Press Release: SICB Boycotts Louisiana

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / LA Coalition for Science / http://lasciencecoalition.org

National Scientific Society to Boycott Louisiana over LA Science Education Act

Baton Rouge, LA, February 13, 2009 — The first tangible results of the Louisiana legislature’s passage and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signing of the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act have materialized, and these results are negative both for the state’s economy and national reputation. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, a national scientific society with more than 2300 members, has put Gov. Bobby Jindal on notice that the society will not hold its annual meetings in Louisiana as long as the LA Science Education Act is on the books. In a February 5, 2009, letter to the governor that is posted on the SICB website (http://www.sicb.org/resources/Louis[…]erJindal.pdf) under the headline, “No Thanks, New Orleans,” SICB Executive Committee President Richard Satterlie tells Jindal that “The SICB executive committee voted to hold its 2011 meeting in Salt Lake City because of legislation SB 561, which you signed into law in June 2008. It is the firm opinion of SICB’s leadership that this law undermines the integrity of science and science education in Louisiana.” [NOTE: Although the legislation was introduced as SB 561, it was renumbered during the legislative process and passed as SB 733.]

Pointing out that SICB had joined with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) in urging Jindal to veto the legislation last year, Satterlie goes on to say that “The SICB leadership could not support New Orleans as our meeting venue because of the official position of the state in weakening science education and specifically attacking evolution in science curricula.” Salt Lake City was chosen as the site of the 2011 meeting in light of the fact that “Utah, in contrast, passed a resolution that states that evolution is central to any science curriculum.”

Noting that SICB’s recent 2009 meeting in Boston attracted “over 1850 scientists and graduate students to the city for five days,” Satterlie pointedly tells Jindal that “As you might imagine, a professional meeting with nearly 2000 participants can contribute to the economic engine of any community.” The implication of SICB’s decision for both New Orleans, which is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and the entire state of Louisiana is clear. With Gov. Jindal threatening draconian budget cuts to the state’s universities, the loss of such a significant scientific convention will only add to the state’s deepening fiscal crisis.

Satterlie closes by telling Jindal that SICB will join with other groups “in suggesting [that] professional scientific societies reconsider any plans to host meetings in Louisiana.” However, SICB is not the first national scientific society to bring up the subject of boycotting Louisiana. Gregory Petsko, president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), has already called for a boycott not only of Louisiana but of any state that passes such legislation: “As scientists, we need to join such protests with our feet and wallets. … I think we need to see to it that no future meeting of our society [after the ASBMB’s already contracted 2009 meeting in New Orleans] will take place in Louisiana as long as that law stands.” (See “It’s Alive,” ASBMB Today, August 2008, http://www.asbmbtoday-digital.com/a[…]oday/200808/ .)

After the Louisiana legislature passed the LA Science Education Act, a total of nine national scientific societies publicly called on Jindal to veto it. He ignored them, as well as everyone else who contacted him requesting that he veto the bill, choosing instead to help execute the agenda of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), the Religious Right organization on whose behalf Louisiana Sen. Ben Nevers introduced the bill and on whose behalf Jindal signed it. Jindal is a staunch ally of the LFF. The citizens of Louisiana, whose educational well-being the governor claims to be so concerned about, are now paying the priceÑliterallyÑfor his loyalty to his conservative Christian base.

(See LA Coalition for Science, http://lasciencecoalition.org/letters/ and http://lasciencecoalition.org/2008/[…]ll-for-veto/ . See also Adam Nossiter, “In Louisiana, Inklings of a New (True) Champion of the Right,” New York Times, June 2, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/02/u[…]2jindal.html and “Louisiana Family Forum’s Governors Christmas Gala,” Youtube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3nje8u3yfA .)

Louisiana Coalition for Science is a grassroots group working to protect the teaching of science in Louisiana. On the web at http://lasciencecoalition.org.

Contacts:
Barbara Forrest / [Enable javascript to see this email address.] / 985-974-4244
Patsye Peebles / [Enable javascript to see this email address.] / 225-936-6074

160 Comments

I hope other scientific societies will soon follow suit. Fellow Brunonian Bobby Jindal - who was a biology concentrator at Brown - should have known better.

Speaking of Brown, I am delighted to report this wonderful bit of news:

Today at the AAAS meeting in Chicago, Brown cell biologist Ken Miller will be the recipient of its annual Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award:

http://news.aaas.org/2009/02112008-[…]sented.shtml

He was nominated in part, due to his memorable testimony at the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial on behalf of the plaintiffs.

