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May 01 2014

Checkmate, evolutionists!

Those creationists…their arguments get ever more sophisticamated, and are being increasingly difficult to refute. Look at Senator Mike Fair, putting all them scientists in their place:

eyeball = creation

If only Darwin had considered the evolution of the eye, or if modern scientists had studied the evolution of the molecules of vision, maybe we’d be able to respond.

And he’s a senator. Isn’t “senator” synonymous with “smart”?

64 comments

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  1. 1
    Randomfactor

    Comes from the same root as “senile.”

  2. 2
    hillaryrettig

    Plus, the guy on top has a puppy.

  3. 3
    shouldbeworking

    Stupid, senile, & senator are very easily confused terms. Especially when discussing Canadian senators.

  4. 4
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @hillaryrettig:

    See! Physical evidence that Brad’s opponent must be evil.

  5. 5
    mothra

    And he’s a senator. Isn’t “senator” synonymous with “smart”?

    Mustttt……..stoppp…….laughing………cccan’tttt . . . .stoppp……..laughing…….

  6. 6
    Christophe Thill

    What science can you expect from someone who can’t even write a proper sentence… ?

  7. 7
    Gregory Greenwood

    eyeball = creation

    Wow – that counts as an argument? Sophistimicated indeed…

    It is worrying that the best an elected official can manage is this oft-debunked excuse for an argument. We could point him in the direction of the recent Cosmos episode that explained the evolution of the eye from a patch of photo-receptive cells that could distinguish light from dark, through the development of depression that add the ability to determine limited directionality, then later developing an occular cavity that provided some focus in the manner of a pinhole camera, followed by the evolution of the aqueous humour and the lens to sharpen visual acuity – with each stage conferring competative advantage to its possessor – but I doubt it would help. Even a layman like yours truly could understand the argument well enough, but I was paying attention and didn’t go in with a gross anti-scientific bias like Fair undoubtably would.

    That a man who holds high public office and has pretty much unlimited access to all the boons of the information age and the educational resources of a wealthy nation could put forward an argument as insipid as ‘eyeball = creation’ is worrying indeed. Small wonder that the US is having such problems with xian fanatics seeking to corrupt education to their own ends and undermine the separation of church and state.

  8. 8
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Senator Fair worships Beholders?

  9. 9
    mx89

    “You don’t need to pass an IQ test to be a US Senator”

  10. 10
    A Masked Avenger

    And he’s a senator. Isn’t “senator” synonymous with “smart”?

    “Senator” means “for sale.” It comes from “senate,” a sort of indoor auction.

    A curious public sport sprang up around this institution: people pretend that the senators are not marketing themselves to attract the highest bidder, but that instead they are a sort of innocent, child-like do-gooder; then, we condemn the buyers as if they were not only immoral, but antisocial and corrupters of the innocent; and finally, we award ever increasing power to these senators, making them ever more attractive to the purchasers they are actively seeking, on the pretense that this will somehow put an end to the buying of senators.

  11. 11
    bbgunn

    If eyeball = creation, does brain = evolution?

  12. 12
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Wait, so I can create universes with my eyes? Why does no one tell me these things?

  13. 13
    Rich Woods

    @F #12:

    Wait, so I can create universes with my eyes? Why does no one tell me these things?

    You mean you’ve not found out for yourself yet? *Tch*

  14. 14
    Amphiox

    It is hilarious that he said “eyeball” instead of “eye”, actually.

    Taken by itself the eyeball is an awful, awful, piss-poor, stupid piece of design, if it had been designed. Optical flaws, refraction aberrations, incomprehensible wiring decisions…

    Every single cell phone camera is a vastly superior piece of optical equipment to any and all eyeballs in nature.

    The amount of “post-processing” the brain does to turn the shit the eyeball delivers to it into a coherent image is vast, and this Senator thought it a smart idea to exclude that from his example!

  15. 15
    Mobius

    Isn’t “senator” synonymous with “smart”?

    Uh…No. Just consider Jim Inhofe.

  16. 16
    anteprepro

    I wish all creationist arguments were so complex, clever, and full of insight.

  17. 17
    anteprepro

    Well, if eyeball=creation, by the transitive property, we also know:

    eyeball = were you there?
    eyeball = still monkeys
    eyeball = Second Law of Thermodynamics
    eyeball = pygmies and dwaves

  18. 18
    R Johnston

    Creationists are all too often like the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, attempting to drown people in the superficial flaws of form of their “arguments” in order to distract from their fundamental rejection of science and the fundamental substantive flaws in their assertions. It’s really rather refreshing to see creationists not bothering to dress up their theology in obviously fake sophistication.

    Besides, in the end, all creationist “arguments” are unadulterated derp, having no persuasive value at all. Once people have learned this and properly dismiss creationists out of hand, isn’t the “eyeball=creation” “argument” actually the sophisticated one? After all, time is valuable even to a creationist. Wasting mere seconds on being an unpersuasive hack is a lot more self-aware and sophisticated than wasting minutes, or hours, or days, or months, or years on the same task.

  19. 19
    unclefrogy

    the amazing smugness of the proudly ignorant people who “know the truth” as revealed to them by religion (fantasy stories)
    there is no hope for the US to continue in a leadership role going forward if this continues as conventional wisdom. Let us hope that there are other places on earth which are not so obstinately ignorant
    uncle frogy

  20. 20
    blf

    Creationists are all too often like the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation…

    Does that make the various holely books volumes of Vogon Poetry?

  21. 21
    steve78b

    Wait till the mice find out that he is crediting creatin by some big invisible oogly moogly instead of them and their super giant computer.

    Steve in …… awwright……meh….. ok….I mean OK

  22. 22
    woozy

    In Robert Sawyer’s “Illegal Alien” a scientist is killed and three body parts were removed, the eyes, the throat, and the appendix. It might be a spoiler to explain why but I think any reader of this blog can probably guess why it was those particular three body parts.

    =====
    Side-note (because the linked article talks “teach the controversy” quite a bit):

    “Teach the controversy! Teach the controversy!”

    Okay, I will. Most cultures and religions have creation myths. The creation myth of abrahamic religions, like most every other creation myth in the world, is one where the earth, animals and humans were created more or less in their present forms some time just before the collective memory of the culture’s history. This is contrary to known science which verifies that the world is billions of years old and animals and humans evolved from earlier forms over millions of years. Many fundamentalists can not reconcile this conflict between a cultural creation myth and scientific findings and reject modern science as a result. There, I’ve taught the controversy. Shall we move on?

  23. 23
    R Johnston
    Creationists are all too often like the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation…

    Does that make the various holely books volumes of Vogon Poetry?

    Oddly enough, some of the poetry bits of those books can make for interesting, if bloody and disturbing, reading. The prose, however, is worse than Vogon poetry. The reason the bible had to have so many authors is that each, in turn, had “his own major intestine–in a desperate attempt to save life itself–leap[] straight up through his neck and throttle[] his brain.” It’s not known yet whether those intestines were successful in their efforts to save civilization.

  24. 24
    Yui Daoren

    pat answer = dim constituency

  25. 25
    Kevin Kehres

    You spelled “evilutionist” wrong in the title.

  26. 26
    Nemo

    Actually it’s just synonymous with “old”. If anybody ever bothered to translate the Latin word “senator” to English, we’d translate it as “elder”.

  27. 27
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Randomfactor is correct. It’s from the word “senex” meaning “old”. I.e., a senate is a council of elders. Now, depending on how “elder” …

  28. 28
    David Marjanović

    ^ Not true. That would be senior. Senator is derived from senatus “senate”, an abstract noun formed from the root.

    The adjective in the ground state is senex, which also means “old man”.

  29. 29
    David Marjanović

    Argh. I’m referring to comment 26, not 27 which wasn’t yet there when I started writing.

  30. 30
    Kevin Kehres

    Corrective lenses = the devil’s handiwork.

  31. 31
    tuibguy

    Does Prostate=Creation? Because I would like to file a complaint.

  32. 32
    Richard Smith

    A more advanced anatomical formula: colon + cranium = creationist

  33. 33
    screechymonkey

    anteprepro@17:

    Well, if eyeball=creation, by the transitive property, we also know:

    eyeball = were you there?
    eyeball = still monkeys
    eyeball = Second Law of Thermodynamics
    eyeball = pygmies and dwaves

    And thus,

    pygmies and dwarves = GOATS ON FIRE!

  34. 34
    grahamjones

    xkcd on beliefs

  35. 35
    Broken Things

    Read some of Fair’s other tweets on that site. That guy is the antonym of smart, and it would be perfectly reasonable for a thesaurus to say so.

    In a speech I recently gave, I pointed out that a big problem with our electoral process is that we now routinely elect officials at the state and federal level that are not equipped to grasp the magnitude and the ramifications of the issues facing humanity. They know something about law and maybe the economics of a small business, if that much, and are convinced that their limited knowledge combined with the primitive morality of their religion is sufficient to resolve any issue with which they may be faced. People like Fair cannot govern, they can only rule.

    With the continued destruction of our educational system, especially in the southern states, we will find that the only candidates for office will be the Fairs, the Inhofes, and the Gohmerts. The founders were largely educated men, and they never conceived of the idea that the political system would devolve into the playground of the uninformed. They understood demagoguery quite well,c but I can’t help but believe that the rise in intentional stupidity of the last twenty years would amaze and frighten them.

  36. 36
    jaybee

    Holy crap (literally). Scan the rest of his twitter feed. This guy is a living cliched ID-iot, the type who plugs his ears with Bible passages and says “Nah nah nah I can’t year you” when you attempt to provide evidence which contradicts his faith and his faith in faith.

    Happy Monday All! Praying for our country, state, and citizens. Much to be done!

    and

    purpose of the big bang is to disprove intelligent design

    and

    Problem with some is this: They want to believe intelligent design is just pseodoscience. Real science keeps proving differently.

    and

    “it must be true because everyone says it is true” is why homeschooling is so important to many South Carolinians

    and

    fact: earth was designed, not random.

    and

    No atheist I’ve ever met could refute my Genesis 6:3 argument. Not a single one. And no atheist ever will

    and

    evolution as an explanation of origins has no bearing on ones understanding of science.

    and

    hundreds of years later and not a shred of solid science for the big bang.

    and

    that is simply ad hawk

    (he thought we was typing “ad hoc”, but what he meant to say was “ad hominem”)

  37. 37
    imthegenieicandoanything

    He – or it – is a Republican STATE Senator, which is a title I read something like “Insane Nazi Orc.”

    Fuck the ‘Mer’kin people who elected him.

  38. 38
    Rowan vet-tech

    …. What sort of argument does Genesis 6:3 make? It says that humans will live to be 120 years old, but we don’t! God LIED to us in that passage!

  39. 39
    Christopher

    …. What sort of argument does Genesis 6:3 make? It says that humans will live to be 120 years old, but we don’t! God LIED to us in that passage!

    Wasn’t there a significant chunk of the bible that listed off a bunch of people who lived an absurdly long time?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity_myths#Hebrew_Bible

    So what part of the bible is lying and what isn’t? How can you tell?

  40. 40
    zenlike

    No atheist I’ve ever met could refute my Genesis 6:3 argument. Not a single one. And no atheist ever will

    What? BTW, this is the passage:

    Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

    I don’t even understand which argument can be made based upon that nugget of babble wisdom. Probably the ‘atheists’ this senator spoke to just walked away slowly when he rambled on about something that makes absolutely. No. Fucking. Sense.

    Even AiG says something about his, in that you should not use this argument for creationism:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use

    Hell, if AiG says your argument is stupid, then you know you have lost.

  41. 41
    mikeyb

    Wow, this argument is just as brilliant as the famous tides go in, tides go out argument of Bill O’Reilly. He’s in great company.

  42. 42
    Lithified Detritus

    pygmies and dwarves = GOATS ON FIRE!

    Oh yeah – it’s Throwback Thursday. Kinda miss those days – it was entertaining, at least for those of us who were not being harrassed.

  43. 43
    screechymonkey

    Lithified Detritus @42,

    I seem to be missing some context here, and the wiki is of no help. Is there something harassing or offensive about my comment? Or are you just generally referring to the good/bad old day?

  44. 44
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    So, eyeball = creation.

    Creation = myth.

    oh shti I can;t see what Im typing. F:

  45. 45
    peterh

    “eyeball = creation”

    OK. Mr Smart Senator, which eye? There are many different eye types out there, and some are quite superior to the human eye. Or are we living in multiple creations simultaneously?

  46. 46
    johnharshman

    PZ, on posts like this you really should lead with Nilsson & Pelger 1994.

    Last week there was a pdf available on the web, but now all I can find is the abstract. WTF?

  47. 47
    Lithified Detritus

    Screecheymonkey @ 43

    Nothing offensive about your comment, it’s just that, as I recall, the GOATS ON FIRE! thing originated with the infamous David Marcuse.

  48. 48
    bluentx

    @ #15:

    Isn’t “senator” synonymous with “smart”?

    Uh…No. Just consider Jim Inhofe.

    Addendum to comment # 15:

    For your consideration— Ted Cruz! [/ Rod Serling voice]

  49. 49
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    Interesting how this came up just as I finished re-reading Dawkins on some of the ways the eye evolved independently of each other in different organisms. Say what you will about the man (some MAJOR blind spots, no pun intended) he has a way of explaining complex ideas in a way the layman can understand. If they aren’t a senator, I guess.

  50. 50
    U Frood

    I don’t understand something, therefore God!

  51. 51
    John Horstman

    Sandwiches = Jesus! Caterpillar = volition! Granite = love! Checkmate!

    (Argument by random-association wordsalad is very postmodern, doncha know.)

  52. 52
    airbagmoments

    rabies = no god

  53. 53
    Snoof

    rabies = no god

    No kind, merciful, loving god who is at least as powerful as a dose of human rabies immunoglobulin, at any rate.

    It’s perfectly consistent with the kind of vicious arsehole god who gets off on the suffering of humans and other mammals, though.

    (Maltheism is an interesting place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.)

  54. 54
    Crimson Clupeidae

    I’m almost afraid to ask, but what would happen if you ran the [sic]good senator’s tweets through that po-mo generator from a few weeks back?

    An implosion of stupid that would swallow the world??

  55. 55
    David Marjanović
    No atheist I’ve ever met could refute my Genesis 6:3 argument. Not a single one. And no atheist ever will

    Maybe the idea here is that Gen 6:3 limits human lifespans to a maximum of 120 years, ignoring all this. If so, he should learn about Jeanne Calment.

  56. 56
    blf

    My suspicion is the goofball’s Genesis 6:3 “argument” is not related to age clause, but to the first part, My Spirit will not contend with humans forever. That bit can be read as a reference to the psychotic magic sky faeries planning, in advance, the great flud, and possibly other genocides.

    Exactly what the argument is, however, has me puzzled, perhaps since my logic-to-fundie-and-back translation loop broke down about the time it was discovered there were turtles all the way down.

  57. 57
    Kevin Kehres

    Genesis 6:3? We have a Nephilim sighting!

    Genesis 6

    1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
    2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
    3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
    4 There were giants (Nephilim) in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

    Yahweh is talking about half-god/half-human hybrids living to 120 years.

    This is one of the most kluged-together half-assed myths in the bible. It introduces the concept that there were sons of god (really, like Jesus) who married beautiful women. Then, GIANTS! Whose prodigy were men of reknown.

    And immediately after that, wickedness and the flood.

    FFS: I want to know more about the Nephilim. What happened to them? If they were just drowned in the flood like everyone else, why bring them up at all?

    Like everything else in the book; it makes no sense whatsoever, so you can just wrap any story you choose around it.

  58. 58
    woozy

    FFS: I want to know more about the Nephilim. What happened to them? If they were just drowned in the flood like everyone else, why bring them up at all?

    They laughed at Noah and when he said the waters would rise from the earth they said they would stop it with the enormous feet. But the water was boiling hot. But a few survived anyway. Years latter when Moses and his crowd were wandering in the desert looking for the promised land of Canaan the stumbled upon the descendent Nephilim occupying Canaan. So Moses said “Let’s wipe these fuckers off the face of the earth because… well, because they were here first but don’t really appreciate this place as much as we will”.

