Sunday, May 29, 2016

Religion of Peace: Update

"I’M MUSLIM, DON’T PANIC: “An asylum seeker who jokingly wore a T-shirt saying ‘I’m Muslim, don’t panic’ was so savagely beaten by his fellow refugees that he had to be rushed to hospital.”"
As commented at PowerLine, you can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Quote of the Day

From a commenter to a Youtube video:
"You are not liberated by your beliefs, it just gives you the illusion of liberation and justifies your actions in your own mind."
When you have rejected all grounded processes of thought you become captive of your own fantasies which are ungrounded in reality.

When you believe that your fantasies are superior to the grounded thoughts of the masses, you become "superior".

When you become "superior", you become "elite".

When you become "elite", you know that you can manage the lives of the masses better than they can.

You have then slid the slope into totalitarianism.

As a totalitarian you believe that you can define reality for everyone, and that your "morality" says that you should do so.

After all, it's for THEIR benefit that you save them from their delusional dissent.

"Ethics": This Was Inevitable

British scientist can genetically modify human embryos, ethics committee says
British "ethics" decisions have long been a study in Hegelian slippery slope modifications. Taking one step further into the abyss every year, the committee has abandoned all concepts of stability in ethics, and has slid steadily into the trade-offs of how many lives sacrificed might be balanced by the knowledge gained in their extinction. How does this vary from the Mengele approach? It is the same in kind, varying only in the age of the humans being sacrificed. The British are still at the embryonic stage so far. But what with the slope getting steeper every year, we can expect that to expand as they determine that other ages may be expendable in the search for knowledge. Unless it is stopped, it will expand exponentially. Government grants seem to do that.

Trying to Tamp Down the Flaming Socialist Violence... In Wyoming.


Democrats sweat next convention blowup

Wyoming could be the next flash point for a Sanders revolt.
Leftists know how to bring about the perfect utopia: burn down everything that is NOT that utopia.

Joke of the Millenium

In historic visit to Hiroshima, Obama calls on the world to morally evolve
I'd like to add something to this, but I can't. This is just... precious.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Discussion Zone for Abortion

This post will serve as the launch point for the discussion of abortion. The discussion zone will be near the top of the Left Hand Column, along with the discussion zones for Atheism and Evolution.

Hugo has provided a good place to start the discussion.
Here's the discussion with Hugo, so far.

Hugo says,
“As I mentioned above, it's not about whether we should decide 'who' can be killed or not; it's about where in the human development stage do the cells go from 'it' to 'who', from just cells with the potential to be a human to an actual human (with "personhood" and "human-ness") that has the right to life.”


You can dance around the issue all you want, but I’m standing firm on actual logic: you cannot have come to exist without having come through the entire process of human development. When you were a “developing” human, you were a human. No matter what adjectives you add to the word “human” you cannot deny the human her humanity… unless you are the moral authority and arbiter of her fate as you choose to define it. However you define it, you are choosing a point at which the human may be killed. No wonder you want to deny her her obvious human natural access to a full life (you escaped the denial of humanity; you are privileged with life due to not having been killed).

”Logically speaking, statements are either true, or not-true. Statements about morality talk about moral actions or immoral actions. There is no in-between. “

Good so far. But I sense a diversion coming up.

”However, it's not always easy to spot which is which, and humans disagree all the time on which is which. In other words, some situations are definitely back-or-white, but many are somewhere in between. Abortion is at times clearly moral, but not always, so it's not a black-or-white topic. But the self-labeled pro-life crowd would like to put it that way.”

True or false: Shredding an embryonic human is killing.

”Here's a way to illustrate the dilemma:

1) Spermatozoids/eggs contain genetic material; a random set of chromosomes from a male/female. On their own, they cannot even potentially become an independent human being. Nobody argues that these should be kept alive for future use; abortion does not come up. And it's obviously not possible to do so anyway, especially not with the billions of spermatozoid that a single male produces over his lifetime. There is no 'who' being killed when an egg/spermatozoid is taken on its own.


Red Herring. No one argues that spermatazoa by themselves are human life; neither are unfertilized eggs. So 1) has no bearing on the argument being made, and it is diversionary.

”2) When a woman is pregnant with a baby, it happens quite often that the baby will be born before the ~40 week mark, the normal average gestation period. At that time, and for many weeks before, the baby is fully formed and able to live outside the womb. Abortion does not apply here either, just like #1, but for a different reason: the process is called a c-section and the baby lives. It would require the explicit killing of the baby to make sure it does not survive.”

And that is what Tiller and his ilk have done: inject the human embryo with poison through the uterine wall, killing the baby and making its removal by shredding into an abortion, necessitated by the murder of the intrauterine human.

Of course, as you mentioned on another thread, there are some people who apparently want this to happen, but that's not about abortion anymore at this point. There is no abortion once the fetus is fully viable, the baby is a 'who' that clearly has the right to live.

Of course there is and you don’t know any different because abortions are strictly secret (privacy, doncha know)..

...but in between, that's where it gets a bit more complicated.

Only if you self-anoint with moral authority to make it more complicated, and you eschew all rational arguments regarding human development happening to humans.

”3) The first one I will list is the easiest, in my opinion: at the time of conception. Because we understand human development very well, (and any sexual reproduction actually, since it's all the same), we know that the result is a combination of the female egg, which has half the number of chromosomes of a full human, with the male spermatozoid, which also has half the number of chromosomes. Together, they form a random combination, which is almost certainly unique because of the statistical improbability of combining the exact same genes twice, and the small mutations that can happen during cell division. This process can be triggered naturally, or artificially in a laboratory, or even just theoretically: take a spermatozoid from any male, take an egg from any woman, and combine their genetic code to get an idea of a new potential human being.

