Monday, April 30, 2012

Here’s the Rundown on the Latest Evolution Blackball Operation

University of Texas El Paso mathematics professor Granville Sewell wrote a paper on how the second law of thermodynamics bears on the theory of evolution. The paper was peer-reviewed and accepted for publication. But after a blogger complained the journal, Applied Mathematics Letters (AML), pulled the article, in violation of its own professional standards. That evolutionary blackball operation ended up costing the journal $10,000 in attorney’s fees.

The evolutionist’s next move was not only to continue to reject the letter, but to publish criticism of the peer-reviewed, accepted, unpublished, rejected paper in the journal Mathematical Intelligencer (MI). And their final move was to reject Sewell’s response to the criticism, again in violation of their own standards.

It is yet another episode of the Banality of Evilution which has evolutionists falling over themselves to blackball those who disagree.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Here is That Secret Gnosis Evolutionists Have

In the previous post we learned that evolutionists have a secret gnosis. They say science must be limited to naturalistic explanations (the so-called methodological naturalism), yet their science knows no limits (the so-called property of completeness) and is presented as a reasonably accurate model of reality (the so-called property of realism). Now there’s nothing wrong with constraining science to methodological naturalism, but what if there is a phenomenon that is not natural? Then the methodological naturalism constraint could not provide an accurate explanation. We would either have to avoid such phenomena (incompleteness), or we would have to settle for inaccurate explanations (anti realism). But evolutionists do not settle for such limitations. How can they mandate method (specifically methodological naturalism) and yet enjoy completeness and realism? The answer lies in their secret gnosis, of which we give an example here.

SIDEBAR: Does evolutionary science really entail completeness?

One evolution professor wrote to me that evolutionary science does not claim completeness. Evolutionists readily agree that phenomena may lie outside the realm of strict naturalism. Is that true?

One sure sign of incompleteness at work is a scientist, when grappling with a difficult problem, allowing for even just the possibility that the problem may not be strictly naturalistic. One would expect these scientists to be found, at least on rare occasions, discussing the boundary between naturalism and non naturalism, even if they are not sure where it lies or even if there are any non naturalistic phenomena. But such conversations are hard to find amongst evolutionists.

And it is not as though they don’t have their share of hard to crack problems. After all, there is no scientific evidence that something (in this case everything) comes from nothing, as they believe. Nor does science support their rather heroic contention that life and all the millions of species arose spontaneously. There certainly are no easy answers for consciousness but again, evolutionists rush in, where wise men fear to tread, with their unlikely explanations.

Evolutionists don’t even hesitate when it comes to the origin of the universe itself. And when problems arise they even call upon a multitude of universes—the so-called multiverse. From multiverses to the origin of life and emergence of complexity, evolutionists evidence little awareness or concerns about potential incompleteness limitations.

So how did this evolution professor defend his claim that evolutionary science does not claim completeness? Believe it or not, his source was that fount of knowledge, the famous Judge John Jones, as though the judge was now an authority on the subject. Yes, this is the same judge who, regarding his preparation for the Dover trial, explained that  “I understood the general theme. I’d seen Inherit the Wind.”

One of the many examples of the evolutionist’s secret gnosis comes from an essay written by Theodosius Dobzhansky entitled “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” It is a fitting example because that title has become a popular phrase in the evolutionary literature, including the popular literature and peer-reviewed research papers.

In that essay Dobzhansky rehearses the typical theological naturalism (i.e., theological arguments mandating a strictly naturalistic creation narrative) which is endemic to the evolution literature. For instance, Dobzhansky explained that the fossil record reveals many extinctions, and while this would be understandable under evolution, it would make no sense for God to do this:

but what a senseless operation it would have been, on God's part, to fabricate a multitude of species ex nihilo and then let most of them die out!

Or again, can we really believe that all existing species were generated by supernatural fiat a few thousand years ago, pretty much as we find them today? For “what is the sense of having as many as 2 or 3 million species living on earth?”

The beauty of natural selection is that it does not work according to a foreordained plan. But it would make no sense for a Creator to intentionally create the species we find. As Dobzhansky explains:

Was the Creator in a jocular mood when he made Psilopa petrolei for California oil fields and species of Drosophila to live exclusively on some body-parts of certain land crabs on only certain islands in the Caribbean?

Echoing Kant from centuries ago, who theorized of creation by natural means to avoid a capricious Creator, Dobzhansky explains:

The organic diversity becomes, however, reasonable and understandable if the Creator has created the living world not by caprice but by evolution propelled by natural selection.

And what about the fundamental biochemistry built into the species? Again, evolution is mandated for intentional design and creation of such a pattern is offensive to us, as Dobzhansky explains:

But what if there was no evolution and every one of the millions of species were created by separate fiat? However offensive the notion may be to religious feeling and to reason, the anti-evolutionists must again accuse the Creator of cheating. They must insist that He deliberately arranged things exactly as if his method of creation was evolution, intentionally to mislead sincere seekers of truth.

These are the types of powerful religious arguments that motivate and justify the evolutionary thought. It is all about metaphysics. Evolution must be a fact and so, of course, evolutionists enjoy completeness and realism along with their methodological naturalism. This is their secret gnosis.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What Evolutionists Don’t Understand About Methodological Naturalism

[Ed: An oldie-but-goodie from July 5, 2011]

OK let’s try this again. One more time, this time with pictures. In their celebrated volume  Blueprints, evolutionists Maitland Edey and Donald Johanson argued that “What God did is a matter for faith and not for scientific inquiry. The two fields are separate. If our scientific inquiry should lead eventually to God … that will be the time to stop science.” Similarly for evolutionist Niles Eldredge, the key responsibility of science—to predict—becomes impossible when a capricious Creator is entertained:

But the Creator obviously could have fashioned each species in any way imaginable. There is no basis for us to make predictions about what we should find when we study animals and plants if we accept the basic creationist position. … the creator could have fashioned each organ system or physiological process (such as digestion) in whatever fashion the Creator pleased. [The Monkey Business, p. 39, Washington Square Press, 1982.]

Or again, evolutionist Paul Moody explains that:

Most modern biologists do not find this explanation [that God created the species] satisfying. For one thing, it is really not an explanation at all; it amounts to saying, “Things are this way because they are this way.” Furthermore, it removes the subject from scientific inquiry. One can do no more than speculate as to why the Creator chose to follow one pattern in creating diverse animals rather than to use differing patterns. [Introduction to Evolution, p. 26, Harper and Row, 1970.]

Likewise Tim Berra warns that we must not be led astray by the apparent design in biological systems, for it “is not the sudden brainstorm of a creator, but an expression of the operation of impersonal natural laws, of water seeking its level. An appeal to a supernatural explanation is unscientific and unnecessary—and certain to stifle intellectual curiosity and leave important questions unasked and unanswered.” In fact, “Creationism has no explanatory powers, no application for future investigation, no way to advance knowledge, no way to lead to new discoveries. As far as science is concerned, creationism is a sterile concept.” [Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, pp. 66, 142, Stanford University Press, 1990.]

In his undergraduate evolution text Mark Ridley informs the student that “Supernatural explanations for natural phenomena are scientifically useless,” [Evolution, p. 323, Blackwell, 1993] and commenting on the Dover legal decision Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education explains that supernatural explanations:

would be truly a science stopper, because once we allow ourselves to say, “Gee, this problem is so hard; I can’t figure out how it works—God did it,” then we stop looking for a natural explanation; and if there is a natural explanation, we’re not going to find it if we stop looking.

Over and over evolutionists today agree that science must strictly be limited to naturalistic explanations. One finds this throughout the evolutionary literature and it is a consistent refrain in discussions and debates about evolution.

But this sentiment by no means arose with today’s evolutionists. In 1891 UC Berkeley professor Joseph LeConte argued strenuously for this philosophical mandate:

The origins of new phenomena are often obscure, even inexplicable, but we never think to doubt that they have a natural cause; for so to doubt is to doubt the validity of reason, and the rational constitution of Nature. So also, the origins of new organic forms may be obscure or even inexplicable, but we ought not on that account to doubt that they had a natural cause, and came by a natural process; for so to doubt is also to doubt the validity of reason, and the rational constitution of organic Nature.

Likewise Darwin argued that whether one “believes in the views given by Lamarck, by Geoffroy St. Hilaire, by the author of the ‘Vestiges,’ by Mr. Wallace or by myself, signifies extremely little in comparison with the admission that species have descended from other species, and have not been created immutable: for he who admits this as a great truth has a wide field open to him for further inquiry.”

Explanations needed to be naturalistic for scientific inquiry. And as usual the foundations for this evolutionary mandate long predate 1859. Miracles were increasingly eschewed by leading thinkers and a century before philosopher David Hume had made persuasive arguments against miracles. Much of Hume’s material came from theological debates earlier in the century. On the continent leading Lutherans had already discarded the supernatural.

Method, completeness and realism in pictures

So when an evolutionist today insists that science must be naturalistic he is standing on a deep foundation of ideas. But setting aside this history for a moment, what about this argument? Remember that these same evolutionists claim their idea is also a fact. Is there not something curious about these tandem claims? I was once in a debate where the evolutionists claimed that we know evolution is a fact, and that it also is necessary in order to do science. How did they know that? Let’s have a look.

First, imagine the set of all possible explanations, as represented by the blue area below:

Because the blue area contains all possible explanations, it includes false as well as true explanations, lousy as well as good explanations, aesthetic and clumsy ones, and natural and non natural ones. It is every possible explanation in one set.

Now consider the set of all solutions that are according to a particular method, such as naturalism, as illustrated in the orange area below. All explanations that are strictly naturalistic are in the yellow area, and all other explanations are outside the orange area. Because the blue area contains all possible explanations, the orange area is a subset—it is wholly within the blue area.

Next consider the set of all true explanations as represented by the green circle below. These true explanations provide realistic models of nature. Again, this set of explanations must be wholly within the blue area, but otherwise we don’t know just where this green circle is. It could be in the orange area, it could be outside the orange area, or it could overlap. We don’t know what the true solutions all are, which is why we do science.

I have drawn the green circle above as partly inside and partly outside the orange area merely to illustrate the possibilities. But we don’t know where it is, and therefore whenever we mandate, a priori, a method such as naturalism, we automatically exclude a set of explanations that might be true.

In the early days of modern science philosophers were keen to this issue. Francis Bacon, for instance, wanted science only to pursue true explanations. But Bacon also wanted science to restrict itself to naturalistic explanations. Bacon realized that the restriction to naturalism would exclude any realistic, true, explanations that were not strictly naturalistic.

Bacon said that such non naturalistic phenomena should not be pursued by science. So Bacon insisted on naturalism and realism, but forfeited completeness. Science would not investigate all things. The thick black line below illustrates how this position limits itself to explanations that are both realistic and naturalistic, while potentially forfeiting some true explanations (depending on where exactly the green circle really is).

Like Bacon, another early philosopher, Rene Descartes, also insisted on naturalism. But he didn’t like the idea of forfeiting completeness. Descartes wanted science to be able to investigate all phenomena. But what if some realistic, true, explanations fall outside of naturalism? So what.

Descartes solution was to forfeit realism. Science, according to Descartes, would occasionally produce untrue explanations that otherwise could very well be useful. This approach is illustrated by the thick line below that encompasses all the naturalistic explanations, but misses some of the true explanations. Science might produce useful fictions along the way. Descartes mandated method and completeness, but in doing so had to forfeit realism.

After Descartes several scientists did not like this idea of forfeiting realism, as Descartes did, or forfeiting completeness, as Bacon did. These empiricists were interested in true solutions for all phenomena. This approach is illustrated below with the thick line encompassing the true solutions. But in order to maintain such realism and completeness, this approach cannot guarantee what method would be necessary. They might require non naturalistic explanations, for instance. So this approach provides realism and completeness, but forfeits any guarantee of method, such as naturalism.

Bacon, Descartes and the empiricists represent three different approaches to doing science. All are logically consistent. And who knows, the different methods might yield different insights—let a thousand flowers bloom.

But of course all three approaches have a limitation. Like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you cannot have realism, completeness and method all in one. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

This brings us back to the evolutionists. Unlike Bacon, Descartes and the empiricists, evolutionists do have their cake and eat it too. They claim evolution is a fact, they mandate naturalism, and their science knows no limits. They have realism, method, and completeness all together. How can this be?

The answer is simple. One cannot have realism, method, and completeness simultaneously without some extra, non scientific, knowledge. Evolution’s gnosis is, of course, that true solutions are, indeed, naturalistic. This is illustrated below by the thick line that encompasses all true explanations, but it is also wholly naturalistic. How so? The trick is that the green circle has been moved. It is completely within the orange area. Knowing the location of the green circle, even before doing the science, is evolution’s gnosis—their secret knowledge.

It is this secret knowledge the evolutionists possess that allows them to have their cake and eat it too, and this brings us back to the history of the idea. There is no great mystery here, for evolutionists have for centuries made strong theological arguments that the world must have arisen naturalistically. The true explanations are all naturalistic. Therefore it is little wonder that, while not knowing how the world could have evolved, evolutionists are sure it did evolve. Evolution, one way or another, is a fact.

It is here that many fail to appreciate evolution’s conundrum. They often criticize evolution’s method mandate. Have not evolutionists been wrong to insist on methodological naturalism? No, such a method is perfectly fine.

The problem with evolution is not its insistence on method, but on its underlying theology. By insisting on method and realism and completeness, evolutionists are literally not equipped to consider other legitimate possibilities. They have already made a metaphysical commitment, without knowing whether or not it is true. They have confined themselves to a box. For when problems are encountered there is no way to tell whether the correct naturalistic solution has simply not yet been found, or whether the phenomenon itself is non natural. Of course evolutionists must always opt for the former, no matter how absurd the science becomes.

So the problem with evolution is not that the naturalistic approach might occasionally be inadequate. The problem is that evolutionists would never know any better. The evolutionists truth claims, and the underlying theology, have immense consequences. Religion drives science, and it matters.

Here is the Language of Evolution

A common claim of evolutionists is that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.” It shows up everywhere from the popular literature to the peer-reviewed research papers. This claim is equivalent to “Certain things in biology makes sense only in light of evolution,” which in turn is equivalent to “Only evolution can explain certain things in biology.” Or, in the language of scientific hypothesis testing, this is equivalent to: “Evolution and only evolution predicts certain things in biology.”

But this is hardly a scientific hypothesis. In science hypotheses and theories are constructed and predictions are made based on the hypothesis. If the prediction is successful then the hypothesis escapes falsification. If not, then the hypothesis fails. It must be modified or perhaps even discarded.

This reasoning process is sometimes denoted as IF P, THEN Q. And if NOT Q, THEN NOT P.

In other words, if hypothesis P is true, then prediction Q will also be true. And if Q is found to be false, then P is false.

This is the language of science. Of course there are other ways of doing science as well, but the evolutionary claim that “Evolution and only evolution predicts certain things in biology” is, on the other hand, very different. It is not the language of science but rather the language of metaphysics. For science cannot know that a hypothesis, and only that one particular hypothesis, can explain something we observe.

This reasoning process is denoted as IF AND ONLY IF P, THEN Q.

In other words, if hypothesis P is true, and only if hypothesis P is true, then Q will also be true.

In this case Q is not a prediction, but rather something that has already been observed. Q is already known to be true. And P is the theory of evolution. The claim is that there are no possible explanations for these aspects of biology, except for evolution.

Straightaway one can see this claim entails knowledge of all possible explanations. Science has no such knowledge.

What this claim reveals is evolution’s underlying religion foundation that derives from the Enlightenment and remains as crucial as ever today. This claim, in its many different versions, pervades the evolutionary literature. It is the language of evolution.

[Ed: Several modifications were made to the logical statements to make them more robust]

This New Research Reveals One More Awesome Aspect of Pigeon Navigation

Evolution may be unguided but its creations certainly are not. From ants and bees to fish and birds, nature’s creatures have remarkable built-in guidance and navigation capabilities. Birds, for instance, can fly thousands of miles and return to the same location. How organisms are able to  perform these feats, let alone how evolution could have created such capabilities, has puzzled scientists for years. Such capabilities can be divided into several functions such as sensing information from the environment, storing the sensed information, comparing the stored information with reference information, deciding how to act given the comparisons, and so forth. New research is now helping to explain a bit more about the storing function in pigeons.

The new research suggests that there must be, as yet undiscovered, magnetic field sensors in the bird’s inner ear which report compass readings to the brainstem. The story is further complicated, however, by activity in other regions of the brain as well. The researchers were able to detect signals in specific neurons, and how different neurons were sensitive to particular compass readings.

The researchers suspect that the reference information is stored in the hippocampus. As one writer explains:

In some birds that hide seeds and return later to their caches with astonishing accuracy, the hippocampus grows and shrinks seasonally, presumably as they map their hiding spots.

It has been an on-going and difficult area of research and this latest study is being called “stunning.” But it is only a small part of the story and there is much more to learn.

What is being slowly revealed is an astonishingly complex guidance and navigation system. As its profound complexity is increasingly understood the belief that it arose by chance biological variation becomes increasingly exposed for what it is: a non scientific and outdated view of origins. In this case, we would have to believe that sensors arose by chance, with multiple neurons that by chance reported their data to parts of the brain that by chance stored the information, and that other parts of the brain by chance evolved capabilities to store reference information, and that other parts of the brain evolved capabilities to compare the sensed information with the reference information and to make decisions. All of this had to be constructed in the embryonic stages and operate robustly in the mature bird. And all of this is so complex our best scientists still can’t figure it out how it works, let alone how it could have evolved. And yet evolutionists are certain that it did evolve. That is a conviction, not a scientific conclusion.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Non Scientific Claim Regularly Appears in Evolutionary Peer Reviewed Papers

Early in the twentieth century scientists studied blood immunity and how immune reaction could be used to compare species. The blood studies tended to produce results that parallel the more obvious indicators such as body plan. That is, humans are more closely related to apes than to fish or rabbits. These findings were soon proclaimed to be powerful confirmations of evolution. In 1923 evolution professor H. H. Lane cited this evidence as supporting “the fact of evolution.” This evidence would become another icon of evolution, lasting well through the twentieth century. In their 1976 text Evolution: Process and Product Edward Dodson and Peter Dodson argued that only evolution can explain the blood immunity data (which by the way is a non scientific claim to begin with, but that’s another story). Likewise Tim Berra argued from the blood immunity data in his 1990 Evolution and the Myth of Creationism. But the congruence that evolutionists celebrated was fleeting. Under the hood biology was not so cooperative.

Even by mid century contradictions to evolutionary expectations were becoming obvious in serological tests. As J.B.S.Haldane explained in 1949:

Now every species of mammal and bird so far investigated has shown quite a surprising biochemical diversity by serological tests. The antigens concerned seem to be proteins to which polysaccharides are attached. We do not know their functions in the organism, though some of them seem to be part of the structure of the cell membrane. I wish to suggest that they may play a part in disease resistance, a particular race of bacteria or virus being adapted to individuals of a certain range of biochemical constitutions, while those of other constitutions are relatively resistant.

Indeed these polysaccharides, or glycans, would become rather uncooperative with evolution. As one recent paper explained, glycans show “remarkably discontinuous distribution across evolutionary lineages,” for they “occur in a discontinuous and puzzling distribution across evolutionary lineages.” This dizzying array of glycans can be (i) specific to a particular lineage, (i) similar in very distant lineages, (iii) and conspicuously absent from very restricted taxa only. In other words, the evidence is not what evolution expected.

Here is how another paper described early glycan findings:

There is also no clear explanation for the extreme complexity and diversity of glycans that can be found on a given glycoconjugate or cell type. Based on the limited information available about the scope and distribution of this diversity among taxonomic groups, it is difficult to see clear trends or patterns consistent with different evolutionary lineages. It appears that closely related species may not necessarily share close similarities in their glycan diversity, and that more derived species may have simpler as well as more complex structures. Intraspecies diversity can also be quite extensive, often without obvious functional relevance.

So is the evidence a problem for evolution? No, of course not. For as the paper explains:

Here we discuss the significance of this remarkable diversity, mindful of the oft-repeated adage of Dobzhansky's that “nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution.”

And so we are back to that “another story” again. This non scientific claim is, for evolutionists, the gift that just keeps on giving. It seems any evidential problem is easily disposed of with this handy truism. It is like a chant for evolutionists. Say it enough times and evolution is, as they say, a fact, in spite of the evidence. Here is how another, slightly more self-conscious, paper put it:

While we would certainly agree with the statement that “nothing in glycobiology makes sense, except in the light of evolution”, we must also realize that evolution only occurred once and that evolution does not follow well-defined rules. This situation is somewhat alleviated by the fact that after lineages diverge, more often than not they remain separated for good and, thus provide researchers with large numbers of iterations (“pseudo samples”) for which evolutionary processes have occurred independently. The study of these divergent lineages provides a good opportunity to elucidate evolutionary mechanisms.

Even in the worst of circumstances this favorite tenet of evolutionary thought is serviceable. It can always do the heavy lifting when necessary.

Religion drives science and it matters.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Darwin's God Institutes Stricter Comment Guidelines

Up until now the only guideline on comments in this blog has been no foul language. The new guidelines adds no disrespectful language. For example, personal attacks and derision (e.g., "LOL," "HAHA") are now not allowed.

Evolution is Crumbling and Now Even Issuing its Own Disclaimers

The cell is not only profoundly complex in the inside, its outer surface is also incredible with its wide array of molecular machines and entities. One important type of molecule on the cell’s surface is the glycans—long carbohydrate molecules that come in phenomenal variety. In fact, this variety is not only tremendous, the trade secret is that it violates every rule of evolution. For instance, though the term “lineage-specific biology,” which is the exact opposite of evolutionary expectations, has been popular in recent years, it could have been used half a century ago for glycans when J.B.S.Haldane observed that “every species of mammal and bird so far investigated has shown quite a surprising biochemical diversity by serological tests. The antigens concerned seem to be proteins to which polysaccharides are attached.” In fact, as one recent paper explains, glycans show “remarkably discontinuous distribution across evolutionary lineages,” for they “occur in a discontinuous and puzzling distribution across evolutionary lineages.” This dizzying array of glycans can be (i) specific to a particular lineage, (i) similar in very distant lineages, (iii) and conspicuously absent from very restricted taxa only. The contradictions are so common even evolutionists are now issuing their own disclaimers.

In a section entitled, “Disclaimer about limitations of evolutionary research,” the trade secret is explained:

While we would certainly agree with the statement that “nothing in glycobiology makes sense, except in the light of evolution”, we must also realize that evolution only occurred once and that evolution does not follow well-defined rules

There you have it. The obligatory, utterly non scientific, secret handshake (“nothing makes sense except evolution … blah, blah, blah”) is always needed before any disclosure of the embarrassing, contradictory facts.

Evolution doesn’t make sense, therefore it simply “does not follow well-defined rules.” In other words, anything goes. Evolution must be true, no evolutionist can deny the prime directive. But they haven’t the slightest idea, beyond endless tautologies and speculation, how that could be.

Evolutionists live in their own world where what they are always right and you are always wrong, regardless of the scientific evidence. Religion drives science, and it matters.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Unbelievable—Evolution in Complete Free Fall: The Human Lineage Was Somehow “Purged”

Humans, like everything else in biology, contradict evolution. Human uniqueness has sent evolution spiraling for years. Relative brain size, hairless sweaty skin, striding bipedal posture, long-distance running, ability to learn to swim, innate ability to learn languages in childhood, prolonged helplessness of the young, ability to imitate and learn, inter-generational transfer of complex cultures, awareness of self and of the past and future, theory of mind, increased longevity, provisioning by post-menopausal females, difficult childbirth, cerebral cortical asymmetry are just a few from a long list of features that make humans exceptional. Another such feature is the lack of endemic infectious retroviruses in humans. The problem is that these viruses are present in the other primates, and so according to evolutionists these viruses must be present in their common ancestor which, again according to evolution, would be an ancestor of humans as well. This leaves evolution with yet another just-so story:

Assuming that the common ancestors of hominids carried multiple endemic infectious retroviruses, how did the human lineage eliminate them? Given that humans remain susceptible to re-infection with both SFVs178 and SIVs177 from other hominids, this seems unlikely to be explained solely on the basis of more efficient host restriction systems. Rather, there seems to have been an episode in which the ancestral human lineage was somehow “purged” of these endemic viruses.

In other words, when evolution spontaneously created humans we must have been “purged.” We got a do-over! Hilarious.

All of this lunacy was foreseen by the great Alfred Wallace for which he was, of course, dismissed by evolutionists. After all, Wallace could plainly see that natural law—natural selection in this case—was profoundly limited. Believe it or not, evolution could not do all things:

Wallace lost favour with the scientific community partly because he questioned whether natural selection alone could account for the evolution of human mind, writing: “I do not consider that all nature can be explained on the principles of which I am so ardent an advocate; and that I am now myself going to state objections, and to place limits, to the power of ‘natural selection’. How could ‘natural selection’, or survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence, at all favour the development of mental powers so entirely removed from the material necessities of savage men, and which even now, with our comparatively high civilization, are, in their farthest developments, in advance of the age, and appear to have relation rather to the future of the race than to its actual status?”

But problems do not go away just because our religion demands it. And so even evolutionists must admit that Wallace’s Conundrum remains unresolved. That’s putting it mildly:

Although Wallace was criticized for apparently invoking spiritual explanations, one of his key points remains valid — that it is difficult to explain how conventional natural selection could have selected ahead of time for the remarkable capabilities of the human mind, which we are still continuing to explore today. An example is writing, which was invented long after the human mind evolved and continues to be modified and utilized in myriad ways. Explanations based on exaptation seem inadequate, as most of what the human mind routinely does today did not even exist at the time it was originally evolving. Experts in human evolution or cognition have yet to provide a truly satisfactory explanation. Thus, ‘Wallace’s Conundrum’ remains unresolved: “[...] that the same law which appears to have sufficed for the development of animals, has been alone the cause of man’s superior mental nature, [...] will, I have no doubt, be overruled and explained away. But I venture to think they will nevertheless maintain their ground, and that they can only be met by the discovery of new facts or new laws, of a nature very different from any yet known to us.”

But Wallace was nobody’s fool. As he presciently foresaw, his Conundrum would be “overruled and explained away” by evolutionists.

Wallace was by no means free of the theological naturalism that has today infected and gone viral in science. But at least he was man enough to admit to the obvious limitations. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for evolutionists, before and after.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

h/t: the man

[Ed: Deleted "DNA" for clarity]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

There is One Thing Inherit the Wind Got Right (And it’s the Most Important Part)

The film and play Inherit the Wind, in the hands of evolutionists, is a propaganda tool. They misrepresent the Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee script to promote their mandate that everything came from nothing. For the play uses the famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial as a vehicle for commenting on the anti-communist hysteria of the 1940s McCarthy era. Therefore Lawrence and Lee made no attempt to represent accurately the events in Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925, but rather liberally adapted the story to fit their purpose of criticizing McCarthyism and its witch hunts. If you compare the history with the script, you can see Lawrence and Lee altered the former in order to sanitize and exalt the evolutionists while slandering their opponents. But interestingly, amidst all the rewrites, there is one aspect of the story that the script renders faithfully. It is interesting because it is the real power behind evolution and yet it is what McCarthyism lacked. The result is that in Inherit the Wind, and by extension in our cultural memes that lie in its wake, Lawrence and Lee borrow from evolution to strengthen their attack on McCarthyism even at the cost of historical accuracy, and evolutionists borrow from McCarthyism to strengthen their attack on evolution skeptics, again at the cost of accuracy. Truth, as usual, is the casuality. And what is this one aspect that the script surprisingly renders faithfully? Again no surprise here, it is religion.

What the play did get right is that the Monkey Trial was actually a referendum on the creationism and the Bible. Technically John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution, but all of that was merely logistical. The reason why the Monkey Trial is important to evolution, and the enduring message from Dayton, was that the Bible and its creationism were found to be passe. In the minds of evolutionists this was established in the showdown at Dayton when the two famous lawyers squared off. Clarence Darrow called William Jennings Bryan to the stand as a Bible expert and grilled him on its foolishness.

The exchange was entirely religious. Can we really believe the story of Jonah? Surely god would never do such a thing. And doesn’t the Bible state that the Sun goes around the Earth and that the world is only a few thousand years old? What about the Flood and did Bryan really believe the story of the temptation of Eve by the serpent?

Darrow’s sophism was right out of evolutionary thought and Bryan would have none of it. He handled Darrow with ease but more importantly, Bryan understood the bigger picture. Bryan was a great man and he could see through the evolutionary shenanigans. Evolution was not about science, it was all about religion as Bryan reveals in this telling exchange:

Mr. Stewart again objected to the examination of Mr. Bryan. MR. DARROW--He is a hostile witness.
JUDGE RAULSTON--I am going to let Mr. Bryan control.
MR. BRYAN--I want him to have all the latitude that he wants, for I am going to have some latitude when he gets through.
MR. DARROW--You can have latitude and longitude. [Laughter]
MR. BRYAN--These gentlemen have not had much chance. They did not come here to try this case. They came here to try revealed religion. I am here to defend it, and they can ask me any questions they please.
JUDGE RAULSTON--All right. [ Applause ]
MR. DARROW--Great applause from the bleachers!
MR. BRYAN--From those whom you call "yokels."
MR. DARROW--I have never called them yokels.
MR. BRYAN--That is, the ignorance of Tennessee, the bigotry.
MR. DARROW--You mean who are applauding?
MR. BRYAN--Those are the people whom you insult.
MR. DARROW--You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.

Yes Lawrence and Lee altered this famous debate. As we saw the script would have the student believe Darrow destroyed Bryan and left him a pathetic figure, babbling incoherently to himself. And of course they omitted Bryan’s cogent observations, such as the one above.

But what Lawrence and Lee did accurately capture is the power behind evolution. As Bryan understood, it is a religious inquisition. Darrow’s cross examination was thoroughly drenched in Enlightenment theology. As Lutherans and Anglicans had been arguing for centuries, God would not use miracles. As with today’s atheists, Darrow’s attack was based on metaphysics which atheism cannot support.

And so we are left with the tremendous irony of Inherit the Wind. The script is for the most part a whitewashed version of history except for where it counts. The whitewashing falsely sanitizes evolution, but the real problem with evolution—that it is a religious theory—comes through loud and clear. Why? Because evolutionists are drunk with their religion. The religion is baked in and evolutionists are oblivious to it. They think their premises are obvious and unquestionable.

As Alfred North Whitehead once observed, we often take our most crucial assumptions to be obvious and in no need of justification. These underlying assumptions are unspoken and undefended because, as Whitehead put it, “Such assumptions appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them.”

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Here’s An Example of the Ultimate Evolutionary Blowback

After the 2005 Dover trial, Judge John Jones recalled that he “was taken to school” by the evolutionists. It was, Jones recalled, “the equivalent of a degree in this area.” Unfortunately what evolutionists such as Ken Miller “taught” Jones was a series of scientific misrepresentations which you can read about here, here and here. But these were not the only misrepresentations that made their way into American jurisprudence in the Dover trial. For the judge did not enter into his new training as a complete novice. As Jones later explained, “I understood the general theme. I’d seen Inherit the Wind.” It would be like a judge explaining that he already understood the general theme of tornado damage because he’s seen The Wizard of Oz. This level of profound ignorance, in such a position of power, is disturbing to say the least. The key question is: How could this happen? How could our educational system fail so badly? What is the source of such anti intellectualism? The answer, once again, is evolution.

Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee. Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee wrote the play to illustrate the threat to intellectual freedom posed by the anti-communist hysteria of the 1940s McCarthy era. Parallels to that anti-communist movement, and McCarthy himself, are obvious in the script. And since that dark period in our government’s history is universally and clearly understood to be wrong and evil, Inherit the Wind is itself equally banal and two-dimensional. The script is practically comical in its simplistic, cardboard rendition of the events in Dayton, Tennessee the summer of 1925. The evolutionists are equated with those struggling heroically to defeat the equivalent of McCarthyism and their opponents are equated, well, with McCarthy and his movement.

What a windfall for evolutionists. Their dogmatic, religiously-driven movement was now cast as the clear and obvious protagonist and their detractors had become the antagonists. And all of this was presented in the starkest of terms. The message was clear: evolution embodied everything that was good, and their opponents embodied everything that was bad.

There was only one problem. All of this was intended as an attack on McCarthyism. The story not only was a fictionalization of the Monkey Trial, it also presented a picture of evolutionary thought with little correspondence to reality.

So why did Judge Jones think that he “understood the general theme” because he had “seen Inherit the Wind”? The answer is that for decades evolutionists have heavily promoted Inherit the Wind and used it as a vehicle to advance their movement. From public education curriculums to international venues, Inherit the Wind is presented as an important and realistic telling of evolutionary thought and its nefarious opposition.

That is simply a misrepresentation. John Scopes was not a humble and tireless science teacher, and he was not hauled off to jail by an angry mob of fundamentalists as the script depicts. Nor was he assaulted, burned in effigy and threatened by a lynch mob. In fact, John Scopes never even went to jail. Nor did he, in fear for his life, contact journalist Henry Mencken for help in securing a lawyer.

And what about that narrow-minded, fire-breathing Reverend Jeremiah Brown and his angry mob of fundamentalists? And the uneducated crowds singing hymns at every corner? Those were also fictions. In fact it was John Scopes who would later write that “I have often said that there is more intolerance in higher education than in all the mountains of Tennessee.”

The entire event was cleverly orchestrated by the ACLU which had advertised for a willing teacher to test Tennessee law. The ad caught the attention of local boosters in Dayton, Tennessee who saw it as an opportunity to rejuvenate their decaying small town. They recruited Scopes, a football coach and math teacher to take on the role as the defendant. Once the trial began, Scopes’ legal defense was the dream team of 1925, with nationally recognized legal expertise backing up Clarence Darrow, one of the greatest criminal defense lawyers in American history.

In fact Dayton, Tennessee was already using an evolutionary textbook. The textbook, Civic Biology, taught the usual evolutionary concepts of racism and eugenics. The text explained that some people were genetically advanced while others were degenerate, a problem which could be thwarted with forced sterilization. That was a practice that evolutionists had widely implemented in the U.S. at that time.

But wasn’t the lead prosecution attorney, William Jennings Bryan, the famed statesman and politician who hadn’t practiced law in decades, an ignorant, scientifically illiterate, bigoted fundamentalist as depicted in the script?

No, Bryan was an assistant prosecutor and had little involvement in the trial. His main reason for participating, to deliver the final summation, was cleverly obviated by the defense with a legal maneuver that denied any closing arguments.

And Bryan was not a fundamentalist and certainly not bigoted. He had a good understanding of evolution and was  concerned with the undefendable claim of evolution as fact. He was particularly concerned with evolution’s degraded view of people. The left-leaning, pacifist was concerned with evolution’s racism, eugenics, social Darwinism and economic laissez faire implications. Bryan was far more articulate and thoughtful than the silly and absurd caricature presented in Inherit the Wind.

But didn’t Darrow destroy Bryan on the stand, revealing his literalism and fideism, forcing him to claim special revelation and reducing him to an incoherent babble?

Again this is a complete fiction. No such exchange took place. In fact the movie’s trial scenes are mostly fictitious, with only limited correspondence to the real trial.

But didn’t Bryan pathetically attempt to deliver a speech after the trial adjourned with his agitated shouts going unheeded as the crowd turned away?

Again, while this is reminiscent of Joseph McCarthy’s pathetic demise, it is another fiction. Nothing like it occurred during or after the trial.

The list goes on and on. While Inherit the Wind was intended as a vehicle to expose McCarthyism, the evolutionist’s promotion and use of the play and movie is a lie. From the setting and context to the trial itself, Inherit the Wind is a lopsided misrepresentation of the events in Dayton and evolutionary thought in general. And now, in the hands of Judge John Jones, that lie has propagated into American jurisprudence.

It reminds me of Robert Altman’s movie The Player in which the Hollywood culture sees everything as another story and plot-line. Movies and real life imperceptibly blend together. We’re in trouble when our entertainment culture becomes our reality. As a reader requests, please, nobody show Jones the “Bigfoot” episodes of the Six Million Dollar man lest he think a missing link has been found.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Philip Humber Just Threw a Perfect Game

The Time to Look at the Stars is Right Now and For the Next Few Hours

Watch this video first about the Lyrid Meteor Shower. There are also several planets visible tonight.

You Won’t Believe What’s Going On Inside of You

Great thinkers from all lands and throughout all of history wanted to see this, but could not. Now, this accurate animation provides an accurate and profound picture of what is going on inside of you.

This just has random mutation written all over it. Nothing in biology makes sense in the light of evolution.

Evolutionists Flop Again—You Won't Believe What This Judge Said

Evolutionists made a movie about the ACLU's 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial which was, to put it kindly, one big lie. You can read more about it here, here and hereInherit the Wind is a powerful propaganda tool for evolutionists and they have no qualms about using it over, and over, and over in spite of the fact that its lies are so blatant. Well the strategy worked. Remember the ACLU's 2005 Dover trial that promoted evolution so successfully? You'll never believe what the judge openly admitted. When asked about his education for the Dover case, Judge John Jones explained that “I understood the general theme. I'd seen Inherit the Wind.”

That is as astonishing.

How could a federal judge be so profoundly na├»ve? It would be like saying I understand the general theme of lung cancer because I’ve seen a Phillip Morris video. Like a trojan horse, evolution’s anti intellectualism has gone viral. It is now widely accepted and even federal judges take it as normative.

An Evolutionist Just Admitted That the New Tennessee Law Does Not Introduce Creationism Into the Class Room

This would hardly seem newsworthy. Even creationists agree that new Academic Freedom law in Tennessee does not introduce creationism or intelligent design into the curriculum. But strangely enough evolutionists have presented a unified front, strenuously opposing the law. Their reasoning is that the law introduces creationism into the curriculum. The only problem is, that is false. Not maybe, not debatable. It is objectively and obviously false. Funny thing is it is the evolutionists who have introduced religion into science. You see, evolutionists insist that evolution is a fact that no rational person can deny. And their reasoning to support this rather interesting claim is, not surprisingly, religious. Here is just one example:

Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.

There are a great many more religious arguments proving evolution from where this came. Darwin's book was full of such arguments, and nothing has changed since. In fact, while it is the consensus amongst evolutionists that their idea is an undeniable fact, and while they are not shy about backing up their rather humorous claim, their proofs are always metaphysical. There is not a single demonstration of the "fact" of evolution that is scientific.

And how do they respond to such criticism? When confronted they equivocate on evolution and redefine the idea as mere change over time. All of the many incredible examples of adaptation we observe in nature (where a population adapts to a new environmental challenge via super sophisticated biological mechanisms which evolution cannot even explain) are suddenly proofs of evolution. The beaks of bird become a bit longer in response to changing conditions, and therefore all of biology must have spontaneously arose. So evolution is not only a religious theory, it also is a shell game.

In addition so such transparently silly responses, evolutionists also ruin people's careers, bring costly law suits, lie to judges, falsify histories, oppose academic freedom, control funding, blackball skeptics and create laws that not only enforce evolution but outlaw even criticism of their non scientific ideas.

So when Tennessee passed its new Academic Freedom law which allows theories such as evolution actually to be examined in light of the science, evolutionists to a person fiercely opposed it. That is why, amazingly, it actually is news that an evolutionist just admitted that the Academic Freedom law does not introduce creationism into the classroom. Does anyone second the motion?

Err Oops, Evolutionists Are Getting Slammed Again With Their Lunacy

One little problem with that new/old warm little pond idea is that, well, there wouldn’t have been any land, at least any land with sufficient stability, way back in those “primordial” days (remember those colorful evolutionary posters in your second grade with all the lightning, earthquakes and volcanoes going off?) to begin with. And without any land, there’s going to be a little bit of a problem making those warm little ponds—oops I mean “inland geothermal systems”—Darwin and the evolutionists had planned on. The pond idea seemed like a good one because the contents of living cells aren’t anything like those deep sea hydrothermal vents. And as for their ET idea, evolutionists were finally getting tired of all those B-grade movies their stupid idea spawned.

The warm little pond idea—there I go again, I mean “inland geothermal systems”—solves the problem because evolutionists can claim such “systems” can have a chemical composition similar to that of living cells. But then they have yet another problem. You see living cells don’t live in environments that match their composition. Quite the opposite. As one evolutionist points out:

To suggest that the ionic composition of primordial cells should reflect the composition of the oceans is to suggest that cells are in equilibrium with their medium, which is close to saying that they are not alive. Cells require dynamic disequilibrium—that is what being alive is all about.

Yes indeed. Problem is, life’s dynamic disequilibrium is maintained by an army of unbelievable molecular machines which don’t appear on demand, whenever an evolutionist draws a new poster. So either you don’t have dynamic disequilibrium, in which case you’re not alive. Or you have dynamic disequilibrium, in which case you didn’t evolve.

Fortunately evolution is a fact. Otherwise, there could be problems.

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Baaaaack: The Warm Little Pond

Even in evolution, what goes around comes around. Remember when Darwin posited his “warm little pond” thought experiment. “But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond …” So began the homily. Realizing the absurdity Crick switched the narrative to extra terrestrials. That’s where those unlikely seeds of life came. Then it was comets, and then it was deep sea hydrothermal vents. One way to avoid criticism is to keep switching the theory. But what happens when you run out of ideas? No problem, just start over. Of course you must disguise the shell game with newer, more complicated sounding jargon. And so we present, without further ado, “Inland geothermal systems,” a.k.a., warm little ponds:

All cells contain much more potassium, phosphate, and transition metals than modern (or reconstructed primeval) oceans, lakes, or rivers. Cells maintain ion gradients by using sophisticated, energy-dependent membrane enzymes (membrane pumps) that are embedded in elaborate ion-tight membranes. The first cells could possess neither ion-tight membranes nor membrane pumps, so the concentrations of small inorganic molecules and ions within protocells and in their environment would equilibrate. Hence, the ion composition of modern cells might reflect the inorganic ion composition of the habitats of protocells. We attempted to reconstruct the “hatcheries” of the first cells by combining geochemical analysis with phylogenomic scrutiny of the inorganic ion requirements of universal components of modern cells. These ubiquitous, and by inference primordial, proteins and functional systems show affinity to and functional requirement for K+, Zn2+, Mn2+, and phosphate. Thus, protocells must have evolved in habitats with a high K+/Na+ ratio and relatively high concentrations of Zn, Mn, and phosphorous compounds. Geochemical reconstruction shows that the ionic composition conducive to the origin of cells could not have existed in marine settings but is compatible with emissions of vapor-dominated zones of inland geothermal systems. Under the anoxic, CO2-dominated primordial atmosphere, the chemistry of basins at geothermal fields would resemble the internal milieu of modern cells. The precellular stages of evolution might have transpired in shallow ponds of condensed and cooled geothermal vapor that were lined with porous silicate minerals mixed with metal sulfides and enriched in K+, Zn2+, and phosphorous compounds.

And the evolutionists even have a new method: “Phylogenomic scrutiny.” I have no idea what that means.

Evolutionists Don’t Take Kindly to Criticism

You can’t criticize evolution because that would be against the law. It’s incredible, but evolutionists legislate the truth of their theory. They’ll sue, lie to judges, falsify histories, oppose academic freedom, control funding, blackball skeptics and create laws that not only enforce evolution but outlaw even criticism of their non scientific ideas. If you think any of this is hyperbole, think again. All of this is true. A good recent example is the unrelenting, and desperate, attacks by evolutionists on the new Academic Freedom law in Tennessee. Evolutionists have warned that exposing scientific theories such as evolution to the evidence is sure to bring doom and gloom to any state that enacts such freedoms. And journalists have consistently lied about the law, calling it creationism in disguise. What these Academic Freedom laws actually do is allow evidential analysis and criticism of theories. That, of course, is what science is all about. Scientific theories are subjected to and evaluated against the evidence—all of the evidence. Not evolution though. Evolution could not withstand such exposure, for evolution is a religious theory that routinely fails on the science. And so evolutionists tenaciously attack and reject any law that exposes their ideas to scientific evaluation. Here, for those who have difficulty understanding the science, it becomes painfully obvious. The evolutionist’s fierce opposition to academic freedom makes it abundantly clear that evolution is not about science. It never was.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Evolution Professor Just Took the Fifth

As we saw here and here the Los Angeles Times has intentionally misinformed its readers about a new Academic Freedom law in Tennessee. If their false reporting was merely a mistake, then they would have issued a correction. The incident highlights the fact that evolution is a lie. That’s strong language but it would be wrong to describe evolution in lesser terms. It is what it is. Evolution is a lie at the scientific level, and then more lies are required at the journalism level to cover it up. As usual, the cover up serves to make the underlying lie that much more obvious. And it continues. As a follow up to this story an evolution professor supported the journalist, issuing the same lie:

This sensible reporter is not fooled by dishonest creationist subterfuge, and neither is anyone else with a brain.

But when I asked the professor to what “dishonest creationist subterfuge” he was referring, he made no reply. It is one thing to provide a reasoned defense for the Los Angeles Times yellow journalism. It is quite another simply to repeat the same lies.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

You Won’t Believe What Evolutionists Are Celebrating Now

Evolutionist Jerry Coyne’s new paper was just accepted where he complains about America’s “extreme religiosity,” which he defines as a religious feeling or belief. He further complains that religion is based on dogma. So, feelings or beliefs based on dogma are bad? And just where would we find such “extreme religiosity”? How about with people like Coyne who proclaim religious dogma from one side of their mouth while hypocritically accusing those who don’t accept their lunacy out the other. You see evolutionists insist that everything just happened to arise spontaneously, and further that this is beyond any reasonable doubt. They prove this with all kinds of religious arguments, and then blame us for being religious. Nice work if you can get it.

Here’s an example. It has been known since Aristotle that species tend to cluster in a hierarchical pattern and in the eighteenth century Linnaeus saw it as a reflection of the Creator’s divine plan. Obviously this pattern does not force one to embrace evolution. But does it really look like a divine plan? Darwin argued it most certainly did not:

The several subordinate groups in any class cannot be ranked in a single file, but seem clustered round points, and these round other points, and so on in almost endless cycles. If species had been independently created, no explanation would have been possible of this kind of classification.

This argument about divine patterns did not begin with Darwin. It has complex theological roots, and today it continues as one of evolution’s many metaphysical axioms. Fifty years ago evolutionist George Carter explained that “If species are separately created there is no reason why they should be created in large groups of fundamentally similar structure.”

Niles Eldredge agrees that the pattern defies creationism and design:

Could the single artisan, who has no one but himself from whom to steal designs, possibly be the explanation for why the Creator fashioned life in a hierarchical fashion—why, for example, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds all share the same limb structure?

Likewise Jerry Coyne explains that the appearance of species through time is “far from random” and “no theory of special creation, or any theory other than evolution, can explain these patterns.” [29] And why are species so similar? “There is no reason,” explains Coyne, “why a celestial designer, fashioning organisms from scratch like an architect designs buildings, should make new species by remodeling the features of existing ones.” [54]

Of course this claim about how the species would be designed does not come from science. Nor do the many other metaphysical claims that, over and over, prove evolution.

For instance, another common metaphysical mandate is that god or a designer would never draw up inefficient designs. A favorite example is the recurrent laryngeal nerve which, Coyne explains,

makes no sense under the idea of special creation ... No form of creationism/intelligent design can explain these imperfections …

In fact evolution is drenched in metaphysics. From its early formulations in the Enlightenment years, to Darwin, to today’s refinements, evolution relies on non scientific assumptions. The “fact” of evolution has never been demonstrated without appeal to ultimate truths which are far beyond the halls of science.

Is this enough for us to convict evolution? Actually no, metaphysics is no sin. There’s certainly nothing wrong with holding religious beliefs. And is there anything wrong with viewing the world through the spectacles of one’s beliefs?

Indeed, who says there is anything wrong with allowing one’s beliefs to influence science? Well, in fact evolutionists say this, and herein lies the rub. The problem is not that evolution is a metaphysical theory or that evolutionists promote their metaphysical views. The problem is that evolutionists criticize others for precisely what they do. They even deny what they do. As Jerry Coyne explains, our metaphysics are really not metaphysics at all:

the argument from imperfection — i.e., organisms show imperfections of “design” that constitute evidence for evolution — is not a theological argument, but a scientific one. The reason why the recurrent laryngeal nerve, for example, makes a big detour around the aorta before attaching to the larynx is perfectly understandable by evolution (the nerve and artery used to line up, but the artery evolved backwards, constraining the nerve to move with it), but makes no sense under the idea of special creation — unless, that is, you believe that the creator designed things to make them look as if they evolved. No form of creationism/intelligent design can explain these imperfections, but they all, as Dobzhansky said, “make sense in the light of evolution.”

Should we laugh or cry? According to Coyne the design “makes no sense under the idea of special creation" and this "is not a theological argument, but a scientific one.” Coyne’s misrepresentations and sophistry are astonishing. The problem is not that evolutionists are metaphysicians—the problem is that they are in denial, and in the process make a mockery of science. Religion drives science and it matters.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Journalism Should Be Based On Telling the Truth—Your Father Would Never Have Done This"

Does the truth matter anymore, or is it just about imposing personal beliefs? Here’s a film that goes against the evolutionary tide and makes the revolutionary claim that “journalism should be based on telling the truth” [0.57]. And if you read too far you too might see some truth:

The Scopes Trial

Most of what Edward Murrow reports, however, isn't so. For instance, as is depicted in his documentary and reported in countless articles about the Scopes trial even today, we are constantly told that the State of Tennessee outlawed evolution in 1925. But it did not. Not even close.

We are also told, most memorably in the film classic Inherit the Wind (1960), that William Jennings Bryan was a veritable fount of demagogic nonsense regarding evolution, the Bible, and even sex. (See dozens of examples with video clips from ITW at Bryan is consistently depicted as bigoted, scientifically ignorant, prudish, simple-minded, hypocritical, conservative, and—perhaps above all—cowardly.

The above characterizations of Bryan are manifestly not true as historians all know. Yet many of them are repeated today by The New York Times, the ACLU, and just about everybody else.


And then there are the central aspects of the trial about which we are conspicuously not told. For instance, who should determine the content of our children's education: Parents (who pay the bills and whose kids attend) or some other group? Or the fact that the popular biology textbook used by Scopes in 1925 (Hunter's Civic Biology) contained not one word of anything remotely creationist or otherwise Christian. It reflected, as it had for over a decade, the consensus view of evolutionary biologists at every turn, including their unscientific and offensive categorizations of Caucasians as the most evolved of the species over the inferior races identified by color and by rank (p. 196).

Certain families are genetically good families, the textbook further instructed, while others are degenerate (p. 261 ff). Homeless shelters, asylums, and even vaccines can thwart the advance of evolution and should be reevaluated on Darwinian grounds (p. 262). Forced sterilization works with other animals, so why stop with cats or cattle (p. 263)? Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist founder of Planned Parenthood, wouldn't. Nor, tragically, would the American Museum of Natural History or our own Supreme Court in 1927 (Buck v. Bell). The Bible's great "law" to help those in need (the sick, the poor, the elderly, and the handicapped) is quaint, but biology's great "law" to improve life on earth by the elimination of weaker races is reality. Derelicts and deadbeats, the textbook solemnly taught, are "parasites." And what do we do with parasites? Typically, we "kill them off to prevent them from spreading " (p. 263). (The actual pages of Hunter's Civic Biology can be viewed here.)

This was dangerous ground. This was unscientific and sick. And Bryan, with vision and courage, opposed it just two short decades before the Nazis showed the world what applied Darwinism actually looks like. The materialist ideas that blacks were genetically inferior, that wars can be biologically justified, and that Judeo-Christian charity can hurt mankind rather than uplifted it were Darwinian theories, Bryan argued, not scientific facts.

Thus Bryan stated at the trial his opinion that man, created uniquely in the image of God according to the Bible, is not merely a mammal. HL Mencken of the Baltimore Sun then mockingly reported that Bryan denied he is a mammal. But there's a difference, as Mencken well knew.

Bryan the Coward?

As for Bryan's alleged cowardice, he took on the entire mainstream media and the evolutionary establishment. He had no fear of the theory of evolution except as it was being applied to mankind (see above). Moreover, contrary to usual accounts of the trial, it was the cowardly (in this instance) Clarence Darrow—not Bryan—who ultimately kept the evolutionary scientists off the witness stand. Why? Because Bryan insisted they should be subject to cross-examination and the Judge agreed. Darrow disagreed and, in doing so, resorted to a contemptuous outburst against the Judge for which he later apologized in court. You will never find this simple observation in any mainstream article of which we are aware.

When Darrow called Bryan to the stand for his cross-examination at the trial as an expert on the Bible, Bryan accepted the challenge and the two battled for over two hours in the Tennessee sun with Darrow asking all the questions. Many people who have actually read trial transcript believe that Bryan won, not Darrow. This is certainly true of the majority of those who witnessed it. As a general rule of thumb, at least, the winner of a debate is usually not the one who is himself unable to answer the questions he asks and who ends up screaming that his opponent Bryan holds to ideas that "no intelligent [person] on earth believes." Bryan's views, of course, were (and are) held by tens of millions of Americans who both believe the miracles of the bible and are intelligent.

With Darrow's last bombshell (essentially that Bryan is the biggest fool on earth), the Judge abruptly halted the cross-examination. What he hoped would be an entertaining and even enlightening battle of capable and articulate adversaries had been turned into a one-man barrage of insults and offenses.

Finally, when it came time to deliver the closing arguments, Darrow simply refused to play ball. The summations to the jury by both Bryan and Darrow, of course, were eagerly anticipated around the world. They were to be the culmination of the trial, the oratorical equivalent of Ali v. Frasier. But for the first (and only) time in jurisprudential history, a defense attorney in a prominent case refused to argue the merits of his client's case, claiming instead that it was a waste of time and fearing, as he said in so many words, that if he went toe-to-toe with Bryan he (Darrow) might just accidentally win and that would derail the appeal process.

In addition to being overly self-assured, this is not a believable dodge.

No, Darrow's goal was simply to prevent Bryan from delivering his side of the argument in Dayton. Bryan was, by all accounts, one of the two or three greatest orators in American history and Darrow's scheme was the only way to silence Bryan at the trial. It worked. With Darrow staying in his corner (chest out, but only like the proverbial bully who runs from a real fight), Bryan was not able to deliver his summation of the trial and for that Darrow is considered by his admirers to be both shrewd and brave.

The Aftermath

After the trial the very crowds who actually witnessed the trial over eight sweltering days in Dayton wanted to build a college in Bryan's name (which they went on to do). On the other side of the debate, the ACLU who had hired Darrow to represent Scopes, quietly attempted to have him removed from the case due to his conduct. According to those who were in a position to know and who supported John Scopes in every way, Darrow had embarrassed the cause for academic freedom, not advanced it.

Bryan died just five days after the trial, but not before travelling and delivering several speeches in front of enthusiastic crowds, surveying the land that was purchased in Dayton for the college to be built in his name, and editing his undelivered closing argument for publication. The day of his funeral in Washington DC was declared a state holiday back in Tennessee, a fact at considerable odds with the view that even Bryan's supporters were ashamed with the supposed bigotry and ignorance exhibited by the Great Commoner.

Some Lies Just Have to be Told

Why don't we generally know these things of the Scopes trial? How have the mythology of Inherit the Wind and the complicity of modern reporting on the Scopes trial largely eclipsed what actually happened in Dayton? The basic facts of the trial and the issues involved are not hidden in private journals or obscure libraries. They are in the text of the Butler Act, the trial transcript, the textbook that Scopes allegedly used, and so forth.

The answer to the question might also be rather easy.

Historical and modern reports of the Scopes trial are inaccurate in the extreme. Yesterday Inherit the Wind was assigned in history class at some public high school with all the authority and respectability that Edward R. Murrow (above) intended to confer upon it. Tomorrow a reporter from the New York Times or an attorney for the ACLU will solemnly remind us that in 1925 the State of Tennessee banned the teaching of evolution outright. These fabrications and others suspiciously like them will be advanced because they so nicely fit a materialist worldview. Those who seriously question evolution simply must be ignorant, bigoted, and so on. Bryan, in other words, be damned.

All of this is not to say that Darwinism itself is either right or wrong. But isn't it ultimately in everyone's best interest to treat real issues and real people fairly and accurately as best we can? This is one view of journalism and the conclusion of a (fictional) young reporter at the Scopes trial in "alleged".

Why don't we generally know these things? Because truth doesn't matter anymore.

h/t: NT

Here is the Response From the Los Angeles Times Explaining Their Reporting on That New Academic Freedom Law

David Zucchino at the Los Angeles Times has graciously given permission to post the messages he and I exchanged on the Times coverage of that new Academic Freedom law in Tennessee, and why the Times will not print a correction to their article. Please keep in mind that Mr. Zucchino’s comments, which are reproduced below, were sent to me in direct response to my query. So please read them charitably. For completeness, the three messages are reproduced below, in their original sequence.

Here is my first message to Mr. Zucchino:

April 12, 2012

David Zucchino
Los Angeles Times

Dear Mr. Zucchino:

In your article entitle "Creationism discussions are now OK in Tennessee schools" from April 11, 2012, you wrote:

"The measure will allow classroom debates over evolution, permitting discussions of creationism alongside evolutionary teachings about the origins of life. … The state’s teachers are not allowed to raise alternatives to evolution but, under the new law, would be required to permit discussion of creationism and other beliefs if they are raised in class."

This is unfortunately a severe mischaracterization of the new law. In fact, the law is careful to rule out just this sort of thing. The law says nothing about permitting discussions of creationism or any other religious theory, or for that matter anything not within the existing curriculum. You can see the actual Amendment here:

The language is quite clear. It repeatedly states that the new law does not introduce new material into the existing curriculum, and is instead restricted to "scientific subjects required to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the state board of education."

Furthermore, it goes even farther in avoiding any confusion with creationism as it states: "This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine."

In addition to your erroneous description of the law, your article was also heavily slanted toward the opposition, even including Barry Lynn, a well known partisan on this issue. Unfortunately all of this simply feeds an on-going cultural myth that really needs clarification rather than reinforcement.

Will you be issuing a correction to the story?

Sincerely yours,

Cornelius Hunter

Here is Mr. Zucchino’s reply:

Mr. Hunter:

Thanks for your email regarding the Tennessee law.

A correction is not warranted.

A close reading of the amendments to the bill, and the sponsors’ summary of the bill, shows that the measure is clearly designed to open the door to debate over “differences of opinion about controversial issues,” as the bill's sponsors have written. They specifically mention evolution, clearly including it among “controversial issues” and requiring that competing viewpoints be discussed in class. Chief among competing viewpoints, of course, is creationism.

The sponsors appear to have calculated that including “creationism” or “intelligent design” in the bill’s language would make it difficult to pass, so they resorted to much more general language that allows broad interpretation under the term “scientific subjects.”

And while the amendment says the bill is not intended to promote any religious doctrine, it also says it is not intended to promote discrimination against a particular religion or “a particular set of religious beliefs.” Creationism, of course, falls within that description.

The amendment to the bill also says:

“The teaching of some scientific subjects required to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the state board of education may cause debate and disputation including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Again, the sponsors specifically point to evolution as a subject of “debate and disputation.” Thus competing viewpoints should be discussed in class, according to the bill. Among scientists, there are no widely accepted “scientific” alternatives to evolution. But there is creationism, which is certainly a subject of “debate and disputation.” Whether creationism has scientific validity is also a subject of “debate and disputation.” Therefore, it is allowed under the law.

If allowing discussion of creationism (as well as challenges to global warming and human cloning) isn't the purpose of the law, then what is? Discussions of scientific theories are already allowed in Tennessee schools.

As Gov. Haslam pointed out, the bill creates confusion.

The Los Angeles Times was one of many news outlets, along with AP, Reuters, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Nashville Tennessean and others, reporting that the bill will allow classroom discussion of creationism or other alternatives to evolution.

David Zucchino
Los Angeles Times

Here is my follow-up reply:

April 13, 2012

David Zucchino
Los Angeles Times

Dear Mr. Zucchino:

You state that a close reading of the new Tennessee law shows that it requires competing viewpoints to evolution (such as creationism), be discussed in science class. I don’t know how you could possibly arrive at that conclusion from a close reading of the amendment. I am delighted that you read the amendment closely, but it makes no such requirement. If you could indicate the particular portion of the amendment that you think stipulates this requirement then I could clear this up.

Your conclusion has two major problems. First, the amendment does not require any types of classroom discussions, competing or otherwise. There simply is nothing in the amendment that makes any such requirement. What the amendment does state is that the Tennessee schools shall encourage scientific questions and critical thinking skills, assist teachers in presenting the science curriculum, and not prohibit teachers from helping students to understand the scientific strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories covered in the curriculum. There is no such requirement of a classroom discussion.

Second, the amendment says nothing about competing theories, such as creationism. In fact, the language explicitly rules this out. It repeatedly stipulates that it is strictly in reference to the state’s curriculum framework. I don’t know how you could have inferred otherwise.

You also stated that the sponsors of the new law specifically point to evolution as a subject of “debate and disputation” and that therefore competing viewpoints should be discussed in class, according to the law.

Again, you seem to be avoiding the clear, obvious statements of the amendment. There is no mention or support given to competing viewpoints in the law. I don’t know how the language could be any more clear on this. The critical thinking, analysis of evidence, review of strengths and weakness are all of the science involved, and all deal with the state’s curriculum. There is absolutely nothing in the amendment that goes outside of the approved curriculum. And on top of that, the amendment explicitly states that it “only protects the teaching of scientific information.”

You seem to be confused about this. For instance, you stated that creationism is allowed under the law because whether or not it has scientific validity is a subject of “debate and disputation.” That would be an incredible contortion of the amendment. Whether or not creationism, or any other scheme, is or is not scientific is completely irrelevant.

The amendment is not allowing for whatever theories or viewpoints anyone wants to inject, just because someone argues that it is scientific. I am astonished you could have concluded this upon a close reading of the law. The language is crystal clear that it is addressing only the state’s curriculum.

Even creationists understand this. For instance AIG, one of the world’s leading creationist organizations, writes that: “media reports asserting that Tennessee law has introduced ‘creationism theory into science curriculum,’ and similar claims are simply wrong. The law does not permit or promote the teaching of intelligent design or creation science.” [1]

You also asked the question, if allowing discussion of challenges such as creationism isn’t the purpose of the law, then what is? This is troublesome for me for two reasons. First, you are divining a hidden, underlying purpose of the law, which not only is not in the law but is explicitly not allowed by the law, and then presenting that hidden purpose to your readers as an objective reading of the law. The fact that you are unable to imagine why legislators two thousand miles away would pass such a law does not give you the right to misrepresent the law to your readers.

Second, your question reveals that you are unaware how difficult it can be for students to raise scientific questions about theories. There is a hostile environment in our educational system, at all levels, to skepticism. Believe me, as one who has been blackballed by evolutionists, and one who has interacted with school boards and teachers, everything from passing grades to career options are at stake. This has nothing to do with creationism.

You also hypothesized that the amendment sponsors appear to have calculated that including “creationism” or “intelligent design” in the bill’s language would make it difficult to pass, so they resorted to much more general language that allows broad interpretation under the term “scientific subjects.”

But again, you are assigning motives that you imagine and projecting that onto the law itself. Even if your conspiracy theory was correct, that wouldn’t change the law. But I can also tell you that there is no such conspiracy. People I know involved with this legislation have no such calculation. And furthermore I know many people, myself included, who support these types of academic freedom bills who do not want to see creationism or intelligent design taught in our schools.

Let me be frank. I know journalists have time constraints and that you probably spent a grand total of a couple hours, if that, on the story. And I know that journalists are not experts in specialized fields. You probably haven’t thought much about biology since your high school class, and you probably know even less about the complex debate over evolution that has been on-going for years. You probably view the debate from afar through a political lens that casts evolutionists as the scientists and skeptics as the fundamentalists. Believe me, the debate is far more nuanced and complex than this. And again, it has nothing to do with creationism.

The bottom line is that your piece does need a correction. Without it you harm the reputation of yourself and your employer. You pointed out that the Los Angeles Times is one of many news outlets reporting that the bill will allow classroom discussion of creationism or other alternatives to evolution. I trust you realize this doesn’t justify false reporting. In fact, that is part of the story.

What the Los Angeles Times missed here was an opportunity to report on an often misunderstood story, particularly in the broad news media (this is not left versus right), and dig down a level beyond the usual cultural memes that continue to confuse the story.

Sincerely yours,

Cornelius Hunter


Mr. Zucchino’s response to this second message of mine was simply to reaffirm that the Times will not print a correction. This exchange illustrates how the rules of journalism actually work (or don’t work) in practice and the high-standing and protection enjoyed by evolution.