Pharyngula

What I hear when creationists speak

I like it. This is a perfect analogy to creationist argument.

The theory of childhood, also known as child origin, is a damnable, loathsome and indefensible lie. How can any thinking person suppose all humans used to be babies once?
There is no development path from babies to adults, no transitional forms between these two species. Show me even one baby with the head of a grown man on his body. Can you? No? Not even a bearded toddler? No adults with unfused skullbones, outside unfortunate disorders? Not even a tiny little newborn girl suddenly sprouting a respectable bosom? You can’t find them, because they don’t exist. There isn’t a single transitional form between children and adults, and you will never find one because the theory simply is an unscientific lie.

The development of children has been well-researched in our six-month study following a sample of one thousand children and adults of various ages. We have conclusively proven that while there are minor changes in features like height and body fat, and replacement of deciduous teeth with permanent teeth, incontravertibly still every creature in the study that started out as a child had only slightly more adult features at the end of the observation period than at its beginning. Children and adults are separate kinds and there will never be sufficient changes to change one into the other. We reject any evidence from longer-term studies as we believe the laws of physics have changed within the last year.

To claim people come from children is demeaning and morally degrading. We have observed how children behave. If we acted like small children we’d all be demanding and impatient, and we’d be cheating, lying, and stealing from each other all the time. If the theory of childhood were true there would be no morality, and with no morality to build one on, no society. Childhood is a wicked lie used by charlatans to justify evils such as public schools.

There is no consensus on the theory of childhood in the scientific community. We should teach the controversy. Our children will be served well to learn that the prospect of them becoming adults is merely a theoretical idea. Many children come from families that do not subscribe to the theory of childhood, and they could be disturbed if the theory were taught as fact.

(via)

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    September 8, 2008

    Besides, reproductive processes are irreducibly complex, so how could non-functional reproductive organs ever turn into functional ones? It’s their hatred of God that leads atheists to such damnable lies.

    That said, I think “teach the controversy” between the stork model and that messy, immoral, and hedonistic sexual theory of origins makes a better analogy.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  2. #2 EricLR
    September 8, 2008

    “Not even a bearded toddler?”
    Well it’s many a day I’ve travelled, a hundred miles or more, but a baby boy with whiskers on, sure I’ve never seen before. Now when I came home on Saturday night…

  3. #3 firemancarl
    September 8, 2008

    Childhood is a wicked lie used by charlatans to justify evils such as public schools

    Could not agree more-when i was in school that is.

  4. #4 drdave
    September 8, 2008

    So Funny. So Sad.

  5. #5 Reginald Selkirk
    September 8, 2008

    Not even a bearded toddler?

    Ask and you shall receive: Babies With Beards

  6. #6 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 8, 2008

    Ahh yes it would be a good counter to the creationists if their brains had progressed passed childhood.

    Since they haven’t shed their childhood fairy tales it would be hard for them to understand the whole “growing up” or “maturing” thing.

  7. #7 Reginald Selkirk
    September 8, 2008

    Child trafficking: Normal Bearded Baby for sale

  8. #8 wÒÓ†
    September 8, 2008
  9. #9 Sven DiMilo
    September 8, 2008

    Ari Rahikkala, that’s a great metaphor.
    Reginald Selkirk, that’s a weird link.

  10. #10 Lucas
    September 8, 2008

    I just don’t understand how adults could come from children! How could something as complex as the belief in a supernatural creator of everything who desperately needs our unwavering affection as well as some of our money just come about by sheer chance?

  11. #11 Matt Heath
    September 8, 2008

    Does anyone else remember the Steve Bell “If…” cartoon were the penguin breaks off from the plot and starts crying because there’s no point satirizing anything any more? It was about using sunken hulks as prison ships and he says something like “What’s the point. They are probably already preparing to announce this”. Then he starts having a panic attack and thinks that the panel is shrinking.

    That’s how I feel about creationism spoofs.

    There are probably already people arguing that purely natural factors can’t explain children turning to adults, and saying God must guide the process. There WERE people saying that God had to have a hand in gravity.

    I wish I could laugh, but that joke isn’t funny any more.

  12. #12 Lord Zero
    September 8, 2008

    This is RIGHT in so many levels…

  13. #13 Denis Loubet
    September 8, 2008

    I just watched the clock for a couple of minutes, and the hour hand didn’t move, thus proving beyond doubt that hours cannot pass from one to another, no matter how much the minute hand may appear to move.

  14. #14 Epikt
    September 8, 2008

    Besides, the whole process of generating a large adult from a small child violates the principle of conservation of, um, something.

  15. #15 King Aardvark
    September 8, 2008

    This fake creationist argument is incorrect: it states that they actually conducted a six-month study. No creationist worth his salt actually does any research.

  16. #16 Mr P
    September 8, 2008

    OK, Ill say it.

    WHAT ABOIUT PYGMIES AND DWARVES?

    P

  17. #17 Quiet_Desperation
    September 8, 2008

    When creationists speak, all I hear is a faint buzz. My sanity preserving filters are *really* good. Chebyshev with 22 poles.

  18. #18 techskeptic
    September 8, 2008

    Wow, I wish I could have that entire metaphor memorized (plus Epikt’s little jab) for the next time I meet a fundy. Its truly perfection.

  19. #19 bunnycatch3r
    September 8, 2008

    Who knowd this analogy might have been floating around for years. However, it’s the first time I’ve seen it and I’m thankful you posted it.
    This so totally works.

