Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hemant Mehta buys what Chris Mooney is selling

Chris Mooney thinks that humans have certain innate tendencies that predispose them to believe in god(s) and reject evolution. That's why there's such a strong correlation between a fundamentalist religious belief and rejection of science, according to Mooney.

These innate tendencies are part of our evolutionary history thus providing an evolutionary excuse explanation of religion. It's interesting that these behaviors seem to tilt in favor of the Judeo-Christian gods and not Buddhist or Taoist philosophy. It's also quite interesting that million and millions of non-believers don't seem to have had any great difficulty "overcoming" their genetic predispositions.

You don't suppose that it could be religious brain-washing education that makes people think teleologically or adopt essentialist perspectives rather than the other way around? And what about dualism? Is that an innate belief or does religion teach you to think you have a soul? Nah, that would be too simple [Why don't people accept evolution?].

Here's Hemant Mehta explaining why people Americans have a natural inclination to believe in god(s) and not in evolution [7 Reasons Why People Believe in God and Don’t Accept Evolution].



65 comments :

  1. I thought Mooney's list was a fair one. It's not a list of excuses, but a list of reasons people give for why they don't accept the obvious. If we want to help them understand evolution, it's helpful to know what obstacles might be preventing them from getting it so that we can deal with those issues directly. I'm really not sure where the criticism (from you or others) towards Mooney here is coming from!

    I read your previous post about how Mooney didn't explicitly mention religion, but I honestly felt that was included in the bit about "tribalism." It's part of groupthink and people are reluctant to be the odd man out when everyone around says something else. But there are other reasons people say they don't accept evolution that have nothing to do with faith, so it seems worthwhile to figure out how to address those reasons, too.

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    1. Mooney says that those seven things CAUSE people to accept religion and reject evolution. I say that it's religious indoctrination that CAUSES people to think like that and it's religious indoctrination that causes them to reject science.

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    2. Sounds like the old nature/nurture problem to me. You seem to be taking a position on the tabula rasa end of things and caricaturing everyone else as a genetic determinist. Can't we get past that simplistic sort of thinking? Some habits of thought are more easily indoctrinated than others, just as most passerine birds learn some songs more easily than others. Nature and nurture both contribute to the outcome. I strongly suspect that differences among people have both genetic and environmental components, with lots of interactions among factors. Do you disagree? Mooney may have noted some of those factors that act to make understanding and/or acceptance of evolution more difficult for some people than others, whether directly or indirectly through their influence on religion. I don't see anything prima facie absurd about that.

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    3. John,

      I'm not nearly as dogmatic as you make me out to be. I recognize that some behavior has a strong genetic component. My point is that when this presumed genetic predisposition is very easily overcome, as in rejection of evolution, you should question whether it's there at all.

      Also, I note with some astonishment that people like me and Jerry Coyne are being accused of "simplistic thinking" when what were actually doing is complaining about Chris Mooney's simplistic thinking. Did you post a comment to him?

      Mooney listed seven characteristics that lead to acceptance of religion and rejection of evolution. To me, some of these seem to be products of religious indoctrination and not innate causes of god-belief. I don't see anything prima facie absurd about my position, do you?

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    4. No, there's nothing absurd about what you say right there. But the obvious implication is that the question of whether there is genetic variance involved in any of Mooney's suggested traits, and the strength of the effect in some individuals, is a subject that requires evidence to either confirm or deny. Variation among countries shows that there's an environmental component, but it certainly doesn't show there isn't a genetic component, though we might be able to set some upper bound on its strength.

      Further, acceptance of evolution doesn't equal understanding of evolution. Surely you've encountered plenty of students who like evolution just fine but persist in attributing agency to it.

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    5. I think people are conflating two distinct things here. A strong genetic predisposition for religious explanations doesn't mean that religious beliefs are actually under selection themselves. Our brains are wired and evolved to make connections between things so that we can provide "logical" explanations with survival benefits. Consider the following simplistic but illustrative example:

      - cave man sees time and time again people going into a certain region of the bushes and not return

      - cave man knows lions lurk there in high quantities

      - cave man makes the logical assumption that the lions are the cause

      This is a kind of behaviour that can be seen to varying degrees in different species. This kind of mental faculties for making connections and providing logical, "rational" (within context) explanations are of survival importance. This is something that our brains most likely evolved to do, and are (or were) under selection. Given that we humans have a far more complex society, with complex culture and behaviors, and an higher level of intelligence, this may translate into religious behavior:

      - tribe leader wipes out neighboring tribe. He decides to eat the brain of the chief, which is taboo.

