Next up, Alyssa Milano on Fermat's last theorem
April 18, 2006 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Well, this settles everything: Kirk Cameron debunks evolution.
posted by docgonzo (312 comments total)
 
Kirk's friend, the reject from Super Mario Brothers: "Could you believe that? Of course you couldn't. No one in his right mind believes that."

But it's perfectly believable that there's an invisible superhero in outer space watching where I put my weenis.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2006


Not surprising. He's also the star in the "Left Behind" movie series.
posted by laz-e-boy at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2006


Wow.

That was one of the most intellectually dishonest pieces of video work I've ever seen, and I watched Cool As Ice.

I love how they grabbed kids from a mall and demanded that they explain how evolution works. If they can't find Cambodia on a map either, does it mean Cambodia doesn't exist?

Damn those map-making conspiracies.
posted by verb at 11:14 AM on April 18, 2006


Hasn't it been more than 6000 years since ol' Kirk was relevant?
posted by bondcliff at 11:15 AM on April 18, 2006


It's at least reassuring to know that the USA hasn't cornered the market on batshit crazy Christian fundamentalism.
posted by adamrice at 11:17 AM on April 18, 2006


I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

The fact that they are so earnest about it makes me think tumors. Brain tumors and large quantities of pain medication.

Remind me not to point and laugh next time anyone uses any of these arguments. Because I try so hard to be more than just a god damned fucking monkey.
posted by daq at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2006


It's at least reassuring to know that the USA hasn't cornered the market on batshit crazy Christian fundamentalism.

Can we start selling them to balance our trade deficit?
posted by jperkins at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2006


I'm waiting for all those fish in the barrel to evolve so that they're much harder to shoot.
posted by billysumday at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2006


Mayor Curley wins and I want to change my username to Invisible Superhero In Outerspace.
posted by The Bellman at 11:21 AM on April 18, 2006


Have you ever watched Kirk's spiritual program? He's pretty eloquent for an evangelist.
posted by wakko at 11:22 AM on April 18, 2006


They're probably full of shit. I don't know. I'm not an expert.
posted by NationalKato at 11:25 AM on April 18, 2006


"Disclaimer: Video Contains Religious propaganda" - indeed. I wonder if the people behind this thought it would take off as some kind of 'viral' video they keep reading about ("ooh, put it on Google Video - we'll get our message out that way")

Daq, you're trying, which is more than anyone can say for these ID guys. So much wrong with this video on so many levels - although the fly-in words from the sides of the screen was such a nice touch for those who don't wanted to be bothered by the facts. Scary stuff, but not surprising stuff...
posted by rmm at 11:25 AM on April 18, 2006


That's nice and everything, but can he teach you how to play chess?
posted by rxrfrx at 11:25 AM on April 18, 2006


my documentary: go around to good old fashioned folks in the the South and ask basic questions about Jesus. What kind of shoes did he wear? How long was his beard? What was his favorite kind of food?


This is ridiculous. Biology is my major, and I feel bad for these decent people trying to give reasonable answers. The documentary just makes them look like idiots, when the truth it's hard for anyone to know anything all about those kinds of specifics (being that we didn't live millions of years ago and beyond). The scientific evidence is overwhelming; and nobody even debates microevolution any more. I have a feeling this is going under the history books in the "people who thought the earth was flat" category.
posted by rainman84 at 11:26 AM on April 18, 2006


Also, if Alyssa Milano discusses Fermat's last theorem with a tight shirt, I'm willing to listen.
posted by NationalKato at 11:26 AM on April 18, 2006


It’s not polite to make fun of the mentally ill.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:27 AM on April 18, 2006


"with a tight shirt" is a pretty awesome suffix for describing scientific discussions.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2006


That was one of the most intellectually dishonest pieces of video work I've ever seen, and I watched Cool As Ice.

I guess you've never Fox News lolololol.

Seriously though, most political propaganda in the US is just intellectually vacuous rather straight up dishonest.

Asking a bunch of people on the street to prove evolution and then nitpicking them for using words like "I don't know" or "I believe" not only completely misses the point on science. Without Science you can always keep asking "why" and if you don't know, you try to find out. That's what drives science. With religion you just get to say "god did it" and if you ask them why god did it they're just as we are left with "I don't know".
posted by delmoi at 11:32 AM on April 18, 2006


Go to their site and you can make Kirk dance. Dance man-animal, dance!
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2006


and if you ask them why god did it they're just as we are left with "I don't know".

Or, "because He loves you."
posted by NationalKato at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2006


Show me that smile again (Ooh show me that smile)
Don't waste another minute on your cryin'
We're nowhere near the end (We're nowhere near...)
The best is ready to begin

Ooh...
As long as we got each other
We got the world spinnin' right in our hands
Baby you and me...
We got to be...
The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreamin'

As long as we keep on givin'
We can take anything that comes our way
Baby rain or shine...
All the time...
We got each other
Sharin' the laughter and love
posted by Otis at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2006


This is almost as stupid as when I hear people talk about what a "miracle" it was some person survived a natural disaster but then never seem fit to cast blame on God for the disaster itself. arghhh...
posted by j.p. Hung at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2006


my documentary: go around to good old fashioned folks in the the South and ask basic questions about Jesus. What kind of shoes did he wear? How long was his beard? What was his favorite kind of food?

my documentary: go around the South and ask random people questions about anything then film as they don't turn out to be the moronic cretins that non-Southerners accuse them of being without ever having been there or bothered to meet a person from there before making their bigoted judgements.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2006


Kirk says science is wrong, and has an "evidence bible", what do you have? An evidence Bible sounds pretty convincing. Plus, science is hard.
posted by Crash at 11:36 AM on April 18, 2006


Just how many of Fermat's theorems had tight shirts, anyway?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:38 AM on April 18, 2006


hehehe good one Smedleyman!

The only reason you can't discredit these credulous cretins is that there are millions of credulous cretins that think their own "common sense" is more valid than the millions of human-hours of research and testing that science has done for the last 500 years or so, and who don't see that every materially-related thing in their lives that's good has derived from all that scientific hard work.

"Have you ever watched Kirk's spiritual program? He's pretty eloquent for an evangelist."

Precisely the problem. "Eloquent" does not and has never equaled "correct," but primates who feel their own "common sense" is paramount seem to value it much more highly.

Come interview me, Kirk! I actually have answers for you! Oh right, you'd never actually show a clip of someone who could answer you intelligently.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:38 AM on April 18, 2006


I guess he also doesn't like gay people.
posted by ninjew at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2006


Does this PROVE that a hired orangutan is as good an actor as Kirk Cameron?
posted by schustafa at 11:45 AM on April 18, 2006


Like all Kirk Cameron post-"Growing Pain" projects, this video is nothing without the character of "Boner".
posted by jca at 11:47 AM on April 18, 2006


A combination of hilariousness and awfulness.
posted by boo_radley at 11:51 AM on April 18, 2006


I didn't bother to watch this infomercial all the way through. Do they ask for money at some point?

Oh...wait....there's a training course.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:53 AM on April 18, 2006


"To prove my point, we hired an orangutan for the day..."

I'm sold.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:55 AM on April 18, 2006


"The 'Way of the Master' series has turned my church into soul-winning machines!" --Pastor G.F. Watkins, Texas
posted by rxrfrx at 11:56 AM on April 18, 2006


I don't need to know exactly how it works - I'll accept any theory that doesn't involve me worshipping a vengeful deity and paying penance to it's self-proclaimed earth-bound ass-raping spokesfelons.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2006


my documentary: go around to good old fashioned folks in the the South and ask basic questions about Jesus. What kind of shoes did he wear? How long was his beard? What was his favorite kind of food?

And then ask people in the north, and then the west (Leno always finds some real smart 'uns out there). I'm sure they'd put the southern answers to shame. Then they could ask you the definition of 'bigot'. Great entertainment.
posted by justgary at 11:58 AM on April 18, 2006


Kirk said we should "circumnavigate the intellect," then pulled out the Evidence Bible.

Parker and Stone couldn't MAKE this stuff up.
posted by surferboy at 12:00 PM on April 18, 2006


To prove my point I called various airline ticketing agents and asked if I could get a ticket for "my Father" even though he does not have any tangible identification. No airline would sell Him a ticket!

They also seemed a bit squeemish when I asked if they had a body & blood meal service.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:00 PM on April 18, 2006


*summons Bevets*
posted by Fezboy! at 12:02 PM on April 18, 2006



posted by Dr-Baa at 12:05 PM on April 18, 2006


Tuck your shirt in, Kirk, you're not twenty-two anymore.
posted by NationalKato at 12:06 PM on April 18, 2006


It's at least reassuring to know that the USA hasn't cornered the market on batshit crazy Christian fundamentalism.

... Son of a bitch! you mean I can't just leave the country to get away from it? The whole creationist "movement" holds a bus-accident-like facination for me. Or maybe its horrifying. I can't tell. I just don't get how anyone can actually believe it.
posted by srw12 at 12:08 PM on April 18, 2006


I'm sure that conscience is always more correct than intellect.
posted by borkingchikapa at 12:08 PM on April 18, 2006


To prove my point I called various airline ticketing agents and asked if I could get a ticket for "my Father" even though he does not have any tangible identification. No airline would sell Him a ticket!

Try Alaska Airlines, I'm sure they can help you out.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:10 PM on April 18, 2006


Do you think the producers of "Way of the Master" are going to bring Leonardo DiCaprio on to the show once the ratings decline?
posted by subclub at 12:12 PM on April 18, 2006


I skipped ahead in the video and at one point the non-Kirk guy says something like, "how could science make a parrot?"
posted by jefbla at 12:13 PM on April 18, 2006


At first I thought this was satire, then I remembered a recent Family Guy episode where Kirk Cameron showed up to Peter's Church of the Fonz and was asked if he was there to recruit people to the church of Growing Pains, and replied "No, Christianity".

Wow, this first segment is the most dishonest piece of drivel I have ever seen. How many people did they have to interview before they ended up with people that stupid? I'm sure they have some takes that got the cut that went something like this:

KC: Did humans evolve from apes?
An Educated Person: No, they both evolved from a common ancestor.
KC: Did humans evolve from horses maybe?
AEP: Uh, no, they both evolved from a common ancestor.
KC: Do you think we had lungs when we were fish?
AEP: Well, if by "we" you mean the ancestor of terrestrial vertabrates, then yes. This would have been a lobe finned lungfish like the Coelacanth.
KC: The what?
AEP: Look, who are you?
KC: Uh, we have to go, there are some Fiji pledges we need to interview for this segment.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:14 PM on April 18, 2006


Logical fallacies involved:

Begging the Question

Appeal to Authority

Genetic Fallacy

Appeal to Emotion

And plenty others, as is common in religious propaganda. I couldn't find one called "Appeal to 'Common Sense.'" What do you call it when something is presented as a "you couldn't possibly believe that, could you?"

This is what happens when people never learn how to actually think.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2006


"how could science make a parrot?"

How could anyoone not want a t-shirt that says that?!
posted by thekilgore at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2006


Smedleyman wins, as usual.

"how could science make a parrot?"

I'm reminded of a quote from the Simpsons episode where homer becomes intelligent.
"Oh please, you do nothing *but* play god, just ask your octoparrot."
"Awk, polly shouldn't be."

Oh, and this is obligatory:

posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:23 PM on April 18, 2006


Pollomacho & justgary -- lay off rainman84, I am fairly certain that he did not mean to infer that Southerners are stupid.

His point regarding asking Southerners (of which I am one) about Jesus related minutiae is that they could not possibly know the answers because either (a) nobody knows or (b) your common man doesn't carry that kind of knowledge around committed to memory. He referred to Southerners because they are widely stereotyped as more likely to be Christian.

In other words: calm down and let the guy be.
posted by elafint at 12:24 PM on April 18, 2006


That one guy said the big bang was caused by a planet exploding, but where did that planet come from? He doesn't make sense.
Then the girl said that there was no air on the earth when the fishes evolved, so what did they breathe.
Evolution believers are obviously stupid, and they obviously believe everything they're told without thinking about it.

Also, I find it unbelievable that you so called intelligent people would say this was a set-up. Where's your righteous indignation when Penn and Teller start asking people who don't really understand the bible to explain the bible. There isn't any. You all just laugh and say that all the Christians are stupid. Even by your perverted standards, you shouldn't say that all Christians are stupid, and yet some "evolutionists" are not so clever.
posted by seanyboy at 12:26 PM on April 18, 2006


It is the Bible Belt, after all. Pollomacho and justgary missed the point.
posted by NationalKato at 12:28 PM on April 18, 2006


If there was a God, would Kirk Cameron have a career?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:30 PM on April 18, 2006


Sadly, based solely on the Rod Serling parody intro, I feel that this round goes to Kirk Cameron. Thus, the score stands:

Kirk Cameron: 1.
Evolutionary science: Eleventy jillion.
posted by sparkletone at 12:31 PM on April 18, 2006


The big bang happened because of an asteroid from another planet that had had the same thing happen to it? I... can't... ....
posted by jon_kill at 12:34 PM on April 18, 2006


Wait wait wait. Since when did ridiculing people who don't know what they're talking about count as debunking a theory?

"Oh, so you don't know how the valence electrons behave under those circumstances? Well... can't be true can it?"
posted by jon_kill at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2006


Okay, as heinous as this vid was, you guys want to know the truly sad part? That it will be shown to hundreds of thousands (millions?) of kids in Sunday schools all over the nation...and they will root and cheer for Cameron as he puts the ignorant evolutionists in their place.
This isn't some isolated bit of delusional nonsense. This is the truth for a disturbingly large portion of our populace.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:39 PM on April 18, 2006


I don't think the "we asked some people at the mall and they couldn't explain it in detail" argument has ever convinced anyone of anything.
posted by subclub at 12:40 PM on April 18, 2006


"Alyssa Milano" + "with a tight shirt" = "Boner"

I've solved this thread!

Hey wait, that's just the plot of "Charmed"
posted by ninjew at 12:42 PM on April 18, 2006


If I remember correctly, seanyboy, Penn & Teller had historians and religious scholars in addition to "the idiot on the street" on their episode about the bible. Yes, they take liberties with logic because its "entertainment," and no one should get all their info from P&T, but they at least make an effort to not be 100% intellectually dishonest, unlike Kirk and his douchebag friend.
posted by papakwanz at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2006


What if while they were filming the sequel, Kirk cameron started to evolve right before their eyes to become Justine Bateman?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2006


(In a tight shirt)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:44 PM on April 18, 2006


Look at this ape! It doesn't know table manners. It's acting like a bratty child. And you suggest we descend from apes! That's like saying adults used to be children.
posted by I Foody at 12:45 PM on April 18, 2006


Why not go around a mall and ask people how electricity works? Then watch them fumble, and use that as an argument that electricity doesn't work. Also include damning facts, such as the fact that certain values are expressed in imaginary numbers (the term is enough, don't actually define it or anything) and you've essentially "proven" that electricity doesn't exist.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:46 PM on April 18, 2006


"Even by your perverted standards, you shouldn't say that all Christians are stupid, and yet some "evolutionists" are not so clever."

It's true seanyboy, lots of the people who believe in evolution have barely even cracked a book about it, and thus know little. They also know little about how steel is made, how electronic devices work, how the stock market functions, how grain is farmed and processed, and how petroleum is refined.

However, they've learned to trust the really smart people who DO have expertise in these various fields (no single person has real expertise in all of them), because the results of their work are obvious in our daily lives.

The same science which has produced all the wonderful advances of modern life, from the knowledge that the Earth is spherical all the way to cars and video games and frozen food, has discovered the overwhelming evidence - most people would call evidence of such preponderance "proof" - that evolution is real, happening now and has been happening for millions of years.

Thus, most reasonable people feel the smart people can be trusted about evolution, too.

There are many things counter to "common sense" and "everyday observation" that are nonetheless true - for instance, the solid matter you and everything around you are made of is actually mostly empty space. Or how about how diseases are caused by tiny life forms too small for our eyes to see? Does anyone still think you catch a cold from going outside in the winter?

You're right, it's not fair to call Christians stupid, because many are highly educated - even in biology and medicine. The more correct term would be "willfully and arrogantly ignorant in the face of overwhelming evidence against them."

That takes too long to say, though...

In any event, they're just plain wrong, the same way they were wrong about the sun orbiting the earth and the stars being little lights on a black shell out a bit farther. And I don't believe in being nice to them when they're just plain wrong, k?

I've said it before in the blue, and I'll say it again. If they want to deny science, we should take all of its benefits away from them, and see how they like life in the wilderness with nothing. OK, we'll give them some sackcloth and a few sheep. But that's it!
posted by zoogleplex at 12:49 PM on April 18, 2006


>you shouldn't say that all Christians are stupid, and yet some "evolutionists" are not so clever.

Who the hell goes around calling themselves an "evolutionist?" Sleeping through science class is every American kid's right. Now, claiming to be a Christian is a specific religious act and a large part of one's identity with who knows how many thousands hours being taught the various myths and rites of Christianity in Sunday school, church, by family, etc.

This is like saying "We can't criticize the people who call themselves Breatharians because most people don't know that the atmosphere is 79% nitrogen!!!" Apples and oranges man.
posted by skallas at 12:49 PM on April 18, 2006


If it weren't for docgonzo, I wouldn't have seen Kirk Cameron thoroughly crush evolution and the error of my ways.

If it weren't for bevets, I never would have found Creation-Evolution Headlines [sic] which has provided me day after day of good laughs.

