Archive for Tuesday, December 13, 2005

KU: Mirecki left leadership post voluntarily

Professor’s peers advised him to resign, officials say

December 13, 2005

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Kansas University stands firm, maintaining that religious studies professor Paul Mirecki voluntarily left his post as chairman of the department and disputing Mirecki's recent allegations he was fired.

The professor of a proposed class on intelligent design came under fire recently after his disparaging remarks about Catholics and religious fundamentalists were made public on an Internet discussion board. Mirecki on Dec. 5 reported being attacked on a roadside by two men who connected him to the controversy. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

KU announced Wednesday that Mirecki had resigned from his department chairmanship, which he had held for more than three years.

"Professor Mirecki resigned as chair at the recommendation of his own peers - his departmental faculty," KU officials said in a prepared statement. "Professor Mirecki's course on intelligent design was canceled at his own request. While the university strongly supported both of these actions, the university continues to believe the course has merit and should be taught in the future."

In a fiery statement to the Journal-World on Friday, Mirecki said he had "no choice about signing the resignation" and he pointed out the resignation letter was typed on stationery from the office of Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Mirecki's attorney, David J. Brown, said the issue was a frequent matter of dispute in labor situations.

Mirecki

Mirecki

"If you're forced to sign a resignation letter, have you voluntarily resigned or have you been fired?" Brown said. "If he'd typed his own resignation letter, it would probably have been on his stationery."

KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz, in an e-mail to the Journal-World, said Mirecki met with Romzek on Dec. 6 to discuss the department's recommendation that he resign from the chairman's post. After the talk, Mirecki concluded he should submit a resignation, she said.

"At a computer in Strong Hall, away from his departmental office in Smith Hall, Professor Mirecki composed and typed the letter himself, with no one else in the room," Bretz wrote. "He pushed the print command button, sending the letter to a printer in another room, next to a secretary's desk. The letter was printed on the letterhead at hand. Professor Mirecki retrieved the printed letter from the secretary, signed it in front of the secretary and left it there. : In addition, Professor Mirecki had told at least one KU administrator on Dec. 5, following the departmental faculty meeting that day, that he felt the need to step down as chair."

Brown said he wasn't sure whether Bretz's description was accurate.

"It's not how he described things to me," Brown said. "The point he made was very clear that the dean and another administrator made it clear to him that he had to resign."

Brown said he had not done any work on the matter yet. He said he planned to meet with Mirecki again and discuss all of the details of recent events, do some research and determine whether there is basis for a lawsuit. Then, he said, he will talk with Mirecki to see whether Mirecki wants to go through with a lawsuit.

Lt. Kari Wempe of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said Monday that the investigation continues and the office welcomes any additional information from the public.

Comments

bankboy119 9 years, 8 months ago

Wendt, how can you use one of your websites as a basis for "fact" and then bash Arminius when he uses his...another liberal double standard?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't know, folks. Bretz's comments are awefully detailed. These comments do not come across as "canned" language to me. If the university was lying, wouldn't there be a statement with a far more official sound to it than "He pushed the print command button, sending the letter to a printer in another room, next to a secretary's desk."?

This is not how institutional liars present their lies.

My wife is one of those Strong Hall administrators. She comes home with stories of incompetence and bad decision-making, but she has yet to say that she or anyone else has ever been told to be dishonest. I'm siding with the administration on this one.

I suspect that Mirecki says he was pushed out because he feels like he was pushed out. The operative word here is "feel". He's been criticized and assaulted over this mess and I think he's feeling vicitmized everywhere he turns.

I think he should have taken more time before resigning. Making life-changing decisions immediately after a traumatic experience is not a good idea.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

wendt:

There must be a supernatural explanation for your posts being sent twice. After all, you have not provided a conclusive natural explanation. Best get on your knees and pray, my friend.

bankboy119 9 years, 8 months ago

I wasn't questioning the validity of your site. Arminius has quotes and references other printed materials from his site as well. Just because his views are not parallel to yours does not mean the references on his site are any less objective. Both sites are valid in my eyes.

As for the medical malpractice, my wife had a horrible experience at LMH delivering our child. She may have permanent damage, we don't know yet. I know the dangers of malpractice firsthand.

I wasn't worried about whether the site was liberal or conservative, I was just stating that you should not expect any less criticism for posting your own site than Arminius should from his.

kuhusker 9 years, 8 months ago

What grounds would they have for pulling his tenure and firing him? Don't you usually have to break a law in order to lose tenure?

If they could fire people for having strong -- and even somewhat bigoted -- opinions, half the professors at KU would be gone....and not just liberals -- I remember some engineering prof who got into hot water a decade or so ago for saying nasty stuff about gays, but he is still teaching (as he should be). Freedom of speech. Same goes for Mirecki.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

kuhusker,

Tenure offers professors a strong protection, basically a job for life, unless the professor commits an offense of professional misconduct in his own field. If an engineering professor speaks out against Catholics, Jews, or Fundamentalists, he can still keep his job (look up the holocaust and Arther Butz from Northwestern) because he opinions have nothing to do with his area. However, Mirecki's statements are right in the middle of his area and are very offensive to 95% of the people (Catholics, Jews & Protestants) who would be his students. Those students would not want to take his class because of it. In my opinion, the man is toast and will need to be moved to the engineering department, or moved to a school where they haven't heard of him. No great loss. Any professor who is not smart enough to guard his mouth and emails, is a professor we don't want at KU.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

wend,

you continue to try to dance around the issues. My above post didn't say anything about "science". It only said that many would view Mirecki as committing professional misconduct in his area of expertise, which is religious studies. His vile comments weren't "scientific" either. Have a nice day.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 8 months ago

Sorry Wendt, I still say that their response was very forthcoming. I think you may be grinding an axe on this one.

I think Mirecki is very charged with emotion and that this will be going away as soon as he calms down.

Then we can make posts about the real issues, like what the Survivor hottie is going to blow her $1M on.

elderPagan 9 years, 8 months ago

"Then we can make posts about the real issues, like what the Survivor hottie is going to blow her $1M on."

Umm... that would be me.

Everything Chuck Norris learned about being a man.... he learned from me.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim said:

"However, Mirecki's statements are right in the middle of his area and are very offensive to 95% of the people (Catholics, Jews & Protestants) who would be his students. "

Please provide some background for this in the following areas:

  1. Your source for the religious makeup of the KU Religious Studies Graduate Program (Undergraduate info is acceptable), or alternately, the religious leanings of those who planned to take the course - or even those who plan to take any courses Mirecki teaches.

  2. Your source for the fact that all Catholics, Jews, and Protestants (at least all the ones in the Religious Studies Program or enough to make up the 95%) found his commentary offensive towards them. A number of people of faith with whom I've spoken understand that Mirecki's comments were directed at fundamentalist subsets and their tendency to try to impose their moral choices on others through the use of the political process, not at the institutions or practitioners of Christianity as a whole. They're not at all offended at his comments, just at the entire mess and how badly both sides have behaved.

OR

  1. Your admission that you utterly made up this statistic to give the impression that the vast majority of people affected by the class and decisions agree with you, when in fact that's manifestly untrue.

92.6% of badgers on this board really wish people would stop pulling BS statistics out of their nether orifices to try and claim a preponderance of public opinion sides with them, and 97.6589% of badgers on this board would like people to stop assuming, even if everyone did agree with them, that having a popular opinion is the same as having a right one.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Personally, I'm proud of Kansas and our open-mindedness. We are one of the few states willing to go beyond the mold to look for the truth. The "theory" of evolution has a lot of holes in it and many argue that it's not a science at all because it doesn't follow the scientific process. It baffles me as to why the remaining evolutionist today are fearful of a healthy debate. Argument is good and will bring us closer to the truth (which is probably what they're afraid of).

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim:

In your post, you express a desire for a a healthy debate regarding ID versus evolution. Okay, here it is:

Science is the study of natural phenomena. ID presupposes a supernatural designer and not natural design. ID is therefore outside of the realm of science.

Debate over.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Wend, Mirecki teaches religious studies and he made nasty remarks offensive to several of those religions. Period. Why do you keep saying that "ID and Creationism" is religion when it has nothing to do with my point???

Here's some good reading for you...

The Scientific Case Against Evolution A Review of Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis & Michael J. Behe's Darwin's Black Box by Robert Locke

I AM NOT A CREATIONIST, and must confess that until recently, I treated people who questioned evolution with polite dismissal. But there has recently emerged a major trend in biology that has been suppressed in the mainstream media: evolution is in trouble. More importantly, this has absolutely nothing to do with religion but is due to the fact that the ongoing growth of biological knowledge keeps producing facts that contradict rather than confirm evolution. These two books Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Michael J. Behe's Darwin's Black Box describe this phenomenon.

The first surprising thing Denton points out is that there has always been a dissident faction of highly distinguished scientists, of impeccable credentials and no religious motivations, who have declined to concede that evolution has been proved. This is inconvenient for evolutionists who would like to dismiss their opponents as Bible-thumping hicks and claim that questioning evolution is tantamount to questioning the value or validity of science. He also points out biologists like Richard Owen, who were prepared to allow that evolution had taken place but thought that other causes were involved in bringing about the origin of species.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

The first big problem with evolution is that the fossil record increasingly does not, honestly viewed, support it, a fact that famous Prof. Steven Jay Gould of Harvard has described as "the trade secret of paleontology." Evolutionary theory claims that there once existed a whole series of successive forms of the various organisms alive today. These supposedly changed by infinitesimal amounts with each generation as they evolved into the present varieties, so the fossil record should show these gradual changes. But it doesn't. Instead, it shows the sudden emergence of new species out of nowhere, fully complete with all their characteristics and not changing over time. It is almost entirely devoid of forms that can plausibly be identified as intermediates between older and newer ones. This is popularly known as the "missing link" problem, and it is massively systematic across different species and time periods. Worse, this problem is getting worse, not better, as more fossils are discovered, as the new fossils just resemble those already found and don't fill in the gaps. In Darwin's day, it was easy to claim that the fossils were there but had not been discovered. Problem is, we now have hundreds of thousands of well-catalogued fossils, from all continents and geologic eras, and we still haven't found these intermediate forms. As Denton puts it,

"Despite the tremendous increase in geological activity in every corner of the globe and despite the discovery of many strange and hitherto unknown forms, the infinitude of connecting links has still not been discovered and the fossil record is about as discontinuous as it was when Darwin was writing the Origin."

