Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Once again, the IDiots don't understand evolution

This is so frustrating. I've been debating creationists for almost 30 years. My colleagues and I have tried time and time again over those three decades to educate them about real evolutionary theory. We've also tried to teach them about the difference between evolution and the history of life. In order to explain the history of life on Earth you need to account for mass extinctions and other chance events that have nothing to do with evolution. They refuse to listen.

The latest evidence is a recent post by David Klinghoffer [Theory of Evolution? Call It a "Narrative" Instead]. He says,
The theory of evolution by natural selection operating on random mutations, as a sweeping explanation for life and how it got there, is a "narrative." It presents a very smooth story, persuasive to most scientists. The facts may all be true, but the conclusion: BS.
No knowledgeable scientist thinks that natural selection is the only mechanism of evolution so no knowledgeable scientist thinks that mutation + selection explains the history of life. That's just BS. Not only are scientists aware of what modern evolutionary theory actually says but they're also aware of other factors that determined the history of life.

Now you know why we call them IDiots. What is it that makes them so resistant to learning about the ideas they so adamantly oppose? They can still oppose correct ideas if they want. Isn't that better than fighting strawmen?


92 comments :

  1. "Once again, the IDiots don't understand evolution

    This is so frustrating. I've been debating creationists for almost 30 years. My colleagues and I have tried time and time again over those three decades to educate them about real evolutionary theory. We've also tried to teach them about the difference between evolution and the history of life. In order to explain the history of life on Earth you need to account for mass extinctions and other chance events that have nothing to do with evolution. They refuse to listen."


    When you say....'my colleagues and I...' what do you actually mean?"

    Is there someone who oversees...say textbook editing who supports your ideas? Is he in possession of experimental evidence to support them?
    Please tell the pubic you are not making it up!

    I'm just curious. How does it work?

    There is one thing I totally don't understand. Maybe you can clarify it Larry. Since you are not an evolutionary biologist (by your own admission) what makes you believe that you have the right to teach anyone at any established facility about evolutionary biology, including evolutionary biology? Even creationists? What makes you think you have the right?
    Larry, please don't try to divert this issue to creationists, because avoiding to answer this question makes you look really inadequate.
    I mean it!

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    1. Is there someone who oversees...say textbook editing who supports your ideas? Is he in possession of experimental evidence to support them? Please tell the pubic you are not making it up!

      Facepalm

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    2. Aceofspades,

      You have chosen one of the hell nicknames to spell... not to mention mine lol.

      What you are saying is that there is a system that is in control of what is being taught in schools. Well, I might be wrong about it but I still would like to see the details. What I mean by that is; what process does Larry and his co-authors go through to have their "text book" approved? Who decides this and who does the panel of the 'judges' involve?

      I have spent a third of my life auditing shit, so I know pretty much how the BS system works. I'm not bragging but US is richer by few billion of dollars by a cooperative work of Obama, FBI, CIA and many smaller agencies that nailed irregular americans hiding money in tax heaves. I was there...sort of...

      The objective is always the same. If God or Darwin are not watching, I'm fine, hiding the money away...

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  2. They can still oppose correct ideas if they want. Isn't that better than fighting strawmen?

    Better in terms of being far more honest, yes. Is there something you have learned about creationists that makes you think they have a particular interest in honest scientific discussion?

    It seems to me an honest scientific discussion about whether ID or evolutionary theory is better supported would be rather a short one, and I doubt the creationists would like to close up shop and move on that quickly.

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  3. I'm wondering what it means for the "facts" to "all be true" but the for the conclusion to be "BS". The "facts" don't lead to the conclusion?

    And how does Klinghoffer know all this? He just feels it gotta be BS?

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    1. But feelings are as valid as facts, right? It's been a common theme recently from klingy and other DI talking heads. Look who klingy went and asked for advice Doug Axe, author of 'Undeniable', whose press release claims "He then explains in plain English the science that proves our design intuition scientifically valid." Yes, our intuition . . . feeling . . . are scientifically valid. Any wonder why klingy feels the way he does?

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    2. I'm wondering what it means for the "facts" to "all be true" but the for the conclusion to be "BS".

      Well, for instance, Doug Axe has performed experiments in which he confirms that it is highly unlikely for an enzyme possessed by one species to "evolve" into a homologous enzyme in other species thru random mutations over a short time scale. That is a fact. When he concludes that this demonstrates that the two enzymes could not have evolved from an ancient common ancestor, that's the BS.

      It'd be very interesting to hear these two venerable scholars of ID Creationism outline exactly what they accept as facts regarding evolution. Common descent?
      Neutral theory? A 4.5 billion year old earth? That would be a good starting point for a productive dialogue, but I somehow suspect we will not be hearing of this.

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  4. You can argue all you want with these people, facts will not change their "opinions". The same goes for anti-vaxxers, and Trump inauguration counters. Facts simply don't matter, and they're too far up their a**.

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    1. True, but of course the DI claims the opposite . . that it's 'evolutionists' who refuse to change their beliefs (evolution) for the facts (ID). http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2017/01/so-who-has-their-head-in-sand.html

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  5. I understand why the phrase NARRATIVE is used. I rather would put it that simply the line of reasoning of evolutionism is trumping its scientific biological evidence claims.
    It is storyish but really just a Common human failure of where reasoning from raw points replaces actual evidence.
    To dethrones evolutionism as a scientific theory only requires guns aimed at its claims of biological scientific evidence with insisting lines of reasoning, however reasonable, is not that evidence needed.

