Tag Archives: Poland

A Little About Paleontologist Per Ahlberg

Anyone interested in paleontology, rational thought, or the scourge of creationism might want to read the transcript of an interview with Per Ahlberg, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University in Sweden. His straight talk and wit are refreshing. Here’s a sample:

I think mainstream science has a duty and a responsibility to expose creationism and ID for the pseudoscientific frauds that they are. This is something quite different from engaging them in debate, the way you would do with adherents of an opposing but conceptually sound scientific viewpoint. Scientists must expose them simply because they are frauds, and it won’t do to have large parts of the population bamboozled by the lies and misrepresentations of charlatans… Note that there is an important point here: creationists and ID proponents by necessity attempt to befuddle their audience, not just about the evidence for evolution, but about the nature of scientific enquiry in general. They have to, because it is their only way of concealing the threadbare nature of their own claims. (His emphasis)

From this, it should be clear why I have chosen to take part; though you can add the fact that I enjoy talking to people and presenting my ideas to popular audiences. Money, fame and hot chicks would be welcome but have not been forthcoming so far…

Per Ahlberg is known for his work with fossil tetrapods. His latest contribution is as co-author of a paper about 395-million-year-old tetrapod trackways that were found in Poland. (Here’s a summary of the find by PZ Myers at Pharyngula). And a short video about the find is available on the Journal Nature website. Enjoy!

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Filed under Atheism, Culture Warfare, paleontology, Skepticism

Ben Stein – Creationist Of The Month

Ben Stein

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.    

www.TheDarwinReport.com 

 

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Filed under Creationist Of The Month Club