Takeaways: Oakland Athletics find an answer to Houston Astros team in extra-inning win

first_imgHOUSTON — Through the first 17 innings of this series, the A’s looked utterly overmatched by the Houston Astros.The A’s had to find a way to get past the Astros at Minute Maid Park. In the 18th inning, the answer revealed itself: patience and resilience.After scuffling through the majority of Tuesday’s game down two runs, Matt Olson hit a three-run home run in the ninth to tie it, and they won 4-3 on Ramon Laureano’s RBI double in the 11th inning.“That’s why I love this team,” starter Mike …last_img read more

Darwin Follies and Fallacies, Part Two

first_imgWhen it comes to evolution, fallacious reasoning spreads far and wide through Big Science and Big Media.Here we pick up where we left off with Part 1, showing fallacious reasoning in Darwinian explanations.Guppy romance: “Mate choice” is a trendy term in evolutionary circles when discussing Darwin’s controversial notion of sexual selection (1/30/16). Mate choice supposedly makes male peacocks evolve exotic feathers and peacock spiders evolve pom-pom dances. Seven evolutionists engage this personification fallacy in Science Advances, in their paper, “Female brain size affects the assessment of male attractiveness during mate choice.” So who are the choosy females this time? Guppies. That’s right, guppies. The Darwinian authors endow these little fish with the ability to assess “attractiveness” of their boyfriends. You can imagine what late-night talk show hosts will do with their conclusions: basically, larger-brained females (supposedly smarter) are better at picking out attractive males than small-brained (supposedly dumber) females are. And you thought dumb-blonde jokes were out of style. The stupidity doesn’t get any better when ensconced in Jargonwocky: “We thus provide the first experimental support that individual variation in brain size affects mate choice decisions and conclude that differences in cognitive ability may be an important underlying mechanism behind variation in female mate choice.” (Reminder to authors: fish have no free will in the Darwinian worldview, and  Stuff Happens is not a ‘mechanism’.)Chance computers: Neurons are highly complex cells involved in signaling. They have exquisite molecular machines, such as ion pumps and rotary engines, underlying their rapid, functional responses. To an evolutionist who deals in glittering generalities, they are mere products of blind chance. Look at Medical Xpress to see how assertion, obfuscation, and generalization hide the underlying complexity: “thought by scientists to have evolved relatively recently, and specifically in vertebrates, in order to [teleology] enable rapid, precise signaling in the complex circuitry of the vertebrate nervous system.” The evolutionist in the article quibbles about when certain parts evolved, but not that they evolved. To speak this way of any other complex circuitry in a signaling system would be met with laughter and derision, but apparently such talk is perfectly acceptable in Darwinism. Behold this hand-waving assertion: “The giant ankyrins, he explains, are in fact ancient forms that evolved in a bilaterian ancestor.”Arsenic resistance: Some humans can drink arsenic-contaminated water. The story about settlers in the Atacama Desert in Chile is pretty remarkable, but raises question about evolutionary theory. New Scientist seems to assume Darwinism handles any observation. Notice the fallacious phrase “evolved to” – a hint of forbidden teleology.People in a south American desert have evolved to detoxify potentially deadly arsenic that laces their water supply….. The arsenic contamination here exceeds 1 milligram per litre: the highest levels in the Americas, and over 100 times the World Health Organization’s safe limits. There are virtually no alternative water sources, and yet, somehow [Stuff Happens], people have survived in the area. Could it be [suggestion] that arsenic’s negative effects on human health, such as inducing miscarriages, acted as a natural selection pressure that made [personification] this population evolve adaptations [teleology] to it? A new study suggests this is indeed so.But is this evolution? The explanation involves ratios of existing molecular machines in the cells of the body that handle arsenic. And nobody would dare suggest that these people are a different species than Homo sapiens. Claiming this is an example of Darwinian evolution is like claiming your own children have diverged into separate species. Come to think  of it, some may feel that way.Woodpecker party dunces: A story in New Scientist is quickly dismissed on the same basis. Richard Byrne at St. Andrews University gets the royal raspberry for this quote in Andy Coghlan’s just-so story, “Sociable woodpeckers that cooperate have evolved smaller brains.” Here’s personification and the fallacious teleological language, “evolved to”:“Our result emphasises that a large brain is a costly organ, both to develop and maintain, so evolution readily acts to reduce its size when it isn’t needed,” argues Byrne. “Sometimes, people think having a big brain is just a ‘good thing’, but it is a major metabolic cost.”Combing over jellies: The People of Fluff are in a huff about the earliest animal ancestor. In “Big data renews fight over animal origins” (Nature) Amy Maxmen calls the boxing match between scientists who thought our great granddaddy was sponges, then the comb jellies landed a punch, and now the sponges are winning again. Nobody ever questions the Stuff Happens Law; just what stuff happened first. For those who doubt our description of evolution as ‘stuff happens’, read on:In the most recent study, the authors attempt to resolve one of the biggest challenges in building evolutionary trees based on DNA comparisons. Some genomes evolve faster than others, and fast-evolving genomes from unrelated animals can converge on a similar sequence. “By chance, lineages accumulate genetic similarities not due to a shared history but due to random change,” explains Michaël Manuel, an evolutionary biologist at the Institute of Biology Paris-Seine, and the study’s senior author.It should be noted that comb jellies have a nervous system and complex bioluminescent organs. Regardless of the order in which they appeared, comb jellies show no ancestors in the fossil record, appearing fully formed in the Cambrian explosion.Balancing act: Evolutionists have created a taxonomy of natural selection. They speak of positive and negative selection. There’s balancing selection, kin selection, group selection, purifying selection, directional selection, and others – all purely matters of blind chance in that selection by definition has no goal, not even survival (i.e., if something goes extinct, selection did that, too). We must remember that Charles Darwin purported to explain all the innovations of life as a progressive trajectory toward increased complexity, ratcheted upward by natural selection (see Tom Bethell’s book Darwin’s House of Cards, ch. 21, for how Darwin was swept up in the Victorian idea of Progress). Balancing selection—keeping things the same—was not exactly what he had in mind. A paper in PNAS about balancing selection that “maintains polymorphisms at neurogenetic loci in field experiments,” while promising to shed light on “our understanding of the evolution and adaptive significance of behavioral diversity,” really has no more significance to evolution than standing does to running a marathon.Brain freeze: Some evolutionists like to rock the boat without capsizing the paradigm. Notice Science Daily‘s teaser headline, “How big brains evolved could be revealed by new mathematical model: Early results counter prevailing thought on major evolutionary drivers of humans’ large brains.” Recall that if evolution is a driver, it is a blind driver without a map or a destination. Indeed, this article begins by admitting that “the factors that drive evolution of big brains remain unclear.” Hidden in this statement is the assumption that bigger is better, but some spiders, insects and birds demonstrate that a lot of power can be packed in a small brain. Miniaturization can indicate even more design (e.g., compare your smartphone to a Univac). In the evolutionists’ model, Darwinism is assumed throughout, as in “Given natural selection, it predicts how much energy is used to support brain growth at different ages under different biological settings” (see DIGO in the Darwin Dictionary). The model of “different possible evolutionary scenarios” goes downhill from there.Fair enough? As Darwin’s all-purpose demon, natural selection promises knowledge of good and evil everywhere, even in politics and ethics. PLoS One demonstrates this with a paper “On the evolution of equity.” It’s another case of ‘evolutionary game theory’ with its built-in personification of cooperators and cheaters arising out of blind processes. Given that equitable treatment of others is costly, “How can natural selection account for the evolution of such costly preferences?” they ask. The question is a setup for their coup. They come up with a model game where presto! natural selection produces equity. But if it is a blind outcome of chance processes, is it really equity? And is it fair for the authors to step outside of their own evolved brains and expect us to believe they are being equitable with us? Maybe they are cheaters trying to pull the wool over our eyes. They have no free will in Darwinism, after all (see Yoda Complex in the Darwin Dictionary).Father Charlie knows best: Another example of applying Darwinism to anything and everything (and destroying it in the process), is Science Daily‘s dalliance with “the evolution of parenting.” Don’t tell this to the children. If natural selection just rewired Mom and Dad’s brains to make them pretend to be loving parents, then Junior can claim natural selection rewired his brain to disobey them. All the joys and lessons of family life go out the window in this Darwinian case of reductionism (see How Darwinism Corrodes Morality by Jerry Bergman). Anything you do is just a ‘behavior’ sculpted by Darwin’s randomized view of the world.Rapid fish: According to Live Science, rapids make fish evolve rapidly. “Water ‘Walls’ Spur Evolution of New Colorful Fish Species,” writes Stephanie Pappas. According to this line of reasoning, tornadoes should spur the evolution of birds, and earthquakes should spur the evolution of earthworms, too. We coined the term sophoxymoronia to describe terms that are internally contradictory. Pappas uses this one: “evolutionary potential”— a phrase rich with possibility thinking, but only as meaningful as “chance potential.”He sawfish evolve: Richard Schiffman claims in New Scientist, “Sawfish’s fearsome snout evolved to be undetectable to prey.” That sawfish must have been a good intelligent designer to evolve its rostrum with teeth that dampen vibrations, just like human engineers do to make silent wind turbine blades.Twenty examples of evolutionary nonsense so far, and we’re still not done. Watch for Part 3. Readers need to witness that evolutionary philosophy is full of clown and flurry, signifying nothing. (Visited 85 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

My iPhone Supports Gay Marriage. Does Yours?

