• Answers Simple and Complex

    The concept of simple and complex answers has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially with a presidential election coming up. Politicians propose simple solutions to broad and complex topics. Why? Why does that help them? Shouldn’t they be coming up with solutions that work?

    This morning, my cub asked me about jet engines. I tried to explain about how heat causes air to expand and how the air intake forces the expansion of hot gases out the back of the jet engine. It wasn’t that he couldn’t understand the answer, but he was expecting something simpler.

    When we’re young, we expect simple answers. And, sadly, all through the first 12-15 years of education, we give children simple answers.

    When a 6 year old asks, Why is the sky blue? You probably don’t start with a discussion of the wave theory of light, then move into refraction and the composition of the atmosphere. You say something like, “It’s like rainbows all the time, except we only see the blue part.”

    It’s simple. It’s correct-ish. It gets the kid the heck off your back while you’re trying to fix the car.

    But it also sets an ugly precedent that all too many people take throughout their lives. A few days ago, this exchange happened on another post here.

    How many generations have to elapse before we get two coordinated mutations in a mammalian population?

    The commentor, I assume, was looking for some numeric value with a time unit attached to it. I feel confident in assuming that because he didn’t like the answers he received.

    This is a simple question. But, when we get to the intricate details of biology, chemistry, philosophy, politics, economics, engineering, or really anything that we do and study in our entire lives. Simple questions are meaningless and any response to those simple questions will be not what the person wants to hear.

    So what response did the commentor get?

    Define “two coordinated mutations”. Mutations in the same gene? That result in a new feature? Mutations in two different genes that result in a new feature? Define “new feature”. Is a new antibody enough or do YOU (and no one else except other creationists) demand that it be a new limb or something? Does it have to be beneficial? Why? Define beneficial (and include a detailed discussion about the environments in which it might be beneficial?

    What gene family? Some change faster than others. If you’re talking about HLA factors, then one generation is plenty. If you’re talking about mitochondrial DNA, then it will be tens of thousands of generations.

    You do understand that Behe’s two mutation thing is total bunk right?

    How long does it take? In 72 hours, a replicating RNA population evolved with no fewer than 4 mutation families, which increased the binding efficiency of the RNA (acting as a catalyst) 92 fold. Is that sufficient? Why not (because I know you won’t think that it is)?

    There’s a lot of context that may not be familiar to people who don’t deal with creationists on a daily basis. But the questions that were in the response are critical to answering the initial question.

    Let’s put it in a political light.

    How can we stop illegal immigration?

    That’s a simple question right? But have you ever looked at the laws and rules on immigration?

    Title 8 of the US Code, covers Aliens and Nationality. This title, in its current form, is just under 1200 PDF pages (including title, letter, and other administrative bits). The PDF is here. But even that’s just a small bit that we have to consider. Why is there illegal immigration? Poor economy in one country vs. another. Personal freedom vs. oppression. Safety, gang violence, drugs (caused by use in one country), smuggling, human trafficking, money, etc. etc. etc.

    There cannot be a simple answer to deal with issues ranging from drug enforcement to economics and politics in dozens of countries. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something… like wanting to be president. Here’s a hint: A wall will not stop people from entering the US illegally. There are too many other factors involved.

    To make a reasonable decision on something like illegal immigration, a person must be moderately well informed about all of the topics I just mentioned. Likewise, with science; evolution, GMOs, vaccines, climate change, etc. etc. etc. You have to be reasonably well informed on dozens of topics. Take climate change. One must have a passing understanding of basic chemistry, economics, oceans and ocean currents, weather patterns, radiation, computer modeling, historical sciences, and predicting future states.

    Honestly, I think that most people consider that too much effort.

    And that’s why they believe the liars.

    There are groups of people who are perfectly willing to give you those simple answers. Even though those answers are wrong, impractical, break the laws of physics and chemistry, and are economically and personally devastating. Why these people choose to promote these simple answers generally devolves to two things: Money or Power. Usually both as one can be transformed into the other with minimal effort.

    So, when we combine a small group of people who want money/power and who have little or no ethics and a much, much larger group of people who are too lazy to think for themselves and research/learn on their own… you have the makings for the problems that we see every single day.

    Too many adults, like children, just want simple answers. They get frustrated when they don’t get those simple answers. They think that people who try to explain reality to them are taking down or “elitist” or following scientism. Then, they find a person who gives them the simple answer and they follow that person without question. Even if it’s against their own best interests.

    In general, the people promoting these simple answers don’t have to deal with the consequences. Bush never had to get involved in a firefight in Iraq. The Koch brothers haven’t had their livelihood destroyed by drought or hurricane. But the people who do have to deal with the consequences just accept it and move on.

    Because now, they are looking for a simple solution to the problem that their support of another simple solution has caused. And they will follow any person who promotes that simple solution. No matter how idiotic it appears to someone who is even slightly more informed.

    We need to promote the idea of no simple solutions and hard subjects require effort to understand. These things shouldn’t be elitist. They should be the basics of every education system. We shouldn’t have adults who follow one nincompoop after another (US 2012 election anyone) because they have good hair and say what they want to hear.


    Category: CreationismfeaturedGovernmentLifePoliticsScienceSkepticismSociety


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • Richard Metzler

      I agree with the premise that many problems are complex, and to arrive at a working solution to a problem, one needs to understand the intricacies, think through possible unintended consequences etc.. I also agree that too many politicians boil complex problems down to plausible-sounding, but wrong, simple answers.

      However, some problems, even in complex systems, have solutions that can be boiled down to simple statements without becoming wrong, and in those cases, the simple statements should be promoted and held up as guidelines and motivation. For example, the solution to the hole in the ozone layer: phase out CFCs. The solutions for acid rain and other air pollution problems: smoke desulfurization, catalytic converters, particulate filters, unleaded fuel.

      Every one of these iterms includes a host of technical, legal and economic issues that have to be solved to make the solution feasible, but not everyone needs to worry about those. In fact, one of the most successful principles in engineering is to reduce complexity – let as few people as possible worry about the inevitably complicated details, and wrap up everything in a neat package whose purpose and operation is easy to understand for the user. “And this part here removes nitrogen oxide, dust and other crap from the exhaust fumes” – “How does that work?” – “Oookay, how much time do you have, and for how long have you studied chemistry?” Of course, the person proposing a solution should be informed enough to give an in-depth defense, and be required to do so.

    • sombodysdad

      Evolutionism doesn’t have any answers. It is that simple.

      You do understand that Behe’s two mutation thing is total bunk right?

      And yet it is supported by science.

    • Otto Greif

      You are oversimplifying Trump’s immigration views, a border wall is only one component of his plans.

      • Doc Bill

        It’s impossible to oversimplify Trump’s immigration views. They’re about as simple-minded as they come. According to Trump, it’s only a management problem. He’s gonna bring in some really huge good people and they’re going to do a great job, and you’ll see.

        Have you read Trump’s so-called “plan?” No, you haven’t. Otherwise you would realize that most of it is flat out illegal and the rest of it is unrealistic or downright idiotic.

        1. Make Mexico pay for The Trump Wall. Good luck with that!

        2. Canceling visas to foreign countries. Yeah, Trump, just snap your fingers.

        3. Eliminate federal funds to “sanctuary cities.” What a surprise, another threat. Again, the President doesn’t have the authority to do this.

        4. Eliminate the J-1 Youth Visa program. Right, by snapping his fingers Trump would eliminate this non-immigrant youth work-study program.

        Point by point, Trump’s plan is nothing more than xenophobic blustering rant.

        That said, at least Trump wrote SOMETHING, however insane it is, which is more than the rest of the clown car has done.

        • Otto Greif

          Obviously he would be working with the Republican controlled Congress. At least it should be obvious.

          • Doc Bill

            So what? It doesn’t make his “plan” any less rubbish.

            Let’s take “make Mexico pay for the wall.” Face it, this is total bullshit. First of all there are no specifications for this im-Maginot-ary wall. What kind of wall? Constructed how? What about private property along the border? Just condemn it, buy it or eminent domain? How much will the wall cost and how much to maintain and how long would it take to build?

            Now, getting Mexico to pay for it. Why Mexico? Don’t our little brown illegal aliens come from all over South America? Shouldn’t Honduras and El Salvador pony up some pesos?

            As for the Republican controlled congress, how many immigration reform proposals have come out of that dysfunctional party in the last 8 years? Nothing, not even a proposal. That, too, is pretty obvious.

            • Otto Greif

              Building a wall is well within the technological capabilities of the United States. There are number of ways to get Mexico to help pay for the wall. Cutting US aid to Mexico being the simplest. If Trump is elected Republicans in Congress will wake up.

            • Doc Bill

              Did I mention technical? No, I didn’t. Why? Because it’s not a technical problem. There’s a nice, steel fence in El Paso. Ever seen it? Didn’t think so. The problem political and economic.

              Between 2006-2009 Homeland Security completed 670 miles of SINGLE LINE, i.e. pretty much chicken wire, fencing at a cost of $2.4 billion. Billion with a “B.” That’s a cheap wall. That’s not a proper 2,000 mile long wall with multiple barriers, patrolled fence lines, and the manpower to operate it.

              Total foreign aid to Mexico is about $750 million per year. You gonna cut all aid to Mexico? Hey, it’s the SIMPLE solution according to Otto! And how are you going to re-appropriate foreign aid to domestic wall building?

              As for Republicans “waking up” you really are living the delusion, Otto! News flash for Otto: they’re already awake! They just don’t know how to govern. All the Trumps in the world won’t fix that!

              And for all this bullshit and hot air, what exactly does The Wall accomplish regarding immigration reform? Well, I’ll tell you before you hurt you brain trying to think: nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, other than making us look like East Germany. It doesn’t address the root cause of population migration, nor does it do anything about reforming the immigration policies. Nothing.

              The only purpose The Wall serves is to give Republicans an excuse to do nothing.

            • Otto Greif

              You don’t need to build a 2,000 mile wall. Walls help with immigration enforcement, see the quote from a former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection I posted above. It’s not delusional at all to believe Trump winning election would force Republicans in Congress to finally do something about immigration. You reappropriate foreign aid to building a wall through the budget process. It’s not hard.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              It is delusional to think that Trump would win the presidency. It’s even more delusional to think that he will win the GOP nomination. I assure you, whatever the final vote tally is, there is no way that the GOP will nominate Trump. It doesn’t matter is 100% of the votes in the primary are for Trump, he still will not get the nomination.

            • hyperzombie

              So the election was fixed…

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Primary “elections” are not really elections. It’s almost a random selection of people who decide who they want to nominate.


            • Otto Greif

              OK man, if you say so.

            • SmilodonsRetreat
            • Otto Greif

              No kidding. But if he wins in the primaries they are stuck with him.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              There is NO WAY that Trump will get the GOP nomination. It doesn’t matter if every primary voter votes for him. It will not happen. The internal system of the primary, which is purely controlled by the party and states, will not allow it.

            • Otto Greif

              You should read the GOP primary rules.

            • SmilodonsRetreat
            • Otto Greif

              Yes. You should read them.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I did.

              Did you read the article that I wrote, that you’ve been talking about for the last day or so?

            • Otto Greif

              You should read them again.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              This is a unbelievably stupid game. You are a real jerk. If you have something to say, then say it.

              While some delegates are required to vote the way that the voters (in SOME states) want, other delegates are not. If you read the rules, there are many restrictions and games that the GOP can play with delegates to ensure the delegate that they want is nominated and not one like Trump. If you think otherwise, then please explain yourself.

            • Otto Greif

              “Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, except for delegates … who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters.” [Rule 16(a)(1)]

              “if a delegate (i) casts a vote for a presidential candidate at the national convention inconsistent with the delegate’s obligation …, (ii) nominates or demonstrates support … for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound …, or (iii) fails in some other … to cast a vote at the national convention for a particular presidential candidate, the delegate shall be deemed to have concurrently resigned as a delegate and the delegate’s improper vote or nomination shall be null and void. Thereafter the secretary of the convention shall record the delegate’s vote or nomination in accordance with the delegate’s obligation …. This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.” [Rule 16(a)(2)]

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Very good. You cut and paste like a champ. Too bad you can’t explain what your point is… again.

              You think that the popular vote is somehow directly meaningful to the direct election of the delegates? Why?

              In the 2012 election, both Paul and Santorum released their delegates (won by voting) and encouraged them to vote Romney. That means that they people who voted for Paul or Santorum were totally ignored by the delegates that they elected… or they could have been. Indeed, your own comments SHOW that it can happen again.

              Now, 2012 was a bit of a mess. It was obviously Romney’s all the way through. This one is going to be very different.

              Let’s say that Trump has the greatest percentage of the delegates, but not a majority of 1200 or however many he needs to win. All the leaders of the GOP have to do is make a deal for who they want, and convince the others to release their delegates to vote for that guy. Again, probably Bush, but Walker is a decent (if useless) choice.

              Boom, Trump gets the most votes, but is not nominated. Will it happen? Doubtful. Can it happen? Yes. Why is doubtful, because I don’t think Trump will get the majority of the votes, though I suspect that a large number of Democrats in states with open primaries will vote for him just for the lulz.

              Thank you for not explaining yourself, but at least posting the material that shows that my thoughts are plausible.

            • Otto Greif

              Because of rules changes a brokered convention has never been less likely.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate
              who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or
              her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.”

              sigh… I’m not sure how many times this needs to be explained to you…

            • Otto Greif

              That won’t matter.

            • SmilodonsRetreat
            • Doc Bill

              If you have a delusion, Otto, then claiming you don’t have a delusion is delusional.

              Did walls help with the immigration “surge” last year or so? No, they didn’t do a damn thing. Why? Because the immigrants walked across the border at checkpoints and turned themselves in.

              What is delusional on a huge, Trump scale is to believe that the rules of law can be ignored and that we can simply put these people on planes or buses and send them back. No. Immigration laws are very specific and each case had to be assigned an attorney and be processed. That’s what caused the problem.

              Your delusion, Otto, is that illegal immigration, and by that I assume you mean Latin Americans, specifically, is a problem. It’s not a problem. It’s a manufactured controversy.

              Tell me, Otto, what problem does The Wall solve. Back up your answer with data including costs and savings. I won’t be holding my breath.

            • Otto Greif

              See above, on the benefits of walls I cited an expert on border security.

            • Otto Greif

              Immigration is a very real problem. What’s “manufactured” is the posture nothing can be done about it.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Immigration is a problem Illegal immigration… that’s a totally different thing. Have you read the 1200 page set of laws on the subject of immigration?

            • Otto Greif

              Do you think that’s an intelligent question?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Gee, i don’t know. I think it’s a simple question. It’s either yes or no. Since you refuse to answer it, then I assume the answer is “no”.

              You, in your spewing have failed to distinguish between immigration, which is codified in that document and illegal immigration, which is also codified in that document. There is a rather significant difference. If you think that immigration is a problem, then you should be talking about student visas, work visas, and the like. But you aren’t. You’re talking about a wall. Which, as Doc Bill has pointed out, is not exactly effective.

              Anyway, as I said in my article, there are questions that seem to use simple answers, but in reality, they are not simple. This discussion is simple evidence of that.

            • Otto Greif

              Walls, as border security experts note, are effective. I’m talking about walls because you brought them up.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              What percent of illegal border crossings do walls prevent?

              I brought them up because it is a simple solution that does not prevent illegal immigration. If a simple solution stopped all illegal immigration, then it would have been done already. Again, did you read the article I wrote, this is the third time I’ve asked you this and the fact you can’t answer is rather telling.

              Simple answers, LIKE walls, are what people want to hear. They don’t want to hear about economic turmoil, NAFTA, trade agreements, foreign aid, drug smuggling, human trafficking, hiring practices, etc. etc. etc.

              The GOP instills fear in people by saying things that are not really true, then providing simple answers.

            • Otto Greif

              Immigration opponents talking about things besides walls, you haven’t been paying attention.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE I WROTE?!?!?!?!??!

            • Doc Bill

              I don’t know, Otto, you haven’t addressed a single point. Your argument has been destroyed. What, some boob saying “fences make good neighbors?” That’s your argument? No, you can’t simply re-appropriate the money. No, it’s not a simple budget issue. Nothing about the federal budget is “simple” except in your ignorant mind.

              Sorry, Otto, but you are woefully ill-informed. The best thing you can do is turn on Fox News, smoke a joint and fantasize about Megyn Kelly.

              Sadly, the Republican nominee is going to be Jeb Bush, the “smart” Bush with an IQ of 75. It will be a Hail Mary attempt but he’s going to get clobbered by Hillary who really is a smart person and the electorate will see that. The Bush name is such an albatross that all but the Republican party will see it. Bush simply can’t win with only the redneck vote.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I get this feeling too. Bush will be trounced by just about anyone. Though, I’m hopeful for a Sanders presidency.

            • Otto Greif

              Bernie “free college, reverse climate change, spend $1 trillion on infrastructure” Sanders? Talk about simple “answers” to complex problems.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Again, your political acumen astounds me. It’s almost as if you’ve never heard of the New Deal.

              Hey guess what, everyone in my generation actually got a free education. It was called a Pell Grant. Totally paid for 4 years of college for me.

              Climate change, because sure, if we don’t, then we don’t really have to worry about all the rest of it do we? Will it be easy? No. But it is doable… with today’s technology. If we have the political will to do it.

              Otto, once again, you epitomize the OP. Did you read it or not?

            • Otto Greif

              Reverse climate change – doable. Building a wall – impossible. I wonder how Bernie would get the money to do one of those things, let alone all of them. I’m sure it’s all laid out in the detailed plans he’s presented.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Dude. Really?

              Quote one person here who said it is not possible to build a wall. What we’re saying is that building a wall is A) ineffectual B) expensive for no return (like the TSA) and C) A simple solution that politicians through out to entice people who are scare of illegal aliens and think that simple solutions work.

              Did you read the OP or not?

            • Otto Greif

              Doc Bill did.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              You really need to get better at this. QUOTE! That means to copy the text that someone else wrote, with attribution.

              Here’s what Doc Bill said

              Did I mention technical? No, I didn’t. Why? Because it’s not a
              technical problem. There’s a nice, steel fence in El Paso. Ever seen it? Didn’t think so. The problem political and economic.

              Between 2006-2009 Homeland Security completed 670 miles of SINGLE LINE, i.e. pretty much chicken wire, fencing at a cost of $2.4 billion. Billion with a “B.” That’s a cheap wall. That’s not a proper 2,000 mile long wall with multiple barriers, patrolled fence lines, and the manpower to operate it.
              Total foreign aid to Mexico is about $750 million per year. You gonna cut all aid to Mexico? Hey, it’s the SIMPLE solution according to Otto! And how are you going to re-appropriate foreign aid to domestic wall building?”

              As I said, there is no technical reason that prevents it. There is no economic reason (except cost/benefit). Doc Bill was SPECIFICALLY referring to the claim that the cost of the fence could be taken from the foreign aid to Mexico.

              Which, BTW, is the exact same thing I said. You want to build a wall that includes the entire Gulf of Mexico and the Florida and California beaches, ports, and private docks? Of course, not, now that’s not really possible.

              As far as climate change. Let’s see, we have electric cars that, for most uses, beat gas cars in efficiency and functionality, not to mention maintenance costs. We can put people to work putting in solar and wind projects, while fossil fuels lay off people. Remember that New Deal.

              Anyway, Whatever.

            • Otto Greif

              Promising to make everything “free” is a simple solution for simpletons. And as I pointed out before the wall is only a component, stop pretending like it’s the whole plan.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Damn son. DID YOU READ THE OP?!?!?!?!

              Seriously. YOU are the one who has constructed this vast strawman and proceeded to fail to beat it. Good grief.

            • Otto Greif

              We can debate the effectiveness of walls. Your claim it’s impossible to fund building walls, on the other hand, is both false and ridiculous.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Wow. It’s like arguing with a creationist.

              Doc Bill said that just moving money from foreign aid to wall building wouldn’t pay for it.

              Plus Mexico has ZERO incentive to pay for or help pay for a wall, in the US. That’s a non-starter.

            • Otto Greif

              He said “you can’t simply re-appropriate the money. No, it’s not a simple budget issue”, which is false.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              So you think that the president can just change how he spends money?

              Fascinating. Tell us, what other insights to US politics do you have that are also totally wrong?

            • Otto Greif

              Where did I say the President could do that?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              He said “you can’t simply re-appropriate the money. No, it’s not a simple budget issue”, which is false.

              What is false about “You can’t simply re-appropriate the money”?

              The president cannot simply re-appropriate the money. It requires congressional action to do so. Therefore, it is NOT a simple budget issue. It is a HUGE political issue with lots of people on both sides of the fence (literally and metaphorically). Doc Bill’s statement was not false. You say that it is. So, please explain how someone can just move some money around in the US government and get the fence built.

              BTWL I have asked you multiple times if you READ THE ORIGINAL POST. You have not answered that simple question. It is, in this case, a simple question. Yes or no? Did you read the original post? Or are you just incensed about something you don’t get because you saw it posted somewhere and decide to come here and attack me?

              There are other questions for you as well. You have yet to answer them.

              I repeat, talking with you is just like talking with a creationist. It’s an argument about semantics, innuendo, claims with no support. You refuse to answer direct questions, even after multiple requests. You refuse to explain yourself. You ask leading questions, presumably preparing for some kind of “gotcha” claim at the end.

              I’ve had numerous “conversations” with people like you for decades. So far, they have never been able to marshal an argument coherent enough to be worth debunking. And they do not converse like adults.

              I will ask you again… DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE I WROTE? yes or no.

            • Otto Greif

              I never said the President could “simply re-appropriate the money”, you should read more carefully.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Of course, you’re right. You never “said it”. So far you haven’t said anything useful or constructive.

              And you still haven’t answered the question of whether you read the OP or not.

              Indeed, you’ve simply proven the entire point of the OP again and again and again.

              I will add that you haven’t explained what you meant by Doc Bill’s claim being false. If you weren’t implying that some member of the US government could just change the money around, then what, exactly, was your point?

            • Doc Bill

              It’s not false. You know nothing about the budget process. No, you’re simply wrong. Why hasn’t a Wall been budgeted? Hmmmm? Why, if it’s such a big deal? Where is The Wall in the Republican budget proposal? I’ll tell you – nowhere!

              You are a total doofus, Otto. Vote Trump, my friend, he supports gospel prosperity and you will be rich!

            • Doc Bill

              Both false and ridiculous, but you have provided not a shred of data. Berlin Wall, Maginot Line, Wall of China – great, huh?

              Hey, Otto, in your fever swamp fantasies with Megyn, do you imagine kill zones? Killer dogs? Ben Carson drone strikes? How many women and children do you want to kill? All of them? Do tell, Otto, inquiring minds want to know. How SERIOUS are you about border security? What about Canada? What about the coasts? What about overstayed visas? Please, expound on your xenophobia because it’s very, very entertaining!

            • Otto Greif

              I cited an expert on border security.

            • Otto Greif

              Accusing me of wanting to kill all women and children isn’t a very rational response. Try to be serious. If you were serious, get help.

            • Doc Bill

              Wrong, Otto, totally wrong. The Wall hasn’t been funded to date. Bush the Second had 8 years to “fund a wall” and it didn’t happen. The Rethuglicans have had opportunities to “fund a wall” but haven’t.

              You are delusional. Or maybe you have Haliburton stock! Is that it? You want to fund the wall to feather your bed! Now it makes sense! You’re not delusional, you’re just a greedy grifter. OK, I’m down with that.

            • Otto Greif

              It’s no surprise Bush didn’t fund a wall since he is pro-immigration.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Once again, I must ask. Did you read the article I wrote and you’re responding to?

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          It’s truly amazing to me how many people support presidential candidates who say things that aren’t within their power, even with a supporting congress.

          Of course, I just file that under the “simple answers for whatever will get people to vote for me”.

    • Otto Greif

      Ralph Basham, former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection stated: “Fences are an important part of our border security strategy because fences help Border Patrol agents on the ground have a tactical advantage over the smugglers on the southern side of the border. Certainly in urban settings such as El Paso, Texas and San Diego, California, fences have proven to be quite effective in stemming the flow of illegal entry…The goal is to detect intrusions, rapidly respond and resolve the situation by apprehension; and fences are a key component to that strategy.”

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        I would encourage you to actually read what I wrote. You describe a mire complex solution proposed by people who may have studied the issue. I would also suggest that you not assume things, for example that I was speaking about Trump.

      • Doc Bill

        I’m always suspicious when I see an ellipsis (…) in the middle of a quotation. Creationists, for example, are very fond of taking a quote from a scientist and using selective editing to change the sense of the meaning.

        I wonder what Basham actually wrote? Oh, it was this:

        (bold part omitted) From a 2006 interview.

        Thank you for your question Vincent. Costs for fencing vary depending on who does the work (contractors or military engineers) and the material used to build the fence. Fences are an important part of our border security strategy because fences help Border Patrol agents on the ground have a tactical advantage over the smugglers on the southern side of the border. Certainly in urban settings such as El Paso, Texas and San Diego, California, fences have proven to be quite effective in stemming the flow of illegal entry. Of course, a fence without technology and personnel is not effective. And that’s really the point I’d like to make. We need fencing in places along the border where it makes sense, such as urban settings and vehicle barriers in other place along the border that keep vehicles from crossing the border illegally. We also need the frontline personnel to patrol the area where the fence and barriers are located and technology to help detect an intrusion nearby in order properly secure the border. The goal is to detect intrusions, rapidly respond and resolve the situation by apprehension; and fences are a key component to that strategy.”

        Furthermore, Basham clarifies his statement exactly by saying “And that’s the point I’m really trying to make.”

        So, as I correctly observed earlier the “simple solution,” that is a fence that we all agree is technically achievable, is not an adequate solution to the immediate problem of border control, nor does it address the larger root-cause problem of immigration reform (and management).

        As our expert says, the fence by itself is only a component of a border control strategy and my contention is that the logistical cost to use and manage The Wall (as I called it) will be politically, logistically and economically unmanageable, and the entire problem of border security, however that’s defined, is a hugely complex problem not addressable by simple, patch solutions.

        During the Texas surge of 2014 the success rate of detection and apprehension was high mainly because the crossings were by refugee children and families who turned themselves in. Apprehension wasn’t the problem. Due legal process to handle the sudden influx of tens of thousands of cases was the huge issue. The courts and legal offices were swamped. Emergency legal groups had to be set up. It’s still getting sorted out.

        Meanwhile, Gov. Perry launched an operation with the National Guard to “secure the border” which had little effect (less than 10% difference) at a cost, so far, of a billion dollars and currently accruing at a rate of $15 million per month. The greatest impact on the surge was a joint operation between Mexico and the US to inform and educate Central Americans on the dangers of crossing Mexico into the US and that they wouldn’t be granted asylum as they had been told, and the surge dropped to previous levels.

        The simple solution, “beef up the border,” was the wrong solution and had negligible effect. The complex solution, “understand the root cause and address it with international cooperation,” was the correct one and had the desired effect.

    • RexTugwell

      “How many generations have to elapse before we get two coordinated mutations in a mammalian population?”

      Not surprisingly, the response I got was unhelpful.

      Smiley must have forgotten that he himself has provided the answer. Way back in February, he offered Durrett and Schmidt as a refutation of Dr. Behe’s The Edge of Evolution. But Durrett and Schmidt probably wasn’t the best evidence to put forward for Darwinism. The answer of course is 6.46 million generations. The paper shows it takes more than 100 million years before a coordinated mutation appears in the human population.

      Bonus irony: Debating Darwin’s Doubt is advertising in a banner at the top of the Smilodon’s in Retreat homepage.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        That’s pretty low Rex, even for you. Taking a PROBABILITY calculation and the determining which generation is actually happens in.

        That’s not quite a quotemine, but it sure is using the law of big scary numbers and a huge misrepresentation of a conversation from a long time ago.

        I’ll just remind you that actual experiments show that 4 clusters of beneficial mutation families can happen in 72 hours. That’s not a probability calculation, that’s an actual experiment. Which, of course, totally destroys Behe’s probability calculation… which is false for other reasons as well. Would you like a lesson in how Behe has misrepresented science to support his big scary numbers?

        Of course, we also get advertising for Christian Singles. So what. We don’t control that.

        The response you got was unhelpful for two reasons 1) It’s true. 2) It’s not what you wanted to hear.

        Arguably, the correct answer is always 1 generation. Can you explain why that is arguably a correct answer Rex?

        • RexTugwell

          So you dispute the results of the very paper that you presented as evidence against Behe. That’s not low, Smiley, that’s rich!

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            No. I dispute your flawed characterization of that paper.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            When you ask a different question you get a different answer.

            I note that you cannot explain why the correct answer is 1 generation Rex?

            Are we going to play your gotcha games and you being too chicken to answer questions? If so, then I won’t be playing. Feel free to rant about how you then “win”, we both know it’s not true.

            If you had any actual guts, you wouldn’t be here arguing with me.

            • RexTugwell

              Now you’ve got my attention. Just so I understand you, you’re saying that the correct answer to the question “How many generations have to elapse before we get two coordinated mutations in a mammalian population” is 1 generation? Is that correct?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              No. I said it was arguable. Why us that the case?

              Btw you also need to define coordinated in this case. If you use the words new feature you need to define that as well.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Also, what population size?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Are the mutations independently benificial, neutral, or detrimental?

              Are the mutations to an active site? Promoter region? Structural component?

              Do the results of either mutation have other results that could be benificial in any way, shape or form?

            • RexTugwell

              Why do you keep asking questions? I already have the answer.

        • RexTugwell

          “Would you like a lesson in how Behe has misrepresented science to support his big scary numbers?”
          That would be great. Thank you