing it so easily just because it doesn’t fit your predetermined conclusions!

    How about the intellectual capabilities of the minds against the big bounce?

    The oscillating model was once popular among cosmologists who thought that the singularities could be avoided and so each big bang would be connected to an earlier big crunch: the mathematical singularities seen in calculations were supposed to be the result of over-idealizations (e.g. assuming too much symmetry or neglecting some force), and would be resolved by a more careful treatment, or by an alternative theory of gravity such as Brans-Dicke theory. In this case, as pointed out by Tolman[2], entropy would build up from oscillation to oscillation; according to Tolman this would cause each oscillation to last longer and reach a larger size than the one before, in some sense tending towards a condition of heat death. However, in the 1960s, Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and George Ellis showed that singularities were a universal feature of cosmologies with a big bang and that no feature of general relativity could prevent them. Since no “memory” of previous cycles would be preserved, the entropy issue was eliminated, but by the same token there was little reason to postulate cycles before or after the present one. Other measurements suggested the universe is not closed. These arguments caused most cosmologists to abandon the oscillating universe model.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscillatory_universe

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  15. Wow! Another Google/Wikipedia researcher! Well done James!

    First, what you quote still doesn’t change the fact that the Big Bounce theory is indeed based on observations and rigorous mathematics instead of being made up -just like you said. So you are still 100% wrong on this.

    Second, if you had half brain left over from brainwashing and torturous religious blindfolding, you would easily see that the big Bounce is based on new developments and is only derived by Oscillatory Universe -it’s not the same thing. Further, the criticisms from those great scientists you mention (whom you haven’t even approached judging from your reading list you published) came many decades ago.

    So, to sum up: you quote from Wikipedia after spending 5 minutes on something you obviously are totally unfamiliar with. You missed the exact theory and instead read about something related but not exactly the same. You quote scientists from many decades ago without having a look at recent developments. And yet you still manage to miss the point which was “making stuff up”.

    I think this sums up your whole presence in this blog’s comment section James. Well done once again.

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  16. Also, getting back onto the topic, might I suggest that the words ‘Marxist’ and ‘Socialist’ are almost universally misused to discredit the doctrines? I find that most of the times when I hear ‘Socialist’ used as a slur it refers not to anything strongly resembling Socialism (e.g. Marxism/Trotskyism), but to Stalinism, Maoism or just plain Totalitarianism.

    I work at a company that collates radio and TV media, so I hear a lot of reactionary hosts use these words as slurs on a daily basis.

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  17. First, what you quote still doesn’t change the fact that the Big Bounce theory is indeed based on observations and rigorous mathematics instead of being made up -just like you said. So you are still 100% wrong on this.

    Second, if you had half brain left over from brainwashing and torturous religious blindfolding, you would easily see that the big Bounce is based on new developments and is only derived by Oscillatory Universe -it’s not the same thing. Further, the criticisms from those great scientists you mention (whom you haven’t even approached judging from your reading list you published) came many decades ago.

    So, to sum up: you quote from Wikipedia after spending 5 minutes on something you obviously are totally unfamiliar with. You missed the exact theory and instead read about something related but not exactly the same. You quote scientists from many decades ago without having a look at recent developments. And yet you still manage to miss the point which was “making stuff up”.

    Of course Stavros, you are completely wrong. The same basic problems still exist for the big bounce as they did for a oscillatory universe. You still have the problem of a big crunch, the violation of the second law of thermodynamics and the fact that more and more recent evidence is pointing to a heat death for the universe. Never mind the logical problem of infinite regression. And since previous universes can never be observed the big bounce will forever remain a theory on paper. But never let it be said that I came between a man and his faith…

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  18. James sometimes you are truly pathetic and I pity you.

    You are still going against valid science with (let me repeat it once again) rigorous mathematics behind it. And as I said it is *not* exactly like oscillatory universe as it is based on new developments. And you are still doing Google research! And you are still missing the point which was “making stuff up” -and the Big Bounce obviously isn’t. So if someone is wrong, it isn’t me James. You have gained this accolade mane times now.

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  19. You are still going against valid science with (let me repeat it once again) rigorous mathematics behind it. And as I said it is *not* exactly like oscillatory universe as it is based on new developments. And you are still doing Google research! And you are still missing the point which was “making stuff up” -and the Big Bounce obviously isn’t. So if someone is wrong, it isn’t me James. You have gained this accolade mane times now.

