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Apr 09 2014

Revisionist History in “God’s Not Dead”

So… I was looking at something else entirely, when this popped up as something I might want to read. That’s right, an article at the Christian Post… so you know it has to be true. There are commandments (well, one) against bearing false witness, you know.

Anyway… seems part of “God’s Not Dead” (the movie) was inspired by true events. The asian dude in the movie who found Jesus… yup. Totes real.

It was during his time in college that Wang, then an atheist, built a relationship with a professor who began asking him questions about God and showing him evidence for the existence of a deity.

“A Harvard professor, a professor of pediatrics, and a believer, saw the status of mind that I was in, confused and in crisis,” Wang told The Christian Post in an email.

“He knew that because of his medical expertise, I would listen to him out of my respect of his medical knowledge. So he saw an opportunity, to guide and influence me, to broaden my understanding of life, to a broader prospective by introducing faith in my life which could help answer the questions that I had and for which I could not find answer in science.”

Note–his words, not mine. I am not bending this to say that a college professor saw a student in crisis of mind and decided to proselytize…I am merely reporting that this is what happened. Note: confused and distraught student, Christian professor.

Wang recalled a conversation where his professor asked him how he could believe that a car could somehow been created in the absence of a creator but yet assume that a brain had come about randomly.

“Right there and then, he opened a door, in my life, and I found God, found Christianity, that could provide the answers to the questions that I was asking.

Again, I hasten to say, these are not my words. It is Wang who is either mis-remembering, or accurately remembering incompetent faculty.

You don’t need my interpretation; you can read his story yourself.The story of a lost student who was pressured by a pushy faculty member… Pretty much the story of “God’s Not Dead”, right? Wait. lemme quote again:

Wang also said while Kwo, “the Chinese student character,” does portray part of his life story, the doctor also sees much of himself in the main character Wheaton.

“Some of the arguments that I made in the original book God’s Not Dead, with regard to the evidence of existence of God, was put into Joshua’s mouth, in his brilliant presentation of the evidence of existence of God. So, in essence, sort of half of me, in the original book, has gone into this main character Josh,” he explained.

Real life: insecure student from China is preached at by Christian prof.
Movie: Atheist prof challenges Christian student, Chick track ensues.

It’s based on a true story! Well… a story, anyway.

71 comments

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  1. 1
    Akira MacKenzie

    I’m sorry, but if the “a design indicates a designer” argument was enough to convince him that a deity exists, then Wang is a fucking idiot.

  2. 2
    bahrfeldt

    Now, now, now. Unless the latest propaganda effort reenforces the current conservative Republican teatard voter base’s perception of the conspiratorial Liberal Anti-American Communist Nazi Atheist Jew Muslim college professor, how can it be useful in the theocrat’s continuous campaign to fleece the flock, shear the sheeple and just keep ‘em ignorant?

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    … the arguments that I made … brilliant presentation …

    Inspiring how much humility he picked up along the way, iznit?

  4. 4
    Larry Marshall

    Funny, “lost student who was pressured by a pushy faculty member…” Nobody gets upset when the ‘pushy faculty member’ is liberal or socialist and tries to impart on the impressionable student his particular ideology. The first response immediately does what has come to be expected of progressives- becomes vulgar. the second response pushes out a combination of stagnant cliches into almost a coherent statement, and the third response takes two segments ouf of context from the entire amount quoted to use in a sarcastic manner.

  5. 5
    Cuttlefish

    Really? Nobody gets upset? You clearly don’t read the sites I do. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people getting upset at liberal socialist evillutionist profs if you visit The Blaze. While claiming they are in the majority (which rules) in this Christian Nation.

    Seriously, there are places where someone will use the epithet “evillutionist” in the very title of their blog. And those people absolutely do get upset at liberal socialist professors. And visit atheist blogs to say so.

    Really!

  6. 6
    eidolon

    So – Larry – do you have a point to be made here? It seems to me that, during my time dealing with the School of Business, I had a number of super conservative profs. Why no concern about them? School of Engineering can be a pretty conservative place as well. Any worries there? You appear to have bought in completely to the Chick Track strawman.

  7. 7
    Larry Marshall

    eidolon : Engineering is not a subject that lends itself to political values: the amount of lateral stress on concrete I-beam with 3/4 inch rebar spanning a 75 foot opening is neutral politically. Not sure what School of Business you attended but for the most part they are hooked on the Keynesian economics theory and that is more government control of the money supply and can be considered liberal. Please explain what you mean by Chick Track strawman- I am familiar with the logical fallicy of the “strawman” but do not believe I am using it here, but your Chick Track must mean something I am not familiar with. My point is the article did not deal with the entire movie and just poked fun at the appropriate sections to make the authors one-sided point.

    cuttlefish: I’ve used the word “evillutionists” for several years now, never knew it to be an epithet which is encouraging now that you have made me aware of it. The colleges and universities of this nation are definitely the homeland of the liberal and progressives. My first socialist professor was Dr. Starskey at Arizona State University in 1970. Professor of philosophy. At that time (especially in conservative Arizona) he was the odd man out but just 900 miles to the west at Berkeley it was the center of all things left and that has gradually taken over the university system. When you graduate so many people who have no real skills except sitting around discussing what is wrong with everybody else, that is the inevitable outcome.

  8. 8
    Cuttlefish

    Why on earth would you use an intentional misspelling that includes “evil” if you did not intend it as disparaging? Please, I have more respect for your intelligence than to suggest that was innocent.

    I have no doubt you honestly believe you see liberal bias everywhere; we all tend to use our own views as an anchor. If you see it *everywhere*, remember that the common factor is you.

  9. 9
    Larry Marshall

    Nothing more than a common technique used by often these days: Agitation Propaganda is focused on causing an excitement of emotions in the target, with the aims of stimulating action.
    I use the term to distinguish between evolutionary scientists and ‘evilutionary’ scientists as opposed to Biblical scientists.
    Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same. The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions. When the majority is trying to push bacteria-to-biologists evolution as the standard and prevent the introduction of an alternative interpretation from being openly discussed, I feel justified in redefining the adjective to the noun ‘scientist.’
    “If you see it *everywhere*, remember that the common factor is you”. No, a fallacy on your part. The common factor is the bias, that I attempt to point out and is not seen by those who have succumbed to it as the “truth.”

  10. 10
    Cuttlefish

    You keep telling yourself that.

    If your observations in your last paragraph are as accurate as those that precede it, you have done more than I could ever do to establish the reliability of your testimony.

  11. 11
    Pierce R. Butler

    Larry Marshall @ # 9: The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts.

    Yeah: creationists and other ideologues try to find support for their mythologies, and disregard whatever doesn’t fit; scientists and other honest people try to find explanations which fit all the data, and pay extra attention to any anomaly.

    Which group ends up in proud ownership of more (deeds to) bridges?

  12. 12
    Blanche Quizno

    “a believer, saw the status of mind that I was in, confused and in crisis,”

    That’s what all cults are on the lookout for – the vulnerable, distressed, isolated target. If you ask people about converting to Christianity, they’ll typically tell you a tale that includes how depressed, unhappy, lonely, and lost they felt.

    These are not healthy people. And these predators are taking advantage of them to sell them brain poison.

  13. 13
    Blanche Quizno

    Larry, which group has given us modern medicine, the herd immunity to numerous formerly scourge-y diseases via immunizations, and the understanding of how the immune system works?

    Oh, that’s right – the monkeys group.

    So what’s the righteous, CORRECT group, the group that believes something that doesn’t exist somehow created everything from nothing, as-is, ever provided us that has proved of actual, tangible, measurable utility?

    Oh, that’s right – nothing.

    “By their fruits shall ye know them.” Or lack thereof, Larry.

  14. 14
    Blanche Quizno

    “we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same. The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions.”

    And because some of us are woefully lacking in basic understanding. Here, a longish excerpt from the excellent book “Your Inner Fish” by Neil Shubin – I hope you’ll read it, because this relatively short section will illuminate why the creation scenario is so unacceptable because it is so distant from and conflicting with the facts:

    “In 1837, the German anatomist Karl Reichert was looking at embryos of mammals and reptiles to understand how the skull forms. He followed the gill arches of different species to understand where they ended up in the various skulls. As he did this again and again, he found something that appeared not to make any sense: two of the ear bones in the mammals corresponded to pieces of the jaw in the reptiles. Reichert could not believe his eyes, and his monograph reveals his excitement. As he describes the ear-jaw comparison, his prose departs from the normally staid description of nineteenth-century anatomy to express shock, even wonderment, at this discovery. The conclusion was inescapable: the same gill arch that formed part of the jaw of a reptile formed ear bones in mammals. Reichert proposed a notion that even he could barely believe – that parts of the ears of mammals are the same thing as parts of the jaws of reptiles. Things get more difficult when we realize that Reichert proposed this several decades before Darwin propounded his notion of a family tree for life. What does it mean to call structures in two different species ‘the same’ without a notion of evolution?

    “Much later, in 1910 and 1912, the German anatomist Ernst Gaupp picked up on Reichert’s work and published an exhaustive study on the embryology of mammalian ears. Gaupp provided more detail and, given the times, interpreted Reichert’s work in an evolutionary framework. Gaupp’s story went like this: the three middle ear bones reveal the tie between reptiles and mammals. The single bone in the reptilian middle ear is the same as the stapes of mammals; both are second-arch derivatives. The explosive bit of information, though, was that the two other middle ear bones of mammals – the malleus and incus – evolved from bones set in the back of the reptilian jaw. If this was indeed the case, then the fossil record should show bones shifting from the jaw to the ear during the origin of mammals. The problem was that Gaupp worked only on living creatures and didn’t fully appreciate the role that fossils could play in his theory.

    “Beginning in the 1840s a number of new kinds of fossil creatures were becoming known from discoveries in South Africa and Russia. Often abundantly preserved, whole skeletons of dog-size animals were crated and shipped to Richard Owen in London for identification and analysis. Owen was struck that these creatures had a mélange of features. Parts of their skeletons looked reptile-like. Other parts, notably their teeth, looked like mammals. And these were not isolated finds. It turns out that these ‘mammal-like reptiles’ were the most common skeletons being uncovered at many fossil sites. Not only were they very common, there were many kinds. In the years after Owen, these mammal-like reptiles became known from other parts of the world and from different time periods in earth history. They formed a beautiful transitional series in the fossil record between reptile and mammal.

    “Until 1913, embryologists and paleontologists were working in isolation from one another. At this time, the American paleontologist W.K. Gregory, of the American Museum of Natural History, saw an important link between Gaupp’s embryos and the African fossils. The most reptilian of the mammal-like reptiles had only a single bone in its middle ear; like other reptiles, it had a jaw composed of many bones. Something remarkable was revealed as Gregory looked at the successively more mammal-like reptiles, something that would have floored Reichert had he been alive: a continuum of forms showing beyond doubt that over time the bones at the back of the reptilian jaw got smaller and smaller, until they ultimately lay in the middle ear of mammals. The malleus and incus did indeed evolve from jawbones. What Reichert and Gaupp observed in the embryos was buried in the fossil record all along, just waiting to be discovered.” http://haysvillelibrary.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/your-inner-fish/

  15. 15
    Larry Marshall

    Pierce: The search for a grand synthesis, for universal commonalities, continuous regularities, complete ideas and concepts that transcend the narrow confines of specific problems of our known disciplines is one of the great inspirational drivers of science and scientists. Arguably, it is also a defining characteristic of homo sapiens sapiens. Perhaps the binomial form of sapiens is some distorted poetic recognition of this. The concept of A Theory of Everything becomes the grandest vision of all, the loftiest inspiration of all inspirations, namely that we can put into a single whole and understand the entirety of the universe in a small set of precepts, in this case, a concise set of mathematical equations.
    Nevertheless, they are all, to varying degrees, incomplete. Understanding the boundaries of their applicability, the limits to their predictive power and the continuous search for exceptions, violations and failures have provoked further questions and challenges, stimulating the continued progress of science and the unfolding of new ideas, techniques and concepts, distortions of facts, fanciful “fudge factors,” and figments of extremely weird imaginations.

  16. 16
    Larry Marshall

    Blanche: It should thus not be surprising, although it is for many people, that most branches of
    modern science were founded by believers in creation. The list of creationist
    scientists is impressive. A sample:

    Physics—Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kelvin

    Chemistry—Boyle, Dalton, Ramsay

    Biology—Linnaeus, Mendel, Pasteur, Virchow, Agassiz

    Geology—Steno, Woodward, Brewster, Buckland, Cuvier

    Astronomy—Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Herschel, Maunder

    Mathematics—Pascal, Leibnitz, Euler

    Antibiotics were developed by the creationist Jew, Ernst Chain. What about
    other advances in science that are credited with the drop in deaths of children
    due to disease and elimination of smallpox and polio? No joy here for the
    evolutionists either. Many of the most important medical advances were made
    without the slightest use being made of evolution:

    Vaccination was discovered by Edward Jenner (1749–1823—note that Darwin
    published Origin in 1859).

    Aseptic surgery by Joseph Lister, creationist (1827–1912).

    Anaesthesia by James Young Simpson (1811–1870), who believed that God was the
    first anaesthetist, citing Genesis 2:21 (So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to
    fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its
    place with flesh.).

    Germ theory of disease by Louis Pasteur, creationist (1822–1895), who disproved
    spontaneous generation, still an evolutionary belief.

    In modern times, we have the outspoken biblical creationist Raymond Damadian
    (1936– ), inventor of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner,

    and John Sanford (1950– ), the inventor of the gene gun.

  17. 17
    Blanche Quizno

    However, it wasn’t their religious belief that informed their discoveries. They utilized the scientific method, which takes for granted that there can be no supernatural intervention. They did not get their results by praying for God to bestow them, in other words!

    I don’t see how these scientists who happened to do good science despite their god-belief really helps your case, especially in light of how so many Evangelical Christians have targeted science education for replacement with religious indoctrination in the public schools.

  18. 18
    Blanche Quizno

    I’m interested to hear your opinion of the fossil and embryology evidence God created that show how the jawbones of reptiles became mammalian, including human, inner ear bones over time.

  19. 19
    Larry Marshall

    Blanche: I would rightly call into question any pronouncements made by Dr. W. K. Gregory based upon his involvement with the evolutionary fake called Hesperopithecus (which meant ‘ape-man of the Western world’). In 1921, over in Snake Creek quarry in western Nebraska, USA, geologist Harold J. Cook was quietly studying the Pliocene rock beds in Sioux County. Then on Saturday, 25 February 1922, Cook contacted Dr Henry F. Osborn of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. ‘I have had here, for some little time,’ Cook told Osbon, ‘a molar tooth from the upper or Hipparion beds, that very closely approaches the human type.’ A leading tooth authority, Dr W.K. Gregory, declared that Osborn was right. He agreed that the Nebraskan tooth was an upper molar from an anthropoid. They believed this indicated the first find of man’s ancestors in America. Yet there was something peculiar and puzzling about this ‘anthropoid’ molar. It bore some resemblance to a tooth of a chimpanzee, it had features reminiscent of another disputed ‘apeman’ tooth, and some similarity to the molars of man. But it clearly differed from them all. It was not long before Thompson had accumulated several teeth like Cook’s original. Some of these were in much better condition and were quite unworn. There was no doubt they had come from the same creature as had Cook’s. There was also no doubt now that they had not come from either a man or an ape. They were all shown to have come from the jaw of an extinct pig!

  20. 20
    Blanche Quizno

    Larry, I’m specifically talking about the excerpt from Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” that I posted just a bit up-thread. I’m not talking about anything else, and I provided you with the proper information that would enable you to answer my question specifically, jawbones becoming inner ear bones, without needing to digress into anything else.

  21. 21
    Blanche Quizno

    BTW, Larry, it is considered proper etiquette to cite your source: “That pig of a man didn’t fool everyone!”
    by Robert Doolan, an article from the March, 1991, issue of Creation Magazine, online now at Creation Ministries International. http://creation.com/that-pig-of-a-man-didnt-fool-everyone

    Unless, naturally, you’re embarrassed to be citing such a site. But if you’re too embarrassed to provide the appropriate citation, well, then you probably shouldn’t be quoting the contents, if you know what I mean.

    Your site is egregiously misleading – pig and peccary cheek teeth are very similar to human teeth, and the tooth in question was worn, making an accurate identification even more difficult.

    “Few if any other scientists claimed Nebraska Man was a human ancestor. A few, including Osborn and his colleagues, identified it only as an advanced primate of some kind. Osborn, in fact, specifically avoided making any extravagant claims about Hesperopithecus being an ape-man or human ancestor. Most other scientists were skeptical even of the more modest claim that the Hesperopithecus tooth belonged to a primate. It is simply not true that Nebraska Man was widely accepted as an ape-man, or even as an ape, by scientists, and its effect upon the scientific thinking of the time was negligible.” http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/a_nebraska.html

    The researchers eventually realized the tooth belonged to a a peccary. Peccaries are closely related to pigs, but why not be precise when it is possible to be so? Peccary tooth. NOT pig tooth. When this fact was discovered, the researchers published a one and a half page retraction in the journal Science. The retraction was noted in the journal Nature as well. The New York Times announced the clarification right on the front page, and both the NYT and the Times of London ran editorials on the subject. So they were mistaken. So what? People are allowed to make mistakes, you know. When the researchers discovered their error, they made their discovery and clarification public according to the proper channels for such a correction. While they were a bit overexcited and hasty in jumping to what turned out to be the wrong conclusion, this wasn’t anywhere NEAR as embarrassing as the cold fusion uproar Pons and Fleischmann touched off with THEIR premature announcement!

    Exactly what is the problem here? Are you suggesting that scientists are never allowed to be mistaken about anything? Please explain why you feel the “Nebraska Man” misidentification is such a coup for Christianity that it is grounds for doing a victory dance over how bad and wrong science always and necessarily is.

    It must be hard to live when you aren’t ever allowed to make a mistake. Now can we return to the issues of jawbones and inner ear bones? If you aren’t comfortable with the fossil evidence, perhaps you can address the embryology information alone. Dr. W. K. Gregory had no connection to embryology, after all, so there is no reason to claim that this body of information is likewise tainted just because Dr. W. K. Gregory made a mistaken identification almost 100 years ago.

  22. 22
    Larry Marshall

    I’m trying to locate more sources than the review you posted of the book Your Inner Fish, which you misstated as a “longish excerpt” from the book. That is third-party hearsay. You were quoting a review of a book that someone else wrote, quoting sections of said book trying to explain the concepts of two other person’s experimentations. Is this your knowledge of the subject, reviews of this book or have you actually read the book. From what I can tell Neil Shubin basically wrote a review of the other gentlemen’s work for publication and for a PBS special. It would seem to me that the drawings or photos of the embryo’s would be published somewhere.
    The only other embryonic studies have been by Haeckel’s drawings which turned out to be fraudulent in several different ways. I’m not going to say this is also fraudulent , but I would like to see something more definitive than the rudimentary drawings shown on: http://ogremk5.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/your-inner-fish-chapters-9-10/. It certainly seems like there would be the original data available somewhere.
    But while I research further please read the entire article at the citation below, of which this is just a part of: “But when we review all these findings about body form and development there is nothing that conclusively supports trans-specific evolution. Similarities or homologies2 between the bodies of creatures point at least as strongly to a single common designer, as opposed to many designers.3 Also, the commonalities would even bring such a designer great honour in most cultures, indicating his mastery over his designs.4 This view is strengthened when one considers the transcendental complexity of even the simplest living cell. Likewise, the similarity of microbiological processes in different species argues as much—indeed more—for their common design than for a common physical ancestry. The reader of the book is left with the feeling that the billion-year evolution model so permeates the author’s thinking that he passes over the much more obvious evidences of ubiquitous design.” http://creation.com/review-neil-shubin-your-inner-fish

  23. 23
    Blanche Quizno

    Larry, I *HAVE* the book. I have it in front of me right now. The excerpt I posted comes from pages 160-162. I cited that review because it included a PREVIEW from the book, from which I took the excerpts I posted here. From the link I directed you to:

    “A few more very brief samples from the work:”

    That is a library source stating that what is there is sampled from the book being reviewed, Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish.” Feel free to compare what I copied from there and what is posted there. It’s a public library site run by the Hayesville, KS, library. Where does your mistrust come from? Why would a PUBLIC LIBRARY lie?

    The excerpt was copied DIRECTLY from “Your Inner Fish”. I chose to cite that site because I had this odd premonition that, if I were to go to the trouble of transcribing from my own copy, you’d reject it out-of-hand because you couldn’t verify the source content for yourself. That’s fair. And that’s why I directed you to the Hayesville Library’s review on the book, which includes other excerpts. The second paragraph of the review states:

    “We’ve already previewed a few selections from Shubin’s book with an earlier excerpt on The Hard Parts – Conodonts & Ostracoderms, another on Why History Makes Us Sick and finally in a brief overview of the extraordinary Tiktaalik.”

    In fact, if you had even *LOOKED* at the site I cited, you would have seen that there are links right there to more excerpts from the book. If you can’t trust a public library, what CAN you trust?

    Let’s cut to the chase, Larry. If you will only accept information that is posted on certified Christian creationist sites, that’s fine. Just say so. You are free to choose whatever sources of information you like. But stop with this runaround. And I can’t help noticing that all your “Aha – GOTCHA!!”s are from a century or more ago. I have examined Haeckel’s drawings, and they are far from as egregiously, outrageously wrong as your creationist sites will claim, just as they went ape-shit over Nevada Man. I’ve looked up pictures – photos – of real embryos from the species Haeckel drew, and his drawings are very close. You saw my explanation of what really went down in the case you brought up about the “pig tooth”, but you didn’t comment. Why not? I have addressed what you have brought up. Fair’s fair, right? Shouldn’t this be an exchange, somehow?

    “But while I research further please read the entire article at the citation below”

    No. You first. Answer my question about the embryology facts described in the excerpt I copied from the Hayesville Library’s site first. Enough already. If you intend to “control” this interaction by dismissing what I present without even looking at it, ignoring my comments and corrections on what you have posted, and then tossing out assignments for me, you can save yourself the effort.

    Embryology or we’re done.

  24. 24
    cubist

    sez larry marshall: “Creationists and evolutionists… The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions.”
    Cool. Are all presuppositions equally valid, larry?

  25. 25
    Cuttlefish

    Ok, is it me? I read Blanche Quizno’s #23, and I hear “… THIS… IS… FTB!…” (*kick to chest*, music swells, etc.)

    No Gish Gallop. No Plantinga special pleading. No Behe feigned ignorance. The evidence is available to anyone–no excuses.

  26. 26
    Blanche Quizno

    Hope I’m not breaking too many cuttlerulez thereby, but I am getting just a tad annoyed with Larry’s dodging, twisting, bobbing, weaving, and avoiding.

    I have no problem with him saying, “I only trust certified Creationist sites run by the most devout of Evangelical Christians who take their marching orders from no one but God Almighty.” That would clearly establish the boundaries of any discussion Larry can engage in. And that would be fine – not for me, but fine for Larry.

    I don’t like intellectual dishonesty. It irks me. If people are honest about their limitations and boundaries, no problem!

  27. 27
    Cuttlefish

    Setting guidelines is important. I used to run a daycare; these things make a difference.

    Larry has already shown that he can use emotional stuff with the word “evillutionist”, but calling Wang a “fucking idiot” is beyond the pale. Clearly his boundaries need defining, and you are doing the right thing by limiting discussion.

    I’d make predictions, but that would influence the outcome…

  28. 28
    Blanche Quizno

    Don’t look, whatever you do!!!

  29. 29
    Blanche Quizno

    Oh, wait – I misspelled “cuttlerool’z” *le wink*

  30. 30
    Blanche Quizno

    Cuttle, it wasn’t Larry who referred to Wang as a “fucking idiot” – it was Akira MacKenzie. Just to set the record straight.

  31. 31
    Larry Marshall

    Cubist #24 All presuppositions are equally valid until determined to be invalid.
    Blanche #23 I am not an embryologist. I reserve the right to research the information further, as I wrote that I was doing so, before making a comment. I am glad that you have the book and apparently have read it. I do not have access to it other than parts that are available online. I will take your word for it that you quoted from p. 160-162 which are the same excerpts that the reviewer chose to use. However there are no facts contained in those paragraphs- just the authors impression of what he and others believe are the results of examinations of embryos that supposedly show that reptilian jaws evolved into human inner ears.

    Do you make a habit of telling other people what they should say “I have no problem with him saying, “I only trust certified Creationist sites run by the most devout of Evangelical Christians who take their marching orders from no one but God Almighty.” That would clearly establish the boundaries of any discussion Larry can engage in.” That would certainly be convenient for you, but far from the truth. I examine the facts as closely as you can get to the facts. I analyze them using as many resources as I can find. Then I make a decision based upon the facts leaving personal opinion and past prejudices out of the decision making process as possible. I’ll admit that I am conflicted about many things, partially because I grew up being fed the distortions and mistruths of “science” since the 60’s. As science advances and more and more information is found more and more holes arise in the “common theories” that have sprouted up and I do not see the scientists trying to fix them. They just go on and on with new claims built upon inconsistencies until their theories are more like fairy tales.
    “I have examined Haeckel’s drawings, and they are far from as egregiously, outrageously wrong as your creationist sites will claim,” That is your opinion. The facts that he left out parts of the embryos, that he drew them all as being similar in size and many other faults that can be made to rightfully state that his opinion from those drawings were fraudulent.
    The Nebraska man is important in that it was a fraud perpetrated just before the Scopes trial and had a profound influence on the outcome. http://creation.com/fresh-look-at-nebraska-man if you are the least bit interested in reading the truth and not the bias that exists in the liberal media. This episode as well as the peppered moth (http://creation.com/goodbye-peppered-moths ) are examples of the scientific errors that can undermine the credibility of paleontology and hominid evolution theories, and how such information is peer reviewed or accepted as mainstream knowledge.
    So I have a right to question the credibility of the author when he takes his “scientific papers” and uses them to create a best selling book and then the basis for a TV program. One should question his motives and reasoning for his determinations based upon that- in other words is his research pure or tainted for the public perusal. I want to look at the facts not his opinion of them. Especially when he has created another stir with his ‘extraordinary Tiktaalik.”
    As someone more qualified than I wrote:
    Indeed, the evolution of land limbs and life on land in general requires many changes, and the fossil record has no evidence of such changes. Geologist Paul Garner writes:
    ‘[T]here are functional challenges to Darwinian interpretations. For instance, in fish the head, shoulder girdle, and circulatory systems constitute a single mechanical unit. The shoulder girdle is firmly connected to the vertebral column and is an anchor for the muscles involved in lateral undulation of the body, mouth opening, heart contractions, and timing of the blood circulation through the gills.6However, in amphibians the head is not connected to the shoulder girdle, in order to allow effective terrestrial feeding and locomotion. Evolutionists must suppose that the head became incrementally detached from the shoulder girdle, in a step-wise fashion, with functional intermediates at every stage. However, a satisfactory account of how this might have happened has never been given.’

    Indeed, Tiktaalik’s fin was not connected to the main skeleton, so could not have supported its weight on land. The discoverers claim that this could have helped to prop up the body as the fish moved along a water bottom, but evolutionists had similar high hopes for the coelacanth fin. However, when a living coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) was discovered in 1938, the fins turned out not to be used for walking but for deft manœuvering when swimming. (http://creation.com/tiktaalik-roseae-a-fishy-missing-link )

    When I have researched some more, then I will be happy to discuss with you subject matter of embryology as we both understand them to be, from our different perspectives. I will ask again that you read the references that I have provided, because I am certainly exploring yours and others as I mentioned in note #22. I do not intend to be the one called closed minded in this discussion.

    Thanks for setting the record straight on who used the vulgarity. By the way, may I ask what are your professional qualifications. It never hurts to know a little bit about whom we are engaged in a debate with. I have already mentioned I am not an embryologist. I do have a Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Computer Science and an honorary Masters in Bio-Engineering. I have worked in the medical field as a trauma team surgical assistant, with severely violent mentally handicapped individuals, and written several software programs for the medical industry including one for physical therapists. I have also contracted work with NASA and JPL during my career as a software developer.

  32. 32
    Cuttlefish

    Blanche @#30–ambiguous writing on my part. Larry had, in #9, defended his use of “evilutionist”, so he clearly has no problem using insults. But when Akira uses one he doesn’t care for, Larry (#4) complains about vulgarity.

    It is clear who used vulgarity–both the person who called a specific individual a “fucking idiot” because of his specific actions, and the person who blankets an entire group with the term “evillutionists”. Larry, though, considers one abominable and the other admirable. Thus my observation that his boundaries need defining.

  33. 33
    cubist

    sesz larry marshall: “All presuppositions are equally valid until determined to be invalid.”
    Cool, again. How does one go about determining that a presupposition is invalid?

  34. 34
    Larry Marshall

    cubist: When men are not deceived by false philosophies, they begin their reasoning with presuppositions, or things assumed. It is impossible to think logically without presuppositions that provide a starting point for thought.

    Where do men get their presuppositions? Fancy thinkers use the first principles of their philosophy or theology to obtain presuppositions. Ordinary folks get first principles from their worldview that imparts a general impression of the nature of man and the world, and a sense of the rightness and wrongness of various ideas.

    First principles are received by faith, or accepted as self-evident truths or things that are unquestionable or “given.” When a man tells you that a particular idea is unthinkable, you can be sure that the idea contradicts his first principles. If he tells you that an idea is unquestionable, it is probably a first principle or closely aligned with a first principle. Every rational man on earth regards some ideas as unthinkable and other ideas as unquestionable .

    One way or another, man accepts first principles by faith. Secular philosophers use an intellectual faith in self-evident truths rather than a religious faith in a higher authority. Modernist skeptics reject the idea of first principles and faith, yet unconsciously or secretly have faith in their own first principles. They are compelled to do this because rational thought cannot leap out of a vacuum. All rational thinking is essentially faith-based.

  35. 35
    Blanche Quizno

    You keep using that word “science”. I do not think it means what you think it means. Re: Haeckel:

    Response:

    1) Haeckel’s pictures are irrelevant to the question of whether the embryos are similar. What matters are the embryos themselves. Within a group, early embryos do show many similarities. For example, all vertebrates develop a notochord, body segments, pharyngeal gill pouches, and a post-anal tail. These fundamental similarities indicate a common evolutionary history. Other embryological similarities are found in other lineages, such as mollusks, arthropods, and annelids. These similarities have been long known. Professor Agassiz in 1849, for example, said, “We find, too, that the young bat, or bird, or the young serpent, in certain periods of their growth, resemble one another so much that he would defy any one to tell one from the other–or distinguish between a bat and a snake.” (Scientific American 1849)

    2) The embryos also show some differences, which Haeckel glossed over. However, differences should also be expected, since the animals are not all equally related. It is the pattern of both similarities and differences that displays patterns of descent. Organisms that are less closely related are expected to look less similar.

    3) When Haeckel’s inaccuracies were exposed, authors started using corrected versions. Science tends to be self-correcting. – http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB701.html

    You readily admit that you have no experience whatsoever with embryology – I told you I had, and what I had found from my own investigation. Given the internet, which you obviously have, you could have looked into it rather quickly yourself – my original Haeckel’s embryo research took me all of about 40 minutes. You’ve been stalling FAR longer than that!

    The fact that you so eagerly and delightedly swallow Creationist lies about Haeckel demonstrates that you do not approach this “science” you repeatedly refer to with any degree of intellectual honesty or any actual interest in identifying facts or truth. Somehow, you really, REALLY *like* thinking of scientists as wrong, as illegitimate, as [fill in the blank with something disparaging]. Why would you expect an honest person to engage with you? You’re a complete waste of time.

    Scientists have provided us with better health, freedom from disease, technology of all kinds, and the longest lifespans in history. What has religion done for us? Nothing. It has obstructed and interfered and done everything in its power to stop people from learning about the world around them. Religion advocated for prayer and fasting while bacterial plagues were decimating the population – and that’s as late as the 1800s! Fortunately, scientists took over. Fortunately, we no longer allow religions to have the power to harm people, and, thus, Christianity is in steep decline along with the other world religions. Take away the coercion, and what have you got? A useless, unappealing, archaic, out-of-touch, primitive, barbaric, tiresome, ridiculously laughable mess.

    SO WHAT if people make mistakes? Science is self-correcting! We figure it out and set things straight! Look at yourself – having to pull examples from almost 100 years ago and almost 150 years ago to make a point that is pathetically transparent and simple to refute. “Oooh, lookee! Scientists made a mistake once! That means science is a fraud and GOD DID IT!!!! HALLELUJAH – PRAISE JEEBIS!!”

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

    “Nebraska Man” was no fraud. It was a simple mistake that, when discovered, was publicly, widely corrected. I already pointed that out – why are you still referring to it as a “fraud”??? Oh, it’s because all of “science” (must remember scare quotes) is out to fraud up the joint so that nice people learn how to do stuff instead of deferring to “Godidit” at every turn while their brains rot away. I forgot. Science = fraud. Funny that it’s produced so much useful results…for all that fraud, of course…while RELIGION, on the other hand, has produced…fraud…pedophile scandals…televangelists…failed predictions of a childishly silly “Second Coming”…

    In 1940, a mere 75-ish years ago, the “Galloping Gertie” suspension bridge over the Tacoma Narrows tore itself apart through aeroelastic flutter induced by strong winds interacting with its structural components. Do we say “Engineering is all wrong!” and “Fraud!!” because of that? Of course not – that would be insane, wouldn’t it? No, engineers studied the disaster and came up with all sorts of recommendations and regulations to make bridges more safe. And they are. (There’s some brilliant footage of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster on Youtube, people)

    The Creationist “peppered moths” example is more typical Christian dishonesty. Paul defended lying in the bible, so that means it’s okay to lie, so long as you get what you want – isn’t that a foundational doctrine of Christianity? Certainly seems to be. Truth really is meaningless to such clowns – “If I like the way it sounds, that makes it truth.” That research is from the 1950s – over half a century ago. Once again, your dishonest sources and their ancient history. Nothing new?? There are plenty of examples where two or more pigment patterns are normally expressed in a population, but predator preference influences which pattern remains dominant in the population at large. It’s a form of selection. There are *THOUSANDS* of pages of research on peppered moths; it is no simple scenario like your jesus-loving pants-on-fires have told you. Do you always just believe whatever people tell you?? Not wise.

    “Accusations of data fudging and scientific fraud in the [peppered moth] case are found to be vacuous.” http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12052-008-0107-y

    It’s only because Creationist loonies LIE about it that there is any real question about it, Larry.

    I have a marine biology degree. I’ve had classes on vertebrate structure and evolution and on the physiology of fishes specifically. I don’t need some ninny with a “goddidit” up his ass trying to tell me the real world isn’t as it really is, because bible. You can live in your little fantasy world that’s only 6,000 years old because god and ignore all the different species of farm animals and crops and even puppy dogs, all achieved by deliberate selection by people, because it conflicts with your delusion that everything was created “as is” and can’t change via evolution because Christianity. Fine. There’s always been plenty of crazy in the world; that’s life.

    Perhaps you can explain to the nice people here why Creation Institutes have never produced any research that is of any utility whatsoever and now exist solely to read through legitimate scientific texts to see what they can take out of context and even blatantly twist into sounding wrong so that they can discredit real work in favor of misleadig poor, dumb, gullible simps into thinking there’s some magic fairy out there just itching to wave its cosmic wand and grant all their wishes and take them to happy funfun land when they die.

    I’ll tell you why your precious Creationist sources never fund field research. In the past, they did! They were so certain that creation would be writ large upon the face of the earth that they sent people out to go find it! And every single scientist they sent out realized they were wrong and ditched creation for evolution. Every single one. It’s telling that you have no first-hand experience in field research of any kind.

    I used to be a systems analyst and microcomputer/local area network specialist. Big bananas. I also have a bachelor of arts and a masters degree, but as those are not relevant to questions of biology, I don’t typically reference them. People who wave credentials around as if those credentials make their blatherings above criticism and question are despicable. Note that for the next time you feel like you need to find some way to make yourself look superior on the basis of credentials since your arguments are such bunkum and you can’t support them with anything other than more of the same rubbish.

    We are no longer engaged in anything. I will not waste any more time on you. You simply have no interest in learning anything about reality because you’re too deluded with your imaginary sky daddy “I’m so special” fantasies, so there’s no reason for me to have anything more to do with you. Feel free to now have the last word – that’s typical from churchies. Go. Jesus wants you to. Then you can claim persecution points at church tomorrow!! Yayz!!

  36. 36
    cubist

    larry, your latest comment is marked as a response to me, but doesn’t appear to contain an answer to the question it’s responding to.
    I repeat: How does one go about determining that a presupposition is invalid?

  37. 37
    Blanche Quizno

    @33 cubist: One validates the presupposition against evidence, which can be independently, repeatedly confirmed by others. Otherwise, it’s nothing but opinions, and what’s to say that one person’s opinion is inherently more valid than any other persons, aside from how closely the first person’s opinion aligns with reality?

  38. 38
    Larry Marshall

    Cuttlefish “ Larry, though, considers one abominable and the other admirable. Thus my observation that his boundaries need defining.” You appear to have a tendency to read into other peoples statements ideas that are not there. What Akira said was by any definition vulgar: it is the quality of being common, coarse, or unrefined. What I said simply grouped together individuals with whom I have a discernible disagreement with into a stereotype: an oversimplified standardized image of a person or group. Not at all vulgar or insulting unless you chose to apply the term to yourself. We all use stereotypes, although I have yet to meet anyone who actually matches a stereotype.

    But what concerns me, in your last sentence you seem to be advocating that I be censored or more politely “his boundaries need defining.”

  39. 39
    Blanche Quizno

    “It’s perfectly *fine* to use insults to identify people, even those you are speaking with, because it’s not insulting unless you’re using it to refer to yourself. Everybody knows that. It’s perfectly *normal* to refer to black people as n****s and women as c***s and people of science as evil (and possibly demon-possessed). Using those stereotypes facilitates understanding, you see. Nobody thinks those stereotypes actually match real people! It’s just for convenience!”

  40. 40
    Cuttlefish

    You also read things into other people’s statements that are not there. Calling a group of people “evil” for disagreeing with you is common, coarse, and unrefined. You seem to be unaware of that; thus, your boundaries need defining.

    Please watch Stephen Fry for a different take on vulgarities–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_osQvkeNRM

    Dude, I have the power to delete any comments you make, and as you can see, I have not done so. Your own words are the strongest argument against your position. Once again, you are reading things into other’s statements that are not there.

  41. 41
    Blanche Quizno

    In case anyone is interested in the peppered moths controversy:

    The case of industrial melanism in the peppered moth has been used as a teaching example of Darwinian natural selection in action for half a century. However, over the last decade, this case has come under attack from those who oppose Darwinian evolution. Here, the main elements of the case are outlined and the reasons that the peppered moth case became the most cited example of Darwinian evolution in action are described. Four categories of criticism of the case are then evaluated. Criticisms of experimental work in the 1950s that centered on lack of knowledge of the behavior and ecology of the moth, poor experimental procedure, or artificiality in experiments have been addressed in subsequent work. Some criticisms of the work are shown to be the result of lack of understanding of evolutionary genetics and ecological entomology on the part of the critics. Accusations of data fudging and scientific fraud in the case are found to be vacuous. The conclusion from this analysis of criticisms of the case is that industrial melanism in the peppered moth is still one of the clearest and most easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution in action and that it should be taught as such in biology classes.

    Were the Attacks on the Peppered Moth Story Justified?

    Before reviewing the criticisms aimed at the peppered moth case and their validity, two points should be made. First, almost all of the criticisms of the case as an example of evolution in action are aimed at Kettlewell’s work and the role of his mentor Professor E. B. Ford. There is little reference to the independent work on the peppered moth over the last four decades of the twentieth century (Cook 2003; Majerus 1998; Lees 1981; Brakefield 1987 for reviews). Such work is only mentioned when carefully selected passages, often taken out of context, are used to support criticisms of the case. Second, there is no mention of the many other species of moth (over 100 species in Britain alone) that exhibit industrial melanism (Kettlewell 1973; Majerus 1998 for reviews; Fig. 3).

    Few of those who criticize the peppered moth case as an example of Darwinian evolution in action have ever worked on the moth. Moreover, few have experience as field biologists or training in either evolutionary genetics or ecological entomology. Their criticisms of the case, when erroneous, can thus be excused, at least in part, simply because they have little understanding of the ecology of the moth and its predators, or of how natural selection operates. Yet, although the vacuous nature of some of the criticisms is excusable, they do create a significant problem, because many of the readers of these criticisms, particularly those published in newspapers and on the web, do not have the scientific knowledge or experience to objectively appraise the criticisms. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12052-008-0107-y/fulltext.html#Sec6

    Lies have destructive effects, in other words. They mislead people who don’t know any better. That’s why lying is something honest people tend to try to avoid.

  42. 42
    cubist

    sez blanche quizno: “One validates the presupposition against evidence, which can be independently, repeatedly confirmed by others.”
    That’s fine. I’m just wondering how our friend larry determines that a presupposition is invalid. Larry himself said, in comment 9 in this thread, that “The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions.” And in answer to my query about whether or not all presuppositions are equally valid, larry said, in comment 31 on this thread, “All presuppositions are equally valid until determined to be invalid.”

    So… just how does larry go about determining whether a presupposition is invalid? His comment 34 in this thread is interesting, and suggestive of the methodology larry uses to determine whether a presupposition is invalid… but I want larry to explicitly lay out the details of that methodology.

  43. 43
    Blanche Quizno

    Larry will not answer you. Larry has taken a vow of silence.

  44. 44
    cubist

    sez blanche @43: “Larry will not answer you. Larry has taken a vow of silence.”
    Maybe so. But if larry chooses not to explain how he determines whether a presupposition is invalid, that silence will have the effect of supporting the hypothesis that larry does not, in fact, have any way to determine whether or not a presupposition is invalid. Which hypothesis, if true, would shed a rather unfortunate light on larry’s thinking, particularly in view of larry’s comment at 34 in this thread.

    We shall see whether larry wants to let his “All presuppositions are equally valid until determined to be invalid.” [emphasis added] remark, from comment 31 in this thread, just kinda hang there, unsupported and isolated.

  45. 45
    Allan Frost

    Blanche Quizno, your comment @35 was a very enjoyable read.

  46. 46
    Blanche Quizno

    *meh* Don’t hate me because I got fed up, Allan!! It was just too much. I explained to Larry that the “Nebraska Man” thing was a simple mistake that was corrected – publicly, widely, by the very guy Larry’s making out to be inherently unreliable because of this – as soon as the necessary information came in. Yet even with this information right in front of him, Larry persists in referring to it as “fraud”! Here’s the definition of fraud:

    : the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person

    : a person who pretends to be what he or she is not in order to trick people

    : a copy of something that is meant to look like the real thing in order to trick people

    So where’s the fraud?? A paleontologist named H. F. Osborn misidentified an ambiguous finding that was genuinely old and published a paper on it. Then W. K. Gregory later published a paper that declared that the finding was neither primate nor human, correctly identifying it as a peccary tooth! Two of the top journals, Science and Nature, along with huge newspapers on either side of the pond, the NY Times and the Times of London, reported on Gregory’s clarification, correcting the original error. So where’s the fraud? I don’t think Larry even understands what the word means.

    And get this! On the basis of his name being connected to the story, W. K. Gregory is now not to be trusted as a source for ANYTHING! When it was Gregory who published the proper identification of the tooth in question!

    So Osborn made an error; Gregory corrected the error; and henceforth, Gregory will be regarded as unreliable, according to Larry, because his name was in the story! This kind of malicious character assassination based on outright lies is so characteristic of Christians. Look what Larry copied brainlessly from one of his repulsive, shamelessly lying Creationist sites:

    “Blanche: I would rightly call into question any pronouncements made by Dr. W. K. Gregory based upon his involvement with the evolutionary fake called Hesperopithecus (which meant ‘ape-man of the Western world’).”

    Read above. Dr. W. K. Gregory’s “involvement” is that he was the person who correctly identified the “pig tooth” as a peccary tooth. Gregory is the one who discovered and published the truth. Yet these loathsome, contemptible, DECEITFUL Christians want everyone to believe that Gregory is to be condemned for fraud instead of being commended for declaring the truth, because Jesus! Creationists are utterly despicable, lying shitweasels with no integrity, no sense of honesty, no interest in the truth, blatantly immoral, and astonishingly delusional. If you have to lie to make a case, that shows you have no case, doesn’t it?

    There’s your fraud! It’s LARRY who’s the fraud and who’s attempting to mislead people!

    “By their fruits shall ye know them.” I believe Larry won’t dare show his lying, bad-faith, FRAUDULENT face around here any more.

    grrrrr You got me going again >:(

  47. 47
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Standing fucking ovation for Blanche Quizno! Brilliant posts. Thanks for the explanation of the “Nebraska Man” thing. I will be nicking that for use in an impending argument.

  48. 48
    Blanche Quizno

    Aw, you’re too kind! I’m a little embarrassed – when I posted the first, I didn’t read the source material very carefully (apparently), and even *I* didn’t at first pick up on the fact that it was Osborn, not Gregory, who was responsible for the misidentification, and that it was Gregory who, in fact, made the correct identification! If I had, boy howdy, my first post would have been doubly scathing, I can guarantee it >:(

    Imagine – responsibly correcting someone else’s innocent mistake and then being slapped with “FRAUD” and “UNRELIABLE” and “QUESTIONABLE” stickers forevermore just because bible! It’s INSANE!!

    So yes! Use it! Use it widely and loudly!! These deceitful douchenozzles must not be allowed to get away with such underhanded and dishonest shenanigans. Let the world see what Jesus-belief and bible do to people’s sense of honesty and fair play.

  49. 49
    Menyambal

    Blanche Quizno, that was great! Thank you for all the info.

    There’s a story about some great movie mogul who had some grand scheme for a project. All the yes-men loved it, but one man stood up and said it was a bad idea. Well, it was a bad idea, and the project lost millions. The mogul would never work with the guy who stood up, ever again, because “he was associated with my greatest failure.”

    That story was told to illustrate just how odd the movie mogul was, yet here we see Larry M doing the same thing,and perpetuating his story to the point of fraud. Notice also the keyword “associated” with its implication that all that matters is mental associations.

  50. 50
    Blanche Quizno

    Great parallel, Menyambal. At least we could understand the mogul’s embarrassment at having overridden what turned out to be sage advice, to his own peril, and not wanting to work again with the person he’d most lost face before.

    But Larry and the creationists have never had any contact with ANY of these guys! The paleontologists Osborn and Gregory are long dead, in fact. So the only solution I can come up with is that these people are so intellectually lazy and reluctant to pay attention that all they do is search for a name, such as “W. K. Gregory” in the Creationist Big Pile of Bullshit, and, if it comes up in connection with anything those lying liarpantses have categorized as “fraud”, then “W. K. Gregory” is Guilty (with a capital G). Just because they got a hit on his name.

    They can’t be arsed to actually *READ* the details, or double check them outside the Idiots Convention, naturally, and thus, we find people like Larry, doing his best to appear careful and prudent and scholarly and thoughtful and credentialed, putting his foot *RIGHT* in it, and in full sight of everyone. How embarrassing.

  51. 51
    David Marjanović

    Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same.

    The difference is that, without a single exception I’ve ever heard of, creationists don’t know most of the evidence. They have no idea it exists!

    Blanche: I would rightly call into question any pronouncements made by Dr. W. K. Gregory based upon his involvement with the evolutionary fake called Hesperopithecus (which meant ‘ape-man of the Western world’).

    Wow. Let’s count the mistakes in this single sentence, and the logical fallacies built on them that are also contained in this single sentence.

    First, why do you pretend to know Greek? It’s obvious that you don’t! Hesperopithecus doesn’t mean anything as poetic as “ape-man of the Western world”, it means “westmonkey”. Quite literally “westmonkey”. It’s from hesper, meaning “evening” and “west”, and pithekos, meaning “monkey”.

    Second, as explained above, it wasn’t a fake, it was an innocent mistake in the identification of a single worn tooth. That happens. In fact, I myself mistook a pig jaw fragment for an ape (!) at an exam once.

    Third, your source managed to confuse Osborn and Gregory, see above.

    But anyway – you want to ignore “pronouncements” from Gregory? Go ahead and do it! Most of his research has long been updated, if not wholly redone, simply because he lived so long ago! His students are all dead, and their students are emeriti now. He’s my academic great-great-great-grandfather… Osborn, BTW, is the Henry Fairfield Osborn who described Tyrannosaurus rex in 1905.

    Finally, it’s fine to scrutinize everything someone has said who has engaged in fraud once. But to assume that everyone they’ve said is wrong because they’ve engaged in fraud once is a logical fallacy. In reality, everything needs to be scrutinized, because everyone is capable of making innocent mistakes; that’s the whole point of science, the whole reason the scientific method was developed instead of sticking with “already the great Aristotle said”.

    All presuppositions are equally valid until determined to be invalid.

    Well, no. Not all ideas that haven’t been disproved are equally parsimonious: some require a larger number of extra assumptions than others.

    I am not an embryologist. I reserve the right to research the information further

    That’s fine. The problem is that you also reserve the right to talk about embryology anyway, before you’ve researched the information any further. What good is supposed to come out of this?

    The facts that he left out parts of the embryos, that he drew them all as being similar in size and many other faults that can be made to rightfully state that his opinion from those drawings were fraudulent.

    Drawing them as similar in size is by no means automatically fraudulent. It’s a perfectly valid way to make comparisons possible – if you draw a whale embryo and a mouse embryo at any comparable stage of their development (except the earliest few) to the same scale, either one won’t fit on the page, or the other will be too tiny that you could discern any details.

    Adding a single scale bar, or otherwise claiming they’re all to the same scale, would have been a lie. It’d also have been an extremely clumsy lie.

    What Haeckel did, AFAIK, is that he filled in stages he happened not to have in his incomplete growth series, and that he idealized his drawings. That’s dishonest, but it seems his guesses were pretty good…

    Geologist Paul Garner writes:

    Never heard of him. The point of citing a source is not to impress your audience with someone’s authority, it’s 1) to make clear that you’re not claiming credit yourself and 2) to allow people to read the original in context. For the latter purpose, you need to provide full bibliographical information (year, title, journal, volume, pages), not just the authors’ names.

    ‘[T]here are functional challenges to Darwinian interpretations. For instance, in fish the head, shoulder girdle, and circulatory systems constitute a single mechanical unit. The shoulder girdle is firmly connected to the vertebral column and is an anchor for the muscles involved in lateral undulation of the body, mouth opening, heart contractions, and timing of the blood circulation through the gills.6However, in amphibians the head is not connected to the shoulder girdle, in order to allow effective terrestrial feeding and locomotion. Evolutionists must suppose that the head became incrementally detached from the shoulder girdle, in a step-wise fashion, with functional intermediates at every stage. However, a satisfactory account of how this might have happened has never been given.’

    In comes Tiktaalik.

    In conventional “fish”, there’s the opercular series (mobile bones in the gill lid) between the cheek and the shoulder girdle on each side and the gular series (mobile bones again) between the lower jaws. Behind the top back edge of the head, there are the three extrascapulars (one in the middle, two at the sides), then on each side a posttemporal, then arching downwards a supracleithrum, an anocleithrum, and then a cleithrum which forms the biggest part of the shoulder girdle.

    In Tiktaalik, the opercular series, the extrascapulars, the posttemporals and probably the supracleithra are gone; the gular series is still there, and so are probably the anocleithra. (Preservation is not perfect, and preparation – getting the rock off the bones – is still not finished after six years.) Interestingly, the shoulder girdle is much closer to the skull than before; the gill lid must have been really short, so perhaps it didn’t need the extra protection and stiffness opercular bones provide.

    In Ichthyostega, Acanthostega, Tulerpeton, Whatcheeria and Pederpes (to mention just the best-known ones), the gular series is also gone, and so are the supracleithra. The anocleithra are still there, and so is the so-called preopercular bone which lies right in front of the gill lid but is suturally attached to the cheek (it’s not mobile), though it’s much smaller than is usual in “fish”.

    In such animals as Greererpeton, Crassigyrinus, Baphetes and Pholiderpeton, the preopercular is gone, and the anocleithrum is only loosely attached – it’s preserved in Pholiderpeton, and in Discosauriscus which is much more closely related to us than any of the animals mentioned before, but seems to be missing elsewhere.

    Indeed, Tiktaalik’s fin was not connected to the main skeleton

    What – nonsense. It forms a joint with the shoulder girdle as usual.

    so could not have supported its weight on land.

    That’s because of its size, the restricted mobility of the joints, and the positions and sizes of the muscle attachment sites, not because of what it’s connected to.

    The discoverers claim that this could have helped to prop up the body as the fish moved along a water bottom, but evolutionists had similar high hopes for the coelacanth fin. However, when a living coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) was discovered in 1938, the fins turned out not to be used for walking but for deft manœuvering when swimming. (http://creation.com/tiktaalik-roseae-a-fishy-missing-link )

    Eh, no. The idea was that Latimeria walks on the sea bottom, which it doesn’t – it makes walking movements while floating in the water, in order to move slowly or to stay where it is in a slow current. The fins of Tiktaalik are quite different from those of Latimeria – just look at them. Tiktaalik must have lived in very shallow water, using its fins to lift the top of the mobile head into the air to breathe it on occasion.

    BTW, I fixed the missing italics.

    Oh, and, lungfish walk in very shallow water; and if you take a bichir out of the water – it doesn’t come out on its own as far as anyone has observed, but it retains fully functional lungs, so it doesn’t just die when you take it out – it walks, too. There’s video. I recommend looking it up.

    Back to:

    However, in amphibians the head is not connected to the shoulder girdle, in order to allow effective terrestrial feeding and locomotion.

    That’s backwards. Because tetrapods lack this connection, many of them can feed on land and move around there without risking a concussion at every step. The original advantage that caused natural selection to favor the mutants that lacked this connection must have been something else – and Tiktaalik supports this.

  52. 52
    Blanche Quizno

    Lovely post, David. ^ That’s how it’s done, people!! I’m almost speechless with wonder and delight.

    But, from what little you know of me, you probably can already guess that “speechless” isn’t one of my many natural attributes *le wink*

    There are fish that climb trees – here’s a nice, short video of mudskippers doing precisely that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pkOjNaIXB8

    There are fish who spend more time *out* of water than *in* water. The Mangrove rivulus is an example.

    The Anabantidae (aka “climbing perch”) are a diverse group that lives in oxygen-poor water; they are adapted to using atmospheric oxygen. In fact, deprived of air, these fish die!

    The Walking Catfish can survive several days out of the water and travel across dry land – this has made it a terrible invasive species across many parts of the US.

    Many species of fish can utilize atmospheric oxygen in addition to the oxygen dissolved in water while remaining in water – the popular Siamese Fighting Fish is one of these, goldfish another.

    There are fish with eyes adapted to seeing in air as well as seeing in water – see the members of the genus Anableps in the Anablepidae for examples. The “four-eyed fish” needs this adaptation, because it eats mostly insects at the surface of the water. Its upper eyes, adapted for seeing in air, help it not only focus on a potential meal, but enable it to easily see predators coming, which is important as it spends most of its time at the surface. Being not limited to what it can find *in* the water, this fish has a much wider range of mealtime options. THAT’s advantage!!

    Notice that these are all true fishes. NOT amphibians.

  53. 53
    David Marjanović

    Many species of fish can utilize atmospheric oxygen in addition to the oxygen dissolved in water while remaining in water – the popular Siamese Fighting Fish is one of these, goldfish another.

    Probably all can to some extent take up oxygen from air in the gut.

    Notice that these are all true fishes.

    In particular, they’re actinopterygians, not sarcopterygians like us; their adaptations to hopping, walking (see also: frogfish!) or climbing all arose independently of ours. Of those I mentioned, only the bichirs (Polypterus) are actinopterygians, and they’re the sister-group to all other actinopterygians put together.

    Its upper eyes

    Well, the upper halves of its two eyes.

  54. 54
    Blanche Quizno

    “Well, the upper halves of its two eyes.”

    That’s what I meant. I’m glad you’re here :D

  55. 55
    Menyambal

    For what it is worth, the common cow has no bony connection between its front legs and the rest of its skeleton. Those long cattle drives were walked by critters who were really channeling their inner Tiktaalik.

    It’s probably a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, but a lack of connection isn’t automatically cripling.

  56. 56
    Blanche Quizno

    *swoon*

  57. 57
    Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Pierce R. Butler wrote:

    Larry Marshall @ # 9: The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts.

    Yeah: creationists and other ideologues try to find support for their mythologies, and disregard whatever doesn’t fit; scientists and other honest people try to find explanations which fit all the data, and pay extra attention to any anomaly.

    Which group ends up in proud ownership of more (deeds to) bridges?

    It should be noted that Larry’s overly verbose non-response @15 to Pierce R. Butler’s simple question is in fact an unattributed snippet from a submission originally written by Geoffrey West in response to a question posed by Edge.org.

    The question was “2014 : WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT?”

    West’s answer, from which Larry has “mined” his non-response is “The Theory of Everything”. The full text can be read here …

    http://edge.org/responses/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement

  58. 58
    Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Larry probably had his own reasons for not using this snippet from West’s work. I won’t speculate why that is.

    Like the invention of gods and God, the concept of A Theory of Everything connotes the grandest vision of all, the inspiration of all inspirations, namely that we can encapsulate and understand the entirety of the universe in a small set of precepts, in this case, a concise set of mathematical equations. Like the concept of God, however, it is potentially misleading and intellectually dangerous.

    I happen to agree. However Larry will have to speak for himself and support it, which in this thread would be a relatively unique event.

  59. 59
    Allan Frost

    Wow! nice catch, Rikki_Tikki_Taalik. You and David Marjanović have come in and plopped a cherry on top of Blanche’s delicious creationist-smackdown-sundae.

  60. 60
    David Marjanović

    For what it is worth, the common cow has no bony connection between its front legs and the rest of its skeleton.

    Well, between its shoulder girdle (on each side) and the rest of the skeleton. The same is true for all the other many mammals that have reduced or lost their clavicles (the connection between shoulder blade and breastbone).

    It’s not quite clear when the breastbone evolved, actually; outside of mammals and most birds it’s usually present but doesn’t necessarily ossify (remaining cartilage instead). Tiktaalik had well-developed collarbones, but no breastbone is preserved; Ichthyostega was recently discovered to have a whole series of breastbone pairs, one per vertebra.

  61. 61
    Blanche Quizno

    This thread has won the internet.

  62. 62
    Cuttlefish

    This thread rocks. This thread is why I love this place.

    Blanche… read this thread: http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2009/02/14/daniel-dennetts-darwin-day-delivery/

    Many differences–science, philosophy; prose, verse…

    Fortunately, neither one has to be the best…. cos they both are.

  63. 63
    Mona Albano

    To omit the supernatural from explanations is not an axiom: people have tried for hundreds of years to invoke and control it and it has not showed up to be studied. Explanations that depend on nature are the result, not a “presupposition.”

  64. 64
    Mona Albano

    ‘Larry Marshall’ wrote:

    So I have a right to question the credibility of the author when he takes his “scientific papers” and uses them to create a best selling book and then the basis for a TV program. One should question his motives and reasoning for his determinations based upon that- in other words is his research pure or tainted for the public perusal. I want to look at the facts not his opinion of them. Especially when he has created another stir with his ‘extraordinary Tiktaalik.”

    You are questioning Neil Shubin’s credibility because his clear, cogent, and easy to read description of evolution’s gradual results was popular? Those aren’t his scientific papers but general biological & medical knowledge. There’s a word for that aspect of his work: it’s called science writing and it’s a difficult and valuable skill. Part of his credibility comes from his extensive references and suggestions for further reading— he didn’t just make stuff up; he is presenting facts. Science, you see, is a team sport.

    Nevertheless, you accept the authority of those who write extended Special Pleading for Jesus, marketed to those who are desperate for reassurance that they are right and Special Children to God. Heaven forfend that they take up the mantle of adults!

    I smell a double standard.

    If you doubt Neil Shubin, how much have you followed up on his cross-references? On reading about macro-evolution, such as Carl Zimmer’s excellent At the Water’s Edge? On even the basic science of radioactive and geological dating? It’s not enough to sneer. Dr. Shubin’s Tiktaalik created a big splash in the scientific community because he tested his hypothesis of the era and environment where such evolution would have taken place and because Tiktaalik is an indisputable transitional fossil between fish and amphibians. I own Your Inner Fish, read it cover to cover: it is a shining example of how to make science understandable to the public without watering it down.

  65. 65
    Blanche Quizno

    Cuttle – lucky you! What , you’re claiming bragging rights, now??? Just kidding. It actually appears Dennett is slowly outgrowing the concept of free will – I don’t have a better term than “outgrowing” for the process I have in mind, though in this case I don’t like the juvenile or immature connotation of the previous state, which clearly doesn’t fit. But “outgrowing” describes a very gradual process, unlike being dragged kicking and screaming or some such. See here: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/is-dennett-rethinking-free-will/

    Someone turned me on to this very short clip on determinism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBNzaXx6eKg

    The idea, as I understand it, is not “Oh, the universe, so dance, puppet, dance!” It’s more that, each moment, as we go, we gain experiences and reactions so that, by the time we reach a point where we have to make a decision, although there might be a dozen potential decisions, our catalog of experiences along with our brain makeup will make it so that we can only choose one of them. Though there are many choices, for us, there is effectively only one choice.

    Interestingly, this concept has made it much easier for me to accept people as they are. For me, determinism started with the realization that everyone is doing his best. At every moment. And that started MY “outgrowing” process. I can see people making self-destructive choices and understand why, in other words, rather than condemning them for “not making better choices”. They can’t. They’re honestly doing their best, just as I am.

    On to Mona – nice to virtually meet you! On Larry’s contempt for Shubin creating a best-selling book – WTF?? If you have something important to say, important enough to go to the trouble of writing a book about, aren’t you hoping it will sell well, because that means more people are being exposed to the important information you’ve written up in the book? People don’t just sit down and say, “Today I’m going to write a best-selling book” and then add ingredients as if making a recipe. Yet it sounds like that’s the scenario Larry’s got in mind! If such a process were possible, well, I think we’d have either more best-selling books or more similarity between best-selling books. As it is, one of the ingredients that tends to go into one sort of best seller is the “I used to be an atheist until I found Jesus” theme *ahem*

    Working my way up, thank you, Mona, for putting into such succinct terms just how the supernatural came to be excluded from science. It’s an important point – it is left out because it has never shown up. Not because of any a priori exclusion. Remember alchemy? The “science” of turning base metals into gold or silver by magic? What of astrology? Reading the bones?? I’m sure there are a great many others that we as a culture left behind, not because we objected to the invoking of the supernatural (aka magic), but because they just didn’t work.

    You know, I’m almost embarrassed to say I never thought of it in those terms before. I kind of thought of it in terms of, “You know what? Since we can’t measure or quantify or even FIND the supernatural, let’s just carry on as if it isn’t there unless and until it shows up and makes itself known.” Which is similar, but I like the way you put it better. Mine somehow still sounds a priori to me.

  66. 66
    Blanche Quizno

    To omit the supernatural from explanations is not an axiom: people have tried for hundreds of years to invoke and control it and it has not showed up to be studied. Explanations that depend on nature are the result, not a “presupposition.”

    Since all is quiet and Larry will not be returning, I want to add a comment on Mona’s wonderful insight, above, that I continue to be delighted with. See, in Pakistan, there is a credentialed nuclear engineer who is Muslim. So far, so good, right? Well, he says that, since the Qur’an says that djinni exist, that means that djinni exist. That’s “djinn” in the singular – “genies” to you and NOT in the “I Dream Of Jeannie” sense! Continuing on – because the Qur’an describes djinni as having a “fiery nature”, that means they have energy. So THAT means we should be able to tap into djinn energy for a free solution to our (or at least Pakistan’s) energy crisis! YAY!!

    A leading Pakistani nuclear scientist who was questioned by the Pakistani government last week concerning his ties to the Taliban is known as a proponent of “Islamic science,” a weird hybrid of scientific terminology and Islamic lore.

    Sultan Bashiruddin Mehmood is a pioneer in the development of nuclear technology in Pakistan. But in 1980, as a senior director of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, he “recommended that djinns [or genies], being fiery creatures, ought to be tapped as a free source of energy. By this means, a final solution to Pakistan’s energy problems would be found.”

    This episode was recounted by Pakistani physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy in his enlightening book “Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality” (Zed Books, 1991).

    In a Wall Street Journal article on Islamic science (13 September 1988), Dr. Mehmood noted that King Solomon had harnessed energy from djinns. “I think that if we develop our souls we can develop communications with them,” he said.

    While the notion of “djinn energy” is ridiculous — even in Pakistan there are no djinn engines — ridicule is beside the point. A more important point is that influential figures in the Islamic world are devoted to a view of reality that cannot be readily reconciled with conventional Western thought. This is a “translation” problem that cannot be solved with dictionaries. http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2001/10/102901.html

    To my knowledge, no djinn engines have yet been successfully tested O_O

  67. 67
    Allan Frost

    Cuttlefish @62, that thread is mind blowing. Not sure that’s ever gonna be topped. Unless, maybe, Larry graced us with another visit to share more of his epistemology.

  68. 68
    Rebecca Roth

    Peter Hitchens knew no other way to think about life other than like an atheist. He and his brother Christopher were raised in an atheist home. They were both proponents of the atheist interpretation of life and atheist answers to the basic questions. Neither Peter nor Christopher had any reason to change. They were both leaders in the atheist movement. Then Peter, by his testimony, was “dragged KICKING and SCREAMING, by the sheer weight of scientific evidence” to believe in the Creator. It was not because of his being distraught or having a weak brain or emotions. He and his brother wrote books back and forth to each other until Christopher was killed by cancer a couple years ago. Christopher’s books have been widely read by atheists, but Peter is hardly known to them anymore, because atheists censor their world view so much. Once a person is no longer an atheist there is no curiosity about what made them change. They are mocked at most. There is no putting both sides of the argument on the bookshelf or table and dispassionately collecting evidence to draw conclusions based on the facts. There is a concerted effort made to ignore what is inconvenient to atheism in scientific work, because the first premise in atheistic world view is that you build your own reality. If, as was postulated, that science is the correcting of viewpoint to match the facts, then atheists should be more curious about what the facts ARE, and what reality IS. God IS real and alive–but atheists start with a premise that doesn’t allow the truthful examination of that premise. The weight of evidence is so much FOR God’s existence, that many atheists who have made it their aim to prove atheism by studying the evidence, have become Christ followers. When my son was in 6th grade a new principal enforced on the science department that science and creative writing had to be taught as a combined subject.. These two are incompatible and fortunately the teacher allowed my son to get graded on a research paper about turkey vultures that was entirely based in real facts about turkey vultures. The rest of the young people wrote entirely out of their imaginations. We are dealing with idea after idea that challenges the scientific method, a method devised by scientists who believed that God is a creator of order and that the orderliness of His creation should be established through scientific inquiry. As was stated above about the Pakistani muslims who bring their ideas to the table, some ideas brought are foolish and not able to be tested. There have been foolish ideas brought by atheists, by Christians and by muslims. Again, when my son was in biology, the science department had adopted the Guia Theory, and placed a descriptive “science” book into the library, which I checked out and read–about the goddess guia and the living water of earth, etc. There are millions of children learning biology, and other sciences who have fanciful ideas drilled into their heads that lead us to imaginary places like “mining hurts the earth” and “global warming is man made destruction of the planet.” (That’s a REALLY EXPENSIVE deception!) Actually, the ALIENS seeded the planet earth has been an EXPENSIVE deception too…as we listen and look for ALIENS. Create movies that seem so real…so much a part of the mushy “scientific” experimentation atheists think they have the final word in. One thing is certain. Darwin thought it was all a joke and most atheists are convinced in their minds that they have the last laugh.

  69. 69
    Ichthyic

    because atheists censor their world view so much.

    they tend to simply reject bullshit when they see it.

    …and looking at your screed…

    well, the conclusion is obvious.

  70. 70
    Ichthyic

    question… was Larry Marshall really Larry Farfarman?

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    oh, and since the subject was revisionist history, some of us actually REMEMBER the debates the Hitchen’s bros had over the years.

    hell, they were even videotaped in latter rounds:

    http://www.cfimichigan.org/hitchens

    Peter never won a single debate between them.

    don’t believe me? you don’t have to. a lot of those debates were held at public universities, and it was their conclusion as to who won.

    see for yourself:

    http://www.cfimichigan.org/hitchens

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