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Comment Re:So What? (Score 1) 294

The only radio station I could get while out in Northwest Nevada for a few days was KCFJ out of Alturas, CA. The China Radio International parts were pretty pro-China, on the new islands in the South China Sea for example. Reminds me of how RT (the "Putin channel") is so strongly pro-Russian on the Syrian bombings. KCFJ aired some Chinese language lessons, I had fun out in the high Nv desert practicing Chinese again.

Comment Re: Evolution is more general (Score 1) 208

Teleonomy is closely related to concepts of emergence, complexity theory,[13] and self-organizing systems.[14] It has extended beneath biology to be applied in the context of chemistry.[15][16] Some philosophers of biology resist the term and still employ "teleology" when analyzing biological function[17] and the language used to describe it,[18] while others endorse it.[19]

Comment Re: Mutation only, not evolution (Score 1) 208

There is some conscious selection, some goal, that individuals of a species are exercising when they reproduce or choose whom to reproduce with. A bird might be wrong when choosing a mate based on colors, colors may not indicate the best traits for survival. The birds make choices, based on their own internally-defined goals, which may or may not agree with what you think they should choose based on your criteria of how evolution progresses.

Comment Re: Mutation only, not evolution (Score 1) 208

Ask the Fukushima residents about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

The evidence for a tsunami on the scale that occurred was not extraordinary, so the reasoning went that such an extraordinary event would not occur.

Yet once the event happened, the probability that it happened went to 1.

The reasoning behind "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is basically saying that your priors are so close to 1 almost no evidence will change your mind. See Cromwell's Rule...

Comment Re: Fossils (Score 1) 208

There are still infinite hypotheses that would account for Jane's absence of evidence not being evidence of absence. Bob, the original claimant, could be cleaning up the gorilla poop. Or the gorilla poop could be in a park and easily confused for dog poop. Jane can only report her results and give her opinion; but that's all it is, scientifically, her opinion on the absence. There are infinite possibilities that her absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

There is no evidence that gravitons exist; yet that is not taken as evidence of absence by physicists.

There was no evidence that the Higgs Boson existed for 40 years; that was not taken as evidence of absence.

Basically the idea that absence of evidence is evidence of absence is an opinion, not science. As the saying goes opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and it stinks.

Comment Re: Evolution is more general (Score 1) 208

Why isn't it causation? Mutations can be seen as models of the future, predictions.

From wikipedia:

Evolution largely hoards hindsight, as variations unwittingly make "predictions" about structures and functions which could successfully cope with the future, and which participate in a process of natural selection that culls the unfit, leaving the fit to the next generation. Information accumulates about functions and structures that are successful, exploiting feedback from the environment via the selection of fitter coalitions of structures and functions. Robert Rosen has described these features as an anticipatory system which builds an internal model based on past and possible future states.

Teleology is more than wishful philosophy; as Haldane noted, it's essential to biology. The wishfulness comes in trying to deny teleology.

Comment Re: Fossils (Score 1) 208

Did Jane forget to look in the zoo? The gorilla could be "loose" in the zoo, out of its cage. Therefore the gorilla is "loose in the city."

96% of the universe is unexplained by physics. Yet we make claims of absolute certainty based on the 4% we can see. There is a lot of evidence that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Aristotle never saw an artery that had blood in it, therefore the absence of evidence of blood proved to him that arteries carried air.

How can you argue with Aristotle's 100% evidence of absence?

Comment Re: Fossils (Score 1) 208

Too many assumptions. The absence of gorilla sightings assumes the gorilla is in a place people can see it, that people will report sightings truthfully, that Jane questioned everyone.

Your example ignores the Aristarchus problem. Your measurements might not be sensitive enough.

Thus absence of evidence is very plausibly not evidence of absence.

Comment Re: Evolution is more general (Score 1) 208

But there is direction to evolution.

See for example

Ernst Mayr on Teleology

"Consider the following statement: 'The Wood Thrush migrates in the fall into warmer countries in order to escape the inclemency of the weather and the food shortages of the northern climates'. If we replace the words 'in order to' by 'and thereby', we leave the important question unanswered as to why the Wood Thrush migrates. The teleonomic form of the statement implies that the goal-directed migratory activity is governed by a program. By omitting this important message the translated sentence is greatly impoverished as far as information content is concerned, without gaining in causal strength." Mayr (1974)

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.