On a more personal note, I remain delighted to have assisted Ken in his very first debate against a creationist, which was held many years ago at Brown’s hockey rink. As the sole “evolutionist” on an ad hoc campus “Origins Committee”, I saw Ken deliver a crushing blow to his opponent, Dr. Henry Morris, Vice President of the Institute for Creation Research.

John Kwok -

100% agreement.

By the way, what will you do if Jindal is the Republican presidential nominee in 2012?

Oh GOSH it’s the EVIL SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY exercising CENSORSHIP again!

In all seriousness, the Darwin-basher blogosphere is going to howl over this. Not that the howling is any any big deal as such – it’s just that they’re predictable in that way.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Reed, your header should say “SICB,” not “SCIB.”

Harold,

That’s an excellent assessment and a good question:

harold said:

John Kwok -

100% agreement.

By the way, what will you do if Jindal is the Republican presidential nominee in 2012?

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN I SEE MYSELF EVER SUPPORTING JINDAL.

Thanks,

John

I can see Jindal as the lever (unintentional) that pries apart the bizarre union of the Christian Theocratic and Libertarian halves of the Republican party. Amazing they’ve stayed attached at the hip this long.

Harold, if Jindal is reading this thread, he should take seriously these remarks of mine in rebuttal to Casey Luskin’s latest example of breathtaking inanity; a senseless rant about Darwin Day that was published online at US News and World Report:

ID has had twenty years to prove itself to be scientific

IDiots (Intelligent Design advocates) like Casey Luskin have had twenty years to demonstrate that Intelligent Design is valid science. However, we have not seen any valid research programs from leading Intelligent Design advocates like mathematician and philosopher William Dembski and biochemist Michael Behe. We have not seen any testable predictions made by IDiots demonstrating how Intelligent Design does a better job than contemporary evolutionary theory - which admittedly is still quite imperfect - in explaining the origins, history and current composition of Earth’s biodiversity. Instead, all we get from the likes of Dembski and Behe and Luskin are gross distortions, serious omissions, and abysmal errors which demonstrate not only their woeful ignorance of biology, but also, of mathematics, especially probability and statistics, and indeed, much of science too. Since Intelligent Design advocates like Luskin devote their time to ample lying and dissembling, then we ought to view them correctly as mendacious intellectual pornographers who excel in successful promotion of the mendacious intellectual pornography known as Intelligent Design creationism.

We live in a most remarkable time in which ample data from sciences unknown to Darwin like genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and evolutionary developmental biology (better known as “evo - devo”) are strongly supporting every day, the predictions made by Darwin and Wallace when they developed independently the theory of evolution via natural selection back in the mid 19th Century. But you would never know that to be true from the inane commentary written by Luskin and his fellow Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers. Moreover, these new sciences offer the promise of yielding an “Extended Modern Synthesis” which may allow us to understand extinction, especially the role of mass extinctions in radically reshaping Earth’s biodiversity not just once, but at least seven times in the past 550-odd million years, and the importance of long-term evolutionary stasis.

US News and World Report should be ashamed of itself for becoming a platform for the gross lies and exaggerations written by a mendacious intellectual pornographer such as Casey Luskin. I strongly doubt this fine magazine would provide a similar platform to an unrepentant Nazi or Communist. Then why should Luskin be granted this opportunity?

Of course Jindal knows better - he’s been bombarded with it ever since the bill was introduced, and his education reinforces that.

Maybe we could recognize that the prime directive for any politician is to be elected and re-elected, and if his constituents are yahoos, he’d better stroke them to get votes. Jindal is not stupid - he knows the courts will strike down any effort to implement this policy so it will never actually get into practice, and he knows he can blame the “godless courts” for this, preserving both Louisiana’s public education and his re-electability.

More abstractly, one could argue that public officials are elected to support and enact the will of the people, even when the people are stupid and what they demand injures them. Jundal may be taking this principle seriously (though I suspect Jindal is himself a creationist).

John Kwol Wrote:

IDiots (Intelligent Design advocates) like Casey Luskin have had twenty years to demonstrate that Intelligent Design is valid science.

