EvolDoers
November 23, 2004 5:42 AM   Subscribe

An Evolution of Evolution Warning Stickers. This intelligently designed website creation should be viewed with caution
posted by srboisvert (105 comments total)
 
Brilliant.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:44 AM on November 23, 2004


Damn right. Warning: the following line contain numbers ; numbers are abstract concepts, they're not real therefore the IOU note I gave you is for number 100, not for a 100 bill. Additionally the existence of number 0 is controversial, therefore I owe you 1.
posted by elpapacito at 5:49 AM on November 23, 2004


"when done reading ti, please refile in the fiction section."

that killed me. now i need to find a sticker sheet and start printing these... followed by a trip to the library. thanks, srboisvert!
posted by caution live frogs at 5:54 AM on November 23, 2004


live frog: please don't harm public library books with stickers !
posted by elpapacito at 5:57 AM on November 23, 2004


CBS poll:

55% of Americans don't believe in evolution at all, another 27% believe humans evolved but God guided the process and only 13% said God had nothing to do with it.

Do they really need stickers?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:01 AM on November 23, 2004


Heh, enjoyed that until I got to:

This book discusses gods. The existance of entities with supernatural powers is controvertial....

then started thinking seriously about this one. If you truly wanted to teach students to question the ideas presented to them, this really should be in the front of all religious texts.
Sadly, the Evolution zealots are far outnumbered by the religious ones...
posted by qwerty155 at 6:07 AM on November 23, 2004


The gravity sticker is the best of them, considering that "evolution is a theory" is equivalent to "gravity is a theory."
posted by graymouser at 6:12 AM on November 23, 2004




And all this time I thought the Earth was spherical.

What a sucker I've been.
posted by Talez at 6:19 AM on November 23, 2004


GOD rules! By GOD I mean Galactic Organization Dynamic.
posted by mic stand at 6:23 AM on November 23, 2004


I actually refused to believe the Bush quote, but there it is in Lexis Nexis:
Asked whether he regards the Bible as the literal and inerrant word of God, Mr. Bush said in the earlier interview: "From Scripture you can gain a lot of strength and solace and learn life's lessons. That's what I believe, and I don't necessarily believe every single word is literally true.

"I think that, for example, on the issue of evolution, the verdict is still out on how God created the earth," he said, a position that separates him from the fundamentalists. "I don't use the Bible as necessarily a way to predict the findings of science."

Mr. Bush learned a lesson from his first campaign for governor, when he created a controversy by telling an Austin reporter that only those who have accepted Christ as their savior can enter the kingdom of heaven.
(NYT 10/22/00 Sect1p21)
That is the non-fundamentalist position.
posted by allan at 6:29 AM on November 23, 2004


The gravity sticker is the best of them, considering that "evolution is a theory" is equivalent to "gravity is a theory."
It seems as if so much of this stupidity is aided the the fact that the word "theory" is commonly used as a synonym for "hypothesis" which is not how scientists use it at all. Is this a problem in other languages too?

It's somewhat similar to the "free beer" vs. "free speech" confusions that the software world keeps arguing about. Maybe the scientific world should coin a new word that means: "Rigorously proven and accepted theory," to short-circuit all the "that's only a theory" nonsense.
posted by octothorpe at 6:45 AM on November 23, 2004


A terrific idea (and a good post, srboisvert). As George Carlin (or somebody like him) once said, "If man evolved from the monkeys and apes, why are there still monkeys and apes?"
posted by LeLiLo at 6:52 AM on November 23, 2004


Buried in lower right hand corner, linked to from misspelled disclaimer on evolution: very sneaky. :-)
posted by Flem Snopes at 7:00 AM on November 23, 2004


i have a new theory. americans are bloated idiots.
posted by muppetboy at 7:11 AM on November 23, 2004


This is so off-topic, but as a recovering old-school Dr Who fan, let me just say that Richard Dawkins is a very lucky man. That is all.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:17 AM on November 23, 2004


This is most awesome, thank you for posting this.
posted by orange clock at 7:20 AM on November 23, 2004


"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out." (Richard Dawkins)
posted by naomi at 7:23 AM on November 23, 2004


his or her job is to teach evolution enthusiastically and without even a hint of tentativeness

enthusiastically?

shall we then stive for math with vigor, english with vim? sexual health with creativity? phys ed with aplomb?
posted by RockyChrysler at 7:24 AM on November 23, 2004


mic stand: reminds me of the GOD trucks you see on the highways in the US -- Guaranteed Overnight Delivery

They must have had a really sharp marketing team when they came up with their phone number (IMO, it's brilliant): 1-800-DIAL-GOD

Makes you wonder how many folks call up not looking for expedited delivery services.


posted by heydanno at 7:27 AM on November 23, 2004


"The Theory, by A. Elk (Miss). My theory is along the following lines: All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much, much thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far end. That is the theory that I have, and which is mine, and what it is, too."
posted by rory at 7:29 AM on November 23, 2004


If you believe in evolution, it's only because God is using you to test the faith of true believers. Think about it, you don't believe in God but He is using you for His own purposes.

