This blog provides stories that Denyse O'Leary, a Toronto-based journalist, has found to be of interest, as she covers the growing intelligent design controversy. It supports her book By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg 2004). Does the universe - and do life forms - show evidence of intelligent design? If so, Carl Sagan was wrong and so is Richard Dawkins. Now what?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Once again, this time with feeling: Why this blog does not host Comments
Just when I was settling in to get something done this afternoon, I get this post:
Greetings,First, anyone who calls themselves "Logically Speaking" and doesn't say where they are from is, in my view, an ass. This person is also Jason at gmail, whatever help that is.
This is to formally request that you stop being an intellectual coward and open up your blog for comments. There is a certain irony that you censor all dissenting opinion, yet write at length about how 'Darwin fanatics' won't allow for another side of the story to be told. Way to set an example.
For the record, my (real) name is Denyse O'Leary, I am a professional writer, and you can look me up in the Toronto phone book. But don't, please, if you are selling something. I am on the Do Not Call list.
Anyway, I replied as follows:
Jason, I closed the comments on my blog because of problems with bloggers in Canada getting sued or charged, as well as for time management reasons.I have ordered Shakedown, and expect to stay up all night reading it. But for now, back to work.
Re problems with bloggers getting sued or charged, read civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant’s just-released Shakedown.
In this country, it is an act of courage to blog at all.
Re time management, there is no way I will let Darwinist trolls burn up half a day. I must make a living in a difficult time, and therefore must choose my priorities carefully.
Thank you for writing. I hope you enjoy the blog.
But even if you don’t, there are many others, only a click away. That’s what I love about the Internet.
And you may quote me if you wish.
Just up at The Mindful Hack
Neuroscience: Pop neuroscience not living up to the hype? (Whodathunkit?)
Consciousness: Where does consciousness come from?, paper asks
Near death experiences in the news
Cognitive science: The glad, sad, mad computer - or anyway, merry chrysanthemum!
The Mindful hack is my blog on neuroscience issues that supports The Spiritual Brain
Evolution: In 95 million years ... couldn't you at least have learned to write a thank-you note?
British physicist David Tyler writes about the 95 million-year-old octopus that did not evolve at all:
Tyler is right here. As a handy guide for the lay reader: In a great many cases, "new finds help us understand the way these animals evolved" is jargon for "new finds demonstrate that these animals didn't really evolve. They strutted around on the stage of life in a more or less consistent form and then disappeared."
This is where there was another big surprise. In papers published during the past 15 years, a variety of dates have been proposed for the evolutionary origins of the octopoda. Palaeoctopus was perceived as a stem group animal rather than representative of modern forms. All this has now changed, because one of the three species can be located within the family of extant animals.
"But what surprised the scientists most was how similar the specimens are to modern octopus: "these things are 95 million years old, yet one of the fossils is almost indistinguishable from living species." This provides important evolutionary information. "The more primitive relatives of octopuses had fleshy fins along their bodies. The new fossils are so well preserved that they show, like living octopus, that they didn't have these structures." This pushes back the origins of modern octopus by tens of millions of years, and while this is scientifically significant, perhaps the most remarkable thing about these fossils is that they exist at all."
The first take-home message emerging from the new finds concerns stasis. This theme appears from time to time on this blog and it will continue to do so because stasis is an important characteristic of the fossil record. Darwinians are so fixated on variation that they search avidly for minor changes without embracing the big picture (represented by stasis). For more on this, go here and here.
The second point worth making is that the literature is wedded to the paradigm of evolutionary transformation. There is so strong a focus on tracing evolutionary lineages that other explanatory frameworks are not even considered. All variants tend to be given an evolutionary interpretation, and the grand claim is made: these new finds help us understand the way these animals evolved. In the case of octopods, there is so little data that any claims like this should be treated with suspicion.
Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy: