Nine anti-science bills in seven states

| 233 Comments

According to a recent tally by the ever-vigilant National Center for Science Education, nine anti-science bills have been introduced in various states since January. Most of them use the “critical analysis” ploy, also known as the “strengths and weaknesses” ploy. Some bills specifically state that teachers may not be penalized in any manner for “helping” students to understand the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. Most recently, the Tennessee House passed a bill that would allow teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review … the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.” By an odd coincidence, the scientific theories with which students evidently need the most help include evolution, global warming, origin of life, and human cloning, just those topics which so bemuse the extreme right. Where, you may ask, is homeopathy or “alternative” medicine, subjects that are desperately in need of critical analysis? Certainly not singled out in any of the bills. You may read more details and find relevant links at the NCSE website.

233 Comments

Well I guess that if teachers are being encouraged to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory of evolution, then they should have no objections to the strengths of evolution being in the science standards. They should have no objection to the strengths of evolution being tested on standardized tests. They should have no objection to their students being required to learn and understand all of the evidence from multipole independent fields, including some that require graduate level understanding of biology.

Man this is great. Now they will have to spend the entire four years of high school teaching nothing but the strengths of evolution. They can address the weaknesses in the last week, because by the then the students will understand the theory well enough to address those. Somehow, I don’t think that students armed with so much knowledge about the theory of evolution are going to fall for any creationist bull crap.

Can anybody help me understand why “human cloning” would be included among “theories”?

The only thing I can think of is like this: Some things we don’t like (evolution, AGW) are “only theories”, therefore “theory” means something bad. So anything else we don’t like (human cloning) must be a theory, too.

Just Bob said:

Can anybody help me understand why “human cloning” would be included among “theories”?

The only thing I can think of is like this: Some things we don’t like (evolution, AGW) are “only theories”, therefore “theory” means something bad. So anything else we don’t like (human cloning) must be a theory, too.

… which means that, like evolution and AGW, human cloning is impossible. (Which means that no one needs to worry about outlawing it or opposing it, as it can’t happen anyway).

Or we can try the opposite view. Maybe human cloning is acknowledged by them to be possible, in which case so are AGW and evolution. And what needs to be taught in schools is that we should not urge the earth to warm, and we should stop advocating that species evolve (the species might be listening).

Of course there is the small chance, isn’t there, that the legislators don’t have any idea what they are doing!

If any of them demonstrated an ability to actually do critical analysis–for instance, tackling the easy task of demolishing ID–one might think that they actually cared about proper critiques.

Since, however, their “critical analysis” involves throwing as many fallacies and falsehoods at evolution as they can and hoping that at least some might stick (legitimately or otherwise), one is dubious of their stated intentions.

Glen Davidson

According to the creationist dictionary:

Theory: something that can’t be proven, so it can’t be true. At least we hope it isn’t true because we don’t want it to be true. And even if it is true, we hope no one will ever find out. And if they do find out, we’ll just claim it isn’t true.

To this end, the dishonesty institute is getting more public exposure, their people are appearing in the media on the conservative talk shows, without rebuttal of course, and as pointed out it’s playing out in the state legislatures. Recently John West of the dishonesty institute gave a talk to the Faith & Law group in Washing DC whose mission is: “Faith & Law is a volunteer, nonprofit organization that helps congressional staff better understand the implications of the Christian worldview for their calling to the public square, through monthly lectures, bi-monthly reading groups, and the semi-annual “Great Objects Day” conference.”

Better understand? So they are now infiltrating on the state AND federal levels to promote creationism and are finding a warm reception. I posted (w/video clip) on another item regarding Mike Huckabee’s ststement that everyone should be forced, at gunpoint if necessary, to listen to David Barton, the pseudo-historian, attack on the U.S. and how America was founded as a Christian nation (re the TBOE history standards).

Again, I think what is happening is the scientific establishment is not aggressively countering these attacks.

The next few years could be very active ones for opponents of public school creationism.

We have the disastrous situation in this country the evolution denial has become an obsessive priority of a substantial subset of one of the two major parties.

We also have a supreme court which has signaled its commitment to making its decisions on the ground of ideology, regardless of either strong precedent or overwhelming public opposition. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy[…]1701151.html. Fortunately, only four members of the SCOTUS are fully committed in this way, although Kennedy seems to be joining the club. However, Justice Ginsberg is known to have health problems, and could be replaced with a far right ideologue in the event of, say, a Huckabee administration.

harold said:

The next few years could be very active ones for opponents of public school creationism.

