Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


Strip Clubs v. Darwinism

posted by David Klinghoffer

With a strange regularity, it happens that readers who haven’t read the subtitle of this blog will object in the comments box that I don’t seem to offer new scientific evidence for intelligent design or against Darwinism. They assume that’s what the blog must be about, since I do often address the worldview implications of those two scientific ideas. The whole importance of the Hebrew Bible, after all, consists of the worldview it teaches.

However, conducting the scientific debate per se on evolution is not what I do. I would have thought that was obvious. There are ample resources out there on the subject — for example, Stephen Meyer’s very important new book, published literally yesterday: Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. But that’s not me.
Yet in responding to one such comment just now, I did recall the first thing I ever wrote on the Darwinism theme. That was back in 1998 in National Review. I thought it was a striking point then and I still do. I located the piece online and reproduce it for you below. The evolutionary logic of things like strip clubs (and one might add homosexuality) still seems very unsatisfying.
Here’s what I wrote 11+ years ago. Does anyone care to help set me straight? What am I missing here? As always, I encourage Darwinist believers to try to stick to the issue rather than simply lashing out with personal insults.

Strip Clubs v. Darwinism

By David Klinghoffer

Materialism can mean buying a $23,000 Rolex. But in a philosophical context it means a world view where only material reality counts, an outlook which denies that human existence has a spiritual component, and certainly denies the religious outlook in which existence is all spirit with material reality thrown in mainly to confuse us. Two famous examples of materialism in ideological form are Marxism and Darwinism, both of which maintain that ultimately life can be explained in terms of molecules bumping up against one another. 

Most of the passionate advocates of Marxism and Darwinism are on college campuses, but you find philosophical materialism elsewhere too. In fact, it would appear to find its perfect expression in the Body Shop, a strip joint on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. But as the silicone-buoyed torsos of the naked women there amply testify, appearances can be deceiving. Here is a mystery for you. 

I visited the Body Shop recently in connection with the bachelor party of an old friend. (I note a defensive tone creeping in here.) Eleven guys were staying in two motel rooms a distance down Sunset. After we had been sitting around and drinking for a while, a collective decision was made to take a walk. We passed the Body Shop (not to be confused with the PC cosmetics chain), and the collectivity decided to go in. I could tell you that I would have preferred to keep walking, which is true, but you probably wouldn’t believe me, so what’s the point? Anyway, I would have seemed like a killjoy if I’d gone back to the motel by myself, and so I paid the $15 cover charge and went in.

More after the jump:

As such places go, the Body Shop is a high-class establishment. In California, a strip joint can feature full nudity only on the condition that no liquor is served. So our group ordered Diet Cokes and Perrier waters and sat down. 

The crowd was impressively sober. There were men alone, men in pairs, here and there a guy with a date, and a disproportionate number of Asians. A respectful hush was maintained throughout–no stamping, hooting, or whistling, which compared favorably with many Manhattan movie theaters. 

The room is mirrored but dark, except for spotlights illuminating the runways. With your fizzy water or soft drink before you, you sit at a curved version of those long, thin tables that panel speakers at conferences sit behind. Between the tables are the runways, so that you face other men while you wait for the girls to go by. 

One by one they emerge from behind a velvet curtain and strut dispassionately down the runway. Flawless in an unreal way and uniformly tanned, their bodies say, “Sex,” but their faces, all masked by the same expression of total boredom, say, “Check, please.” The guys aren’t bored. A couple of Asians seated across and a few feet up from me look on as if stunned, the mouth of one of them hanging open in a way people’s mouths normally do only in cartoons. At the end of the runway, there’s a fire pole, and the girl generally climbs up on the pole and swings around it a couple of times. 

Then she struts back to where she came from, every foot or two bending to pick up the dollar tips which the guys leave next to their ginger ale. If you don’t leave a tip–something one of my companions thought he could get away with–you receive a dressing-down from the stripper. “What’s the matter? You’re not tipping. Hey, that’s the way I make my living.” 

There are two ground rules here. One is, no booze. The other, no touching. Actually, some touching does occur. For $25 you can get a “lap dance” performed on you. As one member of our party explained 15 minutes after setting down that amount for the service, this means you go in a back room with one of the girls and she squirms around on your lap for a while. Don’t get any dirty ideas about this. None of the man’s clothes are removed or unzipped. No hands are employed. One assumes that if the customer takes any liberties, large muscled men, probably with mustaches, are waiting in an adjacent room, ready to swing into immediate action. So you sit there and experience the frustration as it mounts. It appears to be basically a form of self-torture. 

Here is where the mystery comes in. It’s hard to enter the Body Shop a philosophical materialist and exit in the same condition. Obviously, lots of men enjoy gazing at naked girls who are in excellent physical shape. And enough enjoy lap dances to justify strip clubs in offering them. I don’t pretend to ask this question from the perspective of a detached observer. But trying to take as detached a view as possible of human sexual perversity, why do we enjoy this sort of thing? 

Darwinism informs us that every aspect of our physiological being — including the neuron connections in the brain that make men want to visit strip clubs — developed in one way only: random mutations in the gene pool sorted through by natural selection, a process with no intelligence in control but a single criterion guiding it. That criterion is the survival of the human race. Whatever traits increase the chances of survival are retained. Whatever don’t, are dropped. Period. 

Consider a typical example of Darwinian thinking. In a controversial article last fall in The New York Times Magazine, Professor Steven Pinker of MIT tried to explain the evolutionary logic of killing your own newborn baby. Accused baby-killers like the “supposedly callous” Melissa Drexler are only doing what comes naturally. In the course of evolutionary history, primitive women often killed their babies if the babies, for health or other reasons, didn’t seem to have much of a chance of surviving to adulthood. Doing so freed the mothers to concentrate their efforts on raising the healthier children to whom they had given or would give birth, thus increasing the prospects of human survival on the whole. The willingness to commit “neonaticide” was thus selected for by nature and retained. 

That makes a kind of twisted sense (though some of the specifics of Mr. Pinker’s argument have been debunked by Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard). But when it comes to explaining another feature of human makeup, Darwinism runs into a brick wall covered with girlie posters. 

While I was in California, the Los Angeles Times mentioned the passage of a state law against Peeping Toms. Evidently the problem of Peeping Toms is on the rise in the Golden State. An assemblyman from San Diego fought for and got passed a requirement that, for a second Peeping offense, the guilty party receive a year in jail, up from six months previously; to qualify for probation, a convicted Tom must undergo “counseling.” 

I thought about that as I sipped Perrier at the Body Shop. I asked the guy sitting next to me if he was enjoying the show. Yeah, he said, he liked it all right, though not as much as he enjoys the glimpse he’ll now and then catch of a girl across the street from his apartment. Framed by a spotless picture window, she makes her bed each morning in the nude. 

