Nick Matzke posted Entry 962 on April 13, 2005 07:52 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/960

Scientific American’s John Rennie has definitely discovered the joy — perhaps “grim pleasure” would be a better word — of blogging about evolution and the silliness of creationists.  Today, he announced that the American Society of Magazine Editors just gave science journalist David Quammen and National Geographic’s editor, William L. Allen, the 2005 National Magazine Award in Essays for the November 2004 National Geographic article that asked and answered the question, “Was Darwin Wrong?

I found the press release online here.

ESSAYS — This category recognizes excellence in essay writing on topics ranging from the personal to the political. Whatever the subject, emphasis should be placed on the author’s eloquence, perspective, fresh thinking and unique voice.

National Geographic: William L. Allen, editor-in-chief, for Was Darwin Wrong?, by David Quammen, November.

“Much of the American public still fails to accept the truth of the theory of evolution. Nevertheless, National Geographic’s courageous cover story dared readers to shake off their prejudices. Firmly but tactfully, David Quammen marshals genetic data, antibiotic-resistant germs, and the anklebone of a fossil whale to build the case for Charles Darwin’s great insight, concluding that ‘the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.’”

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Comment #24777

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 8:56 PM (e)

wow, what a coincidence! i just read this article 2 days ago, and have been quoting from it here on PT.

It really is a pretty well written article, and does a thorough, if not specifically in depth (not the point of the article), cross-sectional look at the influence of evolutionary theory across multiple disciplines and schools of thought.

worth a glance in case you haven’t read it yet.

glad to see it got a nod from an awards comittee.

cheers

p.s. for anyone interested who can’t get access to it, for whatever reason, I’d be happy to check on any questions anybody might have about the content. I’ll quote the relevant passages, if needed. I have already quoted the relevant statistics from the 2001 gallup poll discussed in the article here:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000954.html#c24470

for obvious reasons, i can’t post the whole thing anywhere.

cheers

Comment #24778

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 9:00 PM (e)

it also does an excellent job of reviewing the evidence for evolution, from a disciplinary standpoint.

Comment #24779

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 13, 2005 9:04 PM (e)

that the American Society of Magazine Editors just gave science journalist David Quammen and National Geographic’s editor, William L. Allen, the 2005 National Magazine Award in Essays for the November 2004 National Geographic article that asked and answered the question, “Was Darwin Wrong?”

I suppose this event will be chalked up to the liberal media which just loves to dump on Christians, as we all know.

http://www.everythingiknowiswrong.com/2004/11/was_darwin_wron.html

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2004/1227time_nw.asp

http://www.trueorigin.org/ng_ap01.asp

Comment #24780

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 13, 2005 9:04 PM (e)

Really the article hand nothing more than re-hashed Darwinist arguments. There was some quote in their about how religious people are often unable to accept common descent even though “the evidence is overwhelming”. What the article did show the American public is that Darwinist are truly getting desperate with the ID movement’s growing acceptance.

I’d cancel my subscription to National Geographic if it weren’t for the scholarly merit of most their other articles.

cheers

Comment #24781

Posted by Les Lane on April 13, 2005 9:07 PM (e)

Be sure to see Denyse O’Leary’s latest bit of silliness on Quammen?

http://cruxmag.typepad.com/sci_phi/2005/04/national_geogra.html

Comment #24786

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 9:19 PM (e)

“I suppose this event will be chalked up to the liberal media which just loves to dump on Christians, as we all know.

http://www.everythingiknowiswrong.com/2004/11/was_darwin_wron.html”

*sigh*

it really is like trying to break cinder blocks with a pencil, isn’t it?

I keep wondering, if the IDers got what they wanted most, would they really like the end result?

Comment #24792

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 9:29 PM (e)

@EA:

“What the article did show the American public is that Darwinist are truly getting desperate with the ID movement’s growing acceptance”

it did NOT show that, in fact, just above your post, I provided a link to the very statistic that shows that the ID movement (as extrapolated from those who think “god created man”) has NOT gained any more acceptance than it did over 20 years ago.

those that believe that essentially “god created man” has stayed constant at arounnd 45% for more than the last 20 years.

It is YOU who are in desperation mode, not us, in trying to justify to yourself why your movement in fact has not gained more support.

the only change has been substantive, not quantitative, in that IDers currently have more political support from the right-leaning congress and administration, and i bet it’s mostly based on pure grassroots powerbase, than any agreement ideologically.

do you really think that these folks truly believe in ID? I seem to recall ‘ol GW saying he supports evolution.

really.

Comment #24794

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 13, 2005 9:31 PM (e)

From Denyse O’Leary’s account of her “frustration” with the award-winning article:

But Darwin’s theory is not distinguished by its ability to come up with an explanation for these effects; it is distinguished by its insistence that all life forms, with all their complexity, arose without any design whatsoever, as an outcome purely of chance mutations, acted on by natural law.

I’ve been laughing recently watching the immortal Bill Hicks Live DVD which you really must see if you like hearing stupid people mocked mercilessly by a champion of free thinking.

One of the classic bits is where he mimics an atheist having sex and shrieking orgasmically, “Chemical chance! Chemical chance!”

Comment #24796

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 13, 2005 9:41 PM (e)

sir toejam,

I support evolution as any scientist does. Let’s just not play the semantics game ok. Whether you like it or not their is a large segment of the population that accepts antimicrobial resistence via evolution, but does not accept their own existence via evolution.

The first can be observed, reproduced, and falsified. The latter can’t. Its really that simple. Few other fields of science except perhaps astronomy get away with such poor science to support their claims. Of course since time machines and faster than light space travel are unlikely to exist anytime soon we turn to “its the best we can do” mentality. Keeping macroevolution as a hypothesis with recognized uncertainty would be much more honest.

Evolution is a mechanism. We can agree on that. But Darwinists have made it into a religion.

Comment #24801

Posted by P. Mihalakos on April 13, 2005 10:01 PM (e)

ID proponents should ALL check out Bill Hicks.

And may the great intelligent fairy-goat designer in the sky bless his dear soul.

Comment #24806

Posted by Perry Mihalakos on April 13, 2005 10:14 PM (e)

Dear Evolving Ape-Savior:

If I’m thinking like a typical ID fundie, then of course evolution can be falsified. If the great intelligent goat-fairy so willed it, he (dare I assign IT a gender) could make manifest a brand new species POOF before the very eyes of the great atheist hordes.

But he/she/it doesn’t will it, eh?

Comment #24807

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

“I support evolution as any scientist does. Let’s just not play the semantics game ok”

?huh? can anyone else make sense of this statement?

“The first can be observed, reproduced, and falsified. The latter can’t”

correctly and realistically worded, the last statement should read:

“the first can be observed, reproduced, and further tested. the latter can as well, I just choose to ignore any studies that suggest so because i can’t understand them.”

it’s really that simple.

Comment #24808

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 10:21 PM (e)

“One of the classic bits is where he mimics an atheist having sex and shrieking orgasmically, “Chemical chance! Chemical chance!””

ROFLMAO!

you’ve convinced me; sounds like a hoot!

Comment #24809

Posted by Flint on April 13, 2005 10:24 PM (e)

correctly and realistically worded, the last statement should read:

“the first can be observed, reproduced, and further tested. the latter can as well, I just choose to ignore any studies that suggest so because i can’t understand them.”

I disagree. It should read:

“the latter can as well, but I ignore this because I don’t like it.”

it’s really that simple

Comment #24810

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 10:29 PM (e)

no, that implies EA actually has some coherent grasp of evolutionary theory to begin with, and is able to make a choice based on personal preferences.

Has EA demonstrated a legitimate grasp of evolutionary theory in any way shape or form?

not that i have seen.

Comment #24813

Posted by Flint on April 13, 2005 10:37 PM (e)

Why does anyone need to understand something to realize they don’t like it? All you have to understand is that evolutionary theory claims that people were not created by god in the image of their creator, but instead had ancestors who were very different. In most creationists, it’s this basic notion that triggers all of the rationalized rejection. You don’t need the slightest understanding of how this change may be supposed to have happened. All you need is the sure knowledge that it did not, COULD not happen.

Comment #24815

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

is realization not based on understanding?

I’d say what you are describing is more based on denial.

Comment #24817

Posted by Flint on April 13, 2005 10:45 PM (e)

I’d say what you are describing is more based on denial.

Yes, quite so. That’s why I disagreed with you. You seemed to be saying that EA had made an effort to understand, but had failed. I said he was simply denying. He ignores that part of evolution that leads to conclusions he refuses to credit. He doesn’t like them, therefore they are wrong. It’s that simple.

Comment #24820

Posted by sir_toejam on April 13, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

ah. i see your point actually even goes a level under mine.

hmm.

what do you think is closer to a correct description, EA?

Comment #24848

Posted by Ralph Jones on April 14, 2005 7:22 AM (e)

EA,

Do you agree that it is a scientific fact that the Grand Canyon was carved by erosion?

Comment #24850

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 14, 2005 7:52 AM (e)

Sir toejam,

I came here with an open mind. Honest to goodness I did. I simultaneously researched the arguments on both sides of the debate. Despite my best efforts as a well-educated and published scientist, the arguments for common descent are quite underwhelming.

In fact, the thing that impresses me most is how atheists:

If I’m thinking like a typical ID fundie, then of course evolution can be falsified. If the great intelligent goat-fairy so willed it, he (dare I assign IT a gender) could make manifest a brand new species POOF before the very eyes of the great atheist hordes.

They hide behind “evolution” as the anti-theory to explain their existence. They mock faith in a deity, as if their belief in abiogenesis and common descent by random mutations is based on hard evidence.

Others claim to believe in morality and transcendence, but give no explaination as to how this coincides with the evolution of human behavior and its logical conclusion of nihilism.

Do you agree that it is a scientific fact that the Grand Canyon was carved by erosion?

Yeah, I’ve seen the Grand Canyon. Its one of the most beautiful places in the world. Yes it is currently being carved by erosion. It is a reasonable assumption to believe it was being carved by erosion 1000’s of years ago. The rate of erosion now may not be constant for all time though. What is your point?

Comment #24852

Posted by Flint on April 14, 2005 8:08 AM (e)

I came here with an open mind. Honest to goodness I did. I simultaneously researched the arguments on both sides of the debate.

Unfortunately, nobody who had done as EA claims could any longer maintain that there ARE two scientific sides to this debate. One side says life started pretty much as-is by magic (gussied up with the trappings of religious doctrine, but magic nonetheless) and the other side presents the best current explanation of all known evidence. So the claim of open-mindedness is difficult to model. If you believe in magical creation, then mere evidence will never be sufficient, permanently underwhelming. If you do not believe in magic, then we have the single best-support, most robust, most successful theory in the history of science.

The notion that the evidence for common descent has anything to do with morality, human behavior or nihilism is peculiar, to say the least. Either EA doesn’t know what his topic is, or he is changing the subject in an effort to confuse and distract. I get the impression EA is approaching evolution not as he might approach, say, chemistry, and more as he would approach his religion – as a source of meaning and direction, as a moral anchor or beacon. But evolution is not a religion, and it cannot possibly supply these needs. Faulting evolution for being a poor religion implies a truly mind boggling misunderstanding of the topic. Most emphatically not the sort of misunderstanding an open mind could possibly have fallen into.

Comment #24853

Posted by Grey Wolf on April 14, 2005 8:14 AM (e)

Since EA seems to be willing to answer questions about ID, I think I’ll give him the chance to prove he’s not a troll (so far, he hasn’t looked so to me).

Please state:
- Age of the Universe
- Age of the Earth
- Your views of the factual truth of the universal deluge
- Date of the appearence of the first humans

Depending on your answers, I might ask you for further things, but at this point it’ll do if you give me short answers (they better be clear: “before yesterday” is not clear enough, for example).

Alternatively, you could tell me if you feel that the evidence supports evolution more or less than it supports ID - in which case, I’d like you to include an example of evidence which supports ID but does not support evolution.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #24864

Posted by Ralph Jones on April 14, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

EA,

Was that a yes or no answer to my question about the Grand Canyon?

Comment #24868

Posted by Greg on April 14, 2005 10:16 AM (e)

I like Bill Hicks’ response to the fundamentalist who insists to him that the earth is only 6,000 years old, based on adding up the ages of people in the Hebrew Bible (“Can’t argue with that F-ing research…”): “I just have a question for you. It’s a one-word question. Dinosaurs.”

Hicks then goes on to tell a little story about Jesus and his disciples walking along and discovering a “brontosaurus with a thorn in its paw” who became their friend. “I’m going to write about that in my book,” says John. “I’m not sure what I saw,” says Thomas. That’s not a word-for-word transcript, but you get the idea. The crucial fact is that another simple way for the Judeo-Christian god to have falsified evolution would have been to include a few detailed descriptions of living dinosaurs in the Book of Genesis. Well. “Falsified” might be too strong of a word, but made it appear far more plausible that humans and dinosaurs were part of the same “special creation,” at least.

Comment #24880

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 14, 2005 11:06 AM (e)

Please state:
- Age of the Universe
- Age of the Earth
- Your views of the factual truth of the universal deluge
- Date of the appearence of the first humans

1. Age of the Universe. I’m not sure what you mean by Universe and to have an age we need two time points. When did time begin? Can science answer that question? No it can’t. So from a scientific standpoint the age of the universe is unknowable.
2. Age of the Earth, indirect evidence suggests 4.5 billion years. I find the evidence underwhelming. Our ability as scientists to study physical properties on a geological time scale is limited. We can only extrapolate by analogy things observed over years.
3. Universal deluge - found in the folklore every culture across the world. I would put it on par with evidence for the age of the earth.
4. First humans - Clearly there were prehistorical creatures that are now extinct. My understanding is that homo sapien fossils by carbon dating are about 80,000 years old. Other creatures such as homo erectus date about 200,000 years old. The key word being other creatures. The assumption of common descent is not proven but based on “evolution, the anti-theory of the gaps”

I’m not a young earth proponent, I’m a scientist with rigorous standards, calling my colleagues on their tendency to call an untestable hypothesis a fact without confirmatory data.

Ralph,

I answered your question. Don’t play games with me, you’ll lose.

Comment #24887

Posted by Roger Appell (rappell) on April 14, 2005 11:51 AM (e)

Bill Hicks offers simultaneously the funniest and most efficient critique of Christianity ever given:

Bill Hicks wrote:

“If I thought the Jews killed God, I’d worship the Jews.”

Comment #24889

Posted by Andrew Wyatt on April 14, 2005 11:58 AM (e)

Don’t play games with me, you’ll lose.

Interesting statement from an arrogant weasel who would also utter phrases such:

When did time begin? Can science answer that question? No it can’t. So from a scientific standpoint the age of the universe is unknowable.

Our ability as scientists to study physical properties on a geological time scale is limited.

I would put (folklore) on par with evidence for the age of the earth.

The assumption of common descent is not proven but based on “evolution, the anti-theory of the gaps”

Wow. Superstitious stupidity with a healthy dose of falsehood, distortion, and micharacterization. You’re a gem. I hope you debate a real scientist someday.

Comment #24898

Posted by sir_toejam on April 14, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

“Despite my best efforts as a well-educated and published scientist, the arguments for common descent are quite underwhelming”

not that it matters, based on your responses to date, but exactly what does well-educated mean? what field did you specialize in?

again not that it matters, but i’ll go first:

BA Aquatic Biology University of California, Santa Barbara
MA Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley

only one publication (er, in peer reviewed scientific journals, anyway) on ontogenetic color change in damselfishes. exact cite on request.

note, I don’t have a PhD, yet the evidence convinced me a long time before i even received my Masters. I studied under scientists who actually showed me speciation events in the field, and were able to actually quantify the selective agents involved, and get their articles published in scientific peer reviewed journals.

In all my time as an undergraduate or graduate student, I never met ONE student of biology who did not understand the value of evolutionary theory as a predictive theory, or as an underlying context for just about any “functional” question that could be asked in biology. Nor did i meet any who thought it insufficient to explain speciation events. I know these folks i met ran the whole gamut of religious belief as well.

what were the percentages of students where you were “well educated” that agreed with your assesment of the insufficiency of evolutionary theory?

Comment #24918

Posted by Ralph Jones on April 14, 2005 1:54 PM (e)

EA,

Since you claim that you answered my question and your response was generally postitive, then I will assume that you agree that it is a scientific fact that the Grand Canyon was carved by erosion. Was this massive erosion observed?

Comment #24938

Posted by Marc on April 14, 2005 3:22 PM (e)

I’m an astrophysicist working in the field of stellar structure and evolution. I think that EAs fundamental stumbling point is that he refuses to accept that observational science (as opposed to experimental science) is valid. This represents a very fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific method. We *assume* that the laws of physics as measured on the Earth today are the same everywhere in the universe and have not changes as a function of time. This assumption is the foundational one for astronomy, and a related one would hold true for geology. But - this is the nice part - this is an assumption that we can *test*.

