David Berlinski

This is not an everything goes forum, but rather a place to ask questions and request help for developing your ideas.

Re: David Berlinski

Postby Forest_Dump on September 5th, 2018, 9:17 pm 

For the most part I have avoided this topic for a number of reasons. Berlinski came up once before and I spent (wasted) some time reading an old paper by him that turned out to be a simple rehash of a 200 year old thesis by Paley. So it goes. It doesn't appear to me that he has updated his understanding.

I think everyone who grasps the science understands that the term evolution refers to two seperate and discreet things: 1) the observation that the fossil evidence of life on this planet exhibits change through time and this change exhibits certain kinds of patterning; 2) the explanation of that change through time is best accomplished through use of a body of hypotheses, etc., known as "evolutionary theory". While there are many variations in evolutionary theory that are currently debated, all have in common some levels of reference to empirical data drawn from outside the fossil record, reference to mechanisms that can be tested for in variably simple manners and independently by different researchers and none rely on the use of processes etc., that cannot be independently verified.

Now I would be among the first to acknowledge that our current levels of knowledge about the evolutionary history and evolutionary theory used to explain that history need to be improved with more data from the fossil record and from independent sources such as genetics, etc. However I also think it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. I suppose I can even see the value of people like Berlinski (and our resident fans of his) critiquing evolutionary theory, etc. (I note that these types do not seem very interested in referring to the fossil record in any detail if at all.) However I also think that these people need to demonstrate a basic level of competent understanding before they can expect to discover any errors in what is clearly one of the most heavily studied topics in modern human history. To be sure, I definitely agree that improvements can be made. But I think you need to know what it is before you can claim to make it better.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8780
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: David Berlinski

Postby mitchellmckain on September 5th, 2018, 9:56 pm 

For the lack of another place to follow up on a few things...

When someone mentioned Richard Dawkin's book "River out of Eden" elsewhere on the forum, I decided to check it out. It took a while because the local library did not have a copy. The first paragraph of the preface turned me off immediately. It presented a mechanist materialist (particle billiards) view of the world which blames the existence of life on the accidental production of a self-replicating molecule. Very disappointing. But then this is a very old book, copyright 1941, not on most lists of his books that you can find. But I suppose it is rather consistent with other observations I have made about Dawkins which showed him to be unaware and not all that interested in the advances made in abiogenesis recently -- definitely part of the old guard of evolutionary biology.

P.S. The following from my previous post requires some retraction...
mitchellmckain » September 5th, 2018, 5:11 pm wrote:
I was a amused by Brent's reference to drinking kool-aid -- the irony being that this refers to something done by a religious group which indulged in all kinds of willful ignorance which these people gave the name of "faith".

It is probably not all that fair to identify Jim Jones with religion. Jim Jones identified himself as non-Christian and a Communist (or socialist), and his church seemed to exist largely for the purpose of promoting an anti-racist socialism rather than a religious belief system. It merely took advantage of church status for doing this. This is actually a rather frequent practice in the sixties. Even my father (I believe I mentioned he was a black-listed communist) did something like this (called it "The Church of Man," I think).
Last edited by mitchellmckain on September 5th, 2018, 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Active Member
 
Posts: 1326
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: David Berlinski

Postby davidm on September 5th, 2018, 10:27 pm 

mitchellmckain » September 5th, 2018, 7:56 pm wrote: But then this is a very old book, copyright 1941, not on most lists of his books that you can find.


C'mon, Dawkins is old but not that old. :-) The book was published in 1995.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 254
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: David Berlinski

Postby mitchellmckain on September 5th, 2018, 10:53 pm 

davidm » September 5th, 2018, 9:27 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » September 5th, 2018, 7:56 pm wrote: But then this is a very old book, copyright 1941, not on most lists of his books that you can find.


C'mon, Dawkins is old but not that old. :-) The book was published in 1995.


Ah... yes, I checked again. I guess 1941 is Richard Dawkin's birth date. And yes, 1995 is the correct copyright. Hmmm... 23 years ago... Does that let us forgive him his failure to acknowledge the advances in abiogenesis? I guess I wasn't aware of these advances in 1995 either.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Active Member
 
Posts: 1326
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 1:08 am 

hyksos » September 3rd, 2018, 10:49 am wrote:David Berlinksi has claimed the following, in public and on camera.

