Over the years, as we have watched David Attenborough in action, presenting his great nature documentaries, we have always thought him to be sincere and to the point. Well, he’s just as upfront and honest when discussing his lack of religious beliefs. Now, being an atheist certainly isn’t mandatory if you are a Darwinist. But the reality is that religion has no special immunity from rational scrutiny. If scientific analysis can be applied to the world, why not to religious beliefs? For thousands of years humans answered scientific questions with religious methodology. There’s really no reason not to turn the tables, and place religion under the microscope. It’s only fair.
Monthly Archives: November 2007
Oo La La! Miss November is here, and she’s a hot mama. She looks like a skanky Las Vegas cocktail waitress, and she has a voice like sandpaper. She’s conservative author Ann Coulter. In fairness, Ann should have been Miss October, because Halloween seems more like her Holiday. And not because she reminds us of a witch. It’s because she’s a major bitch, especially when she calls liberals traitors. If the Salem witch trials were on today, we think Ann would accuse half the town of witchcraft. Ann does seem to love governmental authority and intrusive religion.
But we’re here to dicuss her creationist views. If you have the stomach watch the video below to 4:18, Ann talks at the end about her views on atheists and Darwinism. Skip to the end if you can. No one should have to listen to Ken Ham.
If that weren’t horrible enough let’s read from Ann’s book Godless: The Church of Liberalism.
If you want something that complicates a belief in God, try coming to terms with Michael Moore being one of God’s special creatures.
The bizarre bird [Archaeopteryx] is just an odd creation that came out of nowhere and went nowhere, much like Air America Radio.
No one disputes that a monkey looks like a human, especially in the case of Al Franken.
[Evolution is] a make-believe story, based on a theory that is a tautology, with no proof in the scientist’s laboratory or the fossil record.
[There's] absolutely nothing in the fossil record to support it [evolution].
I couldn’t have written about evolution without the generous tutoring of Michael Behe, David Berlinski, and William Dembski, all of whom are fabulous at translating complex ideas, unlike liberal arts types, who constantly force me to the dictionary to relearn the meaning of quotidian.
When a best-selling writer like Ann cannot separate politics and religion from science for the purposes of a book, our society is in deep doo doo. And to use Behe and Dembski as “scientific” sources is just sad. Clearly, she didn’t have the intention of writing a serious chapter on evolution. She just wanted to brainwash the people stupid enough to buy her pathetic book. The sad part is that some of her readers will actually walk away thinking they’ve read about evolution. Way to go, Ann, in keeping the uneducated uneducated.
We’re adding a spanking new category to our blog. It’s called “Trawling For Creationism”. And we’re filling the category with creationist quotes, the stupidest ones we can find. Basically, we are scraping the depths of the internet with our indiscriminate nets and dragging what ever we catch to the surface. Then we’ll pick through the worst of the worst. We should be careful though, for some deep sea fishes explode their guts when they come to the surface, because of the decrease in pressure. But let’s see if today’s “creation-fish” can withstand our atmosphere.
We found a blog called “Christ Matters: Christian Conservatism” with a post about evolution and creationism. Boy, does it stink like a rotting guppy:
To the evolutionists: First, evolution claims that humans and apes have a common ancestor. But since apes are not still evolving into man that notion is debunked without performing a single experiment. Science is the study of things observable, and man evolving from apes has not been observed. Since both creatures still co-exist, something such as this WOULD be observable if it were true.
Freaking Hell. Science education must have been non-existent in this person’s life. Not only don’t they appreciate the concept of deep time, they don’t understand the difference between an ancestor its descendants. We’re sorry to burst their bubble of ignorance, but humans are classified as apes, but not as the apes we all know and love, the chimps, gorillas , orangutans, and gibbons. They are our cousins, not our mother species. The ancestral apes that we humans and the chimps (our closest relatives) are descended from are extinct, a fact that creationists don’t seem to comprehend.
Evolutionary change is observable, Mr. Christ Matters. You just don’t see that many small genetic changes add up to macro-evolutionary change. Each human, in fact, accumulates several hundred base mutations in their DNA in their lifetime. So, saying that mutations and genetic variation aren’t observable is like saying paint goes directly from being wet to being dry, and no one will be able to prove otherwise. Subtle changes only escape the clouded mind. Deep time is required for dramatic evolutionary change.
And for Mr. Christ Matters to think that modern non-human apes should be evolving into humans today, if evolution “we’re true”, is just asinine. Some scientists have voiced the opinion that creationists are not ignorant, but fixated on their religious beliefs. We are of the opinion that not being exposed to the basics of science makes people cling to their delusions that much more.
First, take a good look at the creature in the above picture. What do you think it is? We’ll give you a clue. It’s the larval stage of an aquatic vertebrate. On first appearances it does kind of look like a snail; it has eyes on stalks. But the eyes seem a bit too massive for those flimsy stalks to hold up. And the body isn’t gastropod-like at all. Our wacky imaginations tell us that it’s a type of snake which has had its eyes violently yanked out. That would be wrong too though.
But before we reveal the creature’s identity we want to explain our reason for mentioning it in the first place. According to good old fashion creationism and Intelligent Design creationism, a creature, like the one above, is designed by a designer. Thus it is well suited to its environment. Perfectly suited. But we’d argue that this creature isn’t designed at all, and it’s not perfectly adapted. We’d say that an insufficient field of vision is the very reason for its eyes being on stalks.
Now click here to see the adult stage of the mystery creature.
It’s called a Dragonfish, and it’s from the genus Idiacanthus. According to Australian Museum Online
The Black Dragonfishes (Family Idiacanthidae) are long, slender fishes which live in mesopelagic to bathypelagic waters down to depths of about 2000 m.
Like many deepsea fishes, the Black Dragonfish can produce its own light. This species has tiny photophores scattered over its body and two rows of larger photophores along the side of the body. The chin barbel of the female has a a slender luminous tip. This may be used to attract prey.
Larval Black Dragonfishes are most unusual. They are long, slender, transparent fishes that have their eyes at the ends of long stalks which can be up to half the length of the body.
The Family Idiacanthidae contains three species.
Nature does find a way. The long stalks provide a better field of vision for larval Dragonfish, enabling them to see more food. If Dragonfish were designed, the designer made a poor design choice and then covered it up with another equally poor design choice. We’ll stick with evolution, which allows species to adapt, but not perfectly. Perfection is for fools and gods.
Medved is the worst, so says Keith Olbermann
Ponderous movie critic and conservative radio host, Michael Medved, is joining the staff of the Discovery Institute, as a senior fellow. We believe this is the best thing for Michael Medved and the DI. They deserve each other. We think the DI would also do well to recruit Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. We want to know what vapid blond hotties think about evolution, not just vapid movie critics. But the purpose behind Medved’s addition is pretty clear. The DI wants a media consultant, so it can to better inject the non-science of Intelligent Design Creationism into American culture. However, we are left a bit baffled by the hiring of a complete novice. What the Discovery Institute needs is a scientist, not another opinionated goober. Fortunately, scientists are bit more difficult to acquire. Real scientists know the difference between a research institute and a propaganda outpost, the difference between a scientific proposition and a religious belief. We doubt Medved appreciates either. But perhaps he can use his “talents” to re-organize the Discovery Institute’s limited video library.
In the above video, posted on YouTube, the Discovery Institute questions the fairness of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover, Intelligent Design trial. No surprise there, since they lost miserably. The specific criticism is aimed at the Judge, who stated that no peer reviewed scientific papers have been published supporting ID. Here’s the text from the video’s description:
Judge Jones said that ID “has not generated peer-reviewed publications.”
FACT: Judge Jones is simply wrong. Discovery Institute submitted an amicus brief to Judge Jones that documented various peer-reviewed publications, which he accepted into evidence. This is a fact based question which is hard to get wrong. The fact is there are peer-reviewed papers supporting intelligent design.
Like an obsessed conspiracy theory group, the DI is playing on the sympathy card by claiming that “the man” is keeping them down. (Yes, yes, all biologists are power hungry mad men, who want to dominate the world. They rake in millions of dollars, drive black BMW’s, and laugh demonically as they suppress the “truth”.) But we have to ask, what are these “peer-reviewed publications” the DI speaks of?
If you go to their link of pubilcations supporting Intelligent Design, you’ll find a list of books and articles, written or edited by members of the Discovery Institute, or pundits of ID. For example, MERE CREATION: SCIENCE, FAITH & INTELLIGENT DESIGN (William A. Dembski ed., 1998)is an anthology of opinion pieces, not a scientific journal. Their definition of ”peer-reviewed” is literal, having their friends review their work, not actual scientists, who have a critical eye. The other publications are a mish mash of articles from philosophy, mathematics, or lesser known, and not at all reputable, magazines.
