How to make Creationists believe in Evolution

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 2, 2009 in Creationism,Funny,How-To

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{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

ayer November 2, 2009 at 6:11 am

That’s an amusing cartoon, but it appears to be based on a misconception. I am not a YEC, but have been doing some reading on their beliefs and can find no evidence that they reject the kind of variation within a species or “microevolution” referred to in the cartoon. See:

http://www.trueauthority.com/cvse/micromacro.htm

(Sometimes they appear to use the term “adaptation” or “mutation and natural selection” to avoid using the term “microevolution,” but they still embrace the concept). So another example besides antibiotics needs to be found to make this point.

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Cecilieaux Bois de Murier November 2, 2009 at 7:19 am

Evolution does not need to be “believed.” Any more than that the Earth is not flat. And so on.

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Meatros November 2, 2009 at 7:46 am

Macroevolution is simply microevolution plus time and isolation events.

To pretend that it’s something different is disingenious – what you are referring to is called ‘saltation’.

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tyson koska November 2, 2009 at 7:49 am

micro-evolution IS macro-evolution (that is to say, it is all evolution) — it’s just a slippery (and false) distinction that allows creationists to weasel-out on what we are able to observe in the lab. Given enough time, the changes become more and more apparent — it is micro-evolution all the way down…

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ayer November 2, 2009 at 8:25 am

“Macroevolution is simply microevolution plus time and isolation events.”

Perhaps so, but that doesn’t change the fact that creationists don’t appear to dispute the phenomenon as it applies to viruses, so the cartoon misses the mark.

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lukeprog November 2, 2009 at 8:49 am

Oh, “microevolution.” Gee…

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Thomas Reid November 2, 2009 at 9:16 am

Hehe, that IS a funny cartoon.

But levity aside: it’s curious that the newer antibiotic is recognized as “Intelligently Designed”. But the two life-forms talking to one another, arguably much more complex than some pills, are not “Intelligently Designed”. Or perhaps the humans are purposeless, and that is how the evolutionist can say they are not designed?

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Josh November 2, 2009 at 9:29 am

As an evolutionary biologist, I am starting to get annoyed by everyone misusing the term “macroevolution”. Macroevolution does not, nor has it ever, referred to the process by which a fish turns into a mammal. Macroevolution refers to emergent properties of evolutionary systems that exist at levels higher than populations or species. An example of macroevolutionary phenomenon would be “species selection”, which would occur if certain there were evolutionary forces that acted to make some species more fit than others (in a specific way). An other macroevolutionary phenomena is the differential extinction and speciation rates seen in the fossil record.

Back to the topic at hand: this IS a pertinent critique of young earth creationist views, because, as has been pointed out, the evolution of, say, humans from a common ancestor with all other mammals is just the sum total result of “microevolutionary” forces acting on a large scale. We have mountains of genetic evidence for this. The problem with YECs is that they, of course, CANNOT deny antibiotic resistance, or things like that… because it’s been observed in real time. So they move the goal post just a bit back “Aha, antibiotic resistance is easy, but what about a change that requires a neutral or deleterious intermediate change!” And then when we find things like that, they move the goalpost a bit again (e.g. the recent spat between Richard Lenski and… some guy from Conservapaedia). Of course we’ll never observe a fish turning into a tetrapod in real time—but the fossil record, for all its faults, is more wonderously detailed than we could have ever hoped.

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Steve November 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Thomas, it actually isn’t curious in the slightest. The newer antibiotics were clearly and demonstrably designed to the state they are currently in by man. There are abundant records, protocols and research papers to confirm this. On the other hand, there is no evidence that man was designed by another being; this being the whole reason why ‘faith’ is so often used as an argument of last resort.

If you can provide the sort of evidence for humans being designed that there is for any of the modern medicines, machines, electronics etc then you will have a religion that will go places.

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Todd White November 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Luke: Don’t you get bored bashing Creationists? I know I would. If you want a real challenge, use your rational tools to analyze the Intelligent Design debate. That’s much more interesting, wouldn’t you say? A person who calls himself a “Common Sense Atheist” should stretch his intellectual horizons in that direction, rather than constantly pick the spoiled and low-hanging fruit of Creationism.

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drj November 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm

First, Cdesign propoentists are creationists – not all are young earthers, but most of them actually are. In ID, the obscurantism has gone up a notch, but it isnt exactly a challenge to debunk either.

In my experience, it seems many Christians who arent young earthers, act as if attacking creationism is attacking some minor fringe or even a straw-man.

But creationists of the young earth variety account for over 50% of the population of the US – and its even starting to look more like that in Europe. In other words, its spreading.

To not argue about it, it to simply cede the space to them, while they are tirelessly working to gain influence – that is unacceptable.

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Bill Maher November 2, 2009 at 1:29 pm

“Perhaps so, but that doesn’t change the fact that creationists don’t appear to dispute the phenomenon as it applies to viruses, so the cartoon misses the mark.”

So they believe in evolution when it saves their lives, but not otherwise?

Todd, the “intelligent design” debate is pointless because it has been proven that their is no such thing as irreducibly complex organs and organelles. The supreme court already shot them down also, so who cares?

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Todd White November 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Bill: I guess it’s a good thing you don’t debate I.D. proponents, because if you honestly believe that, you’d lose.

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Steve November 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

I agree drj. I suspect many of the Christians arguing on the internet are a little more sophisticated, but in my experience a majority of Christians are quite happy to go along with whatever stories are in the Bible and never give any of it a second thought. So in that sense I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t argue against their beliefs.

Heck, you could almost go as far as saying that the people with more ‘sophisticated’ beliefs have lost anyway, since they have been forced to retreat into a landslide of “perhaps”, “maybe”, “but what if it was meant like…”, “let me argue your one point and ignore the other fifty” etc etc. Is it them or the creationists with the sillier beliefs? I am not so sure.

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lukeprog November 2, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Todd,

As you already know, I have several posts on intelligent design planned.

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Lee A. P. November 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

“Luke: Don’t you get bored bashing Creationists? I know I would. If you want a real challenge, use your rational tools to analyze the Intelligent Design debate.

Hey Luke, don’t you get tire of battleing stupid creationists? Why don’t you try your hat at WARME OVER creationism. They are getting the absolute shit kicked out of them in the scientific community and even in politics by right wing, Bush-appointed judges (Dover trial). But hey, they got a new name: Intelligent Deisgn!

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IntelligentDasein November 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Todd: All of Behe’s “irreducibly complex” have been explained. Dembski’s theory of information has also been laid to waste.

The whole movement was also shown to be a creationist movement through “of pandas and people”‘s early drafts. Their are many other things that link them too, such as the Center for Science and Culture originally having Bible pictures on it and the “wedge” document showed what their true intent is.

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ayer November 2, 2009 at 7:22 pm

“So they believe in evolution when it saves their lives, but not otherwise?”

Yes, it appears so, which renders the cartoon false.

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Justfinethanks November 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I think there are rare cases when prejudice is actually defensible. Like if someone told you that they thought that 9/11 was an inside job, you would probably make all sorts of (likely accurate) judgements about their intelligence and general cognitive abilities before you even heard why they think such a thing. The same goes for holocaust deniers, racists, and people who believe in quack medicine. We “prejudge” these people all the time, because these beliefs are so silly, that only a deeply damaged mind could hold to them.