    Like I said, it’s something that can never be observed. And no, it is not exactly like oscillatory universe but it does suffer from some of the same problems and draw backs. The ones I listed hold for both models – and you know that. And yes, I do believe that the atheist will invent almost anything to deny a single creation event.

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  20. James read about the theory and then try to understand it before dismissing it. Very briefly, the big crunch is not a problem due to the loop quantum gravity developments and atomic space theories; the theory resolves the singularity problems; explains *within the model* the inflation period; and it is true that we cannot have a complete view of what was before -quantum fluctuations have erased most of this information during the “bounce”; there is no violation of the second law of thermodynamics as energy remains the same between “bounces”, where each bounce is due to reaching maximum energy density but the quantum states are “cleaned” exactly because of quantum fluctuations as per the previous point; and finally, if there is no free energy decline between “bounces”, heat death seems to be no longer a problem.

    Also, I am not some huge fanatic of Big Bounce theory and of course many things have to be sort out in it (and of course it may turn out to be wrong), I am just defending a good piece of science from your ignorant rants where you come here with 5 minutes experience of the theory in Wikipedia and try to play it knowledgeable. Well James, you’re busted!

    But in any case, this is not the place to discuss the Big Bounce theory -especially with you James. And you may believe whatever you want but this will not change the fact that your assertions were 100% wrong. Big Bounce is not “making stuff up”, and science doesn’t “make stuff up” generally. You FAIL for the millionth time James.

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  21. Also, I am not some huge fanatic of Big Bounce theory and of course many things have to be sort out in it (and of course it may turn out to be wrong), I am just defending a good piece of science from your ignorant rants where you come here with 5 minutes experience of the theory in Wikipedia and try to play it knowledgeable. Well James, you’re busted!

    Are you really asserting that no one has a problem with the crunch effect on this model or its its implication for second law of thermodynamics? And the glaring problem with infinite regress? Never mind the point that such a thing could never be observed. It would be a paper theory and forever remain so… And now you are not a huge fan – no kidding. The fact is Stavros men will “invent” all manner of things to escape a single creation event – things that can never be observed or proven.

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  22. James you lack certain comprehension facilities in your brain. It is also obvious that you lack scientific knowledge.

    Of course the theory is not built on direct observations of what was before the big bang (only mentally retarded or religious people would deduce this from what I or the theory says). It is build on current observations and solid mathematics -can you grasp this concept? Also, where did I assert that no one has problems with the theory?!? I explicitly stated that “many things have to be sort out in it (and of course it may turn out to be wrong)“. No one (and certainly not me) ever said that this is a complete theory!

    It seems we have been bugging you for the wrong reasons: you don’t have to acquire logic or scientific knowledge: you first must learn to read and comprehend simple statements; then go beyond skin-deep understanding of what others say; and then we can start thinking about getting you into logical enquiry and science… You’ve got a long way to go James…

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  23. First Stavros, you assume that these scientists are non-bias truth seekers. I don’t – they are what we all are in our unregenerated state – god deniers. Therfore they will “invent” any theory to justify their rebellion and will interpret the physical facts to support said theory.

    Then there is the absurdity, on its face, of infinite regress. And embracing absurdity is what the atheist will have do to suppress the knowledge of God and His creation:

    By William Lane Craig:

    if you try to translate the idea of an actually infinite number of things into reality, you wind up with all sorts of absurdities and, in the end, logical contradictions. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, mathematically you get selfcontradictory answers, unless you impose some wholly arbitrary rules to prevent this. This shows that infinity is just an idea in your mind, not something that exists in reality. David Hilbert, who is perhaps the greatest mathematician of this century, states, “The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature, nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought…. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea.” So as I understand the actual infinite, it is simply a conceptual idea; it is not something that exists in reality. Therefore an infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite. I think this is fairly obvious. If the universe never began to exist, then the number of past events is actually infinite. And therefore it follows: that an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. Therefore, the temporal regress of events is finite and must have a beginning. Since the universe is not distinct from the temporal series of past events, it therefore follows that the universe began to exist.

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  24. Hahaha even when you are at the bottom of the abyss you still manage to go lower!!! No one said the theory is complete -how many times do I have to explicitly mention this for you to put it in your little brain of yours? The potential issue of infinite regress should not (and thankfully does not) stop scientific enquiry into how our Universe occurred.

    First Stavros, you assume that these scientists are non-bias truth seekers. I don’t – they are what we all are in our unregenerated state – god deniers.

