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Evolution doesn’t make you smart

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Charles Darwin, father of modern evolution, source of two prime secular falsehoods in America today.

So Rafi Letzter, writing in Business Insider, wonders “why so many smart people don’t believe in evolution.” He rightly questions a study suggesting if you’re smart, you should believe in evolution. But he then fails to follow through with what his own analysis suggests.

This paper, from Dan Kahan of Yale University and Keith Stanovich of the University of Toronto, started the trouble. The authors re-examined a study from a year ago correlating Cognitive Reflection Test scores with belief in evolution. The original authors suggested the better you are at cognitive reflection, the more likely you will reject design for the origin of life.

What is cognitive reflection?

The two papers give three examples—riddles, actually. To solve them, you must see beyond the obvious and work out the logical. For instance: a bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? If you answer ten cents, the obvious answer, you flunk. If the bat costs a dollar more than the ball, then the bat costs $1.10 and the two items cost $1.20. Instead: let x represent the cost of the ball. Then x + ($1.00 + x) = $1.10. Working it through, 2x = $0.10, and x = $0.05.

Take another riddle the social scientists did not use in their test. You live in a house having all southern exposure. A bear walks past your house. What color is the bear? White—because where else, except at the North Pole, would a house have all southern exposure?

Two kinds of rationality

The authors of that first paper suggested people accept evolution because strict reason demands it. In other words, only intuition suggests that “all functional systems, including living beings, originate in intentional agency.” If you can’t get past that, you have set a limit on your rationality. Not so fast, say Kahan and Stanovich. They broke the original sample down by the holding, and the strength, of religious convictions.

Kahan and Stanovich concluded many “smart” people will still insist life starts with an intention to build it. Such people will stand firm in their convictions, and use all the logic tools they have to express those convictions. (Social scientists call these opposing concepts “bounded rationality” and “expressive rationality,” respectively.) And whether those convictions are religious or secularistic, doesn’t matter. So people who score higher at solving such riddles won’t necessarily abandon creation (or intelligent design) for evolution. Instead, whatever they believe, they will defend the more militantly.

What this means

Mr. Letzter, commenting on this, wrote:

Folks who reject science, like the brilliant, infuriating Talmud scholars in my life, might not simply do so because they lack the brainpower to grasp it. Instead, they seem to arrive at their religious skepticism by their own extreme powers of persuasion — a highly developed ability to convince oneself that, rationally, the thing you believe is right. Oddly enough, that’s the very same route that leads many secular people to place their faith in science.

What a scary thought.

Mr. Letzter gets it half right. That thought should scare people. Those who believe in evolution can no more defend their position as “rational” than can those who believe in creation. Earlier in his article, Mr. Letzter confidently holds that “evolution is the foundation of all modern biology [and] medicine.” He cites this reference – from the United States Public Broadcasting Service. (More particularly, it comes from that bastion of Boston Brahmindom, PBS Television Station WGBH.) But the paper he cited should have warned him to consider this possibility: that is a matter of opinion.

Why people really believe in evolution

Mr. Letzter laments that “only 50% [of US adults] believe in evolution” in the latest Gallup poll. Why, he asks? Don’t people “realize” that “evolution is the foundation of all modern biology [and] medicine”? Can’t they see the results of 157 years of “thorough investigation”?

What thorough investigation? The only investigation we have seen, is an application of the “expressive rationality” of Kahan and Stanovich. People want to reject God, so they will seize upon any teaching that discredits and obviates Him. Aldous Huxley expressed it up-front in his essay Ends and Means:

I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do.

For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.

To paraphrase the great actress Katharine Hepburn, as Amanda Bonner, Attorney-at-law, in Adam’s Rib:

Now you have it! Judge it so!

To continue: a strong belief system stands behind a creation advocate. Apply that same rule to an evolution advocate, to be intellectually honest.

Look at the facts

Does evolution really found all modern biology and medicine? First, how living systems work does not derive from how living systems came to exist. Evolution might inform how biologists classify living things. But no biologist can point to a single insight in how things live, that they had to change because someone found a link in the chain of life “out of order” in the fossil record. Current news abounds with stories of new findings “forcing a rewrite” on human evolution. That will not change a single diagnosis, treatment model, or treatment plan.

Furthermore, if evolution founds modern medicine, then all doctors should agree on how to treat common diseases. They don’t. At least two schools of human physiology have sprung up. Though both claim a foundation in evolution, the two sides oppose one another. In fact they oppose one another as bitterly as do “global warming” alarmists and “denialists.” Conventional or allopathic theorists and practitioners think they can improve on evolution. Alternative practitioners, like Joseph R. Mercola, D.O., heap scorn on that idea. Don’t tamper with a system that has stood the test of time, they warn. Creation-advocating doctors, by the way, say: don’t mess with the work of the Master!

