Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Berlinski - still a pompous twit

David Berlinski, pseudointellecual darling of the right and associate of the Discovery Institute, has submitted a letter to Science that I really hope will either not get published or will be responded to in devastating form by actual scientists.

Berlinski is an anti-Darwin apologist, one who still employs moronic anti-evolution arguments that even the hack propagandists at Answers in Genesis have disavowed.

Of note is how he ends his letter, in reference to statements by Ken Miller (an actual scientist):

"Such an excess of stupidity is rarely to be found in nature."

Actually, David, it is found in Nature. In fact, David, it is found in abundance at the Discovery Institute.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Terry Trainor - another creationist nitwit

I had written this up several months ago and forgotten to post it:

Funny stuff…

This MSN discussion group is a gold mine of creationist silliness.

I’m sure I will be able to produce oodles of stuff from there, but I will start with a thread on Global Warming.

The main protagonist is the MSN board operator, one Terry Trainor, a young-earth creationist and engineer.

From his thread-opening post, emphases mine:

I have long argued that man is not causing global warming, if it even exists, and have given the reasons that I believe the scare was blown up; profits for the chemical industry, who needed people to switch from cheap Freon on which patents had expired to new, more expensive refrigerants on which new patents had been obtained.

Too many people believed the 'sky is falling' hype, and we are now paying the result in higher costs of refrigerants.

One of my objections involved the fact that Freon is heavier than air, while the Ozone layer is way the heck UP THERE; how could Freon raise high enough to damage it? I was assured that Ozone, even though heavier than air, did indeed raise
itself into the upper reaches of our atmosphere.
I tried to duplicate this by placing mercury and water in a glass and agitating it repeatedly. So far, the mercury is still on the bottom, though.

OK……. So the relationship between water and mercury is supposed to be a legitimate analogy for the relationship between Freon and the atmosphere?

Wait – it gets better.

Starting on this page of the thread, the poster “tedlusk1” challenges Terry on the applicability of his ‘model’:

I was assured that Ozone, even though heavier than air, did indeed raise itself into the upper reaches of our atmosphere. I tried to duplicate this by placing mercury and water in a glass and agitating it repeatedly. So far, the mercury is still on the bottom, though.


I assume that this was a tongue-in-cheek snide remark, not any actual attempt to equate the two. Such a 'model' would garner a failing grade in even elementary school science.

Terry didn’t like that too much. Tedlusk1 expanded in a subsequent post:


Do you think posting these questions here will somehow alter the fact that Freon is heavier than the normal mix of atmospheric gasses?


Conclusion - you can't answer the questions.

Have you ever heard of, oh, wind? Updrafts? Currents? Diffusion? There are reports of solid objects - grasses, sand, particulate matter like smoke, even animals - floating about in the atmosphere. I cannot see how it is leaving you so flabbergasted that heavier than air gases and their breakdown byproducts might enter the atmosphere.

It is silly to suggest that dropping mercury in a glass of water is even close to being
analogous to the atmospheric mixing of gasses of differing densities. It is also silly to express disbelief that heavier than air gasses cannot mix with air or make it into the upper atmosphese. One can only draw such inferences if one ignores or is ignorant of basic meteorology and atmopheric science, or basic physical science.

Take a glass of water and put a drop of dye in it. Dye molecules are heavier than water and so should sink, and at first they do. But over time, the molecules diffuse throughout the water and produce a more or less equal distribution. And so with heavier than air gasses. Diffusion. Since CFCs are not water soluble, they are free to diffuse throughout the atmosphere for long periods of time.

Terry did not like that much, either. He later mentioned that volcanoes send more chlorine into the atmosphere than humans do. Ted asked:

And how did that chlorine get up there? It is heavier than air, isn't it?

Again, Terry did not like that. In fact, he ignored it, like so many of his erroneous, illogical, unscientific statements that he writes and are corrected by others. It appears that Tedlusk was later banned by Terry. That is also a recurring theme at that discussion board – and creationist-run boards in general – once someone starts pointing out the shallowness of the creationist position, they tend not to last long.

And to think - Trainor actually graduated form an engineering school and was employed by an engineering firm of some sort...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Another Chickenhawk Right-Winger

My friend and basic training, AIT and 319th FA (Airborne Battalion Combat Team) buddy Rob Ash has recently had an article published in The Eureka Reporter, a Humbolt County, CA, newspaper, chronicling his encounter with young, pro-war right-wing GOP activist Anthony Mantova. A few choice excerpts:

Mantova is an ambitious young neo-conservative activist, ardent supporter of the global war on terror, Fortuna Union High School graduate, and a past Eureka Reporter columnist.

A couple of years ago, after The Eureka Reporter first started, I contacted Mantova after reading one of his columns titled, “It is Time to Invade Iran.” Since he is such a fan of aggressive military solutions to solve the world’s problems, he should be eager to enlist.

Mantova flatly refused to concede to serving the United States in the military. The money quote from these conversations came when Mantova berated me for what he said was my “hillbilly, intellectually vacant and morally repugnant belief that ‘those who call for war must serve.’”...

These days, Anthony Mantova is a young fellow on the rise in GOP politics. He is the national field director for an organization called The Leadership Institute..... Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff and James Guckert (aka Jeff Gannon) are some notable graduates of The Leadership Institute.

Why is it, I often wonder, that many of those most eager to embroil our nation in war are simultaneously strenuously opposed to serving in the military? Many Right-Wing luminaries come to mind - Limbaugh, Gingrich, Cheney, O'Reilly, Carlson, Hannity, Reagan, some pudgy-faced twit who has his own right-wing radio show in Florida, the names in bold above, etc. - all advocates of many a war, none having served.

It is very easy to advocate sending someone else in to fight to try to implement some religio-politically, ideologically driven 'policy.' It is something else entirely to be willing to fight to implement the policies you advocate. This simple truth has been brought up before - the truth being that those advocating war but refusing to fight themselves being morally repugnant cowards - and dismissed by those it applies to. Sure, they appear to have 'sound' replies, such as 'one need not play football to have a favorite team' and other such idiotic drivel. I am not sure which is more pathetic - that these Chickenhawks actually find such excuses convincing, or that many in their fanbase do.

But those of us that have served, even if in peacetime, should feel differently (though, sickeningly, some veterans' political affiliation often seems to color their common sense on these issues). We should feel anger, disgust, humiliation. We are essentially being told by these right-wing cowards and hypocrites that we are expendable as far as they are concerned. That we are/were somehow beneath them, that military service is for the dregs of society, not the high and mighty, bible-toting Republican elite. That we are/were little more than pawns for the Republican power elite to use as they see fit.

Oh, sure, some of them might have their rich daddy make some calls and secure for them a coveted spot in a unit that is guaranteed stateside duty even in wartime so they can boast of having served - but that is, as far as I am concerned, just as bad as the chickenhawk-sissy that gets deferments or has the family doctor write them a bogus 'excuse' or those that simply advocate invading everyone to assert our power while not only flatly refusing to serve themselves, but also considering those that did serve as having the "hillbilly, intellectually vacant and morally repugnant belief that ‘those who call for war must serve."

It is, in fact, people like Anthony Montova and the other right-wing chickenhawks and their enablers in the electorate and media consumers who have the hillbilly, morally repugnant beliefs. Whatever ill-will befalls them, they richly deserve.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Walter "I'm right and everyone else is wrong' ReMine is back...

Walter ReMine has an ego the size of Montana. It is a shame that only he and a handful of simple-minded sycophants have realized this...

But I digress. He is back at ARN making his usual boasts and condescensions...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Is writing a computer program really a scientific theory???

If you have no understanding of what an actual scientific theory is, and all you did for a living was write computer programs and you have an odd, almost obsessive vendetta against evolution and all things in the scientific mainstream, then I guess so...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Have we forgotten about Coulter the plagiarist?

I had written about the identified instances of plagiarism in Ann Coulter's latest screed, 'Godless,' here.

I have not heard of any follow up on this issue. I do hope it does not fade away...


There was some concern raised about whether or not Coulter had also engaged in plagiarism in her newspaper columns, and her syndicater was going to look into it. NEWSFLASH! They say there is nothing wrong... Who would have thought?

The blatant plagiarism in her book, however, is still unanswered for...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Clear evidence re: "LifeEngineer's" use of computer programming 'science' as a universal application

I have outlined the facts surrounding the psychology of one Warren Bergerson (aka 'LifeEngineer'), apparently a retired actuary with some computer programming/engineering experience, in which he believes that the concepts employed in computer programming/modeling are and must be universally employed in all fields of science if they are to even be considered science. Further, he employs his rather restrictive grasp of mathematics to try to shoehorn any data that anyone offers into his little 'it is all intelligence driven' box. He is a something else...(see, for example, here and here)

Namely, he claims that unless a field employs 'hard science predictive theories' and a 'falsify and replace' analysis of said theories, then those in the field are not engaging in science.

He has further explained that 'hard science predictive theories' are not meant to actually explain anything, and requiring them to do so indicates an ignorance of scioence and the scientific method.

What are 'predictive theories' and who uses them? Well, exactly the folks in Bergerson's supposed area of expertise, and that is basically it.

Computer modeling/programming employs 'predictive theories', but these are not 'theories' in the true scientific sense. From what I have gathered, 'predictive theories' in computer science refer to what amounts to an application of previous experience to a proposed new project. That is, one employing a 'predictive theory' would think along these lines: "When this line of code was changed on Program X, 'A' occurred, therefore, if I make a similar change in this line of code in Program Y, something like 'A' should also occur." ( Note - predictive theories are also employed in areas like physics and chemistry, where the ineractions between componants of a system are well defined and controllable, and the 'thgeories' look an awful lot like calculations, not statements. This alone should tell the intelligent person that such theories are at best of limited value in dynamic living biological systems.)

Anyway, a new thread at ARN, started by Bergerson, clearly indicates this transferrence that he engages in. It also shows how he is quite unable to produce anything of substance, for he titled the thread "Examples of IDT's [sic]" and two dayts later, he has provided none. Of course, he implies that he has - in Bergerson's world, alluding to something, hinting at something, or writing about something is the exact same thing as presenting something.

Bergerson gives awa the farm, however, in this post on page two:

Again, there are lots of existing examples of scientific analysis performed using IDTs or the logical equivalent of IDTs. Probably some of the best examples involve the computer programs and the design of computer programs.
When I sit down to design a computer program, I have a goal, I have at least an initial understanding of the constraints under which the program is expected to operate, I have an initial understanding of the output R the program is to produce, and I want to design a program or algorithms of the general type F(S,G) that produces output R. In other words, I want to find a predictive IDT of the type:"Under defined constraints, F(G,S) predicts or determines R"

How did he give away the farm? Well, he states clearly: where he is coming from (computer programming), and what his expectations for a 'predictive theory' are. These are amenable to biological reality (for the most part).
Well, read his writings to see for yourself.