(Visited 108 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Apparently Francisco Ayala (UC Irvine) thinks that just stating something dogmatically is enough to end all discussion. The scope of his paper in PNAS is grandiose and sweeping, enough to keep philosophers and theologians from around the world busy for years, but Ayala just put out his opinions without any hint of dispute, and stamped it with the seal of the National Academy of Sciences. Here is the abstract from his paper, “Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without a designer” –Darwin’s greatest contribution to science is that he completed the Copernican Revolution by drawing out for biology the notion of nature as a system of matter in motion governed by natural laws. With Darwin’s discovery of natural selection, the origin and adaptations of organisms were brought into the realm of science. The adaptive features of organisms could now be explained, like the phenomena of the inanimate world, as the result of natural processes, without recourse to an Intelligent Designer. The Copernican and the Darwinian Revolutions may be seen as the two stages of the one Scientific Revolution. They jointly ushered in the beginning of science in the modern sense of the word: explanation through natural laws. Darwin’s theory of natural selection accounts for the “design” of organisms, and for their wondrous diversity, as the result of natural processes, the gradual accumulation of spontaneously arisen variations (mutations) sorted out by natural selection. Which characteristics will be selected depends on which variations happen to be present at a given time in a given place. This in turn depends on the random process of mutation as well as on the previous history of the organisms. Mutation and selection have jointly driven the marvelous process that, starting from microscopic organisms, has yielded orchids, birds, and humans. The theory of evolution conveys chance and necessity, randomness and determinism, jointly enmeshed in the stuff of life. This was Darwin’s fundamental discovery, that there is a process that is creative, although not conscious.There is hardly a line in this paragraph that is not disputed by some of the greatest minds of this and past ages, yet Ayala stated it all as a fact of science and a “discovery” of Charles Darwin. The paper mostly summarized the history of mechanistic science and construed the Darwinian Revolution as supplanting natural theology. Ignoring the Cambrian explosion, he judiciously began his tale of gradualism after the sudden appearance of all the animal phyla: “Several hundred million generations separate modern animals from the early animals of the Cambrian geological period (542 million years ago)…. we can readily understand that the accumulation of millions of small, functionally advantageous changes could yield remarkably complex and adaptive organs, such as the eye,” he said. He also attributed mental and moral qualities – aesthetics, rationality and even free will – to matter in motion: “organisms that populate the Earth, including humans who think and love, endowed with free will and creative powers, and able to analyze the process of evolution itself that brought them into existence,” he said, not blinking a philosophical eye. ”This is Darwin’s fundamental discovery, that there is a process that is creative although not conscious.” He did not ask whether a product of unconsciousness could determine the presence or absence of consciousness in another, nor how a product of irrational forces could rationally defend the truth of such a claim. Apparently this was all intuitively obvious and needed no defense:And this is the conceptual revolution that Darwin completed: the idea that the design of living organisms can be accounted for as the result of natural processes governed by natural laws. This is nothing if not a fundamental vision that has forever changed how mankind perceives itself and its place in the universe.Ayala’s paper was one of a dozen from a colloquium held by the Academy last December in Irvine, California, on the subject, “In the Light of Evolution I: Adaptation and Complex Design.” The papers just became available today (May 10) on the PNAS website. Of course, no one from an Intelligent Design movement was allowed to publish a contrary view or rebuttal.1Francisco J. Ayala, “Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10.1073/pnas.0701072104, published online before print May 9, 2007.They just aren’t learning, are they? How these people, with Eugenie Scott and Nicholas Matzke and all the other Darwin Party hacks present, can continue to spew out their unchanged rhetoric after years of debates, books, documentaries, conversions and international movements is a measure of their incorrigibility. It would be honorable if they acknowledged the criticisms and strove to address them in a scholarly way. Then, at least, we could have a discussion about the evidence. But they don’t even admit the existence of challenges to their views. When they stoop briefly to admit the existence of critics, they just sweep them away with the same old talking points devised in the 19th century. It’s always one-way communication. They act