Jindal dooms Louisiana

By Phil Plait | February 14, 2009 10:15 pm

I just received a distressing email from Barbara Forrest, a tireless fighter against creationism in Louisiana. It’s distressing because it shows that the actions of the increasingly antiscience government of Louisiana are having repercussions.

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), a scientific society with over 2000 members, has chosen to boycott Louisiana for their annual conference because, basically, their creationist governor and legislature want to make sure kids in their state grow up without a basic scientific education.

Louisiana: doomed

Last year, the Louisiana government overwhelmingly voted to allow creationist materials to be used in the classroom, a clear violation of the First Amendment and an incredibly foolish decision with regards to children’s education. I wrote about it quite a bit at the time (here is when it was signed into law, as well as here, here, and most recently here).

Well, their chickens are starting to come back to roost. At the time, Governor (and amateur exorcist) Jindal was warned that putting a jack-booted heel to the neck of science would not be without ramifications. And now the SICB won’t have their conference in New Orleans, and they have specifically cited the actions of Jindal and the Legislature as the key part of their decision. They have even gone as far as to say that the conference — with nearly 2000 attending — will be in Utah instead, where science is held in higher regard.

That can’t have been an easy decision for the society; New Orleans is a city that needs money, and holding a fair-sized conference there would help. But I understand their decision. Jindal and the creationists in the Louisiana government are essentially holding the educations of their students hostage, so scientists and everyone in the reality-based community need to take action. It’s one thing to make your voice heard, but it’s another to speak with your wallet. Holding the conference in Louisiana would be tacitly acquiescing to the fundamentalists running the state.

I think this was the right decision, and I urge anyone who is considering running a science-based event to seriously consider states that hold science in higher regard. I hope that Louisiana teachers, parents, and students rise up and let their representatives know how they feel about science. I would hate to see the students suffer because of this, but the politicians in that state have already guaranteed that will happen.

The LA Coalition for Science has released a statement to the press about this as well. It makes me physically ill that the science education of these children has been put into this position by the creationists, forcing the hand of the SICB. But the larger issue at stake here is the future of science itself in Louisiana as well as other states, a future Jindal and the other creationists are trying to choke out of existence.

Comments (258)

  1. Scott

    I wish I could say I was surprised but Louisiana has a reputation for incompetence and corruption that, sad to say, often seems well deserved. There are obviously very many capable and intelligent people in the state but they seem to be seriously outnumbered by those who aren’t.

  2. AFakeGuy

    It’s unfortunate that something like this has to happen to try to force Louisiana’s hand. I don’t get it. If the governor is doing something illegal then why isn’t there a legal challenge to it. I thought all states were bound by the U.S. constitution.

  3. …will be in Utah instead, where science is held in higher regard.

    Actually, what is the mormon stance on all this?

  4. EdThehed

    Why hasn’t the ACLU gotten involved yet?

  5. Shalamar

    I have some mormon friends, and the answer (I have no idea if its ‘doctrine’ or not) is that they accept evolution, but do not believe that humans evolved from apes/monkeys/whatever.

  6. Duane

    I’m a Mormon, and I take evolution as a scientific fact. It’s certainly taught that way at BYU.

    Here’s an article from the Salt Lake tribune that talks about a fellow member’s religious belief and his study of evolution:

    http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_11679755

    A pullquote:

    “At BYU until last year, Fairbanks helped build one of the best evolutionary biology departments in the country, says fellow BYU professor Duane Jeffery. “I can’t think of a time when we didn’t teach evolution, the same way we would teach it at any other university.”

  7. Craig

    Shalamar: there seems to be a bit of incoonsistency in that position…

    Also: Arizona has apparently decided that education ain’t all that important. See here.

  8. Craig

    Aargh, typo of doom…

  9. MadScientist

    PZ commented on this recently and used the title:

    “Louisiana boycotts science; scientists boycott Louisiana”

    I object to the statement that these creationist attacks are “obviously” flouting the establishment clause of the Bill of Rights. The creationists are full of weasel-words which only a moron would agree to (and the laws are passing because moron creationist legislators and governors are in ample supply). In the Louisiana case, for example, the bill is full of weasel words denying that the intent is to teach creationism. See for yourself:

    http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=482728

    The wording is so goddamned obvious though: science teachers can only act with the approval of the local religious authorities. So the Establishment Clause is circumvented because no particular religion is explicitly being pushed. The bill is also a weasel in avoiding mention of Idiot Design which the bill is obviously meant to foster. Under the pretense of introducing critical thinking to the discussion of scientific theories, the bill mentions “open and objective discussion”. Scientific theories become well-established through open and objective discussions and through presentation and analysis of data from experiments or observations. There is no need to pass a law to establish that. Remember that this law is aimed at school kids. How many 6-16 year-olds are there on the planet who have the requisite knowledge to criticize the merits and limitations of a proposed theory? Notice that the bill also singles out evolution and the origins of life as topics in which ‘critical thought’ (in reality: alternative creationist bullcrap) are to be introduced. Why are evolution and origins of life singled out? It makes no sense unless you tie it in to the plans of fundamentalists to brainwash children with their creationist nonsense. As many opponents of the bill have said, the wording is so wishy-washy that if you take the words at face value (pretend you don’t see the obvious creationist ploy) the immediate reaction is “why does anyone think it is necessary to pass this bill – what is it protecting or introducing which is not already protected or practiced?” The answer of course is in the goddamned obvious department: this is a weasel bill which is trying to promote Idiot Design and creationism in general.

    I’m not a lawyer, but it’s certainly not obvious to me how this bill violates the Bill of Rights. As for another poster’s questions about why the bill isn’t simply thrown out (even if it *were* an obvious violation of the Bill of Rights), the US justice system, like all others I have some familiarity with, is an adversarial system. Even if a law is obviously unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will do absolutely nothing until someone files a case against the law. There are numerous and varied groups which undoubtedly would file cases against obviously unconstitutional laws (ACLU, AU, etc) but even these groups can’t really act on their own – someone has to agree to be the plaintiff and make a specific complaint.

  10. Yeah, I was going to say good on the SICB for putting their money where their mouth is but is Utah really that much better? I don’t think Utah has had any creationism bills in their legislature lately but you know how those wacky Mormons are.

  11. LukeL

    I am a Christian and don’t hold to the belief that Humans evolved, however I am a science major and would maybe considering teaching, preferably at a high school. These types of issues should not be taught in the science classroom, but could be taught in an elective class along with basic theology of the major faiths.

    The history of education in this country prior to 1963 heavily involved basic religious principles and still kept to the basics in the 4 major subjects.

    The major problem with education is not this, but policies like getting away from phonics and grammar in favor of sounding words out and allowing oral speech to be considered okay for written speech. Take that along with forgoing subjects like math and science in favor of classes on diversity and self esteem and you have a cultural full of self centered kids who know nothing about the real world.

  12. TheBlackCat

    @ LukeL: It isn’t a belief, it is a fact, Humans evolved, end of story.

  13. LukeL, you can’t pick and choose what you like from science. If you are serious as a science teacher, you have to embace evolution in the same way as gravity, redox reactions, and the Big Bang, to name a few. Otherwise your science class will become another one in your list of what’s wrong with modern education.

  14. Mike

    I’ve never understood why the Bible is taken so literally with regard to creation, when it’s taken so allegorically, even by Christians, on so many other issues.

    Science has demonstrated time and time again that evolution happens and that humans decended from an ape-like ancestor. If I were still religious (I was raised Catholic) I’d just believe that evolution is a work of God. There’s no reason scientifically-proven theories should get in the way of religious faith; the only thing science gets in the way of is specific dogma.

    Science pretty much only exists because intelligent religious people wanted to understand what they saw as being God’s work, so why should religious people get their knickers in a twist every time science gives them that information?

  15. Kimpatsu

    Somewhat off-topic, I grant, but when it comes to voting with your wallet, I urge everyone to boycott both the USA and Japan until their racist fingerprinting and 72-hour notice rules are abolished.
    Hurt the economy, and maybe these idiots (be they Jindal, Obama, or Aso) will listen.

  16. Kimpatsu, what do you mean racist? The yanks are fingerprinting everybody that goes into the USA. I’m not thrilled with the electronic pre-reg either but all of us on the visa waiver program have to do it – no exceptions.

    LukeL, you may be a science major but what you’re suggesting ain’t science.

  17. MadScientist

    While the law gives creationist nuts an opportunity to sell their snake oil, all respectable educators should ignore that law. Don’t teach ‘alternative theories’ (as the creationists like to call their nonsense). Just go on teaching *only* evolution and wait for a religious group to complain that the teacher is doing something wrong. I can’t imagine any sensible judge ordering a teacher to take orders from a religious group based on that law. The question that remains is: how shall people address the creationist nuts who *do* take advantage of that awful law? We need kids and parents who are smart enough to manipulate the teachers and expose their religious intent – and then these teachers should lose their jobs and never be allowed to teach again.

  18. SLC

    The sad part of this is that Governor Jindal majored in biology at Brown, Un. An even sadder part is that many of the so-called pundits in Washington consider the governor a leading candidate for the Rethuglican nomination for president in 2012. What a choice, nutcase Jindal and bubblehead Palin.

    Re Luke L

    The notion that current day apes and humans have a common ancestor is not a belief, contrary to Mr. Luke Ls’ comment. It is a theory based on solid facts and evidence. An example of one very strong piece of evidence may be seen on the video on the attached link. It is part of a presentation given by Prof. Ken Miller, no atheist he.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8FfMBYCkk

  19. MadScientist, while I agree with the sentiment, that is mostly wishful thinking. You can’t base an effective policy on the hope that some kids and parents expose bad teachers. At this point I think you need actual laws banning creationism and ID from the science classroom.

  20. Worried European

    I’m a bit concerned about how this attitude is being exported from America to other countries.

    Here in Europe we very rarely ever see this kind of case, Creationism simply isn’t a major force here at all. For my entire lifetime the mainstream religious view in Europe has been that if man was created by god, the mechanism he used was evolution, so there’s absolutely no conceivable problem about teaching it. I once saw a Catholic cardinal in London give a speech saying that if you wanted to know more about god’s methods, you should study astronomy and biology. Religion is seen as complementary to science rather than in competition, with religion looking at the spiritual world and science at the physical world.

    There are fringe groups in Europe of course, but they remain on the fringe and certainly don’t have any political power. There are also a small number of religious schools, but they too generally teach evolution.

    Even in Darwin’s time there wasn’t anywhere near as much fuss as some people would have you believe. All that Darwin really did was nail down the exact mechanism for evolution (random mutations with more breeding chances for useful gene carriers), he did not invent the general concept of humans being descended from animals.

    But now suddenly Europe is being dragged down the same path as the US. All kinds of “evangelical” groups and television channels are popping up, often backed by American books, videos and money. I just don’t know why some people are turning away from their traditional churches and following these idiots. Maybe it’s the glamour and the glitz? The easy answers? The lack of intellectual rigour?

    There are many parallels with the Islamic world, where enlightened and intellectually advanced nations with secular societies and tolerance of other viewpoints are being dragged back to the middle ages by fundamentalists.

    It feels like American creationists are doing for Christianity what McDonalds did for restaurants…

  21. QUASAR

    Listen, man! How many states have been ‘dommed’ in the US? I find it so strange that in the 21st centry we have to defend science against some epistemophobes who are in power. It’s disgusting! Those creationist scums need to show some reasoning or die!

  22. Then Again

    So let me get this straight:

    A science lobby decides to boycott Louisiana for teaching or allowing discussion of what most people believe – basically the scientists throw an ideological tantrum for not getting their way – & that’s the Governor Jindals fault because he actually listens to what the people want? Huh?

    Well I’m jus’ asking.

    Frankly, big deal. No science conference, I’m sure the Louisianans care – not. I know Phil’s speaking withtongue firmly in cheek but; come on Louisiana “doomed” because it misses out on a scientific talkfest? Get real!

    Creationism is popular & whatever scientists may think of it, many people believe in it & want it taught. Rather than fight this reality I suggest the elitist evolutionist athiests get used to it.

    Creationism / Intelligent Design / Something beyond science that science simply doesn’t get is here, has been here & always will be here.

    Science is good – but it isn’t all there is & doesn’t have all the answers. There are things and there are areas in which science doesn’t work. Religious beliefs and ethics are two of them. Politics is another.

    The US is a Christian nation with a Christian majority – the small undemocratic ‘science-is-god’ elite can shout & scream and sulk all they like but ultimately if they go against that majority they will lose.

    The first amendment does NOT decree that atheism and evolutionism is to be imposed on everybody like it or not & nobody can say otherwise – it merely allows for freedom of all religious denominations – NOT, please note, the exclusion of religion from the public altogether.

    Governor Jindal was elected to represent his people & he’s doing his job. Unfettered, uncontested evolutionism with no mention of alternative ideas and dissent from others is NOT what the people want.

    Creationism isn’t that much of a big deal for most people. Most people can handle both science and religion playing their part in life. If the elitists who hate the idea of Christianity can’t tolerate that then that’s their problem – not Loiusianas & not Governor Jindal’s.

  23. Worried European

    I forgot to add, Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey, one of the most important religious buildings in Anglicanism. (Newton and Herschel were also buried there, to bring this back to astronomy.) That’s quite a rare honour, there is no way it would have happened if Darwin had really been regarded as the anti-christ.

    Religion/spiritualism and science are perfectly capable of co-existing as long as they realise their limitations. Science is the best way to explore the physical world, whereas more metaphysical beliefs are required to explain things that cannot be measured empirically such as purpose and significance.

    I find it quite disturbing to see so many Americans talking about believing in science OR religion, it’s stirring up a conflict that really doesn’t have to exist at all.

  24. IVAN3MAN

    Man, it has been over twelve hours now and my “comment is [still] awaiting moderation”! :|

  25. Then Again,
    So let me get this straight:

    You think science should be ignored because it isn’t popular and you’re looking forward to the rule of the theocracy?

    Good luck with that.

  26. IVAN3MAN

    @ Then Again,

    When my ‘comment’ gets past moderation, it will clearly illustrate what will happen when you teach creationism over evolution.

  27. Dagnabbit, now I feel guilty for going to New Orleans for the Nat’l Sci Teachers conference next month. I’ll contribute to this ‘boycott’ by buying only cheap beers at the Pubs! If you know me, that’s a huge sacrifice…

  28. @LukeL

    I must admit I’m shocked. That’s the equivalent of saying, “I’d consider science teaching. but I’ll choose to believe that the Earth is flat.”

    Humans evolved. You can’t arbitrarily reject an entire branch of science. What next? Rocket designers who choose not to believe in gravity? Surgeons who choose not to believe in blood types? Chemists who choose not to believe in atoms?

  29. justcorbly

    Then Again:

    Your post is laden with so many falsehoods and misconceptions that it’s difficult to grasp.

    When you do address a fact, please try to get it right: Phil is not dooming Louisiana because they missed out on this convention. He’s dooming Louisiana because it is depriving it’s citizens of an education rooted in reality.

    You cannot define science by popular vote anymore than you can define mathematics or geography by popular vote. If many people believe in creationism, that’s just evidence that many people are wrong.

    Science does not propose to offer moral and ethical answers. How the human species came to exist is not a moral or ethical issue.

    Atheism and evolution are not related. It’s only born-again fundamentalist self-described Christians who demand that anyone acknowledging reality must also rejet God, thereby arrogantly assuming the authority to be that faith’s thought police.

    I’m surprised that someone like you who rejects science so thoroughly even bothers to read this blog. Perhaps you’re paid to troll the net and respond to posts like Phil’s.

  30. @ Then Again: Science is not a democracy, and creationism is wrong no matter how many people believe in it. If you want kids in the US to get a decent education in science (and a decent science education is absolutely mandatory to keep a technological society functioning properly), then you can’t pick and choose. Keep creationism out, and evolution in!

    You called our resistance to pseudoscience elitism, but that misses the point completely. Rather, it is meritocratic: We generally should try to get the people that are best suited for a particular job. When that job is to determine the science curriculum, the best people are those who know about science.

  31. Elmar_M

    What is that 72-hour notice rule about? I have not been to the US in a few years now, but I am planning to go this summer with my wife (who is from the US) to visit her family. Plane tickets just were to pricy last year (insane).
    I remember getting finger printed at the immigration. Thats OK, whatever rocks their boat (though it can be a pain if you dont have enough time for a connecting flight).
    Anyway, I cant remember a “72 hour notice” rule.
    Btw, my suitcases never arrive at the same time as me, thanks to the whole “check out – check in” idea…

  32. Then Again,

    Most people believed the earth was the center of everything, that didn’t stop the planet from whizzing merrily about the sun. The majority can be wrong, that doesn’t change reality. Your argument is a logical fallacy.

    Atheism has NOTHING to do with science or evolution. That is a popular theist lie.

    Before you go all freedom of religoin isn’t freedom from religion, may I suggest you have some moral imagination and read this:
    Myth:
    You have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

    Response:
    This claim is common, but it rests on a misunderstanding of what real freedom of religion entails. The most important thing to remember is that freedom of religion, if it is going to apply to everyone, also requires freedom from religion. Why is that? You do not truly have the freedom to practice your religious beliefs if you are also required to adhere to any of the religious beliefs or rules of other religions.

    As an obvious example, could we really say that Jews and Muslims would have freedom of religion if they were required to show same respect to images of Jesus that Christians have? Would Christians and Muslims really have freedom of their religion if they were required to wear yarmulkes? Would Christians and Jews have freedom of religion if they were required to adhere to Muslim dietary restrictions?

    Simply pointing out that people have the freedom to pray however they wish is not enough. Forcing people to accept some particular idea or adhere to behavioral standards from someone else’s religion means that their religious freedom is being infringed upon.

    Freedom from religion does not mean, as some mistakenly seem to claim, being free from seeing religion in society. No one has the right not to see churches, religious expression, and other examples of religious belief in our nation — and those who advocate freedom of religion do not claim otherwise.

    What freedom from religion does mean, however, is the freedom from the rules and dogmas of other people’s religious beliefs so that we can be free to follow the demands of our own conscience, whether they take a religious form or not. Thus, we have both freedom of religion and freedom from religion because they are two sides of the same coin.

    Interestingly, the misunderstandings here can be found in many other myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings as well. Many people don’t realize — or don’t care — that real religious liberty must exist for everyone, not just for themselves. It’s no coincidence that people who object to the principle of “freedom from religion” are adherents of religious groups whose doctrines or standards would be the ones enforced by the state.

    Since they already voluntarily accept these doctrines or standards, they don’t expect to experience any conflicts with state enforcement or endorsement. What we have, then, is a failure of moral imagination: these people are unable to really imagine themselves in the shoes of religious minorities who don’t voluntarily accept these doctrines or standards and, hence, experience an infringement on their religious liberties through state enforcement or endorsement.

    That, or they simply don’t care what religious minorities experience because they think they have the One True Religion. And maybe that’s their point?

    I promise not to think in your churches if you can just keep your religion out of my schools. By the way, why is intense religiosity associated with so many ills? http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

  33. Elmar, if you want to enter the US on a visa waiver, check the rules: I believe they now want you to register online a couple of days in advance, so they know where you are when you are in the US, etc.

    It’s crazy and absolutely pointless security-wise, but there you go.

  34. Elmar_M

    Ok, there was something about 2 weeks back then, but that only applied to Austrians that had a passport that was NEWER (dont understand why) than 2005 or so, cant remember). Guess they changed that rule again…
    Sigh.
    The whole “where you stay” thingy was on the green sheets of paper that you filled out on the airplane.
    Thats now not the case anymore?
    Why do they have to make everything so complicated?

  35. Elmar_M,
    ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Citizens of countries on the visa waiver program now have to let the US DHS know we’re coming to the US. Essentially instead of filling in those immigration/customs forms on the plane we now have to lodge the same info over the internet before we leave.
    http://www.theage.com.au/travel/new-us-entry-rules-for-travellers-start-20090112-7eo9.html

  36. PeterC

    When given lemons, make lemonade….

    OK, go for it. Make this an opportunity.

    They want religion – or, to make it clear, Protestant Baptist/Evangelical type Christianity – tought in science classes. [Aside – can you imagine their reaction if teachers tought the Islamic creation myth? Or the Bhuddist one? Or the Hindu?]

    OK, do it. But remember, this is *science* class. So teach the Christian creation myth – and as much else of the Bible as you feel necessary – using rigorous scientific standards. Put up the evidence for one against the evidence for the other. Do rigorous double-blind tests of the power of prayer. Examine alternative hypotheses – ask the student to come up with any evidence or an experiment to show any supernatural intervention in creation. Set them homework assignments to compare evidence for evolution against evidence for creation.

    Basically, point out every inconsidency, idiocy and error in Genesis, in science classes, officially sanctioned to do so by the state government!

    When their children start coming home from school and tell their parents that they learned today in science class that the Bible is wrong, the reaction will be, well, amusing. There will be a legal challenge to their own law from their own side before the month is out.

    In fact, it wouldn’t suprise me if there was a law *banning* science teachers from mentioning religion before too long…

  37. I think that SCIB made the best conceivable move. Going to Utah is an interesting choice, since people tend to associate the state with religious fundamentalism. I don’t understand the folks in the comments (here and elsewhere) insinuating that Utah is somehow inappropriate because of the Mormons. Look, wanting to avoid a WHOLE state despite a decent curriculum because it is the location of choice for a religious group strikes me as bigoted, and not a little bigoted- a lot bigoted.

  38. Then Again demonstrates the need for better education with his or her poor knowledge of science, economics, history, and civics. At least he can spell.

  39. The US is a Christian nation with a Christian majority – the small undemocratic ’science-is-god’ elite can shout & scream and sulk all they like but ultimately if they go against that majority they will lose.

    And the 2+2=5 (for extremely high values of 2, I suppose) crowd can shout & scream and sulk all they like but ultimately if they go against reality, they will lose.

    See how that works?

  40. justcorbly

    PeterC:

    Interesting idea, but I suspect the Education Mandarins in Louisiana will pay someone to develop a mandated curriculum. A teacher adopting your approach would likely be fired or see his/her contract dropped at year’s end.

  41. Dan

    SciAm ran a great issue a few months back all about evolution. As they say “nothing in biology makes sense without evolution.”

    Evolution is the Grand Unified Theory of biology. If you reject evolution you have to reject EVERYTHING about biology, modern biology is completely based on evolution.

    Rejecting evolution is like rejecting gravity. It’s there, it exists that’s all there is too it.

    Hell, you could conceivably say we know MORE about evolution than we do about gravity.

    Think about it, maybe I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that we still have no idea HOW or WHY gravity exists. We know that larger mass = larger gravity…but do we have any idea exactly why or how that happens?

    We have a fairly decent grasp of the how/why of evolution.

  42. The saddest part of all this creationist nonsense is that it will take a full generation for the harm these nutjobs are inflicting to become apparent. Only after a generation of kids grows up and finds themselves ill-equipped for college level science or engineering or anything that requires rational thought, and consequently find huge areas of economic opportunity off limits to them, will the god-fearin’ cranks finally figure out what their policies have done. Or…maybe they won’t figure it out. Their logical reasoning skills being what they are, maybe they’ll invade Mexico instead.

  43. kuhnigget, if the current low science and math standards in high school (here in the UK) are any indication, colleges will just decide to spend time on remedial courses in the first year, and the teachers will grumble and moan and carry on regardless.

    I think that the only effective way is to keep challenging them in the courts, and deprive these states from income they would otherwise have had from conferences.

    PS. I don’t know what the state curriculum in Utah is, but the fact that it has a large population of mormons seems rather irrelevant. If I remember correctly, they are not particularly creationist.

  44. MKR

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/620518/Utah/79180/Education#toc79180

    “More than half of Utah’s governmental expenditure is for education. Utah has the highest proportion of its population in public schools, the highest proportion of high school graduates, and the highest median level of school years completed of any state in the nation.

    The school districts levy taxes that pay for almost half of educational expenses, the remainder being paid by the state. General public school regulations are administered by the state Board of Education; elected local boards exercise more specific control. There is a growing number of private elementary and secondary schools.”

    If they keep that up, they can believe whatever they like.

  45. TheBlackCat

    The first amendment does NOT decree that atheism and evolutionism is to be imposed on everybody like it or not & nobody can say otherwise – it merely allows for freedom of all religious denominations – NOT, please note, the exclusion of religion from the public altogether.

    In addition to what other people have said: teaching creationism in U.S. public schools is against the law. It has been repeatedly ruled by the Supreme Court that you cannot teach a specific religious belief as science to the exclusion of all others in public schools. It amounts to the government establishing that particular religious belief as the one supported by the state. Under the 1st and 14th amendments this is unconstitutional, more clearly so under the standard “Lemon Test” used by the supreme court for handling establishment and free exercise cases.

    It doesn’t matter if the majority of people want it. We do not live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional republic. Much of the U.S. constitution is, at its essence, rules set up to protect minority groups from abuse by majority. It doesn’t matter how many people want something, if the constitution says they cannot do it then they cannot do it, end of story.

  46. Rev. I. P. Freeley

    Deuteronomy:

    13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

    13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the Earth even unto the other end of the Earth;

    13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

    13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

    13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

  47. Julian

    “It doesn’t matter if the majority of people want it. We do not live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional republic.”

    ^ THIS!

    Amazing how the Republican party (the party of conservatism) has abandoned this ideal and substituted it with populism (give the people whatever they want regardless of the repercussions.)

  48. Brad

    Many of you guys seem to be getting incensed about the “allowing of creationist materials to be used in the classroom,” as it is stated in this article. This doesn’t infact supercede the teaching of Darwinism. In dental school, there was one book in particular I remember that read like the yin and yang of the universe. It presented both sides of each position, AND the research to back both sides up. While totally confusing, you were left with the understanding that as much as we know, there is still so much that we don’t know.

    Let’s face it, without disregarding things as we currently understand them, there would never be quantum leaps forward in understanding. (I believe Einstein was considered a crazy person by many.) It would only be gradual up to the point of stagnation.

    While there is extremely convincing evidence to support the notion that Darwinism should be absolute, since we humans havn’t created any animals with such significant alterations in the dna code like would take for us to go from chimps to humans, or sea dwelling animals to land creatures, we should at least keep the possibility open that an “Intelligent Design” could be masterminding this entire process.

    As a long term student of the sciences, I know that the when we start believing that things we know are infallable, someone comes along and proves something to the contrary.

    Come on, “Jindal dooms Louisiana?” Get real.

  49. Dr. Plait may be on to something about some of these states being doomed!

    http://www.curefaith.com/2009/02/state-religion-vs-iq.html

    Look where they fall in average IQ! And the correlation (-.49) is pretty impressive. While Mississippi takes the grand turkey, Louisiana isn’t that far away…

    Hey Rev I.P.Freeley (LOL), exactly what was the point of that? To show that the bible actually recognizes other gods? Question: Are Abrahamic religions Hentotheist religions (not monotheist)?

    Reason why they are; The OT talks about other gods and does not disallow them from being possible … just not to be worshipped. As such, the followers of the Abrahamic religions should acknowledge that other gods exist (if theirs does) and then state that they worship one even though that is the case. (One or a pantheon of co-mingled gods depending on sect.)

    That the bible is an instruction manual for murder? That it has some history horribly wrong? (The Jews were never slaves of the Egyptians from everything that history documents, so it sounds like yet another made up tale.)

  50. Brad, Einstein was well aware of the state ofthe art of physics when he made his great discoveries. The notion that people thought Einstein was crazy is a popular myth. For example, relativity was accepted almost immediately by those who understood it, and the only truly revolutionary contribution Einstein made (the light quantum) was awarded the Nobel prize of 1921. The notion that you can make a meaningful contribution to physics without a thorough understanding of the current theories is what keeps the hope alive in crackpots all over the world. The same is true for biology, or any other science.

  51. Brad, you want astrology taught? How about phrenology? There is NO SCIENCE whatsoever in the creationist or ID debate. They have ZERO to do with any science. Teach it in philosphy for all I care, but keep it out of where it doesn’t belong.

  52. GrimaH

    Rev I P Freeley: “This book says that I will surely kill you, and lead everyone else in stoning you to death, because you don’t believe what it says.”

    Gee, sounds like you need to be locked up.
    Somebody locate his address and call the cops on him.

  53. Gary B

    It’s sad that two dogmatic extremist factions can hijack a reasonable and interesting discussion. Bill Maher and friends who dismiss those with faith as ‘ignorant stupid nutcases’ are being just as stupid and dogmatic as the most extreme advocates who say “Jesus rode a dinosaur” (a tiny minority of creation believers). It is time for everyone to quit arguing and accept that others disagree with their world view, and (most importantly) that the opposing point of view is just as reasonable and well-justified as their own. Dismissing someone who disagrees with you as an idiot or nutcase just marks you as too stupid or lazy to review the best arguments on the other side.

    Let’s all lighten up, people!!

    From first principles, it is impossible for any denizen of the Universe to determine whether it had/has a Creator. I recommend the 1960-something work by Ross Ashby on Reconstructability Analysis (see also explanations by Zwick), which proved that the controller of any system must have a higher complexity than the system controlled. From this we can see that, for every argument in favor of a Creator, there is a valid argument against – and vice versa. We CANNOT prove or disprove the existence of a Creator, or whether such a Creator is presently interacting with the Universe.

    Creation is a formally undecideable proposition. Deal with it.

    Each of us as individuals is faced with the decision to have faith in a Creator, or have faith in no Creator. That is the essence of faith – “evidence of things not seen”. We can not know the answer before we die (if then). Pascal argued there were benefits to belief, but that is up to the individual.

    It is OK to believe either way, and we must accept that wise, reasonable, thinking people can come to the opposite conclusion. We must RESPECT those who disagree with us.

    My eighth grade science textbook (in the early 1960’s) argued that the then-accepted Hoyle ‘steady state universe’ contradicted the Biblical model of a universe as having a beginning and end. At that very time, following Wilson and Penzias the “Big Bang” was already well along the way to becoming the established model. (The same book also denigrated as ‘fringe science’ what became known a few years later as plate tectonics but that’s another topic.)

    This is just one example of how science and religious texts have sometimes appeared to contradict, until we came to a better understanding. Sometimes that requires more science, sometimes that requires a better understanding of the religious texts. Some argue that the scientific method itself is based on a Christian model that derives from the “Berean model” for determining truth.

    Evolution is a mechanism, not an existential argument. One of the difficulties is that we still don’t know very much about many of the details, and have not really yet constructed a truly complete picture of what it is. Our mathematical models are primitive – we are a long way from a ‘unified theory’ of many related models.

    I had an epiphany many years ago. In very short, which is more difficult – to design and build something, or to design and build an environment from which that thing can and will arise of its own accord? Is it easier to make a camel, or to create the physical constants out of which an anthropic universe – that contains camels – comes to exist?

  54. Phil,

    Seen this?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/business/15ping.html

    Wonder if there’s a lesson for NASA here?

  55. Paul S.

    I ‘m sure a lot of people will disagree, but I often wonder if teaching “intelligent design” as an alternative in classrooms will really make much difference in overall scientific literacy. I suspect that most people who support creationism/intelligent design on religious grounds support it despite what they are taught about evolution in school classrooms, and most people who support evolution would likely reject intelligent design even if it were taught. If that is the case, the vast majority of people would end up supporting the same system regardless of whether or not intelligent design is taught as a scientific theory.

    For the record, I think that all of the available evidence supports evolution, and that intelligent design is really just a modified version of Judeao-Christian religious belief that does not have scientific support and should not be taught as a science. I am just suggesting that the practical consequences of teaching intelligent design might not be as serious or negative as many people fear.

  56. TheBlackCat

    Many of you guys seem to be getting incensed about the “allowing of creationist materials to be used in the classroom,” as it is stated in this article. This doesn’t infact supercede the teaching of Darwinism.

    I don’t care whether it supercedes evolution or not. The creationist and ID materials have no scientific content, they are based on entirely on lies and misrepresentation. Their arguments have all been thoroughly demolished countless times. Teaching kids creationist arguments as if they have a standing even remotely close to evolution is a lie, and it will confuse them, confuse them about the state of knowledge, confuse them about how science works, confuse them about what is and is not science. That, of course, is the goal. They don’t want kids to know what science is, because of they did they would know that creationism and ID are not science.

    In dental school, there was one book in particular I remember that read like the yin and yang of the universe. It presented both sides of each position, AND the research to back both sides up. While totally confusing, you were left with the understanding that as much as we know, there is still so much that we don’t know.

    Thanks for proving my point. There is no research backing up creationism or ID. None, zero. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or lied to. In fact scientists have been begging creationist and ID proponents for research backing up their claims for decades, and they have steadfastly refused to provide any. They claim that is it coming, secret research being done in secret laboratories by secret people, but they have been saying that for decades too and nothing has come up.

    The issue is not two-sided, and presenting it as though it is two-to lie.

    since we humans havn’t created any animals with such significant alterations in the dna code like would take for us to go from chimps to humans,

    Are you kidding me? There are no “significant alterations in the dna code” between humans and chimps. The changes are few in number and small. The massive changes to the fundamental body plan that scientists do routinely when studying developmental biology dwarf the changes between humans and chimps.

    we should at least keep the possibility open that an “Intelligent Design” could be masterminding this entire process.

    This is called “God of the gaps”, just stick God wherever we don’t know the answer. There are two problems with this. One is that that gaps are continuously getting filled, leaving less of a place for God. Second, “Goddidit” is the ultimate non-answer, all need for any further thought or research just ends there.

    It would not be as big a problem if that sort of argument was what creationists and ID proponents are proposing. It would still be a problem, but not as much. But what they are proposing is that there is specific evidence that shows conclusively that a designer was, in fact, involved. Now they steadfastly refuse to actually say what this evidence is, or to tell us how it proves God was involved, but they insist it is there. Sure, they provide some possible examples and some tentative proof that they admit is currently so flawed as to be totally useless for the purpose they present, but it is all possible examples and possible evidence since as soon as they present an example or present evidence it is rapidly shown to be totally without merit.

    So they maintain plausible deniability, they refuse to provide enough specifics that other people can actually test their ideas and see if they hold up, but enough that they can seem to have arguments to the uninformed masses they are trying to decieve. In the few cases they have provided testable predictions, recorded, verified instances of providing testable predictions, those predictions were rapidly shown to be totally false and then the creationists and ID proponents simply lyed and said they never made the predictions in the first place (despite that they are seen on tape, or even live TV, making them).

  57. Gary B

    I should say that my argument above does not address the Louisiana question. I will say that “… allowing …” materials does not strike me as censorship or a violation of the First Amendment. In fact, just the opposite. Shall we not allow a teacher to say what faith they follow (including an atheist faith)? The failure of Political Correctness is exactly here – considering the First Amendment as a way to disallow that with which one disagrees, when it is really about allowing disagreeable speech. Shall we now disallow students from saying what they believe? Requiring the teaching of creation and disallowing evolution, would be censorship – but those have already been disallowed by the Court.

    My argument above is, essentially that when we look at the problem correctly, evolution is irrelevant to the question of creation.

  58. @Larian LaQuella,

    Please don’t mention IQs in this or any context, all -and I do mean ALL- IQ testing is psuedoscientific nonsense and is essentially meaningless. There is no scientific basis for IQ testing, and more importantly, no one can ever really agree on what intelligence is in the first place.

    Before you ask, why yes, it is a pet issue.

  59. Elmar_M

    Thanks Shane,
    People in the US are paranoid, thats all I can say.
    Oh well, its all for our own safety,isnt it?
    So if it is for our own savety, we will get used to it. As we travelers are used to suffering these days. Some things are just ridiculous anyway, like the whole toothpaste thing. I hope they wont check my breath at the immigration after a transatlantic flight.
    Mmmmmm 18+ hours of traveling (including shuttle to airport, flight from Austria to Frankfurt, then from Frankfurt to Chicago (hate that airport anyway) and then from there to wherever else. That and the “food” on the airplanes makes for a lovely breath flavor.
    And then… after 18+ hours you arrive at the distination airport, but your suitcase does not. Thanks to American Airways (liers there all together too) and their incompetence. So you are not able to brush your teeth until you have found a store to buy some toothpaste! I hate that! It is stupid, dumb, idiotic, foolish, naive, infantile and did I mention ridiculous. And all that in the name of safety. Flying even with a 9/11 (and all associated deaths) counted in and that imagined to happen every year, is still at least 14 times safer than car traffic.
    Driving cars kills more than 40,000 random people a year, but noone would spend a second thought on driving their children arround in one…
    But gee, toothpaste in the handluggage, that is very scary… ROFL

  60. Elmar_M

    According to Eisenck, “intelligence is the sum of all mental capabilities”.
    Now of course what they are, there might be some discussion about.

  61. Come on Elmar, let it all out!

  62. Elmar_M

    Dude, I have not even started yet ;)
    No, but seriously one does not have to make air- traveling such a big pain in the public a**e. I really hope that this will improve with the new administration.

  63. I understand the point of boycotting, but don’t agree with it. Jindal is biting off the children’s noses of Louisiana to spite their faces, not his own.

    It would in fact be much better to actually boost the number of scientific conferences in Louisiana. It’s an EXCELLENT (sorry for the ASSCAPS) opportunity for scientific outreach.

    Kids in their everyday lives don’t often have the opportunity to meet scientists, and conferences are an excellent opportunity to bring science to them.

    It would be lovely, for example, if conferences offered discounts on registration or free proceedings to anyone who uses their free time to visit a school and talk about what they do. So many of you travel the world and do hugely interesting things with your time, and it wouldn’t be terribly difficult for conference organizers to set up volunteer physics demonstrations with a balloon, a field trip to a puddle with a crappy microscope and slides so a group of kids can see microscopic life, letting kids hold a few old bones, or talk about what Jupiter is made out of.

    Seriously, most conferences have free time built in anyway. Setting aside a small room in the conference center of a hotel is cheap/free when you fill a room block, and inviting local high school students to come to a lighthearted talk about what you do, where you’ve traveled, what made you decide to be a scientist, and discovery itself would combat the bullshit, inspire kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to be inspired, and tell the state of Louisiana that although some might be abandoning science, science isn’t abandoning them.

    I just don’t think you can combat ignorance by turning your back on it to let those poor kids be caught in a cycle of Teh Stupid.

    I’m positive that there are huge numbers of teachers and parents who don’t agree with Jindal who are starved for such an opportunity.

    In fact, I’d step up to the plate in a heartbeat to volunteer a few hours a week to make calls and set up “housecalls” to schools if anyone attending a science conference in Louisiana would like to volunteer an hour of time to visit a class and talk about science with students. If the state won’t provide, perhaps the scientific community can pick up a little bit of the slack.

    Another thing the scientific community can do even if they wish to take their conferences out of LA, is to go to donorschoose.com, search “science” click on Louisiana, and donate to schools in need of science supplies. There are some lovely projects but some great science teachers that need funding. This way, you can still help the kids of Louisiana get the educations in science they deserve. They’re too young to have voted for this horseshit, but when they become old enough to vote, maybe enough of them will have good memories of science to turn it around for their state.

  64. Bystander

    “Electrolytes! ..it what plants crave!”

    Ps: Reverend IP. *beckons you over* *whispers* Thank you for pointing out how insensitive, aggressive, and violent your standards are when it comes to people who don’t share your opinions. I can’t wait until you win and all of America are your ilk. :P

  65. Phil’s blog ate my post!

  66. Todd W.

    @Elmar_M

    Not sure what the regs are for international flights, but on domestic flights, you’re able to carry liquids/pastes that are in containers no larger than 3 oz., as long as all of the containers fit into a single, large zip-lock bag. So, you can have a 3 oz. tube of toothpaste, 3 oz. deodorant, etc. Again, this is definitely OK for domestic flights. I’m not sure about international flights.

  67. Lou

    Why is it that evolutionists try so hard to convince others that evolution is the be-all of science? FYI, evolution is just a miniscule and almost irrelevant speck on science’s arse. Most of the greatest achievements in science, even in biology, have nothing to do with evolution. The DNA double helix was not discovered because of Darwinism, sorry. It was all about chemistry. Isaac Newton, a Christian creationist (although not a YEC), revolutionized physics and math hundreds of years before Darwin became famous. The vacuum tube, the electric motor, the transistor, the computer, the telegraph, the light bulb, the telephone, nuclear power, the internet and many other game changing inventions owe absolutely nothing to Darwinian evolution. Zilch.

    What makes you people so arrogant? Methinks it’s a sign of fear due to an inferiority complex because your so-called science is not really science. It’s just one laughable conjecture after another and people are not falling for it. BTW, you’re losing the war and you’re losing it real fast. Check out the latest polls. LOL.

  68. Lawrence

    I really wish people would stop calling it “Darwinism” or “Darwinian Evolution.”

    So much has occurred over the past one hundred & fifty years to quantify, clarify & qualify different aspects of the evolutionary model that it really is a completely different animal than where it started.

    That’s another aspect of the argument that I can’t fathom – ID’ers & Creationists going back to the very beginnings of the theory & attacking only that part of it, only to ignore all of the discoveries and advancements since then.

    A poster above stated that Science is constantly changing – as technology allows us to understand things that we either couldn’t see or access (like DNA, for example) that changes our understanding of the underlying aspects of Biology.

    Just like we build bigger and better telescopes to achieve a greater understanding of the nature of the Universe, so to, we have bigger and better tools to understand where we, as a species, came from.

    Oh, and no feeding the trolls.

  69. MadScientist

    @Elmar_M

    “Why do they have to make everything so complicated?”

    It’s simple – the DHS is constituted of 100% morons who couldn’t get onto a football team. They think the idea sounds clever so it must be good – and they should be able to get more money from the government to implement it. The DHS is not accountable to anyone – they can spend money and ask for more money and never have to demonstrate that their schemes are beneficial in any way; anyone who challenges them is unpatriotic and a terrorist.

  70. “The vacuum tube, the electric motor, the transistor, the computer, the telegraph, the light bulb, the telephone, nuclear power, the internet and many other game changing inventions owe absolutely nothing to Darwinian evolution.”

    Can’t help but notice you didn’t mention any pharmaceuticals, bio-engineering, or pretty much anything related to agriculture or the modern medical science that we love so dearly in that list of yours.

    Why does the word ‘loser’ come drifting to mind? Like all cranks, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean everyone else is just as dim as you are.

  71. Lou

    Can’t help but notice you didn’t mention any pharmaceuticals, bio-engineering, or pretty much anything related to agriculture or the modern medical science that we love so dearly in that list of yours.

    I am willing to bet that none of these things has anything to do with the evolution of the species. And FYI, everybody believes in evolution, just not your version of it. Farmers and hunters have known that animals evolve tens of thousands of years before Darwin showed up. They just never observed apes evolving into anything other than apes. A Chihuahua is still a dog even after countless artificial selections.

    Why does the word ‘loser’ come drifting to mind? Like all cranks, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean everyone else is just as dim as you are.

    Same to you, buddy. I’ll say it again. Evolution is a miniscule and mostly irrelevant speck on science’s arse. Live with it.

  72. They should come to vegas, we need the cash, and we have cookies :)

  73. IVAN3MAN

    Lou:

    What makes you people so arrogant? Methinks it’s a sign of fear due to an inferiority complex because your so-called science is not really science. It’s just one laughable conjecture after another and people are not falling for it. BTW, you’re losing the war and you’re losing it real fast. Check out the latest polls. LOL.

    Creationism is Popular

  74. @ Lou:

    Give up, friend.

    Go to a library, open a biology textbook, read it.

    Talk to someone at a pharmaceutical company, Amgen say. Ask them what the science is behind their production of drugs such as Epogen.

    Talk to anyone who manufacturers pesticides.

    Talk to someone from the CDC about this year’s flu shots.

    Or…just crawl back into the dark ages and count the specks on your arse.

    They just never observed apes evolving into anything other than apes.

    Because their lifespans aren’t long enough. Pretty simple concept for anyone who wants to use their brain.

  75. ND

    Lou,

    What does your first sentence mean?

    “Why is it that evolutionists try so hard to convince others that evolution is the be-all of science?”

    Are they saying evolution applies to Newtonian mechanics or other sciences somehow?

    As for DNA, Darwin recognized the necessity of some sort of mechanism like the DNA we know today. I don’t believe he predicted what shape and form it would be in. But given what he saw in nature he predicted the mechanism which later on turned out to be DNA. It was necessary to explain what he was seeing.

    Your comparison with other sciences and technological achievements makes no sense what so ever and sounds rather knee-jerky. Where are you reading this?

    “… you’re losing the war and you’re losing it real fast. Check out the latest polls. LOL.” The stupidification of various states in this country is no laughing matter actually. Such environments make it easier for stupid people end up at the heads of governments. Leading to even more stupidity. We’ll need an intervention loving deity if Palin makes a comeback.

    Frankly you sound like a troll. I’m not sure you really mean the things you said.

  76. ND

    ah. others addressed Lou. n/m.

  77. Lou

    @IVAN3MAN,

    Hahahaha. This is one funny cartoon, dude, even if it’s blatantly crap. Contrary to common belief, ID proponents like me do have a sense of humor. See y’all at the next evolutionary biologist lynching. I’ll bring some popcorn. LOL.

  78. NikitaSamuelle

    I find this so unbelievably depressing in 2009! Growing up, my mom sent me to a local Baptist school for the small class size, not because we were Baptist. They taught creationism, so that’s all the science I had through high school. When I wanted to take biology and genetics in college, I had to work twice as hard to keep up because I had zero grounding not just in the facts, but in scientific method. It’s simply diametrically opposed to faith-based teaching.

    I was extremely lucky to have very patient, understanding professors who took the time to help me catch up. I’m grateful to this day, 15+ years later. On the other hand, my math skills never did recover from my junior-high and high-school algebra and geometry teacher refusing to help me because “girls don’t need math.”

    It saddens me that it won’t “just” be a handful of religious-school students missing a critical step in their education, but a whole generation of students in public schools, too.

  79. Lou

    They just never observed apes evolving into anything other than apes.

    Because their lifespans aren’t long enough. Pretty simple concept for anyone who wants to use their brain.

    Science is based on observation. If it’s not observed it’s no better than superstition. Kind of like parallel universes and time travel in physics. Pseudoscience, all of it! Hahahaha… Not even wrong.

  80. Darth Robo

    @Then Again

    >>>”Creationism / Intelligent Design / Something beyond science that science simply doesn’t get is here, has been here & always will be here.”

    Thank you for agreeing with us that IDCreationism simply isn’t science and thereby completely destroying your own first post.

    @Lou

    Uh, Lou, you do know that DNA is a major part of the evidence of evolution, don’t you? ERV’s mean anything to you?

    Whether or not you think evolution is important is irrelevant. Fact is, it is science whether you like it or not. Now, the creationists are actively attempting to water-down the teaching of evolution IN FAVOUR of RELIGIOUS APOLOGETICS. Not only is this mind-numbingly stupid, it is also illegal. So, think hard now, your dismissal of evolution aside, do you SERIOUSLY support the insertion of CREATIONISM into public schools, in SCIENCE CLASSES no less?

    Srsly?

  81. ND

    I looked at Lou website. I think we have another Anaconda in our midst.

  82. ND

    IVAN3MAN,

    Are those leeches in that cartoon you posted? If so leeches and maggots are used in modern medicine. There are specific uses for them. Unless that’s a refrence to using leeches to cure ills when it doesn’t.

  83. Darth Robo

    Oh, so you’re an ID proponent. I guess that answers my last question, Lou, thanks.

    So while you’re here, can you please tell me what exactly the scientific “theory” of ID actually is, what mechanism it uses, who/what the “designer” is, what specifically points to ID, what verifiable observations does it make, how it is tested, how it can be falsified and what useful scientific predictions it can make?

    >>>”Science is based on observation. If it’s not observed it’s no better than superstition.”

    And evolution is observed. Speciation is observed. Fossils fall into predictable patterns. If you want to claim that speciation cannot occur, perhaps you will be the first to tell us what the “magic barrier” is that prevents this? The only thing I can think of is if the Earth was say, oh I dunno, about 6,000 years old?

    What observations have been made that confirm/is evidence of ID?

  84. Lou

    @Darth Robo,

    Look, man. I believe in evolution, just not your version of it. I am in favor of teaching both the evidence for and against evolution and ID. I am in favor of teaching kids to make up their own mind. I believe there is extremely strong evidence that the universe and all life were created. You may have the law on your side but we have democracy on ours. Eventually the people will change the law if they feel threatened by it. They just don’t think it’s as important as you do.

    Personally I am not threatened by your Big Brother-type, shove-it-down-their-throats-with-the-full-force-of-the-law BS. I do my own thinking, thank you very much and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. However, I think that, if you hold the minority view and it’s so vital to you, you should feel threatened by the majority opinion in a democracy. In fact, I know that you people do feel threatened and this article by Plait is proof. The lady doth protest a wee bit too much, in my opinion. You people are paranoid and rightfully so. LOL.

  85. Radwaste

    Gee, Lou, how about we let kids “make up their own mind” about other topics, too?

    The plain fact is that IDers lie. That should be enough for you to get the away from your kids – but you have another purpose.

  86. Dave2

    I suppose all the public school students in Clearwater, Florida should be taught from Scientology materials?

  87. LukeL

    Just because I am not except the total evolutionary theory does not mean I won’t teach it. If that was a major concern too me I would teach chemistry or physics, or even what I love earth science. You can not hold to something and still teach it. Last thing I would want to do is get the NEA or WEAC mad at me.

  88. GuruOfReason

    Here is what I think. I think that all of the hospitals in Louisiana should abandon actual medicine (which is based upon science) and instead offer faith healing and christian science. They they will see why science if important.

  89. Richard

    If you wanna propose that “Intelligent Design,” creationism, or creation “science,” have real science merit, then you will have to accept the use of the scientific method upon whatever “theory” you propose.

    As Darth Robo points out, you must be able to observe this “designer.” If it can’t be observed then that thing can’t be considered valid.

    It must be testable: there must be a way to bring about a species by this “method” of special design. If it cannot be performed, then it is not valid.

    You must have specific evidence for your pet theory, simply saying, “Well, now, things are too complex to have just happen,” might be good discussion in a philosophy class, but is meaningless in science, unless accompanied by “We’ll have to see why this (ID) doesn’t explain anything.

    Your “theory” has to predict something useful. Simply saying “something will happen, once we get around to it” means nothing until you have something useful.

    In short, if you want your precious ID to be taken as science, then prepared to have it go through serious examination for holes of any sort.

    The Vatican has just accepted evolution as science fact and has left behind ID. (They maintain that God directed it, but it’s all the same result.)

    Some US pastors are fully embracing evolution in their pulpits.

    Wrong, creationists, there may yet be a truce between science and religion on this topic. It may be uneasy, but even the Church now accepts a heliocentric solar system.

    Methinks it’s the creationists who are scared about the inevitable.

    But I could be wrong.

  90. Darth Robo

    Lou. Thanks again for uh, not answering any of my questions in any way whatsoever. What is this “evidence for and against evolution and ID”? Wouldn’t wanna be thought of as “paranoid” after all, right? What does creationism have to offer?

    And on the subject of being paranoid, could you please explain the Wedge Document?

    http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html

  91. FPM

    That’s nothing. I used to be a homeless rodeo clown but now I am a world class magician !

  92. TheBlackCat

    Look, man. I believe in evolution, just not your version of it.

    In addition to Darth’s question, let me ask you two more. First, please explain to us what you think “our version” of evolution is. Be as specific as possible. Second, please tell us what your version of evolution is, once again as specifically as possible. As it stands now we have to guess, which isn’t going to help anyone. Thanks.

  93. Lee Ann

    When I was in high school, my biology teacher taught a couple of different theories including creationism and evolution (the only other theory I remember is “The Big Bang”). I think as a result, I’m more open to the idea of evolution and have read Darwin.

    I’m a Christian, but I believe that God is great, he created us to evolve. To not believe in evolution, well, you’re just clueless.

  94. Lou

    @TheBlackCat and Darth Robo,

    I don’t think this is the place to discuss the pros and cons of ID or evolution. There is plenty of material out there for everybody to peruse and arrive at their own conclusions. I am not looking to convince anybody or have a debate, which would be futile. I’m just having some fun at your expense. It’s the evil stupid Christian in me and all that jazz. LOL.

    Let me just add that, from my own experiments with genetic/evolutionary algorithms (I’m a software engineer), I can observe that there can be no evolution unless the mechanism (program or algorithm) for evolution is already in place. Second, unless the evolutionary mechanism is extremely restricted, evolution becomes a losing proposition because exponential explosion kills it in the bud. Dead. Pfffftt… The restricted evolutionary mechanism itself cannot evolve because that would require an unrestricted evolutionary mechanism which is forever defeated by the exponential explosion. My conclusion is that evolution via natural selection was designed. Nice talking to y’all.

  95. SLC

    Re Lou

    1. Just for the information of Mr. Lou, Issac Newton would not be considered a Christian because he rejected the Trinity. He was a Unitarian/Arian.

    2. Previously, I posted a video of Prof. Ken Miller, no atheist he, describing evidence for apes and humans having a common ancestor. Watch the video and tell us how ID or creationism accounts for the identification of human chromosome 2 with the merger of ape chromosomes 12 and 13.

  96. Daniel Bucy

    What a depressing society we are becoming.

    Can someone answer me why Creationists get precedent over other mythical speculative stories of how and why the universe came into existence?

    The be all end all about the fate of Science, is that it should be decided by scientists, and no particular creation belief should be allowed be taught publicly alongside of it.

    If Parents want their children to be taught this message, they can fork up the money for Private Schooling. It is absolutely ridiculous that tax dollars in these states will be going to fund this nonsense being taught to all manner of children whose beliefs may be further off from the idea than even an atheists is.

    I don’t know what makes me more sad, the drumbeat getting louder of the celebration of a new era of ignorance from Creationists who aren’t even ignoring obscure facts that dictate how silly their argument is becoming, but are indeed ignoring basic things (Umm you don’t represent all religious people, yet you take the stand like you do), or the fact that we have politicians (specifically Republicans who like, aren’t supposed to stand for this) making decisions about what is and isn’t ok to teach our children.

    I think I just vomited in my mouth a little.

    That all.

  97. TheBlackCat

    @ Lou: Great cop-out, Lou. You come here, telling us we are arrogant and scared and that you have this great evidence, and then when pressed on it you claim that you never intended to change anyone’s mind and blah blah. Predictable.

    As for evolutionary algorithms, the “mechanism” is the universe, the laws of physics and the laws of chemistry. These have to be implemented in a computer program but they are there automatically in nature. Just like a computer simulation of a cannon has to model the laws of physics while a real cannon only has to obey them. As for exponential explosion, if you are referring to an exponential population explosion then the population is naturally kept in check by the finite supply of resources, the spread of disease and predators, and lack of space. This provides an upper limit to the number of organisms in the population and, as a result, the number of different versions of a certain trait. This is all stuff you have to be careful of when making a computer program but are basic, unavoidable limits that are present in nature even without evolution.

  98. Davidlpf

    @Lou Muhammad would be proud at leat about dancing like a butterfly, yet no sting.

  99. Science is based on observation. If it’s not observed it’s no better than superstition. Kind of like parallel universes and time travel in physics. Pseudoscience, all of it! Hahahaha… Not even wrong.

    As others noted above. Your observations of the Intelligent Designer are….where now?

    I love this quote from Mr. Lou’s website:

    a much bigger problem for evolutionists is that now we see the correct solution to the riddle of intelligence coming, not from the scientific community, but from the Bible! Is this not the same Bible that evolutionists have dismissed as mere superstition? Is it not the same Bible which claims that all living organisms were originally created by powerful intelligent beings, each organism according to its kind. And how do evolutionists explain the fact that advanced knowledge of brain function was known and written down in a book thousands of years ago? Answer: they cannot. Because it does not fit into their understanding of the origin and history of humanity. They have lost their garments and are walking about naked.

    So not only is he a crank, he’s one of those cranks who pores over texts for all the secret codes they contain.

    Zebadekiah 12:7: “Thou shalt take thy decoder ring from thy finger and learn from it the wisdom of ye ages.”

  100. Davidlpf

    that suppose to be Lou, Muhammad Ali.

  101. TheBlackCat

    What I find most bizarre is that Lou seems to think a computer simulation, and a pretty crude one at that, somehow trumps direct observation. For someone who does computer modeling of biological systems, I can tell you that if a model disagrees with reality, reality wins 100% of the time.

  102. Lou

    1. Just for the information of Mr. Lou, Issac Newton would not be considered a Christian because he rejected the Trinity. He was a Unitarian/Arian.

    Uh, I, too, am a unitarian. Why does this prevent me from being a Christian?

    2. Previously, I posted a video of Prof. Ken Miller, no atheist he, describing evidence for apes and humans having a common ancestor. Watch the video and tell us how ID or creationism accounts for the identification of human chromosome 2 with the merger of ape chromosomes 12 and 13.

    I have no problem with apes and humans sharing genetic material or having a common ancestor. Why should this be evidence against design, pray tell? Does this necessarily mean that humans or apes evolved from the other via natural selection? I don’t think so. I have designed many computer programs that have a lot in common and I can tell you that natural selection and random mutation had nothing to do with it. It was 100% design.

    By the way, I happen to believe that some animals, such as the great apes and possibly other mammals, must be genetically more complex than humans. Why? Because a larger percentage of their behavioral repertoire is innate, i.e., is genetically programmed at conception through normal inheritance.

  103. Darth Robo

    >>>”I don’t think this is the place to discuss the pros and cons of ID or evolution. There is plenty of material out there for everybody to peruse and arrive at their own conclusions. I am not looking to convince anybody or have a debate, which would be futile. I’m just having some fun at your expense. It’s the evil stupid Christian in me and all that jazz.”

    On the contrary, it’s the perfect place science, a science blog. Thanks once again for yet another shining example of creationists crying “Boo-hoo they won’t take ID seriously boo-hoo” and then failing to provide us anything of substance to back up their claims. Good way to post empty rhetoric about the “mean old atheist Darwinist anti-Christian scientific community” and not take responsibility for your words. Another liar for Jesus then.

    Not that we’re at all surprised by this, it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME. Thread comes up on creationists putting apologetics where it shouldn’t, comments start, then a fundie or two come along, make grandiose claims, can’t back themselves up (since they use the same old long debunked creo material that’s been refuted for 50 years) , then receive a predictable verbal slaughtering, fundies disappear.

    >>>”Let me just add that, from my own experiments with genetic/evolutionary algorithms (I’m a software engineer)”

    Engineers… why is it always engineers… ?

  104. TheBlackCat

    I have no problem with apes and humans sharing genetic material or having a common ancestor. Why should this be evidence against design, pray tell?

    No, but if you combine that with the very complete fossil record tracing the relationship from our last ancestor with chimpanzees, then combine that with the larger segments of useless, wasted genetic information that we share, and that we share the same mistakes and flaws in our genetic makeup, and that how closely our DNA matches a particular ape (and other species as well) agrees perfectly with how similarly we are morphologically and matches perfectly with the fossil record tracing our relationships, then that paints a much clearer picture.

  105. bruce

    LukeL, whatever you do, don’t teach English. You write like an lolcat.

    “Just because I am not except the total evolutionary theory…” I do not accept this as evidence of adequate writing ability for a teacher.

    “If that was a major concern too me…” To, buddy, to.

    “You can not hold to something and still teach it.” This is positively incoherent.

    Lou: “I believe there is extremely strong evidence that the universe and all life were created.” Care to cite some of this evidence for us? “You may have the law on your side but we have democracy on ours.” Lou, I don’t believe there are as many evolution-denying nutbags around as you seem to think, even in Louisiana.

  106. IVAN3MAN

    Lou:

    Look, man. I believe in evolution, just not your version of it. I am in favor of teaching both the evidence for and against evolution and ID. I am in favor of teaching kids to make up their own mind.

    Teach Me Both Sides!

  107. TheBlackCat

    Engineers… why is it always engineers… ?

    Hey, I’m an engineer too. We aren’t all like that.

    By the way, I happen to believe that some animals, such as the great apes and possibly other mammals, must be genetically more complex than humans. Why? Because a larger percentage of their behavioral repertoire is innate, i.e., is genetically programmed at conception through normal inheritance.

    Great apes aren’t genetically more complex than us. See, this is how science works. You make a hypothesis, then test it. Of course all the hypotheses creationists and ID proponents provide always turn out to be wrong.

  108. Sorry, Lou…maybe I missed it…

    Where was that observation of the Creator you mentioned again?

    Oh, wait, must have been that Jesus-shaped Cheesy Poof on ebay.

  109. Darth Robo

    >>>”I have no problem with apes and humans sharing genetic material or having a common ancestor. Why should this be evidence against design, pray tell? Does this necessarily mean that humans or apes evolved from the other via natural selection? I don’t think so. I have designed many computer programs that have a lot in common and I can tell you that natural selection and random mutation had nothing to do with it. It was 100% design.”

    Evolution is not evidence against ID. Nor is it supposed to be. If you wanna believe that God is responsible for it, then fine. But if you wanna say your computer program is evidence of design in biological organisms, now you have your hypothesis, what are you going to do to test it? What mechanism do you propose for your “designer”? And, the one I’d really like to know is: how can your “design hypothesis” be falsified?

  110. ND

    Lou,

    What exactly were you simulating? Were you simulating genetic and biological processes? Biological evolution itself? Who were you designing this simulation for?

    “I have no problem with apes and humans sharing genetic material or having a common ancestor. Why should this be evidence against design, pray tell?”

    I don’t think that is evidence against design. The issue is the lack of evidence *for* design despite what ID proponents have put forth. Can you provide some evidence for design please?

  111. Darth Robo

    @TheBlackCat

    >>>”Hey, I’m an engineer too. We aren’t all like that.”

    Sorry, it’s just there does seem to be a lot of them.

    ;)

  112. Darth Robo

    >>>”Is it not the same Bible which claims that all living organisms were originally created by powerful intelligent beings, each organism according to its kind.”

    Really? Kinda makes ya wonder why these guys are using evil atheistic Darwinistic science in their scientific classification of animals:

    http://creationwiki.org/Kangaroo

    Strange…

  113. Amanda

    LukeL said: “The major problem with education is not this, but policies like getting away from phonics and grammar in favor of sounding words out and allowing oral speech to be considered okay for written speech. Take that along with forgoing subjects like math and science in favor of classes on diversity and self esteem and you have a cultural full of self centered kids who know nothing about the real world.”

    First of all, learning to decode words (or sound them out) is part of phonics. Neither of those really lend themselves wholly to comprehension, either, which is what students are really lacking.

    Regardless, it is clear from your post that you aren’t really familiar with education and teaching. I think it’s great that you are considering teaching, as it is a very important and difficult profession, but I would suggest you refrain from discussing it until you have a bit more experience in the area. Math, Science, Reading, and Writing (with correct grammar), as well as encouraging students to use grammatically correct oral communication, are all part of my daily schedule. Diversity and self esteem (among other character traits) are important aspects of Social Studies, which doesn’t get nearly as much attention in the classroom. (Which is quite sad, in my opinion.) I think it’s odd that you say that evolutionary teaching belongs in an elective, and that not enough time is spent teaching science. Those thoughts seem contradictory.

    Also, @Craig: many school districts are considering cutting down the school week by a day to conserve money (and energy/fuel, I might add). While I can see both sides of the argument, here, it seems like it would be more desirable to lengthen the school day and go for four days instead of five, rather than cut teachers and funding for already understaffed and underfunded schools. The issues of childcare and the worry that not everything can be squeezed into that extra hour are real, though, so I’m kind of on the fence. As a teacher, what would really make me want this would be (1) having the option of using at least one of those Fridays every month as a workday (which would be glorious) and (2) Figuring out if and how all the year’s material can be squeezed into fewer days. My main point being that I don’t view this as a sign that a state or district doesn’t care about education, merely that they’re weighing their options. Also, my neices and nephews go to a four day a week district, and seem to be doing alright.

  114. ND

    ”Is it not the same Bible which claims that all living organisms were originally created by powerful intelligent beings,…”

    Wait “beingS”? Plural? Am I missing something here? I thought it was only a single deity that created everthing. Who else was involved?

  115. MartinM

    What makes you people so arrogant?

    The fact that our opposition is so hilariously incompetent.

  116. Lou

    @TheBlackCat,

    Great apes aren’t genetically more complex than us. See, this is how science works. You make a hypothesis, then test it. Of course all the hypotheses creationists and ID proponents provide always turn out to be wrong.

    I’ll ignore the arrogant condescension (a sign of weakness among evolutionists, I know) but my understanding (see link below) is that chimpanzees are found to be more evolved than humans. I take “more evolved” to imply more complex. This is what I would expect from my own research into human and animal intelligence. It takes more genetic programming to specify a brain that contains a lot of behavioral knowledge compared to one that contains relatively little. Humans must learn almost everything they know compared to other animals. Does anybody know off-hand the total number of genes and DNA pairs that comprise the chimp’s genetic makeup?

    Chimps are ahead of humans in the great evolutionary race:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1662524.ece

  117. IVAN3MAN

    ND:

    Are those leeches in that cartoon you posted? If so leeches and maggots are used in modern medicine. There are specific uses for them. Unless that’s a [reference] to using leeches to cure ills when it doesn’t.

    Yes, they are leeches, but, IIRC, they are only used to provide an effective means to reduce blood coagulation, relieve venous pressure from pooling blood (venous insufficiency), and in reconstructive surgery to stimulate circulation in reattachment operations for organs with critical blood flow, such as eye lids, fingers, and ears. The therapeutic effect is not from the blood taken in the meal, but from the continued and steady bleeding from the wound left after the leech has detached.

    As for maggots, they only used to clean gangrenous tissue in wounds by eating away rotting flesh, but leaving healthy flesh alone.

    However, the point of the cartoon is that leeches are not a cure all, as was once thought in medieval times, to ‘balance’ the ‘humors’ — blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile — in order for the human body to function properly.

  118. ND

    IVAN3MAN,

    That’s what I thought :)

  119. IVAN3MAN

    In the early 5th century, St. Augustine took the view that the biblical text should not be interpreted literally if it contradicts what we know from science and our God-given reason. In an important passage on his De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [AD 408], St. Augustine wrote:

    It not infrequently happens that something about the Earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the Sun and Moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

  120. bringthapain

    It seems that the religious supporters believe handed down documents(written by God) that have been written by long forgotten men, in long forgotten languages. The scientific “creationists” believe their theories, mathematical equations and conjectures and hypothesis developed by men. You both expect the rest of us to believe and support your viewpoints, and if we do not, you both condemn and ridicule the rest of us for not endorsing your particular theories. Now that being said, I’m sure to be denigrated by both factions. I want to rest assured that I and…..gasp…. many others don’t give a tinkers damn about your supposed theories and we wished you would just shut the fuck up before we have to bitch slap you into silence you hate mongering scumbags.

  121. elle

    Yeah, take that money and interest away from New Orleans, the districts that voted most strongly against Jindal in the gubernatorial election, home to five level-3 biohazard labs, and home to the state’s least religious and most educated population!

    Yeah, boycott the only city in the state with any vested economic interest in biological study! Take it away from a place where people don’t buy into the governor’s crap! That’ll show ‘em who really cares about science, and inspire them to do even more to change the culture of the rest of the state, which didn’t know and doesn’t care about the convention anyway!

    And certainly don’t continue to support studies and research at LSU in BATON ROUGE, the state capital where these decisions are made, and which voted in Jindal’s favor.

    No, take all that revenue, attention, prestige and the chance for hundreds of researchers, students and educators to meet and network with actual experts in their fields, and bring it to a state not only dominated by a religion, but one where barely a fifth of its adherents favor evolution over creationism, which funds political crusades in other states. Bring it to a place where 70 percent of the population doesn’t believe in evolution, where even more radical legislation didn’t pass only because its lawmakers were smart enough to know it wouldn’t survive legal challenges.

    Ooh, BURNNNN. Boy, we scientists here in New Orleans sure know we made the wrong decision to stick around and actually try to help this state. Thanks for showing me how stupid I am for looking around me and seeing a community of professionals busting their asses in spite of a government we didn’t elect.

  122. Ivan:

    I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

    Augustine set the stage for countless equivocators to come. “Genesis is right, unless, it’s wrong, in which case it’s still right because the errors are just misinterpretation.”

  123. Brad

    Interesting discussions to say the least. But here is yet another “Theory” of how we got here. Until we can follow the scientific method and satisfy them every time, there still exists the possibility for anything.

    http://www.lloydpye.com/

    It must be testable: there must be a way to bring about a species by this “method” of special design. If it cannot be performed, then it is not valid.

    BTW, I’d love to see the research that changed any one species into another species, not just research that dramatically changed a particular species. One that changed a species so significantly that it could only reproduce by mating with another of the same species.

    I am a firm believer in evolution, but the fundamental changes from one species to another still has some unanswered questions.

    I went to a Catholic High School in Louisiana and we were taught evolution for sure.

    We should never stop trying to fill in the gaps. Except maybe for the Hadron Collider. :)

    BTW, I also believe that nutjobs inhabit all forms of the various theories.

  124. Reading this

    Great! You guys scared Lou away…

  125. ND

    Just to go off in a totally different direction, I found the following article on maggots and leeches in medical usage. Warning, very gross pictures of maggots at work in a wound. If you can’t handle it, don’t follow the link:

    http://www.livescience.com/health/050419_maggots.html

    Otherwise really cool :)

  126. ex comic geek

    Are we really having this discussion in 2009? If you really believe that the bible is the word of god, then get some slaves, when you’re in church you can slap any female for speaking without their father’s consent and don’t eat anything from the sea that does not have scales. You can’t say, “I think this is what God meant to say”. If you’re going to follow the bible then actually follow it.

  127. IVAN3MAN

    Indeed, kuhnigget!

  128. If Intelligent Design were limited to a belief that God created the environment for evolution to take place, there would not be a controversy. There would be no need to try to delude people into believing that Intelligent Design is an alternative to evolution that must be presented, in order to be fair. A spokesman for the Vatican stated that God created evolution is the interpretation of the Vatican. Not that everyone should accept what the Vatican says, but they are not known for being quick to adopt new scientific teaching. Of course, On the Origin of Species is 150 years old, while Intelligent Design is only a few years old.

    God creating evolution is not the meaning of Intelligent Design that is being promoted as an alternative to evolution. Having Intelligent Design presented as an alternative to evolution makes this clear. Intelligent Design is not science.

    Intelligent Design is anti-science.

    Anti-science has no place in the science classroom.

    Science is capable of self-correction, because revision is inevitable. This is part of science. Anti-science only makes excuses for the inevitable failures of anti-science.

    Many people do not understand evolution, because they do not understand the huge numbers involved in the coincidences that produce natural selection. The leap to blasphemy, to defend their ignorance, is not honest science, nor is it honest religion. How can you claim that evolution is too complex for an omnipotent God to have created? Only by worshiping the Bible, in stead of worshiping God. And by worshiping the Bible poorly at that. The First Commandment forbids worshiping all other Gods before God, yet Creationists worship a Catch-22 Bible. Their interpretation of the Bible limits the powers of God to just what is written in Genesis. Why is their God not capable of creating evolution?

    This is not about religion. This is about the Creationists’ inability to understand complexity, their inability to accept their relationship with other species, their inability to not be the center of attention.

    Creationists should be treated the same as the rest of the anti-scientists – homeopaths, anti-vaccinationists, AIDS denialists, psychics, witches, Satan worshipers, . . . . There is no significant difference. These are just a bunch of conspiracy theorists pretending to be Christians, so they can convince others that they are not like Scientologists and Satan worshipers.

    Back in July, I wrote about the fraudulent enticements of the Discovery Institute in Governor Jindal Arranges for Hurricane DI to hit Louisiana in September.

    I wrote about the blasphemous Creationist religious approach in Ben Stein Fails Religion, Or Happy Birthday Charles Darwin.

  129. TheBlackCat

    Does anybody know off-hand the total number of genes and DNA pairs that comprise the chimp’s genetic makeup?

    Chimpanzees have 2,928,563,828 base pairs and are projected to have either 14,945 or 17,592 genes (the des
    Humans have 3,253,037,807 base pairs and 21,388 genes

    So, contrary to your hypothesis, humans have both longer genomes and more genes.

    I’ll ignore the arrogant condescension (a sign of weakness among evolutionists, I know)

    Yes, I know I’m weak. I get annoyed when people come, insult me, brag about how well-supported their position is, then start dodging any attempt to actually wrestle one coherent argument or one iota of data, and steadfastly refuse to actually answer any question posed to them. It is a serious weakness of mine, and I am working on it.

  130. TheBlackCat

    If you want a source you can find it here:

    http://www.ensembl.org/

  131. Tony62

    Brad: “I am a firm believer in evolution, but the fundamental changes from one species to another still has some unanswered questions.”

    Evolution doesn’t need believers. We just need people to understand it. Clearly there is something here you don’t understand. I suggest you read an introductory book on evolution before spouting this kind of nonsense.

  132. Lou

    @TheBlackCat,

    You take yourself too seriously, amigo. Chill out. It’s not as if the world would come to an end if evolution is shown to be nonsense. I never said I was an ID or evolution expert. I just know is that even the simplest evolutionary mechanism (computer algorithm) does not get off the ground on its own (i.e., via chance happenings) due to an exponential explosion in complexity. That’s the main problem with evolution, in my opinion. It never gets started because you need an evolutionary mechanism to evolve the evolutionary mechanism. It’s a snake eating its own tail. What’s your argument against that?

    By the way, I read in various places that humans had closer to 25,000 genes. So your figures are suspicious to say the least. Did you just do a Google search and found convenient data to support your position? And so what if my hypothesis on chimp complexity is wrong? I never presented it as a proof of ID.

  133. @Lou,

    You essentially shown that you don’t have clue how evolutions works. Well done.

    The Human Genome Project states there are aprox 20000 – 25000 human genes. So?

  134. Jacques Meade

    Lou: “Did you [TheBlackCat] just do a Google search and found convenient data to support your position? And so what if my hypothesis on chimp complexity is wrong?”

    So what if he did? Unlike some people, like you, Lou, who just pull ‘evidence’ out of their ass!

  135. Rick.N

    @Lou: And so what if my hypothesis on chimp complexity is wrong?

    Well, actually your hypothesis indicates that your knowledge about AI isn’t to good. Why do you think a learning agent that can survive almost anywhere on this Planet is less complex than an agent that relies a lot more on reflexes an can survive in a relative small area?
    And what exactly do you mean with: exponential explosion in complexity?
    Do you mean Gen. Algorithms have an exponential complexity, like O(c^n)? That would depend on the implementation, but a lot of problems should be solvable in polynomial time and constant space

  136. Darth Robo

    Lou

    >>>”I just know is that even the simplest evolutionary mechanism (computer algorithm) does not get off the ground on its own (i.e., via chance happenings) due to an exponential explosion in complexity. That’s the main problem with evolution, in my opinion. It never gets started because you need an evolutionary mechanism to evolve the evolutionary mechanism. It’s a snake eating its own tail. What’s your argument against that?”

    Not sure you’re making sense to be honest. What is this “exponential explosion in complexity” you’re talking about and how is it a problem for evolution? What’s more, how is “complexity” quantified in the contexts you use it?

    Even more important, why is it you feel you can ask questions and attempt to throw doubt on evolution when it is quite clear you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about – AND ALSO ignore everyone’s questions directed to you? In short, you’re firing blanks, Lou.

  137. Nigel Depledge

    LukeL said:

    I am a Christian and don’t hold to the belief that Humans evolved,

    Well, it happened, and it happens, whether you believe it or not. That is (more or less) the definition of “reality”.

    however I am a science major

    Well, given that you consider accepting all the relevant evidence in reaching a conclusion to be entirely optional, I would fail you today.

    and would maybe considering teaching, preferably at a high school.

    Seriously, please don’t.

    These types of issues should not be taught in the science classroom, but could be taught in an elective class along with basic theology of the major faiths.

    Maybe that’s so for the creationist crap, but good science should be taught in science class. And the theory of evolution is of the best, so it must be taught.

  138. Nigel Depledge

    Worried European said:

    Even in Darwin’s time there wasn’t anywhere near as much fuss as some people would have you believe. All that Darwin really did was nail down the exact mechanism for evolution (random mutations with more breeding chances for useful gene carriers), he did not invent the general concept of humans being descended from animals.

    Well, first off, Darwin knew nothing about mutation, and mutation is only one of several mechanisms by which variation is enhanced.

    Darwin did indeed first espouse the idea of universal common ancestry (although his view was that there did not need to be only one last universal common ancestor – life could have started with a few species – but the evidence he found of common descent among animals and plants was overwhelming).

  139. Nigel Depledge

    Then Again said:

    Creationism is popular & whatever scientists may think of it, many people believe in it & want it taught.

    And whatever you believe, creationism (in all its various forms) has been shown to be wrong.

    Why do you want teachers to lie to their students?

    And which form of creationism do you think should be taught?

    Rather than fight this reality I suggest the elitist evolutionist athiests get used to it.

    Sticks and stones…

    Seriously, though, it is not merely atheists who support the teaching of good-quality science in science classes across the USA. Why do you want good science to be diluted with false doubt and manufactured “weaknesses”?

    Creationism / Intelligent Design / Something beyond science that science simply doesn’t get is here, has been here & always will be here.

    Actually, science has critically examined all of the claims made by “scientific creationism” and found every last one to be wanting. Science “gets” it. Creationism, OTOH, doesn’t withstand comparison with reality.

    Creationism, BTW, is a purely 20th-century phenomenon. Setting aside what was believed prior to about 1500 (because the methodology and opportunity to examine what the Bible said did not exist), religious belief has adapted to the many millions of new discoveries made about the world through the scientific method, up until the 20th century. Only then did “creationism” become separate from mainstream religious thought. And pretty much only in the USA.

    Science is good – but it isn’t all there is & doesn’t have all the answers.

    Yet.

    You tacitly discount the possibility that science may one day have all the answers. What will you do then?

    There are things and there are areas in which science doesn’t work. Religious beliefs and ethics are two of them.

    Actually, science is a very good method for analysing religious beliefs. Why? Because it is merely the process of critically assessing anything that someone claims and comparing the claim against physical evidence.

    Ethics is merely a question of societal consensus. Science can indeed assess how opinions form and change, but cannot answer ethical questions, because the definition of an ethical question is one that can only be answered by the consensus of society.

    Politics is another.

    Again, don’t leap to conclusions. Apparently, science is now able to predict election results with reasonable accuracy.

    But, at its core, politics is a process of manipulation. Modern science does not permit itself to manipulate people for its own purposes – because that is unethical.

    The US is a Christian nation with a Christian majority

    No it isn’t. Even from across the Atlantic, I know that the USA has no religious establishment. That was its whole purpose – to escape the religious persecution that so many of the “pilgrim fathers” had experienced in Europe. (Well, either that or to form settlements in which they could become the persecutors, not the persecuted.) Were you aware that the USA was the first nation on the planet to offer Jews citizenship?

    The USA was founded on freedom of religion, not the establishment of one religion above all others.

    Besides, when you say “Christian”, what do you mean? Catholic? Baptist? Lutheran? Anglican (and wouldn’t that be ironic?)? Presbyterian? Mormon? Quaker? Or what?

    – the small undemocratic ’science-is-god’

    Oooh, you’ve brought out that hoary old chestnut.

    How can anyone argue against someone who claims that science is seen as a divinity? Oh, wait. By actually looking at the truth, that’s how.

    elite can shout & scream and sulk all they like but ultimately if they go against that majority they will lose.

    Actually, when it comes to science, majority opinion does not rule.

    Science has been successful in learning about the world because it demands that we cast aside our preconceptions and look only at what is. The final arbiter of truth is the real world and the physical evidence it contains.

    Science reaches consensual truth by reference to physical evidence. Without evidence, no two groups of people will ever be able to agree about what is or what is not. Only by reference to evidence can humanity understand how the universe works. The opinion of an ignorant majority makes no difference to reality.

    The first amendment does NOT decree that atheism and evolutionism is to be imposed on everybody like it or not & nobody can say otherwise – it merely allows for freedom of all religious denominations – NOT, please note, the exclusion of religion from the public altogether.

    Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. Ironically, people like you who claim to be religious and benefit the most from religious freedom are also among the first to diss atheism. Yet atheism is an equally valid choice (in fact, from a purely logical perspective, it is more valid than any religion you care to choose). Why do you demand respect for religion but refuse to give atheism the level of respect that you are demanding?

    The first amendment guarantees that no single religious position is elevated above any other. This means that public schools should either teach no religion, or they must teach all religions equally, including Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and all the rest.

    Either way, religious ideas have no place being taught in science classes as if they were science. They ain’t science, no matter how much you shout.

    Governor Jindal was elected to represent his people & he’s doing his job. Unfettered, uncontested evolutionism with no mention of alternative ideas and dissent from others is NOT what the people want.

    What the people want is irrelevant when it comes to science.

    “The people” are not qualified to judge what is or is not good science. This is only decided by the consensus of the international science community. Once an idea has become sufficiently established (and supported by evidence) for the science community to accept it, it should be taught in school science classes.

    “Evolutionism”, to use your quaint rhetoric, is uncontested now because all alternatives have failed to meet the exacting standards of science. There is no credible alternative.

    Creationism isn’t that much of a big deal for most people. Most people can handle both science and religion playing their part in life. If the elitists who hate the idea of Christianity can’t tolerate that then that’s their problem – not Loiusianas & not Governor Jindal’s.

    The problem, however, is precisely the opposite of what you claim.

    Scientists (many of whom are quite religious – but I’m sure you already knew this and were just ignoring it because it totally undermines your argument) have no problem with people believeing any old nonsense in their own homes. The issue arises when fundamentalists try to get religious claptrap taught in a science class is if it had the intellectual standing that the science has earned the hard way.

    Evolution is a fact – populations of organisms change over time. Common descent has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Modern evolutionary theory explains, unites and allows us to understand every other aspect of biology. This is good science, and should be taught in science classes. No alternative that has ever been proposed withstands either critical scrutiny or comparison with the evidence.

  140. Hit and run poster

    The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States plainly states:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …”
    Since there can be no federal law on the subject, there appears to be no lawful basis for any element of the federal government – including the courts – to act in this area.

    Moreover, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution plainly states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
    This means that the power to make laws respecting an establishment of religion, having been explicitly withheld from the United States, is reserved to the states or to the people.

    Taken together, therefore, the First and 10th Amendments reserve the power to address issues of religious establishment and free exercise thereof to the different states and their people.

    In the Louisiana Constitution…

    Article 1, Section 8 repeats the religion/religious part of the First amendment of the U.S. Constitution… “No law shall be enacted respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    So this means since there can be no state law on the subject, there appears to be no lawful basis for any element of the state government – including the courts – to act in this area.

    And Article 1, Section 26 says “The people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free and sovereign state; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, pertaining thereto, which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in congress assembled.”
    This means that the power to make laws respecting an establishment of religion, having been explicitly withheld from the United States, and in Art.1 sec8 of the LA Constitution withheld from the State is reserved to the people.

    I’ll admit that the Founders wanted “separation of Church and state” but neither was the gov. (especially the fed. gov.) meant to be so entangled in/controlling of education and peoples daily lives. From the very beginning a well-educated citizenry was thought to be essential to protect liberty, i.e. educating the basics of reading, writing, math, and geography, but reading included History.

    “The reading in the first stage, where [the people] will receive their whole education, is proposed.. to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:106

    ‘Education for liberty’ meant preparation to exercise and protect the basic freedoms of religion, press, assembly, trial by jury, security of person, due process and other guarantees of the Bill of Rights of 1791 and to understand why they chose a Republic form of government. That was the only reason Jefferson advocated for compulsory attendance. It was also not their intention to FORCE the mockery of todays “education” system, that forces upon even the youngest in our society a low self-esteem, and a stifling of individual, independent thought, on anyone.

    Compulsory-attendance laws imply that government has to force parents to educate their children. Common sense and history prove this notion false. Up to the 1850s, when we didn’t have public schools, the average literacy rate was almost 90 percent (excluding slaves of course, because it was a crime to teach a slave to read because, as Madison put it, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people”). Yet most parents taught their children to read at home. They did not need town officials to force them to educate their children. Compulsory-attendance laws also imply that some parents are too ignorant or indifferent to their children’s welfare to educate their kids. If this was not the case, then why compel parents at all? Local governments therefore believe they have to force these “bad” parents to deposit their kids in public schools, for the alleged good of the children.

    In effect, local governments and public-school authorities don’t trust average parents to have the decency and common sense to educate their kids unless school authorities force them to. That notion is as absurd as claiming that parents would not feed their children unless government authorities forced them to. Compulsory-attendance laws create, in effect, an education prison system. Prisons get their prisoners because the police drag them in. Public schools get their students because compulsory-attendance laws let school authorities drag children into their schools, with or without parent’s consent.

    Compulsory education was not part of early American society, which relied instead on private schools that mostly charged tuition or education at home. The spread of compulsory education in the tradition of threatening to take children away throughout America, especially for Native Americans, has been credited to General Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt used techniques developed on Native Americans in a prisoner of war camp in Fort Marion, Augustine, Florida, to force demographic minorities across America into government schools. His prototype was the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania.

    We have gone from giving the public the OPPORTUNITY to be educated for their liberty to forcing them into a type of prison system that conditions and indoctrinates them to become “good workers for the government” and “good surrenders or advocates for collectivism/socialism” and charging parents with child “abuse” if their child doesn’t attend school for 180 (or whatever) days no matter what illness (unless excused by a doctor) or calamity might prevent/hinder it.

    Just like everything else we’ve gone from Quality to quantity and/or given up one for the other altogether almost since the beginning of government involvement. First they lengthened the school year. I’m still searching for reason. 1905 – 7mths for whites and 4&1/2 mths for blacks, including the holidays. Then they lengthened the school day. 1906 – 5-6 hours including recesses and lunch, from 9am to 2pm or 3pm… one hour (or 1&1/4 hr) for each subject. The various reasons I could find: give children more time to learn the 4 subjects, especially for those slower learners, and to more reflect the average business day. Only just like everything else that is suppose to “give more time” they started teaching more subjects and this is something they continue to do to this day while shortening recess and lunch. And yet more and more stories of Obesity in children, well that’s what happens when you “train” them to wolf down food in about 15 minutes which is what the average time the elementary child gets to actually sit and eat plus taking away recess time which is actually exercise for the average child. Can we say DUH!

    So, back to the article. It is not against the rule of law unless you are someone who takes a very liberal view of both the U.S. Constitution and the LA Constitution which, if you do your research and educate yourself, you will find was NEVER intended.

    As to teaching creationism vs. evolution it should be either both, giving the children all the information and letting them make their own choices, or Neither, leave out any part of evolution teaching that assumes that we came from nothing. IF teaching both you would have to have someone very well educated in all the various religions plus evolution, not likely. If neither you might stifle important parts of science. so then there is compromise, which I believe is what they are trying to here. Teach evolution without the assumption that we came from nothing. There are still missing links and many questions about the origin of the universe that science hasn’t, and possibly can’t, answer. That needs to be left for the child to conclude without being told they are wrong or unlawful.

    For people like myself there is no conflict between Science and Religion and more people would see this if they opened their minds. People don’t really think about how much more there is to learn on their own. They’re so busy that there isn’t room for them to learn new information about the important things. Their mind is made up (or made up for them), they don’t want to be confused with more information that doesn’t fit what they think they know, which coincidently coincides with their indoctrination!

    Wisdoms of Religion and Science:
    Faith:
    R-Faith is the substance reality is framed in. For all reality begins as thought before being manifested in the seen world… Faith is evidence of reality not yet manifested. Faith is more than believing, it is a knowing.
    S-The laws are treated as “given” (like the law of gravity) and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you have to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin.

    Infinity:
    R-Hindu Masters tell us that Brahma contained the infinities and all possibilities in his heart. One of the Seven Wisdoms is that the Infinite nature of God makes all things possible.
    S-Quantum Reality is composed of Infinity! Its called the many worlds solution, but it describes our physical universe perfectly by allowing an infinite number of parallel universes to be part of the solution set.

    Eternity:
    R-All that there is and always will be, is the Eternal Ever Changing Now. All the past is, is the memory of the pattern before and all the future is, is anticipation of the pattern to come. There is no time there is just now.
    S-time is an illusion. It is relative to the motion of the observer

    Awareness:
    R-Masters teach that what we call reality is just our awareness choosing one of the infinite paths that lay before us. They teach that all life sprang from the Absolute Awareness and discovers its place in the Infinite.
    S-Unless you observe something, it isn’t real, it is only a potential set of probabilities that are not resolved unless observed.

    Balance:
    R-Wisdom begins with balance. All things come from a balance of forces. Yin and Yang energies are not separate energies; they are one and the same energy with two different charges.
    S-All of the material physical universe is a balance of forces. Positive and negative energy in balance in an infinite array of forms and patterns. In fact, all of reality is a zero sum game.

    Oneness:
    R-There is but one God. All things belong to God and are one with God. It is our destiny to learn to connect and discover our Union with God.
    S-At the most basic level of reality there is no separateness. Everything is connected to everything else.

    Holyness:
    R-Holyness is defined as the presence of God. Only God can make someone or something Holy. To become holy one must draw nearer to God and learn to walk in his ways.

    Plese note that the only difference between the wisdoms of science and religion is Holyness.

    The one Understanding was split into the 7 Great Wisdoms. Each of these flames are burning among the religions. Understand the 7 Wisdoms and you will have true Understanding. —Chester

    The Quantum AUM/OM
    John 1:1 IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.
    2 He was present originally with God.
    3 All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.
    Amplified Bible

    These are the very words of Veda.
    Prajapatir vai idam asit: In the beginning was Brahman.
    Tasya vag dvitya asit; with whom was the Vak (or Sound)…
    Vag vai paramam Brahma; and the Vak (Sound) is Brahman”

    There is a Yogic Discipline called Shabda Yoga – The Divine Science of Light and Sound. This path helps one to become one with the light and sound of the supreme divine. The Masters of the Discipline teach how all of creation came into being. Creation came into being though the light and sound of the creator. This sound is called OM or AUM. It is part of mantras and chants used by tibetan monks and other meditative schools of thought.

    One of the criticisms science has had in the past with religious and spiritual thought is that none of the truths/wisdoms could be verified by experimentation. The mystic significance of OM may be the first spiritual truth to be proven by the penultimate Scientific Grand Theory of Everything.

    After Albert Einstein finished his Theory of General Relativity his next project was the Grand Unified Theory. He died with his dreams unfulfilled. The other great theory of Science is the Theory of Quantum Thermodynamics. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity describes the Universe of the very large. Quantum Theory describes the Universe of the very small. Until recently, there was no way to bridge the Theory of Relativity with Quantum Theory. With the discovery of the Superstring Theory of Quantum Reality came a startling yet spiritually correct solution. At the sub-atomic infrastructure of reality, science discovered not points of infinity but incredibly small vibrating strings.

    In his book The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, Brian Greene describes how science discovered the music of reality.

    … [Albert Einstein’s] dream of a unified theory has become the Holy Grail of modern physics. And a sizeable part of the physics and mathematics community is becoming increasingly convinced that string theory may provide the answer. From one principle-that everything at its most microscopic level consists of combinations of vibrating strands-string theory provides a single explanatory framework capable of encompassing all forces and all matter. String theory proclaims, for instance, that the observed particle properties, … are a reflection of the various ways in which a string can vibrate. Just as the strings on a violin or on a piano have resonant frequencies at which they prefer to vibrate-patterns that our ears sense as various musical notes and their higher harmonics-the same holds true for the loops of string theory. But we will see that, rather than producing musical notes, each of the preferred patterns of vibration of a string in string theory appears as a particle whose mass and force charges are determined by the string’s oscillatory pattern. The electron is a string vibrating one way, the up-quark is a string vibrating another way, and so on. Far from being a collection of chaotic experimental facts, particle properties in string theory are the manifestation of one and the same physical feature: the resonant patterns of vibration-the music, so to speak–Of fundamental loops of string. The same idea applies to the forces of nature as well. We will see that force particles are also associated with particular patterns of string vibration and hence everything, all matter and all forces, is unified under the same rubric of microscopic string oscillations-the “notes” that strings can play. For the first time in the history of physics we therefore have a framework With the capacity to explain every fundamental feature upon which the universe is constructed. For this reason string theory is sometimes described as possibly being the “theory of everything” (T.O.E.) or the “ultimate” or “final” theory. The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene; pp15-16. Vintage Books 1999

    Science and ancient Master’s agree, each with their own way saying it; All of Reality comes from The Quantum AUM /OM. — Chester Messenger

    If both sides would open their minds a little everyone would see that science and religion do not contradict one another.

    The beginning of Genesis is a repairing of the Earth and the beginning of todays humans and science verifies this.

    The very first sentence of Genesis[1:1] is a statement… “In the Beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.” PERIOD!

    Get a concordance and look up the words “was”, “without form”, and “void” in Genesis 1:2. You will see what is translated as the English word “was” should better be translated as the phrase ‘It came to pass’. Or if you want a word for word translation, instead of “was” it should be “became”. It’s only one of 2 places in the bible that it is translated as “was” out of the total of 75 times it was used, and the other place could also use “became”.

    Look up the original Hebrew for “without form” and “void”. They also mean “chaotic” and “empty”. As you can see, there is no word for word equivalence in English for the Hebrew words of “hayah”, “tohuw” and “bohuw”. Taking their full meaning it becomes clear that there was a lot of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

    It is the events that are not mentioned between these two verses that led up to the earth becoming a chaotic wasteland. The missing information solves the mystery of “Evolution vs Creation”.

    Before God created what we now call the Universe, he had created Angels. Angels were created as helpers. They were created for a specific purpose and they, unlike mankind, cannot die nor can they improve their station. They have self will and independence and are eternal beings.

    God created the Universe so that it would support physical life. So, the Universe was created so life could evolve.

    [I have no problem with the Big Bang or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. God always starts small like a mustard seed. The Universe started very small and look how big it is now.]

    God gave the Angels the task of searching the Infinities that contained the Universe until they found the green jewel, or the Earth. God revealed his plan to his Angels. A plan so important to God, that he sent Lucifer and the third of the Angels under his leadership to come to Earth and help the lifeforms here achieve their ultimate potential. And for millions and millions of years all was according to God’s plan.

    Lucifer ruled the earth for billions of years. God guided the progress on earth several times by having Lucifer send calamities for the purpose of accelerating the evolution of life. God had a grand plan that needed evolution to produce ever more intelligent beings.

    After the Ages of the Great Lizards, a new form of life came upon the scene with warm blood, hair and intelligence. It was the Age of Mammals. About 2 million years ago proto-man appeared.

    When the Mother Earth brought forth mankind… Cro-Magnon Paleolithic Period to the Neolithic Era. (skip to) Cities began to be built in 6th and 5th millennium B.C. and city-states were just beginning around 4,000 B.C. It was during the beginning of the city states and metal working societies that Lucifer became aware of true nature of God’s plan for mankind. God asked Lucifer to reveal the Father to his creation and help them become sons and daughters of God. Lucifer finally understood the full meaning of what a souls ultimate potential to be. God’s plan is to create millions and billions of God Beings through soul evolution. We are the part of God that is experiencing this universe.

    Lucifer felt anger and betrayal and hated mankind. He thought he would always be the Third Highest in the Infinite Realities. Instead he discovers God is creating God by the Billions and it was Lucifer’s Pride to be of the Highest. Lucifer felt he had to maintain his most high status at all cost. Lucifer had council with his Angels and they formed a plan of violence and revenge. This was known as the Rebellion of Lucifer.

    The cost was a War of Angels of such violence that it ultimately ended the Jewel of Earth’s ability to sustain life. Lucifer made war against the throne of God. God commanded Michael to resist Lucifer. Michael and his Angels fought with Lucifer and his Angels. Lucifer tried to overthrow Heaven but was defeated and was forced to return back to earth. Lucifer fell like a bolt of lightening. The Angels that rebelled with Lucifer were hurled back to earth. God had commanded Lucifer to watch over this earth and Lucifer had not yet been relieved of his duty.

    Lucifer became enraged at his banishment to the very Earth he had once desired and now had come to hate. To add insult to injury, Lucifer was still under the command of God to help mankind achieve their destiny. This further enraged Lucifer. It was loathsome to him to be commanded to help beings achieve a station higher than he. The Mother Earth contained the very seed of billions of Gods. God seeds that someday would all exist higher and more glorious than he. Gods more powerful than he. Lucifer devised a plan to destroy the Earth’s life giving properties. This is how the Earth ultimately became chaotic and empty of life.

    Science is only verifying what different “masters” of religions have believed for centuries and probably what we all understood before we were split (the tower of babel).

    The plagues that Moses predicted would come if his people weren’t freed can be accurately described by what happens with a major volcanic eruption, but how did Moses know what would happen? God told him and God knew because he made it happen… He used a calamity. Why didn’t the Jews children die? Because they were up celebrating the Sabbath while the Egyptians children were sleeping on the floor where the toxic gases seeped in. If there had been even one Jew who wasn’t celebrating (as God had commanded them to celebrate the Sabbath) then they would’ve died too and been seen as being killed by God for not being a true Jew.

  141. Oh, goodness. Now the Mega-Posters have arrived. Honestly, Hit and run, quantity does not automatically equate with quality.

    @ Darth Robo:

    Not sure you’re making sense to be honest. What is this “exponential explosion in complexity” you’re talking about and how is it a problem for evolution

    Yet again, Lou reveals himself ignorant of the very science he is dead-set against. Like many creationists, he can’t get his neurons wrapped around the fact that the complexities of modern organisms didn’t spring magically out of the primordial ooze in one fell swoop.

    It’s the old “what use is half an eye?” argument, which is dragged out with equal regularity.

    A bunch of replicating molecules, while indeed a giant leap, is hardly an “exponential explosion in complexity.”

    Typical crank behavior: come up with some sciencey sounding phrases, attach them to an “argument” that has no validity, then claim you’ve proven your case.

    Nuts.

  142. ND

    Lou,

    You really need to be more specific that what you said:

    “I just know is that even the simplest evolutionary mechanism (computer algorithm) does not get off the ground on its own (i.e., via chance happenings) due to an exponential explosion in complexity. That’s the main problem with evolution, in my opinion. It never gets started because you need an evolutionary mechanism to evolve the evolutionary mechanism. It’s a snake eating its own tail. What’s your argument against that?”

    People here are looking for specifics that back up your assertions. To be honest this is starting to sound like the watchmaker analogy that ID proponents bring up. But I’m not 100% sure and need more info.

    Were these simulations some hobby coding project or were they part of your day job? How did you apply these evolutionary algorithms. What is the originating evolutionary mechanism you refer to when it comes to the algorithms. The human programmer?

    Also, it is my understanding that the science of evolution does not involve itself with how life itself began.

  143. TheBlackCat

    You take yourself too seriously, amigo. Chill out. It’s not as if the world would come to an end if evolution is shown to be nonsense.

    I’ll ignore the arrogant condescension (a sign of weakness among creationist, I know). I know the world would not come to an end if evolution was shown to be nonsense. In fact, if evolution were shown to be nonsense I would be amongst the first to drop it. But it hasn’t, and as somehow who supports science and who uses evolution every day (no, I am not an evolutionary biologist, I do neuroscience), I don’t like it when people lie about it.

    I never said I was an ID or evolution expert.

    Yet this doesn’t stop you from claiming you know it better than every expert in the world. Funny how that works.

    I just know is that even the simplest evolutionary mechanism (computer algorithm) does not get off the ground on its own (i.e., via chance happenings) due to an exponential explosion in complexity. That’s the main problem with evolution, in my opinion. It never gets started because you need an evolutionary mechanism to evolve the evolutionary mechanism. It’s a snake eating its own tail. What’s your argument against that?

    I already addressed this claim, which, as usual, you completely ignored. Rather than repeat it I will just copy and paste my previous comment:

    As for evolutionary algorithms, the “mechanism” is the universe, the laws of physics and the laws of chemistry. These have to be implemented in a computer program but they are there automatically in nature. Just like a computer simulation of a cannon has to model the laws of physics while a real cannon only has to obey them. As for exponential explosion, if you are referring to an exponential population explosion then the population is naturally kept in check by the finite supply of resources, the spread of disease and predators, and lack of space. This provides an upper limit to the number of organisms in the population and, as a result, the number of different versions of a certain trait. This is all stuff you have to be careful of when making a computer program but are basic, unavoidable limits that are present in nature even without evolution.

    By the way, I read in various places that humans had closer to 25,000 genes. So your figures are suspicious to say the least.

    They are constantly revising the numbers as the analyze the genomes more closely. Science is always moving forward, data is always being revised and corrected. This is especially true with a field that is as fast-moving as genomics.

    Did you just do a Google search and found convenient data to support your position?

    I did a google search for information on the chimpanzee genome, found the Nature paper that originally announced the nearly complete chimpanzee genome (if you didn’t know, Nature is one of the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world) as well as a comparison between the human and chimpanzee genomes, then I checked what source they used when doing their analysis, and used it myself. I figured if it was good enough for the people who actually mapped the chimpanzee genome, it is good enough for me. I only looked at that one source, the source that appeared to be the most reliable. If you can think of a more reliable way to get a source on the subject I would love to hear it.

    And so what if my hypothesis on chimp complexity is wrong? I never presented it as a proof of ID.

    You asked for numbers, I provided numbers, and now you complain that I provided the numbers you asked for. That makes so much sense. Well, actually, I guess it does make sense for a creationist to complain when the evidence doesn’t match his or her preconceptions and blame the messenger.

  144. Julian

    ‘Hit an run poster’ should change his name to ‘hit and run troll.’

    Dude seriously, take your libertarian Ron Paul bullshit and get lost.

    “As to teaching creationism vs. evolution it should be either both, giving the children all the information and letting them make their own choices, or Neither, leave out any part of evolution teaching that assumes that we came from nothing.”

    Yep, like most anarchists, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Can’t even give an accurate definition of what’s being discussed. And you wonder why we need a centralized government to keep things running smoothly.

  145. Daffy

    I want to address one thing: The US was not founded as a Christina nation. Saying it was is nothing short of a contemptible lie…spread by people who are dishonest in their bones. Some of the colonies were founded as such, but NOT the Federal government.

    “”As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”—the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified when John Adams was president.

    “The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” -Abraham Lincoln –

    “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.”
    -Tom Jefferson

  146. LA_Lady

    kuhnigget Says:
    February 16th, 2009 at 8:34 am

    “Oh, goodness. Now the Mega-Posters have arrived. Honestly, Hit and run, quantity does not automatically equate with quality. ”

    The name “Hit and Run Poster” implies that they won’t be coming back. And I rather read one long post from someone than (what are you up to now) 8 posts. You expect everyone to read every one of your post yet you neglect to show the same respect to someone else just because they didn’t break it up into smaller post?

    Perhaps “Hit and Run” had it right:
    “People don’t really think about how much more there is to learn on their own. They’re so busy that there isn’t room for them to learn new information about the important things. Their mind is made up (or made up for them), they don’t want to be confused with more information that doesn’t fit what they think they know…”

  147. LA_Lady

    This site says my previous comment is awaiting moderation so clearly the owner read what “hit and run” posted.

  148. LA_Lady: I have an automatic spam filter that puts some comments in moderation. I have not yet read everything in this thread, but I will eventually.

  149. Nigel Depledge

    OK, I’ll try to dismantle this bit by bit…

    Hit and Run poster said:

    I’ll admit that the Founders wanted “separation of Church and state” but neither was the gov. (especially the fed. gov.) meant to be so entangled in/controlling of education and peoples daily lives. From the very beginning a well-educated citizenry was thought to be essential to protect liberty, i.e. educating the basics of reading, writing, math, and geography, but reading included History.

    Two things here:

    First, prohibiting the free exercise of religion includes teaching one religion in preference to all others. So, if a publicly-funded school is going to teach anything religious, it must teach all religions equally. Obviously, no school has the time for this, so the only legal option is to teach no religion.

    Second, in a high-tech society, a full engagement with the political process requires that citizens receive a technological and scientific education, because this is the only way in which they can be empowered to participate meaningfully. So, because our society is high-tech, industrialised, and uses the output of science to supply so many basic needs, the citizenry needs at least some level of education in how the various parts of this technology work.

  150. Cheyenne

    “Louisiana is reaping what it sowed” – Wow! Really?! That’s what the SICB came up with?

    SICB is leaving Louisiania to go to Utah. Not sure that was a good call. If somebody disagrees with you isn’t it better to go to them and present your ideas? Win them over with an intelligent argument? Feels to me like the SICB is turning tail for the wrong reasons. If they are right on the science, and they clearly are, I don’t see the point of tucking off. Especially when we are talking about a state that truly needs financial support right now. I think have science types spending money in their area is exactly what they need.

    Yeah, Jindal and the legislature are wrong – the SICB is right. But it’s a democracy and that is what the people voted for in that state- so I don’t think the SICB’s lamentations of woe like “The legislature did not listen.”, “Jindal did not listen.”,”all of which were ignored.”, are a bit lame and over the top. They sound like whiners to me and not adult scientists that want to make a difference. “We weren’t paid attention too! We’re leaving. WAAAAAA!”.

    “jack-booted heel to the neck of science”- Goodness sakes BA. Just a touch of perspective please. youz needz it. lol. IMHO. ;)

    Just my two cents. I’m off to photoshop some cat pictures now.

  151. @LA Lady:

    M’am, you don’t have to read any posts if you don’t want to. That’s the beauty of blogs such as this one.

    That being said, if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you begin to recognize patterns among the cranks who come around to set everybody straight. One of the favorites is to copy and paste enormous amounts of text in the hopes that sheer quantity will add weight to an otherwise feathery argument. It happens over and over.

    Likewise, another pattern you’ll tend to see, especially on threads dealing with creationism nonsense and UFO lunacy, is ME, posting my snarky comments attacking the shoddy logic of the nutters.

    Again, you don’t have to read them, although you will brighten my day immensely if you say you do.

  152. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run poster said:

    ‘Education for liberty’ meant preparation to exercise and protect the basic freedoms of religion, press, assembly, trial by jury, security of person, due process and other guarantees of the Bill of Rights of 1791 and to understand why they chose a Republic form of government. That was the only reason Jefferson advocated for compulsory attendance. It was also not their intention to FORCE the mockery of todays “education” system, that forces upon even the youngest in our society a low self-esteem, and a stifling of individual, independent thought, on anyone.

    Compulsory-attendance laws imply that government has to force parents to educate their children. Common sense and history prove this notion false. Up to the 1850s, when we didn’t have public schools, the average literacy rate was almost 90 percent (excluding slaves of course, because it was a crime to teach a slave to read because, as Madison put it, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people”). Yet most parents taught their children to read at home. They did not need town officials to force them to educate their children. Compulsory-attendance laws also imply that some parents are too ignorant or indifferent to their children’s welfare to educate their kids. If this was not the case, then why compel parents at all? Local governments therefore believe they have to force these “bad” parents to deposit their kids in public schools, for the alleged good of the children.

    Yet you seem to have missed an important point.

    In many places in the 18th and 19th centuries, children were sent to work as soon as they were able, in order to increase the household income. I don’t know where your figure of 90% literacy comes from, but I actually don’t believe it. I am, of course, prepared to be proved wrong, when you cite a reliable source for that figure.

    So, there actually was a need for children to be taken out of their parents’ care for some of the time so that they could receive a full education.

    Related to this is the fact that a great many parents were not qualified to teach such things as history and geography, never mind the more esoteric end of mathematics (for example, logarithms and trigonometry, as applied in engineering, were critical to industrial development – are you trying to tell me that ignorant parents were better off not having their children educated in these aspects of maths?). There was a need for teachers with specific training.

    This need is now stronger than it has ever been. The sum total of human knowledge does not get smaller. The boundaries of knowledge include many difficult and abstract concepts, and laypeople cannot be expected to understand this kind of knowledge enough to be able to teach it.

    Finally, you ignore any value in standardisation. If a school is producing bright and motivated pupils, they can expect to get into a university. If the education given by the schools fits some kind of standard syllabus, then the universities can judge students from different areas fairly and equally. Also, if education is standardised to some extent, then the media (newspapers, TV etc.) can judge at what level to pitch their coverage of developments that have a scientific or technological dimension. (Of course, that requires an ideal world. In reality, the media aim at the lowest common denominator and often end up misleading the public as a result. Have you ever seen the financial or sports coverage dumbed down? No? Well why do the newspapers and TV news channels always dumb down science coverage?)

  153. Controversy is essential for the progress of science. Science proceeds fastest when there are competing theories. I don’t mind that the ID people want to bring up shortcomings, real or imagined. It helps evolutionists hone their argument and keeps science on its toes.

    That being said, children’s science education shouldn’t suffer because a school district wants to ignore current scientific theories.

    I think NikitaSamuelle’s story says it all, and thank you for sharing it.

    And, boy, do I understand about the math thing. If I had someone I felt comfortable going to for math help in high school, I could be much more competent with it. I do math sufficiently for my needs here in bioengineering, but I don’t much like it.

    The funniest thing I had happen with a student wasn’t wrt evolution but with animal rights. She said she couldn’t in good consciousness view the slides we were using in histology (looking at the body with microscopes) because they were once living animals. I then pointed out that she shouldn’t read a book about histology because the pictures were once taken from them, too. Also, maybe she shouldn’t go to a doctor because he/she was probably trained using the same sort of slides.

    I then gently suggested that she find another course to take and probably even consider a different major…maybe literature.

    But, I don’t know, what if in the lumbering process, some animals were accidentally killed to make the paper for the book?….

  154. LA_Lady

    kuhnigget,
    I read every post. :) And your snarkiness is dully noted. ;)

  155. LA_Lady

    Nigel,
    In your fist post you pretty much repeated what Hit and Run said.

    Children weren’t necessarily “sent to work” by their parents, they didn’t want to go to school they wanted to work not be in the classroom where things got crowded and hot and smelly. Seriously, I’m not kidding.

    And parents did know most of what was being taught at school (except for maybe some of history). There wasn’t “for example, logarithms and trigonometry, as applied in engineering, were critical to industrial development ” as those were taught at the private schools not public schools and you didn’t NEED an education certificate to get into the universities (they were private too) you just had to pass the test.

  156. Julian

    wow LA_Lady, you show up on someone’s blog, accuse them of censorship and then act like a twit. Kudos! You truly are an enlightened individual.

  157. ND

    snarky comments ++

  158. LA_Lady

    Julian,
    “accuse them of censorship and then act like a twit”

    I didn’t accuse the blog owner of censorship just point out that it was being moderated so the moderator/owner must have read what was written.

    I did accuse a poster of it.

    I’m not sure what you’re refering to with the name-calling but if was the “dully note” with the wink, the wink was to show that I understood and “dully noted” because I do it myself sometimes (being snarky).

  159. LA_Lady

    because I do it myself sometimes (being snarky)…. and won’t take offense when she does it to me.

    sorry, didn’t finish my thought. now I have to get my appt. Happy blogging peoples :)

  160. Julian

    Related to this is the fact that a great many parents were not qualified to teach such things as history and geography, never mind the more esoteric end of mathematics (for example, logarithms and trigonometry, as applied in engineering, were critical to industrial development – are you trying to tell me that ignorant parents were better off not having their children educated in these aspects of maths?). There was a need for teachers with specific training.

    This is actually a problem in public schools today. Being a bright kid with a committed mom (who the libertarian here might not like considering she’s an immigrant, dirt poor and speaks very little English) I managed to land into some decent public schools. But what I’ve noticed even in these schools a high level of ignorance coming from the faculty.

    For example, my counselor seemed convinced Mormon’s still practice polygamy. When I calmly explained this wasn’t true she seemed unconvinced and repeated the same thing again in my health class (as did a number of the students there.) Now the fact that someone with no Biology training was teaching a Health class is bad enough but that she was completely egnorant (more people need to start using that) of a major religion in HER COUNTRY and spread this egnorance to the rest of the class is enough to make me want to bang on some councilman’s door. Unfortunately he’s probably a religious idiot who gets votes because of his party affiliation.

    @Cheyenne

    What? People aren’t allowed to protest government decisions anymore? Get off your high horse.

  161. Cheyenne

    @Julian- Yeah, that was clearly my point – people aren’t allowed to protest government decisions anymore. I want a ban on that and I want a gestapo enforcing it. That is very clear from my post and you have figured it out.

    Either that or I was thinking that the SICB made a bad decision, and I think they would better serve themselves and the people of Louisiana by sticking with their original plan of having the conference there.

    And I’m not getting off my high horse. She’s a beaut. Nanny nanny boo boo.

  162. Julian

    “Either that or I was thinking that the SICB made a bad decision, and I think they would better serve themselves and the people of Louisiana by sticking with their original plan of having the conference there.”

    There you go doing it again! You don’t even realize it.

    You’re like one of those guys who complains about the MTA going on strike because it shuts the city down. THAT’S THE POINT! That’s how protests are supposed to work. Someone is supposed to suffer.

  163. @ LA Lady:

    “dully noted”

    I am anything but dull, sweety! :o

  164. Cheyenne

    @Julian – Firstly, here’s some herbal tea for you. You’re in a happy place, you’re in a happy place. Calm now? Just ease off the caps lock. There you go.

    I don’t care about the MTA, who is supposed to “suffer”, government protests, and whatever else it is you are reading into my rather simple comment. Try re-reading what I wrote if you have the time.

  165. @ TheChemist

    Please don’t mention IQs in this or any context, all -and I do mean ALL- IQ testing is psuedoscientific nonsense and is essentially meaningless. There is no scientific basis for IQ testing, and more importantly, no one can ever really agree on what intelligence is in the first place.

    Before you ask, why yes, it is a pet issue.

    No worries mate. Let’s just say it was a sharp stick I found and just HAD to poke someone with it. If it’s any consolation, that samy chart could be overlayed with economic prosperity and have nearly the same correlation to religiosity, educational level, etc. There are really way too many variables with no clear causality to make firm predictions or analysis from. Like I said, it was a sharp stik I found lying on the ground. ;)

  166. Devil’s Advocate Mode:
    ON
    Actually, when it comes to science, majority opinion does not rule. – Nigel

    But isn’t ‘peer review’ a form of (Limited) majority opinion?

    OFF

    HitAndRun has a wonderful example of ‘the Bible as it was taught to me’ rather than actually reading it.
    The “Lucifer” story is totally bogus, IF one is supposedly using the Bible (which version? I use KJV because it is the ‘shortest’ – does not include books that the Catholic Bible has). When I was looking at a Concordance for quick reference, I used the SINGLE reference to Lucifer as a key.
    -Isaiah 14:12

    J/P=?

  167. Lou

    The mendacity on this forum is so thick, it’s impossible to have an honest debate. You people are like a bunch of scared children afraid to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Problem is, you know it’s gonna happen sooner or later because, deep down, you know you ain’t got a leg to stand on. LOL. See y’all around.

  168. I live in Louisiana and have for all of my life. When I was in High School the local school board (Ascension Parish) passed a law allowing public schools to offer Bible courses, so long as they were taught in a mythology sort of way. My friends and I protested, on the grounds that it was the only “mythology” course offered, but to no avail.
    When I heard about creationism now being legal to teach in school I was not only horrified but felt that it only amplified my justifications for never allowing my children to attend school in Louisiana. I will homeschool my children, not only because they are so much more intelligent than the average person in this state, but also now because I feel if they go to public school they will be assaulted by beliefs that are so infinitely ignorant, old-fashioned, and supersticous. I’m not sure why we don’t start telling our kids the earth is flat again.

  169. ND

    Heh.

    “You people are like a bunch of scared children afraid to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar. ”

    What’s with cranks and projection?

    Lou, there have been some very straight forward questions and responses to your posts. You can still answer those and ignore the more childish responses. Instead of elaborating on your assertions you’re running away. Besides, if there are real issues with the current understanding of evolution and you have some deep insights about it, we’d like to hear the details.

  170. LA_Lady

    @kuhnigget

    lol, duly noted.

    @John Paradox
    “The “Lucifer” story is totally bogus, IF one is supposedly using the Bible ”

    I don’t think s/he just goes by the bible. Did anyone besides me read the entire post? The concordance I use, Strong’s, has the same thing that s/he wrote. Not that s/he’s right, just saying I suppose it is possible.

  171. TheBlackCat

    @ Lou: When someone makes a claim, we expect them to back it up. When someone is asked a direct question, we expect them to answer it. Is that really so much to ask?

  172. @ Black Cat:

    “@ Lou: When someone makes a claim, we expect them to back it up. When someone is asked a direct question, we expect them to answer it. Is that really so much to ask?”

    Um, yes. Geez, get with the drill. Don’t you know you’re supposed to drop all your foolish scientific “beliefs” and accept the Truth™?

    Honestly!

  173. Mark Hansen

    Lou, why not just answer the questions that have been put to you? Or are you too busy cloaking your ignorance with obfuscation?

  174. ND

    Mark Hansen,

    “Or are you too busy cloaking your ignorance with obfuscation?”

    His answers were not in the form of Perl syntax.

  175. ND

    kuhnigget,

    I think you need a vacation from reading BA. I think I could use one too.

  176. IVAN3MAN

    I know that I’ve posted this extract from Wikipedia on other threads here at BA, but I’m doing so again because of cranks who insist on trolling these threads:

    Common Characteristics of Cranks:

    1. Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts;

    2. Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important;

    3. Cranks rarely, if ever, acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial;

    4. Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, and often appear to be uninterested in anyone else’s experience or opinions.

    “Some cranks exhibit a lack of academic achievement, in which case they typically assert that academic training in the subject of their crank belief is not only unnecessary for discovering “the truth”, but actively harmful because they believe it “poisons” the minds by teaching falsehoods. Others greatly exaggerate their personal achievements, and may insist that some alleged achievement in some entirely unrelated area of human endeavor implies that their cranky opinion should be taken seriously.

    “Some cranks claim vast knowledge of any relevant literature, while others claim that familiarity with previous work is entirely unnecessary; regardless, cranks inevitably reveal that whether or not they believe themselves to be knowledgeable concerning relevant matters of fact, mainstream opinion, or previous work, they are not in fact well-informed concerning the topic of their belief.”

    In addition, many cranks:

    1. Seriously misunderstand the mainstream opinion to which they believe that they are objecting;

    2. Stress that they have been working out their ideas for many decades, and claim that this fact alone entails that their belief cannot be dismissed as resting upon some simple error;

    3. Compare themselves with Galileo or Copernicus, implying that the mere unpopularity of some belief is in itself evidence of plausibility;

    4. Claim that their ideas are being suppressed by secret intelligence organizations, mainstream science, powerful business interests, or other groups which, they allege, are terrified by the possibility of their allegedly revolutionary insights becoming widely known;

    5. Appear to regard themselves as persons of unique historical importance.

    Cranks who contradict some mainstream opinion in some highly technical field, such as mathematics or physics, almost always:

    1.Exhibit a marked lack of technical ability;

    2. Misunderstand or fail to use standard notation and terminology;

    3. Ignore fine distinctions which are essential to correctly understanding mainstream belief.

    “That is, cranks tend to ignore any previous insights which have been proven by experience to facilitate discussion and analysis of the topic of their cranky claims; indeed, they often assert that these innovations obscure rather than clarify the situation.

    “In addition, cranky scientific ‘theories’ do not in fact qualify as theories as this term is commonly understood within science. For example, crank ‘theories’ in physics typically fail to result in testable predictions, which makes them unfalsifiable and hence unscientific.

    “The term “crank” (or “krank”) was once the favoured term for spectators at sporting events, a term later supplanted by “fans”. By implication, the “cranks in the bleaching boards” think they know more about the sport than do its participants.”

    Finally, a total lack of sense of humour — they take themselves too seriously.

  177. @ ND:

    “I think you need a vacation from reading BA.

    Sorry, ND, that would just make me more childish and unfunny. Besides, it’s scary out there in the real world.

  178. @ Ivan:

    One more common feature of cranks in the internet age: they glom onto one blog (sort of like a remora fish, only less useful) until they’ve annoyed the hell out of everyone and failed to win over any converts to their cause, then they claim victory, or dismiss the doubters as hopelessly clueless or practitioners of bad science, and move on to the next blog, there to start the process all over again.

    Check out lou’s comments on this thread from scienceblogs, in which he reveals his true mission in life:

    http://scienceblogs.com/strangerfruit/2008/01/dissenting_from_darwinism.php#comment-703622

  179. IVAN3MAN

    @ kuhnigget,

    Yes, I see what you mean. I’ve noticed “Anaconda” doing the same on Universe Today blog (I did mention that, the other day), and then, like a pigeon, after crapping on your newly washed/waxed car, he flies off elsewhere!

  180. IVAN3MAN

    @ kuhnigget,

    Furthermore, on Stranger Fruit (ScienceBlogs), the author, John Lynch, regarding Lou’s assertions, stated to Lou: “I expect to enjoy reading your research papers in neurobiological journals.”

    True to form, according to crank characteristic #4 (b) (see above), Lou responded:

    Forget it. I believe in going directly to the customer, i.e., the public whom you despise, but who ultimately pays for all science research. They [his emphasis] are my peers. I’ll stay away from politically-correct publications, thank you very much. Like I said, see you around. And stay tuned. ahahaha…

    One commenter asked Lou: “Staying away from academic peer review. Going directly to the public who ultimately pays. Is Louis Savain talking about neurobiological hypotheses or Q-Ray bracelets?”

    Again, according to crank characteristic #4 (b), Lou responded:

    The biggest problem with elitism in science is the insufferable pomposity of the elite and their condescension toward the public, not unlike the religious priests of old. And yet, as the late great Paul Feyerabend wrote in “Against Method”, “the most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence. It is time to cut them down in size, and to give them a more modest position in society.” I always laugh when I write this. ahahaha…

    To that I would add that there is a foolproof way to spot a voodoo scientist. If a scientist claims to have a theory about a natural phenomenon but is unable to explain the theory in a simple language that the average layman can understand, one can be absolutely certain that he is as clueless about the nature of the phenomenon in question as anybody else. ahahaha… AHAHAHA… ahahaha…

    This is reminiscent of that song: “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!”

    Go figure!

  181. Darth Robo

    Lou

    >>>”The mendacity on this forum is so thick, it’s impossible to have an honest debate. You people are like a bunch of scared children afraid to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Problem is, you know it’s gonna happen sooner or later because, deep down, you know you ain’t got a leg to stand on. LOL. See y’all around.”

    Lou, could you GET any more irony in your diet? Your questions have been answered by numerous people, and yet YOU haven’t answered ONE single thing. Your cookie jar analogy applies only to yourself. Sorry if you don’t like it. Would it help if I tell you that your actions were predicted? Here, allow me to repeat what I said about two days ago:

    “Thanks once again for yet another shining example of creationists crying “Boo-hoo they won’t take ID seriously boo-hoo” and then failing to provide us anything of substance to back up their claims. Good way to post empty rhetoric about the “mean old atheist Darwinist anti-Christian scientific community” and not take responsibility for your words. Another liar for Jesus then.

    Not that we’re at all surprised by this, it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME. Thread comes up on creationists putting apologetics where it shouldn’t, comments start, then a fundie or two come along, make grandiose claims, can’t back themselves up (since they use the same old long debunked creo material that’s been refuted for 50 years) , then receive a predictable verbal slaughtering, fundies disappear.”

    So there we have it. “Theory” of (ID) Creationism: Pseudo-scientific nonsense whose only goal is to teach religion under the guise of “science”, unobservable, unfalsifiable, untestable, makes no useful predictions.

    Theory of Evolution: Long established theory supported by vast amount of facts and observable evidence, falsifiable, testable, makes valid observable and repeatable predictions.

    Theory of Creationists: Long established theory supported by vast amount of facts and observable evidence, falsifiable, testable, makes valid observable and repeatable predictions.

    Still waiting for creationists to falsify all three. (shrug)

  182. Nigel Depledge

    LA Lady said:

    Nigel,
    In your fist post you pretty much repeated what Hit and Run said.

    Erm … que?

    My first post after Hit&Run was this:

    OK, I’ll try to dismantle this bit by bit…

    Hit and Run poster said:

    I’ll admit that the Founders wanted “separation of Church and state” but neither was the gov. (especially the fed. gov.) meant to be so entangled in/controlling of education and peoples daily lives. From the very beginning a well-educated citizenry was thought to be essential to protect liberty, i.e. educating the basics of reading, writing, math, and geography, but reading included History.

    Two things here:

    First, prohibiting the free exercise of religion includes teaching one religion in preference to all others. So, if a publicly-funded school is going to teach anything religious, it must teach all religions equally. Obviously, no school has the time for this, so the only legal option is to teach no religion.

    Second, in a high-tech society, a full engagement with the political process requires that citizens receive a technological and scientific education, because this is the only way in which they can be empowered to participate meaningfully. So, because our society is high-tech, industrialised, and uses the output of science to supply so many basic needs, the citizenry needs at least some level of education in how the various parts of this technology work.

    Now, how was me pointing out the total absence of any reference to science in Hit&Run’s post “repeating” what (s)he said?

  183. Nigel Depledge

    LA_Lady said:

    Children weren’t necessarily “sent to work” by their parents, they didn’t want to go to school they wanted to work not be in the classroom where things got crowded and hot and smelly. Seriously, I’m not kidding.

    Yeah, cos working down a coalmine or crawling up people’s chimneys was so much more fun.

    I mean, I have no direct data about the USA, but it was common practice in Europe for children to get all sorts of unpleasant and poorly-paid work. For example, retrieving loose bits of cotton that fell out of the bottom of the machines in the cotton mills could only done by children because the spaces were too small for an adult to get in there. These loose bits had to be retrieved because they were a huge fire hazard. The machinery did not stop, and children were often injured / maimed / killed at work.

    And you think they’d prefer this over sitting in a hot, smelly classroom?

  184. Nigel Depledge

    John Paradox said:

    Devil’s Advocate Mode:
    ON
    Actually, when it comes to science, majority opinion does not rule. – Nigel

    But isn’t ‘peer review’ a form of (Limited) majority opinion?

    OFF

    If it is abused, yes it can be. However, the purpose of peer review is not to assess whether or not a scientist’s opinion concurs with the majority, but whether or not that scientist’s conclusions are justified by the evidence they present.

    The literature is littered with examples of two research groups (or factions of research groups) with different (sometimes mutually exclusive) opinions about the same phenomenon, where each group publishes results that purportedly refute the conclusions of the opposing group(s), until one or other of the groups publishes a result that is conclusive enough to resolve the whole issue.

  185. Craig

    It’s unsurprising that Lou is a fan of Against Method; Feyerabend was essentially an academic troll. Postmodernism meets the philosophy of science, with predictably stupid results.

    Against Method is worth a read, but chiefly because it provides some useful mental exercise in working out exactly why Feyerabend is so spectacularly wrong.

  186. Nigel Depledge

    Taking up Hit & Run again:

    As to teaching creationism vs. evolution it should be either both, giving the children all the information and letting them make their own choices, or Neither, leave out any part of evolution teaching that assumes that we came from nothing.M

    This is such rubbish. You presuppose that the two ideas have equal merit, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

    Evolution as a fact has been demonstrated beyond any doubt – species change over time.

    The theory of evolution, that explains why and how this change occurs, is supported by a massive amount of evidence, and has no credible competitor. It is top-quality science and has earned its place in the biology curriculum of any civilised nation.

    Creationism, on the other hand, has no more scientific merit than a fairy story. It is directly contradicted by known facts (to an extent that depends on the exact type of creationism you prefer). It is a religious idea that some people are trying to get taught as if it were science. It has no place whatever in any science class (except perhaps as an object of ridicule).

    Furthermore, schoolchildren are unlikely to be capable of critically examining “both” concepts and arrive at a rational conclusion. They are taught science at school so they know what science is and what it has discovered (and a really good science teacher will also instil critical thinking, but not all science teachers are good at this). They are not there to be distracted by pseudoscience or antiscience claptrap.

    I think it would be a fine thing if, in addition to being taught about science, schoolchildren were also taught to distinguish garbage masquerading as science from the real thing, but all fundie parents would violently object to such a class, because it would empower the children to see through the lies they had been taught.

    IF teaching both you would have to have someone very well educated in all the various religions plus evolution, not likely.

    Not feasible, since there are as many creation stories as there are religions, and none of them constitutes actual science.

    If neither you might stifle important parts of science.

    Yeah, like only the most important part of biology (ToE).

    so then there is compromise, which I believe is what they are trying to here.

    It is not a compromise, it is a disgrace.

    To teach “both” would falsely instil the idea that religious creation myths have some kind of scientific foundation. This would be a lie.

    Science has shown us what actually is. Religion has to live with this.

    Teach evolution without the assumption that we came from nothing.

    Actually, abiogenesis is only a small part of evolutionary biology. It can be sensibly argued that abiogenesis is an entire field of biology all by itself, separate from evolution. Evolution is a theory of change. If you were to read TOOS, you would see that Darwin accepted the potential for divine creation – once, in the distant past.

    Besides, why do you consider the assumption that all life arose through chemical processes acting on common molecules under certain conditions to be unreasonable? It is certainly far more reasonable than the assumption that our lives are guided by an omnipotent, omniscient being that cannot be seen, heard or touched.

    There are still missing links and many questions about the origin of the universe that science hasn’t, and possibly can’t, answer.

    And this has nothing whatever to do with biology.

    Did you have a point?

    That needs to be left for the child to conclude without being told they are wrong or unlawful.

    Eh?

    For people like myself there is no conflict between Science and Religion and more people would see this if they opened their minds.

    Yet your mind appears to be so open that something important has fallen out. The arguments you use here are deeply flawed. You seem to ignore that creationist myths have no place in a science class (Dover, PA, anyone? Edwards v Aguillard?).

    You also appear to be very confused about what is and what is not biology.

    There is only no conflict between religion and science when the religious accept that science is a means for us to work out how reality is. As soon as people start putting religious authority above the evidence-based conclusions of science, there will be conflict.

    People don’t really think about how much more there is to learn on their own. They’re so busy that there isn’t room for them to learn new information about the important things. Their mind is made up (or made up for them), they don’t want to be confused with more information that doesn’t fit what they think they know, which coincidently coincides with their indoctrination!

    Yes, indoctrination is usually how children are introduced to religion, usually at quite a tender age. Science is taught through a different process – education, and is taught later, when the children’s minds are (in principle) mature enough to grasp more subtle and abstract concepts. Science education should present evidence and draw logical conclusions, so the children are not asked to accept anything on the teacher’s authority. However, religious ideas that have been instilled many years earlier can interfere with this process.

  187. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    Faith:
    R-Faith is the substance reality is framed in. For all reality begins as thought before being manifested in the seen world… Faith is evidence of reality not yet manifested. Faith is more than believing, it is a knowing.

    Well, this is wrong.

    First off, faith is belief, of a particular type – belief in something despite an absence of evidence. Some say it is belief in the face of contrary evidence, but there are other words for that.

    After all, how can you ever know for certain that there is a god? The Bible is a human document, with no independent corroboration. Any religious experience you may have is just patterns of nerve impulses in your brain.

    S-The laws are treated as “given” (like the law of gravity) and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you have to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin.

    This is wrong, too.

    Science has no requirement for faith, because we can observe and measure how the universe works. When combined with something that we call reason – i.e. the process of logical thought – we can make many statements about the universe and how it works with a high degree of confidence. If our theories were wrong in any gross or significant way, we would already know about it.

    One scientist can convince others by reference to evidence – facts that can be observed and are the same for any observer in any place at any time. Observations that Charles Darwin made in the Galapagos will be the same for anyone who observes the same phenomena, at any time. Was was a fact before Darwin visited the islands was observed by him as a fact and can still be observed by other people as a fact. Similarly, turning to physics, the speed of light through a vacuum has been measured many times: it is the same no matter who measures it, no matter where they measure it, and no matter when they measured it.

    No faith needed, see, because any scientist can check up another scientist’s results, observations and measurements.

    Conclusion drawn from results are often hotly debated in the science literature. From time to time, a new experiment will produce such a persuasive result that one such debate may be settled. The science moves on to new frontiers. Occasionally, new observations call into question previously-accepted conclusions. However, this never entails gross changes to the conclusion – science in its modern form has given us a good understanding of many aspects of the universe and how it functions. This understanding is founded with confidence in mountains of evidence, experimentation and observation. We know that our current theories are at the very least a good approximation of how the world works.

  188. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    Eternity:
    R-All that there is and always will be, is the Eternal Ever Changing Now. All the past is, is the memory of the pattern before and all the future is, is anticipation of the pattern to come. There is no time there is just now.

    Meaningless metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.

    S-time is an illusion. It is relative to the motion of the observer

    Wrong. Time is a dimension, a component of four-dimensional spacetime. It is the curvature of spacetime that changes, not with motion, but with acceleration.

    And the Wave Harmonic theory of historical perception has been discredited. Time is not merely an illusion.

  189. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    Awareness:
    R-Masters teach that what we call reality is just our awareness choosing one of the infinite paths that lay before us. They teach that all life sprang from the Absolute Awareness and discovers its place in the Infinite.

    More meaningless metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.

    S-Unless you observe something, it isn’t real, it is only a potential set of probabilities that are not resolved unless observed.

    Again, you have failed to understand. An entity can exist in a superposition of quantum states that are collapsed by observation, but that does not mean the entity did not exist, only that its properties were unknown. In the famous thought experiment, Schroedinger’s cat was not nonexistent – it was both alive and dead simultaneously, until the act of observing collapsed its wave function.

  190. :(
    OT, but Jenny McCarthy was on Chuck last night.
    :(

  191. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    Oneness:
    R-There is but one God.

    *yawn* Prove it, already. *yawn*

    All things belong to God and are one with God. It is our destiny to learn to connect and discover our Union with God.

    Pardon me if I don’t take your word for this. Or anyone else’s.

    This is all speculation.

    S-At the most basic level of reality there is no separateness. Everything is connected to everything else.

    Er, no, not in any meaningful use of the word “connected”.

    Lots of stuff in the universe is similar to lots of oter stuff, but there is some exotic stuff that we really don’t know much about at all, so your claim is very speculative.

    Holyness:
    R-Holyness is defined as the presence of God. Only God can make someone or something Holy. To become holy one must draw nearer to God and learn to walk in his ways.

    Again, we have only the word of the religious establishment for this. What we don’t have is any independent corroboration.

    Plese note that the only difference between the wisdoms of science and religion is Holyness.

    Well, only in your artificial, bend-it-twist-it-squeeze-it-’til-it-fits scenario. Which relies on several unfounded assumptions, a lack of understanding of science, and specious reasoning.

    In other words, you’re talking nonsense.

  192. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    One of the criticisms science has had in the past with religious and spiritual thought is that none of the truths/wisdoms could be verified by experimentation.

    Er, right.

    But, seriously, because these statements cannot be verified and have not been verified, they can be called only claims or assertions or postulates.

    In science, the word “truth” for a discrete idea is more or less useless. Calling something “a truth” does not make it true. In science, “truth” pretty much always has the prosaic meaning, i.e. the opposite of that which is false.

    The mystic significance of OM may be the first spiritual truth to be proven by the penultimate Scientific Grand Theory of Everything.

    Wow. This must be something special!

    After Albert Einstein finished his Theory of General Relativity his next project was the Grand Unified Theory. He died with his dreams unfulfilled.

    That was because he was wrong.

    Einstein refused to accept quantum mechanics, which is why his attempts to formulate a unified field theory all failed.

    The other great theory of Science is the Theory of Quantum Thermodynamics.

    Not really.

    The other major 20th century theory of physics was quantum mechanics (QM). There is no “theory of quantum thermodynamics”, although QM is applicable in certain cases of thermodynamics. As a field of investigation, though, thermodynamics is significantly older than QM.

    Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity describes the Universe of the very large. Quantum Theory describes the Universe of the very small. Until recently, there was no way to bridge the Theory of Relativity with Quantum Theory. With the discovery of the Superstring Theory of Quantum Reality came a startling yet spiritually correct solution.

    Actually, it’s not startling, since your conclusion is built into the premise of the theory.

    The point about string theory is that it starts from the axiom: assume all elementary particles are different vibrational modes of something more fundamental and one-dimensional.

    At the sub-atomic infrastructure of reality, science discovered not points of infinity but incredibly small vibrating strings.

    I think the word you were after was “infinitesimal”, not “infinite”. But strings do have infinitesimal breadth and height – they are one-dimensional entities.

    However, you have not addressed an important point: which one of the 500 or so “correct” formulations of string theory is the one that you consider to be “spiritually correct”? Since there is only one reality, only one theory can be right.

  193. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    Science and ancient Master’s agree, each with their own way saying it; All of Reality comes from The Quantum AUM /OM

    Er, well, no.

    Aside from your wanton apostrophe abuse, you have not shown any link between String Theory and transcendental meditation / yogic blarney. At all.

  194. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    If both sides would open their minds a little everyone would see that science and religion do not contradict one another.

    The beginning of Genesis is a repairing of the Earth and the beginning of todays humans and science verifies this.

    On the contrary, there are passages in Genesis that are directly at odds with the evidence. Genesis is either merely metaphorical / allegorical, or just plain wrong.

    The very first sentence of Genesis[1:1] is a statement… “In the Beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.” PERIOD!

    Wow, you went into block caps there. I bow to your superior debating technique.

    Of course, you have proven nothing. The entire bible is a human document, with no independent corroboration. It could quite easily be a work of fiction. We simply have no way of knowing one way or t’other.

    Get a concordance and look up the words “was”, “without form”, and “void” in Genesis 1:2. You will see what is translated as the English word “was” should better be translated as the phrase ‘It came to pass’. Or if you want a word for word translation, instead of “was” it should be “became”. It’s only one of 2 places in the bible that it is translated as “was” out of the total of 75 times it was used, and the other place could also use “became”.

    Look up the original Hebrew for “without form” and “void”. They also mean “chaotic” and “empty”. As you can see, there is no word for word equivalence in English for the Hebrew words of “hayah”, “tohuw” and “bohuw”. Taking their full meaning it becomes clear that there was a lot of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

    It is the events that are not mentioned between these two verses that led up to the earth becoming a chaotic wasteland. The missing information solves the mystery of “Evolution vs Creation”.

    Before God created what we now call the Universe, he had created Angels. Angels were created as helpers. They were created for a specific purpose and they, unlike mankind, cannot die nor can they improve their station. They have self will and independence and are eternal beings.

    All the biblical to-ing and fro-ing demonstrates nothing, except that you are very pleased with your bible-studies reference library. The bible is not an accurate description of the world. Not only is a literal interpretation of its claims at odds with the way reality actually is, but various parts of the bible contradict one another. If your bible-studies library is a good one, you should have plenty of examples at your fingertips.

    God created the Universe so that it would support physical life. So, the Universe was created so life could evolve.

    [I have no problem with the Big Bang or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. God always starts small like a mustard seed. The Universe started very small and look how big it is now.]

    Well, you quite obviously have many problems with science, not least of which is a lack of any ability to discern science from nonsense.

    Be that as it may, I have no problem with you believing that god set up the universe in the beginning to develop in the way it has, including evolution of all life on Earth from one (or very few) ancestor populations.

    What I have a problem with is when you try to let people teach this kind of stuff as if it were science. There is no evidence to support belief in god (in fact, it can be argued that, since proof denies faith, proof of god would undermine faith, but many theologians regard this argument as a load of dingoes’ kidneys). Evolutionary theory is good science and deserves to be in the curriculum of every civilised nation. Creationist ideas have no basis in fact and cannot expect to be accorded the intellectual respect that science has earned.

  195. @ Ivan:

    “This is reminiscent of that song: “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!””

    Lou is Napoleon IV????!!! :D

  196. Darth Robo

    Nigel Depledge is god!!!

    :)

  197. Ugly Tom

    Why not take this law further?

    Teach astrology as well as astronomy.
    Teach numerology as well as mathematics.
    Teach alchemy as well as chemistry.
    Teach flat earth/young earth theories as well as geology.

    But don’t teach climatology… our kids might find out about global warming.

  198. Why should the evolutionists care about the future? Especially the future beyond their lives? They often talk about decades or generations from now. But who cares? And why? When they are dead, don’t they think there will be no existence? And not long after they are dead, don’t they think no one on earth will have a memory of them anyway? So what are they trying for? What “god” do they think will judge them shortly after they are gone? Why are they trying to justify their fleeting lives if there is no Creator as Judge to give an account to? This is just one area evolutionists are so incredibly inconsistent it is laughable.

  199. Steven DS: Given that your name links to the Answers in Genesis site, I assume you are a Christian.

    How sad that you have such a narrow and wrongheaded view of those who don’t share your own narrow belief. Do you think agnostics and atheists don’t love their children, and want what’s best for them? Do you think that they are amoral and misanthropic?

    The answer to your own question is in the question itself. You ask why “evolutionists” care about the future, but you ignore the very idea that they do care.

    And how sad that you need a threat of eternal damnation to do something that agnostics and atheists (and some other religious believers) do just because it’s the right thing to do.

    Maybe you ought to go out and actually meet some of these people you denigrate. You’ll find that they have love, hope, and charity in their lives.

  200. Steven D. S.

    You missed the main idea. It was: what for? Why ultimately care about anything but living for yourself if this fleeting time on earth is all there is? Why? The inconsistency. That was the main point above. The evolutionists have no solid foundation for ultimate meaning and purpose in life.

  201. Well, let me try this again. The main idea was there is no logical consistency for evolutionists to live for any others but themselves if there is no judgment after this life. There is no ultimate meaning and purpose in life for the evolutionists if there will be no judgment of any sort after this life. If so, who’s to judge? Only a Judge deemed worthy, of course. And did I mention eternal damnation? You were the one who did that. God will judge based on Truth and His absolutely perfect standards, of which we fallen humans fall miserably far short of. So, as for an expression of absolute love while maintaining His just judgment, God have up His Son as an atoning sacrifice on that cross. And more. He conquered death for us, too, after three days. There is the only justification any human will receive from God; the imputed work of His Son on the cross. To try for justification any other way misses the mark terribly and only means His Judgment. That is something to fear.

  202. Davidlpf

    It seems an awful selfish way of seeing things Steven DS. Worrying about yourself while people are dying of diseases that could of been cured if biologists were allowed to study how bacteria change over time. Maybe instead of wondering how a god will see you, you should help your fellow men by finding ways of improving their lives by understanding the world around you.

  203. Steven DS: You speak from profound ignorance of evolution and a non-theistic life… starting with confusing the two. But perhaps you should on how we evolved morals. That would be a good place to start.

  204. People like Steven DS are quite scary because they seem to think that without a godhead to fear they could do anything. They seem to think that morals and ethics were handed to a bunch of savages 4000 years ago by a god figure.

    Anyway, must go. I have a baby to eat.

  205. Davidlpf

    @Shane,a little mustard goes a long way.

  206. IVAN3MAN

    @ kuhnigget,

    Almost right, kuhnigget. Actually, it’s Napoleon XIV:

    Napoleon XIV
    (Click on image for the Wikipedia entry.)
  207. The main idea was there is no logical consistency for evolutionists to live for any others but themselves if there is no judgment after this life.

    As others have implied. How weak these theists must be, if the only inspiration for their “morality” is the threat of eternal torture meted out by a vindictive god.

    Honestly, does it never cross their minds that some of us try to live honest, decent lives and care for our fellows because…shock!…it’s just the right thing to do? Or that we want our lives and the lives of others to be the best, most peaceful, most love-filled they can possibly be…here? Now? Not in some fairytale afterlife?

    I am so glad I do not live in that world of theirs. <>

  208. Steven D.S.,

    Then you seem to think that the Christian life is to do whatever it takes to get into heaven. You are stating that Christians are not good because they are good people, but only to get into heaven? I don’t need to repeat what others have written about why you are wrong about atheists, but you manage to insult Christians and atheists with your Creationist version of Pascal’s wager. I see Ambassador to Afghanistan in your future. :-)

  209. Mark Hansen

    Steven D.S., is a season ticket to heaven all you care about? The reason this particular godless, evil, evolutionist cares is because it allows me and my offspring to have a more peaceful, hopefully longer, existence. If my offspring reproduce successfully, my genes have done their job. So, I do care what happens. I care very much. I just don’t need to have the fear of a vengeful, wrathful, potentially-smiting, loving god to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  210. @ Ivan:

    Damn those numerically challenged Romans!

  211. Nigel Depledge

    Darth Robo said:

    Nigel Depledge is god!!!

    Aw, shucks, you blew my cover!

    (Just kidding, folks!)

    Seriously, though, Darth, I hope you can back that claim up with some hard evidence! ;-)

  212. Nigel Depledge

    Steven DS said:

    You missed the main idea. It was: what for? Why ultimately care about anything but living for yourself if this fleeting time on earth is all there is? Why? The inconsistency. That was the main point above. The evolutionists have no solid foundation for ultimate meaning and purpose in life.

    What inconsistency?

    Self-respect.
    Honesty.
    Integrity.
    Empathy.
    Duty.
    Responsibility.

    Any of these (and loads of other ideas that I can’t be bothered to list or haven’t thought of yet) can motivate atheists to care about other people and to care about what happens to our descendents and to our society.

    Empathy, BTW, is hard-wired into our brains. It is an adaptation to living as a highly social animal. Empathy is a requirement for living closely with others.

  213. Nigel Depledge

    Steven DS said:

    Well, let me try this again. The main idea was there is no logical consistency for evolutionists to live for any others but themselves if there is no judgment after this life. There is no ultimate meaning and purpose in life for the evolutionists if there will be no judgment of any sort after this life.

    But why does judgement only occur after our life?

    And, actually, who is better placed to judge one’s actions and their impact than oneself?

    Why should people not conduct their lives in such a way that they can be satisfied with themselves?

  214. Nigel Depledge

    Hit and Run said:

    God gave the Angels [bizarre and disturbing fantasy removed] . . . Lucifer devised a plan to destroy the Earth’s life giving properties. This is how the Earth ultimately became chaotic and empty of life.

    How do you know? Were you there?

    Science is only verifying what different “masters” of religions have believed for centuries and probably what we all understood before we were split (the tower of babel).

    This is just rubbish.

    Science has made many new discoveries that were previously unknown or inexplicable, including:

    Why the sky is blue;
    What lightning is;
    How to generate electricity;
    How to communicate using radio waves;
    Anaesthetics;
    Antibiotics;
    Vaccination;
    The structure of DNA;
    How to synthesise para-acetamidoyl phenol (paracetamol, or acetaminophen);
    How to measure the age of rocks;
    How the moon was formed;
    How old the Earth is;

    And so on and on.

    The plagues that Moses predicted would come if his people weren’t freed can be accurately described by what happens with a major volcanic eruption,

    No. Not really. Not unless you engage in semantic acrobatics again.

    but how did Moses know what would happen?

    How do you know that it happened at all?

    God told him and God knew because he made it happen… He used a calamity.

    If you think god talks to you, you should go back on the medication.

    Why didn’t the Jews children die? Because they were up celebrating the Sabbath while the Egyptians children were sleeping on the floor where the toxic gases seeped in.

    Yes, that’s right – the toxic gas that could distinguish the firstborn in every family. Oh, wait …

    Seriously, this paragraph is insane. Just read it back and think about what you have written.

    If there had been even one Jew who wasn’t celebrating (as God had commanded them to celebrate the Sabbath) then they would’ve died too and been seen as being killed by God for not being a true Jew.

    And how does any of this claptrap relate to teaching antiscience (ID or other forms of creationism) in science classes?

  215. Nigel Depledge

    Cheyenne said:

    SICB is leaving Louisiania to go to Utah. Not sure that was a good call. If somebody disagrees with you isn’t it better to go to them and present your ideas?

    But Jindal and those who voted in this proposition had to overcome opposition from rational people in order to do so. Therefore, they had already demonstrated a desire to ignore facts that they do not like.

    Win them over with an intelligent argument? Feels to me like the SICB is turning tail for the wrong reasons.

    Again, intelligent arguments are no match for religious soundbites.

    Otherwise, every state in the USA would have been teaching evolutionary biology since the Scopes trial, and therefore everyone alive in the USA today would understand evolution and the reasons it is the only logical conclusion from the evidence.

    Besides, the SICB has a budget for a conference, not for an outreach programme into hostile territory.

    If they are right on the science, and they clearly are, I don’t see the point of tucking off. Especially when we are talking about a state that truly needs financial support right now. I think have science types spending money in their area is exactly what they need.

    Which is obviously the whole point of the boycot.

    Jindal et al. have already demonstrated that they are not prepared to listen to the science. The SICB is making a statement: if you refuse to accept or engage with the science, then you won’t get the revenue from science conferences.

    Yeah, Jindal and the legislature are wrong – the SICB is right. But it’s a democracy and that is what the people voted for in that state-

    So do you believe that ignorant people should have the right of veto over reality?

    No-one who supported this legislation is qualified to judge the science.

    so I don’t think the SICB’s lamentations of woe like “The legislature did not listen.”, “Jindal did not listen.”,”all of which were ignored.”, are a bit lame and over the top. They sound like whiners to me and not adult scientists that want to make a difference. “We weren’t paid attention too! We’re leaving. WAAAAAA!”.

    If you had spent decades becoming an expert in a single field of endeavour, you would expect to receive the respect you deserve from people outside that field.

    All of which is beside the point. The SICB has made a statement that they do not and will not endorse the encaction of legislature that supports teaching nonsense to schoolchildren as if it were real science.

  216. Nigel Depledge

    Kuhnigget said:

    Only after a generation of kids grows up and finds themselves ill-equipped for college level science or engineering or anything that requires rational thought, and consequently find huge areas of economic opportunity off limits to them, will the god-fearin’ cranks finally figure out what their policies have done

    Actually, I know of at least one successful mechanical engineer possessed of no critical faculties whatsoever.

  217. Nigel Depledge

    Brad said:

    Many of you guys seem to be getting incensed about the “allowing of creationist materials to be used in the classroom,” as it is stated in this article. This doesn’t infact supercede the teaching of Darwinism.

    No, instead it sows fabricated doubt about the nature of modern evolutionary theory (which I abreviate to MET).

    BTW, I avoid using the term “Darwinism” because it is too vague and likely to be anachronistic.

    Also, allowing creationist materials into any science classroom would bestow a validity on them that they do not deserve.

    In dental school, there was one book in particular I remember that read like the yin and yang of the universe. It presented both sides of each position, AND the research to back both sides up.

    Where there is a genuine scientific controversy, or where two hypotheses are equally supported by evidence, this is appropriate.

    MET is supported by so much evidence that this one topic would require a text book 6 inches thick. And the “alternatives” could all be described in full detail on one page.

    For example, let’s look at ID. If you cut through the strawman attacks on MET, if you discard the arguments from ignorance and the arguments from personal incredulity, you are left with the following “theory”:

    “Someone, somewhere, designed something in Earth’s biosphere at some time.”

    While totally confusing, you were left with the understanding that as much as we know, there is still so much that we don’t know.

    And in fields of endeavour that contain many unknown aspects, this is appropriate. However, we can be fairly confident that we do know all of the most important mechanisms through which biological change occurs. That populations of biological entities change over time is a fact. That all life is inter-related has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    We can confidently state that, even if our theory is wrong in some details, it is at the very least a good approximation of reality.

    Let’s face it, without disregarding things as we currently understand them, there would never be quantum leaps forward in understanding. (I believe Einstein was considered a crazy person by many.)

    Well, aside from the fact that you have misunderstood what is meant by a quantum leap (it is the smallest possible increment of change), Einstein and many other great scientists did not have to disregard much of what was already “known”.

    Let’s take Einstein as an example. His first great success was in explaining the problem of black-body radiation, by his proposal that light was quantised. This was a proposed solution to what was widely known in physics to be a bit of a problem. He disregarded nothing.

    Einstein’s second success was the theory of special relativity. It was, essentially, an extension of some of Faraday’s and Maxwell’s work on electromagnetism, and some of Galileo’s and Newton’s work on mechanics. The only thing he disregarded was a “common-sensical” view of the world.

    Finally, Einstein’s greatest success was general relativity (GR), which initially sought to unite gravity with special relativity. However, the movement of Mercury was known to be different from the predictions of Newton. Einstein’s theory successfully predicted the motion of Mercury as it is observed. But actually, Newton’s theory of gravity can be derived from Einstein’s theory if you set a limit on the strength of gravitational fields and if you limit the magnitude of accelerations. So it turns out that Newtonian gravity is a special case of GR.

    It would only be gradual up to the point of stagnation.

    Not really.

    While there is extremely convincing evidence to support the notion that Darwinism should be absolute, since we humans havn’t created any animals with such significant alterations in the dna code like would take for us to go from chimps to humans, or sea dwelling animals to land creatures, we should at least keep the possibility open that an “Intelligent Design” could be masterminding this entire process.

    This paragraph illustrates how poorly you understand biology.

    Biological change usually occurs incrementally, generation by generation. The most radical changes involve hybridsisation of two species. However, in each case, a new species arises from one or two precursors, so the morphology possessed by the new species can only be variations on what already existed.

    It is the accumulation of small changes over many thousands or millions of generations that brings about large changes, and this takes time.

    One extant species simply cannot change into another extant species, because the pathway from one to the other would necessarily pass via an extinct common ancestor, which would not be able to compete with either extant species.

    We can manipulate DNA to the extent that we have produced mice that express GFP (green fluorescent protein) from jellyfish in their skin. This is little more than a parlour trick, but much genuine research into cancer and other serious diseases involves expressing a protein from humans in microbes (typically bacteria or yeast).

    As a long term student of the sciences, I know that the when we start believing that things we know are infallable, someone comes along and proves something to the contrary.

    Well, you need to bruch up your scholarship, then, because there will inevitably come a point where a theory is confirmed so often, and is supported by so much evidence that to consider it to be anything other than fact is folly. Such theories (inlcuding atomic theory, germ theory of disease, relativity, quantum mechanics and evolution) have been so successful in explaining the universe that we can confidently state that even if they are wrong in some way, they are at the very least good approximations of reality (in the same way that Newtonian gravitational theory is in most cases a good approximation for Einsteinian gravitatinal theory).

  218. Nigel Depledge

    Gary B said:

    It’s sad that two dogmatic extremist factions can hijack a reasonable and interesting discussion. Bill Maher and friends who dismiss those with faith as ‘ignorant stupid nutcases’ are being just as stupid and dogmatic as the most extreme advocates who say “Jesus rode a dinosaur” (a tiny minority of creation believers). It is time for everyone to quit arguing and accept that others disagree with their world view, and (most importantly) that the opposing point of view is just as reasonable and well-justified as their own.

    Erm, what part of about believing in an omnipotent being who can never be seen or heard or touched is reasonable, exactly?

    Dismissing someone who disagrees with you as an idiot or nutcase just marks you as too stupid or lazy to review the best arguments on the other side.

    And again, what arguments are there for the existence of god?

    Bear in mind that I won’t accept arguments from ignorance or arguments from personal incredulity, or “it-stands-to-reason” type arguments.

    Let’s all lighten up, people!!

    From first principles, it is impossible for any denizen of the Universe to determine whether it had/has a Creator. I recommend the 1960-something work by Ross Ashby on Reconstructability Analysis (see also explanations by Zwick), which proved that the controller of any system must have a higher complexity than the system controlled. From this we can see that, for every argument in favor of a Creator, there is a valid argument against – and vice versa. We CANNOT prove or disprove the existence of a Creator, or whether such a Creator is presently interacting with the Universe.

    Well, assuming that the Creator is omnipotent and assuming that the Creator does not wish to reveal her presence, this is correct, but it has nothing with the creationism that the Christian fundies are trying to get taught as science in American schools.

    Creation is a formally undecideable proposition. Deal with it.

    This is not at issue. If you had been paying attention to some of the preceding comments you might have noticed that.

    What is at issue is that a group of Christian fundies are trying to get their creation myth taught in schools as if it were science, and as if it had some reason-based merit that it lacks.

    Each of us as individuals is faced with the decision to have faith in a Creator, or have faith in no Creator. That is the essence of faith – “evidence of things not seen”. We can not know the answer before we die (if then). Pascal argued there were benefits to belief, but that is up to the individual.

    Well, I contend that faith is belief in something despite an absence of evidence (rather than “evidence of things not seen” – evidence for a god is conspicuous by its absence, not by its invisibility).

    You also have not pointed out that the choice is between any of many different alleged creators (or, indeed, groups of creators), or none. The choice is not merely a dichotomy.

    It is OK to believe either way, and we must accept that wise, reasonable, thinking people can come to the opposite conclusion. We must RESPECT those who disagree with us.

    I always do, provided they respect that in science evidence is king. In general, I don’t care what wacky things people choose to believe – I only care when they start trying to pass off mythical claptrap as science, or when they try to instil artificial doubt in the minds of children about the capability of science to allow us to investigate and understand the universe.

  219. Nigel Depledge

    Gary B said:

    Evolution is a mechanism, not an existential argument.

    Actually, it is a hell of a lot more.

    Evolution is, above all, an explanation. It comprises several mechanisms and several hypotheses. The mechanisms for change that it contains have all been observed to occur. Some of the hypotheses (e.g. common descent) have been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    One of the difficulties is that we still don’t know very much about many of the details, and have not really yet constructed a truly complete picture of what it is. Our mathematical models are primitive – we are a long way from a ‘unified theory’ of many related models.

    You are conflating the theory of evolution with the detailed evolutionary history of life.

    The theory of evolution is very well understood and is fully supported in its every aspect by huge mountains of evidence.

    There are many gaps in the detailed evolutionary history of life on Earth, but this in no way invalidates any part of evolutionary theory.

    Compare it to the theory of gravity – our understanding of gravity is pretty good (apart from understanding why gravity is), but we have only the tiniest chance of ever determining the detailed orbital history of every object in the solar system. And why should we?

    Similarly, while individual examples of evolutionary histories will be of interest, what is the value in determining a detailed evolutionary history of all life on Earth?

  220. “I’ve got blisters on me fingers!” — Nigel

    :)

  221. S-At the most basic level of reality there is no separateness. Everything is connected to everything else.

    Except humans and other primates?

    J/P=?

  222. Nigel:
    The plagues that Moses predicted would come if his people weren’t freed can be accurately described by what happens with a major volcanic eruption,

    No. Not really. Not unless you engage in semantic acrobatics again.

    Actually, one of the History/Discovery/Science channel shows dealt with the ‘plagues’ as a volcanic eruption.
    Do NOT remember the title

    J/P=?

  223. Actually, one of the History/Discovery/Science channel shows dealt with the ‘plagues’ as a volcanic eruption.
    Do NOT remember the title

    Fairly broad support for the theory that the eruption of Fira (Santorini) ca mid 2nd millennium BC had a major impact — both physically and socially — on the Mediterranean world. While the exact dates are still in flux, the event seems to be recorded in Egyptian records, and the subsequent migration of Minoan populations coincides with the movement of the “sea peoples” into the Levant, and the turmoil that naturally followed.

    Charles Pellegrino’s book, Unearthing Atlantis is still a pretty good summary of the idea, tho some of it is a little dated now.

    On a tangent, anyone familiar with Egyptian and Levantine history will know that the Hebrews were not “enslaved” in Egypt, rather their sojourn there spanned many centuries and was part of a general migration south from the Levant, into North Africa. The Hyksos, as the native Egyptians called them, dominated Lower Egypt for several centuries, having pretty much taken over the economy of the region following decades of gradual infiltration. The so-called “exodus” was a mythologized memory of the eventual expulsion of the Hyksos back to the Levant, when the Thutmosid line of Pharaoh’s came to power in Upper Egypt and reclaimed the north, driving the hated “foreigners” out of the Two Lands.

    Sorry. Bit of an Egyptophile. Always gives me a pain when the religios tout their mythology as history, blissfully unaware of the centuries of scholarship that have quite clearly outlined its historical development.

  224. Gary B.,

    It is OK to believe either way, and we must accept that wise, reasonable, thinking people can come to the opposite conclusion. We must RESPECT those who disagree with us.

    No.

    We should respect the person, who disagrees with us. That person is still capable of learning.

    Wise, reasonable, thinking people may come to opposite conclusions on topics that have evidence to support divergent conclusions. People faced with this kind of disagreement may not give as much credit to the evidence presented by the other side. The scientific method is the best way to evaluate the evidence. Maybe the evidence is inconclusive. This might justify coming to opposite conclusions. As the amount of evidence increases, the conclusions will be modified. Science is a process of learning. Science adapts.

    The possibility of continuing to come to opposite conclusions decreases dramatically with more evidence. Unless one side just does not understand the scientific method. Or one side holds fanatical beliefs that they feel a need to claim are true, in spite of scientific evidence that their position is not true.

    We should respect those people, who preach nonsense. They have the ability to learn. That is something I believe.

    We should not respect their position.

    Anti-vaccinationists kill. Should we say, Its only a difference of opinion?

    Homeopaths kill. Should we say, Its only a difference of opinion?

    AIDS denialists kill. Should we say, Its only a difference of opinion?

    And so on.

    Should we respect those, who kill for their fanaticism?

    No.

    You may say, Oh, but Creationism is about life. Creationists don’t kill.

    Nonsense kills. Ignorance of science kills. Fanaticism kills.

    Life expectancy has dramatically increased due to science, not Creationism.

    Then there is the fraudulent suggestion that there is only one alternative theory to evolution. There is one for every religion that has a Creation myth that is not treated as a metaphor. Dozens? Hundreds? I do not know. When somebody can provide scientific evidence to support any of them, then I will pay attention. In the mean time, all Creationism needs to be kept out of the science classroom.

    The science classroom is a place for science.

    The science classroom is not a place for religion.

    To be fair, should we be teaching sexual education in religion classrooms as an alternative theory to abstinence.

  225. To be fair, should we be teaching sexual education in religion classrooms as an alternative theory to abstinence.
    Only if the religion being taught is Tantrism. ;)

  226. José

    @John Paradox
    Actually, one of the History/Discovery/Science channel shows dealt with the ‘plagues’ as a volcanic eruption.

    There are a bunch of shows like this. The problem is, these shows all fail to describe the events of the Bible without some major twisting of those events and/or how the natural world works. The last one I saw was another gem from Simcha Jacobovici where he used things like volcanic eruptions, earthquake storms, and killer lakes (all of which do exist) to “prove” the exodus. All he really ended up proving was that he doesn’t understand geology very well, and that he has no problem shoving aside reason to support his theories.

  227. Todd W.

    @José and John Paradox

    I’ve seen one or two of those shows. I believe it was on the History Channel. The problem as I saw it was even more basic than just twisting things around. The basic, fundamental issue that doomed the whole thing was that they began with the assumption that the events actually happened. They began with the conclusion (“these events happened”), then fit hypothetical evidence (who needs real evidence) to the conclusion.

    They didn’t even bother with trying to find actual evidence.

  228. Todd W.

    With regard to Lou and the novel-writer, I’m late to the party. But, I see that Nigel has quite soundly shredded their comments already. Always a pleasure to read.

  229. TheBlackCat

    @ Rogue: The recent partially clips comic says the same thing:

    http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1594

  230. TheBlackCat
  231. TheBlackCat
  232. TheBlackCat,

    I got it to work.

    Are you inviting me to a party, or making fun of me for not being invited to many parties? :-)

  233. TheBlackCat

    It was meant to be an embedded picture.

  234. TheBlackCat,

    IVAN3MAN seems to be the one, who understands that. Embedding pictures does appear to be something that has an intelligent design. ;-)

  235. Darth Robo

    Um, Stephen DS, I think you’re confusing “evolutionists” with atheists. You did know that many people who accept evolution believe in God, didn’t you? Yes?

    Oh, and stop telling people they’re going to hell. That’s not for you to decide.

  236. Nigel Depledge

    John Paradox said:

    Nigel:
    The plagues that Moses predicted would come if his people weren’t freed can be accurately described by what happens with a major volcanic eruption,

    No. Not really. Not unless you engage in semantic acrobatics again.

    Actually, one of the History/Discovery/Science channel shows dealt with the ‘plagues’ as a volcanic eruption.
    Do NOT remember the title

    Hmmm…

    I was under the impression that there were superficial resemblances (such as might explain the origin of the “plagues” story) but that the details were clearly divergent. But having you point this out has made me realise I can’t recall where I read that so I can’t really comment on how reliable my information is.

  237. Nigel Depledge

    Kuhnigget said:

    “I’ve got blisters on me fingers!” — Nigel

    Ah, maybe that would explain all the typos in my more recent posts.

  238. Nigel Depledge

    Todd W. said:

    With regard to Lou and the novel-writer, I’m late to the party. But, I see that Nigel has quite soundly shredded their comments already. Always a pleasure to read.

    Thanks, Todd. Glad to be of service.

  239. Nigel Depledge

    Paul S said:

    For the record, I think that all of the available evidence supports evolution, and that intelligent design is really just a modified version of Judeao-Christian religious belief that does not have scientific support and should not be taught as a science. I am just suggesting that the practical consequences of teaching intelligent design might not be as serious or negative as many people fear.

    I think I see your point, Paul, but I feel that there is something you have overlooked.

    The pro-ID teaching materials (e.g. the book Of Pandas and People) are full of lies, obfuscation, logical fallacies and extraordinarily poor scholarship (this last point is giving the authors of such works the benefit of the doubt). William Dembski in particular would have students believe that science is all about using complicated language that gives the impression of thoughts so deep as to be impenetrable to the layperson, which is wrong.

    I consider it fundamentally wrong to expose students to books that convey such a poor impression of science and scientific writing. No real scientist would write in the way that Dembski writes. No real scientist would cling to their cherished idea once it had been shown to be wrong (Michael Behe, I’m lookin’ at you!).

    Discussion of ID would not belong in a science class. Perhaps instead it could be discussed in a class on philosophy (to exemplify the many logical fallacies it uses) or rhetoric (at which the ID crowd is especially good, because the facts are certainly not supporting them).

  240. IVAN3MAN

    Nigel Depledge:

    The pro-ID teaching materials (e.g. the book Of Pandas and People) are full of lies, obfuscation, logical fallacies and extraordinarily poor scholarship (this last point is giving the authors of such works the benefit of the doubt). William Dembski in particular would have students believe that science is all about using complicated language that gives the impression of thoughts so deep as to be impenetrable to the layperson, which is wrong.

    According to Wikipedia, that is known as sophism:

    In modern usage, sophism, sophist, and sophistry are derogatory terms, due the influence of many philosophers in the past (sophism and Platonism were enemy schools).

    A sophism is taken as a specious argument used for deceiving someone. It might be crafted to seem logical while actually being wrong, or it might use difficult words and complicated sentences to intimidate the audience into agreeing, or it might appeal to the audience’s prejudices and emotions rather than logic, i.e., raising doubts towards the one asserting, rather than his assertion. The goal of a sophism is often to make the audience believe the writer or speaker to be smarter than he or she actually is, e.g., accusing another of sophistry for using persuasion techniques. An argument Ad Hominem is an example of Sophistry.

    A sophist is a user of sophisms, i.e., an insincere person trying to confuse or deceive people. A sophist tries to persuade the audience while paying little attention to whether his argument is logical and factual.

    Sophistry means making heavy use of sophisms. The word may be applied to a particular text or speech riddled with sophisms.


  241. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    You have the “crank” and “sophism” articles bookmarked, don’t you?

  242. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    You may very well think that; I could not possibly comment. ;-)

  243. @ Nigel:

    William Dembski in particular would have students believe that science is all about using complicated language that gives the impression of thoughts so deep as to be impenetrable to the layperson, which is wrong.

    Gee, what does that remind me of? Hmmmm….texts written two and half millennia ago in a language few are familiar with, documents that have been endlessly redacted and revised according to the times, stories regarding esoteric tribal matters and mythologies, the whole thing “analyzed” by those in the know to mean just about anything they want it to mean…

    Nah, coincidence, I’m sure.

  244. @Nigel Depledge,

    William Dembski in particular would have students believe that science is all about using complicated language that gives the impression of thoughts so deep as to be impenetrable to the layperson, which is wrong.

    Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science, by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, addresses this particular issue. One of the distinctions between science and sophistry is that the language of science is used to improve communication, not to confuse communication.

    Within the humanities, the response to the book was bitterly divided. Some were delighted, some enraged; reaction was polarized between impassioned supporters and equally impassioned opponents of Sokal.[2] Critics of Sokal and Bricmont charge that they lack understanding of the writing they were criticizing. Responses from the scientific community were far more blunt and supportive.

    Blunt and supportive. :-)

  245. Nigel Depledge

    @Rogue Medic,

    Wasn’t Alan Sokal the person who got a paper published in a sociology journal by just stitching loads of complicated words into sentences that sounded like technical English but didn’t actually mean anything?

  246. @Nigel Depledge,

    Yes. “The Sokal affair (also Sokal’s hoax) was a hoax by physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated on the editorial staff and readership of the postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text (published by Duke University Press). In 1996, Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, submitted a paper for publication in Social Text, as an experiment to see if a journal in that field would, in Sokal’s words: “publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions..”

    A wonderful way of pointing out that the Emperor is not only naked, but ugly (or is that butt ugly?). :-)

  247. Nigel Depledge

    @ Rogue Medic

    Ah, yes, leaving Social Text with masses of egg on face…
    :-)

    And leaving us “real” scientists with a warm fuzzy glow, safe in the knowledge that social “science” couldn’t tell science from garbage. ;-)

  248. @Nigel Depledge,

    There are still papers published in “real” science journals, that should not pass peer review. So science is not immune from this.

    On the other hand, the nice thing about real science is that other scientists will attempt to replicate research. if they run into problems, that attracts more skeptical attention to the original research – a slightly different response from what happened with Sokal. While there would be some traditionalists, who would defend the peer reviewers who were duped, there would be plenty of scientists critical of their ability to be duped. If the data do not make sense, in the way that Sokal’s vocabulary did not make sense, why would any competent peer review panel consent to publication?

    Real science is not perfect, but real science is self-correcting. Mistakes can be made, but the result is progress.

    I would advocate for the same approach to anti-science groups, such as Creationists, but they already parody themselves so well. The anti-vaccinationists seem to have immunized themselves to parody of their scientific methods by playing sacrificial roulette with their children. To gamble with the life of one’s own child like that puts these kooks far beyond the reach of any rational approach. It would take a Scientologist, or Kim Jong-il, or some similar out-of-mind person, to reach them.

  249. Nigel Depledge

    Yes, indeed, science is self-correcting.

    This is something that none of the antiscience supporters seem to get.

    Sometimes I wish the public were better educated, not just about the achievements of science, but about critical thought in general . . .

    Then, the public would be less open to manipulation by charlatans such as Jenny McCarthy or Michael Behe . . .

    Then, a more rational populace might not vote into power such idealogues as Jindal . . .

    And good education would not be placed in such profound jeopardy.

    Erm . . .

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