Australian Liberals distribute faked flyer

Two days before an election while they trail in the polls, some members of Australia’s ruling Liberal Party have been caught distributing fake flyers. These nasty Liberal notices are purported to come from a non-existent Islamic organization and urge Australians to vote for the Labour Party, which will be soft on terrorists who blew up a bar in Bali, killing 200 people. Many of those people were Australians. I don’t imagine that many people are sympathetic with the murderers. The Liberals were caught delivering the fake notices to homes in a key electoral riding.

In an era of plausible deniability, the Liberal Party said that it had suspended a couple of unidentified Liberals for an unauthorized prank. Sure–if it works you might win the riding; and if it doesn’t work, you can claim that it wasn’t your idea. I guess they deserve to lose the election.

ROM finds skeleton in its closet

You have to admit this is funny – and a real warning about the loss of “folklore” information in organizations. The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has a new display hall for its dinosaur fossils. The new curator of dinos, who just started this year, was told that he could go out and get a big one. While researching in the U.S.,he found a reference to a really big skeleton that the ROM already had — but nobody back home knew about it.

The museum traded for a large dinosaur skeleton thirty years ago – but there was no room to put it up. Over the years, the bones were stored separately and everyone forgot about it — except for the old curator, but he retired and eventually died. I think that there’s a mixture of pleasure and embarrassment for the museum in finding that they have a large Barosaurus specimen that is more complete than most. It is being lovingly assembled, the missing parts duplicated if left-right or copied from other specimens, and will be mounted at the museum by December 15 It’s particularly nice since the museum has a tyrannosauroid, has a duckbilled dinosaur, and has a stegosaurus – but no diplodocoid until now. That they knew of.

The picture of Barosaurus is from Wikipedia commons.

The Masked Man speaks

Dr. Phillip Klebba reprises his explanation to ID-theorist William Dembski about how the bacterial flagellum evolved. Dr. Klebba is a scientist doing research into cellular transport mechanisms, among other things. Here’s his page at the university. For the earlier exchange, see “Dembski vs. Masked Man” on Endogenous Retrovirus.

Other Oklahoma University articles about Dembski and Evolution:

I throw in my two cents’ worth:

There is indeed a huge, huge logical fallacy at the base of Dembski’s argument. It’s the assumption that if you pick enough holes in evolution to let the air out, “God did it” is the only remaining conclusion. That’s known as a false dichotomy.In reality, there are a lot more than two choices. If the received explanation of evolution were not true, it would be back to the drawing board for everyone. If it isn’t random mutation plus natural selection plus sexual selection plus genetic drift, then perhaps it’s inheritance of acquired characteristics plus natural selection plus sexual selection plus genetic drift. There’s no reason to jump to the conclusion that unnatural causes are needed.

The result of pushing the false dichotomy is that ID proponents are ready to use every rhetorical trick in the book, misrepresent evolution, continue to quote falsified “facts,” and invent mathematical proofs based on strained assumptions that evolution can’t occur without angels pushing the molecules. Dembski’s arguments have been falsified again and again. Mutation produces new information. Mutation can produce improvements. Mutation can double the genetic material and then modify it (in spite of the “if I copied this paper I haven’t doubled my knowledge” rhetoric). Natural selection is neither directed by God nor random at a particular time and place. It is probabilistic, however. When Dembski claims that something is impossible and actual researchers explain step by step how that could happen, his argument is demolished. The fact that our evidence is always “pathetic” and his evidence is non-existent tells you who has the logic on their side and who is blowing smoke.

See the flagellum explained in Nature Reviews Microbiology.

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