Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Magic Gravity Elves
Please Note: This post appeared on UTI originally on December 21, 2004. -Brent
My local paper, the Arizona Republic, had an op-ed piece this morning about Intelligent Design, Evolution, and what should be taught in our public school science classes. Interestingly enough, it's written by a non-local named Mark Landsbaum - a former LA Times writer. I haven't fisked any creationists lately, so I'll do this guy line-by-line.
More below the fold...
[link] Darwinism fails true tests
Dec. 21, 2004 12:00 AM
Should intelligent design, the theory that life purposely was created, be taught in schools along with evolutionary theory, which says life accidentally evolved from lifeless chemicals?
Okay, right out of the gate Mark starts in with the misconceptions and outright falsehoods. First of all, what the hell is a "true test"? What exactly does that mean, Mark? As opposed to a "false test" I suppose? Wow. You sure got that spin going quick, huh?
A "theory" is the framework that explains the evidence and the facts. It is NOT just a wild-ass guess. You know, like "Intelligent design" is. A theory does not exist in a vacuum. If what you call a "theory" does not make predictions, has no evidence, and is formulated differently depending on the personal wacky religious ideas of the person who happens to be articulating it at the time, then it is not a theory. It is speculation or assertion at best, dogma and ignorant opinion at worst.
Curiously, evolutionists say intelligent design isn't "scientific" enough. Yet it's Darwinian evolution that has never advanced beyond unproven theory, because facts don't support it.
Things are scientific or they aren't. There is no sliding scale of "more scientific" or "less scientific". ID is not scientific. Evolutionary biology is scientific. It is also not called "Darwinian Evolution" except by creationist godwhacks like Mark. Darwin was undeniably the father of the science of evolutionary biology, but his theory is not the only theory out there and it's about 150 years out of date. Another thing; Only creationists say things like "unproven theory". Read this very carefully Mark: No theory can EVER be "proved" or "disproved". Proof only exists is mathematics because we create and know every, single part of the "universe" that our mathematics systems exist within. Because we do not know every part of our own physical universe, we cannot "prove" anything. What we can do, however, is support a theory with enough evidence so that it can be considered to be true.
Can you "prove" that the sun will rise tomorrow? Of course not. However the mountains of evidence suggest very strongly that it will, and because of this the statement "The sun will come out tomorrow" is considered to be true.
The same can be said for evolution. There are literally mountains of evidence that support it. To say that it is not true, or that it doesn't exist is as stupid as saying that the sun will not rise tomorrow or that gravity does not exist.
Can you imagine someone saying, with a straight face, "the sun will rise tomorrow is only a theory." Stupid, huh? That's what creationists sound like when they say "Evolution is only a theory".
If, as Charles Darwin claimed 145 years ago, all creatures evolved from lower life, the fossil record should be replete with remnants of billions of transitory life forms, such as the elusive "missing link" between humans and chimps. And not just that missing link. Billions of missing links necessarily must have existed for today's animals to have evolved if you accept evolutionary theory.
But the fossil record has no missing links. Where we should find countless transitional fossils, we find none. That's devastating for evolutionary theory. It's also not commonly taught in schools.
The lack of transitional fossils fits perfectly, however, with the idea that an intelligent designer, whom Christians call "God," created all creatures essentially in the form we see them today.
Even Darwin conceded this fatal flaw in his The Origin of the Species: " . . . why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?"
*sigh* This old canard has been explained so well by others that I'm not even going to attempt it beyond this; animals are organic. There are some very specific conditions that must happen in order for an organic organism to leave a fossil of itself after it dies. This alone should be enough to explain the lack of a huge number of transitional fossils. What you must realize (unless you are completely brain-dead) is that transitional fossils are not the same thing as transitional organisms. Not all organisms leave behind fossils. Creationists can't seem to understand this distinction.
Having said that, there are indeed many, many transitional forms and fossils that have been discovered that add to that huge mountain of evidence for evolution. Here are a couple of pages that explain it very well:
- The Transitional Fossils FAQ by Kathleen Hunt.
- The Evidence for Human Evolution by Jim Foley.
- Intermediate and transitional forms: the possible morphologies of predicted common ancestors.
- Punctuated Equilibria by Wesley R. Elsberry.
- Missing links still missing!?
Darwin knew his theory contradicted science. "I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science," he later wrote.
This is a classic example of creationist quote mining. This must be read in context. It comes from Professor Neal Gillespie's book (Gillespie, Neal C. 1979. Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.) on page 63, in a paragraph carrying over from page 62. At the time that Darwin wrote this, in a letter to Harvard biology professor Asa Gray, there was a change going on in the methodology of traditional science. This change was mainly from the strict, Sir Francis Bacon "induction" method, to the inclusion of "actualism" in science. Darwin was a proponent of actualism.
So, when Darwin wrote "true science" he was referring to the traditional induction method championed by Sir Francis Bacon for many years (at that time) and the fact that his methods fell outside of that tradition.
Here's much more on this:
Yet schools teach Darwinian macro-evolution not as a half-baked theory lacking proof, but by force-feeding it to children as unquestionable fact. Meanwhile, intelligent design, which is entirely supported by the evidence, is forbidden in schools.
So much wrong in this little paragraph. Again, Mark old buddy, the term "macro-evolution" is not used by evolutionary biologists. It is used by creationists exclusively. It's a stupid phrase that creates a false division where there is no division. "Macro-evolution" is quite simply a whole bunch of "micro-evolution" put together. The two terms were created by creationists (not intelligently, however,) to create this false division.
The catch-all term "intelligent design" is not even a theory, let alone scientific. It is a religious movement. It has exactly ZERO evidence to "support" it. What exactly is the scientific theory of intelligent design, Mark? What and where exactly is all of this evidence that you claim?
Everywhere we find life, we find it came from life. Nowhere have scientists ever found life spontaneously springing from non-living matter. Yet Darwinian evolution teaches that inanimate chemicals and passing time miraculously created living organisms. Mankind has never documented such nonsense.
Yes, life comes from life now. Life no longer needs to "spontaneously" (another loaded term used only by creationists) spring from non-living matter. And besides, evolutionary biology has exactly ZERO to say on the subject of origins. Evolution deals with how organisms evolved after the origin point of organic organisms on our planet. The field of scientific study that looks at origins is called "abiogenesis" and there have been some great discoveries in the last few years that are beginning to give us an idea of how it all began.
But schoolchildren aren't even told that much because their instructors are wedded to Darwin's unproven theory. Indeed, Darwinism is a conviction adhered to even when flatly contradicted by obvious facts. Call it blind faith. But don't call it science.
What facts? Name one fact. And there's that "unproven" thing again. How in the world do you expect people to take your writing on this subject seriously when you don't even have the basic knowledge of how science and the scientific method works? The very fact that you use the abysmally stupid phrase "Darwin's unproven theory" tells volumes about your politics, your religion, and your level of familiarity with science and the scientific method. It tells me that you're an uneducated, Christian, blustery blowhard who uncritically laps up the dribbles of "smart sounding" catch phrases and buzzwords from the ID crowd and regurgitates them in op-ed pieces.
Thank God for your Journalism degree, huh?
Scientific method requires theories be explained by predictable, repeatable tests. Never has any portion of the evolutionary theory that mud gradually morphed into men been tested and proven.
Never has a single scientists working in the one of the fields of biology ever claimed the "mud gradually morphed into men." Straw man arguments are fun, huh? They're also dishonest, but just par for the course for creationists I suppose.
Darwinian worshipers are too terrified to put evolution's theory alongside intelligent design and let people judge which is more plausible. The evidence overwhelmingly supports intelligent design.
Trying to equate the science of evolutionary biology with religious practice using the loaded buzzwords "blind faith", and "Darwin worshiper" is an old, tired creationist tactic. It's also dishonest and, well, stupid.
The "equal time" bullshit being pushed by the ID crowd, so that students can "decide for themselves", is nothing more than a social engineering project to elevate the religion of "Intelligent Design" so that it seems to stand on an equal footing with the science of evolutionary biology. It's a tactic that has worked depressingly well - regardless of it's dishonesty. Mark's just repeating it here.
Scientific theories should be accepted after observations and experiments, testing and results. Results must be repeatable. Quirks aren't evidence. But there aren't even quirks that support evolution. No portion of Darwinian's macro-evolution (one species emerging out of another) ever has been observed anywhere, passed any test, or been reproduced by scientists.
Blah blah blah. Glittering generalities with no specifics. Buzz words. Misunderstandings about the scientific method. Wash, rinse, repeat in a loud voice.
Why such resistance in light of the facts?
WHAT facts?!? Jebus. This guy makes me tired.
To admit an intelligent designer means to admit God exists, and that we are not products of random accidents. But more to the point, it means Darwin's worshipers are wrong.
If the evidence supported an intelligent designer, then there would be nothing to "admit" to. It would be a fact, not a wild-ass guess. It would be considered true, not mere assertion or dogma. Like Gravity. Or Evolution. Scientists, the "Darwin worshiper" stereotype alluded to by Mark above, are not afraid to admit that they are wrong. Indeed, science is built on the aggressive premise that their fellow scientists working in their field, their peers, try their damnedest to falsify their theories - and they welcome that! It's a requirement of doing good science, and a good scientists will change their theory (the framework that explains the facts and evidence, remember) in response to that criticism.
"God did it" is NOT a theory, Mark. It's an assertion unsullied by facts, reason, logic, or evidence.
Evolutionary fundamentalists, who pattern their atheism after Darwin's, realize that to discard their belief in an unintentional cause and a purposelessness to life is to admit God exists, which is frightening for unbelievers.
Equate evolutionists to religious worshipers? Check. Equate atheism with evolution? Check. Claim that atheists really know deep in their hearts that God exists, but that they are having way too much fun sinning that they are afraid to admit it? Check.
Sounds like someone has been reading the "How to debate an evolutionist" manual.
The creation spoken of in the Bible comports perfectly with real-life evidence and science. There are no missing links.
Ah, I see. So that whole deal about "intelligent design" and some unnamed, unknown, amorphous, anonymous "designer" was just a huge steaming pile of dog turds. What you're really after is to get the government of the United States of America to teach my children your wacky religious beliefs in the public schools.
Gosh. I am just so shocked.
Children should be taught the arguments for and against the theories of evolution and intelligent design. Let both sides make their best case, compare the evidence and let the scientific method do its work.
That beats giving children only one theory, especially if it's the implausible one. Teaching both theories is the right thing to do.
Sure thing, Mark. Why don't you write up some guidelines for public high school science teachers to follow that don't destroy the first amendment to the US Constitution and we'll get right on that. I actually think that this is the one thing that Mark screwed up on here. The ID movement probably wants the controversy to go on boiling here and there. Because if someone ever did try to teach the "scientific theory of intelligent design" in a science class, even the slow, stupid children would see that it's a laughable pile of religiously-motivated drivel. That is if someone could formulate an actual "theory of intelligent design". (Hint creationists: Saying "God did it" is not a scientific theory.)
That brings us to the last nail in evolution's coffin: If life accidentally just "happened" and we're merely evolved apes, where do the concepts of right and wrong come from?
Evolution. Jebus, Mark, I thought you'd get an easy one like that.
Darwin says we're reduced to survival of the fittest.
Darwin said no such thing. Here's what he actually had to say about this:
[link] I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.
A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones. A dog acts in this manner, but he does so blindly. A man, on the other hand, looks forwards and backwards, and compares his various feelings, desires and recollections. He then finds, in accordance with the verdict of all the wisest men that the highest satisfaction is derived from following certain impulses, namely the social instincts. If he acts for the good of others, he will receive the approbation of his fellow men and gain the love of those with whom he lives ; and this latter gain undoubtedly is the highest pleasure on this earth. By degrees it will become intolerable to him to obey his sensuous passions rather than his higher impulses, which when rendered habitual may be almost called instincts. His reason may occasionally tell him to act in opposition to the opinion of others, whose approbation he will then not receive ; but he will still have the solid satisfaction of knowing that he has followed his innermost guide or conscience.--As for myself I believe that I have acted rightly in steadily following and devoting my life to science. I feel no remorse from having committed any great sin, but have often and often regretted that I have not done more direct good to my fellow creatures. My sole and poor excuse is much ill-health and my mental constitution, which makes it extremely difficult for me to turn from one subject or occupation to another. I can imagine with high satisfaction giving up my whole time to philanthropy, but not a portion of it; though this would have been a far better Line of conduct.
You're welcome to try again, of course.
The intelligent designer said otherwise.
Ah, yes. That whole "meek shall inherit the earth" thing made by the Christian God, huh?
Care to lie and claim ID as "scientific" again Mark?