Louisiana creationists gear up campaign to deceive students


My earlier post urging readers to contact Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to urge him to veto the latest creationist eruption the Louisiana Lege gave him, produced an interesting comment. A fellow named Wayne provided links to a presentation by some guy named Perry Marshall, in which Marshall flails vainly against evolution theory.  The video is billed as one the Louisiana Coalition for Science “fears.”  Wayne wants to know, should we keep children from seeing it?

Marshall apparently isn’t even an engineer, but instead designs ads for internet placement — at least one step removed from the usual joke about engineers as creationists. Of course, that doesn’t help any of his arguments.

Wayne linked to three YouTube presentations, about half of the presentation Marshall made at an unidentified church (there are five segments total, I gather). What you see is bad PowerPoint slides, with audio. Marshall suggests that evolution couldn’t get from the American pronghorn antelope to the African giraffe, but in classic creationist form, he doesn’t address the unique signs of evolution we find in giraffes (neck, vagus nerve, for example) nor in pronghorns (bred for speed to beat the American cheetah, which is now extinct, and thereby hangs a great tale of sleuthing by evolution).

Marshall’s presentation is insulting. To me as a historian, it’s astounding how he can’t accurately list sequences of events well known to history. The science errors he makes are errors any 7th-grade student might make — but he’s passing them off as valid criticism of evolution theory.

Here’s the first YouTube presentation, and below the fold, my response to Wayne.

These presentations are an omen. They are sent to us as a warning for what the Discovery Institute will try to sneak into classrooms if Jindal signs that bill into law — heck, they’ll try anyway, but we don’t have to drill holes in our kids’ heads to make it easier for con men and snake oil salesmen to get their fingers in there.

My response below the fold.

“Wayne from Jeremiah Films” asked if I thought those films suitable for children.

Here’s my response, with a couple of edits for clarification:

Wayne,

The only stuff obscene about that film is the gross distortion of science and the celebration of ignorance.

1. There is absolutely no indication that DNA was designed. Why does Marshall assume that? Gross, incorrect assumptions completely unsupported by evidence isn’t a good way to make a case for rationality.

2. Why does he start with American pronghorn antelopes, and suggest they go to giraffes? While I think anyone familiar with mammalian physiology would see the links — but why didn’t he start with a relative of the giraffe, the okapi? Wouldn’t it make more sense to line up cousins we know to be related and ask whether they look like relatives?

Giraffes are walking advertisements for natural selection, especially with their bad designs — the neckbones, for example. To get a long neck on a giraffe, because they are mammals, evolution has seven bones to work with. You have seven bones in your neck, so does the giraffe. To make the neck long, the bones must get massive — that’s probably the easiest mutation to make a long neck in an okapi-like animal, something like the okapi being the ancestors to modern giraffes (okapis are cousins to giraffes). The massive bones mean that giraffes are not balanced well — they put their lives at risk to simply bend down to get a drink of water (many giraffes die getting a drink; when they’re old, they simply can’t get back up).

So, if giraffes are made by designers, the designers are sadistic, cruel things that play jokes on the gentle giraffe.

Why not give a giraffe a bird’s neck? Birds have about 14 bones in their neck — take the hummingbird, for example. 14 bones, and the bones are made lighter and structurally stronger by “pneumatizing” — they are matrices of bones that air can flow through, reducing mass dramatically. Bird necks would work much better for a giraffe.

Wouldn’t an intelligent designer figure that out? Evolution has to work with what it has, seven mammalian neck bones. Designers shouldn’t be fettered by exactly the same constraints that evolution is.

Giraffe evolution is pretty well known, from fossils, corroborated by DNA. There’s one quirk in giraffe anatomy that points back to mammalian piscine origins, too — the vagus nerve, which loops through one of the brachial arches, same as it did in fish. In fish, it’s a straight line from the brain to the throat where the nerve terminates. In mammals, the nerve must go from the brain, down the neck, through the aorta (as I recall), and back up the neck. In giraffes, then, that connection from brain to neck covers a distance of about 7 inches as a tiny crow would fly; however, because the nerve has to go down the neck, through the aorta, and back up the neck, typically it’s about 15 feet long.

How stupid does the designer have to be before you guys fire him?

3. The Google ad example isn’t analogous to evolution in living things — and probably more to the point, the guy didn’t bother to test the mutations to see which would survive or survive better. Clearly he doesn’t have a much of an understanding of evolution. He doesn’t subject the ads to natural selection. What are his criteria for a “more effective ad?” He doesn’t say, but it’s clear that he thinks proper spelling is the key. Were he familiar with advertising, he’d know that’s unproven. In any case, he appears frightened of trying the ads himself to see what happens — that would be natural selection.

4. The guy presents false conclusions from Dobzhansky’s and Goldschmidt’s work, especially lying about the creation of new species. New species are rather common in fruit fly work. If this is a damaging presentation to evolution, why doesn’t he present the real results of the research, the real conclusions of Dobzhansky — who was a devout Christian, by the way? Why does he lie about the work of good Christian men?

5. The presentation on Barbara McClintock’s work is truncated — but the guy’s up in the night. Genes were not known about, he claims? Genes were known about broadly after about 1900. McClintock was born two years later. Don’t take my word for it — but back to Dobzhansky for a moment: This LSOS Marshall talks about fruit fly research without mentioning Thomas Hunt Morgan, under whom Dobzhansky worked when Dobzhansky first got to America — when Marshall ignores the major theorist in the field for the early work, we can simply conclude that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But Dobzhansky, who is quite famous among biologists, published one of his great lifetime works in 1937 — catch the year — and it was titled, Genetics and the Origin of Species. So, Marshall argues that we didn’t know about genes, when there were major works on genes published in English in 1937? He’s obviously wholly unfamiliar with the great Russian geneticists of the 1920s.

Does this gross and grotesque ignorance start to bother you yet? (You may read whole chapters of Dobzhansky’s book here: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/dobzhansky_genetics.html )

Why does Marshall think he can misrepresent the Nobel Prize winning work of a woman and get away with it? It’s well known that McClintock’s major work was done in the 1950s — not only were genes well known then, but DNA’s structure was figured out in 1953.

Marshall appears completely unencumbered by any knowledge of the history of biological research. Are creationists generally so out of it that they don’t bother to Google her up? McClintock’s work, on transposons, “jumping genes,” directly refutes many of the claims Marshall makes in his Google ad comedy routine. One has to wonder if he bothered to look at McClintock’s real work at all, or if he just imagined what he thought a “very old lady” (Marshall’s characterization) ought to be doing in science.

The gall of Marshall is appalling, isn’t it? We should keep children from seeing it just to let them avoid seeing such an obnoxious man.

6. Marshall’s claim that DNA is exactly like computer code is a fatuous error of monumental proportions. Do you really think he does not understand that there is a difference between chemistry and electronics? Is he such a monumental fool that he doesn’t understand the error of his claim?

7. Having gotten away with so much wool-pulling, I suppose Marshall thinks he can fabricate whole-cloth stories about anything and not get caught. On another page of that site:

When Darwin created his theory he stated his assumptions clearly in a true scientific method. He believed that cells were simple and if they were complex then his theory would be invalidated. To put it in other terms if the cell were as complex as an engine and a gun was fired through the engine which resulted in no immediate harm to the engine but instead improving the engine. If the cells were as complex as an engine than the theory would have problems.

That’s absolutely false. Darwin didn’t believe cells were simple. Darwin didn’t believe complexity of a cell would affect the validity of evolution in any way — Darwin’s evidence was almost all above the cellular level, so the complexity or simplicity of a cell was completely irrelevant to the function of evolution theory as Darwin discovered it.

It’s as if, having told a few fibs to get into this topic, Marshall and his accomplices must invent bigger and bigger fabrications as they go. There is a scientific term for this in psychology: Pathological lying.

So, why in the world would any Christian offer that presentation to kids trying to learn evolution? It offers no salient information for or against evolution, and nothing for design. It botches up what little evolution information it has. It suffers from a complete lack of critical thinking, instead relying on a false analogy to make its point. Why would any noble person offer to confuse and confound students so?

It was good of you to call those films to my attention, Wayne. You’re right, they shouldn’t be shown to children. They are garbage. I cannot imagine anyone hating children so much that they’d want to fill them up with boring, inaccurate, silly presentations like those. Marhall’s science wouldn’t get him past the 9th grade biology test on evolution here in Texas, and it’s well below high school understanding for any other biology classes. As for Marshall himself, I gather he’s no Christian. Any Christian would be familiar with Jesus’s teachings about those who would lead innocent children astray, repeated in three of the four gospels: “It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:2; also see Mark 9:42 and Matthew 18:46). You can see why the Louisiana Coalition for Science is trying to keep Marshall from condemning himself.

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28 Responses to Louisiana creationists gear up campaign to deceive students

  1. Steve Allen says:

    Perry Marshall proposes an interesting syllogism for the origin of the DNA code. I have summarized a number of findings below that support his inductive hypothesis.

    A paper in Nature confirms the digital code of DNA (Leroy Hood & David Galas, 2003, Nature 421:441-448). It also appears that the selective use of A, G, C, and T sets up the digital code in the DNA double helix with a parity code, a common code used by computer programmers to minimize errors in the transfer of information. Out of the at least sixteen other known nucleobases that could have been selected for the origin of DNA, only A, G, C, T can impart this unique parity code (see The Cell’s Design by Fazalle Rana). The even parity code found in DNA is very much like that inserted in computer hardware and software to detect errors. Other codes exist in the cell including the histone code, a phospholipid code, and a oligosaccharide code (6 bit phosphorylation state); it is estimated that perhaps 14 different codes exist in the cell that resemble digitized information and computing programs.

    About 8 years ago, I was splicing together two cDNA reading frames in order to generate a hybrid protein consisting of a fluorescent GFP protein sequenced fused to the p53 protein sequence. At the time I was also interested in web page construction as a hobby and was learning about computer code. As I was piecing the two bases of a specific GFP codon with the third base of the p53 codon in the reading frame 1 (the correct translation), it suddenly occurred to me that I was looking at a complex computer-like code that utilized a quaternary system (A, G, C, T) arranged in bytes of 3, analogous in design to our binary bit code that is arranged in bytes of 8 that form the specified computer code that is decoded into meaningful information. The codons are also decoded by the translation system to produce proteins that then perform the action. I was astonished by the similarities of the cell replication/informational processing systems to our own computer information systems. How could it be that such a complex information and decoding system evolved by random chance in a primordial soup, as I was led to believe in my early days as a graduate student?

    Even more astonishing is that the naturally occurring genetic code was more optimal than one million randomly generated codes (Freeland and Hurst, J. Mol. Evol. 47:238-248). Moreover, the natural genetic code has the near global optimum of all possible codes with respect to its error-minimizing and –correcting capacities (Freeland, 2000, Mol. Biol. Evolution 17:511-518). These observations implicate the natural genetic code as one in a million. In fact, none of the possible 10 trillion million possible genetic codes similar to the natural code in degree of redundancy come close to the error-minimization capacity that approaches the natural code. In light of the above findings, the probability that the natural code arose through random processes to possess a near-ideal error-minimization property is beyond reasonable probabilities and our current comprehension. Is there enough time in past history for the appearance of the code and subsequent life forms considering the beginning of the earth at about 4 billion years to the appearance of the first life forms at about 3.85 billion years? That allows about 150 million years to spontaneously generate the code to produce the first life forms that we now have deduced to have a minimal 300 to 400 proteins. Further reductions in protein numbers have resulted in destruction of replicative life forms; thus the minimal life form appears to be irreducibly complex.

    Is 150 million years enough time to naturally generate the code? The biophysicist, Herbert Yockey, looked into this issue and found that natural selection would have to peruse through about a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion different genetic codes in a primordial ooze to find and generate the genetic code for subsequent natural selection to work on (Yockey, Information Theory and Molecular Biology, 1992). Natural selection would have to analyze 10 trillion trillion trillion trillion codes each second just to find the universal one at random. It is not reasonable to expect that there is enough time to produce the optimized natural code, one that has digitized information. Also, the production of DNA requires proteins and proteins require DNA. RNA is not the answer, since it is highly unstable and would not even last more than a few minutes or hours in a mild aqueous solution at room temperature. From personal experience, RNA is one of the most difficult molecules to work with due to its susceptibility to degradation once extracted from the cell.

    Another hurdle for producing the genetic code by spontaneous chemical means is the chirality of the sugar molecules and the amino acids in proteins. In life forms, DNA polynucleotides contain only the D isomer of deoxyribose and proteins are constructed from RNA information by ribosomes using only the L isomer of amino acids. Randomly-synthesized mixtures of sugars and amino acids comprise equal amounts (racemic mixtures) of two isomers (D and L, right and left handed). Random chemical incorporation of the wrong chiral isomer into DNA or protein leads to chain termination or structural changes not compatible with life.

    Based on the above observations, what might we predict from Perry Marshall’s “DNA code is produced by a Mind” syllogism? As with any valid scientific hypothesis, predictions will lead to further testing and gathering of observations that then will either support or discredit the hypothesis (falsify). Some predictions are proposed below.

    If DNA is a digitized computer code devised by an intelligent agent, a logical premise is that the intelligence is considerably more intelligent than our own, since we humans have not been able to come even close to producing such complexities in the cell as evident in the manifestation of the high efficiencies and complexities of molecular motors, such as the bacterial flagellum (rotary motor), F1-F0 ATPase (turbine motor), and the AcrA/AcrB/TolC complex (peristaltic pump) to name a few. There are many more. In fact, analogies of all the inventions of man can be seen within the miniscule cell. Fazale Rana in his book, The Cell’s Design, says that Paley’s argument from design is now validated by the profound similarities in the cell motors and human designs. The cell motors are much more efficient that the human forms! What appears to be inefficient or wasteful to us is being revealed to be presumptuous based on new evidence for a number of systems thought initially to be imperfect or disanalogist, and thus used as an argument against a designing intelligence. Many vestigial organs are now found to have function rather than just rudimentary remnants of the inefficient random mutation/natural selection evolutionary process. In time, more apparent inefficient or disanalogis systems will very likely be shown to be perfect in the context of the overall system that they are a part of.

    Marshall’s syllogism would predict that the information derived from the elucidation of cell information and motor systems, if it originated from a higher intelligence (a premise), should revolutionize our own computer and information processing systems. This prediction is coming to fruition in several areas.

    First, DNA computation (Google DNA computing or computers) is now an established field and holds promise to produce computers millions of times faster and more powerful than those currently in use. DNA computers use DNA digitized code to process multifunctions in parallel rather than the single sequence processes used by computers today.

