Friday, August 14, 2015

Teaching evolution in Ontario Schools

In Ontario (Canada) there is a province-wide curriculum that all public schools must follow. This includes the Roman Catholic separate schools that receive money from the province. This post is prompted by something written last month by an anonymous blogger who runs Darwnquixote. He claims that human evolution is not taught in Ontario schools [Be Careful, Evolution is Behind You]. Jerry Coyne picks up on this and launches into a tirade about the Ontario curriculum [Ontario schools require teaching evolution—except human evolution]. Coyne urges everyone to write letters of complaint to the Ontario Minister of Education. (Her name is Liz Sandals and she is an excellent (not perfect) Minister of Education.) Is it true that the Ontario curriculum does not teach that humans have evolved?

I've been quite impressed with the science and technology curriculum as revised in 2008 and I'm hearing good things about the next revision. The teaching of evolution, like all aspects of the curriculum, focuses on understanding the basic concepts and on encouraging students to think for themselves. Students learn about evolution and diversity in the primary grades where the emphasis is on the relationship of humans and other species [The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary: Science and Technology]. In grade 1 they learn that "Plants and animals, including people, are living things" (page 44) and in Grade 2 one of the "big ideas" is that humans are animals (page 58).

In grade 4, students learn "living things (including humans) rely on other living things" (page 84). In grade 6 the biology curriculum focuses on "biodiversity." Many of the lessons are about the human impact on biodiversity but this appears to be the first year where students learn about the relationship of various species and the history of life. Teaching the actual history of life from the fossil record etc. isn't specifically covered in any part of the Ontario elementary school curriculum. That includes teaching that birds are related to dinosaurs, plants evolve from algae, and insects are related to lobsters. Thus, it's not a surprise that the curriculum doesn't specifically cover the history of human evolution, including all the fossils.

Nevertheless, classification is an important part of the Grade 6 curriculum and one of the basic concepts is ... (page 113)
3.1 identify and describe the distinguishing characteristics of different groups of plants and animals (e.g., invertebrates have no spinal column; insects have three basic body parts; flowering plants produce flowers and fruits), and use these characteristics to further classify various kinds of plants and animals (e.g., invertebrates – arthropods – insects; vertebrates – mammals – primates; seed plants – flowering plants – grasses)
There's noting here that excludes humans from discussions about the evolution of primates and all teachers that I've talked to say that human evolution is not avoided.

Much of the emphasis in grades 1-8 is on technology instead of science and most of the biology curriculum focuses on how humans interact with the environment. I'm not a big fan of this approach because it misrepresents the importance of science as a way of knowing but the overall science curriculum seems sound. I also don't like the fact that there's a fair amount of proselytizing about protecting the environment and the superior lifestyle of aboriginal people. These may or may not be good things but the approach is very one-sided.

The high school science curriculum is more about science with less emphasis on technology [The Ontario Curriculum: Secondary, Science]. Here's how the Ministry of Education describes the high school curriculum on the nature of science... (page 4)
THE NATURE OF SCIENCE
The primary goal of science is to understand the natural and human-designed worlds. Science refers to certain processes used by humans for obtaining knowledge about nature, and to an organized body of knowledge about nature obtained by these processes. Science is a dynamic and creative activity with a long and interesting history. Many societies have contributed to the development of scientific knowledge and understanding .... Scientists continuously assess and judge the soundness of scientific knowledge claims by testing laws and theories, and modifying them in light of compelling new evidence or a re-conceptualization of existing evidence.
           SCCAO and STAO/APSO, “Position Paper: The
           Nature of Science” (2006), pp. 1–2
Science is a way of knowing that seeks to describe and explain the natural and physical world. An important part of scientific literacy is an understanding of the nature of science, which includes an understanding of the following:
  • what scientists, engineers, and technologists do as individuals and as a community
  • how scientific knowledge is generated and validated, and what benefits, costs, and risks are involved in using this knowledge
  • how science interacts with technology, society, and the environment
Occasionally, theories and concepts undergo change, but for the most part, the fundamental concepts of science – to do with phenomena such as the cellular basis of life, the laws of energy, the particle theory of matter – have proved stable.
The curriculum is infused with statements of this sort. It's inconceivable that the authors intended to exclude any discussion about human evolution.

Unfortunately, the biology curriculum in grade 9 is all about protecting the environment and not about science. It's a little better in grade 10 where students learn about cell, tissues, organs, and system. I don't see anything in the description of that curriculum that makes humans any different that other species.

In grades 11 & 12 the biology curriculum is split into three paths: biology, environmental science, and genetics [Ontario Curriculum: Grades 11 & 12: Science]. Here's the grade 11 biology curriculum ... (page 46)
Big Ideas
Diversity of Living things
  • All living things can be classified according to their anatomical and physiological characteristics.
  • Human activities affect the diversity of living things in ecosystems.
Evolution
  • Evolution is the process of biological change over time based on the relationships between species and their environments.
  • The theory of evolution is a scientific explanation based on a large accumulation of evidence.
  • Technology that enables humans to manipulate the development of species has economic and environmental implications.
Genetic Processes
  • Genetic and genomic research can have social and environmental implications.
  • Variability and diversity of living organisms result from the distribution of genetic
    materials during the process of meiosis.
Here are the basic concepts ...
B3.1 explain the fundamental principles of taxonomy and phylogeny by defining concepts of taxonomic rank and relationship, such as genus, species, and taxon

B3.2 compare and contrast the structure and function of different types of prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and viruses (e.g., compare and contrast genetic material, metabolism, organelles, and other cell parts)

B3.3 describe unifying and distinguishing anatomical and physiological characteristics (e.g., types of reproduction, habitat, general physical structure) of representative organisms from each of the kingdoms

B3.4 explain key structural and functional changes in organisms as they have evolved over time (e.g., the evolution of eukaryotes from prokaryotes, of plants from unicellular organisms)

B3.5 explain why biodiversity is important to maintaining viable ecosystems (e.g., biodiversity helps increase resilience to stress and resistance to diseases or invading species)

C2.3 analyse, on the basis of research, and report on the contributions of various scientists to modern theories of evolution (e.g., Charles Lyell, Thomas Malthus, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Charles Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge)

C3.1 explain the fundamental theory of evolution, using the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection to illustrate the process of biological change over time

C3.2 explain the process of adaptation of individual organisms to their environment (e.g., some disease-causing bacteria in a bacterial population can survive exposure to antibiotics due to slight genetic variations from the rest of the population, which allows successful surviving bacteria to pass on antibiotic resistance to the next generation)

C3.3 define the concept of speciation, and explain the process by which new species are formed

C3.4 describe some evolutionary mechanisms (e.g., natural selection, artificial selection, sexual selection, genetic variation, genetic drift, biotechnology), and explain how they affect the evolutionary development and extinction of various species (e.g., Darwin’s finches, giraffes, pandas)

D3.1 explain the phases in the process of meiosis in terms of cell division, the movement of chromosomes, and crossing over of genetic material

D3.2 explain the concepts of DNA, genes, chromosomes, alleles, mitosis, and meiosis, and how they account for the transmission of hereditary characteristics according to Mendelian laws of inheritance

D3.3 explain the concepts of genotype, phenotype, dominance, incomplete dominance, codominance, recessiveness, and sex linkage according to Mendelian laws of inheritance

D3.5 describe some reproductive technologies (e.g., cloning, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, recombinant DNA), and explain how their use can increase the genetic diversity of a species (e.g., farm animals, crops)
I don't see anything in that description that limits the discussion to non-humans. The general tone of the description does not support the claim that human evolution can't be taught in Ontario schools.

This does not seem to me like a curriculum that excludes teaching about the evolution of humans. Apparently Jerry Coyne disagrees and so does the anonymous author of Darwnquixote. All the high school teachers I've talked to, and all those commenting on the blogs, seem to agree that human evolution is taught in Ontario schools.

The grade 12 biology curriculum is divided into five parts: biochemistry, metabolic processes, molecular genetics, homeostasis, and population dynamics. Evolution seems to be implicit in all five topics. I see no evidence that humans are to be treated any differently than all other organisms. For example, in the section on mutations there's no indication that humans are different.

