Teach Both Sides. Really.

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Just as the storm was breaking over Bush’s “teach both sides” comments last week, I found myself in the airport. While there, I picked up the latest issues of Scientific American and Discover. SciAm evidently is still getting letters from its widely-blogged, April 1 prank, “OK, We give up: We feel so ashamed.”

In the letters section, they reprinted the fake cover they included in the print version of the April issue. Since the fake cover graphic never made it to the web, I figured it would be apropos to upload a scan of it (left) to remind everyone where the “teach both sides” logic naturally leads.

Here is one comment Scientific American got:

From Susan Suver came admiration and an extra measure of encouragement – “I am so hot for all of you. If it’s wrong to want to marry you en masse and have your smart, snarky little babies, I don’t want to be right. Thanks for saying what so desperately needed to be said.”

Here is another:

I thought the positioning of the latter letter was interesting:

Also in this month’s SciAm, a well-illustrated article on “The Early Evolution of Animals,” by Dan Bottjer, one of the discoverers of Vernanimalcula guizhouena, a microscopic bilaterian worm fossil from 40+ million years before the beginning of the Cambrian. This discovery was reported in Science in 2004, and must have really annoyed Stephen Meyer and crew, who only in 2003 boldly wrote, in “The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Big Bang,”

Others have explained the absence of transitional organisms as the result of their putatively tiny size. Some have even suggested that transitionals only existed in the larval stage. While possible perhaps, it should be noted that cells of filamentous microorganisms (interpreted as cyanobacteria) have been discovered and documented in the Warrawoona Group strata of western Australia. These microfossils, found in bedded carbonaceous cherts, are estimated to be between 3.3 billion to 3.5 billion years old. Species of single-celled algae and the appearance of cells with a nucleus about 2.7 billion years ago have been well documented in the fossil record. If paleontologists can find minuscule single cells in formations that are far older (and therefore far more rare due to the greater likelihood of tectonic destruction), it would seem that the allegedly tiny fossil precursors of the Cambrian animals should have been found somewhere in the over 500 million years of sedimentary strata below the Cambrian. Moreover, as already noted, the Precambrian rocks in China beneath the Chengjiang Cambrian biota reveal the presence of tiny sponge embryos at the very earliest stages of cell division. If the fossil record has preserved such tiny organisms in Precambrian strata, why has it not preserved any of the allegedly miniature or soft-bodied ancestral forms of the animals that first appear in the Cambrian? If these strata can preserve embryos, then they should be able to preserve the ancestral animals to the new forms that arise in the Cambrian. But they do not.

Drat, foiled again! You’d think those ID folks would learn to stop making empirically-testable claims about gaps in the fossil record, after the recent debacles with feathered dinosaurs and walking whales.

87 Comments

That is awesome.

Thank you, IDers. Without you, my comedy intake would go way down.

And radiocarbon dating? Sure, if it weren’t just based on ridiculous assumptions.

I know. Basic a scientific technique on nuclear physics. How absurd.

Too bad Steve Meyer kicked your ass on Tony Snow today. Holding up the “Pandas and People” book was really a good move, NOT!

I shouldn’t mock that guy. Liberty University is a powerhouse of biology research. They’re without peer.

Comment #41717

Posted by I. P. Daley on August 6, 2005 09:41 PM (e) (s)

Too bad Steve Meyer kicked your ass on Tony Snow today. Holding up the “Pandas and People” book was really a good move, NOT!

30 seconds to curtain, Mr. Flank.

I.P.,

(assuming, probably foolishly, that you weren’t trolling)

I will continue to happily hold up Pandas until the ID movement accepts the now-proven fact that “intelligent design” was quite literally just a new name for creationism.

As for who “won” on the Tony Snow show today, I’ll wait for the video, and take into consideration the restricted amount that can be said in 180 seconds, particularly when Tony Snow himself apparently thought that evolution was just missing links and randomness.

Be sure to keep your eye on the real game in all of this: Kitzmiller v. Dover. Pandas is pretty important for that.

Nick,

Obviously “I.P. Daley” is a troll. Otherwise, he’d be here right now explaining why he thinks you lost. I’m betting he can’t do it. (And in case he’s still around: why “I.P. Daley?” Did you figure “Heywood Jablowme” was too lowbrow for this crowd?)

Incidentally, I happened to hear you on The Diane Rehm Show the other day; I thought you “kicked ass” given the limited time allotment. I still can’t figure out why the IDers chose that Land guy to represent their, um, position, though. I thought they’d at least send a pretend scientist to read from their list of talking points. After all, having a theologian put forward the claim that “ID’s not religious!” tends to undercut their position.…

For those of you who haven’t heard it yet, listen here: http://wamu.org/programs/dr/05/08/04.php – for extra bonus points, count the number of times Mr. Land repeats the terms “Behe” and “irreducible complexity.”

After all, having a theologian put forward the claim that “ID’s not religious!” tends to undercut their position.…

Well, last year, a reverend named Casey Luskin, who started an ID club, asked me how in the world I could think that his ID club was religiously motivated…

I’m confused on the definition of troll. If a creationist posts a stupid hit-and-run creationist comment to get a response, is that a troll? Or is it only a troll if a non-creationist spoofs a creationist hit-and-run comment?

(In the first case, a vaguely serious response might be warranted, if only to annoy them further, which was my rough idea.)

A troll is anyone who posts purely to ellicit an emotional response from other posters. Any further posting by trolls won’t try to further discussion so much as to further inflame the posters they’ve hooked. The cleverer and more malicious spoofs by non creationists and jerky creationist hit-and-runs would probably qualify, though any troll worth their salt would hang around to see the havoc wraught.

Such as a calm and patient response, in this case.

-Schmitt.

I hate to double post but having just listened to the Diane Rehm audio posted by LilMarkie, that was brilliant Nick. You debunked many of the ID canards Dr Leshner missed and provided a neat overview and explanation of what IDers were up to. And you were positively spritely!

Intelligent Design high points were the small obsession Mr Land had with Sir Hoyle and William Dembski being listed as a scientist.

I found it bizarre that the callers and writers in were all reasonable and intelligent. Ms Rehm seemed to get right to the heart of the matter repeatedly, too.

-Schmitt.

Just a minor correction–it’s Dave Bottjer who wrote the other SciAm article.

Also, if radiocarbon dating is flawed, why do some Creationists (e.g. Kurt Wise) suggest using it on the Tyrannosaurus rex “soft tissues” described in a recent issue of Science?

The faith that the pro-evolution posts extol is truly remarkable. You never seem to question for one moment that you have been duped or mislead. A true scientist would not have his/her mind made up until there was empirical evidence. It amazes me that people can actually believe that it rained on the earth a long time and the chemicals mixed in the water and something came to life and before it died, found something to eat and some way to procreate. There is no evidence at all in this super unlikely scenario, yet it has millions of followers. This first organism must have been truly remarkable. What are the chances? The faith of the IDers, “God did it”, is miniscule in comparison. The struggles that must go on in the hearts of true believers. I bet it is tough to be a scientist and yet never question what has no evidence.

I am curious, do they teach in government schools that Darwin wrote that men are more evolved than women and that White people are more evolved than black people? Do they teach how the Aborigines in Australia were sometimes slaughtered for to study their skulls. The Vatican, I mean the Smithsonian still has their skulls. They are not quite human right? I know that Karl Marx, for example, stated that Darwin provided the natural-historical foundation for his views. Pol Pot also worshiped at the same altar. Darwin’s books had a profound effect on their lives. Hitler was another “doer” in the evolutionary religion. He did not sit around on his laurels but carried out his beliefs and was a man of great conviction and took action. He felt the need to help out evolution and the nature of things by eliminating the weaker and less evolved so humanity could improve. I am sure he is one of the most praiseworthy in the evolutionary religion. Below is an excerpt from a review on a book “From Darwin to Hitler”.

Germany-Austria was especially fascinated with the ethical connotations of Darwin’s ideas, and its intelligentsia quickly integrated them. The result was that twenty years after its debut, The Origin of Species was the force behind a burgeoning eugenics movement. In an 1880 essay, German zoologist Robby Kossman laid down its ethos, proclaiming

“that the Darwinian world view must look upon the present sentimental conception of the value of the life of a human individual as an overestimate completely hindering the progress of humanity. The human state also, like every animal community of individuals, must reach an even higher level of perfection, if the possibility exists in it, through the destruction of the less well-endowed individual, for the more excellently endowed to win space for the expansion of its progeny.… The state only has an interest in preserving the more excellent life at the expense of the less excellent.”

Truly brings a tear to the eye doesn’t it. I am surprised that there are no institutions of higher learning named after him. Maybe it was his fault of having a ridgid moral code. I guess no one is perfect.…yet.

I always thought that the science community generally did not want religion taught in government schools. What happened? I guess you figured the price you would have to pay in being hypocritical would be far out weighed if you could create another clear committed thinker like Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot. The world needs more of these benchmarks of the evolved human race. Right?

Charles, you should begin by reading a biology textbook, then a book specifically explaining evolution (I recommend What Evolution is by Ernest Mayr http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t[…]260?v=glance ), then perhaps read the scientific responses to whatever creationist claims you still favor at this point here http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

Because your comment was really ignorant.

Charles -

Are you just a troll looking to get a rise, or are you as ignorant as your the comments in your post?

At the risk of swallowing a troll’s bait, I’ll only comment briefly on one of your claims.

The Nazi eugenics movement was motivated by a quasi-religious desire to return to an imaginary time when a pure “Aryan” race was the zenith of human culture and “breeding.” Their quack notions of “superiority” had nothing to do with Darwin, but everything to do with quasi-religious fantasy (there’s that word again) and power politics.

Sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere besides Darwin to place the blame for Hitler and the Nazis.

Hitler was another “doer” in the evolutionary religion.

(yawn) Here we go again.

From my website:

Creationists, Hitler and Evolution

by Lenny Flank

(c) 1999

A common charge made by creationists is that evolutionary theory is “evil” and is the source of racism in general, and of dictatorial killers in particular. The most often-heard assertion is that Hitler and his racist genocide were the product of “evolutionary philosophy”. Henry Morris, for instance, flatly declares, “However one may react morally against Hitler, he was certainly a consistent evolutionst.” (Morris, “Evolution and Modern racism”, ICR Impact, October 1973) Morris adds: “The philosophies of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche–the forerunners of Stalin and Hitler–have been particularly baleful in their effect: both were dedicated evolutionists.” (Morris, Troubled Waters of Evolution, 1974 p. 33)

How accurate is this creationist finger-pointing? Not very. The creationists are apparently unaware of the fact that Stalinist Russia rejected Darwinian evolution as “bourgeois” and instead embraced the non-Darwinian “proletarian biology” of Lysenko and Michurin (a disaster from which Russian genetics and biological sciences has still not completely recovered). As for Hitler, even a cursory reading of his book Mein Kampf reveals that the true source of Hitler’s inspiration and exhortations came from a source that creationists, understandably, would rather not talk about.

Hitler’s goal was the “purification” of the “Aryan race” through the elimination of “subhumans”, which included Jews, gypsies, Asians, black Africans, and everyone else who was not a white Aryan. Despite the creationists claims that this was based on Darwinain evolutionary theory, Hitler’s own writings give quite a different story. The ICR claims that “Hitler used the German word for evolution (Entwicklung) over and over again in his book.” (ICR Impact, “The Ascent of Racism”, Paul Humber Feb 1987) Like so many of ICR’s claims, this one is simply not true—a quick scan of several online English translations of Mein Kampf shows only ONE use of the word “evolution”, in a context which does not refer at all to biological evolution, but instead to the development of political ideas in Germany: “This evolution has not yet taken the shape of a conscious intention and movement to restore the political power and independence of our nation.”

Had ICR made even a cursory reading of Mein Kampf, they would have seen a quite different source for Hitler’s racist inspiration than the one they would have us believe. White Aryans, Hitler writes, are the special creations of God, the “highest image of the Lord”, put here specifically to rule over the “subhuman” races: “Human culture and civilization on this continent are inseparably bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he dies out or declines, the dark veils of an age without culture will again descend on this globe. The undermining of the existence of human culture by the destruction of its bearer seems in the eyes of a folkish philosophy the most execrable crime. Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.” (all quotes from Hitler, Mein Kampf, online version) Actions which aid the “subhumans” at the expense of the Aryan master race, Hitler declared, were an offense against God: “ It is a sin against the will of the Eternal Creator if His most gifted beings by the hundreds and hundreds of thousands are allowed to degenerate in the present proletarian morass, while Hottentots and Zulu Kaffirs are trained for intellectual professions.”

Rather than basing his racism on any evolutionary theory, Hitler based it squarely on his view of white Aryans as the favored people of God. In fact, Hitler solemnly declares that his program of removing Jews and other “subhumans” from the earth is a divine task forced upon him by the Lord Almighty: “What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproductionof our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purityof our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that ourpeople may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the Creator of the universe.”

Hitler concludes: “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord,” adding “Compared to the absurd catchword about safeguarding law and order, thus laying a peaceable groundwork for mutual swindles, the task of preserving and advancing the highest humanity, given to this earth by the benevolence of the Almighty, seems a truly high mission.” For Hitler, removing the subhumans from earth was not a matter of biology or evolution—it was a divine mandate from God Himself, the “work of the Lord”, a “truly high mission”.

Even in discussing racial purity and “race-mixing”, Hitler chooses not the words of evolutionary biology or eugenics, but points instead to his divinely holy mission: “Historical experience offers countless proofs of this. It shows with terrifying clarity that in every mingling of Aryan blood with that of lower peoples the result was the end of the cultured people. North America, whose population consists in by far the largest part of Germanic elements who mixed but little with the lower colored peoples, shows a different humanity and culture from Central and South America, where the predominantly Latin immigrants often mixed with the aborigines on a large scale. By this one example, we can clearly and distinctly recognize the effect of racial mixture. The Germanic inhabitant of the American continent, who has remained racially pure and unmixed, rose to be master of the continent; he will remain the master as long as he does not fall a victim to defilement of the blood. The result of all racial crossing is therefore in brief always the following: To bring about such a development is, then, nothing else but to sin against the will of the Eternal Creator.”

The goal of the “folkish government”, then, Hitler declares is to “finally to put an end to the constant and continuous original sin of racial poisoning, and to give the Almighty Creator beings such as He Himself created.”

“The folkish-minded man, in particular,” Hitler concludes, “has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.”

In Mein Kampf, Hitler makes an emotional appeal to God to aid him and his Nazis in their divine task: “Then, from the child’s story-book to the last newspaper in the country, and every theatre and cinema, every pillar where placards are posted and every free space on the hoardings should be utilized in the service of this one great mission, until the faint-hearted cry, “Lord, deliver us,” which our patriotic associations send up to Heaven to-day would be transformed into an ardent prayer: ‘Almighty God, bless our arms when the hour comes. ‘ “ Later, when Nazi troops swarmed over Europe, each of them wore an army-issue belt buckle inscribed with the words “God is With Us”.

The invocation of God and the Bible in support of racism continues with modern hate groups in the US. Aryan Nations, which also calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, begins its web site by proclaiming “Praise Yahweh” and its intention to “serve the Lord of Glory and His Holy Race”. The American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan note that only those of “Christian faith” can be members, and asks every new recruit “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” The White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan declare that “at some point God’s people must take action in the defense of our Christian, racial and political beliefs”. The Camelia KKK website also explicitly states “We base our beliefs on our Biblical interpretations, not ignorance, superstition or blind hatred.” How does the Camelia KKK justify its opposition to “race-mixing”? “White Christian Israelites are under God�s law and covenant. The other peoples of the earth are under nature�s law, which God also created… Nature�s law, which is a creation of YAHWEH, dictates that kind reproduce after kind. The different people of the world were never supposed to mix.” The Imperial Klans of America declares, “We are a gathering of White Christian men and women.” The National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan website declares that they “reverently acknowledge the majesty and supremacy of Almighty God and recognize his goodness and providence through his Son Jesus Christ. We avow the distinction between the races of mankind as decreed by the Lord our God, and we shall ever be true to the maintenance of His Supremacy.”

None of these racist websites mentions “Darwin” or “evolution” as a justification for any of their beliefs. All of them talk about “God” and “The Creator” instead.

Thank you for the responses. I will try to address them all and I will try to be less sarcastic in my response. I checked out the site to buy the book that was suggested but did not check the one about Creationist claims that I supposedly favor. I hope I do not have to buy a book to get the low down on how someone thinks there is a creation without a creator. I hope you can point out my error summarizing the evolution origin of life belief. I think I may be having trouble getting my point across. I read some of the comments on the thread that were criticizing the ID argument. Some of the comments seemed to want to make the point that it was all religious rhetoric and for that it has no basis for being taught in a government school. (I really would like to see the government get out of education and let the private sector handle it, but that is another argument). If I understand the arguments on the thread correctly, if something has religious connotations to it, or if it cannot be disproved, it is not viable and should not be taught. (If I misunderstood, please let me know where I am off track). Steve please correct me (briefly if you can) but a godless origin would mean that “it rained on the earth a long time and the chemicals mixed in the water and something came to life and before it died, found something to eat and some way to procreate.” This new life would have to be able to eat chemicals since there is nothing biological to eat. Please let me know if you have a better explanation as to how a “designer less” life form comes into being. If this is it, how do you test, recreate and prove this theory? I think you cannot but you guys may have heard of something I have not. To me it sounds much more like a fairy tale than anything else I have heard in my life. If I came to pick you up in a car and you said “Hey nice car. Where did you get it?” and I went into a tale of how it just happened over time without any intervention, you would laugh or tell me I was crazy. If you are honest and know how complex a single cell is you know that it is preposterous to say that it can happen with no intervention. It is not science because there is no evidence, it cannot be proven, tested or recreated so it must be faith. Religion is the practice of your faith. So why are you slamming someone that wants to teach something that is really more common sense in school? The government protects freedom FOR religion and not freedom FROM religion. I am definitely against school led prayer or anything else that will legally endorse a specific denomination or religion. That would be a disaster. What I am saying is that if you can call the belief that there was a designer religion, you have to point the finger back at yourselves if you want to teach something improvable as a “designer less” origin. I don’t think I was acting as a troll looking to get a rise and I don’t know of anyone I have met that thinks I am ignorant. Everyone has a right to think whatever they want though. I was not blaming Darwin for what Hitler did. By bringing up Hitler, Pol Pot and Karl Marx I was trying to say that you cannot teach people that they are nothing but a cosmic accident and that nature works by eliminating the weak to continue onward and upward, and that feelings and individualism is just a by product of a cellular mutation and not expect to cultivate a devaluation of life. I think it is on the decline. If we are just animals and meat there is no place for morality, it is all about survival. You still see it in the comments Lenny Frank quoted from Mein Kampf. Hitler uses over and over the term sub-human. This would not line up at all with western religion (yeah there are crackpot racists that will try to justify their hate, but if it is a godless universe, why shouldn’t they). The closest correlation in religion I can think of is the caste system but there is no belief of exterminating sub-humans that I know of. Your response did not quite deal with Darwinism teaching that men are more evolved than women and whites more than blacks and that aborigines are not quite human. If evolution is true, would you agree that the genders have progressed in their evolution at different rates and that due to isolation and limited gene pools that some races are more evolved than others? I have to admit I would have trouble making enough sense of the KKK and their belief system to successfully come up with a cogent argument. I mean your argument uses a group that has a Jew for their God and yet hates Jews. If I understand the teachings of the Bible correctly, there were dealings with races, separation of the Jews from Idolatrous nations and what not but I don’t think it ever said one was superior or more evolved. I would like to end by reiterating the point I was trying to drive at. Why is the designer less origin of life considered fact and teachable and the designer origin of life not and unreachable?

Please excuse me. The last word above should be unteachable.

I think you cannot but you guys may have heard of something I have not.

Gee, y’think? Go to the library and read a book, any book, on biology and you too will have heard of something that you haven’t yet.

Steve please correct me (briefly if you can) but a godless origin would mean that “it rained on the earth a long time and the chemicals mixed in the water and something came to life and before it died, found something to eat and some way to procreate.” This new life would have to be able to eat chemicals since there is nothing biological to eat. Please let me know if you have a better explanation as to how a “designer less” life form comes into being. If this is it, how do you test, recreate and prove this theory?

Eat chemicals? Your explanation of the ‘godless origin’ is at about the level of Blues Clues. You’re never going to understand any of this stuff if you don’t learn about it first. The topics you are talking about cannot be understood with the level of learning you’ve got. If you really want to understand evolution and origin of life science and where it stands, you’re going to need to learn a lot of biology, some chemistry, and finally geochemistry. And also, abiogenesis is not yet a theory, in the sense that evolution is a theory.

I may need help, people. I’m on the pointy end of the spear, teaching college-level geology in a community college with a heavy creationist population. One of my students has just handed in the geologic time lab with the following: 1) How old is Earth? 6,000 - 10,000 years. I am supported by many scientist [sic] and geochronometers Dr Steve Austin, Geologists [sic], Penn State; Dr John Baumgardner, Geophysics, UCLA; Dr Donald Deyoung, Astrophysics, Iowa State; Dr Henry Morris, Hydrogeology, U of Minn; Dr Particia Nason, Science Ed, Texas A&M; Dr Latty Vardimann, Colo State + about 5,000 more

This question leads to making a 1 m = 1 Ga years time line, which of course he didn’t do. This means he will loose half the points for the lab (the other half is reltive dating, which I guess he doesn’t have a problem with). I have contacted my department chair, but have heard nothing back from him. Has anyone out there had experience with administration on this? Do you think they’ll back me up in not giving him the points? And if they don’t, what do I do?

I’m probably getting het up prematurely, but I NEED to be ready for this, the quarter is over in 1 week…

Charles, see if you can make sense of this article; note that nothing there resembles your statement:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life

geogeek,

I’m not a teacher, so I don’t have the ideal perspective. That said, I think you are perfectly justified in taking a hard line with this student. You could simply tell him that the evidence overwhelmingly rejects his position, and that his answer indicates he did not learn the material as required.

I can also suggest a fall-back approach. You could tell him that, to your knowledge, essentially all evidence disproves his claim. But, in the true spirit of science, you will happily give him full credit if he can provide convincing evidence to support his position.

It could even be a real learning experience for him. Assuming he actually tries to offer such evidence, you can show him why and how it’s wrong (and probably maliciously false, in many cases). Maybe it would open his eyes a bit.

Of course, one drawback is that it’s more work for you to specifically refute whatever he comes up with.

Geogeek, my opinion won’t matter as much as the professors here who will no doubt be answering, but myself, I would deduct the points. A tiny number of scientists can be found to support any ridiculous notion, from Geocentrism to the Quantum powers of Transcendental Meditation. The existence of a fringe does not authorize a student to give hocus-pocus answers.

“The level of learning you’ve GOT”. I am struggling not to sling the insults back at you, however insults will not serve the purpose at hand.

“And also, abiogenesis is not yet a theory, in the sense that evolution is a theory.” I agree and “abiogensis” would be germane to the argument of ID being taught would it not? Is this not the crux of the argument? Origin by design or by happenstance.

I am trying to reduce the designerless origin theory to it’s most basic elements for the point of argument. If you cannot explain the basics of your belief in a clear concise manner, we can go no further and you have educated no one. Just because I am trying to keep things simple does not mean I am not well read or that I am not capable of critical thinking. I am trying to avoid getting bogged down in the minutia of super technical arguments. If you believe in a creation without a creator just say you do and give me a paragraph on how you think it happened. I don’t want to accuse you of deflecting but just state how the first life form came about and then let me know if it has been proven. If not, it is just a belief and has no more right to be taught than a belief that there was a designer.

If this is a blog for nothing but close minded folks that like to look down their noses at others and do not like the free exchange of ideas, let me know and I will move on and let you get back to having a big laugh about the earth being flat and how a priest could not have a group that was not religious in nature and other important topics for ridicule.

If you would like to continue the discussion…tell me if you honestly believe that life started from simple chemicals to polymers to replicating polymers to hypercycle to protobiont to bacteria? If so, say so and tell me if it is an indisputable fact or a belief you share with others. If it is a provable fact, please give me a site address where I can educate myself. If it is a belief, please tell me why it should be respected and taught and the designer belief should be mocked and not taught even though the majority of people in the country hold to be their belief.

ts, Thank you. I checked the site you suggest and it would support my statement that abiogenesis is not a fact.

“A few facts give insight into the conditions in which life may have emerged, but the mechanisms by which non-life became life are elusive.” The words “may” and “elusive” immediately jump off the page. (They also sound like they are saying that the Stanley Miller experiment proved something or supported their argument. Not very sound support in my opinion.)

OK so according to the site ts politely provided, abiogenesis is a belief. Now if someone could tell me why it should be taught and ID ridiculed.

Charles Yeager Wrote:

Steve please correct me (briefly if you can) but a godless origin would mean that “it rained on the earth a long time and the chemicals mixed in the water and something came to life and before it died, found something to eat and some way to procreate.” This new life would have to be able to eat chemicals since there is nothing biological to eat. Please let me know if you have a better explanation as to how a “designer less” life form comes into being. If this is it, how do you test, recreate and prove this theory?

I apologize for butting in, and I know I’m not Steve, however I would like to address this issue as I was once asking the same questions. It wasn’t until I researched what evolution is that I found out that I was led to believe there are other theories in which I was told was evolution which it isn’t. For instance you wouldn’t ask a baker to rebuild your transmission would you? So why ask a member of the clergy, or a layman, or anybody other than a scientist what evolution really is?

Please understand that evolution is NOT an explaination as to the Origin of Life. Hence the reason the title of Darwin’s book is Origin of the Species.

A simple inquiry at http://www.dictionary.com as to the biological definiton of evolution states, “Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.” Evolution is specifically an explaination as to the diversity of life on earth as well as provides mechanisms for this explaination.

Where did you get the rain mixing with chemicals bit? Are you referring to the primodial soup? Which is a collection of amino acids (which are commonly found in some asteroids).

Michael Wong of creationtheory.org Wrote:

In 1953, Stanley Miller synthesized amino acids by zapping a mixture of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water with electricity, thus simulating the conditions that led to the appearance of the so-called “primordial soup”. The theory of evolution does not apply until long after the primordial soup forms.

From what I understand the first “life form” agreed to by evolutionist would be a self replicating organic molecule. Which I praise you for NOT assuming the first life form was a single cell organism as is usually parroted by YEC’s and ID’ers abound. There are many, many theories on this, and I would suggest you start with a simple query on google regarding these matters. If you are indeed serious about the answers to your question.

You can begin with Spontaneous Generation, Abiogenesis, biogenesis, RNA World and I’m sure there is many others.

According to Astobiology Magazine, that Aminos are found on meteorites is up to debate and not proven. But you had a nice way of presenting your point without making assumptions on my education and I thank you.

Oh my, looks like it took me a little longer to get my comments posted.

I was trying to post before Steve did.

Charles Yeager Wrote:

According to Astobiology Magazine, that Aminos are found on meteorites is up to debate and not proven. But you had a nice way of presenting your point without making assumptions on my education and I thank you.

I tend to believe that assumptions are the Mother of all F&^#k-Ups! from Under Seige 2:Dark Territory.

If you are referring to this article

http://www.astrobio.net/news/article375.html

I understand. I guess I should have reworded to have indicated that meteorites are “thought” to carry amino acids. But doesn’t this only talk about this specific asteroid in question, and not all asteroids? You will have to forgive me because I am being wildly speculative on what article you are referring to. If you would be so kind as to provide a link or a reference.

But also consider this information:

http://www.space.com/searchforlife/[…]_020404.html

This information makes it plausable that some asteroids and/or comets, as well as galaxies could harbor the basic building blocks of life without the existance of liquid water!

With regard to abiogenesis:

definition from http://www.dictionary.com : a hypothetical organic phenomenon by which living organisms are created from nonliving matter. Think about this…a perfect example of abiogenesis is found in the Old Testament. Whereas Adam (living organism) was made out of dust (nonliving matter).

So many interesting thoughts being exchnaged I wish I had more time to respond. I do have a question for Miah. You wrote “Sounds like a REAL winner to me, this God you talk about.” Please refresh my memory. What “God” have I spoken about and what did I say about him/her/it? I don’t remember expressing a personal opinion about any god/God. And about why this country was founded, there is much on the historical record that does not support your stance.

Oh yeah, before I forget. Someone earlier tried to debunk my statment that Darwin wrote about how some races were more evolved. Darwinism at it’s origin was racist. Here is a quote; “At some future period (Darwin writes), not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.” (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man 2nd ed (New York: A. L. Burt Co., I 874), p. 178).

You may also be interested in the original title of the Origin of Species. Check out the title that was changed after the first edition. The full title of Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, includes The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life?

And finally to Steve. I was pointing out the irony that you were speaking about my level of education and you used poor grammer to do it. “The level of learning you’ve GOT”. Try “The level of learning you have” next time you feel like you have successfully gaged my education by my few brief comments.

Have a nice day everyone.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 3, column 13, byte 68 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Miah:

Wow ts, this is possibly the best explination that I have heard in a clear, consice and easy to understand paragraph ever. I wholeheartedly agree with your interpretation.

Thank you.

Charles Yeager, your quote is incomplete as is your context for it and consequently your comprehension of it is faulty. It’s one of the mistakes which pops up every so often, eg addressed here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/[…]k/mar04.html

Did you read the real book yourself or did you merely get that selective quote from another creationist?

Flint = ts ?

SEF:

No, but Miah quoted what I wrote, attributed it to ts, and then gave it a nice compliment. Although ts and I tend to agree except occasionally when the conversation wanders into an area far more my specialty than his.

Yeager conveniently ignores the fact that the second edition of Descent of Man does not contain this passage. So he’s arguing from outdated information. The only surprising thing is that his information is 120 years out of date, instead of the usual 50 or so that is typical of creationists. But if he wants to stay in the 19th century, he should at least look up what the term “races” meant at that time.

Charles Yeager,

I was one who objected to this statement of yours:

…Darwinism teaching that men are more evolved than women and whites more than blacks and that aborigines are not quite human. If evolution is true, would you agree that the genders have progressed in their evolution at different rates and that due to isolation and limited gene pools that some races are more evolved than others?

Perhaps I misinterpreted what you meant by “Darwinism.” I wasn’t attempting to debunk a claim that Darwin believed some or all of this. I admit I don’t know whether he did or did not (but see SEF’s & frank schmidt’s comments above).

I assumed that you meant ‘Darwinism’ as short hand for ‘the modern theory of biological evolution’ (henceforth the MToBE). My point was that the MToBE does not ‘teach’ any of what you describe in the above qoute.

And that’s what really matters, isn’t it? No-one teaches literal ‘Darwinism’ straight out of The Origin of Species. (Except maybe in some history of science class.) If Darwin got some things wrong, so what? His errors have since been corrected, and students are taught the MToBE as best we currently understand it. Correcting errors is part of the scientific process. In the end, science is ruled by evidence and empiricism, not personalities.

Do you care to clarify your point? Were you genuinely interested to know whether the MToBE makes those claims? Is there a reason that you think some alleged racisim on Darwin’s part is relevant?

Or were you really just trying to discredit the MToBE by making it seem racist and bigoted? Plenty of ‘anti-evolutionists’ have taken that approach, and your most recent comment gives the distinct impression that was your goal as well.

Charles Yeager Wrote:

Please refresh my memory. What “God” have I spoken about and what did I say about him/her/it? I don’t remember expressing a personal opinion about any god/God.

Sorry. I was under the impression that you were a Christian due to your references to ID and religion. And some of your arguments regarding Hitler and racism, Darwinism and racism sounds like the same arguments pulled from creationist websites hosted by fundamentalist Christians. I sincerely apologize that I didn’t ask first. So now I will. What is your opinion regarding God?

Charles Yeager Wrote:

And about why this country was founded, there is much on the historical record that does not support your stance.

Ok, my stance is that this nation was founded on rebellion.

www.dictionary.com Wrote:

rebellion -

1.Open, armed, and organized resistance to a constituted government. 2.An act or a show of defiance toward an authority or established convention.

Wasn’t the Revolutionary War a historicle event WELL documented that is the essence of both the definitions for rebellion?

Have you read the ORIGINAL rough draft of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence?

I invite you to read it in HTML version here:

http://www.constitution.org/tj/doi_rough.htm

From said document:

he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain.

Sounds like he was pretty upset that all these acts were the result of a Christian king!

“No man [should] be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor [should he] be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor … otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief … All men [should] be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and … the same [should] in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”- Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779.

So one of the founding fathers supported freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. Amazing isn’t it?

Flint Wrote:

No, but Miah quoted what I wrote, attributed it to ts, and then gave it a nice compliment.

OOPS, Sorry about that. My glasses must have been fogged up.

Geogeek, you need to explain to the student that, especially at the college level, students need to get the material down before they disagree with it.

You’re not there to change beliefs. But geology is not a belief, it’s science. If your student is to be conversant and be able to defend his/her beliefs, your student needs to know both what scientist think is the best explanation, and why they think that.

For extra credit, have your student check the science literature for the impact of the work of Austin, and the other people named. Follow up on the ideas. Have the student report on what others said, and why they said it. Have your student concentrate on the evidence and how it is used.

Make it clear to the student that you’re not asking for a change in belief, but you are insisting on mastery of the material of the course. You’re not bound at the college level by the Edwards v. Aguillard or other decisions. But religious objection cannot be a reason to blow off the entire course with an expectation of anything less than a failing grade.

Overlooking his various inaccuracies, mining of outdated quotes, and other atrocious manglings, Charles Yeager makes an even more fundamental mistake, that of attributing the end effect of a trend to the trend’s observer, as if that effect were intended by the observer.

Let’s suppose, Mr. Yeager, that Darwin did observe that the encroachment of “civilization” on humanity’s nearest ape relatives was having impacts which were less than felicitous. Let’s also suppose that Darwin observed this same infelicitous impact of European civilization upon non-European human cultures. Let’s further suppose that, in projecting these observed trends into the future, Darwin foresaw the possibilities of extinction and what we would now call cultural genocide. Does any of this somehow convert Darwin himself into a racist or perpetrator of genocide?

In case the light has not yet dawned, let’s now suppose that I’m a TV reporter standing on the New Jersey shore on the morn of 9/11 watching aghast as the first tower falls. Let’s suppose that–along with voicing my horror–I then “project” that the second tower may also be at risk, and that I express my concern for the survival of the office workers and emergency personnel still struggling to escape from that second tower. Does my “projection,” however horrible, make ME a terrorist, tower-toppler, and mass murderer?

And, um, Charles, you might lift your sights from cliched evolution-bashing JUST long enough to recognize what is, in fact, STILL happening to chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutang populations as their habitat is destroyed by farmers and their bodies are butchered by poachers and sold as “bush meat.”

You might also look up what, in fact, did happen to the aboriginal population of Tasmania. Or study the interaction of the dominant Euro-Australians with that continent’s native peoples (et al, et nauseum).

I assume, of course, that you don’t REALLY need to look any of these things up to realize that Darwin’s observations and projections were imbued with a tragic degree of accuracy (just as you perhaps might have assumed that we didn’t really need YOUR assistance to become acquainted with these developments).

The point, perhaps now made clear enough even for you, is simple: observing and reporting on an unfortunate trend does NOT mean that the observer/reporter intends, encourages, or applauds the trend. Were it otherwise, of course, then–since YOU have yourself come here to report to us your astonishing observation that European colonialism and expansion led to “racist” and “genocidal” results–would we not be forced to apply those same labels to YOU?

What’s not at all clear to me is why you would need to come here to be informed of the rather obvious and long-known adage that the messenger is not the message.

And, as long as you’re furrowing your brow, you might also consider whether some of Darwin’s other observations and projections were not just as accurate as the ones you have parodied.

dayum, Steviepinhead, You GO!!!

Excellent replies.

And finally to Steve. I was pointing out the irony that you were speaking about my level of education and you used poor grammer to do it. “The level of learning you’ve GOT”. Try “The level of learning you have” next time you feel like you have successfully gaged my education by my few brief comments.

Have a nice day everyone.

I often speak in a southern accent/dialect. (Usually the very pretty Valdosta one) “you’ve got” is pretty common here. You bet my english is imperfect. And so I don’t go to english websites and try to tell the experts how to talk. You however, with a pretty low level of science education–looks to me like middle-school or high-school biology was all you had, if that–will come here and hold forth on abiogenesis and evolution to an audience of people with science degrees. Like I said, if you really want to understand these topics, you have to study them first.

By the way, Chuck, if you want to criticise my english, at least spell grammar correctly.

And, Chuck, I deliberately went to high school as little as I possibly could. You think I drive this little car with the big sign on top because I like it?

But, uh, even I can spell “gauged.”

Or were you going for “gagged”?

Yeah, yeah, Lenny, I’m comin’! Cool your dang jets!

By the way #2, chuck, you continue to hammer on the racism you believe is in “Darwinism”. If you bothered to check the link I provided the first time, you would see that your objections have been dealt with there.

CA005. Evolution is racist.

* CA005.1. Darwin himself was racist. * CA005.2. Darwin’s work refers to “preservation of favoured races”. * CA005.3. T. H. Huxley was racist.

How could that be? How could some biologists have anticipated your objections? Because nothing you creationists say is new. Creationists have tried several hundred arguments against evolution, as you can see from my link. Whenever a creationist like yourself shows up, we know we’re in for a dozen or so old uninformed objections, we just hope that the creationist knows a little something and can make it interesting.

Miah:

scuffs toe in dirt. blushes: “Aw shucks, ma’am.”

Charles Yeager Wrote:

Please refresh my memory. What “God” have I spoken about and what did I say about him/her/it? I don’t remember expressing a personal opinion about any god/God.

Sorry.

Don’t be sorry. Yeager is bullshitting you. The “I didn’t say anything about God” is pure unadulterated standard Discovery Institute boilerplate.

Ask Yeager if it wasn’t God that designed humans, then what was it. Little green men?

Yeah, yeah, Lenny, I’m comin’! Cool your dang jets!

Don’t forget the beer.

And don’t DRINK any of it this time, dammit.

KiwiInOz Wrote:

A number of authors, e.g. ts, have stated here that different species cannot interbreed.

I noted that “whatever we write, it’s shorthand. There’s a much more extensive discussion at the faq-speciation page”.

Charles Yeager Wrote:

Darwinism at it’s origin was racist.

That’s a bit like saying that American law was racist at its origin. Regardless of whether Darwin expressed racist views of his time, they are no part of modern evolutionary theory.

next time you feel like you have successfully gaged my education by my few brief comments.

It’s about “gaging” (sic) your level of education in biology and evolution, not “grammer” (sic). And “The level of learning you have” doesn’t become ungrammatical by appending “got”, even if it violates Strunk and White.

Flint Wrote:

Although ts and I tend to agree except occasionally when the conversation wanders into an area far more my specialty than his.

The difference between us is that I would have put a smiley on that.

Steviepinhead Wrote:

“Aw shucks, ma’am.”

Miah is not a ma’am, Miah is short for Jeremiah. So to clarify…I am a Sir.

But no harm done, I am not offended or anything like that. No apologies needed.

Was rather funny though…LOL

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Don’t be sorry. Yeager is bullshitting you.

Yes sir, I am well aware of that. Still it is not correct of me to assume anything based on his implications…No matter how explicit those implications may be. Otherwise one runs into putting words in people’s mouths.

This is a question way off topic for this thread, but I still haven’t figured out when you use (sic); what does that mean?

Another question to all who care to answer: Has anyone of the authors here in support of evolution went to a creastionist blog or forum to post arguments in favor of evolution?

It seems to me that if these people REALLY wanted to understand the truth of what they are criticising, then they would go to “the horses mouth” persay to ask. However, maybe my logic is flawed.

(sic) is something you add to point out that you are faithfully copying an error in the original you are quoting rather than introducing one (Latin = “so” as in English “just so”). It’s a warning which may also be viewed as a “don’t blame me” or “look at the idiot” depending.

(sic) is something you add to point out that you are faithfully copying an error in the original you are quoting rather than introducing one

It means “this is intentional” or “this may look like me making a mistake, but it’s not” – not necessarily an intentional repetition of an error, but it can also be applied, say, to a pun.

I’ve only rarely used it myself for puns and found that people tend not to understand what it means. It’s kind of hopeless sign-posting a tiny inline joke and then having to explain that you’ve sign-posted a joke (in a way which is larger than the joke). The poor little joke has been a bit squashed flat by the end of it. :-(

Thank you ts and SEF for clearing that up. I was really scratching my head on that one.

Now those post from above make A LOT more sense.

Somewhere I remember seeing a list of statements which indicate the writer is a crank. I suggest we add the following abiogenesis-related statement to that list.

This new life would have to be able to eat chemicals since there is nothing biological to eat.

I agree, this person doesn’t obviously understand the basic function of digestion or “eating”.

To get started:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/food.htm

http://science.howstuffworks.com/ve[…]-flytrap.htm

http://kidshealth.org/kid/body/digest_noSW.html

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on August 6, 2005 8:40 PM.

Creation Scientist Challenges Intelligent Design was the previous entry in this blog.

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