      - next day local volcano erupts and kills many

      - the tribesman "rationalize" that volcano god is pissed and punishing them for their crimes.

      This would be a consequence of brains that evolved for making connections between events and provide explanations with survivability impact, even though there are no specific religious traits under selection themselves. The behaviors are indeed the product of evolution together with an higher level of inteligence, but the religious beliefs are a sub-product of that behaviour, not what is actually selected. Modern society man would not think of volcano god as a good explanation (in general, there are some idiots out there though). He would google for volcanos instead and get his explanation. The basics are the same: an attempt at rationalizing the world.

      So I agree with Moran. Much of our behaviour has a genetic basis, but we need to be careful when postulating what actually is being (or was) selected for. Much of our behaviour is a consequence of other behaviors that were selected for, not the ones we are interested in.

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    6. Skinner's research discovered many fascinating examples of animal behavior. One of the most interesting, perhaps, was Skinner's work on superstition. Instead of giving a reward for a specific action and training a specific behavior, Skinner would take a hungry pigeon and place it in a box that would release a food pellet at random. The pigeons developed all kinds of complex behavioral responses such as bowing, scraping, dancing, and neck turns.

      Just think, those pigeons must be hard wired by evolution not to believe in evolution.

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  2. I haven't read Mooney's argument, but have no quarrel with "certain innate tendencies". For example, half of us have IQ's less than 100, which is probably an innate tendency. Also, as Feynman said, it is very easy for us to fool ourselves, which seems to me to be an innate tendency.

    Along this line of thought, the methods of science (data-gathering, statistical analysis, peer-review, replication) are aimed at over-coming those innate tendencies.

    Where I would disagree is if Mooney claims these innate tendencies are specific to religion rather than con-games and ideological blindness in general.

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    1. JimV: half of us have IQ's less than 100, which is probably an innate tendency.

      No, it isn't an innate tendency; it's a mathematical necessity, since IQ = 100 is by definition the median score of the population. Also, since one standard deviation of the mean is usually taken to equal 15 points on the IQ scale, 68.2% of the population will have IQ scores between 85 and 115. It's just the consequence of the way IQ is defined, no matter to what degree intelligence is heritable.

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    2. Can't it be both? Are you saying intelligence is not heritable?

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    3. I'm not saying it isn't, but the fact that IQ=100 halves the population has nothing to do with innate tendencies. What could be relevant is the existence of subpopulations with mean IQ scores significantly higher or lower than that of the total population. While we're at it, here's an interesting take on the heritability of intelligence (or rather its reverse) from Kevin Mitchell:

      http://www.wiringthebrain.com/2012/07/genetics-of-stupidity.html

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    4. My point was intended to be that a) half the human population are below the average (or perhaps median) IQ of 100, and b) 100 is not very high. The latter I did not state directly but assumed to be common knowledge, e.g., I know of no Phd's with an IQ that low. My thought is that much of the current human race is not well-equipped to understand the fallacies of religion and that this is indeed an innate tendency - just as chimpanzees will never understand the principle pf combustion via oxidation.

      I was aware that IQ tests are supposed to be designed so that 100 is the average score. And I have read Cozma Shalizi's excellent article on the lack of evidence for a "q" factor underlying IQ tests. Nevertheless I suspect that both the variation and the mean of intelligence that a species has were largely determined by its evolution and hence are innate tendencies of that species.

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  3. Anybody bothered to count how many lies the Friendly Liar said...? I lost count after about 6 or 7...

    Doesn't it bother you that this uneducated bufoon is spreading nonsense as science...?

    His best lie and manipulation was when he talked about the origins of life (I'm not even going to expand on the FACT that the Friendly Liar doesn't seem to know the difference between the origins of life and evolution).

    First he said that "we"-he probably meant scientists, as he probably views himself as a scientist or something-"...don't even know how life began...."

    Then, after mumbling for a while and mixing up many different unrelated concepts, he said that '...there are many things that "we"-here we go again-'...don't know; all the mechanisms, how they work or why...",-which seems to be exciting to the bufoon, etc "....and..."here is the best part".... not to mention the fact that the evidence just supports this..."

    Hmmm....I'm not quite sure what the Friendly Lair really meant...? Do you...? Does the evidence support the fact that we don't have any evidence how the life began?

    Or, maybe the evidence supports that fact that "we" don't have any evidence at all for what his mumbling about...? The only evidence "we" do have is that the Friendly Bufoon has no idea what he is talking about and that he is a well trained liar..and it is a fact...

    But, it will probably not bother many here, because as someone once said: "...It's not a lie if you want to believe it..."

    Great job Friendly Lair!!! You have a great future among your own kind!!!

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    1. Doesn't it bother you that this uneducated bufoon is spreading nonsense as science...?

      Quest is full of prunes. Mehta has Bachelor's degrees in math and biology from the Un. of Illinois CC. and a Master's degree in math education from DePaul Un. Hardly uneducated. What does Quest the pest bring to the table in terms of educational qualifications (just for his information I have a PhD in elementary particle physics from the Un. of Rochester, also hardly uneducated)?

      http://goo.gl/YwYfcs

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    2. Quest, This is nothing new. We commented on the issue on Larry's blog reg. the origins. This issue ruffles a lot of people's feathers, so they have to pretend that it doesn't exist or lie about it. I'm giving Mehta the benefit of the doubt regarding abiogenesis, as there are very few qualified people in the world that even attempt to explain it in "scientific" terms. There are no know experiments to date.
      If you want to nail Mehta, you should comment on his blog, but if you go all the way, you will get banned.

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    3. colnago80, Does Mehta's education qualify him to speak on the subject, say, abiogenesis? I doubt that. I disagree with Quest that Mehta is not educated. However, his education does't give him the right to say what he said. He says things like that because he has to as an atheist. He wraps it up with his "friendliness" but it is deceiving. I'm not an expert on the subject of genesis described in the bible and neither is he, and I can take his claims apart in few minutes. He is just a tool of the atheistic, anti-religious propaganda and every propaganda is based on one fundamental principal:

      "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it"- Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda

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    4. Re LouiseG

      I think that Mehta was a little careless in conflating evolution and the origin of life. As I listened to his talk, this constituted 1 sentence. Actually, it's the creationists like booby who conflate the two subjects. Abiogensis is a problem in chemistry, evolution is a problem in biology (to complete the thought, the origin of the universe is a problem in physics).

      As for his education, I have not seen his list of courses taken in biology so I can't comment on whether he has the background pontificate on biology (I certainly don't).

      As for the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible, which story are you referring to? There are two creation stories in Genesis; in the first, humans were created on the 6th day after all the other animals, in the second, humans were created first and the rest of the animal kingdom afterwards. They cannot both be true as they are contradictory.

      I fail to see what lies Mehta has told. You want to quote Goebbels, I'll quote Harry Truman: "I told the truth and they thought it was hell". I'll also quote Laplace when asked what part god might play in maintaining the stability of the Solar System, "I have no need of that hypothesis". We have no need of that hypothesis to explain where we are and how we got here.

      By the way, I don't think that Francis Collins or Ken Miller, no atheists they would take much issue with anything Mehta said about evolution.

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    5. @colnago80

      "...I don't think that Francis Collins or Ken Miller, no atheists..."

      Well Col, they may think, believe, and be convinced that they are believers...But they are not by all the standard I can think of... Their claim as being theistic/bullshiters is right in the latter. I would take Larry over them anytime....

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    6. Re Quest

      So Quest thinks that Collins and Miller aren't really believers. Apparently, they're atheist sheep in theist wolves clothing. It is quite obvious that Quest thinks that no theist could accept evolution. Yet another assertion with no basis in fact to support it.

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    7. Col,

      It all depends what you...or they.... mean by evolution....If you accept "evolution" within kinds, then I'm there too...

      Collins (recently) accepts evolution of new species (one species evolving into another) ...as far as I know, but his definition of species is vague...

      Miller, on the other hand, believes that God created physical laws and environment for life to spontaneously arise (I'm not sure 100% of that though) and for evolution to take place from simple molecules all the way to humans....

      That's why he is so opposed to Bible record of creation, ID and irreducible complexity of life systems....

      Too bad he only found about 10 "similar" parts of the 40 needed for bacterial flagellum to evolve...lol He is a joke...

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    8. Quest: What's a kind? How do you tell whether a given supposed evolutionary relationship is within or between kinds?

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    9. John,

      I didn't know there was, or supposed to be, an evolutionary relationship between kinds...? Mankind certainly doesn't...

      Is that what some creationists claim or you simply assumed there would be...?

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    10. That wasn't an answer. I'll rephrase. How do you tell if two species belong to the same kind or to different kinds?

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    11. A very thorough discussion can be found here:

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Baraminology

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    12. There's no such thing as a very thorough discussion, because baraminologists can't answer the question. The major baraminoogy textbook is Wood, T. C., and Murray, M. J. 2003. Understanding the pattern of life. Broadman & Holman, Nashville, TN. And it doesn't come close to answering the question.

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    13. John,

      I thought that we have been over this before...???

      Species seem to belong to the same kind if cross-fertility is allowed...

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    14. I believe you just attempted to say that any two species capable of hybridization (by what definition? fertile adult? union of sperm and egg? something in between?) belong to a single kind. But does it follow that two species incapable of hybridization then fall into different kinds? Any answer will get you into some sort of trouble.

      And of course we have excellent evidence that there is only one kind; your criterion is nonsensical even if we ignore the difficulties alluded to above.

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    15. "Baraminologists" evidently envy cladistics its terminiology, so they have developed a jargon which, on the one hand, mimics what they secretly admire, and, on the other hand, has to be compatible with the idea of separately created "kinds". The result can't be internally consistent and makes little sense, but what counts is that the jargon sounds like serious science. It's a cargo cult: they probably expect that sooner or later respect and recognition will be bestowed on them if they repeat phrases like "intrabaraminic diversification" or "baraminic distance" when performing their mimicking rituals.

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    16. They also parrot the methodology, though without any real attempt at justifying the methods. Cargo cult science, indeed.

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    17. John,

      Let's say Jerry and his wife travel to Africa. When there, Jerry has a fight with his wife and they split. Jerry walks away one way and finds an isolated tribe of what it appears to be homo sapiens. He has sex with one of the women there and produces an offspring.... His wife does the same thing with another tribe's man and she produces an offspring....

      Let's say that the couple goes a little wild. The man has sex with a monkey and so does his wife. But they can't produce offspring.... Why?

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    18. Quest,

      What if population A is interfertile with population B, B with C, C with D and D with E, but A is not interfertile with E? You can't classify them them neatly into self-contained "separate species" using a relation that isn't transitive.

      What if species X and species Y can mate and produce viable offspring but the offspring is sterile? What if it is semi-fertile? What if it's sterile in most cases but occasionally fertile? What if it's fertile but becomes sterile after three or four generations? What if mating doesn't occur in nature but can happen in captivity, or if fertilisation can be achieved in vitro?

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    19. John, are you aware these creationist discoveries in the field of avian phylobaraminothingumagizmo?

      http://creation.com/sparrow-finch-baramin

      They will soon reinvent the wheel (and refuse to admit it's a wheel).

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    20. Quest, I find your sexual fantasies uninteresting. And you didn't answer the question.

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    21. Piotr,

      Yep. Form and not substance. Note that there is not the slightest attempt to justify the method. They so very much want to be sciency, but not enough to actually form and test hypotheses.

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    22. Is this your area of expertise John?

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  4. Is this a case of ethnic intelligence as told me on another thread? Just kidding.
    Why do recent immigrants presume to tell Christian identities what is wrong with their thinking. Who the who are they???
    anyways.
    This is a dumb funny list of why smart people reject evolution.
    It hasn't proven its case. There is another case already accepted. case closed.
    Always but always evolutionism makes its case on the point that SCIENTISTS SAY SO! Rejecting them is rejection science. No other case need be said.
    Mostly they say this .
    Why not presume on the intelligence of the North American man and maje a great case based in evidence aplenty.
    Then we make ours and then do a poll.
    rEmember the equation.
    if evolution is not persuasive by the evidence it WOULD BE that the most intelligent people would be most resistant to its claims despite the academic authority behind it.
    So it would be north Americans. We think that way.

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    1. But, of course, it's accepting evolution that causes people to become racists. That's what the IDiots keep saying. What are your thoughts on that, Robert?

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    2. Gee booby, no religious person was ever a racist. Not.

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  5. My understanding is that religion is something on the order of 10,000 yrs old. No way it could have evolved in such a short time. But a predisposition towards attributing agency? That might have been evolutionarily useful. Add millennia of socialisation, and I can see something like religion popping out.
    Of course I'm just an engineer, so I could be very, very wrong.

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  6. I think there is a lot of validity in the list of seven reasons. Religion is a natural outcome of some of those (teleology, detecting agency) and organized religion has an easy job of perpetuating generational cycles of indoctrination because of it. I've noticed that even in many who claim to reject religion on rational grounds - scratch their surface and you will find they still hold fast to notions of ultimate purpose and how something, somewhere, must be pulling strings in this universe. I think these are notions that one must actively work at dispelling, it does not come all that naturally.

    Now, with regard to rejection of a specific scientific theory, there is no question that organized religion is the driving force and this should always be made clear in any list. The role of religion in promoting the rejection of facts solely on the grounds that all observed facts must comport with various and arbitrary human interpretations of vague and ancient human writings is enough to show that religion is not a force for truth in this world.
    However, even here the task of religion is made easier by the human inability to appreciate the time scales of life on planet earth and evolutionary processes (another point on the list). As I mention to my students in certain contexts: it is easy to say that chimps and humans diverged from a common ancestor 6 (or so) million years ago, but if you think you have even the slighest ability to appreciate how utterly long a time that is, you are deluding yourself.

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  7. The true religion is a force for truth in this world.
    The true religion never rejected facts. It takes on data used to create facts that are in fact wrong..
    Organized creationism says defend your facts!! they don't do very well and so lose ground. In fact lose ground too quick relative to the small circles who deal in these subjects. Gaining audience is the creationist problem and not the oppositions ability to defend themselves. This is why evolutionists fight with courts etc to censor. They really do get beat up in any toe to toe.

    Your students should be taught about biological evidence for chimp/man relatedness and not timelines. There not true either but anyways are not related to biology.
    Their common sense would unravel the lack of evidence for us/chimp common descent.

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  8. Prof Moran

    I have to ask you this and I'm really interested in a honest answer from you, if something is not observable and can not be proven do you consider it science?

    Common ancestry is NOT a verifiable fact, it is a theory and it CANNOT be proven beyond any doubt. Because I am skeptical about the claim that its is true, I'm considered a fundamentalist? Are you serious? So adapt to the consensus or be cast out is how you roll as well?

    I'm disappointed Prof Moran and yes please give me absolute proof and absolute evidence that my great great great grandaddy was the ancestor of me and the monkeys. Verifiable absolute proof and I am no longer a skeptic but a convert like you!

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    1. I have stated this on numerous occasions on this blog as well as others but apparently Gross missed it. In science there is no such thing as proof. Proof is a concept in mathematics and symbolic logic, not science. For instance, in 2 dimensional Euclidean geometry one can prove that two triangles having two sides and the included angle equal means that the triangles are congruent (or two angles and the included side). In the entire history of science, there has never been a proposition that has been proven. In science, there is only evidence that supports a proposition or evidence that falsifies it. In the case of the theory of common descent, there is tons of evidence that support it and thus far, no evidence has been produced that falsifies it. For instance, a couple of evidences that support the relationship between the great apes and humans are:

      (1) The gene for producing vitamin C is broken in apes and humans but not in most of the rest of the mammalian kingdom. This is unexplainable if apes and humans were separately created and have no relationship but is easily understood if humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor in which the gene was also broken.

      (2) Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and apes have 24 (chromosomes are identifiable because they have endpoints called telomeres and identifiable structures in the middle called centromeres). Evolution says that if they evolved from a common ancestor, we should be able to identify the remnants of the missing pair as having fused with one of the remaining 23 pairs; guess what, human chromosome 2 has a pair of telomeres in the center and two centromeres indicating a fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13 at some point downstream of the split between the ape line and the human line. If the fusion had not been found, this would be very hard for evolution to explain and would be a falsification, unless some other explanation could be found (I have no idea what such an explanation would consist of).

      Here's a link to a portion of a presentation on this subject by Ken Miller who, unlike myself, is a real biologist.

      http://goo.gl/P2NBbJ

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    2. Andre Gross' syllogistic proof of God:

      Science is hard

      It makes my brain hurt.