We have the disastrous situation in this country the evolution denial has become an obsessive priority of a substantial subset of one of the two major parties.

We also have a supreme court which has signaled its commitment to making its decisions on the ground of ideology, regardless of either strong precedent or overwhelming public opposition. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy[…]1701151.html. Fortunately, only four members of the SCOTUS are fully committed in this way, although Kennedy seems to be joining the club. However, Justice Ginsberg is known to have health problems, and could be replaced with a far right ideologue in the event of, say, a Huckabee administration.

It may also turn into an opportunity to once and for all show the true face of the so-called “Christianity” behind the ID/creationist movement.

There is now a complete history of repeated, bald-face lying on the part of ID/creationists that goes back at least into the 1970s and before.

What needs to happen is for teachers and organizations within the science community to compile an easily-read table or booklet of those lies, who propagated those lies, and what real science actually says regarding the subjects those lies are about. ID/creationist misconceptions and misrepresentations must be clearly contrasted with the real concepts from science.

Teachers and scientists should be combing the websites of the ICR, AiG, and the DI and compiling everything they can find there and documenting all of it before ID/creationists can get rid of it or hide it.

And it shouldn’t stop there. ID/creationists need to have their faces continually ground into those lies every time they attempt to dissemble, every time they claim to speak from “authority,” and every time they attempt to bully. The names of these people need to be publicized and associated with those lies in a way that no one can ever mistake.

ID/creationists should never be allowed to simply assert “from authority.” They need to be nailed every time. The hypocrisy of their “religion” needs to be constantly highlighted.

We know they will try to retaliate by propagating more lies; but we also know that they always get scientific concepts and evidence wrong. They can either be portrayed as being incorrigibly stupid or incorrigibly dishonest. The fact that they never learn real science, or that they game the system in order to acquire letters after their names in order to appear “authoritative,” can also be highlighted.

It’s the way they operate that needs to be emphasized. That is best done by contrasting what they do and say with the best possible articulation of reality that we can muster.

There is no question that, if placed in such a situation by such stupid laws, teachers can and should make ID/creationist pseudo-science look as stupid as it actually is. And by the time it is over, ID/creationists would be screaming for teachers and the scientific community to stop. And we should not stop.

After nearly 50 years of this crap, I personally have no more patience with these bastards; they can and should be taken down hard. And we don’t even have to be nasty about it; the lying and the behaviors of the ID/creationists speak for themselves.

I have been writing editorials, and letters plus making newspaper forum comments for weeks- all to no avail.

Tennessee schools is gonna be grate!

Gary Hurd said:

I have been writing editorials, and letters plus making newspaper forum comments for weeks- all to no avail.

I and several others have managed to shut them up for a while in our community in the past when we replied to their crap in the letters to the editor of our local paper.

However, I think that kind of response just drives them underground until they see political opportunity. And we are currently in a time of political opportunity for them. And they actually seek the popular media rather than peer review because they gain stature by getting a free ride on the responses from real scientists.

There are a number of nice templates already available for what I was suggesting in my earlier comment. However, I think they need to be carried much farther. The science and teaching communities need to have an easily accessible handbook of the specific misconceptions and mischaracterizations of ID/creationists contrasted with the actual concepts in science. Maybe it could be “A Handbook of Pseudo-Science and its Tactics,” or “The Misconceptions and Misrepresentations by Pseudo-Science.”

Such a handbook would not only stimulate better pedagogical techniques for getting scientific concepts across, but would also provide a documented history of ID/creationist distortions of science over the years. It would also provide a foil against which to contrast the activities of pseudo-science with those of science.

As long as ID/creationists continue to be political pests, that kind of activity can be used against them. They are too cowardly to actually step into the crucible of real scientific peer review, choosing instead to engage in all sorts of socio/political activities in attempting to game the system.

I would add that such a handbook could also benefit from the research that has been done in cognitive development. ID/creationist followers almost universally show very strong evidence of arrested cognitive development in many areas. There could be sections in such a handbook of what is required in the way of cognitive development for certain kinds of scientific concepts to be understood by students.

I would also predict that these pseudo-scientists would put out an imitation handbook. That would be hilariously funny.

