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The Great Conspirator

I was teasing one of the commenters here by deliberately misinterpreting a comment of his referring to intelligent design and replying that I didn’t consider intelligent design a conspiracy theory. However, I really do.

Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”

Wikipedia

Writers on conspiracy theories delineate two general ways to explain the world: The Forrest Gump theory ([stuff] happens) and the conspiracist explanation (nothing happens without a reason). The former believe that there is chaos in the world and that chaos, coupled with natural processes and people following their own interests, explain what happens. The latter see deep underlying structure in things, connections between events and the hand of conspirators pulling the strings from behind the stage. Writers on the psychology of conspiracy theory suggest that those in the former camp are less prone to see patterns in random events and that they are more comfortable with uncertainty compared to the latter.

At this point in the story, the reader should have figured out where I’m going. “Undirected process” is the  Gump theory and “intelligent cause” is the approach of the conspiracy minded.

Writer Michael Barkun, in his book A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, delineates three types of conspiracy theory: Event conspiracies1, those linked to particular discrete events, such as (to use my example) Barack Obama’s birth; Systemic conspiracies that involve grand plots to influence major events over time; and Superconspiracies – conspiracies that manipulate and control the lesser conspiracies, and literally explain everything. For Barkun an example of a superconspiracy is the alien reptoid masters of the Earth put forth by British conspiracy theorist David Icke. However, what could be more pervasive than an “intelligent cause,” an alien that controls evolution itself?

If indeed the genesis of conspiracy theories includes intolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty, what could be less ambiguous and less uncertain than a benevolent Hand guiding everything. What grander conspiracy could be imagined?

There are dark places in the world, whether an evolutionary step a billion years old, or the kindergarten records of the President of the United States. Some attempt to fill in the gaps with an intelligent agency, perhaps working to keep us in the dark. Some feel comfortable waiting for things to work out over time, or even to remain unresolved in their lifetime. The first group are conspiracy theorists.


1I think the concept of  event conspiracies is particularly useful in answering the central question of this site: is birtherism a conspiracy theory? While birtherism differs from many classic conspiracy theories, it is like those theories that touch particular events, such as the burning of black churches in the 1990, the genesis of AIDS and the Japan tsunami.

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90 Responses to The Great Conspirator

  1. avatar
    AnotherBird July 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    joyeagle:
    Dr C,
    The most effective conspiracy theory ever perpetuated, that I reference above, would be a great one to address in your follow-ons.A greater starter into that field is Ben Stein’s “Expelled”.

    There are two components in Ben Stein’s “Expelled,” Intelligent Design and “Teach the controversy.” I for one believe that ID is a repackaging of what never was science. “The the controversy,” “let the students decide,” or “the Darwinist” to me a what joyeagle believes is a conspiracy theory with Ben Stein’s movie.

    With Obama’s birth certificate being authentic or not isn’t what I am concerned about. It is the idea that everyone from the governor of Hawaii all the way down are lying about Obama BC without producing anything.

    It is the idea that “the standard of proof is higher for you, than it is for me” that concerns me.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    That’s probably worth an entire essay by itself.

    Your concern sounds reasonable, but let’s think about it.

    Let’s say that one person says “Hillary Clinton is a shape-shifting alien reptoid that without an autopsy is indistinguishable from a human being” and the other person says: “Hillary is human.” (I didn’t make that up.)

    I wouldn’t expect the two views to meet the same standard of proof, nor the two to be presented in the classroom as competing theories, the evidence for which was laid out before the students so that the students could decide.

    Cranks don’t get equal time. A novel theory has to fight for acceptance.

    I have no problem with students deciding for themselves between natural selection and intelligent design, but it should be an exercise in a class on critical thinking or the philosophy of science, not a class on biology. Intelligent design (or any other scientific theory) has to gain a consensus in the scientific community before it enters the school curriculum.

    AnotherBird: It is the idea that “the standard of proof is higher for you, than it is for me” that concerns me.

  3. avatar
    Sef July 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I have no problem with students deciding for themselves between natural selection and intelligent design

    And be properly admonished if they get the wrong answer.

  4. avatar
    JD Reed July 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Joyeagle, please specify — don’t generalize — about lies that the Governor of Hawaii have told regarding Obama’s BC. On the other hand, the birthers have told myriad lies — asserting that Hawaiian officials’ verifcation of Obama’s birth there didn’t really mean what their words plainly said; that Gov. Abercrombie served a search warrant on two Honolulu hospitals in search of the BC; that Hawaiian law authorizes DOH officials to create records that attest that someone was born in Hawaii when said officials know (s)he was born elsewhere (if this were true, why have they been unable to produce a single example?); that Honolulu newspapers in 1961 took information from the families for the birth records they printed (when of course, they printed birth records funneled through the DOH because it wouldn’t make good business sense to do otherwise.)

    Just for starters,

    Now about those lies from Gov. Abercrombie, et al? …

  5. avatar
    G July 30, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Agreed! (bolded emphasis, mine).

    Dr. Conspiracy: I wouldn’t expect the two views to meet the same standard of proof, nor the two to be presented in the classroom as competing theories, the evidence for which was laid out before the students so that the students could decide.

    Cranks don’t get equal time. A novel theory has to fight for acceptance.

    I have no problem with students deciding for themselves between natural selection and intelligent design, but it should be an exercise in a class on critical thinking or the philosophy of science, not a class on biology. Intelligent design (or any other scientific theory) has to gain a consensus in the scientific community before it enters the school curriculum.

  6. avatar
    G July 30, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Correct. ID is nothing but repackaged back door Creationism in disguise… or as has aptly been titled, “Creationism Lite”. There is NO actual science to the ID nonsense. It does not at all qualify as a “theory” in the true, scientific definition of the term.

    AnotherBird: I for one believe that ID is a repackaging of what never was science.

  7. avatar
    John Reilly July 30, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    One has to start with a fundamental belief in the scientific method. That is, you postulate a theory (i.e., the Earth is round) and then devise tests of that theory. Darwin postulated evolution, and various folk have developed tests and proven the theory. Intelligent design postulates that a human is so complex (although a potato has more genes) that we cannot be accidents. I’m still waiting for the tests of the intelligent design theory. After it is as thoroughly tested as Darwin, then it gets to be taught.

    It amazes me that a farmer in Kansas will go to a school board meeting and demand the banning of the teaching of evolution but then go read the seed catalog and order the latest disease resistant wheat seed. Out in the barn, he has been breeding his cows for milk production, and his chickens for egg production. He keeps detailed production records on his home computer. When he wants to buy sperm for his cows or mares, he reads detailed reports concerning their characteristics. Unlike those of us who do not get to earn our living based upon the latest gentic improvements in crops and livestock, farmers see practical results from tests of what Darwin started. And then some, who live with evolution every day, vote Neanderthal.

    And then you look at folks like Mr. Farrah and observe that evolution has not worked well. Ms. Dr. Taitz? An absolute evolutionary disaster, and proof that, on occasion, evolution goes off on odd tangents.

  8. avatar
    richCares July 30, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    issues of ID and ID’s nonsense are covered well at Panda’s thumb
    http://pandasthumb.org/
    .
    in other news, Texas School Board says no to creationism in their science textbooks
    .
    Doonesbury on ID
    http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/archive/2011/07/10

  9. avatar
    Keith July 30, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I have no problem with students deciding for themselves between natural selection and intelligent design, but it should be an exercise in a class on critical thinking or the philosophy of science, not a class on biology. Intelligent design (or any other scientific theory) has to gain a consensus in the scientific community before it enters the school curriculum.

    Exactly.

    Although ‘Intelligent Design’ as a concept is only a few decades old, I remember studying it in high school in the mid-sixty’s. It wasn’t called ID back then, but the ideas that define it were precisely the same. It was actually discussed in science class, in a section discussing the history of scientific thought. We discussed biblical creation, spontaneous generation, that set of ideas now known as ID and several other world views to show why they were not ‘scientific’ systems but ‘belief’ systems.

    That topic took probably one (1) day. I have no problem what-so-ever with that being discussed in a science classroom; distinguishing between science and belief is vital to the study of science.

    But trying to pretend that ID is science and teaching it on equal footing with actual biology in the science classroom is intellectually dishonest and to insist that there is a ‘controversy’ about whether ID is science or not is simply pathetic.

  10. avatar
    Lupin July 30, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Cranks don’t get equal time.

    Beautiful! I should have this framed.

    I never understood why (staring from the mid 90s in particular) the “Shape of the Earth: views differ” syndrome started pervading the mainstream media.

  11. avatar
    Northland10 July 30, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Keith: But trying to pretend that ID is science and teaching it on equal footing with actual biology in the science classroom is intellectually dishonest and to insist that there is a controversy’ about whether ID is science or not is simply pathetic.

    The problem is that the subject of these are entirely different. Science, and thus the study of evolution, is about “how.” ID, and Creationism, being based upon Scripture (i.e. the Bible for Christians), is about “who.” Scripture does not exist to tell us how God did something, but to teach who God is and thus, our relationship.

