Friday, May 19, 2023

I'll watch it

                                       I GIVE UP!                                     

I was writing a freaking book about this "debate" !!!

And, the science is advancing faster than I am writing. For example, James Tour hyped homochiral proteins, and nucleic acids.

This was in my Email today;
"‘Breakthrough’ could explain why life molecules are left- or right-handed Experiments suggest magnetic materials skewed early biomolecules"

Does it? Then my paper on this is going to get rejected. I at minimum need a rewrite on it.


James Tour will be hosting "professor" Dave Farina on May 19, 2023 to debate the origin of life.

I watched it twice. And I also watched

And I have now watched Dave Farina's re-edited version I will call "The Way Farina Wished It Happened." 

I watched.

I'll post.

It sucked.

I have been stuck on three prongs.

1) Critique Tour 2) Critique Farina 3) "What I would have done instead"

This will take longer than I thought.

Here are my raw notes from a first pass view of Tour's remarks.

1) homochrial

2) Five criteria for life (slide)
    1) Polypeptides, proteins and enzymes
    2) Polynucleotides, RNA
    3) Polysaccharides, charbohydrates
    4) The origin of specified information in the above polymers
    5) Assembly of the above compounds into an integrated functional living system, namely a cell

3) OOL haves a "Time of the gaps appeal." "Over millions of years such and such happened" "Those bedtime stories, they are devoid of any precise Chemistry, may as well start Once upon a time."  

4) "I address Mr. Farina as a Graduate Student"

5) Criteria of Life: response to environment, growth and change, ability to reproduce, metabolism, homeostasis, cells, passing traits on to offspring

6) A valid hypothesis is one in which there is experimental evidence substantiating the proposed science. An invalid hypothesis is one in which there is NO Way to substantiate the proposed science.

7) BS about air travel

8) "Nobody was present at life's origin so we will never really know how life originated."

9) "Show the data"

10) "2021 Journal of Pragmatics "Hyperbally in Scientific Publications." 

11) OOL research is extreme "takes the cake"

12) Lee Krowin 2011 "create lab life in 2 years."  

13) Jack Szostak 2014 "create lab life in 3 to 5 years"

14) repeat his Life Criteria, "Prove all 5 or We are clueless."

15) "Show even one."

16) Slams Szostak, "autocatalytic sets were never chemically realistic." 

17) Lee Crowin "admits OOL is a scam" (Twitter remark March 2022. See ) "I have no data on that. It is right now a belief. I want to turn that belief into more than a belief by experimentation." 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

I was asked by AAAS for my opinion.

So, I was asked today (April 10, 2023) by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, for my opinion. I doubt they will publish it. So, here it is; 

My mother frequently admonished me to "Play nice with the other children."

AAAS should not. 

Science is not playing games. Our environment, and civilization are at threat of failure. This is not a game. There are political organizations actively denying basic science. AAAS must oppose them. 

The March 30 Science editorial "Fix the backlash against public health" is an example of failure by AAAS. In that editorial there is no mention of the politicization of Covid-19 from the first reported case in the USA. The "backlash" is political. The response must be political. Now contrast that with the excellent editorial March 31 in JAMA, "The Supreme Court Is Harming Public Health and the Environment." 

In 1981 I listened to 3 days of talks about "Climate Change" at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. Scientists didn't then think that anybody would be so damn stupid as to ignore the problem. 

We were wrong. 

Some reading;

Oreskes, Naomi, Erik M. Conway 2010 "Merchants of Doubt" Bloomsbury Press. 

Michaels, David 2019 "The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception" Oxford University. 

Mooney, Chris 2005 "The Republican War on Science" New York: Basic Press. 

Oreskes, and Conway document that the "American Tobacco Institute" was a fraud from the start with bogus "studies" that "proved" nicotine was not addictive, and did not cause cancer. The fossil fuel industry used the American Petroleum Institute on the same scheme (even some of the same "experts"). That gang originally set out to prove there was no medical threat from leaded gasoline, or smog. It was in the late 1970s and early '80s that climate change was added to the list of disasters that burning coal and petroleum "didn't cause." 

