Saturday, April 12, 2014

Here is a Protein Machine That Adds Methyl Groups to DNA at Just the Right Place to Control Protein Production

Look What Evolved

Evolutionists say methyltransferases, like this one depicted in blue, and DNA depicted here in pink, were created by a series of random mutations. This even though we now know proteins twenty times smaller have no chance of evolving.

The Nelson-Velasco debate: Here is the Debate Within the Debate

Turning the Warfare Thesis on its Head

I hope readers have taken in the Nelson-Velasco debate from last month which can be seen here. It is a couple of hours with extremely knowledgeable and well-spoken philosophers advocating opposing views. But as in the greater, on-going origins debate, the crucial points are often unspoken and between the lines. While Nelson and Velasco talked biology, there was a completely different debate taking place.

Velasco led off with an extended barrage of powerful and compelling evidences for evolution. As usual the focus was on patterns of similarities between species that seem to refute design and teleology. To be sure there were weak points in Valasco’s arguments (yes humans have novel genes, no common ancestry does not have a monopoly on chromosomal fusion, biological designs do not fall into a nested hierarchy, the pentadactyl prediction has long since broken down, fossils do not fall into clean, unambiguous, gradual lineages, and so forth). Velasco was at least a little guilty of confirmation bias. Furthermore Velasco continually appeared to affirm the consequent. How could successful predictions, which actually were not so successful, lead to such certainty that evolution is true? Of course, as usual, the answer is that Velasco was not proving evolution but rather disproving the alternative.

From a positivistic perspective Velasco has only a series of predictions (or retrodictions) which offer little hope that the astonishing biological world arose spontaneously via blind, chance events. In fact the problems with most of these predictions lie far outside any sort of evolutionary noise that might be used to explain them. But if design and teleology are unquestionably ruled out, then so what? One way or another evolution must be true. As Velasco repeatedly warned, nothing else can explain these evidences.

Velasco’s arguments came as no surprise. It was all standard evolutionary thinking, though exceptionally well presented. What the audience may not have realized is that, in spite of all the technical language, this reasoning is not scientific. For when evolutionists destroy teleology, they rely on theological and philosophical premises not open to scientific scrutiny. And as we have pointed out many times, the argument that “nothing else can explain these evidences,” or as Theodosius Dobzhansky put it, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” is not from science.

All of this was highlighted in a way that probably was not obvious to most listeners. Nelson followed Velasco with an extremely effective and powerful presentation in which one of his basic points was the reminder that evolution requires change—lots of change. While Velasco’s powerful evidences emphasized similarities, evolution must cross oceans of biological transformations.

This is hardly controversial, but in his rebuttal Velasco had to pushback. He flatly disagreed with Nelson on this basic point, and sought to refocus attention back on those nonsensical similarities that win the day for evolution. Velasco could not allow the spotlight to be shifted from the problems with teleology to the problems with evolution.

It may not have been obvious to the audience, but amidst all the jargon and biological data, it is this fundamental point that rules and defines the origin debate. Is evolution a fact because teleology has been laid to rest by non scientific arguments, or is evolution vulnerable to the failure of its positivistic claims? Is this about metaphysics or is this about science? In this sense Velasco and Nelson, though debating each other on the same stage, were in completely different worlds.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mapping the Brain’s Connections—The Connectome

Beyond Belief

As we have seen before the brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth. That is not all the brains on Earth, nor all human brains, but merely a single brain of a single human. With over 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, and a quadrillion synapses, or connections, it is, as one researcher described, “truly awesome.” Researchers have found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, or as one evolutionist admitted, almost to the point of being “beyond belief.” Amidst all these nerve cells and connections, a key question is: “Exactly which nerve cells do all these connections link together?” These connections should reveal a great deal about how the brain works, for while a single nerve cell may be enormously complex, it is in the massive networking of these many neurons that the brain’s fantastic processing and cognitive powers are likely to emerge. Now new research is mapping out all these connections in the mouse brain.

