Ominous Silence Free Fire Zone

The Cosmic Aardvark

Here we are, leading a merry expedition into unknown territory, when suddenly an ominous silence is everywhere. Not even crickets can be heard.

You know what it means — the creationists are up to something. But what? Is an attack coming? If so, when? And from what direction? No one knows. Those people are capable of anything — except rational thought. All we can do is remain on guard. And of course, place our trust in the Cosmic Aardvark.

Until something comes along, you must entertain yourselves. We therefore declare this post to be an Intellectual Free Fire Zone. We’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. But beware of the profanity filters.

Okay, the comments are open. Have at it, dear reader.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “Ominous Silence Free Fire Zone

  1. Sunny the Soccer Cat

    Witchy Poo the Cheerleader Cat is quite the talker and dancer. Also, last night she ran two goals in a row herself. I never saw her practice. She apparently learned from watching Sunny the Soccer Cat.

  2. We are all holding our breath for Behe’s Darwinism Devolves, due today week. and if you don’t think that he could make things worse for himself than they are already, just look at his latest response to critics: in which he actually says that the onus of proof is on those who presume that natural processes occur by natural means.

  3. Paul Braterman says: “We are all holding our breath for Behe’s Darwinism Devolves”

    Sure we are. Meanwhile, the Discoveroids aren’t talking about anything else. How many times have they blogged about the thing? Twenty? More than that? They’re no fun at all these days.

  4. Eddie Janssen

    A question for FrankB:
    Are you familiar with this book, “Degeneratie, het einde van de evolutietheorie” uit 1997 van Peter Scheele? (Degeneration, the end of the theory of evolution; Peter Scheele, 1997)
    Isn’t this the same as what Behe’s new book is about?

  5. @Paul Braterman I’ve rung triple 0, but I can’t get through. Can you arrange for an ambulance, pronto, to call around for Behe? Something is definitely wrong, bi-polar springs to mind.

    As you would know, Behe left a comment on Lenski’s blog yesterday which was regarded by Lenski as a “kind” and “gentle” response. For Behe to leave that post while, at the same time, conjuring up this article at the DI leaves one lost for words. Hence one’s concern for Behe’s well-being.

    Just as interesting is the absence of Gauger and co in defence of Behe over at Peaceful Science. You might recall that Paul Nelson extended the hand of friendship to Swamidass and Lenski to the extent that they both applied to attend the next DI Summer Seminar (at their own cost of course, which went over like the proverbial lead balloon). Me thinks that the DI, and their response, is not the united front that we assume it to be.

  6. I know, not even funny any more. But I enjoy the irony that when Behe claims to have toppled Darwinism, he really does mean Darwinism, i.e. the theory of evolution by modification and selection, while a whole bunch of the people cheering him on think he’s denying the fact that humans are descended from non-human ancestors, something that he accepts

  7. The Bicycling Guitarist

    Several people who have quoted Behe to me were shocked when I showed them where he accepts common ancestry.

  8. @FrankB, this could be gold for me

    Publisher Buijtn & Schipperheijn

    Are they a serious publisher? can you find out anything about this book? I would love to add to Behe’s humiliation by pointing out that he’s been anticipated. And by quite a long time. As far as I can work out, 1997 was the second edition

  9. But didn’t Behe seem to accept the micro macro mambo, when he said something about natural evolution being confined to the evolution of species and genera? Of course, Homo sapeins is in the same taxonomic family as Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla and Pongo pygmaeus, but I think that the YECs usually make an exception for “mankind”.
    Has anybody ever discussed the long history of “irreducible complexity”?

  10. “irreducible complexity” has been discussed ad nauseam. here it is in the Kitzmiller trial, complete with Behe’s obtuse refusal to accept it:

    So as far as one can make out any kind of sense from what he is saying, he does accept macroevolution, but does not believe that it came about through the operation of natural forces

  11. Michael Fugate

    Translation from the book’s webpage:
    Examples that are used to show that there is ‘evolution’ are often examples of the exact opposite:

    Fruit flies with legs on the head instead of antennae. It is said that antennas originated from earlier legs. However, genetically speaking, the construction of antennas is simply a ‘wrong turn’ to the information of a leg instead of an antenna. So this is a form of degeneration and has nothing to do with evolution. Similarly, eyes can appear on the antennas and the entire body (see eg )

    Many animals living in enclosed dark caves lose their pigment and even their eyes (which they do not need there anyway). This loss is therefore a form of degeneration, not evolution.

    The cheetah is genetically so impoverished that every cheetah looks like a twin brother of another. It is therefore feared for the survival of the cheetah. Because of the extreme selection that has made the cheetah such a fast animal, it has become evolutionarily a dead end.

    The non-flying cormorant has lost the ability to fly. This is a clear example of degeneration and not of evolution.

  12. First of all I have to make Donald the Clown a compliment. Quite a few IS fighters have been taken by especially the Kurds and many of them come from Europe – including The Netherlands. My native country having a government being about as stupid and bigot as the current American one of course refuses to take them back. Because it’s so much better to let them go around aimlessly, so that they eventually can and will sneak back. Then they can do whatever they intend to do, which obviously won’t be anything peaceful. But Donald the Clown tries to force European governments (including the Dutch one) to accept them, so that they can be detained or put under surveillance. That’s what a secret service is supposed to do, isn’t it? And AIVD, despite rumours on the contrary, is pretty good at it.
    So for once I hope Donald the Clown gets his way.

  13. @PaulB: I never had heard of B & S, but they are legitimate. They are registered at the Chamber of Commerce.

    From the website of the KvK (CoC in English):

    (KVK) 33277063
    Vestigingsnr. 000012925233

    You can look them up here.

    I looked up the address on a map: very sensibly they are seated on walking distance of the biggest Amsterdam hospital, the AMC (Amsterdam Medical Centre).

    Their website:

    And here is the book:

    “A sensationial book that offers a view contrary to evolution theory: degeneration. Peter Scheele demonstrates using the present-day knowledge of DNA that changes in nature are not directed upward but downward and imply a loss of information. Many examples used to confirm evolution are actually examples of degeneration, like the extermination of the cheetah due to genetical impoverishment and the strained procreation behaviour of the mayfly. This book was so controversial that the first edition was sold out on the day it was releases. A second and third edition followed quickly.

    The author has a Dutch Wikipedia entry:

    Under the header publication you can find that the first edition was released in 1997 indeed.
    The book itself has its own website:

    The guy even has been on Dutch television (though not about his book or on evolution theory):

  14. At the other hand the trusty YECers of Dutch are on a roll. A few highlights:

    “Biology is no evolution.
    Biology is the theory of life, it covers more than evolution. What’s more, evolution belongs to the historical sciences.” (Followed by the micro-macro mambo).

    They have translated an article by Corny Cornelius called The Philosophy of Naturalism from 2019 (it’s on his blog Darwin’s God and hence easy to google).

    They reviewed a booklet called The Fool and The Heretic, written by a hardcore creacrap biochemist and a theistic evolutionist. I don’t care who the heretic is supposed to be, but if you ask me both are fools, albeit for different reasons.

    And there is an article called Falled into water.

    “Naturalists have maintained for years that the Earth began as a hot, dry clot, and that water has been brought to the Earth by commons in the course of millions of years. The facts contradicts this theory. Naturalists have to admit this now.”

    The inevitable conclusion is that the Bible got it right all the time.

  15. One of the early difficulties with accepting evolution, in the early 19th centtury, was the realization that there was no upward direction over time. The huge dinosaurs went extinct. That could not be explained as an upward change. One of the discoveries of Darwin was that evolution didn’t have to have a direction. There was the evidence that someting was going on i the world of life, but people had to overcome the assumption that it was ever upward.
    One of the cases where etymology works is “evolution”: the Latin “e” means “out from”. There is an old mathematical term “evolution” which has as its opposite “involution”, where the Latin “in” means “into”. So we would expect that if there were such a thing as the opposite of evolution in biology, it would be involution. Devolution, using the Latin prefix “de”, meaing “down from”, would be just a kind of evolution.
    People who worry about the lack of function, or other cases where we wouldn’t think of upward evolution, are just stuck in the pre-Darwinian idea of progress, like the “Scala Naturae”, or some inward drive in life toward perfection. They are stuck in the pre-Darwinian world.

  16. @Paul Braterman
    Yes, irreducible complexity has been discussed ad nauseam.

    But I don’t know any discussion, other than in the Wikipedia article about it, where the history of the concept has been discussed. Wikipedia cites a couple of brief mentions in the secondary literature. But a fulll-blown history of the subject does not, to my knowledge, exist.

    I understand why the ID-ers wouldn’t like to talk about the history. It makes Behe less of an innovator. And it should be a bit of an embarrassment to be connected with preformationism. Anyway, we don’t expect to find much in the way of scholarship from the creatonists.

  17. @Tom S, that Wikipedia article is hot stuff! Consider this: “Now to imagine, that all these things, according to their several kinds, could be brought into this regular frame and order, to which such an infinite number of Intentions are required, without the contrivance of some wise Agent, must needs be irrational in the highest degree.” John Wilkins, Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion, London, 1675, book I, chapter 6, page 82.

    “Irreducible Complexity” has a long pedigree.

  18. Michael Fugate

    You can read the whole book here – the section is from chapter 6 – From the admirable contrivance of Natural things:

  19. On a completely different topic.
    There are news stories about a study which claims to show that Flat Earth belief is strongly due to YouTube.
    I haven’t seen a citation of the study.

  20. @Paul Braterman
    IC was around for over 300 years before its discovery by ID.
    @Michael Fugate
    Thanks for the reference.

  21. Camouflage up and seek cover and concealment. If you have a brown paper bag, nows the time to get it out !!

  22. Thanks, @FrankB, @MichaelFulgate. This stuff is going to be in my review

  23. @Paul Braterman
    I just noticed that the quotaton from WIlkens talks about “contrivance”, the contrivance of a wise Agent. That quotation of Paley that I frequently repeat also speaks of “contrivance”, saying that contrivance is the resort of the non-omnipotent. I wonder whether there is a interesting history of the use of the word “contrivance” in the English language literature of the argument from design. Is there an expert in 18th century English theology out there?

  24. Michael Fugate

    Look at the end section – it reads like a modern complaint against evolution:
    The wisest man is not able to imagine how things should be better than now they are, supposing them to be contrived by the Wisest Agent; And where we meet with all the Indications and Evidences of such a thing as the thing is capable of, supposing it to be true, It must needs be very irrational to make any doubt of it.

    Now I appeal unto any considering man, unto what cause all this exactness and regularity can be reasonably ascribed, Whether to Blind Chance, or to Blind Necessity, or to the conduct of some Wise Intelligent Being.

    Though we should suppose both Matter and Motion to be Eternal, yet is it not in the least credible, that insensible Matter could be the Author of all those excellent Contrivances which we behold in these natural things. If any one shall surmize, that these Effects may proceed from the Anima Mundi; I would ask such a one, Is this Anima Mundi an Intelligent Being, or is it void of all perception and reason? If it have no kind of sense or knowledg, Then ’tis altogether needless to assert any such principle, because Matter and Motion may serve for this purpose as well. If it be an Intelligent Wise Eternal Being, This is GOD, under another Name.

    As for Fate or Necessity, this must needs be as blind and as unfit to produce wise effects, as Chance it self.

    From whence it will follow, That it must be a Wise Being that is the Cause of these Wise Effects.

    By what hath been said upon this subject, it may appear, That these visible things of the world are sufficient to leave a man without excuse, As being the Witnesses of a Deity, and such as do plainly declare his great Power and Glory.

  25. @Michael Fugate, I fear that you are in great danger of forgetting that Intelligent Design is not religious, but scientific. You’ll be quoting the Wedge Document next

  26. Michael Fugate

    Next thing you know I will be reading a critique of theistic evolution arguing against common descent while arguing for a real specially created Adam and Eve, but all the time reminding myself intelligent design is not creationism.

  27. @frankB, are you willing to be identified so I can thank you for your information about the devolution book in the review I am writing about Behe’s, due to appear on Monday in 3 Quarks Daily?