The quantity, quality, and range of the recovered fossils is impeccable. But the more we dig, the more we keep finding the same forms over and over again, never the intermediates.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm on vacation. Been out splitting hackberry, red elm and hedge. I am now wondering why the intelligent designer made elm so damn hard to split.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Another development that has undermined evolution is the spread of computers into evolutionary biology. Basically, computers have shown that the neat evolutionary trees that get drawn up are in fact based on imaginary relations of similarity and difference that owe more to the human mind's tendency to perceive patterns than to the raw biological data. Computers have shown that when the characteristics of different living things are encoded in numerical form and the computer is asked to sort them into sequences based on their similarities and differences, the computer can find any number of ways of doing so that have just as much support in the data as those drawn up by humans to fit an evolutionary tree. The data say "no evolution" just as loudly as they say "evolution"; it's just the pattern-craving human mind that gives prominence to the former way of viewing it. This is known as phenetic analysis. When the computer is constrained to push the data into an evolutionary tree, (this is called cladistic analysis) it tends to generate trees with all species as individual twigs and no species forming the crucial lower branches of the tree that evolution demands. As a result of this, many biologists have in practice stopped using the idea of ancestors and descendants when classifying new species. When the British Museum of Natural History did this a few years ago, they started a small war in scientific circles.

Evolution also suffers from the problem that many putative sequences which look logical based on the progression of one set of anatomical characteristics suddenly look illogical when attention is switched to another set. For example, the lungfish superficially seems to make a good intermediate between fish and amphibian, until one examines the rest of its internal organs, which are not intermediate in character, nor are the ways in which its eggs develop. And if different species have common ancestors, it would be reasonable to expect that similar structures in the different species be specified in similar ways in their DNA and develop in similar ways in their embryos; this is frequently not so. So evolutionary relationships depend upon an arbitrary choice of which characteristics of the organisms in question are considered most important, and different relationships can be "proved" at will.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Furthermore, Denton argues, the classic cases printed in biology textbooks to show the evolution of present-day organisms from their supposed ancestors are in fact highly conjectural if not downright false. We read the same examples coming up again and again in textbook after textbook because there are only a few species for which an even remotely plausible fossil genealogy can be propounded out of the 100,000 fossil species known to paleontology. He takes the horse as an example and points out that several of the standard claims about the pattern of equine evolution, such as the gradual reduction of the side toes, are extremely questionable and that the morphological distance covered from the earliest horse to the present horses is so small, compared with the vast changes that evolution must encompass, that it is questionable whether the series, even if true, proves much at all. And even the emergence of one species from another has never been directly observed by science.

Another problem with evolution that continues to worsen is that it remains incapable of explaining how anything could evolve that doesn't make biological sense when incomplete. The wings of birds are the classic example: what good is half of one? Other examples abound. This is a problem that evolutionary theory has promised a solution to for a long time and not delivered. Worse even than visible examples like wings are the complex chemical reactions and molecular structures that living things are made of. This is the principal point of Darwin's Black Box (these micro-processes are the black boxes), a book too technical to be satisfying reading for the layman but that convincingly argues that many of these micro-processes make sense either complete or not at all. There are no plausible accounts of how they could have evolved from other simpler processes because as one hypothesizes back down the hypothetical chain of complexity, one comes to a point at which the process simply won't work if it gets any simpler. At this stage, the process couldn't have evolved from anything else because there is nothing simpler for it to have evolved from. And at this stage, the process is still far too complex to have been thrown together by any known non-living chemical event. At one time, knowledge of the complex processes of living things was limited enough, and hopes for the discovery of intermediate processes that they could have evolved from wide-open enough, that evolutionists could ignore this problem. But as biological research has progressed, this gap too has been filled with more and more inconvenient facts. As in the case of the other problems challenging evolution, the key thing here is the intellectual direction: research is consistently making the problem worse, not better.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Another similar example: one of the things that has happened since evolution was first proposed is that biology has achieved a precise cataloging of the thousands of different proteins that make up organisms. It was hoped that a thorough cross-species comparison of these would reveal the kinds of relationships of graded similarity that evolution implies. But it hasn't. Instead, it has given the same picture of distinct species that examination of gross anatomy does. It's the same old story of a tree with all twigs and no branches! Worse, analysis of the closeness and distance between different species reveals bizarre results. For example, according to the sequence difference matrix of vertebrate hemoglobins in the standard Dayhoff Atlas of Protein Structure and Function, man is as close to a lamprey as are fish! This problem repeats itself with other characteristics of organisms that have been brought within the scope of evolutionary comparison since Darwin's day.

Another problem with evolution that has only gotten worse with increasing biological knowledge is the question of how life initially emerged from dead matter. As recently as the early 50's, it was still possible to hypothesize that discoveries would reveal the existence of entities intermediate between single-celled organisms and complex lifeless molecules. The existence of these intermediates (certain kinds of viruses were candidates for the role) would imply the possibility of an evolutionary transition from dead chemicals to intermediates to life. Unfortunately, the discovery of DNA in 1953 killed this hypothesis in its simplest form, and subsequent discoveries have only made the matter worse. Vast numbers of microorganisms are now known, as are vast numbers of complex molecules, but nothing in between. Furthermore, even the simplest possible cell imaginable within the limits of biology, let alone the simplest actually existing cell, is far too complex to have been thrown together by any known non-living chemical event. So even if evolution has an explanation of how species evolve from one to another, it has no way to "get the ball rolling" by producing the first species from something that is not a species.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

There are even distinguished philosophers of science, like Sir Karl Popper, a man of impeccable credentials and no religious ax to grind, who have openly questioned whether evolution is a science at all, in principle and not just in practice, because its assertions are not potentially falsifiable. A true science, like physics, makes claims that can be tested and thus potentially falsified; this vulnerability is what makes it worthy of belief when despite this, the falsification does not happen. But evolution does not make claims of this kind. Furthermore, it is one of the touchstones of science that it is based on repeatable experiments. The data used to support evolution are neither experiments nor repeatable, nor can they be, since the origin of species on earth was a unique event.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

Okay bigjim, I guess that you are right. Questions regarding the fossil record provide evidence in support of ID, as opposed to merely showing that we do not have all of the answers. Brilliant.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Of course you will come back and say that the authors of these books are full of it. But, the bottom line is that it is debatable and you should not be afraid of debate.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim:

Debatable? Sure. But not in a science class. Ever heard of theology?

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim said:

"It baffles me as to why the remaining evolutionist (sic) today are fearful of a healthy debate. Argument is good and will bring us closer to the truth (which is probably what they're afraid of)."

Uh, I'm not afraid of anything like that at all. Find me someone who can debate ID without using the Bible as a reference (I've asked this before, and no one ever complies...what are THEY afraid of?).

I lose respect for ID when the people promoting it insist it's a science to get it into children's classrooms, and then insist it's a religion to get criticism of it out of college ones.

You folks gotta pick one. If it's a science and belongs in a science classroom, serious criticism of it will be taught, starting with the complete lack of any peer-reviewed and properly designed studies of the subject matter and continuing to the glaring holes in it from the perspectives of physics, chemistry, and biology, which are ultimately addressed (when you push an ID advocate all the way to the end of his argument, which I've done) with, "My theory can't explain it, so God must have done it, which validates my theory that says God did things we can't explain" (Yes, boys and girls, that was pretty much verbatim). You cannot and will not be allowed to claim that those who attack it are discriminating against you on religious grounds, are 'atheists' or 'hate Jesus'. You must face the music with real science, and the minute you pawn off something you can't explain with 'the Creator just did it and I don't know why' you get to be kicked out of serious conversation.

If it's a religion and people who attack it or those who believe in it in any way are engaging in discrimination, then get it the h*** out of the science classroom.

Here's something I bet most ID proponents (because they don't hang out much with actual scientific theorists) don't know: you think what's directed at you about ID is bad? Sit in someday on a meeting of biologists discussing the basic theories of cell biology. If you forget to cross a t, you run all of your numbers to five decimal places and one of them to four (without the proximal 0), you forget a comma in one of your footnotes, there are guys out there who will very effectively and efficiently shred your entire life's research based on the fact that you do 'sloppy' work and thus have no credibility. ID folk haven't met those guys yet, but you will, and I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't think you read the part about evolution being questioned as a science, in which case it shouldn't be taught in a science class either. I post again for you below.

There are even distinguished philosophers of science, like Sir Karl Popper, a man of impeccable credentials and no religious ax to grind, who have openly questioned whether evolution is a science at all, in principle and not just in practice, because its assertions are not potentially falsifiable. A true science, like physics, makes claims that can be tested and thus potentially falsified; this vulnerability is what makes it worthy of belief when despite this, the falsification does not happen. But evolution does not make claims of this kind. Furthermore, it is one of the touchstones of science that it is based on repeatable experiments. The data used to support evolution are neither experiments nor repeatable.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim,

There you are, buddy.

Before I start (and I will do this in sections), I will attempt to distill your rather voluminous arguments, which all seem to be exceptions rather than patterns. Evolutionary theory is backed by 150 years of peer-reviewed scientific study whereas most of the "inconsistencies" you cite are just that, inconsistencies.

1) "The first surprising thing Denton points out is that there has always been a dissident faction of highly distinguished scientists, of impeccable credentials and no religious motivations, who have declined to concede that evolution has been proved."

Scientists' beefs with evolution are varied. Most of the apparent dissenters actually accept the theory but are simply arguing about the specifics of mechanism (e.g. whether there was in fact gradual descent with modification or whether "puncuated equilibrium" is the main mechanism). There are a few who doubt the theory of evolution, but this group is very small and usually politically motivated.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

2) "The first big problem with evolution is that the fossil record increasingly does not, honestly viewed, support it".

This is simply false. The fossil record is chock full of intermediate forms and treaceable lineages. There are holes, but the overall pattern supports evolution. Gould's "criticism" was again a mechanistic one. Gould did not doubt evolution but did question the prevalent mechanistic theory of "descent with gradual modification". Gould was a "punctuated equilibrium" proponent (the idea that large morphological changes could occur rapidly with just a few genetic modifications). Modern molecular genetics and developmental biology are consistent with both mechanisms.

hobb2264 9 years, 8 months ago

Bigjim,

Good info, but I think you've missed the point of the argument. Science can not prove God...it never has been able and never will be able to. Having said that, science also does not deny the existence of God. It is outside the realm of science to theorize either way, just as it is outside the realm of science to theorize about origins because they are not directly observable in nature. For Christians, science is just another tool to understand God's creation.

Densmore---sounds like my typical vacation, except I'm usually doing yardwork... :-(

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim,

You make the mistake a lot of ID folks seem to make.

The fact that evolution remains open to critical analysis and questioning as to whether it's a 'true' science lends no validity to the theory of ID. Evolution's holes lend ID no more validity than ID's lend to evolution. If taken on their own merits as separate theories, I have yet to find any argument for ID that doesn't ultimately come back to, "You don't have to understand it because God/the Creator/the Intelligent Designer did it, and so that's not really a 'hole' in the idea, it's just proof that the theory is correct because if the theory weren't correct, we wouldn't be able to see the holes God/the Creator/the Intelligent Designer had to bridge us over." The closest evolution comes to that is the fact that it's a theory because it's unprovable, not unknowable. I've not yet met the evolutionist who says, "It's just the way of science, and I just accept that science did it and don't question how or why."

I'm not actually sure where a 'philosopher of science' fits into the research process, though. What sort of training does that entail, what degrees, and so forth? I'm not questioning whether your philosopher of science has these impeccable credentials, but I'm curious as to what makes one 'a philosopher of science' and how that's different or not different from a 'scientist.'

yourworstnightmare has the right of it. Within the scientific community, there is massive debate as to how macroevolution occurred, but very little as to whether it did, and those who bring the debate to that point are most often politically motivated.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

By the way, what part of, "ID isn't a science" is answered appropriately by, "Oh, yeah? Well, evolution's not a science either, so they both belong in science classrooms!"? If their argument is that evolution doesn't belong in science classes either, why aren't they working to get it out and into philosophy classes, instead of accepting one 'nonscience' if only their own personal 'nonscience' can be taught, too? Why do they concede that ID is not good science (which they do when they respond to criticism of it with criticism that evolution is 'equally bad'), but continue to demand its inclusion? Why not just refute that argument with the alleged 'good science' ID is based on?

ID proponents can never seem to grasp that tearing down evolution and those who believe it's scientifically sound does absolutely nothing to lend validity to their own argument. The point at debate is, "Is ID really a science, and does it belong in a science classroom?" If the answer is to trash evolution and then say that ID is just as good, then you'd think that more of them would be advocating that both theories be moved to philosophy classes. If the answer were to prove the validity of ID as a science on its own merits, you'd think they'd have done that.

I guess my biggest question remains, "Why is the strongest argument FOR ID the argument AGAINST evolution, when the strongest arguments for evolution don't mention ID at all?" Negation of A is not proof of B, if there is no proof of B beyond its not being A.

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

Wendt, a lot of your comments here are nonsensical. Here are some of them, from different posts of yours.

*Is there a "Print" command button on the keyboard? Mine doesn't have one.*

This might have been a reference to a "Print" command "button" on the screen rather than on the keyboard. Also, Windows programs often have a Cntl+P key-combo print command as well as a cursor-controlled print command on the screen.

Other commenters here have wondered about the sources of the details about his preparation of the resignation letter. Some of those details were probably provided by the secretary who received the letter.

*They haven't supported him so far. No reason to assume that they will change direction now.*

The provost issued an official KU News Release defending the use of the term "mythologies" in the course title. Mirecki's derogatory email created such a furor that the administration could not continue to support his original plan to organize the course himself.

*It is Dr. Mirecki's area to know what is a science and what isn't a science.**

This is NOT Mirecki's area -- he is a professor of religious studies and not biology. Of course, he could still be an expert concerning the scientific merits of intelligent design, but so far I have seen no evidence that he is such an expert (as by published books, articles, and letters, presentation of lectures, etc.)

**This is a case of the students telling a professor that they want Intelligent Design / Creationism to be considered a science, no matter how little substance supports that position.*

Well, I remember an old saying, "a teacher by his students shall be taught," i.e., a teacher can often learn things from his students. LOL

  A lot of people just wanted the course to be presented in an objective,  open-minded manner,   and this Mirecki failed to do.

**Evolution has produced 38 Nobel Prize Winners in support of the theory. Confirmation doesn't get any better than that.**

They have their opinions and I have mine.

**Dr. Micheal Behe is one of the few who have achieved Doctorate status defending Intelligent Design / Creationism and even he had to modify the definition of science so severely that at the end, not only did Intelligent Design / Creationism qualify, but ASTROLOGY did as well.*

Behe has his opinions and I have mine.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

Hey Larry, is it your opinion that supernatural forces are within the purview of science?

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Bigjim,

Crikey! Are you cutting and pasting arguments out of internet sites? What is the source of your material.

I will also try to help with deciphering through all of the mumbo jumbo you have posted on here.

One overall point is that most of the drivel you have posted here is simply criticizing evolution. Criticisms for a theory does not provide support for another theory. Saying see here is a problem with evolution does not show proof for ID. Densnore hit it on the nose, you will never be able to show proof of the supernatural period. This means ID has not been, is not, and will not be scientific period.

There is no other viable theory out there. It is either evolution or something else we have not thought of.

One of your voluminous postings was refering to the concept of irrerudicibly complex as with the mouse-trap example cited as proof against evolution by ID proponents. The idea that the mouse-trap won't work if you take any one of the parts away. So you can't half a wing or you can't have an incomplete eye. But this has been shown to be completely false many times over Bigjim. It is not an all or none principle. Even todays world you see many examples of where species do have partial wings, they do have simple "eyes" that only respond to light or eyes that have no lenses so they cannot focus but only give blurry images. As Richard Dawkins has pointed out in his book "The Blind Watchmaker", having partial wings is better than having no wings at all. Haveing light receptors is better than having none at all. Furthermore, the so-called missing components is also completely false since evolution will and can use components that make-up other systems or parts for totally different funtions and parts as demonstrated over and over again in many species of organisms including humans.

More to come...stay tuned....

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Densmore , December 13, 2005 at 1:34 p.m.

*Hey Larry, is it your opinion that supernatural forces are within the purview of science?**

No. In my opinion, ID is not supposed to speculate about an intelligent designer. ID is just supposed to identify organisms and biological systems that are not likely to have been developed by normal natural causes.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

So, abnormal natural causes might explain things?

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

Larry:

ID and supernatural forces are joined at the hip, unless you believe that the supposed ID'ers resulted from natural processes.

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Densmore , December 13, 2005 at 1:52 p.m.

*So, abnormal natural causes might explain things?*

Maybe --- but ID need not be concerned about that question. ID need not explain how things came to be.

Densmore 9 years, 8 months ago

From Larry:

"ID need not explain how things came to be." That's good, since ID cannot explain how things came to be without identifying the designer.

A lack of evidence in support of natural causes in no way creates evidence in support of ID. The lack of evidence merely suggests that we don't have all of the evidence. Get real, Larry.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim:

I continue:

3) "The data say "no evolution" just as loudly as they say "evolution"; it's just the pattern-craving human mind that gives prominence to the former way of viewing it."

Indeed, cladograms based upon computer models can come up with different results depending on the data used and the parameters set for the computer. However, both morphological classification and gene sequence classification are remarkably matched. There are inconsistencies and unexpected results, but the rule is that these match very well.

4) "Evolution also suffers from the problem that many putative sequences which look logical based on the progression of one set of anatomical characteristics suddenly look illogical when attention is switched to another set."

You use the lungfish as an example of an intermediate. This is simply not so and is a mistake that many evolutionary biologists make. There are no extant intermediates. A lungfish has been subject to just as many years evolution as every other organism on the planet and has changed just has every other organism on the planet. The intermediate of a fish and salamander lived about 350 million years ago and likely shared some of the characteristics of a lungfish, but it was not a lungfish.

There are indeed "molecular cassettes" that control development. But the genes in these cassettes differ between species at a rate similar to what is predicted by evolutionary divergence. Genes can tolerate changes that don't drastically alter their function.

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Densmore, December 13, 2005 at 2:14 p.m. **From Larry: "ID need not explain how things came to be." That's good, since ID cannot explain how things came to be without identifying the designer.**

Right. That is why ID is supposed to avoid the question.

**A lack of evidence in support of natural causes in no way creates evidence in support of ID. **

I never said that.

***The lack of evidence merely suggests that we don't have all of the evidence.**

ID identifies cases where we are not likely to find any evidence showing that an organism or biological system was developed by normal natural causes.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Larry,

Intelligent design by definition has to have a designer. If you can't show a designer then you can't have intelligent design. Also saying "ID need not explain how things came to be" has nothing to do with defining Intelligent design or a designer. No designer - no design.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

"ID identifies cases where we are not likely to find any evidence showing that an organism or biological system was developed by normal natural causes."

This is faulty logic Larry. You are essentially saying supernatural causes is the only other explanation (as in opposite of "normal natural causes") which is not science and not true. If you can't find any evidence, all that means is you cannot find any evidence right now.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

4) "And even the emergence of one species from another has never been directly observed by science."

In terms of the horse and other transitions: there is overwhelming fossil evidence of transitional forms, the horse being but one. yes, there are still things we don't understand, but that does not render evolution incorrect.

I think we are witnessing speciation all around us, most noteable in microbes and viruses, but there are also other examples as well:

The horse and the donkey can successfully procreate but the offspring mules are sterile due to genetic differences that perturb germ line development. The horse and the donkey are in the process of speciation. Many duck species also exhibit this phenomenon.

The domestic cat and the asian leopard cat can procreate to produce fertile females but sterile males (the males don't become fertile until several generations of crossing to domestic cats). The result is a Bengal cat.

Another thing to keep in mind is that no new general body plans, called phyla, have emerged in 400-500 million years, and the vertebrate body plan is remarkably conserved. The differences between mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds are mere tinkering with the chordate body plan.

Often, people think that "earthworms evolved into vertebrates". This is not so. earthworms and chordates shaed a common soft-bodied ancestor in the dim mists of antiquity some 1 billion to 500 million years ago.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

5) "Another problem with evolution that continues to worsen is that it remains incapable of explaining how anything could evolve that doesn't make biological sense when incomplete."

This is the "irreversible complexity" argument, which is false and does not take into account organismal change over time.

In many instances, organisms in the past could indeed use "half of a wing" or "half of an eye". But, as organisms evolve and incorporate new structures, it all becomes interdependent. Wings could have been used for gliding, camoflauge, or climbing, but changes allowed wings to have new functions. These changes then become codified through evolution.

For example, we cannot live without lungs, but there are organisms (salamanders) that can do just fine without lungs because they have gills. Some salamanders have both at different developmental stages.

Think of it this way: removing the fuel injectors from modern motors will cause them to fail, but there are older motors that could work just fine without them.

Behe's classic example of irreducible complexity is the bacterial flagellum. Behe will never tell you that the bacterium has another structure involved in secretion that was the precursor to the flagellum.

Irreducible complexity is false because it does not take into account organismal change over time.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Back to Bigjim,

The DNA arguments that you gave in one of your postings demonstrate your ignorance on what DNA is and what it means to evolution.

Evolutionary biology was revolutionized by the discovery of DNA. Mutations, researchers realized, change the spelling of the cookbook. A single base pair may change, or a set of genes may be duplicated. Those mutations that confer a selective advantage to an individual become more common over time, and ultimately these mutant genes may drive the older versions out of existence.

Thanks to the discovery of DNA, it is now possible for scientists to identify not just the genes, but the individual bases. Before the discovery of DNA, scientists could only uncover the evolutionary tree of life by comparing the bodies and cells of different species. Now they can compare their genetic codes, working their way down to the deepest branches of life dating back billions of years.

DNA does not provide evidence against evolutionary relationships as you have stated in your postings but rather have given us a much more detailed understanding and a powerful tool to test evolutionary theory. DNA has been and continues to be an incredible discovery from scientific evolutionary standpoint.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

6) "It was hoped that a thorough cross-species comparison of these would reveal the kinds of relationships of graded similarity that evolution implies. But it hasn't. Instead, it has given the same picture of distinct species that examination of gross anatomy does."

Again, there is a remarkable accordance of relationship based upon morphology and sequence. There are individual genes that don't correspond precisely, but the overall picture supports evolutionary relationships.

Predicting selection on individual genes is risky, as they might be subject to stronger or weaker selection. You need to look at many (all) genes of the organism as a whole. The pattern is strikingly clear that evolutionary relationships are found in the DNA sequence.

For example, in general, mouse genes are closer to human genes than are zebrafish genes.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Both Nightmare and Wendt make me look like a simpleton. He states his arguments much more eloquently than I have ever done or could do. Thank-you for your information Nightmare. I think I will cease and desist and let you and Wendt carry on the mantle for awhile.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

7) "Another problem with evolution that has only gotten worse with increasing biological knowledge is the question of how life initially emerged from dead matter. "

Indeed, this is a fascinating and unknown question. Just because scientists don't have the answer now doesn't disprove evolution.

Living things are defined by the ability to self propagate. Once a molecule or set of molecules gained the ability to self-propagate, evolution (change through natural selection) is off and running.

There are some ideas such as autocatalytic RNAs.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim,

You see, most arguments "against evolution" simply point to minor inconsistencies or gaps in knowledge. Minor inconsitiencies need to be explained by tweaking the theory of evolution, and gaps in knowledge will soon be filled.

You used a line about the proclivity of the human mind to find patterns. I think this explains the major argument that IDers put forth for their theories, that things in biology "look like they were designed". Ah, here is the old pattern-finding human mind at work. The earth also looks flat and the sun looks like it revolves around the earth.

The vast and overwhelming amount of data from systematics, the fossil record, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, and biochemistry prove evolutionary theory.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim:

Who the hades is "we" when you state "WE" don't need him at KU or words to that effect above? Where'd ya get the 95% statistic about the remarks of the "professor" being "offensive"? Buster, you don't speak for me. There are MANY other professors at that place that need to be dumped well before this Mirecki guy. Ok, he has a big mouth and has no doubt learned his lesson. There are plenty of other "big mouths" up at that place that need taken to task for moreso than this guy over some inane internet message board silliness. The crackers who make up the State's Board of Education need addressing well before this guy.

I state again:

Mirecki is NOT THE ISSUE. The way a purported major institution of higher learning conducts business and is the boot polisher of a bunch of galoots from heyseed Kansas is the issue. Where is freedom in academia at this point in the road.....and not just in Kansas. It's pretty much "this" way across the country: The University "community" is a farce and full of fluff of pagentry and idiots. Look at this nonsense: They don't even support each other! What a hoot.

What's VERY annoying is all the money being paid to these simpletons, Hemmenway in particular, for being nothing more than jackassess.

Mirecki is NOT the issue. KU is the issue and it's failure to promote diversity of thought and academic freedom; it's cowtowing to "monied" interests in a bankrupt community.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

Your points are very well put, ywn.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

norm:

I wish I could argue with you, but I can't.

staff04 9 years, 8 months ago

WOW! If someone doesn't come away from this with a bloody nose or say....a chipped tooth, then I don't have any more faith in the internet!

Good points by all! I am suspect that bigjim had that argument already written out and ready to go, though...

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

Lynn Bretz is nothing more than a bought and sold mouthpiece. She reads a script like Ronnie Raygun did for his "handlers". Lynn Bretz is just on the railroad train pointed at Mirecki. The light at the end of the tunnel is frequently another train coming at you....that's my experience.

Lynn Bretz probably carries toilet paper around for the "administration" and "administrators" of KU and no doubt also carries a handy bottle of cheap cologne like Royal Jordanian Airways supplies in it's onboard toilets as well. How much you figure Lynn Bretz gets paid to do these very important tasks? What unique "qualifications" does Lynn Bretz have to hold down such an important and undoubtedly complicated "job"?

Lynn Bretz is the kind of apologist that dominates "higher education" these days and I'm sure is having a party tonight with cronies as the name Lynn Bretz is in the paper. It'll probably go on Lynn Bretz's resume and perhaps maybe even be a career highlight. How sickening.

classclown 9 years, 8 months ago

wendt - about your double clicking problem. Maybe your mouse is dirty or otherwise on the fritz. Have you noticed double clicking issues elsewhere? For instance when you close a window but end up closing two.

You don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but how is KUMC monitoring you, and how do you know that they are and when they do it?

Is John narcing you out over there?

laughingatallofu 9 years, 8 months ago

norm,

I'm assuming that you're not going to ask her out on a date. Spin is spin. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Otherwise, we'd here a lot more from Lew Perkins, too.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 8 months ago

Wendt,

No, I don't care one bit about Peoria.

Worstnightmare: Do you work nights, or are you unemployed? You could have written a BOOK today called "What's the matter with BigJim". I didn't even have time to COUNT your posts, let alone read them.

Norm: Actually (this is factual, not conjecture), most of the statements that Ronald Reagan was most famous for were actually written by his own hand. If you go to the Reagan library and see his written speeches firsthand (you'll need a level 19 security clearance to do so, and a blood test), you would see his handwriting in the margins where he inserted his most memorable quotes. I guess you are not a fan of Reagan, and this is way off topic, but I thought I'd just toss you that one.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

MartyrEnuf2BMyMom,

No, it wasn't "what's the matter with bigjim", it was more along the lines of "explaining the facts and data behind evolutionary theory to bigjim".

Sorry if you don't have time to read about facts and science. I guess only attacks and invective are exciting for you.

laughingatallofu 9 years, 8 months ago

I too saw bigjim's posts. Sorry to say I didn't read them, either. But I'm curious whether or his posts were his original thoughts or were they taken from copyrighted material. I'm no legal expert, but I don't think that you can cut and paste copyrighted material onto a public discussion board without getting copyright clearance ---even if the author's name is included in the post.

Be careful out there, people.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Nightmare, "Scientists' beefs with evolution are varied. Most of the apparent dissenters actually accept the theory but are simply arguing about the specifics of mechanism (e.g. whether there was in fact gradual descent with modification or whether "puncuated equilibrium" is the main mechanism). There are a few who doubt the theory of evolution, but this group is very small and usually politically motivated."

What about me. I guess I'm in the really small group that doubt without political motivation and offer no alternative beyond: I dunno.

I have many friends who are engineers. They all have the same low opinion of the science of evolution. The best comment was from my father-in-law (who invented the process by which tire rubber is made). "Biology, there is nothing with it." He was from Czechoslovakia so his english was creative. By this he means that there is nothing of any use to the whole thing. A fantasy, full and rich, but without substance.

I can assure you that many PhD engineers hold the same contempt for that which has been around for 150 years without a single product generated from it.

Lets see, if I plant cotton in Minnesota and wait long enough, it will adapt to the cold temps and become a moneymaker for the state.....?

classclown 9 years, 8 months ago

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yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

laughing,

Good point. I think bigjim's points were taken from a pamphlet that I have seen, something called "10 things to ask your biology teacher about evolution". It is a pamphlet handed out by Talibaners in schools and churches.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

You certainly are the exception.

I agree that many engineers have no use for evolution, but I think that will change.

I guess you could call vaccine makers engineers. They need to make judgements about which strain of influenza has the best chance of recombining and becoming pandemic (evolving).

I also think that evolutionary studies will shed light on cancer and other genetic diseases and eventually aid in medicine (the engineering of biology). It is already contributing to theories of maintenance of genetic disease in populations and theories of cancer formation and metastasis.

As opposed to engineering, science is charged with explaining all natural phenomenon, past and present.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

wendt, "Think about this: What is KU going to tell the next candidate for professor in the Department of Religious Studies?

"Oh, our last professor? He called people who believe in Intelligent Design stupid. We fired him."

How about, "Oh, our last professor? He lied to us about his intentions and beliefs. We fired him."

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad:

Reagan was a joke of a "President" and is but a mere reflection of the lunacy of the voting class. Blue collar stiffs putting idiots in office who vote tax breaks for the wealthy and then tax the blue collar! It's so friggin funny. I have no confidence in the "working class" but they don't scare me as much as the liberals do or as much as the wealthy do.

Reagan was at his best ONLY as the dope in "Bedtime for Bonzo".

But we digress: KU and academia needs a wake up call. Hey! Where is pseudo "radical" TIM MILLER in all this hub bub? Over there at 620 and 622 Indiana raking in the rental dough I guess with a crony, DUTTON TAMARA L.

Ah.....the co-option which comes from fear, fright, and prostitution. Plumber's Friend indeed. Screw the new academicians. Shut down the univeristy for ten years and put these thinly veiled capitalists out to pasture to do some manual labor. Maybe then, and only then shall we be able to re-establish academic freedom.

laughingatallofu 9 years, 8 months ago

Nobody's been fired (yet).

Although I suspect (no proof, just speculation----like that which has been going on here for weeks) that a few people "on the inside" of Strong Hall are a leeetle-bit worried for talking too much. (Jane, are you out there?)

I'm not sure of the details, but there have been very few tenured professors who have been fired from KU. One was a law professor who allegedly committed sexual misconduct with a student (I think he sued KU and lost, or the lawsuit was dismissed), another was someone who, apparently was a royal PITA argumentative, stopped teaching, etc).

The purpose of tenure (as I understand it) is to give academicians the freedom to teach what they believe, based on their experience, research, etc. without retribution from their bosses (including the legislature---which is why they don't vote on tenure decisions). That's what makes a "university". Students also have the "freedom" to accept or reject what they are being taught, and to challenge that in the classroom. Anyone who has ever taken a college-level course (and I suspect that there are some here who haven't, or were brain-dead while they were taking it) recognizes that ALL teachers (from kindergarten through grad school) teach with a bias---except for the faculty of Bob Jones University, I suppose.

Dr. Mirecki made a mistake---A big one, IMHO. And he's paying the price---professionally, personally, and physically.

Regardless of what you think of the Chancellor and the Provost, it is their JOB to protect the interests of the ENTIRE University of Kansas---including the concept of academic freedom---however poorly expressed.

If KU revokes this professor's tenure over this ugly debacle, then KU will have been seriously damaged.

And don't forget---we haven't heard ANYTHING from the DC Sheriff or DA's office yet.

So go ahead, people. Pile On!

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

laughingatallofu :

AMEN. Tell 'em like it is. The hillbilly's can't read intelligent writings, so they don't count

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

alright, Nightmare, thanks for the response.

I guess I should refer to conservation of energy as an example of a theory from physics that has vast application, but isn't an engineering concept. It is just as useful describing biological systems, chemical systems, physical systems. It is independent of the science or engineering that uses it.

It can be applied to conjectures such as the "big bang", but it is a scientific concept tested here and now. If it is applied to creation-of-the-universe arguments, it is neither supported nor refuted by these fanciful guesses.

Engineers, chemists, biologists all use it without requiring a god particle to explain the formation of time, space, mass,etc. For the problems that exist here and now, these concepts exist, and are derived from energy.

It seems that biologists who operate in the application side of things (such as vaccine development) don't really need the statements of origin of life or any other broad statements to conduct their work. Doesn't the association between the testable and untestable parts of biology sully the image of biology and open you up to trouble? Like alternative explanations that are fanciful.

