Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Attacking the Integrity of Scientists

We are discussing the evolution/creation controversy in my course. One of the issues that comes up frequently is the role of scientific evidence. The importance of science in the 21st century cannot be exaggerated. Everyone wants science to be on their side because if your views conflict directly with scientific evidence then your case is very weak.

So, how do creationists handle this issue? They usually try to present counter-evidence or they cherry-pick the scientific literature looking for papers that lend support to their cause. But that only takes you so far. Creationists are forced to admit that the vast majority of scientists support evolution and that's a real problem for their flock.

The solution is obvious. If you can't attack the science then attack the scientists. By casting doubt on the motives of scientists you can partially neutralize the impact of science.

Here's an excellent example from today's post on Evolution News & Views (sic) [How to Talk About "Evolution"].
Better to think of opinion as sharply divided. The professors, their students and many university-educated people believe one thing (evolution is a fact) and most everyone else is suspicious. They won't believe in evolution if you tell them what the professors believe -- that life in all its complexity assembled itself as a result of a series of lucky hits; that we live in a world of random changes that sometimes "coincide" with the environment (natural selection); and that's how we got here.

To believe that, we first have to be blinded by antagonism to the normal, automatic recognition of purpose and design in nature. And for most people, this blindness has to be inculcated; by teachers, by the academy, by the culture.

As to the possibility of our reaching the professor group, the trouble with my correspondent's design versus "accidental mutation/natural selection" formula is not that it is too wordy but that the professoriate have learned to accept that accidental mutation and natural selection can explain everything under the sun.

I have often wondered: What would it take for a biology professor to see some living organism, study it and then clap his hand to his forehead and say: "Wow, natural selection couldn't possibly have done THAT!"

Answer: Nothing. They are locked into a materialist worldview, and they think that anything outside it is unscientific. They have already accepted Lewontin's Law about the necessity of a "prior commitment to materialism." They will look at any strange organism you may show them and say: "Well, it exists doesn't it? How else did it get here, if not by gradual stages, bit by bit, starting with molecules in motion, finally building up to what we see in front of us? What other choice is there?"

In such a dogmatic environment dissenters wisely keep their mouths shut and upholders of the orthodoxy firmly close their minds.
Of course they don't like it when we refer to them as IDiots or creationists but they have an answer to that one as well.
Going beyond that, some of our better-known adversaries indulge in name-calling so mechanically that they may well have ceased to understand the issues. It's as though they become unable to think about what they don't want to think about. Those who resort to slogans like "ID creationism" often show no sign of understanding what the claims of ID are, sufficiently even to be able to restate them.
Unfortunatly for the IDiots, I actually understand the issues better than they do! Here's the main tenets of Intelligent Design Creationism.
  1. Darwin is evil and gave rise to Hilter. Evolutionists are wedded to atheism and materialism. Most scientists are too stupid to interpret evidence correctly. Evolution cannot account for life as we know it.
  2. Life can only be explained by invoking an Intelligent Designer but we're not going to tell you how or when he/she/it did it.
  3. The Intelligent Designer is not necessarily a god. We never said that so you can't accuse us of being creationists.
  4. The general public is being prevented from learning the truth about creationism anti-evolutionary theory by a vast conspiracy of dogmatic scientists who control higher education (and almost everything else in some secular "foreign" countries like France or Japan).
Do you think I got it right?


46 comments :

  1. Those who resort to slogans like "ID creationism" often show no sign of understanding what the claims of ID are, sufficiently even to be able to restate them.

    I think Tom Bethell should google "Cdesign proponetsists".

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    1. It's surprising how much difficulty Cdesign proponetsists seem to have with understanding punctuated equilibrium, given how they're pretty much a textbook case of it.

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  2. For the lazy:
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cdesign_proponentsists

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  3. Tom Bethell writes:

    what the professors believe -- that life in all its complexity assembled itself as a result of a series of lucky hits; that we live in a world of random changes that sometimes "coincide" with the environment (natural selection); and that's how we got here.

