Friday, May 08, 2009

The Biology Textbooks Are Wrong?

 
The other day I suggested that Casey Luskin was probably just ignorant. Unlike other creationists, he problably isn't a liar. Today I'm not so sure.



What is it with FOX news?


23 comments :

  1. Yes, I get the picture: Casey Luskin is an ignorant liar. But if he's a liar he must know the truth in some measure in order that he can lie about it. Call me pedantic, but that means he can't be completely ignorant.

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  2. Please, don't be so dogmatic. All Luskin is saying, as I just heard it from the video, is that the evolutionary tree of life has holes. We don't know it all; if we did, there'd be no need for science. You men are not ignorant; you know that throughout history "proven" scientific thought ended up being wrong and had to be revised. I'm no creationist, but I'm no member of the church of scientism either. Seekers of truth keep an open mind.

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  3. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDFriday, May 08, 2009 12:05:00 PM

    Please, don't be so dogmatic. All Luskin is saying, as I just heard it from the video...Maybe you were born yesterday, but I wasn't, so don't ask me to act like I was.

    Luskin brought up Haeckel's embryos. He claims that textbooks are still using Haeckel's drawings and Haeckel's arguments. But investigation into the issue show's that he's lying.He claims the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture doesn't promote the teaching of Creationism - and yet that is its very purpose. You can examine its personnel, you can examine its activities, you can examine its publications. It's purpose is to promote Creationism, and it has never done anything to promote real science.

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  4. Okay thanks doc. Everybody try and keep an open mind out there, you guys.

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  5. Well, I'm just eyeballing the textbook onm the desk in front of me. SD226 Book 3 "Exploring the Brain" (2ed, 2007, Open University, Milton Keynes) states (p 45) "His [Haeckel's] drawings of embryos are still to be found in many texts, but are now regarded as overemphasizing the similarities." The text then goes on to underline other levels of similarity, including structural and biochemical. Thus although it highlights oversimplification, it's clear that the principle at the root is sound.

    Our knowledge of molecular biology is such that we can trace, very clearly, genetic conservation and development across species; yes, it's changing the way we think about the tree of life, but not to the degree that the tree should be felled. It's a model and until there is a full understanding it's a model which facilitates comprehension until the student is ready to advance to a more advanced, subtle model. It's not *wrong*, per se, in the same way that Newtonian gravity isn't *wrong*.

    And referring to that New Scientist issue is just plain ignorant.

    On the topic of "open minds", I refer my fellow commenteers to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI - the Wedge manifesto is clear that this subtle blurring of the lines between "science" and "bullsh1t" is easily facilitated when talking about "teaching the controversy". There IS no controversy, except in the minds of the faithful.

    I'd also like to point out that I'm not a member of the church of scientism (whatever the heck that is), but science is the only technique which has repeatedly produced answers to some of the deepest questions we have. Whilst scientists may (and do!) get it wrong, the process of science weeds those errors out and holds them up to scrutiny. Until a better method comes along, I'll stick with the empirical method - and then if the evidence supports that new method, I'll change my mind.

    The freedom of scientific discipline in the freedom to walk in the grey whilst the freedom of belief is to walk in the black and white, and ignore the bits in between,

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  6. We don't know it all; if we did, there'd be no need for science. You men are not ignorant; you know that throughout history "proven" scientific thought ended up being wrong and had to be revised. I'm no creationist, but I'm no member of the church of scientism either.A chiropractor lectures Dr. Moran on science. Rich.

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  7. Well! Paint me pink and call me Charlie!

    A chiropractor that doesnt like 'science'!

    I feel like I just saw Elvis!

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  8. dr. nick campos said...Please, don't be so dogmatic. All Luskin is saying, as I just heard it from the video, is that the evolutionary tree of life has holes. We don't know it all; if we did, there'd be no need for science. You men are not ignorant; you know that throughout history "proven" scientific thought ended up being wrong and had to be revised. I'm no creationist, but I'm no member of the church of scientism either. Seekers of truth keep an open mind.The accusation of "scientism" is a very convenient one to use when trying to discredit scientists who do not wish to betray the principles of science and act as if a given category of cranks should be treated with anything else but open ridicule. And because being on (or even being perceived to be, it does not really matter) the extreme side of the spectrum of positions is not viewed positively in our culture, it is a tactic that very easily succeeds. Where you stand on the spectrum of positions on given issues often has little to do with whether you are right or not, but this little detail is too subtle to be paid attention to by most.

    We don't know it all but we know enough to declare certain silly things (like most of what basically every religion claims, or chiropractic, for example) as pure nonsense. This has nothing to do with "keeping an open mind", it's what the evidence tells us.

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  9. Oh, dr. nick campos, I forgot to thank you for saying us men are not ignorant. Thanks we appreciate that!

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  10. I presunme nick campos has an honorary degree in bovine scatology as well?

    When you walk the labyrinths of proper research you will often end up in cul-de-sacs. But that is not 'being wrong', it is possibilities that didn't pan out.

    But that is a bit too complex for a witch-doctor, huh?

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  11. Ha, ha, ha…how insecure of you all. Good Professor Moran, I hope you do the honorable thing and leave my reply posted. I know that as an academic you value honest debate.

    First off, none of you know anything about me, so personal attacks on me and my profession are hysterical to say the least. I am not religious in any way whatsoever—nothing, nada, none. Sorry. I don’t know who Casey Luskin is, or which organization he represents. I wouldn’t know a Haeckel's embryo from Heckle and Jeckle. I happened upon this blog by chance and have found it interesting. I watched the video twice, and I heard what I heard: one man say there are holes in a scientific thought and it needs to be re-evaluated, that’s all. Nothing sounds heretical about that—not to an objective observer, anyway. I read the post comment and first two replies and they sounded dripping with contempt. I watched the video again to see why…and I heard what I heard.

    It got me thinking—isn’t this a blog done by a University professor. Isn’t science the investigation of universal truths and observations of the universe? So what’s the problem with saying a scientific principle might need to be re-evaluated? And thus my post. I expected comments, but the vitriol. Damn! And that isn’t religion? That’s dogma—look up the definition, objective observers of universal phenomena.

    While a few comments actually added some insight for me regarding this issue as it is, the majority are so pathetic, I’m shocked they come from scholars. ERV, I have a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley—I understand and have a great deal of respect for science. My profession has nothing to do with this post. You have shown your ignorance to the nth degree. Bravo, you take douchebaggery to a rarely attained level.

    Mr Wadlock, thank you for a thoughtful reply. What you say makes sense to me—I can accept that. But for your clarification, church of scientism refers to being blinded to the changing nature of knowledge—you know, those who vehemently deny fact because they are submerged in dogma. You know what I’m talking about. Some examples:

    “In 1905, Einstein proved that time, as it had been understood by scientist and layman alike, was a fiction.” - From the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/02/28/050228crat_atlarge)

    Before thalidomide, it was not thought (by scientists) that any drug could pass through the placental barrier and affect the fetus.

    There are many more examples. We are all students of history; I’m sure we could all come up with a few more.

    Marinov, what do you know about chiropractic? And what does my post have to do with chiropractic? Your reply was decent until you resorted to that nonsense. Your comments became instantly insignificant as a result.

    So, yes, the witch doctor wants to re-iterate: I never made any comment on the correctness or falsity of the evolutionary tree. All I said was that the man on the video said the question isn’t closed, and all I hear is a bunch of “scientists” acting like their god was blasphemed.

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  13. I watched the video twice, and I heard what I heard: one man say there are holes in a scientific thought and it needs to be re-evaluated, that’s all. Nothing sounds heretical about that—not to an objective observer, anyway. I read the post comment and first two replies and they sounded dripping with contempt. I watched the video again to see why…and I heard what I heard.So just because you heard somebody say something on TV about “holes in the science”, you assume it is true. What if he is (1) ignorant about the science and doesn't no anything about it; or (2) has a “hidden” agenda, aims to destroy science and has a long-term goal of establishing something theocracy-like in the US; or (3) represents an organization with a rich track records of shameless lying on an number of topics; or (4) all of the above.

    It will take many pages of written word and many hours of explanations to properly communicate to a person who is not familiar with the science at issue what exactly the current state of affairs is in this area and to fix the damage caused by the amount of crap coming out of Casey Luskin's mouth in less than 2 short minutes.

    And that's their brilliant tactic – repeat the “there are holes in the theory” mantra on and on, and what your Average Joe, who tends not to be particularly educated and bright (and I am using some very mild language here) gets from it is that he shouldn't trust what scientists tell him because they haven't figured it out yet; add that to the widespread anti-intellectualistic attitude in this country (i.e who are those scientists but a bunch of evil people who think they are smarter than me just because they have Ivey League PhDs and dress in white coats, they have no right to tell me what to believe in or not) and these lies find very fertile soil.


    It got me thinking—isn’t this a blog done by a University professor. Isn’t science the investigation of universal truths and observations of the universe? So what’s the problem with saying a scientific principle might need to be re-evaluated? And thus my post. I expected comments, but the vitriol. Damn! And that isn’t religion? That’s dogma—look up the definition, objective observers of universal phenomena.You can dissent as much as you want and have whatever opinion you want, just don't lie and stick to the rules of proper science and reasoning. The DI (and creationists in general) do neither, that's why people on this blog are so mad.


    While a few comments actually added some insight for me regarding this issue as it is, the majority are so pathetic, I’m shocked they come from scholars. ERV, I have a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley—I understand and have a great deal of respect for science. My profession has nothing to do with this post. You have shown your ignorance to the nth degree. Bravo, you take douchebaggery to a rarely attained level.This just shows that having a degree from a prestigious institution alone is not sufficient to make you a scientist. The failures of higher education are a topic of another discussion.

    Mr Wadlock, thank you for a thoughtful reply. What you say makes sense to me—I can accept that. But for your clarification, church of scientism refers to being blinded to the changing nature of knowledge—you know, those who vehemently deny fact because they are submerged in dogma. You know what I’m talking about. Some examples:

    “In 1905, Einstein proved that time, as it had been understood by scientist and layman alike, was a fiction.” - From the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/02/28/050228crat_atlarge)

    Before thalidomide, it was not thought (by scientists) that any drug could pass through the placental barrier and affect the fetus.

