Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bloody stupid quote of the day

It comes from Sunny over at Liberal Conspiracy, where Jim Carr posted this comment.
Disagreeing with the climate change establishment, as many scientists in the field do, is akin to holocaust denial?

To which Sunny replied with an astonishingly ignorant assertion.
No I think its rather like believing in creationism.

What the fuck? Seriously, this is just insane.

Whether or not you agree with my assertion that anthropogenic climate change is not happening doesn't terribly matter; however, readers of The Kitchen will know that I have at least looked at the data. And there is relevant data.

The idea that disagreeing with the AGW concensus is akin to believing in creationism—a theory which requires a god (for which there is no evidence) and a total contradiction of a heavily-supported theory (evolution)—is quite simply one of the most astoundingly stupid remarks that I have seen in quite some time.

Now, you can take what you like from the AGW data—which in itself is an indicator of its ambivalence—but to assert that anyone who does not believe the prevailing "concensus" is like believing in a theory, the very basis of which is entirely unsupported, is gross and, yes, irresponsible idiocy.

42 comments:

Mac the Knife said...

What did you expect? Sense?

Anonymous said...

And the irony is that AGW believers are reliogous in their zeal. The have succeeded in undermining the fundamental tenent of scepticism in science by claiming that to be sceptical is wrong. Dickheads. The scientific method is built on a sceptical premise.

Bishop Hill said...

The recent Pielke/Annan survey of climate scientists found that 25% reckon the IPCC overstates their case. This presumably means that Sunny reckons that 25% of climate scientists are creationists.

Tomrat said...

I'm a creationist; Evolution is also only a theory, and one who's ideas are being constantly fine tuned (as for that matter and perhaps to some peoples surprise is creation theory).

Blind acceptance of evolution theory makes you no different to that of creation theory; I've weighed up evidence on both sides and found many of the arguements of evolutionists desperately wanting or biased; they are not willing to consider the scientific implications and thus theorise against emperical observation which makes for very bad science and a hole which they continue to dig when their original hypothesis fails spectacularly.

Anonymous said...

"consensus" or "concensus (sic)" if you're quoting.

Even if one accepts the AGW lobby's case, the IPCC claims only 90% chance of AGW occurring. Only a moron would spending billions if there were a one in ten chance of it being entirely wasted.

knirirr said...

Evolution is also only a theory

True, but “theory” has a particular meaning.

The idea that disagreeing with the AGW concensus is akin to believing in creationism ... [is stupid].

Even I would agree with that. Creationism is something else altogether.

JuliaM said...

Agree with Mac the Knife. It's Sunny Hundal for christsake!

If he said it was 10:00am most people would check their watches to find out what the real time was...

Chalcedon said...

For any creationists about:

A scientific theory isn't just someone's clever idea. It is an idea or ideas that are testable. What I think you are considering as a theory is a scientific hypothesis which is quite different.

Evolution is a testable theory. It can be seen in rapidly reproducing species such as bacteria. Environmental pressure producing change in the organism; the evolution of adaptive change.

There are also many transitional forms in the fossil record again showing evolution in action. Birds with tetth and then birds without teet for example. But modern birds possess tooth buds which could form teeth if the mechanism wasn't inhibited biochemically and genetically which it is.

Evolution is an accepted scientific fact. The only theory is in regard to which mechanism or mechanisms are at work driving evolutionary change. Also biological evolution is mirrored by the physics of radioactive decay which gives us a testable age of the Earth. Geology does too. Genetic analysis can give an age relating to ancient genetic changes in lineages. When you get a coherent scientific concurrence based on different methodologies you are onto a winner.

Chalcedon said...

Dammit. tetth and teet are dyslexic synonyms for TEETH!!

Budgie said...

Two of the main flaws in evolution (there are many more and I am not saying ceationism is any better though) are these:

The fossil record does not, as Chalcedon claims, demonstrate (still less "prove") either genetically "adaptive" or "transitional" evolution. What you see is distinct species which exist unchanged for hundreds of millennia, then suddenly a new species appears. Often the two co-exist, still retaining their genetic distinctiveness.

Then there is the problem of the non-appearance in the fossil record of all the false genetic starts. These would be similar to existing species but with newly evolved features. But being insufficiently robust or viable they would not last like their forbears. Theoretically the fossil record should be swamped with these false starts. They don't exist, at all.

Evolution is an unproven theory, or a hypothesis, if you insist.

Roger Thornhill said...

