Pharyngula

That sad creationist, Professor Dendy, has been banned from this site, but he still rails against us in prolific obsession from his website. His latest diatribe is irresistible — he claims that atheists can’t handle the truth, and you’ll be surprised to learn that the “truth” is that Charles Darwin denied the efficacy of natural selection. “Oh, really,” you might ask, “He’s not going to trot out the hoariest old quote mine in the universe to back that up, is he?” And the answer is that yes, he certainly is. I had to laugh aloud. This is only second in the list of ridiculous but common claims made by creationists (first, of course, being “if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?”).

He thinks he’s got us up against the wall with the terrifying truth of the complexity of the eye.

The truth of the matter is that even Charles Darwin himself said it would be absurd to think that the complex eye could been formed by natural selection.

Then he lists a few eyeball facts just to make us squirm. I’m sorry, Professor Dendy, but someone else has done this with far more detail and style than you ever had. I give you the inestimable William Paley, who made the same argument 208 years ago.

Were there no example in the world, of contrivance, except that of the eye, it would be alone sufficient to support the conclusion which we draw from it, as to the necessity of an intelligent Creator. It could never be got rid of; because it could not be accounted for by any other supposition, which did not contradict all the principles we possess of knowledge; the principles, according to which, things do, as often as they can be brought to the test of experience, turn out to be true or false. Its coats and humours, constructed, as the lenses of a telescope are constructed, for the refraction of rays of light to a point, which forms the proper action of the organ; the provision in its muscular tendons for turning its pupil to the object, similar to that which is given to the telescope by screws, and upon which power of direction in the eye, the exercise of its office as an optical instrument depends; the further provision for its defence, for its constant lubricity and moisture, which we see in its socket and its lids, in its gland for the secretion of the matter of tears, its outlet or communication with the nose for carrying off the liquid after the eye is washed with it; these provisions compose altogether an apparatus, a system of parts, a preparation of means, so manifest in their design, so exquisite in their contrivance, so successful in their issue, so precious, and so infinitely beneficial in their use, as, in my opinion, to bear down all doubt that can be raised upon the subject.

William Paley, Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, 1802

Oh, gosh…Paley and Dendy, double-teaming us with two-century-old opinions. However shall we cope?

This really is an old and moldy argument. Charles Darwin dealt with it effectively 150 years ago, and I strongly urge Dendy to read beyond the first sentence he quoted, since from the second sentence on he shows that the supposition is false.

Just to be sure no one misses it, I’ve included the entirety of the section from Chapter VI, “Difficulties of the Theory: Organs of extreme Perfection and Complication” below the fold. The point of his argument is not, “Oh, no, selection fails!” but “Oh, look — selection can explain even these organs that seem absurdly complex.”

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.

In searching for the gradations through which an orgain in any
species has been perfected, we ought to look exclusively to its lineal
progenitors; but this is scarcely ever possible, and we are forced
to look to other species and genera of the same group, that is to
the collateral descendants from the same parent-form, in order to
see what gradations are possible, and for the chance of some
gradations having been transmitted in an unaltered or little altered
condition. But the state of the same organ in distinct classes may
incidentally throw light on the steps by which it has been perfected.

The simplest organ which can be called an eye consists of an optic
nerve, surrounded by pigment-cells, and covered by translucent skin,
but without any lens or other refractive body. We may, however,
according to M. Jourdain, descend even a step lower and find
aggregates of pigment-cells, apparently serving as organs of vision,
without any nerves, and resting merely on sarcodic tissue. Eyes of the
above simple nature are not capable of distinct vision, and serve only
to distinguish light from darkness. In certain star-fishes, small
depressions in the layer of pigment which surrounds the nerve are
filled, as described by the author just quoted, with transparent
gelatinous matter, projecting with a convex surface, like the cornea
in the higher animals. He suggests that this serves not to form an
image, but only to concentrate the luminous rays and render their
perception more easy. In this concentration of the rays we gain the
first and by far the most important step towards the formation of a
true, picture-forming eye; for we have only to place the naked
extremity of the optic nerve, which in some of the lower animals
lies deeply buried in the body, and in some near the surface, at the
right distance from the concentrating apparatus, and an image will
be formed on it.

In the great class of the Articulata, we may start from an optic
nerve simply coated with pigment, the latter sometimes forming a
sort of pupil, but destitute of a lens or other optical contrivance.
With insects it is now known that the numerous facets on the cornea of
their great compound eyes form true lenses, and that the cones include
curiously modified nervous filaments. But these organs in the
Articulata are so much diversified that Muller formerly made three
main classes with seven subdivisions, besides a fourth main class of
aggregated simple eyes.

When we reflect on these facts, here given much too briefly, with
respect to the wide, diversified, and graduated range of structure
in the eyes of the lower animals; and when we bear in mind how small
the number of all living forms must be in comparison with those
which have become extinct, the difficulty ceases to be very great in
believing that natural selection may have converted the simple
apparatus of an optic nerve, coated with pigment and invested by
transparent membrane, into an optical instrument as perfect as is
possessed by any member of the articulate class.

He who will go thus far, ought not to hesitate to go one step
further, if he finds on finishing this volume that large bodies of
facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of
modification through natural selection; he ought to admit that a
structure even as perfect as an eagle’s eye might thus be formed,
although in this case he does not know the transitional states. It has
been objected that in order to modify the eye and still preserve it as
a perfect instrument, many changes would have to be effected
simultaneously, which, it is assumed, could not be done through
natural selection; but as I have attempted to show in my work on the
variation of domestic animals, it is not necessary to suppose that the
modifications were all simultaneous, if they were extremely slight and
gradual. Different kinds of modification would, also, serve for the
same general purpose: as Mr. Wallace has remarked, “if a lens has
too short or too long a focus, it may be amended either by an
alteration of curvature, or an alteration of density; if the curvature
be irregular, and the rays do not converge to a point, then any
increased regularity of curvature will be an improvement. So the
contraction of the iris and the muscular movements of the eye are
neither of them essential to vision, but only improvements which might
have been added and perfected at any stage of the construction of
the instrument.” Within the highest division of the animal kingdom,
namely, the Vertebrata, we can start from an eye so simple, that it
consists, as in the lancelet, of a little sack of transparent skin,
furnished with a nerve and lined with pigment, but destitute of any
other apparatus. In fishes and reptiles, as Owen has remarked, “the
range of gradations of dioptric structures is very great.” It is a
significant fact that even in man, according to the high authority
of Virchow, the beautiful crystalline lens is formed in the embryo
by an accumulation of epidermic cells, lying in a sack-like fold of
the skin; and the vitreous body is formed from embryonic sub-cutaneous
tissue. To arrive, however, at a just conclusion regarding the
formation of the eye, with all its marvellous yet not absolutely
perfect characters, it is indispensable that the reason should conquer
the imagination; but I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be
surprised at others hesitating to extend the principle of natural
selection to so startling a length.

