Forever disappointed

The problem with Intelligent Design is the plausibility of their claims to the uninformed; closer examination of details by trained scientists reveals details the average reader doesn't understand or recognize. This new book,  Science and Human Origins, by Gauger, Axe, and Luskin, from the Discovery Institute, reveals the problem. Paul McBride discredited their theory of "scientific" evidence for creation. Gauger, Axe, Luskin, and David Klinghoffer revealed their lack of understanding of principles of evolution. 

"An analogy: imagine a red Ford Mustang and a blue BMW X6 are in a head-on collision, and both have totally wrecked front ends, with bumpers and radiators and headlights interlocked and everything about their grilles in tangled confusion, and with bits and pieces torn loose and flung about. You’d be able to look at the crash and still tell by everything in and behind the engine compartment that Car #1 was a Mustang and Car #2 was an X6.

"Bergman and Tomkins are the bewildered and incompetent investigators who ignore every other factor in the crash, look at a few particularly mangled bits of the wreckage, and declare that they can’t identify it, therefore…the two vehicles were assembled at the factory in this particular configuration, and no crash occurred. But they use lots of sciencey language to explain this at tendentious length, which is sufficient to convince non-scientists that the interpretation of an obvious historical event has been refuted. And that’s all they need to do to accomplish their goals: fling about unfounded fear, uncertainty, and doubt to win over the ignorant."

"And my quest for an honest, scientifically competent creationist continues, fruitlessly."

PZ Myers

It is worthwhile to read PZ Myers' link, The Mystery of the Missing Chromosome (With A Special Guest Appeara..., by Carl Zimmer.

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I will read those links to get better informed. Thanks!

I'm a regular reader of PZ's blog.  You can tell he gets so tired of hearing the same old arguments over and over, ad nauseam, about intelligent design.  Creationism?  Yeah, that's nutty enough to be the butt of jokes for most folks, but the people behind I.D. have lots of money and influence and have been able to swindle their way into the education system along with their I.D. crap by "sounding scientific" to the average Joe.  As a biologist, PZ must be pounding his head against the wall at times.  The's are doing such a disservice to young minds.  It really should be a crime!  I'm certainly no scientist, and there's a lot of info that goes over my head, but I managed to read and plow my way through Richard Dawkins' "The Ancestors Tale." Wow!  What a book.  I loved it.  But for those who are too lazy to have an interest or to learn a little bit about the basics.....they will be fooled.....and easily. 

I think we need to be more confrontational when I.D. uses those valuable years teaching myths instead of encouraging young minds to think in terms of things that are real.  Some kids just go along without any particular interest in doing the hard work of "real" science but once they get the rhythm of patterns and order, they can be ready for the harder stuff. 

In many ways I was lucky because school was a safe haven for me and I loved getting into a tough problem and working it out. I received a lot of benefits from being a good student. 

PZ is great fun to hear; he has an odd sense of humor and he doesn't pull punches. 


I just had this discussion with the BBC (the UK's national broadcaster). Here's the excuse.

“I must take responsibility for the writing of the billing for this edition, and the phrase about the clash between Darwinists and creationists in the Scopes trial of 1925. I believe my writing was influenced by a similar phrase used by the author Brook Wilensky-Lanford in her column about the trial. The term is widely used in the USA, but I take your well-made point about scientists.


"As regards Sean Thomas' comments about evolution being a theory, I thought it was a valid point. Convincing as the theory may be, I didn't think it had yet been conclusively proven to be true, although I may be wrong on this.”


So I took them up on that... and this is the even more irritating response:


"We’re sorry if you were dissatisfied with the previous response. ‘Off The Page’ is made for a general BBC Radio 4 audience and not an audience of scientists. The guests are encouraged to debate the issue from their own personal perspective. The producer's non-scientific credentials or his religious views are not relevant here. ‘Off The Page’ is intended to be entertaining and provocative and its central editorial ambition is to encourage debate and opinion. The programme frequently contains guests who take unusual viewpoints on issues (rightly or wrongly), but these are challenged. ‘Off the Page’ is not a science programme, nor does it purport to be.  "


I'm not sure if it's just me being a bit arsy here, but surely it's MORE important that non-science programmes stick to the accepted methods so people are not led down the wrong path?


The great thing about the BBC is that they are ALWAYS right and we are ALWAYS wrong. Ho hum.

In other words, they don't care about accuracy or content.  The forum amounts to a free-for-all, without discipline.  I had thought better of the BBC up until your comment here.  At this point, I'm all the happier that NPR, with its faults, remains preferred over them for serious news content.

Thank you Loren (and thanks Joan) for your thoughts.

I was beginning to feel like a spark in a very large dark room; but the way things are headed, I expect that the idiots will win. The world of Mike Judge's Idiocracy was supposed to be a joke, but it's becoming more likely with each passing day.

Marc Draco, When BBC responded: 

"‘Off The Page’ is intended to be entertaining and provocative and its central editorial ambition is to encourage debate and opinion."

What an insult to any thinking person !!!  The air waves, whether audio or vidio should be used for at least basic information dispersal. I don't want to be entertained or provoked, I want to be informed with the best available information and when the information changes, I want to be informed of those changes and why. 

I got rid of TV years ago and don't own a radio. I subscribe with iTunes to audio and video. I really like when they have a scientist of any kind discussing his/her fields. The debate and opinion with a well trained scientist makes sense to me. Talk radio, full of opinionated, uninformed, unchallenged participants is of no use to me. It certainly is not entertainment. 

I discovered scientists offer time and attention to a question when I don't understand what they write or broadcast. I very often write to the individual, astronomer, astrophysicist, physicist, and I most often get intelligent and understandable responses. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Lawrence Krauss are just two of them who respond personally and promptly and are willing to engage in discussions. 

Loren Miller, I agree, how does one benefit by watching or listening to a discussion or debate by people who don't know what they are talking about? Or who has opinions that are based on faulty reasoning and ideology.  And it is so easy to hoodwink an uninformed person. I.D. is so full of distortions, delusions, and plain out lies, that anyone that transmits their stuff is party to the delusions. 

I believe we must be more confrontational. I know, "be nice" is the operative word here. Why? Who benefits by being nice to ignorance? Sure there is a way to be confrontational without being aggressive, but on reflection, I think Christopher Hitchens did our nation a valuable service and I miss him. 

Hear, hear!!  We need another Hitchens.  I miss him too.  Unfortunately when TV and radio producers decide to bring on people of opposing views on any given subject, they tend to give airtime to individuals with extreme, nonsensical and invalid views.  That's why people like Jerry Falwell (god rest his soul) and Pat Buchanan get airtime.  It's good for ratings.....but not good for having a serious debate. 

I totally agree!

Oh, I can be nice.  I won't attack the person making the fraudulent claims at all.  The claims?  They won't be so lucky!  I will gladly tear them to ribbons, show them neither mercy nor respect, and when the believer accuses me of attacking him personally, I will remind him of my words, that I never once mentioned my opponent, but note that if my opponent wants to equate himself with his beliefs, that is HIS mistake and not mine!

Loren, want to be the coach for our confrontation team? Let's think a minute, we need a logo, a T-shirt and billed cap, maybe some body armor, and a warm up and practice place. In the meantime, here are some questions Christians believe atheists are not willing and not able to answer. Well, I think we can, and relatively easily. 

20 questions atheists struggle to answer

This compiled list that Peter Saunders put together from  Twitter conversations earlier this week. He says he did not post these claiming atheists do not have an answer to these questions, but that there have not been any decent responses to them in the past 40 yrs:

1.         What caused the universe to exist?

2.         What explains the fine tuning of the universe?

3.         Why is the universe rational?

4.         How did DNA and amino acids arise?

5.         Where did the genetic code come from?

6.         How do irreducibly complex enzyme chains evolve?

7.         How do we account for the origin of 116 distinct language families?

8.         Why did cities suddenly appear all over the world between 3,000 and 1,000BC?

9.         How is independent thought possible in a world ruled by chance and necessity?

10.        How do we account for self-awareness?

11,        How is free will possible in a material universe?

12,        How do we account for conscience?

13         On what basis can we make moral judgments?

14.        Why does suffering matter?

15.        Do human beings matter?

16.        Why care about justice?

17.        How do we account for the almost universal belief in the supernatural?

18.        How do we know the supernatural does not exist?

19.        How can we know if there is conscious existence after death?

20.        What accounts for the

         A. empty tomb,

         B. resurrection appearances and

         C. growth of the church?





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