[Lounge #450] »« Shall we decide who won the #creationdebate with a poll?

Comments

  1. scottrobson says

    I wish I could be such a smiley, happy idiot; content with simple ‘explanations’ and not actually thinking about anything. Sounds like a blast. No wonder people sign up for it.

    If only god had created a planet 6000 years ago, just for them. Its such an aggravating experience sharing this one with these creationist fools.

  2. madtom1999 says

    If god is all powerfull and created creationists why did he only give them two sets of handwriting?

  3. Sastra says

    The photographer doesn’t say whether these pictures were taken before or after the debate.

    Let’s imagine that they weren’t so proud and happy afterwards.

    It’s interesting to see how many of these presumably representative creationists were asking science questions — and how many were asking God questions.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    If the Pilgrims came from England, why are there still English people? It is a conundrum.

  5. David Wilford says

    When doing tech support, I often tell those I’m helping that nobody is born knowing this stuff, so I guess being born again is as good an explanation as any for creationism… ;^)

  6. Antares42 says

    Can’t help it, must answer:

    1: Yes. 2: No, are you scared of Shiva or Malsumis? 3: Not strictly impossible, but much less likely than the alternative. 4: No, as Nye explained. 5: Your location on our planet spins out of sight of our star, so? (Watched too much O’Reilly?)

    6: They don’t. 7: What about it? 8: What would I need that for? And who can prove that the “objective” meaning taught in your faith isn’t just the fantasy of men? What makes your objective meaning more objective or meaningful than those of ,say, Buddhism or Hinduism? 9: Depends on what you mean by chance; I’d say evolved gradually from earlier forms of self-replicating molecules without protective “bubbles.” 10: You realize the “bang” didn’t make a “bang”, right? But other than that, well, if that’s the baggage you want to attach to our current understanding of the process, go ahead. Just be prepared to revise your statement when we find out more about early cosmology.

    11: Some do, most don’t. But at least the extrapolation from “one planet with life” to “more planets with life” is less than “one planet with life” to “made by super-powerful überbeing” is smaller. Doesn’t solve the universal abiogenesis question though. 12: You are mistaken, or misinformed. There are loads of intermediate forms covering both human and general evolution. 13: I don’t think so, why? It’s just one evolved developmental process. 14: Ah, right, you’re confusing “wild guess” theory with “massively evidence-based system of explanation” scientific theory. 15: Same for you. The difference is the amount of evidence, let alone internal or external logical consistency. Also: If we start with science plus creationism and ID, why stop there? Why not every creation story of the world, or at least the major ones? There are so many beautiful examples!

    16: That’s one for PZ! Deletions, insertions, duplications, random mutations. Well, think of the genetic sequence as a game of telephone with billions of words transmitted each time. For each transmission, the information will change a bit, sometimes it’ll get more, sometimes less. 17: Make myself, my friends, my community and as many people as reasonably possible, happy. I like that more than passively waiting for an external event, but that’s just me. (I’d advise against piercings, though, if you want to experience salvation according to your own holy book…) 18: I don’t think we’ve absolutely found more than one of “everything else”, as every fossil arguably is unique. But “Lucy” is just one mosaic piece in a broad patchwork of evidence of humand and general evolution. 19: I don’t “believe” in the Big bang. I trust the scientists that have developed the model, because I can understand, and if I’m ambitious enough, repeat the thoughts and processes that led them to their current, temporary conclusion. 20: It is, isn’t it? But that leap from “amazing” to “created”, and more so, “created by this particular superbeing” is too large for me. I don’t see enough evidence (or necessity) to take the first step, let alone the second.

    21: No star exploded in the big bang, spacetime itself expanded massively and rapidly. 22: I… leave this to the reader as a simple exercise.

    Sorry about the wall of text, I don’t seem to be able to insert paragraphs, bullet points or anything of the sort.

  7. Howard Bannister says

    Yeah, God is totally the only source of information that could help us understand incest is wrong!

    Of course, if you believe the Bible, He created the first round of humans in such small numbers that they had to commit incest to survive.

    Hmmm.

  8. tiredofusernamerules says

    They look like very nice people. I interact with folks like this all the time, and, for the most part, they ARE very nice. And that makes me despair even more.

  9. Howard Bannister says

    What about noetics?

    Out of my ignorance, I had to run and check Wiki for a definition on this.

    In philosophy, noetics is a branch of metaphysical philosophy concerned with the study of mind and intellect. Noetic topics include the doctrine of the agent/patient intellect (Aristotle, Averroes)[1] and the doctrine of the Divine Intellect (Plotinus).[2]

    Ah-huh. Yep. What about it?

  10. notyet says

    @6 Sastra
    I was thinking the same thing about their questions. They were all variations of creationist dogma. If I had the attention of “The Science Guy” I would ask him something that I wanted to know about uhhh,,, science. They are too ignorant to realize how much they don’t know. I would have actually had a bit of respect for any of them that displayed a desire to learn something on which they could base a decision. For instance, “How does carbon dating work and why do scientists accept it so readily?” It seems obvious that the last thing any of them went to the debate for was to learn.

  11. David Wilford says

    tiredofusernamerules @ 16:

    They look like very nice people. I interact with folks like this all the time, and, for the most part, they ARE very nice. And that makes me despair even more.

    One can be nice and mistaken. I look at someone like the guy in the picture and think “today, you are one of the lucky 10,000″…

    http://xkcd.com/1053/

  12. Howard Bannister says

    Wait, I just realized I misread xaurreaux @ 11. That wasn’t a ‘no objective morality means you can fuck your family’ gotcha, that was a ‘these people must be brain-damaged from inter-breeding.’

    Ah, yes, this is where we laugh about inbreeding and brain damage. Because those are funny things to laugh about.

    I also came out of fundamentalist Christian upbringing.

    So.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The questions remind me of the time that PZ let some students of Eric Hovind have a chance to ask the horde some questions. They asked the same presuppositional/gottcha type questions over and over, without listening to the answers. Somehow, I suspect they really aren’t interested in the answers.

  14. brucemartin says

    “If we came from our parents, why do we still have parents?”, said Lyle and Erik Menendez.

  15. notyet says

    @13 Kevin
    My take on xaurreaux: was that he was suggesting that these people were the result of brother-sister relationships but I am not familiar with his posts so I could be wrong.

  16. raven says

    tiredofusernamerules @ 16:
    They look like very nice people. I interact with folks like this all the time, and, for the most part, they ARE very nice. And that makes me despair even more.

    ????

    Maybe some are.

    I’ve mostly seen the ones that want to kill me. They say so often and have hacked my computer twice to get my real address.

    Like a lot of scientists, I’ve been getting death threats from the fundies for over a decade. PZ Myers has gotten up to 100 death threats. In one day.

    I’d be very happy if you took your nice people and kept them a long way from me.

  17. scottrobson says

    This is definitely a tl;dr post. Its a reply to all the signs. I bashed it out in a few minutes. I’m sure its full of spelling and grammatical errors (my vice). I mostly did it to see how fast I could dismiss every last one of these photos. It was easy. I spent more time correcting my typing than thinking about responses.

    Warning: This post is angry and probably offensive. I don’t care. Stupidity of this level is offensive to me. Answers are kept shorter than they need to be for brevity.

    1) Yes

    2) No

    3) Strictly not illogical, but is “trees created with rings” really a better answer than “trees really are that old”? Also, the Bible doesn’t say trees were created with rings in place.. why do you believe the trees where created with rings in place? Its not in the Bible.

    4) No – I think Nye actually explained this to you during the debate. Learn what the second law says.

    5) Earth rotates. Atmosphere diffracts sunlight. Turns out yellow-red diffracts less. Same goes for sunrises (which to me are far more stunning)

    6) See 4.

    7) I’m still wishing my cold would go away. My nose is still running. Its nice that if it works for you. Its not working for me. Reality always seems to kick my arse no matter what I think.

    8) Im gonna turn that one onto you. I assume you get it from the bible. So there is meaning in slavery, stoning and genocide? Fuck you.

    9) Yes chance. Whats your problem? I never win the lottery so it seems completely implausible that someone could get the right numbers… its like 1 in 200 million! But you know, someone from Texas or Indiana does. I hate them, but I don’t think a divine creator told them the numbers.

    10) Snide imbecile. You don’t really have anything to say do you?

    11) Ummm, I don’t. I don’t believe there is good evidence for an alien or panspermia explanation for the origin of life on earth. Its fringe at best in the scientific community. I’ll believe it when I see evidence. Same goes for creationism. Still waiting….

    12) You are wrong. Lots of transition fossils. Read something your pastor has _not_ recommended.

    13) Its a separate issue. Evolution primarily acts on genetic information. We don’t only see evolution in shape, but at a deep informational level. Maybe I don’t even understand what you mean, because your point is not saying anything about how we know evolution really did happen.

    14) Go learn what scientific theory means. There is this thing called the internet. You really need to read beyond what your pastor tells you to read.

    15) You are just wrong. Science generates testable hypothesis all the time and tests them. Stop telling me what I do for a living and I promise not to debate with you regarding deep theological theory. Something tells me we will both be happy about that.

    16) Gene duplication. I’m not an expert at this stuff, but I have read about it and learnt a lot. I should go read about it again. So should you. I’m not going to do your homework for you.

    17) Define purpose. I can assure you anyway in which I define it you won’t like. Also, I’m sure your definition of purpose will only reinforce your prejudice about purpose and salvation anyway. Let me put it simply – I don’t believe I will be saved – I believe I will die and my thoughts and memories will disappear. I don’t like it, but I see no evidence for anything otherwise. The Bible ™ is very unconvincing however so I don’t believe it. Instead I accept my fate and get on living the best life I can. Its hard work and I fuck it up all the time but I’ll never stop trying.

    18) See 12. At least you aren’t smiling like an idiot.

    19) I believe there is _evidence_ of something “big” happening some 13-15 billion years ago. Lots of evidence for it – no faith required. I don’t have to have faith its snowing outside – I can see it. I can also hear the background radiation on my radio/tv and deduce the galaxies are moving away from ours. No faith required. Some kind of expansion event must have happened and we can deduce when it happened using what we know about the universe.

    20) I see poverty which God does nothing about. I see disease which God does nothing about. I see babies being abused/raped/tortured by uncaring parents and guardians while God stands by and does nothing. I see people suffering because of mental illness and addiction due to circumstances beyond their control. And I suffer the most horrendous headaches like some 10% of people. If this was planned out then yes, I’m resentful about the planner. Some very simple things to get right just didn’t get done right. Such an arsehole. Then, if you break his laws, even without knowing who he is, you get to burn in hell for it. Hitchens had it right when he said North Korea was better. At least you can fucking die and leave North Korea.

    21) It wasn’t a star. You don’t know what you are talking about so wipe the smugness off your face. But let me answer the question you should have asked. “Where did the stuff of the Big Bang come from?”. Its a good question. Without answer. Its deep, fascinating stuff. Isn’t it worthy of study? Now let me ask you, where did God come from? Want to study that? What answer could you possibly come up with?

    22) Saving the best for last. A true happy idiot. Let me turn it around. If you descended from a long line of northern Europeans then why are there still people in northern Europe? If evolution was true, surely they all turned into dopey christian Americans since you are one of them now.

  18. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    xaurreaux @ 11

    Show of hands. Who still thinks it’s OK for brothers and sisters to inter-breed?

    Perhaps I’m just an overly trusting marshmallow of a human being, but I took this as a reference to the fact that the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve would have to, y’know, interbreed in Young Earth Creationism.

    Perhaps this person has history I’m unaware of (and I’d quickly revise my interpretation if warranted), but as a single post it seems worthy of some benefit of the doubt.

  19. gshelley says

    Please tell me these were before the debate and at least some of those people were embarrassed by their ignorance once they had listened to Nye

  20. raven says

    http://www. sunclipse.org/?p=626 [link goes to Blake Stacey’s blog which has a must read essay with documentation of the cases below.]

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet) Now resigned under pressure.

    1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    1 fired Brucke Waltke noted biblical scholar

    Biology Department fired, La Sierra SDA University

    1 attempted persecution Richard Dawkins by the Oklahoma state legislature

    Vandalism Florida Museum of Natural History

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas
    Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 16 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled, the movie have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    These days, fundie xian is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

    Nice people indeed.

    1. Don’t ever let the fundie xian death cultists get behind you. Above is a list of people who did. They can be vicious. One science supporter was knifed to death.

    2. These nice people have asssassinated 8 of my colleagues and support xian terrorism, a serious problem in the USA for decades.

    They elected Bush and two of my friends ended up dead in Iraq.

    3. One of these nice people, John Geiger of Northstar in Morris, Minnesota is right now going after PZ Myers, making ridiculous and false accusations.

  21. scottrobson says

    @Antares42 *high-five* Did answering every question make you feel a little better like it did me?

  22. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    “If we come from moms and dads, how come there’s still moms and dads?”

    Hmm?

    Answer that with your science.

    Herp.

    Derp.

  23. Sastra says

    notyet #20 wrote:

    It seems obvious that the last thing any of them went to the debate for was to learn.

    Yeah, but we have to be careful about what “seems obvious.” To these nice, ordinary people it seems obvious that God exists. And then it seems obvious that creation is a better theory than evolution. Seems but isn’t, if you dig a bit.

    This is their Achilles Heel — for theists, Christians, and creationists. They don’t just fervently believe their views are right: they think they’re reasonable. Uh oh. If you’re wrong then overconfidence like that makes you vulnerable.

    The people who wrote those dumb questions came to the debate prepared to follow along. They weren’t afraid of listening to the other side and understanding what Nye was saying because how can you dismantle the arguments of evolutionists if you don’t engage with what they’re saying? After all, Ham wouldn’t have brought in The Science Guy if the case for creation and against evolution wasn’t rock solid, would he? So I’m going to listen carefully for the flaws.

    Da…daDAda (cue theme from Dragnet.) The beginning of the end.

    You may be right that none of them came to learn. But they did come to listen.

    Apparently the Creationists at AIG are saying they won so now there will be no more debates. Bwahahaha.

  24. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    “If poop comes from food how come there’s still food?”

    Answer that with your science.

  25. Trebuchet says

    If he wasn’t a member of Ham’s hand-picked audience, I’d be very tempted to cite Poe’s law on the “why are there still monkeys?” guy.

  26. carlie says

    I’m actually a bit cheered up reading them, because these were their “gotcha” questions, right? And most of them can be explained by simple, observable fact, something even they can’t deny. “There is only 1 fossil human”. Nope, look at all the bones! No interpretation even needed. I’d be more impressed, and maybe a little daunted, if they were deep philosophical questions that were actually difficult to grapple with. But nope, it’s “EXPLAIN A SUNSET I BET YOU CAN’T”. Um, yes. Pretty easily.

  27. Howard Bannister says

    @Carlie

    They’re just trying to prove that their grasp of grammar just isn’t there, can’t you see?

    …I wanted to move all those uses of the different words around to be humorously wrong. But some evil acts are just too depraved, it turns out.

  28. David Wilford says

    carlie @ 41:

    Precisely. They’re all the same sort of facile questions about origins that have already been addressed in the looooong argument about the theory of evolution.

  29. Dhorvath, OM says

    Anyone who pulls the smug smirk out when misusing thermodynamic arguments makes me cringe.

  30. perplexed says

    If atheism evolved from religion, why are there still religious people and why are they asking these stupid fucking questions…..

  31. jeffreylewis says

    Regarding the ‘Why are there still monkeys’ question, I’m going to blogwhore a bit and post a link to an entry I did a few years ago, Local Church Misunderstands Evolution – Why Are There Still Apes?. I think the problem in understanding in creationists goes a bit deeper than just saying, ‘If I descended from Europeans, why are there still Europeans’. Even if they pay lip service to mutations being random, at a gut level, they still think in terms of the Great Chain of Being, and think evolution will guide animals to some optimum design. And of course, us humans are the very pinnacle, so why wouldn’t monkeys right now be evolving to be just like humans?

  32. cogito says

    Wow. Such absolute ignorance. But I don’t agree that these people are all idiots (though some might be) – they are just blissfully uninformed.

  33. sonofrojblake says

    @Kevin, 10:

    I’m infinitely pissed off that I used to be one of those smiling ignoramuses

    Don’t be. Be proud of the “used to be” part. Some of us were never like that, didn’t have to overcome the indoctrination. We had it easy. You didn’t. Be proud of where you are now, not ashamed of where you came from to get here.

  34. carlie says

    Be proud of where you are now, not ashamed of where you came from to get here.

    Not speaking for Kevin, but in my case it’s not ashamed, it’s definitely pissed off. Because I was lied to by people who valued dogma over truth. Because they got me to believe that they were trustworthy. Because they almost kept me from a lifetime of wondrous discovery about how the world really is. Oh yes, I’m angry.

  35. notyet says

    @38 Sastra
    I agree that some of them may have learned something in spite of themselves. You are right when you say that they came to listen but my point is that while they may have come to listen, primarily they came to listen to Ham.

  36. notyet says

    @ 50 Carlie
    You have summed it up exactly. Pissed off that people that I trusted taught me nonsense that caused me to waste a significant portion of my life worshiping nonexistent gods and following ridiculous rules to avoid an equally non existent eternal punishment. Glad that I outgrew it before I destroyed my children’s lives with it.

  37. Larry says

    @16 tiredofusernamerules

    They look like very nice people.

    Serial killers are often nice people, too. At least, their neighbors always say that they were quiet and never caused any trouble…

  38. DonDueed says

    I, too, tried to answer all 22. What resulted was this:

    1. *headdesk*
    2. *headdesk*
    3. *headdesk*
    .
    .
    .
    22. ow…

  39. Dhorvath, OM says

    I had a deep insight into the truth and though I can’t articulate it, I am sure it tells me that evolution is truth. Gah, makes my mouth feel dirty.

  40. procyon says

    The smiling lady who wrote:
    “Because science by definition is a “theory”–not testable, observable, nor repeatable….”
    I had to stop there.

  41. carlie says

    Oh, and angry that they duped the people I love, to the point that I can’t unconvince them.

  42. carlie says

    Because my grandma? I don’t blame her really, she doesn’t know a lot about it and doesn’t have any pressing need to learn the details of evolutionary theory. My pastor? I blame him some because he studied it and out to have learned better, but he was still given a biased story. People like Ken Ham? ALL THE BLAME.

  43. stevem says

    re Menyambal — making sambal a food group @24:

    If Jesus was the Messiah, why are there still Jews?

    Because the Jews, today, are HERETICS, who refused to be saved by the Saviour.
    Not a valid question at all, to counter the “…monkeys…” question.
    Their question has many hidden assumptions, that makes all our attempts to parody it worthless. Their hidden assumption is that evolution claims that species evolve into a different species, the entire species all at once. That’s why they ask the question about monkeys evolving into man. From that complete misunderstanding of T.o.E. leads to their “reasons” for creation. Every species always existed, ‘as is’, since each was created, ‘as is’, by Gawd. (and Evolution is just a “Theory” anyway, not a “Law”). These people seem to be trying so hard to make sense of the ignorance they are left with after so little teaching of facts/reality. I think everyone is smart, just ignorant and left to wander down pathways away from actual reality, into someone’s fantasy/storyland. Didn’t watch Nye.v.Ham; did Nye explain that the purpose of science is to ask questions, not answer questions, that science is just the model of reality we build to be able to calculate predictions of the future that are far more accurate than astrology, etc.? In answer to Ham’s 6000yo Earth, did Nye present him with the “Last Thursday Hypothesis”? (google it). The “Big Bang” is just a hypothesis, not a conclusion, but it is the simplest result of projecting all the current “features” of the universe backwards in time. <yada, yada, yada> morning quarterbacking… movong right along now…

  44. Rey Fox says

    was that he was suggesting that these people were the result of brother-sister relationships

    Yeah, that’s the clear interpretation. Remember that this took place in Kentucky. It’s the usual bro-gressive stance that people who believe in creationism must all be backwoods hillbillies. You’d love for it to be that easy, but no, they’re not. They’re all around you, most of them went to the same schools as you did, and most of them have a fair amount of money and smart phones and sometimes even jobs in STEM fields.

  45. iknklast says

    If he wasn’t a member of Ham’s hand-picked audience, I’d be very tempted to cite Poe’s law on the “why are there still monkeys?” guy.

    I can never believe this is Poe’s law. My father gave me the exact same “gotcha” question while treating me to lunch after my dissertation defense (Biology!). I patiently explained; he will still ask this question to me again some day.

  46. yubal says

    #1 For what I can tell, yes.
    #2 No (!)
    #3 Yes, it is illogical.
    #4 Ahem, NO !?!
    #5 The earth is rotating around itself at a relatively stable position with the respect to the sun during the time-frame in question
    #6 They don’t
    #7 It’s rubbish
    #8 That’s a good one. I have a personal, subjective, answer to that but I would like to propose that an specific and general objective meaning of life would not include much more than the net entropy gain it causes (see #4 and #6)
    #9 There are several plausible mechanisms for that event. It is definitely related to #8 so let me just point out that increased number of compartments (e.g. vesicle structures of lipids containing and excluding water soluble molecules) enable the natural system to contain certain chemical features that enable specific reactions and also build up additional energy gradients along which exchange processes can occur later. As soon as you have reached that state, the development of live is in my opinion straight forward and downhill.
    #10 good for you
    #11 There are few of us who embrace the concept of an extraterrestrial intelligence seeding life throughout the universe. It is a possible explanation but for all we know a highly implausible scenario. Just let me point out briefly that this very unlikely possibility still makes more sense then what AiG is talking about.
    #12 I do not understand your point. Please try putting it in a different way so I can follow.
    #13 “Yes” (I do not like the way you put that question)
    #14 You are a moron, go away.
    #15 Your statement is so misinformed and wrong, it doesn’t even deserve a comment.
    #16 The vast majority of mutations are considered to be silent or disadvantageous, so not ANY mutation increases genetic information but since you asked for mechanisms, among others there are: Gene- translocation, -inversion, -fusion, -silencing (yes, this can be an increase in information), -duplication, -splicing variation and of course Chromosome aberrations, numerical and structural.
    #17 I am here to enjoy my life peacefully and productively and to enable others to do the same.
    #18 Because the geology in east Africa is not beneficial for fossil formation. Even worse, trying to find chimp fossils. Almost impossible because the chemical and physical properties of their habitat strongly discourages the formation of a fossil. Also, “Lucy” is not the only fossil we found of that species, among hundreds of partial fossils, the “Selam” fossil is a second example of that species.
    #19 Yes.
    #20 How can you wear a sweater made in Bangladesh and wear it without constantly thinking about the poor devils in the sweat shops of Asia who have their health ruined for a few dollars a month so you can buy cheap clothing in walmart?
    #21 The first stars exploded a few hundred thousand years after the big bang.
    #22 You are a troll. Or a moron. Go away!

  47. says

    Antares42 #14

    Sorry about the wall of text, I don’t seem to be able to insert paragraphs, bullet points or anything of the sort.

    Paragraphs: just hit carriage-return twice for a paragraph, once for a line-break.

    Bullet points: &middot; Produces · or you could use asterisks or, as you did, numbers.

  48. tiphphin says

    I think the sadest thing about these questions is that question 1 can only be asked if the questioner thinks that the existential fear that Ken Ham wants to instil in children is a good thing. The smile on the questioner’s face is, therefore, quite sinister.

  49. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    stevem @ 64

    Their question has many hidden assumptions, that makes all our attempts to parody it worthless.

    Yeah. As amusing as the parodies can be, they tend to be way off the mark.

    “If Joe and I have a common ancestor, why does Joe exist?” is actually on par with what they’re asking. It’s ludicrous–far more so than most of the parodies–and yet they’ve been so mislead that they can’t recognize that. They aren’t thinking about generations passing and how a family branches off; they’ve been trained out of such an obvious thought process when it comes to evolution. They’re thinking about our great-great-grandpa becoming me and Joe is simultaneously the original great-great-grandpa.

    It is a shitty, shitty thing that people have been so mislead and had their understanding of the world so twisted by this crap.

  50. moarscienceplz says

    These people make me very sad. They have been told all their lives that the only way to avoid eternal torture is to be as ignorant as possible. Richard Dawkins is right. That is child abuse.

  51. hackerguitar says

    These idiots make me sad.

    More importantly, they make me angry.

    Their idiot beliefs do the world no good, except by accident, and great harm, often deliberately, in the name of whackaloon principles they claim to have received in the distant past from a magical being of which they have no direct experience.

    I don’t see where there’s any use in being polite to them. We’ll not change their beliefs, but we can confront them with the consequences of their belief constantly, and let them know that they are, either actively or passively, engaged in harmful behavior.

  52. zenlike says

    Look, I know ‘the second law of thermodynamics’ sounds very daunting, but it is actually quite a very easy to understand law. I’m terrible when it comes to physics, and have never had any problem understanding it. Those two guys (and a lot of others are clearly in the same vein) clearly have never thought about their question: they heard Ham or their pastor spout out this platitude, and then have remembered it by heart to use as a ‘gotcha’ question.

    That’s what I find the saddest: these people never thought about their standpoint, they have taken as gospel the idiocy spouted by their pastors.

    And the woman in 5, how does that question makes sense when you are not a flat-earther? And even then? I’m really stumped. Clearly, you have stupid and tehn below that are layers and layers of ever deeper levels of stupidity.

  53. raven says

    These idiots make me sad.

    More importantly, they make me angry.

    Their idiot beliefs do the world no good,

    1. On a good day, they are just baggage being dragged along by our society and holding it back.

    2. On a bad day, they will destroy us. Most of them are xian Dominionist theocrats who have no use for democracy and freedom. Equality, science, tolerance, sustainable development, and multiculturalism are bad words to them. Their big project is the New Endarkenment.

  54. Gregory Greenwood says

    I look at the smiling face of the seemingly pretty harmless chap holding the sign of pure stoopid in the OP, and I can’t help but be reminded of the famous Voltaire quote “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

    Even an otherwise peaceable person can be rendered very dangerous indeed once the poison of religion takes hold, and the more unthinking the creed, the more dangerous its effects tend to be.

  55. glennedwards says

    In a way, I take some small comfort from the fact that some of these folks are at least aware that there are Laws of Thermodynamics. Maybe one day they will go look them up and begin to learn something.

    OK, OK, I’m grasping for straws here, I know.

  56. says

    My answer to the monkey one tries to keep the argument within the point they are trying to make thus:

    IF we were descended from monkeys it would only be from the monkeys that left the jungle and entered the savannas and plains of ancient Africa and then proceeded to adapt to this new environment. The monkeys that stayed behind in the jungle stayed monkeys. So that is why there would still be monkeys.

    I use the word IF because technically we didn’t evolve from monkeys at all but in fact we have a common ancestor with monkeys but making that argument is too much for most creationists. And although the “why are there still Europeans or Jews argument is actually a logical continuation of their monkey argument and displays the fallacy of their logic, when you make the argument that way you lose them completely because they would simply see it as an attempt at ridicule and belittlement. And thus you may also lose the others in the room who are listening in to your conversation.

    Of course I don’t engage creationists to change their minds. I engage creationists to make sure that the other people listening to the conversation, or following a thread on a blog realize their arguments are bogus.

  57. sigurd jorsalfar says

    It’s clear to me that creationists who bring up the 2nd law of thermodynamics as a gotcha to evolution are missing another point. If evolution on earth were a violation of the 2nd law (i.e. if earth were a closed system) then that would mean that life itself would be impossible, even divinely created life, not just evolved life. So what are creationists implying? That their god divinely intervenes on a daily, nay minute by minute, basis, to violate the 2nd law in order to sustain life on earth? In which case, science would never have formulated the 2nd law because it would never be observed to happen. Or are they saying that the 2nd law is wrong? In which case it’s not a bar to evolution.

    On the question of why are there still monkeys, this of course is just a creationist gotcha that believers are taught to trot out without the least understanding of what they are really asking, just like they do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. But why do they think it’s a gotcha in the first place? The best I can come up with is they think evolution is the idea that one species spontaneously turns into another, i.e. all the monkeys on earth one day woke up and turned into humans, so it makes sense to them to ask why are there still monkeys. But even if this is how they see evolution it’s still a stupid question, i.e. there is no reason they can come up with why every single monkey had to turn into a human. Some could have just stayed as monkeys. But a more humorous answer would be ‘All the monkeys did turn into humans, but then later on all the glephnogorps turned into monkeys, so that’s why we have monkeys today but no glephnogorps’.

    But seriously, anyone have any insight into what creationists think evolutionary theory says, that they think this monkey question is a gotcha?

  58. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Hey hackerguitar, as an ex”idiot” myself, I can say with certainty that you can change their beliefs. It wasn’t Bill Nye that got me questioning the crap I’d been told my whole life, but it was a teacher with an almost identical calm but passionate advocacy of science. Maybe nobody in that audience got anything from that debate, but I promise that some fundie’s kids somewhere now have a few doubts, a few questions that need real answers. If they choose to follow those doubts, they will eventually win free, even if it takes years to get there.

    Some people need to be shouted at to start questioning their faith, some people need calm reasoned debate. Ham didn’t get anything out of this that he didn’t already have. Hell, he was already quote mining Bill Nye during the debate, a few more video clips change nothing. But Bill did a great job, and I am certain he reached at least a few people.

  59. dianne says

    I like #19. The edge of the glass in the background makes it look like someone shot a laser through his head and it kept going without impediment. (Yes, I know, but tell me that you don’t see it now.)

  60. says

    But seriously, anyone have any insight into what creationists think evolutionary theory says, that they think this monkey question is a gotcha?

    The typical idiotic “gotcha grin” is all the answer I need. They don’t know, and they don’t care.

  61. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    It must be the OCD kicking in, or maybe the desire to put off starting that big project, but I cannot stop myself from answering the questions from the link. I’ll use the exercise as practice for confrontations with creationists. So here are my answers, I but transcribed and include the questions, too. Yes, it’ll be long.

    1) Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?

    Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: If you think promoting the methods and achievements of science, and of the knowledge and benefits it has brought the world, you are my mortal enemy. And I mean mortal. Science has saved more lives than any God or gods ever did.

    2) Are you scared of a divine Creator?

    Short: Since there is no divine Creator, no, I am not scared. I am not scared of nonexistent things. Long: Now, the descriptor “divine” is extremely positive — one would think from that that a “divine” Creator would be loving, tolerant, and just; but your invocation of fear clearly implies that I OUGHT to be afraid of a creator, a creator who is then hateful, violent, and sadistic, and consequently not really divine. Your question is an oxymoronic threat.

    3) Is it completely illogical that the earth was created mature? Ie. trees created with rings . . .

    Short: Yes it illogical. Long: There is no logical reason a Creator would create a world with evidence that He (or She) does not exist, or that He (or She) would create a world in multitudinal conflict with said Creator’s Word

    4) Does not the Second Law of Thermodynamics disprove evolution?

    Short: No. Long: Is it daytime where you are? Are you outside or by a window? Long up. Look waaayyy up. See that big, blinding ball of exploding gas in the sky? Feel its heat? That’s the Sun; it is putting out the power of about 100,000 exploding atom bombs EVERY SECOND, the resulting radiation of which strikes the Earth and provides almost all of the energy required for the initiation and maintenance of life.

    5) How do you explain a sunset if there is no God?

    Short: Differing diffraction of different wavelengths of light through the air at different angles of attack. Long: There is no long.

    6) If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, why do the law of thermodynamics debunk said theories?

    See #4, doofus.

    7) What about Noetics?

    Short: Unsubstantiated divine revelations are all worth the same amount: nothing. Long: Noetics MIGHT mean something if everyone throughout history had come up with the same inspirations. But that hasn’t and doesn’t happen. Random confabulations have been random throughout history, including today.

    8) Where do you derive objective meaning in life?

    Short: There is no meaning in life, except that which you make yourself. Long: Stressing word “objective” as you do shows that you NEED some kind of single meaning. But inasmuch as a word may have dozens of different meanings, denotatively, connotatively, contextually, and personally, and inasmuch as every human has a unique value-set and perception of the world and their experiences, NO there is no objective meaning to life now, nor is one possible.

    9) If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?

    Short: Single-celled organisms originated from the agglomeration of various self-replicating chemicals which bonded together. These self-replicating chemical agglomerations can be generated by common processes we know and have observed in the world and in the lab. We don’t know the exact mechanisms yet, but investigating this is fun and valuable. Long: Read a book or three!

    10) I believe in the Big Bang Theory. God said it and BANG it happened.

    This is not a question. This is an aggressive assertion based on repetition and ignorance, and with no evidence to hand.

    11) Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non-God-believing people reject the idea of there being a Creator God, but embrace the concept of intelligent design from aliens or other extra-terrestrial sources?

    Short: Because the idea, though improbable, is not impossible, and is really neat. Long: Because, even though we have found no evidence of life in the universe outside of the Earth, much less intelligent life, much less intelligent starfaring life, which is a set of wishful assumptions based upon a miles-high stack of billions of improbabilities — even that is more probable than a Magic Sky Fairy.

    12) There is no in between . . . the only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few peices of the hundreds necessary for an “official proof”.

    Short: There have been thousands of Lucy Lucy-life fossils found over the last 150 years. Long: You are ignorant of evolution, paleontology, and many other sciences besides. First, EVERY fossil is transitional, including US; evolution does not, and has not stopped. Second, there is no such thing as “official” proof — but there is “scientific consensus”, which is reached over a period of decades from the researches, contributions, arguments, and syntheses of thousands of scientists working very, very hard to find things out. And the scientific consensus is that Lucy is an ancestor of present-day us, part of a well-defined lineage which goes back about 6 million years at this point.

    13) Does metamorphosis help support evolution?

    Short: Only insofar as it demonstrates an evolved strategy of reproduction and development. Long: Talk to an entomologist.

    14) If Evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is evolution taught as fact?

    Short: “Theory” does not mean what you think is means. “Theory” in science is a well-tested hypothesis which can be used to explain the present state of things and to predict future discoveries. Evolution will be dumped like a hot potato if a new theory and/or consensus which explains things better is found. P.S. – Creationism and the Bible DO NOT explain things better.

    15) Because science by definition is a “theory” — not testable, observable, nor repeatable”, why do you object ot creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?

    Short: (facepalm)
    (headdesk)
    (bodyfloor) Long: Theories ARE testable, observable, and repeatable. That’s what distinguishes a :”theory” from “random statement I pulled out of my ass”.

    16) What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an INCREASE in genetic informtion seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process?

    Short: Mutation from background radiation, for one. Long: Transcription errors, chromosome drift, chromosome duplication . . . read a book!

    17) What purpose do you think you are here for, if you do not believe in Salvation?

    Short: To live my life to fullest of my potential, while providing positive experiences to those people around me, in particular those whom I love. Long: Your use of “Salvation” implies that I am lost/about to die/suffer great harm. If I am in any of those states, your non-existent God cannot help me, only myself and the people and society around me.

    18) Why have we found only 1 “Lucy” when we have found more than 1 or everything else?

    Short: We haven’t found only 1 Lucy. You’re ignorant and/or misinformed. Long: You are criminally misinformed. Go read a book.

    19) Can you believe in “the Big Bang” without faith?

    Short: Of course, because I have “evidence”. Long: There is no long.

    20) How can you look at the world and not believe Someone created/thought of it. It’s Amazing!!

    Short: Your personal incredulity does not require the existence of supernatural, omniscient superbeing. Long: Basing the very existence of the Universe solely on your personal incredulity without the followup of curiosity, investigation, analysis, and conclusion is fatuous and pathetic.

    21) Relating to the Big Bang theory . . . Where did the exploding star come from?

    Short: It’s not a star that exploded. Go read a book. Long: Where did the matter come from is one of the greatest and most intriguing of questions in all of Science. Tens of thousands of scientists right now, around the world, as investigating this problem, using millions of person-hours on brain-time (aka thinking) and billions upon billions of dollars. I would like to the see answer — far more than you, as it is clear you already “know” the answer.

    22) If we came from monkeys, then, why are there monkeys?

    Short: Monkeys didn’t CHANGE INTO us. Monkeys and we have a common answer. Long; We are COUSINS to monkeys, not descendants; we are beside each other, but separated, on the bush of evolution. Go read a book!

    I know, I know, tl;dr. But it was good exercise to work through these questions. And you can if more fun if you imagine every answer being followed by: Christ! What an asshole!

  62. dianne says

    If evolution on earth were a violation of the 2nd law (i.e. if earth were a closed system) then that would mean that life itself would be impossible, even divinely created life, not just evolved life. So what are creationists implying? That their god divinely intervenes on a daily, nay minute by minute, basis, to violate the 2nd law in order to sustain life on earth?

    In one sense I suppose they’re right…the great god Ra or Apollo or Tonatiuh or whoever you will sends energy down to us every instant of the day, making life on Earth possible…

    If the creationists were a little more savvy, they might notice that while Earth isn’t a violation of thermodynamics, the universe as a whole may be…at least, I can’t explain how things started at a low entropy state, though I see no reason that a god must be invoked to explain it. It’s just a gap in (at least my) knowledge.

  63. jesse says

    I’m going to chime in and say that while I sometimes find it cathartic to call people stupid, that doesn’t make it right.

    Many of the questions are based on false assumptions — but most people never learn anything else. The woman who abused the word “theory” did so because the word “theory” means something different in common usage. In science we use it to talk about models; but I bet everyone here has at least once used the word to mean “a guess.” It’s like some ordinary words that mean one thing in conversation and another in say, a court of law. (“discovery,” for instance, or “reasonable doubt,” are two examples.)

    I didn’t learn the correct usage of theory until college, really (though I remember we touched on the words inference, hypothesis, and theory back in sixth grade, thank you Ms. Davis!). It’s just not something most people see in the course of their education.

    There’s a whole ‘nother discussion there. But the point is I can’t just call people stupid anymore. People do and believe what works for them. Just like we say that in evolution certain traits will hang around as long as they aren’t actively maladaptive, there’s beliefs, attitudes and practices that will do the same.

  64. truthspeaker says

    Rob Grigjanis

    5 February 2014 at 9:10 am (UTC -6)

    If the Pilgrims came from England, why are there still English people? It is a conundrum.

    Historians weren’t there, so we can’t say with any confidence that the Pilgrims came from England. /s

  65. sigurd jorsalfar says

    @Paul #84, Well I’m thinking specifically of the mindset of the creationist(s) who first came up with this ‘gotcha’, not the grinning idiots who mindlessly repeat it with zero understanding.

    @dianne – I thought about the idea of the sun as a god, but the sun isn’t violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics – eventually it will run out of fuel.

  66. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Some daft accomodationist in the comments trying to say evolution isn’t incompatible with creation:

    “Yeah, well what is a “day” to God, anyway? Probably some number of billion years…”

    No, a day is the amount of time it takes for the Earth to make one full revolution on it’s axis. Words have meanings, you don’t get to arbitrarily change them to shore up your ridiculous argument. If Genesis means a period of time which is not equivalent to the amount of time it takes for the Earth to make one revolution on it’s axis, then God didn’t make the world in 6 days, because Genesis wouldn’t be talking about a day. It would be talking about a different time period which it has arbitrarily named a “day”.

    And “If you don’t believe in God, how do you explain a sunset?” I know it’s a logical fallacy, but I suspect I would have more respect for creationism if most of it’s proponents weren’t so fucking stupid.

  67. truthspeaker says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    5 February 2014 at 9:53 am (UTC -6)

    “If we come from moms and dads, how come there’s still moms and dads?”

    Hmm?

    Answer that with your science.

    Were you there? Checkmate, atheists.

  68. says

    Adding my voice to the “can we stop othering these people please” chorus. I was raised atheist, and I’m completely proud of that, but there’s nothing special about me other than my good fortune that the sperm and egg which made me happened to be combined by two people who didn’t want to repeat the sectarian stupidity they’d experienced (she was Catholic, he Church of England, both families very unhappy).

    It isn’t cleverness or knowledge which put me in the lucky category of people who weren’t indoctrinated with this crap when they were too young to know better, but pure fucking luck. Same for you. So if you want to crow about something, talk about how lucky you were that you weren’t put into the abusively awful spot where someone filled your childhood mind with drivel, and threatened you with everlasting torture if you tried to disbelieve.

    It doesn’t make you special or clever, and it doesn’t make them the products of inbreeding or otherwise intellectually impaired. It just makes us lucky, and them not. So let’s dismount the High Horse of Moral Superiority that we only got a ride on through fortune, shall we? Thanks ever so.

  69. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Hairhead, thanks, that was great.

    —–

    If we evolved from Australopithecus, why are there still Australopithecus?

  70. robro says

    sigurd jorsalfar @#81

    So what are creationists implying? That their god divinely intervenes on a daily, nay minute by minute, basis, to violate the 2nd law in order to sustain life on earth?

    I’m afraid the seriously, hardcore religious types would not imply this but be quite explicit: yes, “god” (whatever name you want to use) is active in everything, all the time. God is in you and everyone and everything around you. Which is to say it’s just old fashioned animism but instead of a multitude of spirits inhabiting the rocks, trees, and streams, there’s just one, making it easier to propitiate the evil bastard.

  71. thesandiseattle says

    “their views…. will make you just want to stop the world and get off.”

    well maybe thats a bit much. Personally I’m going with the “Ignorance is bliss” mode. I ignore these YEC yahoos and I’m happier. I figure if they approach my children, I can shoo them away, forcefully if I must.

  72. ChasCPeterson says

    Short: (facepalm)
    (headdesk)
    (bodyfloor)

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

    I must take issue with this one though:

    Short: Monkeys didn’t CHANGE INTO us. Monkeys and we have a common [ancestor]. Long; We are COUSINS to monkeys, not descendants…

    If the extant group called “monkeys” includes, as is conventional, both platyrrhines (New World ‘monkeys’) and catarrhines (Old World ‘monkeys’), then yes, there is no escaping the conclusion that humans are descendants of (extinct) ‘monkeys’ and that, therefore, some kind of (extinct) ‘monkeys’ did ‘change into’ us.
    If you wish to talk about extant species only, then I’m afraid you’d have to include the apes as a subgroup of the catarrhines and therefore humans are ‘monkeys’, of a specialized type, just as you are a member of the same extended family as your cousins.

  73. dzing says

    Surely some of these people are fucking with us. Please? I mean, “How do you explain sunsets if their is no God?” Really? The tired old, “if it’s a theory, why is it taught as fact?” bit – it’s so easy to find an answer to that; don’t these people have internet access. “Why are there still monkeys” just makes me want to start Hulk-smashing things, or maybe banging my head against the wall. And don’t even get me started on “science is by definition a ‘theory’ – not testable, observable, nor repeatable.” If these people are for real, they aren’t even trying to understand evolution. Or science. Or reality.

  74. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Ugh, now I’m waste-deep in the big pile of stupid that is the comments. There’s some good arguments going on there, but it’s mostly xian morons.

  75. sigurd jorsalfar says

    robro, I really don’t think this is where the 2nd law question is intended to go when asked by a creationist. I think creationists ask it because they believe that evolution violates the laws of science, not just the laws of god. I think they want to attack science as internally inconsistent, not just inconsistent with their beliefs about god.

    I’m trying to get at what it is that creationists believe that the theory of evolution says, not what they believe about their god. They never stop telling us what they believe about their god.

  76. Sastra says

    carlie #41 wrote:

    I’d be more impressed, and maybe a little daunted, if they were deep philosophical questions that were actually difficult to grapple with. But nope, it’s “EXPLAIN A SUNSET I BET YOU CAN’T”. Um, yes. Pretty easily.

    I’d disagree that this one is “easy” because the woman is probably not asking anyone to explain the physics of a sunset. She’s making what’s known as the Argument from Beauty — in a material, natural world with no Transcendent reality there is no explanation for Beauty and/or for our sense of transcendence when viewing the same. Ergo, clear evidence for God.

    In my opinion it’s a goddam hell of an argument to address because it morphs all over the place and back again, into Platonic forms, Transcendence, the evolution of emotions, the objective/subjective distinction, now back to making sense of abstractions, now mind/body duality, then how evolution could DO such a thing, and on and on. Some of the worst arguments can be the trickiest because half the battle is in figuring out what the problem really is and most of them don’t clearly know how to express it because the thoughts are muddled to begin with.

    The Argument from Beauty was for me the most convincing, back when I was “spiritual.”

    Jacob Schmidt #58 wrote:

    But really though, what about noetics?
    “states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority…”

    This question was the most unexpected to me because every encounter I’ve had with the term “noetics” has come from the New Agers. How did a common “Spirituality” dog whistle creep into a Young Earth Creationist?

    hackerguitar #72 wrote:

    I don’t see where there’s any use in being polite to them.

    “Them?” Them is us — as has been pointed out.

    Unless you’re following a specific strategy which you’ve thought out and justified in advance, I think a good rule of thumb is to always be polite — more than you ‘need’ to. It’s almost never actually wrong, it makes life easier in general, and more often than not the Them will end up treating you like you’re human, too. You get what you give.

    You can be polite and thus more deadly, you know. It’s not a form of surrender. If nothing else, they feel obligated to stick around longer.

  77. Jacob Schmidt says

    Sastra

    This question was the most unexpected to me because every encounter I’ve had with the term “noetics” has come from the New Agers. How did a common “Spirituality” dog whistle creep into a Young Earth Creationist?

    Yeah, I usually know what to expect from creationists, but that one was a curve ball. I has to actually go look up noetics to learn what it was. My guess is that the woman is just some anti-science/pro-spiritual advocate, and the creationists counted her as one of their own to bolster their numbers.

  78. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Sastra, I agree with you that the sunset question was probably motivated by the argument from beauty. That’s how I interpreted it.

    But then I’m reminded of Bill O’Reilly’s ‘tide goes in tide goes out, you can’t explain that’ and I’m not so sure.

  79. says

    Paul @ 84:

    The typical idiotic “gotcha grin” is all the answer I need.

    Oh FFS. People were smiling because they were having their photo taken, that’s something people do. These are people who have been smothered in ignorance their whole lives, and ignorance isn’t a crime, nor does it mean they are idiots.

  80. Sastra says

    Jacob Schmidt #104 wrote:

    My guess is that the woman is just some anti-science/pro-spiritual advocate, and the creationists counted her as one of their own to bolster their numbers.

    A good possibility. It’s also possible that she’s an “I-used-to-be-a-Wiccan-and-then-I-found-Jesus” style of convert.

    Or there might be more of an overlap between New Age and Christian Fundamentalism than I expected. We already know that there IS some overlap because 1.) people are complicated and 2.) all this crap is pretty similar.

    There are New Agers who make regular reference to being grounded in Jesus Christ, and in some fundamentalist churches whether or not some psychics are “God-inspired” is a live question. There are doctrinal purists … and then there are the “if it increases faith in Jesus then it’s all good” … even within fundamentalist Christianity.

  81. hackerguitar says

    I overreacted. Apologies tendered, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I spoke in anger.

    I do recognize that the people who do so are often caught up in the nets of belief, and are victims of bad information. I generally try to be polite but find it very difficult when dealing with people whose belief systems are full of circular reasoning – it makes me angry to watch someone (for example) telling their small child that “if you keep asking for that toy, you’re going to hell….” – I see child abuse.

    Thanks for the reminder that engaging politely is a better strategy….

  82. says

    The creationist signs mostly regurgitate standard YEC talking points — they all came from some Sunday School lesson or Creation Science seminar. (“Noetics” is a bit of an exception — WTF?) There’s only one Lucy? Seriously? Yes, there is one specific specimen popularly called “Lucy”, but that’s nowhere near the only proto-human remains ever found. The amount of confusion that needs to be untangled there before proper information can be imparted is daunting.

    @87: The evolutionist ones are actually a bit disappointing. A lot of them don’t seem to be familiar with the standard YEC talking points, and pose questions that Ham already has a reply to (a bogus one, to be sure — but you need to ask something he *can’t* just spout off his standard gibberish about).

  83. Akira MacKenzie says

    Hairhead @ 85

    There is no meaning in life, except that which you make for yourself.

    While I certainly agree with the first phrase, I’ve always struggled with accepting the second. What meaning or purpose does the homeless man who lives in a cardboard bos in an alley create for himself? How about the child starving to death in sub-Saharan Africa? What meaning or self-purpose does he create, or indeed, any child who dies before adulthood? What about people who try to create there own meaning and fail through no fault of their own? It seems to me that the lives of only a lucky few are bestowed with meaning while billions of others don’t. Also, what good will all that meaning do us after humanity is extinct, the Earth is consumed by a dying Sol, or when the universe comes to an end?

    Where’s your meaning now?

    In the end, the “self-created meaning” seems to me as bad PR; a Noble Lie on the atheist’s part to answer a specious, nonsensical question that appeals to a species of narcistic apes. Well, even a Noble Lie is still a lie, as deceitful and cynical as anything coming out of the mouth of a theist, and if we value facts as we claim to, we have no business dealing in lies.

    Therefore, my answer to question 8 would be:

    “There is no meaning in life, so SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

    (To answer your next question, yes, I’m angry much. If you’re not angry then you haven’t been paying attention,)

  84. Blondin says

    I don’t think #22 is serious. That looks more like a cheeky-monkey-grin than a smug-smirk to me.

  85. woozy says

    @Sastra102

    I thought it was obviously an argument from beauty too. I agree that these are irritating in that they are deliberately slippery as to what point they are making. But I don’t think either of the points individually are “hard”. The points seem to be either: “How did the sense of beauty evolve/ what purpose does it serve” which is actually a very easy question or: “Such objective beauty can only come from God” which is sophomoric or: “You scientists can not perceive beauty and I pity you and prefer to live the only life that allows beautiful things and that’s through God” which is just, arggh! presumptive much? Of course we perceive beauty; it’s just that being able to talk about it objectively isn’t an indication of lack of appreciation nor is the inability to talk about it objectively a virtue. That the arguers never specify just *which* point they are trying to make (usually the third) seems they just want to be smug with an “i’m so sensitive and you’re soulless” gotcha, rather than make any point.

    Oh, I guess there’s a fourth interpretation: “Explaining a magic trick takes the beauty away so all you scientists are merely evil bastards who want to destroy beauty” to which, well, fuck you too.

  86. shawnthesheep says

    I for one was surprised to learn that science is not “observable, repeatable, testable..” So what the hell have you grifter scientists been doing with all that grant money? Spending it on hookers and blow?

  87. MetzO'Magic says

    Heh. I thought the powers that be at Answers in Genesis already had the thermodynamics idiocy covered on a list of arguments creationists shouldn’t use against evolution:

    Arguments Creationists Should Avoid – Answers in Genesis

    But no, they only cover it w.r.t. the Adam and Eve angle, vis:

    2. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics began at the Fall. (If so, how could Adam and Eve have eaten and digested their food that they were told to eat before the Fall?)

    Silly creationists. Everyone with half a brain knows that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (i.e. entropy) only applies to a closed system (as many others above have already expressed).

    Goes to show, of course, that when you don’t actually understand how things work, you have to depend on rote memorisation. And generally, the facts of science can’t be explained away by 6th grade level stuff that you memorise without understanding, creationist dingbats!

  88. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Akira @110: That’s a good point. In my mind “except that which you create yourself” clearly includes, “and you might create nothing.” I did not want to seem as though I disrespected or discounted those who would not self-conscious “create meaning.”

    Chas@98: Thank you for your pedantry — and no, that’s not an insult: I enjoyed reading your new information. And I agree, we’re still monkeys — a special kind of monkey, is all.

    And apologies for some of the typos. I was so pissed off I didn’t even want to read the questions again, and so hit the submit button w/o editing.

  89. carlie says

    Ah yes, the “because some things are pretty” argument. I was a bit deep into “tides go in/out” thinking there. Yes, sunsets are pretty. Botfly infections are not. My soul has no truck with poetry. ;)

  90. Sastra says

    Akira MacKenzie wrote:

    While I certainly agree with the first phrase, I’ve always struggled with accepting the second.

    What if instead of “There is no meaning in life, except that which you make for yourself” we say “There is no meaning in life, except that which we make for ourselves?”

    If we place the responsibility for human flourishing onto humanity in general, then maybe the statement avoids the implication of victim-blaming for those in horrible circumstances — as if, like The Secret, we atheists believe that “not being happy” is always some sort of personal choice.

    That said, it’s also possible that the homeless, the starving and the unfortunate also have an answer to “what in your life means something important to you?” Assuming otherwise might turn into a different sort of insult.

  91. says

    thesandiseattle:

    I ignore these YEC yahoos and I’m happier.

    Obviously, it’s your life, so the decision is yours, but I’m not certain this is for the best. The right wing theocrats in the USA wield quite a bit of power and have been chipping away at the wall between church and state, attempting to-and succeeding at-eroding women’s rights, have stood in the way of equality for LGBT, blocked attempts to even have a discussion of global warming, and more.
    I don’t believe we’ll make much headway against the like of the more public YEC yahoos like Schlafly’s, Ham’s, and Hovind’s, but lay people? Fence sitters, or those actually looking for evidence are another story. These are people that we interact with everyday and these are the people we may be able to influence. Look at how gay rights have progressed in the last few decades. These people interacted with gay people and came to view them as people deserving of respect. That didn’t come about by ignoring the YEC yahoos.

  92. says

    2. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics began at the Fall.

    I recall hearing that one in church, when I was an undergraduate engineer. Thing is, the frosh chem course had already covered elementary thermo, including thought experiments proving that some loss of available energy was inevitable in everyday processes. That sort of thing quickly made me a non-literalist w.r.t. Genesis (and thus, in Ham’s view, a compromising heretic doomed to become the God-mocking apostate I am now).

  93. sigurd jorsalfar says

    @diane #85

    If the creationists were a little more savvy, they might notice that while Earth isn’t a violation of thermodynamics, the universe as a whole may be…at least, I can’t explain how things started at a low entropy state …

    I just noticed that question no 6 does specifically ask about this. No 6 is probably the only serious question in the bunch. He (I think it’s a he) ruins it, however, by lumping in evolution. But maybe there’s hope for no. 6.

  94. says

    Pondering the persistent “…why are there still monkeys?” trope…

    Hm. I think part of what might lie behind it is a view of evolution that’s been shaped by hierarchical thinking: notions of the animal “kingdom” – which, to be sure, have also corrupted a nontrivial portion of evolutionary thinking – that see it in terms of a hierarchical order of discrete kinds, with superior humans at the top. If this is your understanding, you’re likely to imagine evolution as a dynamic version of this static model, in which superior kinds replace inferior kinds. If superior humans evolved from inferior monkeys, they wonder, how have monkeys not been superseded? What would they still be doing here?

    I would bet many creationists* find it difficult if not impossible to conceive of evolution as wholly nonteleological and as something other than a dynamic version of the hierarchical kingdom – a process in which “lower” forms give way to “higher,” more perfect, ones. (In addition, of course, to the explicit speciesism of the “I’m no kin to a monkey” variety.) It would be interesting to ask the people posing these sorts of questions what they generally understand evolution to mean.

    * And people generally, but especially creationists, who’ve been steeped in visions of an order of “creation” descending from a god and angels to the lowest beasts.

  95. robro says

    sigurd jorsalfar @#101

    I really don’t think this is where the 2nd law question is intended to go when asked by a creationist. I think creationists ask it because they believe that evolution violates the laws of science, not just the laws of god. I think they want to attack science as internally inconsistent, not just inconsistent with their beliefs about god.

    Well, I was addressing your specific question about whether they believe that god “divinely intervenes on a daily basis.” The answer to that is absolutely they do. This is not irrelevant to where creationists are going with the 2nd law/evolution question, or any of the others. They aren’t really going anywhere with it. There is no serious intent to ask a rational question and understand the answer, which has been addressed repeatedly in the past. The 2nd law is no more real or meaningful to them than the theory of evolution. The only “law” is the law of god. When your reality begins and ends with god, there’s really nothing to discuss.

