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Darwinist Ideologues Are on the Run
Human Events Online ^ | Jan 31, 2006 | Allan H. Ryskind

Posted on 01/30/2006 10:27:35 PM PST by Sweetjustusnow

The two scariest words in the English language? Intelligent Design! That phrase tends to produce a nasty rash and night sweats among our elitist class.

Should some impressionable teenager ever hear those words from a public school teacher, we are led to believe, that student may embrace a secular heresy: that some intelligent force or energy, maybe even a god, rather than Darwinian blind chance, has been responsible for the gazillions of magnificently designed life forms that populate our privileged planet.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crevolist; delusionalnutjobs; evolution; idiocy; ignoranceisstrength; intelligentdesign; whataloadoffeces
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To: mlc9852
Of course it doesn't because that would require answers which you don't have.

Come back when you actually understand the material well enough to come up with an effective rebuttal, instead of this sort of pap.

You're the one who doesn't have any answer to the material, so instead all you can do is lamely ask non sequiturs about needing DNA from extinct animals in order to do modern DNA analysis, when no one with a clue about biology could have made such an elementary error.

Why do you folks try to critique biology when you don't understand the first thing about it?

601 posted on 02/01/2006 11:19:18 AM PST by Ichneumon
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To: caffe
Well, I hate to tell you this but creationists understand real science

You're kidding, right? If that's the case, why do they keep screwing up even the most elementary concepts when they try to talk about it, why do they keep asking questions that are answered in the most introductory biology textbook, and why do they keep making hundreds of claims that are demonstrably false, fallacious, or completely idiotic?

You guys are legends in your own minds, but you don't know squat about science, because you keep making the silliest errors about it, the kind that would embarrass the average junior-high-school student.

Tell you what, you've inspired me -- I'm going to start collecting every creationist blunder and screwup, and post the whole list every time some AECreationist tries to declare that *creationists* are the ones who actually understand science. Watch for it!

602 posted on 02/01/2006 11:24:31 AM PST by Ichneumon
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To: mlc9852
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=516480

This is the article. Of course, a lot of it is over my head, but I get the general meaning (I think).

From the conclusion: Both population history/structure and natural selection appear to have shaped the among-region differences observed in the modern human cranium, as represented in these 10 populations taken from Howells' data set. Population history and structure seem to predominate in shaping among-region differences among the nine non-Siberian (Buriat) modern human populations. This is in close agreement with Relethford's (11, 12, 33) analyses. However, when the Siberian (Buriat) population is included in the analysis, cold-mediated natural selection appears to be primarily responsible for the large differences observed between the Siberian (Buriat) sample and the rest of the world. Another analysis by Relethford has also noted associations of craniometric variation with temperature controlling for geographic distance, further bolstering the secondary effect of natural selection on the global distribution of cranial variation (34). This raises the intriguing question of the limits of human cultural buffering when facing the challenges of extreme environments [emphasis added].

You read correctly. From this article it looks like this one population (the Buriat of Siberia) goes against the global pattern and does indeed have cranial differences which are attributed to cold weather.

Nasal shape differences are well-known, but in this case there seems to be an increase primarily in cranial breadth, and to a lesser degree in other cranial measurements.

Half of the statistics are over my head too, but I did a lot of cranial measurements and some different multivariate statistics in grad school, so I can follow the general idea.

Very interesting!

Now, somebody needs to figure out why this one group differs from the rest of the world.

603 posted on 02/01/2006 11:27:46 AM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Ichneumon
I'll just go talk to Coyoteman. He's much smarter than you anyway.
604 posted on 02/01/2006 11:32:57 AM PST by mlc9852
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To: coffee260
[Why don't you anti-evolutionists go read some science journals for a change, instead of parroting the lies of the creationist pamphlets written by people ignorant of science?]

With all due respect, Jonestown is the result of one dogmatic ideology guiding its followers to the same poisonous batch of Kool-Aid.

ROFL!!! You're kidding right? *Please* tell me no one could be this clueless without trolling.

Hint: Jonestown was the result of *religious* belief gone wrong, not the result of people concerned about learning about a scientific subject before they attempt to critique it.

The Reverend Jim Jones founded his own church, the People's Temple. The House of Representatives report on Jonestown states, "A goodly number of middle-class blacks and whites came out of strong fundamentalist religious family backgrounds and were attracted by what they saw as the evangelical nature of People's Temple." Of others who were not so directly religious, the report states, "to the extent that a religious motivation was involved, it was seen chiefly in terms of Jones' seeming concrete application of Judeo-Christian principles."

They drank from it and the rest is history. I bet their loved ones wished that they would have had more outside influence. Wouldnt you agree?

Yes, I'm sure they wish that someone had pointed out that not all which claims to be religious is good or true. If someone had told them to be sure they understand a subject well before drawing conclusions about it, like I frequently do, they might still be alive today.

Now tell me again how you can somehow come to the bizarre conclusion that my advocacy of education and knowledge is somehow "the same poisonous batch of Kool-Aid" as what caused Jonestown. Are you sure you have any clue whatsoever, or are you just posting random accusations because you're unable to refute science on its own merits?

You guys are getting more and more bizarre.

Why don't you psuedo-evolutionists go read something other than science journals for a change, instead of parroting the lies of the neo-Darwinists' essays written by people ignorant of basic skills needed to reason?

Why don't you identify any actual flaws in the material if you think there are any, isntead of issuing bitter broadsides empty of any real content?

