The Talk.Origins Archive

Posts of the Month for 2013

January: Were explanations generated in past cultures Scientific?
Burkhard, explains that people in all cultures, including the Victorian William Paley, describe phenomena that are without obvious cause by analogy to the technologies then known.
February: Reply to an attack on Darwin's morals
Mitchell Coffey, in response to "The Quote" from Darwin which strongly implies that blacks are savages and closer to apes than Caucasians, points out that Darwin was unusual in his time for maintaining that no human race was more fit, intelligent or moral than any other.
March: Randomness and trends in Evolution
Richard Norman discusses the role of both random and directional processes in evolution and describes how selecting some aspects of a random walk can produce apparent trends: extreme values grow more extreme with time.
May: Complexity due to evolution: Increasing? decreasing? both?
Following some vituperative scorn, Dead Rat explains again that mutations are random but Natural Selection is not. He adds that in the very distant past there were more evolutionary paths from simplicity to complexity. Today there are at least as many paths in the opposite direction.
June: Finding common ground while strictly adhering to a changing definition
Bill Rogers begins by demonstrating that if "random" is equated to "without a goal" then determined can mean random. Then, after mentioning that if "illogical" means nonintuitive then the illogical is sometimes true, he deconstructs the remainder of a creationist's post.
July: Understanding natural selection is an unnatural act.
Ray Martinez, who believes that species are immutable, explains why he and other creationists are unable to consider Natural Selection.
August: Has global warming stopped? Earth's atmospheric temperature hasn't increased in fifteen years.
In response to this "question" Robert Grumbine discusses: long term trends, ocean warming, more CO2 than water vapor in the upper atmosphere, ice distribution and extent, and the difference between energy and temperature.
September: Could any life form have reached earth from mars?
David Rosen considers issues of ballistic shock, organic aging, UV and cosmic radiation, getting in and out of shielding, a key flaw in Hoyle's panspermia model, the odds that a rock could fly directly from Mars to earth and other factors relevant for calculating the chances that life reached earth from mars.
October: Lawyers, philosophers and farmers engineered the Nazi atrocities
Burkhard argues that Nazis explicitly rejected common descent and natural selection. What drove them was a "religion of the blood" which build on goal driven artificial selection as practiced by farmers who slaughter the weak to strengthen the herd. Lawyers and philosophers constructed a supporting ideological framework using the Old Testament and teachings of Martin Luther to justify the culling of 16,000 disabled children.
December: Humans fail the Apex predator test
Richard Norman explains why Apex predator is a problematic concept. In ecology the guiding principle is energy loss as organisms at a higher "tropic" level consume those further down. In addition this concept excludes most participants including parasites, filter feeders and scavengers.

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