Republicans’ acceptance of evolution fades

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The bad news: Only 67 % of Democrats accept evolution. The worse news: Only 43 % of Republicans accept evolution. The very worst news: The Republicans are down 5 % from 4 years ago. This, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, as reported by CBS news in an article entitled “Republicans’ belief in evolution plummets, poll reveals.”

More precisely, Pew asked whether “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, or humans and other living things have evolved over time.” You may see the report, “Public’s views on human evolution,” here.

Pew reports a number of “key findings,” such as organizing the data as a function of religion; no surprises there. Approximately 1/3 of all adults agree “that humans and other living things have evolved over time and that evolution [was] due to natural processes,” whereas approximately 1/4 of all adults believe that “[a] supreme being guided evolution.” 4 % “don’t know,” so altogether 60 % of adults accept evolution. The breakdown by religion was equally unsurprising. Interestingly, however, across every demographic, slightly more people think that “[nonhuman] animals have evolved over time” than that “humans have evolved over time.”

Finally, I use “accept” evolution, rather than Pew’s and CBS’s “believe in,” because evolution – descent with modification – is a scientific fact and not a belief.

112 Comments

Must be all of that evidence for ID, like… Nope, drew a blank.

I do wonder, however, what the margin of error is, and if the change is more, or much more, than that. If Republicans have declined, though, I wonder if some of that could be due to fewer of those who accept science being less willing to identify with the GOP.

Meanwhile, the particulars of evolution become ever better known, with genomes providing evidence for what has been selected and what hasn’t been so much. I think the creationists play their cards reasonably well by ignoring (certainly not explaining) all of the old evidence that all of life is related in the patterns and with the limits expected of evolution (not that there couldn’t be separate origins, but there couldn’t be many, almost certainly), as well as the “progression of life” through time as evolutionarily predicted, instead carping about supposed problems. Just make it sound as if it were doubtful, and many will doubt.

When a third to a half of Americans believe in alien visitations at some point (possible, but no convincing evidence at all), I don’t suppose it’s surprising that many will believe in creation, especially since there are rewards promised for the latter. The two ideas even go together, since many “ancient alien theorists” have aliens designing humans.

Glen Davidson

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

Must be all of that evidence for ID, like… Nope, drew a blank.

I do wonder, however, what the margin of error is, and if the change is more, or much more, than that. If Republicans have declined, though, I wonder if some of that could be due to fewer of those who accept science being less willing to identify with the GOP.

Meanwhile, the particulars of evolution become ever better known, with genomes providing evidence for what has been selected and what hasn’t been so much. I think the creationists play their cards reasonably well by ignoring (certainly not explaining) all of the old evidence that all of life is related in the patterns and with the limits expected of evolution (not that there couldn’t be separate origins, but there couldn’t be many, almost certainly), as well as the “progression of life” through time as evolutionarily predicted, instead carping about supposed problems. Just make it sound as if it were doubtful, and many will doubt.

When a third to a half of Americans believe in alien visitations at some point (possible, but no convincing evidence at all), I don’t suppose it’s surprising that many will believe in creation, especially since there are rewards promised for the latter. The two ideas even go together, since many “ancient alien theorists” have aliens designing humans.

Glen Davidson

The genomic evidence alone should convince anyone not willing to abandon reason for religious beliefs.

Don’t we trace the human ‘journey’ all over the world, from Africa to Siberia and America, Europe, Asia, Australia simply by using genominc evidence?

Creationism today is doing great harm to humanity. But I know that someday they will have to wake up. Christ already returned, something St. Paul understood and acknowledged.

If not before, when Christianity realize that they have been waiting in vain - say 100, 1000 or 1000 years from now (if mankind manage to survive), they will have to admit science was right all the time. The only problem is Ray Martinez, he may steal the show if he manages to publish his book before that time;)

That’s it, time is no problem, truth will prevail. I am not worried.

I think the poll shows that educated people are leaving the Republican Party in droves. They are left with a bunch of inbred, Fox News, Ann Coulter cretins. Led by Ted Cruz their bigotry will consume them.

The “rewards” of an idyllic afterlife promised by religion/s, to see and be with one’s beloved ancestors and other kin, as well as one’s dearly departed pets as well, for an eternity in the land of milk and honey, far outweigh the cold, calculating, impersonal knowledge and rational ideas, evidence notwithstanding, that science makes available to the human mind. Fear of our impermance, our own personal deaths, make this notion difficult to resist.

Doc Bill said:

I think the poll shows that educated people are leaving the Republican Party in droves. They are left with a bunch of inbred, Fox News, Ann Coulter cretins. Led by Ted Cruz their bigotry will consume them.

I would agree. Four years isn’t enough time to change attitudes toward science that much. That’s more of a generational thing. But that’s certainly enough time for educated people to leave the Lies From The Pit Of Hell party.

I wonder if some of that could be due to fewer of those who accept science being less willing to identify with the GOP.

Hm, should have been:

I wonder if some of that could be due to fewer of those who accept science being willing to identify with the GOP.

Where was that edit button?

Glen Davidson

Interesting implication: if the general number of Americans who accept evolution is about the same, but the number of Republicans who accept it has gone down, then A) more Democrats accept evolution now than 4 years ago, and B) Republicans are quite literally holding America back on this issue by backsliding away from science and demonstrable fact.

A sad result of their anti-science and anti-intellectual rhetoric of late.

For conservatives, rejecting evolution is a political gesture above all else. You can’t refute a loyalty oath. Since the issue has nothing much to do with biology for most of them, both the arguments made against creationism and the sporadic attempts of the other side to create a scientifically defensible semi-hemi-Creationism (I.D.) are kinda beside the point, which is struggle about values rather than a debate about facts.

That said, the increase in the percentage of Republicans who reject evolution does mean something. It’s evidence of an increase in the ideological fervor (or cultural desperation) of the part of the right.

DavidK said:

The “rewards” of an idyllic afterlife promised by religion/s, to see and be with one’s beloved ancestors and other kin, as well as one’s dearly departed pets as well, for an eternity in the land of milk and honey, far outweigh the cold, calculating, impersonal knowledge and rational ideas, evidence notwithstanding, that science makes available to the human mind. Fear of our impermance, our own personal deaths, make this notion difficult to resist.

There is a lot to that observation. It is consistent with what we know about our origins: I conceive of our predicament as stemming from the facc that we are a “freak of nature”. Born out of an indifferent, innocently cruel nature, cast into a world not of our own chose.

