Happy 150th of the origin of The Origin!!

| 95 Comments

Exactly one-hundred and fifty years ago, on November 24, 1859, On the Origin of Species was published. Ever since then, some have been predicting the imminent demise of the theory of evolution. But it’s still here, and better than ever! Let’s make this an open thread, post links to the best Origin-related resources you’ve found, or whatever else you think is a milestone in the 150 years since 1859.

Here’s mine: The evolution of The Origin of Species. And take the National Geographic Darwin quiz.

95 Comments

I’m a biblical creationist and offer the link to Genesis in the bible. In it it gives the truth on basic boundaries in creation. Darwin strove to explain life and its origins and results by a idea. The origins was not witnessed and only the result. Taking minor selection deeds whether artificial or natural and expanding it to all iof life is a great conclusion. One needs great evidence, if science is claimed, great testing and not just plausible ideas that actually seem unlikely if one thinks about it.

Darwins great presumptions that he based much conclusions are were themselves non biological ideas. The presumptions behind the origin of fossil layers and biogeography ideas. He is right to not think piegans were put by a creator on each diffeent island but wrong to ignore a biblical flood which also said this. Datwins idea was accepted in small high circles because of a existing aggressive anti-protestant/Christian agenda. I also think they wanted a new exciting “law” like newton to explain things and being British didn’t hurt. Darwins ideas have not been greatly attacked by scholars of any number because it was always small circles. Smaller circles with suspicion to begin with upon entering science studies in school. Only today on all sides is darwin getting close scrunity. I predict the fall of Darwin and evolution of life from selection on mutation. From Canada with love. Happy Birthday. Yuck.

Happy birthday to the Origin of Species! At the Linnean Society meeting in London on Darwin’s 200th birthday, at the reception afterwards everyone sang “Happy Birthday” (there was also a big party at the Natural History Museum that evening, but I don’t know whether they sang the song there). We can’t sing this here as this is a blog, but that’s the only reason.

Common descent and natural selection are alive and well, and creationists who will not look at the evidence are still covering their eyes, sticking their fingers in their ears, and predicting the imminent collapse of evolution. That has been going on for a long time, as the excellent and hilarious web site that Nick points to makes clear.

Robert Byers, I love the way you lie and mangle the English language. Liars like you are why I left the church years ago. Keep up the good work.

I think the best thing since Darwin is the birth of the modern synthesis.

Congratulations to the late Darwin

Mr. Byers, you are nothing more (and could be nothing less) than a disgusting example of why Christianity, and religion generally, is a farcical mistake.

May you live to have a single idea that wasn’t scared or beaten into you when you were stupid, afraid, and vunerable.

[spit]

Get a job, you bum, you.

Thanks, Mr. Darwin, for a life of work, modesty, and as good a human life as I have heard anyone of having lived.

Anyone else here think that perhaps po’ Mr. B. (poe Mr. B.) has a bad case of Toidel envy? Methinks we see sompetition for a niche in our ecology here.

dpr

Robert Byers said:

I’m a biblical creationist and offer the link to Genesis in the bible. In it it gives the truth on basic boundaries in creation. … One needs great evidence, … great testing and not just plausible ideas that actually seem unlikely if one thinks about it.

Right. What great testing of the fairytale of Genesis have you done? Thinking about it, I find the claims made in Genesis most ridiculous, entirely impossible.

Robert Byers said:

I’m a biblical creationist and offer the link to Genesis in the bible.

Ahh, but which Genesis account?

In the “six-days” story of Genesis 1, first the earth formed animals, and then God formed men and women.

In the “Adam and Eve” story of Genesis 2, first God formed man, then God formed animals, and then God formed women.

These stories differ not only in sequence, but in who did the forming.

I didn’t know I shared a birthday with the publication of the Origin. Cool.

Enjoy.

150 years after the publication of “On the Origin of Species”, I think advances in genetics are causing major breakthroughs in our understanding of Darwin’s original species theory. While Darwin could not explain the internal mechanisms that the forces of natural selection acted on, he knew they were there. Today, we can find evidence to support Darwin’s theory in the genes of every living thing. By turning genes on and off, we can see that really small changes can cause major evolutionary milestones, from the development of jaws or limbs, to the ability to think logically and walk upright.

One of the best Darwin/Origin resources I’ve found on the web is “The Complete Works of Charles Darwin - Online” website, directed and edited by Dr. John van Wyhe, which can be found at http://darwin-online.org.uk/.

Happy “Origin” Day everyone!

Methinks he is a weasel.

I’m a biblical creationist and offer the link to Genesis in the bible. In it it gives the truth on basic boundaries in creation.

Robert Byers,

In Genesis 6 it says that the sons of God mated with human females and produced baby heroes (clearly an example of hybrid vigor). So are these male celestial beings and human females of the same kind?

Gotta admit, it’s nicely airtight. If God’s Word (my chosen interpretation) says so, no testing is required. If it’s not, no testing can be sufficient.

My observation has been, this approach is endemic throughout our culture. Since my opinion is correct, it need not be examined. Since yours differs, it cannot be correct (and supporting rationalizations need not be respected).

Perhaps our “here are the facts, memorize them” approach to education is doing us a disservice?

When I first read the comment from Mr. Byers, my first thought was “how pathetic”. Here’s a grown man (I assume) who can’t write a coherent sentence in his native tongue, and whose head is so filled with misconceptions and lies that it’s unlikely he’ll ever be able to think rationally. But I find it hard to direct my anger at him. Rather, I direct anger – and it truly is that, anger and frustrated fury – at the articulate purveyors of those lies, Morris and Gish and Behe and the like. They KNOW they’re lying. And it is on the backs of spear-carriers like Mr. Byers that we are being carried to theocracy, because that is the ultimate goal of creationists. They don’t really give a damn about Darwin, or biology, or evolution. They see that as the chink in the wall of rationalism, whose overthrow is their stated goal. They really don’t give a damn about Mr. Byers, either, or the legions of the misled who they rely on to make their dream come to pass, but hold in contempt as gullible dupes. Sorry, Mr. Byers, I don’t hate you, but you are a dupe.

Talkorigins.org, http://www.talkorigins.org is a valuable site for quickly looking up fundie claims and refuting them.

The creos haven’t updated most of their lies and fallacies in centuries so talkorigins has most of them with the real information.

I first started paying attention to creationists when I met a wild eyed old guy who claimed that humans couldn’t be related to apes because

1. humans have a 4 chambered heart while apes have a 3 chambered heart,… 2. only humans have color vision,… 3. only apes have muscles in their feet.

I knew this was wrong since both apes and humans share the same heart, eyes, and foot muscles but looking it up took me a whole 15 minutes.

byers is the latest example of “lack or” intelligent design.

oops “lack of” intelligent design

“The proportion of the [American] population that can be classified as Christian has declined from 86% in 1990 to 77% in 2001.” ARIS Study.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.html

“whatever else you think is a milestone in the 150 years since 1859.”

Here is an interesting data point. The fundie war on the USA and science has had a side effect. Xianity in the USA is shaking itself apart. Making believing lies and mythology are real as a litmus test worked both ways.

Between 1 and 2 million people leave the xian religion every year in the USA. With present trends, the creationists will eventually lose. It remains to be seen whether they will take us down with them.

Sorry Byers, but there is much more proof to support the existence of Klingon Cosmology than there is to substantiate your Biblical fairy tale.

Let’s all raise a toast to honor Darwin’s life and work and of course to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the initial publication of his elegant treatise on behalf of biological evolution and of the Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection, “On the Origin of Species”. I am amazed that so much that Darwin thought of in his work has been substantiated by modern evolutionary biology, and that, for these reasons, his book remains quite relevant on this very day.

Flint -

My observation has been, this approach is endemic throughout our culture. Since my opinion is correct, it need not be examined. Since yours differs, it cannot be correct (and supporting rationalizations need not be respected).

Yes, this is a good summary of the authoritarian mode of thinking. There appears to be some overlap with narcissism or grandiosity, at least in the sense that all others, regardless of credibility or expertise, are disdained if they critique rigid opinion in any way.

It is certainly common in US and Canadian society, the only societies I have lived in extensively.

Perhaps our “here are the facts, memorize them” approach to education is doing us a disservice?

When I first encountered creationism, I thought that some creationists might be sincere people - perhaps people with a strong emotional attachment to the positive side of a traditional religion, struggling with a crisis of faith, or something like that. I quickly learned that “sympathetic” interpretations mis-predict creationist behavior.

Now I model them this way -

1) They hold some set of biases. The set of biases may include a view of themselves as a “genius” or special person.

2) They have adopted some suitably vague source of authority - “the Bible” in the case of most ID/Creationists.

3) They argue that the source of authority is unequivocal and literal, while actually indulging in interpretation.

4) Their interpretation always exactly fits their biases.

5) Extremely severe punishment for those who look or behave in a way that is offensive to their biases is an implied or explicit goal. The most severe offense is to question their authority.

6) However, they may and probably often do see themselves as exempt from their own rules, because of their specialness.

7) The only acceptable response from others is praise for them and their system, and scorn for their critics. This is their other implied or explicit goal - that they themselves be praised.

8) They are, obviously, eager to present their system as the “official truth” in schools.

9) They are highly willing to use deception (even seeming to prefer it) and accept incremental results.

10) They are adept at allying themselves with others of similar bent, and will always view the advocate of rational science as the main enemy.

11) They have no interest whatsoever in evidence based critique of elements of their system - in fact, that is the worst thing they can imagine. They will always attempt to suppress, distort, or hide from their followers any such critique. They do not perceive “the truth” as being related to objective evidence - they have a rigid system which reinforces their biases. That is their truth.

12) They project their own traits onto others. They see all evidence presented by science as “interpretation” designed to be consistent with a hidden set of biases. For this reason, it is essentially impossible to “convince” them.

13) They may and perhaps frequently do switch from one authoritarian system to another, but simply are not able to adopt any type of reasoning method that could threaten to interact with their biases in any way other by reinforcing them.

Heh, here’s a great one Dembski made back when the Origin was just 145 years old:

“In the next five years, molecular Darwinism – the idea that Darwinian processes can produce complex molecular structures at the subcellular level – will be dead. When that happens, evolutionary biology will experience a crisis of confidence because evolutionary biology hinges on the evolution of the right molecules. I therefore foresee a Taliban-style collapse of Darwinism in the next ten years.” William Dembski, “The Measure of Design: A conversation about the past, present & future of Darwinism and Design.” Touchstone, 17(6), pp. 60-65. July/August 2004. p. 64.

Here’s a milestone: A media report on the evolution/creationism controversy from a reporter that actually studied the situation and quotes knowledgeable people in full. NPR Morning Edition this morning: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/[…]Id=120692695

Flint said: Perhaps our “here are the facts, memorize them” approach to education is doing us a disservice?

Slightly less of a disservice though than the “Forget the facts. You are the scientist. Come to your own conclusion equally as valid as anyone else’s.”

These are good points, but my (infallible) view differs in some respects.

Now I model them this way -

1) They hold some set of biases. The set of biases may include a view of themselves as a “genius” or special person.

Those I’ve met mostly regard themselves as enlightened, saved, having see the Light. Not special or genius, just fortunate.

2) They have adopted some suitably vague source of authority - “the Bible” in the case of most ID/Creationists.

Our understanding of reality (our authority) is often vague. The difference is, ours changes based on evidence and theirs changes based on cultural needs.

3) They argue that the source of authority is unequivocal and literal, while actually indulging in interpretation.

Much of which consists of very selective reading. Context seems to play little role in their interpretation.

4) Their interpretation always exactly fits their biases.

In all the trillions of prayers, their god has never once to my knowledge told any supplicant that his opinion is wrong. The underlying methodology is consistent with all we see: the emotional needs come first, and “evidence” (whether from self-serving interpretation of carefully selected passages or even from reality) is whatever supports those needs. So interpretation fitting biases is a necessary result of making interpretation fit biases. The biases dictate the interpretation.

5) Extremely severe punishment for those who look or behave in a way that is offensive to their biases is an implied or explicit goal. The most severe offense is to question their authority.

A necessary by-product of the One True Faith. In the business of saving souls, the consequences for the misguided are so catastrophic (eternal damnation) as to justify any means.

6) However, they may and probably often do see themselves as exempt from their own rules, because of their specialness.

Maybe not. If the ends justify any means, use them. Still, for most people short-term goals trump principles. Catholics get as many abortions as anyone else. As I see it, they key is sincerity of faith. Once you truly Believe, the behavioral details become much less important.

7) The only acceptable response from others is praise for them and their system, and scorn for their critics. This is their other implied or explicit goal - that they themselves be praised.

Again, the One True Faith. Also the felt need for cultural homogeneity. Where everyone agrees, there is no conflict. Where everyone agrees and is also pious, the rewards are enormous. The challenge is to eliminate conflict in ways that do not cause conflict.

8) They are, obviously, eager to present their system as the “official truth” in schools.

Well, cultural norms are another form of “official truth” and often as arbitrary. And those norms, from wearing clothes to good table manners, are enforced fairly religiously.

9) They are highly willing to use deception (even seeming to prefer it) and accept incremental results.

Where realty refutes doctrine, deception (even of oneself) is unavoidable. Yet if doctrine is wrong, what is Truth? The way I see it, you’re looking at the far end of a normal curve.

10) They are adept at allying themselves with others of similar bent, and will always view the advocate of rational science as the main enemy.

I think most of them accept most of science, in a way. They are most offended by scientific theory that violates religiously-defined emotional needs. And of course, the methods of science are necessarily incomprehensible to them.

11) They have no interest whatsoever in evidence based critique of elements of their system - in fact, that is the worst thing they can imagine. They will always attempt to suppress, distort, or hide from their followers any such critique. They do not perceive “the truth” as being related to objective evidence - they have a rigid system which reinforces their biases. That is their truth.

Cultural truths are very different from scientific truths. Like ships in the night, we always talk past one another. Scientific evidence is simply irrelevant to cultural truths. Both sides think they are correct on the merits, but what each side regards as a merit is completely incompatible.

12) They project their own traits onto others. They see all evidence presented by science as “interpretation” designed to be consistent with a hidden set of biases. For this reason, it is essentially impossible to “convince” them.

This, again, emerges from the difference between the scientific and the religious/cultural methods. The first draws conclusions from evidence, the second draws evidence from conclusions. We’re always baffled why they can’t change their position in light of overwhelming evidence. But in fact, from their view if it fails to support their beliefs, it simply is not evidence.

13) They may and perhaps frequently do switch from one authoritarian system to another, but simply are not able to adopt any type of reasoning method that could threaten to interact with their biases in any way other by reinforcing them.

This is common beyond a narrow religious perspective. I’ve talked with people who simply can’t understand how scientific research proceeds in principle. If scientists don’t already know the answers, how can they possibly know if their research results are correct? They could be wrong and not know it. The notion of living in a world where everything is tentative, questionable, subject to change without notice is terrifying to them. They “know” that nobody can really do this, so science must be some sort of charade.

An interesting press summary on the 150th anniversary:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091124[…]_anniversary

And Darwin’s orignial manuscripts are being published online:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience[…]aftsgoonline

Some useful resources for the origins of the theory;

The Darwin Publications on line http://darwin-online.org.uk/

Darwin’s correspondence on line http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/comp[…]ge/Itemid,1/

The Huxley Files http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/

First, the on-topic part: personally I used Project Gutenberg to read the 6th Ed. of OOS (as well as Descent of Man and other books). Its just plain text but it gets the job done.