Among forms of human perversity, the sexual kind tends to be the most perverse. Other varieties  – greed, violence — can help propagate the species. Greed can drive a successful career that creates livelihoods for others. War is often necessary to establish long-lasting peace, saving lives in the long run. A Darwinian can explain all of these. However, with exceptions — like adultery — one thing the various forms of sexual perversity have in common is that they add nothing to the prospects for our biological survival. 

Just the opposite, in fact. Voyeurism, pornography, homosexuality have nothing to do with procreation. As a colleague points out, statisticians have found that the best predictor of a healthy heterosexual appetite in men is … an enthusiasm for watching lesbians go at it (a fact of purely scientific interest, he assures me). If you are satisfying your sexual impulse in a way that precludes the creation of new life, then the odds increase that you’re not going to make any babies. The evolution of our desire to do things like go to the Body Shop actually works against the purpose of evolution. 

Of course true believers in Darwinism could respond that voyeurism and pornography function as sexual warm-up exercises, preludes to the main event which heighten the desire for intercourse, thus advancing the goal of procreation. Darwinism is convenient that way. Whatever counterinstances you offer, its devotees will stretch the theory to take them into account, thereby, in their minds, increasing its plausibility. They are a lot like those Freudians who view skepticism toward their own ideology as a form of “resistance,” a neurotic symptom confirming the need for psychoanalysis. In the hard sciences such elasticity in a theory is generally regarded as a fatal flaw, not a strength. In this case, practically speaking, it happens that voyeurism and pornography are almost invariably substitutes for sexual intercourse. And this leaves aside homosexual activity, which by definition can’t lead to procreation. 

In Darwinian terms, sexual perversity just doesn’t compute. And for a totalizing ideology that claims to illuminate the origin of everything that we are as human beings, that’s troubling. One version or another of Darwin’s theory is the only even halfway convincing materialistic explanation anyone has proposed as to how man appeared on earth as he is. If there is one aspect o
f our makeup that didn’t come about by evolution, and this certainly sounds like one, then that opens the door to the possibility of a non-natural — that is, supernatural — explanation. So add perverse sexual desires to the lengthening list of things that Darwinism can’t make sense of today and probably never will, from cell structure to the fossil record. 

But there needn’t be any mystery here. After all, God made day and He made night. He set our impulses in us, good and evil. If we have the desire to indulge less-than-elevated instincts, the responsibility is ultimately His. If we go ahead and indulge them, it’s ours. He made the conditions for the existence of something like the Body Shop. If I pay the cover charge, in a metaphysical sense, it comes out of my wallet. 

Mr. Klinghoffer is NR‘s literary editor.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 11:06 am


David, if you’d ever bothered to try to understand Darwinian evolution, instead of trying to cherry-pick quotes, you would know that “reproductive success” does not necessarily mean “maximizing the number of individual offspring”.
Don’t you know about social insects? Paper wasps have two broods–the first set of daughters helps the mother raise the second set, the reproductives.
Worker ants don’t have children of their own. They raise the reproductive castes, their sisters.
When slaver ants capture foreign workers, those workers take care of the slaver queen’s children–who are not even the same species as them!
By your caricature of Darwinism, none of these behaviors make any sense.
Worker ants are made by the genes that make queen ants. Worker ants improve their own success by improving their mothers’.
Likewise if you die in your sister’s defense, or share your food with her, you have improved your own reproductive success, because she shares half your genes.
Genes can’t do everything on their own. Much depends on environment. You may have the genes to be 7 ft tall, but if you don’t get enough to eat you won’t grow to that height.
Humans have intelligence and culture. This means that a lot of our “genetic programming” can be circumvented. Genes are not little puppet masters pulling our strings. They build our bodies and our brains, and those bodies and brains have enough flexibility that we can cope with conditions different from those we evolved for.
For many species this isn’t true. Koalas can’t eat anything but eucalyptus and can’t choose differently. Pandas can’t do anything about their inadequate digestive systems. But the benefits outweigh the costs. When the environment changes and that is no longer true, they will go extinct, if they cannot evolve quickly enough to keep up.
Salmon put no effort into raising their young, they just lay thousands of eggs and a few of them will make it. Mammals raise much fewer young, but put a great deal of effort into their care. But what happens to cubs that lose their mothers?
They are different strategies, each with its own tradeoffs.
Specialization can be a successful strategy, and so can generalizing.
Humans as a species are very successful, because of the flexibility our genes have given us. Sometimes we do stupid or self-destructive things, but on the whole the benefits of our flexibility, as far as reproductive success goes, outweighs costs like strip clubs.
If we develop a religion that requires us to commit suicide before puberty, we will go extinct, and the flexibility built by our genes will have doomed us. So?
Do you think Darwinists think no species can go extinct?
You argue with straw men and caricatures, not the thing itself.



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Leight

posted June 24, 2009 at 11:10 am


…lust…



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Jason

posted June 24, 2009 at 11:37 am


Wow…. I don’t even know where to begin.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm


Let’s go back to slaver ants. This is a way bigger “failure” than strip clubs.
Men in strip clubs might be wasting their genes’ time, but slave ant workers are aiding their mortal enemies. How does Darwinism deal with that?
Slave ants hatch out in the slaver nest, and go about their work just like they would for their own queen. Why don’t they refuse to work? Why don’t they eat the slaver eggs instead of tending them?
Every slaver queen is descended from successful slaver queens. But slave workers are dead ends. Slaver ants do not take queens as slaves, and worker ants do not reproduce. So how can their genes “know” how to rebel against the slavers? Genes are just proteins that build bodies. Worker ant bodies are very simple, built to fight and do work and with just enough brain and senses to let them do that. Workers can’t know if they are slaves or not. Their genes cannot produce a way to tell them, because workers cannot reproduce their genes under slave conditions. Workers only reproduce their genes when they are working for their own queen.
Now slave ants might evolve ways to fight very hard against slave raids–but once the slave eggs are taken and hatched out in the slaver nest, natural selection has no “handle” by which to operate.
Now if QUEENS were taken as slaves and forced to reproduce more slave workers in the slaver nest, they might evolve ways to resist slavery, once they had become slaves. But queens are not taken as slaves.
If the sun went out tomorrow their is no species,including ours, that would not go extinct in short order. Why didn’t we evolve defenses? Because when such things happen, its GAME OVER. NOTHING survives to reproduce, and natural selection cannot prepare species for events that leave no survivors that can reproduce. Maybe one day humans will figure out how to survive such a catastrophe, but it will not be because our genes prepared us, except by making us smart and flexible–and Stone Age technology humans would die no matter smart and flexible.
Why is God–oh, all right, THE DESIGNER–given a free pass to create imperfect beings when He gets to start from a blank slate every time, but natural selection, which has no will or foresight and has to work with whatever it already has, always has to explain everything?
David, why don’t you explain to us why “THE DESIGNER” gave pandas such inadequate stomachs for digesting the only food they eat? Why don’t you explain to us why all organisms seem to use DNA to carry genetic information instead of one of the many other chemicals which could certainly do the job? Why don’t you explain why no mammal or bird has four limbs AND wings–if they have wings they have to modify two limbs? You can’t, that’s why, and you don’t even attempt to.
In the Extended Phenotype Dawkins describes experiments to test the “evolutionarily stable strategy” concept. They developed computer simulations of digger wasp behavior, watched digger wasps behavior for a year to collect data, and found the simulations to come out similarly to what they observed.
NOBODY at DI does anything like that. You can’t replace something with nothing.



