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What is conservapedia's stance on drinking? --Double Edge 09:54, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Military suicide rate jumping


That's completey different from the deaths of liberal Hollywood actors, because these suicidies are evidently not a direct result of liberal hollywood values. Feebasfactor 13:03, 1 February 2008 (EST)
It's also statistically insignificant in the military population of millions. But drug overdoses among the mere hundreds of Hollywood stars is very significant statistically.--Aschlafly 23:32, 4 February 2008 (EST)

20% increase is statistically insignificant? QNA 07:45, 5 February 2008 (EST)

When the overall percentage is only about 100 out of several million, yes, that is statistically insignificant. It is less than 1 in 10,000. In Hollywood, the drug overdose rate among stars is greater than 1 in 500. Notice the huge difference, and see Hollywood Values.--Aschlafly 07:50, 5 February 2008 (EST)
It's interesting that you say 100 out of several million is statistically insignificant when it comes to suicide, Andy. I find it interesting because the documented severe complication rates from vaccinations are considerably fewer than 100 out of several million. MMR has a complication rate of about 1/million for encephalitis or severe allergic reaction. DPT has a rate for Acute encephalopathy of, at most, 10/million. Even the hated Gardasil has a lower severe complication rate than 100/million. It's good to know you consider these complications statistically insignificant. When can we expect updates to the related articles? SSchultz 21:09, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Well, maybe the insignificance of a statistic is relative to the context. Feebasfactor 21:40, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Well, with an active strength of approximately 500,000 in the Army and given 100 suicides, thats a rate of 2 per 10,0000 actually... and as for your 1 in 500 statistic for drug overdoses among stars in Hollywood, I'd love to see some proof to back that up? How does one determine who's a "star" with respect to your statistic, and why are only "stars" susceptible to "Hollywood Values"? Given that the Screen Actors Guild has approximately 120,000 members a rate of 1 in 500 among actors in general would lead to 240 deaths per year by drug overdose. If that were the case, I'd see your point... Just pulling fake statistics out of the air does not equal truth. QNA 11:10, 5 February 2008 (EST)

The claims of statistical significance and "insignificance" betray a substantial lack of understanding of the meaning of the term. It's not a judgment. Whether something is significant or not significant is based on math, not your opinion.--Murray 21:58, 19 February 2008 (EST)

contest 5

The draft point system for Contest 5 is up - have your say now before it's too late!--IDuan 23:27, 2 February 2008 (EST)

I hope to have some helpful suggestions!--Aschlafly 23:51, 2 February 2008 (EST)
Ohh - sorry Andy, I said before it's too late! Well, maybe next time. lol--IDuan 00:08, 3 February 2008 (EST)

Suggested main page news (evolution)

Did life evolve in ice? This is promising for the prospect of life on other planets, however, there is one problem with the experiment: We still don't know how RNA originally came about. I freely admit this. Sadly, most of the guy's work was destroyed when somebody wanted to renovate the building. Invisble hand? HA! Barikada 19:11, 3 February 2008 (EST)

