Lauri Lebo on the Tennessee anti-evolution bill

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In view of Nick Matzke’s post on the Tennessee creationism-inspired bill just below, I don’t know how I missed this, but via The Sensuous Curmudgeon I just learned of Lauri Lebo’s detailed article on it at Scientific American. Highly recommended.

383 Comments

The Dishonesty Institute is asking its readers to e-mail Governor Haslam.

I would follow this advice of theirs:

Contact Governor Bill Haslam now and urge him to sign HB 368 into law.

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Tel: (615) 741-2001

Be respectful in your message

I just sent this e-mail to Governor Haslam:

Dear Governor Haslam: As a fellow Republican who views himself as a Conservative and is educated in science, I am urging you to veto Tennessee HB Bill 368. If you sign it, you would be contributing to the nationwide trend of declining science standards noted last week by former University of Virginia Provost and former Director, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole (MA), Dr. Paul R. Gross, a fellow Conservative, who has written extensively about the threat posed by “scientific creationists” who espouse Intelligent Design and other forms of creationism; a dire threat to our nation’s economic and technological future that has been echoed by the likes of Brown University cell biologist Kenneth R. Miller, American Museum of Natural History invertebrate paleontologist Nile Eldredge, and many others:

http://www.edexcellence.net/comment[…]-1.html#body

After reading the language of Tennessee HB Bill, I realized immediately that it is the latest, most sophisticated, attempt to insert religiously-motivated pseudoscientific ideas like Intelligent Design and other forms of “scientific creationism” into your state’s public science classrooms.

The eight Tennessee residents who are members of the National Academy of Sciences recently issued a statement urging that the General Assembly to vote against HB 368 and its Senate equivalent, SB 893. They concluded:

“These bills encourage teachers to emphasize what are misdescribed as the ‘scientific weaknesses’ of evolution, which in practice are likely to include scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution. As educators whose teaching involves and is based on evolution, we affirm– along with the nation’s leading science education organizations, including the National Association of Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association – that evolution is a central and crucial part of science education. Neglecting evolution is pedagogically irresponsible.”

“By undermining the teaching of evolution in Tennessee’s public schools, HB 368 and SB 893 would miseducate students, harm the state’s national reputation, and weaken its efforts to compete in a science-driven global economy.”

I hope you will heed their recommendation - as well as mine - and veto HB 368. Sincerely yours, John Kwok

From the article: “(Tennessee State Legislator) Dunn could not explain why a Christian organization would be pushing legislation that supposedly has nothing to do with inserting religion into science class.”

Gosh, what could that reason possibly be? Particularly since the Family Action Council of Tennessee got the template for the proposed legislation from the Dishonesty Institute, mothership of intelligent design creationism.

All you have to do is follow the trail of slime back to its source. This will make it so much easier for the upcoming “Dover Trap” trials.

“…[T]oday’s evolutionary scientists have become the modern-day equivalents of those who tried to silence Rhea County schoolteacher John Scopes for teaching evolution in 1925, by limiting even an objective discussion of the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory,”

Two things: The real fight is over the “objective” part. There’d really be no problem bringing up creationism as utter nonsense that never did anything for biology and that was tacitly rejected by much of biology even prior to Darwin. That is exactly the honest teaching of creationism (or antievolutionism) that is never attempted because it would create enormous opposition, and potentially become a first amendment issue (legally it should be quite allowable to compare creationism’s failures with evolution’s successes, but the language used could become problematic).

And the other thing: The real issue is science vs. nonsense. “Weaknesses” have nothing to do with anything, because evolution is the only scientific model that has any going for it in biology. What are the weaknesses of the scientific approach vis-a-vis human epistemic possibilities? None.

Of course, what they really can’t abide is the fact that science gives answers to questions about the world, and religion doesn’t. Thus “weaknesses” must be invented to doing honest science.

Glen Davidson

Good of you to mention this, Richard. Lauri’s article never did get the attention I thought it deserved.

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Good of you to mention this, Richard. Lauri’s article never did get the attention I thought it deserved.

It’s always good to remind others, SensuousCurmudgeon, but this essay of hers was noticed and disseminated by many. Am surprised RBH just learned of it.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/57vt.Vh1yeas[…]AbTpY-#b1375 said:

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Good of you to mention this, Richard. Lauri’s article never did get the attention I thought it deserved.

It’s always good to remind others, SensuousCurmudgeon, but this essay of hers was noticed and disseminated by many. Am surprised RBH just learned of it.

I occasionally take naps. Naps are under-rated as a form of recreation.

Nevertheless, I still think one of the most powerful arguments against the Tennessee bill is that it comes directly from the Discovery Institute, and I don’t see that angle emphasized enough. Well, in Tennessee that may be seen as a reason to enact this law, but it’s still something that should be mentioned more often.

Its weird and funny and weird to see such desperation to stop kids getting the essence on very common and popular and historical contentions on great matters of origins. Its hurting the kids they cry!! Well Christians historically would of said sincerely teaching against Christian , or perceived Christian, conclusions about nature would HURT the kids. So censorship was around in times of more Christian society. to overcome this they cried FREEDOM to explore the facts. Now its STOP the exploring as the facts is settled or desirable. Oh Brother.