It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye with a telescope.
We know that this instrument has been perfected by the
long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we
naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous
process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right
to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those
of man? If we must compare the eye to an optical instrument, we
ought in imagination to take a thick layer of transparent tissue, with
spaces filled with fluid, and with a nerve sensitive to light beneath,
and then suppose every part of this layer to be continually changing
slowly in density, so as to separate into layers of different
densities and thicknesses, placed at different distances from each
other, and with the surfaces of each layer slowly changing in form.
Further we must suppose that there is a power, represented by
natural selection or the survival of the fittest, always intently
watching each slight alteration in the transparent layers; and
carefully preserving each which, under varied circumstances, in any
way or in any degree, tends to produce a distincter image. We must
suppose each new state of the instrument to be multiplied by the
million; each to be preserved until a better one is produced, and then
the old ones to be all destroyed. In living bodies, variation will
cause the slight alterations, generation will multiply them almost
infinitely, and natural selection will pick out with unerring skill
each improvement. Let this process go on for millions of years; and
during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may
we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed
as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to
those of man?

Charles Darwin, the Origin, 1859

The Darwin quotemine on the subject of the eye is one of the most notorious markers of creationist dishonesty — to cite that chapter as suggesting that Darwin was proposing that his theory was invalid, when the whole thing is an argument for the exact opposite, is one reason we should treat creationism as beneath contempt. It’s also an indicator that Professor Dendy is incompetent in biology, and it’s shocking that he continues to teach at an American college.

Comments

  1. #1 Pyre Spirit
    February 13, 2010

    The irony would be hilarious, if it was not so painfully inept, for such a claim that it’s ‘atheists’ who cannot handle the truth.

  2. #2 Thebear
    February 13, 2010

    A bit less time with threes, a bit more with words on paper would be a good thing for the dendrophiliac…

  3. #3 cag
    February 13, 2010

    If Dendy had lived 2000 years ago, he would have been a pantheist. He would have been just as wrong 2 millennia ago as he is now.

  4. #4 steve
    February 13, 2010

    The people who trot out the idea that the eye is the perfect deign of a loving crea-tor, no doubt have 20-20 vision. I offer them my glasses to take a look through when they bring it up (48-21 for reference).

  5. #5 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Quotemining Darwin! BINGO. Winning card at creobot fallacies Bingo. One know that Dendy knew he had nothing, since he would never present his alleged evidence here, where the refutation would become permanent. He would make sure anybody refuting his inane evidence at his site never saw the light of day. And I thought the religious folks were supposed to be honest and moral. Maybe some are more honest and moral than others *wink*.

  6. #6 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    Is this guy seriously teaching biology?

  7. #7 Sastra
    February 13, 2010

    Walton #6 wrote:

    Is this guy seriously teaching biology?

    No. No, not seriously.

    Whether he is a biology teacher, or not.

    (Easy question);)

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    February 13, 2010

    To be fair, we do know the eye to be rather more complex than did Paley. Then again, that complexity has made us understand the eye to be much less like the lenses of telescopes and of microscopes than Paley proposed, in his attempt to garner actual evidence for design, which the IDiots have essentially abandoned.

    Then the specifics of that complexity point decidedly toward evolution. My favorite is that rods actually utilize cilia (eukaryotic flagella) in order to allow us to see. Then those cilia apparently evolved for movement from a whole lot of other cell parts.

    Oh sure, the eye is complex. But an IDiot wouldn’t want to try to explain why all the “design” that we see “just happens” (what are the odds?) to be what evolutionary theory predicts, not what honest design principles and engineering information would predict.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  9. #9 https://me.yahoo.com/a/xnK7TG0Lo5mL8GKo5hytRqwpHvFihEl7Eat3.EjEEeCYqC8fHRcH#05c76
    February 13, 2010

    I couldn’t find him listed on the American River College Faculty & Staff page:

    http://www.arc.losrios.edu/About_ARC/Faculty_and_Staff_Directory.htm

    Lithified Detritus

  10. #10 jrberg
    February 13, 2010

    I would like to see the argument for perfect design as it concerns astigmatism. One of the lenses in my glasses is skinny at one angle, and fat 90 degrees away. That’s a pretty poorly designed lens.

    And lately, the astigmatic axis has been rotating. I assume the designer meant to have some fun there, or just wants to stimulate the eyeglass industry. Or maybe just wants to drive me crazy…..

  11. #11 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Perfesser Dendy is just another Liar for Jebus™.

  12. #12 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    February 13, 2010

    As another wearer of spectacles I have this to say to my eyes’ designer:

    I want a refund, you dick.

  13. #13 Sara
    February 13, 2010

    Ok. I went to his website. Corrected his apparent misunderstanding.

    Except – It couldn’t be misunderstanding. And that is why it bothers me. He actually cherry picked the quotes to make his absurd point. Knowing that most people won’t read the book.

    If you believe in God and Creationism, why would you use deceit? At the point where you cannot find ground that is solid, so you are forced to build up false evidence, at this point – why don’t you stop and say – maybe there is a problem?

    And if you are a Creationist and you say you believe in the 10 commandments, then why is it OK to lie about this?

    Is this what Jesus would do? Just asking.

    I suppose this is the comment I should have left for him. I just mentioned he was wrong.

  14. #14 Yakaru
    February 13, 2010

    Well, as I always say – For every quote used by a creationist, there is an equal and opposite rest of the quote.

  15. #15 druidbros
    February 13, 2010

    Prof Dendy’s own existence refutes his ‘perfect design’ idea. Somewhere there is a blob missing a parasitic one-celled protozoa.

  16. #16 Insightful Ape
    February 13, 2010

    Unfortunately Paley’s argument back in the 19th century made no more sense than the “professor’s” does in the 21st.
    If you find a digital watch and a mechanical one, you can’t assume they had the same maker. It is more likely than not that they didn’t.
    Why then, am I supposed to think the vertebrate eye, the insect eye, the velvet worm eye, and the cephalopod eye were all built by the same entity? Am I not supposed to think there had to have been as many creators as there are living species?

  17. #17 minimalist
    February 13, 2010

    Sara (#13):

    He didn’t pick the quote himself. He got it from some creationist site. Who, in turn, probably cribbed it from some other creationist site, and so on back to whatever huckster originally mined the quote.

    It’s an unbroken succession of ignoramuses who’ve never read a single word written by an actual scientist, but take the word of anonymous badly-designed creationist websites, or greasy asswipes with mail-order degrees, as authoritative in the subject.

    What I find hilarious is when inept dumbshits like Dendy take it a step further, and think that piggybacking on all that collected “wisdom” can allow them to credibly impersonate a “scientist” or a “biology teacher” online.

    Doesn’t fool anyone, but it’s fun to watch them caper.

  18. #18 QuarkyGideon
    February 13, 2010

    I didn’t think it was that bad a quotemine! :-O

  19. #19 sandiseattle
    February 13, 2010

    So I’m kinna wondering what happened to the oft favored atheist canard “don’t debate them, it gives them ‘the air of respectability’” Don’t blog about the guy, let this be a case of ignorance is bliss, ignore him you’ll be happier.

  20. #20 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Don’t blog about the guy, let this be a case of ignorance is bliss, ignore him you’ll be happier.

    This idjit polluted this blog for quite a while. A follow up on his stupidity is warranted. If Dendy truly wanted to debate, he had an opportunity when PZ was out in California, spending a good week nearby to Dendy. And, of course, Dendy could have presented his idea of evidence here at any time. But, presenting it here would mean the savage and precise refutations of his meager evidence would be out for all to see. This continued “surveillance” of Dendy is to expose his idiocy. And PZ exposes both his ignorance and dishonesty.

  21. #21 GJames
    February 13, 2010

    I’m tempted to say that the quote mine itself didn’t originally come from some huckster. Instead, a particularly cunning atheist realized that if he got this quotemine passed from one creationist organization to the next then it would be that much easier for us to show what a bunch of morons they are.

  22. #22 druidbros
    February 13, 2010

    @16. I have used the example of cars to refute the creotards arguments. All cars have 4 wheels, an engine, use gas or diesel or electricity, have seats and etc… do you think they were all designed by the same person? It shows how stupid their argument is and that they need to use a little more critical thinking. Unfortunately most just cant get to the logic side but I think it plants the seeds of hope.

  23. #23 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    If Dendy truly wanted to debate, he had an opportunity when PZ was out in California, spending a good week nearby to Dendy.

    If I remember correctly Da Perfesser claimed he was in the hospital having a toenail transplant or some such treatment when PZ was in his neighborhood.

  24. #24 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    don’t debate them

    What debate? professordendy spouts nonsense, PZ and others here demonstrate why it’s nonsense as part of public record. There’s no debate happening.

    All that’s happening here is dendy excreting in public while insisting it’s roses, while the rest of us are saying, “Watch out for the shit.”

    Still learning,

    Robert

  25. #25 arachnophilia
    February 13, 2010

    yeah, i’m trying to figure out if this guy’s actually a professor of anything as well. i’m looking through the ARC faculty page, and there are a few biology profs but none with a name at all like “dendy” and only one professor of “natural resources” whatever that means, and she’s kind of a woman.

    frankly, if this guy isn’t lying about his credentials, and he really is biology prof, even a junior college like ARC should be ashamed to have hired such a charlatan. i mean, you just can’t be a biology prof and misrepresent darwin like that. that’s like getting hired to teach theology, and instructing students that the bible says “there is no god” several times. it’s either a lie, or you’re such a blithering idiot that there’s no way you should hold a high school diploma let alone a ph.d.

    and his obsession with pharyngula is amusing. it’s like we have a stalker. the whole first page is like 90% pharyngula. and filled with such astounding idiocy. for instance, did you know the USSR was still a country?

  26. #26 aratina cage of the OM
    February 13, 2010

    Lithified Detritus #9,

    Delusional Dendy was there at some point. His name comes up (but it has been deleted) on a faculty web page search for his last name:
    http://www.arc.losrios.edu/Faculty_Web_Pages.htm

    That does not make him any less of a liar.

  27. #27 LaTomate
    February 13, 2010

    Is this guy a biology professor for Real?? I took some time to read the utter crap on his website.

    Read this:

    http://professordendy.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/evidence-that-the-atheists-believe-in-him/

    To spare you the image of his ugly disingenuous lying mug, in a nutshell:

    - One atheist claims “it makes what the Romans did to him more understandable.”
    - From this he concludes that this atheist MUST believe that Jebus existed (and it’s not just a stab at the fairytale).
    - From this he seems to assume that intrinsically means said atheist believes Jebus was the son of Skydaddy and all the rest of it.
    - And finally, therefore ALL atheist secretly believe in Jebus and the Skydaddy.

    If you’re reading this, take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_logic

    Might help, you lying stale puddle of useless.

  28. #28 aratina cage of the OM
    February 13, 2010

    Oops. I didn’t mark his name. His page is still there.

    Fall 2009
    BIOL 300 The Foundations of Biology (16240)

  29. #29 Sara
    February 13, 2010

    Heeeyyy!
    Mr. Dendy deleted my comment!
    Can you BELIEVE it?

    Why its almost as if…well,…Do you think he’s Paranoid?

  30. #30 Kemist
    February 13, 2010

    @12

    Same here.

    And as long as I’m here, I want refund for my crappy thyroid gland too, jackass. Oh and whatever the fuck you messed up with me that makes me have migraines since childhood.

  31. #31 Lowell
    February 13, 2010

    Does anyone know of a good counter to the “eye is so complicated it couldn’t have evolved” argument where the author is an opthamologist?

    I have an opthamologist friend who is otherwise quite smart and doesn’t buy YEC or anything like that but just can’t seem to get over his personal incredulity about the evolution of the vertabrate eye.

    I tried pointing him to scholarly work on the subject but it didn’t make a dent. (Worse, he came back at me with Sean Pitman! Not a good sign.) I thought I’d try to find something by a respected member of his profession as a last-ditch effort before letting it go.

  32. #32 LaTomate
    February 13, 2010

    Here’s what I found:

    W. Mark Dendy

    Biology

    Education
    - Master of Life Sciences, University of Maryland College Park;
    - Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences), California State University, Sacramento;
    - Associate of Arts (Medical Technology), Howard Community College, Columbia, MD;
    - Associate of Arts (Secondary Education, Howard Community College, Columbia, MD

    Professional Activities
    - American Fisheries Society Member;
    - CSUS Evolutionary Ecology of Fishes Lab Member;
    - Marine Biologist – Advanced Scuba Diver, Rescue Diver, National Geographic Diver and Underwater Videographer

    Notice the EVOLUTIONARY Ecology of Fishes Lab Member… would that be mico-evolution only?

  33. #33 LaTomate
    February 13, 2010

    mico=micro… d’uh *smack*

  34. #34 https://me.yahoo.com/a/xnK7TG0Lo5mL8GKo5hytRqwpHvFihEl7Eat3.EjEEeCYqC8fHRcH#05c76
    February 13, 2010

    aratina cage of the OM #28

    Thanks, found it.

    He teaches a class called The Foundations of Biology.

    My irony meter is smoking…

    Lithified Detritus

  35. #35 jrberg
    February 13, 2010

    Found him. Besides teaching the very occasional class at ARC (part timer on contract), he’s a science “journalist.”

    http://www.examiner.com/x-37832-Sacramento-Science-News-Examiner~y2010m2d1-Man-once-again-at-odds-with-nature

  36. #36 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Worse, he came back at me with Sean Pitman! Not a good sign.

    that’s Sean Pitman, M.D. :-p

  37. #37 Kemist
    February 13, 2010

    @31

    Wow.

    An ophtalmologist should have seen enough ways for eyes to go bad, that by itself it should constitute an argument.

    I really don’t know how he can fix glasses for someone and still think the eye is an example of perfect design.

    Maybe point out to him that vertebrate eyes have light-sensitive cells that point backwards thus creating a blind spot when it doesn’t need to be that way ?

  38. #38 sqlrob
    February 13, 2010

    Does anyone know of a good counter to the “eye is so complicated it couldn’t have evolved” argument where the author is an opthamologist?

    If the human eye was designed, why was it designed backwards when there are other species where it is not?

  39. #39 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    that’s Sean Pitman, M.D. :-p

    Ooh, talk about your lack of intelligence, honesty, integrity, and authority. He never once posted a citation to the peer reviewed literature backing his ideas. Just according the the script….

  40. #40 aratina cage of the OM
    February 13, 2010

    Dendy’s faculty webpage has a link to what he calls a “good Biology site with good animations”. The site is for the textbook Life: The Science of Biology by Purves, Sadava, Orians, and Heller. Apparently Dendy didn’t bother to read Chapter 1:

    Biological Evolution: Changes over Billions of Years
    * Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection rests on three simple observations and one conclusion drawn from them: Any heritable traits that increase the probability that their bearers will survive and reproduce are passed on to their offspring.

    Major Events in the History of Life on Earth
    * Life arose from nonlife about 4 billion years ago by means of chemical evolution. Review Figure 1.3
    * Biological evolution began about 3.8 billion years ago when interacting systems of molecules became enclosed in membranes to form cells.
    * Photosynthetic prokaryotes released large amounts of oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere, making aerobic metabolism possible.
    * Complex eukaryotic cells evolved by incorporation of smaller cells that survived being ingested.
    * Multicellular organisms appeared when cells evolved the ability to transform themselves and to stick together and communicate after they divided. The individual cells of multicellular organisms became modified to carry out varied functions within the organism.
    * The evolution of sex sped up rates of biological evolution.

    Dendy, pwned by his own link. Ha!

  41. #41 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmqabGcsIOjl6mL-hNSQz63DOYm7nfAndI
    February 13, 2010

    Professor Dendy wins today’s PBI Award:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9jdkn4

  42. #42 Lowell
    February 13, 2010

    that’s Sean Pitman, M.D. :-p

    Of course. How could I forget!

    I did point out to my friend, by the way, that Dr. Pitman is a total fucking nut who thinks the Grand Canyon is a few thousand years old. Didn’t have much effect.

  43. #43 Kemist
    February 13, 2010

    My irony meter is smoking…

    You need a new ChristianProof&trade irony meter, now with logarithmic scale !

  44. #44 David Marjanovi?
    February 13, 2010

    Am I not supposed to think there had to have been as many creators as there are living species?

    Introduction to Multiple Designers Theory

    and his obsession with pharyngula is amusing. it’s like we have a stalker. the whole first page is like 90% pharyngula.

    There are, IIRC, two blogs dedicated to Pharyngula out there. Links are in the dungeon.

  45. #45 minimalist
    February 13, 2010

    Okay, this “Professor Dendy” has to be either:

    1) impersonating the real W. Mark Dendy in order to gain credibility;

    or

    2) staggeringly incompetent at what he does

    I mean, he’s studied evolutionary biology AND was teaching a course on “The Foundations of Biology” without ever having read Darwin — or being fully willing to misrepresent him?

    It could be a disgruntled former student of his. Or possibly the college let him go once word got back about the sort of nonsense he was filling the students’ heads with.

    I’d like to see some confirmation of his credentials, too.

  46. #46 arachnophilia
    February 13, 2010

    yes. here’s a google search indicating that there is in fact a w. mark dendy teaching at ARC, in both biology and natural resources: http://www.google.com/search?q=dendy+site:losrios.edu&hl=en&lr=&filter=0

    or at least there was during the fall semester. he is NOT on the schedule in either of those two subject this semester. search them here: http://dcs.losrios.edu/dcs_classsearch.aspx

  47. #47 jrberg
    February 13, 2010
  48. #48 Flea
    February 13, 2010

    From Dendys “about” info:

    “I also enjoy writing, and have my first published book coming out in April 2010 called ?The Cascade Effect: A Biologist Shares His Faith and His Story Living with Wilsons Disease.?

    From Wikipedia:

    Wilson’s disease“: About half the patients with Wilson’s have neurological or psychiatric problems. Most patients initially have mild cognitive deterioration and clumsiness, as well as changes in behavior.

  49. #49 Lowell
    February 13, 2010

    Assuming this is the same guy writing the blog, Professor Dendy has very good ratings on Rate my Professor:

    http://ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=1303823&page=1

    That could mean a lot of things. Still, nothing on there to indicate the kind of nuttery he’s put on display here and his blog lately.

  50. #50 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    Cag @ #3

    If Dendy had lived 2000 years ago, he would have been a pantheist. He would have been just as wrong 2 millennia ago as he is now.

    A few million years ago and he would have been a devout Treeist castigating any Atreeists who dared climb down and walk upright.

  51. #51 Kel, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Dendy, you quote-mined Darwin? That’s really pathetic, if you had any intellectual honesty you wouldn’t do such things…

    Not that what Darwin thought on evolution matters too much, he’s just the one who came up with the idea – it’s the 150 years of observation and experiment since then that show the power and importance of the idea itself that matter.

  52. #52 Mr Ashy
    February 13, 2010

    Isn’t this one of the arguments even AiG advises against, claiming it is “subtly out of context”?

  53. #53 PZ Myers
    February 13, 2010

    I’m amazed that with all the Pharyngulistas going over to Dendy’s blog to gawk, not one of you has left a comment.

    He couldn’t possibly be blocking them in a post where he accuses us of being unable to face the truth, could he?

  54. #54 B166ER
    February 13, 2010

    This is the post I just wrote on his site. I doubt it will get past moderation. You know, it’s so offensive in its contradiction of the blogs author.

    No Gods, No Masters
    Cameron

    Posted to “prof” Dendy’s site
    Next time when you try to quote mine Charles Darwin, make sure that you understand the WHOLE section of the book you are quoting, and not just a little sentence that, at first sight, seems to support your stance, yet in the broader context, completely demolishes it. Here is the complete section of the book which does answer your question, and not by pointing to some unfalsifiable sky father but to natural phenomena. You really need to read the WHOLE section of the book, not just the quotes you find on Answers in Genesis!

    To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.

    In searching for the gradations through which an orgain in any species has been perfected, we ought to look exclusively to its lineal progenitors; but this is scarcely ever possible, and we are forced to look to other species and genera of the same group, that is to the collateral descendants from the same parent-form, in order to see what gradations are possible, and for the chance of some gradations having been transmitted in an unaltered or little altered condition. But the state of the same organ in distinct classes may incidentally throw light on the steps by which it has been perfected.

    The simplest organ which can be called an eye consists of an optic nerve, surrounded by pigment-cells, and covered by translucent skin, but without any lens or other refractive body. We may, however, according to M. Jourdain, descend even a step lower and find aggregates of pigment-cells, apparently serving as organs of vision, without any nerves, and resting merely on sarcodic tissue. Eyes of the above simple nature are not capable of distinct vision, and serve only to distinguish light from darkness. In certain star-fishes, small depressions in the layer of pigment which surrounds the nerve are filled, as described by the author just quoted, with transparent gelatinous matter, projecting with a convex surface, like the cornea in the higher animals. He suggests that this serves not to form an image, but only to concentrate the luminous rays and render their perception more easy. In this concentration of the rays we gain the first and by far the most important step towards the formation of a true, picture-forming eye; for we have only to place the naked extremity of the optic nerve, which in some of the lower animals lies deeply buried in the body, and in some near the surface, at the right distance from the concentrating apparatus, and an image will be formed on it.

    In the great class of the Articulata, we may start from an optic nerve simply coated with pigment, the latter sometimes forming a sort of pupil, but destitute of a lens or other optical contrivance. With insects it is now known that the numerous facets on the cornea of their great compound eyes form true lenses, and that the cones include curiously modified nervous filaments. But these organs in the Articulata are so much diversified that Muller formerly made three main classes with seven subdivisions, besides a fourth main class of aggregated simple eyes.

    When we reflect on these facts, here given much too briefly, with respect to the wide, diversified, and graduated range of structure in the eyes of the lower animals; and when we bear in mind how small the number of all living forms must be in comparison with those which have become extinct, the difficulty ceases to be very great in believing that natural selection may have converted the simple apparatus of an optic nerve, coated with pigment and invested by transparent membrane, into an optical instrument as perfect as is possessed by any member of the articulate class.

    He who will go thus far, ought not to hesitate to go one step further, if he finds on finishing this volume that large bodies of facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of modification through natural selection; he ought to admit that a structure even as perfect as an eagle?s eye might thus be formed, although in this case he does not know the transitional states. It has been objected that in order to modify the eye and still preserve it as a perfect instrument, many changes would have to be effected simultaneously, which, it is assumed, could not be done through natural selection; but as I have attempted to show in my work on the variation of domestic animals, it is not necessary to suppose that the modifications were all simultaneous, if they were extremely slight and gradual. Different kinds of modification would, also, serve for the same general purpose: as Mr. Wallace has remarked, ?if a lens has too short or too long a focus, it may be amended either by an alteration of curvature, or an alteration of density; if the curvature be irregular, and the rays do not converge to a point, then any increased regularity of curvature will be an improvement. So the contraction of the iris and the muscular movements of the eye are neither of them essential to vision, but only improvements which might have been added and perfected at any stage of the construction of the instrument.? Within the highest division of the animal kingdom, namely, the Vertebrata, we can start from an eye so simple, that it consists, as in the lancelet, of a little sack of transparent skin, furnished with a nerve and lined with pigment, but destitute of any other apparatus. In fishes and reptiles, as Owen has remarked, ?the range of gradations of dioptric structures is very great.? It is a significant fact that even in man, according to the high authority of Virchow, the beautiful crystalline lens is formed in the embryo by an accumulation of epidermic cells, lying in a sack-like fold of the skin; and the vitreous body is formed from embryonic sub-cutaneous tissue. To arrive, however, at a just conclusion regarding the formation of the eye, with all its marvellous yet not absolutely perfect characters, it is indispensable that the reason should conquer the imagination; but I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be surprised at others hesitating to extend the principle of natural selection to so startling a length.

    It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye with a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man? If we must compare the eye to an optical instrument, we ought in imagination to take a thick layer of transparent tissue, with spaces filled with fluid, and with a nerve sensitive to light beneath, and then suppose every part of this layer to be continually changing slowly in density, so as to separate into layers of different densities and thicknesses, placed at different distances from each other, and with the surfaces of each layer slowly changing in form. Further we must suppose that there is a power, represented by natural selection or the survival of the fittest, always intently watching each slight alteration in the transparent layers; and carefully preserving each which, under varied circumstances, in any way or in any degree, tends to produce a distincter image. We must suppose each new state of the instrument to be multiplied by the million; each to be preserved until a better one is produced, and then the old ones to be all destroyed. In living bodies, variation will cause the slight alterations, generation will multiply them almost infinitely, and natural selection will pick out with unerring skill each improvement. Let this process go on for millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?

    Charles Darwin, the Origin, 1859

  55. #55 Free Lunch
    February 13, 2010

    I didn’t expect him to allow my comment to be posted. Looks like he is behaving in a perfectly predicable manner.

  56. #56 John Morales
    February 13, 2010

    PZ, Dendy did brag that he just wanted page hits, so he should be very happy with you.

  57. #57 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    He couldn’t possibly be blocking them in a post where he accuses us of being unable to face the truth, could he?

    What, a creobot not being able to face the scientific truth. Shocked, I tell you shocked I am…

  58. #58 Slang
    February 13, 2010

    @jrberg
    More:

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/professordendy

    His profile includes his membership in NABT…either he’s lying or he’s a faker trying to legitimize his “ideas” (see position statements on ethics and teaching evolution).

    http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=35

  59. #59 aratina cage of the OM
    February 13, 2010

    jrberg #35, Dendy’s Examiner article is surprisingly compassionate toward wildlife. It makes me wonder why that compassion doesn’t extend to his fellow humans.

  60. #60 Kel, OM
    February 13, 2010

    I wrote the following on his blog, it appears there at the moment though I doubt it will hold:

    If you’re going to quote someone, it’s only honest to quote them in context. If as you say “atheists can’t handle the truth” then it doesn’t help your cause one bit to lie by quoting out of context. It’s only fair.

    Secondly, evolution != atheism and Darwin != gospel. Even if you’re quote is representative (it isn’t), it doesn’t matter to the scientific truth of evolution, nor does it matter to the philosophical position that there is no personal deity. It’s terrible equivocation!

    Wasn’t there something in the bible about bearing false witness?

  61. #61 Sili
    February 13, 2010

    To my fellow bespectacled commenters, I have only this to say *puts on best creationist impression*: SIN LESS, YOU HEATHENS!

  62. #62 Castellan
    February 13, 2010

    I just posted the full text of the above quote from Darwin on Dendy’s blog and commented that he was being intellectually dishonest by selectively quoting.

    My comment is awaiting moderation.

    We’ll see.

  63. #63 Kel, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Actually my comment is awaiting moderation. Bet it will be rejected. Creationists are either dishonest like that or too stupid to know better (in the case of Ray Comfort)

  64. #64 Peter H
    February 13, 2010

    @ #51

    “…Not that what Darwin thought on evolution matters too much, he’s just the one who came up with the idea…”

    The crux of Charles Darwin’s insight was the concept of natural selection as evolution’s operating principle. The general notion of evolution was well-known before Darwin was born. Read up on his Grandfather, Erasmus, sometime – a most interesting chap.

  65. #65 ckitching
    February 13, 2010

    Wasn’t there something in the bible about bearing false witness?

    I don’t believe it counts if you’re lying to promote your religion. Someone can point to the correct bible passage for this, I’m sure.

  66. #66 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    I’m amazed that with all the Pharyngulistas going over to Dendy’s blog to gawk, not one of you has left a comment.

    It took the first post to recognize that Dendy was such a loser and liar, that any adverse post on his inane and insane blog would not be treated with the respect from someone actually interested in the truth would give it…

  67. #67 EastexSteve
    February 13, 2010

    It makes no sense. “The Cascade Effect: A Biologist Shares his Faith and his story Living with Wilson’s Disease.”

    Living with disease? Why would any xian live with disease?! Wilson’s, Cancer or otherwise. According to jc, Mark: 17-18, no wonder all those fundie’s are against healthcare. If a non-believer gets say prostate cancer, he has to go to a hospital for the best treatment science can provide. Whereas a believer just has to back-up on Benny Hinn’s finger, cured. Or Ted Haggard’s… I won’t go there.

  68. #68 Kel, OM
    February 13, 2010

    As for how to make an eye, Darwin-style:
    http://www.youtube.com/v/lEKyqIJkuDQ&hl

    I don’t believe it counts if you’re lying to promote your religion. Someone can point to the correct bible passage for this, I’m sure.

    Perhaps, I only looked as far as the commandments. I mean, they’re only a guide, it’s not like they are important like those comments about homosexuality being an abomination…

  69. #69 jrberg
    February 13, 2010

    @#59 – A lot of people, particularly some with psychiatric problems, relate to animals much better than to humans. I’ll leave it to others to explain this….

    His Amazon wish list is fascinating, though, and includes several books I rate very highly. He likes learning about marine life, as do I, and the book by Peter Moyle is outstanding.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3PPUY1C4R2SBP?tag=section_wishlist-20

  70. #70 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    I refuse to add to old fuckface’s site hits. But a question for those who have visited, is he still obsessed with some of the regulars of this blog?

  71. #71 arachnophilia
    February 13, 2010

    yes. particularly you, janine.

  72. #72 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Thank you. That a lovely example of humanity he is.

  73. #73 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    CHIMPY!!!

  74. #74 EastexSteve
    February 13, 2010

    @60

    There WAS something in the bible about bearing false witness in the first 10 commandments, but Moses destroyed them so they don’t count. In the second 10 commandments, Ex:34:14-28, the aged one doesn’t include them, and Moses returns with the new tablets. So it’s not in the 10 commandments.

  75. #75 sandiseattle
    February 13, 2010

    It appears all comments at Dendys blog are moderated. Mine was made almost 4 hrs ago and is still waiting.

  76. #76 MadScientist
    February 13, 2010

    Aww, poor widdle Dendy; he can’t handle the truth: there are no gods – not a single one – and we should be glad there are none because mythology describes all of them as being rather nasty.

  77. #77 MadScientist
    February 13, 2010

    @Kel: Darwin did not invent the idea of evolution; Darwin’s great contribution was that evolution proceeds via the mechanism of natural selection – that explained how things evolved even though it would be many decades before people had a clue why things evolve.

  78. #78 Kel, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Yeah, I know that. I misspoke.

  79. #79 Usagichan
    February 13, 2010

    Being a bit new to the site, I took a look at his blog to see what all of the fuss was about – Is he for real? I kind of assumed it must be a satirical creation. If he is for real perhaps someone should let him know the USSR no longer exists (http://professordendy.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/we-wish-he-were-too/) – Still the only news that matters is 2000 years old, no?

  80. #80 MadScientist
    February 13, 2010

    Oh, the eye is perfect – I missed that bit. My perfect eye with its perfect cataracts just perfectly didn’t see it – or perhaps it was the perfect blind spot or the perfect eye’s perfect ability to see in low light environments which caused the perfect oversight.

  81. #81 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    I made lots of comments on Dendy’s blog. None of them were profane, or libelous. They were are removed.

  82. #82 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    “all removed” by gum!

    The hell is wrong with me?

  83. #83 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Usagichan #79

    If he is for real perhaps someone should let him know the USSR no longer exists

    He is, unfortunately, real.

    Like a lot of conservatives he really misses the Soviet Union. They were the enemy. They were brought down single-handedly by St. Ronnie. They were worshipped by everyone to the left of Strom Thurmond. Da perfesser doesn’t want the USSR to go away and, since he’s delusional about so much else, he’s convinced himself the Soviets are still around.

  84. #84 Beadknitter
    February 13, 2010

    @#53

    He’s moderating the comments on his blog. We’re all waiting for approval.

  85. #85 Ichthyic
    February 13, 2010

    “Wilson’s disease”: About half the patients with Wilson’s have neurological or psychiatric problems. Most patients initially have mild cognitive deterioration and clumsiness, as well as changes in behavior.

    interestingly, according to Dendy, he is currently in the process of obtaining a PhD in, of all things, psychology.

    W. Mark Dendy holds a B.S. in biological sciences from California State University, Sacramento and an M.S. in life sciences from the University of Maryland. He is a marine biologist that has studied California sea lions in the Sacramento delta. He also teaches biology and natural resource management at American River College. Dendy’s interest in animal behaviors has spawned an interest in human behavior, and he is currently working on his doctorate in Psychology.

    it makes me wonder…

    Is he playing poe as part of a grad student psych project?

    it would explain a lot.

  86. #86 DaveDodo007
    February 13, 2010

    Hi, newbie here.

    I’ve seen that guys posts when lurking here. If that tosser is teaching biology then you’re going to be producing some fucked up West Coast biology students.

  87. #87 Eamon Knight
    February 13, 2010

    Well, how about that. I debunked the eye quote as part of my talk at last night’s Darwin Day dinner of Ottawa Skeptics. I even did it as an animation that presented the first sentence, then overlaid the full paragraph. (The talk consisted of a brief bio of Darwin, then a debunking of the Lady Hope story, the eye quote, and “Darwin was a racist”. No one fell asleep or threw beer at me, so I guess it went OK).

  88. #88 Peter H
    February 13, 2010

    “…like those comments about homosexuality being an abomination… ”

    To broaden your perspective a bit, sitting in a spot once occupied by a menstruating woman, having mixed fabrics in a single garment, lobsters and football are also “abominations.” It seems that abomination per se isn’t much of a deal after all – unless you have a flaming desire to find reasons to condemn other persons via a list of wrongs they can’t escape. This is the “Have you stopped beating your Mother, yet?” syndrome.

  89. #89 TimKO,,.,,
    February 13, 2010

    It’s hard to believe there are people as dishonest as this Dendy guy, posing and presenting themselves as the opposite of what they are : lying trash. He knew the truth and yet purposely misrepresented it in an attempt to fool people. That’s just sociopathic.

    Dendy, why the false testimony?

  90. #90 https://me.yahoo.com/a/XwX54Ugxg_zA.giOl0_NAACpyNmwv0SJVLRoxnK4QTct#e9300
    February 13, 2010

    I just looked at that loon’s blog. There is no way he can be a real biology professor, unless he works at a “Christian” college somewhere. So he must be a fake, just like the other religious extremists out there.

    Dale Husband

  91. #91 latsot
    February 14, 2010

    For some reason, Dendy has two blogs with very similar content (hateful idiocy). On both, he routinely deletes comments then denies that he has done so, all the while accusing atheists of dishonesty.

    As several people have mentioned, he’s unhealthily obsessed with pharyngula and pharyngulites (including some particular commentors).

    He’s apparently unable to tell the difference between the three things he hates the most (atheists, liberals and homosexuals – they are all the same thing to him) and he seems to delight in (presumably deliberately) misrepresenting people’s words and falsely attributing these misrepresented views to all atheists on the planet.

    Aside from breathtaking stupidity, the thing that stands out about Dendy’s blogs is the utter *childishness* of his behaviour. He comes across like a ten years old boy with severe behavioural issues.

    I suspect that Professor Dendy has some serious psychological problems. Does that mean we shouldn’t mock him? Fuck no: regardless of whether he’s mentally ill, he’s still a hateful puke who may or may not be harming students with his idiotic views and pathetic capering.

  92. #92 Rorschach
    February 14, 2010

    I suspect that Professor Dendy has some serious psychological problems. Does that mean we shouldn’t mock him?

    I agree with the statement that he has issues. And I do believe that we should ignore him and not mock him.If he makes threats to particular commenters, get the FBI involved, otherwise I think he should be ignored.He is an intellectual paperweight and has nothing meaningful to say anyway.Why bother ?

    regardless of whether he’s mentally ill, he’s still a hateful puke

    I don’t think Dendy is mentally ill.But I find your statement extremely tasteless nonetheless .Has it occurred to you that someone might be acting a certain way because of their mental illness ?

  93. #93 latsot
    February 14, 2010

    I don’t think Dendy is mentally ill.But I find your statement extremely tasteless nonetheless .Has it occurred to you that someone might be acting a certain way because of their mental illness ?

    Of course I have. I’m just arguing that that’s not necessarily a reason not to mock him. If he’s ill, then I feel sorry for him (in fact, I feel kind of sorry for him anyway) but the fact remains that he is spreading hateful lies. I say mock him, not to punish him but to highlight his idiocy.

    He has nothing meaningful to say to non-creationists, but there seem to have been some comments on his site from people who are taken in by him. I’m not convinced that ignoring this is a good tactic.

  94. #94 shonny
    February 14, 2010

    Posted by: Kemist Author Profile Page | February 13, 2010 4:46 PM

    My irony meter is smoking…

    You need a new ChristianProof? irony meter, now with logarithmic scale !

    Oh, the latest ones come with an inanity filter (IDiotAlertTM) as well, as even the logarithmic scale has proven insufficient to avoid serious overloads.

  95. #95 Caine
    February 14, 2010

    latsot @ 93:

    I’m not convinced that ignoring this is a good tactic.

    In this case, I think ignoring him is the right tactic. He’s stated here that he was actively seeking blog hits; why give him what he wants?

  96. #96 conelrad
    February 14, 2010

    Someone upthread mentioned the difficulty of fitting modern timepieces into Paley’s analogy. I also never liked how casually he dismissed the rock against which he pitched his foot at first in the original sermonette. Even in 1802, there were plenty of geologists who could have educated him out of the notion that it had ‘lain there forever.’

  97. #97 WowbaggerOM
    February 14, 2010

    If I thought Dendy had the character to let comments that actually answered his ‘questions’ stand on his blog then I’d suggest we go there and provide the information.

    However, since he’s demonstrated (on numerous occasions) that he’s a cowardly lying scumbag who would simply delete anything that showed his ignorance of reality and dishonesty regarding it then the only choice we have is to pay him no attention.

  98. #98 coughlanbrianm
    February 14, 2010

    However, since he’s demonstrated (on numerous occasions) that he’s a cowardly lying scumbag who would simply delete anything that showed his ignorance of reality and dishonesty regarding it then the only choice we have is to pay him no attention.

    Yeah, I find that kind of disengenousness outrageous. I posted a comment, but no dice. Incredible really. I used to be a religious person; but even at my most entrenched and intolerant I was never a bald faced liar. WWJD indeed.

  99. #99 Wim
    February 14, 2010

    Under the headline “creationist canard”, I actually expected a mention of the crocoduck!

  100. #100 The Tim Channel
    February 14, 2010

    Under the current conditions of artificial selection, we may actually lose our eyes at some distant point in the future. This trend no doubt started the minute we figured out we could improve our vision with glasses.

    Prior to that point in time, a lot of folks with poor vision either burdened the group, or were totally unable to participate in the hunter gatherer experience. Their limited vision would also make them more likely predation targets.

    They would have died off favoring the future to those with better vision. Natural selection would still be improving on our vision. Now that natural selection (in this instance) is likely overshadowed by our more rapid artificial selection, I’d bet the average human’s eyesight has already dropped by some measurable margin, though I don’t know how one could prove it.

    And lying for Jesus is only slightly more popular these days than lying for torture. If you ever take the time to document these things you’ll notice that the venn diagrams of the liars for Jesus and liars for torture overlap to a very significant degree. Discuss.

    Enjoy.

  101. #101 Knockgoats
    February 14, 2010

    The Tim Channel,

    You are probably right with respect to conditions like astigmatism, but with regard to the more common conditions of long- and short-sightedness, it’s not so simple. Long-sightedness most often results from the weakening of ocular muscles, and begins to have a noticeable effect in the forties. While some hunter-gatherers do live well beyond that, the numbers who do so are small, so the selective pressure would probably have been small too. Short-sightedness is partly genetic, but also seems to be influenced by the amount of close-focus work you do in childhood. Whether genetic or environmental influences predominate, I would speculate that density-dependent selection would operate, as different tasks require different ranges of focal length.

  102. #102 Knockgoats
    February 14, 2010

    Sorry, frequency-dependent, not density-dependent.

  103. #103 Knockgoats
    February 14, 2010

    the venn diagrams of the liars for Jesus and liars for torture overlap to a very significant degree. Discuss. – The Tim Channel

    Very much so in the UK, where of course Tony Bliar led both efforts for some years, and Gordon Brown has now taken over. The Court of Appeal has just given the Government a thoroughly well-deserved kick in the crotch by forcing them to publish information passed from the CIA to MI5 which made clear that the latter colluded in the torture of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed. The government lawyer made an irregular approach to one of the judges, seeking to get him to remove the most damning paragraph from his conclusions – the row about that continues.

  104. #104 Maturin
    February 14, 2010

    From Dendy’s blog post:

    “For those that want to attack me and doubt this, here is the quote from The Origin of Species:

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

    The original quote:

    “IF it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

    Interesting how the omission of one word reverses the meaning of the sentence…

  105. #105 Miki Z
    February 14, 2010

    I would not put too much stock in Dendy’s ratemyprofessors listing. Not only are all of the reviews from a 3-week period, the one negative rating is ‘under review’, and none of the reviews are from registered users. The review probably means that Dendy is challenging it, demanding that it be verified they were his student.

  106. #106 jennyxyzzy
    February 14, 2010

    You need a new ChristianProof? irony meter, now with logarithmic scale !

    [newt]
    It won’t make any difference.
    [/newt]

  107. #107 John Harshman
    February 14, 2010

    Lowell,

    I’m assuming that when you pointed your ophthalmologist to the scientific literature, you cited this one:

    Nilsson, D., and S. Pelger. 1994. A pessimistic estimate of the time required for an eye to evolve. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 256:53-58.

    If not, try it.

    But if you did that and he came back with Pitman, there’s no hope. Pitman’s critique of Nilsson & Pelger is so lame that only a committed creationist would clutch at it. And there’s no evidence capable of convincing such a person.

  108. #108 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 14, 2010

    You know, the thing I’d like to know is this:

    Does Xtianity attract sad, pathetic, dishonest, dull imbeciles like Dendy, or is it capable of selectively shutting down the brain’s ethical, humorous and reasoning capabilities while leaving the capacities for rationalization and self-delusion intact?

    Dendy and his ilk are the strongest argument against Xtianity that I know of. They’re the reason why on those occasions when I must enter a church (e.g. weddings and funerals), I make sure I shower thoroughly afterwards…just in case.

  109. #109 fubka
    February 14, 2010

    He does not even understand basic math and percent difference.

    From his blog:

    I am not angry? I am extremely happy? it seems like a lot of people commenting on this blog are po?d? I am not? if someone wants to claim they are a free thinker and fall for the ole atheists/evolutionists scam, which has been around for 6-10 thousand years or if you ask an evolutionist for? let?s see, what was their last estimate?? 4.7 billion give or take a few 100 million years? And that is supported with evidence?!

    My reply (awaiting moderation)

    You don?t even understand basic math in a failed attempted to ?prove? your own argument. By the data you provided, you tell us that your time estimates (creationists) are more inaccurate than accepted science.

    Creationists: 6-10 thousand years
    Percent difference = 66.67%

    Science: 4.7bilion +/- 100million (using your own numbers)
    Percent difference = 2.13%

    Well we now know that you are not a ?professor? of math and certainly no science. Good luck with teaching Sunday school. Hopefully you are not teaching how to calculate percent difference. professordendy FAIL!

    Why do people laugh at creationists?

  110. #110 arensb
    February 14, 2010

    Complexity complexity complexity complexity.

    Complexity.

    Complexity complexity.

    Therefore, you will burn in hell. QED.

  111. #111 ritchie.annand
    February 14, 2010

    arensb -> Does someone need to do for “complexity” what Digital Droo’s Monkey Developers song did for Steve Ballmer’s “Developers, developers, developers, developers”?

  112. #112 Kel, OM
    February 14, 2010

    *sigh* my comment is still being held in moderation.

  113. #113 jphands
    February 14, 2010

    #112

    Mine too.

    What’s the chance of my comment actually being posted?

    >>
    Your stupid contention that there are no intermediate forms on the way to the eye has been shown to be a lie many times. There are many ?half eyes? in nature, and the human eye is actually a fairly poor design.

    Would you care to comment on the very bad ?design? of where the optic nerve enters the eye in humans? Was you creator having an off day?

    Darwin did indeed say that, but his theory has never even been slightly dented, never mind broken down.

    Quoting big numbers doesn?t impress anyone, except possibly gullible twits who believe in sky fairies.

    Evolution works, has been shown to occur many times and has got stronger as time passed. IDiocy, on the other hand, just keeps on whining about being unable to cope with complexity. Well, ?Professor?, just because you can?t comprehend it doesn?t make it false.
    <<

  114. #114 Nick
    February 14, 2010

    Why do IDiots use eyes to prove their point? Why do ‘blind’ animals still retain vestigial eyes, such as Mexican Blind Cave fish? Surely, if you are going to design a fish without eyes, why would you leave a trace of an eye there?
    Maybe it is the same reason God left a vestigial brain in Creationists.

  115. #115 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 15, 2010

    I’m not one to be critical of spelling but I also don’t claim to be a professor

    Myers discounts scientists that have more knowledge than he has? he refutes common sense analagys and even statistical probabilities that conclude that the mathematical probability that life spontaneously generated is essentially ?zero?!

  116. #116 MolBio
    February 15, 2010

    Shall we show his colleagues his blog and ask for the colleges official position on evolution?

    I feel like doing this.

  117. #117 Kubush
    February 17, 2010

    Apparently he deletes comments he doesnt like so I left a nice little comment that he might appreciate…

    “professoR dEndy, you are so right. They totAlly dont know what they aRe talking about. Doing great!

    ~more than meets the eye.”

    Note: Just read the capital letters. >_<

  118. #118 Kel, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Hey, my comment came up. And he was kind enough to address it…

    Here we go again? another atheist wanting to quote from the Bible which they don?t believe in? oh pleeeez!

    Did I quote from the bible? No. I merely pointed out his behaviour was inconsistent with what he professed to believe in.

    I’m almost convinced this guy is a poe

  119. #119 latsot
    March 5, 2010

    Dendy appears to have vanished from the face of his blogs. He closed all comments, instead posting his email address and claiming that he’d address one email (oddly, he didn’t say whether it was one a day, week, month or just one ever). He tried to spin this as a positive thing. Sure, professor. You get to pick apart emails in a way that seems good to you and presumably do not allow the author to respond. Somehow, that’s a fairer approach than simply allowing comments?

    But he has not even done that. The only thing he’s done on his blogs in the last couple of weeks is to delete some more comments.

  120. #120 latsot
    March 5, 2010

    Caine #95:

    In this case, I think ignoring him is the right tactic. He’s stated here that he was actively seeking blog hits; why give him what he wants?

    Why *not* give him what he wants? What will he be able to do with the traffic if it comes from people who disagree with him? We’re not talking about a skilled manipulator here, we’re talking about a borderline moron.

    The attention from Pharyngula readers seems to have caused Professor Dendy to close comments on his site. Is that a victory for him or for us? I don’t know, but it might give some fence-sitters occasion to wonder why a man of such apparent faith is so scared of criticism.

    He seems recently to have stopped blogging/tweeting. If he’s been hounded away from writing stupid, hateful, misleading things by a slew of reasonable comments, then I’m not sorry and I suppose this could be claimed as a small victory.

    I have a slight worry that his illness (the nasty-sounding Wilson’s Disease) might have taken a turn for the worse and I hope this isn’t the case.

  121. #121 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlGSMWG2FwBhqtqyOzd1Gc7uUDeBwNlo_U
    March 25, 2010

    Aha! I have not been hounded away… just been hecka busy working away with editors and cover designers to complete my latest work that talks about my beliefs and why skeptics are crazy for not believing! If you are interested in finding out more… simply click here are my views in black and white!

  122. #122 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 25, 2010

    Another blog whore, afraid to post anything here since they can’t control the responses.

  123. #123 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    If you are interested in finding out more

    You have nothing of interest to say; it’s the same old crap. You won’t be getting clicks here, if you have evidence, present it. You’ll be a chickenshit instead though, as you’ll never have evidence.

  124. #124 Brownian, OM
    March 25, 2010

    simply click here are my views in black and white!

    …for $14.95.

    Nice try at a bait-and-switch, but we’ve encountered Christians before and thus remain cautious and alert. Your kind are not to be trusted.

  125. #125 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    Brownian, OM:

    …for $14.95.

    I have yet to read anything by a christian that would actually be worth $14.95. It rarely even makes .02¢ value.

  126. #126 Menyambal
    March 25, 2010

    I like how his body’s defect is somehow the fault of the doctors who failed to diagnose, but every good thing that happens is because angels are lifting him up.

    The fact is, God hates him and is killing him slow.

    I don’t like him much myself.

  127. #127 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 25, 2010

    That is the same jackass that left a similar stinking pile in the Hannity And Carlson Dislike Science thread.

  128. #128 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    Menyambal, god is never, ever responsible for the bad stuff! That’s what he created all us evil peoples for, ya know. *eyeroll*