Pharyngula

Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance

We’ve got a new Gallup poll on evolution to agonize over. It’s nothing but bad news—we are a nation of uneducated morons. Gary chose to weep over the political correlation: look how membership in the Republican party is tied to ignorance about science.

i-fb41e1b19ddeb31137574fb0f1006fb2-partisanship.gif

The clear majority of Republicans are screwed up. And you know, I’m not too happy with the Democrats, either. These results tell us that the population across the board is messed up, confused, lied to, and festering in ignorance—it’s just that right now the Republican party is a magnet for the stupid.

What’s the cause? Look a little more closely. Here’s another chart that exhibits an even more marked difference.

i-97b54639e5c9084d965c1edc30d16974-church_attendance.gif

Yeah, being a Republican may not be causal, but going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage. This is just a correlation, of course, so how about asking those people who reject evolution why?

%
I believe in Jesus Christ 19
I believe in the almighty God, creator of Heaven and Earth 16
Due to my religion and faith 16
Not enough scientific evidence to prove otherwise 14
I believe in what I read in the Bible 12
I’m a Christian 9
I don’t believe humans come from beasts/monkeys 3
Other 5
No reason in particular 2
No opinion 3

The overwhelming majority credit their religion; the two secular excuses (“not enough scientific evidence” and “we didn’t come from no monkeys”) are common enough phrases among the creationists that I expect a majority of those are ultimately due to religion, too. So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.

Comments

  1. #1 C.S.Strowbridge
    June 11, 2007

    Watch it, you’re going to be called an Angry Atheist. Wear that badge with honor.

  2. #2 Rich
    June 11, 2007

    My girlfriend and I have actually been considering moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Any idea what the level of theistic stupidity is up there?

  3. #3 greensmile
    June 11, 2007

    But, according to no less an authority than Stanley Fish [blogging Sunday in the NYTimes] it is such a refined ignorance that Dawkins, Hitchins and their ilk can not lay a glove on it.. I post my disagreement. Fish is behind a paywall.

  4. #4 M. H.
    June 11, 2007

    I’ve never before had to use the aphorism “the tard, it burns” quite so sincerely.

    PZ, your country really does need you.

    Good luck!

  5. #5 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    40% of Democrats. How depressing is that?

    The majority of Republicans are stupid fucking idiots. This proves it.

  6. #7 chris
    June 11, 2007

    Rich- It’s here but it’s pretty quiet.
    That said, don’t come here, you won’t like it. The people are rude and there’s a pervasive odor of dead fish.
    Kidding. It’s lovely in all sorts of ways.

  7. #8 steverino
    June 11, 2007

    What’s so hard to believe? Look at the last election…how many morons decided to re-elect an administration that lied to them and continues to lie to them.

    Understanding TOE takes some doing, a little bit of ready and some effort. Isn’t it just easier to believe that some supernatural power did it? No hard research, no trying to figure out fossil record, or understanding of DNA or and of that really brain jaring stuff….Oh my head hurts!

    Why should this be any different?

  8. #9 craig
    June 11, 2007

    I wouldn’t mind fleeing to some other country, but it seems nobody is taking the disabled.

  9. #10 sailor
    June 11, 2007

    I really object when people talk about “believing” in evolution. It puts it right on a par with Virgin births and resurrections. Evolution is not a matter of belief it is a matter of understanding the evidence. If someone asked me whether I believed in evolution I would say ” No, you don’t have to believe in evolution it can be demonstrated in a lab.”

    Anyone know what proportion of the population believe in Flying Saucers?

  10. #11 Gerard Harbison
    June 11, 2007

    Its called the freedom of speech.

    No, it’s not. PZ was asking why we’re supposed to ‘respect religion’, not advocating we suppress religious speech..

    Even though you’re a complete idiot, I will defend to the death your right to promote your idiocy. Is that too sophisticated a concept for you?

  11. #12 chris rattis
    June 11, 2007

    Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.

    We’d be charged with terrorism and hate crimes. Meanwhile it will still be ok for them to demonstrate outside of women’s health clinics.

  12. #13 Gerard Harbison
    June 11, 2007

    On the bright side, PZ, the average Republican presidential candidate is more likely to believe in evolution than the average Democratic voter.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. #14 histrogeek
    June 11, 2007

    After working myself into a tizzy over the poll about Joe Camel, then the Holocaust Denial poll in the mid 90’s, I feel a big ho-hum over this poll. So often these polls are conduct with misleading (unintentional in the case of Gallup) or poorly worded questions or the respondents just didn’t understand what the implicatiton of the question was. I’ve worked as a questioner on several scientific surveys and I can say without hesistation that it isn’t uncommon to get responses you know are the result of misunderstanding, but protocol forbids follow-ups.
    It’s possible that we have a shockingly large number of morons, but it’s equally possible that the question elicited responses not in line with the real beliefs. But if everyone wants to panic, feel free.

  14. #15 mikmik
    June 11, 2007

    Strangely enough, you get the exact same results if you substitute ‘pro wrestling’ for ‘evolution’

  15. #16 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Sorry Peanut Gallery, but freedom of speech also entails the freedom to say “So-and-so is a lying git and a crass bulshitter. Neither Jehovah, Zeus, or Triglav exist. Here’s why you should stop listening to So-and-so….”

    Unfortunately, it has been the religious who have excelled at book-burning, the labelling, torture and execution of ‘heretics’ and so forth.

    Nice inclusion of ‘Gestapo.’ I see you kept at least one history book out of the fireplace.

  16. #17 Richard Schauer
    June 11, 2007

    Utterly staggering statistics, PZ. It’s like a watching a reality show based on Leon Festinger’s book “The Failed Prophesy” with Jesus as the UFOs. An entire nation with cognitive dissonance waiting for a prophet that will never show…what a pity.

    I agree, we need a health-alert from the Surgeon General on religious brainwashing.

  17. #18 jba
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery:

    Whats your point? Saying ‘damnable’ isnt covered by freedom of speech?

  18. #19 cm
    June 11, 2007

    I wonder how many Americans believe that if things go very fast, they get longer.

  19. #20 Gerard Harbison
    June 11, 2007

    PZ said religion was damnable.

    Damn all religion!

    QED.

  20. #21 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    “I wonder how many Americans believe that if things go very fast, they get longer.”

    I suppose it depends on the context, cm: relativity or sexuality?

  21. #22 Back to the Subject
    June 11, 2007

    So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

    Answer:

    Many do respect it.

  22. #23 Jim Royal
    June 11, 2007

    The real problem here is not so much the public ignorance of science — this is certainly something that needs to be addressed — but rather, the problem is the now-common arrogant assumption that one can make intelligent decisions without information.

    Expertise has become devalued. In the past, lay people might not have agreed with a scientific viewpoint, but they generally weren’t so arrogant that they would assume to know the subject better. Experts were, at one time, more respected as sources of reliable information than they are today. Now, expertise is dismissed as just another opinion.

    The TV news media have a part to blame for this, by refusing to question while simultaneously selling uninformed opinion as newsworthy.

    Some religions have a part to blame for this by not valuing education and free inquiry.

    American culture has a large part to blame for this, for creating and promoting heroes and idols that are brainless. Who was the last wildly popular American fictional character who used his brain? Mister Spock? In 1968?

    Not everyone needs or wants to know about evolution. But everyone needs to know where reliable information can be found. And in America today, there is precious little reliable information available about anything.

  23. #24 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    Atheism is not purely negative. It is sanity. It is normality.

    Being honest with oneself about one’s miniscule importance in the universe is one of the best lessons a person can learn in life.

    Manufactured belief in god is about the most negative thing I can imagine, especially when I consider the violence religion can breed and the ignorance religon fosters.

  24. #25 Dono
    June 11, 2007

    You’re absolutely wrong, Piece of Advice. Where do you get the idea atheists have “only one issue”? A god-belief is hardly required to tackle life’s everyday problems; those of us who aren’t superstititious deal with the same issues everyone does. The difference is that we solve those problems with logic, and empathy, and an awareness of the here-and-now.

    Pastors don’t have a monopoly on offering “emotional help” for people’s pain. Anyone who cares about his fellow humans can do the same. What’s more, we non-believers are motivated by the golden rule, not some imaginary eternal reward.

  25. #26 Brownian
    June 11, 2007
    So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

    Answer:

    Many do respect it.

    That doesn’t answer the question why.

  26. #27 ckerst
    June 11, 2007

    The only way it will ever change is if belief in idiotic fairy tales somehow impacts corporate income. Let the bottom line suffer and heads will roll.

  27. #28 Rey Fox
    June 11, 2007

    #25:

    And look where it gets them. Propagating lies and ass-backwards science (fitting evidence to a conclusion, rather than fitting a conclusion to the evidence). We don’t respect that, and we don’t have to.

  28. #29 Robert
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery: You are a troll. You have so far tried to twist the topic into a free speech argument (which is idiotic, the first amendment pertains to goverment censoring of speech, not scientific condemnation of stupidity) and have twice said all atheists are negative people who do no good, which is an extremely broad generalization that can easily be proven to be false.

    Please close your mouth, the stuff that is coming out is making this place smell.

  29. #30 Kent Kauffman
    June 11, 2007

    I apoligize in advance for feeding the troll.

    Peanut gallery, promoting stupidity is not doing good for the community. And remember, jesus made history disturbing the community, since you seem like a member of his cult.

  30. #31 dogmeatib
    June 11, 2007

    Its called the freedom of speech. I am sure you would like the Atheist Gestapo but it is not likely in a democratic society like ours. Don’t fault the religionist just because they are better educators than you.

    How are “religionists” better educators? Most Americans haven’t read much, if any, of the bible, they don’t go to church very often, and if you asked them to quote a passage in the bible or explain its meaning, they couldn’t do so. You have have better educators, you have an indoctrination system where young children are told year in and year out that following Christianity will save their soul, etc. etc. They face ostracism if they don’t conform at best, eternal damnation (from their point of view) at worst.

    I’m not anti-religious, but claiming that they’re better educators is the reason why religion has the impact is has is just laughable.

  31. #32 Kent Kauffman
    June 11, 2007

    Back to the topic, though. How about just passing out flyers by churches? Anyone know of a good pro science/evolution template?

  32. #33 Jefe
    June 11, 2007

    My point is that unless you seek to restrict someone’s freedom of speech you do better creating your own educational institution instead of trying to disturb people that do more good for the community in one week than atheist do in a lifetime. -Peanut Gallery

    Tell that to Warren Buffet, non-theist philanthropist who is donating $30+million of his personal fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Or to Bill Gates, for that matter, who is arguably non-religious and does a great deal of charitable work – with no strings attached.

  33. #34 sailor
    June 11, 2007

    “Atheists are have only one issue, and one issue only and its purely negative”
    Negative can sometimes be positive as when you stop believing mental illness is caused by demons, you stop believing that covering yourself with leeches will cure all ills, you stop believing maturbation will cause blindness and you stop believing in an invisible entity in the sky that is watching your every move.
    Since atheism is not believing in something dumb, there should not even be a word for it. The word should be entirely ont the other foot as it were.
    For the same reason atheism does not define people, it is just one small attribute normally meaning they are somewhat educated and living in th real world. So atheists will come in all stripes.

  34. #35 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Sorry Piece of Advice, but don’t need to identify our good works to the great accountant in the sky.

    Furthermore, are you claiming that pastors do their job solely to ‘help hurting families’? If so, you completely fail to understand proselytisation or evangelism.

    To Critical Thinker: 15% of the US population identified themselves as having “no relion” in 2001. (http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris/aris_index.htm) Subtract 15% from 100% and you get 85%, not 98%.

  35. #36 commissarjs
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery says,

    My point is that unless you seek to restrict someone’s freedom of speech you do better creating your own educational institution instead of trying to disturb people that do more good for the community in one week than atheist do in a lifetime.

    Pardon me while I guffaw at you.

    1) /guffaw

    2) That is a very long run-on sentence with what appears to be 3 topics.

    3) I think you can safely rest assured that no mean old atheists are going to be restricting your freedom of speech.

    4) What educational institutions are you talking about?

    5) Why are you spying on me? You must be spying on me to know that I do absolutely nothing to help other people. Are you the one flying those black helicopters and putting tracking devices in my money!?

  36. #37 Jon
    June 11, 2007

    I think a large part of “disbelief” in evolution comes from bad mathematics education. Not that the education is bad (though it is, in many cases), but that people are just bad at math or aren’t mathematically minded. To me, evolution is one of the more obvious scientific facts; you can tell just by thinking about it in basic probabilistic terms that it should be right–and indeed, how else but this did Darwin come up with it? Darwin didn’t even understand genetics.

    @Critical Thinker

    Sorry, but the truth value of something doesn’t depend on how nice you say it.

  37. #38 Shawn Wilkinson
    June 11, 2007

    Don’t fault the religionist just because they are better educators than you.

    They can definitely teach better than us. Sadly, it seems they are capable of only teaching confusion, ignorance, and outright lies. If we only adapt our teaching methods to include burning in hell for not doing ones math or science homework, perhaps the kiddos would learn to fear the man in the glossy lab coat.

  38. #39 blf
    June 11, 2007

    PZ wrote (emphasis added):

    we are a nation of uneducated morons.

    Uh, no, it’s the USA which is “a nation of uneducated morons”. Please don’t insult most of humanity based on a survey of a one cesspit.

  39. #40 Jefe
    June 11, 2007

    …sorry….

    That should be $30 Billion + donated by Warren Buffet to the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation – a non-religious foundation who’s goal is improved health and learning for the global community. They currently list an endowment of $33.4 Billion for philanthropic ventures in the global community.

    Atheists do give back to the community in demonstrable large numbers of dollars and person-hours.

  40. #41 Jon
    June 11, 2007

    @Jefe

    “Tell that to Warren Buffet, non-theist philanthropist who is donating $30+million of his personal fortune”

    30 million? Try 30 BILLION.

  41. #42 Gerard Harbison
    June 11, 2007

    Tell that to Warren Buffet, non-theist philanthropist who is donating $30+million

    Not million. Billion.

  42. #43 Jim Royal
    June 11, 2007

    Can you name an Atheist institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years?

    Off the top of my head, the Gates Foundation. I was going to add Doctors Without Borders, but they are 35 years old.

  43. #44 Jim Lippard
    June 11, 2007

    “Can you name an Atheist institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years?

    No?

    Exactly my point.”

    There are plenty of secular, nonreligious organizations that do such things. AmeriCares, PATH, United Food Bank, Handi-Dogs, and Save the Family Foundation of Arizona are five that this atheist has contributed money or time to in the last year.

  44. #45 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    There is nothing positive in calling someone stupid for having a differing viewpoint.

    ever hear the term: Marginalization?

    yes, there IS positive value in using epithets correctly.

    it just hasn’t been done LONG enough yet, as religion specifically has mostly been considered “untouchable”.

    Dawkins is doing fantastic work breaking that down, and getting folks to question why religion is given “special” status.

    so is PZ.

    valuable efforts to widen the breadth of discussion, if not the only avenues that are being pursued, certainly.

  45. #46 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    But if you insists on thinking so then its no wonder why atheists have historically been in the minority.

    Actually, that’s because for centuries the church was not above torturing and murdering those it believed to have heretical beliefs.

    With such a poor understanding of history, I would really wonder who taught you?

  46. #47 Opisthokont
    June 11, 2007

    I continue to be troubled by the wording: “do you believe in evolution”? I have been compiling a list of snarky answers to that question (which I have been asked, on occasion). In the context of this poll, the intention is clear enough, but it still is an unfortunate phrasing. Personally, I do not believe in evolution. I believe that observation, experiment, and inference are sufficient to understand the natural world. These have shown the evolution of life on Earth to be a fact; there is no belief involved there.

    As for Rich’s question, I am an American atheist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and so far I have no complaints. In fact, I am in turns appalled and horrified every time that I return to the States, at how pervasive is the influence of religion there. It is simply not an issue here. To put it into perspective, in one recent national election, the candidate most outspoken about his religious adherence lost by a landslide: people thought it suspicious that he had to make such a point out of going to church. Canadian politics is not without its problems, but religion is a comparatively small component of them.

  47. #48 Shawn Wilkinson
    June 11, 2007

    So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

    Who said we respect it? I’ve engineered my toilet to allow me to urinate on whatever religious symbol I have chosen for the occasion.

    But in all seriousness, could our hidden angst be due in part from our reliance on tax dollars to fund grants which pay our jobs? I don’t read too many articles, papers, or books by corporate scientists defending science or science education. This is something to take note of…

    Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.

    The liberal inside me has been ignited now. I think education is not a right of the parent but a right for the child, a right that is to be protected by the government. This right includes teaching them correct science, correct history, and overall how to be a better citizen in a pluralistic society.

    I wonder how many religious fanatics I just upset with the above statement?

  48. #49 Sailor
    June 11, 2007

    “There is nothing positive in calling someone stupid for having a differing viewpoint.”
    No, but is quite satisfying, especially when we are not talking about differing viewpoints, but irrational beliefs. And here is the thing. If you do it enough, having not done it all previously, people begin to take notice and think. Getting people to think instead of believe is the key.

  49. #50 Nic
    June 11, 2007

    Well I don’t know any atheists that have felt the need to separate themselves but will have likely volunteered with secular organizations such as:

    — The Sierra Club
    — Planned Parenthood
    — Local Counseling/Suicide Hotlines
    — Soup kitchens/Homeless shelters
    — Peace Corps
    — Big Sisters Big Brothers

  50. #51 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Warren Buffet is an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    not nearly as different as an evangelical xian and an agnostic.

  51. #52 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    The religionists (which you call stupid) are ironically better educators than you, not only now, but throughout history. You do well to learn from them.

    You have got to be kidding!

    Think before you spout your nonsense.

    Maybe you meant that they are better propagandists (which is true).

    I have to give them credit for that. Jesus, for example, is one of the best propaganda figures ever invented.

    Jeeesus wuvs you!

    Yum, yum, me stupid, me eat up the religionist propaganda. Me shut down brain. Me happy.

  52. #53 Nic
    June 11, 2007

    Atheist you want, cranky one… Again, I think being separate seems to promote some sort of agenda.

    http://www.americanhumanist.org/chapters/
    http://www.atheistvolunteers.org/

  53. #54 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    But your answer affirms that there are NO atheist institutions that offer help to hurting families.

    actually, no it doesn’t.

    why not do a search on how many NGO’s have established positions as atheists, THEN figure out how many of those are dedicated to humanitarian causes, eh?

    now match that to the percentage of the population (in the US) that purports to actually be atheist (hint: less than 15%), and you might get a better answer to your question that is based on fact, instead of your idiotic rhetoric.

  54. #55 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Warren Buffet is an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    You say that pretty definitively, Patrick.

    Are you sure Warren just doesn’t claim agnosticism to avoid the stigma attached to atheism, kinda like how Bill Clinton admitted to smoking a joint but “didn’t inhale”?

  55. #56 Jim Lippard
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery: You seem to think that atheism is like a religion, an institution that atheists belong to. It’s not–it’s nothing more than an absence of belief in gods or disbelief in gods. Why should assistance for families or any other kind of charity be tied to the promotion of atheism (or vice versa)?

    We don’t see the world the way you do. We don’t provide aid contingent upon the recipient listening to a sermon or evangelism.

  56. #57 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Atheists sitting at home posting blogs that call 98% of the population stupid.

    Quite revealing.

    quite a strawman.

    btw, we write books too.

  57. #58 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    I’ve told you already that 98% is incorrect, and provided evidence for it.

    If you’ve got evidence for your claim that 98% of the population is religious then pony up.

    Otherwise, use the correct data, or don’t say anything at all.

  58. #59 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Patrick, aka Critical Thinker won’t respond to my comments.

    He knows I know his game.

    Quite cowardly.

  59. #60 Glenn Peters
    June 11, 2007

    Don’t fault the religionist just because they are better educators than you.

    I think you mean “better at indoctrination”.

    I think education is not a right of the parent but a right for the child, a right that is to be protected by the government.

    Hear, hear! That’s a nicely concise way of expressing an opinion I’ve been trying to clarify for a while now.

  60. #61 LCR
    June 11, 2007

    #56: “Warren Buffet is an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.”

    Splitting hairs. Atheists and agnostics are both non-believers or “non-theists”. Any philosophical differences between the two groups are miniscule compared to their shared differences with theists.

  61. #62 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    Atheists sitting at home posting blogs that call 98% of the population stupid.

    Atheists working in educational institutions where they work very hard to help educate this nation’s populace and help kids to overcome some of the gross ignorance they imbibe at home and in their communities.

  62. #63 JD
    June 11, 2007

    So Peanut Gallery thinks the right to be educated is communist. That explains a lot as I’m quite sure he wouldn’t want to tar himself as a pinko commie. Instead he blissfully enjoys the god given freedom to be an absolute dumb ass.

  63. #64 Rey Fox
    June 11, 2007

    “Warren Buffet is an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.”

    Ooh, a devastating counterattack! Point is, Warren Buffet doesn’t give because he wants to score points with some deity.

    Neither do those secular organizations. They might not be nominally atheistic, but they don’t exist to proselytize for religion nor is their express purpose to give because it says so in their holy book.

    But I sense that all that doesn’t matter to the trolls, who seem to care only about what team someone is on, and will slander based on that.

    “The conversation easily degenerates into who can insult the other party more cleverly.”

    And at this point, you should just run home and cry to Mommy.

  64. #65 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    But your answer affirms that there are NO atheist institutions that offer help to hurting families.

    The U.S. Governmment used to be non-religious, until the fundies got a hold of it. You didn’t have to worry about being subjected to brainwashing in order to receive a hand out.

    Too bad those days are gone.

  65. #66 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Sounds like communism to me.

    for some reason, I can picture most things you disagree with to sound like “communism” to you.

    here’s one for your scrapbook:

    You’re an idiot.

    see how well that works, when there is supporting evidence?

  66. #67 Rey Fox
    June 11, 2007

    What exactly are we ignorant of, PG?

  67. #68 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    If history is any indicator, the atheists do not stand a chance.

    you don’t know your history very well.

    prediction:

    you will immediately come back and tell us that the evolution of communism in the USSR was all about atheism.

    am I wrong?

  68. #69 Sara
    June 11, 2007

    Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse. – Them’s fightin’ words, PZ! ๐Ÿ™‚

    @42 – aren’t semantic and/or circular word games maddening? It’s all they have.

  69. #70 Dahan
    June 11, 2007

    OK a little aside here, but a pet peeve of mine. WHY must people continue to do grafts, etc using the colors red and green, when it is well known that about 8% of men are red/green colorblind? Why not blue and yellow? orange and green, anything but the two most commonly problematic colors? Sorry, I personally can see the difference even though I am slightly colorblind, but I have to look closer than most. Most every other male in my family would be lost. Why this obsession with graph makers with these colors?

  70. #71 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Non religious is completely different than atheistic.

    no, it’s not.

    define atheism for us, if you would. perhaps that is where your logic train wrecked?

  71. #72 Anton Mates
    June 11, 2007

    Secular is not the same as atheist.

    It is when you’re talking about institutions. An atheist doesn’t believe that God exists. A secular institution doesn’t claim or assume that God exists. Same thing.

    You seem to be looking for a charitable institution that only admits atheists, or an institution that packages atheist evangelism along with its charitable work, but most atheists don’t roll that way. They prefer to do good alongside anyone who wants to help.

    The church down the street had a secular activity last week, but I doubt they were condoning atheism.

    Then they’re not secular.

    But your answer affirms that there are NO atheist institutions that offer help to hurting families.

    Uh, previously you wanted “an Atheist institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years.” Even trolls need to be consistent.

  72. #73 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    I guess this is the time PZ deletes all my comments and keeps everyone’s hate on.

    yes, now that we’ve clearly shown you to be an idiot, feel free to now play the victim card before you inevitably run away with your tail betwixt your legs.

    won’t stop us from laughing at you, though.

  73. #74 JD
    June 11, 2007

    Who’s mad Peanut? Looks like objective interpretation of the evidence you’ve provided to me.

    You keep raising this stupid atheist charities canard. Some have been presented, there are a few more that brand themselves explicitly atheist. There aren’t many, so what? There isn’t much of a multiplicity for each specific religious denomination either, but again so what? There are a large number of religious based charities, many atheists give to them just the same. There are an even larger number of non-religious charities, many atheists and theists alike give to them. Your assertion would seem to be atheists aren’t charitable because there aren’t any atheist charities which is not only false but plain stupid. By your own “logic”, non-religious people would be the most charitable of all since there are so many non-religious charities.

    Nice job there skippy…

  74. #75 Dahan
    June 11, 2007

    Oh,

    P.S. Peanut Gallery, you aren’t an idiot ( I don’t think) but you are SERIOUSLY delusional, poorly informed and unintentionally harming not only America, but the world. Good thing is, you can do something about that. Bad news is, it’s hard work. Good luck.

    P.P.S. This from a former Atheist in a Foxhole…although I could never admit it when I was serving in the Corps.

  75. #76 Bill Bruce
    June 11, 2007

    Atheist charities in the last 20 years? How about this one?

    http://earthward.org/mission.shtml

  76. #77 Manly Tears
    June 11, 2007

    Good grief, that’s just what this sad topic needs, trolls.

  77. #78 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    SERIOUSLY delusional, poorly informed and unintentionally harming not only America, but the world.

    Idiot sums that up for me.

    takes up less space, too.

  78. #79 hris
    June 11, 2007

    On a bright note. We are one of two dire threats to christians. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070611/ap_on_re_us/southern_baptists;_ylt=ApobzTMuRrJol.6VQFbhpJ47Xs8F

  79. #80 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Playing basketball is a non-religious activity this does not mean that those who play basketball are condoning atheism.

    do you know what non-sequitor means?

  80. #81 Azkyroth
    June 11, 2007

    I believe Peanut Gallery and Critical Thinker have made it abundantly clear that they’re not interested in an honest discussion and have no regard for intellectual honesty whatsoever. Given that, why on earth is anyone responding to their babbling?

  81. #82 Leni
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery, quoting PZ, freaking out over the impending denial of his or her free speech, wrote:

    So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

    (Emphasis from the Peanut Gallery’s repost)

    Peanut- this may come as a terrible shock to you, but in the real world nothing actually happens when you refer to something as “damnable”. The thing being described will not actually be damned, see, it’s just an expression of contempt.

    Second, what the hell does that have to do with free speech?

  82. #83 Fernando Magyar
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery: I live in Miami Florida so I’ll point you to a local example of an atheist who does quite a bit to help those that are less fortunate than he.
    http://www.iheu.org/node/2203
    People like him make me feel a little better about living in Florida. As for you, go stand in the corner you little twit.

  83. #84 Peanut Gallery
    June 11, 2007

    Your assertion would seem to be atheists aren’t charitable because there aren’t any atheist charities which is not only false but plain stupid.

    Nope, my affirmation was that religionist do more good in a week that atheist do in a year. Quite a differenct caricature, is it not?

    Besides it was merely a passing statement, you are the one that got hung up on it. Its almost like I pressed on an open sore.

  84. #85 Rey Fox
    June 11, 2007

    Raging mad? That’s a hoot coming from the guy spoiling for a fight in comment #77 and saying that we “don’t stand a chance”. But by all means, leave the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat.

  85. #86 JD
    June 11, 2007

    Nope, my affirmation was that religionist do more good in a week that atheist do in a year. Quite a differenct caricature, is it not?

    Not really, what did you base that assertion on oh logically challenged one?

  86. #87 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    Here you go, peanut:

    Great Southern Humanist Society

    http://humanism.meetup.com/164/

    Look what they were up to last November:

    Hi everyone!

    The November Meetup is in a very early and tentative phase as we are waiting for more information on volunteering for the GPD feed the needy program in conjunction with the HCSO.

    Prior years have required volunteers to package and prepare food for those who are elderly or infirm and cannot get out to a hearty meal. We are also under the impression that delivery volunteers will also be needed.

    Put that in your gallery and smoke it.

  87. #88 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Besides it was merely a passing statement, you are the one that got hung up on it. Its almost like I pressed on an open sore.

    do you know what projection means?

  88. #89 JimV
    June 11, 2007

    Can you name an Atheist institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years?
    Posted by: Piece of Advice | June 11, 2007 06:02

    Can you name a Physicist institution solely dedicated … yada, yada, yada?

    No? Then that must mean physicists are not caring people.

    Do you see the error in logic here, PoA?

    (When I donated to relief efforts after 9/11, the tsunami, and Katrina I considered myself part of humanity as a whole. I looked for effective, secular organizations to contribute to, and did not care what the organization founders believed, as long as it did not get in the way of relief efforts. Nor did I care what the beliefs of other donators were. I did not consider it to be a competition.)