    Back in Noah’s day, one giant named Og swam along the ark on a unicorn and Noah let him because he had promised to serve Noah and his descendants. After the flood receded he helped Noah invent wine by sacrificing a pig and a monkey. He lived for a long time and became king of Bashan and when Moses attacked he broke his promise and attacked the Isrealites so Moses was able to kill him.

    It’s scattered folklore. Like the Greek myths it’s told, retold, mistold, respeculated among to descrepant fragments, editted out to reflect changing doctrine over the millenia of various cultures, and then reconstituted and the and expunged. Neat stuff but a real mess. And *touchy*.

    But I have *no* idea what sort of argument we are supposed to make of it? Is it some proof that God predicted or life spans would drop from a thousand years to 120? That our lifespans would rise to 120 years? That “God’s spirit” in man predicts Jesus? What? I can’t refute the argument if I don’t have any freakin’ idea what it is.

  59. 59
    woozy

    Okay. It seems to be that the consensus of the internet is that the argument goes like this: With advances is medicine and technology the life expectancy is getting longer. So what is the upper limit of longevity expected if we factor and counter all … well, stuff that can kill you…. Well, at this time it looks like it might be 120 years JUST LIKE IT SAYS IN THE BIBLE!!!!

  60. 60
    David Marjanović

    Yahweh is talking about half-god/half-human hybrids living to 120 years.

    While calling them “man”?

    If they were just drowned in the flood like everyone else, why bring them up at all?

    To explain why all those stories about the superheroes of the past (“mighty men which were of old, men of renown”) are, like, totally true.

    So what is the upper limit of longevity expected if we factor and counter all … well, stuff that can kill you…. Well, at this time it looks like it might be 120 years JUST LIKE IT SAYS IN THE BIBLE!!!!

    That seems to be Fair’s argument. As I mentioned, however, Jeanne Calment disproved it years ago: she lived to the age of 122.

  61. 61
    Amphiox

    My suspicion is the goofball’s Genesis 6:3 “argument” is not related to age clause, but to the first part, My Spirit will not contend with humans forever. That bit can be read as a reference to the psychotic magic sky faeries planning, in advance, the great flud, and possibly other genocides.

    Nah. That’s just god foreseeing the advent of evolutionary theory, whereupon he resigns as creator-in-chief, and vanishes in a puff of logic….

  62. 62
    woozy

    “While calling them (nephilim) “man”?”

    Actually no-one has the slightest idea what this passage means.

    “As I mentioned, however, Jeanne Calment disproved it (that humans live a maximum of 120 years) years ago: she lived to the age of 122.”

    Yes, but to be fair this could be an average “natural” age for one with adequate care and disease prevention and lack of genetic diseases. But to be objective, I don’t think any doctor is claiming 120 is a very precise “average” age for the golden all things wonderful modern science days ahead. I think maybe a few said “About 120″ (maybe he had been raise bible literate and was subconsciously referencing it; in fact that seems really likely). A few I know said they had no idea of an upper limit. Some I’m sure are claiming 180 or even 200. (The tech isn’t there yet for organ maintanence and brain cell decay but who the fuck knows what they next 60 years of tech will bring.) And even the a few live to 120 we still have the vast majority not making it past 100. So it’s really not a statistically significant coincident.

    “That bit can be read as a reference to the psychotic magic sky faeries planning, in advance, the great flud, and possibly other genocides.”

    If I thought the passage meant anything I’d be inclined to think in was supposed to mean the flood is 120 years away. But more likely the real meaning has been lost in translation and transcription and we have no freakin’ idea what it was supposed to mean.

    BTW, what’s the current theory about the ridiculous ages of genesis?

  63. 63
    Michael Butler

    Not sure whats more amusing, the poor argument, or the people tearing him apart for not providing a more robust argument within 144 characters.

  64. 64
    Ichthyic

    Not sure whats more amusing, the poor argument, or the people tearing him apart for not providing a more robust argument within 144 characters.

    you mean more robust than two words with an equivalence sign?

    um, yeah…. don’t quit yer day job there. Hell, even I could do a better job aping a creationist in 144 characters.

    your logic… it fails.

    that might be more amusing than anything else relevant to this thread though.

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