[The funny thing is I bet you can't tell if I'm joking or not, eh?]
posted by sexymofo at 7:33 AM on November 23, 2004


So genius. Thank you, srboisvert.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:38 AM on November 23, 2004


If you believe in evolution, it's only because God is using you to test the faith of true believers.

Are you serious??!?!?!

Think about it, you don't believe in God but He is using you for His own purposes.

Not sure now....

[The funny thing is I bet you can't tell if I'm joking or not, eh?]

ok, ok ya got me.
*slaps forehead*
posted by qwerty155 at 7:38 AM on November 23, 2004


some theories state in part that time and gravity may be the same force, and what we perceive as time may just be the forces of gravity at work in our galaxy.

so yeah, gravity may not exist as we think it does. or something.
posted by Jeremy at 7:39 AM on November 23, 2004


Ha, beautiful! I wish I had had these back when I was in high school. In 9th grade Biology, a fairly sizeable group of students walked out of the class when we started the unit on evolution, and stayed out until we finished it (which only took about a week, I think). Their absences were excused, too, and never disputed by any teachers, school board members, etc.

That same year, my then-boyfriend (first boyfriend, actually) stated to me, in all seriousness, that Charles Darwin had contracted syphilis in his early years. Then-boyfriend claimed that Darwin went mad from the syph., and he postulated the theory of evolution when he was all pox-crazy. Yeah.

(This was in Alaska, by the way. Way up North, easily forgotten, always toying with legalizing marijuana, but most definitely a red state.)

What I don't get is, even if they didn't believe in it, why not learn about it anyway? Just to know? Couldn't they then consider their choice a more informed one? I was friends with the kids that walked out of my class -- they weren't idiots. They were sharp, and hard workers. Many of them achieved a lot by graduation and later on. I just don't get it.
posted by fricative at 8:10 AM on November 23, 2004


Hey evolution fans--Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward are touring the USA together right now. They both read beautifully from his latest book, and he indulges in some gleeful Bush-bashing.
posted by equipoise at 8:13 AM on November 23, 2004


dammit--according to that link, they just finished their tour two days ago. never mind!
posted by equipoise at 8:14 AM on November 23, 2004


As George Carlin (or somebody like him) once said, "If man evolved from the monkeys and apes, why are there still monkeys and apes?"

1. Carlin never said that, nor is it something he would likely say.

2. It completely misrepresents the theory of evolution. We did not "evolve from" monkeys and apes. We evolved alongside monkeys and apes, from a common ancestor.
posted by jpoulos at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2004


Warning: This science book warps space and time in its vicinity
posted by jellybuzz at 8:23 AM on November 23, 2004


[this is good]

FWIW, I learned religion in eighth grade, and evolution in ninth grade (both in public school). One as history and the other as fact. There's no reason these concepts have to exclude one another. I don't think there's any harm in teaching students what Christians believe and how these beliefs were historically formed.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:26 AM on November 23, 2004


I don't think there's any harm in teaching students what Christians believe and how these beliefs were historically formed.

The trouble starts when religious nuts start peddling their garbage as scientific fact, setting back a child's education by a couple hundred years. Not a great way to run a modern society.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:41 AM on November 23, 2004


:::cries:::
posted by rushmc at 8:45 AM on November 23, 2004


It's great, but there's a spelling mistake! :-( "shood" should be "should". (bottom right)

You gotta be perfect when criticizing. :-)
posted by shepd at 8:45 AM on November 23, 2004


fricative : I was friends with the kids that walked out of my class -- they weren't idiots. They were sharp, and hard workers. Many of them achieved a lot by graduation and later on. I just don't get it

You'd be amazed by how many closed minded, hard working, intelligent sharp people I met. Take, for instance, those brave workers who day by day work with dangerous chemicals in factories...on a work occasion a met one who did know he was working with some dangerous stuff (some clorine compound, toxic shiat) and when I commented saying something alike "wow, that's a pretty dangerous stuff" he said he didn't like to be reminded that.

Evidently he was scared and probably in denial of the fact he was riskying his life daily (more then others)..but he probably would rather believe he wasn't (denial).

I guess that to some, the possibility some alternative explanation exists is like Kryptonite to Superman : unbearable and harmful...so much that it throws them in denial. I think those are not to be quickly condemned for their miopy, expecially if they were "educated" by some religious leader , whose purpose is usually that of using human weakness for their personal gain.
posted by elpapacito at 8:53 AM on November 23, 2004


It's great, but there's a spelling mistake! :-( "shood" should be "should". (bottom right)

That's the only spelling mistake you noticed in that one?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:54 AM on November 23, 2004


"If man evolved from the monkeys and apes, why are there still monkeys and apes?"