    There are many more examples. We are all students of history; I’m sure we could all come up with a few more.
    You do realize that on the issue of evolution, the paradigm shift has already happened? Exactly 150 years ago. Before that almost everybody was a creationist and few people could imagine how it could be otherwise. Now this is a long rejected theory. The DI and the likes want us to go back to it, against all evidence accumulated in the last 2 centuries..

    Marinov, what do you know about chiropractic? And what does my post have to do with chiropractic? Your reply was decent until you resorted to that nonsense. Your comments became instantly insignificant as a result.The most important thing I know about chiropractic is that is a branch of the pseudosciences. When this changes I will be more than willing to study it in depth.

    So, yes, the witch doctor wants to re-iterate: I never made any comment on the correctness or falsity of the evolutionary tree. All I said was that the man on the video said the question isn’t closed, and all I hear is a bunch of “scientists” acting like their god was blasphemed. I will reiterate it for you once again: there is a lot of debating going on within the scientific community on the topology of the tree, especially its early branches; and yes, we have the question of how tree-like the tree is in its base, and we don't know the answer. This is what is actually going on. What Casey Luskin did is use this healthy scientific debate to question the validity of the tree itself. Which is an outright lie and an extremely dishonest tactic. That's why people are mad. I hope you get it now.

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  14. Ha, ha...yes, yes I get it now. Eloquently put, Shakespeare. All you really needed was the final paragraph. I get it, that's all I was saying. I didn't mean to get your panties all in a bundle. And as far as your willing to learn about chiropractic...nobody really gives a damn whether you do or not. I get your point, Marinov, I do; but you really should think about investing in charm school. BYE!

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  15. Dr. Campos,

    Perhaps you might like to get your story straight?

    All Luskin is saying, as I just heard it from the video, is that the evolutionary tree of life has holes.Luskin didn't say that, the presenter did. What Luskin did claim was that because individual genes can generate different trees, the "tree of life" must be wrong, which is rubbish. (To cut a very long story short, the "Tree of Life" is a tree of organisms, not a tree of genes.)

    For Luskin to flatly claim something that reveals such a basic lack of understanding of the science he refers to basically means that he is in no position to be making the claim in the first instance.

    Luskin also (intentionally?) misquoted a scientist out of context, but I have to say that is what we've all come to expect from the DI.

    PS: Writing a personal attacks ("Ha, ha, ha…how insecure of you all", "You have shown your ignorance to the nth degree. Bravo, you take douchebaggery to a rarely attained level.", etc.) and then immediately going on to accuse others of the very thing you just did... how smart does that make you and how much respect do you think people will have for you? You have repeated this approach of taking potshots through much of your replies, yet you somehow seem to see no contradiction in accusing others of the same. Food thought...

    PPS: No-one attacked you for religious reasons so goodness knows why you're banging on about that. They pointed out the silliness of your claims.

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  16. For those that haven't see it already, PZ has an article up about Luskin's use of Haeckel's embryos, etc:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/embryonic_similarities_in_the.php

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  17. dr. nick, check out what Steve Ducey says in the intro to the segment:

    "When a Texas board of education approved objections to evolution in textbooks, the fight over how to teach the subject (evolution) should have been over. But some textbooks are still getting it wrong, raising the question: should the board be stripped of its power to choose textbooks."

    Is that the funniest thing you ever heard or what! That. Is. Funny. Stuff.

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  18. ERV, I have a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley.

    I wouldn’t know a Haeckel's embryo from Heckle and Jeckle.
    *blink*

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  19. Hi Dr. Nick!

    (Hi everybody!)

    Thanks for providing yet another in a long line of sterling examples of why chiropractors shouldn't be allowed to prefix their names with "Dr."

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  20. Dr. Campos wrote:

    ERV, I have a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley.I wouldn’t know a Haeckel's embryo from Heckle and Jeckle.It's my understanding that at the time Dr. Campos was attending Berkeley, the embryology segment in biology was replaced by a unit on subluxations.

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  21. Torontonian said...

    'Thanks for providing yet another in a long line of sterling examples of why chiropractors shouldn't be allowed to prefix their names with "Dr."'

    and

    why chiropractors shouldn't be appointed Minister of State (Science and Technology)

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  22. Oh, back OT-- I spoke at the Oklahoma chapter of Americans United this Saturday.

    I used this clip of Casey as a starting off point for illustrating how Creationists want to 'teach the controversy', yet when you ask them what kind of 'controversies' they want to teach, they list Haeckel/Darwin was wrong/Junk DNA.

    I demonstrated how those things are not in any way, controversies (embryo development-->developmental genes we have in common with round worms and fruit flies and 'chickens and cows', metaphor of ToL vs phylogenetic trees of HIV-1 gag/pol/env, and the reality of junk DNA/RNA).

    Audience loved it, as they had heard these arguments, and didnt know how to respond.

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