There is a rich, deep kind of irony that must be shared. I’m blogging this from the Apple store in the Mall of America, because I’m too amused to want to wait until I get back to my hotel room.

I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird — I was standing in line, hadn’t even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him that I wasn’t going to cause any trouble.

I went back to my family and talked with them for a while, and then the officer came back with a theater manager, and I was told that not only wasn’t I allowed in, but I had to leave the premises immediately. Like right that instant.

I complied.

I’m still laughing though. You don’t know how hilarious this is. Not only is it the extreme hypocrisy of being expelled from their Expelled movie, but there’s another layer of amusement. Deep, belly laugh funny. Yeah, I’d be rolling around on the floor right now, if I weren’t so dang dignified.

You see … well, have you ever heard of a sabot? It’s a kind of sleeve or lightweight carrier used to surround a piece of munition fired from a gun. It isn’t the actually load intended to strike the target, but may even be discarded as it leaves the barrel.

I’m a kind of sabot right now.

They singled me out and evicted me, but they didn’t notice my guest. They let him go in escorted by my wife and daughter. I guess they didn’t recognize him. My guest was …

Richard Dawkins.

He’s in the theater right now, watching their movie.

Tell me, are you laughing as hard as I am?


  1. wazza says

    Gene, any film that conflates evolutionary biology with nazism HAS to be propaganda. There’s no way anyone could be that stupid accidentally

  2. amphiox says

    “First, how in the world can you prove it was 92 million years old?”

    Sigh. The dates of fossils are determined using multiple lines of evidence derived from virtually every branch of modern science, physics, geology, biology, chemistry, just to name the most obvious ones, all converging on agreement on the same number. If you cannot accept that evidence, Scott, then you are denying the validity of ALL of modern science.

    Your comments make it clear that there is no intersection between your world view and mine upon which a meaningful discussion can be based.

    Your definition of “fish” is not the same as my definition of fish.

    Your definition of “fully formed” is not the same as my definition of fully formed.

    Your definition of “appeared” is not the same as my definition of appeared.

    Your definition of “evolution” is not the same as my definition of evolution.

    Your definition of “law” is not the same as my definition of law.

    Your definition of “thermodynamics” is not the same as my definition of thermodynamics.

    Your definition of “life” is not the same as my definition of life.

    I will never be able to answer any of your questions to your satisfaction because the very words you use to ask them mean something different to you than they do to me.

    As such, it is pointless to continue debating with you. We can do nothing more but agree to disagree and be done.

    Nor is there any reason for you to continue commenting on this thread unless your goal is to annoy people.

  3. wazza says

    Indeed, o Sastrinacious one…

    nearly 2000 posts, y’see? We’re doing our best to perpetuate the decimalist bias.

  4. Dee says

    OK, I can’t stand it. Nothing in particular to say that hasn’t been said more clearly or eloquently above, just posting to help get the count to 2000. Yeeehawwwwww!

  5. ennui says

    I was kinda hoping for another Friday blockbuster. Guess this will have to do. This plus Guinness and hockey. A good weekend to all!

  6. wazza says

    No, thalarctos, you didn’t

    anyway, I think getting the 2000 will be a victory for all pharyngulites, not just the one who gets there.

  7. MAJeff, OM says

    I’m gonna give my own ennui some bourbon and diet coke….but you can’t have any!

  8. Dee says

    Damn you guys are funny. Thanks for giving me something better than housework for use in avoiding work I had to bring home.

    And yes, it’s a pretty sad comment that this is the highlight of my Friday evening.

  9. slam says


    I understand that you didn’t see the film…but have you seen the [missing] link, yet?

    Now that would be talking about. …til then, your “science” is really just belief packaged for those who are willing to believe.

  10. MAJeff, OM says

    The page takes several seconds to load because there are just too goddamned many comments! Can we let it die now? (Of course not, because invariably there will be someone else who is wrong on the internet.)

  11. Owlmirror says

    Owlmirror you coy little bugger! Now I don’t even care if it’s true, I’m just interested in who you’re thinking of.

    I am reluctant to state it clearly without a clearer characterization of the similarities I noticed. And I’m too busy just now to write up such a detailed analysis.

    Suffice to say for now that it was/is a comment thread from the past week that at first seeded the suspicion, then clinched it for me.

  12. Kseniya says

    No, really. I would never seriously say Joe Blow was t.m., for lots and lots of reasons, not the least of which is that they’ve both posted to the same threads at least as far back as January. Also, they’re not very similar at all.

    It was totally a joke.

  13. Kseniya says

    Oooh! And MAJeff wins the Discovery One Award! I am so pleased! :-D

    I was also totally joking when I suggested that we “rocket up to 2001” … that was waay back in the Middle Ages… and yet, here we are….

  14. says

    We can head for 2030, the estimated date of the artificial intelligence singularity, when processing power exceeds brain power.

    Ichthyic (1821), I find that “May you and yours be eaten first” joke a little depressing. It reminds me of growing up waiting for World War III and not really expecting to live to grow up. Going out in the first wave was something that some people seriouly hoped for. “And the living will envy the dead.” And then I think about the places where they probably did… Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur. While I sit here safe and sound.

  15. Hap says

    Well, it would seem like remembering the people who died would be the most appropriate thing to do, in the hope that we might learn from our mistakes. Unfortunately, we seem to have at least two large subsets of humanity – those who willfully refuse to learn (ID advocates didn’t invent moral and intellectual blindness – they aren’t that smart) and those who wish others to suffer for their pleasure. Also lots who lack the “power of facing” (some incorporated in the previous sets, but some not).