I have yet to see Creationist "proof" that evolution does not work survive a fisking intact.

Neal Asher said...

Belief in AGW is like Creationism. It even mimicked it on the rebranding front. Creationism tried to sell itself as Intelligent Design and Anthropogenic Global Warming is selling itself as Climate Change. Not believing either AGW or Creationism is Atheism. And as usual the other side try to accuse atheists of having a belief of some kind, which, as someone once pointed out, is like trying to call bald a hair colour.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"These would be similar to existing species but with newly evolved features. But being insufficiently robust or viable they would not last like their forbears. Theoretically the fossil record should be swamped with these false starts. They don't exist, at all."

This is, unfortunately, entirely incorrect. A whole load of quite distinct and unsuccessful life-forms found in the Burgess Shale. Plus, of course, we have more famous examples such as Archaeopteryx.

The second issue here is that roughly 99.9% of all creatures simply break down into nothing at all (or are eaten and encounter a similar fate); it is very difficult to become a fossil.

As Bill Bryson points out in A Short History of Nearly Everything, if you accept the common estimate that the Earth has produced something like 30 billion species, we only have 250,000 in the fossil record: thus, we only have a record of 1 in every 120,000 species that have occurred on this planet.

DK

knirirr said...

Any non-creationists reading this who haven't already taken a look at any information on evolution may like to look up some of the creationist claims above on this site.

Jones said...

Creationism and 'intelligent design' are just a rebranding of Paleys 'Watchmaker' fallacy (Google it) from the 19th century. AGW relies on belief more than logic and observation, so is more like creationism.

knirirr said...

AGW ... is more like creationism.

That turns out not to be the case.
Creationism is not science and cannot produce any testable, falsifiable predictions. AGW predictions can be tested and falsified, though whether they will be falsified remains to be seen.

Trixy said...

I thought we'd all agreed Sunny is a CUNT.

Jones said...

Knirirr,

Lots of academic time has been taken up with myths and legends, including creationism. TV programmes are made trying to reconcile biblical 'history' with recorded history. Erich Von Daniken made a fortune with his 'aliens assisted our ancestors' premise. It does not mean that such beliefs are any less mythical, just that a certain suspension of logic has to be applied when examining the source 'data' to apply a proof.

So it is with AGW. The 'theory' only works if you suspend critical observation, like remembering that global CO2 increase lags global temperature rise, and ignore historical events like the Medieval warm period. Oh yes, and remember that the AGW 'theory' only 'works' with an infinitely thick atmospheric model.

In this way AGW is like creationism. It only works if you ignore certain proven facts. I can cite loads more examples if you like. How long have you got?

knirirr said...

How long have you got?

Not long enough, and I stand by my previous comment.

Budgie said...

DK said:
"A whole load of quite distinct and unsuccessful life-forms found in the Burgess Shale. Plus, of course, we have more famous examples such as Archaeopteryx."

I would consider these to be very successful species - they lasted for many thousands of years. I was thinking more of something like a mule which is the viable progeny of a fertile horse and donkey, but not itself fertile. (Yes, I know this is breeding, not evolution).

For evolution to be true (ie no intelligence or design) all variants are by random mutation. Fred Hoyle stated that the chance of one genetic copying "error" is 1 in 20million to 30million. Only about 1 million generations separates Man from the gorilla (Man diverged from the gorilla 7 million years ago). So for only one minor change there should be about 20million odd (variably) less successful variants.

It is also a very slow rate of change. So even though geological time is immense it is not immense enough to cope with evolution.

Please bear in mind I am not a creationist. But evolutionists insist on absolutist belief just like AGW - it is just that we have got used to the evolutionary idea. At best the evidence for evolution is inadequate.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"I was thinking more of something like a mule which is the viable progeny of a fertile horse and donkey, but not itself fertile."

OK, do you know why it isn't fertile?

DK

Budgie said...

I don't, nor does Mrs Budgie (degree in biology/geography) who supplies me with most of my info on this subject.

However "A mule has 31-paired chromosomes as well as an extra chromosome from its horse mother that is not paired. Many think that this extra non-paired chromosome is what makes the mule infertile." Source: Donkeys, Horses, Mules, and Evolution; The Phenotypic Effects of Chromosome Variation; Sean D. Pitman M.D. August 2003 Last update: February 2008.

knirirr said...

At best the evidence for evolution is inadequate.

If you're interested to find out why you are mistaken, read the link I posted above (or study for a degree in biology).

