Evolution education across the life sciences

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I hope this is not too far off task, but I wanted to brag that my colleague Paul Strode is one of two high-school science teachers who will take part in the national Education across the Life Sciences meeting in Washington. According to an article in the Boulder Daily Camera, he will serve on a panel on “Thinking Evolutionarily: Evolution Education across the Life Sciences.” The purpose of the meeting, which is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, is to

enable educational leaders, members of professional scientific societies, and members of other scientific and science education organizations to develop a strategic plan that will develop a national database of resources from disciplines across the life sciences to help faculty make evolutionary science a central focus of introductory biology survey courses and other courses across the life sciences curriculum.

Incidentally, I am the unnamed Colorado School of Mines (not University of Colorado) professor who co-authored the book Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) with Dr. Strode. I hope no one will consider it churlish of me to note that I am somewhat bemused by the fact that, when the book came out, I could not get the Camera to review it.

78 Comments

Good job, and good luck in this noble endeavour of spreading scientific rigor, objectivity and facts against the creationist fairy tales.

An

http://viewsontheworld.blog.com/

Matt said: …when the book came out, I could not get the Camera to review it.

What’s “the Camera”?

Paul Burnett said:

Matt said: …when the book came out, I could not get the Camera to review it.

What’s “the Camera”?

A newspaper in Boulder, CO. Check his second sentense above.

dpr

Don’t even get me started. As a former science educator (and still involved in a round about way), I’m very happy for things like this… but I am massively depressed by the state of science ed in the US.

Science teachers are caught in a major conundrum. On the one hand, you have valid science. On the other hand, you have creationist state officials, school board members, and parents. You must prepare the students for standardized testing, that (depending on the exam) may not have a lot of actual science beyond “heart pumps blood”. If the state decides evolution (for example) won’t appear on the state test (regardless of its appearance in the state curriculum), then there’s not a lot of time available for teaching it.

For example, in my current project, I have to be able to certify that a tester has sufficient knowledge of scientific practices, life science, physical science (chemistry and physics), and Earth/Space science (geology, astronomy, climate, etc) and I have to do all this in less than 75 minutes and less than 45 questions.

Of course teachers teach to the test, their job depends on it. Any person who says ‘we don’t teach the test’ is lying.

Standardized testing can be a good thing, but it has become this system for evaluating teachers and schools, not students… which is kind of silly when you think about it.

Sorry, soap box.

The conclusion is that science education is vitally important, but ignored in favor of things that are known to have direct impacts on student success in college (reading and math, with the emphasis on reading).

Add that to teachers that go into science because it’s a high need area, who don’t know anything about science and we have a recipe for disaster.

ogremk5 said:

Don’t even get me started. As a former science educator (and still involved in a round about way), I’m very happy for things like this… but I am massively depressed by the state of science ed in the US.

Science teachers are caught in a major conundrum. On the one hand, you have valid science. On the other hand, you have creationist state officials, school board members, and parents. You must prepare the students for standardized testing, that (depending on the exam) may not have a lot of actual science beyond “heart pumps blood”. If the state decides evolution (for example) won’t appear on the state test (regardless of its appearance in the state curriculum), then there’s not a lot of time available for teaching it.

I would contend that 75% of the stuff about evolution in the school textbooks in the U.S can easily be exposed as either fraudulent (like Haeckel’s embryo drawings) or unsupported by any empirical evidence (like eye evolution by natural selection).

I would urge all school boards not to order any biology textbooks that include unnecessary material inserted about Darwinism. We need more material about real biology: photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion etc.

I am a massive supporter of academic freedom legislation which allows teachers to present supplemental information that shows just how bad the theory of evolution is.

I would contend that it is already time for the bathroom wall for the lying troll.

Congrats to Paul Strode for his work on this NAS panel.

Will there be a publication out of this - a NAS report or proceedings or something?

Atheistoclast said: We need more material about real biology: photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion etc.

Add phylogenetics to that list, since it appears you went through your entire biology training without learning what the term means.

Atheistoclast said:

ogremk5 said:

Don’t even get me started. As a former science educator (and still involved in a round about way), I’m very happy for things like this… but I am massively depressed by the state of science ed in the US.

Science teachers are caught in a major conundrum. On the one hand, you have valid science. On the other hand, you have creationist state officials, school board members, and parents. You must prepare the students for standardized testing, that (depending on the exam) may not have a lot of actual science beyond “heart pumps blood”. If the state decides evolution (for example) won’t appear on the state test (regardless of its appearance in the state curriculum), then there’s not a lot of time available for teaching it.

I would contend that 75% of the stuff about evolution in the school textbooks in the U.S can easily be exposed as either fraudulent (like Haeckel’s embryo drawings) or unsupported by any empirical evidence (like eye evolution by natural selection).

I would urge all school boards not to order any biology textbooks that include unnecessary material inserted about Darwinism. We need more material about real biology: photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion etc.

I am a massive supporter of academic freedom legislation which allows teachers to present supplemental information that shows just how bad the theory of evolution is.