Promising? Only when you're extremely desperate to find any clue. It reminds me of the scientists who get their hopes up about the possibility of life on another planet when they detect water—which makes as much sense (actually, less sense) than getting their hopes up for the possibility of computers on other planets if you detect silicon. There's likely another problem with the experiments, one of the same problems Miller had with his earlier famous experiment: the chirality (handedness) of the amino acids. Philip J. Rayment 19:38, 3 February 2008 (EST)
The problem with the analogy is that there is no survival benefit to being a computer. End of story, there. --MakeTomorrow 23:06, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Explain, please. Philip J. Rayment 08:26, 4 February 2008 (EST)
Evolution is a process driven by the increased ability of certain entities to survive, allowing them to perpetuate either themselves or their lineage. Silicon deposits on other planets and such do not increase their survivability by forming into computers, therefore, it doesn't happen. However, if it did occur, the deposits that had become computer predecessors via what may be called "mutations" would survive more often than the non-computer deposits, and slowly become dominant, while increasing their survivability by becoming more complex. It's quite a simple principle, if you consider it carefully. --MakeTomorrow 20:28, 5 February 2008 (EST)
And so often I have evolutionists berating me for (allegedly) conflating evolution with abiogenesis. Yet isn't abiogenesis what we are talking about here? And surely a computer, which can't, as you point out, reproduce itself, is simpler (and therefore easier for spontaneous generation to produce) than the first self-reproducing life? So you've really just switched topics. Philip J. Rayment 06:57, 6 February 2008 (EST)
What do you know about the first self-reproducing life, that you come to the conclusion that computers a more likely to self-produce. Can you give us some details? Order 07:27, 6 February 2008 (EST)
That's not what I said. My point basically is that nobody thinks that finding silicon on a planet makes it more likely that computers will be found because they know that computers don't make themselves, yet finding water always means that it is more likely that life will be found, despite the fact that life is more complex than a computer and there is no way that life will make itself. It's a matter of being inconsistent in order to hang on to the belief that allows them to ignore God. Philip J. Rayment 07:37, 6 February 2008 (EST)
The question whether there exists an environment in which molecules self-organize is independent of the existence of your deity. But that aside, you argument hinges on the assertion that the first self-producing "life" is more complicated than a computer. So I ask you again, what do you know about this first self-replicating process, that you can come to such a conclusion? Order 07:45, 6 February 2008 (EST)
I don't know what you are getting at with your first point, but for the second point, I figure that an organism that can feed itself, excrete waste, repair itself, and reproduce, almost certainly has to be more complex than a computer that can do almost none of those things. We have invented thousands (nay, millions) of machines, devices, and gadgets, from can openers to space shuttles, but we have yet to produce anything that is capable of reproducing itself, and whilst you could argue that this is because nobody wants to (it would quickly put the manufacturers out of business!), I think you'd agree it's also because it would be quite a complicated thing to do. And keep in mind that I'm talking about any computer, that is, even the simplest of computers. Philip J. Rayment 09:26, 6 February 2008 (EST)
The first part points your your habit to links thing to the existence of god. If certain molecules in a certain environment self-replicate is a matter of chemistry, not theology. Anyway. You might be mistaken about the simplicity of the simplest computers, it took quite some material science, craftsmanship, and engineering to build them. But the interesting bit is your claim about the first life, because you conclude from it that your deity exists. Even if your claim would be correct, this would not preclude any other unknown cause. But lets turn to your claim. You claim that the first life was "feeding itself", "excreting waste", and "repairing itself". So, you claim that there exists no organic reaction simpler than than that, that self-replicates? Is this true? Order 17:24, 6 February 2008 (EST)
"The first part points your your habit to links thing to the existence of god. If certain molecules in a certain environment self-replicate is a matter of chemistry, not theology.": Sorry, but that's still as clear as mud.
"You might be mistaken about the simplicity of the simplest computers, it took quite some material science, craftsmanship, and engineering to build them.": How does that make me mistaken? That's my point as much as anything. Even a "simple" computer takes quite a bit to build.
"... because you conclude from [your claim] that your deity exists.": No, I merely point out that the evidence better fits with the idea that God exists.
"Even if your claim would be correct, this would not preclude any other unknown cause.": Yet evolutionists have quite often used similar arguments, i.e. they argue that God could not have done it, and therefore their view is correct. And at the core, there is only two possibilities: design or chance (no design).
"But lets turn to your claim. You claim that the first life was "feeding itself", "excreting waste", and "repairing itself". So, you claim that there exists no organic reaction simpler than than that, that self-replicates? Is this true?": I'm claiming that this or something like it is the minimum for the first life, so essentially the answer is "yes". One exception I can think of is viruses, but viruses require life to already exist, so they don't count as candidates for the first life. I don't know how any independent life (i.e. excluding parasitic life, for example) can exist without feeding, excreting, and repairing itself. If it can't feed and repair itself, it won't last long. I doubt that it's possible that something could live for long without excreting, but possibly that requirement could be eliminated.
Philip J. Rayment 01:00, 7 February 2008 (EST)
When was the last time that, to adequately predict a reaction in a test tube, one had to first answer a theological question?
Building the simplest computer might be more complicated that the first life.
So, it merely fits the existence of God. Didn't you say that the existence of your deity was a necessary conclusion of chirality?
Lol, your design and chance argument again. Design is not the opposite of random chance, and you need random chance in your argument from improbability. Have you made any progress in your quest to find an instance where the lack of design leads necessarily to a random outcome. Random in the sense of uniform distribution over a sample space?
It is not that God could not have done it. But because there is no other known answer, God must't be the answer. This is the god of the gaps.
Speaking about the god of the gaps. First, you say that the simplest from of self-replication needs "feeding", "repairing", and "excretion". Regardless of the fact if that can be adequately defined for simple self-replicating processes, you already took out the "excreting". So first you needed a god to achieve all three: "feeding", "repairing" and "excreting", and now you are down to two. Your god is already receding, and every time a simpler self-replicating reaction is found he has to recede even further. Order 04:28, 7 February 2008 (EST)
"When was the last time that, to adequately predict a reaction in a test tube, one had to first answer a theological question?": Every time an experiment is done. "Q. How do I know that I can trust my senses in observing this experiment? A. God has created me with that ability".
"Building the simplest computer might be more complicated that the first life.": Then why have we been so successful at building computers but have yet to create life?
"So, it merely fits the existence of God. Didn't you say that the existence of your deity was a necessary conclusion of chirality?": I don't recall. Did I? Generally speaking, being past events, neither creation nor evolution is scientifically provable (even ignoring that science can't prove anything). So God creating life is not provable, and the best that we can therefore hope for is to see which argument the evidence fits better with. As natural processes produce racemete results, and it takes intelligence to separate left and right-handed molecules, but life requires non-racemete amino acids, this particular bit of evidence fits better with creation. Depending on how good such "fits" are, it is legitimate sometimes to argue that the naturalistic explanation is ruled out, and the supernatural explanation is therefore required. So it is possible to make both arguments.
Regarding design vs. chance, it seems that you are equating uniform distribution with randomness. But if you flip a coin twice and get heads twice, does that mean that the results were not random? A uniform distribution is only to be expected when the number of attempts is sufficiently large. With a two-state system like a coin flip, "sufficiently large" is not a very big figure. But with a system with many more possible outcomes, it's going to take a lot more attempts. With nature, there are all sorts of combinations of possible outcomes, so you're not likely to see a uniform distribution. But this doesn't mean that it's not random.
"It is not that God could not have done it. But because there is no other known answer, God must't be the answer. This is the god of the gaps.": I don't follow the first two sentences of that, but it's not a god-of-the-gaps argument. It is an argument from what we know, not from what we don't know. We know that there are only two possible causes; design and no-design. If we can rule out the no-design cause, then we have "proved" the design cause.
"Your god is already receding, and every time a simpler self-replicating reaction is found he has to recede even further.": No, it's not God that is receding, but my list of requirements that I made off the top of my head. And it doesn't follow that the reduced requirements result in a simpler self-replicating organism. Can you describe a living thing that could have been our precursor that could not feed, repair itself, or reproduce? A living thing needs to feed to survive. In a natural environment, it needs to be able to repair itself. And of course if it's to be our ancestor, it needs to be able to reproduce. Anything less than that would not be "life". But that doesn't mean that those three make an exhaustive list. No doubt I could think of other requirements if I put my mind to it, so the number of items on my list is not a good guide to the minimum requirements. Do you know of a living thing that doesn't excrete? I'm sure no such thing exists, so on that ground I'd be entitled to include excretion as a requirement, but I was being cautious because I figured that it would be possible to imagine a living thing that eats only what it needs and manages to recycle everything so that it doesn't need to excrete. But such a creature would be more complex than one that excretes! And now that I think about it more, a living thing that is taking in food must excrete, unless it continually grows by the exact amount that it eats. This is ridiculous, so you can add excretion back into the requirements. Philip J. Rayment 09:29, 7 February 2008 (EST)
There is nothing as beautiful as a circular argument. You know that the observation that biological life was created by god is correct, because your senses were created by god? But, now seriously. Your senses have no bearing on what happens in the test tube. It is governed by the laws of chemistry, and not by your perception. Not even the origin of the laws of chemistry matters. If A implies B, and we know A, then B has to hold. No matter what the cause of A was.
Humans know only for about 50 years the basics of biochemistry, and this year they already produced the first artificial genome. They have been in the business of producing computing devices much longer, at least ever since Leibniz. Also, humans seem to be better at mathematics and physics, than in chemistry and biology. The latter disciplines are fairly young, compared to the others.
Nothing can be known for certain, sure. But that applies to everything, and doesn't make your argument more likely.
But we get onto way to many tangents, so lets get your argument organised. Your argument goes like this:
1. Certain organic molecules occur in, and are produced by biological life only in one chirality.
2. Outside of biology both chiralities have the same probability.
3. Molecules of different chirality are chemically the same. There are no natural means to separate molecules of different chirality.
4. Intelligence can separate molecules of different chriality.
5. The occurrence of a string of molecules of the same chirality is improbable.
6a. If something is not random, then there exists no natural explanation.
6b. Design is the opposite of random chance. If it is not random then it must be design.
7. If it was design, then it must have been God.
Problem is that you are wrong on all of these point, except maybe for the first.
ad 1: Let's assume that this is true, even though I wouldn't surprised if there situation wouldn't be as clear cut.
ad 2:They don't. It appears that interstellar organic and inorganic molecules have a preference for a certain chiralities.
ad 3:They are not chemically the same. That is how they were discovered. A molecule of a certain chirality may engage only with another molecule of a matching chirality, and not with the other.
ad 4:Intelligence doesn't separate anything. Chemistry does. An intelligent being can use chemistry to do it, but IQ alone won't do it. Just because somebody is intelligent, doesn't mean that he has the means to do it.
ad 5. This is not a matter of probability but a matter of chemistry. If you burn coal in the presence of air, which is 1:4 oxygen vs nitrogen, you do not calculate the odds. Even if you need two oxygen to form carbon dioxide, the chances for this to occur is not 1/25. That would be a rather naive understanding of chemistry.
