Darwin's Deadly Legacy: what tripe.

Well, I just watched the much-ballyhooed Darwin's Deadly Legacy, with D. James Kennedy. Here are a few quick comments.

  • The opening scene was perfect. Kennedy walked onto a stage decorated with flasks and beakers and graduated cylinders full of brightly colored water. One had a small flame going under it; the graduated cylinder was bubbling. It was practically an admission that all of the science in the show was going to be fake.

  • In a show purportedly about science, how desperate do you have to be to give Ann Coulter that much face time? Triple points for irony, though, when Coulter calls Eugenie Scott a "hack."

  • The first half was all Nazis and Columbine. No mention of Hitler's Christianity, of course, everything was driven by "Darwinism."

  • The second half was all about the "crumbling theory of evolution." All the old chestnuts were tossed out. We got "just a theory", 747s being spontaneously assemble while monkeys write Shakespeare, Behe babbling about "molecular machines," Strobel saying there were no transitional fossils, Nebraska Man, teach both theories, and that famous paleontologist, Ann Coulter, telling us that all forms of life suddenly appeared in the Cambrian explosion…and did you know you'll get sued if you mention the Cambrian in a classroom?

  • Francis Collins is still in the program, in the second half. His contribution was to help Kennedy argue that evolution is inadequate, that "man is a special creature," and go on and on about how complex the genome is. Collins is back on my shit list. He may not have supported the Hitler connection, but he is a creationist dupe arguing against scientific theories.

  • There were a couple of times when the collection plate was passed. Kennedy offers a copy of Tom DeRosa's book, Evolution's Fatal Fruit, for any donation. Go ahead, give 'em a dollar and tell them to mail it to you. The address is:
    D. James Kennedy
    Box 555
    Ft Lauderdale, FL 33302
    Or call them toll free at 1-888-334-9680.

It was a truly vile exhibition, the fans of this kind of crap will eat it up, and man, is it ever easy for these guys to lie.

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The Anti-Defamation League has condemned Kennedy and Darwin's Deadly Legacy, and Francis Collins has announced that he is "appalled," calling the program "misguided and inflammatory." Whew. It looks like this bit of propaganda has blown up in their faces. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today…
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I suppose there's still no chance of Dawkins's Root of all evil? ever being shown, even on cable? That would be the best response to Kennedy's crap.

By Ian H Spedding (not verified) on 26 Aug 2006 #permalink

Today I worked at the zoo and picked up an inordinate amount of primate fecal matter (they seemed to be saving it up for me), but it was nothing compared to the dreck in Kennedy's program. I made a bunch of notes, but one remark that really stood out was a statement (made twice) about "the shedding of human blood by those who embrace evolution." I guess they are not really bothered by blood shed by those who embrace christianity.

Now I'm going to go take a shower.

PS I'd never seen Ann Coulter on tv before. She really does have a prominent adam's apple, doesn't she? I wonder if that is common among the women in her family.

But it's working though (the continual propaganda) - at my college during the opening Biology 101 'semester overview' lecture this week, the professor (upon reaching the point where evolution was first mentioned) used an analogy along the lines of 'in comparative religion class, you might study Buddhism, but you don't have to believe it to understand it. All I ask is that you listen to what scientists think and try to understand it.'.

He was immediately on the defensive (no doubt due to being an old hand at teaching Biology 101). Now I know that most of the class were probably only in there because they had to be, and that things are different at higher levels, but I still think it's sad that this kind of thing goes on. This class is probably the last time that most of the students will study biology, so it's bad if they leave with the impression that evolution is 'just a theory', an impression that is probably amplified by the professors apologetic tone.

God, I could never torture myself by watching something like this. I'm glad others are brave enough to write these reviews for me.

Problem with ordering DeRosa's book from them is that you must supply them with your name, address, phone number, email address, and credit card number... no thanks.

Funny how the "suggested donation" is $35 and the minimum is $1 ($0 not allowed).

If you missed the show tonight, it will no doubt be on their web site in a couple of days (half-an-hour of the audio is already up, since he turned it into a radio show as well).

I still remember the days when Kennedy was hosting a TBN show and had Carl Baugh on as a guest to show off his "fossilized hammer" (a hammer with an iron head and wooden hammer embedded in a rock). Sadly, very little has changed.

PZ wrote:

Francis Collins is still in the program, in the second half. His contribution was to help Kennedy argue that evolution is inadequate, that "man is a special creature," and go on and on about how complex the genome is.

Man is a special creature: no other species has the H. sapiens ability to invent bullshit like creationism.

No mention of Hitler's Christianity, ...

Better yet, no mention he was a creationist.
Mein Kampf, 1925:

Everybody who has the right kind of feeling for his country is solemnly bound, each within his own denomination, to see to it that he is not constantly talking about the Will of God merely from the lips but that in actual fact he fulfils the Will of God and does not allow God's handiwork to be debased. For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God's Creation and God's Will.
...
The result of all racial crossing is therefore in brief always the following:
Lowering of the level of the higher race; and physical and intellectual regression and hence the beginning of a slowly but surely progressing sickness.
To bring about such a development is, then, nothing else but to sin against the will of the eternal creator.
Even the most superficial observation shows that Nature's restricted form of propagation and increase is an almost rigid basic law of all the innumerable forms of expression of her vital urge. Every animal mates only with a member of the same species. The titmouse seeks the titmouse, the finch the finch, the stork the stork, the field mouse the field mouse, the dormouse the dormouse, the wolf the she-wolf, etc.
...
Should the same renunciation not be possible if this injunction is replaced by the admonition finally to put an end to the constant and continuous original sin of racial poisoning, and to give the Almighty Creator beings such as He Himself created?
From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.