While it's true that there are no specific instructions in the biology curriculum covering the history of human evolution and the fossil record, it's also true that there are no instruction for describing the history of evolution of any other species. Explicit mention of the history of life and the fossil record is entirely absent from the biology curriculum. They are covered under Earth History (Geology). Here are the basic concepts for grade 12.
D3.1 describe evidence for the evolution of life through the Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras, using important groups of fossils that date from each era (e.g., stromatolites, trilobites, brachiopods, crinoids, fish, angiosperms, gymnosperms, dinosaurs, mammals)

D3.2 describe various kinds of evidence that life forms, climate, continental positions, and Earth’s crust have changed over time (e.g., evidence of mass extinction, of past glaciations, of the existence of Pangaea and Gondwanaland)

D3.3 describe some processes by which fossils are produced and/or preserved (e.g., original preservation, carbonization, replacement, permineralization, mould and cast formations)

D3.4 compare and contrast relative and absolute dating principles and techniques as they apply to natural systems(e.g., the law of superposition; the law of cross-cutting relationships; varve counts; carbon-14 or uranium-lead dating)

D3.5 identify and describe the various methods of isotopic age determination, giving for each the name of the isotope, its half-life, its effective dating range, and some of the materials that it can be used to date (e.g., uranium-lead dating of rocks; carbon dating of organic materials)

D3.6 explain the influence of paradigm shifts (e.g., from uniformitarianism to catastrophism) in the development of geological thinking

D3.7 explain the different types of evidence used to determine the age of Earth (e.g., index fossils; evidence provided by radiometric dating of geological materials or lithostratigraphy) and how this evidence has influenced our understanding of the age of the planet.
It's hard to imagine that the authors of such a curriculum intended to exclude any discussion of human evolution. It's hard to imagine that any teacher following that curriculum would treat human evolution as an exception.

There may be lots of things wrong with our education system but avoiding evolution isn't one of them. Nor is it possible that evolution could be thoroughly covered in a mostly correct manner while avoiding the fact that humans are part of it.


117 comments :

  1. As an American with quite a lot of Canadian experience, I find it funny (it's too predictable to be truly upsetting) that Americans seem to assume that educational policies are arrived at the same way in both countries. And they seem to assume that the dynamics of parents and teachers regarding those policies are engaged in, and fought over or resolved, in the same way too.

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  2. I went to school in Toronto in the 60's and 70's. as the old joke goes, grade ten were the best three years of my life.

    Evolution and genetics were reasonably covered back then, although maybe a little oversimplified. I remember that many of the genetics examples used us as the guinea pigs. The tongue curling, eye colour, the ability to taste certain chemicals, etc. all used the kids to demonstrate them. Since it is difficult to separate evolution from genetics, I don't see how anyone could say that human evolution is not covered.

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  3. It has always baffled me how evolution that doesn't even meet the criteria of a theory ended up being taught in schools as a fact. I guess when 99.9% of population doesn't know the difference between micro and macro evolution, it is easy to sell the first as the second especially if some vocal scientist call it a fact and whoever doesn't believe it is called a stupid idiot and all other sorts of names.

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    1. It has always baffled me ...

      A great many things seem to baffle you. There's a simple explanation but you won't like it.

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    2. "especially if some vocal scientist call it a fact". If, in your roundabout way, it's evolution you're referring to then it's not "some vocal scientist". It's virtually everyone who has ever studied the biological sciences in any depth. The exceptions are a handful of american evangelicals desperately trying to salvage the Adam and Eve mythology.

      What "99.9% of population" believe or don't believe with regard to science is totally irrelevant. What's settled science isn't decided by a public referendum.

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    3. "It has always baffled me how evolution that doesn't even meet the criteria of a theory ended up being taught in schools as a fact."

      You're joking, right? Please tell me you're joking.

      Dave Bailey

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    4. Unlike some 50 years ago, today more and more scientists and educated population question the so-called “facts” about macro evolution. And here it is why: For macro evolution to meet the criteria of a scientific theory, it would have to observable, replicated by experiments and make accurate predictions. Macro evolution can’t claim any of that. By just making claims that small micro changes in species lead to bigger macro changes without any evidence is just not scientific, but it is being sold as a fact without evidence whatsoever .

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    5. Unlike some 50 years ago, today more and more scientists and educated population question the so-called “facts” about macro evolution.

      The evidence doesn't bear you out on that claim. Support for creationism has remained flat among the public and among scientists since anyone started polling. Nor is experimental, laboratory science the only useful model of science. Macroevolution, on the other hand, does predict certain repeatable observations, for example that if you examine a gene you haven't examined before, it will show the same phylogenetic pattern as other genes you have already looked at. That prediction has been borne out many times.

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    6. Ahh, the classic. "It's never been _observed_". Apparently we should stop researching cosmology because nobody was there to observe the big bang, or geology because there was nobody there to observe the formation of the rocky mountains... or criminology, etc, etc..

      Fact: Creatards don't understand basic scientific concepts like "observation".

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    7. John
      You are not answering my questions not to mention the scientific points I made. You can bark all you want but I'm naturally a sceptic, so you need to come up with some evidence. I don't think it is going to happen so we are back to normal.

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    8. Fact 2: Creatards don't understand basic concepts like "Sceptic".

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    9. The classic point would be for at least few species out of 2.5 million to be in a transition leading to a new species, such as cold blooded one gradually evolving into hot blooded, or a respiratory system gradually evolving to either breath under water or to be able fly non-stop for few hundred days. It all exist but unfortunately only in the evolutionists imagination but it is not supported by any evidence whatsoever.

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    10. Ho hum, I'm tired of pointing this out: Typically, the creationist response is the 'false dichotomy' fallacy. They assume that if they can knock down evolution, their idea (I would never call it a theory) is therefore correct. But creationists and IDiots have rarely, if ever, put forward testable scientific evidence for their wild-ass musings. Sceptical Mind could utterly destroy evolution, but that does not mean that his alternative has any validity whatsoever. The false Dichotomy is, really, the only tactic they have.

      Dave Bailey

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    11. Let's call you "Sceptical" "Mind", as both words deserve scare quotes where you're concerned. You're skeptical only of evolution, but you're exceedingly credulous about creationism.

      As far as I can tell, you've never asked a question that deserves an answer. They all require counter-to-fact assumptions. The one about species in transition, for example: how would you recognize one? You have no idea. And the question incorporates a ridiculous, strawman version of speciation, more or less a dog giving birth to a cat.

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    12. Give sceptical mind a break, it is only amongst knowledgable people that he comes across as an idiot. In a creationist crowd, he might be regarded as exceedingly clever.

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    13. So SM wants an example of a transitional species, eh? We, if he understood evolution at all, he would only need to look in a mirror, or at a spider on his window, or indeed any life form around him. Everything is a transitional species: transitional between what it was, and what it will become as evolution wends its inexorable path through time. But I suspect he wants a crocoduck. He wouldn't even compromise on a monotreme.

      Dave Bailey

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    14. It's like expecting that the last common ancestor of primates and rodents looked like Mickey Mouse.

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    15. It's hilarious because of the examples he asked for, all those animals currently exist today and it doesn't even take effort to find them.

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    16. Monotreme: reptilian pelvic girdle, lays soft leathery eggs, unrefined internal thermoregulatory system, has fur, produces milk. If that isn't close to what he wants, then nothing is.

      But I'm sure he's just a troll. Requests for transitional examples, couched in even the most scientific sounding terms, are just a synonym for crocoduck. And they titter and giggle at their keyboard, while thinking "Checkmate, atheists!"

      But his type do make me wonder if two parts of the christian mythology are true. First, the story of Daniel in the lion's den. Cretinists and IDiots keep coming in, despite knowing that they will meet a hostile reception. Next, rising from the dead. They blather on boards like this, they get chewed up, spat out, and scientifically crucified, and they keep coming back.

      Astounding.

      Dave Bailey

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  4. Coyne doesn't seem to do much fact checking in cases like these; I'm not too surprised.

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  5. A foreigner can complain or advocate about other countries, i do, but in respect. Don';t presume to boss them like slaves.
    Yes the province pays for the education but the money comes from the people.
    So teaching evolution is attacking the religious conclusions of many Christians etc who do the paying.
    Then not allowing equal time from the most famous conclusions and still common is the government saying its decided they are false in subjects where truth is the objective./
    We shouldn't have to fight this with democracy, heaven forbid the courts but they are dictators, .
    Catholic schools especially should give equal time or why be religious??
    It would prove they are about ethnic identity more then faith doctrines.

    In one ear and out the next is the real story in Ontario for mist kids in most subjects.
    The schools are being used to propagate and persuade kids to conclusions no less then in old Europe in the bad days.
    Yes Indians having a better culture is a agenda because cAnadians always saw them as not that way.
    The Ontario schools are liberal/ethnic etc machines to shape hearts and minds. It just doesn't work for the reason the kids don't remember almost anything.
    I care more about creationism in america then Canada because h
    igher concepts of freedom and education are american and the people have more influence over THEIR schools. Also iot seems they learn better and so what is taught matters more. Here its just organized memorization almost entirely.
    I admit things don't seem to matter in canada including education tyranny and foolishness.
    Probably a leftover from British days when also it was all Queen and empire and non democratic.

