Cute, Very Cute

In which we learn that muslims in Britain are apparently walking out on lectures about evolution, but that’s not the main point of the article.

Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain’s leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.

Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion.

A bit silly of them, if you ask us but, then again, we are quite familiar with how threatened the poor little dears feel whenever anybody or anything questions their beliefs. Beliefs that they can’t be holding all that close to begin with if they think they might lose them simply by listening to some boring old college prof drone on and on until everybody in the auditorium is snoring loudly. But we digress, and we certainly shan’t cast the first stone here, considering all of the lectures we walked out on back during our days in academe.

Of course, His Imperial Majesty didn’t walk out citing his religion, he didn’t have much of one at the time, unless you can call “happy hour at the local pub” or “excessive debauchery” a religion. What surely frustrated our profs no end was that we kept stubbornly passing our exams with flying colors in spite of our blatant disregard for their droll sermons, which we only mention to illustrate that, contrary to what seems to be the core belief of college professors everywhere, it actually is quite possible to cover the syllabus without having to subject yourself to hours of monotone chanting from a gray-whiskered old geezer.

Most of us can read quite well, you know.

But that isn’t the real point of the article either. That comes in the next paragraph:

Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.

And if subtle smears were a religion, somebody ought to build a temple to that paragraph. Where to begin?

How about “fundamentalist?” Let’s start out by acknowledging that fundamentalist is a bit of a naughty word in today’s world. It evokes images of wild-eyed hermits speaking in tongues and, of course, strapping on bombs and blowing oneself up in public. So when somebody calls you a “fundamentalist”, they’re most likely not trying to compliment you unless they have really poor manners or have lived under a rock for the past decade at least.

Moreover, are we to take it from the above that Christians who believe that the world, mankind and all known species were created by G-d in a single act are somehow “fundamentalist?”

Pardon us for being perhaps offensively direct about it, but that is pretty much exactly what it says in Genesis, one of the books in the Bible, said book being the one book you must believe in if you are to call yourself a Christian. You can’t just say “well, I’m a Christian and I believe in G-d and the Bible, except for those bits that I rather don’t like all that much.” That would make you a non-Christian or, as they’re sometimes also known, Episcopalian (Bible optional).

Yet for that we’re to be considered “fundamentalist?” Really now. What’s the point of using the “fundamentalist” word at all then, when a simple “Christian” or “not Christian” would do just as well?

Finally: So, according to the Mail Online, those muslims who believe the exact same thing are not to be considered “fundamentalist”, because we couldn’t help but notice the absence of that modifier where they are concerned.

So muslims don’t believe in evolution. Christians, excuse us, fundamentalist Christians (as opposed to those wonderfully open-minded Christians who really don’t believe in G-d) don’t believe in evolution, therefore muslims are the same as fundamentalist Christians.

A bit clumsily played there, but nice try.

Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs.

ALL of Biology conflicts with your beliefs unless you take every word that Darwin ever wrote as gospel? That’s odd, because we rather think that we understand Biology quite well and have learned how to put it to good use (and we have the vellum to prove it), yet we somehow don’t suffer under the impression that all of it is bunk because we don’t believe that Uncle Steve was originally a common earthworm who just happened to wake up one morning with opposable thumbs, a receding hairline, a beer belly and a tendency to grouse about what’s on TV these days.

You see, you can yank all of Darwin and evolution from the subject of Biology (not that you should, but you could) and it wouldn’t make one solitary iota of difference to what it teaches. Biology teaches us how life as we know it works. Darwinism claims to tell us how it came to be.

A slight difference that obviously went clear over the pointed head of professor Jones, which leaves us with further evidence that we really were quite right when we, in our youth, decided that “emeritus” means “senile old addle-brained geezer who falls asleep in his oatmeal a lot.”

‘They don’t come [to lectures] or they complain about it or they send notes or emails saying they shouldn’t have to learn this stuff.

‘What they object to – and I don’t really understand it, I am not religious – they object to the idea that there is a random process out there which is not directed by God.’

Alright. Fair’s fair. The good professor does acknowledge his own limitations there, stating that his lack of religion makes it hard for him to understand when he could as easily have launched into a mocking, deliberately insulting and vile, puerile diatribe of the sort that we’ve come to expect from the likes of Richard “The Dick” Dawkins.

He chose not to, and for that he deserves credit. We’d love to sit down and discuss it with you one day over several pints of fine ale, professor, you seem like a decent chap. Before we do so, however, in order to help us start off on the same page, look up the word “omnipotence.” It’s sort of at the center of the whole thing.

Earlier this year Usama Hasan, iman of the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, received death threats for suggesting that Darwinism and Islam might be compatible.

But remember that the article established earlier that there’s no difference whatsoever between “fundamentalist” Christians and the certainly not fundamentalist muslims.

Except that us “fundamentalist” Christians wouldn’t dream of sending death threats to anybody, not even Dicky Dawkins, for questioning our beliefs.

But other than that? EXACTLY the same.

Speaking of Dicky Dawkins:

Evolutionary Biologist and former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins has expressed his concern at the number of students, consisting almost entirely of Muslims, who do not attend or walk out of lectures.

All of the other churches in Europe are running out of warm bodies in the seats, Dicky.

Why should yours be any different?

Thatisall.

40 comments

  1. 1
    LC hilljohnny growls and barks:

    i am not sure how an understanding of evolution would enhance a doctors ability to practice medicine. i would rather they were taught to write legibly.

  2. 2
    Shaitana growls and barks:

    So muslims don’t believe in evolution. Christians, excuse us, fundamentalist Christians (as opposed to those wonderfully open-minded Christians who really don’t believe in G-d) don’t believe in evolution, therefore muslims are the same as fundamentalist Christians.

    So I am confused, does this mean that the liberals are now going to be nice and demand tolerance of Christian teachings? Or are they finally equating Muslims with all those horrible things Christians believe and do…

    :em03:

  3. 3
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    Shaitana @ #:

    Let’s look at the Leftist template.

    Christians = White and oppressive so therefore they are bad

    Muslims = Little Brown People who are misunderstood and oppressed so therefore they are good.

    Let’s delve deeper.

    Christians: Very few, if any have a tendency to declare “Holy War” and lop lop off the heads of those who criticize them.

    Muslims: Quite a few of them have a tendency to declare “Holy War” and lop off the heads of those who criticize them.

    Conclusion: Criticize and blame Christians because it’s safer.

  4. 4

    I’ve never understood why evolution can’t simply be one of God’s methods of creation. I have no problem with evolution, and I don’t think it contradicts biblical accounts. The Bible is chocked full of the What and the Why of God’s actions. It is however, a little short on the How.

    Albert Einstein believed his lifelong chase to understand physics was an attempt to be closer to the Creator, and for the most part, Christians understand and support this. Muslims on the other hand, are instructed from birth that free will and free thought are things to fear, and to ultimately be eradicated.

  5. 5
    LC Xealot growls and barks:

    As a somewhat related side note: I personally believe evolution and Biblical teachings are compatible. I mean, the order of creation is roughly the same as the order of evolution, so I take it that God created life, maybe not in a literal seven days, but in a period of time for which this is a metaphor. And evolution is what we see, looking backward in the historical record of his work. Time, even billions of years, would mean nothing to a being who is eternal. But, I’m certainly not going to lop off heads if someone disagrees with me on that point.

    Do I count as a fundamentalist, then, too? These days fundamentalist seems to be more or less equal to “believes in a higher power and is not an officially sanctioned religion of the Left.” Muslims get a pass, Wiccans and “Spiritual” folks are okay too, but not those eeeeeevil Christians and Jews.

    You could believe the pot-smoking Hippie Moon Goddess of Buttfuckistan created the universe in a colossal burrito fart brought on by the organic bean sprout meat substitute. That’s okay. But, oh no, can’t believe in God. Can’t allow that!

  6. 6
    LC Light29ID growls and barks:

    As one who has watched the Lutheran Church (especially the Evangelical) devolve into a politically correct cesspool I would rather like to label myself a Traditional Christian vice a fundamentalist Christian. I did try and learn something in the two years of Confirmation classes. :em02:

  7. 7

    Elephant Man says:

    Conclusion: Criticize and blame Christians because it’s safer.

    BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 8
    irish19 growls and barks:

    I’m with Xealot and Beaker here. I remember when this came up in seventh grade. Sr. Mary Gertrude, an old school Sister of (no) Mercy told us that as long as we believed it was God who gave man a soul, there was no problem with believing in evolution. I think that works as well now as when she said it.

  9. 9
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    Like some of the others here I see no basic incompatibility between having a faith and studying science. But at the risk of being reassigned to the Imperial Playroom as a training aid, I don’t see how anyone who rejects evolution; the basis for a biology can realistically be expected to study any of the life sciences. This is neither inflammatory nor atheistic, but a recognition that faith and science are two separate subjects. If you can’t at least compartmentalize internal conflicts like this and at least learn the science you are not college material.

    When it comes to evolution, its best described as both a theory and a fact. A fact is something we observe in the world, and a theory is our best explanation for it.

    For example; the fact of gravity is that things fall, and our theory of gravity began with Isaac Newton and was later replaced by Einstein’s improved theory. The current state of our theory to explain gravity does not affect the fact that things fall.

    Similarly, Darwin’s original theory of evolution was highly incomplete and had plenty of errors. Today’s theory is still incomplete but it’s a thousand times better than it was in Darwin’s day. But the state of our explanation does not affect the observed fact that species evolve over time.

    If you replace this with “Because its in the Koran/Bible/Historical Dialectic” you are just following a dogma. Not engaging in rational thought.

  10. 10
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    LC hilljohnny @ #:

    I hear ya on the writing, even with voice recognition and a spell checker most of the folks I work with are incomprehensible half the time.

    I do have to disagree with you about evolution and practicing medicine. I see this as more of a failure of rational thought. I don’t care what you believe but you need to go to and pass your basic bio class. If the basic subject offends you then you are in the wrong major.

  11. 11
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    LC Xealot says:

    As a somewhat related side note: I personally believe evolution and Biblical teachings are compatible. I mean, the order of creation is roughly the same as the order of evolution, so I take it that God created life, maybe not in a literal seven days, but in a period of time for which this is a metaphor. And evolution is what we see, looking backward in the historical record of his work. Time, even billions of years, would mean nothing to a being who is eternal. But, I’m certainly not going to lop off heads if someone disagrees with me on that point.

