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Evolution Cage Match

This is closed circuit for my critics and the people who have enjoyed watching the slow motion train wreck for the last few days. This is the last evolution post for a few weeks, they wear me out.

I finally figured out how to end this nonsense. And I have to give credit to ~DS~ in the comments for the inspiration. DS asked me:

"More importantly Paul, can you be wrong about evolution or abiogenesis, or are you acting as a theologian, and not a scientist?"
A fantastic question. Here's why...

My problem with the "oozers" is that if someone challenges their orthodoxy, they stick their fingers in their ears and scream LA LA LA LA I AM SMARTER THAN YOU LA LA LA. and they refuse to even listen to the most basic of arguments. DS had no clue what I said about those things but he (she?) was SURE I just had to be wrong.

They don't even read what I wrote but they disagree loudly.

So if you want to keep this up, you now play by a few rules. I'm closing every thread but this one. And this thread has a few basic rules. IF you want to tell me I'm wrong ---fine-- show me. If you want to disagree with something I've said you must follow 3 steps.

1) Quote and link original source.

2) PARAPHRASE MY POINT as accurately as possible

3) Refute it.

#2 is where all the fun comes in. You have to stop long enough to think about what I wrote and figure out what I am saying. But more importantly, rule #2 requires people to be intellectually honest. (well in my little theory at least) In theory, if people are forced to paraphrase, they can't twist my words. (we'll see how well that works ;-) BTW- I've written a bunch of words.. It is quite probable some of them are ambiguous. But if people give it there best shot, the larger arguments should provide context. And you are always allowed to ask for a clarification before you reply. (hint hint hint)

Now remember - By definition you can not prove an "opinion" to be incorrect. You are allowed however to respectfully disagree. (see also the "irrational rule")

The Irrational Opinion Rule
As I said above, you can't prove an opinion wrong but you can respectfully disagree. That is, of course, assuming the original opinion is rational. If I tell you that the Holocaust never happened or that Elvis is alive and working at a Dairy Queen, you can invoke the "irrational opinion rule." The irrational rule can be called when one guy express an irrational opinion -- but remember -- If I say: "You can't prove we came from ooze" and you call that irrational... you might just look like the irrational one. Andy that warning is for you.

Newbies
I'm sorry but I have to limit my replies to the people I've already been debating. If you missed the floor show, you just have to read Wizbang more often.

Quantity of Replies
Here is the deal, we all have a time clock to live by.. On my holiday weekend, my time is even tighter. I'd ask that you limit yourself to one single well thought out reply, rather than a bunch of small ones. Gather your evidence that I'm an idiot and hit me with one case much like a lawyer would. Try to keep the debate mostly civil but more importantly, intelligent... This is a "spirit rule" and by that I mean you have to live up to the spirt of this rule. Look at the name "Evolution Cage Match" I want to keep all the arguments in one place and as neat as possible so we can wrap it up.

AND I might not reply until tonight, I'm busy. If you just HAVE to add another post OK OK, I'm a flexible guy, but try to adhere to the spirit of making this as clean as possible.

Cross talk
This is going to kind of suck because it goes against the spirit of the comments. Please no cross talk. There has been plenty of opportunity for that.

Example
A lot of people misquoted me, so to save time I'm going to nuke everyones first argument here while I also make an example post.

OK Paul, I'll take your challenge.

In your first post you said:
---------
The nomenclature will always bite you. I don't use "evolution" in the strict definition here, I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet. That version of "evolution" is seriously, seriously flawed.... And no amount of your typing in the comments section will make unflawed.
---------

Paraphrase: (I'm not going to paraphrase myself, that's silly, but pretend an oozer misquoted me)

Conclusion: That proves you don't know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis. You are a fool.

and my sample answer:

It proves no such thing because you misunderstood (mischaracterized) what I wrote. You ignored that it was a footnote explaining that I was using the "street' definition of evolution above and not the scientific definition. Rather than "prove I am not familiar with it", it proves the exact opposite.

I was pointing out that I was well aware of the difference between the dictionary definition of "evolution" and the way it is commonly (mis)used. For the sake of this discussion I was using the "common definition." BTW-In an effort to be more clear, I now call this the "ooze theory."

To boil this down (too late) if you want to argue with me and tell me I'm an idiot, the least you can do is read me first. I want intelligent discussion, not "Paul is an idiot bible thumper" (especially when I specifically argued against creationism if they could read)

The Breaking the Rule Rule
This rule is funny. You can break all the above rules... And you might not get deleted. BUT I can tell you now, the paraphrase rule is basically a given. If you don't quote me and paraphrase me you have a 1% change of your post being of high enough value to be kept. If you break 2 or 3 rules (ie ignore the rule) you get deleted.(aka We're all grownups rule)

OK lots more typing then I expected when I started this post. Hopefully you get the spirt of this challenge.

* Quote it
* Paraphrase it
* Refute it
* Act like an adult.

Have fun.

(oh and asking for clarifications of something I wrote are free.)


TrackBack

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» PhaWRONGula linked with Oozers? Don't Mind if I Do!

» PhaWRONGula linked with Oozers? Don't Mind if I Do!

» Respectful Insolence linked with Another smackdown to be savored

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Comments (25)

My problem with the "ooz... (Below threshold)

My problem with the "oozers" is that if someone challenges their orthodoxy, they stick their fingers in their ears and scream LA LA LA LA I AM SMARTER THAN YOU LA LA LA. and they refuse to even listen to the most basic of arguments.

This is false.

What are these "most basic arguments" you have made? You've invented a caricature of abiogenesis research -- this nonsense about "lightning striking ooze" -- and flailed against it. That's it.

You broke multiple rules bu... (Below threshold)
Paul:
And that was an opinion. If... (Below threshold)
Paul:

And that was an opinion. If you would like to play by the rules OK, if not I can act accordingly.

PaulThanks ... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Paul

Thanks for setting aside a thread for this topic. Continuing our discussion from that thread.

(For the benefit of the board I'll repeat the questions you and I were exploring.)

You said: ""A scientist who does not admit he might potentially be wrong is really a theologian."

I'm asking you [Paul] simply and plainly if you could be wrong about the validity of evolutionary biology, or if your view is unscientific, based on your prior claims that anyone who can't admit they might be wrong qualifies as a theologian, rather than a scientist ?

DS you did not play by the ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

DS you did not play by the rules and they were invented for you.

Tell me what I've said about evolution and abiogenesis and I will answer you. Otherwise, I have the big button.

I refuse to defend my work form people who have not read it. It really is simple. If you are so open minded, read grasshoppa.

Paul takes over the post to... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Paul takes over the post to say:

DS keeps asking me what I will do if I am proven wrong. I've given him the opportunity to prove me wrong to find out.

DS- If you want to know what I will do if I am proven wrong, prove me wrong then then by simple definition you will find out! (simple huh ;-)

You want to whine that I am avoiding the question... Nope. Prove me wrong then you'll have your answer.

Till then you'll just get this same reply.

I love the blog, but you're... (Below threshold)

I love the blog, but you're way off on this one. I think you ought to partake in a written debate with someone who is qualified to argue from the evolutionary biologist perspective. Email me if you're interested.

[Paul adds??? EMAIL IF INTERESTED? It's a freaking blog! The whole point of this post is that I'm asking people to debate but I've had no takers. You are a newbie but I'll bend the rule. Prove me wrong or thank you for playing.]

DS got deleted AGAIN for as... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

DS got deleted AGAIN for asking what I would do if I were proven wrong. He could (try to) prove me wrong and get the answer himself....


Bows to forum victory. Rema... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Bows to forum victory. Rematch Paul?

[Paul: Rematch? You haven't done anything! (do I need to prove the oozers loopy?)]

[Paul adds again: OH I get it, you admit defeat. sorry dude. Good game!]

Let's test Paul's se... (Below threshold)
s9:

Let's test Paul's self-control.

Paul answers:
Let's test your ability to read s9... You failed.

Play by the rules and you can post all day. All I ask is that you read my work and dispute it. Can you do that? Didn't think so.

Paul lays down The L... (Below threshold)
s9:

Paul lays down The Law: ...And you are always allowed to ask for a clarification before you reply...

Which is what I did. Instead, you refused to clarify.
--
Paul Adds: NO- you did not quote me, and ask if your paraphrase was correct in attempt to prove something wrong. I find it funny you guys keep telling me I'm so wrong but ya just can't find where.

How am I supposed to disput... (Below threshold)
s9:

How am I supposed to dispute your position, when you won't take one?

Paul Answers in sheer confusion. WHAT? I've been writing on this for 3 days! I haven't taken an position??? Everyone keeps telling me I'm wrong but I don't see anyone saying where. Please feel free. Otherwise I think you are done.

Paul writes: I fi... (Below threshold)
s9:

Paul writes: I find it funny you guys keep telling me I'm so wrong but ya just can't find where.

Dude. You have me confused with someone else.