Every time a new biological, astrophysical or cosmological finding is released, you can bet I head over there to get "another perspective." By another perspective, I mean a really funny one.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:49 PM on April 18, 2006


See... they know their target audience well. The people who DO believe this crap are the ones hanging out at a mall during the middle of the day.

Not, you know, at WORK.
posted by ninjew at 12:50 PM on April 18, 2006


Seanyboy, the difference is that evolution is a fact, and these douchebags have to be entirely dishonest throughout the entire program. Their "facts" about evolution amount to total lies. The simple truth of the matter is, these people are preaching somethings that is demonstrably false. You are free to believe that evolution is false, but you would also be delusional.

Creationist nonsense is hurting America by endangering its economic future. The American economy is deindustrialising. This is an inevtiable consequence of globalisation. America needs to come to grips with this fact and deal with it. One of the only ways for America to remain competitive in a global economy saturated with cheap labour is by having a highly skilled and educated workforce. There is going to be great demand in the future for workers well trained in biological and medical sciences, and evolution is the framework on which these diciplines are organised. Without evolution, biology simply doesn't make sense.

God help the future generations of Americans who will have to pay dearly for the mistakes of today.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:00 PM on April 18, 2006


Thorzad:
Okay, as heinous as this vid was, you guys want to know the truly sad part? That it will be shown to hundreds of thousands (millions?) of kids in Sunday schools all over the nation...and they will root and cheer for Cameron as he puts the ignorant evolutionists in their place.

Yup. Say, if you're feeling a little too cheerful today, you might want to read this article, "Testing Darwin's Teachers", from the LATimes, 4/1/06.
No, it wasn't a prank, sad to say.
posted by maryh at 1:03 PM on April 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


If I remember correctly, seanyboy, Penn & Teller had ... "the idiot on the street" on their episode about the bible.
Nobody made a fuss about that. It's OK to knock a belief in God, but it's not OK to knock some crackpot theory about fishes turning into men.

It's true seanyboy, lots of the people who believe in evolution have barely even cracked a book about it, and thus know little.
You could say that they have faith.

However, they've learned to trust the really smart people who DO have expertise in these various fields.
As Christians have learnt to trust the theologians and the people who lead good moral rights.

Who the hell goes around calling themselves an "evolutionist?"
Nobody. Believers in evolution state that it's a theory, but that it's science. That's contradictory nonsense which hides the fact that evolution is simply a guess strictly adhered to by a "religious" few. They should call themselves evolutionists. At least that way hints that evolution requires as much as a leap of faith as any of the other religions.

I don't mind what you believe. But I do mind how you try to indoctrinate your message into the people. For the record, I didn't like this video. It uses the same type of "logical" arguments that so-called scientists use to try and belittle those of faith.
posted by seanyboy at 1:09 PM on April 18, 2006


... in other news: evolution continued for the rest of the universe ...
posted by homodigitalis at 1:12 PM on April 18, 2006


[expletive deleted]: And evolutionary thinking is hurting the moral future of America. What should a person care about? A nihilistic over nourished future where every piece of carbon has been burnt in a desire for economic consumption, or a morally stable future where people care more about the generations that follow than some short lived ability to buy more S.U.V's
posted by seanyboy at 1:13 PM on April 18, 2006


I love how the guy gleefully lists all the things he doesn't have to know since he doesn't believe in evolution. It must be a relief for him.
posted by jon_kill at 1:13 PM on April 18, 2006


His real-life sister is Candace Cameron. You know, DJ on Full House?

Mmyeah. Same deal. Her site doesn't have videos like this, but it does feature the "Are You a Good Person? Click Here to Find Out!" test. Good news: "Your answers are not being recorded, this quiz is for self reflection only."

Way to go, chipmunk cheeks.
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2006


j.p. Hung writes "This is almost as stupid as when I hear people talk about what a 'miracle' it was some person survived a natural disaster but then never seem fit to cast blame on God for the disaster itself. arghhh..."

Captaintripps writes "If it weren't for docgonzo, I wouldn't have seen Kirk Cameron thoroughly crush evolution and the error of my ways.

"If it weren't for bevets, I never would have found Creation-Evolution Headlines [sic] which has provided me day after day of good laughs. "


Captaintripps gets it, there's always a silver lining.
posted by OmieWise at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2006


Nice selective quoting, seanyboy. As I said, P&T took liberties with logic, and people should realize that they are entertainers, not scholars. You want to make a post about how P&T are unfair and biased? Go for it.

As Christians have learnt to trust the theologians and the people who lead good moral rights.
Creationism and morality have nothing, nothing, nothing, NOTHING to do with each other.

Believers in evolution state that it's a theory, but that it's science. That's contradictory nonsense which hides the fact that evolution is simply a guess strictly adhered to by a "religious" few.
You clearly don't understand what a scientific theory is.
posted by papakwanz at 1:17 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy: How in the hell do you connect evolution with SUV purchases? talk about a non sequitor.
posted by papakwanz at 1:18 PM on April 18, 2006


Seanyboy, what in the name of Zeus are you talking about? How is evolution even remotely tied to our current plundering of our environment? Do you think fossil fuels are a Darwinist plot because of the name? Because that this point, that honestly wouldn't suprise me.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:21 PM on April 18, 2006


P&T are unfair and biased. I just quoted the bit which was relevant to my argument that evolution believers are more likely to have a go at Christians for being stupid. You know this is the case.

Creationism and morality are taught by the same people we trust. So although they are different things, they come from the same spring of knowledge.

How in the hell do you connect evolution with SUV purchases?
I was responding to [expletive deleted]'s comments about economic success in a global market. Quote: "Creationist nonsense is hurting America by endangering its economic future." Economic success is (maybe it shouldn't be) usually measured in terms of how much stuff people consume.

This is a typical nihilistic atheist argument which doesn't take into account the fact that our great-grandchildren will have to live on this earth. But then, why should we worry about them. We're all just a bunch of soul-less atoms anyway...
posted by seanyboy at 1:29 PM on April 18, 2006


[expletive deleted], an uneducated America plays well into the hands of an exploitive "feudal" aristocracy, however. And yes, that will indeed be paying dearly.

"As Christians have learnt to trust the theologians and the people who lead good moral rights."

If the theologians were like scientists, 99%+ of them would agree about most of what religion - ALL religion - has to say. They do not. In fact they are in bitter disarray in their various interpretations of the Bible and every other religious text. Actually, lots of highly educated theologians will tell you that evolution is the truth! Oh, but you don't believe those Christians, because they don't interpret the Bible as the literal word of God. How convenient!

And "good moral rights," these days, are rather largely a matter of opinion. Do you trust Catholic priests to watch your kids these days?

I'll start taking you more seriously when theologians can disprove evolution using something other than the Bible and logical fallacies. Until then, it's a fairy tale, and arguing for it just makes you look like a fool.

I'm fine with you disbelieving in evolution, and even science. However, I demand that you be consistent in your beliefs (as you demand us to be): get off the Internet, throw out your computer, your cell phone, your car, your refrigerator, your television, your home heating/AC system, and anything else you own or use on a daily basis that's made of anything other than wood and stone - including bricks, concrete, cement, asphalt, all the way down to nails and screws. If you have clothes made of anything but natural fibers, lose 'em.

Because if you don't believe in evolution or science, you don't believe in any of those things either.

I'm serious, too, this isn't a joke. Your entire life has been based on and made possible by the science you deny. It has a much, much more tangible effect on you than your God - unless of course science is a gift from God, in which case you ought to believe in it, huh? I don't think you could even conceive of what your life would be like without even the simplest products of science. If you're going to deny it, then give it all up.

Teaching people actual facts, things with the same reality as "2+2=4" and "if you drop something it's going to fall" is not indoctrination. It's teaching facts.

Just because something feels "true" to you, doesn't mean it is. Stop being so arrogant.

"Nobody made a fuss about that. It's OK to knock a belief in God, but it's not OK to knock some crackpot theory about fishes turning into men."

It's not a crackpot theory. By your own "common sense" standards, it's been proven just as surely as "you'll get wet when it rains, if you're outside." You just don't know what the word "theory" means in science. You're arrogantly and willfully ignorant.

And believe it or not, greed and rabid consumerism is not a product of "lack of religion." It's possible to lead a moral life in harmony with our environment without any religious influence whatsoever. It's a false dilemma (one of the Logical Fallacies) to say "no religion" == "soulless atoms." Again, you are being willfully ignorant.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2006


I like the biplane-747 comparison - one didn't evolve from the other. No, they were both willed into existence on the 3rd day. Or was it the 4th? I can never remember.

Also a thread on creationism cannot go by without a link to flashboy's genius "summon badgers" creation text adventure: still makes me smile.
posted by greycap at 1:35 PM on April 18, 2006


What was that awesome bumper sticker that sums it all up nicely? "The last time religion ruled the world they called it the 'Dark Ages'"? Yeah, somethin' like that.
posted by nevercalm at 1:36 PM on April 18, 2006


Creationism and morality are taught by the same people we trust. So although they are different things, they come from the same spring of knowledge.

I cannot think of one person who teaches creationism that I trust. You want to trust them? Fine. I have no reason to.
posted by papakwanz at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2006


Seanyboy, do you have a point or all your comments going to be "well evolutionists are jerks you see because they don't even believe in souls ergo evolution is false"?

If you have an alternate model for life on earth over the last few billion years that's supported by evidence, please let us know. Until then, stop posting; you're embarrassing yourself.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2006


"how could science make a parrot?"

Helloooooo new tagline!
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 1:42 PM on April 18, 2006


>Believers in evolution state that it's a theory, but that it's science. That's contradictory nonsense which hides the fact that evolution is simply a guess strictly adhered to by a "religious" few.

What? FIrst off, it is a theory. A theory is the end of the scientific method. Gravity is a theory. Equating a tested and tried theory with a guess is being purposely disingenious. If you are saying that science does not deal in absolute truths given from holy men, then yes you are correct. Science, when it works, weeds out the bad and continues to bring in the good. Thus we don't think there's an luminescent ether all around us anymore or that cranium bumps can tell us anything about personality.

A few? Evolutionists fought long and hard for recognition and so far its the best competing theory to explain the diversity of life on the earth. In fact there was a pretty long and drawn out fight between two schools of evolutionist thought.

>But then, why should we worry about them. We're all just a bunch of soul-less atoms anyway...

This is just trolling or grave ignorance if you honestly think there can be no ethics without religion. We see ethical behavior in the animal world all the time, and they have no need for religion. We see humans acting the same way, except many have been fooled into thinking their natural altruism is the product of some supernatural force. If anything, I see the "cut and run" mentality from the religious crowd who either are desperatly waiting for the rapture or know that promised eternal life means worldly affairs are not important. THe J-man expresses this with his famous "Give unto Caesar" advice.

Lastly, yes there is a double standard here. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Invisible man in the sky, created universe, etc are extraordinary claims and you guys dont even have basic proof, let alone anything close to extraordinary proof.
posted by skallas at 1:42 PM on April 18, 2006


"Seanyboy, the difference is that evolution is a fact..."
- [expletive deleted]

Err... Nope. Theory.

(Full disclosure: I am an "evolutionist," I guess)
posted by rush at 1:43 PM on April 18, 2006


Rush - it's a theory the same way gravity is a theory, but you don't see me tying a rope to my waist just in case it's wrong.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:45 PM on April 18, 2006


To you seanyboy, as I say to all christians: fuck off and go bother someone else.
posted by puke & cry at 1:45 PM on April 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


A fact is something that has happened, exists, or known to have existed.
Fact: Species change over time.

A theory is something to explain a set of facts.
Theory: An evolutionary process tells us how and why species change over time.
posted by papakwanz at 1:48 PM on April 18, 2006


Scientific theory, for all intents and purposes in the life of laymen, == "fact."

Your layman's term "theory" is more equivalent to the scientific term "hypothesis," which is a supposition that hasn't been clearly supported by overwhelming evidence.

Stop playing with semantics, you are wrong. By anyone's day-to-day definition, the scientific "Theory of Evolution" is a FACT, exactly the same as "if I drop this shoe from 4 feet off the floor it will hit the ground pretty quick" or "if I stick my finger in this fire it's gonna get burned."

on preview, what the above folks said. Plus some emphasis.

I have zero respect for willful ignorance.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:50 PM on April 18, 2006


How is "no religion" == "soulless atoms." a logical fallacy. People without religion do not believe in souls. Everyone believes in atoms.

I'm not against science. I use the internets. It's just obvious to me that Darwin's Theory Of Evolution (as a theory for the beginning of life) is nothing more than a creation myth. You have to have faith to believe it. Evolution is scientific fact. Evolutionism (Or the belief that life was created through the process of evolution) is not.

I don't believe evolutionists are jerks either. I just think it's highly suspect that people with opposing views are treated as idiots, and then those same people get all indignant when someone does the same to them.

"The last time religion ruled the world they called it the 'Dark Ages'"
That'll be the time of the Otterman empire then. A dark time indeed when religion and science could not exist together.

It's possible to lead a moral life in harmony with our environment
You're right, but as I said before, I was responding to a specific comment about economic success.
posted by seanyboy at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2006


P&T are unfair and biased.

seanyboy, they're comedians. Comedy. Jokes and stuff. How many comedians have you heard that aren't biased? How many that aren't unfair?

Would you please explain to me what Kirk Cameron and Mr. Comfort are selling themselves as? Comedians, perhaps? If so, it'd be a lot easier to listen to their drivel.
posted by NationalKato at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2006


Kirk Cameron's pee must be the color of dead brain cells. I know that after watching the video, mine is.
posted by Mr Pointy at 1:53 PM on April 18, 2006


Evolution does not postulate a beginning of life.
posted by OmieWise at 1:54 PM on April 18, 2006


puke & cry: I'm not bothering you. The fact that I'm disagreeing with you should fill you with joy. Even to Scientists, disagreement and argument is a natural and necessary part of the learning process.
posted by seanyboy at 1:55 PM on April 18, 2006


It's a reassuring fact that if something like hell exists, I'll be safe there from people like Kirk Cameron and Ray 'Oxymoron' Comfort.
posted by Zombie Dreams at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy, they're comedians.
So. Comedy is as good a propaganda tool as anything.
posted by seanyboy at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2006


Darwin's Theory Of Evolution (as a theory for the beginning of life)

It's not a theory for the beginning of life. You're thinking of abiogenesis.

Evolution is scientific fact.

Yes, it is.

Evolutionism (Or the belief that life was created through the process of evolution) is not.

Again, you're thinking of abiogenesis. Please educate yourself before posting again.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2006


Evolution is a fact*; natural selection is the theory.

* As much as anything can be.
posted by docgonzo at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2006


Rush, I suppose factually true would semantically be more correct. Is that acceptable?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2006


zoogleplex: you are my hero. Keep up the good fight.
posted by tgrundke at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2006


It's just obvious to me that Darwin's Theory Of Evolution...is nothing more than a creation myth.

It's just obvious to me that the world is flat.

How much is my stated opinion worth when it has no supporting facts? Now how about when there is a mountain of evidence flatly contradicting my opinion?

Keeping those questions in mind: How much is your opinion on this topic worth, seanyboy?
posted by Gamblor at 1:58 PM on April 18, 2006


'That'll be the time of the Otterman empire then. A dark time indeed when religion and science could not exist together.'

Ah yes, those wretched ottermen and their dams!
posted by Zombie Dreams at 1:58 PM on April 18, 2006


I just think it's highly suspect that people with opposing views are treated as idiots, and then those same people get all indignant when someone does the same to them. - seanyboy

My treating people like idiots depends on what their 'views' are:

1) Gravity - not so idiotic
2) Evolution - not so idiotic
3) Flying Spaghetti Monster (or other diety) - idiotic

Or in the words of George Carlin:

I've begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It's there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There's no mystery, no one asks for money, I don't have to dress up, and there's no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to "God" are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate.
posted by NationalKato at 2:01 PM on April 18, 2006


if you honestly think there can be no ethics without religion.
I do believe that there can be ethics without religion. I just think that a lack of belief in the soul can (only can) lead one towards a kind of nihilism. There are however many, many good atheists.
posted by seanyboy at 2:01 PM on April 18, 2006


Even to Scientists, disagreement and argument is a natural and necessary part of the learning process

Damn straight, but to any scientists on this thread: why are you arguing this point? We all know what the evidence suggests and what it doesn't. As soon as someone like seanyboy makes it clear he doesn't respect the evidence, the argument dies and it's just a conversation about ideological dominance. Which of course is the domain of the religious, not that of truly scientific thinkers.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:02 PM on April 18, 2006


Comedy is as good a propaganda tool as anything.

Are you serious? As good a tool as the classroom?
posted by NationalKato at 2:02 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy writes "How is 'no religion' == 'soulless atoms.' a logical fallacy. People without religion do not believe in souls. "

Neoplatonists, modern Deists, and some Buddhists could be considered "without religion" in the commonly-understood sense, yet they believe in something like a soul.

seanyboy writes "It's just obvious to me that Darwin's Theory Of Evolution (as a theory for the beginning of life) is nothing more than a creation myth. "

Based on what? Your intuition?

It has very little to say about "creation" anyway; it's more about the development of new forms.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:03 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy, it's quite obvious that you have an extremely poor understanding. Instead of spouting crap you might do some research, read a few books, and spend some time educating yourself. I'll start you off:

It's just obvious to me that Darwin's Theory Of Evolution (as a theory for the beginning of life) is nothing more than a creation myth.

The theory of evolution doesn't describe the beginning of life. The "origin problem" (as in the origin of the first cells) is still quite open though we have some pretty good hypotheses on this front.

