Ebonmuse on ‘Teaching the Controversy’

| 131 Comments

Ebonmuse has an excellent short piece on the Disco Dancers’ “teach the controversy” ploy. The money paragraph:

The problem with “teaching all sides” is that it can give fringe ideas a credibility they have not earned. Excessive concern for “balance” leads to presenting the speculations of cranks and crackpots as if they were on equal footing with the positions defended by vast majorities of qualified experts. (The media has a similar problem.) And this is very useful to advocates of pseudoscience, who often do not need to win the rhetorical battle outright; they can triumph merely by muddying the waters and preventing a consensus from forming around the truth. This is the same strategy employed by tobacco companies, as we can see from the second excerpt above, as well as by oil companies seeking to forestall regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

To Ebonmuse’s list of movements employing the same tactic one can add HIV denial (cf. Phillip E. Johnson and Jonathan Wells).

And Ebonmuse adds a nice touch:

But with all that said, the idea of teaching the controversy isn’t an intrinsically bad one. There are plenty of subjects that have legitimate controversies where this commendable call for fairness could be better applied.

For example, how about sex ed? A great many religious conservatives - many of the same ones who call for teaching the controversy on evolution, I don’t doubt - change their tune when it comes to public-school health classes, demanding that students be taught an “abstinence-only” program that omits contraception, or mentions it only to discuss its failure rates. How strange. Whatever happened to fairness? Whatever happened to learning about all sides? Why can students make up their own minds about evolution, but not about how to protect themselves from STDs?

Just so.

131 Comments

The problem with “teaching all sides” is that it can give fringe ideas a credibility they have not earned. Excessive concern for “balance” leads to presenting the speculations of cranks and crackpots as if they were on equal footing with the positions defended by vast majorities of qualified experts.

Exactly the idea at the core of these parody t-shirts:

Teach the Controversy Shirts

There is no doubt that those sympathetic to ID/creationism have a double standard when it comes to singling out evolution (and other far-right causes like global warming) for the phony “critical analysis,” but most people of all religious and political persuasions have a double standard when it comes to mainstream science vs. the “expelled” underdogs. Almost no nonscientists seem bothered by the fact that “alternative” health care is often exempt from rigorous testing. Yet real science can never do enough to overcome suspicion.

Note also that the latest anti-evolution scam does not really advocate teaching “both sides,” but rather just the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. IOW, no weaknesses of the testable claims of YEC and OEC (which can easily be stated without legally risky design/creation language). Even though those weaknesses require none of the usual cherry picking of evidence, redefining terms and concepts, and quote mining that is necessary to make evolution look weak.

A politically savvy advocate of the latest anti-evolution scam would cover up the double standard by advocating “evolution only” (plus the phony “strengths and weaknesses”) and “abstinence only.” What “weaknesses” can there be about abstinence? Biology, which as Dobzhansky observed, only makes sense in the light of evolution, shows it to be 100% effective.

I’m sure this can’t be talking about the highly reliable and the well-established Pastafarian movement.

Okrent’s Law: “The pursuit of balance can create imbalance because sometimes something is true.”

Steven Laskoske Wrote:

I’m sure this can’t be talking about the highly reliable and the well-established Pastafarian movement.

Sure it can. And it works best if one does not identify the FSM by name or say what he did when.

“To Ebonmuse’s list of movements employing the same tactic one can add HIV denial (cf. Phillip E. Johnson and Jonathan Wells).”

Is this a misquote or a quote-mine. I do not think Wells said HIV does not exist.

Ebonmuse is being disingenuous. Evolution is wrong. Sex education is wrong. HIV-AIDS is wrong. All of these are statements of principle and doctrine, and not in any way to be considered subject to investigation and determination on the merits.

So what we have here is simply a question of tactics. How can we get Jesus back into every classroom where he belongs? If the law permits, then use the law. If custom permits, use custom. If an appeal to “fairness” works, then use fairness. If “being taught right from wrong” works, use it. Otherwise, use “making up their own minds”. Whatever works.

And given the particular Truth to be encouraged (and once that battle is won, to be enforced), different tactics are appropriate as required. Lying For Jesus isn’t simple, you know. You have to know which lies will appeal to which audiences, and position them appropriately. Fortunately, there’s no need for them to be consistent, only to be effective.