Closing our eyes to the realities, relying on the method invented by our distant forefathers: Everything is attributable to the gods.

A world ‘we’ didn’t understand, with invisible and incomprehensible forces at work, might the smell of burnt flesh or even a human sacrifice placate them? Worth trying.

Religion is a way out, an escape hatch, a mental crutch, but I am perfectly comfortable with accepting the world for what it is and enjoying life as best I can while I can. My religion? Acknowledging the world of spirit. There is a ghost in the machine - but no “god” out there in some hypothetical exotic “heavens”. Religion is a personal matter. The “book religions” are a tragic legacy.

Finally, I use “accept” evolution, rather than Pew’s and CBS’s “believe in,” because evolution – descent with modification – is a scientific fact and not a belief.

I don’t get this. Something can be both a fact and a belief. It being a fact is about whether it is true, and it being a belief is about whether or not I regard it as true. I believe that all life is descended from a common ancestor, because the evidence has changed my beliefs. If I am right, then it is also a fact.

Using the “accept” language doesn’t change anything, because it simply means “accept (as true)”, which is synonymous with believing it. I suppose you could say that the word “accept” has the additional implication that it is also true, but using loaded language would not be a great way to construct a poll if your goal is simply to find out what people think.

I understand that some people bristle against the word “believe” because it often used to deflect criticism (“that’s just my belief”) but we should shift the debate to rational and irrational belief change, not abandon the idea of scientific beliefs.

richarddmorey said:

Using the “accept” language doesn’t change anything, because it simply means “accept (as true)”, which is synonymous with believing it. I suppose you could say that the word “accept” has the additional implication that it is also true, but using loaded language would not be a great way to construct a poll if your goal is simply to find out what people think.

Richard, you make a good point. But I think that Matt is (correctly) trying to shift the semantics away from the “weasel words” that seem to always complicate any discussion about biological evolution (especially for the general public.) Actually, I thought the wording in this Pew poll was less ambiguous than in the past: “Living things have existed in their present form since the beginning.” Clearly, anyone who goes about their day thinking that this is a valid statement has only a cursory understanding of science in general and (almost certainly) has a religious agenda to perpetuate.

On the other hand, as seen on Fox News, Republicans believe in Santa Claus (and know that He is white).

I think the survey is poorly worded and thus is hiding an even more concerning problem for those of you attempting to defend the atheistic nature of evolution.

I do not believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” instead I believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” This however just means that I accept that there has been, and continues to be, adaptive change within the human species. This indeed can be concluded from observational evidence and therefor could be called a “fact.”

I do not however, think that the evidence allows for the conclusion that all life has common ancestor, or that the unguided process of natural selection has the creative ability to produce new species and generate the diversity of life we observe. To hold these beliefs one has to make inferences that have not been confirmed through scientific observation.

The survey would have been more accurate if thy would have defined the term evolution using the more controversial definitions. If that was done, I think the results would have displayed an even stronger indication that the right is starting to see through the fog of academia’s deceptive practices.

DavidK said:

The “rewards” of an idyllic afterlife promised by religion/s, to see and be with one’s beloved ancestors and other kin, as well as one’s dearly departed pets as well, for an eternity in the land of milk and honey, far outweigh the cold, calculating, impersonal knowledge and rational ideas, evidence notwithstanding, that science makes available to the human mind. Fear of our impermance, our own personal deaths, make this notion difficult to resist.

This is s common misperception.

In fact, although I’m not religious, plenty of people who are accept evolution of life on earth.

It seems exceptionally unlikely to me that people will meet former pets in a blissful afterlife, but technically, science cannot test this.

It’s fairly rare for people who are openly atheist to deny evolution, but fairly common for them to misunderstand it.

The poll Matt Young refers to makes it clear that there is a massive statistical difference between Democrats and Republicans in terms of accepting evolution.

“Republican” is not not a religion.

It is the name of a political party which has been entirely appropriated by a social/political ideological movement. (Before I go on I should note that I don’t like the Democrats much either, lest I be inaccurately accused of partisan bias.)

As happens with many or most extreme ideological movements, this particular one has degenerated into cult-like reality denial.

This movement includes a set of ad hoc post-modern religious claims, widely understood to be what is meant when people refer to things like “the religious right” or “televangelism”.

This religious justification for harsh social policies and frequent war clearly emerged as a backlash against the role of mainstream churches in the civil rights movement.

The defining characteristic of the religious right is science denial, and for an obvious reason.

Nothing to do with traditional Christian ideas like reuniting with loved ones or turning to Jesus in times of trouble. You can get all of that at some liberal hippie church attended by science professors in Boulder, CO (I’ve never been to Boulder but guarantee that there must be a church like that there).

The reason for the science denial is obvious. The point of the religious right is to justify right wing policies in religious terms, to claim that “the Bible” justifies such policies. But for centuries upon centuries some people have interpreted the Bible differently from that. So their trick is to claim that “the entire Bible is literally true”, and then to ignore all except a few harsh passages that they can use to justify their social and political agenda. When you claim that the Bible is “literally true”, you run afoul of science. But if you claim it can be interpreted, you allow more benevolent interpretation of harsh passages. They’d rather run afoul of science.

I’m not claiming that followers of this movement are consciously insincere. Some clearly are; some elected officials show almost every possible trait of manipulative sociopaths. But most of the followers are just haplessly biased and brainwashed. For whatever reason, a lot of people are potential authoritarian follower types, and when authoritarian movements appear, they gravitate toward them.

The right wing ideology that controls the current Republican party is also associated with denial of any other inconvenient science, including but not limited to climate change, HIV, cigarettes/health, etc. Before some asshat starts with the false equivalence, 1) there is no current organized “liberal” equivalent, and 2) if there were, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

It’s depressing but true that science has involuntarily become a political issue in the US. The far right ideology that controls the Republican party includes science denial and attacks science. Virtually 100% of creationists, even the loopy crackpots whom other creationists reject, even the ones in other countries, are followers of the contemporary American right wing ideology and its international equivalents. Virtually all recent political anti-evolution activity has come from Republicans.

For many people the commitment is deep and intense. Their self-image is almost completely invested in this movement.

Matt Young is surprised that only 43% of Republicans accept evolution? I’m pleasantly surprised that so many Republicans dared to admit that they accept it.

fittest meme said:

I think the survey is poorly worded and thus is hiding an even more concerning problem for those of you attempting to defend the atheistic nature of evolution.

Evolution is just as ‘atheistic’ as computer programming, plumbing, and baseball - its validity DOES NOT DEPEND ON THEISTIC VIEWS.

That this FACT disturbs you enough to whine about it as if it was relevant is quite telling.

I do not believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” instead I believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” This however just means that I accept that there has been, and continues to be, adaptive change within the human species. This indeed can be concluded from observational evidence and therefor could be called a “fact.”

Ah yes - the ‘I accept that evolution happens; EXCEPT THAT I DON’T !!’ routine.

As demonstrated here :

I do not however, think that the evidence allows for the conclusion that all life has common ancestor

Actually, it does. The FACT that you are ignorant of it and REFUSE to accept it does not make it go away.

or that the unguided process of natural selection has the creative ability to produce new species and generate the diversity of life we observe.

Actually, the cycle of MUTATIONS (which GENERATE novelty, and is the creative part of evolution) coupled with rounds of selection (to make the novel variant more common) are more than sufficient to explain the diversity of life we observe.

Again, the FACT that you are ignorant of the evidence or refuse to accept it does not make it go away.

To hold these beliefs one has to make inferences that have not been confirmed through scientific observation.

Actually, they HAVE been confirmed through scientific observation and experimentation.

The FACT that you are ignorant of it or refuse to accept it does not make it go away.

And the EVIDENCE that a Magical Sky Pixie exists, and designed stuff is .…. ?

And the scientific observations that would lead one to even ‘think’ that ‘an unknowable being somehow did stuff sometime in the past for some reason !!’ is a useful or valid explanation is .… ?

Initiating standard misrepresentation in 3.. 2.. 1.. :

The survey would have been more accurate if thy would have defined the term evolution using the more controversial definitions. If that was done, I think the results would have displayed an even stronger indication that the right is starting to see through the fog of academia’s deceptive practices.

All such a survey would show is that IGNORANCE is simpler and easier than understanding.

It is far, far, FAR easier to merely sit on one’s arse and blubber about the unknowable whim of Magical Sky Pixies somehow doing stuff than to go out and actually LEARN SOMETHING.

It is the ‘right’ that is using deceptive practices - like claiming that it is academia that is out to fool people.

And that there is no evidence backing up common descent of all life.

And that natural processes cannot generate novelty or show creativity.

And that the core assumptions of the validity of evolution don’t exist.

And the idea that if they whine that evolution is false, their undefined and baseless whinings will magically become true.

If the reality- and evolution-deniers actually HAD anything resembling evidence FOR their position, they wouldn’t need to psychotically fixate on bad-mouthing evolution and everyone more knowledgable than they are.

Again - the EVIDENCE that an Unknowable Magical Sky Pixie/’Intelligent Designer’/’Invisible Intelligence’ actually exists is .…. what again ?

Oh, right - you PRESUME that your ignorance means something. That if *** YOU *** cannot (or WILL NOT) understand or accept an idea, that is irrefutable evidence that the idea is wrong.

Good thing that REALITY is not swayed by opinion polls.

Regarding “accept” vs. “believe [in]”: George Lakoff got his 15 min of fame a decade or so ago with (I think) Moral Politics, sort of an expanded magazine article in which he argued that Republicans are better at framing than are Democrats. He was right: if you cede the vocabulary to someone, you are halfway toward losing the debate. For this reason, I never say conservative*, but rather say far right (which is much more polite than reactionary); never say shooter, but rather say gunman; never say intelligent design, but rather say intelligent-design creationism; and never say believe in evolution because that plays into the far right’s claim that evolution is a religion.

* Unless I am referring to a Democrat.

Oh dear. Please do not let the “meme” troll derail the thread.

I find it interesting that, as the evidence for evolution increases, acceptance of evolution does not. It’s almost as if some people have beliefs that are not constrained by evidence. Imagine that. One would have thought that the last seven hundred years of scientific progress would have convinced everyone of the efficacy of empiricism.

DS said:

I find it interesting that, as the evidence for evolution increases, acceptance of evolution does not. It’s almost as if some people have beliefs that are not constrained by evidence. Imagine that. One would have thought that the last seven hundred years of scientific progress would have convinced everyone of the efficacy of empiricism.

As Pete Townsend said: “A large proportion of our audience.. isn’t very bright.”

DS said:

I find it interesting that, as the evidence for evolution increases, acceptance of evolution does not. It’s almost as if some people have beliefs that are not constrained by evidence. Imagine that. One would have thought that the last seven hundred years of scientific progress would have convinced everyone of the efficacy of empiricism.

Actually it looks as if the overall percentage accepting evolution in the poll, in the phrasing they use, is 60%, and 32% overall flat out accept human evolution due to natural processes.

There’s also a fairly high proportion of “god secretly guided evolution”. Since I have no particular beef with “religion” and care only about constitutional rights and sound science education, that doesn’t much bother me.

This poll wasn’t as biased in its wording as some prior polls, but that’s still greater acceptance of reality than I’ve seen in prior polls. A full third of the population openly saying that humans evolved, and it was due to natural processes, is substantially more than I’ve seen in other polls. In other polls it’s usually been high-forties will accept the evolution language, and a minority of that will say that it wasn’t guided by God. So acceptance seems to be going up.

An overwhelming majority of Catholics and white mainline Protestants, and a large minority of black Protestants, accepted evolution. Only white evangelical Protestants overwhelmingly rejected it.

One obvious trend is the linear increase of acceptance of evolution as respondent age gets younger. Granted, it’s only 68% even in the youngest cohort, but the trend is encouraging.

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/30/[…]n-evolution/

However, there is a separate and very worrisome trend going on.

Republican denial of reality is markedly accelerating. It’s probable that the number of people who self-identify as Republican is decreasing over time, but it may not be decreasing fast enough.

Due to the US political system, the Republican party can continue to wreak havoc. They received less than 50% of the popular vote in the latest House of Representatives election, but due to gerrymandering, which is due to their ability to totally control the government of “red” states, they have a substantial majority in that chamber. New Jersey can have a local Republican governor, but it would be impossible for Alabama to have a Democratic governor. State governments control districting for the House, and because “blue” states will occasionally elect local Republicans but “red” states won’t elect Democrats, Republicans can control the house even if a substantial majority of Americans oppose that. Because they always have all the “red” states and can always use gerrymandering to jam all the Democratic voters in those states into a minimum number of districts.

They have an inherent advantage in the senate, too, because smaller population states are over-represented, and those states are more likely, with obvious exceptions, to be right wing.

They have an implied advantage in the presidential elections, too. Hard line right wingers will always vote Republican; they won’t split off or sit out the election, so that “base” is locked in. Meanwhile, the only serious opponent will be a Democrat. The media overwhelmingly portrays the Republican candidate as at worst a perfectly respectable alternative, and does everything possible to focus the elections on superficial personal style rather than challenging candidates about the issues. The Democrats repeatedly manage to be calculatingly cynical, but in a naive and gullible way. The worst of both worlds. They come across as sleazeballs but achieve no better results than naive idealists.

The latest example is familiar. I’m not a big fan of the ACA. The major problem with the US health care system is the Byzantine network of collaborating-rather-than-competing insurance companies, which literally exist to do nothing except take profits out of the system, while providing no service. The whole point of the ACA is to keep the private insurance companies in as part of the system. It’s like taking a car with a leaky gas tank and trying come up with a dozen ways to carry extra gas and refill the tank as often as possible, instead of fixing the leak, because the leak is protected by powerful vested interests. Cynical, compromising, and obviously so to any unbiased observer. Still, the law has some very good effects, benefits more people than it harms, and could have been moderately popular. The crashing web site thing was so stupid it’s almost beyond belief. A part of me almost wonders if some of the conservatives Obama appointed to show his “bipartisanship” actually consciously or unconsciously sabotaged the thing. Classic for the Democrats (whom I always support out of necessity, I hasten to add) - all the guile and cynicism somehow disappears and is replaced by bungling at key moments.

Most people don’t realize that Richard Nixon had, among other things, a health care plan proposal that was substantially “more liberal” than the ACA. Yes, he was emotionally disturbed and unethical in many ways, but his policies were reality-based. Today we have a Democratic party that is to the right of Nixon on every issue I can think of except gay rights. Thank goodness they’re okay on gay rights, but that leaves a lot of other issues. And then we have a batshit insane right wing extremist party to the right of them that is increasingly characterized by flat denial of reality.

When people who totally deny reality have major power, it’s not good. We’re skating on thin ice right now.

Matt Young said:

Regarding “accept” vs. “believe [in]”: George Lakoff got his 15 min of fame a decade or so ago with (I think) Moral Politics, sort of an expanded magazine article in which he argued that Republicans are better at framing than are Democrats. He was right: if you cede the vocabulary to someone, you are halfway toward losing the debate. For this reason, I never say conservative*, but rather say far right (which is much more polite than reactionary); never say shooter, but rather say gunman; never say intelligent design, but rather say intelligent-design creationism; and never say believe in evolution because that plays into the far right’s claim that evolution is a religion.

* Unless I am referring to a Democrat.

I think that the difference between “belief” and “acceptance” is important. We hear, time and time again that, “All you have to do is believe.” It is the belief in the religion that will “set you free”. It is the belief that will make it true. In contrast, the notion of “acceptance” is that the thing is true, the fact or object exists, whether you accept that fact or not.

It’s not all black and white, though. I’ve also heard/read that you have to “accept Christ into your life”, or “accept God’s grace”. So, “acceptance” isn’t as clear cut a distinction as might be desired, but it is certainly better than “belief” in science.

On the other hand, one could also say that, “I believe in the efficacy of the scientific method.” I’m not sure that one could “accept” the scientific method in the same sense that one could “accept” the Theory of Evolution.

Is there, in fact, some other word to describe the act or state of admitting to (or acquiescing to) the truth of a statement or of the existence of a fact or object, without invoking the notion of personal choice or opinion? How about “convinced”, as in, “I am convinced by (or of) Evolution”?

I wonder if French would be any better. It seems that French often has discrete terms for expressing complex emotional states.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

happy new year robert

The problem with those who feel that evolution was guided is that they do not grasp a FUNDAMENTAL concept in evolution, which is that there is no need to invoke guidance - the evidence for randomness (mutation and drift) and selection is adequate.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a few years back in which the writer described a study in which the researchers claimed that not only are there genes which contribute to our abilities, there are genes which contribute to our ability to use those abilities. By way of analogy, think of the cliche that we are all dealt a hand in life, but it is up to us how we play it. The researchers would say that there is a second level of control which governs our ability to play our hand. The writer accurately described the study, but in a final, gratuitous sentence demonstrated that he had entirely missed the point (in such a manner as would reassure the demographic group which is the WSJ’s target audience). Do we really want students to entirely miss this vital point of evolution?

Matt Young said:

never say shooter, but rather say gunman

Good point. From now on I’ll say “gun owner.” As in, “A white Christian gun owner just killed 32 children.”

The reason for the science denial is obvious. The point of the religious right is to justify right wing policies in religious terms, to claim that “the Bible” justifies such policies. But for centuries upon centuries some people have interpreted the Bible differently from that. So their trick is to claim that “the entire Bible is literally true”, and then to ignore all except a few harsh passages that they can use to justify their social and political agenda. When you claim that the Bible is “literally true”, you run afoul of science. But if you claim it can be interpreted, you allow more benevolent interpretation of harsh passages. They’d rather run afoul of science.

This doesn’t sound accurate to me, because reading the gospels (and it *should* be the gospels which matter most for evangelical *Christians*) and taking them “literally”, Jesus (and God) is pretty clear in his condemnation of wealth and violence, and the need to look after and care for the most vulnerable in society. I would think the whole literal bible trend is a defensive trend against secularism, i.e. it is putting up a religious wall, wrapping your community in a sacred, inviolate cloak. It’s more important to wave a bible around and claim its literal truth than actually opening the friggin’ thing and reading it.

Matt G said:

The problem with those who feel that evolution was guided is that they do not grasp a FUNDAMENTAL concept in evolution, which is that there is no need to invoke guidance - the evidence for randomness (mutation and drift) and selection is adequate.

This may reflect my comment above, in which I said that the belief that some sort of deity secretly “guided” or “intended” human evolution, although certainly not my belief, does not bother me.

Let me clarify. A belief that a deity is necessary to explain evolution would merely be a form of Lamarckism. That would be a very wrong understanding of evolution. I should note that some form of Lamarckism - the idea that evolution is a magical planned response to the human-perceived “needs” of an organism, whether that idea is expressed in religious terms or not - is a massively common initial mistake.