like wooden dolls with fake ears and prerecorded voices, complete with halitosis. Where have they been? This is the Information Age, the age of molecular machines and biomimetics and rational design. The Science Wars and the collapse of logical positivism have shown one cannot assume a fact/value distinction, a science/religion dichotomy, a demarcation criterion for science, or an objective/subjective posture. Presuppositions matter. It’s not the early 19th century any more. We have paradigms, webs of belief, social and historical influences on science, redefinitions of scientific explanation, deep debates about empiricism vs rationalism, no consensus on what constitutes scientific explanation, and a host of other worries that do not allow one to merely assume science is progressive and true to reality. Even then, Ayala cannot just assume that Darwinism is better aligned with science (whatever it is) than are other world views. Darwinian claims go far, far beyond anything that can be subjected to scientific investigation. Claims this broad need warrant, not assumption. None of the worn-out Darwinist propaganda could stand up to a minute’s worth of hard questioning by an undergrad in philosophy of science or intellectual history. His Copernicanism is all wrong, his history of science could be shredded by even secular historians of science, and his terminology begs numerous questions about what is science, what is design, what is natural law, and whether chance and necessity can produce rationality. No problem, thinks Ayala. I’ll just speak the talking points and let them come true. I’ll use my rationality to disprove rationality. Well, he succeeded on that last point – but only within the boundaries of his own skull. So. If they aren’t going to listen, we shouldn’t listen to them (as if we hadn’t heard their reruns long enough to have them memorized). Tune out of the flat black-and-white Darwin Party propaganda machine, and tune in to the 3-D, stereo, fresh, live broadcasts of the information age. The only value of this paper is a lesson in hindsight. Modern students should study this to learn what the Old Guard of the Darwin Party was saying right before their regime collapsed. It would be like reading Mein Kampf or studying the Sayings of Mao in a 20th century history class – weird, but thank God nobody still believes that. Exercise: Find all the errors of fact and propaganda techniques Ayala used in the abstract quoted above. For an advanced exercise, read his entire paper and search for any actual scientific evidence he used to prove that chance and necessity could produce orchids, birds and humans (remember, microevolution cannot be extrapolated recklessly, and he cannot assume what he needs to prove). Among his historical and scientific references, see if there are observations that are actually relevant to this grandiose claim (e.g., bacterial resistance is limited to bacteria – it does not follow that humans evolved from bacteria). A successful graduate should also be able to describe some of the havoc these ideas have wrought on civilization.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On Mar 31st (11AM CST) the USDA will announce the 2017 US planting intention estimates. Arguably, this report could have the biggest impact on the market in 2017. Until next Friday, there is little else to talk about.Many are expecting estimates of 91 million corn acres and 89 million bean acres. If the report shows a more narrow range (i.e. 90 million acres each), corn prices could get a bump, while beans may slide. Right now prices favor beans over corn, so the report will show if farmers have made any adjustments based upon this. Thinking of the farm as a businessA profitable farm is more complicated than planting crops and hoping they pay the bills at the end of the year. Farmers should consider their operations as a company with multiple profit centers working to a common goal. Each profit center must “pull its own weight” without drawing profits from another division. Successful farmers understand each profit center independently and how it maximizes profit for the farm operation.There are four large divisions (some with smaller subsets):• Land ownership• Custom operations• Grain storage• Farmer. Land ownershipSince farmers are naturally passionate about working the land, this is where I see the most “cheating.” I ask all my clients, “Are you paying yourself a fair market rental price for use of your land?” In theory, some farmers could spend all their time on the beach, while hiring people to do the hard work of farming the land. Considering the typical farmer’s mentality, few think like this, but they should. The most successful operations understand the profit of ownership comes from a long-term investment.Regardless of when the land was purchased, 20 years ago when land was cheaper or recently, there is a fair rental price based upon the local market conditions. From the start this needs to be calculated to understand the possible guaranteed income. Often farmers are surprised about the cost of their time and energy.Custom operationsProfitable farmers also understand the cost of every piece of equipment. Most mid-sized farmers today have over $1 million invested in equipment, so it’s important to be as efficient as possible. Plus, farmers have more choices than ever, so why not take advantage? Following are questions that should be asked of every piece of equipment (i.e. planter, combine, sprayer, semi, tractor, etc.)What is the local custom rate for each piece of equipment you need if hired done?What is the yearly maintenance cost for each piece of equipment needed (e.g. 5 year avg)?What are the yearly depreciation costs?Is there profit potential in owning equipment and doing custom hire work?Is renting or leasing a better option?Often farmers “mine” the equity on their equipment by not paying themselves enough per acre to use the equipment. This may be fine for a while, but years later replacing equipment becomes too expensive, leaving the farmer in a difficult position.Generally speaking most farmers prefer to own their own equipment, because often it can cost less, but it’s important to consider alternatives. Sometimes it makes sense to hire work done, while other tasks can be accomplished (i.e. office work) or even second jobs.In the end, while some equipment is nice to own, and can even look impressive to your neighbors, if it doesn’t make financial sense and puts a strain in this division, then your operation’s profits can easily slip needlessly through your fingers. Grain storageGrain storage is a profit center many producers use incorrectly. Most farmers store non-contracted grain, hoping for a market rally, because storing unpriced grain at their local elevator means hefty charges. Between storing unpriced grain at home for “free” or storing it at an elevator for a charge, it can make a little sense I guess.However, many farmers are missing out on all of the profitable benefits of storing grain at home and selling forward – taking advantage of carry and basis appreciation. By considering on-farm grain storage as a separate cost center, analyzing the expense to build new storage becomes a practical one. One just needs to analyze the premiums received from carry and basis optimization against the expense of building new bins. Almost every time I walk a client through the numbers, having on-farm grain storage is a profitable venture. Actually, I find grain storage can have the best return on investment above every other investment in a farm operation. FarmerThe “farmer” is the part of you that makes management decisions each year. One could liken it to the CEO position, but it also includes the titles of CFO and COO. Strategic decisions need to be made on crop inputs and farm operations:• Fertilizer – What kind? How much? When to apply?• Chemicals – What kind? How much? When to apply?• Seed/Agronomy – How much corn vs beans? On which fields? Which brands/hybrids/traits?• Insurance – How much? What program?• Hired Help – How much? Where do I find these people? How much to pay?• Marketing – When to sell. Was that a profitable price? What I too greedy in my goal?• Strategic Planning – Should I rent or buy more ground? Should I drop a low producing field? There are so many decisions for farmers to make it can be overwhelming. To help in budgeting, I ask my clients – How much do you want to make on each acre and what kind of ROI is needed to be profitable? Each farm is different and has its own challenges, but these questions can be answered by the big established family farm down to the small young farmer who is renting all of their land. Putting it togetherFinally, the farmer puts all of these profit centers together to form a budget (or business plan, but farmers don’t usually call it that). Then a marketing plan is developed to ensure the farm is profitable. If each profit center is optimized, the biggest opportunities for the farm operation can be achieved regardless of all the variable factors (i.e. weather, market volatility, etc).Some may think all of this means just being a farmer, but breaking up the divisions/profit centers independently and then optimizing each one can help maximize profits. Perhaps there is a weak division/profit center that was only exposed after doing the analysis. Farmers can then take steps to maximize each area.Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. 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Apple sold nine million new iPhones in the first three days after the iPhone 5S and 5C hit shelves. The number surpassed first weekend iPhone 5 sales last year by almost four million, although the comparison isn’t a strict one, since it pits sales of two iPhone models against sales of just one.The higher sales numbers may also be less surprising given that Apple launched its new iPhones in two additional markets this time around—one of them China. Last year, first weekend iPhone 5 sales in China totaled upwards of two million units, although Apple didn’t launch there until almost three months after it debuted the phone in the U.S., Europe and Japan.Apple didn’t break down individual model sales, but stated that demand for the iPhone 5S exceeded the initial supply, and that many online orders are scheduled for shipment in coming weeks. Tags:#Apple#iphone 5C#iPhone 5S#now readwrite What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology