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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

Some of us have a problem when you post to Slashdot about it. If you could provide actual evidence, which you can't, or even say how it's falsifiable, I think it would go over better.

Of course, I don't care in the least what you or the entirety of Slashdot have "a problem with", as is appropriate, because it simply could not in any way factually matter.

That said, though, again, this is an issue of interpretation. Insofar as a given IC structure does not currently have, within the scope of science, a definitive explanation, it is -evidence-. No amount of equivocation around "of course we will determine the particular route to the transition" or "we've thoroughly politically smeared IC and ID, so don't bother bringing it up" or handwaving reasoning-by-analogy to other biological structures will alter this. If you want to make up you own notion of what "evidence" is, that's fine, but if we go by what evidence actually is, apparently improbable biological transitions are -each-, -individually-, evidence. They are evidence until they -all- are refuted.

I have been accused of setting unreasonable criteria for this, in that it is claimed that the current state of science does not allow for these to be exhaustively analyzed. Well... too bad. Difficulty of analysis does not enable redefinition of words.

And, likewise, that is the route to falsifiability. Explain all the transitions. Specifically.

Even then, you have a major issue in that at some point we have to address the unstated causal factors contained in the placeholder-word for the not actually present causal explanation that is the term "random".

You'd need to show the "random" mutations are "unknown quantum effect random" rather than "designer-directed random"--neither of these, likely, is falsifiable.

However, we can address that when the baseline criteria for falsification is reached. All the proposed IC structures explained. Yes, all of them. Specifically. At a resolution of the specific mutations and specific biochemistry transitions resulting therefrom. At that point, if you can meet the previous criteria, and show that the former is more plausible, in that as the effect of the Big Bang, that is, on the first and only "try" (insofar as we have evidence, feel free to forward a conjectural model and we'll do some epistemological comparisons), we end up with intelligent life rather than a mass of "spacetime goo", thus removing the strong flavor of teleology from empirical existence, I'll be personally satisfied.

In the interim, I'll assume forebearance enough (though, as noted, I don't care if it's not given, and given typical responses, it probably hypocritically won't be) to support my position on this question -indirectly- as, say, is considered perfectly acceptable for most pro-atheism writers today (Dawkins, Harris) etc., to combine broader inferential and worldview arguments into their exegesis along with the narrow, specific biological questions around evolution.

So, in that regard, here is peer-reviewed evidence of firsthand quantified eyewitness (e.g. empirical, the unusual circumstances being something I'm quite willing to argue) of the predictive accuracy of mainstream conceptualizations of a particular notion of that designer.

http://www.thelancet.com/journ....
http://profezie3m.altervista.o...

When and if you respond with an alternate possible interpretation of this evidence (as is the standard response), will it then cease to be evidence for my model, rather than at best (from your perspective) evidence for -both-?

No.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

This has nothing to do with what Occam's Razor says.

It continues to astonish me how consistently erroneous the understanding of this is on Slashdot, and how suddenly this mass-misperception of this statement of my fellow theist Occam has propagated.

I can only conjecture this is due to the mass-misdirection efforts of Dawkins et al.

Occam's Razor says nothing about probability. Occam's Razor says nothing about the validity of inferences from given observable phenomena. Occam's Razor says, and -only- says, that -all else being equal-, the simplest model for a given phenomena should be used -for its conceptual economy-. This is on the basis of methodological efficiency, not truth-value. Note: In no way whatsoever can "not true" or "less probably true" or "inferior" be derived from this. It is not the case that Occam's Razor says "simpler = truer".

Ever.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

And plausible is entirely subjective on things for which there is no proof one way or the other. At that point, you can be agnostic about your beliefs, and that'd be reasonable. But going any further and you're just fantasizing.

Wow, what an amazing limitation on your thought processes. Applying that must keep you at approximately the intellectual range of someone severely mentally handicapped. Fortunately, it's complete nonsense, according to science and... well, everything. A chain of inference from a plausible basis is also plausible. Plausible things can have extensive content and elaboration, well... always. Say, the various Interpretations of QM. Copenhagen, Everett (Many Worlds), Consistent Histories, etc., etc. All are entirely plausible. All are backed by the scientific observations. All have significant individual content. None are provable. And, well, this is the case with almost everything you think about every day. I'd encourage you to be willing to think more than one step ahead, because not doing so isn't enlightened, it's idiocy, and you won't survive long actually applying what you say should be done here to anything else.

No, that's precisely it. The ecosystem killed off all the non-mice, non-rats, non-humans, etc who couldn't survive in it. Hence, the ecosystem fulfills their needs. But that leaves lots of totally non-human things that exist...just because? More or less because while there are plenty of niches across the globe that repeat themselves, they're not all filled nor when they're filled are they filled with synonymous creatures (although it happens a lot that similar creatures do evolve). Look no further than all the Old World (aka Europe/Asia) creatures which came to the New World (aka North/South America).

I suppose you'll have to specify which ones exist "just because". We have good reason to think that, say, the elimination of bees would have a cascading effect on plant life and ultimately animal and human life. Which ones are you saying are irrelevant?

Easy. Neither I nor any of my close relatives have kids. :) But more generally, particular organisms do not, except under specific circumstances, make a particularly strong influence to the long-term evolution of species. Why? Because there's billions of other organisms with remarkably similar genetics all competing in the same environment, so it's very difficult to stand out in a competition. Now, ship me and a few women to an isolated island and we can talk... Species, after all, are more than just one individual and the fate of one rarely has but a negligible impact over the future.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. The long-term direction of evolution won't be affected by your elimination. I never suggested it would be. I simply pointed out your elimination. Which, is part of the process of evolution. You are deselected and your DNA doesn't propagate. You become irrelevant, according to you. You're putting this one in the "win" column for yourself?

You think it bizarre and funny. I think it sad and misguided. When a little man with a little voice wants to be noticed, he may start big fights with big people. That one would merely have the fights in their head and argue about their own greatness or pepper the universe with "I am great" signs says more about how pathetic that person is than anything else. To need greatness to have self-worth or view humbleness as a vice....

You aren't big, you have not the ability to ever engage in any discussion even notable, much less "big". Be that as it may, though, any notions of my "greatness" is coming from you, not from me. I have made no claim resembling this.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re: Divergence (154 comments)

Well don't overstate my position. I mean, I do heed Darwin's concise summary of his Origin of the Species and the social turmoil implications of it, in 1859:

"When you see your likeness, you are pleased. But when you see your images which came into being before you, and which neither die nor become manifest, how much you will have to bear!"

Oh wait.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re: Divergence (154 comments)

Neat Bare Assertion fallacy.

I trust your evidence for this will be forthcoming. Bonus points for other possible design influences, such as extraterrestrial life, and by what criteria you are dismissing one with a certainty you can't apply to the other.

Oh, who am I kidding. You're devoid of honest thought. Evolution can go ahead and eliminate you.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

Uh, yeah, not really. More precisely, they're selective interpretation.

"I exist, so I must exist for a reason!"

"If you didn't exist, didn't have the brain power to think, etc, you wouldn't be in a position to ask the question. Ergo, all you're proving is you're conscious."

"Ah, but consciousness is proof!"

"Proof that you have consciousness. Just like any other being that had or will have consciousness."


Not sure if you are unaware, equivocating, or simply intellectually dishonest, but none of this speaks to what "plausible" simply means. For one, "plausible" definitely does not mean "proof". Fix that, and we can proceed.

Really, the absurdity of any notion of directed evolution or ID comes down to, you know, the fact that there's all manner of life on Earth that has nothing to do with humanity. Why mice AND rats? Because they fit an ecological niche? Sounds to me more like begging the question. And as much as it can go both ways, evolution is a testable theory that doesn't try to stuff in an overreaching "why" that presupposes an external entity that rigged the game JUST for humans. Beyond the sheer arrogance of it, the fact that humans will eventually be evolved away means the only that perhaps can be gained from that arrogance is a written legacy so the next species will see how stupid it was.

The ecosystem has nothing to do with humanity's needs? Really? This is your argument? Perhaps you'd like to propose another construct that would be more "logical" to what you presuppose the objectives are. As for the blank assertion that humans will eventually be evolved away, that is evidence-free on a level that IC isn't close to approaching. But, let's just summarily deal with the fact that you cannot live a single day without implicitly presupposing humans have a privileged metaphysical status (and please, don't fail to understand what the 2500-year-old branch of philosophy called "metaphysics" is, and think it's basically an episode of Ghost Hunters), starting with the legal system within which you exist. Your daily life refutes you for me.

Well, death actually. Evolution occurs at, you know, millions of years time scales (well, it's more fixed to generations, but for humans that's the scope of millions of years). And like I said, the only reason to have these discussions is really to hopefully have enough copies of something written so the future species will not rest so heavily on their own hubris. Because it's clear humans don't really comprehend their limited existence as a whole and don't really want to have a real impact in the universe. If we did, we wouldn't so proudly stand on our molehill and act like king of Mount Everest (and that, to scale, is such a gross mischaracterization of the size of the galaxy let alone the universe, but then humans don't do well with really big things (or large time scales)).

Evolution acts at large time scales, and short ones. The core mechanism happens with particular cases of natural selection of a particular organism. Or perhaps more specifically, natural deselection. More specifically, of you. Where are you deriving this strange bifurcation of evolution that long-term things are evolution, and the short-term events by which it occurs, are not? It might feel more comfortable to you personally, but it's scientifically erroneous. And science (specifically, philosophical naturalism) is all you get to reference, by choice.

But, then, I guess we should all be thankful that so many humans are so self-centered. Otherwise, you'd likely be one that'd support Von Neumann probes and then the only thing Earth would be known for billions of years from now is being the king of spacecraft SPAM.

At least we ended on a truly bizarre and funny note. Let's do that next time, too.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

You might say that, and the only thing remaining would be to back it.

Let's start with me simply noting that I comprehend the natural quite well, eh, I'll go ahead and say better than you, and leaving you to show otherwise. That will require some actual content or an actual argument.

You see, I'm not one of those pushing the "religion versus science" false dichotomy who hope to damage religion and only end up damaging science. A frequent occurrence of people overextending their arguments with bias-driven pseudoscience being presented in the name of science.

about a week ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Empiric Re:Let me get this right (838 comments)

No, it's simply false to say that the market is a determinant of value, or that the 5 dollars is value you have "created".

Simple math, helpful to encouraging deriving totally erroneous conclusions.

In reality, the creator of the bike, created the value. That is spread out over a great number of historical engineers and scientists, credited and uncredited. You've simply profited by moving the value around.

If you want a more formal statement of this, in fact the middleman's profit is not derived from "the market", but rather a differential in knowledge of the perfect market. If in fact, another person would sell an equivalent bike at a $1 profit, the "value" could equally be said to be $1, rather than $5. That's because your notion of anecdotal market exchanges determining the value is entirely wrong--those values are in fact determined largely by taking advantage of people's ignorance of the market.

If someone takes a job at $10000/year for which the actual perfect market value would be $50000/year, doing identical work, it does not mean that the former person's work is in fact only worth $10000/year, it means he is being taken advantage of by someone with a broader knowledge of the market. And that knowledge does not create value. The guy doing the work is creating it. And executives know this clearly, and it is their primary source of income. As it is for the entirety of the financial sector. Income, not value creation, which is absent from their involvement in the situation.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

So, you agree in principle with directed evolution, in that you directly say man is one cause of it?

I imagine there's one, and only one, source of design you categorically reject. I wonder what that would be...

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

I don't understand. Both directed evolution and ID are plausible positions. After you claim they are not, even when you invoke the conclusions of lawyers whose scientific credentials are assured by wearing a black robe and sitting on an impressive raised platform, it will remain exactly as plausible as it in fact is.

Complexity is evidence. You'll claim it is not, that will be your interpretation of the evidence and not in any way affect the reality it is evidence. That such complexity could -also- be explained in another way, again, in no way alters it from being evidence of my stance. It merely becomes evidence for more than one stance.

Anyway, I've posted peer-reviewed evidence for a "director" before, but that isn't really necessary as you have no compelling basis, nor even any reasonable basis to conclude, that no biological design has happened over those billions of non-observable years.

I am not trolling. If I stopped, you just get eliminated by evolution and you become completely and permanently irrelevant. According to you yourself. Hopefully that will make you feel less tired.

Don't blame me that your position has no possible derivable benefit, and mine does, and that according to you yourself, what your opinion may be could not possibly be of any even theoretical value. Kudos on "STFU" as an airtight scientific and philosphical argument, though.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

In response to your other comments on divergence and speciation, you should know that diverged groups can be the same species. When populations separate they then adapt to their environment as well as drifting genetically. It is this difference, the distance between the groups in terms of DNA, that is the divergence. In general we consider something a different species if it is mostly unwilling to interbreed or sufficiently inefficient at producing fertile offspring that gene transfer is suppressed (both is unnecessary) but it takes a fair amount of genetic distance for this to happen, so the point of divergence is before the point of separation into separate species. Because this change happens at a roughly constant rate we can with care estimate the time in the past when two groups separated by calculating from the divergence (but this is not the speciation point which is why they specifically use "diverged" as a word).All of these are much more messy in reality than we might like, for example even as groups become more genetically distinct there can still be occasional genetic exchange due to interbreeding, and the species/sub-species line is blurred but despite the noise the data is still good for an approximate answer.

I do think I should say to this as well, that it seems you are correcting my notion that the criteria is rather vague with "You idiot! It's way vaguer even than that!"

I stand corrected... I think.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

The same is true of felines and then again for domestic cats. We label according to a process which over time broadens what a category means but can never fully rewrite its origin or skip across groups. Thus the features that can be in these groups and subgroups are fixed for us to discover, not just pulled out of a hat.

Okay, but the category you cannot rewrite is also just as arbitrary, and pulled out of a hat.

You complying with them is, to all appearances, simply dogma and a mandate never to correct yourself, even if scientifically required, lest you "rock the boat" of your predecessor's arbitrary names and categories.

Of course no animals break this pattern. You've made it so by fiat, such that anything you add unfalsifiably fits the categorization system that was, to be frank, made up. Because your methodology is constructed to ensure that.

I am hopeful that cladistics will provide an objective methodology here that is sorely needed, but outside of that, what are you saying that contradicts my notion that this is all an arbitrary construct of your own (well, rather, "biology scientist clubhouse") creation?

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

So... you've got nothing. Got it.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

The person making the original statement as a statement of science, exactly as I've said. My statements as to what I am "happy" about, like my preferences in music, are neither offered as scientific claims nor need be addressed within that domain.

about a week ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Empiric Re:Let me get this right (838 comments)

If you're using "make" as a term for earning money through wages, then most rich people "make" money. They may also make more money by investing money wisely, whether it be stocks, starting businesses, etc... If you think that rich people "get their hands on" money by just stealing it from the poor, you're delusional.

As delusional as imagining I said something I didn't, as you just did? But no, gaining from the creation of value, such as the financial sector does, is not creation of value. If you want to make an argument that it facilitates it, fine, and appropriate relevance (and compensation) for this could be discussed.

Can a scientist/engineer/lawyer organize and run a huge company composed of lawyers, engineers, and scientists?

Yes. One requires extensive knowledge and by definition the ability to manifest value-add directly by that knowledge, that knowledge being the core relevant thing to a company doing it. The part distinctive to the executive role requires a $50 filing of Articles of Incorporation and pre-existing access to wealth or "contacts" for it. There's no question here that in terms of -ability-, the people with the skills can do that, the reverse is definitely not necessarily true. If we are discussion CEO's whose income is validated -insofar as- they are acting as one of the other categories, that is not contrary to my premise. Mostly, however, the market is determined simply by inequality of opportunity, and the business structures derived directly from that--having little to do with any kind of "meritocracy" principles you seem to be alluding to.

about a week ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Empiric Re:New Word: Entrepreneur. (838 comments)

Yes, saying a CEO's income is validly creation of value -insofar as- their work is as one of these, is not something I'm arguing against.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

Yes... maybe my viewpoint of directed evolution makes me more attuned to certain aspects of such a statement.

I certainly agree that evolutionary processes are generally speaking most directly responsible for biological differentiation, but I'm unwilling to make the inference from that of "often, therefore always" and statements like the one quoted seem to border on pseudoscience in how broad, unspecific, and untestable they are. I personally think that science is best served by making scientific statements, rather than an overstatement based on presuppositions, even if the person doing so is a scientist.

But yes, fully agreed that humans and chimps are very different. And I'm happy to have a metaphysical differentiator to be able say that, where science alone has no differentiator at all. Not having one takes us to a rather... interesting... ethical space.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

Fair enough, but as was already noted, speciation is not definitively determinable by ability to reproduce.

It's a pretty core problem with the term, scientifically, actually.

So, I was taking "divergence" in a broader sense, which also doesn't seem to work for the statement.

Still, I see nowhere that I insulted anyone. I addressed a particular sentence, which has multiple levels of lack of clarity. That's all.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

So, you seem to be agreeing with me more than disagreeing. The categories are not clear and distinctive, which I went ahead and called "arbitrary", because that's what they are.

So back to the quoted sentence...

"...mice and rats diverged somewhere between 12 and 24 million years ago."

I still have no idea what actual information this is supposed to convey. Or is it more of a "rah rah, evolution!" reaction thing?

Pavlovian conditioning hasn't worked on me for a long time. Maybe that's my problem.

about a week ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Empiric Re:Divergence (154 comments)

Oh, yes, forgot the other likely result. Summary downmodding. Thanks for the reminder of Slashdot tradition.

about a week ago

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