Why do doctors deny evolution?

Yesterday was a long day, starting in the operating room and finishing at a dinner reception for our visiting speaker today. As a result, when I arrived home, I was sawing the proverbial logs within five or ten minutes of hitting the couch, more or less without realizing it. I was going to just skip today, making it a rare weekday where I don’t provide you, my loyal readers, with a dose of the Insolence, be it Respectful or not-so-Respectful, to which you have become accustomed. But then I saw an article that reminded me of a topic that I haven’t revisited for quite a long time. I’m referring to a topic that I used to discuss fairly often. View it as a subtopic of Medicine and Evolution. I’m referring to the question of why there are so many doctors who deny evolution. We’ve met many of them before over the last decade, although probably Dr. Michael Egnor is the one whose creationist nonsense I’ve discussed and refuted the most. He’s a neurosurgeon, and apparently he’s still at it.

Well, there’s another creationist neurosurgeon in town, and unfortunately he’s running for the Republican nomination for President. I’m referring, of course, to Dr. Ben Carson, a guy who was a really brilliant neurosurgeon in his day but in his retirement appears to have embraced multiple forms of right wing pseudoscience, including, of course, evolution denial. His ascent led a reporter to wonder why some doctors reject evolution and even publish a story about it in Pacific Standard, entitled, appropriately enough, Why Do Some Doctors Reject Evolution? The article is a good primer on the topic, and not just because it features some quotes from someone who is near and dear to this blog. It’s worth reading in full, and (I hope) discussing here. It also reminds me that I really should revisit the topic of evolution in medicine and physicians denying evolution. Apparently I’ve become so wrapped up in discussing quackery like antivaccine pseudoscience, alternative cancer “cures,” homeopathy, and quackademic medicine (the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia) that I’ve neglected other interesting areas of the interface between science and medicine and pseudoscience.

And, thus, Orac demonstrates his logorrhea by using over 400 words just to link to an article he likes. Truly, it does take me nearly 500 words just to “clear my throat,” so to speak. In any case, maybe I’ll have to talk about evolution denial in medicine again sometime soon. It’s one of those topics that keeps popping up and irritating me, but somehow other things manage to distract me, much like Dug the Dog.

Squirrel!

Comments

  1. #1 Helianthus
    June 16, 2015

    @ capnkrunch

    Missed this part in your previous post:

    I probably need to read back a bit to get a handle on this conversion but what the heck is this See Noevo even going on about? “My religion can beat up your religion?” A dick measuring contest between gods?

    I will save you some time and say “yes, that’s about it”, with “religion” being about any topic S.N. decides to focus on.

  2. #2 dean
    June 16, 2015

    @capnkrunch

    It might also help to know that sn, who is also an expert on cosmology and so can dismiss it out of hand without providing any evidence, said at Ethan’s blog that nobody should ever spend time or money studying anything that didn’t have an immediate application.

    When someone starts from that viewpoint it’s only a short step into the lunacy sn demonstrates.

  3. #3 Krebiozen
    June 16, 2015

    Horatio,

    If God is omnipotent, can He create a boulder so large that He cannot lift it?

    It seems no one has heard from Him since he was first asked this question a couple of thousand years ago. I assume He has been giving it some thought.

  4. #4 Gray Falcon
    June 16, 2015

    See Noevo: A more apt analogy would be that for most of its history, the Catholic Church was like a piece of software that required people to pay extra money every time that they wanted it to do what it was supposed to do, with all the source code in FORTRAN, and published by a company that employed goons to beat up anyone who tried to compete. The Protestant Reformation happened for a good reason: The Catholic Church had all but abandoned the teachings of Christ by the sixteenth century.

    Now, back on topic: What explanation do you have for all the coal, oil, and natural gas appearing exactly where the evolutionary biologists say they did?

  5. #5 al kimeea
    my previous comment was directed @ SeeNoevo
    June 16, 2015

    ann @1550 & 1552

    I didn’t mean to give the impression that there was some kind of empire wide public school system and was really thinking only of the core of the empire – the boot of Europe and the larger cities. I could have been more clear. I doubt schooling extended to the far reaches of Gaul or Dacia. Education wasn’t controlled by the state, it was under the auspices of the freehand of the market.

    It seems the rate of literacy of the ancients is still hotly contested amongst those whose knowledge of the subject far exceeds two plain folk on the intertubes. It hovers around the numbers you mentioned.

    Which is not to say that the vast majority of medieval Christians could even understand a word of Latin, let alone read or write it, and that they weren’t therefore sitting through mass listening to nonsense syllables for all they knew.

    Apparently the origin of the phrase hocus-pocus, IIRC.

    I take it you didn’t go poke around the site Sarah A found so enlightening. It is quite impressive for the work of only one man.

    In the same epistle, Paul set up the first Christian defence against intellectual and scientific criticism. He argued that it is only by achieving ignorance and foolishness that one finally attains God’s promise.

    I Corinthians 3:18-20
    Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written:

    “He catches the wise in their craftiness. [Job 5:13]”

    and again:

    “The Lord knows that the thought of the wise are futile. [Psalms 94:11]”

    Paul’s passage above shows that, ultimately, reason has no place in Christianity. As the ex-nun Karen Armstrong asks:

    “Are all men’s thoughts – Einstein’s, Pasteur’s, Plato’s – useless? … [Paul’s attitude] – flung Christendom into the Dark Ages, by denying human achievements of learning and culture … haven’t we all met Christians who use the teaching of Paul to adopt a contrived Philistinism, a denial of intellect and culture, that makes a great display of superiority? Then there are the fundamentalists, who refuse to look at Biblical criticism … At the opposite pole … Catholic teaching on contraception goes against all charity, all wisdom, but it is an assertion of “God’s foolishness” in the face of the wisdom of the world”

    The last bit from another ex-nun, there’s a trend developing.

    It seems the anti-rational/knowledge bits are largely to be found in the New Testament, which answers your question @1552. We also have that uber-mensch Luther chiming in:

    “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

    Thankfully, in this day and age, that struggle is now on the other foot.

    I earlier mentioned the 42/10 meme (contemporary evidence of Jesus/Emperor Tiberius), but didn’t limn the results of the scholarly analysis. It turns out there are several dozen facts supporting Tiberius and 0, zero, contemporary mentions of Jesus. In fact there are around 100 or so ancients writing of then current events and no mention of an itinerant apocalyptic death cult preacher shaking up a very tiny backwater of the empire (much less China or Japan or Central America).

    There are many references of those Krazy Kristians, but only 1 of their Holey Man. It is considered a later insertion by christians. Another of their useful lies, I guess: Here’s Celsus from somewhere in the 100sCE:

    Christians usually flee headlong from cultured people who are not prepared to be deceived, but they trap illiterate folk … Their injunctions are like this, “Let no one be educated, no one wise, no one sensible draw near. For these abilities are thought by us to be evils. But as for anyone ignorant, anyone stupid, anyone uneducated, anyone who is a child, let him come boldly.” … Some of them do not even want to give or receive a reason for what they believe, and use such expressions as “Do not ask questions; just believe.” and “Thy faith will save thee.” And they say, “The wisdom of the world is an evil, and foolishness is a good thing.”

    and

    But whenever they get hold of children in private and some stupid women with them, they let out some outstanding statements as, for example, that they must not pay any attention to their father and school teachers, but must obey them; they say that these talk nonsense and have no understanding, and that in reality they neither know, nor are able to do anything good, but are taken up with empty chatter. But they alone, they say, know the right way to live, and if the children would believe them, they would become happy and make their home happy as well. And if just as they are speaking they see one of the schoolteachers coming, or some intelligent person, or even the father himself, the more cautious of them flee in all directions; but the more reckless urge the children on to rebel.

    Christianity setup schools not to teach natural philosophy, but to promulgate dogma resulting in the persecution of Galileo, among others and with Copernicus publishing his work posthumously so as not to suffer the rather gruesome fate of Bruno, who posited a cosmology closer to what we now know although still deity driven.

    For the Johnny who can’t tell the difference between a virus and a bacteria, what colour is the sky in your world? I wonder if you’ve ever been deathly ill. If you do fall prey to some nasty infection (hopefully not), is it because you weren’t clean enough?

  6. #6 Mrs Woo
    United States
    June 16, 2015

    @SeeNoevo – does the Catholic church still sell indulgences? With the whole papal infallibility and so forth, I can’t imagine such a perfect, everlasting institution changing anything proclaimed in its history. Darn that stupid printing press and increasing literacy interfering with the church’s ability to ignore its own Scripture and teach whatever it felt like in its place. If they hadn’t made the constantly dissatisfied Luther a teacher at university (forcing him to read those texts himself), they might have delayed the Reformation another decade or so (but maybe not; it was kind of inevitable).

    SeeNoevo, one of your problems in your argument and why you make no headway is your response boils down to, “Well, God, Bible and Catholic Church. Worse, the last of your arguments supports evolution! Doubling down, moving goal posts or changing topics completely do not win a debate. If your opponents do not credit any of your supporting arguments as coming from a credible source, they will not be swayed by those arguments. You are just wasting time if you cannot provide anything more concrete.

  7. #7 dean
    June 16, 2015

    Or maybe “How about you learn to speak English when you decide to become an American?”

    Given your enormous levels of bigotry and racism, coupled with general lack of education and knowledge of history, it isn’t a surprise you don’t know that immigrant families never immediately learned English when they came here: it was always a generational change.

  8. #8 Mrs Woo
    June 16, 2015

    Didn’t close my quotes after Catholic Church.

  9. #9 JP
    June 16, 2015

    @al kimeena:

    The problem with your assertions and arguments, for the most part, is that you are starting with a conclusion – “religion (Christianity, at least) is stupid, evil and wrong” – and working backward from that conclusion. You are not doing history, you are doing polemics.

    This is one reason why many educated people don’t take, say, Richard Dawkins very seriously at all when he talks about much beyond evolutionary biology.

  10. #10 Gray Falcon
    June 16, 2015

    Part of the reason the “Christianity is the cause of Rome’s fall and the Dark Ages!” argument is that it:
    a) Ignores every other issue the late Western Roman Empire suffered, including overpopulation, resource depletion, widespread corruption, gross inequality, and so on…
    b) Ignores the Eastern Roman Empire, which was equally Christian, but held on much better.

  11. #11 Gray Falcon
    June 16, 2015

    I mean, part of the reason it fall flat.

    Also, I should note that al seems to enjoy quoting Scripture out of context just as much as See does.

  12. #12 al kimeea
    unsurprised in meat space
    June 16, 2015

    I’m well aware of how Rome fell, what happened after christianity grabbed the reins and The Schism.

    Funny, when people provide links to sources I follow them which doesn’t seem to be happening in this regard.

    if the verses are out of context, rather than assertion, how about correction.

    Strawman arguments and deflection, one of the hallmarks of medi-wooligans

  13. #13 Gray Falcon
    June 16, 2015

    Al, remember I Corinthians 3:18-20? The full chapter spoke of schisms and divisions in the church. The “wisdom of this world” he spoke of probably had nothing to science, and was more likely some form of Gnosticism or similar.

  14. #14 JP
    June 16, 2015

    @al kimeena:

    The link you provided is not to a work of academic merit. All the author does is pick random verses – yes, out of context – and rant about them; if that’s what I was interested in reading, I’d go find a creationist screed or something.

    Besides that, the author makes hardly any citations, never cites any primary sources, and what few citations he does provide are to non-academic popular books. I am not impressed.

    BTW, stomping your foot and sticking your lower lip out when somebody criticizes your arguments instead of addressing the criticisms is not going to get you a lot of credit.

  15. #15 JP
    June 16, 2015

    ^I forgot to mention that “Rejecting Pascals’ Wager” has web design worthy of 1995, which doesn’t necessarily invalidate any of its arguments, but is kind of chuckle-worthy.

  16. #16 ann
    June 16, 2015

    I take it you didn’t go poke around the site Sarah A found so enlightening. It is quite impressive for the work of only one man.

    No, I did. Really, the whole of my dissent from it could be summed up by my response to the first sentence on the page you linked to:

    Christianity, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason.

    This is true to the extent that faith, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason. But it’s not truer of Christianity than it is of any other faith. And if your aim is to examine the particular ways in which it’s true of Christianity, you just mess yourself up right out of the gate by not acknowledging that.

    I suppose it is kind of pedantic of me. But I believe in defining your terms.

    Likewise:

    Christianity setup schools not to teach natural philosophy, but to promulgate dogma resulting in the persecution of Galileo, among others and with Copernicus publishing his work posthumously so as not to suffer the rather gruesome fate of Bruno, who posited a cosmology closer to what we now know although still deity driven.

    ^^That’s not something “Christianity” did. The Catholic Church was an enormously powerful quasi-imperial political force for centuries. And it acted like one. Obviously — even self-evidently — it was able to do that in part because its own indispensability is a foundational tenet of the faith.

    But nevertheless. If you say “this is how Christians act, what Christianity is, etc.” rather than “this is how institutional power that’s accountable to no one acts, how it is, etc.” you miss a very key point. Because again: That’s what happens when you don’t define your terms. It’s inherently inimical to reason.

    For example. If I read you correctly, you’re arguing that Greco-Roman education was under the auspices of the free market. First of all, to what, exactly, do you attribute the poularity of Christianity? And second of all, what light does it shed on the world as it is now or as it was then to suggest that people who lived in a pre-industrial largely agrarian economy prior to the invention of the printing press were mostly illiterate because either: (a) free market (if pre-Christian); or (b) the Church (if post-Christian)?

    As far as I can see, all it does is obscure the much more instructive fact that until quite recently, most people couldn’t read, didn’t have time to, and wouldn’t have had anything to read if they did, for reasons that had nothing to do with religion.

    In any event. I respectfully dissent from the argument you’re making. But maybe we should just agree to disagree. To each his/her own.

    Cheers.

  17. #17 capnkrunch
    June 16, 2015

    See Noevo@1598

    But if a computer program works in such a way that many highly intelligent (and less intelligent) people (and even a former agnostic/atheist such as myself) “purchase” that computer program, even today, 2,000 years after its product launch… then, THAT might tell you something.

    You’re focused way too much on the specifics of the metaphor and even then your argument doesn’t hold. What about the ubiquitous Ask toolbar? What about malware? Sure it might “tell you something” but that something isn’t neccessarily positive as you imply.

    Other popular but awful things: misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals. Back to my original point, popularity, reach, longevity, these are just descriptors. They are completely neutral. In a vacuum none of those traits makes something worthy of respect. This was the point I was trying to make that you have now twice ignored in order to quibble over some minor part of my delivery.

    Narad@1597
    Clearly. Bad move on my part bringing the ‘discussion’ into See Noevo’s home court. I’m don’t think I have an answer to the “laptop on the moon” paradox.

    Helianthus@1600/1
    Thanks for saving me the trouble. The response to sadmar was worth going back and reading.

    dean@1602
    I read some of the comments over at Starts With a Bang. In addition to the “immediate application” argument I also see “your theory isn’t perfect so we should scrap it for my theory. My theory isn’t perfect but who cares! It doesn’t have to be, it’s not science.”

    Also thanks for turning me onto Ethan’s blog. I’ve never ventured far from RI here.

  18. #18 capnkrunch
    June 16, 2015

    Small clarification to my previous comment.

    Other popular but awful things: misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals.

    I used “other” meaning in addition to my previous examples of the Ask toolbar and malware; this was not an implicit statement that the Catholic Church is awful. I suppose I should have written “prolific” instead of “popular.” Just want to clear that up before See Noevo uses it as a reason to ignore the rest my comment.

  19. #19 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To ann #1616:

    “Really, the whole of my dissent from it could be summed up by my response to the first sentence on the page you linked to: “Christianity, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason.” This is true to the extent that faith, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason. But it’s not truer of Christianity than it is of any other faith.”

    I don’t think faith is “fundamentally anti-reason.” I think faith is different than reason but faith is supported by, and works with, reason. They MUST go together.

    Otherwise, to hell with “faith alone”. (And to hell with reason alone.)

    I think St. Peter would agree:
    “but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always BE PREPARED to MAKE A DEFENSE to any one who calls you to ACCOUNT FOR the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” [1 Peter 3:15]
    (I don’t think Peter wouldn’t look kindly on an argument such as “Well, I can’t or won’t justify my faith. It’s just what I feel and what I believe.”)

    And of course, so does the Church. For example: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091998_fides-et-ratio.html

    I myself came to faith THROUGH reason. Others may come to faith via more experiential, mystical or even revelational means. But even then, the Christian should fortify the faith with reason. Again, one must have fides ET ratio.

    This is also why Catholic seminaries, from my understanding, require a grounding in philosophy BEFORE one begins studies in theology.

  20. #20 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To capnkrunch #1617:

    “Other popular but awful things: misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals. Back to my original point, popularity, reach, longevity, these are just descriptors. They are completely neutral. In a vacuum none of those traits makes something worthy of respect.”

    And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution.

    Oh, yes they are.

  21. #21 Gray Falcon
    June 16, 2015

    See: Evolution isn’t a religion. It doesn’t make value judgments. Don’t conflate evolution with atheism. When you do so, you’re no better than Richard Dawkins.

  22. #22 capnkrunch
    June 16, 2015

    See Noevo@1620

    And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution.

    Oh, yes they are.

    What does this even mean? You’ve once again ignored my point. You said longevity and reach are all things worthy of respect. I gave examples of things with longevity and reach that are not worthy of respect. I even told how to fix your argument but you also ignored that and and opted for this drivel instead. For someone who claims to be a man of reason you are doing a piss poor job of showing it.

  23. #23 Politicalguineapig
    June 16, 2015

    al kimeaa: “See, it’s funny how a supposed all loving, all powerful supreme being – capable of anything, knowing everything and not just at the moment but for all eternity – all of a sudden develops all too mortal and human traits like being too busy to end slavery or end the abuse of women as nothing more than fleshy incubators because of dealing with too many things on the table.”

    Yes, this is pretty much why I’m not a Christian. I don’t let men boss me around in real life (unless they happen to be my employers), why would I let an uberman force me into a drab, joyless life? As I said on another thread, God and Christians tend to be more malevolent then benevolent- why do we assume God approves of multi-celled life?

    Also, SN, you must be trolling. No Christian would listen to Dylan. Or are you one of the Discovery Institute’s paid trolls? Furthermore, reason and faith are totally, utterly incompatible.
    Finally, aren’t you, as a Christian, supposed to support misogyny, homophobia and probably racism? You seem to be saying those are bad things, which is an odd thing for someone as religious as you to say.

  24. #24 shay
    June 16, 2015

    PGP if you ever got anything right about Christianity, I think I would have to check the ambient temperature in Hades.

  25. #25 Gray Falcon
    June 16, 2015

    PGP’s what you get when you take the premises of fundamentalist Christianity and follow them to their logical conclusion.

  26. #26 ann
    June 16, 2015

    I don’t think faith is “fundamentally anti-reason.” I think faith is different than reason but faith is supported by, and works with, reason.

    Believe it or not, I don’t think we’re really in disagreement on this one. I was just echoing the phrasing of the line I quoted, because….Well. While not exactly, precisely true, it seemed to me to be close enough for the immediate purpose to which I was putting it — ie, pointing out that it’s ridiculous, nonsensical and biased to say that Christianity is fundamentally anti-reason.

    I mean, nobody can be all pedantry, all the time. I guess I kind of fell down on the job.

    But fwiw, I agree that faith is different than reason. And discrete from it, even. I also agree that it can be supported by reason and work with it. And I agree that that’s a better way of putting it.

    I would further say that all people rely on faith more or less continually in the course of their daily lives in some way, shape or form, and probably couldn’t get by without it. It’s human nature.

    That’s not necessarily religious faith, though.

    They MUST go together.

    I certainly agree that it’s a good idea. So if that’s what you mean, I agree. But I would also say that faith is beyond reason. Inherently. So if there’s a conflict, one or the other has to yield, imo. And I have a feeling we might not agree about that.

  27. #27 ann
    June 16, 2015

    And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution.

    Oh, yes they are.

    I too do not know what this means. Misogyny, racism, and prejudice against homosexuals are to evolution as banana, area rug, and Spirograph are to Catholicism. As far as I know.

    But it’s been a while since I took the SATs.

    Could you rephrase?

  28. #28 dean
    June 16, 2015

    “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals”

    He’s referencing some of the things he holds most dear.

  29. #29 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    @capnkrunch:

    I read some of the comments over at Starts With a Bang. In addition to the “immediate application” argument I also see “your theory isn’t perfect so we should scrap it for my theory. My theory isn’t perfect but who cares! It doesn’t have to be, it’s not science.”

    It’s even worse than that. The “navigation” argument immediately collapses, with the most recent example being the tying of GPS to the second iteration of the International Celestial Reference Frame.

    Moreover, as a random attention-seeking interloper, he failed to realize that Ethan isn’t a Multiverse Maniac in the first place. His version of cosmology has nothing to do with the real world and everything to do with regurgitating partially digested creationist talking points.

    But this has been gone over before. He makes an idiotic stink about things that he’s totally ignorant of (there’s an encore going on at EvolutionBlog) and then changes the subject if he gets the slightest opportunity.

    As for “Starts with a Bang” itself, I largely gave up when Ethan started using it as a redirector to the unsightly medium.com except for the comments. Make up your mind, already.

  30. #30 Politicalguineapig
    June 16, 2015

    GF: I am not, and never have been a Christian. I just observe them.

    Shay: What part of my comment was wrong? SN is obviously a fundamentalist, which means he doesn’t support rights for anyone who isn’t a fetus or a straight male.

  31. #31 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    ^ I failed to mention that the “navigation argument” wrapped itself of with a snide, off-topic stupidity that is noteworthy only as a proof that Odorama isn’t strictly necessary – when everybody has gone home except for an attention-whoring imbecile, the stench of the pathetic, freshly shіt-eating grin actually oozes from the screen.

  32. #32 ann
    June 16, 2015

    What part of my comment was wrong? SN is obviously a fundamentalist,

    First of all, he’s a Catholic with very socially conservative views.

    Second of all

    No Christian would listen to Dylan.

    Dylan is himself not only Christian, but born again. Has been since the ’70s. And his work often reflects it.

    Even if that wasn’t the case, virtually everyone likes and listens to music.

    Furthermore, reason and faith are totally, utterly incompatible.

    They’re not totally incompatible. They’re utterly incompatible to a degree.

    Finally, aren’t you, as a Christian, supposed to support misogyny, homophobia and probably racism?

    I don’t know how many times this has to be pointed out to you. But that’s an offensive, overly broad and bigoted characterization. Outlandishly so, even. I mean, have you ever noticed that the Reverend Martin Luther King was a Christian?

  33. #33 ann
    June 16, 2015

    It appears that there’s more question about whether Bob Dylan’s Christianity is intact than I realized.

    I regret the error.

  34. #34 Politicalguineapig
    June 16, 2015

    Ann: I thought Dylan was Jewish. And, no music isn’t for everyone, Christians are supposed to only listen to Perry Como or “Christian artists.”

    My apologies to SN, sort of. Catholics still mostly think that fetuses are more important than women, they’re okay with gays as long as the gay people don’t actually dare to exist in their vicinity or are willing to never, ever have a partner or be happy. Catholic women are also not allowed to be happy or, you know, have opinions.

    MLK was a very good man, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have prejudices or turn a blind eye to certain things. Like say, Gandhi being a racist. At least two of MLK’s kids have been active in anti-gay movements. Though I will note that Corretta King was an advocate for glbt people, so it’s hard to say where he’d come down on that.

  35. #35 TBruce
    June 16, 2015

    No Christian would listen to Dylan.

    Roger McGuinn, formerly of the Byrds, is a born-again Christian of many years standing (about 30 years, I believe). Despite my atheism, I am still a huge fan because he is relatively low-key about it, and doesn’t proselytize.

    In concert, he still plays the Dylan hits , including Tambourine Man, My Back Pages, You Ain’t Going Nowhere to name a few. He deliberately does not do “Christian Music”, except for a few traditional country and folk songs with a Christian theme, probably no more than the average folk troubadour.

  36. #36 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To capnkrunch #1677, #1622:

    Me: “But if a computer program works in such a way that many highly intelligent (and less intelligent) people (and even a former agnostic/atheist such as myself) “purchase” that computer program, even today, 2,000 years after its product launch… then, THAT might tell you something.”

    You: “You’ve once again ignored my point. You said longevity and reach are all things worthy of respect…You’re focused way too much on the specifics of the metaphor and even then your argument doesn’t hold. What about the ubiquitous Ask toolbar?”

    What is the longevity, and I might add, reliability, of “Ask toolbar”?

    “What about malware?”
    What is the longevity of “malware”? Is the purpose of malware what you call “positive”? Is “positive” good or bad?

    The “computer program” of the Catholic Church not only has almost incredible longevity, it also has stability and has reach,
    and MOST IMPORTANTLY, after 2,000 years, provides results so “positive” that many highly intelligent people “buy” it.

    I bought it and I didn’t even need a money-back guarantee.

  37. #37 Politicalguineapig
    June 16, 2015

    SN: You’re ignoring all the people your lovely ‘program’ stampeded over and is still hurting today. That’s not a benevolent program, it’s purely a weapon. Just ask the 10-year olds who are forced to give birth, the environmentalists who are going to get double-crossed, or all the kids your beloved priests raped.

  38. #38 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To ann #1627:

    Me: “And “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution. Oh, yes they are.”

    You: “I too do not know what this means. Misogyny, racism, and prejudice against homosexuals are to evolution as banana, area rug, and Spirograph are to Catholicism. As far as I know.”

    Then you don’t know enough. And the SATs won’t help you.

    Could I rephrase? Yes. How about this:

    1) Evolution is value-less. There is no “good” or “bad” in evolution. In evolution there is only life, change and death. But again, death isn’t “bad” and life isn’t “good”, because there is no “bad” or “good”.

    2) All living organs and organisms are the result of this value-less process (according to evolutionists). One such organ is the brain, from which come, among other things, what humans might call “value judgments”, such as ‘Racism is bad’ or ‘Racism is good’ [or even ‘Racism is ridiculous, because there are no races. There’s only one race, the human race. Just ask the genteticists.’]

    3) Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong. Everything is subjective, really like matters of taste. Some think vanilla is not only good, but is better than chocolate. Some say the same about pro-abortion vs. pro-life. Whatever. Vive la difference. Or to hell with the difference. Whatever.

    That’s what I meant by saying “misogyny, racism, prejudice against homosexuals” are completely neutral, in the vacuum of evolution. Oh, yes they are.

  39. #39 ann
    June 16, 2015

    @#1638 —

    This is as inarguably true of evolution as it is of rock music, hoagies and architecture.

    But I’m still not sure I see your point.

  40. #40 ann
    June 16, 2015

    Ann: I thought Dylan was Jewish.

    He famously (VERY famously) converted back in the late ’70s/early ’80s. (“Gotta Serve Somebody,” etc.)

    And, no music isn’t for everyone, Christians are supposed to only listen to Perry Como or “Christian artists.”

    Oh, brother. I give up.

  41. #41 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    I’m a bit surprised of all the talk about Bob Dylan since #1558.
    I guess commentary on such afterthoughts is one of the reasons we’re at over 1,600 posts here.

    Well, I’ll go with the flow a little bit.
    This isn’t one of my favorite melodies from Dylan, but it’s one of his better lyrics. It was probably written back in his born-again days. But even if he’s no longer Christian, the lyric is still profound, simple and true:

  42. #42 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To ann #1639:

    “This is as inarguably true of evolution as it is of rock music, hoagies and architecture.”

    Not really. Rock music, hoagies and architecture were produced by evolution, that is, by our evolved brains. Nothing objectively “good” or “bad” about them.
    Speaking of food, the Wall Street Journal had an article this past weekend on the evolution of cooking: http://www.wsj.com/articles/cooking-has-a-place-in-human-evolution-1433950620

    “But I’m still not sure I see your point.”

    When’s the last time you had your “eyes” checked?

    But “hoagies”? Are you from the Philadelphia area? I am.

  43. #43 ann
    June 16, 2015

    I like that one too, although his stuff has never really loomed all that large in my personal pantheon, with a few exceptions. For which I blame myself, not him. But so it be.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixw6YUlkrn8

    ^^I love that song.

    We should just make this a dedicated music video thread, imo.

  44. #44 shay
    June 16, 2015

    What part of my comment was wrong?

    Shall we start with the “Christians don’t listen to Dylan”?

  45. #45 ann
    June 16, 2015

    @#1642.

    Yes, I know. No, I’m not. But I have family who are. So I speak the lingo.

  46. #46 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    June 16, 2015

    I bought it and I didn’t even need a money-back guarantee.

    Well, I wouldn’t expect your cheap cult to be confident enough to offer a guarantee. If they don’t have faith in their product, why should you?

    The best deal out there is

    ETERNAL SALVATION — OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK

    http://www.subgenius.com/pams/pam2p1.html

    Also see –
    (Not safe for work or small children)
    https://youtu.be/Qt9MP70ODNw
    (Not safe for work or small children)

  47. #47 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong.

    I don’t see how your conclusion (a valueless process cannot produce values or organisms with values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong) logically follows from its precedent (all living organs, including the brain, and organisms are the result of a value-less process ),

    Why not?

  48. #48 Politicalguineapig
    June 16, 2015

    Shay: Well, they can, but I’m sure they’re not allowed too.

  49. #49 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    The “Blood on the Tracks” album is one of his best.
    My favorite track from it is this:

  50. #50 shay
    June 17, 2015

    You effing idiot, yes, we are.

  51. #51 See Noevo
    June 17, 2015

    Well, that’s probably enough for tonight.

    Maybe you’ll Meet Me in the Morning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLy4q749qpI

    Kick it at 3:30!

  52. #52 Narad
    June 17, 2015

    My favorite track from it is this

    Given that your sorry ass is apparently back from JACK IN THE BOX, don’t you think you have more pressing things to attend to?

    But fυck, if you’re still smeared with Jack’s Secret Sauce and want to (weirdly, given your loathing of its original concept) “play” Dylan instead, let’s at least try something appropriate.

  53. #53 capnkrunch
    June 17, 2015

    See Noevo@1636

    The “computer program” of the Catholic Church not only has almost incredible longevity, it also has stability and has reach,
    and MOST IMPORTANTLY, after 2,000 years, provides results so “positive” that many highly intelligent people “buy” it.

    Ok, let’s drop the metaphor. You’ve twisted it much further than I ever intended (or indeed than makes sense). I simply wanted to illustrate the difference between “metadata” (longevity, reach, etc) and “content” (actions). I agree with you that positive results are most important. None of the other traits you listed are worthwhile without them. That however, was not your original argument. You claimed that longevity and reach are worthy of respect in and of themselves. That the CC is good was never what I took issue with, my personal feelings towards it are pretty neutral. My contention was that you claimed it was good simply because it is old and influential.

    @1683
    As JGC mentioned in #1647 your conclusion doesn’t follow. I’m pretty sure there’s a good old fashioned syllogistic fallacy in there, maybe Narad can name it for us. Regardless your entire premise is flawed.

    A process is “a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner.” A process (action) can’t possibly have the same traits as a human (object). Following your logic to the leads us to a bizarro world where every process is also its own product.

    The process that Dictionary.com gave as an example was decay. Consider a decaying carcass (morbid, huh?). The process of decay is a series of chemical reactions. These reactions have no smell themselves, the are simply the rearranging of chemicals. However, they produce chemicals such as putrescine and cadaverine which do indeed possess a distinctive odor.

    Your current argument seems to be that values/ morals could only have possibly been given to us by God because only he has values to give. Personally, I subscribe to a very simple value system which is pretty much just the golden rule*. This can be explained by evolution. The ability to empathize would confer an evolutionary advantage to a member of a social species such as ourselves. Where did empathy come from?

    To be honest this is getting outside my area of knowledge but I would hazard that emergence can explain it. Consider a pile of sand. As you continue adding grains of sand to it it eventually reaches a tipping point. Prior to this each grain of sand didn’t affect the entire pile much but the next grain of sand will cause an avalanche. This avalanche may even trigger more and more and in this way a change on the micro scale (+1 sand) can cause sweeping changes on a macro scale (cascades of avalanches). Adding the grains of sand would be random genetic variance and the avalanche is the development of empathy.

    The exact mechanisms by which thoughts and emotions arise are far outside my knowledge but the take away is that in a complex system miniscule changes can have profound effects and behaviors or patterns that were not present previously can develop.

    *before you claim that is a CC construct let me say no, it isn’t. It may have been most famously verbalized in the bible but it has been around as written/spoken word much longer than Christianity and likely as a human characteristic even longer.

    RE: Bob Dylan
    I like to joke that my favorite Bob Dylan is All Along the Watchtower…by Jimi Hendrix. Its not a very good joke but that’s never stopped me.

  54. #54 Narad
    June 17, 2015

    You’ve twisted it much further than I ever intended

    That’s not what he’s doing. In fact, I’m confident that nothing you’ve written has been “processed” by S.N.’s Divine “INSTRUCTION-rich” trans-Turing supercomsmurter*

    I mean, I could go on at length about the grasping, fraudulent history of the word metadata, but S.N. just isn’t paying attention in the first place. I’m amazed that it hasn’t had the sense to switch over to intoning from a “fresh,” cheap Protestant tract involving “epigenetics” yet.

    * ‘Solves’ desperately complicated climate PDEs, BTW. AND THE HALTING PROBLEM (but, really, c’mon, that’s freakinggay ‘science’“).

  55. #55 Helianthus
    June 17, 2015

    @ capnkrunch 1653

    Your current argument seems to be that values/ morals could only have possibly been given to us by God because only he has values to give.

    A philosophy nerd has put together a flash game treating about the issue of what should be the ultimate source of morality.

    Being a complete noobs myself in such matters, I was of course enthralled. People with more background in philosophy may be less impressed. I would expect that summarizing 6000+ years of philosophical debates into a game cannot be done without seriously cutting corners.
    I won’t spoil the conclusion of the game. I will just say the author hadn’t the arrogance to believe he/she has the definite answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe and the rest.

    One point I remember from the Greek philosopher/priest character who contended that morality comes from the gods was that such a position only displaced the question. Do the gods create values, or do the values they give us come from a more universal source?
    With the latter, faith is not the only way to learn right from wrong.

  56. #56 See Noevo
    June 17, 2015

    To capnkrunch #1653:

    “Ok, let’s drop the metaphor. You’ve twisted it much further than I ever intended (or indeed than makes sense). I simply wanted to illustrate the difference between “metadata” (longevity, reach, etc) and “content” (actions). I agree with you that positive results are most important. None of the other traits you listed are worthwhile without them. That however, was not your original argument. You claimed that longevity and reach are worthy of respect in and of themselves. That the CC is good was never what I took issue with, my personal feelings towards it are pretty neutral. My contention was that you claimed it was good simply because it is old and influential.”

    OK, we can drop your metaphor. But some final clarifications may be in order:

    1) My initial statement in #1492 was NOT that the CC was good, nor even that it was worthy of respect. My initial statement was only that as an organization, specifically defined, it was unrivaled in longevity, and that I felt it would still be standing at the end of the world.

    2) My secondary and much later statement, way down in #1579, was that longevity and reach are worthy of “SOME respect”. That is, “SOME” respect. [The same could be said of poison ivy.]

    3) My third statement in #1598 was that the CC program is still purchased today, even by highly intelligent people.

    4) In my fourth statement in #1636 I was more specific, saying that these intelligent people buy the CC program NOT blindly but buy it because the CC program “WORKS in such a way”, even in what you might call a “POSITIVE” way.

    So, when a computer program (and/or metadata)
    – has virtually unrivaled longevity and reach, AND
    – WORKS in such a way that highly intelligent people STILL want it, 2000 years after it was started,

    Then, well, you really got something.
    Contrary to what you say, I never “claimed it was good simply because it is old and influential.”

    Yours wasn’t a bad metaphor.
    It just worked better for me than for thee.

  57. #57 ann
    June 17, 2015

    Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong.

    I must have misread that.

    I agree with JGC. That’s not inarguably true of evolution (or rock music, not including the part about producing organisms). If organisms evolve enough capacity for thought and feeling to be capable of moral discernment, then they are.

    On an unrelated note, I think it’s to the credit of all concerned that we got through that much Dylan without anyone posting “Idiot Wind” or “Positively West 4th Street” at anybody else.

    It’s almost enough to give a person faith, or something.

  58. #58 capnkrunch
    June 17, 2015

    See Noevo@1656
    First, I’d like to note that this is the 4th time in a row that you’ve focused on my delivery instead of the actual meat of what I’ve been saying. Not that it surprises me, I just don’t think it can be pointed out enough.

    You are not quite metaphoring properly. You are using some terms from my metaphor but you are applying them to the church as itself, not as a program like the metaphor does. I think you even realize this yourself because you’ve been putting quotes around words like ‘purchase’. You referred to the church as a 2000 year old program. Computer programs have been around for far less. You took my examples from in context (Ask TB and malware) and compared them to something out of context (the 2000 year old church).

    Just because you called it a program doesn’t mean you are describing it from within the framework of my metaphor. In fact, that destroys the whole purpose of creating a metaphor in the first place.

    As a final and arguably most important point, you missed the entire purpose of my metaphor in the first place. You said longevity and reach were things worthy of respect. I called those things metadata and said you can have 2 files with the same metadata and one could be a useful utility while the other is malware. Likewise two things may have the same amount of longevity and reach could be as seperate as the church and slavery.

    Keep in mind this all started because when I simply used form and substance you tried to distract by bringing up philosophy. From the beginning (or when I got here at least) every defense you’ve used has been rhetorical. This suggests to me that your ideas hold no merit on their own, else you’d be able to mount a much stronger defense.

  59. #59 al kimeea
    June 17, 2015

    Grey Falcon @1613, I’ll get back to you. Been busy. My commiserations on your IT job being sent to India. Mine ended up in Chennai I think. We got to train our replacements with mgmt all the while spouting they will augment us not replace us. How sending local buying power half way around the world advances the local economy has yet to be properly explained.

    Ann @1616 – semantics, but as you wish

    JP’d @1609, 1614 – you must have good ears to hear me in the comfort of my parent’s basement

    Now we add ad-hom and poisoning the well to your list of conduct unbecoming.

    You know what is also chuckle-worthy, or maybe a guffaw or a snort-chortle? You thinking believing a polemic and “doing history” are two mutually exclusive things.
    Also from radicaltruth.net – “How are Christians to respond to challenges from both the irreligious and those of other religious persuasions? We are to engage in apologetics and polemics.”

    Here’s the bibliography (sound it out JP’d, you can get it) of the chuckle-worthy site.” Probably a couple of hundred references including:

    Bart D. Ehrman – an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Issac Asimov – we all know he has no chops

    Karen Armstrong – OBE FRSL is a British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical Christian faith. – as a former nun, you’d think she’d have something germane to say

    Samuel George Frederick Brandon – was a British priest and scholar of comparative religion. He became professor of comparative religion at the University of Manchester in 1951.

    Neil Asher Silberman – is an archaeologist and historian with a special interest in history, archaeology, public interpretation and heritage policy

    Israel Finkelstein – is an Israeli archaeologist and academic. He is the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University.

    Stephen Jay Gould – was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation.

    Frederick Clifton Grant – was a New Testament scholar. He was professor of Biblical Theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.

    Robert Solomon Wistrich – was the Erich Neuberger Professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the head of the University’s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.

    Amongst many, many dozens more. Some of them may be popular books, so what if the work was put in to ensure their veracity, and you can’t get much more primary than Celsus.

    So, it is quite obvious you looked a a single page. You’re not unimpressed, you’re uninterested, not to mention lazy and obtuse. Or maybe a professional liar for Jesus.

  60. #60 OccamsLaser
    June 17, 2015

    the CC program is still purchased today, even by highly intelligent people.

    To calibrate things, Marty, do you consider yourself a highly intelligent person?

  61. #61 JP
    June 17, 2015

    @al kimeea:

    I have no idea where you live; I wouldn’t presume to mock you for living in your parents’ basement even if you did. This economy hasn’t been easy on any of us.

    I read the page you specifically linked to, and I poked around a little bit as well. I am unimpressed, but you’re right, I am also uninterested. The author plucks Bible verses completely out of context and then makes very broad, bold and incorrect historical arguments based on them.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Karen Armstrong, as it’s been a while since I read her books – I read several of them as a teenager, and then one or two new ones that came out when I was in college. I’d have to revisit them to form an opinion on the scholarship and arguments, I think.

    Regardless, the author of the site you linked to makes a very strange reading of this statement of Armstrong’s which he quotes:

    haven’t we all met Christians who use the teaching of Paul to adopt a contrived Philistinism, a denial of intellect and culture, that makes a great display of superiority? Then there are the fundamentalists, who refuse to look at Biblical criticism

    She seems to be crying out against Biblical literalism and fundamentalist Christianity here, which I also find simplistic and silly, as well as harmful. But the author of the page then writes:

    Armstrong is right. Paul, more than anyone else, was responsible for pushing the western world into the dark ages; an age of intellectual oblivion that was to ensnare Europe for more than a thousand years.

    This is just a dishonest reading of Armstrong. I notice there are also a lot of ellipses in the quote provided; I don’t have the time right at the moment to track down the original, but given his dishonest-on-the-face-of-it reading, I distrust the way he has even quoted her.

    Yah, that is a long bibliography he has there, but again, a lot of them are popular works, and in any case, it’s not just the sources you list, but the way you use them, and the way you represent them, that counts. The list you make above comes off more as an argument from authority than anything: Asimov! Armstrong! Etc.!

    Yes, a lot of those authors are very intelligent people, and I would not deign to say otherwise, but context matters, and again, how one uses one’s sources.

    Yes, I would argue that writing polemics and making cogent arguments based on historical fact are two different things. I’m confused as to why you offer a quote from “radicaltruth” stating that Christians should engage in polemics. I’m not any more interested in reading Christian polemics than I am in reading anti-Christian polemics.

    I’m no fan of Paul, incidentally, and I’m not a Christian, which makes it pretty funny that you accuse me of being “a professional liar for Jesus.” I personally just don’t believe the specific truth claims of Christianity, but I have plenty of respect for Christians who understand their faith in a nuanced way and actually try to practice it. In the “History” section of “Rejection of Pascal’s Wager,” for instance, the author keeps making exclamation-point-laden statements that the events of the OT are not historical fact! This is a classic strawman argument, at least if he is attempting to de-convert those educated Christians for whom this is not a revelation.

    Re: polemics vs. history again: it is, I presume you know, bad science to start with a conclusion and attempt to prove it. It is similarly bad history to do so, and, believe it or not, bad literary criticism. It is frowned upon within the scholarly community in general.

    Your argument about how Christianity plunged Europe into the “Dark Ages” has some major flaws, for instance, which were pointed out by Gray Falcon. Rather than address these, you made this reply:

    I’m well aware of how Rome fell, what happened after christianity grabbed the reins and The Schism.

    Funny, when people provide links to sources I follow them which doesn’t seem to be happening in this regard.

    if the verses are out of context, rather than assertion, how about correction.

    Strawman arguments and deflection, one of the hallmarks of medi-wooligans

    That is obnoxious. Can you see why?

  62. #62 Rich Feldenberg
    USA
    June 17, 2015

    They don’t all deny it.
    Some of us rather like it!
    http://darwinskidneys.blogspot.com

  63. #63 ann
    June 17, 2015

    Paul, more than anyone else, was responsible for pushing the western world into the dark ages; an age of intellectual oblivion that was to ensnare Europe for more than a thousand years.

    Moreover, it’s neither true nor accurate that Europe was in a state of intellectual oblivion for more than a thousand years, or that Paul was more responsible than anyone else for what did happen.

  64. #64 ann
    June 17, 2015

    He had nothing to do with the Carolingian renaissance, for example. Or the influx of Vikings.

    I mean, a thousand years is a long time. Europe is a continent. Paul, though a very influential figure in Christianity, was just one man. It’s an absurd thing to say.

  65. #65 Trottelreiner
    June 18, 2015

    @Mrs Woo:
    Actually, there are still indulgences in the RCC, but it’s more of the “do some prayers”- kind, not the “gimme the money”.

    The wiki-article explains it somewhat, but I’ll try to summarise it from my Grissomite Catholic[1] POV.

    According to the RCC, man is gifted with reason and the ability to distinguish Good from Evil. It’s not perfect, since it’s marred by Original Sin (there go the Pelagians), but he is not utterly depraved (vide Calvinism). As such, the idea of the confessor being the accuser makes some sense, since you know you did something wrong (BTW, Neil Gaiman gets this quite right in some of his texts, but then, the guy is a big Chesterton fan AFAIK). Of course, it’s not perfect, vide SN. 😉

    Confession absolves you from sin, but it doesn’t nullify all consequences. To use a somewhat problematic comparison, when you beat someone up you might be forgiven by him, but you still have to do time for GBH.

    The idea with indulgences is similar, the sin is confessed and thus forgiven by god, but the sinner still has to do some atonement. Where indulgences are one way of doing it. And of course an easy way out, when you just pay some money.

    BTW, sorry for disconnecting somewhat from the discussion, I’m somewhat up to there in work, have to prepare my holidays and tomorrow buy some used Newton reflector. I’ll resume ASAP.

    [1] ‘I suppose I practice a kind of secular Catholicism that involves ritualizing certain aspects of everyday life and imbuing them with a spiritual intensity they might not otherwise possess, but I don’t want to put too fine a point on it.’ Gill Grissom, “Double-Cross”, CSI.
    And then, I usually say I’m about as Roman Catholic as Noam Chomsky is Jewish…

  66. #66 See Noevo
    June 18, 2015

    To ann #1657:

    Me: “Thus, a value-less process (i.e. evolution) cannot produce values or organisms with values, that is, values in the sense of OBJECTIVE right and wrong.”

    You: “That’s not inarguably true of evolution…If organisms evolve enough capacity for thought and feeling to be capable of moral discernment, then they are.”

    It is arguable that organisms could evolve ANY capacity for thought and feeling at all. I certainly would argue they can’t evolve such things.
    And it is INarguable that the biological evolution of thought or feeling (or even just brains) has ever been observed.

    And what’s with the “moral discernment”?
    In the atheistic evolutionist’s view, “MORAL” discernment or morality is nothing more than a matter of taste. Flies are attracted to feces but humans are not. And some humans say abortion is always gravely wrong, and some other humans say it’s not. It’s all just ‘De gustibus non est disputandum.’

    Oh, the atheistic evolutionist MIGHT not be AWARE that this is her position on morality, or specifically, on OBJECTIVE right and wrong.
    But it most certainly is.

  67. #67 Trottelreiner
    June 18, 2015

    @SN:
    Counter-Question: How is it any easier for an ID proponent to assume something is “objectively right or wrong”? The Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever created wasp larvae that eat living caterpillars from the inside, male ducks that gangrape, err, gangcopulate by force their females to death, lions doing things Richard II most likely didn’t etc. ad nauseam. And God saw it was good…

    OTOH, it’s quite easy for an evolutionary biologist to assume highly social but not eusocial evolving empathy to heighten cooperation (or deception) and latter on learning some code of behaviours to go by. Not adherring to said code likely gets you a stick on the head or worse.

  68. #68 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    On an unrelated note, I think it’s to the credit of all concerned that we got through that much Dylan without anyone posting “Idiot Wind”….

    Given that I’ve blocked Y—be scripts from this browser, I haven’t even seen the raw link dumps.

    It is of course noteworthy that Mr. Chastity/Call*-to-Celibacy would choose Blood on the Tracks as a blind favey-fave, but I would expect most to understand that “Idiot Wind” assigns far too much credit for such a purpose.

    Si Tu Dois Partir almost would pass muster.

    * Who’s been on the other end of the line?

  69. #69 Rich Feldenberg
    USA
    June 19, 2015

    I have wondered this a lot. How physicians can deny evolution, but it is really like anyone else denying evolution. It comes down to ideology blinding a person’s sense of reason. You can compartamentalize anything, and may be easier to do so if you’re very intelligent – better at rationalizing. I actually had one medical student that told me that their undergraduate degree -from a bible college of some sort – was in evidence against evolution. I could hardly believe it.
    My Darwin’s Kidneys blog will have a lot of posts about evolution, but is still new so don’t have many essays up yet.
    http://darwinskidneys.blogspot.com/

  70. #70 See Noevo
    June 19, 2015

    To Rich Feldenberg #1669:

    You say you “actually had one medical student that told me that their undergraduate degree -from a bible college of some sort – was in evidence against evolution.”

    So, it sounds like you have students under you.
    Dr. Ben Carson made it through medical school, and seems to have attained even greater world-renown than you as a medical doctor.

    How have your evolution-believing med students compared to your evolution-DISbelieving students, in terms of academics and practice?

  71. #71 shay
    June 19, 2015

    Carson has gained world renown not as a doctor but rather as a member of the Republican Party’s rapidly growing lunatic fringe.

  72. #72 Politicalguineapig
    June 19, 2015

    Shay: Yah, Carson’s lost whatever brain power he once possessed. Frankly, the colleges he and Jindal graduated from should rescind their degrees.I bet he was never a good doctor in any case.

    SN: Something tells me the evolution denying doctors aren’t very good at their job, and that they are much more willing to let their patients die (especially if those patients are women, who don’t count as human to God). So much for morals.

  73. #73 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    Dr. Ben Carson made it through medical school, and seems to have attained even greater world-renown than you as a medical doctor.

    Just to review, you are renowed for being a 59-year-old male from the Philadelphia area who appears to be childless and devoid of female companionship, leading to a misogynistic streak that you have trouble concealing, and specializes in saying really stupid things about subjects he has no understanding of and eventually throwing tantrums, right?

  74. #74 See Noevo
    June 19, 2015

    Maybe some doctors deny evolution because of the skullduggery with skulls and such.

    From a book review by Nicholas Wade of Ian Tattersall’s “The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack”.
    =================
    “The Piltdown hoax is recounted in “The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack” as a lesson in how easily paleoanthropologists—those who study human fossils—can be misled by notions that play to their prejudices. The author, Ian Tattersall, is himself a paleoanthropologist and has watched the antics of his profession for many years from a front-row seat at the American Museum of Natural History. His account of the field raises the wider issue of how, despite the supposed rigor of the scientific method, whole communities of scientists can occasionally be blown far off course by nonscientific motivations.

    One of paleoanthropology’s problems, as Mr. Tattersall sees it, has been professional isolation from other sciences. From its beginnings in the 19th century, the subject was dominated by anatomists who paid minute attention to bone shapes and little to taxonomy or other relevant biological disciplines. These anatomists would make oracular pronouncements, which were basically intuitions beyond the reach of scientific analysis. One advised the young Mr. Tattersall that if he stared at the fossils for long enough, the bones would speak to him.

    … Mr. Tattersall is unsparingly critical of the mental habits of his fellow paleoanthropologists. He describes the profession as one “whose practitioners are often slow to change their minds, even in the face of compelling evidence.” For years they resisted the assertions of molecular biologists that hominid fossils must be far younger than assumed. Until the arrival of cladistics, a more rigorous form of biological classification, debates among paleoanthropologists about how one hominid species was related to another were far from scientific, and “salesmanship was at a greater premium than rigorous reasoning was.”

    Bad scientific habits, Mr. Tattersall believes, have been so pervasive that to the present day they distort knowledge of the human past. “If the entire hominid fossil record were to be rediscovered tomorrow and analyzed by paleontologists with no horses already in the race, it is pretty certain that we would emerge with a picture of human evolution very different from the one we have inherited,” he writes.

    The author concedes that not all his colleagues will agree with everything he says. Still, he has presented a scalding indictment of a scholarly community and shown how easily nonscientific motives can influence supposedly scientific conclusions. Fraud in science is all too common, but failings in objectivity, especially when part of a community groupthink, are harder to detect and far more corrosive.

    It doesn’t happen often, but whole communities of scientists do fall into error, sometimes for decades, when strong emotions drag them off course. Leading geophysicists resisted for decades the idea, proposed by a mere meteorologist, that the Earth’s continents had drifted. Chauvinism induced French physicists to believe for years in a colleague’s supposed discovery of N-rays, which they saw as an achievement to rival the German discovery of X-rays.

    Such debacles raise the pertinent question of whether peer review and other safeguards are always successful in protecting science from political infection. When climatologists warn of global warming, for instance, could their political passions somehow leak into the parameters of their climate models? At first glance one might dismiss any such thought as ridiculous. But read Mr. Tattersall’s lively memoir about how unscientifically an entire scientific community can behave, even when no issue of national politics is involved, and you may start to wonder.”
    ===================

  75. #75 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 28, 2015

    Enter by the NARROW gate; for the gate is WIDE and the way is EASY, that leads to DESTRUCTION, and those who enter by it are MANY.
    For the gate is NARROW and the way is HARD, that leads to life, and those who find it are FEW.” [Mat 7:13-14]

    Before I choose a gate, I want to know:

    Do the gates lead to the same place?

    Is the wide gate for vehicular traffic and the narrow gate foot traffic? If so, am I driving a vehicle?

    Is it assigned seating or general admission? History shows that general admission and narrow gates can be problematic.

    Which has the shorter queue?

    Are there other gates leading to the same place that are closed but available? Has anyone tried opening them? Why are they all queuing up at one gate when there are three other perfectly good gates right next to it that nobody is going through?

    Is there some unnecessary hazard at one of the gates – say, a crocodile or a group of robbers – which I could avoid by taking the other gate?

    Do I really want to go to where the gate leads? Does the sign above it say, “this way to the Egress” or “abandon hope all ye who enter here”?

    Which gate can I fit through? While most gates are wide enough for the average person, I’d hate to try to go through one where I’d get stuck. Then someone would have to call the rescue squad, people would be yelling, and my picture (from an unflattering angle) would be all over social media with “clever” captions like “Shouldn’t have taken the narrow gate, dude.” That would be embarrassing, unless I could find some way to cash in.

  76. #76 Proveit!
    bama
    July 4, 2015

    You people amaze me with all your high-falutin’, grandiose pretension of supposed enlightenment. One quick question. You dearly love to ridicule Conservatives/Republicans who express any belief in a higher power. Yet, when those on the left engage in the same expression of beliefs (obamao & the clintons, included), you always give them a pass. I suppose this is because of some tacit understanding among you elitist wannabes? “Oh, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we HAVE to say that because of a certain element in our base (HMMMM, now WHO might that be?!?!), but we – the only ones who count – know better. Can you say hypocrite? Can you say bald-faces liars? You cretins make me ill.

  77. #77 Narad
    July 4, 2015

    One quick question. You dearly love to ridicule Conservatives/Republicans who express any belief in a higher power. Yet, when those on the left engage in the same expression of beliefs (obamao & the clintons, included), you always give them a pass.

    Unless you have any examples of this, I’ll just assume that either your comment was intended for some other blog or you’re one hell of a dumbass cracker.

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