BTW-Why the insults instead of reasoned debate?

I don't know, I was wondering that about your insults. Why don't you try reasoned debate for a change, like I do? I provide facts, argument, evidence, research results, etc. I do it so often that whiners goofily accuse me of "spamming" because I provide far more reasoned debate than they can cope with. And all you come back with is insults like accusing me of being like Jim Jones or something. I'm amused that being shown a taste of the overwhelming evidence can drive you so far up the wall that you start spewing hysterical diatribes.

Is debate not needed?

Certainly, which is why I engage in large amounts of debate. Why don't you try it for a change, instead of calling me the next Jim Jones and other hilariously lame insults?

I have just one request for you that will help me understand evolution more clearly. And please do not send me on a wild hunt for info I have already read.

I am flattered that you consider me capable of mind-reading well enough to be able to determine what you have and have not already read.

Explain to me JUST 1 theory in Darwinian Evolution that is no longer in disputed. Surely, something in the millions of papers about the theory of evolution is settled. Right?

Sure. That evolution has occurred. Living things today are not the same as living things in the past, say 200 million years ago. Happy now?

I mean most people in the scientific world agree that the theory of relativity is "solid." Right? Is anything about evolution similar?

Yes, almost all of it.

And by the way, you're laboring under a delusion -- "settled" and "solid" are not synonymous with "no longer in disputed [sic]". The latter standard is impossible to meet, because no matter how solid and settled any conclusion might be, *some* idiot somewhere is going to dispute it, out of mental illness if nothing else. You can still find people who deny that the Earth is spherical, that communism doesn't work, that Americans landed on the Moon in 1969, and that President Bush won the election in 2000, for example. But those issues are still "settled" and "solid", because there is overwhelming evidence supporting them, no significant evidence against them, no rational opposition to them (i.e., no argument that holds water).

605 posted on 02/01/2006 11:59:54 AM PST by Ichneumon
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To: mlc9852
I'll just go talk to Coyoteman. He's much smarter than you anyway.

Smarter? No, just different fields; I don't know a thing about his exciting field at all.

But I guess I do have some of the patience of an archaeologist.

And you must admit, some of the arguments creationists use would have sent Job over the edge!

606 posted on 02/01/2006 12:01:50 PM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Dimensio
None of the objects that you have listed are imperfect replicators. You are employing an invalid analogy.

And how the very first "imperfect replicator" come into existence?

607 posted on 02/01/2006 12:04:19 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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To: Ichneumon

I wonder how so many creationists actually practice medicine, have PHd.'s in all scientific fields? In your pea-brain, you think one can only understand science if they swear allegience to evolution? Again, why don't you go to your list and post a few of these accusations? Perhaps rather than do document dumps, you can actually hold an in-depth discussion of one issue at a time?


608 posted on 02/01/2006 12:06:00 PM PST by caffe
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To: Coyoteman

Well, I rather just be quiet and learn. Then I will be better able to think for myself.

And thanks for your help.


609 posted on 02/01/2006 12:06:27 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: GLDNGUN
And how the very first "imperfect replicator" come into existence?

Unknown. Irrelevant to a discussion of evolution, however, as the theory of evolution does not attempt to explain the ultimate origin of imperfect replicators.
610 posted on 02/01/2006 12:07:57 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: antisocial
Why don't you scan in a few textbooks and take up a bit more of the FR bandwidth with your liberal DU krap?

Why don't you try to actually deal with the material instead of spewing lame taunts like this one? If this is the best retort you can manage, why even bother? Your kind of response epitomizes the classic aphorism, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"...

And is it really your contention that science literacy is exclusively a liberal trait? Is that the position you really want to go with? That conservatives are necessarily ignorant of science, or else they aren't "real" conservatives and must be DU trolls? Do you even think these things through before you post them?

611 posted on 02/01/2006 12:08:57 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: caffe
Perhaps rather than do document dumps, you can actually hold an in-depth discussion of one issue at a time?

Perhaps instead of whining about the volumes of evidence that Ichneumon posts, you could actually try to explain why you don't accept the conclusions of the research based upon even one small segment of the information that he provides?

Or is it easier for you to whine about "big bad evolutionists" than it is for you to have a discussion based upon facts and based upon why evolution is accepted and why you think that perhaps it should not be accepted?
612 posted on 02/01/2006 12:09:38 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: antisocial
You are just another liberal troll trying to use up FR bandwidth, please go back to DU.

Wow, there you go again. Stuck in a rut in the schoolyard taunt department so soon, are you?

613 posted on 02/01/2006 12:10:55 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: mlc9852; webstersII; Right Wing Professor
Good points. The more you read about scientists, the more it seems they disagree on many points.

And of course, people *never* disagree about religion...

I guess that's why there are several hundred different Christian sects, not to mention the countless different flavors of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, etc. etc.

Science is *far* more coherent than religion, and has a far higher level of consensus. If you're trying to measure the degree of something's subjectivity by the amount of disagreement, then the "absolute truths" of religion are actually far more subjective than the conclusions of science.

614 posted on 02/01/2006 12:20:27 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon

Good point.


615 posted on 02/01/2006 12:22:55 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: Dimensio
Unknown. Irrelevant to a discussion of evolution, however, as the theory of evolution does not attempt to explain the ultimate origin of imperfect replicators.

So when I read the following...

"The earth's atmosphere did not contain oxygen when the earth formed 4.6 billion years ago. This reducing environment provided favorable conditions for the natural synthesis of the first organic compounds. The first phospholipid bilayer membranes formed along with primitive RNA and DNA genetic molecules. The membranes adsorbed proteins and the hereditary DNA/RNA material. From these organic molecules, the first primitive prokaryote (simple single cell organism lacking a nucleus) arose. Natural selection began."

...you are telling me that this has nothing to do with the theory of evolution?

616 posted on 02/01/2006 12:25:25 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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To: Revolting cat!; Sweetjustusnow
How new evidence is made to fit the Evolution Theory

Ah, yes, when you can't actually dispute the material, try to dishonetly imply it must be fudged... And do it with cutesy pictures, because that'll make your empty accusation seem like you actually documented it, right?

The paucity of the anti-evolution position is made clear every day by the utter lameness of the attempted "rebuttals" against it.

617 posted on 02/01/2006 12:28:07 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: webstersII; Right Wing Professor; mlc9852
["Yes, you do. Science is not art or literature, where matters of opinion and interpretation count."]

Really?

Yes, really.

So there is no interpretation or opinion involved when deciding where fossils belong in the evolutionary tree? It's non-subjective and completely agreed upon because these are data points which can be tested and re-tested, right?

You're missing the point. He's saying that in science, there are right answers and there are wrong answers. It's not like art or literature or politics, where subjectivity actually means something -- where opinions or preferences are legitimate reasons for disagreement. Science is based on objective reality -- there really *are* wrong answers, there really *are* answers that are objectively correct because they match reality, because they account for the facts, because they make the rocket actually reach the Moon instead of crash, etc.

Creationists often like to hand-wave away scientific conclusions as "that's just your opinion" or "well that's what you have faith in, mine's different" etc. No. There really *are* right and wrong answers in science, it's not just one man's opinion about what answer he "likes" or "prefers". Answers in science are not judged subjectively. They work or they don't. They match reality or they don't.

618 posted on 02/01/2006 12:34:41 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon

"You're the one who doesn't have any answer to the material, so instead all you can do is lamely ask non sequiturs about needing DNA from extinct animals in order to do modern DNA analysis, when no one with a clue about biology could have made such an elementary error."

We actually have some of this. We now have the mtDNA sequence of the mammoth and we can expect the complete sequence in a few years. So far (based on mtDNA sequence), the mammoth is closer to the Asian elephant than the African elephant - who'd a guessed that?


619 posted on 02/01/2006 12:37:40 PM PST by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
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To: Ichneumon

I'm sure we would all find articles stating that scientists disagree on any number of things. But what's the point?


620 posted on 02/01/2006 12:37:44 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: GLDNGUN
...you are telling me that this has nothing to do with the theory of evolution?

Only the last sentence relates to the theory of evoluion.
621 posted on 02/01/2006 12:47:44 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: Ichneumon

"LOS ANGELES - Scientists say they have confirmed that a so-called 10th planet discovered last year is bigger than Pluto, but that likely won't quell the debate over what makes a planet."

They can't even agree on what a planet is. Apparently they can't agree on what a human is, either.


622 posted on 02/01/2006 12:51:48 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: Ichneumon
Creationists often like to hand-wave away scientific conclusions as "that's just your opinion" or "well that's what you have faith in, mine's different" etc. No. There really *are* right and wrong answers in science, it's not just one man's opinion about what answer he "likes" or "prefers". Answers in science are not judged subjectively. They work or they don't. They match reality or they don't.

If it were only so cut and dry.

Michael Ruse, a professor of zoology and philosophy of science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada testified at the McLean v. Arkansas trial in the early 1980s and indeed said that creation-science is not science at all. Invoking the fact/faith dichotomy, Ruse claimed that Darwinism was scientific because establishing its validity required no philosophical assumptions. All other views, he claimed, required such assumptions and were therefore unscientific. His testimony became the centerpiece of Judge Overton's ruling and became a judicial precedent.

What does Professor Ruse say now?

He has now come to view evolution as ultimately based on several unproven philosophical assumptions.

In fact, he was a key speaker at a seminar convened to debunk "The New Creationism." Ruse had specifically been asked to refute Phillip Johnson's book, "Darwin on Trial." Instead, he endorsed one of its key points.

"I'm no less of an evolutionist now than I ever was," Ruse nevertheless explained that he had given fresh consideration to Johnson's thesis that Ruse himself, as "an evolutionist, is metaphysically based at some level just as much as . . . some creationist. . . . I must confess, in the ten years since I . . . appeared in the Creationism Trial in Arkansas . . . I've been coming to this kind of position myself."...

"Evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to naturalism," he said–that is, it is a philosophy, not just facts. He went on: "Evolution . . . akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically."

Ruse's colleagues responded with shocked silence and afterward one of them, Arthur Shapiro, wrote a commentary titled, "Did Michael Ruse Give Away the Store?"

623 posted on 02/01/2006 12:53:04 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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To: mlc9852; Ichneumon
They can't even agree on what a planet is. Apparently they can't agree on what a human is, either.

OK, it seems you're smarter than them silly scientists, so maybe you can help them to decide what a planet really is.

624 posted on 02/01/2006 12:55:13 PM PST by BMCDA (If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it,we would be so simple that we couldn't)
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To: BMCDA

Would you like to point out where I have said I am smart at all? I just posted what scientists said. They don't have a definition for a planet. Unless you could enlighten us and give us a scientific definition.

"Some astronomers have debated over what is a planet and whether Pluto should keep its status. The difficulty is there is no official definition and some argue that setting standards like size limits opens the door too wide."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060201/ap_on_sc/new_planet;_ylt=AoPVagE2VUgXg0YAMeGWxjGs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3b2NibDltBHNlYwM3MTY-


625 posted on 02/01/2006 1:06:56 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: Ichneumon
Science is *far* more coherent than religion, and has a far higher level of consensus.

Did you arrive at this statement empirically, or is it more like a gut feeling? IMO, science is no more coherent than religion. Both encompass a vast range of thought. Better to focus on a particular aspect of science or religion and from there see what degree of consensus might be found. Even within narrow parameters, both science and religion seem to produce variances.

That is one of the reasons I prefer the biblical texts as a starting point WRT the big picture. They reside outside of my creative power and as such may govern it. While their interpretation is subjective and by no means coherent for all people at all times, at least the texts themselves, prior to subjective interpretations, are largely coherent to begin with.

626 posted on 02/01/2006 1:25:16 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Ichneumon

627 posted on 02/01/2006 1:27:16 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
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To: Fester Chugabrew
IMO, science is no more coherent than religion.

Another hilarious emission from FesterWorld. Can you actually say this with a straight face?

While (the interpretation of biblical texts) is subjective and by no means coherent for all people at all times

The understatement of the century.

628 posted on 02/01/2006 1:30:11 PM PST by blowfish
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To: mlc9852
I'm sure we would all find articles stating that scientists disagree on any number of things. But what's the point?

I'll mindread, and suggest that you are trying to imply that because scientists disagree, often violently, about matters of detail in their respective fields, that makes science somehow subjective or less valuable or flawed. Physicists will have extremely heated arguments about the nature of quantum mechanics, biologists and geneticists will have heated arguments about the precise mechanisms of "descent with modification", all fields have their contentious areas. Indeed the heat of the debate amongst real scientists can at times make the schoolyard spats that we have here in FR seem quite feeble.

What you are missing however is that these disputes are about detail. The big picture is not in doubt except in completely new fields. Even when Newtonian Mechanics was overturned by Einstein it didn't change the fact that Newtonian Mechanics is correct for most real-world purposes. Frenzied arguments about quantum mechanics don't invalidate quantum mechanics per se. It would be a bit unfortunate if they did, because the computer that you are sitting at reading these words relies on that science being substantially correct. Likewise frenzied arguments between experts about evolutionary mechanisms like punkeek or the precise positions of certain fossils on the phylogenetic tree don't invalidate evolution, which is so solidly grounded in reality and observation as to be beyond dispute.

Even the scientists pushing ID into the classroom from the Discovery Institute are united and quite clear in their acceptance of the evidence supporting common descent, a fact that most of their cheerleaders find it convenient to ignore. Some new paradigm might come along and overturn evolution, but just as Newtonian Mechanics remains correct for most real-world purposes (all those bridges didn't collapse when Einstein pointed out where Newton was wrong), any new theory of evolution will for most purposes have to resemble the current one so closely as to be barely distinguishable, or it won't be able to explain the existing data. That's how science works, it adjusts its theories to fit results and observations, but the more observations you've got, the more certain you can be that your theory is substantially correct. Evolution is amongst the most solidly grounded of all scientific knowledge, supported as it is by literally millions of data points and successful predictions.

629 posted on 02/01/2006 1:34:25 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: mlc9852
They don't have a definition for a planet.

Well, it's no surprise since all "truth" is subjective, even "scientific truth" if a Darwinist will allow the theory of evolution to be taken to its ultimate conclusion and ramifications.

Nancy Pearcey delivered an excellent speech last year at Stanford on Darwinism and this topic. Of course, she was picketed and protested by athiests and others who supposedly adore free speech. Think of her as an ID Ann Coulter. Here are some of her thoughts:

"To understand how Darwinism undercuts the very concept of rationality, we can think back to the late nineteenth century when the theory first arrived on American shores. Almost immediately, it was welcomed by a group of thinkers who began to work out its implications far beyond science. They realized that Darwinism implies a broader philosophy of naturalism (i.e., that nature is all that exists, and that natural causes are adequate to explain all phenomena). Thus they began applying a naturalistic worldview across the board–in philosophy, psychology, the law, education, and the arts.

At the foundation of these efforts, however, was a naturalistic approach to knowledge itself (epistemology). The logic went like this: If humans are products of Darwinian natural selection, that obviously includes the human brain–which in turn means all our beliefs and values are products of evolutionary forces: Ideas arise in the human brain by chance, just like Darwin's chance variations in nature; and the ones that stick around to become firm beliefs and convictions are those that give an advantage in the struggle for survival. This view of knowledge came to be called pragmatism (truth is what works) or instrumentalism (ideas are merely tools for survival).

One of the leading pragmatists was John Dewey, who had a greater influence on educational theory in America than anyone else in the 20th century. Dewey rejected the idea that there is a transcendent element in human nature, typically defined in terms of mind or soul or spirit, capable of knowing a transcendent truth or moral order. Instead he treated humans as mere organisms adapting to challenges in the environment. In his educational theory, learning is just another form of adaptation–a kind of mental natural selection. Ideas evolve as tools for survival, no different from the evolution of the lion's teeth or the eagle's claws.

In a famous essay called "The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy," Dewey said Darwinism leads to a "new logic to apply to mind and morals and life." In this new evolutionary logic, ideas are not judged by a transcendent standard of Truth, but by how they work in getting us what we want. Ideas do not "reflect reality" but only serve human interests.

To emphasize how revolutionary this was, up until this time the dominant theory of knowledge or epistemology was based on the biblical doctrine of the image of God. Confidence in the reliability of human knowledge derived from the conviction that finite human reason reflects (to some degree at least) an infinite divine Reason. Since the same God who created the universe also created our minds, we can be confident that our mental capacities reflect the structure of the universe. In The Mind of God and the Works of Man, Edward Craig shows that even as Western thinkers began to move away from orthodox Christian theology, in their philosophy most of them still retained the conception that our minds reflect an Absolute Mind as the basis for trust in human cognition.

The pragmatists were among the first, however, to face squarely the implications of naturalistic evolution. If evolutionary forces produced the mind, they said, then all are beliefs and convictions are nothing but mental survival strategies, to be judged in terms of their practical success in human conduct. William James liked to say that truth is the "cash value" of an idea: If it pays off, then we call it true.

'Constructivism' is a popular trend in education today. Few realize that it is based on the idea that truth is nothing more than a social construction for solving problems. A leading theorist of constructivism, Ernst von Glasersfeld at the University of Georgia, is forthright about its Darwinian roots. "The function of cognition is adaptive in the biological sense," he writes. "This means that 'to know' is not to possess 'true representations' of reality, but rather to possess ways and means of acting and thinking that allow one to attain the goals one happens to have chosen." In short, a Darwinian epistemology implies that ideas are merely tools for meeting human goals.

These results of pragmatism are quite postmodern, so it comes as no surprise to learn that the prominent postmodernist Richard Rorty calls himself a neo-pragmatism. Rorty argues that postmodernism is simply the logical outcome of pragmatism, and explains why.

According to the traditional, common-sense approach to knowledge, our ideas are true when the represent or correspond to reality. But according to Darwinian epistemology, ideas are nothing but tools that have evolved to help us control and manipulate the environment. As Rorty puts it, our theories "have no more of a representational relation to an intrinsic nature of things than does the anteater's snout or the bowerbird's skill at weaving" (Truth and Progress). Thus we evaluate an idea the same way that natural selection preserves the snout or the weaving instinct–not by asking how well it represents objective reality but only how well it works.

I once presented this progression from Darwinism to postmodern pragmatism at a Christian college, when a man in the audience raised his hand: 'I have only one question. These guys who think all our ideas and beliefs evolved . . . do they think their own ideas evolved?' The audience broke into delighted applause, because of course he had captured the key fallacy of the Darwinian approach to knowledge. If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either–and why should the rest of us pay any attention to it?

Indeed, the theory undercuts itself. For if evolution is true, then it is not true, but only useful. This kind of internal contradiction is fatal, for a theory that asserts something and denies it at the same time is simply nonsense. In short, naturalistic evolution is self-refuting.

The media paints the evolution controversy in terms of science versus religion. But it is much more accurate to say it is worldview versus worldview, philosophy versus philosophy. Making this point levels the playing field and opens the door to serious dialogue.

It is this worldview dimension that makes the debate over Darwin versus Intelligent Design so important. Every system of thought starts with a creation account that offers an answer to the fundamental question: Where did everything come from? That crucial starting point shapes everything that follows. Today a naturalistic approach to knowledge is being applied to virtually every field. Some say we're entering an age of "Universal Darwinism," where it is no longer just a scientific theory but a comprehensive worldview.

It has become a commonplace to say that America is embroiled in a "culture war" over conflicting moral standards. But we must remember that morality is always derivative, stemming from an underlying worldview. The culture war reflects an underlying cognitive war over worldviews–and at the core of each worldview is an account of origins."

630 posted on 02/01/2006 1:35:25 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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To: frgoff; DX10
[No need, since he acknowledges that transitional fossils are common.]

From the article I linked: "Rather, Schwartz argues, they have not been found because they don't exist..."

That's the reporter's *paraphrase* of what he thinks Schwartz's position is, not something Schwartz actually stated for himself. Even leaving aside the crappy level of the ability of reporters to correctly summarize science findings (how many examples of garbled science reporting would you like me to show you?), I find it amusing that you're gullible enough to believe *reporters* now.

In any case, I suggest that you toodle off and read Schwartz's books before you make any more goofy presumptions about them. Oh, look, here are transitional fossils on pages 374-375 of his book, "Sudden Origins : Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
If Schwartz actually believes that transitional forms "don't exist", then why is he documenting them in his book, hmm?

Go on, tell me another creationist lie, I get such a laugh out of them.

Clue for the clueless: Schwartz argues that due to mutations in regulatory genes, *fine-grained* transitions need not take place between certain kinds of phenotypic changes during evolution (and yes, Schwartz *does* firmly support evolution).

For example, people with six fingers on each hand (yes, they *do* exist, Google for "polydactylism") are born from five-fingered parents -- they are not the result of a long string of ancestors which started out with a small stub of a sixth finger on the side of the hand, followed by a larger nub in following generations, growing to a half-length sixth finger in even later generations, etc. until the sixth finger finally achieved its full size in the most recent birth. Instead, a glitch in a regulatory gene just "cloned" a sixth finger, *bam*, out of the "finger making" gene complex which is responsible for growing fingers in the developing embryo.

Similarly, Schwartz argues that certain morphological changes don't require gradual "growth" across many generations (with a resulting string of intermediates), instead alterations in regulatory genes can produce certain types of developmental modifications which result in the "sudden" change (appearance, disappearance, or other alteration) of a feature, in the same manner as the "sudden" appearance of a fully-formed sixth finger in some humans, without having to go through a "growth" process across many generations.

Actually, this has been known for a long time, Schwartz just argues that it might account for more instances of evolutionary change than previously thought.

But he never suggests that this would in any way result in the total absence of transitional forms, like nothing between reptiles and mammals. That would be a stupid claim, because a great many transitional fossils between reptiles and mammals have already been found and are well known. On the contrary, he acknowledges many transitional forms along that evolutionary pathway. He just feels that *fine-grained* transitionals might be lacking, because evolution can successfully make somewhat bigger jumps than the almost invisibly small variations that Darwin pictured. So in Schwartz's view, the transitional sequence from, say, reptiles to mammals is made up of many "hops" from one transition to the next, instead of a practically infinite regress of transitions between transitions, and even more transitions between *those* transitions, etc.

I now await your failure to grasp *this* point as well.

The initial point stands, your arrogant elitism notwithstanding.

Your false claim falls flat, your arrogant ignorance notwithstanding.

Now see, if you actually had bothered to *learn* any biology before attempting to debate it, this would have been obvious to you already from the article, and you wouldn't have drawn such a bizarre and wrong conclusion from it.

Wouldn't it have made more sense for you to go actually read Schwartz's books before you jumped to mistaken conclusions about his position and recklessly tried to fling him in my face as allegedly refuting evolution?

But hey, learning about a topic before you try to argue with someone isn't the creationist way, is it?

631 posted on 02/01/2006 1:42:24 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: GLDNGUN
"Evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to naturalism," he said–that is, it is a philosophy, not just facts. He went on: "Evolution . . . akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically."

That's it exactly. And these metaphysical assumptions should be acknowledged as such, not glossed over as if science can take place without them. No human observer can escape the philosophical assumptions with which he undertakes science, and science is not able of empirically testing which assumptions are more in accord with objective reality.

The issue, or debate, should be in regard to whether or not the results of dissimilar philosophical assumptions should be granted open expression in a public context. This is a right our Constitution guarantees, but our stubborn inclination is to become emotionally attached to our own points of view and thus denigrate our neighbor's point of view not only personally but also by legal prohibition.

632 posted on 02/01/2006 1:43:54 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Thatcherite

See the post below.


633 posted on 02/01/2006 1:47:02 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: GLDNGUN

In short, for the sake of our culture we should reject, or perhaps ban, the theory of evolution, regardless of its scientific merit. (And while we're at it, for the sake of our knees we really should ban the theory of gravity.)


634 posted on 02/01/2006 1:48:00 PM PST by atlaw
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To: editor-surveyor
Actually, I have read much of Ichy's stuff, and that is how I know that it is not evidence, but posturing and propaganda based on his deeply held philosophical/religious beliefs, and those of others of a similar bent.

Yeah, boy, DNA sequences and research results are just "posturing and propaganda", you betcha!

Do even you believe the stuff that falls out of your brain?

When you restrict the outcome of 'research' to only that which fits your humanist desires,

I don't, nor do I have "humanist desires". You sure jump to a lot of wild conclusions, don't you?

the result is not science by any reasonable definition.

Translation: editor-surveyor doesn't like what the real-world evidence shows, so he hand-waves it away as "not science". After all, "science by any reasonable definition" means "whatever tells editor-surveyor what he wants to hear".

I don't wish to deny you or Ichy the right to your beliefs,

No, you just want to deny the real-world evidence. There's a word for people who deny reality so strenuously.

but I demand that you recognize the difference between a biased view, and evidence.

Oh, believe me, I'm *well* aware of the difference. I'm perfectly able to recognize that all you have are your biased views, and can't even deal with the evidence, much less provide any of your own.

I have a tagline suggestion for you, editor-surveyor: "This is your brain on creationism". You should be proud to use that one, if your posts are actually as brilliant and clear-headed as you think, right?

635 posted on 02/01/2006 1:49:27 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: GLDNGUN
According to the traditional, common-sense approach to knowledge, our ideas are true when the represent or correspond to reality. But according to Darwinian epistemology, ideas are nothing but tools that have evolved to help us control and manipulate the environment. As Rorty puts it, our theories "have no more of a representational relation to an intrinsic nature of things than does the anteater's snout or the bowerbird's skill at weaving" (Truth and Progress). Thus we evaluate an idea the same way that natural selection preserves the snout or the weaving instinct–not by asking how well it represents objective reality but only how well it works.

And the difference between an idea representing objective reality well, and an idea working, is..... ? To put it another way, how can ideas that don't represent reality work? You seem to be saying that even though science makes successful predictions and fails falsifications (the definition of "working" that scientists go with) it might be coming up with answers that are wrong and don't accurately represent reality. Presumably you have a better alternative. What is your proposed method for coming up with answers that are "right" as opposed to "useful"? How can we tell the difference?

636 posted on 02/01/2006 1:49:30 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: GLDNGUN

EXCELLENT!!!


637 posted on 02/01/2006 1:51:29 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: atlaw

I thought gravity was a law.