No investigation

The Ernst Haeckel drawings, a famous example of science fraud in the name of evolution

Ernst Haeckel’s comparative-embryology drawings, as copied by G. J. Romanes in 1892.

And who has “investigated” evolution? Never has any evolution advocate had to defend the proposition as rigorously as a PhD candidate must defend his dissertation. In fact, the fundamental proposition doesn’t even stand the test one applies to a master’s thesis. The world has, instead, seen fraud after fraud after fraud after fraud after fraud after fraud after fraud. Piltdown and Peking “Men” spring to mind. So do the Ernst Haeckel comparative embryology drawings. Whether these frauds still inform the discussion of life origins, doesn’t matter. (By the way, the Prentice-Hall Biology textbook still has the Haeckel Drawings, at last report.) What does matter is that no creation advocate has ever perpetrated such a fraud. This reviewer challenges any evolution advocate to show any creation-supporting fraud as great as Piltdown or Peking “Man” or the Haeckel Drawings.

Fraud aside, evolution has only opinion to support it. Consider this profound statement: “all functional systems, including living beings, originate in intentional agency.” Why shouldn’t living beings originate in intentional agency? How did this become mere irrational intuition, something to get past to prove one is smart? For answer, turn to Aldous Huxley. Then consider: not one scientist has ever defended the notion that living things can come about by chance alone. No one has shown how life would inevitably arise, under the “right” conditions. Never mind that living beings are the most complex functional systems, by several orders of magnitude, by any reasonable standard whatsoever. So what makes them exceptional? James Perloff, writing in Tornado in a Junkyard, uses the analogy of a tornado ripping through a junkyard and assembling a modern airliner. In fact, something as simple as a cell is still more complex than any airliner.

Why don’t they test it on themselves?

One thing more that Mr. Perloff did not notice: an evolution advocate “basking in x-rays in hopes of ‘mutating to a higher state.’” We see that in comic books and cheap science fiction. From The Incredible Hulk (Marvel Comics Group) to Protector (Larry Niven’s Known Space), entertainers exploit this theme. But no scientist has ever defended it. And still fewer real scientists would dare test the proposition on themselves or their families.

We can settle this

Let’s repeat that: we can settle this debate now. Walter T. Brown, of Phoenix, Arizona, has put forth the most comprehensive, and comprehensible, theory on the most violent event this earth, and the solar system, have ever known. This theory explains many of the same things those expressive hyper-rationalists we call “evolutionists” cite as “proof” of evolution per se and the long time frames their theory assumes. And unlike those who advocate for evolution, Brown offers to defend his theory against any detractor, or even a tag team of detractors. He also offers the sum of one thousand United States dollars to anyone who will accept his challenge, or find someone who will.

So let an advocate for evolution come forward, to explain why living beings, alone among functional systems, indeed the most complex of functional systems, not only need not but cannot have originated in intentional agency. Let him (or her) then explain why life had to arise, in the wild, on some world, but cannot arise today, on this world. (Even panspermia, of either kind, needs another origin world, if not our own Earth.) While they’re at it, let them explain how dust clouds can converge from three or more directions, then collide and accrete to form our own solar system or any other. Let them explain why the “giant impactor” that “produced” the Moon did not simply destroy the Earth. (But first let them explain where it came from!)

But let’s have an end to the facile notion that believing in evolution makes you smart or shows you are smart. Because it does neither.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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[…] Reprint from Conservative News and Views […]

ConcernedAmeri2

RT : #Evolution doesn’t make you smart #creation #science #debate #tcot https://t.co/1I9PbbimIl

Ron Chronicle

Ron Chronicle liked this on Facebook.

MatthewJ

” What does matter is that no creation advocate has ever perpetrated such a fraud. This reviewer challenges any evolution advocate to show any creation-supporting fraud as great as Piltdown or Peking “Man” or the Haeckel Drawings.”

It seems like there’s a built-in out, there, but what the heck. Here are some frauds used as support by creationists. You already asserted that “(w)hether these frauds still inform the discussion of life origins, doesn’t matter.”

Glen Rose mantracks – not human footprints
Paluxy Man tooth – not a human tooth
the Meister print – not a fossilized sandal print
Duane Gish’s claim of human/chicken/bullfrog protein homology – claimed but never supported; claim oft repeated
False creationist claims regarding the kneejoint of the Lucy skeleton – e.g. Lucy’s knee was found over a mile from the rest of the skeleton
Ron Wyatt’s Ark ‘discoveries’ and other archaeological findings
the Ica stones – modern engravings of dinosaurs and men together, advocated by
Harold Hill’s ‘NASA found a missing day’ story – a rehash of earlier, false ‘missing day’ claims.
the Acambaro ceramics – clay figurines similar to Ica stones, defended by Don Patten and others
the Alvis Delk footprint
Darwin’s deathbed recantation – oft repeated, no evidence, almost certainly a complete fabrication
the Calavaras mine skull – fraud perpetrated by local miners; championed by creationists

I also heard that there was a guy who found some golden plates in a hillside in New York State. He said that those plates recorded the history of a group of people who left the Middle East after the confusion of languages at Babel. I’m not sure if you would consider him a creationist, or if you would consider his golden plates a fraud, though. Maybe neither. His followers seem to lean toward creationism, though.

A number of these instances are famous enough that CMI addresses them specifically as “discredited” and “fallacious,” even “fraudulent”, while embracing others.

A point about the Kahan paper, which I found interesting: among the most religious, belief in evolution and CRT score were not correlated. Thus, among the strongly religious, there is consistent lack of belief in evolution across all CRT levels. In the less religious, however, belief in evolution does strongly track with CRT; enough so that the trend holds when both groups are combined. If both more- and less-religious groups were just adopting the ‘party line’, then why the upward trend among the less-religious? Why aren’t the trend lines both flat, and parallel?

MatthewJ

Well, there’s the out I expected.

It still seems odd to say that whether Ron Wyatt found Noah’s gravesite, or the Ark of the Covenant, or a sample of Jesus’ blood, or did not find those things, is just a matter of opinion. Do you believe that he found all those things? Is it a matter of opinion whether NASA found a missing day in their calculations? Do you believe that Joseph Smith was guided by angels to find and translate golden plates written in Reformed Egyptian, or do you think that was a fraud? When the purveyor of the Ica stones says that he forged them, and shows how he did it, and why, is it a matter of opinion as to whether they are fraudulent?

What’s your beef with Peking Man?

Fathis Munk

Your section about why scientists don’t bask in X-Ray makes me wonder if you actually grasp what evolution is. You admit yourself this is the way it is represented in trashy sci-fi. That’s because that is not how it works at all. Maybe that’s why no scientist has ever defended it (why would we defend something so wrong) and also why no one ever tried it.

Also FYI, PhDs in evolution totally exist and evolution is actually a big part of my own PhD. They get defended without any issue because they have all the arguments they need.

Fathis Munk

My PhD will contain arguments, both physiological and genetic that concur with the principles of Evolution. Those arguments will definitely be examined by my reviewers. They will be added to all the other arguments that have been published and that are based on cold hard facts (for example genome analysis).

We do not believe all strata can be from a single year because we can date the strata by diverse ways and all of the ways of dating them concur. Why would the principles of physics have changed since the earth was created ?

I will not debate Walter T Brown because there is simply no point in it. No debate will prove your cause right, debates merely show who can convince an audience better. It doesn’t prove anything. Proof is supplied only by peer reviewed research. Furthermore there is no point in debating with someone who’s mind is not open enough to admit he may be wrong.

I’d like you to answer to the first part of my comment. What does the whole self irradiation part do in the article ? It serves no purpose but to build a fantasy strawman to feel smug about.

Fathis Munk

I’ll stay focused here because there are some points that really aren’t worth discussing with you in this context :

If you actually read scientific literature you would know that controversial papers that go against the dogma do get published if they are based on hard fact. For example look up Laura Manuelidis and her papers about prion associated diseases, defending the hypothesis that prions are not actually involved.

Considering that all the dating methods used are wrong all over the world is also hilarious in that the defense of creationism requires you to make so many defensive assumptions. Hmm I wonder why.

Robert Heinlein was a writer of sometimes questionable Sci fi and not a scientist, I really don’t understand where you’re going with this argument? Evolution is driven by sexual reproduction and faulty cell machinery mostly. Even evolution due to irradiation comes back down to faulty repairs by the cell machinery. Not all of evolution is due to x-ray if that is what you’re getting at, in which case it would once more show how little you know about the theory you reject.

Fathis Munk

I agree that this story should it be true (no reason for me to take your post at face value either), this is censorship and I oppose it. However the paper was published so he put his findings out there, the big scary peer review did not censor him. A real quick Internet search actually directed me to an article in Nature talking about a similar case, so the dinosaur cells are not something kept quiet by the evil peer review.

Declaring dating methods to be a lie that everyone agreed upon (as with most conspiracy theories this strikes me as unlikely) also doesn’t validate your position.

The debate is pointless because that is not how you settle scientific discussions. To take your war analogy, how many wars were settled by single combat? It’s an obvious trap you hide behind to claim superiority and victory because on the field of actual scientific discussion and publication, your position is untenable.

If you want to debate about something, I would like to know how viruses factor into creationist theory? How come HIV was unknown for most of human history? How do you explain recombinant strains like the one originating from a polio vaccine strain? How do you explain quasi species of viruses all bearing mutations compared to each other? How do you explain ERVs? Viruses evolve extremely quickly, at speeds that can be observed during a human lifetime.

Fathis Munk

I admit I didn’t have time to look into the papers yet. Geology is not my speciality so if I want to have an accurate reading of them I’ll need to sit down and do some research.

You saying this kind of censorship happens often doesn’t make it true, there is nothing to admit here. Show me data and I’ll admit that it is absolutely contrary to the idea of science to censor these people, I have no issue with that. (I also resent your usage of “finally”, I have never said I was in favour of such policies. I am in favour of peer review and in the example you gave the article made it past peer review, making it a very weak argument against the system)

Please stop coming back to the debate. I have made clear what I think of it, a debate shows only who arguments better, not who is right. There have been and will be debate between evolution and creation, they will never prove anything. It’s an empty proposition that does not lead to a fruitful discussion.

I’d still like you to answer to my questions concerning virology. I am genuinely curious as to how you would explain it in the context of creationism.

Fathis Munk

HIV as a man made virus is a nutjob conspiracy theory and using it in your argument is hurtful to your cause. I might as well say that I have seen people claim to disprove the existence of God scientifically. Does this reinforce an argument? No.

The origin of viruses is still a big question and no one claims to have an answer. One theory however is that they result from parasitic cells simplifying themselves until reaching the very basic viral structure (rickettsia might be a transitionary form for example).

How would you explain that for 7000 years (hah) HIV and aids was an unknown disease. It doesn’t really make much more sense.

The tremendous evolutive speed of viruses (which has nothing to do with x-ray BTW) is specific to these organisms and doesn’t preclude that other organisms evolve much more slowly. Evolution is closely linked to length of generations.

Please address the emergence of recombinant virus strains, for example in influenza or polio. These are an example of evolutive processes where new genome combinations appear and prosper if they offer a selective advantage over the other combinations.

You also conveniently omitted endogenous retroviruses which are sequences of viral origin embedded in animal genomes. By comparing genomes you can find insertions shared by different animals of the same family indicating that an ancestor was infected and the viral genome inherited. This genome then often underwent mutations that are clearly distinct in different animals existing today.

Fathis Munk

1. that is complete fabrication and absolutely impossible if only because of the number of species existing on earth. (and then saying to assume HIV arose in the wild is wrong, oh boy). I am Catholic born and raised, though I am agnostic now. I believe the Bible is a book full of valuable teachings. I believe a lot of it is based on facts. I do not think it is an accurate retelling of history.

Anyways, your comment doesn’t really relate to anything we were discussing? Something as prevalent as HIV would still have been detected much earlier had it existed at the time.

Actually this raises a very interesting question. What about strict human pathogens? Did these 8 people carry all human diseases? All human viruses?

Fathis Munk

The concept of the universal man is great, however it is utterly impossible nowadays. Our knowledge is so vast without specialisation you are going to oversimplify anything you talk about. You can dabble in a lot of subjects but will be master of none. To say otherwise is to have no idea about science today.

Fathis Munk

I deny that the great flood happened precisely as described in the bible yes. I believe in allegory.

You do not know me and my turning agnostic preceded my interest in natural sciences by a couple years, so wrong on that point.

How did HIV get into that jungle if everything was reset by a big flood? How come it never showed up during triangular trade when shipboard of slaves from black Africa were shipped to the US? Especially a virus like that, relatively discreet until you die from something else.

Please tell me, did Noah’s family carry all diseases?

Fathis Munk

I truly believe you are wrong on the whole nutrition part but let’s admit it’s true. What about the plague? What about all the diseases that have been deadly for thousands of years?

Not all diseases started a hundred years ago. Many of them have been known for much much longer. Jesus himself healed lepers if I remember correctly. The old testament makes reference to several kinds of disease. Your explanation doesn’t really hold up. Unless these microorganisms have evolved from a benign form to a pathological form after the flood? :)

Fathis Munk

Please stop making assumptions about my life. You don’t know anything about it and it reflects poorly on you to try and fit me into your preconceptions.

How come viruses all have systems to subvert the immune system if they are supposed to be symbiotic by God’s design? Pathogenicity is not something that just happens because the microorganism feels like it. There are well characterised genetic systems underlying it. Inoculate a well fed individual with a potent pathogen and he’ll die just the same. Also even just the suggestion we are more vulnerable to disease nowadays is shocking coming from a MD, it is absolute hogwash.

Also what about leprosy and other plagues in the OT/NT? And what about ERVs as markers of evlution? I talked about ERVs above and you ignored it.

Fathis Munk

My personal life is of no interest to yours. It is not because I do not want to talk about it that it proves you are right. That’s not how this works, but logic doesn’t seem your strong suit. It might have been a factor in your life, but I am not like you (thank god for that hah).

Sin being the cause of disease is a major cop out and you know it very well. That’s why you led with your nutrition crap hoping I wouldn’t be able to know it doesn’t hold up when compared to the past where malnutrition was much more common since food was much more rare.

By the way I looked into Walter’s works and saw he was a major proponent of the Hydroplate theory. This indeed shows he knows nothing about science and oversimplifies not only one but several fields in order to reach his conclusion. Hydroplate has been proven to be impossible both by evolutionists and young earth creationist. Even on your side people say this isn’t possible.

I notice you still haven’t addressed anything about ERVs. I guess I should not be surprised.

MatthewJ

Boy, a fellow misses a day or two and the conversation ranges all over the place.

I’m still curious as to whether you believe that Ron Wyatt found Noah’s Ark as well as the Ark of the Covenant as well as Noah’s gravesite as well as the blood of Jesus. And whether Joseph Smith possessed golden plates that he translated miraculously.

It’s incongruous that Walt Brown decries peer review but only wants to debate with fellow PhDs. Why not debate any beauty school dropout that comes along?

“viable osteocytes in a Triceratops bone” – not even the authors claim that the soft tissue that they found was viable. Sloppy reportage on your part, or wishful thinking?

“the first genes were mutated viruses” – you placed that in quotation marks, as though somebody here said it. But nobody made that claim. Nobody has ever made that claim, so far as I know. Perhaps you could provide a citation?

“containing as any virus does information sufficient for ten Libraries of Congress?” You’ve made similar statements before, in different contexts. I’ll point out yet again that it’s wrong. The Library of Congress has about 200 terabytes of information in its print collections (200 terabytes = 200 trillion bytes). The largest viral genome sequenced to date has about 1.3 million base pairs, which amounts to only ~317 kilobytes. The human genome has about 3 billion base pairs, or roughly 725 megabytes of data. Nowhere near a single Library of Congress. I only mention it because you keep repeating the error. While I’m at it, the travel centroid of the world isn’t in Israel, either.

“Indeed, had I been a Soviet “bug marshal” in those days, I could not have designed a better weapon” An oddly self-deprecating statement, since HIV takes years to lead to AIDS, making it pretty useless as a biological weapon. What does the HIV rate in the former Soviet states look like compared to the US? Not so great a weapon, eh?

“Specialists concoct new explanations without regard to the violence those explanations do to the scientific laws known chiefly to practitioners of other disciplines.” An interesting comment. Consider that the lab that Walt Brown uses to support his claim that piezoelectric discharges caused the formation of all of Earth’s radioactivity also claims to have synthesized novel elements with molecular weights north of 400, and half lives on the order of days, AS WELL AS having generated magnetic monopoles! All done with electric discharges! You can read their self-published reports if you doubt me. I wonder why nobody else can replicate their findings? It would certainly do some violence to the scientific laws known, etc.

“Then explain why the two most clock-like comets known to astronomy, Comets Halley and Swift-Tuttle, were most likely both at perihelion 5300 years ago, give or take a hundred.” Oooh! I know this one! The answer is that they weren’t. Walt’s technique for arriving at this date is fundamentally flawed, even when assuming that his starting conditions are correct. Now, ST and Halley were _possibly_ both at perihelion 5300 years ago, but then again once you get out beyond ~3900 years ago, every single year has a roughly equal chance of hosting a Halley-ST closest temporal approach. There’s no peak at 5300 years ago. So there’s that.

Fathis Munk

Oh the hydroplate theory has been debunked by numerous people. For example : http://paleo.cc/ce/wbrown.htm

But lets talk about more fun thought experiments. If a flood wiped out all life on earth except on the arc, how did animals get to the Americas or Oceania? How did animals from wildly different environments survive on a single ship? What did these animals eat while waiting for the plants to grow again?

” I don’t know whether I can establish that someone set off a high explosive in the wrong place, and set off the final stresses that would cause the crack in the original single land mass that let out the ocean underneath it – or not.” Wait so pre flood humans had access to massive explosives that can crack the crust ? Is that somewhere in the bible ?

The amount of species known nowadays is about 10 million. So 20 million animals found room on this boat ? And that’s animals, what about the insects ? They are much much much more numerous. Add all the plant species and the number skyrockets even more.