    ... which of course is not what professors believe. It is propaganda phrasing by creationists meant to persuade their audiences that professors believe that life was assembled by accident. By pure mutation without any guidance from natural selection. Precisely the sort of fraudulent description of evolutionary biology that Richard Dawkins's "Weasel" program was meant to expose. Bethell's caricature misinforms his audience about what natural selection is. How can anyone believe that Bethell is a knowledgable journalist after that?

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    1. Joe.


      This has always fascinated me when people give natural selection some sort of designer status by claiming that NS is really guided. Its false and no matter how many times you say it it will never be true. NS is nothing in the universe it has no physical properties, it does not consist of anything which is exactly what it is..... nothing.
      Now you are welcome to tell me I'm stupid but invoking something that is nothing in the material world that has no physical properties does not consist of any atoms is no different than believing in god. And to give it any type of property like the ability to guide something is illogical... nothing can't guide anything.

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    2. @Anonymous

      So, slower Zebra aren't more likely to be killed by lions?

      If your assertion was really true, why would many species even be naturally camouflaged?

      Natural selection is not a physical entity, it's a process over time. Like market economy, it can't be reduced to a single physical entity, yet we don't have to think it's "immaterial" or magic when money changes hands.

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    3. @Anonymous

      ... is nothing in the universe it has no physical properties, it does not consist of anything which is exactly what it is..... nothing.

      Are you sure you aren't describing your invisible sky fairy ?

      @Rumraket

      While I think my disagreement with your definition of NS is in the main semantic, I would say that NS is a physical entity, namely random mutation of DNA and differential reproduction.

      If the Anonymous wanker wants to jerk off playing word games deliberately confusing higher level processes with the underlying mechanisms he is welcome to do so but it would be more polite to do this in private.

      Personally I don't think the Anonymous wanker is stupid, he just revels in his ignorance like a pig in shit (my apologies to pigs which are actually fastidious animals when allowed to exist in their natural habitat).

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    4. Let's take a look at what jonathan mclatchie said on this site just a few days ago:

      Jonathan McLatchie Friday, October 05, 2012 6:58:00 PM
      "Larry, many defenders of modern evolutionary theory are abysmally ill-informed as well. Actually, I generally find that lay-proponents of ID are far more informed than lay-defenders of Darwinian theory. The desire to understand evolutionary biology was part of my reason for pursuing a Masters degree in the subject (now completed). I also find the subject genuinely fascinating. No one can say that I haven't given it a fair hearing, and I continue to try to stay informed and keep relatively up to date."

      Hey jonathan, shouldn't you be having a chat with 'lay-proponent of ID' bethell? He is obviously abysmally ill-informed about modern evolutionary theory.

      And while you're having that chat with bethell, maybe you can convince him to come here and show how informed he is about the "ID" you godbots push by calculating the CSI, FSCI, dFSCI, or dFSCI/O in a banana and showing his work.

      "No one can say that I haven't given it a fair hearing..."

      Actually, lots of people can say and have said that you (and your fellow IDiots) haven't given evolutionary theory a fair hearing. You see, you and your fellow IDiots would first have to understand evolutionary theory, and it's massively obvious that none of you do. Your IDiot-creationist blinders are a debilitating mental block.

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    5. Random mutations..... Mostly bad ones with loss of information some neutral ones and very few good ones have the capability to be the cause of everything... Yes I can see it now... A mistake that consists of nothing and is nothing with no mind no direction no purpose did all this! How blind have I been not to see this...? Nothing can make anything!

      Thank you from saving me from my delusion!

      But I want to as you something….

      Natural selection (cause) is responsible for everything, God, diversity, and everything (effects).
      Naturalists like you claim that you have beaten natural selection (Cause) by being freed from God (effect).
      If true, you have become more powerful than your cause.
      Since an effect can never be greater than its cause, perhaps what you have demonstrated by breaking free from your cause is that it’s not really your cause and there is an even greater one!

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    6. Seems anon here doesn't even know what natural selection is.

      I wonder if he knows what the definition of information is.

      Hey anon, calculate the information content in this piece of DNA will you? (Show your work, I'm sure your teachers told you).

      AATCGGCACCGAGTG

      Then I can mutate it and you can then calculate the information content after the mutation. How's that? You up to it?

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    7. Anonymous said:

      "Random mutations..... Mostly bad ones with loss of information some neutral ones and very few good ones..."

      Hmm, it sounds like your chosen alleged designer-creator-god is an inept klutz that did a piss poor job of design and creation or is a sadistic monster, or both.

      "Natural selection (cause) is responsible for everything, God, diversity, and everything (effects)."

      Huh? Are you saying that scientists claim that natural selection is "responsible" for "God"?

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    8. A few years ago a group reported a gene that arose de novo from non coding DNA. Duplication of an existing gene followed by divergence of the two copies also adds "information". The ID argument that information is not added is BS. The intellectually honest person abandons falsified arguments....

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    9. J Felsenstein says: It is propaganda phrasing by creationists meant to persuade their audiences that professors believe that life was assembled by accident.....By pure mutation without any guidance from natural selection.

      Er...for natural selection to work there needs to be a functioning, reproducing system to begin with.

      Also, evolution by natural selection is a process of hit and miss. It just filters what chance events throws up.

      Seems like the professors are not very clued up.

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  4. Yeah, Hitler had NOTHING to do with centuries of European antisemitism....

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    1. In all fairness, the most influential individual in promoting antisemitism in Europe was Martin Luther. His writings are even worse then anything in Mein Kampf.

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    2. Right. Luther wrote that Jews were of the same worth as their feces, and that killing them might be justified. Blaming Darwin is an example of Appeal to Consequences, not to mention the use of the Nazi card.

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    3. Don't Forget Marx.... Marx loved Darwin's message, Matter of fact they loved it so much that his buddy Stalin butchered millions! Don't forget!

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    4. Andre, you are wrong. In Communism, they envisioned humans on the road to perfection, and socialist man was more advanced than capitalists - that is there is directionality in the evolution of humans toward socialist perfection. They didn't like Darwin for precisely the reason that his theory does not predict continuous socialist improvement. This is at least in part why Lysenko rose to prominence - he promised to improve crops in a non-Darwinian, socialist way and of course failed setting back Soviet biology

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    5. Lysenko paid some lip-service to Darwin but his real heroes were Lamarck and Michurin. Biologists lost their jobs (and sometimes their lives as well in the Gulag labour camps) for refusing to abandon the neo-Darwinian heresy (a.k.a. "Mendelism-Weissmannism-Morganism").

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    6. Andre,

      Nice sarcasm. All this time I thought you were a creationist, but this is far too stupid even for creationists. There's a reason there's such thing as Poe's law.

      Sorry that I previously thought that you were a dishonest creationist for real.

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  5. Tom Bethell is not only an IDiot, he is also a relativity denier. It would be nice of he would tell us how a "wrong" theory like relativity, in conjunction with quantum mechanics, can calculate a value for the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron that agrees with the observed value to 10 significant digits.

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    1. He also denies global warming, HIV as the cause of AIDS, the development of drug resistance in bacteria, the environmental impact of DDT, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if he denied quantum mechanics as well and argued that one wrong theory in conjunction with another wrong theory cancelled each other's errors.

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    2. Re Piotr Gasiorowski

      If Booby Bethell denies quantum mechanics, he then has to provide an explanation for radioactive decay.

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    3. ...he then has to provide an explanation for radioactive decay

      I don't feel he feels obliged to explain anything in any area except the fact that science is so difficult and incomprehensible to "most everyone else": official science is basically a leftist conspiracy meant to alienate ordinary citizens not corrupted by university education.

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    4. Poitr
      Please stop speaking twaddle on how complicated science is....
      Science Definition
      The word science comes from the Latin "scientia," meaning knowledge.
      How do we define science? According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is "knowledge attained through study or practice," or "knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world."
      What does that really mean? Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system. Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it.
      What is the purpose of science? Perhaps the most general description is that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality.
      Most scientific investigations use some form of the scientific method. You can find out more about the scientific method here.
      Science as defined above is sometimes called pure science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of research to human needs. Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines:
      - Natural sciences, the study of the natural world, and
      - Social sciences, the systematic study of human behaviour and society.
      http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/science-definition.html
      Please can you explain to me how monkey became man if it has actually never been observed, tested or reproduced? Just because we think it might be so does not make it so! Unless we can actually reverse engineer a human back to a common ancestor the theory of common ancestry will remain a just so story! Any real scientific observation other than speculation found yet? You know as well as me there is nothing! O wait sorry there is….. Junk DNA and chromosomal Fusion I forgot… Well No more Junk DNA and the fusion is a pure speculation!

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    5. And When I say speculation, I mean that it points to common ancestry!

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    6. Please can you explain to me how monkey became man if it has actually never been observed, tested or reproduced?

      I have bad news for you: "monkey" is a colloquial word. It has no formal definition, so for technical reasons let's stick to something scientifically definable, say, "simian" (member of Anthropoidea). If, loosely speaking, "monkey" is a non-technical synonym of "simian", we are all monkeys (and, more exclusively, apes, of hominoids). So you are an ape, and a monkey, just as you are a primate, a mammal, a vertebrate, an animal, and a eukaryote. You belong to a nested hierarchy of taxa, each of them with a common ancestor. But maybe you are not a mammal? Were you breast-fed as a baby? Have you got any hair?

      A process which *must* span millions of years because it necessarily involves hundreds of thousands of generations, can't be reproduced in the laboratory. So what? Indirect evidence also counts in science, and there's plenty of that -- from paleontology to genetics. How did you get your GULO pseudogene? Why is it broken in the same way in all monkeys (including you)? Why is it broken in a completely different way in other animals with a defective homologue of GULO (e.g. guinea pigs)?

      Would you say that we can't know the internal structure of the sun because we can't replicate the sun in the laboratory or probe the interior of any star? Would you say that continental drift isn't real because we can't make a new Altantic by moving two continental plates apart? Are you seriously claiming that the limited lifespan of humans is an obstacle to the scientific understanding of anything that needs more time to happen? But then maybe you are: stupidity has no limits.

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    7. Self-correction: of hominoids -> or hominoids

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    8. The theory of evolution makes predictions. These predictions have been confimed. And many many peculiarities in anatomy(many similarities in skeletal morphology, the nature and position of organs within the body), embryology & development(vestigial yolk sacks, growing then shedding a coat of fur in the womb etc. etc.), and genome sequences(nested hierarchy, ERV's), can all, only be explained if we evolved through common descent. There is no design answer for these, they are all ad-hoc rationalizations. But no single design paradigm explain them all, evolution does.

      Furthermore, there have been multiple instances where observations could potentially have falsified common descent, but didn't. Like the chromosome 2 fusion.

      Therefore it's rational to believe we evolved and share common ancestry, because this belief is justified by evidence. I'm sure a smart guy like you can google the specifics that support this case.

      Quit hint: You won't find the answers on creationist sites.

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    9. Anonymous said:

      "Please can you explain to me how monkey became man if it has actually never been observed, tested or reproduced? Just because we think it might be so does not make it so! Unless we can actually reverse engineer a human back to a common ancestor the theory of common ancestry will remain a just so story!"

      Do you believe in a designer-creator-god? If so, please explain how your chosen alleged designer-creator-god came to be since it has actually never been observed, tested or reproduced?