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Glen Davidson

posted June 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm


So, uh, David, did strip clubs exist during much of our millions of years of hominin evolution?
See the thing is, you’re attacking a scientific theory while barely knowing anything about it. Evolution is about fitting the environment, and no one who does understand it thinks that our sexual proclivities evolved to increase reproductive success in modern urban strip clubs. In other words, why don’t you learn something about it before showing how really ignorant you are of it?

However, conducting the scientific debate per se on evolution is not what I do. I would have thought that was obvious.

Yes, who does? All you guys ever do is take potshots at what you don’t understand, including people who should know better, like Behe.

There are ample resources out there on the subject

Enough to show that none of you has any capacity to deal with the issues, particularly lacking in ability to explain what evolution explains handily.
Your article is just pathetic, indicating what an ignorant set of beliefs your anti-evolutionism really is. Meyer demonstrates his ignorance in other ways, especially by avoiding issues like explaining why Archaeopteryx is “poorly designed” just as you’d expect for a reptilian body partly modified into avian flight functionality.
If you ever have something meaningful to say about evolution, I’m sure we’ll listen. Trying to shunt off the scientific concerns you raise to an ignorant piece of junk written by an anti-science flack is a complete abrogation of your responsibility to write meaningful articles.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



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Glen Davidson

posted June 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm


In Darwinian terms, sexual perversity just doesn’t compute. And for a totalizing ideology that claims to illuminate the origin of everything that we are as human beings, that’s troubling.

By the way, if you’re focusing on the “worldview,” you’re as pathetic at understanding “Darwinism” that way as you and Meyer are at understanding the science.
The importance of evolution, vs. ID, is that it is limited. Indeed, why doesn’t ID explain strip clubs, since presumably the “designer” would, completely unlike Darwinian selection, be capable of foreseeing strip clubs?
Oh, that’s right, ID always denies any reasonable design expectations, since these simply don’t exist in nature.
The fact is that if you claim to be a journalist, you’re a completely inadequate one, as you never learn enough to properly cover your topic, at least not when it’s evolution.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



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Stripper Hacks

posted June 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm


There is no such thing as perversion. While we’re at it, there really is no such thing as day or night either. I’m curious as to why you let societal pressures lure you into a strip club. Or was that an excuse? There are quite a few bachelors who have golf parties or go go-cart racing with no strippers involved.
I actually agree and disagree that places like the Body Shop are counter productive to evolution. Some men go to clubs on the off chance that they will be able to practice procreation with one of the dancers. Wishful thinking. Most men would if they could. So it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that societal pressures don’t allow them to. Which also is a belief that is based on misinformation.
Societal pressures condemn men from acting like men so procreation is not all that likely.



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Your Name

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm


According to this article
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ar50112a001
optimal functioning does exist in nature.



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Clasqm

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm


The theory of evolution (there is no such thing as “Darwinism”, except in the minds of ID apologists. Today’s biologists never read Darwin any more than today’s physicists read Newton) explains how biological organisms, over the course of many generations change in order to adapt to their environment. Full stop. End of story.
It is not the Grand Theory of Everything that can be pulled out of the bag whenever it is convenient. It does not exist to explain anything anyone wants to explain and it is not refuted by “shouting “Look, here is something completely unrelated that it does not explain!”
Strip clubs are part of the environment. Come back in a million years and we may well have evolved to take that part of our environment in our stride.
But there is a recent spin-off of evolutionary theory that you could take on if you like, that is vulnerable to exactly the point you are trying to make here. It is called memetics and it was proposed by your favourite (…not!) biologist Richard Dawkins. Have fun.



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Your Name

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm


Moreover, engineers are spending a lot of time now looking at organisms to get ideas on designing stuff. For example, the bumps on a humpback whales fins allow for optimal flow of water. the box fish is being copied by car designers because it is so well streamlined.



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Your Name

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm


Could you try to use the words Darwinism and Marxism in the same sentence a couple of more times? Some people may miss your meaning.
It’s good of you to ask Darwinists to not lash out with insults after you unjustly try to associate them with Marxists. Your style seems to be to write an article filled with nothing but innuendo, and then take umbrage if anyone returns in kind.



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Glen Davidson

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm


Moreover, engineers are spending a lot of time now looking at organisms to get ideas on designing stuff. For example, the bumps on a humpback whales fins allow for optimal flow of water. the box fish is being copied by car designers because it is so well streamlined.

That’s right, we copy functionality.
Why doesn’t nature do the same? Why are vertebrate wings always modifications of terrestrial forelimbs, and never modified wings of unrelated organisms?
There’s an obvious answer, and it starts with “e.”
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



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Your Name

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm


Someone said that nature never showd optimal functioning. Tunrs out it does.



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Your Name

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm


Accoring to this article:
http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/volume98/issue10/evolution/
the electron transfer chain in the mitochondria in our cells has a self-correcting mechanism that is very hard to explain in evolutionary terms.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm


the electron transfer chain in the mitochondria in our cells has a self-correcting mechanism that is very hard to explain in evolutionary terms.
The old standby-the Argument from Personal Incredulity. “If I can’t figure out how it evolved, then it is impossible that it evolved”.
Even if I accepted your characterization of the content of the article, that does not prove that it COULD NOT have evolved.
Maybe you can’t figure out how they got the cream filling inside the Twinkie, does that make it a miracle?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm


Someone said that nature never showd optimal functioning. Tunrs out it does.
Yeah, who was that? Nobody commenting here said that.
What I said was that there are many instances of Nature showing SUBoptimal functioning. Does the Designer work in a union shop?
Sharks, for example, don’t seem much in need of improvement to do what they do.



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Unapologetic Catholic

posted June 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm


David says this:
“However, conducting the scientific debate per se on evolution is not what I do. I would have thought that was obvious.”
Yes it is. It renders the entire rest of the article streamn of consciousness B.S. I have read better stream of conscisuness B.S. from high school sophomores.
But sometimes you actually stray into assertions of fact.
Two famous examples of materialism in ideological form are Marxism and Darwinism, both of which maintain that ultimately life can be explained in terms of molecules bumping up against one another.
Darwin never said any such thing. Got any scholarly support for this assertion?
Darwinism informs us that every aspect of our physiological being — including the neuron connections in the brain that make men want to visit strip clubs — developed in one way only: random mutations in the gene pool sorted through by natural selection, a process with no intelligence in control but a single criterion guiding it.
Another false and unsupported statement. Evolution makes no such assertion.
“In Darwinian terms, sexual perversity just doesn’t compute.”
You made that up. It’s not true.