What “weaknesses” can there be about abstinence?

Well, for one thing, it doesn’t work nearly as well at reducing rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection as comprehensive sex ed.

timedout said:

“To Ebonmuse’s list of movements employing the same tactic one can add HIV denial (cf. Phillip E. Johnson and Jonathan Wells).”

Is this a misquote or a quote-mine. I do not think Wells said HIV does not exist.

Read the link.

timedout said:

“To Ebonmuse’s list of movements employing the same tactic one can add HIV denial (cf. Phillip E. Johnson and Jonathan Wells).”

Is this a misquote or a quote-mine. I do not think Wells said HIV does not exist.

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS. In characterizing the HIV/AIDS deniers, one must distinguish between those who deny that the HIV virus exists at all and those who admit the existence of HIV but deny the relationship between it and AIDS.

The ID/Creationists’ mindset has certainly been illustrated by some of the trolls that show up on Panda’s Thumb as they attempt to derail threads by changing the subject or throwing a barrage of misconceptions and misinformation into the conversation.

For example, this Revolution Against Evolution site (there are a number of these than can be found on the Web) betrays many of the ID/Creationist deep-seated attitudes about “evolutionists” which we can actually observe being spewed from the fundamentalist pulpits.

Their clearest characteristic is that they themselves never ever take the time to dig deeply into the science and understand the concepts properly. And their mentors attempt to train them explicitly how to debate and taunt “evolutionists” and “unbelievers”

Any challenge on the part of the science advocate to get an ID/Creationist to grapple with the misconceptions and misinformation in ID/Creationism is explicitly labeled as an unprovoked mocking attack. Then they use this characterization to further demonize the “evolutionist” (or “Darwinist” or whatever code word does the job in the mind of the ID/Creationist neophyte).

We see another pattern here; the ID/Creationist tactic of using debates to “reveal the evil natures of unbelievers”. The idea seems to be to taunt and poke until the scientist starts asking pointed questions and insisting that the ID/Creationist learn some science, but then to turn around and characterize that as defensiveness and anger on the part of the scientist at being exposed by a gentle and innocent lamb of god.

It is this chain of tactics that the ID/Creationists appear to be attempting to introduce into the public school biology classroom. If specific legislation or wording can be added to the science standards, the armies of neophyte ID/Creationist students can be loaded up with taunting questions that will anger and expose the evil natures of those biology teachers and make heroic martyrs of the ID/Creationist students.

It’s an extension of the fantasy of the persecuted, beleaguered and pure-hearted “warrior for god” doing battle against the overwhelming forces of evil. And, of course, the “enemies” are everywhere.

RBH said:

timedout said:

“To Ebonmuse’s list of movements employing the same tactic one can add HIV denial (cf. Phillip E. Johnson and Jonathan Wells).”

Is this a misquote or a quote-mine. I do not think Wells said HIV does not exist.

Read the link.

I read the link. You are either not reading correctly or misquoting.

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. It is not fair to misaquote.

If you’re being serious and not just pretending to be stupid to cause trouble: it’s not a quote. It’s a petition which Wells put his name to, which says that the link between HIV and AIDS is doubted.

I note the similarity in language. ‘Many biochemical scientists disagree…’ sounds like ID, doesn’t it?

timedout said:

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. It is not fair to misaquote.

Well, in both cases (denying that HIV exists or denying that HIV causes AIDS) he’s nuts.

< refrains from making lame joke about human intelligence deficiency virus >

timedout said:

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. It is not fair to misaquote.

That link is to a group that denies that HIV, a virus, is the cause of AIDS. It is precisely because Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS that one calls him an HIV denialist.

This is not a mere academic dispute. Peter Duesberg, one of Wells’ mentors, in my view is responsible for thousands or more deaths in South Africa by encouraging the view that HIV does not cause AIDS and that therefore treatments aimed at the virus are useless. That view was bought by Mbeki, among other SA politicians, and resulted in a crippled treatment program. That goes past immoral into genocidal.

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. Can you get me a quote of his where he says that? You are quote mining. I think we should be fair here.

RBH is competely correct, except that he underestimates the toll. A report in yesterday’s New York Times puts the number of premature deaths in South Africa at 365,000 as a result of Mbeki’s policy to withhold antiretroviral drugs. Wells, as an HIV denier, is not responsible (as Duesberg is), but he is surely complicit.

For the record: By HIV denier, I mean someone who denies that HIV causes AIDS, not someone who denies the existence of HIV itself. No carping, please; HIV denial is a deadly serious matter.

If Jonathan Wells put his name on a petition that denies a connection between the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS, it is fair to assume that he denies that HIV causes AIDS.

Or, perhaps you can explain in detail why it is an unfair quote mine to assume this, even though he put his name on that petition of his own free will?

timedout said:

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. Can you get me a quote of his where he says that? You are quote mining. I think we should be fair here.

You are displaying so many of the behaviors discussed here that I am going to make a supposition here. Since you are asking others for things here, I am going to ask you for something:

Please answer these questions:

1. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that HIV exists?

2. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that HIV is the primary cause of AIDS?

3. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that organisms have evolved through time?

4. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old?

5. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that Natural Selection is a primary cause of the evolution observed in nature?

timedout said:

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. Can you get me a quote of his where he says that? You are quote mining. I think we should be fair here.

Stanton said:

If Jonathan Wells put his name on a petition that denies a connection between the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS, it is fair to assume that he denies that HIV causes AIDS.

Or, perhaps you can explain in detail why it is an unfair quote mine to assume this, even though he put his name on that petition of his own free will?

timedout said:

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. Can you get me a quote of his where he says that? You are quote mining. I think we should be fair here.

Where did he say ‘deny’?? I believe he said the whole issue needs more research

GvlGeologist, FCD said:

You are displaying so many of the behaviors discussed here that I am going to make a supposition here. Since you are asking others for things here, I am going to ask you for something:

Please answer these questions:

1. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that HIV exists?

2. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that HIV is the primary cause of AIDS?

3. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that organisms have evolved through time?

4. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old?

5. Do you accept the conclusion accepted by most scientists in the field that Natural Selection is a primary cause of the evolution observed in nature?

timedout said:

I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. Can you get me a quote of his where he says that? You are quote mining. I think we should be fair here.

Yes to all of the above. What you are confusing here is that I can insist that someone who does not have the same opinions that I do be quoted correctly. There are people who do not believe that global warming is caused by humans. That does not mean they ‘deny’ that global warming is happening. Wells words have been twisted here.

The problem was, and still is, is that all evidence and research points to HIV as the ultimate cause of AIDS, given as how HIV targets the cells of the immune system, severely impairing its function, thus weakening the infected’s health to the point where any opportunistic infection by any pathogen, no matter how otherwise puny and flimsy, leads to the infected person’s death.

To propose that more research must be needed to corroborate a relation between HIV and AIDS, even though there have been millions of reported and recorded instances of people being infected with HIV, then eventually dying of AIDS…

Well…

timedout said:

Where did he say ‘deny’?? I believe he said the whole issue needs more research

Stanton said:

The problem was, and still is, is that all evidence and research points to HIV as the ultimate cause of AIDS, given as how HIV targets the cells of the immune system, severely impairing its function, thus weakening the infected’s health to the point where any opportunistic infection by any pathogen, no matter how otherwise puny and flimsy, leads to the infected person’s death.

To propose that more research must be needed to corroborate a relation between HIV and AIDS, even though there have been millions of reported and recorded instances of people being infected with HIV, then eventually dying of AIDS…

Well…

timedout said:

Where did he say ‘deny’?? I believe he said the whole issue needs more research

So he is 100% incorrect in his opinion. Does that entitle others to misquote him?

In that case you are being obtuse. No one said “Dr. Wells said ‘HIV is not the cause of AIDS’” What they are saying is that Wells signed a statement that “questions” whether this is true.

The reasons that this is reasonably interpreted as “denialism” are several: First, the initial statement is very disingenious: “It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes the group diseases called AIDS.” Although the general public probably does believe this, that belief is due to acceptance of the large amount of scientific consensus, based on many (and continuing) studies on the subject and on a great deal of data. The statement implies that the general public’s opinion is not based on scientific knowledge.

Second, the statements, “We propose that a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that critical epidemiological studies be devised and undertaken.”, does not recognize that independent, thorough, and critical studies are done EVERY time that peer review research is done. This betrays a lack (or deliberate misinterpretation) of understanding of basic scientific methodology.

I think you are being deliberately obtuse about this. Reading the statement that Wells signed is not a difficult enterprise. The reasonable interpretation by anyone familiar with the tactics of such people and with how science is done, is that this a case where someone, or several someones, are denying the reality confirmed by science (as much as it is possible for science to do so) of HIV causing AIDS. No one is “quoting” Wells. They are just interpreting Wells agreement with HIV denialism in a very reasonable way.

As far as “HIV denialism” meaning that someone denies that HIV exists rather than it causes AIDS, try googling “HIV denialism”. The first 4 (and these are only the ones that I’ve looked at) ALL interpret this phrase as meaning “denial that HIV causes AIDS”, not “HIV or AIDS does not exist”. So get off your high horse and stop trying to say that Wells is not an “HIV denialist”.

timedout said:

GvlGeologist, FCD said:

timedout said: I think that Dr. Wells denies that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

He did not say that. Can you get me a quote of his where he says that? You are quote mining. I think we should be fair here.

Yes to all of the above. What you are confusing here is that I can insist that someone who does not have the same opinions that I do be quoted correctly. There are people who do not believe that global warming is caused by humans. That does not mean they ‘deny’ that global warming is happening. Wells words have been twisted here.

The reasons that this is reasonably interpreted as “denialism” are several:

Exactly: interpretation. If I say I think that the present prevailing belief that global warming is cause by humans needs more research to substantiate the claim should not be interpreted that I ‘deny’ the belief. It is unfair and pejudicial to make such ‘interpretations/

timedout said:

If I say I think that the present prevailing belief that global warming is cause by humans needs more research to substantiate the claim should not be interpreted that I ‘deny’ the belief.

Where do you draw the line? If someone says evolution needs more research to substantiate the claim would you think it unfair to assume that they deny evolution? The case for HIV is comparable. To claim that more research is needed is equivalent to denying that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Except that this denial has more tragic consequences than denying evolution, as the Times story that is mentioned above makes clear.

Not having gotten around to reading “The God Delusion” yet, I actually thought this was the money quote:

“…like Richard Dawkins’ famous statement that the god of the Old Testament is “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction… a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” - and then let’s show them the verses that he uses to back up that criticism! To borrow some terminology from ID advocates, shouldn’t the “strengths and weaknesses” of the Bible be “critically analyzed”?”

Mr/ Ms Ebonmuse is incoherent since the topic about the Panda’s Thumb isn’t discussed at all. In the book Introduction to Logic by Irming M Copi, sixth edition, Macmillan Publishing Company New York, page 110 and I quote “The fallacy of ignoratio elenchi is committed when an argument is proported to establish a particular onclusion is directed to proving a a different conclusion” Mr/ Mrs Ebonmuse: you might be trying to conclude something about sex education or greenhouse but not about the creation/ evolution controversey.

tomh said:

timedout said:

If I say I think that the present prevailing belief that global warming is cause by humans needs more research to substantiate the claim should not be interpreted that I ‘deny’ the belief.

Where do you draw the line? If someone says evolution needs more research to substantiate the claim would you think it unfair to assume that they deny evolution? The case for HIV is comparable. To claim that more research is needed is equivalent to denying that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Except that this denial has more tragic consequences than denying evolution, as the Times story that is mentioned above makes clear.

No doubting the complete accuracy of the prevailing theories is NOT ‘denial’. I do not see how more research into an area can be a bad thing. Somehow equating Wells doubting of the cause of AIDS to the supposed increase of deaths in S. Africa is really a far stretch. This whole issue is simply a way to try to unjustly discredit someone who does not believe as YOU do. This as silly as blaming Darwin for the Holocaust.

Nils Ruhr said: 1. Macroevolution cannot be observed, therefore the assumption that man evolved from lower life-forms is just pure speculation. That’s something students have to know.

Classic creationist lie. I’ll copy over a post I just made on the “Is macroevolution impossible to study” thread:

Is “macroevolution” impossible to study? Yes, because the word “macroevolution” is a word with no meaning at all! “Macroevolution” means nothing but whatever strawman the current creationist needs to throw out to hide from the evidence. They just claim that “macroevolution” has never been observed (usually without even pretending to define the term in a meaningful way), and pretend this is some kind of deathblow to science. They can’t offer a speck of evidence that establishes any barrier between “microevolution” and “macroevolution”, they don’t bother to clearly define where they claim this barrier is, and they’ll move the goalposts on an instant’s notice. Any observed instance of “macroevolution” and they change the meaning of the word. “Macroevolution,” as used by creationists, is nothing more than a pointer to an ever-shifting pile of strawmen that exist only in their hollow heads. It is a term without anything resembling meaning.

If you claim the word “Macroevolution” means something, state exactly what it means. Then have the honesty to admit you’re wrong when someone shows you an observed example. Oh, what am I saying, you’re a creationist! Creationists are incapable of being honest!

Nils Ruhr the creatioinst liar said: 3. There are limits to darwinsm (see bacterial flagellum, Michael Behe).

Another meaningless creationist strawman. Define “darwinsm” before you babble on. And the flagellum presents no problems for evolution. Behe is a discredited hack. His bogus arguments were refuted years ago.

Nils Ruhr the creatioinst liar said: 4. Not really a weakness, rather a political issue: Evolution tells students that their religion is false. This is unacceptable at state sponsored (therefore SECULAR) schools. Evolution should be taught if anything only in private schools.

This is, as usual, another LIE. Isn’t your imaginary god supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness? Oh, yeah, you’re a creationist, lying IS your religion.

But even if it weren’t a lie, your “solution” to this is to promote creationism, to teach other people’s children that YOUR religion is true, at taxpayer exense. So again you’re obviously lying, you pretend to care about religious intrusion in secular schools, but what you really object to is that you’re not getting enough government funding to preach to a captive audience.

So, in conclusion, Nils Ruhr, like all creationists, is a liar, a fraud, a willfully ignorant and dishonest hack. He is totally incapable of contributing anything worthwhile.

phantomreader42 said: lilly the lying sack of shit said:

If you truly believe that Mr. Ruhr is a ‘liar’ you should have the guts to say that under your real name and publish your libelous comments on your own website.

Nils wrote:

“Evolution should be taught if anything only in private schools.”

Funny, the United States Supreme Court disagrees. Now I wonder why that is? Everyone is entitled to their own stupid opinion. Fortunately, the rest of us don’t have to play along with such nonsense.

Don’t want to belabor things, Mike, but you DID throw out a challenge: “Several people have invited you to make a list of the “weaknesses” you and your cohorts want introduced into the science classroom”.

And as a result, you were given a straight answer to that one with scientific documentation attached. Just like you wanted.

And now that it’s been given, you once again display a singular inability to do anything other than rant about me instead of simply engaging and responding to the issues and previous questions on the table. C’est la vie.

You mention quote-mining. As I have mentioned before in this forum, if you’re going to make an accusation of quote-mining, you need to have a copy of the original material and then show from that source that the original context contradicts or negates the point seemingly made by the quotation. Otherwise you have no rational reason to make any “quote-mining” accusation.

I have completely listed where I got my information from. If you wish to check out those sources, your local library awaits you Mike. You are encouraged to visit them at earliest convenience.

******

Response for Dave Luckett: In this case, it simply doesn’t whether you think prebiotic-evolution is separate from evolution or not. The request given to me was to simply cite a list of scientific “weaknesses” that would be presumably legally appropriate and protected (in Louisiana and hopefully Texas soon) for a science teacher to share with his/her class.

The mere fact that the origin of life material appears in the high school biology textbook makes it fair game (along with any other section of that textbook) in terms of presenting scientifically documentable weaknesses if any happen to exist. So I presented a couple of ‘em, in answer to Mike’s inquiry.

Still, since you DID say “(Abiogenesis) doesn’t have anything to do with the Theory of Evolution”, I’ll just remind you of the following statement:

”…Organic molecules evolved by natural selection, ultimately giving rise to life—possibly in the ‘warm little pond’ that Darwin envisioned in his famous letter to Joseph Hooker.”

— evolutionist John Oro, from Life’s Origin, ed. J. William Schopf, c2002, pg 26.

Clearly, natural selection is cited as the driving force of both pre-biotic and post-biotic evolution. And evolutionists are fine with that. Therefore abiogenesis is NOT separate from “the theory of evolution.” In fact, in the currently used Holt 2004 biology textbook (by evolutionary biologists Raven & Johnson), the origin of life section is directly placed under “UNIT 3 – PRINCIPLES OF EVOLUTION.” Go figure!!

******

But, as mentioned earlier, my focus for now was simply answering the “list” challenge. You now have two clear areas, with scientific documentation, where the biology/science teacher can present serious weaknesses.

(There’s more areas that can be presented, btw, but Mike will again accuse me of being “long-winded” if I provide readers with more.)

FL :)

These Carbon-ratio and Nitrogen-ratio information/citations were obtained from chemist Dr. Fazale Rana and astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross’s book

Wow! You quote total cranks! CONGRATS!

Mr. Hugh Ross has a video I stumbled across a while ago http://video.google.com/videoplay?d[…]ss&hl=en. I have a morbid fascination with pseudoscience so I watched Mr. Ross’s video. He exhibits all the standard creationist ignorance of science, and the scientific method.

However, he does use a uniquely flawed understanding of science to support the existence of Adam and Eve in the good old’ garden of Gethsemane (or wherever it was they were suppose to have lived). He mentions calculation which estimate the time at which all mt DNA was represented in a single mitochondria, and a similar calculation for the Y chromosome. Interestingly, he totally neglects to discuss the methodology used to arrive at these estimates. Discussing the theory behind these numbers makes it abundantly clear that we are not calculating the time to the existence of a single mating pair of humans. Interpreting calculations which fundamentally assume a static population size to as supporting a founding population of two is fundamentally incoherent.

But what is worse, he brushes over a fundamentally interesting and well understood difference in times to coalescence of Y-DNA and mt-DNA to support his little religious myth.

And now, it is time again to discuss the arcane considerations of population biology with Larry.

mt-DNA gives tracks the matralinial descent, and Y-DNA trakes the patralinial descent, of an individual. In other words, if we share our maternal grandmother (mother’s mother), then our mt-DNA is identical by descent, and if we share our paternal grandfather (father’s father) then out Y-DNA is the same.

Since there is a 50% probability that any given child will be a boy or a girl, in any family with a finite number of children there is a non-zero probability that all the children will be of the same gender. If you father has only daughters, then he will not be anyones paternal grandfather. This means that in every generation, there is a non-zero chance that any given maternal or paternal lineage will come to an end. However, as more paternal or maternal linages coalesce, there are more individuals in each lineage, and consequently the probability that a lineage fails to produce any children of the appropriate gender becomes extremely low.

The smaller the sample size the poorer the estimate of population parameters a sample gives you. This sampling process is the fundamental analogy we use for the process of genetic drift. You probably already realize that females experience a smaller variance of reproductive potential than males. That is, in a normal population it is much rarer for a female to have no children then it is for a male to have no children, and also male are capable of having many more children than females. As a result, in every generation there are fewer fathers than there are mothers. Since the population of fathers is smaller than the population of mothers, Y-DNA will drift at a faster rate than mt-DNA. As a result, Y-DNA coalesces more recently than mt-DNA.

Any who, just using your post as an excuse to ramble, carry on, carry on…

“lilly” the lying sack of shit said:

If you truly believe that Mr. Ruhr is a ‘liar’ you should have the guts to say that under your real name and publish your libelous comments on your own website.

This from the lying troll who changes fake names every few hours to avoid being exposed as the same sack of shit who’s been infesting this site for months? What a laugh!

Ruhr is a liar because he has said things that are false, that he damn well should KNOW are false. He remains a liar regardless of who points this out. Just as you remain the same lying sack of shit no matter how many phony identities you spread your lies under.

You know a fraud is desperate when the only thing he can muster to pass as an argument is whining about a pseudonym on the Internet. And it’s even worse when the same troll is constantly popping up as new transparent sockpuppets!

So, bobby the boob, lilly the liar, jacob the jerk, if you have the slightest speck of evidence to support your unending asshattery, go ahead and post it now. If not, go fuck yourself.

Nils Ruhr said:

@Richard B. Hoppe:

Could you please stop using snotty names (like Disco Dancer) for ID porponents. Calling names is never productive. Its only function is to promote aggressive behaviour… I mean you wouldn’t like it if i call you “monkey pooper”, would you?

LOL! I actually don’t much give a damn what you or anyone calls me. “Disco Dancers” nicely captures the rhetorical tactics of the boys in Seattle, and it’s exemplified by your own previous post in this thread. For example, you wrote

1. Macroevolution cannot be observed, therefore the assumption that man evolved from lower life-forms is just pure speculation.

That’s a lovely example of Disco Dancing: “Macroevolution cannot be [directly] observed [in real time]” is not synonymous with “just pure speculation.” Yet you equate them. Disco Dancing pure and simple.

FL Wrote:

And as a result, you were given a straight answer to that one with scientific documentation attached. Just like you wanted.

Indeed you did exactly as we expected. You are doing a find job of illustrating what we have been saying right in front of your face on this and a couple of other threads you have infested.

Keep up the good work. Several people have already noticed and commented on your performance. :-)

Oh, and hop over to those threads where ID/Creationist statistics was debunked. Also go to the thread where the ID/Creationist misconceptions about entropy and evolution were debunked.

You won’t understand any of it, but perhaps you might get a hint that we know some things that you don’t. But no one will hold their breath watching for your enlightenment.

Dave Luckett Wrote:

If the textbook you quote does not say that the origin of life is still unknown, or implies that it is known, I’d agree that it is wrong. But I’ll believe that when I see it. I think it’s more likely that it does say that, and then goes on to describe various approaches to the investigation of the origin of life. None of these are accepted by a consensus of specialists in the field, and fierce debate continues.

One of the issues that still have to be dealt with is updating textbooks. Many schools have very poor textbooks that were written by committees making compromises with ID/Creationist political pressure. Some of these are quite old and poorly written.

Book companies want to make profits. Therefore they will print textbooks that they hope will be adopted by the maximum number of school districts. States like Texas and California have statewide textbook adoption procedures and, because of this, they have historically come under the most political pressure from sectarian political groups. Book publishers respond to these pressures also.

Another issue is getting an updated curriculum that integrates the concepts of evolution throughout the biology course. This has also been thwarted by political pressure from religious fanatics.

Still another issue is putting into practice pedagogical procedures that have withstood the tests of educational research. Many textbook writers have unwittingly introduced serious misconceptions with their attempts to tune material to age groups. There has been years of research in the physics, chemistry, and biological education communities that has documented these misconceptions and offered approaches that reduce the probabilities of this occurring.

None of this can happen if ID/Creationists flood courses with their barrages of garbage and confusion tactics (as FL has so generously illustrated for us right here on this thread).

All right, FL, I’ll play your silly game. You are here committing the classic error of demanding that everything be known as a precondition of knowing anything. It’s an error that arises from the simple either/or, black or white absolutism that characterises medieval and early-modern religious thought - the thought that you have absorbed. But the schoolmen were at least rigorous logicians, within their sphere. They would not have committed your error.

What you cite as “weaknesses” of the Theory of Evolution are not weaknesses at all. They are simply areas of no certain knowledge. It is not possible now, and it will never be possible, to know everything about the history of life (or pre-life) on Earth. There will always be areas of ignorance. One of those areas (at present, but probably not forever) is the actual origin of life itself. It is not known.

So what? Not everything is known, and never will be, but that is no reason to deny what is known. It is no reason to dismiss ample good evidence. The only method of disputing that evidence is to produce good evidence to the contrary. Only contrary evidence - not lack of evidence or uncertain knowledge - is a weakness. It is bootless to point to areas yet unknown. They are inevitable and perennial, and do not affect a theory that is well-supported by all the known evidence.

But contrary evidence you cannot find. There is none. All you can do is hope that fools will take “unknown” as meaning “disproven”. I am not such a fool.

And that looks like a very good note on which to end the thread. Thanks, folks.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on November 27, 2008 12:14 AM.

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