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ID’er discussed

A commenter on this site, Kinuachdrach, has made a few comments on this posting, making a whole load of assertions about Darwinism, none of which I recognise as being true of any Darwinist writing I have ever read, and being generically insulting to Darwinists, amongst whose number I count myself. I am hereby exercising my property rights and elevating this discussion to a posting of its own. So, feel free to join in.

I guess you should read his comments first.

http://www.countingcats.com/?p=7742&cpage=1#comment-25353
http://www.countingcats.com/?p=7742&cpage=1#comment-25378
http://www.countingcats.com/?p=7742&cpage=1#comment-25395

Ah, wtf, read the whole thread.

This is my reaction to his most recent comments.

So,

Kinuachdrach,

Darwinists and Anthropogenic Global Warmers are on the same actively anti-scientific page.

K, you keep using the term Darwinist to describe views I have never encountered in any discussion of Darwinian theory. Are you able to back this up, or is this just, to use your words, a straw man for you to whip with wet spaghetti? Seriously. You keep ascribing views to Darwinists that I find anathema. Either put up or stop insulting me, Darwinist that I am. Hell even having to use that title is absurd, after all, who describes themselves an a Newtonist or an Archimedian, an Einsteinist or a Lorenzist? I am a scientifically trained and logically minded individual who finds Darwins hypothesis attractive, the data convincing, and the implications mindblowingly glorious. How does that jibe with your characterisations?

And people who are brain dead can take classes in Darwinism that start from the unexamined assumption that random chance explains everything.

Where? Brain Dead? Sneering insult again? Ok, If that is what they are being taught then they are not being taught Darwinism, that assumption forms no part of the theory. If that’s what you have been taught Darwinism is, then you have been badly misinformed.

Darwinism makes no assumptions about the source of variation (genetics is a very different field of study) and the selection? It may be natural, but it’s neither random nor chancy.

It seems that most of the people who critique Intelligent Design don’t have a clue what they are talking about. They build a straw man out of their own misconceptions and then assault that straw man. Very leftist!

K, you keep making assertions without producing evidence, and making claims about Darwinian thought which are foreign to anything I have ever encountered, and then you issue critiques on them. And you accuse me of erecting and assaulting a straw man?

It’s a long time since I have been called a leftist, although it has happened, much to my amusement at the time. What you need to remember at sites like this is that the Left/Darwinist vs Right/non Darwinist dispute is peculiar to America. Once you leave those shores this becomes a matter of intellectual discussion divorced from politics. In general, here with me in Australia, or with Nick in the UK, most people, regardless of their politics, are as satisfied with Darwin as they are with Einstein.

There is no such thing as settled science — in contrast to what warm-mongers and Darwinists claim.

I repeat, and you accuse me of erecting and assaulting a straw man? Where do Darwinists make this claim? Seriously? I have NEVER seen it.

There are clear problems with the inability of Darwinism to make testable predictions,

Sigh, this is a Dracula argument. It doesn’t matter how often it is beaten down and staked, it keeps coming back:

I refer you to:

Theobald, Douglas L. "29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent." The Talk.Origins Archive. Vers. 2.83. 2004. 12 Jan, 2004 

In the following list of evidences, 30 major predictions of the hypothesis of common descent are enumerated and discussed. Under each point is a demonstration of how the prediction fares against actual biological testing. Each point lists a few examples of evolutionary confirmations followed by potential falsifications. Since one fundamental concept generates all of these predictions, most of them are interrelated. So that the logic will be easy to follow, related predictions are grouped into five separate subdivisions. Each subdivision has a paragraph or two introducing the main idea that unites the various predictions in that section. There are many in-text references given for each point. As will be seen, universal common descent makes many specific predictions about what should and what should not be observed in the biological world, and it has fared very well against empirically-obtained observations from the past 140+ years of intense scientific investigation.

and:

Scriven, M. Explanation and Prediction in Evolutionary Theory. Science, New Series, Vol 130, No. 3374 (Aug. 28, 1959), pp 477-482

and:

From that catchall for the lazy researcher, Wikipedia:

    • Genetic information must be transmitted in a molecular way that will be almost exact but permit slight changes. Since this prediction was made, biologists have discovered the existence of DNA, which has a mutation rate of roughly 10−9 per nucleotide per cell division; this provides just such a mechanism.[26]
    • Some DNA sequences are shared by very different organisms. It has been predicted by the theory of evolution that the differences in such DNA sequences between two organisms should roughly resemble both the biological difference between them according to their anatomy and the time that had passed since these two organisms have separated in the course of evolution, as seen in fossil evidence. The rate of accumulating such changes should be low for some sequences, namely those that code for critical RNA or proteins, and high for others that code for less critical RNA or proteins; but for every specific sequence, the rate of change should be roughly constant over time. These results have been experimentally confirmed. Two examples are DNA sequences coding for rRNA, which is highly conserved, and DNA sequences coding forfibrinopeptides (amino acid chains that are discarded during the formation of fibrin), which are highly non-conserved.[26]
    • Prior to 2004, paleontologists had found fossils of amphibians with necks, ears, and four legs, in rock no older than 365 million years old. In rocks more than 385 million years old they could only find fish, without these amphibian characteristics. Evolutionary theory predicted that since amphibians evolved from fish, an intermediate form should be found in rock dated between 365 and 385 million years ago. Such an intermediate form should have many fish-like characteristics, conserved from 385 million years ago or more, but also have many amphibian characteristics as well. In 2004, an expedition to islands in the Canadian arctic searching specifically for this fossil form in rocks that were 375 million years old discovered fossils of Tiktaalik.[27]
    • Evolutionary theory predicts that novel inventions can arise, while creationists predict that new "information" cannot arise, and that the Second Law of Thermodynamics only allows for "information" to be lost.[28] In an ongoing experiment, Richard Lenski observed that E. coli evolved the ability to metabolize citrate, which constitutes a novel invention, and an increase in the information of the DNA of the E. coli.[29]

The claim that Darwinism can’t make testable predictions is not just absurd, it is contrary to the evidence and insulting to the intelligence of the listener.

and with its inability to explain the punctuated equilibrium seen in the fossil record.

Now, this one really is a gift to me. Thank you. I don’t even have to go to Wikipedia.

I don’t know who trained you, but I do suggest you go get your money back. The punctuated equilibrium hypothesis is a Darwinian formulation, first put forward by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge in a 1972 paper as an explanation for the observed gap in the fossil record you referred to. Personally, I think it is a brilliant piece of work. Brilliant in its simplicity. Like Darwinism itself. Not really any room for its details here, but I can go into it later if you wish. For reference, Gould, until his death, was one of the worlds best known Darwinian theorists, author of a vast number of popular articles on biology, and had a long term dislike of Dawkins argument that the gene was the unit of selection. Sometimes scathing in fact; he much preferred the more traditional view that the entire phenotype, as expressed in the whole body, was that unit.

See? Two experts, at the top of the tree, arguing about central issues. Nothing settled there.

Natural selection is a very reasonable hypothesis, but it fails to explain the world around us.

Given that both examples you have given for this failure have both failed as examples I suggest you rethink this statement.

Personally, I doubt that Intelligent Design does an adequate job of explaining the world either. But it may be that both Darwinism and Intelligent Design are blind men touching different parts of the same elephant. We need to stick to the scientific method, and gradually improve our understanding of the world.

You are right, we do need to stick to the scientific method. That’s why I am sticking with Darwinism until something better comes along. And from what I have seen, ID isn’t that something better.

In all of this you have knocked Darwinism with the most risible criticisms, but you have not given one single justification why Intelligent Design is an acceptable alternative, or co process. Can you? Or is your entire strategy for promoting ID based on nothing bar misrepresenting Darwinism?

The last thing we need is a libertarian version of left-wing anti-scientific Political Correctness, deeming certain things to be unalterable truths and other things to be impermissible lines of inquiry.

This is not the United States. This is an Anglo-Australian blog and on that basis it is exclusively a matter of science. To us there is nothing political about this issue. To us, left and right simply don’t come into it. But, if you insist in thinking in those terms, I am a right wing Darwinist, as is Nick, as, I suspect, will be most other people who come here (although I prefer libertarian or anti statist to right wing, these wing thingies are too simplistic).

No one is trying to shut anyone down, no one is being Politically Correct, but if you are happy to insult me to the extent you have, expect to be asked to justify yourself. And with something better than assertion.

Update:       I have read some stuff on ID, but not for a long while. I’ll do you a deal; I’ll read an ID book of your choice, no conditions, but I would regard it as courteous if you were to agree to read The Selfish Gene in return.

14 Comments

  1. Stonyground says:

    Speaking only for myself. I am pretty conversant with evolutionary theory and consider it to be true. I believe that our climate is changing and that it always has done. I am willing to accept that human activities could exacerbate these changes but I am sceptical of efforts to predict in what way. I am particularly sceptical of the more lurid ‘end of the world as we know it’ type predictions being made by some people.

    Politically I would consider myself slightly right of centre. I believe that the word libertairian has a different meaning in the US, however I am one in the sense that I believe that we should have as much freedom as possible so long as that freedom is compatible with the freedom of others, and that as a general rule there should not be any laws against activities that do no harm.

    I do not believe in a personal god.

    Not sure how well I fit the Darwinian stereotype.

  2. CountingCats says:

    Stony,

    I find the idea of a Darwinian, or Darwinist, stereotype extraordinary. To me, someone accepting Darwinian theory tells me nothing at all about any other views they may have. Other than that they probably aren’t a creationist or ID’er.

  3. Kinuachdrach says:

    “In general, here with me in Australia, or with Nick in the UK, most people, regardless of their politics, are as satisfied with Darwin as they are with Einstein.”

    Yet there is a whole industry of (mostly) taxpayer-supported academics laboring away trying to plug the deficiencies in Einstein’s work, just as Einstein himself plugged the deficiencies in Newton’s theories. Science is never settled, as you yourself, Cats, point out about the debates within the Natural Selection community. And let’s not even talk about epigenetics!

    “… satisfied with Darwin …”. Depends what you mean by “satisfied”, as Bill Clinton used to say to Monica. You, Cats, having a scientific training, may mean that the concept of Natural Selection appears to have validity, and is useful as a small step along the long road to complete understanding. But many others, less informed than you, assume Darwin proved conclusively that God does not exist. When someone casually uses an erroneous term like “Darwin denier”, he can easily find himself lumped in with the wrong crowd.

    Quoted (or written?) by Cats: “Evolutionary theory predicts that novel inventions can arise, while creationists predict that new “information” cannot arise”

    Cats, I think that is the heart of the matter right there. “Darwinists” mostly seem to assume that anyone who does not pray at the altar of Darwin is a Creationist. Therefore, anyone who is interested in Intelligent Design is automatically a Creationist. And that simply is not so.

    People who are interested in Intelligent Design are looking for ways to address some of the deficiencies in the Darwinist view — in particular, the need for highly improbable simultaneous evolutionary changes in multiple biological systems. Failure to recognize the yawning gap between Intelligent Design and Creationism is either intellectual laziness — or deliberate obfuscation.

    As a side issue, I once worked with a geoscientist who happened to be a Creationist. Nice guy, and very competent. He did not see any problem with assuming that the world had been created with fossils in it as Divine clues to help people like him understand the sub-surface. And his beliefs did not stop him from far out-performing other geoscientists who held more conventional views.

    Let’s set aside your snide dismissal of Intelligent Design, Cats, and go straight to the heart of the matter. Let’s compare Anthropogenic Global Warmers with Creationists. Both have beliefs with which you & I would disagree.

    The Anthropogenic Global Warmers are not only wrong, they want to control your life — the lightbulbs you can use, the washing machines you can have, the setting on your thermostat, the children you can have. And the Anthropogenic Global Warmers demand that you pay for all the intrusions they want to make into your life.

    With few exceptions, the Creationist simply wants to life his own life, and leave you free to live your own.

    Even if we charitably assume you actually meant to conflate Warm-mongers with Creationists rather than those interested in Intelligent Design, Cats, that conflation was wrong. The anti-scientific Warm-mongers are in a class by themselves.

  4. Bod says:

    Look, evolution’s prominence in this discussion is a distraction, and we’re only experiencing this thread in connection with the “Where did we come from, where are we going, and who’s pressing the buttons?” questions that are of supreme interest to most humans at some point in their lives.

    If we had deep philosophical and theological reasons for wondering why and how gravity or magnetism (or even entropy) work, we’d be in a directly analogous situation.

    Substitute what I believe is our current poor understanding of how magnetism functions, for evolution. we’d still have:

    A significant portion of the population will claim that the deficiencies in the scientific explanations are OK, because those gaps are themselves evidence (or can be adequately explained by being) of the hand of God or some other magical entity. This is Group 1.