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Michael

posted June 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm


I do not agree with the assumption that an acceptance of evolution by natural selection (ENS) necessarily implies materialism. On the contrary, I know of many scientists of deep and abiding faith (I was one of them) who completely accept ENS and yet do not experience cognitive dissonance. Properly understood, faith (specifically the Judeo-Christian faith) is unable to advance our knowledge of physical reality. At the same time, science is likewise unable to make the distinction between good and evil, God or no-God, or whether those who attend “the Body Shop” are behaving immorally.
To be more specific, the epistimological limits of both science and faith simply do not overlap.
Cheers,



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freelunch

posted June 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm


Mr. Klinghoffer-
I find it remarkable that you would even offer an opinion about science or its nature given your demonstrated ignorance about what scientists have discovered or what the theory of evolution predicts.
In the future, please learn something about a subject before you attack it.



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freelunch

posted June 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm


By the way, why do you recommend a book written by someone with no experience or expertise in the field. Are you conversant enough about the material to make an informed judgment?
Would you feel offended if someone recommended a book that is highly critical of the religions that rely on the Hebrew Scriptures when the person neither understands ancient Hebrew nor is familiar with any of the treatises written about these Scriptures?



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Turmarion

posted June 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm


David: With a strange regularity, it happens that readers who haven’t read the subtitle of this blog will object in the comments box that I don’t seem to offer new scientific evidence for intelligent design or against Darwinism.
From this and the comment on the other thread, I get that you’re talking worldview implications, not science per se. That’s all right. I think that it is legitimate to criticize science from the point of view of philosophical considerations, in some cases. For example, I myself would argue that a reductionist, materialist view of the human mind is incorrect since the mind apprehends things (such as mathematical truths) that are objectively real, but immaterial.
To do such a criticism, however, two things are necessary. One, you have to have a good understanding of the philosophical issues involved, and two, you have to have a reasonable grasp on the science. As Gabriel and Glen and others have pointed out time and again, your understanding of the science is, to say the least, wanting. Unfortunately, your claims about the meaning of God’s “image” lead me to believe you have some issues with the philosophical side, as well. If you’re going to critique the science, make sure you’ve got the science right, at least to the extent that you speak of it, and make sure you have theology and philosophy correct, too, since even other Jewish sources disagree with your interpretation of Genesis.
Darwinism informs us that every aspect of our physiological being — including the neuron connections in the brain that make men want to visit strip clubs — developed in one way only: random mutations in the gene pool sorted through by natural selection…
You ought to go back and read my posts over here on the concept of “randomness”.
But there needn’t be any mystery here. After all, God made day and He made night. He set our impulses in us, good and evil. If we have the desire to indulge less-than-elevated instincts, the responsibility is ultimately His.
I must give David kudos here for pointing out something that theists usually like to avoid–see also this: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7, KJV) However, this makes the mysterium iniquitatis (“mystery of evil”) no less mysterious. Why, for example, does God set the yetzer ha-ra` (“emil impulse”) in us to begin with? Or, to use Christian terminology, why did He allow Original Sin, when He certainly knew what would happen?
Tomes of theology could be (and have been) written on this, but I won’t go into that. All I’m saying is that a supposedly omnibenovolent and omnipotent God who makes creatures He knows will misbehave, and then takes them to task for it isn’t necessarily any more sensible than sociobiological explanations (not that it can’t be a both/and situation). Understand, I’m a Christian myself, and I think such issues can be dealt with, if not explained. I’m just taking issue with David’s seemingly blithe comparison of “illogical” evolutionary explanations with “obvious, sensible” theological explanations. Plenty of people have rejected theisitc religions over the question of evil.



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Your Name

posted June 24, 2009 at 9:30 pm


Gabriel
“Chakrabarti and Rabitz analyzed these observations of the proteins’ behavior from a mathematical standpoint, concluding that it would be statistically impossible for this self-correcting behavior to be random, and demonstrating that the observed result is precisely that predicted by the equations of control theory. By operating only at extremes, referred to in control theory as “bang-bang extremization,” the proteins were exhibiting behavior consistent with a system managing itself optimally under evolution.”
the paper uses the term “impossible” not “unknown”.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 10:22 pm


the paper uses the term “impossible” not “unknown”.
That’s their opinion. They have to prove it.
the proteins were exhibiting behavior consistent with a system managing itself optimally under evolution.
So how does it contradict evolution? That is your point right, that it couldn’t have evolved? But the part you quoted says it DID.
Or is your point that some natural systems behave optimally? No one but you pretended that anyone said differently.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 10:27 pm


“Our new theory extends Darwin’s model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness.”
This is from the article you claim proves something couldn’t have evolved. Did you even read it?
Here is some more:
“In this paper, we present what is ostensibly the first quantitative experimental evidence, since Wallace’s original proposal, that nature employs evolutionary control strategies to maximize the fitness of biological networks,” Chakrabarti said. “Control theory offers a direct explanation for an otherwise perplexing observation and indicates that evolution is operating according to principles that every engineer knows.”
The scientists do not know how the cellular machinery guiding this process may have originated, but they emphatically said it does not buttress the case for intelligent design, a controversial notion that posits the existence of a creator responsible for complexity in nature.
They are talking about error-correction mechanisms. they are not talking about something that couldn’t have evolved.
Like Klinghoffer, you don’t read something, you cherry-pick two words out of an article that says the opposite of what you claim it does.
Does God tell you its okay to lie?



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Glen Davidson

posted June 24, 2009 at 10:50 pm


Gabriel, it looks to me like “Your Name” read that it was impossible for the optimization to be due to random effects, which apparently is what he thinks evolution is.
Because of that, and a poor command of science in general, he missed the obvious conclusion of the quoted paragraph, which is that instead of it being random, it was due to evolutionary pressures.
Then too, do creationists (including IDists) ever read the science properly?
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



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Olorin

posted June 24, 2009 at 11:36 pm


“Mr. Klinghoffer is NR’s literary editor.”
Thank heaven he isd not the science editor. Viz:
“Darwinism informs us that every aspect of our physiological being — including the neuron connections in the brain that make men want to visit strip clubs — developed in one way only: random mutations in the gene pool sorted through by natural selection, a process with no intelligence in control but a single criterion guiding it. That criterion is the survival of the human race.”
he must have heard that from his fellow creationist Stephen Meyer. Certainly no biologist would have said that.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 11:41 pm


Glen, what burns me up is how these people spend two seconds studying something and then claim they can immediately see things that make experts obviously wrong, and they don’t know experts have been studying those things for decades.
I don’t know if creationists are STILL saying that evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. Probably they still are. But they don’t know KNOW anything about the 2nd law–if they did, they would realize that refrigerators and snowflakes do exactly the same thing that they claim the 2nd law prohibits evolution from doing. But rather than ask themselves what they must be missing, if the 2nd law is so “obviously” wrong that it can’t handle ice and snowflakes, they assume scientists just never noticed.
The 2nd law is nearly in its third century. If it really was contradicted by simple things like refrigerators and snowflakes and evolution, wouldn’t we have noticed by now?
Saying the second law of thermodynamics forbids evolution is exactly like saying the law of gravitation forbids helium balloons and airplanes. But I have heard very similar nonsense from people who just knew that physicists were obviously stupid and had never thought about what they studied for 400 years.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 11:48 pm


Certainly no biologist would have said that.
Olorin, you are technically right here. But in the mid-twentieth century a lot of biologists were saying that natural selection can produce adaptations “for the good of the species”. (They never said that was the ONLY thing it produced adaptations for, and Klinghoffer has clearly done no serious study of the subject. He has relied solely and second- and third-hand characterizations that distort the subject out of recognition.) When that kind of statement gets filtered through BBC nature documentaries and the like it’s easy to get that impression. A lot of people will tell you that’s what evolution does. They’ll also tell you Darwin said man came from monkeys, and that the City of New York needs to raise money by auctioning the Brooklyn Bridge.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 25, 2009 at 12:27 am


So here’s an example of why “good of the species” doesn’t work.
A female mammal, like a walrus, can only bear so many children in her lifetime. A male mammal, on the other hand, can sire hundreds. So, for “the good of the species”, why isn’t the sex ratio 1:10 in favor of females? After all, there is one alpha male with a harem, and the other 9/10 males are trying to consume as much food as possible so that they can get strong enough to become an alpha male themselves, but the majority will never reproduce. They are basically a waste of food.
Assume then that somehow this does work out, and every female gives birth to 10 females for every male. But now sons become much more valuable, genetically. A female child is going to produce, say, 5 – 10 offspring when she is old enough to reproduce, but a male child is going to sire hundreds of offspring. So any female who produces more sons than the average is going find her genes dominating the pool in short order. The same argument applies if females become fewer than males; the advantage would shift to producing females.
And so you get a 50/50 sex ratio, approximately, even when you’ve got one bull with a harem of twenty and nine males unable to reproduce. Natural selection doesn’t “know” anything about “the good of the species”.
Social insects have a unique sexual system and so their sex ratios tend more toward 3/4, but that’s because males get only their mother’s genes, and females get genes from both parents.
Did ID ever try to answer these questions with math or computers? No.



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leora

posted June 25, 2009 at 2:22 am


This just makes me think of how Richard Feynman used to hang out in a strip club and work out science problems… maybe that kinda proves your point about how not-very-sexy they are. Cute article.



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Ted Herrlich

posted June 25, 2009 at 10:13 am


I guess David is a true believer in the adage that if you repeat yourself often enough, people will believe something is fact.
“Materialism . . . in a philosophical context it means a world view where only material reality counts, an outlook which denies that human existence has a spiritual component, and certainly denies the religious outlook in which existence is all spirit with material reality thrown in mainly to confuse us. Two famous examples of materialism in ideological form are Marxism and Darwinism, both of which maintain that ultimately life can be explained in terms of molecules bumping up against one another. ”
The first thing he does is define Materialism. I don’t have a problem with that definition. It’s a re-statement, but one I think is pretty accurate, the definition of materialism in the philosophical sense of the word. However I disagree with Marxism and Darwinism [you already know of my issues with the term 'Darwinism'] are examples of materialism.
‘Darwinism’, or more accurately the Theory of Evolution, is part of the science of Biology. Biology, like all natural sciences use a philosophy of methodological naturalism. In other words it does not assume that nature is all there is; it notes that nature is the only objective standard we have. Supernaturalism is not ruled out a priori; it is left out because it has never been reliably observed.
Anyone else here see the difference that David can’t seem to grasp? The whole concept of the Supernatural being deliberately left out because it cannot be tested, it is not objective, it is not predictable! This does not make Evolution an example of the philosophy of materialism. There is nothing in the Theory of Evolution that denies spirituality, nothing!
Here is where I think David makes his underlying mistake. Many people’s belief system attributes specific action to a Deity. People once believed that God brought the rain, good harvests, the sun rose because of God’s will, the Earth was flat, the sun revolved around the Earth, lightning was Zeus’ weapon of choice or God playing Nine-Pins. What science has done is offer natural explanations for many of the phenomena that used to be attributed by God.
We have learned so much and we have use these natural science explanations to do so much. But David can’t keep from putting God in a tiny box and his way of keeping God in that box is to attribute specific actions and deny a whole branch of science because it doesn’t fit in David’s box. He does this not by proving that the science is incorrect, but by making snippy comments, like defining Evolution as materialism and telling you how bad Materialism is . . . oh and gee since Evolution is materialism, it must be bad. He also does it by using the pejorative ‘Darwinism’, which while an accepted use of the word to describe Evolution from Darwin’s point of view in ENGLAND, here in the US only people with an ax to grind against the Theory of Evolution use it. David isn’t from England is he?
Oh and if you haven’t clicked on the link to his article and missed the Strip Club reference, let’s just say that David went to a club in LA and claims he went in because he didn’t want to be a party-pooper (he was with a group) and while he was there he spent the entire time framing the visit in terms of why ‘Darwinism’ is a bad thing. Sure David, sure! And you never inhaled either?
He did this with his usual brand of less-than-subtle jabs with his other little diatribe to convince you that Evolution leads to racism. Funny has David never commented on the killing of Dr George Tiller? It would be easy to miss, after all David posts a lot but seems to say very little. He just keeps re-hashing on a tired theme.



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windbender

posted June 25, 2009 at 11:19 am


“If you are satisfying your sexual impulse in a way that precludes the creation of new life…then…our desire to do things like go to the Body Shop actually works against the purpose of evolution.”
Only if you never come back out.
Very self-limiting view, David. I’m rather surprised, I must say.



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Turmarion

posted June 25, 2009 at 1:12 pm


Excellent post, Ted.
I would ask David directly, in this light: Are you willing at least to consider that there is a difference between philosophical or metaphysical materialism, on the one hand, and methodological materialism (which does not deny or exclude the supernatural) on the other? And if not, why not?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm


What’s the point of asking David anything directly? Look how engaged he’s been in these discussions. He flings some feces in the beginning, and then just makes snarky comments later and elsewhere.



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freelunch

posted June 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm


My question for critics of methodological naturalism is: What do you propose to use instead? Other methods have been tried and failed, sometimes in spectacular fashion. What method is an improvement?