However, some highly productive scientists and highly effective defenders of science education, for example Ken Miller, hold the belief that a deity in some mysterious way “intended” human evolution, but did not do so in a way that differs, to the human observer, from evolution without a deity. The somewhat clumsy name for this view is “theistic evolution”. I’m NOT “defending” this view, since it isn’t my view, and I have no reason to defend it.

However, from a pragmatic perspective, the scientific understanding of evolution, under “theistic evolution”, is identical to the normal scientific understanding of evolution.

Therefore, those who hold this view generally support correct and complete teaching of the theory of evolution, and oppose violations of the First Amendment. Thus, I personally have no issue with them. They can talk about their deity in appropriate venues. If my goal was to “attack all religion”, then naturally, I would be hostile to them, but I have no such goal.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a few years back in which the writer described a study in which the researchers claimed that not only are there genes which contribute to our abilities, there are genes which contribute to our ability to use those abilities. By way of analogy, think of the cliche that we are all dealt a hand in life, but it is up to us how we play it. The researchers would say that there is a second level of control which governs our ability to play our hand. The writer accurately described the study, but in a final, gratuitous sentence demonstrated that he had entirely missed the point (in such a manner as would reassure the demographic group which is the WSJ’s target audience). Do we really want students to entirely miss this vital point of evolution?

No we don’t.

The poll indicated that 60% of the general public accept evolution, but some 24% (40% of the 60%) believe that a deity, mainly but not exclusively the Christian God, I would assume, in some way had something to do with it.

I’m merely pointing out that not all of those people hold any wrong scientific views about evolution.

They may or may not hold what some of us regard as wrong or unjustified philosophical beliefs.

And some of them may hold wrong ideas about evolution.

But not all them do.

fittest meme said:

I think the survey is poorly worded and thus is hiding an even more concerning problem for those of you attempting to defend the atheistic nature of evolution.

I do not believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” instead I believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” This however just means that I accept that there has been, and continues to be, adaptive change within the human species. This indeed can be concluded from observational evidence and therefor could be called a “fact.”

I do not however, think that the evidence allows for the conclusion that all life has common ancestor, or that the unguided process of natural selection has the creative ability to produce new species and generate the diversity of life we observe. To hold these beliefs one has to make inferences that have not been confirmed through scientific observation.

The survey would have been more accurate if thy would have defined the term evolution using the more controversial definitions. If that was done, I think the results would have displayed an even stronger indication that the right is starting to see through the fog of academia’s deceptive practices.

Please clarify your position “I do not however, think that the evidence …” with respect to evidence like nested hierarchies, population genetics, differential reproductive success, feolgogcal and paleontological evidence and the relevant scientific literature.

People’s thoughts, yours included; subjective opinion and general lack of understanding and knowledge due to a preference for religious and creationistic viewpoints, coupled with little or no interest in learning the relevant science and related facts are useless wrt the history of life on our planet over 4 billion years.

What about speaking your mind, but more from an educated than from a belief based position?

We are dealing with a grand theory still going stronger than ever after 160 years, with much more than ever predicted or expected supporting the theoretical foundation. It ought not take much effort to realize that there are more to the effort and results of dedicated work from thousands of scientists than the thought’s of a sceptic may make irrelevant.

harold said:

the scientific understanding of evolution, under “theistic evolution”, is identical to the normal scientific understanding of evolution.

I agree with this statement and it is another reason I think the survey is misleading. It does not acknowledge, nor accurately measure the growing number who recognize the scientific deficiencies of neo-Darwinian thought and the attractiveness of Intelligent Design theory. Those who believe an intelligent agent had a role in the process of universe creation are either pigeon holed into the easily challenged position of not believing that species change over time, or believing that evolution (in the neo-Darwinian sense) was theistic-ally driven, or in my case appearing to be a believer in unguided evolution.

In my post above I mentioned that because of the way “evolution” was defined in the first question (change over time) I would have fallen into the majority category that professed a belief in evolution. However, I would not have answered, in the second question, that I thought God directed the process. It is my current understanding that God established the foundational order of the universe and wrote the specific genetic code for each species (including the genetic diversity that allowed the species to adapt to environmental changes through natural selection). It would not be my understanding that God steps in to whimsically effect every life and death interaction on earth that results in the adaptive change to a species over time.

The survey’s equivocal use of the word “evolution” skews the results. I guess the most pertinent question is whether they have done this purposefully or simply due to carelessness and or lack of knowledge on the subject.

Kwok’s hero George Will is a global climate change denier and a serial liar on the subject. Kwok’s pal, Charles Krauthammer, has also devolved into a skeptic about global climate change; at one time he was a stand up guy but has deteriorated into a shill for the tea party. The fact is that the Rethuglican party has has degenerated into an anti-science mind set, as evidenced by their shills on the Fascist News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, et al.

John said:

fittest meme said:

I think the survey is poorly worded and thus is hiding an even more concerning problem for those of you attempting to defend the atheistic nature of evolution.

I do not believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” instead I believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” This however just means that I accept that there has been, and continues to be, adaptive change within the human species. This indeed can be concluded from observational evidence and therefor could be called a “fact.”

I do not however, think that the evidence allows for the conclusion that all life has common ancestor, or that the unguided process of natural selection has the creative ability to produce new species and generate the diversity of life we observe. To hold these beliefs one has to make inferences that have not been confirmed through scientific observation.

The survey would have been more accurate if thy would have defined the term evolution using the more controversial definitions. If that was done, I think the results would have displayed an even stronger indication that the right is starting to see through the fog of academia’s deceptive practices.

As many here at PT know already, I am a Conservative Republican who “accepts” evolution, especially since I was trained in evolutionary biology. There are notable Conservative and Republican intellectuals like radio talk show host John Batchelor, George Will (Washington Post), Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post), Paul Gross (formerly, Provost, University of Virginia, and Director, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, co-author with Barbara Forrest of “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design), political scientist Larry Arnhart (author of “Darwinian Conservatism”), Timothy Sandefur (attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation and long-time Panda’s Thumb contributor), among others, who accept the scientific reality of biological evolution. The time is long overdue for you and other fellow Conservatives and Republicans to recognize that biological evolution is extremely well established science and that current evolutionary theory remains its best scientific explanation. Acceptance of biological evolution as a scientific fact does not require any belief in - or acceptance of - Christianity or some other faith. To claim that “belief” in evolution means acceptance of atheism is an irrational assumption, period.

Here’s another anti-science bill introduced by one of Kwok’s Rethuglican buddies in the Virginia House of Delegates.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress[…]of-the-year/

John said:

fittest meme said:

I think the survey is poorly worded and thus is hiding an even more concerning problem for those of you attempting to defend the atheistic nature of evolution.

I do not believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” instead I believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” This however just means that I accept that there has been, and continues to be, adaptive change within the human species. This indeed can be concluded from observational evidence and therefor could be called a “fact.”

I do not however, think that the evidence allows for the conclusion that all life has common ancestor, or that the unguided process of natural selection has the creative ability to produce new species and generate the diversity of life we observe. To hold these beliefs one has to make inferences that have not been confirmed through scientific observation.

The survey would have been more accurate if thy would have defined the term evolution using the more controversial definitions. If that was done, I think the results would have displayed an even stronger indication that the right is starting to see through the fog of academia’s deceptive practices.

As many here at PT know already, I am a Conservative Republican who “accepts” evolution, especially since I was trained in evolutionary biology. There are notable Conservative and Republican intellectuals like radio talk show host John Batchelor, George Will (Washington Post), Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post), Paul Gross (formerly, Provost, University of Virginia, and Director, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, co-author with Barbara Forrest of “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design), political scientist Larry Arnhart (author of “Darwinian Conservatism”), Timothy Sandefur (attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation and long-time Panda’s Thumb contributor), among others, who accept the scientific reality of biological evolution. The time is long overdue for you and other fellow Conservatives and Republicans to recognize that biological evolution is extremely well established science and that current evolutionary theory remains its best scientific explanation. Acceptance of biological evolution as a scientific fact does not require any belief in - or acceptance of - Christianity or some other faith. To claim that “belief” in evolution means acceptance of atheism is an irrational assumption, period.

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent?

The same reason we’re “afraid” of people being misinformed about drug side effects, not knowing how to do basic arithmetic, thinking that diseases are caused by evil spirits, blaming cancer on cell phones, and a repeat of the Library of Alexandria’s loss.

When lies, ignorance, superstition, FUD, and the suppression or destruction of worldly knowledge rule the day the world is a much meaner, harder, more dangerous place for everybody. Society’s continual struggle out of the grip of those forces is what allows for a technologically sophisticated, comfortable, safer world of the kind to which you yourself are accustomed. Rejection of science and embrace of the supernatural never gave you an Internet to post on.

Do not ever take these advances, technological and social, for granted. Creationism represents one facet of the forces that would obstruct, erode, and sweep away all the progress we’ve made over the last few centuries. It is a purely regressive, reactionary ideology that cannot produce new information, cannot advance the state of mankind, and cannot give us working answers for the world we find ourselves in. The more people who embrace its fallacies and reject the progress of science, the closer we come to the brink of backsliding from modern civilization.

“Darwinism” is not a scientific fact. Evolution, common descent, hereditable variation, natural selection resulting in diverging morphology over deep time - those are scientific facts. “Darwinism” is a word, and no more, coined as a dishonest attempt to misrepresent the fundamental theory of biology as a doctrine or orthodoxy.

Worse even than such an outpouring of ignorance and falsehood is the fundamental attitude displayed. Science and scientists, says this fool, exist in “cloistered academic towers”. That’s a lie. They exist in the daily rough-and-tumble of contact with bruising reality. Their work, which has given the writer practically everything he knows or uses every single day, consists of “feed(ing) at the tax trough”. This is a mind that fortifies its own superstition and ignorance with falsehood and reinforces its ingratitude with baseless insult.

They didn’t laugh at Wegener, whose name the writer can’t even spell correctly. They said, pretty much, “It’s a neat idea, but how does it work?”, and Wegener didn’t know. But when the answers to that question came in, those who had doubted didn’t “disappear into irrelevance”. Nor did they found a new creed, produce another theological school, become a “movement” or ideology or political party. They were scientists. They tested the evidence, found it sound, and accepted it.

Which is exactly what the writer refuses to do. Well, let him. Let him be a “dissident” from reality, since he feels so strongly about it. We’ll see who becomes irrelevant.

Dave Luckett said: “Darwinism” is a word, and no more, coined as a dishonest attempt to misrepresent the fundamental theory of biology as a doctrine or orthodoxy.

Well, no, that’s not why it was coined. Actually, it originally referred to Eramus Darwin’s views (No, really. If you have access, see the OED). After Origin was published, it then shifted to mean Charles’ version of evolution, and later still was often used to refer to evolutionary theorizing in general, even if it disagreed with Darwin’s formulation. Even today, some biologists still use it in reference to current evolutionary theory. In short, it’s usage history is complicated. I’m not sure when exactly religious opponents of evolution first co-opted the term and tried to cast it as just another “false” religion, but it definitely became more widespread when YEC picked up steam in the 60s.

I was careless with my verb. “Coined” is wrong, as didymos points out. “Used” is what I mean. Thus,

“Darwinism” is a word, and no more, used as a dishonest attempt to misrepresent the fundamental theory of biology as a doctrine or orthodoxy.

Thank you for the correction.

Clowns like Nilsson have been warbling this tune for 150 years. And yet, the evidence for common descent piles up every year. Dream on Nilsson, dream on.

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

We are so afraid that we let you post this and then responded to it. Now that’s censorship!

Continental drift was accepted because of the evidence. You are not the guy arguing for continental drift, you are apparently the guy arguing that we should now reject it despite the evidence.

Creationists have no evidence. They have already gotten the fate they deserved, they are just too stubborn to admit it.

SLC said:

Kwok’s hero George Will is a global climate change denier and a serial liar on the subject. Kwok’s pal, Charles Krauthammer, has also devolved into a skeptic about global climate change; at one time he was a stand up guy but has deteriorated into a shill for the tea party. The fact is that the Rethuglican party has has degenerated into an anti-science mind set, as evidenced by their shills on the Fascist News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, et al.