ad 6. Design is not the opposite of random chance. Your wifi is using a few probabilistic protocols. So randomness can be design. And there are things that are anything but random, but not designed. There a plenty in nature. We are actually still waiting for a single example of yours, where the lack of design is the necessary and sufficient cause for randomness. If you now tell me that you didn't mean chance in the meaning of 'random', but is the meaning of 'without purpose', or 'without obvious cause', think twice. If this is the case then please refrain in the future from ever using "improbable", "unlikely", "impossible", because they all refer to a probability. Probability doesn't have to refer to a uniform distribution, any distribution will do. Your wifi adapter uses a exponential distribution, if you care to know.
ad 7: Proof from excluding the alternative works only if you exclude all conceivable alternatives. You have to prove that it could not have happened in any environment on earth for a period of a few hundred thousand years, not in any environment on any other planet in the known universe for a few billion years, not in interstellar space, not by any other cause, intelligent or not, that might exist, like aliens, demons, angels, and you still would not have proven it. You still would have to bring positive, testable evidence that your deity exists, and that it would be capable of doing it. Your theory would fit well with our observations if we would observe your deity doing this or something similar in a lab setting. Racemic mixtures, that means mixtures of molecules with a different chirality, separate by themselves in a lab setting on a daily basis. Unseen intelligences rarely do.
To conclude this rather long expose. There is no need for you to attack whatever you I said under point 1 to 6, unless you address point 7 first. Because, whatever is wrong with my first 6 points, you still get stuck at point 7. And I doubt that you will commit to a testable claim. You currently seem to claim that if we find some simpler self-replicating form of life, that doesn't feed itself or excrete - both active processes - then you would admit that it wasn't your God, but a natural process that created life. However, if we find such a self-replicating life-form, that doesn't actively feed or excrete, you will probably just move the goal posts. You moved them back to include excretion only because I pointed you at it. Or would you admit defeat if you are presented, for example, with some proto-life in which feeding and excreting is simply osmosis and diffusion? Order 07:02, 8 February 2008 (EST)
"You know that the observation that biological life was created by god is correct, because your senses were created by god?": That was not the argument, so your claim of a circular argument is wrong.
"Your senses have no bearing on what happens in the test tube.". True. And although that is not what I claimed, it's also true that my answer missed the mark. You didn't ask what theological question had to be answered in order for the chemical reaction to occur, and neither did you ask what theological question had to be answered in order to observe the reaction. You asked what theological question had to be answered in order to predict the chemical reaction. So I'll change my answer to "Q. How do I know that my previous observations can lead to a successful prediction? A. Because a consistent God (James 1:17 ) will not change yesterday's laws of nature today".
"Humans know only for about 50 years the basics of biochemistry, and this year they already produced the first artificial genome. They have been in the business of producing computing devices much longer, at least ever since Leibniz.": Biology has been studied for longer than computing devices. When you have to limit it to biochemistry to make the comparison, you're struggling to make a point.
"Also, humans seem to be better at mathematics and physics, than in chemistry and biology.": Perhaps because biology is so much more complex?
"Your argument goes like this:": Addressing each numbered point:
  1. Agree.
  2. Essentially true, particularly for molecules used by living things. And true as far as their production is concerned. We've already discussed (elsewhere?) that polarised ultraviolet light can destroy one form better than the other form, which could well account for the bias in non-terrestrial sources.
  3. The first sentence is basically true. According to Wikipedia (which of course does not favour a creationary view): "Enantiomers are identical with respect to ordinary chemical reactions ..."[1]. The second sentence depends on what you mean by "natural". If you mean "non-biological", then that's essentially true also.
  4. True. That an intelligence might use tools, chemical or otherwise, to do so doesn't negate that. Pasteur used tweezers!
  5. True, but I'm not sure of the relevance, particularly of your reply. Much of science is a matter of the odds, such as the odds of always getting sixes when throwing a die 100 times. Nothing in science says that this is impossible, but we know that the odds are extremely low. Similar applies to some chemical processes, such as the decay of radioactive atoms.
  6. Correct in some situations. The alignment of molecules in a crystal is not random, but not (directly) due to any intelligent design. It is because of the properties of the molecules (although you could argue that those properties are due to intelligent design). I've answered the Wifi point before. It is not due to random chance, but due to design. It's just that this particular design uses pseudo-randomness as part of the design.
  7. Ultimately true, but that's too ambiguous. Any intelligent being can be a designer, so not all design is attributable to God. However, humans obviously could not be the designers of pre-human life. In principle (and ignoring other factors) the designers of life could be aliens, but this simply removes the question one step: who designed the aliens? So sooner or later you get to "god" being the designer. There are other reasons to indicate that this is likely to be the God of the Bible, but as far as the basic principle is concerned, about all you could say is that some intelligent being, rather than the God of the Bible, is the designer. Most likely, we would call this designer "god" anyway. And yes, you have to exclude all the alternatives, and, in theory, there might be some undiscovered natural (non-biological) process which can explain this. So in that sense, I wouldn't claim that God is "proved". Rather, I'd argue that, on the basis of the available evidence, God is the best explanation (as per Occam's Razor). You, of course, are free to have faith that a naturalistic explanation will one day be found, but until that day, you should concede that the evidence favours the Designer explanation, and refuse to accept that the Designer explanation is unfounded. Tests to prove God are not necessary for this chain of thought. Tests that show that a naturalistic explanation does not hold are sufficient to make the case that the Designer explanation is the most likely.
"Racemic mixtures, that means mixtures of molecules with a different chirality, separate by themselves in a lab setting on a daily basis.": This is incorrect. They do not separate by themselves. Chemists have to introduce a biological chiral substance in order to separate them.
"You currently seem to claim that if we find some simpler self-replicating form of life, that doesn't feed itself or excrete - both active processes - then you would admit that it wasn't your God, but a natural process that created life.": If it doesn't feed or excrete, I very much doubt that it would be called "life".
To finish, this is a complex area and one that I've not normally discussed or studied to any significant extent, and it's quite possible that I've misstated something. For example, I now gather that there may in fact be some substances in which the two forms naturally separate. But even if this is the case, it doesn't solve the problem, as this is not the case for the building blocks of life. To put it another way, if life requires (say) 100 different building blocks with exclusively left- or right-handed forms, and if one of them separates naturally, it doesn't solve the problem, because the other 99 don't.
The other point to highlight is that the way that the different forms are separated is by introducing biological compounds, i.e. compounds produced by living things, so this cannot be used to explain the origin of living things.
Philip J. Rayment 06:25, 9 February 2008 (EST)
You argue that you can discover that god made life, which includes your senses, because you can trust your sense, because they were made by god. Sounds pretty circular to me.
Humans are better at physics, because they can practice it on their scale. Humans are about 1 to 2 m high, have fingers of about a centimetre, and have a hard time to interact with molecules individually. Molecules, do not have this problem. The first computer were enormous machines, and filled entire rooms. Humans could first work on their scale, and then work out how to make it smaller. With biology, you have to do it on the scale right away. Nevertheless, in merely 50 years humans have been able to synthesize a genome, just briefly after they had the mechanical means to achieve it.
It is a basic assumption in science that the natural laws do not change. Some scientists might base their views on James 1:17, although it is not even clear if it talks about natural laws at all, but many philosophers of science, from Aristotle, to Popper, Carnap and Quine have said more profound things, and have been more influential than this single statement in James 1. But either way, both James and philosophy of science is irrelevant for the test tube. Scientist agree on the assumption that the laws don't change, for whatever reason, and based on that assumption they work. The thing with an assumption is, once assumed , you don't need to know where it came from. And you say yourself, we cannot know anything for sure, so this assumption might be wrong, but it worked well so far.
I will try to be brief on your elaboration on chriality.
With respect to point 2 and 3: Molecules of different chirality interacting does not fall under the "ordinary chemical reactions". In this context, can you make up your mind. You admit in 2 that non-biological causes can separate molecules of different chirality, and say in 3 that they can't.
ad 4. Good to see that you accept this. So, please refrain from saying in the future from saying that an intelligence did it, if you do not at the same time explain the details of the how.
ad 5: Funny you mention Pasteur. Pasteur observed that artificial tartaric acid had different properties from natural tartaric acid. But when he observed a solution of artificial tartaric acid crystallise, he observed that, all by themself, two types of crystal formed. It starts with one molecule of a given chirality, a second of the same chirality joins, then a third, then a fourth, etc up to a billion and beyond. The chance that a molecule matches the chirality of the growing crystal is about 50-50. So what is probability of for Pastuer to observe more than say 1 billion molecules with the same chirality form a crystal? Is it 1/2 to the power of one billion? Which is 0.000... with close to a billion zeros, hence practically zero. Is this your answer as to how probable it was? I'd say the probability isn't close to zero; I'd say it is close to one, and everybody can go into a lab and repeat this experiment, and see for him or herself.
BTW: Radioactive decay is not a chemical reaction.
So much about chirality.
ad 6: You say that "design" is equivalent with "not random chance". So, "D equivalent (Not R)". The wifi example shows that "D implies (not R)" is not true (Or "R implies (not D)" is not true, which is the same). The other not random examples that you gave yourself, illustrates that something can be "not random" and "not design", which show that "(not R) implies D" is false. Hence, your statement is false in two directions.
Also, you should make up your mind. Either the naturalistic explanation explains life by something that you wouldn't call life ('I very much doubt that it would be called "life"'), or by something that you would call life ('produced by living things, so this cannot be used to explain the origin of living things'). That is why I called it proto-life. BTW: molecules do not know whether they are organic or not, and molecular processes do not care if you classify it as life or biological or not.
The evidence for a designer is very weak. We still haven't observed a single design that wasn't made by humans, or at least made by other animals. We have however observed quite a lot of structure emerging in nature by natural means, without a designer. So, no, the evidence for a designer is fairly weak. Unless you want to define "designer" to mean: unknown cause, force, alien, demon, angle, or deity that might exist. In that case you are correct, you do not need to have evidence. If there is no current explanation, then it must have been an unknown cause, force, alien, demon, angle, or deity, which you apparently would call god. I doubt, however, that many would call it the God of the bible. If you want to claim that it was the same guy who wrote or inspired James 1:17, you'll need evidence.
But even more telling was your statement: "In principle (and ignoring other factors) the designers of life could be aliens, but this simply removes the question one step: who designed the aliens? So sooner or later you get to "god" being the designer." This is the quintessential God of the Gaps. Whatever the next explanation will be, there will always be gaps in knowledge, and you already tell us this is where your god resides.
This beg the question what kind of omniscient god you have. Apparently he houses in the unexplained. Your argument is that if we don't know how to assemble an Ikea bookshelf it must be have been god. I expect an omniscient god to be able to assemble an Ikea bookshelf, even if we know how to assemble one ourself. Of course, in that case I would like to see evidence that he actually did it, and not somebody else. But I want this evidence anyway, even if I don't know how to assemble the bookshelf. Sorry for discussing all points again. I think we should really stick to your assertion that your deity did it, and what follow from that assertion, and not expand to alternative explanations of how it should have happened by natural means. Because, now about a week after I asked you for the first time, you still haven't explained a thing about your assertion that god picked molecules based on their chirality. Order 00:30, 10 February 2008 (EST)

Your analogy is miserable and epic failure, as we've never seen computers emerge in a tube of silicon. Please, read the article before dismissing it. Barikada 19:40, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Your comment only serves to prove you wrong! My analogy stands because we've never seen life emerge from water! I did read the article, by the way. Philip J. Rayment 20:17, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Alright, let me try this again: We have never seen even the most basic parts of a computer emerging from a tube of silicon, silicon when frozen does not speed up reactions, computers do not evolve naturally. I seriously doubt you read all four pages of the article. Barikada 20:21, 3 February 2008 (EST)
I doubt that anyone's actually looked for computer precursors, so that's a fairly empty statement, and life does not evolve naturally either, so that doesn't change anything. And yes, I read all four pages. Philip J. Rayment 21:03, 3 February 2008 (EST)
It's not an empty statement; It's a criticism of your analogy. Peppered moths disagree. Read or skimmed? Barikada 21:05, 3 February 2008 (EST)
It's an empty statement to say that nothing's been found if nobody's looked. The only observations of the evolution of peppered moths is that the evolved into... wait for it... peppered moths! And even that's overstating it. There were both light and dark peppered moths, and the relative population sizes of the two groups changed, so you started with light and dark peppered moths, and you ended with light and dark peppered moths. Where's the evolution? I read it right through, fairly quickly. Philip J. Rayment 21:57, 3 February 2008 (EST)
The ratio changed dramatically as the ash on the trees changed. Over time, it would've gone fully to one colour or the other. I had more to say, but thanks to many edit conflicts and CP killing my edit, I've forgotten it. Barikada 22:10, 3 February 2008 (EST)
"Over time...": Apart from the fact that this is merely speculation, so what? Over time, one of the varieties would become extinct, is what you are saying. But so what? That doesn't demonstrate evolution (new varieties arising). Philip J. Rayment 08:26, 4 February 2008 (EST)
I can't help but think you meant another part of my statement was speculation. I severely doubt that you think time passing is speculation. It demonstrates natural selection, which is pretty much the corner stone of evolution. IE, had the air not gotten cleaner, the moth populace would soon be entirely black-winged and thus no longer "Peppered moths" as it were. Barikada 09:22, 4 February 2008 (EST)
I was trying to be brief, but obviously overdid it. The speculation was the statement starting with "over time". Natural selection was described by a creationist before Darwin. It may be a cornerstone of evolution, but it's not evolution's exclusive domain. And the fact is that this evidence is consistent with both evolution and creation, so does not demonstrate that evolution is correct. The darker moths were still "peppered". Natural selection can only select from what is already there. The evidence (as distinct from your speculation about what might happen in the future or in different circumstances) that you quoted was that natural selection favoured one variety of existing moth over another variety of existing moth; there was nothing new generated, hence no evolution. Philip J. Rayment 03:03, 5 February 2008 (EST)
This theory isn't exactly news, and it is indeed one of the alternatives for abiogensis. But we all know that pointing to something that a competing theory can't explain, doesn't relieve yourself from explaining it. While I don't want to go into the explanations that exist for chirality, lets turn the tables and ask you: Philip, how do you explain chirality? Order 20:07, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Design. Philip J. Rayment 20:17, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Well, Adam did have 25 ribs... Feebasfactor 20:43, 3 February 2008 (EST)
He did? Philip J. Rayment 21:03, 3 February 2008 (EST)
I thought it was thirteen. Barikada 21:05, 3 February 2008 (EST)
I thought it was twelve pairs, like every other human. Philip J. Rayment 21:49, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Ah, so you DID take notice. I think the idea of Adam having 25 ribs stems from the mention of him having one removed.Barikada 21:51, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Take notice of what? And if humans have 24 ribs and Adam had one removed, then surely that would mean that he had 23, not 25? Philip J. Rayment 22:00, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Of what I said. 25 would be pre-removal. Barikada 22:10, 3 February 2008 (EST)
If your "take notice" was referring to your comment about 13, and because you thought that I was ignoring it, I did initially miss a couple of edits because they were happening so fast. If Adam had 25 ribs to start with, and then had one removed, that wouldn't mean that all his descendents only had 24 any more than you losing a leg would mean that your children would be born with a leg missing. But if he had 24 and lost one, he would have 23, but his descendants had 24, which we do. Even that's assuming that he didn't grow back the missing rib, which, perhaps not so coincidentally, is about the only bone that humans can regrow if it's removed. Philip J. Rayment 08:26, 4 February 2008 (EST)
He was made of dirt. There's really not much more to say beyond that.
You can regrow your ribs? Really? For some reason, I'm incredibly skeptical. Barikada 09:24, 4 February 2008 (EST)
He was made of dirt by the omnipotent creator God! That says a lot. For rib regrowth, see here. Philip J. Rayment 03:09, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Design what? Design why? Details please.Order 22:36, 3 February 2008 (EST)
God designed life to mainly use amino acids of one handedness. Possibly to confound evolutionary explanations. Philip J. Rayment 08:26, 4 February 2008 (EST)
Why didn't he use molecules of the other chirality? Couldn't he figure out how to use them? And why did he want to confound evolutionary explanations? Does he try to deceive us? What does he have to hide? Order 20:09, 4 February 2008 (EST)
User:Order, don't you write almost entirely with only one hand? Why don't you spend more time trying to write with your other hand? It's amazing to me how critics of God expect Him to act in a way that the critics themselves don't act.--Aschlafly 21:15, 4 February 2008 (EST)
We typically regard it as a gift if you can write with both hands. Why shouldn't he have this gift. Would this be contradictory to his nature? But other than using this analogy, which essentially says "why not", do you have an actual reason? Order 21:24, 4 February 2008 (EST)
User:Order, there is no logic to your argument, and you implicitly assume that diversity is always better. I'm partly ambidextrous (it's not a "gift" of any significance) but have no reason to spend time writing with my other hand. It's not a question of "why not," it's a question of what the designer finds interesting. Michelangelo could have done many things that he declined to do simply because other things interested him more.--Aschlafly 23:36, 4 February 2008 (EST)
I don't assume anything. I just want you to tell me why. So, the reason boils down to because he liked it that way. That doesn't answer much, but anyway, why did he like it that way? What is wrong with the other chriality? Do you say that he didn't find the other option interesting? Order 04:12, 5 February 2008 (EST)
If God used molecules of the other chirality, you'd be asking why He didn't use the chirality He did use! Why would he want to confound evolutionary explanations? So that you would have no excuse for saying "but the evidence all pointed towards evolution!" Why would it be deceiving us to provide evidence against a false idea? That question makes no sense. Philip J. Rayment 03:14, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Sure, if you answer a question, it typically leads to new questions. But that shouldn't keep us from looking for answers. And good answers lead also to other predictions on the matter. So, did your answer explain anything we didn't already know about the subject in question, which is biochemistry. What predictions do you make, based on your answer? I still don't see what you answer, that "I don't know" wouldn't answer as well. Actually that seems to be your answer.
Not sure if chirality is such a good device to convey such a message. But either way, why would he be opposed to evolution? Any technical reason? Order 04:12, 5 February 2008 (EST)
User:Order, questions about why God preferred one design over another substantially similar design are generally pointless as a matter of logic, and I bet you rarely press such questions about other designers. Choosing any design necessarily requires not choosing an alternative. Diversity in design is not inherently superior than consistency in design.--Aschlafly 07:37, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Order, in the context of this discussion, your questions about why God chose one chirality of the other seem to be merely a case of trying to pick an argument. If I've judged you wrongly, and it's just a matter of curiosity, then my apologies. But it seems like asking why a builder chose the colour he used to paint the house. Admittedly there could be a reason, and the question is therefore valid to ask, but in all likelihood it was just a matter of taste or an arbitrary choice, in which case the answer is irrelevant. So ask if you like, but just so long as it's not a case (as it seems to be with you if I haven't misjudged you) that if we can't answer then there is something wrong with the whole story.
The prime reason that He would want to confound evolutionary explanations, as I think I've already been sufficiently clear about, is simply to confound incorrect explanations. But I could also add that the reason that He didn't choose to use evolution is that He wanted to create a "good" world, not one that came about by millions of years of death and suffering, which is what evolution entails.
Philip J. Rayment 08:43, 5 February 2008 (EST)
We could now do go on how reasonable it would be for a deity to behave in a way you describe, and whether chirality would be the best way to convey his message. The important bit, however, is that you didn't give an explanation for chirality, but a moral reason for the belief that it it was divinely created and didn't happen by natural means. But we can leave it at this, because discussing your moral claims would be a tangent.
Since you asked directly, I want to ensure you that I was not asking for the sake of asking. I was asking to see if you could explain chriality. If you point victoriously at chriality because the current theory of evolution is allegedly incapable to explain it, then the least you should be able to to is explain it yourself. And you didn't, didn't even make an attempt to. Andy made a passing reference to my assumed political orientation, which has no important on the matter of chirality, a flawed analogy about other designers that we wouldn't ask - we do ask - and concluded with some truism that sometimes uniformity is to be preferred above diversity. And you didn't explain chirality, but you argued that the belief in your position in a moral necessity. If science does not explain chriality, then neither do you. Most of the many scientific explanations of chirality may be wrong, but along the way we learn something about chirality. Your explanation do not even make an attempt to do this, but are just an appeal to morals and faith to stop looking for a scientific answer. Order 18:16, 5 February 2008 (EST)
I'm not clear how the chirality of amino acids is necessarily a problem for evolution, particularly since it's a question of abiogenesis, not evolution. But even if we conflate the terms, then the fact that practically all life (except for some incredibly rare bacteria) uses left handed amino acids strongly suggests that all life is related to a common ancestor that used left handed amino acids. Talk origins has a good article on this as well, and one thing I didn't know is that amino acids found in meteorites (which must have formed in the absence of life) tend to be left handed as well, so there may be something about the physical chemistry of amino acids that makes them prefer to be left handed. SSchultz 20:52, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Chriality does become a problem only if we ignore its chemical implications. Molecules of different chirality are chemically different molecules, and easy to distinguish. So, I agree with you on these technical terms, chirality is not much of a problem. But the problem with this debate is more fundamental. Creationsts arguments do not not care about the details of chirality. Your answer shows how an answer to the problem should look like. You look at the chemical properties of the involved molecules, make prediction where these molecules could be found etc, how they interact. The creationist answer is that it just happened. And disagreeing with them is question of moral and authority, not a question of scientific inquiry. By discussing technical details, you just give creationists the chance to question your details, assuming that it would prove their alternative to be right, rather than getting them to admit that they don't know either. Order 00:08, 6 February 2008 (EST)
"The important bit, however, is that you didn't give an explanation for chirality...": Excuse me, but I did give an explanation.
"...but a moral reason for the belief that it it was divinely created and didn't happen by natural means.": That was a logical reason, not a "moral" one.
"...the least you should be able to to is explain it yourself. And you didn't, didn't even make an attempt to.": Incorrect. I gave an explanation.
"...the fact that practically all life ... uses left handed amino acids strongly suggests that all life is related to a common ancestor that used left handed amino acids.": Which explains nothing about why that original bacteria used only left-handed amino acids.
"...amino acids found in meteorites (which must have formed in the absence of life) tend to be left handed as well, so there may be something about the physical chemistry of amino acids that makes them prefer to be left handed.": There are some processes that favour one hand over the other, and polarised light is one such process. However, it also destroys the amino acids, and by the time the amino acids are 35.5% pure, 99.9% of them have been destroyed[2]. So this doesn't solve the problem.
"Molecules of different chirality are chemically different molecules, and easy to distinguish.": Well, that's the whole point—they are not chemically different, and are not easy to distinguish. See the link in the previous line.
"Creationsts arguments do not not care about the details of chirality.": Oh?
"The creationist answer is that it just happened.": No, the creationist answer was that it was designed. And if that is what happened, then it's a perfectly legitimate answer.
Philip J. Rayment 07:21, 6 February 2008 (EST)
You didn't give an explanation that deserves the word. You asserted that it was designed, because it was a moral choice of your deity. Or else make a prediction about chirality that arises from your explanation.
No, you didn't try to give an explanation. You tried to deal with it by referring to some assumed motives of your deity. At no point did I see you link the properties of molecules of different chirality to the alleged cause or motive.
I'll leave it up to Schultz to answer his part, but it nice to see how you jump on details of his explanation, just like I predicted. All you did is to disprove a certain use of a certain mechanism that you proposed yourself. But you can try to disprove Schultz claims, because they are falsifiable. Something your claims aren't.
Pasteur discovered chirality because they were chemically different.
You say that it was designed, which is the same as saying that it happened. That someone made it happened, if you insist. But you cannot answer any question about this design, except that it happened, and that it had to be done because the being that did it had no other choice. You have not even provided a testable explanation that it was this being that did it. Order 17:58, 6 February 2008 (EST)
"You asserted that it was designed, because it was a moral choice of your deity.": I asserted that design explains why life is constructed mostly of amino acids of a single handedness. I didn't say anything about moral choices.
"No, you didn't try to give an explanation. You tried to deal with it by referring to some assumed motives of your deity. At no point did I see you link the properties of molecules of different chirality to the alleged cause or motive.": That my explanation did not satisfy you does not mean that it wasn't an explanation.
"...but it nice to see how you jump on details of his explanation, just like I predicted.": There's something wrong with examining the details?
"All you did is to disprove a certain use of a certain mechanism that you proposed yourself.": Shultz offered no specific mechanism for me to reply to, but referred to TalkOrigins. TalkOrigins' mechanism was to do with polarised light, so I answered that point. It was not "my" proposal.
"But you can try to disprove Schultz claims, because they are falsifiable. Something your claims aren't.": Shultz' claim is essentially that chirality makes a difference, and therefore abiogenesis could have occurred and (by implication) did occur. The creationist claim is that chirality makes little or no difference and therefore abiogenesis could not have occurred and therefore life was designed. So both original claims can be tested. Shultz implication that abiogenesis did occur cannot be tested.
I'm out of time... to be continued... Philip J. Rayment 01:11, 7 February 2008 (EST)
"Pasteur discovered chirality because they were chemically different": See here.
"You say that it was designed, which is the same as saying that it happened.": Nonsense. If an archaeologist finds a stone tool, declaring that it is a tool (i.e. designed) rather than occurring naturally is not the same thing as saying that it "happened".
"But you cannot answer any question about this design, except that it happened, and that it had to be done because the being that did it had no other choice.": What do you mean, "had no other choice"? That's the opposite of what I said.
"You have not even provided a testable explanation that it was this being that did it.": As I've pointed out many times, it's hard to test past events. The same applies to evolution and abiogenesis.
Philip J. Rayment 08:44, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Yes you asserted design. But you didn't made an observable, testable prediction, that followed from that assertion.
It is not that your explanation doesn't satisfy me, but it doesn't satisfy as explanation. Full stop. It was a tale about motivations that are untestable.
There is nothing wrong with jumping on details. That is what science entails. It is just that creationist like to jump onto details, under the assumption that it would prove their point. Which it doesn't.
Afaik, the behavior of molecules under polarized light is used to explain why there are certain molecules of a certain chirality are predominant. But that doesn't mean that every reaction involving the molecules, once they are formed, cannot react in the absence of sunlight.
So, your claim is that chirality doesn't make a difference. This is indeed a falsifiable claim. And has been falsified. The taste of spearmint and caraway is caused by molecules that are identical, except for chirality. And they still taste different. And there are lots of other examples.
But we descend into details, I welcome your attempt to provide a falsifiable claim. This claim however follows not from your assertion that God did it, but from Schultz' and my assertion that chirality matters chemically. It seem like you assume, that, if we do not know, then it must have been God. Order 04:28, 7 February 2008 (EST)

The "life in outer space" theory sells lots of copies of Discover and other pseudo-science magazines. Much junk science is published with this in mind. The motivation for the silly ice theory as an incubator of life is found towards the end of the story: "If life on Earth arose from ice, then our chances of finding life elsewhere in the solar system—not to mention elsewhere in the galaxy—may be better than we ever imagined."--Aschlafly 20:58, 3 February 2008 (EST)

Of course, Andy. The speculative statement at the end is clearly enough to discount many years of research as an attempt to sell more SF novels. Barikada 21:00, 3 February 2008 (EST)
You're living proof of how people fall for this junk science in Discover magazine. Did you buy a copy?--Aschlafly 21:12, 3 February 2008 (EST)
How, exactly, do you plan to prove that this is junk science? Ignoring the other question. Reason: Irrelevance. Barikada 21:16, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Change "sell more SF novels" to "get more research grants", and you might be on to something. Philip J. Rayment 21:17, 3 February 2008 (EST)
I highly doubt he's going to get more research grants; He's a little bit dead.
On that note, yes, people generally do publish research in an attempt to get research grants to further their research. What's your point? Barikada 21:19, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Miller's dead, but the article was not just about him. The research continues. My point is that scientists have a motive to talk up the prospects of their research. Philip J. Rayment 21:24, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Indeed. However, I don't see anything you could skew as "talking up" there. The results seem pretty clear: Amino acids formed, RNA formed into far longer chains, ice speeds up certain reactions and reverses some RNA effects. Barikada 21:26, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Talking up the prospects for explaining the origin of life, perhaps? And the longer RNA chains were produced by using existing RNA as a template! Philip J. Rayment 21:46, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Perhaps; Although that is indeed what the results would imply. As for the second thing, see first edit. Barikada 21:48, 3 February 2008 (EST)
That's only what the results would imply in a mindset that says such leaps of faith are possible. Philip J. Rayment 22:03, 3 February 2008 (EST)
The results are the results is a leap of faith? Barikada 22:10, 3 February 2008 (EST)
This time, I don't think that I used poor wording that would amount to me saying that. Philip J. Rayment 08:29, 4 February 2008 (EST)
Barikada, do you seriously doubt that Discover is trying to sell more magazines? Running stories about "life in outer space" is a big seller for pseudo-science publications. Surely you don't deny that.--Aschlafly 22:38, 3 February 2008 (EST)
I'm ignoring your flamebaiting on this one, and repeating my previous question: Can you actually prove to me that this is junk science? Barikada 23:45, 3 February 2008 (EST)
"Prove" in the sense of convincing you? No, I doubt that he (or anybody) could do that. Philip J. Rayment 08:29, 4 February 2008 (EST)
Oh, Hi Andy. I see you got a name change. Barikada 09:17, 4 February 2008 (EST)
That might be mildly amusing if I hadn't referred to Andy in the third person. Philip J. Rayment 03:16, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Just a point of rhetoric, PJR is making actual points about the topic (although failing to answer the question). He is debating in a productive and polite fashion about an issue that is relevant to belief and epistemology. For some reason, every time Aschlafly pipes in, it's to toss irrelevant, ad hominem conversational grenades. I know it's his site, but, geez, why not let a nice discussion proceed between intelligent individuals?RobertK 18:38, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Can I ask, why is it 'psuedo-science' to dream of a future to be? Science continues to stride forward, making it's way past the theories and methods of old, and continuing to move onward to a point where, future willing, we may see colonization of space and other terrestrial bodies. Sure, it's quite a long ways off from the first Mars Colony, or a place outside our solar system. But simply because it hasn't been done yet doesn't make it 'pseudo-science'. CodyH 17:45 5 Feb 2008 (CST)

