Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why we must make sure the Darwinists lose

Here, in "Justification by Faith", Darwinist atheist Michael Ruse comments on Christopher (new atheist) Hitchens's esophageal cancer diagnosis ( bad news):
Third, with Hitchens I simply don’t see that deathbed conversions, especially those done in fear or pain, are worth a thing. They have about as much validity as a confession forced out through waterboarding. I have often wondered, when I am on a plane, if it were announced that it was hijacked and we were on the way to the White House or whatever, what then would I do? Would I tell Jesus that I am sorry? I confess that I might. But if Jesus thinks that that is worth anything, then he loses my respect entirely.
This is merely disgusting. Death concentrates the mind on what is real. Look at other examples of the human race: Todd Beamer, the guy who was a devout Christian, took charge of a plane captured by terrorists, possibly aimed at the Capitol or the White House. He said the Lord's Prayer with an emergency services worker before shouting Let's roll! to other men on the plane, creating a disturbance that probably resulted in the plane's crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, losing all on board.

Michael Ruse wouldn't respect Jesus if he told him he was sorry for his sins, and Jesus accepted that fact? Well then, I don't respect Michael Ruse. And you can decide whether you are better off living in Todd Beamer's version of American society or Michael Ruses. One must choose. But those people were doomed anyway, and he prevented vastly worse disorders.

Too many people, in my experience, do not understand what is at stake.


Single neurons can detect sequences?

ScienceDaily tells us that

Single Neurons Can Detect Sequences

ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2010) — Single neurons in the brain are surprisingly good at distinguishing different sequences of incoming information according to new research by UCL neuroscientists.

The study, published August 12 in Science and carried out by researchers based at the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research at UCL, shows that single neurons, and indeed even single dendrites, the tiny receiving elements of neurons, can very effectively distinguish between different temporal sequences of incoming information.
This challenges the widely held view that this kind of processing in the brain requires large numbers of neurons working together, as well as demonstrating how the basic components of the brain are exceptionally powerful computing devices in their own right.

If this holds up, it might help explain how some people (not all, of course) have come back from serious brain injuries, even at an advanced age, when neuron production may be low.


Neuroscience journal changes policy on last-minute add-ins

John Maunsell, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Neuroscience advises that his publication is ending the practice of permittting the submission of publication of additions to submitted materials online. He explains,
We recognize that this is a major change that will set The Journal apart from most neuroscience journals, but the Society for Neuroscience Council has approved this step because supplemental material has begun to undermine the peer review process in important ways. We believe that the changes described here are our best option for protecting peer review and maintaining our leadership in publishing articles of the greatest significance and highest quality. Because not all of the problems associated with supplemental material will be obvious to readers, we explain them here.

[ ... ]

Although The Journal, like most journals, currently peer reviews supplemental material, the depth of that review is questionable. Most well qualified reviewers are overburdened with requests to review manuscripts, and many feel that it is too much to ask them to also evaluate supplemental material that can be as extensive as the article itself. It is obvious to editors that most reviewers put far less effort (often no effort) into examining supplemental material. Nevertheless, we certify the supplemental material as having passed peer review.
Another troubling problem associated with supplemental material is that it encourages excessive demands from reviewers. Increasingly, reviewers insist that authors add further analyses or experiments "in the supplemental material." These additions are invariably subordinate or tangential, but they represent real work for authors and they delay publication. Such requests can be an unjustified burden on authors. In principle, editors can overrule these requests, but this represents additional work for the editors, who may fail to adequately referee this aspect of the review.

Reviewer demands in turn have encouraged authors to respond in a supplemental material arms race. Many authors feel that reviewers have become so demanding they cannot afford to pass up the opportunity to insert any supplemental material that might help immunize them against reviewers' concerns.

Supplemental material also undermines the concept of a self-contained research report by providing a place for critical material to get lost.
It probably also functions as a way to front nonsense, but Maunsell would be too polite to say so.

Labels: ,