    I only assume that they do their science. I assume NOTHING else. In contrast it is YOU that assumes that they are god deniers and that they are devoting their whole careers to something futile that they just invented so they can deny God! And you talk about absurdities?!? James, read your own words!

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  25. Hahaha even when you are at the bottom of the abyss you still manage to go lower!!! No one said the theory is complete -how many times do I have to explicitly mention this for you to put it in your little brain of yours? The potential issue of infinite regress should not (and thankfully does not) stop scientific enquiry into how our Universe occurred.

    Infinite regression is not potential issue, it is a logical absurdity – like square circles. And the fact that “scientists” are willing to embrace it to save them from obvious implications of a single creation event just bears out the truth of Biblical Revelation:

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”

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  26. I think we can all agree that you have finally conceded defeat in this particular issue. Instead of resorting to your usual philosophical absurdities, for the last few comments you have instead fallen back to arguments from authority and concluded with a quote from the Bible… This is way too low -hmmm, even for you?

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  27. Goodness no Stavros, since scripture is god-breathed there is no higher authority or standard for human reason. What is your standard for human reason Stavros – personal preference? Second, I think it is clear that an infinite regress is both absured and self-refuting. And if “scientists” are embracing absurdity to promote a theory then my argument, and the argument from scripture is complete: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”

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  28. Sorry I said argument from authority. I actually meant: argument from authority ad nauseam

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  29. Atheist Professor of the plilosophy of science writes a book supporting the theory of ID:

    http://spot.colorado.edu/~monton/BradleyMonton/ID.html

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  30. Sorry I said argument from authority. I actually meant: argument from authority ad nauseam…

    So we shouldn’t accept the authority of science? Thanks…

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  31. Woooow! Seriously?!? Bradley Monton writes a BOOK supporting ID?!? Then I guess ID is true after all!!

    So we shouldn’t accept the authority of science?

    You are an open book James. As I said in another thread you will not accept anything unless it starts with “God said…”. You have just proven that you are anti-science.

    Obviously (and I think you know this but you are just playing silly again) we should not accept authority of *individuals* and look at the evidence instead (which in the case of science might come in the form of published peer reviewed articles). But you fail to grasp even this. You have just declared yourself an authority and proponent on anti-science. Pretty much any opinion you might have from now on on scientific matters carries *exactly* zero weight. Which of course we already knew from before but now you have openly demonstrated and indirectly admitted it as well.

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  32. Obviously (and I think you know this but you are just playing silly again) we should not accept authority of *individuals* and look at the evidence instead (which in the case of science might come in the form of published peer reviewed articles). But you fail to grasp even this. You have just declared yourself an authority and proponent on anti-science. Pretty much any opinion you might have from now on on scientific matters carries *exactly* zero weight. Which of course we already knew from before but now you have openly demonstrated and indirectly admitted it as well.

    Oh please, just because I do not worship the same god as you don’t get your panties in a wad.

    You are an open book James. As I said in another thread you will not accept anything unless it starts with “God said…”. You have just proven that you are anti-science.

    Well it would be hard for me to be anti-science and keep my job. I just keep many of these theories at arms length knowing that they could be overturned tomorrow. After all most of these conclusions are merely tentative. Correct?

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  33. Oh please, just because I do not worship the same god as you don’t get your panties in a wad.
    Come here to participate with curiosity? Or come here to use idiotic slander?

    You’re proving the entire point of this post very well, James. Accusing scientists of ‘worshipping a god’ in science is clear misuse of the term. You want to claim science is dogmatic because that protects your fragile dogmatisms, go ahead. It is your right to be profoundly, wilfully anti-learning. Heck, I’ve even been in your position – the trumped up, under-educated little theist.

    Everything I say sounds so much ruder than I intend it right now, but it is strictly because you are being so obstinately ignorant. You are clearly only looking up sources that agree with your position, too. Do you find what you are doing sad?

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  34. Well it would be hard for me to be anti-science and keep my job. I just keep many of these theories at arms length knowing that they could be overturned tomorrow.

    Care to provide us with a vague definition of your job, seeing as you think it requires decent science-knowledge? Correct about tentative conclusions, but you’re putting a bit much weight behind that. I don’t see any pattern suggesting that current science is about to collapse and make way for the supernatural science that you wish for.