Hey there - Phillip, does your analysis of the absence of self-replicating computers/machines take this into account? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rodney (talk)

Isn't that an example of Intelligent Design? 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 04:42, 7 February 2008 (EST)
In fact, the more times I read the article, the more I'm convinced that it is anything but "self replication" - its just a modular robot, very cleverly pre-progranmmed to make a stack similar to itself from conveniently identical components conveniently placed nearby. I don't want to detract from what is/was a "technological" achievement in robotics, but it definitely isn't true "self-replication", no matter how much techno-tinsel they wrap it in :/ 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 07:08, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Oh, it's self-replication alright - one thing making a copy of itself using spare parts. It just demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to achieve physically. Ajkgordon 08:33, 7 February 2008 (EST)
It is an example of intelligent design. And to answer Rodney, no, I didn't take that into account. I did say that we hadn't built self-replicating machines yet, but I didn't say that we will never be able to, so the fact that a simple form of self-replication has been made does not negate the point of my argument. My point was that it is not something easy for us intelligent humans to do, so a living thing (which can reproduce) is therefore even more complicated, and if scientists don't expect to find computers occurring naturally, why would they expect to find living things occurring naturally? (Because, of course, they have a belief that it has happened here so must therefore be able to happen; but this is inconsistent with their belief that simpler things, like computers, would not spontaneously arise.) The linked article only reinforces the point. First, as Fox points out, it is really an example of intelligent design. Secondly, it's a stretch to call it self-replication, given that it requires parts that do not occur naturally, but which need an intelligent being to create! Thirdly, even the researchers concede that "the machines ... are still simple compared with biological self-reproduction". So if it takes such intelligence to create even a poor version of reproduction, wouldn't that indicate that the much-more-complex living things also had an intelligent designer? Philip J. Rayment 09:00, 7 February 2008 (EST)

More gun laws = more violent crimes

Here is the link: [3]. States with more gun control have higher rates of violent crime. I suggest to put this in the newslinks. Thiudareiks 12:05, 4 February 2008 (EST)

This link directs us to the NRA-ILA's website. Wouldn't they be just a tad bit biased? Also, this page has no footnotes, sources, and does not cite a single study other than vague, unconfirmed 'FBI data'. Are we simply to blindly believe these figures without any backing?--Incide 13:59, 4 February 2008 (EST)
The data also does not address which is the cause and which is the effect. Homes with mousetraps probably also have more mice than homes without, but the traps are not causing the mice. I am not pro gun control, but I would prefer something more solid than just NRA numbers. Something showing statistics, over a fairly short term (a few years, not a few decades) of what happens when gun control laws are put into place. Boomcoach 15:28, 4 February 2008 (EST)

In other news:Pope says that Catholicism is 'a good thing', Tony Blair advocates the Third Way, and liberals claim that they are not biased or deceitful. --JOwen

Shouldn't the above about the Pope be under another heading?--Incide 08:41, 5 February 2008 (EST)
No, it's sarcasm about this topic. Philip J. Rayment 08:44, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Ah... my bad. As many a white, suburban kid would say.--Incide 08:46, 5 February 2008 (EST)


I'm curious how sending poor kids to schools they couldn't otherwise afford is a gimmick. And a gimmick for what? To promote what? The majority of people that hold some kind office in the city are Republicans, for Pete's sake! Why would anyone have an issue with poor kids getting the education they deserve?--Incide 08:41, 5 February 2008 (EST)

It's another way to tax-and-spend without any realistic chance of promoting good. It might promote harm instead. Republicans can be liberal too, by the way. What would help? Try allowing prayer in school, and breaking up the public school teachers' union monopoly.--Aschlafly 08:49, 5 February 2008 (EST).
You haven't really answered my initial question... If anything, you've brought up more questions... What harm can come of promoting the idea of sending poor kids to university? Also, how does prayer in school help get poor kids into university? How does dismantling the teacher's union help get poor kids into university?
I fully understand and appreciate that you want prayer in the classroom and that Unions make every cell in your Conservative body retch. Fine. These are things that you will keep fighting for. That will take time, however. As for the Here and Now, this initiative: Why is it a bad thing? Should these kids have a higher chance of ending up in jail or dead or whatever because you want the unions abolished?--Incide 09:07, 5 February 2008 (EST)
I'm not sure where the "harm" comes in, but I think Andy's suggesting that breaking up the teacher unions would result in better education, and prayer in school would promote better morals. Therefore, better education plus morals equals fewer kids in jail, same result as the scholarships, but at far less cost.--RossC 10:31, 5 February 2008 (EST)
I totally get that. They want prayer and no unions... I disagree but that's a whole other debate...
The point I’m trying to get across is that while they fight to get what they want, this plan could help right now. Getting prayer back into school will take time and good luck getting rid of the unions... In the interim, why not let this plan go ahead?--Incide 10:50, 5 February 2008 (EST)
I think it would be better to have the prayers and the lack of a teacher's union right now, just, to use your poor choice of words, to make your liberal heart retch. Karajou 14:15, 5 February 2008 (EST)
(edit. pressed SAVE PAGE too soon...)My choice of words may have been poorly chosen (I don't think so but whatever), but prayer in the classroom or teacher's unions aren't in debate here. The Jacksonville Plan is. If I'm not going to get an answer, fine. I'd just like to know why Conservatives, while you work to attain your goals, can't back something that could help at least a few kids.--Incide 14:56, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Prayer/unions are precisely the issue here--instead of throwing a bunch of money at what is best a limited and short-term gain, a quick-fix, institute more systematic changes that will accomplish the same thing in a more universal way and save a ton of money.--RossC 17:01, 5 February 2008 (EST)

