Pharyngula

Darwin’s Deadly Legacy: what tripe.

Well, I just watched the much-ballyhooed Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, with D. James Kennedy. Here are a few quick comments.

  • The opening scene was perfect. Kennedy walked onto a stage decorated with flasks and beakers and graduated cylinders full of brightly colored water. One had a small flame going under it; the graduated cylinder was bubbling. It was practically an admission that all of the science in the show was going to be fake.

  • In a show purportedly about science, how desperate do you have to be to give Ann Coulter that much face time? Triple points for irony, though, when Coulter calls Eugenie Scott a “hack.”

  • The first half was all Nazis and Columbine. No mention of Hitler’s Christianity, of course, everything was driven by “Darwinism.”

  • The second half was all about the “crumbling theory of evolution.” All the old chestnuts were tossed out. We got “just a theory”, 747s being spontaneously assemble while monkeys write Shakespeare, Behe babbling about “molecular machines,” Strobel saying there were no transitional fossils, Nebraska Man, teach both theories, and that famous paleontologist, Ann Coulter, telling us that all forms of life suddenly appeared in the Cambrian explosion…and did you know you’ll get sued if you mention the Cambrian in a classroom?

  • Francis Collins is still in the program, in the second half. His contribution was to help Kennedy argue that evolution is inadequate, that “man is a special creature,” and go on and on about how complex the genome is. Collins is back on my shit list. He may not have supported the Hitler connection, but he is a creationist dupe arguing against scientific theories.

  • There were a couple of times when the collection plate was passed. Kennedy offers a copy of Tom DeRosa’s book, Evolution’s Fatal Fruit, for any donation. Go ahead, give ‘em a dollar and tell them to mail it to you. The address is:
    D. James Kennedy
    Box 555
    Ft Lauderdale, FL 33302
    Or call them toll free at 1-888-334-9680.

It was a truly vile exhibition, the fans of this kind of crap will eat it up, and man, is it ever easy for these guys to lie.

Comments

  1. #1 Ian H Spedding
    August 26, 2006

    I suppose there’s still no chance of Dawkins’s Root of all evil? ever being shown, even on cable? That would be the best response to Kennedy’s crap.

  2. #2 Beemer
    August 26, 2006

    In case anyone missed Dawkin’s The Root of All Evil? Part I (47min.)
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6690702357039658996&q=dawkins+root+of+evil&hl=en

    and Dawkin’s The Root of All Evil? Part II (48 min)
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2439999165547892433&hl=en

    Enjoy

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    August 27, 2006

    The Moral of the Story: Always go to church. And if you read a book given to you by an atheist, you’ll have to kill everybody you love.

    LOL. thanks Max. that was priceless. I’ll add that to the addendum of my copy of Grim’s Fairy Tales.

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    August 27, 2006

    “Bombarding a plutonium nucleus with accelerated electrons, long believed to produce a nuclear fission reaction, has, in fact, no consequence at all,” Hapner said. “I’m going to prove that if it’s the last thing I ever do.”

    ahh, we can only hope that men like Kennedy will work hard to follow in the footsteps of great scientists like the intrepid explorer of chemistry documented in this fantastic article, Dustin.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    August 27, 2006

    You’re absolutely right Scott.

    another letter adressed to Collin expressing your exact words here would not be unwarranted.

    Collin is not just a let down for this one issue alone, though.

    take a look at his book and see what I mean.

    he is starting to lie about the very reasons he “turned to xianity”. The story he uses to sell his book of being converted by a nature hike would puzzle anybody who saw him not that long ago post that he converted as a result of the death of his parents.

    he’s falling into serious self delusion, or else deciding to jump on the religious book sale bandwagon, regardless of whatever religion he professes.

    sorry to see it, really, but as they say.

    sh*t happens.

  6. #6 Ichthyic
    August 27, 2006

    While I’m appalled that Collins would associate with such frauds as D. J. Kennedy and am uncomfortable that Collins would use his scientific fame to promote his religious views on tv or in books, anyone that doubts that Collins supports evolution can simply go to Entrez and search for “collins fs AND evolution”. Scientists aren’t scientists for what they say on TV or in non-peer reviewed books, but for their research published in real journals.

    …and John Davison used to publish interesting and legit articles on various aspects of biology in science, before he completely lost it in the mid 80’s.

    if anything, what appears to be happening to Collins is yet another datapoint on how cognitive dissonance can affect anybody, regardless of their level of education.

    if one had a religious upbringing, that stuff just doesn’t “go away” once you start studying science. it rambles around in there still, and continues to influence thinking processes, dependent on how well any one individual can manage to compartmentalize.

    Ken Miller is able to compartmentalize quite well, likely due to not having been exposed to the idea that the bible is “literal truth” to begin with.

    When the effort to compartmentalize breaks down… You get JAD, and maybe Collins.

    this IS a psychological disorder, IMO, and should be treated as such. It isn’t necessarily due to a particular set of conflicting worldviews, but in the vast majority of cases we observe it does involve religious memes of one kind or another, and usually happens when the individual in question has been exposed to extreme views of a religious nature (like evangelical Islam or Xianity) frequently at a young age.

    It’s not an issue of religion vs. science, nor an intellectual issue of theory vs. theory. It’s simply an issue of incompatible worldviews and how the human brain deals with it.

    I wonder if Collins, given the position he was in as head of the human genome project, ever could feel comfortable discussing the issues he was having with anybody. What if his peers could non-emotionally have simply referred him to some kind of support network where he could talk to someone about the debate raging in his mind? Likely, many who experience cognitive dissonance of this type immediately think that talking to a clergyman would be the logical first step in dealing with the issues, rather than talking with a mental health care professional.

    Is it any wonder then, that the resolution of the “issue” would end up looking like a “born again xian” type of thing?

  7. #7 Max Udargo
    August 27, 2006

    Ichthyic, I have to take exception to your view on the origins of this “psychological disorder.” I was exposed to extreme fundamentalist religious views (Pentacostal) throughout most of my childhood. There were times when I believed in it deeply enough to test my faith by walking into danger and trusting God to protect me (it worked against the bully, failed against the wasps). Yet I’d left all of that behind by the time I was 16.

    I believe that people adopt religious worldviews over the long term not for intellectual reasons, but because the religion provides some sort of structural support they need. It meets some desperate need, usually emotional, but rarely trivial. Some people cannot function or even survive without a belief in a higher power. Maybe they could if they tried harder or were willing to tough it out longer, but maybe some people just aren’t as strong as others.

    And once they’ve realized that religion solves their problem and holds them together, the truth just doesn’t matter anymore. They have discovered a profound “personal truth” that matters more to their survival than any objective reality argued amongst intellectuals.

    I think every religious person understands at some level that he’s lying to himself. The concept of faith is practically an admission. It’s like how my mother used to set all the clocks ahead 15 minutes so that she wouldn’t be late. I never understood it and ridiculed the concept – how can it affect your behavior when you KNOW you set the clocks ahead 15 minutes? – but she felt it worked for her. It didn’t matter whether it made sense, it worked for her.

    Was that a psychological disorder? I think it’s just that some humans value rationality more than others. The real problem, I increasingly think, is lack of humility among those who know they’ve abandoned strict reality to accomodate their own personal needs, and who, like spoiled, narcissistic children, insist on imposing their personal reality on the objective world.

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    August 27, 2006

    I believe that people adopt religious worldviews over the long term not for intellectual reasons,

    I never claimed they did, in fact just the opposite.

    but because the religion provides some sort of structural support they need. It meets some desperate need, usually emotional, but rarely trivial.

    again, i have no disagreement with this.

    You are mischaracterizing what I am saying, which is exactly why i made the comment about this kind of dissonance not being specific to a particular set of conflicting worldviews.

    nor did i ever state that religion itself is a “psychological disorder”, but rather that the dissonance resulting from trying to resolve confliciting worldviews is what causes psychological trauma, not the worldviews themselves.

    I think every religious person understands at some level that he’s lying to himself.

    this is called acceptance of denial as a defense mechanism.

    one wouldn’t need the defense mechanism to begin with unless one was dealing with conflicting worldviews.

    I hope that makes it a bit clearer.

    Was that a psychological disorder? I think it’s just that some humans value rationality more than others.

    that’s like saying “what is crime?” and then providing a horridly oversimplified definition.

    so someone who is not schizophrenic just “values rationality more”?

    I understand the sentiment behind your words, but I don’t think an oversimplification of the issues at hand is a productive response.

    Heck, I often think I am oversimplifying the issue when I present it as “cognitive dissonance” to begin with (it’s a rather dated concept in psychology), to simplify it even further… well, I can’t see the point.

  9. #9 Ichthyic
    August 27, 2006

    Maybe there were other levels (well, besides the whole issue of science) as well, but I need to poke my eyes out or something after watching the program.

    ahh, that reminds me of that old Terry Gilliam/python sketch:

    “You know watching too much TV is bad for your eyes!”

  10. #10 Max Udargo
    August 27, 2006

    Thanks for the clarification, Ichthyic.

    I wasn’t really attacking your post so much as using it as a springboard for some of my own ideas, which are evolving. Ironically, my big objection to the way religion is discussed in fora such as this is that atheists tend to oversimplify the motivations of religious people. Because religion is an academic question for some people, those people assume it is an academic question for everybody else.

    I just think it’s important to understand that some people aren’t particularly interested in building a life on rational principles. And some of these people do very well despite the fact their thought processes are ruled by magic. In fact, magical thinking seems to work very well for many people. Maybe rational thinking isn’t always the best way to advance your interests – in particular your interest in being happy. Just an irrational thought.

    I would suggest bringing up schizophrenia is taking my argument to an extreme.

  11. #11 Ichthyic
    August 29, 2006

    Pattanowski, in the future could I implore you to use qoutation marks whenever you put the two words “Professor Coulter” together?

    otherwise, it becomes an insult to anyone who actually does make a living as a professor.

    thanks

    ;)

  12. #12 Ted Bowman
    September 14, 2008

    “claims that directly contradict established scientific theories” is an interesting play on words. How, exactly, does a theory become “established” while still a theory, supposing, of course, a theory is still an unproven guess? The need to prove a point, evidently moves even the brightest of thinkers to hypothetically impossible conclusions. Why not admit going in, my evolutionary friend, you rule out from the outset anything other than random chance as the only acceptable explanation for the existence of plant and animal life. PS: I intentionally mispelled several words to see if you can resist attacking me instead of the simple argument I post.
    One last query: Why is it, evolutionists consistently fail to differentiate between microevolution (which no one can deny-the English spotted moth being an excellent example) and macroevolution (which would suggest the English spotted moth, having changed color from white to black, is now, somehow something other than a moth)? Just curious.

  13. #13 blf
    September 14, 2008

    How, exactly, does a theory become “established” while still a theory, supposing, of course, a theory is still an unproven guess?

    Theory of Gravity? “Theory” does not mean what you are supposing it means.

  14. #14 Owlmirror
    September 14, 2008

    One last query: Why is it, evolutionists consistently fail to differentiate between microevolution (which no one can deny-the English spotted moth being an excellent example) and macroevolution (which would suggest the English spotted moth, having changed color from white to black, is now, somehow something other than a moth)?

    Because the planet on which evolution has been occurring is 4.5 billion years old. Given that there are only about a few hundred genetic mutations per generation, we would actually expect that it would take many, many generations in separated populations before the accumulated mutations in each population was sufficient that the two populations would have become different species.

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