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Reproducing scientific results

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Craig Payne, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    This intriguing article turned up in my alerts this AM:

    Good Scientist! You Get a Badge.
    Precious research money is wasted on unreal results, but we can change the culture of science.

    Full story
  2. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Strong advice given to me by my mentor (Prof Charles Oxnard) while a PhD student: "If you are wrong, for goodness sake be the first to say so" As you say, there is no shame in being wrong - only in knowing you are wrong and not admitting to it. We were wrong of the presence of a divergent first ray in the Oh8 fossil assemblage - and put this right in the next study. There was no erruptions, and last time I looked, the world was still turning the same way............ Rob
  3. Ian Reilly

    Ian Reilly Active Member

    Wrong how, Rob (loving the evolutionary stuff... :) )


  4. Great article Craig. Makes you wonder if the running-related research by Dan Lieberman could be reproduced, especially if the research wasn't funded by a "barefoot" shoe company.;)
  5. Perthpod

    Perthpod Active Member

    Thanks Craig,
    Very important to all of us as we improve our evidence based practice ;D
  6. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Excellent article Craig - thanks for the link!

    Be interested to hear more about your Oh8 paper Rob. I believe you looked at the actual findings?
    I had a tenth-generation cast to work with:boohoo:

    Maybe it was only eigth-generation:eek::D.
  7. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    It sounds like a good idea but it might need a bit of work?

    If the results of a study are reproduced how much more certain are you that both studies have got it right? If the results of a study are not repoduced how certain are you that the second study has got it right?

    Would criticism of original studies be taken into account in the design of a 'replication' study? If so then the second study is not a replication of the first? How many generations of modified/corrected 'replication' studies would be required to give credence to a study?

  8. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    Here's a paper that makes good reading especially if you have reservations about the significance of statistical significance.


    Attached Files:

  9. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    The criticism, in the above article, seems to be less a criticism of the specialism of statistics than of those, mostly scientists who apply the statistical method. In some ways it resembles a professional boundaries dispute between statisticians and 'scientists', ie the professional manipulator of statistics and the 'amateur' statistics juggler.

    The cry seems to be that the sword of statistics should only be wielded by those who are trained and competent in it use.

    Should statistics be the exclusive domain of the statistician (to the extent that one of the co-authors of every research paper, involving stats., is a professional statistician) or do 'the rest' just need a little bit more training in stats?

  10. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Yes, thanks Craig for highlighting this. It certainly is an intriguing article. I thought I read another article similar to this but that was probably this one (which was cited in the above article).

    Particularly found the above example of the bacteria/arsenic research of interest. I have often had this research directed at me to substantiate the evidence for evolution (even if true - it still is not evidence for evolution; natural selection maybe... i.e. resorting of the present genetic info... loss thereof etc...). Yet this research was the poster boy for... "evolution in action". After all, I suppose one would think such 'evidence' should come from bacteria (i.e. being that there are many generations to study).

    Well, I'm not so sure about that. Amongst other things, it was probably intended to have a result/harm in one way... but then it backfired :eek: .

    Boy... that certainly is food for thought. Makes you wonder... what other research/fields have this degree of unreliability. Particularly those which have (require) a large proportion of their assumption/conjecture/hypothesis/theory... not empirically science based (i.e. historical science based &/or a philosophical premise).

    True. Particularly when there is a predetermined premise (origin point) leading into the research topic (hence potentially influencing the outcome from the start)... which may also be seen as a world view philosophy. Subsequent research based on this type of foundation may/will potentially lead to the above negative/poor results... discovered sooner or later some time down the track. Hence hindering the progression of optimal scientific enlightenment i.e. take the amazing complexity of the ever increasing understanding of the human genome... dispelling the now antiquated view of "junk DNA" (with false ancestry connotations involved i.e. primate)... & now revealing irreducible complexity with important functions now ascribed to those once considered "junk material" (ENCODE: the rough guide to the human genome), (Nature: The ENCODE Project Consortium).

    Good point. It would be interesting to see the type of fields which utilise this medium. Next point...

    Hmmm... the "Reproducibility Initiative" will likely expose some "mess" in other fields as well. Good to see the development of an organisation which may prevent such bad science getting published in future i.e. evolution hearsay.

    Great point there Dr. Kidd. Prof. Oxnard sounded like a great mentor.

    Now there is a classic example there Dr. Kirby. There are likely a couple of other issues as well as the "shoe company" involvement ;).
  11. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Dear Ben H,

    But where would we be without the scientific method?

    The scientific method eventually saves us from the extremes of human characteristics such as self interest, self deceipt, dogma, etc while allowing freedom of thought and action.

    Notice that in all of the cases of bad science cited, ultimately the ongoing use of the scientific method identified the problem and allows for the development of other solutions.

    If science based its findings on a single, very old report and constructed a world view around it that prevented ongoing re-examination of the of the original findings you would certainly have something to criticize.

  12. Do I take it, Matthew, that you are not a proponent of Darwinism or the scientific method??
  13. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    One major strength but (as always with these things) also a major weakness of the scientific method is the fundamental cornerstone principle of 'falsifiability'.
    If a subject, object, theory or statement of interest cannot be, or have the potential to be falsified then ergo it must be excluded from science and scientific study.

    Dave Smith
  14. Why?? Popper's view is not readily accepted by many in scientific research, Dave. Are you suggesting that Darwin's theory of evolution falls into the same category or are you entering this into the discussion as a reference to the Arkansas ruling on creationalism?
  15. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Big sigh!... I really do wonder at times... I really do...

    Dear Bill & Mark. Can you please, please tell me where in my previous post that shows I (to quote Mark)... "are not a proponent of D........ or the scientific method??" Yes Mark, I am not a proponent of "Darwinism" (but you probably knew that anyway)... but where do you get the idea that I don't support the scientific method? Frankly my previous post should have been quite clear that I was in full support of the article in question (Good Scientist! You Get a Badge) which supports/upholds the scientific method via checking up/validating scientific research... & exposing "bad science"... of which has been directed my way in the past in an attempt to substantiate another's (evolution) point of view (i.e. the bacteria/arsenic research & subsequent linkage to evolution). Thus to allude that I am not a proponent of the scientific method I see as a likely straw man tactic... or maybe you just got the wrong impression because I also dare to question evolution & it's history/involvement in violating the very thing its proponents wish to cling on to - the scientific method. Speaking of which, here is the first paragraph of Wikipedia's definition on the scientific method (just so neither of us are confused)...

    Yes, we all make mistakes... including scientists/researchers (to err is human). Mistakes comes in varying forms i.e. innocent & not so innocent (more on that later)... there is sometimes pressure on researchers to publish, of which can lead some of them to ‘cut’ corners; some mistakes could come from compromised research environments, some from lack of required knowledge for the field in question for that time etc... Hence "modification of hypotheses" & “correcting & integrating previous knowledge” (taken from the above Wiki definition) are vital elements of the scientific method for further scientific enlightenment - i.e. good example of this is relating to human genome research where once considered “junk DNA” is now known to have purposeful function... thus we can now rid the hypothesis of “junk DNA” being “leftover material” relating to substantiating the presupposition of evolutionary ancestral past i.e. primate evolution linkage.

    However (in the not so innocent form), we have Bill's valid point (BTW Bill, I believed in all said with your previous post; yet somehow feel that you think I have contrary views). Anyway...
    Exactly (like I said, to err is human), scientists/researchers are not immune to such traits... which is what I was alluding to in my previous post. Let's not forget, the scientific method did “eventually saves us” (amongst other things) from... hoaxes such as Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Haeckel's embryo drawings etc... There are many others & as you can see these pickings have been related to a certain field... knowingly fudging the data to support a world view/philosophical/religious conviction. When it comes to the crux of this thread (article in question: Good Scientist! You Get a Badge) I feel research specifically related in attempting to validate Darwinian Evolution has been most guilty of (to quote the article’s subheading)... “precious research money is wasted on unreal results”.

    Yes, good point... my previous post was quite clear on this (well I thought so). But the "development of other solutions" isn't always forthcoming... or is limited by boundaries imposed by... [leave blank].

    Well, that is being done Bill, thus I do have reason to critique some areas relating to this topic. I could write a lot on this issue but best if I refrain. Only to say that science should set out to rigorously eliminate bias, not to assert it. Science should primarily be based on observational data, empirical standards (repeatable experimental evidence) & thus also be logical... & thus also endeavour to present accurate information as well as accurate predictions. Science should also limit as much as possible presupposition, hence trying to fit the data into a preconception rather than presenting any real valid observation-based conclusions is poor science... & a common trait within Darwinian evolution circles (& please no one cite cases for Natural Selection here). Science should invoke scepticism (hence my questioning) & be open to criticism - of which evolution & thus some of the proponents thereof don't like to tolerate. Thus evolution has more of a place in a philosophical/metaphysical/history class/discussion rather than a science class/discussion.

    It would seem the science fraternity/academia can tolerate alternative views relating to other controversial topics such as “climate change”; where scientists/researchers have varying views... but when it comes to a topic one may be excused for thinking is a wee bit more important/interesting i.e. “Origins” (& the implications thereof – where we came from... subsequently, where are we going) there seems to be barriers, restriction, anger, discrimination, ostracization... elements of which you won’t find anywhere near the same extent (if at all) within other topics of contention. It would seem this “Origins” debate has little to do with science per se, (as I think one famous scientist put it) it has more to do with something else... & I’ll be the first to admit that this “something else” bothers me as well at times (I am not a religious person – in fact I hate religion). Yet feel I have to at least head to where the evidence tends to be leading. I’ll be real honest with you both; there are times where I really do wish someone would provide that “smoking gun” (maybe this is why I engage in these types of discussions on Podiatry Arena) for the case of “naturalism/materialism” (i.e. molecules to man evolution; naturalistic Universe formation), but I just don’t have the faith to believe in it – the evidence is strangely lacking for a topic many have much passion for. The evidence however seems to be continually pointing in another direction... that of a purposeful designer, an intelligent source, a starting point – hence a beginner (dare I say, a Creator)... hence the author of science itself (of which also has little time for religiosity). Why then would anyone not want to search (or be allowed to search) as to what this entity could be? Yet (once again) strangely one is deterred for thinking along this path (of which evidence is mounting year by year)... sometimes ridiculed & even discriminated or ostracized (of which there have been many documented cases) for being open to an alternative position outside of the sole allowed ordained position of naturalism (i.e. the realm of evolution) in academia. Hardly fair play in my view & ironically against at least two of the principles of... The Scientific Method.

    Hence, I'm all for the scientific method... I just wish some within the science fraternity & academia took it more seriously... were more consistent in upholding its principles. I’m sure you guys can at least probably agree with that. You may also agree (after thinking about it) that there are some rather peculiar elements within the whole “Origin” discussion... which goes beyond just science. Aren’t you curious? I know I am! Sure, some things may seem to remain hidden (for now)... but the search is interesting to say the least!

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time - sorry for the length, just feel I had to clarify on my position of which often gets misinterpreted (& I understand why).
  16. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Dear Matthew,

    You say, " I am not a religious person - in fact I hate religion."

    Could you enlarge on that, possibly give us some of your background and association with religion?

  17. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    Mark I read quite a bit of popper's books on epistimology applied to science and I found his philosophy very appealing. What other views are there to define the scientific method that does not include falsafiability or testability? The two things are synonymous and inseparable in my view.

    I didn't know about the Arkansas ruling and/or the first amendment to the United States Constitution in terms of the state and religion remaining separate. It seems to me that both these things give heavy weight to Poppers proposition since it seems to be supported by the US government.

    Dave Smith
  18. Thank you for the enlightening response, Matthew. An interesting position - much of which I have some sympathy for. I would agree that the current position on origin is open to question - if the big bang theory it to be respected then I would like to know what was before - if anything. If there was an intelligent designer - to what level is its sphere of influence and is that influence still at play or are the evolutionary developments happening - but not influenced - by the original process of design?

    I do agree that religion is an unfortunate side- show to the greater questions; a deeply flawed philosophy created by man to try and answer the unknown and the sooner we discard the superstitious - with all it's attendant baggage - the better for mankind.

    Best wishes
  19. Dave - I'm not sure that any position adopted by government - American or otherwise - carries much merit to the argument. Your statement
    is interesting. Could you explain please?
  20. Gentlemen, please disregard my last few comments; they add little to the topic under discussion and are merely a distraction of no interest to anyone.

    Best wishes
  21. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    Mark, took some time to get back, had a plumbing emergency and been spending time draining water tanks and fixing the hot water system. Also your questions are huge and I’ve been re reading thru some books, like ‘Information and the Nature of Reality by Paul Davies’. (It’s good stuff but a difficult read)This book is a compilation of views by 16 eminent scientists mostly professors at all the top universities and institutions like the Harvard, Cambridge, Max Plank inst. looking at the nature of the universe in terms of the evolution of information. Sub texts are ‘from physics to metaphysics’ and ‘from matter to materialism and back (almost). Many, while not expressing a particular faith in any deity and Paul Davies being a well documented atheist but with an open scientific mind for possibility, come to the conclusion that it is ridiculous to reject the possibility of intelligent design.

    Clearly this throws up an irony and highlights the fickle thinking in the scientific world.
    The irony is that one of the largest tenets of science is evolution and yet it is non falsifiable (contentious) even though scientists will argue that it is falsifiable by reason and prediction it is not in fact falsifiable by observation. So therefore some scientists will find an argument that the scientific method is not restricted to falsifiabilty by observation in an effort to justify their confidence in evolution.
    However when it comes to the possibility of a deity, particularly God, the criteria of falsifiabilty by observation is demanded and reason and prediction are not accepted.

    Well, how do we decide what is truth or that the knowledge we have is correct? On the basis that truth is accepted as truth when enough people of sufficient standing in the population, society or group come to some agreement, then if governments and their advisors, scientific, philisophical and legal all propose and agree on one truth and they represent the population then that gives it the clout required to be accepted.

    Now, not wanting to get side tracked from the original OP (although your questions are interesting to me and I would willingly and gleefully accept an opportunity to discuss God the universe and all that stuff, I would also like to avoid offending PA readers for now)

    So Mark, you also asked “could you explain please” to this statement by me;
    “If a subject, object, theory or statement of interest cannot be, or have the potential to be falsified then ergo it must be excluded from science and scientific study.” With, I must add, the codicil “where science and scientific study are synonymous with the formal definition of the scientific method”
    I thought that you understood very well the meaning of falsifiabilty since you challenged my use of its definition in terms of the scientific method. So is your purpose that I might explain for the benefit of those who are not familiar with falsifiability? If so then here are some explainations of the www.
    Falsifiability is the ability of a theory—a working framework for explaining and predicting natural phenomena—to be disproved by an experiment or observation.[1] The ability to evaluate theories against observations is essential to the scientific method, and as such, the falsifiability of theories is key to this and is the prime test for whether a proposition or theory can be described as scientific.

    All scientific knowledge and theories are based on two things: observation and consistent logic. A theory is a logical explanation for observations. A good, scientific theory also proposes a set of new observations that could test a theory's power to explain. Once technology, time or funding catches up with the theory, these observations can be made, which can either support or invalidate the theory. This ability to be tested, and the potential for the theory to be invalided by the experiment, is the essence of falsifiability.
    In ‘philosophy of science’, and most notably that endorsed by Karl Popper, the scientific method demands that a theory must at least in principle be falsifiable in order for it to be valid as science. This requirement was developed in order to solve the demarcation problem, or what is and what is not science. Determining that something is unfalsifiable is one of the primary tests of pseudoscience. Evolution, for example is theoretically falsifiable - "fossil rabbits in the Precambrian", as J.B.S. Haldane once said - whereas intelligent design is not, mostly because it makes no predictions that can actually be tested. All major scientific theories can, in principle, be falsified, from gravity to atomic theory to the standard model of particle physics. That experiments have failed to disprove the theories is a testament to how robust they are.

    For those who want to catch up or read more in depth, on both views, then these two links to rationalwiki are a good start. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Disproving_evolution http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Falsifiability

    Mark, getting right back into the OP, the point is to Reliably and reasonably ‘Reproduce Scientific Results’ first it would be a good idea to know what is science and were the results valid in the first place. You may be able to reproduce results in terms of observation and statistics but was it valid to do so? You can’t statistically analyse something that is non falsifiable because it is not possible to do the experiment in the first place. Therefore those things or statements that exists but are un falsisfiable cannot be included in the realm of scientific study, which I would say is a weakness and a strength since it both protects from (useless) investigation and inhibits exploration at the same time.

    Regards Dave PS got to go to Wembley now.
  22. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks Mark. Whilst the comments/questions in reference to the above are getting off topic to the original post, they are related to what has been cited of late – hence a mere side track... a somewhat typical occurrence of most threads. Hence I will briefly answer your questions (one aspect of which is related to Bill’s question). Besides, I wouldn’t think answers of this nature would be... “of no interest to anyone”... some lurking may find the discussion interesting – I found David’s answers above quite interesting.

    Hi Bill. Sorry for the time it’s taken to respond (just had a long weekend in Australia). I suppose I left myself open to the above question didn’t I. As you can imagine... a potentially sensitive & controversial question to answer but I will attempt it. I’ll admit that I won’t be too specific on a public forum such as this as you will no doubt understand. Besides, I don’t really want this side track to continue (in part, as Mark outlined above... & don’t have much time of late).

    As for my background relating to the above quote: grew up with no religious/spiritual persuasion (didn’t even have a Bible in the house). Family was invited to a Salvation Army church when I was young (about 6 or 7 y.o) – went about 2 - 3 times then stopped. Thus absolutely no religious/spiritual influence (or indoctrination as the likes of Dr Dawkins would put it) whilst growing up. Really wasn’t interested myself anyway, too busy focussing on sport (athletics/running) & just saw the whole religion thing messy (i.e. so many denominations/beliefs attempting to serve & attract people to the one “God”). Later (in my 20’s) went to a church of sorts with some running (sport) related friends where they “spoke in tongues” (frankly a load of childish gibberish/nonsense – which I later found was theologically inappropriately used anyway). They also use to do the laying of hands & the person would fall backwards thing (which was totally fake). Hence personal exposure to such religious/spiritual matters was devoid of any real meaning, superficial, fake & devoid of logic.

    On a general perspective I think we can confidently say that religion (i.e. all forms) has been responsible for so many problems in this world. It has probably caused more bloodshed & harm than any other cause in history. The roots of so many atrocities in history has come from religion... it has motivated the massacre of millions through the crusades, inquisitions, terrorism... all fuelled by man’s uncontrolled emotions via misguided, maladjusted deceived individuals who have used religion as a medium to justify corruption, bullying, terror... promoting hate, violence & for some in certain hierarchical positions - the awareness of another agenda (which I won’t enlarge on). It is here where I should be careful as some may choose to find specifics insulting/controversial. Speaking of which, this is in part was responsible for leading a group of aggressive imbeciles to create havoc during a Sydney protest just over a week ago... all because someone made a film depicting their ‘prophet’... which is quite insecure to say the least (I know France also have had similar problems with this irrational/sensitive group in the past).

    Anyway, whenever I thought about religion & religious institutions there was something that felt wrong i.e. the politics, corruption, the man-made traditions (imposing the institution’s own set of beliefs) contradicting the written word of the very text they claim to believe, uphold & serve. There seemed to be an attitude to protect the institution at all cost rather than to bring peace, health, wisdom/enlightenment & “salvation” to the people. In essence, religion in its current form is broken; the entire system of religion, institution, religious hierarchy is in virtually all cases are the opposite of what they profess to live by (text they ascribe to)... hence why religion is dying & is dysfunctional. There is much religious confusion... so many denominations (reported as much as around 40 000 in Christianity alone) all claiming they have the answers... the “truth” – of which should only really entail one set of beliefs if coming from the one & the same entity.

    It’s so ironic to me that the very thing called religion which one would be excused for thinking should provide the solution to mankind’s problems has itself created more problems than probably anything else in human history... responsible for misrepresenting the most the very entity they claim to serve – responsible for driving more people away & keeping them away from that entity... hence why people tend to turn away from all forms of institutionalised religion & subsequently from any possible plausibility of a creator (intelligent designer)... & is it any wonder.

    I looked into the plausibility of a Creator after the concepts of evolution failed time & time again to provide reasonable answers. Subsequently I have developed an interest in this area & fifteen years later there are still no reasonable answers for the case of evolution... when logic would tell you that more evidence should be mounting as years roll by - supporting this widely supported “truth”, “fact”. Yet, as time goes by more evidence is supporting an intelligent beginner with a purposeful design fingerprint on all that we see in the natural world. Subsequently, it has been easier for me not to be biased against this direction (& go where the evidence leads), more so once I isolated religion from the picture... which I have become to realise is part of the controversy surrounding this topic i.e. what better way to deceive/dishearten the masses than to attack from within the very ranks (religious institutions) most see as a representative of the entity of which this adversary endeavours to discredit/destroy.

    With the above in mind, is it any wonder that some come to similar views to the following when forming opinions on our origins...
    “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health & life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods & institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation & a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” Prof. Richard Lewontin, a geneticist & one of the world’s leaders in promoting evolutionary biology.

    “I want atheism to be true & am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent & well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God &, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” Thomas Nagel (B.Phil., Oxford; Ph.D., Harvard), Professor of Philosophy & Law, University Professor, & Fiorello La Guardia Professor of Law.

    In brief, I don’t see the “big bang” (beginning) in the same way as most physicists of an evolutionary persuasion. The “big bang” (in part) was coined as most believe there was a starting point – a beginning. For me, if there is a beginning then by definition there must be a beginner... which itself must be an eternal (& one would think, intelligent – to say the least) source/entity... this view then does not violate the principle of causation (i.e. the ultimate cause of all causes is itself uncaused). As to what was before this ‘starting point’ (“big bang”)... well that’s a whole other topic... & beyond the scope/intention of this thread.

    Not sure you intended it that way but you would be excused for using past tense wording with relation to... “If there was an intelligent designer”. By the state of this world one would be excused for thinking that this “intelligent designer” has forgotten about us. I don’t want to go into too much detail, however the way I (& others) see it is that the controversies created by another entity (adversary) need to run its full course before full resolvement can be made (this may seem ambiguous but that’s it in part – in a nutshell)... thus why bad things happen. Until this time, we will observe the repercussions of this conflict & be subjected to the various influences of this scenario i.e. the once perfection of the genome becoming tainted (i.e. obtaining mutations) & losing information (genetic entropy)... of which one result being varying diseases.

    I concur in your above assessment when speaking of religion in & of itself... as I have outlined within answering Bill. But we shouldn’t allow this false system deter our search into the topic (broaden our horizons) of our origins outside that of just naturalism/materialism. The evidence tends to be pointing in another direction... that of purposeful design involving great intelligence... than just the mere undirected chance events of naturalism being the cause of everything we know & see around us... of which ironically does invoke superstitious like notions for the pieces to come together i.e. non-living matter turning into self-replicating living matter, then acquiring the billions of bits & bytes of info (from who knows where) needed to eventually assemble what we see today. Prof. Richard Lewontin’s quote (as used above) comes to mind after writing this.
  23. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Dear Matthew,

    Thanks for your very open reply.

    I am still having a problem. I have never known of anyone, other than those who believe in the literal interpretation of the bible and/or of the bible as the word of the "intelligent designer", attempting to destroy the theory of evolution and all of the science on which it is based.

    The idea of an intelligent designer does not seem incompatible with the ideas of evolution but the idea of the bible as literal truth does seem to be incompatible with some of the central ideas of evolution.

    What are your views on the bible? Do you believe that the bible is the word of the "intelligent designer". Do you belive that the bible is literally true? I am using "believe" in the scientific sense of, your current analysis and evaluation of evidence, ie something that can change as new evidence comes to light, etc.

    Best wishes,

  24. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Sorry Davde (Holland), I am back on line after about 10 days in cyber wilderness. Please find attached. My fossil work seems to have such a narrow audience that I am reticent to ramble on about it here - however, If you want I can post a summary; let me know. In the mean time, please find attached a few papers which would seem to summarize it. Rob.

    Attached Files:

  25. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    And a little (excuse the pun) more

    Attached Files:

  26. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Hi Bill.
    Strong words there Bill, I wouldn't put it quite like that.

    Could you please outline the... "all of the science on which it is based."

    Kind regards,
  27. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Hi Matt,

    In outline. Take Darwin's work in the 19th century and all of the 20th and 21st century scientific research related to evolution from any and all of the following areas: ecology, geology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, genetics. It amounts to a considerable volume and weight of evidence.

    Best wishes,

  28. OK - against my better judgement....

    I don't have any problem with the foregoing, Matthew and I suspect many others take a similar view.
    Ok, you're starting to take great leaps of faith - if you excuse the pun - and make some dangerous assumptions with this. "Concepts of evolution failed ....." which concepts exactly and why did this lead you to think there must be a beginner or creator - even if there was something before the big bang? Something - not someone. You go on to explain...

    There may have been intelligent existence before the big bang - if such a notion indeed existed. By what makes you think that intelligent existence was a creator or designer of the universe?

    Ok you think there is an absolute intelligent designer and an adversary under whose influence all our ills can be explained. There is a conflict of sorts resulting in a degradation of the genome. Is that a simple but accurate observation of your position. If so, please explain your reasoning.

    So basically you're a romantic rather than a religious person, Matthew. Nothing wrong with that, but of course you offer no evidence other than belief, which if fine - but that is also the fallback of the religious, and we are still no further forward, if ineed there is such a notion also!

  29. OK - against my better judgement....

    I don't have any problem with the foregoing, Matthew and I suspect many others take a similar view.
    Ok, you're starting to take great leaps of faith - if you excuse the pun - and make some dangerous assumptions with this. "Concepts of evolution failed ....." which concepts exactly and why did this lead you to think there must be a beginner or creator - even if there was something before the big bang? Something - not someone. You go on to explain...

    There may have been intelligent existence before the big bang - if such a notion indeed existed. By what makes you think that intelligent existence was a creator or designer of the universe?

    Ok you think there is an absolute intelligent designer and an adversary under whose influence all our ills can be explained. There is a conflict of sorts resulting in a degradation of the genome. Is that a simple but accurate observation of your position. If so, please explain your reasoning.

    So basically you're a romantic rather than a religious person, Matthew. Nothing wrong with that, but of course you offer no evidence other than belief, which is fine - but that is also the fallback of the religious, and we are still no further forward, if indeed there is such a notion also!

  30. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Hi Bill.

    Sorry Bill, maybe I should have worded my question a bit more specifically. In “outline”, I was requiring information more specific to the science that specifically substantiates “evolution”. Hence your above answer is rather vague i.e. it doesn’t tell me anything about the actual science/research/evidence (just where you think it has stemmed from). Thus, what was it in... “Darwin's work in the 19th century” that substantiates “molecules to man”/”higher life form” type evolution – that being evidence that reveals matter/molecules acquiring (requiring) the information needed in producing “higher”, more “complex” life forms... that then gave rise to the speculated other subsequent life forms/species. In other words I want evidence for the driving mechanism of this process i.e. as alluded to in my previous posts - the acquisition of the accumulation of billions of “bits & bytes” of information for life to progressively “evolve” to the complexity & variability of life on this planet we see today.

    With the above said & the evidence I am already familiar of with regard to Darwin’s work in relation to the specifics of the above inquiry (e.g. Natural Selection; Darwin’s reliance on the fossil record i.e. his stated need of transitional forms which he assumed would be found)... you should at least be able to provide more credible clear cut examples of scientific evidence in the subsequent 153 years after his infamous book; hence...

    Thus, what is it in the areas of... “ecology, geology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, genetics” that substantiates “molecules to man”/”higher life form” type evolution – that being evidence that reveals matter/molecules acquiring (requiring) the information needed in producing “higher”, more “complex” life forms... that then gave rise to the speculated other subsequent life forms/species. In other words I want evidence for the driving mechanism of this process i.e. as alluded to in my previous posts - the acquisition of the accumulation of billions of “bits & bytes” of information for life to progressively “evolve” to the complexity & variability of life on this planet we see today.

    After all, you did say that it... “amounts to a considerable volume and weight of evidence”... & one would certainly think so when considering the amount of times it has apparently happened to give rise to the observed complexity & variability of life on this planet today. Hence I would like the evidence please. Like I said previously in an earlier post... “I really do wish someone would provide that “smoking gun””. Thank you.

    Kind regards,

    Hi Mark.
    Yes, I’m starting to feel likewise.

    When I get time I will clarify on a few things you asked of. I really only get time to respond at lunch times (i.e. now) & late evenings or early mornings.

    However, there does need to be some fundamental questions answered for evolution... otherwise I feel we could be wasting each other’s time. I have been quite open & upfront with my views - stuck my neck out on delving into the more philosophical areas (some of which relating to questions in your last post) of this discussion in an attempt to paint the larger picture here... which invokes both the realm of science as well as the more prickly realm of philosophy.

    Kind regards,
  31. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member


    Before moving on to specifics could you answer the above. Without an answer I don't see any point in carrying on the discussion. In fact in reality, even with an answer I don't see any point in carrying on the discussion.

    I read a blog yesterday written by a christian who was both evolutionist and creationist. He considers that the theory of evolution is 'proved' (in a scientific sense) but has made a conscious decision to believe the biblical account of creation (possibly that represents the Catholic churches view as well?). As difficult as it may be to reconcile these two apparently contradictory ideas I hope that eventually you manage to come to the same conclusion. It might be nearer the truth? It certainly seems to me to be a strong indicator of faith?

    Of course that level of faith can only come from within you. It can't come from intellectual, logical argument. I look forward to the day when you can embrace evolution and your faith without conflict. Then you will be able to use all of that intellectual energy you are wasting trying to find the light just by seeing it.

    One more step.

    Best wishes,

  32. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Dear Bill. Well, it sounds like you’ve pretty much made up your mind either way – doesn’t it? (which is fine – yet please make sure you are being reasonable here). I purposely didn’t answer the above question for a reason (in part – you have just validated with the above). Also, I had answered all your questions/queries up to that point (& they weren’t exactly short posts – hence I’ve put in the effort) – you even thanked me for my openness. However, I always endeavour to answer questions (as seen by my history on this forum) & will answer this question after you have answered a very pertinent question regarding evolution. The question regarding evidence in relation to the crux of the ‘theory’ is valid to this conversation & more closely related to the crux of this thread... the scientific validity/reproducibility behind the supposed driving mechanism of the evolution conjecture/hypothesis. Your answer was the following...
    Hardly enlightening. Now if the case... “amounts to a considerable volume and weight of evidence”... then show me. Remember when I stated...
    I am sincere about that... I would like the evidence to support the alternative – sole naturalism/materialism (or am I expected to take it on blind faith) - for both personal reasons as well as wanting to live by truth (well, as much as I can). To live by ideals/a philosophy which is just simply convenient to my own desired values (world view) just doesn’t sit well with me. My current ideals does somewhat restrict me in certain ways (if I choose to see it that way) i.e. in some aspects of further education & athletic participation (which I’ll probably regret mentioning – yet I’m being open with you of which should also lay to rest your further assumptions about myself).

    I, I... just can’t understand that type of reasoning Bill – quite frankly it is simple/moronic reasoning. As you go on to somewhat state (“apparently contradictory”) – well, it is beyond “apparently” – the two views on origins are polar opposites of each other. How can one honestly reconcile the two in all logic & reason? In short - they can't, no matter how you wish to swing it.

    I believe the papacy’s views on this matter are of a Theistic Evolution stance (evolution married with scripture - the Genesis account). Besides, I’m not in the slightest bit interested in the Catholic Church’s (papacy) views - they have had a history of twisting things around (producing false doctrine) & misrepresenting the most the very entity Christianity claim to serve (not to mention their violent history!). There is a hint that lies in a previous post & the true intentions of this religious organisation.

    No Bill, I certainly won’t be coming to the same conclusion... what for – the sake of evolution (which you can’t answer for yourself)... then you would want me to marry it with an opposing viewpoint... well, quite frankly – that’s “deluded”... a sentiment coming from the mouth of Dr. (don’t think he is professor anymore) Richard Dawkins...

    I don’t agree with that much of what Dr. Dawkins has to say but I certainly agree with his above viewpoint... there is a deep incompatibility with evolution & Creationism/Intelligent Design.

    Bill, that level of faith has another name – blind faith! It may come as a surprise to you but I think I am someone who possessors little faith – I just can’t conjure the degree of blind faith required to believe that nothing created everything: that nothing created matter, that matter became alive (let’s try replicating that experiment), then that now alive matter self-replicated to reproduce; then those subsequent offspring somehow acquired the subsequent billions of bits & bytes of information (in orderly, purposeful & in many case – irreducible fashion) from who knows where & how (& mutations &/or Natural Selection can not do it for you – for the scope we are looking at), to then eventually (that is why evolution requires millions of years) produce the diversity, complexity & variability we all see within this intricate biosphere. Yes, you are correct – “it can't come from intellectual, logical argument”... even more so when you then try to marry the above concept with a concept invoking intelligence, a concept invoking purposeful/irreducible design & a concept invoking a beginner (Creator) of eternal origins (thus not violating the principle of causation)... now then assess evolution – it’s supposed scientific credence, quality of evidence, reproducibility, logic, values & it’s religious underpinnings – bordering on mysticism/superstition! Let's be allowed to assess each on its merits.

    I look forward to the day when you can de-embrace the shackles of evolution – free yourself of the blind faith & conflict with reality... which does nothing but harm true scientific enlightenment & certainly should not be put on a type of academic pedestal. It doesn’t deserve this position – empirical science must reign supreme & evolution interpretation of origins should be placed under the banner of philosophy whilst the evolution interpretation of observable evidence should not interfere with potential scientific enlightenment of the topic in question (i.e. running mechanics, Genetics etc...). “Then you will be able to use all of that intellectual energy you are wasting trying to find light”... in a hypothesis (at best) which is bankrupt – devoid of logic, reason & as the original article in question for this thread stated - can’t replicate the results: ... on moving forward to potential enlightenment.

    Good bye, all the best.

    Kind regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  33. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    True, but with that said Mark, many are not aware of the issues involved within my piece you were referring to. They may not have thought of the reasons, deeper implication & subsequent ramifications of those issues raised. As Mark Twain said...
    “In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.”

    I have outlined some of those concerns Mark (you should be aware of them by now) i.e. they were also reiterated in my previous post (i.e. the underlying crux of evolution – the driving mechanism of acquiring the genetic material/info needed for the progression of life forms is just one example). I have also explained clearly why the notion of a beginner is a plausible one (this notion also troubled Einstein – of which Edwin Hubble set him straight on). I have given my reason as to the possible starter of origins (an eternal entity which could be excused for being intelligent) – hence, do you have a position on the matter – what are your views... & would they come under the same degree of scrutiny as mine? Besides, we are delving into the realm of philosophy here (pushing the boundaries of science)... yet I put forward an opinion to provide a scope of the larger picture involved here. Sometimes it’s a case of... damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Well, I suppose I have already somewhat answered this in the previous section. Mark, when I assess the human body (i.e. in a biomechanical assessment) I see evidence of design & subsequent intelligence - despite the fact that I would be naturally seeing many with somewhat compromised biomechanics in my practice. Of which I have then reasoned (in part) to genetic entropy (a valid scientific concept) which has resulted in errors (i.e. copying mistakes, mutations, stress, radiation, poor lifestyle choices etc...) subjected to a once more pure human genome. Also, when I look outside my window I see evidence for design in nature (i.e. Fractal Geometry, irreducible engineering, symbiotic relationships etc...). I subsequently put the observable evidence of which I can personally see in perspective & naturally come to some plausible conclusions of which I feel should reign precedence over unobserved info regurgitated by peers with a conscious or subconscious philosophical/religious agenda. I dare to go where I personally see the evidence is leading (i.e. I think for myself) despite the potential flack (& ostracization) from others I may get for doing so.

    My response was in relation to questions you were asking...
    I attempt to answer them as fully as I can. I respect your (& Bill’s) inquiry & want to do them justice with, if possible a thorough/holistic answer (due to the potential scope of the discussion). As we can all understand now, questions & subsequent answers of this nature can have its implications cross over to the philosophical realm (hence in part, is not always compatible in the world of mere naturalism/materialism – which does say something). Anyway, my answer delved into the “influence” of the above scenario – interpreting “influence” with what we observe in the world today i.e. the so deemed “bad” stuff i.e. death, disease etc... (which troubled Darwin i.e. the death of his daughter, subsequently influencing his view of the world – world view). Thus I mentioned an adversary, of which the repercussions (influence) of which have resulted in destroying the once pure/optimal status of the created form (hence, I have now alluded/hinted to my position on this topic Bill). I gave an example in relation to the varying diseases present (& increasing) as a result (in part) to genetic entropy i.e. Down Syndrome, Coeliac disease, colour blindness, Sickle-cell disease etc... (there are many). Many have asked “why is there so much death, pain & sadness in the world if there is such a thing as God?”... well there is mentioned of an alternative entity (an “adversary” if you will) that is quite clearly outlined in the text that these people make reference to/about. Now whether you believe this or not – doesn’t anybody find it rather peculiar that this other entity is very rarely cited when discussions of this nature (“death, pain & sadness”) are brought up within the context of “God”... & why people haven’t grasped (whether you believe the foundations or not) or assessed the nature of the conflict between the two entities – the roles each must play before full resolution is finally made. Like I said, whether you believe it or not – this is what the text/concept being questioned outlines on this matter... hence worthy of being clarified upon.

    Well, I’ve never been called “romantic” from a male before (shucks – thank you :eek:). Anyway, I know what you mean & I will certainly take “romantic” over “religious” any day.

    However, I have provided some logical reasoning to my position as well as questioned the reasoning of evolution... which as I have outlined is also the fallback of the religious mind frame (whether conscious or subconscious)... hence we are still no further forward on this notion either. I am not saying what you should believe... but at least question the sole ordained position on naturalistic origins (which has been seen to shut the door on any other possibility on the topic)... thus hardly academic (scientific/philosophical) fair play.

    There is primarily just two possibilities as to the origin & subsequent welfare of the universe & all within our biosphere – either it came as the result of the sole boundaries of naturalism/materialism (i.e. matter & energy) of which there is no beginner, no underlying intentions or purpose, no design & subsequently no intelligence allowed; or it came from an eternal entity which transcends both space & time, which was subsequently the beginner of what most believe was a beginning, of which had intentions & purpose with subsequent plans to design/engineer (intricately to say the least) all the driving mechanisms which makes this universe tick (optimum parameters don’t just happen... on so many levels – hence dispelling the goldilocks principle) & functions within this biosphere... of which can be excused for being labelled an intelligent entity (to say the least – amongst other things).

    Believe which one that suits your world view but don’t attempt (speaking generally) to masquerade naturalism/materialism (& subsequently evolution) as being of science & placed on an academic pedestal... whilst dispelling a purposeful intelligence orientated alternative from the playing field because the implications are uneasy/unsettling to fully grasp (believe me, I know – hence why I have sincerely asked for clear cut credible evidence on the contrary). Is there any wonder why there is such a degree of ignorance & confusion on the alternative position of Origins (& I don't blame the general public for it - the full picture isn't allowed to be viewed/assessed)... whilst misrepresentation, myths & ridicule are allowed to be preached by so deemed academic peers.

    With that aside, both positions have a place for discussion – both positions should be allowed to be critiqued on their values, merits & problems - in part in science (i.e. science class) as both invoke/encroach on the realm of science... but also in philosophy (i.e. philosophy class) as both invoke/encroach (more so) on the metaphysical (dare I say religious) implications. Or maybe even on the playing field (enjoy :D)...

    Hence, I have been quite generous with my responses & if there is no further valid addition on this discussion, I will leave it at this... until something of value comes along; I think we should wait for the evidence to do the talking... & the objective interpretation thereof.

    All the best, kind regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  34. Hello Matthew

    Thank you for your reply and I appreciate the time you took in answering my questions. I confess, however, to be at a loss with your answers as for the first time since I can recall, you seem to talk in riddles. I don't see any great clarity or conviction with what you write - you allude to a position then retract or cloak it in quotes or asides. It is not what I expected from you - perhaps you have just been too busy to construct your response in a way you would have liked.

    I think I get the drift of where you're coming from - you're no Holy Joe or Born Again Bible Thumper - but you believe in an entity of sorts that is eternal in existence and which can influence events or even a sequence of events, which then produces outcomes such as the genome - thus influencing life - particularly human life and the other species on the planet. You site the beauty in nature as evidence of intelligent influence and state there are unanswered questions in evolution and in our knowledge of all things - and of course, you are right. There always will be. I'm not sure that in any life that there will be enough time to know everything. Probably just as well.

    But because we don't have all the answers and because we don't know everything, we shouldn't necessarily believe in the superstitious - which is what you are doing. And what most folk with religious persuasion are doing too. Only they have a more clearly defined - and simplistic outlook.

    Here's a suggestion - and it's only a suggestion. Take yourself away into the mountains for a few days when the weather is kind and there's no moon and find a nice high spot where you can roll out your mat and sleeping bag. If you're in Oz I wouldn't recommend this BTW on account of all the snakes, spiders crocs and rednecks there are roaming around at night - if you are come over to Scotland and I'll find you a perfect place. Try and find a reputable source of LSD and take some early evening just as the sun sets and take a trip into the universe. Make sure you have someone you trust nearby or with you - and I promise you at the end of the night you will have found your beginner or creator. It might just surprise you who it is.

    All the best

    Attached Files:

  35. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    One night in July 1987 we (me, The mrs and 10 other redneck divers) brought a 110 ft two masted schooner over from St Kilda (out of the outer Hebrides) into Tobermory. It was as black as, but with a starlit sky. That was a night for thinking about who our creator was. Oh, we didn't use LSD, we used another mind-altering substance, loosely known as C2H5OH. Rob
  36. Rare, early Hicks on taking a "heroic dose"

    This is Terence McKenna that Hicks refers to:

    Hick's views on positivity
  37. Lucky chap. I've sat in Leverburgh harbour six times now waiting for the weather to break. One of these days. With that in mind - and moving the topic on in the vein of the title - has anyone been watching the night sky recently? Nothing better than sitting in a conservatory playing the blues and gazing atthe stars - there's been a heck of a lot the shooting variety over the past few weeks. Makes you think those stalwarts of scientific reproducibility - the ancient Mayans - had a point after all....

    These smartphone Apps are very good - pity the date with destiny...!

    Attached Files:

  38. 21st December 2012
  39. Bingo Crepescule. Now what about the ancient civilisations and the scientific method. Could be argued that they were so far ahead of our own decadent ignorant society. Small s. They maybe didn't have smartphones but they probably didn't need them. Makes a lie of the thought that evolution was progressive, huh?
  40. J.R. Dobbs

    J.R. Dobbs Active Member

    July 5, 1998

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