Recently I’ve been engaged in quite a few debates on my blog about Evolution, Creation and the mental gymnasts’ take on creation – Intelligent Design.
I admit I’ve not always been eloquent or clear in my responses. So here’s a brilliant resource I’ve discovered that explains things clearly and simply.
Just a taste:
Scientific understanding requires both facts and theories that can explain those facts in a coherent manner. Evolution, in this context, is both a fact and a theory. It is an incontrovertible fact that organisms have changed, or evolved, during the history of life on Earth. And biologists have identified and investigated mechanisms that can explain the major patterns of change.
And just for laughs, something else I found on a Dutch Facebook page, Freethinker:
Dr Joseph Mastropaolo who has a PhD in kinesiology, is offering $10,000 to anyone “who can prove in front of a judge that science contradicts the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.”
The challenge has been designed to be played out in the form of a mini-trial, before a judge. One of the rules of the mini-trial is that the evolutionist challenger must also put up $10,000 to match the pocket change being offered by Mastropaolo and the Creation Science Hall of
Shame Fame, a website to which he contributes articles. [You can check out the other rules including some preposterous claims for creation which compete for space on this page]
I fail to see how he’s going to win this challenge, let alone attract anyone of integrity to participate. Firstly the $10,000 reward is paltry; in fact it’s an insult. Any number of high school biology students could present the evidence (which is overwhelming) for evolution, but I doubt $10,000 would cover their travel and other costs to attend this proposed circus. Compared to the $1,000,000 being offered by the James Randi Foundation to proponents of the paranormal and supernatural, this prize is laughable.
Secondly scientific evidence is not adjudicated by a judge, no matter how esteemed. Scientific evidence is peer-reviewed. The evidence for creation (sic) is only supported by quacks, pseudoscientists and the religious faithful and nuts alike.
Mastropaolo maintains the absurd belief that evolution “is devoid of scientific evidence.” He further contends that since none of the esteemed list of scientists and institutions he lists on his challenge page have taken up the challenge, he can claim default judgement against the Debate Dodgers as he calls them. He then goes on to proclaim, quite ludicrously that “This is proof positive that evolution is an inverted-fantasy religion taught in the public schools in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America,” and “These data confirm the scientific peer-reviewed articles of objective, valid, reliable, and calibrated evidence that evolution exists nowhere in the universe, never has, never will, except as an inverted fantasy based on vitalism superstitions 2,500 years old.”
Wow! I for one am left in no doubt that Mastropaolo is just another Creationist blowhard, hoping to create a circus show that will likely spin some money for him and his cronies. Either that or he’s bat-shit crazy.
Recently there has been a flurry of comments posted to a blog I wrote in February last year, I’ll give the Creationist’s this much: they’re certainly trying harder.
These comments are remarkable for one thing only: the utter deficiency of the basics of science. On the contrary, they’re crammed with non-facts, regurgitated from notorious Creation scientists… nearly all of which have been debunked at one time or other.
It is utterly astonishing that with the wealth of information at our disposal which demonstrate conclusively the authenticity of evolutionary science, these readers allow themselves to be drawn like zombies, to sources disseminating pure garbage. Attempts to point them to genuine sources of information such as TalkOrigins, are met with loathing and outright dismissal.
The distinct impression I get is that they don’t want to learn anything new, but rather seek the comfort of confirmation for their predisposed beliefs.
Anyway, I found this on my Facebook page today and leave it here for them to mull over… if that’s not asking too much.
“Che Guevara,” remarked the waiter as I walked into a restaurant yesterday. He was staring at my green t-shirt with the Che-like image and the words “VIVA LA EVOLUCIÓN”, a big smile on his face.
Seeing the puzzled look on his face, I wanted to explain further, but decided against it. Observing that the other customers were already happily tucking into their meals, the greater need to satisfy hunger prompted me to request a table in a hurry, instead.
Over lunch I pondered the pervasiveness of Creationism [despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary], and concluded that it was easier and more comforting for most people to think that god-did-it, than to tax their minds with the reality.
Was pointed to this hilarious compilation thanks to The Observer from AvC. Enjoy!
1.) Because I don’t like the idea that we came from apes… despite that humans are categorically defined and classified as apes.
2.) Because I’m too stupid and/or lazy to open a fucking science book or turn on the Discovery Science Channel.
3.) Because if I can’t immediately understand how something works, then it must be bullshit.
4.) Because I don’t care that literally 99.9% of all biologists accept evolution as the unifying theory of biology.
5.) Because I prefer the idea that a (insert god of choice) went ALLA-KADABRA-ZAM MOTHAH-FUCKAHS!!!