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    1. "Yes the province pays for the education but the money comes from the people.
      So teaching evolution is attacking the religious conclusions of many Christians etc who do the paying."

      Robert, in the US and Canada you are entitled to believe whatever religious fantasy you want. You are not entitled to supersede reality and force your religious beliefs on the general population. Your thinking is probably a leftover from medieval days when it was all one debilitating religious theocracy and non democratic.

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    2. Probably a leftover from British days when also it was all Queen and empire and non democratic.

      Hear, hear! Down with the Queen's mediaeval tyranny and unrestricted autocratic power over school curricula in the UK! Does she not understand her Empire is gone? People of Britain, wake up, shake off the shackles of absolutism and join the free world!

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    3. Did you know that the UK government introduced evolution into the National Curriculum for primary school kids last year?
      So far so good.
      Did you also know that they gave the "lengthening of the giraffe's neck" as the best evidence for evolution?
      Beggars belief.

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    4. Quote:

      Evolution and inheritance

      Pupils should be taught to:

      -- recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago

      -- recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents
      identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution

      Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

      Building on what they learned about fossils in the topic on rocks in year 3, pupils should find out more about how living things on earth have changed over time. They should be introduced to the idea that characteristics are passed from parents to their offspring, for instance by considering different breeds of dogs, and what happens when, for example, labradors are crossed with poodles. They should also appreciate that variation in offspring over time can make animals more or less able to survive in particular environments, for example, by exploring how giraffes’ necks got longer, or the development of insulating fur on the arctic fox. Pupils might find out about the work of palaeontologists such as Mary Anning and about how Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace developed their ideas on evolution.

      Note: at this stage, pupils are not expected to understand how genes and chromosomes work.

      Pupils might work scientifically by: observing and raising questions about local animals and how they are adapted to their environment; comparing how some living things are adapted to survive in extreme conditions, for example, cactuses, penguins and camels. They might analyse the advantages and disadvantages of specific adaptations, such as being on 2 feet rather than 4, having a long or a short beak, having gills or lungs, tendrils on climbing plants, brightly coloured and scented flowers.

      End of quote.

      Sounds like a reasonable introduction at the primary level. What's wrong with it, in your opinion? The giraffe's neck is only mentiones as an example, not as key evidence for evolution. Of course it's all strongly simplified but so is introductory physics, chemistry etc.

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    5. Hi again Piotr, One of the few people who respect others on this site. Sometimes...

      In my opinion everything is fine except the giraffe bit. (Good bit of research there by the way - that's exactly the paragraphs I am talking about.) Dogs and the arctic fox are excellent examples of adaptation. Cactuses (surely cacti?? but you're the linguist!), Penguins (apparently the best birds) and camels - great examples. But you tell me what is actually meant by primary school kids "exploring how giraffes’ necks got longer". They cannot possibly do this because there is NO evidence to "explore". It would better to say "guess how/why it might have happened."
      What will happen instead is that teachers will tell the pupils that giraffes necks got longer over time through straining to reach higher Eucalyptus leaves and hence Lamarck's theory lives on. Primary school teachers do not have to have a science qualification of any sort - so where are the safe-guards and teachers notes?. Dogs and camels are pretty difficult to get wrong, but even the experts are arguing about the 'evolution' of the giraffe so why on earth use that example? I know that it is in the "non-statutory notes" but all teachers use these as they aren't knowledgeable enough to choose their own examples. I've seen teachers materials online that teach Lamarck beautifully, claiming that there is a full fossil record of all intermediate length necks of giraffe. That's what's wrong with it in my opinion. I hope Larry doesn't censor this reply. I don't know quite what I've done to upset him. Do your comments get checked before posting like mine are being?????

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    6. I agree, Pauline, the giraffe is not the best example to use. Evolution of whales from Artiodactyla is beautifully represented in the fossil record, and would probably make a better case study.

      Try to give Piotr a break. (Conditionally)Sceptical Mind is a troll, and his counterfactual declarations about evolution are tiresome. Which brings up another good case study for evolutionary transitions in the fossil record: Hominid evolution. Despite (Selectively)Sceptical Mind's absurd declaration to the contrary, there is a fantastic transitional fossil series of human evolution.

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    7. Pauline,

      If I were to choose the coolest examples of well-documented evolutionary transitions showing the development of spectacular adaptations, I would suggest whales from land artiodactyls, birds from non-avian theropods, and land vertebrates from lobe-finned fish, to get the kids really interested. Human evolution would be worth discussing too. I realise I could be accused of tetrapod chauvinism, but things like the origin of seed plants, the relationship between insects and crustaceans, etc., can only be appreciated by someone who already knows quite a lot.

      The giraffe is nothing special, and the example may be counterproductive if the teacher tells the pupils just-so stories to "explain" its long neck. I hope, however, that British schoolteachers can do better than that and won't follow the guidance blindly. The curriculum does say "for example", and doesn't force teachers to begin and end with giraffes and foxes. However, as a child, I found it fascinating that the okapi was a short-necked giraffe. It made me rethink the definition of "giraffe".

      By the way, the curriculum several times mentions "animals including humans", in case anyone gets the impression that humans are deliberately left out of the discussion.

      As for Sceptical Mind, if he occasionally showed even a symbolic dose of respect to other people, he would earn some himself. If it were only possible to make him interested in honest discussion and exchange of ideas, rather than trolling for its own sake!

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    8. Hey Pauline,

      I'm pretty sure that teachers will not "tell the pupils that giraffes necks got longer over time through straining to reach higher Eucalyptus leaves".

      For a start eucalyptus are mostly native to Australia and the last time I checked there are no giraffes in Australia, Noah's Ark never having made it quite that far.

      They might tell them a story about how giraffes in the population with slightly longer necks than the norm had access to a more plentiful food source (but not eucalyptus) and thus accrued a selective advantage. At least any teacher that wasn't a complete idiot might tell that story and not the very strange story you claim that they tell.

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    9. Ha Ha so not Eucalyptus then! I think I meant Acacia...

      Steve, a teacher wouldn't necessarily be a complete idiot to teach Lamarck - they would be ignorant which is entirely different. As I said - there is no requirement for Primary School teachers to have any sort of science background at all. I did a survey at work of 20 random people and half thought that the giraffe had a long neck because its ancestors had stretched their necks to reach higher leaves. They all said they had learnt this at school.
      Your preferred story about selective advantage for a more plentiful food supply isn't true either - at least giraffe experts no longer think this - they rather suspect that the long necks are for male fighting rather than for reaching for food. So you can be pretty sure as much as you like but you are wrong. Science education is way too important to be merely pretty sure teachers might get it right.
      How do they teach evolution in your country?

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    10. For someone who thinks giraffes live in Australia your position on getting science education right is a tad hypocritical.


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    11. And by the way Robert Byers is in complete agreement with your interesting theory on giraffes:

      Post-flood Marsupial Migration Explained
      by Robert Byers

      http://nwcreation.net/articles/marsupial_migration.html

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    12. Management overview for Robert's "paper":

      The marsupial creatures are not related to each other because they are marsupial.

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    13. I did a survey at work of 20 random people and half thought that the giraffe had a long neck because its ancestors had stretched their necks to reach higher leaves. They all said they had learnt this at school.

      So the natural conclusion is all these people with the wrong idea have perfect recall of science classes in school and thus we can conclude science teachers are ignorant. :rolleyes:

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    14. Steve,
      I don't think giraffes live in Australia. I said Eucalyptus when I meant Acacia. Both trees in my garden so I picked the wrong one. It wasn't part of a lesson plan, I don't have an interesting theory on the occupation of Australia by giraffes and I have not even thought about post flood migration of marsupials. ACACIA ACACIA ACACIA. Got it? Stop bullying. As if you've never made a mistake. Right?

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  6. Teaching creatardism to kids is child abuse. Kids shouldn't be indoctrinated and lied about science by their parents or anyone else. Homeschooling should be guaranteed to teach the same minimum curriculum or forbidden altogether.

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    1. For a start they tend to ask the same silly questions over and over again.

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  7. Here are some facts of human evolution:

    There is not even one living proof, zero, that humans evolved from a monkeylike ancestor.This is not the end. None of living monkeys today is showing any signs of evolving towards humanlike creature or anything else. Scientists have hopeless tried to make some living monkeys today to perform some of the tasks that are unique to humans and they failed miserably. Monkeys can't even micro evolve to make a sound that would at least resemble anything close to human speech and yet evolutionists are telling us that random changes in one species genome can make them lose some vital organs and limbs and develop totally new ones, change totally their body plans and bone structure and the story goes on. If any of those evolutionary changes ever happened, there would millions if not billions of living proof examples of species out of 8.75 million in some kind of evolutionary transition leading to macro changes. These are only few facts why evolution shouldn’t be even considered as a scientific theory but there is much, much more.

    What forcing children to learn baseless evolutionary concepts should be called? Why should they learn this bogus idea without any fundamentals? Just because the most minuscule group of people who call themselves scientists and who can’t even agree on the fundamental mechanisms of the concepts says they have to? It is because that miniscule group of people just can’t stand an idea reaching beyond materialism because they just chose to believe it shouldn't and anyone who thinks differently is just stupid, stupid, stupid idiot.

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    1. "None of living monkeys today is showing any signs of evolving towards humanlike creature or anything else."

      Cue laugh track.

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    2. For sceptical mind:

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10071-015-0889-6

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    3. If human intelligence has increased in the course of evolution, why are there still f*&$ing idiots?

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    4. Oh well I did say "sometimes"...

      Is this really necessary? What would your mother say?

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    5. Uncivilized Elk said:

      "Cue laugh track."

      Yeah. :)

      Hey sceptical mind, you're obviously only skeptical (well, actually totally against) anything that doesn't fit into your antiquated, stifling religious beliefs. You think small, so small that you willingly imprison yourself in a dark, tiny, windowless cell.

      Regarding monkeys:

      What is it that you expect to see in or about monkeys that would show that they're evolving? Should they be sprouting wings, or fins, or feathers, or what? And what makes you think that extant monkeys should be evolving into humans?

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    6. @Piotr
      Sorry I apparently owe you an apology - Chris B says I should give you a break. He obviously thinks it's OK for intelligent people to call others f*&$ing idiots. My mistake.

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    7. @Piotr
      You are, however, one of the most respectful people on this site so it would be churlish to aim my hostility at you.
      As a linguist do you know why these scientists stoop to such base & childish language when discussing issues with ID/creationists? Is it because their world view (usually atheism) is being attacked so they answer from their limbic system rather than their frontal lobes?

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    8. Hey Piotr,

      It's like having you mom in the back seat on your first date.

      About time you stopped with the old limbic repartee and fired up those frontal lobes.

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    9. None of living monkeys today is showing any signs of evolving towards humanlike creature or anything else.

      Not only that but none of the living humans are showing any signs of evolving towards monkeylike creatures ... hmmm ... on second thought ....

      Delete
    10. As a linguist do you know why these scientists stoop to such base & childish language when discussing issues with ID/creationists? Is it because their world view (usually atheism) is being attacked so they answer from their limbic system rather than their frontal lobes?

      Maybe you could ask Larry for how many years he has been patiently and politely trying to teach creationists the bare basics of evolutionary theory so they could, at the very least, offer criticisms of the theory that weren't based on rank ignorance. And how much success he has had, and whether the responses he has received have been respectful and courteous.

      It's important to call creationists "fucking idiots" and other appropriate expletives, because otherwise they might get the impression that they are seen as respectable people interested in an honest and respectful exchange of ideas. Which they are not.

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    11. Psychologically this is flawed. If your true motive was to educate creationists (pretty unbelievable) then being aggressive is clearly not going to engender a good receptive attitude in your pupils. Why don't you take the moral high ground like Piotr sometimes does and objectively argue your case? If it's good enough you won't need to swear to prove your point. What's wrong with letting creationists believe they are involved in an honest and respectful exchange of ideas? That's how science is supposed to work. You don't seriously think that by you calling them f*****g idiots they are going to see the error of their ways and exclaim "gosh sorry, I now see that I am not seen as a respectable person engaged in an honest and respectful exchange of ideas - I had better change my mind! Thanks Lutesuite for putting me straight!" Has this ever worked for you Lutesuite? No. The truth is that you like a spat and you enjoy bullying people who are more ignorant (not more stupid just less knowledgeable) than you about certain topics.
      If your argument is intellectually superior then many other observers can also learn from your comments. What's your field of expertise? What can you teach me? (expecting a smart comment such as "I can't teach you anything because you are a **** " however, this would only prove my point wouldn't it?) Seriously - what's your field of expertise?

      PS Lutesuite's language is OK on your page then Larry?

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    12. Psychologically this is flawed. If your true motive was to educate creationists (pretty unbelievable) then being aggressive is clearly not going to engender a good receptive attitude in your pupils.

      Who says that's the motive?

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    13. Pauline,
      "Sorry I apparently owe you an apology - Chris B says I should give you a break. He obviously thinks it's OK for intelligent people to call others f*&$ing idiots. My mistake."

      I didn't say it was ok, I just asked you to maybe understand his frustration. I never said you made a mistake, just that maybe you could consider his position. When a troll appears over and over again, making the same arguments (that have been refuted over and over again) as if they were new, it gets a little tedious. (only sometimes)Sceptical Mind has been doing that for a long time here. What would his mother think?

      Delete
    14. @sceptical mind
      As Evolution is currently the most widely believed theory (as Flat Earth once was) it absolutely should be taught in schools in science lessons. I'm sure you'd want the next generation of scientists to disprove evolution? Well how will they do that if they don't understand it? And if it's true then it will prevail. There shouldn't be any reason to fear it being taught correctly (ie acknowledging the way science works, and admitting that evolution could be replaced or tweaked in the future as we learn more.) Instead of teaching "all life evolved from single celled creatures" we should always teach "according to the theory of evolution, all life evolved from single celled creatures." Then everyone is happy (except Richard Dawkins.)

      Ref: "None of living monkeys today is showing any signs of evolving towards humanlike creature or anything else." What would you expect to see? You'd have to watch for a few million years for this to be any sort of evidence against evolution. Better to ask about Brewers yeast or some of the "living fossils" that haven't evolved for supposed millions of years (eg Coelacanths - 80 million years) and ask why haven't these evolved.

      Ref: "Scientists have hopeless tried to make some living monkeys today to perform some of the tasks that are unique to humans and they failed miserably" That's because monkeys and humans are different species and if you have chosen tasks "unique to humans" then by definition monkeys won't be able to do them. If you believe that all dogs are from the same "kind" then trying and failing to train a poodle to herd sheep doesn't prove that they are not the same "kind" does it?

      Ref:. "Monkeys can't even micro evolve to make a sound that would at least resemble anything close to human speech." Evolution is random and non-directive so if a monkey were to evolve before our eyes then it wouldn't necessarily evolve in the direction of being closer to humans - it might evolve wings or antennae (according to the theory of evolution). So a failure to get monkeys to speak isn't disproving evolution.

      If people here were more respectful towards you, would you actually listen and learn from them? There's some pretty knowledgeable people on this site and it's great to have access to them (if you are robust enough to get past the insults which I haven't been for months). Do you want to have a reasonable discussion or are you here to make fun of evolutionists for their beliefs? If so you will reap what you sow...

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    15. Pauline,

      A few quibbles with your otherwise reasonable thoughts:

      "As a linguist do you know why these scientists stoop to such base & childish language when discussing issues with ID/creationists? Is it because their world view (usually atheism) is being attacked so they answer from their limbic system rather than their frontal lobes?"

      If you peruse the ID=creationist posts on this blog and on ID=creationism blogs, you will of course notice that childish language is in no way an exclusive trait of the rational/scientific side.

      "As Evolution is currently the most widely believed theory (as Flat Earth once was) it absolutely should be taught in schools in science lessons."

      I have to draw a contrast between evolution and flat earth, if I may go out a on a limb here. Flat earth was an assumption based on casual observation, ignorance, insufficient investigation and lack of technological tools. Of course, evolutionary theory is susceptible to all of these factors, but it has many decades of thorough, dedicated investigation and mountains of empirical data to support it. Evolutionary theory I'm sure will change over time as data are gathered, but it is quite a bit ahead of the flat earth theory, which has been empirically disproved beyond any reasonable doubt.

      "Evolution is random and non-directive so if a monkey were to evolve before our eyes"

      While "non-directive", or more properly, 'not purpose driven with forethought', evolution is by no means random either. Some aspects of evolution are random, some others are stochastic, yet others are deterministic.

