G Man puts the smack down on me!


I got into a conversation with a creationist in a hangout late one night, and now, wouldn’t you know it, he has announced that he “humbled” me. Funny, that’s not how I remember it. He cut up a few bits from our discussion and created a video in which he thinks he has rebutted me, with much bluster and arrogance.


PZ Myer just got owned! all the down votes are from butt hurt atheists who worship PZ Myers and want to protect their religion called evolution!

In case you don’t want to sit through 13 minutes of ranting, I’ll summarize it for you.

He says I allow these atheists to puff my head up because I broke the world record in math. I have no idea what he means; what is the world record in math, anyway? So I’ll let that slide, just as I’ll skip over the fact that he spells my name two different ways in his description and consistently mispronounces it.

He claims I said two stupid things.

The first is that he said something bizarre — that humans have 43 chromosomes, while tobacco has 48, and that this is a fact that evolutionists use to argue for evolution, calling it the chromosome argument which, he says, 40 or 50 atheists use.

My reply was that chromosome number is irrelevant. After all, it varies in a rather arbitrary fashion across species, and it seems to be a highly variable character. While it may be useable as a comparision across closely related species, just tallying up chromosome numbers gives you no clue to relatedness. Here’s a table of some representative numbers, for instance:

If you just thought those numbers were sufficient to indicate ancestry, you’d have to conclude that humans are more closely related to zebrafish than they are to horses. So, no, we don’t use the chromosome argument, or the argument from chromosome numbers.

I asked him if he knew how many chromosomes he had. His answer: 43 or 45. Both wrong. Not just wrong in detail, but in concept — we’re diploid, so we’re going to have an even number of chromosomes.

In his rebuttal, he mangles the statement that chromosome numbers are not a good metric for relatedness into a claim that no evolutionist uses chromosomes as evidence for evolution. Then he shows a clip of Ken Miller dismantling a common creationist claim, that because the other apes have 48 chromosomes and we only have 46, we can’t be that closely related. Miller shows from the content of chromosome 2 in humans that it is a product of a fusion of two ancestral chromosomes. He is explaining how chromosome numbers can vary.

Then he cuts to Kent Hovind. It’s Hovind who thinks these numbers are significant. He shows slides of chromosome numbers like the one I posted above, and makes strange arguments. Chimps have the same number of chromosomes as tobacco, which for some reason the audience finds hilarious and guffaws loudly.

Chickens and dogs both have 78 chromosomes, so they’re identical twins. Ferns have the largest number of chromosomes, so evolutionists think that’s the ultimate goal of all evolution. Opposums, redwoods, and kidney beans have the same number of chromosomes, and then in a non sequitur, he argues that the similarities are indications of a common designer.

It’s creationists like Kent Hovind who use this bogus chromosome argument, not biologists. Our creationist then summarizes by saying he was not demonstrating his ignorance, he knows what he’s talking about. Sorry, guy, you’ve only demonstrated that you’re as ignorant as Kent Hovind. Do better.

He says the second stupid thing I said was to cite the fossil record.

Actually, what I did say was that there were multiple lines of evidence and that I thought the molecular evidence was most persuasive, but he had a canned rant about how he doesn’t believe in fossils, so he latched onto that.

Here in this rebuttal he then cuts to an ancient clip from Dick Weisenberg (I knew him; he was a colleague at Temple University) from the 1990s (ancient history — look, he’s using an overhead projector!). What this has to do with me, I don’t know, especially since I disagree with a few of the things he says. But what seems to have caught his attention was that Dick was caught in a contradiction: he first tells the audience of creationists to look at the fossil evidence, that the bones “prove” evolution, and then later he dials it down and says that the fossils are consistent with evolution. I agree with the latter, not the former. It’s one of the difficult things about doing debates when you’re not a trained debater — it’s easy to get tripped up by the colloquialisms and casual conversational use of words.

But the thing is, pointing out someone else’s error does not address anything I said. It also doesn’t rebut the fact that the fossil record is consistent with the theory of evolution, but not with creationism.

He lectures me at the end about my arrogance and how I should have more humility when dealing with Christians.

My time is very important to me, and I don’t like wasting it on people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

OK, Mr 43-or-45-chromosomes, I agree.

Comments

  1. Siobhan says

    So I’ll let that slide, just as I’ll skip over the fact that he spells my name two different ways in his description and consistently mispronounces it.

    I’ve always wondered what would happen when I call you Pee Zed per my local dialect on one of the live interviews.

  2. rietpluim says

    And the positive evidence for creation is…?

    Well…?

    O, there isn’t any. Just the good old fashioned silly evolutionists bashing. Nothing has changed over the years, has it?

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Before reading the OP, I had to cue up the theme from the Twilight Zone. Proved to be an appropriate choice. Reality was somewhere in the wind.

  4. Alt-X says

    ahh the old “I’d to lazy to learn about evolution, therefore it’s wrong” argument. Brilliant!!!

  5. Larry says

    Well, there is an hour or so of your life that you won’t get back as well as a couple of minutes of mine.

  6. says

    Since it’s the anniversary of the end of the Scopes trial, this seems appropriate.

    My own opinion is that he is sincere enough in his religion. Also that in it is included the doctrine Paul so frankly taught–that a lie told for the glory of God is justified. . . .

    The man doesn’t read. As he himself put it, “I don’t think about what I don’t think about.” (Even so!) The question is what does he think about? There are many who answer promptly: himself; and what he can get out of this Fundamentalist movement; how far he can project it into politics and there capitalize it.
    Marcet Haldeman-Julius, from his description of William Jennings Bryan

  7. ctech says

    WTF. Where the heck did you dig this guy up? He clearly is struggling wading through all the BS on both sides and is literally the only credit I can give him. Perhaps this guy’s secretary sprung this on his calendar at the last second but I think if you know you will be having a discussion with PZ in the near future and you will be discussing chromosomes then you should brush up on chromosome counts. He should not be debating on the creationist behalf because to be unprepared in a realm of complete unforgiving opponents is just completely irresponsible. I do have to hand it to PZ that in the clip PZ really was not as hard on him as he could have been. Of course, I do feel like if I was in your situation you just sit back and let the other person talk. You know, don’t take the shovel out of their hands.

    On another note, I do find the statement that chromosome count is completely irrelevant in determining relatedness to be not entirely accurate. Yes, looking at pure diploid numbers would not tell the whole story and have no real meaning at face value. In most situations you can’t just say two different organisms have the same chromosome count so they must be related. Although, I think a visual clue at just the numbers can draw conclusions from the numbers when large discrepancies are apprent, for example, comparing just chromosome counts between fruit flies and humans would give a quick indication that you might be dealing with a large gap in relatedness.

    However, I was just recently involved in a discussion with an atheist doctor in bioinformatic research who was kind enough to link me to his faculty page at a university hospital because I thought his claim had to be joke. His claim was that a female human has more in common genetically and physically with a female chimp than she would with her human father. He mainly cited sex chromosomes to back up most of his logic as well as evolution and common descent. I used diploid numbers to some extent which now I found out is irrelevant. Is this something common among evolutionary ideas that human daughters are more chimp-like than father like? If that is wrong then I am not sure what the fix is because you don’t have to shift to a creationist paradigm but if operating under the evolutionary model allows for those types of claims then I am shocked…about as shocked as I am at G Man.

  8. says

    “Chimps have the same number of chromosomes as tobacco, which for some reason the audience finds hilarious and guffaws loudly.”

    If you ever tried smoking a chimp you’d know why!

  9. Siobhan says

    “Pee Zed” is acceptable. “Myer” is not, See-o-ban.

    Ehh, I deserved that. :P

  10. Chancellor says

    The last I heard of gee-man was on the axp, I see he’s still as on the money as ever. I weep for his parents.

  11. Adam Trill says

    There is some ableist language in this post. It’s best we not use this language. Can someone do something to remove the S words. This discrimination isn’t good for our community.

  12. militantagnostic says

    Richard del guru

    If you ever tried smoking a chimp you’d know why!

    .
    Better a chimp than a gorilla. In one the Goon Show episodes someone offers Ned Seagoon a Gorilla to smoke. This is followed by ferocious animal sounds and Ned Seagoon saying “These gorillas are strong! Try one of my monkeys, they’re milder.”

  13. militantagnostic says

    Too be fair, the fossil record is problematic. Every time a transitional fossil discovered, there are 2 more gaps in the fossil record.

  14. rjdownard says

    The moment G Man invoked Kent Hovind he fell off the methods bus, that simple and that abrupt, since anybody who can take Hovind seriously can’t be taken seriously. Hovind is a litmus test figure here, as even ICR & AiG consider him a doofus.

    As for the fossil record, I do hope militantagnostic is being tongue in cheek on his “problematic”, chewing on a wad of Gish’s Law.

  15. Richard Smith says

    Dick was caught in a contradiction

    Better a contradiction than a zipper.

  16. Andrew David says

    I would guess that the “chromosome argument” is a confused rebuttal of observations about the similarity between human and chimp DNA.

  17. Adam Trill says

    Is anyone going to address the elephant in the room? Are we going sit idly by while ableist slurs are just thrown about? These are just as bad as racial slurs and just because people have grown up using them doesn’t make it ok.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    These are just as bad as racial slurs and just because people have grown up using them doesn’t make it ok.

    Why are YOU bothering us? Take it up with G Man. PZ quotes him. Show some actual reading ability, and take the issue where it belongs. But stop bothering us.

  19. Adam Trill says

    Because I come here to read blogs and not read ableist slurs. This is very disturbing.

  20. Adam Trill says

    Would it be ok to quote people using racial slurs? This is just horrible behavior on this blog.

  21. KG says

    ctech@8

    Where the heck did you dig this guy up?

    Creationist central I imagine. Nothing unusual about him at all. Kent Hovind is shown spouting similar garbage in the OP.

    He clearly is struggling wading through all the BS on both sides

    Ah, a typically dishonest “both sides” claim. While evolutionary biologists are, like all human beings, fallible and thus capable of producing BS, creationism is nothing but BS.

    I do find the statement that chromosome count is completely irrelevant in determining relatedness to be not entirely accurate.

    Which is, of course, why PZ said:

    While it [chromosome number] may be useable as a comparision across closely related species

  22. Owlmirror says

    However, I was just recently involved in a discussion with an atheist doctor in bioinformatic research who was kind enough to link me to his faculty page at a university hospital because I thought his claim had to be joke. His claim was that a female human has more in common genetically and physically with a female chimp than she would with her human father.

    So… would this guy agree that he himself has more in common genetically and physically with a male chimp than he has with his human mother?

    Just checking.

  23. DanDare says

    G-man is very poorly educated and unfortunately his indoctrination has given him mental behaviours that oppose learning or developing reasoning skills. I am sad for the man but I despise his promotion of his own ignorance.

  24. ctech says

    @KG: I was not implying that either side was 100% BS. You made that statement but contradict your meaning in the very next sentence. I feel that there is BS on both sides and the amount is irrelevant which seem to agree with me by saying evolutionist are fallible human beings. Be that as it may, they appear to get a “free pass” for being fallible and the creationist being 100% BS still does not change any BS on the evolutionist side regardless of their excuse. Hence, BS on both sides. No dishonesty.

    @Owlmirror: That probably was a good point to make but I think that was implied because he was very caught up on sex chromosomes and sex organs which he still argued when I said “dogs have penis and testicles am I more like a dog than to my daughter?” which he replied, “yes”. I really thought it was a joke but sadly through more of the conversation I do not think he was joking.

  25. KG says

    @KG: I was not implying that either side was 100% BS. – ctech@27

    I know you weren’t, liar. You were falsely implying an equivalence between the two sides without even the honesty to say it outright, as you have done previously.

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