6.) Because I can’t get it through my thick logic-proof skull that evolution refers ONLY to the diversity of living organisms which reproduce with genetic variation, not to abiogenesis, or planet formation, or big bang cosmology, or whether God exists, or where they buried Jimmy Hoffa, or why the sky is blue, or how many licks it takes to get to the center of a fucking Tootsie Pop.
7.) Because the fossil record doesn’t comprise the remains of every single living thing that ever existed on this 4.5 billion year old planet, even though fossilization is a rare process that only occurs under very specific circumstances.
8.) Because science has yet to produce any transitional species… except for the magnitudinous numbers of them found in the fossil record which don’t count because… I uh, OOH LOOK! A SHINY OBJECT!!! *runs away*
9.) Because I know nothing about Darwin except that he had a funny beard.
10.) Because the theory of evolution (which, according to scientists, perfectly explains the richness and diversity of life on Earth) contradicts biblical literalism… ya know, flat Earth with a firmament that keeps out the water, talking snakes, people rising from the dead, bats are birds, flamey talking bushes, virgin births, food appearing out of nowhere, massive bodies of water turning into blood… etc etc.
11.) Because I think the word “theory” actually means: “random stabs in the dark” when it really means: “an explanation of certain phenomena that is well-supported by a large body of facts and often unifies similarly well-supported hypotheses” i.e. atomic theory, gravitational theory, germ theory, cell theory, some-people-are-dumb-motherfuckers-theory, etc.
12.) Because the fact that science is self-correcting annoys me. Most of my other beliefs are rigidly fixed and uncorrectable.
13.) Because I am under the severely mistaken impression that evolution implies someone in my very recent ancestry was a chimp.
14.) Because everything appears designed to my mind which was expertly tuned by nature to perceive design, probably as a survival mechanism.
15.) Because some secretly fabulous closet-dwelling televangelist (who unironically preaches hate towards gays) told me that evolution is Satan’s way of leading me away from God.
16.) Because that same guy (who was also caught snorting blow off a male hooker’s shiny naked ass) told me that God planted those fossils to test my faith.
17.) Because I’m 100% correct about everything 100% of the time and there is 0% chance that some snooty Oxford educated scientist with numerous honorary doctorates could possibly know something that I don’t.
18.) Because I don’t know that fossils are found in sedimentary strata corresponding to their age as one would expect if evolution were true.
19.) Because I don’t understand why, if we share common ancestry with chimps, there are still chimps. And when someone with more than three brain cells in their head inevitably replies: “for the same reason Americans share common ancestry with Brits but there are still Brits, I can’t follow the logic. It’s just too big a leap. Who am I, Evil Knievel?
20.) Because my mom dropped me on my head when I was a baby.
21.) Multiple times.
22.) On purpose.
23.) Because the idea that life evolved naturally over billions of years is infinitely less believable than the idea that an 800 year old man crammed two of every species into a giant wooden boat when the entire planet flooded, an event for which there is absolutely no geological evidence whatsoever and also makes no fucking sense at all.
24.) Because Jesus totally rode around on a fucking t-rex. He’s just that badassed. And also, did you know that t-rexes were vegetarians? Ken Ham says so and I believe it.
25.) Because I don’t realize that saying “microevolution is possible but macroevolution isn’t” is as stupid as saying “I can pick my nose for one second but I cannot pick it for 10 seconds.”
26.) Because the education system failed me miserably.
27.) …and then took a big wet dump on my face.
28.) Because I think that knowing how nature works magically obliterates all of its beauty.
29.) Because I didn’t know that evolution has been tested and observed in laboratories.
30.) Because when confronted with that, I refuse to believe it. It’s obviously a scientific conspiracy aimed at turning everyone on the planet into atheists… even though evolution says nothing about god’s nature nor whether he, she, it, or they exist.
31.) Because I’m too stupid to realize that Social Darwinism has nothing to do with evolution and is actually a pseudo-scientific bastardization that real science largely rejects.
32.) Because the planet and all the life on it was designed for humans… kinda like how the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY was designed specifically for the dust-bunnies that may accumulate on the floors.
33.) Because I don’t realize that if we actually found croco-ducks in the fossil record, it would falsify evolution.
34.) Because plenty of respectable people like Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee (who are not scientists) don’t accept evolution, and that somehow validates my opinion.
35.) Because my mother didn’t know not to drink while she was pregnant. She also didn’t know not to repeatedly throw herself down a flight of stairs in an attempt to undo the accident of screwing someone who voted for Bush both times.
36.) Because I don’t know that “irreducible complexity” has been debunked a frazillion times by a frazillion different people and is no more credible an argument than “NEEN-er NEEN-er NEEN-er, I’m right and you’re wrong.”
37.) Because I have never seen a duck evolve into a cat over night, despite the fact that such a thing would be contrary to all known scientific disciplines.
38.) Because I have no imagination, learning is too much effort, I don’t like proven facts, change scares me, and I think deoxyribonucleic acid is something I’m supposed to clean my bathroom floors with.
39.) Because evolution means that I absolutely MUST reject everything else I know, abandon all my beliefs, and start aping around my house like a fucking monkey. OOOh-ooohh-ooohohh -OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!!
40.) Because I haven’t put my cave on the market and moved into the 21st century yet. I’m waiting for the cave market to rebound from the recent financial meltdown.
41.) Because I don’t know what an atavism is and if you told me, I still wouldn’t believe it. Too weird.
42.) Because I don’t know that evolution explains methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and also provides the answer in preventing it from turning into a superbug and killing massive numbers of people.
43.) Because I don’t know that evolution is routinely used in medicine to diagnose and treat certain illnesses such as genetic ailments, bacterial infections, and viral infections.
44.) Because I believe there is a strong comparison between designed inanimate objects such as buildings, paintings, and watches (which we know were pieced together from identifiable components by human beings) and living organisms (which reproduce with genetic variation under the effects of environmental attrition).
45.) Because I see no significant similarities between humans and apes. *scratches my ass-crack then smells my fingers*
46.) Because I think I’m too special to have been crafted by any natural process and the entire planet, solar system, galaxy, and universe were created with me especially in mind.
47.) Because I unquestioningly swallow the ignorant anti-science bullshit spewed directly from the fraudulent stupid asses of people like Ken Ham, Ted Haggard, Fred Phelps, and Kent Hovind.
48.) Because I’m a freethinker and freethinking really means ignoring anything that contradicts what I already believe.
49.) Because I don’t know what confirmation bias is.
50.) Because despite the fact that in all my years of life, I have never seen any magic, I still believe magic is the answer to anything I don’t immediately comprehend.
Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case. Quod erat demonstrandum, I fucking win. Take that you EVILutionists!
I know! I know! The creation/evolution debate is getting nauseatingly old. I know there’s really nothing to debate anymore; the position of evolution is unassailable, except in the minds of creationists off course.
But I’ll give them this much: they’re not giving up trying to convince anyone who still bothers to listen, that Adam and Eve were the progenitors of mankind.
There was a time when creationism was regarded as a fact simply because the bible said so. Believing otherwise was blasphemous and indeed at some points in history, punishable by death.
As science unveiled the ignorance associated with believing without evidence, Creationists resorted to concocting “evidence” which fitted loosely with their beliefs. With scientific evidence for evolution growing stronger with corroboration across multiple scientific fields of study, it became apparent to the die-hard believers that they also needed to annex science to their cause. This resulted in the absurd proposition of Intelligent Design being conjured up.
Never was science so disgracefully abused as by institutions such as The Discovery Institute and others, to keep alive a hopelessly failed and much-maligned ideology.
However some people such as evangelist Ray Comfort and misguided former television star, Kirk Cameron preferred to hold onto the primitive banana theory, as proof of Creation.
But after watching this YouTube video of a debate on CTS’s Michael Coren Show, between Jason Wiles of Mcgill University and Lawrence Tisdall of the Creation Science Association in Quebec, I realised that Creationism is still taken very seriously these days.
More disconcerting however is the fact that the purveyors of this obsolete doctrine, are increasingly using very sophisticated arguments loosely based on valid science, to further their cause. It’s really remarkable how bullshit can be cloaked in respectability. Indeed the whole perverted ideology of Creationism is disingenuously referred to as Creation Science now.
It is astounding that people in this modern world with so many enlightening resources at their disposal, can still believe the absurd in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I guess it all goes to show that the brain is a remarkable tool which can be subjected to the most amazing acts of contortion.
NASA’s major announcement on the 2nd of December basically just confirms what scientists have been saying all along; life adapts to its environment and evolves. Bleh!
The announcement follows findings from a recent study that demonstrates how a bacterium can survive using arsenic instead of phosphorus to develop its cell components. As all creationists supposedly know, arsenic is lethal to humans, but through this scientific study, they now also know that it is not lethal to all forms of life. Off course, we may have to first convince some if not all of them, that microorganisms like bacteria also constitute life.
And what of all that bunkum about the earth being placed the perfect distance from the sun and blessed with the right mix of elements to support life?
It has long been thought that carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus which is a basic element of DNA and RNA, were an essential mix for sustaining life as we know it. This new discovery proves different, as pointed out by Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate in Washington:
The definition of life has just expanded. As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it.
I wonder what Ken Ham and other evolution denialists will conjure up to discredit or rubbish this latest discovery? What new pseudoscientific explanation or crackpot display at the Creation Museum will they dream up to offset this latest nail in their creation coffin? What new feats of mental gymnastics will they demand from their followers?
The rational world waits with bated breath!