    Second, the new genetic programming field (Google it!) is using the Darwinian mechanism of selection to revolutionize artificial intelligence (genetic algorithms). The process will allow a computer/robot to write its own best-fit program for any problem it might encounter using a few basic code templates for selection to work on to perform the best-fit. This will allow for immediate and automated development of customized or personalized codes for each computer as required for a specific problem in any situation or environment.

    Third, DNA information storage potential is being utilized to increase our digital information storage system capacities by an estimated trillion-fold. DNA is the most highly compressed information storage system known to man. Each of the 10-100 trillion cells in the human body (excluding red blood cells) contain 6 feet of linear DNA (3 ft derived from maternal and 3 ft from paternal) containing a total of over 6 billion nucleotide (bits) of information packed into a nucleus the size of 1-10 one-millionth of a meter. Bacterial plasmids have been inserted with DNA sequence codes encrypted with information. Another advantage is that the bacteria are engineered to express highly error proof reading systems and can be dried down and rehydrated thousands of years later to extract the DNA information. PCR primers provide the keys to rescue the encrypted information in the plasmids.

    Fourth, it is predicted that we will continue to derive more knowledge from the cell that will revolutionize our computing capabilities. We have just begun to explore the erroneously termed, junk DNA, and now realize it as potential microprocessing sequences that produce microRNAs that are predicted to regulate up to 30% of all genes encoding proteins. It is predicted that the movable elements and other transposable elements in this dark DNA do not move at random but hop around according to a program yet to be revealed.

    DNA is incredible information and computing wet-ware. It acts very much as a Turing machine. I will conclude with the following statement from the book, Genesis Machines, written by Martyn Amos, a pioneer of the DNA computing field.

    “COMPUTER SCIENTISTS ARE REALIZING THAT THE TRUE POWER OF THE DNA MOLECULE MAY LIE, NOT IN THE PARALLELISM OF OPERATION THAT MAY BE PERFORMED ON IT, BUT IN THE FACT THAT IT CARRIES REAL MEANING. INSIDE THE CELL, DNA IS BOTH PASSIVE DATA AND ACTIVE PROGRAM. ….DNA DOESN’T SIMPLY PROVIDE THE TEMPLATE FOR PROTEINS – IT DOESN’T JUST ACT AS DATA TO BE READ AND INTERPRETED – IT ENCODES A PROGRAM THAT CONTROLS ITS OWN EXECUTION.”

    Finally, I mined this very relevant quote off the internet:

    Human DNA contains more organized information than the Encyclopedia Britannica. If the full text of the encyclopedia were to arrive in computer code from outer space, most people would regard this as proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. But when seen in nature, it is explained as the workings of random forces.
    – George Sim Johnson

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  2. [...] this thread An unbelievable thread over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub on evolution and intelligent design. Two guys virtually [...]

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  3. [...] problems at a different level from what Krauss points to with his analogy. These laws, such as the bill just passed by the Louisiana legislature, and waiting now for the Governor’s signature, would create a situation in which Individual [...]

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    RBH, Marshall is impenetrable, and creationists in Louisiana are champing at the bit to get his lousy presentations before school kids.

    I can’t think of much that would be more damaging to the science interests of students. It’s as if the Louisiana creationists were working for the communist Chinese, handing them leadership in science on a melamine platter.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Will, help me out here: You say science hasn’t adequately explained the burst of diversity in fossils found in Cambrian rocks.

    What’s to explain? Evolution predicts there will be diversity. Paleontology tells us that life will provide very limited fossil evidence. The “Cambrian explosion” refers to layers of rocks that cover between 25 and 40 million years, during which time several phyla evolved hard shells that fossilize much better than soft-tissue bodies. So, we get a few fossilized soft-tissued critters from before that time, with a lot of trace fossil evidence (tubes of worms, tracks in mud, for example); then in a period of between 25 and 40 million years (about 250 to 400 times longer than modern man has existed) we get “suddenly” fossils of the shells of the creatures.

    How is any of this evidence contradictory to any part of evolution theory? What’s to explain that isn’t already explained well?

    Perhaps creationists are confused about what the Cambrian fossils really are? I don’t see your point. Please explain.

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  6. RBH says:

    A few years ago there was a loooong thread on IIDB featuring Perry Marshall. He’s impenetrable.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    I think the facts speak for themselves, when they are allowed to speak. Thanks for the vote for reason, Mr. Hoffman.

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  8. Tony Hoffman says:

    Wow. Will Malven, I’ve read several of your entries here, and then scanned the rest after they became tedious.

    Will, you appear bent on obloquy from the start. I’m not as polite as Ed, so I don’t mind telling you that you give gun-toting, right-to-life Texans a bad name. And I mean the ones whose educational background wasn’t sufficient to raise them above the level of conspiracy theorist.

    I love this kind of stuff, by the way. Ed, you wrote: “My degree was in biology with minors in chemistry, mathematics and anthropology, so my credentials trump your credentials.”

    I would love to know what kind of institution would give you degrees (credit?) in the above and leave your mind so unencumbered by the facts of biology, as well as with the estimation skills that allow you to so casually rate your credentials above those of Ed’s.

    Ed, as an aside, I am stunned that you spent so much time addressing Will’s comments. Not only is the man obviously beyond the point of argument, but it’s almost as if you elevated his viewpoint to that of respectability by being so thorough and polite.

    Stupid internet.

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    As is often the case with people religiously dedicated to creationism, the difficulty is with a serious misunderstanding of science, and evidence:

    Your entire quotation is an exercise in conjecture and a great argument for Intelligent Design.

    “reason tells me.” [We begin the conjecture...or if you prefer a hypothesis]

    Were it conjecture, reason would not get us there. When Darwin says “reason,” he means “look at the evidence — here, I’ll show you — and propose a better explanation if you have one.”

    Again, these are Darwin’s actual words:

    Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.

    Darwin says reason — a rare commodity among creationists, it often appears — tells us that if we can find a step-by-step process, no matter how amazing is the final structure at the end of those steps, we know it came from that step-by-step process.

    Is that conjecture? It’s common sense to most people. If you find the road that leads to Rome, no matter how much of it is not visible at the moment, that road leads to Rome.

    Why do you call that conjecture, Will? Isn’t that common sense in Houston, too?

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Evidence often is more complicated than a fairy tale, Tony. Reality is always more unbelievable that reality, as Mark Twain noted, as Haldane noted.

    The key argument the child misleader Charley makes in that film is that woodpeckers have adaptations that they could not “wait” to evolve. So, with regard to the tongue’s stickiness, they ask, how would a woodpecker eat without “special glue” on its tongue, after all? Well, it’s not special glue. It’s saliva. How gullible do creationists think others are? How gullible are creationists? I have never found an animal with a tongue that does not have saliva. Woodpeckers don’t need to wait for special sticky stuff to evolve, nor did they. The “special sticky stuff” is saliva. Creationists, unaware that most animals have saliva, it appears, get suckered in by that stuff every time.

    I don’t think we should lie to children with such fairy tales, though, do you?

    With regard to the feet, Charley’s and Gish’s claim is that woodpeckers could not wait to evolve zagodactyly, ergo, they claim, evolution is impossible. I offer 100 species of woodpeckers that lack zagodactyl feet and still do very well, thank you. The creationist hypothesis is shot down.

    And then, I note there are three-toed woodpeckers. Obviously, woodpeckers not only did not have to wait for a special four-toed arrangement, they don’t even need four toes. There is a one gene difference between three toes forward and two toes forward. Is it necessary for woodpeckers? No. Is it difficult to get? Apparently not. Does it say anything about the impossibility of evolution? Yes, it says claims of impossibility are wrong, and poorly informed. Woodpeckers don’t need the mutation, but the mutation is easy to come by. The DNA confirms the evolutionary path, and refutes the creationist claim. Evidence. It’s what’s for science.

    And the “special tongue” arrangement? It sounds fantastic, but is it? Gish went so far as to say the woodpecker had special bone no other animal has, a hyoid. Get a book on bird anatomy, you quickly discover almost all birds have them. Heck, so do humans. The “special tongue” arrangement is found in a lot of birds, almost all hummingbirds, for example. Some woodpeckers have it, some don’t, which only goes to demonstrate with the animals God gives us that “Mr. Woodpecker” does very nicely, thank you, with or without the arrangement, which appears to be a simple mutation for developmental sequence that is common in birds. Mr. Woodpecker didn’t have to wait for the trait to evolve, dashing Gish’s and Charley’s arguments completely.

    Now, with 218 species of woodpecker, several dozen in the Americas, don’t you think that a responsible scientist would bother to check the ornithological journals to see whether his claims were accurate before abusing innocent children with them? So, either Charley and Gish are wholly irresponsible as scientists, and have not done their homework, or they did their homework and are repeating things they know to be false.

    Either way it’s an academic sin, and our children deserve better. In an era when we struggle to teach kids the value of good information, and when we struggle to educate them in moral ways, I don’t want these clowns fighting against the Scout Law, school codes of discipline, and the methods of science.

    And tell me, Tony, does this behavior on their part strike you as Christian in any way? A pastor friend of mine calls it “lying for Jesus.” He says there is no scripture specifically against it, except the whole Bible. What do you think he means?

    I’ve often found people among birdwatchers who say they have doubts about Darwin when they see the intricate designs of the birds’ lives, but I’ve never found a creationist who is a bird watcher. Creationist stories depart from reality so much that, were there any ornithologists among them, they’d know.

    I object to dumbing down textbooks. I object to dumbing down science. I object to dumbing down anyone’s religion.

    Are you seriously defending these actions and claims by creationists?

    There are lots of gaps, huge gaps, in creationism. Joking aside, it doesn’t hang together in any way.

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  11. Tony Whitson says:

    Ed, as usual, you make things way more complicated than they need to be. So different birds share traits with woodpeckers. What is that supposed to prove?

    In a debate with an anti-evolutionist a year ago, I mentioned the recently reported discovery of a protein in T-Rex bones that is found today in chickens. My opponent had an easy explanation: The same protein is found in both because God put it there.

    One thing about Creationism: there are not gaps, no missing links.

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  12. [...] majored in Biology at Brown University, has indicated that he plans to sign it into law. (See also this post on Ed Darrell’s blog.) This entry was written by Tony Whitson and posted on June 22, 2008 at 11:51 am and filed under [...]

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  13. Will Malven says:

    Who is Henry Hudson? You surely don’t mean the mariner…oh I get it, an attempt at humor…and dismissal…a pitiful and contemptible rhetorical device usual for Liberals who are at a loss for real argument and facts.

    Your entire quotation is an exercise in conjecture and a great argument for Intelligent Design.

    “reason tells me.” [We begin the conjecture...or if you prefer a hypothesis]

    ” I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light,” [further conjecture...assumptions made based on previous assumptions]

    “I can see no very great difficulty (not more than in the case of many other structures) [this is a circular argument-if you believe in your own assumptions then you will not have any problem in making a similar assumption] in believing that natural selection has converted the simple apparatus of an optic nerve coated with pigment and covered with a transparent membrane…”

    He who will go thus far, [an admission of indulgence in pure conjecture] if he find on finishing this treatise that large bodies of facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of descent, ought not to hesitate to go further, [a plea for complicity in pursuit of this exercise of purely hypothetical argument] and to admit that a structure even as perfect as the eye of an eagle might be formed [mere possibility does not compel actuality] by natural selection, although in this case he does not know any of the transitional grades

    He then invokes Intelligent Design…of the telescope…interesting…and goes on to invoke “the works of the Creator .” This is a clear argument for Intelligent design.

    Watch out, your pure Darwinian colleagues will be unhappy with you if you go on quoting from Darwin, especially when he invokes Devine guidance.

    Clearly, if you believe what Darwin has written, then you must be an advocate of Intelligent Design, it is what he believed himself, by his own admission.

    Your argument is not with me, it is with the “Scientific Creationists.” I am not nor have I ever been a “Creationist.”

    You also have a problem. You argue like an Atheistic Darwinist. What we have is a communication disconnect.

    My arguments are directed towards those who argue against a “Creator” using Darwinian Evolution as proof. They dominate the Darwinist movement within the modern culture, at the level of press, media, and in “Academia.”

    The argument of irreducibility, is only an argument for a Devine guidance, not the “Scientific Creationist” paradigm.

    If you agree with Darwin, that a Creator designed evolution, then you are correct and all of this dialogue has been entertaining, enlightening and pointless.

    If you agree with the dominating culture, then you are a fool.

    I suspect the former, not the latter, but that is in your bailiwick, not mine.

    You might want to check out my response to your latest comment on my webpage.

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    Darwinians…I mean real scientists who promote Darwinian Evolution as an established fact…as opposed to lawyers who simply don the mantle of authority without the background, like you…the faithful, as it were…have been completely at a loss to explain the evolution of complexities (the eye is one which is most often cited) nor have they satisfactorily explained the explosion of bio-diversity in the Cambrian period.

    How long have you been bowling with Henry Hudson’s boys, Rip?

    Is it safe to assume you have not read Darwin’s explanation for evolution of the eye? He was at no loss to point out the path of evolution for eyes, and no creationist has ever suggested any problem with the path. We have much better tools to track such evolution today, and many more examples, but Darwin’s explanation remains rather golden. Which part is it you claim does not work? Especially with the work on HOX genes that show it’s roughly the same gene that triggers eye development in so many different creatures, we know Darwin’s suggestions to be solid.

    Go here, you can view it in Quicktime or RealPlayer:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html
    The Talk.origins site has a good summary of both the classic creationist rant and the data to answer it:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html
    And see Darwin’s original argument, from Chapter 6, here:

    Here’s the text:

    Organs of extreme perfection and complication. To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.

    In looking for the gradations by which an organ in any species has been perfected, we ought to look exclusively to its lineal ancestors; but this is scarcely ever possible, and we are forced in each case to look to species of the same group, that is to the collateral descendants from the same original parent-form, in order to see what gradations are possible, and for the chance of some gradations having been transmitted from the earlier stages of descent, in an unaltered or little altered condition. Amongst existing Vertebrata, we find but a small amount of gradation in the structure of the eye, and from fossil species we can learn nothing on this head. In this great class we should probably have to descend far beneath the lowest known fossiliferous stratum to discover the earlier stages, by which the eye has been perfected.

    In the Articulata we can commence a series with an optic nerve merely coated with pigment, and without any other mechanism; and from this low stage, numerous gradations of structure, branching off in two fundamentally different lines, can be shown to exist, until we reach a moderately high stage of perfection. In certain crustaceans, for instance, there is a double cornea, the inner one divided into facets, within each of which there is a lens shaped swelling. In other crustaceans the transparent cones which are coated by pigment, and which properly act only by excluding lateral pencils of light, are convex at their upper ends and must act by convergence; and at their lower ends there seems to be an imperfect vitreous substance. With these facts, here far too briefly and imperfectly given, which show that there is much graduated diversity in the eyes of living crustaceans, and bearing in mind how small the number of living animals is in proportion to those which have become extinct, I can see no very great difficulty (not more than in the case of many other structures) in believing that natural selection has converted the simple apparatus of an optic nerve merely coated with pigment and invested by transparent membrane, into an optical instrument as perfect as is possessed by any member of the great Articulate class.

    He who will go thus far, if he find on finishing this treatise that large bodies of facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of descent, ought not to hesitate to go further, and to admit that a structure even as perfect as the eye of an eagle might be formed by natural selection, although in this case he does not know any of the transitional grades. His reason ought to conquer his imagination; though I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be surprised at any degree of hesitation in extending the principle of natural selection to such startling lengths.

    It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye to a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man? If we must compare the eye to an optical instrument, we ought in imagination to take a thick layer of transparent tissue, with a nerve sensitive to light beneath, and then suppose every part of this layer to be continually changing slowly in density, so as to separate into layers of different densities and thicknesses, placed at different distances from each other, and with the surfaces of each layer slowly changing in form. Further we must suppose that there is a power always intently watching each slight accidental alteration in the transparent layers; and carefully selecting each alteration which, under varied circumstances, may in any way, or in any degree, tend to produce a distincter image. We must suppose each new state of the instrument to be multiplied by the million; and each to be preserved till a better be produced, and then the old ones to be destroyed. In living bodies, variation will cause the slight alterations, generation will multiply them almost infinitely, and natural selection will pick out with unerring skill each improvement. Let this process go on for millions on millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case. No doubt many organs exist of which we do not know the transitional grades, more especially if we look to much-isolated species, round which, according to my theory, there has been much extinction. Or again, if we look to an organ common to all the members of a large class, for in this latter case the organ must have been first formed at an extremely remote period, since which all the many members of the class have been developed; and in order to discover the early transitional grades through which the organ has passed, we should have to look to very ancient ancestral forms, long since become extinct.

    Still today, no one’s found an organ that can’t be gotten by “numerous, successive, slight modifications.” An eye is Michael Behe’s nightmare — a seemingly irreducibly complex organ that turns out to be gotten by small, successive steps, each of which can be seen in some form of life today, many of which can be found in successive steps in fossils (despite the difficulty of soft-tissue fossilization), with a genetic history that corroborates the rest.

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  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes I do know about tort law, the definition of and reasoning behind defamation in law as well as the difference between libel and slander, neither definition of which do my statements about Al Gore meet, as he did in fact flunk out of divinity school at Vanderbilt…five “F’s” out of eight classes is the definition of flunking out in my lexicon.

    Your lexicon is skewed. All five of the Fs were incompletes. It is not that he failed the material, but rather that he was working full time while taking the course load. The job and family won out.

    To call it a “flunk out” suggests the school told him to move on. They didn’t. To call it a flunk out suggests Gore couldn’t deal with the material. His grades show otherwise.

    Gore dropped out, sure — but when he quit attending, he was in good standing, and would have been allowed to continue studies. That’s the opposite of a flunk out.

    You probably know that. And so you know why I consider that slanderous.

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    As for your speciation arguments, those claims of speciation rely on the (incorrect) definition of preferential speciation rather than the actual definition of what a species is. Different species are genetically incompatible. no other definition pertains.

    So, deal with those I’ve cited that are genetically incompatible, including the very first case recorded in science literature, Spartina townsendii. Credentials don’t impress you, they don’t impress me.

    Speciation has been observed many times, in the wild, in the lab. You can’t redefine it to deny it.

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  17. Will Malven says:

    Hey at last an actual argument…good for you! You finally rose above your attacks and made an attempt at a scientific argument…and no, I did not use Ben Stein’s movie, nor have I seen it.

    My degree was in biology with minors in chemistry, mathematics and anthropology, so my credentials trump your credentials. I have been working as a researcher in the petrochemical industry for 20 years…all the time you were shuffling papers.

    As for your speciation arguments, those claims of speciation rely on the (incorrect) definition of preferential speciation rather than the actual definition of what a species is. Different species are genetically incompatible. no other definition pertains. “Preferential speciation” is nothing more than redefining variation within a species. Unless their genetics are incompatible, they are not different species, only variations of a species…this is freshman biology, not high science and that redefining is a perfect of the intellectual dishonesty of Darwinian exclusivists.

    BTW, if I am being “slanderous” an attack you repeat ad nauseum sue me.

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  18. Will Malven says:

    So I lied, I’m back. You present just too wonderful of a Liberal target for me to resist.

    Not only do you not address my specifics in answer to your query regarding the inherent problems in Darwinian Evolution as a statement of fact (a failing which seems to be habitual in your case), in your comment to my article, The Lies and Myths of the “Anthropogenic Global Warming” Fear Mongers and the Dire Threat They Pose your only argument is to dissemble and engage in ad hominem…I guess I should expect no less from one who is a Liberal AND a lawyer.

    Yes I do know about tort law, the definition of and reasoning behind defamation in law as well as the difference between libel and slander, neither definition of which do my statements about Al Gore meet, as he did in fact flunk out of divinity school at Vanderbilt…five “F’s” out of eight classes is the definition of flunking out in my lexicon.

    Your next sentence:

    “By the way, he volunteered for military service, and volunteered for Vietnam. Do you slander all Vietnam vets, all vets, or just what are your criteria for slandering military veterans?

    is perhaps one of the most bizarre leaps in tangential argumentation I have ever encountered. The fact is, I never even mentioned Gore’s military “service” nor that of anyone in my article, so your entire implication is laid bare as the diversionary, irrelevant, contemptible, standard Liberal arguing tactic it is.

    The term “demonizing” is an ad hominem, no matter how many times you deny it. The accusation itself is a rhetorical device intended to dismiss the arguments of another without actually addressing them.

    You claim that by saying that you are one of the faithful in the Religion of Darwinian Evolution, I am impuning your religion…a case I believe you would find great difficulty in making in a court. To make a statement of fact vis. that you are an devout believer in Darwinian Evolution and then an opinion-that Darwinian Evolution is a religion requiring at least as much faith as Christianity-is not the same as impugning your religious beliefs, It is questioning your ability to reason…but I digress…the fact that you believe the Darwinists without questioning argues that my assertion is correct.

    Darwinian Evolution as a model for explaining bio-diversity, the evolution of complex organs and speciation…anyone of which would bring down that house of cards…is a poor fit. The fossil record is spotty, full of gaps all of which require assumptions to fill.

    The genetic evidence is moderately compelling, but as speciation must be forced to occur by the intervention of scientists, genetic evidence fails as proof and again one must make assumptions…or leaps of faith…to reach any absolute conclusion beyond the fact that you always ignore the argument when presented (http://fdocc.blogspot.com/2005/10/gull-variation.html; never went back to answer him did you?).

    The inability of scientist to satisfactorily explain the evolution of complex organs also dictates a leap of faith in believing Darwinian theory as established fact.

    All true scientist must remain open to the prospect of being wrong. To assert as fact somethng that has yet to been proven requires gross hubris and some considerable intellectual dishonesty, characteristics which have become all too prevalent in our academic scientific communities and which you evince quite clearly.

    The most amusing observation of all is that, could you see past your self-righteous outrage at being questioned, I agreed (and still do agree) with your objection to teaching anything other than straight Darwinian evolution in our public schools.

    Intelligent design may or may not be the truth (I happen to believe it to be so) but it is inescapably linked with a belief in God as an active influence on evolution which has no place in our science classrooms and is better taught by parents and preachers.

    It has truly been an amusing diversion to engage in this non-scientific (at least from your side) discussion. I have twice before and now three times given you specific flaws and/or failures in Darwinian theory and you have twice ignored them in favor of attacking me as impugning your faith. A dishonest or paranoid-I’m not sure which-approach which has furthered your side of the argument not at all.

    You are very good at impugning the person…let’s recount, I’m a demonizer, a slanderer, too dumb to know what a tort is, too dumb to understand evolution, illogical, I’m certain I can find more in your non-responses to my comments.

    Oh yeah and as a parting shot…You state:

    “Darwin was a Christian when he discovered evolution, you know, and most of the best work in evolution was done by Christians up to the current day.”

    If by “Christian” you mean a follower of Christ as the Messiah, I fear I must remind you that Judas Iscariot was one of the very first “Christians,” one of Christ’s annointed 12. So was Thomas de Torquemada. “Christians” commit crimes, lie, cheat and steal everyday. It’s an irrelevant comment, as are most you make.

    Mere denial is not an argument, nor is an ad hominem attack and unfortunately those two weak sisters are all you engage in.

    Wow, Orrin Hatch actually hired you? I must re-evaluate my opinion of him.

    But then it was only as a press secretary, and Scott McClellan has very much sullied that title with his twisting tale of half-truths, conjecture, and opinion posing as a “tell-all” book.

    By the way, “Newtonian physicists” went the way of the dinosaur early in the 20th century, so be careful in your attempted analogies. Back then scientists were open to all possibilities. Einstein blew it away ith relativity because Newtonian physics falls apart at the quantum level. His work in turn is gradually giving way to increasingly complex theories in physics.

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  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Speciation events have only been observed in human controlled environments, whether Drosophila, Rhagolitus, or Eurosta in flies, or the many hybridization experiments, all required Intelligent design, by the hands of human researchers.

    The first recorded case of speciation after Darwin’s book was the rise of Spartina townsendii, a new species of salt grass in the Thames River’s mudflats. Wholly spontaneous. Several other speciation events have occurred in human observation and control, including broccoli, radishes, Brussels sprouts, red tomatoes, and virtually everything else we find in modern produce aisles. But other events have occurred in the wild — the rise of the American apple maggot, for example.

    You might want to pick up a copy of The Beak of the Finch, a story of evolution in our time by Jonathan Weiner. It won a Pulitzer in 1994. Weiner spends much of the book documenting the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant, who have spent more than 30 years tracking every individual in several species of birds on a small island in the Galapagos Archipelago. The Grants discovered speciation, in real time, in the wild, and have published a half dozen papers on it at least, in the major journals in science, Nature, and Science, as well as in several other ornithological journals. Speciation, in real time, in the wild, carefully documented.

    Or you might spend some time looking at the phenomena of ring species. There are several fine examples in the world, the San Fernando or California salamanders, the herring gull/ lesser black-backed gull complex, the green warblers of the Himalayas, or the voles around the Yellowstone area and the Rocky Mountains. Speciation has been observed to occur in these complexes, and we can find every aspect of evolution and natural selection at work in these populations.

    Were it true that speciation had been observed only under human auspices, Darwin’s point would still be valid. Human breeding up to about 1990 used only those devices available to nature, substituting artificial selection for natural and sexual selection. Darwin discusses this at length in the first two chapters of Origins, but I have never run into a creationist who bothered to read what Darwin said.

    In any case, there are a lot of examples of speciation that have occurred in the wild, and even in the laboratory without human intervention. Pesticide researchers have difficulty keeping lab populations from speciating, and they have to worry about that constantly because a pesticide that works on a different, lab-arising species may not work in the wild. These are populations where the humans do not want speciation, and where they work to keep it from happening. The mechanisms Darwin described are powerful enough to overcome those barriers, unless humans work hard to make sure they can’t work.

    As I noted, evolution has been observed, in every facet of Darwin’s claims, in the wild and in the lab. And as I’ve noted here, speciation often occurs without human assistance.

    All other cited incidents of “speciation” are a result of defining down the definition of species. The formerly accepted definition of species was a population which when crossed with another species of the same genus either: a) failed to produce offspring, or b) produced sterile offspring (e.g. horse + donkey = mule).

    Evolutionists have become so desperate in their desire to “prove” the Theory of Darwinian Evolution, that they have “dumbed down” the definition of species to describing genetic populations which will not interbreed out of preference, but if forced to interbreed still produce virile offspring…quite a stretch.

    Your statement ceased to be operative sometime in the 1920s. In any case, the several examples I’ve cited above demonstrate that you’re complaining about scientists doing something they didn’t do. “Speciation” has always been difficult to define since we got away from the creationist claim that variation was never wide. But speciation, by any definition, has been observed in nature and in the lab. That you don’t know about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    You are right, “Just science: Evidence, hypothesis, test, and eventually with insight” except for the last. With insight comes bias. The only legitimate insight in true scientific method is the insight which leads one to further testing of the hypothesis and results in proof. In the case of Darwinian Evolution vs. Intelligent Design, any experiment involving forcing by the hand of man or with involves the intervention of man, is by definition proof of Intelligent Design, not evolution.

    Of course, we don’t need to worry about those biases with the many observed cases of speciation in the wild. Keep up with the science, you’ll soon discover that scientists have noted the problems creationists complain about — generally 20 or 80 years earlier. Speciation has been observed many times, in the wild, and in the lab.

    Evolution cannot be “‘proven’ experimentally, and sbservationally, and historically [sic],” nor has it. It is a conclusion which is still not supported by all the facts, and anyone who so claims is of the Faith of Darwinian Evolution, not a scientist.

    There you go denigrating my Christian faith again. You test me mightily.

    What part of Darwin’s theory do you claim has not been observed in operation in the wild? Be specific. You’ve talked only in generalities so far. I’ve offered several specific examples.

    It would appear that the Anthropogenic Global Warming scam has dumbed down science to the point where one’s bias is considered a legitimate part of proof.

    I have accused you of no bias in proof. I have not claimed anything about your views about climate change. In any case, you’ve offered no evidence of any sort so far.

    This comes from individuals whose careers depend on the political correctness of their results.

    Slanderous. I urge you to provide evidence. If you follow that issue, you know that Exxon-Mobil has paid billions to buy scientists’ statements claiming global warming isn’t happening, and in any case, it’s not the fault of humans. In contrast, those scientists who research the other side work for small sums. U.S. policy over the past ten years has been to cut the funding of scientists who provide evidence of global warming, cut their positions, and censor their work — witness the recent case at NASA with Bush political appointees censoring the scientists.

    The “politically correct” view on global warming is to claim it doesn’t happen. That’s where the money is.

    Has it never occurred to you that scientists have honor? Do you seriously know no scientists?

    Oppose AGW and you fail to get published or you fail to get funded, not because you are wrong, but because you are bucking the trend.

    Please offer an example. As I noted, the facts are running exactly contrary. Even the Rockefeller family has complained about Exxon-Mobil’s distortion of the science, at the most recent stockholders meeting. I know of no “skeptic” of global warming who hasn’t had a field day.

    Deny Darwinian Evolution as “fact” and you are penalized, not for being wrong, but for being curious…a characteristic which used to be encouraged in the scientific community…before politics invaded the academic domain of scientists.

    I’ve already offered an example that disproves your claim. Barbara McClintock said she was penalized for being a woman, but never was she penalized for opposing the general consensus in genetics. Despite the mockumentary of Ben Stein — you’re really reaching if you’re using the former Nixon speechwriter as a source on honor in biology research — there is no known case of censorship of anti-Darwin sources. That claim you make has been litigated twice in federal court, in 1981 in the Arkansas trial, and again in 2005 in the Pennsylvania trial. In both cases, creationists were challenged to provide the evidence that anyone opposing the evolution view was suppressed, oppressed, or censored. Under oath, under penalty of perjury, creationists were absolutely unable to produce a single example that withstood scrutiny, and only one example was offered at both trials combined.

    I remind you that you’re claiming evolution is false, and here you are in support of that charge putting up a claim that has been litigated in federal court, with fair rules of evidence, and found the opposite of what you say both times. I urge you to stick to the facts, not to things as you wish they were.

    Yes, you are one of the true believers, the religious faithful of Darwinian Evolution. No amount of evidence will interfere in you devout belief in the unbelievable, thus the need to resort to ad hominem attacks…like the one you made on my web page and the one you made in your first response.

    You’ve offered not a shred of evidence contrary to evolution. Can you offer even one example that we might look at to verify? Not even one?

    I have “demonized” no one, all I have done is question your assertions of fact as to their veracity. You are the one who has engaged in “demonizing.”

    And if I were to note that you come from the faith of idolators, you’d not regard that as either demonizing or offensive? If you have no evidence for the charge, don’t make it. If you have evidence against evolution, the demonizing wouldn’t be necessary.

    Still, you’ve offered not a single piece of evidence against evolution. Not one.

    So I will add my ad hominem in response to yours. You’re a typical unintelligent, incurious, brainwashed, left-wing moonbat.

    When you lack any evidence at all, you really should keep quiet.

    You hate anyone who disagrees with you, hence the ad hominem and you assume you are smarter than those who oppose your point of view (even though as a lawyer you don’t seem to know the difference between “slander” and libel), and you assume your opinions are facts, which they clearly are not.

    I’ve been active in this issue, from all sides, for more than 30 years. Contrary to your foolish claim of “left-wing moonbat,” as an appointee in the Reagan administration. (When do you ever let facts get in the way of your rants? For that matter, when do you bother to base a claim on data?) Knock off the slanderous claims, and offer evidence if you can.

    The elements of slander and libel are the same, by the way — publication, identification, and defamation. If a lawyer offered a complaint for slander when libel would apply, the judge would likely ink in the different word. Now, what difference between slander and libel justifies your slanderous claims, your off-the-mark ad hominem insults, and complete lack of evidence in your claims?

    You asked me, “Have you ever studied evolution? Yes extensively, HAVE YOU?

    Biology was one of my majors. I’ve been a lab assistant for graduate level biology courses, and I’ve taught biology, botany, forestry and related courses at the high school level for years. I had to beef up my evolution to push legislation on both the health care front and education front.

    I asked whether you’d studied it, because you’ve presented not a single argument that doesn’t come out of the Duane Gish Memorial Playbook of Disproven Creationist Rants Designed to Fog Up Any Discussion. I keep looking for some understanding of evolution theory, but I don’t see any. You make claims about speciation that show a lack of appreciation for animal husbandry and botany, and a complete failure to appreciate the differences and similarities of artificial selection, natural selection or sexual selection. When you come close to a citation, you refer to science that is three or four generations old, and in a couple of cases a full century old.

    And, you’ve offered no examples to support your claims which suggest you know the controversies in evolution, or how science might resolve them.

    So now we know you’ve studied evolution, we can look forward to a demonstration fo what you learned.

    Do you have any examples of parts of evolution theory that have not been observed?

    At first I was simply amused at your assumptions, but having read your webpage and your responses to my work and comments, I am laughing at you and your entire air of superiority-undeserved as it is.

    Did you even pass the BAR? A blog as “slander?” Where did you get your law degree, Walmart?

    Obviously, I’ve passed more bars than you have.

    This isn’t a game of poker. Lift up your green eyeshade, knock off the bluffs and lay your cards on the table. What part of evolution theory is it you claim has not been demonstrated?

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  20. Ed Darrell says:

    One quote. Give me one quotation where I have in any way denigrated your faith or that of anyone else.

    You do it in your next line:

    What I have said is that you are a follower of the Gospel According to Darwin and the Darwinian Evolutionists.

    And then you continue. Do you even know what a tort is? You appear wholly unfamiliar with elements of libel and slander, and you have the temerity to pretend you know it better than I. Of course, if you’re pretending to know biology better than the biologists, why not go the whole Walter Mitty route, and claim to know more than anyone else at everything possible?

    Clearly you don’t think it’s a problem to insult the faith of others. What can I say but, get that log out of your eye?

    Demonizing is a rhetorical device in which one tries to label someone as something they are not. You claim I follow Darwin as a religion. That’s textbook demonizing. If you don’t want to be known as a demonizer, don’t demonize.

    If you had facts and logic behind your claims, I suspect you wouldn’t have opened with a demonizing argument.

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  21. Will Malven says:

    One quote. Give me one quotation where I have in any way denigrated your faith or that of anyone else. What I have said is that you are a follower of the Gospel According to Darwin and the Darwinian Evolutionists.

    Oh yeah and Mr. Lawyer, I suggest you look up the term “ad hominem” attack. Calling someone a “demonizer” is an ad hominem attack, as is the accusation you made on my web page that I in some way “slander[ed],” your word, not mine, veterans.

    Quote from your comment: “Do you slander all Vietnam vets, all vets, or just what are your criteria for slandering military veterans?” Another ad hominem attack without basis in the article on which you commented.

    You are as dishonest as you are uninformed.

    If you bothered to read what I wrote above, you would already know two specific areas in which Darwinian Evolution fails the test of science, the explosive bio-diversity of the Cambrian period, the evolution of complex organs ( I specifically mentioned the eye), and speciation.

    What kind of lawyer are you that you can’t read and you don’t know the difference between libel and slander? Apparently you have a severe persecution complex to lash out so. Have you had your medication today (hint: that was an ad hominem attack).

    Shyster. (So is that).

    Your inability to reason and the irrelevence of your comments as they pertain to the subject renders you unworthy of further comment. You see demons where any questions or dissent lie and you see persecution in the same places.

    Perhaps you are haunted by your own insecurities…AMF

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  22. Ed Darrell says:

    Where did you study evolution? Can you give us, in less than 100 words, what it is you understand evolution theory to say, that you claim cannot be proven?

    Please do so, so we can tell where to start pointing you on the road to repentance.

    And Will? Are you Christian? Will you stop denigrating my faith? Do you have the Christian cojones to act Christian?

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  23. Ed Darrell says:

    My, my. such an extreme ad hominem attack in reaction to such a mild statement of fact. Maybe you aren’t as certain of your facts as you pretend, most over-reactor fall into that category.

    I didn’t start the ad hominem. “Demonizer” is a description, not an ad hominem. I resent it highly when the first response of creationists — who are a minority among Christians — is to denigrate the faith of others. In the case of creationists who regard themselves as Christians, it borders on blasphemy.

    If you don’t have facts and data to support your case, please do not make irrational, departure-from-reality statements. If you insist on denigrating the Christian faith of others, be prepared to be challenged on it.

