I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Darwinists have been abusing Wikipedia to spread propaganda

Most of the articles of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia are written by readers and can be edited by readers. Wikipedia expects that authors and editors will follow certain rules for presenting a neutral point of view(NPOV). However, it appears that Darwinists who write or edit articles concerning criticisms of Darwinism have been violating the NPOV rules. Casey Luskin said on Evolution News & Views,
We received this e-mail recently from a friendly engineer. He gave us permission to post his letter but only if we put his name in bold.

I am an engineer. I am not a biologist. I became interested in Intelligent Design recently and decided to investigate it a bit. Naturally I consulted Wikipedia for information on the subject and was stunned by the one sided tone of the material I found there . . . . . . . .

I agree that the Wikipedia article on ID is slanted against ID. For example, the article says of ID, "Its leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute . . . . ."(emphasis added) The corresponding NPOV statement would be, "many of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute" -- for example, Ann Coulter and Cardinal Christophe Schonborn are leading ID proponents but are not affiliated with the Discovery Institute. The article says, "An overwhelming majority of the scientific community views intelligent design as unscientific, as pseudoscience or as junk science," but there is no reference to any formal opinion poll. The article stereotypes ID proponents -- e.g., the article says, "The intelligent design movement arose out of an organized neocreationist campaign directed by the Discovery Institute to promote a religious agenda . . " The article is full of dogma, stereotypes, and unsupported claims of unanimity or consensus of opinion. This article now has this message: " This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved. " There is a talk page with a lot of discussions of many disputes over the article. A lot of these disputes may not be necessary, because often a biased point of view can be changed to a neutral point of view just by adding a qualifier like "so-and-so thinks" or "some people think."

I also found bias in a Wikipedia article about PZ Myers and some of the bias has been removed, apparently in response to my complaints posted on PZ's blog. The article now says of PZ's blog Pharyngula, "It has become particularly well-known for Myers' writing style (characterized by polished and biting sarcasm) and criticism of Intelligent Design creationism . . ." Any statement or implication that intelligent design and creationism should be combined into a single concept should be reserved for the Wikipedia articles on those subjects. The PZ article also previously called ID creationism a "pseudoscience," but that definition has been removed. As for the statement that PZ's writing style is characterized by "polished and biting sarcasm," that is a matter of opinion -- I consider his writing style to be characterized by abusiveness.

Wikpedia has a special procedure for resolving disputes.

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20 Comments:

Blogger Manuel said...

Do you really want to include Ann Coulter as a supporter of ID? In what I've actually listened to her say, she sounds much more like a creationist -- thus supporting the link between ID and creationism that IDiots go out of their way to deny. Also, considering everything she got for her book on ID comes from DI people, that makes her associated with them, albeit informally.

The bishop? He has made no clear comment supporting intelligent design per say other than to argue for a God who made the universe. Not much of a surprise since he's a Catholic bishop. Maybe Baudrillard is right and the best priests are those who don't believe, but this guy is acting a lot like someone who believes.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 7:27:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Manuel said --

>>>>> Do you really want to include Ann Coulter as a supporter of ID? <<<<<<

I don't think that I have a choice in the matter -- I think she is one.

>>>>> In what I've actually listened to her say, she sounds much more like a creationist -- thus supporting the link between ID and creationism that IDiots go out of their way to deny. <<<<<

ID and creationism are not necessarily inseparably linked just because some people believe in both.

>>>>> The bishop? He has made no clear comment supporting intelligent design per say other than to argue for a God who made the universe. <<<<<

Cardinal Schonborn is an ID'er. In a New York Times op-ed, he said,

Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.

Anyway, these two were just examples -- there's got to be other prominent ID'ers out there. Some prominent politicians lean towards ID. It is wrong to just make a blanket statement that all prominent ID proponents are affiliated with the Discovery Institute.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 8:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

> ID and creationism are not necessarily inseparably linked just because some people believe in both. <

They are linked because ID is a form of creationism. You may try to deny it but it is clearly true.

> Some prominent politicians lean towards ID. <

It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what any politician thinks. What we know is that some politicians have found it politically comfortable to claim that they lean towards ID.

Friday, September 08, 2006 9:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

ViU, What are you doing here? It is only Friday.

> The PZ article also previously called ID creationism a "pseudoscience," but that definition has been removed. <

It is a shame that they caved in on this. Of course it is a pseudoscience.

Friday, September 08, 2006 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, September 08, 2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice In The Urbanness said...
>>>>>They are linked because ID is a form of creationism. >>>>>

There are major differences between ID and creationism -- for example, ID is based on observations and reasoning whereas biblical creationism is based on faith. I have never seen the term "intelligent design creationism" in the mainstream press.

>>>>> It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what any politician thinks. What we know is that some politicians have found it politically comfortable to claim that they lean towards ID. <<<<<<

Does that mean that they should not be considered to be ID proponents?

Bush himself is in favor of teaching the controversy.

Voice In The Wilderness said...
<<<<<<> The PZ article also previously called ID creationism a "pseudoscience," but that definition has been removed. <

It is a shame that they caved in on this. Of course it is a pseudoscience. <<<<<<

A lot of people think that evolution is pseudoscience. Does that make it OK for them to write that on the Wikipedia article about evolution?

Friday, September 08, 2006 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Larry. If you keep going, by approximately January you'll have as many total visits as Ed Brayton gets on an average day.

Friday, September 08, 2006 3:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> There are major differences between ID and creationism -- for example, ID is based on observations and reasoning whereas biblical creationism is based on faith. <

No. Both are based on faith.

> I have never seen the term "intelligent design creationism" in the mainstream press. <

Because it would be redundant.

>>>>> It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what any politician thinks. What we know is that some politicians have found it politically comfortable to claim that they lean towards ID. <<<<<<

> Does that mean that they should not be considered to be ID proponents? <

It means that you can't really know what they believe.

> Bush himself is in favor of teaching the controversy. <

I am not. That is one vote for and one against. What is the point.

> A lot of people think that evolution is pseudoscience. Does that make it OK for them to write that on the Wikipedia article about evolution? <

There is a basic difference. Creationism is pseudoscience. It is therefore OK for people to write that in the article. Evolution is not pseudoscience, regardless of what "a lot of people" think. Therefore it is not OK.

Friday, September 08, 2006 5:26:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous wrote --

>>>>>>Keep up the good work Larry. If you keep going, by approximately January you'll have as many total visits as Ed Brayton gets on an average day. <<<<<<

With the millions of sites there are to visit on the Internet, it is not easy to get an average of around 40 visits a day from all over world. If you think it is easy, why don't you try it?

Please note the following differences between my blog and Ed's --

(1) Ed's blog (Dispatches from the Culture Wars) is three years old -- this blog is only about five months old.

(2) Ed posts a lot of news articles on a broad variety of subjects, and that certainly helps attract visitors. It seems he is often the first to learn about these news items, and I don't know how he does it. He even posts articles about pro sports. Ed posts several articles per day -- I post an article just once every 1-2 days. A lot of the visits Ed gets are just from people checking for new articles or perhaps using Ed's link list to link to another website.

(3) Ed also blogs on Panda's Thumb and Positive Liberty. He often advertises his blog articles on Panda's Thumb, a big, popular multiblogger blog. Ed has a big network of other bloggers who refer people to his blog.

(4) Unlike me, Ed makes his arguments look better by censoring criticism. I have been able to get around a lot of bans by using false names, different email addresses, and anonymous proxies, but I found that this doesn't work because my ideas as well as me are banned.

Ed, Panda's Thumb (with 26 bloggers last time I counted), and Uncommon Descent(another big multiblogger blog) are all far behind PZ Myers' Pharyngula blog, which gets about 20,000 visitors per day. Pharyngula has many fancy pictures which probably help attract visitors.

DaveScot once invited me to blog on Uncommon Descent but I declined because I opposed UD's policy of censoring comments. He kindly announced on UD the start of this blog. It is much easier blogging on a big, popular multiblogger blog because the blog already gets a lot of traffic.

I now have over 100 articles on this blog and a lot of the stuff is still timely, so new visitors might be able to find something of interest to them even if I don't post new articles for a while. I try to do more than just state my personal opinions but try to also provide links to information and others' opinions to help visitors in forming their own opinions. Guidelines for navigating this blog are at the bottom of this article under "Reminders/Tips."

I get visitors from all over the USA and all over the world. Most of my foreign visitors come from English-speaking countries, but I have also gotten visitors from France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Russia, Philippines, Chile, and the United Arab Emirates.

I have high averages of page views per visit and time per visit. A lot of the page views might just be the result of people searching for recent comments (I still need the coding for listing the most recent comments posted anywhere on the blog), but I get a lot of visits with over 10 page views and I have seen numbers as high as around 30.

Comments are an indirect indication of traffic on a blog and I get more than a lot of personal blogs and a lot of the comments here are serious rather than just being from trolls.