  96. dianne says

    @sigurd 122: I think you must be right. I couldn’t make much sense out of #6: the combination of cosmology and biological evolution threw me off. The laws of thermodynamics are completely consistent with biological evolution. Cosmology…I have my doubts. I think that we still have things to discover about physics. Maybe #6 will be inspired by his questions to take a course or two in physics and start to find the good question buried in the original mess.

    Since I went back to the link to look up #6, I reread them all and am wondering…did anyone else find #10’s question to be filthy?

  97. dianne says

    @SC:If superior humans evolved from inferior monkeys, they wonder, how have monkeys not been superseded?

    Well, humanity’s been working on this problem, but we’re not quite as good at genocide as we think we are. Sorry, but I think that’s the real answer: monkeys and other apes are dying out, mostly from human encroachment on their habitats. Evolutionarily speaking, this does mean that humans are the more currently successful* adaptation. Ethically speaking, just yuck.

    *Note the qualifier: just because there are a lot of humans around now doesn’t mean that our adaptations will still be evolutionarily successful in a few generations or even a few years. Evolution has no grand strategy, it’s just a way of describing what’s happening now. Yes, I know you know this, but we might get a questioning creationist lurker.

  98. sigurd jorsalfar says

    dianne, I didn’t find #10 filthy until you put the idea into my head. Sigh.

    But I’m also wondering if maybe question 13 about metamorphosis was a serious question requiring a serious answer, and not just a standard gotcha. Sadly, the question is too vague for me to know what the person asking it is driving at.

  99. dianne says

    I’ve always wanted to ask a creationist the following: Do you believe in DNA? If so, how do you stop DNA from changing (i.e. mutations from occurring and causing evolution, such as the evolution of penicillin resistance)? If you believe in “microevolution”, how does the DNA know when it’s about to go too far and change the species? What mechanism prevents it from going far enough to make “macroevolution” occur?

  100. dianne says

    @129: I didn’t find #10 filthy until you put the idea into my head. Sigh.

    BWAHAHAHA! Evil plan proceeding on schedule…

  101. says

    @130: From discussions over the years, I’ve gleaned that there are supposed to be impassable gulfs between viable genomes; that you can only mutate so far before individuals become infertile or impaired in some way. And that’s from the smarter creationists — IIRC Ham & Co. claim that all the useful variation is already built in but hidden somehow (eg. the claim about Lenski’s cit+ E.coli). As evidence they point to the fact(?) that breeders tend to reach a limit where they can’t improve the desired characteristic any more and/or congenital problems start showing up (eg. dog breeds with hip dysplasia, etc).

    In short: don’t underestimate the amount of disingenuous ingenuity creationists have put into buttressing their absurd positions. They’ve got answers for lots of the obvious questions (for definitions of “answer” that include “making shit up that’s superficially plausible if you’re not an expert”).

  102. comfychair says

    “What mechanism prevents it from going far enough to make “macroevolution” occur?”

    Oh, that’s easy. Since the universe is only 6,000 years old, there hasn’t been enough time for tiny mutations to change one thing into another thing.

  103. unclefrogy says

    I understand what was meant by the great chain of being as used above. I also understand the profound separation christians see as humans have from all other animals “in creation” which is also at the root of the question of why monkeys. That idea of our separateness from the rest of really everything else our separate creation has had some very serious negative results. It is the basis of our wholesale unthinking destruction of everything and anything else in our environment for what ever personal reason we think up.
    The fact that there is a continuous physical connection between all life from the very beginning until now is a fact. It is also true that “life the universe and everything” does not have any grand goal we can figure out and that includes evolution unless it be to simply continue.

    I suspect that in large part the determination people have to hold to these religious beliefs is their experience of how fucked up people can be and how many dangers life is full of so that the idea that we can rely on only humans here and now is too horrible to face so they cling to religion and myth. You can hear the fear in their voices when they are pressed.

    uncle frogy

  104. says

    @133: And yet, as Nye pointed out (and good on him for doing it), there was a post-Flood burst of evolution fast enough to produce today’s species count of umpteen-millions from only a few thousand “kinds” that got off the Ark c. 2300BC. (And Ham’s figure of ~2000 is the lowest I recall ever seeing from Arkeologists). These liars don’t bother much with consistency.

  105. carlie says

    What if instead of “There is no meaning in life, except that which you make for yourself” we say “There is no meaning in life, except that which we make for ourselves?”

    People fall down a lot. Believing in God is like hoping there will be a cushion magically placed there by God if he wants to in order to keep you from hitting the ground.
    Making our own meaning out of life is all of us working together to weave our own net that will catch us.

  106. Rob Grigjanis says

    sigurd @122:

    No 6 is probably the only serious question in the bunch.

    In what way is it serious?

  107. Arete says

    @Kevin, CaitieCat, and others who are arguing for not calling creationists “stupid”

    Thank you

    Because you know what? I grew up in that too, and not only did my belief not mean that I was stupid, it didn’t even reflect an incurious nature! I asked tons of questions. I asked questions all the time, to anyone who would listen. And, unlike many other former creationists I know, I didn’t get scolded for it. In fact, I got a lot of positive reinforcement, being praised for how clever I was for asking. Even more, a lot of the time, the adult in question, including Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders, would respond exactly the same way any good teacher would, with “That is a great question, but I don’t know, I’ll try to find out and get back to you.” They did, too, with answers that were pretty internally consistent, and with just enough truth mingled up with the bullshit to make it really, really hard to untangle.

    It is insidious. How is a child supposed to know that all of the adults in their life are wrong? They weren’t even lying–I think these people were genuinely trying to tell me true things. And even once you learn that a lot of things you were told were wrong, it takes a lot of time to sort the wrong bits from right bits. Especially since it wasn’t JUST evolution, after all. I had to figure out which parts of every aspect of my life I had been misled about, including the most basic, fundamental, foundational things I thought I knew. It was difficult for me, and I was someone who had fallen in love with science and nature from the time I was little. I can only imagine how hard it would be for someone who didn’t have that love to push them to pursue better understanding of it. If you’ve never had the very center of your understanding pulled out from under you, if you’ve never questioned yourself to the core levels of things you considered just as basic as the knowledge that humans breathe air and eat food, then recognize that as a place where your own ignorance limits your understanding, and use it to generate a little empathy.

  108. says

    Arete:
    I want to highlight this just to drive your point home even more:

    If you’ve never had the very center of your understanding pulled out from under you, if you’ve never questioned yourself to the core levels of things you considered just as basic as the knowledge that humans breathe air and eat food, then recognize that as a place where your own ignorance limits your understanding, and use it to generate a little empathy.

    That was me.
    I didn’t grow up in a religious household. My parents aren’t atheists, but we never went to church (I don’t think I’ve been to a religious service in my life). The most we did was say grace during holiday dinners, or occassionally thank god, or pray for assistance. After I became an atheist, I was one of those who looked down on believers. I did think I was somehow better than them, and they were all stupid fools.
    I was wrong.
    It took several years to realize that, and a great part of said realization was exactly what you said above.

  109. anuran says

    xaurreaux

    Show of hands. Who still thinks it’s OK for brothers and sisters to inter-breed?

    If they’re fig wasps or stick insects then sure.

  110. RickR says

    ‘I for one was surprised to learn that science is not “observable, repeatable, testable..”’

    And the person who wrote that has almost certainly taken antibiotics for an illness at some point, or at least knows someone who has.

  111. Rob Grigjanis says

    sigurd @139: Yes, I read the exchange. Not knowing why the universe started in a low entropy state in no way ‘debunks’ anything. The questioner’s problem is not with cosmology or thermodynamics, but with simple reasoning.

  112. houndentenor says

    Fun! I wanna play too. I’m not a scientist (last science class was jr year of high school), but I’ll give it my best shot. Feel free to email me if I get something horribly wrong.

    1) Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?
    It seems to me that he did. You’d have to ask him though.

    2) Are you scared of a divine Creator?
    No. I tend to get along with creative types. If you mean god, then I’m not convinced such a person exists but if I’m wrong I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about.

    3) Is it completely illogical that the earth was created mature? Ie. trees created with rings . . .

    Why would any being do that? It makes no sense.

    4) Does not the Second Law of Thermodynamics disprove evolution?
    No. We get a continuous source of energy from the sun. That doesn’t apply. Please read up on all the Laws of Thermodynamics. They don’t have anything to do with evolution.

    5) How do you explain a sunset if there is no God?
    I’m embarrassed for you.

    6) If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, why do the law of thermodynamics debunk said theories?

    They don’t. Also, big bang has nothing to do with evolution.

    7) What about Noetics?

    What about it? Is that your idea of a question? If you were my student I’d laugh and fail you for the day. Fortunately even my worst students ask more intelligent questions than that.

    8) Where do you derive objective meaning in life?

    There’s no such thing. I found my own meaning for my life. You did too. So did everyone else. Well, some people didn’t and that’s sad. But I’ve never met a happy person who allowed someone else to determine for them what their life was about. Some people attribute their own reason to God, but it’s still their own reason.

    9) If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?

    I don’t know. No one does. People are working on that. Maybe one day they’ll figure it out. That doesn’t prove god did it since you can’t even prove god exists.

    10) I believe in the Big Bang Theory. God said it and BANG it happened.

    Okay. *shrug* That’s not in the Bible, by the way.

    11) Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non-God-believing people reject the idea of there being a Creator God, but embrace the concept of intelligent design from aliens or other extra-terrestrial sources?

    Most of us don’t. P.S. I thought Prometheus was a boring, stupid movie. Also, even if extra-terrestrials planted life here, that still doesn’t explain how life began on their planet. That just kicks the can off our planet and on to someone else’s. It’s not really an answer. And since there’s no proof of extraterrestrial life. (Some people think there are fossilized remains of microbes from Mars in some meteor rocks but I don’t think everyone is convinced. It still doesn’t solve the abiogenesis problem. Did I spell abiogenesis right? Spell check has it underlined.)

    12) There is no in between . . . the only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few pieces of the hundreds necessary for an “official proof”.

    Fossils are rare. Most plants and animals that ever lived died, decayed and left behind no trace of their original form. It’s actually fortunate that we have any fossils at all. Otherwise we might not have figured out evolution until we could sequence DNA. Yes, there were steps in between earlier species and ours. The evidence is there but it only exists in bits and pieces. I think future research will probably focus more on differences among the DNA of various species since that’s far more specific. It’s also really interesting.

    13) Does metamorphosis help support evolution?

    Sort of. I don’t know enough to say.

    14) If Evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is evolution taught as fact?

    The Bible is a “theory?” That’s a new one to me. Evolution is an observable process. In species that reproduce quickly (like single cell organisms and some insects) we can see it happening. It’s gradual and the changes are small but we can see them happening. Evolution is a fact. We call it a theory because it’s a model that can be used to predict what will happen next like we do with gravity…remember how they used Jupiter’s gravity to propel one of the Voyager probes further out into space? Similarly immunologists use evolutionary theory to prepare the next year’s flu vaccine.

    15) Because science by definition is a “theory” — not testable, observable, nor repeatable”, why do you object ot creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?
    Wow. Who was your science teacher? Someone obviously failed to teach you what science is or how it works. Scientific theories are models. Everything has to fit the model. That is most certainly testable, observable and repeatable. My HS chemistry teacher did an experiment that proved E=mc2 (sorry, don’t know how to do a superscript 2 here). It was pretty cool. Relativity is a THEORY. It can be demonstrated in many different ways.

    16) What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an INCREASE in genetic information seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process?

    There are whole books that you should read since you don’t seem to have any understanding of genetics or biology. I could look it up, but you can google as well as I can. #facepalm

    17) What purpose do you think you are here for, if you do not believe in Salvation?
    I don’t know about you, but I am here to make people laugh, educate them about music and to entertain people with the pleasant sounds (or so I’m told) that come out of my mouth when I sing. I can’t answer that for anyone else.

    18) Why have we found only 1 “Lucy” when we have found more than 1 or everything else?

    Fossils are rare. It’s amazing we have any, but I don’t think this is right. Read a book written by someone who is knowledgeable on this topic, not someone who is only trying to poke holes in it.

    19) Can you believe in “the Big Bang” without faith?

    I have no faith. I don’t “believe” in the “big bang”. Here’s what we know. Everything that we can observe in the universe is moving away from a single point. If you do the calculations (which people have done which is good because it sounds hard) you realize that everything seems to have been at one point at the same time a long time in the past (14 billion years ago give or take). There probably wasn’t any “bang” or explosion. I believe that was just a metaphor that for some reason people have taken literally. (Kind of like people do with religion, in my opinion.) That model seems to be the best explanation. If you have another one AND can provide evidence that it’s better, feel free. I don’t have anything personally invested in this particular model for the origin of the universe which is why I avoid the term “believe”. It seems to fit the evidence we have. It doesn’t really change anything in my life if it’s this or something else. (Also, not all scientists accept this particular theory.)

    20) How can you look at the world and not believe Someone created/thought of it. It’s Amazing!!

    It is amazing. I’ll give you that. And that’s just the part we can see. At every level the universe is full of amazing and wonderful things. That isn’t proof that someone created it.

    21) Relating to the Big Bang theory . . . Where did the exploding star come from?
    No explosion. No star. Seriously, they have books on this stuff. Some are better than others. You could just look it up online but they also have these things called libraries where you can get whole books and it’s free so long as you bring it back before a specific date. I recommend libraries. They are awesome.

    22) If we came from monkeys, then, why are there monkeys?

    Wow. We didn’t come from monkeys. We are related to monkeys through a common ancestor. I recently got an email from a 4rd cousin. We have the same great-great-grandfather. He’s dead now (for a very long time). Multiply that a few million steps (don’t check my math, please…I’m a musician LOL) and I’m related to a monkey.

    Yanno, I’m kind of disappointed. I’m not all that sciency and these were pretty easy. They could easily have come up with things I don’t know about. Okay I’d never heard of Noetics before. I’ll have to read up on that one. Otherwise, this was kind of pathetic. Seriously, Creationists…it’s like you’re not even trying. And the sunset bit? That was just sad.

  113. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Rob you seem to have confused the concept of ‘serious question’ with ‘debunk’.

  114. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Here’s ftb’s own Mano Singham answering the question ‘Does the big bang violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?’ Notice how the answer is complicated. Mano even writes:

    I don’t want to give the impression that these explanations are the last word on the subject and that all the problems are solved. Entropy is a tricky concept and there are disagreements …

    That’s why I consider the question a serious question because it has a complicated answer that isn’t the last word on the subject and is hardly just a matter of logic as you seem to believe. By asking it, that creationist is at least showing some interest in obtaining real knowledge on a complex question, even though the question has some typical gotcha elements in it. I’m trying to give him some of the benefit of the doubt, rather than just dismissing him as a complete fool like a number of commenters want to do with these questions. At no time, however, did I even suggest that the question was debunking anything.

  115. Alex the Pretty Good says

    I facepalmed so hard that I think my brains popped out.

    If there has ever been a clearer example of “Garbage in, garbage out” than this list of regurgitated gotchas, I don’t know what it could be.

    I feel truly, deeply sorry for you people in the U.S. that these are adults who are unable to grasp basic principles my 7-years old nephew understands almost instinctively when they are explained (with a little patience).

    Let’s hope that this discussion (and the on-line version that will continue to be circulated … especially if Ham tries to “Streisand” it) will bring at least one of the victims of this mental abuse closer to reality.

  116. rrhain says

    I’m not Nye, but here goes:

    1) Yes.

    2) No.

    3) Yes.

    4) No.

    5) It is an artifact of the earth’s rotation with respect to the sun.

    6) They don’t.

    7) What about it?

    8) I don’t. There is no such thing.

    9) No. By chemistry.

    10) That’s not a theory.

    11) They don’t.

    12) None of that is true. Lucy is a good specimen and is one of many specimens of Australopithecus afarensis.

    13) Metamorphosis is a biological process affecting an individual. Evolution affects populations.

    14) The theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution. That’s the point of theories. You cannot have a theory without a fact it is based upon. Gravitational theory seeks to explain the fact of gravity. The germ theory of disease seeks to explain the fact of disease.

    15) Your definition of “theory” is completely backwards. It is because it is testable, observable, and repeatable that it is a theory.

    16) Mutation in and of itself creates an increase in genetic information. There is a new genetic sequence in the population.

    17) I get to determine that for myself.

    18) We have found many specimens of A. afarensis.

    19) It is because we have evidence that the Big Bang Theory is not accepted on faith.

    20) Because the evidence indicates it wasn’t.

    21) There was no star at the Big Bang. They wouldn’t exist for 150 million to 1 billion years after.

    22) We didn’t come from monkeys. That said, by this logic, your parents should have ceased to exist as soon as you were born.

  117. U Frood says

    What’s the deal with the sunset question?
    Is that some philosophical question? “How could something so beautiful exist without a benevolent creator”? Or does she really not understand physically how a sunset works?

  118. sigurd jorsalfar says

    … these are adults who are unable to grasp basic principles my 7-years old nephew understands almost instinctively when they are explained (with a little patience)

    Nonsense. 7 year olds don’t understand the laws of thermodynamics.

    Can we show a little humility? Please read Arete’s comment above, #140.

  119. ChasCPeterson says

    Wow. We didn’t come from monkeys.

    We didn’t come from monkeys.

    Yuh huh, We really did come from monkeys. There4’s no question about it. Because apes (w/, of course, us) split from OW monkeys after OW monkeys split from NW monkeys, each of us did indeed have many, many direct ancestors that were, in fact, monkeys.

  120. says

    17) What purpose do you think you are here for, if you do not believe in Salvation?

    I am pretty good at turning pizza into poop. In fact, I’m doing it right now.

  121. says

    Chas:
    I may not understand how that works, but I accept that there are skilled people in the relevant fields that came to that conclusion based on the evidence. So I trust that we came from monkeys.

    That said, it really doesn’t matter in my day to day life. I’m not sure why creationists create such a fuss. So what if we came from monkeys? How does that ruin your life?

  122. says

    I totally want to photoshop all of these pictures, changing their questions to snarky comments. Instead, I will translate what they really mean here in text.

    Translation:

    1. You are teaching my kids things that contradict what I believe. I’m going to try to make you feel bad by questioning the thing to which you’ve dedicated a large portion of your life.

    2. The reason I believe is that I fear the hell my god created. Jesus loves me, at least when he’s not threatening me with eternal torture.

    3. My magic book says god pooped everything into existence, and, because you can’t be 100% sure that god didn’t create everything that way, I’m justified in believing my fairy tale.

    4. My sound bite based understanding of basic scientific laws clearly shows they’re contradictory. Rather than try to learn any more about them, and that this justifies my beliefs, I’m just going to stick with current level of understanding.

    5. Sunsets hold a very special place in my heart, it really means a lot to me. If you tell me that the only reason it exists is because several generations of stars have exploded over the last 14 billion years and that my god didn’t make it just for me, I haz a sad.

