Comments

  1. #1 abb3w
    October 1, 2010

    Spotted elsewhere: apparently Alabama still has warning stickers for textbooks.

  2. #2 lilbear68
    October 2, 2010

    hmmmm, lets see if i understand this right
    according to atheists in the begining there was nothing…….then it exploded and expanded to where we are today
    sounds perfectly logical

  3. #3 trav
    October 2, 2010

    hmmmmmm, let me see if i understand this right according to Christians there was a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. yea sounds perfectly logical

    now that we are done being ignorant, one needs to have an understanding of the random quantum fluctuation that occur in the fabric of the cosmos to understand how the universe can from nothing. logical fallacy: argument from ignorance, just because you don’t understand how the universe came about doesn’t mean some magical supernatural being had to create it. so what sounds more likely that the universe arose through natural processes or that some magical supernatural being made it out of nothing?

  4. #4 Logic
    October 2, 2010

    Dear trav
    I love you.
    Sincerely, Logic

    PS: lilbear68 is an ignoramus.

  5. #5 Anon
    October 2, 2010

    Disregard all the above comments as they have no scientific basis whatsoever but are religious-oriented instead (yes, Trav is a ball of shit too, not just lilbear68).

    Sincerely,
    someone who cares about science and not politics

  6. #6 James
    October 2, 2010

    Now lets see, in the beginning there was NOTHING. Then god appeared, and the god made the whole universe from NOTHING and populated one planet with self deluding arrogant, individuals who cannot see the forest for the trees.

  7. #7 Michael H.
    October 2, 2010

    @Anon
    WTF are you even talking about. You can’t fake being smart just b/c you claim people are stupid with no basis. Just because Trav singled out one of the many scientific theories related to the big bang theory, doesn’t mean he is wrong. He was mostly just making a point that the other guy was arguing from ignorance and he sounded stupid. Stop being so damn self-righteous.

  8. #8 amanda
    October 3, 2010

    i believe in god, but i also believe in science. i think that the two go hand in hand.
    if you don’t agree with me that’s fine, but don’t you dare insult me or call me stupid for believing what i believe. most christians, or catholics, or whatever belief system people choose (i choose not to have one) are good people – we’re just misrepresented because no one wants to see the good ones, just the ones who protest at comic con.
    i know that science is what makes physical sense to most people – and that’s perfectly fine. but to call creationists ignorant just because they believe something different is just being ignorant in itself.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    October 3, 2010

    Creationists don’t believe something that is different, they believe something that is wrong.

    Most creationists are not people who have a religious perspective on life … many religious people are in fact not creationists. Creationism is not a spiritual or religious belief system. It is a political affiliation.

    Creationists explicitly organize and act to damage science education in this country. Most creationists are in fact ignorant and are carrying out these activities for their own religious reasons, and are misguided. They are under the control of their intellectual superiors and political managers, the organizers of the movement.

    The organizers and politicians that support the movement, who by and large do not believe in most of the crap they pedal, have a different perspective and a different reason for doing it, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

    Amanda, for you to say “i believe in god, but i also believe in science.” tells me that you are not a creationist. I assume you do not want creationism taught in public school science classrooms.

  10. #10 matt
    October 3, 2010

    Amanda, we don’t call creatiost ignorant just because they believe something different. We call them ignorant because to say that something that cannot be tested or disproved through the process of science should go hand in hand with science, is ignorance. It is ignorant to the fundemental process of science itself. I do agree that not all people who believe in a god are stupid or bad people. Even someone who is a good person and may even have Dr. as a title can delude themselves into rationalizing a belief in a god.

  11. #11 Marc Broussard
    October 3, 2010

    A belief in a Creator is not the same as a belief in Santa Clause, so calling believers ignorant is not only rude and insensitive, but also hypocritical. God is as plausible as any other theory that is yet to be proven. The truth is, you aren’t going to find many Christians calling atheists stupid, but rather, what you often find is a desire to share in something Christians find beautiful and simple. Occam’s razor. As far as Creationism being taught in public schools? Why would anyone want to limit what is taught to children? Understanding all that the human conscience has to offer, with obvious exceptions, can only serve to shape a more prudent and well-rounded individual. Scripture teaches that God created something from nothing. Science is now able to observe this world at the smallest levels. What have we found? ‘Stuff’ that only exists because we’re here to observe it?! WTF is that? I don’t know. Therefore, I cannot rule any possibility.

