Science News of the Day

Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:58 am

Got a handy response for this evolutionists?

A current leading evolutionist, Jeffrey Schwartz, professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, has recently acknowledged that:

". . . it was and still is the case that, with the exception of Dobzhansky's claim about a new species of fruit fly, the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed. The scientific method traditionally has required experimental observation and replication. The fact that macroevolution (as distinct from microevolution) has never been observed would seem to exclude it from the domain of true science. Even Ernst Mayr, the dean of living evolutionists, longtime professor of biology at Harvard, who has alleged that evolution is a "simple fact," nevertheless agrees that it is an "historical science" for which "laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques"by which to explain it. One can never actually see evolution in action."
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby kwlyon » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:40 pm

"". . . it was and still is the case that, with the exception of Dobzhansky's claim about a new species of fruit fly, the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed."

I know for a fact that this statement is patently false. Any biologist working in the field of evolutionary biology could readily supply examples of observed speciation. However I am not going to argue this point as you can just google "instances of observed speciation" and obtain examples for yourself. Rather I am going to concede him his point. Fine, due to the lack of any direct observation of an actual speciation event the field of evolutionary biology lies outside of science...just like quantum theory. From now on I expect him to adamantly oppose quantum mechanics. Quantum theory is, after all, junk science. No one have EVER observed a quanta of angular momentum! No one has ever directly observed an atom for that matter. All we have been able to observe is the distributions and ultimate effects that these "theories" predict. Granted the predictions line up quite nicely with observation however there certainly COULD be some other explanation for this wealth of what is, after all, ultimately just circumstantial evidence.

P.S. Feel free to tell this guy that Kevin said that right now he needs to take his tonka trucks in his room and play so the adults can get their research done. Seriously he is adorable. Let him know that, one day, if he studies real hard and does well in school, he can grow up to be a real scientist! (Note to Parents: We don't want to dash the poor kid's hopes, however I fear he is more likely to become president than a scientist....)
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby kwlyon » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:48 pm

Example two:

Evidence that a species of fireweed formed by doubling of the chromosome count, from the original stock. (Note that polyploids are generally considered to be a separate "race" of the same species as the original stock, but they do meet the criteria which you suggested.)
(Test for speciation: cannot produce offspring with the original stock.)

Mosquin, T., 1967. "Evidence for autopolyploidy in Epilobium angustifolium (Onaagraceae)", Evolution 21:713-719

Example three:

Rapid speciation of the Faeroe Island house mouse, which occurred in less than 250 years after man brought the creature to the island.
(Test for speciation in this case is based on morphology. It is unlikely that forced breeding experiments have been performed with the parent stock.)

Stanley, S., 1979. Macroevolution: Pattern and Process, San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Company. p. 41

Example four:

Formation of five new species of cichlid fishes which formed since they were isolated less than 4000 years ago from the parent stock, Lake Nagubago.
(Test for speciation in this case is by morphology and lack of natural interbreeding. These fish have complex mating rituals and different coloration. While it might be possible that different species are inter-fertile, they cannot be convinced to mate.)

Mayr, E., 1970. Populations, Species, and Evolution, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press. p. 348


I left off example one as it was a drosophila speciation...though I don't understand why he feels this is not a valid example of speciation. If you do a paper search for "observed instances of speciation" you will find an absurd number of papers documenting evidence of observed instances of speciation. What I provided was directly off of talk origins...and there are more there. The middle one is rather nifty as it truely is an example of RAPID speciation which is as directly observed as you could hope to get (I am assuming these guys don't expect us to sit a graduate student down to WATCH a mouse until it "speciates" in front of his/her eyes...right...surely they aren't that stupid). This took a PHYSICIST ten seconds on google. So it looks like evolutionary biology is safely within the realm of science...I guess from now on this feller will have to be satisfied with denouncing quantum theory which, by the way, would be equally stupid.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Savonarola » Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:06 pm

"it was and still is the case that, with the exception of Dobzhansky's claim about a new species of fruit fly, the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed."
and
One can never actually see evolution in action.
These statements are simply wrong. We can and do see evolution happening.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-spe ... html#part5
Even antibiotic resistance in microbes is a form of evolution, and we undoubtedly see this all the time.

As Kevin points out: We have never directly seen an atom. The existence of the atom was concluded largely from mathematical models of chemical combination. Unless you count recent atomic force microscopy experiments, we haven't "confirmed" the existence of atoms.

Also as Kevin points out: Why would Drosophila speciation not count?

The scientific method traditionally has required experimental observation and replication.
Traditionally, yes, but only idiots blindly follow tradition. To argue that an inability to replicate events realtime implies an inability to draw conclusions is laughable. Scientists draw conclusions regarding past events all the time in biology, forensics, geology, astronomy, and more.

"Ernst Mayr ... agrees that it is an "historical science" for which "laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques" by which to explain it.
I'd like to see this claim referenced. I agree that having scientific laws (of any field) are a tad strange, and I agree that evolution cannot be explained using only realtime experiments, but I agree that evolution can be a "historical science" in that we get lots of information by looking at things from the past.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:40 pm

Thanks for the responses. This fellow doesn't know anything about evolution and is just regurgitating a few creationist points he heard.

The facebook thread where I have been roasting this guy is here. This Marianne is a freethinker mover and shaker, you might need to friend her to see it (or I guess you could see my responses on my comment thread).

Anyway, this quote from Swartz is all over the place and I was wondering if a quote mine debunking creationist abuses might have given it more context but I don't suppose there is any context that could save it. It is just plain dumb and ripe for fundie distortion. Evolution doesn't require that we be able to observe speciation happening realtime (and it seems we have that anyway).

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“Phillip Johnson says that natural selection and mutation cannot create new information, period. It doesn’t matter if you have billions of years, he said, because billions of years of nothing new results in nothing new.
Johnson ignores the wealth of examples showing his assertions are flat wrong. The one I presented at UNM and Tech involves a bacterium in Japan that has evolved the ability to ingest nylon. The ability was the result of a drastic mutation that would have normally been lethal, robbing the organism of metabolic enzymes; but since the new protein coded by the mutated DNA strand was active on nylon, the new creatures survived, and thrived. This new enzyme - a complex, twisty-turny protein that reacts chemically with nylon oligomers - is very clearly an example of new information (the protein’s recipe) resulting from mutation and selection. What Phillip Johnson says is impossible, IS possible; this example, and many others, prove it.” -- David E. Thomas,
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:07 pm

Cool as hell. About 7 minutes:

http://vimeo.com/15091562

Video from a camera attached to a weather balloon that rose into the
upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby tmiller51 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:27 pm

It's amazing that you can do that for such relatively low cost now.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:27 pm

Smart car hit's a concrete barrier at 70 mph:

Clip.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:39 pm

Image
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:38 am

This is really really really cool:

http://primaxstudio.com/stuff/scale_of_universe/
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:41 am

This will be interesting to watch... new study suggesting precognition works:

***
In case you missed it, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a flagship APA journal, published a study by Daryl Bem containing evidence for psi (precognition)...

Bem's paper contains 9 studies, each of which takes a classic effect (e.g. priming) and reverses the order in which things were presented, so that the stimulus we know affects behaviour came after the response had been made. Bem's logic was that if you could reliably see the known effect under these conditions, this would count as evidence that people's behaviour was being affected by precognitive knowledge of the future event. He got small but statistically significant effects in this direction in each of the 9 studies...

Speaking of following up: there are already three failures to replicate that I know of, here (and they have more coming), here and here; if you are planning a replication, register it on Richard Wiseman's site here. There has been one detailed analysis of the statistical problems that are probably leading to the significant results, and this post led me to this book preview by two authors describing in great detail the problem with the kind of significance testing we do in the social sciences. Maggie Koerth-Baker has been keeping tabs on all this on her Twitter feed.

See the links referred to above, HERE.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:38 pm

A comment in response to the USA Today article Giant mammals once ruled the earth:

What the scientists do not understand is that it was not an accident that an asteroid hit the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. The reason for this is that the dinosaurs were naturally evolved creatures which, if allowed to evolve, would become intelligent dinosaurs. To prove this, the reptiles were moved into a co-dimension around 65 million years ago. They evolved into the intelligent Nagas who live here on earth with us in a hyperspace co-dimension. They are the ones who drew the Julia Set fractal crop circle in England a few years ago using gravitational waves. The Revelations project, which is described in the Bible, was started 100 million years ago in order to protect the universe from demonic beings entering into our dimension and taking over. By getting rid of the dinosaurs, mammals were allowed to evolve and became the intelligent ape creature found in Africa. Then the Anunnaki were forced to come here and create the human physical body from their genes (image of the creator gods) and the genes of this ape creature (evolutionism). Because this body was not intelligent, EN.KI and NIN.HAR.SAG, the Anunnaki geneticists, had to make incantations to the spirit world in order to bring an intelligent energy being into the body to make it functional. Thus humans are a hybrid creature with a physical body in this dimension inhabited by an energy being located in co-dimensional hyperspace dimension. In fact, each chakra vortex module of our energy field resides in a separate dimension. It was this energy field that was needed in 2001 to win the battle of Revelations.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:40 pm

What the scientists do not understand is that it was not an accident that an asteroid hit the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. The reason for this is that the dinosaurs were naturally evolved creatures, etc.


Don't be so quick to dismiss this as someone's joke. There are people that insane, who use computers, and who are sometimes, in fact, very industrious in terms of getting their message "out there," as in online discussion boards. Unfortunately, I have met, at UFO conventions, people who believe this stuff, as well as others who write books "explaining" these "theories." I think that some of these authors don't believe their own stuff. But, amazingly, some of them do believe their own stories.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:56 pm

Oh, I'm quite sure he is serious. Pitiful as it is.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:09 pm

"When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together." --Isaac Asimov's essay "The Relativity of Wrong"
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby kwlyon » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:53 pm

Darrel wrote:"When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. "


The earth IS spherical to a very good first approximation...as is your average cow.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:36 am

Wow, didn't know Arthur C. Clarke fell for the Cold Fusion thing. This is supposedly from 1998:

"Even more controversial than the threat of asteroid impacts is what I would call perhaps one of the greatest scandals in the history of science, the cold fusion caper. Like almost everyone else, I was surprised when Pons and Fleischmann announced that they had achieved fusion in the laboratory; and surprise changed to disappointment when I learned that most of those who had rushed to confirm these results were unable to replicate them. Wondering first how two world-class scientists could have fooled themselves, I then forgot the whole matter for a year or so, until more and more reports surfaced, from many countries, of anomalous energy production in various devices (some of them apparently having nothing to do with fusion). Agreeing with Carl Sagan's principle that 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs' (spoken in connection with UFOs and alien visitors), I remained interested, but skeptical."

"Now I have little doubt that anomalous energy is being produced by several devices, some of which are on the market with a money back guarantee, while others are covered by patents. The literature on the subject is now enormous, and my confidence that 'new energy' is real slowly climbed to the 90th percentile and has now reached the 99% level. A Fellow of the Royal Society, also originally a skeptic, writes: 'There is now strong evidence for nuclear reactions in condensed matter at low temperature.' The problem, he adds, is that 'there is no theoretical basis for these claims, or rather there are too many conflicting theories.'"

"Yet recall that the steam engine had been around for quite a while before Carnot explained exactly how it worked. The challenge now is to see which of the various competing devices is most reliable. My guess is that large scale industrial application will begin around the turn of the century--at which point one can imagine the end of the fossil-fuel-nuclear age, making concerns about global warming irrelevant, as oil-and-coal-burning systems are phased out..."

"Finally, another of my dubious predictions: Pons and Fleischmann will be the only scientists ever to win both the Nobel and the Ig Noble Prizes."
Questionable "free energy" site
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:20 pm

The Susan Blackmore example:

Giving Up the Ghosts: End of a Personal Quest

"At last. I've done it. I've thrown in the towel, kicked the habit, and gone on the (psychic) wagon. After thirty years I have escaped from a fearsome addiction.
Come to think of it I'm not sure I've gone cold turkey yet. Only last month I was at my last psychical research conference. Only days ago did I empty out the last of those meticulously organized filing cabinets, fighting a little voice that warned: "Don't do it--you might want to read that again" as a great wave of relief swept it away with the thought "You've given up!" Paper after paper on ESP, psychokinesis, psychic pets, aromatherapy, and haunted houses hit the recycling sack. If the cold turkey does strike, the dustbin men will have taken away my fix.