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  35. You’re proving the entire point of this post very well, James. Accusing scientists of ‘worshipping a god’ in science is clear misuse of the term. You want to claim science is dogmatic because that protects your fragile dogmatisms, go ahead. It is your right to be profoundly, wilfully anti-learning. Heck, I’ve even been in your position – the trumped up, under-educated little theist.

    Nonsense Matty, everyone has his own god whether a theory or himself. And yes most atheistic scientists are dogmatic and bias. They can’t help but to be – they hate the very idea of God. And will do anything to suppress that knowledge in wickness.

    Everything I say sounds so much ruder than I intend it right now, but it is strictly because you are being so obstinately ignorant. You are clearly only looking up sources that agree with your position, too. Do you find what you are doing sad?

    That is just silly, you have no idea what online sources I use.

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  36. I don’t see any pattern suggesting that current science is about to collapse and make way for the supernatural science that you wish for.

    You are joking right? What is supernatural? How do you know that everything you look at everday, is not supernatural?

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  37. The Concise Oxford (10th ed.) says:

    God n. 1 (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe; the supreme being. 2 (god) a superhuman being or spirt worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.”

    Nowhere does science fall into that category. Stop misusing words, state your distortions plainly.

    They do not hate the idea of a god. Gods simply are not useful or scientific ideas. It is telling that you both claim ‘suppression’ and ‘wickedness’ – you are clearly far, far further gone that I had realised. Scientists don’t suppress any suggestions of gods, there are not suggestions of gods You are, in fact, trying (thankfully failing) to suppress science. Out with it. Admit it. Admit that you want to suppress science, but don’t fall into your delusions that you are improving the world by wanting to.

    Your terrible, poorly premised arguments reveal your sources. I don’t know specifics, but you are clearly reading very, very poor material that happens to be as ignorant about science as you would like to stay.

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  38. Ugh. I’m not familiar with these XHTML tags at all. I am Internet Fail.

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  39. You are joking right? What is supernatural? How do you know that everything you look at everday, is not supernatural?

    I do not know. I am a fallibilist and thusly a materialist. I just a reader, just a curious person. A you, obviously, just like to meddle with semantics.

    Provide me with a suitable definition of ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’, please. Or shall I get my OED out again?

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  40. Provide me with a suitable definition of ‘natural’ and ’supernatural’, please. Or shall I get my OED out again?

    Sure, just for you. A natural universe would be one that is self creating and self sustaining.

    BTW – how does you fallibilist theory of knowledge bear on this whole subject of scientific knowledge?

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  41. Scientists don’t suppress any suggestions of gods, there are not suggestions of gods You are, in fact, trying (thankfully failing) to suppress science. Out with it. Admit it. Admit that you want to suppress science, but don’t fall into your delusions that you are improving the world by wanting to.

    Well prove that I’m deluded rather than you or atheists in general. I’ll be waiting.

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  42. BTW – how does you fallibilist theory of knowledge bear on this whole subject of scientific knowledge?

    It bears very well, in that fallibilism draws tentative conclusions from evidence, just like science.

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  43. Sure, just for you. A natural universe would be one that is self creating and self sustaining.

    In that case, I do not know that the universe is not supernatural, but nothing at all suggests to me that it is.

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  44. Well prove that I’m deluded rather than you or atheists in general.

    I don’t think ‘deluded’ is the right word. You are not deluded. Delusion would be in you understood science, then denied it. You constantly demonstrate that you know very little about science, so you are not delusional. No, you are uniformed. Perhaps you are even voluntarily misinformed, but that is still not quite delusion.

    It would be mean to call you deluded, and I don’t want to fall into traps of slandering you.

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  45. In that case, I do not know that the universe is not supernatural, but nothing at all suggests to me that it is.

    But you have no idea that it isn’t.

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  46. But you have no idea that it isn’t.

    Indeed, and I have no idea that my skin is not really a brilliant aquamarine hue, either.

    Well … actually, I do have some idea … based on the evidence, you see.

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  47. @ James – November 20, 2008 at 4:01 am

    I listened to the 4 interviews of Bradley Monton on ID the Future podcasts. He is actually an embarrassment to any cause. I found him pathetic and that seemed to be the comment of at least some in the audience at the Fort Worth debate he participated in.

    Hey, James – you are quoting Craig – another apologist like Ross. Do you give him the same sort of authority as Ross? Perhaps I better check what Craig has to say about the Cosmological Constant.

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  48. Yes – Craig is just as dishonest: This from his website:
    “the so-called cosmological constant, which must be fine-tuned to one part in 10^120 in order for life to exist, are being discovered as physics advances.” I have expalined how this is a distortion. So, to me, Craig has exactly the same sort of authority as Ross when it comes to science – none. A prime example of the Prostituting science I have been talking about. And an example of why one should not rely on Christian apologists for your science – James.

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  49. “The [...] constant [...] are being discovered”? The grammar are broken, too.

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  50. Matty, I’m going to take a leaf out of Cedric’s book: popcorn, anyone?

    And James – I don’t know any atheists (scientists or otherwise – you don’t have to be a scientist to be an atheist, nor are all scientists atheists) who hate the idea of a God. They simply see no evidence for the existence of such a being. As I’ve said on another thread (paraphrasing here; I don’t have time to go back & find it), we are told the Christian god is compassionate, caring, just, & so on. As a young teenager I looked around me & saw very little evidence that this god was doing their job properly. Similarly, I see no evidence for a creation event, & as for ‘intelligent design’ – puh-lease! whoever thought it a good idea that some of our major facial sinuses should have holes towards the top, so that they don’t drain properly & so are frequently subject to infections, didn’t read the ‘intelligent’ part of the job description. (Can provide numberous other examples on request.) I would hasten to add that that drain-hole position is, however, explained perfectly well by our descent from quadrupedal mammals ;-)

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  51. Alison, this drain-holes example is quite amusing. I have heard a couple of others including having frequent back issues, and another one from PZ Myers that had to do with our reproduction system but I cannot quite recall right now.

    Is there any kind of source for such non-intelligent features in our bodies? If not we should create some sort of a list, it would be lots of fun and highly educational too! (of course when I say “we” I mean biology experts, which doesn’t include me :-))

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  52. The reproduction one might be where the testicles descend from the body cavity to the scrotum, & all the related tubing has to pass through a gap in the body wall, leading to a risk of inguinal hernia (ouch!) where the intestines can be forced through said gap.

    I’ve seen a source somewhere (possibly even in Pharyngula); will have a look around when I get a chance; & perhaps blog on it myself. And if Ken doesn’t mind, we could always build up a list here as we go :-)

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  53. Alison said…”Matty, I’m going to take a leaf out of Cedric’s book: popcorn, anyone?”

    Self made or are you going to come over to the dark side and go for the pre-packaged stuff? :)

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  54. Must. make. own. Must. be. strong… :-)

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  55. Heh, my partner won’t let us get the pre-packaged stuff. He’s constantly eating the pop-charcoal he produces alone…

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  56. Yes – Craig is just as dishonest: This from his website:“the so-called cosmological constant, which must be fine-tuned to one part in 10^120 in order for life to exist, are being discovered as physics advances.” I have expalined how this is a distortion. So, to me, Craig has exactly the same sort of authority as Ross when it comes to science – none. A prime example of the Prostituting science I have been talking about. And an example of why one should not rely on Christian apologists for your science – James.

    Ken, first to be mistaken is not to be dishonest. I have listened to dozens of debates by Craig and I have never heard his facts or honesty questioned by the opposition. But if you are correct Ross should have known better. And since I have not heard back from Ross’ site I do question his use of this argument. And I’m rather disappointed. I did post this at Craig’s site – perhaps it will be addressed there.

    http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/rfforum/vpost?id=3121733

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  57. If you’re going to ask somewhere, could I suggest you ask on a scientific site, where you are more likely to get a genuine answer. You seem to be “stuck” on using apologetic sources. Given what apologetics aims are (to promote religion) they’re hardly a good source for seeking an answer to a science-based question, especially when there are plenty of science-oriented sites around. (Ideally, you’ll want to find one specialising in astro-physics or cosmology.)

    (Before you protest, the site you link is apologetic, its mission aim is “the truth of the Christian faith”.)

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  58. Get your bread from a baker.
    Get your meat from the butcher.
    Need your car repaired? That’s a mechanic’s job.
    Broke your arm? Go to the hospital.

    Want to know more about science?
    Hmm. That’s a tough one. Science information….
    (time passes)
    Er..Okay, I give up.
    Does anybody know where a person should go if they have a science question?

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  59. Herclades and Cedric give good advice, James. On the question of the cosmological constant there is some good stuff easily accessible on the internet by Lawrence Krauss and Sean Carroll. They don’t have an ideological axe to grind like Craig and Ross. And they actually do work in this area.

    One should always be suspicious of those who are promoting an ideology and relying on quotes (9almost always out of context) for their support.

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