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Friday, 26 October 2007


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David, I think you're in danger of actually understanding evolution. Congrats!

Darwin's theory applies over millions of years to different species. Ethnicity does not mean people are a different species and I cannot believe I just had to write that.

Your story about the guy and the hammock confuses intelligence with knowledge.

"we are all subject to the unremitting pressures of life and death which will favour the fittest" - no, they'll favour the richest.

Can I also just point out that "black" is not an ethnic group any more than "white" is. If that were the case you'd be the same as those Irish you hate so much.

David, when you say "Impeccably progressive people like Dawkins have been huffin' and puffin'" do you actually mean Dawkins, having read a response of his on this topic? Or is that just the means to crowbar his name into a post that would otherwise be Dawkins-free?

Reason I ask is that this is what he's got to say on the subject 'What is ethically wrong is the hounding, by what can only be described as an illiberal and intolerant "thought police", of one of the most distinguished scientists of our time',,2196657,00.html?

Larry, I think I understand evolution very well and have come to the conclusion that it explains much, but not nearly as much as its advocates would have us believe. (See below!)

Simon, you misunderstood my glee at the predicament Darwinists would find themselves in when considering Watson's words. After all, the natural pressures being exerted on, say, an African native is considerably different for those acting on an inhabitant of Britain, such that, if you are true Darwinian, you will be searching for those early signs of a split in the species. It is precisely because I do *not* believe that part of Darwinism that I was so delighted to see many of them hoist in their own petard. If I may modestly quote my own, almost final words in Part III of 'Racism' concerning a comparison between myself and a jungle dweller from Papua: "What does matter is that both of us share a common humanity. His life is as precious as mine. We are of equal worth."

Finally, to Ben, and his quotation of Dawkins' remarks. I apologise and withdraw the implication that Dawkins was a party to the attack on Watson - and I have corrected my post accordingly. My error was based on the fact that Dawkins is a man who hates (I use the word advisedly), and wishes to ban from public discourse, any one who believes in a God. For example, I cannot imagine him rushing to support the freedom of speech of, say, Prof. Michael Behe! Thus, I am somewhat surprised to see him suddenly standing up for free speech in this particular case but, as Watson's remarks are simply an extension of Darwinian 'logic', I suppose I should have expected it. Anyway, I was wrong, and I apologise.

I have always been doubtful concerning intelligence tests because no-one has ever explained to me what 'intelligence' is.


Very intelligent.
“ The RSM is an idiot but I will not say so because it might get back to him.”

Moderate Intelligent.
“The RSM is an in idiot but I won’t actually say it to his face.”

Down right stupid.
“Sergeant Major, you are you are an idiot!”


You have a point no one has ever seen what is measured in an intelligence test.

A hundred and a few years ago when they started giving proficiency tests on jut about every thing, they noticed that those who did well on one test seemed to do well others, even if they had not had much education in the other subjects. They surmised that there must be something being tested other than the subject at hand. The “something” is called IQ.

Put another way if some ones interaction with the RSM is a one time occurance it is a fluke, but if in life’s many opportunities to make a decision one consistently (though not always) ends up in the same category one might infer that perhaps the term is a characteristic of the person.

I would think there is something to it, though greatly over hyped.


A thought from experience.

There is a tendency to imply below average IQ equals stupid.

When I was in the military I got to see the enlistment test scores of my soldiers and could convert that score to IQ scores. Yes many were below average (in the bottom half of all tested) but not one of them was any where near stupid (unable to function as an adult human being).

Should Dr Watson be right, it means there will be smaller percentage of persons of African desent employed as rocket scientists, but the same percentage as other groups who are responsible adult citizens.

Making a decision on an individual because of a collective group score should be criminal.

David, forgive me, but I'm afraid I was teasing. I don't think you do understand modern evolutionary theory very well at all, as your passion for the lamentable David Stove suggests, and your comment a couple of posts up about group differences shows.

What I did mean was that your notion of "progress", as a purely local measure is a lot more like the biologists' notion of "fitness" than you imply in the first half of the message.

Larry, you have nothing to be forgiven for. Actually I *do* think I understand evolution quite well but you, alas, give the game away with your mention of something you call "modern evolution" which, like the phrase 'neo-Darwinism', rather gives the game away - the game being an attempt to decide if evolutionary theory is scientific. For example, no one talks of 'modern Newtonianism', or 'neo-Newtonianism'. Only Darwinists do that in order to cover up the fact that they have to keep changing, as it were, the 'job description' to cover up all the increasingly large holes in the classical theory, as the brilliant and witty David Stove delighted to point out!


I've never heard of neo-relativity!

Happy to be educated though.

Relativity is neo-Newtonianism.

Scientific theories are provisional, and always subject to revision when new data arrives, as I'm sure you know.

No it's not! I have never read a single book on the subject that refers to it as "neo-Newtonianism"; certainly not like the way I constantly read of 'neo-Darwinists' and 'neo-Darwinism'. It's hardly surprising since the biologists still can't agree amongst themselves, or with Darwin, as to exactly how Darwinism works.

Newtonian mechanics is incorrect, though it remains useful as a set of rules of thumb for engineering purposes.

There are two theories which improve on Newtonian mechanics: quantum mechanics and relativity. Both predict similar results to Newtonian mechanics for human-scale interactions.

Relativity is a theory in the Newtonian tradition (making time explicit in the underlying manifold), in a way that quantum mechanics isn't. The term neo-Newtonian is sometimes used to describe this (references on request). To be fair, there are also other neo-Newtonianisms, but they're more marginal.

Sadly, no-one has yet reconciled quantum mechanics and relativity, though there are several (sometimes bitterly) competing theories of how this might be done. Your attempt to characterise biology as somehow unsound in comparison to physics is just plain wrong - if anything physics has more problems with, and disagreements about, its foundations - which given its larger scope is neither shameful nor surprising.

I understand that, Larry, but the two are not comparable. Because we lack 'a theory of everything', then physics advances by a series of stepping stones from one problem on to the next.

The only new idea since Darwin's theory is the explanation of exactly *how* inheritable traits are inherited. Darwin, and any cattle/horse breeder of the time, knew it happned but not exactly how. Genetics explained that but it did not advance Darwin's theory by an inch. Today, the 'neo-Darwinists' squabble over whether natural selection takes place at the level of species, or individuals, or DNA. I don't think you get too many physicists debating on exactly how the earth moves round the sun.

I would also add that Darwin's theory, unlike any other scientific theory makes no predictions and offers no experiments by which it can be tested.

Sorry, one last thing, there is a genuine and very scientific theory which offers an alternative explanation for the differentiation of the species which, tentatively, sounds very much more convincing than Darwin's. Try:

I stress the word *tentatively* because I am a mathematical dunce, as Dr. 'Teabag' would be the first to tell you!

You say; "I don't think you get too many physicists debating on exactly how the earth moves round the sun" - not so. The big sticking point in reconciling QM and the relativities is gravity!

There is debate about how much selection takes place at each level. Given the complexity of the material this is unsurprising - e.g. if I wanted to do the job you're trying to do on biology to physics I could do it quite easily: "look - this group of physicists is using p-adic numbers! These are using complex numbers! These are using reals! They can't even agree on what kind of number system to use!"

Evolution makes plenty of testable predications and is experimentally testable, and it's just a canard to claim otherwise. There do exist sciences that don't produce many testable predictions (yet) but again we're talking physics, particularly cosmology .

Thank you for the book reference, though I'm afraid my in-pile is rather large at the moment. Hmm. I've had a quick look on Amazon Reader and Mr Bird says: "As Ariel says in The Tempest, 'I could count myself king of infinite space and yet be bounded in a nutshell'". Doesn't inspire confidence and I must say that I'm surprised you put up with that!

Oh dear! That was an unfortunate mis-quote and I shall give him a hundred lines forthwith.

But, Larry, bookmark that reference for future reading because I really do think you will find the book fascinating - and I would like some expert criticism of it! If there is anything in this mathematical theory behind chaos, then I think Bird is on to something. In effect what he is saying (I think) is that reproduction should be treated as a series of iterated, dynamic equations which, as we are now told by the chaos people, leads after several 'zillion' repetitions, to sudden and totally unexpected outcomes.

You see, I have never been able to believe that there was sufficient time for the evolution of the myriad life forms we see about us, let alone incredible systems like the eye. (There is a high-powered mathematical paper I have seen referred to, but I can't be arsed to find it now, that claims to prove that the development of the eye could not have taken place in the time available.) But Bird's theory explains how sudden leaps could have taken place, not just in the development of the eye but in sudden changes to species. Those of a nervous disposition need fear no God, although I think Bird is a Christian, and even Darwinists should be able to accept it because it leaves the great man and his theory intact explaining variations *within* species.

'neo' Darwinism refers to something specific, which 'neo' Newtonianism would not. It is the fusion of Darwin's theory of natural selection with genetics.

Your point about selection pressure on races is ridiculous. Genetic variation among people whose ancestors can be traced to Africa is *wider* than otherwise, which is one of the problems with the whole Bell Curve argument - there is no such definable group, genetically, as 'black'. And selection pressures couldn't possibly account for anything in the short time the USA has existed.

You keep saying you understand evolutionary theory very well, but on the evidence of this thread, well, no you don't.

Clive, there was no "fusion" involved. As I wrote above, Darwin (and any cattle/horse breeder of the time) knew perfectly well that traits were inheritable, but they didn't know the *mechanism*. Genetics explained it. That simply widened the argument amongst Darwinists as to whether natural selection takes place at the group, individual or genetic level. Have they made up their minds yet?

The fact that there might be selection pressures against different species is not my idea, it is Darwin's. Why would it not operate against different races of human beings if, that is, you believe that natural selection operates at the level of species. We can already *see* genetic differences in skin colour, hair, eyes and so on amongst humans. I happen to think that these are ultra-minute differences, no more than, say, the differences between black or cream Labrador dogs, but Watson thinks it goes further - and he should know, he discovered all this genetics stuff! I'm just amused at the thought of orthodox Darwinists coming over all weak and feeble at the logical outcome of their master's teachings!

Ah, so another thread all about what you think other people might be thinking. Even though there's no evidence whatsoever to suggest they're actually thinking what you'd like them to be thinking.

Sigmund Duff strikes again!

Selection can only 'operate' 'against' (huh?) species if they are real entities. The fact that there are observable differences between people has no bearing on this issue, which is the issue in question.

It is extremely strange to criticise Darwinists for having areas of disagreement. What, you think, say, cosmologists are all of one voice? Does this in itself invalidate or make laughable, say, the Big Bang?

I believe this is what's called science, love.

My dippings into the Bird book via Amazon Reader do rather set off my crank alarm: "chaos theory" which seems to derive from popularisations rather than the real sources, and the presence of George Spencer-Brown. Against this I must offset the slightly equivocal endorsement of the sound Jack Cohen.

I finally saw that Spectator note which started this, and it's all a bit feeble. Moore claims that religious cultures provide a valuation on human life which mitigates excesses of abuse. Nice to know that no religious culture could support slavery.

"I think I understand evolution very well..."

I can assert as an absolute fact, that you do not.

I once made a serious effort to discuss it with you in detail, and it quickly became clear that your understanding of the theory is riddled with the most basic errors. For example you believe that evolution occurs because "in all species there is a constant and ferocious competition for resources [between conspecifics] in order to live longer and thus to procreate more often".

I made an honest attempt to explain to you that this is an utterly incorrect understanding of the theory - your response was total uninterest. Instead you preferred to retreat to your fantasy-land where the theory of evolution is not only wrong, but its wrongness is blindingly obvious to any intelligent person who thinks about it for more than thirty seconds.

The alternative - and the truth - that it is not the theory which is transparent nonsense, but rather your understaning of it that is profoundly flawed, continues to evade you. The last time I put this to you, you accused me of threatening you with "corrective treatment" unless you came to "agree completely with my, and the Party's, explanation concerning natural selection".

This sort of paranoid vitriol is how you resist any attack on your dream-world in which approaching 100% of the world's serious scientists subscribe to an obvious lie. They do this solely in order to keep themselves in work, and only you, David Stove, and a handful of biblical-literalists are brave enough to point out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

I say "a handful of biblical-literalists", because I'd hazard that even most ID-ists have a more accurate picture of what the theory of evolution entails than you do.

But this doesn't stop you from ever entrenching your own chaotic ignorance and your idiotic conspiracy-theory, with a stubbornness and an arrogance which is simply extraordinary to behold.

You have nothing whatsoever to contribute to discussion on this subject David, other than as a warning example to others.

Gentlemen, apologies for my absence and failure to respond to your comments. It has been a busy week and promises to be an even busier weekend because I have volunteered to be the master chef-in-residence for a supper party tomorrow night, thus, tomorrow will be a beef-bashing day!

However, let me welcome back the waspish Dr. 'Teabag' who has returned obviously refreshed from his hols and full of vim and vigour if not very much good sense.

Because I am somewhat pressed for time I will allow some one else to speak for me on the subject of Darwinism. I have chosen this emminent personage because, er, well, he invented the whole bloody thing - although you wouldn't know it from his current disciples who turn somersaults in order to avoid what he actually said - splitters!

"Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult—at least I have found it so—than constantly to bear this conclusion in mind. Yet unless it be thoroughly engrained in the mind, the whole economy of nature, with every fact on distribution, rarity, abundance, extinction, and variation, will be dimly seen or quite misunderstood. We behold the face of nature bright with gladness, we often see superabundance of food; we do not see or we forget, that the birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects or seeds, and are thus constantly destroying life; or we forget how largely these songsters, or their eggs, or their nestlings, are destroyed by birds and beasts of prey; we do not always bear in mind, that, though food may be now superabundant, it is not so at all seasons of each recurring year."

Followed by:

"A STRUGGLE for existence inevitably follows from the high rate at which all organic beings tend to increase. Every being, which during its natural lifetime produces several eggs or seeds, must suffer destruction during some period of its life, and during some season or occasional year, otherwise, on the principle of geometrical increase, its numbers would quickly become so inordinately great that no country could support the product. Hence, as more individuals are produced than can possibly survive, there must in every case be a struggle for existence, either one individual with another of the same species, or with the individuals of distinct species, or with the physical conditions of life. It is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms; for in this case there can be no artificial increase of food, and no prudential restraint from marriage. Although some species may be now increasing, more or less rapidly, in numbers, all cannot do so, for the world would not hold them.
There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate, that, if not destroyed, the earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and at this rate, in less than a thousand years, there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny."

Now I don't accept *all* of that because much of it is based on Malthus who was yet another idiot, rather like Marx, who analysed recent history and then projected the mathematics into the future and proclaimed a Great Truth, whilst forgetting that in human affairs nothing goes in a straight line because people re-act to what is going on which changes the result. (The HAFs should take note!)

So, don't give me grief, tell it to Darwin, Dawkins' vicar on earth!

"...either one individual with another of the same species, or with the individuals of distinct species, or with the physical conditions of life..."

This is one of the (many) points whose importance you still fail to grasp.

And your point is ... what, exactly?

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