ChrisM said...

"For evolution to be true (ie no intelligence or design) all variants are by random mutation. Fred Hoyle stated that the chance of one genetic copying "error" is 1 in 20million to 30million. Only about 1 million generations separates Man from the gorilla (Man diverged from the gorilla 7 million years ago). So for only one minor change there should be about 20million odd (variably) less successful variants."

Fred Hoyle the astronomer? Hmmm, not really sure tht he counts as an authority. But even if we accept what you say he says, you do realise that one generation does not equal one individual don't you? For instance there are over 6 billion humans alive at the moment. They are spread out over 3 or 4 generations. Your arithmatic does not seem to take this into account.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Fred Hoyle stated that the chance of one genetic copying "error" is 1 in 20million to 30million."

Um... OK. How many cells do you think replicate in your body everyday? How many cells in your body, in fact?

Does 1 in 20million/30million include "human" generations or cel generations?

DK

ChrisM said...

"Um... OK. How many cells do you think replicate in your body everyday? How many cells in your body, in fact?"
Just to play Devil's Advocate, I guess its only mutations in germ cells which are relevant for evolution - in fact mutation in germ cells which actually become a next generation organism as opposed to ending up in a gymn sock ;-)

ChrisM said...

"Blind acceptance of evolution theory makes you no different to that of creation theory; I've weighed up evidence on both sides".

It's not either/or. Finding holes in the theory of evolution does not advance the "theory" of creationism one little bit. And of course that is all that creationists and IDers do. They have no theory, they go round looking for gaps in our knowledge of evolution in the mistaken beleif that this somehow is evidence of their theories; it is not.

Budgie said...

chrism and DK

"Does 1 in 20million/30million include "human" generations or cell generations?" Human and gorilla together (25yrs & 10yrs), not cells. For evolution to work it must be passed to progeny.

The main point I was making here was that for every successful mutation, there should be 20million less (or un) successful changes. Hence there should be a vast array of fossil evidence of these failures (even with a limited fossil record). There isn't.

"Fred Hoyle the astronomer?" Yes, a very intelligent man who applied his math skills to show how unlikely was earth centric evolution. His alternative suggestion was universe based evolution.

"you do realise that one generation does not equal one individual don't you?" Yes, and one minor mutation is not the only difference between Man and Gorilla. Even tho the DNA is very similar, the information content of the biochemical differences are huge.

For example the alpha chain in hemoglobin has 20 amino acids arranged in a chain of 141. The number of ways of arranging these is 20 to the power 141. Or more than all the atoms in the visible universe. Then there is the make up of the amino acids themselves. Then there are the enzymes which are not just chemically complex but also shape critical. The figures are so enormous that it is not possible even in geological timescales to encompass the evolution necessary.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Budgie,

"For evolution to work it must be passed to progeny."

Yes, I know. You missed my point.

"The main point I was making here was that for every successful mutation, there should be 20million less (or un) successful changes."

This is not entirely true. You cannot say that a mutation in progeny happens every 1 in 20 million and then extrapolate that there must therefore be 20 million unsuccessful ancestors. It doesn't work like that.

"Even tho the DNA is very similar, the information content of the biochemical differences are huge."

We have established that the chances of any sea-based animal being fossilised is minute, yes?

And the chances of any land-based animal being fossilised is even tinier, yes?

And even of the fossils that we do have, a minute number preserve any soft tissues, yes?

And of those that do have preserved soft tissues, it is, in all but the most exceptional cases, impossible to tell, say, the structure of any particular enzyme within that organism.

And you think that we should have a record of all 20 million hybrids? I don't think so.

"For example the alpha chain in hemoglobin has 20 amino acids arranged in a chain of 141. The number of ways of arranging these is 20 to the power 141."

Yes, that is assuming that the chances of any amino acids bonding directly with another amino acid is the same. Which is isn't.

"Then there are the enzymes which are not just chemically complex but also shape critical."

All proteins are shape critical. But, again, you are assuming that the shape is just randomly evolved. But it isn't.

Shape is generally a function of localised charges within the protein structure.

A protein does not have an equal chance of forming any particular shape.

You are working off entirely false probabilities here.

DK


P.S. When looking at the vast probabilties, do remember that you need to multiply the number of atoms on earth by the time taken. Let us say that that there are ten billion atoms and they can form and reform a bond within one second; so you need to calculate the number of seconds in roughly 3 billion years and multiply that by ten billion before you even get to the amino acid stage.