As you know, Jindal has probably been coached enough to reply with something like” “This law is not about teaching ID, but only a ‘critical analysis’ of evolution.” To which he needs to be publicly reminded of what he probably knows and pretends not to, that it was established at Dover that the “critical analysis” would certainly be the same laundry list of long-refuted arguments “designed” solely to promote unreasonable doubt of evolution and a common misunderstanding of the nature of science. Which is a roundabout way of saying that they will effectively promote ID (unfalsifiable) and Biblical creationism (several mutually contradictory long-falsified versions) anyway.

Flint said:

(though I suspect Jindal is himself a creationist).

I suspect he’s a YE creationist. He did participate enthusiastically, apparently, in an exorcism. Intelligent and deranged is the most dangerous combination.

mrg(iml8) Wrote:

Oh GOSH it’s the EVIL SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY exercising CENSORSHIP again!

In all seriousness, the Darwin-basher blogosphere is going to howl over this. Not that the howling is any any big deal as such – it’s just that they’re predictable in that way.

chuck Wrote:

I can see Jindal as the lever (unintentional) that pries apart the bizarre union of the Christian Theocratic and Libertarian halves of the Republican party. Amazing they’ve stayed attached at the hip this long.

The irony is that this “censorship” is the action of the free-market that the theocratic far-right pretends to favor. But they really don’t, especially when they demand “handouts” in the form of teaching nonsense that hasn’t earned the right to be taught.

Not to worry. The Dishonesty Institute will call upon their 700 club, the infamous anti-evolution list (including 4 dead people) and will replace the SICB meeting in Louisiana.

Seriously, it’s what Louisiana deserves. The same should go for any other state that passes these stupid laws.

chuck Wrote:

I suspect he’s a YE creationist.

My suspicion is the opposite. Given his biology background he probably knows that YEC, and most versions of OEC (those that deny common descent), are simply unsupportable. My bet is that he goes along with ID’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy.

Dream Ticket - Jindal - Palin 2012. We could all laugh at the debates featuring questions about exorcisms - v witch expulsions. More discussions about “The Country Of Africa” could be fun. Also, in this great country of ours too.

The question for discussion before us today: Casey Luskin - Dishonest D I Hack, or Just Another Lyer for Jesus?

Let me get this straight. You guys are endorsing the SICB’s pouty little economic-blackmail tactic?

Honestly, dim-bulb media stunts like this make evolution look even more pitiful than it already is.

What? You want to see worse Zogby Poll numbers than what’s currently on the table??

http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/[…]ing_suppor_1

Therefore (in Sixties parlance), evolutionists had better “get hip to the jive”, and soon!

***

“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

— Charles Darwin

***

Memo to SICB and ASBMB: The people are against you. Better think things over!

FL

Given his biology background he probably knows that YEC, and most versions of OEC (those that deny common descent), are simply unsupportable

This is the sort of blind spot for which PT and other science-oriented sites are notorious. The implication is that knolwedge can trump belief, which ought to be stone obvious by now is absolutely false.

Folks, people like Dembski, Behe, Jindal, Luskin et. al. are not stupid and not ignorant. They are deeply aware that every iota of evidence (of which there are oceans) refutes their faith, and the evidence expands exponentially. Their task of trying to find some way to cram all this evidence into ineradicable (but incompatible) foregone conclusions is enormous.

But to the Believers, the evidence does not rule. If it ratifies their needs, then it’s evidence. If it refutes them, then it cannot possibly be evidence. Morton’s Demon is their only friend, but a powerful friend indeed. We regard their efforts as dishonest, but they can’t see it that way. They KNOW KNOW KNOW KNOW that they’re right. Doubt is incomprehensible. They are dutifully doing God’s Work. The appeal of absolute certainty must be powerful for some folks.

Let me get this straight. You guys are endorsing the SICB’s pouty little economic-blackmail tactic?

Granted, this tactic is a drop in the bucket. It won’t influence Louisiana’s economy and it won’t even generate much publicity. It’s nothing more than a few not-too-influential people exercising integrity (look it up).

There are products I refuse to buy for one reason or another. The vendors don’t care, nobody else cares, but I can still have standards. Maybe SICB has standards (look that up too) as well.

Flint said:

Morton’s Demon is their only friend, but a powerful friend indeed. We regard their efforts as dishonest, but they can’t see it that way. They KNOW KNOW KNOW KNOW that they’re right. Doubt is incomprehensible.

I keep saying this: these folks are not liars. Liars are people who KNOW they’re not saying the truth. These folks believe trash and think it’s treasure.

I had a long-running feud with a colleague that I got fairly nasty with. My colleague wasn’t a lunatic fringer as such – his mindset was just I AM ALWAYS RIGHT, and all logic was bent around that mindset. Blatant contradictions? No understanding of cause and effect? Didn’t matter.

I finally stopped trying to be reasonable with him. Even when he was trying to be conciliatory he had no concept of what it actually meant, and if I let my guard down I was guaranteed to regret it. So I made sure HE regretted it every time he had anything to do with me, and he finally decided to leave me alone.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

I wrote:

“The irony is that this ‘censorship’ is the action of the free-market that the theocratic far-right pretends to favor. But they really don’t, especially when they demand ‘handouts’ in the form of teaching nonsense that hasn’t earned the right to be taught.”

And just s few comments later, FL, the hysterical “liberal” whines:

“Let me get this straight. You guys are endorsing the SICB’s pouty little economic-blackmail tactic?”

I hope everyone’s irony meter was turned off.

mrg(iml8) Wrote:

I keep saying this: these folks are not liars. Liars are people who KNOW they’re not saying the truth. These folks believe trash and think it’s treasure.

Depends on who “these people” are. I have heard, and have no reason to deny, that it’s rarely 100% honest belief or 100% lie, but some proportion along the continuum. My suspicion is that FL is much closer to “honest belief” (Morton’s Demon) and Bobby Jindal is much closer to the L-word. But even there, may be a “noble lie”, like telling fairy tales to children.

FL said:

***

“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

— Charles Darwin

***

Memo to SICB and ASBMB: The people are against you. Better think things over!

FL

Memo to FL: you’re quotemining. AGAIN.

That pseudo-Darwin statement you posted above doesn’t have a period at that point, but a semi-colon. And if you’d ever bothered to read the quote in context you’d realize what the Discovery Institute should have figured out before it made the pseudo-statement part of its Anti-Evolution Day Academic Freedom drive. Jeremy Mohn did a masterful job of explaining it here:

Unfortunately, the quote is glaringly out of context. Here are Darwin’s actual words from the introduction of On the Origin of Species:

This Abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors will have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done.

Charles Darwin On the Origin of Species

By replacing a semi-colon with a period, the first part of Darwin’s original sentence has been deceptively changed into what appears to be a complete thought. Contrary to what the DI would have us believe, Darwin was not referring to a debate between evolution and some purported alternative explanation. He was referring to his own ideas concerning evolution and lamenting the fact that he knew of so many supportive observations that he could not possibly present them all - even in his 500+ page “abstract.”

Personally, I think that it is quite fitting that the folks at the Discovery Institute would “honor” Charles Darwin’s birthday by actively misrepresenting something that he wrote and then using it to further their own anti-evolution agenda. It is precisely this kind of hypocritical and unreflective behavior that exemplifies their twisted sense of “honor.”

Honestly, FL, why do you continue to quotemine?

Do you really think that Lying For Jesus is something we Christians are supposed to practice?

FL said:

Let me get this straight. You guys are endorsing the SICB’s pouty little economic-blackmail tactic?…

Speaking for myself, yes.

FL said:

“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

— Charles Darwin

FL, FL, FL. This isn’t your first time around the block, I expect higher-quality quote mining from you. Seriously, you’re letting me down!

A fuller context:

This Abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts; with references on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done. - First edition, quoted from p 66-7 of the Penguin edition.

By the sixth edition, the exact phrasing “is here impossible” has been inserted.

[Editor’s note: Since the quote mine dated the reference to 1859, that necessarily implies the first edition. It is a minor difference in the quote but further evidence of the sloppy or, more correctly, nonexistent scholarship of creationists. The different editions can be found on the web here: first edition (p. 2), and the sixth edition (pp. 1-2).]

Darwin originally intended to have a large and academic book, with footnotes and exhaustive factual illustrations. His plan was defeated when Wallace sent his outline of the theory, so Darwin had to publish this “abstract” of the larger essay. It was eventually published in the 1970s, over a century later.*

The phrase quoted is an apology for the paucity of facts used in the argument. The “both sides” are, of course, special creation and evolution.

- John Wilkins

Source

Now if you want pitiful, ID has failed to produce a single piece of data in peer-reviewed scientific research papers. What’s up with that? Conspiracy? Incompetence? Inquiring minds want to know, dammit!

;-)

Frank J said:

But even there, may be a “noble lie”, like telling fairy tales to children.

I should add … I have more respect for outright liars than I do for people who cannot tell the difference between day and night if it just happens to be inconvenient to do so. Do not think I am defending them in the slightest.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

So tell us, FL, what sort of educational, economic, scientific and other societal benefits can come from mandating the teaching Creationism and or Intelligent Design Theory?

people who cannot tell the difference between day and night if it just happens to be inconvenient to do so

This is unfair. Convenience is irrelevant. People throughout history have willingly died, or suffered torture, rather than change change childhood indoctrination. This sort of thing simply cannot be changed. It becomes hardwired into the brain. I shudder to think just how much of Dembski’s brain (to pick one example) would have to be cut out and discared before he would be capable of seeing past his faith. I strongly suspect that enough brain could be removed that he couldn’t even feed himself and he STILL wouldn’t be able to grasp that evidence is telling him something his Belief denies.

These people (for the most part) are not charlatans. They are victims.

FL,

Let me get this straight. You thought that there would not be a price to pay when Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education Act? You think that this will be the only price? You think that there will be no other consequences and repurcussions?

Keep up the pathetic quotemining, it reveals the moral bankruptcy of your position.

DS said:

FL,

Let me get this straight. You thought that there would not be a price to pay when Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education Act? You think that this will be the only price? You think that there will be no other consequences and repurcussions?

I think FL is sore that the local scientific communities aren’t welcoming the Louisiana Science Education Act with open arms, hugs, kisses and ticker-tape parades.

My heart’s with SICB, but I wonder if a case could be made that they should go where they’re needed most- that Louisiana is in need of the Light more than Utah, and their presence would be a witness to truth.

FL said:

What? You want to see worse Zogby Poll numbers than what’s currently on the table??

http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/[…]ing_suppor_1

Therefore (in Sixties parlance), evolutionists had better “get hip to the jive”, and soon!

Memo to SICB and ASBMB: The people are against you. Better think things over!

FL

Since when are scientific conclusions decided upon by majority vote? Just because more than 50% of the people are unaware of the GIANT MOUNTAIN of facts, for which evolutionary theory is the only credible explanation offered, doesn’t mean that those facts will suddenly go away.

JohnK said:

Posted all that as an illustration of how the “weaknesses of evolution” are going to be taught by the likes of FL:

“Children, here’s a noble christian apologist quoting Scientist X supporting ‘discontinuity’ between humans and non-humans. Scientist X also wrote a paper entitled ‘Darwin’s Mistake’.”

Requires 20 paragraphs, some at the graduate level, to debunk.

Nice reply, JohnK.

As a physicist who can deal with only simple systems, I suspect that there may be a simpler way to address this issue without resorting to graduate level rebuttals.

Nearly everyone can observe the rapid emergence of new phenomena in condensed matter. As atoms and molecules condense into liquids and solids, whole sets of new properties that were not characteristic of the individual atoms and molecules rapidly emerge. Atoms combine into compounds with drastically different properties (e.g., sodium and chlorine into salt).

And what is true of simple atomic and molecular systems remains true even more dramatically for highly complex systems, especially those made up of organic compounds. It doesn’t require a large change in such a system to produce dramatically different characteristics and behaviors.

On another thread I used an analogy of an old rattle-trap car speeding down a washboard road. Depending on the speed, the loose parts, and what comes loose in the process, the car can take on entirely different characteristics as it goes. These differences can appear quite discontinuous.

When it comes to systems as complex as living organisms, then even the relatively small genetic differences between, say, chimps and humans can lead to dramatic differences in their behaviors and characteristics. The brain is incredibly complex. Add just a few more feedback loops or layers of complexity and the result could appear to be a very large discontinuity from what existed before. Once the underlying mechanisms are understood, the apparent discontinuity might very likely be seen to be an obvious outcome.

There is nothing surprising here, and there is nothing contradictory in the work of cognitive scientists attempting to propose various models that get at the essence of these differences between humans and chimps. Getting at it from the molecular level is very complicated at the moment. However, phenomenological models that capture the differences could be stepping stones to more precise theories later. We’re trying to understand some very complex “wiring” and organization here.

But FL has no clue what is going on here or anywhere else in science; and I suspect he doesn’t even care. He’s just gunning for big-dog status in his church. Arguing with “the enemy” and appearing to be erudite in the eyes of his rube charges and his senior religious handlers wins him points toward that goal. But basically he is just a fraud.

stevaroni said:

Was I just quotemined? FL just totally blew off the premise of my argument and fabricated some abstract point out of thin air from a supporting statement I gave to prove my premise.

Um, yeah, that happens with FL. You get used to it.

After careful consideration, I think I know what FL meant now. He wasn’t blowing off my core premise, he was proposing a new form of speciation:

Speciation by Democractic Convention (SDC)

The hypothesis of SDC states that a new species is created when a sufficient number of a population’s body agrees to create the new species. The fossil record and dna evidence fits this because when a species decides to speciate, they naturally would not want to become *too* different from their current existence. By the same token, we don’t see too many variations in giraffe neck length because 1) that would complicate the annual Giraffe Convention of Speciation, and 2) too tall and your neck muscles cramp, too short and they can’t get the really juicy ones. This doesn’t prevent speciation warfare though- just look at the platypus, who would vote to become *that*?

Germ theory is also explained, resistant bacteria don’t arise due to naturally adaptation or resistance to drugs, it’s biological warfare against humanity by the animals being displaced or driven to extinction by us- The animals of the forests are voting for the speciation of staphylococcus aureus into disease resistant strains in the hopes of damaging our capacity to expand our territory. They don’t vote for the creation of Godzilla though because once Godzilla eats all the humans, who’s next on his menu?

Insight into how chimpanzees really think can be seen in some recent experiments performed by Dr. Povinelli. In these experiments, the researchers used the chimps’ natural begging gesture to examine how they really think about their world. They confronted the chimps with two familiar experimenters, one offering a piece of food and the other holding out an undesirable block of wood.

As expected, the chimps had no trouble distinguishing between the block and the food and immediately gestured to the experimenter offering the food. Next, the researchers wanted to see if the chimps would be able to choose between a person who could see them and a person who could not. If the chimpanzees understood how other animals see, they would gesture only to the person who could see them. The researchers achieved the “seeing/not-seeing” contrast by having the two experimenters adopt different postures. In one test, one experimenter wore a blindfold over her eyes while the other wore a blindfold over her mouth. In the other tests, one of the experimenters wore a bucket over her head, placed her hands over her eyes or sat with her back turned to the chimpanzee. All these postures were modeled after the behaviors that had been observed during the chimpanzees’ spontaneous play.

The results of the experiments were astonishing. In the tests involving blindfolds, buckets and hands over the eyes–the apes entered the lab and paused but then were just as likely to gesture to the person who could not see them as to the person who could. In several cases, the chimps gestured to the person who could not see them and then, when nothing happened, gestured again, as if puzzled by the fact that the experimenter did not respond. In the case of experimenters facing with their backs to the chimps, they performed as if they knew that those facing way from them could not see and offer them food.

However, subsequent experiments proved that the chimps had merely responded to conditioning from the initial experiments, since they had only received food from those experimenters who faced them. This was proven by having experimenters facing away from the chimps, but then turning to look over their shoulders. The chimps were just as likely to gesture to the experimenters facing away as the one who turned to look at them. Chimpanzees have no clue that humans must face them in order to see.

It is obvious from these experiments that chimpanzees lack even a simple understanding of how their world works, but merely react to conditioning from directly observable events.

(Povinelli, D.J. 1998. “Animal Self-Awareness: A Debate Can Animals Empathize?” Scientific American.)

Sounds to me like those chimpanzees haven’t realized that the eyes are what the other beings use to see with. I’m not sure what other than that can be concluded from the quoted description of the experiment.

Henry

FL wrote:

Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists until recently entertained, and which I formerly entertained - namely, that each species has been independently created - is erroneous.

Hmmm. Darwin is apparently using the word “created”, NOT to refer to the special creation belief of that time, but instead to Lamarckian evolution? Even though the creationists and churchmen of that time were clearly holding to the doctrine of “each species independently created”? Darwin even sent a worry-letter to Asa Gray because he feared Lamarckists would unleash a titanic religious condemnation on him? Very Odd.

Have you even read the Introduction of The Origin yet, FL? Because, from where I stand, it sure appears that you haven’t even bothered to read it.

The sentence you just quoted from Darwin comes over 1000 words after the “both sides” quote. The six paragraphs in between do not address special creation at all!

Please stop accusing me of ignoring context. I know that Darwin recognized that special creation was a view that was widely held in his day. I also know that most naturalists in Darwin’s day did not consider special creation a valid alternative to evolution. I know that because I’m actually reading the book.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter whether you agree with my interpretation of the quote. I could be wrong. What bothers me is that you think you can continue to get away with using two contradictory interpretations of the quote to defend yourself against the charge of quote mining.

When Cheryl accused you of quote mining, it was because you appeared to be using the quote in a manner that was inconsistent with the original intent of the author. Your initial defense confirmed that accusation, because you argued that your use of the quote was appropriate because “special creation” was the other side to which Darwin referred.

But now, you are also arguing that your use of the quote was appropriate because the “weaknesses” of evolution are the other side to which Darwin referred.

Are those two things the same in your mind?

If you think they are the same, then that would explain a lot of the confusion that has been generated by your arguments on this thread. However, if you do not think they are the same, then it is dishonest for you to continue relying on both interpretations.

You have obviously believed from the outset that Darwin’s “both sides of each question” referred to special creation and evolution. Clearly, I disagree with that interpretation, but I’m willing to put that disagreement aside.

However, if you truly believed that your interpretation was correct, then it was dishonest for you to use that quote in reference to the LSEA, legislation that you have argued “ONLY supports the concept of teaching strengths and weaknesses in evolution.”

Why can’t you see the inconsistency there?

What weaknesses are there in modern evolutionary theory?

A weakness would be a piece of definitely contradicting evidence with repeated attestation, or some real logical impossibility. Not a slur. Not an innuendo. Not an argument from ignorance or incredulity. Not something along the lines of “yes, but you can’t explain x”, unless x were actually contradictory, and not merely unexplained yet. Not a criticism of dating techniques, (real scientists do that much better) not a quote from some creationist blog, not a line or two lifted from an unwary real scientist. Not an observation that hasn’t been made, or hasn’t been made yet, but one that actually has been made, whose provenance is accurately cited, and which can be independently checked and confirmed. An actual weakness, based on actual data from actual observations that can be specified.

You won’t find any. None are known to exist, by anyone. FL is requiring the schools to teach vacuum.

FL said:

Cheryl and Jeremy have both linked to that LSEA, so by now you’ve all had time to read it. All of you are arguing against it – you don’t even realize that NOW you’re in the minority of Americans on this one; the overwhelming majority of Americans, in the most recent Zogby, say yes it’s time to embrace the LSEA’s concept of allowing “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.

You’re getting left behind, guys. At long last, you’re finally.…losing the game.

FL

Yet again, FL displays his misconception that science is rendered true or false by majority vote.

What kind of man thinks the future of actual knowledge under the threat of religious fundamentalism is a game?!?

FL:

Does it make you rub your hands together in petty sadistic glee to think there’s one more child who won’t learn the facts? That maybe you have a chance to convert one more innocent to your twisted, narrow, sectarian world view? That your poor persecuted (as if) minority might some day take over the most powerful military the world has ever known? Is that how your good book teaches you to behave? Just wondering, ‘cause from what I remember, the New Testament was all about “blessed are the meek” and “do unto others”, and “of these the greatest is Love”.

I guess I was wrong. Thanks for clearing that up.

fnxtr said:

I guess I was wrong. Thanks for clearing that up.

The more he prattles, the uglier he gets.

FL said:

Cheryl and Jeremy have both linked to that LSEA, so by now you’ve all had time to read it. All of you are arguing against it – you don’t even realize that NOW you’re in the minority of Americans on this one; the overwhelming majority of Americans, in the most recent Zogby, say yes it’s time to embrace the LSEA’s concept of allowing “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.

In fact, we do realize that we’re in the minority.

And I, for one, prefer to be in the minority that’s right than in the majority that’s wrong.

FL wrote:

“You’re getting left behind, guys. At long last, you’re finally.…losing the game.”

Waterloo! Waterloo! Waterloo!

Just keep saying it over and over FL. That will give real scientists anouther 150 years to gather a million more pieces of evidence that you can’t refute. Then we’ll really be in trouble!

Man I can’t wait until ID gets its fair day in court, then evolution will be destroyed for good. Oh wait … never mind.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on February 14, 2009 2:23 PM.

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