      Do you believe that the first man was created from dust by your chosen alleged god in the image of your chosen alleged god? If so, please explain how you can believe it unless you can reverse engineer a man back to dust and observe, test, and reproduce every step from the origin and existence of your chosen god to its creation of the first man from dust. Then apply the same things to the first woman allegedly being created from the first man's rib.

      Do you believe that you are a descendant of the biblical characters adam, eve, and noah and his wife? If so, please explain how you can believe you're a descendant of those alleged ancestors unless you can actually reverse engineer yourself to being them and you can observe, test, or reproduce them.

      Please explain how you can believe that you had a great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather and grandmother (You do believe that, don't you?) unless you can actually reverse engineer yourself to being them and you can observe, test, or reproduce them. After all, you could have been specially created from dust or a rib last Thursday.

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    10. Anonymous said:

      "Well No more Junk DNA and the fusion is a pure speculation!"

      So then, you have irrefutable proof that there's no such thing as junk DNA? Let's see it.

      And let's see your informed and detailed scientific explanation regarding the chromosome 2 fusion. It should be easy for you since science is not complicated.

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    11. Re The Whole Truth

      The current claim of the common descent deniers relative to the chromosomal fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13 to form human chromosome 2 is to insist that the two structures in the middle of chromosome 2 which biologists say are telomeres are not, in fact, telomeres and the structure that biologists say is a second centromere is not really s centromere. Just another example of denialism of the evidence.

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    12. The Argument from Ignorance and the Argument from Personal Incredulity - the meat and potatoes of the creationist movement.

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  6. Once again authority is invoked and not the evidence. this never happens in other science subjects!
    It is irrelevant what scientists think about evolution. it's only those who study the particular subjects that have any right to be considered. The others conclusions on evolution are based on confidence in their fellow 'scientists" and they probably know no more then high school kids.
    Why do evolutionists invoke millions of scientists ? What's their favourite ice cream?
    to be a scientist by definition means very well studied in that subject.
    It's a small number of people paid 9-5 that deal in origin subjects.

    anyways even these 'scientists' are just people who selected these subjects because they were of the faith already. It's not like they are looking to overthrow ideas. They accept the presumptions as any wrong idea has had most accept the presumptions until a paradigm shift. That is someone thinks up something better!

    Yes it should be on the evidence.
    creationists say show us the evidence worthy of forcing confidence in evolutions conclusions.
    indeed is biological evolution based on biological evidence?
    Could the students here say yes or no?
    Please remember fossils are not biological evidence of anything except that fossil students!!
    You will fail the year if you say otherwise.

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    1. byers said:

      "It is irrelevant what scientists think about evolution. it's only those who study the particular subjects that have any right to be considered. The others conclusions on evolution are based on confidence in their fellow 'scientists" and they probably know no more then high school kids."

      Ah, but the fairy tales you regurgitate should be believed in and worshiped as inerrant facts, eh?

      Hey robert, scientists study evolution. Not all scientists of course but many do. Tell me, have you ever personally studied the biblical characters jesus and god? I don't mean studied what other people have written or said about them but studied jesus and god themselves, in the flesh? Have you personally dissected and thoroughly examined them and observed, tested, and reproduced their origins and existence and all of their alleged abilities and deeds? Can you please direct me to the scientific papers you've written about your studies of them? Of course even if you can (LOL) I won't consider anything you say because it's just your word for it, and according to your stated standard of evidence I would have to personally study them in the flesh to actually learn or know anything about them.

      I just don't have any confidence in you robert, or in anyone else who hasn't personally studied the biblical characters jesus and god in the flesh. Only people who have done so have any right to be considered.

      "indeed is biological evolution based on biological evidence?"

      Yes, and on corroborating evidence from other scientific fields.

      "Please remember fossils are not biological evidence of anything except that fossil students!!"

      Wrong!

      Please remember that religious fairy tales are not biological evidence, or any other kind of evidence of anything except fear, submission, ignorance, wishful thinking, arrogance, control, lies, sanctimony, manipulation, indoctrination, delusions....

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    2. Hey robert, I just thought of a question I want to ask you. Do you believe that dinosaurs and trilobites existed as living animals on this planet?

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  7. The constant use of the word "believe" is irritating. I can think of better words, for example "professors, their students and many university-educated people [acknowledge] one thing (evolution is a fact). . ."

    "accept" would work as well. Believe always sounds too religious as in belief with support or proof.

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    1. I prefer the phrase "accept as true".

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    2. I don't know about that. What is wrong with believing something if there is good reason to do so? Believing something does not imply that you will not change your mind if new evidence demands that you must, or that it is in any sense an absolute position. I don't give a damn that certain words or concepts have been sullied by religion. I would even use the word faith in certain contexts despite its negative connotations. E.g. Though I have never measured the time it takes Mars to orbit the sun, I have faith that astronomers are not lying (or likely to be mistaken) and that they have based their assertions on evidence when they say it takes 687 earth days. This faith too could be reversed, but it is a well-founded faith currently I believe. It occasionally bugs me that I must use wishy-washy words at least in informal conversation, lest I sound dogmatic. To hell with religion and their inflexible and perverted notions of belief and faith. However, I am just cranky tonight.

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    3. Shawn, I think it depends a lot on who a person is talking to or what they're talking or writing about. When scientists or science enthusiasts talk or write about scientific subjects, and especially if any god pushers are present or will ever see or hear what was said, the word 'believe' should be used carefully and 'believe in' should be used VERY carefully, or not at all.

      The word 'believe' on its own doesn't sound as religious as 'believe in'. For example:

      I believe that evolution has occurred and does occur.

      versus:

      I believe in evolution.

      The words 'accept' or 'acknowledge' could replace the word 'believe' in the first sentence and the sentence would mean pretty much if not exactly the same thing, although evolution hating god pushers might still make a big deal of the word 'believe' if they think it will give them a means to bash people who accept the occurrence of evolution.

      The second sentence would really give the god pushers ammunition because a word like 'worship' could replace 'believe in', or at least god pushers would likely think that the two terms are interchangeable.

      god pushers, and especially those who want to destroy and/or replace science (or certain aspects of it) are obsessively looking for anything they can pounce on to make it look as though evolutionary theory is just another religion (a materialistic one for atheists). god pushers think and often claim that scientists/evolutionists are every bit as religious as they are but just worship a different god (Darwin). That's one of, if not THE reason they love to use the terms "Darwinist" and "Darwinism".

      The god pushers may be right in thinking and claiming that some scientists or science enthusiasts see or essentially worship Darwin as a replacement for "God" but whether the god pushers are right about that or not when scientists or science enthusiasts say that they 'believe in' evolution they're playing right into the hands of the god pushers.

      The terms 'faith' or 'faith in' also have a particular meaning to god pushers and I think it's important to consider how they interpret certain words. As I said, they're really, really looking for anything they can throw back at scientists and science enthusiasts.

      Just some food for thought.

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  8. You're right Veronica, and believe 'in' sounds even more religious. It's bad enough when IDiots say it but it's even worse when scientists say that they 'believe in' evolution.

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    1. I just want to add that I used the word 'believe' with byers because it's word that has a particular meaning to him.

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  9. As usual, Booby Byers provides not a jot or a tittle of evidence supporting his nonsense.

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    1. Are you sure that Byers is not a Poe? Too stupid to be true ... ? I am often left wondering.

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    2. The abysmally poor grammar, syntax and spelling is probably an affectation but it is buttressed by a core of ignorance that is probably due to early childhood religious abuse.

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    3. I have been asked over at PT whether Byers is a Poe -- the point I make is: do you really think that any of us over here are imaginative enough to invent him?

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