638 posted on 02/01/2006 1:53:15 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: mlc9852

You thought wrong. Newton had a law of gravity, but it is innaccurate. There is a modern theory of gravity.


639 posted on 02/01/2006 1:55:10 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: mlc9852
EXCELLENT!!!

Didn't you mean "content-free Hokum"?

640 posted on 02/01/2006 1:55:55 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: Thatcherite

So once again science was wrong?


641 posted on 02/01/2006 1:56:03 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: blowfish
Can you actually say this with a straight face?

Sure. Meanwhile, to what extent have you researched the degree of coherence within religious and scientific disciplines? Enough to objectively conclude that science is more coherent than religion? Methinks you are speaking from the gut and not from a body of evidence. IMO, neither religion nor science is particularly coherent. Both may be as diverse as the number of humans on this planet.

But what is it that guides human thought into coherence? It cannot come from inside each human, but must come from the outside. Science does not have a biblical text, so it does not have a document upon which to rely as a guide or norm. The Old Testament has probably brought about more coherence in human thought than any other entity. But then, one needs to define coherence before he can measure it. I think the meaning here is "general agreement."

Regardless, it is not the amount of coherence that validates a theory in the first place. You may be the only person in the world who has a perfectly objective grasp on reality. Science will never know.

642 posted on 02/01/2006 1:58:17 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: mlc9852; Right Wing Professor; metmom
If science cannot define a human, then how do you know if a fossil was from a human or not? There must be scientific parameters that are used. I just am having trouble finding out what they are? Language, brain size, DNA? Help me out here.

The point is that you're getting pointlessly hung up on labels. Since the "dividing line" between closely related species is fuzzy and can't be nailed down to any one exact spot, it doesn't make sense to obsess over whether a particular transitional specimen falls on the "human side" or the "non-human side" of some imaginary dividing line.

Instead, the sensible thing to do is to determine how close or far it lies from, say, modern humans, and how close or far it lies from modern chimps, or some other paleontological specimen, etc.

Evolution produces spectrums of forms, not fixed and separate types. Obsessing over whether some transitional "in-between" specimen falls on the "human" side of an imaginary dividing line or not is generally a waste of tmie. It's like trying to argue over whether a particular shade in the color spectrum is still best labeled as "blue" or whether it has "suddenly" become more appropriately labeled "turquoise". Instead, it makes more sense to state that its wavelength is 60% closer to blue than to turquoise, or some other measure of the degree of its position in the continuous spectrum, rather than argue about what label you might want to slap on it.

The same goes for transitional fossils. For many of the "in-betweeners", it's inaccurate to label it *either* "human" *or* "non-human ape", because it's a mix of *both*.

Maybe the following, from an old post of mine will help make the point even more clear:


The same issue arises at higher taxonomic levels as well. For example, from a creationist standpoint, where do "apes" end and "humans" begin? From an evolutionary standpoint, one would *expect* there to be "gray area" cases where one form "fuzzes" into the other, and a simple "either or" determination is difficult to make in an objective manner. And that's exactly what we do find. What's really hilarious is when the creationists try to force-fit these specimens into their preconceived (but false) "either or" categories -- the creationist notions crash into reality and go down in flames. For example:

[From here:]

The following table summarizes the diversity of creationist opinions about some of the more prominent items in the human fossil record.

Creationist Classifications of Hominid Fossils
Specimen Cuozzo
(1998)
Gish
(1985)
Mehlert
(1996)
Bowden
(1981)
Menton
(1988)
Taylor
(1992)
Gish
(1979)
Baker
(1976)
Taylor
and Van
Bebber
(1995)
Taylor
(1996)
Lubenow
(1992)
ER 1813 ER 1813
(510 cc)
Ape Ape Ape Ape Ape Ape
Java Man Java
(940 cc)
Ape Ape Human Ape Ape Human
Peking Man Peking
(915-
1225 cc)
Ape Ape Human Ape Human Human
ER 1470 ER 1470
(750 cc)
Ape Ape Ape Human Human Human
ER 3733 ER 3733
(850 cc)
Ape Human Human Human Human Human
WT 15000 WT 15000
(880 cc)
Ape Human Human Human Human Human

As this table shows, although creationists are adamant that none of these are transitional and all are either apes or humans, they are not able to tell which are which. In fact, there are a number of creationists who have changed their opinion on some fossils. They do not even appear to be converging towards a consistent opinion. Gish and Taylor both used to consider Peking Man an ape and 1470 a human, but now Gish says they are both apes, and Taylor says they were both humans. Interestingly, widely differing views are held by two of the most prominent creationist researchers on human origins, Gish and Lubenow. Bowden, who has also written a book on human evolution, agrees with neither of them, and Mehlert, who has written a number of articles on human evolution in creationist journals, has yet another opinion, as does Cuozzo in his 1998 book on Neandertals. Cuozzo has taken the most extreme stance yet for a young-earth creationist, saying that even H. erectus fossils (in which he includes the Turkana Boy) should not be considered human. (Old-earth creationist Hugh Ross takes an even more extreme stance, claiming that not even Neandertals should be classified as human.)

It could be pointed out that evolutionists also disagree on how fossils should be classified, which species they belong to, etc. True enough. But according to evolutionary thinking, these fossils come from a number of closely related species intermediate between apes and humans. If this is so, we would expect to find that some of them are hard to classify, and we do.

Creationists, on the other hand, assert that apes and humans are separated by a wide gap. If this is true, deciding on which side of that gap individual fossils lie should be trivially easy. Clearly, that is not the case.

ER 1813 (H. habilis?, 510 cc) is almost totally ignored by creationists, but it is safe to say that they would all classify it as an ape. Few mention ER 3733 (H. erectus, 850 cc) either, but those who do seem to consider it human (although it's hard to be sure in Bowden's case). As one would expect given its essentially human skeleton, virtually all creationists consider the Turkana Boy to be human, although Cuozzo has been a recent exception. (Cuozzo recognizes that it is different from any modern ape, of course; he believes that apes have degenerated from Homo erectus, just as he believes that modern humans have degenerated from Neandertals.)

It would be fascinating to know what creationists think about fossils such as OH 12 (H. erectus, 750 cc), Sangiran 2 (H. erectus, 815 cc), OH 7 (H. habilis, 680 cc), OH 13 (H. habilis, 650 cc), but unfortunately few creationists even mention these fossils, let alone discuss them in any depth. The recently-discovered Dmanisi skulls overlap the erectus/habilis boundary so perfectly that creationists have almost totally ignored it - and when they have mentioned it, they've carefully avoided making any judgement as to what those skulls might be.


643 posted on 02/01/2006 2:00:24 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: mlc9852
So once again science was wrong?

No, Newton was a great man, who from the observations made by others worked out that objects attract each other with a force proportional to their mass and the square of their distance. Absolute genius, and so close to being 100% correct that it wasn't overturned for 300 years, and then only for very large or very small objects, or very great distances. Non-Newtonian effects are infinitesimal at the level of everyday observation. For all practical purposes at his time he was right, and his laws of motion are still the bedrock of everyday mechanics as used by engineers the world over. Sorry to disappoint you.

644 posted on 02/01/2006 2:00:42 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: mlc9852

I've had enough of your smirking determination to reject science and knowledge, and to belittle the work of giants. Virtual ignore for you. I'm sure you'll be glad, because it'll reduce the number of inconvenient facts that you have to ignore.


645 posted on 02/01/2006 2:02:22 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: Thatcherite
And the difference between an idea representing objective reality well, and an idea working, is..... ? To put it another way, how can ideas that don't represent reality work? You seem to be saying that even though science makes successful predictions and fails falsifications (the definition of "working" that scientists go with) it might be coming up with answers that are wrong and don't accurately represent reality. Presumably you have a better alternative. What is your proposed method for coming up with answers that are "right" as opposed to "useful"? How can we tell the difference?

Good questions. You'll have to ask someone who believes that ideas "are nothing but tools that have evolved to help us control and manipulate the environment."

646 posted on 02/01/2006 2:02:56 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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To: GLDNGUN
Good questions. You'll have to ask someone who believes that ideas "are nothing but tools that have evolved to help us control and manipulate the environment."

Nice try at sliding out. You appear to think that science is failing in its "duty" to provide truth, in the quest for "usefulness". (Either that or the entire screed you posted was a wordy irrelevance). So please explain how we should try and identify what is true, rather than what is useful. Science pursues what is useful on the assumption that "truth" and "usefulness" amount to the same thing. If that assumption is wrong explain the better methodology that would arrive at truth, rather than usefulness.

647 posted on 02/01/2006 2:07:06 PM PST by Thatcherite (More abrasive blackguard than SeaLion or ModernMan)
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To: mlc9852; Thatcherite
How would the time of original insertion be determined?

First, it's not necessary to determine "the time" of the original insertion of the ERV, the point is that there *was* a point in time when the original insertion occurred, and it was subsequently passed down to various lineages.

But if you're curious about determining the actual time, it can and is done by examining the amount of accumulated neutral change. The fact that this produces the same answer (within the expected margin of error, as always) for all lineages which have inherited the ERV serves as an additional cross-check for the ERV method of determining phylogenies.

Do you see the same thing in all living organisms?

Generally, yes, although I'm sure there are some special-case exceptions somewhere. Biology is complex, there's almost always an exception for any particular generality, depending on circumstances.

Is that how common descent was determined?

It's not how it "was" determined, no, but it's one of the hundreds of methods by which common descent is further validated and cross-checked.

648 posted on 02/01/2006 2:08:13 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: mlc9852
You didn't say you were smart but your post implied that those scientists can't even agree on the definition for a planet which, concluding from your post, should be a trivial matter.
The problem however, is not the condition that a body must orbit a star to be considered a planet but its size. There are all kinds of objects out there orbiting our sun, from Jupiter to small rocks and even grains of dust. But where do you draw the line? I hope you see that any threshold for the size of a body is rather arbitrary and a smaller value isn't more scientific than a larger one or vice versa.
649 posted on 02/01/2006 2:09:07 PM PST by BMCDA (If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it,we would be so simple that we couldn't)
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To: GLDNGUN
That is very weak. For example, take the point you highlighted.
If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either–and why should the rest of us pay any attention to it?
Well, perhaps we should pay attention because it is useful, just like those evolved ideas? Gosh, that took me 1/2 seconds of thought. And you think this is excellent?

I wonder about people like Pearcey. Are they simply unable to objectively analyze their own arguments, e.g. looking at it from an opponents point of view, or do they knowingly make them confident they can fool people like you?

650 posted on 02/01/2006 2:09:33 PM PST by edsheppa
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