The latter case is purely imaginary, and is included as another Red Herring. No imaginary process produces, of itself, anything real in the material sense. No one is aborting anyone’s imagination.

” In the latter case, that human would never exist since it's just a thought experiment, while in the first 2 it could lead to a human, if the initial cell is nurtured in a womb and grow successfully to become a viable fetus, an actual human being. But, at the time of conception, there is no 'who' yet; there is nobody to talk about.”

Ah the human identity is merely denied, thus enabling its death by human destruction of its gestation.

” It's just 1 of a quasi-infinite number of valid sequence of human DNA.

As are you. And I emphasize the “just”.

”Moreover, the notion of 'time of conception' can also extend to hours, and maybe a couple of days, after conception, where the initial cell has had time to reproduce itself thousands of times already, but without forming anything resembling a human yet.”

It exactly resembles a human at that stage of development, just as you did at that stage of development. You have inserted your prejudice, and it is rejected.

”4) The next one, first trimester of development, is also easy but emotional manipulation kicks-in in full force from the so-called "pro-life" side.”

False. Declaring the argument against your desire to kill to be emotional is merely word-play. Every human has to go through all the stages of development, right up to time of death. That individual is human the entire time. Your desire to redefine that obvious conclusion is rejected.

” Here, we are talking about a something that is not, at all, a person yet…”

This is a FALSE declaration. You have anointed yourself to be the arbiter of who can be considered a person and who cannot. The use of the word “person” changes the argument illegally away from the issue of the humanness of the developing human. And you use this redefinition which you make up to “justify” your theory of who can be killed at whatever stage which you choose to justify by changing definitions.

This is entirely Machiavellian.

”…but the embryo can start to reassemble one because of the formation of organs, and even a beating hearth at the threshold between embryo and fetus.”

All of this is trivial and so is the following discussion of Highschool biology.


”During the first trimester of a pregnancy, quite a lot happens basically and, the later it is, the more human-like the embryo is. However, there is absolutely no way that this embryo would survive outside of the mother's womb, there is no working nervous system and thus no 'who' to talk about.”

And another redefinition is put in place: no human is a “who” until you say so, because you have the moral authority to allow or deny a human her “whoness”, based on your opinion.

This is definitely still just some pack of cells, a lot of them, but not a human person.

This definition forgot to include the inability to talk about her “whoness”. You have made your decision using the same decision path and format that the eugenicists leading up to both Lenin and Hitler used: that category is not human; it has no person-hood; it has no whoness; it is without value, and it is a drain on its host and so: kill it.

”Moreover, that's when the vast majority of natural miscarriage occur and abortions performed during the first trimester are thus not much different from natural ones.”

Complete irrational misconception: “a natural cause of huan death is similar to killing a healthy human at the same stage”. I’m not even sure what it takes to make such a statement.

”Numbers vary and are hard to estimate, as many women don't even know they were pregnant, but it is said that only 30% to 50% of conceptions progress past the first trimester.”

Oh. Then it is statistically OK to kill your progeny. That’s a new argument and it doesn’t work, because it is statistically true that many black youth in ghettoes do not survive their teen years, so you might as well just go ahead and kill the inconvenient black teen youths. That would be racist though, whereas killing black humans at certain pre-born stages is just PEACHY.

”5) Now, the tough one... what should we do if a woman wants an abortion past the 3-month mark? If it's close enough, say during the 4th, it still pretty much the same situation as in #4, but the now fetus is getting very close to be what we should rightfully call a human, a person, who can live on their own.”

Nah. You can modify your definition of humanness yet again to include this category. A great many Pro-kill activists have already done so. Why is your opinion better than theirs?

”The most premature babies to have ever been born were only in their 20s, as in less than 30 weeks of development and thus only 5-to-6 months old. On the other hand, some abortions, without medical reasons, are performed up to the 20th week, and even a bit more, overlapping with the youngest babies to have survive. At this point, it's a very grey area.”

You are self-authorized to bite the bullet and make the decision whether to kill her or not. As your entire argument proceeds, that is what you are doing – justifying your opinion of when she can be shredded and relieved of her life.

”Personally, I am not comfortable either way and would let doctors and other medical/ethics professional weight in.”

So your moral authority fails you at this point? Someone else’s moral authority is allowed to supersede your own, so that you don’t have to face this failure point in your own moral theory?

”Doing everything possible to save a 20-something fetus has a very low chance of success and can actually lead to a life of misery of the person who survives.”

So you can decide that preventing a possible uncomfortable future life is a good reason to kill that person pre-emptively?

”But it's possible, and thus falls under the person category. I would tend to stay cautious and give a right to life to fetus as soon as they hit the 20-week, 5-month, mark, perhaps even a bit before and we can be accurate enough. We are now talking about someone, a who, in my opinion. Trying to get rid of that fetus is killing and should not be acceptable. But...

Yes. But… You might change your mind and allow the killing to proceed, anyway.

The remaining quandaries are not worth my discussion time; Here’s why: everything you say is predicated on your own personal moral authority to decide to kill. You base that on your own definitions of which humans you personally consider to have value: the values of “personhood”, “whoness”, and the value of being a healthy human.

I reject your moral authority to make those determinations for another human.