It’s also perfectly fair to make such snap judgements, I would argue, about creationists, especially those of the intelligent design variety. If someone, when talking about biology, uses the terms “irreducible complexity,” “complex specified information,” or “front loading,” then you are full stop dealing with someone who has something deeply wrong with them. I’m talking “deserves its own entry in the DSM-IV” wrong. I’ve dealt with enough of these people to know that this is an simple inductive truism. They don’t deserve the the benefit of the doubt, and they don’t deserve to be argued with (at least not any more, since every argument that has ever come out of ID creationism has either been falsified, like Dembski saying that natural processes can’t generate more than 500 bits of information in light of mutations that generate over 2000 bits, or are unfalsifiable). The fact that people are still arguing for ID reminds me a bit of stories of Japanese soldiers continuing to “fight” WWII on Pacific islands decades after Japan surrendered. They are so invested in their beliefs that they are wholly incapable of recognizing that it’s over, and they have lost. They are nothing more than deranged kooks.

I certainly don’t think I will ever see the end of ID creationism, but I do think, sometime in the near future, that people who hold to it will generally keep it to themselves because it bears too much of a social cost to have other people find out, in terms of losing friends, jobs, and respect, much in the same way that racists generally try not to let their personal views slip to avoid social costs.

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Lorkas November 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm

“Luke: Don’t you get bored bashing Creationists? I know I would. If you want a real challenge, use your rational tools to analyze the Intelligent Design debate.”

Aha, this isn’t bullshit, it’s manure, you say.

Intelligent design is a poor, poor attempt to put creationism in a lab coat and call it something new. Read the founding documents of the ID movement if you doubt that (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy ).

Disregarding the fact that ID is a SOS renaming of the discredited creation science movement, ID is demonstrably false on its basic premises. That is, irreducibly complex systems can evolve, specified complexity does not always imply design, and there is not good evidence against universal shared ancestry and evolution by natural selection. Sorry.

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Mark H. November 3, 2009 at 12:07 am

@Justfinethanks:

I don’t think that’s a fair judgment. Most people spend most of their lives not thinking about evolution (or science for that matter). They trust the experts to sort things out and let them know what they need to know. By “experts,” I mean people who sound like they know what they’re talking about, whether Kenneth Miller or Michael Behe. That’s assuming they even care enough to find out about evolution from any experts.

For example, my dad is a lawyer and my mom runs a gift shop. Neither of them is particularly concerned about whether humans descended from apes. Dad doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like being compared to monkeys. Mom, because she just likes seeing me talk passionately about anything, is fascinated when I tell her about evolution, but doesn’t really take pains to understand it. They’re both Christians, but I’ve never heard a sermon at their church regarding evolution (my youth group once had a lesson that put forth a range of views from YEC, YEC with earth created to look old, day-age, and theistic evolution). Really, they can’t really be said to have any opinions on evolutionary biology.

Anyone who talks about “irreducible complexity”–and isn’t selling something–is merely repeating what they heard somewhere else. Most of them (including my parents) don’t have a mental deficiency, they just want to spend their time thinking about other things: their jobs, their kids, their mortgage, etc. The same goes for any non-mainstream subject: quantum mechanics, modern art, Middle East history, and on and on.

Sometimes, in discussing how bad creationism is, I feel like an indie rock fan talking to someone who only listens to music on the radio on the way to work. To them, it may well be that my music is “better”–whatever that means, they think–but they’re just not that interested. They’re busy with other things.

Are they still wrong? Yes. But the hostility towards the uninformed is counterproductive. Save it for those actively pushing creationism/ID into our schools and religion into public policy.

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Thomas Reid November 3, 2009 at 3:40 am

@Steve
The newer antibiotics were clearly and demonstrably designed to the state they are currently in by man. There are abundant records, protocols and research papers to confirm this.
I’m confused as to what you define as evidence of design (or perhaps “design” itself). Is it the “records, protocols and research” themselves (which I would take as the documentation of the design) or would it be something like the actual purposeful and complex aggregation of matter or systems? If all the calculations, drawings, and other records documenting the design of the new Boeing 787 dreamliner vanished, and all the people who worked on it suddenly vanished, would the plane transform from having been designed to no longer being designed?

On the other hand, there is no evidence that man was designed by another being;
It’s probably best to let you tell me your definition of design instead of inadvertently responding to a straw man.

this being the whole reason why ‘faith’ is so often used as an argument of last resort.
Do you mean people use ‘faith’ as evidence of design, or that it takes ‘faith’ to believe the universe was designed, or something else?

If you can provide the sort of evidence for humans being designed that there is for any of the modern medicines, machines, electronics etc then you will have a religion that will go places.

No comment.

Luke, thanks for the provocative comic strip!

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ayer November 3, 2009 at 5:30 am

Justfinethanks: “It’s also perfectly fair to make such snap judgements, I would argue, about creationists, especially those of the intelligent design variety. If someone, when talking about biology, uses the terms “irreducible complexity,” “complex specified information,” or “front loading,” then you are full stop dealing with someone who has something deeply wrong with them…I certainly don’t think I will ever see the end of ID creationism, but I do think, sometime in the near future, that people who hold to it will generally keep it to themselves because it bears too much of a social cost to have other people find out, in terms of losing friends, jobs, and respect, much in the same way that racists generally try not to let their personal views slip to avoid social costs.”

Someone’s beliefs regarding an esoteric subject like the age of the earth or whether specified complexity exists is irrelevant to 99% of everyday life (unlike racism, which has a major impact on one’s ability to function in society). Face it, only a small sliver of people (I include myself in this group) have a strong interest in these topics. Instead, it is the over-the-top hostility to intelligent design belief exhibited in this comment that is more disturbing. (Do you actually think there will be a day–and look forward to the day–when, say, a plumber loses his job because he expresses the wrong belief in intelligent design at a social function? That would be a very weird society).

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Todd White November 3, 2009 at 6:21 am

ID: “All of Behe’s ‘irreducibly complex’ have been explained. Dembski’s theory of information has also been laid to waste.”

TW: I seriously doubt that, although if you have evidence to back it up, I’ll be glad to read it.

ID: “The whole movement was also shown to be a creationist movement through ‘of pandas and people’’s early drafts.”

TW: The ID movement began after that book was published. Furthermore, you have to separate facts from the intentions of those who disseminate those facts. For example, should we disallow Richard Dawkins’ evidence FOR Darwinism because he’s a vocal atheist? Also, keep in mind that not all ID supporters are Bible thumpers. The modern ID movement includes Jews and agnostics and non-Christian theists. They find the evidence from ID (as opposed to Creationism) compelling enough to believe that it deserves a fair hearing from the public.

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Lorkas November 3, 2009 at 7:13 am

“TW: I seriously doubt that, although if you have evidence to back it up, I’ll be glad to read it.”

Seriously, read fucking anything on the subject that is written by a person who actually knows what they’re talking about.

Here’s a basic starting point: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html In that page, you’ll find every claim made by cdesign proponentsists systematically refuted with explanations and citations. If you want to read more about any of the particular subjects, then use the citations as a bibliography.

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Todd White November 3, 2009 at 7:30 am

Lorkas: Have you read “fucking anything” by an I.D. proponent? And I mean an original source (not just a distortion by P.Z. Myers). Just curious.

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IntelligentDasein November 3, 2009 at 7:54 am

TW: since lorkas already answered your first objection, have you read the Wedge Document? It said their whole purpose of the Intelligent Design movement is to create a wedge for creationism and to undermine liberalism by overthrowing materialism. Evolution is a scientific theory, and many people, like Francis Collins (who believes in Christ), has said that Intelligent Design is pseudo science and that evolution is undeniably true. Basing your who theory on stuff science can’t explain and saying “an intelligence did this” is a God of the gaps argument and fails as science explains the gap (and they have!)

And YES, I have read Dembski and Behe, as well as their associates like Robin Collins. It is all creationist trojan horse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpL1dmfVoGAhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpL1dmfVoGA

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Lee A. P. November 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Right on que, St. Dorkus Douchicus Voxicus. He recieves a letter asking for the best defense of intelligent design.

St. Voxicus has not idea. He does not waste his time with dribble like “science”. He has not read any good books on intellifent design. But he is still certain “Darwanism” is on its death bed (remeber evil exists therefore Satan exists. Therefore evil demon monsters exist and that explains ALL Christian opponents. Therefore: JESUS).

So Voxicus will let his reades answer for him.

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Lorkas November 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Lorkas: Have you read “fucking anything” by an I.D. proponent? And I mean an original source (not just a distortion by P.Z. Myers). Just curious.

I read Behe’s book*, a lot of online articles, and excerpts from Of Pandas and People, as well as listening to the points made by various ID proponents such as Bill Dembski, Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, and others. I’ve read histories of the creationist movement written by both pro-science and pro-creationist authors. I happen to have been a creationist myself in high school, and then I attended a Christian school, where Christian biologists taught me about the theory of evolution and taught me the reasons why 99.98% of biologists accept the theory of evolution by natural selection, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Biology happens to be my field, so I care a great deal about information and misinformation related to the theory of evolution.

Nice deflection, though. Go read. Now. I mean it, Todd. It’s what Jesus would do.

* Behe’s position, by the way, is misrepresented by nearly everyone in the ID movement who discusses it. Most people who reject evolution do so not because they dislike the idea of natural selection, but because they have a philosophical objection to common ancestry, and so they look for any reason to reject evolution. Behe accepts common ancestry, though–he just argues that random mutations and natural selection aren’t strong enough to account for all of the variation we see. There’s nothing fundamentally threatening to the theory of evolution about this–evolution by natural selection can work whether mutations are random or planned–it just happens that his ideas contradict observation, which puts you in the fast lane to have your theories rejected in the scientific community (physicists excepted, of course).

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Lee A. P. November 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Todd does not care. He cares about being a trendsetter and bucking the establishment. He does not care abot “Truth”.

He will continue to quote mine and engange in the typical creationist horseshit.

Its all just a big satanic conspiracy to keep people from loving baby Jesus don’t cha know.

“Hey have ya heard of the great new non-creationists, non-religionists field of “Intelligent Design”.

“Well shit-my-pants-NO! Enlighten me!”.

BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Its ALL backed by shit-head creationists dude. Vitually every single bit of it. You are looking pathetic here.

READ. Please READ.

bbbbbbut Vox says he created a computer progam that shits Jesus-piss

…and evil exists therefore a magical being alllowed an evil magical being to take over this planet therefore proving that magical beings run the planet therefore JESUS!

Also, read C.S. Lewis! That guy is just AWESOME! Either Jesus rolled around in shit all day, every day for his entire life or he is the creator of the entire godamned universe — because he said so! C.S. Lewis proved that!

Vox wins! Read the comments on his site! I just talked to some one who saw big foot an was alsoe posesse by Satan! Evil exists! Cruelty arists who won all debates!

Who has Vox Day every dominated a debate against? Ever? Please reference?

In one posts Vox Day dropped an 1808 study on demon posession. The man is a goddamned wing nut.

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Todd White November 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Lorkas: Your link is unhelpful. I’m not going to search for a needle in a haystack. If you’re sincerely interested in “educating” me, find me the section that supposedly “disproves” Behe’s claims and I’ll read that.

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lukeprog November 3, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Lee,

I’d appreciate it if you’d cut back a bit. You’re justifiably upset, but it doesn’t help to yell and holler and call people pathetic shit-heads.

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drj November 4, 2009 at 5:25 am

Lorkas: Your link is unhelpful. I’m not going to search for a needle in a haystack. If you’re sincerely interested in “educating” me, find me the section that supposedly “disproves” Behe’s claims and I’ll read that.

If you have some time to kill, watch this lecture from biologist Ken Miller – he gives a talk here about ID and the problems with movement and why the biology is wrong (what little there actually is, in ID). He addressed irreducible complexity directly, and also talks about his role in the Dover trial some. He played a key role that lead to the failure of the cdesign proponentists in that trial. Icing on the cake; he’s Roman Catholic. Needless to say, he wasnt interviewed for Expelled the movie… would have kinda killed the whole narrative about atheist scientists persecuting ID’ists.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg

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Mark H. November 4, 2009 at 5:30 am

Lorkas:it just happens that his ideas contradict observation, which puts you in the fast lane to have your theories rejected in the scientific community (physicists excepted, of course).

Come on, now. Lets keep it above the belt. :)

As a physicist, I can tell you that the problem with current theoretical research (string theory, loop quantum gravity, dark matter/energy) is that we don’t have the data or observations to rule anything out or put constraints on current theories. That’s why physicists are champing at the bit waiting for the LHC to ramp up to full power (or, more likely, halfway there until the whole contraption can be stabilized).

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Mark H. November 4, 2009 at 5:50 am

Todd White,

The parts of the Talk Origins index talking about irreducible complexity (irreducibly complex structures do exists, pace Bill Maher) is CB200-CB211 (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html#CB200). Also, in CBA350 (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA350.html) there are links to scientific work showing that irreducibly complex structures can evolve.

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lukeprog November 4, 2009 at 6:14 am

Anybody got any heavy-hitting pro-intelligent-design literature outside Behe-Dembski-Meyer?

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 6:37 am

Luke: I’m not sure how Lee is “justifiably upset.” Usually, when someone (like me) states his opinion in a factual, level-headed way, it shouldn’t lead to another person getting “upset.” But I’ll let it slide. I’ve come to expect behavior like that.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 6:39 am

That’s more helpful, Mark. Thanks. I’ll scan through it when I get a chance.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 7:01 am

Luke: I think it depends on what aspect of the I.D./Darwin debate you’re researching. The debate has a lot of dimensions (which is one of the main reasons it’s so fascinating).

Here’s a few links that may be helpful.

1) William Provine/Phillip Johnson Debate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM-H6NxdCd4

2) Speech delivered by Stephen Meyer, pro-ID author

http://www.heritage.org/press/events/ev062309a.cfm

3) George Gilder on the link between life and Information Theory

http://www.discovery.org/a/3631

4) Barry Arrington explains “My Views in a Nutshell”

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/my-views-in-a-nutshell/

5) “Frequently Raised but Weak Arguments Against Intelligent Design”

http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/

In terms of books, I think the most comprehensive (yet reader-friendly) account is Denyse O’Leary’s “By Design or By Chance?”

