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Posts tagged ‘Creationism’

A brilliant rant

John Cole has written a brilliant post about the negative influence of fundamentalism and conservative Christianity on US society (via). An excerpt (links removed):

But from where I stand these days, the only thing I see religion doing in the public sector is gay bashing and telling women, mostly poor and desperate and in deplorable financial and personal situations, what to do with their bodies. I see busybodies deciding what drugs they can dispense to which customers, or deciding that they don’t have to issue a marriage license because of some petty deity that I don’t believe in told them to hate their fellow citizens and ignore the law. In a country in dire financial straits but still spending billions and billions of dollars on education, I see religious folks actively and openly working to make our schoolkids dumber. I see them shooting people who provided a medical procedure, and I see others rummaging through people’s personal lives to find out who hasn’t lived up the word of God. I see glassy-eyed fools running for President claiming that vaccines that save lives actually cause cancer, or that if you get raped and are pregnant, you should just lie back and think of Jeebus and make the best of a bad situation. In fact, everywhere you look these days, if Christianity or religion is getting a mention, it means something ugly is happening and someone somewhere is being victimized, marginalized, or otherwise abused. Go read some of the arguments against integration and you’ll see the same bible verses used today against homosexuals. Fifty years from now, they’ll be recycling them again to trash someone else they don’t like or who isn’t good enough for them.

Read the rest of it.

Evolving away the non–existent “species barrier”

Creationists and cdesign proponentists often argue that microevolution (changes within a species) occurs, while macroevolution (gradual change from one species to another) does not. Of course, those types are merely in denial of reality, as they are never able to explain what’s going on with this mythical species barrier” they keep positing.

The reason for this is, of course, the fact that macroevolution and microevolution are the same thing. This picture (via) stunningly illustrates the fallacy of the “species barrier”.

An illustrated paragraph of text showing a gradual change from red to blue text, showing that macroevolution is merely microevolution on a large scale

Click to enlarge

You have to see this

Tetrapod Zoology has a photograph that disproves intelligent design: a babirusa with a canine tooth impaling its skull. An “intelligent designer” wouldn’t do this.

Bald men don’t exist

Let’s do an experiment. You will need a photograph of a man who is not bald. The average human head has 100,000 hairs, and for the sake of this experiment assume that this man has exactly 100,000 hairs on his head. Imagine that you pluck one out. He now has 99,999 hairs on his head. Is he still not bald? Of course. There is no significant difference between having 100,000 hairs and having 99,999 hairs. Imagine that you pluck out another hair, so that the man now has 99,998 hairs on his head. Again, this is not a significant change, and the man in the picture is still not bald. Repeat this enough, and eventually you will imagine plucking out the last hair on the man’s head, leaving him with no hairs. If, when starting with a man who is not bald, plucking out one hair at a time never changed a man from being not–bald to bald, wouldn’t this mean that a man with no hairs on his head is not bald?

Houston, we have a problem.

Clearly, our conclusion is unacceptable. We cannot say that no man is bald because our experiment resulted in a man with no hairs on his head, who would be bald by definition. We cannot deny that not–bald men exist, as our experiment started with someone who we agreed was not bald. This implies that somewhere along the line the man went from being not–bald to being bald. When did the man change and where was the boundary between being bald and not bald; equivalently, how many hairs does a man need to have on his head so that, should one be plucked out, he will go from being not–bald to bald?

We cannot pick any random number, say 10,000, because this brings up issues of arbitrariness; why not 10,002 or 9998? We cannot defend our choice of 10,000 being the boundary because it is a round number, because 10,000 is a round number because of the numeral base we are using (base 10 in this case). The Ndom language of Kolopom Island counts using base six. In base six, 10,000 is 114,144, not at all a round number. Hence, defending 10,000 as the boundary between being bald and not–bald because it is a round number implies that a man’s state of being bald or not–bald is dependent on the language we are discussing him in. That idea is, of course, ridiculous. Finally, we cannot claim that there are three categories— not–bald, unsure, and bald— because this necessitates asking where the boundaries between not–bald and unsure, and between unsure and bald, are. This therefore reduces to the same problem with selecting a boundary as before.

The resolution to this problem is realizing that even though there is no clear boundary between being bald and being not–bald, there still is a difference between them. The lack of a clear boundary between the category bald men and the category not–bald men in no way means that those categories are not distinct. The key point is that a large number of successive differences in degree (plucking out one hair at a time) eventually amounted to a difference in kind (not–bald versus bald). And that is exactly what the difference between micro and macroevolution is. A large number of successive changes (microevolution) eventually accumulate, causing evolution into a new species (macroevolution).

So now, whenever you debate cdesign proponentists, you can explain this to them and ask them, if they still accept microevolution but deny macroevolution, why they deny the existence of bald men.

Apparently, the Pomarine Jaeger is not a species

The Pomarine Jaeger is definitely a species

The Pomarine Jaeger is definitely a species

Uncommon Descent, a blog dedicated to the pseudoscience of intelligent design, has one of the stupidest things I’ve read in a while. They quote an article from the Toronto Star discussing a process of hybridization between coyotes and wolves in Ontario that appears to be causing the evolution of a new species. Since creationists and IDers falsely deny the existence of speciation through macroevolution, they then claim that these organisms are just hybrids.

Uncommon Descent is wrong. Hybrid speciation is a fact. For example, the butterfly species Heloconius heurippa is a species derived from hybridization between H. melpomene and H. cydno (see this abstract from Nature). The Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus), a predatory subarctic Charadriiform seabird, is in many ways intermediate between other jaegers and Southern Hemisphere skuas. There is some evidence that it may be a hybrid of the Great Skua (S. skua) and one of the other jaegers (see this PubMed abstract). Since according to ID, macroevolution does not occur, if the Pomarine Jaeger really is a hybrid, it could not be a species, just a hybrid. However, the Pomarine Jaeger is a perfectly acceptable example of a species, showing Uncommon Descent to be false.

Image via the Wikimedia Commons.

Incompetent design still costs money

Just as I expected, dealing with an impacted wisdom tooth cost money. Too much.

If this happens to a cdesign proponentist, perhaps they will learn in the most expensive way that humans, every organism actually, is incompetently designed. You know, in a way consistent with evolution, not with a intelligent designer. I don’t think that our change in diet from the Paleolithic serves as an “escape hatch” since surely an intelligent designer (which IDers always associate with God) would have known this in advance and accounted for it.

A message for creationists, intelligent design advocates, and cdesign proponentsists

Canada has now reported a case of swine flu resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu). This raises an interesting question for the people this post is addressed to. Since, according to you, evolution does not happen, swine flu is not becoming resistant to Tamiflu. Hence, if you are infected with it, you will never need any alternatives. Even if your life depended on getting those alternatives, you would never use them because Tamiflu would always work. If you act otherwise, then you’ve just shown that there are no creationists in foxholes.

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