”To conclude, I will quote a few lines of your last 10 comments Stan. This might help clarify my position and the arguments I am presenting in favor of safe and legal abortions, with the 6 situations listed above as framework.
Stan said...
"You referred to the embryo or zygote or whatever name might be given to the fertilized cell attached to the uterus as “meaningless”. Now we can establish that you understand that this cell is human, with its own life and identity, is growing through a necessary phase of human development. That, according to you, is meaningless in the decision to kill that human."

The embryo or zygote is "not" a person; it has no right to life and no identity. ”


And there is the entire issue. Who gave you the authority over other humans at whatever stage of their development – to kill that human if it is deemed inconvenient? Who gave you the right to make these definitions which you declare with such certainty of your moral authority to do so? If no one gave you this magnificent power, then how did you get it? Here’s how: you gave it to yourself, as a part of your atheist elitist worldview.

That’s exactly how Atheism works.

Here are more declarations from on high:

”Only a fetus can be labeled as person, and only a fetus can be 'killed', once it is deemed to be an actual person. Something meaningless cannot be 'killed', or 'murdered', by definition, as it is not a person. The only acceptable cases where abortion 'is' about killing were explained under #6, and are limited to rare medical situations.”

So you have outlined a moral code for who can be killed, complete with paragraph numbers.

”In other words, all humans went through the phases of human development, but not everything that goes through 'some' of the phases of human development is a human. What was discussed under #1-3-4 are examples of things that go through some of the human development process, without being humans.”

More definitional clarifications under your personal authority to decide which human dies.

”" find the time in the gestation where the “person” organ is installed, and declare that to be the cut-off for killing the developing human, thereby depriving her of her life. Obviously, the ability to detect the material “Personhood Organ” is something that only the “Right To Kill” advocates have. That’s an astonishing ability. And in fact it Does Not Exist. There is no more onerous ploy than to claim the ability to deny personhood to another human."

Nobody is stating that it's simple, and there is no such thing as a 'person organ'. This is a use of ridicule in order to avoid a tough debate.”


Not ridicule at all. You are installing personhood and whoness and killability with your personal opinion of which humans are killable. You are a dedicated Materialist. So if personhood is acquired, it must get installed at some point, under your own philosophy of Materialism. If that is not the case, then its just your opinion regarding which humans you have decided are killable.

”As I keep mentioning, the pro-life side has nothing but emotions on their side.”

And that is absurd. When I assert that when an egg is fertilized it becomes a unique individual being launched into the normal path of human development, that is biological fact. Your case, on the other hand, is purely opinion. There is no reasoning which allows you to be the arbiter of life and death over another biological human. All of your vaunted “reasoning” is just opinion which is supported only by your emotionally derived definitions which you have modified to support your case in advance to actually making it.

They point out to how embryos 'look' like babies, or how the embryo 'could' have been a human.

Did no such thing. Straw Man/Red herring.

”But the question is whether the embryo 'is' a human at the time of abortion.

False. The issue is why you think you have the moral authority to deny life to another human.

”The longer the gestation period the tougher the question becomes. But, the fact that we have the 2 extremes, as explained under #1 and #2, means that there is necessarily a cut-off. Using facts and reason, we can try to figure out the ethical way to find that cut-off and avoid killing humans.”

You have not used facts; you have created false definitions which you assert as fact. You have not used reason; you have rationalized your own personal authority to decide life and death over other humans.

"Apparently then, infanticide a la’ Peter Singer (the moral-free ethics prof) is OK with you, too?"

No, not at all. The quote, which you misunderstood, was meant to illustrate that if someone attempts to label 'human' something which is not human at all then, yes, it makes it look like killing.“


Another false statement, and equivocation: no one has made labels except for you with your phony redefinitions. The consistent use of the obvious "humanity" involved in the propagation of humans is not a label. It is an inconvenient fact which you refuse to acknowledge, in the defense of your own assumption of personal moral authority.

”If I label mosquitoes as humans, and then ask you: have you ever kill a mosquito?”

Red Herring/False Analogy/Straw Man. You are the one creating labels, not me.


”Does it mean that you did in fact kill a human if you answer yes? This is exactly the same thing here. The pro-life side defines embryos, or even just a single cell, as 'human'; they then equate the destruction of these cells with killing a human.”

Only your bogus labeling says otherwise. You cannot defeat the biological necessity of the humanness of the fertilized egg, etc.

"The human inside the woman is a unique individual, living through the development stage: it is not “the same as a fully formed human” and it is fully human"

Why?”



It is biological necessity. It is normal human at a normal stage of human development. You deny this with your bogus redefinitions which are not True in any material fashion, but are merely your opinion.

”This is what makes no sense with your position. And all of this really is just about that 1 question: why do you think that anything, literally anything, that is part of the human development process after conception is literally a human, a person, that can be killed? We are talking about 1 cell at first, then a few, and then maybe something that starts to look like a person, as described under #4, but it is not a human that can survive before several more weeks.

All humans up through teen years cannot survive without help from other humans. Nor can the elderly, the indigent, the disabled, the mentally ill, and other demographics. Your rationalization would of logical necessity include all of them as “killable”.

”**Final thought / side note**
I purposely avoided anything not directly related to abortion, including the notion of objectivity. But, I must repeat that this is not what I think is my opinion, or a subjective view of morality that varies with the whim of the people. This is about figuring out what is 'the' moral choice in any given situation regarding pregnancy.”


It’s not that hard: either humans have value which is not to be denied by other humans, or they do not and may be killed as they are determined to be inconvenient.

”Objectively, there are always moral choices and immoral choices, regardless of our opinion, but we don't always agree on what these objective moral truths are.”

