Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Darwin is God

Ok, seriously, who is going to take the bull by it's evolved horns and tell these "Believers" God didn't form them in his likeness, they aren't special, Bush is Satan, and God is Iraqi? Holy fuck.

18 Comments:

Blogger sexyretard said...

What brings you to your disbelief?

I should also state that I don't buy molecules to man evolution, but I didn't before I was a Christian also. Having said that, you don't see a whole lot of Christians with degrees worrying a whole lot about it. Even if we're evolved, there still has to be a first man and a first woman, and they still sinned against God, yadda yadda yadda, Jesus comes and offers a way to be right before Him.

Is it possible that in reacting to Christians you have reacted inappropriately to our Christ?

2:50 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Even if we're evolved, there still has to be a first man and a first woman, and they still sinned against God, yadda yadda yadda, Jesus comes and offers a way to be right before Him."

While I disagree with the content, I agree that this would be the rational way for Christians to approach the science behind evolution. However, the biblical literalists appear to have the loudest megaphones, and the fact that they insist on mixing their religion with my science is a big problem in my book.

3:28 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Jeff,

I don't think that the Dover or Kansas situation has any kind of "literalism in the classroom" at stake.

OK, so let me just let you lose all respect for me, as if you had any, and tell you that I believe in a six day creation about 10,000 years ago or so.

Now, let me try to regain a jot or tittle and say that this is neither for the science classroom nor a cardinal tenant of the Christian faith.

However, I feel that a great many times things assumed become fact awfully fast, and if the Field Museum displays are any indication this happens among the best of the evolutionists. In discussing blood clotting with them they have a theory, with no evidence whatsoever, which becomes "fact" becomes an intelligent designer just isn't possible.

I would say that any science class should evaluate not only what scientsts believe but also how they came to believe this, and I fear (I don't know, for it's been awhile) that this is desperately lacking.

I do know that in the textbooks I have seen recently, the tyranny of the experts is in full force. Most everytime I read in a Political Science primer that "all academics agree" or "there is near universal agreement," I find that there isn't.

A healthy dose of skepticism is always a good thing.

4:57 PM  
Blogger George W. Bush said...

I saw a great Headline in the Onion a few months back.....it was something on the line of:

"Intelligent Falling attempts to dethrone the Theory of Gravity"

I laughed my monkey nuts off.

It's not healthy when over 1/2 of the popluation believes in the literal interpretation of Genesis. That's scary shit man.

5:05 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Why does that scare you?

5:25 PM  
Blogger George W. Bush said...

It scares me because it is false, not to mention it is a reflection on how easily manipulated our population is. When people can't think for themselves it becomes a recipe for disaster. The examples are numerous,the right wing taking power via wedge issues like gay marriage, terror (evil doers), demonizing evolution etc., are all examples of people volunteering to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Ignorance is not bliss for all of us.

6:25 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Well the German church at the time of the Nazis was far from fundamentalist (in fact, sacrilegous practices such as the baptism of babies in front of swastikas were common). The mandated atheism of communism and her offspring claimed millions of lives in the Soviet Union, China, and Indochina. The Great Leap Forward alone killed over 270 times as many people as all the Crusades combined.

As for demonizing evolution, I just don't buy it. Pat Robertson saying something does not a Christian trend make.

As for gay marriage, I very seldom hear anything about the matter, and much more about the Christian need to develop healthy marriages within the church. Since that is not a political issue whatsoever, I think the perception is that we're all crazed gay-haters, and the reality is that it very rarely comes up in conversation. I have, perhaps, heard two or three sermons on the topic of homosexuality in my Christian life of about 12 years.

God is an easy target for claims of mass deception because He rarely gives press releases. All the same, knowing nothing else about a country of the 20th century save whether Christianity was the majority religion or not, one would find himself much safer in a country with Christianity than without it.

Just how well are the post-Christian French doing?

7:06 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

S-tard & Herbman,

"OK, so let me just let you lose all respect for me, as if you had any, and tell you that I believe in a six day creation about 10,000 years ago or so."

This wacky belief of yours has no impact on my respect for you, which is solid. Your faith is obviously very important to you, enough so that you selectively accept or rebuff facts depending on how they correspond to your beliefs. I think herbman would have to agree with me that this is not a phenomenon that is limited to believers, and that it can apply to liberals and conservatives alike.

This is why, while I agree with herbman's general appraisal of the casting aside of facts and evidence entailed in many fundamentalist beliefs, I think it's somewhat unfair to focus on believers or creationists if it's really the larger principle of "pulling the wool over your eyes" that you're concerned with. I talk to lots of liberals with lots of opinions on issues that are more or less similar to mine, but who have nothing to back them up. Is that less dangerous than a conservative creationist who intentionally ignores evidence because it conflicts with his beliefs? It seems like it's in the same ballpark to me.

That said, I think S-tard is minimizing the threat to the integrity of science education by creationists/IDers.

"In discussing blood clotting with them they have a theory, with no evidence whatsoever, which becomes "fact" becomes an intelligent designer just isn't possible."

I may not be following you here, but I'm familiar with the ID claim around clotting and irreducible complexity, and it's scientifically baseless. We have lots of evidence, particularly thanks to advances in DNA sequencing, of complex structures that mutate and evolve based on selective pressures unrelated to the "irreducibly complex" function that they will eventually go on to serve in an organism (like the lungs that developed in some land-walking fish before they ever needed them to land-walk). I'd like to hear you out on this, but this is the simple, scientifically sound answer to irreducible complexity, which is why evolutionists are so furious that these uninformed objections are being dressed up as some new branch of science.

9:30 AM  
Blogger George W. Bush said...

Jeff, and S-tard (i like that moniker) while I agree with Jeff's appraisals, 1)S-tard is a solid dood regardless of his poly/religious stance, i respect him, and 2) yes, definetly, the idea of pulling the wool over one's eyes is a non-partisan problem, the bigger issue on my end isn't partisan in nature. I know plenty of conservatives (some probably on this blog) that do not espouse the creationist(ID) view, they are hardcore evolutionists and atheists.

The problem, to me, is that this misinformation transcends the political spectrum, this kind of shit is going to effect our kids and their kids. It's ideological warfare, and it seems the ultra-conservative right is waging it without consideration for the truth.

After sifting through the morass of irrelevant information(to this current debate)in S-tard's earlier rant, I came to the conclusion that he is in favor or at least turns a blind eye to the lies and misinformation because the overall benefit provided by the Christian laws, morals, and norms congeals and holds society together in a uniform and beneficial manner to all. This is what scares me, not S-tard in particular, but these lies being accepted by the masses in the face of overwhelming proof. ID is not an alternative and should not be peddled as such.

12:21 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Hi Jeff,

Regarding blood clotting (remember that I'm speaking from great ignorance, having a McMaster's degree in Political Science, which is no science at all), let me tell you the gist of what I've been told by evolutionists with an advanced degree, and tell me if I'm doing them justice.

The idea is that you originally have enzyme B and that it is essential, while enzymes A and C are not. Enzyme B recruits A and C to help with a specific task, such as blood clotting, and over time they become specialists at one facet or another, and eventually become necessary, although they weren't before.

That's how I've heard the problem of irreducible complexity worked out.

Now I have a great many troubles with this, most notably that if enzyme B is so smart to be a recruiter, it must have been itself endowed with a predisposition to do so, and it seems very unlikely that any kind of functional advantage caused by this would be quick enough to affect future offspring, THAT IS, sans an intelligent agent working along with it.

I'll also mention that I believe the 10,000 year old earth not because of any scientific arguments, and that my faith does not rest on the age of the earth/universe, or author of Hebrews, or whether Tim LaHaye as recently written any books telling me to buy some flavouraide for the picnic in Guyana.

I've never particularly bought evolution, and it's never been (believe it or not) really a religious thing. I have always found it highly improbable that the little amoeba that could, completely unguided, evolved into man. I just don't buy it.

As for herbman's fear of passing down ideology to children, I don't think he has as much to fear as he thinks. Both of my parents are universalists, and I was raised going to a United Church of Christ church in a Conference in which merging with Unitarian denominations is existent. Both of my parents will say that God calls different people into different faiths, that Scripture can be wrong for today, and that no one goes to hell. You all can easily ascertain that I did not inherit their worldview.

I will teach my son that he needs to make his own decisions, and that he cannot inherit my faith, he has to make his own choice. I pray that he becomes a Christian very early in life, but I cannot beat it into him. What is ironic is that so many think that's what is happening, and the Bible seems very clear that one cannot be beaten into Christianity. It is God who saves, and not an ass-whooping.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

S-tard,

As long as we're *flaunting* our educational backgrounds, I should make it clear that it's McBachelors degrees in French and Poli Sci that highly qualify me to respond to your query...

That said here's my answer:

"The idea is that you originally have enzyme B and that it is essential, while enzymes A and C are not. Enzyme B recruits A and C to help with a specific task, such as blood clotting, and over time they become specialists at one facet or another, and eventually become necessary, although they weren't before."

I guess this is one form it could take, but it's not the only form. On a conceptual level, the idea is that "irreducibly" complex structures can develop in a couple of ways. They can develop gradually for another purpose altogether, then, via mutation, come to serve functions for which they might not have developed on a gradual basis. For example, in college I wrote a paper about a species of fish in the Antarctic, the liver of which manufactures a protein that acts as antifreeze on its scales. They weren't sure at first where the protein came from, until they discovered an almost identical one manufactured in its pancreas for digestion purposes. It became clear that the one in the liver was the result of a mutation in the sequence of the pancreatic protein.

The blod clot example is similar, as I understand it, in that the component elements of the clotting process can all be selected for for other functions, then come together to perform a new function based on new selective pressures.

This is too vast a topic to really discuss in a comment. We should read a book on it. The last thing I will say is that I don't think you really have the choice of not accepting evolution if you accept science as a legitimate system for telling us things about the world we live in, just as you don't have the choice of not accepting macroevolution if you accept microevolution (because the former is just the latter over vast expanses of time). I think that IDers, whether they know it or not, really are rejecting science itself, not just the "flawed theory" of evolution.

1:44 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Jeff,

That's a leap on many levels, to aver that rejecting macroevolution is rejecting science, and to accept microevolution is to accept macroevolution.

For starters, it assumes that trends must continue, much as if I stated that by 4005 there will be 100 trillion undocumented workers in the United States.

It also assumes that functional advantage can be had through mutations not immediately advantageous, which strikes me as unlikely, given the rate of mutations that don't kill you in the first place.

But you are quite correct that we have here a big ole can of worms that cannot really be done justice to in quick comments, let alone comments written by such scientific giants as ourselves. Tu parles francais? C'est parfait! My minor in college was French, and that last sentence is about all I have left.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Mon cher S-tard,

"For starters, it assumes that trends must continue, much as if I stated that by 4005 there will be 100 trillion undocumented workers in the United States."

Mais non... mutations will continue to occur (of this there is NO doubt) and selective pressures will continue to change, which are the only two trends (along with vast swaths of time in which they can interact) that are required to predict continuing evolution. Now, if you're right about this whole Rapture thing, then you win the bet--but you won't be here to collect, so I win either way! HA! (Unless you count the boiling blood exploding out of my veins as a criterion for me "losing.")

11:26 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

"It became clear that the one in the liver was the result of a mutation in the sequence of the pancreatic protein."

This strikes me as a variation of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Somehow, because you have the same thing in a pancreas and a liver, the one led to the other. Isn't it just as likely that both were "off the shelf" and put in at the same time, much like my 2000 Cavalier had the same shitty engine as the 1999, but had not been created from it?

Voici un bonne semaine. Ou est le prochaine "Kang and Kodos reunion?"

Dites-moi, s'il te plait.

OK, NOW I've spent all of my French.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

S-tard,

"This strikes me as a variation of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Somehow, because you have the same thing in a pancreas and a liver, the one led to the other."

It would be post hoc ergo propter hoc if there were no evidence showing the development, but there is. The antifreeze adaptation appears to have arisen from a section of non-coding DNA, which is relevant to your question of how mutations that aren't immediately adaptive can be carried through generations and across populations (genetic drift is another means of evolutionary change, besides natural selection). I looked for my old paper over the weekend, but I think it's in our storage area with five boxes of my wife's records of crazy people on top of it. Here's a link to a decent paper on it, provided you care: www.life.uiuc.edu/ib/426/handouts/SIENA.pdf

The info you're looking for is on pages 9-14.

11:20 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Jeff,

I'm into the first paragraph on page 9, and I have counted 5 "could" and 1 "would have."

This sounds like "well, we think this is how it happened, and since we know everything........"

More soon, as I must find out what a notothenoid is.

7:13 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Jeff,

Pages 9 and 10 are just full of "it could have happened this way." I noted phrases like "not unequivocal," and a bunch more could haves. Of course all of these data suggest that the processes of decay have been uniform throughout the past millions of years, and one wonders how they can be so sure.

I'll try to learn what a few more of the words mean, but so far my lack of being persuaded is "far from equivocal."

7:20 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

S-tard,

Here's where we come to the fundamental problem with the creationist critique of evolution, and why I say that that critique, were it honest, would really be a critique of science itself.

Evolutionists acknowledge that no scientific hypotheses or theory is ever definitively closed, and are always open to challenges to the theory, provided it meets the minimum criteria for scientific validity. Therefore, there's a real sense in which no question is ever definitively settled, though in many cases--as in the case of the general outlines of evolutionary theory--the preponderance of evidence is such that it is effectively treated that way.

Creationists, on the other hand, seem to demand absolute certainty of evolutionists, and cite that lack of absolute certainty (which is an intrinsic characteristic of science) as evidence of the theory's failure. Ironically, ID consists entirely of trying to punch holes in evolution, while offering no actual scientifically testable or observable hypotheses of its own. To further the irony, at least in the case of biblical creationists, the basis of their certainty is an ancient, pre-scientific document whose authors and sources are completely unidentifiable by current standards of scholarship (and if we're talking about science, then those are the standards we're held to), the original content of which has been altered and picked through according to contemporary political and philosophical whims, and that describes fantastical events that have no other contemporary corroboration. Whatever that is, it doesn't even come close to meeting minimum scientific standards for challenging evolutionary theory.

One of the things about the evolution of the notothenioid antifreeze that makes all those "could haves" so convincing is that the researchers initially predicted, based on their theory, the existence of a precursor gene that coded for both the original digestive enzyme produced in the pancreas, as well as the more novel, antifreeze-producing one in the liver. A few years after publishing the theory, other researchers did find the precursor gene. This may not be persuasive to a creationist, but it's the kind of process that all of science consists of.

11:16 AM  

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