Friday, September 08, 2006 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

> A lot of people think that evolution is pseudoscience. <

Larry(?), do you have any comment on the recent discovery of Tiktaalik (Inuktitut for "large freshwater fish")? See also here.

The paleontologists even predicted where to find this fossil on Ellesmere Island, since they knew there were late Devonian shallow-water rock formations there.

This is just a bit too awkward for an alleged "pseudoscience".

Incidentally, Tiktaalik is very likely a direct ancestor of us all.

Friday, September 08, 2006 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous voice in the wilderness said...

> With the millions of sites there are to visit on the Internet, it is not easy to get an average of around 40 visits a day from all over world. <

Probably 20 of the 40 visits are from three people in California.

> It seems he is often the first to learn about these news items, and I don't know how he does it. <

Perhaps it is from the supernatural forces that you used to claim published the Los Angeles Times and the World Almanac.

> Unlike me, Ed makes his arguments look better by censoring criticism. <

While yours look bad due to your dodging difficult questions.

> I have been able to get around a lot of bans by using false names, different email addresses, and anonymous proxies, but I found that this doesn't work because my ideas as well as me are banned. <

No. You yourself are banned. Your posts are obvious regardless of whose name you put on them. You have even used false names on your own blog but they are pathetically obvious.

> a lot of the comments here are serious rather than just being from trolls. <

The serious ones are from those you call trolls. You yourself fit the definition of a troll.

Saturday, September 09, 2006 9:29:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Fake Dave said --

>>>>>> The paleontologists even predicted where to find this fossil on Ellesmere Island, since they knew there were late Devonian shallow-water rock formations there.

This is just a bit too awkward for an alleged "pseudoscience". <<<<<<

So? Does this prove that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection?

Monday, September 11, 2006 12:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Fake Larry(?) said...

> So? Does this prove that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection? <

It sure adds to the growing pile of proof in contrast to the total lack of logical or scientific support for the creationists fantasies.

Monday, September 11, 2006 7:51:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

> So? Does this prove that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection? <

Fake Larry(?), you have asserted previously that there are "missing links" and that this somehow bolsters your argument. You have also asserted that evolution lacks predictive power.

So, what "this proves" is that those assertions are false.

By the way, transitional forms are generally sub-optimized (a "work in progress") and do not last very long before the development of stabler forms. So it is very fortuitous to find one. On the other hand, such transitional forms are likely to be ancestral to a huge variety of species -- as in this instance (IMO). This shows the dynamics of how evolution works.

For these reasons, Tiktaalik is due a lot of respect (more than, say, another Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil, even a new species).

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

Or, in other words, Tiktaalik expressed key innovations that opened up a huge new habitat: Land!

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:45:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>Does this prove that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection?<<<

Of course not, for the very simple reason that evolution is not solely driven by natural genetic variation and natural selection. At least, not as scientist use those terms. Larry's definitions seem to not have much in common with those of the rest of the world.

Correction to Dave: Tiktaalik (as a species, not the individual) is probably not a direct ancestor, but rather is a "sister" or "cousin" species to our direct ancestor. No need to overstate the evidence.

Monday, September 11, 2006 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

BTW, speaking of definitions: leading and prominent are not synonymous. Ann Coulter is a prominent ID proponent, but not a leading ID proponent, for example.

Monday, September 11, 2006 1:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

< Tiktaalik (as a species, not the individual) is probably not a direct ancestor, but rather is a "sister" or "cousin" species ... >

And this is based on ... ?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:26:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>And this is based on ... ?<<<

Transitional fossils are representative of the transition. Most are probably not actual direct ancestral species (though very recent fossils are much more likely to be direct ancestral species). It's possible that Tiktaalik is a direct ancestor, but considerably more likely that it is actually an offshoot. It's a consequence of the theory and deep time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

< Most (transitional fossils) are probably not actual direct ancestral species ... >

I realize that the odds are against transitional fossils being direct ancestors, as the family tree of life generates branches quite swiftly when equilibrium is broken. But my comment about Tiktaalik being likely truly ancestral (Hi! Great-Great-*-Granddad) was based on two thoughts specific to him:

1. Cursory examination of his reported bodily features -- they're not highly differentiated or unusual. They're also squarely on the developmental path between fish and amphibian.

2. The enormous opportunities for ecological niche radiative expansion opened by Tiktaalik's innovations. A root should look just like him.

So, Kevin, I thought you might have some contrary considerations.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 6:05:00 PM  

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