  20. #20 Lucas
    September 8, 2008

    @#15:

    No, no, no, this is accurate. It may say they conducted a study, but that’s only to annoy scientific types. You must remember that lying and misinformation is 100% sanctioned when it comes to converting others to the one truth.

  21. #21 Benjamin Franklin
    September 8, 2008

    Paul Zachary Meyers!

    That was a childish thing to write.

    Now go to your room, young man!

  22. #22 Armchair Dissident
    September 8, 2008

    It has to be said:

    If adults came from children, why are there still children.

  23. #23 Colin J
    September 8, 2008

    That explains why I never quite feel grown up…. perhaps, I’M a transitional form. Adult body, child mentality.

  24. #24 MarkW
    September 8, 2008

    I suppose we must concede that the study has detected micro-aging. Nobody would deny that micro-aging happens. But there is no evidence, nor can there ever be, for macro-aging.

  25. #25 Mrs Tilton
    September 8, 2008

    Somebody (can’t recall who — Haldane perhaps?) supposedly once uttered a sort of Anticipatory Shorter PZ to a creationist. “You can’t believe that life changed, over untold millions of years, from one-celled organisms to highly complex animals?”, the great man scoffed; “Why, you did so yourself, and in just nine months!”

    It’s not a perfect analogy, actually, as development != evolution. Still, it does pretty starkly illustrate the profound failure of the creationist imagination.

  26. #26 Sigmund
    September 8, 2008

    The flaw in the argument is that creationists actually believe that the theory of evolution suggests that species change happens in a similar manner to the way described here – in other words a fish growing up to be a lizard or a bird.
    On a related note to the morality point I heard an interesting thing today. It was a historical sermon about the time of Copernicus and Galileo. The whole point of it was that if you accepted the earth was not the center of the universe then all morality would fail etc (you know, the old ‘if we were to become atheist we’d lose our morals, marry chickens and eat children argument’). It was exactly the same points then as used today regarding the effects of the theory of evolution.

  27. #27 Cody
    September 8, 2008

    Matt Heath @ 11.
    Damn. You’re right, when you put it that way. When I read it again after reading your post it seemed more hopeless than funny.
    “I wish I could laugh, but that joke isn’t funny any more.”
    I’ll be thinking about that line all day.

  28. #28 Matt Penfold
    September 8, 2008

    Somebody (can’t recall who — Haldane perhaps?) supposedly once uttered a sort of Anticipatory Shorter PZ to a creationist. “You can’t believe that life changed, over untold millions of years, from one-celled organisms to highly complex animals?”, the great man scoffed; “Why, you did so yourself, and in just nine months!”

    It does serve as a pretty good riposte to the creationist argument involving the second law of thermodynamics. Of the second law did indeed mean evolution was impossible it would also mean growth was impossible.

  29. #29 Patricia
    September 8, 2008

    After reading that, it feels like we have stepped up the pace backward to Warp 92. We should catch Doonesbury’s penguin any day now.

  30. #30 Justin
    September 8, 2008

    An ex-creationist myself, I’ll point out two errors in the analogy that kill it for me.

    One, if evolution were a process similar to something that looks like an adult, only smaller, becoming an adult over time, then there would be no problem because the Biblical “like produced like after it’s own kind” principle would not be violated. The analogy fails in this regard. The problem is one of xenophobia. I cannot possibly have descended from this thing which doesn’t really look like me.

    Two, as King Aardvark mentioned, no creationist ever actually does a study. All Creation Science is pure thought experiment. Verification requires doubt. Doubting is impulsive and normal. Acting on one’s doubts is sinful. A truly faithful person might be tempted to verify, but will recognize the temptation as coming from the evil one and refrain.

    That this is a completely dishonest way of life escapes the faithful.

  31. #31 SteveM
    September 8, 2008

    Besides, the whole process of generating a large adult from a small child violates the principle of conservation of, um, something.

    Yes, conservation of mass. I mean in order for a child to increase its mass there would have to be some mechanism for it, and if there was was, surely biologists would know about it by now.

    Now, back to lunch…

  32. #32 T-bone
    September 8, 2008

    Umm…don’t teenagers fill the gap between children and adults? To find one, I suggest performing an ethographic study of the place known as “mall.”
    This analogy falls apart, however, when you start looking at the debate over mechanisms – why or how children turn into adults. The growth of a single organism over a single lifespan is not directly related to changes in species over millions of generations.

  33. #33 TomS
    September 8, 2008

    As is so often the case, there is an echo of reality in this satire.

    I call your attention to the old theory of preformation, which was a real theory that denied the development of the embryo. Several of the same arguments which are used today against evolution were used against development: “Irreducible complexity” (although not by that name – it was argued that the heart could not exist without blood vessels, nor blood vessels without the heart); “it couldn’t happen by chance”; “spontaneous generation is impossible” (it was thought that development required spontaneous generation); Bible quotations.

    It was different then, in the days of preformationism, though. For one thing, there was a theory of preformation – it wasn’t just “somehow, somewhere, something is wrong with development” – rather, the preformationists had something positive to offer. For another, the arguments for preformation had some relevance to the subject and deserved consideration. And, there were real, serious, learned, intelligent, hard-working advocates of preformation who actually did experimental work and theoretical exploration of the subject and they appealed to an audience of knowledgeable people – they didn’t rely on the government and school-children for support.

  34. #34 SteveM
    September 8, 2008

    Umm…don’t teenagers fill the gap between children and adults? To find one, I suggest performing an ethographic study of the place known as “mall.”

    But now you have the gap between child and teenager, and the gap between teenager and adult.

    This analogy falls apart, however, when you start looking at the debate over mechanisms – why or how children turn into adults. The growth of a single organism over a single lifespan is not directly related to changes in species over millions of generations.

    It is not an analogy, it is a parody.

  35. #35 Eddie Van Helsing
    September 8, 2008

    Great parody, but I’d argue that public schools are an evil. They’re inhuman places that make human monsters.

  36. #36 T. Bruce McNeely
    September 8, 2008

    Teenagers are not transitional forms!
    They are probably a degenerate race of adults, descended from one of Noah’s forgotten offspring. They have some adult attributes, but their emotional state is clearly diseased. Besides, they have their own language and culture.
    Of course, it could be that I’m just a jealous old fart…

  37. #37 Brownian, OM
    September 8, 2008

    I wish I could laugh, but that joke isn’t funny any more.

    I dropped by Skatje’s blog as per A fine example of Christian cowardice but had to quit after reading a few of Gustaf’s dry heaves (non-productive emesis).

    I can’t find these people funny anymore; instead I just see their dishonesty, hypocrisy, and cruelty. Those three traits do tend to provoke violent, spastic reactions from me, but unfortunately those reactions aren’t gelotological.

    When I eventually croak from heart disease, I’m gonna will my heirs to use my estate to sue those assholes at the DI for wrongful death.

  38. #38 qedpro
    September 8, 2008

    A great youtube video on this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0wwhSlo1NI

    This guy is a christian, but he makes great videos on evolution, etc.
    I don’t recommend watching his ones where he tries to justify his faith. Its painful to see such and intelligent person tie themselves into knots, but this video and others on evolution are awesome.

  39. #39 SteveM
    September 8, 2008

    Of course, it could be that I’m just a jealous old fart…

    “Youth is wasted on the young”

  40. #40 schism
    September 8, 2008

    Show me even one baby with the head of a grown man on his body.

    I guess Chippy would sort of count…

  41. #41 JStein
    September 8, 2008

    I almost pissed myself when he said “bearded toddler.”

    What a wonderful post. Thanks for that, PZ.

  42. #42 Snark7
    September 8, 2008

    Simply wonderful!

  43. #43 Matt Penfold
    September 8, 2008

    Great parody, but I’d argue that public schools are an evil. They’re inhuman places that make human monsters.

    Do you mean public schools in the American or British usage ?

    Only they mean quite different things.

    Public schools in the UK are in fact private fee paying boarding secondary education establishments, like Eton and Harrow and a load of less prestigious institutions.

    Public schools in the US are public funded schools.

    Actually thinking about it both seem to be pretty inhuman places.

  44. #44 Cappy
    September 8, 2008

    Yes, and this argument holds true despite the fact that babies share virtually the same DNA as adults. Even more so than chimpanzees.

  45. #45 Eddie Van Helsing
    September 8, 2008

    Matt Pennfold, I was speaking of government-run schools in the United States. I’ve never done time in any of the private institutions that the Brits euphemistically call “public schools”, so I can’t call them hellholes from personal experience. I can say that American public schools are inhuman places that make human monsters, and that they’re nothing but factories that take real boys and girls and turn them into puppets.

    After all, I’m one of the monsters.

  46. #46 Matt Heath
    September 8, 2008

    “I wish I could laugh, but that joke isn’t funny any more.”
    I’ll be thinking about that line all day.

    I should point out it’s an old Smiths lyric and not my own line.

  47. #47 rynehatfield
    September 8, 2008

    “If we acted like small children we’d all be demanding and impatient, and we’d be cheating, lying, and stealing from each other all the time.”

    So what, like the entire business world is a child? Seems like that is happeneding alot there.

  48. #48 Tom Rooney
    September 8, 2008

    But…

    But…

    If I am descended from my parents, why do I still have parents?

  49. #49 Marco
    September 8, 2008

    Well I remember having seen the skull of the young Napoleon in French museum but it has been removed since.

  50. #50 Cliff
    September 8, 2008

    “Children and adults are separate kinds…”

    There are times when I actually believe this.

  51. #51 Brownian, OM
    September 8, 2008

    If I am descended from my parents, why do I still have parents?

    Merely asking that question violates the “Honour thy father and thy mother” commandment of God. Besides, everyone knows the answer is “Goddidit”.

    You, my friend, would make one helluva lousy creation scientist.

  52. #52 Andrew
    September 8, 2008

    What a poorly designed study:

    Taking as a representative length of time to produce two different “kinds” of organism as 50k years and 50 yrs as a (barely) plausible career length in which to make observations, we see that our observation period is about 1/1000 of the time necessary to document the transitions between “kinds”. If we then assume that according to the child-to-adult theory, the process takes 20 years or so, an appropriate equivalent study should last about one week.

    In six months we should see an adult human formed from the effects of a tornado in a playpen.

  53. #53 John C. Randolph
    September 8, 2008

    Heh.. Reminds me of an essay called The Etiology and Treatment of Childhood. It listed several symptoms, such as dwarfism, knowledge deficits, legume anorexia (see Popeye, et al, 1937), hyperactivity, and so on.