first_imgRelated Posts Values Equal ProfitsThere does not yet exist a robust analog for finding and supporting businesses I want to promote because of their values, and not simply their price, location or customer service. Why is that? In today’s connected world – when anyone can get anything from anywhere, and always at the best price – values can become a core differentiator.I don’t want my money going to a business that is opposed to gay marriage. Perhaps that’s exactly what you do want. Why not incorporate a “values” layer into Foursquare, for example and discover and share those businesses that have the very best lattes – and the strongest support for the values most important to me.Foursquare users, for example, can “discover and learn about great places nearby, search for what you’re craving, and get deals and tips along the way.” The app’s 30 million users have checked in to various establishments more than 3 billion times. Consider the potential social good Foursquare could foster if values were made into a searchable variable. The Trust IssueCan people be trusted to not list a business as, say, homophobic, just because they were angry over the price or a long line to check out? Is it possible to know if a business legitimately supports climate-change improvements, for example, or is really working to limit poverty? It may be hard for a business to lie about its prices but all too easy to claim social and political stances that it doesn’t back up with actions. brian s hall Why not an app that alerts me to a store’s values as I walk inside? Or that alerts me to a product whose maker I want to support? For example, when I stare at that massive beer selection in the grocery store, perhaps my “values app” can remind me that Bud Light used social media to support gay marriage.Plenty of apps and sites focus on a specific value or set of values, or utilize a top-down approach, where those who create the app set the rankings. This is a good start, but does not fully empower smartphone user to personally rate businesses by the values that matter to them. For example, the Good Guide site rates an array of products that are “healthy, green and socially responsible.” While useful, the information covers only selected products and is rated by a “team of scientific and technology experts,” not actual users.The FishPhone app offers a similar service and provides the seafood ratings system for Whole Foods. Of course, Whole Foods’ CEO was famously opposed to Obamacare. The app would never tell me that. This is a critical problem with single-focus and those not maintained not by the end users. For example, Ceres, “a network of over 130 investment funds, environmental organizations, unions and interest groups” promotes major companies that are making significant progress on sustainability goals. Ford was a recent winner. That’s great, unless you believe that a large automobile manufacturer should never be included on a list of sustainability leaders.Getting Comfortable With Controversial TopicsThe issue preventing a user-driven values based shopping app is not a technical one. The larger issue is that too many of us are not yet comfortable with the very idea of values-based recommendations.When it comes to choosing goods and services, we have spent our whole lives focused on price, quality and convenience. Values are fuzzy, harder to quantify – and can lead to difficult decisions. What if your friendly, neighborhood grocer, for example, turns out be a climate change denier – and you live in area prone to flooding? Once you learn the values of a business and determine you are in opposition, would you continue to shop there? Will supporting only businesses whose values align with yours merely serve to divide society instead of promoting the values in question?The technology to make this possible already exists, so it’s likely we’ll have the answers soon enough.iPhone image courtesy of Apple. Fortunately, with more than a hundred million smartphones in use in America – more than 1 billion worldwide – the aggregate numbers and big data “smoothing” of billions of values-based check-ins and reviews should mitigate any lies or mistakes. For example, Amazon product reviews can generally be relied upon as a valid barometer of popular sentiment, even though they’re completely subjective.A few websites already provide a limited form of “values-based” recommendations for businesses. For example, OutGrade, launched earlier this year, lets users “rate places by gay friendliness or homophobia.” Users rate establishments on a scale from -5 to +5, and the site color codes businesses based on their overall score: red is homophobic, green is ” gay friendly.” The OutGrade site accepts ratings for any business: restaurant, dentist office, pub, hotel, etc. and in three months has garnered reviews on more than 3,500 businesses. OutGrade plans to release a mobile app “in the coming weeks.” This is vital as it allows users to simply pull out their smartphones and find acceptable places in their immediate vicinity. While a website may offer a more robust experience, only an app can provide real-time location-based ratings and reviews, while boosting the reliability of recommendations by letting users initiate reviews on the spot.One More Step A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit If I can recommend a great local restaurant, leave a review for future patrons, alert my followers on Twitter, update my Facebook friends on my great new find – all in a few seconds – using only Yelp and my iPhone, why can’t I similarly promote those businesses whose values I support?Why is it so easy to tell thousands of people, literally, how awful a coffee shop’s service is, for example, but I can’t as easily steer people away from a store whose values I deplore? It seems to me there should be an app – or maybe lots of apps – that make it easy for me to find, check-in, rate, review and recommend those businesses whose values align with mine. Forget pet friendly – are they gay friendly, Earth friendly? Do they seek a massive reduction in the size of government, do they refuse to buy from China, will they never cross a union picket line and can I count on them to support a strong national defense?With the Yelp app, for example, I can easily set various parameters for a restaurant search: proximity, price range, type of food and customer ranking. But values is not one of the choices. This seems like a rather significant gap within the mobile-social-local nexus.  The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Android#Apple#apps#iPhone#mobile#social networks Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more