What is it with neurosurgeons and evolution?

Yesterday, I mentioned that creationist conference in Istanbul. There wasn’t much to say about the content of the event, but they did have photos of some of the displays, that looked exactly like the nonsense published in Harun Yahya’s Atlas of Creation. But now I’ve got an essay from one of the speakers, Oktar Babuna. I’m sorry to say he’s another data point damaging the reputation of good doctors everywhere.

A Turkish anchorman, neurosurgeon, and doctor of medical sciences, Oktar Babuna, exposes the absurdity of Darwinism by scientific evidence and explains the reason why this preposterous theory is promoted almost everywhere world-wide.

Between Michael Egnor and Oktar Babuna and Ben Carson, I’m hoping I never have a brain injury, because the profession seems to be a magnet for vapid nitwits.

He has the usual ignorant creationist arguments against Darwinism.

Darwinism is absurd because it proposes that life emerged by coincidence

No, it doesn’t.

and that human beings are a mere animal species.

We are animals (although not “mere” — biologists value every species, including our own). What definition of “animal” do the creationists have that somehow fails to include humans?

He tries to back up those assertions with the usual creationist “ooh, big numbers” approach: proteins are assembled from thousands of amino acids, humans have trillions of cells, therefore it’s all just too complex to have been constructed, except by one really smart engineer. This is a fallacious argument. You might just as well look at a beach, notice there are an awful lot of grains of sand out there, and decide that they are so numerous that they must have been placed there, one by one, by a very finicky deity. Every beach is an artisanal beach. Or you could just read Ian Musgrave’s brief introduction to abiogenesis and get the stupid smacked out of your head.

Then he makes the standard Yahya argument. They all look the same to him.

If we look at the beginning of life on Earth, the first cells emerged all at once. For example, the first cell was a cyanobacteria, a cell which exists even today and produces oxygen through photosynthesis. This cell emerged and remains the same cell. All species – from elephants to tigers, plants, fish, and reptiles – appeared all at once and never really changed. There is no evolution.

Ho hum. This is the fallacy of looking at a twig and declaring that there are no branches or trunks, the tree is a twig all the way down. All the things he mentions have known antecedents in the fossil record that are different from modern forms.

Don’t worry, though, Babuna doesn’t waste much time lying about the evidence. He’s got better things to do, like lying about our motives.

So, we can ask: why is this theory supported world-wide? Because evolution is atheism. The reason why Darwin is defended by so many scientists all around the world is in order to keep atheism alive. But this didn’t start with Charles Darwin. The idea that life appeared by chance goes back to the Sumerians, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece. This is the beginning of materialism.

Charles Darwin was not an atheist. He was agnostic. He had no plans to promote atheism, and was actually reluctant to publish in part because he knew what controversy would arise, and in part because he was uncomfortable with contradicting religion’s explanations. Babuna reverses causality here. Atheism didn’t create evolution, but evolution was compatible with atheism, and modern atheism actually uses the scientific evidence to support the idea that gods are unnecessary.

You know what’s coming next, right? It’s so predictable. Hitler.

In Russia, Turkey, the US, and any other country, there is a dictatorship of Darwinism in all universities and schools. Darwinism implants the idea that humans are fighting-animals which have to struggle to survive. If you are strong, you will survive, but if you are weak, you will be eliminated. This is the selfish struggle of Darwinism. This selfishness takes law away from the world and provokes all kinds of violence, terrorism, and fascism. Karl Marx said that evolution is the basis of Marxism’s natural history. Hitler also put the foundations of fascism on Darwinism. When we look at terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, etc., these groups emerged for two reasons: religious ignorance and Darwinism. These people need to be educated.

No, evolution accommodates many strategies for survival, not just kill or be killed. Cooperation is just as viable as competition. You don’t need to physically eliminate your competition if you can outbreed them. Species and communities matter.

The relationship between Marxism and evolution is ambiguous and complex. On the one hand, Marx did appreciate the materialist approach; on the other, Marxism wants there to be an arrow of progress that can be consciously directed, something not present in evolutionary theory. Marx also saw Darwin’s version of evolution as more than a little bourgeois, appropriate for a nation of shop-keepers.

Hitler was anti-evolution. He banned Darwin’s books. The foundation of his ideology was God and the state, and he said so repeatedly in Mein Kampf, and religion was a staple of Nazi propaganda. Kinder, Kuche, Kirche!

But how can anyone take someone seriously who claims that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram are rooted in Darwinism?

I guess that would be the kind of person who thinks religion consists only of good things, so anything bad must, by definition, be the spawn of satanic atheism.

Darwinism has taken love away from the world. It brings selfishness; it sees human beings as animals which can and should kill other animals. If we look at the three major religions –Islam, Christianity and Judaism – they all say that God created all human beings and all other living things with love. Love is the essence of religion. Love will come back to the world with religion. We hope that, with scientific struggle, Darwinism will go away with its egoism and lawlessness.

See? Boko Haram cannot be a religiously motivated terrorist movement, because religion is only about love. Darwinism is all about killing animals, which includes humans, therefore Boko Haram is a Darwinist organization.

With logic like that, how can you not trust Oktar Babuna with a scalpel and your brain?

Please keep Malcolm Roberts, Australia

The last flaming nutter to emerge out of Queensland, Ken Ham, emigrated to the US and is busily exploiting the rubes here, so you get to keep Roberts. We don’t want him. His latest bit of raging stupidity is a speech in which he said:

It is basic. The sun warms the earth’s surface. The surface, by contact, warms the moving, circulating atmosphere. That means the atmosphere cools the surface. How then can the atmosphere warm it? It cannot. That is why their computer models are wrong.

That…that…is shockingly idiotic. I have one question: was Roberts naked when he said that? After all, using his logic, clothes are not a heat source. The only sources of heat are your own body, and external sources like the sun, or a nearby radiator. Therefore, that means that clothes can only cool your body. How can they warm it?

It’s good to know. Winter is coming to Minnesota; last night the temperature dropped below 4°C, and I actually felt a little chilly. I made the mistake of putting on a light jacket, and when I went to bed, snuggling up under the blankets. As the cold season arrives, I think all the climate change deniers ought to follow Malcolm Roberts’ basic logic and strip themselves starkers when we hit -20°C and go play golf. It’s usually sunny and clear when it gets that cold, so they’ll be able to absorb all the energy of the sun unimpeded.

There’s a much more thorough debunking of all of Malcolm Roberts’ lies here.

This is getting personal


Now the alt-right/MRAs/neo-Nazis are appropriating…beards.

The subject of masculinity comes up and the White man’s ability to grow a luxurious beard. According to early racial science the original Negro and Chinaman were unable to grow beards and the fact that the White man could, showed that our race was more mature and fully grown than the others. The fact that some Negroes now have beards shows that they are mulattoes. Matt encourages men to grow well-kept beards as a sign of being anti-feminist, as feminists hate them.

I am so confused. Being excessively hairy is now a sign of the white man’s more evolved status? And it’s a measure of greater masculinity, but women hate them? So Nazis are going to grow this symbol of manliness to repel women?

Oh, no. I’m not confused. They are, because none of that makes any sense at all.

The Morris NorthStar once again demonstrates its nonexistent value

Nothing ever changes. The NorthStar, the stupidly conservative campus newspaper, is back. Well, one thing changed: now the editor comes to my office and personally hands me a copy. Yay. I am so special.

So I could at least take a look at it. I opened it to the first article, Why I Love Feminism, and skimmed the first page.

On one hand, I held the firm belief that feminism, hoorah, is about as important as condoms are for Donald Trump. But on the other, this girl is feeling my vibe and I don’t want to mess that up. As a young, overly-serious freshman, I unfortunately would tell the truth, albeit in a gentle way (the worst way if you are trying to score). “Well, I think women should be treated equally, not necessarily granted equal results,” [which is, actually, what feminism is all about, so I don’t know why he would think this uncontroversial statement is a moodkiller] I would say, as my chances of parking the beef bus in tuna town went to donut.[Charming.]

Fellas, you need to learn now from the mistakes I made as a freshman. Remember that feminism, hoorah, is a tool; it can be used for good, not just bad. While often times feminism, hoorah, is used to perpetuate negative gender stereotypes of men as pigs and sex-hungry animals [wait for it…] (one of many examples), you need to realize that it can also be used to your advantage to hook up with the (few attractive) feminists for the purpose of getting your banana peeled. [I think it’s obvious that the negative stereotype isn’t coming from feminists, but is being continually reaffirmed by anti-feminst men themselves]

Glancing ahead, I saw that the primary purpose of the article was to squeeze yet another tacky euphemism for sex in every paragraph, so I did another thing that never changes: I crumpled it up and threw it in the recycling, where it belongs.

Phyllis Schlafly is dead

They say if you can’t say something nice about the dead, you should say nothing at all.























































































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Antivax, chemtrails, and creationism


Kent Hovind is getting divorced from Jo Hovind. I guess this isn’t surprising — maybe his former wife is smarter than he is (a hurdle easily cleared), and saw through all the BS and manipulation and realized it was time to get out.

He’s also remarrying, to an anti-vax crank named Mary Tocco. He’s made a video announcement of his engagement, and it’s another bit of obnoxious lunacy. He spends half of it blaming his ex-wife completely for the divorce — I guess he had absolutely nothing to do with it, despite getting the two of them arrested and imprisoned with demented legal advice — and the other half reassuring everyone that he checked with a whole bunch of fellow ministers, ranging in age from 60 to 85, and 15 out of 16 assured him that it was perfectly OK, and then he mumbles on about how this opens up whole new options for his ministry, allowing him to understand all those divorced people out there at last.

I predicted that there would be interesting times ahead for Hovind’s Creation Science Evangelism once he got out of jail — he’d left management of the creationist organization in the hands of his son, Eric, and I kind of figured it would not be an easy transition once he got out and tried to take back the ministry he’d run into the ground with his tax fraud. And it was so. Hovind is claiming that Jo and Eric conspired to steal all the assets of CSE out from under him. It’s gotten very ugly and confusing.

When Kent originally announced that his divorce, he claimed that Eric had stolen from him and would not let him have the web domain “drdino.com”. He claimed Eric sold himself over two-million dollars worth of equipment and supplies. He mentioned a couple of four-wheelers, a copy machine and a fork-lift. Deana Holmes, a non-practicing attorney, who has been following the Hovind story speculated that he was way off on his valuation and that a lot of the supplies were old T-Shirts, VHS tapes, DVD’s and CD’s of Kent’s old non-copyrighted videos which are all on YouTube. I don’t normally take Kent’s public word as fact, but assuming that we have a couple of old four-wheelers, a fork-lift, some office furniture, plus, the material that Deana mentioned, the price that Eric paid for this is probably about right. Deana pointed out that these accusations were pretty stupid in the light of his tax-liabilities and legal problems they could cause for his son. Kent said in court and in public that he took a vow of poverty and owned nothing. Then turned around and claimed publically that Eric and his mother conspired to take everything away from him. Which one is the truth Kent? Did you own nothing? Or did you own two-million dollars worth of items that Eric stole from you? Just like all of Kent’s statements that seem to change to fit the circumstance.

Eric has stuffed his ministry into a shiny new dumpster, called “God’s Quest”, while Kent seems to be trying to set up a place of his own in a gravel pit in Lenox, Alabama, where he’ll build a brand new Dinosaur Adventure Land. I’m sure this marriage with Mary Tocco will bring order out of chaos. After all, look at her credentials.

Mary is co-founder of the American Chiropractic Autism Board (ACAB) 2006, helped manage Hope For Autism, (HFA) a training program for physicians who want to help children with autism recover and is the Vice President of the Foundation for Pediatric Health. She is also the Director of Vaccine Research and Education for Michigan for Vaccine Choice, a non-profit (501c) watchdog group, insuring vaccine choice in Michigan. Mary Tocco is on the Board of Directors for WAVE, World Association for Vaccine Education (www.novaccine.com)

Wait. The American…Chiropractic…Autism…Board? Those words do not belong together.

Once again, the Hovinds — every one of them — set the standard for creationist inanity.

Why present evidence when the critic ignores evidence?

How Brian Cox keeps his cool is quite impressive. Here, he’s arguing with an Australian senator and climate change denialist, Malcolm Roberts, who keeps insisting, quite rightly, that evidence is important, that evidence trumps opinion, that policy should be defined by empirical evidence…and every time Cox shows him the evidence, he simply rejects it, accusing NASA of faking the data, and arguing that the various climatoogical agencies have been colluding to “corrupt” the data.

I guess it’s a step forward that the kooks are at least acknowledging that real data is important, now we just have to carry it through to the next step, of paying attention when the data slaps them in the face.

But Kurzweil is always talking bullshit

I’m not the only one who thinks Ray Kurzweil is an ignorant buffoon — here’s a post dissecting his latest foolishness:

People think the world’s getting worse, and we see that on the left and the right, and we see that in other countries. People think the world is getting worse. … That’s the perception. What’s actually happening is our information about what’s wrong in the world is getting better. A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you’d never even hear about it. Now there’s an incident halfway around the globe and we not only hear about it, we experience it.

The big problem with this? It’s not true. Like, at all.

Let’s start with the time period he’s talking about: A century ago. One hundred years. That would put us smack dab in the middle of 1916.

Do you know what was going on in 1916? The world was tearing itself to bits with destructive technology. The United States wouldn’t enter the war until the following year, but World War I was the war that would see men being annihilated with tanks, machine guns, mustard gas, the works. And everybody knew about it. How do I know this, sitting here in 2016? I just walked three feet behind me to a bookshelf and looked for some of my magazines from World War I.

The author is pointing out that one problem with Kurzweil’s claim is that it is simply false; Kurzweil wants to argue that we think the world might be getting worse is that we’re just aware of what’s going on, but clearly, almost everyone had a crystal clear idea of the horrors that were going on a century ago.

But I think there are other problems, as well. The world might be getting worse, it might be getting better, but this is a question about people’s perception of the world, and I suspect most of us think we’re better off than we were a century ago (with significant exceptions for bombed-out nations in the Middle East, or people victimized by terrorist groups, like ISIS or Boko Haram). I know I’d rather live in the 21st century than the 19th or earlier. So his initial premise is wrong, or at least misleading.

Another problem: when was this mythical time that a village could get wiped out and one a few miles away wouldn’t know about it? Communication was slower, but the information would get there eventually. Europe had a series of continent-wide wars in the 17th century; Rome controlled everything from Syria to Britain. Information might have flowed via boat or horseback rather than fiber optic cables, but it’s simply not true that people in the Middle Ages or the ancient world were sitting about only aware of the local dungheap.

It is also egregiously absurd to claim that we not only hear about it, we experience events around the world. We don’t. For instance, the latest news from Nigeria is that Boko Haram is still holding 200 girls captive. Are you experiencing it? Have you felt even a tiny fraction of the pain the families of those girls have felt over the last two years?

And finally, I have to point out that his definition of ‘better’ is unstated and implicit — he assumes that a better world is one where people have more and faster information about events in the next village or the next continent. Why? In particular, if we do nothing with the information we have about the next town over, how does that improve the planet?

But then, this is Kurzweil all over: ignorant of history, ignorant of science, but mumbling words of technological wish-fulfillment and making his fans happy.

The lying must be contagious


You’d think Rudy Giuliani would have 9/11/2001 seared into his brain, since he shrieks about it so much. But here’s Giuliani, stumping for Trump:

Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.

He must also trust that the Trump fans are friggin’ idiots, too.

You don’t believe Giuliani could possibly have said that? Here it is, at 57 seconds into this clip. Most remarkably, before he made that claim, he listed specific attacks by radical islamic terrorists, in 2001 and 1993.

Maybe he thinks Obama has been in office for 23 years?