    Do I count as a fundamentalist, then, too? These days fundamentalist seems to be more or less equal to “believes in a higher power and is not an officially sanctioned religion of the Left.” Muslims get a pass, Wiccans and “Spiritual” folks are okay too, but not those eeeeeevil Christians and Jews.

    You could believe the pot-smoking Hippie Moon Goddess of Buttfuckistan created the universe in a colossal burrito fart brought on by the organic bean sprout meat substitute. That’s okay. But, oh no, can’t believe in God. Can’t allow that!

    Christianity, capitalism and nationalism seem to be regarded by the left as the principle threats to socialism. Islam for some reason didn’t make the list, largely I think because our leftist friends are as racist and provincial as they like to think those evil conservatives are.

    Socialism is a jealous god and will have no others before it, so ANYTHING that contradicts it or that might be a distraction from the one true justice is to be marginalized. From within as in the case of the Episcopal and Lutheran churches or publicly mocked and shunned in the case of everything else.

  12. 12
    LC Proud Infidel growls and barks:

    If a Christian says that he or she is offended by something on a college campus, they’e immediately ridiculed and labeled as “intolerant bigots”. If a follower of the goat-molesting religion of carbombs says it’s offended, they shriek and apologize for being white and having a job while kissing their asses. As for these goat-and-camel-molesting fleabags, noone held a gun to their heads and told them they had to go to college, they can just bail out and do something else, period.

  13. 13
    LC Sir Rurik, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    I’m yet one more who finds Evolutionary theory nad Chriistianity easily compatible.for reasons given by LC Beaker, LC Xealot, and other serious thinkers. I have more difficulty finding the compatibility between Christiainity and Main Stream Christian denominations. And total confusion with the compatibility of Atheism and Wicca.

  14. 14
    Special Ed growls and barks:

    Gotta weigh in on this! The whole deal with any God is that It is Omnipotent, right? Otherwise, it’s just some lesser being that has to compromise with other lesser beings on its Stuporcommitee to get anything worthwhile done. Couldn’t an Omnipotent God create a universe where evolution works, and furthermore, create it fully functioning as though it had originated billions of years earlier? MY God could have created the universe five seconds ago, complete with records, memories, and Darwin, and there would be absolutely no possible way for us to know without Him telling us.

    An internal combustion engine works by exploding fuel in a chamber to produce pressure to move a solid piece of the motor to impart mechanical energy, thereby turning a shaft or some other such. How was it manufactured? Does that really matter to the driver of a vehicle powered by an ICM? Does it matter much to the mechanic who repairs it?

    The world and universe exists. It follows certain fairly fixed physical laws. Said laws allow for evolution of living species. Our choices seem clear to me. Given that the Universe has not always existed, which seems to be a universally(Haah!) held notion, then SOMETHING caused it to come into being. Some (including me) believe it was GOD. The only evidence I have is that He said so, and sent a part of Himself to be a ridiculously perfect Man to atone for our sins for the only good reason, Love. Or some believe that Something caused the universe to come into being, but it sure wasn’t God, by – by, um … by golly! Not sure what it was, but they know for sure without proof of any sort whatsoever that it wasn’t God, because if it was, then, um, then … then they’d have some hard questions to answer about their lives. And that wouldn’t be FAIR!!!!!

  15. 15
    VonZorch Imperial Researcher growls and barks:

    M167A1 says:

    Christianity, capitalism and nationalism seem to be regarded by the left as the principle threats to socialism. Islam for some reason didn’t make the list, largely I think because our leftist friends are as racist and provincial as they like to think those evil conservatives are.

    I think it is because Pisslam is very collectivist, as is Socialism, and thus are allied religions.

  16. 16
    Slightly to the right of Gingis Khan growls and barks:

    LC Sir Rurik, K.o.E. says:

    I’m yet one more who finds Evolutionary theory nad Chriistianity easily compatible.for reasons given by LC Beaker, LC Xealot, and other serious thinkers. I have more difficulty finding the compatibility between Christiainity and Main Stream Christian denominations. And total confusion with the compatibility of Atheism and Wicca.

    Yep, I’ve yet to see any proper science that disproves the hand of G*D in the creation of and daily running of the universe. Finding a church that can have a intelligent discussion on the topic without being spineless cowards on every other matter of faith is another story all together.

    What I really don’t understand is why this is even a story. If the moon howlers are walking out of class, chances are they will fail. So let them like, just like any other person in society. That’s the end of it. Somehow I see special dispensation coming for the poor mooselimbs so they can be doctors without being exposed to all that evil science.

  17. 17
    LC George, Apocryphal Prophet growls and barks:

    Even a literal understanding of the Bible requires a certain amount of evolution, if you expect to believe that all animals alive today were descended from the number of specimens that would fit on Noah’s Ark.

  18. 18
    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    Why is it so hard to accept that a God who could speak a universe into existence in the blink of an eye could not also speak all forms of life into existence in the blink of an eye?

    For me, it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does creation.

  19. 19
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    M167A1 says:

    Like some of the others here I see no basic incompatibility between having a faith and studying science. But at the risk of being reassigned to the Imperial Playroom as a training aid, I don’t see how anyone who rejects evolution; the basis for a biology can realistically be expected to study any of the life sciences.

    Why not?

    Can you not become a good mechanic with a thorough understanding of its workings and how to maintain and repair an engine without first studying the entire history of the internal combustion engine? Because if that’s the case, then I think we’re going to have to expel quite a few otherwise fantastically excellent mechanics for being heretics.

    Evolution is NOT the basis of Biology any more than Creationism is.

    Biology is what we have, Evolution/Creationism is a way of trying to explain how it got to that point.

    How is a theory about how reptiles suddenly and miraculously sprouted wings and became birds overnight going to help me cut out a brain tumor or help me treat hypertension? For that matter, how is a theory stating that G-d just willed it into existence between 2 and 3 o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon going to help me do those things? I fail to see the connection.

    I know quite a bit about the coagulation cascade, but I can assure you that at no point during a discussion about any particular case study did the length of finch beaks come up as a way of trying to understand how to better treat a case of hemophilia.

    M167A1 says:

    Similarly, Darwin’s original theory of evolution was highly incomplete and had plenty of errors. Today’s theory is still incomplete but it’s a thousand times better than it was in Darwin’s day. But the state of our explanation does not affect the observed fact that species evolve over time.

    Actually, it’s not even the slightest bit better. We’re still looking for those transitional failed random experiment fossils that nature somehow, mischievously, refused to fossilize for us so we could find them. Even being ridiculously optimistic and assuming that useful random mutations occur at a ratio of 1:1,000,000, we should be positively drowning in fossils of lizards with only one wing, worms with half an eye, fish with only one leg etc.

    But you’re right that species do evolve over time. The thing is, they still remain the same species. Their legs may grow stronger, the color of their fur may change to better fit their environment, but they’re still dogs. They haven’t yet, nor have we found a single fossil as much as suggesting that they have in the past, sprouted wings and taken to the sky while starting to lay eggs.

    Nobody but a complete idiot would deny that species adapt. Even bacteria do, which is why we have to spend billions to come up with new antibiotics capable of killing off the most recent resistant mutation. But they’re still Streptococci. They haven’t yet started to develop opposable thumbs or turned into ostriches.

  20. 20
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. says:

    For me, it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does creation.

    You and me both. In my case, it’s because the math just doesn’t add up when it comes to evolution, nor does the evidence. I still haven’t seen any evidence whatsoever of the dead ends that random mutation, by mathematical and utterly non-faith-based logic would have had to produce.

    It is very true that an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters or, to be more current, an infinite number of computers making up random sequences of characters would, logically and mathematically, produce all the works of literature ever created in the history of mankind, not to mention all of the works not yet created, but it’s equally true that such a program would create an amount of useless rubbish that would take up more server space than we have on the entire planet in the process.

    Yet somehow we’re supposed to believe that only the useful random mutations in the evolution of species managed to fossilize?

    Sorry, but that doesn’t even get to be in the same vicinity as “logical.”

    P.S.: And I hasten to add: I’m not saying that I’m “right”, I’m just saying that my beliefs make a whole lot more sense than the only current alternative which makes no sense at all. Evolution can’t, logically, be true. A better theory may come along in which case I’ll have to re-evaluate my current beliefs, but logically and mathematically evolution is a dead end. It doesn’t make sense, indeed it can’t make sense, and the evidence does not support it.

  21. 21
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    LC George, Apocryphal Prophet says:

    Even a literal understanding of the Bible requires a certain amount of evolution, if you expect to believe that all animals alive today were descended from the number of specimens that would fit on Noah’s Ark.

    You know, that’s a good point. It would have had to be one heck of an Ark otherwise. Very good point.

  22. 22
    redc1c4 growls and barks:

    as someone who w*rks in the healthcare field when they can find a j*b, i don’t see how you can practice medicine without at least a nodding acquaintance with Mr. Darwin’s theory, or, more accurately, the evolved version we have today.

    used to be, just about any infection you presented with, we had antibiotics that would knock them flat and off you’d go. now we have resistant strains that are hard to kill, and other bugs that secrete chemicals that destroy the chemical that is supposed to kill them.

    is this because of “natural selection” in that there were always a few bugs in the population that could do this, and we just selected for those attributes by killing off their competition, or are the bugs mutating randomly, which they do, and they lucked out and hit the survival jackpot?

    for example: given that penicillin was originally derived from a mold spore, i’m not sure why infections germs that primarily inhabit the interior of mammal bodies would develop a gene that allows them to secrete penicillinase, yet we now have bugs that do. was the ability always there or did a lucky mutation occur? (or is G*d throwing curve balls at modern medicine to keep us on our toes?)

    as for the whole Christianity/G*d/etc debate, i’m pretty much on the sidelines, as i gave up being Catholic for Lent one year long ago, and never went back. the only thing i know for sure is that G*d is female.

    if G*d was male, everything would make a whole lot more sense and things would move in easily predictable, sensible patterns.

    it’s kind of like the difference between being single and being married, if you think about it.

    just my $0.02, after taxes, and worth exactly what you’re paying for it.

  23. 23

    Even a literal understanding of the Bible requires a certain amount of evolution, if you expect to believe that all animals alive today were descended from the number of specimens that would fit on Noah’s Ark.

    That would be a tough job even with today’s technology if it only carried 1% of all species alive at the time.
    ‘Always wondered where they managed to find some polar bears in that part of the world. :em03:

  24. 24
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    Emperor Misha I @ #:

    Thank you for honoring me with an Imperial response.
    Yes, one may become a mechanic without a thorough understanding of the workings of an internal combustion engine. However this is an inapt comparison, a mechanic has references and people they can draw on that do understand every detail of an engine. If you apply this to medicine it is possible to be an EMT without understanding basic biology. But do you really want your provider to skip anything? As for you hypothetical brain tumor, you are using a non-sequitur argument. The nurse administering your chemo doesn’t need to know, but the MD at John’s Hopkins who is working on a protein to stop your carcinoma from replicating better have a grasp.
    Evolution is very much the foundation of all life sciences; yes you can’t have these without other sciences such as chemistry. But this is where it all begins; you can’t have an in-depth understanding of genetics, cellular biology, and others without evolution. As for Creationism; it simply isn’t relevant to this discussion; it’s an article of faith. God may test your faith from time to time, but I can’t. I can test just about anything else though.
    Reptiles didn’t “suddenly” or “Miraculously” sprout anything. There is no lack of transitional fossils and anyone who would tell you this isn’t bothering to look. Indeed a layperson can find this in ten minutes by going to the library or even Wikipedia and find a long list of transitional fossils. Just a quick search comes up with several transitional finds.
    Here are a few in the “reptiles to birds” category.
    “Lisboasaurus estesi” and other “troodontid dinosaur-birds” a bird-like reptile with very bird-like teeth that is, teeth very like those of early toothed birds [modern birds have no teeth]. May not have been a direct ancestor; may have been a “cousin” of the birds instead.
    “Protoavis” may or may not be an extremely early bird. Not enough of the fossil was recovered to determine if it is definitely related to the birds, or not

    “Archeopteryx” reptilian vertebrae, pelvis, tail, skull, teeth, digits,
    claws, sternum. Avian furcula (wishbone, for attachment of flight
    muscles), forelimbs, and lift-producing flight feathers

    “Las Hoyas bird” This fossil dates from 20-30 m.y. after Archeopteryx. It still
    has reptilian pelvis & legs, with bird-like shoulder. Tail is medium-length with a fused Fossil down feather was found with the Las Hoyas bird.

    Toothed Cretaceous birds, Hesperornis, and Ichthyornis. Skeleton
    further modified for flight (fusion of pelvis bones, fusion of hand
    bones, short & fused tail). Still had true socketed teeth, which are
    missing in modern birds.

    note: a classic study of chicken embryos showed that chicken bills can
    be induced to develop teeth, indicating that chickens (and perhaps other modern birds) still retain the genes for making teeth.

    Give them enough time and your bacteria will grow hands ….. again..

  25. 25
    LC George, Apocryphal Prophet growls and barks:

    LC Cheapshot911, Dept. of Redneck Tech says:
    ‘Always wondered where they managed to find some polar bears in that part of the world.

    Why would they need to have taken more than one kind of bear?

    Also I fail to grasp the logic in conflating the general theory of evolution with the assertion that it explains the development of all life from bacterial ancestors. Why must it follow that one who finds the assertion incredible must necessarily have a poor understanding of the theory?

  26. 26

    LC George, Apocryphal Prophet says:

    Why must it follow that one who finds the assertion incredible must necessarily have a poor understanding of the theory?

    ‘Not sure why. ‘Could be that same old fear of losing one’s faith by learning too much, straying from scripture that artifacts conflict with.
    Any theories?

  27. 27

    Why would they need to have taken more than one kind of bear?

    If I were to tell you that some members of Ursus are more remote from other members, genetically, than humans from chimpanzee’s,, where would you look to fisk my statement?

  28. 28
    LC George, Apocryphal Prophet growls and barks:

    LC Cheapshot911, Dept. of Redneck Tech says:


    Why must it follow that one who finds the assertion incredible must necessarily have a poor understanding of the theory?

    ‘Not sure why. ‘Could be that same old fear of losing one’s faith by learning too much, straying from scripture that artifacts conflict with.
    Any theories?

    The correct answer was “It’s an utterly fallacious assumption”.

    LC Cheapshot911, Dept. of Redneck Tech says:

    If I were to tell you that some members of Ursus are more remote from other members, genetically, than humans from chimpanzee’s,, where would you look to fisk my statement?

    Tell me that the total amount of differing genetic information is always more important than which particular genes are different, and then I’ll fisk you.

  29. 29
    LC Xealot growls and barks:

    It’s an interesting issue for sure. As I believe evolution and Christianity are not mutually exclusive, this doesn’t cause any conflict for me. Yet… I can see where a Creationist would have trouble here. My thought is this: regardless of being true or not, Darwin’s theory is a major issue in the field of biology. So one should be studying it just on virtue of that. One doesn’t have to AGREE. But one should at least KNOW.

    One might not believe some of Stephen Hawking’s more esoteric physics theories, one may even work to come up with alternate theories. Yet, if I were to study physics, I would expect to read, understand and be taught Hawking’s theories as a matter of course. It’s up to me whether or not to believe them, using the talents and abilities I have to weigh in on the subject.

    Of course that sort of free-thinking is against everything Islam stands for. And that comes down to a fundamental point… Christianity got a major reform in the 1500s. We took out our trash, cleaned our (and God’s) house. Islam has yet to do this, and in all probability, never will.

  30. 30
    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    For those who say that evolution is a fact…after all, look at all the species that seem to have evolved…I ask…who’s to say that God did not create all those different forms? A God who can speak a universe into existence can certainly create all sorts and kinds of creatures. People say…oh, evolution takes billions of years. Well, depending on when the world really began, every year that passes could be the billionth year for something. Why aren’t monkeys still giving birth to human babies? Why haven’t humans continued to evolve? Why haven’t trees evolved into something else? Sorry, I just can’t buy into evolution. It’s a theory, nothing more.

    When I was taught evolution in school, I was supposed to believe that an itty bitty, teeny tiny sub-microscopic atom/particle/molecule/whatever (the origin of which no one could explain) exploded into an ordered universe. It didn’t make sense to me then, and it still doesn’t make sense.

  31. 31

    Wherein a can of worms is opened unto us all, and I proclaim I do not like ketchup with my steak!

  32. 32
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. @ #:

    Hey there,
    I’m a historian by training (would you like to try the combo meal?) and a technical instructor in real life. So I’ll risk death by carpal tunnel and do the best I can to lay it out as I understand it.

    First of all fact, and theory and hypothesis seem to be getting mixed up.

    We start with a fact. In this case what the hell are all these weird animals in the fossil record? So we see if we can find an explanation that fits the facts. This is basically an educated guess called a hypothesis. Now that we have a hypothesis we need to test it. So we get all the information we can on the subject, from whatever source, paleontology, genetics, geology whatever we can test and measure. Once we do this and if the hypothesis stands up we can call it a theory. New information is always coming in so the theory is often modified over time. That said you can call it evolution both a theory and a fact. A fact is something we observe in this case that species “evolve” over time. Evolution is the well-researched and tested explanation for this change. I can’t speak for the creation angle except to say that everything we know about biology, genetics, cosmology and geology is consistent with a universe and planet that is billions of years old and that has changed over that time.
    Nobody has ever suggested that one living species changes into a different living species. A salmon hasn’t changed into a turtle, and then into a hippo, which changed into a lion, and then into a monkey, and then into a human being. This is a classic straw man argument (see logical fallacies at the top) and has nothing in common with real biology.

    A better analogy might be a forest of trees. Many trees die out. Some don’t grow very tall. Some have grown a lot over the eons and are still growing today. Trees branch out, and branches branch out themselves, but branches never come back together or combine from two different trees. The path of a species’ evolution is shaped like the branch of a tree, not a donut, not a figure 8, not a ladder. To embrace evolution, you need not —must not — think that a salmon turns into a zebra, or that an ape turns into a man. It’s simply not possible. We’ve all seen the illustration, where a monkey morphs into an ape, that morphs into a caveman, that morphs into a man. If you climb back down the tree branch, you will indeed find earlier versions of man where he was smaller, hairier, and dumber, but it was not an ape. To find a modern ape, you’d need to go even further down the tree, millions and millions of years, find an entirely different branch, and then follow that branch through different genetic variants, past numerous other dead-end branches, past other branches leading to other modern species, and then you’ll find the modern ape.

    Have a good one!

  33. 33
    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    M167A1 says:

    Now that we have a hypothesis we need to test it. So we get all the information we can on the subject, from whatever source, paleontology, genetics, geology whatever we can test and measure.

    You mean like when I was being taught evolution…someone found a bone and tested it. It was found to be umpteen bazillion years old. How do they know? Because the soil it was found in was that old. How do they know the soil was that old? Silly…because that’s how old the BONE was…

    M167A1 says:

    Nobody has ever suggested that one living species changes into a different living species. A salmon hasn’t changed into a turtle, and then into a hippo, which changed into a lion, and then into a monkey, and then into a human being. This is a classic straw man argument

    Then your straw man should be awarded frequent flyer miles. There is a recent IMAX movie (Blue Planet, maybe?) which posits just that…that all life on earth came from a single-celled organism at the bottom of the ocean, or something to that effect.

    Man-caused global warming is supposed to be a “fact,” as well. Look how that turned out.

  34. 34
    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    Theory and hypothesis can be a matter of semantics, depending on whose definition you’re using. Dictionary.com presents them as synonyms.

  35. 35
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. @ #:

    Hi Again GC,

    Thanks for the conversation, If this is something you are really passionate about then I might recommend some additional reading. I am something of an omnivore when it comes to reading but I do have some recommendations if you are interested. I hate it some soup sandwich posts a “read this, it proves I’m right” message so I’ll spare you unless you really want to dig into this.

    Okay back to the post. (Cracks knuckles) You are flopping about like a landed fish on this one
    You’re bring up a class you had years ago and then bring in the Global Warming crew and then come back to something you saw on TV. Based on this I gather you are generally skeptical of some subjects because of the shenanigans of folks like the global warming crowd. That you mistrust the various methods of dating various types of objects and that for whatever reason you didn’t understand or rejected my “forest” illustration. (one animal never changes into another.)

    I’ll put the global warming folks first just to get them out of the way. Caveat emptor, not everything is a rip-off but there are people who will cheat and we must be wary of them. Many people see to use global warming to achieve their own agenda. In the case of “evolution” I take the “young earth” crowd to task for being as dishonest as Al Gore and his nature Nazis. In order to decide who is correct you need to look at what is testable. We have been testing and continue to test evolution and while it changes a bit from time to time it holds up. If you look at anthropogenic climate change you see that the climate is changing, and human activity seems to correlate. Many of the hows, and whys remain to be solved. We also see a pattern of misconduct, misrepresentation and political interference in this area. With regard to evolution as a “debate” we see the same intellectual dishonesty; cherry picking of data and conflicts of interest but it’s the “young earth” crowd doing it here, perhaps for religious reasons, but its still BS.

    I can’t address your bone from class years ago. Someone could have screwed up the test or you could have been asleep for all I know. Generally we use radiometric dating to determine the age of an object. Radioactive decay rates are a known constant. By measuring the amount of an element in an object and then measuring the amount of the element into which it decays, a ratio can be established that tells us how long ago that compound was formed. For example, Carbon-14 dating is used for establishing how long ago living matter died. Any scrap of wood or other organic matter stopped metabolizing carbon-14 when it died, and the carbon-14 in its cells has been decaying into carbon-12 ever since. How much is left tells us how long ago it died. Carbon-14 dating is good for anything up to about 60,000 years ago.
    Other radiometric techniques can be used to date rocks and other objects on much longer time scales. While carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life, the decay of potassium-40 to argon-40 has a half-life of 1.3 billion years, so potassium-argon dating is useful for dating the oldest rocks. In addition to the useful date range, each method has a known error rate. For example, rubidium-strontium dating, with a half-life of 50 billion years, can date rocks as old as moon rocks up to about 3 billion years with an error of 30 to 50 million years, or about 1.5%. Not perfect, but pretty spanking good across 50 Million years.

    Finally I don’t really know how to phrase my understanding much better. I was quite proud of the “forest” example. I suspect we are at semantic loggerheads. Yes once there were very few different types of organisms. Maybe your TV show was right and it started with only one. I doubt we will ever know the details without a time machine. Nothing becomes a new creature but the creatures themselves change over massive amounts of time and uncounted generations small changes add up. Sometimes in periods of great stress changes seem to happen more rapidly, particularly among small populations. Darwin’s famous variations in the Galapagos, are an excellent example of small changes over time.

    Talk to you later.

  36. 36
    M167A1 growls and barks:

    LC Grammar Czar, G.L.O.R. says:

    Theory and hypothesis can be a matter of semantics, depending on whose definition you’re using. Dictionary.com presents them as synonyms.

    A theory has been extensively tested and is generally accepted, while a hypothesis is a speculative guess that has yet to be tested.

    This is the definition from my old archaeology textbook and the basis for my use of the terms here.

  37. 37
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    M167A1 says:

    Thank you for honoring me with an Imperial response.

    Not at all. I thoroughly enjoy a discussion with somebody who disagrees with me but isn’t in the least disagreeable, quite to the contrary. Your points are good and well noted, and these kinds of discussions tend to descend into flame wars all to easily.

    Before I say anything else, I want to stress as I have stressed in the past, just so I don’t come across as something that I’m most definitely not: I don’t for a second think that my theory is better than yours. For one thing, I am very much aware that mine is based on faith and that I have no concrete evidence for it. My issue with yours is that I haven’t seen enough concrete evidence for that either, so I pick one. I could be wrong, you could be wrong, or we could both be wrong. It really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.

    As to your comment, I have two points:

    1) Your example of a transitional fossil has one problem in my view, and that is that your winged lizard, in spite of millions of years of evolution, remained a winged lizard. It didn’t turn into a bird or a giraffe. Yes, some aspects of it, it developed, but that in no way contradicts my beliefs. It got better wings, stronger legs etc. But it was still a winged lizard. Just as a finch, no matter what the length or shape of its beak or a rabbit, no matter what the color of its fur, is still a finch or a rabbit, respectively.

    I think that what some evolutionists get wrong about creationists like myself is that we don’t believe in any sort of evolution at all. For some that might be true, I just don’t know any of them. There is no doubt that organisms, through random mutations and natural selection, adapt over time to survive in changing environments. In my opinion, it would be utter ignorance to try and deny it. We see it happening all the time.

    But, to me at least, there’s a huge jump from a particular species developing traits better suited to its environment to it turning into something else entirely.

    And how about “irreducible complexity?” Half an eye doesn’t help you in the least, yet I’m supposed to believe that animals with a completely useless mutation somehow ended up competing successfully against millions of “normal” members of the same species to the point where it became dominant? The coagulation cascade? Each of its elements are useless on their own, quite a few of them actually detrimental without their negative feedback components, yet I’m supposed to believe that they all came miraculously into existence at the exact same time by happenstance and random mutation?

    Which brings me to another point, and that’s this: I think that we can agree that if all of those mutations were entirely accidental and random, then for every beneficial one there ought to be an untold number of useless ones. For every roll of snake eyes, you have at least 35 rolls of something else, statistically speaking. Yet we haven’t found any fossils of fish with one leg, birds with an eye in their stomach or giraffes with their legs growing out of their backs? Did somebody walk around deliberately denying all of those dead ends the ability to fossilize?

    It just doesn’t make sense to me. The other point is:

    2) You keep saying it, but I still don’t see how a belief in evolution in any way benefits a doctor, other than to prove that he’s well-read. I’ll add that it doesn’t hurt him either, because it’s wholly irrelevant to his trade.

    Chemistry is necessary to understand Biology because all of our biological processes are chemical in nature. But if I’m looking at a hemophiliac who lacks a certain factor, speculating about how that factor came to be is in no way going to influence my treatment. It doesn’t matter to me if it was a result of random mutation or if G-d made it that way, what matters is that he doesn’t have that factor and he needs it to survive.

    I’m not saying that biologists, doctors, school children, you name it, shouldn’t be taught about evolution, it’s one explanation and it certainly deserves as much time as any other, not to mention that it’s not going to hurt anybody in any way to know what all is going on in the scientific world, I’m just saying that, to a biologist, nurse, doctor, EMT, med tech, it doesn’t matter one whit how it came into being, what matters is how it works right now.

    But whether I agree with it or not is not the matter, and that’s where I, as a Christian, know that I differ from the ignorant, doctrinaire muslims in the original article. I don’t mind being exposed to different ideas, as a matter of fact I welcome it because they might just, at some point, convince me that my original ideas were wrong. And if I were to ignore them simply because they don’t fit my current world view, I’d only be condemning myself to self-imposed ignorance. And even if they never reach the point where I’m convinced, it still benefits me to know what people who disagree with me think.

    Knowledge is never a bad thing.

    To take another example: I’m not a Marxist, I’m sure we can agree on that, but I’d be an idiot to refuse to study their way of thinking just because I don’t agree with them. OK, it’s different there because I know that they’re wrong, but how can learning something ever be a bad thing? How can being exposed to different ideas hurt me?

    Only if they’re forced down my throat.

  38. 38
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    M167A1 says:

    Finally I don’t really know how to phrase my understanding much better. I was quite proud of the “forest” example. I suspect we are at semantic loggerheads. Yes once there were very few different types of organisms. Maybe your TV show was right and it started with only one. I doubt we will ever know the details without a time machine. Nothing becomes a new creature but the creatures themselves change over massive amounts of time and uncounted generations small changes add up.

    Sorry, I missed that one. That’s what it all comes down to, really.

    Because I in no way disagree with what you say there. You would have had to have a bunch of different organisms to start off with because they don’t just change into something else. And you’re equally right that we’ll never know for sure without a time machine (or G-d telling us in person), but that’s what the whole theory of evolution hinges upon.

    If you start off by positing that a whole bunch of different organisms slated to become something slightly different over time came into being at some point but we don’t know how, then we’re in perfect agreement.

    It would have to include, mathematically speaking, something like a miracle, though.

    But what I’ve been fed on TV and in classes too numerous to count is that it all started out with nothing, and then something happened in a primordial soup that eventually turned into everything that we know today through random mutations.

  39. 39
    LC George, Apocryphal Prophet growls and barks:

    The bottom line is that there are certain stubborn facts which so far have not been adequately explained without invoking the action of a being which is at least intelligent enough to create life and transcends at least the constraints of our perceivable universe, and who is thus, by any practical definition of the word, a god. The principal facts are: A) All life on Earth depends on a DNA-based information system; B) The physical constants of the observable universe appear to have been fine-tuned to make life possible. Both cases are a matter of information. Any pattern which appears to serve a purpose, and of which any proposed plausible natural cause fails to wholly explain, must logically be the product of deliberate intelligent action.

    That, however, is as far as anything can be asserted on any kind of scientific grounding. Because it is impossible to make any kind of direct observation on any being which exists beyond this universe, all we have to go on is what they choose to reveal to us. Any further reasoning, to the purpose of determining the most accurate characterization of God, can only be based on evaluating such subjective information as we have. However, facts don’t go away just because we have trouble observing them. If one is prepared to accept a particular body of revelation, it must be considered that whatever it has to say about what happened at the beginning of things could be more authoritative than anything we think we can determine about it from our standpoint.

    It’s fair to suppose that at least parts of the Bible might not be authoritative. It’s fair to suppose that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are just metaphors for what really happened, that the Israelites were just too damn retarded for Moses to write “And the LORD raised man up from among the beasts in the fullness of the earth’s days”… well, it wasn’t just Moses who didn’t say that. God Himself is quoted as asserting the Earth was created in six days in the Ten Commandments. He cites it as the basis for His authority to demand everyone to take a day off at the end of every week. But you know, everyone knows laws are the last place to take anything literally. Look at Congress. They use the Commerce Clause as a metaphor for Unlimited Power when they need to cite the basis for their authority.

    I trust it is apparent that I was being facetious in parts of the previous paragraph.

    Anyway, I’m supposed to be the spiritual descendant of the terrified cavemen cowering before the thunderstorm when it’s the other guys who are making up stories about why I must be clinging to religion to make themselves feel more clever.

    It’s hardly dishonest to expect reality, including higher reality, to form a coherent picture. Because if either the universe or God are irrational, it would be likely that both are. Submission to the arbitrary capricious will of a fundamentally unknowable God would be the only solution for eternal safety. Islam would in fact be the religion of truth. However, those who hold faithfully to the assertion that both God and the universe are rational are more likely to make the effort to examine the matter carefully whenever it starts to seem like there’s a contradiction, and not simply storm out of the room.

    Radioisotope dating might seem very well and solid, but it is based on a number of assumptions about how certainly the original ratios of the parent and daughter elements can be known– it is not just a matter of how reliable is the actual rate of radioactive decay. There might also be pressure in the scientific community to calibrate the formulae to conform to the accepted geological timeline, but that’s more of a speculation on politics than science.

    It could be that at the end of the day I won’t have a leg to stand on. But I won’t flounce out of the room like a Muslim. Richard bloody Dawkins isn’t getting rid of my type so easily. I aim to misbehave.