The gimmick of using college -- and taxpayer dollars -- in order to keep teenagers from committing crimes is a liberal absurdity. If someone can't hold down a job to stay out of crime, going to college is not going to be easier or better for that person. Instead, you'll get crime by that person at college, and a lot of wasted taxpayer money.--Aschlafly 20:13, 5 February 2008 (EST)

Nevemind... Had I known it would be so hard to get an answer i wouldn't have bothered....--Incide 08:36, 6 February 2008 (EST)
In other words, you had no substantive reply, but insisted on last wordism to say nothing. Oh, how liberals love last wordism.--Aschlafly 19:43, 6 February 2008 (EST)
So the better educated someone is has no bearing on how likely they are to commit crime? If we can get underprivileged kids to attend school rather than going out into the streets then that can only be a good thing. SSchultz 00:14, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Creation science, chirality, blah blah blah blah blah.

Here's my take on things: if, as creation scientists suggest, there is undeniable evidence of special creation, doesn't that somewhat preclude the quality of "faith without seeing"? I'm sorry to appear as if I'm using this talk page as a soapbox, but I didn't want to get involved in the bulk of the above conversation concerning evolution, which is a bit too long to be able to make any point without having it sink into a murky ocean of textual obscurity, to coin a rather grandiose, perhaps unclear, phrase, sorry. --MakeTomorrow 20:42, 5 February 2008 (EST)

"...doesn't that somewhat preclude the quality of "faith without seeing"? ": I guess it does, but that "quality" is an anti-Christian myth, promulgated by people who don't know any better but should, or by people who do know better and are being deceitful. True (biblical) faith is trust based on evidence. See here for more. And if you are up to a bit more reading, although it's a more general discussion, this article should be read by many people here. This question is a classic example of why, as that article says, critics "don't deserve the benefit of the doubt". Philip J. Rayment 07:35, 6 February 2008 (EST)
I'm not referring to faith when it is directly contradicted by undeniable evidence, I am referring to faith in God. If you can prove the existence of God, then the latter is precluded. The former is ridiculous, and doesn't bear discussion. --MakeTomorrow 11:38, 6 February 2008 (EST)
"I am referring to faith in God.": That's what I was referring to also. And I didn't say that faith was trust based on proof, but on evidence. Philip J. Rayment 06:29, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Possible news story

No link between MMR jab and autism spectrum disorders —The preceding unsigned comment was added by KimSell (talk)

They report no evidence for the link, but there's still no proof to the contrary. Feebasfactor 08:13, 6 February 2008 (EST)
What's going on with this news headline? Did anyone even bother to read the article? The headline says "But the fine print says that no link was found in a study of fewer than 100 children with autism, all of whom received an MMR jab!" Yet, if you actually read the linked article you discover, "The findings are based on a community sample of almost 250 children aged between 10 and 12, born from a population of 57 000, born between 1990 and 1991 in one area of Southern England. The sample comprised 98 children who had an autism spectrum disorder, and two comparison groups: 52 children with special educational needs, but no evidence of autism spectrum disorders, and 90 children who were developing normally." The results are NOT based on fewer than a hundred children but, rather, over two hundred children split into a set of comparison groups. There may be problems with this research, but the n isn't one of them- particularly given that the (discredited) study linking MMR vaccination to autism had an n of 12! (Drek)
Thanks for your rant, but nothing you cite contradicts our headline. The study look at fewer than 100 children with autism, and did not prove there is no link between MMR and autism as falsely claimed by the newspaper headline.--Aschlafly 11:30, 6 February 2008 (EST)
Color me confused...You're suggesting that the headline should read, "Study does not find that there is not a link between autism and MMR"? That would be bad grammar, bad logic, and bad science.--RossC 15:12, 6 February 2008 (EST)
With a total sample size of only 250, the study falls far short of the 1,000+ participants needed in order for it to be statistically significant. Therefore, any conclusions it draws are invalid. Because the study is effectively useless for anything, I suggest we replace the article with a more valid study/article that does support the link between vaccines and autism. --JacobM 15:29, 6 February 2008 (EST)
There is no statistical magic number. Increasing the sample size increases the certainty, but you don't have to have 1000 participants for a conclusion to automatically become valid. In fact, given that the total sample space of children who have autism is itself relatively small, the number of participants of the sample wouldn't need to be as high as for other things to be significant. HelpJazz 16:31, 6 February 2008 (EST)
From the article: "MMR has been linked to the development of autism, following the publication in 1998 of research on 12 children, which has since been discredited." Twelve! Talk about a small sample size...--RossC 16:30, 6 February 2008 (EST)
Was that some tumbleweed rolling past?--KimSell 15:45, 6 February 2008 (EST)
Andy: With respect, I maintain that the headline is misleading and biased. It appears to be criticizing the study for a small n, for only using autistic children, and for only using those who had received an MMR vaccination. If that were so, then the headline would be correct that the study is inferior simply because there would be no variation on the independent variable (IV) or on the dependent variable (DV). The actual study, however, also included developmentally typical children and those who are developmentally delayed but non-autistic so there IS variation on the DV. Normally, the lack of variation on the IV would be a problem (since all children had received at least one MMR vaccination) BUT in this case the study was cleverly trying to assess Dr. Vasken Aposhian's claim that preservatives in the MMR vaccine weaken the immune system, permitting measles to infect the gut and from thence the brain. This, accoridng to Aposhian, results in autism. If Aposhian's argument is correct then the study should have found evidence of the measles infection in the autistic children but not in the developmentally normal children. The study found no such thing. Therefore, it appears that Aposhian's claim is not supported by evidence. I'm sure there are valid criticisms of the study but the headline implies a critique that is invalid. JacobM: Where do you get the idea that 1,000+ participants are necessary for statistical significance? If we were to perform a two-tailed independent-means t-test comparing the developmentally normal children to the autistic children we would only require a t-score of (approximately) 2.601 to obtain statistical significance at the .01 level. If we were to use a one-tailed test (which is entirely appropriate since Aposhian provides us with a directional hypothesis) then the necessary t-value declines to 2.345. The ability to detect an effect if one is present (i.e. statistical power) is based both on sample size (n) and on effect size. It's quite possible to detect effects with less than 1,000 participants, particularly in experimental designs, and often an excessively large n will only turn up novel effects of such a small size as to be practically unimportant. Take a look at a basic stats textbook sometime- I recommend "Elementary Statistics" 9/e. by Mario F. Triola. (Drek)
I guess I was thinking of polls. Sorry, then. I was wrong. --JacobM 18:59, 6 February 2008 (EST)
In general an opinion poll of the American public with a sample size of 1000 will have a margin of error of +/-4%. That's probably what you were thinking of. (At least that's a number I've heard in a couple different classes). HelpJazz 19:19, 6 February 2008 (EST)
JacobM Don't worry about it- I do, and teach, this stuff for a living. Stats can be a pain to deal with. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that opinion polling generates point estimates. The relevant branch of statistics for a scientific study like the one described above is hypothesis testing. Believe it or not, the rules about how much data are required differ between the two. This is a long way of saying, "Don't apply the rules of thumb from point estimation to hypothesis testing or vice versa." Take care! (Drek)

Heath Ledger, again

While you continue to 'report' Ledger's death as somehow related to 'Hollwood Values', it's worth noting that even sober financial news websites like are looking at the story as an example of overprescribed, underinformed average Americans being able to keep too many strong drugs in their home, and making unwise choices causing their accidental death. There is absolutely not a scintilla of evidence that this had anything to do with so-called 'Hollywood Values'. Clearly he took too many drugs together, accidentally. To suggest it was somehow to do with John Belushi-like 'partying' is total nonsense. Your continued sensatioanalising of this story really makes you look absurd. Misterlinx 18:43, 6 February 2008 (EST)

Abuse of prescription drugs is a problem ... for people over 50 who have real pain. Heath Ledger was 28 years old. Look at the list of similar Hollywood deaths in Hollywood Values, which is just a partial list. Remember Anna Nicole Smith? The list goes on, and on, and on. But thanks for your comment: I'll add this to the list of liberal denials.--Aschlafly 18:50, 6 February 2008 (EST)
I would think that people who have real pain wouldn't be the ones abusing prescription drugs--rather, they'd be using them as prescribed. And who says that people under 50 don't have "real pain"? I am only 21, and have been prescribed pain medications for car-accident-related recurring pain. What do you know about Ledger that we don't that tells you he had his meds for some evil liberal drug-addicted reason? --Emkay 19:23, 6 February 2008 (EST)
Emkay, if I said that there would be liberal denial here, then people might not believe me. Thanks for playing the strawman's role and pretending that the healthy and wealthy 28-year-old Ledger was just following good medical advice.--Aschlafly 19:35, 6 February 2008 (EST)

Are you all seriously arguing that Hollywood values have not led to drug related deaths and overdoses (among its many crimes)? Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Heath Ledger are all victims of this Hollywood lifestyle - any attempt to deny that is completely illogical.--IDuan 19:52, 6 February 2008 (EST)

Uhm...speaking of illogical, of the list you provided, only one of them is dead. Also, none of the others have had overdoses (that we know of) - though certainly they've had their brushes with disaster. So it's a completely illogical list, and that muddles whatever point you're trying to make. Of course I'm not suggesting your so-called 'Hollywood Values' haven't led to deaths - no fool would contest that. Belushi, Bonham, Bon Scott, Phil Lynott, the list is long and tragic, and yes, they all succumbed to the rock n' roll lifestyle. I'll also point out in passing that 'Hollywood Values' is a poor term for the problem, as it's much more prevalent in the music business than the movie business, however, I'm not here to nitpick your Conservapedia phrases.

My problem with the 'Ledger Thing' is that you present fabricated opinion as fact and news. You claim Ledger is both a 'gay icon' and a 'liberal icon'. While I'm neither gay nor a fan of Brokeback Mountain, I can assure you that there's not a liberal alive who thinks Heath Ledger was a liberal icon, and I can promise you that the gay community looks to people like Harvey Milk as icons, rather than to a straight actor who played a gay role once in his career, and never took a stand on gay issues. Your argument, clearly, is that all astronauts adore Sam Shephard, all chefs idolise Catherine Zeta-Jones, all spies love George Clooney? Really? Is Ed Norton a darling of neo-Nazis, Fred Thomspon the scion of the legal profession, and Warren Beatty the chosen actor of US Presidents? Can you not see how ludicrous this looks?

When it comes to Ledger's death, from Day One of the story, you took the view that he had deliberately OD'd in some kind of 'party' mood. Alone? At home? In bed? Really? I should think he might have been swinging from the rafters of some club instead by your accounts. You're welcome to your opinions, but please don't insult your own intelligence by pretending they're 'news'. Misterlinx 13:56, 7 February 2008 (EST)

I'm not sure what you mean by the first part of your reply (accusing me of liberal denial I guess?), but my asking you for proof of Ledger's medical history was not me playing a strawman's role. You don't know for certain that he was healthy, just as I don't know he wasn't. He may have had chronic pain, or maybe he had a drug problem. I do not argue that the evidence says Ledger overdosed on lots of drugs--many of which he probably did not need. I just don't think anyone should be claiming that as the absolute truth. The fact is, you seem to be demonizing Ledger and the circumstances of his and others' deaths to take one more crack at the people with whom you disagree, thinly disguising all your hate as the well-intentioned concern of an honest man who just wants to prevent more needless deaths.--Emkay 19:55, 6 February 2008 (EST)
And what about your own hate for this site? Doesn't that count? Karajou 11:23, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Count for what, exactly? And to answer your question--well, no, because I'm not the one posting speculation as if it is absolutely unchangingly fact. My personal opinions about the site aside (I think you have some serious issues with your structure, but I don't hate you if you really wanted to know), there have been several instances of items on the Breaking News board that have speculation and gossip presented as fact. But when there are calls for proof of the claims (like myself and misterlinx and countless others have done), the skeptics are attacked for being liberal and denying the proof. If you don't provide proof, I can deny the claim as much as I want without being liberal or conservative or anything. I don't deny being a liberal, so don't try to latch on there. I don't really think I'm going to change your minds, and you don't really think you'll change mine...and even if you did, you'd know that attacking me would be the wrong way to go about it. So why not just answer the questions instead of pulling out random belligerent questions?--Emkay 13:37, 7 February 2008 (EST)
How is attacking you the wrong way to go about it? What is your college teaching you, by the way? Karajou 14:34, 7 February 2008 (EST)
I think what he is saying is "why are there attacks at all?" Why should it be when someone calls opinion for what it is: unsourced rumor, say, the person posting said opinion should have to back the "fact" up or have it changed. To attack the questioner leads to groupthink and a fuzzy reaasurance that anything that is posted on the mainpage (especially in the "Breaking News" section) has been vetted and sourced so as to actually be "news" not spinbots on someone's blog. JoeManga 14:43, 7 February 2008 (EST)
What is going on with the "skepics" is they don't come here to help build or help correct; they come here to be as skeptical as possible in a negative way. Looking at Emkay's user page I see something akin to assistance with the "attrocious spelling and grammar" on this site; but seeing his own contributions relative to his being here I see him carrying out ONLY the first line on his user page: that he had come here for amusement. Karajou 14:49, 7 February 2008 (EST)
First of all, I am most definitely a "she". My username is the phonetic spelling of my first two initials (MK). Next, to change my mind, don't attack me personally, attack my ideas. My college has taught me that attacking my person is only going to make me close my ears to what you have to say, just as you have closed your ears to what I and everyone else have to say Have you ever been on a debate team? You wouldn't make a point by insulting your opponent's shoes. Third, I would appreciate it if you, Karajou, would stop incorrectly quoting me. I didn't say there was "attrocious" spelling or grammar--nor would I, as that is spelled incorrectly. As for my contributions, you're right: I haven't had much time to come and edit, but I usually try to pair talk page postings with a few normal edits when I do show up. I have been busier than I thought I would be today, and haven't had a chance to do that this time. If you don't want me around, I will be fine with leaving, but I do enjoy coming here when I have the time. I try to stay out of the drama that goes on around here, but sometimes I can't help myself. If you like, I will try a little harder in the future. I also really need to finish that Jane Austen article!--Emkay 16:12, 7 February 2008 (EST)
In response to that, first, it's you're own omission about you being a she, not mine. Second, I didn't incorrectly quote you; here's what your page says: "I'm emkay, a junior English major at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. I found Conservapedia through facebook. At first, I was highly amused by this site. I was then horrified by the poor grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and the general bad writing I found here. I'm not into controversy or ideological debates. I just want to make this place a little more readable." Third, I have not been on a debate team, but that doesn't matter here. You chose to debate rather than fix, and the debate is centered on either trying to correct us rather than the content of the articles (as you said on your user page), or the pushing of your own liberalism. Karajou 09:14, 8 February 2008 (EST)

In all fairness, Karajou, that's not even remotely true. For one, the original problem was with a Main Item, which we lowly types are locked from editing. So our only means of attempting to 'improve the Trustworthiest Enclyclopedia on the Internet' was to complain loudly on Main Page:Talk. Subsequently, the Heath Ledger and Hollywood Values articles were created and I and quite a number of others tried to 'fix' the article, removing opinion and gossip and replacing with real news information. The debating, complaining and whining only started when every single one of the edits we made was reverted by a certain someone, and the same gossipy nonsense was returned. Now, all three items are garbage articles filled with nothing but gossip and National Enquirer cites. This is 'News'? I don't think so. Misterlinx 12:31, 8 February 2008 (EST)