1. Evolution by natural selection and random mutations sounds like it works on paper, but would never work in actual practice because it would only introduce negative mutations.



Can you provide a source where Berlinski says this, Hyksos? Thanks.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 2:34 am 

Reg_Prescott » September 6th, 2018, 9:08 am wrote: Can you provide a source where Berlinski says this, Hyksos? Thanks.



The following is a direct quote of David Berlinski in front of a camera.
If this is such a simple mechanism, which can easily be programmed on a computer, then how come we can't set up a computer and create something of biological-like complexity? How come we cannot see the unfolding of an evolutionary process they way we can see the unfolding of an evolutionary process in physics? It's a very serious question. I have looked at all the genetic algorithms. I'm trying to write a genetic algorithm myself. And uh.. the sheer fact is that without a tremendous amount of very special manipulation and ad hoc constraints , the computer is not going to generate anything realistic that uses Darwinian mechanisms. And it will generate something realistic only if it does not use Darwinian mechanisms. This is an important point. Fifty years after the computer revolution began we have a splendid tool for assessing the intelligability and viability of Darwinian theory. And everything that we know , I think this is the uniform experience for anyone working in genetic algorithms. In any case these mechanisms will not work. They will not work for their intended purposes.



The following is a direct quote of Marcel-Paul Schützenberger
We believe that it is not conceivable. In fact if we try to simulate such a situation by making changes randomly at the typographic level (by letters or blocks, the size of the unit does not really matter) on computer programs we find that we have no chance (i.e. less than one in tern to the thousandth power) even to see what the modified program would computer: it just jams. Thus we believe that there is a considerable gap in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.

The above quote was utilized by Berlinski somewhere in his book , Deniable Darwin. I do not have a copy on hand, so I cannot produce page numbers or chapters. Googling will confirm it is quoted in that book, but in a circuitous way (usually other people responding to it in articles)


This next passage appears in Berlinski's 2008 book, The Devil's Delusion
Computer simulations of Darwinian evolution fail when they are honest and succeed only when they are not. Thomas Ray has for years been conducting computer experiments in an artificial environment that he has designated Tierra. Within this world, a shifting population of computer organisms meet, mate, mutate, and reproduce. Sandra Blakeslee, writing for the New York Times, reported the results under the headline “Computer ‘Life Form’ Mutates in an Evolution Experiment: Natural Selection Is Found at Work in a Digital World.”

Natural selection found at work? I suppose so, for as Blakeslee observes with solemn incomprehension, “the crea- tures mutated but showed only modest increases in complex- ity.” Which is to say, they showed nothing of interest at all. This is natural selection at work, but it is hardly work that has worked to intended effect.

What these computer experiments do reveal is a principle far more penetrating than any that Darwin ever offered: There is a sucker born every minute.


Let my qualify my quotes. I am not going to spend several weeks going through all the interviews and 2- and 3-hour long videos of David Berlinski , buy all his books and annotate them with colored page tabs. He has repeated the argument that about mutated programs crashing several times both in person and in article writing. It is just a matter of digging until finding a quote that fits more precisely to what I wrote. To demonstrate my honesty, I have posted the above quotes because I could find them in what I believe was a reasonable amount of time spent on this.

Right now it is 2:40 AM in the morning. And so that's all you are going to get for now. If you want to harp that this is "not what you said" , go ahead. But if I am pushed enough, perhaps I will find some time later this weekend to dig and dig for hours to find it. I don't exactly have a bookshelf covered in Berlinski materials in my house. So maybe you could help out yourself, or recruit others. I am 100% certain you will find it.

So it's either going to me spending days finding it, or you spending days.

I can only hope that in the interim, (while I deal with things in my real life that need attended to) a heroic friend on this forum will find some time in his life to find Berlinski either writing or saying something more exact to my words. Thanks ahead of time to anyone who rises to this endeavor.
Last edited by hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1382
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 2:46 am 

@ Hyksos

The Berlinski you've quoted above sounds very much like the Berlinski I'm familiar with.

However, nowhere in these quotes does he say what you attribute to him in your opening post, viz.,

"1. Evolution by natural selection and random mutations sounds like it works on paper, but would never work in actual practice because it would only introduce negative mutations."
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 2:51 am 

Let me qualify this to be more legal. I just used the wrong verb. The corrected quote is that the process would only serve to accumulate negative mutations over a long period of time and inevitably lead to extinction. Berlinski pointedly uses the example of mutated programs written by programmers as only ever crashing. Which is totally true!

