They didn’t even realize how badly they were crushed


This was amusing. A graduate of the Lenski lab got into a conversation with a couple of creationists about — would you believe? — the Lenski experiment. They argued with him about the results of the experiment! Of course, the creationists learned nothing.

Gutsick Gibbon provides some commentary, in particular explaining how creationists don’t even understand the concept of fitness.

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Video is behind my corporate master’s firewall so I can’t watch it, but can I hazard a guess what the Bible-fuckers’ line of “argument” was:

    “Yeah, but they’re still bacteria! They didn’t turn into another ‘kind!'”

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Aaargh.
    Evolution seems straightforward as seen from outside academics so the ignorant ones think they can walk in without taking at least a course of the basics.
    .
    I find it difficult to keep up with these things because listening is downright painful.
    (As you may have noticed, I often praise the team behind God Awful Movies, because they immerse themselves in the dumbest dreck creationists and others produce and are then able to provide reviews without having suffered apparent brain damage.)

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Also, the “I don’t like what you are saying, so you are stupid” is like having to deal with a really annoying seven-year-old.

  4. Rich Woods says

    I was deeply, deeply impressed by the bloke who twice responded “That is vacuous” when it was obvious that he didn’t have a clue what had just been explained to him. I think he learned a new word just for this conversation, and was so pleased to have two — two! — opportunities to use it.

  5. woozy says

    Wyah…. I want to hear about the Truth Chronicles and the teen adventures about time machines and visiting the roving dinosaurs in Ancient Egypt.

    I also want to know about the digital evolution experiment that was not a simulation.

  6. PaulBC says

    “Well so was Satan” Do creationists believe Satan was “one of the most celebrated scientists in the history of science”. That’s news to me… maybe he’s thinking of Mephistopheles in the Faust legend? Nah… I am sure I am giving him too much credit.

    This is hard to watch. Very slow moving and very cringey.

  7. bcw bcw says

    Creationist’s inability to understand that “fitness” means only better adapted to the current environment rather than some overall “bestness” is because they also carry the idea that god made man the “best” of all creatures, cause you-know, god’s image; this means that when they hear the idea of “fitness,” evolution can only be true if it says man is the most fit of all animals.

  8. PaulBC says

    Creationists must have a lot of trouble with rock, paper, scissors. Or do they play “rock crushes everything”?

  9. John Morales says

    Heh. Since it’s Lenski-related…

    Elseblog, conversing with a creationist.

    A severely adumbrated synopsis follows:
    They: Everything seems to be finished.
    Me: Allow me to introduce you to the concept of antibiotic resistance.
    (You’ve never heard of Dr. Lenski, have you?)
    They: Lenski’s bacteria, after 31,500 generations, acquired a transporter that allowed it to utilize existing pathways to process citrate in oxic conditions. What else would you like to apply that speedy metric to?

    (A self-declared YEC, that one. Banned here, IIRC)

  10. PaulBC says

    woozy@7

    I also want to know about the digital evolution experiment that was not a simulation.

    I was wondering what that meant, though I have a guess. A simulation can be a process that works on aggregates, making simplifying assumptions about the individual steps. E.g., there was an analog economics simulator called MONIAC, created in 1949 that used fluids to model relations between economic quantities, but clearly did not have any way to go down to the level of individual decisions and transactions. (Pretty remarkable for its time though.)

    Likewise, you can simulate population genetics using a computer program by maintaining numbers for things like allele frequencies. But if you create a virtual environment in which every step of mutation, inheritance, and selection is actually carried out, then it’s quite different because you are not making assumptions about the steps involved. Personally, I might still call it a “simulation” the same way people sloppily refer to Conway’s Game of Life simulations (what is the “real” thing you are simulating?).

    Maybe we need a better word that for the distinction between (a) a virtual environment that is provably isomorphic to a formal model and (b) a computer program that merely estimates outcomes of the model with calculations under simplifying assumptions. In the former case, I could understand saying “We carried out digital evolution in this model; we didn’t simulate it.”

    Also, I have no idea if that is what Jay Bundy (pocketlocker86) meant. I too am curious.

  11. says

    They didn’t even realize how badly they were crushed

    Quite frankly, I don’t think the Christian Reich folks were “crushed” at all. Getting the attention of someone who knows anything about evolution, and goading and manipulating them into responding to their endless flow of bullshit — again and again and again — is a victory for them, no matter how conclusively their blither-points are refuted (again and again and again). Their goal is not to prove themselves right; it’s to get attention, make it look like serious scientist-types are taking them seriously, and control the conversation in whatever forum they reach. This is what Republicans have been doing at least since 1980; and even when they show themselves to be dead wrong, totally dishonest, and incapable of responsible adult behavior, they’ve still won because they consistently control what people talk about most in public forums.

    We need to stop taking their bait, and focus instead on what WE need the public to see: not grownups cleverly refuting the nonsense-arguments of overgrown children and foolishly thinking they’ve changed anything, but decent and honest people calling out the dishonesty and indecency of all the idiots, bigots, con-artists and loonies who are endlessly spouting incoherent noise and rubbish and doing their best to make it impossible for the rest of us to even talk sensibly about our real problems, let alone solve them.

  12. PaulBC says

    It’s safe to say that creationists will always declare victory no matter what happens, and I agree that they weren’t “crushed” in the sense of this exchange doing anything to persuade creationists. I have never heard John Maddox before, but what a smug asshole. Still, his fans eat it up, I’m sure.

    I would recast PZ’s point as “They don’t realize how ignorant they are.” I’m sure they don’t. I’m also sure that they believe that cherry-picking scientific papers for gotchas makes them “like really smart people.” It’s aggravating, and I am not sure of the right rhetorical approach. This is a great expository video for people who want to understand, but this may not be the most useful audience to be trying to reach.

  13. PaulBC says

    Raging Bee@14

    but decent and honest people calling out the dishonesty and indecency of all the idiots, bigots, con-artists and loonies who are endlessly spouting incoherent noise and rubbish

    I thought that Gutsick Gibbon was doing that reasonably well apart from what occurred in the exchange itself.

  14. woozy says

    “Well so was Satan” Do creationists believe Satan was “one of the most celebrated scientists in the history of science”. That’s news to me…

    I don’t think creationist like “Creationist Tools” or whatever his user name was actually even know how to think or form sentences. Evolution is evil, satan is the prince of evil, so if an evolutionist says “well, we did X” then “so did Satan” is a knee-jerk reaction. Apparently the concept that X might have meaning and context that makes the claim absurd is beyond their logical abilities.

    I think a Superintendent Chalmers is the best response “You believe Satan was a scientist?” “Um,, yes” “And he is celebrated, by name, and recognized in his role as scientist? More so than most other scientists?”

  15. nomdeplume says

    Just saw a youtube from AiG entitled “Science CONFIRMS Noah’s Ark and the Flood”. To which one can only reply “I do not think that word means what you think it does”.

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