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Old 01-16-2009, 05:05 PM   #51
loK2thabrain
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by Lestat View Post
Why do you seek the exception rather than the rule and tout it as something of significance?
That's just what theists do.

"no, no, no...don't listen to those ten bible versus, let me refer you to the book of Mark, chapter 4..."
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:10 PM   #52
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by madnak View Post
Not evolution, just extraterrestrial life.
Right, NR posted a quote attributed to Marcy which indicates he (Marcy) may not understand certain aspects of evolution, which is not the same (or not nearly as egregiously incorrect) as doubting it. However, I'd want to hear the quote in full context to really make that judgment.

We know that NR doesn't understand evolution, but that's old news.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:12 PM   #53
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I think the person you are arguing with has a Ph.d so his statements can't be idiotic right?
Well, I do have a Ph.D. and I do nevertheless make plenty of idiotic statements (just ask any of my ex-girlfriends), but I don't think my reply to NR's post was one of them.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:41 PM   #54
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I just noticed that the link was put back and I'll check it out. In the meantime...

It seems that you've managed to find someone with an admirable scientific pedigree who doubts evolution. I might doubt the existence god, but I never doubted the existence of such people.

I'm not sure why you think it's such a big deal though. For every Geoffrey W Marcy there are 90 other scientists who are equally if not more educated who disagree with him. Why do you seek the exception rather than the rule and tout it as something of significance?
If one in ninety brilliant Phds disagree about something, it means the issue is nowhere near a slam dunk. If one in ninety totally disagree, some of the eighty nine pobably have a few doubts. Keep in mind that one in 9000 Phds don't disagree about any math proof and almost all scientific knowledge.

I'm the one who has to tell you this because even though I am defending the theist side, they hate to admit that all they are really saying is that their position isn't totally unreasonable.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:23 PM   #55
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I'm the one who has to tell you this because even though I am defending the theist side, they hate to admit that all they are really saying is that their position isn't totally unreasonable.
But it IS unreasonable.

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If one in ninety brilliant Phds disagree about something, it means the issue is nowhere near a slam dunk.
Wait a sec... Are YOU being fooled by a mathematical mirage? It is far more likely that those one out of ninety brilliant Phds are either delusional or have some ulterior motive they are trying to advance, than that there is any major flaw with the Theory of Evolution. It's not the 1 out of 90 that's significant or even relevant. Rather, it is the overwhelming evidence combined with the number of times this theory has accurately made a prediction without being falsified that is significant. Not the outlier 1 brilliant scientist out of 90.

Oh my god... I'm butting heads with YOU over a math or likelihood problem? I must be the one who is delusional! But please explain further by just answering this simple question...

Which is more likely? That these 1 in 90 scientists are either mistaken, delusional, or untrustworthy with respect to their science? Or that there really is a major flaw with The Theory of Evolution? Sorry... While evolution may be refined in future years, it remains a slam dunk!
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:37 PM   #56
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by Lestat View Post
Which is more likely? That these 1 in 90 scientists are either mistaken, delusional, or untrustworthy with respect to their science? Or that there really is a major flaw with The Theory of Evolution? Sorry... While evolution may be refined in future years, it remains a slam dunk!
Most likely is that they are brilliant PhD's, but not in the field of biology. This is the most common case ( well, ok, it's they aren't necessarily brilliant either but we're granting that for DS's argument).

Science is littered with scientists making fools of themselves outside their area of expertise.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:38 PM   #57
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
If one in ninety brilliant Phds disagree about something, it means the issue is nowhere near a slam dunk. If one in ninety totally disagree, some of the eighty nine pobably have a few doubts. Keep in mind that one in 9000 Phds don't disagree about any math proof and almost all scientific knowledge.

I'm the one who has to tell you this because even though I am defending the theist side, they hate to admit that all they are really saying is that their position isn't totally unreasonable.
It isn't that I think only that my position isn't totally unreasonable but that I would be happy if atheists admitted it - I wouldn't even require them to recognize that their position is.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:42 PM   #58
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
If one in ninety brilliant Phds disagree about something, it means the issue is nowhere near a slam dunk. If one in ninety totally disagree, some of the eighty nine pobably have a few doubts. Keep in mind that one in 9000 Phds don't disagree about any math proof and almost all scientific knowledge.
Most likely it just means that the one in ninety has ulterior motives. Like the hardcore christians that know if they become a Phd., more people are likely to take what they say seriously, no matter how clearly false it is, because they have a fancy title after there name.

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Old 01-16-2009, 06:44 PM   #59
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Most likely is that they are brilliant PhD's, but not in the field of biology. This is the most common case ( well, ok, it's they aren't necessarily brilliant either but we're granting that for DS's argument).

