Prothero reviews Meyer’s Hopeless Monster

| 55 Comments

Donald Prothero, paleontologist and author of Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, has reviewed Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt” monstrosity on Amazon. Money quote:

In short, Meyer has shown that his first disastrous book was not a fluke: he is capable of going into any field in which he has no training or research experience and botching it just as badly as he did molecular biology. As I’ve written before, if you are a complete amateur and don’t understand a subject, don’t demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect by writing a book about it and proving your ignorance to everyone else!

Via Larry Moran at Sandwalk.

55 Comments

Thanks for posting this RBH, I’m jammed! I made some brief comments on Berlinski over at Sandwalk.

Fortunately, with Prothero being a fully vetted expert, unlike Matzke (who only knows more about these matters than all of the IDiots do), the IDiots will respect what he had to write.

Isn’t that what was implied by their attacks on Matzke’s knowledgeable review?

Or ought we really to expect something somewhat less consistent than that?

Glen Davidson

[quote]Another common tactic of creationists is credential mongering. They love to flaunt their Ph.D.’s on their book covers, giving the uninitiated the impression that they are all-purpose experts in every topic. As anyone who has earned a Ph.D. knows, the opposite is true: the doctoral degree forces you to focus on one narrow research problem for a long time, so you tend to lose your breadth of training in other sciences. Nevertheless, they flaunt their doctorates in hydrology or biochemistry, then talk about paleontology or geochronology, subjects they have zero qualification to discuss. Their Ph.D. is only relevant in the field where they have specialized training. It’s comparable to asking a Ph.D. to fix your car or write a symphony–they may be smart, but they don’t have the appropriate specialized training to do a competent job based on their Ph.D. alone.[/quote]

Yep, I’ve always wondered how a professor of combustion theory can speak at length about geology. Or indeed, how people with no science qualifications whatsoever can speak on every subject in science.

It really is truly astounding.

Still, that’s young Earth creationism for you.

Perhaps they’re being led by the holy spirit (am I being blasphemous here ?)

As I’ve written before, if you are a complete amateur and don’t understand a subject, don’t demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect by writing a book about it and proving your ignorance to everyone else!

The closed mouth gathers no feet.

The thread here is not a review of the book but of the credentials of the author. Godd or bad cred makes no difference on the accuracy of the case of the author. The book has credibility with large numbers of readers. there is no reason someone can not master a subject despite not getting degrees in itr in their late teens and early twenties. Indeed always evolutionists try to make their case by invoking how scientists and the science community agree with evolution regardless of their degrees in the subject!! If only the smaller crowd matters then evolutionism should lead the way by insisting on dropping the bigger clan of support from “scientists”. anyways its on the merits of the case and this determines the credibility of the author. ID authors are doing alright in the publics mind. This public being of the type who are interested and can follow the conversation. Probably a lot of scientists.

Read the review itself, Byers. Prothero restricts himself to the facts about the so-called “Cambrian explosion”, and cites the author’s lack of expertise in the subject as a relevant fact, which it is.

But you’re a YEC, Byers. You reckon that all the fossils were laid down in a Noachian flood in near-historical times. Why would you defend a treatise that assumes that the major radiation in the forms of life on Earth occurred over five hundred million years ago?

Big tent, Byers. Political strategy, Byers, as dishonest as it is false. All you’re doing by defending this is showing your hypocrisy.

Dave Luckett said:

Read the review itself, Byers. Prothero restricts himself to the facts about the so-called “Cambrian explosion”, and cites the author’s lack of expertise in the subject as a relevant fact, which it is.

But you’re a YEC, Byers. You reckon that all the fossils were laid down in a Noachian flood in near-historical times. Why would you defend a treatise that assumes that the major radiation in the forms of life on Earth occurred over five hundred million years ago?

Big tent, Byers. Political strategy, Byers, as dishonest as it is false. All you’re doing by defending this is showing your hypocrisy.

That’s right. If Byers were honest he’d be denouncing Meyer as a heretic.

Go get him, Torquemada!

Robert Byers said: The book has credibility with large numbers of readers.

Right - the same scientifically illiterate and willfully ignorant demographic that thinks the execrable propaganda movie “Expelled” was a documentary.

Prothero does make the suggestion that YECs will not be happy with the book’s tacit acceptance of hundreds of millions of life on Earth. But I wonder what audience would be happy with the book. There is no comfort given to anyone who doesn’t want to be related to monkeys (or, for that matter, the common descent of all vertebrates). And, of course, there is no alternative account for what did happen during (or before or after) the Cambrian explosion/diversification: No description of what happens when a “design” takes place, or what is it about the designer(s) that leads them to design trilobites (only to have them eventually go extinct without progeny). I wonder what benefit anyone would feel after reading through the 400 pages.

The point of Doubt is that it will not be read. It will simply be held up, “Look at the pretty cover! Trilobite!” Everybody loves trilobites.

Creationists won’t read Doubt because creationists don’t read anything; they just listen to opinion in their echo chamber.

Scientists won’t read Doubt because - please, need I explain that?

Creationist watchers and those of us involved with battling creationism in public schools will, unfortunately, have to know enough about Meyer’s dreck to counter the inevitable calls for Doubt to be used as “supplemental” material in the biology curriculum. Texas has already been through one round of this and Round Two is on the horizon. The DI sent Luskin to Austin once (or twice) and I’m sure he or Youngkin or some other DI dolt will be lying to the Board about how much “science” the DI does and, lookie here, Trilobites!

Thank you very much, Dr. Prothero, for helping us with this chore. It makes our life a little easier.

As I’ve written before, if you are a complete amateur and don’t understand a subject, don’t demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect by writing a book about it and proving your ignorance to everyone else

This good advice assumes that Meyer is motivated solely by sincere desire to add to intellectual discussion, but is misled by a common human bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect.

While I have no doubt that the D-K effect is a factor, Prothero seems to be a bit generous here. Greed, coded advocacy of a hidden social/political agenda, and possibly, even a conscious desire to mislead, are also likely motivating factors. I have absolutely no doubt about the greed and the coded advocacy of a hidden agenda that in reality has nothing to do with anything Cambrian. Whether the desire to mislead is ever consciously experienced, we cannot know.

Predictably, the only Creationist response to Dr Prothero’s honest, yet scathing review has been nothing but permutations of “he didn’t read ‘Darwin’s Doubt,’ he’s just ranting to be mean!”

Archiving a few comments I made on Coyne’s blog in case they don’t get through the filter there:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress[…]tionist-book

David Sepkoski Posted July 23, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

There’s also a big difference between writing about science in a clear, informative way for a lay audience (as Zimmer does) and claiming to be producing original research in that field (which Zimmer does not, but Meyer does). While it is theoretically possible for someone without a PhD to do so, these days it’s hard to imagine developing the requisite knowledge and experience to do original research without having gone through a PhD, postdoc, etc.

I write about paleontology and evolutionary biology–and I think I know quite a lot about those fields–but I’d never claim that I was making original contributions to the science itself. I simply don’t have the tools or experience to do that, and my PhD would be irrelevant.

David Sepkoski, holy moly! Loved the paleobiology volume you edited. Yeah, actual Ph.D. expertise is not required to comment capably on a topic, but it does take work, due diligence, and the ability to fairly get the overall point of your sources. Being at least familiar with the field, as you and Zimmer are, helps a lot especially with avoiding the common popular misunderstandings of technical concepts and terms. (Although, I do have to pick a bone with one of your discussions of macroevolution, wherein it was equated with the evolution of higher-ranked taxa…but this is just the Linnaean-vs-phylogenetic taxonomy again).

Eddie Janssen Posted July 23, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

In his review Prothero states that the Atdabanian begins 530 million years ago. I have before me Erwin & Valentine, page 21. They let the Atdabanian begin 520 million years ago. I am confused. Anyone? Reply

Donald Prothero Posted July 23, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

Timescales keep changing, year after year. I tried to use one consistent with the one Meyer had cited.

The stratigraphy of the early Cambrian is in flux, both the definitions of the time periods (which are usually defined by the first appearance of some species), and the absolute times associated with those occurrences (which requires some radiometric dating, which is not always available).

Part of the problem is that the best fossils to use for these stratigraphic boundaries are ones that are geographically widespread, but most early Cambrian fossils are biogeographically localized.

Even the names “Tommotian”, “Atdabanian”, etc. are not officially endorsed as global names by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, these are basically references to Russian formations I think. The most current literature just discusses early Cambrian Stage 1, Stage 2, etc. If you look at the ICS charts, the “Tommotian” “Atdabanian”, etc. have changed their time-lengths from 5 all the way up to 15 million years in different assessments over the last decade or two. Creationists tend to quote statements based on the early 1990s when these zones were estimated to be particularly compressed.

Anyone interested should find Valentine and Erwin in their local library. Their time scale is fully up to date, and also manages to translate between Tommotian-Atdabanian-Bottomian, etc. into Cambrian Stage 1, 2, etc. It’s annoying to have to learn a new terminology, but also unavoidable.

Doc, I disagree. I think there are a lot of quasi-religious intellectuals who will read it. To many this will seem to be cutting edge science and philosophy. I’m old enough to remember Chariots of the Gods being a mega-bestseller for over a year. I think Prothero’s prediction that sales will soon plummet is wishfull thinking.

RodW said:

Doc, I disagree. I think there are a lot of quasi-religious intellectuals who will read it. To many this will seem to be cutting edge science and philosophy. I’m old enough to remember Chariots of the Gods being a mega-bestseller for over a year. I think Prothero’s prediction that sales will soon plummet is wishfull thinking.

But its sales have already plummeted. Moreover, the Cambrian explosion is not a new subject for creationists– their arguments have not been updated in 50 years. They can blather all they like, but they can’t generate excitement over 50-year-old assertions disproven by the fossil record.

As for religious intellectuals– for many people, religion is about ego-flattery. It’s ego-flattering to think God created the Big Bang for ME, and God created the first cell for ME. Where’s the ego-flattery in the assertion that God created trilobites, long since extinct antennaed arthropods with stalked compound eyes? For… me?

I have elsewhere called that phenomenon inflationary credentialism. It’s one of the markers of pseudoscience.

Ian Derthal said:

Yep, I’ve always wondered how a professor of combustion theory can speak at length about geology. Or indeed, how people with no science qualifications whatsoever can speak on every subject in science.

It really is truly astounding.

Still, that’s young Earth creationism for you.

Perhaps they’re being led by the holy spirit (am I being blasphemous here ?)

RodW said: I’m old enough to remember Chariots of the Gods (1968) being a mega-bestseller for over a year.

Go back even another generation: I thought “Worlds in Collision” (1950) was good science fiction and was disappointed to find out that Velikovsky was serious.

Ian Derthal said:

Yep, I’ve always wondered how a professor of combustion theory can speak at length about geology. Or indeed, how people with no science qualifications whatsoever can speak on every subject in science.

It really is truly astounding.

Still, that’s young Earth creationism for you.

Perhaps they’re being led by the holy spirit (am I being blasphemous here ?)

If you happen to be talking about Andy C. McIntosh, Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Engineering at the School of Process, Environmental Engineering, University of Leeds, I would suggest that even supposed “expertise” is not always what it seems.

When McIntosh gets outside of the very narrow engineering applications of thermodynamics, he can really bollix up thermodynamic concepts; as he does in that paper he recently presented in that “Cornell” conference of ID/creationists.

As stated in the caption below Figure 7. on Page 191 of the proceedings of that conference, here is what McIntosh thinks “natural molecular formations” are like.

All natural molecule formations are like magnets with the same pole facing each other such that if one lets the system ‘go’ they would pull apart: Δg < 0 (due to gh - Ts > 0 ). To set this system up — that is to keep the opposing magnets together work needs to be put in — the free energy change to bring them together is positive. In a similar way to bring the molecules together which form living polymers requires an initial input of ordered energy by another machine.

The rest of the paper is really that bad.

Whatever ID/creationist “expertise” consists of, it is confined to extremely narrow topics at best. One can’t even count on Ph.D. “expertise” from an ID/creationist; as can be seen by the likes of Jason Lisle, for example.

One has to wonder if the ID/creationist socio/political agenda is so important that it overrides everything to the point of outright lying about things they presumably have some training in; or if ID/creationism simply leads to the complete bastardization of every scientific concept in their own minds. In the latter case, they would have to avoid being detected until they finish their schooling.

The 6th or 7th comment on Prothero’s review is “But you didn’t talk about epigenetics or embryological development”.

I found that hilarious. Classic bait and switch. Klinghoffer (ENV) wanted a paleo guy to review it and one did. I’m willing to bet that it will be ignored or baited and switched with the epigentics or embryological development thing.

Mike Elzinga said:

Ian Derthal said:

Yep, I’ve always wondered how a professor of combustion theory can speak at length about geology. Or indeed, how people with no science qualifications whatsoever can speak on every subject in science.

It really is truly astounding.

Still, that’s young Earth creationism for you.

Perhaps they’re being led by the holy spirit (am I being blasphemous here ?)

If you happen to be talking about Andy C. McIntosh, Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Engineering at the School of Process, Environmental Engineering, University of Leeds, I would suggest that even supposed “expertise” is not always what it seems.

When McIntosh gets outside of the very narrow engineering applications of thermodynamics, he can really bollix up thermodynamic concepts; as he does in that paper he recently presented in that “Cornell” conference of ID/creationists.

[…]

Whatever ID/creationist “expertise” consists of, it is confined to extremely narrow topics at best. One can’t even count on Ph.D. “expertise” from an ID/creationist; as can be seen by the likes of Jason Lisle, for example.

One has to wonder if the ID/creationist socio/political agenda is so important that it overrides everything to the point of outright lying about things they presumably have some training in; or if ID/creationism simply leads to the complete bastardization of every scientific concept in their own minds. In the latter case, they would have to avoid being detected until they finish their schooling.

Indeed, Prof McIntosh’s Wikipedia entry notes that the University of Leeds has issued a public statement about his views (and his directorship of an organisation called “Truth in Science”) that very much resembles a well-known statement issued by the Department of Biochemical Sciences at Lehigh University.

John Harshman said:

Anyone interested should find Valentine and Erwin in their local library. Their time scale is fully up to date, and also manages to translate between Tommotian-Atdabanian-Bottomian, etc. into Cambrian Stage 1, 2, etc. It’s annoying to have to learn a new terminology, but also unavoidable.

Not the easiest advice to follow, at least not yet. No public library in the greater Boston area has a copy, nor does Harvard. Princeton will have one available in September, MIT has one but won’t send it to other universities, and Columbia will have one someday but won’t say when. Penn has a copy I could request, but that seems like rather a long way to send for a book. Hopefully additional copies will eventually wend their way through the library acquisition system. (Harvard does have a copy of Meyer’s book, if that’s any consolation.)

Steve Schaffner said: Not the easiest advice to follow, at least not yet.

Well, my public library had one. I suppose that’s just another way California leads the nation. Harvard??

John Harshman said: Well, my public library had one. I suppose that’s just another way California leads the nation. Harvard??

Harvard is probably still waiting for their copy to arrive by carrier pigeon.

Paul Burnett said:

RodW said: I’m old enough to remember Chariots of the Gods (1968) being a mega-bestseller for over a year.

Go back even another generation: I thought “Worlds in Collision” (1950) was good science fiction and was disappointed to find out that Velikovsky was serious.

I remember reading that experts on mythology viciously derided Velikovsky’s interpretations of myth, such as claiming that the creation of the planet Venus bursting out of Jupiter was recorded as the birth of Athena from the forehead of Zeus, as being abominably incorrect, but, politely dismissed his astronomy as “maybe correct,” while astronomers, in turn, brutally panned Velikovsky’s planetary astronomy as nauseatingly bad, and, ironically, also dismissed his mythology as “maybe correct,” too.

Mike Elzinga said:

Ian Derthal said:

All natural molecule formations are like magnets with the same pole facing each other such that if one lets the system ‘go’ they would pull apart: Δg < 0 (due to gh - Ts > 0 ). To set this system up — that is to keep the opposing magnets together work needs to be put in — the free energy change to bring them together is positive. In a similar way to bring the molecules together which form living polymers requires an initial input of ordered energy by another machine.

The rest of the paper is really that bad.

Whatever ID/creationist “expertise” consists of, it is confined to extremely narrow topics at best. One can’t even count on Ph.D. “expertise” from an ID/creationist; as can be seen by the likes of Jason Lisle, for example.

One has to wonder if the ID/creationist socio/political agenda is so important that it overrides everything to the point of outright lying about things they presumably have some training in; or if ID/creationism simply leads to the complete bastardization of every scientific concept in their own minds. In the latter case, they would have to avoid being detected until they finish their schooling.

When you’ve sworn an oath to destroy science in the holy name of Jesus Christ forcibly make science Jesus-friendly in the holy name of your financial patrons, a) intellectual honesty, integrity and competence automatically go sailing out the window and into traffic 30 stories below, and b) you’re not in a business/livelihood to bother caring about doing science/gathering knowledge/having intellectual honesty, integrity or competence.

RodW said:

Doc, I disagree. I think there are a lot of quasi-religious intellectuals who will read it. To many this will seem to be cutting edge science and philosophy. I’m old enough to remember Chariots of the Gods being a mega-bestseller for over a year. I think Prothero’s prediction that sales will soon plummet is wishfull thinking.

“Chariots of the Gods” was crackpottery, sincere, well-meaning crackpottery, with an easy-to-understand message, and written in a style that competently engaged the average reader’s interest.

Meyer’s stuff is badly written, dull propaganda, ostensibly commentary on a somewhat obscure scientific topic which few ordinary people much understand, but actually a stereotyped form of code.