      " then it wouldn't necessarily evolve in the direction of being closer to humans - it might evolve wings or antennae (according to the theory of evolution). "

      Very true that monkeys evolving would not necessarily evolve to look more like humans. It would depend on their particular evolutionary pathway. However, I have a bit of a problem with the example of monkeys suddenly evolving wings or antennae. This seems too crocoduck to me. Evolution certainly doesn't predict a priori the evolution of such things, so saying a monkey might evolve these things "according to the theory of evolution" is inaccurate.

      "Do you want to have a reasonable discussion or are you here to make fun of evolutionists for their beliefs? "

      This is not properly a discussion about beliefs. Scientists do not 'believe' in evolution. They accept the validity of evolutionary theory provisionally, based on the preponderance of evidence.

      Sorry to focus on the nitpicking here, your post to SMind was otherwise well reasoned and well stated.


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    16. Tone complaints would impress me more if creationists themselves typically had sweet manners and honest intentions. I you are a masochist, try engaging in civil discussion at Uncommon Descent. I have tried but can't repeat the experience, having been permanently banned for being a liar, a fool, and a whimpering atheist coward.

      Pauline, my mother knows and approves.

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    17. As Evolution is currently the most widely believed theory (as Flat Earth once was)

      Flat Earth was never a scientific theory. It was a pre-scientific and pre-theoretic conception based on nothing but informal observation. Aristotle and Eratosthenes already knew the Earth was spherical. Since that time the belief in a flat Earth has been resticted to people who were ignorant, crazy, or both.

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    18. Pauline

      When did you join this blog? I don't ever remember comments from you.

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    19. Is the theory of evolution a scientific theory in your view? If yes, please provide the criteria of a scientific theory that it meets.

      I hope you were not being serious about flat earth theory being scientific. On the other hand..

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    20. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your informative & helpful comments.
      Flat Earth was based on observation (however "casual") so I think it could be called a scientific theory (it could be falsifiable by sailing beyond the horizon and not falling off the end!) Interesting Piotr says it was pre-science. In that case I think we are defining science differently. I haven't studied the history & philosophy of science but what I would call the scientific method is the formulation of a theory based on observation which is testable. So Flat Earth ticks the boxes for me (as a scientific theory I mean and no I don't believe in a flat Earth..........) The standard of rigour has changed with the times (would you accept Phlogiston as having once been a scientific theory?) and I wouldn't expect Flat Earth or any theory of those times to have been as robust as evolution is today. In 20 years' time we will be measuring the current 2015 empirical evidence for evolution and finding it wanting by tomorrow's standards. In any case Flat Earth was a world view just like Evolution has become. My reason for that language and mentioning Flat Earth is that in order to communicate with people of different beliefs then you have to enter their world. The analogy with Flat Earth is a good one because the majority of people believed it to be true and it was eventually proved wrong. That is what creationists/IDers believe is the case now. It's certainly true that Evolution is being tweaked all the time in light of new discoveries (as should be the case).

      I know creationists can also be childish and insulting but somehow I expected more from intelligent scientists - I was really shocked when I first came to this site - but I hadn't been to any other creation vs evolution sites and I have seen much worse since...but point taken.

      I didn't mean that wings and antennae would randomly appear! I meant that the monkeys would develop antennae or wings if that improved their chance of survival in the environment in which they found themselves. I was trying to attack the underlying concept in SM's post that seemed to me to be viewing man as a target for monkeys to achieve as if humans were the pinnacle of evolution success which I don't believe myself ( I think insects are pretty successful...).

      I think evolution turns into a belief when people get careless and say "millions of years ago, when man evolved..." instead of the more scientifically correct: "millions of years ago when man evolved (according to the theory of evolution)..." One of my daughter's GCSE science exam questions was "how old is the Earth?" which annoyed me. This question should have read: "According to current scientific theory, how old is the Earth estimated to be?" I do think evolution is a belief (not similar to a religious "belief" and that might be why you object to the language, but a belief nevertheless.)
      That's why people get so emotional about it.

      Anyway, I can understand all your points and agree with your nitpicking.
      Thanks.

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    21. Better to ask about Brewers yeast or some of the "living fossils" that haven't evolved for supposed millions of years (eg Coelacanths - 80 million years) and ask why haven't these evolved

      Just because some particular living form hasn't changed much doesn't mean it "hasn't evolved". Would an ancient Coelacanth be able to breed with current ones?
      Besides, (re: yeast) species can evolve and still remain relatively unchanged. A subpopulation can evolve into something completely different while the original form remains.

      These are stupid challenges to evolution that even someone like me, with just a basic understanding of it can spot

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    22. I haven't studied the history & philosophy of science but what I would call the scientific method is the formulation of a theory based on observation which is testable.

      Theories explain obserations and can be used to generate testable hypotheses. Can you name any people who tested the predictions of FET (Flat Earth Theory) in a scientific way? Not falling off the edge of the disc doesn't falsify FET since its proponents could always claim you haven't sailed far enough (unless you circumnavigate the globe, like Magellan). Can you name any well-educated person in the last 1000 years who believed in a flat earth? Where can I see FET laid out is a scientific treatise or a university handbook?

      By contrast, phlogiston theory used to be a valid scientific construct. It has been falsified and supplanted by superior theories that offer a better fit with empirical observation. The same goes for Newtonian mechanics, luminiferous aether, Lamarckism, and countless other theories.

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    23. I think evolution turns into a belief when people get careless and say "millions of years ago, when man evolved..." instead of the more scientifically correct: "millions of years ago when man evolved (according to the theory of evolution)..."

      Why would it turn into a belief by not mentioning what you think is the belief system behind the claim? If one claims that Jesus is the son of god, is it a belief but it stops being one if I add "according to christianity?"

      You're obviously just another retard and science denier. Evolution is not a belief because of the evidence available to support it. You deny the evidence exists so you suggest all there is to support the idea is that evolution is currently the "most believed theory"

      I really pity your daughter for having to put up with a mother that would be annoyed at an exam question in science class about the age of the earth.
      You again try to make it look like science and religion sit at the same level of "belief system". Shame on you.

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    24. I didn't mean that wings and antennae would randomly appear! I meant that the monkeys would develop antennae or wings if that improved their chance of survival in the environment in which they found themselves.

      What makes you think so? If we could develop wings just because flying offers some evolutionary advantages, we would need no planes.

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    25. You mean Pauline's tone trolling and concern trolling didn't fool you, Dazz?

      I wonder who she thinks she has fooled.

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    26. Hey skeptical mind, why don't you answer the questions that you're asked, and then ask questions that are actually relevant and reasonable. You keep running away from questions and evidence and then you momentarily step in here and do your usual hit and run, trolling crap.

      Above, you barked:

      "You are not answering my questions not to mention the scientific points I made. You can bark all you want but I'm naturally a sceptic, so you need to come up with some evidence."

      Since you obviously don't want to learn anything, won't answer questions, won't look up or pay attention to evidence of evolution, don't even understand what evidence is, make ridiculous demands, insult scientists and science supporters without good cause, and won't provide any evidence and explanations (or "living proof") that supports whatever it is that you believe your chosen, so-called 'god' did/does when it allegedly designs-creates-assembles-guides whatever it allegedly designs-creates-assembles-guides, there's no good reason to treat you as anything other than a typical, science hating, bible thumping, two-faced, lazy, ignorant, arrogant IDiot.

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    27. Dazz: Would an ancient Coelacanth be able to breed with current ones?

      I'm not even sure the two surving species of Latimeria could interbreed despite their superficial similarity. They have been evolving independently for millions of years, probably since the Eocene/Oligocene, and their genomes show it.

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    28. Thanks Piotr, helpful as always. But don't expect Pauline to stop using Coelacanth as a purportedly unanswered challenge to evolution. She pretends to sit on the moral higher ground but will keep lying to innocent kids in sunday school even though she knows her arguments are bogus.

      I wonder if she will also tell her daughter that someday science will overturn gravity and discover that things actually fall upwards, or that medicine will stop using blood transfusions because they might discover they don't do any good to people, but then again jeovah's witnesses think transfusions are bad for religious reasons, so she's probably ok with that

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    29. Pauline: "I do think evolution is a belief (not similar to a religious "belief" and that might be why you object to the language, but a belief nevertheless.)
      That's why people get so emotional about it."


      I would accept your statement as long as you are using the word "belief/believe" in the same way as we say that "I believe if I jump off the Empire State building, I will fall and die", or "I believe that if I try to breathe under water, I will drown". But that is not the way that the Creationists use it when they refer to evolution. They use it, asserting that evolution is a belief in exactly the same way the religion is.

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    30. But that is not the way that the Creationists use it when they refer to evolution. They use it, asserting that evolution is a belief in exactly the same way the religion is.

      I think you're missing Pauline's point. She seems to be suggesting that we are overly emotionally invested in the theory of evolution, and so have a difficult time responding rationally to creationist "arguments." IOW, it's our fault that creationists get called things like "fucking idiots". That creationists, by and large, are fucking idiots has nothing to do with it, in Pauline's mind.

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    31. To be sure, I only said that there were some f***ing idiots about but didn't name any.

      It reminds me of an old joke from the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A group of students are discussing politics in a Bierstube in Vienna. A secret police agent is eavesdropping on them; he catches the phrase "stupid old fart" being repeatedly used by one of the students. The agent whistles up a gendarmerie patrol. The student gets arrested and charged with lèse-majesté. During the trial, he argues that when he said "the stupid old fart", he meant his uncle Otto, and certainly not His Majesty Franz Josef I. "Come on, young man" says the judge, interrupting him. "Do not try to fool the court. Everyone knows who is a stupid old fart."

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    32. Yes, Piotr. To be clear, I am the one who used the unredacted phrase "fucking idiots". Though I did not actually use it to refer to anyone in particular. Pauline just seems a bit hypersensitive about certain things.

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    33. I just wasted 30 minutes of my life cataloguing a whole list of wrong assumptions Dazz has just made about me but I realise I am wasting my time.

      It's plain to me that a lot of people on this page are so entrenched in their prejudices against anyone who dares to question some small aspect of evolution that they label them creatards, IDiots, trolls (or even JWs) without good reason or real evidence. Not good scientific behaviour jumping to such huge assumptions - ironic really.

      Just one example (I had plenty but won't waste your time):
      I said: "Ha Ha so not Eucalyptus then! I think I meant Acacia..."
      After this admitted mistake Steve O still finds it necessary to claim that I believe giraffes are to be found in Australia. Maybe this is why you all think that creationists don't learn - you simply aren't listening when they do.

      It would be good to postulate a theory why there were so few women on this site...even compared to the overall percentages in the scientific community. I have my own theory- but as Larry said "you won't like it" !!

      I really wanted to ask some questions about the articles you suggested I read last time I was here 6 months ago (I took all the advice you gave and did a lot of reading.) But I am not robust enough to take the constant spite (eg "you are obviously another retard" "I pity your daughter") Shame really because Larry told me that this site welcomed people of all views to encourage a dialogue.
      For the second time I find this environment too toxic to stay around. I'm sure I won't be missed.

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    34. Pauline, though I feel that some of your comments deserve frank responses, I agree with you that some of Dazz's remarks went too far. Your comments indicate some misunderstandings, and resistance to scientific evidence, and possibly (not definitely) an ulterior motive, but you haven't, so far, displayed the level of arrogance, ignorance, and trollishness of IDiots such as skeptical mind, liarsforthedevil, joe g, etc., so I don't feel that you deserve such harsh treatment, yet.

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    35. I agree with The whole truth. Pauline was here last year, and we discussed giraffes' necks and other such stuff quite amicably.

      Delete
    36. That thread gives a pretty good idea of why some of us are a bit skeptical of Pauline. She's not exactly coming here with a clean slate. Now, if she started her reappearance with an apology for her conduct back then, and an acknowledgment of how her views have moved beyond those she was espousing then, maybe the slate could have been wiped clean. But, instead, she just picks up where she left off with he same tiresome whinging about tone.

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    37. Pauline, "intelligent scientists" are people, not robots, and at least some of them get tired of being maliciously insulted, falsely accused, lied about, quote mined, equated to and blamed for Hitler and all other murderers, blamed for most or all other bad things, etc., by religious wackos whose agenda is to destroy science and freedom and shove their theocratic crap into everyone's life whether they like it or not.

      You said:

      "I think evolution turns into a belief when people get careless and say "millions of years ago, when man evolved..." instead of the more scientifically correct: "millions of years ago when man evolved (according to the theory of evolution)..." One of my daughter's GCSE science exam questions was "how old is the Earth?" which annoyed me. This question should have read: "According to current scientific theory, how old is the Earth estimated to be?" I do think evolution is a belief (not similar to a religious "belief" and that might be why you object to the language, but a belief nevertheless.)
      That's why people get so emotional about it."

      Pauline, the evidence of Earth's age is not dependent on biological evolutionary theory, although biological evolutionary theory, geological theories, and other scientific theories do intertwine in many ways in studies and explanations of what has occurred since Earth formed. While it's possible that the current scientific 'estimate' of Earth's age of about 4.5 billion years could be wrong, it's more like to be wrong by being too conservative than by being too liberal. It's also possible that scientific 'estimates' of how long ago humans "evolved" (humans are actually still evolving) could be somewhat wrong but not by anywhere near enough to make YEC beliefs or other anti-evolution beliefs true. And there's much more evidence of evolution, including human evolution, than just 'how long ago'.

      For people to whom evidence matters, that evolution has long occurred, does occur, and will continue to occur is a fact, and that acceptance ("belief" as you call it) is absolutely nothing like religious beliefs.

      I want to add that there's an important difference between 'theories' and 'scientific theories', although even some scientists apparently don't know the difference, such as the promoters of so-called 'String Theory'. 'String Theory' would more accurately be described as an hypothesis, and so-called 'Flat Earth Theory' would more accurately be described as an hypothesis at most and even more accurately a speculation (when thinking of people in the distant past) but when thinking of people who promote so-called 'Flat Earth Theory' now, it would be totally accurate to describe it as insanity. And there are no religious beliefs, including 'Intelligent Design', that can accurately be described as a scientific theory.

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    38. That should be a speculation or ignorant guess (when thinking of people in the distant past).

      Delete
    39. I understand how I may have come off as harsh or insulting but I'm not taking it back. If it grants me a ban then so be it, but I don't care how amicably someone is in suggesting how annoying it is that her daughter is taught the actual age of the earth. Let's call things by name, YEC are a harmful religious sect. Pauline is causing her daughter irreparable damage by indoctrinating her in that crap. Expect no respect or compassion for that of me.

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    40. If Pauline had not scuttered away (though last time she said she had left, she hadn't) she might reply that she did not say the earth was 6000 years old. She just said she was upset that her daughter was taught that it was a fact that the earth was not that young, as opposed to this just being a "belief" held by scientists.

      Which, she would have us believe, is totally not the sort of thing a creationist would say. No, not at all.

      I wonder if she is similarly upset when her daughter is taught that George Washington was the 1st President of the US, as opposed to being taught that this is just what many historians "believe" to be true, and that the first President might also have been Kanye West. What a shame we'll never know.

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    41. It's just that nobody thinks you challenge makes sense. You have no idea what the criteria of a scientific theory are and have no capacity to judge any answers.

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    42. I'm typing this response in accordance with the theory of the internet.

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  8. "While it's true that there are no specific instructions in the biology curriculum covering the history of human evolution..."

    This is the complaint from Coyne and Darwnquixote. In their view, the fact of human evolution needs special attention, and should be explicit in the curriculum. Their reason is that this is the part of evolution most likely to be avoided by religion-minded schools.

    Human evolution is fundamental to learning anything else about the biology of humans, which is in turn fundamental to a wide range of human health careers. Theirs is not a definitive argument, and there is certainly room for equivocation, but it is not an unreasonable argument either.

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    1. I agree - if you are teaching evolution then human evolution is nothing special and should be taught and not shied away from.
      Scientific American doesn't help - October 2010 issue claims "Human Evolution is not over!" in a most sensationalist manner. Am I missing something? If you believe in evolution (as the editors of Scientific American most certainly do) isn't this exactly what you would expect? Should this really have made the cover?

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    2. @Steve Gerrard

      Coyne and Darwinquixote could have pointed out that the Ontario curriculum doesn't specifically cover the history of human evolution or the the history of the evolution of any other species. They could have complained about the emphasis in the curriculum on concepts and ideas about evolution, all of which are correct. They could have disagreed with this emphasis.

      That's not what they did. They implied that human evolution was forbidden and that the reason it wasn't covered is due to fear of complaints from various religions. That's bullshit and now they (should) know it.

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    3. I think the issue is that under the current curriculum, a student could go through all 12 grades and graduate, without ever hearing about human evolution. The schools may include it, but they don't have to.

      It is the teaching of human evolution, after all, that has been before the courts on several occasions. If a school is going to leave out any part of evolution, it will be the human part that is omitted. So far, I believe, that has always been on religious grounds.

      The authors may have implied it was forbidden, rather than just not mandated, but I think that given the history of the subject, it is reasonable to require schools to include it. That is the main point I got from their articles.

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    4. It is the teaching of human evolution, after all, that has been before the courts on several occasions.

      Not here in Canada, AFAIK.

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    5. FWIW, my kids both received a pretty reasonable education in evolution, including the fact that humans were not excluded from the process. Though they did attend a private school for high school. so their experience may not by typical. There was one kid who raised a stink about it in my older daughter's class. I can't really remember if she told us how that was dealt with.

      She was also expected to have read Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True" prior to starting her first year university bio course. I assumed that was to forestall anyone bringing up objections to the theory in class.

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    6. There are several places in the document Coyne cites where evolution is said to apply to species or organisms. It takes an effort of will to read that as excluding humans. So yes, Coyne's claim, on which he has doubled down, accusing the ministry's response to one of his posters of being misleading, is bullshit.

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  9. TwT, the below is a good question you asked? So, why don't you answer it for us since you are one of the resident experts on evolution?

    So just what should we all be looking at to confirm that humans, monkeys, snails, amoeba, roaches, evergreens, perennial plants are evolving?

    Oh, and noone is saying that monkeys 'should' be evolving into humans. Thats just it. There seems to be nada evolution. Since you are in the know, just give us a general 'finger in the wind' direction of just where monkey evolution is going.

    Is there even one organism, animal or plant, that has some telltale marker providing evidence for its evolutionary direction?


    TwT says: "What is it that you expect to see in or about monkeys that would show that they're evolving? Should they be sprouting wings, or fins, or feathers, or what? And what makes you think that extant monkeys should be evolving into humans? "

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    1. Is there even one organism, animal or plant, that has some telltale marker providing evidence for its evolutionary direction?

      Yes, Steve, every single one of them. As Dobzhansky put it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

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    2. Steve said:

      "TwT, the below is a good question you asked? So, why don't you answer it for us since you are one of the resident experts on evolution?

      So just what should we all be looking at to confirm that humans, monkeys, snails, amoeba, roaches, evergreens, perennial plants are evolving?"

      Steve, there's a thing called the internet and things called science books, libraries, schools, television documentaries, and other sources where you can find lots of information about evolution and evolutionary theory if you really want to. There are many threads on this very site where what has been found and "what should we all be looking at" are presented, discussed, and debated. And have you ever heard of nature? Nature is available for observation/study to pretty much anyone who wants to observe/study it. A lot can be learned by curious, observant people who don't have their face and limited mind buried in collections of ridiculous, antiquated, horrible, impossible, religious fairy tales.

      "Oh, and noone is saying that monkeys 'should' be evolving into humans."

      Skeptical mind and lots of other creobots obviously do believe that evolutionary theory predicts that all extant monkeys should be evolving into humans, even though evolutionary theory makes no such prediction.

      "Thats just it. There seems to be nada evolution."

      How quickly do you expect evolution to occur, especially regarding obvious morphological traits? List at least five changes and the amount of time it should take, in organisms of your choice, that you believe would be the minimum requirement for evidence of evolution.

      "Since you are in the know, just give us a general 'finger in the wind' direction of just where monkey evolution is going.

      Is there even one organism, animal or plant, that has some telltale marker providing evidence for its evolutionary direction?"

      There are 'telltale markers' of evolution. See my paragraph above about the internet, science books, schools, etc., if you actually want to learn something about evolution and evolutionary theory.

      Direction? Where monkey evolution (or other evolution) "is going"? You apparently believe that monkeys, plants, and all other organisms should be evolving into very different life forms very quickly and in particular, specifically predictable in the long term directions, otherwise evolution doesn't occur, never has occurred, and evolutionary theory is all wrong. Some predictions can be made from evolutionary theory but you obviously expect rock solid, specific predictions of future evolution that are way beyond the scope of what anyone has predicted or can predict. Tell me, Steve, what do you and your religious dogma specifically predict in regard to the existence and form of all extant organisms (including monkeys and humans) during the next 10,000, 1 million, 10 million, and 100 million years? You can go even farther into the future if you can and want to.


      "TwT says: "What is it that you expect to see in or about monkeys that would show that they're evolving? Should they be sprouting wings, or fins, or feathers, or what? And what makes you think that extant monkeys should be evolving into humans?""

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    3. To clarify what I mean by this:

      "List at least five changes and the amount of time it should take, in organisms of your choice, that you believe would be the minimum requirement for evidence of evolution."

      I mean: Choose at least five species of organisms and list at least one change per species and the amount of time the change(s) should take, that you believe would be the minimum requirement for evidence of evolution.

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    4. Piotr, pure BS.

      Nothing is evolving because all niches have been filled long ago. any change in organisms is variation. All the evidence we can collect can only tell us that traits are oscillating, whether it be finch beaks or head size or whatever.

      There isn't one single marker that tells us the offspring from such and such organism are different and starting to branch away from the parent lineage.
      If you or TwT could point to it, you would already have...long ago.

      The truth of the matter is evolution is finished for the most obvious of reasons. There is not where left to evolve. It would take some catestrophic event to reboot evolution.

      So in the context of this OP, those who object to the teaching of evolution as a blind, random, directionless, non-designed phenomenon are right to do so.

      If anything, evolution is a designed program, initiated, executed, concluded, mission accomplished, with maintenance routines put in place to preserve what has been created.

      Now that is a more sensible, rationale, explanation.

      No need to resort to goalless, purposeless, unguided storytelling. Educated people know better than to get sucked into such secular propaganda.

      The main reason being that life's experience is full of purpose, goal, direction, design; directly contradicting the purportedly undesigned source of that purpose.

      To say than Man, who designs, is a product of a nature that does not design is absurd. If it is not nature that is the source of Man's design capability, then what is the source.

      Of course Nature is the source of that design capability. And we confirm it everytime we look into the genome. Nature has already perfected all the design tools we arrogantly claim as our own invention.

      Sorry peeps, nature got there before we did.

      Teaching nature as a designing entity is way more rational that teaching nature as some fortuitous handyman living on foodstamps who just happens to be responsible for the iphone, Candycrush, and Taylor Swift.

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    5. Nothing is evolving because all niches have been filled long ago. any change in organisms is variation. All the evidence we can collect can only tell us that traits are oscillating, whether it be finch beaks or head size or whatever.

      How long ago, in your opinion, did they get they filled? Were there any empty niches left in the Carboniferous, the Triassic, the Createous, the Palaeogene? If so, what were they? If not, why do we find completely different faunas and floras during those periods? Why should the appearance of new niches (e.g. thanks to geological or climatic changes, migration of species, etc.) be impossible today?

      Why should traits "oscillate" rather than drift away from the ancestral state? What prevents them from changing indefinitely?

      How long should a typical process of speciation take, in your opinion, and why?

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    6. I love how Steve pretends to make it look as if his explanation contains less assumptions than a one with a supernatural creator:

      No need to resort to goalless, purposeless, unguided storytelling

      ...so you can get rid of non assumed goals, purposes and guidance.
      The little price to pay is assumed goals, purposes and guidance, and of course a magic goal maker, purpose dictator and supernatural guiding force.

      But hey, it's obviously a lot more sensible, reasonable and scientific, explanation, riiiight? Particularly because it's all based on the assumption that evolution has stopped altogether, but it must be true because Steve knows his shit

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    7. It's also amusing how evolution is supposed to confirm the existence of a planner. I wonder if the planner is gone forever now that his plan is complete according to Steve.

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    8. Steve, you say that nature designs living things, and you say "The main reason being that life's experience is full of purpose, goal, direction, design; directly contradicting the purportedly undesigned source of that purpose."

      From what I've seen most evolutionists would generally agree that nature 'designs' living things, but not in the way that you're asserting. What purpose, goal, direction do you attribute to nature? What is it in nature that is planning, designing, creating, directing whatever purpose and goals that you attribute to whatever it is? What is the "source"? You sound like you're promoting a 'god' and calling it nature.

      And since you obviously believe that evidence of ongoing evolution requires massive changes to occur very quickly in populations of living things, I ask you again:

      How quickly do you expect evolution to occur, especially regarding obvious morphological traits? Choose at least five species of organisms and list at least one change per species and the amount of time the change(s) should take, that you believe would be the minimum requirement for evidence of evolution.

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    9. It seems Dazz is pretty dazzled by the unbelievable power of a faceless, nameless, purposeless mechanism (not) like natural selection.

      So dazzled in fact, that he and like minded people feel compelled to anthropomorphisize its 'awesome' power since we all know there could never be any intelligence underneath the covers.

      It goes without saying that intelligence only resides in the fog of human experience taking place in a 3-pound greyish looking mesh of noodly flesh floating in a bony cauldron.

      How scandalous to think something like nature could possess the same foggy notions of smartness!! Afterwall, nature is nothing like Man.

      Right?? Rrrrriiiiiightttt !!!

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    10. Right, Steve, right. Nature is really smart. I have a cactus that is about as smart as you are. True story. I guess I'm gonna "anthropomorphisize" it and call it Steve

      Delete
    11. So, Steve, does nature have the "smartness" or is it the thing you call "God" that has the "smartness"? According to what you say, nature is a front loaded, programmed extension of original creation by something you call "God", or something like that. So how can nature have the "smartness"? Wouldn't the "God" thing have the "smartness"?

      It's hard to tell what you're saying because it's a bunch of gibberish.

      There are questions waiting for you to answer them.

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    12. Twt, i can think of one right off the top of my head.

      Cecal valves in lizards. do they constitute permanent morphological change? No. because what we obverse today is never permanent morphological change? It is always impermanent, on a need-to-have basis.

      There is no evolution of morphological traits because all the permanent modifications have already been made. Now all that is needed are cyclical tweaks to keep the biosphere in equilibrium.

      No evolution is now required. The fat lady has sung.

      Now its all just Muzak.

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    13. So, Steve, does nature have the "smartness" or is it the thing you call "God" that has the "smartness"? According to what you say, nature is a front loaded, programmed extension of original creation by something you call "God", or something like that. So how can nature have the "smartness"? Wouldn't the "God" thing have the "smartness"?

      It's hard to tell what you're saying because it's a bunch of gibberish.

      There are questions waiting for you to answer them.

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    14. I deleted my last comment so that I can make it more clear as to what I'm addressing.

      Steve, is that mess about cecal valves in lizards, etc., supposed to be an answer to something I've asked you? If so, what exactly?

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    15. Steve,

      "No evolution is now required. The fat lady has sung."

      It's not about requirements alone Steve. Evolution continues whether you can see that something is changing or not. New alleles will appear, since mutations are unavoidable, and both random drift, and selection (negative and positive) will keep going because there's no way they would stop going. That's just the way things work.

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    16. unfortunately photo, evolution is what you want it to be when you want it to be. That's where the issue is. You give evolution credit for every friggin' observation, regardless of the contradictions.

      That's why names like punctuated equilibrium and convergent evolution are invented. It creates the impression that all is hunky-dory when it is in reality its all humpty-dumpty.

      Convergent evolution is intelligent design. Epigenics is intelligent design. HGT is intelligent design.

      It would be nice if you would all stop co-opting designed objects to create the illusion that small, random, step-wise changes are a plausible explanation for life. They aren't.

      It takes an intelligent foundation for any evolution to get off the ground.

      No intelligence, no evolution.

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    17. yeah TwT, cecal valved lounge lizards are nibbling in your ear:

      "we lizards (slerp vodka martini) don't really give a shit about your step-wise, random with respect to need,evolutionary schtickery. We were friggin' starving every day when we stretched out to bake, and it was not a very pleasant experience...soooo..our genomes created a solution. And 40+ years was a record, if we remember correctly. but then these martinis do have a tendency to play havoc with our chronological precisenessness.

      "Anyyyyway.....Another one. With a twist. Please."

      Delete
    18. What is it, Steve, a total meltdown, of just a couple too many vodka martinis?

      Delete
    19. Well Dazz, cacti do have to be pretty intelligent to live in the desert.

      Seems by your standard, only humans exhibit intelligence.

      I guess your of the crowd that says bacteria also do not possess any intelligence because they are so tiny and hell they dont have brains to speak of.

      I mean the fact that bacteria all carry iphones and crowdfund their survival strategies should prompt a skeptical response to anyone claiming bacteria don't exhibit intelligence.

      Dazz tries for a slam-dunk: "Right, Steve, right. Nature is really smart. I have a cactus that is about as smart as you are. True story. I guess I'm gonna "anthropomorphisize" it and call it Steve"





      Delete
    20. In addition to Steve's weirdness there's something weird going on with the doubling of some comments. A comment of mine above is posted twice, and according to the time stamp, seven minutes apart, yet I am certain that I posted it only once (the first one).

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    21. Steve drooled:

      "There is no evolution of morphological traits because all the permanent modifications have already been made. Now all that is needed are cyclical tweaks to keep the biosphere in equilibrium."

      Steve, even though you keep dodging questions I'm going to ask you some more anyway. How do you define "morphological traits"? In other words, what do you include in "morphological traits"? Size, shape, color, odor, function, behavior, and/or what? Don't spare the details.

      List several particular "morphological traits" in/of several organisms that you believe are "permanent modifications" and what those morphological traits were modified from. How long do you believe it took for those morphological traits to be modified, when were they modified, who or what did the modifying, what mechanism was used to modify them, and how do you know that they're permanent? Keep in mind that "permanent" is WAY beyond your life time.

      What do you mean by "cyclical tweaks"? How much change/variation can occur and still be defined as "cyclical tweaks"? How short/long is the cycle? Do all members of a species or population get the "cyclical tweaks" and do they all get the tweaks at the beginning of each cycle? If not, why not?

      Which "biosphere" are you referring to? In other words, at which point in time? Today, tomorrow, 100 years ago, 100 years from now, 10,000 years ago, 10,000 years from now, 100 million years ago, 100 million years from now, or when?

      How do you measure the "equilibrium" of the biosphere? List several examples of what you believe would cause or result in changes in the equilibrium of the biosphere. Is the biosphere right now the same as it was throughout the past and will ever be in the future? Are all ecosystems and the species and populations in them exactly the same right now as throughout the past and will ever be in the future? When did evolution stop and "cyclical tweaks" become the only change/variation? How much change/variation/extirpation/extinction can occur in the biosphere without affecting its equilibrium? Same question for ecosystems in the biosphere.

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    22. Steve,

      unfortunately photo, evolution is what you want it to be when you want it to be. That's where the issue is. You give evolution credit for every friggin' observation, regardless of the contradictions.

      Well, for one, evolution is what it is. Far from being what I want it to be. That's the main difference between you and me. I don't believe I can change the nature of things. They are what they are. My imagination might be fun and such, but to understand reality you have to face it as it is.

      For another, I don't blame evolution for everything I see in nature. Gravitation, for example, is not a consequence of evolutionary processes.

      Finally, I have not found contradictions in evolution. Unexplained stuff? Sure. Contradictions? Nope.

      That's why names like punctuated equilibrium and convergent evolution are invented. It creates the impression that all is hunky-dory when it is in reality its all humpty-dumpty.

      If you understood those concepts you would not be so careless about them. They make clear sense, and only Gould's hype to promote his research have made of punctuated equilibrium a favourite of creationists.

      Convergent evolution is intelligent design. Epigenics is intelligent design. HGT is intelligent design.

      Man, unlike me, you're free to believe as you wish. I am too honest with myself, and thus I have to accept what the evidence tells me. I see no designers of life at the level you wish it to exist (we are now in the first steps of designing, but that's another story). I do understand how natural processes could do what we see. I see no reason to think that there should be some "Intelligent Designer" at all. Gods have been imaginary since times immemorial, and thus I have plenty of reasons to reject the idea. So there you have it.

      It would be nice if you would all stop co-opting designed objects to create the illusion that small, random, step-wise changes are a plausible explanation for life. They aren't.

      I don't know if all steps are small, randomness plays a role for sure, but it's not all random, etc. Anyway, nature does it everyday. Magic and gods have never been a real answer. So what do you expect?

      It takes an intelligent foundation for any evolution to get off the ground.

      So you say, but be honest with yourself. You only think so because you want your fantasies to be true.

      No intelligence, no evolution.

      If you want to call natural processes "intelligence," be my guest. Only don't mistake that for gods.

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  10. Thanks Larry

    I'm with you on this one especially when I read most comments on your blog by so called intellectuals.

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you on this one especially when I read most comments on your blog by so called intellectuals.

      If your objective is never to be confuses with one of those "so called intellectuals," you have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.

      Now, evidence of evolution from primate ancestors: If you know any genetics, it's right there staring you in the face. Google "GULOP" for one example.

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    2. No, GULOP isn't evidence of descent from primate ancestors because it's MORE LIKE A GORILLA'S THAN A CHIMP'S. Oh, hang on ...

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