Put the blame where it belongs: God and the Republican Party

We are so screwed.

i-8c975f25c5d780788a3298e7e6e49a95-public_acceptance_of_evolut.gif

That's the result of a new survey of people's attitudes toward evolution. Notice where the United States lies: nearly dead last. We beat Turkey.

There was more to this study than just asking whether a person agreed with the statement that "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." They also collected other data on age, gender, education, genetic literacy, religious belief, attitude toward life, attitude toward science and technology, belief in science and technology, reservations about science and technology, and political ideology, and carried out a statistical analysis to determine the relative contribution of these variables to ignorance about evolution.

I'm sure you can all guess what the number one biggest obstacle to accepting evolution was.

The total effect of fundamentalist religious beliefs on attitude toward evolution (using a standardized metric) was nearly twice as much in the United States as in the nine European countries (path coefficients of -0.42 and -0.24, respectively), which indicates that individuals who hold a strong belief in a personal God and who pray frequently were significantly less likely to view evolution as probably or definitely true than adults with less conservative religious views.

The number two problem?

Second, the evolution issue has been politicized and incorporated into the current partisan division in the United States in a manner never seen in Europe or Japan. In the second half of the 20th century, the conservative wing of the Republican Party has adopted creationism as a part of a platform designed to consolidate their support in southern and Midwestern states—the "red" states. In the 1990s, the state Republican platforms in seven states included explicit demands for the teaching of "creation science". There is no major political party in Europe or Japan that uses opposition to evolution as a part of its political platform.

On the positive side, one factor that improves the acceptance of evolution is genetic literacy, and the authors advocate improved science education in our public schools. We need it, desperately.

It appears that many of these adults have adopted a human exceptionalism perspective. Elements of this perspective can be seen in the way that many adults try to integrate modern genetics into their understanding of life. For example, only a third of American adults agree that more than half of human genes are identical to those of mice and only 38% of adults recognize that humans have more than half of their genes in common with chimpanzees. In
other studies, fewer than half of American adults can provide a minimal definition of DNA. Thus, it is not surprising that nearly half of the respondents in 2005 were not sure about the proportion of human genes that overlap with mice or chimpanzees.

Nick Matzke has more to say on this part of the work)

Despite the good suggestion about improving education, the paper ends on a grim and pessimistic note. Like I said, we are so screwed.

The politicization of science in the name of religion and political partisanship is not new to the United States, but transformation of traditional geographically and economically based political parties into religiously oriented ideological coalitions marks the beginning of a new era for science policy. The broad public acceptance of the benefits of science and technology in the second half of the 20th century allowed science to develop a nonpartisan identification that largely protected it from overt partisanship. That era appears to have closed.

Hmmm. I wonder what the Discovery Institute thinks of all this. Let's ask Bruce Chapman!

"A better explanation for the high percentage of doubters of Darwinism in America may be that this country's citizens are famously independent and are not given to being rolled by an ideological elite in any field," Chapman said. "In particular, the growing doubts about Darwinism undoubtedly reflect growing doubts among scientists about Darwinian theory. Over 640 have now signed a public dissent and the number keeps growing."

I think the study shows precisely the opposite effect. Americans are being rolled in large numbers by an ideological 'elite' nested in our churches and in the Republican party—the reason we are falling so far behind in our understanding of the biological sciences is that political and religious authority figures are lying to the people and fostering ignorance, and Americans are dumbly falling for it…and the more ignorant they are, the more they depend on those false authorities.

Americans aren't second to last because they are "famously independent." They're failing biology because they're god-soaked sheep, and the Republican party has exploited that failing.


By the way, I am quoted on Fox News on this one. That feels…strange.


Miller JD, Scott EC, Okamoto S (2006) Public acceptance of evolution. Science 313:765-766.

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If you think being quoted by FOX is odd wait until O'Reily invites you on his show. I can imagine the storm that will cause:

O'Reily - *Spews a load of tribalist pseudo-religious propaganda*

PZ = "Well Bill, the issue here is that you do not understand what you are talking about and your deep-seated habit of anti-intellectuallism will not allow you to accept correction from those more knowlagable than you.

It is now time for you to spit and logically fallacious, emotionally charged bit of invective at me to sate your revenge fanticies. Begiiiiiiin now!"

Wow. The FOX article was actually surprisingly well-written. The creationists only got that one quote in. The rest was all about how they're completely and totally wrong and we have to stop them. That's amazing for any media source, and even more incredible for FOX. It's the occasional bit like this that gives me hope that we're not as screwed as the surveys would suggest.

By Anne Nonymous (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

I am shocked. Not by the US statistics, as we all know the US of A is a Christian fundamental society (I pity thee...)

Most of all I am shocked by the European statistics. In my own country, the Netherlands, still more than 20% does not believe in evolution. Our educational system has failed!

So much for that whole "best and the brightest", can-do American spirit America thing, eh? It's in everything, every damn thing, we are just becoming the world's laugh-stock and our entire legacy has been destroyed. We can talk all we like about how it can all be fixed, but no one's going to do that, are they?

(Yes, it's odd, isn't it? Although I've had calls from just about every sort of news organ over here, Fox News is the only American network that has ever interviewed me about anything.)

It's so sad, especially because that won't sway hard-core Creationists at all. For them, all it will do is prove that they're right, everyone else is wrong, and the rest of the world is against them and they have to fight even harder.

"Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

Bulgaria appears to have the highest percentage of correct answers.
---
Does anyone believe that the statement is absolutely without any doubt 100% true? If so, is that a scientific belief?

I just have to (mis)quote old Mark Twain:

...lies, damned lies, and creationism...

Interesting phrase in the supporting on line material:

"an individual has a gender and an age at birth"

well I guess it is true...

By Mark Frank (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

"Most of all I am shocked by the European statistics. In my own country, the Netherlands, still more than 20% does not believe in evolution. Our educational system has failed!"
I agree with this, but it is not a matter of believing in evolution - you don't have to believe, you have to understand and know about it.
which comes to Idunno
"Does anyone believe that the statement is absolutely without any doubt 100% true? If so, is that a scientific belief?"
The evidence is so overwhelming, that we are as sure about evolution as we are about anything, which is as close to 100% confidence in the theory as anything gets. But it is not a belief in the sense religious people use it.

By oldhippie (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

Not given to being rolled by an ideological elite in any field.

We Americans prefer to be rolled by dishonest, stupid, lowlife mercenaries like Chapman.

Wow, PZ--they got your name right 50% of the time. For them, it's not bad.

[and now I shall go put bourbon in my morning coffee and weep for my nation's future]

By ChrisTheRed (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

Here's

  • some good news!
  • It proves that The Bible was not meant to be taken literally. Unfortunately it also seems to disprove natural selection and "survival of the fittest".

    Minister does something incredibly stupid and lives, snake does something natural and dies,...

    "Most of all I am shocked by the European statistics. In my own country, the Netherlands, still more than 20% does not believe in evolution. Our educational system has failed!"

    It's probably just one of many indications of the trouble we have gotten the Dutch educational system into. Different causes, same shitty results. Only in the last year a counter movement has started stirring and getting press. We'll be needing decades to repair the damage.......

    Does anyone know what Iceland's immigration policy is?
    Oh, and pass the FRENCH fries please...

    By Fernando Magyar (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Hey Turkey, you are pnwed! Nyah nyah!
    (Hey, it's only human to try to salvage something from the wreck...)

    If I have grandkids, they're going to live in a much poorer (and probably even more ignorant) country. That makes me sad.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

    Bulgaria appears to have the highest percentage of correct answers.
    ---
    Does anyone believe that the statement is absolutely without any doubt 100% true? If so, is that a scientific belief?

    Posted by: i dunno | August 11, 2006 07:27 AM

    What does it mean to be "100% true"? Are some statements "47% true"?

    The statement in question is an inference based upon mountains of data and a scientific theory that has been supported by 150 years of research. Are you going to start debating the difference between "inferences" and "beliefs"? I think most scientists would welcome that discussion. Certainly the American public could use a little bit of education on that issue.

    Does anyone believe that the statement is absolutely without any doubt 100% true? If so, is that a scientific belief?

    Yes and yes. Because the only alternative is that our species was miraculously poofed into existence out of nothing. The negation of an impossible proposition must be true.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    oldhippe said:
    The evidence is so overwhelming, that we are as sure about evolution as we are about anything, which is as close to 100% confidence in the theory as anything gets. But it is not a belief in the sense religious people use it.

    You belief sounds like a religious belief to me. You have a theory that is consistent with the evidence. Therefore that theory must be true?

    we are as sure about evolution as we are about anything That was meant to be a massive exaggeration, right? Anything? I think not. Not even close.

    I think, therefore I am. You? i dunno.

    You dunno very much, troll. Go play in traffic.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    The evidence is so overwhelming, that we are as sure about evolution as we are about anything

    Let's qualifiy that just a hair ..

    The evidence is so overwhelming, that we are as sure about evolution as we are about any scientific theory.

    There, Happy? i dunno?

    "You belief sounds like a religious belief to me. You have a theory that is consistent with the evidence. Therefore that theory must be true?"

    Wait, I know the punchline to this one. One has a really old book of mythology that says it's the truth, therefore it must be true?

    What, exactly, sounds like a "religious belief"? I'd really like to know how having solid evidence and making judgements based on that evidence is even remotely akin to believing in gods which lack any evidence at all.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Americans are being rolled in large numbers by an ideological 'elite' nested in our churches and in the Republican party--the reason we are falling so far behind in our understanding of the biological sciences is that political and religious authority figures are lying to the people and fostering ignorance, and Americans are dumbly falling for it...and the more ignorant they are, the more they depend on those false authorities.

    PZ, a very perceptive conclusion. No doubt a similar red-blue chart indicating the level of belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 bombings would be even more stark, with the US alone at the bottom.

    The Republicans have found that catering to fear (of Islamofascists, gays, enviros and liberals), patriotism and ignorance are helpful ways to stay in power. And the party itself has become increasingly corrupt and adept at handing out pork, tax, regulatory and other favors to big business and special interests (including themselves). Ignorance and arrogant self-deception rule.

    Should USA still count as a developed country, given results like this ?

    The liberals aren't much better, TokyoTom. That is not a defense of conservatives, but a condemnation of the liberals.

    By Caledonian (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    I think this makes the United States the Alabama of nations. Turkey is to the US as Mississippi is to Alabama. (Or, as they say in Alabama when any ranking of states appears, "Thank g*d for Mississippi.")

    By Mark Paris (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    The liberals aren't much better, TokyoTom.

    Only in CaleBizarroWorld, buddy.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    While the US may be the only country where evolution is a political issue, it is hardly the only country where science is under threat by politics. Many European political parties have positions against genetic manipulation and animal research; we may face a future in which research on evolution is impossible for ideological reasons in the US and, in the case of experimental evolutionary research, for technical reasons in Europe. Then perhaps China will be the Mecca for science.

    I dunno writes, "We are as sure about evolution as we are about anything That was meant to be a massive exaggeration, right? Anything? I think not. Not even close."

    I'll give idunno a small bit of credit here. Yes, I am more certain of a large variety of simpler, more directly observable claims: that squids have beaks, that people are born small babies, and grow into larger adults, that the moon goes through its phases every four weeks, give or take a some hours.

    But now the well-deserved criticism: read in context! It shouldn't take much effort to read that as: We are as sure about evolution as we are about any scientific theory about the world. Such as quantum mechanics or the atomic theory of elements.

    I'm also interested in the immigration politics of Iceland. It doesn't so cold after all...

    Jan Kees, I'm equally shocked at the position of Holland on the list. However, might it have something to do with the number of immigrant (allochtonen, in Dutch) with more fundamentalist religious views? I realize I risk criticism for this remark, but it might explain the outcome.

    I would love to see the different contributions of the collected variables and other similar statistics.

    Iceland and Japan ranks high - no surprise there.

    Of the countries I have some firsthand experience with, Norway is below other nordic countries which isn't surprising considering that religion has a stronger basis there. But what can explain Finland, which considering its enterprizing inhabitants is the France or Italy of the nordic countries?

    And WTF can explain Switzerland and Austria abysmal ranking?

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Can someone explain why Bruce Chapman & company themselves aren't "the elite"?

    e·lite n. pl. (-s)
    · A class of persons or a member of such a group occupying the highest position in the social hierarchy
    · The class enjoying superior social or economic status
    · An exclusive group of people; "one of the elect who have power inside the government"
    · A privileged class holding hereditary titles

    There's also the meaning:

    · An educated and intellectual elite

    ...which Chapman must insist the DI crowd is.

    Just saw on C-Span linguist & reporter G. Nunberg discussing his book on this.

    Uhh, where is the rest of the world in this survey ... or I should say, where is 'most' of the world in this survey? Perhaps including the whole of South America, or the whole of Africa, or the Middle East, or China, or India, or Southeast Asia, or ... would have ruined the desired results.

    "The liberals aren't much better, TokyoTom."

    In what alternate universe is this?

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Riiiiiight. The hammer falls every time I let go of it, therefore my belief in gravity is religious. Funny.

    Believing that there is a force that we choose to call gravity and can model in specific ways that is consistent with observed results and is a useful tool for predicting future events would be a scientific belief.

    I am surer that the hammer will fall every time than I am about evolution. Lots more observations and much more repeatable.

    "Should USA still count as a developed country, given results like this ?"

    With the preponderance of people in this nation siding with the likes of "I dunno", no, we don't qualify as a developed country. With regards to general knowledge of science amongst the rank and file, I'd not be surpised if we were middle of the pack at best in our own hemisphere. Fitting I suppose since the current administration wants to run the country like some oversized bananna republic.

    Q : And WTF can explain Switzerland and Austria abysmal ranking?
    A : For austria it is loads of fascisoid blockheads with fundamentalist flavour.
    .
    I live in a country right next to austria on the map and to the switzerland in the ranking, and here it is much the same.

    I am surer that the hammer will fall every time than I am about evolution. Lots more observations and much more repeatable.

    install this software and you can observe evolution more often than you can see a hammer falling.

    Thorbjörn: "Norway is below other nordic countries which isn't surprising considering that religion has a stronger basis there."

    It's sort of surprising since we've got a state church that support evolution. I would have thought norway to be further up, at least over the UK and France. The fundies that support creationism in Norway are mostly situated in the south and the west. I always had the impression that Norway was more secular than Sweden, but i guess i was wrong. We do both have our share of loons though (Carola, Runar Søgaard, Arild Edvardsen, and that Knutby minister, although I do not know where they stand on evolution)

    i dunno is just cleverly providing us with a physical manifestation of the very problems enumerated by the study. Nice example! Thanks. You can quit now and come back to the world of the rational.

    I'm not certain but I think that Finland had some really rough time in the first 60-70% of the 1900... This made the church stronger and the schools maybe not as good...

    But they are doing really well now in the school system, kind of took the best from the other Nordic countries and stayed away from all the socialist air headed wives... So I expect them to top this ranking in about 40 years...

    I'm surer of scientific results than introspection, observation, Moorean truths, mathematical truths, logical truths and my own existence. So there.

    Cheer up, people. It's worse than we thought--but nowhere to go but up! Right? (Oh, uh, or to Turkey.)

    It would have been interesting to include the rest of the world--in particular Iraq, Iran, the U.A.E., or Saudi Arabia. Considering how likely it is that the populations of these countries accept evolutionary theory, that would really drive a stake in the heart of Bush's war for civilization talk. They hate us for our freedom! Right. We're so friggin' different from these Third-World countries.

    But what can explain Finland, which considering its enterprizing inhabitants is the France or Italy of the nordic countries?

    Oh, the shame :(

    More Finns believe in a personal God than in the other Nordic countries (but still a minority, ca. 1/3). Perhaps the personal beliefs produce a bit more evolution-doubters, since any "creationist movement" is as feeble as in the other Nordic countries?

    Where is Canada in all this? Nary a mention in this poll. I feel disingenuous now...but FWIW, as a Canadian married to a Dane, I'll put my sentiments in with the Danish...

    By Steve Patterson (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    In purely PR terms, Miller scores the best hit, I think:

    Miller says that it makes about as much sense for politicians to oppose evolution in their campaigns as it is for them to advocate that the Earth is flat and promise to pass legislation saying so if elected to office.

    ...and this is the sort of soundbite one-liner that is more likely to stick in the minds of the ordinary listener...

    "You can pass any law you want, but it won't change the shape of the Earth," Miller told LiveScience.

    By Ian H Spedding (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Perhaps when evolution actually lives up to scientific standards (i.e. being repeatable under controlled conditions), people will be more likely to buy into it.

    The American people have been asked to accept something that can't be repeated, has tremedous gaps in its theory, and still, to this day, cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions: How did life begin and why am I here.

    In other words, all of you secularists and humanists are asking the American people to have faith in what you can't conclusively prove. Oops, sounds an awful lot like RELIGION to me. At least religionists are honest about it...

    You know, what's really interesting is that the US is basically equally split. 40% accept evolution with 40% denying it, and 20% left over undecided.

    That's pretty damned interesting evidence that evolution denial is a political issue in this country. Amazing that the numbers would mirror party membership so closely. I'd like to see a poll comparing the percentage of registered Democrats who accept evolution with the percentage of registered Republicans who do. Assuming it hasn't been done already.

    Is there such thing as "belief in an impersonal god"?

    And why is the US the only country from the Americas?

    Just wondering.

    Just for fun, I did a quick grab of the data in this chart, and ran it against the murder rates for these countries. (insert enormous disclaimer here about loosness of data, additional disclaimer-I not statistician) There is a positive correlation here-very slight-between evolution=false and the murder rate. I'll have to dig out the fraud rates as well-should be interesting.

    Kaethe:

    The study only aims at countries in the "Western European mold": Turkey, being on the cup of Europe and Asia serves as hyrbid state. It would be interesting see South America included.

    As for me, I became physically ill after hearing this story on NPR.

    I wonder what Francis Collins will say about that poll. It may be hard for him to blame activist atheists like Richard Dawkins, because people are less likely to be creationists in RD's homeland.

    By Loren Petrich (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    ...cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions: How did life begin and why am I here.

    I'm sorry, but that's just stupid; no more and no less. Evolution is, by definition, what happens AFTER LIFE HAS BEGUN (which should be pretty obvious) and anyone who asks WHY they are here is not dealing with science. Those are just slightly less dumb requirements for evolution than demanding that it predict the weather in my asshole.

    Why are we attracting the bargain-basement creationists on this one?

    > The American people have been asked to accept something that can't be repeated, has tremedous gaps in its theory, and still, to this day, cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions: How did life begin and why am I here.

    What, you mean Civil War history? Maybe we should ban that from being taught, until people can repeat the Civil War in a lab, and demonstrate how it answers the question "why am I here?"...

    How did life begin and why am I here

    It is not a failing of evolution that it cannot answer basic, fundamental questions about other things. We do not expect the theory of gravity to explain what makes a good story, for example, although that is also a pretty fundamental question. Likewise, germ theory has nothing pertinant to say about what would be good for lunch, another fundamental question. Nor is game theory to be relied on in choosing a life partner, yet another fundamental question.

    As for evolution being repeatable, what do you mean? As an ongoing process it is as demonstrable as plate tectonics. Are you insisting that it's invalid because the Americas aren't splitting off from Africa on some regularly scheduled basis?

    P.Z. said "Americans are being rolled in large numbers by an ideological 'elite' nested in our churches and in the Republican party..."

    This dovetails nicely with Mrs. Robinson's post this morning over at David Neiwert's place. She is writing a series on authoritarianism in the U.S. and the mechanisms authoritarians use to realize their goals. A quote:

    High-SDO (social dominance orientation) people are characterized by four core traits: they are dominating, opposed to equality, committed to expanding their own personal power, and amoral. These are usually accompanied by other unsavory traits, many of which render them patently unsuitable for leadership roles in a democracy:

    Typically men
    Intimidating and bullying
    Faintly hedonistic
    Vengeful
    Pitiless
    Exploitative
    Manipulative
    Dishonest
    Cheat to win
    Highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic)
    Mean-spirited
    Militant
    Nationalistic
    Tells others what they want to hear
    Takes advantage of "suckers"
    Specializes in creating false images to sell self
    May or may not be religious
    Usually politically and economically conservative/Republican (emphasis mine)

    She goes on to explain why many people willingly submit to these authoritarian figures, citing John Dean's Conservatives Without a Concience and Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. This goes a long way in explaining the current political and social climate we have here in the U.S., particularly in the south and the mid-west.

    As for me, I became physically ill after hearing this story on NPR.

    Really? Did it actually surprise you that much? If anything I found the 40% "true" number to be a bit higher than I would have expected. The depth of ignorance in this country, on MANY subjects, is profound and appalling and it's been years since I harbored any illusions to the contrary.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "none" wrote the usual canards.

    A sure sign of the apocolypse would be one of these wankers actually posting an original thought on this subject.

    Gaps you say? How do you explain the fact that your "gap god" has been steadily shrinking for nearly 150 years? By now he's down to the size of Tinker Bell. How does that make you feel?

    Nor is game theory to be relied on in choosing a life partner, yet another fundamental question.

    I suspect game theory could be relied on to choose a life partner.

    I'd like to see the USA data broken down state-by-state. Seems nonsensical to compare Iceland with 300 thousand people to the USA with 300 million. Given a state-by-state list we could also decide which states to kick out or make better choices about where to raise our children.

    I took a quick look at these countries in relationship to the maximum individual income tax rate. (Just as a quick indicator of the money a government has available for education. This is definitely an arguable approach with many potential flaws.) However:

    The top ten countries on the list have an average maximum individual income tax rate of 47.3%, with a spread from 37% (Japan) to 59% (Denmark).

    The bottom ten countries on the list have an average maximum individual income tax rate of 33.5%, with a spread from 16% (Romania) to 50% (Austria).

    For referance, both the U.S. and Turkey have a maximum individual income tax rate of 35%.

    I'm not certain what this tells us, but it's an interesting result.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

    "has tremedous gaps in its theory, and still, to this day, cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions: How did life begin and why am I here."

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

    If this crappola is indictative of American ideas of evolution, we're doomed.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "Likewise, germ theory has nothing pertinant to say about what would be good for lunch"

    Well, maybe you haven't looked in the back of my fridge just lately. Pasteur would run screaming into the night.

    I have no doubts that it's our country's starving of public education over the past 20-30 years that's largely to blame.

    Noah, I get it about the Western model (or idustrialized or first world or whatever) so that you get European nations and Japan. But Canada would definitely fit the model. And Australia. Why weren't they included?

    Thanks, Joshua, of course, deism.

    Seeing a hammer fall is evidence of gravity on the small scale, in exactly the same sense that seeing bacteria develop antibiotic resistance is evidence of evolution on the small scale. There are people who say that the sun orbits the earth, because on the large scale, gravity works differently, or doesn't work at all. We can't set up an experiment in a lab to test whether planets orbit stars, so we have to rely on indirect observations of planetary motions to prove that gravity works on the large scale as well. By dropping a hammer, you're doing nothing to prove gravity on the large scale.

    Saying that we can't make a repeatable experiment that allows us to observe 'macroevolution', therefore it must be a religious belief, is no different from saying that heliocentrism is a religious belief, because we can't test that either. But using indirect evidence, like the fossil record, genetic evidence, planetary motions, etc. is just as scientific.

    "Perhaps when evolution actually lives up to scientific standards (i.e. being repeatable under controlled conditions), people will be more likely to buy into it.

    The American people have been asked to accept something that can't be repeated, has tremedous gaps in its theory, and still, to this day, cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions: How did life begin and why am I here.

    In other words, all of you secularists and humanists are asking the American people to have faith in what you can't conclusively prove. Oops, sounds an awful lot like RELIGION to me. At least religionists are honest about it..."

    If you insufferably arrogant religious fundamentalist morons didn't have your pretentious noses so deeply lodged within your Bibles so that your nostrils are coming out of your thighs, you'd notice that people have been performing evolutionary experiments for millenia before the advent of written history.
    If evolutionary biology can not be repeated, or even observed, then how come people have been able to do little things like, say, domesticate wild animals, develop new strains of domestic animals, produce new varieties of plants, edible, ornamental or medical, and gain insight through the culturing of invertebrates and examination of genomes?

    The reason why the US is in this educational craphole with Turkey is because religious zealots are so smug and arrogant in mistaking their own ignorance for wisdom, that they lack the mental skills to distinguish a lump of pumice from a decorator crab.
    Just sickening.

    Second, the evolution issue has been politicized and incorporated into the current partisan division in the United States in a manner never seen in Europe or Japan.

    So we have the Repubs, like the Taliban, rejecting science and modernity--with which they have no hope of competing in the developed world. The States will become poorer for having these nitwits making policy decisions, but the red states will be particularly hard-hit.

    Guess who they'll blame for their poverty.

    And guess who they'll expect to support them economically, in every way: Schools (in which curriculum we will have no say), infrastructure, enormous welfare rolls, both corporate and personal.

    In fact, we do so now, as blue state taxes go to support those who have impoverished themselves through willful ignorance in the red states.

    It will be--and is currently-- one more rather staggering subsidy for other people's religions.

    (Does the First Amendment really guarantee a right to ignorance?)

    By Molly, NYC (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "Perhaps when evolution actually lives up to scientific standards (i.e. being repeatable under controlled conditions).."

    Like hurricanes? Have you ever tried to repeat one of those under controlled conditions? What about sun spots? Or plate tectonics? Or ... well, the list is endless. You are an excellent example of why we need better science education.

    I've always wondered what religious nuts would have to say in response to fossils of other hominds..like neanderthal man. Are those things made up? Was Neanderthal man in the garden of eden? Since most intelligent design people love to concede that evolution happens for other species just not humans, will they concede that Neanderthalis was placed here, immuatable, by the hand of God. Its funny that they never talk about that.

    By Caith McDermitt (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    OK, I just have to ask:

    Here goes for None:
    What "tremendous gaps" do you speak of? Back it up or shut it up. It's the same old childish argumentation. There's actually quite a body of testable, repeatable, ACTUAL evidence that clearly and absolutly supports evolutionary theory - if you even know what that means. As far as references and specific information go, I will agree that most are conspicuously concealed in things called BOOKS! I would start by studying some geology, astronomy, biology, and chemistry and anthropology.

    Don't bother feeding the 3rd-rate creationist trolls. Only encourages them.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Ahhh, the typical knee-jerk humanist/secularist responses. Not surprising. When confronted, resort to name-calling. You're following the "playbook" beautifully.

    Science needs to be held to high standards. We have lowered them when it comes to evolution. Personally, I believe in evolution, because I think the evidence overwhelmingly points there. I also believe in God, because I think the evidence overwhelmingly points there. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. However, calling evolution "fact" is a disservice to science in general, as it hasn't met scientific criterion for moving from "theory" to "fact." It always amazes me how challenging this theory causes so many to get all atwitter and get their panties twisted in knots.

    And to the person who compared evolution to the Civil War. Are you serious?!?!?! How in the world is an historical war anything remotely close to evolution theory? You want a repeat of the Civil War, go to Iraq.

    "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

    Bulgaria appears to have the highest percentage of correct answers.

    I noticed the "don't know" feature as well in the bar chart. This makes the result doubly depressing: Not only does the U.S. have the second lowest percentage of people who accept evolution, we have the second highest percentage of people who reject evolution. Reversing the left-right orientation of the chart, to give an estimate of, say, what's needed to improve education about evolution, the ordering isn't much different.

    I know I am going to sound arrogant, and I really do not care (see the arrogance?) but the problem with creationism does not come from Government officials trying to push an ideology.

    Long before the current attack on science by ID I was dealing with creationists. Even back in the 80s when I was dealing with friends then that were coming up to me with quotes from pastors, this issue was identifiable as one of the people, not of political groups handing down political ideas.

    We, in the US come from farmers who believe in hands-on training, and what seems to be a "common sense" approach to things. Due to this, a popular myth arose about the book-reading, make-it-up-as-you-go-along, "intellectual."

    Simply put, when the average farmer heard of evolution, it was not through the eyes and ears of people like Darwin, and Huxley, who showed people by their own experiences that evolution simply makes sense, but was through their kids coming back from schools telling them what they read in books, and what their new authority figures, the professors, had told them. The rift cracked at that time, and has only widened as time has gone by.

    College educated then became iconic to this blue-collar culture as a sign someone is trying to change their culture, and this was due to books, and not first hand knowledge, as in, "It is all just theoretical". These people were generally looked down upon by these farmers as "know-it-alls" without any real skills in the "real world". This myth grew as a way to reinforce the working-man hero attitude developed through the basic Protestant ethic view of the world popular in the states then...and now.

    In the end, saying creationism comes from "Political Leaders" is like saying "Slang is forced upon us by Dictionaries."

    Flex: Even though we have a large tax rate (Denmark) we also have a very big social security system so not all this money can be spent on education and actually we have ongoing debates on the appaling results of our public education that continiously scores bad against the countries we usually compare with in international surveys.

    Even though we score wuite high and have the least amount of doubters. I really don't know if anyone is really much more knowledgeable about evolution than anyone else. It is just the default answer here i Denmark.

    By Bo Dixen Pedersen (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Republican's do not shoot down creationism for fear of ostracizing their base.

    No one can deny that. Even "moderate"(not) McCain doesn't try to knock it down.
    He just evades an answer.

    I think it would be very interesting to see if the Republican's get asked about their stance on Creationism in the run up to the Republican primaries.

    Perhaps when evolution actually lives up to scientific standards (i.e. being repeatable under controlled conditions), people will be more likely to buy into it.

    Been there, done that.

    If you don't care to keep up with what's actually being done RIGHT NOW, then don't say anything.

    Republicans not republican's. I know the difference, my fingers just don't seem to. oy

    Okay, Alex, I'll throw some questions at you. Let's see if you can answer them.

    1. Where are the transistory fossils? Just show me one. According to the journal Nature, only 3.8% of the assumed primate species actually have a fossil record. So, what about the other 96.2%. Aren't you asking for a lot of faith from people to just accept them as true?

    2. Where are fossils showing partially developed eyes, legs, feet, arms, etc. Again, just show me one.

    3. Darwin himself stated that the number of transistory links must have been great. Where are they?

    4. If everything evolved from a single organism, where did it come from? Can you explain how something came from nothing?

    5. Explain the development of complex body parts, such as eyes and ears. According to Darwin, a useless body part would not survive. If something without an ear was to develop an ear, it would do so gradually, according to evolution. But to do so gradually, it would be a non-functioning ear for a good bit of time. How do you reconcile this contradiction.

    Scientific practice tells us that when a theory makes a prediction, as Darwin's did with his belief that the fossil record would substantiate his claim, and the prediction doesn't prove true, the theory must be doubted. Yet, people are criticized for doubting the theory. Explain why we should abandon scientific principles in this case.

    There are 3 HUGE problems with the theory of evolution, none of which I've ever heard explained in a reasonable fashion. 1. The origin of life. 2. Gaps in the fossil record. 3. The development of complex body structures.

    " When confronted, resort to name-calling. You're following the "playbook" beautifully."

    Oh of course! You're remarkably stupid post was simply a ploy! Your post was a clever attempt at shaming everyone else, and not just evidence of your ignorance. Of course!

    /sarcasm.

    *lol* I love it when they backpeddal.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    None scribbled....

    "I also believe in God, because I think the evidence overwhelmingly points there."

    Specifically, what evidence do you speak of that proves the existence of your God, along with the exclusion of Allah, Vishnu, Baal, Zeus, [insert favorite god here]?

    "However, calling evolution 'fact' is a disservice to science in general, as it hasn't met scientific criterion for moving from 'theory' to 'fact.'"

    This coming from someone accusing *us* of "following the 'playbook' beautifully." Who said irony was dead?

    Hmm, and yet the questions go unanswered.

    Why am I not surprised...

    "There are 3 HUGE problems with the theory of evolution, none of which I've ever heard explained in a reasonable fashion. 1. The origin of life."

    Talk about following the playbook beautifully.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Dude - you posted it ten minutes ago. How about allowing time to responses. Or just having a look at talkorigins.org.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    So, Lya, answer the question already. Or, are you realizing you can't, so you resort to the typical knee-jerk response.

    Typical. Coward.

    None:

    Evolution is a fact in that it has been repeatedly observed that organisms compete for resources, and those that compete most successfully tend to have the most offspring. This is pretty much the entirety of evolutionary mechanism. If you have reason to believe that this is anything less than a fact, then please let us know.

    Evolutionary theory states that this mechanism is sufficient to produce all the variety we see in nature today. Hundreds of millions of papers have been published in the last 150 years, detailing more and more evidences in biochemistry, paleontology, ontogeny, and a hundred other sciences that back up this theory. No, it's not a fact, but as Gould has said, there ain't no such beast in science.

    Evolutionary theory, however, is far better supported by the evidence than the theory that Pluto orbits the Sun (or that it is held to its orbit by the same force that makes hammers fall), the theory that all matter is made up of teeny-tiny "atoms", the theory that it's impossible to travel faster than light, the theory that the water jug in my fridge won't spontaniously transumte its contents to pure gold before I get home from work, or the theory that there isn't a race of mole-men living under the surface of the Moon.

    Do you withhold the title of "fact" from any of those? If not, why?

    As for the comparison with the Civil War, or course I was being fascetious. But it was a simple fact that every claim you leveled against evolution was also true for studies of the Civil War. And the civil war in Iraq is not a repeat of the American Civil War, as it's being fought with different weapons, for different reasons, in different territory by different commanders with different tactics.

    Unless you want to claim that the evolving of a hundred types of dogs from wolves is a repeat of the evolution of mammals...

    I may have this wrong but aren't all fossils of any animal proof of transition?

    We've covered this topic here so many times. I'm sure PZ has a link or paragraph to paste in to shoot you down simply.

    We're evolving. We're taller than our ancestors. Our little toes are becoming less and less prominent.

    There are no HUGE problems with the theory. It only gets clearer and more precise every year.

    Oh yeah. And there is no evidence of god. None. Zero. There's irrefutable evidence of evolution.

    Uhh, Lya, that website doesn't have any explanation on the origin of life, which isn't surprising considering it is the biggest obstacle for the evolution theory. I've been going to that site for quite some time and can't get anyone to answer this basic, fundamental question. Maybe you should give it a shot.

    "Hmm, and yet the questions go unanswered.
    Why am I not surprised..."

    This whole SITE has answers to your questions--why are you asking us to do your work?

    I also believe in God, because I think the evidence overwhelmingly points there.

    I'd be interested in seeing your evidence. Did you run a repeatable test for God? Do you have lab results?

    And what does your God look like, and why is he different from everyone else's God. Which God is right?

    Lastly, for falsification purposes, in what way is your God different from a super intelligent Alien or Alien species that created our universe and life from their Alien technology.

    Or is it just 'Turtles all the way down'?

    Easy.
    1. All fossils are transitory. If you truly understood evolutionary theory you would understand this. But you're not interested in understanding evolution. Ever taken an anthropology class (college level)?
    2. see 1.
    3. see 1.
    4. Not in the scope of evolutionary theory. This is more chemistry and planetary evolution. Again, this should be obvious to someone who understands evolutionary theory.
    5. see 1.

    All your argumentation are straw men (you might want to look that up). Refer to those books I recommended in my previous post. You really think you have found something to discredit or disprove evolutionary theory? Show it. Publish your findings. There are many very rich people who would love to see your great findings and make you a very rich man in the process. See, what people like you don't want to understand or acknoweldge is that science and the scientific method is absoultly transparent and welcomes all skeptics. Back it up or shut it up. Again.

    Dear "None"

    I could show you several "transistory fossils", but since you only require one I offer Archaeopteryx.

    But then again, it could be a fake that Satan made out of legos in order to trick us!

    Bo Dixen Pedersen wrote:

    Flex: Even though we have a large tax rate (Denmark) we also have a very big social security system so not all this money can be spent on education and actually we have ongoing debates on the appaling results of our public education that continiously scores bad against the countries we usually compare with in international surveys.

    Certainly, all countries decide on different ways to spend their income. Also all countries have very different criteria to determine who pays the maximum tax rates and how to set business taxes or VAT taxes.

    I'm not making any claim of anything more than a correlation. A better measure would be to determine how much each country spends per pupil, not how much it collects in tax.

    However, the maximum income tax levels is a particularly easy set of numbers to discover, and the correlation is interesting.

    -Flex

    Uhhh, Steve, yes we're taller than our ancestors, have smaller toes, whatever. Let me ask you this. Are we a different species than they are, or are you saying that they aren't homo sapiens? Adaptation is not evolution.

    Again, I believe in evolution. What bothers me is the unbelievable arrogance by many in the evolution crowd toward those who are skeptical (just look at the author of this website. He's one of the most arrogant, condescending pricks I've ever come across.) They have every right to be skeptical, considering the problems with the theory. I'm interested in evolutionists being honest with the limitations that exist. What you find, instead, are knee-jerk responses by those who are as arrogant and elitist as the religionists they despise so much.

    I'd guess that this does vary widely among states in the USA. I'd definitely like to see the numbers.

    I'd also like to see about any correlations with health, income, crime, etc. Because I'll bet the pro-ignorance states are far worse places to live in. Having moved from a more midwest state to a more sophisticated coastal state, the change is (wonderfully) jarring. Then again my former home (site of evolution battles as well), is losing 18-44 year olds as of late.

    And None, I'd suggest a visit to, say, http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Main_Page, talkorigins.org, etc. You'll find many of your questions have been answered with some research.

    By DragonScholar (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "So, Lya, answer the question already. Or, are you realizing you can't, so you resort to the typical knee-jerk response.

    Typical. Coward."

    Actually, I'm not a scientist, so I think it's better that they answer your question. But, far be it from you to think before posting.

    Typical. Dishonst. Asshat.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "adaptation is not evolution"?
    Boy that's a hum-dinger. If adaptations are beneficial they are selected to remain in the population. I think there's a term for that, something like ....hmmm....something selection??**&% Anywaze, it's probably not important, or concealed in one of those pesky books again.

    "that website doesn't have any explanation on the origin of life,"

    and why might that be? Could it be because the origins of life isn't in part of the theory? Hmmmmmmm. Maybe we should think a little bit?

    Nah, better to post goofy lies and bloated accusations (while doing the EXACT same thing) then actually try to learn.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    LOL! Rodney, you picked the WORST example possible. Archaeopteryx. You mean, the one that Dr. Alan Feduccia, an expert on birds who is a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and an evolutionist talked about when he said, "Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it's not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of 'paleobabble' is going to change that."

    Try again.

    And yet, Lya, that is one the essential questions in life. What is the origin of life. If evolutionists are going to claim that life started from a single organism or a "gene pool" (they keep changing the argument), then they must explain where it came from. The fact they can't is telling to many people.

    You bloviate quite a bit. Too bad nothing you have to say is credible. You're as bad as the religionists you despise. You blindly follow no matter what.

    BAAAAAAAA. Good sheep.

    Ah, Cyprus, my old nemesis. You have bested me this time, but look sharp! Soon you shall find yourself tossed on the scrapheap with Turkey, and the U.S. will once again reign as the third most ignorant country in the western world!

    And then, on to Riga!

    By The United Sta… (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Yes, Alex, it's called Natural Selection (oooo, I'm smart!) However, when someone tries to equate adaptation to evolution, they should be called on it. The fact none of you is willing to do that tells me that you're more interested in defending members of your "club" than dealing with facts.

    1. Where are the transistory fossils? Just show me one. According to the journal Nature, only 3.8% of the assumed primate species actually have a fossil record. So, what about the other 96.2%. Aren't you asking for a lot of faith from people to just accept them as true?

    Archaeopteryx lithographica - transitional between theropod dinosaurs and birds.

    What are "assumed" primate species? Can we have a list? We know that small arboreal species are unlikely to fossilise. It's not too surprising, therefore, that fossil monkeys are less common than other types of fossils. But is evolutionary theory going to be punished for making an accurate prediction about which fossils are likely to be found?

    2. Where are fossils showing partially developed eyes, legs, feet, arms, etc. Again, just show me one.

    Tiktaalik roseae - if they aren't partially developed legs, I don't know what is.

    3. Darwin himself stated that the number of transistory links must have been great. Where are they?

    Mostly extinct. The ones that were lucky enough to get fossilised are often deep underground where it's difficult to get at them. As it is, we need to muddle through with knowing barely twenty million extinct species, every single one of them a transition between what its ancestors were, and what its descendents would become.

    4. If everything evolved from a single organism, where did it come from? Can you explain how something came from nothing?

    It came from self-replicating organic molecules, which in tern came from the rules of organic chemistry and the materials available. How something came from nothing is a question for those who believe that God created the world from nothing, not for evolution.

    5. Explain the development of complex body parts, such as eyes and ears. According to Darwin, a useless body part would not survive. If something without an ear was to develop an ear, it would do so gradually, according to evolution. But to do so gradually, it would be a non-functioning ear for a good bit of time. How do you reconcile this contradiction.

    Principly, by denying that a contradiction exists. Take the eye, for example:

    1) A dark spot on the organism's body absorbs heat from sunlight, and allows it to be able to know when it's under shelter, increasing the chance that it can hide from predators.

    2) The dark spot becomes specifically sensitive to "visible" light, so that volcanic vents aren't mistaken for the sun.

    3) The spot becomes recessed. It can now only be triggered by light in the direction the creature is facing.

    4) The spot becomes covered with a translucent skin that keeps mud and grit off the proto-retina.

    5) The retina becomes more sensitive.

    6) The film covering becomes more transparent.

    7) The film covering shapes itself to being more like a lens.

    8) GOTO 5.

    Which step do you consider non-functional, or worse than the preceeding step? Why?

    Don't bother feeding the 3rd-rate creationist trolls. Only encourages them.

    You called it on this one. How many times has (s)he been told that the origin of life has nothing to do with Evolution? Oy...

    None:

    Ya know, I think that paleotn and I both had a pretty good question for you. You said you had evidence for God. We both asked you what it was.

    To me it sounds like a testable hypothesis. Let's test God!

    C'mon. We really want to know. If we can repeat the God experiment then we too can believe.

    Thanks for taking the bait, None. If archaeopteryx is the "worst" example of a transitional fossil, then you aknowldege that there are OTHER examples. You stated that there were none, None.Mable that's why two different birds, a dove and a raven, are listed as being sent from the ark in the totally historicly accurate bible: Noah actually sent an Aachaeopteryx.

    Nice try Alex, but it ain't working. I'm truly beginning to wonder if YOU actually understand evolutionary theory or not. Perhaps you should take at least a High-School level course on the subject.

    Simply put, the fossil evidence does not back up the claims made by evolutionists. Yet, dissent to this fact is derided and squelched. I've never seen this in any other area of scientific research.

    Are people that afraid of religion that they're willing to change the rules so they can have an alternative explanation to what religion offers? Seems to be so.

    None regurgitated....

    "Uhh, Lya, that website doesn't have any explanation on the origin of life"

    The theory of evolution has nothing to do with the ORIGIN of life. You've been told that in this thread. Evolution in no way speaks to the origins of life or why life exists. It merely explains the processes that change life over time. And in that, it is by far and away the best explaination that fits the data as we know it today. Creationists have been told that time and time and time freaking again! How hard is that to wedge between your ears?! My god man, are you really this dumb or do you just play dumb on the Internet?

    Hey None.

    Any proof of god whatsoever there buddy?

    C'mon. Where's your evidence.

    Simply put, the fossil evidence does not back up the claims made by evolutionists. Yet, dissent to this fact is derided and squelched. I've never seen this in any other area of scientific research.

    OK None, you say the evidence does not back up the claims. Please explain why this is so, with specific examples if possible. The people here, I am sure, will be glad to answer your questions. They've already provided detailed answers, such as this one: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/put_the_blame_where_it_belon…

    By DragonScholar (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "You bloviate quite a bit. Too bad nothing you have to say is credible. You're as bad as the religionists you despise. You blindly follow no matter what.

    BAAAAAAAA. Good sheep."

    Wow, look at all those strawmen.

    1. Where did I say I despie religionists, liar?
    2. What evidence is there that I blindly follow anything? (which was quite a funny accusations coming from someone who can't admit he has no evidence for his god).
    3. I've given you a link, others here have repeated what I've told you. The fact that you'd rather insult than admit you've lost any credibility makes you head towards trolldom.

    Better luck next time.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    So you're saying that all fossils are not transitory? Interesting. Then you are a troll. Never backing anything up....oh except your post about the bird lizard....which was pretty weak. Can you even define what a "transition fossil" is? I mean really, in specific, real, meaningful terms?

    PS Without actually showing you transcripts I honestly can assure you I have studied at the college level: Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Anthropology, Biology, and Psychology - among many other things. I was also raised a Christian. I no longer have a need for superstition and fear of the unknown. It is false. All things are natural and I'm not afraid to admit ignorance, but above all, I measure everything in terms of the empirical reality we all live in.

    Here none, let me help you out some more:

    Transition fossil - "...According to modern evolutionary theory, all populations of organisms are in transition...."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_fossil

    That would be yet another OOOOPPS!

    Read much do we?

    Ho-hum, we've been here before, and before, and before that too. Here's my public-service contribution for "none": a quick lookup of the specific responses at talkorigins.org to his well-known (ancient) Creationist claims, taken from the large list of such claims which talkorigins has tabulated, numbered and otherwise organized for the mechanical regularity with which they reappear. None says s/he reads talkorigins but it's not obvious that's true. (And yes their response on abiogenisis is that that is not an evolutionary problem, and even if it were it's demonstrable that abiogenisis succeeded on Earth (at least) so we know that it can).

    CB0: Abiogenesis [ multiple topics, including: ]
    CB090. Evolution is baseless without a theory of abiogenesis.

    CC200: Transitional fossils
    CC200. Transitional fossils are lacking.
    * CC200.1. There should be billions of transitional fossils.

    CB300: Physiology and Anatomy
    CB300. Complex organs couldn't have evolved.
    * CB301. The eye is too complex to have evolved.
    o (see also CB921.1: What use is half an eye?)
    * CB302. The ear is too complex to have evolved.

    You know none, this would really work out better for you if you just made up your own definitions of this stuff and spout them loudly and obnoxiously while trying to convince everyone else that they are the misguided ones. Oh wait, that's what you're doing. My bad.

    Talkorigins wins again.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    thwaite,

    I totaly feel your sentiment. But I have a real challenge ignoring these guys. They actually come across like they have something and I always fear the casual observer might be swayed by their "argumentation". Their dishonesty really eats at me sometimes.

    Thanks for the post. I try to stay away from TalkOrigins posts to these people because it may seem a little biased to them. I know it's not. Great links.

    None:

    Personally, I believe in evolution, because I think the evidence overwhelmingly points there.

    Why don't you just explain to us exactly what evidence you consider to be "overwhelming" for evolution? After all, it's clearly not the fossil record, or the similarity of existing species. Protien sequences, maybe?

    I'm sure we'd all love to be awed by your percipacity.

    None expounded:
    4. If everything evolved from a single organism, where did it come from? Can you explain how something came from nothing?
    Maybe it came from the same place that the intellegent designer came from? Considering that ID isn't Creationism it isn't like it would have to arise from some sort of religious miracle like it always having been here or something.
    By the way, look up "gill arches" on google. I'm not going to debate this with you so don't bother replying because you aren't interested in learning anything and aren't listening to anything that anyone is telling you. Quite frankly you are acting like a child.

    I strongy doubt that actually showing Nonetroll evidence, whether in the flesh or online, will actually convince him. As far as I can tell, he has confused his faith with stupidity that has been reinforced by his own vanity and arrogance, and as such, refuses to admit that any of his opponents have said anything meaningful. I gather this given the way he's trotted out that annoying old canard of "evolution has no evidence," and clings to it like an old teddy bear, much like the way Jack Chick's supporters claim that the Pope and Mohammed are blood-drinking, baby-eating alien moon-demons from Hell.

    Right. You present people with a choice between accepting evolution or accepting God, and are then shocked that they are more concerned with the latter, and angry that they prefer God.When will you stop making God the issue? You state over and over again that God is not the issue because this is science: then you criticize the "God-soaked sheep" who deny your scientific conclusion.It is equally possible that the two positions are not so integrally linked: and if you'd stop advocating your religion of godlessness and start only focusing on the question of how the two might fit together (as the Vatican has, for example), you might get different results. Until that time, you can congratulate yourself on being superior to God-soaked sheep, and you can wonder why they don't want to listen to you.

    blah blah blah. Boo hoo.

    Stanton,

    I totally agree, however, I'm not sure it's totally about convincing him. At least for me, I worry about other casual passers-by.

    Listen closely, I hear the sounds of crickets and bullfrogs coming from none's little corner. Must be nappy time. Poor tike, all of those confounded corroborated facts must have made him sleepy.

    [quote]Right. You present people with a choice between accepting evolution or accepting God, and are then shocked that they are more concerned with the latter, and angry that they prefer God.[/quote] So how come it doesn't happen that way in all those genuine First World countries on the list? Such as the one where Dawkins can be heard in full cry?

    The prevalence of belief in fairy tales in this country IS the problem.

    By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "I gather this given the way he's trotted out that annoying old canard of "evolution has no evidence," and clings to it like an old teddy bear"

    But yet still claims to "believe" in evolution because the evidence points there. (I think this was a lie just to fool us into thinking None wasn't a troll from the get-go).
    ~~~

    "Right. You present people with a choice between accepting evolution or accepting God, and are then shocked that they are more concerned with the latter, and angry that they prefer God."

    Great. Start off with a blatant lie. Where did ANYONE say that it was either evolution OR god?

    "When will you stop making God the issue? You state over and over again that God is not the issue because this is science: then you criticize the "God-soaked sheep" who deny your scientific conclusion."

    Misleading. They are not criticized because they're "god-soaked", they're criticized because (as it is PAINFULLY clear on this thread) that even after being presented with evidence, they ignore it and continue the bullshit. Or, like you, they lie and expect us to simply ignore it or be tolerant of it as it is their "beliefs".

    "It is equally possible that the two positions are not so integrally linked: and if you'd stop advocating your religion of godlessness and start only focusing on the question of how the two might fit together (as the Vatican has, for example), you might get different results."

    Great another "god-soaked" troll. Exactly how, given the proper definitions, is atheism a religon? (I can't wait to see the bullshit reason for that statement.) I suggest putting away the Coulter books.

    "Until that time, you can congratulate yourself on being superior to God-soaked sheep, and you can wonder why they don't want to listen to you."

    Well, knowledge is superior to ignorance. However, if they can't get passed their own arrogant refusal to consider the evidence (which once again, was cleary shown in this thread), then they will continue to be ignorant.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Century after centruy has been witness to the acts of empirical study and discourse inexorably relegate the God concept to that of irrelevance. It's man's own invention.

    Throughout the ages religions claims have crumbled. Evolution is a huge issue because the God concept is at risk of being removed from man's origin.

    I have examples Arnold if you need them. I would point you to some history books to start off with. (there are those dang books again!)

    NOT ONE PERSON HERE CAN EXPLAIN A CODE AS COMPLEX AS IS IN EVERY LIVING CELL AS SOMETHING FROM A MINDLESS ACCIDENT. A CODE MUST HAVE AN INTELLIGENCE IN ORDER TO TRANSMIT AND RECIEVE INFORMATION. SO MUCH MORE COMPLEX THAN ANY SOFTWARE IN EXISTENCE .A SUPER INTELLIGENCE, A GOD ,MANY GODS, ALIENS, WHO KNOWS? VERY SIMPLE BUT VERY PERPLEXING.

    I think the writer going under the moniker "none" choose this name for the state of his brain. He has been given ample examples and links on this blog to understand something about evolution. But with little or no brain it is hard for him to understand them. It is much easer to spout old canards. Even a tape recorder can do that. If he/she/it (none's stuiff is so dumb it could be a script) would care to read through a few hundred of the more scientific posts on here to do with evolution, and come back and explain in detail why PJ is wrong, we would be glad to listen.

    By oldhippie (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    start only focusing on the question of how the two might fit together (as the Vatican has, for example), you might get different results.

    Isn't that a False Delemma?

    First, it isn't a question of fitting God to Science, it's a question of WHICH God do we fit to Science. There are a multitude.

    Secondly, we still need to question if there IS a God. Either that is proven, or it is not.

    As for the Vatican - accepting some of the findings of science in order to stay viable sounds like they are trying to keep or attract membership. It's awfully hard to sound credible to your followers these days if you endorse a geocentric solar system.

    "MINDLESS ACCIDENT"

    Why do they always say this? Why, in the absence of the sky-daddy, is everything all of a sudden an "accident"?

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Bro:
    The press release linked from Panda's Thumb claims the primary data "were collected by the European Commission" and complemented by surveys in US and Japan. The largest skewage in the survey could indeed be this impromptu selection.

    i dunno:
    "Believing that there is a force that we choose to call gravity and can model in specific ways that is consistent with observed results and is a useful tool for predicting future events would be a scientific belief."

    The difference is that facts are justified with observations, and theories claims are justified with facts. Religious beliefs are unjustified claims.

    T_U_T:
    "For austria it is loads of fascisoid blockheads with fundamentalist flavour."

    Tut-tut. But I take your point - thanks for the explanation!

    Magnus:
    "It's sort of surprising since we've got a state church that support evolution."

    Okay. My impression gathered during several visits is that religion is more important and the religious are more litteral than in other nordic countries. So I nevertheless expect more and more serious fundies.

    "We do both have our share of loons though (Carola, Runar Søgaard, Arild Edvardsen, and that Knutby minister, although I do not know where they stand on evolution)"
    Yes. Knutby had the "sister of Jesus" loonie that fueled the ministry and the murders. BTW, thank you for exporting Søgaard to us! ;-)

    Magnus:
    "kind of took the best from the other Nordic countries and stayed away from all the socialist air headed wives"

    Exactly! I believe you are right about them doing better soon - thanks for the explanation!

    poke:
    "and my own existence."

    You may have invented antisolipsism?! And that is a good point. Especially on saturday evenings existence may be blurry but the floor is still hard. :-)

    windy:
    "Oh, the shame :("

    I meant that in a positive way! Finns are more enterprizing, individualistic and artisan than the rest of the Nordic countries IMO. (Okay, I love Paris and italian design and body language, but I'm not in love with the people. Some goes for Finland - I love more the products than the countries as such.)

    "More Finns believe in a personal God than in the other Nordic countries (but still a minority, ca. 1/3). Perhaps the personal beliefs produce a bit more evolution-doubters"

    That depends on the definition of "a personal God". If it is a private picture a là deism, it seems they may care less for religious movements. If it is a personalised God, sure.

    None:
    "The American people have been asked to accept something that can't be repeated, has tremedous gaps in its theory, and still, to this day, cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions: How did life begin and why am I here."

    That is a huge strawman to burn.

    There are many repeated observations and experiments - for example, each fossil found so far fit into "common descent with modification". There are no tremendous gaps known - but god-of-the-gaps isn't a scientific explanation anyway. And finally, evolution doesn't answer nor need to answer how life begun - it concerns itself, selfconsistently, with existing life.

    Well, that fire was nice to see, only ashes remains now.

    "At least religionists are honest about it..."
    No they are not: ID.

    "However, calling evolution "fact" is a disservice to science in general, as it hasn't met scientific criterion for moving from "theory" to "fact.""
    Common descent with modification is the observed fact (ie phylogenetic trees such as in fossils and in DNA), and evolution is the theories that describes that and many more facts of biology.

    "Are we a different species than they are, or are you saying that they aren't homo sapiens?"
    Speciation is a large subject, but basically a species are those individuals that interbreed. So go figure - do you bread with the common ancestor of humans and chimps? Probably not any more than you breed with chimps.

    "I'm interested in evolutionists being honest with the limitations that exist."
    Yet you aren't interested in understanding and keeping up with the real debate where it exists and should exist - within peerreviewed science.

    I see that this developed into troll feeding, so I will stop here.

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "NOT ONE PERSON HERE CAN EXPLAIN A CODE AS COMPLEX AS IS IN EVERY LIVING CELL AS SOMETHING FROM A MINDLESS ACCIDENT"

    1. Please don't shout, it's considered rude.
    2. I'll take the above statement as saying that biological and organic existance can never be explained in natural terms. How do you know this? In other words, how can you make this statement with such veracity? What brought you to this conclusion? Please show us how this conclusion is so obvious to you.
    3. You know you are bucking 100s of year of recorded history on this. Time and time again man has proven natural causation to things considered magic or unknowable. Look up the history of lightning.

    PHIL:

    DNA isn't a code so much as a sequence. Therefore, it doesn't require a cosmic computer programmer.

    Oh, and the Caps Lock button doesn't automatically make your arguments magically more convincing.

    All-Cappers are FUNNY. Especially when they make no sense and have no idea what they are talking about.

    "I've always wondered what religious nuts would have to say in response to fossils of other hominds..like neanderthal man. Are those things made up? Was Neanderthal man in the garden of eden?"

    You know how they rationalize this, Caith, they just blindly repeat that these are fossils of apes. Neatherthalensis was an ape; Homo erectus was an ape; Homo habilis, etc. And what about the shapes of the hands of these creatures? What about their opposable thumbs? Oh, religious nuts just ignore inconvenient facts like that. Easy!

    To elaborate on Wintermute's 12:31 post, Allen Parker's book _In the Blink of an Eye_ quotes research that states that it takes roughly 344,000 (IIRC) generations to go from light-sensitive spot to a fully lensed and functional eye. This may seem like a lot, but given that most animals have a generational time of 1-2 years, even if we consider a generational time of 3 years for trilobites and their immediate ancestors (basically the first creatures to have eyes, according to the book), that still gives a time-frame of a little over a million years to go from light-sensitive spot to functional eye, which is a short time in geological and evolutionary terms. Plus, every improvement along the way would likely give a survival advantage to its possessor.

    Like many others here, none, I too would like to see/hear this 'overwhelming evidence' for God. Please use falsifiable evidence, preferably (but not necessarily) from peer-reviewed journals or other similarly reliable sources. Please do not use the bible or other religious texts, unless you can show us how those are falsifiable and how they have been tested and shown to be true. You may have as much time as you need, although given your earlier impatience (cf. your 12:08 and 12:00 posts), you may want to set an example and post your results quickly.

    By Captain C (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "(cf. your 12:08 and 12:00 posts)"

    That would be 12:08 and 12:11.

    By Captain C (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Simply put, the fossil evidence does not back up the claims made by evolutionists. Yet, dissent to this fact is derided and squelched. I've never seen this in any other area of scientific research.

    A pararnoid conspiracy theory does not qualify as evidence, and the fact that you don't know what the fossil record says is not proof that the fossil record does not support evolution.

    Science is not a democracy. If you don't know what you're talking about, YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT.

    Are people that afraid of religion that they're willing to change the rules so they can have an alternative explanation to what religion offers? Seems to be so.

    You don't get to shove your fingers in your ears and go "LA LA LA" every time your intellectual betters answer your dumbass questions, then whine that they're somehow "changing the rules" on you. That is not and has never been an accepted part of the scientific process.

    Religion has nothing to offer to science, and science doesn't care what religion is peddling, anyway. To say that we've changed the rules of science to exclude something that is axiomatically not a part of scientific inquiry is like saying that we've changed the rules of basketball to exclude the infield fly rule. It's not a part of the game to begin with, so coming up with a rule that specifically excludes it is a pointless waste of time.

    And you're damn right that some of us are afraid of religion, but not for the reasons you seem to think. What little intellectual threat religion poses to science is far less worrisome than the very real physical menace it presents.

    "As for the Vatican - accepting some of the findings of science in order to stay viable sounds like they are trying to keep or attract membership."

    I guess locking people up, racking them and /or burning them at the stake just doesn't fly anymore.

    > Like many others here, none, I too would like to see/hear this 'overwhelming evidence' for God.

    Personally, I want to see his 'overwhelming evidence' for evolution. I really don't care why he believes in God, but if he claims to have strong evidence for evolution, and then spends all his time trying to prove that the evidence we present is, at best, weak, then it stands to reason that he's just waiting for the proper moment to unveil the true evidence, so we can all bask in his genius. I'm sure it'll be fascinating.

    Of course, there is another possibility, which is that he's lying. But that can't be true, because one of the 10 Commandments is "Thou shalt not bear false witness". And no-one could claim to be a Christian in the same sentence as they deliberately break one of the 10 Commandments, could they?

    Every time you tell a lie, it makes Baby Jesus cry...

    Can you hear him?

    MUST HAVE HIT A NERVE. QUITE A FUNNY ATTEMPT AT A FEEDING FRENZY.NO REASONABLE DISCOURSE HERE, MOSTLY CHILDISH RESPONSE. DNA IS A CODE AND AS SUCH THE INFORMATION TRANSMITTED MUST BE INTERPRETED BEFORE IT CAN BE ACTED UPON.AS FOR THE CAPS,, I SUPPOSE ANY CHALLENGE TO THE STATUS QUO IS TO BE RIDICULED OR SHOT DOWN WITH DOUBLE TALK FROM FOLKS WHO ARE VERY CLOSED MINDED.DNA IS A COPLEX MEANS OF COMUNICATION.NOT ONLY MUST THE TRANSMITTER BE AWARE OF SOMETHING TO SEND MESSAGES TO ,IT MUST SEND A MESSAGE THAT THE RECIEVER CAN UNDERSTAND AND ACT UPON.

    Phil,
    Your contention "A code must have an intelligence in order to transmit and receive information." [edited for inside voice] is simply incorrect.

    Meaning is something that you get from language; information does not have to be language. Information does not have to have any meaning at all. That's why we have distinct concepts of messages, languages, semantics, and information: because they're all different.

    See Good Math; Bad Math for the full explanation. It's a good one.

    Dan, I appreciate and applaud your strong sentiment.

    Speaking to Dan and paleotn's point, remember the time they said that witches were actually REAL!!! They burned, torchered and imprisoned hundreds!! HAH!! That was a good one.

    You're right Dan, organized religion can be very scary as history has shown us.

    Phil. You're an idiot. DNA is not a code.There's is not computer involved. There is no transmitter. It is not data.

    You're out of your depth.

    This guy does make Vargas' disdain for metaphor a bit more understandable. Except this guy probably doesn't understand metaphors either.

    Phil,

    Regarding the all caps, I simply said it was considered impolite. So you like being impolite, be that as it my.

    As far as getting any more responses from me, don't worry. Your last post just made my brain explode.

    (I think I have a permanent twictch now!! DAMMIT!)

    Um, DNA contains data. And it's not so much a code as a representative system. It is very much like punchcard instruction for an early computer or a Jacquard loom.

    By Caledonian (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    This thread is trollalicious.

    "NO REASONABLE DISCOURSE HERE, MOSTLY CHILDISH RESPONSE."

    Hear, hear!

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Shorter Phil: I'm a troll and this is all way over my head, but I can't admit it so I'll pretend I'm a puppet master.

    (didn't None just try that? Hmmmmm)

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Yeah, that confusion between "meaning" and "information" is just so...funny. "Meaning" exists solely and exclusively within the human mind. Nowhere else.

    Chemistry doesn't "mean" anything. It just does what it does.

    Rev. - I had to laugh out loud at that. Nice work.

    I'd say that's a perfect example of how great humor doesn't have to use profanity. That being said, using profanity in your message would have "kicked it up a notch"!!!

    Saying that we can't make a repeatable experiment that allows us to observe 'macroevolution', therefore it must be a religious belief, is no different from saying that heliocentrism is a religious belief, because we can't test that either.

    But that is neither what I said nor what I meant. The theory of evolution does a good job of explaining the available evidence. I don't dispute that.

    But to accept it as TRUTH is taking a LEAP of FAITH. If it (or any scientific theory) is not amenable to changes based on new evidence it is just more dogma. If it is changeable, then it can not be the absolute TRUTH...it is just the best explanation (theory) we currently have.

    My point was that to the poll question the only rigourous scientific answer would have to be "not sure."

    "Scientists never claim absolute knowledge."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

    I am curious if the folks that disagree with me on that point consider themselves to be scientists?

    Well, all of you have certainly given me a reason to laugh.

    Everything that I have written has been toward one goal: honesty and integrity, something that is sorely lacking not only here, but within the evolutionary community in general.

    My main question in life has been, how did I get here? Looking at all of the available evidence, I believe evolution gives me the best answer. However, I am honest enough, and have enough integrity, to admit that there are problems with the theory, and can understand fully why so many aren't willing to accept it. W.R. Thompson put it best when he wrote:

    "As we know, there is a great divergence of opinion among biologists, not only about the causes of evolution but even about the actual process. This divergence exists because the evidence is unsatisfactory and does not permit any certain conclusion. It is therefore right and proper to draw the attention of the non-scientific public to the disagreements about evolution. But some recent remarks of evolutionists show that they think this unreasonable. This situation, where scientific men rally to the defence of a doctrine they are unable to define scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigour, attempting to maintain its credit with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science."

    This site is a great example of what Thompson was writing about.

    However, evolution does nothing to explain WHERE we ultimately come from, our origin. It's been pointed out that origin isn't what evolution is all about. I find that pretty funny, considering Darwin's work was titled "Origin of Species." Silly me, I thought evolution would have to do with origin. Wonder what led me to think that?!?!

    Science has offered no plausible explanation for our origin. Theories of big bangs and primordial soups are lacking. When I look at the universe, I see extreme complexity. I see unbelievable mathematical precision. The probability of this happening by chance, which is what science argues, is so astronomical that it would take an even greater leap of faith to believe in this than to believe there was something else behind it. So, given all that I've seen and experienced, I believe in a creator. Who or what exactly this is, I don't know. But it's a better explanation, given all we know, than the idea that it happened by accident or chance.

    So, feel free to continue flaming away. There's a good reason why scientists around the world disagree about this topic. It's a shame they aren't allowed to seriously debate it. As Thompson said, this is abnormal and undesirable. Too bad it's what we're stuck with.

    If the fossil record was the Zapruder film, a creationist would decide that each frame depicted an entirely different Kennedy, citing the lack of transitional frames between the extant ones.

    - bp

    "Everything that I have written has been toward one goal: honesty and integrity, something that is sorely lacking not only here, but within the evolutionary community in general."

    Try and try again. The same goes for when you say "scientific rigour".

    You're unable to make the distinction between the origin of the universe and the origin of life as scientific questions, and you can't admit what is a fact: evolution isn't concerned with the origin of life itself.

    That you take the title of one of Darwin's work over the material fact of what the field of evolutionnary biology actually concerns isn't a mark of integrity.

    And by the way, there's a way of interpreting the title "Origin of Species" as not meaning "origin of all life". Speciation rings a bell, maybe?

    You present people with a choice between accepting evolution or accepting God, and are then shocked that they are more concerned with the latter, and angry that they prefer God.

    I'm a bit behind, but wanted to address this one. We never brought God into it - the religious people did.

    How many trolls are there here now? I'll admit there are one or two new posters who are trying (badly, but still trying) to make points, but several who are just being trolls. All coming from the same IP, PZ?

    There is no choice needed to be made because there is no god.
    There is no evidence of god. You haven't shown any that's for sure.

    Of course, the most plausible theory for how life originated is that some invisible entity that constantly acts upon the world--but never leaves any evidence for these actions other than a 2000+ year old writings by slaves and nomads and championed most stridently by people that can barely read the text that forms the basis of their reality--poofed life into existence somewhere between 6,000 and 3,000,000,000 years ago.

    None, you show about as much truth and integretity as Rush Limbaugh did when he went into withdrawl.

    I would like hear from you, in that, how do you explain how exactly does not knowing the exact means by which life came to be from methane and ammonia and water impairs one's ability to breed pigeons, chickens or orchids, and impairs one's ability to observe such processes?

    On the other hand, given as how I've already asked this of other creationists, I strongly doubt that you'd even acknowldge me, let alone my question.

    Also, are you even aware of the experiments scientists are performing now, about various abiogenesis experiments that simulate various different possible environments that life may have began, like in deepsea vents, or frigid saltwater, or even pyrite and clay? I doubt that you even know how to look them up in Google.

    Stanton,

    As soon as you can create saltwater, pyrite or clay from nothing, I'll listen to you.

    By the way, smugness and arrogance don't suit you very well.

    "As soon as you can create saltwater, pyrite or clay from nothing, I'll listen to you."

    Again, confusion between the origin of matter and the origin of life. Not very scientific at all, I'd say.

    Oh, and the "I'll listen to you" really goes well with:

    "By the way, smugness and arrogance don't suit you very well."

    No sense of irony!

    As predicted, you've ignored my question, as well as take what I've said totally out of context.
    My statement concerning you clinging to your stupidity like an old teddy bear still stands.

    Way to dodge things Stanton. Typical.

    And Stanton, creationism, as I see it, doesn't deal with evolution at all, merely the origins of life. Now, if all you've ever talked with are fundamentalist christians, I can see how you might assume what you do. However, that's pretty short-sighted. Believing in a creator doesn't mean that the created order doesn't change, adapt or evolve.

    Um, no.
    I asked you, and I copy and paste

    I would like hear from you, in that, how do you explain how exactly does not knowing the exact means by which life came to be from methane and ammonia and water impairs one's ability to breed pigeons, chickens or orchids, and impairs one's ability to observe such processes?

    To which you have not answered yet.
    You, in turn, lied by claiming that I'm dodging things.

    Numad,

    Ahh, the old symantics card. Pathetic.

    Again, make something out of nothing. When you can, I'll listen to you.

    I just saw on one of the cable science channels a really amazing description of how we eventually ended up with an oxygen rich atmosphere that could maintain life.

    I can't remember exactly how long in terms of millions vs. billions of years... but it stated essentially that the oceans were so rich in iron that until all of the iron had been oxidized and turned into sediment the oceans couldn't release the oxygen into the atmsophere. Once that was finally completed... which took a very long time... the atmosphere filled with oxygen and other gasses faitly quickly in comparison.

    It always fascinates me when I find out new tidbits about the history of our little blue ball.

    Didn't lie, Stanton. You didn't answer my question, ergo, you're dodging.

    Reading comprehension. It's a wonderful skill you might wish to develop.

    Something out of nothing?

    What's ee goin on abowt?

    Hey none. Once you can prove god's existence I'll listen.

    Furthermore, given as how you continue to purposely conflate "formation of complex organic molecules from ammonia, methane, and water, in either deepsea vents, saltwater, or on the surface clay and pyrite crystals" with "making something out of nothing," I remain unconvinced of your intelligence.

    Symantics? Maybe you mean semantics?

    I'm done feeding this particular troll.

    Yes you are lying, as you haven't asked my question, and you continue to conflate abiogenesis with "something out of nothing."

    Man, it's like watching old-school Red State Rabble. Man, when Legion was hanging around there, it was just like this, but with even less of the sense-making.

    I don't want to go back to those days, but I do remember them vividly.

    Man, it's like watching old-school Red State Rabble. Man, when Legion was hanging around there, it was just like this, but with even less of the sense-making.

    I don't want to go back to those days, but I do remember them vividly.

    stogoe, exactly what I was just thinking.

    PHIL:

    DNA IS A CODE AND AS SUCH THE INFORMATION TRANSMITTED MUST BE INTERPRETED BEFORE IT CAN BE ACTED UPON.

    A trivial statement. Locks interpret the shapes of keys inserted into them. Do you not understand that physical objects can interact in such ways without being conscious?

    DNA IS A COPLEX MEANS OF COMUNICATION.NOT ONLY MUST THE TRANSMITTER BE AWARE OF SOMETHING TO SEND MESSAGES TO ,IT MUST SEND A MESSAGE THAT THE RECIEVER CAN UNDERSTAND AND ACT UPON.

    Oh...I see that you do not.

    i dunno:

    If it (or any scientific theory) is not amenable to changes based on new evidence it is just more dogma. If it is changeable, then it can not be the absolute TRUTH...it is just the best explanation (theory) we currently have.

    There is no such thing as "absolute truth", though religion often pretends there is (and that it has it). If you have new evidence that would change the theory of evolution, please present it.

    None:

    My main question in life has been, how did I get here?

    I'm sincerely sorry to hear that.

    As soon as you can create saltwater, pyrite or clay from nothing, I'll listen to you.

    That's not very fair, considering that none of the saltwater, pyrite, or clay that has ever existed was "created from nothing". Assuming that your apparent desire to cut to the chase isn't just rhetorical, I recommend reading about vacuum energy, baryogenesis, and other topics in particle physics.

    Careful AC, especially with Phil. His second post caused my brain to explode and I still have a residual twitch. As far as none goes, he's been pummeled and beaten with links, facts, and detailed questions throughout this thread and just doesn't respond. So that one's pretty much a dead end in terms of debate.

    My main question in life has been, how did I get here?

    Is that the question you're claiming I didn't answer?

    Physically speaking, you got to where ever it is you're at at the moment by walking there, or using some other mode of transporation.

    Biologically speaking, you got "here" when one of your mother's eggs was fertilized by one of your father's sperm, and the fertilized egg took about 9 months developing into you after it had implanted itself onto the inner surface of your mother's uterus.

    None:

    However, evolution does nothing to explain WHERE we ultimately come from, our origin. It's been pointed out that origin isn't what evolution is all about. I find that pretty funny, considering Darwin's work was titled "Origin of Species." Silly me, I thought evolution would have to do with origin. Wonder what led me to think that?!?!

    In fairness to you, it's hard to ask the right questions when you neither know nor care which questions you should ask. All the same, your pathological refusal to comprehend that abiogenesis is axiomatically outside the purview of evolutionary theory does not mean that evolution must explain the origins of life to you. What it does mean, however, is that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about, and thus YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT.

    Science has offered no plausible explanation for our origin. Theories of big bangs and primordial soups are lacking.

    Science has offered plenty of plausible explanations for the origin of life. The fact that you don't know any of them is not proof that they don't exist. Once again, if you don't know what you're talking about, YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT.

    When I look at the universe, I see extreme complexity. I see unbelievable mathematical precision. The probability of this happening by chance, which is what science argues, is so astronomical that it would take an even greater leap of faith to believe in this than to believe there was something else behind it. So, given all that I've seen and experienced, I believe in a creator. Who or what exactly this is, I don't know. But it's a better explanation, given all we know, than the idea that it happened by accident or chance.

    Argument from personal incredulity. "I don't believe it, therefore it isn't true" is not an intelligent argument against science, especially not when you don't know the first thing about how it works.

    Third time's the charm: you are scientifically clueless in every possible way, so YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT.

    So, feel free to continue flaming away. There's a good reason why scientists around the world disagree about this topic.

    No shit, Sherlock. Did you come up with that gem all by yourself? Given that debating scientific topics is an integral part of what scientists do for a living, it shouldn't be even slightly surprising when they actually start debating scientific topics. Do you also express such surprise over the fact that auto mechanics can replace your carburetor? Are you likewise flabbergasted by the amazing ability of gourmet chefs to prepare fabulous lamb chops? Does it shock you every time a professional baseball player hits a double into the left-field gap?

    Scientists disagree about scientific topics BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY DO. How you managed to convince yourself that this fact is somehow a damning indictment of science and scientists is completely beyond me.

    It's a shame they aren't allowed to seriously debate it. As Thompson said, this is abnormal and undesirable. Too bad it's what we're stuck with.

    By quoting W. R. Thompson from 1956, you are showing just how behind the times you are. You do realize that it's been A FULL 50 YEARS since then, right? It obviously hasn't occured to you that Thompson might actually have been wrong about this alleged lack of debate among scientists (I'd love to see you come up with some corroborating evidence for that claim, although I doubt you have either the interest or the capability to do so), but the least you could do is admit that things might just have changed in the half century since he said so.

    Hi Alex,
    Appreciated your response (now long ago it seems). And your concern about ignoring the guys with the same old arguments is legitimate: "for (ignorance) to triumph, it suffices that (reason) remain silent".

    My own concern is about the mechanical nature of my own response - citing the talkorigins responses is useful (and they're updated as apt), but such canned responses must eventually progress to more critical and individualized discussion. That is, once the known misunderstandings have been put aside - e.g. physicists don't need to discuss and prove again & again that the rate of falling is constant for equal weights even though lead pellets fall demonstrably faster than ostrich feathers of the same weight - that's what the schools provide as coursework. So it was good to see the direct engagements here which you and others provided to "none". S/he would of course do better with coursework, of course (heh).

    I've not yet seen evidence that none has moved beyond known misunderstandings. Citing Thompson with an appeal to incredulity is a refusal to engage, while scientists have not only engaged but earned demonstrable insights. Historical evolution is a fact; its explanation via natural selection and other naturalistic processes provides a consilience obtainable in no other synthesis, one which endures even as some components are revised and others remain uncertain. ("revised": for example, Darwin's initial synthesis was made in the absence of genetics - he had only inheritance - but he's consistent with, and independently demonstrated by, genetic data. And "uncertain": it was more than a century before the hummingbird with the foot-long tongue was found, the species which Darwin had predicted must exist for co-evolution with the known orchid whose pollen was at the bottom of a foot-long flower. )

    My main question in life has been, how did I get here?

    Is that the question you're claiming I didn't answer?

    Physically speaking, you got to where ever it is you're at at the moment by walking there, or using some other mode of transporation.

    Biologically speaking, you got "here" when one of your mother's eggs was fertilized by one of your father's sperm, and the fertilized egg took about 9 months developing into you after it had implanted itself onto the inner surface of your mother's uterus.

    But even more importantly, we must first answer the question "do any of us really care how None got here?"

    I certainly don't.

    Shit, that's depressing that Slovenia is so far down the list. I thought we were more secular and enlightened. I moved here from the USA in part to get away from creationists.

    Stanton,
    I think he wants to know why consciousness exists in genereal. That being said, the basic premise of your response still stands which is basically this: In the Universe, certain things exist - atoms, space, lady bugs, neutron stars, star fish, etc.. They exist because they are a function of the Universe - to a greater or lesser degree. Superstitionists don't like that answer, that's why they make up their own parallel reality with ghosts and goblins, fairies and pixie dust, and crazy ideas like ID.

    Thwaite, just to be technical, Morgan's sphinxmoth has a tongue 18 inches long in order to reach the nectar, not the pollen, that's at the bottom of the Star of Bethlehem orchid flower's 18 inch long spur. The pollen is in a packet in the flower-proper, and is slapped and glued onto the sphinxmoth's forehead as it probes the nectar spur, and is scraped off as it visits another flower.

    "NOT ONE PERSON HERE CAN EXPLAIN A CODE AS COMPLEX AS IS IN EVERY LIVING CELL AS SOMETHING FROM A MINDLESS ACCIDENT"
    Some living cells arise from drunken accidents , what's your point?

    I think he wants to know why consciousness exists in genereal. That being said, the basic premise of your response still stands which is basically this: In the Universe, certain things exist - atoms, space, lady bugs, neutron stars, star fish, etc.. They exist because they are a function of the Universe - to a greater or lesser degree. Superstitionists don't like that answer, that's why they make up their own parallel reality with ghosts and goblins, fairies and pixie dust, and crazy ideas like ID.

    I think it's much more nuanced than that. They are concerned not with merely finding their own function in the universe, but with finding a superior function for themselves (and, I'm unafraid to add, only themselves).

    The entire worldview proceeds from pathological personal exceptionalism.

    Stanton,
    I think he wants to know why consciousness exists in genereal.

    In other words, he's confusing evolutionary biology with philosophy?

    Dan,

    I guess in your case, ignorance is truly bliss.

    The fact is, my questions are valid and by your response, you've proven that it is you who don't know what the fuck they are talking about.

    Plausible theories? Yeah. They take more faith than what religionists propose, but because it's "science" proposing it, it's plausible. Climb out from under your rock Dan.

    As to the other smartasses on here replying to the question as to how we got here, all you've shown is your inability to deal with one of the most fundamental questions in life. I know you think you're being "cute", when all you're really doing is acting like a bunch of stuck-up pricks. Par for the course it seems.

    Don't worry. This will be my last post on here as I have no desire to join in your little circle-jerk. There's an old saying that is quite appropriate for all of you: Here there is much knowledge, but very little wisdom or intelligence.

    Flame away to your hearts desire. I won't be reading any more of your drivel.

    Wow...thanks for all the comments, I now have a one stop shopping page for links when I have to find this stuff to rebuff the creation/IDists.

    I'm someone who can live with positing that some form of diety/s was the beginning point. Not as 'fact' mind you, because it isn't defensible...more of a 'nothing necessarily stops it from being true'... and in the same way, it could have been superior alien life, or little pink fairies. It's just a hypothesis for me, and one that ultimately can't be proven.

    Given what I've said above, I'm horrified at the creationism/ID movement, its support of bad 'science', its efforts to defame science and scientists, and its encouragement of an atmosphere hostile to education and knowledge. To pretend that one doesn't know this is happening in the United States while maintaining that one is educated and well read (obviously enough so to be sparring on a site such as this) is disingenious.

    None.... If you had merely stated that you believe in evolution, but think there is a possibility that some 'spark' by a diety started the process, but that it is not something you can prove, and in no way changes the scientific theories and discoveries to date...most people would have let it alone, except maybe a couple of die-hard 'prove your god' types. Scientists are human, and not infallible, and some of them like a good sparring match too.

    By and large, even with the nonesense you spout, most have been respectful and have even conceded the 'go have god in your corner, just keep it away from fact' in some form or other.

    Many citizens that have a poor grasp of science, and of theology, think that ID/creationism is just about saying 'god started it all'...my own dad thought that, and when I explained that they are in fact a movement that is political and anti-evolutionary and anti-science, he was quite disturbed. I give him leeway for not knowing this for the fact that his memory is going, and we don't live in the US where it is much more prevalent.

    The political movement of ID/creationists is at it's core made up of and espoused by Christian Conservative Right Wing Fundamental Protestants. There is overlap from a few other groups, notably Orthodox Jews and Evangelical anti Vatican II Roman Catholics, and most anything Pentecostal in origins. Most liberal and open denominations and religions are not proponents of creationism/IDism...they may have issues with 'Science' and 'Scientists' when it comes to some of the politics and general jabs at the religious, but they are intelligent enough to see that as individual situations, not the study of science, or all scientists.

    PS - as a Canadian, Im taking a bit of a guess that we'd probably be somewhere around the same as the UK. Also, I think some "I don't knows" are based on people that believe in Evolution, but are a bit upset with a percieved 'evolution or god' choice (which is a staw man, but both sides add to its continuation) or who feel that it is stated as 'fact' instead of 'theory' which is again, more of a misunderstanding of what scientists mean when they don't preface every single use of the word with 'theory'...and the fact that tons of laymen have no idea what is meant by 'theory' in the realm of science.

    I mention this, because in my opinion, if you questioned them more closely, I would guess that some of the "I don't knows" actually belong in the 'evolution' camp.

    AC:
    There is no such thing as "absolute truth", though religion often pretends there is (and that it has it).

    This would seem to be in agreement with my point: The right answer to the poll question was "Not sure."

    Dan,
    When I said function, I meant it in the mathematical sense. But yes, I agree with your assertion regarding exceptionalism. One only need to refer to history to see examples of how man thought he was the center of the universe and how religion perpetuated the myth.

    Bye Bye None.

    Thanks for contributing nothing.

    Never did provide any evidence for a god. Not that he actually could.

    His most fundemental question... which he didn't phrase specifically was...
    "Why did god put us here?"

    Not many of us wonder that. We do know. Its the answer he doesn't like.

    Stanton,
    "In other words, he's confusing evolutionary biology with philosophy?"

    In my opinion yes, amongst other things.

    Wow, it is amazing how poor the debate has been on both sides here...

    Just a few points on Archaeopteryx...

    Feduccia does think Archaeopteryx is a transitional. He just did not believe it was a dinosaur, but rather a transitional early bird (as in not modern as in most of the traits predate what is found in modern birds) that was derived from a common ancestor to both birds and dinosaurs (as in a more basal archosaur).

    Next, Feduccia has nothing that backs his claim, and a call to authority on his part does not make his views scientific.

    Some basic anatomical reasons why Archaeopteryx, is both "Dinosaur", and "Bird" and why it is "consistent with":

    The skull

    The upper jaw of Archaeopteryx is predominately composed of the "maxilla". This region, in theropod dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx, makes up most of the region between the eye, and the nostrils on the front of the snout. In modern birds, this bone has become a tiny splint that has been mostly replaced by an enlarged pre-maxilla, which is the bone on the most anterior part (front) of the snout. In short, the pre-maxilla basically has grown backwards displacing the maxilla. The maxilla in modern birds is close to gone. In Archaeopteryx, the pre-maxilla remains relatively small in comparison to the maxilla; a configuration very much like what is seen in most small theropod dinosaurs.

    The maxilla is also the main tooth bearing element in most theropod dinosaurs, and in Archaeopteryx it is the same. Besides being small, this bone contains no teeth in modern birds. Furthermore, it fuses to other elements of the face, making it hard to distinguish at all in modern adult bird skulls.

    The nasal bones (bones that make up the out surface of the nose) in Archaeopteryx meet along the centerline of the skull, just as they do in small theropod dinosaurs. Modern birds, on the other hand, have nasals that are separated by a process (in this case, an extension of bone) that extend from the pre-maxilla (the source of the process) and reach all the way back from the front of the snout to the roof of the frontals (bones that form the surface of the eye sockets that fuse along the mid-line of the surface of the skull).

    Many other aspects of the skull separating Archaeopteryx from modern birds could be discussed, such as a hooked ectopterygoid bone belonging to the palate (actually, in this case, a series of bones that give structure to the roof of the mouth) which is found in this hooked, and pneumatic configuration, only in Archaeopteryx and certain theropod dinosaurs. This same bone is not found in any shape, or form, in modern birds. However, the non-paleontologist would simply get too lost or bored to continue
    reading if we brought up elements like this too often. Therefore, if any new items relating to the skull are mentioned within the remainder of this discussion, they will be explained briefly, at that time, if the debate indicates a need.

    The cervical (neck) vertebrae

    The cervical bones of Archaeopteryx are different from modern birds in the way they articulate (fit together). All modern birds have a series of saddle-shaped articulation points where successive vertebrae meet. This saddle-shaped configuration of neck joints is possible the most diagnostic feature of a birds cervical vertebrae, and is one of the most diagnostic features of modern birds in general. This is not the sort of configuration that one finds in both theropod dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx.

    Archaeopteryx, and theropod dinosaurs, also had a pair of small ribs associated with each cervical vertebra. These ribs are not fused to the vertebrae, but instead are mobile within a small range (as in there is an un-fused joint between them and vertebral body they are associated with). No modern bird possesses un-fused cervical ribs (developmental oddities can produce a hinged cervical rib here and there, but they are usually few and far between, and not found on the full series of cervical vertebrae, but are usually found closer to the body where full thoracic (the region of the chest) ribs are formed, but modern reptiles and theropod dinosaurs do/did.

    The thoracic (chest) vertebrae (commonly called dorsals in avian anatomy)

    This series of bones between the end of the neck (closest to the body, not the head) and the beginning of the hips has been greatly reduced in modern birds. While Archaeopteryx possesses a number of dorsal vertebrae that falls within the range seen in small theropod dinosaurs, this same region, in modern birds, has also become shortened and braced in such a way that renders the back virtually immobile. Like the struts in a bridge, ligaments that lay along the sides of several vertebrae have stiffened the backbone by becoming ossified (turned to bone). Many birds also possess an area of fused vertebrae (called the notarium), which stiffen the backbone even more. The thoracic vertebrae of Archaeopteryx, on the other hand, exhibit none of these features and the fossils themselves seem to indicate a relatively flexible back.

    The sacral (hip) vertebrae

    There is a group of vertebrae that secure the backbone to the pelvis. Thought of as a singular unit, it is commonly referred to as "the sacrum". We find, that modern birds have additional vertebrae from thoracic region, as well as vertebrae from the tail region (caudal), have been added and fused to this unit. Called the "synsacrum", all modern birds have this structure, though the number of vertebrae it encompasses can vary greatly. However, the synsacrum usually contains at least twice the number (or more) of the sacral vertebrae found in Archaeopteryx. In other words, Archaeopteryx has no synsacrum, and retains a simple sacrum. Also important is that the number of vertebrae found in Archaeopteryx's sacrum is 5 or 6 (one may have been attached to the ilium bone of the pelvis by a ligament alone, and not fully ossified to it), just as we find in certain, rather birdie looking, theropod dinosaurs.

    The caudal (tail) vertebrae

    It's obvious that Archaeopteryx has a long boney tail made up of separate vertebrae. Modern birds are almost always in possession of a pygostyle, which is a wedge of bone that the tail vertebrae attach too. No modern bird has a long boney tail. Some modern birds, like the Kiwi, possess a small tail made up of un-fused vertebrae, but it is nothing like the elongated tail of Archaeopteryx. What is also key here, is that the feathers on Archaeopteryx's tail are attached along the side of the tail, anterior to posterior, unlike we see in modern birds, where the tail feathers are attached near a single point on the back of the pygostyle. One could conceive how the modern bird tail could be derived from the form found in Archaeopteryx, but they certainly are not the same.

    As with the skull, a more in depth examination of the differences that exist between the backbone of Archaeopteryx and that of modern birds would invoke terminology that can confuse even people trained in anatomy. Therefore, it would be more advantageous for the discussion to move on to explore other features of the skeleton.

    The hands and wrist

    The hands (yes, they are referred to as hands) of modern birds are made up of set extremely fused elements. These elements first develop as separate entities, but fully fuse most of the time before the bird hatches. They consist of carpals (bones of the wrist), metacarpals (bones of the palm), and phalanges (the bones of the fingers).

    The claws of Archaeopteryx, which are called unguals, were covered with a sheath of keratinous (horny) material when the animal was alive. Well-developed claws were present on all three of Archaeopteryx's digits. Though all modern birds seem to possess unguals while developing in the egg, all but about 4 lose this trait before hatching, with these birds losing the claws before adulthood. No modern bird has claws that are developed as well as those found on Archaeopteryx. Instead, they are usually just small points covered with a tiny nail. The claws of Archaeopteryx more or less resemble the claws seen on the feet of modern birds. These claws, in turn, are more or less identical to the ones seen on the hands and feet of small theropod dinosaurs (There are variable differences within these groups that relate to function, but generally they are hard to tell apart at first glance).

    The third digit in modern birds (basically corresponding to our middle finger, but more on this complex subject later) is greatly reduced in comparison with the other two fingers, and is usually represented by a single phalange that is buried in the flesh of the hand in modern birds. In Archaeopteryx, the third digit is made up of four phalanges; two short phalanges followed by one relatively long phalange, and then finally ending in an ungual (claw). This is pattern is not seen in any modern birds. Certain small theropod dinosaurs not known to have existed at the time of Owen and Huxley now show this same configuration as is found in Archaeopteryx.

    The thumb in modern birds has a well-developed process (the extensor process) where an important tendon attaches. This tendon comes from a muscle whose job is to extend the hand outward. This process, if present on Archaeopteryx, is so small as to be debated if it exists at all.

    The three bones of the palm (the metacarpals) in modern birds are fused together, along with some bones of the wrist (the distal carpals). Together, they are fused into a single ridged unit called the carpometacarpus. This carpometacarpus is found in all modern birds, but absent in Archaeopteryx.

    Instead of being fused together, the wrist of Archaeopteryx can be seen to show a separate fused semi-circular element, which is in fact a distal carpal. This is one of the same distal carpal elements found fully fused in the carpometacarpus structure of modern birds.

    The more proximal carpals of Archaeopteryx are composed of rounded singular bones that seemed to have allowed the hand to be much more mobile than that of a modern bird's. This is because the 2 proximal wrist bones of the wrist in modern birds have numerous articulation points and processes that control how the hand moves when it is folded or extended, while at the same time preventing the hand from moving up or down relative to the forearm as the wing is extended. These bones basically are structured to help guide the hand through a very particular pathway involved in the flight strokes. The aspects of the proximal wrist bones that were just described are completely missing in Archaeopteryx. Due to this, it is believed, by the evidence seen in the fossils, that Archaeopteryx would have had trouble maintaining a well powered down-stroke, while at the same time could have hyper-extended its hands in a way unknown to modern birds (as in moving the hand inwards in a grasping motion).

    The sternum (chest)

    The sternum of a modern flying bird is made up of a chest plate that is composed of a large flat bone with a strong central keel. Breast meat from your turkey comes off of this bone. Only one specimen of Archaeopteryx was believed to show any sign of having a boney sternum at all, but this has now been examined to show it was in fact a coracoid shoulder element.

    It also shows no signs of having had a central keel, which is common to all modern birds with well-developed asymmetrical wing feathers, as we find with Archaeopteryx. Some have tried to say that the lack of a large keeled sternum simply means that Archaeopteryx was a flightless bird, but the presence of well developed asymmetrical feathers points to the opposite conclusion; Archaeopteryx was a flier, albeit not of the falcon caliber. In the end, there simply is no modern flying bird without both an ossified sternum AND a central keel as part of that sternum.

    The pelvis (hipbone)

    The hips of modern birds are extremely different from those of Archaeopteryx. As mentioned above, the way the hips attach to the backbone differs significantly in the amount of vertebrae involved, but the differences do not stop there.

    The pelvis of vertebrates is generally composed of three bones, all of which are paired left and right. A flat plate of bone that attaches to the backbone is called the ilium. The ilium is basically a triangle-shaped bone with the wider end closer to the ribs than the tail. In theropods, and Archaeopteryx, the ilia from both sides run close to straight up and down with the top edge being almost directly over the bottom edge. In modern birds the lower edge flares outwards due to the large amount of abdominal organs found between the two ilia. Underneath the ilia attaches two sets of bones that extend down between the legs. The longer of the two bones found more anterior to the other is called the pubis. The shorter bone found behind the pubis pointing slightly toward the tail is known as the ischium. These three bones (ilium, pubis and ischium) meet at one point forming the hip-socket where the head of the femur (thigh bone) inserts.

    Both the ischia and the pubes of Archaeopteryx meet their counterparts from the opposite side in the midline near their ends. The pubes form what is called an apron where they meet distally (further away from the body), which has a distinctive shape that is now know to be shared by the group of theropod dinosaurs called dromaeosaurs. In modern birds the ends of the ischia and pubes are open due to the large amount of abdominal organs present in that region. This is because, in modern birds, the gut has moved backwards relative to early birds and theropod dinosaurs in order to balance the bird by redistributing weight toward the back of the animal. This was needed because large flight muscles, found forwards on the animal, which needed be accounted for, had developed. The result is that modern birds have very wide hips that tend to flare outwards, giving them the stereotypical waddle that many associate with birds. This is contrary to animals like Archaeopteryx where the hips were rather narrow.

    The pubis and ischium are also swept backwards in modern birds at a very strong angle. It was once believed that Archaeopteryx's pubis and ischium were swept backwards as we see in modern birds. This was in no small way due to the way the London specimen was found preserved. The hipbones were found facing backwards in a rather expected way for people looking for bird-like traits in the fossil. It was show by further examination that the reason the pubis was facing backwards in the London specimen was because it was dislocated after death. Other specimens of Archaeopteryx provided strong evidence indicating the hip bones were not swept backwards, but instead ran up and down in a vertical manner.

    As with other aspects of Archaeopteryx's anatomy, a large number of complex details separate its hips from those of a modern bird's. Given that these details require a working knowledge of avian anatomy that invokes some rather obscure terminology, any further discussion would be unproductive for the general reader at this point.

    The hind limb

    The hind limb can be divided up into several different regions. The long bone known as the femur, which is closer to the body and connects at the hip, while further away forms the knee joint by its articulation with the tibia and fibula.

    Next, articulated to the femur, as stated above, are the tibia and fibula, which extend from the knee to the ankle joint. The ankle possesses several small wedges of bone, which are found between the lower leg (tibia and fibula) and the foot. These elements are referred to as tarsals and two groups are discussed here; proximal tarsals that are closer to the tibia and fibula, and distal tarsals, which lay atop the metatarsal bones of the foot. The foot proper contains the metatarsals and the phalanges. The metatarsals correspond to the bones found between your ankle and your toes, with the phalanges being the toe bones themselves.

    The femur in Archaeopteryx is very bird-like. It is also very dinosaur-like. Even though the femur is very similar to birds, there exist numerous notable differences.

    Since the terminology used to describe these differences is rather obscure, we will give only one example so as to reduce the need to implement jargon.

    In modern birds, located on the lateral-side (outer side) of the femur is a third condyle accompanying the standard two we can see if we picture our own femur at the knee joint (a condyle is a lump of bone used in the articulation with another bone). This third outer most condyle is as a diagnostic feature of a bird femur. This trait is not found in theropods, Archaeopteryx or most other reptiles.

    Like the femur, the tibia is very similar in dinosaurs, Archaeopteryx and modern birds, but again, there exist differences. One difference deals with the crests where important muscles of the lower leg attach. In modern birds, there are two important crests for the attachment of these muscles. Archaeopteryx and most small theropod dinosaurs have only one crest. (A small Chinese theropod called a troodontid was recently shown to have two crests like that of a modern bird. This could be an indication that these theropods were closer to modern birds than Archaeopteryx, or it could simply be that this dinosaur independently evolved the trait.)

    Unlike the femur and tibia, the fibula is very different. In modern birds, the fibula does not extend all the way from the knee to the ankle. Instead, the bone turns into a sharp splint about halfway down the lower leg. In most theropod dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx, the fibula is complete.

    That should be a good start..

    Next we can move onto other basal birds, and then next we can move to the huge amount of transitionals between reptiles,..and mammals...

    "This would seem to be in agreement with my point: The right answer to the poll question was 'Not sure.'"

    In that optic, the answer to any question is "not sure".

    It's convenient there's a form of belief that thrives on intellectual paralysis!

    Stanton said: "In other words, he's confusing evolutionary biology with philosophy?"

    Unfortunately, that is one of the big problems...the religiously muddled think that the question of "why am I here?" or "How did we all start?" is a question of science, and it is a question of religion/philosophy. Meaning on a personal level is something we all face, and if one wants to posit god/dess/es as part of that, fine, just stop trying to present it as 'fact' and worse yet, stuffing your particular brand down everyones' throats.

    I'd love to see the Wiccans and Satanists and Faeries and Norse pagans and such, join the fray, just for fun....Can you imagine the look on the Fundamental Christians faces when they realize all their 'enemies' are arguing for THEIR divine beliefs to be taught in schools and used as the basis for all science? *giggles*

    Wow...it didn't take very long for the pious None to not only sink to the lowest level of dissing here on this comment section, but to far exceed it. Why are we always the ones that are so low and mean and nasty...until they have nothing left to say, and then they think its okay to swear at us and call us names?

    I think the nasty passive-aggressive anger worries me as much as the blockhead beliefs do.

    Don't worry. This will be my last post on here as I have no desire to join in your little circle-jerk. There's an old saying that is quite appropriate for all of you: Here there is much knowledge, but very little wisdom or intelligence.

    Flame away to your hearts desire. I won't be reading any more of your drivel.

    To translate: "You're not nice! I'm taking my ball and going home!"

    The last refuge of the Great American Asshat (Homo pseudosapiens).

    KaVri:
    Also, I think some "I don't knows" are based on people that believe in Evolution, but are a bit upset with a percieved 'evolution or god' choice (which is a staw man, but both sides add to its continuation) or who feel that it is stated as 'fact' instead of 'theory' which is again, more of a misunderstanding of what scientists mean when they don't preface every single use of the word with 'theory'...and the fact that tons of laymen have no idea what is meant by 'theory' in the realm of science.

    I mention this, because in my opinion, if you questioned them more closely, I would guess that some of the "I don't knows" actually belong in the 'evolution' camp.

    I think you would count me in the 'evolution camp' but not for the reasons you give.

    I know what a scientific theory is. I am agnostic on god (i.e. "i dunno"). Yep, evolution vs. god is a strawman.

    If the survey question were only true/false I would pick true (and the people that would pick false are at least a little scary).

    Science studies natural events -- it excludes the supernatural. Science often drives towards the 'simplest' theories. Therefore science tends to focus on one or a few theories to the exclusion of many. This is mostly a good thing. Imagine if someone had explained Einstein's ideas to Newton -- I suspect he would have rejected many of the ideas as crazy and bizzare, or supernatural beliefs.

    Science and the scientific method are wonderful, powerful tools. Among the best creations of man. But they must be used carefully with understanding of the limitations of the method and of the people using them.

    "i dunno" is usually the right answer. :-)

    "i dunno" is usually the right answer. :-)

    Just saying "I don't know" is not an answer at all. It's a response, yes, but it's not an answer. Although given the state of education in America, it's often the only one available to most people.

    I come back from a meeting to see None pulled the classic "you won't answer my questions you're mean" and ran away. Sure, people were mean, but he ignored everyone's answers that were given, so I'm not going to blame them.

    Dan, I think you hit upon a big part of this - a lot of the Creationists and IDolators want to be SPECIAL. They want some greater force to tap them and say "hey, you're special, you're exceptional" and such. They want an outside source, an authority figure, to tell them this - bereft of that, they panic.

    Pema Chorodon, a great writer on Buddist philosophy, noted once that finding out life is NOT all about you isn't bad - it's a great relief. Being the super-special chosen center of the universe sounds like way too much pressure to me.

    By DragonScholar (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Numad:
    In that optic, the answer to any question is "not sure".

    It's convenient there's a form of belief that thrives on intellectual paralysis!

    Paralysis? No, not at all. The key is to recognize that there is uncertainty and to operate with uncertainty. Denying uncertainty and forcing everything to true or false is a simpler approach taken by many people that can only deal in absolutes.

    Transitional fossils. Hmmm. How about Ambulocetus natans?

    By Captain Ahab (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Just saying "I don't know" is not an answer at all. It's a response, yes, but it's not an answer. Although given the state of education in America, it's often the only one available to most people.

    Of course it is an answer. And in the context of the survey it is a better, more nuanced answer than the other two choices (true or false).

    Of course, had "probably true" been a choice I would have taken that.

    But surely the world revolves around the infant, both from the infant's perspective and its parent's (assuming a somewhat normal introduction into the world with generally caring parents).

    Reminds me of the quote that goes something like: "and remember that you are unique, just like everyone else.".

    I think the "Special" feeling is more a symptom than a cause. Having spent a large number of years well immersed in the 'christian' milieu (please don't hold my past against me *smile/wink*) I think the main symptoms are FEAR and ANGER. In much the same way a bully is really a scared and vunerable person that is trying to hide that fact, the more conservative millitant 'christians' seem to claim 'specialness' and are 'arrogant' to try and hide their fear, and to transform their 'anger' into something 'righteous'.

    Throw that kind of mindset in with politics, and you get the current mess we're in with religious extremists of any stripe around the world.

    PS - Dan, I think I may gank your remark, "Science is not a democracy. If you don't know what you're talking about, YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT." and put it on a T-Shirt. *grin*

    This would seem to be in agreement with my point: The right answer to the poll question was "Not sure."

    As was pointed out above, this means you have to claim you're not sure about anything. Take some philosophy, and you'll see you can even call into question the truth of the statement "I think, therefore I am."

    I think the proper response is to claim that knowledge is not the same as absolute certainty. The notion of "absolute truth" is a nonsensical one, in my opinion, in that there's no way to ever determine something is absolute truth for any reasonable definition of the term.

    "The key is to recognize that there is uncertainty and to operate with uncertainty. Denying uncertainty and forcing everything to true or false is a simpler approach taken by many people that can only deal in absolutes."

    I agree there. Lets not make Descartes' error.

    I must have misread your previous posts. I thought you were making a statement to the effect that all uncertainties are equal in the face of the basic, irreductible uncertainty of all knowledge. You'd be susprised how often people try and use that.

    DragonScholar:

    Dan, I think you hit upon a big part of this - a lot of the Creationists and IDolators want to be SPECIAL. They want some greater force to tap them and say "hey, you're special, you're exceptional" and such. They want an outside source, an authority figure, to tell them this - bereft of that, they panic.

    I don't think it's just "a big part" of the mentality, I think that's all it is. The particulars of dogma and ideology are trivialities designed to fan the flames of the overriding mommy issues. The infantility of it all is pathetic.

    And yes, I do mean mommy issues, not daddy issues. The original, and still primary, target of religious hatred is and always will be women, for the unforgivable crime of being the childbearing sex.

    Pema Chorodon, a great writer on Buddist philosophy, noted once that finding out life is NOT all about you isn't bad - it's a great relief. Being the super-special chosen center of the universe sounds like way too much pressure to me.

    Indeed. What kind of self-loathing masochist wants to be the center of attention 24/7? Even Paris Hilton takes some down-time every once in a while.

    kaVri:

    PS - Dan, I think I may gank your remark, "Science is not a democracy. If you don't know what you're talking about, YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT." and put it on a T-Shirt. *grin*

    You'd better put them on CafePress, then. And I want a free one.

    :-)

    i dunno:

    The key is to recognize that there is uncertainty and to operate with uncertainty. Denying uncertainty and forcing everything to true or false is a simpler approach taken by many people that can only deal in absolutes.

    But at the same time, it's necessary to acknowledge that there are quite a few things about which our level of uncertainty is so low as to make them practically indistinguishable from axiomatic truth.

    I'm sure you'd agree that people who question the certainty of the sun coming up every day are not contributing anything useful to the discussion, and scientifically speaking, the theory of evolution is at least as empirically substantiated as the theories of universal gravitation, plate tectonics, quantum mechanics, or the germ theory of disease.

    I'm not certain but I think that Finland had some really rough time in the first 60-70% of the 1900... This made the church stronger and the schools maybe not as good...

    I object! :) You may be referring to the pressure from the Soviet Union or the relative poverty of Finland back then compared to, say, Sweden, but AFAIK those hardly made the church stronger or the teaching of natural sciences worse.

    It's interesting why we got the lower scores, but perhaps it's just the Finnish stubborness at work here. I haven't seen any Finnish media comment on this yet.

    Dan... I agree that evolution is on par with other day to day truths "sun coming up" etc...however, many fundamental christians don't in fact get this, and it is where there fallacy of the 'arrogant' or 'science is religion' arguements stem from. For those in science truly trying to get through to an individual who is in the fundie camp, starting with 'no absolute truths' and explaining that that doesn't mean all else is on an equal footing is important.

    I think a lot science/educated/intellectual people don't realize just how much hand-holding is needed, and how terribly emotionally fragile many of these people are. I have no problem with scorning their leaders, but many of the flocks of sheep (I wonder if Jesus used the term full well understanding human nature and the denseness and 'follow the leader' aspects of sheep) truly are often nice people who don't know better, and are terrified of anything that challenges their beliefs...to them, it is like an abyss, or a spiritual armeggeddon (sp?)... they truly feel threatened.

    PS - No promises as to how soon I get around to it, but what's your size? and any preference for T-shirt colour?

    Dan:
    I'm sure you'd agree that people who question the certainty of the sun coming up every day are not contributing anything useful to the discussion, and scientifically speaking, the theory of evolution is at least as empirically substantiated as the theories of universal gravitation, plate tectonics, quantum mechanics, or the germ theory of disease.

    The specific question is:
    "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

    You have three choices: True, false or not sure. What is your answer? And, if your answer is true, how sure are you of that?

    My main question in life has been, how did I get here?

    You see, when a mommy troll and a daddy troll love each other very, very much....

    I think it's about semantics.

    For example, I am 100% sure that I am typing this right now, and in a moment it will be posted in this thread.

    Now, even though the posting could have failed, I'll admit that was a gamble and my certainty was at about 99%. But I was 100% sure I was actually typing the message and not halucinating or dreaming.

    And another thing...

    Many, many people that hold "scientific beliefs" (e.g. "I believe in evolution") actually have very non-scientific reasons for having such beliefs.

    Which matters more -- what you believe or why you believe it?

    For sure NelC.

    Hello my name is None,
    My arguing here is done,
    I don't like to play with you anyway,
    So now I have to run.

    And I said - GOOD DAY

    Hmmm....

    I'm not sure there is such a thing as scientific beliefs. That sounds like an oxymoron. I know about scientific theories, conjecture, discourse, hypothesis, and laws. Not beliefs. But again, this feels like a semantic issue.

    Alex:
    I'm not sure there is such a thing as scientific beliefs. That sounds like an oxymoron. I know about scientific theories, conjecture, discourse, hypothesis, and laws. Not beliefs. But again, this feels like a semantic issue.

    So, as to the survey question. True, false or not sure. If "true", how certain are you of that answer?

    RickD: A theory of partial truth that starts with the notion that error is the dual to truth has some merit. (But complicated in practice.)

    Torbjörn Larsson: Aren't Switzerland and Austria more religious than (say) Iceland and the Netherlands?

    Kaethe: Well, the deists, if there are any, claim such. And one might include some pantheisms, like Spinoza's. (I'm wary, because Spinoza is very close to using a persuasive definition.)

    Molly, NYC: I am not sure that your First Amendment does, but I think it might fall under the "rights not otherwise specified", which alas also includes such matters as the right to be a dumbass.

    None: Facts are what is the case. Theories are systems of propositions closed under deduction. Draw your own conclusion, if you can, from this.

    i dunno: There are two senses of absolute that people conflate. One is "unrevisable" - that is not in the scientific spirit. The second is something like "of maximum warrant", which certainly happens in science. The sentence "Evolution over time resulted in the diversity of life on Earth" has basically maximal warrant at present.

    Creating salt water is easy. Take a spoonful of salt and mix with distilled water. The demand "from nothing" is disingenuous. Whoever claimed that life arose from nothing? Nobody. (Hint: extrapolate my answer backwards.)

    Is it just me or is Canada not on that list?

    The folks on the top of the evolution list - Icelanders - believe in elves.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/13/international/europe/13elves.html?ex=…

    What does this indicate? Probably that every culture has - perhaps even *must* have - shared unprovable beliefs. Though this is likely an emergent property that biologists are too stuck up to explore.

    It seems downright high-schoolish to make fun of someone else for their beliefs. More likely to make them more engrained, too.

    i dunno, it still seems to me that by refusing any non-literal meaning of "true" and "false", you're not creditting the notion of a gradation of certainty.

    It really feels like you're baiting here, but I'll play along.

    I'm very certain it is true. How certain, as certain as I can hold the fossil remains of early hominids in my hands. I guess about as certain than the Sun will appear on the eastern horizon tomorrow morning.

    Many, many people that hold "scientific beliefs" (e.g. "I believe in evolution") actually have very non-scientific reasons for having such beliefs.

    Is there some kind of evolutionist reimbursement program I don't know about? How big are the checks?

    "What does this indicate? Probably that every culture has - perhaps even *must* have - shared unprovable beliefs. Though this is likely an emergent property that biologists are too stuck up to explore."

    Was that sarcasm?

    Why would biologists study a psychological/cultural issue?

    Isn't it more in the realm of an anthropologist or an historian?

    Steve_C ... you've just hit on one of the areas of confusion, numerous people seem to have no idea which scientists cover what areas. I'm always suprised in the science vs religion debates, that people don't speak more about philosophy...seems to me to be a logical re-direct. I agree, why in the world would biologists care about elves?

    zoopy - Thanks for the info, here I always thought it was the engineers that were the stuck up folk *evil wink to a certain Pharyngula lurker*

    Dan - do say, or I might be tempted towards something in mauve or a sickly yellowish colour.

    we got into a fairly deep investigation of the fundie mind on the inanity thread with M Petersen.

    In the end it couldn't go anywhere. He had such a glitch in understanding it was really beyond his capacity to have the philosophical debate. Quite frustrating.

    Numad:
    i dunno, it still seems to me that by refusing any non-literal meaning of "true" and "false", you're not creditting the notion of a gradation of certainty.

    You may be right. Not my intent but it may be my effect. On the other hand ...

    Alex:
    I'm very certain it is true. How certain, as certain as I can hold the fossil remains of early hominids in my hands. I guess about as certain than the Sun will appear on the eastern horizon tomorrow morning.

    That is what "true" would have meant for me too. Which is why I would answer the question as "not sure."

    kaVri

    "why in the world would biologists care about elves?"

    Clearly because elves and dwarves prove that Adam was 15 feet tall. Geesh.

    Well that's a little contradidctory.

    You say you feel X is "true" AND you are "not sure" about it in the same sentence. Very confusing. So you're not sure of anything? Tough way to go through life. It really sounds like you're hell-bent on mincing word-meanings. So be it.

    True means true.
    The sky is blue - true
    Water boils at 100 (at sea level) - true
    Biological organisms evlove - true
    There is evidence to the contrary - false

    What is so hard to grasp here. Your argumentation seems very nit-picky and circular. Wait a minute, are you an attorney?

    Aonymous: Haven't you heard? There has recently come about a worldwide agreement to ignore that country north of the US, you know the one, it's the country with the bacon. This is to ensure the common public that when anyone speaks of 'americans', they are refering to citizens of the United States of America.

    "Clearly because elves and dwarves prove that Adam was 15 feet tall."

    It's PYGMIES and DWARVES (note the caps).

    Oh,

    My bad. Elves and dwarves was a different proof about the Revelation. I can't say much more about it here.

    Alex...

    You've been mixing up fiction and reality again, though with the elves helping raise mindful humans that helped push back mindless humans, I can see why you had the wishful thinking: "With the guidance of the gods and elves, Adam and Eva raise a race of mindful humans, pushing back the children of Lil and Adam and the mindless humans." http://coera.wordpress.com/tag/general/

    ps - you need to scroll almost to the bottom of the page.

    The above was what I came up with when googling "elves adam", however, I came up with this gem when I googled "elves jesus"...which also resulted in a 'did you mean "jesus elvis" ' redirect. *snicker*

    "Jesus and the Elves" http://www.baetzler.de/humor/jesus_elves.html

    A humourous take on the secularization of Christmas, and is even funnier from a secular point of view, imho.

    kaVri "yes, I have too much time on my hands, why do you ask?"

    PS - Anonymous, I share your pain. Keith Douglas, indeed, it is not you, there is no Canada on the list. If you had obsessively read through the comments like I did, you'd see that I suggested we'd have probably come in around the UK. Just a guess though.

    Yeah, Canada is so 'nice' were not just bland, we disappear.

    I know kaVri. It's Friday afternoon, plus, I'm still twitching from Phil's post earlier. I think I'm done, or maybe, idunno.

    ""Aonymous: Haven't you heard? There has recently come about a worldwide agreement to ignore that country north of the US, you know the one, it's the country with the bacon. This is to ensure the common public that when anyone speaks of 'americans', they are refering to citizens of the United States of America.""

    There is a Country north of the US? Get outah here!!

    No, no Alex, it's not Revelations, it's all about the cultural supremacy:

    "Roman paintings and mosaics found throughout the empire often depict pygmies and dwarves engaged in various activities along the banks of the flooded Nile. ...This paper...presents the characters as a counterweight to the incorporation and appreciation of Egyptian culture, especially religion, which enabled the Romans to illustrate their cultural supremacy."

    http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:M1U6f_kt9WUJ:www.hacua.org/resource…

    kaVri "I <3 Google"

    PS - Lago...of course there is a country north of the US. Where do you think you'll eventually invade when you run out of water, land, and other resources? Seriously, didn't they cover that in the "American Imperialism" classes?

    kaVri:

    PS - No promises as to how soon I get around to it, but what's your size? and any preference for T-shirt colour?

    I'd prefer a large, with white text on a black shirt.

    i dunno:

    "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

    You have three choices: True, false or not sure. What is your answer? And, if your answer is true, how sure are you of that?

    True. I am sure of its truth because I haven't redefined the word "true" into complete uselessness.

    Throwing up your hands in defeat before you even begin asking questions is, in scientific inquiry as in everyday life, generally a pretty poor way to conduct yourself. Saying that science is futile because there's no such thing as absolute truth is a cop-out. It's nothing more than a thought-terminating cliché, specifically designed to avoid the entire question of how we know what we know.

    We know that evolution is true, in a way that is so certain as to be completely indistinguishable from absolute metaphysical truth, because that's what the evidence says is true. Physical evidence is not subject to anyone's opinion. That's why we can use it to support or defeat propositions about the physical nature of existence. Evidence doesn't give a damn what you think. Sure, you can lie about it or spin it or not understand it or not know about it at all, but objective reality isn't going to change just because you ignore it, or are dishonest about it, or if you just want it to for no good reason. Science relies fundamentally on physical evidence, which is why you don't get to vote on whether or not evolution happens. The evidence has the final say, not you, and all the evidence we've ever collected points to common descent with modification as the only viable explanation for biodiversity.

    In philosophy and religion, however, there is no physical evidence, there are only a priori assumptions. That's why philosophers and religious nuts need to shut the fuck up when it comes to science. When your worldview necessarily proceeds from "I think," you're not going to be equipped to deal with a worldview that concerns itself only with "the evidence says."

    Gah! My 'I heart Google' apparently can't be done with symbols. Also, if anyone is actually following my silly drivel, I meant to add that again, for that rather enlightening quote above, one must scroll towards the bottom of the page.

    None wrote:

    Everything that I have written has been toward one goal: honesty and integrity, something that is sorely lacking not only here, but within the evolutionary community in general.

    Bless you, None, are you our conscience like this commenter over at Aetiology? What would keep us scientists on the straight and narrow if people like you were not here to guide us (apart from testable hypotheses, reproducible results, peer review, GLP, etc.)?

    We're all eternally grateful to you.

    Alex... wait! I'm sorry, apparently it's not Revelation or cultural supermacy, it's not REAL pygmies and dwarves, but SPIRITUAL ones:

    "But all of this presupposes ascesis, struggle and constant growth in the life of Christ. Without this ascesis and constant spiritual growth, not only do we not attain our potential - theosis - but we also become moral and spiritual pygmies or dwarfs."

    http://mycopticchurch.com/articles/read.asp?f=spiritual/theosis3.html

    kaVri "...really needs a life..."

    PS - Dan. Gotcha. Large, black. White print if possible (you might have to settle for another colour, but I'll not use mauve or yellow). When it's done, I'll contact you for mailing instructions. Don't hold your breath, I have a 1/3 made knitted blanket that was started around 20 years ago.

    "Science is not a democracy. If you don't know what you're talking about, YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT."

    I love the statement, but it's a bit wordy for a t-shirt. Could work if part were on the front and part on the back, but two screens ramps up the price.

    I think there should be some sort of short test people have to pass before they can comment on things like this - it could even be multiple choice, but they'd have to show some knowledge of the subject before spouting off. Of course, I have always thought this should be true for elections as well, along the lines of you can't vote until you've proven you know at least one major platform piece on each candidate.

    Bless you, None, are you our conscience like this commenter over at Aetiology? What would keep us scientists on the straight and narrow if people like you were not here to guide us (apart from testable hypotheses, reproducible results, peer review, GLP, etc.)?

    We're all eternally grateful to you.

    None and his ilk are assuming that scientists operate the same way religion does: by constructing arbitrary dogmas then mercilessly crushing any dissent. The fact that it usually does exactly the opposite of that never really seems to occur to them, because as I've already said, it's all about personal validation for them. They don't want "honesty and integrity," in the obvious sense that we think of it, they just want everyone to agree with them.

    That's why they can't comprehend the scientific process. They start with answers, science starts with questions. And never the twain shall meet.

    > Why would biologists study a psychological/cultural issue?

    Isn't that what the author of this blog is doing?

    He's looking underneath the proverbial streetlamp, and finds, oh, gee, whiz, Americans believe in creationism more than Europeans. Therefore Americans are stupider.

    But if he expanded his search - like a well-trained sociologist or anthropologist should - he'd see that lots of people believe lots of weird shit.

    If anything, believing stupid shit - by culturally defined divisions - seems a universal human trait.

    "Science is not a democracy. If you don't know what you're talking about, YOUR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT."

    I love the statement, but it's a bit wordy for a t-shirt. Could work if part were on the front and part on the back, but two screens ramps up the price.

    It is indeed a bit wordy, taken all together. I think either sentence would work perfectly well on its own, though.

    I'm going to mess around with CafePress tonight, and see if I can't come up with something good. I've never done that before, though, so we'll see.

    Yeah, I was going the old fashioned route of fabric paint and stamp letters, and I did have some concerns of getting it all to fit. That and my procrastination tendencies were enough to not make any promises. Still, I may give it a go.

    You have three choices: True, false or not sure. What is your answer? And, if your answer is true, how sure are you of that?

    Wrong. No matter how we answer, the question always become how sure we are -- and how we're sure.

    By Caledonian (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    i dunno:
    "But to accept it as TRUTH is taking a LEAP of FAITH."

    Who said that theories are truth? Formal theories are models, not to be confused with reality.

    But they are justified, and they can be justified beyond reasonable doubt with facts from observations. In these two aspects they differ from beliefs.

    None:
    "However, I am honest enough, and have enough integrity, to admit that there are problems with the theory, and can understand fully why so many aren't willing to accept it."

    But you aren't knowledgeable enough to understand that the discussion in science is done amongst peers, and that evolution is accepted by scientists.

    "This site is a great example of what Thompson was writing about."
    This site has nothing to do with scientists debating science. Not that they don't do it here, but it isn't a part of the real debate. No one is suppressing the science or the debate - but you are unwilling to find it.

    "I find that pretty funny, considering Darwin's work was titled "Origin of Species."
    If you try to read that, you would see that it say that it explains the origin of speciation, not the origin of life.

    "Wonder what led me to think that?!?!"
    Is that a trick question? Your stupidity, of course.

    "Theories of big bangs and primordial soups are lacking."
    Big bang - hundreds of theories. See here for an overview of 7 main classes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang .

    Abiogenesis - hundreds of theories. See here for an overview of 8 main classes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life .

    windy:
    "It's interesting why we got the lower scores, but perhaps it's just the Finnish stubborness at work here. "
    Yes, that is another aspect of an enterprizing mind, to stick with an idea long enough. Or too long. ;-)

    Keith:
    Yes, that seems reasonable - I'm quite sure about Switzerland vs Iceland.

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 11 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Stanton, thanks for the correct details on the sphinxmoth. I could say I was, ahem, "just checking".
    ... but in fact I just relied on my vague memory. Which is getting increasingly so. Point made anyway: co-evolution is at least as creative as evolution, and both can be predictive.

    Perhaps this comes way too late in the discussion, but I was without net access for most of the day and had this point lingering in my mind. None and his ilk are very fond of attacking the fossil record and its gaps. Of course, the arguments against this point have been well made on this thread. But modern genetics have surpassed fossil records as direct proof of evolution. As Richard Dawkins has written, we are lucky to have fossils, but if they were all swept away tomorrow, we would have no problem proving the common ancestry of life, including species we could never hope to find in the fossil record.

    Coment to Vendy

    "I object! :) You may be referring to the pressure from the Soviet Union or the relative poverty of Finland back then compared to, say, Sweden, but AFAIK those hardly made the church stronger or the teaching of natural sciences worse.

    It's interesting why we got the lower scores, but perhaps it's just the Finnish stubborness at work here. I haven't seen any Finnish media comment on this yet."

    Well, it might not have made it stronger but not weaker in the same sense as in Sweden either... I have bean thinking abut faith for some time now and people under pressure always seam closer to religion of some sort...

    You're school results now are excellent so why would just this part go missing?

    "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

    Alex:
    I'm very certain it is true. How certain, as certain as I can hold the fossil remains of early hominids in my hands. I guess about as certain than the Sun will appear on the eastern horizon tomorrow morning.

    [In which i dunno reveals more personal belief and creates the opportunity for more poking of fun at i dunno.]

    None of the following should be misconstrued as an argument in favor of creationism. None of the following should be misconstrued as an argument in favor of ID. Those are not science. Those should not be taught as science.

    God-wise I am a non-believer. I do not believe that there is no god. I do not believe there is a god. A belief in god does not answer the question of where did I or the universe come from, it just shifts it to where did god come from. Religions I am familiar with are irrelevant to me on this issue as I believe they are based on man made fairy tales.

    But the universe is a large and complex place. I allow for the possibility for things I do not understand. I allow for the possibility of learning new things. I allow for the possibility of intelligent beings somewhere else in the universe. I allow for the possibility of what some would call god or gods.

    "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."
    God could have put us here. Aliens could have genetically engineered us. Any being sufficiently advanced to have done so, could have done it in a way that would make it appear that we evolved naturally.

    I am not suggesting this is science. I am not suggesting this should be taught in schools. A belief that this happened is not supported by evidence. This is not science. But just like the existence of god, it can't be disproven.

    Many, many people actually believe the god theory. Any one with such a belief will not be swayed by "evidence" because their god (or devil) can create evidence to make things appear to have happened.

    This is at the messy intersection of philosophy, religion and science. Science does not deal with the supernatural. Religion does not deal with reality.

    The beliefs above that I allow for are actual beliefs that apparently millions or billions of people on this planet have -- especially the god thing.

    Believing in god is not rational. But likewise, affirmatively believing there is no god is also not rational. Neither is a provable proposition.

    Such things are outside of science. But they are not outside of life or society. Some people seem to think that science is superior to religion or that religion is superior to science. Such arrogance gets in the way of communication. Many on both sides feel their worldview is the only valid worldview and can't understand why the other side is unable to acknowledge their superiority. There are extremists on both sides. Unfortunately in the U.S. the political climate sets religion and science against each other even though they exist in separate realms.

    In short, back to the survey question: "not sure."

    Enjoy...

    This is at the messy intersection of philosophy, religion and science. Science does not deal with the supernatural. Religion does not deal with reality.

    So... a troll, and stupid as a dead log to boot. What a charming intersection of properties.

    By Caledonian (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Caledonian:
    So... a troll, and stupid as a dead log to boot. What a charming intersection of properties.

    Well, at least you weren't insulting or arrogant.

    I think one of the problems is that there is no theory of evolution, there was one a century ago, but by now, that is for decades, it is fact and it is for mere historical purposes that it is called a theory.
    If an uneducated person (in respect to the scientific field in question) hears theory, it is a straight invitation to let the imagination go haywire, and that might be just one of the problems there truely is with evo.

    i dunno:
    "But just like the existence of god, it can't be disproven."

    You can't prove any of that. :-)

    But more to the point, science has learned since its inception that dualisms are bad and have debunked them. And it has specifically learned that the supernaturalistic dualism is an especially bad method.

    If anything supernatural can mess with experiments, they can't be trusted. And conversely, if you allow an unconstrained supernatural mechanism it could explain anything, which of course mean that it has no explanatory power at all - it gives no specific mechanism that would be interesting.

    Also, it adds unnecessarily on natural explanations. Science has learned that it should be as parsimonous as possible, so it must choose the simpler, more powerful explanations.

    This is why supernatural mechanisms are disallowed in science and specifically evolution. Evolution explains humans as well as lice. And that can't be disproven without evidence.

    What you argue is in effect the creationistic canard - if evolution is wrong, something else is automatically right. That is wrong, there will be competing alternative theories to choose from.

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

    lo:
    "it is fact and it is for mere historical purposes that it is called a theory"

    Yes and no. The essence of the fact is that phylogenetic lineages ("common descent with modification") is observed. But it is explained by the theory of evolution, which also describes a number of related facts about genetics and species.

    For historical reasons, the term theory is used in science for a framework explaining related phenomena and the facts observed on them.

    "In science, a theory is a proposed description, explanation, or model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation. It follows from this that for scientists "theory" and "fact" do not necessarily stand in opposition.

    For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theory which explains why the apple behaves so is the current theory of gravitation."

    "The word 'theory' derives from the Greek 'theorein', which means 'to look at'. According to some sources, it was used frequently in terms of 'looking at' a theatre stage, which may explain why sometimes the word 'theory' is used as something provisional or not completely resembling real. The term 'theoria' (a noun) was already used by the scholars of ancient Greece. Theorein is built upon 'to theion' (the divine) or 'to theia' (divine things) 'orao' (I see), ie 'contemplate the divine'. 'Divine' was understood as harmony and order (or logos) permeating the real world surrounding us."
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory )

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

    lo:
    And if you wonder about how theories are justified (or not) by experiments, start look at that link and then follow its link "Scientific method". It also explains why the term "theoretical" is sometimes used in a sense analogous to the colloqual one, and when a theory is strong enough to be called a "law".

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Believing in god is not rational. But likewise, affirmatively believing there is no god is also not rational. Neither is a provable proposition.

    Ummm... okay. I don't know what you mean by provable, but sure.

    It's not strictly provable that there's no such thing as The Philosophers' Stone. So why do all those chemists keep saying it's not real? And why aren't more people worked up about such arrogance?

    It's just not right; they can't really prove that, can they? So it's reasonable to believe in it, right? And it's unreasonable to criticize people who do believe in it, right?

    Such things are outside of science.

    Yep. So far outside that I don't think "outside of science" quite expresses the relevant distinction. It's definitely on the right track, though. Kinda like "Betelgeuse is outside my bathroom."

    But they are not outside of life or society. Some people seem to think that science is superior to religion or that religion is superior to science. Such arrogance gets in the way of communication.

    Yeah. You know what scabs my ass? Chemists. What a bunch of arrogant assholes. Who are they to say that chemistry is superior to alchemy? Alchemy is outside of chemistry, you know? What would chemists know about it?

    Many on both sides feel their worldview is the only valid worldview and can't understand why the other side is unable to acknowledge their superiority. There are extremists on both sides.

    Yeah. Those fucking chemists. What a bunch of extremists. I think you should go give them what for.

    Unfortunately in the U.S. the political climate sets religion and science against each other even though they exist in separate realms.

    Sure.

    This chemistry vs. alchemy crap really lays eggs under my skin.

    Great Post. The #1 issue in America is education. We wouldn't have this problem if we had better education for pre-schoolers, elementary, and Jr. High.

    The way that Christian groups feed in their beliefs and mix it with "fact based education" is dishonest. Just because you believe in "Jesus" or "God" does not make your faith/belief true.

    The "creationism" theory has no science attached to it. Only belief, faith. This is not wise. Many people believe what they read in the tabloids because it was printed professionally on some news print. The effect of the Bible is no different.

    --

    Dan: Ahem, many contemporary philosophers do not begin with the cogito. (Moreover, it is not clear that Descartes even intended to start there, but that's another story.)

    lo: Is no theory of evolution?? There are, in fact, several.

    now that very instructive session has settled down, may I just say. If it's not science, it's crap, or worse, superstition.

    By Andy Canada (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

    This is not science. But just like the existence of god, it can't be disproven.

    then ask yourself:

    Of what practical value does your approach have?

    It offers no predictive value, nothing to test, nothing to generate further interest.

    In short, it seems rather limited and boring to me.

    but, so long as you don't want to teach it (how would you even begin?) to each his own, I guess.

    Andy Canada said: "If it's not science, it's crap, or worse, superstition."

    Ichthyic said: "Of what practical value does your approach have?"

    Okay, if the idea is to be 'correct' than well I suppose I have no arguement with what you say. However, if we are trying to accomplish any of the following:

    - counter those with faith so that they understand that there beliefs are fine (freedom of religion, I believe, is one of those things you US citizens so highly value, is it not?), but that they have no place in public life (state) or in education. After all, though you may not like some of the social ramifications of their beliefs, other groups may have political beliefs, or even scientific beliefs you disagree with, that could have social ramifications. So, completely alienating the group you are trying to get through to is not really going to help. One doesn't need to call it crap or superstition....call it what it is, a religious belief. I don't see any point in trying to denigrate the believers or their beliefs, if they are in fact not impinging on you. Now, we all are more tempted to make fun of the more odd beliefs out there (*cough* Scientology *cough*)... why not all of them? Well, one could look at the fact that many established religions have moral/ethical codes that are useful, that they have long-standing histories of trying to help others (yes, yes, and burn others at the stake too...but for recent history, it seems dumb to dismiss the charitable good works done by organized religion). It is one thing for someone to proclaim, "I am an athiest, and my goal in life is to irradicate religion", but I see no need to attach that canard onto being a scientist, or an atheist, or of an enquiring mind, or a skeptic. It's a bit of 'live and let live, just don't make your beliefs my headache'.

    - Next up, and I'm sure is a much smaller number of people...if you want to actually help a believer question their beliefs, or to become more skeptical, chances are it will only work if a)you're respectful in your approach and b)you walk them through it in small amounts of information at a time.

    - Next point.... PLEASE realize that not all believers are the same. Their are people that are quite distraught with the Far Right Extremist Christian Fundamentalists....they are of particularly large numbers in the Southern US, but not worldwide....there are many other Christian denominations that are more liberal, scientific, open-minded. As well, there are many other religions in the US and around the world. Equating 'Christian' or worse yet "Believer" with the most extreme of the Christian Fundies is a disservice.

    - Final point: Of what practical value?

    Well for many people, perhaps even after they have accepted it is more a 'nice idea' than reality, religion provides community and emotional ties that are important.

    I may understand the biology and chemistry of love, what neurons and brain chemicals and hormones do to me....but ah, when I fall in love with someone, that is not what I speak about. I think of how their eyes light up my heart, or how they make me laugh, or fondly think of how cute it is when they wiggle their ears. or whatever. When I want to speak of my feelings, or contemplate them, more profoundly, I might listen to music, read or write poetry, draw, sculpt... I could, I suppose, come up with scientific reasons for these actions, but for the most part, I'm happy to recite Elizabeth Barrett Brownings "How Do I Love Thee?"... "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    my soul can reach when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace."

    What does this have to do with god/dess/es? Because many humans still find comfort in reciting the Rosary (though not RC, or a christian, I find a meditative solace in reciting "Hail Marys" as I am losing my own mother to Alzeheimers... Mary to me is symbolic (in a myth/archetype/historical way) of mother earth goddesses, and as well, my own mother as woman often alone with her mostly male family, liked the idea of Mary as someone to relate to within spirituality that she could identify with. Knowing this for me is that the image of Mary is a physical comfort in helping me 'let go' of my own mother, and having some sense of my mother still with me. Call it a transitional step, or nostalgia, or wishful thinking, or whatever...it eases my pain, and does no harm to anyone.

    When my friend's husband and business partner dropped dead in the middle of the night with no warning, leaving her a business and three small children...there are no answers. One can talk of the probabilities, of what psychology or science might have to say about the 'norms' of grieving, or whatever. That she and the kids had ritual, as a way of coping, helped. The casket was filled with momentos and gifts and drawings of the children....flowers were put on top of the casket after it was lowered, one by each girl and their mom. The funeral service had much to say on science and religion and faith.... her husband and she were people of science, both pharmacists, However, he even more than she, was a faith believing man, and saw his contributions to his family and his friends and his community as an expression of his faith. How did he reconcile his understanding of science with his beliefs? I don't know. I think probably, like many, he picked and chose what parts of his beliefs he wanted to adhere to.

    One reason why I'm no longer able to call myself a believer, is that I was no longer able to make the mental contortions to keep things like "love thy neighbor" while dropping things like, "women shouldn't speak in church".... even trying to keep it to Jesus' sayings, and ignoring everything else (which was an intermediate step for me) proved not to be able to stretch across the chasm of 'stuff I don't believe in anymore'.

    I still have moments that I think of as "spiritual"...but they have nothing to do with a personal god/dess/es for a select group. I suppose, I probably come closest to a Zen Buddhist outlook than anything. But there are still some hymns I know word for word, and they still comfort me on the odd occassions I feel callled to sing them to myself.

    I don't know if anyone made their way through all of the above, or even care...but if you wonder where some christians get their knickers in a knot about 'arrogance' or 'scientism'...it is in part from those that haven't the ability to positively state their views on science, without feeling the need to call all religious belief and believers names, and posit that their beliefs aren't valid. While not scientifically 'provable' or perhaps in the scientific view even 'true'...to posit that they aren't valid is to some degree to say that the next step is to go burn all the poetry books, or that all meaningful and well executed paintings can only be non-abstract.

    kaVri

    "...Nature is what we know
    But have no art to say,
    So impotent our wisdom is
    To Her simplicity..." - Emily Dickinson

    So, completely alienating the group you are trying to get through to is not really going to help.

    I don't intend to alienate (or see any benefit in doing so) those who rightly recognize that their faith has no place in the arena of pragmatism. Faith in the bible (or any other mythology) has never been sufficient to explain any naturally occuring event, and has always been supplanted as evidence is obtained that really does explain phenomena previously thought to be supernatural in origins (like the weather, for example).

    however, for those that think their faith sufficiently explains the natural world in any way, I'm more than happy to piss them off to no end with niggling things like actual facts and details that don't seem to fit the reality they've constructed for themselves.

    Go over to the ATBC area on PT and check out the resident YEC AFDave. ask yourself if you would have any objections to alienating his type, eh?

    as to equating religion with poetry...
    the next step is to go burn all the poetry books, or that all meaningful and well executed paintings can only be non-abstract.

    I suggest you find a new hobby.

    the folks we fight against here don't view religion as abstract philosophy, so why is your argument valid?

    and no, by pragmatic I strictly mean in the sense above. In an explanatory sense.

    What you speak of is the after-effect of community generated by religious organization, not the belief structures themselves.

    Religion simply isn't required to generate a sense of community, nor a sense of wonderment or "sprituality".

    You're simply barking up the wrong tree, and preaching to the wrong audience at the same time, to mix metaphors.

    Keith:
    "Is no theory of evolution?? There are, in fact, several."

    Correct, I conflated them. I should probably call them the collection of evolutionary theories. (Since I think that calling them the "set" will be problematic, with their partial covering and codependencies.)

    kaVri:
    "it is in part from those that haven't the ability to positively state their views on science, without feeling the need to call all religious belief and believers names, and posit that their beliefs aren't valid."

    While science is a secular tool and can be used by all, factual knowledge of all kinds has always raised and continues to raise problems for religions. It is a fact of nature, which religions have to make their peace with.

    As the title of the thread says, we shall put the blame where it belongs.

    By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Go over to the ATBC area on PT and check out the resident YEC AFDave. ask yourself if you would have any objections to alienating his type, eh?

    actually I should be clearer and directly state that the best goal is beyond alienation, to pure marginalization.

    there never will be consesus between observational reality and the fantasy world folks like those running the Disco insitute would foist upon us. To think so belies all evidence to the contrary.

    there is no reaching them, the best choice is marginalization.

    as to folks like Miller, who have no problems with compartmentalization, there is no need to "reach" them to begin with.

    Personally, I can count on one hand the number of creobots that I have witnessed "convert" away from the creationism of their parents to a more rational viewpoint.

    seriously, it's just not worth the effort in the numbers game.

    kaVri,
    First, my sympathies for your friend's loss.

    Second, if your friend is a reader, she may find of value Joan Didion's book THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING about her own such experience, when her husband John Dunne unexpectedly died of a massive coronary just as they were preparing dinner. Didion is an intensely rational woman, and the book lucidly describes her subsequent year experiencing episodes of irrationality, as well as vividly suggesting the emotions she felt and which we fail to imagine.

    Finally: Didion's ultimate response illustrates the diversity of sources in which we may find meaning: she has returned to her bedrock faith in bedrock (so to speak) described in this excerpt:

    As a child I thought a great deal about meaninglessness, which seemed at the time the most prominent negative feature on the horizon. After a few years of failing to find meaning in the more commonly recommended venues I learned that I could find it in geology, so I did. This in turn enabled me to find meaning in the Episcopal litany, most acutely in the words "as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end," which I interpreted as a literal description of the constant changing of the earth, the unending erosion of the shores and mountains, the inexorable shifting of the geological structures that could throw up mountains and islands and could just as reliably take them away. I found earthquakes, even when I was in them, deeply satisfying, abruptly revealed evidence of the scheme in action. That the scheme could destroy the works of man might be a personal regret but remained, in the larger picture I had come to recognize, a matter of abiding indifference. No eye was on the sparrow. No one was watching me. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
    ...[As an adult], that I could find meaning in the intensely personal nature of my life as a wife and mother did not seem inconsistent with finding meaning in the vast indifference of geology and the test shots; the two systems existed for me on parallel tracks that occasionally converged, notably during earthquakes.

    Isn't it rather ironic that some of the strongest critics of evolution are ready defenders of social darwinism? Amazingly, Sweden, with 80% of its people believing evolution is true, has a government system that cares for all types of people in society. On the other hand, in the US, where 40% of the population think evolution is true, there is a strong social darwinist streak to reward the rich and let the failing poor suffer. The same Old Testament which tells of God as Creator also states specifically that even though the poor will always be among you, you should still help them. Jesus clearly spoke of caring for the least among you. However, many (not all) Christians in the US will tell you in so many words that the government has no responsibility to care for the poor. The next time you hear a Christian criticizing evolution, please ask them what they think government policy should be towards the poor in society. Don't despair about people not believing in evolution if they are practicing or encouraging practices based on it. If you are not rich in the US, you can still enjoy government policies greatly influenced by the theory of evolution. Just think of how people in Sweden are suffering under those high taxes which lessen the gap between rich and poor and help everyone lead a decent life. That was undoubtedly influenced by Christian teachings which are not being taken so seriously in the US.

    So is belief in God bad? If so could someone explain why? Are people not allowed to have differing opinions, even if those opinions are based in "mythology" or "superstition"?
    People are going to think differently about certain things, that is just the way it is, and that's a good thing. Not only is this a good thing, it is a necessary thing.

    An underlying theme to this is respect. I'm pretty new to the blogosphere and from my perspective it's a way for people to exchange information and ideas in real time while the events are happening, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Unfortunately without face to face interaction people seem to get real brave and say (type) things to and about people that they probably would never say to someone's face. I got to tell you; based on comments I've read, regarding a variety of topics, from several different blogs, it's my opinion that there is a lot of hate out there, and I do mean hate. Now I'm no saint (which would be rather boring if you ask me), and I have felt and said many of the things I've read. But those thoughts and words either stay in that little black portion of my mind or are spoken in conversations with a select few. They aren't used as a tool for change. Hate for other people because of a difference of opinion is unacceptable. It is that hate that is the biggest threat to our society, not the war on terror (what ever that is) or global warming (I'm still not convinced).

    I'm sure this sounds simplistic to some of you out there, but you can't get the big things in life right (our dependence on oil) if you can't get little things in life right (being civil), because big things aren't anything more than a whole bunch of little things (normally in a big ugly pile).

    Now does this perspective serve as an immediate fix for the problems we are currently facing? No. But I am thinking long term. Our democracy is still in its infancy and it is a fluid and dynamic process that is ever changing. Should we all be best friends? Good grief no. I don't have the time and let's face it there are some people I don't like. But I can still respect the fact that their opinion may differ from mine, that's the balance. Insults don't share a perspective or change minds. In closing I want to share a quote by Will Rogers regarding politicians, he said "The only difference between a democrat and a republican is that on starts with a D and one starts with an R". In the context of politics no truer words have ever been said. Think about it.

    "Something From Nothing"

    How about something from pure light? Almost ten years ago, physicists at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center created particles of matter from light. While not the materialization of a full-grown man from empty space as the creationist would demand, the experiment did 'shed new light' on the creation of matter.

    http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=747

    By Rocker5150 (not verified) on 13 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Why NOT accept that its science versus religion? What's the problem with that?

    The universe was created by Popeye in a giant cosmic spinach fart. Here's the survey - do you believe in evolution or the spinach fart?

    Now, all of you who answered "not sure" to the evo/god question answered "not sure" to this one too, right?

    Here's a few more.
    The Milky Way is one arm of a giant starfish.
    You're all just figments of my imagination.
    The Earth is a Milk Dud, we're the rich chocolate coating.

    There is as much evidence for, and as much evidence against all of these "theories" as there is for a creator. if you voted "not sure" for all of them, congrats on your consistency. If not, then why?

    Why does "God" get cut so much slack? Why wouldn't scientists get slammed as closed-minded for rejecting the milk dud hypothesis?

    We know that people can be pressured into saying that black is white, even into believing it to go along with the crowd.

    That's why some would say "not sure" to evo vs. god, but wouldn't to evo vs. milk dud. There's too many people behind the "god" thing... it's too much of a trend to buck. Too much to stand up to.
    Mom is already too disapproving of you in your subconscious as it is, without upping the anty by COMPLETELY rejecting her beliefs.

    Be consistent. Reject all nonsense, or accept all nonsense. Don't pick and choose.

    "So is belief in God bad? If so could someone explain why? Are people not allowed to have differing opinions, even if those opinions are based in "mythology" or "superstition"?"

    The Zodiac killer believed that when he died he would live forever in heaven and all those that he had killed would become his slaves.

    People are allowed to have differing opinions, but that doesn't mean that all opinions are equal or that all accurately describe reality. It also doesn't mean that some of those opinions aren't dangerous and harmful, and it doesn't mean that others don't have the right to criticize harmful opinions.

    Religious people are completely free to be religious people.
    My not being religious does nothing to stop them from being religious. My criticizing religion does nothing to stop them from being religious. My demanding that they not force their religion on my children in schools does nothing to stop them from being religious.

    Science advancing does nothing to stop people who reject science from rejecting it for themselves personally.
    Scientists don't try to force creationists to stop being creationists - they just try to stop creationists from forcing scientists to stop being scientists.

    Do you believe:

    ( )"Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

    ( ) "Human beings as we know them exist by the will of God."

    Check all that apply. Feel free to mark both.

    Thanks for the post Craig. I agree. While I do believe in God (believing in God and being religious are two different things for me), I don't want that topic taught in schools. Why, because who ever they chose to teach it would probably screw it up. Additionally creationism isn't quantifiable, you have to believe in something that hasn't been proven. Subsequently I don't feel it should be taught as a requisite.

    Would you consider my belief in God a harmful opinion? I would hope not. The topic of this string/thread(?) is "Put the blame where it belongs: God and the Republican party" What's to blame? That a majority of Americans think a bit differently than other contries? Are those other contries that scored higher on the poll better than us or more enlightened, or just different?

    I would like to see our scores on math, science, engineering etc., be higher. But that's due to poor policies in our educational system, not because a lot of people don't fully believe the theory of evolution.

    The point I am trying to get at is not the specific "topic" of any given thread, but how we view the originator of the topic or comment. Do we view them as wrong or bad or harmful because their opinion differs from ours (are they labled as wingnuts or moonbats?). So I don't believe the entire theory of evolution (evolution within a genus? Yep, evolution between species, not yet.), so what! I don't think that's bad, harmful or nonsense, it's just different.

    But that's due to poor policies in our educational system, not because a lot of people don't fully believe the theory of evolution.

    *ahem*

    at the risk of sounding pedantic, you should "Read The Fuckin' Paper", Otto, before you make your analysis of the results.

    You will clearly see actual data on "who is to blame", and who is not.

    that's why we value science over religious diatribe.

    it's based on EVIDENCE that came from RESEARCH.

    "Just different" can be "just bad" if taught as fact without supporting evidence. That's why we don't teach religion as science.

    Yes, you're welcome to your opinions, of course, but if you're gonna spout off round these parts, you should at least have read what your arguing against.

    Go read the actual paper, then come back when you have a good reason to come to the conclusion that it's all down to just "being different".

    You don't look good trying to play Rodney King here.

    Do we view them as wrong or bad or harmful because their opinion differs from ours?

    If I ask "What is your favorite color?" your answer is your opinion. It's not wrong or bad or harmful.

    If I ask "if I let go of this hammer, will it drop to the floor?" and you answer "no, I believe it will turn into a fock of chocolate butterflies," then yes, your "opinion" is wrong.

    If you try to argue that your chocolate butterflies opinion should be given as much merit in schools and in society as gravity, then yes, your opinion is harmful. Its also nonsense.

    There is such a thing as reality. When enough evidence begins to show that antibiotics are more effective in combating ear infections than rubbing a quartz crystal on your forehead, then rejecting that conclusion is harmful.

    Rejecting evidence because it makes you feel better to have a different "opinion" is rejecting learning. Rejecting learning is harmful.

    Craig, thanks for the civil discourse, which is more than I can say about Ichthyic. I haven't advocated religion being taught in schools, I'm actually against it. My intent wasn't to "spout off", and I don't know what "playing Rodney King" is.

    I guess I made a mistake stopping by and wanting to have a talk and hopefully gain and share some insight. It certainly appears that since I believe that God created mankind, without any research or evidence that proves it (or disproves it for that matter), I am bad, wrong and harmful. How does my thinking this way harm people? How am I wrong? How am I bad? Could it be because since I believe the way I do on this particularly narrow topic it is assumed I think similarly about other subjects? I'm pro-choice, all for stem cell research and wonder why we can't clone organs so I can have some extra parts when mine wear out (not to mention the benefits to society all this study and research would provide).

    Craig, you haven't been unpleasant. You've been articulate and logical in your comments. But comments like yours are the exception and not the rule. It doesn't matter if the site I visit is left, right, liberal, conservative or anything inbetween and that's what bothers me. We are in a unique period of time. The exchange of information and ideas has never been where it is now. So when I use this incredible tool to seek out differing opinions, to understand a different point of veiw, the majority of what I read and how I am responded to is drivel like what Ichthyic posted. Comments like his do not encourage debate, they engender stife.

    "A better explanation for the high percentage of doubters of Darwinism in America may be that this country's citizens are famously independent and are not given to being rolled by an ideological elite in any field"

    How true. American citizens famously didn't get caught up in those European ideological vices of anti-communist hysteria in the 50s or anti-civil rights racial panic in the 60s or anti-poor people class war in the 80s or anti-gay bigotry in the 90s and 2000s.

    By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

    "It certainly appears that since I believe that God created mankind, without any research or evidence that proves it (or disproves it for that matter), I am bad, wrong and harmful. How does my thinking this way harm people? How am I wrong? How am I bad?"

    Where do you get this from? Didn't Craig original post to you clearly debunk this victim mentality? Your beliefs are irrelevant. No one cares what you believe in - until you attempt to make everyone fall in line with your chosen beliefs without evidence or logic.

    And Ichthyic was simply pointing out that you post came off as reactionary rather than informed.

    "Could it be because since I believe the way I do on this particularly narrow topic it is assumed I think similarly about other subjects?"

    Take a look around. Theists like Jason, for example, are exactly this type. This is what we see more often than not. So yes it probably is assumed- until you state otherwise and hold to it - that you're a fundy.

    By Lya Kahlo (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Everybody seems to miss the opportunity! We have an excellent chance to turn micro natural selection into a force for education and redirection.

    First we pass the religious freedom from evolution law - barring imposition of evolution or any aspect thereof upon those who are opposed to evolution on the basis of their faith.

    Second, we withhold antibiotic and neoplasm therapy on the grounds that to apply "micro natural selection" to the faithful is a violation of the law.

    Give or take 20 years, we should be rid of them - OR, they might come around and admit that the evidence is really clear....

    By George O'Connor (not verified) on 15 Aug 2006 #permalink

    These statistics don't surprise me -- but they are telling non-the-less.

    As you point out, people are far more inclined to buy into the writings of 3000 year-old middle-eastern tribesmen (i.e - the bible) than the writings of contemporary scientists. The situation is appalling.

    The US will undoubtedly lose it's economic technological lead to the likes of China and India.

    I, for one, don't despair: you reap what you sow.

    Torbjörn Larsson said:
    "Norway is below other nordic countries which isn't surprising considering that religion has a stronger basis there."

    Beaten by the Swedes again...

    By fruktkake (not verified) on 20 Aug 2006 #permalink

    Molly said: So we have the Repubs, like the Taliban, rejecting science and modernity--with which they have no hope of competing in the developed world. The States will become poorer for having these nitwits making policy decisions, but the red states will be particularly hard-hit.
    Guess who they'll blame for their poverty.
    And guess who they'll expect to support them economically, in every way: Schools (in which curriculum we will have no say), infrastructure, enormous welfare rolls, both corporate and personal.

    Yes, Molly, the growth of fundamentalism in the US is very similar to the growth of Islamic fundamentalism abroad, and for similar reasons: fear of a world that is changing rapidly and in ways that leave very little choice to or security in traditional communities. Many of the same fears affect liberals as well.

    Islamic fundamentalism is partly a response to intrusion and interference by the West, and to domestic corruption and mismanagement. Similarly, in the U.S. Republican elites have been able to cynically manipulate rural discontent with the federal government, tax-and-spend Democrats, and unsettling social changes pushed by liberals by pointing the finger and Dems. They were given a great boost by 9/11, which led to an instinctive circling of the wagons and support of the Administration in reacting against loosely-defined "terrorists".

    This is an extremely dangerous and divisive game that the Republican elites are playing for partisan advantage, at the cost of domestic unity and our long-term international interests. And who is benefitting? Look at the complete lack of fiscal discipline in government and the ascendancy of money politics and lobbying.

    Caledonian: while Democrats bear some responsibility for the growth of the federal pork-barrel machine and for other conditions that Republicans have exploited, let it be clear that, as the Republicans have sole control of the Administration, both houses of Congress and increasingly the courts, the responsibility for cynical and intemperate mismanagement of power lies solely with the Republicans.

    Dems can be blamed only for their spinelessness in standing up to the Republicans. They owe their emasculation to their own addition to the big federal pork-barrel machine.

    They probably do not believe in man-made global warming either -- what a bunch of miss-informed idiots.

    By Lee Maybaum (not verified) on 08 May 2007 #permalink

    Lee: You're right - most of the Republicans don't, or don't want to inconvenience their business allies even if AGW is real.