SLC forgets that George Will urged Governor Jindal not to sign the Louisiana Science Education Act, saying that it would be a serious setback for quality public school science education in Louisiana if Jindal signed it. SLC also forgets that both Will and Krauthammer endorsed the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District board ruling within days of its release. I’m not going to defend either Will or Krauthammer’s climate change skepticism. But if SLC seems determined to paint with a broad brush, then he needs to explain whether his risible screed applies to me, attorney Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation - and long-time Panda’s Thumb commentator - as well as other like-minded Conservatives and Republicans who post here occasionally to condemn all forms of creationism and express their recognition of biological evolution as a well established scientific fact and current evolutionary theory as its best existing scientific explanation.

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

“Darwism” (sic) is not a scientific fact, but, rather, in its original form as the theory of evolution via natural selection, a credible, quite powerful, scientific theory that explains the mechanism of Natural Selection - as conceived independently of each other by Darwin and Wallace - as the process responsible for descent with modification - in Darwin’s words - or more commonly, biological evolution. There exists ample dissent regarding the tempo and mode of evolution, with a substantial minority in support of punctuated equilibrium in lieu of phyletic gradualism, but this disagreement - or rather, “dissent” - does not alter the well established fact of biological evolution or the likelihood that Natural Selection remains a key - if not the sole key - mechanism for descent with modification.

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

Nobody is afraid of dissent, regardless of how uninformed it is. Frankly, I would care not one whit about creationists or IDers or any related group, except for the corrosive effects they have had on science education.

Yes Wegner got laughed at; he stated some things that were laughable. However, a discussion of that would be wasted on you. One can only guess why you bring up one of the great paradigm shifts in science. It was not creationists or IDers, or any other such person that *discovered* Plate Tectonics. It was scientists doing what they do best, data gathering and formulating hypotheses. The same way the *Darwinian Revolution* came about. I can scarcely fathom why you think the Plate Tectonics revolution somehow buttresses your claims regarding TOE.

This is why people like you should be kept far away from science programs. You can babble incessantly to credulous adults if you like.

bigdakine said:

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

Nobody is afraid of dissent, regardless of how uninformed it is. Frankly, I would care not one whit about creationists or IDers or any related group, except for the corrosive effects they have had on science education.

Yes Wegner got laughed at; he stated some things that were laughable. However, a discussion of that would be wasted on you. One can only guess why you bring up one of the great paradigm shifts in science. It was not creationists or IDers, or any other such person that *discovered* Plate Tectonics. It was scientists doing what they do best, data gathering and formulating hypotheses. The same way the *Darwinian Revolution* came about. I can scarcely fathom why you think the Plate Tectonics revolution somehow buttresses your claims regarding TOE.

This is why people like you should be kept far away from science programs. You can babble incessantly to credulous adults if you like.

As an aside, Continental Drift as proposed by Wegner is a failed hypothesis. The fella whose ideas evolved into Plate Tectonics was Sir Arthur Holmes, a contemporary of Wegner. Wegner’s biggest accomplishment was popularizing this nascent idea of a dynamic earth. But Plate Tectonics evolved from Holmes’s ideas; he predicted the existence of subduction zones, invoked the mechanism of mantle convection, etc.

Spelling Nazi here, the man’s name was Wegener.

bigdakine said:

bigdakine said:

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

Nobody is afraid of dissent, regardless of how uninformed it is. Frankly, I would care not one whit about creationists or IDers or any related group, except for the corrosive effects they have had on science education.

Yes Wegner got laughed at; he stated some things that were laughable. However, a discussion of that would be wasted on you. One can only guess why you bring up one of the great paradigm shifts in science. It was not creationists or IDers, or any other such person that *discovered* Plate Tectonics. It was scientists doing what they do best, data gathering and formulating hypotheses. The same way the *Darwinian Revolution* came about. I can scarcely fathom why you think the Plate Tectonics revolution somehow buttresses your claims regarding TOE.

This is why people like you should be kept far away from science programs. You can babble incessantly to credulous adults if you like.

As an aside, Continental Drift as proposed by Wegner is a failed hypothesis. The fella whose ideas evolved into Plate Tectonics was Sir Arthur Holmes, a contemporary of Wegner. Wegner’s biggest accomplishment was popularizing this nascent idea of a dynamic earth. But Plate Tectonics evolved from Holmes’s ideas; he predicted the existence of subduction zones, invoked the mechanism of mantle convection, etc.

Natural Selection remains a key - if not the sole key - mechanism for descent with modification

Oh boy, Larry Moran would beg to differ with this claim.

John said:

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

“Darwism” (sic) is not a scientific fact, but, rather, in its original form as the theory of evolution via natural selection, a credible, quite powerful, scientific theory that explains the mechanism of Natural Selection - as conceived independently of each other by Darwin and Wallace - as the process responsible for descent with modification - in Darwin’s words - or more commonly, biological evolution. There exists ample dissent regarding the tempo and mode of evolution, with a substantial minority in support of punctuated equilibrium in lieu of phyletic gradualism, but this disagreement - or rather, “dissent” - does not alter the well established fact of biological evolution or the likelihood that Natural Selection remains a key - if not the sole key - mechanism for descent with modification.

That makes it one apiece. I managed to misspell “odyssey”.

Unfortunately for Kwok, those like minded Rethuglicans who post here are unrepresentative of today’s Rethuglican party. Aside from the clowns whose names I mentioned, we have the clowns in the US Congress like James Inhofe, Joe Barton, Steve King, Michele Backmann, Steve Stockman, Louie Gohmert, etc. Right here in Virginia, we have the dishonorable Bob Marshall of the Virginia House of Delegates and the three clowns that the Rethuglicans ran for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, namely Koo Koo Ken Cuccinelli, E. W. Jackson, and Mark Obershain. Kwok just refuses to acknowledge that his party has been hijacked by the Tea Partiers and instead of coming on this blog and trumpeting Tim Sandefur, he should be out trying to cleanse the party of these jokers. And by the way, not to pick on Virginia and Texas, the Rethuglican candidate for governor in 2010, Carl Paladino would give Koo Koo Ken a run for his money as a first class clown.

By the way, speaking of Jindal, last I heard he was not only a Rethuglican but a biology major graduate of a certain institution in Providence, RI. I’ll be nice and not mention the name of that august institution.

John said:

SLC said:

Kwok’s hero George Will is a global climate change denier and a serial liar on the subject. Kwok’s pal, Charles Krauthammer, has also devolved into a skeptic about global climate change; at one time he was a stand up guy but has deteriorated into a shill for the tea party. The fact is that the Rethuglican party has has degenerated into an anti-science mind set, as evidenced by their shills on the Fascist News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, et al.