 David Michaels has focused more on the "what did they know, and when did they know it" aspects of climate destruction. His professional experience as an MD epidemiologist, and a Federal official are very important. Finally, as Chris Mooney showed 18 years ago, Republican politicians are just cheaper to buy.

For anyone unaware of the threat creationism is to science and civilization, I recommend reading; Scott, Eugenie C., 2005 Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction University of California Press 

Numbers, Ronald L. 2006 "The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism" Berkeley: University of California Press 

Barbara Carroll Forrest, Paul R. Gross 2004 "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" Oxford University Press 

Matt Young, Taner Edis (Contributing Editors), 2004 "Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism" Rutgers University Press (My contribution, Chapter 8 "The explanatory filter, Archaeology, and Forensics" was used in the 2005 Dover Intelligent Design federal trial). 

Here is a single quote from a Christian creationist I found to summarize their entire issue, "I was taught in school that acres of rain forest were being destroyed by the second, and yet we still have rain forests. Honestly, I don't believe them. And if they are right, I'm not too worried about it anyway. The Bible says that this earth will be destroyed by God anyway. We can take care of what we've got now, but I'm not going to let what some scientist thinks is going to happen worry me." Rapture Ready BB, 2003. 

And yet... 

Science published an editorial by Agustín Fuentes, "The Descent of Man," 150 years on," 21 May 2021. My first encounter with the Agustin Fuentes' editorial was "Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin's Descent of Man" by Michael Flannery, Center for Science and Culture. This "center" is central to the Intelligent Design creationism movement.

In his editorial Fuentes insists that Charles Darwin "...baselessly asserted evolutionary differences between races. ... offering justification of empire and colonialism, and genocide, through "survival of the fittest." That could only be written by someone who had not read Darwin's work, or is incompetent.

Here is Darwin's summary on human races; "It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant." The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (John Murray, London, 1871).

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Really Expelled

More sources:

La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Riverside, California, was called out in 2010 by activists and at least one student over allegations some biology teachers presented evolution over creation as the "preferred" explanation of origins, the Adventist Review reported. The university's religious sponsors hold to a "recent" creation in "six literal days."

Furthermore, in “The Botanical Activities of George Edward Post (1838–1909)” (2006), Musselman writes, “Also in common with most botanical contemporaries, Post was not a Darwinian. In his copy of Boissier’s Flora orientalis (1867), he underlined the author’s statement that he did not accept the Darwinian theory,” adding, “Post took a much more public stand against evolution in a crisis that threatened the future of the Syrian Protestant College in 1882 known as the Lewis Affair.” In the Lewis Affair, he explains, one of Post’s colleagues, Edwin Rufus Lewis, expressed admiration of Darwin during a commencement address. The Syrian Protestant College was founded by a United States missionary organization, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and its conservative backers were not happy to hear of Lewis’s views. Lewis was eventually dismissed. In the tumult, Musselman says, “Post sided strongly with the anti-Darwin party.”

From Glenn Branch

Bryan College loses faculty (named after William Jennings Bryan)

Original 1930 statement
4) that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death;

"clarification to belief #4"
“We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

7 faculty out of 44 leave for retirement of other jobs. 2, Steve DeGeorge (prof. of education) and, Stephen Barnett, (professor of natural sciences) were fired for not signing the "clarification. "Associate professor of biology Brian Eisenback is leaving for another college. Another professor is considering a job at a school that "holds to a conservative, literal 6-day creation view in Genesis." And sources say department chairman Marty Hartzell will retire a year early." from Times Free Press

March 29, 2008

A Message from the Board of Trustees Westminster Theological Seminary

On March 26, 2008, the WTS Board of Trustees assembled for a special meeting to address theological issues related to Old Testament Professor Peter Enns’ book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.

After a full day of deliberation, the Board of Trustees took the following action by decisive vote...