Wells (2005) was published in Rivista di Biologia, a journal which caters to papers which are speculative and controversial to the point of crackpottery (J. M. Lynch 2005). Its editor, Giuseppe Sermonti, is a Darwin denier sympathetic to the Discovery Institute.
A meager list of forty or so publications, none vetted, is nothing to gloat about, or wave proudly in front of a judge or the public.
A trail of poops left behind by a slug, which slid over my window sill one day when my back was turned. I guess even in the micro world accidents happen. Each fecal pellet is about 1/8th of an inch long.
The Discovery Institute has a list of frivolous complaints about the PBS NOVA documentary, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial”. Number 6 on their list is:
6. PBS wrongly claims that human chromosomal fusion evidence “confirm[s] … the common ancestry of humans and apes.”
PBS uses the evidence for fusion in human chromosome #2 as evidence for human / ape common ancestry. But in fact this fusion evidence represents an event that is specific to the human line, and it does not tell us whether the human line leads back to a human / ape common ancestor. The fusion event might have happened in the very recent past in a human population that has no relationship to apes whatsoever. This evidence is equally consistent with both human descent from an ape-like ancestor, or a completely separate design of the human species, and therefore does not offer decisive information regarding whether humans share a common ancestor with apes.
They completely miss the point of the chromosome fusion evidence, we think intentionally, with the intent of deceiving their readers. The extra chromosome markers (centromeres and telomeres), which indicate that two chromosomes have fused in humans, were predicted by geneticists. Great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, humans have 23 pairs. A prediction was made decades ago that at some point in our genetic history two of our chromosomes fused, giving us one pair fewer than apes.
Now, creationists frequently proclaim that all mutations are deleterious or that beneficial mutations are too rare to be useful in evolution. What are the effects of a fusion? The fusion of chromosomes doesn’t alter the bases in DNA strands, but it can often have the most deleterious effects on human development. Chromosome fusions can alter the interactions of genes. And there are a host of human birth defects causes by such fusions.
But according to intelligent design “theory” a drastic change like a chromosome fusion would have to be designed. And again, it would have to be perfect as well as irreducibly complex. But, in this case it looks like the designer forget to remove the superfluous markers, the extra telomeres and centromeres on our chromosome #2. Sloppy work, Mr. Designer, your work looks so random.
The real significance of the fusion evidence is that geneticists predicted it using evolution theory. And surprise, they found exactly what the process of evolution historically would have required, if humans and modern apes share a common ancestor. Either that or the Designer is really predictable. Or maybe scientists have ESP and can read his mind. In the end, the fusion and it’s discovery by geneticists only makes sense in the light of evolution.
The NOVA program, which aired on PBS on Tuesday, Nov 13th, revealed several interesting and troubling facts about the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Intelligent Design case. For instance, we at the Darwin Report did not know that prior to the trial, a student’s life-size mural, depicting the evolution of man, was stolen from the Dover school by someone and burned. Bill Buckingham, one of the schools board members, was actually heard gloating that he had watched the mural ablaze. Interviewed in the NOVA program, Buckingham comes across as a contemptible son of a bitch, to say the least. To watch a student’s work being destroyed and to approve of the act of vandalism is disgusting. Buckingham is a worm of a man, and clearly he should not have held a position of authority over anyone. The fact that he was even on the Dover school board is shameful. He’s a pathetic, hateful, narrow minded, piece of dung. Creationists like him must have very weak religious faith, to feel so threatened by evolution.
An aspect of the case that we find particularly amusing is the fact that the several of the defense witnesses for Intelligent Design bowed out of the trial and did not testify, William Dembski being one. In the NOVA program, Eugenie Scott, of the National Center for Science Education described the absent witnesses as “dropping like flies”. No doubt, many of them didn’t want the negative press coverage or they didn’t want to be caught lying on the stand. Poor little Michael Behe was left hanging in the wind as the defense’s “star” witness.
The Discovery Institute on its web site has been bashing the NOVA special before it even aired, calling it unfair and bias. FYI. You people at the Discovery Propaganda Institute had your chance at the trial and you whoosed out. Now you’re whining about it. Go piss it on the mountain, you big babies.
Watch the NOVA special, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial”, if you’re interested in science education and a very important legal case. We recommend it highly.