What infuriates me the most about this kind of thing is the smugness. Whenever anyone delivers something to me from behind a veneer of unapproachability, the way creationists and right-wing pundits are so apt to do, I instantly distrust everything they say.

The public, though, seems to love it.

Really? He had something boiling in a graduated cylinder? As a chemist I gotta tell you that's just plain wrong! What a sick-o!

Poor me. I have to wait till tomorrow morning to enjoy this celebration of ignorance. It's clear from PZ's description, though, that it's little more than a rehash of Kennedy's many previous anti-evolution programs.

By the way, according to the true science of numerology (much beloved by deranged Bible scholars), Kennedy's Zip code is probably highly significant: 33302. If you draw the 0 really small, it looks like a multiplication dot, which is undoubtedly what God intended. You then get the product of 333 and 2, which gives 666. This is science, I tell you. Every bit as good as Kennedy's or Coulter's!

One had a small flame going under it; the graduated cylinder was bubbling.

I'd kick him out of my lab for that. Seriously.

So, was he wearing his safetly glasses while performing this "experiment"?

Better yet, were *you* wearing safety glasses and ear protection while watching the program? Sounds like it was quite dangerously dumb.

I liked how they used a clip from the film "Adaptation" early on to show how Hollywood is behind Darwinism. That was in the first five minutes; I didn't get much beyond that.

Calling it "tripe" is sort of missing the point though. I assume nobody reading here was watching it in the hopes of getting actual facts. It's propaganda and should be studied as such.

pz wrote:

"Collins is back on my shit list. He may not have supported the Hitler connection, but he is a creationist dupe arguing against scientific theories."

Dude, how do you figure Collins "argues against scientific theories"? The man supports evolution, and he worked on the friggin human genome project! Sheesh, you're hard core. I gather that you are saying that the guy, regardless of his scientific accomplishments, is "arguing against scientific theories" merely because he believes in God.

By Forthekids (not verified) on 26 Aug 2006 #permalink

So, did Mr Kennedy explain how trying to decide whether Stensioella was a chimaera or a placoderm would spiritually transform a person into a frothing AntiSemite?

If you draw the 0 really small, it looks like a multiplication dot, which is undoubtedly what God intended. You then get the product of 333 and 2, which gives 666.

But wait! There's more! Take the post office box number (Box 555) and add a number of three digits, representing the Trinity. Each of the digits should be one, representing the oneness of the Trinity. You also get 666. 555+111=666

Perhaps God *is* trying to tell us something about D. James Kennedy ...

Damn...

*shakes head*

The boiling graduated cylinder says it all.

Doc Bill nailed it. It's just plain wrong. All that was missing was the dry ice in a glass of water trick with Igor taking a sip.

By Jim in Chicago (not verified) on 26 Aug 2006 #permalink

I think the beaker shit shows just how unflinchingly disingenuous they really are. I mean, it's one thing to simply lie. I can almost understand how someone would be able to lie on the scale that they do. But to actually stage something like that -- that's tangible, physical, and premeditated. For me, at least, every little drop of food coloring that I put into my fake lab would seem like a little lie that I was telling myself to reinforce my bad belief system, and I wouldn't be able to do that.

Then again, that's probably the reason I became an atheist.

I hope these people are happy to be contributing to the stupefaction of the populace.

They contribute nothing to society but their own ignorance-spreading hot air.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

They aren't just anti-science, they are anti-education, anti-intelligence, and anti-self-improvement, and their opposition to science and academia, the wellsprings of this nation's growth and prosperity, is anti-American.

We can't let these people turn stupidity into a virtue.

Real True Stories for Christian Children: Adolf and The Jews

Once upon a time, in the enchanted land of Austria, in the magical city of Vienna, there lived a handsome young Christian man named Adolf Hitler, who dreamed of being a painter.

Not a painter like a house painter, but a painter of pictures. Adolf loved to paint pictures of trees and birds and butterflies. But although Adolf was artistic, he was a normal young Christian man who liked girls very much.

Because he was a good Christian, even though he liked girls very much, he was waiting until he found the right Christian girl and got married before he kissed a girl. But it had nothing to do with him being an artist. He liked girls very much.

Adolf was a happy young man and everybody loved him and he loved everybody back. His heart was full of Christian love toward all his neighbors. He especially loved his Jewish neighbors. The reason he had a special love for the Jews is because he grew up in the enchanted land of Austria, which was really part of the magical land of Germany, and all the Germans loved the Jews very much. The Germans loved the Jews because the Germans were all good Christians, and the German Christians had always loved the Jews so much.

Adolf especially loved the Jewish children. He would give them candy and paint their pictures and give them the pictures, or sometimes just hug them and tell them how much he loved them.

Adolf loved his Jewish doctor, and his Jewish banker, and his Jewish accountant, and his Jewish landlady, and all the Jews he knew. Sometimes, Adolf would think about how much he loved the Jews, and he would wish he knew more Jews, so that his heart could be filled with more love. And sometimes he would go looking for new Jews to meet and love, and so he had many, many Jewish friends, all of whom he loved very much.

One day, Adolf was walking to church, thinking about how much he loved the Jews, when he met a strange and ugly little man. The man was an atheist, which is somebody who hates Jesus, and the man gave Adolf a book. The book was called Origin of the Species, written by Charles Darwin. The atheist said that the book was scientific, and that Adolf should read this book instead of going to church. Adolf was such a nice young Christian man that he agreed to what the ugly little man asked, even though, in his heart, he really wanted to go to church and worship Jesus and listen to the priest talk about loving Jews. But to make the atheist happy, Adolf promised he would read the atheist's book instead.