We can determine whether or not the half-life of radioactive species is changing today, and it is not. We can look at the light from distant stars to see what the universe was like in the past; if fundamental physical constants were different, we would see changes in, say, the spectral lines emitted from stars. There is no evidence of such changes to very great distances, although there is some debate about tiny shifts in the most distant objects.

We can infer the age of the solar system with a precision comparable to our ability to measure the energy output of the Sun (about 1/2 percent; 4.57 +/- 0.02 Gyr). This can be done through radioactive age-dating of meteorites using multiple “clocks”, and can be checked for consistency within one meteorite and between them. The primary error source is not the ages themselves, but the difference in the time of formation of the meteorites and the time of formation of the Earth and Sun.

The universe is finite and expanding, which implies that there was a time when it had zero size. This defines a reasonable point for the age of the Universe. There are various methods that can be used. The ages of stars can be inferred by combining information about their mass, energy output, and the efficiency of mass to energy conversion when hydrogen is converted into helium into measurements of stellar lifetimes. Such theories have numerous points of contact with observations. You can also use the properties of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation to determine a very precise elasped time since the Big Bang of 13.7 +/- 0.1 Gyr. Acoustic oscillations measure the size of the Universe when light decoupled from matter, and when combined with the General Theory of Relativity you can infer a distance, and thus an age, for the Universe. The ages of the oldest stars are consistent with this, albeit with larger errors.

So - yes, we can define an age of both the Earth and Universe to exquisite precision.

Marc

Comment #24943

Posted by Henry J on April 14, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

Marc,

Re “The universe is finite and expanding, “

Is space presently thought to be finite?

I recall reading that GR said that above a critical density, the universe would be finite and eventually collapse, but with a density at or below that it would be infinite and never collapse.

But that prediction was made before that dark energy stuff (whatever it is) was added to the equation, and I don’t know how that might affect the finite/infinite prediction of GR?

Henry

Comment #24946

Posted by sir_toejam on April 14, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

thanks, marc, nice summary.

A question I’d like to ask, since i don’t meet many astrophysicists in my field:

you mentioned the field of stellar structure and evolution. I assume by the term “evolution” here you mean more ontogenesis (using a biological term :) ), than what we refer to commonly on PT as evolution.

however, have you (or other astophysicists) thought about framing the relative development of stars with the idea of selection acting on which stars form where? or extrapolating galactic structure as resulting from acts of natural selection? Kind of a “evolutionary theory of galactic structure” type approach?

after all, selective pressures can just as easily be physical as biological. I can think of several such physical processes that could be construed as “selection pressures” in the formation of specific kinds of stars, and the relative positions of stars of various types could act as selective agents in and of themselves.

It’s just idle curiosity on my part, as I don’t claim to be an astrophysicist.

cheers

Comment #24958

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 14, 2005 4:15 PM (e)

not that it matters, based on your responses to date, but exactly what does well-educated mean? what field did you specialize in?

I wish I could say and speak freely. But providing that information would be like notifying the Gestapo(sp) that you are Jewish. The persecution and hardball you guys play essentially limits open dialogue. As I have observed on this site, there is no such thing as an honest critique of macro-evolution. There are only evil ignorant trolls that need to have their academic careers ruined for daring to question Darwinism. It’s much like the Spanish Inquisition don’t you say. Instead of having “God” on your side, you have “science” on your side.

Since you claim that you answered my question and your response was generally postitive, then I will assume that you agree that it is a scientific fact that the Grand Canyon was carved by erosion. Was this massive erosion observed?

No this erosion wasn’t observed and no that doesn’t mean that common-descent occured even though it wasn’t observed. Sigh… Can you guys be a little more original in your games?

I think that EAs fundamental stumbling point is that he refuses to accept that observational science (as opposed to experimental science) is valid.

No, I accept observation science to the extent observations can be made. We can’t observe events that occur over millions of years. Sorry, its a fact of life. We can observe the mating rituals of buffalo, orbital pathways of planets in this solar system, and other events that occur on a time frame that allows them to be studied.

I just have higher standards than you guys. I’ve seen scientific dogma blown away from making too many assumptions too many times. Fortunately, for you guys lack of time travel hampers any real science, so you can rely on “evolution, the anti-theory of the gaps”

All right, back to my papers and grants, I’ve got deadlines to make. This blogging is addictive, but I don’t get paid to do it. (Stop feeding this TROLL, he’s got work to do) I go away when ignored.

Comment #24959

Posted by sir_toejam on April 14, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

“ But providing that information would be like notifying the Gestapo(sp) that you are Jewish”

uh, you mean that it would truly tell us that you are a brainwashed troll after all?

Comment #24965

Posted by sir_toejam on April 14, 2005 4:29 PM (e)

“As I have observed on this site, there is no such thing as an honest critique of macro-evolution.”

that is the first “true” thing i have heard you say. But then this forum was never intended to discuss the methods and conlcusions of recent publications in the scientifically peer reviewed literature regarding evolutionary theory.

Even if it were, you wouldn’t find many “honest” critics of “macro-evolutionary” theory there either (not that there even exists a “macro-evolutionary theory” *snort*). They were all convinced by the mountains of overwhelming evidence long ago. That’s not to say that any legitimate theory espousing a new mechanism for speciation wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms.

Indeed, any legitimate alternative theory would spawn so many new studies that the scientific community would be swamped with new publications attempting to test it. any legitimate scientist who could even postulate a logical, testable alternative would immediately be famous.

however, no-one has proposed any testable alternative theory in quite some time now.

perhaps you should do a literature review on what hypotheses HAVE been tested over the last 150 years?

oh, that’s right, you aren’t interested in testable hypotheses.

Comment #24967

Posted by guthrie on April 14, 2005 4:33 PM (e)

I think it means he can’t play the “science” game.

(I know its a catty comment, but I think it appropriate.)

Comment #24969

Posted by Flint on April 14, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

As I have observed on this site, there is no such thing as an honest critique of macro-evolution.

If by honest, you mean based on actual evidence, as provided and discussed in peer-reviewed journals, this is basically correct. Remember that an honest scientific critique must be based on scientific procedures and criteria. A denial of macro-evolution may be honest from a personal or religious perspective, and I doubt anyone would find fault with you if you labeled it as such.

We can’t observe events that occur over millions of years. Sorry, its a fact of life.

And do you really call this honest? Nobody claims to have a time machine. Everyone freely admits that we must model what most likely happened in the past from the past has left us to discover and evaluate. If you come over a hill and find two wrecked cars entangled in the road, with parts scattered around all over, and hear sirens of approaching cops, is it a “fact of life” that not having actually SEEN it, you can’t for the life of you suspect that there might have been an accident? The evidence of what happened in the past is massive, overwhelming. We observe this evidence. We really do. Just like you know the Grand Canyon eroded. The only distinction I can see is that deducing past erosion doesn’t offend your religious faith, while evolution does.

I just have higher standards than you guys. I’ve seen scientific dogma blown away from making too many assumptions too many times.

Perhaps so, but why assume in advance that an extremely well-supported theory will be blown away by evidence not yet discovered despite centuries of investigation, and reject it on that basis? If your standards are that high, you really have no logical alternative but to reject everything science has ever suggested. Yet your rejection is narrowly focused. Why is this focus so narrow? Do you really think carefully selecting well-supported theories on the basis of no evidence while accepting all other theories on the basis of even less constitutes high standards? Can you understand how it might look like religious-based denial to anyone else?

Comment #24986

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 14, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

If you come over a hill and find two wrecked cars entangled in the road, with parts scattered around all over, and hear sirens of approaching cops, is it a “fact of life” that not having actually SEEN it, you can’t for the life of you suspect that there might have been an accident? The evidence of what happened in the past is massive, overwhelming. We observe this evidence. We really do.

Can’t you guys do better than that. I’ve seen crashes or talked to people who have seen crashes. THATS THE DIFFERENCE. I’d be glad to meet anyone who witnessed the macro-evolution of humans from a single celled organism. Otherwise it remains an unverifiable hypothesis largely supported by fools who use it to justify their godless existence while denying the obvious nihilistic implications.

Do you really think carefully selecting well-supported theories on the basis of no evidence while accepting all other theories on the basis of even less constitutes high standards?

I’m not sure what you mean, can you give me an example of a theory I accept that has less observable evidence than common descent?

Well at least you seem to dialogue in a more respectful way than the run-of-the-mill troll-haters on this site.

Comment #24987

Posted by sir_toejam on April 14, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

“Well at least you seem to dialogue in a more respectful way than the run-of-the-mill troll-haters on this site”

hey, we just identify you by standard morphology and behavior.

if it look like a duck, and talks like a duck…

Comment #24991

Posted by Ralph Jones on April 14, 2005 6:38 PM (e)

EA wrote: ““”No this erosion wasn’t observed and no that doesn’t mean that common-descent occured even though it wasn’t observed.”””

No, it does not necessarily mean that universal common descent is a fact, but your answer does validate the scientific technique of inferring the past from present conditions. A technique which you recently have argued against. The very same technique used in the science of forensics and the science of organic evolution.

Comment #24995

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 14, 2005 6:48 PM (e)

John Davison ‘Lite’ writes

I’ve seen crashes or talked to people who have seen crashes. THATS THE DIFFERENCE.

Did you talk to anyone who saw the Grand Canyon created from beginning to end?

Comment #24998

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 14, 2005 6:51 PM (e)

“Well at least you seem to dialogue in a more respectful way than the run-of-the-mill troll-haters on this site”

Har. What’s to like about trolls, especially low-rent trolls without an interesting script?

John Davison’s prose and attitude at least is worth a mordant chuckle, even if the content is uniformly disturbing. It’s a pity he’s no longer on TV.

Comment #25003

Posted by Russell on April 14, 2005 6:56 PM (e)

Two questions for the Apeman:

What about continental drift? It’s pretty well accepted that the Indian subcontinent split off from the southeastern edge of Africa, and rammed into south asia. What’s the Apeman take on that: pure fantasy, “philosophical musing”, scientific conclusion?

What do you make of neutrons? fact, working model, philosophical construct?

Comment #25024

Posted by Russell on April 14, 2005 8:32 PM (e)

I wish I could say and speak freely. But providing that information would be like notifying the Gestapo(sp) that you are Jewish.

Right. By revealing what your area of expertise, you open the possibility that the Darwin Gestapo is going to track you down and sabotage your career. Either you have serious psychological problems, in the paranoia family, or you’re dishonest.

My understanding is that homo sapien fossils by carbon dating are about 80,000 years old

Not that it matters, but I find it passing strange that a “published scientist”, who elsewhere, I believe, specified that his area is in the biological sciences, who claims to have thought carefully about human origins, could not know the correct name for our own species.

Comment #25029

Posted by Flint on April 14, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

Otherwise it remains an unverifiable hypothesis largely supported by fools who use it to justify their godless existence while denying the obvious nihilistic implications.

I’m personally satisfied that here we have reached the heart of the issue. Evolution is unverifiable (whereas other past processes are self-evident) NOT on the basis of any particular evidence or lack of it, but because it is godless. Since it is godless, it is supported by nihilists and fools. Why are they nihilists and fools? Because their existence is godless. EA finally (and honestly, by Jove) pinpoints the real issue: evolution violates his religious beliefs. Period.

All of the surrounding material is just smokescreen, denial, prevarication, doubtletalk (and doublethink), selective deflection, and other defense mechanisms deployed as required. The only thing left about which I’m curious is whether he even realizes that he IS doing this. I personally doubt that the process is entirely conscious – the knowledge that evolution couldn’t have happened is too deeply seated, I suspect.

Comment #25035

Posted by Alex Merz on April 14, 2005 9:50 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman: “Their” does not mean the same thing as “there.” You confuse these words in at least two of the above posts, suggesting that the error is more than typographical, and your posts are riddled with other errors.

If you are a working scientist, as you claim to be, you should be able to understand the scientific literature, which is written largely in English. You also should be able to produce written English at a better than a fourth-grade standard. Thus, I don’t believe several of your claims. I don’t think that you are a working scientist. I don’t believe that you are writing papers or grants. I don’t think that you are, as you claim, one of my “colleagues”. I think you’re a creationist poser who understands even less about science than he does about theology, but who knows a great deal about dogma.

Comment #25061

Posted by vandalhooch on April 15, 2005 1:42 AM (e)

sir_toejam stated:

“hey, we just identify you by standard morphology and behavior.

if it look like a duck, and talks like a duck … “

in reference to EA as a troll.

Off topic question follows

How long did it take for the word troll - the action analogous to fishing to become troll - the mythical creature?

Comment #25066

Posted by Wayne Francis on April 15, 2005 3:00 AM (e)

How many problems can I find with this
Comment # 24880

Evolving Apeman wrote:

Comment #24880
Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 14, 2005 11:06 AM (e) (s)
Please state:
- Age of the Universe
- Age of the Earth
- Your views of the factual truth of the universal deluge
- Date of the appearence of the first humans
1. Age of the Universe. I’m not sure what you mean by Universe and to have an age we need two time points. When did time begin? Can science answer that question? No it can’t. So from a scientific standpoint the age of the universe is unknowable.
2. Age of the Earth, indirect evidence suggests 4.5 billion years. I find the evidence underwhelming. Our ability as scientists to study physical properties on a geological time scale is limited. We can only extrapolate by analogy things observed over years.
3. Universal deluge - found in the folklore every culture across the world. I would put it on par with evidence for the age of the earth.
4. First humans - Clearly there were prehistorical creatures that are now extinct. My understanding is that homo sapien fossils by carbon dating are about 80,000 years old. Other creatures such as homo erectus date about 200,000 years old. The key word being other creatures. The assumption of common descent is not proven but based on “evolution, the anti-theory of the gaps”
I’m not a young earth proponent, I’m a scientist with rigorous standards, calling my colleagues on their tendency to call an untestable hypothesis a fact without confirmatory data.
Ralph,
I answered your question. Don’t play games with me, you’ll lose.

“1. Age of the Universe. I’m not sure what you mean by Universe and to have an age we need two time points….”

Question dodged

“2 . Age of the Earth, indirect evidence suggests 4.5 billion years…”

AE has no clue about radiometric dating

“3. Universal deluge - found in the folklore every culture across the world…”

Wow culture has experienced floods …. yipppie to bad their is no geologic evidence of a global flood.

“4. First humans - Clearly there were prehistorical creatures that are now extinct. My understanding is that homo sapien fossils by carbon dating are about 80,000 years old….”

Hmmm seems you have no “understanding” about carbon dating either. The upper end of carbon dating is about 50,000 years.

I’m thinking you are related to DonkeyKong

Comment #25087

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 15, 2005 8:35 AM (e)

Why do I suffer such arrogant fools? ‘Cause I’m a nice guy, and a mind is a terrible thing to waste on the follys of a dying field, evolutionary biology. I’m trying to save some you from yourselves before its too late.

Did you talk to anyone who saw the Grand Canyon created from beginning to end?

No, but erosion from rivers over time has been observed. Whether the Grand Canyon was formed completely from erosion and over what time period is a hypothesis that unverifiable. Since erosion is ongoing, some of it was formed by erosion.

What about continental drift? It’s pretty well accepted that the Indian subcontinent split off from the southeastern edge of Africa, and rammed into south asia. What’s the Apeman take on that: pure fantasy, “philosophical musing”, scientific conclusion?

None of the abve. Nice hypothesis, too bad we don’t have a way to verify it. Like the grand canyon example, most people don’t care, it has no technological and few metaphysical implications.

What do you make of neutrons? fact, working model, philosophical construct?

That’s like asking me to draw a picture of an atom. Should I use red pen or a blue pen? From the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, we know the act of taking measurements of sub atomical particles itself changes their properties. Ultimately a neutron is defined by its physical properties (i.e. mass) as observed and the reproducible predictions (as defined in a quatum mechanics framework) it makes.

All of the surrounding material is just smokescreen, denial, prevarication, doubtletalk (and doublethink), selective deflection, and other defense mechanisms deployed as required. The only thing left about which I’m curious is whether he even realizes that he IS doing this. I personally doubt that the process is entirely conscious — the knowledge that evolution couldn’t have happened is too deeply seated, I suspect.

My theory is that us Darwinism infidils have a gene polymorphism that promotes religion and denial of common descent by evolution. It probably contributes to our overall reproductive capacity as this allows us to live in oppressive communities (churches) where our wives are encouraged to be submissive breeding machines. After all, behavior in all animals is the result of evolution.

Evolving Apeman: “Their” does not mean the same thing as “there.” You confuse these words in at least two of the above posts, suggesting that the error is more than typographical, and your posts are riddled with other errors.

If you are a working scientist, as you claim to be, you should be able to understand the scientific literature, which is written largely in English. You also should be able to produce written English at a better than a fourth-grade standard. Thus, I don’t believe several of your claims. I don’t think that you are a working scientist. I don’t believe that you are writing papers or grants. I don’t think that you are, as you claim, one of my “colleagues”. I think you’re a creationist poser who understands even less about science than he does about theology, but who knows a great deal about dogma.

Thank God (whoops I mean evolution) for Word’s built in spellcheck. Discredited by my spelling errors. You guys probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you I won my schools spelling bee in 4th grade. I guess it was downhill for me after that.

Hey does PT ever have a be nice to trolls day? Just wandering.

Comment #25102

Posted by Andrew Wyatt on April 15, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

EA:

Guess what, Mr. “Scientist”? Science doesn’t give a fig what the philosophical or religious implications of its findings might be. It follows the evidence. The fact that you keep mentioning the the “nihilistic” implications of evolutionary theory suggests that you’re either not a scientist or you’re a particularly bad one. Guess what? Science doesn’t care that you lie in bed at night haunted by the philosophical implications of one hundred and fifty years of exhaustive reasearch. Your petty psychological problems matter not one whit. Science marches on. And it’s leaving you and your small, superstitious, feeble mind behind. Sorry. T.S. Enjoy creationism’s surge of political exposure, because it’s only going to get worse as ignorant children like yourself go the way of the dinosaurs.

Comment #25106

Posted by Russell on April 15, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

… I won my schools spelling bee in 4th grade. I guess it was downhill for me after that.

Apparently. Just out of curiosity, at what point in your life did you contract this virulent strain of Jesusitis?

Comment #25109

Posted by Russell on April 15, 2005 10:07 AM (e)

Just wandering.

Tongue-in-cheek, or just another misspelling? With the Apeman, theirs know weigh two no.

Comment #25115

Posted by Bill Ware on April 15, 2005 10:24 AM (e)

Wayne Francis,

From a report on the journal Nature article in its Thursday Feb. 17, 2005, issue:

When the bones of two early humans were found in 1967 near Kibish, Ethiopia, they were thought to be 130,000 years old. A few years ago, researchers found 154,000- to 160,000-year-old human bones at Herto, Ethiopia. Now, a new study of the 1967 fossil site indicates the earliest known members of our species, Homo sapiens, roamed Africa about 195,000 years ago.

Is this the figure you were looking for? B

Comment #25167

Posted by cleek on April 15, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

Like the grand canyon example, most people don’t care, it has no technological and few metaphysical implications.

the people who live in the area and are subject to things like earthquakes and tsunamis care a great deal about the motion of those plates.

Just wandering

well then, don’t let us keep you.

Comment #25184

Posted by sir_toejam on April 15, 2005 2:30 PM (e)

“How long did it take for the word troll - the action analogous to fishing to become troll - the mythical creature?”

3 licks.

er wait, no, that’s not it.

It took exactly as long as it took to figure out that most “trollers” were dumb as rocks, with tough skins, and tend to prefer “smashing” into discussions with off topic, unintelligle drivel. Moreover, it often took copious amounts of flame to drive them off.

http://www.urban75.com/Mag/trolling.html

;)

cheers

Comment #25192

Posted by sir_toejam on April 15, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

>>>”Why do I suffer such arrogant fools? ‘Cause I’m a nice guy, and a mind is a terrible thing to waste on the follys of a dying field, evolutionary biology. I’m trying to save some you from yourselves before its too late.”

*sigh* Why is it you idiots think you are saving us from anything? WE DON’T NEED YOU! SCIENCE DOESN’T NEED YOU! And as far as your “holy grail of ID”, in the immortal words of Python:

“You don’t frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur King, you and all your silly English k-nnnnniggets”

>>>”…Since erosion is ongoing, some of it was formed by erosion.”

and the rest of the Grand Canyon was formed by… what? smurfs?

>>>”What about continental drift? … too bad we don’t have a way to verify it. “

I see… so all the ways it has BEEN verified don’t exist, eh? Or are you saying we need yet ANOTHER way to verify it? if so, please utilize that keen scientific mind of yours and suggest one to us.

>>> “Like the grand canyon example, most people don’t care, it has no technological and few metaphysical implications.”

Well, i can’t speak to the metaphysical implications, but no technological implications??? obviously you never even bothered to read ANY of the studies that led to the theory of continental drift to begin with, did you?

remember a little thing called the trans-atlantic cable? or do you not consider that relevant “technology”?

>>>”What do you make of neutrons? fact, working model, philosophical construct?

That’s like asking me to draw a picture of an atom. Should I use red pen or a blue pen? From the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, we know the act of taking measurements of sub atomical particles itself changes their properties. Ultimately a neutron is defined by its physical properties (i.e. mass) as observed and the reproducible predictions (as defined in a quatum mechanics framework) it makes.”

uh, so you have provided “a” definition of a neutron (unintelligible drivel), but you failed to actually answer the question. are you saying neutrons are fact or construct? simple question, really.

>>>”My theory is that us Darwinism infidils have a gene polymorphism that promotes religion and denial of common descent by evolution. It probably contributes to our overall reproductive capacity as this allows us to live in oppressive communities (churches) where our wives are encouraged to be submissive breeding machines. After all, behavior in all animals is the result of evolution. “

hey now, you are stealing (and horribly perverting) my idea to explain the extreme creationist’s position (which i have tradmarked and copyrighted). I won’t stand for any theft of intellectual property rights here! Do I need to send my lawyer after you?

since you can’t even understand the proper terminology to use (wtf does “gene polymorphism” mean? - the rest is just complete gibberish), it doesn’t even come across as humorous on your end, just pathetic.

>>>”Thank God (whoops I mean evolution) for Word’s built in spellcheck. Discredited by my spelling errors. You guys probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you I won my schools spelling bee in 4th grade. I guess it was downhill for me after that.”

oh no, i believe you. that’s the part that makes me sad. You are a prime example of what a lack of proper education can produce.

It is why we fight so hard against the movement to make our public educational facilities produce more like yourself.

You know, religion does not preclude education per say, check out the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, if you don’t believe me.

you don’t HAVE to be a moron. just go at least TRY to learn about some of the things you want to know more about, even if it is to argue against them.

any of us here would be more than happy to direct you to any resources that might lead to an improved understanding of the topics under discussion.

otherwise, your constant provision of us with ammo here just serves to mostly amuse, if not remind us that we should be out there trying to improve education ourselves.

cheers

p.s. this is about as nice as i can get to a troll.

Comment #25251

Posted by Alex Merz on April 15, 2005 9:37 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman: in mi preeveeus poste, eye dident clame that you mayd spelleang erers. eye claymed that u werr yoosing thi rong werds altoogetherr.

By the way, it’s a judgment call, but IMHO “Ape-man” should be hyphenated.

Comment #25264

Posted by sir_toejam on April 15, 2005 11:17 PM (e)

lol.

Comment #25537

Posted by Wayne Francis on April 18, 2005 3:10 AM (e)

Comment # 25115

Bill Ware wrote:

Comment #25115
Posted by Bill Ware on April 15, 2005 10:24 AM (e) (s)
Wayne Francis,
From a report on the journal Nature article in its Thursday Feb. 17, 2005, issue:
When the bones of two early humans were found in 1967 near Kibish, Ethiopia, they were thought to be 130,000 years old. A few years ago, researchers found 154,000- to 160,000-year-old human bones at Herto, Ethiopia. Now, a new study of the 1967 fossil site indicates the earliest known members of our species, Homo sapiens, roamed Africa about 195,000 years ago.
Is this the figure you were looking for? B

I’m not sure why you are addressing me Bill. If it is in reply to my comment of

Comment # 25066

Wayne Francis wrote:

Comment #25066
Posted by Wayne Francis on April 15, 2005 03:00 AM (e) (s)

“4. First humans - Clearly there were prehistorical creatures that are now extinct. My understanding is that homo sapien fossils by carbon dating are about 80,000 years old ….”
Hmmm seems you have no “understanding” about carbon dating either. The upper end of carbon dating is about 50,000 years….

then see his originial post that says

Comment # 24880

Evolving Apeman wrote:

Comment #24880
Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 14, 2005 11:06 AM (e) (s)

My understanding is that homo sapien fossils by carbon dating are about 80,000 years old….

carbon dating can not date anything as 80,000 years old. This is because the upper end of carbon dating is 50,000 years. Anything older then that is not accurate because of background radiation. So by Evolving Apeman making the statement above show that he doesn’t know what he is talking about and is just throwing stuff out there.

The article you sight clearly indicates that the method used for dating was K-Ar dating. The range that this method can date is about 100,000 years to 4.3 million years (the oldest rocks found on earth). Newer methods of detection are promising to reduce the lower end to about 20,000 years. In any case this has nothing to do with EA’s lack of knowledge about a fact I learnt in high school, that the upper end of radiocarbon dating is only 50,000 years.

If I’m missing your meaning then sorry and I ask you to reference what post of mine you are replying to.

Comment #25745

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 1:14 PM (e)

“4.3 million years (the oldest rocks found on earth). “

er, something’s wrong with that statement, yes?

Comment #25749

Posted by David Heddle on April 19, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

The limit on carbon dating is not hardfast, it depends on the sample size. The half-life of Carbon 14 is 5,715 years, so after 80,000 years (14 half-lives) you have only 0.00006 of the original Carbon 14.

The general rule of thumb is that a method is reliable to six half lives, or only about 35,000 years for Carbon 14. After that, the error bars get big.

Comment #25881

Posted by Grail on April 20, 2005 3:49 AM (e)

Glad I don’t have to work tomorrow – what a find.

What happened to Ploink Ploink from the opening thread? Did “John” ever visit the Paypal shrine? I am still ROTFLMAO about those posts.

Keep up the great work!!!

Btw: My 1st Ph.D. advisor was one of those fundamentalist types. He kept a can of “primordial soup” in his office and was a “Promise Keeper” (Maybe it should read ex/former Promise Keeper since he knocked up a 20 y/o student and left his wife and 3 kids for her)

Comment #25938

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 20, 2005 2:36 PM (e)

“What happened to Ploink Ploink from the opening thread?”

shhh! Ploink is still there… in the background… waiting…

Comment #25944

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 20, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

@hedley

what the hell are you responding to? if it was my post, i was simply pointing out a typo (millions should be billions).

Comment #26031

Posted by Wayne Francis on April 21, 2005 2:40 AM (e)

Comment # 25745

Sir_Toejam wrote:

Comment #25745
Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 01:14 PM (e) (s)
“4.3 million years (the oldest rocks found on earth). “
er, something’s wrong with that statement, yes?

WOOOOPS yes 4.3 Billion years. My bad.

D. Heddle - I don’t disagree with you but from what I’ve read the upper limit on C14 dating is 50,000 years. Not 80,000 like EA claims and the the test they used was not C14 but K-Ar dating. That is the point of my post.

Agian thanks STJ for correcting my error.