Obviously it goes beyond that: why do you think you have moral authority over the lives of other living humans?

”The notion of whether such objectivity even exist, under Theism or Atheism, is irrelevant to the question here, and I thus hope to come back to it on the other thread, eventually.”

I’ll prime that pump: Atheists think they have the boundless freedom to decide their own moral principles as well as moral principles for application to other people. Theists do not think that.

Regarding Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker

The blogger-troll self-appelled "IM Skeptical" is making assertions at another blog:

IM Skeptical:
"- I have read the entire book. [Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker] And I think you have entirely missed the point. Yes, people have an intuitive feeling that biological things are designed. But intuitions are often wrong. I suggest you read Coyne's Why Evolution Is True.[note 1] It describes many vivid examples of why that intuitive feeling doesn't bear critical scrutiny."
This person insists that speculation which is not testable or falsifiable is to be regarded as valid because it is loosely labeled as “science”. He says, “I’ll stick with science”, despite the failure of his sources to produce a single mote of objective knowledge in the form of empirical justification. The Dawkins book to which he refers is a splendid example of such sources. As shown below, Dawkins preaches rather than referring to falsifiable, testable concepts which are backed by empirical non-falsification.


Dawkins and the Eye
I love Dawkins assessment of the eye's development: What good is 5% of an eye? Dawkins spends 10 pages [p77-86] on the benefit of 5% of vision, assuming that there is a completely connected system, formed using 5% of the completed pathway. ”Without an eye you are totally blind. With half an eye you may at least be able to detect the general direction of a predator’s movement, even if you can’t focus a clear image.” It's like a bike path compared to a 12 lane highway, with both being complete and going to the same place. But that's, as David Berlinski points out, "the magician's age-old tactic of misdirection." The issue is not the percentage of an eye, it is the percentage of the entire sight systemic complex, from photon input to qualia of vision in the mind. Half and eye produces zero vision, unless there is a complete vision system from lens to qualia.

For example, five percent of an eye, then, would be an orb with a lens and nothing more; no receptors, to neural connections, no path to the brain, and most importantly, no qualia - no experience of sight. Or 5% of an eye might be the muscles and the movement of the orb, and nothing else; again no connection, no qualia, no sight.

I think Dawkins is not so stupid as not to understand this. I think the deception is purposeful sleight of hand – misdirection of an argument by arguing not about vision, but rather arguing only about part of the system. It is necessary to obscure the obvious conclusion that the development of the sight system cannot have happened one (not so simple) sub-system component at a time, accidentally and without purpose. A complete eye is useless without the other sub-systems which are absolutely necessary for any representative qualia to occur.

The facts surrounding negative mutations (which obliterate the probability of saved proto-beneficial mutations for individual components) are devastating to this simplistic argument. Those beneficial mutations would be nuked by negative selection of deleterious mutations long before a 100% complete vision system (even at 5% vision) would ever be produced.

On page 40, Dawkins compares the time allowed for evolution to produce an eye (actually a complete sight system) is “several hundred million years.” For comparison he notes the much quicker time in which humans have guided the evolution of dogs from wolves (falsified recently) into
“Pekinese, Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Saint Bernard. Ah but they are still dogs, aren’t they? They haven’t turned into a different kind of animal. Yes, if it comforts you to play with words like that, you can call them all dogs. But just think about the time involved.”
So Dawkins admits, grudgingly, that it is the Black and White Fallacy that he is invoking, but he goes ahead and does it anyway. There is no rational comparison between breeding wolves downward or upward within their own genome (micro-evolution within a species’ genome), and creating a brand new, highly complex vision system. The projected time of several million years is superficially a misdirection based in large numbers which relate to nothing which is pertinent.

This type of meta-narrative thinking is rampant in evolutionism. To make a simplistic, molecular-evidence-free speculation with less credibility than most science fiction allows the evolutionist to declare a “science”.

Bombardier Beetle

Another astonishing claim in Dawkins’ “Blind Watchmaker” is his assessment of the Bombardier Beetle [p87]. According to Dawkns, claims about the explosion chamber are false; there is no explosion when the two chemicals are added together. So there could be no “exploded beetles”. The real situation is that the chemicals do react violently in the presence of a catalyst. He concludes that since the two chemicals pre-exist in living creatures, then
“the bombardier Beetle’s ancestors simply pressed into different service chemicals that already happened to be around. That’s often how evolution works.”
And that’s it. That is the entire explanation Dawkins puts forth. It matters not that the complexity of the combination of chemicals, catalyst, and insulated fluid dynamic chamber with its jetted port and triggering mechanism has gone UP under his assessment. He has used misdirection again, and left the issue hanging as if he has solved it.

Complexity
”Organized complexity is the thing we are having trouble explaining. Once we are allowed simply to postulate organized complexity, if only the organized complexity of the DNA/protein replicating engine, it is relatively easy to invoke it as a generator of yet more organized complexity. That, indeed, is what most of this book is about” [p141]
That is certainly true, in both cases. When you presuppose the existence of something which you cannot prove, cannot see, cannot test, and THEN base your hypotheses for your remaining career-making theory, including the deceptions in this book, why, nothing is too hard to explain any more. Just presuppose its Truth. And presuppose the Truth of your conclusion right there in the premise..And that is, indeed, the concept underlying the entire book.