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Growing-Controversy-Origins-Universe/dp/0806651776

Of course, the most famous book of all (which I confess I haven’t read) is Philip Johnson’s “Darwin: A Theory in Crisis.”

http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Trial-Phillip-E-Johnson/dp/0830813241/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257346790&sr=1-1

Let me know if that’s at least somewhat helpful.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 7:02 am

Woops, the title of Johnson’s book is actually, “Darwin on Trial.”

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 7:05 am

Also, I said Luke won his debate with Vox Day. Then again, that’s not saying much because Vox isn’t suited to intellectual debate. He just doesn’t have the knowledge or temperament.

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 7:06 am

Philip Johnson… *shudder*

I saw him speak a few years ago. It was, honestly, one of the worst lectures I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s sort of ironic, though—I can thank him for making me into an open atheist! I was just so appalled by how absolutely, completely, utterly wrong almost every word that came out of his mouth was that I became determined to fight against that kind of bullocks.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 7:08 am

Lorkas: I’m not a Christian, so encouraging me to do something because “Jesus would do it” falls on deaf ears.

As I’ve said before (even though nobody here wants to listen to me), there are alternatives to Christianity and atheism. Just because Christianity is wrong doesn’t mean atheism is right.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 7:17 am

Lorkas: If Darwinists shouldn’t feel threatened by Behe – as you claim – then they should allow his ideas to be freely discussed, instead of engaging in Stalinist tactics to silence him. One recent example…

http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2009/08/robert-wrights-bloggingheadstv-censors-intelligent-design-interview.html

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 7:20 am

ID: While it’s tempting to watch a 10-minute film pimping for Darwin, do you have an article that makes the same point? I prefer reading over watching videos. This way I can scan it, cut and paste from it, etc.

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drj November 4, 2009 at 8:04 am

I think few are threatened by Behe – his ideas have been engaged, and summarily defeated – see Ken Miller for some notable examples. He’s widely considered to be an unproductive crank who has forsaken all research to speculate and pontificate. He’s resigned to do nothing against serious rebuttals to his claims, except snipe from blog posts – he doesnt even do any research himself, to support his claims.
This ol myth that scientists are refusing to engage the arguments is flat out false. Theyve been engaged, and defeated. If you havent run accross these engagements, it would be for a lack of research.

Where many may feel “threat” or more appropriately, dismay, is probably in the fact that the movement persists, despite the “theory” being so thoroughly debunked.

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Mark H. November 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

The BloggingHeads video was reposted once Robert Wright, the site owner, returned from a retreat. You can see it here:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/22075

An explanation of the video takedown and replacement can be watched here:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/22300

My only complaint about the video was that John McWhorter is not an expert in biology (he’s a linguist) and so doesn’t offer very good critiques of Behe, nor can he draw out interesting points. It looked just like a fanboy gushing over his favorite author.

Also, to call the temporary removal of a video from a privately-run website “Stalinist” is dangerously close to a Godwin’s law violation. Calm down. Acting paranoid does not help your case.

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Lee A. P. November 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

Todd,

I am sorry. I drank a lot of mid-grade blended Scotch last night and was temporarily posessed by the demon of alcoholic intoxication. The rant was not really about you per say.

We just hear the same tired, refuted stuff by the IDers all the time and it just gets so bothersome having to retread over and over again.

Maybe you really are seeking truth honestly.

Bottom line, in order to think Darwanism in wrong you HAVE to posit an all encompassing Satanic conspiracy prevading through several scientific disciplines.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:50 am

Mark H:

Robert Wright re-posted the video after complaints from free speech advocates, but not before apologizing for having the discussion in the first place. Even Wright’s apology wasn’t enough for 2 pro-Darwin Blogginghead contributors who resigned in protest.

Also, it’s not unreasonable to call the head of a private organization “Stalinist.” Stalin was famous for doctoring photos and re-writing records to pretend that some events “never happened.” That’s exactly what the folks at Bloggingheads were trying to do before they were called out on it.

http://mustardseednovel.blogspot.com/2009/09/weekly-wrap-up.html

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:53 am

DRJ: After following this debate for several years, I see no evidence that the ID argument has been “defeated.” I’m open-minded enough to say that a rational person can believe in Darwin, but to say that ID has been “defeated” hurts your credibility, because that is certainly not the case. I.D. is a very a compelling interpretation for the origin and diversity of life – and that’s precisely why many Darwinists are eager to silence it.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:58 am

Lee: “In order to think Darwanism in wrong you HAVE to posit an all encompassing Satanic conspiracy prevading through several scientific disciplines.”

TW: A simpler solution: The scientific elites are wrong. It happens a lot. See the global warming controversy, for example. Scientists aren’t immune to the same biases and blind spots that the rest of us have.

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Mark H. November 4, 2009 at 11:56 am

Todd,

John McWhorter requested that the video be removed. It wasn’t censorship.

John McWhorter feels, with regret, that this interview represents neither himself, Professor Behe, nor Bloggingheads usefully, takes full responsibility for same, and has asked that it be taken down from the site. He apologizes to all who found its airing objectionable.

http://www.brainwaveweb.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3810

Unfortunately, nobody knows what McWhorter means by this message, or what prompted it.

It was Wright who restored the video as soon as he found out about the situation. His apology was for not having a policy in place that would pair those with fringe opinions to experts in relevant areas (i.e., astrologers with astromers, hawkish conservatives with foreign policy experts, etc.). The Behe-McWhorter events led to the policy codified here:

http://www.brainwaveweb.com/policy

Your characterization of the events is completely wrong.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Mark H: It seems to me that there are 2 possibilities (neither of which make Wright and his pals look good).

1) Once the Darwinists started screaming, the Blogginghead folks quietly asked McWhorter to make that request. This would be the equivalent of a high-profile boss (say, President Obama) asking his subordinate to publicly “resign” rather than be tainted with the knowledge that he was fired. In light of the Darwinists behavior, such a “request” by McWhorter would work in the interests of both parties.

2) McWorter really did make that request.

Let’s say Number 2 happened (as you suggest), which is certainly possible, although I’m skeptical. Even so, don’t you think that’s very, very strange?

Re-read the McWhorter statement. Why would a man “apologize” for an open, informative exchange of ideas? Why would he say that the interview “doesn’t represent himself?” Doesn’t that strike you as bizarre? How often does this happen in other fields: Does Jim Lehrer apologize for interviewing Joe Biden about a mainstream issue (say, health care) and then say the interview “doesn’t represent himself?” What would compel him to say something like that?

To your credit, you say, “Unfortunately, nobody knows what McWhorter means by this message, or what prompted it.”

That’s true enough, but I’ll speculate: McWorther got an earful from the Darwinists (including those on the Bloggingheads staff) and told McWorter: “Apologize, or we have the ability to make you regret it later.”

And if THAT is the case, that is certainly a sad indictment of people who claim to be pro-reason, courageously following the facts wherever they lead.

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm

“TW: A simpler solution: The scientific elites are wrong. It happens a lot. See the global warming controversy, for example. Scientists aren’t immune to the same biases and blind spots that the rest of us have.”

Oh no, I hope I’m interpreting you incorrectly, but I believe that you have just said that you do not accept climate change science? *shakes head*

“That’s true enough, but I’ll speculate: McWorther got an earful from the Darwinists (including those on the Bloggingheads staff) and told McWorter: “Apologize, or we have the ability to make you regret it later.””

Ah, the grand conspiracy of Darwinists. I’m wondering why I am not a part of this conspiracy, despite being an evolutionary biologist… I must be doing something wrong—I’m not a part of the grand Jewish conspiracy either! I gotta figure out how to get my hands into all that power.

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ildi November 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

A simpler solution: The scientific elites are wrong. It happens a lot. See the global warming controversy, for example.

You’re an expert on climatology as well as biology? Awesome! It’s about time citizens took back science from those elites!

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Josh: What I described wasn’t a conspiracy, but rather the simple interplay of rational actors voluntarily pursuing their self-interest.

And I’m sorry to dash your hope, but your original fear that I don’t subscribe to all the global warming hysteria is correct.

Actually, there’s a lot of similarities to the debate over global warming and the one over Darwinism. Maybe I’ll write an essay about it.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Ildi: What Momma said about clothes is equally true about ideas: “It pays to shop around.” Never trust the experts. Think for yourself.

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ildi November 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Never trust the experts.

Who do you trust, then? Google U. graduates? People whose opinion matches your preconceptions?

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Ildi: I trust myself. I trust my rational mind. I’m confident that if I dedicate myself to researching a subject sufficiently, I can master it and use that mastery to positive ends. I can’t surrender my mind to “experts.” What I’ve seen in both my personal life – and in my observation of society as a whole – prevents me from doing that.

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ildi November 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Well, that must be a bit of a Catch-22 for you then, becuase the moment you master a subject enough to become an expert, you can’t trust yourself, right?

Or, by “expert” you mean “someone who does this for a living?”

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Ildi: Ha. Yes, I should’ve been clearer. I meant “someone who does this for a living.”

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

“What I described wasn’t a conspiracy, but rather the simple interplay of rational actors voluntarily pursuing their self-interest.”

This is what doesn’t make sense. If anything, it’s in a biologist’s self interest to overthrow “Darwinism.” In fact, there are many people who say that the Modern Synthesis isn’t enough (e.g. Sean Caroll, Massimo Pigliucci, etc.). It’s not like there isn’t plenty of debate within evolutionary biology. But the fact of the matter is that evolution ITSELF is incontrovertible. The situation is similar in, say, physics. Gravity is (I hope you agree) an incontrovertible fact. Nonetheless, there are competing theories to explain what gravity “really is”. Similarly, there’s no question that evolution has happened and continues to happen—the big debate is over the specific mechanisms. And there is plenty of debate! I would recommend, for example, “The Origins of Genome Architecture” by Michael Lynch for a really comprehensive review of a debate that should be somewhat near the to heart of ID advocates.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Josh: I honestly don’t see how it would be in a biologist’s self-interest to overthrow Darwinism, given the harassment and firings of people who dare to even the broach the subject of Darwin’s truth (see for example, the Richard Sternberg/Smithsonian incident).

http://post-darwinist.blogspot.com/2008/08/when-science-becomes-oppressive.html

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ildi November 4, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Todd: You do realize that both Richard Sternberg and Stephen Meyer meet your qualifications as experts, don’t you? What happened to that vaunted skepticism?

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm

“Josh: I honestly don’t see how it would be in a biologist’s self-interest to overthrow Darwinism, given the harassment and firings of people who dare to even the broach the subject of Darwin’s truth (see for example, the Richard Sternberg/Smithsonian incident).”

http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth

Anyway,

As I said, it is a simple fact that many biologists hope to overthrow the modern synthesis as currently understood. Again, I refer you to the debate over evo-devo as a very relevant example.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Ildi: I can’t tell if you’re being sincere or just yanking my chain. To clarify: What I meant was that people shouldn’t just reflectively trust the “experts” because “golly, they’re experts, and they must know what they’re talking about.” On important issues (and I think this is one of them), people should be willing to do some homework, figure out the facts, and have enough confidence in their rational abilities to reach their own conclusion, even if it conflicts with the expert consensus.

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lukeprog November 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Thanks, Todd.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I love how folks around here just post links from biased sources, think that settles the matter, and then move on to the next topic.

Well, I can do that too.

A response to Michael Shermer’s attack on Expelled (as it pertains to the Sternberg case)

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/04/michael_shermers_factfree_atta_1.html

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Josh: There is plenty of cash and fame for those scientists who make advancements within the Darwinian paradigm, but for those who are open to the possibility that the paradigm itself may be flawed, they can expect only harassment and ostratization.

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Mark H. November 4, 2009 at 5:34 pm

It’s at this point when debates turn to conspiracies and suppression that I withdraw. Wouldn’t want to accidentally divulge too much about the secr– I’ve said too muc(#9Hjn90v*^#90@$%28&()*74 NO CARRIER

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ildi November 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Yes, I’ve heard that the Discovery Institute has a lot of good funding sources and gets in the news a lot… oh, wait, no…

Well, at least they have expert consensus at the Institute! Oh, wait, no…

So making a living at it, and having expert consensus is bad or good?

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lukeprog November 4, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Todd,

I, for one, have no problem believing that some who advance intelligent design in the academy have been persecuted and lost jobs because of it. But Expelled is still a seriously dishonest movie.

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 7:45 pm

“Josh: There is plenty of cash and fame for those scientists who make advancements within the Darwinian paradigm, but for those who are open to the possibility that the paradigm itself may be flawed, they can expect only harassment and ostratization.”

I don’t think you’re understanding me. Of course there is no debate about such things as common origin for example. In order to dispute that, you would have to literally ignore thousands and thousands of bits of evidence. There is no question that modern organisms evolved by descent with modification from ancient organisms. Again, you would have to just throw away mountains of evidence to claim that.

But there is a lot of debate about specific mechanisms involved in that process.

Consider if a geologist were positing flat earth theory. That is what intelligent design is akin to. Of course people would get pissed off at him.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Luke: In my opinion, the highlight of the Provine-Johnson debate is this 37-second clip in which Provine explains the philosophical implications of Darwinism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rugGS4B5Gs&feature=channel_page

If Provine is correct in his judgment (and I think he’s mostly correct), then we – the general public – should be pretty darn sure that Darwinism is correct.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Luke: I’m not aware of anything in Expelled that would qualify it as a “seriously dishonest movie.”

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Josh: “Consider if a geologist were positing flat earth theory. That is what intelligent design is akin to. Of course people would get pissed off at him.”

TW: [using a Reagan voice] “There you go again.”

The flat earth theory was disproven when Magellan sailed around the world. What aspect of ID has been disproven in such a bone-crushing way? If you dropped a cow into the ocean and it became a whale, that would be enough evidence for Darwinism to kill I.D once and for all. But obviously we haven’t observed anything close to that to make your analogy valid.

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 9:03 pm

“The flat earth theory was disproven when Magellan sailed around the world. What aspect of ID has been disproven in such a bone-crushing way? If you dropped a cow into the ocean and it became a whale, that would be enough evidence for Darwinism to kill I.D once and for all. But obviously we haven’t observed anything close to that to make your analogy valid. ”

…WHAT? Drop a cow into the ocean and it became a whale? Now, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were being facecious. But if you really want the knock down, drag out evidence for evolution:

1)The fossil record. The fact that it exists at all and is full of transitional forms (including, as you may know, whales) seems like pretty strong evidence against a belief that requires it to not exist.

2)Molecular evidence. We have so freaking much of this that it’s almost annoying at this point. DNA sequences look precisely like they descended with modification from ancestral sequences. We have evidence of this on both a between species level (e.g. phylogenetic inference) and a within species level (population genetics)

3)Morphological evidence. This was really one of the biggest triumphs of Darwin in his time: evolutionary theory explains why there are groupings of animals that share very similar features, but don’t share others, along with groups of animals that share some feature or another that seems completely arbitrary. Not to mention vestigial bits (including molecular vestigial bits like pseudogenes).

4)Theoretical evidence. There is no good reason that evolution can’t happen. An elegant theory was described in the 1920s and 30s, and to this day is being expanded to explain all sorts of phenomena.

5)All the conditions necessary for evolution obtain in the real world. There is clearly variation among organisms that can interbreed. Some of that variation is clearly heritable. That’s really all you need for evolution. For natural selection, you need some of that variation to be able to confer some survival advantage over other types. That’s pretty obvious.

6)Observed evolution evidence. It’s easy to do selection experiments on quantitative traits in a lab. One of the most interesting things is that you get more impact of selection than you would expect from standing genetic variation—this implies that NEW MUTATIONS are contributing to the result of selection. But you can also do selection experiments in nature! And what do we see? Rates of evolution that are literally orders of magnitude larger than those seen in the fossil record. This seems to suggest that the observed morphological change in the fossil record is totally kosher. MOREOVER, there are the beautiful experiments that have been occurring in Richard Lenski’s lab.

Is that enough? If you want citations on any of that, let me know.

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majinrevan666 November 4, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Why are you arguing about evolution and ID as if they
were mutually exclusive?

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Josh…

1) The fossil record contradicts Darwinism. Fossil species are remarkably stable over long periods of time and the appearance of new species is typically abrupt. Evidence for transitional forms is rare – and even those may be open to misinterpretation.

2) Molecular evidence contradicts Darwinism. DNA sequences do NOT look like they descended with modification from ancestral sequences.

3) Morphological evidence contradicts Darwinism. The so-called “Tree of Life” is a mess. In fact, you rarely hear about the “Tree of Life” anymore because it’s become an embarassment. The human body doesn’t contain a single vestigial organ – even through Darwinists insisted it did.

4) I don’t understand your 4th point.

5) The conditions for macroevolution do not exist in the Real World because macroevolution itself is a conjecture of microevolution. There is no convincing evidence for macroevolution.

6) Observed “evolution” evidence contradicts Darwinism. Thousands of generations of bacteria have been grown in the lab to test the “edge of evolution.” And what did we find? Random mutations are rare and those that do occur are far more likely to be regressive than beneficial. Oh, and no matter what, a bacteria ALWAYS stays a bacteria. It never “evolves” into anything else.

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Lorkas November 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Todd White: If you dropped a cow into the ocean and it became a whale, that would be enough evidence for Darwinism to kill I.D once and for all. But obviously we haven’t observed anything close to that to make your analogy valid.

You obviously know nothing about how evolution works if you think this would be considered evolution. Evolution never, ever happens in individual organisms. Organisms don’t evolve, populations do.

If we dropped a cow into the ocean and it became a whale, it would utterly disprove everything we think we know about how evolution happens and probably a lot that we think we know about chemistry and physics as well. I suggest you read the book What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr for a good basic introduction to how evolution actually works (which is entirely unlike what you are suggesting above).

You stated earlier your confidence in your ability to dedicate yourself to researching a subject until you’ve reached a mastery of it and then make your own rational decision regarding it, but you clearly haven’t done that research since you don’t even understand the basics about how evolution works. If you want us to take seriously your claim of rationality when it comes to ID and evolution, you really need to do some more homework, Todd.

Many aspects of ID have been disproven utterly, such as the proposition that irreducibly complex systems can’t evolve. In fact, the evolution of irreducibly complex systems was predicted as a consequence of how natural selection works by Hermann Muller in 19-freaking-18. Talk about being behind the times–Behe was proven wrong almost 80 years before he wrote DBB.

Todd White: Josh: There is plenty of cash and fame for those scientists who make advancements within the Darwinian paradigm, but for those who are open to the possibility that the paradigm itself may be flawed, they can expect only harassment and ostratization.

Not if they bring the data to back up their claims. If any scientist succeeded in overthrowing the modern synthesis, they would be guaranteed fame, Nobel status, and all the funding they could ever hope for to do future research.

What gets you ostracized in the scientific community is stubbornly clinging to discredited and disproven ideas. If ID proponents brought data instead of poorly constructed arguments that use premises that contradict observation to reach conclusions that contradict observation, then they would be taken seriously by scientists.

In science, you have to bring the data or GTFO, and that’s just how it is. That’s why science works so much better at finding true things about the universe than making shit up, the method used by most religious leaders and creationists.

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Lorkas November 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Jesus, Todd. I need to amend my earlier claim: you are not uninformed about evolution, you are terminally misinformed about it if you think the fossil record, morphology, molecular evidence, and observation of successive generations of bacteria in a lab disprove evolution.

You know what, you carry on being a creationist. Anyone who is as terrible at understanding evidence and its implications as you are is a liability to any cause they support. You just keep denying basic observations and leave the work of advancing knowledge to those who have learned how to use those logic-engines in their heads correctly.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Luke: ‘You obviously know nothing about how evolution works…Evolution never, ever happens in individual organisms. Organisms don’t evolve, populations do.”

TW: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Is there such a thing as “population DNA?” Obviously, evolution must start at the “organism level” before it gets to the “population level.”

Luke: “If you want us to take seriously your claim of rationality when it comes to ID and evolution, you really need to do some more homework, Todd.”

TW: The feeling is mutual, my friend.

Luke: “Many aspects of ID have been disproven utterly, such as the proposition that irreducibly complex systems can’t evolve.”

TW: I would be very surprised if “irreducible complexity” was disproven. While I haven’t read every single Darwinist argument on this topic, the ones I’ve read have fallen short of the mark (to put it charitably). Just because someone shouts “I disproved it!” doesn’t mean they actually did if you read the fine print.

Luke: “If any scientist succeeded in overthrowing the modern synthesis, they would be guaranteed fame, Nobel status, and all the funding they could ever hope for to do future research.”

TW: Not a chance.

Luke: “What gets you ostracized in the scientific community is stubbornly clinging to discredited and disproven ideas.”

TW: In the case of ID, that is not the case. The Scientific Establishment has a major ideological commitment to materialism, and since ID challenges that ideology, the Establishment opposes it vigorously.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Oh wait, that was Lorkas (not Luke). Sorry, Luke.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Lorkas: I didn’t say they “disprove evolution.” I said they “contradict Darwinism.” And they do.

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Josh November 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Todd,

I can see that this will go nowhere. If you want to continue this discussion, I’m happy to, but we need to figure out a better way to do it. First of all, we would need to focus on, say, one topic, and then we would have to provide sources and present evidence for our claims about that topic. But when you say things like “the fossil record does not support Darwinism”, I have little hope of having a productive discussion.

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Todd White November 4, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Josh: That’s a fair observation. We’ve been talking past each other so far. Perhaps – as you suggested – it would be better to narrow the topic. And in that case…hmmm…I’m not sure what topic to suggest. Do you have one?

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ildi November 5, 2009 at 4:28 am

Todd:

I didn’t say they “disprove evolution.” I said they “contradict Darwinism.”

How about defining what you think “Darwinism” means?

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lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 5:27 am

Todd,

What??? Lol. I have no idea how Provine thinks that biology entails all that! Provine is clearly not a philosopher.

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lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 5:28 am

Todd,

If you dropped a cow into the ocean and it became a whale that would significantly disprove Darwinism. Did you mistype?

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 8:16 am

Ildi: How about defining what you think “Darwinism” means?

TW: I would say that Darwinism encompasses four main ideas: (1) life can be produced “by chance” in a soup of chemicals, 2) life can come from non-living matter, 3) random genetic mutations and environmental pressures can explain the creation of new species, and 4) there is a logical evolutionary continuum (known as “common descent”) between all species – most controversially, between apes and humans.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 8:24 am

Luke: “I have no idea how Provine thinks that biology entails all that! Provine is clearly not a philosopher.”

TW: I mostly agree with Provine on this matter. I don’t think Darwinism REQUIRES all of the philosophical implications that Provine suggests, but they certainly make those implications a heck of a lot more likely. What DOES make those implications a requirement? An ideological commitment to materialism. And since most Darwinists are materialists (and in a fun twist, it was – in many cases – Darwinism itself that converted them to the “truth” of materialism), then you can make a solid (but not insurmountable) claim that yes, Darwinism does lead to Provine’s philosophy.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

Luke: “If you dropped a cow into the ocean and it became a whale that would significantly disprove Darwinism. Did you mistype?”

TW: The point I was trying to make (in a joking way, and apparently, in an unclear way) was that if we witnessed a cow going into the ocean and becoming a whale, it would prove Darwinism sufficiently to kill I.D. once and for all. Obviously, the cow/whale scenario (and equivalent scenarios) never happen. We don’t see the kind of evolutionary changes that Darwinism would predict from environmental changes. And that was my point. It was meant as a joke, but like most jokes, it contained a bit of truth that I was hoping other folks would catch onto.

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Lorkas November 5, 2009 at 8:36 am

‘TW: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Is there such a thing as “population DNA?” Obviously, evolution must start at the “organism level” before it gets to the “population level.”’

Evolution doesn’t work on single strands of DNA, it works on allele frequencies in a population. If gene A is established in a population and gene A’ arises as a mutation of gene A and gives the organisms which possess that gene an advantage over those who have version A, then A’ will tend to become more common in the population over time and gene A will tend to become less common.

I should be clear here: obviously evolution is related to events that happen at the organismal level, but the organism is not the unit of evolution. The population is the unit of evolution, while the organism is the unit of selection. That is, evolution never happens at the organismal level, but is the result of events that happen at the organismal level.

Evolution only works on interbreeding populations, and only over successive generations. It never works as an instantaneous response of a single organism to a sudden change in the environment. This does exist in biology (in a less extreme form than you proposed above, of course), but it is an entirely different phenomenon known as acclimation.

“TW: The feeling is mutual, my friend.”

What? I’m a fucking biologist. I’ve clearly pointed out how you misunderstand the subject, and given several recommendations on how you could correct your misunderstanding. You’ve yet to show clearly how you think that I misunderstand the subject, so it seems that this is a case of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

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Lorkas November 5, 2009 at 8:43 am

Todd White: Obviously, the cow/whale scenario (and equivalent scenarios) never happen. We don’t see the kind of evolutionary changes that Darwinism would predict from environmental changes. And that was my point.

But the point betrayed a misunderstanding of Darwin. Darwinism doesn’t predict that a cow thrown in the ocean will turn into a whale. What it predicts is that, if a population of cows lives near the ocean and is forced to forage in the surf for food, then that population of cows will be likely to gain adaptations that make them better at foraging in the ocean over many generations.

Suppose I told you that the giant redwoods of California grow from a tiny seed after you plant it in the ground (shocking, I know). Being a good denialist, you decided to see for yourself, and after placing the seed in the ground you smugly concluded that my claim was false after the seed didn’t instantly sprout into a full-grown giant redwood. This is an absurd conclusion, of course, because that’s not how growth works. It works over a period of centuries, not a period of seconds or minutes.

Your cow-to-whale-by-magic scenario says nothing whatsoever about the theory of evolution, because that’s not how evolution works, as I stated before and as Luke hinted above. It doesn’t work over seconds or in an individual organism, it happens over hundreds-to-millions of years and operated on populations.

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Lee A. P. November 5, 2009 at 8:54 am

Todd White: Josh…1) The fossil record contradicts Darwinism. Fossil species are remarkably stable over long periods of time and the appearance of new species is typically abrupt. Evidence for transitional forms is rare – and even those may be open to misinterpretation.2) Molecular evidence contradicts Darwinism. DNA sequences do NOT look like they descended with modification from ancestral sequences. 3) Morphological evidence contradicts Darwinism. The so-called “Tree of Life” is a mess. In fact, you rarely hear about the “Tree of Life” anymore because it’s become an embarassment. The human body doesn’t contain a single vestigial organ – even through Darwinists insisted it did.4) I don’t understand your 4th point.5) The conditions for macroevolution do not exist in the Real World because macroevolution itself is a conjecture of microevolution. There is no convincing evidence for macroevolution.6) Observed “evolution” evidence contradicts Darwinism. Thousands of generations of bacteria have been grown in the lab to test the “edge of evolution.” And what did we find? Random mutations are rare and those that do occur are far more likely to be regressive than beneficial. Oh, and no matter what, a bacteria ALWAYS stays a bacteria. It never “evolves” into anything else.  (Quote)

This post is pure, unadulterated trash in every concievable way. I retract the apology I gave you for my rude drunken rant. Earlier you said that we need not posit a huge “Satanic” conspiracy in order to explain the prevelence of evolution. But here you are saying that all of the evidence actually disproves evolution. If so then evolutionary biologists are all being dishonest with the evidence and a lot of them know that they are. You ARE positing an all encompassing Satanic conspiracy. This makes you paranoid and delusional.

You are saying that they are lying about the fossil record, the genome evience — the whole nine yards. This is akin to the all encompassing conspiracy needed for 911 to have been an inside job.

To use common conspiracy parlance, you are essentially nothing but a shill for ID. You do not care about objectively exploring this “controversy”. You are swallowing and regurgitating ever tired, disproven ID platitude in the book. You are a caricature.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

Lorkas (my “fucking biologist” friend): Without intending it, you proved my point. As you said, “Obviously evolution is related to events that happen at the organismal level.” Since those “organismal level” events come first, it’s consistent with what I said: “Evolution must start at the “organism level” before it gets to the “population level.” In the interest of fairness, I think what we have here is a failure of communication. You misinterpreted what I said, and then I misinterpreted what I said. But if you continue to believe – based on this exchange – that I “misunderstand the subject” – then that would be incorrect.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

Lorkas: “Darwinism doesn’t predict that a cow thrown in the ocean will turn into a whale. What it predicts is that, if a population of cows lives near the ocean and is forced to forage in the surf for food, then that population of cows will be likely to gain adaptations that make them better at foraging in the ocean over many generations.”

TW: Yes, I understand that (see my post above regarding my intentions in bringing up that analogy). However, I would say – even given your factual/non-joking explanation – I am not convinced that what would you describe would actually happen.

Lorkas: “Suppose I told you that the giant redwoods of California grow from a tiny seed after you plant it in the ground (shocking, I know). Being a good denialist, you decided to see for yourself, and after placing the seed in the ground you smugly concluded that my claim was false after the seed didn’t instantly sprout into a full-grown giant redwood. This is an absurd conclusion, of course, because that’s not how growth works. It works over a period of centuries, not a period of seconds or minutes.”

TW: Very different scenarios.

Lorkas: “Your cow-to-whale-by-magic scenario says nothing whatsoever about the theory of evolution, because that’s not how evolution works, as I stated before and as Luke hinted above. It doesn’t work over seconds or in an individual organism, it happens over hundreds-to-millions of years and operated on populations.”

TW: Yes, I’m aware of that, but I do not believe – based on the evidence I’ve seen – that such things that you describe would happen over millions of years.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 9:07 am

Lee: “You ARE positing an all encompassing Satanic conspiracy.”

TW: I am doing nothing of the sort; you’re projecting onto me.

Lee; “You are saying that they are lying about the fossil record, the genome evience — the whole nine yards.”

TW: No, I’m saying that most of them are misinterpreting the data. It happens a lot in life. For example, everyone works in politics is very knowledgeable about politics but they break down into Republicans and Department because they interpret the data from political science differently.

Lee: “You are a caricature.”

TW: “Pot, this is kettle calling. Have you been on the ‘Common Sense Atheist’ website?”

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Lee A. P. November 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

You are saying that all of the supporting evidence for evolution, magnificantly compiled over the last 150 years that rendered Darwins predictions correct, actually contradict Darwanism.

There is no other way than “all encompassing conspiracy”, that that could explain this. You are saying that Scientists either blatantly lie or simply go along with the incorrect interpretations that they have been taught. You do no seem to understand how scientists do their work.

Again, this is akin to 911 conspiracy theories. The sheer number of people having to cooperate, suppress dissenting views and data, all over the past 150 years almost as they are working as a monolithic unit — is astounding. What you are positing is devistatingly stupid and ignorant.

Hell, when Darwins book was written, religious nutjobs, who made up the vast majorty of the country and still do, were all against it. Evolution rose DESPITE great public opinion against it because of the overwheling data supporting it.

Later on you talk about Darwinian dissenters who were “silenced” supporting the view of “consrpiacy”.

Virtually all your comments point to “vast, overwhleming conspiracy” despite your attempts to deny this.

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lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 9:38 am

Todd,

No. If a cow went into the ocean and came out a whale, that would totally debunk evolution. That’s almost the opposite of evolution.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 11:03 am

Lee: I’m not very eager to continue this dialogue with you after you stated “You ARE positing an all encompassing Satanic conspiracy.” Sorry.

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Lorkas November 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Todd White: Lorkas (my “fucking biologist” friend): Without intending it, you proved my point. As you said, “Obviously evolution is related to events that happen at the organismal level.” Since those “organismal level” events come first, it’s consistent with what I said: “Evolution must start at the “organism level” before it gets to the “population level.”

Wrong again, mate. Evolution never, ever happens at the organismal level. Selection happens at the organismal level, and evolution is the culmination of generations of selection. It’s fundamentally inaccurate to think of evolution as occurring in an organism rather than a population, just as it’s inaccurate to think of a “conversation” being something that happens in just one comment. A conversation necessarily contains more than one exchange by definition, and evolution necessarily operates only above the organismal level.

Anyway, it doesn’t seem like you’re going to get it. I’ve posted things for you to read in good faith, hoping that you take seriously your claim that you want to become educated in a subject before making a decision about it. I’ve pointed out several misconceptions you hold about evolution, and now it’s time for me to go (I apologize for skipping out on what I’m sure would continue to be a charming conversation, but I’m afraid I have more important things to do and the volume of comments here is becoming too great for me to follow). Hopefully others here will be willing to correct your future misconceptions (or that, gods willing, you will go read more literature and clear up those misconceptions yourself).

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Lorkas: Would you prefer that I say “the process of evolution starts at the organismal level?” That’s fine. Bottom line: I get it. I always got it. I don’t know why you’re being a stickler for semantics. I suppose you’re doing it to suggest that I don’t understand evolution, but in reality, you’re just being a nit-picky in a way that’s not conducive to discussion. And if you want to end the discussion, that’s fine. I don’t feel strongly either way.

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Rachel March 9, 2011 at 1:16 am

“Of course we’ll never observe a fish turning into a tetrapod in real time—but the fossil record, for all its faults, is more wonderously detailed than we could have ever hoped.”

Hmm… It’s amazing to me how many evolutionists go back to the fossil record as proof, though aren’t there astonishing gaps in the fossil record? I mean, it could hardly be called a record at all. Darwin himself said that in order for his theory to be true there had to be tons of the intermediate species’ fossils, yet the scientific community still can’t seem to conjure up those all too important “missing links.” Please, show me the bones of 10% human 90% ape, 20% human 80% ape, and so on and so forth. Or better yet, show me the evolution of whale to land-creature. And this time, not just one measly jaw bone, or femur, but a whole skeleton. It shouldn’t be too hard if evolution is true, but yet it seems to be oh so impossible.

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Rachel March 9, 2011 at 1:57 am

“If you can provide the sort of evidence for humans being designed that there is for any of the modern medicines, machines, electronics etc then you will have a religion that will go places.”

I honestly do not understand this choice of ignorance. Ignorance to look at the facts and the hypocrisies in all this. (And please don’t start on the whole “Bible is full of hypocrisies” argument–if you can call it that–it’s counterproductive and untrue if you actually read the Bible.) You do not doubt for a second when you see a computer that SOMEONE made it. You don’t say to yourself: “No, I think that computer was assembled by accident over millions of years.” That would be absurd. Yet it’s somehow LESS absurd to say that a human, who is unbelievably more advanced and efficient in their tiniest cell than said computer, did in fact come about by accidental events and adaptations? I am a Christian, yes, but the reason for that is I am a logical thinker. I believe in logic and I listen to logic. When looking at evolution and the ideas behind it from a purely LOGICAL standpoint, it makes no sense. Even tiny insects are far too complex for me to believe they came about by chance. For example the bombardier beetles. What would happen if the glands that separated the toxic chemicals, that when mixed create an actual EXPLOSION, were not already in place? They would blow up. So, not-quite-evolved versions of the beetle would explode in a second, thus wiping them out. The only logical conclusion I could draw from that was that they have always existed exactly how they do now, perfectly DESIGNED. Another contradiction of evolution lies in the observation of time. If you watched an abandoned building over, say, 50 years, would it get bigger and more complex? No. It would decay and eventually crumble. You say, “Well that’s completely different, that’s just a building. We’re talking about living things.” Well, remember evolution say that life came from non-life, so according to evolution, it wouldn’t be crazy for me to say that I believed one day, given millions of years, that building would turn into a living organism, right? It’s almost as crazy as believing Pinocchio would one day become a real boy. I mean, who needs fairy dust, when you have hundreds of millions of years?

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