Here is a brief but accurate paraphrase of this work by Meyer, and also, every other piece of ID/Creationism work:

“In complex language that you can’t understand, I say that the ‘other people’ are wrong about some scientific thing that disturbs you despite your total lack of understanding of it, and you, my fellow Liberty-lovin’ friend (Liberty University, that is), understand that by this, I mean that they must be wrong about other other topics that we wink at each other about, but dare not discuss out loud. And therefore you ‘support’, and possibly even buy, my book, although you will never read it, and won’t understand a word of it if you do force yourself through it”.

As much as it would irritate me, I can also see myself being amused by either the book or movie “Chariots of the Gods”, and easily finishing either, despite my contempt for the irrationality. Grinding through verbose ID/creationism stuff is a terrible chore, and I have huge respect for those who consistently meet that challenge and have the patience to rebut the verbose, repetitive errors contained therein.

I had a mild insight the other day. The super-verbose and/or rapid-fire repetitive style employed by creationists when they write, books or comments, is the written equivalent of interrupting and shouting over the other person. It’s an attempt to head off valid critique by making it almost impossible for the other party to engage you in a mutually respectful discussion. It’s a game designed to prevent individual points from being discussed rationally.

Paul Burnett said:

Robert Byers said: The book has credibility with large numbers of readers.

Right - the same scientifically illiterate and willfully ignorant demographic that thinks the execrable propaganda movie “Expelled” was a documentary.

Your saying you know the readers of the book are illiterate and ignorant. Yet that type don’t read or much less buy these types of books. This book was read/bought by the educated public. Only they would be interested in such subjects. This is a reason evolutionism is losing public support. They are not persuasive to the educated people in North America. The most intelligent people in mans history. If evolution was a error it follows logically it would be seen first here by the most. Its possible these ID authors are not really creating the modern skepticism but riding the curve.

RodW said:

Doc, I disagree. I think there are a lot of quasi-religious intellectuals who will read it. To many this will seem to be cutting edge science and philosophy. I’m old enough to remember Chariots of the Gods being a mega-bestseller for over a year. I think Prothero’s prediction that sales will soon plummet is wishfull thinking.

Awww, RodW, you’re killing me!

I read Chariots and the Maharishi Yogi and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and all sorts of stuff back in the 60’s when I was 15/16. And I remember having very serious discussions with my friends about all this stuff. Alien abduction? We were all over it! Also, bear in mind I had been reading science fiction (sneaking into the Adult Section of the library) since I was in the 3rd grade, so I had a wealth of “woo” under my belt. Also, bear in mind it was the dawn of the Space Age and we knew all the astronaut’s names, flights, details of hardware and all that stuff. Nothing else to do, really, except gen up on that stuff.

But, somehow, we were able to separate the science from the science fiction. We knew the difference between crap and Shinola.

So, I still think that people raised in science who know what’s what will ignore Meyer. The faithful who don’t read books anyway will hold up the cover and say, “pretty trilobite,” and the rest of the carnival barkers will make the best out of it they can on state School Boards, etc.

Sum total for Meyer: zero.

Sum total for Meyer: zero.

Now come on, the sheep are always good for some fleece.

Glen Davidson

RodW said: I think Prothero’s prediction that sales will soon plummet is wishfull thinking.

Prothero was probably referring to tracking the book’s Amazon sales ranking, which is easy to do with NovelRank.com. According to that site, the book had 331 sales in June and 475 in July (so far, it was released June 18). At its highest Amazon rank it was #73 and today its rank is #1214. So the evidence is that the sales are already falling.

It is also rather interesting that a book that moved only 331 copies on Amazon in its first month would land on the NYT Bestseller list.* What this suggests to me is that the Discovery Institute did some metric bombing**, that is, ordering a lot of copies for itself and co-ordinating other sympathetic groups to buy multiple copies all in the same week and all from booksellers tracked by the NYT.

* To put this into perspective, another piece of junk science religious apologetics is Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven, which is currently #142 on Amazon after moving 3756 Kindle units in June – and it was released way back in November.

** This technique is very common in the book selling business and has been exploited by many mid-list writers I know who arranged book-signings at select independent booksellers knowing that a few sales of 20-30 in a few stores in the one week can, with a bit of luck, get you onto a bestseller list, which can then go on all future book covers. IOW, this has not been invented by the DI.

Robert Byers said:

The thread here is not a review of the book but of the credentials of the author. Godd or bad cred makes no difference on the accuracy of the case of the author. The book has credibility with large numbers of readers.

