Saturday, September 17, 2005

 
Welcome Flat Earthers! Since you, the disingenuous and narrow minded, have enjoyed your little Jihad in defense of Darwin so much, I`ve moved it over to this site to offer you an outlet for your anger. Enjoy.

DARWINIST DECLARE JIHAD ON BIRDBLOG


If ever I needed proof that Darwinism is more faith than science, this rant by a professor of biology in Minnesota provides it. He launches into a furious assault on my article The Case Against Darwin which appeared in the American Thinker a while back.

First off, I`d like to point out that this article received little attention when it was published. Obviously, some of Professor Myers` students read it and were disturbed by my arguments, so they called in the Big Gun. Professor Myers goes on to insult me in every way imaginable, showing himself to be not just closed-minded but also quite intolerant and nasty. He devoted an enormous amount of time to what he views as extraordinarily stupid-which proves that I touched a nerve. To paraphrase Shakespeare ``Me thinks he doth protest too much!`` He even used my name as the title of his post! Does anyone devote so much time and effort to something they think has no validity? Dr. Myers clearly fears what I had to say.

The good Doctor knew I was a property manager, even though that article did not mention this fact. Interesting, no? It`s obvious that he needed to check me out first, to make sure I wasn`t someone who could stand toe to toe with him; once he felt secure he launched into this vicious and not overly logical attack. Need I point out the courage our Darwinian Mujahadeen evinced? Obviously, Dr. Myers is my superior in knowledge of biology and I`m not going to get sucked into an argument over biological minutia. I am a real estate guy, after all!

For those of you who haven`t been here before, let me state that I am not a Creationist in the strict sense of the word; I believe that God created the Universe and everything in it, but that He normally works through natural physical processes. My faith is not predicated on who wins the argument over Darwin; God is far, far larger than our minds can grasp. In fact, I suspect that Intelligent Design Theory will fail because it ultimately would prove the existence of God, which would be the end of free Will. I tend to think that God will reveal His existence in his own time, and any effort on our part will fail until then.

That said, I have problems with Darwinism for the reasons stated in my article, and because of the absolute faith which the proponents of Darwin display. It really has become a religion to people like Professor Myers; he refuses to even think that that his orthodoxy may be wrong. Torqumada was never as certain of his correctness as most of the Darwinists I have encountered. The fact that you are all a-lather over this essay, which you think moronic, proves my assertion. Essays like mine are more than stupid commentary-they are heresy! They must be stopped, and at all costs!

This orthodoxy stifles a free exchange of ideas, and any attempt to FIX the problems inherent in Darwinism. I would be very happy for a new theory, perhaps a neo-Darwinist hypothesis, to come along and answer the questions. We will never get this given the current observance of Darwinian Sharia. It is simply not possible to have a discussion with someone like professor Myers who Believes with absolute faith.

Keep in mind, this article was not intended to be an exhaustive scientific treatise; it was written as an overview of arguments against Darwin for the layman. Professor Myers understands this, and uses it as weapon against me; he knows I do not have the time to make exhaustive arguments in the limited venue I am working in, and he attacks at every turn where I fail to go into a long, bloviating dissertation. (He is most comfortable with long, bloviating dissertations, however!)

Below are quotes (in italics) from my article, followed by our objective seeker after truth`s rant, followed by commentary by yours truly (in bold and parenthesis) which shows the good doctor for the three card monte artist he is:


Timothy Birdnow:





Laugh, cry, curl up into a fetal ball and close my eyes…I'm not sure what I want to do. There is a site called The American Thinker which I read for the first time today, and all I can say is that if this is what they call American thinking, we have grounds for a class action suit for libel on behalf of every citizen in the US.

(Very witty, Professor. Perhaps your students should demand their tuition refunded for your complete lack of scientific objectivity.)

In particular, they've published an article, The case against Darwin, written by a property manager in St. Louis, Timothy Birdnow. It's clear that he's ideologically compatible with far right wing pseudoscience, but reading his essay was a hilarious exercise, rather like reading children's funny exam answers. The science is a mangled mish-mash, almost entirely wrong, delivered with an astoundingly confident tone that disregards its own obvious contradictions.

(I love it-right wing pseudoscience! You have spent too much time in academia, professor!)


For instance, Birdnow is confident that DNA could never have come into existence.

(No-I just realize that many of the fundamentals you cling to have some obvious flaws.)

What, you may ask, is the connection between Einstein`s proof of atoms [his explanation of Brownian motion] and Darwinism? Darwinism argues that all life evolved from a less complex state. Following the chain of life backwards, one eventually comes to the most basic unit of life-Deoxyribonucleaic Acid (the DNA molecule). The DNA molecule is composed of the even simpler RNA molecule, and is the fundamental building block of life. It is the largest, most complex molecule in nature. According to Einstein`s theory, the original DNA (and RNA) Molecules should not have formed and survived since there are being constantly buffetted by energized atoms. The establishment of life required energy, and that energy meant that the nascent DNA was exposed to more energetic particles which should, logically, have prevented the formation of such a large and complex molecule. That this molecule not only formed but spread suggests different mechanism at work then those proposed by the Darwinists.

DNA is not made of RNA. They are two molecules with similar structures, but different sugar backbones and a small difference in the bases.

(Oh, so now we have two completely different molecules as the building blocks of life! Life did not begin once, but twice from seperate building blocks! You know, Doctor, that DNA is fundamentally an advance on RNA. You are playing games here, and it does not disprove a thing I have said.)

The phrase "According to Einstein's theory" is dishonest: nothing Einstein ever said suggested that DNA could not form.

(Darwin never mentioned DNA, or Cosmic Radiation, but it doesn`t prevent Darwinists from discussing this, either.)

Think about what this guy is saying. Because molecules are in constant motion, DNA could not have formed. Yet this is not a condition that was only true at the beginning of life, but is also the case now. How does he imagine DNA is synthesized now?

(We have existing DNA molecules which act as templates. Do we actually build a DNA molecule from scratch? Do we line atoms up in sequence to build it? Have we EVER created life-not organic material, but life?)

Many defenders of evolution try to argue that entropy only applies to a closed system, and that the Earth is not a closed system. This is facetious; entropy increases when systems are mixed, and the first life forms could not have survived except under very particular conditions. They had to have a closed system, or at least a very sheltered system, initially to survive! Any way you look at it, a self-replicating entity had to gain in complexity at the molecular level despite increasing entropic pressures. There has to be a guiding principle involved. You just can`t make order out of chaos! Systems decay.

"facetious: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant." Perhaps he meant "fallacious"? Either way, he's wrong.

(``A foolish consistency is the bane of little minds`` according to Emerson. This is very peevish, professor!)

Aww, just read the FAQ. This is just the old "second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution" canard; it's not true.

(This is the old ``I know more than you and I say so`` canard.)

I don't think he understands what a "closed system" is. In a closed system, entropy will increase—without the input of energy, living systems die.

(Gee, no kidding!)

If systems decay as an invariable and unbreakable rule, where did Mr Birdnow come from?

(Wonderful circular logic here! Because Birdnow is here systems must not decay! Brilliant! The argument I was making is that it is preposterous to believe that a molecule as large and complex as DNA came spontaneously into existence as Dr. Myers would have us believe.)



In fact, genes and chromosomes decay on a regular basis. One of the largest causes of mental retardation is called fragile X syndrome, and it is the result of chromosomal decay where one of the legs of the X has crumbled away. The Chromosome is no longer an X but isn`t a Y either, and this results in numerous problems. Mutations of genetic material happens regularly, and is rarely of any benefit to the unlucky inheritor. A benevolent mutation generally requires an increase in complexity, not a disintigration of the chromosome or gene. Disintigration generally means decay. Decay makes you sick, or dead; it does not make you grow. Evolution claims you can decay your way up!

I've written a bit about fragile X syndrome. Birdnow doesn't have anything right here.
It does not cause "crumbling" of the X, nor does it mean the X is something other than an X chromosome. Fragile X is caused by trinucleotide repeat expansion; the excessive repeats stimulate excessive methylation, which inactivates a nearby gene that is important in transducing a synaptic response into a change in protein synthesis.

(I answered that on a previous post. Again, you`re trying to blind us with science, professor.)


Mutations are rarely harmful.
Mutations can increase complexity.

(Mutations are rarely harmful?! According to your own theory, most mutations DIE! That is how natural selection works. How long before accumulated genetic error kills an organism? Isn`t this the reason for aging and death? I agree with your second statement.)

Another paradox in Darwin`s theory is the lowly virus. A virus is basically a free floating strand of DNA (or RNA for the most ancient varieties like the Filoviruses which cause Ebola) which invades a cell and takes over the cell`s control functions. The virus suddenly comes to life, reproducing at a prodigious rate. After exhausting the cell, the virus returns to it`s quiet slumber.

Now, the virus must predate the cellular organisms, and yet there is no way a virus can reproduce without a host. We have no examples of self-replicating viruses, viruses which can exist on their own. What we see is reverse evolution; the virus is evolved to feed on the more complex organism.

It is possible that early viruses were able to exist without a host, and that the change in the Earth`s atmosphere killed them. Perhaps none of them could tolerate oxygen. One would still expect to find remnants of these ancient viral life forms in sheltered places. We don`t, and regular viruses require a host. The problem is that there doesn`t appear to be any way for these organisms to have flourished.


Viruses do not "come to life". They consist of short gene sequences that are translated by the cell, and carry out functions that use cellular machinery to reproduce themselves.
Viruses almost certainly do not predate cellular organisms. They are parasitic sequences that evolved to take advantage of cells. (Although there most probably were prebiotic equivalents of viruses that parasitized early replicators, I suspect.)
The existence of viruses that live independently of any host is a contradiction in terms.
Mr Birdnow should read a simple summary of virus evolution, because he has got everything wrong. Again.

(A virus becomes active and reproduces once inside of a cell. That can certainly be characterised as coming to life. Either way, my point is valid; you are promulgating the idea that DNA spontaneously came into existence fully developed inside of a cell. If that did not happen, how did a molecule create a cell and all of the mechanisms necessary? Either way your explanations fall short.)

Next we come to the problems with the fossil record. Everyone has heard of the missing link; the transition creature between Man and the Apes. We`ve never really found him-in fact, we`ve never really found any link between one species and another. Scientists have found species with similarities, but the transitions are simply not there. It is inherent in Darwinism that species make a smooth, seamless transition from one form to another. The reality is that we see no such transitions in the fossil record, and evolutionists struggle to hide or explain away this embarrasing fact.

We have many transitional fossils.
We don't expect all transitions to occur by simple, detectable phyletic gradualism.

(Prove it. How many species currently exist on Earth? How many have become extinct, but left a fossil record? In the 145 years since Darwin, why have you been unable to produce any continuous lines of evolution? Your claiming it`s true does not make it so. If we don`t expect gradualism in all species, we should at least be able to find plenty where gradualism is obvious.)

Furthermore, we don`t even see crossovers between the 5 Phylla (classes of animals) anywhere, at any time. Where are the giant mammaried mosquitos? Where are the snakes which deliver live young? I haven`t seen too many feathered fish around lately! The species remain distinct, and they shouldn`t if Darwin is correct. Consider the Permian Triassic Extinction, the so called ``Great Dying``, 250 million years ago,in which 9 out of 10 marine creatures and 7 out of 10 land creatures died. Before the Great Dying five phylla walked the Earth; insects, mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. After the Great Dying we had the same 5. If Darwin`s concept of Natural Selection is correct we should have seen numerous crossovers as species from all branches competed to fill in the newly vacated gaps in the ecology. That we can find no evidence of any crossover is damning of Darwin`s theory.

There are approximately 30 animal phyla (and it's spelled with one "l").

(Gee, professor, please don`t send the nuns to rap my knuckles over misspellings!
You are correct in that there are 30 total animal phyla; I was writing a piece to explain this concept to a general audience, and I included the chordates plus insects. You, as a revered Professor of Biology, may find my pique with my carelessness. Fine(after all, I`m not a biologist). Nonetheless, it does not matter to the argument wether there are 2, 8, 15, 30, or 2000 phila (ouch! my knuckles!); the point is that we there was no real crossovers between creatures. I suspect you understood my point, but quibble over it because you think you`ve got me. If it salves your ego to gloat, go right ahead! The fact is, the great point you think you scored was wide of the argument.)


Many snakes, including the common garter snake, are live-bearers.

(I accept that.)


"Crossovers"? Mammaried mosquitos? The absence of chimeras is a piece of evidence for evolution. We do not expect mosquitos and dairy cows to ever hybridize.

(Nobody said they would interbreed, Doctor. (I would imagine the mosquito would have to be the male.) You still miss the point; with all of the gaps in the ecology we should have seen changes in the fundamental structure of many different creatures to fill the the recently vacated gap.)

There were no mammals or birds before the Permian extinction, nor were there any for about 100 million years after.

I have read differing things on this, so I will give you the final say. Your point is still mute.)

Another point to consider is the matter of the size of animal life on Earth. During the Jurassic, Dinosaurs grew to enormous sizes, fueled by plentiful food and a high atmospheric oxygen content. Yet we see mammals grow large during the Pleistocene, with Mastadons, giant beavers, Saber-Toothed Tigers all being larger than creatures today. This was an era of scarcity and lower oxygen, yet we witness the same response to the environment. Why? If Natural Selection is correct, the most successful creatures during the Ice Age would be the smaller ones. We see the same biological response to two radically different conditions.

The idea that animals grew larger because of higher oxygen content is simplistic and wrong. It sounds like someone's been reading the creationist, Carl Baugh.

(Never read the man. Your snide little jab still doesn`t answer the question of why these very different creatures followed similar evolutionary paths despite radically different environments.)

The most successful creatures during the Jurassic, the Ice Ages, and modern times were and are the smallest ones: the bacteria.

(I never said they weren`t; this is another red-herring.)

Mastodons are not the same as diplodocids. Obviously, we did not witness the same responses in the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic.

(See above.)

Speaking of Dinosaurs, why are they all gone? Dinosaurs came in all sizes, some quite small and nimble. Birds are the last remnants of the beasts which once ruled the Earth. Why? Granted, the large ones were unfit to survive, but the small ones should have been able to adapt without having to develop flight. We should still see some of the smaller ones like Procompsognathus. They were every bit as nimble, as fit, to survive as their mammalian rivals. Yet they are gone. Why did they all turn into birds? Evolutionary theory suggests that the surviving dinosaurs should have scattered in all directions genetically after their extinction. They didn`t; they went in only one direction, while mammals evolved to fill their former niches.

The best current explanation for the absence of the dinosaurs is a catastrophic extinction event triggered by a massive meteor impact. The effects of the impact had long term ecological effects that destroyed most species on the planet.

(Right-Luis Alvarez devised this theory based on the discovery of layers of iridium in the soil coinciding with the extinction of the Dinosaurs. You still haven`t answered my question.)

All of the dinosaurs except one lineage, a group that led to the birds and that evolved tens of millions of years before the end of the Cretaceous, were killed. They did not survive. There were no scattered bands of survivors that all independently evolved into birds.
The 'dinosaurs' that survived the extinction were already birds.

(My point exactly, Dr.! You keep doing my work for me!)

Any way you look at the issue, Darwinism is on the ropes. The supporters of Darwin have resorted to frauds in the past to prove their theory-Piltdown Man was a combination of human and ape remains. Remember the famous Moth hoax where evolutionists claimed they had found moths in London which had changed from white to black because industrial soot had made being black safer? Turns out they faked their evidence. Now the evolutionists are trying to silence any competing theories through scholastic bans and mockery. They seem desperate.

I wonder why?

Piltdown was a fraud that was exposed by scientists. It was not a significant part of the evidence for human evolution, however, and Mr Birdnow must ignore all the genuine evidence to make his point.

(So? It was still a fraud perpetrated to buttress the weaknesses in Darwinism.)

Peppered moths weren't faked. The story still stands as a valid, but complex, example of evolution.

(I love this one; you are using the Dan Rather defense ``well, the evidence was fake but I`m convinced the story is true.`` It was a nice try.)

Evolutionists aren't desperate—we're exasperated. We have to deal with appalling levels of ignorance like Mr Birdnow's; I think it's only appropriate that we respond with mockery. I've tried to point out some of the more glaring errors of fact in his essay (there's much more—I've been slightly selective), and it should be clear that his work is embarrassingly uninformed, revealing a complete lack of any competency in biology, of a level comparable to what I might expect from a fifth grader…although no fifth grader I've ever met has the arrogance to think he is an authority in science. What he has written is garbage, and it's been published as if it were a serious piece of scholarship by a right-wing online rag, and I've had to waste 45 minutes picking apart a fraction of the egregious errors present in it.

(Boy, if that isn`t the pot calling the kettle black! The main reason I wrote this was because I became increasingly irritated with the monstrous arrogance and utter closed mindedness of Darwinists such as Dr. Myers. Perhaps, Dr., if you found this essay hard to understand you should find yourself a fifth grader to explain it to you. You don`t seem to have a command of logic.)

The only appropriate response here is to point out that Birdnow is an idiot. He's a gumby. He's a particularly outrageous example of the creationist morons who want to dictate our schools' curricula from a position of utter ineptitude.

(You are a nasty little man, sir. Name calling is the last refuge of the loser of an argument The fact that you felt it necessary to launch into it immediately speaks volumes about you and your position.)

We "evolutionists" are not interested in "scholastic bans" of ideas. I do think it entirely fair that we have scholastic standards that reject rank stupidity of the kind Mr Birdnow offers.

(Yes, you have plenty of high-grade stupidity to offer of your own.)


____________________________________________________________________
Postscript from Mr. Birdnow


As a final note, I offer you pinnacles of the evolutionary process one final point to raise your blood pressure; the Fermi Paradox. If life is such an easy thing, why haven`t we found evidence of it elsewheres? The closest anyone has come is a meteor broken off of Mars long ago which may or may not have fossilized Martian life forms. Mathematicians have worked out the probabilities of life-and intelligent life-developing outside of the Earth, and have come to the conclusion that the Galaxy should be swarming with all manner of extraterrestrial intelligence. As Enrico Fermi asked ``where are they?``

Another point to ponder is that Darwinists themselves have recognized the weakness of the fossil record. Stephan Jay Gould tried to remedy this by postulating sudden spurts (punctuated equilibria) in evolution. I applaud this; it is an attempt to break out of the intellectual straitjacket which dogmatic Darwinists have imposed on themselves (and us.) That Gould`s theory has not become predominant does not necessarily mean it is not valid. At any rate, what does this prove? This proves that Darwinists themselves recognize the weakness in their belief system.

In the final analysis, you Darwinists grow enraged if anyone challenges any part of your theory. You remind me of ecclesiastical scholars who grew wroth with anyone who challenged Aristotle. (Just look at the nasty comments already posted on Birdblog!) What have I done to so infuriate you? If I am so stupid, why do you come to attack me?)

I apologize for not hyperlinking Dr. myers links into this essay; I am too busy to bother and I have been suffering back pain and want to limit my time at the keyboard. For those of you who want to see his article, go to Pharyngula. Dr. Myers links liberally to a Darwinian Apologetics site, so, just to tweak him (and his legion of minions) I think I`ll link to an INTELLIGENT DESIGN site or two (notice how our seeker after truth will not call them by this name?)
Go here for a decent site I just came upon. Also, you might want to check this out.
(By the way, I did not use these, or any other ID sites for source material when writing this or THE CASE AGAINST DARWIN. I KNEW any references to ID sites would be dismissed as propoganda by the Darwinists; this is a standard trick used by those who don`t like arguing with logic.)


Below the Darwinists launch their Jihad:

chingachook said...
Dude, your little anti-Darwin essay from a couple of weeks ago is taking an absolute pummelling over on Pharyngula:

http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/timothy_birdnow/#continue

Thought you might want to know about it, and maybe defend your "ideas."

4:45 PM


Timothy Birdnow said...
Thanks, Chingachook; I`m hardly surprised by the Darwinists absolute faith in their beliefs. I`ll have to pop over there.

6:01 PM


PZ Myers said...
It's not about "faith in our beliefs" -- it's about the pig ignorant inanities and outright errors in your article.

6:12 PM


Timothy Birdnow said...
Mr./Ms. Myers,

I see you have not enabled people to view your profile on Blogger; I admire the courage of your conviction!

If you would bother to read my archives you would know full well that I am not a creationist, but you automatically assume that is the case. Who is guilty of pig ignorant innanities and outright errors?

I see this subject will have to be revisited.

6:31 PM


JMJanssen said...
You moron. The simplest observational skills would have allowed you to see that Dr. Myers is a male and the writer at pharyngula.org. Cute stab though.

6:45 PM


PZ Myers said...
Umm, you say you aren't a creationists, but you make arguments for creationism, using old-fashioned false creationist arguments.

Sorry, guy, you are a creationist. Stupid is as stupid does, you know.

7:11 PM


PZ Myers said...
By the way, if you do revisit this subject, please address this one point from your article.

Consider the Permian Triassic Extinction, the so called ``Great Dying``, 250 million years ago,in which 9 out of 10 marine creatures and 7 out of 10 land creatures died. Before the Great Dying five phylla walked the Earth; insects, mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. After the Great Dying we had the same 5.

You should be aware that in those 3 sentences, you made 4 immense errors.

1. There are many more than 5 phyla; about 30.
2. Mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and insects are not separate phyla. The first four all belong to one phylum (Chordata) and the last belongs to another (Arthropoda).
3. There were no mammals or birds in the Permian.
4. There were no mammals or birds in the Triassic.

In other words, your entire point was wrong in multiple ways. Those are simple errors of fact that show you have no knowledge at all of the subject about which you were babbling.

Consider this a challenge. If you can't address those gross errors when you revisit the subject, I'm going to point out the fact with great amusement.

Timothy Birdnow replies;

The answer is above to your unanswerable point. This is a red-herring to distract the reader from the heart of the argument, as you well know DOCTOR.

The Commissar said...
I join in Myers' challenge. Your mistakes that he pointed out were not trivial. They betrayed an ignorance of the basics.

I have posted on my blog and have trackbacked to this post.

BTW, I am a conservative Republican.

1:46 PM


PZ Myers said...
Boy, is he a conservative Republican. We agree on absolutely nothing...but the science. You're getting a bipartisan smackdown.

3:41 PM


Timothy Birdnow said...
Sorry PZ; your Darwinist cronies are all coming a little late to the party for me to believe this is anything but a charade.

I answer all of your sleight-of-hand tricks above.

3:54 PM


TJ Willms said...
Having taken the time to read both sides of this debate, I was amazed at PZ Meyers vituperative rhetoric, as well as that of his students. (no observational skills on the planet would lead me to ascertain that he was either male or a DR. from reading his profile) It was akin to stepping into the middle of a Liberal feeding frenzy and “property manager” was the main course. It was not at all surprising to me in the least to find that he was a University of Minnesota Prof. (We do grow them arrogant here Tim!)

I understood the point of your piece and all the scientific goobledy gook was just window dressing to me. Belief in Darwinism requires a leap of faith, no less significant than a religion requiring a leap of faith, and the ardent supporters of Darwinism are as fanatical as any religious zealot. I think there was plenty of evidence of this zealotry in the comments posted on birdblog. (My goodness Tim These lefties up north here don’t like you! See what we Minnesotans have to put up with! And I’ll bet you thought Jesse Ventura was as bad as it could get.)

The facts reinforcing Darwinism are incomplete and often require assumption and supposition in order to work. With 100, 200, 300 million year or more gaps in the fossil record the primary support system for Darwinian theory, and virtually no CLEAR transitional species it is as easy to argue that the entire theory is rubbish as it is to declare it the end all be all of the progression of life on earth. Fanatic support of any position based on insufficient evidence does not make it more factual it simply leads to supporters that refuse to consider any possible alternatives.

2:08 AM
Timothy Birdnow said...
Thanks Mr. Willms!

I had not yet even read Doctor Myers article when he commented here, and had to acertain his sex from the first post on my blog (his profile was unavailable, and I didn`t know he was the host of Misanthrope, or whatever he calls his blog). Maybe Darwinists have evolved telepathy and clairvoyance, but us knuckle-draggers went down a different evolutionary path.

Yes, the fury and vitriolic attacks come as no surprise; I suspect that most of these people are students or academics, and have succled on the mammary of a state university or their parents rather than actually put in a days work.

4:56 AM
Motormind said...
Oww.. has Mr. Myers been mean to poor little Timothy? The thing is that your "criticisms" of evolutionary theory have been refuted over and over and over again, up to the point that mentioning them may cause some pretty irritated responses from people in the know. Your article is filled up to the rim with falsehoods, up to and including straw men versions of what the theory of evolution really entails. If somebody takes you up on that, you should't be so thin-skinned and start complaining. Especially the "jihad" bit is pretty laughable.

All you have done now is lash out at a critic, without any proper bolstering of your arguments. Maybe you could try to learn something about a scientific theory before criticising it.

6:45 AM
Ian H Spedding said...
Let me ask tj willms a couple of questions: if you have a toothache, do you call in a plumber or go see a dentist? Chances are that you are smart enough to go to the dentist.

So, if you want the real skinny about the theory of evolution are you going to listen to a full-time professional biologist who has studied and conducted research in the field for years or to a Paleyist property manager who has read a bit about it in his spare time?

6:48 AM
KWWilliams said...
How can you evaluate a scientific argument if you dismiss it as "gobbledygook"? This is what is shameful: Mr. Birdnow posts a long missive full of woeful misunderstandings of science, Mr. Meyers regrettably goes over the top rhetorically while refuting him, and then readers judge the winner by tone of voice. Mr. Birdnow is clearly more persuasive rhetorically ... it's a shame that he uses it to spread nonsense.

6:52 AM
Anonymous said...
Very simply, you said, "The DNA molecule is composed of the even simpler RNA molecule, and is the fundamental building block of life".

No, DNA is not made of the simpler RNA molecule. RNA is not simpler than DNA. They are both polymers and just saying DNA or RNA doesn't say anything about how big a polymer each is.

The problem is that your essay asserts a tone of authority that an informed reader finds is fraudelently assumed. The rest of your essay isn't any better as far as science content goes so one is forced to ask why you are pontificating on topics where you are ill informed. Of course, the answser there is that if people only wrote blogs about things they understood, the whole of the blogging industry would collapse.

8:03 AM
Reece said...
The trouble isn't just that Mr Birdnow doesn't understand his chosen subject; it's that he doesn't understand that he doesn't understand it. If he understood his lack of understanding, he might be able to see how Professor Myers' multi-point refutation shows up the basic untenability of his argument. Because he doesn't even understand that, he's reduced to trying to bat away the facts as if they're irrelevant. "Sure, I'm wrong, but what does that matter? I'm still right!"

8:12 AM
The Commissar said...
You don't know what DNA is. You don't know what RNA is. You don't what a phylum is, nor how many phlya there are. You insist the earth, despite abundant daily doses of sunlight energy is a closed system. Yet you feel empowered to pontificate at length. You are clueless.

You can snipe at the irascible PZ Myers all you like. To be honest, I don't him much either. But you are like a second grader arguing mathematics with Einstein. Your basic arithmetic is all wrong; you insist that 2 times 2 is 5, and in response to being corrected, you complain that Einstein is mean. Myers' exasperated irascibility has nothing to do with the issue.

"Darwinism?" Heh. I guess you are an "Athanasian?"

Evolutionary is scientific fact and theory. It is not religion nor belief. However excitable or snarky Dr. Myers (or me, or anyone else) might become is irrelevant. Beliefs cannot be falsified. I can "believe" whatever I want. Scientific concepts can be falsified; they are subject to tests or findings that would disprove them. Evolution is eminently falsifiable.

9:24 AM
D. Myatt said...
OK, just replying to your retort to the thermodynamics point: the second law of thermodynamics states that disorder can only increase in a closed system over the entire system.

It does in no way prohibit an increase in order in one area of the system at the expense of a greater decrease in order elsewhere. If this were not the case, your freezer would be impossible, as would snowflakes, which represent a drastic increase in order over the water vapour that formed them.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics argument, like many other Creationist arguments, has been completely refuted so many times, that the exasperation on the part of those that run into it again and again is completely justified.

Many of your other points contain similar flaws, but hopefully highlighting this one in a little detail will help you to realise how ill-informed the opinions on evolution are that you express.

I suggest you go to www.TalkOrigins.org and look up your other arguments: there you will find complete refutations of all of your points, complete with an appropriate list of peer-reviewed articles.

9:35 AM
Orac said...
The Commissar is correct. Birdnow clearly has no clue what he is talking about. He makes so many basic errors in his presentation--his inability to get the number of phyla correct, his mistakenly classifying creatures that belong to one phylum as belonging to separate phyla, and his claim that DNA is "composed of" RNA are real howlers!--that he should hang his head in shame. Instead he proudly trumpets his ignorance.

Actually, Birdnow is far more arrogant that Myers. He seems to think that he understands enough to pontificate on the "shortcomings" of evolutionary theory when clearly he does not understand even the basics of biology. He confidently asserts facts that are laughably incorrect and then lashes out at those who have the temerity to point out what a load of rubbish he is pushing. That takes a monumental level of arrogance, and the Commissar's analogy to a second grader arguing mathematics with Einstein is particularly apt.

9:49 AM
StaticNoise said...
Ok - Mr. Birdnow is clearly not an evolutionary scientist, but his point in no less valid. Darwinism is as much a faith as Christianity.

We all chuckle at the Young Earth Creationists who believe the earth was created in 6 days (6-24 hour days) and that it is only 5 or 6 thousand years old. The Young Earthers cannot answer the questions that science asks when the evidence shows them that the Earth is billions of years old and that dinosaurs roamed the Earth 65 million years ago.

Likewise, the Darwinists cannot answer the question that science asks when the evidence is presented to them of the so-called Cambrian explosion, where all known phyla appeared suddenly a half a billion years ago.

Darwinists also cling to the false theory that reptiles "evolved" from amphibians. There is absolutely no fossil evidence to substantiate this. Or that fish crawled out of the water and their fins turned into legs and gills into lungs - changes that would be a huge departure from the slow incremental mutations of natural selection.

How does Darwinism explain the concept of irreducible complexity? The human eye (for that matter the trilobite eye)or the kidney which which serve no purpose unless fully formed. Natural selection says that over time mutations that do not make the species faster, better, stronger will disappear. So, does that mean the human eye mutated instantainiously? Well, we don't know and neither do evolutionary biologists like Prof. Pottymouth Myers.

The problem I have is that evolution and Darwin worship is taught in public schools as if it were indisputable fact and it is anything but. There is as much disputing it as there is disputing theism.

I believe that there is evolution within species and when conditions change and a species does not adapt it perishes. Darwin's work on the Galapagos Islands clearly showed that species do adapt to the local environment. Schools should stick to the provable work of Darwin and stop teaching kids that humans evolved from apes.

10:03 AM
Pope Zach 64 said...
Mr. Birdnow -

The thrashing you received from PZ Meyers was well-deserved. The scientific content of your post was precisely ZERO. Your post is nothing more than a concise collection of just about every creationist distortion and outright lie ever concocted. Check out TalkOrigins and TalkReason if you doubt it.

The allusions to Hitler and Stalin displayed blatant igorance of history as well as biology. "Darwinsism" was explicitly rejected by Stalin as "bourgeios". Instead he installed the crackpot Lysenko to impose the state-mandated, Soviet version of "biology". "Darwinist" biologists were persecuted as a result.

And Nazism was a quasi-religious movement based not on "Darwinian" principles, but rather on a fantasy notion of a glorious past and the desire to reclaim that past. Hitler saw himself NOT as a Darwinist, but rather as an instrument of Divine Providence.

And why is that every crackpot KKK and Neo-Nazi website makes no mention of Darwin, but makes plenty of references to God and the Bible?

10:58 AM
Orac said...
Anonymous,

Congratulations. You've spouted nearly as many refuted creationist canards as Birdnow did. I'm particularly amused by your false assertion that evolution teaches that humans evolved from apes; actually evolution teaches that apes and humans evolved from a common ancestor. Every single one of your canards is addressed at Talkorigins.org. I don't have time to look up every specific yet again, but here's a taste:

Eye evolution:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section3.html

Cambrian explosion:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC300.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC301.html

Then start at the FAQs:

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-qa.html

11:13 AM
Motormind said...
StaticNoise: first off, it is a lie that the Cambrian explosion forms any kind of problem for evolutionary theory. It was only an explosion in a geological sense, but it still lasted about 30 million years.

Furthermore, the evolution of reptiles is well documented and understood (just look at fossils from Proterogyrinus and Solenodonsaurus, for instance).

Irreducible complexity has been shred to pieces by the scientific community, since all systems that were supposed to be "irreducibly complex" have been shown to have evolved after all, so it is a unmaintainable hypothesis. Eyes have evolved from simpler eye, that evolved from simpler eyes still. A lot of lifeforms have only partial vision, that still gives then an advantage in survival. Even darwin understood that already and he devoted a whole chapter on it.

Macro-evolution - leading to new species - has been observed. Denying that it happens is nothing but lying.

11:22 AM
Pope Zach 64 said...
Static Noise:

You display about the same (lack of) understanding of science that Mr. Birdnow does.

Evolutionary theory is a model based on EVIDENCE, and can in principle be falsified should contradictory evidence come to light. The reason that "evolution" is so widely accepted by biologists (you know, the people who actually practice the science of biology) is that there is PLENTY of good evidence from many fields of inquiry that support the model.

And no, Mr. Birdnow's arguments are not evidence - they are creationist propaganda.

Faith on the other hand cannot be falsified because it's not based on evidence. So the assertion that "Darwinism" is equivalent to faith is a load of crap.

This simple distinction seems like it should be a no-brainer, but apparently even some no-brainers are too difficult for some creationists.

11:37 AM
Ed Darrell said...
Birdnow: "Not just wrong, but proudly, loudly, irredeemably wrong!"

Good heavens!

11:56 AM
ts said...
" Ok - Mr. Birdnow is clearly not an evolutionary scientist, but his point in no less valid."

That's funny; Mr. Birdnow hasn't the faintest idea what he's talking about, but he's right anyway! Score one for obstinate ignorance.

1:06 PM
StaticNoise said...
Liar Liar!

There I said it too.

For every argument you provide there is a contradictory argument that attempts to refute that. Science and scientists are not all knowing - people look at the same data all the time and conclude different things.

Take the Coelacanth for instance, scientists looked at the fossil evidence and said this fish was a precursor to sea animal to land animal transformation and it was hailed by evolutionists as proof - um - that is until they turned out not to be extinct and of course they did not have lung-like organs and their fins were not early legs.

As for the Cambrian explosion - where are the simpler life forms that these creatures evolved from? You didn't address that Mr. Scientist. Calling me a liar does not explain the mystery.

So, alright evolution does not say man evolved from apes, rather a common ancestor... A fair point, but what I am saying is that science is not always right and people can look at the same evidence and conclude radically different things, happens all the time. Every study economics?

Give me a little time and I'll find your a website (with real actual scientists) that attempts to refute everything you have said I have wrong. Darwinism is debatable - it just is.

3:11 PM
KWWilliams said...
StaticNoise:
Perhaps you should start here:
http://www.fixedearth.com/

It is at least as accurate as Birdnow.

3:34 PM
TJ Willms said...
Ian H Spedding said...
"Let me ask tj willms a couple of questions: if you have a toothache, do you call in a plumber or go see a dentist? Chances are that you are smart enough to go to the dentist."

Brilliant analogy Ian!

If I told my plumber I had a tooth ache and he see how swollen my cheek was and said I’ll bet you may need a root canal, should I tell him he's an idiot who doesn't the first thing about dentistry?

Not unless I want my toilet plumbing re-routed to my kitchen sink.

Professor Meyers is unquestionably qualified as an evolutionary biologist, also as a mean spirited and petty little man. Like so many who have taken the time to berate and belittle Mr. Birdnow’s American Thinker column Dr. Meyers was so fixated on the scientific inaccuracies he couldn’t or wouldn’t hear anything that the piece was trying to say. I fear for his students if he is as closed minded and condescending in the classroom when one of the people he is charged with educating says something scientifically inaccurate. Does he treat his esteemed colleagues who happen to support a differing theory with the same vicious aspersions he used to refute Mr. Birdnow? The data supporting the theory of evolution IS incomplete. If Dr. Meyers is teaching his students otherwise, then it is he who is being inaccurate.

I wasn’t looking a scientific journal when I visited Birdblog or the American Thinker, and lo and behold, I didn’t get one. What I found there was somebody’s opinion. Just like a “letter to the editor” in your local newspaper. They aren’t always perfect either.
Even if none of the science was correct in the entire piece, that doesn’t change what the column was saying and I will reiterate it for all of you again.

“Belief in Darwinism requires a leap of faith, no less significant than any religion requiring a leap of faith.” The comments I found here seem to support my theory about the blindness of the closed-minded zealotry surrounding the Darwinian theories!

I’m not a scientist either, I never claimed to be nor did Mr. Birdnow. I am a tool and die maker, but if I walked past your car on my way into the building and heard a hissing sound and warned you that your tire was leaking and may be flat when you try to go home, would you tell me “you’re a moron what could you possibly know about auto repairs!” I don’t think so, unless of course you want the other three tires to match the first.

4:07 PM
Forkhead said...
Well TJ, if you want to mangle analogies, and based on Birdnow's lack of understanding of the subject matter he, and you, are trying to address, your advice about the hissing car would translate to "Get out now! Its going to explode!"

4:39 PM
Anonymous said...
Boy these analogies are fun.
If, as a tool and die maker, you pointed out that a tire was going flat and were even so observant as to note that it was leaking from the stem, I don't think people should tell you you're full of it just because you don't have a union card for American Tire Monkeys. But if I looked at the tire and saw a large gash in the sidewall with a chunk a metal sticking out of it, I might well think you didn't have a clue.

Birdnow isn't being trashed just because he doesn't posses a letters like PhD or BFD after his name, he's being trashed because he got it wrong, repeatedly, with moldy old canards commonly used by people who believe the world is only 6000 years old and there was a literal worldwide Noahic flood.
And as has been said, he did it all with an air of authority that he obviously doesn't deserve.

I don't care that he doesn't understand biology or evolution. I do care that he blathers on about things he's never bothered to understand. I don't mind if you offer helpfull advice to me or my wife about a problem with my car, as long as you aren't talking out of your hat just pretending to know what you're going on about.

4:51 PM
Floyd said...
StaticNoise said:
Science and scientists are not all knowing -

That much is certainly true, and scientists are particularly aware of that fact. The scientific method includes a built-in admission of the faliability of scientists, in that it requires scientific claims to be at least potentially testable. That is, a scientific claim must make predictions about what some aspect of the measurable, physical world should look like. Evolutionary theory does exactly that, and consistently, the predictions have been confirmed.

We might find out tomorrow that our current understanding is incomplete. We almost certainly will find that out eventually. But please note that I said "incomplete" rather than "wrong" here. Any new replacement theory is going to have to explain all that our current theory does at least as well. So any new theory about the history of and relationships between life forms is almost certainly going to be an "expansion" rather than a "replacement" of our current theory.

Take the Coelacanth for instance, scientists looked at the fossil evidence and said this fish was a precursor to sea animal to land animal transformation

Not really. Coelacanths were believed to be extinct, because very old (400 million years) fossils of them had been found and no living specimens were known until the late 1930s. But the living species (Latimeria chalumnae and L. menadoensis) are not the ancestors of terrestrial animals, of course. Nor are they unchanged from their Mesozoic ancestors. The living Sarcopterygii are just as "modern" as you and me.
(Icthyostega, Panderichthyes or perhaps Acanthotega are the most likely ancestors of the tetrapods, although Eusthenopteron, an evolutionary "cousin" of the coelacanth, was once believed to be a candidate for that role.)

As for the Cambrian explosion - where are the simpler life forms that these creatures evolved from?

In Precambrian strata, naturally. The Ediacaran fauna is the best known, although other examples are also known. They're rare, as they should be expected to be, but they are not unknown. The U.C. has a good introduction to the Vendian animals with photos.

science is not always right and people can look at the same evidence and conclude radically different things, happens all the time.

True enough, although in my experience, creationists tend to avoid looking at the evidence as they have already come to their conclusions and no amount of counter evidence will satisfy them. The Creation Research Society, for example, requires all members to swear an oath to ignore or try to discredit any evidence that conflicts with their personal interpretation of Genesis. That's not looking at the evidence and arriving at a different conclusion or interpretation. Rather, it is comming to the conclusion ahead of time and then selectively accepting or rejecting evidence on the basis of its congruence to the pre-conceived conclusion. That approach is the antithesis of good science.

Every study economics?

Only a bit, but what I have seen is that on a national and global scale, economies also behave according to Darwinian principles, at least capitalist economies do. Socialist economies try to impose order from above, rather than allowing it to emerge from individual competition and cooperation.

Actually, that's part of the reason the former Soviet Union rejected Darwin in favor of Lysenko's neo-Lamarckianism under Stalin, since Lysenko argued (with some validity) that Darwin's version of natural selection was influenced by "bourgeoise" capitalist economics.

Darwinism is debatable - it just is.

Not really. Not unless you are using the term "Darwinism" to mean something other than a recognition that natural selection plays an important (but not exclusive) role in evolution. The term "Darwinism" has been used, particularly in the late 19th and early 20th century, to refer to the belief that selection was the only relevant force in evolution, but no working scientist today accepts that definition. (Most of us don't even use the term "Darwinism" at all, because the theory has developed so much since Darwin's time.)

I look forward to seeing any attempts to refute the modern understanding of evolution, and will gladly trade references pro and con. Cheers.

5:04 PM
Anonymous said...
Dr. Myers clearly fears what I had to say.

Bwahhahhhahh

Several people (myself included) were champing at the bit, but PZ called "bibs." It is like Barry Bonds playing Tee-ball, or Tiger playing at miniture golf.

... the scientific goobledy gook was just window dressing to me."

Yes, I believe you. The "goobledy gook" was why your argument was a gross example of the intellectual rot infecting the American Right. This "Don't bother me with facts, my mind is made up!" attitude just might bring down the Nation. Under the guidence of 'minds' like yours, we will surrender our current scientific position to Asia, and India. Have you been on a university campus in the last ten years?

In a way you are sad and frightening, how low have the educational standards fallen that your nonsense could be written at all? The "American Thinker" site apparently had some educated and thoughtful people associated with it, but to allow foolishness such as your antireality diatribe to appear indicates that this was an illusion.

Dr. G. Hurd

5:07 PM
Anonymous said...
Obviously, some of Professor Myers` students read it and were disturbed by my arguments, so they called in the Big Gun.

Hehhehh

I'll tell you how it happened. The other day a common friend, and colleague sent out an Email to a fairly large number of us who are professionals and bother to deal with creationist arguements (much to the bewilderment of most of our other coworkers, family and students). The heading of the Email was "So funny its sad" or "So bad its funny" or something close to that.

Now, I am in California, and PZ is in an Eastern time zone. So, by the time I had drunk my coffee and read my emails, PZ had beat out several of us who would have enjoyed demonstrating that you have not the slightest idea about what you have blathered on about.

Someone looked at your Bio, which you posted for the world to see, and suggested that as a "property manager" you couldn't have had much exposure to science. They offered this not as a put-down, but as an extenuating circumstance.

Actually, I think that PZ was too kind.

Dr. G. Hurd.

5:34 PM
Anonymous said...
The fact that you are all a-lather over this essay, which you think moronic, proves my assertion. Essays like mine are more than stupid commentary-they are heresy! They must be stopped, and at all costs!

They are hardly heresy, but they are moronic, and stupid (your words). Worse they are terribly ignorant, and do a disservice to our Nation which needs more scientists far more than more property managers. Since I delivered my first lecture at a university over 30 years ago, I have seen the United States become a net exporter of Ph.D.s in the sciences. The foreign students (mostly Asian and Indian) that came the our country and earned doctorates in science want nothing more than to stay and contribute. Racisim, and an antiscience Religious Right is sending those students home after they have earned their degrees.

Dr. G. Hurd

5:54 PM
Anonymous said...
This orthodoxy stifles a free exchange of ideas, and any attempt to FIX the problems inherent in Darwinism. I would be very happy for a new theory, perhaps a neo-Darwinist hypothesis, to come along and answer the questions. We will never get this given the current observance of Darwinian Sharia. It is simply not possible to have a discussion with someone like professor Myers who Believes with absolute faith.

Hee heh heh he he

Please! Stop! Yer killin' me!

Really, the plague and worse will be the consequence of this kind of bare butt ignorance.

1) You offered no "FIX," nor could you in view of the fact that you haven't the slightest inkling of what "Darwinism" might be or even more ludicrously, that there already is a "neo-Darwinism' that is over 70 years old.

See, its like this- before you spout off about all these "problems" you need to check that all these problems are just the fact that you haven't got a clue.

Maybe you could pay attention to a father of the Christian faith. There is a vast difference between knowledge, and a guess. I want you to think about the advice that Augustine of Hippo, Saint Augustine to some people, (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis, (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) gave to Christians trying to interpret Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge. This translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. {Augustine here has refered to 1 Timothy 1.7}


Maybe it is hopless,

Dr. G. Hurd

7:15 PM
Brian Birdnow said...
Good Heavens! Our detached academics are capable of real rancor when they are mildly criticized ! Who would have thought that these intellectuals who place a high premium on collegiallity and civil discourse would turn petulant and churlish over a mild critique of their secular theology? Actually, anyone who has spent time in a university in the last twenty years would not be surprised at this, but the intentioned irony still stands.
The belief in the natural origin of species is a type of faith. It is called Darwinism, naturalism, evolutionism or something along those lines. This is an essential component part of the secular anti-theistic worldview. Evolutionism is a faith because its believers exhibit an attitude of blind trust in its precepts rather than submitting it to logical and rigorous evidential tests.
Darwin may have contributed to our understanding of evolution within species, but he did not prove theevolution of the species, nor establish as fact a method by which it occurred. Those who believe this (Are you listening Mr. Myers and Mr. Hurd?)take it on faith, not because it has been proven true. Undoubtedly those who believe that God created man in his image, that he created the universe and gave man dominion over the animals take this on faith, as well. The difference between the rival camps of believers is that the latter freely avow their faith; the former conceal beneath a scientific gloss.
The ad hominem and quite mean spirited attacks against MrBirdnow show that Shakespeare was wrong. Hell hath no fury like a lberal biology teacher from the People's Republic of Minnesota (aka Our Lady of the Snows) challenged!

7:19 PM
The Commissar said...
Evolution is not a 'belief' nor 'faith-based.' Like any scientific theory, it can be falsified.

Find an out-of-sequence fossil, and evolution is disproved. Find evidence of different species coming into existence at the same time, and evolution is disproved. Find a chimera, and evolution is disproved.

There's no 'faith' at all, guys. There are many falsifiability tests for evolution. Find ONE of them that evolution fails, and it's all over. Nobel Prize for you. Eternal shame and humiliation for PZMyers.

7:28 PM
Anonymous said...
Good Heavens! Our detached academics are capable of real rancor when they are mildly criticized ! Who would have thought that these intellectuals who place a high premium on collegiallity and civil discourse would turn petulant and churlish over a mild critique of their secular theology? Actually, anyone who has spent time in a university in the last twenty years would not be surprised at this, but the intentioned irony still stands.

Irony? Ya po'wee lad, I have seen as much blood on the floor (metaphorical, and real sticky stuff) at "faculty encounters" and conferences as I have in dock side bars. By the grace of a diverse background, I have seen plenty of both.

The "premium on collegiallity and civil discourse" is purely protective, otherwise we would all kill each other. (Minor exaggeration employed simply for humor). {But not the blood part}.

Dr. G. Hurd

7:43 PM
Anonymous said...
Darwin may have contributed to our understanding of evolution within species, but he did not prove theevolution of the species, nor establish as fact a method by which it occurred. Those who believe this (Are you listening Mr. Myers and Mr. Hurd?)take it on faith, not because it has been proven true.

Darwin didn't need to establish the fact the new species have appeared on the Earth. That task had been done by the late 1700s. What Darwin offered was the first workable, testable explanation of how this had occured. Further, this explanation has been confirmed by 150 years of futher observation and challenge. A very good presentation, which I might add is a gentle as possible, is 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Oh, it is Doctor Myers and Doctor Hurd. We earned it, have you?

Dr. G. Hurd

8:03 PM
KWWilliams said...
Brian Birdnow:

All anyone is asking is that you actually take the time to learn what you are criticising. A few years of study would leave you cringing with embarassment over supporting this foolishness. Evolution is one of the best supported theories in all of science. The only reason it raises such rancor is that it contradicts the teaching of many faiths. To deny the evidence for evolution is to deny biology, astronomy, and physics. It isn't faith ... it is reproducible, measurable, quantifiable science. The people that lead this charge to deny it are guilty of willful distortion, and are purposely deceiving their followers. Apparently, they believe that bearing false witness is OK so long as they are doing it to preserve the religious faith of the masses.

8:17 PM
Anonymous said...
I'm sorry Mr Birdnow, but you have shown yourself to be both abysmally ignorant and overwhelmingly arrogant. Actual educated people have repeatedly pointed out the voluminous errors on your post. Actual scientists who spent actual time and money to learn, who spend actual time and effort doing real research are unsurprisingly upset with your foolish attack on their integrity. Yet you still willfully continue your childish ridicule and your pathetic distortions. The problem intelligent people have with such as yourself is that you are poisoning the minds of those who aren’t scientifically knowledgeable and are seeking the truth, that stumble over your nonsense and, knowing no better, believe it. Yours is just one of many anti-truth, religiously biased sites that spread outrageous nonsense, and, like you, feel no twinge of responsibility for it. Of course all of the reason in the world will not stop those of you who steadily pump out this trash. There seems to be no room for reason under Phillip Johnson’s tent. So I suppose the best I can feel for you is pity.

8:28 PM
Anonymous said...
Birdnow: "First off, I`d like to point out that this article received little attention when it was published."

I understand. I wrote an article that was totally ignored. I showed that Intelligent Design Creationism Guru William Dembski has lied by grossly distorting the works and words of several scientists.
http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000251.html Nobody cared, for one year. Then for some unfathomable reason, Dembski took it into his head to write a response. It was wonderful! Thousands of people read my paper for the first time an discovered that Dembski was a liar.

Your problem is that your are being smashed into pulp because you have no idea of what you wrote about. You just parroted a load of nonsense from creationists websites and (maybe) books you couldn't even understand.

Birdnow: "Obviously, Dr. Myers is my superior in knowledge of biology and I`m not
going to get sucked into an argument over biological minutia. I am a real estate guy, after
all!"

So it is OK for the "real estate guy" to spout a total pack of lies just because he is the "real estate guy." Does that mean that you can practice surgery, "Doc" Birdnow? If your understanding (not) of biology kills people is that OK because you are just the "real estate guy?" I have been a professor of medicine, and I am a forensic scientist. For most of my career, if I made mistakes because I was an ignorant blowhard like you, people would die. Mr. Birdnow, just being the "real estate guy" is no excuse for ignorant when you chose to spout off. You chose to enter an arena where serious professionals are required to make serious decisions. I do understand that the next family you evict may have no where to live, and that is a serious issue. But that is your soul, and thank God not mine. But, now you want to crawl away into the tight little hole reserved for the "real estate guy."


You should be ashamed Mr. Birdnow.

Dr. G. Hurd

8:42 PM
Anonymous said...
Birdnow: "The DNA molecule is composed of the even simpler RNA molecule, and is the fundamental building block of life. It is the largest, most complex molecule in nature. According to Einstein`s theory, the original DNA (and RNA) Molecules should not have formed and survived since there are being constantly buffetted by energized atoms. The establishment of life required energy, and that energy meant that the nascent DNA was exposed to more energetic particles which should, logically, have prevented the formation of such a large and complex molecule. That this molecule not only formed
but spread suggests different mechanism at work then those proposed by the Darwinists."

When exposed for a fool by Dr. Myers, our jolly eviction notice guy responded,
Birdnow: "(Oh, so now we have two completely different molecules as the building blocks of life! Life did not begin once, but twice from seperate building blocks! You know, Doctor, that DNA is fundamentally an advance on RNA. You are playing games here, and it does not disprove a thing I have said.)"

Let us review. First, DNA is not composed of RNA. These are two quite separate chemicals. Be very clear on this, Mr. Birdlow is trying to criticize the best tested theory in all of science, and he does not know what DNA or RNA are, or what they do.

Is there really any need to continue? Even after this is pointed out by Dr. Myers, Mr. Birdnow wants to try and deny that he is so fundamentally ignorant of the entire field of biology, that any comment on this topic or any tangentially related topic is pure arrogance and hubris.

If anyone thinks that the rest of the gross errors of fact and logic need to be detailed, let me know. It will be so easy, and maybe a few people might learn something. (See, that is why we try, Mr. Birdnow. Teachers understand ignorance. And teachers are huge optimists- we always pretend that someone might learn. We teachers are also realists- we know that ignorance is the way we are born and that it is far easier to be ignorant that to try to learn. Learning is work against the natural brute animal. It is so easy to surrender).

Dr. G. Hurd

9:15 PM
Floyd said...
Dear Brian Birdnow:

I was nothing but polite in my response to StaticNoise, despite my disagreement with his claims, and I suggested, as tactfully as I could, that the basis of his, and your namesake's, opposition to evolution was his lack of understanding of the subject. That lack can be easily corrected. And yet you accuse me of being "petulant and churlish" because I dared to disagree with you.

The "arguments" presented by Timothy Birdnow in The Case Against Darwin in American Thinker were simply incorrect. Sure, Dr. Meyers may have been less civil than I would have been in the same circumstances, and Dr. Hurd has followed suit, but you need to try to understand their perspective. The arguments presented in the article were, for the most part, known to be fallacious a century or more ago. And yet Dr's. Meyers, Hurd, and myself are constantly confronted with the same tired, old, long-since refuted arguments every single semester. It is only natural that the ten-thousandth time one has to correct a student for the biological equivalent of "flat earthism" or the "Intelligent Stork" hypothesis of human reproduction, that one might become a bit frustrated, particularly since the refutations of all of your arguments are so readily available that the only explanation for you propounding them is that you haven't been bothered to check whether or not the issues had been discussed among scientists in the relevant disciplines. Is it fair to get sarcastic towards a student who knows no better? Probably not. It it understandable? Absolutely.

If the refutations to Timothy Birdnow's arguments were located exclusively in some obscure academic journals, I could understand why you might still be under the mistaken impression that they had some validity, but they are not. In fact, a Google search for the terms "thermodynamics" and "evolution", for example, returns this site and this page as the first two hits.
So even the most elementary research would have demonstrated that whatever your namesake had heard about evolution violating the 2LOT may not have been entirely accurate. His closing comments on the Piltdown hoax and industrial melanism in English peppered moths (Biston betularia) were equally as poorly founded. He could easily have found a published refutation of the claims, had he only done the most basic of searches. I would not accept a paper from one of my introduction to anthro students that was so poorly researched that the first two hits on google were ignored, so why should I accept it from Mr. Birdnow?

I realise that you don't (and I agree that you and he shouldn't) care what I think of Mr. Birdnow's writing, as I am obviously not a member of his target audience, but his apparent disregard for even the basics of research doesn't inspire a disinterested reader to take too kindly to the rest of his message.

If some of the responses to his article were more vitriolic than you would like, I suggest that Mr. Timothy Birdnow might consider asking why, rather than simply resorting to the same degree of vitriol. I would not presume to lecture him on the topic of Real Estate, since that is not my field of expertise, and all I ask in return is that he not presume to lecture me about my area of expertise. I don't claim that all Real Estate agents are fools and deluded cultists; in fact I have the greatest respect for them. That's part of the reason why I feel insulted and disheartened when someone like Timothy Birdnow refuses to offer me the same professional courtesy and, in effect, calls me a deluded, lying idiot. And make no mistake, that is precisely what his American Thinker article did. The implicit insult to Dr. Meyers, Dr. Hurd, me, and everyone else in our respective fields that is present in the article is the most proximate cause of the vituperative response Timothy Birdnow received.

9:33 PM
StaticNoise said...
Floyd - you seem like a reasonable man, no name calling, no condescension. And you certainly know your Coelacanths...

I can admit that what I know is limited to what I've read as simply a curious person by nature - I can't go toe to toe with you personally, but I have read enough to know that there are serious scientists who have problems with "incomplete" Darwin/natural selection/evolution paradigm. Just like serious scientists have problems with global warming is caused by SUV's, err, I mean burning fossil fuels. Can you grant that? Or is the case closed in your mind since you seem set on declaring that Darwinism is not debatable - at all.

Without the complete taxonomic relationship of organisms we can't possibly guess at ancestral relationships and declare evolutionary theory completely settled. There has been a persistent campaign by evolutionists to bully the lay public, as evidenced in this thread, into accepting that the debate is over.

So, I say something like this:

Okay - it is an empirical claim that all living organisms have organisms as parents (or a parent). It is an empirical claim that at one time there were no birds. To claim that birds arose from non-birds is a conclusion deduced from two empirical claims. Cladism disapproves of this kind of declaration without the taxnomic pattern to establish this transformation as "fact". It is a resonable deduction, maybe, but hardly an unquestionable fact. The fossil record is full of holes and the claim of a common ancestor between non-bird and bird is just a hypothesis and can never be proved from reading rocks.

The evolutionists say:

You complete moron, you clueless imbicle. Pattern taxonomy and cladism are just more canards thrown out by creationists to confuse the issue. Science has already disproven everything you have ever said! Here's a quarter, go buy a clue!

Gee - that's a convincing rebuttal.

The human mind - the scientifically trained like yours and the curious like mine - on a whole finds uncertainly unbearable and we crave certainty in Darwin (you) God (me).

10:00 PM
StaticNoise said...
Obviously, Floyd I am not implying that you are guilty of the childish name calling - but others on this thread are.

10:12 PM
Anonymous said...
StaticNoise, "Without the complete taxonomic relationship of organisms we can't possibly guess at ancestral relationships and declare evolutionary theory completely settled. There has been a persistent campaign by evolutionists to bully the lay public, as evidenced in this thread, into accepting that the debate is over."

Can you tell me the exact trajectory of every round of every rifle fired in the Second world War? Can you tell me the names of every person, civilian or military, who died on Nov. 17th, 1943 as a result, direct or indirect, of the Second World War?

Obviously, your failure to do so "proves" that the "theory of the Second World War" is a total fabrication used by historians to "bully the lay public, as evidenced in this thread, into accepting that the Second World War is over."

Get it yet?

Dr. G. Hurd

10:26 PM
The Commissar said...
Static,

Here are eight fossils, whose "taxnomic pattern establish this (dino-to-bird) transformation as fact."

DEINONYCHUS, COMPSOGNATHUS, ARCHAEOPTERYX, RAHONAVIS, YANDANGORNIS, CONFUCIUSORNIS, SINORNIS

There are more, but this is a reasonably concise, progressive listing.

Is that inadequate? Perhaps you claim that there are no transitionals between, ... oh, say ... Rahonavis and Yandangornis?

Let's be honest. The Creationists claimed, "there are no transitional fossile between dinos and birds."

Oops. Here they are. (And many more, I've just selected eight.) Now, do you claim these are not adequate to establish the transition?

Would 16, whose characteristics were, let's say, "evenly spaced," persuade you? Would 32 suffice?

10:35 PM
The Commissar said...
Can you tell me the exact trajectory of every round of every rifle fired in the Second world War? Can you tell me the names of every person, civilian or military, who died on Nov. 17th, 1943 as a result, direct or indirect, of the Second World War?

Obviously, your failure to do so "proves" that the "theory of the Second World War" is a total fabrication used by historians to "bully the lay public, as evidenced in this thread, into accepting that the Second World War is over."

Awesome, let's get this out there. We can disprove the claims of the phoney "Shirer-ites" with this. Them and their unproven, dogmatic, theory of that so-called war.

10:39 PM
Floyd said...
StaticNoise said...
you seem like a reasonable man, no name calling, no condescension. And you certainly know your Coelacanths...

I try to be reasonable, thanks for noticing, but to be honest, I know very little about Coelacanths. My specialty is the hominids. It's a family thing. (Taxonomist's joke.)

I can admit that what I know is limited to what I've read as simply a curious person by nature - I can't go toe to toe with you personally,

No reasonable person would expect you to. This subject is part of my job, after all. I'm certain you do your job better than I could ever hope to, and I appreciate the professional respect. (Besides, any fan of Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant is automatically OK in my book, despite any other differences we may have. ;-)

but I have read enough to know that there are serious scientists who have problems with "incomplete" Darwin/natural selection/evolution paradigm.

Not many in the relevant disciplines, however. There's Michael Behe, who has been officially "disowned" by his own department at Lehigh (My dad's Alma Mater, BTW). Working in academia, as I do, I know how hard it is for a tenured professor to get so far out of line that his/her own department goes on record as officially disapproving of his/her work. Even the most demonstrably crazy and ridiculous claims can usually find a home in academia [*cough* Ward Churchill *cough* *cough*] but Behe started making his whole department look bad. And other than him, there's Dembski who has not, as far as I can tell, ever actually taught anything, Phil Johnson, who is a lawyer and therefore not sufficiently versed in the relevant material to make an informed decision, and ... well, that's it, really. The remainder of the "academic" critics of evolution are for the most part politically motivated and have little or no interest in the actual evidence either for or against, but lots of interest in keeping a public debate boiling in order to advance their own careers. I hate to sound so cynical, but after the past ten years or so of dealing with this issue, that's really how it looks to me.


Just like serious scientists have problems with global warming is caused by SUV's, err, I mean burning fossil fuels.

I'm certain that human activity has contributed to global warming, but I am just as certain that we are not the only cause. That's a geological and astronomical phenomenon, and whatever we are doing is only throwing additional kindling on an otherwise natural fire.


Can you grant that? Or is the case closed in your mind since you seem set on declaring that Darwinism is not debatable - at all.

That depends on how you are using the term "Darwinism" really. If you are including the notion that evolution happens at all, then yes, the case is closed and in fact has been since at least a century before Darwin was even born.

In fact, it was good, devout Christian Biblical literalists who realised that evolution must have happened, since the only alternative explanations were (a) an incompetent designer who had to keep interveining to fix earlier mistakes, (b) a "commitee" of designers working at cross purposes, (c) an uncaring designer, or (d) no designer at all. None of those options were palatable to 18th century natural theologians, so the notion that God set laws in place to govern the "unfolding" of His plan (i.e. "evolution" in the strictest etymological sense) was widely accepted by informed people of faith long before Darwin.

If, by the term "Darwinism", you mean the notion that natural selection happens, then again, yes, the issue is settled. Individuals vary, no two are identical, some of that variation is heritable, and some of that heritable variation has a probablistic relationship to the organisms' reproductive fertility. That is all that Darwin was really on about, after all, and no reasonable student of nature can dispute any of those points.

If instead you mean the term "Darwinism" to refer to the late 19th century idea that selection was the sole mechanism (a position that was supported by A. R. Wallace, but never by Darwin himself) then I agree that this claim is not only questionable, but patently false.

Some critics use the term "Darwinism" to mean something akin to anti-theistic materialism; a philosophy that God does not exist. If that is how you are using the term, then I agree that this is not a settled question, and would further add that the existence (or non-existence) of God is not a topic for which science is well suited to finding an answer. Science only deals with the physical world, so anyone drawing conclusions about the supernatural realm, either for or against, is stepping outside the realm of science.

So to be brief (something I am quite demonstrably not very good at doing!) whether or not "Darwinism" is beyond question to me depends on what you mean by "Darwinism". I wouldn't want to say "yes" or "no" to anything unless I understand the terms that are being used, and since "Darwinism" means different things to different people, I have to withhold my answer until I know for certain what you mean by the term.

Without the complete taxonomic relationship of organisms we can't possibly guess at ancestral relationships and declare evolutionary theory completely settled.

Here I have to disagree with you a bit, although I understand your point. For example, some of my ancestors came to the US during the Great Hunger ("potato famine") in Ireland in the 19th century. They were poor, and for the most part only barely literate, and as a consequence, records of their geneology are very spotty. I can probably never hope to recover more than the most sketchy outlines of my ancestors more than two centuries ago. Nevertheless, although I can never know their names or find their bones, I can be reasonably certain that they must have existed. The argument for earlier hominids is simply an extrapolation of the same logic.

But there is more to it than that, of course. One of the most impressive feats (IMO) of the late 20th century was the development of molecular systematics, which demonstrated that there was a nested hierarchy of similarities between organisms at the genetic level that, for the most part (greater than 99.9%), corresponded to the "macro-" scale nested sets of similarities between physical phenotypes of organisms. The hypothesis that the most similar organisms descend from a shared ancestor is consistent with what we know about genetic inheritence among humans (I'm more similar to my brother than to my cousin, and more similar to my cousin than to my second cousin, and so on, due to our nested sets of shared ancestors). Further, the sets of similarities between humans and other primates are reflected in the non-coding, silent, "junk" DNA, which can not be adequitely explained if we do not share a common ancestor, but is easily accounted for by (and in fact an unavoidable prediction of) common descent.

So you're right that we don't have a complete, step by step, record of all of the relationships between our most distant ancestors and ourselves, and we probably never will. But we can still reconstruct some of the rough outline, even if we can not fill in all of the details. Personally, I think that effort is worthwhile, although your milage may vary, as they say.


There has been a persistent campaign by evolutionists to bully the lay public, as evidenced in this thread, into accepting that the debate is over.

I'm convinced, personally, that evolution has happened and continues to happen, and I am happy to share the reasons why I think this and to suggest references to the evidence that convinced me, but I've tried not to be a bully. In my experience, my approach to sharing and exchanging knowledge is pretty representative of the general attitude of teachers as a whole. Some of my colleagues have found that other approaches are more effective for them. Just as most Christians try to inspire others to share their faith through example, while others knock on my door at dawn on Saturday morning and try to harras me into joining them, and during the Middle Ages, there were people who would light folks on fire for disagreeing; there are different approaches that are attractive to different personality types. Reasonable discussion works for me. :-)

So, I say something like this:

Okay - it is an empirical claim that all living organisms have organisms as parents (or a parent). It is an empirical claim that at one time there were no birds. To claim that birds arose from non-birds is a conclusion deduced from two empirical claims.

More than two, if you include comparative genomics, ecology, neutral genes, the similarity of response to manipulations between lineages (e.g. genetically inducing tooth growth in birds causes them to grow reptile teeth, rather than mammal teeth or fish teeth) and so forth, but yes, it's an empirical claim and as such can inspire empirically testable hypotheses.

Cladism disapproves of this kind of declaration without the taxnomic pattern to establish this transformation as "fact".

Well now you're venturing into my own home turf. I am an avowed cladist and am in fact one of the first to apply cladistic taxonomy in my own field (archaeology). (I also contributed to the cladistics entry in the EvoWiki... funny story about that, one of my students copied that article and submitted it as part of his term paper once as though it was his own work, and I thought "hmmm... this section of the paper is very well written and sounds quite familiar" but it wasn't until I did a Google search that I realised why it seemed so familiar! Heh heh.)

But seriously, cladograms (the major empirical "product" of cladistic taxonomy) are pretty much universally understood to be hypotheses about possible phylogenies, rather than alternatives to more traditional phylogenetic reconstructions. Ahh but this is drifting far afield. Trust me, cladistic analysis is not in any way counter to or inconsistent with "Darwinian" evolution. Better yet, Don't trust me; call me on it, but let's not waste too much of the Birdblog bandwith debating it, since probably nobody else even cares. Email in profile.


It is a resonable deduction, maybe, but hardly an unquestionable fact.

That's certainly true, but largely because there are no "unquestionable" facts in science. Newton, one of the most brilliant physical scientists ever, was questionable and was eventually questioned by Einstein and found to be incomplete. That's one of the things I like most about science, to be honest. It's impossible to get too dogmatic if one understands the history of science, because all of today's "best bet" scenarios are exposed to testing and potential refutation. It could be that my ideas are completely wrong, but that's the price I pay in exchange for the possibility that I might contribute something truly novel and beneficial.

In a dogmatic philosophy, by contrast, one will never be proven wrong as long as one sticks with the accepted Cannon, but the price paid for eternal certainty is giving up on the possibility of individual unique contributions. I'm humble enough to doubt I'll ever contribute anything truly revolutionary like Einstein, Gallileo or Darwin did, but I'm prideful enough to think that my few small contributions might prove valuable. If science was truly a dogmatic system of unquestionable beliefs, my hubris in thinking I could help improve it would be misplaced.


The fossil record is full of holes and the claim of a common ancestor between non-bird and bird is just a hypothesis and can never be proved from reading rocks.

There's a saying that "proof is for mathematicians and alcoholics" that is appropriate here. Science never provides absolute proof of anything. But due to the self-correcting nature of the discipline, we can at least be optimistic that we are getting closer and closer to the facts by a process of elimination of the falsehoods. Any statement that can be demonstrated to be wrong or false is discarded and any statement that has not yet been falisfied is inevitably viewed with suspicion, and perhaps a bit more of that hubris I mentioned (since a Nobel Prize is almost guaranteed to anyone who could provide a better explanation). So scientific knowledge is only availabe in two forms; (1) already falsified and (2) potentially false. There is no dogmatic or unquestioning support for any idea in the sciences, except, perhaps, the philosophical claim that a real word exists and we can try to study it. We accept that claim "on faith" I suppose, but beyond that everything is open to question.

evolutionists say:

You complete moron, you clueless imbicle. Pattern taxonomy and cladism are just more canards thrown out by creationists to confuse the issue.

Not at all. Willi Hennig was, and I and all other cladists are, quite convinced that evoluiton is the best explanation for the patterns of similarities between organisms.

There are a few technical details about cladistics that at first glance might seem to contradict some ideas about the particular pathways evolution took in different lineages, but there is no question among cladists that evolution has happened, only about how it happened and how we can learn the most from the available evidence.

Science has already disproven everything you have ever said! Here's a quarter, go buy a clue!

I haven't and wouldn't say that though, so you can't really say "evolutionists do this" without qualification. Some do, some don't. In my experience, most don't. (Although I admit that the temptation is sometimes quite powerful!)

Gee - that's a convincing rebuttal.

The human mind - the scientifically trained like yours and the curious like mine - on a whole finds uncertainly unbearable and we crave certainty in Darwin (you) God (me).

Please don't make the mistake that those two sources of knowledge are in any conflict. Darwin tried to describe "how" while the book of Genesis tries to explain "why". Those are different questions and necessarily require different approaches to answering. But science is rendered ineffectual when it is required to correspond to orthodoxy, and religion is degraded when it is pressed into service for answering purely mechanistic questions about natural processes. Science is a beautiful and useful tool for acquiring knowledge of the physical world, while faith is a powerful source of insight into the supernatural realms. Trying to make one do the work of the other is a fool's errand and is an insult to both.

I, for example, have no "faith" in Darwin at all. (In fact, if I could prove him fundamentally and unequivocally wrong, I would do so tonight and collect my Nobel Prize and my millions of dollars book contracts by the end of the week.) Darwin's theory requires no faith at all; it's simply a discussion of the likely relationships between physical (and therefore empirically measurable) phenomena. But because of its purely physical nature, it also can not help us answer moral questions. As the late S. J. Gould once quipped, the Bible teaches about the Rock of Ages, and science teaches about the age of rocks. They are different domains of knowledge, each very valuable in its own sphere, but both are degraded when one intrudes on the sphere of the other. God answers the "why" questions and science answers the "how" questions. A reasonable person can accept both as valid within their own spheres of influence.

(I am not personally a believer, I don't want to mislead you, but my wife, my daughter and my mother, all of whom I love deeply, are all very devout and they all also accept that evolution happens. They just think it was part of God's "toolkit" for creating. Nothing wrong with that sentiment, in my book.)

11:45 PM
Reece said...
Dr. Meyers was so fixated on the scientific inaccuracies he couldn’t or wouldn’t hear anything that the piece was trying to say.

The scientific inaccuracies aren't peripheral, they're central. They are the reason why what the piece was "trying to say" was hooey.

I fear for his students if he is as closed minded and condescending in the classroom when one of the people he is charged with educating says something scientifically inaccurate.

So I should tell my kids, the next time they get an answer wrong in science class, they shouldn't accept the correction and try to get it right next time, instead they should accuse the teacher of being "closed minded and condescending" and of launching on a jihad to stifle their free speech?

1:26 AM
Jarlsberg's Chosen said...
I don't think that the index to Creationist claims at the T.O archives has been posted yet. Just Ctrl+F and look up a keyword. Not being a creationist does not prevent you from looking at it. Also, might I add, having been a creationist, then an IDist for about a year each, that there is nothing wrong with changing your views on the matter and no one will think the less of you for it. Close-mindedness is not conducive to good health. You might say that Myers and Co. are being close-minded in their passionate defense of common descent and modern synthesis (NOT Darwinism, since the theory has progressed since then), but it must be noted that there have just been so goddamned many of this type of article. As Dr. Myers, said, he is frustrated. He has posted scientifically sound responses for every valid opposition to evolution presented in your article (not many, as had been noted - blatant inaccuracies were glaring) on his weblog at Pharyngula many a time before, and to see this, for want of a better word (and no offense meant to Mr. Birdnow) drivel, still being posted as if it were truth and there weren't 600 scientists named Steve who supported evolution saddens and maddens one educated in the area.

4:31 AM
Timothy Birdnow said...
``Oh, it is Doctor Myers and Doctor Hurd. We earned it, have you?

Dr. G. Hurd``

Yes, Dr. Brian Birdnow has earned it. He doesn`t feel it necessary to hide behind his PHD.

6:51 AM
StaticNoise said...
Mr. Floyd

Can we talk about variable length subnet masking and the relative merits of using NAT (Network Address Translation)as a security measure as opposed to the original intent of solving the problem of network overlap?

Or at least can we talk about Stratocaster guitars?

Your points are all well taken and I am out of my league in the field of biology etc. We read stuff (especially in this Internet age) and we often have no way of knowing what we are being told is factual or even partial factual. It is refreshing that you would deem to share your knowledge without attacking (like some have).

Curious though, other than religious adherents why is there so much written on the subject of refuting Darwin? I mean there are evolutionary agnostics (in your field) who are not trying to promote creationism.

Your family situation sounds much like some poor blokes I know who are the lone Republicans living in a house full of Democrats. Now if you think discussing Darwinism can get heated...

7:24 AM
TJ Willms said...
Dr, Hurd

“Have you been on a university campus in the last ten years?”

No doctor I have not I have been working and if the insulting, degrading, and venomous attitude expressed by nearly every comment supporting doctor Meyers I never will, certainly not in the field of biology. Perhaps the people in the nuclear physics department aren’t so degrading.

"Don't bother me with facts, my mind is made up!"
Facts! Show me some irrefutable, iron clad, no room for discussion or speculation Facts! My mind is not made up! In either direction exactly because of that lack of unassailable proof! You’re convinced that you are correct based on your years of training and work in the field. I however have a different viewpoint based on what little information from your field gets disseminated to the general public. So yes the science looks like gobbledy gook to me I haven’t studied it for thirty years.

“how low have the educational standards fallen”

As one who deals with and is responsible for those educational standards, you have far more influence over that than I do. Dr. Meyers and your frustration in seeing articles of this kind may be completely understandable, but when “your wrong here’s why” becomes “ you effing moron” in one easy step who would you reasonably expect to keep listening to or learn anything from you?

To Reece:

If my child was called a mental defective for giving an incorrect answer and was treated to a continuing diatribe on his or her stupidity for saying something so unworthy of a scientific discussion, Jihad would not be my response. I would be in class with them the very next day with ill intent in my heart.



Tim had an opinion and he expressed it. He has now been attacked and roundly criticized for ever setting a finger to his keyboard. Even though I still think the premise of his article has some validity I may revisit some of the links posted here at some point and learn more on the subject. However, my esteem for those who are tasked with teaching this subject at the university level has plummeted. What an unpleasant group.

Comments:
StaticNoise said...
Mr. Floyd

Just "Floyd", please. Even "Mr." is too formal for my tastes! :-)

Can we talk about variable length subnet masking and the relative merits of using NAT (Network Address Translation)as a security measure as opposed to the original intent of solving the problem of network overlap?

I'd love to! As odd as it may seem, at first, VLSM has a lot in common with phylogenies (evolutionary "family trees"), at least structurally, so it wouldn't even really be a change of subject, only a change of examples from biology to technology. And the process of changes in function of already existing structures is also a topic of interest in evolutionary biology. It's amazing (to me) how much the two fields of knowledge actually have in common. Any system of transmission of informaiton is going to have features that are in common with other transmission systems, of course (otherwise "Shannon" would refer exclusively to a river in Ireland, ha ha), so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that the transmission of digital information is so structurally similar to the system of transmission of hereditary "information" through genes. My email is in my profile if you want to talk about that subject more. Fascinating stuff, really.

Or at least can we talk about Stratocaster guitars?

A masterpiece of good engineering! If you want to talk about really intelligent design, you can do a lot worse than the Stratocaster! (Still I must say, I've always wanted to own a Ro-Pat-In A22, just for the historical value, but I'd rather play a Strat. :-)

Your points are all well taken and I am out of my league in the field of biology etc. We read stuff (especially in this Internet age) and we often have no way of knowing what we are being told is factual or even partial factual.


Absolutely! Rule number one for my intro students is that the internet is a good source of ideas for brainstorming, but is not to be relied upon for accurate information. There are gems out there (the FAQs at Talk Origins are among the few consistently reliable sites for evolution/creationism-related info because the FAQs go through an informal peer review process on Usenet before being posted, but for every pearl there is a ton of dreck).

It is refreshing that you would deem to share your knowledge without attacking (like some have).

Well that's just my personality. I used to be angry at the world too. Then I discovered beer and I mellowed out a lot. ;-)

Seriously, though, the more vitriolic participants in this debate are sort of in the position of the IT guy who keeps being called to fix the automatic cup holder on the tower. After a while, it stops being amusing and starts getting frustrating, I suppose. (Not for me; as my wife and kids will gladly tell you, I can laugh at the same joke over and over again pretty much forever.) I understand how they feel and why they respond the way they do. But since teaching is my job, I guess I've internalised the notion that even though those supposed "problems" and "criticisms" of my subject are old hat to me, they are new to the students each term. That realisation, plus the beer, make it easier for me to keep my cool.

Curious though, other than religious adherents why is there so much written on the subject of refuting Darwin? I mean there are evolutionary agnostics (in your field) who are not trying to promote creationism.


There are people working in systematics, paleontology, genetics and so forth who are of the opinion that some aspects of the theory have been over emphasised, to the detriment of other aspects. The Punctuated Equilibrium "debate", for example, criticises a supposed exclusive focus on gradual evolution (which I personally think Gould and Eldredge themselves were exaggerating for rhetorical purposes, but that's me). There's Kimura's neutral evolution position that suggests that a far greater proportion of evolutionary change is due to drift of adaptively equivalent variants rather than selection of unequal alternatives. The cladists have been accused of being anti-Darwinian as well, although IMO that critique is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of cladism. There are a few other debates that arise from within the discipline, but all working biologists, paleontologists, physical anthropologists, taxonomists, etc. agree that the basic idea (that life forms evolve) is a sound and reliable statement about reality. The claims that evolution doesn't happen at all are (AFAIK) made exclusively by people with prior religious convictions and are not arrived at by a process of examination of and reasoning about the physical evidence itself.

Not that I am criticising religious convictions; they are very helpful in making sense of life for most people. I'm thankful that my mother had access to her faith community when my father died, for instance, because her faith and her fellow believers helped her deal with the emotional trauma. Religious beliefs are a good and important part of many people's lives. They are not science, and religious beliefs have no more place in a biology classroom than gel electrophoresis belongs in a sermon. Both are important, but have distinct and (IMO) non-overlapping realms.

Your family situation sounds much like some poor blokes I know who are the lone Republicans living in a house full of Democrats. Now if you think discussing Darwinism can get heated...

Heh heh. Growing up, I was the only Democrat in a house full of Republicans, so I know. (I did mention that I used to be really angry at the world, didn't I? ;-)

Seriously though, shoot me an email if you want. I'd be happy to keep chatting. It gives me something to fill the time while I put off writing my dissertation (ha ha). Cheers.
 
Tim,

PZ and his accomplices are quibbling about details in order to obscure the larger picture. The spontaneous and random generation of life from non-life has been shown to so mathematically improbable as to be effectively impossible. They either know that and won't accept it, or don't know it and aren't as informed as they think they are.

In truth, they sound like guys who are either trolls for amusement or who are so desperately afraid a creator exists that they irrationally think killing the messagers will destroy the message. Sort of like the way early opponents of Christianity thought killing Christians would kill the Gospel. Didn't work, but some never learn or simply have no other option.
 
Gary B
There were factual errors of a substantial nature in Mr. Birdnow's essay. Mr. Birdnow could have checked his facts before going to press quite easily. If a few seconds worth of Google search is too much effort for an author to take in supporting his or her arguments, one has to wonder how dedicated the author actually is to the principle of honest reporting.

Dr. Meyers, in his own irascible style, pointed out some of those factual errors. Mr. Birdnow is a grown man and I expect Meyers simply assumed that he would be able to take his lumps.

Your statement about the spontaneous generation of life is also not particularly convincing, based as it is on an argument from personal incredulity. It takes the form of "I can't imagine how X could happen, therefore X didn't happen". Such a claim tells us something about the person making it, but reveals nothing about the world itself. Whether or not any one of us is capable of imagining something has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not that something actually exists.

Your use of the term "spontaneous generation of life from non-life" also suggests that you are arguing against a straw man. No currently active biologists claim that any modern form of life appeared out of non-living matter. The last person working in the sciences who made such a claim was Jean Lamarck, in 1802 (seven years before Darwin was even born!). So you're arguing against something that has not actually been proposed by any active scientist for two centuries, with the implication that it is somehow still relevant. That's the equivalent of arguing against modern chemistry by criticising the "four elements" of the Classical Greeks. It's not a very powerful argument to an objective observer.

Your closing remarks about scientists being "desperately afraid a creator exists" are an insult to all the good people of faith who are working scientists. You have mistakenly equated the scientific theory of evolution with the philosophical belief in atheism. They are not the same thing. Evolutionary theory is a series of testable or potentially testable statements about the physical world. Atheism is a series of untestable claims about the supernatural realm. If you want to argue against atheism, go right ahead, but evolution has no more connection to atheism than does auto mechanics so leave it out.

I'll assume, out of generosity, that you simply did not know that (1) "spontaneous generation" was not an aspect of modern evolutionary theory, and that (2) evolution and atheism are quite seperate ideas with no necessary relationship to each other. In that case, I hope that now that you have been alerted to the inaccuracy of those assumptions, you will avoid repeating them, as doing so would be bearing false witness.

I also think it is rather excessively prideful to compare a few nasty comments on a web log to the persecution of the early Christians. But that is a seperate issue. If you honestly feel that being called names is equivalent to being martyred, that's your business. I just hope you realise that, if being called nasty names by strangers on the internet seems like persecution to you, you're very, very fortunate indeed.
 
Static Noise said: Likewise, the Darwinists cannot answer the question that science asks when the evidence is presented to them of the so-called Cambrian explosion, where all known phyla appeared suddenly a half a billion years ago.
All known phyla? Rangeomorphs, worms, and Cnidria appear in the Ediacaran. A simple hypothesis would be that microbial spnge larvea developed into polyarchate worms. Give a worm a carbonate shell and you have a mollusk. Coat it with chitin and you have an arthropod. Put a stiff sliver of tissue under the dorsal surface and you have a chordate. Now I predict we will go from 'Darwinists can't answer" whatever the hell a "Darwinist is" to "Prove it to my personal satisfaction adn a 100% metaphysical certainty'. I will agree with you that flakes and lunatics come from every ideological corners and from under every slippery political rock. The other day I spent an amusing couple of houra arguing with a group of mostly liberal whackos who were convinced that 9-11 was a plot and that the buildings were blown up with a demo crew. No amount of evidence would convince them otgerwise. The diffirence right now is that among the progressives these folks are called whackos, nuts, conspiricay theoristes, tin foil hatters, etc. The right OTOH calls their anti-reality whacaloons "Leaders" and "The Base".
 
There were no mammals or birds before the Permian extinction, nor were there any for about 100 million years after.

I have read differing things on this, so I will give you the final say. Your point is still mute.)


The problem is there were NO mammals or birds before the Permian. If you have any evidence of that, then you need to lay it out clearly for scientists to analyze. You can't. And the fact that you made such a simple, factual, easily checked blunder negates the rest of you arguement. If you don't know that much, I'm not willing to give you any slack on the rest of your arguements.

By the way, I'm a middle of the political continuum, female Catholic who believes in God but figures He was a better scientist than you and didn't have any trouble setting things in motion at the beginning and letting it end up the way He wanted it. You can start teaching ID in biology when I can start teaching transubstantiation in chemistry.
 
"To paraphrase Shakespeare "Me thinks he doth protest too much!" He even used my name as the title of his post! Does anyone devote so much time and effort to something they think has no validity? Dr. Myers clearly fears what I had to say."

Clearly, this logic is flawless. Let us apply it on a broader scale:
*What's up with all those Jews and history professors who debate against Holocaust deniers? Clearly, the only reason they'd ever waste time debating is that they fear the deniers are right. Deep down, every Jewish person knows that the Holocaust was a grand hoax! Methinks they doth protest too much!
*And hey, when allegations of racism appeared regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina, the First Lady and Condoleezza Rice quickly came out to dismiss those arguments. The fact that they'd even give their critics a response is a clear indication that they believe the claims! Condi and Laura Bush must be racists, why else dignify the critical arguments? Methinks they doth protest too much!
*And those Intelligent Design Creaitonists who spend their days debating the accuracy of carbon dating and the evidence for evolution? Clearly, they wouldn't devote that much time and effort trying to debunk something they believe to be false! Creationists fear--nay, know!--that evolution is the truth! Methinks they doth protest too much!
 
Floyd

Sorry, looked over your profile and couldn't find an e-mail address. Drop me a note at my junk mail address and I'll pick it out before the next regularly scheduled purge: willrocc@msn.com

I'd love to pick your fertile brain, you are a lot of fun.

By the way a Stratocaster IS an engineering marvel, from it's slick body contours to the placement of the volume knob (for controlling it with your pinky without affecting your strumming hand). But, the Strat sound is what it's all about. With a little work you can make a Strat sound like a Gibson, but you can never make a Gibson sound like a Strat.

Now what this all has to do with evolution is simply this: The Strat is the pinnacle, the apex, the zenith of electric guitars and all attempts to improve upon this perfection are futile.

Oh God, now I've started something... Now the Gibson, Hamer, Schecter and ESP guys will be coming after me! Yikes.
 
Mr. Birdnow,
Your article consists of so many factual errors and misunderstanding of biology that you would perhaps get a D or an F grade in a high school (or freshman) biology class. When someone says DNA is made of RNA, any biology major (not professor, just a sophomore) would tell the person to go read the text books. Anyone who claims birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals to be different phyla (they are not, they are all classes of phylum "Chordata") should be asked to read a basic bio textbook. Note that the link above is from the first result on google search using the keyword "phyla".

So, we have a person - Mr. Birdnow - who has made glaring errors, some of which even a sophomore biologist won't, all of them can be easily googled - claiming all biologists to be close brained individuals at best, liars at worst. How can anyone take even a single word that you wrote seriously?

Its not just the atheists or the left that are slamming you. Your article has been slammed by christians and atheists, the left and the right, socialists and capitalists; everyone (just go to the website of some of your commentors).

We have people complaining about elitism. It isn't elitism when a well knowledgable biology professor calls bluff of a person who has made over a dozen errors that even a biology freshman/sophomore won't make, but yet goes on to claim that he has a learned point of view.

This isn't nitpicking, this is calling out bluff. If you go to a creationist site "Answers in Genesis," you will see that the fellow creationists also know that most of your claims are factually wrong.
 
Floyd,

By "spontaneous generation of life" I meant life coming into being without a creator. I think you probably knew that, but nevermind.

I know the difference between atheism and evolution. And I'm well aware that someone could be a theist and also an evolutionist. What I don't see is why they would feel that need, seeing as how macroevolution is such horribly unsupported science and the only understandable, though irrational, reason to hold to it is a desire to eliminate the need for a creator. I think you probably knew that, too, but nevermind.

Finally, I wasn't comparing Mr. Birdnow's "persecution" to that of the martyrs. I was comparing the spirit of his attackers with that of persecutors, past and present. You might disagree, but I see striking similarities. I think you probably were able to follow that line of thought as well, but nevermind.
 
Floyd,

On the argument from personal incredulity (Nice bit of eristics. Did you invent that term yourself?) point, let me just say this: If you want to believe in odds that are far, far, far worse than what is generally considered impossible (try 10 to the 40,000th), then be my guest, but don't say I didn't tell you so.

Yes, I'm personally incredulous. Yes, it says something about me. Believing, on the other hand, in something in face of those odds also says something about the person who believes in it. It works both ways.
 
On the "odds" of life: That equation won some following when Sir Frederick Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe published a quip about it in a book in about 1980. It was so "cool" that Dr. Wickramasinghe was asked to be the chief expert witness for creationists at the Arkansas trial in 1981. Under oath, asked about evolution, he said only fools would believe in a young Earth or that evolution doesn't happen all the time. Hoyle explained that he never questioned that evolution occurs, but that he thinks it must proceed much more slowly than current research shows -- so he thinks life on Earth must have been seeded by more advanced, previously-evolved aliens.

And, he repudiated the odds argument from his book. The difficulty is that his assumptions set up conditions so that a human had to spring from the mud. Impossible.

Not impossible, however, is that once life got started, larger animals would result.

Did you guys stop reading science in 1980? Or did you just miss the last 25 years of it?
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
StaticNoise said...
Ok - Mr. Birdnow is clearly not an evolutionary scientist, but his point is no less valid. Darwinism is as much a faith as Christianity.


Precisely because Mr. Birdnow is not a scientist in the field, and from the quality of his essay on AT, it is reasonable to assume he is uneducated in the subject. Because of this, many statements that were outright wrong were contained in his essay. As his point was based upon these statements, it loses credibility and validity. 'Darwinism' is not an appropriate term, as it refers exclusively to natural and sexual selection, none of the modern elements of the theory. More correct would be 'neo-Darwinism', 'evolutionary theory' or 'modern synthesis'. Many educated people bristle at the term, because it carries an implication that science/the theory has not progressed or advanced since Origin was published.

We all chuckle at the Young Earth Creationists who believe the earth was created in 6 days (6-24 hour days) and that it is only 5 or 6 thousand years old. The Young Earthers cannot answer the questions that science asks when the evidence shows them that the Earth is billions of years old and that dinosaurs roamed the Earth 65 million years ago.

Likewise, the Darwinists cannot answer the question that science asks when the evidence is presented to them of the so-called Cambrian explosion, where all known phyla appeared suddenly a half a billion years ago.


Remember that "suddenly" translates to "over tens of millions of years". Also, one of the most convincing explanations is simply that before hard body parts evolved (during the Cambrian explosion, I believe), fossilisation was much rarer than it was after. Many more explanations are given at this page and this one. Purely by that explanation (although, as said, there are others), the Cambrian explosion is entirely consistent with evolutionary theory.

Darwinists also cling to the false theory that reptiles "evolved" from amphibians. There is absolutely no fossil evidence to substantiate this. Or that fish crawled out of the water and their fins turned into legs and gills into lungs - changes that would be a huge departure from the slow incremental mutations of natural selection.

I direct you here for examples of transitions between amphibians and amniotes. Also, on the evolution of organ systems.

How does Darwinism explain the concept of irreducible complexity? The human eye (for that matter the trilobite eye)or the kidney which which serve no purpose unless fully formed. Natural selection says that over time mutations that do not make the species faster, better, stronger will disappear. So, does that mean the human eye mutated instantainiously? Well, we don't know and neither do evolutionary biologists like Prof. Pottymouth Myers.

That shows a fundamental flaw in logic. As an analogy, let us consider the evolution of architectural design in houses. Originally, shelters were simple makeshift huts of leaves or clay. Today, the design is much different. It progressed by gradual improvement upon the original, not by designing a wall, leaving it for hundreds of years, then another wall, a roof, a floor, and so on. The eye is simply explained. Photosynthetic cells are advantageous to survival, helping one orient towards light, and so on and so forth, not your idea of 'first the lens, then the retina, then the...'. In more detail, here. And your idea that a feature that is not immediately advantageous disappears is incorrect. If it has not effect on survival or reproduction, there is no selective pressure for or against it.

The problem I have is that evolution and Darwin worship is taught in public schools as if it were indisputable fact and it is anything but. There is as much disputing it as there is disputing theism.

In a debate like this, votes must be weighed, not counted. The people who actually know something about it are the ones whose ideas are the most important. Evolution has stood the test of time, is incredibly useful in any work in biology involving more than two species, and is the only plausible, scientific explanation for the origin of the current diversity of life. Most of the time, when new evidence is discovered supporting evolution, the response is "throw it on the pile". There is friggin' mountains of evidence supporting it. As a simple example, the general increase in complexity when moving from older strata to newer. There is no scientific work disputing theism. I'm not sure if there is anything disputing theism, except the argument, "there is no reason to believe in a God or gods". I'm not even sure if theism can be disputed.

I believe that there is evolution within species and when conditions change and a species does not adapt it perishes. Darwin's work on the Galapagos Islands clearly showed that species do adapt to the local environment. Schools should stick to the provable work of Darwin and stop teaching kids that humans evolved from apes.

How do you explain all those transitional fossils.

And finally, this.
 
Essays like mine are more than stupid commentary-they are heresy! They must be stopped, and at all costs!

You flatter yourself unjustly, Mr. Birdnow. No need to do that to yourself; you're quite the spectacle just being your simple ol' self.

But just a little hint to the reality-impaired here: No one is trying to "stop [your blatherings[ at all costs!". Whatever made you so paranoid that you think such is happening is not obvious, but asking the docs to titrate the Haldol up a notch should help matters.

Just a FYI: Your "essay" got the treatment it got because you're an remarkably outstanding ignorant little dweeb (as your many and obvious errors of outright fact show to a high degree of certainty). We're not laughing with you, we're laughing at you!

Cheers,
 
I'm of the opinion that Mr. Birdnow would've expended a lot less energy (and inspired a lot less laughter) by simply admitting he's wrong.

It would certainly be more dignified than his present course of action.
 
Gary B: PZ and his accomplices are quibbling about details in order to obscure the larger picture. The spontaneous and random generation of life from non-life has been shown to so mathematically improbable as to be effectively impossible. They either know that and won't accept it, or don't know it and aren't as informed as they think they are.

Then there was that third possibility you hadn't gotten around to thinking up yet: They are of the opinion that this proffered 'proof' is nonsense logic, SWAGs, and handwaving without a scintilla of rigourousness, much less any real experimental support (which is why no paper ever, citing such numbers, has ever made the pages of a peer-reviewed journal). But even were the numbers (not to mention logic) near any semblance to reality, does that matter? I'd certainly not want to play poker with you; should I turn up a royal flush, you'd claim it impossible and refuse to pay....

Sounds like you are of the impression that simply knowing about these fabulous numbers the ID people trot out is (or should be) sufficient to cause all to prostrate themselves in front of such an intellectual tour de force in awe and wonder. I can assure you that PZ and company are quite aware of these "arguments" and have addressed and refuted them ... repeatedly ... in fact, some might say ad nauseam. . . .

Perhaps it is you that simply aren't too aware of what the other side is saying. What say you?

... they irrationally think killing the messagers will destroy the message. Sort of like the way early opponents of Christianity thought killing Christians would kill the Gospel.

Persecution complex, eh? Do you always think that people are out to kill you when they point out you said something stoopid? Dose of reality for you: Christians are running this country. In fact, pretty much in the mitts of RW Christians. Although purist might quibble that these self-professed "Christians" need to spend less time spouting ignorantly about science and more time studying what the subject of their religion actually said ... things like "turn the other cheek", rich men and needle eyes, etc. . . .

Cheers,
 
Gary B [re: "argument from personal incredulity"] said: (Nice bit of eristics. Did you invent that term yourself?)

No, he certainly didn't invent that term. That you are seemingly ignorant of it doesn't say much for your depth of knowledge of the arguments on the subject matter at hand. Perhaps you should read more sooner and say more later?

Cheers,
 
Timothy Birdnow replies;

The answer is above to your unanswerable point. This is a red-herring to distract the reader from the heart of the argument, as you well know DOCTOR.

Credibility is a red-herring? Up and until you correct your factual errors, your credibility is Zero. It matters not one whit, if the "heart of the argument" is correct or not as long as you insist on repeating, and not correcting your mistakes. Don't you see this? How long would you be successful in "real estate," if you misrepresented properties to prospective buyers? And as a result of this blog, I'd trust a used-car saleman before I would you.
 
Gary B

By "spontaneous generation of life" I meant life coming into being without a creator. I think you probably knew that, but nevermind.

I certainly did not know what you meant. I do know that the term "spontaneous generation" has not been used by any active scientist in the past century, and that the last time it was used in the sciences, it refered to the spontaneous appearance of a relatively complex modern form of life, such as a worm or insect larva, out of nothing. Since no working scientist thinks that this is what happened, your arguments against it, while "accurate", in a sense, are not particularly relevant. As I said, it's like trying to argue against modern chemistry by criticising the Aristotelian 4 elements, or like trying to argue against plate techtonics by stating that the earth is not flat.
Whether or not God was involved is not a question that science is well-suited to address. God, as generally described, is omnipotent; He can do anything He wants to. That includes the ability to hide all traces of His actions, if He so desired. As a result, there is no possible test for divine intervention. We can not include the hypothsis in a scientific analysis because it can not be falsified even in principle. So scientists do not say "God wasn't involved", because that is not a scientific statement. Instead, we focus on what we know was involved (chemicals, radiation, and perhaps some form of inorganic replicator like silicone molecules as a sub-strate). If God was manipulating those physical factors, we will probably never know (unless He deigns to tell us after we are dead) but we can learn something about the purely physical and material aspects of the events.

I know the difference between atheism and evolution. And I'm well aware that someone could be a theist and also an evolutionist. What I don't see is why they would feel that need, seeing as how macroevolution is such horribly unsupported science and the only understandable, though irrational, reason to hold to it is a desire to eliminate the need for a creator. I think you probably knew that, too, but nevermind.

Again, "macroevolution" (by which scientists mean "speciation" and the branching of ancestral lineages into two or more reproductively isolated descendant lineages) has been observed. We have seen it happen. We've seen it happen many times in recent history. So people who accept it do so for the same reason that we accept the reality of gravity; it has been observed.

Whether or not a creator was involved, no scientist can state with certainty. Some believe there was, some doubt it, and others withhold judgement. But no one, absolutely no one, in the sciences accepts the evidence of speciation for purely philosophical and anti-theistic reasons. The two fields of knowlege (theism and science) are completely independent of each other.

Finally, I wasn't comparing Mr. Birdnow's "persecution" to that of the martyrs. I was comparing the spirit of his attackers with that of persecutors, past and present. You might disagree, but I see striking similarities. I think you probably were able to follow that line of thought as well, but nevermind.

By comparing Birdnow's so-called "persecutors" to those who persecuted the early Christians, you most certainly were comparing being insulted and called names to being thrown to lions, being stoned to death, being shot full of arrows, being crucified, etc. In my opinion, these are very different experiences. Mr. Birdnow is not a martyr, whether or not you see striking similarities between being called names and being murdered. There are orders of magnitude of difference between the two, and your conflation seems to me like an insult to the suffering of those early Christians.


On the argument from personal incredulity (Nice bit of eristics. Did you invent that term yourself?)

No, Argumentum ad ignorantiam is a clasic logical fallacy, it is one of the "material fallacies" within the false dilemma category of faulty arguments. It has been known as a fallacy since Aristotle's time, at least.



point, let me just say this: If you want to believe in odds that are far, far, far worse than what is generally considered impossible (try 10 to the 40,000th), then be my guest, but don't say I didn't tell you so.

Yes, I'm personally incredulous. Yes, it says something about me. Believing, on the other hand, in something in face of those odds also says something about the person who believes in it. It works both ways.


Between 300-500 million sperm are present in the average human male ejaculation, so the odds against any specific one fertilising an egg are (conservatively) 1:300,000,000. The odds of my great-great grandfather being born are therefore 3*10^8. The odds of me being born, given that my great grandfather was born are then 3*10^40. The odds of both you and me being born are then 3*10^80. There have been humans on earth for at least 180,000 years, or roughly 9000 generations, so the odds of you and me being alive at the same time (given a conservative assumption of three overlapping generations, grandparents, parents and offspring) are 1*10^(3+3) or (1*10^6)(3*10^80). According to Campbell (2000, "Click through the clutter." Profit. May 2000. Lexis Nexis. September 8, 2000) five years ago, there were 2*10^9 websites. Assuming that there are no more sites today than there were then (which is again an extremely conservative estimate), the odds of us both finding this one at the same time are (1*10^6)(3*10^80)(2*10^18). Other than you and me, there are 2.7*10^1 other posters in this thread (countin "anonymous" as 1). I don't know how many lurkers there are, so I can not work out the odds of posting|reading precisely, but in my experience, it's about 1:10, so let's arbitrarily assign the chance of me posting a value of 1:10, and the chance of you posting an equal value of 1:10, for a total value of you posting, given that I had posted, of 1:100, for a sum total of (2.7*10^1)(1*10^2)(1*10^6)(3*10^80)(2*10^18). I could go on, of course, but since it is, by your mathematical "law" quite obviously "impossible" for you to be reading this sentence because it was mathematically impossible that I wrote it, I don't know why I should do so.

[/sarcasm]

The obove example is simply a (I hope humorous) clarification that it is easy to come up with probability arguments that sound convincing, but simply have no relevance to the matter at hand. Given enough creativity, you can prove that any event is "statistically impossible" if you set an arbitrary limit on possibility and no limit on relevant conditions, as your (or rather, Borel's) argument above has done.


Honestly, gary b, I am not, and no other scientist is, trying to undermine your faith. We are simply trying to understand the physical world. If you think an understanding of the physical world is in some way a threat to your faith, I recommend you consider, for a moment, who your faith community claims it was that created that world in the first place. If science comes to understand how life came to be what it is now, we have learned something. If you choose to deny that reality, you are implicitly denying the work of the creator you claim to worship. In other words, by denying science, you are betraying the very thing you claim to be defending. Creationism is on theologically thin ice, as well as being scientifically invalid. Please think about that.
 
Surely the original essay has to be some kind of joke. I can't remember when I've seen so many elementary scientific errors in one place. This has to set some kind of record even for creationist tracts.You don't expect a nonscientist to get everything perfect, but this is absurd. Even the most perfunctory fact-checking would have caught many of them.
 
"Dr. Meyers was so fixated on the scientific inaccuracies he couldn’t or wouldn’t hear anything that the piece was trying to say."

Oh my word. Just when you thought a bottom had been reached...

"The detectives were so fixated on the serial arsonist's swath of destruction that they neglected to examine his essential message."

You creo-people are clowns in the extreme, and your incessant yammerering from ignorance is nothing but noise. What informed party wouldn't come across as righteous in asserting the truth the face of such nonsense?
 
Timothy, you ask whether Nuclear Physics departments would be more welcoming of you. Nuclear physics is a mathematics- and evidence-based discipline; we can't "see" nuclei directly, so we infer their properties from things we can see, like scattering cross-sections. We also use extremely careful statistics, conservation laws, etc., and demand multiple cross-checks on our models. Because of this, "teach the controversy" advocates would be highly UNWELCOME in nuclear physics departments. Evolutionary biology has proven its case very strongly, using abundant evidence and solid mathematical modeling. Biologists use complex-systems models while nuclear physicists use analytical, usually linear models.

Nuclear physicists have a lot of experience fighting off waves of crackpots. I get an email once a month or so from someone insisting that Einstein was wrong. The typical pattern is: a) they present an incorrectly solved relativistic equation, and (correctly) point out that the solution does not describe reality. b) They come up with a half-formed, descriptive model. c) They complain that the mainstream doesn't listen to them.

It is not just biologists who disagree with ID's axioms, arguments, and conclusions. It's basically all scientists ... anyone whose full-time job is using data, models, and reasoning in pursuit of new and useful knowledge.
 
Floyd - I think when you refer to the two fields of knowledge as theism and science, you mean philosophy and science.
 
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The most interesting discrepancy in the Creationists' arguments is that they deny a theory (a mostly proved hypothesis) and support an hypothesis (without evidence of any kind) that some hypothetical superbeing has created the universe or planned it. Their dismissal of a theory and acceptance of an hypothesis shows an unscientific intellectual dishonesty that discredits the integrity of their claims. But, in the entire history of man in all the debates between science and religion, science has not lost one debate. Religion is bankrupt when it comes to descriptions of the natural earth. It is no wonder that Martin Luther said that for faith to exist, reason must be destroyed.
 
Interesting, but sarcasm is no replacement for facts. Until someone comes up a truly scientific proof that evoltion is wrong I'm going to stick with it over 'faith based facts.'

Some time ago I wrote a "Philosophical" proof of evolution, that you might find educational... or at least amusing.

http://internal-dialog.blogspot.com/2006/06/brass-monkeys-thumb.html
 
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