    Another group will claim that the science is ‘settled’ – effectively claiming that the theory’s ‘good enough’ to be a Law, that can then be used as a club to force compliance with some social agenda. This is Group 2.

    Lastly, a vanishingly small body of people who believe that research should continue until a coherent theory is arrived at that cannot be falsified. This is Group 3.

    I’ll leave it to readers to apply tags to the three groups noted above, we should be able to self-identify in one of those cohorts.

    FWIW, my biggest problem is with Group 2, because as it stands at the moment, these are the people that can and will shut down Groups 1 and 3 when they gain control of the levers of power. Group 1 would have to come out explicitly anti-science to stop Group 3′s actions, and despite a lot of bitching and whining, we’re not bystanders in Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem’ yet.

    Group 3 has no natural allies, its members have to work each and every day with a large number of Group 2′s, (who were often trained alongside them, but don’t embrace the fundamental ethos of Group 3) and compromise their work.

    For me, as a devout agnostic (not quite, but close enough), I’d say that Group 1 carries a recessive meme. With scientific advancement, the interstices within the structure of any scientific theory will become smaller and smaller until there’s no compelling argument to invoke God whatsoever. It’s a buggy-whip mentality. While God may or may not exist, using him to fill those gaps is very poor strategy. I’d like to note that my use of ‘god’ should be considered (in this context) interchangeable with any kind of ‘magical thinking’, which includes in many cases, anti-religious, secular posturing.

    However, the real philosophical violence should be done to Group 2. Such thinking is a thrust at the very heart of rational thought and scientific advancement, and while Group 1 are capable of stalling scientific research, Group 2 can (and has) shut down entire paths of enquiry.

    I’ve met a lot of people with very kooky ideas about the whole evolution issue, particularly ID – I only have a superficial appreciation of the issue – but the adherents certainly exhibit the zealotry of Group 1. It’s a topic that has the same vitality as anti-nuke protesters in the 80′s, and its practitioners are often every bit as irrational. I find that kind of exuberance disquieting and informative, if only because like violence and zealotry is often the death-rattle of a defeated idea.

    ID seems (and I’m prepared to be corrected) to be an attempt to fuse hard science with faith – which is always a recipe for one of those ‘hilarity ensues, until the purges begin’ kind of moments.

    The objective of this is hard to fathom unless the agenda is to morph ‘faith’ into something more solid; by legitimizing religion by standing it in a picture next to ‘hard science’ the way that effete actors attempt to beef up their image by being photographed with heavyweight boxers.

  5. Kinuachdrach says:

    Bod — Thank you for that excellent perspective on this discussion. There certainly has been a fair amount of talking past each other, and your assessment clarifies the real issues.

    You would put Intelligent Design into Group 1. Personally, I have not met enough people interested in Intelligent Design to know. There is certainly a case that at least some of those interested in Intelligent Design belong in your Group 3 — seekers after truth. But in neither case would those interested in Intelligent Design belong in the dismal Group 2, along with the Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd. Which was the false premise for Cats original post.

    The only place where I might disagree with your characterization is calling Group 3 “a vanishingly small body of people who believe that research should continue until a coherent theory is arrived at that cannot be falsified”.

    First, I hope that the numbers are not vanishingly small. Most of us know that this is the real Gold Standard, although we all suffer from the problem Dr. Johnson pointed out long ago — A man may be convinced against his will, but never pleased.

    Second, the true believers in Group 3 understand that we will not ever reach a theory that cannot be falsified. And we certainly should never fall into the Group 2 trap of refusing to attempt to falsify theories. There is no end to the long and winding road of scientific advance — which may be seen as grounds for optimism; there is much more still to find.

  6. Bod says:

    Well, maybe I should have prefixed ‘vanishingly small’ with ‘seemingly, vanishingly small’, because I also hope it’s not true.

    The Popperian model of falsifiability is counterintuitive to the public at large, and this is one of the primary reasons why in general, the public are not likely to fall naturally into group 3, because it makes no sense. Group 3ers aren’t solving problems, they’re just finding harder questions to answer and confusing the issue.

    I don’t expect a welder in Winnebago to embrace falsifiability as the way to do science, but then, if he becomes interested in evolution, which of the other camps will he gravitate towards? Group 2 is the natural spot, unless he is devout because that’s one more thing that’s “done and done” and he can concentrate on filing the ‘knowledge’ away and get on with the next thing.

    And to steal from (of all people) Piers Anthony, Humanity is a Thrust Culture. We observe a challenge and confront it, anticipating and demanding a resolution – a set of victory conditions. And in normal life, ‘good enough for government work’ is a close enough approximation to reality that we can ignore those interstices of knowledge, which may come back and trip up our remote ancestors.

    What’s more, the ‘Oh, this is settled science’ is an appealing resolution for people who find science to be ‘too hard’ to take on, when you have to hold your hands up and defer to the experts who ‘know more than I do anyway’. When those ‘experts’ are entrenched Group 2 inhabitants, well, that’s where the concensus arises and science is no longer truth but opinion.

    But I’m preaching to the choir here :/

  7. Bod says:

    Ugh. I’m not even drunk I have no excuse …

    I meant ‘trip up our remote descendents’. Tripping up our ancestors would be quite a feat.

  8. Kinuachdrach says:

    Closing comment on this — it is interesting that not one of us (myself included) who has commented on this topic has claimed to have any signficant level of understanding of Intelligent Design. Yet that self-professed ignorance has not prevented a number of us from criticizing quite severly that about which we know next-to-nothing. Curious — and certainly not an golden example of good science in action.

    It is frustrating that many global warm-mongers will disparage those who disagree, throwing epithets such as “Climate Denier”. Yet those same people will refuse to get into scientific discussion on the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming by claiming they have not had the time to study the matter themselves; instead, they claim to base their beliefs on “Authority”, such as the IPCC.

    The fascinating thing here is that obviously-intelligent people feel OK about disparaging Intelligent Design without either knowing about it or appealing to a similar “Authority”. There is a PhD topic in sociology lurking in there somewhere.

  9. CountingCats says:

    K,

    You have criticised Darwinism on the basis of mischaracterisations of its fundamentals, making statements which are both standard fare in creationist/ID arguments and just plain wrong.

    You sneer at and abuse people for holding views you have demonstrated you have no understanding of.

    You make assertions about peoples (Darwinists) attitudes and beliefs, and you provide no evidence they do hold them.

    For the specific failures you attributed to Darwinism I have demonstrated you are wrong, that they are not failures at all, using names, dates and specific paper citations.

    I have attempted to address each point you made, point by point.

    You on the other hand, have failed to even acknowledge the questions I have asked, instead sliding aside and concentrating on side issues and wordplay.

    Are you prepared to address the questions I asked? Or you only going to continue evading the core issues as you do here? Are insult and baseless assertion your main tools?

    The positions you are taking I have seen in discussions on Creationist and ID sites, where everyone present nods sagely and says “Yes, thats right. Aren’t the liberal lefty Darwinists awful and intolerant people”. I am going to guess that you are not used to dealing with people who really do understand Darwinism in both its details and fundamental, and who, incidently, aren’t lefty liberals.

    For your reference, I do recognise the difference between Creationism and Intelligent Design, although the differences are more important to them than to me. In general I try to avoid expressing opinions unless I am informed on the matter, but I have read on ID, although not recently, and I have never met an ID argument I could not disassemble after, at most, a couple of minutes thought.

    In general, I find ID proponents to be uninformed ideologues and intellectual lightweights. This is not to say that informed and thoughtful ones don’t exist, but rather that I have never met one or read anything written by one. And I am able, if absolutely necessary, to back up this position.

  10. CountingCats says:

    The fascinating thing here is that obviously-intelligent people feel OK about disparaging Intelligent Design without either knowing about it or appealing to a similar “Authority”.

    No one has been disparaging ID to anywhere the extent you have been abusing Darwinists.

    I did initially mildly disparage ID as being a God of the Gaps hypothesis, and I am happy to do so, having made the effort to learn something about it and found it wanting. You, on the other hand, have demonstrated you haven’t an inkling of the fundamentals of Darwin, yet you don’t just disparage, you vilify.

    Pots? Kettles?

    And on what basis do you claim ‘people’ (me?) know nothing about ID? Evidence please. And please point to the lines which contain an appeal to authority. For reference, citing papers which contain details of research is not an appeal to authority.

  11. Kinuachdrach says:

    “And please point to the lines which contain an appeal to authority.”

    Post-final comment — Cats, you are clearly very intelligent and well-informed. But for some reason, you get defensive when Darwin’s name is invoked. And that interfers with your normally sound judgment.

    If you go back and re-read, you will see that the point I was making was the curious LACK of appeals to authority when people who claim to know very little about Intelligent Design disparage the whole idea. That stands in sad contrast even with the (erroneous) warm-mongers, who also often claim to know very little about the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming but instead explicitly place their reliance on an appeal to “authority” (if we can stretch the concept of “authority” sufficiently to include the IPCC and grant-grubbers in the academic community).

    I find it strange that intelligent informed people can disparage an idea without either (a) serious knowledge, or (b) an appeal to authority in place of serious knowledge. I am guessing that the explanation lies in emotion rather than rationality. But if there is another explanation, I am here to learn.

  12. CountingCats says:

    So, by that lack of response do I take it that you are acknowledging that you had no informed basis for any of the abuses and smears you directed at Darwinists?

    Cats, you are clearly very intelligent and well-informed. But for some reason, you get defensive when Darwin’s name is invoked. And that interfers with your normally sound judgment.

    Defensive about Darwin? Nah, what does get up my nose is when the ignorant start abusing and smearing me on the basis on nothing bar their own lack of understanding.

    Do I take it that your personal abuses and vilifications of me, as an advocate of Darwinian theory, stand? Despite your demonstrated ignorance of the topic?

    Would I be right, you made your original rant in the expectation that all us non liberal non lefties would agree with you? You didn’t realise that outside the States Darwinism is a wholey non political issue, and is judged purely on scientific merits. You also didn’t anticipate that people here tend to either know what they are talking about or they shut up.

    You didn’t anticipate that your absurd, ignorant and insulting characterisations of Darwinism would be beaten to bloody pulp, as they deserved to be.

    There is no similarity between AGW and Darwinism. One is sound science backed by one and a half centuries of solid research, the other is AGW.

  13. CountingCats says:

    If you go back and re-read, you will see that the point I was making was the curious LACK of appeals to authority when people who claim to know very little about Intelligent Design disparage the whole idea.

    Ok, sorry, point made. But why would people here appeal to authority?

    Seriously?

    An appeal to authority is evidence of nothing, a non argument, and doing so is a logical fallacy, as are the ad homenim arguments you use, and it is unlikely frequent visitors here would do any such thing. I suspect that anyone who tried to do so would be pulled down toot sweet.

  14. Peter Risdon says:

    Evolution isn’t a theory, any more than gravity is. There are, of course, theories about both these phenomena. Like all theories, any claim for completeness would be silly, we inch collectively towards deeper understandings of the mechanisms underlying phenomena. Darwin thought the process of evolution worked by mutation and natural selection, and he was right.

    Intelligent design, about which I have learned far more than I would have liked, isn’t a theory at all. It’s the idea that when faced with the current frontier of detailed understanding of biological systems, we should stop researching, throw up our hands and accept it’s magic.

    This idea (that if the processes that led up to the existence of something complicated or complex aren’t yet fully understood, we should say it’s magic), which started in the late 18th century at the latest and was initially applied to geological processes (the watch in the desert was meant to be the earth in the ‘desert’ of space), has been dug up and dressed, ghoulishly, in new clothes every few decades. It has been applied, in the context of evolution, to features like eyes (the development of which is now better understood), speciation (which is a bit of a red-herring, ‘species’ are just snapshots of a process of change) and other features, in ever smaller detail, until the current frontiers were reached.

    ID and other forms of creationism (ID is *just* creationism, full stop) are ridiculous. Sure, some scientists believe them. We’re not rational creatures, but rather creatures that can, with effort, be rational for short periods of time.

    AGW is perfectly rational as an idea, the basic physics of it are clear. CO2 absorbs a narrow band of light in the infra red. We’re releasing lots of CO2. All being equal, you’d expect the quantities that have been released to have raised average global temperatures by between 0.8 and 1.2 degrees Celsius over the 20th century. That’s all simple and fine – and not in any way catastrophic. The disagreements concern the ideas of positive feedbacks, dodgy statistical work, tiny sample sizes, cherry picking and the *known* tendency of humans to panic and run around in circles if anything changes at all, in any direction.

    Attempts to torture data into according with a predetermined and irrational prejudice can be seen in both ID advocates (many non-ID creationists just point to scriptural authority and ignore reality entirely on this topic) and AGW alarmists – but just the alarmists. To that extent, they are similar.

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