Budgie said...

"And you think that we should have a record of all 20 million hybrids? I don't think so."

No. Why should we? What I am saying is that there must be a great many more unsuccessful mutations than successful ones. So, where there are fossil records, on average, we should find many more unsuccessful variants. But we don't find any.

As for enzyme shape. Whilst the alpha chain for example can be formed in different ways, enzyme shape is absolutely critical in 3 dimensions for it to function correctly, not just exist as a chemical.

Hoyle calculates that the chance of obtaining all c2000 enzymes randomly is 10 to power 40000. He says " an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup."

Can I suggest you read "Evolution from Space" by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe which contains the maths, the enormity of the numbers of which I have probably failed to convey meaningfully.

Budgie said...

DK said: "You cannot say that a mutation in progeny happens every 1 in 20 million and then extrapolate that there must therefore be 20 million unsuccessful ancestors. It doesn't work like that."

You are right. It was incorrect of me to use that number (20 million) as an estimate of unsuccessful progeny.

Prof Hoyle defined the 1 in 20/30million as the probability of a copying error (mutation), per generation, that accounts for the single variation in the alpha chain of hemoglobin between Man and Gorilla in 7 million years.

So it is a measure of the slowness of "good" mutations.

However, the occurrence of "bad" mutations is probably considerably more than 20 million times good mutations (because of all the possible non working and partially working ways of mutating the complex biochemistry of a gorilla). This will of course happen just as slowly as good mutations. As a result it is still the case that the evidence of unsuccessful evolution should be readily apparent, however small the fossil record.

Tomrat said...

Knirirr,

Thank you for that website; I will read that website fully over the coming weeks when I have time.

The FAQ's quote below represents my view towards the science part of Evolution as a theory:

"Lack of proof isn't a weakness, either. On the contrary, claiming infallibility for one's conclusions is a sign of hubris..."

Ergo, both creationists and common evolutionists are as guilty as AGW moonbats and skeptics alike (as per your comment Neil)

"...Nothing in the real world has ever been rigorously proved, or ever will be. Proof, in the mathematical sense, is possible only if you have the luxury of defining the universe you're operating in..."

Or if you happen to know the creator and he wrote it down for you ;-)...

"...In the real world, we must deal with levels of certainty based on observed evidence. The more and better evidence we have for something, the more certainty we assign to it; when there is enough evidence, we label the something a fact, even though it still isn't 100% certain."

So in other words, despite none of us having concrete evidence, it is still ok to fraudulently claim there is no stock in the other groups arguement; something which AGW fanatics do, comprising of their quite reasonable observations of what they see around them - facts which can be repudated quite easily - to the more insidious arguements that label the skeptics as crazy people whom must necessarily be ignored (like many evolutionists do to creationists, including those who are members of the scientific community).

I suppose my main objection here has nothing to do with evolution theory; it is more to do with the use of words - take the very first line in Knirirr's post:

"Biologists define evolution as a change in the gene pool of a population over time"

That IS something I can agree with without sacrifing my creationist beliefs; that species adapt to environmental pressures is a perfectly reasonable observation - that they continually evolved from weaker lifeforms is something that cannot be tested and fails with attempts to produce such evolution in the lab (which I might, is rich for scrutiny considering that by trying to prove evolution they are essentially trying to design life).

I would be happier if people would distinguish newspeak from science altogether; common evolution theory is just atheism wrapped around science; a religion wrapped in trendy, testable analysis for one to prove the other; they cannot. It would be better to accept both possibilities; the potential for design to have played a part or not, then to apply the 2 theories to see which yields more fruitful, and useful science.

To reason why there is so little research into applying creationist theories I thinks comes down this fact - it is sidelined as crazy, religious nonsense whilst atheistic evolution is given a free ride, despite it featuring as many moonbat catechisms all of its own. Creationists are too busy (and admittedly, distracted) by trying to disprove common evolution that they've forgotten the need to provide productive science.

knirirr said...

Thank you for that website

You're welcome.
I have been encountering creationists for many years, and found that to be a useful summary and rebuttal of whatever they may come up with against evolution. After long enough, repeating the same things becomes a bit too much.

...that [organisms] continually evolved from weaker lifeforms is something that cannot be tested and fails with attempts to produce such evolution in the lab...

“Weaker” is not really a good word to use here, for it is not really clear what that means. Perhaps you mean “less well-adapted to their environment.”
As for evolution not being testable, this and also, this are relevant.