(However those programs are not replicators, and that is the whole crux of the matter. )

It's just a matter of you finding time to scrape the body of his works and his gigantic youtube videos to find it!

It is is now almost 3 AM here. Okay? I have to sleep and be somewhere around 11 in the morning. The quotes I have provided so far as so close to that claim as to be teeth and lips. It's just a matter of digging. I have dug, so I expect you or someone else to pick up the slack. Okay? Don't be a dishonest asshole. Do some foot work.
Last edited by hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1382
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 2:54 am 

You added the following to your post as I was typing...

hyksos » September 6th, 2018, 3:34 pm wrote:
Let my qualify my quotes. I am not going to spend several weeks going through all the interviews and 2- and 3-hour long videos of David Berlinski , buy all his books and annotate them with colored page tabs. He has repeated the argument that about mutated programs crashing several times both in person and in article writing. It is just a matter of digging until finding a quote that fits more precisely to what I wrote. To demonstrate my honesty, I have posted the above quotes because I could find them in what I believe was a reasonable amount of time spent on this.

Right now it is 2:40 AM in the morning. And so that's all you are going to get for now. If you want to harp that this is "not what you said" , go ahead. But if I am pushed enough, perhaps I will find some time later this weekend to dig and dig for hours to find it. I don't exactly have a bookshelf covered in Berlinski materials in my house. So maybe you could help out yourself, or recruit others. I am 100% certain you will find it.

So it's either going to me spending days finding it, or you spending days.


All I can say is that in my own readings of Berlinski, as well as video viewings, I've never seen or heard him say what you claim he says. I could, of course, be mistaken.

As for "harping", given that your entire attack is based on this supposed quote of Berlinski, and given the accusations of lying and all the rest directed at Berlinski from other contributors here, I'd suggest the burden lies with yourself to come up with the goods.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 2:59 am 

All I can say is that in my own readings of Berlinski, as well as video viewings, I've never seen or heard him say what you claim he says. I could, of course, be mistaken.

This cannot possible be true. I specifically remember quoting a specific article authored by Berlinksi on this forum. I specifically remember that I screen-captured it from a PDF. Then I posted it as an image inside a thread here. I just do not have it handy on me at this exact moment. And NO my entire argument does not "hinge" on a ghost quote.

There is no burden of proof here. THe quotes I have so far provided are so suspiciously close to the originally claim that it is only a matter of doing some footwork. So you OR SOMEONE ELSE jump in here and do some researching dirty work and help me out.

You will find it. I am so certain of this because I quoted an article by Berlinski where he said this thing more closely to my original words. I screen-captured it posted ON THIS FORUM. It was so long ago the original graphic has likely lapsed. But any kind of help would be majorly appreciated. Your time will not be wasted.
Last edited by hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1382
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 3:01 am 

hyksos » September 6th, 2018, 3:51 pm wrote:

The quotes I have provided so far as so close to that claim as to be teeth and lips. It's just a matter of digging. I have dug, so I expect you or someone else to pick up the slack. Okay? Don't be a dishonest asshole. Do some foot work.


Not quite sure how asking to back up your claims is "dishonest", but I'm fairly well versed when it comes to Berlinski writings and videos, particularly as it pertains to evolutionary theory. And, to repeat, I have never heard him claim that which you attribute to him. (I could be wrong, of course)

Do your own footwork. It doesn't have to be tonight. Take your time. I'll wait.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 3:08 am 

hyksos » September 6th, 2018, 3:51 pm wrote:Let me qualify this to be more legal. I just used the wrong verb. The corrected quote is that the process would only serve to accumulate negative mutations over a long period of time and inevitably lead to extinction. Berlinski pointedly uses the example of mutated programs written by programmers as only ever crashing. Which is totally true!

(However those programs are not replicators, and that is the whole crux of the matter. )

It's just a matter of you finding time to scrape the body of his works and his gigantic youtube videos to find it!

It is is now almost 3 AM here. Okay? I have to sleep and be somewhere around 11 in the morning. The quotes I have provided so far as so close to that claim as to be teeth and lips. It's just a matter of digging. I have dug, so I expect you or someone else to pick up the slack. Okay? Don't be a dishonest asshole. Do some foot work.


Just to keep the record straight, and keep ourselves honest, the highlighted section above was added by Hyksos after my most recent posts appeared.

A direct quote would still be appreciated though.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby hyksos on September 6th, 2018, 3:13 am 

The Schützenberger quote is practically the exact sentiment in different words.

Reg_Prescott, could you please confirm the exact chapter and page number in which Berlinski quotes Schützenberger in the book titled Deniable Darwin?

That's my homework assignment for you while I'm gone.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1382
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 3:18 am 

hyksos » September 6th, 2018, 4:13 pm wrote:

Reg_Prescott, could you please confirm the exact chapter and page number in which Berlinski quotes Schützenberger in the book titled Deniable Darwin?

That's my homework assignment for you while I'm gone.


Will do. After I do a little grocery shopping... (It's mango season here :) )
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 5:42 am 

hyksos » September 6th, 2018, 4:13 pm wrote:Reg_Prescott, could you please confirm the exact chapter and page number in which Berlinski quotes Schützenberger in the book titled Deniable Darwin?


(Part of) the Schützenberger quote is to be found on pp52-53 of the collection "The Deniable Darwin and Other Essays" within the essay bearing the title.

Berlinski's iconoclastic essay, or one of them, "The Deniable Darwin" can be read in its entirety here:

http://www.arn.org/docs/berlinski/db_de ... in0696.htm

and the fascinating exchange of responses from critics/supporters, together with Berlinski's counter-responses, can be read here:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/artic ... ng-darwin/


Hyksos, you began this thought provoking thread -- kudos to you -- with three claims that David Berlinski purportedly has made "in public and on camera". No direct quotes or video links were provided, however.

The first claim, as we've seen, is a distortion on your part; no doubt accidental, but a distortion nonetheless. It's a misrepresentation that had led to uproar and Byzantine conspiracy allegations such as the following:

davidm » September 3rd, 2018, 10:46 pm wrote:
This is factually incorrect. It is empirically incorrect. Berlinski must know this. In fact, most mutations are neutral. Some are harmful. Some are beneficial. The beneficial ones spread because of natural selection. This is all very well understood science. I conclude that Berlinkski, paid by the Discovery Institute, is trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.



Now, given the incendiary potential of threads like this, I'd suggest respectfully that you provide us with either direct quotes with references, or else links to video clips, so that we may confirm these claims for ourselves. Claim #3 -- echoing claim #1 -- does not sound at all to me like the kind of thing Berlinski would say, though I may be wrong, of course.

You've obviously put a lot of work into your posts, and for this you ought to be commended, Hyksos. If Berlinski is wrong about certain matters -- and I haven't the faintest doubt that he is (who isn't?) -- I, for one, would like to know about it.

Let's just try to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow lest we end up with a red face and an "Oops-a-daisy!" after the auto da fe is through.


As a side note, if you don't mind, regarding Berlinski's links to the Discovery Institute which inspire such paroxysms of paranoia in Davidm, and which also led Braininvat, I believe, to lock down the previous "Blocking Evolution" thread upon his realization thereof, it seems to me appeal to simple pragmatics is quite sufficient as an explanation, rather than some nefarious Creationist-in-sheep's-clothing scheme.

Well, YOU try writing a book that attacks evolutionary orthodoxy and see how much luck you have finding a publisher. The Discovery Institute press, I hazard, would be far more sympathetic to your plight than most.

English-Kiwi (or Australian?) biologist, Michael Denton, author of "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis", which I have read, and his subsequent "Evolution: Still A Theory in Crisis", which I have not yet read, provides us with another example.

Like Berlinski, Denton's own interest in Creationism or Intelligent Design is negligible (he's a self-avowed agnostic), yet as with Berlinski, he is indeed transparently connected in various ways with the aforementioned Discovery Institute den of iniquity, thus routinely mischaracterized as a religiously motivated science-basher.

Such are the disturbing (to me anyway) facts of life in this age of almost stifling neo-Darwinian hegemony.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 6:33 am 

Consider this excerpt from "The Deniable Darwin"...

Swimming in the soundless sea, the shark has survived for millions of years, sleek as a knife blade and twice as dull. The shark is an organism wonderfully adapted to its environment. Pause. And then the bright brittle voice of logical folly intrudes: after all, it has survived for millions of years.

This exchange should be deeply embarrassing to evolutionary biologists. And yet, time and again, biologists do explain the survival of an organism by reference to its fitness and the fitness of an organism by reference to its survival, the friction between concepts kindling nothing more illuminating than the observation that some creatures have been around for a very long time. "Those individuals that have the most offspring," writes Ernst Mayr, the distinguished zoologist, "are by definition . . . the fittest ones." And in Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Tim Berra states that "[f]itness in the Darwinian sense means reproductive fitness-leaving at least enough offspring to spread or sustain the species in nature."

This is not a parody of evolutionary thinking; it is evolutionary thinking. Que sera, sera.


and compare...

Reg_Prescott » August 7th, 2018, 9:31 am wrote:
"Here's a species that entered the fossil record unannounced, did pretty much nothing, then disappeared equally mysteriously a few million years later". Aha! My theory can explain that.

"Here's a species that evolved gradually". Aha! My theory can explain that.

"Here's a coelacanth that doesn't seem to have changed much in 300 million years (or whatever)". Aha! My theory can explain that.


Braininvat » August 7th, 2018, 10:24 am wrote:

Seems like a false equivalence to assert that NS reduces to a conjunctive statement. It's more like an assemblage of postulates. You may be in danger of beating up a strawman, Reg. I'm guessing the coelecanth didn't change much because it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations. An actual scientist might study the coelecanth and its habitat and it's DNA and sea fossils and so on, rather than wring her hands over Darwin's imperfections as a soothsayer.


Reg_Prescott » August 7th, 2018, 10:30 am wrote:
Well, this seems to me like more vacuous circularity, with all due respect, my old pal. Remember that Niles Eldredge quote about niches being defined by their occupants?



I mean no disrespect to anyone, most of all Braininvat, but is the circularity here not obvious? It's the kind of circularity that seems to me fairly typical of much Darwinian thinking, i.e.,

"The coelacanth doesn't seem to have changed much over millions of years."

"Ah, that's because it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations."

"And how do we know the coelacanth resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations?"

"Because it hasn't changed much over millions of years."


Now, BiV, if it is indeed the case, as you claim (or guess), that the coelacanth has not changed much over millions of years because "it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations", to escape the circularity we would surely require independent reasons for supposing that the niche in question is unusually static, right?

Are there any such reasons? I ask in all sincerity.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 7:18 am 

Berlinski on his associations with the Discovery Institute (54:00)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mF7w_zF2DU

And Positor, we broached the topic of "more of the same" yesterday. See 9:00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S89IskZI740&t=546s
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 7:55 am 

Hyksos,

Getting back to your #1 and #3 claims in your opening post that Berlinski purportedly makes, namely:

1. Evolution by natural selection and random mutations sounds like it works on paper, but would never work in actual practice because it would only introduce negative mutations.


and

3. In short, Berlinski says the process of random mutation with selection would only ever lead inevitably to extinction. It could only ever introduce mutations deleterious to the organism's survival. Then over many generations, the negative mutations would compound together.


at around the 18:20 mark in the following video, you'll hear Berlinski say:

"But the idea that mutations are the driving force encounters a fatal difficulty: almost all mutations are deleterious ..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S89IskZI740&t=546s

Now, this critical "almost" seems to contradict the claims you made (unless he said what you claim somewhere else). Furthermore, sounds to me what Berlinski is saying is pretty much what mainstream evolutionary biologists say too.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Positor on September 6th, 2018, 8:43 am 

Reg Prescott,

Thanks for the video link; I have watched the relevant part. In my previous post I said:

Positor » September 5th, 2018, 1:47 pm wrote:If any process can occur one step at a time, then it can carry on without limit unless there is a specific preventative factor (such as God's will, as a creationist might argue).

In the case of someone jumping as far as the moon, there is an obvious impediment: gravity. No such obvious impediment is apparent in the case of macroevolution. (If you think there is one, we can discuss it.) So there is nothing specific to counter the "more of the same" argument. We know of a mechanism by which macroevolution could proceed, and we do not know of anything particular that would stop it. Therefore, on this basis alone, it is rational to think that macroevolution occurs.

Now, if you add the evidence of the fossil record, and our knowledge of molecular biology and its relationship with the environment, it seems to me that there is an extremely high probability that macroevolution occurs. (By contrast, we have not discovered jumping Earth creatures on the moon, or between the earth and the moon.)

On the question of the coelacanth:
Reg_Prescott wrote:to escape the circularity we would surely require independent reasons for supposing that the niche in question is unusually static, right?

Are there any such reasons?

I presume there are. As Braininvat stated:
Braininvat wrote:An actual scientist might study the coelacanth and its habitat and its DNA and sea fossils and so on.
Positor
Active Member
 
Posts: 1081
Joined: 05 Feb 2010
BraininvatReg_Prescott liked this post


Re: David Berlinski

Postby davidm on September 6th, 2018, 9:34 am 

"The coelacanth doesn't seem to have changed much over millions of years."

"Ah, that's because it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations."

"And how do we know the coelacanth resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations?"

"Because it hasn't changed much over millions of years.”


Right, another creationist talking point, the bogus charge of circularity. Let me correct it for you:

“The coelacanth doesn't seem to have changed much over millions of years."

"Ah, that's because it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations."

"And how do we know the coelacanth resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations?"

"Because we have geologic evidence for this.”


Nothing circular about that. You’re welcome.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 254
Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Braininvat liked this post


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 9:39 am 

davidm » September 6th, 2018, 10:34 pm wrote:
"Because we have geologic evidence for this.”

Nothing circular about that. You’re welcome.


Er, what about all the other stuff in the coelacanth's niche? Did they all remain unchanged for hundreds of millions of years too?

Or, did they find the niche a bit cramped and move out to a duplex?
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 9:45 am 

To be less flippant, Davidm, can you tell us, apart from our protagonist, Mr Coelacanth, who else occupied his unusually static niche?

Or Ms Coelacanth? It's all the same to me.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 9:48 am 

Times like these, I'd like to express how much I enjoy the intelligent input of Positor, even if we may not always agree.

You're a gentleman and a scholar, sir.

I'll try to find some way to wriggle out of your very clever questions tomorrow, sir :)
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Forest_Dump on September 6th, 2018, 9:51 am 

There also seems to be some implicit assumption that evolutionary change must always happen as though there is some kind of drive. But we actually know this is not the case because there are many creatures that do not appear to be all that different from their fossil ancestors and in fact many (most?) do not appear to have changed at all (e.g., microbes). I suppose I am struggling to see the point. To me it is not the stasis that is of interest but rather the ones that have changed over time. How do we explain the change if not by way of evolutionary theory? Berlinski (and Reg) appear to have problems with some of the more extremist versions of evolutionary theory. Fair enough. So do i. Do they offer any interesting game alternative or is it just a case of peeing on candles?
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8780
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region
Braininvat liked this post


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 9:57 am 

Forest_Dump » September 6th, 2018, 10:51 pm wrote:There also seems to be some implicit assumption that evolutionary change must always happen as though there is some kind of drive. But we actually know this is not the case because there are many creatures that do not appear to be all that different from their fossil ancestors and in fact many (most?) do not appear to have changed at all (e.g., microbes). I suppose I am struggling to see the point. To me it is not the stasis that is of interest but rather the ones that have changed over time. How do we explain the change if not by way of evolutionary theory? Berlinski (and Reg) appear to have problems with some of the more extremist versions of evolutionary theory. Fair enough. So do i. Do they offer any interesting game alternative or is it just a case of peeing on candles?


Well, let me put it this way....

In another thread, Serpent (I think) tells us that evolutionary theory provides the best explanation for [er, who the hell knows]

(link available upon request)

Er, which theory?

Seems to me what you call "evolutionary theory" encompasses just about anything any biologist has ever said about evolution.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 10:07 am 

Meanwhile, despite my pointing out that Davidm's assertion that evolution is both a fact and a theory does not seem to enjoy consensus, both in terms of whether it is both a fact and theory, and assuming there is a fact, what that fact is.

Davidm's answer was twofold:

1. there is a fact, and it's his. Anyone else, including scientists, is confused. That includes your own input on the "fact" of evolution, Forest. (links available upon request). Life's a bitch, eh? And...

2. There are lots of things that are both fact and theory; take gravity for example. (this is David speaking)

I almost daren't ask, but since I have the day off tomorrow, David, be a good sport and tell us what the "fact" of gravity is.

And if I meet anyone else who disagrees with you about the fact of gravity, may I take it that they're confused too?
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Forest_Dump on September 6th, 2018, 10:20 am 

Okay Reg I will agree. Evolutionary theory is not a single or simplistic idea (as I would even characterize Dawkins overly simplistic take on it sometimes). It is a HUGE complex body of knowledge that unifies an almost equally huge diversity of biologists that range from people who are confined to looking at test tunes in sterile labs to people slogging through the mud in tropical rain forests to watch the mating habits of birds and bugs. I don't see this as a problem but as a strength. I have run across countless attempts to offer a simple working definition of evolution and have never found one that works in all times for all topics. I have never found one chess opening get that works all the time either or one piece of music that I want to listen to all the time either. Why is this a problem?
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8780
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 10:30 am 

Forest_Dump » September 6th, 2018, 11:20 pm wrote:Okay Reg I will agree. Evolutionary theory is not a single or simplistic idea (as I would even characterize Dawkins overly simplistic take on it sometimes). It is a HUGE complex body of knowledge that unifies an almost equally huge diversity of biologists that range from people who are confined to looking at test tunes in sterile labs to people slogging through the mud in tropical rain forests to watch the mating habits of birds and bugs. I don't see this as a problem but as a strength. I have run across countless attempts to offer a simple working definition of evolution and have never found one that works in all times for all topics. I have never found one chess opening get that works all the time either or one piece of music that I want to listen to all the time either. Why is this a problem?


I'd agree with most of that, Forest.

Why is this a problem? It's a problem, just to name one example, when people claim that evolutionary theory is the best explanation for [insert whatever you like].

WHAT is the best explanation?

How can that which is a quagmire of conflicting claims be the best explanation for anything?

We'd need to be a little more specific, don't you think?

Besides this, I think you know my other gripes -- circularity, explanatory vacuity, predictive impotence, etc.

Perhaps most of all, just kinda hate the dogma and the ridicule that invariably attends anyone who points it out.

Love the fossil stuff. Keep up the good work :)
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: David Berlinski

Postby davidm on September 6th, 2018, 10:41 am 

How can that which is a quagmire of conflicting claims be the best explanation for anything?


Please attempt to demonstrate this (nonexistent) “quagmire of conflicting claims.” The fact that evolution has a number of different mechanisms does not mean these mechanisms are in conflict. This is just another bare assertion on your part, and, of course, a creationist talking point.

Besides this, I think you know my other gripes -- circularity, explanatory vacuity, predictive impotence, etc.


There are none of these things. I dispensed above with your false claim of circularity with respect to coelacanth. Got any others? Of course evolutionary theory has proved to be robustly explanatory, predictive, and even retrodictive — such as the retrodiction that we ought to be able to group populations into clades, which turns out to be correct. Everything you write above consists of the same old warmed-over creationist talking points, refuted countless times.

Perhaps most of all, just kinda hate the dogma and the ridicule that invariably attends anyone who points it out.


Don’t flatter yourself that you have “pointed out” anything. You are simply repeating creationist lies.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 254
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: David Berlinski

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 6th, 2018, 10:43 am 

davidm » September 6th, 2018, 11:41 pm wrote:
How can that which is a quagmire of conflicting claims be the best explanation for anything?


Please attempt to demonstrate this (nonexistent) “quagmire of conflicting claims.” The fact that evolution has a number of different mechanisms does not mean these mechanisms are in conflict. This is just another bare assertion on your part, and, of course, a creationist talking point.

Besides this, I think you know my other gripes -- circularity, explanatory vacuity, predictive impotence, etc.


There are none of these things. I dispensed above with your false claim of circularity with respect to coelacanth. Got any others? Of course evolutionary theory has proved to be robustly explanatory, predictive, and even retrodictive — such as the retrodiction that we ought to be able to group populations into clades, which turns out to be correct. Everything you write above consists of the same old warmed-over creationist talking points, refuted countless times.

Perhaps most of all, just kinda hate the dogma and the ridicule that invariably attends anyone who points it out.


Don’t flatter yourself that you have “pointed out” anything. You are simply repeating creationist lies.



Love it when your nostrils flare. So sexy.
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 May 2018


PreviousNext

Return to Personal Theories

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests