Saturday, December 29, 2007

Do Fundamentalist Christians Actively Resist Learning?

 
Last summer Tom Bozzo, an economist in Madison Wisconsin, played around with the latest data on science education in America [Scientific Knowledge in the US by Religion]. He was interested in any correlations between religion and the understanding of basic scientific concepts.

A reader reminded me of this data. It was discussed on several blogs last summer but I had forgotten the details. There's one pair of graphs that are particularly interesting. The first one shows that fundamentalist Protestants, as expected, do not believe that humans evolved whereas atheists—and most other groups—accept the scientific facts.
Tom wanted to know what these results would look like if he only included those respondents with some college education. He cautions us that the numbers are small.
There are several cautions that need to be emphasized. For one thing, there's a relationship between the amount of education one has and the strength of their religious beliefs. Getting an education tends to drive you away from the most fundamentalist religions. That's probably why there's a smaller percentage of college educated fundamentalists (27%) compared to moderates (39%) and liberals (51%). Another problem is that the numbers are small and the associated error bars are large.

Keeping all these cautions in mind, it is still quite remarkable that some significant percentage of fundamentalist Protestants can go to college and still reject the basic scientific fact that humans evolved. Note that in all of the other groups the college educated subset are more inclined to accept evolution. (Do most of those "college" educated fundamentalists go to some cheap reproduction of a college run by a religious organization?)

As we've seen time and time again on the blogs (and elsewhere), the Christian fundamentalists have erected very strong barriers against learning. It really doesn't matter how much they are exposed to rational thinking and basic scientific evidence. They still refuse to listen.

This is one of the reasons why I would flunk them if they took biology and still rejected the core scientific principles. It's not good enough to just be able to mouth the "acceptable" version of the truth that the Professor wants. You actually have to open your mind to the possibility that science is correct and get an education. That's what university is all about.

Of course, we all recognize the problem here. How do you distinguish between a good Christian who is lying for Jesus and one who has actually come to understand science? It seems really unfair to flunk the honest students who admit that they still reject science and pass the dishonest ones who hide their true beliefs.


40 comments :

  1. Another confounding factor is what "good" Christians are supposed to say regardless of what they actually know. I used to run into this when I was in the military. We had a high density of fundies. I could usually wear them down into accepting the science if I had an hour or two to spare. This enlightenment never lasted more than a few minutes and they'd be back to quoting the bible.

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  2. My advisor (a geologist) teaches an upper-division general education class called "Prehistoric Life". His students are mostly seniors with non-science majors.

    Evolution is front and center from the beginning, of course. Every semester he starts out with 20-30% of the class "not believing" in evolution. Lots of those people have simply never had it explained to them. Some are fundies. By the end of the class, the only students who still don't believe in evolution are the fundies.

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  3. You have to remember that many college-educated fundamentalists attend fundamentalist colleges. You can figure out the rest.

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  4. A better question would be, are fundamentalist Christians capable of anything other than resisting - are they permanently trapped into non-learning outside of their professed faith doctine? Is it fear? A need for blind obedience to authority? A need to belong?

    I think that it's pretty clear that the rank and file fundamentalist/literalist is generally not even amenable to entertaining the possibility of even trying to understand anything that does not have a "scientific" mechanism not consisting of an invisible father entity doing the driving and making the rules. I cannot fathom a mindset that requires bending every argument around such a rigidly fixed belief system that's based on intangible and unprovable assertions. And to do so no matter how contradictory and silly it becomes.

    A few threads ago I asked a true "believer" if they could even entertain the possibility of a non-supernatural basis for the Noah flood story (or any flood story for that matter) and the reply was essentially an emphatic NO. This seems a typical fundamentalist position and to continue this kind of conversation beyond that point would be like driving downtown to taunt the schizophrenic homeless - cruel and pointless (disclaimer: I am not implying that all homeless are mentally ill). It's not that they want to be schizophrenic and homeless but they can't, for whatever reason, be anything else.

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  5. Memo to Darwinists:
    Resisting the belief that the biological world came into existence as the result of only (and only) impersonal, unguided,undirected forces of nature is not resisting science. Since there is absolutly no evidence that the forces of nature have magical creative powers, it's absurdly obvious that the rational thing to do is to reject any theory which proposes things that are so obviously counter-evidence.

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  6. There's one pair of graphs that are particularly interesting. The first one shows that fundamentalist Protestants, as expected, do not believe that humans evolved whereas atheists—and most other groups—accept the scientific facts.

    Notice how Larry merges "evolution" with "scientific fact", as if they are one and the same. In other words, in Larry's world, being against evolution (impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature doing all tge creating) is being "against science". This kind of bait-and-switch is very common among darwinists, saddly.
    Getting an education tends to drive you away from the most fundamentalist religions.

    Except atheistic fundamentalism.

    The anti-Christian state-suported indoctrination people get from public schools, and later on, at college level seems to be working just fine.


    That's probably why there's a smaller percentage of college educated fundamentalists (27%) compared to
    moderates (39%) and liberals (51%).

    We will never know wh put into the "liberal" category.


    Keeping all these cautions in mind, it is still quite remarkable that some significant percentage of fundamentalist Protestants can go to college and still reject the basic scientific fact that humans evolved.


    Perhaps it's due to the fact that:

    1) they have the true history of human origins, and are not esily seduced with atheistic myths

    2) there is absolutly no testable, falsifiable, empirical evidence that humans came into existence as the result of unguided/impersonal evolutionary means.


    As we've seen time and time again on the blogs (and elsewhere), the Christian fundamentalists have erected very strong barriers against learning.


    Learning what? About evolution? By all means, we should all learn more and much more about evolution. The problem is that in the major academic circles we only get the pro-Darwin evidence (which, after closer analysis, we find out it is not pro-Darwin at all). The evidence, present in peer reviewed journals, that put a question mark on the never-seen-in-action process of evolution is routinely "kept out of sight".

    It really doesn't matter how much they are exposed to rational thinking and basic scientific evidence. They still refuse to listen.
    Perhaps it's due to rational thinking and basic scientific evidence that they reject the unscientific claim that the biosphere owes its origins to impersonal forces of nature.


    This is one of the reasons why I would flunk them if they took biology and still rejected the core scientific principles.

    They don't reject "core scientific principles". They reject darwinism.
    They seem to do very well in other areas of biology.

    It's not good enough to just be able to mouth the "acceptable" version of the truth that the Professor wants. You actually have to open your mind to the possibility that science is correct and get an education. That's what university is all about.

    Science is correct when it produces the confirming evidence. It is due to the lack of confirming evidence, and the knowledge of the true history of human origins, that Bible believing Christians reject Darwinian fairytales.


    Of course, we all recognize the problem here. How do you distinguish between a good Christian who is lying for Jesus and one who has actually come to understand science? It seems really unfair to flunk the honest students who admit that they still reject science and pass the dishonest ones who hide their true beliefs.


    oh, here we go again, using "evolution" and "science" interchangeably.

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  7. I cannot fathom a mindset that requires bending every argument around such a rigidly fixed belief system that's based on intangible and unprovable assertions.

    Imagine Darwinian evoluion, and you'll have a clear view of what is like to bend every arguement around a fixed belief system that's based on intangible and unprovable assertions.

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  8. The "Darwinists" are no worse than those damned Lavoisierists. Just try teaching a chemistry class that combustion results from release of phlogiston! The Lavoisierists will jump all over you and demand that you adhere to their dogmatic belief system.

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  9. I'd like to thank mats for providing confirming evidence for the premise of this post.

    Thanks!

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  10. Mats: Since there is absolutly no evidence that the forces of nature have magical creative powers, it's absurdly obvious that the rational thing to do is to reject any theory which proposes things that are so obviously counter-evidence.

    As I said, any "scientific" mechanism (or forces of nature) must consist of an invisible father entity, or apparently magical powers, in order to be believable to the true believer (true believer being the true scientist).

    If you cannot prove these magical powers, perhaps by referring to the inerrant and absolute authority of a cobbled together, often mistranslated Bronze Age Myth-based book, then it cannot possibly be that science or nature can function.

    Mats, have I got that right?

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  11. The "Darwinists" are no worse than those damned Lavoisierists. Just try teaching a chemistry class that combustion results from release of phlogiston! The Lavoisierists will jump all over you and demand that you adhere to their dogmatic belief system.

    It takes a lot of courage to compare chemistry, wherein we see the events happening in front of our eyes, with darwinism, where (suposedly) events happened "millions of years ago". Remember that darwinism is a story about the past.


    "Mats: Since there is absolutly no evidence that the forces of nature have magical creative powers, it's absurdly obvious that the rational thing to do is to reject any theory which proposes things that are so obviously counter-evidence."

    As I said, any "scientific" mechanism (or forces of nature) must consist of an invisible father entity, or apparently magical powers, in order to be believable to the true believer (true believer being the true scientist).


    I am sorry, but..was this suposed to correct my post?

    If you cannot prove these magical powers, perhaps by referring to the inerrant and absolute authority of a cobbled together, often mistranslated Bronze Age Myth-based book, then it cannot possibly be that science or nature can function.

    Nature and science work very well, within their limits. The problem is that darwinists have given "creative powers to that which has been created", and they have called it "scientific theory".

    Well, show us the powers of such forces of nature.

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  12. No, it takes a lot of courage to prattle about science when you know less than nothing about it. But our Mats is up to the task!

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  13. The problem is that darwinists have given "creative powers to that which has been created", and they have called it "scientific theory".

    God didn't create you. Your parents foolishly had unprotected sex. Not much intelligence involved there.

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  14. A couple of thoughts:

    1) I agree that many don't believe evolution happened merely because they don't know enough about it.

    For example, when I was growing up, my introduction to evolution was seeing a sequence from an ape like animal to a "cavemanish" creature/human to a modern human. I could see that it could have happened, but I kept asking "why did it happen".

    When I first heard "natural selection", it was like scales fell from my eyes (yes, I know that natural selection is but one mechanism, and there is debate as to the extent of it's effect on evolution)

    2) It is a very human tendency to fail to internalize teaching that is counterintuitive. Just ask people who teach physics; time and time again, students can learn enough physics to do the calculations and pass the exams, but utterly fail to change their thinking.

    Think: you are on a merry-go-round which is spinning at a steady rate and you throw a ball to a friend who is 180 degrees away from you. Describe the path of the ball:

    a) it looks linear with respect to the merry go round
    b) it looks linear with respect to the earth
    c) it looks linear with respect to both frames of reference
    d) it looks linear to neither reference frame.

    less than 60% of physics students got it right (undergraduates), and only 40% were "sure" of their answer.

    So: this shows that one's "common sense" can be a great obstacle to learning, and to a fundie, "common sense" says "god did it".

    BTW, I'd ignore the trolls. If they aren't going to listen to the combined science departments in the entire world, they aren't going to listen to a few bloggers, even if they are scientists.

    Trying to talk science to them is like trying to teach calculus to a frog.

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  15. Do Fundamentalist Christians Actively Resist Learning?

    Apologetics.

    (Or in other words, what jimmiraybob said.)

    If they aren't going to listen to the combined science departments in the entire world,

    What I propose when an ignoramus bleats thusly is for them to contact their national science council or its equivalent, and simply check with them if a) biology is an accepted science and b) evolution is an accepted part of biology. Now, if it is a troll it never answers direct questions or it would fail in its baiting, but it is still amusing that they all completely ignore such a 'dangerous' proposition.

    There used to be a time when IDiots still pretended to discuss "weaknesses of evolution" instead of making preposterous declarations about science, but it seems it is more and more that this dead corpse is too heavy to parade except before school boards.

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  16. Being a fundamentalist doesn't just require that you reject scientific scholarship - it also requires that you reject biblical scholarship. Sometimes I think that the biggest danger to Christian fundamentalism is science, it's a basic understanding of the bible.

    It's interesting to look at the way fundamentalists react to biblical scholarship. Biblical scholarship is far more challenging to fundamentalism than is evolution. After all, you can reject "atheist evolution" as being anti-Christian, you can say that God put the fossils there to test our faith...there are lots of ways to deny or reject science. Biblical scholarship is far more dangerous to fundamentalism - and far more difficult to reject. But there's a deep vein of anti-intellectualism at the heart of fundamentalism.

    So yes - I think that there is a wide swath of American society that resists learning.


    There are people who reject biblical scholarship just as they reject science.

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  17. Mats,

    If you're going to post a cogent rant, then you have to get your terminology right. "Darwinism" is a pointless term. Do you mean Darwin's 19th century ideas, evolution by natural selection, modern evolutionary theory, or philosophical materialism? If you spent more time studying basic evolutionary biology instead of reading creationist blogs, you would understand the difference. You would also understand that "there is absolutly no testable, falsifiable, empirical evidence that humans came into existence as the result of unguided/impersonal evolutionary means" except for the last 150 years of scientific research in biology, paleontology and genetics.

    If you insist on learning science by website, then you might want to study the following ones:

    TalkOrigins' Index to Creationist Claims

    Vuletic's Defender's Guide to Science and Creationism

    PBS NOVA show, Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

    PBS Evolution website

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  18. To Anonymous at 6:36:

    Your liberal tendency not to have children will result in the fundies having the last laugh: http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/the_return_of_patriarchy

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  19. Let's see if I can get that URL condensed: < a href="url">http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/the_return_of_patriarchy< /a>

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  20. > ... it is still quite remarkable that some significant percentage of fundamentalist Protestants can go to college and still reject the basic scientific fact that humans evolved.

    When the gap between humans and other animals is so large, then the burden of proof is on science to demonstrate the point. I believe this has not been demonstrated conclusively, let's let the DNA evidence give us further indications here--and I believe also that God also is real, see for instance, here.

    Evidence for God is evidence for his conclusions, you know.

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  21. Mats, in a typically asinine creationist fashion, blathered: Science is correct when it produces the confirming evidence. It is due to the lack of confirming evidence, and the knowledge of the true history of human origins, that Bible believing Christians reject Darwinian fairytales.

    Considering that 100% of what you've had to say about evolution here has been false, you hardly have grounds to act like such a smug know-it-all. Just because superstitious religiots like yourself are wholly pig-ignorant of the evidence confirming evolution — which any introductory biology course ought to provide you — doesn't mean there is no evidence, only that your superstitions and irrationality blind you to it. So you pompously drone on as if you know what you're talking about. And what is this "true history of human origins" you refer to? Adam & Eve? That an invisible sky fairy made one man out of a lump of clay and a woman out of one of his ribs? Where's your "confirming evidence" for that?

    Like it or not, evolution is a confirmed scientific fact, and your denial of it merely attests to your lack of education. It's a testament to just how tragically stupid Christians are that they'll call the best-supported theory in all modern science a "fairytale" while believing that angels, demons, heaven, hell, and talking donkeys are real. As Larry proposed, fundamentalist Christians do actively resist learning. Indeed, they enshrine their own ignorance and make a virtue out of how empty their little heads are.

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  22. Martin's post is the typical Darwinian reply when questioned about his religious beliefs:
    Rant... rant ... evil creationists ... rant... rant .... science confirms evolution... rant rant ...you don't know about evolution bla bla bla, rant rant rant.... learn biology, rant rant rant, bla bla....

    Martin Wagner

    Mats, in a typically asinine creationist fashion, blathered: Science is correct when it produces the confirming evidence. It is due to the lack of confirming evidence, and the knowledge of the true history of human origins, that Bible believing Christians reject Darwinian fairytales.

    Considering that 100% of what you've had to say about evolution here has been false, you hardly have grounds to act like such a smug know-it-all.

    What did I say about evolution that was false?


    Just because superstitious religiots like yourself are wholly pig-ignorant of the evidence confirming evolution


    The non-existing evidence, you mean?

    — which any introductory biology course ought to provide you — doesn't mean there is no evidence,

    There is no evidence,and no "introductory biology course" can change that.


    only that your superstitions and irrationality blind you to it. So you pompously drone on as if you know what you're talking about. And what is this "true history of human origins" you refer to? Adam & Eve? That an invisible sky fairy made one man out of a lump of clay and a woman out of one of his ribs? Where's your "confirming evidence" for that?

    Notice the pattern:
    - unable to provide the confirming evidence for the magical powers of evolution, Martin turns the table and ask the "evil creationist" to produce confirming evidence for the existence of two people, over 4,000 years ago.
    - Notice also that by asking this, Martin unwillingly admits that evolution is a story about the past, not something we can see hapening today.
    - Another interesing thing is that Martin also reveals that evolutionism is totally contrary to the Biblical and True account of human origins.
    Thanks Martin!

    As for the confirming evidence for the Biblical accoutn of origins; well, there are many, but one of them is the total absence of any natural force ale to create living systems out of nothing. Adding to that, we have the empiricl fact that the living world id filled with coded information. Codes, as far as anyone knows,are always the result of minds (not impersonal forces).

    Thefore we can see that the living world is in agreement with the Genesis account.

    Like it or not, evolution is a confirmed scientific fact,
    Of course it is. At least, that is what you believe.


    and your denial of it merely attests to your lack of education.


    Circular reasoning.


    It's a testament to just how tragically stupid Christians are that they'll call the best-supported theory in all modern science a "fairytale" while believing that angels, demons, heaven, hell, and talking donkeys are real.

    The ...best suported theory in all modern science?!!! Goodness! That was a mouth full, Martin.

    No, evolution is not the "best suported theory in all modern science". It's a religious myth, which has been found wanting and simply wrong in many testable areas of the world.


    As Larry proposed, fundamentalist Christians do actively resist learning.


    Just like we resist supersttion.

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  23. The non-existing evidence, you mean?

    No, bozo. The evidence you ignore because it's the only way to defend your bronze-age superstition. Try to remember this one, because at your IQ level it will be difficult: "I don't know what the evidence is and refuse to learn" is not synonymous with "there is no evidence." I know it must be a shock to you to hear that there are things in life outside your own experience, but that's the kind of thing you miss when you wall yourself inside religion's mental fortress.

    But anyway, it is a free country, and no one's stopping you from being as uneducated as you insist on being. So just do one thing. Next time you come down with a nasty illness that requires antibiotics, don't take them. That way, your actions will be consistent with your beliefs, at least.

    Notice the pattern:
    - unable to provide the confirming evidence for the magical powers of evolution, Martin turns the table and ask the "evil creationist" to produce confirming evidence for the existence of two people, over 4,000 years ago.


    Notice the childish attempt at projecting your own behaviors onto me. There are two introductory links to some evolution primers above...but in any case, since you've already dogmatically decided there is no evidence, I don't see much point in trying to educate you. You know what they say about leading horses to water. (And for the record, I don't consider you an "evil" creationist, just an extraordinarily stupid one.)

    Anyway, my point is entirely sound and your juvenile petulance doesn't change that. You made the claim that Christians like yourself know the "true origins" of humanity. So since you'd been brazenly declaring that there was "no" evidence for one of the most robustly supported theories in all of science, I naturally assumed you must have spectacularly irrefutable evidence for these "true origins." I hardly see it as unreasonable to ask you to provide that which you think science, a practice you appear to consider yourself entirely above (snicker), cannot.

    - Notice also that by asking this, Martin unwillingly admits that evolution is a story about the past, not something we can see hapening today.

    Wrong again, shit-for-brains.

    But...hang on...what's this Bible thing you clods keep thumping on? Isn't it all just a story about the past, that we can't see happening today? Well, shut mah mouth! Another delicious irony moment, brought to you by the idiocy of religion: evolutionary processes in fact are things we can observe today...but none of the claims of the Bible are! Hmm...how eenteresting.

    - Another interesing thing is that Martin also reveals that evolutionism is totally contrary to the Biblical and True account of human origins.
    Thanks Martin!


    Well yes, you're quite welcome. Evolutionary biology, a modern science, is contrary to the myths and fables cooked up two millennia ago by a culture of primitives who had not yet developed the tools of investigation, observation and experimentation in use by the more advanced cultures that came later. And you think this is a problem for science? ROFL. Man, reading the things you write reminds me of that line from "King of the Hill": "Every time I think you've said the stupidest thing ever you keep talking!"

    As for the confirming evidence for the Biblical accoutn of origins; well, there are many, but one of them is the total absence of any natural force ale to create living systems out of nothing.

    Dude, life is pretty much just chemistry. Nothing magical about it. No special "force" is required to get chemicals to interact with one another. Something you'd pick up if you were to actually take one of those introductory biology courses you sneer at.

    Codes, as far as anyone knows,are always the result of minds (not impersonal forces).

    As far as anyone knows? Can we really say that? Please site some peer reviewed research to back that up. And while you're at it, explain the "mind" that created the "mind" that created the universe. And the "mind" that created that one. And so on, and so on...

    No, evolution is not the "best suported theory in all modern science". It's a religious myth, which has been found wanting and simply wrong in many testable areas of the world.

    Says who, you pompous cretin? Every single working biologist in the world would disagree with you. And in any case, you don't give any indication that you've studied the subject enough to have an authoritative opinion about it. Certainly not as authoritative as the millions of actual scientists who have dedicated their lives and careers to doing actual work and research in the field, and who, if actual effort is to be figured into it, care a hell of a lot more about understanding and unraveling the mysteries of life than you do.

    Yours really is the most woeful kind of ignorance, that which congratulates itself with arrogance. It saddens me that there are people in the world as benighted — both in actual knowledge and in self-awareness — as you are. You have no idea what you're missing out of life.

    As Larry proposed, fundamentalist Christians do actively resist learning.

    Just like we resist supersttion.


    Har! You actually wrote that with a straight face. Wow, I'm going to be laughing all day. A guy who believes in an invisible magic man says he resists superstition! That's certainly one for the "Christians Say The Darnedest Things" file!

    Hey, at least you didn't deny that you resist learning. I'll give you props for that much honesty, at least.

    Anyway, look. You clearly don't know what you're talking about, and you're so locked into your beliefs we'll never convince you of that, just as the fact that we're all more knowledgeable about the science of evolution here than you ever will be means you'll never convince us of the dreck you're spouting. So either learn a thing or two before you post next time, so that you don't simply annoy your intellectual betters, or go back to the circle-jerk over at AiG. You won't make any headway here, because we're too informed, and we won't make any headway responding to you, because you're too misinformed. So I would suggest that any further posts from you would be a waste of your time and ours. There must be something even a guy like you can do with his day that's more enlightening. I hear they make some pretty easy games for the Wii.

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  24. I do understand that this is likely to fall on deaf ears, but here goes -

    Lee Merrill wrote: "When the gap between humans and other animals is so large...."

    The latest estimates I've seen from the DNA data are that between 96 and 98 percent of the human genome is identical to that of chimpanzees. Thus IMO your premise ("gap...is so large") is faulty.

    Mats wrote: "...the total absence of any natural force able to create living systems out of nothing."

    This is pretty much the old "vitalism" argument, disproved in 1828 by the synthesis of an organic compound (rather ironically a component of piss) from non-organic ingredients. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wöhler_synthesis .

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  25. Wowsie! Perhaps there is something to be said about answering trolls, after all.

    Okay, so this could be further explored:

    @lee_merrill:

    When the gap between humans and other animals is so large

    Please quantify what a biological "gap" is, and how it is larger between humans and [pick a specie] than say between a bacteria and a blue whale? And then explain how that ties into any problem for evolution.

    The burden of proof is on you, as humans (and all other life) has been found to be incorporated in ordinary biology and evolution.

    Btw, I urge you to follow Martin's or mine link to the recent work that shows that human evolution has been measurably speeding up the last 40 000 years, and especially the last 10 000 years. I was under a long period under the impression that modern and protective culture had effectively slowed human evolution, and would perhaps allow deficiencies to accumulate.

    Not so, some researchers recently crunched the numbers of the new genomics data to reveal that the increasing numbers and different cultures/societal status differential reproductive successes have made adaptive evolution a controlling factor. Goes to show how data trumps speculation, every time, and that humans are not exempt from the process of life.

    I also look forward to apologists for major religions trying to explain why their gods weren't happy with humans the way we were when the religions were founded, and what a "human" is, then, now and as the ultimate goal of their meddling gods. :-P Really, religion is becoming so absurd these days.

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  26. > Please quantify what a biological "gap" is, and how it is larger between humans and [pick a species] than say between a bacteria and a blue whale?

    I mean the obvious fact that chimps do not find time to post here, nor do alligators dance in their alligator shoes, and "though Montaigne was kittenish with his kitten, she never talked philosophy with him."

    So something is out of sync, and counting up matching genes doesn't give an explanation, we are what, 50% similar to a cabbage? Not--as they say.

    > I also look forward to apologists for major religions trying to explain why their gods weren't happy with humans the way we were when the religions were founded, and what a "human" is, then, now and as the ultimate goal of their meddling gods.

    I don't mind if evolutionary changes are in progress in humans, nor do I think would a god be either.

    A human would be I think a being with a spirit, this would not be a matter for a biology blog. But see the link I posted above, it's rather easy to disprove the Christian claim, just rebuild or reinhabit Babylon, the Bible says this won't happen, and it is within our power to do it.

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  27. So something is out of sync, and counting up matching genes doesn't give an explanation,


    So by biological "gap" you mean that animals doesn't behave like humans do.

    Well, cats don't behave like birds do. Is that a gap? And how do you propose to describe this gap in biological terms? How do you propose to make a theory describing this "gap" you see?


    A human would be I think a being with a spirit,


    Well, retreating into material dualism is one way, a path science can't take based on the evidence.

    But then you would have to wonder why creationists and other fundamentalists whine and cringe when biology finds that humans aren't different from other animals biologically, and why evolution is such terrible science.

    I don't think this is tasteful to most major religions. Perhaps not even to you when you take some time to think it over, in light of the above biological "gap" discussion which is about empirical facts, not unsupported philosophy.

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  28. Moran,
    You and your comrads keep "wiping the dogshit on your shoes" off on "the creationists" or the "Christians". What a fu----- hackneyed expression of failed "science" when it comes to (what I would call) the philosophical
    and premature claims of those who have a personal preferred agenda in which there is a "claiming stake" on asserting expertise on explaining the origination of living organisms and appearance of "living ecosystems" (self and environmentally aware systems, that are fu____ vastly undescribed, let alone explained). There are rapidly growing numbers of informed people that are looking in on this discussion, and are eventually going to DEMAND reasonable scientifically based explanations to the assertions that have been "PUSHED DOWN THE UNSUSPECTING, UNINFORMED PUBLICS' THROATS" FOR SO LONG. To me, NEAL, it is NOT A DEBATE BETWEEN DARWINIAN PROPONENTS AND THE F_____g CHRISTIAN RIGHT, LEFT, OR INDIFFERENT, CREATIONIST OR WHAT EVER THE HELL YOU WANT TO CALL YOUR BELOVED SCAPEGOAT!!!!! It involves questions concerning what REAL EVIDENTIAL SCIENTIFICALLY DERIVED AND INTERPRETED EVIDENCE CAN DEMONSTRATE HAS actual explanatory and predictive powers in light of the phenomena that is required on an historical and present time frame to be explained.
    To many of us, the evidential matter provided by your ilk is (and should be to you also if you were a REAL SCIENTIST) vastly insufficient to cover the descriptive and explanatory requirements of "chemicals to living ecosystems" (for lack of better terms). You and yours have had the PRIVILEGE OF being able to pursue your personal agendas as well as getting paid for that in a sort of VACUUM. Congratulations!!! But guess the f
    what. You should thank something that you are an old fart with I could imagine vested retirement interests in place that will support your sorry ass until you die, despite your involvement in "fairy tale science". Good luck my friend!!!!!

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  29. Caps lock + multiple exclamation marks + person who's never taken a science course in his life lecturing actual scientist about what it means to be an actual scientist = raving shithead troll. Brought to you by religion, the destroyer of minds.

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  30. martin wagner wrote: Caps lock + multiple exclamation marks + person who's never taken a science course in his life lecturing actual scientist about what it means to be an actual scientist = raving shithead troll.

    Ah, I see you've met our friend Neal.

    The really amusing part is that he posts the same stuff half the time under his own name and half the time as "anonymous," as if we wouldn't know. Kind of like putting his hands over his eyes and shouting "I'm invisible!"

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  31. lee_merrill wrote: [C]ounting up matching genes doesn't give an explanation, we are what, 50% similar to a cabbage? Not....

    Excellent observation on your part. There is absolutely no design requirement based on function for the genes of cabbages and kings (apologies to the Reverend Dodgson) to be so similar, is there? So why are they similar?

    [Mr. Rogers voice] Can you say...common descent? [/Mr. Rogers voice]

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  32. '...we are what, 50% similar to a cabbage?' Some commenters are more like 98% cabbage.

    Thanks to the non-caboid commentors who have engaged in troll-combat. As one with a rusty science degree I've learned a lot. I do like the anon whose fingertips are bigger than his brains and when he runs out of arguments just starts swearing. Tourettes creationism.

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  33. "Ah, I see you've met our friend Neal.

    The really amusing part is that he posts the same stuff half the time under his own name and half the time as "anonymous," as if we wouldn't know. Kind of like putting his hands over his eyes and shouting "I'm invisible!""



    Neal says: Is it really important to really know who I am? Look at the hypothetics and address them in adequate scientific fashion.

    Neal

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  34. And how do you propose to describe this gap in biological terms?


    As lee_merrill has been busy elsewhere over the new year (quite sensibly), I have to round up the series of comments myself just to show where I was going. Not that I particularly enjoy pontificating on biology on a biology blog, but it has to be done I suppose:

    The short of it is that there is no biological "gap" of the type lee_merrill imagines but can't define or measure. What we then have to do is to look at biologically quantifiable traits, and we land in evolution proper.

    And there are of course by now incontrovertible evidence that not only are humans rapidly evolving like never before (see my previous link to John Hawks et al's just published research), but that humans is an ape evolved from earlier populations of apes.

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  35. @ Neal:


    Look at the hypothetics and address them


    Oh, did you have an argument somewhere? How are we supposed to see that, when it looks like you just go off like a Tourette sufferer and we casually jump over your unreadable comments.

    I have a proposal:

    Present your arguments in a normal manner as you just showed that you are capable of, and if it isn't the usual creationist blather that have been answered on basis of science a thousand times before on Talk Origins and elsewhere, we may address your genuine questions or possible claims on science.

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  36. @ Neal:

    Oh, and btw, I now see that you (not surprisingly) are the rude and destructive commentator that intruded on a pure biomolecular thread with teacher-student interaction elsewhere on Sandwalk, with a non sequitur discussion.

    As long as you pull off such stunts, you can probably forget about helpful answers on science.

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  37. Since the vast majority of us Americans are Christian, and America itself was founded by our Christian forefathers, I find it strange that some of you would actually believe in evolution instead of in God being our Creator and Giver of Life. And yet, you call us Christians the blind and uneducated ones who lack understanding and truth. Hmmm! What's wrong with this picture?

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  38. Anonymous: America's forefathers (Christians and "others", with some exception) also owned slaves. Should we have slaves too?

    Also, "...I find it strange that some of you would actually believe in evolution instead of in God being our Creator and Giver of Life" is a false dichotomy; evolution doesn't mean that God is not involved, it merely means that Gen 1 isn't literal.

    If God, in fact, did it, it's working on a level way beyond Genesis.

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  39. I cannot fathom a mindset that requires bending every argument around such a rigidly fixed belief system that's based on intangible and unprovable assertions. And to do so no matter how contradictory and silly it becomes.

    As a "fundie" I find this both amusing and illuminating considering how good scientists who accept Darwinian Evolution have become at doing this very same thing.

    Everything they say or find is bent around the idea of DE - never mind the fact they have no evidence to point to: String Theory, Multiple Universes, Panspermia Theory, Abiogenesis, oh, the list could go on and on. . . .

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  40. I'm from the South, so I've been exposed to the thinking of "fundies" all of my life. I almost came down with it myself; fortunately for me, was born into an intelligent family. While many of them are fundies, it's just because most of them don't know any better. The rest of them either have a form of self induced stupidity or their IQ is just a little to low for higher reasoning.

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