  12. #12 hoary puccoon
    October 3, 2010

    lilbear68 @2 “…according to atheists in the begining there was nothing…….then it exploded and expanded to where we are today….”

    Marc Broussard @11 “A belief in a Creator is not the same as a belief in Santa Clause,[sic] so calling believers ignorant is not only rude and insensitive, but also hypocritical. God is as plausible as any other theory that is yet to be proven.”

    Are the two of you under the impression that anything you said has anything to do with the theory of evolution? Marc Broussard, you’re talking about theology, not science. lilbear68, you’re talking about the big bang theory. That’s a theory in physics, not biology.

    The theory of evolution is *only* a theory of the development of life on earth *after* it began. The theory of how life on earth began is called abiogenesis.

    Charles Darwin had nothing at all to say about how the universe began. What he actually said about abiogenesis was that life was “originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one.” (Origin of Species, 2nd ed.) Now, we don’t know how much he really believed in a Creator; he did not discuss his religeous views publicly. But that statement shows he certainly did not intend to indicate disrespect to believers.

    lilbear68 and Marc Broussard, you are both very indignant that creationists are treated as ignorant. Yet you don’t seem to understand the first thing about evolution– you can’t even define the term. If you don’t want to be called ignorant, well, what with the Internet, public libraries, and Amazon books, that should be easy enough to change, you know.

  13. #13 stephen
    October 3, 2010

    it has taken 150 years for evolution to go nowhere. it still remains a theory because there is no evidence that it is true. if you trust that the universe came about by random chance you put your faith in astronomically bad odds and call it “fact.” all the while you disregard the facts that are clearly presented in front of you in the fossil record, thermodynamics, etc. the best answer to the question is that nobody knows for sure but the evidence strongly points to a being that supersedes space and time creating the universe and world as we know it to be. natural selection was never a necessary process by the indication of the fossil record, therefore making darwin’s theory patently false as it pertains to reality.

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    October 3, 2010

    God is as plausible as any other theory that is yet to be proven.

    Marc, “theories” are not things “yet to be proven.” You may be thinking of hypotheses. And no, “God is as plausible as any other hypothesis that is yet to be proven” is incorrect because the hypothesis that god exists is untestable.

    “A belief in a Creator is not the same as a belief in Santa Clause,”

    In what way is it different?

    “The truth is, you aren’t going to find many Christians calling atheists stupid, but rather, what you often find is a desire to share in something Christians find beautiful and simple. ”

    You do realize, yes, that no one is calling Christians stupid. That part, you made up, either by accident or because you don’t get it.

    “Why would anyone want to limit what is taught to children?”

    If you come any where near my child with the idea that you can teach her or him “anything” you want, I will figuratively and legally kick your ass all the way to Poffadder.

    “Understanding all that the human conscience has to offer, with obvious exceptions, can only serve to shape a more prudent and well-rounded individual. ”

    Obvious exceptions? Elaborate. Do you understand that in a secular society with separation of church and state there are constitutionally guaranteed obvious exceptions?

    Stuff?

  15. #15 hoary puccoon
    October 3, 2010

    stephen @13– “the facts that are clearly presented in front of you in the fossil record, thermodynamics, etc.”

    If you really think the second law of thermodynamics contradicts evolutionary theory, you’ve been suckered, buddy. I’ll bet you got that idea the same place you got the idea that something being a theory means it hasn’t been supported by evidence, right? And the same place you heard the fossil record doesn’t support the theory of evolution?

    Did you actually go out to paleontological sites and collect this supposed fossil evidence against evolution with a trained paleontologist? I’m guessing not. I’m guessing you’ve been reading the lies perpetrated by the Institute for Creation Research, the Discovery Institute, and/or Answers in Genesis.

    The truth is, so-called “scientific” creationism is a scam. It was started in the 1960’s and has used the same arguments ever since, even though every single charge the “scientific” creationists have made has been disproven over and over again, while the fossil, molecular biology, geological, and experimental evidence for evolution has piled up and up.

    But of course, the “scientific” creationists never bother to change their story, no matter how much evidence supports evolution, and how many times their own so-called theories have been proven false. Why should they, when they can always find more suckers to swindle?

    So, stephen, just out of curiosity, are you one of the suckers, or are you one of the con artists?

  16. #16 Arrgh
    October 3, 2010

    Maybe, Lilbear68, you don’t understand it correctly. In fact, you’ve just shown that you don’t. Or maybe you’re right and it makes less sense than there being nothing except for this all powerful being who came from… oh, that’s right, we don’t ask questions! Damned non-believers and their trying to things out. It makes much more sense to believe in an everlasting space ghost.

  17. #17 SirKaid
    October 3, 2010

    stephen @13 “it has taken 150 years for evolution to go nowhere…”

    This is plainly false. I’m going to assume that you are merely ignorant as opposed to a liar, since you would have to be a pretty bold liar to pass off something which is wrong in every aspect off as fact.

    First, the theory has advanced. Many things which were thought true in the past have been proven to be false, just as many things which were ill-explained or not explained at all in Darwin’s day have been explained.

    Second, we have observed organisms evolving in lab settings as in the wild. Drug resistant tuberculosis, for example, did not exist in the past. In labs scientists have done innumerable experiments on fruit flies and have demonstrated the flies evolving to best fit their environments.

    Third, the theory itself has “advanced” across the globe and is now known everywhere on Earth.

    I could go on, but there are more points I want to make regarding the rest of your message.

    stephen @13 “…it still remains a theory because there is no evidence that it is true…”

    Every time I see a comment like this I curse the English language for including homonyms. From http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory :

    “In everyday speech, the word “theory” is used as a “best guess”. In modern science, a scientific theory is a tested and expanded hypothesis that explains many experiments and fits ideas together in a framework. If anyone finds a case where all or part of a scientific theory is false, then that theory is either changed or thrown out.”

    You see, the main difference between a scientific theory and a regular theory is that a scientific theory requires evidence. Lots and lots of evidence. A regular theory could more accurately be called a hypothesis, in other words a guess. Scientific theories are not guesses!

    As for the evidence bit? You are either ignorant or a bad liar. There are literal mountains of evidence. You could wallpaper every house in China with all of the evidence. Every year, thousands of peer-reviewed papers are published, each adding more and more evidence.

    Frankly, for your sake, I hope you’re just ignorant. It’s a lot easier to become educated than it is to learn how to lie properly.

    stephen @13 “if you trust that the universe came about by random chance you put your faith in astronomically bad odds and call it “fact.””

    I could choose to bypass this entirely based on the fact that it has nothing to do with evolution, but I’m feeling generous. Just because something is unlikely to occur does not mean that it cannot occur. Case in point, lotteries. It is highly unlikely that any specific ticket will win the prize, but nevertheless someone still wins every time.

    Similarly, given enough time even “astronomically bad odds” will occur. You’re probably familiar with the “million monkeys at a million typewriters” saying. This is the same thing.

    stephen @13 “…all the while you disregard the facts that are clearly presented in front of you in the fossil record, thermodynamics, etc…”

    Earth is not a closed system, so the thermodynamics argument is invalid. As for the fossil thing, I’m unfamiliar with the argument so I’ll have to let it slide.

    stephen @13 “…the best answer to the question is that nobody knows for sure but the evidence strongly points to a being that supersedes space and time creating the universe and world as we know it to be…”

    What evidence, exactly? I hate to be snippy like that, but seriously, what evidence? Besides, this is a discussion of evolution, not how the universe was created.

    It doesn’t matter in the slightest how the universe came to be. It doesn’t even matter how Earth was formed. This is about biological evolution, a topic which has nothing to do with physics.

    stephen @13 “…natural selection was never a necessary process by the indication of the fossil record, therefore making darwin’s theory patently false as it pertains to reality.”

    I… you know what? I’ve had a long night at my boring graveyard shift job, I’m tired, and I can’t be bothered to give a really excellent reply to this last point.

    Suffice it to say that even if your fossil record nonsense has anything at all to do with natural selection, a process which has been observed time and again by scientists of all creeds, colours, and countries, it wouldn’t kill the theory of evolution. Small bits of scientific theories are proven to be wrong all the time. That doesn’t mean the entire theory is wrong, just that it needs to change to accommodate the new information.

  18. #18 dean
    October 3, 2010

    “Why would anyone want to limit what is taught to children?”

    Limits can be appropriate. I don’t want my children taught “God did it so there is no reason to ask further” in science classes – and that is entirely the message that intelligent design (or creationism, same beast) does. I want them to learn to think, to question, and succeed.
    If they choose to study religion in an academic setting, where the context can be made clear, the limitations respected, that too is fine.
    In short: there is nothing relating to creationism/Intelligent design that belongs in any science class; those who support inserting it are working against improving education.

  19. #19 computerguy
    October 4, 2010

    In computer science, complexity of computation is a major obstacle. How has biology escaped the complexity argument from creationist? One specific argument I have heard is that the eyeball is too complex to be created via genetic variation in 2^30 years.

    And if there is no sound explaination for some details exist it seems only logical (if not scientific) to me that the weaknesses of evolution be expressed in textbooks. An abundance of one side of an argument seems too much like propaganda.

  20. #20 Ema Nymton
    October 4, 2010

    The problem, Amanda, is that you are a fucking moron. We’re not calling you this because you believe in creationism. Rather, we’re calling you this because you–and your friends in this thread–are, in fact, fucking morons.

  21. #21 hoary puccoon
    October 4, 2010

    computerguy @19 “One specific argument I have heard is that the eyeball is too complex to be created via genetic variation in 2^30 years.”

    Yes, Darwin brought that up himself, as a possible objection to his theory– so that people would test it. And, guess what– when they tested it, they found that there wasn’t any contradiction to the theory of evolution.

    If you really want to understand this, read Richard Dawkins’s “The Blind Watchmaker,” so you have some understanding of cumulative selection. If you’re really a computer guy, you should be able to write your own “weasel” program to prove cumulative selection works.

    Of course, if you’re not willing to read anything except lies from creationist bunko artists, then you’ll never be able to see why scientists consider “descent with modification” (as Darwin called evolution) a proven fact. There isn’t a united plot in science suppressing creationism; there’s plenty of disagreement between scientists. But the disagreement is all about the timing and mechanisms of evolution. *Everything* scientists have learned in the 151 years since the Origin of Species was first published has supported and extended the theory of evolution. The modern theory of evolution is better supported than the theory of gravity!

    Creationism has nothing to offer but lies, lies, and more lies. That’s why no sensible, responsible parent wants creationism taught to innocent children. And no responsible citizen wants tax dollars wasted on promoting creationist fraud.

    If you don’t want to take the trouble to learn about evolution, you don’t have to. But if you want to continue to spout off on a topic on which you are obviously completely ignorant, don’t turn around and get upset when you get called a moron. (Or, if you do get upset, how about directing your anger at the creationist con artists who deliberately mislead you, instead of at the honest scientists who try to set you straight?)

  22. #22 computerguy
    October 5, 2010

    Okay, thanks hoary for the starter information. I googled some information on cumulative selection and Dawkins Weasel program (wikipedia et alii). The demonstrated decrease in time (from random to random + cumulative selection) is obvious. But then I questioned, hey this method necessitates a ‘goal’ state.

    But I kept reading and saw a reference to a point Dawkins made in ‘Climbing Mount Improbable’. A better example, instead of two words is the creation of a spider web, where there is no goal except to make a web that catches flies (through trial and error).

    The point at which I am stuck is that this spider/spider web has a purpose. Maybe this idea is not ‘scientific’ and more existential. But it seems like a tough place to move from.

    Anybody have pointers?
    (probably not the best place for some of these questions)

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    October 5, 2010

    Computeguy[19]:

    One specific argument I have heard is that the eyeball is too complex to be created via genetic variation in 2^30 years.

    How about this argument: The earth can’t be more than a few thousand years old because given the rate at which it cools, it would be very cold (i.e., no magma or lava) by now if it was older than, say, 20,000.