    6. I read up on the big bang cosmological theory on my favorite creation website and they said it’s wrong because thermodynamics. I’m not sure what that means, but I know my god created the background microwave radiation.

    7. I read about this thing that theological philosophers (magic man thoughtfuls) where they think about how cool it is that we are sentient and how that fits perfectly with my god.

    8. My life would objectively mean nothing without believing that after I objectively die, my objective god is going to pat me on the head for being the best objective human for believing in him. Of course, I do care about others because Jesus objectively told me to.

    9. I’ve never heard of abiogenesis, and it probably contradicts thermodynamics and wrong anyway. How silly is it to think that life could arise in nature when god could just snap his transcendent fingers.

    10. Haha! I made fun of the name of a scientific theory. Game, set and match, Mr. Atheist.

    11. I find the idea of life on earth actually originating on one of the other 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in our observable universe completely ridiculous. C’mon, my magic man existing is much more plausible than that ridiculous hypothesis. I’m just going to ignore that life could have arisen on earth by itself.

    12. I have been shielded from all other hominid fossils and Lucy was the last one to be let into my world view before they just shut that whole thing down.

    13. I’m trying to win the prize for the most non-sequitor question of the night.

    14. I have no idea what the difference is between the colloquial meaning of words and those words used within a specific context of a field of study. BTW, those billions of people that believe in god, but not my god, are totally wrong about god.

    15. I get my definitions out of a Creationist Crisps cereal box. I refuse to read anything that isn’t personally approved by Ken Ham.

    16. I know DNA is a strand of molecules, but how does that strand get bigger? I’ve knitted a lot of pot-holders, but I have no evidence that there’s a ball of yarn big enough to create a full sized sweater.

    17. God created me so I would have to grovel at his feet because he created me to be so horrible. Trump that meaning of life!

    18. Like #12, I haven’t heard of anything since Lucy. Also, that Francis Collins is full of crap.

    19. I have a very poor understanding of evidence and assume if you can’t hold something, you have to take it on faith. My radio is magic.

    20. The fact that we exist blows my mind to the point that the magic behind all of this must be very stupendous.

    21. That Einstein was full of crap, energy is energy and matter is matter, just like god intended.

    22. My family tree is a mystery. My cousins are just a figment of my imagination. So are monkeys.

  123. Rob Grigjanis says

    sigurd @148:

    At no time, however, did I even suggest that the question was debunking anything.

    Sorry if I gave the impression I thought that! The questioner thinks that thermodynamics somehow disproves the Big Bang theory. I see no more curiosity in this ‘question’ than in the others. I see ignorance (which is fine), and totally unfounded certainty (which is not fine). Xe is just regurgitating what xe read somewhere.

    I’d take it seriously if it were framed ‘how do you reconcile…?’.

  124. woozy says

    Oh, what the hell….

    1. Yes
    2. No, not really.
    3. Yes.
    4. No, weren’t you paying attention to the debate?
    5. As the earth spins on its axis, regions on the earth rotate into and out of the view of the sun. Was that a serious question? Surely you know the answer as well as I do. If you meant how can beauty exist without god, or how can we perceive beauty, or something like that you should have asked that.
    6. It doesn’t. Weren’t you paying attention to the debate?
    7. What about it?
    8. I don’t. Meaning of life is very subjective.
    9. Yes, through chance. Why not? Chance and lots and lots of time and lots and lots of places in the universe for it to occur.
    10. That’s not a question.
    11. Scientists *don’t* embrace the idea of intelligent design from extra-terrestrial sources. What are you, insane?
    12. That’s not a question either. If you are asking about transitional species there are many many examples.
    13. Yes.
    14. Creationism isn’t a theory. The bible isn’t a theory. Theory doesn’t mean what you think it does.
    15. Everything about this is wrong. Science isn’t a theory. A theory by definition *is* testable, observable and, if valid, repeatable. I object to teaching ID because it is *none* of those things.
    16. All of them.
    17. I was not put here for a purpose. Once here, I’ve determined several purposes for myself, all personal, all subjective, and none relevant to the discussion at hand. (Nice piercing by the way. Do you realize that prevents you from burial in consecrated ground and, supposedly, will keep you from salvation? Jes’ saying.)
    18. We’ve found many “Lucies”.
    19. Yes.
    20. By not having any reason to believe someone created it.
    21. What exploding star?
    22. a) we aren’t descended from monkeys. We share a common ancestor with monkeys. This common ancestor no longer exists, by the way, but the common ancestor’s extinction is not germane to your point because b) Evolution is not one driving change to universally replace an existing form with one and only one specific other. If it were there would be only one type of life form in existence. Evolution is divergence. Some descendents of the common ancestor evolve along one path, others along another. The is no reason nor method that one evolutionary path should preclude the original or eliminate the other paths. In other words, c) There’s utterly no reason that monkeys *shouldn’t* still exist.

  125. noastronomer says

    Actually #1 Is the only one that really annoys me. The others seemed to be mostly poorly informed, naive, desperately in need of a dictionary and possibly even squeezing a little jab in at creationism (#22). Maybe they even came out of the debate knowing something they didn’t before. But #1 is really disturbing.

    He’s basically saying he doesn’t care if children are lied to, so long as we’re influencing them in a ‘positive’ way. Whatever the fuck that means.

    And in what more negative way could you (legally) influence a child’s mind than to lie to them? Asshole.

    Mike.

  126. rorschach says

    “Ignorance, proud and happy”

    What I see is the double whammy of childhood indoctrination(and if it’s only in the form of killing of curiosity) and a failed public education system.

    The resulting ignorance is maintained by a mixture of peer Stockholm syndrome and Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Kudos to anyone who actually manages to escape from this very real hell.

    FWIW, I thought Nye did better than expected.

  127. knowknot says

    1:
    What’s with the horrible dragon-wound-from-above airquotes that now blemish blockquotes?
    My vote: ew.
    2::
    Yes, below I am just fanboy-reposting someone else’s (important, very recent) post.
    Which refers to another (important, slightly less recent) post.
    Because general comprehension appears to fail reiteratively.
    .
    All the above being my opinion, from my own personal head.
    .

    152. sigurd josalfar

    … these are adults who are unable to grasp basic principles my 7-years old nephew understands almost instinctively when they are explained (with a little patience)

    Nonsense. 7 year olds don’t understand the laws of thermodynamics.

    Can we show a little humility? Please read Arete’s comment above, #140.

  128. teawithbertrand says

    Ok…total non-scientist lay-person lurker here, but I like what you guys have done and want to pile on.
    1. Yes. Have you never seen Bill’s show?
    2. I am as scared of your god as you are of Zeus.
    3. Kind of…why would your god do that? To deceive us?
    4. I don’t think you understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics
    5. Um…you understand that the earth rotates on its axis as it revolves around the sun, right?
    6. Yeah…see number 4.
    7. I think I see where you’re going here. I was a philosophy major at one time. It’s kind of a “god of the gaps” thing, if you ask me.
    8. The universe doesn’t owe you a “meaning”. Make one yourself, like I did.
    9. Just because science doesn’t completely explain it right now doesn’t mean god did it by magic.
    10. That’s a bumper sticker for idiots, not a question.
    11. I think you watch too much History Channel. Panspermia is not really part of accepted science, I don’t think.
    12. You are woefully ignorant. Every fossil is transitional. And please define “official proof”.
    13. Sorry, I doubt very much that you understand your own question.
    14. You have been misled, sir, as to the definition of the word “theory” in the context of science.
    15. Your definition of the word “theory” is 100% precisely ass backwards. And I object to creationism being taught in public schools for the same reasons that you would object to the “Gospel of the FSM” being taught in schools. Because it is clearly fiction.
    16. Translocation, duplication, etc. I think someone more qualified than me already covered this on this thread.
    17. Do I need to have a purpose? Ok. My purpose is to be good to my fellow humans and try to enjoy being here.
    18. See #12. Is she your girlfriend? Or maybe you just have the same pastor.
    19. Yes, because “faith” is belief in something in the absence of evidence or with evidence to the contrary. All of the current scientific evidence point to a “big bang” occurring about 13.7 billion years ago. If new evidence is discovered that contradicts that, we will modify our theory accordingly.
    20. I know…it is amazing, isn’t it? But does that really necessitate the existence of a supreme being, and yours specifically?
    21. You are confusing the big bang with a supernova…I think.
    22. Ok. This guy has been beaten up in previous comments, so I’ll try to be nice here even if he is a Poe. No one is saying that humans have evolved from modern primates. We’re saying that humans and other apes evolved from a common ancestor which lived about 6 or 7 million years ago.
    Thanks.
    That was kind of fun.

  129. says

    Alex the Pretty Good, you might want to reconsider your comment. It’s all but certain that people wherever it is you live believe in the same kind of Young Earth Creationist ideas these Americans do. They probably are exposed to the same material, or locally produced material by whatever sects are active in your country.

  130. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    We are monkeys, just as much as we are mammals. We do have a common anscestor, and it was a monkey. We cannot say that old world monkeys AND new world monkeys are BOTH monkeys, but we are not, because we are in the old world monkey branch.

    No, we don’t have long tails and little grabby feet like monkeys do, but that’s because we are the monkeys who don’t have long tails and grabby feet. We are the ape flavor of monkeys, and the bipedal flavor of apes.

  131. waldteufel says

    Brilliant, teawithbertrand!

    Clearly a lot of good ol’ Kentucky inbreeding on display here. Really, Kentucky, family reunions are not good places to hunt checks.

  132. ym su says

    -If adults evolved from babies, why are there babies in the world?

    -There is anecdotal evidence (at least 2 in this comment thread alone) of defectors from ‘creationist’ camp into the more rational ‘evolutionist’ camp. Are there any reports of the reverse?

  133. knowknot says

    Largely in response to the posts copied in below:
    .
    – Regarding the “niceness,” “decency” or apparently even “worth” of these people…
    – As PZ (perhaps) intimated, looking at these faces, to which my immediate response is open and positive, combined with the immature, ignorant and apparently incurious verbiage is jarring. And I write that with the hopeful understanding that the former need not be rescinded due to the latter.
    – Because, as others have already written, I was one of “them.” As Arete has written @140, I didn’t cease to be curious as a result of my beliefs and social environment, though there was certainly more caution in my curiosity than there would have been without their influence. That’s sad enough, not least because no one can know where the seed of an idea may lead, when encountered at the “right” time? I know I missed a number of those times, due to a mind that was only partially closed.
    – And, as Tony did @142, I want to point to the importance of what Arete wrote re having “the very center of your understanding pulled out from under you” and the need to have “questioned yourself to the core levels” of your understanding. There are a lot of obvious reasons we have to endure something of that nature, but I have to confess something that seems odd even to me: The specific questioning of a real belief, which appears to have roots spreading out to virtually every meaningful idea, value and source of comfort and even love, is no less painful or difficult than the worst losses of dear lives, specific loves, abilities, hopes, or the encountering of profound failure. For every case, it was AT LEAST as dark, and for the majority, longer lasting.
    – I’ve heard stories of people who managed to simply come to a point at which they switched off. To be honest, I have no understanding of that. My experience and that lack of understanding may have resulted from personal deficits, unfulfilled needs, or whatever, and I am occasionally inclined to think that to be true of myself and (less reliably) of others… but it changes NEITHER the nature and difficulty of the experience, nor the worth of the person encountering it.
    – And, I should add, my experience needs to be seen in light of a person who had no specific intellectual or emotional interest in the afterlife. I didn’t reject, argue, or even fail to incorporate some small pleasure in the thought of heaven, I was just generally not very interested, and felt that lack of an eternal paradise wouldn’t change a thing. Which, by the way, was thought to be odd, but not disqualifying if various other conditions were met.
    – Once fear of the afterlife is present, it seems to be a whole new game. I have one family member whose faith in salvation is not “sure,” probably due to insecurities built in during childhood, and his fear of death is spooky at a distance. I can’t imagine what an actual deconversion would be like for him. And given the possibility (if not probability) seen in research that we humans are prone to think of ourselves as eternal in some sense (for one recent example see WEB VOODOO medicalxpress.com/news/2014-01-children-prelife DOT HTML , so I tend to doubt that he’s alone. (Sorry, tags appear to he screwed up.)
    – Add to all that the essentially proven ability we all (as in, all) have to hide the roots of our thoughts, our justifications of our beliefs and actions, and the limits of our knowledge / understanding from ourselves, and it’s a very heavily seasoned stew. At least some portion of which either caustic, explosive, or both.
    .
    – If it hadn’t been for sometimes extreme and in every case long term patience on the part of others with varying proximity to me along with a curiosity that I did not build for myself, I would have ended up smiling and being flamed as well. And I can say with absolute certainty that the flame would not have helped the cause of reason. Though my ideas I was never as far off track as the majority of those shown here, such responses would only have resulted in me offering succor, comfort and sustenance (intended or not) to those shown here. And I will tell you that those things are weapons at least equivalent to ignorance itself.
    .
    – And one last: though I understand the reactions @30 and @53 (which were just there, no offense), and though I have felt precisely these things and sometimes said or written similar, I think there are problems that result from furthering those responses.
    – First of all, I really don’t believe that the majority of these folks are “like that,” though I sympathize with your experience, in part because I’ve been threatened by bits of it as well. There’s a broad variance in my experience, from people who will remain compassionate and kind regardless of others’ beliefs or lack thereof, to those who will prod with a bit more barb, to the loud but entirely harmless, to those who act in unwittingly harmful ways out of ignorance and would change if their effects were made obvious (really!) … etc etc … to those who are genuinely hateful and violent. I honestly believe the latter are in the minority. And along with that, I seen threats, direct and otherwise, from non-believers as well.
    – But it might be worth noticing the former types if you’ve never seen them, if possible. Or even seeking them out, if someone sensible knows them, and if their presence (or the mere thought) isn’t a huge trigger.
    – Because this: The overall alarm, sense of GENERALIZED danger regarding these people, along with the often understandable responses that result seem OVERALL (not saying anyone here is CAUSING this) a little too similar to the gun lobby’s emphasis on every crime that could possibly have been averted by additional violence.
    – I’ll leave it at that, except to emphasize that i DO NOT mean to minimize the severity of anyone’s experience with hate and/or violence of any kind. In all seriousness, my heart goes out to anyone who has suffered from anything even a fraction as wrong as some of what I’ve heard.
    .
    (Note that the posts included below were huge to me, and I’m not sure that there was really a great deal to add to them. I wanted to list them, because I am thankful to the authors, and because others may be as well. I know the length of the inclusions is cumbersome, and I do apologize, but there are real reasons for them. I won’t do it again. And anyway, by the time I manage to post anything everyone else has usually and mercifully retrieved their coats, hats, and dates for next weekend.)
    .
    @30 raven

    They look like very nice people…

    […]
    – Maybe some are.
    – I’ve mostly seen the ones that want to kill me. They say so often and have hacked my computer twice to get my real address.
    – Like a lot of scientists, I’ve been getting death threats from the fundies for over a decade. PZ Myers has gotten up to 100 death threats. In one day.
    – I’d be very happy if you took your nice people and kept them a long way from me.

    .
    @53 Larry

    @16 tiredofusernamerules
    -They look like very nice people.

    – Serial killers are often nice people, too. At least, their neighbors always say that they were quiet and never caused any trouble…

    .
    @106 Inaji

    Paul @ 84:
    – The typical idiotic “gotcha grin” is all the answer I need.

    – Oh FFS. People were smiling because they were having their photo taken, that’s something people do. These are people who have been smothered in ignorance their whole lives, and ignorance isn’t a crime, nor does it mean they are idiots.

    .
    @77 Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @hackerguitar:
    A bunch of these “idiots” are people like myself – indoctrinated from youth into believing this shit. […]

    .
    @82 Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    - Hey hackerguitar, as an ex”idiot” myself, I can say with certainty that you can change their beliefs. […] …I promise that some fundie’s kids somewhere now have a few doubts, a few questions that need real answers. If they choose to follow those doubts, they will eventually win free, even if it takes years to get there. […]

    .
    @88 jesse

    - I’m going to chime in and say that while I sometimes find it cathartic to call people stupid, that doesn’t make it right.
    – Many of the questions are based on false assumptions — but most people never learn anything else. The woman who abused the word “theory” did so because the word “theory” means something different in common usage. In science we use it to talk about models; but I bet everyone here has at least once used the word to mean “a guess.” It’s like some ordinary words that mean one thing in conversation and another in say, a court of law. (“discovery,” for instance, or “reasonable doubt,” are two examples.)
    – I didn’t learn the correct usage of theory until college, really […] It’s just not something most people see in the course of their education.
    …the point is I can’t just call people stupid anymore. People do and believe what works for them. Just like we say that in evolution certain traits will hang around as long as they aren’t actively maladaptive, there’s beliefs, attitudes and practices that will do the same.

    .
    @93 CaitieCat

    - Adding my voice to the “can we stop othering these people please” chorus. I was raised atheist, and I’m completely proud of that, but there’s nothing special about me other than my good fortune that the sperm and egg which made me happened to be combined by two people who didn’t want to repeat the sectarian stupidity they’d experienced […]
    – It isn’t cleverness or knowledge which put me in the lucky category of people who weren’t indoctrinated with this crap when they were too young to know better, but pure fucking luck. Same for you. So if you want to crow about something, talk about how lucky you were […]
    – It doesn’t make you special or clever, and it doesn’t make them the products of inbreeding or otherwise intellectually impaired. It just makes us lucky, and them not. So let’s dismount the High Horse of Moral Superiority that we only got a ride on through fortune, shall we? Thanks ever so.

    .
    @102 Sastra

    […] hackerguitar #72 wrote:
    – I don’t see where there’s any use in being polite to them.

    “Them?” Them is us — as has been pointed out.
    – Unless you’re following a specific strategy which you’ve thought out and justified in advance, I think a good rule of thumb is to always be polite — more than you ‘need’ to. It’s almost never actually wrong, it makes life easier in general, and more often than not the Them will end up treating you like you’re human, too. You get what you give.
    – You can be polite and thus more deadly, you know. It’s not a form of surrender. If nothing else, they feel obligated to stick around longer.

    .
    @140 Arete

    @Kevin, CaitieCat, and others who are arguing for not calling creationists “stupid”
    […] I grew up in that too, and not only did my belief not mean that I was stupid, it didn’t even reflect an incurious nature! I asked tons of questions. I asked questions all the time, to anyone who would listen. And, unlike many other former creationists I know […] a lot of the time, the adult in question, including Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders, would respond exactly the same way any good teacher would …
    […] with answers that were pretty internally consistent, and with just enough truth mingled up with the bullshit to make it really, really hard to untangle.
    – It is insidious. How is a child supposed to know that all of the adults in their life are wrong? They weren’t even lying–I think these people were genuinely trying to tell me true things. And even once you learn that a lot of things you were told were wrong, it takes a lot of time to sort the wrong bits from right bits. Especially since it wasn’t JUST evolution, after all. I had to figure out which parts of every aspect of my life I had been misled about, including the most basic, fundamental, foundational things I thought I knew. It was difficult for me, and I was someone who had fallen in love with science and nature from the time I was little. I can only imagine how hard it would be for someone who didn’t have that love to push them to pursue better understanding of it. If you’ve never had the very center of your understanding pulled out from under you, if you’ve never questioned yourself to the core levels of things you considered just as basic as the knowledge that humans breathe air and eat food, then recognize that as a place where your own ignorance limits your understanding, and use it to generate a little empathy.

    .
    @142 Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Arete:
    I want to highlight this just to drive your point home even more:

    [@ 140] If you’ve never had the very center of your understanding pulled out from under you, if you’ve never questioned yourself to the core levels of things you considered just as basic as the knowledge that humans breathe air and eat food, then recognize that as a place where your own ignorance limits your understanding, and use it to generate a little empathy.

    – That was me.
    – I didn’t grow up in a religious household. My parents aren’t atheists, but we never went to church (I don’t think I’ve been to a religious service in my life). The most we did was say grace during holiday dinners, or occassionally thank god, or pray for assistance. After I became an atheist, I was one of those who looked down on believers. I did think I was somehow better than them, and they were all stupid fools.
    – I was wrong.
    – It took several years to realize that, and a great part of said realization was exactly what you said above.

  134. ChasCPeterson says

    Yep. We are humans, apes, monkeys, primates, eutherians, mammals, synapsids, amniotes, tetrapods, sarcopterygians, osteichthyans, vertebrates, chordates, deuterostomes, bilaterians, animals, opisthokonts, and eukaryotes, all at the same time.
    So drink up!

  135. echidna says

    167 know not:

    Nonsense. 7 year olds don’t understand the laws of thermodynamics.

    It probably depends on what you mean by “understand”. They are unlikely to understand the mathematics, for sure. But that something tends towards the same temperature as its surroundings is easy for a young child to understand. More pertinently, the idea that, a system left to itself will become disordered rather than ordered, is well within a young child’s grasp. What the anti-evolution argument fails to consider is the energy coming from the sun, which, with some explanation is something that a seven year old can understand as well.

    It really isn’t about how clever, or not, various people are. It’s about the fact that we take our assumptions from people that we trust. If those people have messed-up ideas, then it’s going to be hard to straighten them out. If those ideas are basic, then it’s a real problem for those who have been tangled up in them.

  136. says

    I could see the page at first, but now I’m getting a “page not found” error.

    #3 is not as completely illogical as some people seem to think. The book Omphalos by P.H. Gosse investigated this line of thought in the mid 1800s, shortly before Origin Of Species. The problem is basically this: All living things contain evidence of their own developmental history. So if God created trees with rings (showing growth that never happened), and Adam with a navel (implying an umbilical cord that never existed), and put fossils in the ground (of organisms that never lived), then all the data is fake. While it is impossible to disprove this, almost everyone hated Gosse’s idea. The scientists hated it because they didn’t want fake data, and the religious hated it because they didn’t want a God who lied.

    #4. No. “the second law of thermodynamics is not an impediment to the understanding of life but rather is necessary for a complete description of living processes … the second law underlies processes of self-organization and determines the direction of many of the processes observed in the development of living systems.” – Schneider & Kay, “Order from Disorder: The Thermodynamics of Complexity in Biology”, 1995

    #16. Easy. Let M be any non-trivial measure of genetic information. (A measure is trivial if it gives the same number for everything.) By definition, there must exist a pair of genomes A and B which have different measures, say M(A) < M(B). There must also exist some (possibly very long) chain of mutations turning A into B. If we follow this chain from A to B, at least one mutation in that chain must increase the information. Thus, for any possible meaningful measure of genetic information, there must exist mutations that increase that kind of information.

  137. says

    I do believe these were done before the debate. He also interviewed evolutionists (normal human beings) and I saw thee of those people at the debate viewing party I attended. So unless he interviewed the evolutionists before and the creationists after or those three evolutionists can be in two places at once, this project was done earlier in the day.

  138. mikeyb says

    Strictly speaking it isn’t ignorance that’s the main problem – it’s what Mark Twain said – believing things that ain’t so. It is ignorance in the sense of not availing themselves of science and the methods and facts behind it of course. But more pointedly – it’s blindness as a product of extreme ideology and indoctrination, pretty much the root of almost all the troubles in the world. The ideology comes first and the ignorance results as a natural byproduct.

  139. militantagnostic says

    @ChasCPeterson

    I am glad to hear that T Bone Walker got it right in Evolution Blues. He was out by an order of magnitude on the time scale, but we should grant him some artistic license.

    A question for the former creationists regarding the second law of thermodynamics argument. I can understand how someone who is ignorant of thermodynamics could miss the “closed system” bit (However, there is no excuse for Engineers who use it). What really bothers me about this argument is the “scientists are stoopid” assumption buried in it. This is the assumption that over the past 150 years biologists, geologists, paleontologists and all those other ologists have been unaware of this “flaw”. How is it that you could have believed that such a basic problem could have been overlooked by so many scientists and yet your pastor or Sunday School teacher knew about it?

  140. lorn says

    I look at the gentleman holding the tablet and think: Here’s your … ah … I see you brought your own … how thoughtful.

  141. echidna says

    A question for the former creationists regarding the second law of thermodynamics argument. I can understand how someone who is ignorant of thermodynamics could miss the “closed system” bit (However, there is no excuse for Engineers who use it). What really bothers me about this argument is the “scientists are stoopid” assumption buried in it. This is the assumption that over the past 150 years biologists, geologists, paleontologists and all those other ologists have been unaware of this “flaw”. How is it that you could have believed that such a basic problem could have been overlooked by so many scientists and yet your pastor or Sunday School teacher knew about it?

    Not a former creationist, but had a relative, an engineer, whose local church got infiltrated by YEC’s. He started spouting the second law of thermodynamics argument, even while maintaining he did not believe in a young earth. It was very disruptive to our family, and I tried to get to the bottom of it. There were a few things that became clear: he didn’t care whether what he said was true or not, as long as it was going to “leave room for God”, as he put it. The insidious part is that by holding ID talks at the church, people left their critical thinking at the door, and were happy to open their wallets at the end, just as in a service.

    From talking with my relative the engineer (read: grinding his arguments to dust), none of the problems with his bingo card of arguments were important to him, and the implications of the arguments were irrelevant. Even the arguments themselves were irrelevant, as long as they scored points for his imaginary friend.

  142. says

    I’m trying to get at what it is that creationists believe that the theory of evolution says…

    I’m not convinced they believe anything about the theory of evolution. They’re not asking questions or making arguments. They’re performing a religious ritual: When meeting a person who accept evolution, you say these words in this order.

    I don’t think they know or care what the words might mean, anymore than they worry what “amen” or “hallelujah” means. It’s just the stuff you say to indicate in-group membership.

    Once they start wondering what the words mean, they’re on the road to rejecting creationism, so people like Ham actively discourage understanding. Just look at the way he teaches children; rote memorization of responses, rapid-firing at a pace incompatible with thinking about what you’re saying.
    That’s a feature, not a bug.

  143. militantagnostic says

    @echinda

    he didn’t care whether what he said was true or not

    Was he a bullshitter in other areas, or just a bullshitter for Jesus?

  144. azhael says

    I´ve read this several times already and i really wish people would get it right…we are monkeys, we are monkeys right now and forever will be. You can hardly laugh at the arrogant ignorance of somebody else if you yourself are doing exactly the same with a smug smile in your face and failing…

  145. azhael says

    Forgot to add that we are very much descended from monkeys and we are also, obviously related to all OTHER monkeys. Apes are a subset of monkeys, we are a subset of apes, ergo, we are monkeys.

  146. echidna says

    #187 militant agnostic

    Was he a bullshitter in other areas, or just a bullshitter for Jesus?

    Just a bullshitter for Jesus.

  147. woggler says

    If we came from monkeys why are there still monkeys?

    If god knew he was going to make human beings, why did he make gorillas? Why did he make rabbits and hares, and not just rabbits or hares? Why toads and frogs? Why did he create only two species of elephant, yet around 30 species of cockroach? Why were fungi left out of the creation story?

  148. says

    Just a couple of things. The disagreement over whether we evolved from monkeys depends on if you mean the extant monkey species, or just monkeys in general. My (non-expert) understanding is we didn’t evolve from the former, but did from the latter.

    Also, I think the reason people keep asking that question is partly due to the iconic image of “evolution” that shows the fish, amphibian, mammal, etc in a line walking out of the water on to the land. Do a google image search for “evolution” and it’s endless variations of this misleading image.

  149. azhael says

    No, the problem is that lay people use a paraphyletic meaning of the term “monkey” which excludes us for no reason other than i suposse an absurd sense of pride (i ain´t no monkey!), whereas the biological usage must be monophyletic and therefore leaves no option…if our ancestors were monkeys, we are monkeys (same reason all tetrapods, including us, are fish, by the way). Of course we didn´t evolve from an extant species of monkey, that´s ridiculous, but that doesn´t mean we aren´t monkeys ourselves, it just means that our common ancestors (our´s and every other monkey´s) are long dead. It would be like saying that spanish is not a romance language because it didn´t derive from any extant romance language like french or romanian.

    We are a specific type of monkey, we are apes or hominoid monkeys.Other monkeys are other types of monkey, like platyrrhine monkeys and cercopithecoid monkeys.

  150. azhael says

    Shit, sorry, i keep forgetting i can´t edit my posts.
    I wanted to say that i understand that people can make mistakes, but if someone claims to accept evolution and they are smugly correcting other people on their ignorance and their mistakes, they should know better than to say we aren´t monkeys. It makes us all look bad if you “correct” somebody else with a wrong answer.

    I wouldn´t go around answering question 21 with “no, you utter moron, it wasn´t an exploding star, it was a exploding galaxy”, so please stop telling people we aren´t monkeys, you are wrong and you are missinforming people.

    Sorry if i sound too affected by this, but i happen to take systematics seriously xD

  151. jedibear says

    All these signs just make me want to answer these people. Directly. It would be so easy, if only I had contact information.

    I was also raised creationist, so I know that people capable of misunderstanding the universe so completely aren’t necessarily hopeless idiots.

  152. jedibear says

    “Monkey” is not a recognized taxon. So no, we are not monkeys. We are simians. More specifically, we’re hominids (apes.)

    What I was taught (by a primatologist teaching anthropology in a community college around the turn of the century) was that “monkey” was essentially a locomotive classification, with monkeys distinguished from other primates by being fully quadrupedal.

    But I don’t expect that to still be right, I just don’t know where to find that information.

  153. birgerjohansson says

    jedibear,
    I will attempt to reply to the question in the image.
    There are still monkeys because we do not compete directly with the monkeys.
    We came from hominids. After humans evolved as a separate species, we still shared the same ecological niche with out closest relatives, and competed, leading to their extinction (H erectus etc.) So there are no almost-human hominids left. Monkeys are too distant relatives to be relevant.

  154. birgerjohansson says

    …which should be the simplest possible answer to offer a creationist who is sincerely interested in new ideas.

  155. MetzO'Magic says

    birgerjohansson:

    …a creationist who is sincerely interested in new ideas.

    Now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one.

  156. says

    dianne:

    Well, humanity’s been working on this problem, but we’re not quite as good at genocide as we think we are. Sorry, but I think that’s the real answer: monkeys and other apes are dying out, mostly from human encroachment on their habitats. Evolutionarily speaking, this does mean that humans are the more currently successful* adaptation.

    Sigh.

    ***

    anuran:

    Show of hands. Who still thinks it’s OK for brothers and sisters to inter-breed?

    If they’re fig wasps or stick insects then sure.

    Made me laugh.

  157. jesse says

    It’s far down in the comment thread, but something occurred to me about the argument from beauty.

    It’s easy to say “that’s stupid.” But in one sense they are asking a deeper question then they realize. To put it bluntly: is there any rational reason to go on living, to have children, to do anything? Cost-benefit wise, having children makes zero sense, unless you live on a farm and need the labor.

    Now, a lot of people here will say “there is meaning in life that we give it” but to a lot of people that just doesn’t fly. And it is not because they are fools who need someone to tel them something.

    I am a pretty progressive person. I like to think that humans can make things better. But on my bad days, I feel I live in a world where the NSA can watch everything I do, where the environment is going to hell in a handbasket, where people with enough money can, it seems, do anything they want to anyone they want at any time. Ask yourself this: if a billionaire or some CIA bureaucrat wanted you dead, how many seconds you think you would survive? We have people who are behaving in ways that will make grandchildren irrelevant because our whole civilization will be basically over. We have people who are willing to shoot other people for being more brown — and they get rewarded. We are in an economic race to the bottom and it seems, well on our way to re-establishing feudalism. I sometimes feel like evil win and wins and wins again, that everything my parents and grandparents fought for was a failure. I feel that we live in a world not unlike that the ancient Greeks lived in — but at least they understood that gods need to be please with sacrifices so that made sense. I often feel that we have our own little gods, and we live at their mercy — we have no power, and that death is all that is real. And I am angry at my own feelings of powerlessness.

    Why bother? Sometimes I need someone to tell me that things will be better. Sometimes I need that because otherwise I really do want to just shoot myself. I’m not a perfect person and maintaining any sense that life has meaning isn’t always easy. Some days it’s damned hard. Logically speaking this doesn’t make any sense. But that doesn’t alter the fact that I need to feel better and connecting with another human being does that.

    And there is no scientific argument, no way to logically work that out. There just isn’t. I know, rationally, that maybe things aren’t so bad. But rational has nothing to do with it, any more than it does when you fall in love with someone. Science doesn’t have much to offer here, not in the in-the-guts way that is sometimes necessary.

    When someone calls a suicide hot line you don’t get into a discussion of thermodynamics. Science can inform your attitudes, and it does for me, but that isn’t quite enough for a lot of people. After all, when you say “I love you” — not “my neurons are firing and a certain set of endorphins is flooding my system making me think I feel a bond with you.” Not quite the same feeling when you say the latter, you know?

    When someone asks that bit about a sunset, they are, I think, asking (without always realizing it): why bother? And the problem is that science all by itself really isn’t equipped for that.

    Also, most people don’t know that many scientists — if any at all– and don’t necessarily know what their attitudes are. Most people I would bet see science as something that can solve problems — after all the evidence is all around you — but they also see that it can create some too. The trope of scientific hubris (which goes back centuries) exists for a reason and it isn’t just because people are ignorant Luddites.

    Now, you or I would say science is just a tool that can be used for good or evil. Fine. But that doesn’t connect with people in quite the way the woman who asked about the sunset is thinking of, I would bet. They see people who don’t seem ware of consequences, or don’t seem to care about ethics. That isn’t true, but that’s not really the point — this is about how people feel.

    This is why science can seem soulless and lacking in meaning, I think. Some people, myself included, really do like learning about how things work and find a sense of wonder in it. But not everyone does, and it isn’t always out of ignorance or fear of knowledge. Because sometimes finding meaning isn’t about logic, or science, really.

    “Can you explain a sunset” ends up being a much more complicated discussion, in that light.

  158. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Screw it, I’ve been arguing in the comments there and keep re-reading the questions and answering them in my head. I figured I may as well join in the fun and lay them down in 1’s and 0’s.

    1- Yes. You and your ilk are influecing them negatively.

    2- No. Are you scared of pixies?

    3- Yes.

    4- No. You are apparently incapable of fully thinking through the implications of the 2LoT.

    5- The sun’s rays entering the atmosphere at a low angle causes them to be defracted by particulates suspended in the atmosphere, resulting in bright colours. It’s the same phenomenom which causes crystal prisms to turn white light into a rainbow when said light enters the prism at a certain angle, but without the full spectrum of colours. Also, “there”, not “their”.

    6- You don’t understand the 2LoT, or the Big Bang Theory, or the theory of Evolution. Also, judging from the wording of your question, you don’t understand causality.

    7- What about them?

    8- There is no objective meaning to life.

    9- Argument from ignorance; the mere fact that I, personally, do not understand how life can originate from inanimate chemistry does not mean that it didn’t happen. Also, Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, it explains how life changed and diversified after that original abiogenesis.

    10- Oh, how cute; an utterly meaningless slogan which advances your argument not one iota.

    11- If there are any Atheists (it’s OK to use that word, it’s not infectious) out there who embrace ID (which is, after all, what you are talking about, if the proponents of ID are to be believed) then their belief has the same problem yours does: no evidence.

    12- If by “in between” you mean “transitional fossil”, which presumably you do, then no, there are many of them. Though you are correct in so far as only one of them, to my knowledge, has been named “Lucy”.
    And why do you get to define the standard for “official proof” (whatever that means)?

    13- You mean does it help prove evolution true? No, I can’t see how it does. Someone smarter than me may diagree.

    14- You don’t understand the definiton of “theory”.

    15- Nor do you; and the smug tone of your message is made all the more infuriating by your severe Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

    16- I’m not sure an increase of genetic information (within an individual, which is what your question seems to imply) is necessary to the theory of Evolution. Just change in information. Of course the very act of mutation creates an increase of genetic information within a population.

    17- Why on Earth would you assume we’re here for a purpose? Life has no meaning beyond that which we construct for ourselves, and the fact that notion offends your incomprehensibly inflated ego has no bearing on it’s truth.

    18- Didn’t we do this at #12 already? There are many transitional hominid fossils. Though you are correct in so far as only one of them has been called “Lucy”.

    19- Yes. I do.

    20- The world is indeed amazing. I am amazed by nature every day; and amazed by humans, though normally for less positive reasons. That has absolutely no bearing on whether or not an intelligent being created it. Logic: how the fuck does it work?

    21- You don’t understand the BBT. There was no “exploding star”. And let’s spin this on it’s head: “Relating to Creationism; where did God come from?”.

    22- For the same reason that both caterpillars and butterflys can exist at the same time: not all of them evolved into hominids, you idiot. You’re aware there are loads of species of primate, spanning loads of genera, families, infraorders and suborders, right? And that only an isolated proportion of one species of one genus of one family took the path to becoming hominids and, eventually, us? The rest all stayed monkeys.

  159. azhael says

    Sure, “monkey” is not a recognized taxon and neither is fish or lizard, but if they are going to have any meaning that makes any sense in biology they must be synonimous to some monophyletic taxon. In this case the way monkey is used and the taxa it includes, it has to be synonimous with Simiiformes, so simian=monkey. For the word monkey to have any useful, real use it has to reflect our current knowledge about the systematics of primates and that means it has to include us.

  160. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @azhael

    Not sure who you’re addressing; but if it’s me then I agree :) I had been asuming that “monkey” was being used as synonymous with the order “primates”.

  161. Arnie says

    the problem is that lay people use a paraphyletic meaning of the term “monkey” which excludes us

    Whether or not we choose to use a definition of monkey which includes us apes, doesn’t change the fact that all monkeys and apes (extant and extinct) had a last common ancestral species which also must have been a species of monkey by any sensible definition, and we humans are descended from that species.

    So that “We didn’t come from monkeys, we had a common ancestor” meme is wrong and needs to be killed.

    Here’s that simple diagram again.

  162. doublereed says

    @203 jesse

    My answer would be that you should appreciate things for what they are, rather than tacking on extra magic and narratives to it. There is, if anything, more wonder in physicalism than religion, because you can actually learn how all these things work.

    The argument from beauty is backwards. Their argument is just that we should sit and enjoy things, while our argument is that we should actively participate in the beauty of things.

  163. doublereed says

    So that “We didn’t come from monkeys, we had a common ancestor” meme is wrong and needs to be killed.

    Here’s that simple diagram again.

    We’re not arguing with taxonomists. We’re arguing with creationists.

    What are we supposed to say? “We didn’t come from monkeys, we are monkeys”?

  164. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    “We didn’t come from monkeys, we are monkeys”?

    This was my standard response for a while; normally with a gratuitous “… you idiot” tacked on the end, I admit. I still use it reflexively sometimes. They tend to get angry, because to them being called a monkey is insulting. You can’t really argue with that level of ignorant speciesism, to borrow a term.

  165. Alex the Pretty Good says

    Slight clarification to my original message (other than that posting at 1:00 AM makes it difficult to clearly state your thoughts in a non-native language)

    When I mentioned “basic principles that my 7-years old nephew understands” I was talking about biological evolution and the main principles that guide evolution. Not specific points made by those 22 rehashed creationist talking points.

    Also I never suggested that these people were stupid (or “not even as clever as a 7-years old”) … they are ignorant … the sad result of religious brainwashing (“garbage in, garbage out”).

    Finally, I never claimed that this doesn’t exist in Belgium (I should have specified that there are so many adults like this in the U.S.) though creationists are mostly unheard of here, consiting mostly of immigrants or willfully ignorant adults.
    Brainwashing children is a lot more difficult because even if a child is home-schooled, it still needs to follow the same basic program all schools need to follow (and homeschoolers can receive inspection to confirm this) but the great majority of kids goes to school, and these schools can only get accredited if they do follow the official programs.

    Sure, you’ll probably have a lot of adults here who won’t be able to explain how evolution functions, or who don’t give a hoot one way or another … But creationists, banding together to re-inforce their ignorance like they do in the States are rare (I know of only one such group here)

  166. Arnie says

    Again, regardless of whether we define ourselves as monkeys or not (or who you are arguing with), we are descended from earlier monkeys. So please stop denying that we come from monkeys!

  167. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @doublereed

    I know! Poor, poor, dominant persecuted Christians!

    I went through a period of making a concerted effort to drop the “idiot”, thinking a rational conversation would be easier and thus I would have abetter chance of rationally demonstrating to my opponent that they were talking rubbish, but they got just as angry. It was at this point I realised the insult lay in the assertion that they were a monkey. So I figured if the mere statement of fact was going to annoy them then I may as well go full-on. In for a penny, in for pound, as they say. It contributed largely to the death of my naive belief that every argument could necessarily be won with reason and logic :(

  168. raven says

    Whether or not we choose to use a definition of monkey which includes us apes, doesn’t change the fact that all monkeys and apes (extant and extinct) had a last common ancestral species which also must have been a species of monkey by any sensible definition, and we humans are descended from that species.

    So that “We didn’t come from monkeys, we had a common ancestor” meme is wrong and needs to be killed.

    1. Using your cladistic logic, we are also reptiles, amphibians, fish, and some sort of chordate. As well as blue green algae.

    2. When dealing with lay people and creationists, you don’t have to explain the fine points of a cladistic view of humans. It’s close enough to say we and present monkey’s shared a common ancestor.

  169. says

    I still think the best response to the Monkey descendents thing is to say that we are descended from the monkeys that left the jungle and moved to the savanna and were thus forced to adapt and that that adaptation eventually led to hominids.

    The monkeys that stayed in the jungle stayed monkeys.

    Yes I know this is not technically true in that we have a common ancestor and all that but like others point out in this thread, when creationists use the term monkey they are not using it like a scientist would. They think they caught us in a gotcha-a. The best way to argue with such people is keep the argument simple and try to keep it in their own terms.

  170. birgerjohansson says

    “The best way to argue with such people is keep the argument simple and try to keep it in their own terms.”

    Absolutely. We will never reach all creationists, but there is a subset we can and should get through to. (se @ 200, 201)

  171. Sastra says

    jesse #204 wrote:

    …the argument from beauty
    It’s easy to say “that’s stupid.” But in one sense they are asking a deeper question then they realize. To put it bluntly: is there any rational reason to go on living, to have children, to do anything?

    The question you ask here is a common question theists (and non-theists) ask, yes — but technically speaking it’s getting far away from the Argument from Beauty. Instead, it can and often is used as another sort of apologetic: the Argument from Negative Consequences (also known colloquially as the Argument from Boo-Hoo.) “If there is no God (no afterlife, no final justice, no meaning which goes all the way down), then there is no reason to live. That sucks (boo hoo). Therefore, God exists.”

    It’s a bad argument per se (it’s irrelevant, for one thing) — but as you point out the question itself is a good one. And depending on what form or version of God someone is offering, theism isn’t necessarily going to be an improvement over an uncaring natural world with no guarantee of ‘progress’ in the things we care about.

    Is it “rational” to go on living? That’s a poorly formed question. You can’t rationally assess anything until you have a goal you’re trying to achieve. Goals are (to a good extent) non-rational. They involve emotions, wants, desires. But that isn’t “religious” territory. It’s human territory.

    Sometimes I need someone to tell me that things will be better… And there is no scientific argument, no way to logically work that out. There just isn’t. I know, rationally, that maybe things aren’t so bad. But rational has nothing to do with it, any more than it does when you fall in love with someone. Science doesn’t have much to offer here, not in the in-the-guts way that is sometimes necessary.

    Science itself may not answer this question, but humanism may. If you assess the world rationally, things have been getting better on almost every front since the Enlightenment. Your pessimism is in some ways a good sign because it helps to point out how high our standards have risen. 5,000 or 500 years ago, you would not have been concerned about abuses of human rights or worldwide poverty because your world would have been smaller and ‘ human rights’ wasn’t yet a real concept. If you’re seeking a secular version of “things CAN get better” then I recommend Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.

    It will cheer you in your guts. Probably.

  172. Sastra says

    Thumper #215 wrote:

    … but they got just as angry. It was at this point I realised the insult lay in the assertion that they were a monkey.

    Sheesh. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s easier with baby steps:

    “Animal, mineral, or vegetable: where would ‘humans’ go?”

    Only a total idiot will argue that we’re a kind of rock or a species of carrot. The unavoidable answer to this simple question is “animal.” Get them to say “humans are animals.”

    Baby step. But it’s a big baby step. Anyone who would get angry at being told they are a monkey would probably get angry at being told they are an animal, too. But you didn’t tell them that. They chose it themselves.

  173. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Arnie @ 208

    So that “We didn’t come from monkeys, we had a common ancestor” meme is wrong and needs to be killed.

    We had a common ancestor with all extant species of monkeys (including ape monkeys). Since the “why are there still monkeys” question is conflating extant species with the ancestral species, the only way to begin to dismantle the levels of wrong involved is to start with the fact that we are not directly descended from any living species of monkey save the other human monkeys.

    Currently living OW and NW monkeys and apes all failed to “come from” one another. They are all modern species. The creationist question is most likely confusing modern species, because they have been trained to think of all species popping into existence as they are now. Even a lot of naive people who accept evolution still think we “came from” chimps somehow.

    If my great-great-grandpa Mickey Monkey had a bunch of kids and now I’m Mellow Monkey and my third cousin is Goofy Monkey, then we’re all Monkeys. But the creationist asking that question often thinks Mickey is Goofy. So Mellow didn’t come from Goofy, even if we’re all Monkeys. The concept of the common ancestor has to be drilled into their heads. Yep, we absolutely came from monkeys and, yep, we absolutely are monkeys. But it’s still a really important point to talk about common ancestors and us not descending from any other living species but our own.

  174. barbaz says

    myeck waters,

    in the way that if I’m not going to help, I at least should stop staring at it, but I can’t.

  175. woozy says

    I still think the best response to the Monkey descendents thing is to say that we are descended from the ancient monkeys that left the jungle and moved to the savanna and were thus forced to adapt and that that adaptation eventually led to hominids.

    The monkeys that stayed in the jungle stayed evolved into modern monkeys.

    Yes I know this is not technically true

    Now it is.

  176. raven says

    …the argument from beauty
    It’s easy to say “that’s stupid.” But in one sense they are asking a deeper question then they realize. To put it bluntly: is there any rational reason to go on living, to have children, to do anything?

    This is silly. It’s the meaning of life question. The one college students talk about after a few beers and/or some marijuana.

    1. Everyone answers that on their own. There are a billion No Religions in the world. They aren’t all looking for a broken bottle so they can slit their wrists.

    2. Religion doesn’t have any good answers for sure. To a Moslem Jihadist, it is killing a few dozen or thousand random strangers, going to heaven, and fucking their brains out with 72 virgins forever. To a fundie xian, it is appeasing an invisible Sky Monster god to go to heaven, rather than being tortured forever in hell. To a Hindu, it is avoiding being reincarnated as a cockroach or tapeworm.

    Sometimes I need someone to tell me that things will be better… And there is no scientific argument, no way to logically work that out.

    If you want someone to lie to you, join a religion. Try the Mormons. If you are a diligent male, you can become a god yourself but only after you are dead.

    Science doesn’t have much to offer here, not in the in-the-guts way that is sometimes necessary.

    Why should it? That isn’t the purpose of science. Science is how we understand reality and what we have found out about reality.

    Science isn’t going to tell you the meaning of your life. But you get long, health lifespans, cheap abundant food, cable TV, the internet, electric lighting, personal transporters known as cars, and all the other miracles of the 21st century. Would you rather figure out the meaning of life while watching everyone die like flies around you while being cold and hungry in the Dark Ages or while holding the remote control and surfing the TV or wandering the internet?

  177. azhael says

    1. Using your cladistic logic, we are also reptiles, amphibians, fish, and some sort of chordate. As well as blue green algae.

    2. When dealing with lay people and creationists, you don’t have to explain the fine points of a cladistic view of humans. It’s close enough to say we and present monkey’s shared a common ancestor.

    1. We aren´t reptiles and we aren´t amphibians (depending on your definition) but we most definitely are fish and chordates (this one people usually have no trouble getting since we do have a spine and shit) and i would argue we are bacteria aswell.

    2.I disagree. The correct explanation is always preferable and it´s not as if these stuff is difficult to understand at all, i mean, clades nested within clades…this is really simple stuff. Also, and heavily related to number 1, most people already accept or are familiar with the idea of humans being mammals or being vertebrates….humans being monkeys is no different at all.

  178. says

    Try the Mormons. If you are a diligent male, you can become a god yourself but only after you are dead.

    They’re hardly the only ones, although it is easier for male mormons than usual. Most of the time you need to be a famous badass of some kind in order to be deified after death.

  179. raven says

    2.I disagree. The correct explanation is always preferable and it´s not as if these stuff is difficult to understand at all, i mean, clades nested within clades…this is really simple stuff. Also, and heavily related to number 1, most people already accept or are familiar with the idea of humans being mammals or being vertebrates….humans being monkeys is no different at all.

    Well OK. You and I are blue green algae then. It’s not a problem All my friends and my cats are also blue green algae.

    You are however vastly overestimating the education levels and intellectual abilities of fundies. No they aren’t going to get cladistics. Evolution is very simple, E = RM + NS, evolution equals random mutation plus natural selection. They never understand it either. That is why a dog giving birth to a cat never happening disproves evolution (in their minds). Same thing with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  180. rrhain says

    Except the species that existed 50 million years ago wasn’t a monkey.

    Humans and Old World monkeys are all part of Catarrhini (“hook-nosed”). It is inaccurate to call them “monkeys” because the variation of species within the clade is too broad. It would be akin to saying that all members of Mammalia are whales. A “whale” is too specific to describe what it means to be a mammal.

    Evolution affected all the descendants of the species that gave rise to humans, apes, and monkeys. Apes and Old World monkeys are part of a larger clade. It would be akin to saying that you are descended only from your father while completely ignoring your mother (not to mention all the other relations in that generation). While your sibling may look much more like your parents than you do, your sibling is still not your parents. It is different and complete unto itself.

    Humans and monkeys descended from a species that was neither human nor monkey. That means, yes, not even monkeys are descended from monkeys.

    That’s how complex and beautiful evolution is.

    And it’s important to get this right and not coddle creationists, to not “do it on their terms.” That will only let them think they can keep some small part of their incorrect understanding which will then infect the entire structure. Yes, it’s difficult to convince them to give it up. That doesn’t mean you let them off the hook.

  181. Rob in Memphis says

    If God created Adam from dust, why is there still dust? Checkmate, creationists!

    Sadly, living in the American south, I know some young Earth creationists and while most of them are decent people I still find it baffling that they believe what’s patently bullshit despite literally mountains of evidence to the contrary. On the plus side, it’s funny to see how uncomfortable they look when you bring up dinosaurs, so at least there’s that….

  182. azhael says

    You are reserving moneky for Platyrrhini, if so, what are cercopithecoid monk….sorry, i mean cercopithecoid what?
    The coloquial usage of monkey most certainly includes cercopithecoidea as well as platyrrhini. If that is how we use the word monkey, then for it to make biological sense, it must include apes too.

  183. johnharshman says

    Yes, humans are monkeys.

    It’s so very annoying to have to keep explaining this. Though even some biologists still make this mistake (notably Francisco Ayala, who wrote a whole book just so he could get it wrong), if the word “monkey” means anything at all in biological terms, it refers to the minimal clade containing all species popularly called monkeys. That would refer to the common ancestor of NW and OW monkeys plus all its descendants, and that clade most definitely includes us. We are monkeys. We are Old World monkeys. We are apes. And we are human. That’s the thrill of nested hierarchies.

    Further, that common ancestor would have had all the characteristics we associate with monkeys and if we saw one we would, if asked to identify it, say it was a monkey.

    The only way in which humans are not monkeys is if you ignore evolution and consider the definition of “monkey” to refer only to extant species to which the popular term is habitually applied (and only in English). The only way in which humans are not descended from monkeys is if you prefer paraphyletic groups, and if you do, why keep saying that whales are mammals?

    Further, that whole line of argument against the creationist question is a copout; it avoids the question without dealing with it.

    So welcome to the monkey house. End of rant.

  184. says

    Of course, the basic problem is that the question of “what do you mean by ‘monkey’?” is already miles ahead of the education and curiosity of most creationists.

    That’s the core of the problem with discussing anything with creationists; you usually have to abandon the actual subject of the discussion in favor of giving them a remedial education.

  185. unclefrogy says

    I too have been in the place as described by Jesse above but I did not stop there any more.
    I learned to look at how I feel about things at any given time as a moving target ant it will change in a while. Took being alive for sometime before I noticed it though. It is the result of selecting with the emotional bias what I am paying attention to at any given moment.
    Science and reason helps me. Why do I want to scrap the experiment before it is through, why am I thinking I can predict what the results before they come in?
    What will we see around the next corner? Like the song says “it’s just a box of rain”
    The poor ignorant religious so full of the fear of god because they already know the horrible answers.

    An answer to why beauty is the ultimate circular why question. Why is often the exact wrong question. I know no thing of beauty that does not reveal more layers of beauty the deeper you delve into it. There are even depths to why we even judge things as possessing beauty that reveal more layers of beauty. It is endless and at no time requires a supernatural magic being.

    uncle frogy

  186. woozy says

    if the word “monkey” means anything at all in biological terms, it refers to the minimal clade containing all species popularly called monkeys.

    Why couldn’t it be taken to mean the paraphyletic group of simians that are not apes?

    The only way in which humans are not descended from monkeys is if you prefer paraphyletic groups, and if you do, why keep saying that whales are mammals?

    Are you claiming that biologists must always use one convention and absolutely never the other? By monophyletic terms humans are fish, which I can accept for relevant uses but in paraphyletic terms we are not which I can also accept.

    Further, that whole line of argument against the creationist question is a copout; it avoids the question without dealing with it.

    Sort of. Mostly. The question is “If a species evolved from something else how come the something else still exists”. We need to explain that evolution isn’t a uniform lock step where one specific adaptation complete, totally and uniformly supercedes and wipes out the previous. (There’d only be one type of lifeform on the planet if it were.) However the terminology “monkeys” is so fuzzy that the assumptions “humans came from monkeys” “humans aren’t monkeys” “monkeys are monkeys” “monkeys still are monkeys” “monkeys were monkeys” are nearly meaningless and certainly ambiguous enough to lead to sloppy contradictions and meaningless conclusions. So an explanation of terms and assumptions is in order. Which gets messy because we don’t agree on what we mean by “monkeys”. (FWIW, I was interpreting the question to mean specifically the modern monkeys as they exist today but incorrectly to be perceived as a single animal, a “kind” as it were, and incorrectly assumed to be our direct ancestors or similar enough to the direct ancestors to both be the same “kind” [whereas humans clearly are not]. As you can see there are a *lot* of misconceptions to be cleared.)

  187. ChasCPeterson says

    Wow, the ‘did we come from monkeys’ discussion has spiraled. Lots of subtly different viewpoints have been expressed, some right, some wrong (#230), some mostly right, some mostly wrong. Too much to try and marjonovic individual coments. Let me try to boil it all down here, without acknowledging everybody who made the same point above.:

    First of all, the term ‘monkey’ is not a formal taxon, or in fact a scientific grouping at all. It’s a vernacular English term for a grade of animals. Some biologists–including johnharshman and (ahem) me, above–take the approach of back-defining the vernacular term as a monophyletic group (‘clade’)(which, for the lurkers, is a single, complete lineage comprising an ancestor and all of its descendants; such groups are the conventional conceptual basis for all modern taxonomy). If you insist that English vernacular terms for animal groups must be redefined as monophyletic, then humans are monkeys and therefore did come from monkeys; no question about it, case closed.

    Personally, though, I don’t have a problem with using vernacular terms for paraphyletic groups (i.e. not including all descendants of an ancestor; ‘monkeys’ is paraphyletic if it is understood to exclude apes and humans (and ‘apes’ is paraphyletc without humans)). I’m fine with talking about fishes, reptiles, algae, lizards, apes, and monkeys as groups that are grades rather than clades, paraphyletic (or, in the case of algae, polyphyletic) instead of monophyletic, as long as I’m talking in English in a non-formal setting.
    But even using a paraphyletic definition of ‘monkeys’ such that humans are not, by definition, included, it’s still true that we came from monkeys. The common ancestor of extant apes and extant OW monkeys could not be considered anything else, under any vernacular definition, and neither could any extinct taxon closer to it than to the common ancestor of OW and NW monkeys. There’s just no doubt that apes had ancestors that, if seen alive or as a fossil, would be called a ‘monkey’ by anybody.

    The caveat that we did not come from any species of ‘monkey’ that is alive today is of course true, so if you want to paly the ‘common ancestor’ card that’s fine, but yes, that common ancestor was, still, a monkey by any definition that ackowledges that some monkeys are extinct.

    p.s. to raven: if you don’t want to be considered a fish or a reptile that’s fine, but you are in fact a mammal and a chordate. But no animal ever had an ancestor that was a “bluegreen algae” so please retire that straw, uh, alga.

  188. woozy says

    The caveat that we did not come from any species of ‘monkey’ that is alive today is of course true, so if you want to paly the ‘common ancestor’ card that’s fine, but yes, that common ancestor was, still, a monkey by any definition that ackowledges that some monkeys are extinct.

    Yeas, but the reason to play the “common ancestor” card (and for that matter the “humans are monkeys” card) is this: The question is “if we evolved from something that we call a monkey why is that thing we call a monkey still around”. Well, the simple answer is it isn’t. It evolved into many different types of modern monkeys and apes and humans. Or (in my opinion less satisfying but equally accurate) we didn’t evolve from the thing we call a monkey because we are still a thing that for all the same intents and purposes for which we call the ancestor a monkey we would apply to ourselves and call us a monkey.

    Whatever answer we give we have to address 1) what do you mean when you say we ‘evolved from monkeys’ and what do you mean ‘there still are monkeys’ and 2) why would you think that evolving from something would make something disappear? I suppose that later comes from the “survival of the strongest” idea and the “line of evolution” visual… maybe. But the first is confused by the idea that a ‘monkey’ is a single type of animal. Otherwise the question doesn’t make any sense. “If this plant evolved from a type of tree then why are there still trees” just isn’t something anyone would ever ask because we know “tree” describes a log group of things rather than a single specific.

  189. says

    I answered these questions over at my place (too long to post here!).

    WRT to the question about the second law of thermodynamics, I concluded my answer thusly:

    Try this: next time a creationist asks you about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, have a little fun and ask them if they know the First and Third!

  190. David Marjanović says

    If ignorance is bliss, these people have attained nirvana.

    Nirvana isn’t supposed to be a state of bliss, but oblivion – which is pretty much the literal meaning.

    Sorry about the wall of text, I don’t seem to be able to insert paragraphs

    o_O Hit Enter!

    Family guy; American Idiot (video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtRS4POkCmI

    Hard to understand, because the instruments are at least as loud as the song. And then, at the end, the American idiot singer suddenly cuts his own song off.

    Also, FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR GOD LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THERE/THEIR/THEY’RE

    …followed by…

    he studied it and out to have learned better

    Remember Ghotiugh, the fish.

    a very easy to understand law

    Best compound noun ever.

    Here’s the other side ….

    One click further: even more fun with spelling!!!

    I was raised atheist, and I’m completely proud of that

    …Then I don’t understand what you mean by “proud”.

    Silly creationists. Everyone with half a brain knows that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (i.e. entropy) only applies to a closed system (as many others above have already expressed).

    No, that’s not something you can at all easily derive on your own. You need knowledge. Don’t confuse ignorance with stupidity.

    To wit, the 2nd Law doesn’t apply to closed systems, it applies to isolated systems, the ones that neither matter nor any other form of energy can enter or leave.

    Pondering the persistent “…why are there still monkeys?” trope…

    Hm. I think part of what might lie behind it is a view of evolution that’s been shaped by hierarchical thinking: notions of the animal “kingdom” – which, to be sure, have also corrupted a nontrivial portion of evolutionary thinking – that see it in terms of a hierarchical order of discrete kinds, with superior humans at the top. If this is your understanding, you’re likely to imagine evolution as a dynamic version of this static model, in which superior kinds replace inferior kinds. If superior humans evolved from inferior monkeys, they wonder, how have monkeys not been superseded? What would they still be doing here?

    Of course, yes. Indeed, it took a long while till most evolutionary biologists really grasped this. Apparently, for a long time, it was a widespread assumption that advanced descendants outcompete their primitive ancestors… (not a quote, only a paraphrase; the quotation marks are automatically generated by the <q> tag).

    Here’s ftb’s own Mano Singham answering the question ‘Does the big bang violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?’

    Awesome, bookmarked!

    2. I am as scared of your god as you are of Zeus.

    Careful there. There are American fundamentalists who retain the ancient concept that every deity that has ever been worshipped really exists – and is an evil demon who pretends to be a deity, so that worshipping them isn’t just a deluded waste of time but actively harmful.

    In other words, there are American fundamentalists who believe that Zeus wants to drag them to hell!

    Why did he create only two species of elephant,

    Or three, depending on your definition. And that’s not counting any mammoths.

    yet around 30 species of cockroach?

    That number seemed stunningly low, so I took a look at Wikipedia…

    Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattaria or Blattodea, of which about 30 species out of 4,500 total are associated with human habitats. About four species are well known as pests.[1][2]”

    So, 4,500 species of cockroach, not counting the well over 3,100 species of termites which are cockroaches the same way that we are monkeys. :-)

    same reason all tetrapods, including us, are fish, by the way

    You can just say “vertebrates”.

    “Monkey” is not a recognized taxon. So no, we are not monkeys. We are simians.

    *eyeroll* Talk about unrecognized taxa!

    To put it bluntly: is there any rational reason to go on living, to have children, to do anything? Cost-benefit wise, having children makes zero sense, unless you live on a farm and need the labor.

    After all, when you say “I love you” — not “my neurons are firing and a certain set of endorphins is flooding my system making me think I feel a bond with you.” Not quite the same feeling when you say the latter, you know?

    Exactly the same feeling. The latter is just a more waffling and frankly less precise way of saying the same thing – in particular, you say “bond” but fail to specify which kind.

    Simiiformes

    That name hasn’t been used in a long time. Try Anthropoidea.

    What are we supposed to say? “We didn’t come from monkeys, we are monkeys”?

    We did come from monkeys, and we are monkeys. It’s really very simple.

    1. Using your cladistic logic, we are also reptiles, amphibians, fish, and some sort of chordate. As well as blue green algae.

    That’s phylogenetic nomenclature, not cladistics; replace “reptiles” by “amniotes”, “amphibians” by “tetrapods”, and “fish” by “vertebrates”; we’ve always been classified as chordates ever since that name was invented; and no, we’re not cyanobacteria – we never had photosynthetic ancestors at all.

  191. David Marjanović says

    Sorry, I forgot to answer this:

    To put it bluntly: is there any rational reason to go on living, to have children, to do anything? Cost-benefit wise, having children makes zero sense, unless you live on a farm and need the labor.

    If you want to have children, and if you think you could deal with the burden, then have some! If you don’t want to have any, then don’t have any!

    “Be fruitful and multiply” is only in the Bible.

  192. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    You monkeys who have been saying we are fish, you owe me a big glass of tea. I was working in a strange place today, horribly short on sleep, and started thinking, “I’m a fish.”

    After fifteen minutes of trying to stand upright while thinking that I was a fish, I had to go find some caffeine.

    I am a fish …..

  193. teawithbertrand says

    @ 241 David


    2. I am as scared of your god as you are of Zeus.

    Careful there. There are American fundamentalists who retain the ancient concept that every deity that has ever been worshipped really exists – and is an evil demon who pretends to be a deity, so that worshipping them isn’t just a deluded waste of time but actively harmful.

    Good point. Thank you. Makes me think of “Jesus Camp” when Becky Fischer learns that one of her charges has seen a Harry Potter movie and declares “Wizards are an enemy of God and need to be destroyed!” On some level, there really does seem to be an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality for some folks, doesn’t there?

  194. teawithbertrand says

    Having said that, it’s my sense that many of these people may have never heard of Zeus, or Shiva, or Mithras, or Ahura Mazda, and that makes them atheists with regard to those gods. Am I off base here?

  195. Snoof says

    Good point. Thank you. Makes me think of “Jesus Camp” when Becky Fischer learns that one of her charges has seen a Harry Potter movie and declares “Wizards are an enemy of God and need to be destroyed!” On some level, there really does seem to be an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality for some folks, doesn’t there?

    I was going to say something like, “It kind of makes sense. If you already think wizardry and magic are real and evil, then media which portrays them in a sympathetic light genuinely would seem subversive and potentially dangerous. Imagine if there were movies and television dedicated to sympathetically portraying violent criminals.”

    Then I realised that’s already a thing.So… now I’m back to not understanding.

  196. Thomas Hobbes says

    To put it bluntly: is there any rational reason to go on living, to have children, to do anything? Cost-benefit wise, having children makes zero sense, unless you live on a farm and need the labor.

    Please don’t confuse “rational” with “material”. If the costs outweigh the benefits, it is completely rational, even if the costs and benefits themselves are mostly emotional and not material.

  197. azhael says

    Sorry to keep babbling about the monkey stuff, i know some people are probably tired of it.
    The reason why i´m not comfortable using vernacular terms that are paraphyletic is because there really is no reason to do so other than “tradition”. I´d much rather take that knowledge that we have acquired about biology and apply it to the vernacular names to make them better and more correct. In other words, change the meaning of those words so that they reflect reality rather than reflect human ignorance and prejudice.
    Also, and importantly, there are other categories that we already use monophyletically, as has already been pointed out, like chordates, vertebrates, amniotes, mammals…why on earth make an exception for fish and monkey?
    What´s the point of hammering in things like the fact that birds are dinosaurs if we are then going to make an exception for monkey for no good reason whatsoever. I´d much rather have consistency and correctly reflect the state of our knowledge than pointlessly preserve vernacular usage.

    By the way, thank you for the correction on Simiiformes, i was going to use Anthropoidea but decided to check on wikipedia first to make sure i was remembering correctly (i also always end up mixing catarrhini with platyrrhini) and since the article used Simiiiformes instead, i went with it.

  198. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Marjanovic #241


    2. I am as scared of your god as you are of Zeus.

    Careful there. There are American fundamentalists who retain the ancient concept that every deity that has ever been worshipped really exists – and is an evil demon who pretends to be a deity, so that worshipping them isn’t just a deluded waste of time but actively harmful.

    So in reality, they’re monolatrists?

  199. carlie says

    If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

    Because not all of them became us, just a small group of them. There. If they try to push on competition, then “and we didn’t kill them all off, because some of them were too far away/we thought they were cute/we were too busy killing other things”.

    The reason why i´m not comfortable using vernacular terms that are paraphyletic is because there really is no reason to do so other than “tradition”.

    You can take the bryophytes out of my cold, dead hands. Family history isn’t always the most important criterion in a discussion; in cases where one subgroup has become radically different from all the others it can even be a hindrance that impedes discovery/discussion regarding the remainder of the group.

    I am a fish …..

    You should read Neil Shubin’s …DAMMIT NERD

  200. says

    @Thumper
    I don’t think that’s accurate. They believe in only one god, but they accept other spiritual, non-god entities. The fact that someone might worship a demon as a god doesn’t make the demon a god.

    I don’t think that’s much different from belief in angels or Satan (although, admittedly, Satan often gets perilously close to being a competing god).

  201. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @LykeX

    This has long been my problem with Xianity’s claim to be a monotheistic religion: what, functionally, is the difference between Angels and/or the Devil and a God? In reality, there isn’t one. You could maybe discount Angels on the grounds that they are merely the “good” God’s supernatural helpers, but the Devil? Xian mythology makes him out to be at least as powerful as God, but merely evil. Xians merely define him as “not worthy of worship”, and define him as “not a god” on purely that basis. By any sensible definition, that’s monolatrism, not monotheism. Judaism, for example, is monotheism; as far as I know they do not officially believe in the devil or angels or demons. That’s hardline monotheism; the firm belief in the existence of only one God. Christianity, not so much. At least in my view.

  202. says

    @Thumper
    I guess what it comes down to is that Christianity has gone with a definition of “god” that necessarily rules out any other entities. So, they’re monotheistic as a matter of definition.

    Of course, that does ends up being a semantic game more than anything else. I suppose you could argue that God came first and created Satan, but then again, many pantheons have gods created by (or simply born from) other gods, so that shouldn’t necessarily be a disqualification.

    I really think the problem is a fundamental difference of perspective about what a “god” is supposed to be. In pantheistic religions, gods were a class of being; a species. As a result, if gods had children, the children were also gods.

    In Christianity, “god” refers to a perfect entity. Since any difference from perfect is imperfect, that logically implies that there can only be one such entity. Case closed. It’s indicated even by the name they use for their god: God.
    From this perspective, talking about “other gods” is simply nonsense; a contradiction in terms. It’s not just that there isn’t any other gods, there couldn’t possibly be any other gods.

    Caveats for alternative views. Christianity is hardly uniform on these matters, but I think this perspective is reasonably orthodox.

  203. gussnarp says

    Wow. That was interesting. A few of those were new to me, but almost all based on utterly false premises and easily dismissed.

    The increased information one I always find difficult, because I feel like it’s a question I’m just not equipped to answer. “Show one case…” makes it easy: it’s there, in evolution, we’ve seen it, done. But really I feel like there’s a false premise behind this one, a misuse of the term “information”. This is what I find difficult. If someone actually asked me that question I’d respond with a question: what do you mean by information? What do you mean by “increased information”? Because I don’t think they have any better understanding of what they’re asking than I do. I guess maybe I’m overcomplicating it. Is it really just about longer DNA sequences? Is there really any reason to be amazed that that happens? And if it’s really about “increased information”, why is there so much trimming of that code in the evolutionary process? Many “advanced” organisms have less DNA, hence less information. If humans were specifically the goal of “creation”, why would we have so much less “information” than so many other species across kingdoms of life? Am I on the right track with that?

  204. says

    Because I don’t think they have any better understanding of what they’re asking than I do.

    In my experience, that’s absolutely spot on. That’s why when you ask clarifying questions, they either get confused, angry or change the subject.

  205. ChasCPeterson says

    The reason why i´m not comfortable using vernacular terms that are paraphyletic is because there really is no reason to do so other than “tradition”.

    I agree with carlie: there are, often, good reasons for talking about a group that is a paraphyletic grade but not a clade. If I’m talking to people at the bar, why should I confuse and repel them by using ‘ectothermic amniotes’ when they already know what I mean by ‘reptiles’? In an ecological context it makes perfect sense to talk about ‘fish’ and ‘algae’. etc.
    Plus, scientists do not, alas, rule over the evolution of language. People will use whatever words they want for whatever groups they think are appropriate whether you like it or not. Example: try a g**gle image search of ‘monkey’…chimpanzees show up in the second row and orangutans in the sixth; lemurs further down.

  206. gussnarp says

    @Eamon Knight: I looked that up in the meantime ;) I guess my understanding of the issue is about right, if not as technical. My question, “what do you mean by information?” corresponds with 1), most of the rest of my thoughts have to do with points 2) and 3). I guess it throws me because I hear the argument I my brain just goes *bzzzt* – it makes no sense. Increase of information? Why the hell not? What’s the issue? And I’ll bet that guy holding the sign has no idea what it means.

  207. gussnarp says

    @Eamon Knight: Also, at some point I’ll lose myself in reading all of those articles and getting myself all loaded up on information theory, mainly because I’m curious about real information theory outside of the creationist misuse of it.

  208. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @LykeX #257

    The mere fact they define themselves as monotheistic is no reason to believe they actually are. Fundies have a habit of redefining things, or pretending certain aspects of a definition don’t exist, in order to pretend that reality is more to their taste than it actually is. For reference, see every fundie ever using the word “theory”. See almost every commenter with the words “Rational”, “Logical” or “Enlightened” in their name (not a Christian example, I know, but the same theory). Self-descriptions often reflect a desire rather than reality.

    To me it seems that they have two gods, the Eutheistic God and the Maltheistic Satan, and simply worship one in preference to the other. Theistic Satanists would be the reverse. That’s monolatrism.

    Maybe their insistance that the Devil isn’t a God is enough, but to me it seems like special pleading. An appeal to semantics. I think we can agree that, at the very least, they walk a thin line between monotheism and monolatrism. Certainly far more so than the other Abrahamic faiths.

  209. says

    Indeed, the distinction is a slim one and more about semantics than anything else. Certainly, if we go by the god definition that springs from polytheistic faiths, like the Greek or Norse traditions, there seems to be no way around the fact that Satan qualifies as a god.

  210. gussnarp says

    I’ve just thought of a slightly different approach to the “why are there still monkeys?” question. Sort of along the lines of “why do we still have parents”, “why are there still Europeans”, but a little different. If I feel like I’ve got a slightly more curious person rather than just someone playing ‘gotcha':

    Think about your family. Do you have any old family photos of generations past? My family has quite a few. We have a couple of photographs of my great grandfather (Karl) and my great great grandfather (Henning) from Germany. Henning was (by modern standards) short and thin. He had a distinctive large nose and ears. He married a big woman. Karl, their child, was tall and large, like his mother. He looked nothing like Henning at all. Karl married a woman, Bertha, just like dear old mum. But my grandfather looked nothing like any of them. He looked like Henry Kissinger. So some of the genes determining his appearance mixed differently, or skipped two generations from some great-great-great grandparent we have no pictures of. Now my father, he looks just like Henning with the nose and ears, and he’s slim, but very tall. I look like my dad. But my cousin, he looks just like Karl. No big nose or ears, tall, broad of chest, generally large, tending toward obesity. So from his point of view, one could ask, “if I came from Henning, why are there still Hennings (my father and I), while we could ask, if we came from Karl, why are there still Karls (my cousin)? Because my cousin is a different line, different genes made it through, different genes dominated. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still be more like Henning. Multiply that kind of change over countless generations and you get (one component of) evolution. Monkeys are our distant cousins, they have attributes from a common ancestor (Karl) that we share (being tall in the case of me and my cousin, opposable thumbs in the case of monkeys and us) and other characteristics that we no longer share (girth and size of nose and ears, in the case of my cousin and me, and hip position and gait and brain size in the case of monkeys and us).

  211. says

    Oh happy day, I learned a new word: monolatrism.

    In orthodox belief, God (incl. Jesus) is not just more powerful than Satan, but infinitely powerful. So strictly speaking no one else gets to be called a “god” at all.

    However when you get into the kind of fundies who are always on about “spiritual warfare”, demonic activity and the attacks of Satan, it quickly degenerates into something that feels more like a D&D game-world — Jesus is strong, but somehow he can’t just walk in and kick Satan’s ass like a properly omnipotent being should be able to, so it all comes down to duelling cleric spells. So in practice, yeah: more like monolatrism than monotheism.