Pharyngula

It’s becoming a trend: Evangelical Christian institutions that try to do science inevitably demonstrate breathtaking inanity of their own. The latest victim is the Pawleys Island Christian Academy. Take a gander at the first place winner in biology.

Brian Benson, an eighth-grade student who won first place in the Life Science/Biology category for his project “Creation Wins!!!,” says he disproved part of the theory of evolution. Using a rolled-up paper towel suspended between two glasses of water with Epsom Salts, the paper towel formed stalactites. He states that the theory that they take millions of years to develop is incorrect.

“Scientists say it takes millions of years to form stalactites,” Benson said. “However, in only a couple of hours, I have formed stalactites just by using paper towel and Epsom Salts.”

This isn’t just wrong, it’s appallingly wrong. He’s wrong on the facts, wrong on the interpretations, wrong on the understanding of how science works. If we’re charitable and grant that a 14 year old has some reasonable excuse for ignorance, we can still indict his parents, his science teacher, and the judges at this fair on gross incompetence on multiple charges.

  • This experiment has nothing to do with biology.
  • Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate; stalactites are made of calcium carbonate.
  • Stalactite growth rates are estimated to be around 0.1-10 centimeters per thousand years. If we assume his ‘stalactite’ was 10 cm long and use the slowest growth rate, that’s 100 thousand years, not millions.
  • Even if he had demonstrated an accelerated rate of stalactite growth, stalactite length isn’t the method used to date the age of the earth.
  • To quote the unquestionable authority, Terry Pratchett: “And all those exclamation points? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.” Mister Benson comes perilously close to the underpants limit in his title.

Comments

  1. #1 Louis
    May 23, 2007

    Wow Richard. That list is insane.

    “How can I prove that evolution is true (and God does not exist).”

    10. What was life like before the Flood?

    12. Trilobites prove Noah’s flood because they are curled up or not?

    19. Can a dog run a maze faster than a gerbil?

    23. Why do we have an Adams apple?

    36. Why is snow 6 sided?

    35. Why does the Bible say there is one glory of the sun, one glory of the moon, and one glory of the stars?

    31. Why is the sky blue by day and black at night?

    And some real gold:

    28. What makes an animal wild?

    53. Were all the animals friendly to man before the Flood? Idea: raise several baby animals like snake and mouse together to see if they remain friends as they are older. (Man that’s cruel…)

    112. What is the difference between cold and warm blooded? Why did God do it this way?

    97. Why did God make birds to fly?

    83. Why do people believe in Evolution?

    84. What events caused them to become evolutionists?

  2. #2 Ichthyic
    May 23, 2007

    I not only feel sorry for the kid, I feel sorry for the school, that would nominate this as a ‘science’ project to begin with, I feel sorry for the parents, who are doubtless proud of their child’s “achievement”, and I feel sorry for the community this kid will end up in.

    depressing all the way round, to see such destruction.

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    May 23, 2007

    199. Why are Creationists so obstinately stupid?

    that science project has already been done.

    seen the most recent Science?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5827/996

    I wonder if they’ll get a pretty blue ribbon for that.

  4. #4 Zbu
    May 23, 2007

    The best part about this? This kid is going to think he’s a genius and is going to spend a lot of money to go to a big school to impress all us heathen atheists and end up being so humiliated when it’s revealed that he knows nothing. And he’s going to go back home, feel bad, blame us, and then not even realize what the real problem is because it’s so tied into his own ego.

    That’s probably going to be the last straw for the Creationists. Incidents like this are going to produce a generation of dullards that are going to be openly mocked for this. Sure, it’s tragic, but the humor alone from this is going to be hilarious.

  5. #5 Katie
    May 23, 2007

    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry after reading that list.

    64. Why do we sleep at night? Do we have to sleep to rejuvenate the rods and cones in the eye?
    65. What affects skin color? Is one color better than another? What was God’s purpose in this? WTF??
    66. What color is our brain? Again, WTF?
    67. What is the fastest speed something can go?
    68. Why is a dogs nose wet?

  6. #6 Science Avenger
    May 23, 2007

    53. Were all the animals friendly to man before the Flood? Idea: raise several baby animals like snake and mouse together to see if they remain friends as they are older. (Man that’s cruel…)

    Well, how long have Dembski and Luskin known each other?

  7. #7 Interrobang
    May 23, 2007

    Cats always land on their feet, huh? Well, you know, I thought I had a cat, but I have definitely seen him fall off things and land on his head before, so I guess he must be a pseudocat, or an alien disguised as a cat.

    As to #65, I could make a compelling argument that some skin colours are “better” than others, at least in certain circumstances. Right now, I’m really wishing I was a little less melanin-deprived than I am, since we’ve had several days lately with a very high UV index each day, and my pastiness can’t take it. I’m going to pinken, freckle, and then turn white again (damn stealth red hair). I have a friend who has lovely milk-chocolate-coloured skin who didn’t get his first sunburn until he was 17 and visited Thailand. Envy!

    I don’t think that’s quite what they meant by “better,” though…

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    May 23, 2007

    That’s probably going to be the last straw for the Creationists. Incidents like this are going to produce a generation of dullards that are going to be openly mocked for this.

    marginalization is a powerful tool for social change.

    …and IMO, the ONLY one that will end up having long term consequences in the “culture” war.

  9. #9 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    Why do cats hate dogs and dogs hate cats?

    same reason hyenas and lions sometimes attack each other; competing predators.

    that would be my guess.

    I’d also bet that mountain lions and wolves don’t get along so well. I’m pretty sure of it, actually.

    but that would be the dogs and cats thing again.

    of course why Creobots think dogs hate cats is probably far too bizarre for me to even guess at.

    anybody know?

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    It should not be surprising that the fundies would choose to reward a student who has shown the aptitude to contort, misrepresent, slight and misapply science in order to promote their religious ideology. That’s all they’re looking for in a scientist, after all.

    hard to argue with that logic.

  11. #11 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    #22 – I think that aritcle link is possibly more depressing than the science fair topice. I mean the paper considers the oft observed: stupidity leads to more stupidity. But dang it – science has to go and prove it!

    yes, it’s a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.

    I haven’t had a chance to do more than skim it so far, but it looks like an interesting paper.

  12. #12 Triumphal_Thusnelda
    May 24, 2007

    Re the dogs v cats question (comment #38), I think I do know why, though it’s strictly from experience… not heavy-duty experimentation in a double-blind trial (hee).

    Dogs express a desire to be friends by tail-wagging and bouncing around. To cats, this would be likely to resemble “I’m-ticked-so-you’d-better-clear-off” tail lashing, with a bit of challenging pounce stirred into the mix.

    Conversely, when cats want to be pals, they avert their gaze and purr, which could seem similar to a dog’s submissive body posture, with extra added growling.

    There’s no “hate”; they just don’t have a common way of communicating.

    Additionally, cats (much as I love cats) bring it on themselves by running off and stimulating the chase instinct in dogs, just when the cats least want to be chased.

    Just observational conclusions of mine.

    So, now, do I win some sort of Creation Science gold star? Maybe a scholarship to their lofty academia?

  13. #13 Marilynn
    May 24, 2007

    Funny how much time is spend trying to prove or diprove evolution.

    Pray once and already you can tell that God exists.

  14. #14 MartinC
    May 24, 2007

    Norman,
    I guess the best advice is not to avoid religion but to actually teach your children about different religions and that they all tell their followers that every other religion is wrong. This particular lesson was instrumental in my own realization that they were all based on localized myths. So long as you can prevent your children believing in the idea of hell and Satan and teach them the value of critical thinking then they should be able to find their own way to reason.

  15. #15 MartinC
    May 24, 2007

    I just found the following link by following the thread oon Greg Ladens site.
    Oh. My. God.
    http://www.grandrivermuseum.org/Creation%20Science.htm
    Can you guess which book they recommend people to read to find the truth about evolution ? (No, not that one, think even MORE evil)

  16. #16 Graham Douglas
    May 24, 2007

    RCP:

    Man, if that could win first prize, I’d hate to see what the other exhibits were like.

    You’re thinking about it the wrong way. It’s quite likely that the last-placed exhibit actually contained a bit of real science.

  17. #17 Voice O'Reason
    May 24, 2007

    10. What was life like before the Flood?

    Well, let’s consult the authority on such matters:

    And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5

    So… Sounds like life was a lot of fun before the Flood!

    15. How long can flies survive freezing in a frig?

    Ah, the classic fly-frigging experiment!

    21. Does a bad mood spread?

    Back to the ultimate authority on such matters:

    And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Genesis 6:7

    I think that’s a “Yes.”

    22. Could a person function without thumbs? or What would it be like to not have thumbs?

    Wow. THAT project would require some true dedication.

    74. What happens to eyes so you need glasses? Did God design them poorly?

    Finally a sensible question. Another question for the budding Creationist scientist: “74a. Why did God combine reproductive and eliminatory functions in the same organ? What kind of sick bastard is He?”

    101.If there were aliens, why would they visit humans?

    For a good laugh at how astoundingly stupid some of us can be…

  18. #18 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 24, 2007

    Oh, this was fun!

    88. How does glue stick?

    No, no! The question is, how does a creationist get a clue stick?

    114. What shape is outer space?

    As opposed to “inner” space?

    But really, it would be amazing if a creationist, especially and YEC one, would get any of the properties of the cosmological scale universe correct. They should go get that clue stick first.

    Catalina:

    It is hard to understand what you are getting at, but since you use the signal word “evolutionist” in the usual improper manner (there are only evolutionary biologists) I take it you are a creationist. So I guess that you with the “writer of the story” is referring to the poster as being wrong. And that your comment is trying to show how.

    #1. As you yourself supply material that clearly notes that rate of growth will vary in different locales, your single observation of stalactites only confirms a possible rate (in an artificial situation at that), but is not predicting any specific rate.

    Just opening a cave disturbs the air and water so that the rates changes drastically. I am quite sure that your cave protection act includes not opening caves unnecessarily to save them for future research.

    #2. Calcium salts (“calcite”) are the most common mineral by far in this context, because stalactites forms mostly in limestone caves. Why do you think epsom salts are such a late discovery?

    Of course magnesium salts (“epsomite”) are natural (explaining the name “epsom”) and will be observed at times. But it is rarer and behaves differently, it is very water soluble. “Epsomite forms as encrustations or efflorescences on limestone cavern walls and mine timbers and walls, as a volcanic fumaroles, and as rare beds in evaporite layers.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epsomite )

    If we are lucky a geologist will weigh in on the details. But the bottom line is that the post is correct. A model of stalactites to extract actual formation rates would be different than the strawman model proposed by the creationist.

  19. #19 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 24, 2007

    Oh, this was fun!

    88. How does glue stick?

    No, no! The question is, how does a creationist get a clue stick?

    114. What shape is outer space?

    As opposed to “inner” space?

    But really, it would be amazing if a creationist, especially and YEC one, would get any of the properties of the cosmological scale universe correct. They should go get that clue stick first.

    Catalina:

    It is hard to understand what you are getting at, but since you use the signal word “evolutionist” in the usual improper manner (there are only evolutionary biologists) I take it you are a creationist. So I guess that you with the “writer of the story” is referring to the poster as being wrong. And that your comment is trying to show how.

    #1. As you yourself supply material that clearly notes that rate of growth will vary in different locales, your single observation of stalactites only confirms a possible rate (in an artificial situation at that), but is not predicting any specific rate.

    Just opening a cave disturbs the air and water so that the rates changes drastically. I am quite sure that your cave protection act includes not opening caves unnecessarily to save them for future research.

    #2. Calcium salts (“calcite”) are the most common mineral by far in this context, because stalactites forms mostly in limestone caves. Why do you think epsom salts are such a late discovery?

    Of course magnesium salts (“epsomite”) are natural (explaining the name “epsom”) and will be observed at times. But it is rarer and behaves differently, it is very water soluble. “Epsomite forms as encrustations or efflorescences on limestone cavern walls and mine timbers and walls, as a volcanic fumaroles, and as rare beds in evaporite layers.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epsomite )

    If we are lucky a geologist will weigh in on the details. But the bottom line is that the post is correct. A model of stalactites to extract actual formation rates would be different than the strawman model proposed by the creationist.

  20. #20 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 24, 2007

    Catalina:

    As usual when a creationist comments there are so many details wrong, besides the core issues. I should add to my previous comment that you are also directly disregarding details of the post.

    You are mentioning “evolutionist” (with the only possible factual designator “evolutionary biologist”) when the post directly notes that geology isn’t part of biology.

    Similarly, then the post notes that stalactites formation rate isn’t used to date Earth, you are mentioning dating different cave systems as if the different and local times would have a bearing on the deep time which biology lives in.

  21. #21 Chinchillazilla
    May 24, 2007

    Ahaha. Man, do I hate creation “science”.

    But I don’t hate it as much as I love Pratchett.

  22. #22 Chinchillazilla
    May 24, 2007

    He’s in 8th grade! Give him a break. One day he’ll understand the faults in his current study.

    The thing is, unless he’s exposed to real science, he won’t understand. Ever. And creationists tend to shelter their kids from real science until it’s too late for them to reverse the brainwashing.

  23. #23 Rey Fox
    May 24, 2007

    “He’s in 8th grade! Give him a break. One day he’ll understand the faults in his current study.”

    Kinda doubtful, seeing as how he just WON A PRIZE in a science fair with that study.

    Try to understand that we’re not knocking the kid here. We’re knocking the educational system which encouraged him to do this project, is privy to all the relevant facts and details that would show his experiment as deeply flawed and yet is deliberately withholding them from him, and awarded him a prize, so far as I can tell, for making a cheap and irrelevant rhetorical point with his project

    This kind of dishonest, obscurantist, rah-rah-for-our-team behavior from supposed educators doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence for so-called creation science, and you would have to be deluded to cut them slack on it.

  24. #24 CCP
    May 24, 2007

    Wow, PWC…you sure picked the wrong venue to peddle THAT load of horseshit.

    Hey, anybody else notice the hyper-stoopid B.C. caroon at that Muzeum site linked in comment #62? See, humans could not have evolved “from” apes because…wait for it…”Apes have tails.”
    Evidence to the contrary.

  25. #25 Blake
    May 24, 2007

    However, where we disagree is that other viewpoints, including creationism can approach scientific questions in a scientific fashion.

    Let’s see it. The basic flaw in creationism is that there is no theory. Its proponents already had their answer before they even started to ‘study’ the subject. It’s a pre-determined conclusion that bases itself entirely in uncertainty. That alone is an insult to real science.

  26. #26 God created Science
    May 24, 2007

    All science is based upon certain principles. To believe we have always existed takes more faith to believe than the creation view found in the bible.

    Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes.

    I find it funny the people get so heated in debate against Christians, and that rarely is their opposition in terms of dogmatic belief against other religions.

    I think it furthers the point the Jesus Christ came to save those who were lost, and that his claims to be the ONLY WAT to eternal life has quite a bit of people upset. Our society likes to be their own gods, and have no moral code to follow.

    1 Cor 1:25
    For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.

  27. #27 Brandon
    May 24, 2007

    This looks like a typical hardcore Christian thing to do. Make a ridiculous statement and try and pass it off as truth.

  28. #28 Religion Comes in Many Flavors
    May 24, 2007

    I’m sure I will be flamed by all the intolerant here, but so be it…

    Evolution is every bit as much a “religion” as Chritianity or any other world religion.
    There is no established truth to back up the claims of evolution. Nothing has ever been dated as “millions of years old”.

    Also realize that at one time it was creationism, not evolution, that was taught in schools.

    While this kid may not have had all the facts and was not comparing apples to apples. You cannot fault him, his teachers or his parents for their belief in their particular religion. No more than anyone can tell you that evolution is “wrong”.

    If you think you can do what scientists have tried for 100s of years to prove , that we all came from rocks that got rained on and began to ooze out little creatures, then please do. Then we won’t have to debate about it anymore. But, don’t hold your breath.

    Scientific types like to get mad at religious fanatics for being intolerant, yet, look at how this poor kid, his parents and his teachers (and whoever else you’ve included)have been flamed on here for not selling out to evolution.

    I’m not speaking to any one person on here. Just anyone who thinks that ONE view is the ONLY view just because some guy with glasses and went to MIT said it was so.

  29. #29 Leo Thiessen
    May 24, 2007

    My emotional response: Wow… u said it, it must be so; u must be right. But, then, just maybe there is a a person or two here who view any such information with just a wee bit of a pre-disposed anti-something-or-other notion? Just maybe… I could be wrong of course (& I’m pretty sure u will think I am, more-or-less).

    I’m just looking at the objectivity & tone here (article & comments)… there are some rather *seemingly* objectively written comments though (but I wouldn’t have the knowledge to say they are right or wrong – just sound right or wrong, or somewhere in between, which can be worse in some cases, imo).

    If we want to be “scientific”, as I understand it, it is really very hard; this would require us to leave emotion, (complimenting, insulting & any such things) completely out… “illogical” as Spock might say ;-). We would have to start reading such information, and continue to read it, with a completely open mind that looks only for facts, regardless of what the implications of such fact might mean to us – that (emotions, impact, etc.) is irrelevant; then given enough facts we can draw a conclusion, else without enough facts we can at best come up with a theory which would require more facts to make it something more concrete – usually on a % scale rather than black/white.

    I think this article is very black/white – which makes it less likely to be true – but that is just an *opinion* (aka theory) of mine based on a quick read of the articles & comments in question.

  30. #30 Carlie
    May 24, 2007

    Wait, do I have to renounce the geeky-cute-glasses-MIT-scientists contingent?
    Never mind, then.

  31. #31 Steve_C
    May 24, 2007

    So how we doin’?

    Same tired arguments?

  32. #32 Scott
    May 24, 2007

    I’d just add, in light of more Creationists positing strawmen by claiming that this is all about ridiculing a poor kid, that it’s not about the kid. He’s just parroting back the nonsense the adults have been spoonfeeding him; it’s not his fault. I feel sorry for him, if anything, because I can remember when I was pushed by a Christian school to believe in fallacies (at least they didn’t make any effort to teach any science, so I wasn’t bombarded by bad science, just none at all).

    I sincerely hope that this kid uses his intellect and ability to devise experiments to test hypotheses to participate in the scientific community in the future. Sure, he’s bound to get a rather nasty rude awakening at some point, and if he does, he’s bound to turn into one of the most bitter, anti-Christian atheists the world has seen. I’m saying that based on my own personal experience; while I may be an agnostic leaning towards atheism most days, but am not anti-Christian, I am still a bit resentful that I was deprived of science until I got away from the private Christian schools and into a public High School (and then a nice, secular state university to complete my macrobiology degree). But wow, if I’d been so deliberately brainwashed and misled about science, and then discovered how much I loved the more pure variety, I would likely crusade against the frauds in Creation science and their Christian friends with all my energy to my dying day. What are Creationists afraid of when it comes to giving people all the theories on each one’s strongest merits and worst flaws and letting folks reason out which one is the most plausible? This disingenuous approach is just going to make folks mad about being lied to and will BLIND them to whatever merits religion may have.

  33. #33 Steve_C
    May 24, 2007

    Uhg.

    If another person tells me science and religion are both religion because they don’t know the difference between a Hypothesis and a Theory I’m going to go slaughter some dragons, a unicorn or two and maybe kick some goblins around.

    I swear. I’ll do it.

    Maybe shoot everyone’s favorite Zombie in the head with a shotgun while I’m at it.

  34. #34 j
    May 24, 2007

    Oh, my. The concentration of stupidity in this thread is reaching an unsafe level.

  35. #35 mothworm
    May 24, 2007

    As many have written, science is based on facts, experimentation and observation. However, MANY theories are speculation until proven as fact. At this point in history evolution is still very much a theory, NOT a fact.

    OK, go learn the difference between a belief, a guess, a hypothesis, a theory and a fact. It’s so tiring to go over such simple stuff again, and again, and again. Go browse the FAQ on TalkOrigins and then come back.

    It is speculation on the part of many scientists. Yeah, they all agree on the big picture of evolution with variations here and there…and the same goes with Christians and their beliefs on creationism.
    Therefore, by definition, they are both religions

    Seriously? That’s just dumb on its face. All it takes for something to be a religion is for a group of people to agree on it? By that definition, stating that Juneau is the capital of Alaska is a religious belief.

    Ideals that require faith to believe them because there is no irrefutable proof to either theory.

    There’s plenty of proof for evolution. But you already know that. I can’t believe you honestly believe anything you say. If so, your understanding of religion is as shoddy as your understanding of science. I suggested you go read the TO FAQ, but I know it wouldn’t make any difference to you.

    Come on people. Why is there no tolerance for diversity?

    You don’t believe that either. Diversity and tolerance are generally anathema to christianity.

    There’s the same amount of tolerance as there is for the belief that 2+2=5.

  36. #36 Blake Stacey, OM
    May 24, 2007

    The only way to improve this discussion would be to bring in the Scott Adams fans.

  37. #37 Corey Schlueter
    May 24, 2007

    TCCSA:

    Why is blood blue in our veins but turns red when we are cut? If we are cut in a vacuum would the blood stay blue?

    All blood is red. This is a misconception that was corrected only few years ago.

  38. #38 reboho
    May 24, 2007

    Even if you win at a Creation Science Fair, you’re still a creationist!

    Be thankful for Jewish scribes who mistranslated the Gilgamesh flood myth (turning a molehill into a mountain) into the Genesis flood myth, or else we wouldn’t even have this entertaining post.

  39. #39 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    Fascinating slow motion video showed they stuck out their tails and then whipped them like a flagellum to induce an opposite force to turn their bodies upright.

    there ya have it:

    Cat’s tails are irreducibly complex.

    add it to the list!

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    Posted by: Religion Comes in Many Flavors

    I prefer BBQ.

  41. #41 TheBlackCat
    May 24, 2007

    Astyanax, you define macroeveolution as “it’s more along the lines of selection pressures generating *new* species” I should point out that this sort of macroevolution has been directly observed, both in the laboratory and in nature, in both plants and animals, numerous times. For instance a new species of mosquito evolved in the London subway tunnel since it was built around 100 years ago. It will not breed with any surface-dwelling mosquito, and evolved new traits that help it survive in that environment. Laboratory experiments produce new species all the time (in fruit flies and other flies particularly). At has even been observed in mammals, where a species of mouse introduced to an island by humans a few hundred years ago became a new species. So it is not at all difficult to prove, it is easy to do in a laboratory and has been observed in the wild many times.

  42. #42 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    actually, shorter Anthony:

    projection.

    projection, projection.

    now I’ll run away.

    p.s. – projection.

  43. #43 Tyler DiPietro
    May 24, 2007

    “I know it’s the same way with religious people, as well, but you guys really aren’t helping stopping the bitching trend when it comes to meaningless things like this. Just shut the hell up for once. It’s getting pathetic.”

    Following Ichthyic, for some reason projection seems to be popular among the current flood of trolls on this board. Better unplug my irony meter before it reaches catastrophic overload, again.

  44. #44 reboho
    May 24, 2007

    Shorter Brooks Williams: Would you militant atheists be quiet lest they notice the rest of us?

    Newsflash: They are coming whether you speak up or not. Nobody is going to ask if you are a quiet atheist or someone who speaks out against the stupidity of it all. We all will be tarred with the same brush.

  45. #45 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    but if we are going by Atheist theory… if God doesn’t exist

    it’s not a theory. it’s a null hypothesis that has never been disproven. That’s different than a theory.

    the longer it remains not disproven, the more credibility it gains.

    simple.

    why am I an atheist? 40 years of personal observation of this null hypothesis not being disproven, combined with hundreds of years prior of attempts to disprove it failing.

    seems pretty solid.

  46. #46 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    I love how whenever any Atheist finds anything in the religious community, they have to knaw on it on the internet and rip it to shreds with their friends.

    *sigh*

    yet another person who fails to visit their own religious counterpart forums.

    go try visiting Uncommon Descent and then try repeating your argument again.

    Is it still logical?

    (hint: NO)

    oh, and another great example of projection on your part for all to see.

  47. #47 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    I think at this point PZ might want to retitle the thread:

    A gaggle of xian scientists continue to embarass themselves.

  48. #48 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    the bible proves indeed that it already knows that the earth is not flat,

    the bible as conscious entity.

    shocker, i sez, shocker.

  49. #49 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2007

    All we need now is a couple hundred posts between JA Davison and his pet monkey VMartin.

    carefull, if you say his name three times he might actually appear.

    are you SURE that’s what you want?

  50. #50 Kent Kauffman
    May 25, 2007

    Or that the time of the post correlates with its grammatical correctness.

  51. #51 ben
    May 25, 2007

    Why are you all attacking a kid? Oh it’s like you morons even know what Epsom Salts are. Give this kid credit for at least having some wheels turning when it comes to expirements. You on the other hand know no science which you are passionately defending. And this blogger him self doesnt know what he is talking about. What this kid revealed has some truth in it, although it is produced using different expiremental approach.

    You find some little flaw in Christian kid’s expriment and are already screaming how dumb and ignorant he is. Think about all those flawed expirements done by atheist scientists which were later discovered pure lie. For instance, everything you learned about evolution in 1960’s today is discovered to be a lie. So another words you were taught a lie, which many of you still carry around.

  52. #52 Russ
    May 25, 2007

    In Comment 151 from Jon Doeson, he says, “Good job a thousand people picking on a kid who just reaching puberty.”

    While some of the posts here border on attacking the young man, I really doubt that any of the commenters on this thread would harbor ill will toward him. My sense is that most of the criticism is levied toward the parents, teachers, and judges who poured undue praise on a child, not for conducting anything approaching science, but rather for the spectacularly outlandish conclusion. Had he himself chosen, or had a mentor guided him, to study, say, magnesium sulfate crystal formation, he may have actually had a worthwhile project that could have been well-respected in the broad science community. And, Jon, I can tell you this, irrespective of the young man’s religious inclinations, that respect would be reflected even here where real science is revered.

    Personally, I wish him all the best in life, but I do think that all the best will be hard for him to achieve since those who hold significant sway over him precisely due to his youth – and, thus, his intellectual immaturity – seem to be intentionally misleading, misguiding, and misinforming him. I’m reminded of a slogan used in – I hope I correctly recall – advertisements for the United Negro College Fund: a mind is terrible thing to waste. This young person’s mind is being wasted to suit the purposes of those who he is relying on to prepare him for what could easily be another 70 or 80 years of life. In essence, he is being betrayed. Even if you believe there is life after death, everyone, including this unwarranted science fair champion, must get through this life first. To do that while having all the best, he, like us all, will need sound mental resouces including a good knowledge base and strong reasoning skills, both of which it appears he is being denied.

    The young man’s age is truly not an important issue when it comes to the science. To see that his age is irrelevant to the conduct of respectworthy science consider Miss Emily Rosa, a nine year old fourth grade student. Here is a link for your convenience: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9804/01/therapeutic.touch/

    Her fourth grade science fair project was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This young lady – under ten, mind you – made the world of medicine realize that the widely-practiced “therapeutic touch” was simply pseudoscience. Young people truly do have great capabilities and can perform great feats if provided appropriate guidance. They do not need to compose make-work projects or paste up inane parent-pleasing or clergy-pleasing or judge-pleasing conjectures. Despite their youth they can, and, as Emily clearly demonstrates, do have the faculties needed to conduct good science and make valuable contributions to our ever-growing base of understanding.

    So, Jon, I empathize with your desire to defend a young person you deem to be under attack, but I hope you can see that many of us here also view him as being threatened with a lifetime of diminished intellectual capacity; threatened with a lifetime hindered by misinformation and faulty reasoning; and, threatened with a lifetime filled with asking others what to think because in his youth those same others withheld the very things he needed to learn that special something that could benefit him each and every day of his life: to think for himself.

  53. #53 Ichthyic
    May 25, 2007

    how do you think the universe was created? it just was there? those particles and energy were just there? please think. Common sense tells you something had to create them.

    someTHING in process produced it. sure. just like basic organic chemicals can produce amino acids under the right conditions.

    not SOMEONE, as in yer own personal, Jesus.

    get the difference?

    meh, probably not.

  54. #54 reboho
    May 25, 2007

    anthony,

    disprove the bible

    disprove god

    Guess you haven’t really thought about this whole proof thing a lot, have you?

    How about this, I will show you that the xian god doesn’t exist as soon as you prove to me that Zeus, Thor, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Flying Spaghetti Monster don’t exist, OK?

    Then could you work out the whole thing about combining omnipotence with omniscience because that can yield the difficulty of whether or not God can pose a question to which he would not know the answer. Points will be deducted if you try the Augustine argument.

  55. #55 John R. MacQuinn
    May 25, 2007

    I believe that science is a faith. The groundless belief we cling to, in this case, is that reality is real. Think of the Matrix.

    I can believe in logic and science to the same degree these bible-thumpers believe in God. They can believe in magical super godness creationism all they want, I don’t give a care. But these whackos are trying to pass it off as science. That’s not only crossing the line, that’s taking the line into a back alley, raping it, nailing it to a building, shooting it, and then riding past it in an ICBM so far that you end up three towns over, in my opinion.

    They claim the Bible, is a legitimate historic text. If they say that, I say so too must be Homer’s The Odyssey. The Hellenic Archipelago MUST be filled with the skeletons of monsters, then, wouldn’t it?!

    If they want to teach creationism in schools, maybe they should let them…. But they also would have to teach the hindu theory; the universe is created and destroyed every 4.32 million years. And also the Korean theory, that the first woman in the world was a bear that was in a cave for 100 days with only 20 cloves of garlic and a handful of mugwort to eat. And the Baha’i theory that creation ALWAYS existed. And the Shinto theory that the land was formed from salt that came off of a divine halberd. And the Hmong theory that the first two people were siblings, whose first child had no limbs, was cut up, and each piece turned into a village. And the Ainu theory, that the ocean was made upon the back of a giant trout. And the Mansi theory stating that the earth grew from a piece retrieved from the bottom of a lake by 2 loons. And the various Mongol theories, including the theory that each race of people came from the offspring of men and a different animal (mongolians were sheep, chinese hens, etc.). And the Bakuba theory that the earth and sun formed from god’s vomit following stomach pain. And the Mandinka theory that the earth formed from a stolen piece of a disembodied womb’s placenta. And the voodoo theory that god was a snake that married a rainbow. Or the Finnish theory that the sky, earth, and sun were made from the top and bottom shells and the yolk of a giant egg that fell from a nest on an island/boat/giant wizard (depending on version). Or the Norse theory that the universe is made from the body of an intersexed giant. And the babylonian theory where marduk fought tiamat to the death, killed her husband, and used his blood to make humanity.

    On second thought, JUST STOP TRYING TO PUSH THAT FRIGGIN FAIRY TALE ON THE STUDENTS!

  56. #56 Janine
    May 25, 2007

    Did it without the Torah. Doubt they knew nor cared about it. There knowledge was not devine. Also, please repost your threads again. That will convince us skeptics that we need to check it out.

  57. #57 Ichthyic
    May 25, 2007

    The groundless belief we cling to, in this case, is that reality is real. Think of the Matrix.

    think of a fictional tale when deciding on the grounding of reality.

    yikes.

    I just don’t know what to say to that, other than:

    good luck, and I think you should take the blue pill.

  58. #58 Davis
    May 25, 2007

    the bible proves indeed that it already knows that the earth is not flat, even before telescopes where invented.

    Big deal. The Ancient Greeks knew the earth was spherical (not flat!), also before telescopes were invented. They even gave a reasonably good estimate of its circumference.

  59. #59 386sx
    May 25, 2007

    to 386x,

    it started at post #245.

    Thank you.

  60. #60 Janine
    May 25, 2007

    Yeah! Arthur Abogadil posted his list for a third time. Someone grab the two by four.

  61. #61 Davis
    May 25, 2007

    Oh goody, you apparently can’t even be bothered to read what I wrote (or take the effort to comprehend it, I’m not sure which). Before I put any energy into reading your articles, I’m going to ask that you give, in your own words, a coherent response to the points made here — either by me or by others. If the articles are so good, and you actually understand them, you should be able to provide that, or at the very least a summary of the most solid points.

    If you can’t provide that, I’m going to assume either (a) you don’t understand the arguments being made here, or (b) you don’t understand those articles. In either case, I would be wasting my time continuing this.

  62. #62 Janine
    May 25, 2007

    Zarquon, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
    We are on a disc that is resting on the backs of four elephants and those elephants are standing on the shell of a giant turtle.

  63. #63 Ichthyic
    May 25, 2007

    Zarquon, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
    We are on a disc that is resting on the backs of four elephants and those elephants are standing on the shell of a giant turtle.

    and turtles all the way down pretty much both describes and ends this thread as far as I can see.

  64. #64 Ichthyic
    May 25, 2007

    why don’t you move on to geocentrism now, Arthur.

    I think you’ve flogged yourself quite enough on the round earth thing.

  65. #65 arthur abogadil
    May 25, 2007

    Thanks for the advice Ichthyic, but no, please read my post so that you’ll understand why i won’t.

  66. #66 Dustin
    May 25, 2007

    Brother Eli offers a compelling argument:

    In my elementary grades, when I first heard the Darwinian Theory on evolution, the first doubt that came into my mind was that, if humans came from apes, why are there people with faces that look like horses and dogs?

    Life ain’t easy for a dog-faced boy.

  67. #67 MartinM
    May 25, 2007

    By definition, a “circle” is a two dimensional “round” abstraction

    One dimensional.

  68. #68 RavenT
    May 25, 2007

    One dimensional.

    Actually, a straight line is one-dimensional. A circle, however, is two-dimensional–if you visualize it lying in the Cartesian plane, any given point on the circle will have both an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate.

  69. #69 Ptaylor
    May 25, 2007

    mndarwinist:

    Pathetic.
    PZ, do you think it is possible that in fifty years, newly discovered galaxies could have Chinese name? I truely, honestly hope not.

    This is just offensive. Why shouldn’t new discoveries be named to match the language of the discoverers?

  70. #70 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 25, 2007

    Reverend, I get the distinction that Arthur hasn’t even read the Bible: he’s just parroting what his pastor told him, word for word.

    Well he may have read it but it’s quite apparent that he’s just regurgitating what someone else told him.

  71. #71 Caledonian
    May 25, 2007

    We need only one coordinate to specify any position on a circle.

    You need at least two. If you use distance-along-the-circle, you need to specify a starting point as well.

  72. #72 Caledonian
    May 25, 2007

    The sphere’s surface is two-dimensional. It exists in three dimensions.

  73. #73 vuk
    May 25, 2007

    this is the free speech in usa ,so every dumbass can have his own theory . scientology rules :)

  74. #74 RavenT
    May 25, 2007

    Dog in haven, this is 10th-grade geometry we’re talking about here.

    Point: zero-dimensional

    Line: one-dimensional

    2D geometric figure with area (e.g., square, circle, rectangle, pentagon, cylinder, etc.): 2-dimensional, hence the name, recognizing the fact that they circumscribe an area.

    3D geometric figure with volume (e.g., sphere, cube, etc.): 3-dimensional, again hence the name, in recognition of the fact that they define a volume

    4D volumetric figure over time: functional MRI voxel (volumetric data) over time course; Caledonian’s example of the geologic history of a 3D rock

    Are you seriously arguing that all the geometers have it wrong–that they’re all off by one?

  75. #75 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 25, 2007

    scientology rules

    Xenu loves you.

  76. #76 Caledonian
    May 25, 2007

    Cylinders are 3D, RavenT.

  77. #77 RavenT
    May 25, 2007

    Cylinders are 3D, RavenT.

    yep. up way too early, and not nearly enough caffeine yet.

  78. #78 Steve_C
    May 25, 2007

    I think you could answer back to “where are teeth stored?” with… “you tell me, where is hair stored?”

  79. #79 RavenT
    May 25, 2007

    Mathematically, a circle is considered one-dimensional, a sphere (or cylinder) two-dimensional, and so on. There are a couple of ways of explaining this. One is that the dimension of an object is the minimum number of parameters needed to give your position on it, assuming you have to object embedded somewhere.

    But wouldn’t that imply then that the dimensionality of a line is 0, and that no parameters are needed to give your position on it? Wouldn’t a number line be an example of where you need one parameter (e.g., 3) to locate a position on it, implying a dimensionality of 1?

  80. #80 Who Cares
    May 25, 2007

    Caladonian wrote: A thing that can be neither measured nor quantified cannot exist.

    Which is why science doesn’t work with (and doesn’t need) the concept God.

    Caladonian wrote: As for “you can’t prove gods don’t exist”, that’s simply not true, at least for the concepts of deity that are traditional in Christianity.

    I said God not gods. Further Ockham was a traditionally educated Christian monk (early 14th century) and he did come up with the logical proof that you just said is not possible. From this I have to conclude that your assertion is incorrect.

    Ignoring that there are still two problems.
    One, we cannot prove a negative.
    Two, there is no way to measure or quantify either the existence or absence of God.

  81. #81 Kseniya
    May 25, 2007

    … and hyperbole is one-dimensional. :-)

    This is interesting. People intuitively see circles and such as 2D (because that is how they appear, just as we see spheres and cylinders as 3D because that is how they appear).

    The way I’ve been thinking about it, which is pretty similar to what Davis says about giving ones position, is this. The dimensions of a circle can be described with a single parameter: the radius. The dimensions of a cylinder can be described with two: the radius and height.

    However, this breaks down with spheres… because a sphere can still be described in terms of its radius only. Right? Whereas giving ones position on the surface of the sphere (or anywhere inside the sphere) requires two parameters.

    Are rectangular prisms three-dimensional, then?

  82. #82 Not a mathematician, but close
    May 25, 2007

    “If a sphere is two dimensional why did I have to learn how to measure its volume?”

    You fail to distinguish between two definitions of “sphere”, both commonly confused in everyday language:
    Consider a 3D euclidean space. A “ball” can be defined by
    x^2+y^2+z^2<=R^2
    this being a three-dimensional object with a volume. A “sphere”, however, obeys
    x^2+y^2+z^2=R^2
    and is two-dimensional.

  83. #83 Kseniya
    May 25, 2007

    But wouldn’t that imply then that the dimensionality of a line is 0, and that no parameters are needed to give your position on it?

    I would seem so, wouldn’t it? One’s position on a line of length N could be given as a number between 0 and N.

    Correct me if I’m wrong…

    A circle is just a line. A curved line. A position on that curved line can be given by a single parameter, as has been explained. This is true whether or not we imbed the circle in a plane. But if we do imbed it in a plane and wish to describe a position on the circle as its location on the plane expressed as Cartesian coordinates, we need another dimension, for we have to give that position as (x,y).

    Because we intuitively see a circle not as simply a curved line, but as a circumscribed area on a plane, we think of positions along the perimeter of the circle in terms of its location on the plane, hence the reasonable assumption that the circle itself is two-dimensional.

  84. #84 mena
    May 25, 2007

    Tried to post this yesterday but gave up:
    At this point in history evolution is still very much a theory, NOT a fact.
    Yes, using the scientific method it is a theory. Using the same scientific method, and we do need to use the same parameters to assess both, creationism is not even close. There is an observation that the world exists and an untestable hypothesis that God did it. If you can find a way to test your hypothesis and others can reproduce your results you will also have a theory. Feel free to come back here and tell us that we are wrong at that point, until then you have nothing.
    Arthur, the Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. (Galileo IIRC) Please stop using quotes to prove your point. That would be like one of us telling you that two animals were different species solely because a book told us when we could go and find who holds the type specimen and examine it if we had any doubt. Your arguments are really just glamorized hearsay.
    Those of you who keep posting that a poor innocent kid is being ridiculed: how many times do you have to be told that it’s the situation and adults, not the child, that are being taken to task? I haven’t seen any comments here that say anything about the kid. Do try to keep up.

  85. #85 Kseniya
    May 25, 2007

    (Oops, RavenT, I incompletely quoted your comment. I hope it’s clear that I meant to say “Yes, a position on a line can be given by a single parameter, therefor a line is one-dimensional.”)

  86. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 25, 2007

    I wonder if Mark CC has some sort of Bat signal. Like a ? or something.

  87. #87 Token
    May 25, 2007

    RavenT:

    1) It is possible to use spherical coordinates to describe a cube. The radius works fine – it is just limited by a function of the angles. It is far easier to use standard Cartesian x-y-z coordinates, but the key thing is that to determine dimensions, it doesn’t matter what coordinates you use, just how many.

    2) You need at least one parameter to describe a position on a line. When we define a coordinate system, we include a definition of where “zero” is for each coordinate. This definition does not count towards the dimension, since it is inherently included in the notion of a coordinate.

    3) The truth of that depends on what you mean by “equivalent”. If you mean they have the same dimension, then yes, that is correct. If you want to look at exactly how they are similar, you have to start delving into the realm of topology, which requires a decent grounding in basic mathematics (by which I mean mathematical principles, rather than trivial things like addition).

    As far as I can see, this whole discussion is based on a semantic error. The word “circle”, when used in a mathematical sense, refers to all the points that are a fixed distance from a given reference point (the centre). However, in everyday speech, the word circle can also refer to the mathematical concept of a “disc”, which is the area enclosed by a circle – that is, all the points that are less than a fixed distance from a given reference point. A circle has one dimension, a disc has two.

  88. #88 Token
    May 25, 2007

    “I understand that topologically (rather than geometrically) speaking, curvature doesn’t matter in considering equivalence, but doesn’t the fact that the circle is closed make it different from an infinite straight line?” – Raven T

    Ah, OK, you have a better understanding than I assumed. An infinite straight line is not quite equivalent to a circle, because it is not compact. We can, however, compactify the real line by adding a point at infinity.

    Imagine taking an infinite straight line and “bending it round” (in some sense). Now, obviously we wouldn’t be able to join up the ends without screwing with what we mean by that straight line. However, adding in the point at infinity gives us the connection we need from one “end” to the other.

  89. #89 mothworm
    May 25, 2007

    Pretty sure I had html there. Anyway, the first paragraph above is actually a quote from “Who Cares”.

  90. #90 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    May 25, 2007

    Guys:

    WRT the nonsense about the dimensionality of a circle:

    Both claims – that a circle is 1d and a circle is 2d are correct.

    There’s more than one definition of “dimension”. The answer to “How many dimensions does a circle have?” depends on exactly what you mean by dimension.

    According to the definition used in some contexts, a circle is the boundary of the open sphere in a 2-dimensional euclidean space, which is topologically 1d. The way to show this is, given any two points on a circle, you can describe the path between them with a single number: the distance along the circles edge between them.

    According to definitions used in other contexts, the circle is the boundary of the 2d open sphere is 2 dimensional, because the lowest dimension euclidean space in which it can be embedded is 2-dimensional.

    And according to still other definitions, the circle is the *closed* sphere in a 2-dimensional euclidean space (and thus includes its interior) and is therefore 2-dimensional – because given two points that are part of a circle *including its interior*, you need two specify two values to describe relative positions within the circle: the left/right distance, and the up/down distance.

    It’s all a question of which definition you’re using, and the correct definition depends on exactly what you’re trying to do.

  91. #91 Jose Rizal
    May 25, 2007

    Wow, this is quite a long thread. But what I found funny was that Arthur’s arguments caused all this, and of course none of you know that his source (Bro. Eli Soriano) is known as a big stand up comic back here where he’s from. His TV show has been on for years, and he trades “argumentative skits” with this other comedy troupe called the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ, I think). Arthur must be such a big fan that he’s trying out his own comic bit here in the style of his idol. What a devoted fan! I’d like to check out your comedy live, Arthur. Where do you live and what time do you get home? :) Oops, nevermind. Doesn’t “Laugh Trip” Eli have a case of rape filed against him by some guy? You might take your emulation too far…

  92. #92 mothworm
    May 25, 2007

    Which boils down to: can’t prove He exists, can’t prove He doesn’t, all you can do is have faith and believe He exists.

    Sorry if I misattributed theism to you, but you do seem to be arguing from that side (or at least from strong agnosticism leaning towards theism).

    Anyway, my point was that to say “You can’t prove He doesn’t exist” begs the question. It assumes that something positive has been put forward on which to make a judgement, when nothing of the sort has happened. I don’t have to disporve god because no one has ever offered any evidence of such a being. Theists can’t even agree on a definition. The only time such an immaterial god is ever spoken of is when theists are backed into a corner. But as soon as our backs are turned, it’s back to “God with a capital He”.

    There’s no reason to give does exist/doesn’t exist equal weight and consideration. It’s up to the theists to bring some evidence of their claim to the table. Until then, atheism wins by default. The reasonable solution is not “just believe anyway”.

    So God is exactly like leprechauns, bigfoot, yeti, and fairies. Thanks for explaining it so well.

    Except we could conceivably conceptualize what a yeti would be like, and at least leprechauns and fairies are thought of as existing within our world. A god doesn’t even have that going for it.

  93. #93 Kseniya
    May 25, 2007

    I asked my 17 year old brother. He rolled his eyes at me, glanced at the frisbee and the baseball that happened to be sitting on the floor by the kitchen door, and went back to playing Starcraft.

  94. #94 Gustaf Sjöblom
    May 25, 2007

    This boy is probably gifted, most thesis by students this old lack at least one vite piece of the puzzle. I know this from my own experience as I at the same age had posted a proof that the second law of thermodynamics was wrong. I had misunderstood one vital nature of magnestism.

    This boy is gifted and should be given the opportunity to further his studies in the real realm of sience. He needs to be given a scholarship to a real school that can give him the means to contribute to the total of human understanding of the world. We have a responsibility to him as a person and to all of mankind to present him withan option to go with the scientific method rather than with that of dogma before it is to late.

    Remember Kurt Wise.

  95. #95 Gustaf Sjöblom
    May 25, 2007

    This boy is probably gifted, most thesis by students this old lack at least one vite piece of the puzzle. I know this from my own experience as I at the same age had posted a proof that the second law of thermodynamics was wrong. I had misunderstood one vital nature of magnestism.

    This boy is gifted and should be given the opportunity to further his studies in the real realm of sience. He needs to be given a scholarship to a real school that can give him the means to contribute to the total of human understanding of the world. We have a responsibility to him as a person and to all of mankind to present him withan option to go with the scientific method rather than with that of dogma before it is to late.

    Remember Kurt Wise.

  96. #96 Europe
    May 25, 2007

    Good evening, America.

    When you are ready to join us in the twenty-first century, let us know.

    Best wishes,
    Europe.

  97. #97 Ichthyic
    May 25, 2007

    We have a responsibility to him as a person and to all of mankind to present him withan option to go with the scientific method rather than with that of dogma before it is to late.

    that’s only practical if you can extract him from the cult he is in first, and get him some different peer influences.

    otherwise, there is little point and the effort would likely be wasted.

  98. #98 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 25, 2007

    No way am I reading through 300+ (of mostly, I assume, creationist crank) comments to see if anyone responded to mine. A search didn’t find my name outside my comments, so I think I can forget that now.

    It seems strange to say, for example, that the Klein bottle is a 4-d object.

    But it’s correct. It can’t be properly represented in three dimensions – it can only exist in a space with at least four dimensions.

    The dimension discussion seems fun. I agree with Davis, a circle is AFAIK usually (but perhaps not strictly) kept as the 1d object of a border, while the corresponding ball (or here, a disc) is the 2d object.

    Similarly, the Klein bottle is intrinsically (topologically or parametrically) 2d. It is true that it can’t be embedded in any space. But that is another question, which makes Mark correct as well; we must specify what we are describing.

  99. #99 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 25, 2007

    No way am I reading through 300+ (of mostly, I assume, creationist crank) comments to see if anyone responded to mine. A search didn’t find my name outside my comments, so I think I can forget that now.

    It seems strange to say, for example, that the Klein bottle is a 4-d object.

    But it’s correct. It can’t be properly represented in three dimensions – it can only exist in a space with at least four dimensions.

    The dimension discussion seems fun. I agree with Davis, a circle is AFAIK usually (but perhaps not strictly) kept as the 1d object of a border, while the corresponding ball (or here, a disc) is the 2d object.

    Similarly, the Klein bottle is intrinsically (topologically or parametrically) 2d. It is true that it can’t be embedded in any space. But that is another question, which makes Mark correct as well; we must specify what we are describing.

  100. #100 JackGoff
    May 25, 2007

    all you can do is have faith and believe He exists.

    Or not believe. Both outcomes are equally as valid in a framework that doesn’t include scientific inquiry and skepticism. This is what you are missing.

  101. #101 JackGoff
    May 25, 2007

    A Klein bottle cannot be represented in fewer than four dimensions.

    Someone made the argument that it could. I’m sorry, there’s no way I’m reading this entire thread.

  102. #102 JackGoff
    May 25, 2007

    However, I still don’t know that any field of mathematics uses this as its definition of “dimension”.

    I believe you’re thinking of this in terms of a purely topological framework…

  103. #103 JackGoff
    May 25, 2007

    Then again, after thinking about it, it is possible to construct a Klein Bottle in real life, is it not? Meaning it could potentially be represented in 3d space…

  104. #104 Stanton
    May 26, 2007

    Because, keno, some religious people are paranoid that other people are thinking, and they do far too much projection.

  105. #105 Jaf
    May 26, 2007

    As somebody said recently, “This is so far out, it’s not even wrong.”
    I fear for education in the US of A. Sadly, the nut-jobs are trying to take UK schools down the same route.
    I can only be glad that dialysis was invented before we regressed to the dark ages, or I’d be in a wooden overcoat by now.
    This child should grow up to be a lawyer; anything but a scientist, and please, not a doctor.

  106. #106 Nick Gardner
    May 26, 2007

    I asked my 17 year old brother. He rolled his eyes at me, glanced at the frisbee and the baseball that happened to be sitting on the floor by the kitchen door, and went back to playing Starcraft.

    ZERG RUSH KEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKE

  107. #107 RavenT
    May 27, 2007

    KarmaPolice, I was tired, too, and I made a couple of mistakes. If I sounded like I thought you did poorly and should shut up, I’m really sorry about that, because that really wasn’t what I was going for. I was trying to share the insight I had experienced as a result of the discussion.

    My first reference to “nonsense” was in reference to Mark’s earlier use of the term, but I failed to make that clear (so very tired!), so it may have sounded like I was picking on you. My second reference was when I was responding to you, and what I was trying to say is that it’s not nonsense to a topologist, but in geometry–whether Euclidean or analytic–it does lead to contradictions, which is what both you and I were picking up on.

    That’s why I initially responded to Curt as I did–because for my purposes, using such a definition would be incoherent. I had no idea when I wrote that how clearly outside topology that put me and my research–I am really intrigued by topology, and was considering studying it further to see if I could use some of its principles to extend my anatomical model. Now I think that–to my disappointment–what I need is not so compatible with a topological approach as I had initially thought, as it is much closer to analytical (or maybe Euclidean) geometry. Too bad, as I really like reading about topology, but there it is. (Just to add to the confusion, anatomists use the terms “topology” and “topography” in ways different from mathematicians and cartographers, which just puts the icing on the terminological confusion, as far as I’m concerned :P).

    Finally, I wrote

    I see that Curt’s and Davis’ definition of a circle is consistent (contains no inherent contradictions)–yet I don’t see how they get the circle and diameter from just the points on the circumference.

    which doesn’t make sense (again, so very, very tired!). I *meant* to write “I don’t see how they get the center of the circle and the diameter”, because it seems to me that without the center, you can’t distinguish the diameter from any other chord.

    To you and me, that lack seems to make no sense, and all I was trying to communicate was the insight that I had finally realized that for their purposes, that’s actually ok–they don’t need it so much. You and I do, and that’s why this approach doesn’t work for us. But I’m sorry I made it sound like you should shut up now; I’m communicating very poorly, and I apologize.

  108. #108 Millimeter Wave
    May 27, 2007

    Curt Cameron wrote:

    Not quite. The definition of a “circle” is “the set of all points in a plane at a fixed distance from a given point, the center.” Therefore the circle is the same thing as the thing you call the “circumference of a circle.” A circle does not include the planar area it encloses.

    Similarly, a sphere mathematically defined as just the surface, not the enclosing volume.

    Therefore mathematically, a circle is 1D an a sphere is 2D.

    respectfully, I totally disagree. Whilst I do agree that there exists a one dimensional space consisting of the points on a circle (and similarly in 2 dimensions for the surface of a sphere) absent the higher dimensions it simply isn’t possible to identify a circle as being a circle, as distinct from any other finite, closed, one dimensional space.

    The definition of a sphere and a circle by definition require 3 and 2 dimensions respectively.

  109. #109 philos
    May 28, 2007

    I may be confused: is PZ Myers’ alter-persona “Richard Johnson” (see 7th reader comment from newspaper wire) or it was formatted wrong? As it stands, plagiarism glares. Come on.

    from “Richard Johnson’s” reader comment: “This isn’t just wrong, it’s appallingly wrong. He’s wrong on the facts, wrong on the interpretations, wrong on the understanding of how science works. If we’re charitable and grant that a 14 year old has some reasonable excuse for ignorance, we can still indict his parents, his science teacher, and the judges at this fair on gross incompetence on multiple charges.

    * This experiment has nothing to do with biology.
    * Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate; stalactites are made of calcium carbonate.
    * Stalactite growth rates are estimated to be around 0.1-10 centimeters per thousand years. If we assume his ‘stalactite’ was 10 cm long and use the slowest growth rate, that’s 100 thousand years, not millions.
    * Even if he had demonstrated an accelerated rate of stalactite growth, stalactite length isn’t the method used to date the age of the earth.”

  110. #110 MartinM
    May 28, 2007

    I may be confused: is PZ Myers’ alter-persona “Richard Johnson” (see 7th reader comment from newspaper wire) or it was formatted wrong? As it stands, plagiarism glares. Come on.

    Plagiarism, indeed. Clearly, PZ hitched a lift with Dr Who, grabbed a copy of Johnson’s comment, and cunningly posted it as his own work a day before the original was even written. Sneaky git.

  111. #111 Keith Douglas
    May 28, 2007

    Ichthyic: Cats certainly are complex …

    Carlie: Indeed – and in India, the secularists are finding that Hindutva nonsense.

    Arthur Abogadil : Hm, a precise science book, eh? Where is the value of the fine structure constant?

    anthony: Hint – we don’t think the universe was created. Also, common sense is very limited in its scope, that’s why science is so useful.

    Kseniya: Think of a sphere as an ellipsoid with the lengths of its axises being equal.

  112. #112 trj
    May 28, 2007

    It strikes me as rather ironic when a guy like Arthur makes (dubious) claims about the Bible being scientifically correct about a spherical Earth, and thereby “proving” the Bible’s inerrancy, when he is at the same time ignoring passages like the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, etc – stuff that conflicts spectacularly with science.

    Or perhaps we’re not supposed to interpret those passages as scientific? That would be convenient.

  113. #113 PostPwned
    May 29, 2007

    This is how i see it, We as humans have about… say an average of 80 years to live. Our Earth is about 4 billion years old and will continue to exist for billions more. Knowing this, we dont have that long to live so what are we gonna do, live it up… sex, steal, carefree, you know the funn stuff. But this also has a down side pretty soon everyone is gonna start killing each other with all this havoc as history proves. There is no fuking chance that they will listen by just asking them, so a bunch of dooshbags invented “religion”, inducing fear that if you dont obey you will burn in hell. But if your obedient your goin to heaven. Sorta like giving a dog a treat if he sits or rolls over. So anyway, the retards that believed God thought there intensions were good so believed it. Why not believe in something good rather than nothing eh? Im from pakistan but born here, i was taught to believe in Islam let me rephrase that forced to believe in Islam. See thats another thing it all depends on where you were born and lived. If i was born in the UK i would be a christian or in Tibet a Buddist. Well any i can go on and on, on how god is truly the biggest hoax in history. All i can say is that religion did more harm than good. I am a creature of the Earth.

  114. #114 Daniel
    May 30, 2007

    Whats sad is – someone(6th grade teacher without a college education) told all of you accusers about (so-called)science and you just took it as fact instead of coming up with your own solution(doing your own research) or consider the fact that thier actually may be a intelligent creator bigger than your eago! Darwinism is constantly being DIS-proved, yet we teach it as fact. Darwin observed life and came up with an opinion of what “he thought” was how human life came about. If we are constanly evolving then where are all the human/monkeys walking around. Why do we use Carbon Dating to determine how old something is when its based on circular reasoning. Anyway, im shure i will stir up this bees nest, so go ahead and call me ignorent and bash me all you want, but atleast i am smart enough to come up with my own opinion and actually do some research on my own. The main reason i belive in GOD is because i have seen things knowone in this world can explain!! No, not even you.
    http://creationtruth.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CTB&Product_Code=B1015&Category_Code=GB6

  115. #115 G. Shelley
    May 30, 2007

    I am sure Daniel is probably trolling, but perhaps he could explain why he things that the idea that radioactive decay is consistant is circular

  116. #116 Nick
    May 30, 2007

    Funny thing about evolution is, its not true.

    When something mutates it becomes sterile, thus evolving is impossible. I love people who believe in evolution, they have the IQ of a monkey. Science has proven evolution wrong many times

  117. #117 PZ Myers
    May 30, 2007

    Nick and Joe: you’ve never touched a science book in your life, have you?

    We mutate organisms all the time; it happens spontaneously even more often. We not only generate new mutations, we breed them and maintain carrier lines. And you carry a handful of new mutations yourself, as does everyone on the planet. It’s pretty much a certainty that the process of replication will introduce errors. So, are you sterile? Are you defective?

    Joe, the moon is 3.8 x 10^^10 cm away, and receding at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. Try to do the math.

  118. #118 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    Joe, the moon is 3.8 x 10^^10 cm away, and receding at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. Try to do the math.

    for a much more recent and detailed presentation of how the moon and earth interact, there is this:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/moonrec.html

    which does an excellent job of not only explaining how the moon slows the earth’s rotational velocity over time, and why the moon is receeding, but also neatly explains tidal forces as well.

    very nice summary article.

  119. #119 Icthyic
    May 30, 2007

    nick-

    Science has proven evolution wrong many times

    WOW! someone must have gotten a Nobel the first time evolution was proved incorrect and the result published in a peer-reviewed science journal.

    Hell, that must have made the cover of either Science or Nature, and somehow, we all just missed it!

    care to cite the amazing article that changed the entire world of science so that we all dropped the ToE as the most consistent and well tested biological theory of all time?

    btw… another question that interests me even more…

    How on earth do you expect someone to take you seriously when you say REALLY dumbass shit like you just did?

  120. #120 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    keith-

    Ichthyic: Cats certainly are complex …

    *whoosh*

    er, i looked, and I can’t figure out wtf you are referring to at all.

  121. #121 Dumbass
    May 30, 2007

    Try taking your head out of PZ’s ass and stick it in the cat’s ass and I promise you that you will find something.

  122. #122 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    try going back on your meds.

    but then, that would require pulling your head out of your own ass.

  123. #123 Rey Fox
    May 30, 2007

    Ichthyic:

    You in post #227:

    “there ya have it:

    Cat’s tails are irreducibly complex.”

  124. #124 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    ah, thanks rey.

    I was scratching my head furiously over what he was referring to.

    still can’t figure out if his response is meant seriously, as a continuation of the idiotic line of reasoning that spawned the joke to begin with, or is just a random bit of gibberish.

    don’t really feel like wading backwards to figure it out.

    your conclusion?

  125. #125 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    Brace yourself. It probably will not be a monkey.

    hey, if i used an endoscope on a cat, and found a monkey in its rectum, I would count that as evidence for a divine creator with a very sick sense of humor.

    kind of like your sense of humor.

    btw, morphing is grounds for placement in the dungeon:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/plonk.php

    so, keep em coming.

  126. #126 Steve_C
    May 30, 2007

    I thought Nick and Joe were being funny. Satire.

    Guess not.

  127. #127 Rey Fox
    May 30, 2007

    Probably just playing along with the joke in a small way.

  128. #128 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    I thought Nick and Joe were being funny. Satire.

    Guess not.

    so hard to differentiate any more.

    either way, the posts were worthy of derision.

  129. #129 Savvy
    May 30, 2007

    As a Christian I just have to say…

    Quoting Pratchett was the pinacle of the article. Well used quote ;c)

  130. #130 Rey Fox
    May 30, 2007

    “And remember this is a kiddy science fair, what are they gonna come up with that makes any sense?”

    Eighth grade isn’t what I’d call “kiddy”. And just what the hell are you trying to say here? That we should pat them on the back no matter what irrelevant and thoughtless projects they come up with? This is about something called “education”, you might want to look into it.

    “Did you expect a kid to have studied details of the subject he was talking about? ”

    Yes.

    “HE IS A KID, HE BELIEVES WHATEVER HE IS TOLD…”

    And you see nothing wrong with this. Kids being told garbage and believing it. Come to think of it, just what the heck is your point?

  131. #131 Tyler Durden
    May 30, 2007

    Hi guys,

    I’m discussing Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection with a good friend of mine (we’ll call him “Dave”), he understands the basic concepts but is having trouble with the following concept:

    If species X moves out of the water and onto the land for whatever means, what is the spark that moves the genes to enable species X to develop, for example, legs?>

    Without him having to read “The Extended Phenotype” by Dawkins (not his type of book) or something similar, is there a layman’s explanation?

    It is my understanding that over a given timeline, if species X moves from one environment to another, either thru adaptation or mutation, it will be the genes (the extended phenotype) that instigate this “change” in order to survive and adapt.

    The genes have the intelligence to make this change (grow a leg; grow lungs; grow hair) built into them and it is the active replicator that ensures this change happens over the given timeline in order to ensure the survival of species X.

    So, if species X needs legs to survive on land having once lived in the sea, it will be the active replicator that “triggers” the switch in the chromosomes/DNA to ensure this adaptation/mutation starts and continues throughout the species ensuring survival, until it becomes a dead-end replicator.

    “Dave” reckons the intelligence for this change had to come from somewhere, I reckon it’s embedded in the genes themseleves (the alleles?). He’s unsure but knows it’s not God :-)

    Am I on the right track with this? Any help would be most welcome.

    Best regards.

  132. #132 PZ Myers
    May 30, 2007

    No, no, way too elaborate and unsubstantiated.

    This was a case of an exaptation, or what used to be called a preadaptation. The ancestor evolved stouter and stouter limbs first, because they were useful structures in its aquatic environment, where it lived resting on the bottom or in very shallow water. Those strong fins were enough to allow it to also move across the land in a clumsy fashion, and selection continued its job of refining the limb to better support it on land, which enabled it to spend more time on land, which put a premium on selecting for variants that could better cope with the terrestrial environment, which led to their descendants spending more time on land, and so the cycle went.

  133. #133 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 30, 2007

    [Sorry for comment delay – I am currently backtracking.]

    Meaning it could potentially be represented in 3d space…

    No (but a möbius strip can), see Davis’ comment. (Immersion means selfintersection means not connected volume.)

    A sphere inherently includes the concept of volume

    No, in math (as opposed to colloquial use) the ball is the interior of the sphere, and the sphere is the boundary of the ball. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphere , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_%28mathematics%29 )

    It is a terminology confusion, is all.

    Similarly, if one only if one argues that any point on a circle can be described purely in terms of angle, then we are faced with the absurd situation where all circles share the exact same radius, and therefore all circles are not only equivalent, but identical.

    This is confusing metric (“identical”) with topology (“equivalent”).

    For a certain circle, you need only one coordinate to describe traveling around it. Hence it is a 1D object.

    But the angle is confusing, you want travel length around the perimeter (which keeps telling you their size). You consider an already done parametrization, true (thus no radius needed), but using the angle gives a degenerated coordinate as you noted.

    And you need two coordinates of the embedding space if you want to discuss different circles (which gives their placement).

  134. #134 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 30, 2007

    [Sorry for comment delay – I am currently backtracking.]

    Meaning it could potentially be represented in 3d space…

    No (but a möbius strip can), see Davis’ comment. (Immersion means selfintersection means not connected volume.)

    A sphere inherently includes the concept of volume

    No, in math (as opposed to colloquial use) the ball is the interior of the sphere, and the sphere is the boundary of the ball. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphere , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_%28mathematics%29 )

    It is a terminology confusion, is all.

    Similarly, if one only if one argues that any point on a circle can be described purely in terms of angle, then we are faced with the absurd situation where all circles share the exact same radius, and therefore all circles are not only equivalent, but identical.

    This is confusing metric (“identical”) with topology (“equivalent”).

    For a certain circle, you need only one coordinate to describe traveling around it. Hence it is a 1D object.

    But the angle is confusing, you want travel length around the perimeter (which keeps telling you their size). You consider an already done parametrization, true (thus no radius needed), but using the angle gives a degenerated coordinate as you noted.

    And you need two coordinates of the embedding space if you want to discuss different circles (which gives their placement).

  135. #135 Tyler Durden
    May 30, 2007

    “There is no plan that evolution follows that is built into the creature. No hidden intelligence, no grand plan…”

    So, is time the only factor? Given enough time adaptation/mutation will allow a species to move environments?

    How much information is contained within the genes/DNA of any given species that can allow, for example, “strong fins” to evolve into limbs for use on land (i.e. a new environment) given in the example above by PZ Myers.

    My point being: how much of a “mutation” is fin -> limb as opposed to a genetic change (adaptation) from within the species itself?

    Is there a limit to the change? Ruled by the DNA or the environmental change (if any)?

  136. #136 David Marjanovi?
    May 30, 2007

    How much information is contained within the genes/DNA of any given species that can allow, for example, “strong fins” to evolve into limbs for use on land (i.e. a new environment) given in the example above by PZ Myers.

    None. That requires mutations.

    My point being: how much of a “mutation” is fin -> limb as opposed to a genetic change (adaptation) from within the species itself?

    What do you mean by “within the species itself”? Species boundaries are so foggy that some say there is no such thing as a species. Google for “ring species” to get an idea why.

    Is there a limit to the change?

    Evolution can only work with what is there. Wholly new things out of nowhere don’t occur, at least not easily — though keep in mind that what “new” is is defined in terms of developmentary genetics, not in terms of easily visible features of the adult.

  137. #137 David Marjanovi?
    May 30, 2007

    How much information is contained within the genes/DNA of any given species that can allow, for example, “strong fins” to evolve into limbs for use on land (i.e. a new environment) given in the example above by PZ Myers.

    None. That requires mutations.

    My point being: how much of a “mutation” is fin -> limb as opposed to a genetic change (adaptation) from within the species itself?

    What do you mean by “within the species itself”? Species boundaries are so foggy that some say there is no such thing as a species. Google for “ring species” to get an idea why.

    Is there a limit to the change?

    Evolution can only work with what is there. Wholly new things out of nowhere don’t occur, at least not easily — though keep in mind that what “new” is is defined in terms of developmentary genetics, not in terms of easily visible features of the adult.

  138. #138 David Marjanovi?
    May 30, 2007

    So, is time the only factor? Given enough time adaptation/mutation will allow a species to move environments?

    Time, opportunity, good luck (if the required mutations don’t happen, the move to another environment won’t occur), and the absence of constraints (e. g. jellyfish would have to evolve some kind of support and some potential protection against desiccation before they could live on land).

  139. #139 David Marjanovi?
    May 30, 2007

    So, is time the only factor? Given enough time adaptation/mutation will allow a species to move environments?

    Time, opportunity, good luck (if the required mutations don’t happen, the move to another environment won’t occur), and the absence of constraints (e. g. jellyfish would have to evolve some kind of support and some potential protection against desiccation before they could live on land).

  140. #140 David Marjanovi?
    May 30, 2007

    “Dave” reckons the intelligence for this change had to come from somewhere, I reckon it’s embedded in the genes themseleves (the alleles?).

    “Alleles” just means “versions of a gene that have different effects, having arisen by a few mutations from a common ancestor”.

    No, no intelligence. Just mutations that create a diversity, and selection which narrows the diversity down. Blind, and inevitable.

    Incidentally, there is good evidence that legs evolved before our ancestors left the water. Acanthostega and Ichthyostega still had internal gills as adults, for example. Obviously they used them fairly often — otherwise lungs would have been enough.

    (Lungs are a very old feature, but I digress.)

  141. #141 David Marjanovi?
    May 30, 2007

    “Dave” reckons the intelligence for this change had to come from somewhere, I reckon it’s embedded in the genes themseleves (the alleles?).

    “Alleles” just means “versions of a gene that have different effects, having arisen by a few mutations from a common ancestor”.

    No, no intelligence. Just mutations that create a diversity, and selection which narrows the diversity down. Blind, and inevitable.

    Incidentally, there is good evidence that legs evolved before our ancestors left the water. Acanthostega and Ichthyostega still had internal gills as adults, for example. Obviously they used them fairly often — otherwise lungs would have been enough.

    (Lungs are a very old feature, but I digress.)

  142. #142 Tyler Durden
    May 30, 2007

    What do you mean by “within the species itself”?

    Let me rephrase that – My point being: how much of a “mutation” is fin -> limb as opposed to a genetic change (adaptation) from within the specific animal or mammal itself?

    Is there a limit the DNA can mutate/adapt into considering any new “environment”?

  143. #143 Ibon
    May 30, 2007

    I really hope radical Christians control themselves in the future and not make an ass of the rest of us less-radical Christians. It would also be real nice if the parents of the above said kid would be indicted along with all the school staff who supported him. They’re dumbasses.

  144. #144 Stanton
    May 31, 2007

    So, then, Naturally So, can you explain to us why the formation of epsom salt stalactites is a “biology” experiment that can allegedly disprove the idea that populations tend to change with each passing generation, or are you just being a Jesus troll because your pastor commanded you to do so?

  145. #145 Rey Fox
    May 31, 2007

    “Not ONE person…not ONE…here or anywhere else on this planet has the slightest inkling of where life came from.”

    Yes we do.

  146. #146 Steve_C
    May 31, 2007

    “Not ONE person…not ONE…here or anywhere else on this planet has the slightest inkling of where life came from.”

    Really? Someone here has spent too muct time in the confessional.

  147. #147 Ichthyic
    June 1, 2007

    “And remember this is a kiddy science fair, what are they gonna come up with that makes any sense?”

    um, just to compare what “kiddies” are in fact capable of, if allowed to explore science without the imposition of irrationality on top:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/05/evolution_essay.html

    compare that student to the one under discussion in this thread, and then tell me which one will make the better scientist.

  148. #148 Ruphert
    June 4, 2007

    Well everyone knows why cats and dogs hate each other. Back in Egypt was at the high of its power the evil cats were controlling all Egypt, making the humans work as slaves. Finally after many years the humans, embolden by their new allies, the dogs, launched a massive attack against the cats. This strike managed to dislodge the Cats from their positions of power and all mankind was free, with the dogs protecting their sides for the rest of eternity.
    And that’s why cats and dogs ate each other. The cats blame the dogs for their downfall from rulers of the world, and dogs can remember the countless atrocities the world faced at the hands of the cats.
    New World Cats
    EVILS
    Who really inspired Hitler?
    The Real Ninjas

  149. #149 Steve_C
    June 7, 2007

    I think we’ve mostly been criticizing the the adult that are twisting the 1st place winner’s mind. The kid probably thinks he’s on the way to a Nobel Prize now.

  150. #150 Steve_C
    June 7, 2007

    Hehe. Yeah. In the twilight zone.

    Maybe he’s a weapon of mass instruction too.

  151. #151 Steve_C
    June 7, 2007

    You would. Keep prayin’ for that.

  152. #152 CyFi
    July 12, 2007

    “50. Why is blood blue in our veins but turns red when we are cut? If we are cut in a vacuum would the blood stay blue?”

    Blood isn’t blue in the vein. It’s dark red.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood#Color

  153. #153 David Marjanovi?
    July 12, 2007

    Let me rephrase that – My point being: how much of a “mutation” is fin -> limb as opposed to a genetic change (adaptation) from within the specific animal or mammal itself?

    Ah, so you don’t know the meanings of “mutation”, “genetic change”, and “adaptation”.

    Mutation: a change in DNA (no matter if in a gene or outside, but those outside usually don’t matter) by substitution of one base pair in the DNA for another or deletion of a base pair or addition of a base pair. That happens due to copying errors and repair errors.

    Adaptation: This is not a process, it’s the result of another process — natural selection. Those individuals who have the greatest number of fertile offspring in a certain environment are best adapted to that environment. If this is inheritable, sooner or later the whole population will consist of individuals that have inherited this trait — then we say the population has adapted.

    Is there a limit the DNA can mutate/adapt into considering any new “environment”?

    On the DNA level there’s no limit at all.

  154. #154 David Marjanovi?
    July 12, 2007

    Let me rephrase that – My point being: how much of a “mutation” is fin -> limb as opposed to a genetic change (adaptation) from within the specific animal or mammal itself?

    Ah, so you don’t know the meanings of “mutation”, “genetic change”, and “adaptation”.

    Mutation: a change in DNA (no matter if in a gene or outside, but those outside usually don’t matter) by substitution of one base pair in the DNA for another or deletion of a base pair or addition of a base pair. That happens due to copying errors and repair errors.

    Adaptation: This is not a process, it’s the result of another process — natural selection. Those individuals who have the greatest number of fertile offspring in a certain environment are best adapted to that environment. If this is inheritable, sooner or later the whole population will consist of individuals that have inherited this trait — then we say the population has adapted.

    Is there a limit the DNA can mutate/adapt into considering any new “environment”?

    On the DNA level there’s no limit at all.

  155. #155 ann
    September 17, 2007

    This kid is obviously being trained so he can grow up and be in the GWB administration in charge of the “christian science” department (yes, george plans on still being king)…

  156. #156 Sam
    September 24, 2007

    I agree with #475. I have to admit, it is pretty funny, but also depressing if you think about it for a while. It appears that ignorance unfortunatley runs unchecked in the minds of some people. I hate it when people judge us Christians by a small group of radicals.

  157. #157 PattyCov
    September 28, 2007

    I just happened on this link in a search for something else and I just had to take a look. At first I fumed a little but you know, there is something for me to think about here. I homeschool my kids (I’m sure most of you will acuse me of child abuse) and as a Christian (radical in my love for Christ), I believe I must really research “Christian” ideas regarding science. The Bible says that we should not take a teacher’s word for what they teach, but to search the scriptures to see if what they teach lines up with scripture. The same could be said for the aforementioned Science Fair ideas. I didn’t actually click on the link but the ones mentioned in the above posts were “interesting”. In this case, based on what PZ said, obviously the ideas to perform the experiment were taken as factual and not researched properly, perhaps. In any case, if anything, this type of information has caused me to throughly think and research science experiments to make sure the facts are straight. For me, regarding this student’s findings, I believe in creation because of my personal faith in God. Unfortunately, because he didn’t research this well enough (and that could certainly fall in the lap of his teacher and parents), he made a joke in the “science world” and yet another reason to bash believers.

  158. #158 Steve_C
    September 28, 2007

    Creationism is another reason to MOCK believers.

    You know the evidence proves the the bibles account is false.

    But you’ll hold onto that no matter what.

  159. #159 Robert
    November 26, 2007

    Creationism seems to exist foremost for the purpose of proving that God does exist. Anti-creationism seems to exist primarily for the purpose of proving that God does not exist. Neither one is “scientific”. It is boring, however.

  160. #160 Robert
    November 26, 2007

    The main purpose of the Creationist is to prove the existence of God. The main purpose of the Evolutionist is to prove that God doesn’t exist. Neither one is science. Both are boring.

  161. #161 Viewer
    December 3, 2007

    Oh really steve_c… you really believe that the evidence proves the the bibles account is false. Do you explore all data. Or just biased sites that agree with your views. Because I for one explored all sides and found that Christ must exist according to evidence.

  162. #162 massarticle
    April 12, 2008

    He didn’t really disprove the theory of evolution but rather A “proof” that the Earth is milions of years old.
    The stalactite-majig was already dis proven by nature anyways, when a stalactite formed in a couple of years in some cave. This caused the park authorities to change their presentation.

  163. #163 Chris
    July 13, 2008

    There is no evidence for christ existing appart from a few people accounts 2008 years ago.Maybe he was just a scholar or teacher, and people thought he was amazing (gifted not the son of god) I think christians cant accept that there is such a thing as ‘random’ or ‘chance’ so they don’t accept evolution.

  164. #164 Chris
    July 13, 2008

    also, Christians have been cultured for 2008 years to believe in Christianity. There is no christian that has chosen purely by their own choice to believe in God.

  165. #165 Matt
    July 16, 2008

    Just as there is no evolutionist who has simply chosen to believe life evolved from some wet rocks?
    Believing in God is every bit as much an individual’s choice as believing in evolution. Yes, there are outside influences that provide them that choice, but the choice is still there and is their decision to make.

    I continue to stick by my opinion that evolution is as much a disproven theory as creationism is. Both of them require faith to keep them afloat. If there was irrefutable proof in either direction then there would be no discussion. But, there’s no proof. Just some fossils with no “missing links” and a Bible with no one alive to atest to its truth.

    It’s a dead issue that seems to live forever.

  166. #166 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    Matt said:

    Just as there is no evolutionist who has simply chosen to believe life evolved from some wet rocks?
    Believing in God is every bit as much an individual’s choice as believing in evolution. Yes, there are outside influences that provide them that choice, but the choice is still there and is their decision to make.

    That’s a new one. Wet rocks? Where do people get this nonsense from?

    Matt said:

    I continue to stick by my opinion that evolution is as much a disproven theory as creationism is. Both of them require faith to keep them afloat. If there was irrefutable proof in either direction then there would be no discussion. But, there’s no proof. Just some fossils with no “missing links” and a Bible with no one alive to atest to its truth.

    You’re right, there are absolutely no transitional fossils.

    Come on, you can do better than that. Just think, if you have been lied to about there being no transitional fossils, what else have you been lied to about? Hmmn.

    And science doesn’t deal in “irrefutable proof”, but the evidence for evolution comes as close to it as you are likely to find. Do both yourself and the rest of the world a favor – look in to the evidence for evolution.

    If it’s all nonsense it should be easy to refute. But if it isn’t, you are being profoundly disrespectful to God by not only dismissing His method of creation, but contributing to a culture that essentially sticks two fingers up at the very method that your God used to create the diversity of life on earth.

    Think about it.

  167. #167 niuzai033
    December 23, 2009

    Lrg prdcts whlsl sl, prvds cstmrs dmnd

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