Byers, this is why I think you ought to go straight the Bathroom Wall with every post you make. Your first sentence is a lie. Prothero didn’t say you needed qualifications to be taken seriously, he said you should not make a fool of yourself “if you are a complete amateur and don’t understand a subject” (my emphasis). Then, having lied about Prothero committing a Fallacy From Authority, your very next sentence is a blatant Fallacy from Popularity. You complain loudly about fallacies you have invented in your opponents’ work while being completely blind to the fallacies you use yourself.

diogeneslamp0 said: It’s ego-flattering to think God created the Big Bang for ME, and God created the first cell for ME. Where’s the ego-flattery in the assertion that God created trilobites, long since extinct antennaed arthropods with stalked compound eyes? For… me?

I can understand someone being interested in one’s individual relationship with one’s Creator (and Redeemer). Yet few people find that to conflict with scientific investigations of the origins of the individual, including the role of chance in genetics.

My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys. Which is an especially strong feeling precisely because it is so obvious that we are related to monkeys. (I think of the way that teenagers are embarrassed by being related to their parents.) But how does “Intelligent Design” help? That only tells us that the obvious physical similarities between humans, chimps, and other apes are not a result of common descent, but of a common purpose intended by our common designer(s). Not much of an improvement, is it?

How does Meyer’s book fit that desire? Only, it seems, by casting doubt on something about evolutionary biology. Maybe this is the first step in the total collapse of “darwinism”?

Robert Byers said:

Your saying you know the readers of the book are illiterate and ignorant. Yet that type don’t read or much less buy these types of books. This book was read/bought by the educated public. Only they would be interested in such subjects.

Is this a confession that you have not read/bought it Robert?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Sum total for Meyer: zero.

Now come on, the sheep are always good for some fleece.

Glen Davidson

It occurred to me that there’s a difference in the kind of sheep fleeced by Meyer and other religious flim-flammers. It’s not as if Meyer and Co. have to work to do the fleecing, you know, shearing, collecting etc.

Nope, these sheep shear themselves, package up their wool and simply hand it over. How sweet is that!

TomS said: My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys.

My personal opinion, based on decades of field observation of Homo ignoramus creationismus, is that a very significant percentage of them have a “revulsion at the idea of being physically related to” the descendents of the slaves their ancestors owned. Racism and christofascist fundagelicalism go hand-in-hand with this demographic, which has taken over a major political party.

Paul Burnett said:

TomS said: My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys.

My personal opinion, based on decades of field observation of Homo ignoramus creationismus, is that a very significant percentage of them have a “revulsion at the idea of being physically related to” the descendents of the slaves their ancestors owned. Racism and christofascist fundagelicalism go hand-in-hand with this demographic, which has taken over a major political party.

That would be the US Democrat party. The party that opposed the Civil Rights Act. The party that passed the Jim Crow laws. The party that opposed mixed marriages (miscegenation). The party that blocked minorities from voting in their primaries. The party that is, right now, persecuting George Zimmerman solely based on his skin color.

KlausH said:

Paul Burnett said:

TomS said: My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys.

My personal opinion, based on decades of field observation of Homo ignoramus creationismus, is that a very significant percentage of them have a “revulsion at the idea of being physically related to” the descendents of the slaves their ancestors owned. Racism and christofascist fundagelicalism go hand-in-hand with this demographic, which has taken over a major political party.

That would be the US Democrat party. The party that opposed the Civil Rights Act. The party that passed the Jim Crow laws. The party that opposed mixed marriages (miscegenation). The party that blocked minorities from voting in their primaries. The party that is, right now, persecuting George Zimmerman solely based on his skin color.

Apparently you missed out on the whole political realignment that happened in the 1960s. Nixon? Southern strategy? Any of this ring a bell?

John Harshman said:

KlausH said:

Paul Burnett said:

TomS said: My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys.

My personal opinion, based on decades of field observation of Homo ignoramus creationismus, is that a very significant percentage of them have a “revulsion at the idea of being physically related to” the descendents of the slaves their ancestors owned. Racism and christofascist fundagelicalism go hand-in-hand with this demographic, which has taken over a major political party.

That would be the US Democrat party. The party that opposed the Civil Rights Act. The party that passed the Jim Crow laws. The party that opposed mixed marriages (miscegenation). The party that blocked minorities from voting in their primaries. The party that is, right now, persecuting George Zimmerman solely based on his skin color.

Apparently you missed out on the whole political realignment that happened in the 1960s. Nixon? Southern strategy? Any of this ring a bell?

I was going to say…

Discussing any of this by a party is simply lazy. Name names or do whatever else, but don’t try to lump everyone who’s a Democrat into the same group. Same thing for the Republicans or the Greens or the Communists or anything else.

We’re wandering way off topic, folks.

Steve Schaffner said:

Harvard is probably still waiting for their copy to arrive by carrier pigeon.

Harvard upgraded to Hogwarts Owls in the 1880’s.

TomS said:

My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys.

I don’t agree. I think that creationists seek to ‘instrumentalize’ a revulsion towards the idea that we’re related to monkeys– that is, they’re trying to generate a revulsion towards the idea of primate descent, and then they seek to utilize the revulsion they generated. But I don’t think it’s their motivation.

As an analogy: I read a lot of Nazi propaganda in order to refute Weikart’s Darwin-to-Hitler thesis. The Nazis clearly ‘instrumentalized’ anti-Semitism. They sought to generate a revulsion towards Jews, and then utilize that to get political power of all sorts, in all kinds of different fields. For example, let’s say a Nazi is against liberalism, or rationalism, or researchers like Magnus Hirschfeld studying homosexuality. The Nazi then associates liberalism, or rationalism, or sex research with Jews, and by the instrument of anti-Semitism, he associates an emotional revulsion for these things in the public’s mind, or tries to.

Note that creationists don’t just assume a prior revulsion towards animals– they try to generate revulsion and contempt of animals. For example, I recall Tom DeLay (or was it Jerry Falwell?) saying that evolutionists teach we are related to animals that “have no value except to PETA.” DeLay doesn’t just assume we naturally find animals without value and revolting– he has to train us in that first. He presents such revulsion as the “natural state”, but they know it’s not natural– they know their audience needs to be trained in this unnatural belief system.

So then what’s their real motivation?

Insecurity and envy. They’re deeply envious of the authority and respect that (part of) society (for now) accords to scientists. They know that society usually assumes that religious conservatives are intellectually inferior to scientists, and they want to be seen as intellectual equals or superiors. That’s why the focus on self-contradictory arguments like “Lucy was just an ape, and a hoax, and Lucy was so broken up it tells us nothing.” These arguments contradict each other as to scientific facts, but all of them agree in what matters to the creationist: all these assertions make scientists look like dummies.

For proof, I can cite, well, any creationist writing anywhere ever. Let’s take a look at Robert Byers above:

Robert Byers said:

This book was read/bought by the educated public. Only they would be interested in such subjects. This is a reason evolutionism is losing public support. They are not persuasive to the educated people in North America. The most intelligent people in mans history.

The point of this quote is that people who think like Byers are not merely the intellectual equals of the world’s scientists, not just their superiors, but “The most intelligent people in mans history.”

Notice Byers’ point is totally contradicted by his immediately previous comment, in which Byers portrays himself as ANTI-authoritarian:

Robert Byers said:

Godd [sic] or bad cred makes no difference on the accuracy of the case of the author. The book has credibility with large numbers of readers. there [sic] is no reason someone can not master a subject despite not getting degrees in itr [sic] in their late teens and early twenties. Indeed always evolutionists try to make their case by invoking how scientists and the science community agree with evolution regardless of their degrees in the subject!!

So Byers says creationism is proven right by the fact that creationists have superior intellect; but if scientists support evolution, that proves nothing. This seems self-contradictory, but it’s not: Byers is always consistent that scientists are intellectually inferior to conservative Christians.

Here is a typical creationist letter to the editor:

Joshua Ashwood wrote:

Psalm 14:1 declares that fools say there is no God. The apostate Charles Darwin didn’t want to believe in God, so he devised the modern theory of evolution to explain the universe’s existence apart from God. So according to scripture, Darwin was a fool and all that subscribe to his anti-God theory are idiots. Should Christians listen to a pack of fools to tell us how we got here?

[Source]

Now you understand why the creationists are always citing Psalm 14, Psalm 53, Proverbs 1:7, 18:2, Romans 1:20, 2 Cor 5:7, 1 Cor 1:18-25, etc. What’s worse, 2 Peter 3:3-6 is featured in big print on a wall at Ken Ham’s creation museum, and Answers in Genesis actually alter the Bible text, yes they forge a biblical passage, in order to make it more ad hominem.

Of course they all violate Matthew 5:21-26.

Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

[Matthew 5:26]

The notion that somehow Darwin led to Frankenberger is ludicrous. Frankenberger in his tome, Mein Kampf, rejected the Darwinian notion of common descent.

KlausH said:

Paul Burnett said:

TomS said: My personal opinion is that the real objection to evolutionary biology is revulsion at the idea of being physically related to monkeys.