    Those who fear the study of evolution show a weak faith. I would think, for a person of faith, observing the intricate evolution of creation would be a testament God’s vastness. I suppose this would be expected from those who confuse “image” of God with “we look like” God (which may also play into some birthers’ fear of Obama).

  12. avatar
    charo July 30, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    A Catholic perspective that is well done. It is from March 1984. I am hoping to find some kind of update from the writer.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/humanity/evolutn.txt

    (credit to Catholic Position Papers)

  13. avatar
    Bob July 30, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    If you believe in Intelligent Design then you can believe that evidence of Evolution (fossils, etc) was also created. The two beliefs are not mutually exclusive but Intelligent Design just has no place in a scientific discussion.

    It’s like putting a prayer in the middle of a cake recipe. It’s like putting pornographic photos in a car maintenance manual.

  14. avatar
    Majority Will July 30, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Bob:
    If you believe in Intelligent Design then you can believe that evidence of Evolution (fossils, etc) was also created.The two beliefs are not mutually exclusive but Intelligent Design just has no place in a scientific discussion.

    It’s like putting a prayer in the middle of a cake recipe.It’s like putting pornographic photos in a car maintenance manual.

    They must think The Flintstones was a scientific documentary.

  15. avatar
    joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I think Dr C actually understood where I was going with this. Thanks Dr C for the article. No, I wasn’t suggesting ID was a CT. I do maintain that evolutionary origins of the earth and humanity is a CT/lie that is the most successful of all times–and therefore would be an interesting study in effective CT/grand lies.
    And the irony is what I suspected, that most of the intelligent debunkers of birtherism in here are completely intertwined in its hold.
    What becomes immediately evident when debate begins on this subject, is that it is not science … it is about origins and there are no tests. It is faith … and the evolutionist immediately lose much rational ability and run with deep emotion. All the symptoms of those deeply involved in birtherism, is evident in evolutionists also–but it has become so successful that it now relies on “The Majority wins” logic.
    Cranks do get more than equal time … when it becomes the majority. Expelled is a great expose on that.
    John, a farmer who benefits from genetics in no way benefits from the delusional thinking that the earth formed from swirling masses and eventually the human race popped out–just give it time. No more than I benefit from birtherism because I get my valid birth certificate and can go get a passport.
    It is not SCIENCE vs ID–evolutionary origins is no more science than ID, it is also faith and philosophy … but if you keep saying “all the experts say it is a forgery” enough, it becomes fact. If only the birthers had the MSM and universities on their side. The only difference is that this CT/Lie was so successful that it eventually won over the majority–and now that is its main prop. It doesn’t stand on its merits. It is not self-evident truth any more than Obama being born in Kenya, Canada.

  16. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    joyeagle:
    I think Dr C actually understood where I was going with this.Thanks Dr C for the article.No, I wasn’t suggesting ID was a CT.I do maintain that evolutionary origins of the earth and humanity is a CT/lie that is the most successful of all times–and therefore would be an interesting study in effective CT/grand lies.
    And the irony is what I suspected, that most of the intelligent debunkers of birtherism in here are completely intertwined in its hold.
    What becomes immediately evident when debate begins on this subject, is that it is not science … it is about origins and there are no tests.It is faith … and the evolutionist immediately lose much rational ability and run with deep emotion.All the symptoms of those deeply involved in birtherism, is evident in evolutionists also–but it has become so successful that it now relies on “The Majority wins” logic.
    Cranks do get more than equal time … when it becomes the majority.Expelled is a great expose on that.
    John, a farmer who benefits from genetics in no way benefits from the delusional thinking that the earth formed from swirling masses and eventually the human race popped out–just give it time.No more than I benefit from birtherism because I get my valid birth certificate and can go get a passport.
    It is not SCIENCE vs ID–evolutionary origins is no more science than ID, it is also faith and philosophy … but if you keep saying “all the experts say it is a forgery” enough, it becomes fact.If only the birthers had the MSM and universities on their side.The only difference is that this CT/Lie was so successful that it eventually won over the majority–and now that is its main prop.It doesn’t stand on its merits.It is not self-evident truth any more than Obama being born in Kenya, Canada.

    Joy, your handle should be IgnoranceIsBliss.

  17. avatar
    Majority Will July 30, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    joyeagle:
    I think Dr C actually understood where I was going with this.Thanks Dr C for the article.No, I wasn’t suggesting ID was a CT.I do maintain that evolutionary origins of the earth and humanity is a CT/lie that is the most successful of all times–and therefore would be an interesting study in effective CT/grand lies.
    And the irony is what I suspected, that most of the intelligent debunkers of birtherism in here are completely intertwined in its hold.
    What becomes immediately evident when debate begins on this subject, is that it is not science … it is about origins and there are no tests.It is faith … and the evolutionist immediately lose much rational ability and run with deep emotion.All the symptoms of those deeply involved in birtherism, is evident in evolutionists also–but it has become so successful that it now relies on “The Majority wins” logic.
    Cranks do get more than equal time … when it becomes the majority.Expelled is a great expose on that.
    John, a farmer who benefits from genetics in no way benefits from the delusional thinking that the earth formed from swirling masses and eventually the human race popped out–just give it time.No more than I benefit from birtherism because I get my valid birth certificate and can go get a passport.
    It is not SCIENCE vs ID–evolutionary origins is no more science than ID, it is also faith and philosophy … but if you keep saying “all the experts say it is a forgery” enough, it becomes fact.If only the birthers had the MSM and universities on their side.The only difference is that this CT/Lie was so successful that it eventually won over the majority–and now that is its main prop.It doesn’t stand on its merits.It is not self-evident truth any more than Obama being born in Kenya, Canada.

    You’re funny. Thanks for the chuckle!

  18. avatar
    Keith July 30, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Northland10: The problem is that the subject of these are entirely different. Science, and thus the study of evolution, is about “how.” ID, and Creationism, being based upon Scripture (i.e. the Bible for Christians), is about “who.” Scripture does not exist to tell us how God did something, but to teach who God is and thus, our relationship.

    I take your point, and for the most part agree. However there is that curly bit at the start of Genesis that tells us God did it in 6 days, and in what order (two different orders actually, depending on which chapter you want to read today).

    I appreciate there are those that insist that the word ‘day’ is to be viewed with poetic license, and I don’t really have a problem with that, but my point, in this post, is that is that there is a fair bit of ‘how’ in the scripture, and to accept that ‘how’ as the fundamental truth of the creation of the existence is to reject science.

    ID proponents seem to think that by removing the words ‘God’ from their arguments that what they are left with science and that is just absurd. A supernatural designer can be none other than God. ID is a belief system. It has no place in the science classroom except as an example of a non-scientific worldview.

    Personally, I do believe in the truth of Genesis, of course. But not as science, as mythology. Please don’t be tricked by the word ‘mythology’. It has nothing to do with fairy tales or legends. It has to do with wisdom stories passed from generation to generation. See the works of Joseph Campbell, especially “The Masks of God” or the “Hero with a Thousand Faces” for an idea of what I mean by mythology.

    Campbell describes the 4 functions of mythology, all of which were once, in the distant past satisfied through religion: (Following quotations in italics from here


    1. The Mystical/Metaphysical Prospect. This is the religious/spiritual function: a myth is meant to make people experience the powerful feeling of the divine in their lives. As Campbell puts it, a “living mythology” will “waken and maintain in the individual an experience of awe, humility, and respect, in recognition of that ultimate mystery, transcending names and forms, ‘from which,’ as we read in the Upanishads, ‘words turn back.'”

    In today’s world, religion still has a major role to play to satisfy this function. Christianity, it seems to me, has nearly abandoned this, its central purpose, in an effort to maintain control over the other 3 functions. Thus the major shift to ‘alternate, new age’ spirituality.


    2. The Cosmological Prospect. “The second function of a mythology,” Campbell writes, “is to render a cosmology, an image of the universe.” This might include how things like time, space, and biology work and are organized — for example, how the world and its creatures came to be (and how long that took, or how they changed over time), where heaven and hell and the Garden of Eden are, and what the universe is made of.

    In today’s world this function is satisfied by Science.


    3. The Social Prospect. Campbell somewhat ominously defines this function of myth-telling as “the validation and maintenance of an established order.” (p. 621) As I put it more positively above, it can also be seen as wisdom-rich models for social behavior. Parables embedded with morals attempt to teach us how we should behave — what is model behavior and what is unacceptable.

    Today secular Government satisfies this function.


    4. The Psychological Sphere. This is the aspect of mythology where stories symbolize important points in an individual’s life, with the purpose of “the centering and harmonization of the individual.” Freud, with his Oedipal and Electra complexes, was one who explicity connected myths with life paths. Of course, most stories speaks to us as individuals exactly to the extent that we see ourselves in them.

    I see this function being filled by the arts and culture. Religion has a role here as well.

    This is way too large a rant for an off-topic post. I got carried away. Sorry Doc.