Actually I feel slightly sad. Thirty years ago I had the dramatic out-of-body experience that convinced me of the reality of psychic phenomena--and launched me on a crusade to show all those closed-minded scientists that consciousness could reach beyond the body and death was not the end. Just a few years of careful experiments changed all that. I found no psychic phenomena--only wishful thinking, self-deception, experimental error, and even an occasional fraud. I became a skeptic.

So why didn't I just give up then? There are lots of bad reasons. Admitting you are wrong is always hard--even though it's a skill that every scientists has to learn (or are some scientists always right?) But it does get easier with practice and I no longer fear having to change my mind. Starting again as a baby in a new field is a daunting prospect. So is losing all the status and power of being an expert. I have to confess I enjoy my hard-won knowledge. Yes, I have read Michael Faraday's 1853 report on table tipping, and the first 1930's studies in parapsychology, and the latest arguments over meta-analysis of computer-controlled ESP experiments, not to mention the infamous Scole report (New Scientist, January 22, 2000). Should I feel obliged to keep using this knowledge if I can? No. Enough is enough. None of it ever gets anywhere. That's good enough reason for leaving.

But perhaps the real reason is that I am just too tired--tired, above all, of working to maintain an open mind. I couldn't dismiss all those extraordinary claims out of hand. After all, they just might be true, and if they were true then whole swatches of science would have to be rewritten.

Another psychic claimant turns up. I must devise more experiments, take his claims seriously. He fails--again. I see a picture of Cherie Blair wearing her "bio-electric shield." It matters that people pay high prices for fake gadgets. I run the tests. The shields don't work. No one wants to know, for negative results aren't news. A man explains to me how alien abductors implanted something in the roof of his mouth. Tests show it's just a filling--but it might have been....

No, I don't have to think that way any longer. And when the psychics and clairvoyants and New Agers shout at me (as they do), "The trouble with all you scientists is you don't have an open mind," I won't be upset. I won't argue. I won't rush out and do yet more experiments just in case. I'll smile sweetly and say, "I don't do that anymore." --Susan Blakmore, Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2001, pg. 25

Sue Blackmore is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has a degree in psychology and physiology from Oxford University (1973) and a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey (1980). Her research interests include memes and the theory of memetics, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. She no longer works on the paranormal.

http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:25 pm

Affluent people -- in terms of income, social status and education -- have trouble detecting others' emotions, a study in Psychological Science found. While lower-class people are generally skilled at figuring out what other people are feeling, their upper-class fellows are more insensitive.

The wealthy don't need to rely on others for help, the study determined, and so their people skills have atrophied.

See here.

"In three studies, lower-class individuals (compared with upper-class individuals) received higher scores on a test of empathic accuracy (Study 1), judged the emotions of an interaction partner more accurately (Study 2), and made more accurate inferences about emotion from static images of muscle movements in the eyes (Study 3)."
The abstract of the study is here.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:33 pm

Darrel wrote:The Susan Blackmore example:

Giving Up the Ghosts: End of a Personal Quest


I really like Susan Blackmore. She has been one of the "good ones" for years.

And for contrast, HuffingtonPost has to come out with this garbage:

It's About Time: The Scientific Evidence for Psi Experiences
...Cornell psychology professor Daryl Bem has published an article that suggests you can [guess whether someone is going to use an example that involves either a garden, a sailboat, a running man or a train], possibly more often than the 25 percent of the time on average you might expect just by chance.

Entitled "Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect," the paper presents evidence from nine experiments involving over 1,000 subjects suggesting that events in the future may influence events in the past -- a concept known as "retrocausation." In some of the experiments, students were able to guess at future events at levels of accuracy beyond what would be expected by chance. In others, events that took place in the future appeared to influence those in the past, such as one in which rehearsing a list of words enhanced recall of those words, with the twist that the rehearsal took place after the test of recall.

...Bem's article and its supporting body of literature, combined with serious discussions of retrocausation in physics, suggest that retrocausation in human experience may indeed be possible. But the real significance of the article lies in the fact that the dialogue about psi has been brought once again into the arena of intelligent debate in a public forum, where it deserves to be.

Here.
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