My personal opinion, based on decades of field observation of Homo ignoramus creationismus, is that a very significant percentage of them have a “revulsion at the idea of being physically related to” the descendents of the slaves their ancestors owned. Racism and christofascist fundagelicalism go hand-in-hand with this demographic, which has taken over a major political party.

That would be the US Democrat party. The party that opposed the Civil Rights Act. The party that passed the Jim Crow laws. The party that opposed mixed marriages (miscegenation). The party that blocked minorities from voting in their primaries. The party that is, right now, persecuting George Zimmerman solely based on his skin color.

This is the logical equivalent of blaming the current Queen Elizabeth for the more disturbing acts of the sixteenth century Queen Elizabeth.

As for the other bait, I’ll refrain from biting on it in this venue.

Thanks for not biting. And that’s about enough on that sidetrack.

Getting back to the Prothero review comment thread on Amazon, the creationists are slowly going extinct. Comment after comment are being hidden by Amazon because “customers to think this adds to the conversation.” Evolution in action!

I’m holding out for a special creation event, however. A new creationist suddenly appearing with outrage, mined quotes and spittle-flecked lips fully formed with no apparent ancestor. It could happen. Really.

Dumb fingers. “Customers don’t think this post adds to the discussion.”

I noticed that one recent 5-star review said:

Our own human inventiveness cannot even approach the autonomic self-propagating, self-repairing, data specified symbiotic system which is nature itself.

In other words, human inventiveness, the only intelligent design which we are really familiar with(*), cannot even approach what we see in nature, therefore nature must be intelligently designed. (*)Other than things which other animals intelligently design.

A recent 5-star review at Amazon has this to say:

Our own human inventiveness cannot even approach the autonomic self-propagating, self-repairing, data specified symbiotic system which is nature itself.

In other words, human inventiveness, the only example of intelligent design that we are familiar with(*), cannot even approach what we see in nature, therefore nature must be intelligently designed.

(*)Except for other examples of production by intelligent animals.

Doc Bill said:

Getting back to the Prothero review comment thread on Amazon, the creationists are slowly going extinct. Comment after comment are being hidden by Amazon because “customers to think this adds to the conversation.” Evolution in action!

I’m holding out for a special creation event, however. A new creationist suddenly appearing with outrage, mined quotes and spittle-flecked lips fully formed with no apparent ancestor. It could happen. Really.

Will this guy do?

http://www.math.sc.edu/~nyikos/

Hm? What am I missing there?

Darth Robo said:

Doc Bill said: Getting back to the Prothero review comment thread on Amazon, the creationists are slowly going extinct. Comment after comment are being hidden by Amazon because “customers to think this adds to the conversation.” Evolution in action! I’m holding out for a special creation event, however. A new creationist suddenly appearing with outrage, mined quotes and spittle-flecked lips fully formed with no apparent ancestor. It could happen. Really.

Will this guy do? http://www.math.sc.edu/~nyikos/

Oh, only that he’s there right now arguing his skepticism of evolution along with Behe’s IC bunkus.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

Hm? What am I missing there?

Darth Robo said:

Doc Bill said: Getting back to the Prothero review comment thread on Amazon, the creationists are slowly going extinct. Comment after comment are being hidden by Amazon because “customers to think this adds to the conversation.” Evolution in action! I’m holding out for a special creation event, however. A new creationist suddenly appearing with outrage, mined quotes and spittle-flecked lips fully formed with no apparent ancestor. It could happen. Really.

Will this guy do? http://www.math.sc.edu/~nyikos/

Peter Nyikos appeared right after Crowther’s rant on ENV. Nyikos is a big, beautiful, totally stinky, US Grade A troll and a prolific poo-flinger. Of course, he is totally ignorant about biology, and didn’t even look at Meyer’s book but that hasn’t stopped him from laying down a blizzard of balderdash in just a few days. Now he’s trying to divert the conversation to the Good Old Days of ID, pre-Dover. I doubt he has the stamina of Pierre64 who I think is JoeG and is powered by some kind of fusion engine.

But to Richard’s question, subscribers can vote on whether a comment “adds to the conversation” or not and comments of “little worth” are hidden by Amazon and some comments that violate code are removed by Amazon. The creationist trolls are getting voted off the island or maybe it’s natural selection at work!

TNX

Actually, Peter Nyikos is a fine example of how poor geographic sampling can look just like de novo creation in the fossil record. He began on talk.origins, attacking Prothero’s review there, and moved into the Amazon comments, much in the mode of Phacops rana. He displays all the same characteristics evolved in TO, including harping on issue he had previously been corrected on.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on July 22, 2013 2:11 PM.

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