SLC forgets that George Will urged Governor Jindal not to sign the Louisiana Science Education Act, saying that it would be a serious setback for quality public school science education in Louisiana if Jindal signed it. SLC also forgets that both Will and Krauthammer endorsed the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District board ruling within days of its release. I’m not going to defend either Will or Krauthammer’s climate change skepticism. But if SLC seems determined to paint with a broad brush, then he needs to explain whether his risible screed applies to me, attorney Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation - and long-time Panda’s Thumb commentator - as well as other like-minded Conservatives and Republicans who post here occasionally to condemn all forms of creationism and express their recognition of biological evolution as a well established scientific fact and current evolutionary theory as its best existing scientific explanation.

nilsson said:

Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule.

Oh no! Harsh language! We must stop being so cruel to the poor, mistreated creationists!

Let’s give them a nice hug.

SLC said:

Natural Selection remains a key - if not the sole key - mechanism for descent with modification

Oh boy, Larry Moran would beg to differ with this claim.

John said:

nilsson said:

If “Darwism” is a scientific fact, as you believe, why are you so afraid of dissent? Dogmatists crush all dissent. Darwinists are modern day Inquisitors seeking to burn all heretics with vitriol and ridicule. In cloistered academic ivory towers they feed at the tax trough and pour their bilious contempt on the cretins who pay their salaries. The same bunch laughed at Wegner for continental drift and fought plate tectonics until they just disappeared in irrelevance. The same fate awaits the Darwinist.

“Darwism” (sic) is not a scientific fact, but, rather, in its original form as the theory of evolution via natural selection, a credible, quite powerful, scientific theory that explains the mechanism of Natural Selection - as conceived independently of each other by Darwin and Wallace - as the process responsible for descent with modification - in Darwin’s words - or more commonly, biological evolution. There exists ample dissent regarding the tempo and mode of evolution, with a substantial minority in support of punctuated equilibrium in lieu of phyletic gradualism, but this disagreement - or rather, “dissent” - does not alter the well established fact of biological evolution or the likelihood that Natural Selection remains a key - if not the sole key - mechanism for descent with modification.

There may be credible scientific data supporting genetic drift as a key mechanism of evolutionay change, but I was hedging my bets in not stating decisively that Natural Selection is the sole, key mechanism for descent with modification. IMHO, it’s quite likely that Natural Selection is responsible for virtually all descent with modification, but since I don’t have a background or training in evolutionary genetics, I’ll defer to those who do.

SLC said:

Unfortunately for Kwok, those like minded Rethuglicans who post here are unrepresentative of today’s Rethuglican party. Aside from the clowns whose names I mentioned, we have the clowns in the US Congress like James Inhofe, Joe Barton, Steve King, Michele Backmann, Steve Stockman, Louie Gohmert, etc. Right here in Virginia, we have the dishonorable Bob Marshall of the Virginia House of Delegates and the three clowns that the Rethuglicans ran for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, namely Koo Koo Ken Cuccinelli, E. W. Jackson, and Mark Obershain. Kwok just refuses to acknowledge that his party has been hijacked by the Tea Partiers and instead of coming on this blog and trumpeting Tim Sandefur, he should be out trying to cleanse the party of these jokers. And by the way, not to pick on Virginia and Texas, the Rethuglican candidate for governor in 2010, Carl Paladino would give Koo Koo Ken a run for his money as a first class clown.

By the way, speaking of Jindal, last I heard he was not only a Rethuglican but a biology major graduate of a certain institution in Providence, RI. I’ll be nice and not mention the name of that august institution.

You’re getting to be as bad as some of the resident creotards, SLC. You have not addressed my observations regarding myself and Timothy Sandefur in any credible fashion. As for Jindal, I don’t blame that “august institution” for counting him and David Klinghoffer as fellow alumni (or myself or Ken Miller).

Well, at least Klinghoffer wasn’t a product of the biology department. To be fair, the august institution I attended produced Jonathan Wells and Duane Gish, and in it’s San Francisco affiliate, boasts of Peter Duesberg.

John said:

SLC said:

Unfortunately for Kwok, those like minded Rethuglicans who post here are unrepresentative of today’s Rethuglican party. Aside from the clowns whose names I mentioned, we have the clowns in the US Congress like James Inhofe, Joe Barton, Steve King, Michele Backmann, Steve Stockman, Louie Gohmert, etc. Right here in Virginia, we have the dishonorable Bob Marshall of the Virginia House of Delegates and the three clowns that the Rethuglicans ran for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, namely Koo Koo Ken Cuccinelli, E. W. Jackson, and Mark Obershain. Kwok just refuses to acknowledge that his party has been hijacked by the Tea Partiers and instead of coming on this blog and trumpeting Tim Sandefur, he should be out trying to cleanse the party of these jokers. And by the way, not to pick on Virginia and Texas, the Rethuglican candidate for governor in 2010, Carl Paladino would give Koo Koo Ken a run for his money as a first class clown.

By the way, speaking of Jindal, last I heard he was not only a Rethuglican but a biology major graduate of a certain institution in Providence, RI. I’ll be nice and not mention the name of that august institution.

You’re getting to be as bad as some of the resident creotards, SLC. You have not addressed my observations regarding myself and Timothy Sandefur in any credible fashion. As for Jindal, I don’t blame that “august institution” for counting him and David Klinghoffer as fellow alumni (or myself or Ken Miller).

Carl Drews said:

harold said:

Nothing to do with traditional Christian ideas like reuniting with loved ones or turning to Jesus in times of trouble. You can get all of that at some liberal hippie church attended by science professors in Boulder, CO (I’ve never been to Boulder but guarantee that there must be a church like that there).

That’s correct; I know the church. We have science professors attending the conservative Christian churches, too.

Hey harold, you should come to visit us in Boulder some time! You could legally buy marijuana just to say that you’ve done it. ;-) Matt, shall we take harold out to dinner next time he visits Boulder?

Carl Drews said:

harold said:

Nothing to do with traditional Christian ideas like reuniting with loved ones or turning to Jesus in times of trouble. You can get all of that at some liberal hippie church attended by science professors in Boulder, CO (I’ve never been to Boulder but guarantee that there must be a church like that there).

You could legally buy marijuana just to say that you’ve done it. ;-)

There’ll be no intelligence there then, only mind blown and spaced out man.

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