Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Live Blogging the UK C4ID Lecture 2011

Ok, so this lecture event cost the C4ID a fortune and is the Intelligent Design movement putting their best foot forward to a selected audience of politicians and university top knobs.

So just in case you have something better to do with an hour and a half of your time,  I'm going to watch it for you.

This is a "live blog" of my viewing session:

We start with an anecdote about philosophy at Cambridge - don't ask questions that reveal ignorance.  All questions are welcome here, but at the end.

He's very happy to be in the UK.  Intelligent Design was germinated here apparently.  No Scopes trial here he says. He doesn't say that this is because we never banned Evolution from our schools here in the UK.  But I think Meyer is happy to leave his audience ignorant of the fact that it was the creationist law banning the teaching of science that was tested in the infamous Monkey Trial.  Yes, despite all the creationist/ID proponents demands for fair treatment etc it was they who banned actual science from actual science classes in many US states for many years.

Complains C4ID is science and based on scientific thought not creationism.  No evidence, he just asserts it.  Full stop.  No addressing of the common and oft repeated problems with this.  I would have thought this would be a great opportunity to explain why his critics are wrong - but he seems content to just assert they are wrong and in fact doesn't even mention the common claims they make.  Wow - that is chutzpah for you!

Darwin introduced NS and change over time.  Half right.  Change over time was generally accepted before Darwin, and many of those who accepted it where clergy.

ID dispute none of these things, they accept NS, and almost all accept that the earth and universe are very old.  ID research community he says?  Wow they are doing research? Perhaps we might find out about it - they have kept it secret up until now.

Next we get the first straw man - that biologists claim that NS accounts for all design seen in nature - no they don't Genetic Drift enhanced by such effects as the founder effect are now part of the picture but presumably being honest about this won't suit his rhetoric - let's see.

Now he is quoting some folks to frame this as science versus religion.  Meyers likes Dawkins because he states this simply.  Meyers shares this view with UK creationists who use Dawkins as a major part of their recruitment approach - i.e. this is science versus God.

"Defines" ID - some bits of living things point to intelligence.  Wow really clear isn't it?  ????

Brief review of Darwinian denial of design - Origin Of Species chapter 4 - Artificial human breeding of sheep, Darwin argued that this mimics the effects of natural selection therefore NS eliminates the need for a guiding intelligence of any kind.

Thus the claim of design is refuted.  Is he really going to ignore the rest of the arguments in OOS, Darwin himself thought that biogeography was the strongest evidence for NS?  Looks like he is going to pretend it doesn't exist. Again.

Today there are scientific arguments about NS not being sufficient to account for large scale innovations. He mentions a conference of 16 leading biologists who doubt evolution, then leaves it at that.  Simple claims that evolution is in serious doubt in the scientific community.  This is in fact a simple lie as far as I can see.  Check for yourself - here is a write up of what happened but look around for yourself.   Once again Meyer apparently doesn't think that anyone will bother to look into the substance behind his claims.  Tough luck matey.

Distinguishing morphological evolution from chemical evolution.  He wants to leave modern neo-darwinism as true but still wants to question the origin of life - do we know what happened?  No.  Neither does he.  Isn't that called God the Gaps, Excuse me Designer of the Gaps?

Holy Moses I'm only 15 minutes in.  This guy is really churning out the misleading propaganda isn't he?

Apparently because Darwin can't explain the origin of life therefore he didn't get rid of the need for a designer.  This is very messy pseudo-logic.  Can't he see a difference between them?

Says life was assumed to be very simple when it started.  Oh I see he is going to say it must have been complicated from scratch, from day one!  Wait for it.  No just leaves the clear implication hanging.

Crikey, quoting ancient comments describing cells as being very simple.  Now implying that complicated cells like those seen today were the first life.  He doesn't hold back does he?

Now talking about language and codes in DNA.  Wow, aren't proteins complicated.  Kids toy prop to show how long amino acid chains are that make up proteins.  Lots of proteins in life.  Complicated protein pictures.  Thousands of them.  Wow. Complicated. Wow. Jargon. Wow. Complicated.

I think you get the idea.

"Sequence specificity"; function of whole determined by the sequence of the parts.  Sounds really impressive - gets us nowhere but as long as we are impressing non scientists then that is apparently fine.

Francis Crick was a code breaker in World War 2 apparently, although this appears to be news to wikipedia which says he worked designing mines, so does this.  Where is Meyer pulling this stuff from?  I think this might be indicative of the man - even his casual asides appear to be simply made up.

I'm now 26 mins in and I can't take any more - I will do more another night.


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