It was a massive imaging job and it has produced almost two petabytes of data. The result is a high-level view of the mouse brain’s wiring diagram. The diagram is like a map of the major freeways and highways between cities, except the brain's mapping is in three dimensions and is far more complex. Future work will zoom in to reveal the city streets, but for now scientists can see the major data flows in the mouse brain. What they see are highly specific patterns in the connections between different brain regions. They also see that the strengths of these connections vary by more than five orders of magnitude. While there is still much to learn and understand about this wiring diagram, it is a fascinating peek at this most complex of structures in the known universe. One finding that has emerged from this, and previous studies of the brain, is that there is no evidence the brain could have arisen spontaneously as evolutionists claim. Indeed, beyond theoretical speculation with no empirical support, evolutionists have no idea how natural selection, acting on random mutations and the like, could have created the brain. But they are certain that the brain must have evolved.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

James Lovelock: I Was “a Little Too Certain”

An Environmentalists Decides to Follow the Data

If even evolutionist Matt Ridley’s criticism of AGW (anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming) has no effect on environmentalists then surely James Lovelock, Mr. Gaia Hypothesis himself, should open eyes. Lovelock now admits that he was “a little too certain” and that “You just can’t tell what’s going to happen.” And as for the environmental movement, Lovelock says, “It’s become a religion, and religions don’t worry too much about facts.” It is not that Lovelock rejects AGW altogether, but he realizes the problem is far more complex and uncertain than the dogmatic insistence of AGW proponents would have it. That is to his credit.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Government Now Says Denial of the Science is Malpractice

Another Slice

When we recently warned that professor Lawrence Torcello—who calls for the incarceration of those who question the faltering AGW (anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming) theory—might not merely be an extremist but rather may be the leading edge of the next logical move in evolutionary thought’s abuse of science, we did not expect a disturbing confirmation to come within days. But with the publication of the latest report from the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change—which once predicted radical changes to the Himalayan mountain range due to AGW, and now urges and requires governments to take immediate action against AGW because harsh, widespread and irreversible impacts are on the way, including floods, damaged crops, worse health, deeper poverty and dangerous economic shocks—Secretary of State John Kerry now states that our way of life is “literally in jeopardy,” and that “denial of the science is malpractice.”

This term “denier” is a favorite pejorative of evolutionists. It is Orwellian newspeak for those who do not automatically affirm the politically-correct answer, and the charge of malpractice from the government is extremely serious. Torcello calls for governments to enact laws enabling the incarceration of climate “denialists,” and now the government is, yes, equating AGW skepticism with malpractice.

When industries falter they seek protection and unfair advantage via government mandate and controls. Similarly, evolution has a long history of marshaling government controls to enforce its non scientific claim of spontaneous origins.

In recent years environmentalism has also been moving toward this strategy. But the labeling of those who don’t go along with questionable and urgent claims as “science deniers,” and charging them as guilty of malpractice, takes evolutionary thought to a whole a new level.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Friday, March 28, 2014

New IPCC Report Forced to Soften the Rhetoric

Science Prevails

Because when people like Matt Ridley question your theory, and when even the notorious United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change so much as softens the rhetoric, you know the hypothesis—in this case anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming—is in trouble. To wit, Ridley points out that in its next report the IPCC moves toward a more sober view of AGW. Gone are the various warnings which inevitably will turn out to be false. Instead the IPCC will issue sufficiently vague warnings, such as dangerous cyclones and changes in rainfall, that are resistant to falsification. And the cost of all this calamity will be scaled back from the 5-20% of the world’s gross domestic product that has been discussed, to less than 2%. The IPCC will be forced now to admit that the economic impact of global warming will be, err, “small relative to the impacts of other drivers.” The report will also admit that not only has climate change not brought any species to extinction, but that the IPCC has “very little confidence” that it will do so. Not surprisingly, as AGW wanes, the IPCC will begin to lay the groundwork for other environmental catastrophes to be alarmed about, showing that, as with evolution, while the various hypotheses are forfeitable (global cooling, global warming, acid rain, the ozone hole, etc.), it is the theoretical core (in this case, environmentalism) that must be protected. None of this is to say that protecting the environment is not important. In fact, it is crucial.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Debate on Origins and the Tree of Life

Intelligent Discussion

Tired of the same old he-said, she-said origins debate babble? Looking for an intelligent discussion between informed and level-headed experts? Then stop by Johnstown, Pennsylvania this weekend for “A Debate on Origins and the Tree of Life” with philosophers Paul Nelson and Joel Velasco. The debate takes place at 3:00 pm on Saturday at the local community college (Richland Campus).


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Professor Proposes Dystopia Where Climate Deniers Bold Enough to Talk Face Incarceration

It’s All About Control

Ground crews around the country are battling permafrost for the upcoming baseball season, the Coast Guard is dealing with 30 inch ice on Lake Superior and another major snow storm just put Philadelphia over 67 inches of snow making this winter the second snowiest on record there while another major Nor’Easter appears to be shaping up. March certainly isn’t going out like a lamb and all of this is merely an exclamation point on the frigid cold from earlier in the season. From the snow in Cairo to the coldest football game ever played, the weather has not cooperated with the so-called AGW (anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming) theory. AGW has a trail of failed predictions and years ago leaked emails revealed a massive effort to manipulate and control the science by AGW proponents. So it was already clear that AGW did not come from unbiased, objective truth-seeking scientists in their clean white lab coats. And their recruitment of Al Gore to shout-out the message further demonstrated AGW was about more than “just science.” Of course none of this necessarily means AGW is incorrect. It is possible that politics, abuse of science, manipulation and theoretical failures are just accidentally tainting what at the core is legitimate and thoughtful science. It does however reveal the dogmatic AGW truth claims for what they are. As the old saying goes, it’s not what they don’t know that scares me, but what they know for sure. AGW may well be true, it may be false, or it may be somewhere in between. We just don’t know for sure. But that’s the point—we don’t know, and what we need are thoughtful minds to come forward on this important issue. Instead AGW proponents are doubling down.

This month Lawrence Torcello, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, asks the question, “Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?” Torcello’s use of the term “climate denial” foreshadows his answer. This question of climate change is too important and too complicated for such overreach, but for Torcello if you do not support AGW then you are in “climate denial” and if you talk about it then your next stop should be jail.

Torcello thinks the government should enact laws enabling the incarceration of climate denialists who, after all, are “not only corrupt and deceitful, but criminally negligent in their willful disregard for human life.” It is time for modern societies, Torcello concludes ominously, to “update their legal systems accordingly.”

Torcello’s concern for human life stands in contrast to his advocacy of the termination of unborn human beings, for elsewhere he “promotes completely the permissive position on abortion from conception to birth.” According to Torcello, murder of the unborn should be legal but questioning AGW should be illegal because, after all, it demonstrates a “willful disregard for human life.”

And does anyone believe that in such a perverse world the inquisition will stop with climate deniers? Certainly evolution denial is at least as dangerous.

While one would hope that Torcello is an academic anomaly, the fact is he is not alone and his new found interest in criminal justice will likely help to earn him tenure. There was, for example, University of Texas evolutionist Eric Pianka who advocated the elimination of 90% of the human population (deadly viruses were his weapons of choice) and received standing ovations, and an award from his peers at the Texas Academy of Science.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Still Trending: Now Biotechnology is an Evolutionary Mechanism

Darwinian Anachronisms

Like contemporary hairstyles in a western movie, evolution also has its anachronisms. As we have discussed before, when the leading edge in biology was breeding, evolution was cast as a natural breeder. Now the state of the art is genetic engineering and, so, evolution is cast as a natural genetic engineer. Evolution also uses “networks” and “molecular intelligence.” And so it is not surprising that teaching standards out of Canada now define “Biotechnology” as an evolutionary mechanism that students must understand and explain.

h/t: A friend

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Guess the Evidence for Early Evolution

A Complicated Narrative

As Aaron David Goldman summarized this month, the evolution of early life was a complicated affair. First of all there was the origin of life (OOL) events that produced the first living organism. Then there was a tremendous amount of evolutionary progress leading to the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of today’s extant species. LUCA probably had DNA, an impermeable phospholipid membrane with much the same small army of proteins that attend to today’s cell membranes, the famed ATPase turbine-driven enzyme for ATP construction, protein synthesis machinery like today’s cells, the universal DNA code and DNA repair mechanisms. In short, LUCA was, as Goldman explains, a “sophisticated cellular organism that, if alive today, would probably be difficult to distinguish from other extant bacteria or archaea.”

Strangely enough DNA replication that we see in today’s cells was not present in LUCA. Instead RNA polymerases performed that job. Later in evolutionary history, today’s complex and circuitous DNA replication incredibly evolved independently several times. Also the aminoacyl tRNA synthetases underwent considerable horizontal gene transfer (HGT).

This is but a small sampling of the complicated evolutionary narrative of early life. And what exactly is the evidence for this Darwinian choreography leading from OOL to LUCA and finally to the three cell domains? Well actually there is, err, none.

In fact, not only is there no evidence for this narrative, evolutionists have repeatedly been stymied in their attempts to demonstrate how it would work in the laboratory. In fact, they can’t even demonstrate how it would work outside of the laboratory. Even when evolutionists are free to speculate and hypothesize with computer models or cartoon renditions, the problem still resists solution because it is too unlikely.

And so why do evolutionists believe all these things about early evolution? Because this circuitous narrative is required if evolution is true. In other words, the evidence for all these things is the fact of evolution. If the species spontaneously arose, as evolutionists insist is a fact, then this early life narrative, in one form or another must have occurred.

They are forced to believe that the OOL somehow occurred, in spite of the science. They are forced to believe that incredible complexity evolved early in evolutionary history because today’s extant species have too much in common. From an evolutionary perspective, those similarities must have been present in LUCA. Likewise DNA replication must not have been present in LUCA because the DNA replication machinery in today’s species reveals too many differences.

Furthermore the aminoacyl tRNA synthetases fail to form an evolutionary tree. So evolutionists must believe HGT caused the confusion. There is no independent evidence that HGT changed around the aminoacyl tRNA synthetases. The evidence simply is the failure to find an adequate evolutionary tree to explain these enzymes.

Similarly there is no evidence that today’s complex and circuitous DNA replication evolved independently several times. Again it is a result of believing in evolution. If the species spontaneously arose then, yes, DNA replication must have evolved independently several times.

Early evolution is an example of how evolution violates Occam’s Razor. Science seeks parsimonious solutions, but evolution leads to circuitous narratives. Religion drives science, and it matters.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Here’s Darwin’s Solution for Convergent Evolution: Like Two Inventors “Independently Hit on the Very Same Invention”

Bad Analogy

One of the powerful arguments for evolution is that the species and the various biological organs and structures fall into the expected common descent pattern. We may not understand how they could have evolved and what transitional forms led to what we observe, but if they were created would they not show discontinuities from species to species? Darwin captures all of these ideas in this famous passage from Origins:

Although in many cases it is most difficult to conjecture by what transitions an organ could have arrived at its present state; yet, considering that the proportion of living and known forms to the extinct and unknown is very small, I have been astonished how rarely an organ can be named, towards which no transitional grade is known to lead. The truth of this remark is indeed shown by that old canon in natural history of "Natura non facit saltum." We meet with this admission in the writings of almost every experienced naturalist; or, as Milne Edwards has well expressed it, nature is prodigal in variety, but niggard in innovation. Why, on the theory of Creation, should this be so? Why should all the parts and organs of many independent beings, each supposed to have been separately created for its proper place in nature, be so invariably linked together by graduated steps? Why should not Nature have taken a leap from structure to structure? On the theory of natural selection, we can clearly understand why she should not; for natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps. [Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1st ed., 1859, Ch. 6, p. 194]

Here Darwin makes a compelling argument for his theory. Isn’t it a bit suspicious that all those “parts and organs” from so many different species fall into a common descent pattern with small, gradual steps of change between them? Why would they be created that way by an all-powerful designer?

You can imagine how many readers have been swayed by this passage and others like it in Origins. There’s only one problem: This is all wrong.

The species and their “parts and organs” do not fall into such a pattern. Similar species have very different parts, and distant species have very similar parts. These cases are not exceptions but rather are rampant in the biological world and evolutionists maintain their common descent narrative to this day only by careful filtering of the data. Even in Darwin’s day there were hints of this problem and in one of those often overlooked foibles Darwin addressed this just before the passage above:

The electric organs offer another and even more serious difficulty; for they occur in only about a dozen fishes, of which several are widely remote in their affinities. Generally when the same organ appears in several members of the same class, especially if in members having very different habits of life, we may attribute its presence to inheritance from a common ancestor; and its absence in some of the members to its loss through disuse or natural selection. But if the electric organs had been inherited from one ancient progenitor thus provided, we might have expected that all electric fishes would have been specially related to each other. Nor does geology at all lead to the belief that formerly most fishes had electric organs, which most of their modified descendants have lost. The presence of luminous organs in a few insects, belonging to different families and orders, offers a parallel case of difficulty. Other cases could be given; for instance in plants, the very curious contrivance of a mass of pollen-grains, borne on a foot-stalk with a sticky gland at the end, is the same in Orchis and Asclepias,—genera almost as remote as possible amongst flowering plants. In all these cases of two very distinct species furnished with apparently the same anomalous organ, it should be observed that, although the general appearance and function of the organ may be the same, yet some fundamental difference can generally be detected. I am inclined to believe that in nearly the same way as two men have sometimes independently hit on the very same invention, so natural selection, working for the good of each being and taking advantage of analogous variations, has sometimes modified in very nearly the same manner two parts in two organic beings, which owe but little of their structure in common to inheritance from the same ancestor. [Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1st ed., 1859, Ch. 6, p. 193]

Here Darwin notes that there are several examples of similar organs in more distant species, indicating that they must have evolved independently. These are the sorts of similarities that would have been ascribed to evolution’s common descent, as in the powerful passage quoted above, if they had appeared in sister species. But these similarities do not appear in sister species—they appear in more distant species. So Darwin produced a new explanation: they evolved independently just as “two men have sometimes independently hit on the very same invention,” such as Leibniz and Newton independently developing calculus. Such personification of evolution and natural selection was common in Origins, and remains common in today’s literature. Aristotelianism never really died, it just changed names.

This has the virtue of not having to explain how low entropy, high Kolmogorov complexity designs which are astronomically unlikely to have spontaneously arisen (yes, that is what evolution says) even once could have evolved, err, multiple times independently.

And so there you have it. Evolution can explain common descent patterns and .NOT. common descent patterns. This is an example of the great flexibility of evolutionary theory. It doesn’t matter what the pattern is, evolution can explain it. And if a theory can explain both X and not X, then the scientist must not claim X (or not X) as evidence for his theory.

But this isn’t about science. Look at the first passage quoted above. Halfway down Darwin makes the argument compelling. Sure there are species that don’t fit the common descent pattern, but the important point is that the species would not have been created this way. X is powerful evidence, not because evolution can explain it but because creation cannot explain it. Evolution must be true—our religion demands it.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Richard Dawkins: How Could Anyone “Possibly Doubt the Fact of Evolution”

The Single Most Convincing Fact



Evolutionists like to say that there are mountains of evidence for evolution, but what is the best evidence? What would make a creationist think twice? Twenty five seconds into this video evolutionist Richard Dawkins answers this question. His killer evidence is the congruence between the genes of different plants and animals. Compare the genes across a range of species and you’ll see a “perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree.” In fact, you’ll see the same result for evolutionary trees using just single genes—the so-called gene trees. It works “with every gene you do separately.”

[0.25] I think perhaps the single most convincing fact—observation—you could point to would be the pattern of resemblances that you see when you compare the genes, using modern DNA techniques, such as looking at the letter-to-letter correspondences between the genes—compare the genes of any pair of animals you like—a pair of animals or a pair of plants—and then plot out the resemblances and they fall in a perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree. … [1.05] Moreover the same thing works with every gene you do separately and even pseudogenes that don’t do anything but are vestigial relics of genes that once did something. I find it extremely hard to imagine how any creationist that actually bothered to listen to that, could possibly doubt the fact of evolution.

Dawkins went on to have some rather harsh words for creationists. The message was clear. The evidence for evolution falls perfectly into place. It makes evolution a fact that is beyond any reasonable doubt. And anyone who doubts this is a bad person.

This sentiment is by no means particular to Dawkins. I have heard this same claim, and others like it, dozens of times. Sometimes informally in lectures, discussions, debates and so forth. Other times in textbooks or other literature.

What is amazing is the evolutionist’s high confidence and self-assuredness in such a blatant misrepresentation of science. It would be difficult to imagine a bigger falsehood. Phylogenetic incongruence is rampant in evolutionary studies. Conflicts exist at all levels of the evolutionary tree and throughout both morphological and molecular traits. This paper reports on incongruent gene trees in bats. That is one example of many. These incongruences are caused by just about every kind of contradiction possible. Molecular sequences in one or a few species may be out of place amongst similar species. Or sequences in distant species may be strangely similar. As one paper admitted, there is “no known mechanism or function that would account for this level of conservation at the observed evolutionary distances.” Or as another evolutionist admitted, the many examples of nearly identical molecular sequences of totally unrelated animals are “astonishing.”

An even more severe problem is that in many cases no comparison is even possible. The molecular sequence is found in one species but not its neighbors. When this problem first became apparent evolutionists thought it would be resolved as the genomes of more species were decoded. No such luck—the problem just became worse. Not surprisingly evolutionists carefully prefilter their data. As one paper explained, “data are routinely filtered in order to satisfy stringent criteria so as to eliminate the possibility of incongruence.”

Short genes that produce what are known as microRNA also contradict Dawkins’ high claim. In fact one evolutionist, who has studied thousands of microRNA genes, explained that he has not found “a single example that would support the traditional tree.” It is, another evolutionist admitted, “a very serious incongruence.”

Another paper admits that “the more molecular data is analysed, the more difficult it is to interpret straightforwardly the evolutionary histories of those molecules.”

And yet in public presentations of their theory, evolutionists present a very different story. As Dawkins explained, gene comparisons “fall in a perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree.” This statement is so false it isn’t even wrong—it is absurd. And then Dawkins chastises anyone who “could possibly doubt the fact of evolution.” Unfortunately this sentiment is typical. Evolutionists have no credibility.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Shocking Scientific Literacy Poll

Or How to Measure the Height of a Skyscraper

Last week the National Science Foundation released its Science and Engineering Indicators report which includes the results of a scientific literacy poll which reveals levels of scientific ignorance that are being called shocking. The poll, which the NSF calls “high-quality,” is a “major source of data” for the NSF report. One question about heliocentrism and geocentrism (“Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the Earth?”) is drawing attention from journalists and commentators because one in four American got it wrong. But amidst all the hand wringing and calls for more funding there is one minor issue: the scientific literacy poll is itself scientifically illiterate.

It is said that he who defines the terms wins the debate. Nowhere is that more true with evolution and this scientific literacy poll is a good example. As the NSF puts it, the poll asks “factual knowledge questions.” And just what is a factual knowledge question? What are the truths that Americans ought to know?

One of them is that lasers do not work by focusing sound waves, but rather light waves. It seems that half of Americans don’t know this. Perhaps this is because lasers not only are quite complicated, but they come in a tremendous variety of types. In fact there are lasers that, yes, focus sound waves.

Another “truth” that we are supposed to know is that it is the father's gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or girl. The only problem is this isn’t true. Sex determination varies between species and, like most of biology, defies rules.

Another question asks about continental drift: “The continents have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move.” We are supposed to say this is true, but science doesn’t know the future.

Of course there is the mandatory evolution question. We must agree that “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.” But that is a religiously-driven claim that goes against science.

And what about the heliocentrism versus geocentrism question? It is a non scientific false dichotomy. The Earth does not “go around the sun,” any more than does the “sun go around the Earth.”

That is because neither statement makes sense. In order to make a meaningful statement about what goes around what, one first needs to specify a frame of reference. For an observer on the sun, the Earth circles the sun. And for an observer on Earth, the sun circles the Earth. That is “factual knowledge.” When the weatherman gives the sunrise time he is not guilty of scientific illiteracy. What Copernicus, Galileo and Newton showed is that the Earth circles the sun once a year in a sun-fixed inertial frame and that the sun does not circle the Earth once a day in an Earth-fixed inertial frame.

With evolution science has become a vehicle used to advocate beliefs. In the process science is diluted and mediocrity is rewarded. All of this reminds us of simple-minded exam question about how to measure the height of a skyscraper with a barometer. The “correct” answer has to do with using the barometer to compare the air pressure at the street level and on the roof of the skyscraper, and using those measurements to compute the vertical distance between the two points.

But the young physics student who was far more creative than the dull professor wrote that one could tie a string to the instrument and lower it from the roof until it touched the sidewalk below. Then measure the string.

Or better yet, one could drop the instrument from the roof and measure the seconds to impact. Square the value, divide by two, and multiply by 32.174 to get the height in feet.

Or if one wanted to avoid the liability of striking pedestrians below, one could approach the janitor of the building, explaining to him that you will give him this very nice, expensive instrument if he will tell you the height of the skyscraper.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A New Documentary: The War on Humans

It Starts With Ideas



As we have discussed many times, evolution is the most influential scientific theory in areas outside of science, for evolution carries a message that goes far beyond biology. And what is that message? As Peter Singer succinctly put it, “Darwin’s theory undermined the foundations of that entire Western way of thinking about the place of our species in the universe.” That may sound abstract, but its implications couldn’t be more real. This underlying metaphysic of evolution permeates our culture and, from abortion clinics to war machines, is now baked into our thinking. It transcends the political spectrum with both the right and the left finding ways to replace those “certain unalienable Rights” with their own ideas of how a species that evolved by chance should be treated. At the extreme there is, as this documentary explains, “The War on Humans.”

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Evolution Professor Praises Andrew Dickson White’s Whig History

Self-Destructing

The winners, as they say, get to write the history, and nowhere is this more obvious than with evolution. Evolution has long since won the battle of who gets to tell our creation story, and so evolution also gets to tell the history of that battle. And tell it they do. The problem is that, as with the science, evolutionists misrepresent the history as well.

Two classic examples are (i) Andrew Dickson White’s nineteenth century mythical tome, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom and (ii) Jerome Lawrence’s and Robert Lee’s cartoon rendition of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, Inherit the Wind. The latter is slightly complicated by the fact that Lawrence and Lee made no attempt to represent accurately the events in Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925, but rather liberally adapted the story to fit their purpose of criticizing McCarthyism and its witch hunts. But that only makes matters worse for evolutionists, for they have no excuse for coopting the screenplay as an important and insightful historical reference point in the twentieth century origins debate. Indeed, if you compare the history with the script, you can see Lawrence and Lee altered the former in order to sanitize and exalt the evolutionists while slandering their opponents.

Likewise evolutionists have no excuse for adopting White’s contrived Warfare Thesis based on his silly misrepresentations of the history of thought.

The fact that evolutionists do enlist both Inherit the Wind and White’s Warfare Thesis is just another sign of the anti intellectualism at the heart of evolution. Notable examples in recent years include Judge John Jones of Dover fame hilariously revealing that he actually wanted to see Inherit the Wind a second time in preparation for the Dover case because, after all, the film puts the origins debate into its proper “historical context” (Jones later unbelievably explained that “I understood the general theme. I’d seen Inherit the Wind”), and legal expert Andrew Cohen not only giving high praise to Inherit the Wind, but absurdly calling it “one of the great trial movies of all time.”

Now arch evolutionist Jerry Coyne joins in with his laughable approbation of White’s Warfare Thesis, revealing that he is reading through White’s “famous 840-page anti-accommodationist book.”

Famous?

If White’s book is famous for anything it is for the immediate debunking of its mythical content. No historian takes it seriously. Or perhaps it is famous for serving as a keystone of evolution’s false history.

Evolutionists are making public spectacles of themselves with their blatant misrepresentations of both science and history. They insist it is a fact that the biological world arose spontaneously and they insist that skepticism of their “fact” comes from parochial, anti-intellectualism. This is like a bad dream.