But I really do think that the science and teaching communities need to more actively address these kinds of issues. There are powerful political forces trying to keep people cowed and ignorant; and one can be sure they are using every well-studied socio/political tactic available to them.

And they don’t hesitate to use stealth tactics as part of their overall strategy. So I have no queasiness about seeing them taken down by nobodies coming out of nowhere.

The science and teaching communities need to have an easily accessible handbook of the specific misconceptions and mischaracterizations of ID/creationists contrasted with the actual concepts in science.

It exists and has also been published in book form. I wrote material linking pseudoscience to religious claims here, before the ascendancy descendancy of intelligent-design creationism and updated it here. And that does not count Why Intelligent Design Fails, an edited anthology. The problem is getting the material out.

The irony in all this, is that this assault on eduction will drive away the very people necessary for the US to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy. So, if they get their victory, it’ll be Pyrrhic and they can join the vast majority of Muslims in religious-induced ignorance and its associated poverty.

The bill doesn’t seem like anti-science to me, or anti-evolution.

More like freedom to teach, research, and to learn.

If science can achieve a certain level to the extent where there are rights and wrongs then these should be explained and the reasons why it is right or wrong. There is an amount of ethics to be taken into consideration with some research and subjects; also there can be too many restrictions. Some time for discussion is good.

For me there is sense in this bill.

The bill doesn’t seem like anti-science to me, or anti-evolution.

More like freedom to teach, research, and to learn.

Except that this exact situation has existed for centuries. Why suddenly emphasize what hasn’t changed, AND point specifically to areas of science that offend the religious right?

At the high school level, the science being presented is nowhere near state of the art, it is all thoroughly established, uncontested, endlessly examined, standard stuff. None of it is remotely “wrong”.

So at best, these bills would alter nothing whatsoever. What’s so great about passing useless bills? Do we detect any disingenuousness here?

Marilyn said:

The bill doesn’t seem like anti-science to me, or anti-evolution.

More like freedom to teach, research, and to learn.

If science can achieve a certain level to the extent where there are rights and wrongs then these should be explained and the reasons why it is right or wrong. There is an amount of ethics to be taken into consideration with some research and subjects; also there can be too many restrictions. Some time for discussion is good.

For me there is sense in this bill.

Oh, how tiresome.

The bills are not intended to promote skepticism, instead being created (so to speak) to push pseudoskepticism: “I’m just an impartial critic, only interested in the truth – I don’t have a dog in the fight.”

“Then it seems very odd that you are performing a hatchet job on the white dog while completely ignoring the black dog.”

Matt Young said:

The science and teaching communities need to have an easily accessible handbook of the specific misconceptions and mischaracterizations of ID/creationists contrasted with the actual concepts in science.

It exists and has also been published in book form. I wrote material linking pseudoscience to religious claims here, before the ascendancy descendancy of intelligent-design creationism and updated it here. And that does not count Why Intelligent Design Fails, an edited anthology. The problem is getting the material out.

There was a Talk Origins iPod app at one point, but (IIRC) it foundered on copyright issues. Is there any update to that? Thanks.

Matt Young said:

The science and teaching communities need to have an easily accessible handbook of the specific misconceptions and mischaracterizations of ID/creationists contrasted with the actual concepts in science.

It exists and has also been published in book form. I wrote material linking pseudoscience to religious claims here, before the ascendancy descendancy of intelligent-design creationism and updated it here. And that does not count Why Intelligent Design Fails, an edited anthology. The problem is getting the material out.

I have the book you and Taner Edis wrote. I bought it when it first came out; and it is an excellent book.

And I had forgotten about the Counter-Creationism Handbook which I hope will continue to be updated and kept in publication.

Thanks for the reminder; I am now going to go purchase one for myself.

In looking over the TalkOrigins Archive, I think the Counter-Creationism Handbook could be strengthened by adding supplemental material from the divisions of the various scientific teaching organizations that deal with common conceptual problems (e.g., the Physics Education Research community).

Since the ID/creationists have a 40+ year history of misdirection in the face of repeated attempts at correction by members of the scientific community, we also know that their misconceptions and misrepresentations are crafted within the offices of their propaganda organizations. By now they must certainly know they are deliberately misrepresenting science.

So the supplemental material on concepts could also highlight the deliberate socio/political tactics that ID/creationists use to bend concepts to agree with sectarian dogma and attempt to deceive the public.

I’m not for letting ID/creationists off the hook in any way. Their socio/political tactics damn them at least as much as their misrepresentations of science and religion.

Marilyn said:

The bill doesn’t seem like anti-science to me, or anti-evolution.

More like freedom to teach, research, and to learn.

If science can achieve a certain level to the extent where there are rights and wrongs then these should be explained and the reasons why it is right or wrong. There is an amount of ethics to be taken into consideration with some research and subjects; also there can be too many restrictions. Some time for discussion is good.

For me there is sense in this bill.

So you would be all in favor of having really knowledgeable teachers thoroughly and devastatingly giving ID/creationism the debunking it deserves?

It can be done, you know.

Except that this exact situation has existed for centuries. Why suddenly emphasize what hasn’t changed, AND point specifically to areas of science that offend the religious right?

At the high school level, the science being presented is nowhere near state of the art, it is all thoroughly established, uncontested, endlessly examined, standard stuff. None of it is remotely “wrong”.

So at best, these bills would alter nothing whatsoever. What’s so great about passing useless bills? Do we detect any disingenuousness here?

Exactly Flint.

I keep putting this point to YECs.

So where do you critique science ? I would have thought post grad level (i.e. as part of a thesis for a PhD for example), not primary and post primary school level. That is the level were you learn science, not critique it

Peter Henderson said: That is the level were you learn science, not critique it

As has been pointed out, peer review should not be performed by 14-year-olds.

The bell curve is alive and well, i.e., most people are not intelligent enuf to understand evolution, nor do they desire to do so. One of the reasons is the fundamental basis of religion, and that is fear. Here’s an interesting perspective on the topic and why it’s so difficult to overcome:

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

Mike Elzinga said:

harold said:

The next few years could be very active ones for opponents of public school creationism.

We have the disastrous situation in this country the evolution denial has become an obsessive priority of a substantial subset of one of the two major parties.

We also have a supreme court which has signaled its commitment to making its decisions on the ground of ideology, regardless of either strong precedent or overwhelming public opposition. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy[…]1701151.html. Fortunately, only four members of the SCOTUS are fully committed in this way, although Kennedy seems to be joining the club. However, Justice Ginsberg is known to have health problems, and could be replaced with a far right ideologue in the event of, say, a Huckabee administration.

It may also turn into an opportunity to once and for all show the true face of the so-called “Christianity” behind the ID/creationist movement.

There is now a complete history of repeated, bald-face lying on the part of ID/creationists that goes back at least into the 1970s and before.

What needs to happen is for teachers and organizations within the science community to compile an easily-read table or booklet of those lies, who propagated those lies, and what real science actually says regarding the subjects those lies are about. ID/creationist misconceptions and misrepresentations must be clearly contrasted with the real concepts from science.

Teachers and scientists should be combing the websites of the ICR, AiG, and the DI and compiling everything they can find there and documenting all of it before ID/creationists can get rid of it or hide it.

And it shouldn’t stop there. ID/creationists need to have their faces continually ground into those lies every time they attempt to dissemble, every time they claim to speak from “authority,” and every time they attempt to bully. The names of these people need to be publicized and associated with those lies in a way that no one can ever mistake.

ID/creationists should never be allowed to simply assert “from authority.” They need to be nailed every time. The hypocrisy of their “religion” needs to be constantly highlighted.

We know they will try to retaliate by propagating more lies; but we also know that they always get scientific concepts and evidence wrong. They can either be portrayed as being incorrigibly stupid or incorrigibly dishonest. The fact that they never learn real science, or that they game the system in order to acquire letters after their names in order to appear “authoritative,” can also be highlighted.

It’s the way they operate that needs to be emphasized. That is best done by contrasting what they do and say with the best possible articulation of reality that we can muster.

There is no question that, if placed in such a situation by such stupid laws, teachers can and should make ID/creationist pseudo-science look as stupid as it actually is. And by the time it is over, ID/creationists would be screaming for teachers and the scientific community to stop. And we should not stop.

After nearly 50 years of this crap, I personally have no more patience with these bastards; they can and should be taken down hard. And we don’t even have to be nasty about it; the lying and the behaviors of the ID/creationists speak for themselves.

I completely endorse your statements Mike and I wish that PT would set such an example by not bending over backwards to please every delusional creo who drives by here or to censor comments about leading creo deviants like Bill Dembski for example, provided that such comments do not call for or condone bodily injury or murder to such deviants.

DavidK said:

The bell curve is alive and well, i.e., most people are not intelligent enuf to understand evolution, nor do they desire to do so. One of the reasons is the fundamental basis of religion, and that is fear. Here’s an interesting perspective on the topic and why it’s so difficult to overcome:

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

Excuse me, but most people are plenty intelligent enough to understand evolution. They have no difficulty at all understanding dog breeds and many other examples of evolution in action. The reason they don’t understand evolution is that they’ve been lied to and lied to and lied to and LIED to by the creationists until they don’t know which end is up.

If Marilyn, above, is sincere, and not just another vicious bunko artist from the Discovery Institute, she probably really believes the theory of evolution has some basic problems kids ought to know about. The reality, that a bunch of completely immoral con artists are hiding behind the American constitution to pull a cynical scam– and deliberately harming millions of schoolchildren in the process– probably never entered her head.

If you add that salient fact into your reckoning, ignore the lies cranked out endlessly by the creationists, and just teach the basics of evolutionary theory, easily 90% of the kids in America could get it with no problem. But, of course, an educated public that can see through their flimflam is exactly what the creationist bunko artists don’t want.

I agree with hoary puccoon (there’s something very satisfying about saying that). Evolution does not require high intelligence to understand. Sure the extremely advanced theoretical aspects are hard – but that’s true of everything.

The problem is not a lack of intelligence in the community, it’s the lack of critical thinking skills due to unrelenting lies from creationists and right-wing ideologues.

Gary Hurd said: I have been writing editorials, and letters plus making newspaper forum comments for weeks- all to no avail.

I have been writing the occasional Letter to the Editor for the last 35 or 40 years, and making on-line forum comments for at least ten years. I do not think it has been to no avail. We must continue to hold creationists’ toes to the fire. Do not give up, or they win.

For “whats happening “ in Florida regarding SB 1854, please stay tuned to the Florida Citizens for Science Web site http://www.flascience.org/wp/ Teaching whatever you want in high school, to include unscientific, religious materials in science classes because it will foster critical thinking skills? give me a break. Jonathan Smith VP Florida Citizens for Science

Paul Burnett said:

Gary Hurd said: I have been writing editorials, and letters plus making newspaper forum comments for weeks- all to no avail.

I have been writing the occasional Letter to the Editor for the last 35 or 40 years, and making on-line forum comments for at least ten years. I do not think it has been to no avail. We must continue to hold creationists’ toes to the fire. Do not give up, or they win.

Agreed, we can’t lose hope, especially since public opinion seems to be shifting toward acceptance of biological evolution (finally), based on recent opinion polling. We must continue to expose creationists for being the mendacious intellectual pornographers that they are (Sorry Matt, but I believe it is apt to describe creationists via the very term I have coined.) and to explain their sordid - and ongoing - history of gross distortions, lies, and even outright theft to the public. Otherwise, if we fail to remain vigilant, then they will prevail.

At the high school level, the science being presented is nowhere near state of the art, it is all thoroughly established, uncontested, endlessly examined, standard stuff. None of it is remotely “wrong”.

Well, that statement is clearly wrong. Primordial soup, anyone?

You think that Ken Miller is not a Christian because he’s Catholic.

And that’s just ONE of the more blatant falsehoods on the table. So let’s work with it.

(I didn’t even mention Miller’s Catholicism in my previous posts. Sheesh, you guys.)

Remedial Logic 101:

At the ATBC debate, I openly said that the Pope was a Christian. Challenging Quiz Question: Is the Pope Catholic?

If your TI-89 calculations indicate that the answer is “Yes”, then is Miller’s membership in a Catholic parish sufficient to eliminate him from being a Christian? (Be sure to say “Yes” or “No” directly.)

FL

FL said:

You think that Ken Miller is not a Christian because he’s Catholic.

And that’s just ONE of the more blatant falsehoods on the table. So let’s work with it.

(I didn’t even mention Miller’s Catholicism in my previous posts. Sheesh, you guys.)

Remedial Logic 101:

At the ATBC debate, I openly said that the Pope was a Christian. Challenging Quiz Question: Is the Pope Catholic?

If your TI-89 calculations indicate that the answer is “Yes”, then is Miller’s membership in a Catholic parish sufficient to eliminate him from being a Christian? (Be sure to say “Yes” or “No” directly.)

FL

Perfect, then you admit that the first point of your notion is incorrect. Excellent. Thanks.

BTW: You gonna do anything about that lesson plan? I mean, I asked you about it almost two years ago. Surely you could knock one out in a few mintues. Thanks.

In any case, Mayr is not talking about science here…

Oh, but yes Mayr is. DIRECTLY.

First, Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically.

Seems clear enough.

FL

FL said:

In any case, Mayr is not talking about science here…

Oh, but yes Mayr is. DIRECTLY.

First, Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically.

Seems clear enough.

FL

But that’s not what you quoted FL. You quoted this:

“It no longer requires God as creator or designer (although one is certainly still free to believe in God even if one accepts evolution).”

–Ernst Mayr, SciAm July 2000.

Which supports what I said exactly. That statement from SciAm July 2000. Is an opinion. See where he says “one is certain stillf ree to believe in God…”

Now, the reason, and you should know this because I’ve told you it before, that science rejects supernaturalism is that science can’t test for or observe or measure supernatural causes.

Note that I said ‘causes’. We are perfectly capable of measuring and observing supernatural effects. And none have ever been found.

That was a good try at moving the goal post, but it didn’t work… as usual.

And anyway, if you accept those statements by Mayr, why don’t you accept the statements he says that are backed up by evidence? Oh that’s right, you cherry-pick the things you want to hear and things that you think support you. Even after two years you haven’t figured that out. It’s funny, yet sad.

Now about that lesson plan that can teach ID…

FL is throwing his usual temper tantrum by trying to hassle the adults who keep nailing him. It’s his “True Christian” Nature brought to him by his “Salvation.” Nobody wants it.

If he wants to trash the house, he should be locked in the Bathroom Wall where he can crap away all he wants.

This thread is pretty much brain-dead; pull the plug.

This thread is pretty much brain-dead; pull the plug.

Yes; I will send further comments by or about the FL troll to the Wall. Just in case anyone has anything else to say, I will leave the thread open for a while.

In the future, please remember my wise father’s dictum, if you argue with a jerk, then soon there are 2 jerks having an argument, and try not to feed the trolls.

Thanks Matt.

Matt Young said: … try not to feed the trolls.

Ah, but some people feel it is their mission in life and there is no stopping them. The urge is admittedly strong; I do it on occasion, even though all my experience shows it to be a bad idea.

Trolls seek attention; lacking any ability to inspire applause, they have no other option but to provoke derision, obtaining an ego boost out of their return fire.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Here is the consequence of legislating “critical thinking”, indeed a euphemism for injecting creationism into public school classrooms:

It leads to self-contradiction a la IBIG, who said, “THEORY OF (COMMON DESCENT) EVOLUTION is a LIE!!!” (Sept. 14, 2011, old BW303)

Then said, “Life only comes from life” meaning life is a magical elixir given from ‘First Life’ who is eternal, refuting phhht who said, “Once there was no life. Now there is life. QED” (Sept. 8, 2010, old BW288). So all life on Earth is the descendant of First Life. Thus Common Descent (from First Life) is fact.

So how can Common Descent be both lie and fact? This is IBIG’s Law of the Excluded Middle.

You can’t have it both ways, IBIG. Either Common Descent is fact, or it is lie. Which is it?

You can’t have it both ways, IBIG. Either Common Descent is fact, or it is lie. Which is it?

Ah, you have incorrectly decoded IBIG’s complaint. You must learn to speak better creationist.

To the True Creationist™, “evolution” is a code word emcompassing everything creationists disagree with. This includes common descent, but it also includes biogenesis, the big bang, geological time, evolution above the subspecies level, and the like.

Proper decoding is actually rather simple. Creationists believe that their god POOFED everything into existence, pretty much the way things are today, a few thousand years ago. It’s a version of Last Thursdayism. And the key to understanding this is, “evolution” refers to anything and everything that would refute this model. The True Creationist™ simply cannot differentiate between common descent and abiogenesis, because in his model, these are one and the same event.

And since that event, nothing significant has changed at all. IBIG is saying that all species produce offspring of that species, forever and ever amen. Common descent MEANS identical descent, as the creationist god willed.