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Glen Davidson

posted June 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm


However, conducting the scientific debate per se on evolution is not what I do. I would have thought that was obvious. There are ample resources out there on the subject — for example, Stephen Meyer’s very important new book, published literally yesterday: Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design.
If anyone wants to see how “very important” Meyer’s rehash of old and useless “ID arguments” is, here’s a preview:
http://browseinside.harpercollins.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061472787&WT.mc_id=REFLH1_PUB_SignatureintheCell_061809
Needless to say, it’s underwhelming. It’s a long dreary story of how he came up with his “new argument” (DNA’s complex, so god did it) for ID, complete with the usual false claims about ID, and the false dichotomy that if evolution didn’t do it, god did, never mind the lack of any indications for intelligent design. He doesn’t even bring up actual evidence for “intelligent design,” merely relying on the old anthropocentric fallacy of assuming that functionality is design, or at least that it “looks like” design. From p. 12:

…Natural selection…, a purely undirected process that nevertheless mimicked the powers of a designing intelligence.

That is exactly the kind of nonsense that we’re always getting from these clowns, mainly because they either are too ignorant to face the rather large differences between design, or they know better than to do so, and wish to simply conflate evolutionary effects with “design effects,” the better to ignore the crucial evidence for evolution that design never has explained at all.
Evolution can’t possibly mimic what design can do. It can’t pick the best materials for a purpose, it can’t come up with truly novel characteristics in organisms, it can’t make the rational leaps that designers routinely effect, and so it can’t produce a steam engine or a decent wheel. Evolution can’t smelt metals, use fire, make rockets, or make vertebrate wings out of anything but terrestrial limbs.
Meyer has no interest in dealing with the real issues, in other words. Indeed, most of his polemic is aimed at the origin of life, and of the genetic code. Is the latter a largely unexplained matter in evolution? I believe it is, although there are hints in life of a time in which the code was not so rigidly followed, and in fact it may be that a number of evolutionary events needed a less rigid code. But then does Meyer explain how and why additional (apparently later evolved) amino acids, like pyrrolysine, co-opt a stop codon for coding?
No, apparently not. It’s not interesting, he just wants to say that if events happening perhaps billions of years ago are not explained, then evolution falls apart. He needn’t explain what evolutionary theory does, goddidit is all the “explanation” that is needed. Evidence for design isn’t needed, because life “looks designed,” something that even many ancients didn’t believe–hence the magical and reproductive myths accounting for what was decidedly unmachinelike.
He writes very misleading junk like this (p. 396–context complicates this, but I don’t want to write it all out):

…[Critics] do not [typically] dispute that DNA contains specified information, or that this type of information always comes from a mind…

They likely would, if Meyer wasn’t simply begging the question by assuming exactly what he needs to prove. And of course many do disagree with it strenuously and with evidence, but he’s not going to address those matters, just the “critics” he’s blabbing to usually don’t know enough to do more than to invoke authorities.
And from the same paragraph (p. 397):

Nor do they even dispute my characterization of the historical scientific method or that I followed it in formulating my case for intelligent design as the best explanation for the evidence.

Again, of course, he’s still writing about critics selected for their lack of addressing the issues minutely and in detail (in talks, not in writing where his egregious claptrap is well demonstrated to be nonsense). But of course he didn’t in the slightest follow proper scientific procedure of carefully matching up identifiable cause with identifiable effect, he simply used the false dilemma of “if evolution hasn’t explained it, god did it.”
By the way, he often uses Dembski as a reliable source, when his pseudoscientific writings have been thoroughly skewered. Most notably, because Dembski doesn’t rely upon empirical data for his calculations, and he insists upon very specific targets in evolution. The fact that he calls what is simple, “complexity,” obviously is meant to conflate our often simple creations with the very complex and undesign-like structures of life, and is an egregious misuse of language.
As far as I can tell, from the limited text and the index, he does not come up with even the usual ridiculous claims of “falsifiability” of ID that Cornelius Hunter promised (if not with those denotations and connotations). Apparently the naive conflation of functionality and design that many have made is enough “evidence” of design for Meyer, and he doesn’t need to do the science needed to actually shore up his claims.
Well, those were the most obvious inanities, fallacies, and unsound reasoning that I saw in the preview. It’s the usual bit of nonsense coming from the DI people, barely different from the worthless propaganda that we’ve already seen.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



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k

posted June 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm


i’m surprised this b.s. was even put here to begin with.
the fact the guy who wrote this article even visited such a place which is for nothing more than wh*res and the scumbags that visit such a place, makes the whole article bs.



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freelunch

posted June 25, 2009 at 3:20 pm


There’s a whole genre of confessional titillating trash. Nothing new it that. What is new is the ability to draw such a mistaken conclusion from behavior that isn’t limited to humans. Apparently Mr. Klinghoffer has never had a dog hump his shin or even seen or heard about it happening.



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Let us Pray

posted June 25, 2009 at 4:30 pm


I will pray for fellow ” K ”
Such a perfect example of all that is negative and unintellegant!
Perfect representation of judgement, fear, envy, anger, control and ingnorance.
Blogger ” K ” I pray for you today!



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Your Name

posted June 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm


I am inspired and proud to see how we have come as human beings.
With the obvious presence of human mind and invention, which raise our existance stiving for optiumum proformance.
“Working Harder not Smarter” or “Working Smarter not Harder” .. ?
” The Chicken or the Egg? ” .. ?
“Spiritual or Physical” … ?
“Need or Want?”
“Life or to Live? ..Suicide or Death?”
The sexual connection to intercoausre is basic. Have Sex = Reproduce causing baby or creation to another being.
If there was no Sex = Death no life.
Unsafe Sex = Death for Violation of Health.
Physical or psycological.
What does it have such an impact?



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Turmarion

posted June 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm


I fear you’re right, Gabriel, but one never knows.
As to methodological materialism, all of us are methodological materialists 99% of the time in daily life. If I come down with a cold or have my car break down or if my computer crashes, I don’t attribute these things to the wrath of God, the malice of Satan, or generic gremlins, sprites, and automotive and computer spirits. I assume there is a material cause (germs, bad alternator, computer virus) and act accordingly (go to doctor, or mechanic, or computer technician). Certainly, while prayer is never inappropriate, I wouldn’t expect it to fix a flat, reboot my computer, or (unless I were a Christian Scientist) heal my illness without material actions!



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Your Name

posted June 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm


Blooger K is a good example of negative feelings and effects on to others that trigger their motivation for action.
It takes the effort which strives for energy that blogger K made me,
and independant, intellegent, offcial office employeed, conservative Independant category of person now wanting to join a cause FOR Strip Clubs. I want to be a part of the expansion and growth for the human mind. In quest for the happiest, healty menatlly and physcially society for ALL!
ALl for Nudity, sexuallity, Art and Expression NEED total FREEDOM!!!



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Agreement with REAL TRUTH

posted June 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm


I agree and want to thank blogger “your name” and “Let us Pray”
Blogger ” K ”
It is ok to have your opinopns and views. Glad you shared even though you lack anything I would strive to be.
I pray for your suffering to end. Find peace with your true self. Allow your spirit to be free and not judge others and yourself. It’s ok to be in “places” you fear because God is near and he is there!
Jesus did not hang on the cross by nails but it was LOVE that nailed him to the cross!



