Skip to comments.Charles Darwin's unfunny joke
Posted on 01/27/2007 4:40:50 PM PST by balch3
One of my favorite early Steve Martin routines went something like this: "Would you like to make a million dollars and pay no taxes? OK. First, make a million dollars. Now, just don't pay any taxes; and if somebody from the IRS asks you about it, just say 'I forgot!'"
Nonsense? Sure. But funny, especially as Steve delivered it? You bet.
But there's some absurd nonsense, not especially funny, being taught our school kids every day, in almost every school in America.
Darwin's theory of evolution.
(Column continues below)
"But it's science," you say. No, not really. Certainly, not yet, if it ever will be. It's a theory, an extremely farfetched, unproven theory and at its base, its fundamental core terribly unscientific!
To me (and I'll explain, so stay with me) this theory is exactly like Steve Martin's joke. It starts with a wish, a desire, proceeds through a ludicrous construction or process, and leads to a preposterous conclusion.
But this unfunny joke has been taken very seriously by a host of scientists, and now most educators, and it has been universally accepted as "fact" by most universities and school systems. And woe to the teacher, from grade school through college, who dares to question this improbable, unproven theory. If he or she dares to suggest or present the alternative theory of Intelligent Design the vastly more plausible notion that this incredible universe and all living things point logically to a Creator with an intelligence far beyond our feeble comprehension (no matter how many Ph.D. degrees we might have among us) lawsuits and intimidation will surely follow that teacher.
In one of his many excellent and substantive mailings, D. James Kennedy drew my attention to Tom DeRosa, who grew up Catholic in Brooklyn and spent his high-school years at a Catholic seminary. He was voted "Best Seminarian" in 1964, but one year later, instead of taking vows to enter the priesthood, he became an atheist.
His encounter with Darwin in college led to that decision. "There was a point where I became so rebellious that I yelled out, 'No God!' I remember saying, 'I'm free, I'm liberated,'" DeRosa recalled. "I can do what I want to do; man is in charge! It was pure, exhilarating rebellion!"
That rebellion soured after a while, and after 13 years as a respected public-school science teacher, he experienced a spiritual awakening that completely changed his perception of existence and science. He's now founder and president of the Creation Studies Institute and author of "Evidence for Creation: Intelligent Answers for Open Minds."
Did his IQ leak out his ears? Did he cease being a scientist? Far from it; he became a real scientist, an honest seeker after truth who could look at facts without a predisposed belief and actually see the obvious all around us.
As a real scientist, he looked again at what he'd gullibly accepted in college. And, examining the prevalent claim that life "evolved" from molecule to man by a series of biological baby steps, tiny mutations over millions of years, he realized there is no historical evidence for that claim. He writes, "Millions upon millions of fossils have been collected to date, but there is no evidence of transition fossils, that is, fossils of organisms in an intermediate stage of development between steps on the evolutionary ladder."
Had you thought about that? If all life on this planet were actually in a process of "evolution," would every species evolve in lock step, regardless of different environments? Or wouldn't there be all the intermediate steps still in evidence, at various places around the globe? Wouldn't there be plenty of evolving apes, tending toward homo sapiens, in the jungles and rain forests, possibly developing verbal skills and capable of elementary math and reasoning?
None such. Ever. Nada. Apes have always been apes, and humans always human (though some of us less so than others).
I wonder if any science teachers today ever share with their students that Charles Darwin acknowledged "the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe as the result of blind chance or necessity." If the originator of the theory of evolution and the author of "The Origin of Species" (the book which later students eagerly used as an excuse to leave a Creator out of the picture) couldn't imagine everything we see and know happening without some design and purpose why should any of us?
Could it be that this whole evolution idea has grown out of a deep desire to escape the implications that necessarily accompany the concept of an infinite Intelligence, a Creator? If humans want to prove some theory, no matter how farfetched and self-serving, they will inevitably find some "evidence" that they can wedge into their theory.
Some years ago, Johnny Carson had a lady on his "Tonight Show" who had a large collection of potato chips, each of which she said resembled some famous person. And if you looked at the chip from a certain angle, and maybe squinted just right, you could see what she was referring to. While she bent down to carefully select another chip, Johnny removed one she said looked like George Washington, and replaced it with one he had under his desk. Then, when she had straightened up, he "absentmindedly" picked up the substituted chip and put it in his mouth, crunching loudly. The horror on her face was a huge laugh for the audience, and Johnny quickly relieved her, handing back the George Washington potato chip, intact.
This decades-long scavenger hunt, in which intelligent and educated seekers keep digging up artifacts to "prove" an unprovable and patently unscientific concept, is very much like the potato chip lady on "The Tonight Show": You see what you want to see. Whether it's there or not.
I'm grateful to Joseph Farah and the editors here at WND for letting me take this space each week. This topic, I feel, is so important and I've got so much to say about it that I'll pick up here, in this space, next week. I hope you'll stop by.
Related special offers:
"The Case Against Darwin"
"Tornado in A Junkyard: The Relentless Myth of Darwinism"
Pat Boone, descendent of the legendary pioneer Daniel Boone, has been a top-selling recording artist, the star of his own hit TV series, a movie star, a Broadway headliner, and a best-selling author in a career that has spanned half a century. During the classic rock & roll era of the 1950s, he sold more records than any artist except Elvis Presley. To learn more about Pat, please visit his website.
I am as well a fan of Steve Martin, and that he is a member of the Skeptics Society is well known, http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/donate.html It seems that Pat Boone has no clue about that either ;-)
"Gun grabbing, Darwinism, porn, it's all part of the same thing, meant to weaken our Constitutional society."
Yep, nekkid girls. Gotta ban 'em.
As a warning against evolutionary backsliding?.....:)
I have no problem with Intelligent Design being taught in a class on religion. I also have no problem with religion being taught in high school. I do have a problem with Intelligent Design being taught in a science class because it is not science.
And who was it that said we (humans) evolved from apes?
It wasn't Darwin.
It wasn't a scientist, I'll wager.
It was a two-bit newspaperman, trying to save headline space.
Evolution has always said that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor, not that humans evolved from apes.
Evolution (cap E) has become a system of beliefs. It is as provable as any of Mead's fake theories. However, do species evolve over time in response to their environments?Probably safe to postulate, but not "provable" in the accepted scientific way. It is not mutually exclusive to say there is a creator and that He makes room for some adjustments. For the most part, God seems to work through the natural laws He sets up and through the hearts of men.
I bought the video. I saaw it on late night cable.
I'm descended from Europeans. Why are they still here?
There. Fixed it.
You could add to your list Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Curie (both of them), Mendel, Priestly, Pasteur, and pretty much any scientist who's dead. That's how science works. The prevailing theory is the one that best explains the available evidence, and new prevailing theories emerge as does new evidence. It's a method, not a doctrine.
And as an aside, Marx and Malthus were social scientists, not scientists (despite the use of the word), a field that is much more subjective.
On closer examination, I believe the same may apply to Charles Darwin. This is hard to see because we have been indoctrinated to believe in evolution.
Clearly not, because so many Americans still do not. It would take one simple thing to debunk Darwin, and that is to debunk Darwin. That is, to find an alternate explanation that better fits the available evidence.
The competition of ideas has not taken place on a level playing field in high school and elsewhere for many decades.
High schools are not where scientific progress occurs. You might as well say that American literature is moribund because of the limited literature taught to kindergartners. The purpose of primary and secondary education is to lay the groundwork, to teach the method. Innovation comes later.
No, I did not prove your point. I stated evolution has never been falsified, not that it could not be falsified. There are hundreds of tests that evolution has withstood. The pattern of the fossil record is one. It has a very distinct pattern based on age and geography. Or look at genetics. When that sciecne was developed, it confirmed much of the taxonomic relationships and refined others. And speciation has been observed to occur in modern times. The science is very well understood, tested and repeated.
Only someone who willfully choses ignorance would deny evolution.
That could be said of many topics--for example how much do you know about (say) variances in state laws regarding tolling of claims against government actors with qualified immunity?
Potentially very important, but many folks don't know squat.
Agreed, but they also hate the concepts espoused by Charles Darwin, because they propose that (1) the sexes really do differ in a multitude of characteristics and (2) these differences are rooted in biology.
By "all of recorded history" do you mean "during the time of written records"?
What else would it mean? It's a common phrase.
By "not one example" do you mean directly observed 'as it was happening' as opposed to "inferred from indirect evidence"?
I mean either observed and recorded as it happened or inferred from direct evidence. Taking two similar fossils and "inferring" one is a mutation from the other is simply a wild guess, not inference from evidence.
What do you mean by "specie" ...?
You really needed to ask that? I mean what species always means, a taxonomic group whose members can interbreed.
As far as beneficial, have you considered The Nylon Bug?
Yes, but it's been awhile. There's a bit of a fudge here, but I cannot remember what it is. At least, it's not a beneficial mutation of a species, since bacteria do not breed. I have to consult someone and I'll get back to you, probably.
Thanks for the questions.
Your post is stuptifying. Laws and theories are not the same. They have very specific meanins and are not interchangeable. You obviously don't know much about science. Secondly, You need to improve your reading comprehension. I wrote that "technically" Einstein disproved Newton, which is correct. As you stated, Einstein refined Newton's work to include relativistic effects. In other words, Newton's Laws broke down under particular circumstances. They weren't applicable. Einstien's work would simplify down to Newton's under non-relativistic conditions.
And secondly, Laws are empirical relationships, usually expressed mathematically, and have been demonstrated to a high degree of precision over the scope of the Law. Am I being obtuse? Perhaps to a layman, but scientists have to deal in particulars and don't use terms in a casual fashion.
In what way did Einstein disprove Newton's theory? As far as I know, leaving out the relativistic factor (which is nothing but a refinement of newton's "values", not the essential theory),..
If Einstein was a refinement to Newton's 'values' (whatever that means) but not the essential theory, please cite any reference to Newton using the curvature of space-time in his description of gravity. Theories are explanations, not descriptions.
dr_lew is quite correct. Sharing vocabulary is one thing, changing the very bedrock of physics is another. That's exactly what Einstein did. And Newtonian physics is still taught because it works for most practical applications and is still very useful. Secondly, the math behind Neton's work is more understood by students in freshman college courses. Einstein does require a bit more mathematics. It's the same with most science programs. Older theories are taught first and then newer, more accurate ones, are taught later. We still teach the Bohr model of the atom, even though it has been firmly replaced by quantum mechanics.
More telling is the simple argument that if NEW species do not appear (either by miraculous manifestation OR slow evolution), then ALL currently living life forms must have always existed. Can you possibly deny this?
Remember, I'm not trying to refute every possible argument for the possibility of evolution. It's plausible enough in many areas, just not a science, and ultimately not terribly important. Not sure what it is I'm asked the possibility of denyig. I certainly think there is a possiblity that in some way not yet understood all the necessary genetic material for all possibe species has always existed--I do not think it's so, just possible; but since it is, evolution is not proved necessary for there to be new species.
This confused me:
So I think it is quite unreasonable to believe that modern humans (homo sapiens) did NOT have a beginning. The central questions are how and why we began.
Is there a mistake here? first it seems you say, "humans did NOT have a beginning, but then pose the quesiton, "how and why we (humans) began?"
I do not care if evolution is accepted by the entire scientific community and if it is ever established, I will have no objection. The only things I object to is using what goes as evolution in its unestablished state as though it were a settled science on which profound and sweeping statements about the nature of man and society can be based.
If scientists are not interest in origins, why does it need to be taught in the schools and why is there such a fuss about creationists, most of whom today totally accept evolution.
I think you misunderstand falsifiability. It's purpose is not to find a hypothesis false, but to ensure a hypothesis is proveable. If a hypothesis cannot be proved false, if it happens to be false, it cannot be proved true, if it is. The reason is simple. If you cannot devise a way to test a hypothesis that it must fail if it is mistaken, it can never be proven at all, because a test that a hypothesis can pass whether it's true or not, proves nothing. Appreciate your very interesting comments with which I at least partly agree. Thank you! Hank
I'm almost ashamed to admit I have. I have almost no respect for Russell or any of the positivists who have just about destroyed the field of logic, at least philosophically. Whitehead's no better but forgiveable because he's a bit of a loose canon, philosophically. This is only my opinion, not an argument.
There was in fact a notion in the 1960's that relativity should be taught 'a priori', without reference to Newtonian mechanics.
They might not have "mentioned" the source of the concepts, but they would have had to be smuggled in.
Not sure how this relates to falsifiability, if that is your point. Please explain what I'm missing here, which I apparently am.
Forgot about those.
I always forget my dreams.
Thanks for the chuckle.
Agree. I don't deny it. I just deny that it is a science. These "tests" you claim for evolution are not tests that will fail if species do not evolve, or evolve they way current evolutionaty hypotheses suggest.
I have no interest in disproving evolution. I just will not accept any of their pronouncement about any current science or philosophy which is based on evolution, as though evolution as currently "understood," were an established fact, because it is not.
"curvature of space-time in his description of gravity"
Can you refer to "space-time" without reference to any of Newton's concepts (even if you do not give him credit for them) for space and time?
A single theory may describe one or more principles which when established are regarded as "laws." But since I obviously do not know much about science, I have no idea why you are getting in such a sweat about my opinions. Just ignore them if you don't like them.
Produce a rabbit (or any mammal for that matter) fossil in the Cambrian shales.
Too difficult? How about chimeras (centaurs, mermaids, griffins). Combinations from different lineages. An Intelligent Designer could put a human torso on horses & fishes and wings on lions. Right?
Too fantastic? Something simple then:
A shark with a vestigial pelvis (like we find in whales and porpoises).
Any one of the above should put the kibosh on evolutionary theory --toot sweet.
Pat Boone is a product of evolution and so are you. This "debate" is so meaningless. The fact is, there is nothing to debate. The science is in and evolution happens. This Catholic conservative has no doubts. Period.
Exactly, Pat should go back to selling extremely sleazy gold and silver scams on TV.
Do you think that astronomy is science? It fails the very same marks. Frankly, as there is no lab big enough to simulate an universe - or earth's history, we have to look at the "experiments" which are happening around us - that's the way astronomy and evolution theorists do their sciences.
I have no problems with the concept of evolution as a science per se....but its claims have been perverted and misused by politicians in the social policy arena, being used to undermine faith and being used to justify the horrors of Nazi racism and communist slaughters of the 20th century.
Pure science and its practitioners would avoid the use of science to justify questional political policy.
So you "built your barn" and have stored the "wealth" of your certainty in it? So you are ready to live the rest of your live with ease and comfort in the certainty of your knowledge?
Ah, the certitude of the cult of Darwin.
Hey, you forgot to add fluoride in the water, vaccinations are spawns of Satan, etc.
General Ripper, is this you?
Fixed it for ya.
Let me post my own example of gravity:
A little history here:
Newtons Law of Universal Gravitation
Every object in the universe attracts every other object with a force directed along the line of centers for the two objects that is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the separation between the two objects.
F equals the gravitational force between two objects
m1 equals the mass of the first object
m2 equals the mass of the second object
R equals the distance between the objects
G equals the universal constant of gravitation = (6.6726 )* 10-11 N*m2/kg2 (which is still being refined and tested today)
(BTW this is a simple form of the equation and is only applied to point sources. Usually it is expressed as a vector equation)
Even though it works well for most practical purposes, this formulation has problems.
A few of the problems are:
It shows the change is gravitational force is transmitted instantaneously (Violates C), assumes an absolute space and time (this contradicts Special Relativity), etc.
Enter Einsteins General Theory of Relativity
In 1915 Einstein developed a new theory of gravity called General Relativity.
A number of experiments showed this theory explained some of the problems with the classical Newtonian model. However, this theory like all others is still being explored and tested.
From an NSF abstract:
As with all scientific knowledge, a theory can be refined or even replaced by an alternative theory in light of new and compelling evidence. The geocentric theory that the sun revolves around the earth was replaced by the heliocentric theory of the earth's rotation on its axis and revolution around the sun. However, ideas are not referred to as "theories" in science unless they are supported by bodies of evidence that make their subsequent abandonment very unlikely. When a theory is supported by as much evidence as evolution, it is held with a very high degree of confidence.
In science, the word "hypothesis" conveys the tentativeness inherent in the common use of the word "theory.' A hypothesis is a testable statement about the natural world. Through experiment and observation, hypotheses can be supported or rejected. At the earliest level of understanding, hypotheses can be used to construct more complex inferences and explanations. Like "theory," the word "fact" has a different meaning in science than it does in common usage. A scientific fact is an observation that has been confirmed over and over. However, observations are gathered by our senses, which can never be trusted entirely. Observations also can change with better technologies or with better ways of looking at data. For example, it was held as a scientific fact for many years that human cells have 24 pairs of chromosomes, until improved techniques of microscopy revealed that they actually have 23. Ironically, facts in science often are more susceptible to change than theories, which is one reason why the word "fact" is not much used in science.
Finally, "laws" in science are typically descriptions of how the physical world behaves under certain circumstances. For example, the laws of motion describe how objects move when subjected to certain forces. These laws can be very useful in supporting hypotheses and theories, but like all elements of science they can be altered with new information and observations.
Those who oppose the teaching of evolution often say that evolution should be taught as a "theory, not as a fact." This statement confuses the common use of these words with the scientific use. In science, theories do not turn into facts through the accumulation of evidence. Rather, theories are the end points of science. They are understandings that develop from extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection. They incorporate a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses, and logical inferences. In this sense, evolution is one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have".
I am conservative...somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan, and I find that the preponderance of evidence supports the theory of evolution. Few scientific theories have such widespread evidence supporting them. Many other conservatives think likewise. Some commies may believe that Darwin was right; so what? Commies also believe in Newton's laws of motion. Don't confuse scientific, religious, and political views. I know conservative atheists and leftist Christians. I always feel insulted when someone insists that I must be a leftist if I don't accept THEIR religious beliefs instead of my own. This kind of attack on fellow conservative is divisive.
hits it out of the ballpark hits a sharp foul ball painfully off of his own foot.
"Shut up and sing" --?
Full Disclosure: Looking at that photo, I just realized how much Mr. Boone resembles Roger Moore:
Your posts have proven you really don't understand science, its history, its content or how it works at all. Good day.
Amazing that posters still fall for this in all seriousness. The answer is that the evidence was eaten.
Hi RA! HC is an interesting character. I checked out his homepage and it links to a website that essentially says that if it can't be done under controlled laboratory conditions reproducibly, it's not science. It even mentions cosmology, astronomy, geology and archeology as examples of not being science.
So he's moved on from stealing royalties from musicians with real talent to being an expert in biology. Yeah, that makes sense I suppose, in a "Pat Boone / Wing-Nut Daily" sort of way.
Man, nothing like an old-fashioned evolution debate to bring out the paranoid whack-jobs.
I love it when the references to Communism, gun-grabbing and pornography (!) start. Takes me back to the 50's...
Is is possible to be a conservative and still see the merit in the theory of evolution? Or do I have to check my rationality at the door?
A science lesson from Pat Boone. Just like a lesson on international policy from Sean Penn.
The grant money going to biomedical science outweighs that going to evolutionary studies by, oh, being very conservative, probably a factor of 50,0000 or so. (Not to mention that biomed research often has a profit motive, or that 99% of scientific fraud occurs in the biomed fields.)
So of course you'd never feed all that, what did you call it?, corruption?, by actually going to a doctor or seeking medical treatment. Right?
Yeah. That's true, however, of ALL facts, "in themselves". Facts simply are what they are. They only have significance in the light of some theory about them, as to how they confirm, or contradict, the empirical implications of the theory.
Your complaint (if taken seriously) amounts to intellectual nihilism, a denial that scientific theories are testable.
I have read 'Origin of Species' and found it compelling.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.