  19. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    joyeagle:
    I think Dr C actually understood where I was going with this.Thanks Dr C for the article.No, I wasn’t suggesting ID was a CT.I do maintain that evolutionary origins of the earth and humanity is a CT/lie that is the most successful of all times–and therefore would be an interesting study in effective CT/grand lies.
    And the irony is what I suspected, that most of the intelligent debunkers of birtherism in here are completely intertwined in its hold.
    What becomes immediately evident when debate begins on this subject, is that it is not science … it is about origins and there are no tests.It is faith … and the evolutionist immediately lose much rational ability and run with deep emotion.All the symptoms of those deeply involved in birtherism, is evident in evolutionists also–but it has become so successful that it now relies on “The Majority wins” logic.
    Cranks do get more than equal time … when it becomes the majority.Expelled is a great expose on that.
    John, a farmer who benefits from genetics in no way benefits from the delusional thinking that the earth formed from swirling masses and eventually the human race popped out–just give it time.No more than I benefit from birtherism because I get my valid birth certificate and can go get a passport.
    It is not SCIENCE vs ID–evolutionary origins is no more science than ID, it is also faith and philosophy … but if you keep saying “all the experts say it is a forgery” enough, it becomes fact.If only the birthers had the MSM and universities on their side.The only difference is that this CT/Lie was so successful that it eventually won over the majority–and now that is its main prop.It doesn’t stand on its merits.It is not self-evident truth any more than Obama being born in Kenya, Canada.

    But it doesn’t explain gravity.

  20. avatar
    Keith July 30, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    joyeagle: John, a farmer who benefits from genetics in no way benefits from the delusional thinking that the earth formed from swirling masses and eventually the human race popped out–just give it time.

    That is, of course, a strawman argument. John the farmer is benefitting everyday from the knowledge that is categorized within the theory of evolution.

    The Theory of Evolution has nothing what-so-ever to do with cosmological theory (swirling masses or whatever) nor abiogenesis (non-life becoming life). That is the strawman argument you are fostering here.

    The theory of evolution does not attempt to describe how the universe began, nor how the first living ‘organism’ came to be. Evolution describes how life, once it exists, changes over time. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.

  21. avatar
    Northland10 July 30, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Keith: or the “Hero with a Thousand Faces” for an idea of what I mean by mythology.

    Or watch the Star Wars Trilogy πŸ˜‰

    You made good points. In honesty, I was limiting myself in length so I kept down any fuller description.

  22. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Keith: See the works of Joseph Campbell, especially “The Masks of God” or the “Hero with a Thousand Faces” for an idea of what I mean by mythology.

    You might also try “Masks of the Universe” by the sadly deceased Edward Harrison. You will need to read it at least twice, though, to fully comprehend it.

  23. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Ok, so John does benefit from genetic changes over time science. That is not the CT/Lie that I was speaking of. The cosmological theory and abiogenesis is that which is taught in school, presented in the media as fact.

    Keith: That is, of course, a strawman argument. John the farmer is benefitting everyday from the knowledge that is categorized within the theory of evolution.

    The Theory of Evolution has nothing what-so-ever to do with cosmological theory (swirling masses or whatever) nor abiogenesis (non-life becoming life). That is the strawman argument you are fostering here.

    The theory of evolution does not attempt to describe how the universe began, nor how the first living organism’ came to be. Evolution describes how life, once it exists, changes over time. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.

  24. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Huh?

    Sef: But it doesn’t explain gravity.

  25. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Bob, Fossils are not evidence of abiogenesis evolution, but rather contradict it. That is, unless you are in the hold/grip of the big CT, in which case you might see smiley faces on the BC as evidence of forgery.
    I’ve been identified as speaking in broad strokes and platitudes in here before, so let me give some examples.
    Darwin recognized that life appears suddenly, mature, complex, diversified, and scattered globally in the “lowest sedimentary layer” … and that it was contradictory to evolutionary origins (Origin of Species, p348). He even stated as much, “The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists … as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.” (Ibid., p. 344). Or as Jeffery Levinton says “Evolutionary biology’s deepest paradox concerns this strange discontinuity. Why haven’t new animal body plans continued to crawl out of the evolutionary cauldron during the past hundreds of millions of years? Why are the ancient body plans so stable?” “The Big Bang of Animal Evolution,” Scientific American, Vol. 267, November 1992, p. 84.
    Origins based on evolution requires minor variations gradually accrue and become major categories of organisms, right? However, the opposite is most all of today’s plant and animal phyla—including flowering plants, vascular plants, and vertebrates—appear at the base of the fossil record. In fact, many more phyla are found in the Cambrian than exist today. Complex species, such as fish, worms, corals, trilobites, jellyfish, sponges, mollusks, and brachiopods appear suddenly, with no sign anywhere on earth of gradual development from simpler forms. Insects, a class comprising four-fifths of all known animal species (living and extinct), have no known evolutionary ancestors. Insects found in supposedly 100-million-year-old amber look like those living today. The fossil record does not support evolution.

    Bob:
    If you believe in Intelligent Design then you can believe that evidence of Evolution (fossils, etc) was also created.The two beliefs are not mutually exclusive but Intelligent Design just has no place in a scientific discussion.

    It’s like putting a prayer in the middle of a cake recipe.It’s like putting pornographic photos in a car maintenance manual.

  26. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Majority Will,

    Thanks for the link–I’ve not been a big O’Reilly fan for a long time. Newton is one of my hero’s. It is interesting, since you and Sef bring up the tides, that we have been able to measure the movement of the moon away from the earth caused by the tidal effect, and it appears linear over time. We can measure it accurately with lasers and the reflectors placed up there by the Appollo astronauts. Simple orbital dynamic problem solving shows the liberal upper limit on the earth-moon system is 1.2 billion years. I have the math in a document to show this.

    Majority Will: http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/god-gravity-and-the-anti-science-lunacy-of-bill-oreilly/

  27. avatar
    BatGuano July 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Bob: .It’s like putting pornographic photos in a car maintenance manual.

    autoeroticism?

  28. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    On which planet have “various folk developed tests and proven the theory,” of the evolutionary origins of man? Quite a broad statement of falsity. Reminds me of statements like, “All the document experts have proven the BC is a forgery,” and “he has noone who knew him when he was young,” and, “various experts have proven that a natural born citizen requires two citizen parents.” Only, its been said over and over long enough now for the majority to now accept it as fact.

    John Reilly:
    One has to start with a fundamental belief in the scientific method.That is, you postulate a theory (i.e., the Earth is round) and then devise tests of that theory.Darwin postulated evolution, and various folk have developed tests and proven the theory.

  29. avatar
    Bob July 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Bob: Fossils are not evidence of abiogenesis evolution . . .

    Joyeagle, I wasn’t really weighing in on fossils being evidence of Evolution. Thanks for the non-response though.

  30. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I won’t claim to be a man of great faith–but neither of weak faith. I do not fear the study of evolution–it just has no place in a science classroom. It is a matter of faith and religion and belief. Noone “observes the intricate evolution of creation” any more than anyone has observed the birth of Obama in Kenya, Canada … it is an imaginary creation with many infallible proofs like dead step-grandmother testimony, missing documents, etc.

    Northland10: The problem is that the subject of these are entirely different.Science, and thus the study of evolution, is about “how.”ID, and Creationism, being based upon Scripture (i.e. the Bible for Christians), is about “who.”Scripture does not exist to tell us how God did something, but to teach who God is and thus, our relationship.

    Those who fear the study of evolution show a weak faith.I would think, for a person of faith, observing the intricate evolution of creation would be a testament God’s vastness.I suppose this would be expected from those who confuse “image” of God with “we look like” God (which may also play into some birthers’ fear of Obama).

  31. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Joyeagle:
    I won’t claim to be a man of great faith–but neither of weak faith. I do not fear the study of evolution–it just has no place in a science classroom.It is a matter of faith and religion and belief.Noone “observes the intricate evolution of creation” any more than anyone has observed the birth of Obama in Kenya, Canada … it is an imaginary creation with many infallible proofs like dead step-grandmother testimony, missing documents, etc.

    The vast majority of the billions of people who exist on the Earth now have no knowledge of your existence. Does that mean you don’t exist?

  32. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Sef,

    I read the link. I agree that gravity was not a moot point.

    Why change my monicker to IgnoranceIsBliss?

    <a href="amp;ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com

  33. avatar
    Majority Will July 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    BatGuano:
    “It’s like putting pornographic photos in a car maintenance manual.”

    “autoeroticism?”

    Bazinga! πŸ˜€

  34. avatar
    aarrgghh July 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    q: if a tree falls in the forest when no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    a: of course it does. sound is not the reaction of the ear to pressure waves; sound is the pressure waves.

    there are a great many phenomenon that are outside our ability to directly “observe” because they are too quick or too slow or too big or too small or too distant or too late. (evolution is not one of them.) but we can still form powerful conclusions based on the evidence they leave behind.

    your definition of evolution by implication renders science almost useless. it is not a novel argument and has been answered many times. at this late date it is just a straw man.

    Joyeagle:
    just has no place in a science classroom.It is a matter of faith and religion and belief.Noone “observes the intricate evolution of creation” any more than anyone has observed the birth of Obama in Kenya, Canada …

  35. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Your definition of document experts by implication renders documents almost useless. It is not a novel argument and has been answered many times on wnd. So at this stage it is just a straw man. Birtherism/evolutionary origins of man … we just choose to believe them, accept them as fact … ain’t nobody can talk us out of it … our mind is made up–besides, it’s what we want to believe.

    aarrgghh:
    q: if a tree falls in the forest when no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    a: of course it does. sound is not the reaction of the ear to pressure waves; sound is the pressure waves.

    there are a great many phenomenon that are outside our ability to directly “observe” because they are too quick or too slow or too big or too small or too distant or too late. (evolution is not one of them.) but we can still form powerful conclusions based on the evidence they leave behind.

    your definition of evolution by implication renders science almost useless. it is not a novel argument and has been answered many times. at this late date it is just a straw man.

  36. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I think you mistaked me for someone else in the block quote?

    JD Reed:
    Joyeagle, please specify — don’t generalize — about lies that the Governor of Hawaii have told regarding Obama’s BC. On the other hand, the birthers have told myriad lies — asserting that Hawaiian officials’ verifcation of Obama’s birth theredidn’t really mean what their words plainly said; that Gov. Abercrombie served a search warrant on two Honolulu hospitals in search of the BC; that Hawaiian law authorizes DOH officials to create records that attest that someone was born in Hawaii when said officialsknow (s)he was born elsewhere (if this were true, why have they been unable to produce a single example?); that Honolulu newspapers in 1961 took information from the families for the birth records they printed (when of course, they printed birth records funneled through the DOH because it wouldn’t make good business sense to do otherwise.)

    Just for starters,

    Now about those lies from Gov. Abercrombie, et al? …

  37. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    For a fun read try “The Problem of Human Life Here and Hereafter” by A. Wilford Hall if you can find it.

  38. avatar
    Joey July 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    I support the concept of “Unintelligent Design.”
    I support the proposition that God created evolutiona and it’s a highly flawed system.

    “Unintelligent Design: Why God isn’t as smart as she thinks she is.”
    http://www.amazon.com/Unintelligent-Design-Mark-Perakh/dp/1591020840

  39. avatar
    aarrgghh July 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    oops, i think i done broke somebody’s logic bone

    Joyeagle:
    Your definition of document experts by implication renders documents almost useless.It is not a novel argument and has been answered many times on wnd.So at this stage it is just a straw man.Birtherism/evolutionary origins of man … we just choose to believe them, accept them as fact … ain’t nobody can talk us out of it … our mind is made up–besides, it’s what we want to believe.

  40. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Let me raise with you the possibility that the information upon which you may have based your statement below is not the best available.

    I don’t claim to be an expert in evolutionary biology, but I do know that a wide consensus of those who are consider evolution through the agency of mutation and natural selection to be accepted fact. I do not see how such a consensus could exist if it were only a matter of faith, and religion and belief.

    I don’t seem to have a copy of Stephen Gould’s book Wonderful Life any more, but I suggest that you read some of his work before you take the wheels off the trailer and tie it down.

    Joyeagle: I do not fear the study of evolution–it just has no place in a science classroom. It is a matter of faith and religion and belief.

  41. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Always beware someone who paraphrases instead of quotes, or quotes only a few words. Your source makes it sound like Darwin is arguing against his own theory — and how much sense does that make? It sounds to me like you’re uncritically relying on a biased source.

    In any case, Darwin didn’t have the techniques to find the simplest forms of life or the ability to date them if he did.

    Joyeagle: Darwin recognized that life appears suddenly, mature, complex, diversified, and scattered globally in the “lowest sedimentary layer”

  42. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Dr,
    Thank you! My point exactly! It is based on a matter of consensus–not universal–but the majority. So if birtherism or any other conspiracy could just be as “effective” in propaganda … if they ever gained the same “consensus” with enough Doctorates like the good Mr Corsi then we could call it fact.
    I am not an expert on biology either, but I do believe the accepted fact of evolution through the agency of mutation and natural selection is strictly a concoction and dream … conspiracy. Information is passed from generation to generation through the vehicle of DNA … it is an amazing miracle nearly beyond appreciation. Mutations and natural selection do not generally ADD ANY INFORMATION to the code. Mutations are the only known means by which new genetic material becomes available for evolution. Rarely, if ever, is a mutation beneficial to an organism in its natural environment. Almost all observable mutations are harmful; some are meaningless; many are lethal. No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors. It’s like believing random harmful electric shocks to your computer will eventually (given enough time) produce better software … more beneficial.
    My “information” or opinion is not based on any one source like the WND for birtherism.

    So, at what level of consensus do we need to convert a conspiracy over to fact?

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Let me raise with you the possibility that the information upon which you may have based your statement below is not the best available.

    I don’t claim to be an expert in evolutionary biology, but I do know that a wide consensus of those who are consider evolution through the agency of mutation and natural selection to be accepted fact. I do not see how such a consensus could exist if it were only a matter of faith, and religion and belief.

  43. avatar
    gorefan July 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Joyeagle: Darwin recognized that life appears suddenly, mature, complex, diversified, and scattered globally in the “lowest sedimentary layer”

    No, actually Darwin recognized that the fossil record had such occurences but that the fossil record, at that, time was very limited.

    From the rest of the paragraph you cite:

    “But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record, and falsely infer, because certain genera or families have not been found beneath a certain stage, that they did not exist before that stage. In all cases positive palaeontological evidence may be implicitly trusted; negative evidence is worthless, as experience has so often shown. We
    continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined; we forget that groups of species may elsewhere have long existed, and have slowly multiplied, before they invaded the ancient archipelagoes of Europe and the United States. We do not make due allowance for the enormous intervals of time which have elapsed between our consecutive formations,—longer perhaps in many cases than the time required for the accumulation of each formation. These intervals will have given time for the multiplication of species from some one or some few parentforms; and in the succeeding formation such groups of species will appear as if suddenly created.”

  44. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Let me raise with you the possibility that the information upon which you may have based your statement below is not the best available.

    Doc, you must have gotten in a boxcar load of saccharin that you need to dispose of.

  45. avatar
    gorefan July 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Joyeagle: fact of evolution through the agency of mutation and natural selection is strictly a concoction and dream

    You may want to look into the case of the peppered moth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution

    Sounds like classic natural selection

  46. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Good Dr C,

    Of course you are right to suspect a paraphrase of meaning about one’s opponent — the originator of the conspiracy.

    So here are some better quotes:
    “There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious. I allude to the manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks.” Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 348.

    “The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists—for instance, by Agassiz, Pictet, and Sedgwick—as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.” Ibid., p. 344.

    “To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer.” Ibid., p. 350.

    “The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.” Ibid., p. 351.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Always beware someone who paraphrases instead of quotes, or quotes only a few words. …

  47. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    And I do like it when he sweetens the deal. Thanks,

    Sef: Doc, you must have gotten in a boxcar load of saccharin that you need to dispose of.

  48. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Evolution isn’t a conspiracy theory because it has no agent. True or false, evolution isn’t a conspiracy.

    If you mean that there is a conspiracy of a group of people who intentionally misrepresent the strength of the evidence for the theory of evolution through natural selection, for some nefarious purpose (nefariousness is a required element of a conspiracy theory) then I would raise the question of just how big you think this conspiracy is, and what is the nefarious purpose behind it?

    joyeagle: I do maintain that evolutionary origins of the earth and humanity is a CT/lie that is the most successful of all times–and therefore would be an interesting study in effective CT/grand lies.

  49. avatar
    aarrgghh July 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    doc’s admonition still stands — and you are still quote-mining.

    those quotes belong to this section of “origin”, wherein darwin introduces a number of objections to his theory — objections which he subsequently disposes of in his conclusion. that he raises the objections in the first person is what gives ammunition to those who would stand darwin on his head:

    “The several difficulties here discussed, namely, that, though we find in our geological formations many links between the species which now exist and which formerly existed, we do not find infinitely numerous fine transitional forms closely joining them all together. The sudden manner in which several groups of species first appear in our European formations, the almost entire absence, as at present known, of formations rich in fossils beneath the Cambrian strata, are all undoubtedly of the most serious nature. We see this in the fact that the most eminent palaeontologists, namely, Cuvier, Agassiz, Barrande, Pictet, Falconer, E. Forbes, etc., and all our greatest geologists, as Lyell, Murchison, Sedgwick, etc., have unanimously, often vehemently, maintained the immutability of species. But Sir Charles Lyell now gives the support of his high authority to the opposite side, and most geologists and palaeontologists are much shaken in their former belief. Those who believe that the geological record is in any degree perfect, will undoubtedly at once reject my theory. For my part, following out Lyell’s metaphor, I look at the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept and written in a changing dialect. Of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved, and of each page, only here and there a few lines. Each word of the slowly-changing language, more or less different in the successive chapters, may represent the forms of life, which are entombed in our consecutive formations, and which falsely appear to have been abruptly introduced. On this view the difficulties above discussed are greatly diminished or even disappear.”

    joyeagle, if you have not read the passage in its entirety, you do yourself as disservice. if you have, then you are doing us a disservice by being clearly dishonest.

    Joyeagle:
    Good Dr C,

    Of course you are right to suspect a paraphrase of meaning about one’s opponent — the originator of the conspiracy.

    So here are some better quotes:
    “There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious. I allude to the manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks.” Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 348.

    “The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists—for instance, by Agassiz, Pictet, and Sedgwick—as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.”Ibid., p. 344.

    “To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer.” Ibid., p. 350.

    “The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.”Ibid., p. 351.

  50. avatar
    J. Potter July 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    “our mind is made up–besides, it’s what we want to believe.”

    Truly frightening and sad. If true, you are stating you are shut off from recognizing / processing new information. Evolution is considered a theory, because it is testable. The scientific work isn’t propaganda. You can follow it and reproduce the results for yourself, if you desire that level of proof, or wish to disprove the theory (good luck).

    How would one even begin to test / attempt a proof of a creationist hypothesis? They by definition make a call for a supernatural agent, rendering experimentation by mere mortals impossible. No experimentation, no science, it’s storytelling. Suitable for courses in world literature, mythological symbolism, or comparative religion.

    Further, evolutionary theories have practical use in the here and now. Other than personal reassurance, intellectual laziness, or creative inspiration, what value does creationism have?

  51. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    A good read and study. Thanks for the link. No one disputes evolution within a species with variations in existing genetic information … but there were already dark and peppered moths before the shift in frequency of types. No genetic material was added to the species–no more complexity, no proof of origins through mutation and natural selection–it is still all in the mind of the believer.

    gorefan: You may want to look into the case of the peppered moth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution

    Sounds like classic natural selection

  52. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I seem to remember something about some moths that turned gray. But, just let me ask you one thing: have you ever read a modern book by anyone supporting evolution through natural selection? Have you ever heard the argument competently made?

    Let me quote a little from Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box, a popular exposition of intelligent design. I found this by flipping through the book looking for something relevant. Here’s what he says:

    Almost a century and a half after Darwin proposed this theory, evolutionary biology has had much success in accounting for patterns of life we see around us. To many, its triumph seems complete. But the real work of life does not happen at the level of the whole animal or organ; the most important parts of living things are too small to be seen. Life is lived in the details, and it is molecules that handle life’s details. Darwin’s idea might explain horse hoofs, but can it explain life’s foundation? …

    I greatly respect the work of my colleagues who study the development and behavior of organisms within an evolutionary framework, and I think that evolutionary biologists have contributed enormously to our understanding of the world.

    Your view of evolution is far more radical than the mainstream proponents of intelligent design like Behe. Behe says evolutionary biology explains a lot, and you seem to be arguing that it explains nothing.

    Joyeagle: No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors.

  53. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    OK, correct, I am stretching the “conspiracy” thing. It is more a big deception. It is not that there is a group or agent of conspirators (at least not in the natural realm ;).
    But it is more religion than science … the origins portion of it. The “nefarious” purpose is to prop up man as his own God.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Evolution isn’t a conspiracy theory because it has no agent. True or false, evolution isn’t a conspiracy.

    If you mean that there is a conspiracy of a group of people who intentionally misrepresent the strength of the evidence for the theory of evolution through natural selection, for some nefarious purpose (nefariousness is a required element of a conspiracy theory) then I would raise the question of just how big you think this conspiracy is, and what is the nefarious purpose behind it?

  54. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Thanks for the link to the source there … that is very helpful. Ok, so I read the rest of his response. I don’t think I was trying to “trick” anyone into thinking Darwin was against his own theory–just that he recognized a problem with it. When you do read the rest of the chapter there, he doesn’t add much. Let me paraphrase it in my understanding.

    “So, we got a big problem here in that in my theory the stuff happens slowly over a long period of time, but the geologic record shows a WHAMO instant Cambrian life! And really, the fossil record evidence doesn’t support my theory, but you know, the fossil record isn’t perfect after all. In fact, it is a false record where it contradicts my theory.”

    So I left off his excuse to just ignore the evidence when it is contradictory to his theory part.

    aarrgghh:
    doc’s admonition still stands — and you are still quote-mining.

    those quotes belong to this section of “origin”, wherein darwin introduces a number of objections to his theory — objections which he subsequently disposes of in his conclusion. that he raises the objections in the first person is what gives ammunition to those who would stand darwin on his head:

    joyeagle, if you have not read the passage in its entirety, you do yourself as disservice. if you have, then you are doing us a disservice by being clearly dishonest.

  55. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    No–I was using sarcasm imitating the correlation between birthirism and evolutionary origins belief–the “Birtherism/evolutionary origins of man … we just choose to believe them, accept them as fact … ain’t nobody can talk us out of it … our mind is made up–besides, it’s what we want to believe” being the same for both.

    Actually, I’ve said nothing about ID or creationism.

    What part of the Theory of evolution–concerning the origins of life and humanity, the addition of genetic information and beneficial complexity–which part is testable? I still say it is propaganda used to advance social, political agendas. Similar to birtherism being used to advance its political agendas.

    Truly frightening and sad. If true, you are stating you are shut off from recognizing / processing new information. Evolution is considered a theory, because it is testable. The scientific work isn’t propaganda. You can follow it and reproduce the results for yourself, if you desire that level of proof, or wish to disprove the theory (good luck).

    How would one even begin to test / attempt a proof of a creationist hypothesis? They by definition make a call for a supernatural agent, rendering experimentation by mere mortals impossible. No experimentation, no science, it’s storytelling. Suitable for courses in world literature, mythological symbolism, or comparative religion.

    Further, evolutionary theories have practical use in the here and now. Other than personal reassurance, intellectual laziness, or creative inspiration, what value does creationism have?

  56. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Right. The point being …

    Birther/Origins Evolutionist : “All intelligent people know that the fossil record supports evolution, and that the president was born in Kenya”

    Debunker/Rational : “Except that the record doesn’t really support it … the evidence is missing … ”

    Birther/Origins Evolutionist : “Don’t put so much stock in the evidence, its all been destroyed over time”

    gorefan: No, actually Darwin recognized that the fossil record had such occurences but that the fossil record, at that, time was very limited.

    From the rest of the paragraph you cite:

    “But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record, and falsely infer, because certain genera or families have not been found beneath a certain stage, that they did not exist before that stage. In all cases positive palaeontological evidence may be implicitly trusted; negative evidence is worthless, as experience has so often shown. We
    continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined; we forget that groups of species may elsewhere have long existed, and have slowly multiplied, before they invaded the ancient archipelagoes of Europe and the United States. We do not make due allowance for the enormous intervals of time which have elapsed between our consecutive formations,—longer perhaps in many cases than the time required for the accumulation of each formation. These intervals will have given time for the multiplication of species from some one or some few parentforms; and in the succeeding formation such groups of species will appear as if suddenly created.”

  57. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    If you think that evolutionary biology is a conspiracy by scientists to reduce the importance of God in the popular mind, then you are a “conspiracy theorist.” You think there’s a conspiracy, a hidden attempt to effect a nefarious purpose by some group. That’s not saying that you’re wrong, only that what you’re arguing is a conspiracy theory.

    One of the things that comes up ALL THE TIME in discussion of conspiracy theories and all sorts of fringe controversies is that one side just cannot understand how the other side could fail to “get it” if they just gave the other side a fair hearing.

    Of course, I know better than that, but in your case, you might “get it” and so I hope you will take the opportunity to read a competent expositor (like Stephen J. Gound) explain what evolutionary biology is about and why it is true and scientific.

    Calling evolution a “religion” really sounds like the “poisoning the well” rhetorical device. It adds more heat than light to the discussion. Do think Darwin was attacking religion or trying to explain the plant and animal populations he found? If the former, then you’ve discovered the beginnings of the conspiracy.

    Joyeagle: But it is more religion than science … the origins portion of it. The “nefarious” purpose is to prop up man as his own God.

  58. avatar
    gorefan July 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Joyeagle: No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors.

    I don’t think any evolutionary biologist would argue with you on that point. That is not really what natual selection is about. Take for example drug resistant bacteria. It has been known for some time that the bacteria do not develop drug resistance by being exposed to antibiotics but were already drug resistant before the exposure (google the Lederberg Experiment). They survived and their less drug resistant friends didn’t. New colonies of bacteria then are madeup of more drug resistant variety.

    Joyeagle: No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors.

    Would you say that the mutation that caused the bacteria to be drug resistant in the first place constituted a greater complexity. In the absence of antibiotics such a mutation would be considered harmless or neutral. But a change in the environment made it beneficial.

  59. avatar
    Jules July 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Joyeagle: “So, we got a big problem here in that in my theory the stuff happens slowly over a long period of time, but the geologic record shows a WHAMO instant Cambrian life! And really, the fossil record evidence doesn’t support my theory, but you know, the fossil record isn’t perfect after all. In fact, it is a false record where it contradicts my theory.”

    Um, no. He was stating that the most recent discoveries and analyses of the fossil record indicated that the initial perceptions of the fossil record had been wrong. These were not his own findings.

    Darwin actually wrote that before the discoveries and analyses that comprise most of what is now the known fossil record. As J.B.S. Haldane stated, the discovery of a mammal in the Precambrian would prove wrong most of what was (and is) understood about evolution. However, the fossils discovered since then have consistently failed to disprove evolution. Moreover, fossil evidence suggests that bacterial life arose in the Precambrian, consistent with evolutionary theory.

  60. avatar
    Joyeagle July 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    No sir. You and Dr Behe are both much more intelligent and educated than me. As you pointed out earlier I think, intelligence not only does not prevent us from being susceptible to CTs but may make us more so … (obviously not a direct quote–I can’t get your link to index of articles to work) …

    I don’t disagree with any thing you quote here from Dr Behe.

    I don’t mean to suggest that evolutionary biology explains nothing–just not the origins of life … that is the CT/Great Deception that is propped up like every other CT but with the help of schools, media etc.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I seem to remember something about some moths that turned gray. But, just let me ask you one thing: have you ever read a modern book by anyone supporting evolution through natural selection? Have you ever heard the argument competently made?

    Let me quote a little from Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box, a popular exposition of intelligent design. I found this by flipping through the book looking for something relevant. Here’s what he says:

    Your view of evolution is far more radical than the mainstream proponents of intelligent design like Behe. Behe says evolutionary biology explains a lot, and you seem to be arguing that it explains nothing.

  61. avatar
    gorefan July 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Joyeagle: No genetic material was added to the species–no more complexity,

    Above is the wrong block quote.

    I don’t think any evolutionary biologist would argue with you on that point. That is not really what natual selection is about. Take for example drug resistant bacteria. It has been known for some time that the bacteria do not develop drug resistance by being exposed to antibiotics but were already drug resistant before the exposure (google the Lederberg Experiment). They survived and their less drug resistant friends didn’t. New colonies of bacteria then are madeup of more drug resistant variety.

  62. avatar
    Sef July 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    Joyeagle: I don’t mean to suggest that evolutionary biology explains nothing–just not the origins of life

    Well, no it wouldn’t. That’s the same argument as it not explaining gravity. Evolution only explains changes in species and populations AFTER things get started, not how it got started.

  63. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Here’s a lab experiment where random mutation lead to the evolution of beneficial traits:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7268/full/nature08480.html

    While the opponents of evolution frequently say that such evidence doesn’t exist, it does. I mean, have you never heard of bacteria acquiring resistance to antibiotics? Do you think an intelligent designer is tweaking bacteria so that they kill us more easily?

    Joyeagle: What part of the Theory of evolution–concerning the origins of life and humanity, the addition of genetic information and beneficial complexity–which part is testable? I still say it is propaganda used to advance social, political agendas. Similar to birtherism being used to advance its political agendas.

  64. avatar
    aarrgghh July 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    now you’re just being silly … and transparently projecting your own obstinance onto darwin.

    if darwin had wanted to ignore contradictory evidence, he wouldn’t have put this chapter — nor any of the chapters from vi to x — in his book. d’oh!

    Joyeagle:
    So I left off [darwin’s] excuse to just ignore the evidence when it is contradictory to his theory part.

  65. avatar
    Expelliarmus July 31, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Joyeagle: Mutations and natural selection do not generally ADD ANY INFORMATION to the code. Mutations are the only known means by which new genetic material becomes available for evolution. Rarely, if ever, is a mutation beneficial to an organism in its natural environment. Almost all observable mutations are harmful; some are meaningless; many are lethal. No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors.

    I’m sorry, I’ve been away for a couple of days. Did Doc Conspiracy announce some sort of contest for who could manage to fit the most unsourced patently false and ignorant statements into a single paragraph?

  66. avatar
    Sef July 31, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    Expelliarmus: No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors.

    Does that mean that you are no more complex than blue-green algae

  67. avatar
    aarrgghh July 31, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    i don’t believe you can separate the question of the origin of life from the process of evolution. evolution is not just about natural selection; you can’t talk about it without talking about the environmental pressures that drive natural selection, pressures that over some unknown stretch of time in the distant past caused nonliving matter to morph into living organisms. did life develop before the development of the process that continues to shape it? it’s the question of the chicken or the egg; the answer is that they both evolved together.

    Sef: Evolution only explains changes in species and populations AFTER things get started, not how it got started.

  68. avatar
    AnotherBird July 31, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Here’s a lab experiment where random mutation lead to the evolution of beneficial traits:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7268/full/nature08480.html

    While the opponents of evolution frequently say that such evidence doesn’t exist, it does. I mean, have you never heard of bacteria acquiring resistance to antibiotics? Do you think an intelligent designer is tweaking bacteria so that they kill us more easily?

    Know I understand why you characterize ID is a conspiracy theory. I have known that ID has used some very absurd arguments. However, when contrasting arguments of some against used to disprove evolution against those of birthers it becomes crystal clear. It is always to have an open mind. Thank you.

  69. avatar
    G July 31, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    This reply is not only to your post, as one of the most recent here, but also to everyone else and especially JoyEagle. So much has been po

    Aarrgghh starts off stating that he “[doesn’t] believe you can separate the question of the origin of life from the process of evolution”… I disagree and argue that is exactly where the distinction lies. Yes, obviously there is some process that took place that allowed an assortment of organic compounds to combine in a way that transitioned them to become what we call “living material”. That doesn’t mean that process is the same process we observe in how evolution works and how life diversified and adapted from that point on.

    It always astounds me when folks like JoyEagle present an overwhelming arrogant attack on subjects that their very words show they are profoundly ignorant of really understanding and obviously have not studied. It also cracks me up to see this constant fixation on Darwin by people of this mindset…similar to how certain folks seem to idolize and deify this nation’s “Founders” as if they were all of like mind and had some infinite wisdom, instead of merely being a diverse body of people of their time who were just as unsure of themselves and disagreed just as much with each other as groups of people do today. I liken this problem to certain people being unable to deal with the “gray” areas of reality and having to “believe” in absolutes, as if somehow, certain people in past eras were “blessed” with a divine and unchanging wisdom that could possibly fully translate to the modern world we live in today. Same with the silly fixation on Darwin – as if he somehow had all the answers, instead of merely being properly recognized as one of the earliest people to take the time to recognize and document the principles of natural selection and therefore open up the door to many, many other scientists who could review his work as a basis, test aspects of it and build upon it, leading to much more important discoveries in the process. It is like someone being fixated on Newton’s understanding of physics or Galileo’s understanding of the cosmos and arguing based on that instead of addressing the further works of Einstein or Hawking or many, many others.

    Anyways, the issues of the “birth of the universe”, the “origin of life” and “evolution” *are* distinct and separate issues. At this time, we don’t have any “grand unification theory” that covers all these processes. To merely claim they are the same because they obviously all have a process involving transition in them is way to generalized and basic to have any sensible meaning.

    The processes behind the Theory of Evolution itself are now fairly well understood on a basic level. The theory of evolution is about more than just “natural selection” – it also is about mutation, genetic drift and gene flow – processes which required more “modern” techniques than available during Darwin’s time to discover and begin to understand. The discovery of DNA was probably an even more important leap forward than anything else…and this really only happend roughly 60 years ago – long after Darwin’s time. Our modern technology and scientific process to be able to review prior work, test it and build upon it have led to an exponentially increased understanding of these things since then. Gene sequencing has only been around for less than 2 decades…and what we are learning from this is a revolutionary leap forward from what we knew before then. Same in all the areas of science – whether geology, astronomy, physics, paleontology, biology, etc…where we’ve made more discovery and progress within the last 10 years than in the entire previous century! On the issue of the Theory of Evolution, there is NO real doubt within the actual scientific community, nor from anyone who actually has studied or understands these things. The reason is simple – ALL discoveries within that field and related fields which tie into it (such as plate tectonics, paleontology, etc.) ALL point in the same direction in SUPPORT of the Theory of Evolution and help to continue to narrow the gaps in our knowledge of understanding these processes.

    JoyEagle’s whole rant about what happened between the eras we deliniate as the Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian is just silly and either plain ingorance or willful intent to mislead and create a strawman by both arguing about the state of the known fossil record from 150 years ago instead of today as well as insinuate that the “explosion event” referred to happend nearly instantaneously, instead of over the course of millions of years. If you study the event and try to take an honest understanding in the terms used and the science behind it, you fairly quickly learn that for a world that is over 4.5 billion years old, TENS of MILLIONS of years is a geological “blink of the eye”. The whole point of the Cambrian deliniation is that here is where we see a rich increase in diversity of form and species as a result of the successful leap from single-cell life to multi-cellular life. Exactly what allowed that significant leap forward is still poorly known, but that doesn’t dismiss that it happened. Like all areas of science, it just shows that we still have a lot to learn and discover about the types of processes that allow for that specific and particular evolutionary change.

    Stepping back, the origin of the universe is a whole separate ball of wax and still an area of much speculation, as we have much less to go on or test and the processes involved are very different. The leading proposition (big bang) is often called Theory, but it is much less established than most items in science that earn the proper distinction of being labelled Theory. It is certainly much further along than a mere scientific Hypothesis…but then you need to understand the fundamentals of science to realize that there are many steps in between and along the way between these terms.

    Similarly, there is very little we yet understand about the processes that caused what we term “the origin of life”. So there is nothing that merits the official title of Theory there as well…and the processes involved are still actually less understood than what we know about the growth of the early universe itself…so the various notions for these methods and processes that led to life arising on Earth are still much closer to the Hypothesis stage than anything approaching being a Theory. Even those areas in which notable testing has occured to attempt to demonstrate that a specific process and method “could” be possible doesn’t provide any leap to telling us that *is* how it happened here on Earth. Very important distinctions. However, the understanding of what “could” be possible is very valuable in and of itself and there has been some fascinating progress in this field, to the point that it is not really in doubt that “life” can arise through a combination of natural processes, just in terms of figuring out “how”.

    To be very brief: Organic compounds themselves (non-living material) are quite common throughout our solar system and likely throughout the universe. Most asteroids, etc. contain them. We know these are the “building blocks of life”, as all life as we know it is based upon them. The whole question is what allowed them to combine in a way in which they could 1) become a self-contained unit (such as a cell membrane), 2) metabolize (obtain external material, convert to energy to grow/repair, and expel unused waste) and most importantly 3) self-replicate (i.e. reproduce). Many scientists attribute even more characteristics to what is required to distinguish that something is “living”…but I think it boils down to those 3 in the most basic sense. Discoveries and tests have shown that various proteins and enzymes can combine on their own and have limited self-replication or energy-transfer properties as a result (simple chemical catalyzations). We’ve proven this can occur naturally under certain conditions in various experiments on RNA…and we’ve been successful in growing them into more complex RNA chains. To over-simplify things for the sake of brevity, DNA is can be viewed as just a much more complex form of RNA. Those working in the field from various angles seriously think we are at most only a few decades away from being able to create a full artificial “cell”.. in other words, have the ability to take these organic building blocks and turn them into an entirely new “living” single-celled organism.

    The final point I wanted to touch upon is that JoyEagle seems to really have an issue with accepting that humans “evolved”…from how I interpret elements of his posts. This seems to be nothing more than the old, typical emotion-based gut response to needing to feel that humanity is some sort of “divine” creation and not wanting to accept that we are really just a very special and advanced form of primate life. Again, to make such a denial argument these days, one has to stick their head in the sand and ignore the current state of not just the fossil and archeological records but also the overwhelmingly concurring DNA evidence at hand.

    Bottom line, there is no “conspiracy theory” to evolution nor a “belief-based system” behind the scientifc method. Claiming such is mere willful ignorance from those whose worldviews are formed on belief-based thinking and therefore assume that the only way to think requires similar patterns of thought behavior.

    aarrgghh: i don’t believe you can separate the question of the origin of life from the process of evolution. evolution is not just about natural selection; you can’t talk about it without talking about the environmental pressures that drive natural selection, pressures that over some unknown stretch of time in the distant past caused nonliving matter to morph into living organisms. did life develop before the development of the process that continues to shape it? it’s the question of the chicken or the egg; the answer is that they both evolved together.

  70. avatar
    AnotherBird July 31, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    G: Bottom line, there is no “conspiracy theory” to evolution nor a “belief-based system” behind the scientifc method. Claiming such is mere willful ignorance from those whose worldviews are formed on belief-based thinking and therefore assume that the only way to think requires similar patterns of thought behavior.

    Let me slightly disagree. These people are not willfully ignorance, but attempting understand life within their belief system. They honestly believe that evolution is a direct challenge to their belief system, for what they think it does to their belief system.

    Some by portraying evolution as a belief system. They hope to have it removed or theirs included along side it. Some spread misinformation or opinions based on misunderstanding of evolution. In some cases based on blatant lies. However, most are in utter denial, and willfully belief the ‘sweet words’ of those telling them that they are right.

    I have dealt with these people in the past, and have learned to just walked away. Nothing I can say will change their minds. There are some who have the talent to teach them, but instead engage in attacking them. By doing so only reenforcing their believe that evolution is a belief system.

  71. avatar
    Keith July 31, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    Joyeagle:
    Ok, so John does benefit from genetic changes over time science.That is not the CT/Lie that I was speaking of.The cosmological theory and abiogenesis is that which is taught in school, presented in the media as fact.

    Your assertion is just plain wrong. Period.

    First, there is no Cosmologist that will claim that any model they have proposed is absolute 100% fact for two reasons: 1) nothing in Science is ever considered 100% proof and we are always getting new information to examine and decide how it fits the model or how to adjust the model to accommodate it and 2) it is impossible to test the creation of the universe. What can be done is to ‘desk check’ the mathematics of the universe creation in more and more detail.

    Second, there is currently no “Theory of Abiogenesis” that could possibly be ” taught in school, presented in the media as fact.” What we have is a whole series of hypotheses that are being evaluated, tested and argued over. Periodically, the popular science media does a progress report, but no one has ever claimed that there is anything close to agreement on one “theory”. Eventually, the network of hypotheses will/may be synthesized into a “Theory”, but not yet.

    FYI, here is a short video describing some of that work, a rather strong hypothesis put forward by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jack Szostak. Turn up your speakers, the sound is superb : The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis – Dr. Jack Szostak

  72. avatar
    Keith July 31, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    Joyeagle: Bob, Fossils are not evidence of abiogenesis evolution, but rather contradict it.

    Fossils have nothing what-so-ever to do with abiogenesis. Fossils are the preserved remains of organisms that substantial enough to actually leave remains for preservation. This was only possible many millions of years after the event (or events) of abiogenesis.

    The first life forms were almost certainly nothing like the life forms we know today and were certainly not substantial enough to leave behind preserved remains.

  73. avatar
    Keith July 31, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Joyeagle: Darwin recognized that life appears suddenly, mature, complex, diversified, and scattered globally in the “lowest sedimentary layer” … and that it was contradictory to evolutionary origins (Origin of Species, p348). He even stated as much, “The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists … as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.” (Ibid., p. 344).

    Darwin was not recognizing “that life appears suddenly, mature, complex, diversified, and scattered globally in the “lowest sedimentary layer”; he was recognizing the view that existed and contrasting it with his own view.

    The whole of the paragraph that you so carefully edit reads:


    The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists, for instance, by Agassiz, Pictet, and by none more forcibly than by Professor Sedgwick, as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection. For the development of a group of forms, all of which have descended from some one progenitor, must have been an extremely slow process; and the progenitors must have lived long ages before their modified descendants. But we continually over-rate the perfection of the geological record, and falsely infer, because certain genera or families have not been found beneath a certain stage, that they did not exist before that stage. We continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined; we forget that groups of species may elsewhere have long existed and have slowly multiplied before they invaded the ancient archipelagoes of Europe and of the United States. We do not make due allowance for the enormous intervals of time, which have probably elapsed between our consecutive formations,—longer perhaps in some cases than the time required for the accumulation of each formation. These intervals will have given time for the multiplication of species from some one or some few parent-forms; and in the succeeding formation such species will appear as if suddenly created.

    The entire chapter in question can be found here: On the Origin of Species: Chapter 9

    Darwin is following the scientifically correct procedure, identifying potential problems with his work and addressing them. Darwin did indeed recognize that he did not have all the answers, and that others following him would find more evidence (for or against!).

    Cutting and pasting quote mined attack articles doesn’t do your credibility any good at all.

    By the way, today’s “Theory of Evolution” (correct name “Modern Evolutionary Synthesis”) is as far beyond Darwin as Cosmology is beyond Newton. Just as Newton is, Darwin is recognized as an inspired genius in their field, but neither is the last word, and today’s knowledge is nowhere near the end of the story.

  74. avatar
    Keith July 31, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    Joyeagle: Of course you are right to suspect a paraphrase of meaning about one’s opponent — the originator of the conspiracy.

    So here are some better quotes:

    Better than what? You have cut and pasted cherry picked sentences that do not complete the thought he is attempting to put across.

    The fact that Darwin anticipated questions about his theory and strove to answer them is evidence of a good scientist doing good science.

    The disingenuous quotation of those questions without the proffered answers in an attempt to fraudulently slander his ideas, is intellectually dishonest to put it mildly.

  75. avatar
    Keith July 31, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    gorefan: I don’t think any evolutionary biologist would argue with you on that point.That is not really what natual selection is about.

    I’m not sure that is true:

    CB101.2. Mutations do not produce new features.

    CB102. Mutations do not add information.

    CB904. No entirely new features have evolved.

    There are several other debunked claims in the 900 range on similar topics. Click on the “List of Claims” at the top of the page to get to the index.

  76. avatar
    Keith July 31, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    Joyeagle: I don’t mean to suggest that evolutionary biology explains nothing–just not the origins of life … that is the CT/Great Deception that is propped up like every other CT but with the help of schools, media etc.

    Sorry, but there is just no such deception. Evolutionary biology makes no claim to explain the origins of life, never has, never will.

    Life could have been planted on the Earth by a rainbow colored spaghetti monster from the 6th dimension. It doesn’t matter to evolutionary biology.

    Evolutionary biology is concerned with what changes occur in life over time, not how that life came to be in the first place.

    All that matters to evolutionary biology is that life exists, not how it came to exist.

    I’ll stop beating that dead horse now, and ask you to consider whether or not it is necessary to know how a car is made before you can learn to drive a car. Clearly the car must exist before you can drive it, so there is a connection, but is it necessary to know how it came to exist to understand its controls?

  77. avatar
    richCares July 31, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    “Cutting and pasting quote mined attack articles doesn’t do your credibility any good at all.”
    this is what ID proponents do (as do birthers)
    why do these people continually embarrass them self with such little or fake knowledge of evolution. Joyeagle should spend a little time at “Talk Origins”
    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs.html

  78. avatar
    G July 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    AnotherBird,

    There really isn’t a disagreement here as my intent and use of the term “willful ingorance” is the closet I could come up with to pretty much try to categorize in simplistic terms all of the things which you have just expressed in more detail. We all struggle with the lexicon of finding the right term to fully encapsulate the full complexity a situation in a simple way…for the very reason that such things can’t truly be explained away with just a term. I look at what you wrote as just expanded clarification to these matters, of which I fully agree and not in any way a departure from those points.

    AnotherBird: Let me slightly disagree. These people are not willfully ignorance, but attempting understand life within their belief system. They honestly believe that evolution is a direct challenge to their belief system, for what they think it does to their belief system.

    Some by portraying evolution as a belief system. They hope to have it removed or theirs included along side it. Some spread misinformation or opinions based on misunderstanding of evolution. In some cases based on blatant lies.

    It is precisely because I also view most of them to fall into this category that I simply used the term “willful ignorance” to generalize the whole thing. Maybe you have a different view of what the term “willful ignorance” represents for you, but this sentence you provided pretty much spells out what I meant by that terminology.

    AnotherBird: However, most are in utter denial, and willfully belief the sweet words’ of those telling them that they are right.

    Some very valid points to keep in mind… and which have been expressed by many of us on similar topics, including how to converse with Birthers, etc. on this and other forums. I believe Dr. C has even put out a few posts on the topic. Although we all desire to reach out and “explain the world as it actually is” to those we view as ignorant or just plain wrong; quite frankly the success rate is very low and frustration at what comes across as either silly or reprehensible to us often results in expressing ourselves in ways that just further turn off the person we’re trying to reach. I do accept that some are just purely not reachable and not worth the time. I no longer care to try to “reach” such “hopeless” people, but do believe it is important to counter their nonsense, and as a perverse result of that, I’m less tolerant or sympathetic to caring about how I react to them.

    This will always be a complex issue we’ll all struggle with – how to react to different individuals and why and what defines progress or failure or the intent/point in doiing so. I don’t pretend to have any of the right answers for this, nor do I think there is any one right answer – as the intent and goal of the conversation will differ depending on who is involved and what that signifies. I’m glad you brought it up, as it is definitely a continuing area of struggle worthy of many future Dr. C. blog topics of their own.

    AnotherBird: I have dealt with these people in the past, and have learned to just walked away. Nothing I can say will change their minds. There are some who have the talent to teach them, but instead engage in attacking them. By doing so only reenforcing their believe that evolution is a belief system.

    In summary, I very much enjoyed your response and didn’t see any area where I actually disagreed with you at all. I think you simply expounded further into the points I was making with very valuable clarifications and points to ponder. Thank you.

  79. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    “Willful ignorance” is a term that I’m trying to stay away from. It carries connotations that may really say more about my own prejudices and biases than about the person I direct it towards.

    There are people who are unwilling to listen because of their presuppositions, but I think that it is rare for someone to decide to be ignorant. I remember that my grandmother didn’t want to a visit a doctor because she might be told that she had some dread disease. That I would call willful ignorance. I don’t think it generally applies to the birthers.

    G: It is precisely because I also view most of them to fall into this category that I simply used the term “willful ignorance” to generalize the whole thing.

  80. avatar
    nbc July 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Darwin recognized that life appears suddenly, mature, complex, diversified, and scattered globally in the “lowest sedimentary layer” … and that it was contradictory to evolutionary origins (Origin of Species, p348). He even stated as much, “The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists … as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.” (Ibid., p. 344).

    And of course, as we now know, life did not start abrupt and mature. What Darwin observed was the imperfections in our knowledge, not a failure of his theory. What Joyeagle is referring to is how one’s ignorance should not be a foundation to therefore conclude ‘ID’. However, it does show how Darwin presented a hypothesis which could be falsified. We however know that the data do no longer support the abrupt, mature appearance of life.

  81. avatar
    nbc July 31, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Darwin is following the scientifically correct procedure, identifying potential problems with his work and addressing them. Darwin did indeed recognize that he did not have all the answers, and that others following him would find more evidence (for or against!).

    I always have found the careful mining of quotes, without attempting to fully understand the argument is a poor foundation either for rebuttal of a hypothesis or the assertion ‘thus ID’. In the world of some, absence of answers needs to be filled. Science proposes speculations, hypothesis, ideas. ID offers… Well.. not much really.

  82. avatar
    nbc July 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Birther/Origins Evolutionist : “All intelligent people know that the fossil record supports evolution, and that the president was born in Kenya”

    I am not sure why you are conflating these issues in a somewhat erroneous manner and why you refuse to address the quote mining issue.

    Regardless, the fossil record strongly support evolution, and even what during the time of Darwin ‘appeared’ to be the swift appearance of fully formed life, was just that, a reflection of our ignorance.

    Similarly the facts, as we known them, strongly point to the simple fact of President Obama’s birth on US soil.

  83. avatar
    nbc July 31, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    What part of the Theory of evolution–concerning the origins of life and humanity, the addition of genetic information and beneficial complexity–which part is testable? I still say it is propaganda used to advance social, political agendas. Similar to birtherism being used to advance its political agendas.

    Ignorance seldomly should be seen as a useful foundation. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life. It can address to some extent the evolution of humanity. It has shown how simple processes can effectively add genetic information and beneficial complexity. In fact, several evolutionary processes have been proposed and tested with quite some success. The canard that evolutionary processes cannot add information is just that, one based on ignorance. Once one realizes that evolution is both chance and environment driven one can come to appreciate how information is effectively transfered from the environment into the genome. Darwinian theory provides powerful mechanisms which can be detected, studied and disproven. For instance, we know that Darwinian theory does not account for non-Darwinian processes of generic transfer through horizontal inheritance processes for instance, and there are some people who believe that such a form of ‘sexual transmission’ was prevalent in the early days of our evolutionary history.

  84. avatar
    nbc July 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    With Obama’s birth certificate being authentic or not isn’t what I am concerned about. It is the idea that everyone from the governor of Hawaii all the way down are lying about Obama BC without producing anything.

    That’s an interesting assertion when in fact there is no evidence of any lies by such people. GIGO…

  85. avatar
    G July 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Doc, I understand and appreciate what you are saying. I honestly wish I could avoid using the term “willful ignorance” too, but sadly, I feel it has become an entire cultural reality in certain circles that I have disdainfully accept.

    Make no mistake – there is an undercurrent of real, prideful “willful ignorance” going on in this country – a willful and boastful anti-education, anti-science, anti-college, anti-intellecualism undercurrent of bold and brash bragging bravado “willful ignorance” in too many circles and conversations to discount. These folks don’t care to know and don’t care to think or check into what they say before spouting off with authority on matters they don’t really understand at all. The only thing they don’t like is to be called out, challenged or corrected.

    I have no problem with and fully empathize with people who simply do not know certain things, because they have not been exposed to them or do not have the time to learn or keep up with them and only have what they briefly hear and have been told to go on.

    I really wish that was all we were dealing with out there.

    Dr. Conspiracy: “Willful ignorance” is a term that I’m trying to stay away from. It carries connotations that may really say more about my own prejudices and biases than about the person I direct it towards.There are people who are unwilling to listen because of their presuppositions, but I think that it is rare for someone to decide to be ignorant. I remember that my grandmother didn’t want to a visit a doctor because she might be told that she had some dread disease. That I would call willful ignorance. I don’t think it generally applies to the birthers.

  86. avatar
    richCares August 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    for joy eagles benefit, link to comments of Casey Luskin Luskin, ID’s spokesperson in chief, it’s hard for him to talk as his foot is in the way
    http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2011/07/22/casey-luskin-doesnt-do-it-again/