Respectful Insolence

One antidote to creationism

I apologize for submitting you to the previous three creationist videos. I realize that they were pretty mind-numbing, and then there was that cheesy Christian rock ballad.

So here’s one antidote. (Warning: The video is nearly two hours long; even I haven’t had time to watch the whole thing yet.) And it happened at one of my old alma maters, Case Western Reserve University.

it’s good for what ails you. Watch it a little at a time if it’s too long to watch all at once.

Comments

  1. #1 Tony P
    March 1, 2007

    I’ve had a number of nice email exchanges with Miller. I love they way he demolishes the creationists.

  2. #2 Larry Moran
    March 1, 2007

    That’s an antidote to creationism? A science lecture that starts with a prayer?

  3. #3 Fred
    March 1, 2007

    Larry:

    I am not sure if you watched the entire video, but it is a great talk and Miller dispels the myths behind creationism. It should not be judged on the basis of Miller’s spiritual beliefs.

  4. #4 Paul Schofield
    March 1, 2007

    This lecture is legendary, literally. I have been spreading it as far as I can since it first came up on Pandas Thumb a while back, and it is one of the few talks on evolution I have actually managed to get Creationists to sit through. Given the length, that is quite amazing. Miller is a great guy to watch in action.

  5. #5 Orac
    March 2, 2007

    That’s an antidote to creationism? A science lecture that starts with a prayer?

    Yes.

    What does the prayer have to to with it? The talk is a devastating decontruction of ID and indictment of those who want this religion masquerading as pseudoscience taught in public schools. Don’t tell me you’re dismissing this great lecture just because you don’t like having a prayer at the beginning. That’s the proverbial cutting off of your nose to spite your face.

  6. #6 SLC
    March 2, 2007

    I believe that the lecture can be downloaded from a Case Western Reserve web site using a stream intercepting program like NetTransport. It can also be downloaded from YouTube using a web site

    http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php#tabsini

  7. #7 Malcolm
    March 2, 2007

    I thought that this was absolutely brilliant lecture and well worth sitting through. In particular one point that stuck out for me was the part of the lecture on the fusion of chromosomes in the Human Genome which explains why we have less than apes. I completely agree that this should have been trumpeted out everywhere yet this is the first that I had heard of it. Scientists are unbelievably bad at communicating such things.

  8. #8 Steevl
    March 2, 2007

    “Don’t tell me you’re dismissing this great lecture just because you don’t like having a prayer at the beginning. That’s the proverbial cutting off of your nose to spite your face.”

    Dismissing it as a lecture on the subject, maybe so, but as an antidote to creationism, not at all.

    Creationists believe whatever they like even if it is contradicted by the evidence, and it’s nice that Miller knows this is wrong. But the position that we can believe whatever we like as long as it isn’t directly contradicted by evidence is just a different form of the disease. An antidote would remove the irrationality altogether, not just substitute one sort for another.

  9. #9 decrepitoldfool
    March 3, 2007

    Thank you for posting this, it was fascinating. Now Finding Darwin’s God is on my reading list.

    (Uh-oh, I must be an “appeaser”)

  10. #10 Webs
    March 4, 2007

    SHOOT!!!

    I too found this lecture highly entertaining and blogable. I must too be an appeaser… ;)

    This is the problem with many that argue against IDiots, which I most certainly will do, is that you don’t have dismiss the logic and science of someone out of hand because they believe in a deity. Listen to what they say first and you too may learn something.

    I am a weak atheist and my girlfriend is a moderate Christian and have been dating for over 4 years. We both understand one another and know that just loving someone for who they are and what they say and do is more important than their religious beliefs.

    As Miller says, science needs more people with the ability to get the message across, which also means these individuals need to be able to listen and understand the other side. They need to be able to act as an intermediary between the religious and science.

    We only need to look as far as South Park to know what the world would be like with all Atheists…

  11. #11 Colin M
    March 4, 2007

    Watched the whole thing. I found it very informative, Mr Brown is a very good speaker. One thing he spoke about was the fusing of the ancestors chromosomes. He spoke of one pair fusing. No matter how I look at it I keep coming up with the thought that it should be 2 pairs that have fused. If only one pair fuse you are left with 47 chromosomes, perhaps they need to keep looking or I got it wrong?

  12. #12 Colin M
    March 4, 2007

    Bah! I should have previewed my comment. It’s mr Miller from Brown. grrr.

  13. #13 Don Geddis
    March 6, 2007

    Webs wrote:

    We only need to look as far as South Park to know what the world would be like with all Atheists…

    Now, now. Don’t go assuming you know how an atheist society would really evolve. Humanity hasn’t really tried one before, and the scare tactics of the anti-atheists are almost certainly wrong.

    Colin M wrote:

    No matter how I look at it I keep coming up with the thought that it should be 2 pairs that have fused. If only one pair fuse you are left with 47 chromosomes, perhaps they need to keep looking or I got it wrong?

    Miller explained this, but it is confusing. I’ll try again.

    The difference is “pairs [of chromosomes]” vs. “chromosomes”. The apes have 48 chromosomes (in 24 pairs). Humans have 46 chromosomes (in 23 pairs). Humans only have 23 distinct “kinds” of things there. You get 23 things (chromosomes) from your mother, and 23 from your father. Apes get 24 from their mothers and 24 from their fathers. Hence, in some ancestor, two ape chromosomes fused to form the #2 human chromosome.

    That fusing happened in every descendant after that ancestor, so you “lose” one chromosome (because it was fused) from the set you get from your mother, and you lose another from the set you get from your father. After that fusion, each of your parents only gives you 23 things instead of 24 things. Hence, you only have 46 total chromosomes instead of 48 total. I.e., you have one less pair of chromosomes, or two fewer chromosomes (depending on whether you want to count pairs, or individual chromosomes).

  14. #14 Colin M
    March 6, 2007

    I wrote to Mr Miller, and received this reply. Explained it all (even though I had a hard time grasping the concepts).
    Dear Colin,

    The question you are asking is, in essence, how does a single copy of any mutation (and a chromosomal fusion is indeed a mutation) become “fixed” in a population until it becomes so common that most individuals have two copies of it.

    You’re quite right that the fusion of two chromosomes in one individual would give them 47 chromosomes. We know from studies of such mutations in other animals that the fused chromosomes can pair easily in meiosis (gamete formation) with the two homologous chromosomes from which it was derived, and that perfectly healthy sperm and eggs can be produced. So, a man or a woman in which such a fusion had occured would produce half of their gametes (sperm or eggs) with 23 chromosomes and half with 24.

    If the fusion became reasonably common in a small population, eventually two individuals with the fusion would mate, producing a number of offspring in which a 23 chromosome egg fused with a 23 chromosome sperm. The present day human population seems to be derived from just such individuals.

    And we are not the only mammals in which this has occurred….
    there are substantial differences in the horse family indicating chromosome fusion and splitting, despite the close genetic relationships between domestic horses, Prezwalski’s horse, zebras, and donkeys.