I guess it does matter what kids are exposed to in schools. they are also being exposed to how one should keep an eye on what truth is taught and who decides.

again however remember its not about teaching SCIENCE but about CONCLUSIONS in certain subjects that are presented as scientific ones and so not wrong. creationism is saying the conclusions are wrong and take on the claim that science has been effective or involved at all in the CONCLUSIONS. it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false. Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false.! that couldn’t be however as there is a separation of state and church. You know hands off each others .

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Nevertheless, I still think one of the most powerful arguments against the Tennessee bill is that it comes directly from the Discovery Institute, and I don’t see that angle emphasized enough. Well, in Tennessee that may be seen as a reason to enact this law, but it’s still something that should be mentioned more often.

I agree with you, but that by itself would not be persuasive. You would have to point out relevant passages of Paul R. Gross and Barbara Forrest’s “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design” to explain why the Discovery Institute’s involvement is cause for alarm.

From the article:

Fowler, who would not say whether he is a young earth creationist (“I think that’s irrelevant,” he noted)

That’s all I need to read to conclude that Fowler is in on the scam, and not a clueless rube. If one who claims that it’s about the science, and “fairness,” honestly believes that, one has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by stating what one thinks the evidence concludes at least on the basic “what happened when” and “which species share common ancestors” questions. AiG can do it, so what’s the problem? Other than they know, deep down, that YEC, and any OEC that denies common descent, has no evidence to back it up, and has mutual contradictions that add insult to the injury. But have this all-consuming fear that the “masses” can’t handle the truth.

Robert Byers, it can’t be repeated enough, but, you are an idiot. Not wanting children to be taught religious propaganda, instead of science, in a science classroom is not censorship.

Quite frankly, you are an evil liar to claim that this is somehow censorship that harms children.

Furthermore, creationists repeatedly demonstrate that they are not out to teach their students science, if they intend to teach their students anything at all.

Robert Byers said:

Its weird and funny and weird to see such desperation to stop kids getting the essence on very common and popular and historical contentions on great matters of origins. Its hurting the kids they cry!! Well Christians historically would of said sincerely teaching against Christian , or perceived Christian, conclusions about nature would HURT the kids. So censorship was around in times of more Christian society. to overcome this they cried FREEDOM to explore the facts. Now its STOP the exploring as the facts is settled or desirable. Oh Brother.

I guess it does matter what kids are exposed to in schools. they are also being exposed to how one should keep an eye on what truth is taught and who decides.

again however remember its not about teaching SCIENCE but about CONCLUSIONS in certain subjects that are presented as scientific ones and so not wrong. creationism is saying the conclusions are wrong and take on the claim that science has been effective or involved at all in the CONCLUSIONS. it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false. Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false.! that couldn’t be however as there is a separation of state and church. You know hands off each others .

Here’s a question for Booby Byers. Does he believe that Joshua caused the Sun to stand still in the sky for a day, as claimed in the Book of Joshua? If so, how does he explain why nobody else in other civilizations such as Egypt and China noted this remarkable event?

Robert Byers the Evil Liar lied:

Its weird and funny and weird to see such desperation to stop kids getting the essence on very common and popular and historical contentions on great matters of origins. Its hurting the kids they cry!! Well Christians historically would of said sincerely teaching against Christian , or perceived Christian, conclusions about nature would HURT the kids. So censorship was around in times of more Christian society. to overcome this they cried FREEDOM to explore the facts. Now its STOP the exploring as the facts is settled or desirable. Oh Brother.

Not exposing children to Young Earth Creationism is not censorship, Robert Byers, no matter how much you whine or lie about it. Not that you care about truth.

I guess it does matter what kids are exposed to in schools. they are also being exposed to how one should keep an eye on what truth is taught and who decides.

So why should Young Earth Creationists be allowed to determine what’s true and what’s not true for school children, or why should they be allowed to determine what can and can not be taught in science classrooms when Young Earth Creationists are notorious for their hatred of science, and reality and all other things (and people) who do not agree with their personal interpretations of the Bible?

again however remember its not about teaching SCIENCE but about CONCLUSIONS in certain subjects that are presented as scientific ones and so not wrong.

And yet, you refuse to explain to us why Young Earth Creationism deserves to be taught in place of science in a science classroom, let alone explain to us why Young Earth Creationism is supposed to be superior to science in the first place.

creationism is saying the conclusions are wrong and take on the claim that science has been effective or involved at all in the CONCLUSIONS.

So where is the evidence that Young Earth Creationism is true and science is wrong? As I recall, you refused to present such evidence, or even an explanation, claiming that it’s “off topic” in an attempt to cover your sorry butt.

it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false.

What place does the Bible have in science classrooms to begin with?

Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false.!

Yet, Creationists are quick to claim that adherents of other religions, and scientists, are being mislead by or are worshiping the Devil, when they’re not claiming that they’re evil liars. that couldn’t be however as there is a separation of state and church.

You know hands off each others .

So how does teaching Young Earth Creationism in place of science, in science classrooms not violate the separation of church and state, and how does teaching actual science, instead of religious propaganda, in science classrooms violate the separation of church and state?

SLC said:

Here’s a question for Booby Byers. Does he believe that Joshua caused the Sun to stand still in the sky for a day, as claimed in the Book of Joshua? If so, how does he explain why nobody else in other civilizations such as Egypt and China noted this remarkable event?

You’re wasting your breath,SLC, Byers is too cowardly to posit an explanation: instead he’s probably going to ignore it entirely, or, at the very best, dismiss it with a quarter-assed excuse that explaining it is “off thread,” even though he hypocritically puts out similarly (unsupported and unsupportable) claims left and right to begin with.