Science is littered with scientists making fools of themselves outside their area of expertise.
The gist of what Marcy was talking about wasn't evolution per se. According to Ross he even believes life can easily originate from non-life and I'm sure he thinks humans evolved. Marcy's point was that he doesn't think advanced life is prevalent in the universe, that it may not even exist - i.e., that evolution to the point of human intelligence is very rare. That's the reversal from his previous position and it isn't based just on biological considerations but his expertise is involved as well. If you think about, just in a general sort of way, it seems odd that only humans have developed high intelligence even though we are one of the youngest species on the planet. What are all the other animals waiting for?
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:54 PM   #60
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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If you think about, just in a general sort of way, it seems odd that only humans have developed high intelligence even though we are one of the youngest species on the planet. What are all the other animals waiting for?
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:57 PM   #61
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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If you think about, just in a general sort of way, it seems odd that only humans have developed high intelligence even though we are one of the youngest species on the planet. What are all the other animals waiting for?
Wow. Just... wow.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:57 PM   #62
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Re: Jeff Marcy

First of all I don't think evolution qualifies. I don't think one in 90 BRILLIANT Phds think that the evidence is not overwhemingly in its favor. (I don't count those Phds who disbelieve in evolution because of their religion rather than because of the evidence).

And I wasn't saying that the disagreement of a sane, brilliant, Phd means there is a decent chance he is right. It just means that the evidence is not 100% conclusive.

(Of course I am a bit biased. If you told me a Phd in physics or chemistry from Harvard disagreed with 89 masters degrees from the University of Idaho, about a subject related to his field, I'd bet even money that he was right. That's why it took a while for me to disbelieve the claims about Vitamin C.)
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:02 PM   #63
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
First of all I don't think evolution qualifies. I don't think one in 90 BRILLIANT Phds think that the evidence is not overwhemingly in its favor. (I don't count those Phds who disbelieve in evolution because of their religion rather than because of the evidence).
I honestly don't understand what you are trying to say in the above. Can someone please translate?
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:06 PM   #64
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by luckyme View Post
Most likely is that they are brilliant PhD's, but not in the field of biology. This is the most common case ( well, ok, it's they aren't necessarily brilliant either but we're granting that for DS's argument).

Science is littered with scientists making fools of themselves outside their area of expertise.
Nope. Not if the Phd is in Physics from an elite university. I will accept that they may be delusional or have ulterior motives. But if the subject is biology (as opposed to Art Appreciation) and they have studied it at great lenghths, they know that subject better than 98% of actual biologists. Almost all Physics Phds from Harvard could get a Phd in Biology from Tennessee if their was a gun mto their head. Perhaps 5% of Biology Phds from Tennesse could get a Physics Phd in Biology from Harvard.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:09 PM   #65
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
Nope. Not if the Phd is in Physics from an elite university. I will accept that they may be delusional or have ulterior motives. But if the subject is biology (as opposed to Art Appreciation) and they have studied it at great lenghths, they know that subject better than 98% of actual biologists. Almost all Physics Phds from Harvard could get a Phd in Biology from Tennessee if their was a gun mto their head. Perhaps 5% of Biology Phds from Tennesse could get a Physics Phd in Biology from Harvard.
You have no evidence to back this up amirite?
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:10 PM   #66
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by bluesbassman View Post
I honestly don't understand what you are trying to say in the above. Can someone please translate?
If you can beat me in the math SAT you believe the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming that if it isn't true, God is purposely playing tricks on us.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:13 PM   #67
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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You have no evidence to back this up amirite?
I also don't have evidence that most mailmen couldn't play for the Yankees.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:17 PM   #68
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Nope. Not if the Phd is in Physics from an elite university. I will accept that they may be delusional or have ulterior motives. But if the subject is biology (as opposed to Art Appreciation) and they have studied it at great lenghths, they know that subject better than 98% of actual biologists. Almost all Physics Phds from Harvard could get a Phd in Biology from Tennessee if their was a gun mto their head. Perhaps 5% of Biology Phds from Tennesse could get a Physics Phd in Biology from Harvard.
I don't know if you're right about this but let's say you are. Would you agree that we know a whole lot more about physics than biology?
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:29 PM   #69
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I don't know if you're right about this but let's say you are. Would you agree that we know a whole lot more about physics than biology?
I don't know. It is off the subject. Keep in mind that I am not really your ally on this issue. I didn't even fully read your OP and don't even know what the issue is. It just turned out that some of your opponents said incorrect things.

1. If your best estimate of the probability that a planet has life (or anything else) has changed from one in a billion to one in a sextillion, it need not mean that you made major revisions in your assumptions. A technical post that had nothing to do with your specifc issue.