The Weasel Routine
For another example presented in the “Blind Watchmaker”, Dawkins designed a computer routine which would randomly select letters to be fit into the spaces occupied by the phrase, “methinks it is like a weasel”. Dawkins then found that within only a few generations, the phrase had been created from the random inputs. [p46-50] It took only 41 iterations, and 11 seconds. Dawkins claimed that this is a case for “cumulative selection” [p49], “in which each improvement, however slight, is used as a basis for future building”. He continues,
”if evolutionary progress had had to rely on single step selection, it would never have got anywhere. If, however, there was a way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened on this planet, and we ourselves are among the most recent, if not the strangest and most wonderful of these consequences.”
The world of programmers, engineers and rational seven year old nerds immediately pointed out the obvious flaws in the “weasel” program. First, the computer routine is teleological, in that it knows the answer in advance. So when a letter matches the predetermined answer, that letter is kept because the selection criterion is previously determined. This progresses until all the letters turn up and the correct letter for each position is kept, and the desired phrase is formed. Second, the entire enterprise is intelligently designed. So this routine is another misdirection; it does not even represent actual theories of evolution, and in fact goes counter to them.

Mutations
And the admitted necessity of accumulation of all the necessary components before they are asserted all together fails the test of rationality, first in the certain knowledge that the probabilities are so powerfully against this occurring, that they are effectively zero, because the creation of a series of interrelated organs requires many, many perfect information-bearing mutations to be absolutely correct and completely available. And most importantly, they would never survive long enough to accumulate due to modification by deleterious mutations which far outnumber any accidental organ-forming beneficial mutation.

If there were a smell test for evolutionary bull excrement, this would fail immediately.

For any of the claims in this book one might ask, “what is the material evidence which makes these claims into objective knowledge?” and the answer would be: none. Every claim is speculation without any hope of verification, validation or non-falsification. No claim is any more than the proverbial “Just So Story” which Stephen Jay Gould warned about. Bottom line, then, is that it is all imaginary, but is built up as a “rational case” for an unprovable hypothesis.

Thus it cannot succeed as representative of empirical science, because empirical science robustly provides the conditions for objective knowledge by providing testable, replicable, falsifiable deductive hypotheses which are independently verifiable, falsifiable and replicable with open data taken on the cause and effect being tested.

Evolution is a presumed effect of unknown causes (“mutation” is not a cause, it is a category of presumptive causes which are unknown) which cannot be objectively falsified, tested, or replicated. For example, creating all the phyla out of a single cell progenitor cannot be replicated, because the cause cannot even be estimated.

The real questions, those bearing on the actual, functional mechanisms regarding molecular-level changes are not addressed, because there is no knowledge to provide to the reader on that level. The entire thrust of evolution is couched in hierarchical meta-hypotheses, and never in specifics or particulars. There is nothing testable about Darwinian claims, nor about Dawkins’ attempt to justify them. Thus, not being falsifiable, the claims are found to be in the category of blind belief: fundamentalist religion.

Here are some issues and questions that should occur to any truly disinterested student of Darwinism and Evolutionism:
1.Mutations are subtractive [p169]. Modification of something which already exists necessarily deletes something which pre-existed. Some part of the genome is modified from A to B, eliminating or at least destroying the capability to produce A. So in this sense, all modifications are foremost destructive if they are not also additive.

2. Exactly what portion of the genome had to mutate, in order to produce an all new organ/system? I.e., where on the DNA did the modifications occur? Or is the information not in the DNA genome, and rather is contained elsewhere, as is much of the organism’s information?

3. How many bits of information are involved in the creation of the new organ? I.e., how much of the DNA had to be changed – correctly – and with correct intron/exons and other markers? If the information regarding the construction of a vision system is not found in the DNA, then where is it located?

4. What (exactly defined at the molecular level) was sacrificed in order to produce the new organ/system?

5. Evolutionist arguments are stuck at the level of the set of all possible mutations. And to the concept that DNA contains all the information, when it is known not to be the case. This set of all possible mutations is endowed with characteristics which are not measured or measurable, but are assumed for no reason other than science fiction. The invocation of “positive mutations” is undefinable at the actual level at which it supposedly occurs. The portion of the genome which was supposedly replaced is unknowable, since it is gone in the modern organism. It is more likely by far that the destruction caused by even a “positive mutation”, especially one of organic complexity, would outweigh the benefit of the “positive mutation”.

6. The proposed acquisition of multiple interdependent organic systems, along with their regulatory feedback systems and multiple language requirements for comprehensive control would mean a massive subtractive destruction of prior DNA. This makes the success of such an enterprise rationally impossible.
Further, the appropriate sudden acquisition of all the proper components of interdependent organ systems and their regulatory feedback systems with multiple appropriate languages which function together properly is rationally impossible. Further, any claims that gene-switching and epigenetic manipulations such as recombination [note 2] cause the creation of interdependent organic systems, feedback control systems, and multiple languages appropriate to each communication system are rationally impossible.

The standard response to this type of argument is the “Deep Time” plaint, which is made as if time were causal; time is not causal and the issue remains as the simultaneous creation of these organic systems due to build-up of saved beneficial mutations.

But, the deeper the time require to acquire and save these fortuitous mutations, the less probability that beneficial mutations, if they existed at all, would avoid annihilation by deleterious mutations.

The specific development of the interrelated cardio-vascular system, with the oxygenation and CO2 elimination function, and with the blood generation and filtration systems, along with the necessary metabolic and nutrient intake/waste output systems is massive complex. To believe that this all occurred due to saved up beneficial, correct information-bearing mutations to be expressed all at once is the concept which evolutionists must accept, as blind faith.