    Even if extinctions kick in WHY isn't the equation Mutation plus Selection plus Time equals biology result? I know random drift and other ideas are pressed but still either mutatioism is needed or selection is needed even if not always together.
    Wherever the mutation comes from it still is the engine for the complexity/diversity of biology as claimed.
    Why not the equation?

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    1. "Life on Earth has changed drastically over the course of billions of years. The fossil record tells us that it began with simple one-celled organisms and today there are millions of diverse species of all sorts. Evolution is an important and significant part of the explanation of this history but so are changes in the environment. Nothing in that history of life makes sense except in the light of evolution."

      That's a much better way of stating the views of most scientists. Note that I avoided being specific about any particular mechanism of evolution because all aspects of evolution contribute to the explanation.

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    2. Re Laurence Moran: Quotation attributed to Theodosius Dobzhansky.

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  6. It is true that very few popularizations concern themselves with the history of life. That's why it's so satisfying to explain how the Cambrian explosion wasn't, why a meteor didn't explain the extinction of dinosaurs and mammals and birds have been around (effectively) forever. And it seems to me that most popularizations do hold natural selection has made all traits adaptive. (If you add "or will..." the number is overwhelming I think.)

    Even more to the point, the basic approach that there really is no such thing as an historical science is extraordinarily popular in many, many popularizers of science, not just biological science but general science. Karl Popper is the last word in popular philosophy of science. Yes, Karl Popper didn't think Darwin was properly scientific, which is why he rejected evolution until somebody or other came up with a controlled experiment as an example of Darwinism's potential falsifiability. I've forgotten what the proposed experiment was, probably because I didn't think it could possibly succeed in falsifying "evolution." The multiplication of species, or the history of life, as the OP has it, is the primary interest of most lay people I think, not changes in gene frequencies, which is a little inside baseball for them.

    This rejection of modern history of life really does seem to me to be based on the notion that history cannot even in principle be scientific. And I think this opinion is shared by enormous numbers of professional scientists. It is I suspect those scientists who are being inconsistent in accepting evolutionary theory as good science.

    Personally, I don't think there is a Chinese wall between natural science and social science and history, that it's all one universe and the subjects are merely our conveniences, not objectively existing distinctions. So it's not a problem for me that it's impossible to do experiments to falsify historical narratives. I suppose that if you do accept this, when you know that most scientists do believe that (to all appearances,) it must be galling when scientists turn around and ignore supposedly well-established principles of science. The common accusation belief in evolution is fundamentally religious likely stems from the conclusions that since history is not a subject of science, then multiplication of species cannot be properly scientific. (And the polemical convenience of equating scientifically supported "narratives" of history with religious opinion.)

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    1. I totally agree that we can use science to approach social science and human history, as well as the history of the earth as a whole.

      In historical science, we test hypotheses the same way we do in every other science. We make predictions based on our ideas and see if they are accurate. The discovery of Tiktaalik is a classic example; figure out what time vertebrates must have been transitioning to land, find rocks of the right age, search, and find the transitional form. Great observations!

      A problem is a failure to understand the relationship between observations and experiments. Observations are not poor alternatives to experiments. Perhaps the most important part of science is making predictions based on one's ideas, and then making the critical observations to see if the predictions are accurate or not. Experiments are just structured, simplified situations that we make so that the observations can be especially clear. In other words, the purpose of experiments is to make good, clear observations. The observations are the critical part of the process.

      I get frustrated with people who think our inability to perform experiments in the past means we can't know anything about the past!

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  7. Since Klinghoffer's article is based on Item #6 in a list of Tweets by Nate Silver, I thought it might be useful to have the full context of the quote. There, the statement does have pertinence to the evolution/creationism "controversy", but not necessarily in the way Klinghoffer intends:

    1. Spicer (& Trump) are skilled at what we used to call “the spread” in high school debate. Make a lot of dubious arguments really fast.

    2. Buried among the many bad arguments there are usually a few grains of truth, i.e. examples of stories the media really did screw up.

    3. This is challenging to deal with. You can be 85% right and a skilled debater can usually pivot the conversation to the 15% you got wrong.

    4. In general, the correct response is to disengage and not let the other guy dictate the terms of the debate.

    5. Still, this gets into some hiccups for how the press evaluates itself. There can be too much focus on narrow truth vs. broader truth.

    6. A story can be 100% factually accurate (narrowly true) and yet basically be BS. Many stories driven by "the narrative" have this problem.

    7. Sometimes the reverse is true also. In a well-reported story, the conclusion should hold even if some nonessential details are wrong.

    8. I have no foolproof solutions, but a more iterative approach might help? Build on prior knowledge but be ready to revise conclusions.


    https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/822951918179876864

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    1. Hey, #8 sounds rather like a process we've heard of before here at Sandwalk. What was it called?

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  8. I am a littlt bit confused here. To what conclusion does Klinghofer refer? He makes a sweeping generalization about peer-reviewed articles concerning "biological origins" but doesn't provide a reference to the B.S. conclusions he sees in the literature. When I read or review scientific articles, I try to ascertain whether or not the data support the author's conclusion(s). If not, Onward to the Grey Circular File Cabinet. If the conclusions are sound, do they help explain further the existing paradigm or would a different theory be a better fit? So far, in my own sweeping generalization, the data strengthens the fact and theory of evolution.

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  9. “No knowledgeable scientist thinks that natural selection is the only mechanism of evolution so no knowledgeable scientist thinks that mutation + selection explains the history of life. That's just BS.”

    However, knowledgable scientists have to acknowledge that copy errors actually make the supposed alterations. That’s why replication enzymes are such a curious component, since they are designed to prevent errors, and evolution. Their efficacy is demonstrated in the history of life by stasis, which lots of knowledgable scientists like to forget about.

    ”With a few exceptions, cells do not have specialized mechanisms for creating changes in the structures of their genomes: evolution depends instead on accidents and mistakes. Most of the genetic changes that occur result simply from failures in the normal mechanisms by which genomes are copied or repaired when damaged, although the movement of transposable DNA elements also plays an important role….the mechanisms that maintain DNA sequences are remarkably precise—but they are not perfect. For example, because of the elaborate DNA-replication and DNA-repair mechanisms that enable DNA sequences to be inherited with extraordinary fidelity, only about one nucleotide pair in a thousand is randomly changed every 200,000 years. Even so, in a population of 10,000 individuals, every possible nucleotide substitution will have been “tried out” on about 50 occasions in the course of a million years—a short span of time in relation to the evolution of species.”

    A million years is not a short amount of time if you’re Pakicetus accidentally evolving into a fully aquatic mammal in 4 million years. But, that aside:

    ”The genomes of ancestral organisms can be inferred, but never directly observed: there are no ancient organisms alive today. Although a modern organism such as the horseshoe crab looks remarkably similar to fossil ancestors that lived 200 million years ago, there is every reason to believe that the horseshoe-crab genome has been changing during all that time at a rate similar to that occurring in other evolutionary lineages. Selective constraints must have maintained key functional properties of the horseshoe-crab genome to account for the morphological stability of the lineage. However, genome sequences reveal that the fraction of the genome subject to purifying selection is small; hence the genome of the modern horseshoe crab must differ greatly from that of its extinct ancestors, known to us only through the fossil record.”

    In other words, they’ve been evolving their butts off just to wind up looking remarkably similar after 200 million years.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26836/

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    1. Congratulations. You've just come as close as you likely ever will to describing punctuated equilibrium.

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    2. I think I just described the equilibrium. Horseshoe crabs are still waiting for the punctuation.

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    3. You posted those quotes as if you think they make some kind of point for you. They don't. And of course observed mutation rates and inferred substitution rates are measured after all sources of nucleotide repair have already acted.

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    4. The point is, your religion is way out in front of your science.

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    5. The quotes don't make that point.

      How old do you think the earth is, by the way?

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    6. The point is, your religion is way out in front of your science

      I suppose txpiper et al keep things entertaining around here. But in a world where facts and rationality are becoming decimated, its getting too heavy to laugh.

      The txpipers of this world get visions of jesus as their faces melt off from nuclear explosions. The rational and educated only get melted faces and a ruined society and planet.

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    7. I used to accept be an old earther. I changed positions to YEC around 11 years ago after the discovery of soft tissue in MOR 1125.

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    8. Really? One little bit of soft tissue outweighs all the mass of evidence that the earth is old? Face it. You weren't convinced by evidence. You were just waiting for an excuse. I suspect it's the same with all your other beliefs about science.

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    9. "Really? One little bit of soft tissue outweighs all the mass of evidence that the earth is old?"

      Yeah, really. Because that one little bit of soft tissue falsified conventional taphonomy. The rest of the 'mass' is subject to interpretation, but dinosaur soft tissue cannot last for 68 million years. Only an altar boy could believe otherwise.

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    10. That's how creationists work: amazing credulity concerning things they want to believe, dismissal of things they don't. My respect for your opinions is now less than zero.

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    11. John, this shouldn't have surprised you, tbh.
      How many holy wars between christians have been fought and are still being fought because of a slight difference in understanding of their bible? How many christians detest WBC and KKK, who both claim to be uber christians??
      How many neighbours in Northern Ireland hate each other and are willing to kill each other because their christian belief differs from each other??

      TX, like OG before him, like all other creationists read science like they read the bible, cherry picking bits which fits their beliefs ignoring everything else.

      If you've ever read 12 years a slave or seen the movie, you'll understand the absurdity of (christian) religion. Slavers and plantation owners using the god of the bible to supress the blacks. While at the same time the black slaves were praying to the same god of the same bible to lessen their suffering...

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    12. ...but dinosaur soft tissue cannot last for 68 million years.

      So one might have thought. But then dinosaur soft tissue was found that had lasted 68 million years. So we now know that is not true. That's how science works.

      BTW, txpiper, do you believe Jesus walked on water?

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    13. You guys are forgetting that tripper gets his/her science from creationists. So she/he thinks that the dinosaur "soft-tissue" was actually fresh, with intact blood cells, etc.

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    14. tripper,

      I shall insist, read for comprehension. Then you might save some embarrassment. Those quotes neither say, nor imply, what you think they say or imply.

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    15. Only an altar boy could believe otherwise.

      No "belief" necessary. The early reaction from the scientific community was hearty skepticism, just as you expressed. Except, being scientists, these folks didn't turn mere skepticism into religious belief like you did. (In other words, if you believe in a God and Creation, they chose not to ignore the facts about God's Creation in favor of their own opinions.) They did scientific experiments to prove the author of the original published paper wrong. And lo, they found she had been correct!

      So this result was exactly and precisely *not* taken on faith, it was confirmed by skeptics through their own experiments. (Thus, if you believe in God and Creation, did God give scientists to know that one could indeed find sufficient DNA to run tests in remains that had been thought completely mineralized and not amenable to such testing. Because these scientists opened their minds to the wonders of Creation and did not shut God out, unlike some vain people who think they know God's Creation without having to do the research.)

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    16. photosynthesis,

      “You guys are forgetting that tripper gets his/her science from creationists. So she/he thinks that the dinosaur "soft-tissue" was actually fresh, with intact blood cells, etc.”

      No, this isn’t creationists making stuff up. And no, you wouldn’t call anything dead ‘fresh’. But if you believe that this is ten million years old, you could call yourself a sucker, and you’d be right.

      http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/34/8/641?ijkey=c5a35e6b7bf0fd6f515be330120599b4321e122e&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

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    17. You see? txpiper didn't deny thinking that there was real blood cells in that tissue. As John said, txpiper is truly credulous if she/he thinks it favours his beliefs, impossible to convince otherwise.

      ----------------------
      txpiper,

      if the evidence says that the fossils are 60+ million years old, the they are 60+ million years old. If the evidence is that there's ways in which some tissue will be somewhat preserved that long, then there's ways that can happen. Whatever I want to believe doesn't stand a chance against evidence. Sure. I approached the issue with skepticism (how else?), something had to be wrong (the hasty conclusions were wrong, for example, but some tissue did "survive" if we can call that "survive"). Once I learned the evidence, what else could I say? I have no option but accept the evidence and move on.

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    18. I wonder if txpiper would care to cite the exact laws of physics or chemistry that state that every single molecule of soft tissue of every single dinosaur that ever lived must have decayed into non-existence. I'd also be interested in hearing his opinion as to whether these laws are any more or less inviolable than those that state a man cannot walk on water. Just to satisfy my curiosity regarding exactly how incoherent the YEC worldview is.

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    19. “You see? txpiper didn't deny thinking that there was real blood cells in that tissue.”

      No, I won’t deny thinking that.

      “Scientists believed such protein molecules could not survive for more than 4 million years…..Assessing eight samples from the museum in all, Bertazzo and Maidment and their co-authors were able to find blood cells in two and collagen in three, suggesting that there might be a lot of soft tissue lurking in old fossils.”
      http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-dinosaurs-blood-collagen-20150609-story.html

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    20. “cite the exact laws of physics or chemistry that state that every single molecule of soft tissue of every single dinosaur that ever lived must have decayed into non-existence.”

      Good gosh. You don’t need to get tangled up in all that. They’ve already solved the preservation mystery:

      “They soaked one group of blood vessels in iron-rich liquid made of red blood cells and another group in water. The blood vessels left in water turned into a disgusting mess within days. The blood vessels soaked in red blood cells remain recognizable after sitting at room temperature for two years.”
      http://www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html

      See how that works? If blood vessels remain recognizable two years, then that means dinosaur soft tissue can still be intact after 68,000,000 years. That’s how science works.

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    21. "I used to accept be an old earther. I changed positions to YEC around 11 years ago after the discovery of soft tissue in MOR 1125. "

      Preserved soft tissue. Just like the bones it was contained in are preserved hard tissue. Tissue is tissue, preservation is preservation.

      Soft tissue is found preserved less often than hard tissue, and usually requires an extraordinary amount of modern technology to detect. That is, of course, unless it's like the preserved soft tissue that we've known about for ages, like the Burgess Shale animals and fossil leaves. Or oil.

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    22. txpiper kleeps digging:

      No, I won’t deny thinking that.

      “Scientists believed such protein molecules could not survive for more than 4 million years…..Assessing eight samples from the museum in all, Bertazzo and Maidment and their co-authors were able to find blood cells in two and collagen in three, suggesting that there might be a lot of soft tissue lurking in old fossils.”


      Yeah, well maybe a newspaper article is not the best source to accurately represent a scientific paper. Maybe you could look at the paper itself, and see if there's any mention of intact red blood cells being found.

      See how that works? If blood vessels remain recognizable two years, then that means dinosaur soft tissue can still be intact after 68,000,000 years. That’s how science works.

      No, here's how science works: You find actual remnants of dinosaur soft tissue from 68 million years ago, and that shows that soft tissue can remain intact for 68 million years. Follow?

      So no answer to my question, I guess. I am disappoint.

      Oh, here's another question for you to ignore: If the earth really is as young as you believe, why is it so rare to find intact dinosaur meat, if they all died in a flood 4500 years or so ago? Why can we find almost intact mammoth carcasses, but none of dinosaurs? Put your thinking caps on, creationists, and let's see what you come up with.

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    23. Why can we find almost intact mammoth carcasses, but none of dinosaurs?

      'Cause mammoths are just elephants that forgot to shave!

      (I'll be here all week; don't forget to tip your waiters....)

      Delete
    24. That’s how science works.

      If you're thinking this sort of distortion is what's necessary to convince yourself that your immortal soul will be saved, fine. But really, why bother anyone else with this ridiculousness?

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    25. txpiper,

      "I used to accept be an old earther. I changed positions to YEC around 11 years ago after the discovery of soft tissue in MOR 1125."

      That's what turned you YEC? Really? You realize YEC is an absurd idea, on par with the flat earth society, geocentrism and the humour theory of disease causation.

      Out of curiosity, before the discovery of dinosaur soft tissue, before you miraculously converted to YECism, on what evidence did you base your belief in an ancient Earth?

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    26. txpiper,

      "No, I won’t deny thinking that."

      Exactly my point. You're too willing to believe anything, if it conforms with your beliefs, and deny anything, no matter how strong the evidence, if it goes against your beliefs. Did you read the first paragraph?

      Here it is: "Scientists analyzing fragments of poorly preserved dinosaur bones excavated more than a century ago have discovered what appear to be red blood cells and collagen fibers, soft tissues that thus far have only found rarely, on extremely well-preserved fossils."

      Do you know what the words "what appear to be" mean? If you check the article mentioned in this press release, you'll notice that it talks about putative erythrocytes, and refers to the structures as remains, not as intact cells.