Straight Dope discusses this.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:55 AM on November 23, 2004


shepd:
also aproched, studeed, carefuly, critcly, consid'rd.
I think it is suggesting that Bush (or those who share his views) are not all that bright.
posted by qwerty155 at 8:56 AM on November 23, 2004


From the Cobb County school district web site linked on the page:

"It is the long-standing educational philosophy of the Cobb County Board of Education as set out in its Rule IA to provide a broad-based curriculum to its students. To that end, the Board wants to ensure that the science curriculum of the District exposes students to a variety of testable theories and scenarios regarding the origin of the species in compliance with the Constitutions of the United States and Georgia."

What other "testable theories" are there?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2004


Ohhh, I understand now. Me and my lack of humour does it again. Heh...

I have no problem with religion in schools being taught in a religious history class. Just don't exclude the other much more popular religions and pseudo-religions, such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Communist-forced Atheism, etc, etc.

A topic on how all these religions interrelate would be nice, also, inclusive of a history of wars between the various religions.

But, of course, I'm dreaming again.
posted by shepd at 9:02 AM on November 23, 2004


The trouble starts when religious nuts start peddling their garbage as scientific fact,

perhaps the religious nuts need to be cracked?

It's a shame, really...people that follow a religion stick to a set of beliefs and they put those into practice. Athiests have a set of beliefs and put them into practice as well. They believe they are right, a person who believes in a deity believe he/she is right.

It would be absolutely stupid for a true athiest to say "Well, perhaps there is a god...somewhere, out there..you know, I'm kinda a free thinking athiest that goes both ways." The opposite would be a religious believer to say "well, god doesn't exist for some people..I dunno, ya know, whatever you wanna believe is kewl, k?"

So it's always going to come down to a struggle between the two.

My personal thought is that in high school, the biology teachers could say "there are two mainstream beliefs to how the world was formed, one is an evolved outlook, the other is a created outlook...we're going to study both. ...now bow your head for a moment of silence and pray on which one will not send you to hell..." [/sarcasm]
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2004


"If man evolved from the monkeys and apes, why are there still monkeys and apes?"

My favorite response is: "If man was created from dust, why is there still dust?"
posted by callmejay at 9:11 AM on November 23, 2004


I passed this on to my friends at a textbook company.
posted by me3dia at 9:21 AM on November 23, 2004


My favorite response is: "If man was created from dust, why is there still dust?"

and where did dust bunnies originally come from?
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:23 AM on November 23, 2004


Quantum Kid
A young student of science from Kansas,
showing up in a box for exams, says
"I've got nothing to hide,
but you can't look inside,
'cause I do and I don't know the answers."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2004


I'm trying hard, but I just can't smile through my tears; this page just makes me blue.

The Story of Evolution and its afterword: The Story of The Discovery of Evolution is my most beloved story above all. I love the natural progression so beautifully shown in the television series, Life on Earth. I love the funny little evolutionary deadends and the Ages of One Dominant Life Form Gone amuck (My favorite that almost happened: The Age of Turtles.) And I love Darwin himself, blindly walking his garden path, thinking, and reading, and thinking.

But I have resigned myself to the idea that as a result of the current religiousization of America we are now entering a mini-Dark Ages. Yet, The Story of Evolution won't cease to be relevant, it will live on in all other civilized countries (and probably most uncivilized countries as well.) And those students fortunate enough to live in homes of enlightenment will be just that better educated.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:00 AM on November 23, 2004


Worst limerick ever. Go and stand outside class. With the creationists.
posted by veedubya at 10:01 AM on November 23, 2004


I am so sick of the press giving legitimacy to this whole nutball crusade. It really reminds me of fanboy arguments about who believes in "blast processing."

I remember when we were studying genesis in Hebrew School, and someone asked "What about the dinosaurs," and the answer was, "You know, this story is symbolic. It's part of our mythology. Just consider the dinosaurs and all that stuff to be part of the 'created the animals' day."

"Oh, OK", we said, and that was that.
posted by ulotrichous at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2004


"Talez : And all this time I thought the Earth was spherical. What a sucker I've been."


Actually, the Earth is not perfectly spherical. Rather, the Earth more closely resembles an oblate spheroid. Only very slightly oblate, but oblate nonetheless.

Remember, these sorts of ideas should be approached "with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered".
posted by bemmett at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2004


These are great.

I would love it if some well-organized army of poker faces actually tried to argue successfully that gravity should be presented in the same skeptical fashion. Then conservation of energy. Then atoms. And so on. Overexpose the stickers into nothingness.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2004


Actually, evolution as a mechanism for explaining the diversity of life, is a better supported theory than the existence of Titan in orbit around Saturn. And yet, these people don't have a problem with dropping a hugely expensive spacecraft onto such a planet.

Another thing that irritates me very much is how evolution-deniers put their focus on evolution, when geology, planetary astronomy, astronomy and basic physics are just as damning to the literal biblical creation account as evolution. And yet, we don't see serious k-12 challenges to plate techtonics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:19 AM on November 23, 2004


whenever someone says, "evolution is just a theory," I know that it is time to stop talking to them because I am dealing with someone who was mistakenly given an entire brain when all they needed were the parts necessary to repeat things said by others. presumably, the parts required for reason and critical thinking have atrophied over time from disuse, rendering rebuttals useless.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:38 AM on November 23, 2004


Another thing that irritates me very much is how evolution-deniers put their focus on evolution, when geology, planetary astronomy, astronomy and basic physics are just as damning to the literal biblical creation account as evolution.

Evolution insults their vanity.
posted by homunculus at 10:51 AM on November 23, 2004


some theories state in part that time and gravity may be the same force, and what we perceive as time may just be the forces of gravity at work in our galaxy.

so yeah, gravity may not exist as we think it does. or something


I've seen theories of gravity as space-time warped by mass which draws things closer, the way a marble on a trampoline will gravitate to a bowling ball. But I think that's the point of the "theory of gravity" sticker.

We're not settled on the issue, but we're a lot better off teaching our students "things generally fall to the earth at 9.8 m/s and we're still working out the bugs as to the why" than "angels hold things down on the earth."
posted by revgeorge at 11:04 AM on November 23, 2004


I am so sick of the press giving legitimacy to this whole nutball crusade.

The current success of ID creationists to insert disclaimers into textbooks requires that the general public continue to hold basic misconceptions about what science is, says, and does (e.g., the confusion surrounding the words "theory", "fact", and "hypothesis" noted above). When the major press outlets to report sticker/insert stories the way they do, they tend to reinforce these misconceptions.

What's the answer? A full year's worth of mandatory critical thinking instruction in 7th grade? Compulsory debate team participation in 9th grade? The requirement that every AP and Reuters science writer graduate from UCSC's Science Writing Program?

I suppose comedy-as-object-lesson (like these stickers) is a start.
posted by gramschmidt at 11:12 AM on November 23, 2004


These people have a site with arguments for "intelligent design"
posted by tranceformer at 11:14 AM on November 23, 2004


But I have resigned myself to the idea that as a result of the current religiousization of America we are now entering a mini-Dark Ages.

Only if we're lucky.

Rememeber, kids: This crew posits the end of the world as a good thing, and as a goal to be strived for. Even better, thier chosen leader controls nuclear weapons.

Dark ages? I can only hope. I think, personally, there will be peace at last, all across the earth. You need the living to war.
posted by eriko at 11:16 AM on November 23, 2004


There are parts of the world where Creationists are still taken even remotely seriously?

You can thank me for contributing to this conversation later.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:41 AM on November 23, 2004


we're a lot better off teaching our students "things generally fall to the earth at 9.8 m/s and we're still working out the bugs as to the why" than "angels hold things down on the earth."

Ah, intelligent grappling theory.
posted by kindall at 11:46 AM on November 23, 2004


I don't think there's any harm in teaching students what Christians believe and how these beliefs were historically formed.

Jesus Christ was torturted to death because he was a kind man. He was not the son of God.
posted by Satapher at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2004


Jesus Christ was torturted to death because he was a kind man. He was not the son of God.

huh? where did you get this information from?
posted by Hands of Manos at 11:56 AM on November 23, 2004


The problem with "intelligent design" is, what if you apply the same theory to God?

God would have to be a very complex being to create such a complex world we live in. As such, it is without doubt, God could not have been the result of evolution, but created by an even more complex and perfect being.

The problem with this is, who created the more complex and perfect being that created God that in turn created us?
posted by Timeless at 11:57 AM on November 23, 2004


KirkJobSluder: the Gensis literalists focus on evolution to the exclusion of other Genesis-contradicting theories because evolution is a core principal of biology, and a full year of biology is an almost invariable requirement for high school graduation.

Geology and astronomy, if taught at all, are senior year electives which the kids of staunch creationists aren't likely to elect. Physics is only occasionally required, and when it is, is taught on such a watered-down level that it isn't going to threaten anyone.

I've always thought that the anti-evolution crusade was particularly dumb. Their kids either won't care about science -- in which case they'd ignore whatever they're taught -- or they will care about science -- in which case they'll brush aside the Gensis-literalism no matter what their parents teach them or what stickers get put on textbooks.
posted by MattD at 12:00 PM on November 23, 2004


things generally fall to the earth at 9.8 m/s

9.8m/s^2 (neglecting air resistance). It's an acceleration, not a velocity.
posted by normy at 12:08 PM on November 23, 2004


All y'all folk should know that them bookie science types be doin' the work of the satan. Jesus God done created me and my youngins and I ain't want to be hearin nothin of the contrary.

Personally, when anyone brings up an anti-evolution argument, I'll try to ignore them or change the subject. If they persist, I simply ask them to describe in their own words what they think Jesus' penis looked like. I mean, he DID have one... I don't understand why people get so flustered merely discussing the Lord's member.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:12 PM on November 23, 2004


The problem with "intelligent design" is, what if you apply the same theory to God?

Another problem is that the designer doesn't always seem to be so intelligent. I think Quirky Design would be better. How else to explain the platypus, or aquatic sloths?
posted by homunculus at 12:15 PM on November 23, 2004


nice
posted by expriest at 12:15 PM on November 23, 2004


The problem with "intelligent design" is, what if you apply the same theory to God?

Another problem is that the designer doesn't always seem to be so intelligent. I think Quirky Design would be better. How else to explain the platypus, or aquatic sloths?


I've always thought you could use the principles of ID to argue for many gods. That might fit in better with your QD, homunculus.
posted by effwerd at 12:20 PM on November 23, 2004


(On preview: homunculus has it right)

The biggest problem with so-called "intelligent" design theory is that, even if there was a conscious designer, he/she/it obviously wasn't very intelligent. Everywhere I look, I see poor design. For example, if humans are supposed to walk upright, why does doing so produce constant back and neck problems?

Or, by the same token, my favorite ID counterexample: Pandas eat nothing but bamboo. However, their digestive systems aren't suited for this. They would be much better off if they ate at least some meat, but they don't, so they have to consume vast quantities of bamboo in order to get the nutrients they need, and then they excrete vast quantities of barely-digested plant matter.

We are left with two possible hypotheses as to why this is:
1) Pandas are in the process of evolving from a carnivorous or omnivorous lifestyle to an herbivorous one, and will eventually adapt physically in order to make better use of the nutrients in bamboo, or
2) God likes panda poop.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:20 PM on November 23, 2004


MetaFilter: God likes panda poop.
posted by eriko at 12:38 PM on November 23, 2004


Another problem is that the designer doesn't always seem to be so intelligent. I think Quirky Design would be better. How else to explain the platypus, or aquatic sloths?

ID is simply going in the opposite direction of evolution. With evolution, you start with something very simple and end up with something very complex. With ID, you start off with something very intelligent, and end up with something very dumb.
posted by Timeless at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2004


Intelligent design doesn't necessarily call for a perfect, omniscient designer. In fact, I think FoB and homunculus make points that suggest that if ID is a valid theory, we should be looking for an imperfect designer, working with incomplete information and under significant engineering constraints, who therefore encountered a number of unintended consequences and generated some flawed designs.

As I see it, ID theory is a better argument for the existence aliens than it is for the existence of the perfect, omniscient God of Christianity. But that's alright, 'cause it's not a religious theory, right?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:40 PM on November 23, 2004


I simply ask them to describe in their own words what they think Jesus' penis looked like

like most others, I would suspect.
--
I think Jesus gets a bad rap for things. Hell, most of his teachings were based around "love one another." What the hell is wrong with that?

[run on sentence] It pains me to see Jesus get placed on a cynical platter by the dumbass redneck bigoted idiots that blindly follow him...who are made fun of by the self proclaimed elitist shit-heads that think they are an "evolved" specimin and feel the need to show how far above them they are.[/run on sentence]
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:41 PM on November 23, 2004


homounculus: Unintelligent Design. I'm pretty sure there's also an Annals of Improbable Research article on this sort of thing, but my google-fu is weak today.

and Debaser, I like that about asking about Jesus' penis. Much more effective than Adam and Eve's belly buttons.

On preview: mr_roboto, I completely agree. I suspect that one could make a strong argument for more SETI funding via an ID argument.
posted by Hactar at 12:51 PM on November 23, 2004


In addition to intelligent design, unintelligent design, design by committee, and moderately-intelligent-but-still-constrained design, we should also be considering Cruel Design theories, wherein a malicious designer deliberately designs organisms badly for his perverse pleasure. (And from a theological standpoint--not that a CD theory is theological in any sense--a malicious designer might well "inspire" some of his creations to write books which are deliberately calculated to sow violence and discord, and encourage creatures to follow them by promises of a paradisical afterlife and/or threats of eternal torment for those who do not obey--when in fact all beings will be consigned to eternal torment, regardless of their behavior in this life.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:16 PM on November 23, 2004


elpapacito: never fear, no damage done to library books: i was in fact referring to the instructions to refile under "fiction" and not to putting stickers in them. not that i made it very clear. (either way, that would keep me busy for a while, as my local library has over 2 million volumes....)
posted by caution live frogs at 1:27 PM on November 23, 2004


Devilsadvocate, "cruel design" is a central tenet of my newly founded religion, Sickfuckianism.

In my religion, god created us for his amusement, and god is one sick fuck. Which goes a hell of a lot further in explaining the world than a benevolent god who likes us but makes us sin and go to hell anyway.
posted by u.n. owen at 1:29 PM on November 23, 2004


Um, who was it that tested the ID hypothesis by tracking innovation in 19th and early 20th century horn insturments?

The biggest problem with ID is that we know what descent with modification should look like, and it fits the pattern of diversity we see in nature. Applying the same cladistics to designed innovations produces very different family trees.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:33 PM on November 23, 2004


If a God created the universe and humans, why are we so small and dumb and limited?

Let's face it: the previous 8000 years of human life are nothing to write home about. Just a bunch of still-savage idiots beating the shit out of one another stuck on a backwater planet.

Seems like an extremely feeble "crowning achievement" for a god that otherwise created all that is.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:34 PM on November 23, 2004


Which goes a hell of a lot further in explaining the world than a benevolent god who likes us but makes us sin and go to hell anyway.

which god is this? I want to make sure, if I'm in the market for getting me some religion, to stay the hell away from that one
posted by Hands of Manos at 1:41 PM on November 23, 2004


Let's face it: the previous 8000 years of human life are nothing to write home about. Just a bunch of still-savage idiots beating the shit out of one another stuck on a backwater planet. Seems like an extremely feeble "crowning achievement" for a god that otherwise created all that is.

That's like saying:

Americans went to Africa and brought black people over to help work on their farms...sometime later, Martin Luther King was born.
posted by Hands of Manos at 1:47 PM on November 23, 2004


Let's face it: the previous 8000 years of human life are nothing to write home about. Just a bunch of still-savage idiots beating the shit out of one another...

The Designer is Brett Ratner? Oh my - that explains an awful lot of things that have been puzzling me of late.
posted by flashboy at 1:47 PM on November 23, 2004


Faint of Butt is my favorite new user.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:55 PM on November 23, 2004


The gravity sticker is the best of them, considering that "evolution is a theory" is equivalent to "gravity is a theory."

In at least one important respect, gravity is much more of a settled issue . . .gravity can be repeatedly tested in a controlled environment; macro-evolution cannot.

Speaking of types of evolution, it bears noting that even the fundies don't disregard micro-evolution, as far as I can tell (i.e., they would accept that some moths near London developed darker pigments to blend in with the soot-stained tree bark).

It's the macro (one species becoming another?) they veto, and they believe they have support for their objections in the disciplines of paleontology, genetics and biology.

I'd like to see a site that matches up the differing interpretations for the same scientific data (theology stays home, only bona-fide scientists could post, etc.).
posted by iwearredsocks at 2:18 PM on November 23, 2004


In at least one important respect, gravity is much more of a settled issue . . .gravity can be repeatedly tested in a controlled environment...

Some very basic aspects of gravity can be tested in a controlled environment. Those aspects of gravitation that are interesting from a cosmological point of view, and that have a bearing on the contemporary development of the science of physics, cannot be tested in a controlled environment, as they involve masses significantly greater than that of our planet.

There are many more pieces of evidence for evolution by natural selection than there are for general relativity, which is the current consensus theory of gravitation.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:28 PM on November 23, 2004


iwearredsocks: In at least one important respect, gravity is much more of a settled issue . . .gravity can be repeatedly tested in a controlled environment; macro-evolution cannot.

I think that far too much is made of the "testing in a controlled environment" issue, primarily because of a misunderstanding of how science works. Neither Newton's nor Einstein's theory of gravity involved much of a controlled environment. Newton extrapolated from terrestial objects to the moon, while Einstein's prediciton involved Mercury and a solar eclipse.

"Testing" a theory does not require a lab, only that future undiscovered data fits the hypothesis. In the case of biology, geology, and astronomy, this data is unlikely to come from a lab, but from the field.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:34 PM on November 23, 2004


I just had to compliment srboisvert on "EvolDoers."

they would accept that some moths near London developed darker pigments to blend in with the soot-stained tree bark

Not so fast...

Extinguished theologians lie about the cradles of every science as the strangled snakes besides that of Hercules. —Charles Darwin
posted by rushmc at 2:40 PM on November 23, 2004


Faint of Butt is my favorite new user.

I feel so loved!
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:31 PM on November 23, 2004


Somewhere above, elpapacito quoth:
You'd be amazed by how many closed minded, hard working, intelligent sharp people I met.
I used to work next door to a radiocarbon lab run by a long-time C-14 tech who was a fundamentalist. He once put a large note saying "garbage!" on a poster we put up down the all with the classic graphic of fish becoming mammal becoming early man.

It wasn't a topic we particularly liked to discuss with him, so I never did figure out how he reconciled his day job with his belief system.
posted by Creosote at 3:45 PM on November 23, 2004


1) Pandas are in the process of evolving from a carnivorous or omnivorous lifestyle to an herbivorous one, and will eventually adapt physically in order to make better use of the nutrients in bamboo, or
2) God likes panda poop.


Maybe God outsourced the Pandas to some angels?

I would love to see what happens if someone tried to defend creationism for humans, but evolution for everything else. Just to see where people's loyalty truly lies, y'know?
posted by ontic at 4:44 PM on November 23, 2004


Jesus, who, for the time, was a very forward thinker, was tortured to death because he refused to fit into the incorrect ideals of the present society in which he was living.

Ironically, the present forward thinking people of society are basing their ideals on science, which is now being tortured by creationists that "believe" in Jesus.

Fortunately, unlike Jesus, ideas can't be killed.
posted by shepd at 4:48 PM on November 23, 2004


I know there are some who theorize beyond the big bang, but it is obviously pretty tenuous speculation, so anthropomorphizing a "motivating spirit" behind the start of the universe that we now observe is not really much worse (not that that's quite what the ID people want, of course). Or, for that matter, you could choose to see god as being the laws of nature, or subscribe to mr_roboto's alien theory, without seeming too wacky.

Insisting one, patched up Frankenstein's monster of a theory must be right because it has a little in common with observation and, more importantly, it can be massaged to accord with one particular creation myth is so alien to me that I find it hard to begin to fathom the thinking behind it.

Admitting that "there are more things in heaven and earth," shows a sense of humility; insisting that there can be nothing more in heaven or earth than shows up in one book is perverse. I like the the stickers, but I don't expect them to do much to counter the perversity.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 5:05 PM on November 23, 2004


I simply ask them to describe in their own words what they think Jesus' penis looked like

you could take that line of questioning further...eg "given that Jesus would surely need to release semen from time to time to prevent his balls from exploding, and given that he surely never masturbated, can u speculate as to what his wet dreams were about?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:07 PM on November 23, 2004


Someone above wrote "shall we then stive for math with vigor, english with vim? sexual health with creativity? phys ed with aplomb?"

Yes. Absolutely. Teach this material without hesitation, with tenuousness, without fear for upsetting a few children of wackjob parents. Teach it with passion. (That, of course, goes for the other subjects you pointed out--instruct with vim, vigor, creativity, aplomb.)

They say that values are caught, not taught. Faced with a teacher who really, truly loves the idea (and practice) of evolution, kids will remain a lot more open-minded and interested than they will with a teacher who goes through the motions, shows the videos, assigns a few questions, then moves on to interphase, prophase, etc.
posted by John of Michigan at 5:11 PM on November 23, 2004


My amazement at the whole situation is that the concept of scientific model/theory is so badly taught in high school and elsewhere. The question is not if the theory of evolution is "true" or not. The real question is if the theory is useful or not in explaining and predicting things. Once people realize how science actually works, it's extremely difficult to reject any useful theory for idealogical reasons. For example, my personal view on evolution is that the processes are not random, and in fact the individual decisions were in some way influenced by god's will. However, I don't believe in Intelligent Design for the reasons given above. I believe the "truth" to be something more complicated than evolution, like all of reality. So, I may not be a full athiest, but I sure as hell believe that evolution is the best model we have today.

I think a large amount of fault can be placed at the way evolution is taught. Science in high school, and in the mainstream in general, is taught as Truth. Because the fundamentalist student has an incompatible truth system, they are forced by our teaching methods to either throw out their entire religion, or one thing taught to them in high school. I don't think it's really that surprising that they choose to throw out the study of something they didnt want to study anyway. What's really needed is better instruction in what science actually is. Our current education system treats Science as if it was a religion onto itself. If we turn Science into a poor substitute for religion, real religion will always win out.
posted by JZig at 5:57 PM on November 23, 2004


given that Jesus would surely need to release semen from time to time to prevent his balls from exploding, and given that he surely never masturbated, can u speculate as to what his wet dreams were about?

A satirical book pertaining to that can be found here:
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

The other thing is...well, we weren't there to see if he masturbated or not. So who knows if he did or did not.

Also, there were some major cultural differences between our culture now, and that culture then...masturbation could have been regarded totally different back then. I'm not saying it is...I'm just saying it's worth pondering.

Jesus, who, for the time, was a very forward thinker, was tortured to death because he refused to fit into the incorrect ideals of the present society in which he was living.

Ironically, the present forward thinking people of society are basing their ideals on science, which is now being tortured by creationists that "believe" in Jesus.


I totally agree with this!

However some of the "present forward thinking people" on this board have been apt to torture (mentally/verbally) Christians because they choose to believe a certain way. I know I'm a n00b here on the board, but I've lurked 1.5+ years and anytime there is a religious thread that crops up, there is a lot of bashing on Christians. So how present forward thinking is this? Sounds more like revenge/reaction if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong, I CAN'T STAND IT when some unhealthy individual uses "In Christ's Name" to gain political power and/or domination over someone (ie Jack Chick, Pat Roberston, Pat Buchannan, the sick jerks involved with the Salem Witch Trials, etc). But how forward thinking is making fun/demeaning someone of their beliefs (however absurd they can be)? Seems to me that it'd be better to respond to someone like that with assertiveness, tough love and humanity.
posted by Hands of Manos at 6:04 PM on November 23, 2004


Nice post JZig.

There are many more pieces of evidence for evolution by natural selection than there are for general relativity, which is the current consensus theory of gravitation.

But the obvious work of gravity is known to every bloke who has rolled off the bed during an active dream. Maybe the evidence for evolution is overwhelming; but it is not apprehended by the common person.

Who wants a bunch of know-it-all's answering one of the big existential questions with what is perceived to be inaccessible data? I sympathize with them, get where they feel from.

Average Joe's want to understand stuff in a personal, demonstrable way . . .either evolutionary theory isn't capable of such proofs, or proponents of it don't know how to break it down to everyman.

If someone were to say, "It isn't the job of science to win coverts to its theories", then I'd reply, "So don't bitch when folks don't buy into them."

John of Michigan, what do you mean by the practice of evolution?
posted by iwearredsocks at 6:10 PM on November 23, 2004


iwearredsocks: But the obvious work of gravity is known to every bloke who has rolled off the bed during an active dream. Maybe the evidence for evolution is overwhelming; but it is not apprehended by the common person.

Certainly, what is not apprehended by everyday experience is the same force that pulls me to the floor when I roll out of bed, also holds the moon in orbit. The concept that gravity is the dominant force throughout the entire universe is such a subtle and powerful realization that for most of Western history, we believed that the heavens were controlled by very different rules. It took three generations after Copernicus smashed the concept of literal celestial spheres before anyone could develop a theory of gravity that worked for both apples and planets.

Even so, misconceptions about the nature of the solar system abound. Even a fair number of Harvard grads will explain the seasons by saying that the Earth is closer to the sun in summer than in winter. In that case the misconception is grounded by the observable fact that we get warmer when we get closer to a heat source, but it is still wrong.

Average Joe's want to understand stuff in a personal, demonstrable way . . .either evolutionary theory isn't capable of such proofs, or proponents of it don't know how to break it down to everyman.

Most textbooks that I've seen that cover evolutionary biology use the well-known example of eohippus -> modern horses. Newer findings will also address transitional forms in the development of whales, and newer discoveries linking theropod dinosaurs to modern birds.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:41 PM on November 23, 2004


"Average Joes want to understand stuff in a personal, demonstrable way..."

There's a newly-evolved strain of influenza this season. If Average Joe's immune system hasn't yet evolved immunity, Average Joe may get a VERY personal demonstration of evolution.

A few years ago when Kansas was weakening the teaching of evolution, it was during the E.coli outbreak, so the newspapers were full of news of evolution:

"New strain of e.coli has picked up plasmids from diphtheria, making it lethal" would run right next to stories of "Kansans deny reality of evolution".
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:29 PM on November 23, 2004


I'm not implying that average jane fully grasps gravity with all its nuances, only that she has enough practical understanding to "believe" in gravity.

Horses and whales notwithstanding, at least 55% (see CBS stats above) of the average joes aren't buying into those examples which may seem practical to the writer of a textbook or to a poster on mefi.

Good example with the e.coli. Not to belabor the point, though, it's micro-evolution, which (please, God!) I've got to believe even most anti-evolutionists would accept without question. It's the transitional forms in the development of whales, etc. that I think they find too fantastic.
posted by iwearredsocks at 8:40 PM on November 23, 2004


Well, there are two possible theories for gravity:

1. God invented gravity to prevent believers from accidently floating into heaven. Only the soul is exempt of the laws of gravity.

2. Gravity is the work of the devil as he is trying to pull everyone into hell. That is why gluttony is a sin.
posted by Timeless at 11:57 PM on November 23, 2004


There's a flaw in the creationist's argument. That evolution happens is a repeatable and demonstratable fact. The reasons why evolution happen are where theory comes into it.
posted by Meridian at 2:21 AM on November 24, 2004


Iwearredsocks:

Ooops. Brain fart. By "practice of evolution," I meant how evolution, powered by natural selection, works--completely independent of a design or designer.

It's not that I'm not smart with words, it's just . . . well, I guess it is just that.
posted by John of Michigan at 6:42 AM on November 24, 2004


Timeless, you made me laugh as I sit here eating my brownies. Thank you.
posted by codger at 8:54 AM on November 24, 2004


On the gravity disclaimer, here's what professor Daniel Ray from EMU has to say (from Brain Leiter's blog):

the sticker on continental drift is blatantly inaccurate. We are witnessing this continent drift backwards into pre-Enlightenment with each passing day. As to the disclaimer on gravity, it's correct as far as it goes, but to make it completely accurate, the following needs to be added:
If you intend to experiment with your childrens' lives using the theory of gravity as you are willing to do with their education using the theory of evolution, you should first acquaint yourself with the principle of deceleration. This principle posits that a relatively smaller mass accelerating toward a larger mass will, upon contacting that larger mass, rapidly decelerate. The rapidly decelerating mass, if theretofore living, may thus end up in a theoretical state sometimes referred to as dead. See the death theory disclaimer.
Of course, this would then necessitate a disclaimer that death is merely a theory that some people believe to be false by reason of the theory of eternal life (meaning, of course, another sticker), and that the theory of death should be approached with an open mind and cautiously.
posted by painquale at 2:09 PM on November 24, 2004


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