    That argument was made by Lord Kelvin in the 19th century and he was absolutely correct. His argument went like this:

    H = T(H-l)

    Roughly paraphrased, the heat of the earth is the prior heat of the earth minus the loss over a given time interval across time. I’ve left all the subs and details off the equation, and T() is a function, not multiplication.

    The argument you refer to is roughly characterized as:

    N = T(rn) ; N > N(e)

    Where N is the total number of evolutonary steps to get a functioning organ, r is the rate of change, n is the novel component of function, and T is our time function again. N of E is the number of mutations possible given the most rapid rate of mutation possible for the age of the earth. N is greater than N(e) therefore N (the eye) can’t exist given current evolutionary theory.

    If you were my student, I’d ask you to write a two pager expanding on this but since you probably aren’t I’ll give you this: Kelvin did not know the rate of heat loss because he did not correctly characterize the source of heat (in the solar system). He didn’t know about nuclear decay, for instance. He had a number of basic facts of physics and geology wrong, but he had the process correct. New facts eventually came along and his assertion was demonstrated to be incorrect.

    IN the case of the eye or other complex features, we often hear creationists telling us that there is not enough time for the evolution to occur but we see ZERO science on what the rate of change is. Zero. That is the most important part of the argument, yet it is glossed over.

    And so now you understand:

    And if there is no sound explaination for some details exist it seems only logical (if not scientific) to me that the weaknesses of evolution be expressed in textbooks.

    should be rewritten that it is only logical, and scientific that there is a weakness in the creationist argument. And, furthermore, the argument is not only weak, but utterly obviously weak, and this weakness has been pointed out again and again yet is not addressed. This brings us to yet another logical conclusion (that may not be scientific): The creationists are making their shit up, lying, and slimily avoiding the truth.

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    October 5, 2010

    The point at which I am stuck is that this spider/spider web has a purpose. Maybe this idea is not ‘scientific’ and more existential. But it seems like a tough place to move from.

    Anybody have pointers?

    You are correct that when one approaches, especially from a western cultural perspective evolution, this is often what one sees. One of the big uphill battles we have in evolutionary biology is that so many people (including many of my pointy headed colleagues) keep talking about how this is all very simple. It ins’t. Simple understandings of evolution almost always butt up against important and damaging fallacies.

    Let me help you out of this intellectually hard problem with a suggestion that will get you part way there if you take it seriously: In retrospect, evolution always looks goal directed. Yet is it impossible to predict the future of evolutionary scenarios beyond the first iteration (and even the first iteration is difficult).

    Think about the last five moves in a professional chess game. Very rarely are those predicted but one can take a retrospective look and see why they happened. Now, instead of a chess game, which is really quite simple, consider a very complex ecosystem. Yes, it always looks like one should have seen it coming (where “it” is an ecological change, speciation, whatever) but one can rarely describe the details (though often the trends) of the future.

  25. #25 trav
    October 6, 2010

    @anon way up @ #5
    “Disregard all the above comments as they have no scientific basis whatsoever but are religious-oriented instead (yes, Trav is a ball of shit too, not just lilbear68).
    Sincerely,
    someone who cares about science and not politics”

    I have heard this argument before, that atheism is just another religion, to which i must say
    “truth does not demand belief. scientists do not join hands every sunday, singing ‘yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! i will be strong! i believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, amen! if they did that we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”

    you, anon, do not care about science, if you did you would know more about science and the latest discoveries and evidence in support of the “theories” and would not be calling it a religion. Que ad homonym attack…you intellectually lazy moron.

    people need to “actually” learn what the theories are and the evidence supporting them instead of just “assuming” that they “know” what the theories are. I’m fairly certain that if a test were conducted on peoples understanding of evolution those who deny its validity would fail miserably, due to the fact that they do not fully understand the theory.

  26. #26 zeb
    October 6, 2010

    Is there anyone else who finds the ongoing evolution of creationist argument an ironic amusing and fascinating phenomena?

    Its an amazing universe we live in when even blatant stupidity has to become more and more complex just to stay alive.

    If some kind of “kurzweilian singularity” ever did come to pass I’d be all in favour of uploading as many creationist minds as possible into the “matrix” with us just for the entertainment value

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