So in other words, despite none of us having concrete evidence, it is still ok to fraudulently claim there is no stock in the other groups arguement;

There comes a time when, on balance of probability, one must accept or reject a hypothesis. If the currently available evidence suggests that the hypothesis is likely to be correct then we say that it is a "fact" and that those who disagree are wrong. If new data or new interpretations of existing data appear then that stance should be re-assessed.

ChrisM said...

We can see DNA. We can track genes. We can observe how DNA directs protein production. We can observe we need to keep updating rat poisons, vaccines etc. We manipulate DNA to create new organisms. We breed better crops/animals etc.

Now where is the evidence for a creator? (Gaps in knowledge of evolution is not evidence for alternative theories).

Budgie said...

Unlike recent comments I stand resolutely on the sidelines: I will not be forced into accepting one when all are unsatisfactory. Faults include:

Creationism:
Lazy; circular argument; cannot 'prove' existence of God; limits scientific enquiry.

Earth based evolution (Darwinism):
Species suddenly appear fully formed; supposed to be 'survival of the fittest' but no evidence of the 'unfit'; odds against are more than astronomically huge.

Universe based evolution (Hoyle & others):
Same faults as earth based, but better odds.

Tomrat said...

Chrism,

I agree gaps in evolutionary evidence are not evidence for a creator, but how does this weigh up against evidence for design?

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2000/PSCF3-00Bergman.html

the link above shows why I stand on the side of a creator.

Budgie,

Has it occured to you that many people who believe in the creator might not have the mental capacity for trawling and rebuttal of science papers on evolution? I myself have a masters degree in Chemistry and was going on to study for a PhD in chemical biology (I quit for personal reasons) - I like to think that I can provide a little more balance on the subject by not making rash judgements on emperical evidence and discovery; as with AGW common evolutionists are quick to adapt their evidence to match their core theory but not to adapt the core theory.

My main point is that to broach common evolution theories is to risk being labelled a moonbat, crank or worse by the "scientific community"; a group of intelligentia as insidious as any left leaning politicised climate change machine or champagne socialist. As such they can teach flawed and one-sided theories with impunity at our schools to our children with little recourse from concerned parents - exactly what is happening with AGW.

This is little more than social engineering gone mad.

Now, a philosophical question: I am supreme creator of life, the universe and everything, and I created the universe 5 minutes ago - prove that I didn't.

knirirr said...

Tomrat,

...point is that to broach [sic] common evolution theories is to risk being labelled a moonbat, crank or worse...

I think you meant "breach," perhaps, and if so the reason would be that there is trustworthy evidence in favour of evolution (as I have linked to many times already), whatever creationists may assert to the contrary.

As for "being on the side of the creator" there is nothing to prevent you believing that a god exists whilst still accepting the science. Try this, for example. Accusations of evolution being thinly disguised atheistic propaganda are false.

Of course, some people may profess support for a particular theory or hypothesis because it fits in with another agenda that they may have. A good example would be the original topic of this post - AGW. But, even if such people were to attempt to cover up evidence or lie about their conclusions in return for concessions, as DK often alleges, then evidence may still be uncovered and hypotheses tested. A hypothesis is either true or false independently of who wants it to be either.

Devil's Kitchen said...

knirirr,

You work in the AGW modelling field, I know. If you want space to advance your beliefs on this matter at The Kitchen, just drop me a line and I'll be more than happy to give you said space...

DK

knirirr said...

DK,
Many thanks for the offer.
I do indeed work in that field, but I'm not a physicist (my background is in bioinformatics) so I am not qualified to speak with any authority on the science. If there is anything else I can come up with that I think might possibly be of interest then I will get in touch.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Sure, but I have criticsed the modelling a umber of times, so even a piece on said models (which I'm willing to bet most of us don't know the ins and outs of) would be interesting.

DK

knirirr said...

DK,
Fair enough - I'll see what I can do (work permitting).

Sacerdote said...

Just to backtrack, this 1 in 20 million figure seems a bit specious to me. When I was at medical school and we did genetics, my lecturer reckoned that on average each of us had about 6 mutant genes. These are created by errors in copying during meiosis (i.e. when the sperm and eggs that made us were created), and are passed down the germ line.

Combine this with the fact that some 25% of pregnancies are silently aborted due to genetic defects and you can see where the failed genetic mutations went.

This is why inbreeding is a bad idea. There's too much chance of mating with someone with the same mutation.