I just think it's highly suspect that people with opposing views are treated as idiots, and then those same people get all indignant when someone does the same to them.

The reason why people with "opposing views" can be safely dismissed is that they are not really opposing views. The Creationism vs Evolution debate isn't a debate at all. Creationism isn't a competing scientific theory and, really, there's nothing scientific about it at all. It is a myth--you either believe it or you don't. The scientific community is quite open to competing theories to evolution as long as they arrive in the form of scientific debate.

I don't believe evolutionists are jerks either.

Anybody who can seriously use the term 'evolutonist' is so intellectually and morally bankrupt that it's a safe bet to completely write them off. It's a term invented to deceive people into believing that scientific theories are political ideologies.
posted by nixerman at 2:04 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy writes "I just think that a lack of belief in the soul can (only can) lead one towards a kind of nihilism. "

You're wrong (at least if I'm interpreting your parenthetical correctly as an if-and-only-if statement). I don't believe in the soul, and I do not share the nihlism you describe.

QED.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:05 PM on April 18, 2006


NationalKato: Do you believe that religious people are idiots then? Was MLK an idiot? Was Ghandhi an idiot? Florence Nightingale? Thomas Jefferson?
That's a mighty big stick to be throwing around.
posted by seanyboy at 2:06 PM on April 18, 2006


mr_roboto: You did misinterpret but I should have been clearer. I meant that nihilism doesn't always but can lead to a kind of nihilism..
posted by seanyboy at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2006


Seanyboy, stop putting words in my mouth. I strongly believe in the importance of sustainable development. I don't own a car, nor can I forsee ever owning one that burns carbonaceous fuel that releases its exhaust into the atmosphere. I think suburbs are a failed project and that cities, especially in the first world need to densify and invest in public transit infrastructure that is energy efficient, and preferably, carbon neutral.

Furthermore, how can you possibly claim that my posts display a lack of regard for future generations? My entire post was premised on the idea that the creationist movement is harming education, and thus harming future generations by eliminating means to promote a higher standard of living. The unsustainable nature of our current economy is a bigger problem than creatonist attacks on the education system, but both are leading to a future where the American quality of life is significantly worse than it is now, and where the middle class is a remnant of the past.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2006


I do believe that there can be ethics without religion. I just think that a lack of belief in the soul can (only can) lead one towards a kind of nihilism.

This is the nihilist argument. If you believe that religion is a "useful" myth and needed only to produce ethics then you have already fully embraced the nihilist position. Please keep this in mind for the future. The only absolute defense of religion must be in its basic truth value.

And now I have to take a shot of vodka. This has to be the longest running joke ever.
posted by nixerman at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2006


seanboy: Believers in evolution state that it's a theory, but that it's science. That's contradictory nonsense which hides the fact that evolution is simply a guess strictly adhered to by a "religious" few.

That would be true if the definition of "theory" as used in scientific literature meant the same thing as it meant on prime time television. However, you may wish to instead check out wikipedia for an accurate take. In particular:

[...]capable of predicting future occurences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation.

Let's compare the predictive power of evolution to that of religion on an example question.

"Why do I, an adult male, have nipples?"

Religion:
"Because that's how God made man."

Evolution:
"Chances are that you have them because they were useful to some ancestor species, and they have not been a detriment to survival sufficient to breed them out of the population. Now that's only a hypothesis, mind you; what you're going to need to find is something biologically very similar to humans with only a single gender, or a species in which both (all?) genders have functioning mammary glands. Keep in mind that even if you find it, you haven't proven the hypothesis true. You will have only failed to disprove it."

I realize that I'm likely to have fleshed out the perspective I'm more comfortable with here, and that you might have a deeper characterization of the religious perspective. However, hopefully you see that, as far as predictability goes, the evolutionary perspective is substantially more useful. Religion tells you to expect what you see, and that the meaning of it all is incomprehensible to anything other than a god. Science in general tells us to trust in ourselves enough to make guesses, and then try to shoot them down.
posted by agent at 2:12 PM on April 18, 2006


nixerman, I only have one response to that statement.

Fuck you, clown.
posted by daq at 2:12 PM on April 18, 2006


My ideological argument, anyway:

Dawkins posits a clay-based self-replicating crystalline structure that could have served as a development template for the earliest RNA in one of his books, The Extended Phenotype I think. And since science can't explain to us how clay and crystals came to be, I'd say that evolution can postulate the beginning of life (On Earth, anyhow). Besides, a failure of current science to explain something shouldn't open the door to every imaginable explaination; we can still limit our suppositions to the realms of the likely and the explicable.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2006


NationalKato: Do you believe that blah blah blah

wow that sure is easier than actually addressing the educated and reasonable questions others presented to you

no that's cool just address the easy posts and not the hard ones nice tactic
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2006


"The so-called religious organizations which now lead the war against the teaching of evolution are nothing more, at bottom, than conspiracies of the inferior man against his betters. They mirror very accurately his congenital hatred of knowledge, his bitter enmity to the man who knows more than he does, and so gets more out of life. Certainly it cannot have gone unnoticed that their membership is recruited, in the overwhelming main, from the lower orders--that no man of any education or other human dignity belongs to them. What they propose to do, at botttom and in brief, is to make the superior man infamous--by mere abuse if it is sufficient, and if it is not, then by law."

HL Menken
June 29, 1925
posted by sfts2 at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2006


er, can explain to us. Duh.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2006


Beware, the nihilists are prone to unpimping your auto.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2006


I've learnt some new words today. That's good, but it means I must be one of those stupid religious nuts you're so happy dismissing. If you asked 100 people what the theory of evolution was a majority of them would think that it was the theory of how life came about.

I obviously can't take part in this argument as I only have a laymans view on it. It's reassuring to know that only the clever people are allowed to discuss this. we should strip this thread of all comments by people who hadn't heard of abiogenesis prior to talking about it.

Or am I being morally bankrupt in suggesting that.
posted by seanyboy at 2:15 PM on April 18, 2006


nihilism doesn't always but can lead to a kind of nihilism..

What's your favorite kind of nihilism?

Mine is cookies 'n cream
posted by jefbla at 2:16 PM on April 18, 2006


Truly dammingseanyboy: "NationalKato: Do you believe that religious people are idiots then? Was MLK an idiot? Was Ghandhi an idiot? Florence Nightingale? Thomas Jefferson?
That's a mighty big stick to be throwing around.
"


Oh, I hate when people show a deliberate disregard for the actual standings of the Founding Fathers. Jefferson was formally a deist, and was realistically more of an agnostic. He was quoted as saying that he went to church because the people who elected him to office expected him to believe, not because he believed it. Campaigns against him portrayed him as a godless heathen.
posted by mystyk at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2006


Well, as soon as you provide me with some proof that MLK, Ghandi, Florence Nightingale, and Thomas Jefferson spent a lot of time debunking evolution like our esteemed Cameron and Comfort, I'll let you know.

You see, it's actually possible and logical that people who believe in a god fully support evolution. These aren't competing opinions - at least, to those who've taken the time to actually read the facts presented (that is, the facts for evolution, since Creationism really doesn't have a factual basis). I think anyone taking Cameron and Comfort's side in teaching the masses are idiots.

And yes, this stick is big.
posted by NationalKato at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2006


Shit. Messed up the formatting with part of a prior comment I was drafting. Disregard the first two words (before the quoting)
posted by mystyk at 2:18 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy: Do you believe that religious people are idiots then? Was MLK an idiot? Was Ghandhi an idiot? Florence Nightingale? Thomas Jefferson?
That's a mighty big stick to be throwing around.

Umm... you might want to go and reread the writings of Thomas Jefferson. You might be surprised at what he believed (hint: he was strongly opposed to your religion).
posted by Crash at 2:19 PM on April 18, 2006


Do you believe that religious people are idiots then?

Nice attempt at changing the topic. Lots of people have religious beliefs, but that doesn't make them creationists. And that is what we're talking about here.

You've claimed that evolution is false ("some crackpot theory about fishes turning into men") and offered nothing but unsubstantiated opinion as an alternative.
posted by Gamblor at 2:19 PM on April 18, 2006


"People without religion do not believe in souls."

Incorrect. You're actually referring to your own brand of Christian belief. I'm not religious, but I do believe in spirituality and souls, and I know many people who feel the same way. There is nothing about believing in souls and spirituality that conflicts with science - it simply can't be proven scientifically at this time that souls exist or do not exist.

Therefore, "no religion" == "soulless atoms" is a false dilemma. One can believe that material objects also have a spiritual component without adhering to any religion.

To be honest, I've never personally met a scientist who was also an atheist, quite the contrary; it's possible to believe in God and science at the same time, and even to apply Biblical principles to one's life - you just have to clearly divide the parts of the religion which are inconsisent with scientifically-investigated reality from the parts that are not in conflict.

"Treat others as you yourself would be treated," "love your neighbor," "love God above all others," and not murdering, thieving, or philandering are not inconsistent with science.

"That'll be the time of the Otterman empire then. A dark time indeed when religion and science could not exist together."

Go to a public library, get down some history books and read about the Ottoman Empire, because what you've been told by your moral educator is wrong. Here's a hint: the Ottoman Turks did not rule Europe during the Dark Ages; it was the Catholic Church. Science was a lost art during that time, but was rediscovered during the Renaissance some 600 years ago.

You are being willfully ignorant again. It's a bad habit.

"I'm not against science. I use the internets. It's just obvious to me that Darwin's Theory Of Evolution (as a theory for the beginning of life) is nothing more than a creation myth. You have to have faith to believe it."

No, you're wrong, and I'll try to illustrate. Do you know exactly how your cell phone works? How about the processor in the computer you're using. The CRT or LCD monitor? I personally have a moderate understanding of the principles, but I couldn't give you the details of exactly how each component functions. I'm not an expert. However, there are experts who do in fact know everything about it. In a way, I do take it "on faith," but that's easy, because I can observe that my cell phone functions as designed, my computer processes information, my monitor shows me a picture.

But really, I don't have to have faith in my cell phone or my computer, what I have to have faith in are the people who used science to create it and make it work. Clearly, that faith is well-founded, since these items do in fact work.

Similarly, I don't understand everything about how evolution works, but there are experts who do and, if I had the time and money to study under them, could teach it all to me and show me the proof. In fact, from what I do know, the mechanisms of evolution are actually a hell of a lot simpler than those in my cell phone! It's simply more difficult to observe on a day-to-day, "common experience" basis, how evolution works over time. That's probably why it doesn't "feel" right to you, because you can't see it happening in front of you. If you became a molecular biologist and you studied bacteria and viruses, you would in fact see it happening right in front of you on a daily basis.

And again, similarly, in terms of evolutionary science, you don't have to have faith to believe in it directly - what you have to have is faith in the scientists who do understand it and promise that it is real. It is just as real as my functioning cell phone, and for the same reasons.

That's why I say if you're going to deny this particular set of science facts, you need to divest yourself of all science's benefits - Science and the Scientific Method are internally consistent and self-regulating. If you believe in atoms, you need to believe in evolution, because the exact same system was and is used to investigate them both.

"You're right, but as I said before, I was responding to a specific comment about economic success."

Fair enough. I'm 100% with you about how our society is overall greedy and destructive, I just don't ascribe the causes to "lack of religious morality."

tgrundke: thanks. I'm trying. I think this sort of stuff needs to be dealt with firmly.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:20 PM on April 18, 2006


agent: I'd apply occam's theory and take the simplest solution.

no that's cool just address the easy posts and not the hard ones nice tactic
That is the metafilter way. Am I doing it wrong. :)

I've tried to answer everyones rebuttals, but you're all going so fast it's hard to keep up. If I was talking to one or two people it'd be easier, but it appears that you need 20 or 30 of you (some repeating points) in order to address my position.
posted by seanyboy at 2:20 PM on April 18, 2006


Do you want really want believers to be scientists? It would be like convincing your little sister to listen to indie rock.
posted by srboisvert at 2:20 PM on April 18, 2006


How did that first fish-like creature get the capacity to breathe air, anyway? Is the idea that it was a coincidental mutation?
posted by bingo at 2:21 PM on April 18, 2006


I obviously can't take part in this argument as I only have a laymans view on it. It's reassuring to know that only the clever people are allowed to discuss this. we should strip this thread of all comments by people who hadn't heard of abiogenesis prior to talking about it.
posted by seanyboy 3 minutes ago


This is the smartest thing you've posted today. I don't argue with physicists about branes and topology because I have no business doing so and I'm criminally outclassed in that regard; in the same vein, please keep your undereducated opinion to yourself until such time as you have thoroughly read the literature. Science is not a democratic process.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:21 PM on April 18, 2006


Look: I'm being a butthead: it's not the first time and it won't be the last. I genuinely want you to understand why the scientific consensus is that evolution is a fact, and why abiogenesis is a difficult but solvable field. Here is a good start:

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-mustread.html
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:26 PM on April 18, 2006


"That'll be the time of the Otterman empire then. A dark time indeed when religion and science could not exist together."

That was sarcasm.
I guess I was talking about the start of the dark ages. Specifically in the UK.
While England languished, the Otterman empire flourished and bought with it the seeds of modern science, commerce and mathematics.
I'm all for the Otterman Turks.

Despite what my religious leaders may or may not have told me.
posted by seanyboy at 2:27 PM on April 18, 2006


"I obviously can't take part in this argument as I only have a laymans view on it."

Oh well of course that's not true - as long as you're willing to open yourself up to doing some studying and improving your level of informedness.

In return, I'm happy to read the Bible and talk about it. I've read it many times, actually, lots of great stuff in there which I try to apply to my daily life and how I treat people. The whole Bible does not need to be literal truth in order to contain important Truths about humanity.

Real "scientists" and lay people who are interested in science should welcome non-scientists to discussion. Some people are intellectual elitists, which doesn't help. You just have to understand that being told "you're wrong," "you are being willfully ignorant," "please go study up on what you're talking about" isn't really meant as an insult (though it can be delivered in an insulting manner, for which I apologize), it's meant as a straight statement of "you need to learn this in order to really understand what we're all talking about."

We should both be more respectful, to be sure. But that doesn't include respecting a willful disbelief of demonstrable facts.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:27 PM on April 18, 2006


Religious people who are worried about a potential for nihilism implicit in "materialist" theories should not attempt to counter those theories on a material level. Your objection is metaphysical. Arguing from a physical level is argument from consequences.

They should, as their (much smarter) forerunners did, endeavor to understand metaphysics, say, Thomist metaphysics for example.

There are mature and well-developed systems of thought that relate the material world of physical phenomena to the (in the metaphysician's view) a priori ground of being, restoring the soul and the "depth" of experience to the world.

This kind of metaphysics is orthogonal to physical theories of causality, it does not harm them, but it may cast a different light on them.

Evolution is not a threat to any non-literalist religous person's beliefs. It is a very effective and substantiated predictive model.

Ever notice how hated folks like Teilhard de Chardin are by creationists? More so than any Dawkins-type.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:28 PM on April 18, 2006


Science is not a democratic process.


Amen!
posted by homodigitalis at 2:30 PM on April 18, 2006


People. Troll. C'mon.

Otterman Empire.
posted by verb at 2:32 PM on April 18, 2006


Beware, the nihilists are prone to unpimping your auto.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:14 PM CST on April 18


That's fucking brilliant.
posted by ninjew at 2:33 PM on April 18, 2006


Crash: From wikipedia.
In summary, then, Jefferson was a deist because he believed in one God, in divine providence, in the divine moral law, and in rewards and punishments after death, but did not believe in supernatural revelation. He was a Christian deist because he saw Christianity as the highest expression of natural religion and Jesus as an incomparably great moral teacher. He was not an orthodox Christian because he rejected, among other things, the doctrines that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the incarnate Son of God. Jefferson's religion is fairly typical of the American form of deism in his day.
posted by seanyboy at 2:34 PM on April 18, 2006


So, he was religious? No?
posted by seanyboy at 2:35 PM on April 18, 2006


His real-life sister is Candace Cameron. You know, DJ on Full House?

Mmyeah. Same deal. Her site doesn't have videos like this, but it does feature the "Are You a Good Person? Click Here to Find Out!" test. Good news: "Your answers are not being recorded, this quiz is for self reflection only."

Way to go, chipmunk cheeks.


Everyone knows the cool kid from Full House was Jodie Sweetin. Duh.
posted by chrominance at 2:35 PM on April 18, 2006


Before you can apply Occam's razor, you first have to define "simple". If you go by word count, fine, my "religious" paraphrase was simpler. If you go by the smallest ontology, the evolutionary perspective is simpler. Going a bit further, the religious perspective requires a plan that is more complex than human understanding (otherwise we humans could build a theory that predicts the plan, but I've been told that god's plan is "unknowable"). So, by that argument, any scientific theory is going to be preferable by Occam's razor to a religious explanation that relies on the inscrutability of god.
posted by agent at 2:35 PM on April 18, 2006


If you asked 100 people what the theory of evolution was a majority of them would think that it was the theory of how life came about.

Sure, when you can't support your argument, argue semantics. So cards on the table then, seanyboy. We're talking about creationism here:

1. Do you believe that the Earth, all animals, and man were created in seven days as written in the book of Genesis?
2. Do you believe the Earth is only approximately 5000 yrs old, as written in the bible?
3. If the answer to either 1 or 2 is "yes", how do you explain the fossil record, including the dinosaurs and Australopithecus?
4. If the answer to either 1 or 2 is "no", how do you explain your rejection of evolution on religious grounds, when you yourself disagree with the bible on the topic of creation.
posted by Gamblor at 2:37 PM on April 18, 2006


If some one says "I hear the sky is Green" it's easy to simply point them to the window and say "look for yourself." Lo' and behold they discover the sky is indeed blue.

When somebody says "I BELIEVE the sky is green." What do you do? You point them to the window, they look.

BUT what if they still say "I believe the sky is green."

You say "But look right there here is proof - the sky is BLUE!"

They say "The truth of the sky being green is shielded from the unbeliever by a heavenly mask placed there by demons."

If you press them they say you are insulting their beliefs. If you attempt to teach others, they say you are a oppressing potential believers.

lastly, If you try to segregate yourself and maintain the truth as you know it - they come to your house and try to kill you.

Religion, specifically FAITH, is the only acceptable human system that unfounded beliefs trump facts. What's more simply SAYING this is a fact is now insulting and not PC.
posted by tkchrist at 2:39 PM on April 18, 2006


1. No
2. No
3. God made them to confuse the unbelievers. Duh!
4. I didn't reject evolution. I rejected abiogenesis and the prevailing (in this thread) pseudo-scientific view of evolution. I also mainly rejected the use of Cameron by yourselves (plural) as a poster-boy to prove that "Christianity is teh evil."

Keep up.
posted by seanyboy at 2:43 PM on April 18, 2006


tkchrist: I have a friend that believes categorically that my name is purple in color. And it tastes a little like plums. Everything I know would discount this fact, but she's absolutely sure that this is the case. My name is purple. And it tastes a little of plums.

My point. It's not always as simple as your analogy would suggest.
posted by seanyboy at 2:46 PM on April 18, 2006


"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." --Steven Weinberg
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:47 PM on April 18, 2006


But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Nice Quote. Obviously wrong.
Good people do evil things all the time. It just takes a man in a white coat telling a member of the public to turn the meter up another notch.
posted by seanyboy at 2:50 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy has excellent troll-fu.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2006


More Info Here
posted by seanyboy at 2:52 PM on April 18, 2006


tkchrist: I have a friend that believes categorically that my name is purple in color. And it tastes a little like plums. Everything I know would discount this fact, but she's absolutely sure that this is the case. My name is purple. And it tastes a little of plums.

My point. It's not always as simple as your analogy would suggest.
posted by seanyboy at 2:46 PM PST on April 18


Synaesthesia is a well-documented condition. Please try again.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:52 PM on April 18, 2006


Seanyboy, do you have to make an effort to be so completely wrong or does it come naturally with profound ignorance of all things scientific and philosophical?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:53 PM on April 18, 2006


Do you believe the Earth is only approximately 5000 yrs old, as written in the bible?
--Gamblor

Source plz. Just the book, chapter and verse will do.
posted by booksandlibretti at 2:53 PM on April 18, 2006


This thread was way funnier when we were picking on crazy ole Kirk.

I'll keep posting nonsense in this thread as long as seanyboy does
posted by ninjew at 2:53 PM on April 18, 2006


4. I didn't reject evolution. I rejected abiogenesis and the prevailing (in this thread) pseudo-scientific view of evolution. I also mainly rejected the use of Cameron by yourselves (plural) as a poster-boy to prove that "Christianity is teh evil."
Sorry. I'm a Christian. And, as I said in the, what, third comment on the post, this piece of crap video is a driveby tour of logical fallacy and craven deception. It's sad. As a Christian, I believe that I should hold myself and other believers to even higher standards of honesty and candor. Cameron's video fails that test miserably. Either that, or he's just really dumb and doesn't realize the difference between Jay Leno mall-stunts and the scientific method.
posted by verb at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2006


agent,

That's kind of the point.

zoogleplex,

I think that's a pretty big misunderstanding of the problem. People like seanyboy aren't arguing against the theory of evolution. Educating them about the theory will achieve nothing. The goal of seanyboy, and others like him, is to reduce all scientific theories to the level of political ideology.

This kind of metaphysics is orthogonal to physical theories of causality, it does not harm them, but it may cast a different light on them.

Science both creates and meets a stronger standard of truth than any religion or philosophy ever can. There's no escaping this. What science has accomplished in providing a deep, comprehensive understanding of the world simply cannot be done by any religion. Religion has no more explanatory power and that's what really what the debate is about.
posted by nixerman at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2006


zoogleplex writes "To be honest, I've never personally met a scientist who was also an atheist"

There are a lot of them who are, though. I can speak to this based on both personal experience and polling data. Though it's certainly not true that all scientists are atheists, the proportion is much higher than among the general population. That letter I linked to indicates that in 1998, only 7% of members of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA believed in a personal god.


And seanyboy's right in citing the Milgram experiment in response to the Weinberg quote. It's the perfect answer.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Your point? I know it's Synaesthesia.
Despite what you may think, I'm not completely uneducated.
posted by seanyboy at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Well, this settles everything: Kirk Cameron debunks evolution.

He most certainly does.
posted by VulcanMike at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Zoogleplex: rock on brother (or sister).
posted by arcticwoman at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Is anyone else thinking of that scene in Donnie Darko where the mom asks the raving health teacher if she even knows who Graham Greene is, and the teacher responds with "Well, I think we've all seen Bonanza." Cause that's what this reminds me of.
posted by hototogisu at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2006


“Smedleyman wins, as usual.”

*spit take*
Me? I’m just some f’in shnook. You folks are some damn funny MFers (metafilterers).

I’m waiting to see someone do to stuff like this what they did to Jack Chick.
(they took that my down by the way - apparently Chick Publications thinks it will never appear on the internets again)

...speaking of which - how come it is that there isn’t a Bevets for Cthulu?

“I don't mind what you believe. But I do mind how you try to indoctrinate your message into the people.” - posted by seanyboy

I think that’s what folks on the other side are arguing as well. There’s an indoctrination componant inherent in many religious messages that does not exist in scientific reasoning.
It’s a whole epistemology thing.

“I just think it's highly suspect that people with opposing views are treated as idiots, and then those same people get all indignant when someone does the same to them.” - posted by seanyboy

I’d agree - but with the above caviat. Scientific method doesn’t presume a set of justified beliefs (other than itself, but that's a whole other thing).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2006


Source plz. Just the book, chapter and verse will do.

The 5000 year old earth thing is even less biblical than the rapture stuff.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2006


A nihilistic over nourished future where every piece of carbon has been burnt in a desire for economic consumption, or a morally stable future where people care more about the generations that follow than some short lived ability to buy more S.U.V's

You can't burn carbon
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on April 18, 2006


C + O2 --> CO2?

Even a diamond will burn, if you get it hot enough.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:57 PM on April 18, 2006


I am still waiting for Alyssa to appear in this discussion.

*pantsdownandready*
posted by homodigitalis at 2:58 PM on April 18, 2006


booksandlibretti: don't be obtuse. Young Earth creationists use the genealogies that riddle the thing for their numbers.
posted by hototogisu at 2:58 PM on April 18, 2006


seanboy, you don't see the glaring contradiction there?

No. Of course you don't.
Kirk Cameron isn't a poster boy for Christianity being evil. Evil is a religious concept after all.

Cameron, and yourself (don't sell your OWN ignorance short, after all), are poster children for nearly ALL religions being contradictory, ignorant and ultimately self defeating.

Look things in the Bible (or Torah, or Koran) are either the word of God or they are not, right? If not - then the Bible is mostly a man created sham. If so then your use of selective interpretation is merely convenience for you, and not what god wants - since God is perfect. God wants you to follow his word. It says so IN THE FRIGG'N BIBLE.

If you believe that god is your creator, and he is perfect, then you are obligated to follow his word.

Or your both a hypocrite AND a poser.
posted by tkchrist at 2:58 PM on April 18, 2006


Source plz. Just the book, chapter and verse will do.
posted by booksandlibretti at 2:53 PM PST on April 18


You do realize that most old-school theologians calculated the age of the earth by adding the generations from Adam and Eve to Jesus, right? So to pretend like we just made up the whole thing about Christians believing in a young earth is deeply dishonest.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:59 PM on April 18, 2006


Both my hypocrite and poser?
I own neither. What are you talking about?
posted by seanyboy at 3:01 PM on April 18, 2006


I'm bored now.
Yeah, I was trolling.
It's been real fun, and I learnt a load of new stuff too.

Sorry about that.
posted by seanyboy at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2006


Your point? I know it's Synaesthesia.
Despite what you may think, I'm not completely uneducated.


If she has synaesthesia, then your name actually is purple to her, as purple as any other purple thing. What exactly is your point?
posted by delmoi at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy: "But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Nice Quote. Obviously wrong.
Good people do evil things all the time. It just takes a man in a white coat telling a member of the public to turn the meter up another notch.
"


You mean the guy in charge of the terror alert?
posted by mystyk at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2006


Bingo - I don't know for sure, but if you think of fish getting caught in shallow pools or out of water completely when the tides go out, then it's obvious that an animal that could survive by extracting oxygen from the air in addition to getting it out of water would have a strong evolutionary advantage.

I imagine that ability evolved at several times with several different methods, so there are probably multiple source for animals transitioning from just water to just air.
posted by willnot at 3:04 PM on April 18, 2006


Creationism is what one believes in when one knows very little about religion or evolution.

The more you learn about either, the more likely you are to reject creationism entirely.
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on April 18, 2006


You mean the guy in charge of the terror alert?
I meant Milgram.
posted by seanyboy at 3:07 PM on April 18, 2006


hototogisu, don't be obtuse yourownself. Yeah, that's how young earthers interpret it. But -- shock, horror! -- "5000 years" is not actually written in the Bible, contrary to Gamblor's statement, and therefore there are multiple interpretations of the relevant passages.

It is absolutely untrue that if you disagree with the 5000-years bit, "you yourself disagree with the bible on the topic of creation."

Yeah, young earthers create one interpretation. But it wouldn't be very SCIENCE!y to argue that theirs is the only possible interpretation. Here, have some edumacation and quit being so disingenuous.

On preview: Optimus Chyme, that isn't how Ussher did it. It's hardly as simple as "count up the generations, multiply by 20ish." I'm not saying anyone made up the fact that some Christians believe in a young earth; I'm saying nobody should go around stating that the Bible says 5000 years of history is the only possibility.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:07 PM on April 18, 2006


“I'm bored now.
Yeah, I was trolling.” - posted by seanyboy

Ah, so we know not to take you at your word or waste our time and energy trying to genuinely engage you in the future.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:10 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy, you wrote: I didn't reject evolution

when previously (in this same thread) you wrote: some crackpot theory about fishes turning into men

That's not a rejection, huh?

I rejected abiogenesis

You're basically saying "Oh sure, evolution as natural selection is fine. I'm talking about a different kind of evolution!" You're changing your definition of evolution as you dodge the questions:

Do you believe that life on Earth (including man) evolved form simple, single cellular organisms?

If yes, then we have no disagreement. If no, then please provide an alternate hypothesis, and give evidence.
posted by Gamblor at 3:10 PM on April 18, 2006


"How did that first fish-like creature get the capacity to breathe air, anyway? Is the idea that it was a coincidental mutation?"

I don't think we know for sure yet. There are plenty of hypotheses about why individual changes happened in evolution, but I don't think any specific solid demonstration of what caused any of them exists. We can only look at the fossil record and say with certainty, "this happened at this particular time," and try to find evidence of what might have happened to stimulate the change.

It is instructive to remember that - science has limits. At our current level of evidence about the sort of thing you describe, I'm sure one hypothesis is that it was Darwin's natural selection: perhaps many of that fish were trapped in a shallow, slowly evaporating landlocked sea, and adaptation or random mutation selected for ability to extract oxygen from air as well as water - not to mention developing stronger leg-like limbs from fish fins. Ever see a mudskipper? Odd! But elegantly functional.

But there's also a non-zero chance of it being interference by intelligent extraterrestrial aliens, or even of it being Divine Intervention. Science can't prove that last one at all, and there's currently no evidence that ET's came to earth several hundred million years ago and tampered with DNA.

Lacking such evidence, science looks toward naturally-occurring processes that are part of the earth's biosphere and solar/galactic environment.

It's good to admit the limits of science and embrace them. We can't know everything, nor can science tell us everything. There's more to life than that, thankfully.

"Religion, specifically FAITH, is the only acceptable human system that unfounded beliefs trump facts."

I disagree, tk. I find it to be an unacceptable belief system, in terms of dealing with reality.

Beliefs that are inconsistent with observable reality (in the scientific sense, not "that which we can directly observe with human senses") need to be acknowledged as such, and not used as basis for public policy or education. Teaching people falsehoods as proven fact is wrong.

As I said, I have no problem with people believing whatever they want. Some of those beliefs are wildly wrong. I start to have a problem when they attempt to force me to acknowledge their unprovable and discordant beliefs as equally valid to proven facts.

"The goal of seanyboy, and others like him, is to reduce all scientific theories to the level of political ideology."

That may be true in his case, nixerman, I haven't reviewed his posting history. I don't think he's exhibiting that here, so I'm disregarding that entirely and just trying to lay thoughts out in a rational and discussion-productive way.

Political application of this stuff is a whole 'nother animal, and I'm sure you and I agree about it being a major problem. Personally I think most of the real-world application of religion is as mass populace mind-control, and obviously it's effective. And to bring us back to Kirk Cameron and this video, that's exactly its purpose - to contribute to the mass mind-control. Before attacking it as a mind-control tool, I think it's important to establish why it's factually wrong, using as much evidential and rhetorical ammo as possible. If we can discredit it in terms of facts, we can back up the statement "These people are lying to you in order to control your mind and dominate you for their own selfish ends."

"Good people do evil things all the time. It just takes a man in a white coat telling a member of the public to turn the meter up another notch.""

Agreed, the Milgram experiment is a solid attack. However, that was a scientific experiment, so saying "the man in the white coat" only applies to that experiment. It's more important to understand that "Mr. White Coat" simply represents The Person With Authority.

That Authority person can wear a white coat, a military uniform, an apron and dress, a cassock or even a fancy-tailored suit paid for by congregational donations. It could be anyone, as long as they're In Authority.

So, points for that, but not quite clever enough. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:11 PM on April 18, 2006


"Ah, so we know not to take you at your word or waste our time and energy trying to genuinely engage you in the future."

If he hadn't trolled, someone else would have. He's a hell of a lot more articulate than bevets!

Some contrariness is good for us, it means we have to hone our argument skills! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:13 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy: "I meant Milgram."

Oh, please don't tell me you actually missed such obvious sarcasm. I gotta say, you try hard to be on this playing field, but you come out looking like Terry Schaivo attempting to play in the NFL.

I know that can be taken in bad taste, but understand it was the most efficient means to make a point. I stand by doing it, but sorry if it offends.
posted by mystyk at 3:13 PM on April 18, 2006


is not actually written in the Bible--of course it's not--I wonder how many other things that are "written in the Bible" aren't actually "written in the Bible"? If he'd changed it to "written about in the Bible" Gamblor's statement would be just fine.

Your snippy objection: Source plz. Just the book, chapter and verse will do. is either utterly disingenuous or utterly irrelevant--Optimus Chyme already pointed that one out, though.
posted by hototogisu at 3:14 PM on April 18, 2006


I've been studying the Bible a lot lately. As an atheist I finally got way too flabbergasted at how willfully stupid many of the Christian folk seem to be. Surely, I thought, there must be some basis for this level of idiocy that they get from the Bible.

But no. They just seem to be stupid.

For example, Jesus spends most of his time telling people not to be judgmental hypocrites. And so far I haven't found him saying anything about evolution, abortion, or homosexuality. And while Revelations and the Old Testament can be pretty nasty, my studies and discussions lead me to believe that they're just what they appear to be to the non-Christian reader - Over the top preaching which shouldn't be taken seriously, let alone literally.

I still have much reading to do, but I'd like to lobby the "evolutionists" here that most Christians, even those who study the Bible and have deep faith in God, don't have trouble accepting evolution as fact.

My point is that following the teachings of Jesus is in no way contradictory with evolution. However, it is contradictory with being a judgmental, name-calling loud mouth. I would encourage those here who haven't to do some Bible study. Once you find out what Jesus was really teaching it's very easy to just ignore most of the folks who want to beat you over the head with what he said, since they clearly don't get it. Or more, likely have never studied it.

The possibility that Jesus would Kirk Cameron a thumbs up is exactly zero.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:15 PM on April 18, 2006


you come out looking like Terry Schaivo attempting to play in the NFL.
There you go again... Attacking Christians.
...And the NFL.
posted by seanyboy at 3:17 PM on April 18, 2006


“Some contrariness is good for us, it means we have to hone our argument skills!” -posted by zoogleplex

I agree with that statement. But we have different takes on what he’s saying. If he is being disingenious, it’s pointless rhetoric. I could (and have) taken exception with certain points within this larger argument but I was then in earnest and honestly representing a perspective, not simply being contrary.

Given the overall big picture on his comments and investment I’d have to go with your interpretation though and look at the “I’m bored. I was trolling” statement as a cop out.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:19 PM on April 18, 2006


Well, that was awesome. It's refreshing to see soeone troll, then say, 'Okay! Jig's up! It was fun, guys. Thanks for the afternoon!'

It's enough to restore my faith in humanity. I... I think. Maybe not. I'm a little confused now.
posted by verb at 3:19 PM on April 18, 2006


12 minutes five seconds into the movie: apes and men, biplanes and jets. God did it!

*busts out laughing*
posted by MarkO at 3:19 PM on April 18, 2006


Don't forget the Pan Am space station and the Jupiter exploration ship. ;)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:22 PM on April 18, 2006


that isn't how Ussher did it

If that's the kind of hair-splitting you engage in, I'm horrified to think what happens when you encounter, like, synecdoche - does your brain just melt or what?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:22 PM on April 18, 2006


There you go again... Attacking Christians.
...And the NFL.


On one hand, you could genuinely be as dense as a black hole.
On the other you could just like provocations.
I'm betting on a combination somewhere in between the two.

I made no attack on Christians or the NFL in my statement. Schaivo was completely incapacitated. The NFL is a bunch of highly physical and strong athletes. Don't read too much into it.
posted by mystyk at 3:25 PM on April 18, 2006


of course it's not [written about in the Bible]

I'm glad you know that. I think a good 80% of mefites who did not already know that probably read it, rolled their eyes, and said, "Those stoopit Christians!"

If he'd changed it to "written about in the Bible" Gamblor's statement would be just fine.

Not really. If he'd changed it to "written about by a guy who based about a sixth of his work on the Bible, but who relied on outside sources and who was also doing a lot of guesswork," the statement would've been accurate. But that would also have disqualified his fourth question (if you don't believe the earth is 5000 years old, "you yourself disagree with the bible on the topic of creation").

If that's the kind of hair-splitting you engage in, I'm horrified to think what happens when you encounter, like, synecdoche - does your brain just melt or what?

Yeah dude. It's been kind of hard for me. I've taken to bringing some ice packs with me wherever I go, just in case.

It's the difference between "one X believes Y"/"some Xs believe Y" and "all Xs everywhere must believe Y." That strikes me as a big difference. As a literary device, it's one thing; as a wannabe logical argument, it's another.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:29 PM on April 18, 2006


Now I'm confused.
Was that sarcasm again.
posted by seanyboy at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2006


booksandlibretti: ...and therefore there are multiple interpretations of the relevant passages.

So if the bible doesn't explicitly say something, there's some wiggle room then, is that it? Ironically, the 'edumacations' in the link you provided were used during the Scopes trial as an argument against the opponents of evolution.

So let's go for literal then. The bible says:

1. Jonah got swallowed by a big fish (Jonah 1:17) and lived to tell about it. (Jonah 2:10)
2. Methuselah lived for a 969 years. (Genesis 5:27)

Do you believe those passages are true? If not, why not? And what other parts can we disregard?
posted by Gamblor at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2006


mystyk. Not booksandlibretti.
posted by seanyboy at 3:31 PM on April 18, 2006


Gamblor writes "Do you believe those passages are true?"

Maybe they're "essentially true", like that Frey book.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:33 PM on April 18, 2006


zoogleplex, that's lame, and just as intellectually bankrupt as the stupid video. First off, calling me a layman doesn't make me one. Your assumption is showing. Besides, it's an ad hom, pompous, and tired. Secondly, your attempts (and the attempts of others) to characterize a theory as indistinguishable from fact are, at best, misguided. Yes, a scientific theory must be logically self-consistent, and is driven by (and, if implemented as a functional model, supported by) observation. However, that does not a fact make, and anyone (layman, scientist, dialectician, or otherwise) that attempts to blur that line does a great disservice to logical rigor.

Now, I'll let you get back to your evolution debate, and I'll keep quiet, as long as you don't chum things up with false statements, lording them over folks as the truthy nuggets of the sublimely informed.
posted by rush at 3:33 PM on April 18, 2006


Well, okay, so now how do we go about thoroughly trouncing Kirk and Mr. "Comfort" - doubt that's his birth name - for creating a vicious mind-control tool in order to enrich themselves?

I mean, really. If they actually believe any of what they're saying while also believing that by selling this thing and lining their pockets with the proceeds, they're doing service to God, they're demonstrably insane. If they don't believe it, they're highly narcissistic con men, or even worse they may be putting this thing out knowing it's to be used as mind control.

They deserve a good trashin', is what I'm thinking.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:34 PM on April 18, 2006


Hrmm...

Metafilter: the truthy nuggets of the sublimely informed.

On preview, agreed, zoogleplex. Thrashing would be nice.
posted by rush at 3:36 PM on April 18, 2006


"Religion, specifically FAITH, is the only acceptable human system that unfounded beliefs trump facts."

I disagree, tk. I find it to be an unacceptable belief system, in terms of dealing with reality.


What I was intending was that we are "supposed" to accept the contradictions and fallacies in Religion. Where as we simply couldn't in anything else, like say, engineering.

I like this Sam Harris quote:

“Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.”
posted by tkchrist at 3:36 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy: I meant it seriously. Perhaps you need a brush-up on parsing english.
posted by mystyk at 3:37 PM on April 18, 2006


I still have much reading to do, but I'd like to lobby the "evolutionists" here that most Christians, even those who study the Bible and have deep faith in God, don't have trouble accepting evolution as fact.

Heh, you say that like it's a secret you just found out!

Prevalence of creationism.
posted by funambulist at 3:42 PM on April 18, 2006


we can make fun of Cameron and his fellow fundies as much as we like, but the truth is, they're the one who'll win in the end. because their world -- unlike the world of us secular, pro-scientific method folk -- makes sense. a weird sense, a lame sense, a false sense? OK, but that is beside the point. because in a believer's world, one day you'll see again your loved ones, and you don't get away with bad things because there is perfect justice -- if not in this world in another. in their world, things make sense, and when you die you don't really go six feet under.

what can we give people, instead? we can give them a religion of doubts, cogito ergo sum, and the knowledge that we're just a glimpse in a 13-billion-year-old universe, all of us. and dead people, even the ones we loved the most, are simply dead, and have ended in nothingness, and we'll follow them soon enough. we can offer them an universe where Herr Doktor Mengele escaped from justice, and died happily in his bed, a rich old man in a nice warm country, still enjoying the thought of all those tortured, murdered children. in our world, Mengele gets away with it. if you believe in God, he doesn't.

we can offer nothingness, doubt without end.

no wonder people would rather think that a miracle-maker guy came back from the dead and flew up to space.
posted by matteo at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2006


booksandlibretti: if you're going to quote me, please quote me, and don't change what I've written.

The genealogies are in the Bible--anyone can extrapolate from that whatever they want. Is a young earth a direct implication of some of that? Yes. Can one say "written about in the Bible" honestly? Yes. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that point.

But anyway, let's get to this multiple interpretations thing. From hence forth, no one can say "it's in the Bible" if there are multiple interepretations of it. Once we've done that, let's define Bible (and you can see where this is going), let's just never refer to it again.

Is there anyone who believes in a 6000-year old earth who isn't a creatonist? Maybe the phrasing of Gamblor's conclusion was wrong, but the conclusion itself was just fine. We're splitting irrelevant hairs, and his point is just fine.
posted by hototogisu at 3:46 PM on April 18, 2006


There was an interesting study on belief / human learning recently. I don't know too much about it, so can't link or anything, but I'll paraphrase.

They did a study where children and apes were shown how to get a treat out of a box. They included some unnecessary steps. After both parties had learnt (by rote) how to get the treat, they swapped the box with an identical model made from clear perspex. The apes were more likely than the children to ignore the rote learning and use the new information to find a better way of getting into the box.

The experimenters hypothosised that the complexity of human experience means that we have to be more willing to take things on what we have been taught. That is, there is too much for us to learn for us to experiment with it.

This innate requirement to believe means we can be more complex, but it also means that we're more likely to believe things contrary to evidence.

I'm making no assumptions as to the existence of a deity here. Your belief system is your own. I just find it interesting that the characteristics which allow us to be human, which allow us to have T.V's and cell phones is the same characteristic that enables to believe things in the face of contradicting facts.

In this very specific way, Christians are more of a demonstration of humanity than those of us who reject the belief structures we were taught when we were young.
posted by seanyboy at 3:49 PM on April 18, 2006


mystyk: Maybe you need to brush up on reading English.
It was a joke.
... with a dramatic jokey pause.
posted by seanyboy at 3:50 PM on April 18, 2006


Do you seriously think I thought you were attacking the NFL?
posted by seanyboy at 3:53 PM on April 18, 2006


Everyone believes in atoms.

Seanyboy, today, you talk of evolutionism, during the Renaissance, the Catholic Church tried to stamp out the heresy of atomism. Galileo's astronomy was not the only heresy of his that attracted the ire of the church. In fact, some historians maintain that atomism was the more serious heresy in the eyes of the church.

In university, I have had 3 professors who discussed Galileo and the church. In all three cases, in course material as diverse as the history of cosmology to literature to religious studies, there has been agreement that the Vatican was most concerned with Galileo's support of Atomism. He was not a commited atomist, however, so he was not burned like some of his contemporaries.

When the Catholic Church decided to canonise Aristotelian physics, Greek philosophical atomism more or less dissapeared from Europe. During the Renaissance, atomism returned, and was originally condemned as heresy. After all, if all matter is composed of indivisible elements of various distinct types which cannot be transmuted, then transsubstantiation must be impossible. This was naturally anathema to the church at the time.

But of course, today, thanks to modern science, everyone believes in atoms.

In the future, provided science and society continues to advance, the term "evolutionism" and "atomism" will call to mind the same types of people: brave iconoclasts who, while not entirely correct, challenged established dogma to advance our understanding of the universe in which we lived.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Also, there was a different study which showed what happened to peoples brains when you told them stuff they didn't believe in logical ways. These "facts" which contradicted the "facts" inside peoples heads actually lit up the part of the brain which is responsible for feeling pain.

This is one reason why it's really hard to get people to change fundemental beliefs, and why we should all try to identify and confront those fundementals in ourself.

It also goes a long way towards explaining why people flame out on sites like this.
Personally, when I get that buzzy "does not compute" feeling you get when someone is being reasonable, but THEY'RE WRONG DAMN IT, I like to just step back for a while and think about it on my own for a while.
posted by seanyboy at 3:59 PM on April 18, 2006


So if the bible doesn't explicitly say something, there's some wiggle room then, is that it? --Gamblor

You could put it that way; I think if the Bible doesn't explicitly say something, then I think it's not a great idea to jump to your favorite conclusion and refuse to entertain others. If you want to call that weasely, or wiggle room, or whatever else you want, go ahead.

the 'edumacations' in the link you provided were used during the Scopes trial as an argument against the opponents of evolution.

Bryan admitted to believing the old-earth theory ("I do not think it necessarily means a twenty-four hour day"), but Darrow considered it one of Bryan's weak points, which is why he kept asking Bryan about it. But that doesn't matter.

For the record, I have no problems with the theory of evolution. My problems here are with the misinformation you were repeating. And I think discussing every one of my personal beliefs could be a leetle beyond the scope of a "Hey, make fun of Kirk Cameron" post. I commented asking for the source only to catch the misstatement.

if you're going to quote me, please quote me, and don't change what I've written --hototogisu

Uh, sorry. Instead of writing it as "of course it's not [written about in the Bible]," I could've c&ped "is not actually written in the Bible--of course it's not"; is there a material difference other than clarity? I even used brackets so everyone would know they weren't your original words.

The genealogies are in the Bible--anyone can extrapolate from that whatever they want.

But there's not an unbroken line of begats, so it's not even as simple as counting them up. That would be impossible. And it's not how Ussher did it.

anyone can extrapolate from that whatever they want

That's my point: There is more than one possible conclusion. It is not as simple as "you are Christian == you believe earth is 5000 years old."

From hence forth, no one can say "it's in the Bible" if there are multiple interepretations of it.

Is the earth's age discussed (or written about) in the Bible? If not, then no, the earth's age is not written about in the Bible. A man's beliefs about the age of the earth may be 17% based on the Bible, but does that necessarily mean the Bible discusses the age of the earth?
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:04 PM on April 18, 2006


Agh, sorry. That last paragraph should be:

Is the earth's age discussed (or written about) in the Bible? >>If so, then I would just like the source I wanted earlier.<< If not, then no, the earth's age is not written about in the Bible. A man's beliefs about the age of the earth may be 17% based on the Bible, but does that necessarily mean the Bible discusses the age of the earth?
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:07 PM on April 18, 2006


bingo asked: "How did that first fish-like creature get the capacity to breathe air, anyway? Is the idea that it was a coincidental mutation?"

With that recent news about that croco-fish with legs, and the other fish that crawls on land, and falls on bugs to eat them, I got to thinking about the transition from water to land.

The biggest danger to survival, underwater, is bigger fish. One strategy to fight that would be to stay in the shallowest water possible; the further into shallow water you can go, the 'bigger' you become, relatively speaking... since everything else gets smaller. So you can eat better, and you're protected from less well-adapted critters. These two things would likely exert strong selection pressure.

At first, getting out of the water completely wouldn't give you any more food (assuming you're a carnivore, at least), but when you're not in the water, nothing can eat you. That would also exert selective pressure, although not as strong as 'lots of food' PLUS 'safety', of course.

So I sort of see further development as a kind of an arms race... the further from water you can survive, the less likely you are to get eaten. And with everything else not being well-adapted to land, being more mobile would be rewarded as well. If you have semi-legs, you can catch and eat critters that still have fins. And 'real' legs would be better than semi-legs. Mobility would be VERY strongly selected for; once the transition to land really started, I suspect legs would have arisen very quickly. (this is also borne out by the fact that virtually all land-based animals have legs... meaning it was most likely an early development.)

It would also be a strong selection advantage if you could eat more than just meat, so at least some critters would turn into herbivores. This would be a critical step to the development of land-based life, because eating plants is how energy from the sun gets into higher life forms. Not everything can be carnivorous, because the energy has to come from somewhere... and animals can't turn sunshine into food. Until some of them could eat land-based plants, all animal life would be stuck in a narrow band around the water.

Anyway, that's just relatively uneducated musings. The neat thing about evolution is that the more closely you look, the better it hangs together. This is quite unlike the major alternative viewpoint.
posted by Malor at 4:07 PM on April 18, 2006


I actually made the phrase "evolutionism" up because it sounded a bit like creationism and I knew it'd get peoples backs up. Looks like I'm not the only person to have had that particular thought.
posted by seanyboy at 4:07 PM on April 18, 2006


rush, your first point is taken. However, I will ask how calling someone a "layman" is an insult? Frankly, I'm not a scientist (tho I follow it pretty avidly), so I'm a layman too by anyone's definition. Is calling someone a "scientist" an insult? I can deal with replacing "layman" with "non-scientist."

I'll cop to some pomposity, for sure. Anyone who knows me IRL will laugh when I tell them about this. :)

"Secondly, your attempts (and the attempts of others) to characterize a theory as indistinguishable from fact are, at best, misguided."

I'm going to defend this. Scientists and science-minded people use the word "theory" in a very specific way. Everyone else out here pretty much uses the word in a different way, which doesn't have the force of meaning that it does in science.

For anyone's day-to-day intents and purposes, anything that science calls a "theory" can and probably should be defined as a "proven fact," even though that's not strictly true, because unless you say "this is a proven fact, just like if you drop a shoe it will always drop and hit the ground," you're actually not communicating the real meaning of what you're saying.

I think it's a good idea to put things in more concrete terms for the population at large. It's not talking down to them.

The fact that the creationists yell "evolution is only a THEORY!!!" as one of their primary talking points, and that it works, is a clear demonstration that letting them use that word in the "popular" sense has given them a major wedge to ram their ideas through.

Really, how many scientists do not treat evolution as a real, factual thing, the same as gravity or electromagnetism or for that matter the imaginary numbers? For a regular person who is not a rigorously trained scientist (or science hobbyist), what is the tangible, functional difference between the scientific definition of "theory" and real-world "fact"?

I understand the distinction, and I understand how blurring it would offend a scientist. However, in the actual battle between science and anti-science, science is rather massively outnumbered, and the emotional significance of the word "fact" is not to be dismissed. Communicating effectively is important, and we can't force everyone to speak the same language.

I think in this one particular case, a bit of bending would serve us well in properly communicating between science and everyone else, and make a difference in turning people's minds away from the fairy tales.

tk: right on, thanks for clarification. Yeah, I consider that pretty bizarre.

"in our world, Mengele gets away with it. if you believe in God, he doesn't."

matteo, science can't prove or disprove that there's an afterlife or a God, so it's perfectly fine to believe in that AND science at the same time. Mengele may indeed be getting his due as we speak, and it's certainly nice to believe that. And hey, maybe we do see our loved ones and have an idyllic existence after we die. Nobody knows for sure, and science has nothing to say on the subject.

Somewhere along the line, science got presented poorly as anti-religious and anti-spiritual. It's not, at least not inherently. Maybe there's a few bitter bastards out there trying to disprove the existence of God and souls, but they won't be able to do it with science!

Science is about trying to understand the material universe and how it works, period. It's a tool we use. It does contradict certain claims of various religions, creation myths being a well-known example, but that needn't be interpreted as an attack on religion.

I think it's only conceived as a threat by some religious people because by contradicting some ideas of their religion, it undermines the source of their control mechanism over other people - as it should. Also, yeah, there have been some bitter, condescending bastards who have indeed attacked religion with science, for many bad reasons. Overall I think breaking the authority of Church has been a good thing, but it could have gone smoother.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:08 PM on April 18, 2006


I apologise for that atrocious first paragraph. I need an editor. Here's what should have come out:

Today, preachers fight the heresy of evolutionism; during the Renaissance, the Catholic Church tried to stamp out the heresy of atomism. Galileo's astronomy was not the only belief of his that attracted the ire of the church. In fact, some historians maintain that atomism was the more serious of Galileo's crimes in the eyes of the church.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:10 PM on April 18, 2006


"Is the earth's age discussed (or written about) in the Bible? If not, then no, the earth's age is not written about in the Bible."

There is no mention of it at all in the Bible, at least in any quantifiable terms.

That's not a bad fact to throw back at biblical literalist Young Earthers! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 4:10 PM on April 18, 2006


This thread's too long to read so if this has already been linked, I apologize.

It has nothing to do with evolution but talks about how basic lessons, as written in the bible, meant different things during biblical times than they do now. To me, this kind of stuff makes it near impossible to "believe" the bible in the sense that most contemporary Christians seem to.
posted by dobbs at 4:13 PM on April 18, 2006


My eyes are watering just reading this thread. Whoo-boy. Nevertheless, I'll spout a few words in, just for fun.
In this very specific way, Christians are more of a demonstration of humanity than those of us who reject the belief structures we were taught when we were young.

Actually, that's merely a great demonstration that human beings are more likely to stick with a strategy that works, even if that strategy is sub-optimal (ie inefficient), and even in the face of evidence that the strategy is sub-optimal.

Specifically:

Monkey learns process, process works. Monkey is exposed to new information that allows monkey to make process more efficient. Monkey does so.

Human learns process, process works. Human is exposed to new information that allows human to make process more efficient. Human rejects new information and continues to follow previously-successful, but now sub-optimal, process.

If you want to claim that this strategy is what makes us "us", and that it's a good thing...well, personally I'd much rather be a person who is capable of changing my habits, actions and thoughts for the better when presented with additional information. In short, I'd rather keep an open mind about things, thank you very much.
posted by davejay at 4:14 PM on April 18, 2006


I think the reason science conflicts with so much religious belief is because it wreaks havoc on a god of the gaps by persuing an incredibly destructive process of gap-deity habitat destruction.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:17 PM on April 18, 2006


There is no comprehensible definition of "God." Nobody knows what God is. If you read the Bible and believe it's some Father figure in heaven (whatever heaven is) then you are a child. Words are labels, they are not real things. So whenever people talk about "God" they don't know what they're talking about, and Kirk Cameron and this guy know less about evolution. Christians are idiots.
posted by disgruntled at 4:17 PM on April 18, 2006


They did a study.....

Also, there was a different study...


seanyboy: It would be really awesome if you could give us the names of the researchers here, or at least how you found out about theses -- I want to know more about this stuff.
posted by Laugh_track at 4:18 PM on April 18, 2006


Not really. If he'd changed it to "written about by a guy who based about a sixth of his work on the Bible, but who relied on outside sources and who was also doing a lot of guesswork," the statement would've been accurate. But that would also have disqualified his fourth question (if you don't believe the earth is 5000 years old, "you yourself disagree with the bible on the topic of creation").
Unfortunately, that's the position of many Christian Creationists. Christians who don't have any trouble accepting evolution should start by cleaning house and correcting fallacies inside the Church rather than snapping back at those outside the Church who just take belief-statements by Creationists at face value.

This whole 'It's not REALLY in the Bible, a Christian just extrapolated it...' thing applies to huge swaths of accepted Christian dogma at this point. Christians need to be honest enough to admit that 1) A lot of stuff we believe is tradition rather than direct Scriptural command, and 2) Many other Christians treat their own tradition and interperetation as equal to Scripture.
posted by verb at 4:19 PM on April 18, 2006


davejay: You misinterpret.
I too would like to be the person who can change his habits, etc but it's possible that we follow these sub-optimal processes because if we didn't, there would be too much for us to learn. That makes sense to me from an evolutionary point of view.

This facility to follow these sub-optimal paths allows people to get on and do a bunch of other great stuff.

Of course, the sub-optimal stuff that Mr (a) is doing may well conflict with the new great stuff Mr (b) is working on. In this situation, you're going to get a clash of perspectives. While uncomfortable, this is just a side effect of our humanity.

Our greatness comes as a consequence of there being things we refuse to question.
posted by seanyboy at 4:23 PM on April 18, 2006


Minor nit, matteo:

Dr. Mengele drowned while swimming in a pond, probably after having a stroke, not in bed.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 4:24 PM on April 18, 2006


Some days, I understand how some Republicans and some Christians can find such common ground despite their significantly difficult-to-reconcile differences: some people in both groups seem to believe that the best way to "win" (aka establish their point of view as the majority one) is to ignore any apparent hypocrisies and inconsistencies in their own beliefs, and instead focus their efforts on keeping other groups on the defensive.

If your goal in life is to feel "right", it's a great strategy. If your goal in life is less competitive, however, it's a pretty bad one. You know, if you want to understand the truth of things, or find solutions that make everyone happy, or just improve yourself and keep an open mind.

The good news is, I get to do with my kids what my parents did to me: teach them to have an open mind. Whether that open mind will fill up with one political party's rhetoric or the other, or one religious group or the other -- or none at all -- will be entirely up to them. And it will probably change several times over the course of their lifetimes.

And since I believe that's the path to a successful and happy life, I don't worry about all these other folks and what they do or do not believe, except where it leads to direct harm (such as political folks causing actual harm with their policies -- or lack thereof -- and teachers who can't teach in class because of rude children with agendas to promote.)
posted by davejay at 4:26 PM on April 18, 2006


"Human learns process, process works. Human is exposed to new information that allows human to make process more efficient. Human rejects new information and continues to follow previously-successful, but now sub-optimal, process."

I've seen this about a million times, every time any office I've worked at does a software upgrade. Even going from Office98 to OfficeXP - or from OS9 to OSX, in some cases, still have some friends on OS9.

Hell the little-town newspaper my mom works at only just last month switched from composing articles in Word/printing them out/physically pasting them up on a layout board to all-digital page layout.

Amazing that monkeys tend to adapt to such change faster. Maybe it's to their advantage in that sense to have smaller brains - with our big ones, neuro-pathways maybe get entrenched more easily?

Of course, not all humans have this problem, some are far more adaptable. Was there any quantification done on what percentage of humans do this, or how to pick out ones that don't?
posted by zoogleplex at 4:27 PM on April 18, 2006


Laugh_track: So would I.
In between comments, I've been googling but to no avail.
Most science I know comes from the much berated New Scientist.
Here's the one about learning by rote
posted by seanyboy at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2006


Protestants today have no way to affect others in different denominations. Although it might be nice, there is no way to "clean house." If anyone has found one, e-mail me, because I really would like to know.
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:30 PM on April 18, 2006


davejay: You misinterpret.
I too would like to be the person who can change his habits, etc but it's possible that we follow these sub-optimal processes because if we didn't, there would be too much for us to learn. That makes sense to me from an evolutionary point of view.

This facility to follow these sub-optimal paths allows people to get on and do a bunch of other great stuff.


Actually, seanyboy, I didn't misinterpret.

The very definition of sub-optimal (inefficient) requires that it take more time and effort to do thing #1 than it needs to; and in doing so, gives us less time to discover thing #2.

So here's what I think you're saying, and frankly it blows my mind: we benefit from our inability to optimize our activities in the face of new information because this failure allows us to "get on" and learn other new things sub-optimally, and that's a good thing.

And to that, I respond: if we optimize the things we learn, so that they require less time and effort, we now have more free time to "get on" and learn other new things, which we will also optimize over time.

I'll tell you, if I'm interpreting you correctly, I hope to goodness you're not a teacher.
posted by davejay at 4:33 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh, and seanyboy? You *can* change your habits, or at least you can if you're anything like myself and everyone else I know. If you can't...well, I'm sorry for you.
posted by davejay at 4:34 PM on April 18, 2006


“So whenever people talk about "God" they don't know what they're talking about...”

Nice to see someone bring up that point other than me.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:34 PM on April 18, 2006




seanyboy: "Do you seriously think I thought you were attacking the NFL?"

NFL? No. At least I truly hope you wouldn't. But you've shown a tendency here to reframe clear arguments presented to you as if they were trying to argue something else. I could easily imagine you trying to reinterpret it as a Christian attack in general. It's certainly not difficult when the most vocal Christians also suffer from a persecution complex.
posted by mystyk at 4:37 PM on April 18, 2006


mystyk: I give up.
davejay: Obviously, no - I'm not a teacher.
re. Sylvias recipe: I think there's more, but I can't find it and I need to go to bed.
posted by seanyboy at 4:39 PM on April 18, 2006


Please do not read "Sylvia’s recipe: The role of imitation and pedagogy in the transmission of cultural knowledge." unless you want to be tainted by obviously Christian propaganda. :)
posted by seanyboy at 4:40 PM on April 18, 2006



Rote learning?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:46 PM on April 18, 2006


Reading this from the bottom up, I know that I'm out of my element, but I'm pretty sure I saw Mengele get killed after allowing Michael Ian Black to perform surgery on him. Whatever that has to do with Kirk Cameron or evolution, well, I may never know.
posted by elr at 4:56 PM on April 18, 2006


Too bad Kirk's gone batshit insane. He's very eloquent and still damn handsome. Coulda been a contenduh.
posted by zardoz at 4:58 PM on April 18, 2006


also, has anyone mentioned Bibleman's stupendous package yet?
posted by elr at 5:00 PM on April 18, 2006


seanyboy: "I too would like to be the person who can change his habits, etc but it's possible that we follow these sub-optimal processes because if we didn't, there would be too much for us to learn. That makes sense to me from an evolutionary point of view."

Of course you're testing this with a species that shows very limited capacity (overall) for spatial orientation skills [humans] against a species that shows great capacyty for it. I would love to see the test redone using the children of that one group of Jews that produces so many geniouses. Or with the children of Silicon Valley employees.

Also, humans actively attach a cost to the process of learning new information. Often this is done erroneously. People go for immediate gains (doing things through inefficient but known methods now) over long-term ones (taking the time and energy to learn new more efficient ways when you still have the old ways).

Further, people can become emotionally attached to even the most simplistic of procedures, if it's the way they've always done it. I know people who grew up without computers or typewriters who can't make the transitions because they're attached to the feel of pen and paper.
posted by mystyk at 5:05 PM on April 18, 2006


You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto, Let's call the whole thing off

But oh, if we call the whole thing off Then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart...

--Louis Armstrong
posted by semmi at 5:12 PM on April 18, 2006


booksandlibretti: My problems here are with the misinformation you were repeating.

Misinformation? You mean by repeating the position of the Young Earth Creationists? As hototogisu explained to you once, the genealogies are in the bible, and you can do the math. You can quibble over the exact number, but a young Earth is a direct consequence of that. If you still want a citation, I refer you to the entire bible, both old and new testament. You can do your own homework.

You link to other people saying seven days doesn't really mean seven days. Basically, "It's not really in the bible, but some other guys said it means..." So what? The book of Genesis says creation was done in seven days. If you disagree, then source in the bible, plz. Just the book, chapter and verse will do.

I commented asking for the source only to catch the misstatement.

You commented asking for the source only to be a mendacious dick.

And you completely avoided answering any of my questions about the bible directed at you. I'll take that to mean that you don't believe the bible is true, in which case, you requesting citation from a book you don't believe to be accurate is even more disingenuous.
posted by Gamblor at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2006


"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" was written by the Gershwins.
posted by bardic at 5:17 PM on April 18, 2006


I suspect seanyboy's name is really brown and tastes of poop.
That's my theory anyway.
posted by newfers at 5:17 PM on April 18, 2006


The truth is I don't know what the 'truth' is and I highly suspect Kirk fucking Cameron doesn't either. Thus spake me:
Believe whatever makes your life happier and more interesting.
posted by 6am at 6:04 PM on April 18, 2006


Misinformation? You mean by repeating the position of the Young Earth Creationists?

No. I mean the part where you stated, first, "Do you believe the Earth is only approximately 5000 yrs old, as written in the bible?" -- when it is not written in the Bible. And second, when you said that believing the earth is older than 500 years means "you yourself disagree with the bible on the topic of creation." You are saying that the Bible has things that it plainly does not.

As hototogisu explained to you once, the genealogies are in the bible

As I keep explaining, no, they are not -- the genealogies are not complete. This is very obvious. Please read this.

The book of Genesis says creation was done in seven days. If you disagree, then source in the bible, plz. Just the book, chapter and verse will do.

My point was not about creation vs. big bang, but about young earth vs. old earth -- I just linked to an article that, in the course of arguing against the young-earth theory, discussed the "days" of creation. But if you really want, source, translation, interpretation (linked previously). The key is that "yom" is most frequently translated as "day," but can also easily mean "season," "period," "age," etc.

You commented asking for the source only to be a mendacious dick.

I commented asking for the source to try to stem the misinformation before others started believing it.

And you completely avoided answering any of my questions about the bible directed at you.

And you failed to address my correction about the Scopes trial. Do I care? No, because that's outside even the broad limits of this discussion. If you say "X says Y," why should I have to believe every word X says to point out that X does not actually say Y?
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:09 PM on April 18, 2006


The study to which seanyboy was referring is "The neural basis of motivated reasoning: An fMRI study of emotional constraints on political judgement during the U.S. presidential election of 2004," and it's under revision right now. Nothing major, just some clarifications, really. The upshot is that it's not really published everywhere just yet, but you can get it here, if you email them, and ask nicely.
posted by rush at 6:16 PM on April 18, 2006


Wow, what a long boring thread you have, Mefi. Really folks, is it really so hard to just respect other people's religious beliefs? Heck, if people want to believe that God told them the earth was made 40 years ago out of broccoli, what's the big deal? He's God; he could do that if he existed.

Besides, if you start judging religious beliefs by how scientific they are, you won't find a religion in the world that'll pass that test. Hearing a bunch of people saying, in effect, that believing Jesus came back from the dead after 3 days is a valid religious belief and the earth being less than 10,000 years old isn't just gets old after a while. Scientifically speaking, withing 15 minutes of oxygen deprivation, 90% of a person's brain is dead, and, within 48 hours, even residual electric activity has completely ceased. That's every bit as proven as evolution, and you know what, it doesn't matter one whit to the believers either.
posted by boaz at 6:20 PM on April 18, 2006


Our greatness comes as a consequence of there being things we refuse to question.

It must be opposite day or your REALLY trolling.

Every one of history's great intellects and philosophers pretty much say the opposite.

"Our greatness comes as a consequence of there being NOTHING we refuse to question."
posted by tkchrist at 6:32 PM on April 18, 2006


boaz, when those people are trying to limit our ability to teach science, then it's no longer time to just 'respect their beliefs'.

If they want to believe that the Earth is 5000 years old, and that the Earth was created in seven days.... that's stupid, but it's their problem. If they want to teach that in religion classes, that's fine too. It becomes OUR problem when they attack science classes and try to get their fantasies taught as an 'alternative' to existing scientific theories.

Science is about evidence, and creationists have nothing but the Bible. If they want to get their beliefs taught in science classes, then they're going to get criticized, because they have no evidence to support their assertions.

All they have is loud disbelief that complexity can arise from simplicity. That, and "the Bible sez", is all they offer, and they want this crap taught as science. THAT is where the conflict arises, and they're the ones causing the problem.
posted by Malor at 6:35 PM on April 18, 2006



THAT is where the conflict arises, and they're the ones causing the problem.

Yup. Another Sam Harris quote:

“We live in an age in which most people believe that mere words— ‘Jesus,’ ‘Allah,’ ‘Ram’—can mean the difference between eternal torment and bliss everlasting. Considering the stakes here, it is not surprising that many of us occasionally find it necessary to murder other human beings for using the wrong magic words, or the right ones for the wrong reasons. How can any person presume to know that this is the way the universe works? Because it says so in our holy books. How do we know that our holy books are free from error? Because the books themselves say so. Epistemological black holes of this sort are fast draining the light from our world.

Powerful organized religion is not compatiable with a modern just civilization.
posted by tkchrist at 6:43 PM on April 18, 2006


"Really folks, is it really so hard to just respect other people's religious beliefs?"

It is when they're trying to make them the law of the land, and force all of us to believe it, too. Other religions espouse things like blood sacrifice, or death of everyone who doesn't believe in them. I don't respect that at all.

As you'll note if you read my various blatherings above, I'm fine with anyone's religious beliefs as long as they don't mess with everyone else. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

These people making this video are trying to indoctrinate as many people, especially children, into a belief that is factually wrong, logically fallacious and dismissive of rigorous science - not to mention contempt of real education and intellectual pursuits in general - thus creating groups of people that are not only incapable of fully functioning in the modern world, but also highly manipulable.

Personally I think we should fight that sort of thing, it's bad for the world.

"Besides, if you start judging religious beliefs by how scientific they are, you won't find a religion in the world that'll pass that test."

Precisely. That's why we should keep religious beliefs out of education, government and international relations, and any other important stuff that humans need to do to get by in the world.

"Hearing a bunch of people saying, in effect, that believing Jesus came back from the dead after 3 days is a valid religious belief"

Yes, that belief is fine because even though science says it's highly unlikely, it's not impossible. And there's no reason to try to prove or disprove it.

The earth and universe being more than 10,000 years old is just as well-supported and evidenced as gravity. Teaching people something that's the equivalent of "the world is flat" should be disallowed, because it's wrong. I'm sorry if you're getting tired of it.

Again, it's not any one individual belief that's causing the problem, it's the group of believers who think everyone else needs to believe it, and all the other beliefs associated with their religion, that is the problem. Aggressive willful ignorance needs to be fought with knowledge and education.

And of course, nobody should respect people who use religious beliefs to manipulate people for their own ends, be they political or just plain con-artisty.

On preview, what they said. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 6:47 PM on April 18, 2006


How did that first fish-like creature get the capacity to breathe air, anyway?

Ask any of the modern fish that can breathe air. AFAIK, fish species adapted to stagnant water can commonly breathe air at least somewhat.