“Not only that, but signs that the Flood and all its incidental events, including the ejection-into-space of as much as four percent of the mass of the earth, and the formation of the trans-Neptunian objects, must have occurred as he said they did” Please source your claims. I too can say that evolution proves absolutely everything. Doesn’t make it true.

Also please don’t tell me your bilogical knowledge actually stopped at what they taught you in high school because boy, did we find out interesting stuff afterwards. You consistently dodge ERVs, how do you explain that in linked species (let’s take cats and dogs) you can find traces of the same infection at the exact same locus that has then undergone different mutations that are specific to cats or dogs ? This strongly implies their last common ancestor was infected by a retrovirus and the evolutive destiny of it was then different over time.

Fathis Munk

I know I’ve said I’d ignore all your calls to debate but I’d just like to say you clinging to it like to a lifebuoy is childish.

But… what is speciation if not evolution, an animal changing to adapt ? Especially if there was only a handful (nice scientific term by the way) of “kinds”. I’ve looked through the link you provide and the info does not seem to be on that site. I see your sourcing is as rigourous as conservapedia’s. Please link to the actual part of that site.

I’ll leave the discussion of astronomy to people who know what they are talking about, let’s come back to biology. 5300 years is not nearly enough. Looking at sequence divergence among carnivora alone the estimated start of radiation is about 60 Mya. ERVs are more than just a nice narrative. How do you explain that all carnivora have a retrovial genome inserted at the exact (base perfect) same locus in their genome ? The envelope has been preserved with a ratio of synonimous to non synonimous mutations that clearly indicate selective pressure to keep this gene working. The rest of the provirus bears mutations that are different among all carnivora. But the provirus itself is clearly the same, the sequence similarity is way way too high.

These ERVs have 2 LTRs that are not identical, even just that implies that random mutation happened on these sequences because 2 LTRs are always perfectly identical in exogenous retroviruses, because of the way they replicate.

Landbridges are an important part of our view of the world too and if you don’t even know that, I don’t know what to tell you.

MatthewJ

Walt Brown is absolutely within his rights to only debate astigmatic Sagittariuses with red hair, but he should at least admit that what he’s doing is peer review. Or gatekeeping. Or censorship, if you prefer.

Do I wish to debate the claim that you were told that genes evolved from mutated viruses forty-two years ago? Sure, after you debate my claim that in 1978 my cousin said that he had a girlfriend in Saskatchewan. In other words, no. I think that your memory is faulty, and/or that you misunderstood what you were told, or that you had a bad teacher who told you something wrong. If you can provide a citation of a high school textbook from the 1970s claiming that genes arose from mutated viruses, I will of course stand corrected. But then so would the book.

I did not claim that the references to superheavy elements and magnetic monopoles came from Brown’s book. I said that Brown cites a particular lab’s experiments as proof of the piezoelectric nucleosynthesis portion of his hydroplate theory. If you are curious about this, as I was, you follow Brown’s reference (to the Proton-21 Electrodynamics Lab, in Kiev) to their website, and look through their other publications addressing their nucleosynthesis work. There you can find their claims about synthesizing stable superheavy elements (atomic weight up to ~500) and magnetic monopoles. Incidentally, they also claim that their nucleosynthesis process only produces _nonradioactive_ elements (“without alpha, beta, or gamma activities”). This is perhaps because they are seeking funding to continue their work, and wish to promote it as a way to process nuclear waste into safe, nonradioactive products (“In this case, similarly to nature, the products of laboratory nucleosynthesis contain practically no α-, β-, or γ-active isotopes, which opens the possibility of using the discovered physical phenomenon for the reprocessing of radioactive and toxic wastes.” It’s also in their ‘About Us’ statement: “Scientific-research Electrodynamics Laboratory (EDL) was established in 1999 by a group of private investors within a scope of a venture project on creation a safe and effective technology for radioactive waste utilization. The project was based on an innovative and original conception on initiating an extreme conditions for nucleosynthesis process ignition in a super-dense cold substance”). Sadly, this rather contradicts Walt Brown’s claim that nucleosynthesis in this fashion generated _all_ of the Earth’s radioactive elements. You can find the papers yourself at:

http://www.proton-21.com.ua/science_03_en.html

I would recommend their “Superheavy nuclei research”, “Full-Range Nucleosynthesis in the Laboratory”, and “Experimental observation and analysis of action of light magnetic monopoles on multilayer surfaces” to begin with. I know you won’t be put off by the fact that they self-publish and/or publish in journals like Infinite Energy.

Regarding biological weapons – sure, they often backfire on the ones that use them. My point was that your statement “I could not have designed a better weapon” is absurdly wrong. To make a disease into an effective weapon, you would want it to be highly contagious, highly virulent over a tactically useful time period, and to not persist for long in the environment once the enemy has been incapacitated. You would also want to have effective preventatives or treatment for your own military and civilian populations. For HIV, the only criterion that it meets is that doesn’t persist in the environment like, say, anthrax or tetanus. HIV makes for an absolutely miserable biological weapon.

Anyhow, on to the comet argument. I’m tempted to ask you for the third time to answer whether you think Ron Wyatt found both Arks, Noah’s grave, Jesus’ blood, etc., and whether Joseph Smith translated golden plates with miraculous stones before proceeding, but since I find the math here so interesting I’ll continue to wait for your answer on those questions and just proceed.

First, I believe that Brown’s method of projecting cometary orbits backwards in time without actually modeling their gravitational interactions with planets and anchoring the model to recorded observations is unphysical, and akin to predicting how long it would take you to drive the length of Manhattan Island based on how long it takes you to drive from your garage to the end of your driveway. Still, we can stipulate to all of Brown’s starting conditions and see whether his claimed result matches what would happen if his starting assumptions were applied rigorously.

To recap, Brown observes that cometary orbits are variable, and that for Halley and Swift-Tuttle (ST), multiple observations over many years allow us to define a mean period as well as a sample standard deviation from that mean for each comet. Brown then oddly assigns a _constant_ period to both comets, and projects these constant periods back in time to find the point at which they come closest to one another: call that the ‘closest approach’ (actually, he searches for the closest approach over a particular window of time). Once he has found the point of closest approach between Halley and ST perihelia over his search window (which will always fall on a unique date, given that the starting dates and periods for each comet are _fixed_ in this analysis), he then claims that that closest approach must lie between the 27th Halley orbit and the 22nd ST orbit. He then attempts to reintroduce the period variability that he had previously discarded by applying the standard deviations of the mean orbital periods specifically to the dates of the 27th Halley and 22nd ST perihelia to generate that peak around 5300 BC. His trick of shifting the starting dates of the backwards projection without varying the periods of the comets does nothing to correct this fundamental error, which lies in ignoring the variability of the periods in his first analysis.

Here’s the error in a nutshell. Brown is saying the following: IF these comet orbits are CONSTANT, THEN the shortest sum-of-squares wait between perihelia is a FIXED DATE, between FIXED PERIHELIA (27th Halley, 22nd ST). Then he performs an unrelated calculation, of the following form: IF these comet orbits are VARIABLE, following a particular statistical distribution, THEN the dates of two GIVEN perihelia follow the following DISTRIBUTIONS, and the MEAN of those distributions follows this THIRD DISTRIBUTION: centered on 5300 BC with a standard deviation of ~100 years.

The _appropriate_ way to perform this test, given the same starting assumptions, would be to ask a different, but fundamentally more accurate question: IF these comet orbits are VARIABLE according to a particular distribution, WHEN is the closest approach between perihelia over the search window? There is no general analytical solution to this sort of question; it is like a three-body problem in gravitational systems. You can, however, _simulate_ the behavior of comets with variable periods, and you can find a date-of-closest-approach for those _simulated_ orbits. If the simulation is run many thousands of times, a scatterplot of those dates-of-closest-approach can be generated. If Brown’s analysis is correct, the scatterplot should show a nice tight Gaussian peak around the 5300 BC mark. When simulated, however, we see that because the cometary periods are variable, the closest approach of the comets does not always lie between the 22nd ST and 27th Halley perihelia. Frequently (indeed, in simulation, most of the time) it lies between other pairs of perihelia, and the distribution of simulated closest-approach dates is actually quite a complex shape.

In principle, the simulation works like this: you are given a start date for each comet, a starting period for each comet, and a means to modify the starting period using the known standard deviation of that comet’s mean period. You step off the perihelion dates sequentially by subtracting the starting period from the starting date, then modifying the starting period according to the rule, subtracting again to get the next perihelion date, then modifying the modified period, subtracting again, etc. The length of the period takes a one-dimensional random walk around its starting value. This is the simulation method that Brown uses himself in his ‘method C’ on his ‘Calculations that show comets began near Earth’ website page. Brown applies it to find the distribution of dates for a given perihelion for a single comet (ie ‘what does the distribution of dates for a predicted 19th Halley perihelion look like?) but he does not extend the method to both comets simultaneously.

