Of Storks and babies: Teach the controversy

| 121 Comments

Steve Jones, the award-winning geneticist and author, argued that suggesting that creationism and evolution be given equal weight in education was “rather like starting genetics lectures by discussing the theory that babies are brought by storks”.

Link

121 Comments

No, it’s more like acknowledging that there are holes in the theory of genetics and childbirth that the stork theory can adequately explain.

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your stork position as I do for my Darwinian position.” Stork Theory is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ST’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ST is correct and storks are responsible and indispensable for certain babies, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with babies that is what ST is discovering.

Didn’t someone say that babies really do come out of mum, but are intelligently pre-loaded?

Rustopher.

Whatever they think about evolution, teenagers already know that it’s storks, not swallows that bring babies.

Better still you can view the speech that Steve Jones made to the Royal Society here:

Why Creationism is wrong and Evolution is right - Prof Steve Jones

No beating about the bush with that title.

While you’re on the site you might want to look at the parting address that Lord May made last year - he covers the assault on science in general - including Global warming denial and tha Popes attitude to condom use - and ends with an attack on creationism in schools:

As a document: http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/downloaddoc.asp?id=2414

and a video of the speech: Threats to tommorrow’s world

>Whatever they think about evolution, teenagers already know that it’s storks, not swallows that bring babies.

Was that an African or European swallow? ;-D

Poor Steve Jones … brilliant geneticist, no doubt … but no one has taken the time to show him that it is actually Evolution ( Macro-Evolution that is… Micro-Evolution is actually a Creationist prediction but is routinely misapplied by evolutionists) that is more like Stork Theory … he apparently is starting to realize that his “Evolution ship” is sinking by the sound of this warning … doesn’t he know that large numbers of excellent scientists are “jumping ship” every day and becoming Creationists? … doesn’t he realize that Darwin’s own home country is beginning to realize that they’ve been fed a bunch of nonsense all these years? Maybe he should have attended the recent AIG Conference in his home country!

First Ever UK Answers-in-Genesis Conference a Sellout Crowd Thursday, April 20th, 2006 http://info.answersingenesis.org/ar[…]world/?p=725

Britons unconvinced on evolution Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 22:10 GMT http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4648598.stm

Sir Peter Vardy Plans to Open Six More Schools in the UK RICHARD DAWKINS AND SIR PETER VARDY interviewed on “Today” - BBC Radio 4 - 28 April 2003 http://www.angelfire.com/nb/lt/docs/called43.htm

Well it shows what a sad little event that was if Answers in Genesis have to write their own reviews.

Incidentally Steve Jones speech at he rather more prestigious ‘Royal Society’ (rather more prestigious than the ‘Hayes Hotel’ anyway was also a ‘sell out’ and despite overspill facilities being offered in another room many hundreds had to be turned away. The webcast was oversubscribed, although fortunately you can still see it on the link already given.

The most trusted and widely respected person in the UK is David Attenborough - a skilled broadcaster and powerful speaker on evolution.

Evolutionist David Attenborough the most trusted person in Britain

.. he quite clearly opposes the attempt by creationists to sneak into British Schools This from his Wikipedia entry:

Religion and creationism

In a December 2005 interview with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio Five Live, Attenborough stated that he considers himself an agnostic. [7] When asked whether his observation of the natural world has given him faith in a creator, he generally responds with some version of this story:

“My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that’s going to make him blind. And [I ask them], ‘Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a God who’s full of mercy.”[8]

He has explained that he feels the evidence all over the planet clearly shows evolution to be the best way to explain the diversity of life, and that “as far as I’m concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world.”

It is estimated that his series ‘Life on Earth’ has been watched by more than 500 million people around the globe. He is celebrating his eightieth birthday at the moment - and there is a plethora of programmes about him on the BBC and other channels. You can wish him happy Birthday here:

http://www.uktv.co.uk/?uktv=attenborough.index

Incidentally the BBC poll mentioned is very suspect - for one thing the term ‘Intelligent Design’ is not understand to have any particular meaning in this country. If you ask a hurried shopper if they ‘agree with it’ they are likely to think the alternative is ‘stupid design’ and assume you are asking a silly question.

Ask them if they agree with Attenborough’s views on evolution and my guess is that you’ll get over 90% of people who say ‘yes’. The ID/Creationists don’t even bother to promote ID as thereis no need here - we don’t have your constitutional protection - so as you see they are trying to go straight for creationism. I’m not impressed that they can round up 400 church goers to listen to their potty ideas - it’ll be a long time before Ken Ham replaces Darwin on our £10 notes.