    We are still some of the most fortunate people to have walked the earth. There is lots to be glad of. “It had now been laid to my own charge to keep my heart free from hatred and despair.” James Baldwin, quoted in “For The Sake of Argument” (Christopher Hitchens) I don’t know how to do it, but it seems like a good idea.

  16. Ichthyic says

    Well, for one thing, we can get to a nice round 2,000 posts. Am I correct that this is far and away the record breaker?

    yes, this breaks the previous record held by one of the Scott Adams threads.

    That’s for THIS blog, though.

    over at the “bar” for the ‘thumb, we had a thread that had well over 2000…

    before we split it into two, and then it had another 1500 or so.

    ….and all that was just debating ONE creationist.

    for extra credit, is there anyone around these parts that remembers who that person was?


    he did the same damn thing over on Dawkins.net

  17. Ichthyic says

    [Cue David Marjanović…]


    should I?

    I saved an entire copy of that monster response he made a couple months back to that one creationist.

    I think it would fit well in this thread…

    if it doesn’t break it, that is.


  18. Ichthyic says

    Originally posted by David in response to the creationist “andria”, whose list of “20 questions” pretty much just came straight out of the Index to Creationist Claims.


    David, with WAY too much time on his hands, apparently took it upon himself to answer each question, in detail.

    …and here ’tis, choke on it creobots:

    Just for documentation purposes, in cases Andria decides not to post my comment:


    Here’s your monster comment 220 that is for the most part a plagiate. It’s a Gish gallop: a debate tactic that consists of spouting so much nonsense in so little time that the opponent is dumbfounded, not knowing where to begin, and knowing that refuting all of it would take several hours.

    So what? It’ll be easy.

    My dear evolutionists, This has been fun. I believe in one kind of evolutionism.

    Two mistakes right there.

    First, scientific theories aren’t something you believe in or don’t believe in. They are testable — falsifiable (otherwise they wouldn’t be scientific) –, and that means that if they are wrong, we can find that out, no matter how sincerely and fervently we or anyone else believes in them. Belief is irrational. Science is not.

    Second, scientific theories aren’t ideologies. They aren’t “-isms”. To call them such is dishonest. Or would you call yourself a gravityist?

    Micro-evolutionism. But Macro-Evolutionism

    There is no difference between “microevolution” and “macroevolution”. Biologists invented these terms in the early 20th century when evolution wasn’t well understood yet. It has since turned out that the terms are useless. Let mutation, selection and drift (if you don’t know what exactly these terms mean, ask me or ask Google) go on for long enough, and you’ll see “macroevolution” no matter how you define it. That’s because there’s simply nothing to prevent it from happening.

    continues to have nothing but circular reasoning behind it.

    So? Explain, if you can.

    I realize, though, that this is a dead-end where debate is concerned, because none of you will change, and I will not change.

    Wrong. We are talking about science, not about religion. We, and you, will go wherever the evidence leads us, and we — like you — will immediately change our minds when our opinions are disproven. This is of crucial importance for science. If we are wrong, we can find out that we are wrong. That’s the big advantage of science over any other so-called “way of knowing”.

    “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”
    — Thomas Henry Huxley. Called “Darwin’s Bulldog” because he defended On the Origin of Species with more fervor than the ever-cautious, ever-polite Darwin did.

    Here I thought I was just randomly posting a query to someone else’s opinion on a random blog!

    Hundreds like you have come before you. Pharyngula has been among the most widely read blogs in its field for years. Hundreds of creationist drive-by trolls have posted the ever-same talking points, believing they had made an original point.

    It’s not your fault you didn’t know this situtation, but I think you could have easily imagined it.

    And it seems I have become the only defender of faith, God, and a divine Creation.

    “Defender of God”? Isn’t that, like, blasphemy or something? Are you saying God can’t defend himself?

    Also, you have never answered the question of why you confuse Christianity and creationism. The two are not the same.

    I will however give a couple of parting thoughts, because while no one can win at this, what is there to lose in at least saying what you believe anyway?

    Your beliefs might be either disproven or shown to be untestable and therefore outside science. That’s what.

    (Which is apparently what you are doing, and I will continue to do throughout my life).

    We don’t believe. We test hypotheses.

    The only proof of Creation is in the objects of Creation.

    All of which can also be explained in other ways — so they aren’t proof. No surprise there. Outside of math and formal logic, nothing can ever be proven.

    That’s the point of the “flying space monkey” and “Santa Claus” comments I forwarded.

    I love examples, so I’m going to use a nice simple example for you guys. Our example lies in the beautiful example of a car (you’ve probably heard this before). Take your pick which kind of car you’d like to imagine. Okay, even such a normal thing as a car, could not exist, without a creator.

    See, that’s where the analogy already breaks down. Cars don’t reproduce. They don’t even grow. Try again.

    Evolution is something that happens to populations, not to individuals. It requires reproduction with imperfect inheritance. That means that living beings (including viruses) evolve, languages evolve, and evolution can be simulated in computers, but that basically is it. Oh, universes might evolve, too, but that’s very difficult to test and probably not the simplest explanation for the observations it’s supposed to explain. (Therefore it’s not a very popular hypothesis at the moment.)

    Normal plausibility tells us, that things prone to disorder do not HAPPEN upon order. Shake things up in a blender, and you’re not going to come up with anything but a shake.

    You overlook that order is sometimes the energetically preferred state of affairs. Water vapor is disorder — liquid water is partial order — ice is order. That’s because of electrostatics: water molecules have a positive and a negative pole, so that they stick to each other in a certain pattern. Destroying that pattern requires energy. Or take the paranut effect. Take random solid objects, put them in some container, and shake that container. If you shake long enough and then open the container, you’ll find that the biggest objects are on top and the smallest at the bottom. That’s because the shaking creates spaces between the objects — the small ones can fall through, the big ones can’t. Or take well-shaken sandy and muddy water and let it settle. Regular layers will settle on the bottom: the biggest grains will fall out first, so the bottom layer will be coarse sand, and the finest grains will fall out last, so the top layer will be fine clay. Geologists call this a fining-upwards sequence. I’ve seen several on top of each other in a 10-million-year-old nearshore seafloor in northwestern Austria: every time a storm came, it stirred the water at the shore where it stirred up sand and silt, the water spread offshore to the point where I was, and then the coarsest grains fell to the bottom, then the next coarsest grains, and so on. Coarse sand grading into middle sand grading into fine sand, coarse silt, middle silt, fine silt, coarse clay, middle clay, fine clay. Then the fine clay continues upwards till the next storm layer, which again begins suddenly with coarse sand.

    In answer to those of you who demand proof of God – I offer you the very breath you use to speak out against God. Who gave it to you?

    This has already been answered on the Pharyngula thread.

    Let’s put it this way: Those babies who didn’t have the reflex to start breathing when they were born have already died, so that nobody has inherited the lack of this reflex, so the trait has disappeared from the population. That’s called natural selection.

    Don’t you even know that most Christians today believe that God’s existence cannot be proven? That God is above the understanding of puny humans?

    In Austria, all schoolchildren who at least nominally belong to one of the largest local religions get religious instruction in school. My Catholic RI teacher told me that a God who could be proven would be poor! The idea is that 1) God is simply greater than that, greater than a puny human brain; 2) if God were proven, there would be no free will anymore, but God wants us to have free will, so he refuses being provable.

    I should also mention what might be the most important point here: Atheists aren’t dystheists. Dystheists like Dr. Behe believe that God exists and is evil. They can “speak out against God”. Atheists believe that God does not exist. Logically, they cannot speak out for or against God. They speak out against the — in their eyes delusional — belief in any deities. Can you speak out against Ea, the Sumerian water god who sent the worldwide flood that only Utnapishtim and his family survived in their ark? No, because you believe he’s a fairytale in the first place.

    You think I’m going to offer you a proverbial offering of fire like that of Elijah?


    You think I’m going to say that Leviticus is what all good Christians base their lives around (which, btw to be ‘technical’, the Old Testament way of sacrificing animals was […]

    Blah, blah, blah. No, the vast, vast majority of atheists are ex-Christians. Everyone knows Leviticus isn’t the whole Bible. Everyone knows, for example, the New Testament and what it says.

    The only proof in God is when you know him personally.

    Do you?

    And yes, (thank you for pointing this out) by know, I do mean believe.

    Then you should say “believe” rather than “know”. By doing so, you would also no longer conceal the fact that a belief cannot be a proof.

    Often, as you well know in your own studies, for even the most objective scientist, their bias sneaks into their hypothesis and they will present their beliefs as ‘fact’.

    See? You didn’t follow my link, so you still don’t know what “fact” even means. Go read it, and then come back. It’s just about 12 lines of text.

    “Even the most objective scientist” will occasionally overlook evidence and therefore present a hypothesis that is already disproven, or (more commonly) will overlook an alternative hypothesis and will therefore present their own as the only one that can so far explain the facts when that is not the case. No scientist will ever present a hypothesis as a fact, because hypotheses explain facts. They cannot become facts.

    What did Creation and God ever do to you?

    Why did Napoleon cross the Mississippi?

    Lastly, many of you complained that you wanted me to answer your dozens of specific questions concerning Evolution.

    “Specific”! Hah! We were asking you the very basics!

    I’m not going to pansy around and pretend I have all the answers. I don’t. And you do?

    We understand the very basics, yes. We understand what on Earth we are talking about.

    But since I have been demanded answers for my beliefs, I have a few questions of my own.

    How logical.

    And no, they are not original with me (so if you pick them apart, you’re picking apart someone else).

    So what? Whether something is wrong doesn’t depend on who came up with it.

    1. Where did the space for the universe come from?

    Why did Napoleon cross the Mississippi?

    This is yet another wrong question. There is no such thing as “space for the universe”. The universe is space, with energy and matter in it.

    2. Where did matter come from?

    Matter is a form of energy. When you inject energy into a vacuum, you create elementary particles. This is inevitable according to quantum physics, and indeed it is observed. Heating a lightbulb creates photons (particles of light), for example.

    Energy… in sum, the universe apparently contains zero energy, because the sum of all energy (including matter) is equal to the sum of all gravity.

    3. Where did the laws of the universe come from (gravity, inertia, etc.)?

    We don’t know. But we’re working on it. Spend a few hours in Wikipedia, and you will get a glimpse into this active field of research.

    4. How did matter get so perfectly organized?

    What do you mean?

    5. Where did the energy come from to do all the organizing?

    See above.

    6. When, where, why, and how did life come from non-living matter?

    When? Between 4.4 and 3.85 billion years ago. Where? Somewhere in liquid water, probably on Earth. Why? Because it could happen. Everything that can happen happens sooner or later.

    The numbers I got from a paper (which I think I can send you) that showed the Earth already had a crust and an ocean 4.4 billion years ago, and from another (which I don’t have, but which is cited in textbooks) that found chemical evidence for life in 3.85-billion-year-old layers. If you don’t know how radiometric dating works, just look it up on Wikipedia, it has a good article on that.

    7. When, where, why, and how did life learn to reproduce itself?

    “Learn”? That’s again a wrong question. If you leave nucleic acids alone under certain conditions, they will get copied, because of nothing else than temperature and electrostatics.

    8. With what did the first cell capable of sexual reproduction reproduce?

    It didn’t reproduce sexually. It reproduced asexually. And then its offspring started mating occasionally.

    Man, that was easy. Did you really believe that the ability to reproduce sexually automatically makes asexual reproduction impossible? Sorry — did you even read what you copied from Hovind?!?

    9. Why would any plant or animal want to reproduce more of its kind since this would only make more mouths to feed and decrease the chances of survival?

    “Want” simply doesn’t enter into the question.

    (Does the individual have a drive to survive, or the species? How do you explain this?)

    It’s simple: those who haven’t had enough surviving offspring have already died out, and their lack of fertility and/or protection and/or nourishment for the young with them. Natural selection. We are the descendants of those that had enough surviving offspring. It really is that simple.

    10. How can mutations (recombining of the genetic code)

    This doesn’t mean anything. Whoever wrote it doesn’t know what a mutation or the genetic code are.

    create any new, improved varieties? (Recombining English letters will never produce Chinese books.)

    Is that supposed to be a comparison?

    Any mutation creates something new. If it manages to change the amino acid in the resulting protein (about 1 in 3 mutations does that), and if this doesn’t change an amino acid into a chemically very similar one, then something new will happen to the organism.

    What “improved” means depends on the circumstances. The most famous example is sickle cell anemia. If you have two copies of the mutated gene, you die from sickle cell anemia. If you have one copy, you suffer from things like shortness of breath. Bad, no? Not in the region in West Africa where sickle cell anemia is widespread. It just so happens that the malaria parasite cannot enter the deformed red blood cells that result from the mutated gene. So, over there, those who have two copies of the mutated gene die from sickle cell anemia — and those who have two normal copies die from malaria. Those who have one copy of the mutated and one of the normal version survive.

    Or take vitamin C. Normally, vertebrates can make vitamin C. Apes (such as us) and guinea pigs have lost this ability: one of the genes for an enzyme in the chemical pathway has acquired a mutation that disables it. Bad, no? No, because we get enough vitamin C from our food. Not needing to produce all those enzymes, which would require energy, is an advantage: we can invest this energy in growth or reproduction.

    (Incidentally, humans and chimps at least have exactly the same mutation in that gene. Why could that be? Guinea pigs have another.)

    11. Is it possible that similarities in design between different animals prove a common Creator instead of a common ancestor?

    By “prove”, you don’t mean “prove”, you mean “are evidence for”. Similarities alone are compatible with both ideas, so we’ll have to look for something else.

    So let me present the fact that the similarities have a pattern. A tree-shaped pattern. Why are there intermediates between “reptiles” and mammals, but none between mammals and insects? If there were intermediates between everything and everything, the theory of evolution would be in trouble. (I told you it’s falsifiable.) The speculation of creation, on the other hand, is compatible with all imaginable scenarios. It can “explain” everything and nothing. If it were wrong, we could never find that out by disproving it. Therefore it is not science.

    Simple, isn’t it?

    12. Natural selection only works with the genetic information available

    Yes, but don’t forget that the available information changes all the time — mutation.

    and tends only to keep a species stable.

    This depends on the enviroment. When the environment is stable and the species (or, rather, population) is well adapted to it, we see stabilizing selection. When the environment changes, a few individuals have traits that fit the new environment better than the majority of the population, and then we see directional selection. By “see” I mean it has been observed in the field; check out e. g. the studies by the Grants on the Darwin finches.

    How would you explain the increasing complexity in the genetic code that must have occurred if evolution were true?

    Increasing complexity? No, increasing diversity of complexity. Sometimes, being complex is an advantage, so it’s selected for. Sometimes, it’s a disadvantage, so it’s selected against. There is no overarching trend in evolution. It really is just mutation, selection, and drift — or at least these three factors are enough to explain everything we observe.

    13. When, where, why, and how did:
    Single-celled plants become multi-celled?

    Several times independently: red algae once, green algae twice. (Yellow and brown algae once more each, but they aren’t actually plants — they have red algae inside their cells.) The fossil record of marine plants isn’t good, but the oldest known remains of multicellular red algae were 2.1 billion years old last time I read something on the topic.

    Where: Somewhere in the sea.

    Why: Because cooperation sometimes has net advantages.

    (Where are the two and three-celled intermediates?)

    Learn about colonial green algae, will you? Google Micraster and Volvox, for instance. Also, what about cell chains that are so common among fungi and green algae?

    Really, isn’t that taught in biology lessons in the USA?

    Single-celled animals evolve?

    At least 1.3 billion years ago, probably.

    Where: Somewhere in the sea, probably on the floor.

    Why: Because filter-feeding sometimes is the easiest way to get food. Compare choanoflagellates and sponges.

    Fish change to amphibians?

    Not directly. Limbs evolved from fins sometime between 380 and 390 million years ago, probably in a vegetation-rich body of water, perhaps an estuarine swamp. Amphibians ( = everything more closely related to the frogs, salamanders and caecilians than to us) evolved from other limbed vertebrates sometime around 350 million years ago, most likely in a possibly coastal swamp; this has no “why”, it’s simply a split.

    Amphibians change to reptiles?

    Never. The closest relatives of the amniotes (mammals, “reptiles”, and birds) are not the amphibians, but the diadectomorphs; amphibians and amniotes have a common ancestor that lived sometime around 350 million years ago (see above). By definition, the origin of Amniota is the divergence between the mammal branch (Theropsida) and the bird branch (Sauropsida — turtles, lizards and crocodiles are on the bird branch); this probably happened sometime between 315 and 335 million years ago, on land. Sorry for not being more precise — I can’t be, because the fossil record consists mostly of holes, and because the formation of Pangea had progressed pretty far at that time.

    Reptiles change to birds? (The lungs, bones, eyes, reproductive organs, heart, method of locomotion, body covering, etc., are all very different!)

    Congratulations! I am a paleontologist, my specialty are… drum roll… dinosaurs! The “where” of all this questions is easy: on Pangea. The “when” and the “why” are different for each.

    Bird lungs are shared by at least one of the two dinosaur branches, as well as by the pterosaurs. So let’s say 240 million years ago, for greater endurance. Many of today’s “reptiles” have lungs that approach a crude version of bird lungs to various degrees; imagining how the bird-style lungs evolved is very easy. Unfortunately the only good description I’ve seen is in a very technical book, and it relies heavily on illustrations, so I can’t reproduce that here. (I don’t even have the book here with me in the first place.)

    How do we know? Because bird-style lungs usually leave traces on and in bones: first the vertebrae in the shoulder region, then all neck and trunk vertebrae and ribs, then the sacral vertebrae, then the tail vertebrae (sometimes), then the wishbone, breastbone, and hip bones, then the upper arms and thighs, and so on. This we find in the fossil record in this order.

    The eyes? The eyes aren’t different. Birds have ordinary vertebrate eyes — more normal ones than most mammals, in fact. What is your source talking about?

    By the reproductive organs I suppose you mean the fact that in most birds only the right ovary is functional and that they lay one egg per functional ovary at once? Oviraptorosaurs, dromaeosaurids and troodontids (close relatives of birds) laid their eggs pairwise: one egg per functional ovary, like in birds. We’ve found their nests, complete with brooding parent on top and baby skeletons inside. Other dinosaurs, like crocodiles, laid eggs en masse.

    The shift to a single egg per functional ovary must have happened between 230 and 170 million years ago (fossil nests are rare), on Pangea, as a shift from r-strategy (lots of cheap offspring, of which a few will survive simply because they’re so many) towards K-strategy (heavy investment in a few offspring that get a good start into life and will therefore more likely survive). The shift to a single egg per ovary must have happened between 170 and 70 million years ago, probably at the later end of this span, anywhere on land (birds can after all fly), probably for the same reason. (K-strategy and r-strategy are extremes of a very broad spectrum.) It may also have been an advantage for flying (two ovaries are probably heavier than one).

    The hearts of birds and crocodiles are almost identical. This type of heart (4-chambered) differs from that found in lizards (3-chambered with varying degrees of separation of the left & right halves of the main chamber) only in degree. The 4-chambered heart must have evolved about 260 million years ago, on Pangea, and has the advantage of giving greater endurance.

    “Method of locomotion” means “flight”, I suppose? How flight evolved is an active field of research, but a few things are clear. For example, feathers and probably wings were already present; it is also logical that wings had evolved for something else (like sexual selection or brooding) before they were first used for flight. Around 180 to 160 million years ago, on Pangea. The advantages of flight are self-evident.

    Feathers are scales that are lengthened, split down the middle of the underside, and in most cases opened. The first bristle-like feathers must have appeared between 170 and maybe 200 million years ago (they don’t fossilize normally) and had advantages like insulation, but may have first appeared as something that sexual selection acted on.

    14. How did the intermediate forms live?

    Between what? In most cases it’s self-evident how intermediate forms lived. Be more precise.

    15. When, where, why, how, and from what did:
    Whales evolve?

    About 55 million years ago, from chevrotain-like even-toed ungulates. (So did the hippos, the whales’ closest living relatives.) Probably on the shores of the Tethys ocean, maybe in Pakistan. How? Here you are asking for a treatise because we are have discovered a whole tree of intermediate forms in the last 20 years!!! Spend a few hours in Google. Why? Because they had no competition in the sea — the mosasaurs had died out 10 million years earlier.

    Sea horses evolve?

    No idea. I’m not an ichthyologist.

    Bats evolve?

    Also about 55 million years ago. Their closest identified relatives are the odd-toed ungulates plus the carnivorans plus the pangolins (together called Zooamata). The last common ancestor of all these animals must have looked like a shrew. The bat branch took to the trees and perhaps started gliding and using its arms to grasp insects… the fossil record is poor here. Only two weeks ago it was found out that flight appeared before echolocation in bats. The advantages of flight to a tree-living insectivore are obvious.

    Eyes evolve?

    Whose eyes? Eyes evolved several times independently from light-sensitive cells. (Those cells, however, are very old.)

    Ears evolve?

    Whose ears? A cricket’s?

    Hair, skin, feathers, scales, nails, claws, etc., evolve?

    Skin is, basically, simply the outer — or upper — cell layer of a two-layered animal.

    Feathers — see above. Hair, feathers, scales, and claws including nails are all just outgrowths of the skin. You’ll be surprised to learn that the same gene, called Sonic hedgehog (no joke), is involved in all outgrowths from animal body walls, all the above as well as teeth, taste buds, and limbs.

    Which evolved first (how, and how long; did it work without the others)?
    The digestive system, the food to be digested

    The food came first. Not all organisms even eat other organisms, you understand.

    the appetite

    Very late.

    the ability to find and eat the food

    When you swim in a watery solution of your food, and when the food diffuses through your cell membrane, you don’t have this problem.

    the digestive juices

    See above.

    or the body’s resistance to its own digestive juice (stomach, intestines, etc.)?

    Must have evolved in tandem with the digestive enzymes and the acid production. Step by step.

    The drive to reproduce or the ability to reproduce?

    Cell division comes automatically.

    The lungs, the mucus lining to protect them, the throat

    The throat. Lungs are just an outgrowth of the esophagus. The mucus came last, because when you live in water, you don’t dry out.

    or the perfect mixture of gases to be breathed into the lungs?

    “Perfect mixture” is ridiculous. We have adapted to the mixture that is there.

    Of course, oxygen was dumped into the air long before lungs evolved.

    DNA or RNA to carry the DNA message to cell parts?

    RNA. Pretty obviously. Go read Wikipedia.

    The termite or the flagella[te!] in its intestines that actually digest the cellulose?

    First the “flagellates” which were originally free-living. I bet lots of such free-living organisms still exist.

    The termites originally ate rotting wood where the cellulose was already mostly decomposed. One of the two branches of the termite family tree still does just that.

    The plants or the insects that live on and pollinate the plants?

    The plants. Ever heard of wind pollination? I mean, please!

    The bones, ligaments, tendons, blood supply, or muscles to move the bones?

    Never noticed that animals without bones have muscles, too? If you’re small enough, you can have one without the other.

    The nervous system, repair system, or hormone system?

    Hormones first, nerves later. There is no such thing as a “repair system”. You know, Hovind likes making stuff up.

    The immune system or the need for it?

    The need for it — but gradually, like the immune system. It’s an arms race.

    16. There are many thousands of examples of symbiosis that defy an evolutionary explanation.

    Provide one if you can. Hint: you can’t.

    17. How would evolution explain mimicry? Did the plants and animals develop mimicry by chance, by their intelligent choice, or by design?

    By mutation and selection. Mutation is random, selection is not — those who look most similar to what they’re imitating are eaten the least often. Simple. Really simple.

    18. When, where, why, and how did man evolve feelings?

    Man didn’t. They’re all much older.

    Love, mercy, guilt, etc. would never evolve in the theory of evolution.

    Wrong. Look up “kin selection” and “reciprocal altruism”. It’s all quite obvious, really.

    19. *How did photosynthesis evolve?

    AsteriscMost of the intermediates are still alive. The form most widespread today, which uses water as the hydrogen source, is the chemically most difficult one and came last. The precursor uses hydrogen sulfide instead, which is much safer; bacteria that use it are widespread in oxygen-poor or -free and sulfur-rich layers of seashores today. A yet older method is to directly use hydrogen. That’s easiest. This, too, still exists today.

    20. *How did thought evolve?

    We’re working on it.

    21. *How did flowering plants evolve, and from that?

    That’s a very active field of research. The “how” is pretty obvious: more and more protection layers accumulated around the seed. What their closest relatives are is unclear: either bennettites or cycads or pentoxylopsids or glossopterids or gigantopterids or gnetaleans or all of the above plus conifers. Come back in 10 years, and I’ll probably be able to tell you.

    22. *What kind of evolutionist are you? Why are you not one of the other eight or ten kinds?

    Tell me about those “kinds”. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    23. What would you have said fifty years ago if I told you I had a living coelacanth in my aquarium?

    “Really? That I wanna see.”

    Except what you mean isn’t 50 but 70 years ago. This happens when creationists copy from each other over 20 years. The first Latimeria chalumnae was discovered in 1938.

    24. *Is there one clear prediction of macroevolution that has proved true?

    See above on the lack of a difference between “micro-” and “macroevolution”. Also see above for the treelike pattern of similarities among organisms. Also see above for how science works: you should ask “is there one clear prediction of the theory of evolution that has proven wrong, and is there one clear prediction of the speculation of creationism that has proven wrong?”

    25. *What is so scientific about the idea of hydrogen as becoming human?


    26. *Do you honestly believe that everything came from nothing?

    “Believe” doesn’t enter into the question. It currently looks like everything came either from nothing or from nothing-with-quantum-physics-in-it (which is a more realistic state of affairs than “nothing” can be); I don’t know of any evidence against this, so I have to accept this hypothesis for the time being.

    After you have answered the preceding questions, please look carefully at your answers and thoughtfully consider the following questions.

    1. Are you sure your answers are reasonable, right, and scientifically provable, or do you just believe that it may have happened the way you have answered? (Do these answers reflect your religion or your science?)

    I am sure they are reasonable. I am not absolutely sure they are all absolutely right — science isn’t finished yet! I am, however, certain that all reflect the best of my knowledge of the evidence.

    There is no such thing as “scientifically provable”. Is not understanding science a prerequisite for being a creationist, or what? (On second thought, it probably is.)

    My religion? I’m an apathetic agnostic, I have no such thing as a religion.

    2. Do your answers show more or less faith than the person who says, “God must have designed it”?

    They show a complete lack of faith. It’s all “show me the evidence, show me, show me, show me”. Compare the story of St Thomas. :-)

    3. Is it possible that an unseen Creator designed this universe?

    It’s certainly possible, but it’s neither testable nor a necessary hypothesis to explain anything. Thus, it is a completely useless assumption, at least for now.

    4. Is it wise and fair to present the theory of evolution to students as fact?

    No. It is wise and fair to present evolution as an observed fact, because that’s what it is, and to present the theory of evolution by mutation, selection and drift as the only testable explanation that people have so far come up with.

    5. What is the end result of a belief in evolution (lifestyle, society, attitude about others, eternal destiny, etc.)?

    There is no such thing as “belief in evolution” in the first place. The evidence is clear — it doesn’t go away if we stop believing in it.

    But even if, what end result should there be? I can’t think of one.

    6. Do people accept evolution because of the following factors?
    – It is all they have been taught.

    That’s certainly the case for some people, but not for scientists. Scientists follow the evidence where it leads.

    – They like the freedom from God (no moral absolutes, etc.).

    Does not follow. What are you talking about? Has it ever entered your mind that not all Christians are creationists (for the fifth time now)?

    – They are bound to support the theory for fear of losing their job or status or grade point average.

    Ridiculous! If you can overturn a widely accepted theory, you get the Nobel Prize. In this case the one for Physiology Or Medicine. The more revolutionary your results*, the greater your fame.

    * I didn’t say “beliefs”. I didn’t even say “opinions”. I said “results”. Research results.

    – They are too proud to admit they are wrong.

    People for whom this is true shouldn’t go into science. And indeed, very few of them do. Among creationists, on the other hand… ouch.

    – Evolution is the only philosophy

    BZZZT! Wrong. The theory of evolution is science, not philosophy. The difference should be clear by now.

    that can be used to justify their political agenda.

    Various distortions of the theory of evolution have been used to “justify” any political ideology, except theocracy. Various forms of any religion have been used to “justify” any political ideology, no exceptions this time.

    7. Should we continue to use outdated, disproved, questionable, or inconclusive evidences to support the theory of evolution because we don’t have a suitable substitute (Piltdown man, recapitulation, archaeopteryx, Lucy, Java man, Neanderthal man, horse evolution, vestigial organs, etc.)?

    Why exactly did Napoleon cross the Mississippi?

    Please. Nobody has used the Piltdown forgery as evidence for anything in biology ever since it was discovered to be a hoax (by paleoanthropologists who noticed it didn’t really fit into the human family tree). Every biologist, as far as I can tell, knows that Haeckel’s “law” of recapitulation is a drastic oversimplification (ontogeny evolves, too — the Pharyngula stages of mammals, birds and frogs are very, very similar, but their blastula stages are very different, for example, because of the different amounts of yolk they carry). Nothing is wrong about Archaeopteryx — Sir Fred Hoyle’s claim of forgery were easily and quickly disproven, and several new specimens of Archie have been discovered in the decades since, not to mention lots of other ancient birds and near-birds. Nothing is wrong about Lucy, Java Man, or the Neandertalers — if you think otherwise, please explain. Horse evolution is very well documented: it’s not a pole, as it was illustrated in the 19th century and unfortunately in general textbooks till much later, but a tree. Google for it. And what’s up with vestigial organs?

    8. Should parents be allowed to require that evolution not be taught as fact in their school system unless equal time is given to other theories of origins (like divine creation)?

    Note the misuse of “theories”.

    Firstly, “equal time” is a bit silly. Some ideas require more time for explanation than others. Creationism is just “goddidit” — evolution is more complicated than that. Secondly, did you follow this link? Its point is that Christianity is not the only religion with a creation myth. You’d have to teach literally hundreds of such stories. That would easily fill up an entire school year, and I don’t just mean the biology classes. Thirdly, we are talking about the USA. According to the big-C Constitution, you are allowed to teach either all religious ideas of creation or none. Given the aforementioned time constraints, it’s much easier to teach none of them and to teach science instead.

    9. What are you risking if you are wrong?

    Nothing, why?

    As one of my debate opponents said, “Either there is a God or there is not. Both possibilities are frightening.”

    And therefore neither of them can be true, or what?

    But did you notice? Hovind or whoever changed the topic here: from evolution to religion.

    10. Why are many evolutionists afraid of the idea of creationism being presented in public schools?

    We aren’t. We are afraid of evolution not being sufficiently presented in public schools — plus all the problems mentioned above, such as the Constitution.

    If we are not supposed to teach religion in schools, then why not get evolution out of the textbooks? It is just a religious worldview.

    Wrong, see above.

    11. Aren’t you tired of faith in a system that cannot be true?

    Faith doesn’t even enter the question here, and “cannot be true” is something you will have to demonstrate. Good luck.

    Wouldn’t it be great to know the God who made you, and to accept His love and forgiveness?

    Once again a change of topic from evolution to religion…

    Sure, it would be great, if he exists in the first place. That remains to be demonstrated. Many Christians, never mind believers of other religions, agree that it can’t be.

  19. Brian says

    Is there a functional difference between posting several screens of blank space, and posting several screens of words no one will read?

  20. Michael X says

    I want to thank you all (trolls included) for getting us past 2000! T-shirts are in order. And Greg, if you can’t see propaganda like expelled coming from a mile away, I have tickets to a toothfairy documentary I’d like to sell you.

  21. ryan.... Y says

    Yep, as soon as there is an alternate view about some apple store bloggers comments, they instantly become trolls.
    Thanks a lot.
    And can you guys please refresh me on where those single cell ogranisims came from in the first place?

  22. Colugo says

    Ryan, by alluding to the mystery concerning the origins of single-celled organisms, are you suggesting that there is a gap, a gaping hole if you will, in evolutionary theory?

  23. says

    And can you guys please refresh me on where those single cell ogranisims came from in the first place?

    Oh, great. Another ‘questioning mind’ who styles himself some kind of out-of-the-box thinker but who can’t be bothered to acquaint himself with literature that’s already four decades old, who thinks he’s gonna stump us with the same tired old questions he picked up from his friends.

    Here’s a gimme for you: protobionts. No, it’s probably not the case that these were the precursor organic molecules to the first things we would start calling ‘life’, but they are self-organising, self-replicating molecules that spontaneously form from non-life. You can argue whether those conditions match those that existed during the earlier parts of the Earth’s history or not, I couldn’t possibly care less. The point still stands.

    Now, if you’re going to keep lobbing softballs like that at us (and since you probably haven’t a clue as to why it’s a soft lob (hint: this research is 40+ years old), you’re probably going to keep lobbing them), you might want to read a few books written by the scientists who are actually trying to answer these questions before tediously demanding our attention like a spoiled child and whining when we tell you to sit in the corner.

    Try doing your homework. I can assure you we’ve all done ours.

  24. brokenSoldier says

    hey guys, for all of us evidence-needy, actual knowledge-ists out here that took so much time talking at the brick wall named Scott, I thought I’d put a little humor in here for you. And the humor is even provided BY Scott — how considerate of him, huh?

    The guy that took so much trouble to discredit the conclusion we drew about him being a creationist obviously doesn’t cover his tracks very well at all. I had never heard of “Acts and Facts” before he cited it in a post, and a simple Google search turned up this gem. You should check it out:


    a. This was Scott’s Post, copied and pasted into my own:

    Fossil record of transitional remains is the assertion by Charles Darwin that if evolution were true there would exist ample evidence of transitional skeletal remains otherwise known as “missing links” within the earth’s geological strata. He predicted man would find a gradual upward evolution of species to greater and greater complexity among the sedimentary levels of the earth. But the record from Mr. Darwin to today has revealed just the opposite. Paleontologists have devoted whole careers to looking for these transitional forms, but what they have found in the fossil records are species fully formed with no transitional intermediates or missing links. If evolution were true, they would have found literally millions of transitional forms from one species to the next. The following excerpt is taken from “Acts and Facts,” which was authored by Dr. Duane Gist, who received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.
    The fossil record shows the sudden appearance, fully formed, of all the complex invertebrates (snails, clams, jellyfish, sponges, worms, sea urchins, brachiopods, and trilobites) without a trace of ancestors.
    The fossil record also shows the sudden appearance, fully formed, of every major kind of fish (supposedly the first vertebrates) without a trace of ancestors. This proves beyond a reasonable doubt that evolution has not occurred. If evolution has occurred, our museums should contain thousands of fossils of intermediate forms. However, not a trace of an ancestor or transitional form has ever been found for any of these creatures!
    Now even though evolutionary stages or links between separate species have never been proven to exist, there is ample evidence that supports evolution within a species. In fact any person is an evolutionary step from the combination of DNA from his father and mother.

    b. And THIS is what was on that magical page I found via Google…compare for yourselves:

    Fossil Record of Transitional Remains–the assertion by Charles Darwin that if evolution were true there would exist ample evidence of transitional skeletal remains otherwise known as “missing links” within the earth’s geological strata. He predicted man would find a gradual upward evolution of species to greater and greater complexity among the sedimentary levels of the earth. But the record from Mr. Darwin to today has revealed just the opposite. Paleontologists have devoted whole careers to looking for these transitional forms, but what they have found in the fossil records are species fully formed with no transitional intermediates or missing links. If evolution were true, they would have found literally millions of transitional forms from one species to the next. The following excerpt is taken from “Acts and Facts,” which was authored by Dr. Duane Gist, who received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.
    The fossil record shows the sudden appearance, fully formed, of all the complex invertebrates (snails, clams, jellyfish, sponges, worms, sea urchins, brachiopods, and trilobites) without a trace of ancestors.

    The fossil record also shows the sudden appearance, fully formed, of every major kind of fish (supposedly the first vertebrates) without a trace of ancestors. This proves beyond a reasonable doubt that evolution has not occurred. If evolution has occurred, our museums should contain thousands of fossils of intermediate forms. However, not a trace of an ancestor or transitional form has ever been found for any of these creatures!

    Now even though evolutionary stages or links between separate species have never been proven to exist, there is ample evidence that supports evolution within a species. In fact any person is an evolutionary step from the combination of DNA from his father and mother.

    Apparently, even though hasn’t yet mastered reading comprehension and critical thinking, he’s doing a bang-up job with plagiarism!

    And Scott, one of the reasons you run into this problem is your lack of research ability, which can be remedied. But running onto a site populated by individuals such as the ones on this one and parroting old arguments is that research and information-seeking is a well-honed skill (and I would call it an obsession in my case…) shared by most here. What this means for you is that if you ARE plagiarizing (aka STEALING), not only will your malfeasance inevitably be discovered, but – since we put so much effort on our own intellectual endeavors – it will be looked upon with a great deal of disgust and contempt by almost everyone who frequents this website. (I hope I didn’t presume too much by speaking for more than myself there, but something tells me I’m not alone in those thoughts.)

    PP.S.: Really, Scott? You copied it from a website that not only has “bible” in the address, but the first thing on the damn page is a box at the top left that clearly says:

    “Print This Bible Study”

    Lazy, Scott…very lazy. Next time, try using your own brain to come up with responses rather than someone else’s. The majority of our race finds that to be a much more satisfying endeavor.

  25. True Bob says

    Thanks everyone, I’m glad to see this thread past the 2k mark. And on the shoulders of a particular giant…IDiot named Scott.

    I for one hope he DID find his ass.