So Adolf sat under a tree and began to read the atheist's book. As he read, his face became more and more sad, and his heart became heavier and heavier. By the time he had finished the book, Adolf knew that everything had changed, and that he would never be happy again. Because now, instead of loving the Jews, he had to kill them all.

It made him sad to think of killing all his Jewish friends, whom he loved so much, and it made him very sad to know he must kill all the Jewish children, instead of giving them candy and hugs. But although he hated the thought of killing all his Jewish friends and neighbors and the little Jewish children, now he had no choice. Because Charles Darwin's book said that all the Jews must be killed, and Charles Darwin was a scientist. Although Adolf's heart told him to love the Jews, science said they must all die. And science says that what science says is more important than what's in your heart.

And so Adolf killed all the Jews.

The Moral of the Story: Always go to church. And if you read a book given to you by an atheist, you'll have to kill everybody you love.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Yes, they should be... but they aren't capable of shame any more than of honesty. To them, it's not just OK to lie in furtherance of the faith, it's expected & encouraged.

Dude, how do you figure Collins "argues against scientific theories"? The man supports evolution, and he worked on the friggin human genome project! Sheesh, you're hard core. I gather that you are saying that the guy, regardless of his scientific accomplishments, is "arguing against scientific theories" merely because he believes in God.

No, he's saying that Collins is arguing against scientific theories because he's making claims that directly contradict established scientific theories. That has precisely nothing whatsoever to do with his scientific accomplishments or his belief in God. Although I'll add that believing in God is inherently and unequivocally unscientific all by itself, regardless of what Collins actually says.

Personally, I think that Collins supports evolution in the same way that the Bush administration supports human rights in Iraq.

Rick:

Better yet, were *you* wearing safety glasses and ear protection while watching the program?

I recommend the Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses for watching that. Not sure what to do for the ears, though, other than maybe some of the noise-cancelling gear they have out there, or poking your eardrums out with a screwdriver.

The Moral of the Story: Always go to church. And if you read a book given to you by an atheist, you'll have to kill everybody you love.

LOL. thanks Max. that was priceless. I'll add that to the addendum of my copy of Grim's Fairy Tales.

"Bombarding a plutonium nucleus with accelerated electrons, long believed to produce a nuclear fission reaction, has, in fact, no consequence at all," Hapner said. "I'm going to prove that if it's the last thing I ever do."

ahh, we can only hope that men like Kennedy will work hard to follow in the footsteps of great scientists like the intrepid explorer of chemistry documented in this fantastic article, Dustin.

I'm sorry, but this believer thinks that PZ is right. Dr. Collins is a creationist dupe. He got played. And, as one whom Dr. Collins has replied to, I think he owes the scientific community more than a privately-circulated disavowal of his association with the program. He needs to publicly denounce them long and hard and explain exactly why and how he was duped, and why the people at Coral Ridge are filthy liars. Anything else is inadequate, in my opinion.

And let's face it: ill-considered passages in books and in public interviews have been quote-mined for decades, and some very illustrious biologists have had their work misrepresented in this manner. Gould's incautious hype of punk eek comes to mind, but I note that Gould made it his business to firmly and publicly take the creationists to task for misrepresenting him. Collins needs to do the same, or he loses credibility, IMO.

Disappointed....Scott

By Scott Hatfield (not verified) on 26 Aug 2006 #permalink

You're absolutely right Scott.

another letter adressed to Collin expressing your exact words here would not be unwarranted.

Collin is not just a let down for this one issue alone, though.

take a look at his book and see what I mean.

he is starting to lie about the very reasons he "turned to xianity". The story he uses to sell his book of being converted by a nature hike would puzzle anybody who saw him not that long ago post that he converted as a result of the death of his parents.

he's falling into serious self delusion, or else deciding to jump on the religious book sale bandwagon, regardless of whatever religion he professes.

sorry to see it, really, but as they say.

sh*t happens.

I missed the show (a sad result of being an undergrad with no financial aid from family or government) so if it gets on the internet anywhere a link would be much appreciated. The statement I found (or find since it's used alot) most appealing to me is the idea of monkeys and Shakespear(which I assume to be the age old adage about them writing it...) being used as a "random" concept (as most creationist think of evolution.) Why don't they ever say that 1000 cats with typewriters could write Shakespear, or 1000 elephants. One would give up touching the thing after 2 minutes, the other would crush it, IMO they are aknowledging that monkeys are close to us on a developmental chain, the reason that it is possible that a large number of them could accomplish a feat of our stature.

By Mamoulian (not verified) on 26 Aug 2006 #permalink

I fondly imagine a short video clip showing 10000 monkeys with 10000 typewriters in - say - a baseball stadium.

The smart money says that the typewriters would have a halflife of less than a week.

- JS

George said:

I hope these people are happy to be contributing to the stupefaction of the populace.
They contribute nothing to society but their own ignorance-spreading hot air.
They should be ashamed of themselves.

Well said! And to add my two cents:

Religion does not shun the intellectually lazy or educationally challenged (indeed, they're the flock - recruited and nurtured). Others that have gifts if true intellect and worthy education (like Collins and Coulter) who tow the religion line, and beyond that advocate and proselytize for the religion line aggressively, are either mentally ill, emotionally crippled, charlatans, playing cards to enhance power, putting on a show to avoid rebuke by power, or any and all of the former.