Afdave: I think someone from the Panda’s Thumb should have done a report from the UK conference, similar to Jason’s at the Mega-Conference last July. I enjoyed his blogs from that event, and he did a good job at exposing creationist shortcomings. A missed opportunity this time I think.

Back to Steve Jones. Answers in Genesis do not like this man at all and seem to put him on a par with Richard Dawkins. This from their website last week:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/doc[…]_society.asp

Peter Henderson wrote: Afdave: I think someone from the Panda’s Thumb should have done a report from the UK conference, similar to Jason’s at the Mega-Conference last July. I enjoyed his blogs from that event, and he did a good job at exposing creationist shortcomings. A missed opportunity this time I think.

At www.justscience.org.uk we have contributors who are investigating such goings-on at the moment - and I hope to submit a contribution to the PT on UK news in the near future - watch this space…

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 5, column 10, byte 307 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Mackay is so cocky now that he repeatedly tells Christian audiences that he wins every debate with secular scientists.

Gish made the same boast.

I think these guys were very brave to take him on. I think more scientists should be prepared to do this, even if it means getting their hands dirty.

No, no, no.

Such staged “debates” don’t accomplish anything. Although many creationist fighters will be overflowing with the desire to get the creationists into an “open debate” and thereby kick their butts in public, there are several good reasons why this is not advisable. Debates like this do not convince anybody of anything, since only the already-converted will show up. It will give the opportunity for the creationists to rally the faithful in every fundamentalist congregation in the county, all of whom will show up, by the busloads, at the debate hall to cheer their heroes on.

Even if the audience were willing to listen to the evolutionist side of the story (they will not be), the usual format for such debates, a forty-five minute presentation by each side, followed by a half-hour rebuttal, will shackle the debater’s hands. The subject of biological evolution is so huge and so complex that people spend their whole professional lives investigating just tiny portions of it. It is simply impossible to give an adequate overview of such a complex subject in the space of a forty-five minute presentation, particularly when one understands the often abysmal level of science education among the audience. The creationists, on the other hand, are helped greatly by these time limits. Since they have no scientific model of their own to present, they will spend all of their time in what is known affectionately as the “Gish Gallop”, in which they skip around from topic to topic spewing out an unceasing blizzard of baloney and unsupported assertions about evolutionary theory, leaving the poor “evolutionist” to attempt to catch up and correct them all. It is an impossible task. Whenever the scientist presents a valid piece of scientific data, the creationist need simply answer with, “That’s not true.” It is then incumbent upon the scientist to spend twenty minutes explaining why it *is* true. Meanwhile, the scientist’s basic message will not be getting out; the creationist’s will.

All such “debates” do is give the creationists a chance to rally their troops, to gain some publicity, to raise money, and to give the false impression that there really is a scientific “debate”.

Don’t help them.

Thanks for the link Peter.

I don’t think we’re likely to have the problem in the UK of Creationists winning over public opinion - so there isn’t any great push to debate them ( although some of might be tempted to for entertainment value).

Mackay seemingly has gained access to a State school in Lancashire - without the knowledge of parents or the public at large - to take a team of four teach his rubbish for a period of three days. Now that does need to be challenged…

http://justscience.1.forumer.com/in[…]howtopic=292

We have a more insidious problem of a Prime Minister with a pet education project who is sseemingly unconcerned about about evangelical creationists taking over state schools. This project is bogged down and touched by scandal at the moment - what we do need to do is to get people to realise that there is a problem. Thankfully prominent individuals and groups are finally speaking out - from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Royal Society - and members of Blairs own party - but as I said, more later.

From the above link to AiG’s “we’re scared of Steve Jones calling a spade a spade i.e. a stupid creationist a stupid creationist”

One interviewer asked him [Steve Jones] to comment on the recent BBC opinion poll showing that 44% of the British public wanted creationism taught in school science lessons. Professor Jones replied that stupidity is on the increase. This gave me[Paul Taylor ] the opportunity to point out that Prof. Jones believes 44% of the British public are stupid—an opinion, I pointed out, which I didn’t share.