    If you think anything I have said is not based on facts, settle in — you’ve got a lot of education available to you that you need.

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  24. Will Malven says:

    My, my. such an extreme ad hominem attack in reaction to such a mild statement of fact. Maybe you aren’t as certain of your facts as you pretend, most over-reactor fall into that category.

    Sorry, evolution as an explanation for life in all its diversity requires tremendous faith. The gaps in its proselytizers claims are great and legion. They, as do you, claim complete evidence, yet the evidenciary trail is filled with gaps and assumptions which won’t stand close examination.

    Darwinians…I mean real scientists who promote Darwinian Evolution as an established fact…as opposed to lawyers who simply don the mantle of authority without the background, like you…the faithful, as it were…have been completely at a loss to explain the evolution of complexities (the eye is one which is most often cited) nor have they satisfactorily explained the explosion of bio-diversity in the Cambrian period.

    Speciation events have only been observed in human controlled environments, whether Drosophila, Rhagolitus, or Eurosta in flies, or the many hybridization experiments, all required Intelligent design, by the hands of human researchers.

    All other cited incidents of “speciation” are a result of defining down the definition of species. The formerly accepted definition of species was a population which when crossed with another species of the same genus either: a) failed to produce offspring, or b) produced sterile offspring (e.g. horse + donkey = mule).

    Evolutionists have become so desperate in their desire to “prove” the Theory of Darwinian Evolution, that they have “dumbed down” the definition of species to describing genetic populations which will not interbreed out of preference, but if forced to interbreed still produce virile offspring…quite a stretch.

    You are right, “Just science: Evidence, hypothesis, test, and eventually with insight” except for the last. With insight comes bias. The only legitimate insight in true scientific method is the insight which leads one to further testing of the hypothesis and results in proof. In the case of Darwinian Evolution vs. Intelligent Design, any experiment involving forcing by the hand of man or with involves the intervention of man, is by definition proof of Intelligent Design, not evolution.

    Evolution cannot be “‘proven’ experimentally, and sbservationally, and historically [sic],” nor has it. It is a conclusion which is still not supported by all the facts, and anyone who so claims is of the Faith of Darwinian Evolution, not a scientist.

    It would appear that the Anthropogenic Global Warming scam has dumbed down science to the point where one’s bias is considered a legitimate part of proof. This comes from individuals whose careers depend on the political correctness of their results. Oppose AGW and you fail to get published or you fail to get funded, not because you are wrong, but because you are bucking the trend. Deny Darwinian Evolution as “fact” and you are penalized, not for being wrong, but for being curious…a characteristic which used to be encouraged in the scientific community…before politics invaded the academic domain of scientists.

    Yes, you are one of the true believers, the religious faithful of Darwinian Evolution. No amount of evidence will interfere in you devout belief in the unbelievable, thus the need to resort to ad hominem attacks…like the one you made on my web page and the one you made in your first response.

    I have “demonized” no one, all I have done is question your assertions of fact as to their veracity. You are the one who has engaged in “demonizing.”

    So I will add my ad hominem in response to yours. You’re a typical unitelligent, incurious, brainwashed, left-wing moonbat. You hate anyone who disagrees with you, hence the ad hominem and you assume you are smarter than those who oppose your point of view (even though as a lawyer you don’t seem to know the difference between “slander” and libel), and you assume your opinions are facts, which they clearly are not.

    You asked me, “Have you ever studied evolution? Yes extensively, HAVE YOU?

    At first I was simply amused at your assumptions, but having read your webpage and your responses to my work and comments, I am laughing at you and your entire air of superiority-undeserved as it is.

    Did you even pass the BAR? A blog as “slander?” Where did you get your law degree, Walmart?

    Like

  25. Ed Darrell says:

    I see that you’re a devout demonizer. Darwin was a Christian when he discovered evolution, you know, and most of the best work in evolution was done by Christians up to the current day. Evolution requires no faith, but it does require understanding logic and evidence, and science. Trying to paint evolution as a religion is an interesting but intellectually dishonest way of getting around the Constitution. The courts have not bought it, and I think if you gave it some serious thought, you’d reject it, too. The idea was a reaction to the courts’ findings that creationism is religiously based. Of course, those findings are based on the sworn statements of creationists. I find it interesting that creationists say one thing in internet discussions, and something else when under oath with penalty of perjury. Why is that?

    Every aspect of evolution theory has been observed in action. Evolution of new species is a frequent occurrence, often observed. Not only can it be “proven” experimentally, and observationally, and historically, it has been. Denial of these facts runs deep among some people I know — but a religious dedication to denial does not make our understanding of evolution a religion by any stretch.

    No catches, no Catch-22, no Catch-18 (from which Catch-22 evolved). Just science: Evidence, hypothesis, test, and eventually with insight, theory that explains why the evidence stacks up as it does.

    Gravity theory is less well understood than evolution theory. It’s only in the last decade or so that the idea of gravitons has caught on, for example, and no one has ever observed one, no one has the faintest clue how to detect one, no one has the faintest clue how to modify its actions. Do you think Newtonian physicists also hold to a different religion? Do you think gravity a religious idea?

    Why are you biased against Darwin, when it was Newton who removed angels from the heavens?

    Have you ever studied evolution?

    Like

  26. Will Malven says:

    I see that you are a devout Darwinian. An interesting religion, that. It requires at least as much faith as does Christianity and is incapable of explaining an extraordinary number of anomalies in the presumed “scientific” data.

    While I do agree that evolution as a theory should be taught in schools and that alternative theories like ID and Creationism should remain in the realm of home and church, I would not be so cavalier in my dismissal of unanswerable question.

    None of the theories can be proven experimentally, as any attempt to prove Darwinian evolution necessarily requires the intervention of man, a higher intelligence (at least allegedly so). and thus would lend more credence to Intelligent Design than Darwinian evolution…quite a Catch-22, no?

    Like

  27. Ed Darrell says:

    Tony, that’s astounding.

    1. This guy went through that whole piece without once giving credit to Duane Gish? Which commandment endorses plagiarism, would Charley say?

    2. It’s riotous how he calls bird saliva “special glue,” and then pretends there’s another sort of “special saliva” to dissolve the first kind. Clearly a man who has never heard of Lik-em-ade. I love how he pretends the woodpecker tongue is completely unique to that one woodpecker, not mentioning that there are 218 known species of woodpeckers, not mentioning that not all of them have that particular adaptation, and failing to mention that all birds have tongues with similar structures (see chicken hyoids and especially the structure of hummingbird tongues). And it’s fantastic the way he says the woodpecker foot cannot function in any other way — I’m assuming he’s talking about zygodactyly (two toes forward, two toes back) for the woodpecker he shows — while failing to mention that many other birds have the same foot structure, and failing to mention that there are no fewer than three different foot structures among the more than 200 woodpeckers (does he even know there is a three-toed woodpecker, a whole family of them?), and failing to mention that zagodactyly is a less favorable method of securing a pecking beak than other foot arrangements.

    At the end he has the gall to say rocks can’t evolve into people, when it’s clear to anyone without frontal lobes that this guy has rocks in his head.

    When Gish presented this last time I saw him, in Glen Rose, he used the formal name of the bird: “Mr. Woodpecker.” I liked that a lot.

    Like

  28. Tony Whitson says:

    As usual, YouTube makes this way more complicated than it needs to be.

    GodTube provides a much simpler disproof of evolution, one that Ed won’t try to argue with. See

    http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=817b7893bcdeed13799b

    Like

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