      You're stupidly credulous when it's "convenient" to you, yet stupidly skeptical when it doesn't. Do you really think that such evident stupidity convinces anybody else besides yourself?

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    27. Chris B,

      “That's what turned you YEC?”

      Not just that report. The dinosaur soft tissue discovery was an episode. I had accepted the gap theory for many years before I was really interested in details because it was reconciliatory. There were lots of benchmarks before and after that. Reading about Axel Heiberg fossils and J. Harlen Bretz were both significant.
      -
      “You realize YEC is an absurd idea, on par with the flat earth…”

      Belief in a flat earth is just a myth that people pass around. The ancients looking at the moon at night didn’t believe they were looking at a disk.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth

      “geocentrism and the humour theory of disease causation.”

      Those were actually not unreasonable for their time. But I think you’ll find that people who were acquainted with God are credited for more accurate appraisals. On the other hand, materialists have only led us back to sappy versions of spontaneous generation.
      -
      “Out of curiosity, before the discovery of dinosaur soft tissue, before you miraculously converted to YECism, on what evidence did you base your belief in an ancient Earth?”

      It wasn’t a miraculous conversion, but to be candid, I didn’t consider evidence because I wasn’t interested. When I rode a raft down the last 90 miles of the Grand Canyon, I was stunned into recognizing that the whole geological column deal is a bunch of crap.

      ===

      photosynthesis,

      “Do you know what the words "what appear to be" mean? If you check the article mentioned in this press release, you'll notice that it talks about putative erythrocytes, and refers to the structures as remains, not as intact cells.”

      In the supporting material for the 2005 paper, they say:

      ”Figure S1C shows another vessel, transparent and somewhat pliable, that is free floating and surrounded by only minimal matrix. Within or attached to the walls of this vessel, the same small microstructures can be seen that are present in Fig. S1B. These microstructures are of a consistent size and character, and contain what appears to be a central nucleus (inset). These structures are virtually identical in size (approximately 20 µm), shape, and overall
      appearance with mature nucleated blood cells from ostrich (Fig. S1D) and chicken (Fig. S1E).”

      http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/suppl/2005/03/24/307.5717.1952.DC1/Schweiter.SOM.pdf

      You could be right. Maybe I was too hasty in thinking that the pictures are probably showing blood cells. They could be hats, or party favors for all I know. I guess it was seeing them confined in the vessels that threw me off.

      But they are definitely something. What do you think they are?

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    28. They are probably the remains of cells, just as photosynthesis said. In the same way that a fossilized dinosaur bones are the remains of a dinosaur, and not an actual, complete, intact dinosaur. What are you having difficulty following here, txpiper?

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    29. J. Harlen Bretz! The scientist who figured out the Missoula (or Bretz) floods! He would be saddened to think learning about him would push anyone toward creationism.

      Bretz first studied glacial features around the Seattle area. Later he turned his attention to the geology of eastern Washington. Used to thinking in terms of big features, he recognized evidence of a massive flood (massive floods, it turns out) that occurred late in the last ice age. He accumulated detailed evidence of the floods. What he couldn't figure out, though, was the source of the water.

      Established geologists rejected his ideas. Partly on theoretical grounds (this sounded too much like the old catastrophism that geology had rejected), partly because they couldn't wrap their minds around the true scale of these features they hadn't seen, and partly because they knew of no source for that much water suddenly flooding. They treated Bretz badly. He stuck to his ideas, but went on to work on other things.

      Later, but fortunately while Bretz was still around, somebody put together Bretz's ideas with evidence of shorelines of a long, deep lake that covered the area where Missoula is now. Also, geologists at a conference visited the features Bretz had reported, and said the equivalent of "S*%t! This thing really is huge!".

      The connecting feature was that part of a glacier dammed the Clark Fork of the Columbia River. When the glacier melted sufficiently, the river could float the remaining ice, breaking up the dam and suddenly draining Lake Missoula. This happened repeatedly, as the glacier grew and shrank. (This happens now at a glacier and lake system in the southern Andes now, too, by the way.)

      I can see that the story has a couple things that would appeal to Txpiper: a flood (multiple floods, actually) and rejection of the scientist by the establishment. However, it has something else Txpiper doesn't understand very well: evidence.

      Evolution theory and the study of life's and earth's history have evidence. Txpiper's creationist ideas have mainly "I don't believe that evidence! That's impossible!" Bretz would not stand with Txpiper.

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    30. "The dinosaur soft tissue discovery was an episode. "

      What is it about *preserved* soft tissues that you don't understand?? Tissues can, and do, preserve, otherwise there'd be no fossil record. Usually, it's hard tissues because those are more resistant to decay. Less often, but often enough to be known for at least a century, it's soft tissues.

      In the case of dinosaur soft tissues, it took extraordinary technological techniques to detect them --- that's why they weren't discovered until a decade or so ago. But fossil leaves have been know for centuries. Leaves are soft tissue. Get over it.

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    31. "It wasn’t a miraculous conversion, but to be candid, I didn’t consider evidence because I wasn’t interested."

      Now that I believe.

      "When I rode a raft down the last 90 miles of the Grand Canyon, I was stunned into recognizing that the whole geological column deal is a bunch of crap."

      Really? What did you recognize in that 'last 90 miles' that overturned mountains of empirical evidence?

      Out of curiosity, before the discovery of dinosaur soft tissue, before you miraculously converted to YECism, on what evidence did you base your belief in an ancient Earth? Still waiting for an answer here also.

      Delete
    32. bwilson295,

      “… .it has something else Txpiper doesn't understand very well: evidence.”