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The only MATERIAL is LIFE

posted June 25, 2009 at 5:15 pm


Material crates life!
If no need or desire,
One would deacease and expire,
With out passion would come decay,
How empty life would be with pain,
Plaseure is great and beautiful,
Nudity is Virginaity,
The most virgin state to purity,
Purity to the vunerable soul,
Like the clothes to a naked body,
The material the textile knits,
Represent the reason for the Minds confusion,
Create the problem to identifyu and categorize!
XOXO



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Godless Darwinian... Marx was right too (current economy is the case in point)

posted June 25, 2009 at 5:38 pm


Hello Mr. Klinghoffer
I am happy to see Darwinism being talked about! I would really like to push you Mr. Klinghoffer to expand upon some of your comments and explore evolutionary theory a bit more. Below are some problems with your argument. I do not have time right now to produce a lengthy reply, so I have provided resorces for you.
I was personally offended by your view towards sex workers and hope you do consider them your equal.
1) The process of evolution by natural selection is not random and is actually bond to happen under the right conditions. I have attached an article to explain.
http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/dawkins_explains_evolution/
2) The fact that men like to sit in bars or clubs and watch naked women and women like to sit in bars and clubs naked men on stage may be a “by-product” of our evolved brain. Our environment effects behavior, which is what Pinker and all people who understand evolution are saying.
3)Not all actions result from the black and white need to procreate. Group Selection can explain this! Please read into it!!! Link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_selection
4)The belief that “god” or “God” created everything is much more flexible than Darwinism. Please be consistent. To understand what can and can not be proved please look into Karl Poppers idea of Falsifiability.
5) porn and voyeurism can be explained through evolutionary terms as you kind of did above. Please look into a book The Evolution of Desire by David Buss to understand more of what you are talking about.
6) you say “If you are satisfying your sexual impulse in a way that precludes the creation of new life, then the odds increase that you’re not going to make any babies. The evolution of our desire to do things like go to the Body Shop actually works against the purpose of evolution.” Do you know how much semen are produced by human males in a day? This is faulty logic in the sense that you are saying the alternative to going to a strip club is having sex, not true!But What if I get really turned on at a strip club and this make me go home to my girl friend or wife and have sex, then the strip club helps me procreate (this is stupid I know, but no less then your statement).
7)You say “So add perverse sexual desires to the lengthening list of things that Darwinism can’t make sense of today and probably never will, from cell structure to the fossil record.” Cell structure and the fossil record? Please explain because I don’t know what you are referring to.
8) Homosexuality can be explained from an evolutionary perspective. check it out!!! http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13674-evolution-myths-natural-selection-cannot-explain-homosexuality.html
9) Darwinism and Freudian thought are different. Freud was left behind while Darwin keeps on adding.
Please remember that your genes do not have intent! Please do not fill in God between the gaps of knowledge. Assuming makes an ass out you and me!



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Value of Material to Man's Survival

posted June 25, 2009 at 5:40 pm


Need and Wants.
Man wants to Live.
Wants create Value.
Wants suppy Demand.
Demand can be a Desire.
Desire of man represented in Freudism,
“What’s on a man’s mind?”
The picture simple and clear.
Sex sold as a material is sterotypical;
but not possible.
If a society of freedom and morals;
where upheld.
Can an act be packaged sold and bought.
Is it slavery when a willing sells themselves for survival in choosing stripping as a living…. ? …
Actors and actresses alike entertain for a living,
Subject themselves to the segregated society for our pleasure.
The pleasre found drives the value which drives the demand which creates the motivation to the action which starts the end and beginning of a problem. Where it will never be a perfect society.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm


Evolution can’t possibly mimic what design can do. It can’t pick the best materials for a purpose, it can’t come up with truly novel characteristics in organisms, it can’t make the rational leaps that designers routinely effect, and so it can’t produce a steam engine or a decent wheel. Evolution can’t smelt metals, use fire, make rockets, or make vertebrate wings out of anything but terrestrial limbs.
This is dead on.
Remember how inn the 40′s and 50′s we went from prop planes to jet planes.
If natural selection worked on planes, this is what would have to happen:
Only one tiny change at a time (such as the placement or size of a screw, or the thickness or length of a piece of sheet metal)
Each tiny change has to make the plane fly BETTER.
Working under these constraints, how could you possibly get a jet plane? You might get a really good prop plane; maybe even the best possible, but the difference between the two kinds of propulsion is a greater leap than evolution could make.



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freelunch

posted June 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm


Working under these constraints, how could you possibly get a jet plane? You might get a really good prop plane; maybe even the best possible, but the difference between the two kinds of propulsion is a greater leap than evolution could make.
Which is why there are so many workable kluges that would never have been done by a designer who actually knew what he was doing. If there is a designer (something completely unsupported by the evidence), he is ignorant.



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Ted Herrlich

posted June 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm


Gabriel Hanna,
I am not sure I agree with you with “Working under these constraints, how could you possibly get a jet plane? You might get a really good prop plane; maybe even the best possible, but the difference between the two kinds of propulsion is a greater leap than evolution could make.”
Oh we certainly wouldn’t have gone from props to jets in 10 years, but how about a hundred thousand?
Think of natural selection on one aspect of a prop plane, the potential for damage to the prop. I see the prop mutating to be smaller and smaller. A smaller prop would increase survival. I could even see the prop getting put inside a cowling for even more protection. The cowling could also be used to help generate more thrust. You might look at the history of the jet engine and not only look at what increments the inventors went through, but what they were trying to accomplish with each increment.
Remember the purpose of a propeller is not to drive air across the wing, but to provide a means of forward thrust so the entire wing has air running over and under it.
The mutations toward a faster thrust could be a reproduction advantage . .but let’s not start thinking about airplane reproduction. I think Merry Melodies or Loony Tunes took care of that in a cartoon.
But the Natural Selection toward providing more thrust is not beyond the imagination, not at all. It would take lots of time, and there would be plenty of failures along the way. Natural Selection is pretty hard on individuals, even in biology. But thinking anything is beyond the scope of Evolution is a limitation on your thinking more than a limitation on evolution.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 26, 2009 at 2:27 pm


But the Natural Selection toward providing more thrust is not beyond the imagination, not at all. It would take lots of time, and there would be plenty of failures along the way. Natural Selection is pretty hard on individuals, even in biology. But thinking anything is beyond the scope of Evolution is a limitation on your thinking more than a limitation on evolution.
Nonsense. Look at the messed-up shapes of flatfish skulls. Why didn’t they just evolve to the skate shape? Because they’d have had to change their body plans over millions of years and they need to lie flat NOW. It was far less costly to move their eyes to the same side of their head and leave everything else the same.
Yes, you could get more thrust by evolving a plane. But you cannot evolve by degrees from piston-cylinder propulsion to jet propulsion, and at each point improve the functioning, without a very specifically tuned environment to produce just that. Even if you could in that case, then my objection would apply to something like evolving from pistons to rockets, or pistons to teleportation, or something.
The fact that there are limits on what evolution can do is what makes evolution science and not philosophy.



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Jenn

posted June 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm


After studying evloution for so many years without much proof!!! The theory is there for the argument.
If evolution were true where are the many mistakes of better changes.
For instance if a bird evolved from a snake, there should be tons of half bird , half snakes at various levels of change.
The same should be of all evolved creatures. Instead we find similar creatures but each whole and complete.
Please show me the mistakes of evolution.
Not only the missing link is missing.
Everything is missing.



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freelunch

posted June 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm


Jenn,
Assuming that you are not a Poe (though I don’t think that is a safe assumption), I’ll answer you seriously.
1. Science doesn’t collect proof. It collects evidence. Yes, it has collected a great deal of evidence that supports evolution.
2. Unsuccessful variations didn’t remain around. There’s no reason to expect to find them.
3. Birds didn’t evolve from snakes.
4. We have all sorts of predecessor species for all sorts of current species. Of course they are complete, what else could they be?
Still, I’m pretty sure you are just parodying the anti-evolution folks.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 26, 2009 at 10:35 pm


Jenn, are you talking about a snake’s head on a bird’s body? Of course nobody finds such a thing.
It’s like saying that a parent with blue eyes and a parent with brown eyes must always make a baby with one eye blue and one eye brown. Heredity doesn’t normally work that way. Typically such a baby has brown eyes, and some of that baby’s children might have blue eyes.
Typical creationist tactic–make up some absurd thing, say evolution must produce that thing (with no evidence), and then blame scientists when they don’t find it.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm


Let’s recap where we are. This post has been up since Wednesday. David said:
The evolutionary logic of things like strip clubs (and one might add homosexuality) still seems very unsatisfying.
Here’s what I wrote 11+ years ago. Does anyone care to help set me straight? What am I missing here?

David has been amply answered. And he has not responded. He has not attempted to rebut his critics, and he has not retracted what he wrote, or even acknowledged that there was a discussion at all.
Is this the behavior of a man who claims he is just trying to understand?
He did, however, have time to write about Thomas Jefferson (and to contradict the things he said earlier about Hitler, apparently without noticing).



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freelunch

posted June 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm


Any guesses on whether he posts this nonsense again another decade hence, complete with the request to be corrected on his total lack of understanding of evolution?
Of course, this has nothing to do with the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible at all and everything to do with the propaganda being peddled by the Discovery Institute.



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Ted Herrlich

posted June 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm


Gabriel,
I don’t believe there has been some sort of limit set on evolution, or have I missed a few classes? There are opinions one it, but nothing actually supporting a limit. In fact don’t jets and propeller driven means of motivation already exist in nature? While mutations from one individual to their offspring is limited on working with the material available, as the number of generations grow, the degree of difference because pretty incredible.
As for “Why didn’t they just evolve to the skate shape?” You could ask that question about any evolutionary change. After the fact we could look and ask the question why didn’t it go in another direction. Many scientists have documented design issues with the human body, things like us still not fully evolved to standing upright to the structure of the eye being functionally backwards. The answer is that mutation is undirected, and natural Selection can only work on the mutations that are present. The need for a specific change isn’t driven or else nothing would have ever gone extinct.



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Mike

posted June 27, 2009 at 9:48 pm


“For instance if a bird evolved from a snake, there should be tons of half bird , half snakes at various levels of change.

Not only the missing link is missing.
Everything is missing.”
Exactly, Jenn! Since scientists can’t find every single one of the trillions and bazillions of fossils to have ever existed, we should be impossibly critical of Darwinian Evolution. Instead, we should unquestionably accept the theory that we were all created by an uncreated “intelligent” but invisible creator, who exists on a supernatural plain of infinite time and space and whose existence hinges on the validity of a 2,500-year-old book containing stories about talking animals and stork-made babies.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 27, 2009 at 10:05 pm


Ted, to some extent we are talking past each other.
I don’t believe there has been some sort of limit set on evolution, or have I missed a few classes? There are opinions one it, but nothing actually supporting a limit.
In fact don’t jets and propeller driven means of motivation already exist in nature?
I never said that there is are particular adaptations that can be proven never to evolved. And while “propellors” and “jets” do exist in nature, they have only a metaphorical similarity to what people build, but that’s not the issue.
Let’s talk about the flatfish again.
Skates evolved a flat shape long, long ago, because they took up lying on the bottom long, long ago. Flatfish, until much more recently, were vertical swimmers. They recently took up lying on the bottom.
Given their heavy investment, developmentally and genetically, into that upright shape; and given the heavy selection pressure on them to lie on the bottom, natural selection could find no better solution than to move one eye to the same side of the head as the other, because it was the least costly. There wasn’t time to evolve a sensibly designed skate shape.
Flatfish and skates evolved from some common fish-like ancestor, so of course there is an evolutionary path that can take you from one to the other. But evolution is not something you can easily “undo”.
Evolution works under constraints of time and development. People with arms, legs, and wings from their shoulders are never going to evolve from humans, because mammalian development works on four limbs. Some other organism that has a six-limbed developmental plan might one day evolve into something very like angels.
It’s what mathematicians call a “local minimum”. A stone wants to roll downhill, but it can’t roll all the way to the sea if there are mountains in the way, now can it? And so natural selection can’t push animals to the BEST solution to their problems; only the “closest”, so to speak.
This is why pandas suck at digesting bamboo, even though it is the only thing they eat.
Do you see now what I’m getting at? Evolution isn’t magic, or miraculous.



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Mike McCants

posted June 29, 2009 at 4:56 pm


“Stephen Meyer’s very important new book”
New, maybe. Important – that’s silly.
“The evolutionary logic of things like strip clubs … still seems very unsatisfying.”
A lot of things probably “seem very unsatisfying” to an idiot. But the evolution of a concept like “money” and the evolution of a species are rather different things in case an idiot like you needs to know.



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DavidF

posted July 1, 2009 at 2:31 pm


DavidK–I must admit I do not quite understand where you are going with this tangent. It would seem obvious that the way in which females are rewarded by men for their sexual advantage is a compliment and not a contradiction of Darwin’s view. To say that the sex trade is anti-social or not in the best interests of the sexes–as animals–makes little sense to me.
It seems that a strip club is a good example of Darwin in action–where prized females compete over the attention of the most worthy males. Now, to be sure, men might disagree concerning what is the most sexually appealing. I do not go to strip clubs–but if I did–I would not choose those with the big chests and rear ends. As a male and not a man, I admire a thinner body and a pretty face–not the classical Playboy bunny.
Bottom line–I have no idea where this might fit into the discussion but it seems it works much more to the advantage of the argument of the Darwinists.



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