Pharyngula

Ping-pong with a creationist

Would you believe that Nick Lally has responded — well, reacted might be the better word — to our criticism of his silly letter? This is a reply to one of the editors to whom he had sent his original mail.

Dear “Yo”, for lack of a name….since you have not yet given me yours while you put me out there for others to read.

With the exception of a few bright guys who challenged my facts, the rest of the responses were lame, personal and disrespectful. So typical of you atheists.

But I must admit, I did get a laugh of myself for miss-typing “Louis Pasteur”.

But for now, allow me to explain my position on only one of the responses I read….and later I will respond to the other responses that are worthy:

Your writer wrote: “Actually, we do have transitions between single-celled and multi-cellular organisms. We do have transitions between invertebrates and vertebrates — look up protochordates sometime. Your ignorance of these basic facts is not evidence”

I tell you the following about Choanoflagellates: These one cellular animals are designed with a propulsion system that is similar to an outboard motor. They have a propeller (whip) shaft, etc, etc. Just look at this diagram and you would think you were looking at a motor. [he included a standard cartoon of the bacterial flagellum]

Now, just take away any one part of this motor and ask yourself: Could this machine work? The obvious answer is “no”. So my question to you atheists is simple: How could a one cellular animal that houses a complex design come into existence with all its parts working simultaneously through a natural process called mutation and natural selection?

Isn’t it clear to you that this machine was designed instantaneously by intelligence with a futuristic purpose…and a finished product in mind?

Yo, I tell you the truth: There is a designer. His name is God. I may not understand all there is to Him right now, but one day we all will understand.

Typical creationist, we should say. Note the usual evasion, focusing on the disrespect given to him rather than the content. Note also the goal-post shifting. He said there were no transitions between single-celled and multicellular organisms; I gave him one, the choanoflagellates, so what does he do? Ducks and runs and throws out a different claim, in this case falling back on the tired old ID claim that the bacterial flagellum could not have evolved (it certainly could have: it has homology to other organelles, and there are pathways by which it could have evolved).

Oh, wait…bacterial flagellum? Choanoflagellates do NOT have the rotary flagellum of bacteria. They have the eukaryotic flagellum (also called an undulopodium) which is completely different. Eukaryotic flagella do not rotate, instead consisting of a bundle of fibers that slide past one another to generate a bend in the whole structure.

He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And he was a science teacher?

Comments

  1. #1 Davidlpf
    January 6, 2009

    I take it did not watch the Nova special on Dover either.

  2. #2 Erik
    January 6, 2009

    “Miss-typing”? Is she any smarter than Miss South Carolina?

  3. #3 Davidlpf
    January 6, 2009

    Sorry should of been, He did not watch the Nova special on Dover either.

  4. #4 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2009

    I’m still trying to understand his first paragraph. Is he complaining that people published the letter that he spammed half the world with requesting publication?

  5. #5 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    If he’s trying to do science, why is he trying to find credibility in the media as opposed to fighting for his idea in the academic arena?

  6. #6 Erik
    January 6, 2009

    One other grammatical note- God’s name is not “God.” That’s his freaking job description.

  7. #7 Twin-Skies
    January 6, 2009

    Now, just take away any one part of this motor and ask yourself: Could this machine work? The obvious answer is “no”. So my question to you atheists is simple: How could a one cellular animal that houses a complex design come into existence with all its parts working simultaneously through a natural process called mutation and natural selection?

    This reminds me of an old youtube video of creationists saying that the banana was Darwin’s worst nightmare *gasp*. The reason? They explained that given the shape of the banana, it was obviously ideally made for gripping with human hands, hence implying that a greater being had a direct hand in its design.

    Yo, I tell you the truth: There is a designer. His name is God. I may not understand all there is to Him right now, but one day we all will understand.

    You contradict yourself here. You earlier claimed that you know God designed the Choanoflagellates in all its complexity, and you suddenly admit you don’t know all there is to him. So how sure are you that ID is his way of doing things?

  8. #8 Yoo
    January 6, 2009

    Typical creationist: truly believing that he’s smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else, when in reality he doesn’t really know much. At least I can admit to being ignorant in a lot of things …

  9. #9 Big Mike
    January 6, 2009

    “There is a designer. His name is God. I may not understand all there is to Him right now, but one day we all will understand.”

    one day? why not now? what is God waiting for? he doesn’t understand all there is to Him but knows he created …

    “Isn’t it clear to you that this machine was designed instantaneously by intelligence with a futuristic purpose”

    no, fortune telling isn’t science

    It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. – Carl Sagan

  10. #10 Mike W
    January 6, 2009

    “cdesign proponentsists”

    Will they ever learn?

  11. #11 Kevpod
    January 6, 2009

    He thrusts his ideas about supernatural beings in one’s face, using them as a taunt, as in this recent riposte:

    “Yo” Since you wrote back, I shall answer….What makes you so sure there isn’t a God? Do you feel threaten by the mere fact I mentioned God? If so, you’re thinking about It. And if you are thinking about It and “anger” comes to you first, it means you are being….in Biblical terms, “convicted”
    It’s a good sign, “Yo” The Holy spirit just started working on you.
    Nick

    The guy is soft in the head, and determined to share the condition.

  12. #12 Doogan
    January 6, 2009

    Posted by: Yoo | January 6, 2009 12:16 AM

    Typical creationist: truly believing that he’s smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else, when in reality he doesn’t really know much.

    Perhaps you mean typical radical?

  13. #13 Jadehawk
    January 6, 2009

    well, that was pathetic, not even enough material for a single joke. the last e-mail was funnier. though “Yo” is an odd way to address people in any case

  14. #14 kamaka
    January 6, 2009

    Oh, jesus christ, you moron, go kiss a continually evolving microbe.

    Archeopteryx I say to you. Platypus for an appetizer,Coelacanth and Tiktaalik for a main course.

    Heritable variation: the Lally is a stupid individual ape with a severe case of echolalia, most useful socially for performing menial tasks.

  15. #15 Tony Popple
    January 6, 2009

    I think we need to come up with a new term to describe these people who spontaneously start a crusade for creationism. We need something that reflects the “zombie” nature of their arguments.

    This isn’t just an individual who believes in these arguments; this person really thinks no one else has ever heard these arguments before.

    This is so typical of the small-town creationists that I encountered when I was younger. It usually was a retired person with little or nothing to keep them busy. One day, they stumble upon some literature with arguments that were presented and discredited decades ago. They really think they have found some great truth that the world doesn’t know about, so they start writing letters to local newspapers.

  16. #16 echidna
    January 6, 2009

    Dear Nick,
    you said:

    Dear “Yo”, for lack of a name….since you have not yet given me yours while you put me out there for others to read.

    Glance to your left, you will see the name PZ Myers. Biologist.

    Your ability to take in information seems to be somewhat impaired. Your argument is flawed. The existence of a deity does not follow from the assertion that complexity is indicative of design, even if that were true.

  17. #17 Dunbar
    January 6, 2009

    In addition, choanoflagellates are not animals.

  18. #18 Venger
    January 6, 2009

    The Dunning-Kruger Effect explains creationists and most theists only to well. They are ignorant and can’t be taught to recognize the fact they are ignorant. They will always think they know more than they do, purely because they know so little.

    We need an implant that shocks them when they say something stupid, the world would become a much quieter place.

  19. #19 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    The problem of irreducible complexity was solved over 90 years ago now, that’s about 78 years before Michael Behe started touting it as proof of intelligent design. Surely the Mullerian 2-step process would be common knowledge by now…

  20. #20 H.H.
    January 6, 2009

    #15 Tony Popple, so dead on.

    They really think they have found some great truth that the world doesn’t know about, so they start writing letters to local newspapers.

    The ID-Creationist is ignorant. But worse, he is ignorant of his own ignorance, which he mistakes for great wisdom.

  21. #21 Dude Mang
    January 6, 2009

    Nick Lally is the best argument against evolution that I am aware of.

  22. #22 Jeff Satterley
    January 6, 2009

    A creationist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about? GASP!!!

    Seriously, you’d think ONE of them could take a few minutes and read a SECOND book. (Maybe a third, if they were able to make it through some nonsense by Dembski.)

  23. #23 Xavier
    January 6, 2009

    The case of the bacterial flagellum may be one instance of ID assertions advancing scientific knowledge since considerable research was conducted with the aim of finding out how this apparently impossibly complex structure came about. The results contribute to the nascent field of molecular nanotechnology as much as to evolutionary biology.
    The development of the structure is a synchronised choreography of molecules, gradients and flows that has been tracked and visualised and understood. It is the realisation of the science fiction of complex mechanisms precipitating out of a mixture fully formed and operational. And, of course, each cell does this when its own flagellum is grown.

    At its best, ID could be seen as a testing process for scientific understanding, like software testing, where you try to ensure that the program holds up even with the most foolish, ridiculous user input. Even notions sillier than irreducible complexity, if they can not be authoritatively quashed immediately could lead to new areas of inquiry and occasionally even a new “Germ Theory” or “Plate Tectonics”

  24. #24 charfles
    January 6, 2009

    I gave him one, the choanoflagellates, so what does he do?

    Don’t you mean you gave him the protocordates and he shifted to the choanoflagellates?

  25. #25 Kassul
    January 6, 2009

    Twin-Skies @ #7 said:
    “This reminds me of an old youtube video of creationists saying that the banana was Darwin’s worst nightmare *gasp*. The reason? They explained that given the shape of the banana, it was obviously ideally made for gripping with human hands, hence implying that a greater being had a direct hand in its design.”

    My favourite response to that is from Matt Dillahunty.
    He pointed out that while the shape of the banana is a nice fit for a hand, it’s also quite well designed for the purpose of putting it up your ass.

    Methinks that God favours anal play.

    Oh, wait, the bananas in my kitchen weren’t always found in nature? They’re the result of human meddling? Intelligent design you might say, with us as the designer?

    Gasp.

  26. #26 Capital Dan
    January 6, 2009

    Oh… this will not end well for Mr. Lally. Wasn’t it the flagellum argument that roasted poor Billy Dembski?

  27. #27 techskeptic
    January 6, 2009

    What?!? this letter wasn’t ended with “Kind Regards”? This must be written by an imposter.

  28. #28 charfles
    January 6, 2009

    Don’t you mean you gave him the protocordates and he shifted to the choanoflagellates?

    My bad, I missed the link from the original post about choanoflagellates. Too much beers.

  29. #29 Tom @Polymath
    January 6, 2009

    In his defense, most science teachers don’t really know what they’re talking about, either.

  30. #30 Bart Mitchell
    January 6, 2009

    Xavier, you might have a decent point there. Unfortunatly, the creationists haven’t been generating any new ideas. They just keep regurgitating all the old ideas from earlier. Even the recent assault on the Cit+ E Coli experiment by Dr. Lenski failed to inspire any new thought. It was more of a legal threat (I’m still not exactly sure what he wanted Lenski to send him) than a challenge to his research.

  31. #31 Twin-Skies
    January 6, 2009

    @Capital Dan #26

    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake” – Napoleon Bonaparte

  32. #32 Will E.
    January 6, 2009

    One of the things that’s so sad about many creationists–the ones that write and blog and so on–is how starved their brains are for the meat of knowledge, but they’re constrained by their superstition. In a way these are people who are interested in discussion, debate and dialogue, but they have no idea how to go about it. They have no real education, and not just the kind of colleges and high schools and degrees, but the kind of being 10 years old and already done with all the kids’ books in the library, say; of being a teenager and bored with 10th grade 19th century American lit because you’re reading Ray Bradbury, Anthony Burgress and HP Lovecraft (uh…); no, today they’re too busy shopping at “family bookstores” (blech) to take a real gander in a good used bookshop. Distrustful of higher education, they stumble around in the shallows of religious literature but never move on to the big leagues. Those fundies love Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell and Tim LaHaye, but when was the last time you heard one extol Dostoevsky, who grappled with the same questions they do before “fundamentalism” was even a concept? “If there is no God, everything is permitted”? Honestly, how can you even tell the fucking difference?

  33. #33 386sx
    January 6, 2009

    “Yo, I tell you the truth: There is a designer. His name is God. I may not understand all there is to Him right now, but one day we all will understand.”

    What about nature? Do you understand all there is to nature? Cart before horse, dude. Cart before horse…

  34. #34 Zhatt
    January 6, 2009

    #7 and #25,
    In response to the banana being designed for ease of use, I claim that, using that logic, it must be a sin against god to eat a pineapple or coconut. Those sure are hard to get in to. God must not want us to eat them. And nut crackers must be the work of the devil himself!

  35. #35 AaronF
    January 6, 2009

    I came to a strange revelation today. I think argumentative ignorant Creationists are a *good* thing to have around. Let me explain why:

    I’ve always accepted evolution (even when I was a Christian), but never really knew a whole lot about it other than what I learned in high school (which is to say, not a whole lot) and didn’t really have much interest in biology in general. However, within the past couple of years I’ve learned way more about evolutionary biology than I ever thought I would know. And I find that I am much more interested in biology in general.

    I can attribute this newfound lust for biological knowledge to the fact that every time these nimrods challenge evolution, guys like PZ, Miller, or Dawkins throw down some amazing facts to counter the charges. This new information always leads me to research the topic on my own, and I always end up walking away with a treasure trove of information with which to boot stomp any creationist I happen to come across in person.

    I think the challenges brought forth by these bozos at least get the rest of us interested in things we would have otherwise never really bothered to learn about. Let’s face it, the YECs and IDiots are not going to be swayed by any new evidence. If someone can honestly look at the currently available evidence and come to the conclusion that evolution is false, than surely no amount of new evidence would sway them either.

  36. #36 hje
    January 6, 2009

    “but one day we all will understand.” is fundy-speak for “God will get you, and your little dog too!”

    Typical revenge fantasy triggered by an imagined insult to the fundy-ego (remember, they have special knowledge, and are all-knowing and all-seeing, despite their protestations otherwise).

  37. #37 Twin-Skies
    January 6, 2009

    @Zhatt

    Durians and Jackfruits too it seems, and fugu

  38. #38 Greta Christina
    January 6, 2009

    Are creationists still bringing up flagellum? That’s so quaint!

    I wrote this limerick back when Friendly Atheist was having a contest. Thought I’d drag it out again now.

    Why reject our dear Lord’s great command
    When the reasons for faith are so grand?
    There’s the Bible so sweet
    The flagellum so neat
    And bananas fit right in your hand!

    I know, I’m no Cuttlefish… but I thought y’all might be amused.

  39. #39 Michael X
    January 6, 2009

    His whole letter reads like bad rap.

    Yo this and yo that. I just wanted him to break out old school with

    “1, 2, 1, 2, Mutha fucka! My name is Nick Lally and I’m here to say, that I be sendin mass emails in a crazy way. And if you dis-uh-gree and you disprove me, I’ll ignore it an’ jus assume that you’re ang-er-y. SAY WHAAAAAAAAT!!!!”

    That would have been a good creationist email.

  40. #40 Corey S.
    January 6, 2009

    Here’s what blows my mind:

    The best evidence for spontaneous intelligent design is supposedly found in single-celled organisms? Really? Don’t you think ‘God,’ in his infinite wisdom, in whose image we’re designed, would find some way to make US as the best evidence for ID??? Wouldn’t that make sense?

    No, none of it would make sense. Any sort of belief based on a millenia-old text that makes empirically false claims about the nature of the universe doesn’t make any sort of sense whatsoever. These people suffer from ‘homerism’ of the worst sort, and they will never admit that they’re wrong because they are unable to face the fact that their lives were wasted on a falsehood.

    I’d feel bad for them if they weren’t such bigots.

  41. #41 Michael X
    January 6, 2009

    As a corollary to my last post, NIck Lally must have a Flava Flav clock. He just has to.

  42. #42 Snark7
    January 6, 2009

    @#7, #25 and #34

    “In response to the banana being designed for ease of use, I claim that, using that logic, it must be a sin against god to eat a pineapple or coconut.”

    Even worse. If the banana is perfectly designed for human use, why are their other, obviously not so perfect fruit. So, how did they come into being ?

  43. #43 Wowbagger
    January 6, 2009

    Even worse. If the banana is perfectly designed for human use, why are their other, obviously not so perfect fruit. So, how did they come into being ?

    Satan?

  44. #44 SC, OM
    January 6, 2009

    Yo, I tell you the truth

    Anyone else picturing Rocky as a religious nut?

  45. #45 Michael X
    January 6, 2009

    Even worse. If the banana is perfectly designed for human use, why are their other, obviously not so perfect fruit. So, how did they come into being ?

    Those fruits came after the fall you see. Right about the time T-Rex stopped being a herbivore. Truly, with Jesus, all things are possible (to assert).

  46. #46 pcarini
    January 6, 2009

    SC: Yes.

    Twin-Skies @ #37:

    Durians and Jackfruits too it seems, and fugu

    Oh come on now, anyone with a sense of smell knows that durian fruit aren’t meant to be eaten.

  47. #47 BobC
    January 6, 2009

    There is a designer. His name is God.

    Another Christian who didn’t get the Discovery Institute memo.

  48. #48 BobC
    January 6, 2009

    Are creationists still bringing up flagellum? That’s so quaint!

    Since they’re still invoking Piltdown Man today, they’ll probably be invoking flagellum in the 22nd century.

  49. #49 Twin-Skies
    January 6, 2009

    @pcarini

    Durians taste a lot better than they smell. Like custard.

  50. #50 Stephen C. Meyer
    January 6, 2009

    @Nick Lally:

    There is a designer. His name is God.

    Shhhhhh, ix-nay on the od-Gay, buddy. We’re trying to keep things under wraps up here.

  51. #51 alex
    January 6, 2009

    i must admit i got a laugh when he miss-typed “Louis Pasteur”.

  52. #52 pcarini
    January 6, 2009

    BobC @ #47:

    [quoting Lally:]There is a designer. His name is God.
    Another Christian who didn’t get the Discovery Institute memo.

    This seems to be a problem for any political group who pushes a covert message behind a much more palatable overt one. Their supporters hear the message that was intended for them and then amplify it without the original secrecy. An example would be the crowds at the McCain/Palin rallies prior to this election — they caught the covert message that Obama was to be hated and feared and managed to embarrass McCain with it.

    I’m glad to see this at work among the ID supporters. As long as they keep on tripping over their Hardons For Jesus whenever they get an opportunity we’ll be o.k. I truly fear what would happen if ID proponents learned something about subtlety.

  53. #53 weaves
    January 6, 2009

    I feel embarrassed for this person in their dogged persistence of claiming “God Did It” because of his ignorance on single cellular and multicellular organisms.

  54. #54 SEF
    January 6, 2009

    Choanoflagellates do NOT have the rotary flagellum of bacteria. … He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Although proof by authority doesn’t work, sometimes quotes really do apply to situations like this. Viz.:

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Einstein

    Unforunately, as now I see someone else also noted:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

  55. #55 Dutch Vigilante
    January 6, 2009

    And we have a contender for the fastest moving goal post race of 2009, going from “evolution is not biblical” to “Bacterium Flagellum” within two e-mails.
    Alright, its actually quite slow for a creationist, but he is rather new at this, it seems. A junior prize perhaps.

  56. #56 pcarini
    January 6, 2009

    Twin-Skies at #49: That’s a lie, conjured up to get unsuspecting shmucks like me to try them! They taste exactly as they smell, like shit-wrapped garbage that’s been marinating in gasoline. I’ll accept that they are an acquired taste, but my initial experience was quite unpleasant.

    Me, above (how vain!): As long as they keep on tripping over their Hardons For Jesus whenever they get an opportunity we’ll be o.k.

    Reading back over this a thought struck; Could ID proponents’ desire to publicly display their piety be greater than their desire to effect actual change? With the possible exception of their Chief Stooges, maybe they’re in it for the martyrdom rush (which I bet is better than sex, to them.)

  57. #57 Christophe Thill
    January 6, 2009

    I feel insulted. The guy believes we’ve never heard about the “molecular machines” and “outboard motor flagellum”? What kind of newbies does he think we are?

  58. #58 SEF
    January 6, 2009

    With the exception of a few bright guys who challenged my facts … “Your ignorance of these basic facts” … There is a designer. His name is God.

    He has noticed that other people are bright – with the implication, which he’s probably assiduously ignoring, that he isn’t bright himself. He has also noticed, if not truly taken on board, the fact that he is ignorant in the very area in which he was claiming to be knowledgable. Yet, as demonstrated at the end once again, he fundamentally doesn’t care that his arguments are wrong (through stupidity and ignorance) because he doesn’t abandon his false “conclusion” (which is really a precondition to him).

    The arguments never mattered to him (even though he foolishly expects them to convince us and others). He’s emotionally, not rationally, attached to his god belief and asserts it again despite now knowing he was wrong in his first set of nonsense and without bothering to pre-check his next set (which of course also don’t matter to him).

    He’s showing distinct signs of being too stupid to learn, even from his own mistakes (the lowest and most direct form of learning there is) – as well as being dishonest about himself (his real motivations and his lack of ability). This is what religion does to people – makes them more retarded (mentally, educationally, morally and emotionally) than they would otherwise be.

  59. #59 SEF
    January 6, 2009

    They taste exactly as they smell

    It might be a question of the genetics of the beholder (smeller/taster). It’s possible that only super-tasters find the fruit vile, while the less discerning members of the human population are oblivious to their vileness.

  60. #60 G. Tingey
    January 6, 2009

    If you REALLY want some fun try HERE:
    http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/forumdisplay.php?f=47

    Join almost ANY of the discussions, and amuse yourselves with the repeated stupidity and deliberate ignorance of some of the posters – there are a lot of real scientists in there, too, desperately trying to make headway against “the stupid” ……

  61. #61 SC, OM
    January 6, 2009

    Yo Lally:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/program.html

    Chapters 8 and 9.

  62. #62 Billy Sands
    January 6, 2009

    “He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And he was a science teacher?”

    Surely this would require a reevaluation of his fitness to teach.

    I have a vague recollection of an experiment where some algae were grown in the presence of predatory rotifers. This resulted in the formation of multicellular colonies of algae. Does anyone have any more information on this (I accidentally stumbled upon it at TO, but have never been able to find it again)

  63. #63 embertine
    January 6, 2009

    AaronF; good point. I’ll never be a biologist but I’m pretty sure I know more about it than the Average Josephine now as a result of reading this, and Panda’s Thumb, and ERV.

    Thanks guys, for the science as well as the snark!

  64. #64 davem
    January 6, 2009

    Davidlpf:

    …should of been…

    Yeugh! that’s worse than ‘miss-typing’.

  65. #65 Kobra
    January 6, 2009

    Yeah PZ, you coward! How dare you not give this person your name. It’s not like it’s plastered all over the fucking page.

    Man, these creationists are dogshit stupid.

  66. #66 porco dio
    January 6, 2009

    PZ, thanks for the heads up… please keep publicly debunking idiots and giving us cool ways to debunk them in our own living rooms.

  67. #67 Frederik Rosenkjćr
    January 6, 2009

    “miss-typing”

    – is he insinuating that women can’t spell?

  68. #68 SEF
    January 6, 2009

    @ Kobra #65:

    I think he was complaining not about PZ so much as the original person (self-described as one of the recipient editors) who forwarded the email to PZ. That person only appears on site as a nickname. Since the email was so widely spammed by him, the spammer can’t work out which individual editor it might have been. However, if he’d made each of the email texts subtly different …

    … but that would be requiring entirely too much intelligence and forethought on the part of a creationist.

  69. #69 Zar
    January 6, 2009

    I love how fundies always dodge the problem of their ignorance by mentioning how it’s hard to know a lot about God, but they’re always sure that god has male genitalia and hates teh gheys.

    You don’t know about him regarding existence, the universe, the creation of the universe, life, etc., but you do know about him regarding penises. Iiiinteresting.

  70. #70 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 6, 2009

    One of the things that’s so sad about many creationists–the ones that write and blog and so on–is how starved their brains are for the meat of knowledge, but they’re constrained by their superstition intellectual vegans.

    There. Fixed.

  71. #71 SEF
    January 6, 2009

    NB If the “reply to one of the editors” wasn’t sent via PZ but as part of ongoing direct correspondance with one of the media outlets he’d spammed, he might at least (with a bit of research on people employed there) be able to narrow things down a bit though, even if the work email used didn’t contain identifying information.

  72. #72 Gordy
    January 6, 2009

    But I must admit, I did get a laugh of myself for miss-typing “Louis Pasteur”.

    I wonder if he got as much of a laugh from mis-typing “miss-typing”…

  73. #73 R.W. Thomas
    January 6, 2009

    Hi!

    I’m confused as to the nature of the space above me–the part above the firmament where the earth meets the black unknown part where the demons live.

    Can we simply say “GOD DID IT” and move on? All this discussion on “science” and “stuff” is really hard for my simple God-created brain to comprehend.

    Thanks!

  74. #74 Riman Butterbur
    January 6, 2009

    G. Tingey @ # 60
    Interesting site. Just saw this gem there:

    Dr. Angus Menuge, Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin on debating PZ Myers: Dr. Myers denied being a Darwinist, which produced the kind of stunned silence one would expect if the Pope announced his non-Catholicity
    Last edited by supersport; 5 Hours Ago at 10:53 PM.

  75. #75 R.W. Thomas
    January 6, 2009

    On a more serious note, I recently traveled down from Missouri to Florida–and, while doing so (I wasn’t driving, thankfully), I had the privilege of reading through most of Sagan’s “Cosmos.”

    I forget why I mention all that, except something about it made me frustrated about the lack of… scientific effort, as it were, by the religious community. So, you disagree, religious community?

    Make a hypothesis. Do some work with it. Do some more work on it. Revise the hypothesis. Submit it for peer review.

    There isn’t some grand scientific conspiracy to prove YOU and YOUR religion wrong. YOU and YOUR religion simply don’t happen to fit within a naturalistic world.

  76. #76 Coran
    January 6, 2009

    @Venger #18
    Even then I’m not sure that they’d ever learn … someone would have to keep changing the batteries on the implants. We need to get those bio-electric cells perfected to run the implants so that when the creationist said something stupid they got shocked and tired.

  77. #77 Evolving Squid
    January 6, 2009

    Major let down…

    When I saw the title, I thought it would be a video of someone whacking Ham with a paddle.

  78. #78 Aquaria
    January 6, 2009

    Agreed that this whole debate has reawakened my interest in science, moribund since college, plus it’s helped me counter the dirty tricks creationists use. Of course, if Mr. Lally is so certain of himself, then he can write up that research paper that will win him a Nobel Prize. Get cracking, man! Age is no excuse!

    Of course, an alternative to that is that, if he hates science and evolution so much, then he can go live in a tent in the desert like all those biblical characters creationists are so crazy about, and stop bothering the rest of us who rather enjoy the comfortable lives that science has given us.

    Now for durian, I’ve had few experiences with durian that turned out right. One was a friend of my mom’s who made various desserts with it, and those were good. Another is a snack cake by Royal Family Food of Taiwan. In that one, the durian (shijiya to them) tastes like a tropical strawberry. Someone also makes a durian popsicle that’s tolerable, but I can’t remember who right now. Everything else has been vile, something like mildew-infested tire.

    Now if you want to talk about gross food, there’s always natto. If it’s not the smell, it’s the look of beans in snot that grosses me out, every single time.

  79. #79 Dawn
    January 6, 2009

    @Riman Butterbur: if you ever go to fstdt.com, you will be well acquainted with supersport. His (her? never figured that out) grasp of science is very shaky, as is his grasp on reality, alone. Very strange person, or mentally ill.

  80. #80 Alan
    January 6, 2009

    Has anyone written “How to argue with Evolutionists” yet? It would be really quick and easy. Something like:

    “Since they can counter each and every argument you can pose with clear reason and indisputable evidence, your only real chance is to say, ‘Wait and see. Something will come up one day to prove me right, and then you’ll be sorry.'”

  81. #81 Aquaria
    January 6, 2009

    “Since they can counter each and every argument you can pose with clear reason and indisputable evidence, your only real chance is to say, ‘Wait and see. Something will come up one day to prove me right, and then you’ll be sorry.'”

    You know, there really is something infinite in the universe: How many ways and times godbots can lose at Pascal’s Wager.

  82. #82 Krikkit One
    January 6, 2009

    “Now, just take away any one part of this motor and ask yourself: Could this machine work? The obvious answer is “no”.”

    Hooray!

    Creationists: Mistaking the obvious answer for the right answer since 4004 BC.

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2009

    It would be nice if Mr. Lally chose to come here to answer the charges against him instead of hiding behind email.

  84. #84 Allen N
    January 6, 2009

    For just a brief moment, I thought perhaps some fundie was actually do IT. You know, pick a single point and argue some sort of position based on reality. Nope. Protochordates?? Nah – let’s change the topic and use incorrect information to put down the Godless Ones (TM).

    And why must they always start off with some sort of personal attack? Reminds me of the old Saturday Night line “Jane, you ignorant slut…” Also req’d is the closing bit about jujubeus and lord and hell and heaven and our pathetic ignorance that has just made us angry.

    As for science content, I rate this site as one of the best for informative content and yes, snark.

  85. #85 Nerd of Redhead
    January 6, 2009

    Rev., I would like to see him try to debate this bunch. But his poor little brain would seize up with all the information thrown his way. They’re trying to teach me (not the other way around)! I have to duck, run, and hide or my head will ‘splode

  86. #86 AJ
    January 6, 2009

    PZ, you totally missed a golden opportunity here: the headline should have been “Ping-pong with a dingdong”

  87. #87 Ranson
    January 6, 2009

    Even worse. If the banana is perfectly designed for human use, why are their other, obviously not so perfect fruit. So, how did they come into being ?

    Those fruits came after the fall you see. Right about the time T-Rex stopped being a herbivore.

    But then why did T-Rex have those big coconut-cracking teeth?

  88. #88 Lycosid
    January 6, 2009

    Those lead paint chips sure must taste sweet in Jesusland.

  89. #89 firemancarl
    January 6, 2009

    Welp, the flagellum does work without its’ rotor. I don’t remember where I read it, though I am sure it was in some post Dover articles, that the flagellum with out its’ rotor is successful in injecting a “poison” ( memory is failing me right now ) into other bacteria.I am sure that most of you know what I am refering to and can provide a better explaination/insight.

  90. #90 Matt Heath
    January 6, 2009

    One other grammatical note- God’s name is not “God.” That’s his freaking job description.

    erm you just used it as name. Otherwise you’d have had to have put something like “the God’s name is not “God””. Clearly he’s been named for his job, like blacksmiths used to become Mr. Smith

  91. #91 Blondin
    January 6, 2009

    PZ, do you ever dream that you are stuck in a giant Whack-a-mole game?

  92. #92 firemancarl
    January 6, 2009

    Ah ha! I found it
    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

    Yet the TTSS is indeed fully-functional, even though it is missing most of the parts of the flagellum. The TTSS may be bad news for us, but for the bacteria that possess it, it is a truly valuable biochemical machine.

    The existence of the TTSS in a wide variety of bacteria demonstrates that a small portion of the “irreducibly complex” flagellum can indeed carry out an important biological function. Since such a function is clearly favored by natural selection, the contention that the flagellum must be fully-assembled before any of its component parts can be useful is obviously incorrect. What this means is that the argument for intelligent design of the flagellum has failed.

  93. #93 ennui
    January 6, 2009

    Maybe Lally-gagger will write back and mention other classic instances of supposed IC: the eye, the immune system, blood-clotting proteins, etc. Then, once we’ve dispensed with those, we could move on to fine-tuning arguments. I’m sure that he’s got ’em.

    The whole thing could just drag on and fucking on for the rest of January, or until we reach critical tardensity.

  94. #94 MH
    January 6, 2009

    SC #44 asked “Anyone else picturing Rocky as a religious nut?”

    I was picturing a born-again Ali G.

  95. #95 MartinDH
    January 6, 2009

    @Venger: #18

    We need an implant that shocks them when they say something stupid, the world would become a much quieter place.

    Not really…you wouldn’t be able to get the continual screaming out of your ears: “No transition…aaaaagh”, “Must be desi….zzzzz…eeeek”, “Yours in Chr…zkpop…ouch”, &c.


    Martin

  96. #96 gring
    January 6, 2009

    I never miss-tipe antyhing! Epsecialyl Luis Pasuteor.

  97. #97 Alyson
    January 6, 2009

    Yo, I tell you the truth: There is a designer. His name is God. I may not understand all there is to Him right now, but one day we all will understand.

    One of my “favorite” dodges by the godbots: the “He works in mysterious ways” line. Any time something doesn’t make sense, or they can’t fit it into their schema of the all-powerful–but still loving!–God, we get this “mysterious ways” business. Of course, Jebus forbid that any biologist should say anything to the effect of, “We haven’t quite explained every line of the evolution process, but give us some time; we’ll have it figured out!” Then our entire body of knowledge is invalid.

  98. #98 Bob
    January 6, 2009

    This yo-yo-head who claims to be a former science teacher (note: I’ve personally seen a lot of current and former science teachers who know far mar about teaching than they do about science) doesn’t bother to research his remarks (see his comments about the “Choanoflagellates” above, repeating the same tired ID arguments from 10+ years ago without even bothering to research and discuss the literature published since then specifically in response to those claims) and he expects to get respect? He truly does live in a fantasy world.

  99. #99 Nick
    January 6, 2009

    The same tired argument, yes, the organism is very complex, but could it work if even one part were removed? It couldn’t, so God done it. Richard Dawkins adequately dismisses this faulty logic in “The God Delusion”, though I sincerely doubt our creationist friend is going to read it.

  100. #100 Laila
    January 6, 2009

    Yo, I tell you the truth

    Bahhahahaha. I can’t give him much credit, but I can give him some for “Yo, I tell you the truth.”

  101. #101 Facilis
    January 6, 2009

    Richard Dawkins adequately dismisses this faulty logic in “The God Delusion”, though I sincerely doubt our creationist friend is going to read it.

    I’m refrain from talking about the flagellum thing(I’m not very well read on the subject) but if you’re talking about Dawkin’s Boeing 747-“Who designed the designer?” argument it is rather poor. Imagine ring to find an alien spaceship and applying the same logic to it.

  102. #102 Stephen Wells
    January 6, 2009

    @Facilis: you wouldn’t apply that argument to an alien spaceship because it’s an argument about the origins of complex organisms like us. If the claim is that we couldn’t arise naturally but must have been intelligently designed, the question then becomes whether the designer arose naturally or was itself designed; so you either have an infinite regress, or at some point an entity with _at least_ the intelligence and capacity of a human being must have arisen naturally. With this possibility admitted, it then becomes indefensible to claim that humans cannot possibly have arisen naturally. Whether we did or not is an empirical question, with all the evidence tending one way and all the myths tending the other.

  103. #103 ennui
    January 6, 2009

    Yo, will Lally-gagger at least acknowledge that his deity (“His name is God!”) is an incompetent or lazy designer? Shitty spines and knees, backwards eyes, sewer lines running past the playgrounds, jaw too small for its teeth, etc. Or was that the DEVIL?

  104. #104 OctoberMermaid
    January 6, 2009

    What a stupid douchebag.

    Oh, sorry. That is SO typical of us atheists. I guess like being a stupid douchebag is typical of creationists. Ah, well.

  105. #105 Bourgeois_Rage
    January 6, 2009

    one cellular animal?

  106. #106 Badger3k
    January 6, 2009

    #102 – the way that I have seen most creationists try to weasel out of the “gods all the way down” argument is by saying that their god has always existed, therefore it did not need to arise at all. It’s all BS, naturally, as when you ask for evidence, they either point to a line in the bible or else claim that it is obvious. Simpleton…er..simple, no?

  107. #107 Carole
    January 6, 2009

    This is one of my favourite bits –

    “and later I will respond to the other responses that are worthy”

    Worthy?
    Worthy!
    Delusions of grandeur I think.

  108. #108 Nerd of Redhead
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis, who designed your imaginary god? Inquiring minds want to know. Let the evasions begin…..

  109. #109 Glen Davidson
    January 6, 2009

    Isn’t it clear to you that this machine was designed instantaneously by intelligence with a futuristic purpose…and a finished product in mind?

    Dickhead, do you know what “futuristic” means?

    And doesn’t it even occur to you that life, which is weirdly (from a design standpoint) morphed out of unpromising parts, doesn’t really look designed at all? This includes the derived flagellum.

    Tell us the odds of homologies randomly appearing throughout life “by design,” or STFU and go learn some science.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  110. #111 KnockGoats
    January 6, 2009

    if you’re talking about Dawkin’s Boeing 747-“Who designed the designer?” argument it is rather poor. Facilis

    Who’s this “Dawkin” chap? He crops up quite a lot on blogs, but I’ve never come across anything he’s written.

  111. #112 Dr. Pablito
    January 6, 2009

    @GretaChristina #38:

    You’re Thomas Pynchon, aren’t you? Why are you lurking here?

  112. #113 Watchman
    January 6, 2009

    Creationist Ping-Pong: About as much fun as watching the crickets walk around in the gecko tank.

  113. #114 strangest brew
    January 6, 2009

    Obviously an ‘old school’ Creationist…

    Using out dated and debunked whinings from 10+ years ago!

    Being a bunny of little brain he probably came (sic) across a tacky tatty pamphlet and decided that enough was enough this ‘truth’ must be brought to the attention of the unsuspecting populace at large.

    Maybe it had an early Discovery institute logo…maybe it was from a myriad of quasi hysterical web pages foaming with Christian zealotry dispensing nonsense as fact who knows…but the arguments presented are old tat and only the rank and file actually used them anyway…the point being they could just handle the mental gymnastics required to wield them…or at least state them…then assume the smugness and righteousness of vindicated warriors of jeebus…which they still do these days whatever the metaphor for inanity they trot out.

    Of course having verified in his sorry excuse for a mind what the source is…then it has to be right cos jeebus lovers wrote it…and he would never think to check veracity or present status of the argument…cos impeachable xians do not lie!

    And that is how an enthusiastic IDiot becomes a laughing stock…

    But they all do it…mizzy Debra is another fine example of a enthusiastic xian circulating debunked and worthless memes…
    One thing they all have in common is that they never hang around to hear why they are debunked and worthless memes.
    In fact tis fingers in the ears time and loudly la la ing is the name of the game!

    It is not the memes they are really interested in…it is the sowing of discontent and doubt in the minds of the target audience…the swing voters if you will…that is the goal…not whether anything has evidence for design or that ‘proves’ biblical inerrancy it is only to attempt to stem the tide of science and Evolutionary theory…both are bitter enemies of the religious because science uses rationality…and xians in particular do not do that hand jive…because rationality blows their myth to smithereens!

    But get enough converts that ‘think’ the case for ID or Creationism is fairly solid…because the claims are so often repeated that there must be ‘truth ‘in them…then all this talk about being a science based dogma goes away…they would have achieved the goal…the cover story can be dropped…no more proof required…you have the faithful…game over… simple like so!

  114. #115 Tom
    January 6, 2009

    Skeptic magazine just covered the flagellum issue. Perhaps Nick could get himself a subscription.

  115. #116 Facehammer
    January 6, 2009

    Yo dawg, I heard you like flagella so we put a choanoflagellate in your protochordate so you can rotate while you reciprocate.

  116. #117 Doug Little
    January 6, 2009

    @39 & @41 You’ve got my vote on winning this thread. That’s some funny shit. On another note for Nick.

    There is a proverb that states.

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
    Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Think about this for a moment then do the following.

    Go to the Google website http://www.google.com and type in a topic of interest say “flagellum”, hit enter. A bunch of links will appear. Now this is the tricky bit, you have to filter the content to make sure that you are reading up to date scientifically accurate material… Huh, what’s that you say… no, no, no, AIG does not qualify… never mind, carry on.

  117. #118 Janine, Bitter Friend
    January 6, 2009

    There is a proverb that states;

    Give a man a flame and he will be warm for the rest of the day.

    Set the man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

    You know where I got this.

  118. #119 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    Who designed the designer is a pertinent question… especially when one is explaining the complexity of something by positing something even more complex. Dan Dennett’s cranes and skyhooks is a great explanation for that.

  119. #120 catgirl
    January 6, 2009

    “Your ignorance of these basic facts is not evidence.”

    Can I get this printed on a T-shirt?

  120. #121 brightmoon
    January 6, 2009

    “He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And he was a science teacher?”

    damn, i learned the difference between bacterial flagella and eucaryotic flagella in high school …during the 70s

    that’s so typically pathetic of creationists…40 years out of date and wrong to boot

    and they wonder why even high school “evolutionists” insult them

  121. #122 Facilis
    January 6, 2009

    Who designed the designer is a pertinent question…

    How?
    Let’s say you find a car on the street. I see it and say the car probably had a designer. You say , this car doesn’t have a designer because whoever designer the car must have had a designer also.
    I think it’s a non-sequitur. It doesn’t follow that the design is not a good explaination even if the designer was designed.

    especially when one is explaining the complexity of something by positing something even more complex.

    Who said God was more complex?

    Dan Dennett’s cranes and skyhooks is a great explanation for that.

    Any links?

  122. #123 Laci
    January 6, 2009

    Are you kidding me? This guy was a science teacher? That’s just scary. As a college junior not even MAJORING in biology, I think I know these distinctions more then he does. Why is it that christian biologists make leaps and jumps in their claims when it comes to evolution–but not anything else?

    Disgusting, I tell you.

  123. #124 Nerd of Redhead
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis the evasive fool. Nothing more be said. Just another Liar for JebusTM. Now if you have real integrity we will hear the words “I am wrong”, and you will go away.

  124. #125 Steve_C
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis. you’re out of your league. logic is not one of your strong suits.

  125. #126 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    How? Let’s say you find a car on the street. I see it and say the car probably had a designer. You say , this car doesn’t have a designer because whoever designer the car must have had a designer also.

    No, it’s saying that if there were a designer, then that designer must have a designer also. In the case of a car, it was built by a skyhook (a more complex being). But that skyhook was built by a crane (the process of evolution). The problem of explaining complexity with a greater complexity on it’s own is a non-answer.

    What Dawkins is saying is that if the means to explain complexity are a greater complexity then that greater complexity itself needs an explanation. Say instead of the designer being God, it’s an advanced alien race. Now where did that alien race come from? It needs an explanation too. Now if it too was created by another alien race, then that new alien race now needs an explanation. Eventually you are going to get to a point where you have a process that can create the starting alien race from the bottom up.

    Any links?

    Can’t find one sorry, it’s in the book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

  126. #127 Menyambal
    January 6, 2009

    Yo! “This is a reply to one of the editors to whom he had sent his original mail.” This was not directed to PZM (may his shadow never grow less) so not getting the name right isn’t an issue. (Nick’s still a twit, though.)

    It seems to escape most folks that the single-celled critters took much longer to evolve than us multi-cellulars. Over a billion years of evolution, with short generations, are going to produce wonderfully complex “simple” cells. Globbing cells together to make colonies that walk and talk is much easier, and took much less time.

    As for durian fruit, I can tell you that dropping one on a bare foot hurts like hell, obviously a sign from God. Opening one requires a big knife, so if God meant us to eat them, he meant for us to have parangs, too. I think he meant for us to get them fresh from the tree, which is the only time they taste good–like maple custard, even.

  127. #128 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    What Dawkins seems to be saying with his ultimate 747 is that God is highly improbable because God is so complex that for it to just exist goes against what we understand of nature. That is that complexity arises. The “what/who designed the designer” question comes because the designer is a greater complexity than the complexity it’s accounting for. Can you not see the problem with explaining away complexity with something even more complex from a logical point of view?

    For a car, yes something indeed more complex made it. But how that more complex being came to be was through a process that can build complexity. Who designed a designer of a car? That person’s parents. Who designed them? Their parents. Go back a few billion years and you get to “where did that primitive cell come from?” and then you have an explanation that probably will involve organic molecules, lipids and hydrothermal vents. Point is to say God is the designer does beg the question of where God comes from, because if we need a greater complexity to explain complexity then it will go ad infinitum.

  128. #129 CJO
    January 6, 2009

    You say , this car doesn’t have a designer because whoever designer the car must have had a designer also.

    Yes, they must. And thanks to Darwin and decades of biological science, we have a good answer to the question. Natural selection designed humans, who design cars.

    I think it’s a non-sequitur. It doesn’t follow that the design is not a good explaination even if the designer was designed.

    Oh, come on. If The Designer (of what? The universe? the Earth? the terrestrial biosphere?) was designed by an agent or natural process, then it ain’t god, right? How many creationists are comfortable with that? Furthermore, if designed by natural selection like humans, just super high-tech aliens, then the point is that the term “designed” is a non-answer. It still puts all the heavy lifting onto a natural process, which is the point of having the natural explanation in the first place. There’s no ultimate question that saying “designed” to is a better answer than “evolved.”

    Who said God was more complex?

    The analogy to “design,” the human process. If god doesn’t actually design anything by an analogous process, then the term should be dropped altogether as it isn’t anybody’s answer –escept in the somewhat strained sense used above of natural selection designing organisms). If he does then he is necessarily more complex than his designs.

  129. #130 KnockGoats
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis, with respect to the alleged designer of organisms,
    there is also the point that most organisms, including humans, have numerous features which no intelligent (and sane) designer would have put in. in the human case we have:

    Eyes constructed so there is a blind spot (quite unnecessary – cephalopod eyes do not have this flaw).
    Jaw too small for the teeth.
    Back weak and prone to cause chronic pain.
    The appendix: an unnecessary part which causes many deaths – and caused far more before modern surgery.
    Nerves that follow absurdly circuitous routes.
    Anal and vaginal openings in women too close, leading to frequent infections.
    Pain in circumstances where it is of no conceivable utility – e.g. phantom limb pain, which is often excrutiating enough to motivate suicide.
    Perhaps most damning of all: female pelvis too narrow for size of neonatal head, leading to extremely painful births and high maternal mortality.
    And many more.

    In short, if there was a designer, it should be sued for everything it owns and disbarred from its profession! All these flaws are of course entirely explicable in terms of natural selection, which cannot look ahead.

  130. #131 Leftoflarry
    January 6, 2009
  131. #132 Grendels Dad
    January 6, 2009

    No, KnockGoats, it’s the fall I tell’s ya. The design was perfect, ya see. Then there was that whole kerflufle with the snake and the fruit. The mad big G sooo mad that he suck his fingers back into the design and gave a fearful wiggling smite. Presto! All messed up, just like them evil atheists see when they blaspheme to look.

  132. #133 Grendels Dad
    January 6, 2009

    Oops. The mad big G above ehould be That made big G…

  133. #134 KnockGoats
    January 6, 2009

    Grendels Dad,
    True, I’d forgotten that! Does the Bible tell us whether the Fall made infant heads bigger or female pelvic openings smaller? Whether there were fewer teeth or larger jaws in Eden?

  134. #135 Not that Louis
    January 6, 2009

    KnockGoats, based on your comments, I have decided that God designed the electrical system in my VW.

  135. #136 Allen N
    January 6, 2009

    Not that @135:

    And the electrical system in most 60’s era British sports cars such as the MG and Triumph as well. Nothing like putting an electric fuel pump right behind a rear wheel.

  136. #137 Jonathan
    January 6, 2009

    I *love* the self-contradictory “the rest of the responses were lame, personal and disrespectful. So typical of you atheists.” I actually laughed out loud at that one!

  137. #138 RickK
    January 6, 2009

    Let’s say hypothetically that there is a Divine Designer, who makes special things like hummingbirds’ wings, eagles’ eyes, and Scarlett Johansson’s figure (DD is clearly male).

    What is the Divine Designer’s mechanism? When DD wants to introduce a new special feature, how is it done? Does an animal with the feature rise up out of the mud? Or appear out of thin air? Or do the cells, tissue, bone of a living creature rearrange themselves into the new special feature? When and how does DD decide a special feature is needed? Why doesn’t DD design everything perfectly? Why would DD ever design a flounder? Why don’t more people look like Scarlett Johansson? And finally, we’ve SEEN evolution as it happens – why haven’t we ever seen DD’s work as it happens?

    Evolution offers answers. It is a model that fits all of the data we have from: genetics, biology, chemistry, geology, paleontology, cosmology, physics, and so on. It makes successful predictions all the time. Creationism/ID only tries to criticize evolution, but never offers any independent answers to the above questions.

    As for the moving goalposts – As Christians have proven time and again, there is no gap so small you can’t squeeze God into it.

  138. #139 Watchman
    January 6, 2009

    Creationism/ID only tries to criticize evolution, but never offers any independent answers to the above questions.

    Bingo.

    (and ditto re: ScarJo)

  139. #140 Facilis
    January 6, 2009

    If he does then he is necessarily more complex than his designs.

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

  140. #141 Steve_C
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis sets his god bar really low apparently.

  141. #142 CJO
    January 6, 2009

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

    Then “design” is just a really lousy metaphor, has been since it was invented as a lame attempt at circumventing court rulings, and you god-botherers should just go back to “special creation.” No means, no motive, just *POOF*

    It’s magical thinking, and it’s preposterous based on everything we know about the world that the ancients didn’t, but at least it honestly describes what you believe.

  142. #143 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

    Of course not, but you would be hard-pressed to argue that God is so simple that it requires no explanation.

  143. #144 chancelikely
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis opined:

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

    Are you agreeing with us, or are you positing a god less powerful than a human being?

  144. #145 CJO
    January 6, 2009

    Are you agreeing with us, or are you positing a god less powerful than a human being?

    He’s basically putting a fence around his god and claiming that we don’t get to apply any temporal qualities to him her or it at all, or to inquire about any empirical evidence that may or may not pertain to his her or its existence, ’cause Big DaddyNon-gendered Parent Figure, he she or it don’t swing that way.

    Or something.

  145. #146 Rey Fox
    January 6, 2009

    Whether God is simple or complex really depends on what the person is arguing against. It’s not as if they can compare their impressions against reality, so they can make up any crap about God that they want.

  146. #147 Conscious Machine
    January 6, 2009

    Who said God was more complex?
    Dan Dennett’s cranes and skyhooks is a great explanation for that.

    Facile is: Any links?

    http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Dangerous-Idea-Evolution-Meanings/dp/068482471X

  147. #148 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    I don’t know how anyone could make God so simple that God wouldn’t require an explanation. That God would be so gutted and useless that there would be no reason to call it God.

  148. #149 drdave
    January 6, 2009

    Facilis:

    If he does then he is necessarily more complex than his designs.

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

    Ok, that is a good hypothesis. Now provide evidence for a design that is more complex than the designer.

    Since I know of only one (really good) designer (humans, compared to any other animal), you should be able to find something designed by humans that is more complex than humans.

    If you cannot, your hypothesis fails.

  149. #150 Nerd of Redhead
    January 6, 2009

    The religious mind: If you can’t show proof negative, I will believe.

    The scientific mind: If you can’t show proof positive, I won’t believe.

    Facilis, your are at Scienceblogs. Guess which method predominates. It isn’t yours. If you can’t change your approach, you will meet nothing but ridicule, even more than you are getting now. So time for you to make a hard decision.

  150. #151 drdave
    January 6, 2009

    I apologize. I take it back. Humans are not really good designers (just look at Microsft operating systems).

    I meant to say they are a tad bit better than other designing animals (crows, chimpanzees, dolphins, etc).

  151. #152 Kel
    January 6, 2009

    The religious mind: If you can’t show proof negative, I will believe.

    I hope Facilis believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, Thor, Ra, Zeus, Bigfoot, Ziltoid The Omniscient, the Dragon in my garage, and that teapot floating between Earth and Mars. Otherwise he’s selectively choosing Yahweh with no reason for doing so.

  152. #153 Steve_C
    January 6, 2009

    My god is a transformer! They be like SUPER complex yo! Designers are for lame-ass whack punks.

  153. #154 Owlmirror
    January 6, 2009

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

    Looks like you want it both ways: On the one hand, you insist that the sheer complexity of the universe means that it must have been created; on the other, you want to deny that the creator has greater complexity than the universe — despite the fact that the only designers that we actually know of, human beings (and other animals to a smaller extent), are highly complex, and are more complex than anything they design.

    But I shouldn’t be surprised. You also want to insist that God both defines morality and is above morality. Or have you changed your mind about that?

  154. #155 Aseem
    January 6, 2009

    Sorry couldn’t resist. Owlmirror at # 154 says: ‘Looks like you want it both ways.’

    I guess that is why he is posting on Pharyngula, and boy is he getting it!

  155. #156 Fernando Magyar
    January 7, 2009

    The Scientist wears a White Coat,
    He can’t be a theorist.
    And a beard and no hair,
    Must be an atheist.
    What’s in that flask he’s heatin’ ?

    With apologies to Arlo Guthrie

  156. #157 Fernando Magyar
    January 7, 2009

    Since I know of only one (really good) designer (humans, compared to any other animal), you should be able to find something designed by humans that is more complex than humans.

    If you cannot, your hypothesis fails.

    Hedge Funds? Oh shit, the creator is even more evil than I thought.

  157. #158 Kel
    January 7, 2009

    It’s not surprising to think that humans can make something even more complex than themselves. Though we have the unfair advantage of not only working in groups but of the accumulated knowledge over time. No single one of us 100,000 years ago could have built something as complex as IBM’s Blue Gene, or built anything like the Space Shuttle, but here we are now with immensely complex machines that could only have been the product of intelligent design.

    Of course when the question comes of who designed the designer, we have a natural explanation that can explain our existence from the ground up.

  158. #159 Facilis
    January 7, 2009

    Ok, that is a good hypothesis. Now provide evidence for a design that is more complex than the designer.

    No you and Dawkins are the what designed the universe is more complex than its design.I reject this. From what Redhead told me, the burden of proof lies on those that make positive claims. So please demonstrate that a cause is always more complex than its effect or a design is more complex than its designer.

  159. #160 Steve_C
    January 7, 2009

    Uhg. Just stop!

    You make claims about a designer. And what you believe about this designer.

    Evidence for a designer please.

  160. #161 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 7, 2009

    In addition, choanoflagellates are not animals.

    Depends on the definition of “animals”. Some people do include them in Animalia — just not in Metazoa.

    Durians taste a lot better than they smell. Like custard.

    Even the tigers eat them.

    Another is a snack cake by Royal Family Food of Taiwan. In that one, the durian (shijiya to them) tastes like a tropical strawberry.

    Abomination!

    damn, i learned the difference between bacterial flagella and eucaryotic flagella in high school …during the 70s

    “Why do people laugh at creationists?

    Only creationists don’t understand why!”

    — YouTube user thunderf00t (that’s a double zero)

  161. #162 drdave
    January 7, 2009

    Facilis:

    No you and Dawkins are the what designed the universe is more complex than its design.

    I have no idea what you meant by this sentence. Perhaps you should slow down and think. As a friend once said, “Typing is no substitute for thinking”.

    I reject this. From what Redhead told me, the burden of proof lies on those that make positive claims.

    First, it was your claim:

    I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.

    If I read this correctly, your claim is that there may be some designers less complex than their designs. That is what I asked you to show. If you cannot find an example of a designer less complex than its design, than your suggestion fails.

    As regards to:

    So please demonstrate that a cause is always more complex than its effect or a design is more complex than its designer.

    I don’t think we have to show that a designer is always more complex than its designs, just that there are a lot of examples of such, and that there are no known counter examples.

  162. #163 God
    January 7, 2009

    Dear Nick,

    Would you please be so kind as to stop your silly beliefs, your prayers tend keeping me up all night and do not even stop buzzing and nagging till way past twelve every godforsaken morning.. Takes little explanation as to why these particular mornings seem so godforsaken indeed, as you and your people leave me with a bleeding sick headache since for some while of eternity now.
    Please take a little a consideration over the noble science of evolution, after all, it was I who invented, no, designed this damned theory in order to get a goodnight sleep for myself.. Can a man, even if a God, do a proper job about herding the whole universe, if not well slept?!
    I think not!

    Yours faithfully…

  163. #164 rijkswaanvijand
    January 7, 2009

    DNA is less complex than the design it propels:P
    Facilis has no point nevertheless..

  164. #165 Nerd of Redhead
    January 7, 2009

    Facilis has no point nevertheless..

    He hasn’t had a good point since he arrived. Same old disproven ideas. A boring godbot who can’t think his way out of a wet paper bag with a hole in it.

  165. #166 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2009

    No you and Dawkins are the what designed the universe is more complex than its design.I reject this.

    Then it looks like you agree with atheists: The universe’s design arises from the interaction of fairly simple basic rules of the interaction of matter, which over time and at different scales have lead to our current complexity.

    See? No God necessary, so parsimony eliminates concluding that God exists.

  166. #167 CJO
    January 7, 2009

    DNA is less complex than the design it propels

    And a cake recipe is less complex than a cake. Neither a recipe or a genome can be constructively said to “design” anything, though (or propel anything either). The point is when creationists get tangled up in a hopeless muddle like this, it just goes to show that “design” is and always was just a weasel word, adopted to circumvent court rulings, and that nobody seriously thinks life was “designed” with that word having any meaning even close to our everyday understanding of what it means in practice.

  167. #168 Kel
    January 7, 2009

    No you and Dawkins are the what designed the universe is more complex than its design.I reject this.

    No Dawkins is not. Dawkins is saying that an all-powerful deity is more complex than the design, which it is by definition. In any case even if God wasn’t as complex as the universe, God is still complex enough to be an entity that requires explanation.

    As for providing evidence that the universe could exist without a designer – the material world exists, and so far everything we’ve ever observed has a material explanation. To posit God is positing something outside the scope of anything we have ever observed. So saying “I don’t know, but God is not a good answer” is far more of a parsimonious position that saying Goddidit because we have no reason to believe that a deity exists.

  168. #169 Silver Fox
    January 7, 2009

    “I don”t think it necessarily follows that a designer has to be more complex than his design.”

    What would that do to the latin axiom: Omni agens agit sibi simile?

  169. #170 Ken Cope
    January 7, 2009

    What would that do to the latin axiom: Omni agens agit sibi simile?

    How about translating into Latin the simple English axiom: Never write more clearly than you can think?

  170. #171 Facilis
    January 8, 2009

    No Dawkins is not. Dawkins is saying that an all-powerful deity is more complex than the design, which it is by definition.

    Several points here-
    1)please provide a definition of complexity
    2)explain how this definition applies to God

    From my perspective,God would be an infinitely simple being. You see complexity is proportional to the number of parts and object has and God’ being a spiritual non-material being, would have no parts so he would end up being simple wouldn’t he?

    In any case even if God wasn’t as complex as the universe, God is still complex enough to be an entity that requires explanation.

    the material world exists, and so far everything we’ve ever observed has a material explanation.

    What is the explaination for material itself?

  171. #172 Nerd of Redhead
    January 8, 2009

    Facilis the complete fool. Your god doesn’t exist. Period. So quit pretending until you show actual evidence (I’m still waiting). Then, you define your god and his/her/its attributes and live the the consequences, including being refuted. Shifting goalposts like in post #171 is nothing but Lying for JebusTM, and earns you nothing but derision. So, until you have something constructive to say, or acknowledge your refutations, go away.

  172. #173 Ken Cope
    January 8, 2009

    God’ being a spiritual non-material being, would have no parts so he would end up being simple wouldn’t he?

    Such simplicity is distinguishable from non-existence how? Perhaps a unit of measurement could be employed, say, the simpleton. Since Facilis, by his own definition, is more complex than God, we could find out how many simpletons it takes to be so much more simple than Facilis that the result is immaterial.

  173. #174 CJO
    January 8, 2009

    From my perspective,God would be an infinitely simple being.

    I can’t think of a better way to express the concept “non-existent” in terms of complexity/simplicity.

  174. #175 drdave
    January 9, 2009

    Just to try a different approach to Facilis at #162:

    As regards to:

    Facilis: So please demonstrate that a cause is always more complex than its effect or a design is more complex than its designer.

    drdave: I don’t think we have to show that a designer is always more complex than its designs, just that there are a lot of examples of such, and that there are no known counter examples.

    Let us accept as a measure of the complexity of some entity, the quality of the designs that result from that entity.

    Thus, we suggest that a dolphin, using a sponge to scour the ocean floor for food has a level of complexity sufficient to design a use for the sponge.

    Further, crows have the ability to at least design a use for pebbles to fill up a vessel in order to get at the water inside.

    Chimpanzees can design and build a variety of tools including sticks to extract termites from termite mounds.

    Humans, can design 747s.

    Now, the question becomes, do any of the entities designed by the animals described above themselves design other entities? As far as I know, the answer is no. Therefore, according to this definition of complexity, no known designer entity creates designs more complex than the designer.

    If Facilis wishes to believe otherwise. that is his privilege. If he wishes to convince us otherwise, he must adduce at least one example that falsifies the hypothesis, for as far as I know, there are no counter-examples.

  175. #176 Kel
    January 9, 2009

    1)please provide a definition of complexity 2)explain how this definition applies to God

    You’re shitting me right? The parameters of God: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, has a consciousness and personality; basically God has traits that have taken us billions of years to evolve and has them to an extent that is far beyond the means any human. If we are complex and God created us in his own image, then of course God is complex. You’re attributing God superpowers.

    The flip side is that if you think that humans require no design, then there is no need to use God as an explanation.

    From my perspective,God would be an infinitely simple being. You see complexity is proportional to the number of parts and object has and God’ being a spiritual non-material being, would have no parts so he would end up being simple wouldn’t he?

    False equivocation. No matter what God is built with, it’s the final product that is infinitely complex. A rock can be built up of quadrillions of atoms, yet a rock is comparatively simple compared to a single cell. The earth is immensely complex, but it’s able to be put together through a naturalistic process. God has a personality, God has consciousness, God has the ability to create universes. How can you say that is not complex?

  176. #177 SEF
    January 9, 2009

    The other flip-side (I call false dichotomy!) is that: if god is simple then why worship it.

    The simple “god” which “designed” humans and other life is the collective of unintelligent molecules – which did it all quite unintentionally via a process we (ie scientists) call evolution. And before that there was a cosmological scale of evolution to get elements and planets via stars.

    Scientists aren’t stupid enough to worship natural evolution though; and generally (unless indulging in cowardly equivocation like a few notable ones) don’t call it god either.

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