So this is the type of science which impresses IMS, and which he insists is valid and must be accepted; not to accept such irrationality has, in the past, caused IMS to go directly to Ad Hominem Abusive eptithets, such as science-denier, creationist, rather than to provide actual scientific, falsifiable, testable data in defense of the blind belief in evolution. And again, without such empirical justification, however conditional and fragile, the belief remains totally blind, blinded by science-fictional Just So Stories. If materialist evolution is to be believed, the argument for it must include, not more-meta narrative, but specifics of what happened at the molecular level (the effect), and the cause for that effect.

As it stands, there is neither a credible effect for evolution, nor any sign of a credible cause. It is merely a fantasy story built at the meta-narrative level, one which supports both many careers (with taxpayer funding) and the unprovable and falsified Philosophical Materialist worldview.

NOTES:

1. Coyne's fallacies are discussed HERE.

2. The following is a discussion of recombination:

“Whereas asexuals must move against selection to escape local optima, sexuals reach higher fitness peaks reliably because they create specific genetic variants that "skip over" fitness valleys, moving from peak to peak in the fitness landscape. This occurs because recombination can supply combinations of mutations in functional composites or 'modules', that may include individually deleterious mutations. Thus when a beneficial module is substituted for another less-fit module by sexual recombination it provides a genetic variant that would require either several specific simultaneous mutations in an asexual population or a sequence of individual mutations some of which would be selected against.”
This is found in a posting which purports to support recombination as a source of multiple mutation variation in a single step; Yet it does not explain how the “beneficial module” came into existence in the first place. Why should the expectation be that all the information for a working multi-organ system pre-exist in the genome, just waiting to be engaged in recombination? Even and especially if that involves some sort of shuffling action? So the recombination argument is not useful in defending Darwinism or any other form of evolutionary hypotheses.

Tom Cotton on Harry Reid

Thursday, May 26, 2016

FYI: Stats

Every now and then I post some of the stats for this blog. Today the blog passed the 15,000 mark for published comments, and a couple of weeks ago it passed the 4,000 mark for published articles (Yeh, I know, they are all gems aren't they!). Monthly pageviews are hovering around 19,760 for the last month.

This is obviously a niche blog that would not appeal to everyone. When it started out in '07, I was happy to break 20 reads per day. Now it is commonly in the 600 to 1000 range, topping out at 1.5k/day on occasion. New readers frequently come in after a search on google turns up a page here, sometimes one written years ago. Sometimes they come back, sometimes not.

I do wish that more readers would participate by commenting, one way or another on the subjects at hand. The conversation is what makes it better and more interesting, I think. And I notice that my own style has become more scurrilous (Thanks Fred) as time has worn on. I trust that if I get too far out of line that I will be chastised; there's plenty of folks on the web looking for an opportunity to perform that service.

WaPo Piles Onto Hillary Over Email Rules Violations

The editorial board at Washington Post has taken an unusual position: against Clinton and her deliberate flaunting of security protocol for email:
Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules
They even list some details regarding Clinton's rules blow-off, as documented in the State Department Inspector General's report. Read it THERE.

BREAKING: People Who Make Up Stories Hate Trump! OMG!

King vs. Trump: Literary community demands ‘forceful response’ to campaign
‘The history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division’


"Horror writer Stephen King has joined thousands of his peers in demanding a “forceful” response to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The website Lithub compiled a giant petition by the literary world titled “An Open Letter to the American People.” Authors like David Eggers and Amy Tan agreed on Tuesday that Mr. Trump would usher in an age of American despotism.

“The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response,” the petition reads.

The group plans to continue its efforts against the billionaire on Twitter via @WritersOnTrump and #WritersOnTrump. Over 2,000 signatures towards a final goal of 10,000 was reached within hours of posting the online petition.

Mr. King appears to have done a bit of foreshadowing of his involvement in the effort, tweeting on Monday, “Here’s an idea! Let’s turn America’s nukes over to a bad-tempered a–—e with no knowledge of foreign policy. What could go wrong?”

Other notable authors to sign the petition include Michael Chabon, Peter Ho Davies, Junot Díaz, Karen Russell and Tobias Wolff."
I guess the totalitarian years of Obama were just fine with these people. And off-hand, I'd say that King is the asshole of the story. What any dunderhead would know is that the foreign policy of Hillary/Obama has resulted in the death of untold tens or hundreds of thousands of people in the middle east. But Trump is the villain in their story. After all, Trump causes Leftists to riot, pillage and burn, doncha know. None so blind as those unwilling to see. But I'm certain that these cretins feel rilly, rilly self-righteous and special right now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Atheism: When Ethics Are Grounded in "the Literal Ground"

If atheists do have values, what are they?

"There’s an interesting article in the Guardian by Julian Baggini. Now that nearly half of Britons say that they have no religion, he observes, some believers are saying that atheism is also a sort of faith. Though an atheist, he is not of the Dick Dawkins school, and so does not respond with Dickish bluntness. He is not one of those ‘zealous’ atheists who sees religion ‘as an offence to human rationality.’ People like that do seem to have a sort of crusading faith, he says. Excessive trust in the power of reason can be dangerous, he adds.

He admits that the ‘meaning and value’ that atheists find in life is not strictly evidence-based, and so has a faith-resembling aspect. But it’s misleading to call this ‘faith’, he concludes. ‘The non-religious do not find meaning, purpose and value by taking a leap into the unknown and transcendental. We find it in the beauty and joy of life, and in the empathy that makes us see value in the lives of others too. These things are not facts captured by fundamental physics but nor are they religious mysteries to be taken on faith. What grounds us ethically can be found entirely on the literal ground on which we live.’"
I really have to take the "literal ground" statement as a metaphor, despite the embedded word, "literal". That is perhaps an undeserved charity, since the statement refers, literally, to "literal"... However, I prefer to move on to the beauty and joy - and Empathy - statement.

Beauty is not exclusive to Atheists (Carl Sagan seemed to think otherwise). But it is not an ethic. Are ugly people not valuable? Beauty is a purely subjective judgment, and its application is uneven, even contradictory. An ugly person might have led a beautiful life, had a beautiful mind, or have led a morally beautiful life. A beautiful person might be a pervert of lowest esteem (or the newest Victinhood Class member). Beauty is merely an expression of appreciation which one has for an object, such as a beautiful equation. There is zero ethical content in beauty.

The same goes for joy. Joy is just happy, happy, happy. No ethical content there, either. Stalin was happy when Trotsky was killed with a mountaineering ice pick. So "happy" and "joy" don't provide any ethical direction at all.

Which leaves the standard claim of massive empathy which Atheists claim to have, as this Atheist does. Empathy, however, is not a trait which Atheists should bring up, because studies show that Atheists have a distinct paucity of Empathy. Atheist empathy stalls out at the same level that psychopath empathy does. Not an auspicious source for Atheist moral superiority, or even parity.

So maybe "the literal ground" should be taken more literally as the basis for Atheist ethics. But what ethical principles they find in the dirt are not obvious, and certainly haven't helped them with their empathy problem.

Now Get A Degree In "Non-Belief"!

University of Miami affirms America’s first academic chair for Study of Atheism
The Appignani Foundation recently donated an amount of $2.2 million to the University of Miami to endow America's first academic chair for the study of atheism, humanism, and secular ethics.


"The Appignani Foundation, established in 2001, supports secular activities that address significant, viable and long-term human goals. In an interview given to the New York Times, Appignani said that the reason why he would like to have an academic discipline that deals with atheism and secularism established, is to “eliminate discrimination against atheists.” This would pave the way for atheism to be made “legitimate.”

The University of Miami has been cautious and reluctant at first, about the notion of secularism and atheism as a stand-alone academic discipline. Their main concern has been that the discipline would be seen by many people as an advocacy position for atheists. The University has a religion department, however, they do not take an advocacy position while teaching about various religions. The University wanted the word atheism dropped from the title of the chair. They also proposed to call it a chair in philosophical naturalism. Louis Appignani refused. The initiative wouldn’t have been implemented had the University not relented. Thomas J. LeBlanc, Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of Miami, in an interview, made it clear that the University would not be taking an advocacy position while teaching about atheism or secular ethics.

According to Harvey Siegel, a philosophy professor at the University of Miami who helped Appignani to broker the arrangement, they started discussing this idea more than 15 years ago. It took a lot of persuading from their side to make the University agree to their proposal.

Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion, said that it is very important for the study of morality to be shackle-free of religion. The University of Miami has just taken a very bold step in that direction.

But, Atheism is not something! Atheism is just "non-belief" - i.e., nothing! So many people take that position (so convenient for avoiding having to make arguments in support of Atheist worldviews), so how can "nothing" be studied, much less in a scholarly fashion? How can "non-belief" be an academic discipline, complete with laboratories and degrees and office hours?

The real question comes quickly to mind: will the study of Atheism honestly appraise the consequences of Atheist rejectionism, or will it serve to bolster its false image of superiority in intellect and evidence? Because the long quest to get the academic chair installed was based on the fervent desire to "legitimize" Atheism, skepticism is definitely warranted.

Well, someone must be wrong about Atheism being "nothing", just a non-belief. Otherwise the U of Miami is making an expensive mistake.

The Connection Between Atheism and Social Justice Activism

Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris are old news — a totally different Atheism is on the rise

"A lot of people, myself included, were drawn to their works because they were forthright and articulated things we had kept locked away, or simply hadn’t found the words for.

But in 2016, Hitchens is dead, and using Dawkins or Harris to make a case for or against atheism is about as relevant as writing about how Nirvana and Public Enemy are going to change pop music forever.

More and more, the strongest atheist voices are talking about nonbelief less as an end in itself, but as part of a larger conversation about social justice. It could hardly be any other way: atheism is growing not only in numbers, but in diversity. When Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens were at their most prominent, a frequent (and credible) criticism was that the faces of atheism were all white, male and affluent. To make the same claim now is to deliberately ignore some of the most vital atheist and skeptic voices that have emerged in the last 10 years.

[...]

"But the more people step forward and identify themselves as nonbelievers, the more it’s become obvious that this narrow focus is unsustainable. Although the top positions in many organizations are still dominated by white men, an increasing number of the most passionate voices bringing new people into the movement are people of color, women, transgendered, or queer.

Jamila Bey, the communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, summed up the concerns of many in a recent interview: “There are people who say, ‘Why are we talking about racism? We would rather argue that Chupacabra are fake.’ And fine, that is their right. On the other hand, I don’t get to divorce my critical thinking from my blackness, from my femaleness, from my position as a mother. So when I see the only affordable child care in my community being offered at churches, that’s an issue for me that makes me say ‘Wait a minute, there’s a problem here. Why am I not being afforded the opportunity for my child not to be indoctrinated just so my kid has somewhere to play and meet other children?’ I can’t divorce my whole life from my skepticism and for anybody who says, well , talking about female issues or talking about issues that impact black people, oh, that’s taking away from skepticism, I go, well that’s really easy for you to say. This is my life. I can’t divorce the issues. You can choose to not care about them or whatever, but don’t tell me I’m diminishing skepticism because I’m talking about the reality of what my life is.”

Those last few words speak directly to the very reason behind organized atheism: almost everyone who deconverts from religion and declares themselves a nonbeliever does so because of a compelling need to talk about reality. Whether it’s because we couldn’t reconcile the fossils in the earth with the story of creation we were told by our parents and clergy, or because of a need to lay claim to our sexuality without first checking for the approval or condemnation of a deity, the desire to discard what we perceive as falsehoods and speak honestly about the realities of our lives is one of the most commonly shared passions of atheists as a whole.

So, even for many of us who play life on the lowest difficulty setting, who get all the goodies that come along with white skin, cis-gender maleness and middle-class backgrounds, when old-school atheists attempt to dismiss social justice issues as “mission drift,” it seems like a betrayal of the very principle that was most attractive about standing up and identifying as an atheist in the first place. For those who don’t get those goodies, the betrayal is much more intimate."
Actually the New Atheists really were about social justice. It's just that their focus point differed from that of the third wave feministas and millenials, who have a different Victimhood Class in mind. The New Atheists took pride in their own Victimhood, and they compensated by constantly declaring their own superiority in morals and intellect. That is still Dawkins' main focus: the oppression of Atheists by the illegitimate, ignorant, science-denying believers in myth and fantasy. It's just that the New Atheists didn't sign up for the natural expansion of that Victimhood designation to include all of the other classes of disorders and excuse-wielding, authority-whinging social parasites.

"...the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete..."; Walter Russell Mead, on Trump

THE TRUMP PHENOMENON AND OUR DYSFUNCTIONAL POLITICAL CLASS

"He is the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete. His election would sweep away the smug generational certainties that Clinton embodies, the Boomer Progressive Synthesis that hasn’t solved the problems of the world or of the United States, but which nevertheless persists in regarding itself as the highest and only form of truth. . . .

Myself, I don’t think the system is quite as corrupt as some Trump supporters believe or, perhaps more accurately, I lack their confidence that burning down the old house is the best way to build something new. But it would be equally wrong and perhaps more dangerous to take the view that there is nothing more fueling his rise than ignorance, racism and hate. The failure of the center-Left to transform its institutional and intellectual dominance into policy achievements that actually stabilize middle class life, and the failure of the center-Right to articulate a workable alternative have left a giant intellectual and political vacuum in the heart of American life. The Trump movement is not an answer to our problems, but the social instinct of revolt and rejection that powers it is a sign of social health. The tailors are frauds and the emperor is not in fact wearing any clothes: it is a good sign and not a bad sign that so many Americans are willing to say so out loud."
A few years back a local country business suffered a fire in its small building. Only half-burnt, the buillding was nonetheless totally useless. It set there for a while, presumably as the slow wheels of insurance turned. Then one day as I came back from the local town, I had to drive through smoke - again. The building was burning again, this time down to the concrete floor. Very soon after, a new building arose on the concrete pad, looking very much like the old building, only without the rot and termites.

It is possible that such will happen with Trump, too. The Republican Progressive Wannbes might regroup in four years and undo everything Trump does to restore the nation to respectability. But it's also possible that a much finer building might arise, and the voters might wish to keep the new building and not return to the old, who knows? Trump's main value is two fold: burn down the Republican inbred power structure which favors capitulation over strength, and to start to build something better. If he does those two things without stumbling too badly, he will probably get two terms.

"Trump Made Me Do It": Leftist Violence in New Mexico and Chicago

So common now that it is hardly news anymore:
Leftists storm stage, prevent Milo from speaking, threaten to harm him;

Protesters jump on police cars at New Mexico Demonstration

Journalist Arrested Whilst Filming Milo Protesters At DePaul University

Rocks and Bottles Thrown at Police By Protesters Outside New Mexico Trump Rally

Man Who Threatened Milo At DePaul Identified As Church Minister Edward Ward

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Comments of the Day

From Instapundit:
"BECAUSE THEY NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR ANYTHING, AND THEY DON’T CARE HOW MANY PEOPLE SUFFER AS LONG AS THEY GET TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES: Why Won’t The Left Apologize For Backing Venezuela?"

AND:
CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Obama Raided $500M for Zika to Finance UN’s Green Climate Fund.

If It Weren't For Two-Faces...

...she'd have no face at all.
Hillary Clinton’s Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal
I bet Guccifer knew about this all along. But he's gonna get fried for reading her email.

Surprise! Facebook Exonerates Itself. (Now With Update).

In the memorandum referenced below, Facebook outlines its procedures and guidelines. It also lists the retro-testing done in order to find any imbalance in political content which is accepted for publication in "trending". The counsel for Facebook says that no imbalance was found.

This quite possibly is the truth. But under normal jurisprudence no defendant would be allowed the final say in the truth of his own subjective claims. Facebook should know, if only intuitively, that objective, disinterested investigation is necessary. That means by outside sources which are not invested in Facebook.

Taken in context of other Facebook activities which seem to breech ethical principles such as privacy, the memorandum seems comprehensive yet not persuasive. And the lack of a disinterested investigation contributes to skepticism.
Facebook Memo to John Thune
The objective truth of the situation will probably never be known for certain.

UPDATE:
Too fat for Facebook: photo banned for depicting body in 'undesirable manner'

Facebook has apologized for wrongly banning a photo of plus-sized model Tess Holliday for violating its ‘health and fitness’ advertising policy
Don't EVEN try to censor Feminists!