      Therefore, God.


      I realize I'm wasting my time doing this for you, but here is evidence that supports common descent beyond any reasonable doubt, as you requested. There is even more evidence beyond this, of course, but this single piece by itself is sufficient to demonstrate CD as a fact.

      http://www.evolutionarymodel.com/ervs.htm

      Sorry for causing you another headache. Just go back to reading your Bible if it gets unbearable.

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    3. BTW, I just remembered that there is a follow up to that article (link at the top) that mentions our old friend here at Sandwalk, Jonathan McLatchie, and gives yet more examples of what a habitual liar and incompetent he is:

      http://www.evolutionarymodel.com/evolutionnews.htm

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    4. Andre Gross asks,

      I have to ask you this and I'm really interested in a honest answer from you, if something is not observable and can not be proven do you consider it science?

      No. The scientific way of knowing requires evidence. There are many ways of obtaining evidence but if by saying "not observable" you mean "no evidence" then the conclusion can't be scientific. Some people think that it's okay to believe in something without having any evidence to support that belief (e.g. belief in god(s)) but nobody has ever shown that imagination and delusion leads to true knowledge.

      Common ancestry is NOT a verifiable fact, ...

      You are wrong. Common ancestry is as much of a "fact" as anything else.

      Thanks for playing. There are no consolation prizes for losers.

      I'm disappointed Prof Moran and yes please give me absolute proof and absolute evidence that my great great great grandaddy was the ancestor of me and the monkeys. Verifiable absolute proof and I am no longer a skeptic but a convert like you!

      The scientific way of knowing does not deal in absolute proof. However, some things are self-evidently true or are true by definition. The fact that your great great great grandaddy is your ancestor is one of those things.

      BTW, I am not a "convert." I am fortunate to have been raised properly so that I was never brainwashed into rejecting the scientific way of knowing.

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    5. """"Common ancestry is NOT a verifiable fact, it is a theory and it CANNOT be proven beyond any doubt. Because I am skeptical about the claim that its is true, I'm considered a fundamentalist?"""

      The reason why you're *skeptical* about it's "truthfulness" is not because of any scientific evidence being on your side (there's none) but because you want desperately for science to confirm that your religious beliefs are true. You can't have both, though. So choose which one to support and be honest about it, starting with yourself.

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    6. OMG! Larry did it again:

      "No. The scientific way of knowing requires evidence. There are many ways of obtaining evidence but if by saying "not observable" you mean "no evidence" then the conclusion can't be scientific. Some people think that it's okay to believe in something without having any evidence to support that belief (e.g. belief in god(s)) but nobody has ever shown that imagination and delusion leads to true knowledge."

      Really Larry??? Try to apply the same rule you just lectured to Andre to the origins of life... I know you can't... I know where imagination and delusion leads... Do you???

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    7. Sorry, but I just realized it's time for me to move on....I'm retiring at 46...I will not waste any more time discussing the same bullshit....I'm gettin a nice bike and I'm going around Australia/New Zaeland... God love ya all!

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    8. A few points;

      1. Ken Miller has been refuted
      2. I still don't see empirical evidence from anyone.
      3. God is the last thing I want to be true, you see if He is real where does that leave us?

      In order for NS and RM to work it would need the information upfront. There is simply no process in existence today or in the past that can create its own information from scratch and then build itself (yes you are a system). You can stand on your soapbox and call me any name you like but that won't make it so. To believe that any functional system can build itself is way past delusional.

      Lastly what is being sold as fact right now to young minds is nothing more than a materialist creation story and you don't have any evidence that can prove me wrong. If you have like they say in Minnesota.... show me!

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    9. Ken Miller has been refuted

      Citation needed. If Gross is referring to Casey Luskin's crap, which consists of a totally spurious claim that the structures identified as telomeres in the middle of human chromosome 2 aren't really telomeres, then he is sh*t out of luck. That claim has been totally discredited.

      In order for NS and RM to work it would need the information upfront.

      If Gross is referring to the spurious claims of William Dumbski, he again is sh*t out of luck. Dumbski has steadfastly refused to provide a definition of what he means by information. Whatever he means, it bears no relationship to either of the definitions of Kolmogorov or Shannon, which are considered by the experts in the field of information theory to be definitive.

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    10. Anyone can say that they have refuted some long-held principle of science, such as common descent, but there is a simple test for that: have they managed to change the consensus of scientist thought and/or have they received a Nobel Prize for this? With regard to any refutation of common descent, the answer would be no.

      Regarding evidence for or against things, a creationist recently told me that that according to the Bible (quoting Paul) God doesn't do tests, and if you are skeptical enough to look for evidence of Him (or Her) He/She will personally see that you don't find any. I tend to define reality as that which can be tested with evidence, myself.

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    11. Andre, the "Show Me" state is Missouri, not Minnesota.

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    12. Anyway, have you got around to that article I posted on Friday, Andre? All the "proof" you should need is right there.

      BTW, it's interesting to note that some believe Missouri's nickname did not initially originate to describe the skeptical and practical nature of that state's inhabitants. Rather, it arose when Colorado had to import mine workers from Missouri who were so stupid that it was necessary to repeatedly "show them" how to do their job:

      http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/history/slogan.asp

      Meaning no disparagement to the good people of Missouri, who I am sure are no more or less intelligent than people are generally. But in your case, Andre, I find the irony quite enjoyable.

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    13. I know this will be met with the usual retort but Ken Miller's fusion story is finished.

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v6/n1/human-chromosome-fusion

      Nobody says you have to read it but I would certainly urge you to do so because the case is compelling enough to put the fusion event to bed once and for all....

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    14. Luitsuite and thank you for correcting me on the Missouri, Minnesota error much appreciated, but the show me still stands so please showw me!

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    15. Luitsuite did you see the debunking of ERV's as evidence for evolution?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrEOe2E0Euc
      http://swordandshield.biz/endogenous_retroviruses.pdf

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    16. Andre,

      Your PDF link is to a poorly written rehash of some of the routine "rebuttals" of the ERV evidence. The author (somebody called Daniel Nahum, othertwise unknown to the world) can't even spell or punctuate. He repeats the same weary arguments copied from other wannabe evolution debunkers without having the slightest grasp of the subject. All those arguments (as well as anumber of more sophisticated ones) are dealt with here and here.

      The site from which the PDF comes offers more such rebuttals, all of them ridiculous. But what can one expect of a website whose front page looks like this? If you can't see that the stuff you link to is bullshit, I wonder what you hope to achieve on this blog.

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    17. Nobody says you have to read it but I would certainly urge you to do so because the case is compelling enough to put the fusion event to bed once and for all....

      I have read it. Which part is so compelling, Andre? Do you understand the main point of Tomkins's argument?

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    18. Re Andre Gross

      I have no interest in reading nonsense from a YEC site, particularly one by Ken Ham, a lying fraudulent piece of filth. If you have an article from a peer reviewed journal, like Nature or Science, which in any way, shape, form, or regard refutes Miller's claim, feel free to post a link to it. Otherwise, get lost.

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    19. Here's a helpful hint, Andre Gross,

      Just because someone puts something up on the internet claiming something has been debunked, that doesn't mean it's actually been debunked.

      Kindly go thru that article I linked for you and, if you think that YouTube video or that pdf you posted actually refutes the scientific evidence presented there, let us know in detail how it does so.

      Or you could just remain ignorant and stupid. There's that option, as well.

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  9. I must be missing something since I still fail to see the contradiction. The idea that evolution may have hard-wired our brain in such a way that we get a natural tendency towards magical thinking because of the advantage it gives for social animals like us is not mutually exclusive with the fact that we may overcome such tendency if we are raised in a culture of critical thinking.

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  10. Mr Moran.
    The evidence for god, in the bible, and in mankinds heritage is the observable universe and earth. That is the thing and its complexity being beyond chance happenings creating it.
    That is the historic evidence for God(s). Say its a wrong conclusion but its been, and still is, the evidence for a smart creator.

    AMEN. Science is about evidence or its not science.
    Science must be a higher standard of investigation that can demand confidence in its conclusions.
    There must be that quality of evidence to say its scientific evidence.
    Is evolutionary biology composed of that quality of evidence.
    All creationists and others say its not. Even if true its not yet.
    thus there is a great and rising criticism against it based on its wrong claim to scientific evidence or any evidence at all.
    This forum exists because of this criticism.

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