    -jcr

  54. #54 John C. Randolph
    September 8, 2008

    #45 Eddie,

    There was a time when public primary and secondary schools in the USA were pretty good. They seem to have gone off the rails after people like Dewey decided that their purpose should be to make docile workers, rather than to foster intellectual development.

    John Taylor Gatto has written a fascinating book about this process.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ogCc8ObiwQ

    -jcr

  55. #55 Jesse
    September 8, 2008

    Funny in a way, but not a true analogy with how Creationists see things.

    I think a better way to put is this way: when a creationist says “why do monkeys still exist” I simply answer, “Well then, I guess your cousins prove that it’s impossible for you to have had the same grandparents. Might want to have a chat with your dad.”

  56. #56 Tony Popple
    September 8, 2008

    I heard puberty violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  57. #57 Akari_House
    September 8, 2008

    Heh, I’ve wanted to write something like that, but for tadpoles and frogs…

  58. #58 Shygetz
    September 8, 2008

    Well said…I haven’t heard a better paraphrase of the creationist “argument” in, well, ever.

  59. #59 Parent
    September 8, 2008

    #14: “Besides, the whole process of generating a large adult from a small child violates the principle of conservation of, um, something.”

    Money?

  60. #60 Jimmy Groove
    September 8, 2008

    This one reminded me of something I wrote a long time ago. I just found it:

    Reconstructing “The Vacation”

    The other day I went to the store to pick up some photos I had developed, and to my surprise I was given the wrong envelope. Inside were sixty photos of a Caucasian family at a tropical location. I was fascinated, so I decided to use these photos to try to reconstruct the trip.

    Firstly, I came to the conclusion that since the photos were being developed here, it was probably a local family, and thus the tropical location was where they went for a trip. The presence of a photo from the inside of a plane seemed to support this theory.

    In the photos, there are four members that occur over an over again, an older man and woman, and a boy and a girl. Thus, I conclude these are family members. However, there is one photo where all four appear at the same time. Obviously, this means there is a Fifth Family Member who was operating the camera the entire time. Somebody where I work, who calls himself a “scientist” just because he has a degree, says that he doesn’t know for sure how the photo was taken, but suggests that it could have been from a timer on the camera or a local taking it for them, but that’s just ridiculous! He doesn’t even know how it happened, while I’m sure it was a Fifth Family Member, so I must be right!

    Now, I noticed that there are scenes on beaches, in downtowns, and in jungles, but there are no scenes of the family members inside cars or walking from place to place. Thus, I conclude that for the duration of The Vacation, they were able to teleport. Since the four visible family members are clearly normal humans, I conclude that this must be a power given by the Fifth Family Member.

    Also, I failed to see any pictures of any member of the family going to the bathroom, despite four pictures of members eating. The number of outfits suggest at least a week past, far too long to go without bathroom visits! So I conclude that for the duration of the trip, the law of entropy must have been suspended for the family. Again, clearly the work of the Fifth Family Member.

    Next I focused on where they went. The man from work suggested that I go to the store again, report the mixup, and ask who they belonged to so I can return the photos and find out more information directly from the source. Of course, that man is a damned liar and fool who refuses to accept the Fifth Family Member, so I’m sure anything he suggests is going to be bad. I thus conclude that the family is in Mexico because it looks like Mexico to me.

    Several of my friends want to learn more about the Fifth Family Member, so that we can better understand Him and hopefully get Him to grant us some of His powers, so they will help me study these photos from now on. We will call this “Vacation Science.”

  61. #61 dkew
    September 8, 2008

    JCR – John Taylor Gatto is a crank, with wholly fabricated anecdotes such as

    Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the State of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted – sometimes with guns – by an estimated eighty percent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880s, when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.

    I’ve never run across anything like this in my Cape Cod history hobby. In fact, towns were required to support teachers since the 1670s, attendance presumably being voluntary. In the mid to late 1800s, towns ran special school sessions for the boys who were at sea (fishing) in the regular sessions. Nor can Gatto identify where that information came from, according to a potential documentary director, despite a long search. Since he seems to wear a tinfoil hat and worry about the black helicopters, I say Bullshit!!
    Blaming Dewey is ridiculous. Rightly or wrongly, successfully or badly, schools try to teach what their societies want at the time.

  62. #62 kmarissa
    September 8, 2008

    Not even a bearded toddler?

    Did anyone else have sudden visions of Father Ted’s Speed 3 episode? The “very hairy babies”? No?

    Trust me, it was really funny in my head at the time.

  63. #63 Daniel
    September 8, 2008

    You know, they could be on to something…I think I saw that bearded toddler at the state fair a few years ago ;)

  64. #64 MTran
    September 8, 2008

    #60

    Vacation Science is awesome!

  65. #65 ErikFK
    September 8, 2008

    Simply awesome!
    But I would suggest an even better ;-) alternative: the explanation of this incredible wonder is: Intelligent Aging (IA). God does it! Every single second of our lifes god ages us. No wonder he’s hardly got time for anything else…

  66. #66 SC
    September 8, 2008

    JCR – John Taylor Gatto is a crank

    So’s jcr. I can assure you that few if any facts will penetrate his thick layers of evidence-proofing.

  67. #67 Al
    September 8, 2008

    @62

    Yes, there certainly were some very hairy babies there: the standard has really gone down this year.

    Very milky this tea, wouldn’t you say? ;-)

  68. #68 Ryan F Stello
    September 8, 2008

    SC said,

    So’s jcr. I can assure you that few if any facts will penetrate his thick layers of evidence-proofing.

    I normally don’t care about these things, but remember that there’s two jcrs, here.
    From what I can tell, the jcr on this thread is the reasonable one.

    **jumps back into the shadows**

  69. #69 SC
    September 8, 2008

    From what I can tell, the jcr on this thread is the reasonable one.

    Gosh, I hope not. dkew was replying, and I was referring, to John C. Randolph.

  70. #70 LightningRose
    September 8, 2008

    Doesn’t this violate Poe’s Law?

  71. #71 Mrs Tilton
    September 8, 2008

    kmarissa @62,

    props for bringing Father Ted into this (the few things in this life that can’t be adequately commented on with a Simpsons reference are covered by Father Ted).

    Pat Mustard’s illicit offspring are more on point than my own first thoughts on readings the above, which were along the lines of “it has the body of a spider but it’s actually a baby!”

  72. #72 tim Rowledge
    September 8, 2008

    Teenagers are not transitional forms!

    They certainly aren’t! I believe that they are in fact pod-people inserted into our lives by the ElvisGod to cover up the period between babyhood and adulthood so that poor deluded fools think there is some connection between a child and the adult supposedly descended from it.
    On occasion the adult form fails to turn up at the local Masonic Lodge (in fact the distribution centre) and the podiform has to be maintained in place so that the Illuminati database is not inconvenienced. This may explain the phenomenon of the ‘baby-man’, Hollywood ‘stars’ behaviour, and Steve Ballmer.
    I will say no more on this explosive hidden – nay, suppressed – truth because I have a major best-seller about to be published on this very subject!

  73. #73 truth machine, OM
    September 8, 2008

    Well it’s many a day I’ve travelled, a hundred miles or more, but a baby boy with whiskers on, sure I’ve never seen before.

    Ugh … you silly old fool …

    Well it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more.
    But a baby boy with whiskers on, I’ve never seen before.

  74. #74 Qwerty
    September 8, 2008

    I am watching the Peter Ward v. Stephen Meyer debate on youtube.com. It is amazing how Stephen Meyer can deflect all questions as to how ID is genuine science.

  75. #75 Ryan F Stello
    September 8, 2008

    SC added,

    dkew was replying, and I was referring, to John C. Randolph.

    So was I.

    I was just trying to say, be careful not to poision the wrong well.

    That said, if you’ve seen this JCR acting creepishly, let me know, ’cause I don’t want to support sock puppets (For what it’s worth, I did cringe a bit at that Dewey comment….one usually expressed by psycho-Christians like the WallBuilders).

  76. #76 dr. luba
    September 8, 2008

    If we acted like small children we’d all be demanding and impatient, and we’d be cheating, lying, and stealing from each other all the time.

    Isn’t that simply the Republican version of capitalism in action?

  77. #77 Kel
    September 8, 2008

    That was really clever. Thanks for bringing it to light PZ

  78. #78 Edward
    September 8, 2008

    I just can’t see how a single cell and some primordial “goo” can become a child….. and then evolve into an adult????????? My sacred story book tells me that I was brought by a stork, and my sisters were found under rocks. Blaspheme I say. You are all godless infidels!!!!!!!!!!! By the way, Santa says my book is infallible so it must be right! ;P

  79. #79 Clemens
    September 8, 2008

    Great story, both the children stuff and the Vacation Science.

    Regarding “Vacation Science”, I remember some cartoons on http://cectic.com dealing with “External Delivery”. It is the theory that Christmas presents do NOT come from parents, but from an External Agent (Which some refer to as Santa Clause, but believe me, it is clearly not a “religion” but real science!).

    The evidence? Well, I wrote a letter to Santa asking for a new bike, and gave it to my parents to take it to the post office, and OMG! I really got the bike, even the colour was correct. And there is absolutely no way my parents could have known what I wished for…

    And for the more desperate, a tiny joke:
    “Hey Dad, today we learnt in school that we descended from apes”
    “Pffff, maybe YOU did.”

  80. #80 Eric TF Bat
    September 8, 2008

    PZ – the LJ you linked to was just quoting. Here’s the original.

  81. #81 Jackson
    September 8, 2008

    Great post and some great comments — I like the “why are there still children”, reference to the stork, – just great. Cleverest blog anywhere I’ve seen in a while.

  82. #82 Neil B
    September 8, 2008

    Actually, the fact that a single cell can turn into a complex human being is amazing, and shows what our universe can accomplish “by itself” as a far more compelling argument about evolution that merely going from childhood to adulthood, even though the parody is funny. To me, that “means something” although I recognize the difficulty of proving it and pretty much accept that it will stay a matter of intellectual style, whether one deigns to explore such issues.

    Speaking of creationists, consider Sarah Palin – the possible Fundie in Chief or side-kick of an ostensibly reasonable politician. Here is a cute little pregnancy cartoon about what’s “gestating” inside her:

    http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/contributors/1737

    Bushtating? Bush-Stating (again)?

    Another reason we must stop McBushlin, which Google says I was first to coin.

    BTW, a good addition to Oblermann:

    NEW YORK August 20, 2008 “The Rachel Maddow Show,” a smart look at politics, pop culture and all the day’s top stories, will premiere Monday, Sept. 8, on MSNBC, it was announced today by Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC. “The Rachel Maddow Show” will telecast weekdays, 9-10 p.m. ET.

  83. #83 efrique
    September 8, 2008

    Interesting – I made almost exactly the same point (though substantially more briefly) here.

  84. #84 efrique
    September 8, 2008

    Not only was mine more succinct, I beat them by seven months!

    Hemant over at Friendly Atheist picked it up at the time and featured it here (though he smoothed the edges a tad).

  85. #85 raven
    September 8, 2008

    Everyone missed the whole point. Clueless. Babies and children violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics!!!

    In other words they are impossible. The unproven Theory of Embryogenesis says you start with a single cell and eventually end up with a grade schooler. This is a huge decrease in entropy and a violation of basic physics principles.

    For the same reason evolution doesn’t work. You can’t put energy into a system and expect an increase in order!! This is Creation Science 101.

  86. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 8, 2008

    Everyone missed the whole point. Clueless. Babies and children violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics!!!

    Stupid babies.

    To quote Homer Simpson

    In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

  87. #87 KristinMH
    September 8, 2008

    Show me even one baby with the head of a grown man on his body.

    I guess you’ve never been to Manbabies.

  88. #88 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 8, 2008

    I guess you’ve never been to Manbabies.

    wow

  89. #89 SC
    September 8, 2008

    I was just trying to say, be careful not to poision the wrong well.

    That said, if you’ve seen this JCR acting creepishly, let me know

    Sorry. I don’t wish to poison any well – even Randolph’s. Propertarianism offends me, as does sloppy, ideologically-driven history, and he combines them. You’re of a different opinion, and I don’t seek to influence you.

    By the way, John, you may be interested in the denouement of this thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/this_is_how_we_will_lose.php

    Are you going to admit that you were wrong?

    (Nice site, dkew. I’m reading The Outermost House. Well, I read a few pages at night before I fall asleep, when I’m not reading anything else. Since this is virtually never, I’ve been reading it for about…a year. It looks nice on my bedside table, though. :))

  90. #90 melior
    September 9, 2008

    I suppose next you’re going to tell me that you’ve got some kind of bizarre Butterfly Origins Theory that has them magically morphing out of caterpillars in just a few weeks.

  91. #91 antaresrichard
    September 9, 2008

    Thanks PZ for alerting us.

    Damn you Benjamin Spock! May you forever roast in Hell!

  92. #92 John C. Randolph
    September 9, 2008

    Propertarianism offends me,

    First time I encountered that particular neologism, it was an in an Ursula LeGuin book. Can’t recall the title, but it was a story about an anarchist utopia where the idea of private property was reviled. Hate to break it to you, but LeGuin writes fiction.

    as does sloppy, ideologically-driven history, and he combines them.

    History is history, facts are facts, and even though you may be offended by the facts that I mention, that’s your problem and nobody else’s.

    Oh, and as for the people trying to villify John Taylor Gatto, maybe you should ask yourselves why you’re arguing for doing more of the same after decades of failure?

    -jcr

  93. #93 John C. Randolph
    September 9, 2008

    I can assure you that few if any facts will penetrate his thick layers of evidence-proofing.

    Heh… An anarchist accuses me of being thick. That’s hilarious.

    -jcr

  94. #94 John C. Randolph
    September 9, 2008

    In fact, towns were required to support teachers since the 1670s, attendance presumably being voluntary.

    Dkew,

    You misunderstood Gatto’s point. He was talking about a shift in the manner of schooling that took place in the mid-1800s, not the existence and public support of local schools.

    -jcr

  95. #95 John C. Randolph
    September 9, 2008

    Are you going to admit that you were wrong?

    Can you show that I made an incorrect statement?

    Get used to disappointment. Nobody has to jump through hoops for you.

    -jcr

  96. #96 Epikt
    September 9, 2008

    raven:

    Everyone missed the whole point. Clueless. Babies and children violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics!!!
    In other words they are impossible. The unproven Theory of Embryogenesis says you start with a single cell and eventually end up with a grade schooler. This is a huge decrease in entropy and a violation of basic physics principles.

    Not if you’re allowed to invoke The Very Special Magic Entropy of Jesus.

  97. #97 SC
    September 9, 2008

    Hate to break it to you, but LeGuin writes fiction.

    Hate to break it to you, but the name fits. And, frankly, don’t know why you would reject it.

    History is history, facts are facts, and even though you may be offended by the facts that I mention, that’s your problem and nobody else’s.

    Oh, and as for the people trying to villify John Taylor Gatto, maybe you should ask yourselves why you’re arguing for doing more of the same after decades of failure?

    I’ll let this stand as a typical jcr response when someone (in this case, a historian) calls him on matters of historical fact. The tactics of evasion and shifting to the terrain of pure ideology are fully in evidence here. You be the judge, Ryan. :)

    Heh… An anarchist accuses me of being thick. That’s hilarious.

    That’s about as well-reasoned as anything he’s come out with, I suppose.

    Can you show that I made an incorrect statement?

    Again, I’ll let that thread speak for itself. You made a sarcastic crack about truth machine’s winning friends and influencing people. You asked for evidence to falsify the underlying claim that he did not (beyond the obvious evidence of his Molly) in the form of people whose views he had changed. Several came forward to say that he had changed their views, including Rick. You should admit that you were wrong, and apologize to tm.

  98. #98 Sastra
    September 9, 2008

    Although I’ve come across this sort of analogy before, I think this is the best treatment I’ve seen. The child-to man parody is a good illustrative example of what Dawkins (and others) call “the discontinuous mind,” which tends to separate everything in terms of discrete, black-or-white units, and has trouble seeing or understanding nuances which come in shades of gray.

    From a distance, nature is gradual. If “every mammal has a mammal for its mother,” then when was the “first mammal?” To a creationist, it might seem like a real question.

    There was no “first mammal.” If you had been hovering in space for millions of years, waiting and watching, you would not be able to pinpoint any particular animal which was definitely, obviously, a mammal coming from a non-mammal — any more than there is one single significant moment when a child becomes a man (well, ok, getting laid, but other than that.)

  99. #99 Hypatia
    September 9, 2008

    Ah, but I’ve got your intermediate steps right here!
    http://manbabies.com/

  100. #100 John Kwok
    September 9, 2008

    Hi PZ,

    This is absolutely brilliant. It is a perfect parody of creationist mendacious intellectual pornography.

    Appreciatively yours,

    John

  101. #101 Ryan F Stello
    September 9, 2008

    SC commented,

    You be the judge, Ryan.

    My apologies; I stand corrected.
    That ‘decades of failure’ crack and overall presumed truthiness put him over the edge into that other jcr’s playpen.

    I’ll be a little more wary about him in the future.

    -S

  102. #102 Darin Reisler
    September 9, 2008

    A failed anecdote… but an interesting read…
    Here are some quotes from prominent evolutionists that might be enjoyed (or not). When the evidence is looked at beyond the surface level- it fails.

    “Geological research… does not yet yield the infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species required.”
    -Charles Darwin

    “I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin of Species was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.”
    -Sir Julian Huxley, descendant of Thomas Huxley
    (Note that he didn’t say “the evidence was overwhelming.” Rather, it was “sexual mores” that lead him toward evolution.)

    “The primary and direct evidence in favor of evolution can be furnished only by paleontology.”
    -Thomas Huxley

    “The more one studies paleontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone.”
    -Professor D.M.S. Watson (famous evolutionist)

    I’ll keep my faith versus this one. The evidence is stronger.
    -Darin

  103. #103 Eric Saveau
    September 9, 2008

    @ Darin the idiot creotard –

    The Darwin quote is from the nineteenth century. Vastly more has been discovered and understood since then.

    The Julian Huxley quote is a well-known fabrication; he never said that.

    The Thomas Huxley quote is irrelevant: Paleontology has in fact furnished mountains of data on evolution, and so has the study of genetics. That genetics was unknown in Huxley’s time – thus making him technically “wrong” – does not invalidate evolution.

    The Watson quote is also meaningless. The larger passage that it is taken from discusses his puzzlement (in 1929) over how evolution takes place, regardless of the fact that fossil record clearly indicates that it does. Even if his clumsily written sentence, long used as a inept canard by creationists, actually reflected a real personal conviction – so what? He would still be wrong.

    And crap that like this would still be the best that scum like you can come up with.

  104. #104 Eric Saveau
    September 9, 2008

    Oh, and I just checked Watson’s writing’s – that quote is also a fabrication. The actual quote is – “Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of taxonomy, of paleontology, and geographical distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible.” –

    Which has frequently been reworded by creationists to the statement above (making it effectively a different statement) because the specifics of Watson’s observations with regard to the state of evolutionary knowledge in 1929 serve creationist aims in the 21st century even less well than a hundred years ago.

    Meanwhile, creationists continue to throw out the same discredited bullshit decade after decade. You guys need some new material.

  105. #105 complex_field
    September 9, 2008

    @ #104 — they actually do not need new material, because they keep winning gullible followers.

  106. #106 Acoldcube
    September 9, 2008

    maybe the sensei kicked himself a bit too hard on the head …
    http://darinreisler.com/darinfu.mpg

  107. #107 Flaffer
    September 10, 2008

    And maybe he needs to look up “meta-tag” as well as get over the color deficiency that compels him to use a “peach on white” color scheme for his main web page.

    Ouch.

  108. #108 dkew
    September 10, 2008

    #94:
    My point about Mass. public education was that there was public policy behind it for 200 years before the alleged militia compulsion, and continued support for it at the time. Since Gatto himself can not support his story with any references, and it contradicts the evidence, it is crap. The direction and extent of public education has always been controversial, because there has never been a consensus on its goals, nor any way to measure its successes and failures. Obviously the system failed long, long ago, if measured by the understanding of the average American adult and especially by the beliefs and policies of its political leaders.

  109. #109 SeanD
    September 10, 2008

    Darin Reisler | September 9, 2008 1:09 PM

    Typical fundi, drive-by misquoting…spew and run.

    Coward…

  110. #110 JPS, FCD
    September 10, 2008

    Matt Penfold @ 43, re public schools creating human monsters: Just read your post & was reminded of a line from one of the Rumpole shows — an upper-class malefactor says that “Once a chap’s been to Lawnhurst [English public school, probably mythical, comparable to Eton, Rugby, . . .], he can’t really feel afraid of prison.”

    JPS

  111. #111 dkew
    September 10, 2008

    SC at 89:
    Thanks. As for Thoreau’s Cape Cod, I don’t really know why it’s so popular. Parts are well done. Other parts are just boring, pasted in from older histories. And I still can’t be sure sometimes when he’s serious and when mocking the natives.

  112. #112 Jeremy
    September 11, 2008

    Damn it, #70. You beat me to it.

  113. #113 Darin Reisler
    September 12, 2008

    I did not originally plan on making another post because of how derogatory this blog is. However, after researching I am compelled to make another entry.

    Within communities of faith there tends to be one “authority” (i.e. a “Creator”) and one absolute doctrine (i.e. the Bible). Within the evolutionary community there are multiple authority figures and they have multiple publications. It’s usually quite easy to research something somebody claims is from a standard religious text. You can just go to the text. Researching evolution is not as easily done, as the theory changes and new text is consistently published (and there are television appearances these days, too). As a result, people who hold to creationist theories often rely on others they believe are credible to relay information. Notably, this is done within any professional community amongst colleagues. Different standards are required to relay this information (i.e. updating somebody at the “water cooler” about a news story covered over the weekend versus publishing in a professional journal requires differing levels of scrutiny).

    Seeing as the quotes I used were originally in response to an anecdote and they were made on a blog, my level of scrutiny on the quotes wasn’t that high. I had believed they were from a trustworthy source and were legitimate. I have done research and it appears that my source of the quotes is not credible. For this I apologize. My intention was not to “lie” or to “quote-mine.” I do apologize for any and all misrepresentations.

    With that said, the personal attacks- all of them- even yours PZ are way out of line. It appears you deal with the quote issue a lot and you are highly frustrated. I get frustrated when people take quotes from the text I hold sacred out of context, too (and/or when they express it says things that it does not). Attacking people doesn’t usually benefit anybody, though.

    Also, it is easy to deduce that somebody who uses an easily identifiable real name in a public forum is more than likely not a fraudulent liar doing a drive-by. I am disappointed that so many of you, likely educators, showed such hate and intolerance.

    The quotes themselves did not turn out to be good evidence of my desired point- evolution requires faith. However, I believe this blog makes that point. I encourage people to read it and to come to there own decision as to whether there is an element of faith involved within the theory of evolution. If so, I believe both sides of this topic deserve attention within our educational systems.

    I will sign off with an expression I have held close for some time. As far as I’m aware this is a Chinese proverb, and I am not aware of it coming from a religious text. I just enjoy it, and I am sharing:

    “If you plan for a year- plant rice.
    If you plan for ten years- plant a tree.
    If you plan for a lifetime- educate the people.”

    With Peace,
    Darin
    P.S. This entry is somewhat of a “drive-by.” I have spent a considerable amount of my week researching; it’s very late, and I have a lot of actual “work” I need to get done. I will check back, though.

  114. #114 Kel
    September 12, 2008

    Oh wow Darin, that was a lot in which to say nothing.

    Firstly, you deliberately misrepresented scientists and their views to make a bad point. Then you came on and defended yourself for doing that where you did the same thing with the dictionary. Next you’ve accused science of being a faith, which is simply not true. The data is there for all to see. Then finally you’ve tried to take the moral highground by accusing us of hate and intolerance towards you after you deliberately bore false witness.

    You could act like Jesus and be forgiving, instead you’ve acted like a follower of Jesus and just got self-righteous instead. Your points are wrong, you wrote a long prose full of falsehoods, you were called out for that, you then wrote another prose where you continued to make those same falsehoods, and you expect people to treat you like you are engaging in dialogue? Just notice how people here have talked with r bucket, polite and respectful conversation can happen. If you start by acting like a closed-minded ignoramus, expect to keep getting treated that way.

  115. #115 Eric Saveau
    September 12, 2008

    Dear Darin,

    Fuck the fucking fuck off, you worthless fuck.

    In Jesus’ name, peace be upon you, and hallowed are the Ori,

    Eric

  116. #116 Tim Greenwood
    September 12, 2008

    Eric’s first two rebuttals to Darin’s original screed are excellent – measured and factual. The one above is just unnecessary. Providing an environment where the only contributors to these comments have the same view point will make them very boring.

    I found Darin’s first paragraph above – “Within communities of faith there tends to be one “authority” (i.e. a “Creator”) and one absolute doctrine (i.e. the Bible). Within the evolutionary community there are multiple authority figures and they have multiple publications.” to be pretty accurate. Part of the strength of the scientific method is that knowledge does change and advance over time. There is no one authority, ideas are challenged in open debate. That is the whole point. Another strength of science is that, unlike religion, it makes predictions that can be tested in the real world.

  117. #117 Steve_C
    September 12, 2008

    He’s posted the same thing on more than one post.

  118. #118 Tim Greenwood
    September 12, 2008

    Second comment on Darin’s second contribution, again quoting his first sentence. “Within communities of faith there tends to be one “authority” (i.e. a “Creator”) and one absolute doctrine (i.e. the Bible).” Although there may be one original source for each religion there are huge differences in interpretation, and much spilled blood, over those differences. Just look at the state of both Christianity and Islam in the world today. Also, even within anyone sect the interpretation changes over time. Look at the pronouncements of the American South Baptist Church(among many others) on inter racial marriage in the 60′s and now. Apparently there is not one absolute measure of good and bad within the fundamentalist doctrines. It varies over time. The difference with science is obvious. Scientific knowledge advances as a result of open debate and experimentation. It reflects the best knowledge of the real world at any given time. Religious ‘knowledge’ changes as a combination of individual power struggles (e.g. the Mormons) and bowing to social change (e.g. race in the southern USA)

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