  89. #90 JD
    June 11, 2007

    Physics is not opposing to Christianity neither is it a worldview.

    Ha! Try telling that to the YECs enjoying your new Creation Science museum. LOL…

  90. #91 Manly Tears
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery, it’s sad to see that people are giving so much power to you trolls by responding. A normal person in your place would have shut his mouth in shame a long time ago. By the way, you’re not using the word “religionist” correctly.

  91. #92 Peanut Gallery
    June 11, 2007

    They love it.

    I am glad to be of assistance to them.

  92. #93 Rey Fox
    June 11, 2007

    And why would this person shut his mouth in shame if there were no one around to shame him?

  93. #94 Manly Tears
    June 11, 2007

    Atheism and theism(viz Chrisitianity) are two opposing worldviews.

    Maybe you mean humanism or secularism, because using Atheism in that context makes as much sense as saying that not believing in mermaids or the easter bunny is a worldview. Or maybe I’m giving you too much credit and you actually are as dull-witted as you appear to be.

  94. #95 Critical Thinker
    June 11, 2007

    That’s a pretty clumsy strawman.

    Do you not at least affirm that theism (a belief in God) and atheism (a non-belief in God) are opposing worldviews?

  95. #96 Christian Burnham
    June 11, 2007

    To a first approximation this data clearly shows that religion and science are anti-correlated.

  96. #97 Inoculated Mind
    June 11, 2007

    On the bright side, PZ, the average Republican presidential candidate is more likely to believe in evolution than the average Democratic voter.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Best. Comment.

  97. #98 Manly Tears
    June 11, 2007

    Theism describes what a person believes, and Atheism describes what she doesn’t believe. The word would be meaningless if there were no theists, so if something here is a straw-man, it’s ascribing positive beliefs to not being a theist.

  98. #99 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    That’s a pretty clumsy strawman.

    it’s not a strawman at all. you need to look that word up too.

    Do you not at least affirm that theism (a belief in God) and atheism (a non-belief in God) are opposing worldviews?

    which, of course, missed his point entirely. He said that atheism simply isn’t a worldview at all.

    do you know what a worldview even is?

  99. #100 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    ah, manly nailed it too.

  100. #101 RamblinDude
    June 11, 2007

    I guess I pretty much missed it, but here’s my two cents.

    Your probably trolls but just in case your not: What part of ‘Atheism is not a religion’ don’t you understand? We do not have religious mentality. Being free minded and brave enough to face the world as it actually is, we tend to be independent and not seek security by huddling ourselves together and looking to our fellow primates for approval. We don’t get our highs from group hugs and worship-orgasms. And, quite often, we don’t care if anyone knows about our good deeds. We’re not an association that you have to commit to, donate to, make promises to, focus your attention on everyday and several times on Sunday, reward in any way, etc. There are no membership dues–of any kind.

    Not wanting to, or feeling the need to worship anyone or anything does not make us an organization–it makes us individuals.

    If atheists have become more vocal it’s because of the necessity to counteract imperious evangelism. If the Moral Majority-God pushers would keep their noses out of other people’s business, stop trying to stick ‘God’ into every sentence of the constitution, and stop sabotaging actual truth-seeking endeavors–like science–with ancient Hebrew mythology, then they would merely be quaint. And we wouldn’t be quarrelsome.

  101. #102 RamblinDude
    June 11, 2007

    Dang it, I meant “You’re probably trolls but just in case you’re not”

  102. #103 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    I will also tell to the atheists enjoying the evolution museums.

    we have evolution museums now?

    news to me.

    only creationists need to devote an entire museum to their shared stupidity.

    closest thing I can recall is that there are some fossil museums.

    somehow, I don’t think atheists were specifically involved in their production, however.

  103. #104 eewolf
    June 11, 2007

    After Katrina, my niece’s nursing class collected supplies and money (and contributed themselves). A group then headed to Mississippi. I filled a trailer and my pickup with supplies and joined their caravan. This was a secular mission and the people in the group were of various beliefs.

    We arrived in Gulfport and went to a church which had become a relief center. There was a group from North Carolina there and they had set up a kitchen and tents and work crews.

    We were turned away because we were not all christians and we refused to split up into 2 groups (by gender). This was done by the visiting group, the local church people were very helpful. We ended up setting up our own aid station and worked 2 days. Religion wasn’t required. It never came up.

    I then hooked up with a group (SOS) which didn’t care a bit about my beliefs and helped move supplies into New Orleans.

    This is, of course, is just one experience. There are many people who help others. The idea that one group does more than others is ridiculous.

    And as said previously, an atheist helping out is there just to help, no strings attached. It is not a religion, we don’t evangelize the downtrodden and burdened. There are religious folk who help selflessly, too.

    The difference would seem to be that there are no atheist groups that band together exclusively to help in these situations.

    One more thing: the word “educated” has been misused above. Successful passing of erroneous information is not education, it is brain-washing. It is nothing to be proud of.

  104. #105 Sailor
    June 11, 2007

    “If atheists have become more vocal it’s because of the necessity to counteract imperious evangelism. If the Moral Majority-God pushers would keep their noses out of other people’s business, stop trying to stick ‘God’ into every sentence of the constitution, and stop sabotaging actual truth-seeking endeavors–like science–with ancient Hebrew mythology, then they would merely be quaint. And we wouldn’t be quarrelsome.”

    Well said!

    And trolls, thanks for a little entertainment. And No Atheism is not a world-view it is not believing in gods. It does not correlate with much, except most of us probably also don’t believe in fairies, flying saucers, or wo like Sixpack Chopra.

  105. #106 choosinganonymity
    June 11, 2007

    Way at the top is a comment about pastors helping families. May I share my story. My family was having issues- serious ones. The adults were blaming the child- me, in this case. I was hauled into a pastor’s office (who I did not know) and he spent the better part of the time talking to me about reading Proverbs. If I read Proverbs I would not be so willful and disobedient, and then my adults would not have to be so hard on me. I was twelve. When I was older and again was having problems, my church pastor CAME TO MY SCHOOL to tell me to return home, my parents loved me and I needed to respect them- with one of my parents. Yeah. Unfortunately my parents had not told him exactly what had happened the night I left and because I was ashamed (which seems absolutely stupid now) I didn’t make a scene. Honoring one’s parents and authority and all that.

    Spare the rod and spoil the child was not a parenting technique I bought into as a parent myself. I read Dare to Discipline by Dobson (as a kid- don’t ask) and it seemed to me to give a parent permission to beat kids into submission. I am not perfect, but neither are my kids running away and messing up their lives because of some pastor who lays the burden of family harmony on a CHILD. Or my actions.

    I won’t even begin to tell you stories I have heard from women who were counseled to stay with their abusive spouses because divorce was not allowed in their religion. Nor will I bore you with the lack of support many divorcees receive from their pastors, and how when rumours in the form of “prayer requests” start going around, the pastor who was contacted did not want to upset those who contributed lots of money. Cuz then they might leave and he might be stuck with the poor people. Never look a gift horse in the mouth may not be in the bible, but it is certainly practiced religiously….

  106. #107 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    yeah, we hadn’t even started on the counter argument to:

    “religious institutions are providing all charity!”

    sorry to hear of your story, but know that you are far from alone.

    more and more people are starting to associate religious indoctrination with it being essentially child abuse of a mental fashion, let alone the physical abuses that have been associated with it over the last centuries.

    I’m sure I speak for all when I say I’m happy you survived.

  107. #108 Carlie
    June 11, 2007

    Fish is behind a paywall.

    This won’t help everyone here, but the Times does allow free access to the restricted section to people with .edu email addresses here

  108. #109 Rick T
    June 11, 2007

    “Nope, my affirmation was that religionist do more good in a week that atheist do in a year. Quite a differenct caricature, is it not?”

    Leaving aside the falicy of your statement which you can’t prove and are not willing to prove I will remind you of all the good things done by you religionists.

    Bilking the poor of millions (Binny Hinn and any of his kind) and spending it on lavish lifestyles, vacations, etc.
    Pretending to fund orphanages then after the photo-op taking down the sign and pocketing the money (20/20 I think).
    Molesting countless children and allowing it to happen for decades.
    Teaching abstinence to the poor in Africa as AIDS prevention and prohibiting condoms (meanwhile thousands get infected and die)
    I could go on but what good would it so. It seems you don’t want to listen to reason or respond in a reasonable manner. Just childishness. But there really isn’t any way for you to make sense out of what you believe because its all based on make believe.
    Good luck keeping your blinders on.

  109. #110 Leni
    June 11, 2007

    eewolf wrote:

    The difference would seem to be that there are no atheist groups that band together exclusively to help in these situations.

    I don’t know of any offhand either, but I haven’t bothered to look. In any case, I think you about summed it up nicely. I was just talking to a friend of mine who read this thread and said “It’s like asking why there aren’t any organizations of astrology non-believers banding together to feed the needy.”

    When I got to the point that I could afford to give I looked for secular relief organizations.

    I therefore chose the ACLU.

    (JOKE!! I do give to them… As well as other secular groups like Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, a local gay rights group and a local community center. I specifically chose them because of their careful avoidance of overt religiousity, and because they actively fight some of the bad effects of said religiousity- not because these groups made proclamations of atheism. That isn’t why I give so I didn’t bother to look for it when I chose them.)

  110. #111 Wolfhound
    June 11, 2007

    “Nope, my affirmation was that religionist do more good in a week that atheist do in a year. Quite a differenct caricature, is it not?”

    Hmmm…Lessee here…I submit that atheists do more good in a week than, say, the New Jersey Crested Lemming Breeders Association do in a year. Probably because THERE ARE MORE ATHEISTS THAN THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE NJCLBA, you incredible twit! And, unlike the NJCLBA members, atheists are likely to be persecuted by those wonderfully charitable Christians for openly declaring their position. I mean, affection for cute, furry critters is hardly cause for hatred (even among the anti-rodent crowd)as opposed to not believing in somebody’s lifelong delusion.

    Stupid fucking troll…

  111. #112 Carlie
    June 11, 2007

    Not to mention that for all the money donated to charity by religious organizations, to have an honest balance sheet you really need to subtract all of the money they take in that’s used for other purposes, such as refurbishing the sanctuary, paying all the salaries, buying all the Sunday School curricula, donated to political campaigns, oh, and the property tax that the churches withhold. Most churches take in a heck of a lot more money than they send to the poor and needy.

  112. #113 Casey
    June 11, 2007

    I think that a HUGE part of this ignorance is the lack of focus on evolution in basic biology courses in High School and to a lesser extent college. It is quite surprising to consider how little time is spent on this subject considering that it is the most important scientific discovery in history. I remember the most powerful thing for me was to dissect a porpoise in college and see useless vestigial limbs buried beneath inches of blubber. That one view was all it took and it would convince anybody. Now, I had these experiences because I was in advanced biology classes in high school and a biology major in college but these powerful ‘clues’ of fossils, anatomy, genetics, etc. to evolution need to be shared and evolution needs to be evangelized.

  113. #114 Jon
    June 11, 2007

    “There is nothing positive in calling someone stupid for having a differing viewpoint.”

    A sound position, if the topic is simply a ‘viewpoint’.

    Now, If the person was promiting a scientifically unsound idea, and refused to accept the findings of the vast majority of the scientist who make their living studying the topic, that is another matter.

    If a person proposed that the earth was flat, and when presented both evidence of the round nature of the earth, and evidence of the overwhelming scientific acceptance of a round earth, and then still said the world was round;

    well then, calling that person stupid may be a perfect fit.

    The same standard should be applied to those who promote a faith based lie when disputing the value of the TOE.

  114. #115 Graculus
    June 11, 2007

    There is nothing positive in calling someone stupid for having a differing viewpoint

    Reality is not a viewpoint.

    I invite you to test this out by jumping off a cliff, and seeing if you can have a different viewpoint from gravity.

  115. #116 Uber
    June 11, 2007

    I won’t even begin to tell you stories I have heard from women who were counseled to stay with their abusive spouses because divorce was not allowed in their religion. Nor will I bore you with the lack of support many divorcees receive from their pastors

    That is a real shame, I suspect these are backwater pockets of backward religion as mainstream and evangelical -even catholic- churches have made piece with this one for some time now. It is one of the more ludicrous doctrines that when a marriage fails the people involved are such as thieves, liars and the like because they can’t get on with their former mate.It takes religion to make otherwise good people that stupid.

  116. #117 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    June 11, 2007

    But they need all that gold on and in their churches. It slows down the corruption (of the objects).

  117. #118 Science Avenger
    June 11, 2007

    Peanut Gallery said: Besides it [the claim religious people are so much more charitable than atheists] was merely a passing statement, you are the one that got hung up on it. Its almost like I pressed on an open sore.

    I realize it does’t work this way in your religious circles, but out here in atheist-land we care about reality, and so when you make an erroneous, ignorant, inflammatory statement, it is going to get criticized, even in passing.

    It is very telling that the religious so often associate intellectual defense of a position with a weakness in that position. It’s as if they believe reality can be understood without thinking…

    The flaw in the claim is related to the flawed claim that atheism is a competing world view. Tell me, is your a-unicornism a world view? Do you oppose the Unicornists? Do you see how stupid that sounds? Atheism is an empty philosophical position. There is literally nothing to rally around, thus the absense of atheist groups that do much of anything.

    The groups atheists join are the Sierra Club and the Democratic party and the chess club. Those are way more fun than meeting every week to say:

    “Anyone find any gods this week?”
    “No.” “Naw.” “Nope.” “Negatory”.
    “Alright, same time next week, and Bob, not so much hot sauce on the wings next time.”

  118. #119 Torbj๖rn Larsson, OM
    June 11, 2007

    going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage.

    There is certainly a correlation between religion and miseducation/non-education and I suspect between miseducation/non-education and performing less well on analysis or planning, for the groups if not for specific individuals.

    Certainly it seems as religion is an indication of a problem. Of course, without specific evidence of involved phenomena one could also claim that brain damage could facilitate religion. Which is not so believable but less scary. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Evolution is not a matter of belief it is a matter of understanding the evidence.

    Philosophy can use belief to try to define knowledge (“justified true belief”). But that is too general and confusing here. This has more to do with accepting the justification than the degree of belief or even the degree of understanding the technical details of biology.

    So I prefer to say “accepting the evidence”.

    [Uh, and prompted by the discussion of stupidity of viewpoints: it is stupid not to accept the evidence scientists accept. Hints: disbelief or pseudoscience vs tested knowledge, amateurs vs profession of experts, …

    (But that doesn’t mean one accepts every peer-reviewed result out there, scientists doesn’t do that either. They may form a consensus however, or some schools of preferred models.)]

    PG:

    an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    How so? Philosophers prefer to conflate them ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism ). So you must always define your atheism and agnosticism, at least roughly.

    More to the point, what would be the difference here, and what would non-belief in gods have to do with it? Both groups prefer to use non-religious organizations for these matters. “It’s like asking why there aren’t any organizations of astrology non-believers banding together to feed the needy”, indeed.

  119. #120 Torbj๖rn Larsson, OM
    June 11, 2007

    going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage.

    There is certainly a correlation between religion and miseducation/non-education and I suspect between miseducation/non-education and performing less well on analysis or planning, for the groups if not for specific individuals.

    Certainly it seems as religion is an indication of a problem. Of course, without specific evidence of involved phenomena one could also claim that brain damage could facilitate religion. Which is not so believable but less scary. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Evolution is not a matter of belief it is a matter of understanding the evidence.

    Philosophy can use belief to try to define knowledge (“justified true belief”). But that is too general and confusing here. This has more to do with accepting the justification than the degree of belief or even the degree of understanding the technical details of biology.

    So I prefer to say “accepting the evidence”.

    [Uh, and prompted by the discussion of stupidity of viewpoints: it is stupid not to accept the evidence scientists accept. Hints: disbelief or pseudoscience vs tested knowledge, amateurs vs profession of experts, …

    (But that doesn’t mean one accepts every peer-reviewed result out there, scientists doesn’t do that either. They may form a consensus however, or some schools of preferred models.)]

    PG:

    an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    How so? Philosophers prefer to conflate them ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism ). So you must always define your atheism and agnosticism, at least roughly.

    More to the point, what would be the difference here, and what would non-belief in gods have to do with it? Both groups prefer to use non-religious organizations for these matters. “It’s like asking why there aren’t any organizations of astrology non-believers banding together to feed the needy”, indeed.

  120. #121 mndarwinist
    June 11, 2007

    PZ: we need your help. We’ve got a couple of trolls, who, as always, contribute very little to the discussion of the original post, try to change the subject, and insult everyone. They can blabber all over the web whatever they want, but I don’t think they should be welcome here.

  121. #122 RamblinDude
    June 11, 2007

    “It’s like asking why there aren’t any organizations of astrology non-believers banding together to feed the needy”,

    Yeah, that is a good one, isn’t it? I may just have to steal it…

    Leni: Tell your friend that he/she is a hit.

  122. #123 stnemmoc
    June 11, 2007

    Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think you make good points about how religion can have a negative impact on society, but this particular statement just strikes me as a little… um… facile? I’ve heard this same sentiment from Ricard Dawkins and probably others before, and maybe it is a good rallying cry, but how is conflating creationism with child abuse going to make atheism sound like the voice of reason and science?

    *ducks and hides*

  123. #124 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    uh, because there IS science behind it, and it’s not just an accusation?

    several papers have been published on the subject.

    I also posted a thread to discuss this very issue some time back, if you would care to catch up and contribute.

    if interested, I’ll post the link for you.

    like many HAVE pointed out, this issue is rooted in psychology, so it shouldn’t surprise you to find that legal issues of mental abuse, ala cults, have been leveled, and with good evidence in support.

    for a quick lesson, i suggest you watch a video of how Ken Ham teaches children.

    If a parent forces their kid to listen to Ham, tells them they are going to hell if they disagree with him, and says all other explanations are evil, can you really make the argument that is NOT abuse?

    *ducks and hides*

    why? afraid to explore the possibility?

  124. #125 CalGeorge
    June 11, 2007

    How stupid are Americans (Jay Leno)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5uuq-ibCbg

    CNNNN – Stupid Americans (part 1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtXCs0Wqs9Q

  125. #126 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    *sigh*

    Peanut Gallery, I…

    I can’t remember the last time I cursed in a blog comment. But you’re just not worth it, frankly.

  126. #127 Jay Douglass
    June 12, 2007

    There are no public service organizations that explicitly state disbelief in a flying spaghetti monster.

    Therefore, all of those that don’t believe in a flying spaghetti monster are lazy and unscrupulous.

  127. #128 prometheus
    June 12, 2007

    Recently I was reading “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. Page 17:

    “… Remember when the hick legislators in certain states, in obedience to William Jennings Bryan, who learned his biology from his pious old grandma, set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution?”

    This was written in 1935.

    We seem to be going backwards.

    I feel like Sylvester Jr. when he put the paper bag over his head.

  128. #129 bernarda
    June 12, 2007

    This link has very probably been posted sometime in the past, so then this is a reminder.

    Top Ten Creation Myths–Why not teach all in school?

    http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_intelligent_designs.html

  129. #130 cureholder
    June 12, 2007

    Thank you for the closing comment correctly labeling religious miseducation as child abuse. I grew up in a family and a community of christian fundamentalists (essentially, in “Jesus Camp”) and it took me until age 32 to get completely clear of it–and then I had to confront the fact that most of what I had been taught growing up was false, and that much of what I should have been taught was simply missing.

    In our society, any other form of abuse of a child–sexual, physical, psychological, nutritional, etc.–is roundly condemned, but people like my parents who intentionally bring up children to believe nonsense and fail to equip those children to live in the real world are praised as moral, caring, noble people. In reality, whether they do it out of fear, ignorance, laziness, or malice, they are simply terrible parents. Their children are victims, and until we overcome our inability to call religion for the unadulterated nonsense that it obviously is, generations of children will continue to have their lives destroyed.

    According to Dawkins (The God Delusion, Chapter 9), an infinitesimal percentage of children brought up in fundamentalism of any religion until the age of majority ever reject it, and according to census data they tend to have (and home-“school”) a far greater average number of children than do the rational among us. We already see the results of this imbalance (in both sense of the word) in presidential politics, and as time goes on and the disparity grows even greater, these fools will become an insurmountable majority.

    Let’s start openly calling this delusion for what it is, even (or especially) with the children. Maybe through intellectual challenge and open derision of the religious we can raise the percentage of people who escape fundamentalism in time to do something useful with their lives.

  130. #131 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    cureholder, if you would like to discuss what happened to you further, we have an ongoing thread that periodically gets new additions.

    feel free to make your own contribution:

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=466e33ab79615729;act=ST;f=14;t=2838;view=new

    cheers

  131. #132 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    oh, and don’t get thrown by the domain name; it’s actually a board to STUDY the anti-evolution movement, not support it.

    …as you’ll rather quickly see.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  132. #133 bernarda
    June 12, 2007
  133. #134 Chinchillazilla
    June 12, 2007

    Atheists are have only one issue, and one issue only and its purely negative.

    But if you insists on thinking so then its no wonder why atheists have historically been in the minority.

    Its called the freedom of speech.

    Its almost like I pressed on an open sore.

    If you’re going to keep pretending to be smart, I’d like to invite you to learn the difference between “its” and “it’s”.

  134. #135 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    There actually is a freedom of religion issue here, if you were to seriously start introducing the term “child abuse.” Child abusers in our system have their children taken away: not cool. Though it’s obvious (to me at least) that PZ wasn’t intending it in a literal, legal sense.

    Also, Piece of Advice was almost on to something there. Obviously, religion is not winning this issue because of its philosophical superiority. But it is deeply entangled into the fabric of human societies. Religion pretty much has a lock on marriage ceremonies, burial ceremonies, coming-of-age ceremonies, sitting down to eat, etc. etc. This seems to hold true in every human society, at every point in time, from the Mayans to the Middle East. Atheism isn’t a religion in the sense that it doesn’t advocate belief in supernatural beings. It also isn’t a religion in this deep social sense, either.

    Part of it is lack of hierarchy–atheism will (thankfully) never develop a priestly caste. That’s part of why I am one. But the absence of this type of organizing structure leaves us at a societal disadvantage.

  135. #136 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    Let me clarify something. When I said “not cool” I meant taking children away from parents who are teaching them creationism. I didn’t mean genuine physical abuse, which is great grounds for removing a kid from their home.

  136. #137 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    so, chris, it would be perfectly acceptable not to remove a child from a Manson-style cult?

    there ARE legal issues here.

    suggest you take a closer look.

    mental abuse has been considered grounds for child removal for quite some time now.

  137. #138 Marcus
    June 12, 2007

    I realize this is post 155 and likely only to be read by hard core pharynuguli, so I’d like to correct an error back in post 40 to bring to light an excellent example of how atheist give and should give to the community.

    Bill Gates didn’t give his foundation 30 million, he funded it to the tune of 30 BILLION dollars. An amount which was matched by Warren Buffet. And both of these guys are complete atheists. Although, I think they would refer to themselves as non-theists.

    And the Gates Foundation is as good an example as I can find of approaching the problems of world poverty and lack of education in a scientific manner with programs designed to bring real measurable results by investing long-term in the 3rd world. All of their programs are examples of what charities should be all about. Helping people with no waisted effort on influencing their meta-physical beliefs.

  138. #139 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Yes, Ichthyic, obviously, but the great leap that’s being proposed (and balked at by Chris) is the leap to a place where parents lose their children simply because they’re giving them what they believe to be an appropriate education. “Mental abuse” as you call it would have to be redefined in a rather drastic way for that to happen. Actually, what you’re talking about is psychological and emotional abuse. Perhaps “mental” (or “intellectual”) abuse is a yet-to-be-created category which would cover situations like cureholder’s. To avoid 1st amendment violations, however, it would likely have to be defined in terms of what was NOT being supplied to the child – specifically, an education that meets a certain minimum standard.

    Streamofconsciousat0300ly yours… K.

  139. #140 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Actually, what you’re talking about is psychological and emotional abuse

    so how is what happened to cureholder NOT psychological abuse?

    how is it in any way different from a Waco style cult?

    To avoid 1st amendment violations, however, it would likely have to be defined in terms of what was NOT being supplied to the child

    indeed, and inroads have been made in exactly that direction.

    the example i cited above with Ken Ham above is not extreme for these people in the least.

    this IS a psychological, NOT a religious issue. ergo, first ammendment protections really shouldn’t come into play.

    it’s the indoctrination that we all, as americans, bear that we automatically give “religion” a free pass when we consider things like this. funny, but this is exactly what PZ and Dawkins keep pointing out over and over again.

    when you spend time breaking it down however, much of the “jesus camp” stuff really is just a cult of a different color.

    yes, it’s a complicated issue, hence why i recommend people interested to check out that thread i linked to, but it can’t be readily dismissed, either.

    the evidence is mounting in favor of treating specific cases like cureholders as exactly what they are:

    cases of abuse.

    take a gander at some of the abuse laws in different states, and THEN tell me how far off I am.

  140. #141 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    btw the term “mental” is meant to encompass both psychological and emotional abuse, not be separate from them.

  141. #142 G. Shelley
    June 12, 2007

    Not enough evidence is clearly ignorance, but “we didn’t come from monkeys”, if not entirely religious as an objection to the idea that humans aren’t special and distinct from all other animals

  142. #143 Azkyroth
    June 12, 2007

    so how is what happened to cureholder NOT psychological abuse?

    how is it in any way different from a Waco style cult?

    “Better observation of fire safety” would be my guess.

  143. #144 Fe๒rag
    June 12, 2007

    No-one seems to have noticed how the troll Peanut Gallery is going directly against the reported words of Jesus Christ here. I mean, look at Matthew 6: 1-4:

    [1] Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    [2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    [3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    [4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    There again, I’ve noticed the reported words of Jesus Christ tend not to be important to those who are loudest about invoking his name. Even more amusing, by quietly going about their charitable work with whatever organisations there are, and not setting up exclusive “religious” charities, atheists are behaving in a more Christian manner than many Christians.

  144. #145 Fe๒rag
    June 12, 2007

    No-one seems to have noticed how the troll Peanut Gallery is going directly against the reported words of Jesus Christ here. I mean, look at Matthew 6: 1-4:

    [1] Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    [2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    [3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    [4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    There again, I’ve noticed the reported words of Jesus Christ tend not to be important to those who are loudest about invoking his name. Even more amusing, by quietly going about their charitable work with whatever organisations there are, and not setting up exclusive “religious” charities, atheists are behaving in a more Christian manner than many Christians.

  145. #146 phdwannabe
    June 12, 2007

    Brownian said (way up in the thread): “Neither Jehovah, Zeus, or Triglav exist.”
    I have to correct that statement, as Triglav is the highest mountain and national symbol of Slovenia. Why the hell would you include it as a would be deity? hmm, apparently it’s also some online RPG game. guess it makes sense to include fictitious RPG characters as would be deities.

  146. #147 C. M. Baxter
    June 12, 2007

    Whether or not parents should be prosecuted for lying to their children about the nature of the universe (or anything else) would be, legally, very thorny. Better, I think, to follow Dawkins’ lead and get the word out in publications, books, public addresses, blogs, etc., that early religious indoctrination is tantamount to child abuse. This multi-pronged strategy will not only inform young people about how they’ve been lied to, it will put parents on notice that at some time in the future, the recently coined expression, “breathtaking inanity,” may be hurled at them by their own offspring. Though I will never see it (I’m 64), I envision the day when Christian fundamentalism is relegated to the stagnant backwaters of American thought.

  147. #148 Dan K.
    June 12, 2007

    I’m way down here at the end of a long comment thread, but I can’t resist this opportunity to spell out one of my favorite “recursive” ironies:

    We’re never more animalistic than when we’re denying our animal nature and origins.

    Yes, given the evidence for what we are and what we are not, such denials constitute glandthink at its purest.

  148. #149 MarkW
    June 12, 2007

    I know it’s way down in the comments thread but…

    Can you name an Atheist institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years?

    Peanut Gallery, can you name a religious institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years?

  149. #150 Firemancarl
    June 12, 2007

    #28
    You said “My point is that unless you seek to restrict someone’s freedom of speech you do better creating your own educational institution instead of trying to disturb people that do more good for the community in one week than atheist do in a lifetime.”

    Posted by: Peanut Gallery

    Well dude, how do I break this to thou? I have saved more people in 20 years than millions of xtians save in a life time. The difference? I actually SAVE people. So nah I say to thee. I do more good for the community in 24 hours that most xtains do all year.

    Thbbbbbbbbtttttt!

  150. #151 RickD
    June 12, 2007

    I have to say that I found the “what are you, a communist?” comment to be hilarious. It’s good to see the John Birchers are still with us. I remember reading a story by Douglas Copeland where he discussed the Generation X response to being accused of being a communist. The accusation is so remote, it’s like accusing a person of being a vampire. “Aha, you believe that the government should protect the rights of children to have a proper education – that means you’re a vampire!!!”

    Hey, Peanut Gallery: do you have any problem with what happened to the girl in this story?

    http://tinyurl.com/3a5bky

    How about the boy in this story?

    http://tinyurl.com/32vc3v

    See, I have a problem with people who abuse children. Indeed, I want the police to step in and stop it when it happens, regardless of whether the abuser is a parent or a kidnapper.

    And your response is to resort to red-baiting? So I guess capitalists are OK with locking children in cages?

    It would be funny if it were not so sad.

  151. #152 stnemmoc
    June 12, 2007

    why? afraid to explore the possibility?

    Absolutely. I am horribly under qualified to. It just struck me as a bit of an exaggeration, ala Michael Savage comparing same-sex couples with children to child abusers. (Of course I’m sure Michael Savage was much further off the mark than PZ) I didn’t mean to trivialize the experiences of people like cureholder.

    Also, how can you call creationism a cult when creationism is apparently so common? Even if that were an accurate description, wouldn’t it be better to use value neutral terms like “alternative religious movement”, or just whatever said “cult” prefers to call themselves? [/snark]

    *ducks and hides from the cliche PC jokes that I have so obviously brought upon myself*

  152. #153 Winston Smith
    June 12, 2007

    PZ suggest picketing churches.

    This MUST be done. This MUST be brought out in the open.

    If PZ were to lead by example, and picket a church in the Morris area, it would make national news!

  153. #154 RamblinDude
    June 12, 2007

    C. M. Baxter says: “I envision the day when Christian fundamentalism is relegated to the stagnant backwaters of American thought.”

    Ya just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Although I would add Christian fundamentalism and all superstitious nonsense.

  154. #156 VancouverBrit
    June 12, 2007

    Who was the last wildly popular American fictional character who used his brain? Mister Spock? In 1968?

    Agent Scully, before she went sappy in later episodes.

  155. #157 RamblinDude
    June 12, 2007

    Lisa Simpson ๐Ÿ™‚

  156. #158 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Poor, dumb bastards. I didn’t really relize how sick you people are until now.

  157. #159 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Go ahead and try to crush religion. Stalin tried it and that was crushed. Mao tried it and made saints. Go ahead you arrogant bastards try to crush religion and it will crush you.

  158. #160 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    I note that (as usual) the pollsters have a relative paucity of proper responses.

    How about the obvious “secular” scientific response:

    The chances of self-replicating life springing by “chance” from non-life are less than one divided by the total number of fundamental particles in the universe.

    Oh – and the chance of all the fundamental constants of physics being “Just So” to enable life are also essentially zero.

    But it does take Great Faith to deny all that, doesn’t it?

  159. #161 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    The chances of self-replicating life springing by “chance” from non-life are less than one divided by the total number of fundamental particles in the universe. Oh -and the chance of all the fundamental constants of physics being “Just So” to enable life are also essentially zero.

    Great Faith? No. It takes Great Imagination to presume those probabilities.

    “Could it not be said that it is improbable that we would have a universe in which life arose anywhere? One answer that might be given is that we do not know whether it is improbable or not. Judgments about a priori probabilities in such cases are arbitrary, and we have no evidence in this case of any relevant empirical probabilities.” (Michael Martin)

  160. #162 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    And good morning to you, Mr. Physicist. ๐Ÿ™‚

    “Better, I think, to follow Dawkins’ lead and get the word out in publications, books, public addresses, blogs, etc., that early religious indoctrination is tantamount to child abuse.”

    I rather like this idea. Wielding the law as the club behind these “child abuse” accusations would be heavy-handed and wold probably produce a huge and terrible backlash. But currently, one of the more common questions of expectant parents is “What religion should we raise the child in?” How about “None of the above”? Maybe eventually childhood indoctrination could be seen as something like spanking.

  161. #163 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Physicist is right. Religion is all about crushing people. The Enlightenment is doomed.

  162. #164 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    “The chances of self-replicating life springing by “chance” from non-life are less than one divided by the total number of fundamental particles in the universe.”

    And yet, it happened. Funny, that.*

    “Oh – and the chance of all the fundamental constants of physics being “Just So” to enable life are also essentially zero.”

    And yet, here we are.

    Hey, do you know I saw a car with the license plate 2T 34FRW today? Do you know what the odds are that I would see that exact license plate today?! (apologies to Richard Feynmann)

    * Would it be too much of a stretch to imagine that you haven’t really studied the probabilities involved in life arising?

  163. #165 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    Would it be too much of a stretch to imagine that you haven’t really studied the probabilities involved in life arising?

    Yup, it would.

    It would be almost as ignorant as the presumptions which preceeded it, and the failure to understand the difference between “a priori” and “a posteriori”.

    Go find a self-replicating machine to put that license plate on. And “get your own dirt”.

  164. #166 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    How about the obvious “secular” scientific response:

    The chances of self-replicating life springing by “chance” from non-life are less than one divided by the total number of fundamental particles in the universe.

    Oh – and the chance of all the fundamental constants of physics being “Just So” to enable life are also essentially zero.

    But it does take Great Faith to deny all that, doesn’t it?

    Ergo, the universe is so condusive to life that the probability of living things arising is essentially negligible (according to you). Intellectual consistency isn’t your strong suit, is it?

    Furthermore, your response is not the secular scientific response, but the religiously-motivated unscientific response. An actual scientist would evaluate the pathways to living organisms in experimental lab work, infer the properties of the primordial earth through geological and astrological observation, investigate all the theoretical pathways to the emergence of the first living things (e.g. the bioinformatic work on pre-RNA world models), and would refrain from muddying the waters with entirely spurious probability figures. A reality-based assessment of the emergence of life finds that protocells could explore the entire sequence space within a small pond or lake (Christian de Duve, Vital Dust, p. 76). Plus, it’s hardly ever (or perhaps never) the case that a single sequence is functional and the rest of them are not, so the probability of finding something viable, even if in a rudimentary way, in a small pond of protocells becomes even more likely.

    Furthermore, the anthropic principle as an argument for god is extremely weak, based as it is on a misunderstanding of probabilities. Certain probabilities are not commutative. If the odds of a life-friendly universe emerging by naturalistic means is extremely low, it doesn’t follow that the odds of a life-friendly universe being naturalistic are also similarly low. It would be like arguing that you’ll almost never win with a royal flush, since the probability of getting a royal flush is so low. The fact that the universe is life friendly is actually strong evidence for its naturalism, since no miracles were theoretically necessary in forming nor sustaining life.

  165. #167 dogmeatib
    June 12, 2007

    I wonder what will happen if/when intelligent life is discovered on another world. How will creationists deal with the fact that they aren’t a special creation? Will they take decades to decide whether or not these new beings have a soul (as they did with Native Americans?). Will they have alien hunts, feed them to large dogs, lop off hands and feet, enslave them, slaughter them, and then decide “oh, they have souls … we should do something to cover this up…” (again, as they did with Native Americans).

    It is truly interesting that Christians tout the good things about Christianity, ignore the many bad things, and brush under the carpet the truly horrible things. They name Stalin and Mao as atheists and use that as a bludgeon against atheism in general, but when it is pointed out that Hitler loudly professed Christian ideals, they argue he was simply a madman who happened to use Christian slogans. When faced with outright bigotry, genocidal campaigns, murder, as in Martin Luther (antisemetism), the church and Native Americans, the church(es) and “witchcraft,” when the very holy book they hold dear commends and commands rape and murder, then what do they do?

    They look the other way, make excuses, or change the subject.

  166. #168 Baratos
    June 12, 2007

    An atheistic worldview is a perception of the world that rejects the existence of God.

    No, atheism is the refusal to believe in something that has not been shown to exist with a high degree of confidence.

  167. #169 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    Yup, it would.

    In that case, would you care to explain to us what the physical basis for your probability model is, and which probability model you’re using?

    After all, if one is to evaluate the odds of the emergence of life, one must take into account the pathways to the emergence of life, the early earth’s atmosphere, the probability that life would emerge anywhere else in the universe or (possibly) the multiverse, etc. etc.

    Got all that in your back pocket, do you?

  168. #170 MarkW
    June 12, 2007

    The chances of self-replicating life springing by “chance” from non-life are less than one divided by the total number of fundamental particles in the universe.

    Oh – and the chance of all the fundamental constants of physics being “Just So” to enable life are also essentially zero.

    You got evidence for those claims or are you pulling them out of your ass?

    Hint: Arguments from incredulity don’t cut the mustard.

  169. #171 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    …Ergo, the universe is so condusive to life that the probability of living things arising is essentially negligible (according to you). Intellectual consistency isn’t your strong suit, is it?

    And mathematics obviously isn’t yours, since the concept of two “statistically independent” things (a universe AT ALL conducive to life, as opposed to the miniscule possibility of a sequence of sequential, and thus statistically LINKED events, resulting in spontaneous generation of life — or even the faith-inspiring ‘proto life’) doesn’t compute for you.

    “Morons – we’ve got morons on our team.” – apologies to Butch and Sundance.

  170. #172 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    For one thing you are going to have a hard time convincing even an atheist judge that teaching your child a belief system that is subscribed to by the majority of the US public, several billions of people worldwide and has been around for thousands of years is now suddenly tantamount to a “Manson-style cult” that isn’t protected by religious freedom. The legal precedents in this instance don’t just not favor you. They are pretty much eating your lunch, drinking your beer and sleeping with your girlfriend, too.

    If someone were to succeed in repealing the 1st Amendment in this manner, I can tell you right now that it ain’t gonna be the creationist majority nor the Christian super-majority that loses their kids. It’s gonna be you and me.

    Also, “MacGyver” is a household word.

  171. #173 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    You got evidence for those claims…?

    Sure. Do a web search on Gamow (late prof of physics, CU Boulder) or any of a series of papers on the physics of fundamental particle relationships (for one) or the sequence of miracles (for two) required for self-replicating machinery.
    (Many will doubtless reference Gamow’s whimsical “tornado in a junkyard” analogy.)

    BTW – I am an engineer, with a background in information and coding theory, who came by my skepticism, and my rejection of the “faith of Darwin”, honestly. It took quite a while. Ask yourself, “how many self-replicating machines can Modern Science create today – with the best of all our technology and design abilities?” If you said “none” – go to the head of the class. [And stealing from DNA doesn’t count!]

  172. #174 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    And mathematics obviously isn’t yours, since the concept of two “statistically independent” things (a universe AT ALL conducive to life, as opposed to the miniscule possibility of a sequence of sequential, and thus statistically LINKED events, resulting in spontaneous generation of life — or even the faith-inspiring ‘proto life’) doesn’t compute for you.

    Actually, mathematics is my strong suit, and my current minor (not major, because I find pure mathematics intriguing, but ultimately not very satisfying). So, with that in mind, please present your mathematical model for calculating the probability of the emergence of life, and show, with reference to the OOL primary literature, that your mathematical model represents the best consensus of researchers in that field.

  173. #175 mothra
    June 12, 2007

    I always refer to myself as a ‘non-theist’ to denote one who has not taken fairy tale beliefs on board as part of their personal philosophy.

  174. #176 Mondo
    June 12, 2007

    “BTW – I am an engineer”

    It is all clear now.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  175. #177 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    I just got back from a conference where a group of very smart people spent weeks trying to design a binary counter our of DNA tiles with fewer than 8 tiles (the 8-tile counter is already been done).

    They failed miserably.

    Then one of them ran a random search algorithm and it found a one rather quickly. Random chance was better at design than a room full of intelligent designers.

  176. #178 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    (Many will doubtless reference Gamow’s whimsical “tornado in a junkyard” analogy.)

    That would be Hoyle, not Gamow.

    Way to impress us with your name-dropping.

    BTW – I am an engineer, with a background in information and coding theory, who came by my skepticism, and my rejection of the “faith of Darwin”, honestly. It took quite a while. Ask yourself, “how many self-replicating machines can Modern Science create today – with the best of all our technology and design abilities?” If you said “none” – go to the head of the class. [And stealing from DNA doesn’t count!]

    All except for the numerous self-replicating ligands, self-replicating RNA sequences, etc. which are now commonplace in OOL research, not to mention extremely old bits of research. The fact that you don’t know this does call into question why anyone should pay attention to you when you go nattering on about the origin of life.

  177. #179 RamblinDude
    June 12, 2007

    Am I missing something here, Mark Call?

    Human beings haven’t been very successful, so far, in making self replicating machines (how much effort has actually been applied to that enterprise?) so, therefore, it proves the existence of an all powerful supernatural being?

    Is this what you are saying?

  178. #180 Jim Lemire
    June 12, 2007

    Once again, why do people continue to ask the question, “Do you believe in evolution?”. Why is it the only scientific principle that is to be “believed in”? Do you believe in the Atomic Theory? Do you believe in photosynthesis? Do you believe in acid-base reactions? Belief has nothing to do with it! If you say you believe in evolution, you have made an implicit admission that it is possible for someone NOT to believe in it. I’ve posted about this before. Semantics matter, especially when we’re talking about ‘belief’ – this word carries serious weight and serious connotations. Please STOP USING IT with respect to evolution (or any scientific idea for that matter).

  179. #181 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    ‘Tain’t us, Jim. ‘Tis the pollsters. And the media.

  180. #182 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    If you are really an engineer then you know first-hand that there is no such thing as “intelligent design,” even by a non-supernatural agency. All engineering is primarily trial and error, not rational. Even when engineering is rational, we only figured out those rational rules because of centuries of trial and error.

    The vast majority of time spent in engineering is spent on testing out ideas and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Survival of the fittest.

  181. #183 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    No.

    Human beings haven’t been very successful, so far, in making self replicating machines (how much effort has actually been applied to that enterprise?) so, therefore, it proves… [something I did not say].

    It proves that the CONVERSE is not just vanishingly unlikely, but has zero chance of being correct. (Take your pick. One chance in ten to the sixtieth power or so is the usual limit. One in ten to the 200th is a heck of a lot lower.)

    I merely stated metaphorically that acceptance of a bad hypothesis, based on impossible odds, doesnt’ qualify someone as an enlightened scientist – but it does require a hell of a lot of “Faith”!

  182. #184 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    It proves that the CONVERSE is not just vanishingly unlikely, but has zero chance of being correct. (Take your pick. One chance in ten to the sixtieth power or so is the usual limit.

    Wow, so the chance of 1 in 10^60 is something which has zero chance of being correct?

    The odds of any sequence of 52 cards being dealt out is 1 in 52! or about 1 in 8 x 10^64.

    *shuffle*

    *deal*

    Wow, look! It’s a grade-A, water-into-wine, Red-Sea-Pedestrian miracle!

  183. #185 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    Who the fuck is PZ Myers and why would anyone give a flying fuck what he has to say. I know I don’t. Here’s the deal… Evolution does not address nor can it explain initial cause. Nobody cares how many quarks I ate in my breakfast cereal… Give us a testable method of how to create something from nothing… show us empirically what happened before the ‘big bang’… Let me ask you a question… do you believe the universe is infinite? If you do… prove it lest you be labeled a fucking moron. If you don’t, provide the evidence showing what it is that the universe is expanding into…

    Evolution….. BFD! Smoke weed, do drugs and have sex with as many women as you possibly can…. I mean COME ON… you brighty brights make me laugh…. Here’s a tip…. If you attend the U of M and are unfortunate enough to be stuck in a class with this PZ moron….. demand you money back…… a.s.a.p.

  184. #186 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    Semantics matter, especially when we’re talking about ‘belief’ …Please STOP USING IT with respect to evolution (or any scientific idea for that matter).

    Boo hoo. Sorry, Jim – but the reason “belief” is the ONLY correct response for “evolution” — unlike “real” science, such as most of physics and chemistry — is what you are missing. Quantum physics and relativity have the advantage of actually being consistent with continued observations, and can be rejected for new hypotheses when, and if, they fail. Not so the Faith of Darwin. Again, sorry.

    People rail against “religion”, but just don’t see the irony.

    (And I can’t help but note that few people get quite so worked up about quantum mechanics, even though far less would claim to understand it!)

  185. #187 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    Sigh. I really should use Preview.

    Of course I meant to say about 1 in 8 x 10^67.

  186. #188 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    Wow. You’re certainly a late runner, but you’re doing your damndest to reach the caliber of Peanut Gallery and Critical ‘Thinker’.

    Quantum physics and relativity have the advantage of actually being consistent with continued observations, and can be rejected for new hypotheses when, and if, they fail. Not so the Faith of Darwin. Again, sorry.

    No need to say sorry, just tell us what observations are inconsistent with evolutionary biology as understood by evolutionary biologists, and why. Eventually the rubber will have to hit the road, with presentations of actual evidence to support your contentions.

  187. #189 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    “The chances of self-replicating life springing by “chance” from non-life are less than one divided by the total number of fundamental particles in the universe.”

    So – biogenesis = 1:1×10 exp (near infinite)

    Positing Infinity, we see that life had to happen somewhere based on this equation. You see, Earth (Sol 3) is just one planet, circling a star in a galaxy comprised of a near infinite number of stars (Yes the orders of magnitude are off a bit, and I’m sure some cosmologist or astronomer can correct my count – or at least refine it) in a universe comprised of a near infinite number of galaxies, star-clusters, and other star-generating phenomena. Consider, if you will, that if even a small percentage of this (near infinity) x (near infinity) of stars have planets, then based solely on probability alone, that 1:1×10 exp (near infinite) was bound to happen somewhere, at some time, on some planet, nestled somewhere within the near infinity of the universe.

    Now, here on Sol 3 we have life. We have evolutionary changes extant (observed and in repeatable experiments in the lab). We have everything required for our improbable combination of probabilities as outlined below. The ONLY thing that makes the existence of life on earth (Sol 3) improbable at all, is if one tries to consider the address important in some way. You see, Sol 3, the tiny blue dot, is a minor planet of a minor star, of a minor lense shaped galaxy in a minor galactic cluster that is not really uni-centric in any fashion whatsoever, other than the fact that it is our home. Our only home. So its special in that its our current permanent galactic mailing address, but not special in any other fashion – galacically speaking.

    The chances of self replicating life forming in a near infinite universe are pretty good. The chances of Sol 3 being more than a pale blue dot within that near-infinity requires mythology.

  188. #190 stogoe
    June 12, 2007

    The only difference between the various sects of christianity and David Koresh/Manson/Scientology is the number of adherents. Oh, and the degree of violence inherent in the system.

    The Two Differences between the sects of christianity…

  189. #191 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    To the mad card dealer:

    The chance of dealing some sequence of 52 cards is ONE.

    (See my first comment above as to your fallacy.)

    So, do it twice in a row, and come talk to me.

  190. #192 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    And just so the point is not lost on the Faithful here…

    Try shuffling your deck at, say, 1 GHz. Deal it at that same rate.

    Now calculate how long it would take you to have even a lottery-ticket chance of getting some sequence twice in a row, and compare to postulated age of the universe.

    Hint: I won’t wait up for you.

  191. #193 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    …just tell us what observations are inconsistent with evolutionary biology as understood by evolutionary biologists, and why.

    Asked and answered, above.

    See “Jefe” for a pitiful example. People just won’t do the math. Somehow I doubt Jefe would understand, anyway.

    (And a hint, for the cardmeister. How many times bigger is ten to the 200th than ten to the (giving you some leeway) 68th? Still much bigger than your chances of getting those sequences twice in a row…

  192. #194 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    And that would all have what to do with the emergence of life on Earth?

  193. #195 RamblinDude
    June 12, 2007

    “Though I will never see it (I’m 64), I envision the day when Christian fundamentalism is relegated to the stagnant backwaters of American thought.”

    “Keep dreaming. Not very likely in a democratic society. The only chance you have is if the whole system of government change to some form of communism.”

    Or changes to some form of rational, critically thinking, truth-seeking, non-superstitious, non-worshipping of some dominate alpha male, truly investigative society. Or changes to some form of rational, critically thinking, truth-seeking, non-superstitious, non-worshipping of some dominate alpha male, truly investigative society.
    Which is, apparently, an even more remote possibility.

    It’s been fun, gotta go.

  194. #196 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    Self-replicating cells didn’t spring up from nothing by chance, among similar obvious observations.

  195. #197 Ken Cope
    June 12, 2007

    And “get your own dirt”.

    This is how the dirt you’re made of came to be.

  196. #198 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    No, you spoke of observations.

    You have provided no observations, just your intuition about “big numbers”, and in a context which has absolutely nothing to do with evolutionary biology.

    Origins of life research involves bioinformatics, organic chemistry, biophysics, microbiology, geology, astrobiology, etc. but it is not a subset of evolutionary biology.

    Furthermore, a load of whinging about probabilities without any empirical basis (or even clear probability model) is not an observation, just a testament to the whinger’s lack of intellectual rigor.

    So again, what observations are inconsistent with evolutionary biology as it is understood by evolutionary biologists?

  197. #199 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    Somehow I doubt Jefe would understand, anyway. – Mark Call

    /Yawn

    P.S. Hypotheses from Incredulity are ridiculous, un-reasoned, and nonsensical. Your inability to conceive of an event, no matter how improbable your perceive it to be, does not function as an acceptable proof of assumptive mythology.

    (Hint: appeal to authority, citing other thinkers who have taken the same path, does not function as proof of assumptive mythology.)

  198. #200 Bob in Kansas
    June 12, 2007

    Did anyone read the poll’s second question? I have to say ‘definitely false’ – “Evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life”

    We didn’t evolve from less advanced forms of life. There is no ‘higher goal’ – all forms of life are supremely adapted to their environment. Or did I miss something?

  199. #201 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Mark Call,

    Re: your comment #181

    Michael Martin is not confused about the difference between a priori and a posteriori. You have misread, or misunderstood, what he said.

    If your remark was not in references to Martin’s statement, then… never mind! ๐Ÿ™‚

  200. #202 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    Self-replicating cells didn’t spring up from nothing by chance, among similar obvious observations.

    Congratulations. Now perhaps you can explain to us how “self-replicating cells sprung up from nothing by chance” is in any way a prediction of evolutionary biology.

    It’s not even a prediction of origins of life research. When researchers go to the lab, they go with the assumption that actual chemicals, rather than “nothing”, will be needed for their investigations and that they can, in principle, replicate at least a portion of the emergence of life, which would not be even dreamed of if they thought that life arose “by chance”.

    So, please, take your self-proclaimed “honestly come by” dissent from evolutionary biology and come back with something which hasn’t been long refuted in the Index of Creationist Claims.

  201. #203 vjack
    June 12, 2007

    I’m all for picketing fundamentalist churches, but what these results say to me is that we have a serious problem with the educational system in the United States. Of course, we already know this, but maybe such findings might finally inspire us to do something about it. If education in general (and science education in particular) continues on this path, we will soon see the end of any edge in science, technology, or medicine we might have had in comparison to the rest of the world.

  202. #204 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Brownian said (way up in the thread): “Neither Jehovah, Zeus, or Triglav exist.”
    I have to correct that statement, as Triglav is the highest mountain and national symbol of Slovenia. Why the hell would you include it as a would be deity? hmm, apparently it’s also some online RPG game. guess it makes sense to include fictitious RPG characters as would be deities.

    phdwannabe, Triglav is also a three-headed slavic deity:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triglav_%28mythology%29

    I know it’s ludicrous to have a three-part god, but some people believe very silly things.

  203. #205 My Two Cents
    June 12, 2007

    What these results say to me is that atheists were losers, are losers, and forever will remain losers.

  204. #206 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    What these results say to me is that atheists were losers, are losers, and forever will remain losers.

    Oh my. Is this where we’re all supposed to start sputtering and go apopletic because (as you think) we know deep down inside that you’re right and we’re only denying god because we’ve been misled by satan?

    Are all you Christians clones or something. We’ve seen this a million times, and it’s tiresome. Go back to your church and feel free to tell them you struck a mighty blow against the atheists. I promise, I won’t mind.

    Leave now. There’s nothing for you here.

  205. #207 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    The odds of any sequence of 52 cards being dealt out is 1 in 52! or about 1 in 8 x 10^64.
    *shuffle*
    *deal*
    Wow, look! It’s a grade-A, water-into-wine, Red-Sea-Pedestrian miracle!

    I suggest you leave the hard math to us scientists. Now, repeat it.

  206. #208 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Oopsie. The question about clones was meant to be punctuated with a question mark.

    Q. For everyone else, how are Christian trolls like stormtroopers?
    A. They’re all clones of each other, and their arguments, like blaster shots, are always way off the mark.

  207. #209 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Yup, Peanut Gallery, you nailed it. Education has been in decline, and all corresponding technological and social advancements have really slowed to a crawl since Darwin published his Theory.

    Pharyngulians: It’s fruitless to argue with Peanut Gallery. All your so-called “reasoned arguments” fall like plums at the feet of his blindingly infallible intellect. Turn of the computer, grab a cold Coke, and go lie in the hammock for a few hours. You won’t regret it.

  208. #210 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    I suggest you leave the hard math to us scientists. Now, repeat it.

    All right. Oh, wait! I am a scientist.

    Oh dear. I guess that blows that sort of content-free preening you’re doing to hell.

  209. #211 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    The odds of any sequence of 52 cards being dealt out is…

    Perhaps he meant “The odds of any one sequence…”

  210. #212 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    All right. Oh, wait! I am a scientist.

    If you are, you are a poor one who doesn’t understand that probabilty means repeatable. Oh, and get a new calculator, it is ~8 X 10^67.

  211. #213 Peanut Gallery
    June 12, 2007

    “Education has been in decline, and all corresponding technological and social advancements have really slowed to a crawl since Darwin published his Theory.”

    Nope. Since you started teaching the kids that they are animals.

    Your reading skills are alarming. I have a hammock next to me and I do not mind giving you a coke as well.

  212. #214 stogoe
    June 12, 2007

    Kansas Bob wrote:

    We didn’t evolve from less advanced forms of life. There is no ‘higher goal’ – all forms of life are supremely adapted to their environment. Or did I miss something?

    Well, yes, you and I know that, although I wouldn’t say ‘supremely’ adapted. Environs change, and so populations may not be well adapted at the moment to their habitat. But the populations are changing, too, and survival in the changing environ is selected for. So I dunno.

    But back to the point at hand. Jill and Jim Theistic Evolutionist still need to feel like we’re on Top, and their God put us there somehow. That’s why the question is worded that way.

  213. #215 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    So again, what observations are inconsistent with evolutionary biology as it is understood by evolutionary biologists?

    [Just so we’re clear here – I’m not talking about adaptive, or ‘micro-evolution’ – but the Leap of Faith that even Darwin Himself never made – that self-replication of the first cell happened by chance. Darwin didn’t know about DNA and cellular biology, either.]

    Here’s a few, no particular order, and all “damned unlikely”, given the obvious:

    – Why no “right-handed” DNA?

    – How did the requisite molecules and processes “evolve” for life to replicate THE FIRST TIME? (for Jefe – why is there a secret decoder ring, with no decoder?)

    – “evolutionary biology” ignores the statistics of mutation. Most (some would argue – in the absence of laboratory gene splicing – ‘all’) mutations do NOT create new “information”, but simply destroy it. This VERY inconvenient fact is widely ignored – if it is understood at all, since information theory may be more opaque to most people than ‘evolutionary biology’.

    Like it or not, there is real evidence that flies in the face of the Faith of Darwin.

    “If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science, it is opinion.” R. A. Heinlein

  214. #216 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    So that’s what the assholes are on about. Thanks, Kseniya, for that–that’s exactly what I meant.

    Sadly, I tend to skip words when I’m typing, because my fingers cannot keep pace with the tempo at which the words are flowing through my head.

    Suffice it to say that the point is the same: anyone who says that there’s a specific reference point, transcending all assumptions and past experiences, beyond which odds can be considered negligible is lying to oneself or others.

    In the naive view that is being put forth by creationists, it could be said that it was extremely unlikely that I should wake up this morning in San Diego. After all, my home town is Lawrence, and there’s the strong odds against my existing as well. But when one factors in that I was born, however long the odds of the particular sperm and egg meeting to make me, and that my travel is not randomized over all the space of the earth, but constrained by what I can afford and where my family is, then the odds of my being here are significantly lessened.

  215. #217 Jim Lemire
    June 12, 2007

    Mark Call –
    I suggest you take a look at Robert Hazen’s Genesis and Sean Carroll’s Emdless Forms Most Beautiful for your answers…

  216. #218 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    To conjecture, at random, what one does not know, and then believe blindly in one’s own conjectures, or in those of others, who know no more than ourselves, is to behave like madmen.

    He who says there is no God, without having defined God in a complete and absolute manner, simply talks nonsense. I wait for his definition, and when he has set this forth after his own fashion, I am certain, beforehand, of being able to say to him, “I agree with you, there is no such God”; but that God is certainly not my God. If he says to me: “Define your God,” I should reply, “I will take good care to do nothing of the kind, for a God defined is a God dethroned.” Every positive definition is deniable, the Infinite is the undefined.

    Ha, ha, ha…. yeah, it works both ways.

    You may continue to speculate possibilities and probabilities in the context of infinity….. or go beat your head against the nearest brick wall…. I’m gonna take a hit and play Guitar Hero.

  217. #219 Flex
    June 12, 2007

    Peanut Galley wrote, “Since you started teaching the kids that they are animals.”

    I know I’m probably expecting too much here, but could we have a date for this claim?

    1860? 1880? 1900? 1920? When do you think this happened? It must have been before the Scopes Trial, so apparently the world has been in decline since WW2.

    Nutter.

  218. #220 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    “but the Leap of Faith that even Darwin Himself never made”

    Possibly because Darwin wasn’t trying to figure out the origin of life, but rather account for the diversity of species and the patterns of descent seen.

    Your religious language is a telling bit of projection, and referring to evolution as some sort of cult of Darwin only shows how ignorant you really are of it. We know that Darwin was wrong on a great many things. That doesn’t invalidate his theory of natural selection. Evolutionary biology is far more robust now than in the 19th century, and has incorporated molecular biology and genetics and become strengthened through that.

    And of course, the way you deride our so-called Faith cuts both ways. Unless, of course, you have a completely evidence-supported competing hypothesis.

  219. #221 PZ Myers
    June 12, 2007

    I can almost taste the foam coming out of there mouths.

    Are you aware of how many ways that sentence is just plain wrong?

    On another note: we seem to be having a sudden influx of pig-ignorant dopes. We’ve also been experiencing a number of filter-evading trolls. Would people cry out in horror if I re-enabled typekey verification? I’d just like to purge these casual drive-bys in an easy way.

    Don’t panic yet, this is just a trial balloon.

  220. #222 Paguroidea
    June 12, 2007

    Great post, PZ. I can tell you’re really getting to some folks!

  221. #223 Flex
    June 12, 2007

    Peanut Gallery wrote, “Notice how the atheists always resume to silly caricatures when confronted with hard questions.”

    Notice how the trolls refuse to answer any questions, even the easy ones.

  222. #224 John Danley
    June 12, 2007

    Goddamn straight!

  223. #225 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Would people cry out in horror if I re-enabled typekey verification? I’d just like to purge these casual drive-bys in an easy way.
    Don’t panic yet, this is just a trial balloon.

    I don’t care, but might want to think about it. I know you want to shut the parents up in teaching their kids religion. So this could be a test. You guys could just sit here and pat yourselves on the back. Don’t worry about any other views they are all wrong any way, so why have them on your blog?

    Do whatever you want, there is no free speech here, and nobody is going to cry. If you can’t stand the heat enable typad.

  224. #226 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    There is absolutely zero scientific evidence for the existence of a super-natural being.

    This is a giant, gaping, screaming flaw at the very center of creationism. It requires you to multiply entities far beyond necessity and without one iota of real evidence that said entities even exist, much less were responsible for abiogenesis.

  225. #227 Critical Thinker
    June 12, 2007

    And of course, the way you deride our so-called Faith cuts both ways. Unless, of course, you have a completely evidence-supported competing hypothesis.

    Most Creationist do not have a problem admitting that they have to practice a degree of faith in their presupositions regarding the origin of life. It is the evolutionists that have the harder time admitting the areas where they have to make use of faith. That’s why they make it clear that evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis, even though if one goes far back enough in biological evolution one has to deal with the question of abiogenesis.

  226. #228 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    “Don’t panic yet, this is just a trial balloon.”

    Yeah… I’ll try not to ‘panic’…

    You may resume laboring under the illusion…

  227. #229 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    If material abiogenesis requires a leap of faith, super-naturally inspired abiogensis requires you to jump a motorcycle over the English Channel. The entity that lies at the heart of the theory can’t even be shown to exist.

  228. #230 Nullifidian
    June 12, 2007

    [Just so we’re clear here – I’m not talking about adaptive, or ‘micro-evolution’ – but the Leap of Faith that even Darwin Himself never made – that self-replication of the first cell happened by chance. Darwin didn’t know about DNA and cellular biology, either.]

    In other words, you’re not talking about anything which has anything to do with evolutionary biology nor origins of life research (see post #220).

    Here’s a few, no particular order, and all “damned unlikely”, given the obvious:

    – Why no “right-handed” DNA?

    Uh, wow. And you’re nattering on about the origins of life.

    The vast majority of DNA is right-handed.

    How can your dissenting opinion be described as honestly acquired when you don’t even bother to familiarize yourself with biological basics like that?

    Now, reversing your question, and asking why there is no left-handed DNA would be less egregiously stupid, but no less wrong (as I have already implied). Z-DNA does twist to the left, and it even has been shown to occur in vivo.

    – How did the requisite molecules and processes “evolve” for life to replicate THE FIRST TIME? (for Jefe – why is there a secret decoder ring, with no decoder?)

    I don’t know. The purpose of origins of life research is to find out. How does not knowing the answer to a question tell us anything about the probability of life emerging?

    – “evolutionary biology” ignores the statistics of mutation. Most (some would argue – in the absence of laboratory gene splicing – ‘all’) mutations do NOT create new “information”, but simply destroy it. This VERY inconvenient fact is widely ignored – if it is understood at all, since information theory may be more opaque to most people than ‘evolutionary biology’.

    On the contrary, it is ignored because it is not a fact. Established paradigms for measuring information, like Shannon or Kolmogorov-Chaitin information theory, do not show that mutations destroy information. In fact, in KC information theory, where information is conceptually related to the non-compressibility of the string, any random mutation in a sequence would add information, say a sudden dupurination of an adenine in an A-tract. In that case, instead of the string of As (adenines), however long, you’d have a string of As interrupted by a hydroxyl group, and then another string of As again. Specifying that change would require more information than specifying that there is a string of, say, 27 adenine molecules. In both Shannon and Kolmogorov-Chaitin information theory, genetic duplication and divergence, for which there is much observation and evidence, adds information. Dembski and his fellow travelers, on the other hand, argue that mutations do not add evidence by means of hot air and handwaving, and that is why their ideas about information theory are not widely accepted, except by people with a religious or ideological axe to grind.

    Furthermore, even if neither KC nor Shannon information showed that mutations increased information, it would mean nothing to evolutionary biology, but would instead indicate a limit on the applicability of KC and Shannon information, and would show that another paradigm for information theory would be required for use in biology.

    Like it or not, there is real evidence that flies in the face of the Faith of Darwin.

    Great. When will we be presented with it? Considering that everything you’ve said so far has been wrong, and, as you rightly pointed out, Darwin didn’t actually know anything about DNA, perhaps you could tell us some observable fact about the world which clashes with evolutionary biology as it is understood by biologists? Thanks in advance.

    “If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science, it is opinion.” R. A. Heinlein

    Then perhaps you’ll be kind enough to show us your probability model for the emergence of life, thus removing it from the realm vague and uninformed opinion to the realm of quantifiability?

  229. #231 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    – How did the requisite molecules and processes “evolve” for life to replicate THE FIRST TIME? (for Jefe – why is there a secret decoder ring, with no decoder?)

    Simple Answer: We don’t know.
    Complex Answer: We don’t know; and the manufacture of assumptive mythology about a divine-hidden-watchmaker doesn’t change the fact that we don’t know.

    As for your secret decoder ring analogy, I recommend you read about junk-DNA.

    (Hint: Admitting that “we don’t know” is o.k. really. it is.)

  230. #232 tony
    June 12, 2007

    Oh Dear!

    To Mark Call, Physicist, et al… who want the probability of a shuffle to be repeatable…. Listen closely…

    ORIGIN OF LIFE NEEDED TO HAPPEN ONLY ONCE!

    i.e. You don’t need to deal the same shuffle more than once.
    You don’t need to posit the same ‘alignment of the mystical spheres’ more than once.

    Once is/was enough.

    As others have pointed out — life is here (so deal with it).

    How did it get here? I suggest you investigate it!

    Use the ‘scientific’ method. Create & test hypotheses. If your hypotheses are real, you’ll have results that are repeatable and prove your hypotheses (positively or negatively)… You may find your hypotheses are suitable models for prediction…. in which case you now have a theory!

    You can continue to test your theory against new evidence, experiments, etc., and as you discover more, you will find that you will need to revise or amend your theory to better fit your evidence. Generally speaking — this is science.

    Anything else is infra-physics (it’s just wrong to suggest there’s some ‘meta’ in these creo’s version of physics)

    My apologies to the real scientists out there for dumbing down the process…. but apparently baby talk is required!

  231. #233 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    P.S.

    Saying we don’t know, then attributing the answer to unprovable mythology and being satisfied with that as the answer is “not o.k.”.

    Knowledge is good. More knowledge is….more good.

  232. #234 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    I might add that it is highly suspicious that living things turn out to be made of fundamentally the same substance as non-living things. If life is the result of a super-natural being, there should be some other, super-natural substance in living things that non-living things don’t have. Alas, this is provably not the case.

  233. #235 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    Saying we don’t know then attributing the answer to unprovable wishful thinking and being satisfied with that answer “is not ok.”

    Posted by: Peanut Gallery | June 12, 2007 02:09 PM

    Thanks for agreeing with me. The wishful thinking that some omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being (who is similarly, unobservable, unprovable, and uncommunicable) with the chutzpah to create an entire near-infinite universe, but at the same time gives a fig about lil ol’ Sol 3, is kind of ridiculous.

  234. #236 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    Please, dry your eyes, Physicist. All it means is that you’ll have to type in randomly generated letters in an image box before you submit your comment. We’re the kinder, gentler oppressors.

  235. #237 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Oh Dear!
    To Mark Call, Physicist, et al… who want the probability of a shuffle to be repeatable…. Listen closely…

    I was just correcting math.

    ORIGIN OF LIFE NEEDED TO HAPPEN ONLY ONCE!

    Prove it! it could have been created and destroyed a number of times before we got here.

    We may have had to have one kind of life to live and die off so that this life here is what it is.

    And If I was going to use probability, I would use it a different way.

  236. #238 Flex
    June 12, 2007

    Critical Thinker wrote, “It is the evolutionists that have the harder time admitting the areas where they have to make use of faith.”

    Absolutely correct. Those who study evolutionary theory have a real hard time admitting where they have to make use of faith because they don’t make use of faith.

    They acknowledge the areas where their information is incomplete, and accept that they don’t have an answer. They would like more funding to try to find an answer. The various objections to evolutionary theory you have been listing here have already been answered in many forums, to the extent of testable knowledge without reliance on faith.

    Faith is about reliance on authority, science is about testing authority. If evolutionary scientists made use of faith, the entire discipline would be closed and no research would be conducted, written, or published.

    Which, strangely enough, is exactly the amount of research published by the the Discovery Institute.

  237. #239 Peanut Gallery
    June 12, 2007

    Sure. I am glad that you finally admit that everything in life came by random chance from a cosmic goo which noone knows how it ended up there in the first place is just as wishful thinking as your caricature.

    Apparently the majority of humanking in all of history, when faced with choosing between God or the cosmic goo, they overwhelmingly choose God.

    Thank you PZ for the stats.

  238. #240 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Nope. Since you started teaching the kids that they are animals. – Peanut

    I’m not a teacher.

  239. #241 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    “Knowledge is good. More knowledge is….more good.”

    Good…?

    Good for you? Good for who? What makes knowledge… “good”?

    Goody, goody, goody…

  240. #242 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Besides, the ony reason I commented in the first place was because of the vision in my head I had when I read the comments here; wherein I saw a bunch of chinese college students running around with little red books.

  241. #243 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    “Knowledge is good. More knowledge is….more good.”

    Good…?

    Good for you? Good for who? What makes knowledge… “good”?

    Goody, goody, goody…

    Posted by: The Spaghetti Monster | June 12, 2007 02:25 PM

    /yawn.

    Stop being intentionally obtuse. Surely even you can think of several examples where “knowledge” has improved the lot of humanity, and where improving on a foundation of basic “knowledge” has improved the lot for humanity even further.

    Let me give you one simple example that is even relevant to the discussion of evolution. Advanced Immunlology.

  242. #244 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    Apparently the majority of humanking in all of history, when faced with choosing between God or the cosmic goo, they overwhelmingly choose God.

    Posted by: Peanut Gallery | June 12, 2007 02:20 PM

    Good thing for humanity, then, that the search for knowledge is not a popularity contest.

    Further, being popular does not equate to being correct.

    Example: A mere 200 years ago, the vast majority of non-enslaved-people also considered generationally-inherited-slave-status to be A-OK. Personally I’m glad that in the 21 Century, humanity generally acknowldeges that people owning people is not ethical – in spite of the ready availability of bronze-age instruction-guides for slave ownership and the proper care and disciplining of said property.

  243. #245 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    Don’t even engage the Spaghetti Monster (he can’t even fly, what kind of a spaghetti monster is that?). Obtuseness and solipsism are the aspects of his game. Reread his comment #237 and realize how pointless it is to discuss anything with him.

    Oh, but please just listen to this one thing, Mr. Monster. One period after a sentence is all you need.

  244. #246 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    “Apparently the majority of humanking in all of history, when faced with choosing between God or the cosmic goo, they overwhelmingly choose God.”

    #1
    The majority of human kind did not face a choice between evolution and creationism. Evolutionary theory is a more recent development, one that has had so much success because it has reams of evidence and experiment to back it up.

    #2 I’m pretty leary of your claim that most of the human race believed in “God”, or that it was the same “God” you are talking about.

    #3 Most of those people who believed in God also believed in spontaneous abiogenesis (i.e. meat into maggots, etc).

    Intelligent design is vastly inferior to trial-and-error design.

    There is really really no evidence that super-natural intelligent designers even exist, much less were responsible for creating life.

    Why do I need a super-natural agent to explain a material phenomena that is sustained by material processes?

  245. #247 CalGeorge
    June 12, 2007

    Peanut, Physicist,

    I’m an atheist and a Democrat, so it is possible, despite what you think, to reject god and not turn into a commie or Hitlerophile.

    Your fear is unfounded and ridiculous.

  246. #248 Peanut Gallery
    June 12, 2007

    I’m an atheist and a Democrat…

    Democrat? One step from a socialist; two steps from a communist; three steps from a nazi remake.

    So I think its probable enough.

  247. #249 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Nope. Since you started teaching the kids that they are animals.

    Evil came after the Fall, and was in existence long before 1859.

    I should have known it would take a baptised Catholic like myself to school you New Agers in Bible study.

  248. #250 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    “Let me give you one simple example that is even relevant to the discussion of evolution. Advanced Immunlology.”
    Posted by: Jefe

    But I implore you to provide the evidence that “Advanced Immunology” (one ‘l’ BTW) encompasses this “goodyness” you speak of…

    You see… immunotherapy has saved the lives of countless ‘would be’ dead serial killers and rapists thus acting as an agent of torture and human suffering; enabling the otherwise deceased killers to “wield their swords” of hatred and wrath.

    Indeed, in this case… knowledge is ‘bad’.

  249. #251 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    I seriously doubt that humanity in general were stupid until you and PZ were born.

    Posted by: Peanut Gallery | June 12, 2007 02:43 PM

    /yawn

  250. #252 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    “I seriously doubt that humanity in general were stupid until you and PZ were born.”

    That’s kind of funny actually, Peanut. The overwhelming super-duper majority of people who can name the first 20 elements of the periodic table and the 3 laws of thermodynamics are evolutionists, this includes virtually all of the ones who consider themselves religious as well. You are only getting a majority of the public rejecting evolution because you are asking people who can’t tell you the phases of mitosis for their opinion. Add a requirement to the survey that you have to be able to balance a basic chemical equation to participate in it, and all of a sudden the majority are evolutionists.

  251. #253 Flex
    June 12, 2007

    Critical Thinker wrote, “evolution goes beyond testing authority….”

    I think you are a little confused, evolutionary science says nothing about the existance or non-existance of an authority. By authority I assume you are speaking about a deity. Evolutionary science does flat out state that a special creation event 6,000 years ago is inconsistant with all testable evidence; as does the evidence of geology, astronomy, physics, etc.

    So, I suspect that you are heading back to the original discussion about atheism.

    Atheism is what occurs when one tests the positive claim of the existance of a deity and finds that the only evidence for a deity are the insubstantial claims of other human beings. Thus the authority of a deity is rejected.

    Just like what occurs when one tests the positive claims of astrology and for the same reason, the only evidence supporting astrology are the insubstantial claims of other human beings, one rejects astrology.

  252. #254 Jefe
    June 12, 2007

    But I implore you to provide the evidence that “Advanced Immunology” (one ‘l’ BTW) encompasses this “goodyness” you speak of…

    You see… immunotherapy has saved the lives of countless ‘would be’ dead serial killers and rapists thus acting as an agent of torture and human suffering; enabling the otherwise deceased killers to “wield their swords” of hatred and wrath.

    Indeed, in this case… knowledge is ‘bad’.

    Posted by: The Spaghetti Monster | June 12, 2007 02:54 PM

    I see. We’re going to compartmentalize demographics are we?

    Advanced immunology has also “saved the lives of countless ‘would be’ dead philanthropists and generally compassionate people willing to help others, thus acting as an agent of philanthropy and human solidarity; enabling the otherwise deceased people to “wield their swords” of philanthropy and compassionate aid.”

    Seems like that ‘tweezing’ of details works both ways.

    Next?

  253. #255 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    “Success? I think someone is counting their egss before they hatch.”

    Let’s see….3 centuries ago pretty much every scientist was a creationist. Theory of evolution comes along, scientists have a debate over it, creationism keeps getting stomped and evolution makes succesful prediction after succesful prediction. Now pretty much every scientist is an evolutionist. I’d call that success. At this point the majority of creationists are people who also can’t tell you what “taq” stands for or the steps in the polymerase chain reaction.

    Also, what is wrong with teaching kids that human beings are animals? It’s a simple scientific fact that is no more controversial than teaching them that atoms are made out of protons, electrons and neutrons. Regardless of whether you are creationist or evolutionist, you have to admit that human beings are animals.

  254. #256 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    Seems like that ‘tweezing’ of details works both ways.

    Next?

    Posted by: Jefe | June 12, 2007 03:04 PM

    Agreed…

    So we must conclude that knowledge is neither good nor bad… it just is what it is. Well, it looks like we have struck accord. Kinda makes the debate pointless. Of course I already ‘knew’ that…

  255. #257 CortxVortx
    June 12, 2007

    Wow! What a troll-fest! The vapidity of Peanut Gallery, Critical Thinker, Physicist, Mark Call, Piece of Advice, Back to the Subject, and Spaghetti Monster is astonishing. Not ONE of them (actually, there may be only one of them — fundies love to name-change) has defended his original claims, but has made a near career of moving those goal posts around.

    If it serves any purpose, it is to show lurkers and occasional visitors just how eye-poppingly stupid these science-deniers really are.

    — CV

  256. #258 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    over the course of humankind the fact that God created the universe has been a nonissue.

    God? I assume you mean “a god or gods.”

    Yes, and for the longest time, the fact that the earth was the center of the universe was a nonissue. The fact that the earth was flat was a nonissue. The fact that insane behavior was caused by demonic possession was a nonissue. The fact that building heavier-than-air flying machines was impossible was a nonissue. The fact that illness was caused by imbalance in the humours was a nonissue. The fact that the sun was a flaming chariot was a nonissue. The fact that thunder and lightning was made by a big magic hammer was a nonissue. The fact that the sky was a dome covering the world was a nonissue. The fact that stars were pinholes in the dome was a nonissue. The fact that planets were the glowing bodies of gods and goddesses was a nonissue.

    And so on.

    So, tell me, Peanut: What changed? What made all these supernaturally-explained or otherwise unexplained nonissues into… well… naturally-explained nonissues?

  257. #259 Chris
    June 12, 2007

    CV-
    That is true of everyone except Spaghetti Monster. Everything he says is perfect and true. You and I aren’t even fit to scrape the resin from his bong.

  258. #260 Wolfhound
    June 12, 2007

    Hey, guys! I have a great idea! Let’s all go over and blitzkrieg a creationist blog! Wouldn’t that be fun? I mean, we can all use multiple sock puppet accounts and post the same immature insults over and over again! Wouldn’t that teach them a lesson? Wouldn’t that be FUN?! As long as Mom or Dad doesn’t catch us, anyway, right? Great idea, huh? I’m so glad I thought of it before the creationists decided to give it a try themselves!

    Oh. Wait…

  259. #261 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Yeah, suddenly I’m a troll. Never been here before? and PZ knows my real name via email. I never posited a theory today to defend.

  260. #262 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    I’m so glad I thought of it before the creationists decided to give it a try themselves!

    Oh. Wait…

    Posted by: Wolfhound | June 12, 2007 03:18 PM

    sniff…

    sniffy, sniff…

    (sips latte)

    So sorry wolfy….

    just remember; Jesus loves you… Ummmm, he’s just not “in love” with you…

    sippy

  261. #263 Dokuro Mitsukai
    June 12, 2007

    Great idea, Wolfie! Can I bring Excalibolg?

  262. #264 Mark Call
    June 12, 2007

    Not ONE of them … has defended his original claims…show[s] lurkers and occasional visitors just how eye-poppingly stupid these science-deniers really are.

    That is some amazing hubris from someone who can’t do the math.

    But, hey! Speaking for the other “science deniers” (that’s actually spelt “heretic”, mister CV) I guess we should be happy that you Enlightened Ones haven’t (yet) done what “animals” have done throughout much of history to Deniers of the One True Faith.

    Perhaps the “lurkers” will be able to recognize Hypocrisy when they see it. Adios.

  263. #265 T_U_T
    June 12, 2007

    the spaghetti troll cant’t do even basic maths ! comments #248 and #254 are the evidence…

  264. #266 Anton Mates
    June 12, 2007

    over the course of humankind the fact that God created the universe has been a nonissue.

    That’s not true. The majority of religions–Norse, Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek, Mayan, Buddhism, some versions of Hinduism, etc.–have the gods appearing after the universe begins. Arguably Genesis, in the original Hebrew, does too.

  265. #267 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    the spaghetti troll cant’t do even basic maths ! comments #248 and #254 are the evidence…

    Posted by: T_U_T | June 12, 2007 03:42 PM

    What the……?

    Are you ‘special’……?

    I just cant’t take it anymore, no I cant’t, cant’t…..

    I need some help to do the basic maths….

    roflmao

    quick…. someone get this dude into the lab.

  266. #268 T_U_T
    June 12, 2007

    countdown to banning the spaghetti troll 3…2…1

  267. #269 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    countdown to banning the spaghetti troll 3…2…1

    Posted by: T_U_T | June 12, 2007 03:57 PM

    nope…. not yet….

  268. #270 T_U_T
    June 12, 2007

    so what about spending the last few seconds you have trying to learn about the mysteries of addition, subtraction, and multiplication, which seem to elude you, because you couldn’t vomit your comment #248 herew if you could understood them.

  269. #271 T_U_T
    June 12, 2007

    could understand of course

  270. #272 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    O.K. goofy…

    enlighten me…

  271. #273 T_U_T
    June 12, 2007

    O.K.dummy…
    I’ll do.

    Take N for being the original population
    take K for being the number of killers in it
    takt M the average number of people one killer is going to kill
    and take d the chance that one person gets sick and without medical help dies. ( it is of course less than 1 and greater than 0 )

    So you will have dN people killed by diseases and drom the remaining (1-d)N will be (1-d)K killers.
    ( assuming the disease kills anyone alike, killer or not killer )

    those killers will then kill further (1-d)KM people.

    So, at the end of the day we will have C0 = dN + (1-d)KM causalties.

    Now suppose a therapy can reduce disease death to a fraction r (less than 1 and greater than 0 )

    the disease deaths are rdN now and by similar argument murders are (1-rd)KM

    so you will get a new number causalties C1 = rdN + (1-rd)KM

    now we subtract C0 – C1 to get the number of people which are rescued ( or killed if negative ) by introduction of the therapy.

    C0 – C1 = dN + (1-d)KM – ( rdN + (1-rd)KM ) = dN + KM – dKM – rdN – KM + rdKM = (1-r)d(N-KM)

    d is positive, 1-r is positive since r < 1
    and N – KM ought to be positive since killers are usually not capable to kill the entire population,

    so you will always have net positive number of rescued people and thus your “argument” fails

    QED

    have a “nice” trollingday, then

  272. #274 T_U_T
    June 12, 2007

    damn mismatched b tags

  273. #275 cureholder
    June 12, 2007

    Thanks to many people (especially Ichthyic) for reading my previous post regarding my religious indoctrination and providing thoughtful feedback and encouragement.

    I have a dilemma with my own situation, as I strongly believe in personal freedom and autonomy and in the right of parents to rear and educate their own children. That problem, of course, is what to do (if anything) when the parents’ idea of “education” consists mainly in passing along religious myths and skipping actual knowledge.

    In my own experience, I do not believe that governmental intervention would have been a proper solution. In retrospect, what I most needed was for sound, rational adults, upon encountering me after I left home at age 18, who would openly, caringly, and consistently but firmly tell me that what I had been taught was incorrect, and show me the reasons for rejecting it in favor of actual knowledge. My experience had taught me that all the adults I knew believed what I was taught to believe, and none of the non-believers ever told me or showed me that there were real and respectable adults who did not believe accordingly. To a child, that silence is tantamount to confirmation that “everyone” believes it.

    The problem, of course, is that we have a socially constructed taboo against calling out nonsense in the religious realm (while we are perfectly comfortable doing the same to nonsense in science, history, math, etc.).

    I do my part by not shying away from the problem or being squeamish when confronted with young people who have been brought up to believe nonsense. My works brings me into contact with hundreds of young people (usually 18-25), so I have many opportunities to try to offset the damage by putting a notch on the side of reason. Even if the parents are present, I do not hesitate to openly question why someone would believe something with no evidence in favor of it and lots of evidence against it. I am not mean or rude, but simply firm and reasonable . . . but I give no quarter to anyone who insists that “beliefs” should be respected simply because the person wants to hold them. These myths are not worthy of any level of respect, and to let such an idea hinder our interaction with young people is to give up any chance of helping them out of the abyss I was pushed into.

    I look back on my upbringing and young adulthood, and I am honestly convinced that if half a dozen people along the way had had the courage and strength to challenge my inherited “beliefs” openly, calmly, and rationally, it would have saved me a decade of doing it on my own.

    Maybe with the internet (which didn’t exist when I was growing up, and which makes cloistering children from real information more difficult) the process can be a little easier.

  274. #276 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    I do my part by not shying away from the problem or being squeamish when confronted with young people who have been brought up to believe nonsense. My works brings me into contact with hundreds of young people (usually 18-25), so I have many opportunities to try to offset the damage by putting a notch on the side of GOD. Even if the parents are present, I do not hesitate to openly question why someone would believe something with no redemption in favor of death. I am not mean or rude, but simply firm and reasonable . . . but I give no quarter to anyone who insists that “beliefs” should be respected simply because the person wants to hold them. These lies are not worthy of any level of respect, and to let such an idea hinder our interaction with young people is to give up any chance of helping them out of the abyss I was pushed into.

    I changed this a little with some deletion and bolding.

    This is how a religion is spread. Looks like a “duck” to me.
    Maybe you could have some anti-Bible tracks to pass out as well. If you want to turn atheism into a religion, fine with me.

  275. #277 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    QED

    have a “nice” trollingday, then

    Posted by: T_U_T | June 12, 2007 04:51 PM

    Ummmm, o.k.

    Listen up fool; (once again I must bring attention to that which is blatantly obvious) the debate wasn’t a question of “the more people saved = good”. The debate was whether or not knowledge is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Go re-read my post… print off a copy, bring it to your ‘special ed’ teacher and have them explain it to you in a way that you can understand.

    Jefe put forth the notion that knowledge is good, and therefore more knowledge is “more good”. So I simply stated a hypothetical situation in which our advanced knowledge has saved the lives of people who have gone on to commit atrocities. See the paradox….? Of course we agreed that knowledge is neither good nor bad. Even you can comprehend that… So don’t try to sell me some bunk trite equation that is in no way related to the issue; I’m an ‘a-moral’ pasta monster…. (apparently that hasn’t been coming through in my posts) the false dichotomy of a self-imposed subjective moral code of conduct vs. an objective morality serves only as a smoke screen for those of us who are the wiser.

  276. #278 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    A duck? No, Physicist. You’ve turned a owl into a turkey and called it a dove.

  277. #279 Jay Hovah
    June 12, 2007

    “Poor, dumb bastards. I didn’t really relize how sick you people are until now.”

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 10:21 AM

    “Go ahead and try to crush religion. Stalin tried it and that was crushed. Mao tried it and made saints. Go ahead you arrogant bastards try to crush religion and it will crush you.”

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 10:33 AM

    “Yeah, suddenly I’m a troll. Never been here before? and PZ knows my real name via email. I never posited a theory today to defend.”

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 03:25 PM

    Looks like a troll, sounds like a troll.

  278. #280 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Sorry Physicist, but calling a goose a duck doesn’t make it one.

    Reason is not spread through lies and indoctrination, despite your assertion that it is. Many people come to it spontaneously (I am one of them, for instance, despite years of church, religious schooling and so forth.) Further, unlike revealed religions, a rationalist’s mind can be changed through open discussion and the presentation of evidence. The only way religious thought cn progress, sans reason, is for a god to plop down another stone tablet, golden platter, burning bush, or the like. (By the way, why aren’t you a Mormon? You know they have the most up-to-date version of god’s word, don’t you?)

    Have you ever wondered why no spontaneous Christians have ever been found?

    Seems a god who truly cares about our salvation wouldn’t rely on a game of ‘telephone’ to get his important message across. It would be there for anyone to see without the prompting of priest-kings. (Pity the poor kid whose only access to the ‘truth’ might be a molesting priest. Where’s the spot in limbo for the Christians who got the ‘truth’ as told by some wacko like Rev. Moon?)

  279. #281 Ken Mills
    June 12, 2007

    This site is a great example of how people think who are narrow minded and deny that there is a God.

    At the same time you people quickly and erroneously label God believers as ‘uneducated’, you yourselves adhere to a faith-based system called evolution which is falsly held under the banner of ‘science’, and can neither be proven nor backed up by facts.

    In short.. no evidence of transitional creatures have ever been found to support the delusional man-made idea that one species has EVER transformed over a long peroid of time from species to another. It doesn’t exist.

    Evolution is and has always been a man-made religion to replace a belief in God. It no wonder you get so upset when someone doesn’t believe in your religion.

  280. #282 Numad
    June 12, 2007

    “man-made religion”

    Now that’s a pleonasm if I’ve ever seen one.

  281. #283 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    But Pastaface (#275) the question isn’t so much, “Is knowledge good?” as it is, “Is knowledge accumulation better than perpetual ignorance?” The “goodness” value of the knowledge is irrelevant, as you have pointed out. Does it follow, then, that knowledge is inherently value-neutral, neither good nor bad?

    If so, then your paradox argument is also irrelevant, because what we’re really talking about is the value of having all this inherently value-neutral but potentially useful stuff – knowledge – as opposed to NOT having it.

    Sure, I can beat you to death with this big flashlight I’ve got here – not that I would, of course – but I’d much rather have it than stumble around in the dark. I’m not sure how D-cell batteries fit into this metaphor, but I’ll think of something.

    By the way, is pesto a form of heresy? I’ve always wondered.

  282. #284 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    a faith-based system called evolution

    Ken Mills… Are you an engineer?

  283. #285 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Ken you fool, in short, no evidence of Jehovah has ever been found to support the delusional man-made idea that Jesus Christ’s supposed sacrifice has EVER redeemed any human’s sins, because it can’t happen.

    Don’t you see that your belief in the Xian god blinds you to the truth that is Praam?ius, M?nuo, and Perk?nas?

  284. #286 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    “Poor, dumb bastards. I didn’t really relize how sick you people are until now.”

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 10:21 AM

    “Go ahead and try to crush religion. Stalin tried it and that was crushed. Mao tried it and made saints. Go ahead you arrogant bastards try to crush religion and it will crush you.”

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 10:33 AM

    “Yeah, suddenly I’m a troll. Never been here before? and PZ knows my real name via email. I never posited a theory today to defend.”

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 03:25 PM

    Looks like a troll, sounds like a troll.

    ***********************************************************

    Too bad you didn’t understand it. Many others have tried to use the State to crush religion and look at the tyrannts who tried it. They couldn’t do it, what makes you think you can? It’s dumb to try, it is a sick individual who wants to parent other peoples children and turn them in for child abuse, like Nazi’s.

    Darwin Akbar! is what it sounds like to me.

  285. #287 Jay Hovah
    June 12, 2007

    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 05:48 PM

    Thank you for further proving my point.

  286. #288 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Physicist, listen up. We have no interest in crushing religion. Believe in all the gods you want (specifically, the Hindu pantheon. There’s more Hindus than you, their religion has been around much longer, and there are so many more gods to make you happy.)

    If god’s message is so important and true, all the kids will discover it when they grow up. We just want to protect the little tykes from the molestings (both emotional, mental, and physical) that have been sanctioned by various churches throughout the ages.

    (Look, we know you know the truth, and all the other Xians of which I speak aren’t true Xians. But have some sympathy for the rest of us: all Xians say that, and we can’t really tell you apart.)

  287. #289 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Actually, I’ve got better advice for you, Physicist: stop attacking evolution. It’s not your primary target right now.

    A large majority of people are fed up by the bullshit propagated by all the false religions (you know which ones I mean; all the ones that aren’t the one you believe, including the 30,000+ or so Xian denominations that aren’t yours.) You get rid of all of those bad guys, and the rest of us will be happy to jump on board once we know the only Xians out there are true Xians. Then you can happily set about demolishing evolution.

    No need to thank me; knowing that I’ve helped you strike a blow for the One Truth is reward enough.

  288. #290 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 12, 2007

    By the way, is pesto a form of heresy? I’ve always wondered.

    Posted by: Kseniya | June 12, 2007 05:43 PM

    You’re getting there…..

    Listen, I’ll keep it simple.

    Let us take it from the top:

    You ask:
    “Is knowledge accumulation better than perpetual ignorance?”

    Answer: No.

    Knowledge being indefinitely progressive, I can believe that I shall one day know that of which I am now ignorant. I have no doubts in regard to what I know thoroughly; I may doubt my knowledge if I know imperfectly, but I cannot have doubts as to a thing of which I know nothing, since it is impossible for me to formulate them. So you see… you will always exist in a state of “perpetual ignorance”.

    You say:
    “value-neutral but potentially useful.”

    I say useful….. maybe, I guess that is up to the individual to make that claim. No doubt (hind site being 20/20) mankind has made plenty of seemingly useful “stuff” only to find out later that their great triumph of applied knowledge has come back to bite them in the ass….. *see The Manhattan Project.

    And finally….. No, you could not beat me to death with your little flashlight….. and whether or not you prefer to stumble around in the dark is a matter of personal preference.

    As to your “pesto” question……… google it.

  289. #291 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    You say:
    “value-neutral but potentially useful.”

    I say useful….. maybe, I guess that is up to the individual to make that claim.

    Kseniya says ‘potato’, Spaghettio says ‘thing what my mom makes French Fries out of’….

    Let’s just call the whole thing off.

  290. #292 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Physicist, listen up. We have no interest in crushing religion… We just want to protect the little tykes from the molestings (both emotional, mental, and physical) that have been sanctioned by various churches throughout the ages.

    All for the children. How compasionate of you. You could send the parents to re-education camps if they teach their children religion. Yes you are trying to crush religion with the State.

    Read post #48

  291. #293 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    But… but trust me on this, the combined mass of all those D-cells (this flashlight takes 32,767 of them) add a lot of OOMPH. I could take on a godly serving of anything from angel hair to fettucine with this beast. Sun-dried tomatoes? Fresh grated Romano? Capers? Bring’em on, mister! Even Thor trembles before me! (Ok, not trembles exactly, it’s more like he blinks a few times as I try to blind him before he cracks my pathetic little skull with that big-ass garlic press he lugs around. But that’s another topic.)

    Regarding perpetual ignorance: Yeah, ok, we’ll never know everything, and we can’t ever know what we don’t know, and if there’s an infinite number of things to KNOW then we’ll always be infinitely ignorant, BUT there we can measure what we know relative to what we knew so in practical terms we’re somewhat less ignorant than we were.

    You know, this conversation is making me hungry. BBL.

  292. #294 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    You could send the parents to re-education camps if they teach their children religion. Yes you are trying to crush religion with the State.

    Great ideas, but you’re holding back. As a religious man, you’ve undoubtedly got reams of ways to silence heretics, haven’t you?

  293. #295 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Physicist – No crushing is happening here (unless you count that run-in I had with Thor a minute ago.)

    Seriously, try looking at it THIS way:

    1. Teaching religion = ok, protected by 1st Amendment

    2. Depriving child of proper education by stuffing head full of myth in places where fact and theory belong = not ok

    Too-close-for-comfort Analogy Time:

    What would you think of someone who tried to nourish a child on an exclusive diet of sacramental wine and wafers? Surely the parent’s rights include deciding that wine and wafers have a place in their child’s life, but to the exclusion of all else? No, perhaps not; perhaps to do so is to do a disservice to the child, or worse.

    Food (!) for thought, I hope?

  294. #296 cureholder
    June 12, 2007

    >>>I changed this a little with some deletion and bolding.
    This is how a religion is spread. Looks like a “duck” to me. >>>

    If this looks like a religion to you, you have missed out on some basics of knowledge and education (kind of like I did while being raised by people in the same boat as you).

    You changed it all right. From from a rational treatise about how facts actually exist and false ideas can be conquered by introduction of intellectual standards, you changed it into into a screed like the mindless (that word actually means something, by the way) ones I heard growing up.

    I’ll make you a deal: Put you, me, and a young person who has grown up with religious fundamentalism into a room, and let us have a rational three-way discussion regarding systems of belief and evidence. You can tell the young person to believe what you dictate, without evidence, or s/he will be sent to a hell for which you also have no evidence by a god for which you also have no evidence. When s/he questions how you know, scream about faith and revelation.

    Assuming the young person isn’t simply brain-damaged, within one hour s/he will be well on the way to rejecting the nonsense you are pushing, because I will help him/her understand the difference between demonstrable knowledge and baseless assertion. Actually s/he will already know the difference from other realms of life (physics, math, everyday living) and I will simply help him/her extend that process (which is nominally called “thinking”) into this heretofore unexposed realm of understanding. The nice thing is, I will have lots and lots of evidence on my side (nominally known as “facts”) while you will have your tired one-liner and no demonstrable facts.

    I am living proof that a normal human being can get over the nonsense of religion when exposed to facts. I enjoy helping others get started into a real life earlier than I did.

  295. #297 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    2. Depriving child of proper education by stuffing head full of myth in places where fact and theory belong = not ok

    First you must prove it a myth, before you can teach it a myth, and you cannot prove a negative. So, are you saying that home schoolers cannot tech their children religion as part of that ciriculum. Like young Earth creationism, which I don’t believe, would that be OK.

    It really don’t matter where we came from, now does it?

    You can tell the young person to believe what you dictate, without evidence, or s/he will be sent to a hell for which you also have no evidence by a god for which you also have no evidence. When s/he questions how you know, scream about faith and revelation.

    You can preach atheism all you want, I don’t care; or are talking about evolution and do you believe the two are inexorably tied?

  296. #298 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    What would you think of someone who tried to nourish a child on an exclusive diet of sacramental wine and wafers? Surely the parent’s rights include deciding that wine and wafers have a place in their child’s life, but to the exclusion of all else? No, perhaps not; perhaps to do so is to do a disservice to the child, or worse.

    That would definately be child abuse, because they are feeding the child properly. But the people who beileve say, that man cannot live by bread alone, but by the living word of God also. So if they choose to teach children what they believe to be true, it in no way harms the child even if they are wrong.

  297. #299 K Tribe
    June 12, 2007

    My heart aches for you all. I’ve never heard such hateful comments; I’ve certainly never heard any Creationists speak this way about Evolutionists. By the way, I seriously doubt the validity of the survey, as most church-goers and Republicans, in my experience, are unfortunately also Evolutionists – products of our pitiful education system. We never would have come to this point if, in the Scopes Trial, the pastor had known how to answer the question of who Cain married. The greatest scientists of all time were, for the most part, Christian Creationists, but all that changed in the last 100 years. Scientists are supposed to have open minds, right? So try to open your minds and do some research on why so many scientists are now becoming Creationists. I would recommend answersingenesis.com. The have articles on the site written in lay terms, and they also have more technical, scientific papers. Now look up the definition of Religion, and you’ll discover that not only is Atheism a religion, but so is Science! Keep in mind that Jesus was very much anti-religion! The people he called vipers and Sons of Satan and white-washed tombs were the religious leaders of the day. Christianity is not supposed to be about ‘religion’. The Bible even says that the traditions of man (religion) make God’s word worthless. You can see that happen in the consequences some of you had referred to on this blog – hateful things done in the name of God by hateful people who think they’re Christians because the sit on a pew once a week. Those aren’t Christ-followers, folks; lets have no confusion on that issue. Righteous indignation is not the same as hate crimes. Jesus changed people’s lives, but he did it by loving them. Try to stop blaming God for things that people do wrong. That’s like blaming Darwin when an Evolutionist cuts me off in traffic. The Bible also says “Come, let us reason together.” I used to believe in evolution because my teachers in school taught me to, but I remember thinking, “How can that be possible? How can cows turn into a whales by spending a lot of time in the shallows?” But that’s what I was taught. As an adult, when I started looking at the same evidence, I could look at it more objectively than I could as a child into whose head it was drilled that I was to respect the authority of my teachers. Now I know that there’s a big difference between mutation, natural selection, and evolution. Evolution would mean that genetic information can be added – mutation is a loss of genetic information. Clear your mind, and start over looking at the evidence, so that if you still want to back evolution, you have something to say other than name-calling. You just may find that there’s more real science supporting Creation than Evolution these days – in my opinion, it takes more faith to believe in Evolution than in God.

  298. #300 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    So if they choose to teach children what they believe to be true, it in no way harms the child even if they are wrong.

    please, go take a look at an accepted cult some time, and tell me that things people teach their kids do no harm, even if wrong.

    this is not only horribly simplistic on your part, but downright dangerous.

    why do you think we bother to battle the creobots at all, eh?

    It makes me wanna scream when people are so idiotic as to think that damage to the mind is somehow less important than damage to the body.

    you can see post after post from people like the one who posted his story of abuse above, and stil NOT get it.

    no wonder the fight against creobotism is taking so long.

  299. #301 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    maelstom of ignorance, indeed. not just on the creobot’s side.

    anybody who is a psychologist weeps at the attitude expressed by those who think that cultism isn’t abuse.

  300. #302 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    I’ve certainly never heard any Creationists speak this way about Evolutionists.

    don’t get out much, do you?

  301. #303 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    no wonder the fight against creobotism is taking so long.

    Posted by: Ichthyic |

    All religion is not cult. For example true Christianity is a choice. Some of you want to not offer a choice. Me I don’t get into other peoples business of what they teach their children, but if I see a child being physically abused, I would step in, one way or the other.

    We have no way of knowing who is right. If you think you know erverything, it is a sure sign that you don’t know much (not a personal comment about you).

    Mental abuse, is a terrible thing, but I think teaching children how to love each other as we love ouselves is not mental abuse.

  302. #304 CCP
    June 12, 2007

    jeez, K-Tribe…I mean, you can spell and everything but that was one of the most ignorant creocraps I’ve seen. Nobody thinks there is anything wrong with loving people. There is NO science that “supports Creation.”
    big
    fat
    zero

  303. #305 windy
    June 12, 2007

    Don’t you see that your belief in the Xian god blinds you to the truth that is Praam?ius, Menuo, and Perkunas?

    By Perkele, you’re right!

  304. #306 K Tribe
    June 12, 2007

    Also, try to remember that evolution is only a theory. It CANNOT be proven in a lab anymore than I can PROVE in a lab what I believe. One writer says it can, and I know what he’s referring to, but you need to reevaluate that experiment and what it demonstrated. The only way to prove evolution might be if you live a few million years to see what we’re like then – I think you’ll find we’ve devolved, not evolved – we will have lost genetic information, not gained it. Even using proper scientific method, science actually proves nothing; it simply demonstrates. Think about it – how many proven scientific FACTS have been disproven by the next generation of scientists? Be careful where you lay your trust. Scientist are just men, with just as much to prove and just as much of a pre-formed belief system and just as much riding on the outcome as any crooked televangelist!

  305. #307 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    jeez, K-Tribe…I mean, you can spell and everything but that was one of the most ignorant creocraps I’ve seen. Nobody thinks there is anything wrong with loving people. There is NO science that “supports Creation.”
    big
    fat
    zero
    Posted by: CCP | June 12, 2007 08:15 PM

    So, Big fat zero for you. Who cares, I don’t. I didn’t come here to save you, but you seem to want to go save other people. That selfish gene hasn’t kicked in I guess.

    If there is a hell, and all atheist go to hell. What is it to me?

  306. #308 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    All religion is not cult. For example true Christianity is a choice. Some of you want to not offer a choice.

    (What is “true” Christianity, again? Nobody seems to know.)

    People are free to make that INFORMED choice as adults.

    Me I don’t get into other peoples business of what they teach their children, but if I see a child being physically abused, I would step in, one way or the other.

    By the way, I seriously doubt the validity of the survey, as most church-goers and Republicans, in my experience, are unfortunately also Evolutionists – products of our pitiful education system.

    You, K-Tribe, are part of the problem.

    Do you have ANY idea how frustrating, maddening, disheartening it is for educated, dedicated professionals who’ve devoted a significant portion of their lives to the study of science to here the same ignorant bullshit from people like you over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and OVER… AND OVER…?

    Go ahead. Practice a little empathy here, if you can get out of your own head for a minute or two. I challenge you.

    We never would have come to this point if, in the Scopes Trial, the pastor had known how to answer the question of who Cain married.

    You just can’t face the truth, can you? You sad, pathetic creature. THERE IS NO ANSWER. There never will be. Any answer give will be fabricated – a lie. You advocate lying in the service of delusion?

    You are part of the problem. Get it? No? You don’t get why? That’s why.

    The greatest scientists of all time were, for the most part, Christian Creationists, but all that changed in the last 100 years.

    And why do you suppose that is? Think. For once.

    it takes more faith to believe in Evolution than in God.

    No it doesn’t. You’re such a fool. God save us from “minds” like yours. When are you going to grow up and join the real world? When?

    When?

    WHEN?

    I knew it. Never.

    Sigh.

    I’ll pray for you, K-Tribe. You seem to be a good soul. One worth saving. Your assignment for next week is to learn why the “just the theory” nonsense is… nonsense. Now go. Be fruitful. Add.

  307. #309 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Oops, hasty editing error. My bad. I meant to say, before the first blockquote, something like “Good for you Physicist, I’d expect nothing less, but it’s not physical abuse that’s being discussed. It’s about denying a child the eduction he or she needs to take his place in the modern world. Don’t you have ANY respect for Cureholder’s story?”

  308. #310 p
    June 12, 2007

    (What is “true” Christianity, again? Nobody seems to know.)

    What is true atheism?

  309. #311 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    It’s about denying a child the eduction he or she needs to take his place in the modern world. Don’t you have ANY respect for Cureholder’s story?”

    I missed his story, sorry. Did they do something horrible to him, I hope not.

    You haven’t yet heard my story?

  310. #312 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Sorry about that, “p” was me.

  311. #313 AgentX
    June 12, 2007

    Dear blogger PZ,

    This is agentX over at Netscape, where your article is also being discussed. You might want to check out the discussion there.

    At any rate, there is a large portion of religious people who believe in the Second Coming and the Apocalypse. Some elements of this, found within OUR government (thank you, Neo-cons and James Dobson, et al) are actively seeking to bring about the apocalypse. Why, you ask? Because their lives suck. Their pseudo-religious doctorine and flawed lifestyle keeps them from being what they are (i.e. Gay. If you don’t believe me, see Ted Haggart) as well as their inability to maintain their sub-prime mortgages and xenophobia (see immigration debate), as well as further evidence coming out seemingly monthly proving their religious beliefs are either wrong, flawed, or debunked by science (see Exodus special on the history channel). So they hang on to some stupid idea than man was molded from clay or some nonsense like that. Tell them, if that were true, then why do we share 99% of our DNA with Chimps?

    Basically they want to bring about the Apocalypse and the Republican candidate seem hell-bent on this (see their vote at the debate over supporting a nuclear first-strike on Iran) even though religious texts such as the Bible clearly say not to do this. So they’re clueless and hypocritical.

    Continue to pound out the truth. Never let up. Never give an inch, never show mercy. Never give in, never think of surrendering. This is an ideological war that they started, and when someone starts mess, make sure to finish it/them.

  312. #314 Wolfhound
    June 12, 2007

    “If there is a hell, and all atheist go to hell. What is it to me? ”

    Excellent point! Since you seem to have no real purpose here then, except to waste bandwidth, howzabout you go toodle along to the various Droids 4 Jeezus blogs where you belong? Oh, and take your vacuous buddies with you while you’re at it. There’s a good fundie. < *pats P's head*>

  313. #315 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    At any rate, there is a large portion of religious people who believe in the Second Coming and the Apocalypse. Some elements of this, found within OUR government (thank you, Neo-cons and James Dobson, et al) are actively seeking to bring about the apocalypse. Why, you ask? Because their lives suck. Their pseudo-religious doctorine and flawed lifestyle keeps them from being what they are (i.e. Gay. If you don’t believe me, see Ted Haggart) as well as their inability to maintain their sub-prime mortgages and xenophobia (see immigration debate)

    OK folks, this is the way to argue, no one can argue with this, I completely agree, accept with the “most” part.

    This is on the money, right down the line. The neocons have the evangelicals in their back pocket and we are my friends at a dangerous place in this country because of it.

    We are going to see this all spin out of control, because we have Islam and evangelical Christianity (fundamental, don’t know how to read the revelation idiots praising Bush) and we are going to die or suffer if this word is not made known. Maybe parish as a society. There has been no greater danger to mankind in my lifetime than this president, with the exception of the bay of pigs when I was an infant.

  314. #316 Chop
    June 12, 2007

    “Can you name an Atheist institution solely dedicated to offering help to hurting families that has been established in the last 20 years?”
    This question really got me thinking. There really are a lot of religious-based charitable organizations, true. However, those tend to come with an agenda. Religious based- AIDS charities, for instance, might help through promoting abstinence rather than distributing prophylactics. Then I though about myself as an atheist. I am not UNCHARITABLE. What I am saying is that individuals who are atheists are no less or more concerned about their fellow man than theists, just as they are not any more or less MORAL. Generally, I think their charitability is what creates more government-sponsored efforts, like welfare. I know this might not be the most well executed example, but I am trying to draw attention to a difference. I think it is simply the intent of charitable-minded atheists (or religious people) who work through political efforts rather than religious organizations to help their fellow human beings without strings attached.

  315. #317 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    with the exception of the bay of pigs when I was an infant.

    I take that back.

  316. #318 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    All religion is not cult.

    strawman.

    never said it was.

    but, let’s take a specific example:

    why don’t you tell me how Ken Ham teaches kids does NOT fit the definition of a cult.

    surely you can dig up some of the videos of his teaching methods, right?

    fetch, boy.

    when you come back, and can point out exactly how what Ken Ham does differs from your garden variety cult leader, we have something to discuss.

  317. #319 Carlie
    June 12, 2007

    No fair! I already got caught up in a several-hundred-comment shitstorm about raising children on feministe today. There can’t be more than one going on at once!

    Also, try to remember that evolution is only a theory.

    Saying that automatically disqualifies you from being allowed to make any statements about evolutionary theory whatsoever. Go look up “scientific theory” and come back in a few days once you’ve figured it out. Although, if you’re one of the names of the troll, you probably won’t be able to tell us what you’ve learned.

  318. #320 Keith Douglas
    June 12, 2007

    Rich: Pretty bad, relative to many parts of Canada, though probably better than Alberta. You’d be better off in certain parts of Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal (and, I suspect, Ottawa). My sister goes to grad school there and told me about the recent curfuffle about whether shops should be allowed to open on Sundays. It is also relatively small, so there are other weaknesses. But it is no doubt better than a lot of the US, if that’s where you’re coming from.

    Fe๒rag: Those passages I have never seen a Christian obey. Ever.

    Anton Mates: I can’t read the Hebrew, but the English translations which don’t mangle it seem to suggest that at least god is coeternal with the primaeval ocean.

  319. #321 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    why don’t you tell me how Ken Ham teaches kids does NOT fit the definition of a cult.
    surely you can dig up some of the videos of his teaching methods, right?

    Damn! can’t you read? and I don’t know who Ken Ham is and I don’t care. Pay attention son and learn something. When People speak the truth, I know it.

    The real important debate is not who believes in God right now, the important debate is who believes in armagedon right now. If Bush, the faux Christian is to use these people to attack Iran for his coorperate friends, we will all be surfs soon.

  320. #322 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    I have been saying for at least 2 years now what Bush was up to. I hate that bastard, he has used ignorant people, because he said “Jesus” one time to make them think he was on their side. Now if you want to do something in the immediate, do something about that. I sent a similiar email to PZ a few weeks ago expressing the same lament.

    We all got to get on the same side to stop this meglomaniac.

  321. #323 Blake Stacey, OM
    June 12, 2007

    Wow, 320 comments in a little over 29 hours.

    We should be able to top that.

    Here, let me help: “Dilbert sucks!”

  322. #324 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    Oh, this is rich. Another recent poll clearly shows that a majority of scientists do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the concept of macro-evolution as a construct, yet you declare by ad-hominem attack, which, by the way, only weakens your argument, that everyone who doesn’t believe in evolution is an idiot. You sir, are the one who is ignorant. There are many valid reasons why, by audience poll, including when debating before entire rooms full of scientists, the fine ladies and gentlemen from the Institute for Creation Research have never lost an origins debate. I’m sure you don’t know enough to attack their arguments, so you attack on a personal level, calling all of us, earned Phd’s, published researchers, et al “uneducated morons.” The truth is that many of us, including hundreds who are irreligious or non-religious believe that the evidence does not lie in favor of affirming macro-evolution.
    Sorry if that’s hard for you to handle PZ. Your obviously long on ignorance yourself by lumping all non-evolutionists into the category of “uneducated morons.” There are literally thousands of scientists who know that the jury is not only still out, but all of the best evidence lies in favor of special creation, or, at the very least Intelligent Design. I’d imagine that most of us are men and women who, on our worst days,could easily best you in a battle of the actual evidence. You’d think we’d have lost in front of the New York Geological Society, but you’d be wrong. And what are your credentials to affirm the ignorance of such a wide and diverse group of scientists and the general public?

  323. #325 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Damn! can’t you read? and I don’t know who Ken Ham is and I don’t care. Pay attention son and learn something. When People speak the truth, I know it.

    then you don’t know dick about the state of religion in this country. So, feel free to rant on Bush (more a symptom than the disease), and you’ll find little disagreement, especially round these parts.

    going beyond that appears not to suit you too much.

    here, let me help you out as cheerleader:

    Bush Suxxorz!

    please, continue.

  324. #326 Tim
    June 12, 2007

    It alwaya amazs me how angry evolutionist/atheists can be at fellow human beings who happen to be followers of Jesus. If evolution is correct, and there is no God then I will not feel cheated in the way that my life was spent as a follower of Jesus and I will go out of existance just as you. I will have lost nothing. On the other hand, if God does exist I have gained everything, and I will take my place at the biggest party of all time, forever. On the other hand, what will become of those who fail to heed the call of Jesus? God’s Word promises that they will lose everything and face an eternity of punishment. Both these positions are matters of faith. But in terms of their potential eternal consequences I will put my trust in God.

  325. #327 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Another recent poll clearly shows that a majority of scientists do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the concept of macro-evolution as a construct,

    straight from the world of “I make shit up”.

    congratulations.

    when can we expect your first work of fiction to be published?

  326. #328 Dustin
    June 12, 2007

    Another recent poll clearly shows that a majority of scientists do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the concept of macro-evolution as a construct, yet you declare by ad-hominem attack, which, by the way, only weakens your argument, that everyone who doesn’t believe in evolution is an idiot.

    Well, that’s certainly food for thought. I presume you have a link to this poll and a description of the methodology? I’m sure you do, but just forgot to tell us where we could find it.

  327. #329 Zarquon
    June 12, 2007

    But in terms of their potential eternal consequences I will put my trust in God.

    So you’re only in it for selfish, cowardly reasons? Why not grow up instead.

  328. #330 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    “If there is a hell, and all atheist go to hell. What is it to me? ”

    well, for one thing, you won’t get an invite to the endless bad sci-fi marathon.

    you wouldn’t want to miss that, now, would you?

  329. #331 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    Nope, the PhD in biology isn’t enough, there are hundreds of us with those credentials who do not affirm your herd mentality when it comes to origins PZ. Do you remember the old SNL routine on weekend update between Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin? You are so cock-sure of your belief system that you, yourself are a prime example of fundamentalism, a mindset you seem to despise when referencing God. “PZ you ignorant slut.” You are espousing a scientific worldview that is at least 20 years out of step with some of the most recent and provocative research vis-a-vis origins. Yet you do it with such gusto and a complete lack of any humility. Macro-evolution doesn’t qualify as theory and it sure as shooting isn’t fact. Grow up.

  330. #332 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    going beyond that appears not to suit you too much.
    here, let me help you out as cheerleader:
    Bush Suxxorz!
    please, continue.
    Posted by: Ichthyic | June 12, 2007 10:29

    Just as arrogant as Bush, sad, really, well you get what you ask for one way or another.

  331. #333 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    oh, Jeff’s last post would be SO perfect for the blah-blah treatment:

    blah, blah blah blah biology blah blah, blah blah blah hundreds of us blah blah blah blah blah blah herd mentality blah blah origins PZ. Blah blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah belief system blah, blah blah blah blah fundamentalism, blah blah blah despise blah blah God. “PZ blah blah blah.” Blah blah blah scientific worldview blah blah blah blah blah research blah origins. Blah blah blah blah humility. Macro-evolution blah blah blah theory blah blah blah blah fact. Blah blah.

    someone else want to try the Chthulu version?

  332. #334 Dustin
    June 12, 2007

    Nope, the PhD in biology isn’t enough, there are hundreds of us with those credentials who do not affirm your herd mentality when it comes to origins PZ.

    Wait, it’s a herd mentality despite your suggestion that most scientists don’t subscribe to it?

    Son, I’m going to tell you this with as much sincerity as I can muster: You need to get off the crank, clean your ass up, and get a job before you wind up having a prison dentist working on your meth-mouth.

  333. #335 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Just as arrogant as Bush, sad, really, well you get what you ask for one way or another.

    yes, yes, shake your fist a little harder. Otherwise, you might be in danger of making a point.

  334. #336 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    I’ sorry you’re right I should have included a link. I also misquoted, it is a majority of science teachers that do not affirm belief in macro-evolution, not just scientists in general. Here’s the link. http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~do_while/sage/v2i5n.htm

  335. #337 Dustin
    June 12, 2007

    I also misquoted, it is a majority of science teachers that do not affirm belief in macro-evolution, not just scientists in general.

    Do you know what “in general” means?

  336. #338 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    “Blah blah… macro-evolution, blah blah. link.

    blah.

    c’mon now, somebody do the Cthulu version so we can compare.

  337. #339 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    yes, yes, shake your fist a little harder. Otherwise, you might be in danger of making a point.
    Posted by: Ichthyic | June 12, 2007 10:44 PM

    OK, wag your peter, I don’t care, after all isn’t God in control? Yes he is, because the blindness of the un-God types have left them with no sense of balance.

    When the summer and fall comes and Bush atttacks Iraq, remember me.

    Goodnight.

  338. #340 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Not that it really matters to me, but Karl Rove is an admitted Atheist. Ask Hitchens for more details.

  339. #341 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    oh, Jeff’s last post would be SO perfect for the
    blah-blah treatment:

    That’s apparently the treatment reserved for those whose arguments are too sound to refute with intelligence, or logic. Why don’t you try reading something published by any one of the scores of excellently credentialed research scientists who have published sound refutations of key elements of evolution in the past thirty years? Your arguments from ignorance amount to blah blah blah blah and merely serve to illustrate my point that much of the debate on your side is full of it’s own heavy doses of ignorance. Thank you for helping me make that point with your very clear and personal example.

  340. #342 Dustin
    June 12, 2007

    NOT TAHT IT RILLY MATERS 2 M3 BUT KARL ROV3 SI AN ADMITED ATHEIST!!!!1 OMG WTF ASK HITCHANS FOR MOR3 DATALES!!!!!!!11 OMG

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  341. #343 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    When the summer and fall comes and Bush atttacks Iraq, remember me.

    oops. (psst), I think you missed something.

  342. #344 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    Iraq = Iran

  343. #345 Caledonian
    June 12, 2007

    Dustin, Ichthyic: relax. He’s not worth it. Contempt is a dish best served cold.

  344. #346 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    why do you hate pediatric medical research, Jeff?

  345. #347 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    Here are a few you may start with:

    Michael Denton, 1985, Evolution: a Theory in Crisis; A.E. Wilder-Smith, 1987, The Scientific Alternative to Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory; Michael Behe, 1996, Darwin’s Black Box; Richard Milton, 1997, Shattering the Myths of Darwinism

  346. #348 Dustin
    June 12, 2007

    Iraq = Iran

    So q = n?

  347. #349 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    That’s apparently the treatment reserved for those whose arguments are too sound to refute with intelligence, or logic.

    I’d respond, but I’m waiting for someone to apply a different treatment to your latest so we can compare which method looks best when applied to trolls.

    btw, this isn’t Jeff Gannon, is it?

  348. #350 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    hey ichthyic, don’t be inviting just *anybody* now.

  349. #351 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    I warned you!

  350. #352 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    thanks for the refs, Jeff. It’s not like anyone here’s ever heard of them before or anything.

  351. #353 Carlie
    June 12, 2007

    I’ sorry you’re right I should have included a link. I also misquoted, it is a majority of science teachers that do not affirm belief in macro-evolution

    Teachers of what grade level? With how much science background? In what areas of science? “Science” isn’t just one topic, you know, and depending on the state many science teachers don’t have to have more than two or three undergraduate classes in any area of science; not exactly people who have delved deeply into the topic. Plus, that poll was 10 years old. The problems of “ID” have gotten a lot more press since then.

    Why don’t you try reading something published by any one of the scores of excellently credentialed research scientists who have published sound refutations of key elements of evolution in the past thirty years?

    Citations, please. Just one would do, because I don’t think that anyone here is aware of any sound refutations of key elements of evolution. Dissent on the overall importance of specific mechanisms, yes, but not on the fact that it happens. If there are scores, as you say, please provide just one example.

  352. #354 Carlie
    June 12, 2007

    Michael Behe, 1996, Darwin’s Black Box; Richard Milton, 1997, Shattering the Myths of Darwinism

    Oh, THOSE are your references? Thanks for the chuckle. Here’s a hint: the little “search this blog” box in the upper left corner is your friend. I think you’ll see that they’ve been adequately discussed before.

  353. #355 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    hey ichthyic, don’t be inviting just *anybody* now.

    unfortunately, I don’t make the rules.

    :angry:

    maybe if I get this gig big enough, I might propose some changes…

    first thing I’d do is make sure Fallwell gets the boot. He’s such a drag.

  354. #356 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    I’d respond, but I’m waiting for someone to apply a different treatment to your latest so we can compare which method looks best when applied to trolls.

    I prefer the Creationist approach:

    I…am…an…ignorant slut.–Jeff

  355. #357 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    To RavenT:

    I’ve missed something somewhere are you a research subject?

  356. #358 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    Well I guess I (obviously) bested everyone. I can sleep the sleep of the just and the righteous. Yaaawn. Good night everyone.

  357. #359 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    I’ve missed something somewhere are you a research subject?

    you missed something alrighty.

    check out this thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/06/sorry_about_that.php

    …and know that YOU are the subject of study.

  358. #360 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    I’ve missed something somewhere are you a research subject?

    close, but no cigar. researcher.

    so why *do* you hate pediatric medical research, Jeff?

  359. #361 Uber
    June 12, 2007

    You are espousing a scientific worldview that is at least 20 years out of step with some of the most recent and provocative research vis-a-vis origins. Yet you do it with such gusto and a complete lack of any humility. Macro-evolution doesn’t qualify as theory and it sure as shooting isn’t fact. Grow up.

    This was some of the funniest stuff on the net today. An evolutionary worldview that is 20 years out of step? Humorous if this person wasn’t serious. Then he references Behe who has done NO research on origins. Then states evolution doesn’t qualify as a theory much to the amazement of actual biologists.

    He then caps it off with a ‘grow up’ statement despite the fact he is in fact an adult who has bought BS hook line and sinker. The funny part is he doesn’t even seem to know it.

  360. #362 Uber
    June 12, 2007

    Oh this was rich also:

    by audience poll, including when debating before entire rooms full of scientists, the fine ladies and gentlemen from the Institute for Creation Research have never lost an origins debate.

    He actually endorses THOSE clowns and sees them as victors. He is a special troll.

  361. #363 Uber
    June 12, 2007

    If there is a hell, and all atheist go to hell. What is it to me?

    It’s honest but sad at the same time.

  362. #364 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    RavenT:

    I still don’t get it, even after reading your link. I’m quite sure you’ve misread me or attributed someone elses writing to me, as I’ve said nothing about pediatric medical research. I guess you misunderstood my little stab at humor too. I was implying that you were childish and the subject of the research you referenced.

    Just a joke. Your ideas may be ill-concieved and the way you express them may not withstand much scrutiny, but I’m sure you are a bright, articulate, probably educated person, like so many who hold your view.

    You just seem almost completely unaware, despite your protests to the contrary, that the same may be said for those who hold a diametrically opposite view.

    Now I really must retire for the evening. My sword is back in the scabbard. Some of us have to work for a living and it’s late where I live.

    Good night one and all.

    No, I haven’t answered every query, especially about the poll I linked. This whole thread started with PZ’s ramblings about a poll for which similar questions could (should) be asked. My point was made. There are a great many of us who are both well educated and informed who do not hold to the evolutionary construct for a variety of sound scientific reasons. I am one. I have great respect for all of you that disagree and, except for a joke, have not resorted to name calling, which PZ’s post was replete with. That’s why I took the cheap shot at him and used the SNL reference. I figure if he can dish it out he ought to be able to take it.

    Agnostics United for Thought and Inquiry

  363. #365 Larry G
    June 12, 2007

    Who, what, when, where, and how was God created.

  364. #366 Uber
    June 12, 2007

    There are a great many of us who are both well educated and informed who do not hold to the evolutionary construct for a variety of sound scientific reasons

    No you are neither well educated or informed. Educated and informed but not well. There are no sound scientific reasons that question the validity of evolutionary biology.

    But just for shits and giggles howabout listing a few, top 5.

    I still can’t believe you stated what you stated about the ICR. That alone pretty much crushes your credibility.

  365. #367 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    I still don’t get it

    yes, I see that.

    even after reading your link.

    my link? I didn’t post one–you are even more confused than I realized.

    I’m quite sure you’ve misread me or attributed someone elses writing to me, as I’ve said nothing about pediatric medical research.

    I’ll overlook the condenscension, total lack of sense of humor, and all-around cluelessness in the rest of your post, and just point out one thing: you want to undercut active scientific exploration and replace it with a failed 19th-century philosophy.

    That action you want has real consequences, which will hurt real people, and I’m calling you on it accordingly.

  366. #368 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    I still don’t get it, even after reading your link. I’m quite sure you’ve misread me or attributed someone elses writing to me, as I’ve said nothing about pediatric medical research.

    funny, I thought it was obvious. No, it indeed is directed at you.

    keep trying.

  367. #369 Vasu Murti
    June 12, 2007

    Evolution is mostly speculation. The physical evidence from the past is fragmentary; of the one billion species believed to have existed, 99 percent did not leave fossils. In the deliberate breeding of species, there are limits to the changes one can make. When pushed beyond a certain limit, species become sterile and die out or revert to their standard design. We can induce changes in existing forms via breeding, but cannot generate new complex structures.

    If this cannot happen by conscious human effort, why should it happen by blind natural processes? No satisfactory evolutionary models have ever been made.

    In biology, Hoyle and Wikramasinghe calcuated the probability of proteins forming from the random interaction of amino acids–the building blocks of life. They found the odds were one out of ten to the 40,000th power. Given these extreme odds, it is hard to imagine the self-organization of matter without the deliberate intervention of some kind of higher power(s) or intelligence(s).

    All life is thus precious and sacred. Dr. Francis Crick has admitted, “The origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.” Future scientists and science teachers would do well to approach the study of the phenomenal world with this kind of reverence.

  368. #370 cureholder
    June 12, 2007

    >>>I’ve never heard such hateful comments. I’ve certainly never heard any Creationists speak this way about Evolutionists.>>>

    “Hateful comments?” What would you consider baselessly calling “Evolutionists” hell-bound paragons of amoral sinfulness who actually DESERVE to be thrown into a lake of fire to burn in eternal torment? Not hateful, certainly. Lovey-dovey?

  369. #371 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    Uber:

    You are ignorant. ICR is obviously winning in the field of public opinion. As an Agnostic I don’t take their religious bias seriously, nor do I necessarily agree with all of their conclusions, but to be so dimissive, especially in light of the poll this thread is discussing is quite naieve.

    ICR is full of very fine scientists who not only disagree with you but kick ass when doing so in public forums and debate settings. It used to be that the audience polls taken before ICR debates would clearly indicate a majority belief in evolution. That is no longer the case, but even in the case of the famous (I guess infamous for your side) ICR debate at the New York Geological Society, the poll taken after the debate showed that when people hear both sides they come away favoring the position of these creationists. I don’t even do that, but I certainly don’t dismiss them. Their arguments are simply more sound than your own.

    I do not assume for a minute that you are not familiar with the arguments. You have simply come down smugly on the side of the sheep you herd with.

    That’s fine, but what isn’t fine is to suggest that every single person on the other side is ignorant or disingenuous. That’s just intellectual dishonesty. The fact that you have what you consider to be sound arguments against whatever evidence I would present is beside the point, as I could bring my own arguments against yours, or my side wouldn’t be winning the debate. That’s what I meant by “grow up.” It’s just another way of saying “smell the coffee,” “get with the program.” Personal attacks, even against the fine ladies and gentlemen of ICR are no substitute for evidence and rationale.

  370. #372 Uber
    June 12, 2007

    Evolution is mostly speculation

    Good grief, they are spreading.

    Given these extreme odds, it is hard to imagine the self-organization of matter without the deliberate intervention of some kind of higher power(s) or intelligence(s).

    Who of course arose from odds much easier to calculate. Basically you don’t understand it so ‘God did it’.

  371. #373 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    cureholder-

    I really think you might enjoy that thread I referred you to.

    nuff said.

  372. #374 Jeff
    June 12, 2007

    Okay seriously I am so sleepy. Perhaps I will develop a list of several people in various fields of medical research who have made serious breakthroughs but believe macro-evolution is a load of crap. No I haven’t prepared such a list as of 10 freakin’ 55 PM, but the point is a belief in evolution is no prerequisite for doing excellent, even life saving research. If anything it may even get in the way of it (my opinion). Nope, I’m not bringing any studies to your attention, but I know that many top research scientists are not evolutionsists so your idea that my views could hold dire consequences is just plain wrong. It’s my business to know many fine men and women in the field of Bio-Chemical and Dermatological research and I’m not sure that any of them believe in evolution. Yes I’ve discussed it with a few and they are certainly not as dogmatic as you seem to be.

    I know this is anecdotal, and we can each bring a list of folks who believe to the contrary. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT.

    Seriously. Good night.

  373. #375 Mondo
    June 13, 2007

    Jeff is comedy gold.

  374. #376 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    It’s my business to know many fine men and women

    you’re a hooker?

  375. #377 Mondo
    June 13, 2007

    I really hope he continues posting, because I suspect he is an iceberg of crazy and this is just the tip.

  376. #378 Uber
    June 13, 2007

    Now I’m ignorant.Huh.

    You are ignorant. ICR is obviously winning in the field of public opinion

    That isn’t the ‘room full of scientists’ you mention above. The ICR targets people open to a message minus any real science,people want to believe what they where spoon fed since the age of 2 is correct.

    ICR is full of very fine scientists who not only disagree with you but kick ass when doing so in public forums and debate settings

    Oh the stupid it hurts.

    Their arguments are simply more sound than your own.

    Yeah, name 3 scientific advances made based on ICR research? Just 3. This statement you just made is so ridiculous as to not merit honest discussion.

    You have simply come down smugly on the side of the sheep you herd with.

    Ah no, born and raised Baptist. Still am one, my ‘herd’ isn’t the sheep. Gosh your an arrogant ignoramus. ICR and creationist arguments are simply cartoonish, lacking in credibility and any form of evidence. They have produced nothing but political spin and helped no one except their own pocketbooks.

    That’s fine, but what isn’t fine is to suggest that every single person on the other side is ignorant or disingenuous. That’s just intellectual dishonesty

    No sir what is intellectually dishenst(as if you would know the difference) is to peddle the ICR’s weak attempts at apologetics as real science to people seeking the truth. It is criminal and dishonest.

    as I could bring my own arguments against yours, or my side wouldn’t be winning the debate

    Goof, it’s not about winning a debate. It’s about which side actually is doing real science and producing results. Outside of a political desire to keep this nation from slidinginto the morass of science illiteracy and behind the rest of the world what Bubba down the street polls doesn’t matter. What does matter is real working scientists and educated people carry those science illiterates along with the progress and not be stymied by the masses.And if winning a debate matters Id say yourside loses where it matters most often.

    I know this is anecdotal, and we can each bring a list of folks who believe to the contrary. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT.

    It’s not just anecdotal it’s bullshit pure and simple. Project Steve debunks your silly claims quite nicely.

  377. #379 Jeff
    June 13, 2007

    Mondo and Ichthyic:

    Where is your content? Evidence? Again you resort to personal attacks, a favorite tactic of those who have no sound argument. At least I’m an honest Agnostic. It would not blow me away to discover I am wrong about a variety of things, including origins. On the other hand, you both seem to prefer ignorant personal attacks to spirited, intelligent discussion. Now I just know what’s coming. You can’t stand it. You’ve just got to respond with some personal dig, even though you don’t know me. The whole “we’re in the right, so everyone else is stupid,” is a big turn off and no substitute for real thought and, I suspect, a contributing factor to why most of America thinks you’re wrong, even if you’re right. If you are right, that’s all the more reason to change your tactic. You can’t win the day by piling personal insult and abuse on every thinking person who disagrees with you.

    How sad. Please, for all of us, especially if you’re right develop a winning strategy, even if you have to adopt the one of your victors, the Creationsists.

    Incidentally, to whomever implied I was pathetic because I consider ICR to be the victors, I am referring to what this post and thread are all about. At least in the field of public opinion, and particularly within the Republican party THEY ARE WINNING. That’s what we are supposedly responding to.

    You don’t win any converts saying, “You are all a bunch of uneducated morons,” especially since they know that they have men like me and a host of other well educated scientists of various disciplines basically on their side.

    That is really all for tonight.

  378. #380 Kseniya
    June 13, 2007

    ICR is obviously winning in the field of public opinion.

    When’s the next vote on cold fusion? I don’t want to squander my chance to be herd.

  379. #381 Richard Simons
    June 13, 2007

    Another recent poll clearly shows that a majority of scientists do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the concept of macro-evolution as a construct

    Sounds to me like the most brazen lie I’ve heard in a long time. Evidence, please?

    K Tribe: Your posts show that you have an almost complete lack of understanding of the theory of evolution.

    First, a scientific theory is an explanation for a body of observations that has been tested, that fits all the known evidence and that makes predictions. Theories do not grow into facts, facts provide the raw material for theories.

    The number of scientists who are creationists is minimal. You are probably thinking of the people who signed the ‘dissent from Darwin’ statement. The statement is something all biologists could sign (except for the dishonest use made of it) as it does not contradict the theory of evolution. Despite that, virtually none of the people on the list are biologists or geologists, but are people who’s expertise in evolution and related areas is no better than the average car mechanic. More biologists named Steve have signed a statement strongly supporting the theory of evolution.

    You claim “mutation is a loss of genetic information”. What do you mean by ‘genetic information’? It is not a term biologists normally use. How can duplication or polyploidy possibly represent a loss of information? I imagine you got this nonsense from AnswersinGenesis or a similar site. Be warned: check everything you read there as virtually their entire ‘evidence’ consists of lies and deception.

    It CANNOT be proven in a lab

    This comes back to the definition of a theory: no theory can every be proven. The theory of gravity, for example, does not prove that if you jump off a tall building you will fall. However, the theory of evolution has been very well demonstrated, including in the lab. Again, this sounds like an AIG argument.

    You just may find that there’s more real science supporting Creation than Evolution

    I’ve found no real science supporting creationism. Creationists have not the slightest concept of how much evidence there is to support the theory of evolution. An estimate I saw recently is that every month about 2000 peer-reviewed papers are published, every one of which could, potentially, refute the theory, yet not one of them ever has. By comparison creationists/Intelligent Design advocates count what? one, two papers in an obscure Italian journal that has a reputation for poor quality research.

    By the way, if you think biologists always get sweet language from creationists, try googling pumpkinhead.

  380. #382 RavenT
    June 13, 2007

    Nope, I’m not bringing any studies to your attention, but I know that many top research scientists are not evolutionsists so your idea that my views could hold dire consequences is just plain wrong.

    Every time I think Jeff’s peaked, he goes ahead and tops himself once again.

    Good strategy, not to dilute your assertions with any cites or evidence or stuff like that, btw.

  381. #383 RavenT
    June 13, 2007

    btw, this isn’t Jeff Gannon, is it?

    You may be on to something, Ichthyic:

    …men like me…–Jeff

  382. #384 Mondo
    June 13, 2007

    “You don’t win any converts saying, “You are all a bunch of uneducated morons,” especially since they know that they have men like me and a host of other well educated scientists of various disciplines basically on their side.”

    If only we could all be men like Jeff. If only.

    Maybe he really really with sugar on top is done for the night.

  383. #385 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    This comment is for sailer.
    Evolution is a belief like any other. Could you please explain to me in just what lab you are talking about? There is no lab.
    I am not debunking scientific techniques or theories that have been proven conclusively in nature, or at least demonstratable in lab conditions. I am not saying that natural selection is baseless. It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another. What exists is alot of circumstantial evidence i.e. bones in the ground.

    There is a big differance between rationalism and reason. The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propugated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat. They based this on circumstantial evidence. They saw with there own eyes that the earth appeared flat, so it must be flat. Today we find bones in the ground. What is are conclusion? We evolved from them. This is rationalism, not reason. What is needed is hard core evidence as opposed to circumstantial evidence.

  384. #386 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    This comment is for sailer.
    Evolution is a belief like any other. Could you please explain to me in just what lab you are talking about? There is no lab.
    I am not debunking scientific techniques or theories that have been proven conclusively in nature, or at least demonstratable in lab conditions. I am not saying that natural selection is baseless. It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another. What exists is alot of circumstantial evidence i.e. bones in the ground.

    There is a big differance between rationalism and reason. The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propugated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat. They based this on circumstantial evidence. They saw with there own eyes that the earth appeared flat, so it must be flat. Today we find bones in the ground. What is are conclusion? We evolved from them. This is rationalism, not reason. What is needed is hard core evidence as opposed to circumstantial evidence.

  385. #387 Brachychiton
    June 13, 2007

    It’s my business to know many fine men and women in the field of Bio-Chemical and Dermatological research and I’m not sure that any of them believe in evolution.

    Where do you work? The Ponds Institute?

  386. #388 Mondo
    June 13, 2007

    “The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propugated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat.”

    Everything after “The Greeks were” needs to be rewritten by the closest educated adult you can find.

  387. #389 Ken Cope
    June 13, 2007

    Post #378 is not the only reason I’ll be voting early and often for Kesinya’s overdue OM.

  388. #390 Richard Simons
    June 13, 2007

    It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another.

    How about Culex molestus and Helacyton gartleri?

    The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propagated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat.

    Ever heard of Eratosthenes?

  389. #391 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    I stand corrected

  390. #392 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    I stand corrected

  391. #393 Mike
    June 13, 2007

    Pretty silly article to be sure.

  392. #394 Stanton
    June 13, 2007

    Uh, Bartley, I hate to break it to you, but many of the ancient Greeks did not think the Earth was flat. Given as how a scientific theory of a Flat Earth would predict a person in Athens being able to see Egypt from across the Mediterranean Sea, a lot of Greek philosophers and sages realized that the world was not flat.
    In fact, the Greek philosopher and mathematician, Eratosthenes, was the first person to attempt to calculate the circumference of the Earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes

    Evolution is not a belief, it is a fact and a theory.

    Furthermore, if you were to actually take the time to look, there has been lots of experiments done validating natural selection, and there have been several experiments done concerning species.
    One experiment concerning natural selection was done in the 1940s, where a colony of fruit flies was kept in an open jar. In the colony, there was a sub-population of stunted-winged flies that could not fly, which comprised of about 20% of the total population. The jar containing this colony was placed near an open window, so that a light breeze would waft over the mouth of the jar, blowing any flying fruit fly out of the colony. Over a period of six weeks, the sub-population of stunted-winged flies grew from 20 percent to 60 percent.
    Another, more recent experiment involved forcing female stalk-eyed flies, which normally only mate with males that have long eyestalks, to mate with males with short eyestalks over successive generations until the female descendants would only mate with males with short eyestalks.
    Then there was the experiment confirming that the Honeysuckle Maggot Fly originated from hybrids between the Snowberry Maggot Fly and the Blueberry Maggot Fly.

    Given as how paleontologists figure out what fossil is related to who by careful, painstaking examination of the anatomical details, then comparing these same details with the anatomies of other species, both living and fossil, your casual dismissal of “bones in the ground” as being mere rationalism speaks volumes of your own ignorance.

  393. #395 Mike
    June 13, 2007

    I forgot to mention, since you evolutionary guys are all so clued in to all the science and everything, how about telling us how to fix all these problems we’ve made for ourselves, like all these energy and pollution problems and the perversions that are destroying our kids and making people who start shooting everyone in sight and stuff like that. Could you please devote some of your vast knowledge and wisdom to some of these issues instead of wasting your energy complaining about how clueless the creationists are, like maybe devote your energies to the problems of the present and future, instead of worrying so much about the past. Seems like a good plan to me….

  394. #396 Stanton
    June 13, 2007

    Mike, if you weren’t such a clueless, moronic snot, you would have already realized that there are already people out there who are trying to fix those exact problems you’ve mentioned.
    However, please be aware that many Christians are vehemently opposed to environmental problems, such as Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell, and please also be aware that different people have different obligations.
    Paleontologists are not obligated by their careers to stop world hunger, geneticists are not obligated to stop inner city violence, and microbiologists are not obligated to root out terrorists.

    Saying that Biology and Evolution are worthless because they can not solve world hunger or energy crises when not properly applied is a very stupid thing to say, especially since Creationists have made it very clear that they do not people to learn about Biology or Evolution.

    If you intend to show how worthless Evolutionary Theory is, please show how superior Creationism is by explaining how the Bible illuminates the mysteries of the lifestyles of extinct animals such as placoderms or trilobites.

  395. #397 Nullifidian
    June 13, 2007

    Evolution is a belief like any other. Could you please explain to me in just what lab you are talking about? There is no lab.

    “Do or not do. There is no try.”

    Are you aspiring to the prose style of Yoda?

    The evolution of populations under laboratory conditions has been done to death for well over forty years, notably with Dobzhansky’s experiments on fruit flies.

    I am not debunking scientific techniques or theories that have been proven conclusively in nature, or at least demonstratable in lab conditions. I am not saying that natural selection is baseless. It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another. What exists is alot of circumstantial evidence i.e. bones in the ground.

    And herein lies the problem: you don’t know about the extensive (and ever-expanding) research on how natural selection drives speciation, so you say it doesn’t exist. However, your lack of knowledge doesn’t define the contours of current research–nor does anyone’s–which is a bit of humility of which most anti-evolutionists seem incapable.

    In fact, even a cursory search of the literature can yield examples of natural selection driving speciation. Here’s one example out of thousands:

    Terai Y, Seehausen, O et al. “Divergent selection on opsins drives incipient speciation in Lake Victoria cichlids.” PLoS Biology 4:12, e433 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040433.

    There is a big differance between rationalism and reason. The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propugated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat.

    Wrong. The Greeks were a sailing people, and the observation that ships gradually disappeared over the horizon until the tips of their masts were the only thing which could be seen was clear evidence of a round earth. Ptolemy’s Almagest gave the earth as round. Eratosthenes made a surprisingly accurate stab at determining the circumference of the earth (depending on one’s definition of “stadia”, he may have been off only by 2%). There were flat earthers in ancient times, but they weren’t the Greeks.

    They based this on circumstantial evidence. They saw with there own eyes that the earth appeared flat, so it must be flat. Today we find bones in the ground. What is are conclusion? We evolved from them. This is rationalism, not reason. What is needed is hard core evidence as opposed to circumstantial evidence.

    No, that is not the conclusion. The conclusion is, after studying the “bones in the ground” that they represent a amalgam of transitional features which supports the conclusion that a certain group of organisms share a common ancestor with another group. This conclusion is bolstered by other forms of evidence, like genetic phylogenies, biogeography, comparative anatomy, etc. etc.

    If you would like some “hard core evidence”, is this evidence of a shared ancestry of chimps and humans “hard core” enough for you?

  396. #398 Stanton
    June 13, 2007

    Nullifidian, unless it was in the form of a magical golden tablet appearing out of thin air, with magic flaming calligraphy pointing out humanity’s shared ancestry with chimps and gorillas on an ape for ape basis, I strongly doubt it would be “hard core” enough for Bartley.

  397. #399 Nullifidian
    June 13, 2007

    Okay seriously I am so sleepy. Perhaps I will develop a list of several people in various fields of medical research who have made serious breakthroughs but believe macro-evolution is a load of crap.

    Why don’t you, instead, provide us with a list of medical breakthroughs which arose because they applied a creationist ‘theory’ to their work?

    All you’d prove by doing things your way is that the medical research field is currently robust enough for ignoramuses to skate on knowing the foundational biological aspects to their work. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, do not run animal tests on model organisms, like Mus musculus, because they want to break into the lucrative world of new drugs for pet mice. Instead, they implicitly use evolution by finding model organisms which have the biochemical pathways under consideration in common. This allows them to get a rough idea of the effectiveness, and especially the potential pitfalls of a new drug, before moving on to human trials. Now, a given researcher doesn’t have to know that in order to run an animal test, but that doesn’t eliminate the evolutionary reasoning behind animal testing, either.

  398. #400 Nullifidian
    June 13, 2007

    Evolution is mostly speculation. The physical evidence from the past is fragmentary; of the one billion species believed to have existed, 99 percent did not leave fossils.

    *sigh*

    The evidence for evolution is not based on fossils alone. It’s not even the majority of evidence for evolution, therefore evolutionary biology is based on a far more robust set of evidences than you’re prepared to consider.

    In the deliberate breeding of species, there are limits to the changes one can make. When pushed beyond a certain limit, species become sterile and die out or revert to their standard design. We can induce changes in existing forms via breeding, but cannot generate new complex structures.

    In the deliberate breeding of species, we can induce speciation. What more do you want?

    If this cannot happen by conscious human effort, why should it happen by blind natural processes? No satisfactory evolutionary models have ever been made.

    Satisfactory to whom? To you?

    Evolutionary concepts do not have to be beamed into your brain without any effort on your part to familiarize yourself with them for evolution to be satisfactorily fleshed out and well-supported for the vast majority of working biologists.

    In biology, Hoyle and Wikramasinghe calcuated the probability of proteins forming from the random interaction of amino acids–the building blocks of life. They found the odds were one out of ten to the 40,000th power. Given these extreme odds, it is hard to imagine the self-organization of matter without the deliberate intervention of some kind of higher power(s) or intelligence(s).

    It’s also hard to see what calculating the probability of gathering a pre-specified sequence of 100 amino acids out of an infinitely sized grab bag has to do with the emergence of life, but that’s what Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s ‘probability’ evaluates. Certainly not when the protein in question is the variable cytochrome c, and cytochrome c is a key protein in oxidative phosphorylation, a biological pathway irrelevant to the first living things, which didn’t use molecular oxygen to drive the formation of adenosine triphosphate, since there was very little free oxygen in the primordial earth atmosphere. Not only do they evaluate a highly irrelevant protein, they evaluate the modern form of a protein known to be highly variable across organisms.

    All life is thus precious and sacred.

    Please stop. Left-wing woo, particularly using anti-evolutionary arguments to bolster your political opinions, makes the rest of us on the left wing look bad. Granted, as an anarchist I can argue that there’s no hierarchy in opinions to which I have to adhere, it’s still not made easier by people like you who think that science-denial is going to be the key to a Golden Age. Try some Kropotkin instead, like Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution or Evolution and Environment to see a way forward to a left philosophy which doesn’t rest on science-denial.

    Dr. Francis Crick has admitted, “The origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.”

    Yay! Quote mining!

    Guess you missed this part:

    But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions. The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many microenvironments on the earth’s surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against.

    Future scientists and science teachers would do well to approach the study of the phenomenal world with this kind of reverence.

    Why? The current biologists and other scientists I know have an awe of nature which surpasses the kind of ignorant warm fuzzies you’re pushing.

    In the words of Richard Feynman (video link):

    I have a friend who’s an artist and he’s some times taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say, “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree, I think. And he says, “you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing.” And I think he’s kind of nutty.

    First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me, too, I believe, although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is. But I can appreciate the beauty of a flower.

    At the same time, I see much more about the flower that he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. I mean, it’s not just beauty at this dimension of one centimeter: there is also beauty at a smaller dimension, the inner structure…also the processes.

    The fact that the colors in the flower are evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting – it means that insects can see the color.

    It adds a question – does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms that are…why is it aesthetic, all kinds of interesting questions which a science knowledge only adds to the excitement and mystery and the awe of a flower.

    It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.

    I highly recommend Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Feynman’s The Pleasures of Finding Things Out, anything by Lewis Thomas, etc. as a way into understanding that having an accurate and evidence-based way of understanding nature does not in any way detract from the appreciation of it.

  399. #401 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    You don’t win any converts

    I thought you said your job was meeting fine men and women?

    Now you’re saying you’re some sort of converter?

    are you a hooker or not, Jeff Gannon?

    Do you still beat your wife, Jeff?

  400. #402 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    I don’t want to squander my chance to be herd.

    heh.

    me neither!

    mooooo.

  401. #403 Gnostic
    June 13, 2007

    This was a very interesting discussion of evolution v. creation. I found it very entertaining, but inconclusive.

    As the years of study on evolution are only a snapshot of the time expanse we’ve experienced on this planet, it is hard to make an educated assumption.

    Religion, on the other hand, is obscured due to the ingrained ideologies which cloud judgment on whether their is a possible “intelligent design.”

    However, I do agree that sniping at each other doesn’t bode well for making anyone think one side more credible than the other.

    Both sides seem to be religiously fanatical in their approach to stating “why” they are more believeable.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if future generations found that both theories have some merit. But, for now, I am more concerned about global warming and whether we can evolve past our own ignorance.

  402. #404 Davis
    June 13, 2007

    That is some amazing hubris from someone who can’t do the math.

    As someone who does math, I’m rather underwhelmed by your “math”.

  403. #405 MarkW
    June 13, 2007

    In comment #168 I said:

    Arguments from incredulity don’t cut the mustard.

    And what have we had? Arguments from incredulity based on spurious large numbers, arguments from authority (from a guy who has been dead for nearly 40 years no less!) straw-man versions of evolution and abiogenesis, well, to list all the logical fallacies would take too long.

    What I haven’t seen is any evidence that contradicts evolution. I wonder why that is?

    Oh, no I don’t. It’s because evidence that contradicts evolution doesn’t exist.

  404. #406 Carlie
    June 13, 2007

    I missed most of the party, but I think that “Jeff” is really a bot. He’s churning out discredited creo talking points so randomly, and using such old canards, he must be a random ID-statement generator. Don’t feed the bot!

    Mike, what’s your job? Is your career devoted to fixing the problems of humanity? If not, then please stop telling us to do it.

    It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another.

    Verne Grant. In nineteen sixty-fucking-six. And that’s just one out of many hundreds.

    All you’d prove by doing things your way is that the medical research field is currently robust enough for ignoramuses to skate on knowing the foundational biological aspects to their work.

    Nullifidian, thank you and I’ll be stealing that exact line in my personal life. I’ve tried to explain before how there can be pockets of evolutionary ignorance in various research fields, but could never put it that succinctly and clearly.

  405. #407 Marc
    June 13, 2007

    I found this post insulting. I am college-educated, attended public high school, and was raised Catholic and attend church semi-regularly. I’m not sure I accept the “theory of evolution” either. I will grant some belief in evolution within species but not between species. That being said, even if evolution is true it does not have to conflict with belief in God. He may very well have planned it that way. But too many scientists throw out any theory of God, but don’t quite explain how we got here—other than just “evolve” out of the aftermath of the “Big Bang”. I don’t see why that belief should be anymore credible than the Creation story.

  406. #408 Baratos
    June 13, 2007

    I will grant some belief in evolution within species but not between species.

    Ring species. Thank you, and goodnight.

    –If you are unable to find information on ring species, I suggest “The Ancestor’s Tale” by Richard Dawkins-look at the part about Salamanders. Or just check wikipedia.

  407. #409 Carlie
    June 13, 2007

    I will grant some belief in evolution within species but not between species.

    Why not? If you have no evidence-based reason (and no, “I never searched BIOSIS or PubMed so that means nothing’s out there” doesn’t count), and the only reason you believe that is that it “feels wrong” or “my religion is against it” (which Catholicism wasn’t until the new Pope), then it’s ok that you’re insulted by the post, because yes, we’re talking specifically about you.

  408. #410 Kseniya
    June 13, 2007

    Talk.origins also offers a concise introduction to the concept of ring species, along with several examples, in this entry in the Index to Creationist Claims:

    CB910: No new species have been observed.

    A search for “ring species” on talk.origins yields these results.

    A search for “speciation” on talk.origins yields these results.

  409. #411 Caledonian
    June 13, 2007

    I found this post insulting.

    Whether you are insulted by the post is less important than whether it is accurate.

    If it accurately describes you, and you find it offensive, then you find yourself offensive. Will you change your position, which is hard? Or will you enter into denial and reject what your reason tells you, which is easy?

    My money’s on “easy”.

  410. #412 GuLi
    June 13, 2007

    There seems to be a little bit of perspective is lacking in
    the “debate” – namely
    http://www.livescience.com/health/060810_evo_rank.html
    The problem is stridently specific to the US, among the most
    developed countries. From here in Europe – well, we could
    still have another Dark Ages coming, who knows? But for the
    time being, your American creationists seem a very insular
    species not much aware of its singularity and ludicrousness.

    Keep up the good fight though, the US has enough power that
    their lies might spread.

  411. #413 Ray C.
    June 13, 2007

    #324 Tim hardly merits the blah-blah treatment, as his argument is old hat. But perhaps he’d like to tell us just what makes him feel so persecuted?

  412. #414 Mark
    June 13, 2007

    The most disturbing element of this survey (really two surveys if you read the article) isn’t that there is a split of opinion on whether evolution is true. It is the reasons given for disbelieving evolution, combined with the fact that 2/3 of Americans (apparently including some who believe in evolution) believe in “Young Earth” Creationism. The reasons given for disbelieving evolution are disturbing because in about 3/4 of the responses, the answer was effectively “Evolution is falso because the Bible (or God) says so.” The poverty of this type of thinking has been proven ever since Socrates’ Euthyphro dilemma.
    If Creationism is true because the the Bible says it is true, then every word of the Bible must be inherently true – which it cannot be because of its inherent inconsistencies and contradictions (on slavery, for example). Conversely, if the Biblical account of Creation exists because the Creation story is actually true, then there would have to be some way to independently prove the Creation story without using the Bible. Instead, however, there is not one iota of evidence for “Young Earth” Creationism, and (literally) mountains of evidence against it.
    It is always legitimate to question evolution, just as any theory or fact should be open to question; but as with any other theory supported by the scientific method, one seeking to disprove it cannot do so merely by pointing to “gaps.” You must disprove it by pointing to facts that contradict the theory.

  413. #415 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 13, 2007

    Spinoza’s God was supposed to be a single “substance” with an infinite number of “attributes”, and all the features of the universe that we think of as physical were supposed to fall under the attribute of “extension”, separate from the attribute of “thought” and an infinite other number of attributes that were supposed to be incomprehensible to us. Finally, Spinoza tried to derive a bunch of ethical consequences from his views on God (especially from the idea that all truths are necessary truths, including truths about our own actions).

    So what is the “truth”……?

    Presumably all sorts of people believe in things that they cannot prove….. Truth and belief are uncomfortable words in scholarship. It is possible to define as true only those things that can be proved by certain agreed criteria. In general, science does not believe in truth or, more precisely, science does not believe in belief. Understanding is understood as the best fit to the data under the current limits (both instrumental and philosophical) of observation. If science fetishized truth, it would be religion, which it is not. However, it is clear that under the conditions that Thomas Kuhn designated as “normal science” (as opposed to the intellectual ferment of paradigm shifts) most scholars are involved in supporting what is, in effect, a religion. Their best guesses become fossilized as a status quo, and the status quo becomes an item of faith. So when a scientist tells you that “the truth is . . .”, it is time to walk away. Better to find a priest.

    Anyway, I guess the brighty brights here would say I’m delusional because I believe that the universe is infinite. Of course I cannot prove this; but I believe it. So I must ask….? Am I as delusional as those who believe in God; or perhaps I’m a little less delusional?

    (sips latte)

  414. #416 JordanT
    June 13, 2007

    “That doesn’t answer the question why.”

    I think it’s because creationism has made evolution to be synonymous with “God didn’t create the world” and “God doesn’t exist”. I think we need more education on that evolution is not the study of the origins of life, but rather that species do change over time.

    We also need to educate that even if there’s a scientific reason behind the origins of life, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist. I still don’t know where the “Young Earth” comes from in the bible, because it certainly never states it. Before translation “days” actually meant “periods of time” The Genesis account is also somebody having a dream and writing it down, likely to be used metaphorically not literally. Jesus always spoke in parables, so why wouldn’t God do the same?

    Please note, that this education can’t be done in schools by teachers. It is up to each one of us to convince our friends and relatives. If you do not have a good understanding of evolution, then it will be hard for you to convince anyone of it’s merits. I would recommend sitting in on a basic level evolution class in your college.

  415. #417 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 13, 2007

    I would recommend sitting in on a basic level evolution class in your college.

    Posted by: JordanT | June 13, 2007 10:17 AM

    I wouldn’t….. of course unless you have a hard time falling asleep.

  416. #418 MAJeff
    June 13, 2007

    -other than just “evolve” out of the aftermath of the “Big Bang”. I don’t see why that belief should be anymore credible than the Creation story.

    There’s this thing called “evidence” that makes it more credible.

  417. #419 windy
    June 13, 2007

    However, it is clear that under the conditions that Thomas Kuhn designated as “normal science” (as opposed to the intellectual ferment of paradigm shifts) most scholars are involved in supporting what is, in effect, a religion.

    Extensive TESTING of hypotheses based on prevailing paradigms, discarding all non-viable hypotheses and constantly adding to human knowledge = religion? Good to know. Thanks.

    By the way, how many other religions cure disease?

  418. #420 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 13, 2007

    By the way, how many other religions cure disease?

    Posted by: windy | June 13, 2007 11:38 AM

    Does life constitute a ‘disease’……?

    You imply that the ‘curing’ of ‘disease’ is a good thing…….Or at the very least; important.

    Please elaborate…

  419. #421 PZ Myers
    June 13, 2007

    Life is not a disease.

    Curing diseases is a good thing for the people afflicted. Take a walk in an old cemetery sometime, and count the number of tombstones for dead children in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Is this the level of discourse these creationists bring here? Mumbling inanities is not advancing ideas, Mr Monster.

  420. #422 Rey Fox
    June 13, 2007

    Oh, but Windy, as previously established, knowledge is value-neutral, so acquiring knowledge shouldn’t be considered a goal. The Monster knows better than to taint his rarified philosophical mumblings with actual knowledge of the real world (see comment #413), which, for all we know, could just be the dream of an autistic child in the 47th dimension. Nothing is True, nothing is Real, man. Free your mind.

  421. #423 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    I do have to admit that I get a little irked at allegations of being a member of an unthinking ‘herd’ because I am convinced that the theory of evolution is a sound as any other scientific theory based on the evidence it explains and predicts. As I’ve stated elsewhere, I was baptised, raised and educated as a Christian. If I were of some sort of herd mentality, I fully expect I’d have remained a Christian to this day. As it turned out, even a young child can see the flaws in religious reasoning.

    For those of you on the religious side of things who accuse us of being close-minded and easily led, I have a question for you:

    If evolution were to be shown to be false, would you expect us all to ‘default’ to the Christian belief in Jehovah?

    If your answer is ‘yes’, then it is clearly you who does not understand what it means to be a rational, questioning human being. Of course, it also implies that you’re a bit of an uneducated bigot with respect to the hundreds of thousands of other faiths believed by the vast majority of humans on this planet, many of which answer the same questions Christianity purports to, many of which do so better.

  422. #424 Daryl McCullough
    June 13, 2007

    PZ says: What’s the cause [of disbelief in evolution]? …The overwhelming majority credit their religion.

    But do you believe that these people have an accurate basis for their claims of cause and effect, in this case? Rejection of evolution is a clue that these people don’t think scientifically, which should make you suspicious of their claims about causality.

    Do people believe unscientific claims because they attend church, or do both the need to attend church attendance and the tendency to reject estem from a common cause? You can’t tell from this poll. The fact that people claim that the causality goes one way or the other doesn’t mean that it does. That doesn’t mean that they are lying, but they may not understand the reasons they believe what they believe. I think that people generally have a poor understanding of why they believe things.

  423. #425 Daryl McCullough
    June 13, 2007

    Sorry, I meant to ask: Do people believe unscientific claims because they attend church, or do both the need to attend church and the tendency to reject eveolution stem from a common cause?

  424. #426 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 13, 2007

    Is this the level of discourse these creationists bring here? Mumbling inanities is not advancing ideas, Mr Monster.

    Posted by: PZ Myers | June 13, 2007 11:52 AM

    If there was ‘mumbling’ involved whilst I was posting indeed it could be considered inane (empty of meaning and sense) in and of itself….. please try be less ‘redundant’ in response.

    But let’s take a look at what can be defined as a disease. A harmful condition, a disorder or incorrectly functioning organ, part or structure of the body that could be applied in the physical and societal sense. So the condition of being alive will always be accompanied by and eventually succumb to…. ‘disease’ (or change works better for me).

    Of course I will agree that for those afflicted a cure (in most instances) would be welcome however, I’m not sure how counting the headstones of dead children will somehow effect whether or not ‘curing disease’ should be considered good.

    Listen, you make the assertion that I am a so called ‘creationist’. If by ‘creationist’ you mean that I believe the universe and subsequently everything that we know to exist was created by something or someone….. I will agree. But, if the universe and everything we know to exist was not, at some point, created by something or someone the implication is that ‘it’ has always existed as eternity. Either way it doesn’t matter much to me…. Furthermore, I’m a little confused as to the ‘level’ of discourse you mention. What are these ‘levels’ you speak of?

  425. #427 Carlie
    June 13, 2007

    How much do you think the answers would change if instead of “Do you believe in evolution” it was worded as “Do you accept scientific findings regarding the way in which populations respond to pressures”, or even “Do you accept scientific findings on the way life works”?

  426. #428 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    Sphagnum Mosster, if you’re trying to engage in a ontological or epistemological discussion about whether or not there is such a thing as objective ‘good’ and whether or not we can know it, there are clearer, more concise, and therefore more fruitful means of discussing such things.

    Your style of peripatetic obtuseness was fun when I was first-year student in university, but it mostly serves to piss people off and rarely produces anything meaningful.

  427. #429 Graculus
    June 13, 2007

    “evolutionary biology” ignores the statistics of mutation. Most (some would argue – in the absence of laboratory gene splicing – ‘all’) mutations do NOT create new “information”, but simply destroy it.

    Next, the trolls will grace us with the 2nd Law canard.

    It’s amazing how these folks claim expertise in fields that they obviously aren’t even remotely familiar with.

  428. #430 tony
    June 13, 2007

    To Physicist, Tim, Jeff, and all of the other (I hope, merely) sadly deluded folks out there.

    I made a statement earlier (in eht mid 100’s)
    ORIGIN OF LIFE NEEDED TO HAPPEN ONLY ONCE!

    Physicist wanted proof — the the following:
    Prove it! it could have been created and destroyed a number of times before we got here.

    When will people get this….

    Let’s use the poker analogy again.
    The odds of me getting a straight flush are very low.

    If I then shuffle the deck

    The odds of getting a straight flush are EXACTLY THE SAME

    I suggest anyone who doesn’t get that go back to high school math….

    or use dice (since the numbers are smaller)

    I throw a die: the odds of getting a six is 1/6.
    I throw the die again: the odds of getting a six is (amazingly) still 1/6.

    The odds of throwing two sixes in a row is 1/36 (1/6 * 1/6)…. but that’s not needed in this case. I only need to do the ‘self replicating thing’ once… then it’s no longer a random event, it’s replication.

    In other words… Once I have one six, I can decide that instead of rolling the die… I just pick it up and then put it straight back down (using a lot less energy, so more efficient – right?)
    The odds of getting a sequences of sixes is then almost unity…. not always – there may be some random event that causes the dice to topple or be picked up wrongly.

    If I then posit that I COPY the dice each time (which is, after all the whole evolution thing)
    then I get a hugely expanding population of die… the majority of which will be sixes…. but some will be fives, fours, threes, twos and ones.

    Now this is a very simple experiment… but you can also look at this as being applicable to simple chemicals (amino acids form pretty readily in the right environment) combining in fairly consistent and provably-repeatable ways… with enough externally induced disorder to provide divergence. i.e. I can reliably demonstrate – in a lab environment – complete and consistent OOL.

    From that to behe’s specious ‘chain of 20’ is nothing more than time and numbers (as many posters have repeatedly shown)

    So please don’t tell me there’s no science or evidence behind evolution – either at the beginning, or at the bleeding edge….

  429. #431 RavenT
    June 13, 2007

    You imply that the ‘curing’ of ‘disease’ is a good thing…….Or at the very least; important.

    Wow–now the trolls are arguing pro-disease. I have now officially seen it all.

  430. #432 windy
    June 13, 2007

    Of course I will agree that for those afflicted a cure (in most instances) would be welcome…

    Not well stocked in the empathy department, I presume…

  431. #433 Kseniya
    June 13, 2007

    Science is bad because it leads to overpopulation.

    Heh.

    Of course, that depends on how one defines “is” …

  432. #434 Ken Cope
    June 13, 2007

    I have a question for the Spanky Monkey:

    You’re in the desert, you see a tortoise lying on its back, struggling, and you’re not helping — why is that?

  433. #435 Jeff
    June 13, 2007

    RavenT:

    If you read my entire post you would recognize that I am responding “in kind.” You are (apparently honestly) unaware that studies are amply available on both sides of this argument and for several permutations of each side. Since this whole forum seems (at least this particular thread) to be more about one upsmanship than the citing of scholarly research and the like I am just providing food for honest thought and real dialogue to take place. Marshalling our studies, assertions and conclusions is obviously not effective and I, for one, do not expect to change anyone’s mind. I am trying to insist, therefore that the pejoratives cease and the enlightened discussions at least take on an adult tone.

    I have only myself to blame for getting so enthralled in last nights comeraderie that I got very little sleep. It’s 1:30 PM here in Texas. I’m at lunch so I may check the replies this evening.

    Please go back and re-read my posts. I am saying you are not smarter, or more correct, nor is your argument strengthened simply by shouting it louder or adding put downs to it. If anything it makes your cas appear to be weaker.

    This thread was supposed to be answering questions about why the average American does not buy the whole “evolution” thing. I’m merely suggesting that reasonably intelligent people are insulted by some tactics of your apologists. You will not win us over by telling us how moronic we are.

    One more thing, as far as my research, I would reach most of the same conclusions whether assuming an evolutionary bias or a common designer theory, but, in the main, neither makes one wit of difference to the outcomes. Having a farily comprehensive understanding of the biological mechanisms and careful and controlled studies of chemical reactions i.e. are we sure we are witnessing cause and effect? – that is the stuff good biochemical research in the field of dermatology is made of. The same may be said for most, if not all medical research, pediatric and otherwise. It’s just ridiculous to introduce an unproven theory, with untestable mechanisms as a variable. No one I know does that, and if they do, their research suffers for it and is far from enhanced by it (my opinion).

    There are too many factors to control as variables without adding that mess to the mix. Evolution is a philosophical argument more than a helpful scientific construct, at least for my work.

  434. #436 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    “You will not win us over by telling us how moronic we
    are.”

    It’s got to be at least as effective as you trying to win us over by telling us how amoral we are.

  435. #437 windy
    June 13, 2007

    Having a farily comprehensive understanding of the biological mechanisms and careful and controlled studies of chemical reactions i.e. are we sure we are witnessing cause and effect? – that is the stuff good biochemical research in the field of dermatology is made of.

    Dermatology? Challenging the stereotypes, I’ll give you that…

    Would you believe that just thinking about the evolution of human skin gives me goosebumps!

  436. #438 rrt
    June 13, 2007

    Graculus: The “Law of Conservation of Information” argument IS the 2nd Law Argument…in drag.

  437. #439 Jeff
    June 13, 2007

    Brownian:

    You haven’t read my posts. I have never accused anyone on the forum of amorality. That’s hardly an issue with me. You have me confused with someone else.

  438. #440 Rey Fox
    June 13, 2007

    “You are (apparently honestly) unaware that studies are amply available on both sides of this argument and for several permutations of each side.”

    Repeating it over and over again does not make it any more true. We’ve seen the arguments for “the other side”, most of them dozens of times. Particularly on this long and troll-ridden thread, our patience runs thin and we get punchy.

    I’m not really a biologist, but try to imagine for a second that uninformed masses were attacking the central tenets of your occupation, and insisting that the theory that all skin problems are caused by demons be given equal time.

    At the very least, check out the Index to Creationist Claims here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/
    Sure, it’s a web site, but it’s quite exhaustive and everything is cited. Feel free to explore the rest of the site.

    “Evolution is a philosophical argument more than a helpful scientific construct,”

    You continue to bely your ignorance of what evolution really is. You should really read what evolutionary biologists have to say about it, rather than religious hucksters who want to project bogus philosophical implications onto it.

  439. #441 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    Brownian:

    You haven’t read my posts. I have never accused anyone on the forum of amorality. That’s hardly an issue with me. You have me confused with someone else.

    No, it appears you have not. I appreciate that. A very large number of theists and creationists have done so with no evidence to back up their claims, and it is tiresome.

  440. #442 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    This was a very interesting discussion of evolution v. creation

    no, it really wasn’t anything more than basic kicks in the head to a troll who comes in with the same, tired, old arguments.

    surely, with a minimum of effort, you could easily find more enlightening discussions.

  441. #443 Vitis
    June 13, 2007

    Unless a person can distinguish between the word “theory” when used in “Theory of Evolution” as opposed to “theory” as in “Theory of God” all discourse is just pissing in the wind.

  442. #444 RavenT
    June 13, 2007

    If indeed you are a researcher in dermatology, Jeff, you sound like a peculiarly incurious one. I was guessing sales rep to dermatology researchers, myself, but you can correct me if that is in error.

    I guess you would not consider HB Lillywhite to be one of the “men like you”, then.

    The vertebrate integument represents an evolutionary compromise between the needs for mechanical protection and those of sensing the environment and regulating the exchange of materials and energy. Fibrous keratins evolved as a means of strengthening the integument while simultaneously providing a structural support for lipids, which comprise the principal barrier to cutaneous water efflux in terrestrial taxa. Whereas lipids are of fundamental importance to water barriers, the efficacy of these barriers depends in many cases on structural features that enhance or maintain the integrity of function. Amphibians are exceptional among tetrapods in having very little keratin and a thin stratum corneum. Thus, effective lipid barriers that are present in some specialized anurans living in xeric habitats are external to the epidermis, whereas lipid barriers of amniotes exist as a lipid-keratin complex within the stratum corneum. Amphibians prevent desiccation of the epidermis and underlying tissues either by evaporating water from a superficial aqueous film, which must be replenished, or by shielding the stratum corneum with superficial lipids. Water barrier function in vertebrates generally appears to be relatively fixed, although various species have ;plasticity’ to adjust the barrier effectiveness facultatively. While it is clear that both phenotypic plasticity and genetic adaptation can account for covariation between environment and skin resistance to water efflux, studies of the relative importance of these two phenomena are few. Fundamental mechanisms for adjusting the skin water barrier include changes in barrier thickness, composition and physicochemical properties of cutaneous lipids, and/or geometry of the barrier within the epidermis. While cutaneous lipids have been studied extensively in the contexts of disease and cosmetics, relatively little is known about the processes of permeability barrier ontogenesis related to adaptation and environment. Advances in such knowledge have didactic significance for understanding vertebrate evolution as well as practical application to clinical dermatology. [1]

    Trying to shut off avenues of inquiry of potential clinical benefit is not “responding in kind”; it’s asking us to settle for something inferior.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    [1] Lillywhite HB. Water relations of tetrapod integument. J Exp Biol. 2006 Jan;209(Pt 2):202-26. Review.

  443. #445 Carlie
    June 13, 2007

    Rey already said it, but I’ll say it again.

    You are (apparently honestly) unaware that studies are amply available on both sides of this argument and for several permutations of each side.

    NO THERE AREN’T. That is a LIE. An outright, bald-faced LIE. Either you are lying or someone lied to you. You are unequivocally WRONG.

  444. #446 Kseniya
    June 13, 2007

    “Evolution is a philosophical argument more than a helpful scientific construct, at least for my work.”

    How very telling.

    I’m sure the same phrase could be uttered, with complete honesty and with no implied rejection of evolutionary theory, by any number of persons who work outside the life sciences.

    What you seem to be saying, Jeff, is that you have no particular use for evolutionary theory in your work, therefore it is not useful, therefore its integrity is suspect.

    Surely you can step back from your own argument and see how it appears to those for whom that professional or vocational condition does not apply.

  445. #447 Jay Hovah
    June 13, 2007

    “I warned you!”
    Posted by: Physicist | June 12, 2007 11:00 PM

    The phrase “freaking nutcase” comes to mind.

  446. #448 Nullifidian
    June 13, 2007

    Oh, THOSE are your references? Thanks for the chuckle. Here’s a hint: the little “search this blog” box in the upper left corner is your friend. I think you’ll see that they’ve been adequately discussed before.

    Not to mention, one of them has been disowned by the author himself. Michael Denton changed his mind about evolution, although not about theism, and clued into the fact that the anthropic principle practically demands that one accept evolution. With that in mind, he penned a new book in the late nineties which explicitly accepted every aspect of evolution and a natural origin of life called Nature’s Destiny. This didn’t sell too well with the rubes who wanted their preconceptions flattered, so it’s now unfortunately out of print.

  447. #449 Richard Simons
    June 13, 2007

    What astounds me about threads like this is the way in which people who clearly know no more about evolution than could be written on a postcard with a felt marker feel that they have the knowledge to overthrow 150 years of research by thousands of people who have spent their lives studying the subject. I wonder if, in their spare time, they go barging into boardrooms to tell managers how to run their business, or picket airports to stop all aircraft because heavier-than-air flight is impossible?

  448. #450 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    oh, you can be sure that if someone they feel is a “true xian” told them that flying was a materialistic plot, they’d be out there trying to ban that too.

  449. #451 Caledonian
    June 13, 2007

    There are people here who will blithely ignore everything we’ve learned about human psychology, economics, and political theory to espouse their pet ideologies. Why should it be so surprising that people will do the same with evolution?

    You wouldn’t think that people would continue to hold belief systems that contradict easily observed facts, but there are the rare examples of groups like the Flat Earth Society that seem to be totally sincere.

  450. #452 Nullifidian
    June 13, 2007

    Nullifidian, thank you and I’ll be stealing that exact line in my personal life. I’ve tried to explain before how there can be pockets of evolutionary ignorance in various research fields, but could never put it that succinctly and clearly.

    I’m sorry I missed this the first time looking through this thread, because I am both flattered and relieved. I worried that my characterization of things would give offense to professionals in medicine who aren’t ignorant creationists, but I’m sure that people like ERV and Orac would happily own up to the fact that there are plenty of cranks in their field.

  451. #453 Caledonian
    June 13, 2007

    Any field that consists mostly of internalizing canon will be prone to crankism and woo.

  452. #454 RavenT
    June 13, 2007

    You are (apparently honestly) unaware that studies are amply available on both sides of this argument and for several permutations of each side.

    I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, Jeff.

    As living representatives of the first amniotes, reptiles represent an essential step to learning the basic requirements for the formation of a stratum corneum. Little information is available on the molecular mechanisms involved in epidermal differentiation in reptiles. Reptilian keratinization does not involve keratohyalin, and produces a corneous and dryer skin than that of amphibians, birds, and mammals. Keratinization of reptilian epidermis allows survival in a terrestrial environment and study of the processes involved provides some insight into the evolution of keratinization processes in endothermic amniotes. Cornification by parakeratosis characterized by absence of keratohyalin and persistence of nuclei in the stratum corneum, as seen in reptilian epidermis, is often considered a pathological process when it occurs in mammals (e.g., eczema, psoriasis, lupus, ichthyosis, etc.). The possibility that the parakeratotic modality of keratinization may represent a reversion to a more primitive form of cornification that may have been typical of synapsid reptiles (i.e., the forebear of mammals), remains open to speculation. [1, pp. 14-15, emphasis added.]

    Since we don’t all have your powerful derma-fu, Jeff, I’ll summarize the specialist jargon briefly: reptiles, as the surviving representatives of the first animals with eggshells and membranes that permit their offspring to live on land rather than in the water, can serve as a model organism for understanding normal and pathological processes of skin diseases in humans and other animals. The process of skin formation in reptiles doesn’t involve the same proteins, and produces skin which is rougher and drier than in other vertebrates, and whose cells retain their nuclei instead of losing them over time. The similarities and differences in these processes shed light on similar processes in warm-blooded land animals (such as humans).

    Here’s the money quote, restated without jargon: what is a normal process in reptiles is considered disease when it occurs in mammals–diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, lupus, ichthyosis, etc. The possibility that the normal process in reptiles can help us to understand the disease process in humans remains open to further exploration, because it may be that the diseases represent a reversion to an earlier form of the normal process, and understanding that earlier form may help us understand how to treat it, through insights into evolutionary changes to the reptilian version of the process.

    Yet you want to cut off this potential avenue of research that may provide clinical benefits to people living with eczema, psoriasis, lupus, ichthyosis, etc., and just settle, by replacing it with a failed 19th-century philosophy that provides no hypotheses and no avenues of research.

    so why do you hate dermatology patients, Jeff?

    [1] Alibardi L. Adaptation to the land: The skin of reptiles in comparison to that of amphibians and endotherm amniotes. J Exp Zoolog B Mol Dev Evol. 2003 Aug 15;298(1):12-41.

  453. #455 kraant
    June 13, 2007

    Oh Dear!
    To Mark Call, Physicist, et al… who want the probability of a shuffle to be repeatable…. Listen closely…

    I was just correcting math.

    ORIGIN OF LIFE NEEDED TO HAPPEN ONLY ONCE!

    Prove it! it could have been created and destroyed a number of times before we got here.

    BINGELDY BINGELDY BING!

    It only needed to happen once. Sure it could have happened multiple times with consecutive die offs sure, but it only needs to happen once…

    To bring that point home let me introduce you to…

    Spiegelman’s Monster:

    The Qb virus doesn’t need anything as complicated as a cell in order to replicate: a test tube full of suitable chemicals is enough. The experiment, conducted by Sol Spiegelman of the University of Illinois, consisted of introducing the viral RNA into a medium containing the RNA’s own replication enzyme, plus a supply of raw materials and some salts, and incubating the mixture. When Spiegelman did this, the system obligingly replicated the strands of naked RNA. Spiegelman then extracted some of the freshly synthesized RNA, put it in a separate nutrient solution, and let it multiply. He then decanted some of that RNA into yet another solution, and so on, in a series of steps.

    The effect of allowing unrestricted replication was that the RNA that multiplied fastest won out, and got passed on to the “next generation” in the series. The decanting operation therefore replaced, in a highly accelerated way, the basic competition process of Darwinian evolution, acting directly on the RNA. In this respect it resembled an RNA world.

    Spiegelman’s results were spectacular. As anticipated, copying errors occurred during replication. Relieved of the responsibility of working for a living and the need to manufacture protein coats, the spoon-fed RNA strands began to slim down, shedding parts of the genome that were no longer required and merely proved to be an encumbrance. The RNA molecules that could replicate the fastest simply out-multiplied the competition. After seventy-four generations, what started out as an RNA strand with 4,500 nucleotide bases ended up as a dwarf genome with only 220 bases. This raw replicator with no frills attached could replicate very fast. It was dubbed Spiegelman’s monster.

    So yeah, to get a self-replicating, evolving mechanism going all you need is one to begin with…

    But wait, it gets better!

    Incredible though Spiegelman’s results were, an even bigger surprise lay in store. In 1974, Manfred Eigen and his colleagues also experimented with a chemical broth containing Qb replication enzyme and salts, and an energized form of the four bases that make up the building blocks of RNA. They tried varying the quantity of viral RNA initially added to the mixture. As the amount of input RNA was progressively reduced, the experimenters found that, with little competition, it enjoyed untrammeled exponential growth. Even a single RNA molecule added to the broth was enough to trigger a population explosion. But then something truly amazing was discovered. Replicating strands of RNA were still produced even when not a single molecule of viral RNA was added! To return to my architectural analogy, it was rather like throwing a pile of bricks into a giant mixer and producing, if not a house, then at least a garage. At first Eigen found the results hard to believe, and checked to see whether accidental contamination had occurred. Soon the experimenters convinced themselves that they were witnessing for the first time the spontaneous synthesis of RNA strands form their basic building blocks. Analysis revealed that under some experimental conditions the created RNA resembled Spiegelman’s monster.

    Let’s run through that. Here you have just a vat of chemicals, and spontaneously, that’s right… spontaneously. Somewhat like a throwing a pile of bricks together randomly to create a garage, or perhaps like a tornado constructing a plane, a self replicator was created.

    And it replicated, and evolved…

    Sure it could happen multiple times interspersed with extinctions, but it only needs to happen once.

    That’s the thing about life. It replicates, and it evolves. That’s why its spontaneous creation only needs to happen once…

    Nothing other than the material universe involved.

    How about that? ๐Ÿ™‚

  454. #456 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    How about that?

    Awesome.

  455. #457 Ichthyic
    June 14, 2007

    But then something truly amazing was discovered. Replicating strands of RNA were still produced even when not a single molecule of viral RNA was added!

    see! it was a miracle!

    goddidit!

    there ya have it: scientific proof of divine intervention!!!!

    can i get an amen!

    sorry, just had to.

    :p

    that post was a also a nice tribute to the recently departed Miller, btw.

  456. #458 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    How about that? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by: kraant | June 13, 2007 11:13 PM

    How about that?
    Awesome.

    Posted by: Kseniya | June 14, 2007 02:16 AM

    Yeah…. that’s awesomely awesome….

    Listen brighty brights, let’s cut to the chase. The real issue isn’t whether or not life evolves… everything must change in order to survive. Just look at all the change you have witnessed in your own pathetic life. The universe IS change, to exist is to change… evolve.

    Indeedy, the underlying issue that gets you brighty brights all hot and bothered is that some people choose to believe in a God. And for you, this belief that people have is unacceptable, therefore you claim that belief is synonymous with delusion. After all, with empirical evidence in hand, belief is not required. But, presumably people still ‘believe’ in all kinds of shit that they cannot prove. Let’s look at what your Lord and Savior ‘believes’…..

    “Because we exist in such a limited section of the universe, and given its enormous scale, I believe we cannot expect to be the only organisms within it”
    Richard Dawkins

    Hmmmmm, what next….? Do you think Dawkins next book will be titled “I was abducted by aliens”….? Probably not, after all, without the word “God” in the title, book sales would probably suffer…. I’m sure Dawkins realizes this, perhaps “I took a ride in a U.F.O. and was told by aliens that there is no God” would be better for $ales.

    God’s existence is either true or not. But calling it a scientific question implies that the tools of science can provide the answer. From my perspective, God cannot be completely contained within nature, and therefore God’s existence is outside of science’s ability to really weigh in.

    Even your Savior has this to say about God.

    “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.”
    Richard Dawkins

    What’s this…… “If” there is a God…… Well, it may be time to ‘jump ship’ brighty brights….. Your savior dropped the big “If”…..

  457. #459 Rey Fox
    June 14, 2007

    “Indeedy, the underlying issue that gets you brighty brights all hot and bothered is that some people choose to believe in a God.”

    Wrong. It’s that people choose to suspend their rational mind in favor of that god and enact policies that will affect everyone based on what they think that god wants. But please, keep the straw men and enlightened stoner condescension coming.

    “From my perspective, God cannot be completely contained within nature, and therefore God’s existence is outside of science’s ability to really weigh in.”

    And from our perspective, that makes him (and I notice you seem to be confining the discussion to just the one Judeo-Christian capitalized God, the polytheists must be feeling awfully left out) utterly useless and meaningless as a concept and one best discarded.

  458. #460 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    utterly useless and meaningless as a concept and one best discarded.

    Posted by: Rey Fox | June 14, 2007 11:24 AM

    Call it what you will…. “Judeo-Christian” or otherwise. When I speak of God I speak of, what I believe, the acting force of existence.

    But I do object to the assumption that anything that might be outside of nature is ruled out of the conversation. That’s an impoverished view of the kinds of questions we humans can ask, such as “Why am I here?”, “What happens after we die?”, “Is there a God?” If you refuse to acknowledge their appropriateness, you end up with a zero probability of God after examining the natural world because it doesn’t convince you on a proof basis. But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion.

  459. #461 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    Spag: Rey is correct. That is the issue.

    “Enlightened stoner condescension” – heh.

    What you’ve somehow failed to notice, Spag, is that virtually every self-identified atheist who posts here (including our illustrious host) has stated unambiguously that their atheism is provisional, and that if convincing evidence for god(s) were to be presented they’d adjust their views accordingly. So there’s no need to jump ship based on on a big “If”. (Isn’t science all about “if?” If you were as brighty bright as the rest of us, you might have realized this.

    Get over yourself. You’re getting in your own way.

    “From my perspective…”

    Which, unless there’s something you’re not telling us, is exactly the same as everyone else’s. Your speculation has no greater intrinsic worth than mine, or anyone else’s. You choose to believe in something for which there is no evidence. Others choose not to, for they see no value (and potential detriment) in doing so. As Rey points out, that is not the core issue. The core issue is that the choice to Believe can drive a variety of behaviors that promote ignorance and bigotry, and that these behaviors must be challenged by those who favor rationality over superstition as a basis for determining what is *cough* real and … *cringe*… right.

  460. #462 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    “But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion.”

    And those aspects are…?

  461. #463 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    But I do object to the assumption that anything that might be outside of nature is ruled out of the conversation. That’s an impoverished view of the kinds of questions we humans can ask, such as “Why am I here?”, “What happens after we die?”, “Is there a God?”

    You know, that’s a very good point, but I think it’s critical to define just what “the conversation” is. There’s a big difference between a conversation about The Big IF and one about the scientific value of Ken Ham’s Creation Museum.

  462. #464 Jefe
    June 14, 2007

    But I do object to the assumption that anything that might be outside of nature is ruled out of the conversation. That’s an impoverished view of the kinds of questions we humans can ask, such as “Why am I here?”, “What happens after we die?”, “Is there a God?” – Spag.

    Without evidence there is no reason to include the super-natural to the conversation. Anything so super-natural as to be beyond our perceptions is simply irrelevant to a live based on those perceptions.

    “Why am I here?”
    A: We don’t know. Making up stories doesn’t change that but it makes us feel good about ourselves.

    A2: One sperm and one egg meet in uterine tract….

    “What happens after I die?”
    A: Your brain ceases to function, your body decomposes, and you contribute to the net fecundity of the earth in which you’re buried.

    A2: We don’t know. Making up stories doesn’t change that but it makes us feel better about the preprogrammed mortality of our existence.

    “Is there a god?”
    A: We don’t know. There is no evidence to suggest so.

    A2: We don’t know. Making up stories about omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent invisible friend(s) makes us feel better about some of the bad stuff though, so lets go with that.

    Q: If [god(s)] exist out of time, are unknowable, unfathomable, beyond human comprehension in terms of morality, compassion, and design….how then is it possible for so many to speak in definite terms about what this [figurehead] likes to eat, likes to do in bed, thinks is yucky, or simply cannot stand? Further, why, in all the examples of these definites, do the [figurehead’s] preferences so clearly mimic and play upon humanity’s own prejudicial tendencies and discriminatory nature?

  463. #465 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    If [god(s)] exist out of time, are unknowable, unfathomable, beyond human comprehension in terms of morality, compassion, and design….how then is it possible for so many to speak in definite terms about what this [figurehead] likes to eat, likes to do in bed, thinks is yucky, or simply cannot stand? Further, why, in all the examples of these definites, do the [figurehead’s] preferences so clearly mimic and play upon humanity’s own prejudicial tendencies and discriminatory nature?

    Well put, Jefe. It’s the old ‘If my disease goes into spontaneous remission, it’s because God answered my prayers; if my disease doesn’t, God must have other plans for me’ AKA the ‘God works in mysterious ways’ loophole.

    I’m going to tie this in to SpaMo’s comment:

    “But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion.”

    So, if studies on prayer demonstrate that at best, prayer mirrors the placebo effect, and at worst, its effect on recovering patients is negative(1), why aren’t theists open to the idea that god doesn’t exist, or at the very least, s/he doesn’t care whether or not we pray, fuck, eat pork, wear veils, or torture heretics?

    1. Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer
    Benson H, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, Lam P, Bethea CF, Carpenter W, Levitsky S, Hill PC, Clem DW, Jain MK, Drumel D, Kopecky SL, Mueller PS, Marek D, Rollins S, Hibberd PL
    American Heart Journal- 2006 04 (Vol. 151, Issue 4)

  464. #466 Ken Cope
    June 14, 2007

    outside of nature

    That must be the same place where they keep before the beginning of time and north of the North Pole.

  465. #467 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    *cringe*… right.

    Posted by: Kseniya | June 14, 2007 11:54 AM

    That’s where you and I sadly part ways…. (sniff)

    Of course you are correct in your “cringing” when it comes to contemplating what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Listen, this conversation could easily take a turn into the politics of society; as soon as you take ‘belief’ out of the equation it becomes clear that we are not a society based upon the notion that “men are created equal”. On the contraire… and rather ironically, ‘belief’ in freedom and equality is not compatible within a Darwinian world view. Those that have (strength, money, power, etc…) will always rule those that have not. This fact of life has nothing to do with ‘belief’ and is the embodiment of ignorance and bigotry.

    Oh and Jefe….. believing does not make anyone feel better about themselves, “bad stuff”, or “mortality”. You see, we all feel the same….. some of us just see life from a different point of view.

  466. #468 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    “On the contraire… and rather ironically, ‘belief’ in freedom and equality is not compatible within a Darwinian world view.”

    So sorry, but very untrue. There are a multiplicity of physiological features that suggest that cooperation was as important, if not more, than competition in hominid evolution. Language being probably one of the most compelling.

  467. #469 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    For more specific information on cooperation within a Darwinian world, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis

    If you’d like a more general introduction to what might constitute a ‘Darwinian world view’ I recommend reading some biology.

  468. #470 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    “why aren’t theists open to the idea that god doesn’t exist”
    Posted by: Brownian | June 14, 2007 12:58 PM

    I have never met a theologian who has proclaimed with certainty that God exists. Who among us is without doubt? Sure, having faith, ‘belief’ in a creative force behind existence may seem a little crazy…. I’ll give you that. Like I said before, God either exists or does not exist. Who can make the claim that the decisions they have made in their lives have been based upon the right ideals?

  469. #471 kmarissa
    June 14, 2007

    Like I said before, God either exists or does not exist.

    Or gods exist.

  470. #472 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    So sorry, but very untrue.

    For more specific information on cooperation within a Darwinian world, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis

    Posted by: Brownian | June 14, 2007 01:33 PM

    What the f@^k does cooperation have to do with equality…….?

    Furthermore…. Take wikipedia and stick it!

    I’d rather light my hair on fire and chew on tin-foil….. sorry, I don’t “clicky” on links…… I’m more interested in what you think.

  471. #473 kmarissa
    June 14, 2007

    What the f@^k does cooperation have to do with equality…….

    And what does equality have to do with god?

  472. #474 Ken Cope
    June 14, 2007

    Like I said before, God either exists or does not exist.

    Or gods exist.

    Unless they’re monsters. Not even Euthyphro can distinguish them from gods.

  473. #475 RavenT
    June 14, 2007

    I’m more interested in what you think.

    I think it’s really interesting that to defend the name of a supposedly benevolent Deity, you end up arguing pro-disease.

    Guess Behe’s started a meme.

  474. #477 Scholar
    June 14, 2007

    “or picket airports to stop all aircraft because heavier-than-air flight is impossible”

    If it is heavier than a duck, and it floats, then it is a witch.

    http://www.youtube.com/v/pDat9zdw7Gs

  475. #478 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    [Lagging behind the convo here… sigh]

    My Empestoed Lord SpagMo:

    …’belief’ in freedom and equality is not compatible within a Darwinian world view.

    Oh dear. You’re conflating social Darwinism with “a Darwinian world view” and, by implication, with evolution? How dreadful.

    Unless, of course, what you mean is that human society is, by nature, hierarchical. In that case, how can I disagree? Of course it is. However, that fact isn’t incompatible with the notion of equality and fairness as a goal, or the notion that all men and women are created with the right to equal rights. Just because we came from a jungle (or a savannah, heh) doesn’t mean we have to stay there – unless one buys into one of the favorite fallacies of the anti-evolutionist: that if we believe (!) we are animals, then of course we’ll act like “animals.” Feh.

  476. #479 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    What I think may be informed by facts, Spaghetti Monster, but it’s still only what I think.

    “I’d rather light my hair on fire and chew on tin-foil….. sorry, I don’t “clicky” on links…… I’m more interested in what you think.”

    I remember saying that when I was 19 and thought my skills in rhetoric made up for a lack of information. Man, did I fuck myself out of a lot of learning due to my own arrogance.

    You claim freedom and equality are not compatible within a Darwinian world view. You are wrong. You are, as many do, misquoting and misunderstanding Herbert Spencer (is that what you call telling us what you think?)

    Human culture is an evolutionary adaptation. Altruism is an evolutionary adaptation. Cooperation is an evolutionary adaptation. Nature is replete with examples of individuals that sacrifice their own reproductive fitness in order to enhance the fitness of close relatives or tribe members. Although the concept of equality is a humanly constructed ideal, its antecedents can be found throughout the natural world, as a result of evolutionary processes. Thus, a Darwinian world view must and does include explanations for altruistic behaviours.

  477. #480 Ichthyic
    June 14, 2007

    Furthermore…. Take wikipedia and stick it!

    you prefer Conservapedia, no doubt.

  478. #481 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    Some human societies are less hierarchical than others though, Kseniya. Those cultures that aren’t hierarchical are (AFAIK) are based around hunting and gathering as economic activities, and tend to view social cooperation and harmony higher than wealth or status. A classical example of these would be the !Kung-San who have practices that reduce pride and social stratification among their members. (See ‘insulting the meat’, as described by Richard Borshay Lee.) A humorous first-person account of such a practice is given by RB Lee in “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari”:
    http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/master.html?http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/editors_pick/1969_12_pick.html.

    If anything, it seems to me an evolutionary world view demonstrates just how many possibilities there are for human behavour and society.

  479. #482 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    Brownian asked: “Why aren’t theists open to the idea that god doesn’t exist?”

    Spag replied: “I have never met a theologian who has proclaimed with certainty that God exists.”

    All theologians are theists, therefore all theists are theologians? I don’t think so.

    You can’t pretend the millions of believers who know little or nothing of theology don’t exist. We’re not talking about the learned tip of the iceburg here. This thread is about the masses, and what the masses believe and do not believe.

    You haven’t answered Brownian’s question at all. I wonder if you can possibly argue that there exists no signifcant number of believers (and do pay careful attention to the meaning of that word, please) who are without doubt. Faith is among the highest of all virtues, whereas doubt, while a forgivable human failing, certainly is not. That may not be universally true, but you can’t deny that it’s a common theme in a non-trivial number of religious doctrines.

  480. #483 Nullifidian
    June 14, 2007

    What the f@^k does cooperation have to do with equality…….?

    Why don’t you go examine Pyotr Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution and figure it out for yourself?

    Oh, right. I forgot: you don’t read.

  481. #484 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    Brownian:

    Some human societies are less hierarchical than others though, Kseniya. […] If anything, it seems to me an evolutionary world view demonstrates just how many possibilities there are for human behavour and society.

    Yes, I understand, though I was trying to keep it simple, in an effort to whittle down Spag’s argument for the sake of clarity (or for the sake of my own understanding of what he was getting at.)

    Which is not to say that you haven’t taught me anything. Thank you; that’s interesting stuff. I’ve always been attracted to the lure of egalitarianism, while being wary of the lure of communism due to some horrific failures in its implementations. (My grandparents are from Kiev, you see…)

  482. #485 rrt
    June 14, 2007

    Now might be a good time to plug Dugatkin’s The Altruism Equation. A pretty good read covering the history of altruism in evolutionary biology. (No relationship to the author or publisher, etc., yadda.)

  483. #486 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    I remember saying that when I was 19 and thought my skills in rhetoric made up for a lack of information. Man, did I fuck myself out of a lot of learning due to my own arrogance.
    Posted by: Brownian | June 14, 2007 03:03 PM

    That’s weird…. Cause I remember saying the same thing that you just said when I was nineteen. Then I went to Johns Hopkins and fucked myself out of a lot of money….

    Listen, perhaps I’m posting in broad general terms; indeed geared towards a more ‘social Darwinian’ world view. I guess I just like to argue.

    But you Kseniya (whoever you may be) intrigue me. You ask if I could possibly argue that there exists no significant number of believers who are without doubt. I will pay close attention to the word (believers) and can say with certainty; virtually all who claim to believe in God have doubt. This should be self-evident. People of faith are no different than anyone else; I guess that’s my point. You can argue that their belief leads to life decisions that are not based on sound rational evidence; you can site any number of examples of people committing horrible acts in the name of their ‘God’ but, I’m not sold on the idea that without God or religion the world would be any less violent. If not in Gods name…… whose? Money? Love? Power? The list could go on and on……

    ‘Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
    Have oft-times no connection. Knowledge dwells
    In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
    Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.’
    — William Cowper

  484. #487 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    Speaking of intriguing…

    “…virtually all who claim to believe in God have doubt.”

    This is an intriguing claim, to say the least. Pure speculation? Or do we have some supporting evidence of some kind – of ANY kind?

    My own Argument from Incredulity goes something like this:

    “I can’t believe that virtually every one of those millions of devouts harbors secret doubts about the core assumption of the belief system to which they so desperately cling and for which they so zealously fight.”

    Perhaps you’re projecting your own rationality on the rest of human kind: “Anyone who has a brain MUST harbor some doubt about such an unlikely proposition” because, as you say, people of faith are no different from anybody else.

    Are you coming out on the side of All Men Are Created Equal, now? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m not sold on the idea that without God or religion the world would be any less violent. If not in Gods name…… whose? Money? Love? Power? The list could go on and on……

    Indeed. I believe that many here would agree with the uncertainty you express, but there is, arguably, a qualitative difference between a world with religion and one without: If we lose religion, we lose a spectacularly effective means of provoking people to do unspeakable things for no apparently good reason whatsoever.

  485. #488 Keith Douglas
    June 16, 2007

    Tim: Your argument, such as it is, has been dealt with a thousand times by now … please try to keep up.

    Bartley Kulp #383: “The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen.”

    Oh dear.

    Graculus (#425): Don’t forget the reverse, too. How many times do they say “Physicists have shown …” or “BIologists know …” when what follows is utter crap, and they have the arrogance to assume that nobody of the indicated groups is around.

  486. #489 Marshall Battani
    June 19, 2007

    Let’s all remember that the nice thing about evilution is that it is science and science doesn’t require that anyone BELIEVE in it for it to still be true.

  487. #490 heyyyyy
    June 24, 2007

    PZ Meyers what exactly is your opinion, all your blogs seem to play it safe towards something. There’s alot about religion in here, some people just grow up with it, and that’s how they think. And others completely deny it, “Why believe in something that no proof” is thier counter to religion, but thats kind of funny when evoultion is usually referred to the theory of evolution.
    I guess they don’t know what theory means. in theory (haha) almost everything is a theory. science only takes you so far, religion goes too far, and there’s an in between, the ones who want to find the answers to the big questions in life. Many think it impossible to combine religion and biology. if there is a big bang how do all the gases and compounds form to do that.
    Science proves things can’t just appear, so something had to make them appear, there must be some power in the universe that made it happen.
    Keep posting, the reactions of people are funny. sorry if i set someone off, and they have to rant. well i just ranted, but everyone is entitled to an opinion, some more narrowed than others but that’s just my opinion.
    So sip your starbucks, listen to your beatles/ bloc party/ any other generic things you probably don’t even like, and don’t forget to vote for hillary, becuase everyone is so open minded and cultured these days. attack me with your comments!

  488. #491 carbonatedwater
    June 24, 2007

    What the hell is heyyy talking about it. Does he think he is making a point or something? You know he is trying to sound all smart and innocent, “ooh i am just saying” approach. Yeah, just be quiet. Are you in college? Do you have a higher education? I do agree with “Science only takes us so far, religion goes too far, and there is the in between”

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