Once you have generated a unique list of simulated perihelia for each comet using the above steps, you can compare those lists and look for a unique date of closest approach using the sum-of-squares method. Each set of simulations will give you one such date. Some of these closest approaches will be very close, even closer than Brown’s 5300 BC approach; some will not be particularly close, but each simulation will give you one clos_est_ approach date in the same way that Brown’s spreadsheet does in Step 2 on the page mentioned above. As an interesting side note and speaking just from memory, I believe that Brown’s closest approach is at about the 70th percentile of the approaches found through simulation – that is, about 30% of the simulations show tighter approaches than Brown’s – but I’d have to dig through a bunch of old files to find the exact number. I might well be misremembering.

This process is then repeated as many times as you wish, building a list of closest approach dates. If you generate a few tens of thousands of such runs, and plot out the closest approach dates, you see that there is no nice Gaussian distribution of dates around 5300 BC, which is what Brown’s analysis supposes. The actual distribution defies simple description, but there are a few discrete peaks starting around 1400 BC that quickly shorten and spread out as you go further back in time, such that they essentially merge into a constant baseline out beyond 1900 BC. Go farther back than that, and every year has roughly the same likelihood of being a closest approach year. Intuitively, this makes sense because the distributions of predicted perihelia dates for the two comets are so spread out that far back that they overlap themselves to an immense degree; if you see comet Halley in a given year that far back, it’s only slightly more likely that that’s the nth perihelion than the n+1, n-1, n+2, or n-2th perihelion. They all overlap significantly.

If you like, I can provide you with a copy of a commented program that can be run on a free statistical software package, and you can check out the results yourself. It might be best if we can reach agreement about the principle of the program before delving into the specifics. To wit: would you agree that given Brown’s starting assumptions of starting date, period, and sample standard deviation of period change, a simulation program could be written, _as Brown did_, that would generate a list of simulated comet perihelia for each comet (ie dates for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. perihelia before a given start date)? Further, that one such simulated list for Halley could be compared to a list from Swift-Tuttle to arrive at a simulated date of closest approach? And that repeating this simulation process thousands of times would produce a distribution of simulated dates of closest approach? And that if Brown is correct in his analysis, this method should duplicate his results and show a Gaussian peak at around 5300 BC with a standard deviation of about 100 years?

MatthewJ

“That ought to suggest to you that they all got a boost into their orbits from a massive body at about the same place each time. The best candidate body is, of course, Jupiter. But they had to fly into Jupiter from the plane of the ecliptic.”

No, no, a thousand times no. If they got their boost from Jupiter and they are on closed orbits, then they have to eventually come back in and cross Jupiter’s orbit again. But the TNOs don’t ever come back in and cross Jupiter’s orbit. To get boosted out by Jupiter and then stay out there, something else already out there would have to catch them, after which time they would all have to return to cross _that thing’s_ orbit.

Please repeat after me: you can’t do a ballistic gravity slingshot around an object and end up on a bound orbit without eventually returning to the orbit of that object.

Fathis Munk

, wow you impress me, I could never pour as much effort into discussing this in this context. It’s just not worth it. Only a certain sense of morbid curiosity keeps me asking questions.

Fathis Munk

What’s the point ? Let’s not kid ourselves, if I were to give you clear definite proof of evolution you’d still laugh at it and dismiss it on some stupid reason. “Oh no, clearly this does not work because all physical laws were different 6000 years ago”

MatthewJ

By the way, I believe that Brown’s argument against this simulation method will be that not every simulation run produces a closest approach that is tighter than his 5300 BC closest approach. And that it’s a pain to execute in Excel. Which facts are true, but irrelevant to whether or not it is a valid method. Such findings are only a problem if one presupposes that there _must_ be a distribution of closest convergence dates that is very tight, well ordered, and which falls in the range of dates that Brown is already willing to accept as Biblically plausible. The null hypothesis is that there is not such a distribution.

As I recall, he ran nine (!) simulations of the type I describe in Excel, over a smaller search space than he allowed for his original fixed-period analysis, and rejected the technique because the results did not match his, and none of the nine simulations produced a convergence that was as close as his 5300 BC convergence. Which I don’t find surprising, or troubling. Simulating the two comets one time and not ending up with a tight closest convergence could just be bad luck in the draw of the variables that vary the comet periods, even if his hypothesis was true. If that’s just bad luck, though, then repeating the process 500,000 or a million or ten million times should give you a much more accurate picture. And guess what: if ten million simulations say that it’s rare for you to _ever_ have a really tight convergence over your search window, that’s telling you something important. And that thing is not that the closest convergences that you find are the only ones worth considering. Further, if the 10 million closest convergences that you _do_ find don’t cluster around a particular date, that’s telling you something too.

In reviewing my calculations, I see that Brown’s 5300 BC closest convergence was actually in the 92nd percentile of simulated convergences, not the 70th. My memory was faulty, and I apologize for the error.

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