What in the world is it? It’s not a dinosaur that’s for sure. It’s of the genus Dimetrodon, and lived during the Permian Period, 280 to 265 million years ago, predating dinosaurs by a good 35 million years. More closely related to mammals than to reptiles, Dimetrodon measured about 1o feet long, and had two types of teeth, hence the name Dimetrodon, which means Di (two)- metro(measure)-odon(tooth). Having a variety of tooth types, with multiple cusps, is a characteristic of mammals, not reptiles, to name just one of the many differences between the two groups. And finally there’s the NEW T-Shirt that tells the world that you know that it’s NOT a dinosaur. Unfortunately, the vagueness of the shirt may lead the uninitiated to think that you’re declaring that you’re not obsolete just yet.
Little Museum Of Canadian Horrors
According to a new poll, about 58% of Canadians accept evolution while 22% think the human race was “created in their present form within the last 10,000 years”. The rest are unsure. What’s surprising is that the frozen, bacon munchers to the north are only slightly more scientifically literate than Americans. (A previous poll indicated 53% of Americans accept evolution). That 5% difference adds up to America having a $27 million dollar creation museum while Canada has a shack. But don’t despair, both American and Canadian Creationists use the same hackneyed arguments to support their pseudo-scientific nonsense. All the money in the world can’t pollish a turd.
P.S. A visitor to the Canadian shack is quoted as actually saying, “We drove 2,000 kilometers to come see this museum.” Even if the price of a gallon of gas were 10 cents it wouldn’t have been worth it.
I offically declare Ben Stein as May’s creationist of the month. He earns his position for his ignorance and sleazy behavior.
In Expelled: The Movie, Ben Stein attempts to draw a link between Charles Darwin and the Holocaust by misreading a quote from Darwin’s famous book The Descent Of Man. Scientific America Magazine explains with an article:
One of the many egregious moments in the new Ben Stein anti-evolution film “Expelled” is the truncation of a quote from Charles Darwin so that it makes him appear to give philosophical ammunition to the Nazis.
Here is Ben Stein quote-mining Darwin in the movie Expelled:
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”
Now here’s is the rest of Charles Darwin’s words, the part Stein conveniently left out:
“The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.”
The Descent Of Man is a thick book, perhaps too thick for Ben Stein’s thick head. He might not have had the discipline to read it in full. Or maybe he didn’t edit the quote himself, he could have just read it that way from a script. Either way it looks bad, really bad. Ben Stein is either too lazy to pick up a book, or he’s a prositute-puppet, who says anything for money. Congratulations to Ben Stein for being creationist of the month, he’s earned it.
P.S. I recommend The Descent Of Man to anyone interested in evolution or the history of science. I read it last summer. It’s truly fascinating. The Penguin Classics Edition has a great introduction. Also, check out the complete works of Charles Darwin online.
I guess actually reading Darwin’s books was too difficult for Ben Stein, so instead he stood in front of a statue and contemplated what evolution might be like. This is, of course, Stein trying to mark evolution as a religion, and not a science, something the Intelligent Design crowd has been trying to do for years.
Arthur Caplan, a Bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, has written a stinging review of Expelled: The Movie titled Intelligent design film far worse than stupid: Ben Stein’s so-called documentary ‘Expelled’ isn’t just bad, it’s immoral. It really gets at the root of Intelligent Design propaganda. In the movie, Ben Stein links Darwinism with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Never mind that other creationists blame Darwin for communism as well as capitalism. Doesn’t Stein like capitalism?
The challenge for creationists is for them to make their point without mentioning evolution. I know scientists can speak of evolution without even broaching the subject of a creation or design. But propagandists like Ben Stein cannot further their cause without tearing down evolutionary biology. The reason is they have nothing to support their claims. Intelligent design isn’t a science and cannot stand alone.
And I want to know why Stein brings religion into the Intelligent Design argument, when for years other Intelligent Design proponents have tried to keep the two completely separate. Is ID science or religion? You creationists need to make up your minds.
A few weeks back Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers attempted to sneak into a screening of the creationist movie Expelled. Dawkins was successful, while Myers was expelled from the theatre. (Religious people are suspicious of men with beards). But while trawling for creationism on the net, I came across a religious site which described the events that unfolded. Get a load of the crazy terminology: Atheists Infiltrate Events For Intelligent Design Film. Infiltrate, they say? Is toilet papering a house sabotage? Is a flaming bag of poop biological warfare? I guess Dawkins made off with valuable ID secrets and sold them to the highest bidder. I just hope he didn’t spend all those pennies in one place.
I haven’t even seen the full movie and I’m already sick to my stomach. This clip from Expelled: The Movie is frightening. It’s blatant propaganda. And the stooge “population geneticist” giving the first interview is a fraud. Hardly the impartial scientist, Maciej Giertych is actually an ultra-conservative politician from Poland, who has a PhD in dendrology, the study of trees. He’s also a creationist author. The second guy, David Berlinksi, is a member of the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. I’m just curious why Ben Stein had to import a creationist from abroad. Maybe, most of the American ones are recognized liars. New faces, same old lies.
Now to comment on the lies.
“Natural selection does not provide any new genetic information”
Modern biologists don’t claim that natural selection is the source of ‘new genetic information’? Various types of mutations (along with the recombination of DNA during sexual reproduction) are what create novel genes. Natural selection acts on mutations. But there’s plenty of copying errors and reshuffling of DNA for natural selection to work on.
“Mutations spoil” and “We don’t know of any mutation which is positive”
Most mutations are neutral, not harmful. And there are plenty of examples of positive mutations. The fact that insects become resistant to pesticides is just one example. What creationists fail to understand is that life and the environment interact. For an animal a harmful mutation in one environment may be beneficial in another. So stating categorically that all mutations are harmful is just stupid.
“If you analogize a computer program to the DNA inside a cell…”
Some analogies shouldn’t be made. This is one. Computer programs don’t sexually reproduce. They are written and optimized (except Vista which sucks) by programmers. If the best programs were selected from a population of programs over thousands of generations, then that could be considered a type of evolution. But DNA isn’t written by programmers (or a designer); it’s fragmented and full of superfluous junk, which speaks to its evolutionary history, not its design.
Is it just me, or do these stooges come across as completely insincere on-camera? It’s almost as if they know what they’re doing is wrong. The smug bastards!