I am not telling you you're so wrong. At least, not yet I'm not. That's why I keep asking you to say something open to dispute. Instead, you keep deleting my questions and pretending I'm making an argument with you.

For those interested in see... (Below threshold)
s9:

For those interested in seeing the questions that Paul keeps deleting, I've posted them here.

Paul adds: And I'll leave the link. I'm deleting the sloppiness. I'm not afraid any thing.

Look s9, it works like this. You guys keep telling me I'm wrong. You (and others) are so frustrated that you can't find anything wrong, you are going nuts trying to ask dumb questions. DUDE IT IS SIMPLE I've been writing for 3 days. Either I'm wrong or not. If 50 of you ask me hypothetical questions I'll be chasing my tail talking to all of you.

This is "my" blog. (OK my post is a better way to say it) And I will write want I want. I have written volumes. Now either find something I've said wrong or DUH admit you can't!

SIMPLE

Paul Adds: Andy was deleted... (Below threshold)
andy:

Paul Adds: Andy was deleted because he whined and didn't listen to the rules.

Please quote where I was wrong, paraphrase it and then show me the error of my ways.

You guys think that be declaring me wrong, I am. Please tell me where.

I find it telling nobody can.

Consider the "The Official Prove Paul Wrong" post.

I invoke the irrational opi... (Below threshold)

I invoke the irrational opinion rule. In multiple cases.

You are trying to paraphrase me as saying, "LA LA LA LA YOU ARE A STUPID BIBLE THUMPER LA LA LA". This is false. I have not accused you of being a stupid bible thumper. You are a stupid anti-science bigot who uses the same tactics as the bible thumpers. In fact, you are using the very same language as the bible thumpers. "You can't prove we came from ooze" sounds like it came straight from Jonathan Sarfati.

Look at that statement carefully:

"You can't prove we came from ooze"

Over and over again, you have complained about accepting the scientific consensus because it can't be proven. Your fawning commenters have made the same ridiculous assertion. All it really says is that you and they know nothing about how science works: you have declared your own lack of comprehension of the basics of the scientific method, as thoroughly as if you had said, "I reject it because science didn't bake me any cookies", instead of "I reject it because science didn't prove it."

Science doesn't bake cookies. Nor does it deal in proofs.

We don't prove things, but we do establish certain things as facts, or ideas that are provisionally accepted as the only reasonable interpretation of the observations. Evolution is a fact. We have so many lines of evidence, so many independent observations, so many interlinked details from multiple disciplines, all converging on one set of answers: the earth is billions of years old, all life arose from a common ancestor, life has changed constantly throughout its history, and we have described a set of natural processes that are sufficient and demonstrable that drive those changes.

Anyone who disagrees with those simple facts about biology is guilty of violating the irrational opinion rule you just made up.

Now this doesn't mean that there is no wiggle room in there; theistic evolutionists, for instance, can argue for their deity working away somehow in some untestable manner, and I can't address it...but they are rational people who at least accept the facts of evolution and biology.


Zachriel was deleted becau... (Below threshold)

Zachriel was deleted because he used the example I already nuked if he read the post. sigh. How hard is it to read people?

Paul complains: I... (Below threshold)
s9:

Paul complains: I've been writing on this for 3 days! I haven't taken an position???

Actually, no— not really. You have expressed an opinion that people who accept what the modern synthesis theory of evolution holds is the origin of life are religious zealots. You've argued that they are not scientists.

[NOPE THAT'S NOT what I said: I've said that people who refuse to accept that the whole oozer theory might actually have some problems are religious zealots. There is a MOUNTAIN of Difference.

You see... This is why I have the tight rules on this post. You are misquoting me PROVING that I need the rules.

Now- You repeatedly complain that my moderation of this thread is not fair. You have just misquoted me. Who is not being fair? Think about it.

I wonder if he understands ... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

I wonder if he understands he's being humiliated in full view of his regs...

Paul adds: Trust me, my regular readers are smarter than you.

I invoke the irrational ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I invoke the irrational opinion rule. In multiple cases.

FINALLY! OK PZ, Let's rock.
================
You said: You are trying to paraphrase me as saying, "LA LA LA LA YOU ARE A STUPID BIBLE THUMPER LA LA LA". This is false. I have not accused you of being a stupid bible thumper.

Go read the post again PZ. You were not the only one who did not get my point. I was NOT saying you were calling anyone a bible thumper. That whole paragraph I underlined was a link to the EXACT argument you said you side never makes. (read it again) [UPDATE correction below I think... I did not realize I *think* I linked back to your site. I don't think I get who you were... I'll post n ia second when I figure it out.]

Not irrational, I phrased it poorly and you did not read my mind.

===============
you again: Look at that statement carefully:

"You can't prove we came from ooze"

Over and over again, you have complained about accepting the scientific consensus because it can't be proven. ...

Science doesn't bake cookies. Nor does it deal in proofs.
-------
Me: I'm not sure how that is "irrational." It is a truism that abiogenesis has not been proven. Me saying it in a colorful way hardly makes it irrational.

=============
Trying hard to get your macro point....

We don't prove things, but we do establish certain things as facts, or ideas that are provisionally accepted as the only reasonable interpretation of the observations. Evolution is a fact.

I agreed Evolution is a fact at the bottom of my "Gullible" post. (Ok it is not a FACT by the strict definition but it is in a "working sense") see I'm not so irrational after all.

Anyone who disagrees with those simple facts about biology is guilty of violating the irrational opinion rule you just made up.

WHEW! Glad that does not apply to me!

Now this doesn't mean that there is no wiggle room in there Now you're talking my language.
=================

OK PZ you proved the point of this post. If people read what I wrote, we(usually) agree about the core facts!

We disagree with the conclusions draw from our (still) limited knowledge AND STRONGLY disagree in our confidence level.

Conclusion

You claimed I was irrational twice. On the first one it was poor communication. On the second, since we agree, I do hope you reconsider the whole irrational thing.

You're going to have to rev... (Below threshold)

You're going to have to revise an awful lot of history to get us to agree. Among many things, you said:

"we don't know jack about the origin of the species."

"the whole theory [is] mathematically astronomically improbable"

You redefined evolution as "the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet"

I will reconsider the whole irrational thing when you admit that you were wrong on these matters. Those are standard creationist misrepresentations, crap I have to deal with all the time, and you don't get to claim that we "agree about the core facts" without repudiating them.

UPDATE to ABOVE:Ge... (Below threshold)
Paul:

UPDATE to ABOVE:

Geeze PZ you blew that one out the water.

You claim that you guys don't stick your fingers in your ears and ignore the quality of the other side's arguments. But that is exactly what you did when you assumed I was a creationist.

You clearly have not read a word I said.... As further evidenced that you did not know I said evolution existed.

You want to tell me I'm wrong but you have not even read what you called wrong....

Who's irrational?

"we don't know jack abou... (Below threshold)
Paul:

"we don't know jack about the origin of the species."

Paul: In relative terms we do not. Get over it. Can you not admit that in 1000 years we will know several orders of magnitude more about it?????

"the whole theory [is] mathematically astronomically improbable"

Paul: It is. Sorry to be a heretic. I'm NOT however saying it is wrong. I'm saying that the correct theory still has many holes in it and is still very improbable. (as it sits) That does not make me a bible thumper. It makes me a skeptic.

You redefined evolution as "the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet"

Paul: NOPE but nice try putting words in my mouth. I never said that. It was clear that was my way of discussing abiogenesis.

And you know that.

Notice the people attemptin... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Notice the people attempting to take this seriously are getting answered, the people who are not are getting deleted.

UPDATE Thread on Hiatius

I do have a life. My intention was to make this a structured debate about facts. I thought I could walk away and come back to thoughtful critiques of my writing. (that's laughable now)

With the possible exception of PZ, this post was like all the others people spouting nonsense.

Since it is A) abundantly clear I have to babysit this thread and B) I don't have time. I am forced to take a break... But this can work for you.

Review the rules and put an intelligent post together. I'll try to open it again about 6 eastern.

But most of you had (and failed to take advantage of) a chance to post. PZ is the only one who even tried.

Update 2 For PZ. My answers above got jumbled up because I did not realize the site I linked to was yours. You will probably be able to sort thru it but anyone reading will get confused. Before I open the thread, I'm going to rewrite the whole thing "more betterer." So don't bother prepare a reply, I'm going to change it.

I for one never assumed you... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

I for one never assumed your were a creationist on these last couple of threads. I simply repeated your own words ""A scientist who does not admit he might potentially be wrong is really a theologian."

And asked you "I'm asking you [Paul] simply and plainly if you could be wrong about the validity of evolutionary biology, or if your view is unscientific, based on your prior claims that anyone who can't admit they might be wrong qualifies as a theologian, rather than a scientist?"

Paul says:
Oh Geeze just because you annoy the pee out of me....

OF COURSE I *MIGHT* be wrong. Geeze that is so axiomatic it should embarrass you that you asked.

But you ain't proved it yet.




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