Thursday, January 05, 2006

Even better

When Billy Dembski said he was giving up blogging, I was sad. "What will I do when I need to mock someone?" I asked.

In proof that prayers are answered, he's given the blog over to his rabid fans, many of whom are dumb as stumps, and will provide years of enjoyment.

Consider this choice quote from blogczar DaveScot:

Other than being wrong, what about astrology is it that everyone thinks makes it not science?

That's actually the second part of the quote. While I'll let you, dear reader, ponder that on your own, let's discuss the first part:

Actually what Behe said was that astrology was a legitimate science in the past and is a discredited science today.

Which is not quite true. What Behe said was that when astronomy was known as astrology, it was science. What we think of today as astrology isn't science.

Of course, that's not quite what he said earlier:

Q I did not take your deposition in the 1500s, correct?

A It seems like that.


Q And I asked you, "Is astrology a theory under that definition?" And you answered, "Is astrology? It could be, yes." Right?

A That's correct.

Q Not, it used to be, right?

A Well, that's what I was thinking. I was thinking of astrology when it was first proposed. I'm not thinking of tarot cards and little mind readers and so on that you might see along the highway. I was thinking of it in its historical sense.

Q I couldn't be a mind reader either.

A I'm sorry?

Q I couldn't be a mind reader either, correct?

A Yes, yes, but I'm sure it would be useful.

Q It would make this exchange go much more quickly.

THE COURT: You'd have to include me, though.

And that's just one little comment. Shortly after that, DS wrote that natural selection is haphazard because:

An organism can be born with a nice beneficial random mutation only to get run over by a bus before getting a chance to reproduce. It’s mostly a matter of luck which non-fatal mutations get fixed in the gene pool.

That is not natural selection. You can argue about neutral drift, if you like, but you cannot conflate it with natural selection. Natural selection is first and foremost an aggregate (emergent) property of a population. That means that while there may be random noise in the system, a pattern emerges. Look at the forest, not the trees. By selecting individuals with one trait to reproduce, nature offers direction: natural selection.

Merry Christmas to all.