      What I understand is that data is not the same thing as evidence.

      ===

      Christine Marie Janis,

      The things they are finding are not permineralized. It is preserved organic remains.

      ===

      Chris B,

      “What did you recognize in that 'last 90 miles' that overturned mountains of empirical evidence?”

      There are different tours. Some start much further upstream.

      Empirical means “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic”.
      -
      “on what evidence did you base your belief in an ancient Earth?”

      It wasn’t about evidence. I believed what I was taught in public schools.

      Delete
    33. What I understand is that data is not the same thing as evidence.

      Hee hee. Of course they aren't. Now, please define your terms, and show how data is not evidence. This should be fun....

      Delete
    34. The things they are finding are not permineralized. It is preserved organic remains.

      Yes. So what is your point?

      Oh, and is there any chance of your providing the explanation from YEC "science" of why preserved woolly mammoth carcasses exist but none of dinosaurs?

      Empirical means “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic”.

      Yes. Now, for the bonus question: How does data figure into that?

      Delete
    35. When I rode a raft down the last 90 miles of the Grand Canyon, I was stunned into recognizing that the whole geological column deal is a bunch of crap.

      Anyone who can look at the Grand Canyon and derive the notion that "the whole geological column deal is a bunch of crap" is deluded to the point of being blind to the wonders of Creation/the universe.

      This reminds me of the comic line about the old "Jesus Freaks:" "I used to be all f***ed up on drugs. Now I'm all f***ed up on the Lord!"

      But you're still all f***ed up. The fact that it (I'm assuming) doesn't come from some substance you're putting into your body doesn't mean it isn't a delusion. "The scales have fallen from mine eyes!" has always been one of the most powerful delusions. I suppose that's one good thing about drugs: you come down from them.

      An old Winston Churchill story - Churchill was reproached by a lady at a social function for being in his cups: "Why Sir Winston! You are drunk!" To which Churchill is reputed to have replied: "Madam - I am drunk. You are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober."

      Delete
    36. "The things they are finding are not permineralized. It is preserved organic remains."

      Of course. Oil isn't mineralized either. But preserved they are, nevertheless.

      Delete
    37. "Yes. So what is your point?"

      If they are 75 million years old, they should not, according to every taphonomic expectation, be there. The dating and dating methods should be severely questioned and scrutinized.

      ===

      Christine Marie Janis,

      "Oil isn't mineralized either."

      You've mentioned oil several times. What theory for the origin of petroleum do you subscribe to?

      Delete
    38. txpiper,

      "If they are 75 million years old, they should not, according to every taphonomic expectation, be there. The dating and dating methods should be severely questioned and scrutinized."

      Given what's known about the physics involved in dating methods, and the messy nature of fossilization, it makes much more sense to question taphonomic "expectations."

      Delete
    39. txpiper,

      "There are different tours. Some start much further upstream."
      Cool. But my question was, What did you recognize in that 'last 90 miles' that overturned mountains of empirical evidence?

      "Empirical means “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic”."

      Yes.

      “on what evidence did you base your belief in an ancient Earth?”

      "It wasn’t about evidence. I believed what I was taught in public schools."

      What you were taught is based on evidence. I guess you weren't paying attention very well.

      Delete
    40. "The dating and dating methods should be severely questioned and scrutinized."

      Yep, as they were. And as I told you, the skeptical scientists came away with experimental confirmation of what they'd doubted.

      You of course are still convinced your doubts are true, without either having done your own experiments or reading about those that have been done. So your thinking on this issue is backed up by zero evidence and deserves an equal amount of credence.

      Delete
    41. Yes, Judmarc, but you forget, Tx declared the fossils can't be 75 million years old. Just like he declared Grand Canyon rocks formations can't be billions of years old.
      When Tx declares and claims, we mere mortals should shut up obviously.

      Delete
    42. Chris B,

      "Cool. But my question was, What did you recognize in that 'last 90 miles' that overturned mountains of empirical evidence?"

      Obviously txpiper found a stone by the end of the trip. Since that single stone didn't have all of the geology that the walls of the canyon represent, txpiper concluded that this stone should make us question the whole of geology.

      Delete
    43. judmarc,

      “Yep, as they were. And as I told you, the skeptical scientists came away with experimental confirmation of what they'd doubted.”

      No, they did not. There was anger and skepticism about whether or not it was actually soft tissue, but nobody asked any questions about the age of the specimen. There is an enormous faith investment in dating methods, and publicly expressing doubts about those methods is not tolerated. The guy who authored this paper was fired for doing so:

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065128113000020

      I wouldn’t give this another thought if I were you. When your ideology enables you to believe that anything is possible, there are no limits. 75 million years was no hurdle. 247 million is not going to raise the eyebrows of the clergy:

      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151143#abstract0

      Delete
    44. but nobody asked any questions about the age of the specimen

      Riiggghhht (eyeroll).

      Delete
    45. The guy who authored this paper was fired for doing so:

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065128113000020


      Oh, you mean *this guy*:

      http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2013/03/453-mark-armitage.html

      Yeah, everyone's real worried about a guy who was working as a lab tech without an actual technical degree. Maybe his firing had to do with his repeated attempts to talk about his Creationist views with students in the lab at Cal State who were trying to get their actual schoolwork done?

      Delete
    46. Oh, and by the way, one more think about Mark Hollis Armitage and the paper he was supposedly fired for: It contains no mention whatever of an alleged young age for the fossils. So it's rather difficult to credit allegations he was fired for speaking out in this paper when there is an entire absence of the supposed "speaking out."

      I dunno, tx, do you actually read about any of this stuff you think is evidence, or do you just credulously accept that which you're inclined to believe? If the former, then please find for me in the Armitage paper any discussion that this proves a Young Earth.

      Delete
    47. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151143#abstract0

      "preservation of molecular signals of proteins"

      Please do try to read for comprehension.

      Delete
    48. judmarc,

      "Riiggghhht (eyeroll)."

      Once your eyes settle down, show some documentation for questions about the age of the specimen being asked by someone other than a creationist.
      -
      "Please do try to read for comprehension."

      You really should be embarrassed.

      Delete
    49. Once your eyes settle down, show some documentation for questions about the age of the specimen being asked by someone other than a creationist.

      What sort of questions do you have in mind? "Was the fossil of Fred Flintstone found anywhere near this specimen?" Serious, scholarly questions like that, perhaps?

      Delete
    50. You really should be embarrassed.

      About pointing out that what was found was bits of broken-down chemicals? Why?

      Once your eyes settle down, show some documentation for questions about the age of the specimen being asked by someone other than a creationist.

      Of course the documentation is that of the geology of the find. For people who understand stratigraphy and radiometric dating, that works. If you tell someone the material you're writing about was found in a particular part of the well known Hell Creek formation, that provides the date.

      If you are asking whether they discussed if this material was less than 6000 years old, of course not, for the same reason there is no discussion in mathematics papers of the various crackpot "proofs" of Fermat's Last Theorem, or the crackpot "refutations" of Cantor's diagonalization proof. These, like Young Earth Creationism, are beliefs held by a handful of crackpots who act as gadflies orbiting actual scientific work.

      Delete
  10. Larry,

    Your nonsense responses make me wonder how you get to publish your textbooks in the first place. I don't know the system, but I bet that it is just as corrupted as the evolution funding.
    So, If you have some answers other than before, please inform the public!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Look idiot. Go to some library and take a look at the book. A deep look. Got it ass-hole? After you check it seriously, then you come back and apologize as necessary.

      Now go and study. Otherwise, stop embarrassing yourself. Your displays of ignorant, yet arrogant, imbecility don't help your case one bit.

      Delete
    2. No sense getting bothered over Don. He hasn't brought up anything substantive to respond to.

      Delete
    3. Don has a very interesting name though... the man attacking windmills (his distorted version of evolution) which he thinks are giants.


      Delete
  11. "OK Larry, please link to this alleged scientific modern theory of evolution so that everyone can read what it really says."

    Joey want a cracker?

    ReplyDelete
  12. OK Larry, please link to this alleged scientific modern theory of evolution so that everyone can read what it really says.

    Joe G,

    I'm going to let you know a secret. The modern theory of evolution is a secret and only the very, very few have access to the details. For no particular reason, Larry Moran, an the very few he agrees with on something hid the scientific, experimental evidence for it.
    And that's a wrap!



    ReplyDelete
  13. Klinghoffer claims: the ’natural selection operating on random mutations’ story is persuasive to most scientists.

    Moran claims: ‘No knowledgable scientist’ thinks this story is correct.

    What is the disagreement?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Klinghoffer says,

      The theory of evolution by natural selection operating on random mutations, as a sweeping explanation for life and how it got there ...

      This is typical creationist hyperbole. It's intent is to reinforce the connection between evolution and the views that Darwin published more than 150 years ago. It's why they always refer to evolution as "Darwinism."

      Evolutionary theory has moved on since 1859. We now know that much of the genetic history of life is determined by chance fixation of alleles by random genetic drift. It's no longer appropriate to restrict all explanations to mutation + selection.

      In fact, many of the creationist attacks on evolution are based on the inability of mutation + selection to account for certain features. Having set up the strawman version of evolution, they are more than happy to point out its flaws.

      If they really understood that neutral and deleterious mutations can be fixed, then many of their objections disappear.

      The other problem is that the history of life is more than just mutations + fixation of alleles. There are many other factors than need to be considered; factors like asteroid impacts, plate tectonics, and changing climate. It's wrong to imply, as Klinghoffer does, that scientists are wedded to microevolution as the only explanation for macroevolution.

      Delete
    2. If they really understood that neutral and deleterious mutations can be fixed, then many of their objections disappear.

      Doubtful this can be encompassed within a creationist mindset, since God don't fix no deleterious mutations!

      Delete
    3. I understand and agree with you about the importance of genetic drift. I have learned about the importance of these things from this blog and the reading I’ve done as a result of the exposure.
      Thank-you.

      What I am thinking is that Klinghoffer is correct to say ‘most scientists’ have the view ‘mutation plus selection’ covers the subject.
      I give Dawkins ‘the communicator of science’ for Oxford University as an example.

      Delete
    4. @Jack Jackson,

      Klinghoffer may be correct to state that most scientists have a flawed view of evolution and the history of life. But he goes on to say, "The facts may all be true, but the conclusion: BS."

      You could interpret that to mean he is aware of the fact that mutation + selection is incorrect and that's why he's calling it BS.

      However, I think it's more likely that Klinghoffer thinks he's describing the latest evolutionary theory of scientists. I know this because I've discussed this with the IDiots many times.

      Delete
    5. IDiots put all evolutionary theories into one large bucket, which they some times call "evolutionism", "Darwinism", or "Neo-Darwinism".
      They don't care that these words have much more precise and limited definitions. They don't care that there are several competing theories of evolution, or several theories that explain some limited aspects of evolutionary change as it happens, while others explain or make sense of the history of life on Earth as it has happened so far. To them, the whole thing is "Darwinism" or "Evolutionism".

      If an IDiot reads that some aspect of "Neo-Darwinism" is being criticized, what they read in their heads is "all evolutionism in all it's aspects is false". And then they jump to -therefore God!

      Delete
    6. Hi Mikkel,

      I agree wholeheartedly with your observation. So, just to ask the question, what do you think their rationale is to dump everything that disagrees with them and their beliefs into one, well, trash-bin? Is it fear? Is it blind obedience to their belief system and its tenets? A combination of factors? I suppose I could ask, why is god a necessary conclusion for them? I know you might not have these answers, but I wanted to ask to gain your perspective. :)

      Delete
  14. I agree— Klinghoffer thinks he is attacking the scientific theory of evolution.
    It seems to me he is also stuck with a false dilemma- either the theory he is attacking is true or ‘intelligent design’ is true.
    But the theory he is attacking isn’t true and that doesn’t mean there is any intelligence or design needed to explain what we see.

    Attacking a strawman while under the influence of a false dilemma.

    That’s a behavior I can understand too well.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi! Thanks for your viewpoints! Very fascinating stuff! I happened here while researching soft clots, of all things. I apologize in advance if I state anything you believe is glaringly obvious to the point of being painful to recount.

    I have been trying to understand the mindset of people who subscribe to ID, creationism, etc, in an effort to find a better route to, shall we say, conversing with them. While a certain level of ignorance may play a part in many believers' staunch viewpoints, I suspect there is something deeper going on here.

    After having many a back-and-forth with religious colleagues, for instance, I found myself suspecting that their understanding of how scientists use science was actually incorrect. But, I think this may be important, please let me know your thoughts: Followers of faith have, at their core, a set of beliefs that were handed to them and they accepted them as verbatim truth. It may very well be that they assume scientists do the same thing; that science IS the same thing. Obviously this is not true, but that THEY believe it's true I think might be worth challenging. It appears quite regularly, even in the commentary here, this blanket and steady assumption that because Science said it somewhere, it was accepted without further debate (the same way people believe by faith in the "truth" of their holy texts).

    I am quite anxious to see if faith-believers can themselves grapple with the idea that "faith in science" is, effectively, "faith in doubt, uncertainty, and skepticism." As such, the original phrase is a mere oxymoron, but having been myself accused of having "faith in science," I was left to ponder why such individuals believed that. Have they failed to understand that science accepts no answers as final and absolute? Are they unable to cope with the possibility that some questions may be unanswerable (and that no conclusions can be drawn from that possibility)? Do they not understand that healthy skepticism requires skepticism of skepticism itself, in addition to all other things it casts a wary eye toward? Is the answer "we do not (yet) know" somehow terrifying to them?

    I propose this view, and these questions, in light of the observation that debates using facts seem ever a waste of time (outside of the obvious entertainment-value). As long as the faith-believer believes that your "facts" are merely the regurgitation of "The Holy Science," science is no more legit to the faithful than Buddhism is to a Christian. Challenging the way they come to information, which is a key difference between faith and science, may provide an alternative approach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds true. Hard to work around, especially when some of the most basic methods of science (observation, figuring things out) are dismissed. Therefore, understanding that science is NOT just accepting what you're told becomes impossible.

      Delete
  16. "This is so frustrating. I've been debating creationists for almost 30 years. My colleagues and I have tried time and time again over those three decades to educate them about real evolutionary theory.

    I'm really surprised creationists continue on with you. Why?

    Are they that desperate to find a convert? Or, are you?

    BTW: If the real evolutionary theory, as you call it, had more than few people to support it, maybe more than few creationists would bother to even investigate it.

    Unfortunately, a so-story about real evolutionary theory bucked up by online bulling and abusive comments by the real evolutionary promoters must have convinced most of the world that real evolutionary theory exists...somewhere... while changing over the last 30 years depending on who is publishing his own book.

    Silent sigh :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really surprised creationists continue on with you. Why?

      Are they that desperate to find a convert? Or, are you?


      That's an interesting couple questions, Jass. Why do creationists continue to engage evolutionary biologists?

      It is true that there are a few evolutionary biologists who spend a substantial amount of time discussing creationism, and engaging in debate with creationists. People such as Larry, Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, etc.

      However, by far the vast majority simply spend their time in the lab and classroom, furthering science and just carrying on as if creationism doesn't exist. Which, as far as it pertains to their work, it might as well not.

      However, I cannot think of a single creationist, including those of the ID variety, who does not spend the majority of his or her time trying to engage in debate with evolutionists and find holes in evolutionary theory. Just look at any of the creationist blogs and try find a single example of research that attempts to find positive evidence for design or creation. I doubt you'll find one.

      So why is that, Jass? Your point about being desperate to find converts may be relevant, don't you think?

      Delete
    2. lutesuie,
      Just give me a few proven examples that made you an atheist. I just want to see the truth from your point of view.

      Delete
    3. Why are you talking about atheism? We're supposed to be talking about evolution and creationism. Many creationists, especially those of the ID variety, say that God has nothing to do with the "theory". Do you disagree?

      But to address your question: The question is poorly formed. What do you mean by "examples" that made me an atheist? "Examples" of what? You are aware that the term "atheism" refers to the absence of belief in gods, right?

      Delete
    4. lutesuite,

      I changed my mssage to you last minute. What;s your real point? What do you want to hear?

      Delete
    5. But to address your question: The question is poorly formed. What do you mean by "examples" that made me an atheist? "Examples" of what? You are aware that the term "atheism" refers to the absence of belief in gods, right?

      Delete
    6. Hi Jass,

      Could you please tell me, what is "truth?"

      Delete