Liveblagging VII: The Wetheringing

Ron Wetherington, a professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University: Praises draft standards. Allows publishers to stick to facts. "Partisans are generating doubt about evolution with disingenuous phrases." People lack understanding of key concepts.

What are weaknesses? Common in preliminary hypotheses, rare in theories. Preliminary hypotheses are not well-tested. Theories are not tentative hunches, and alternatives have fallen away as evidence accumulates.

S&W is bogus. Yes, national standards talk about alternatives, but to preliminary hypotheses, not to theories. Theories are reliable but subject to change.

Uses phlogiston as an example. Phlogiston died with Lavoisier's description of oxygen as a necessary component of combustion. "As you may recall, so did Lavoisiet, who died at the edge of a guillotine." A much better joke than Seelke's stupid "Evolution is like a man; it can't do two things at once."

Wetherington urges ignoring emails urging bogus weaknesses. IC doesn't exist, is bogus. Modern biology isn't reliant on Darwin. It is a sign of health that the field can encompass things Darwin couldn't imagine.

New standard gives teachers more freedom. Eliminates pedagogical dangers in S&W language. Listen to your experts, and earn national praise.

Hardy: Could you respond to Cambrian and transitional fossil claims? Lotsa new fossils being discovered. Great sequence of human fossil ancestors. Clean example of what Darwin saw as a gradual change. New phyla in Cambrian.

Myer pokes his arm into the air. Though he may prefer to consider it a luminiferous aether.

Wetherington proceeds to point out that the weaknesses we find are more likely to be weaknesses in data, not in the theory. Refutes Seelke's claim that we found weaknesses in germ theory with prions, pointing out that it was incomplete, not wrong.

Hardy: How does this affect classroom discussion? It's about the textbooks, not what happens in the classroom. If textbooks present nonsense, it'll trickle to the classroom, and "expose students to false knowledge."

Knight: Have you looked at Meyer's bogus folders of articles? I looked at most, and the only one that suggests a weakness in evolution is one by Meyer, no others. Meyer talks about mechanisms.

Myer waves his chicken wing again, but he was not been intelligently designed with a wing.

i-38b3dfe52389f4dbc021af08266ce6e8-200901211730.jpgDunbar: Is there fossil evidence of speciation? Yes. Sahelanthropus through Homo sapiens. Dunbar: What about missing links? Science doesn't use that term. Dunbar: So each new fossil creates a missing link? Yeah. More chatter about whether there should be gaps between fossils. Image via. Dunbar is pretty clueless, even though she teaches anatomy and physiology. Now she claims that S&W can't be removed because it would send a message not to include S&W. I don't follow her nonsensical jibber-jabber, but Wetherington seems to be doing well and pushing back.

Meyer and old-coot creationist Ty Cooper confab. Meyer badly wants to respond, but it's not his turn, dammit.

Dunbar and Wetherington are still going at it, with him insisting that S&W will be covered by the new language. She finally decides that maybe they should say so specifically.

Leo: NSES call for critical thinking, etc. She then mangles his words, claiming he didn't want critical thinking applied to evolution. Actually, he said that it applied to preliminary hypotheses and not to theories. Why doesn't that apply to evolution? Because the NSES doesn't ask for alternative explanations to be offered for theories, but for preliminary hypotheses. Students can't offer alternatives to plate tectonics.

Meyer is giving backtalk.

Leo tries to get him tangled up in an anti-evolution event on SMU campus. Meyer is a schmuck. Wetherington delivers a smackdown, and proceeds to demolish Leo's BS, too. He's fine with debate, but not with rigged games. ID isn't a legitimate alternative, has failed what tests were possible. Leo insists that flagellae really are IC, or that there really is some debate about it. He smacks it down. No remaining scientific debate.

Lowe: What's a trilobite, is it unicellular? No. How does it have a complex eye, and where did it come from? It's a crustacean, so it probably had eyes like modern crustaceans. We have transitions between major forms of crustacean eyes, and they aren't IC. How did such a complex organism had a complex eye? But they weren't so much more complex.