I’ve got seven college and high school text books on my self right now. The oldest is from 1988, the most recent is 2009. Not a single one of them has Haeckel’s embryos as examples of evolution. The eye, of course, is an excellent example of evolution because we can trace the history of the bits that form the eye, in the genes, and in the structure. Don’t you find it interesting that opsins are largely unchanged from bacteria to fruit flies to humans? NO, of course you don’t. It’s just one more thing you guys can’t explain.

So, tell us theoclast, how did photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion all come about? I’d like to hear your mechanisms for the development of these PROCESSES (not structures note).

Should we then also offer the supplemental information that shows just how bad the notions of ID are? You are not a massive supporter of academic freedom, you are a supporter of pushing Judeo-Christian theology into the public classroom. You want academic freedom for yourself and your ideas while rejecting everyone else’s evidence.

Tell us, since you have avoided this question every time it’s been asked of you, what is the repeatable, testable, hypothesis of ID? What is the mechanism of ID? What is a tool, process, or discovery discovered by proponents of ID using principles of ID?

And finally, how do you expect to tell the difference between design and evolution, when you can’t even tell the difference between design and random material?

ogremk5 said: I’ve got seven college and high school text books on my self right now. The oldest is from 1988, the most recent is 2009. Not a single one of them has Haeckel’s embryos as examples of evolution. The eye, of course, is an excellent example of evolution because we can trace the history of the bits that form the eye, in the genes, and in the structure. Don’t you find it interesting that opsins are largely unchanged from bacteria to fruit flies to humans? NO, of course you don’t. It’s just one more thing you guys can’t explain.

No developmental biologist is daft enough to suppose that he can explain how the eye is formed from protein-protein interactions. What I railed against was any suggestion that the eye has evolved from first beginnings through a process of natural selection and random mutation - there is no evidence for this at all. All we can identify are the genes involved in eye construction - and we can’t readily explain how natural selection produced them either.

So, tell us theoclast, how did photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion all come about? I’d like to hear your mechanisms for the development of these PROCESSES (not structures note).

Irrelevant. We should teach these processes without resorting to bizarre stories about their origins that are speculative and unfalsifiable - they just waste valuable class time.

Should we then also offer the supplemental information that shows just how bad the notions of ID are? You are not a massive supporter of academic freedom, you are a supporter of pushing Judeo-Christian theology into the public classroom. You want academic freedom for yourself and your ideas while rejecting everyone else’s evidence.

The legislation allows educators to critically evaluate scientific theories on the basis of the evidence supporting them. If a teacher wants to talk about ID, but in a critical way, I have no problem with that.

Tell us, since you have avoided this question every time it’s been asked of you, what is the repeatable, testable, hypothesis of ID? What is the mechanism of ID? What is a tool, process, or discovery discovered by proponents of ID using principles of ID?

ID is a scientific inference. It is not a mechanism. There are, however, mechanisms such as artificial selection, genetic engineering and directed evolution that lend themselves more to ID than they do to natural processes. These have been tried and tested to produce real results - of the sort Nature would not be capable of.

And finally, how do you expect to tell the difference between design and evolution, when you can’t even tell the difference between design and random material?

Oh, but we can tell the difference between random processes and intelligent ones. Just read Vladimir Rubtsov SETI’s “Criteria of artificality in SETI”:

http://www.springerlink.com/content[…]t60802l6wn6/

You can employ the same methods for biology.

Joe wrote:

“No developmental biologist is daft enough to suppose that he can explain how the eye is formed from protein-protein interactions. What I railed against was any suggestion that the eye has evolved from first beginnings through a process of natural selection and random mutation - there is no evidence for this at all. All we can identify are the genes involved in eye construction - and we can’t readily explain how natural selection produced them either.”

Translation: Until you can explain every single thing about the eye and its evolution, including a mutation by mutation account and a step by step description of every single step in development, I am free to ignore any and all evidence about what is actually known. I can ignore the fact that it is all completely consistent with modern evolutionary theory. I can always demand more detail. I can always refuse to provide any alternative. I can always fail to provide any evidence for any alternative. No one can stop me from being a complete and total hypocrite.

Atheistoclast said:

ogremk5 said: I’ve got seven college and high school text books on my self right now. The oldest is from 1988, the most recent is 2009. Not a single one of them has Haeckel’s embryos as examples of evolution. The eye, of course, is an excellent example of evolution because we can trace the history of the bits that form the eye, in the genes, and in the structure. Don’t you find it interesting that opsins are largely unchanged from bacteria to fruit flies to humans? NO, of course you don’t. It’s just one more thing you guys can’t explain.

No developmental biologist is daft enough to suppose that he can explain how the eye is formed from protein-protein interactions. What I railed against was any suggestion that the eye has evolved from first beginnings through a process of natural selection and random mutation - there is no evidence for this at all. All we can identify are the genes involved in eye construction - and we can’t readily explain how natural selection produced them either.

So, tell us theoclast, how did photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion all come about? I’d like to hear your mechanisms for the development of these PROCESSES (not structures note).

Irrelevant. We should teach these processes without resorting to bizarre stories about their origins that are speculative and unfalsifiable - they just waste valuable class time.

Should we then also offer the supplemental information that shows just how bad the notions of ID are? You are not a massive supporter of academic freedom, you are a supporter of pushing Judeo-Christian theology into the public classroom. You want academic freedom for yourself and your ideas while rejecting everyone else’s evidence.

The legislation allows educators to critically evaluate scientific theories on the basis of the evidence supporting them. If a teacher wants to talk about ID, but in a critical way, I have no problem with that.

Tell us, since you have avoided this question every time it’s been asked of you, what is the repeatable, testable, hypothesis of ID? What is the mechanism of ID? What is a tool, process, or discovery discovered by proponents of ID using principles of ID?

ID is a scientific inference. It is not a mechanism. There are, however, mechanisms such as artificial selection, genetic engineering and directed evolution that lend themselves more to ID than they do to natural processes. These have been tried and tested to produce real results - of the sort Nature would not be capable of.

And finally, how do you expect to tell the difference between design and evolution, when you can’t even tell the difference between design and random material?

Oh, but we can tell the difference between random processes and intelligent ones. Just read Vladimir Rubtsov SETI’s “Criteria of artificality in SETI”:

http://www.springerlink.com/content[…]t60802l6wn6/

You can employ the same methods for biology.

I’m sorry ‘clast, you fail on an epic level again. Find me a modern textbook that states “This is how photosythesis developed.” Or any of those other processes you said… or the eye. Find one. Go ahead I’ll wait. Until you substantiate your claims, then you argument is utterly irrelevant.

Excellent, so we should also explain, in detail why astrology is wrong (oh, wait, Micheal Behe is OK with astrology in science class). In other words, you think science teachers should spend all the time in class explaining why all these other notions don’t work. Did you perhaps read my post? You have obviously never been in a high school Biology class. I won’t go into detail, because I have before, but I will ask you this.

OK, you win… evolution is out. Provide a 5 day unit on Intelligent Design, remembering that at least 2 of those days must be in a lab setting that can show students that ID is a valid science subject to the scientific method.

As for design being an inference, so Behe was lying to a court of law, while under oath, after swearing on a Bible that ID describes a mechanism. Tell us ‘clast, do you know more about ID than Behe? Really? Well, explain, in detail, what ID says. And how to determine it.

OK ‘clast, give us an example of a designed biological thing and a random biological thing and let’s compare them.

ogremk5 said:

OK, you win… evolution is out. Provide a 5 day unit on Intelligent Design, remembering that at least 2 of those days must be in a lab setting that can show students that ID is a valid science subject to the scientific method.

As for design being an inference, so Behe was lying to a court of law, while under oath, after swearing on a Bible that ID describes a mechanism. Tell us ‘clast, do you know more about ID than Behe? Really? Well, explain, in detail, what ID says. And how to determine it.

OK ‘clast, give us an example of a designed biological thing and a random biological thing and let’s compare them.

Great. I can’t wait to hear the response. I’m writing an introductory lab manual exercise on evolution right now. I can incorporate the ID experiment in the next chapter. All I need is the experimental procedure, you know materials and methods, that sort of thing. I can’t wait.

Atheistoclast said: All we can identify are the genes involved in eye construction - and we can’t readily explain how natural selection produced them either.

Natural selection doesn’t produce genes. Mutation and variation produce genes.

So, tell us theoclast, how did photosynthesis, phagocytosis, cytokinesis, germination, digestion all come about? I’d like to hear your mechanisms for the development of these PROCESSES (not structures note).

Irrelevant.

No sincere biologist would say this. Its only irrelevant for those who have a magical origins story they are trying to protect from scrutiny.

Oh, but we can tell the difference between random processes and intelligent ones. Just read Vladimir Rubtsov SETI’s “Criteria of artificality in SETI”:

http://www.springerlink.com/content[…]t60802l6wn6/

You can employ the same methods for biology.

But IDers don’t. SETI explicitly forms hypotheses about how other life would act and how they would do things such as communicate. SETI publishes these hypotheses for discussion and critique by other scientists. SETI also looks for multiple, independent sources of confirming information and not just structure within a signal.

So yes, by all means, you could employ more traditional design detection methodologies. But you don’t. And we all know why. You don’t publish hypotheses about the nature of designer entities because that would give away the religious nature of ID - you think its God. You think his method of communication is “divine miracle.” And you don’t think there will be any independent, confirming sources of empirical data because divine miracles don’t leave any.

What’s more, ID is utterly disengenuous about all of that because they seek to hide the fact that they are not actually searching for how life originated. They are merely justifying a preconcieved religious belief that life was poofed into existence by the hand of God. They hide this because they want God to be put in science classrooms.

Do you know the difference between an idealist who thinks some law is wrong and should be changed, and a criminal? Both disobey the law, but only the criminal tries to hide the fact that they are doing so. Creationists like Freshwater try to hide the fact that they are breaking the law.

Atheistoclast said:

ID is a scientific inference. It is not a mechanism. There are, however, mechanisms such as artificial selection, genetic engineering and directed evolution that lend themselves more to ID than they do to natural processes. These have been tried and tested to produce real results - of the sort Nature would not be capable of.

Once you concede that artificial selection acting on random mutation can produce real results, you have to explain exactly what makes “intelligent selection” different from (as opposed to more efficient than) natural selection. Does a breeder’s “intelligence” induce non-random mutations in his breeding stock, or does The Designer of the Universe read his mind and selectively mutate their genes to add the new desired features?

(ignore the troll.…must ignore the troll…let the troll starve.….)

Hey, anyone see “The Daily Show” last night Asif Mandvi interviews Fox News talking head Noelle Nikpour (about school science curriculum. “choice” academic freedom, etc) he made her look like an idiot (correction revealed her to be an idiot - she made herself look like one)

the interesting thing is - I can’r parse how Noelle Nikpour’s views are any different than some trolls posting to “the Thumb”

Dave Lovell said: Once you concede that artificial selection acting on random mutation can produce real results, you have to explain exactly what makes “intelligent selection” different from (as opposed to more efficient than) natural selection. Does a breeder’s “intelligence” induce non-random mutations in his breeding stock, or does The Designer of the Universe read his mind and selectively mutate their genes to add the new desired features?

If you don’t know the difference between artificial and natural selection, you really are beyond the pale. But to try and explain: the former can select anything, whereas the latter only chooses variation that contributes to reproductive fitness - it is constrained in this respect. Both types of selection are limited by the fact that variation is also limited, but artificial selection can overcome a rough fitness landscape (with deleterious intermediate states) whereas natural selection cannot.

ogremk5 said: I’m sorry ‘clast, you fail on an epic level again. Find me a modern textbook that states “This is how photosythesis developed.” Or any of those other processes you said… or the eye. Find one. Go ahead I’ll wait. Until you substantiate your claims, then you argument is utterly irrelevant.

I am pretty sure there are some textbooks that do explore the origins of biological features, and do speculate on how natural selection can explain this.

Excellent, so we should also explain, in detail why astrology is wrong (oh, wait, Micheal Behe is OK with astrology in science class). In other words, you think science teachers should spend all the time in class explaining why all these other notions don’t work. Did you perhaps read my post? You have obviously never been in a high school Biology class. I won’t go into detail, because I have before, but I will ask you this.

I am for having critical evaluation of theory in the classroom, not introducing pseudo-science.

OK, you win… evolution is out. Provide a 5 day unit on Intelligent Design, remembering that at least 2 of those days must be in a lab setting that can show students that ID is a valid science subject to the scientific method.

No. I would use the time to teach actual biology that comports with intelligent design, such as the universal genetic code, alveoli, flagella and microvilli.

As for design being an inference, so Behe was lying to a court of law, while under oath, after swearing on a Bible that ID describes a mechanism. Tell us ‘clast, do you know more about ID than Behe? Really? Well, explain, in detail, what ID says. And how to determine it.

ID is not a mechanism. It is an inference and also an approach to understanding living organisms. Behe proposed a mechanism of non-random mutations (molecular saltations) that were induced by the Intelligent Designer.

OK ‘clast, give us an example of a designed biological thing and a random biological thing and let’s compare them.

What exactly do you mean? All biological features have been designed. Some may have been degraded by mutation over time. I am white because I have had eumelanin production in my skin disabled by mutation.

Atheistoclast said:

Dave Lovell said: Once you concede that artificial selection acting on random mutation can produce real results, you have to explain exactly what makes “intelligent selection” different from (as opposed to more efficient than) natural selection. Does a breeder’s “intelligence” induce non-random mutations in his breeding stock, or does The Designer of the Universe read his mind and selectively mutate their genes to add the new desired features?

If you don’t know the difference between artificial and natural selection, you really are beyond the pale. But to try and explain: the former can select anything, whereas the latter only chooses variation that contributes to reproductive fitness - it is constrained in this respect. Both types of selection are limited by the fact that variation is also limited, but artificial selection can overcome a rough fitness landscape (with deleterious intermediate states) whereas natural selection cannot.

That is not an explanation it is an assertion. You are happy to accept that artificial selection can get from A to B using only the information generated by random mutation, no supernatural input needed. The only impediment to unguided evolution then is a blocked route, and you are asserting that a detour is not possible under any circumstances

Atheistoclast said:

Dave Lovell said: Once you concede that artificial selection acting on random mutation can produce real results, you have to explain exactly what makes “intelligent selection” different from (as opposed to more efficient than) natural selection. Does a breeder’s “intelligence” induce non-random mutations in his breeding stock, or does The Designer of the Universe read his mind and selectively mutate their genes to add the new desired features?

If you don’t know the difference between artificial and natural selection, you really are beyond the pale. But to try and explain: the former can select anything, whereas the latter only chooses variation that contributes to reproductive fitness - it is constrained in this respect. Both types of selection are limited by the fact that variation is also limited, but artificial selection can overcome a rough fitness landscape (with deleterious intermediate states) whereas natural selection cannot.

If you can’t see the similarities between natural and artificial selection you are indeed hopeless. The variation comes from random mutations in both cases. Get a clue. Fitness landscapes are not always rough and gene duplication overcomes most of those problems anyway. Wise up man.

Joe wrote:

“I am pretty sure there are some textbooks that do explore the origins of biological features, and do speculate on how natural selection can explain this.”

And I can prove that you stated that conclusions should only be based on solid evidence. HYPOCRITE!

Atheistoclast said:

I am a massive supporter of academic freedom legislation …

I do so love his grand pronouncements, complete with Freudian slippage.

Since Joe is of only the slightest consequence in any scientific field, i.e. a lightweight, and apparently of minimal impact even in creationist circles, then what might be the meaning of his “massive” support? His being and speaking in favor of it, no matter how fervently, cannot reasonably be considered “massive”.

Does he contribute massive amounts of money to the effort? I suspect not.

Perhaps he is an individual of great physical mass, and thus can wryly claim that anything he does is done in a “massive” way.

Atheistoclast said: …I have had eumelanin production in my skin disabled by mutation.

So…you’re admitting you’re a mutant. Was the mutation caused by “The Fall” or do you have some other explanation for your mutation?

Atheistoclast said:

ogremk5 said: I’m sorry ‘clast, you fail on an epic level again. Find me a modern textbook that states “This is how photosythesis developed.” Or any of those other processes you said… or the eye. Find one. Go ahead I’ll wait. Until you substantiate your claims, then you argument is utterly irrelevant.

I am pretty sure there are some textbooks that do explore the origins of biological features, and do speculate on how natural selection can explain this.

Excellent, so we should also explain, in detail why astrology is wrong (oh, wait, Micheal Behe is OK with astrology in science class). In other words, you think science teachers should spend all the time in class explaining why all these other notions don’t work. Did you perhaps read my post? You have obviously never been in a high school Biology class. I won’t go into detail, because I have before, but I will ask you this.

I am for having critical evaluation of theory in the classroom, not introducing pseudo-science.

OK, you win… evolution is out. Provide a 5 day unit on Intelligent Design, remembering that at least 2 of those days must be in a lab setting that can show students that ID is a valid science subject to the scientific method.

No. I would use the time to teach actual biology that comports with intelligent design, such as the universal genetic code, alveoli, flagella and microvilli.

As for design being an inference, so Behe was lying to a court of law, while under oath, after swearing on a Bible that ID describes a mechanism. Tell us ‘clast, do you know more about ID than Behe? Really? Well, explain, in detail, what ID says. And how to determine it.

ID is not a mechanism. It is an inference and also an approach to understanding living organisms. Behe proposed a mechanism of non-random mutations (molecular saltations) that were induced by the Intelligent Designer.

OK ‘clast, give us an example of a designed biological thing and a random biological thing and let’s compare them.

What exactly do you mean? All biological features have been designed. Some may have been degraded by mutation over time. I am white because I have had eumelanin production in my skin disabled by mutation.

I am pretty sure that I asked you to provide examples of textbooks that either/or use Haeckel’s embryos as examples of natural selection and speculate on how natural selection formed the eye, photosynthesis, etc.

You claimed it. I want to know which book and the page numbers for these claims. I’ve got seven very common texts right here, I can get the majority of the others in two days or less. Tell me which ones or withdraw your pathetic (debunked years ago) claims.

You said you want critical thinking in the classroom, then why don’t you apply it to your own position.. see below.

You aren’t listening (color me surprised), by Texas state law, 40% of all classroom time in a science or engineering course MUST be spent in the lab. If you want a unit for ID that takes 3 days or more to complete, then you must have a minimum of 1 day of lab and up to 40% of the total time. So, what will you do for an ID lab in a biology classroom. Tell you what, I’ll even let you do a demonstration of some previous ID related laboratory work provided that the students critically evaluate the experiment, do research to look for errors and write a review… that’s allowable under Texas law.

If it takes less than two days to cover the entirety of the ID position… then why bother? [snark]”OK class, here’s a cell. It has these 9 components. Test tomorrow.. now on to genetics.” [end snark]

Behe’s Kitzmiller trial testimony

Q. But it is certainly, exaptation – for example, a bird wing developing from some kind of feathered structure on a dinosaur that didn’t necessarily allow flight, that’s what evolutionary biologists propose, and they call it exaptation?

[Behe]. That’s entirely possible, and that’s consistent with intelligent design, because intelligent design only focuses on the mechanism of how such a thing would happen.

my emphsis

So, again, I ask the question. Who knows more about ID you (someone who has never published a book or paper on ID and is not a fellow of the Discovery Institute) or Michael Behe (who is a fellow of the DI, and has published books on ID)? If it’s you… why do you think so?

Finally, you claim that all biological structures have been designed… so in reality, there is no way to verify this because there is nothing we can compare it to. Interesting. Tell you what, read this paper (http://www.plosbiology.org/article/[…]pbio.0060085) and tell us EXACTLY where the design occurred. I’m Dr. Joyce will be happy to send you copies of the collected data. I talked to him a couple of times and he’s very nice. Once you have that data, then you can explain, in detail where the design happened. Once you can explain that, then we have an area to focus on to look for a mechanism. I’d like the generation number and the site that the design occurred.

This really is an excellent double check of this work. Because if it was a human that designed the new RNA, then Joyce could have saved all the effort to evolve the new RNA and just designed it to be 90 fold more efficient. But if it was some unknown designer, then it should be easily obvious (as it is to ‘clast) where the design actually took place.

Oh, this is getting exciting.

Paul Burnett said:

Atheistoclast said: …I have had eumelanin production in my skin disabled by mutation.

So…you’re admitting you’re a mutant. Was the mutation caused by “The Fall” or do you have some other explanation for your mutation?

Wait, I thought he said he had all of his parts. melanin is a part and some humans have it. SO, if you don’t ‘clast… you weren’t speaking very accurately, where you?

Although all creationists I have ever encountered have been authoritarians, and AC is no exception, there is another, post-modern element to creationism that’s worth mentioning.

The need to deny the word evolution is a compulsion.

And there always seems to be an underlying issue with human evolution. People don’t seem to react obsessively to the idea that insects evolved from a common ancestor.

Of course, humans have noted the similarities between themselves and other apes throughout recorded history, and undoubtedly did so before recorded history.

Medieval scholars were “methodological creationists” - they had no particularly more compelling explanation of nature than the Biblical account. They gradually became aware of Greek philosophers, but there was no scientific alternative.

However, in one way, they were radically different from a certain type of creationist.

Putting aside the question of “souls”, the idea that a human being is essentially an ape with a somewhat more powerful brain is highly consistent with traditional western religious thought (note - I am non-religious, just making a point about creationists).

Far from denying the reality of the animal nature of the human body, its instinctive drives, and its similarity to the bodies of other species, medieval Christianity, and indeed, traditional modern Protestantism, emphasized this.

The medieval monks may seem crude and authoritarian in their efforts to free themselves from the domination of instinct, relative to their dharmic counterparts, but the idea was fundamentally the same.

Post-modern sheltered creationists, shielded from most pain, most physical threats, most premature deaths, and everyday discomfort, have adopted a narcissism that is highly at odds with traditional spiritualism of any type.

In essence, they declare themselves gods.

They aren’t, they’re apes like the rest of us.

I sometimes refer to them and their political fellow travelers on the loony right as “delicate hothouse flowers who can’t understand the hothouse and want to smash it”.

How ironic. If they succeed in playing a role in destroying modern, technological society - and that isn’t impossible - they’ll learn a harsh lesson.

Take away the central heating, air conditioning, indoor bathrooms, running water, food that doesn’t run quickly away, fight back, or hurt when you pick it, take away the antibiotics and anesthesia, take away the clothing that doesn’t have to be stitched together by hand, and hothouse flower narcissistic creationists - if any survived such an event - would be face to face with their clear relationship with the rest of the animal world.

Paul Burnett said:

Atheistoclast said: …I have had eumelanin production in my skin disabled by mutation.

So…you’re admitting you’re a mutant. Was the mutation caused by “The Fall” or do you have some other explanation for your mutation?

I am sorry for your loss, Joe. But didn’t dark skin also arise via mutation?

Matt G said: …didn’t dark skin also arise via mutation?

It must have, because we all know from any number of medieval paintings that Adam and Eve were white-skinned Europeans.

harold said: …there always seems to be an underlying issue with human evolution.

I have run into white creationists who absolutely foam at the mouth when you try to convince them that they are related genetically to darker-skinned humans. (That’s worse than getting them to admit they had monkeys apes as distant ancestors.) Almost all the creationists I have ever dealt with were rabid racists when I got to know them.

Paul Burnett said:

harold said: …there always seems to be an underlying issue with human evolution.

I have run into white creationists who absolutely foam at the mouth when you try to convince them that they are related genetically to darker-skinned humans. (That’s worse than getting them to admit they had monkeys apes as distant ancestors.) Almost all the creationists I have ever dealt with were rabid racists when I got to know them.

Heh… Since I have ancestors, not necessarily direct ancestors, from the antebellum South, the odds are excellent that I have darker skinned relatives…alive today. I just don’t have specifics.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

ogremk5 said: I’m very happy for things like this… but I am massively depressed by the state of science ed in the US.

Don’t know how relevant this is… But I just wanted to give you a view of all this from someone outside the US. I am in my thirties, from India - traditionally viewed as “the country of snake charmers’ and maharajas on elephants’ back”. The country has progressed massively from those days, although there is still wide spread poverty, slums and all the trademarks of a ‘third world’ country. However, as a regular citizen of India, i was pretty surprised (read: taken aback; shocked; could not believe my eyes) when i started reading about the ongoing war between evolution and creationism in US.

The US of A, as it were, is viewed as the most progressive country in the world by almost all Indian people. They will give anything to migrate, have a short stay, or even just visit the land. So I really could not believe it when I learnt that the obvious has to fight its way to acceptance in a country like yours. Our schooling system, with all its other faults and drawbacks, never hesitated in teaching evolution in the curriculum. However orthodox the Hindus, Muslims and sundry other sects, I don’t know of any major resistance they have ever created to teaching evolution in schools. My (and all other people’s that i know of) education has been a pretty smooth sailing one. No intimidation; no hesitation about what is right; no fear of the church/temple/mosque people. To think of any ‘alternative’ to evolution theory is like thinking of alternatives to the basic math of addition/subtraction. May be 2 and 2 really isn’t 4? May be the lord wished it to be somewhere between 4 and 5? It is like someone comes and says “let’s talk about some alternative way zinc and sulfuric acid may react”.

The war that is ongoing is really unbelievable. Ridiculous. Why does not anybody take some drastic step and end this once and for all? As if curving out a national curriculum and finding good teachers and founding good schools is not tough enough! You have to fight to teach the truth to your children! Is US going back in time to the middle ages? God, if you are there and if you take any interest in this world, Please do something.

DS said:

Dr. Plavcan,

Notice how the invitation was for a talk and it has now become a debate. Please make sure there are real geneticists in the audience. And please videotape the part where a real expert in evo devo gets Joe to cry like a little baby and admit that he has no clue whatsoever about anything in genetics. I would volunteer, but I don’t ever want this lunatic to have any personal information about me.

I replied last night, but my message in reply to Bozorgmehr is still held up, I think. Anyway, The original offer stands – a talk. Not sponsored by the University of the Department. I will pay for nothing except mustard. If he shows up and asks to give a talk, I will find a room and post flyers. This is standard stuff. Asking for a formal debate is moving the goalposts. A formal debate does not allow the sort of interaction that was originally discussed.

mplavcan said:

DS said:

Dr. Plavcan,

Notice how the invitation was for a talk and it has now become a debate. Please make sure there are real geneticists in the audience. And please videotape the part where a real expert in evo devo gets Joe to cry like a little baby and admit that he has no clue whatsoever about anything in genetics. I would volunteer, but I don’t ever want this lunatic to have any personal information about me.

I replied last night, but my message in reply to Bozorgmehr is still held up, I think. Anyway, The original offer stands – a talk. Not sponsored by the University of the Department. I will pay for nothing except mustard. If he shows up and asks to give a talk, I will find a room and post flyers. This is standard stuff. Asking for a formal debate is moving the goalposts. A formal debate does not allow the sort of interaction that was originally discussed.

Fine, make it a Cambridge university-style informal debate where the floor can interrupt and pose questions at any point during the discussion. I would have to be at least formally introduced if this is going to work. I don’t want to find myself in a room, talking to myself. I guarantee that, if properly advertised, the room would be packed. People would fighting for the seats. The press and media would likely also want to be present.

The dipstick still wants you to legitimize his crapulence! He jus doesn’t get it. Real scientists have nothing but contempt for those who refuse to address the evidence. Man, his back must be hurting from lugging those goalposts back and forth.

Atheistoclast said:

mplavcan said:

DS said:

Dr. Plavcan,

Notice how the invitation was for a talk and it has now become a debate. Please make sure there are real geneticists in the audience. And please videotape the part where a real expert in evo devo gets Joe to cry like a little baby and admit that he has no clue whatsoever about anything in genetics. I would volunteer, but I don’t ever want this lunatic to have any personal information about me.

I replied last night, but my message in reply to Bozorgmehr is still held up, I think. Anyway, The original offer stands – a talk. Not sponsored by the University of the Department. I will pay for nothing except mustard. If he shows up and asks to give a talk, I will find a room and post flyers. This is standard stuff. Asking for a formal debate is moving the goalposts. A formal debate does not allow the sort of interaction that was originally discussed.

Fine, make it a Cambridge university-style informal debate where the floor can interrupt and pose questions at any point during the discussion. I would have to be at least formally introduced if this is going to work. I don’t want to find myself in a room, talking to myself. I guarantee that, if properly advertised, the room would be packed. People would fighting for the seats. The press and media would likely also want to be present.

In order for you to be “formally introduced”, mplavcan will need the CV material…that you previously objected to providing.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

You are holding most of my messages. No idea why.

Because you keep quoting material that contains a word it does not like. It will be better if you (and everyone else) limit quotations to the relevant parts.

Atheistoclast said:

I guarantee that, if properly advertised, the room would be packed. People would fighting for the seats. The press and media would likely also want to be present.

Since you are obviously lying about that, why should we believe you about anything else? You are NOT the center of the universe!

OK, please, no further comments by or about Atheistoclast until he accepts the invitation unequivocally and provides biographical information, such as his affiliation, for the announcement of the seminar.

Matt Young said:

OK, please, no further comments by or about Atheistoclast until he accepts the invitation unequivocally and provides biographical information, such as his affiliation, for the announcement of the seminar.

Ain’t gonna happen. Might as well close the thread.

You Tube videos on Evolution for High School and College students are now up-and-running. They utilize the approach pioneered by Salman Khan (Khan Academy) and are best accessed by way of my web-pages (Forsdyke Evolution Academy). Currently, there are 36 videos, each around 15 minutes, for a total of 9 hours viewing.

Dang, seems like AC’s offer to come to Arkansas is equivalent to Hovind’s $250,000 “challenge”. Neither ever had the slightest intention of paying off, no matter what conditions were met.

Atheistoclast said:

But this is a lot of information to give merely to be allowed to use a room at some third-rate redneck university where nobody can speak English properly. It is not exactly Tufts or Harvard.I have repeatedly told you that I am unaffiliated to any educational institution. I am an anti-academic independent scientist.

But isn’t this just what you asked for?

Being taken down by nobodies coming out of nowhere at nowhere universities is not your idea of getting a free ride on prestigious coattails at prestigious institutions?

How humiliating this must be for you. Actual scientists without universal and international name-recognition; how disgusted you must feel. How dirty and slimy. Not even publicity.

Oh the pain. How will you ever survive without prestigious institutional affiliation?

You might even have to work for a living.

Atheistoclast said:

I want maximum exposure and attention. I want to denounce the entire corpus of current scientific thinking in biology and to persuade students to overthrow their professors. I want nothing short of revolution on the university campus: French-style.

Guillotines and all? Is that how you see it?

So you are really miffed that you haven’t been invited by some prestigious scientists at some prestigious university such as Harvard or Tufts. You feel revulsion at the “third-rate redneck university where nobody can speak English properly.”

If you are a Poe, you are pretty good at revealing the innermost angst and resentment of the ID/creationists.

On the other hand, if you are not a Poe, it is rather strange for us to watch someone who is so mentally deranged that that he blurts out every disturbing, deep-seated thought about his resentment that he is not a celebrity at the top of the world of science and receiving continuous accolades, awards, Nobel Prizes, adoring worship, while being begged to host internationally broadcast television documentaries about his “deep insights;” and by all means, being offered extremely well-paying speaking fees to give talks all over the world.

What a depressing world of resentment and hatred you have immersed yourself in.

Well that thar just pissed me off so much it made me loose my other tooth. Hell, I nearly choked on the chitlins I wuz eetin and spilled my grits down my overalls. Well damn if I aint gunna drive my pick’m up truck over to the chair’s double wide and demand that we pull out all the banjos and sing us a lamentation to the Lawd fer our ignerunce and all of nowleje about that there siense stuff that we aint knowin. But I tell you one thin mister. We got us the best damn bar-bee-que here as anywhere, even fer them folks on the delta, and we make no bones about it. And our football team ‘ll whoop yer ass any day of the week and make you shit yer collards and okra from runnin in fear.

Time to sit on mah porch swing and pick my tooth and a tune on the banjo while drawing down one a them thar fat pay checks that I gits cuz I’m a lazy good fer nothin hound dog of a perfessor preachin sin an amorality that I just make up out my imainashun to the good peeple a this here natural state. Yes siree.

mplavcan said:

Well that thar just pissed me off so much it made me loose my other tooth. Hell, I nearly choked on the chitlins I wuz eetin and spilled my grits down my overalls. Well damn if I aint gunna drive my pick’m up truck over to the chair’s double wide and demand that we pull out all the banjos and sing us a lamentation to the Lawd fer our ignerunce and all of nowleje about that there siense stuff that we aint knowin. But I tell you one thin mister. We got us the best damn bar-bee-que here as anywhere, even fer them folks on the delta, and we make no bones about it. And our football team ‘ll whoop yer ass any day of the week and make you shit yer collards and okra from runnin in fear.

Time to sit on mah porch swing and pick my tooth and a tune on the banjo while drawing down one a them thar fat pay checks that I gits cuz I’m a lazy good fer nothin hound dog of a perfessor preachin sin an amorality that I just make up out my imainashun to the good peeple a this here natural state. Yes siree.

Well that dun beats chasin after yer little sistuh at night…

bigdakine said:

mplavcan said:

Well that thar just pissed me off so much it made me loose my other tooth. Hell, I nearly choked on the chitlins I wuz eetin and spilled my grits down my overalls. Well damn if I aint gunna drive my pick’m up truck over to the chair’s double wide and demand that we pull out all the banjos and sing us a lamentation to the Lawd fer our ignerunce and all of nowleje about that there siense stuff that we aint knowin. But I tell you one thin mister. We got us the best damn bar-bee-que here as anywhere, even fer them folks on the delta, and we make no bones about it. And our football team ‘ll whoop yer ass any day of the week and make you shit yer collards and okra from runnin in fear.

Time to sit on mah porch swing and pick my tooth and a tune on the banjo while drawing down one a them thar fat pay checks that I gits cuz I’m a lazy good fer nothin hound dog of a perfessor preachin sin an amorality that I just make up out my imainashun to the good peeple a this here natural state. Yes siree.

Well that dun beats chasin after yer little sistuh at night…

Yoo just shut yer trap about that or I’ll head to Walmart with the missus an buy me a new squirrel gun an chase yer cheeks to hell and back. I’ll even chase yer ass all the way to one a them snooty panty-waist schools in Boston er New York City or wherever them fancy stuck up perfessers are hidin from the Lawds rath.

Almost makes me wanna get on one a them airplane cuntraptions and fly over there and git me some warm beers and show em what fer.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on October 26, 2011 9:15 PM.

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