“That for the good of the Seminary (Faculty Manual II.4.C.4) Professor Peter Enns be suspended at the close of this school year, that is May 23, 2008 (Constitution Article III, Section 15), and that the Institutional Personnel Committee (IPC) recommend the appropriate process for the Board to consider whether Professor Enns should be terminated from his employment at the Seminary. Further that the IPC present their recommendations to the Board at its meeting in May 2008.”

"Shortly after the 2004 publication of his book, Random Designer, biologist Richard Colling was prohibited from teaching introductory biology courses at Olivet Nazarene College in Illinois and his book was banned from the campus. Peter Enns, who earned his PhD from Harvard University in Near Eastern languages and civilizations, claimed that the first chapters of Genesis are firmly grounded in ancient myth, which he defines as "an ancient, premodern, prescientific way of addressing questions of ultimate origins in the form of stories"; in 2008, the board of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia forced Enns, a tenured faculty member, to resign after fourteen years. In 2010, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando fired biblical scholar Bruce Waltke for stating that evolution is true. In 2011, Calvin College fired theologian John Schneider and silenced biblical scholar Dan Harlow for challenging the traditional Christian understanding of a literal Adam and Eve. "

More reporting at Inside Higher Education:
The dispute at Olivet Nazarene involves Richard Colling, who has spent the last 28 years teaching there
to prohibit the use of his 2004 book, "Random Designer: Created from Chaos to Connect with the Creator"

William Dembski

Back in 2004, ID creationist William Dembski was hired by President Albery Mohler to head the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary "Center for Science and Theology. Albert Mohler replaced him just two years later with Young Earth Creationist Kurt Wise. Dembski was next appointed "Research Professor of Philosophy" at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dembski's next job was "Research Professor of Philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.Following the 2009 publication of Dembski's book, The End of Christianity, where he offered the possibility that the earth was 4.5 billion years old, the universe ~14 billion years old, and that Noah's flood was regional rather than global, Dembski lost even the title of "research professor," and was fired again. He was ultimate fired from there in spite a a groveling apology retracting his statements on the Flood, etc....

“Ken Ham has gone ballistic on [my book]—literally—going around the country denouncing me as a heretic, and encouraging people to write to my theological employers to see to it that I’m fired for the views I take in it.“ W. Dembski "Bill Dembski on young vs. old Earth creationists, and where he stands" February 22, 2012

A Reply to Tom Nettles Review of Dembski's "The End of Christianity"

Allen, David L. (February 2010). A Reply to Tom Nettles' Review of William A. Dembski's The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (PDF) (White paper). Preamble by Paige Patterson. Fort Worth, TX: The Center for Theological Research; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. OCLC 525171820.

(2009). The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.

Thomas Jay Oord

April, 2015
Thomas Jay Oord, Prof. of Theology pro-evolution and fired by Northwest Nazarene University

More examples:

Matthew Becker

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison — who is known for his bushy mustache and conservative views — against Matthew Becker, who challenged the church’s stance against the ordination of women, and its teaching of creationism.

Harrison wrote, “I am saying that if my synod does not change its inability to call such a person to repentance and remove such a teacher where there is no repentance, then we are liars and our confession is meaningless.”

Jim Stump

Philosophy professor Jim Stump was forced resigned from Bethel College after the board of trustees adopted a policy forbidding faculty from being active in academic communities that do not align with creationism.

3. Bethel College faculty members affirm through contracts each year that they believe:

God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the Author of Salvation.

The Bible is the divinely inspired, only infallible, authoritative Word of God, and the unchanging rule of faith and practice.

Humanity’s relationship to God, which was lost through sin, is restored through faith in the redeeming work of Christ, God’s divine Son.

The Church comprises people who are born of the Spirit and empowered by him to live a holy life devoted to the fulfillment of the Church’s Great Commission.

The personal return of Christ will bring about the end of the present age, the judgment and the beginning of the glorious age to come.