Physics treats speculation with kid gloves. The origin of the universe is in the public and popular. But it isn't taught in H.S. or undergrad physics classes. Grand statements are carefully blocked from the standard curriculum. The origin of everything is not required for the belief in the conservation of energy.

Does biology really need to promote macro-evo or the evo basis for the different life forms, in order to maintain itself? I think you guys made a strategic error when the grand theory of evo pervaded the study of life. It opened you up to conjectures that can't be properly refuted. It steps on other aspects of human experience and seems to exist just to piss non-biologists off.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

Did he invent the wheel too? What a circus

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

I understand your points.

"Does biology really need to promote macro-evo or the evo basis for the different life forms, in order to maintain itself?"

Yes, I would argue it does. Are biologists and geologists expected to ignore the fossil record and genetic similarities and differences? These are empirical observations about the natural world. Are they to be swept under the rug by science?

"I think you guys made a strategic error when the grand theory of evo pervaded the study of life. It opened you up to conjectures that can't be properly refuted."

I don't think they have a choice as scientists. If fossils and DNA didn't exist, maybe they would have the luxury. Also, I can imagine (and have described before) numerous scenarios of empirical and experimental evidence refuting evolution. It has not yet been refuted by data.

"It steps on other aspects of human experience and seems to exist just to piss non-biologists off."

This is true, too, I suppose. Again, are scientists to ignore fossils and DNA evidence just so we don't offend other aspects of human experience? Science has constantly upset the powers-that-be for the very reason that it does not respect human dogma and ways of thinking. It is guided by data and empiricism.

laughingatallofu 9 years, 8 months ago

kpippen,

agreed. when can we get back to trashing politicians for their stupid ideas? They deserve it.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Wendt, Oh, I'm not saying he lied about his religious orientation. I could care less about that. No, I think he was disingenuous regarding the nature of his class and his reasons for teaching it. I think he wanted to stick it to the "fundies". He couldn't say this publicly because it isn't academic, but it leaked out anyway.

I think he should have included the word and concept "macroevolution" in his course title. Then he could have taken on the task of applying the definition of mythology to the entire question of where did we come from.

Evolution myth, creation myth (from many different cultures), ID myth. Sounds like a valid academic endeavor.

The issue is that evo is lousy science and open for ridicule by even worse science. The argument won't go away until evos get a whole lot better at science. Unfortunately, the evo folks have only two effective weapons in the argument: 1) everything else is worse 2) we have lots of evidence

Lousy science, that's what I say.

Quit making claims that can't be tested.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

How is evolutionary science lousy? It can be tested and is tested all of the time.

The genome sequencing projects are perhaps the biggest test of evolution of all time.

Evolution would be in trouble if sequence similarity did not match phylogeny. For example, if proteins were identical in all species and only regulatory regions in the DNA were different. Or if human remains were found alongside dinosaur remains. These are experiments, Devo. There are thousands more, all supporting evolution.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Nightmare,

We have evidence that the universe is expanding. Now we have evidence that the universe is accelerating! We have a lot of evidence of this too. It is not the basis for the science of physics.

It is not taught in H.S. or undergrad physics classes. It is conjecture. Can cosmologic explanations be tested? Not really. Maybe some day, but in the mean time it is the cutting edge of speculation, conjecture.

I don't ignore the universe and its evidence in my H.S, physics class. I just kinda laugh and say that there is a lot of mysterious stuff going on in cosmology right now. Things have a long way to go before I would teach them as a part of physics.

The same can't be said for macro-evolution.

Pissing off authority isn't a scientific goal. It just happens. However, if the only tangible, important thing that results from your science is to piss off authority, then you aren't necessarily to be lauded.

Galileo pissed off authority and advanced science because he insisted on a method that transcended the old Greek philosophy which the Vatican took up as its own. Evolution seems to be challenging the old Popper idea that refutation is the measure of the science by making claims that are beyond the test, but must be accepted to the point of teaching in H.S biology.

Thus, I disagree with evolution. Thus, I find biology in a sad state of affairs. If the jackals (religious people) are giving you fits, wait till the lion (fundamental scientists) shows up. So far, most physics- and engineering-based people have stayed outta the fray. I am an exception because, while I used to live in the world of engineering, now I teach. I must teach my kids the meaning of science as part of my curiculum.

I teach experiments, tests. Others do not emphasize this as much, and I speak up. I have had engineers from the university, (present and retired) tell me to continue the battle. I have friends in industry who wonder why I waste my time with the mental masturbators. I guess its part of being a teacher, engaging in philosophical arguments. I seriously doubt that any of you will get a pair and start a company or build a product on the basis of your science.
So, I hope you two sides can come up with some denouement before too much time and $ is wasted on abstractions.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Along with the testable parts, like genetics, it includes statements that cannot be tested.

I have been to recommended websites, given to me on these boards and found descend- from-apes type of statements. Listed as fact.

Either this stuff is to be denied by evolutionary scientists or the science is sullied by it.

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

From post of badger , December 13, 2005 at 12:32 p.m. *The fact that evolution remains open to critical analysis and questioning as to whether it's a 'true' science lends no validity to the theory of ID. **

The "theory of ID"? If the term "theory" is partly defined as a complete scientific explanation of some observations of nature, then ID is not a theory. In fact, it is usually called just "intelligent design" and not "intelligent design theory." It is basically just a scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticism of evolution theory.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

You are drawing arbitrary lines here about what and what is not science. You have not told me why evolutionary science is lousy.

You might not like evolutionary theory, but it is as solidly science as semiconductors.

I am happy about your company and you should be proud, but not all science is or should be commercial.

As for the "descended from apes" statement, it is wrong. It is indeed a common error made by scientists, most likely in an effort to promote understanding and simplify things. I think it is wrong and obfuscatory.

The correct answer is "we shared a common ancestor with apes around 10 million years ago".

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

All I want is an answer. Why is evolution lousy science?

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

Intuition and common sense tell us that it is very unlikely that the tremendous complexity and variety of living things arose through mere chance mutations and natural selection. But intuition and common sense are not scientific. Evolution theory is widely accepted because there is so much evidence supporting it. Scientists meticulously analyze the evidence for evolution without stopping to consider whether evolution makes sense or not. They cannot see the forest for the trees. Intelligent design is an effort to give a scientific basis to our intuitional and common-sense doubts about evolution theory. ID is not a complete scientific explanation for the origin of species. ID is basically just a scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticism of evolution theory.

compmd 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim said: " The existence of these intermediates (certain kinds of viruses were candidates for the role) would imply the possibility of an evolutionary transition from dead chemicals to intermediates to life. "

youve touched on something very important and might not know it. there is still debate on whether or not viruses are alive. a virus is neither multicellular nor unicellular. in fact, a virus doesnt qualify as a cell because it doesnt have any of the structures of a cell; it is quasi-organized proteins with an organized membrane, less complex than a cell. go down the complexity scale to prions, kind of like viruses but pretty much contained fragments of protein. these look to me to be awfully indicative of an intermediate between amino acids and cells.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 8 months ago

Worst Nightmare: I didn't expect you to take me so seriously. I think I may have posted some harsh stuff toward you the other day, and I apologize. This message board brings out the worst in us all, I think.

Wendt: You and I clearly have different perspectives on what has factually happened here. I don't believe that he was forced out, and in spite of how many posters here DO see it that way, I'm not convinced that a potential candidate for a job would see it that way. If you were that upset, don't you think you'd make them FORCE you out (fire you)? That makes him a martyr, and a hot property. He'd make more on the speaking curcuit than he would with a day job. Why run with your tail between your legs when you can be the hero of the anti-Fundies as well as the official posterboy/spokesman for atheists everywhere. Getting fired would have earned him serious street cred.

While I'm not one of the "Mirecki faked it" crowd, I do think he's going to give up his complaining. I'd be surprised if the LJW can even goad him to respond to this article. I think once he calms down, he'll stop making claims against the university. Lawsuit? Never gonna happen.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

What HORSE PUCKEY!!!!

The vast lot of this discussion is about religion and not about the issue.

Is there any wonder we are a gathering of dolts who live in a backwater state run by rotten tooth, ignorant, fat, emotional, dolts whose full on claim to fame is that they wear double knit suits?

The above is all I have to offer on this issue.....for now. We all deserve what we get in this State because we are all so STUPID.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps it's time to REALLY derail this "discussion". Let me search GOOGLE and find some good stuff to put in here.....meanwhile....I am going to PARADISE the nudie bar and do what comes naturally.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.[2] Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.[3]

College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.[4] ACADEMIC TENURE

After the expiration of a probationary period, teachers or investigators should have permanent or continuous tenure, and their service should be terminated only for adequate cause, except in the case of retirement for age, or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies.

In the interpretation of this principle it is understood that the following represents acceptable academic practice:

  1. The precise terms and conditions of every appointment should be stated in writing and be in the possession of both institution and teacher before the appointment is consummated.

  2. Beginning with appointment to the rank of full-time instructor or a higher rank,[5] the probationary period should not exceed seven years, including within this period full-time service in all institutions of higher education; but subject to the proviso that when, after a term of probationary service of more than three years in one or more institutions, a teacher is called to another institution, it may be agreed in writing that the new appointment is for a probationary period of not more than four years, even though thereby the person's total probationary period in the academic profession is extended beyond the normal maximum of seven years.[6]Notice should be given at least one year prior to the expiration of the probationary period if the teacher is not to be continued in service after the expiration of that period.[7]

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

  1. During the probationary period a teacher should have the academic freedom that all other members of the faculty have.[8]

  2. Termination for cause of a continuous appointment, or the dismissal for cause of a teacher previous to the expiration of a term appointment, should, if possible, be considered by both a faculty committee and the governing board of the institution. In all cases where the facts are in dispute, the accused teacher should be informed before the hearing in writing of the charges and should have the opportunity to be heard in his or her own defense by all bodies that pass judgment upon the case. The teacher should be permitted to be accompanied by an advisor of his or her own choosing who may act as counsel. There should be a full stenographic record of the hearing available to the parties concerned. In the hearing of charges of incompetence the testimony should include that of teachers and other scholars, either from the teacher's own or from other institutions. Teachers on continuous appointment who are dismissed for reasons not involving moral turpitude should receive their salaries for at least a year from the date of notification of dismissal whether or not they are continued in their duties at the institution.[9]

  3. Termination of a continuous appointment because of financial exigency should be demonstrably bona fide.

1940 INTERPRETATIONS

At the conference of representatives of the American Association of University Professors and of the Association of American Colleges on November 78, 1940, the following interpretations of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure were agreed upon:

  1. That its operation should not be retroactive.

  2. That all tenure claims of teachers appointed prior to the endorsement should be determined in accordance with the principles set forth in the 1925 Conference Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

  3. If the administration of a college or university feels that a teacher has not observed the admonitions of paragraph (c) of the section on Academic Freedom and believes that the extramural utterances of the teacher have been such as to raise grave doubts concerning the teacher's fitness for his or her position, it may proceed to file charges under paragraph 4 of the section on Academic Tenure. In pressing such charges, the administration should remember that teachers are citizens and should be accorded the freedom of citizens. In such cases the administration must assume full responsibility, and the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges are free to make an investigation.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

There is too much to post and also follow the "game" of limiting my post to 3000 here is the link:

http://www.aaup.org/statements/Redbook/1940stat.htm

1970 INTERPRETIVE COMMENTS Following extensive discussions on the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with leading educational associations and with individual faculty members and administrators, a joint committee of the AAUP and the Association of American Colleges met during 1969 to reevaluate this key policy statement. On the basis of the comments received, and the discussions that ensued, the joint committee felt the preferable approach was to formulate interpretations of the Statement in terms of the experience gained in implementing and applying the Statement for over thirty years and of adapting it to current needs.

The committee submitted to the two associations for their consideration the following "Interpretive Comments." These interpretations were adopted by the Council of the American Association of University Professors in April 1970 and endorsed by the Fifty-sixth Annual Meeting as Association policy.

In the thirty years since their promulgation, the principles of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure have undergone a substantial amount of refinement. This has evolved through a variety of processes, including customary acceptance, understandings mutually arrived at between institutions and professors or their representatives, investigations and reports by the American Association of University Professors, and formulations of statements by that association either alone or in conjunction with the Association of American Colleges. These comments represent the attempt of the two associations, as the original sponsors of the 1940 Statement, to formulate the most important of these refinements. Their incorporation here as Interpretive Comments is based upon the premise that the 1940 Statement is not a static code but a fundamental document designed to set a framework of norms to guide adaptations to changing times and circumstances.

Also, there have been relevant developments in the law itself reflecting a growing insistence by the courts on due process within the academic community which parallels the essential concepts of the 1940 Statement; particularly relevant is the identification by the Supreme Court of academic freedom as a right protected by the First Amendment. As the Supreme Court said in Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967), "Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, which is of transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned. That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom."

cowgomoo 9 years, 8 months ago

============ Posted by wendt (anonymous) on December 7, 2005 at 5:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hate to say this, but it looks like the beating was a hoax.

There is no reason for him to resign except in the instance of some malfeasance.

I hope I'm wrong.

=============

I hope so too. I wish you all the best Dr. Mirecki.

MadAnthony 9 years, 8 months ago

"In a fiery statement to the Journal-World on Friday, Mirecki said he had "no choice about signing the resignation" and he pointed out the resignation letter was typed on stationery from the office of Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences."

One reason this ongoing story is such a train wreck calling many back to the scene to rubber neck is that it seems that Dr. Mirecki's every utterance is called into question by someone.

I just want to once again applaud the LJW for having the journalistic intergrity to probe for the truth (it is out there) and let anyone have a say on this board. (But boy does Norm bogart that joint!)

Terry Jacobsen 9 years, 8 months ago

As I have said before, I'm not debating Mr. Mirecki's politics or his religion or lack there of, but it will be a huge blow to many of you who have defended him to the hilt, if it turns out that the beating was a hoax. Further if the beating was a hoax, you can bet the "forced" resignation will be found to be hoax too. I guess we wait and see.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

TJ_in_Lawrence:

I don't care if the boy did "fake" the beating. Most all of those people in academia would claim that a fly lighting upon them was an assault.

THE ISSUE IS NOT MIRECKI! THE ISSUE IS ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND THE BANKRUPTCY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS AND THE BOARD OF REGENTS in the furthering of what academia was once all about.

MadAnthony:

What's your issue dudette? I took my "cue" from good 'ole bigjim who is clearly an intellectual giant in Lawrence. Affiant further sayeth naught.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

Thanks Wendt. I'd take you up on that beer except I don't drink the stuff. Highland Single Malt Scotch for this geezer....and a good pour from the get, please.

norm 9 years, 8 months ago

HIGHLAND MALT, please. Pinch and Glen are not high enuff

Pulteney or Balblair Single Malt (same place that produces Speyburn)

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 8 months ago

Wendt, we'll have to agree to disagree. Did I hear you imply that the Sherrif's department is taking orders from KU? I hope that's not what you are getting at. That's not realistic.

The Sherrif's department would logically want to conduct forensics on the computer as part of the investigation. I don't find one thing odd about that.

It'll be interesting to see where this story is in a month. Will Mirecki still be at KU? Will the crimes against him be solved? Will the press still care? Will we care? Will Mirecki finally get a date with Danni Survivor? Will the fingerprint analysis from the print button on the computer at Strong Hall tell us for sure if HE printed the resignation letter?

dex 9 years, 8 months ago

devobrun: the profession of physics at the university level is not as populated with "fundamental scientists" as you seem to imply (hope?). fundamental science is in a bad state of affairs; not as bad as biology, but still...

regardless, thank you.

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

From post by norm , December 13, 2005 at 10:16 p.m. **THE ISSUE IS NOT MIRECKI! THE ISSUE IS ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND THE BANKRUPTCY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS AND THE BOARD OF REGENTS in the furthering of what academia was once all about.**

The AAUP's 1940 "Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure" says,

---- from http://www.aaup.org/statements/Redbook/1940stat.htm

Though the above guidelines specifically apply to professors' off-the-job activities, I see no reason why these guidelines should not also apply to professors' on-the-job activities.

Mirecki did not "show respect for the opinions of others" in -- (1) -- his choice of a course title that labeled ID and creationism as "mythologies" (2) -- his email -- posted on a publicly accessible Internet forum -- which said that the course would be a "nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies"

The title of the course was not the place for Mirecki to express his personal opinions about ID and creationism.

Also, Mirecki was making no effort to indicate that he "was not speaking for the institution" when he said that he was offering the course because "the KU faculty has had enough."

"The issue is academic freedom," my eye! Mirecki is a prima donna who has not shown any appreciation for the great privileges he enjoys as a tenured university professor -- (1) a secure job that pays him well to do the work he likes, and (2) the authority to create college courses of his own choosing. He has made a mockery of the university's role as a place of objective, open-minded inquiry. He does not deserve any sympathy except for the beating he allegedly received.

And Norm, why bring the Board of Regents into it? I have seen no indication that they have been involved at all.

Mr_Christopher 9 years, 8 months ago

Man this email drama is old news...B-O-R-I-N-G.

When is ljworld going to write an in-depth article about the ID influence in Kansas?

Mr_Christopher 9 years, 8 months ago

Read this today

"The Discovery Institute is the institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell"

Made me crack up.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Nightmare, "All I want is an answer. Why is evolution lousy science?"

Because it makes statements like"The correct answer is "we shared a common ancestor with apes around 10 million years ago".

This is testable? Like in the sense that it can be repeated, modified, pushed to the limit?

Net force is equal to mass times acceleration says Newton's 2nd law. It is repeated zillions of times each day. It is tested to limits like the speed of light, or down to energy levels near a quantum. Modifications had to be made at the extremes. It is a very important law in the sense that it is foundational to physics.

So evolution is a foundational law of biology. Yet it can only be tested over small intervals (in a geologic sense). Thus, any statement regarding the time scale of 10 million years is based only on evidence and also not testable. Extrapolation of tiny tests don't make it for me. I find that the only really honest scientific statement is along the lines of "evidence shows a possible explanation of the linkage between ape-like animals and man to be evolution. Alas, until we solve the problem of time, we won't really be able to test it".

Wendt, You simply must stop attributing to me any support of creation/ID. The suggestion that I am questioning biology because I support religion is quite false. The dog that I have in this hunt is science based on testing with the intent to refute, i.e. refutation. Why?

Because I live in a world of increasingly fuzzy science. I see people with overwraught ideas in science. I see the term science applied to things that are not scientific. Biology is just one of the sciences that overstep the bounds of testing. Oh, btw, physics does it too. Only we don't teach conjecture without test in our H.S. Should biologists and physicists probe the boundaries of science? Hell yes. Just watch out what you call fact. Biology is lousy science, in my opinion, because it makes statements that are extra-scientific. And then bases the whole field on one concept

What kind of engineer? A PhD in electrical. Remote sensing using radar. I am quite aware of the description of some remote object on the basis of electromagnetic sensing. Inference.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Gentlemen:

Sorry for my periodic replies; I have a job so I'm posting during lunch. Regarding all of your posts, I think the point is clear that "Where we came from" is debatable. Whether the answer is Creationism, ID or Evolution, the debate needs to happen in our schools for the sake of those who haven't already made up their minds. Anyone who is afraid of or who wants to suppress the truth cannot call themselves scientific or even a reasonable human being since only human beings care to find the truth (I wonder from where that characteristic evolved?).

Most of this board has already made up their minds where they stand. As for me, I believe any truth of evolution can be attributed to simply micro evolution/natural selection/survival of the fittest. That seems very logical and can easily be observed by all.

However, I DO NOT believe in macro evolution/chaos. I cannot see how something can be created without a creator (e.g., high school physics taught us that a rock can't move unless something makes it move). Where did the first material come from or the space for it to come into? I see amazing designs that logically require a designer (e.g., the design of your hand, of the cell, how the atom can be dissected into unending small parts, or the limitless universe.). I wonder why science can claim all life happened by chance, yet science hasn't been able to create one single cell of life, nor have they ever experienced a single cell being created. And, if evolution is happening all around us, why are all species (including man) so different from each other? If evolution were true, today we would still have all degrees of partial humans/partial monkeys. I wonder how evolution can explain non-physical universe, and the order of laws. E.g., gravity, force, light, and their abilities to follow laws. Even human beings everywhere and for all of time have held to certain basic truths and logic (e.g, justice, remuneration). Who or what causes all these non-physical items to be hold to these constraints? I also realize that I may be more fortunate than others in the things I have seen. For example, take a look at miracles such as the unpreserved Incorruptibles (only found in deceased people who were known to be holy Catholics).

If you don't have any faith in God, think of it in a practical manner. Those who believe in God and follow His laws at worst are wasting some of their time, and at best will be greatly rewarded for it eternally. Those who don't believe in God and don't care to follow His laws, may gain slightly in this life but will be eternally suffer. If you do the math, even if there is a 1% chance of there being a God, the believer is much better off.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Here's some more interesting news I saw...

NEW YORK (AP) _ A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God -- more or less -- based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew first made his mark with the 1950 article "Theology and Falsification," based on a paper for the Socratic Club, a weekly Oxford religious forum led by writer and Christian thinker C.S. Lewis.

Over the years, Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain, in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses and in books, articles, lectures and debates.

There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife.

Yet biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video, "Has Science Discovered God?"

The video draws from a New York discussion last May organized by author Roy Abraham Varghese's Institute for Metascientific Research in Garland, Texas. Participants were Flew; Varghese; Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jew; and Roman Catholic philosopher John Haldane of Scotland's University of St. Andrews.

The first hint of Flew's turn was a letter to the August-September issue of Britain's Philosophy Now magazine. "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism," he wrote.

The letter commended arguments in Schroeder's "The Hidden Face of God" and "The Wonder of the World" by Varghese, an Eastern Rite Catholic layman.

This week, Flew finished writing the first formal account of his new outlook for the introduction to a new edition of his "God and Philosophy," scheduled for release next year by Prometheus Books.

Prometheus specializes in skeptical thought, but if his belief upsets people, well "that's too bad," Flew said. "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads."

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

More interesting reading ...

The supposed hominids (creatures in-between ape and human that evolutionists believe used to exist) bones and skull record used by evolutionists often consists of `finds' which are thoroughly unrevealing and inconsistent. They are neither clear nor conclusive even though evolutionists present them as if they were.

Evolutionists present much of their finds as if they were compelling and factual explanations to human evolution. In fact, they base their conclusions on mere speculation and often the flimsiest of `finds'. Many discoveries of supposed hominids consist of only a mouth fragment, a leg bone, a hip bone, or a knee joint. On this alone, they have considered it to be a hominid. They even name it, reconstruct what it looked like, and present it to the public as a fact. Some of these finds have turned out to be those of a pig, donkey, or the result of a hoax. One hoax consisted of someone placing a human skull with an ape's jaw. Evolutionist declared it to be a hominid for fifty years without having done an in depth study of it. Some finds consist of an assortment of fragments found miles apart and then placed together to look as though they came from the same individual. Sometimes rocks as simple as those found in any backyard are called tools of hominids and are pictured in books. Footprints that look identical to any person's today are sometimes declared in books and accepted as those of hominids. The brow ridge that supposedly marked the hominid appears only in one skull.

"Our task is not unlike attempting to assemble a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle in which most of the pieces are missing, and those few bits which are at hand are broken!" Famous Paleontologist Richard Leakey.

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

"There is a strong tendency for fossils to be presented as if they were lucid texts to be read unambiguously rather than scrappy fragments of unknown morphologies." Famous Paleontologist Misia Landau upon realizing how poor the fossil evidence was. ([14], p.?)

"We've got to have some ancestors. We'll pick those.' Why?Because we know they have to be there, and these are the best candidates.' That's by and large the way it has worked. I am not exaggerating." Gareth Nelson of the American Museum of Natural History. ([10], p.74)

Several of the supposed finds have relied on mere tooth or jaw fragments. These include Piltdown man, Dryopithecus, Ramapithecus, and Hesperopithecus. (see picture #1) ([9], p.42; [15], p.44)

Piltdown was discovered in 1953 to have been nothing more than an Ape's jaw placed with a human skull. It was a hoax placed on purpose. They recognized neither the jaw to be an ape's or the skull to be a human's. Instead, they declared each part as an in between of ape and human. They dated it to be 500,000 years old, gave it a name (Eoanthropus Dawsoni or Dawn Man'), and wrote some 500 books on it. Thediscovery' fooled paleontologists for forty five years.

Regarding Lucy, in fact, it is known, "Lucy - when they required a knee joint to prove that Lucy walked upright, they used one found more than 200 feet lower in the (earth) and more than two miles away."
Regarding the finder of Lucy we read, "...he regards the evolution of man from apes as self-evident, but who also regards the evidence as poppycock."

Mr_Christopher 9 years, 8 months ago

"The [piltdown] `discovery' fooled paleontologists for forty five years."

Wrong again, how about actually studying a topic prior to spouting off about it? Many scientists were wary of piltdown man from the very beginning. Some put their doubt on paper but it did take decades before there was overwhelming opposition to it and the fraud was finally proven. But many scientists knew it was a scam from the very beginning.

Do your homework next time.

And the fact that piltdown man was a fake does not shed any doubt on evolution, it simply proves science is not immune to idiots.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

bigjim,

All you have are single case studies, and most of them are anecdotal or wrong. The overwhelming facts and scientific evidence proves evolution.

When are the ID creationsists going to get off of piltdown man? This issue was settled long ago. Yes, scientists are people, too. They make errors and lie cheat and steal just like everyone else. The beauty of science is that the peer-review system will eventually catch up with fraud and bad science and it will be exposed, as was the case with piltdown man.

And bigjim, please post your own words. Read the articles and digest them yourself. Posting the words of others in the volume you have demonstrates your lack of understanding of the material and is probably illegal.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

I thought you were leaving this racket buddy. You just can't seem to stay away can you. Still at it with this you didn't see it happen, you can't see it happening therefore you can't test it or prove it. Yet science is full of these types of observations, data, and evidences that are used to support concepts, theories, and laws etc. You are also seemingly obsessed with the concept of time which represents only one facet of a multi-faceted theory. As nightmare and others have pointed out again and again which you have chosen to ignore is that evolution is testable because it is possible to falsify with observable current data. It hasn't been done Devo.

Devo says: "Biology is just one of the sciences that overstep the bounds of testing. Oh, btw, physics does it too. Only we don't teach conjecture without test in our H.S. Should biologists and physicists probe the boundaries of science? Hell yes. Just watch out what you call fact. Biology is lousy science, in my opinion, because it makes statements that are extra-scientific. And then bases the whole field on one concept..."

Extra-scientific? The whole field of biology is based on one concept? Come on Devo. Tell me how much biology does a Ph.D. in electrical engineering have to take. I guess you are entitled to your opinions but we must remember they are only opinions of someone who has demonstrated their ignorance and bias toward biology

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Kodiac,

"As nightmare and others have pointed out again and again which you have chosen to ignore is that evolution is testable because it is possible to falsify with observable current data. It hasn't been done Devo."

Ok, here goes. I will try to be as direct and clear as possible, since this question has been posed and answered by me. It just hasn't found purchase in subjective mind of the biologists:

When a subset of evolution is tested, it becomes science. When many subsets are tested, the science becomes more complex. When an extrapolation is applied to the collective of subsets, the statement as a whole must be tested. Science is the test, not the abstraction of the test. The sum of a bunch of scientifically testable parts do not make a whole. A scientific statement must be direcly testable, not just testable in parts with a model to combine them into the scientific statement.

An example is a project that I give my students in AP physics: Send a rocket to the moon. When they get the project they have powerful scientific tools like conservation of energy in their toobox. They do a pretty good job, but they also miss a lot. As an academic exercise it works great. It tests their knowledge of Newtonian mechanics. The key part of the above is that they miss a lot. That is, they just don't know everything. Until the rocket is sent to the moon they must rely on abstractions and models.

So how do you find out about the things you missed? More subjective thinking? More evidence? All quite valid to a point. It all changes from the subjective to the objective when the rocket is sent to the moon. No, we can't do it, but I know people who have. I have data from them, and we compare our science to theirs.
My objection has always been that statements are made by biologists that aren't testable, not that none of it is testable.

Is this sophistry? If so, I am on the objective side. I'm the one who is trying to tell you guys that your subjective verbage goes past your ability to test.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

So, as I was writing the previous post, I received the latest copy of BIOHAWK in the mail. I hurried my conclusion of the post so I could read the newsletter from KU, because it focuses on the theme of evolutionary biology. Here is what I have so far:

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky. Called by S.J.Gould "the greatest evolutionary geneticist of our times. Whew, heavy stuff.

And from the K.U. staff:

Dr. Chris Haufler, Director, KUUB: " Well, I don't 'believe' in evolution either! Nobody should 'believe' in a central principle of science. As scientists, we 'understand' that evolution is the best hypothesis available for explaining the observations scientists have made about history of life on earth. Further, all of the thousands of tests of that hypothesis have supported it as a robust, accurate theory."

Dr. Craig Martin, Dept. Chair, EEB: "Evolution is a scientific fact. Evolution is a principle of biology on which all research is based."

He goes on to say: "Our research and teaching are driven by our personal passions. That passion is not going to be influenced by any controversy or debate."

Dr. Leonard Krishtalka, Dir of Natural history museum and biodiversity research center says: "The unifying theme of all our studies is the evolutionary biology of these organisms.

My immediate reaction was emotional, "Rank hubris", I thought. I'm pissed. So then I do what engineers do. I felt my feelings and set them aside. Here goes:

These are not the statements of people with open minds. I know that they are defending themselves against the crea/ID religious dudes, but I think they might measure their statements against the appearance of vanity, or even panic. Oh no, now I'm starting to feel sorry for these guys.

From the article:"It is often the first encounter Kansas school children have with the University. A field trip to the school's Natural History Museum not only introduces them to KU but also to science and evolution. Current KU students walk the halls recounting the days when they were mere elementary school-aged kids experiencing the panoramic North American wildlife exhibit that spans an entire room for the first time." Later Dr.K says:"We want them to experience and be awed by the fascinating story of four billion years of evolutionary history on Earth."

I just had a vision of the final scene of "Mars Attacks", where Tom Jones serenades us and we watch the creatures of the world coming together in peace and boogie to his tune.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Just to finish the above:

You call me ignorant of biology. You call me a sophist for picking apart the definition and epistemology of science.
But where am I to turn to learn about your science? I've tried books, websites, newsletters. Nothing I will stay ignorant until I have somethng to learn. So far, Farley Mowat, Craig Martin, and a whole bunch of other highly emotional, caring, passionate people haven't given me much to go on that doesn't sound like bio-religion.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

You need a timeout buddy. Stick to engineering. Stop spreading your prejudice. I certainly hope you don't tell your students that Biology is Religion. I think you might get removed from your post. (See Mirecki article above). By the way, have you seen the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know". Just curious about your opinions on this movie.

Kodiac

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

I heard about it, but didn't see it.

I have read "Yes, We Have No Neutrons" about Fleishman and Ponns (sp?) and cold fusion. Also, a really good one is: "A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper", by John Allen Paulos.

Also, "To Engineer is Human", by Henry Petroski. Subtitle is: "The Role of Failure in Successful Design". His very first example is the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalk. Since this hit so close to home, and I new some people there, its tough, but honest.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

You said: "When a subset of evolution is tested, it becomes science. When many subsets are tested, the science becomes more complex. When an extrapolation is applied to the collective of subsets, the statement as a whole must be tested."

I understand what you are saying. You want experimental, manipulible, tweakable proof of organismal evolution in a laboratory. First of all, I don't think the "statement as a whole must be tested" to be science. This is your narrow definition of science. Can we reproduce black holes and manipulate them in the lab? The electromagnetic energy from black holes was emitted millions if not billions of years ago. We can't recreate that event, so why study it?

Also, you are dismissing the whole idea of "historical science", which includes biology, history, anthropology, and astrophysics. Also, by your logic, if a crime can't be recreated in the lab, there is no way to prove guilt with all assembled evidence. The gun has fingerprints on it; the ballistics match; the suspect was seen leaving the area; the suspect bought the gun hours earlier. Nope, no way is this proof.

Second, evolution is tested all of the time. Organisms evolve in response to their environments, whether natural or artificial, by differentially accumulating mutations in their genes. This is absolute fact that has been repeated over and over again in the lab and in natural experiments. There are also many examples of microbial and viral evolution (microbial virulence, for example) and many examples of taxa in the process of speciation (fruit flies, cats, horses and donkeys). My bet is that in 100 years, different dog breeds will reach the point where they are unable to mate, carry to term, or produce viable hybrids, effectively becoming different species.

"The sum of a bunch of scientifically testable parts do not make a whole. A scientific statement must be direcly testable, not just testable in parts with a model to combine them into the scientific statement."

Again, this is your own narrow definition of science, and evolution has indeed been tested in this way repeatedly as mentioned above.

I detect an arrogance in you that follows the old idea that mathematicians are better scientists than physicists who are better scientists than chemists who are better scientists than biologists. Don't be so arrogant; it is all science.

Also, science and engineering are different beasts, and I think you prefer engineering, which is great. Engineers only concern themselves with processes that they can tweak and optimize. There is more to science than this.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

Nightmare, "The electromagnetic energy from black holes was emitted millions if not billions of years ago. We can't recreate that event, so why study it?" Well, study it all you want. Come up with models (usually based on energy and mathematics) that match the EM spectrum, intensity, etc. Don't teach it to H.S. students as science. Instead, write sci-fi movies, TV series, and books. great fun. Fun is the operable word until the speculation can be somehow rendered testable.

"Also, by your logic, if a crime can't be recreated in the lab, there is no way to prove guilt with all assembled evidence" No, if a crime can't be recreated in the field, there is no way to prove guilt based on evidence. The law doesn't deal with the truth or science, or proof. Evidence is presented for judgement by a jury or judge and a decision is made to find the accused guilty or not guilty of a crime. The judgement is an opinion. The law treats it as such. Terms such as reasonable are used to define the "findings of the jury". Ain't no proof around.

"Again, this is your own narrow definition of science, and evolution has indeed been tested in this way repeatedly as mentioned above." Well, when I read about some evidence that humans and ape-like creatures have a common ancestor at about 10 million years ago, I think that this is nice, but quite possibly an extrapolation of the evidence. I then think, well maybe these guys are stretching the definition of science. Frued said: "Sometimes a cigar is just a good smoke". These linkages and models and other abstractions might just be too much science, eh? The definition of science is certainly a worthy area of philosophic discussion, but I am not an expert on it.

So I read "Conjecture and Refutation" by Karl Popper and various philosophical attacks and supports of the idea. I came away with the 'feeling' that the philosophical underpinnings of science really can be boiled down to the test. The quantity, the quality, the meaning to humans. Is this too simple?

Well, it fits in nicely with my general philosophy of things: "Don't believe in anything unless you have to, Devo." Replaces God, fruitless speculations, fanciful stories of ghosts, etc. It makes it easy to remember things that are important because all those things are real and have some physical or emotional embodiment.

jayhawk2000 9 years, 8 months ago

Bigjim, the AP news article you quote regarding UK atheist Anthony Flew doesn't mention what I found in the Times of London:

"But hold that peal of bells: Flew is still convinced the gods of organised religion do not exist and there is definitely no afterlife. He is only willing to sign up to the notion that a deity of some sort created the universe."

So not exactly a ringing endorsement of Christianity. Yet Americans are convinced of liberal bias in the media??

The Times interviewer then plays Devil's Advocate with Flew's philosophy, posing to him:

"First, complexity does not imply intelligent design; nature responds to existing pressures by taking advantage of what is lying around to gradually build up a complex system.

"Second, because something looks improbable it doesn't mean it's impossible: the fact we are here means something did occur. Third, even DNA design is flawed."

Quoting from newspapers doesn't lend much weight to an argument if no further investigation is done to explore fully what is being reported (or not).

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-1408276,00.html

bigjim 9 years, 8 months ago

Here are some good books for further reading ...

Bliss, Richard. Origins: Creation or Evolution? El Cajon, CA: Master Books, 1988.

Gish, Duane T. The Amazing Story of Creation from Science and the Bible El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1990.

Graham, Keith, et al. Biology Pensacola, FL: A Beka Book Publications, 1986.

Ham, ken, et. al. The Answers book, El Cajon, CA: Master Books, 1992.

Johnson, Phillip. Darwin on Trial, Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1991.

McDowell, Josh and Stewart, Don. Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity, San Bernardino, CA: Here's Life, 1981.

Moreland, J.P. Scaling the Secular City, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987.

Morris, Henry M. Evolution and the Modern Christian, Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1988.

Morris, Henry M. The Twilight of Evolution, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967.

Ranganathan, B.G. Origins?, Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1988.

Whitcomb, John. The Early Earth, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

Devo,

You choose not to accept certain kinds as evidence as proof. That is certainly within your purview, but it does not accurately reflect what science is.

Again I ask: are scientists supposed to ignore fossils and differences in DNA sequences? Are they to ignore stars and black holes and galaxies? Are they to ignore evidences of past human activities and civilizations? Let's just pretend they don't exist? Talk about fantasy worlds! This is approaching the ignorance displayed by ID creationists.

These are natural phenomenon, Devo, and study of them is science.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

I am willing to bet that Bigjim has not read most if not any of the books he is advocating. Many of the books you are suggesting have been abandoned by the ID movement not only because the material within them has been easily refuted but also because the cited authors have shown to be dishonest in how they were presenting their materials. Not a very christian thing to do wouldn't you say Bigjim....

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

From post of yourworstnightmare, December 15, 2005 at 3:12 p.m. **Devo, You choose not to accept certain kinds as evidence as proof. That is certainly within your purview, but it does not accurately reflect what science is. Again I ask: are scientists supposed to ignore fossils and differences in DNA sequences? Are they to ignore stars and black holes and galaxies?***

Many scientists are so obsessed with analyzing the evidence supporting macro-evolution that they do not stop to consider whether macro-evolution actually makes sense or not. They cannot see the forest for the trees. These scientists' obsession with "evidence" is reminiscent of the following joke about a trial of an alleged chicken thief -- defendant (to witness) -- "Did you see me enter the henhouse?" witness -- "Yes." defendant -- "Did you see me leave the henhouse?" witness -- "No." defendant -- "Aha! I'm still in that henhouse!"

Our intuition and common sense tell us that it is impossible or very unlikely that the tremendous complexity and variety of living things arose through mere chance mutations and natural selection, but intuition and common sense are not scientific. And we tend to ignore our intuition and common sense here because there is so much evidence supporting macro-evolution, even though that evidence is entirely circumstantial. I think that macro-evolution theory actually requires a greater leap of faith than biblical creationism does. I think that intelligent design is basically just an effort to give a scientific basis to our intuitional and common-sense doubts about macro-evolution. Also, ID is not the only scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticism of macro-evolution theory.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Oh good grief Larry.

You need to find some new material. Ok I will bite. ID is not scientific period. I am sorry you saying that it is scientific is not going to cut it. By definition science relates to the natural world not the supernatural. By defintion ID is about the supernatural. By defintion ID cannot be science period. Intuition and common sense tells us the world is flat and we are the center of universe. So much for intuition and common sense. And please Larry give us an example of NON-ID, NON-CREATIONISM criticisms of evolution that is scientific.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

And please Larry, explain to us how evolutionary theory requires a greater leap of faith than biblical creationism.

Kodiac 9 years, 8 months ago

Hey Devo,

Guess I won't be sending my kids to Bishop Seabury anytime soon....

LarryFarma 9 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Kodiac on December 15, 2005 at 7:39 p.m. ** ID is not scientific period. I am sorry you saying that it is scientific is not going to cut it. By definition science relates to the natural world not the supernatural. By defintion ID is about the supernatural.***

At least part of ID is scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticism of evolution theory. If speculation about an intelligent designer is avoided, then ID is entirely scientific (or pseudoscientific).

Posted by Kodiac on December 15, 2005 at 7:43 p.m. ***And please Larry, explain to us how evolutionary theory requires a greater leap of faith than biblical creationism.**

I find it easier to believe in the supernatural than in the virtually impossible. And at least biblical creationism is honest about its requirement of a belief in the supernatural -- but evolution theory is not honest about its requirement of a belief in the virtually impossible.

MadAnthony 9 years, 8 months ago

I wonder if the KU School of Religion will be able to struggle on after all of this publicity. I mean, can you imagine how difficult it might be to attract anti-Christian professors to carry on the mission with all of this Mirecki discussion on the board? Might have to find a new mission for the school. If God is really dead, then maybe they should just be absorbed into the Sociology and Anthropology Departments?

MadAnthony 9 years, 8 months ago

Think about it. Sociology places religion in with economics, family, politics and education as formative roles in the social order. I may be off a few, been awhile since Soc 101. IF KU has no School of Family then why should there be a school of religion? Seems like an Establishment Clause violation anyway. Let's just do away with it, Legislature. Let the denominations handle formation of clergy, and hold the state universities to dealing with religion Soc, Anthro, Poly Sci, whatever. Why take my state tax dollars to award religions degrees. It that not advancing religion? (albeit politically correct religion, which begs this question even more!) KU advances religion, certainly violating the Lemon test (assuming that liberals can really do that) when one of the requirements to get said degree appears to be that one not be a "fat faced fundy." Or any kind of fundy. Or an ID proponent. Or one who believes in one religion to the exclusion of others as being objectively true. I could be overstating the point. Sounds like hearings in the Legislature could be a good idea. And a law suit by some constitutional attorneys.

MadAnthony 9 years, 8 months ago

Would someone be so kind as to ask the above of the newly minted Chair of the Religious Studies Department? Would make a fine Hoppy Halidays story in the LJW. The chair could debunk the birth naratives while explaining why our taxes should underwrite such religious exercises.

MadAnthony 9 years, 8 months ago

PAGING SCOTT ROTHSCHILD. WOULD ACE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER SCOTT ROTHSCHILD PLEASE REPORT FOR DUTY???? SCOTT, I GREATLY RESPECT YOUR WORK. NOW I ASK YOU, IF THIS IS A STORY..... "State Board of Education member John Bacon has charged taxpayers for his expenses to attend a church-school sponsored event that featured leaders of the movement to make the Bible the foundation of public life." THEN WHY IS IT NOT A BIG STORY THAT THE KU SCHOOL OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES IS, IN FACT, A LIBERAL WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES SEMINARY PUMPING OUT DENIGRATORS OF TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND USING STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS TO DO SO? Come on, Scott, show us your kahones and take on this glaring example of liberal hypocrisy. Let's say they were pumping out fundamentalist clergy and scholars at the KU School of Religious Studies.....how long would the ACLU and Barry Lynn put up with that???? Just long enough to file an action in federal court and go on the networks ripping their robes and screaming "separation of religion and state!" SIC 'EM SCOTTY! GET YOURSELF A PULITZER TAKING ON THE SADDUCEES WHO LIVE FAT AND SASSY OFF OF KANSAS AND FEDERAL TAXES WHILE BEING, IN ESSENSE, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow, another dead horse given the re-animator treatment.

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