Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin: Creationist

Asked for her personal views on evolution, Palin said, "I believe we have a creator."

She would not say whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact.

"I'm not going to pretend I know how all this came to be," she said.

An excerpt from this article.

UPDATE: Just John posted this excellent comment in a thread on Pharyngula:

If she's a Young Earth creationist (and I haven't heard confirmation of the YE part yet,) then, given the importance of oil to her state, I'd like to hear her answer to: What is petroleum, and how do the big oil companies know where to look for it?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dissent from Darwin: The 700 PhDs

Over at, there's a list of 700 PhD holders who have agreed to sign up in support of the following statement:

"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

This list is obviously used by creationists as evidence that the scientific community is in disagreement about the truth of evolution. Now, for starters let's overlook the fact that many of these people hold PhDs in subjects completely unrelated to evolution, such as computing, engineering, philosophy, mathematics or astronomy (it seems to be a common idea among creationists that if you hold a PhD you have the authority to discuss any aspect of science and that your opinion has the same worth as that of an expert in the field).

Let's also overlook the fact that scientific truth is not decided by petitions or popular vote. Science isn't a democracy, the truth is the truth, and always will be, and even if the creationists triumph and the teaching of evolution in schools is replaced by creationism, that won't change the fact that we evolved.

Take a closer look at the statement these doctors are in support of. Notice that the statement does not say that these scientists think the theory of evolution is wrong, it doesn't even say that they disagree with it on a personal level. Just that they are skeptical of it, and believe it should be subjected to testing rather than accepted on faith. But this is exactly how ALL good scientists should approach ANY theory or idea. It is, in fact, a fairly succinct definition of the scientific method. All scientific theories should be treated with skepticism and subjected to tests. It's how the good theories are weedled out from the bad. Those theories that fail the testing are adandoned and those that pass are retained. And unfortunately for the creationists, the theory of evolution, just like quantum theory or the theory of relativity, has so far passed all rigorous scientific testing with flying colors.

So now I must admit that I'm also a PhD holder who agrees completely with the above statement. Will I sign the petition? Absolutely not, because I'm well aware of the purpose behind it; it's pure creationist propaganda designed to mislead the general public, cheap trickery and nothing more. It's a perfect example of creationist sleight-of-hand, a tactic they must rely on, having no evidence of their own.

It is perhaps the "softness" of the statement that has allowed so many professionals to feel safe to sign it and provide their personal details. I wonder how many of them would sign up in support of the following:

"We believe that evolution by natural selection alone cannot explain the diversity of life."

At a first glance this seems pretty much the same as the original statement, but it's fundamentally different. This second statement is truly dissent from Darwin, and is exactly how the organizers of the petition are hoping the general public will understand their version.

Shame on the 700 PhD holders participating in this charade.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Retard Frog-Squirrel

As funny as it is, this South Park clip is actually a fairly accurate account of how a lot of people see evolution. Check out the following diatribe which was posted as a comment at Atheist Perspective a few days ago:

Let me see if I have this right. A few Billion years ago we were all just swimming around in our kittle pools of slim and one of the single cell drops of goo says hey lets divide and become multi cell drops of goo. Of course we were already highly intelligent so no one asked, hey “what’s multi cell” we didn’t need to ask just knew. Now after a few million years like that someone yells “hey lets grow a tail” here again we knew what a tail was already so there was no guess work. This happens all the way till one day someone got bold and said “let’s grown some legs” and of course we just went and did it automatically knowing we need knees and where they go and which way they bend all these things were just common sense which you want us all to believe we were full of from the early single cell days. To shorten this up we would go through all these steps all the way till we get to where we are. You want us to believe we automatically knew our nose is best place in the center of our face pointing down so we don’t drown in the rain and we can use it for smelling. Oh then there are our eyes, ears, mouth, arms, elbows, Wrists, Hands with Thumbs and fingers all with joints to make them easy to use. Then there is the neck, back with all the vertebrae and nerves going through them to every organ in the body oh wait did we make the organs yet hmm what comes first lungs or legs? Then the hips and your Butt now there is a good pick for a location cause. I don’t know about your but taking a crap with my butt in front was a bite messed up a lot of good shoes oh wait we don’t have feet yet well good thing we moved it because we would mess up a lot of shoes. Why is your little pee pee where it is and not of your forehead? At least up there no one can kick it. If ya got to go while driving just roll down the window. Ewe then there is sunburn and bug bites hmm good thing we put it down there at least it is protected and warm. This is just the start there is the complex structure of cells, neurons, nerves muscles, ligaments etc etc. All this that the body has you want me to believe was Evolved from a slim pool and not created by God. Do you know what your mind and body goes through just to try and catch a pencil that is rolling off your table or desk we all have done that? Millions of actions and decisions are made. Sorry I don’t by it. Just looking at the complexity of 1 cell and everything it does NO WAY was this just an accident in a slim pool. If thinking of a body part is to hard examine the complexity of a leaf or blade of grass.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taking On The Creationists

Jason Rosenhouse runs EvolutionBlog, on which he discusses many topics but primarily the conflict between evolution and creationism. Unlike a lot of people blogging on this subject (myself included), Jason is heroically taking the fight to the creationists on their own turf. He recently attended the 2008 International Conference on Creationism, and is currently posting reports of the experience on his blog. Here he describes a presentation based on the following video, entitled God's Pharmacy:

OK, I'll concede walnuts and kidney beans, but grapes looking like blood cells? Give me a break...

According to Jason's blog, the guy who made the presentation at the conference "stumbled over big words like lycopine, bok choy, and cerebrum". Unsurprising.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Anakim Skywalker

Regardless of whether the Anakim were actually related to the Nephilim, it is obvious that the Israelites were dealing with giants. If our understanding is correct that a cubit was approximately 18 inches, then Goliath, at "six cubits and a span," was somewhat over 9 feet tall. Og, the King of Bashan whose bed is described in Deut. 3:11 as being about 14 feet long by 6 feet wide, was thought to be 10 to 12 feet tall. As difficult as it may be for us to imagine such huge people today -- Shaquille O'Neal is a mere stripling compared to them! -- the clear impression one receives from these reports is that they record factual information, not mere legend. If we consider for a moment that from dogs we can breed not only toy poodles but also mastiffs, we ought to keep an open mind to the size possibilities incorporated by the Creator into the genes of the earliest humans.

Today's nuttiness is brought to you by the good folks of Bible Archaeology.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Petrified Teddy Bear

This site is selling a "fossilized" teddy bear. Apparently this proves that objects can fossilize very quickly:

I disagree, I think it's clear evidence of a missing link between Yogi Bear and Winnie the Pooh.

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Unintelligently Designed Video

I just stumbled across Emancipate Yourselves From Mental Slavery, a blog by Joshua Stein about all kinds of stuff, much of it related to atheism and rational thinking. It's only been going since January 2008 but already has 456 entries. Check it out.

Anyway, this hilariously amateurish creationist video was posted on the blog, and I'm re-posting it here for your enjoyment. It's best viewed with the sound turned on:

I'm going to have to check out God Tube, I'm sure it's an absolute gold mine for creationist stupidity.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lying for Jesus

On a recent US radio show, creationist Ray Comfort (who gained notoriety with the aid of a banana) tried to refute evolution with the following argument:

Dogs do not have chickens. Chickens don't lay eggs with puppies in them.

Ray Comfort

Hmm, we seem to be back in crocoduck territory. Aside from the fact that such a simplistic argument wouldn't convince a six year old, this is a very odd thing to say, because if a dog ever did give birth to a chicken, much of modern science's understanding of the natural world would have to be thrown out. In an abstract way, his statement is actually evidence for evolution. So for Ray to make this argument, one of the following conditions must be true:

1. Ray Comfort does not understand the theory of evolution at all.

2. Ray Comfort is deliberately lying about the theory of evolution.

In either case (and I actually suspect it's a bizarre combination of the two), this man is not fit to debate the topic with anyone, let alone an evolutionary biologist. To their credit, the hosts of the radio show were unconvinced by his arguments despite being christians themselves, calling Ray out as a "wacko".

So which is it, Ray? Ignorant moron, or evil liar?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dubya on Evolution vs. Creation

The verdict is still out on how God created the earth.

George W Bush

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moron of the Month - Ben Stein

Actor, TV presenter and presidential speech writer Ben Stein weighed in on the creationism vs. evolution debate with his ironically-titled "documentary" Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The film received a slew of negative reviews, bombed at the box office, and has been thoroughly debunked. This short video by Thunderf00t is a pretty clear demonstration of Stein's complete lack of authority on the subject of evolution:

The following exchange between Stein and christian television mogul Paul Crouch also shows the remarkable extent of his bias against all things scientific:

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers, talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Crouch: Good word, good word.