Electric eels breathe air (in addition to water). They do it by the simple means of heavily vascularized tissue in their mouths. AFAIK, it's as simple as osmosis -- there's more oxygen in an airbubble held in the mouth than there is in its blood, so the O2 moves from the air to the blood.

Siamese fighting fish are also air-breathers, though I don't know their mechanism.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:00 PM on April 18, 2006


Kirk Cameron: ". . . when you learn to speak to a person's conscience and circumnavigate the intellect, the subject of evolution seems to disappear."

Me: "Whaaa? Hahahahahaha! Ok, he did not just fucking say that.

*rewind*

Kirk Cameron: ". . . when you learn to speak to a person's conscience and circumnavigate the intellect, the subject of evolution seems to disappear."

Me: "Hahahaha. Oh lawdy, satire is dead. Can science make a parrot! Hahaha - *snort* - hahaha."
posted by dgaicun at 7:03 PM on April 18, 2006


MetaFilter: Also air-breathers, though I don't know their mechanism.
posted by tkchrist at 7:03 PM on April 18, 2006


Responding directly to this video, which was stupid for 10 minutes and then got really really stupid.

10 minutes into this video:
"Have you ever been mystified as to why human beings and apes have so many similar features? After all, compare our hands to the hands of apes, they are very similar. And our feet are a lot the same. In fact, we can make many of the same facial expressions...

*30 seconds of orangutan facial expressions*

Does this prove that men evolved from apes?


Yes, Kirk.

No, not at all! Think of it like this:
Think of the biplane and the 747 jumbo jet. They're both very similar. After all, they both have wings, they both have landing gear, cockpits. Does that mean the jet evolved from the little biplane?


Yes, Kirk.

Not at all!

Huh?

It just means they have a common designer. The designer used a similar blueprint for each one. Same with us.

Uhh... and who is this designer you speak of?

God, the creator of the World and the Universe is our common designer. He simply used a similar blueprint when creating the hands and feet and facial expressions of men and apes.

Oh. I guess that settles that.

The video pretty much goes downhill from there. Stupid stunts, ugly accusations. These guys are fuckwits.
posted by MarkO at 7:08 PM on April 18, 2006


"...when you learn to speak to a person's conscience and circumnavigate the intellect..."

AKA raw emotional manipulation. I think it might also be known as "keeping it real."

The end of that sentence should be: "...you can fleece them for a ridiculous amount of money, while also totally controlling their lives and minds."

Beware, people. Folks "circumnavigating your intellect" are actually putting one over on you, and definitely do not have your best interests in mind. Question everything!
posted by zoogleplex at 7:13 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh, and by the way, here's how science makes a parrot.
posted by maryh at 7:21 PM on April 18, 2006


booksandlibretti: I commented asking for the source to try to stem the misinformation before others started believing it.

Sure, because if there's one thing creationists can't stand, it's any inaccuracy when speaking about biblical history. Sp the Earth could be anywhere from 5k years up to 4 billion years old, depending on which type of creationist you ask. (What's six orders of magnitude between friends?) And Jonah stayed in the belly of a fish for three days and lived to tell the tale. And Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. And Eve wasn't born, but created from Adam's rib. And a great flood covered the entire planet and killed every living thing except the pairs of animals Noah saved on his boat. And he lived to be over 600 years old, himself. And Jacob wrestled with god (and won!). Yessir, historical accuracy.

Permit me to offer a correction, then:
2. Do you believe the Earth is only approximately 5000 yrs old, as calculated by 17th century biblical scholars using passages taken directly from the bible, in addition to other historical documents, and accepted as indisputable fact by many Christian fundamentalists today including the Sevent-day Adventists, and many, many others?
I regret calling you a mendacious dick. I should have said a mendacious and pedantic dick.
posted by Gamblor at 8:20 PM on April 18, 2006


Our current model of evolution and the state of modern biology are based on the scientific method. If you have a problem with the scientific method, I ask: why you continue to reap the benefits? Surely a more godly solution would be to live as if science did not exist. Hope you enjoy watching your children die of preventable disease, you ungrateful morons.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:42 PM on April 18, 2006


Fuck The Creationists

(Trash Talk)
Ah yeah, here we go again!
Damn! This is some funky shit that I be laying down on your ass.
This one goes out to all my homey's working in the field of evolutionary science.
Check it!

(Verse 1)
Fuck the damn creationists, those bunch of dumb-ass bitches.
Every time I think of them my trigger finger itches.
They want to have their bullshit, taught in public class.
Stephen J. Gould should put his foot right up their ass.
Noah and his ark, Adam and his Eve,
Straight up fairy tales even children don't believe.
I'm not saying there's no god, that's not for me to say,
All I'm saying is the Earth was not created in a day.

(Chorus)
Fuck, fuck, fuck,
Fuck the Creationists.

(Trash Talk)
Break it down.
Ah damn, this is a funky jam!
I'm about ready to kick this bitch back in.
Check it.

(Verse 2)
Fuck the damn creationists I say it with authority,
Because kicking their punk asses be me paramount priority.
Them wack-ass bitches say, "evolution's just a theory,"
They best step off, them brainless fools, I'll give them cause to fear me.
The cosmos is expanding every second, every day,
But their minds are shrinking as they close their eyes and pray.
They call their bullshit science like the word could give them cred.
If them bitches be scientists then cap me in the head.

(Chorus)
Fuck, fuck, fuck,
Fuck the Creationists.

(Trash Talk)
Bass!
Bring that shit in!
Ah yeah, that's right, fuck them all motherfuckers.
Fucking punk ass creationists trying to set scientific thought back 400 years.
Fuck that!
If them superstitious motherfuckers want to have that kind of party,
I'm going to put my dick in the mashed potatoes.
Fucking creationists.
Fuck them.
posted by mystyk at 8:48 PM on April 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


thank you, mystyk.
posted by moonbird at 8:57 PM on April 18, 2006


You keep claiming I ignore half of your comments, and yet you keep ignoring half of my comments.

I'm not going to address the stories of Methuselah or Jonah (and I've explained why). But apparently you're not going to address the Scopes trial or the different interpretations of "yom" or the fact that Ussher's chronology was based heavily on speculation or the fact that ad hominems do not an argument make.

But that's okay. I'm finished, especially since I should've known better than to start. Thank you for correcting your statement to something slightly more accurate.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:58 PM on April 18, 2006


This video was about a million times funnier than I expected.

Though to be fair, I only watched the first 30 seconds.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:16 PM on April 18, 2006


Our greatness comes as a consequence of there being things we refuse to question.

Our greatness comes as a consequence of there being NOTHING we refuse to question.

<Persig>Static, meet Dynamic</Persig>
posted by Sparx at 9:39 PM on April 18, 2006


mystyk, what a way to end the thread!

<3 mystyk!
posted by MarkO at 9:39 PM on April 18, 2006


I fucking love the very end, where they CLEARLY explain how to use fear to win people over. They ACTUALLY SAY not to bother with explaining things and using facts - they will just disagree with you (IMAGINE that!) use fear!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:44 PM on April 18, 2006


Mystyk is God!

B&L and Gamblor are arguing about whether Grandma was saved by the woodsman, or if she met her final end in the stomach of the wolf. It is really quite silly.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 PM on April 18, 2006


If you have a problem with the scientific method, I ask: why you continue to reap the benefits? Surely a more godly solution would be to live as if science did not exist.

as if the corporate and governmental entities of the day would allow you to

as if great civilizations hadn't been thriving long before the scientific method was used

as if those children you speak of getting sick from preventable disease wouldn't be rescued by social workers ready to impose their evil materialistic ideology upon the parents

as if people are going to be argued out of believing fundamentalist tripe by throwing sophomoric tripe at them

yeah, kirk cameron goes to a mall to "defeat" evolutionists

metafilter: a more intellectual version of a mall

seanyboy's one initial point was correct ... just as kirk goes to a mall to find the most ignorant people he can find to stereotype and butress his arguments, you guys do the same with the most ignorant examples of christianity or "x"ism to argue your pet beliefs about how things are

meanwhile, i consider what the golden mean between solipsism and complete gullibility might be ... who do we trust to tell the "truth" and why do we trust them?

i rate this particular post and thread beneath the great tom cruise placenta controversy
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 PM on April 18, 2006


zoogleplex: It's true seanyboy, lots of the people who believe in evolution have barely even cracked a book about it, and thus know little. They also know little about how steel is made, how electronic devices work, how the stock market functions, how grain is farmed and processed, and how petroleum is refined....

I've said it before in the blue, and I'll say it again. If they want to deny science, we should take all of its benefits away from them, and see how they like life in the wilderness with nothing. OK, we'll give them some sackcloth and a few sheep. But that's it!


And it a later post: I'm serious, too, this isn't a joke. Your entire life has been based on and made possible by the science you deny. It has a much, much more tangible effect on you than your God - unless of course science is a gift from God, in which case you ought to believe in it, huh? I don't think you could even conceive of what your life would be like without even the simplest products of science. If you're going to deny it, then give it all up.

And then there are people who make comments like this not knowing their own ignorance. Here is a hint, steel, markets, farming, and the refining of petroleum predate the formal scientific method. And quite a bit of engineering that puts products in our stores is thankfully is not dependent on the scientific method.

Please, those of us who are serious about science education including evolution can do without this kind of ignorant help. Science is a discipline of constructing knowledge in the form of inferences from consistent and repeated observation of data. Engineering is a discipline of constructing technology using knowledge that may or may not have been derived from science. Don't mix the two.

zoogleplex: If you believe in atoms, you need to believe in evolution, because the exact same system was and is used to investigate them both.

Oh please. The scientific method as a system comes up with a lot of different theories. Some are well supported by evidence, and others are not. No theory gets any kind of additional weight, warrant, or slack because it comes from the "exact same system" as another theory. Each theory must be tested and evaluated on it's own evidence and benefits. That's how science works.

Atomic theory has absolutely nothing to do with the theory of evolution. The evidence supporting atomic theory is utterly irrelevant to the evidence supporting evolution. They describe phenomena that are separated by orders of magnitude in terms of time, distance, energy and mass. In fact, modern theories of evolution don't even depend on "genes" being matter.

This is really one of the hardest things in regards to evolution, presenting the theory accurately and without the scope creep to the origin of life, the origin of the earth, or atomic theory. Evolution as a theory only describes how gene frequencies change over time in a population, and uses this as a guiding framework to examine biodiversity. That's it. Start and finish. Alpha and Omega. Beans and Cornbread. Kit and Caboodle.

You defend evolution by pointing out that we have as much evidence, and different types of evidence supporting evolution as we do for our current model of the solar system.

You don't pull some bullshit about some monolithic edifice of science. When you do that, then seanyboy and bevits are no longer raising strawmen about people who believe in evolution as a religion. They are talking about you.

seanyboy: 4. I didn't reject evolution. I rejected abiogenesis and the prevailing (in this thread) pseudo-scientific view of evolution. I also mainly rejected the use of Cameron by yourselves (plural) as a poster-boy to prove that "Christianity is teh evil."

Um, you do know that evolution and abiogenesis are two different theories that have nothing to do with each other other than both describing events that took place in "deep time" billions of years ago?

agent on male nipples: "Chances are that you have them because they were useful to some ancestor species, and they have not been a detriment to survival sufficient to breed them out of the population...."

Oh man...

I don't even think you need evolution to explain male nipples. You only need to point out that gender dimorphism functions by changing the size, shape, and location of organs. Male mammals have nipples because female mammals have nipples. There is no need to hypothesize an early ancestor in which men gave milk.

zoogleplex regarding the development of lungs: I don't think we know for sure yet. There are plenty of hypotheses about why individual changes happened in evolution, but I don't think any specific solid demonstration of what caused any of them exists. We can only look at the fossil record and say with certainty, "this happened at this particular time," and try to find evidence of what might have happened to stimulate the change.

Which is I think really the heart and soul of this whole problem. Too many people think of evolution in terms of just so stories, like "how the fish got its lungs" or "how the dinosaur got its wings" or "how plants became green."

I'm becoming more and more skeptical of storytelling as part of talking about evolution. The real story from an evolutionary perspective is that there are common anatomical features shared between groups of fishes and almost all terrestrial vertebrates. The actual anatomy of this transition is interesting, but not really that important to evolution.

zoogleplex: For anyone's day-to-day intents and purposes, anything that science calls a "theory" can and probably should be defined as a "proven fact," even though that's not strictly true, because unless you say "this is a proven fact, just like if you drop a shoe it will always drop and hit the ground," you're actually not communicating the real meaning of what you're saying.

Well, I'd disagree with this because it hides the real-life issue that the relationship between theories and observations are quite a bit more fuzzy than is wrapped up here. Evolution is a very well supported theory today. It was a less well supported theory 100 years ago. Special Relativity was created as a theory 100 years ago and is very well supported today.

What defines a theory in science is not how strongly supported it is, but its attempt at a synthesis of facts, proven hypotheses, untested hypothesis, and creative reflection about the underlying mechanisms of what is going on in the universe.

It is a fact that it was 60F at 11:53 at my local airport.

The explanation that temperature reading is a result of vibrating air molecules exchanging kinetic energy with a sensor is a theory.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:54 PM on April 18, 2006


as if the corporate and governmental entities of the day would allow you to

Anyone who _really_ wants to live without science is more than free to do so. Just ask the Amish.
posted by PsychoKick at 9:57 PM on April 18, 2006


mystyck, consider yourself flagged as funkalicious!

(really, you have to get that set to music asap)
posted by maryh at 10:08 PM on April 18, 2006


Well meaning evolution supporters do no one any favors by undermining the foundations of science by equating "theory" with "proven fact." I personally find it highly misleading to use the word "proof" within a mile of talking about theories in science. Proof is a math concept. If 1+1=2 then there must be an infinity of integers. If there is an infinity of integers, then there must be a few "larger" infinities of numbers that exist between and at right angles to the integers. That's proof.

A scientific theory is not about proof. A scientific theory says, "this is what probably is going on, to the best of our current understanding and the limits of our current evidence." Scientific theories can be strongly supported in some cases, and have weak support in other cases.

We have a theory of our solar system that is strongly supported in regards to the major bodies, but needs more evidence to understand the tiny outer icy bodies. Evolution is a theory of biodiversity that is strongly supported when looking at global populations, and weak on a few details. Newtonian mechanics was strongly supported for centuries, until Einstein realized it was badly supported in the case of light.

When evolution supporters repeatedly pull the same anti-science bullshit month after month here, trying to turn theories into "proven facts" I realize that the basic problem isn't about understanding evolution. The basic problem is about understanding SCIENCE.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:20 PM on April 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Anyone who _really_ wants to live without science is more than free to do so. Just ask the Amish.

the amish don't live without science ... they carefully consider what forms of modern technology they think they should spurn as harmful

a quote

"Modern medicine is not addressed by the Ordnung and is a matter of personal choice. Victims of accidents or medical emergencies on public or non-Amish property are routinely transported to modern hospitals by ambulances."

by the way, you do know that it's possible to get a college degree in agriculture, don't you? ... my grandfather and grandmother did right after ww1 ... and with the exception of motor vehicles, they lived pretty much as the amish do, no electricity, little of anything, until the 40s

science!=technology
posted by pyramid termite at 10:30 PM on April 18, 2006


(really, you have to get that set to music asap)

maryh, no that's MC Hawking. Music mp3 at link.
posted by dgaicun at 10:32 PM on April 18, 2006


(really, you have to get that set to music asap)

It already is. But not by me. I suppose I should have mentioned it's not my song at all. I rushed to format that so quickly that I forgot to credit it.

Here's the best part: The song is performed by STEVEN HAWKING!!! (well, his chair, anyway)
posted by mystyk at 10:48 PM on April 18, 2006


Damn. Should have refreshed sooner.
posted by mystyk at 10:49 PM on April 18, 2006


Mystyk, your godhood is revoked.

This is at least the second time today someone has posted complete lyrics without properly attributing them. Shame! SHAME!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:28 PM on April 18, 2006


why you continue to reap the benefits?

Because they are civilization's parasites.
posted by dreamsign at 11:42 PM on April 18, 2006


Good. Never wanted that god status anyway. Feels too much like a leap of blind faith. :)
posted by mystyk at 11:50 PM on April 18, 2006


KJS: some quick replies, because it's late.

"Here is a hint, steel, markets, farming, and the refining of petroleum predate the formal scientific method."

Fair enough, except for petroleum refining, which is well within the period of "formal scientific method" which began during the Renaissance. But I'd argue that the sort of tinkering and trial-and-error process that dealt with most of these, like making steel, is the root from which the scientific method grew. The knowledge of all this didn't just appear out of nowhere. And in any event, you can't say that science hasn't had dramatic effects on all of these, and everything else for the last few hundred years.

"Well meaning evolution supporters do no one any favors by undermining the foundations of science by equating "theory" with "proven fact." I personally find it highly misleading to use the word "proof" within a mile of talking about theories in science."

I don't like doing it either, but the raw truth is that science is being systematically and effectively attacked and discredited by the use of superior advertising and marketing techniques. Science needs to communicate better with non-scientists, and under more favorable terms, or these folks might just put you out of business in the name of their God - probably using tools that you built for them. They won't care if their lives become impoverished afterwards without science and industry, because they'll just conjure up some utter nonsense with which to blame you for everything - same as they do now.

"A scientific theory says, "this is what probably is going on, to the best of our current understanding and the limits of our current evidence.""

Absolutely true. However, this wording is exactly why Joe and Jane America are succumbing to the lure of the religious people. From their point of view, it's flat-out "wishy-washy" and "flip-floppery." Most people respond to strong statements of authoritative belief, not tentative (but completely accurate) offerings, or Al Gore would enjoy mass public support rather than being laughed off as a stiff bore.