Please do not encourage the IBIG troll.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

On a lighter note Matt, I think our creo trolls should learn something from this young woman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5mK[…]_embedded#at=16

I think the Force is especially strong in that young padawan, don’t you think?

In reflecting a bit about an earlier part of this thread, I’ve come up with a question for our resident biologists.

Way back on page 3, the indefatigable FL “explained” his position by saying that that he agreed with Yockey and with Thaxton et al. that there was no primordial soup because they said there was no “geological evidence” for a primordial soup. (Of course, he also rejects assertions for which there is ample geological evidence, but that is tangential to my point here.)

Yockey, in a truly awful paper, argues based on isotope ratios that there was no primordial soup because life was already abundant 3.8 billion years ago. This, of course, scarcely helps FL’s core positions.

Thaxton et al., on the other hand, make the argument that if there had been a “primordial soup” that we would find “geological evidence” of it. Unless I missed it, they don’t present an actual argument for this, they just make the assertion. This struck me as an odd expectation, since I would be surprised if any of the “soup” (if it indeed existed) would survive to the present day.

This in turn leads to my question: do we actually have any samples of biological material from, say, the Cambrian period or earlier? Trilobite protein, for example? My understanding is that petroleum is much younger than that.

SWT said:

In reflecting a bit about an earlier part of this thread, I’ve come up with a question for our resident biologists.

Way back on page 3, the indefatigable FL “explained” his position by saying that that he agreed with Yockey and with Thaxton et al. that there was no primordial soup because they said there was no “geological evidence” for a primordial soup. (Of course, he also rejects assertions for which there is ample geological evidence, but that is tangential to my point here.)

Yockey, in a truly awful paper, argues based on isotope ratios that there was no primordial soup because life was already abundant 3.8 billion years ago. This, of course, scarcely helps FL’s core positions.

Thaxton et al., on the other hand, make the argument that if there had been a “primordial soup” that we would find “geological evidence” of it. Unless I missed it, they don’t present an actual argument for this, they just make the assertion. This struck me as an odd expectation, since I would be surprised if any of the “soup” (if it indeed existed) would survive to the present day.

This in turn leads to my question: do we actually have any samples of biological material from, say, the Cambrian period or earlier? Trilobite protein, for example? My understanding is that petroleum is much younger than that.

Due to the process of fossilization itself, organic molecules like proteins are difficult to preserve. Am aware of reports of such material - supposedly from dinosaur remains - as far back as the Jurassic (maybe) and Cretaceous periods (the middle and final periods of the Mesozoic Era; we live in the succeeding Cenozoic Era), but definitely nothing that dates from the Cambrian itself (The Cambrian began approximately 550 million years ago.).

These kinds of ignorance might be refuted in a way lay people could understand, by calling attention to the study of contemporary evolution, used in practical applied scientific research. These include, the evolution of deadly bacteria, responding to antibiotics,as well as the evolution of insects responding to pest control. I am sure there are others.

Edmund L. Cogburn, Houston, Texas

Here is Ken Ham commenting on the bill in Tennessee. At the end of his comment he writes:

We have never suggested a mandate to force teachers to teach creation, but we exhort Christian parents and churches to re-double their efforts to teach not only critical thinking skills but also the truth of the Bible as God’s Word. Students need to be taught that the Bible is completely consistent with the findings of science.

So we see the call to arms for parents to hassle teachers with Ham’s pseudo-science.

And if these bills have nothing to do with religion, why are people like Ken Ham interested in seeing them pushed through legislatures.

Not about religion?

Yeah, right!

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OK … if this is spam, this is the weirdest spam I have ever seen. And I have seen some weird spam.

Good luck fighting this, we’re having the same (although less severe) problem in the UK although not so much on a governmental level. A number of faith groups have been encouraging teachers to let them come into classes and teach the other side of the “debate”. On top of that faith schools are actively being encouraged by tax breaks and other incentives from the state, which all leads not only to evolution not being taught properly but also to religious ghettoisation.

I can recommend for anybody interested in this sort of stuff that they listen to my favourite podcast - The Pod Delusion. It’s UK-centric, but not exclusively, and deals in many cases which affect every secular state equally.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 10, 2011 8:00 AM.

Complete list of evidence against biological evolution was the previous entry in this blog.

Margulis does it again is the next entry in this blog.

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