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This Week in Stupidity 31 May 2009

Posted by Jessa in Religion, Science, This Week in Stupidity.
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Today’s Theme: Moronic arguments purporting to refute evolution

Before we begin, I should note that there is a possibility that Poe’s Law is in effect. I am leaning towards believing that these people are not Poes, given that one of the examples comes from a person that goes by the name “supersport”, who has been spewing forth ridiculous statements like these all over the internet for quite a while. So s/he is either really that ignorant, or is the best Poe ever. Either way, I’m going to treat them as serious, because I know that there are at least a few people out there who would seriously make these kinds of arguments. So, on to the show!

Gem #1, we don’t constantly drool, therefore God exists:

Ok, I have an Evolution Challenge for you. Make your mouth produce a bunch of spit, let it dribble down your face and time how long it is before you simply have to wipe it off. Go ahead; try it! I promise you it won’t be very long. It’s extremely uncomfortable to have it sit there.

Think about the babies in your life. Have you ever thought about the fact that they stop drooling after the first couple years of life? Have you ever imagined what life would be like if we didn’t stop? Some, sadly, know what this is like. Children with cerebral palsy that don’t stop drooling or those that begin drooling due to loss of facial muscle control know the horrors of this. Have you had to endure watching people stare at your parent or child as they experience this humiliating social embarrassment? Have you tried to alleviate the irritating sores that develop from skin being constantly wet? Have you tried to keep them in presentable clothing when saliva keeps staining their clothes?

What evolutionary advantage is there to developing the oral neuromuscular control at age 18-24 months? What if drooling, the default condition at birth, was the way our lives always are? How would you like to date, make love, run a business meeting, ride horses, grocery shop and take care of kids while drooling? How cool would you feel driving your fancy car down the road with sunglasses and drool? How would your wedding go with everyone trying to be discrete with their designer drool cloths or bibs?

The human body is designed to give us dignity. These specific designs and abilities point to a Creator who cares about even whether we are embarrassed or not. There’s no evolutionary advantage to not drooling. It’s the gift of dignity.

So this person spends several paragraphs giving examples of why drooling might be evolutionarily disadvantageous, yet then claims there’s no reason why not drooling is evolutionarily advantageous?  It’s all just about the fact that God doesn’t want us to look undignified?

Onto gem #2, by the über-troll supersport:

So moms are everywhere in nature. Females often go to great lengths to feed, save, and protect their young. Many construct homes and shelters…(all without knowing/understanding she’s even pregnant) and do so with great care and attention to detail.

So I’ve got two questions about this:

1) What is the evolutionary advantage of mothers doing everything they can to feed/protect their young? And remember, mothers often give food to their young that they might otherwise eat. And going out into the world to look for food is often dangerous — she could be killed looking for food. Wouldn’t there be an advantage to her personally just to forget about the kid and go about her own business of eating and finding a mate? Why the unnecessary risk? Why go to the trouble of building a nest to protect the young? Wouldn’t it be easier just to skip all that? I thought evolution was all about being selfish……….so why do so many animals put others’ needs before themselves? What’s the advantage to that?

2) Why wouldn’t it be an evolutionary advantage for mothers to eat their young? I know it sometimes happens in nature…..but not as a general rule. As a general rule, mothers and fathers very rarely eat their young…even when they’re hungry. But wouldn’t an animal be more likely to breed if it didn’t starve? Mothers should be consuming their offspring everywhere in nature — afterall, it would advantageous getting that extra nourishment.

How do the evolutionists here get around this? Where does this “love” or devotion for child come from? Got a gene you can show me? What’s the evolutionary advantage for all this? And remember — evolution cannot plan ahead.

This is a classic example of misunderstanding what the Theory of Evolution is about.  We are all familiar with the term “survival of the fittest” (which is not strictly true, but too long to get into right now).  What people fail to comprehend is that when scientist talk about “survival”, they’re talking about reproductive survival.  It doesn’t matter if a mother lives to a ripe old age through starving/eating her babies – if she dies without leaving offspring, her genetic information dies with her.  So any propensity to behave in a selfish manner would have died out quickly.  Mothers with altruistic behavior, who care for their offspring until they’re mature enough to survive on their own and reproduce, will pass on their altruistic behavior through successive generations.  It’s not difficult to see how altruism towards offspring might become prevalent in a species, assuming you’re not willfully ignorant.

H/T: PZ

Bill Maher Nails It 03 May 2009

Posted by Jessa in Humor, Religion, Science.
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5 comments

On last Friday’s episode of his show Real Time, Bill Maher urges Creationists to put their money where their mouth is:

Absolutely.

If you believe that evolution is untrue, you’ll stay away from modern medicine, since it is based on the theory of evolution.  Don’t rail as loudly as you can against science and then scurry to the doctor or pharmacy when you get the sniffles.

Happy Darwin Day! 12 Feb 2009

Posted by Jessa in Uncategorized.
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1 comment so far

n81007411_38967309_7452

Go forth and celebrate!

The Evolution Vs. Creationism Debate 01 Sep 2008

Posted by Jessa in Religion, Science.
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2 comments

In cartoon form.

Evolution:

Creationism:

Want to guess how it ends? Click to find out. (Link removed because the site no longer exists.  Sorry!)

And Now For Something Not So Completely Different 23 Apr 2008

Posted by Jessa in Religion, Science.
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Here’s comedian Lewis Black’s take on creationism:

Ben Stein on CNN 18 Apr 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Science.
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8 comments

I just got finished watching Wolf Blitzer interview Ben Stein. Of course, he is promoting Expelled, which opens today.

During the interview, he stressed several times that he believes in evolution. Well, some parts of it. Like “microevolution”, a creationist-coined term that allows them to avoid being tripped up by readily-observable examples of evolution such as the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. “Macroevolution”? Not so much.

His big problem with evolution? It’s not the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything:

Evolutionism, as taught by Darwinism, has nothing – nothing – to say about how life originated. Has nothing to say about how the governing principles in the universe – gravity, thermodynamics, motion, fluid motion – how any of those originated. It’s…it’s got some gigantic missing pieces.

So the theory of evolution is wrong because it doesn’t explain things that it was never meant to explain. Evolution is an attempt to explain how the diversity of life on Earth arose. Issues of how life began in the first place, how gravity works, or how the universe began are way outside the scope of the theory of evolution. Apparently Ben is unaware that these issues are being examined under other theories. You know, little-known theories like abiogenesis, the theory of relativity, and the Big Bang theory. Perhaps you’ve heard of them in passing, Mr. Stein?

Ben Stein’s statement shows that he clearly has little understanding about what the theory of evolution actually says, since he can’t even figure out exactly what it is supposed to explain. Which is really pathetic, considering that he just spent months working on a movie about it.

I guess Ben Stein doesn’t accept the explanation of why the grass is green either because it doesn’t explain how birds fly.

Side note: I noticed that one of the clips showing behind Ben during the interview was the animation that was allegedly plagiarized. Not the smartest move.

UPDATE:  I have received several e-mails accusing me of “quote mining“.  The transcript of the entire interview can be found here – you can judge for yourself if the quote was taken out of context.

Those Pesky One-Sided Facts 13 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Science.
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The Florida State Board of Education is set to vote next week on new standards that would require teaching evolution in public schools. Predictably, this has stirred up a lot of opposition. There were over 10,000 comments on the proposed standards, many of them critical of the plan.

One of my favorite comments, as published by the Orlando Sentinel:

“I have no problem with them hearing about evolution. I just don’t want them to hear a one-sided fact,” said LeVon Pettis, a Panhandle father who may look for private schools for his daughters if the standards are adopted as is.

One-sided facts? This is obviously news to Mr. Pettis, but facts don’t have sides. They’re not liberal or conservative, religious or irreligious, bad or good. They just are. Your interpretation of them may be one-sided, or you may use them to bolster a one-sided opinion, but don’t confuse such an action with the facts themselves.

P.S. Here’s another gem from the webcast of the public comment section of last week’s meeting:

Now I have in my hand an orange. I was about to eat this orange yesterday, but before I did I sat down and read about this evolution stuff. I learned that this orange is actually my first cousin. I didn’t want to eat the orange no more. So now I’m going to give it to you people on the committee, and you can eat it if you want. But if you do decide to eat it, it shows that you don’t believe in this evolution either. And we shouldn’t be teaching our kids something no one believes.

Wow. I don’t think I could even make up a statement as ridiculous as that.

Huckabee and Evolution 10 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Politics, Religion, Science.
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I just came across this slightly old post from Wired: Evolution Not ‘Just a Theory’, and Yes, Huckabee It Does Matter. It’s an interesting read, and the comments are quite entertaining.

Uncommon Descent Silences Its Critics 01 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Religion, Science.
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…but not in a good way.

PZ Myers was invited to debate Geoffrey Simmons (of the Disco Institute) on Christian radio station KKMS. The topic (which was changed at the last minute) was “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?”. I listened to the debate, and while it probably didn’t change any minds, it certainly made Dr. Simmons look bad. There were several points where Dr. Myers looked like the more knowledgeable participant, specifically in the area of transitional whale fossils, which Dr. Simmons should know about since it’s apparently in his book.

It seems that even cdesign proponentsists felt that Dr. Simmons’ performance was lacking. Several commenters on Uncommon Descent (where commenting is strictly moderated and generally limited to those who agree with ID) left messages such as:

If I had to use this debate to judge the validity of NeoDarwinism, I would be a Darwinist. Simmons is a terrible dissappointment. I shall pass on his books, though they haven’t been on my short list.

And surprise! That post is now 404! Typical UD tactic: if you don’t like what people are saying in a thread, delete it.

Unfortunately for them, nothing that is posted on the internet can be completely deleted; a poster at Antievolution managed to save a copy.

Pwned by Richard Dawkins 29 Jan 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Religion, Science.
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From BBC Radio Leeds, John the fundamentalist “challenges” Richard Dawkins and experiences epic fail. My favorite lines:

Dawkins: Go to a museum and ask to see, for example, Tiktaalik.
John: OK!

A note for John: if you think that the theory of evolution is a steaming pile of bovine excrement, you are allowed to do so. But if you think you’re going to win a debate about evolution with an evolutionary biologist, prepare to get smacked down.

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