Everything you're saying about science is absolutely correct, and I do agree with you in all respects, but most "regular folk" out there are going to glaze over when you speak that way. Science cannot afford that right now.

With all due respect, science has a major image problem in the US right now, and stubbornly refusing to bend a bit while trying to get your point across only exacerbates it.

"The basic problem is about understanding SCIENCE."

I think it's pretty safe to say that these people are not going to learn or try to understand science until and unless you can communicate to them in their language. They are not going to learn yours, but you are smart enough to learn theirs - or find people who can help you bridge the gap.

Otherwise, if you're an American scientist, get used to being marginalized and maligned - unless of course you work for a military technology company. The fundies are, as said above, winning. Just being right about things isn't going to work against them.

I want everyone to actually learn science too, but it ain't happening and probably never will. You'll win more hearts and minds if you take the time to express things in oversimplified terms, crappy as that may be.

dreamsign is right, huge numbers of these people are civilization's parasites - but they have power in the US, and they're not afraid to use it. And they don't like you very much, even if your work gives them a wonderful life.

"science!=technology"

Kinda hard to have our current level of technology without it, though, pyramid.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:22 AM on April 19, 2006


Before I WTFMA, I read:
284 comments in the blue
119 comments in the grey
87 comments in the grey
-------------------------------
=400 comments

After I WTFMA:
Jesus Fucking Christ on a popsicle stick, best FPP ever. Funny as all hell, and worth the whole mess. Kudos to doc.
posted by donpedro at 12:43 AM on April 19, 2006


“So whenever people talk about "God" they don't know what they're talking about...”

God has much in common with mathematics, then.
posted by namespan at 12:56 AM on April 19, 2006


No worries, mystyk, the awesomeness of your post can never be revoked. & Many thanks to you, dgaicun, for the mp3 link.

What a post this has been! Hey Doc, nice open bar you hosted here!
posted by maryh at 1:16 AM on April 19, 2006


This isn't necessarily related to the video, but my very favorite thing about the evolution debate is, how, when carbon dating comes up, how Xtians transform from "Adam out of Eve's Rib" and "Jonah stopping the sun" into expert nuclear chemists, voicing their concerns with the contemporary theories of historical ambient levels of Carbon-4. In like 3/700ths of a second. Blows my freaking mind, every time.

More directly related, ANY Christian denouncing evolution by saying it is "full of contradiction and speculation" "defies logic" and is "based on blind faith" requires so much gall it actually makes me angry, then profoundly sad.

I couldn't even watch the whole video; it made me too sad.
posted by blenderfish at 1:35 AM on April 19, 2006


Argg.. Eve out of adam's rib, and carbon-14.
posted by blenderfish at 1:40 AM on April 19, 2006


science!=technology

That brings up one of my pet peeves, the whole "science != technology" cop-out. Though the two are technically two separate things, they are still joined at the hip. Remove either, and the other grinds to a halt.

The technology that science grants is in turn necessary for scientific progress. Technology (applied science) has a direct effect on one's ability to study, observe, process, and eventually understand the universe. Restrict your technological tools to arbitrary standards, and you'll quickly run into limits that make further scientific progress impossible, no matter how well-meaning those standards are.

It is a simple feedback cycle; we can learn more as long as we bother to whole-heartedly apply what we learned before. To reject the application of science, to reject technology, is to stagnate science. And stagnant science might as well be mere dogma.

Unfortunately, mere dogma is precisely what too many people desire.
posted by PsychoKick at 2:35 AM on April 19, 2006


Shit sandwich, extra cheese.

Intellect? We don't need no stinking intellect, we got God.

Fucking shameful.
posted by dbiedny at 5:11 AM on April 19, 2006


zoogleplex: Fair enough, except for petroleum refining, which is well within the period of "formal scientific method" which began during the Renaissance.

Humans were manipulating petroleum in the neolithic.

But I'd argue that the sort of tinkering and trial-and-error process that dealt with most of these, like making steel, is the root from which the scientific method grew. The knowledge of all this didn't just appear out of nowhere. And in any event, you can't say that science hasn't had dramatic effects on all of these, and everything else for the last few hundred years.

In which case, you are not understanding the battle. Creationists and IDers accept that through trial and error, and even the scientific method, that you can build knowledge about electronic circuits, petroleum and medicine. They disagree that you can use the scientific method to make inferences about deep space and deep time. Which is ok, we shouldn't be accepting either form of inference building on faith anyway.

Absolutely true. However, this wording is exactly why Joe and Jane America are succumbing to the lure of the religious people. From their point of view, it's flat-out "wishy-washy" and "flip-floppery." Most people respond to strong statements of authoritative belief, not tentative (but completely accurate) offerings, or Al Gore would enjoy mass public support rather than being laughed off as a stiff bore.

If you want to present strong statements of authoritative fact become a cult leader and quit pretending to do "science" any favors. I'm fucking serious on this. You are not advocating for anything close to science, you are advocating a set of claims that must be taken on dogma and faith in the pronouncements of an elite priesthood.

I think it's pretty safe to say that these people are not going to learn or try to understand science until and unless you can communicate to them in their language. They are not going to learn yours, but you are smart enough to learn theirs - or find people who can help you bridge the gap.

They certainly are not going to accept your dogma presented with, "why? because we told you so."

I think you are missing the basic battle. It's not about evolution vs. creationism. It REALLY does not matter if people "believe in" evolution. I suspect that most people who use evolution as a theory don't "believe in evolution" in the same way that well-intentioned, ignorant, dangerous, and quasi-religious people like you do, and certainly I know of few who want it professed as a dogma. It's about whether to believe authoritative claims to knowledge, or practice critical thinking and inquiry into claims to knowledge.

The fundies are, as said above, winning.

Dude, so far you certainly appear to be one of them. What I'm demanding is that you get a backbone, get some integrity, and be honest about it rather than making fundamentally dishonest claims that you are championing the cause of science education by teaching its polar opposite.

If you don't have the honesty and integrity to do that, then STFU.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:25 AM on April 19, 2006


He was a Christian deist because he saw Christianity as the highest expression of natural religion and Jesus as an incomparably great moral teacher.

A Christian Deist. That's great.

I'll agree that Jeffersion saw Jesus as a great moral teacher, but he didn't see Christianity as the highest expression of natural religion. There's just no evidence of that. TJ often spoke against Christianity and catholicism in his writings, and spoke of a day when we lumped the theology of Jesus in with ancient Greek myth. So if the only requirement is that you believe Jesus was a great moral teacher (and not the son of god, did not rise from the dead, and did not ascend into heaven), I'd like to introduce you to a few Christian Jews, Christian Muslims, and Christian Atheists.
posted by Crash at 6:31 AM on April 19, 2006


Ouf! Now I get it! Seanyboy is Bevets! (Or is that just a theory? I'm confused again.

And a story: I was in Syria once, and on a bus to the airport. At some point the bus started making some really funny noises, and smoke started coming out from a trap door on the floor. The (Arab) driver stopped the bus, and right there in front of all the people in the bus, started loudly praying to Allah. I waited a while, but Allah decided not to do anything. I got off the bus, stopped a gipsy who was passing on a self-made tricycle and offered him some money to take me to the airport. I think I was the only one that made it to the plane in time. That Arab bus-driver must have been a serious sinner!
posted by acrobat at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2006


Hey, whoa. I'm way late to this party. What'd I miss?
ah.

Seanyboy, pal, come over here. It's ok.

/shows seanyboy the "secret chapel of silence" where Christian mefites hang out.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:43 AM on April 19, 2006


I still remember your Great Green Nimoysphere story B_B. That was probably one of the few religious threads that i enjoyed. Kudos to KJS btw, whose sound reasoning leads me to believe that he may be a god amongst us poor human fools. Long may he reign...


See what I did there?
posted by longbaugh at 8:18 AM on April 19, 2006


KJS is entirely right.

If you want to present strong statements of authoritative fact become a cult leader and quit pretending to do "science" any favors. I'm fucking serious on this.

Not interested, thanks. That would be absolutely abhorrent to me. Sincere thanks for slapping me with that, because that's the last thing I'd ever want.

You are not advocating for anything close to science, you are advocating a set of claims that must be taken on dogma and faith in the pronouncements of an elite priesthood.

That's true, but it's working very well for your enemies, and for cynical, exploitive politicians too. Would you dispute that?

"It's about whether to believe authoritative claims to knowledge, or practice critical thinking and inquiry into claims to knowledge."

All I'm suggesting is that to reel more people in to where you can actually get them interested in science and then explain how it really works and why "theories" are what they really are, you should maybe give a little. It's pretty clear that authoritative claims to knowledge have a great deal of influence over people. While the practice is detestable to you (and to me), at least with science you can back up your authoritative claim once you've got their attention.

"They certainly are not going to accept your dogma presented with, "why? because we told you so.""

Really? Then how are the preachers so successful?

That's not how you answer them when they ask "why," and you know it. It would be a bit of a victory just to get them to ask "why," so you can set them on the road to actually learning the real reasons and understanding you. That's when you sit down and open up the books for them.

Obviously most people don't bother asking "why," or religion wouldn't effing work.

I wish you good luck trying to get people to actually learn critical thinking, because most of them really could care less. This stupid video is plain evidence of that, and it will suck a fair number of people in with its "feel good about your common sense" crap and utter lack of real logic.

Sorry for trying to find a way to get two sets of almost diametrically opposed people to find some common ground.

OK, I'm shutting the F up now.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:31 AM on April 19, 2006


So I'm watching this shit video, and I realized something: This would be an absolutely excellent teaching tool, in a class about evolution, to see how well the students can spot the logical fallacies, jumps in logic, and outright lies that are discussed as rational fact.

For example, the jet + biplane thing: Oh, sure, they are similar because they have a common designer! Right! Because the same guy who designed the Sopwith Camel also designed the 747! Form does not belie function of course! It has nothing at all to do with the physics and aerodynamics of flight, no not at all!

And of course the disingenious inclusion of Nebraska man (never more than a tooth except in the mind of one London illustrator) and Piltdown man (a well-known hoax) with the "real" anthropoid fossils, to make the false claims that "everyone agrees Lucy is a chimp" and "the Neandertal was an old man with arthritis" easier to swallow. (As if Lucy and the Neandertal discussed are single instances, rather than simply the best known and best preserved specimens of their respective species. Right. We just have the one Neandertal, that's it, there aren't any others. None have ever been found in Portugal or Spain, just the one in Germany. Uh-huh. Man, arthritis must have been a majour scourge back then!)

Then they argue that the orangutan is NOT a HUMAN, but ANOTHER SPECIES - based on their observation that it isn't allowed on a plane, and is unruly when taken to lunch. Yeah, great argument there. You'll have a hard time finding a biologist that will disagree with that conclusion (but of course for real rather than arbitrary reasons).

I'm also quite taken with Kirk's argument that Darwin is a sexist pig. As if most religions aren't far more oppressive to women than poor old Charles ever was.

And the "circumnavigate the intellect" part? Fucking priceless. "This is good news for me - because it means I don't have to become an expert on the fossil record!" No, instead you can ignore all evidence and dismiss it entirely, because it doesn't support your purposefully ignorant worldview.

"True science supports the Bible!" Right, explain to me how astrophysics allowed the world to stop rotating so some middle eastern tribe could win a battle before sunset. Any takers?

Christ. (no pun intended) Kirk Cameron is really a tool, isn't he? The "don't think for yourself" mindset he is pushing is just sickening to me. Sheep go to heaven, indeed.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:48 AM on April 19, 2006


zoogleplex: Not interested, thanks. That would be absolutely abhorrent to me. Sincere thanks for slapping me with that, because that's the last thing I'd ever want.

Then why do you keep doing it in post after post, and thread after thread? Don't claim that presenting science as a dogma is abhorrent, and then turn around and insist that is what is necessary to teach science.

That's true, but it's working very well for your enemies, and for cynical, exploitive politicians too. Would you dispute that?

Are we doing anybody favors by doing the same thing then?

All I'm suggesting is that to reel more people in to where you can actually get them interested in science and then explain how it really works and why "theories" are what they really are, you should maybe give a little. It's pretty clear that authoritative claims to knowledge have a great deal of influence over people. While the practice is detestable to you (and to me), at least with science you can back up your authoritative claim once you've got their attention.

Funny, I don't consider gutting the basic foundation of science to be "giving a little." I would call that an unmitigated defeat. Rather like letting yourself be ceckmated in 12 moves while being proud of the fact that you are up a pawn.

Really? Then how are the preachers so successful?

You mean, aside from the fact that many of their followers are enculturated from birth? Aside from multi-generational communitites of practice? And pervasive cultural embeddedness?

When you reduce science to a dogma, you are simply making it a game of ideology vs. ideology. And unfortunately, your way is how science is taught and presented, a mind-numbing huge catalog of facts and theories that strudents are expected to take on faith. Did you know that the typical high school biology class forces a strudent to learn more vocabulary than high school French? And I dare say that the French class probably does a better job of teaching the methods and practice of its domain.

We have your cult of authoritative science "facts." It's the AP, Discovery Channel, Scientific American, National Geographic, grade school standards and freshman college classes. Once in a while you get a Bill Nye or Mythbusters. But most science jounalism and infotainment presents science as authoritative fact.

So of course, when you present these things as "Darwin said" or "astronomers believe" you give people the easy route. Their authority is more trustworthy than your authority.

The most successful teachers of biology I've found are the ones that start with the nature of science, and then provide the evidence for evolution. It works. Presenting evolution as a "proven fact" and then trying to tell some pretty just so stories doesn't seem to work.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:25 AM on April 19, 2006


KJS, you must the be the best debater as as well as the world's greatest teacher of popular science. I mean, it's pretty clear by your statements that the rest of us with strong scientific backgrounds are just stupid, and that every word we speak only hurts the spread of reason.

So, now that everything everyone else has done is stupid and assholish and treasonous, please, we mere ants beg you: what would you do to ensure the health of skepticism, free inquiry, and the scientific method? Past that, since you're obviously the world's only authority on such methods, why have you not turned it around for us? Why is this a losing battle?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:39 AM on April 19, 2006


Optimus Chyme: what would you do to ensure the health of skepticism, free inquiry, and the scientific method? Past that, since you're obviously the world's only authority on such methods, why have you not turned it around for us? Why is this a losing battle?

Personally, I was inspired by a talking head appearance by Bill Nye on MSNBC last week regarding Tiktaalik. He was funny, to the point, willing to take over the discussion, excited, and honest. He was also nuanced and avoided oversimplifications such as advocated by Zoogleplex.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:14 PM on April 19, 2006


And I know I'm coming on a bit strong on this. But the scientific method and the principle that scientific theories are always provisional to the best of our current understanding is the foundation of science. Without that, you can't teach or talk about anything in science. You certainly can't deal with evolution as a theory, all you can do is present some form of "natural history" and get burned every time new evidence forces you to reevaluate that history.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:31 PM on April 19, 2006


Well, you know, Bill Nye rocks!
posted by OmieWise at 12:35 PM on April 19, 2006


KJS: As a science educator I can agree that we need to start by explaining to students what science is, how it works, and then start feeding them the facts. It makes it easier for us to then point out why subject X should be taken seriously, while Subject Y (or in this case Subject K. Cameron) is full of shit and should be summarily ignored.

However, I don't think that the way you stated your earlier argument makes this very clear. Your last comment helps.

I think that teaching students to take the work of earlier researchers and incorporate it into their own understanding of the world is really the only way that science can progress. Nobody works in a vacuum, we all start by "[standing] on the shoulders of giants" (to paraphrase), so why do we do wrong to say "Darwin presented a strong argument for X, and additional evidence supporting X has been provided by [your favorite researcher here]? It's not an appeal to authority to point out an important experiment and explain what it did or did not prove, is it?
posted by caution live frogs at 12:45 PM on April 19, 2006


Where did spiders come from?
posted by MikeMc at 1:08 PM on April 19, 2006


Kirk Cameron ate my balls. . . and shat a parrot. Explain that science.
posted by dgaicun at 3:03 PM on April 19, 2006


I'm so fucking predictable.

posted by fleacircus at 3:22 PM on April 19, 2006


/shows seanyboy the "secret chapel of silence" where Christian mefites hang out.

Who plays the tiny violin?
posted by boaz at 5:38 PM on April 19, 2006


Just to be clear, I didn't mean to suggest that it is parasitic to benefit from science and yet not understand it. While this may be true in a strict sense, we're all in the boat of using tech we don't understand, and for our level of technology that's a given. But actively attacking the perspective that yields benefits also pursued and enjoyed is wholly parasitic and unredeemable. It is only because they reap the benefits of science that they live in a world where superstition doesn't immediately weed them from the gene pool.
posted by dreamsign at 6:24 PM on April 19, 2006


Mars, wasn't it?
posted by Dick Paris at 2:09 PM on April 20, 2006


It is the Bible Belt, after all. Pollomacho and justgary missed the point.
posted by NationalKato


No, I live in the bible belt. I'm fully aware of rainman's 'point'. And I jumped the gun calling him a bigot. However, you're missing my point.

This silly video was about kirk cameron. It was about people who choose to ignore evolution. It wasn't about californian nuts (where kirk's from).

Not everyone who ignores evolution is from the south. Not everyone who believes in jesus is in the south. Rainman could have done the same 'documentary' in his own, lovely seattle. We have enough stereo typing without using it to prove points where it's not needed. And that's the point that you missed.
posted by justgary at 10:14 PM on April 20, 2006


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