Flint said: Perhaps our “here are the facts, memorize them” approach to education is doing us a disservice?

I think you may be doing a slight disservice to our educators. I think they do try and impart methodology and critical analysis to our kids, but oftentimes the kids don’t retain it. A good teacher can walk the kids through a good gravitational force measurement lab replete with lessons on methodology and data analysis, and yet the only thing most of the kids will retain a week later is “gravity is 9.8 m/s^2.” The lessons about methodolgy, approach, etc… will be completely lost.

My theory is that it is much harder for immature folk to retain abstract lessons than concrete lessons, so when you give them a lesson that has both, they latch on to the concrete part and remember only that. This means even good educators have to work very hard to get the abstract lesson across, and blame should not be placed entirely on their shoulders when they fail.

What’s wrong with contempt for stupidity? Apparently you don’t know much about science or scientists beyond what you learned from “Star Trek.”

headliner said:

Lots of emotion here.… I didn’t think there was a place for emotion in science… it might skew the results.… wouldn’t it be a “tragedy” if the results didn’t match your theory (with apologies to the CRU)

Rob said:

Robert,

If you go to Google Maps and select satellite view and look at the Atlantic Ocean you will see an underwater mountain range down the center. Submarines have visited the mountain range and found volcanoes that are erupting new ocean sea floor. The volcanoes of Iceland are part of this mountain range. You will notice the slopes of mountains drop smoothly to the west and east. They drop smoothly because the rock cools as it moves away from the active volcanic zone and contracts. (1) The east and west slopes of these mountains confirms the growth of the Atlantic has been smooth and continuous at about 1 inch per year for ~180,000,000 years. (2) In addition, the thickness of the ocean sediment increases smoothly away from the center of the Atlantic and is consistent with a continuous slow expansion. (3) Finally only young fossils are found in the thin sediments near the center of the Atlantic, while away from the center older and older fossils are found at the base of the sediments. All off this evidence is consistent with the modern GPS measurements of the growth of the Atlantic Ocean by ~1 inch per year and an old Earth.

Rob

This is common info in any textbook on PT. In fact these splits happened quickly (within the flood year) and simply the last act of the movement accounts for a decrease in thickness at the source.

The fossils thing is rejected by us as indicating anything but a picture at the time of the death of the creature and its world. There is no sequence here but only evidence of local areas overcome by sediment.

To me the great split in the ocean is a beautiful sign of a sudden separation everywhere of a united land mass being torn apart. As I said this is a boon to biblical creationism because it teaches us and everyone about a solid fact of earth history. We see continental drift as continental redeye. It explains why the land looks like it does and the origin of sedimentary rock that covers 80% of the dry land. indeed the great collections of sediment/life is easily explained from the great waterpressure from the moving continents even if it took up to a year. It probably was very quick.

Richard Simons said:

Robert Byers said:

It does seem to me general critics of evolution know more, and most, then the general defenders of evolution and so are more effective before open minded audiences.

I’ve never yet met a critic of the theory of evolution who could actually describe the theory. I’ve never met a critic of the theory of evolution who could clearly describe their alternative theory. Would you care to prove me wrong on either account (remember, at a minimum you need to specify which of the two Genesis versions you prefer)?

One needs a real purpose here for such heavy subjects. We start from a witness about basic boundaries. Then we take on criticisms of these basics. Evolution is one of them.

You’re one to talk, Robert Byers.

Oh, wait, did I say “talk,” I mean babble and drone incoherently.

You idiotically demonstrate that you don’t know the basics of biology, geology, or any other science, or even US history and law.

bubba likes them boiled goatherders

christ this guy is still around? he and chunkdz should get a room.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 24, 2009 3:41 AM.

NSF’s “The Evolution of Evolution” was the previous entry in this blog.

Darwin reflects on man’s ancestry 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