I’m at Skepticon, and while waiting for registration to open this morning, I thought I’d peek in at the Discovery Institute, and their Evolution News & Views site. So much entertainingly idiotic stupidity is on display.
Did you know that women might have been driven by evolution to be “bitchy”, that is, aggressive, competitive, and insulting towards other women? An article in The Atlantic presents a couple of evo-psych studies — the usual stuff, Western college students given culturally specific choices, and then makes absurd universal conclusions about human nature and evolution. I hated it.
But at least, buried in the middle of the article, are a couple of paragraphs that state the rational response to the succession of maddening EP bullshit.
Tom Levenson has a new book, The Hunt for Vulcan:…And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe, and it’s getting interesting and positive reviews. I’ve also got two flights coming up at the end of this week, so I need something tasty to read.
But it’s physics. There are a heck of a lot of good physics books coming out all the time — one of my colleagues here at UMM, Chrissy Kolaya, also has a new book, Charmed Particles: A Novel, also about physics, wouldn’t you know it. I’ll have to read both, I think.
But people! Don’t you know that developmental biology is the most interesting subject in the universe?
Ken Ham says something stupid and dishonest again.
The fish that forgot to evolve? Here’s the difference between observational and historical science: https://t.co/gDBi6iQhjh
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) November 6, 2015
The fish that forgot to evolve? Here’s the difference between observational and historical science: ow.ly/Ug1wU
If you bother to read the awful article, it includes a standard creationist canard: Coelacanths haven’t changed a bit over their long history, and this disproves evolution.
Well, this fish apparently forgot to evolve for 65 million years! You see, the living coelacanth is easily recognizable from the fossils. Despite having supposedly “primitive” features, many of these features not seen in any living vertebrates, this fish has survived basically unchanged for an alleged 70 million years.1 How is this possible?
Well, it’s a matter of interpretation. You see the fossil of the coelacanth is studied in the present—we observe it today. But what happened to make it a fossil is in the past—it’s historical science because we can’t directly test, observe, or repeat the past. So what you believe about the past is going to influence your interpretation of the evidence. In the case of the coelacanth, evolutionists have the presupposition that the fossil record shows Earth’s history over millions of years. So when they find this fossil that doesn’t have a living match today, they interpreted that fossil to have gone extinct millions of years ago. Now, the fossil itself didn’t tell them that. Their interpretation of that fossil through their evolutionary worldview drew that conclusion. And that conclusion turned out to be very wrong. Coelacanths were happily swimming deep in the ocean all along and were even being sold in fish markets, unbeknownst to scientists.
Jonathan Marks has written a terribly wrong-headed article — it’s embarrassingly bad, especially for someone who claims to be writing popular anthropology articles. He’s adamant that humans aren’t apes. He’s not denying evolutionary descent from a common ancestor, he just seems to fail to understand the nature of taxonomic categories.
What are we? We are human. Apes are hairy, sleep in trees, and fling their poo. I should make it clear: Nobody likes apes more than I do; I support their preservation in the wild and their sensitive treatment in captivity. I also don’t think I’m better than them. I’m smarter than they are, and they are stronger than I am. I’m just not one of them, regardless of my ancestry. I am different from them. And so are you. You and I have 46 chromosomes in our cells; chimpanzees have 48. They are indeed very similar, but if you know what to look for, you can tell their cells apart quite readily.
Wow. So wrong.