Scientists dont need evolution

So these past couple of weeks Ive been writing my masters paper. The topic is basically ‘What you gonna do to get your PhD?’– Its my game-plan for the next 2-3 years.

So just out of curiosity, since Myth #7 is “Modern medicine would collapse without evolution”, I wondered how many times I used ‘evolution‘ in my paper. Excluding figures, only 12 times.

But I used ‘fitness‘ 89 times, ‘random‘ 8 times, ‘selection‘ 17 times, ‘recombination‘ 4 times, ‘competition‘ 12 times, ‘quasispecies‘ 45 times, ‘escape’/’resistance‘ 16 times, and variations of ‘population bottleneck‘ 32 times.

Oh, and ‘Mullers Ratchet‘ 4 times. But that doesnt count cause I have to type it ‘Muller’s Ratchet’ like a friggen rube.

Meh, we dont need ‘evolution’.


  1. #1 HalfMooner
    February 26, 2009

    It’s fine to “watch” your progress, Abbie. You have a lot of fans who are rooting for you, knowing you will be empowered to to better and better science as you advance in academia. So when are you officially allowed to learn Big Science’s Secret Handkshake?

    ROTFLMAO, Abbie! The grammar nazis got to you eh? There, let that be a lesson. Apostrophes may not be anywhere near as important as natural selection, but they have their purposes for clarity. N’yah, n’yah!

  2. #2 Brian
    February 26, 2009

    We don’t need “evolution”. Darwin wrote “The Origin of Species” without using the word once!

  3. #3 mrcreosote
    February 27, 2009

    I think the correct expression is “We don’ need no steenkin’ evolution”

  4. #4 Chris Nedin
    February 27, 2009

    “Evolution? We don’t need no Steenkin’ evolution”.

    But what’s your funny line? Gotta have a funny line. In my honours paper I managed to get in the line “The wombat eats, roots and leaves”.

    Oh yeah, you have to get a reference to Arnie in too.

  5. #5 Les Lane
    February 27, 2009

    You deserve extra credit if you can get “wombat” in there.

  6. #6 mcmillan
    February 27, 2009

    Come on, admit the only reason you used those words is because you’re one of those evil Darwinist scientists. If you were a real scientist like those people that work for the Discovery Institute you would know that none of those things are really that important.

    Seriously, hope the write up’s coming along good (sorry for using the evil symbol before that s). From what I hear its a good feeling to get that past you, which is why Im hoping to be doing the same thing soon. (There, that sentence was better)

  7. #7 minimalist
    February 27, 2009

    My own dissertation came out around the time that really exciting work was starting to take off regarding the yeast whole-genome duplication event (WGD), and everything just “clicked.” Of course, I previously knew why I was studying that (human-relevant) topic in a yeast model, but things started to become crystal clear about the patterns of redundancy and divergence in the family of proteins I was specifically studying.

    The thing I like about yeast is not just that it’s a simplified means of studying systems relevant to all eukaryotes, it’s also a fascinating ‘snapshot’ of evolution in action, since we’ve caught a lot of these genes in a transitional state between complete redundancy and individual function. My work, both pre- and post-grad helps tease out these differences through biochemical characterization of the paralogous pairs that arose after the WGD.

    The nominal focus of my work is on characterizing certain classes of transport proteins that have obvious implications for human health. A nitwit like Rho can just bleat “ooh, common designer, common designer” but my work simply wouldn’t exist without well-developed principles and models of common descent and genomic plasticity to inform it. And work like mine, in turn, further informs models of evolution. I don’t even have a frame of reference to conceive of a model of biological research without evolution to inform it!

  8. #8 Optimus Primate
    February 27, 2009


    I adore you, but it secretly (or, I guess, not-so-secretly now) pleases me to no end when you’re forced to use apostrophes.


  9. #9 Paul Lundgren
    February 27, 2009

    Meh, we dont need ‘evolution’.

    HA! You used two apostrophes in typing that sentence! And another two dozen in the whole of the article. Your mom would be proud! 🙂

  10. #10 Prometheus
    February 27, 2009

    I insist you present your paper in church.

    I will bring the snakes and Rice Krispie Squares.*

    *I will not use the same Tupperware containers for both, the squares make the snakes taste terrible.

  11. #11 Trin Tragula
    February 28, 2009

    Muller’s Ratchet – Occam’s Razor – you need a new tool to draw interest. How about “Trin’s Torque Wrench”?

  12. #12 William Wallace
    February 28, 2009

    I have a question on HIV evolution. It was once asked by DaveScot, after he condescendingly admonished you, concluding his advice with “young lady.” And it looks like things went downhill from there, and you never got a chance to respond to his subsequent and more substantial points.

    But he did have two reasonable questions. You may have answered them elsewhere, sorry if you did.

    The questions from Davescot were:

    What on earth makes you think that primate lentoviruses haven’t been attacking humans for millions of years? For all you know the first primate lentovirus was in a human millions of years ago and then jumped to other primates and then back to humans again in recent history.


    Another unsupported assumption is that the current genetic survey of primate lentoviruses is somewhere near complete enough to make broad conclusions about its genetic diversity so that when something is newly discovered the discovery is conflated with newly evolved. The survey isn’t even close to that point. A few virus particles from a few individual organisms have been sequenced while uncounted trillions of lentovirus particles in dozens of primate species remain unsequenced. What’s claimed to be newly evolved is not necessarily so. It may have preexisted for a very long time. Taking a few facts and making wild extrapolations from them seems to be common practice in evolutionary theory. You’ve got that part of it down pat.

  13. #13 Lee
    February 28, 2009

    Kevin Beck has an interesting post detailing what Christian apologists such as Rho here actually think of the rest of us, and illuminating why Rho persists with his lunacy.

    Look here

  14. #14 Lee
    February 28, 2009

    Oops – wrong thread – people who want to respond to this, please take it back to the Rhology thread.


  15. #15 Eric Saveau
    February 28, 2009

    What on earth makes you think that primate lentoviruses haven’t been attacking humans for millions of years?

    That one can be dismissed easily; modern humans are only about 160,000 years old as a species, and even homo neanderthalis is only about half-a-million years old. Presumably even a moron like DoveSquat knows this, and therefore knows that the question is meaningless.

  16. #16 EricLR
    February 28, 2009

    I’m on page 17 of my thesis intro, oh how I wish I could go back to my 7 page Phd proposal.

    I think it depends a lot on your specialization. I work with a lot of physiology students, and I think they rarely if ever explicitly mention evolution. However since they almost all use rat and mouse models, I suppose they are implicitly using it. An argument I’ve used in my own work on a GPCR however, used the argument of a certain cluster of basic amino acids being conserved from fugu and zebrafisih to mammals, however the other PhD student in my lab working on this same sequence I think never mentioned its conservation nor thought about it.

  17. #17 mark
    March 1, 2009

    Okay, but how many times did you use the word “poof?”

  18. #18 William Wallace
    March 1, 2009

    That one can be dismissed easily; modern humans are only about 160,000 years old as a species, and even homo neanderthalis is only about half-a-million years old.

    Good point, but it doesn’t really address the idea of the virus having a longer and more complicated history than what is commonly described.

  19. #19 LanceR, JSG
    March 1, 2009

    IOW, Willy, you don’t understand it, so it must not be true. The argumentum ad incredulum is no more effective here than it is in any other endeavor.

    But you’ve proven to be unable to ever admit there may be something you don’t know.

  20. #20 a lurker
    March 2, 2009

    Coming soon to a quote mine near you:

    HIV researcher Dr. Abbie Smith wrote “Scientists don’t need evolution.”

  21. #21 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 2, 2009

    Limp Willy reiterates an old argument above. A brief response:

    a) ERV never made that assertion – it is a strawman

    b) ERV was instead talking about a particular branch of the primate lentivirus phylogeny, which has been studied extensively

    c) the first question may be of some interest, but was irrelevant to the topic even if true – it doesn’t matter if the lentivrus branch was bopping back and forth

  22. #22 ERV
    March 2, 2009

    +5 million internets to Willy/DaveScot for ‘lentovirus’. Split them between you as you see fit.

    I might answer you when I stop laughing.

  23. #23 William Wallace
    March 3, 2009

    Lentivirus, lentovirus, wow.

    I sense evasiveness.

  24. #24 Lou FCD
    March 4, 2009

    Evasiveness? That’s funny.

    Scorn? Yes.
    Mockery? Sure.
    Disgust and Disdain? Heaping helpings that you richly deserve.

    Evasiveness would imply there was something to evade.

    On the other hand, I personally wouldn’t want to smell you on the bottom of my shoe so perhaps you’re right, in a sense. People avoid stepping in you. Avoidance would be a better word choice there. Feel better now?

  25. #25 William Wallace
    March 4, 2009

    Is that crickets I hear?

  26. #26 LanceR, JSG
    March 4, 2009

    Nope. Just the echoes of your brain cells’ dying screams. You are being mocked. There is no such thing as a “lentovirus”. You have shown repeatedly that you will lie, obfuscate, and twist words in order to be right. You are, in short, one of the “false Christians” your own bible warns about. “By their works shall ye know them”.

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” – M. Ghandi

    Oh, and the blue, underlined words? Those are “hyperlinks”. If you click on them, they will lead you to other “websites” where there will be “information”. Try it sometime. I know it’s scary, but the interwebs won’t hurt you.

  27. #27 ERV
    March 4, 2009

    If Creationists actually read ERV, rather than just look at the purty pictures, you would already know the answer to ‘your’ questions about ‘lentoviruses’, WW.

    Pro Tip #1– Its called a ‘search’ feature. Why dont you give it a whirl with ‘lentoviruses’ first.

    Pro Tip #2– When you are being an arrogant ass to someone, its best to make sure you can even pronounce the topic at hand. “You dont do heavy metal in doubly, you know?”

  28. #28 LanceR, JSG
    March 4, 2009

    If you’ll look here, you’ll find all the info you need, Limp Willy. If you notice, you are the only result for “lentovirus”.

    This is known as “searching” the “web” using a “search engine”. You should try it sometime.

  29. #29 William Wallace
    March 4, 2009

    Gee. I was very clear that the questions were from DaveScot, even going through the trouble of block quoting them. They were interesting questions from a thread at UD, and questions that you did not answer there.

    LanceR, see here to see that it was not my question.

    Silly evolanders think that pointing out typographical and grammatical errors is tantamount to addressing legitimate question.

    And ERV, considering your patent inability to form contractions correctly, e.g., consistently writing “its” instead of “it’s”, and so on, takes a lot of balls. Big brass ones.

  30. #30 William Wallace
    March 4, 2009

    LanceR, try this: Here….hmn.

  31. #31 William Wallace
    March 4, 2009

    LanceR, or how about this.

    What a pathetic bunch.

    ERV, in #22 that you might answer. Did you change your mind?

    Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp.

  32. #32 LanceR, JSG
    March 5, 2009

    Congratulations, Limp Willy. You’ve discovered the Power of Google ™. Now just think of the things you can look up for yourself!

  33. #33 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 5, 2009

    Is that crickets I hear?

    No, that would be the sound of you ignoring my response.

    Silly evolanders think that pointing out typographical and grammatical errors is tantamount to addressing legitimate question.

    And yet the first two responses did not mention any typos or grammar issues, but instead responded to the subject. And considering that DaveScot threw out those questions as an attempt to evade the rightful criticism of ERV, your attempt to impeach ERV is laughable. And I note that a response was given to the initial question but subsequently deleted by the admin at UD, but was partially preserved in a blockquote. Typical creolanders, desperately pretending that no response was ever given.

    Tell me, Limp Willy. Since your skull is nearly as empty as your sac, why should we answer questions designed to evade the topic at hand? Especially since you’ve already demonstrated that you intend to ignore any answer given, even if you had the capacity to understand.

  34. #34 William Wallace
    March 5, 2009

    For the record, the links I posted were edited.

    Re [#33], you are the first person to assert to me that ERV did give an answer to DaveScot. But given the level of dishonesty you just spewed, can I get a confirmation, and perhaps a summary of the deleted response?

  35. #35 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 6, 2009

    For the record, the links I posted were edited.

    Since at least one was from UD, that was a given.

    Re [#33], you are the first person to assert to me that ERV did give an answer to DaveScot.

    I never asserted that ERV gave an answer. I merely asserted that an answer was given. In fact, I did some further research, and I believe the answer was provided by factician.

    But given the level of dishonesty you just spewed, can I get a confirmation, and perhaps a summary of the deleted response?

    I apologize – it was the first three responses that dealt with the subject, not the first two; and it was a quote, not a blockquote. I can’t find any other mistakes or dishonesty in either of my replies, so I assume that must be what you are referring to. Anyway, as of this morning, comment 41 contained the “partially preserved” response I mentioned (in italics at the beginning of the comment).

    And I note that you still are ignoring my initial response. Typical creolander, desperately pretending that no response was ever given.

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