2. When a brilliant, sane physics PHd, without ulterior motives, makes a pronouncement regarding a scientific field that he has decided to investigate thoroughly, you can't dismiss it out of hand. An opinion of mine that has nothing to do with your specific issue.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:36 PM   #70
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I also don't have evidence that most mailmen couldn't play for the Yankees.
That's a bit different than what you're talking about, but whatever.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:41 PM   #71
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I don't know. It is off the subject. Keep in mind that I am not really your ally on this issue. I didn't even fully read your OP and don't even know what the issue is. It just turned out that some of your opponents said incorrect things.

1. If your best estimate of the probability that a planet has life (or anything else) has changed from one in a billion to one in a sextillion, it need not mean that you made major revisions in your assumptions. A technical post that had nothing to do with your specifc issue.

2. When a brilliant, sane physics PHd, without ulterior motives, makes a pronouncement regarding a scientific field that he has decided to investigate thoroughly, you can't dismiss it out of hand. An opinion of mine that has nothing to do with your specific issue.
It isn't off subject for the following reasons:

Say mankind knows 10% of all that can be known of biology and 90% of physics. Someone who knows that 90% would seem smarter than someone who knows the 10%, even though both know all mankind knows about the respective topics - and the physics guy would sound smarter talking about biology than the biologist would about physics. Also, the skill set is different and someone could be brilliant in biology but slow in math.

I personally believe though I can't prove that biology is a much more complex and difficult subject relative to the total knowledge available than physics. One cell of a living organism may be more complex than the entire physical universe - not sure of that but may not be far off.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:57 PM   #72
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Nope. Not if the Phd is in Physics from an elite university. I will accept that they may be delusional or have ulterior motives. But if the subject is biology (as opposed to Art Appreciation) and they have studied it at great lenghths, they know that subject better than 98% of actual biologists. Almost all Physics Phds from Harvard could get a Phd in Biology from Tennessee if their was a gun mto their head. Perhaps 5% of Biology Phds from Tennesse could get a Physics Phd in Biology from Harvard.
And if their argument about life on other planets contained a premise about biology/evolution that was not what the theory expresses, it can be as solid as they like from then on and it still will be fatally flawed ( even if it's conclusion is correct).
Brilliance doesn't bail you out if you start out thinking water runs uphill.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:08 PM   #73
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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If you think about, just in a general sort of way, it seems odd that only humans have developed high intelligence even though we are one of the youngest species on the planet. What are all the other animals waiting for?
I won't quibble with this even though it shows an astounding lack of trying to understand evolution on your part. The fact is, you're right about one thing: It IS odd that our level of intelligence has happened exactly once and only once out of the billions of species to have ever existed. Although, intelligence itself is seen in many many species. Just not to our level. Then again, some species has to be the biggest, quickest, smartest.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think you're wrong about our being the youngest species on the planet. It also matters how you define species and sub-species, and so on. Apes have been around for a while.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:19 PM   #74
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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I won't quibble with this even though it shows an astounding lack of trying to understand evolution on your part. The fact is, you're right about one thing: It IS odd that our level of intelligence has happened exactly once and only once out of the billions of species to have ever existed. Although, intelligence itself is seen in many many species. Just not to our level. Then again, some species has to be the biggest, quickest, smartest.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think you're wrong about our being the youngest species on the planet. It also matters how you define species and sub-species, and so on. Apes have been around for a while.
I wasn't pretending to give a technical dissertation on evolution. I have read the Blind Watchmaker and understood it, 2 books by Behe, several by RTBers and I listen to them all the time. I think I grasp the basics.

The point I was making which is what I think Marcy was making and with which you seem to agree is that advanced intelligence like ours is rare, maybe extremely rare. Another question would be why is it so rare, but that's another can of worms. Marcy was just making the observation and joining that to what he knows about astronomy. I've been thinking about that a little, and I've seen it elsewhere, I think there's some books on it, and that is how much should we have expected to make contact with ETs by now? That we haven't seems significant to Marcy and others - the evolution thing was part of the explanation for why we havent, because high intelligence doesn't evolve easily.

I don't think I said "youngest" but one of the youngest - and I'm talking about modern humans which I don't think has been shown older than 50k years. But even including hominids it would only go back about 5 million.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:22 PM   #75
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Re: Jeff Marcy

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
Nope. Not if the Phd is in Physics from an elite university. I will accept that they may be delusional or have ulterior motives. But if the subject is biology (as opposed to Art Appreciation) and they have studied it at great lenghths, they know that subject better than 98% of actual biologists. Almost all Physics Phds from Harvard could get a Phd in Biology from Tennessee if their was a gun mto their head. Perhaps 5% of Biology Phds from Tennesse could get a Physics Phd in Biology from Harvard.
Most physics PhDs haven't studied biology at great lengths. Not even close, in many cases they know less bio than I do as an undergraduate. There's no need for the average physics PhD to study biology.
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