In summary, Bethel College faculty will respectfully teach its denominational doctrine on the distinctive creation of humanity, while answering that denomination’s call to investigate everything appropriate to a Christian liberal arts college. This Statement does not intend to suppress faculty opinions about Origins, but prevent public contradiction or disparagement of this corporate commitment. This permits faculty to participate in academic communities which might be at variance with the Position Statement in order to learn from that community, but faculty are not to advocate for, nor hold leadership positions for, nor sustain a contractual relationship with an academic community which may be at variance with the Statement.

says Aaron Smith, the former chair of theology at Colorado Christian University, and currently at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
In 2014, heartened by the student response he had gotten in his God and Genetics course, Smith planned to co-teach a class on science relevant to key theological questions.
Faculty Member of the Year for the final two years of his professorate. But in February 2015, he was let go. The school’s president, Smith says, “chose not to renew my contract for the stated reason that my views on the Bible were no longer ‘conservative enough’—his words—for the institution.”

Thursday, August 04, 2022

I know it is old

 So, here is a new post.

In a Facebook argument with some creationists there was the false claim "the layers of strata were already assigned ages before absolute dating was invented. all absolute dates that do not fit within the relative ages are discarded.
circular reasoning.
when Mr Hurd aquire a sample to test does he know anything about said sample?
like where it came from?"

And, "all radiometric dates are compared to the time frame assumed in the strata. which is an assumption on its own." 





This little bit of sediment in the photo above was from a job I did with Mike Macko nearly 30 years ago. It was an excavated trench in Borego Canyon for the Foothill Transportation Corridor in Orange County California. The red lines I added show the more obvious stream channels in this top part of the canyon sediment. They show us that there was a fairly rapid deposit of sands and gravels with the occasional boulder and cobble movement in floods. The stream channels weave back and forth across the canyon.

The only "Date" is that the higher deposit is mostly youngest.

And the project got big!


 The "strata" for all that stuff and about 20 feet lower was just "Holocene" or, the after the most recent ice age.

So, what we did was to get an exact elevation relative to a single point, and collect charcoal from prehistoric fire pits.

Here I am in the dirt;

So the creationists also lied that;

"they will refuse to date an object unless you tel them exactly where it was found. this is because they throw out any date that doesn't line up with their preconceived timeliness.

And, " they compare various dating methods with strata and discard any readings that do not fit."

We collected 23 samples and paid for 13 radiocarbon dates. There was no site data needed, or requested. Just the sample catalog number. I plotted the results returned against the elevations from the two deep trenching cuts. The Sequence 2 was further up the canyon and in a more narrow slot.



For some folks more interested, the various terms above "Late Pre-Historic," and so on are references to cultural groups defined by their differing technologies. They line up with Carbon-14 dates very well as shown below;

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Numbers and Covid-19


There are two numbers that matter in an epidemic. The R(0) which is the infectivity estimate, and lethality, F.

The R(0) number is the expected number of new people who will be infected by each currently infected person. Oddly these are not totally independent. For example, imagine a virus that is so lethal that a human cannot transmit because they die too fast. So, a new virus like SARS-COV-12 started from an external host (still unknown), and spreads to humans from humans because it is not instantly lethal.

The March 17th 2020 R(0) US National rate for the coronavirus was 1.2, and F= ~3.5%.
The R(0) had stabilized at 1.17 in the summer of 2020.

Of course people decided to party again.
So cases spiked back with the 2020 Winter Holidays to R(0) of 3.8, and the F= 1.89%.

Vaccinations start in earnest January 2021. There were 184,179,469 US residents vaccinated by July 1, 2021. Infectivity, and fatality rates were all falling.  

Then Delta happened.
The July 1, 2021 R(0) was 1.18. It peaked at 7 day R(0)= 1.22  F=1.7%. By Sept. 30, 2021 it had even dropped to R(0) 0.7, F=1.3%

By December the Omicron variant in the US spiked to 3x the maximum number of Delta cases.

It has been since early Dec. 2021 that the Omicron variant has been the predominant SARS-COV-2 virus in the US. It also seems to have peaked. If things continue as current trends suggest, the Omicron death rate will be an amazing low of the Delta LOW. That is an F= 0.33% of confirmed cases.

Some folks will think, "Well - that is trivial. What is the big worry?"

The worry is that the R(0) is 2.98. The net deaths have not changed, while hospitals are filled to the roof tops.