It is people like Collins who spew this shit or give it any pass at all, that make me the most sick and sad. Their cognitive dissonance and/or their ability to lie is so bloody astounding it takes one breath away. Hitler ruled because people like Collins had serious mental/emotional defects and thus lost their intellectual way, and the people like Coulter saw it as a great ride, fun, and personally profitable. Neither type I believe thought much to the damage potential.

By ConcernedJoe (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

For those disatisfied with Kennedy, take a look at "Hitlers Scientists" by John Cornwell.

He had previously produced "Hitlers Pope" and the atheists loved it.

Then, in "Hitlers Scientists" he pointed out the universities and scientists caved in as quick as anyone else to collaborating with Hitler and the atheists screamed foul!

He pointed out that the atrocities of World War two would not even have been possible with out the scientific advances regularly cranked out.

(And remember, in the words of Saint Darwin, vaccination weakens the race!)

By Agent of Goldstein (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

"The Moral of the Story: Always go to church. And if you read a book given to you by an atheist, you'll have to kill everybody you love."

Max, great story, and so true! Why, just the other day, I loaned my copy of Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World" to my little brother, and he went and wiped out Australia. Boy, was my face red.

Personally, I think that Collins supports evolution in the same way that the Bush administration supports human rights in Iraq.

While I'm appalled that Collins would associate with such frauds as D. J. Kennedy and am uncomfortable that Collins would use his scientific fame to promote his religious views on tv or in books, anyone that doubts that Collins supports evolution can simply go to Entrez and search for "collins fs AND evolution". Scientists aren't scientists for what they say on TV or in non-peer reviewed books, but for their research published in real journals.

He pointed out that the atrocities of World War two would not even have been possible with out the scientific advances regularly cranked out.

And yet there you are, typing on your computer, probably reasonably healthy, enjoying a lot of other comforts produced by scientific advances. Aren't you ashamed to take advantage of the oh-so-horrible science that inevitably leads to atrocities?

"Collins is back on my shit list. He may not have supported the Hitler connection, but he is a creationist dupe arguing against scientific theories."

I'm not interested in watching Kennedy's propaganda piece, but I seriously doubt that Collins argued against scientific theories. Perhaps there's some formulation of the modern theory of evolution (actually, there are a number of theories here) which implies that Collins' religious beliefs are wrong, but if so, that formulation would itself be highly suspect. For example, there's no rigorous formulation of the theory that includes a "closure clause" saying, in effect, "that's all there is folks." In other words, it's not part of the theory of evolution itself that the theory will prove adequate to explain the origins of every functional (I use that term loosely) trait of organisms. That represents a methodological cum metaphysical judgment which is, properly speaking, external to the theory of evolution.

By bob koepp (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

Yes, windbag, I am ashamed to be so confortable in a world full of scientific advances.

A world full of wmds that could turn that world into a waste land in a few hours.

Who could complain?

By Agent of Goldstein (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

And please tell, Agent, who would be pushing the buttons for those WMD's -- atheist scientists looking to cure cancer or deeply religious, "peace-loving" leaders like Bush and Ahmadinejad. I know who I'm placing my bets on to kill us all.

You people that blame science for atrocities committed by basically sociopaths and/or money/power-hungry dictators are the same people that love to say "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Not that I disagree with the latter BUT the duplicities of the religious are so many and profound it just makes you sick.

I am not a youngster and I have found in my life the most moral and consistently thoughtfully good people are people that don't cling to god like their life depends on it (atheist or believer). Yes there are exceptions to every rule -- but give me a humanist over a religious zealot any day.

PS I classify Fascism, Communism, and any dogmatic rule forming, leader driven cult philosophy as a religion!! So don't give me the "Stalin was an atheist" BS! He was a religious leader! Semantics - samantics -- he acted like an imam of sorts - like all religious leaders ultimately do -- and like almost all tyrants somehow ultimately do.

By ConcernedJoe (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

Yes, windbag, I am ashamed to be so confortable in a world full of scientific advances.

Then toss out that computer, hypocrite. Is a scientist holding a gun to your head and forcing you to use it? No? Then maybe the people using WMD's are doing so of their own accord, too.

Since you are so ashamed, are you actively campaigning for your nation to get rid of WMD's?

I just finished watching Kennedy's slimy betrayal of any notion of truth, Christian or otherwise.

As other have noted, all the usual - and utterly discredited - suspects were trotted out shamelessly.

Fortunately, my irony meter was offline when Ann Coulter called Eugenie Scott a "hack", otherwise it might be in orbit now.

I have to agree about Collins. He was quoted extensively, even if it was without his knowledge or permission. But, unless he specifically disclaims the central thesis of the programme, which is that "Darwinism" is the philosophical mainspring of Nazism and Communism and, hence, is responsible for the violence that flowed from them and which is also seen in contemporary society, then he is tainted by association as being a supporter of that view.

By Ian H Spedding FCD (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

Well, Collins says nothing about Hitler, and the program was explicitly split into a first half making the Hitler connection and a second half arguing that "Darwinism is crumbling"…and Collins was in the second half, contributing to that part of the propaganda. His role was in gushing out the argument from personal incredulity (the genome is just so gosh-darned complex! I believe a Creator must have had a hand in it!)

It was blatant. Take a theistic evolutionist and let them babble about what they believe, and they sound exactly like the creationists.

Since Rev. D. James Kennedy is against the teaching of evolution in public schools, maybe he needs to be convicted of corruption of minors (by religion):

Corruption of minors by religion.

(a) Offense defined.--

Whoever, being of the age of 18 years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age by promoting faith in a non-existent deity, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of any prayer to said non-existent deity, or who knowingly assists or encourages such minor in violating his or her obligation to learn science, or who knowingly equates the scientific ideas developed by the genius Charles Robert Darwin with the political philosophy of the madman Adolf Hitler, commits a felony of the first degree.

Punishment: vilification, heaps of scorn, no end of insults.

"10000 monkeys with 10000 typewriters in - say - a baseball stadium."

What I find funny is that a billion 'humans' have been putting pen to paper, fingers to manual Underwoods and Remingtons, and countless PC and Mac keyboards for the past four hundred years and they have still not come up with anything comparable to William the Bard.

As for "Dr." Kennedy, I think he did a masterful job of what he set out to do, to preach to the great middle of the road folks who already are singing in the choir, but are in need of the 'ammo' to fluster high school science teachers for at least the next few years. Kind of like pelting the poor teachers with fossilized metacarpals until they shout, "Theory, yes, only a theory ... a proposition, an unverified proposal ... really, only a theory!"

P Z Myers wrote:

Well, Collins says nothing about Hitler, and the program was explicitly split into a first half making the Hitler connection and a second half arguing that "Darwinism is crumbling"...and Collins was in the second half, contributing to that part of the propaganda.

True, but I doubt Kennedy's intended audience will make such a fine distinction.

By Ian H Spedding (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

I just watched parts of it, DVRed the rest.

It must have been really bad - my roommate (who isn't exactly Darwin's bulldog) was irritated by it, and couldn't wait to change back to the UFO program on another channel.

You know, I try to force myself to watch these things, in the hope that I'll eventually become desensitised to the fundies. So far, it doesn't seem to be working - every time I see Ann Coulter, my blood boils, and I sink to new depths of depression over the realisation that there are tens of millions (billions) of people who believe this crap.

Hold me, PZ, I'm scared.

By gregonomic (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

"No, he's saying that Collins is arguing against scientific theories because he's making claims that directly contradict established scientific theories."

What claims did Collins make that "directly contradict established scientific theories"?

pz, maybe you can answer that for me...

By Forthekids (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

I had considered using BitTorrent when I get home from vacation (and to my cable modem and high speed Internet access) to get a copy of this ridiculous special to screen, but PZ's description makes me realize that it would (1) be a waste of my precious vacation time on Labor Day weekend and (2) raise my blood pressure to the level where I would have to worry about having a stroke.

I think I'll pass.

A dollar, PZ? Really? If it's "any" donation how about a single Yen? Or a bag of old wash rags? A poor college student could eat well for a day on that dollar. I'm pretty sure they'd get sick if they tried to eat the crap in that book though.

It was much worse than I expected, really. His errors were many, right from the first sentence.

One wonders why there is not a working board of elders at Coral Ridge Ministries to hold D. James Kennedy in line, to make sure he's not misleading the congregation. Clearly there is something wrong in the governance of that church.

And when that happens, generally financial misdealings are concurrent. Sounds like a job for the Florida attorney general.

Don't hold your breath.

Forthekids:

What claims did Collins make that "directly contradict established scientific theories"?

Well, he did say (I'm paraphrasing): "Science can't answer questions like 'Why are we here?' and 'How did the universe begin?'. These questions can only be answered by spirituality".

By gregonomic (not verified) on 27 Aug 2006 #permalink

Blake Stacey: You allude to a very important point - humanity (as shown in science, technology, humanities and the arts) is an intensely creative species. But that gift is double edged ...

Dan: Meaning Collins thinks he supports evolution but does everything in the exact opposite way to advance that end?

bob koepp: No, but there is the view (which I adopt and have defended elsewhere) that science itself presupposes (and confirms) various metaphysical positions, including materialism. That aside, it is clear that our (for example) psychological faculties do have analogues in other animals so it bears investigating the relations and so on, rather than dismissing them and saying humans are radically unique, as Collins, the past pope, etc. do.

PZ Myers: I agree about that - I've long said that "theistic evolution" is creationism with spooky physics or long time scales or the like.

gregonomic: In a way, I hope you (and everyone else "on our side") don't ever get desensitized. For if you do, then you might give up trying to stop the fundies, theocrats and authoritarians. That said, I know what you mean about the danger to one's sanity confronting it all.

Hold me, PZ, I'm scared.

I guess this is why we all love cephalopods. In these trying times, we need a lot of holding ...

As for "Dr." Kennedy, I think he did a masterful job of what he set out to do, to preach to the great middle of the road folks who already are singing in the choir, but are in need of the 'ammo' to fluster high school science teachers for at least the next few years.

Yeah, Bart. The problem is there isn't any new ammo, just the same misdirection, faulty reasoning, and creationist dreck that you guys have been using almost since the outset. There wasn't anything in the video that you, for example, haven't used before. Do you remember the last time you flustered one of us, Bart? Because I don't. When you don't change your arguments or tactics for decades at a time, we tend to catch on, and when you do come up with a new tactic (like this Darwin=Hitler bullshit) the ADL guns it down like the holocaust trivializing Christian supremacist horsecrap that it really is.

I swear, it's like we're just holding out our fists and letting you run into them ad infinitum.

While I'm appalled that Collins would associate with such frauds as D. J. Kennedy and am uncomfortable that Collins would use his scientific fame to promote his religious views on tv or in books, anyone that doubts that Collins supports evolution can simply go to Entrez and search for "collins fs AND evolution". Scientists aren't scientists for what they say on TV or in non-peer reviewed books, but for their research published in real journals.

...and John Davison used to publish interesting and legit articles on various aspects of biology in science, before he completely lost it in the mid 80's.

if anything, what appears to be happening to Collins is yet another datapoint on how cognitive dissonance can affect anybody, regardless of their level of education.

if one had a religious upbringing, that stuff just doesn't "go away" once you start studying science. it rambles around in there still, and continues to influence thinking processes, dependent on how well any one individual can manage to compartmentalize.

Ken Miller is able to compartmentalize quite well, likely due to not having been exposed to the idea that the bible is "literal truth" to begin with.

When the effort to compartmentalize breaks down... You get JAD, and maybe Collins.

this IS a psychological disorder, IMO, and should be treated as such. It isn't necessarily due to a particular set of conflicting worldviews, but in the vast majority of cases we observe it does involve religious memes of one kind or another, and usually happens when the individual in question has been exposed to extreme views of a religious nature (like evangelical Islam or Xianity) frequently at a young age.

It's not an issue of religion vs. science, nor an intellectual issue of theory vs. theory. It's simply an issue of incompatible worldviews and how the human brain deals with it.

I wonder if Collins, given the position he was in as head of the human genome project, ever could feel comfortable discussing the issues he was having with anybody. What if his peers could non-emotionally have simply referred him to some kind of support network where he could talk to someone about the debate raging in his mind? Likely, many who experience cognitive dissonance of this type immediately think that talking to a clergyman would be the logical first step in dealing with the issues, rather than talking with a mental health care professional.

Is it any wonder then, that the resolution of the "issue" would end up looking like a "born again xian" type of thing?

Bro. Dustin,

Let me attempt clarification? Dr. Kennedy is manuafacturing the 'ammo' in a slick format that will be accessible to his large audience, make no mistake, he has a large audience nationwide. The information may be all that you say it is, but for many of the sleeping masses, this is all new and has just enough 'common sense logic' that it will embolden some to mix it up with their local school boards. Of course all this will not fluster a Prof. Myers, but it will fluster many a small town high school teacher that has neither the fighting spirit nor the tenure that the good professor has. I am not saying this is a good thing, I'm merely making an observation. I'm as facinated as most of you are with discovery, and also with that which science cannot replicate or understand, like the 'natural' laws prior to the Big Bang.
Shalom,
Bro. Bartleby

Ichthyic, I have to take exception to your view on the origins of this "psychological disorder." I was exposed to extreme fundamentalist religious views (Pentacostal) throughout most of my childhood. There were times when I believed in it deeply enough to test my faith by walking into danger and trusting God to protect me (it worked against the bully, failed against the wasps). Yet I'd left all of that behind by the time I was 16.

I believe that people adopt religious worldviews over the long term not for intellectual reasons, but because the religion provides some sort of structural support they need. It meets some desperate need, usually emotional, but rarely trivial. Some people cannot function or even survive without a belief in a higher power. Maybe they could if they tried harder or were willing to tough it out longer, but maybe some people just aren't as strong as others.

And once they've realized that religion solves their problem and holds them together, the truth just doesn't matter anymore. They have discovered a profound "personal truth" that matters more to their survival than any objective reality argued amongst intellectuals.

I think every religious person understands at some level that he's lying to himself. The concept of faith is practically an admission. It's like how my mother used to set all the clocks ahead 15 minutes so that she wouldn't be late. I never understood it and ridiculed the concept - how can it affect your behavior when you KNOW you set the clocks ahead 15 minutes? - but she felt it worked for her. It didn't matter whether it made sense, it worked for her.

Was that a psychological disorder? I think it's just that some humans value rationality more than others. The real problem, I increasingly think, is lack of humility among those who know they've abandoned strict reality to accomodate their own personal needs, and who, like spoiled, narcissistic children, insist on imposing their personal reality on the objective world.

I believe that people adopt religious worldviews over the long term not for intellectual reasons,

I never claimed they did, in fact just the opposite.

but because the religion provides some sort of structural support they need. It meets some desperate need, usually emotional, but rarely trivial.

again, i have no disagreement with this.

You are mischaracterizing what I am saying, which is exactly why i made the comment about this kind of dissonance not being specific to a particular set of conflicting worldviews.

nor did i ever state that religion itself is a "psychological disorder", but rather that the dissonance resulting from trying to resolve confliciting worldviews is what causes psychological trauma, not the worldviews themselves.

I think every religious person understands at some level that he's lying to himself.

this is called acceptance of denial as a defense mechanism.

one wouldn't need the defense mechanism to begin with unless one was dealing with conflicting worldviews.

I hope that makes it a bit clearer.

Was that a psychological disorder? I think it's just that some humans value rationality more than others.

that's like saying "what is crime?" and then providing a horridly oversimplified definition.

so someone who is not schizophrenic just "values rationality more"?

I understand the sentiment behind your words, but I don't think an oversimplification of the issues at hand is a productive response.

Heck, I often think I am oversimplifying the issue when I present it as "cognitive dissonance" to begin with (it's a rather dated concept in psychology), to simplify it even further... well, I can't see the point.

Besides the unwarranted attack on science, the program was hypocritical on at least three levels (so much for being good Christians, I guess):

1) they lamented the lack of "fair treatment" of ideas regarding evolution but failed to provide fair treatment to the question of social darwinism as a) a discredited theorty and b) one that, while based on evolution, had no logical connection to it.

2) one could also point out that Anne Coulter's statement about godless America -- how does she explain that a church-going Lutheran (republican) judge ruled against intelligent design? How does she answer this question?

3) along the same lines that they failed to point out that social darwinisn is an illegitimate offspring of evolutionary ideas, they failed to mention what is apparently a misuse of the bible to justify slavery, apartheid, etc. Nor did they mention that the Jews were often scapegoated during the years in which the Catholic Church was the highest authority in the Western World, and -- during the same period -- expelled from many countries (Spain 1492, just to name the one I know off the top of my head)

4) since they apparently think the world is only 6,000 years old and that Adam and Eve were really the first people who ever lived, they failed to mention that slavery and wars based on differentiating peoples from one another (ie, racism), including the total annihilation of their enemies (the final solution? -- at least regarding that enemy), was advocated by their god in their holy book.

5) And of course, the ultimate irony is that many conservative republican christians apparently follow social darwinism in a number of ways (poor people deserve to be poor, hence no goverment support for them -- never mind the words of their savior (Sp?) to the contrary).

Maybe there were other levels (well, besides the whole issue of science) as well, but I need to poke my eyes out or something after watching the program.

I'm tempted to buy the book for a dollar -- because it would cost them money to do so -- but what would I do with the book? As horrendous as it has to be, I am opposed to burning books or throwing them out (the same thing). Not sure what other uses it could serve. Sartre's Being and Nothingness was a best-seller in occupied France, but part of that may have been due to the rumor/belief (fact, maybe?) that it weighed one kilo.

What I don't understand is, if evolution is atheistic and leads to mass murder, why did Hitler only target Jews?

I suppose it's just a coincidence that the same group targeted by Christians for 2000 years is the same group that needed exterminating. For racial purposes. Despite the fact that most European Jews were racially indistinguishable from their non-Jewish neighbors. Huh. Well maybe there is something to that "random and meaningless" business after all....

Maybe there were other levels (well, besides the whole issue of science) as well, but I need to poke my eyes out or something after watching the program.

ahh, that reminds me of that old Terry Gilliam/python sketch:

"You know watching too much TV is bad for your eyes!"

Thanks for the clarification, Ichthyic.

I wasn't really attacking your post so much as using it as a springboard for some of my own ideas, which are evolving. Ironically, my big objection to the way religion is discussed in fora such as this is that atheists tend to oversimplify the motivations of religious people. Because religion is an academic question for some people, those people assume it is an academic question for everybody else.

I just think it's important to understand that some people aren't particularly interested in building a life on rational principles. And some of these people do very well despite the fact their thought processes are ruled by magic. In fact, magical thinking seems to work very well for many people. Maybe rational thinking isn't always the best way to advance your interests - in particular your interest in being happy. Just an irrational thought.

I would suggest bringing up schizophrenia is taking my argument to an extreme.

Any program about 'science' that has Ann Coulter in it loses any shred of credibility it might have otherwise have had.

I recorded the show, and will be showing it to my AP Biology class for them to critique the lies (Hope they don't get writer's cramp!!)

I know the true story of somebody who had no idea who the Amalekites were, until I gave him a book on the subject.

Immediately upon reading it, he knew that they were so evil that they had to be killed man, woman and child, even unto their cattle in the fields.

By Steven Carr (not verified) on 28 Aug 2006 #permalink

Now that it's all over (I hope) I will try to relate this story. Yesterday I sat down with some coffee and a vomit-bag to watch Kennedy's tele-filth. After it was over I went to the computer to point out some of it's blatant lies and misrepresentations. When I went to click on the POST button, the power would cut off! This happened FIVE times and I am not kidding! After typing, going to click and then screaming, I couldn't handle it anymore and went outside to see if Kennedy or his cronies were hanging out on the utility pole. No. So then I decided that either there was a god and he was evil and wanted people to be mislead, or that my house was possessed by the holy spirit. I do have a chunk of Kennedy's church in my garden that I am considering ridding myself of...an unmentionable that should not be mentioned again. Anyway, I'm sick of typing these arguments so here's another sure-to-be botched atempt. I just want to see if this evil will let me post.

My favorite part was when Professor Coulter was saying that all the animals appeared in the Cambrian and the image was of an Archeaopteryx fossil. It's wierd how she gesticulates with her hair instead of her hands.

Why sould recognition of the fact that human populations will reflect human reproductive choices imply that we must slaughter one another? Or is Kennedy and his ilk (as conservatives to the extreme) just afraid of variance? I think most biologists would agree that variety is the spice of life!

Why should recognition of the fact that we arose by the same processes as other organisms mean that we must lose all will to live and help one another out? Kennedy should be grateful to our ancestors for his trait of ...uh...human consciousness..(theoretically, at least). He should use it more constructively instead of using it to spread hate.

Does Behe's lab have images of these "little molecular trucks"?

Why does Kennedy boil food colouring in the dark?

How can anyone ignore the fact that the countries that accept evolution to a high degree like Iceland have such low homicide rates?

People have been breeding plants and animals way longer than there has been an involved conception of evolution. No Hitler or anyone else needs evolution to justify their ideas about one group being superior to another.

Isn't it odd how brainwashers always accuse to the rest of the world of brainwashing people and then ask for money?

What a mess this country is getting itself into with all these freaks! I must say that if I had absolutely no critical thinking skills, the video would have sounded very compelling. I am reminded of Allie Fox's quote in Paul Theroux's "The Mosquito Coast"....
"I loved her too much to watch her die"

By Pattanowski (not verified) on 28 Aug 2006 #permalink

My wife and I watched Kennedy's tripe last night and it was as PZ described, execrable. I doubt there was true word in it except for the credits at the end. Even the advertising inserted at the middle and the end promised to send you the book and video just for the asking but then segued into "suggesting" a donation of $35. My wife was doubly appalled at a history prof at her alma mater, Grove City College multiple times made assertions about biology, evolution and history that are simply false. She's so incensed that a letter from her is now winging its way to the college president promising to divert all further donations to the college to Planned Parenthood.

I'm a long time supporter of the First Amendment and the ACLU's efforts to insure that it's honored consistently by the government, but when I witness dreck like this I yearn for some requirement that there be truth in advertising. Were this a commercial pitch, the producers would be called before the Federal Trade Commission for fraud, lying, and misrepresentation (no Bush wouldn't but any Democratic administration would).

"I yearn for some requirement that there be truth in advertising"

And evolution has given us so much truth, right? And you really think the complexity in a single cell is the product of chance? And it is James Kennedy who is 'not' speaking truth? Maybe you evolutionists just need to keep evolving!

By T Weatherly (not verified) on 29 Aug 2006 #permalink

>>>And evolution has given us so much truth, right?

Maybe that's why Pope John Paul II endorsed evolution? Like some people like to say, God works in mysterious ways. Who's to say that God didn't "program" the universe to turn out the way it did at/before the moment of the Big Bang (I realize that chornology here is problematic, given that time itself was invented with the Big Bang)?

You'll also notice, if you actually think about, that science can offer no opinion on God, other than showing that things in the natural (ie, real) world happen according to rules -- and not by "chance" or much less divine intervention. Like the late John Gould said, religion and science are different magisteria -- they don't (necessarily) impinge on each other. Hence nice Catholics like the pope and even scientists like Einstein and one of the expert witnesses -- for the prosecution -- in the Dover case (I believe) are believers. It's not necessarily a consistent position, as PZ as pointed out in other posts, but then again it isn't consistent to insist that the Sun moves around the Earth because the Bible says so, then at some undisclosed point, accept the opposite (despite the words in the writ), either.

Dear Mr. Weatherly,
If evolution does not have any truths as you so claim, then would you be so kind to elucidate about what the Bible says about the relationships between the various orders of placoderm fish?
Or, perhaps you could explain why D. Kennedy says that studying fossil organisms would inspire people to murder other people?

Pattanowski, in the future could I implore you to use qoutation marks whenever you put the two words "Professor Coulter" together?

otherwise, it becomes an insult to anyone who actually does make a living as a professor.

thanks

;)

Thanks weatherly for clearing that all up. Great job!

Oy the stupidity.

Sorry about the lack of quotation marks; I was really having one hell of a day!

By Pattanowski (not verified) on 31 Aug 2006 #permalink

The ad hominim attacks on this site by ignorant atheist bigots prove that you don't need to believe in a god to be a fundementalist.

I thought the right wing was intolerent, but they've got nothing on you idiots.

By Open mind (not verified) on 31 Aug 2006 #permalink

"The ad hominim attacks on this site by ignorant atheist bigots"

Comic gold!

I really get off on brilliant ripostes contributed by intellectual-giant trolls who, for instance, can't spell "ad hominem", "fundamentalist" or "intolerant". Hint: don't try to use fancy words if u kant spel them; that just makes you look even dumber, which is actually quite a trick. (The openness of this particular mind is evidently of the kind that allows a breeze to blow in one ear and out the other.)

By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 31 Aug 2006 #permalink

hmmmm.... youse is nuts!

By intellectualelitism (not verified) on 13 Sep 2006 #permalink

no, really... how perfectly cocooned/encapsulated youse all are wid yer opines bout de miraculuz... chill for a billion years and den git back to us wid how it REALLY is.

By intellectualelitism (not verified) on 13 Sep 2006 #permalink

Excuse me, has anyone seen Elvis? I know he's in there somewhere with you unbelievably ignorant, intellect is all THAT, bloggers. Where's your momma? Call home, and tell her you love her.

By intellectualelitism (not verified) on 13 Sep 2006 #permalink

Ummm... what?

Who should chill out for a billion years?

you can use opines and then mash up miraculous? your satire is hard to follow.

It is amazing how "evolutionist intellectuals" have so little to say unless it is bashing someone's belief in something they claim not to exist. Without the "theist", what would the "a-theist" be? You get your very name you call yourself from the very God you decry. I did a quick check of your posts, and an inordinant number are about God, religion, creationism, etc. I can go for months or years in my beliefs without having to contrast my trust in Christ with the athiest viewpoint. Both of our belief systems rely on the existence of God--you just get your identity by denying His existence.

They're cute when they try to make an argument.

I don't get my "identity" from not believing in god anymore than you do not believing in Gnesh or Thor.

Nit wit.

"claims that directly contradict established scientific theories" is an interesting play on words. How, exactly, does a theory become "established" while still a theory, supposing, of course, a theory is still an unproven guess? The need to prove a point, evidently moves even the brightest of thinkers to hypothetically impossible conclusions. Why not admit going in, my evolutionary friend, you rule out from the outset anything other than random chance as the only acceptable explanation for the existence of plant and animal life. PS: I intentionally mispelled several words to see if you can resist attacking me instead of the simple argument I post.
One last query: Why is it, evolutionists consistently fail to differentiate between microevolution (which no one can deny-the English spotted moth being an excellent example) and macroevolution (which would suggest the English spotted moth, having changed color from white to black, is now, somehow something other than a moth)? Just curious.

By Ted Bowman (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

How, exactly, does a theory become "established" while still a theory, supposing, of course, a theory is still an unproven guess?

Theory of Gravity? "Theory" does not mean what you are supposing it means.

One last query: Why is it, evolutionists consistently fail to differentiate between microevolution (which no one can deny-the English spotted moth being an excellent example) and macroevolution (which would suggest the English spotted moth, having changed color from white to black, is now, somehow something other than a moth)?

Because the planet on which evolution has been occurring is 4.5 billion years old. Given that there are only about a few hundred genetic mutations per generation, we would actually expect that it would take many, many generations in separated populations before the accumulated mutations in each population was sufficient that the two populations would have become different species.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink