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Jon Huntsman was crazy to back evolution

Dennis Sewell says most US voters reject the theory because of claims that it makes God and Christian morality redundant

By on Monday, 30 January 2012

Above: Republican candidates Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, New Gingrich and Rick Perry

Above: Republican candidates Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, New Gingrich and Rick Perry

On a Thursday afternoon last August Jon Huntsman, then a candidate for the Republican nomination in the US presidential race, used Twitter to send the shortest political suicide note in history: “I believe in evolution… Call me crazy.”

I call him crazy. Had the man done no message research? This single tweet did more even than Huntsman’s decision to pose for Annie Leibovitz in Vogue to confirm that the candidate was out of touch – not only with popular opinion in the small towns that Sarah Palin likes to call “real America”, but also with a philosophical anxiety that pervades the United States, from sea to shining sea.

The political salience of evolution is not new. In the last GOP primary round in 2008 the candidates were asked in a television debate whether there was anyone on the stage who did not believe in evolution. Three of them proclaimed their disbelief proudly and unambiguously. John McCain, who won the nomination, said that while he did acknowledge some truth in evolution, when he hiked the Grand Canyon he believed the hand of God was there also.

These candidates had done their research. Two years earlier, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life had published evidence that only 26 per cent of adult Americans accepted Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as it is understood by scientists and taught in public schools. Or, to put it another way, almost three in four American voters did not. The polling firm Gallup found Pew’s figure to be a considerable overstatement of support for the science side of the argument. According to its own 2006 survey, only 13 per cent of Americans accepted the truth of evolution.

For this year’s election, Gallup has been digging beneath the surface to produce numbers that allow candidates to optimise their responses to the inevitable evolution questions along the campaign trail. Voters were invited to choose between three options: “God created humans in present form within the past 10,000 years” “Humans evolved, God had no part in the process” or “Humans evolved, God guided the process”. The first of these is full-on Creationism. The second represents orthodox Darwinian science, while the third could be seen as congruent with Intelligent Design, but is not necessarily so, offering space for more nuanced theological and scientific positioning.

Gallup’s findings pose some radical challenges to the reflexive assumptions of secular, liberal commentators on both sides of the Atlantic. For a start, those rejecting the scientific orthodoxy do not all conform to the media stereotype of an inbred, Right-wing, Christian fundamentalist redneck. Support for the “God guided” option is, for instance, stronger among Democrats (40 per cent) and Independents (39 per cent) than it is among Republican voters (36 per cent).

Smart alec acolytes of Richard Dawkins, who like to style themselves “Brights”, while dismissing anyone who questions their materialist outlook as intellectually deficient, will be peeved to discover that only one in four American voters who have been awarded Masters degrees accepts the Darwinian line on evolution. Indeed, Gallup found that scientific orthodoxy on this topic is a minority position at every level of education – from high school dropout to PhD – and in every category of political affiliation. Despite the barrage of publicity that attended the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species in 2009, the latest Gallup figures show that overall only 16 per cent of Americans today believe what they were taught about evolution in science classes at school. Consequently, any politician, of whatever stripe, who unambiguously sides with science on this issue puts him or herself at odds with the majority of voters.

So, what explains this bizarre political reality? It would be facile to attribute it to American stupidity. The United States is not, all things considered, a stupid society. During the last century it established itself as the most economically successful and technologically advanced nation on earth, leading the world in innovation and scientific achievement. Besides, as Gallup has shown, the majority of Americans with two or three university degrees reject the scientists’ story too.

The answer lies in the way evolution has evolved in the United States. It is not Darwin’s original scientific theory that so many sensible, well-educated Americans object to, but the ideological monstrosity that Darwinism has become over time. First, at the turn of the 20th century, scientists claimed that evolution had social implications. This found expression in Social Darwinism and eugenics, which saw the rural poor hunted across the Appalachians and young women forcibly sterilised for having children out of wedlock. Then came Scientific Racialism, which claimed that evolutionary science proved that America’s minorities – Blacks, Hispanics, Italians, Greeks and Jews – were biologically inferior to those of pure New England stock. Meanwhile, the Darwinists were asserting that evolution necessarily implied the triumph of philosophical materialism. Americans were told that the rights they held to be self-evident had no basis in reality at all and that a human life has no more intrinsic value than that of an insect.

Evolution began as a neat explanation of variation within species and a plausible hypothesis for the origin of species. But today it is held out as a sufficient explanation of the origin of all life, a general explanatory theory of the development of everything – including culture – a grand narrative to end all grand narratives. Evolution is presented by Daniel Dennett as a “universal acid” that dissolves all ethical and moral systems, and by Richard Dawkins as a compelling argument against the existence of God and a slam-dunk case for abandoning any search for meaning, purpose or direction in human affairs.

Does anyone seriously expect the American public to buy into all that? Science has broken its bounds. Instead of confining evolution to the natural world, scientists have sought to intrude its application into the social, political, philosophical and religious domains. Denying evolution’s veracity is for many ordinary Americans a way of rejecting that. It is righteous cussedness.

Astute politicians sense this indignation, and play to it. Some, like Michelle Bachman, Ron Paul and Rick Perry, have been prepared to go a long way to meet the Creationists and ended up being pilloried by the liberal media, who are themselves as plonkingly literal-minded in the way they frame this issue as the Christian fundamentalists they disdain.

Catholic candidates such as Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich (a recent convert) enjoy an advantage in navigating the clashing rocks
of science and religion. Catholics have not been required to take the creation story in Genesis literally since Origen in the early second century AD. Consequently, they are more comfortable in asserting that faith and evolution are by no means mutually exclusive than many in the Evangelical Protestant tradition.

Catholics can (like Santorum) flirt with the Intelligent Design crowd when it suits, while still having an intellectually respectable sanctuary in a position that holds the Creator’s activity as something operating in the spiritual dimension rather than as a physical intervention. Or, (like Gingrich, whose hobby is paleontology) Catholics can choose to mollify the science crowd with the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s doctrine of “non-overlapping magisteria”.

Catholic politicians are not the only ones to avail themselves of this political wriggle-room. The Mormon Mitt Romney, whose flip-flop politics could teach a Galapagos finch a thing or two about adaptation, maintains a studied ambiguity on evolution too. Of course, Romney believes in the scientific truth of evolution, as do Gingrich and Santorum. But they aren’t going to say so in any way that signals they endorse the philosophical extras that nowadays come bundled with Darwin’s theory. You can call these political stances flexible; you might even call them opportunistic at times; but given the polling data, you can’t call them crazy.

Dennis Sewell is the author of The Political Gene. How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics (Picador)

  • Anonymous

    That is arrant nonsense.

    All you have are quotes from people who obviously cannot stand reality.

    Stop publishing the garbled thoughts of the deluded. Just give us some evidence we are wrong. 

    Evolutionary biologists have a larger proportion of atheists than in the normal population, certainly in the USA.

    Now it isn’t us who shoot doctors because we disagree with them, it isn’t atheists who have issued death threats against a young girl for standing up to her legal rights. These are the religious. So next time you talk about being vicious, get your facts right.

    And talking of facts, found any human graves with dinosaur bones lately? Surely that must have happened according to the YECs.

    And just keep in your mind, theists are the ones who believe in myths, stop projecting the delusions.

  • Anonymous

    So if you think theists are the ones who believe in myths, you must be an atheistic naturalist:

    ATHEISTIC NATURALISM  God does not exist. There is no real design  (only apparent design) and nature is all there is. [eg. Carl Sagan: "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be."]

    Don’t know of any human graves with dinosaur bones, but if radioisotopic dating methods are accurate, how do you explain dinosaur bones with soft tissue, supposedly dated at “80 million years”? (Schweitzer et al., Science 324:626-631). 

     http://www.icr.org/article/6220/

  • Anonymous

    Acleron:

    On page one of “The Blind Watchmaker” (1986) Richard Dawkins writes: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.

     If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose–then how do evolutionists know they weren’t designed? 

    What is your criteria for “apparent” design?

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I like to ask evolutionists if the late A.E. Wilder-Smith was a “real scientist” or not. He had not one but three Ph.Ds. In 1986, Wilder-Smith, along with Edgar Andrews, debated Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith. This Oxford Union debate can be heard online or ordered on CD. (Has Dawkins debated anyone else in a formal debate since this debate?)

    See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._Wilder-Smith

    and

    http://www.wildersmith.org/biography.htm

  • Anonymous

    How do geologists and paleontologists explain microfossils of pollen, spores, angiosperms, gymnosperms, and at least one winged insect, in Eocambrian (Upper Precambrian) rock?

    “Pollen Paradox” by Emil Silvestru and Carl Wieland
    http://creation.com/pollen-paradox

  • Anonymous

    http://www.creationmoments.com/content/teaching-evolution-there-better-way

    2. Fossils & the Geologic Column. The text tells the student that fossils of simple life forms are found in the lowest strata of sedimentary rock (the Cambrian) then they become more complex as the strata become more recent. Usually, there is a diagram with illustrations of sea-bed life forms at the bottom then in rising order: fishes, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and man at the top. Textbooks may intend this hypothetical diagram, the geologic column, simply to indicate the life forms typical of each era of earth’s history but the reader would naturally perceive this to be the evidence that those life forms did indeed develop in this order. This circular projection is then reinforced when the textbooks also claim this fossil order to be the most powerful evidence for evolution. Historically, it was assumed that life evolved from simple to complex, selected fossil evidence seemed to confirm this, but more often than not the fish, the amphibian, reptile etc were out of order or missing. In recognition of this, more than 150 years ago, geologists began using “index fossils,” a series of marine arthropods, crustaceans, brachiopods, molluscs etc all of which are very small but their order was more consistent and, again, this was their assumed order of apearance; many of them still exist today. It is the index fossils that are used to identify the strata. The dating of the strata was initially based upon an assumed rate of deposition of sediment resulting in millions of years for massive beds; claims that radiometric methods confirm these ages are regarded as secondary evidence by geologists. It is now openly admitted that naming and dating rocks by fossils and the fossils by the rocks is mere circular reasoning based upon the assumptions that life appeared in the sequence, simple to complex and the assumed of rates of deposition. When index fossils are found out of order, geologists speak of the strata as an “unconformity” i.e. it does not conform to the theory. In the last decade or so it has been admitted that representatives of every phylum are found fully formed at the Cambrian level (the “Cambrian Explosion”) followed by degradation and extinction indicating “bottom-up” regression not Darwinian progression. David. Kitts. Evolution, 1974, 28:467; Niles Eldredge. Time Frames, 1985, p.52; Tom Kemp. New Scientist, 1985, 108:67; R.H.Rastal. Encyclopedia Britannica 15th ed. 10:168; R. Dawkins. The Blind Watchmaker, 1987, p.229; Mark McMenamin. Palaios, 1990, 5:1.

  • Anonymous

    You can show that oxygen would have built up simply from the equilibration of water and H2 + O2.  The earth’s atmosphere cannot hold in H2.  Le Chatelier’s principle holds and you build up oxygen gas. Period. No cyanobacteria needed.  As for organic products being concentrated on clays, etc.  Ha.  Dream on if you think that process (a disputed one) formed the cell.  If that’s the way it all happened, then demonstrate it in the lab under NATURAL conditions. You can’t?  Pity.  Fact is, you can’t even demonstrate it under controlled conditions.

  • Anonymous

    Also…. Richard Dawkins told TIME magazine: “If there were a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been found.”

    Know what? If a hippo or rabbit fossil was found in the Precambrian tomorrow, the vast majority of evolutionists would figure a way to explain it away, and presto! their beloved creation myth would be saved!

    Check out the talk by Emil Silvestru:

    http://www.ubcocreation.com/media.html

    Noah’s Flood: Fact or Fantasy; A geological perspective

  • Anonymous

    “Creation 101″ with Dr. Ed Neeland [Nov 3, 2011]
    http://www.kcc.net/cgblog/42/CREATION-101-with-Dr-Ed-Neeland.html

  • Parasum

    “Dennis Sewell says most US voters reject the theory because of claims that it makes God and Christian morality redundant”##  Since evolution does not make God redundant – as a little thought would show – there is no value in the suggestion that it does.  This sort of folly is what comes of the notion that God is the explanation for the universe. God is not an *explanation* of anything, & is not comparable to evolution as a cause or as anything, because God is Wholly Unique, Unparalleled, Incomparable, Transcendent – that is why God is the Holy One: for to be holy, is to be “apart from” the world. The Incomparable God cannot be compared to anything in His own creation, because (1) He is not like it, or anything in it in any way; & (2) He cannot be classed with creation, because it is finite; whereas God is Infinite. A God Who is not part of His own creation, & is infinitely “other than” it, cannot be regarded as hindering its working. So processes within it – such as evolution – cannot possibly collide with Him. The blunder is like arguing that Agatha Christie can’t exist in her books because Hercule Poirot does so. She is present in her books in a manner different from her characters: not less truly, but more truly, because the invented worlds of her stories are her creations, and depend for their invention upon her action in inventing them. Poirot did not create them (neither did Miss Marple) – but Agatha Christie’s “sub-creating” power & imagination created both Poirot and the world in which he lives and moved and has his being. Somewhat as she is present by her sub-creative power in her stories, in a mode quite different from the mode in which her invented characters are present in those stories, so here: God does not collide with us, our being, acts, free will, liberty, or anything else, including evolution, because the created order has no means of colliding with its Creator. Both can be fully active – for neither cancels out the other, since one is the invention of the God Who is “Wholly Other”.  Strictly speaking, Poirot is more the work of God than of Agatha Christie – she sub-created Poirot, but God created them both.

  • Parasum

    “Evolution is presented by Daniel Dennett as a “universal acid” that dissolves all ethical and moral systems, and by Richard Dawkins as a compelling argument against the existence of God and a slam-dunk case for abandoning any search for meaning, purpose or direction in human affairs.”## Dawkins needs to read Fr. Brian Davies’ account of  St. Thomas Aquinas – not least the chapter on God: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aquinas-Outstanding-Christian-Thinkers-Davies/dp/0826450857/ref=pd_rhf_cr_p_t_1

  • Anonymous

    Read the paper, there are several doubts about the findings. And they are not soft tissue, merely traces of a protein. It would be unusual but not amazing for a few traces of a repeat sub-unit particular tough protein to last that long. But they have not performed the correct controls to make any claims yet.

    But it is ironic creationists use that paper because the methodology used is clear evidence of evolution. You see, they used anti-chicken collagen antibody as a probe. Why, one asks would they use a chicken. Well, chickens are descended from dinosaur lineage. A fact not only right along with the ToE and discovered by evolutionary paleontologists but a fact that would be impossible to find in your book.

  • Anonymous

    Some crystals have exquisite structures that have the appearance of design. But they are not designed, their structure emerges from relatively simple rules.

    But you are the design experts, define your own terms, you usually do. e.g. Dembski and his specified complexity, a term he plagiarised from a British chemist.

  • Anonymous

    So you want your say, but not allow a reply. I am replying to claims made and researchers publish data. You do not allow replies and you don’t publish. And you accuse others of being afraid? Pure projection. If your claims can be dismissed so easily, isn’t it time to consider they may not be so strong?

    A simple question for you. 

    Where is the evidence that contradicts the ToE?

    Surely you have some data, just a tiny bit of data?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, exceedingly small quantities of O2 can be produced that way, but then they would react with the ferrous iron salts available in the water. Net result zero free oxygen.If you think that water dissociates easily into free hydrogen and oxygen, just ask your self where the water came from in the first place. This process also occurred after the cyanobacteria started producing oxygen, hence all the iron oxides around.

    And no, as I have explained before, scientists do not say they understand everything. But that which is not understood is investigated, that is where all the advances came from, not sticking their thumb in their mouth and saying goddidit.

    But I suppose the next thing you ask will be why life doesn’t form in a jar of peanut spread. 

  • Parasum

    But how can Darwin be blamed for the uses, especially the misapplications, to which his – very fruitful – idea was put ? That’s not fair, unless he himself indicated that such uses were, whether in his mind or not, at least not illegitimate. Supposing he himself made bad use of his idea (& that has to be proved, not merely floated as a possibility), the idea itself has to be dealt with on its merits; it cannot be rejected on the basis of its author’s flaws as the man he was; & even if the arguments he makes are unsound because their foundations are unsound (& that too has to be proved), the evidence still has to accounted for. The answer to using an idea badly, is to use it well – not to chuck it away like rubbish. If there is truth in it, that truth cannot be disqualified, but only obscured, by the use of the idea for bad ends.

  • Parasum

    “None of the choices allow for a god and evolution without interference.”

    ## They don’t “interfere”. If Evolution & God were both members of a pantheon – like Athene & Poseidon – there would be the possibility of interference. But God is not of the same status as evolution – they are not forces of the same status. Water and fire are – they are not compatible: because of their respective properties, they cannot exist together simultaneously in the same place. This is not true of God and evolution.

    “I’m not aware of any great intellectual tradition in the catholic church.”

    ## That’s a pity, quite apart from the religious aspect of the matter. I’m not aware of the history of Chinese science; that doesn’t make histories of it (such as that by Joseph Needham) books about nothing: it means only that one is ignorant – and could do a lot worse than try to repair that ignorance. Maybe you should try Pierre Duhem, or Alexander Koyre, or Stanley Jaki, if info about Catholics & science is wanted. Why not explain what you have in mind ? Then it can be discussed.

    “And science is the discovery and interpretation of everything.”

    ## Science can cover a lot of ground – but not God. Otherwise it would be able to talk with authority about Him, just as it can about atoms & okapis. Science cannot show a textual critic of the Odyssey whether the lines about the *eidolon* of Herakles in the Underworld in Book 11 are genuine or not; it cannot substitute for literary taste & judgement.  Science can analyse the paint used in a van Megeeren – it cannot judge whether the painting is by van Megeeren, or by Rembrandt, nor why van Megeeren was guilty of fraud in painting Rembrandts. Science can help to describe human physiology and its functions – but it cannot work out why people have different senses of humour. There is much it can do – but a great deal also about which it has no competence whatever – science can study such aspects of friendship as sociology: but it cannot study friendship itself. It can study only the entities that manifest this reality. The reality itself is inaccessible to the sciences. 

    Science is that it emphasises certain aspects of human knowledge & living, but treats others very inadequately, in a way that is reductive, & that it tends to  identify this reduced thing with the thing in all its aspects. Why worry about 6 million “carbon units” ? By getting rid of them, Hitler was arguably performing an act that was favourable to the development of other (Aryan) carbon units: 6 million CUs is a lot of CUs to feed, educate, clothe, & the rest of it – much more sensible to use them as lab specimens or gas them, then use their skin for lampshades. Q. E. D. Nazism is thoroughly justified as a strategy for getting rid of what unscientific sentimentalists call human beings; because these “human beings” were the wrong kind of human being. Kill them, and that supplies more room for real humans, like Aryans. Genocide may even be good for the evolution of the race as a whole.

    But despite the great merits of the Nazi plan, how many people would seriously commend it  ? Culling the Jews has a lot to be said for it, if considered with objectivity. It’s not wrong, because moral values are not scientific. It is efficient, and leads to efficiency – especially for a nation at war. So why the fuss ?

    If science is all sufficient, it should be the basis of ethics, & thus of penal theory. If someone murdered is useless to society, the killer should rewarded; not punished. It might even be advisable to cull all women past child-bearing age. Why not ? A science-based ethics seems to suggest such a course

    Would anyone *want* to live in such a society ?

  • Anonymous

    How Biology 101 is typically taught: “Kids, welcome to Biology 101. We’re gonna learn lots of fun things in this class. We’re gonna learn how…we’re gonna cut up frogs, and we’re gonna pick flowers, and we’re gonna learn about pistils and stamens and all kinds of fun things, but the first thing you need to know, boys and girls, above all else, is that ‘You are an accident!’. You have absolutely no reason for being here! There is no meaning, no purpose to your life! You’re nothing but a meaningless conglomeration of molecules that came together purely by chance billions and billions of years ago! All the dust and the gas and the galaxy floated around for who knows how long, and they bumped into each other and they said, ‘I know. Let’s be organic!’ So they became organic. And they became little, little gooey, slimey things, you know, swimming around in the primordial soup, and they finally grew little feet, and they crawled up on the land, and they grew fur and feathers and became higher forms of life, and finally became, you know, a monkey, then the monkey developed into an ape, then the ape decided to shave, so he shaved, and became what you are today! It’s, you know, from goo to you by way of the zoo! As such we really don’t have any reason for being here. Your existence is pointless. The universe won’t mind a bit when you die. And when you die, you just become so much compost [Riiiiiing!] Oh, okay, class dismissed. Head on down the hall now, kids, down to that new class we’re starting this week on self-esteem!” –an excerpt from “What We Believe”, a presentation Frank Peretti gave at the Steeling the Mind of America conference (Vale, Colorado, 1997.)

  • Anonymous

    That is about it. But because you don’t like it, is it necessary to invent things?

    But now lets look at Religion 101Welcome kids, now what I’m going to tell you I cannot demonstrate in any way whatsoever, I have absolutely no proof for what I am going to tell you and you will have to believe that everything you see cannot be true unless I tell you.Now there is this guy who is invisible, nobody can see him he has no visible effect on anything you can see but affects everything we can see.What’s that Ernie? How dare you say that doesn’t make any sense, it does because I tell you.Yes Louise? Well yes he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. No Louise, I’m not going to explain why he lets bad things happen.Now this guy tells you to be good. No Al, he doesn’t actually speak to you, you just have to accept that I tell you the truth. No Al, he doesn’t speak to me either. Al, you just have to accept this. Put it this way class, if you don’t tell me you believe in all this, bad things will happen to you.

  • Anonymous

    I like your last post, shows a bit of imagination. And I congratulate you, you have ticked all the boxes bar one that creationists usually bring up. And you have done it in record time. 

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Mary Schweitzer et al. have found dino soft tissue:

    View:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/12/60minutes/main5629962.shtmlexcerptLesley Stahl: But as Mary showed us, she’s been able to replicate her findings. These are pieces of an even older dinosaur–a well-preserved 80-million-year-old duckbill. When she dissolved it away in acid…Mary Schweitzer: Let’s put this under the scope here.Lesley Stahl: Well, look… (to Schweitzer) Is that a blood vessel?Mary Schweitzer: This is a blood vessel. You see the branches right there? And look at all of them. And it’s so consistent, over and over and over again. We do this bone and it comes out and I get excited every time. I can’t help it. I mean, 80 million years old!
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/324/5927/626.abstractBiomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensisMary H. Schweitzer et. alAbstractMolecular preservation in non-avian dinosaurs is controversial. We present multiple lines of evidence that endogenous proteinaceous material is preserved in bone fragments and soft tissues from an 80-million-year-old Campanian hadrosaur, Brachylophosaurus canadensis [Museum of the Rockies (MOR) 2598]. Microstructural and immunological data are consistent with preservation of multiple bone matrix and vessel proteins, and phylogenetic analyses of Brachylophosaurus collagen sequenced by mass spectrometry robustly support the bird-dinosaur clade, consistent with an endogenous source for these collagen peptides. These data complement earlier results from Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125) and confirm that molecular preservation in Cretaceous dinosaurs is not a unique event.http://www.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1952.abstractScience 25 March 2005:Vol. 307 no. 5717 pp. 1952-1955DOI: 10.1126/science.1108397ReportSoft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rexMary H. Schweitzer et al.AbstractSoft tissues are preserved within hindlimb elements of Tyrannosaurus rex (Museum of the Rockies specimen 1125). Removal of the mineral phase reveals transparent, flexible, hollow blood vessels containing small round microstructures that can be expressed from the vessels into solution. Some regions of the demineralized bone matrix are highly fibrous, and the matrix possesses elasticity and resilience. Three populations of microstructures have cell-like morphology. Thus, some dinosaurian soft tissues may retain some of their original flexibility, elasticity, and resilience.Latest Soft Tissue Study Skirts the Issuesby Brian Thomas, M.S. [July 5, 2011]http://www.icr.org/article/6220/Fluctuations Show Radioisotope Decay Is Unreliableby Brian Thomas, M.S. [July 29, 2011]http://www.icr.org/article/6246/

  • Anonymous

    And do you think soft tissue in an Archaeopteryx fossil could last for 150 million years?  Why or why not?

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/05/05/1001569107.full.pdf

    Do these soft tissue findings support evolution or biblical creation?

  • Anonymous

    Acleron wrote: “Put it this way class, if you don’t tell me you believe in all this, bad things will happen to you.”

    John 3:16-18

    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, thatwhoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believestands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    From “True Believers Don’t Ask Why” (1989) by John Fischer:

    “To each of His disciples Jesus simply said, ‘Follow me.’ That was an invitation, not a requirement. An invitation respects the freedom of the invitee to accept or decline. Indeed, the “no” answer is perhaps the greatest expression of human dignity possible. That men and women can go to heaven is an expression of God’s love; that they can go to hell is an expression of the value He places on their freedom.”

    http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/gotta-serve-somebody

    “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody”

  • Anonymous

    http://creation.com/colossal-crystals

    and

    http://creation.com/treasures-of-snow

    *

    Since you, like Dawkins, are an atheistic naturalist, then define your own term: “apparent design”. 

    We’re all waiting to read it.

  • Anonymous

    Many still think Schweitzer’s results are bacterial bio-films. The main finding is that these areas of the fossils have trace (picogram) amounts of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine. These amino acids are not thought to occur in bacteria. But if the flexible structures she saw were real soft tissue, you would expect to see microgram amounts, that’s a million times more. So this is in doubt as well. 

    You might read this paper by Thomas G. Kaye1*, Gary Gaugler2, Zbigniew Sawlowicz3

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002808 

    So they might have found minute traces of collagen, less likely is that they found blood vessels. More likely is that they are looking at contamination. hence my comment about the correct controls.

    If the oxygen and water is quickly removed the protein half life would improve, but is difficult to then see how fossilization can take place.

    But it doesn’t matter, finding trace amounts of protein that old is not going to overthrow physics, chemistry and biology. It just becomes a protein curiosity.

     Oh sorry, nearly forgot. The soft tissue they are talking about in Archaeopteryx is the volume where the soft tissue would have been before fossilisation. What they are finding there is still exciting though. They show that the fossilisation is different in the different structures and that elements from the original structure may still be present. 

    Now who would have thought we could find that out after 150M years. Isn’t science wonderful.

  • Anonymous

    So you’re now admitting soft tissue was found in both dino fossils and an Archaeopteryx fossil? 

    If not, you’re in denial.

    Are biblical creationists surprised that soft tissue has been found? No, because they contend this is just more evidence that the earth is only thousands of years old.

    http://www.icr.org/rate/

  • Anonymous

    So you think all the water on earth came from H2 reacting with O2? That’s a laugh. I suppose you’ll just have to stick your thumb in your mouth and say evolutiondidit.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, so unbelievers are condemned, seems pretty bad to me, and then there is Luke 12:46  “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers”
     And being next to bits of human gore doesn’t sound so good either.

    “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the LordBut you’re gonna have to serve somebody” 

    Lovely example of the false dichotomy. There are other options of course, serving somebody else or even serving no-one at all. Read ‘the Player of Games’ by Iain M Banks, just one of many examples of a society that is self governing.

  • Anonymous

    Come on, I keep asking for the evidence. Where is this greatly vaunted evidence. Keen minds want to know. Because evidence that the TofE is false would be amazing. But all the evidence that is produced, never seems to match the creation sites build up.

    Why are biologists willingly to discuss the results? You like to say that creationists/IDers are expelled from research because of their beliefs and then you claim that you have creationists in academia. Which is it?

  • Anonymous

    I not only did not say there is soft tissue present, I explained alternative hypotheses and gave you a reference to further work which showed those hypotheses. I also showed you that you were confused by the use of the term ‘soft tissue’ in the last reference.

    I’ve also explained that minute traces of a repeating subunit structure as is collagen are more likely to survive but so far Schweitzer’s work is not conclusive proof

    If you think that because one result might and only might support your hypothesis, a result that is in doubt by the way and that uncertain result disproves evolution, great swathes of chemistry and the weak force theory of physics, it ain’t me in denial. LMAO

    The problem with creationists is that as they would dearly like to disprove the ToE for theistic reasons they don’t quite realise the extent of the body of evidence is supported by other areas of science.

    Now if YEC could explain soft tissues in fossilised bone. It must also explain why the radioactive decay rates don’t change over time. It must also explain how fossils only appear in certain strata. Then there is observations of the distance of of supernova and the fact that light always seems to travel at one speed in a vacuum. Oh and many many more things. All of which would be disproven by a YEC.

    But one for a YEC and an IDer. why does the recurrent laryngeal nerve in giraffes take a 15 feet detour? Yeah that’s right, the nerve is 5 yards longer than it need be. What wonderful design reason was that for?

  • Anonymous

    http://creation.com/recurrent-laryngeal-nerve

    And I’m still waiting to read your definition of “apparent design”, and how you distinguish it from real design.

    On page one of “The Blind Watchmaker” (1986) Richard Dawkins writes: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.

    I don’t recall Dawkins ever defining “apparent design”.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t give the example of a crystal as any sort of proof of evolution. Nobody I know would so why did you dig up that ref? The age of crystals is irrelevant to their appearance. So why that ref was there is also a mystery. But the fact that the crystals formed in so short a time is interesting.

    No, I gave you crystals as an example of apparent design. But you obviously don’t want to answer the question.

    So I’ll give you this as another example of apparent design.

    z<-z^2 + c

    That describes one of the most complex objects known in the universe, and quite beautiful too.

    An amazing thing from such a simple piece of maths. But just an emergent property, no designer required.

    or this

    http://www.universetoday.com/47469/cats-eye-nebula/ 

    A beautiful sight in the night sky and fundamentally a product of simple elements governed by the elegant equations of Einstein.

    But that beauty is just another emergent property, no designer necessary.

  • Anonymous

    No, I’m certainly not wasting anymore time reading creationist sites. You have to find out which parts are outright lies and discard those, then throw away all the strawmen, ad hominems, appeals to authority and plain illicalities to find out what on earth they are on about and then you find it was wrong in the first place.

    No if you are so enamoured by them say what you want with scientific references.

    Dawkins was paraphrasing Haldane when Haldane was responding to Popper, so I know the argument. Rather convenient for the creationists isn’t it? Especially as they have found exactly nothing. But arguing that it will be hushed up, suppressed etc is pure drivel. It would be examined very, very closely for reasons already discussed. More would be looked for and if found, then the ToE would at the least become very different if it existed at all.

    But it is a cheek accusing biologists of a crime that has never taken place, when you lot ignore great swathes of evidence that blows your hypothesis out of the water. There is all the evidence pointing to a very old Earth, there is evidence that evolution has taken place, is taking place and will continue to take place. There are design flaws that mean if your designer existed, he needs a good education, because his design skills are definitely sub-standard.

    There are biological structures that have no design reason. Eyes in blind fish to mention another one. Junk DNA for yet another.

    The last is a wonderful example of IDer strategy. Your hero Luskin tries to deny it exists by playing with numbers. As far as I know, only the faithful are taken in by his shenanigans, but it is sad they are being conned.

    And you claim that we are in denial. I think my irony meter just broke.

  • Anonymous

    Err, just how do you think water formed? The world is waiting with bated breath because this is going to be quite amazing.

  • Anonymous

    So you have no answer to the laryngeal nerve detour than a comparison with a badly designed car. And creationism cannot explain it. Now try the blind fish with eyes. He waits in anticipation, hoping that he isn’t going to be given another car with non-working headlights.

    You have now had three examples of apparent design and cannot answer any of them. Give up mate, the hole can get a lot larger.

  • Anonymous

    But you have this rather convoluted. While many ARE brainwashed in the educational institutions (when do they ever teach anything contrary, or even honestly, about evolution?) and accept the paleobable of the story, many others working in the actual fields of science have rather found faith thru science, and the paucity of facts for evolution being a prime factor.

    I was at a conference this summer with perhaps a dozen speakers – almost without exception having rejected the concept of evolution after earning a masters in their field of study, and in some cases after gaining tenure as professors.

    Anthony Flew was one who plainly articulated his rejection of atheism purely on the grounds that science could not account for what we see today.

    This country accepts creation and therefore a creator simply because the evidence points to same. I was at one time committed to the evolutionary story; I had been taught nothing else. But into my 20′s I  began to realize that everything I had been taught was either rescinded, proven false, or was a fraud. Not willing to abandon their escape from the logical requirement of a creator, new and more unbelievable stories were concocted to replace the previous discredited fables. Most of them, in turn, were abandoned.

    So today, we have almost every aspect of the evolutionary story under attack by observational sciences. Not that any evolutionist would admit this, but a man from Mars analyzing the available data would. We have short term comets, but no Oorts cloud. We have collagen in 64 million year old fossils all over the place, but collagen cannot exist for more than 100,000 years.  We observe entropy but teach evolution.

    Not much wonder kids are confused – and have no sense of purpose. After all they’re just smart pond scum

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t ask for examples of apparent design, I asked for a DEFINITION of apparent design. 

    Go fo it!

    I don’t think Dawkins has ever defined it, but evolutionists like him like to say it a lot– that various life forms just have the appearance of design.

    So how do you define it? with respect to life forms (not things like crystals)

    Apparent design is………..

  • Anonymous

    Three exampleas should be enough for you to recognise what I consider to be apparent design. If you cannot elide the meaning in your terms from those, you certainly won’t be able to understand a formal definition. But as you ask so sweetly:-
    ap·par·ent  (-prnt, -pâr-)adj.1. Readily seen; visible.2. Readily understood; clear or obvious.3. Appearing as such but not necessarily so; seeming: an apparent advantage.de·sign  (d-zn)v. de·signed, de·sign·ing, de·signsv.tr.1.a. To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent: design a good excuse for not attending the conference.
    b. To formulate a plan for; devise: designed a marketing strategy for the new product.2. To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form: design a building; design a computer program.3. To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect

    Any luck with Haldane’s rabbit yet, found any dinosaur bones in graves.
    Found out how water forms?

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    HA! All you’ve done is listed a general definition for “apparent” and other general definition for “design”! This isn’t a definition of “apparent design” because it doesn’t apply specifically to a)  life forms and b) their supposed evolution over millions/billions of years. 

    I’ll just chalk you up as another “Definition Dodger” I’ve asked. Maybe you could ask Dawkins to define it and get back to us. I emailed Dawkins’ website several years ago (using both U.S. and U.K. email addresses) asking for a definition of apparent design. Silence.

    Since you and Dawkins are both atheistic naturalists, maybe he’ll reply to you.

  • Anonymous

    This is my last comment on this thread…. until Acleron provides us with a definition of apparent design (with a biology focus) that evolutionists would be in general agreement with.

    Acleron asked how water formed on the earth…. physicist D. Russell Humphreys proposed in his “white hole cosmology” model that God first created the earth and other heavenly bodies out of water. Then, according to the model, God transformed much of the water into other substances.

    http://creationwiki.org/White_hole_cosmology

    and

    http://crev.info/2011/07/110723_water_water_everywhere_in_space/

    and

    http://www.icr.org/article/6247/

    Bruce Cockburn’s “Lord of the Starfields”

    “Lord of the Starfields”
    http://cockburnproject.net/songs&music/lots.html

  • Anonymous

    I assumed your first ref was the best answer, can’t be bothered with the others.

    So creationism can’t explain why structures are present but have no use.

    Trying to say that Lamarckism doesn’t explain it either, just being plain wrong, is called the straw man argument.

    However, the ToE explains it very well. As fish are trapped in a environment that that makes eyes useless, any mutation/genetic change that causes the eyes to lack or change function . is not eliminated from the population because it doesn’t reduce the fitness of the individuals to reproduce.

    I notice that the same article ridicules the evolution of the giraffe. But still no answer to why the laryngeal nerve takes a detour. But of course, if animals with longer necks reproduce more than others, because of the anatomy, the nerve HAS to take a detour.

    But on a more general note, I don’t mind debating with anybody, but I’m not going back to sites that are so full of logical fallacies. If you can’t debate the points yourself, please don’t bother.

  • Anonymous

    So your answer to ‘How water was formed?’ is goddidit. You realise of course that just means you don’t know. Fortunately scientists have investigated further. We know how the elements formed and we know how the elements combine. These facts confirm the various theories of physics and chemistry, those theories are used to produce the very screen in front of you. If the answer to everything was goddidit then we would have progressed no further than scratching on slates.

    Well, you are still missing the last box to tick and it doesn’t look like you know what it is, so thank you for your efforts. I hope you have enjoyed our debate, see you again.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve had three examples and the dicitionary definitions that I use when I use words. You are obviously after some tremendous admission but I have no idea what it is. You asked what I would mean by it and you received it, so please tell me what definition you think I should use and then tell me what you think is wrong with it. This will be a lot quicker. By the way, I don’t recall ever using the term ‘apparent design’ perhaps you can point to where you think I used it.

  • piobairean

    When Huxley read Darwin’s Origin he supposedly said something to the effect that it was so obvious it was silly of him not to have seen it himself. Darwin’s work was so convincing it completely changed the way most people viewed the world. Every scientific finding for the last 150 years has confirmed and validated Darwin’s ideas about common descent and natural selection to the point that, if there were no fossils at all available biologists say the evidence from DNA alone would be enough to validate common descent. Galileo proved Aristotle and Ptolemy wrong and Einstein proved Newton wrong; Aristotle, Ptolemy, Newton all heroes of science all proved wrong. Proof that it can be done if you have evidence to back up your ideas. So far you have not.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a lot Newton got right. 

    http://creationwiki.org/Isaac_Newton

    *

    As for natural selection, Edward Blyth, English chemist/zoologist (and creationist), wrote his first of three major articles on natural selection in The Magazine of Natural History, 24 years before Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published. He didn’t use the exact term “natural selection” but that’s what Blyth was describing.

    Why then do evolutionists think of natural selection as Darwin’s idea?

    Blyth didn’t attribute God-like qualities to natural selection, as some evolutionists do today. At least some are willing to admit: “Natural selection can only act on those biologic properties that already exist; it cannot create properties in order to meet adaptational needs.” Noble, et al., Parasitology, 6th ed. (Lea & Febiger, 1989), p. 516.

    See:

    http://creation.com/charles-darwins-illegitimate-brainchildand

    and

    http://www.icr.org/article/natural-selection-creationists-idea

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter who is credited with the idea except to admire that person. It’s the idea that counts, the evidence that supports that idea and the logic connecting the two. Creationist attempts to discredit Darwin are not only wrong, but futile.

    You have already been shown several examples of new functionality occurring. But it is a common creationist behaviour to be unable to refute evidence but just repeat what is actually a lie. 

    So what biologic property allowed E. coli to transport citrate that according to your hypothesis was already present?

    Same for nylonase in Flavobacteria.

    You have a theory that is falsifiable, fits all known data and enables predictions, it is called the theory of evolution. You have a hypothesis that is not falsfiable, cannot account for many features that we can observe and can offer absolutely no predictions. How any rational person can choose the latter over the former is one of the sadder features of religion.

  • Anonymous

    http://crev.info/2011/06/110624-if_this_is_evolution/

    *

    Long live E. coli: The longest-running experiment on evolution has little to show for it.  Live Science highlighted Richard Lenski’s work keeping 52,000 generations of E. coli growing in test tubes.  Conditions should have been ideal for watching evolutionary progress.  What kinds of evolutionary novelty turned up? [snip]

    See also:
    http://crev.info/2010/02/hopeful_monsters_and_other_tales_evolutionists_challenge_darwin/

    As for nylonase in Flavobacteria, the change from an enzyme eating an ester over to an amide is not newsworthy. Secondly, the nylonase enzyme originated from a pre-existing esterolase enzyme. Another classic case of making something by breaking something. No new information has been generated.

    Three questions for Acleron:

    Name an example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations.

    Give one example of an evolutionary process which can be seen to create new functional information at the genetic level.

    Give one reference for any study that has shown duplicated genes acquire different functions, during an experiment or series of experiments.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t realize until later that my second response today was to Acleron, who has dodged my question about apparent design.

    Acleron: please give a definition of apparent design (with a biology focus) that evolutionists would be in general agreement with. 

    If evolutionists, like your atheist friend Dawkins, like to say living things aren’t really designed–they only look designed–then what’s the criteria for distinguishing between real design and apparent design in complicated living things? (not snowflakes!)

  • Anonymous

    I only returned because you couldn’t refute those experiments or the other gaping holes in creationism. But then you just repeat the same falsehoods. I know this is common among creationists but don’t you see that it is wrong to deliberately mislead people for your own gain?