Robert Byers said: it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false. Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false.! that couldn’t be however as there is a separation of state and church. You know hands off each others .

a) no one is “demanding the Bible is false”. That’s just a conclusion reached by a minority of Christian fundamentalists, Orthodox Jews and Muslims. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, doesn’t see a conflict between science and their faith. Address this issue or STFU!

b) It is established under US law that teaching doesn’t have to conform to anyone’s beliefs. I cited the exact US court cases to you months ago in other posts. I’m not going to repeat them, since you’ve ignored them. You just keep saying the same crap over and over regardless of any counter-arguments offered to you. Address the Supreme Court’s arguments or STFU!

This guy is just a typical “drive-by” parrot of the same things no matter what anyone says to him. If someone offers a counter-example, he runs off on a tangent arguing about the counter-example and derailing the thread instead of addressing the actual argument.

John_S said:

Robert Byers said: it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false. Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false.! that couldn’t be however as there is a separation of state and church. You know hands off each others .

a) no one is “demanding the Bible is false”. That’s just a conclusion reached by a minority of Christian fundamentalists, Orthodox Jews and Muslims. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, doesn’t see a conflict between science and their faith. Address this issue or STFU!

b) It is established under US law that teaching doesn’t have to conform to anyone’s beliefs. I cited the exact US court cases to you months ago in other posts. I’m not going to repeat them, since you’ve ignored them. You just keep saying the same crap over and over regardless of any counter-arguments offered to you. Address the Supreme Court’s arguments or STFU!

This guy is just a typical “drive-by” parrot of the same things no matter what anyone says to him. If someone offers a counter-example, he runs off on a tangent arguing about the counter-example and derailing the thread instead of addressing the actual argument.

I find it amusing that Booby Byers, who is a Canadian, is so concerned by what goes on in the US. I suggest that he go bother Prime Minister Harper for a while.

Byers actually demonstrated a fact in this last. Of course, it wasn’t the fact he intended to demonstrate, but for Byers, that’s par for the course.

It was here:

it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false. Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false.!

Who Byers means by “they” in the first sentence is unclear, Byers being as incapable of coherent prose as he is of coherent thought. He probably means “people who insist that creationism can’t be taught as science in public schools”, but he might mean “scientists” or “the courts” or “Constitutional lawyers”.

But whatever he means by that, he has just given the game away. In what passes for the mind of Byers, not teaching creationism is the same thing as teaching that the Bible is false. It is the same thing as teaching that some religious doctrines are false. Specifically, his religious doctrines.

So there you have it. To Byers, if you don’t teach “some religious doctrines” - namely, his - in the public schools, you are actually teaching alternative religious doctrines, namely that his doctrines are false.

So he has just cheerfully admitted that his objective is to have his religious doctrines taught as fact in the public schools. This is of course the same objective as the Discovery Institute’s, but Byers is fatuous enough to come right out with it, while the DI tries to hide it.

Byers should be encouraged, I think. His is a two-pronged attack on creationism. Yes, you read that correctly. Byers should be displayed to everybody who thinks that public schools should “teach both sides” or “explore the controversy” or “encourage open enquiry”. He’ll cheerfully blurt out the facts: it’s not about controversy or enquiry; he doesn’t want both sides taught. He wants his religion taught. He doesn’t want anyone else’s taught. He wants the public schools turned into madrassas. He wants the State to proselytise for his sect. Ultimately, he wants the State to be his sect.

The DI would give a great deal to shut him up. He’s giving the game away, and doing it with the same idiotic incomprehension that Byers does everything.

That imbecilic unawareness of his own cluelessness is the second prong of the attack. Nobody can read Byers without becoming aware that he’s irrational; that the entire fabric of his consciousness is riven with self-evident internal contradictions and syllogisms so obviously false as to be ridiculous, compounded with an ignorance so comprehensive that it can only be the product of a lifetime’s coddling.

The mouth-breathing goobers who actually believe the same things as he does won’t read or comprehend him anyway, being incapable of it, so he’s impotent to move them. Anyone who does manage to extract meaning from his shambolic prose will necessarily be brought face-to-face with a granite truth - that this is what religious fundamentalism does to minds. And having seen it, will allow the schools to teach it to their children only over their dead bodies.

Its weird and funny and weird to see such desperation to try to force kids into getting the essence on very common and popular and historical contentions on great matters of origins. Its hurting the kids they cry!! Well Christians historically would of said sincerely teaching against Christian , or perceived Christian, conclusions about nature would HURT the kids. So censorship was around in times of more Christian society. to overcome this they cried FREEDOM to explore the facts. Now that they have actually got the fact the exploring as the facts is settled or desirable. Oh Brother. Why don’t you just give up on the facts you don’t have and admits to the ones you does.

I guess it does matter what kids are exposed to in schools. they are also being exposed to how one should keep an eye on what truth is taught and who decides. They are being taught why the science that has been so successful at lengthening their lives and increasing their standard of living is so important.

again however remember its about teaching SCIENCE and about CONCLUSIONS in certain subjects that are scientific ones and so not wrong. creationism is saying the conclusions are wrong and take on the claim that science has been effective or involved at all in the CONCLUSIONS,but that’s just so much boloney. it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false, but of course if it contradicts the facts that are being known, that’s just too bad. Very close to teaching some religious doctrines are false, but not really since no one cares unless the religion make claims contrary to reality..! that couldn’t be however even if there is a separation of state and church. You know hands off each others . But if religions want to try to play science, then they is the ones who are not keeping hands off. So stop that nonsense or you will pay the price.

DS said:

[a bunch of imitation Byers stuff]

I said it on another thread, and I’ll say it again: How can you stand to write that stuff? You have a stronger stomach than I do, Gunga Din.

Do you suppose he got a computer program to generate it? :p

Robert Byers said: it sure seems like they are demanding the bible is false.

Okay, Robert - put up or shut up: Is the bible true or false?

Snakes can talk (Genesis 3:1-5) True or false?

Donkeys can talk (Numbers 22:28-30) True or false?

Pi = 3.000 (I Kings 7:23) True or false?

It is possible to stop and re-start the sun in the sky (Joshua 10:12-13) True or false?

Insects have four legs (Leviticus 11:20-23) True or false?

Just Bob said:

DS said:

[a bunch of imitation Byers stuff]

I said it on another thread, and I’ll say it again: How can you stand to write that stuff? You have a stronger stomach than I do, Gunga Din.

It’s easy. All you do is copy and past some verbal diarrhea from Byers, change a few key words, being careful to leave in all of the spelling and grammatical errors, and presto, instant non argument. After all, you have to talk in a language this guy can understand.

Of course, there are some serious points to be made with this kind of nonsense. FIrst, if you are going to be so disrespectful as to not ever correct any of your errors, even the ones that have been pointed out to you countless times, if you are going to insist that you can never even attempt to learn anything or even try to be coherent, then you should expect nothing better in return. Second, if you think that your own ignorant opinion is worth anything, if you think that assertions without supporting evidence are convincing, if you think that ignoring all evidence that destroys your position is a valid thing to do, then once again you deserve no better in return. And third, if you really believe that mindless and incoherent mutterings that completely ignore reality are convincing, if you for some reason think that just writing nonsense will win anyone over, if you actually think that just repeating the same old tired crap over and over and over is somehow an actual argument, then you should be completely convinced by this stuff as well.

What, you think I’m bering unfair? You think I’m being impolite? You think I’m being mean? Well, that’s exactly what Robert is doing. If he doesn’t like it, he can always stop. Until then, he can reap what he sows and fertilizes with his verbal diarrhea. It ceased to be amusing years ago.

The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, is accepting messages regarding HB 368.

Contact Governor Bill Haslam now and urge him to veto HB 368.

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Tel: (615) 741-2001

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As I see it, the question of the Sun standing still presents a problem not just for one correspondent to the Panda’s Thumb. It is for every person who claims to hold to the literal truth of the Bible yet accepts that the Earth is in motion around the Sun.

For some 2000 years (500 BC to AD 1500) everybody accepted that the Bible taught that the Sun makes a daily motion around a fixed Earth. One cannot claim that the Biblical texts in support of geocentrism are plainly figurative: Lots of smart and sincere believers for a long time didn’t notice that the texts were figurative. Not until the rise of modern science and the use of complex scientific instruments did it become clear that the Earth was a planet of the Sun. No one would believe that the Earth was in motion unless they accepted that naturalistic evidence and reasoning could influence how one should treat the Bible.

How can anyone claim Biblical literalism overrides naturalistic thought and accept the modern scientific view of the Solar System?

TomS said:

How can anyone claim Biblical literalism overrides naturalistic thought and accept the modern scientific view of the Solar System?

With a heaping helping of hypocrisy, a cup or 3 of compartmentalization, and just a pinch of self-consciousness.

The problem from a theological point of view, Tom, is not that this stopping of the sun is impossible. Miracles are, by definition, events that are impossible within the order of nature. So in order to perform them, God suspends the order of nature.

So the Earth stopped rotating, and God suspended or modified all the natural laws that would make this a tad inconvenient for life on it. F=ma? Gone! Newton’s Third Law? No longer applies! Implications for wind belts, weather, air movements, tides, momentum, movement of the oceans, structural integrity of the planet, you name it? All rescinded. You think God can’t do this? Allow me to introduce you to my little friend, the word “omnipotent”.

Look, it’s no more crazy than talking snakes or donkeys, and damn near mundane compared with fruit that you eat to know the difference between good and evil. Some theologians quibble over things like “uncovenanted miracles” when it turns out that stopping the sun is not one miracle, it’s billions on end, but they’re just party-poopers.

Actually, for theologians, God walking in the Garden because He enjoyed the cool of the evening, or not knowing that Adam had eaten of the fruit until He saw that Adam had clothed himself - those are more of a problem. I am not making this up.

Exactly.

God (supposedly) can do any damn thing, at any time, for reasons beyond human understanding. Which makes creationism absolutely useless as a science.

Dave Luckett said:

The problem from a theological point of view, Tom, is not that this stopping of the sun is impossible. Miracles are, by definition, events that are impossible within the order of nature. So in order to perform them, God suspends the order of nature.

So the Earth stopped rotating, and God suspended or modified all the natural laws that would make this a tad inconvenient for life on it. F=ma? Gone! Newton’s Third Law? No longer applies! Implications for wind belts, weather, air movements, tides, momentum, movement of the oceans, structural integrity of the planet, you name it? All rescinded. You think God can’t do this? Allow me to introduce you to my little friend, the word “omnipotent”.

Look, it’s no more crazy than talking snakes or donkeys, and damn near mundane compared with fruit that you eat to know the difference between good and evil. Some theologians quibble over things like “uncovenanted miracles” when it turns out that stopping the sun is not one miracle, it’s billions on end, but they’re just party-poopers.

Actually, for theologians, God walking in the Garden because He enjoyed the cool of the evening, or not knowing that Adam had eaten of the fruit until He saw that Adam had clothed himself - those are more of a problem. I am not making this up.

In addition to the problems that Mr. Luckett mentioned, there is the fact that this remarkable occurrence was not noted by anybody else alive at the time, particularly in civilizations such as in China and Egypt in which written records were left. Those who insist that this happened have to explain this lack of testimony.

My problem is not any difficulty with the motion of the Sun around the Earth. Quite the opposite. It is no more difficult to accept that the Sun goes around the Earth than it is to accept that all of the “kinds” of living things were created over the course of a few days less than 10,000 years ago.

The problem is that the standards of Biblical literalism which demand that all of the evidence and reasoning in support of life having evolved over many millions of years be rejected in favor of a particular interpretation of the Bible does not (except rarely) extend to rejecting the Earth as planet of the Sun. It was the universally accepted reading of the Bible for the majority of the existence of the Bible in the Church that the Sun goes around the Earth. The belief that the Earth goes around the Sun was a result of naturalistic evidence and reasoning, using techniques that didn’t exist before the rise of modern science. It most certainly is not obvious that those geocentric passages were meant figuratively.

How can someone justify taking a non-literalist position with respect to geocentrism and insist upon a literalist position with respect to an “old earth”? Even in the early days of Christianity one can find non-literalist interpretations of the “days” of Genesis 1. (Augustine, for example.)

Someone who is a heliocentric creationist on the basis of a literal reading of the Bible outweighing naturalistic evidence gives the impression of being a “cafeteria literalist”, choosing literalism only when it is to one’s liking.

TomS said:

My problem is not any difficulty with the motion of the Sun around the Earth. Quite the opposite. It is no more difficult to accept that the Sun goes around the Earth than it is to accept that all of the “kinds” of living things were created over the course of a few days less than 10,000 years ago.

The problem is that the standards of Biblical literalism which demand that all of the evidence and reasoning in support of life having evolved over many millions of years be rejected in favor of a particular interpretation of the Bible does not (except rarely) extend to rejecting the Earth as planet of the Sun. It was the universally accepted reading of the Bible for the majority of the existence of the Bible in the Church that the Sun goes around the Earth. The belief that the Earth goes around the Sun was a result of naturalistic evidence and reasoning, using techniques that didn’t exist before the rise of modern science. It most certainly is not obvious that those geocentric passages were meant figuratively.

How can someone justify taking a non-literalist position with respect to geocentrism and insist upon a literalist position with respect to an “old earth”? Even in the early days of Christianity one can find non-literalist interpretations of the “days” of Genesis 1. (Augustine, for example.)

Someone who is a heliocentric creationist on the basis of a literal reading of the Bible outweighing naturalistic evidence gives the impression of being a “cafeteria literalist”, choosing literalism only when it is to one’s liking.

This is essentially why I think of it as all being social and political, more than religious.

Nobody has ever been a true Biblical literalist*. The guy who compiled Genesis deliberately put one story in Chapter 1 and another story in Chapter 2. And he didn’t even make them separate chapters. That organization is generally ascribed to Stephen Langton, who was active circa 1200 CE. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Langton. The inability of anyone to interpret Genesis literally led to, among many other things, pre-Adamite ideas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Adamite

*I’m willing to concede that Todd Wood and possibly a few others may be sincerely “Biblical literalists” in an absurdist, post-modern sense. Sort of like art students doing a project in which limited, imperfect material must be used or some such thing.

SteveP. said:

Here ya go.

Biology Life on Earth

Chapter 6, p.99

Excerpt:

“In the case of chemical energy, the eight carbon atoms in a single molecule of gasoline have a much more orderly arrangement than do the carbon atoms of the eight separate randomly moving molecules of carbon dioxide and the nine molecules of water that are formed when the gasoline burns. The same is true for the glycogen molecules stored in a runner’s muscles, which are converted from highly organized chains of sugar molecules into simpler water and carbon dioxide as they are used by the muscles. This tendency toward loss of complexity, orderliness, and useful energy - and the concurrent increase in randomness, disorder, and less useful energy - is called entropy. To counteract entropy, energy must be infused into the system from an outside source.

That seems a reasonable summary for a basic science class. Note it does not say “Entropy” is just another word for “Disorder”. It does say that the Entropy of an open system can decrease. Was your subsequent comment a typo, or a demonstration of your total lack of understanding of the concept?

Fortunately, Earth is a closed system, for life as we know it depends on a constant infusion of energy from a source that is 93 millions miles away - the sun.”

Regarding your reference to Evelyn Hutchinson,

When the eminent Yale scientist Evelyn Hutchinson stated, “Disorder spreads through the universe, and life alone battles against it,” he made an eloquent reference to entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.

This seems to come from the 1970s, on page 19 of “The Itinerant Ivory Tower”, part of which is available on google books. I have not time to read it, but the word “entropy” does not appear in these 80 pages. This comment on the quote does perhaps serve to demonstrate the problem with your interpretation of it.

and also said:

You have to ask ‘If Man figured out a way to harness energy through the use of a combustible engine, then how did early simple life figure out how to harness the light of the sun to keep from going extinct in fast fashion’.

Man had an idea, but from a darwinian perspective, life doesn’t have ideas; only fortunate circumstances.

Ideas are over-rated then I guess.

Your ideas by you probably are. You are the one who thinks single celled life is capable of working out what to evolve into. Life no more had to “figure out” how to harness solar energy than a fire has to work out where to send the smoke.

SteveP. said:

Here ya go.

Biology Life on Earth

Chapter 6, p.99

Excerpt:

“In the case of chemical energy, the eight carbon atoms in a single molecule of gasoline have a much more orderly arrangement than do the carbon atoms of the eight separate randomly moving molecules of carbon dioxide and the nine molecules of water that are formed when the gasoline burns.”

Interesting example. If you calculate the entropy change at 37°C (body temperature), 1 atm for the isothermal oxidation of n-octane with a stoichiometric amount of oxygen, you find that the entropy change is -0.56 kJ/K/g-mole octane combusted.

Yes, that’s right: the entropy of the system decreases under these conditions.

Those of you who actually understand thermodynamics will probably see right away why this is so; perhaps SteveP. will surprise us by providing a correct explanation of why a reaction that occurs spontaneously (combustion) can result in a net reduction of entropy in the reaction system.

SteveP. said:

You have to ask ‘If Man figured out a way to harness energy through the use of a combustible engine

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

SteveP. said:

Here ya go.

Biology Life on Earth

Chapter 6, p.99

Excerpt:

All you have done is what all ID/creationists do; you scour the literature to find statements that reinforce your own misconceptions and misrepresentations. You then hold these up as “authority” by using words such as “eminent” enhance the “authority of the quote-mine.

But what you ID/creationists never do – and can NEVER EVER do – is actually understand concepts and be able to vet the literature from which you quote-mine.

In other words, SteveP, you comprehend nothing, you don’t want to comprehend anything, and you want to waste the time of others by prattling repeatedly a bunch of crap you don’t understand.

That quote you chose is one of the misconceptions that the physics community has been battling since the 1970s when ID/creationists spread these memes everywhere. You know nothing of the history of any of this; and you could not recognize a misconception or a misrepresentation if it hit you in the face with a steel I-beam.

You seek only to find reinforcement for the misconceptions you already have and refuse to correct.

You still haven’t learned anything. You don’t even try.

The last few comments are a perfect example of your(pl) projection. The two paragraphs are from the same material on the same page. Word for word, bold for bold.

Also, I didn’t need to scour anything. It was simple enough.

What is even more curious is that you didn’t respond the the central point (something I find you all almost always studiously avoid to do), which is responding to co’s claim that ‘there is no fighting off entropy’.

Well, it doesn’t seem to be the case. and this is an university textbook. interesting.

Mike Elzinga said:

SteveP. said:

Here ya go.

Biology Life on Earth

Chapter 6, p.99

Excerpt:

All you have done is what all ID/creationists do; you scour the literature to find statements that reinforce your own misconceptions and misrepresentations. You then hold these up as “authority” by using words such as “eminent” enhance the “authority of the quote-mine.

But what you ID/creationists never do – and can NEVER EVER do – is actually understand concepts and be able to vet the literature from which you quote-mine.

In other words, SteveP, you comprehend nothing, you don’t want to comprehend anything, and you want to waste the time of others by prattling repeatedly a bunch of crap you don’t understand.

That quote you chose is one of the misconceptions that the physics community has been battling since the 1970s when ID/creationists spread these memes everywhere. You know nothing of the history of any of this; and you could not recognize a misconception or a misrepresentation if it hit you in the face with a steel I-beam.

You seek only to find reinforcement for the misconceptions you already have and refuse to correct.

You still haven’t learned anything. You don’t even try.

Elzinga,

It is your opinion that there is a misconception. After battling this supposed misconception for so many years, it never dawned on you that just maybe the misconception is on your part.

Even Dave Lovell skates right by the crux of the matter. Says life no more has to figure out how to harness light than fire has to figure out where to send smoke.

See, no explanations needed. It just does. Move along now.

If this is it, then God wins hands down.

SteveP. said:

After battling this supposed misconception for so many years, it never dawned on you that just maybe the misconception is on your part.

No; it simply demonstrates that IDiots like yourself are so full of bigotry and blind, ignorant hatred that you continue to try to force others to be as ignorant as you are. You belong to that class of street hoodlums who would beat up smart kids heading home from school with books under their arms. We have seen lots of people like you over the years; you aren’t original.

You really like to moon people who understand things, don’t you.

We have demonstrated repeatedly here on PT that you simply cannot compute entropy. You not only don’t know the equations, you can’t even do the math when the equations are given to you.

You have never taught thermodynamics or used thermodynamics concepts in research EVER. You have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about. Your mooning and your copycat accusations of projection by people here are also an attempt to piss people off.

There is no such thing as “battling entropy.”

You are no longer capable of learning anything.

And I am sure you have said that to the authors of that textbook as well.

The problem you have Elzinga is you want everyone to stay on an extremely narrow view of entropy as a calculation of the transformation of the energy of molecules when heat is applied. You dare not look at the implications of this phenomenon and see where it takes you.

So yes, as a physicist you are not interested in it. But others are.

Stay in the physics department. It suits you better.

Mike Elzinga said:

SteveP. said:

After battling this supposed misconception for so many years, it never dawned on you that just maybe the misconception is on your part.

No; it simply demonstrates that IDiots like yourself are so full of bigotry and blind, ignorant hatred that you continue to try to force others to be as ignorant as you are. You belong to that class of street hoodlums who would beat up smart kids heading home from school with books under their arms. We have seen lots of people like you over the years; you aren’t original.

You really like to moon people who understand things, don’t you.

We have demonstrated repeatedly here on PT that you simply cannot compute entropy. You not only don’t know the equations, you can’t even do the math when the equations are given to you.

You have never taught thermodynamics or used thermodynamics concepts in research EVER. You have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about. Your mooning and your copycat accusations of projection by people here are also an attempt to piss people off.

There is no such thing as “battling entropy.”

You are no longer capable of learning anything.

Time to boot Stevie to the bathroom wall. He is off his meds again.

So, SteveP, tell us again why we have to assume that you know more about science than actual scientists? Or, why we are not allowed to point out that you say very stupid things with every single post you make?

SteveP. said:

And I am sure you have said that to the authors of that textbook as well.

George Evelyn Hutchinson died in 1991. He was writing during the height of the ID/creationist attacks and sloppy popularizations.

But you wouldn’t know anything about all that history; history which I lived through and which you have never taken the time to learn.

You are apparently incapable of leaning history as well. But we have already determined that you are not capable of learning anything. You only probe to find ways to piss people off. You never outgrew your petulant preadolescence.

I wonder if “battling entropy” is just a silly way of saying consuming nutrients (or photosynthesizing, depending on type of organism).

Elzinga,

For starters, Hutchinson was not an author of the book. He was ‘quoted’ in the book.

Second, you’re rationalizing. You have to make it fit your preconceived notions that there is no dichotomy between life and non-life.

Yet, that is exactly what we obverse, a glaring dichotomy. You (pl) are trying to do an end run around this observation by thinking we don’t need to find an answer to the question of why there is a dichotomy if there is no question. So you need to repeat to yourself and others ad nauseum that there is no dichotomy.

That’s philosophy, not science.

Mike Elzinga said:

SteveP. said:

And I am sure you have said that to the authors of that textbook as well.

George Evelyn Hutchinson died in 1991. He was writing during the height of the ID/creationist attacks and sloppy popularizations.

But you wouldn’t know anything about all that history; history which I lived through and which you have never taken the time to learn.

You are apparently incapable of leaning history as well. But we have already determined that you are not capable of learning anything. You only probe to find ways to piss people off. You never outgrew your petulant preadolescence.

Thanks for stating the book, SteveP. It actually is an inoffensive enough statement. Of course, it doesn’t help your position whatsoever; it’s rather like quoting a bit of _Alice_In_Wonderland_ to learn about caterpillars.

SteveP. said:

Elzinga,

For starters, Hutchinson was not an author of the book. He was ‘quoted’ in the book.

Second, you’re rationalizing. You have to make it fit your preconceived notions that there is no dichotomy between life and non-life.

Yet, that is exactly what we obverse, a glaring dichotomy. You (pl) are trying to do an end run around this observation by thinking we don’t need to find an answer to the question of why there is a dichotomy if there is no question. So you need to repeat to yourself and others ad nauseum that there is no dichotomy.

That’s philosophy, not science.

Wow, you don’t even know what philosophy is!

You know nothing about science; yet you make up a bunch of pseudo-philosophy and pseudo-science as a substitute for knowledge you have not acquired and don’t even know exists.

You have no idea what that little entropy exam has to do with anything. It is just the beginning of knowledge; and you can’t even see the starting line.

You have chosen to remain ignorant because, in YOUR mind, it absolves you of any responsibility for having to weigh the knowledge already accumulated by science. By not knowing, YOU think everything is just opinion to be replaced by whatever makes you think you are smart and pursuing what you choose to call “science.”

Unfortunately for you, it doesn’t work that way in the real world. Willful ignorance still makes you stupid. You still have no clue where any knowledge of science leads.

You have a week to learn some science while I’m away having some fun.

What, you mean you weren’t having fun just now at my expense?

You really do need that vacation.

Yeah, and the kicker is its in a friggin’ university textbook.

You guys got your work cut out for you, cleaning up that horrid mess of misunderstandings, misapprehensions, misconceptions, misreadings, misapplications.

Here’s a marketing tip. Call your pedagogical clean up campaign “Mis-sing in action: How not to explain scientific concepts”.

co said:

Thanks for stating the book, SteveP. It actually is an inoffensive enough statement. Of course, it doesn’t help your position whatsoever; it’s rather like quoting a bit of _Alice_In_Wonderland_ to learn about caterpillars.

SteveP. said:

Yeah, and the kicker is its in a friggin’ university textbook.

You guys got your work cut out for you, cleaning up that horrid mess of misunderstandings, misapprehensions, misconceptions, misreadings, misapplications.

Here’s a marketing tip. Call your pedagogical clean up campaign “Mis-sing in action: How not to explain scientific concepts”.

co said:

Thanks for stating the book, SteveP. It actually is an inoffensive enough statement. Of course, it doesn’t help your position whatsoever; it’s rather like quoting a bit of _Alice_In_Wonderland_ to learn about caterpillars.

Why bother, when self proclaimed “experts” such as yourself only pretend to understand in order to misrepresent? If you are really so ignorant that you can’t see the difference between an actual expert and your pseudoscientific techno babble, then you need professional help. You have deluded yourself to the point where it is literally impossible for you to actually learn anything. All you have left are insults and lies. Go away and don’t came back. No one wants you here. You are worthless.

SteveP. said:

Elzinga,

It is your opinion that there is a misconception. After battling this supposed misconception for so many years, it never dawned on you that just maybe the misconception is on your part.

Even Dave Lovell skates right by the crux of the matter. Says life no more has to figure out how to harness light than fire has to figure out where to send smoke.

See, no explanations needed. It just does. Move along now.

If this is it, then God wins hands down.

Of course, if you actually look at the scientific literature regarding entropy, you find that Mike Elzinga is correct. The Boltzmann statistical interpretation of entropy is as Mike presented it, the “disorder” misinterpretation appeared in the time frame Mike notes, and the reasons Mike cites for “disorder” being a misinterpretation are correct.

Dave Lovell is correct as well. There is no “figuring out” anything by cells. This doesn’t mean that no explanation is necessary – quite the opposite: science, using the tool of methodological naturalism, is trying to identify the mechanism by which photosynthesis (for example) evolved. It is dishonest to assert otherwise (“no explanations needed”).

I’ll make the same request to you that I’ve made to my fellow Christians IBelieveInGod and FL – if you truly want promote the Gospel, stop posting.

SteveP. said:

Yeah, and the kicker is its in a friggin’ university textbook.

You guys got your work cut out for you, cleaning up that horrid mess of misunderstandings, misapprehensions, misconceptions, misreadings, misapplications.

Here’s a marketing tip. Call your pedagogical clean up campaign “Mis-sing in action: How not to explain scientific concepts”.

co said:

Thanks for stating the book, SteveP. It actually is an inoffensive enough statement. Of course, it doesn’t help your position whatsoever; it’s rather like quoting a bit of _Alice_In_Wonderland_ to learn about caterpillars.

Yes, it’s a university textbook. So what? Here: I have in front of me one which is about statistical mechanics, and algorithms for computing various things. It has a nice section on simulated annealing, which is often used as a way of extremizing a quantity in a complicated system. Examples include calculating energies, entropies, and free-energies (which, Steve, if you’d paid attention to anything on this forum, you’d know was the real quantity you should be interested in).

The book talks about geometric jamming, and ergodic vs. forbidden regions of phase space, where entropy is decidedly _not_ the quantity which is maximized.

Physicists have known this for YEARS – well over a hundred, in the case of Boltzmann. Now, if you’ve absorbed anything, Steve, please tell us why the book you’re quoting is correct, in some situations, and why the book doesn’t dare present the full generalization of its statement to beginning physics students. What is that full generalization? In what situations is the book simply _wrong_? Why are these situations *SO* relevant to life and what we’ve been talking about (and, in fact, relevant to the quote which you badly mangled about Earth being an open thermodynamical system)?

Stevie is trapped in his teleological thinking. To him, no other explanations are needed or desirable or even understandable. He absolutely must see god in everything. Everything must be intelligent. Every thing must evolve itself. That is the only way he can make any sense of the world, at least without actually learning any real science. It wouldn’t be so bad if he would at least have the decency to admit that he really doesn’t understand anything and that others understand far more than he ever will. It would be even nicer if he would realize that no one is going to fall for his dark ages mentality. HIs impotent rage is solely attributable to his own ignorance and lack of understanding.

The fact that Stevie tries to defend his ignorance on a thread about an anti evolution bill is just one more piece of evidence that even he thinks the bill is designed to subvert science. Sadly, he seems to be just fine with that.

SteveP. the delusional American in Taiwan creotard barfed:

Elzinga,

For starters, Hutchinson was not an author of the book. He was ‘quoted’ in the book.

Second, you’re rationalizing. You have to make it fit your preconceived notions that there is no dichotomy between life and non-life.

Yet, that is exactly what we obverse, a glaring dichotomy. You (pl) are trying to do an end run around this observation by thinking we don’t need to find an answer to the question of why there is a dichotomy if there is no question. So you need to repeat to yourself and others ad nauseum that there is no dichotomy.

That’s philosophy, not science.

Mike Elzinga said:

SteveP. said:

And I am sure you have said that to the authors of that textbook as well.

George Evelyn Hutchinson died in 1991. He was writing during the height of the ID/creationist attacks and sloppy popularizations.

But you wouldn’t know anything about all that history; history which I lived through and which you have never taken the time to learn.

You are apparently incapable of leaning history as well. But we have already determined that you are not capable of learning anything. You only probe to find ways to piss people off. You never outgrew your petulant preadolescence.

G. (George) Evelyn Hutchinson is widely viewed as one of the great ecologists of the 21st Century. He had a number of highly regarded students, including the late Robert Macarthur, whose own mathematical thinking (He earned an A. M. in Applied Mathematics from Brown as well as a Ph. D. in Zoology from Yale) helped transform the science of ecology into the mathematically-oriented science that it is today.

SteveP. the delusional American in Taiwan creotard barked:

What, you mean you weren’t having fun just now at my expense?

You really do need that vacation.

I strongly second Mike Elzinga’s suggestion that you try learning some REAL science for once, Stevie baby. But the likelihood of that happening is as likely as Hell freezing over.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on March 29, 2012 12:39 PM.

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