As opposed to the over 50% percent of Americans who stupidly believe this sort of science nonsense?

from Paul Taylor’s bio hagiography http://www.answersingenesis.org/eve[…]peaker_ID=54

However, the bookshop manager persuaded him [Paul Taylor ]that it made scientific sense to believe the Bible’s account of creation in Genesis, and sent Paul home with such books as Evolution or Creation by Professor Enoch, The Genesis Flood by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, and Morris’ The Genesis Record. Now convinced of the truth of Genesis, and, therefore, of the whole Bible, Paul began to propagate these views, writing articles for his church magazine.

er …and which Henry Morris would that be ? …I wonder if its the same absolute git Henry Morris, whose STUPID book was financed by Rouas J. Rushdoony, a militant fundamentalist..

google ‘Henry Morris reconstructionist’

Lenny; you’re being quoted wider now thanks to IDCreationisms stupidity. It seems that the noted stupidity of GWB attracts similar stupidity almost by a magical force of attraction. http://braving-the-elements.blogspo[…]archive.html

Taylor also makes another mistake in his article. He states that Lord Kelvin was a young Earth creationist. When Kelvin did his experiment, calculating the Earth’s age using it’s primordial heat, he came up with a figure of 20-30million years (he did not of course, know anything about radio-activity at the time). Surely that rules Kelvin out as a young Earth creationist ?

Debates like this do not convince anybody of anything, since only the already-converted will show up – Lenny

Lenny, you’re probably mostly right – but not completely. What if a few of the “already-converted” start to think a little more deeply about the human condition and, as a result, start to open their minds a bit?

All such “debates” do is give the creationists a chance to rally their troops, to gain some publicity, to raise money, and to give the false impression that there really is a scientific “debate”. – Lenny

Like the fundies aren’t able to do this anyway? Come on, there’s virtually zero chance that fundies are EVER going to gain a foothold in legitimate scientific endeavors and even less of a chance that humanists/rationalists/etc. are EVER going reach the level of donated monies that fundies have via their racket.

Comment #98038

Posted by afdave on April 23, 2006 06:05 AM (e)

Poor Steve Jones … brilliant geneticist, no doubt … but no one has taken the time to show him that it is actually Evolution ( Macro-Evolution that is… Micro-Evolution is actually a Creationist prediction but is routinely misapplied by evolutionists) that is more like Stork Theory … he apparently is starting to realize that his “Evolution ship” is sinking by the sound of this warning … doesn’t he know that large numbers of excellent scientists are “jumping ship” every day and becoming Creationists? … doesn’t he realize that Darwin’s own home country is beginning to realize that they’ve been fed a bunch of nonsense all these years? Maybe he should have attended the recent AIG Conference in his home country.

What a pile of delusional crap. You’d think after a 140, pushing 150, years some of these clowns would finally clue in…

We’re not worried about “evolution.” We’re worried about ignorance being taught to our children.

Lenny; you’re being quoted wider now thanks to IDCreationisms stupidity.

The underlying political program of the fundamentalist/IDers is their biggest most glaring weakness. NOBODY, not even religious people, wants a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

Howie Ahmanson likes to stay in the background, and DI desperately wants to keep him there. So it’s a plus for our side to drag Howie out into the sunlight and force the DI to defend him.

Steve S: Excellent! Not sure if most non-regulars got it though.

While Jones’ analogy has classic creationists in mind, ID strategists would never want to “start biology lectures with one or more the mutually contradictory creationisms,” only to have students critically analyze them and conclude evolution. No sir. For them, the less said about the alternatives, the better. Just misrepresent evolution (or “the birds and the bees”) and let the students infer their favorite fairy tales, storks, dust, missing ribs, global floods and all.

What if a few of the “already-converted” start to think a little more deeply about the human condition and, as a result, start to open their minds a bit?

The costs outweigh the benefits.

As I’ve noted, in 20-plus years of anti-creationist organizing, I can count on the fingers of one hand the sum total of all the creationists I’ve ever seen be “converted”.

And indeed, for every one that gives up ID/creationism, there are three or four more ready to take his place. It just doesn’t matter how many ID/creationists we convert — that simply will not weaken or cripple their movement. No political movement in history has ever been beaten by converting all its members to another view.

We can only beat them as a political movement, by out-ORGANIZING them.

All such “debates” do is give the creationists a chance to rally their troops, to gain some publicity, to raise money, and to give the false impression that there really is a scientific “debate”. — Lenny

Like the fundies aren’t able to do this anyway?

Why help them?

Their staged “debates” give them one thing they CAN’T buy — a veneer of respectibility. Any time they are able to have people see “creationism” and “evolution” “debating” each other as if they were indeed two “equal sides”, they gain respectibility. Which they don’t deserve.

Come on, there’s virtually zero chance that fundies are EVER going to gain a foothold in legitimate scientific endeavors

They already have.

and even less of a chance that humanists/rationalists/etc. are EVER going reach the level of donated monies that fundies have via their racket.

We don’t need to match their money. We have something far more powerful – we have people on our side. Nobody — not even the most devoted churchgoers — wants a theocracy.

THAT is what will kill ID/creationism. Not money, not scientific argument, not even court cases. It will die because no one supports its ultimate goals.

The problem has been that (1) IDers do a good job of HIDING that ultimate goal and directing atteniton away from it, and (2) we have done a poor job of PUBLICIZING it and directing attention towards it.

Every time we treat this as a “scientific debate” or even a “religion vs science” fight, we help the fundies hide their ultimate goal, and hurt ourselves by allowing them to continue to hide it. We need to treat this as what it is — a political fight over political power. And that is a fight the fundies will lose. They simply cannot win their ultimate goal through democratic methods, because nobody supports it.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Howie Ahmanson likes to stay in the background, and DI desperately wants to keep him there. So it’s a plus for our side to drag Howie out into the sunlight and force the DI to defend him.

You wouldn’t think that he’s letting Dover get stuck with stiff legal bills that he could easily afford, just to avoid evidence of association, would you?

This is off topic but the the Rolling Stork Stone Magazine has printed some stark conclusions.

The Worst President in History? One of America’s leading historians assesses George W. Bush

.….The one noncorporate constituency to which Bush has consistently deferred is the Christian right, both in his selections for the federal bench and in his implications that he bases his policies on premillennialist, prophetic Christian doctrine. Previous presidents have regularly invoked the Almighty. McKinley is supposed to have fallen to his knees, seeking divine guidance about whether to take control of the Philippines in 1898, although the story may be apocryphal. But no president before Bush has allowed the press to disclose, through a close friend, his startling belief that he was ordained by God to lead the country. The White House’s sectarian positions – over stem-cell research, the teaching of pseudoscientific “intelligent design,” global population control, the Terri Schiavo spectacle and more – have led some to conclude that Bush has promoted the transformation of the GOP into what former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips calls “the first religious party in U.S. history.”

Bush’s faith-based conception of his mission, which stands above and beyond reasoned inquiry, jibes well with his administration’s pro-business dogma on global warming and other urgent environmental issues.…..

I always think that it’s like starting a discussion of the book Frankenstein by mentioning the theory that “Frankenstein” is the name of the monster, not the doctor.

I mean, look at the evidence. The “Frankenstein as doctor theory” never even GIVES a name for the monster, relying instead on the facile idea that the monster had no name. How convenient! We’re expected to believe that the majority of people, who think of “Frankenstein” as the monster, are dead wrong, and this Mary Shelley character (who has no literary credentials, a dangerous radical as a mother, and may have just been stealing ideas from her more talented husband) is somehow right!

Posted by afdave on April 23, 2006 06:05 AM (e)

Poor Steve Jones … Maybe he should have attended the recent AIG Conference in his home country!

Sir Peter Vardy Plans to Open Six More Schools in the UK RICHARD DAWKINS AND SIR PETER VARDY interviewed on “Today” - BBC Radio 4 - 28 April 2003 http://www.angelfire.com/nb/lt/docs/called43.htm

Interesting. Nowadays the Vardy people deny that they teach creationism. Nice to have the evidence to the contrary from Sir Peter’s own mouth.

As for AIG and other creationists: they seem to be spreading out from the USA since the Dover defeat and trying to infect other countries. They can try the UK all they want, but their biggest card is Tony Blair and he is up for retirement. Also, the UK is a really a secular country, churches are tolerated but hardly even respected. So the creatos ave a long hard battle on their hands to make any progress here. Also, we have been warned by happenings in the USA, so the opposition will be well prepared.

afdave said (who could make this up?):

Poor Steve Jones … brilliant geneticist, no doubt …

Translation: “I haven’t bothered to read anything Dr. Jones has written, and I couldn’t begin to tell you the first thing about evolution theory. I have never studied the topic, but I think that, as the Yahoos Mr. Defoe warned us about, I can overcome the facts of God’s world with my overwhelming ignorance, if I’m arrogant enough about it. I don’t even know what genetics is, or what a geneticist does, or whether Jones even is one, but I’ve learned that by being condescending, I can get several fools to go along with my point of view. That’s how I got here.”

… but no one has taken the time to show him that it is actually Evolution ( Macro-Evolution that is… Micro-Evolution is actually a Creationist prediction but is routinely misapplied by evolutionists) that is more like Stork Theory …

afdave doesn’t understand Stork Theory, either. Does this guy really believe that evolution has not been demonstrated? Does he really deny the existence of modern beef cattle, of broccoli, of HIV? Or is he really so plug-ignorant of the science that he doesn’t realize even the shadow of what he doesn’t know?

afdave said:

he [Jones] apparently is starting to realize that his “Evolution ship” is sinking by the sound of this warning

No, I’m certain Dr. Jones does not “realize” the phantasms, illusions, or hallucinations of afdave. Jones has done very well, in fact, going thoroughly through Darwin’s “big book,” and checking it against modern science. In every important particular, Darwin was right, and modern science demonstrates that brilliantly. (If you were curious about the facts, afdave, you could read them for yourself: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/03[…]&s=books. I hope you’ll get curious about the facts, afdave.)

afdave has not even read Darwin, I wager. If he read any of it, none of it sank in. As Will Rogers warned, it’s not what we don’t know that hurts us; it’s what we know that ain’t so. afdave “knows” evolution doesn’t work, despite the fact that what he eats today, and the fact that half his family isn’t dead of infectious disease, he owes to applied Darwinian theory. afdave is ungrateful because he is ignorant. Ignorance is no excuse before the law or before infectious disease. God save the children of this person – knowledge from the parent won’t.

… doesn’t he know that large numbers of excellent scientists are “jumping ship” every day and becoming Creationists?

That’s another falsehood that no one can know. It is not so. After a nearly $10 million campaign by the Discovery Institute over the last decade or so, they have managed to smoke out 500 scientists who say they don’t think Darwin’s theory as put forth in 1859 is perfect (that’s right: $20,000/signature). Not one of those scientists has ever published a paper calling into question any part of Darwin’s theory, and not one is engaged in any research that would do so – but in the “damn the books and burn the libraries” world of afdave, reality doesn’t get in the way of good, drunken rant. (God save him if he wasn’t drunk when he wrote it; how would you like to have no excuse whatever for such stuff?)

afdave said:

… doesn’t he realize that Darwin’s own home country is beginning to realize that they’ve been fed a bunch of nonsense all these years? Maybe he should have attended the recent AIG Conference in his home country!

AIG conference? You mean, now there is AIG on the face of Britain, too?

A napkin wipe will take care of it.

Out of the several dozen people who attended that conference, not one has ever published a paper calling into question any aspect of Darwinian theory. Not one is engaged in any research that might call into question any part of Darwinian theory. And I’d wager not more than a half-dozen even knows what Darwin’s theory is.

Nonsense, afdave? Here’s my challenge to you: Give up all vaccinations. Give up beef, lamb and pork. Give up tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges, lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, wheat, corn, and all other foods whose evolution is known.

Call us back in a year; or better yet, put in your will that your attorney should send us a photo of your headstone in a year. You will be a martyr to the cause of anti-science. Anti-science needs more such martyrs. Live to your convictions, for as long as you can.

Kuhn said new paradigms must wait the death of those who cling unnaturally and bitterly to the old, dead ones(death by natural causes, of course, if you’re reading Mr. Mims). It’s not often when trying to live to the old paradigm will actually speed the arrival of the new. We should challenge more anti-science supporters to live their claims, for as long as they can.

allygally, I personally think that AiG and such have a bright future ahead. I think that because it seems to me the new tide in religion is a crazy evangelical one. If I’m wrong about that somebody please correct me.

I think that, as the Yahoos Mr. Defoe warned us about

Dembski might not be the Isaac Newton of Information Theory, but Ed Darrell is the Dennis Miller of Panda’s Thumb. Can someone clue me in on the Defoe reference?

As an aside…

For those in the UK check out ITV 1 at 10.45 pm this evening. The programme “12 books that changed the world” tonight features Charles Darwin’s “the origin of species”

I can’t believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $81635. Isn’t that crazy!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 22, 2006 9:15 PM.

PT posters in Nature Immunology was the previous entry in this blog.

Cold Case Kansas is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter