Christians’ Secret Weapon Against Evolution (1 of 2)

Christian apologists have a secret weapon against evolution: confidence. This isn’t the confidence you’re familiar with, grounded in evidence, the consensus of experts, and all that. No, this is the empty, groundless kind. Still, it’s confidence just the same, and it can sound pretty compelling.

I started my path to atheism with the evolution/Creationism debate, so I like to check in occasionally. I recently critiqued the recent young-earth Creationist movie Is Genesis History? here.

Status update on evolution

Let’s move on to a recent podcast by Christian apologist Greg Koukl, “Why Neo-Darwinism Is Dead.” He was all abuzz from a recent meeting with Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, an anti-evolution think tank, and Koukl quickly made clear his conclusion:

The Darwinian model of biological evolution is dead. It is dead. (@9:05)

Why should I care? Should I reject the consensus view of science from someone who is no expert in the field he’s rejecting?

Koukl doubles down on his claim:

The academic crowd on the inside at the highest levels know the facts and know that it’s dead. When I say “the Darwinian project,” I mean very precisely what has come to be known as the neo-Darwinian synthesis, okay, and that is simply that evolution is driven forward by genetic mutation being acted on by natural selection. (9:15)

Let me first get a quibble out of the way. What the hell is “the Darwinian project”? Who says that? You could call it the “modern synthesis,” but that term comes from a 1942 book, and it refers to the integration of Darwin’s ideas with other pioneers’ work from even earlier in the twentieth century.

I assume that the attraction of the word “Darwinism” is that it has that scary -ism suffix like other wicked terms such as “Marxism” or “Maoism.” Tell you what, Greg—let’s follow the lead of the people who actually understand the science and call it “evolution.” How does that sound?

But back to the point of the quote: Koukl tells us that the biologists who really understand evolution see not just unanswered questions, not just gaps—no, they know that the theory is completely dead.

Call me skeptical, but I’ll wait to hear about that from someone who’s not a Christian apologist who gives every indication of having an anti-evolution agenda. Y’know, like a biologist. Even better: the consensus view of the entire field of biology. Last time I checked, evolution was still firmly in place (see the appendix at this post). If Koukl knows that the biggest names within biology are on his side, I wonder why he doesn’t list them. It’s almost like that list doesn’t exist.

Liars gonna lie

Koukl is way ahead of us. He says we can’t trust the biologists to honestly follow the evidence.

They’re not letting go of their presuppositions. They’re not letting go of their metaphysical religion. (10:40)

Hmm—methinks the lady doth protest too much. Perhaps you should look in a mirror, Greg. I share your concern about people who let their religion constrain what they can think, but are you sure it’s the biologists who have the problem?

Koukl tells us that Stephen Meyer said that:

In the academic circles and among the professionals in the know and who work closely with the facts, they see the serious, debilitating problems of the Darwinian model of origins. (11:20)

Stephen Meyer, you say? Is that the Stephen Meyer who rejects evolution but whose doctorate is in history and philosophy of science, not biology? The one who works for an organization whose mission statement begins, “The mission of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture is to advance the understanding that human beings and nature are the result of intelligent design rather than a blind and undirected process”? Yeah, I’m sure he’s a reliable, unbiased source.

I always question “research” that comes from a person or an organization bound by a faith statement. My approach is that the research should come first and then the conclusion, not the other way around, but maybe that’s just me.

Evolution in schools

He moves on to rant that criticism of “Darwinism” isn’t allowed in textbooks.

I wonder what kind of criticism he’s thinking of. I’m just guessing here, but I suppose a current debate might be the various approaches in physics to unify the four fundamental forces. If string theory is explained, for example, I’d expect that the textbook would make clear that it is just one of several approaches.

But there is no equivalent within biology. Evolution is the consensus. There is no other side of the issue.

In the rejection of criticism of evolution in textbooks, Koukl sees a clue. “When someone tries to silence opposition” or when they use the power of the system (courts, legislature, the school system, media), you know they have a weak case.

Knowing they had no scientific case, legislatures and school boards have tried to slip Creationism into public school classrooms in myriad ways—is that what you’re referring to, Greg? Since your opposition actually has the science on their side, I don’t think it works in the other direction.

If the battle were within the scientific community, then Greg would have a point, and we should let the facts decide the issue. But he’s already lost that battle, so he wants to fight in the court of public opinion. But when organizations like the National Center for Science Education respond in kind, pointing out the tricks used to slip Creationism in where it doesn’t belong, he cries foul and cites it as a clue that they’re trying to “silence the opposition.”

In a final example of the pot calling the kettle black, he tells us that the not-Christian position warns that the Creationist arguments mustn’t be read (16:50). By contrast, he’s happy to have Christians read the other side. “Our case can take it.”

Let’s just say that I have a different view on the matter.

To be concluded in part 2 with Koukl’s explanation of evolution’s failings here.

Insanity is believing your hallucinations are real.
Religion is believing that other peoples’ hallucinations are real.
— seen on the internet

Image credit: Dmitry K, flickr, CC

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  • Sophia Sadek

    I am so happy that Neo-Darwinism is dead so that evolutionary science can take its place.

    • JustinL

      Aw, man! And I was JUST getting into Neo-Darwinism!

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Was his name Meyer or Liar ?

    As Hitchens put it referring to miracles, even if evolution is wrong, “you still have all your work ahead of you”.

  • busterggi

    “They’re not letting go of their metaphysical religion.”

    Metaphysical? Biological evolution is metaphysical? What is less metaphysical than dna, blood, bodily functions & all their messy liquid/semi-solid components?

    Seriously, ear wax and vaginal secretions are not metaphysical, they are totally physical.

  • Mr. A

    Funny how the people dissenting evolution never have degrees in biology or related fields.

    • Michael Neville

      Actually a few of them do. The most famous is probably Michael Behe who has a genuine PhD in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. Due to Behe’s views on evolution, Lehigh University has the following disclaimer on its website to clearly inform the readers that the University does not at all endorse Behe’s arguments:

      While we respect Prof. Behe’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

      • Mr. A

        Oh yeah, I know Behe. Still, my point stands that people like him are in the vast minority in this field and view.

      • Kevin K

        Except that Behe doesn’t deny descent with modification — the core finding of Darwinian evolution. In fact, in his first book on the subject, he noted that the presence of the vitamin C pseudogene in all of the great apes (including humans) is proof positive that they shared a common ancestor.

        Behe thinks Dog worked at the microbiological level. He’s wrong, of course, but iconoclasts have been wrong before, yet persisted in their misguided beliefs. Kary Mullis still thinks HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

        It doesn’t make them bad people — just awful scientists.

        FWIW: Behe’s prime example of “irreducible complexity” is the bacterial flagellum. The evolutionary pathway of the bacterial flagellum was worked out in the 1960s…BEFORE Behe received his PhD. So, in reality, Behe was wrong even before he got started.

        • Greg G.

          Also, “irreducible complexity” was predicted about a hundred years ago as “interlocking complexity”.

          The Mullerian Two-Step, or Why Behe’s “Irreducible Complexity” is silly

        • adam

          The Mullerian Two-Step, or Why Behe’s “Irreducible Complexity” is silly

          Simple and effective, thanks!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          My favorite quirk about irreducible complexity is that it is diametrically opposed to the usual talking point of how complexity indicates design. Instead, Behe is alleging that maximal simplicity is the hallmark of intent.

          Apologists: trying to claim victory out of both sides of their mouths for 2,000 years and counting.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          It doesn’t make them bad people — just awful scientists.

          You’re right, it doesn’t necessarily follow logically. However, it happens that Kary Mullis really is a bad person.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, I guess I should have made that caveat that the two states aren’t mutually exclusive.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Behe accepts common descent, so it’s hard to understand why he’s a darling of the Creationists. How much more pro-speciation can you be?

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Beggars can’t be choosers? As has been pointed out, he’s the only one they can point to with a degree that’s relevant.

        • Dannorth

          I would give good odds that he only talks about it when asked specifically.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Yes, Behe accepts common descent, an old Earth, evolution, and natural selection. He just thinks that God dropped by from time to time to poof into existence something too complicated to evolve on its own, like a blood-clotting system or a flagellum.

          It is very hard to square Behe’s views with those of any YEC.

    • Joe

      Some do. It’s the easiest way for a fox to get into the hen house.

  • Michael Neville

    One important thing that the creationists either forget or don’t know is that whatever replaces evolution has to be able to answer questions that evolution doesn’t answer while also answering every question that evolution does answer. GODDIDIT doesn’t answer any questions and so is useless as an alternative to evolution or any other part of science.

    I include Intelligent Design as part of creationism since the “Intelligent Designer” pushed by the Discotute is the Abrahamist god with the serial number filed off. ID was invented by Philip Johnson, a lawyer trying to get around the Constitutional prohibition of teaching a specific religious mythology in American public schools.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      GODDIDIT doesn’t answer any questions

      You could argue that it answers every question. Coupla problems, though: (1) it does so with zero evidence, and (2) the claim is unfalsifiable (and therefore useless).

    • Dannorth

      As was shown in the Dover trial when it turned out that the first draft ID book Of Pandas and People was written in creationist language which was changed when the teaching of Creationism in public school was ruled to violate the Establishment Clause to ID as to fly under the radar.

      • epeeist

        first draft ID book Of Pandas and People

        Ah, who can forget cdesign proponentsists.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I shake my head anew every time I remember that. Though I’m grateful and glad for such a blatant fumble exposing the level of dishonesty, it still astounds me that even one of them (let alone the redundant proofreader it would have been wise to employ in any case) would be so careless as to not WATCH THE SCREEN while executing a crucial Find/Replace.

          If their ~visionary zeal~ could be so easily clouded by The Adversary’s sorcery (or whatever excuse they’ve cooked up in hindsight), perhaps their cynical indoctrination will fade even faster than we hope. Well … I can dream, anyway.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        It’s a pity they didn’t get around to fixing the hilariously bad sequence comparison crap in chapter 6. Their data support the evolutionary explanation very well, but they can’t see it because they think evolution is a ladder, not a branching tree.

        BTW, they got this idea from Michael Denton’s Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, which is only slightly less crappy.

    • Dumpthekoolaid

      Not necessarily. It just takes someone to question the whole “once upon a time there was nothing, and it exploded….turning random chaos into immutable laws and incredible order” theory. Doesn’t have to be the God of the Bible. As an example, Michio Kaku, co-founder of string field theory, who recently stated that “To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.” There are many non-religious people, that simply don’t believe random chance and time gets it done.

      • Joe

        once upon a time there was nothing, and it exploded….turning random chaos into immutable laws and incredible order” theory.

        Who’s dumb enough to think that? Oh right, you.

  • Ficino

    “I assume that the attraction of the word “Darwinism” is that it has that scary -ism suffix like other wicked terms such as “Marxism” or “Maoism.”

    Love it! Shall we start talking about “Christianism”? I think that can become a thing.

    • The Eh’theist

      Does that mean we can call believers, “Christianistas?”

    • Philmonomer

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianism

      I associate the term with Andrew Sullivan.

    • Joe

      it has that scary -ism suffix like other wicked terms such as “Marxism” or “Maoism.”

      Or worse: Thesim!

      • Greg G.

        Or worse: Thesim!

        I see your creative misspelling got it past the nanny filter.

        • Joe

          Yes, ‘creative’ misspelling. That’s what it was.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Perhaps “Paul-ism”

    • OldSearcher

      Just to note that the traslation of ‘Christianity’ into the Spanish Language is ‘Cristianismo’.

      http://dictionary.cambridge.org/es/diccionario/ingles-espanol/christianity

      So, at least in Spain (I think it is the same in other Spanish speaking countries) ‘Chistianity’ rythms with ‘Marxism’ (Marxismo) and ‘Maoism’ (Maoismo)

  • Jim Jones

    Even if a new explanation comes forth replacing evolution, somewhat in the way that Einstein replaced Newton, there will still be no evidence of intelligent design.

    Natural selection is a horrible way to carry out evolution. With humans as an example, there are hundreds of thousands of birth defects for every slight change in human biology. For the same reasons that birds and fish don’t have propellers, we have this because it’s all nature has. We invented medical science to partly ‘fix’ this, however the only real cure is to build gene spinners and to actually design zygotes.

    No god has ever done that. No god ever will.

    • Kuno

      Not to mention that we humans have used evolutionary principles in breeding animals and plants long before Darwin and Wallace came along.

  • Philmonomer
  • Rudy R

    Evolution deniers don’t realize they are also Young Earth Creationists, because they don’t follow their argument to it’s natural conclusion. First, if they deny that there are changes in the heritable traits of biological populations over successive generations, then the only way to account for the formation of new species or changes within species is a god that zaps these different species into existence just to fool those pesky Darwinists. Second, if anthropology has the dating incorrect on the fossil finds of Australopithecus, H. habilus, H. rdolpensis, H. ergaster, et al, and that these were not ancestors of humans, then god must have zapped them into existence at the same time as Adam and Eve, and eventually became extinct or died in the great flood.
    Psychologists would have a field day with these dopes in terms of cognitive dissonance. A biologist who doesn’t agree with evolutionary theory is akin to a mathematician not agreeing with the Pythagorean theory.

    • theot58

      Macro evolution is a popular myth devoid of credible scientific support.
      Dr. Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico said:

      “I signed the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement, because I am absolutely convinced of the lack of true scientific evidence in favour of Darwinian dogma.

      Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all.

      Darwinism is certainly needed, however, in order to pose as a philosopher, since it is primarily a worldview.

      And an awful one, as George Bernard Shaw used to say.”

      • Michael Neville

        Evolutionary biologist and Eastern Orthodox Christian Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote an essay entitled “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”.

        Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all.

        This is not only a lie but a particularly stupid lie. Even AIG doesn’t use this lie. Antibiotic-resistant microbes gain their resistance through evolution. This is recognized by everyone except you.

        Your continued use of the term “Darwinism” just shows us that you’re a scientifically illiterate, religiously motivated ignoramus. The only reason why you reject evolution is that it contradicts your favorite book. Sometimes I wonder if you creationists worship your Bible instead of a god. It certainly seems that way.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sometimes I wonder if you creationists worship your Bible instead of a god. It certainly seems that way.

          With the arkload of fallacies they tend to fall prey to, mistaking the map for the territory really ain’t much of a stretch.

      • Meepestos

        “Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all.”

        Though they use the ToE to aid them in research and advances in medicine not to mention The ToE is the best we got so far to explain evolution. It is so good that many things have depended on the ToE such as the development of some vaccines, antibiotics, and even computer artificial intelligence in regards to genetic algorithms and biotechnology in regards to combinatorial biology, but don;t take my word for it, you can contact Russel J. Howard at Oakbio inc.

        • Kuno

          It would be interesting to ask the good doctor what he thinks is the reason for bacteria developing immunity against anti-biotics.

        • Rudy R

          That only proves micro-evolution and not macro-evolution. Checkmate, Darwinist!

      • guerillasurgeon

        Funny about all those palaeontologists and biologists believing in it then if there is no evidence. And you would prefer to believe a pathologist rather than someone who has a qualification in the actual subject at hand? How very strange.

        • Kuno

          But…but..but he has a PhD!

        • Michael Neville

          Actually according to our creationist he has an MD, not a PhD.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        What’s your worldview? Christianity? You’ll have to share with us how you get around all that pro-slavery stuff.

      • epeeist

        Darwinism is certainly needed

        My Ph.D. contained a significant amount of quantum mechanics for which I used the Dirac notation. Does that make me a “Diracist”?

        The stupidity and dishonesty of creationists referring to the theory of evolution as “Darwinism” when the modern synthesis has multiple elements including genetics and microbiology never ceases to amaze and disgust me.

      • Rudy R

        Macro evolution is a popular myth devoid of credible scientific support.

        So says the creationist. The overwhelming majority of the scientific community beg to differ.

        Dr. Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist….I am absolutely convinced of the lack of true scientific evidence in favour of Darwinian dogma.

        Any person of science would never make such a definitive claim that they are “absolutely” convinced of anything. It’s also telling how you had to quote on non-evolutionary Biologist to make such a bold claim.

        Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all.

        I disagree. No one but theist biologists need Darwinism, which is only a useful strawman argument for dopes. It’s used as a pejorative by creationists to imply a dogma, where none exists. And it’s akin to a strawman argument against the theory of gravity by showing the problems with Newtonianism.

        Since we’re quoting the atheist Shaw, here’s another: “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life.”

      • Odd Jørgensen

        Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Dr. Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico…

        I’m sorry to hear that he’s a farking moron.

      • Ignorant Amos

        You posted near enough the same comment 2 years ago at P. Z. Meyers gaf…

        http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/10/21/what-is-intelligent-design-creationism/#comment-844967

        …and again at this place a year ago…

        https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/05/12/ball-state-professor-earns-tenure-despite-allegations-he-pushed-creationism-class#comment-2673392622

        …and in the interim, you’ve learnt sweet fanny adams.

        You are a one trick pony and the trick isn’t even your own ffs.

        Keep wallowing in your own knuckle-dragging simpleton’s stupidity why don’t ya.

        Or get a better drum to bang.

      • Greg G.

        Dr. Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico

        Note to self: If the doctor studied at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, get a second opinion.

    • Meepestos

      Though rare, some scientists do submit antievolution manuscripts, but it is more about evolutionary problems as unsolved and difficult than that of attacking evolution directly.

      It never ceases to amaze me how some think direct evidence is required when it is an established fact that all sciences frequently rely on indirect evidence.

      Most of the opinions that dismiss the ToE on these forums show a lack of understanding or a partial knowledge on how observations agree with or conflict the predictions derived from a hypothesis by using experiments.

      How can anyone take them seriously until they educate themselves and attain a thorough understanding of the Theory of Evolution?

      • Rudy R

        We do have direct evidence through the observation of genetic changes in 45,000 generations of bacteria.

  • theot58

    They are confident because the scientific evidence for macro evolution is pathetic.

    The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!

    The real battle is between good science and Darwinism.

    When Darwinian/Macro evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.

    The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability. Darwinian/Macro evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation. Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?

    The idea that a bacteria became a human over “millions” of years:
    a) has never been observed
    b) Has no credible evidence supporting it
    c) Is a popular myth

    • Greg G.

      The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability.

      Baloney! “The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.”

      b) Has no credible evidence supporting it

      See Bacteria: Origin and early evolution.

    • guerillasurgeon

      d) Yet strangely, is the belief of almost 100% of people who study palaeontology, biology and the like.

    • Bruce Gorton

      It is fairly clear you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

      First of all the oldest fossil evidence for life isn’t “millions” of years old. It is between 3.7 to 4.2 billion years old.

      Utilizing molecular clock analysis, we get complex life going back 2.33 billion years. That is about 800 million years older than the oldest eukaryote fossils we know of, but it is reasonable to assume that those weren’t the first ones ever given how rare fossilization is even with species that are conducive to it.

      In terms of fossil record, genetics and what we have observed of evolution in the modern setting, the evidence for us descending from a single life form way back when is about as strong as it is possible to have.

      Now here is the funny thing with you creationists. you propose a theory that includes every species on Earth ending up on a boat a few thousand years ago, with the “clean” species going on two by two, and the “unclean” ones going on in sevens.

      Why is this funny? There are millions of land species on Earth, so even a creationist would begin to think it a wee bit tough fitting that many on a wooden boat with only one window.

      So what did creationists come up with in order to solve this wee little discrepancy between sheer math and the theorems they wrestled from a bronze age goat-molester’s backside?

      Kinds! Yeah that’s the ticket – it doesn’t have to be a few lions, leopards, cheetahs – you can just sum it all up as cats! Great!

      Except now you need a rate of speciation so much faster than the wildest predictions of evolution that it becomes entirely laughable. You are unwilling to accept that life could have taken billions of years to evolve to its current state, but are willing to argue that if you just give it a few thousand years your kittens’ kittens’ kittens’ kittens’ etc… could grow up into lions.

      Not only that, but your theory requires us to accept the idea of life all being herbivorous right up until some dude and his girlfriend ate the wrong fruit, and boom, predators.

      What, before that did all of those herbivores have those natural defenses against predation they’re known for, just for shits and giggles? And those big canines, well those must have just been for show right?

      Either that, or there was some serious toothache in Eden one afternoon.

      No wonder you guys tend to feel the distinct and very specific need to deny your grandpa was a monkey, given how you view speciation and the fact that humans fall under the larger ape family, you may well think your grandpa actually was. I mean that would at least solve the creationist account’s incest problem.

      “Muh grandpaw ain’t no monkey – but, uh, don’t go looking to closely at them family portraits ye hear, he didn’t tell me nuthin’ about grandma after all.”

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Not only that, but your theory requires us to accept the idea of life all being herbivorous right up until some dude and his girlfriend ate the wrong fruit, and boom, predators.

        T. Rex’s big teeth were handy for opening coconuts.

        Everyone was helping out where they could, you see.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        My grandpa weren’t no monkey, cuz that’s just disgusting … but God making Adam out of dirt is A-OK with me.

      • Kuno

        I don’t have enough faith to believe in that kind of turbo-evolution.

    • Joe

      observation, measurement, repeatability.

      Lets assume you’re correct.

      Is there a competing hypothesis that does meet those demands?

      • mfm420

        god did it? /s

        • Joe

          I doubt they’ll even be honest enough to admit that is their opinion.

    • Chuck Johnson

      theot58, your expertise in this scientific subject is pretty much zero.
      You are lying.

      • theot58

        Scoffing and sarcasm is a poor substitute for scientific evidence.

        What evidence is there, which proves (beyond reasonable doubt) that our great.….….…. Great grandfather was as self replicating molecule?

        The scientific method demands scrutiny of the evidence, not blind acceptance. Debates are a good way to scrutinize the evidence.

        Do a search on YouTube on “debates on evolution” to scrutinize the evidence. Try http://www.fishdontwalk.com/ or https://youtu.be/BKIWDuPvUJM for a start.

        • Michael Neville

          You wouldn’t recognize scientific evidence if it walked up to you and shook your hand. You prefer a couple of 2500 year old myths some Hebrew priests stole from the Babylonians to reality.

          It is the consensus of biologists that evolution is a fact. It is probably the most strongly supported scientific theory with literally tons of evidence to support it. And please, don’t play the “historical science isn’t science” game. You creationists try to redefine the scientific method to exclude those parts of science which support evolution. It doesn’t work.

          Debates don’t scrutinize anything. They just show who is the better debater. Evidence is the basis of science. Creationism and its alter ego ID have no evidence, evolution does have it.

        • Chuck Johnson

          theot58:
          “What evidence is there, which proves (beyond reasonable doubt) that our
          great.….….…. Great grandfather was as self replicating molecule?”

          Chuck:
          Plenty.
          Do research on “abiogenesis”. This is a scientific subject.You might have trouble understanding the chemistry, biology and physics involved.

          Look up “prion”. A prion is similar to a self-replicating molecule, and prions exist today. They are studied in the lab.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          I would start with the obvious duplication in ribosomal RNA.

        • Joe

          Do you have any videos that don’t have convicted fraudsters in them?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, but he’s a doctor!

          Of a sort, anyway.

        • Michael Neville

          Most physicians aren’t scientists, they’re body mechanics.

        • Joe

          Debates are a good way to scrutinize the evidence.

          You have got to be shitting me?

        • Chuck Johnson

          theot58:
          “What evidence is there, which proves (beyond reasonable doubt). .?”

          Chuck:
          You are using a legal phrase, used in a court of law.
          What a “reasonable doubt” might consist of is not clearly defined.

          Science uses other ways to decide that something has been proven. Sometimes the research stops because enough information has been gathered for our present purposes. Sometimes the research stops for practical reasons (time or money might be in short supply).

          In science, absolute certainty does not exist. Whenever new evidence becomes available, old questions are subject to reexamination. But extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence for earlier theories to be modified or abandoned.

          So science is driven by human curiosity and by the need to find practical solutions to human problems. Finding ultimate answers is not part of the agenda. Finding increasing amounts of knowledge and wisdom is the practical goal.

        • Chuck Johnson

          theot58:
          “Debates are a good way to scrutinize the evidence.”

          Chuck:
          Formalized debates are a bad way to scrutinize the evidence.
          Such debates serve political purposes, but are not good at serving scientific purposes.

          The goal of a formalized debate is to be successfully persuasive. Telling lies and using rhetorical tricks in order to deceive are common practices.

          In science, discovering the truth and then sharing the truth with the rest of humanity are much more important than being successfully persuasive.

          This is one of the reasons that science provides such huge benefits for humanity.

        • Michael Neville

          Hovind does not have a doctorate. He bought a piece of paper from an unaccredited “university” after submitting a thesis which began, “Hello, my name is Kent Hovind.”

        • Greg G.

          His original thesis was six words shy of the minimum.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a thesis which began, “Hello, my name is Kent Hovind.”

          And subsequently plummeted in terms of explanatory power.

        • Kuno

          That you are using phrases like “beyond reasonable doubt” and think that debate are somehow scientific evidence just shows your ignorance, even if you are not aware of it.

        • Odd Jørgensen

          Hello, my name is Kent Hovind…thus begins the travesty supposed to pass for a thesis by diploma-mill “Doctor” Kent “went to jail for fraud” Hovind.

        • Michael Neville

          Hovind went to jail for tax evasion and money laundering. He didn’t have to go to jail. If he’d paid the back taxes and penalties he would have remained a free man.

        • Greg G.

          Who do you think Hovind will believe, the judge who said it was against the law to not render taxes or the voice in his head that told him it was God speaking and said it was OK to not pay taxes.

        • Dorfl
        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…we’ve cottoned on that Theot is an imbecilic, knuckle-dragging, lying bastard for Jesus…but well done you for doing the due diligence and laying all this out for us.

          The dishonesty of Christians and Christianity knows no bounds.

        • theot58

          Hello Dorfl !

          You caught me red handed – what can I say?

          1) PLEASE DO NOT MIS REPRESENT ME

          I have never claimed that people have not responded.
          I have claimed and am continuing to claim that no-one has provided credible scientific evidence for the Macro evolution myth

          2) WHY AM I DOING THIS?

          I am a teacher very disturbed by the negative impact that macro evolution is having on our young people.

          The consequences of teaching Darwinians/Macro evolution as a scientific fact are subtle but very destructive.

          The core assertion of Darwinian/Macro evolution, that from simple and chaotic beginnings all life-forms emerged by an unguided, purposeless process, is NOT harmless. The inescapable inference is that since we emerged from a random, unguided, purposeless process, then we are purposeless and of no inherent value. This has a subtle but very negative impact on the self esteem of students and is contributing to low self esteem, depression, nihilism, etc.

          If the scientific evidence for macro evolution was genuinely strong; I would not complain. The truth is that the scientific evidence shows that macro evolution is highly implausible
          3) RECENT SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES DISPROVE MACRO EVOLUTION
          I have just gone through Stephen Myers book, Signature in the Cell.
          He describes in minute detail the mindblowing design in the cell and in DNA.
          It clearly shows that this level of design is ONLY attributable to an intelligent designer. The Macro evolution model of blindly believing that natural forces could produce it – it laughingly silly.
          I hope this helps

        • Matt Cavanaugh

          The core assertion of Darwinian/Macro evolution, that from simple and chaotic beginnings all life-forms emerged by an unguided, purposeless process….

          Yeah, you stumbled right out of the gate there. FALSE.

        • theot58

          What exactly are you asserting to be false?
          Are you saying that macro evolution is guided and does have a purpose?
          Please clarify

        • adam

          Macroevolution is evolution on a scale at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution,[1] which refers to smaller evolutionary changes of allele frequencies within a species or population.[2] Macroevolution and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.[3][4]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroevolution

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f4c40399aa1853a9fd95dc5573c0b1651913d6f31953a94b8b4d86b7ac728813.jpg

        • Matt Cavanaugh

          1) ‘Evolution’ is simply the proposition that the observed diversity of life came about by changes from a smaller number of less diverse ancestors. It was wildly uncontroversial for centuries;

          2) Darwin’s explanation for Evolution is known as Natural Selection. It does not posit macro-evolutions as you conceive of them;

          3) Natural Selection (a.k.a., ‘Darwinism’) posits minor, random genetic mutations, the phenotypic expressions of which are selected (you may read: ‘guided’) by non-random environmental pressures. One example would be random variances in hairiness, with incremental slightly-more-hairiness gradually leading to thick furs in a cooling climate. Your strawman macro-evolution would posit a sudden, single-generation jump from a thin coat to a thick one. In almost all instances, such large leaps would be deleterious — which is why it is not part of Natural Selection;

          4) Evolution & speciation can and usually does move rapidly in one direction following relatively long stretches of stability. But the process is still comprised of minor mutations compounded over generations;

          5) In case you were wondering, there is concrete evidence for this. A forty-year study measuring finches’ beaks on one Galapagos island revealed minor fluctuation in beak size & shape. The fluctuations wobbled back & forth around a mean until extended drought seasons pushed them in one direction. (While most individual finches perished when the plants they fed on died, those with slightly different beaks were able to subsist on another type of seed). Lactose tolerance and melanin variance in humans is also evidence, as is all artificial selection done by humans on domesticated animals and plants;

          6) In case you were wondering, these changes occur too rapidly to be reflected in the fossil record, which is extremely spotty. It’d be like watching only one second out of every hour during GONE WITH THE WIND and wondering how on Earth did Scarlett lose Tara?

          7) There is no ‘purpose’ per se to natural selection. Neither genes nor ‘evolution’ can plan ahead to create mutations that might some day be useful. But mutation itself in moderation is ‘useful’ because it creates a broad selection of variants that give a particular genetic line more ways to survive changing environments. Sexual reproduction enhances this, so one could say the ‘purpose’ of sex is to create mutations, the ‘purpose’ of which are to ensure survival. But the development of sex was also random. Like any mutation, it stuck around simply because it was good at sticking around.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’ll be theot58 moving on to another forum and hitting the reset button I would imagine.

        • Matt Cavanaugh

          They asked.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…and it would appear that when theot58 is furnished with the answers you have provided as requested, there is the sound of crickets. He moves along to pastures new and starts the nonsense all over again. Serious answers seem to be an inconvenience to the creotard.

          But fair play to ya for doing the heavy lifting anyway. I hadn’t the will for it, so just linked the eejit til the talkorigins.org website.

        • adam

          “If the scientific evidence for macro evolution was genuinely strong; I would not complain.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c6338d1c2d9058da691571a6688df25eccabd8e89b7749c14069533aa53e08b8.jpg

        • theot58

          Funny – but wrong

          The nice thing about science is that it is meant to be the systematic search for the truth. It is not a popularity contest.

          Large numbers of people believed the earth was flat – but that did not make it flat.

          The scientific evidence clearly shows that natural forces do NOT have the capacity to design the complexity and order and design that we see in a single cell. Not to mention a human brain, or nervous system.

          If we cut through the linguistic trickery evolutionists use to confuse and intimidate the masses.

          Darwinian/Macro evolution can be stated simply as the following equation:

          Simple beginning (e.g. 1 primitive cell = no brain, no nervous system, etc.)
          + lots of time
          + lots natural selection
          + many mutations
          + natural forces (rain, wind, gravity etc.)
          =============
          extremely complex organism
          (e.g. human, brain, blood circulatory system)

          Has this been observed? – NO (Even Richard Dawkins agrees with this)

          Is it plausible? -Not really ; There is no proof that it is.

          Does it need a lot of faith to believe this? – Certainly does

          So why do we teach it as a scientific fact?

        • adam

          “The scientific evidence clearly shows that natural forces do NOT have the capacity to design the complexity and order and design that we see in a single cell. ”

          No, it doesnt show that at all, quite the opposite.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/687ffa7259557b48fe5a4264a7ac3d0c8276b5f1de7018a9f5136bfdd28a9701.jpg

          Macroevolution is evolution on a scale at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution,[1] which refers to smaller evolutionary changes of allele frequencies within a species or population.[2] Macroevolution and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.[3][4]

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/637bfeb32fe76da958e611fbfd841246baeabb7b96c48f9a41144e316ea0e22d.jpg

        • theot58

          Adam – what are you smoking?

          Credible scientific evidence I can stand; scoffing and sarcasm is a bit unpleasant.

          Consider just a small number of fundamental scientific problems with Darwinian/Macro evolution which expose its fallacy

          1) Where did the information come from to build the DNA molecule?

          – it contains over 4 Gigabits of programming data; we have never observed natural forces creating programming data

          – a building is proof of a builder, a program is proof of a programmer, a design is proof of a designer

          2) How did genders “evolve” from asexual organisms?

          – Consider some of the challenges, have a look at this video http://youtu.be/Ab1VWQEnnwM

          3) How do you explain symbiotic relationships while holding to gradual “evolution”?

          – e.g.. The bees need the flowers, the flowers need the bees – they both MUST exist together, how could this occur slowly or gradually

          – What came first the Chicken or the egg?

          4) Where are all the myriad of transition fossils that Darwin predicted?
          – They were missing then and they are missing now.
          – How can the Cambrian explosion of millions of fully formed organism appearing abruptly be explained by Evolution?

          5) Which “evolved” first, the vagina or the penis?
          – how did one “evolve” from the other?
          – How could the sexual function “evolve” both separately yet simultaneously?

        • Joe

          How does your hypothesis answer all those questions?

        • theot58

          My hypothesis answers them as follows:

          1) If we cannot give due evidence for a scientific viewpoint we then say : WE DO NOT KNOW.

          2) We do not fabricate a myth and torture the evidence to make it say what it does not say.

          3) We do not deceive students by teaching them a fairy tale as “fact”.

          The consequences of teaching Darwinians/Macro evolution as a scientific fact are subtle but very destructive.

          The core assertion of Darwinian/Macro evolution, that from simple and chaotic beginnings all life-forms emerged by an unguided, purposeless process, is NOT harmless. The inescapable inference is that since we emerged from a random, unguided, purposeless process, then we are purposeless and of no inherent value. This has a subtle but very negative impact on the self esteem of students and is contributing to low self esteem, depression, nihilism, etc.

          If the scientific evidence for macro evolution was genuinely strong; I would not complain. The truth is that the scientific evidence shows that macro evolution is highly implausible

        • Joe

          So we have no idea how life is how it is?

        • theot58

          Are you making a statement or what?

        • Joe

          We both are, aren’t we?

          How does that help with children’s self esteem and worth? “Where did I come from, Teacher?”. “We don’t know, child, and we can’t be bothered to find out.”

          It can’t be very important then.

        • Michael Neville

          Ehe psychological consequences of reality have nothing to do with whether or not reality is true. Also your whines about evolution causing low self-esteem, etc. are just plain stupid. I know several biologists and they’re not depressed nihilists. You pulled that shit straight out of your ass.

        • Pofarmer

          idjit.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Pofarmer

          The core assertion of Darwinian/Macro evolution, that from simple and
          chaotic beginnings all life-forms emerged by an unguided, purposeless
          process, is NOT harmless. The inescapable inference is that since we
          emerged from a random, unguided, purposeless process, then we are
          purposeless and of no inherent value.

          Hell Dude, that’s the coolest thing about it. Against all odds, here we ARE! And, we’re related to all the other life on this planet! Amazing! By contrast theism is dead, dead, dead. You are the plaything of a God. Wow.

        • Kodie

          I really don’t understand the obsession they have with having some kind of ultimate purpose. At best, someone loves you, and you likely have some kind of role that helps to maintain whatever humanity is, and at worst, your flaws exceed the benefit of having you around at all, by a little or a lot. Nobody has inherent value. That’s what it’s like to live in a world of billions of people and try not to feel like an ant on an anthill. You can’t do it, you have to look around at the people in your family and community, and that’s got to be enough.

        • Pofarmer

          LIke it or not, we make our own purpose, just like our dog, or whatever. Even if you believe that some god gives you ultimate purpose, you just let yourself be defined by your preacher.

        • BlackMamba44
        • adam

          “2) We do not fabricate a myth and torture the evidence to make it say what it does not say.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62da10177de8c12d9feedf1a0ff3d448ed929feef887a1192640edb3a8a15953.jpg

          Yes, you do.

        • adam

          “3) We do not deceive students by teaching them a fairy tale as “fact”.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/02510a4a2747e10cb1986d90d1ee4fac500e1a8ab76de962bea729d7864072bf.jpg

          But you do.

        • adam

          “1) If we cannot give due evidence for a scientific viewpoint we then say : WE DO NOT KNOW.”

          As opposed to

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8313efa128f4b69f835c9e1249ec7e0a3c6f4ac39bee5f86101f2692e380791d.png

        • adam

          “If the scientific evidence for macro evolution was genuinely strong; I would not complain.”

          But you do.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b52354bf7b232dfbdf638e28831a2a0c607a59af18c37734dd3799be2642e9d1.jpg

        • adam

          “1) If we cannot give due evidence for a scientific viewpoint we then say : WE DO NOT KNOW.”

          but your kind simply says “Goddidit”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/526c48e422cf67b5651b29d969287063512b92caef0f4d139debf02de0f981cd.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Michael Neville

          I read the links that Dorfl gave. You made the same arguments three years ago and they were answered then. So why are you asking about the evolution of sex and symbiotic relations AGAIN?

          You’re not an honest debater, trying to get answers to reasonable questions. You’re playing ideological games and trying to push an indefensible position which has nothing to do with science.

          Incidentally the egg came long before the chicken. The ancestors of chickens were laying eggs millions of years before there were chickens. So your “gotcha” question is really quite silly.

        • Greg G.

          The answers to your questions have been available for over a decade:

          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

          Go and learn.

        • adam
        • busterggi

          I suppose it would be unfair to ask where Yahweh got all his information on how to create the universe.

        • adam

          “I suppose it would be unfair to ask where Yahweh got all his information on how to create the universe.”

          Well, of course it would be unfair.

          Why?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6fdb39aadd75100b6a42a22589cc237e66125efb7c16def734b5dcc49a03caaa.jpg

        • adam

          “- How could the sexual function “evolve” both separately yet simultaneously?”

          https://www.amazon.com/Red-Queen-Evolution-Human-Nature/dp/0060556579

          Why do men have nipples?
          Why are there hermaphrodites?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/637bfeb32fe76da958e611fbfd841246baeabb7b96c48f9a41144e316ea0e22d.jpg

        • busterggi

          Well the reason men have nipples is so kids can learn how to handle disappointment right at birth.

        • Michael Neville

          Evolution has happened in my lifetime. Staphylococcus aureus has gained resistance to numerous antibiotics. The Intelligent Designer™ didn’t bless S aureus and grant it special immunity to penicillin, methicillin, streptomycin, vancomycin and several other antibiotics. S aureus evolved resistance.

          Now I know you’re going to say “microevolution” but the difference between microevolution and so-called macroevolution is time. Billions of years is plenty of time for all sorts of changes to have evolved.

        • adam

          “Funny – but wrong”

          No, its true.

          “Darwinian/Macro evolution can be stated simply as the following equation:”

          Macroevolution is evolution on a scale at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution,[1] which refers to smaller evolutionary changes of allele frequencies within a species or population.[2] Macroevolution and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.[3][4]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroevolution

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15ca0861e39343c39684a19ac9ceddd9534f334c6757b32dc5e2772146b00297.jpg

        • adam

          “It clearly shows that this level of design is ONLY attributable to an intelligent designer.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6865a4cce3282762d39ccbf755e5a9a9ac316fdc6eeed7b3093b367aedf73658.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          I have just gone through Stephen Myers book, Signature in the Cell.

          Three things about this statement:

          1. The man’s name is Stephen Meyer.

          b. He has a PhD in philosophy, not in science.

          iii. Like you, he’s ideologically driven to deny evolution because it contradicts a couple of 2500 year old creation myths that Hebrew priests stole from the Babylonians.

          If you hope to convince us that evolution is false then you have to give (here’s the word you creationists hate and fear) evidence. Saying that you’ve read a book by a creationist or posting a video from a creationist known as a liar and a thief (you do know that “Dr” Kent Hovind was convicted of tax evasion and money laundering, don’t you?) is not evidence. Cite peer reviewed papers from real biologists, not philosophers or felons with diploma mill degrees.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have claimed and am continuing to claim that no-one has provided credible scientific evidence for the Macro evolution myth.

          Nice caveat there with the word “credible”…that can get you out of all sorts of embarrassing predicaments. Or so you seem to think. Not so much really though.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Debates are a good way to scrutinize the evidence.

          Yeah, but touring around internet blogs and posting the same crap, then hitting the reset button without learning anything, isn’t doing you any favours in the critical thinking department

          You are listening to, and repeating, the ballix being spewed by the wrong people. I pity your pupils, if indeed you really are a teacher.

          Try some science from real scientists…

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    • Michael Neville

      Darwin wrote his books about 150 years ago. Biology has moved on since then. Someone talking about “Darwinism” is just showing their ignorance and prejudice.

      Nowadays there are several areas involving evolution being studied. Here’s just a few: Evolutionary development (evo-devo) compares the developmental processes of different organisms to infer the ancestral relationships between them and how developmental processes evolved. Population genetics deals with genetic differences within and between populations, examining such phenomena as adaptation, speciation, and population structure. Molecular genetics studies the structure and function of genes which can give insight into heredity, genetic variation, and mutations.

      Evolutionary biology is a much more diverse field than you realize. But the main thing about evolution is it’s a major part of science. As Randal Munroe explains it:

      https://xkcd.com/54/

      • Matt Cavanaugh

        All of those fields you mention are consilient with the essentials of Darwin’s theory.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sure, but why give Theot one more concept to torture? They’re already struggling with dishonest definitions aplenty.

    • Rudy R

      The idea that god magic created a human:
      a) has never been observed
      b) Has no credible evidence supporting it
      c) Is a popular [theist] myth

    • JustAnotherAtheist2
      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Now, that’s what I like about our community! theot is eager to get new information and open his mind to new ideas, and here you go, pitching in to help a fellow traveler on the road of life.

        I’m sure theot watched this video completely with an open mind.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m sure theot watched this video completely with an open mind.

          Is that the tongue of sarcasm you have stuck in your cheek there Bob…or are you just happy to see me?

    • Max Doubt

      “They are confident because the scientific evidence for macro evolution is pathetic.”

      The scientific evidence supporting the family of theories that explain the process we call evolution is ubiquitous. Every area of the biological sciences provides some objective support for the fact that evolution occurs and is the mechanism that has brought about the diversity of life on earth today.

      “The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!”

      Utter nonsense. The only reason anyone rejects the fact that evolution occurs as described by the scientific community is because it contradicts the religious narrative of life being magically produced in its present form by some magical agent.

      “The real battle is between good science and Darwinism.

      When Darwinian/Macro evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.”

      No, it doesn’t. Your source of that opinion is wrong. If it’s an individual, they’re lying.

      “The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability. Darwinian/Macro evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation. Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?”

      Take a biology course at your community college. You’ll learn about the associated observation, measurement, repeatability, and more. There won’t be a week goes by without introducing you to more. The only things that might prevent you from learning it would be dishonest willful ignorance or simple raw stupidity.

      “The idea that a bacteria became a human over “millions” of years: a) has never been observed”

      We haven’t had millions of years to observe, but new species are evolving in time frames that can be observed.

      “b) Has no credible evidence supporting it”

      That, as I mentioned above, isn’t just wrong; it’s a lie.

      “c) Is a popular myth”

      The myth is not with evolution but with the religious idea that an invisible magical agent decided to make some life and *poof*, here we are.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Lots of confidence but very little evidence. I should write a blog post about that.

      When Darwinian/Macro evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.

      You see the problem, right? There’s theot … and then there’s all of biology. I’d be an idiot to go with you. You’ll have to bolster your argument. Y’know–with evidence and all that. Oh, and the scientific consensus would be helpful as well.

    • Otto

      If your religion is threatened by evolution your faith is pretty weak.

    • epeeist

      They are confident because the scientific evidence for macro evolution is pathetic.

      Here are a couple of web sites for you, first one and this one. So tell us why the evidence in these two sites is “pathetic”.

      The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability.

      And that’s it? You can’t provide any more details as to what “the scientific method” demands, because there are a few more things it needs.

      Darwinian/Macro evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation.

      And yet one of the great philosophers of science, Karl Popper, who initially thought the theory worked only as a research programmed changed his mind and said:

      The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true. There seem to be exceptions, as with so many biological theories; and considering the random character of the variations on which natural selection operates, the occurrence of exceptions is not surprising.

      and

      I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation

      So should we accept the view of a random creationist on the Internet or that of someone who actually knew something about it?

      Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?

      And let’s further ask, is our acceptance changed by the fact that the creationist is obviously unable to frame an argument and instead posts a ludicrous straw man.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      You’re either a Poe or an idiot.

      I lean toward the latter.

      You’re trafficking in lies, creating differences where none exist, while using a computer based on developments by a gay man (Turing) on an internet developed by atheists.

      Science gives us airplanes, religion flies them into buildings. YOUR KIND will have to do better if you want to convince us.

    • Kuno

      The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability.

      …of experiments and observations. You left out that part. You also left out that hypotheses and theories have to make predictions which are testable through those experiments and observations.

      And what do you know, the ToE does exactly that.

    • Dys

      I always like it when creationists try to create a false divide between micro and macro evolution, as if one is caused by different mechanisms or something.

      The only real difference is scale.

      • epeeist

        I always like it when creationists try to create a false divide between micro and macro evolution

        Just like these two guys.

        http://www.jesusandmo.net/wp-content/uploads/2006-09-25.jpg

      • islandbrewer

        Also, with YECs, the diversification of various species within a “kind” (say, foxes and wolves) is supposed to have taken place within only 5,000 years, yet the diversification of two different kinds (canids and ursids) over tens of millions of years is impossible.

        • Dys

          I remember trying to explain to a creationist that if the Noah’s Ark myth were really true, there would have been no point in bothering to collect two of all the unclean animals, because they’d all have gone extinct due to an extreme lack of genetic diversity anyway.

          The existence of owls, pigs, rabbits, camels, mice, etc. along with an incredibly basic understanding of population genetics disproves the base on which young earth creationism rests.

          Some animals can get down to very low numbers and still survive, but no one in their right mind would suggest a minimum viable population of 2.

        • Greg G.

          But the genetic diversity came from all the cosmic rays they were exposed to when the vapor canopy collapsed.

        • Dys

          Wouldn’t they just turn all stretchy, ignite, turn invisible, or become rock golems?

        • Michael Neville

          But those cosmic rays would cause mutations which all good creationists tell us are always bad!

        • Greg G.

          Of course mutations are negative, but the ur-genomes were still perfect, except for not being impervious to cosmic rays.

        • islandbrewer

          “But … but … Jesus is magic!” [/christian apologetics]

      • Matt Cavanaugh

        Rapid, tiny mutations channeled in one direction by sustained selection pressure is not the same as one big mutation from a whirl of the Twister™ spinner (Ventral Notochord Blue!). The creationists’ willful ignorance of the very thing they seek to pick apart is galling.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?

      Absolutely none. Because it’s not true. My great grandfathers were all born in the 18th century, less than 150 years ago. That’s a very short time compared to the 4.5+ billion years age of the Earth.

      The idea that a bacteria became a human over “millions” of years:

      b) Has no credible evidence supporting it

      The genetics is pretty compelling. Did you know humans have two different versions of the gene for malate dehydrogenase; one for the enzyme in your cytosol, and one for the enzyme in your mitochondria? They catalyze the same reaction, and have the same overall structure, but sequence comparisons establish that the two enzymes are more closely related to the enzyme in different families of bacteria than they are to each other.

      • Greg G.

        My great grandfathers were all born in the 18th century, less than 150 years ago.

        If we want to be pedantic (and who doesn’t?), 150 years ago was the 19th century.

        • Michael Neville

          As frogs say, time’s fun when you’re having flies.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Thanks.

    • RichardSRussell

      Gee, I’m neither an evolutionary biologist nor a theologian, so I myself am not particularly well qualified to decide this issue and must therefore rely on the opinions of others who’ve paid closer attention.

      So on the one hand I have the consensus of tens of thousands of biologists with doctorates, lifetimes of study, and access to the finest instruments and computers, who’ve done the hard work of field research, tested their hypotheses, submitted their work to peer review at conferences and in journals, and done cross-disciplinary reality checks with their fellow scientists in fields like geology, astronomy, biochemistry, and nuclear physics.

      On the other hand I’ve got 6 brief paragraphs from a pseudonymous poster with no visible qualifications on a relatively obscure website whose primary concern isn’t even biology.

      Hmmm, hard one here. Dither, dither, dither. Can I get back to you?

    • islandbrewer

      … citation needed.

    • Lark62

      Sure, I believe in “micro mathematics”. 2+2=4, 5+6=11, etc.

      But I sure as all heck don’t believe in that newfangled “macro mathematics.” No sirree Bob. There just ain’t no way that macro mathematics can be true. 200+200=400? 5,000+6,000=11,000?

      There just ain’t no way. If god had wanted me to believe in that macro math, he would’ve given me more fingers and toes. So there. Nonny nonny boo boo.

      I just proved that “macro math” is false with exactly as much credibility as Theot proved “macro evolution” is false. How’d I do?

      • Greg G.

        Fingers and toes work well for addition and subtraction but there are other organs for multiplication.

      • Michael Neville

        the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.

    • Matt Cavanaugh

      You fool. Darwinism is all about micro-evolution. Macro-evolutionary saltation makes no sense. cf. Fisher.

  • Joe

    “Rumors of the death of Darwinian Evolution are greatly exaggerated.”

    – Mark Twain (paraphrased).

  • Tommy

    That’s a nice army of strawmen you got there, Mr. Koukl. It would be a shame if something happened to it… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/67f7d5d5ff241eb36b6f86054ba7ddca26e12b8a70c1c65ccfb4ac4c7f92e2f5.jpg

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Based on the message at the bottom of that matchbook, it was distributed to catholic priests?

  • eric

    Koukl tells us that the biologists who really understand evolution
    see not just unanswered questions, not just gaps—no, they know that the
    theory is completely dead.Call me skeptical, but I’ll
    wait to hear about that from someone who’s not a Christian apologist who
    gives every indication of having an anti-evolution agenda.

    The claim that the TOE is just about to die is just another creationism talking point, and like many others, repeated ad nauseum while ignoring evidence.

    In fact, YECers have been claiming the imminent demise of old earth explanations since before Darwin published OOS! See here for a list of creationists claiming science is about to die and creationism’s acceptance is just around the corner.

    I particularly like these two: “Today, at the dawn of the new century, nothing is more certain than that Darwinism has lost its prestige among men of science. It has seen its day and will soon be reckoned a thing of the past.” Written in 1904. And: “Darwinism has been definitely outgrown. As a doctrine it is merely of historical interest.” Written in 1924.
    :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      A nice angle, thanks. I may use that in the follow-up post.

    • Frank G Turner

      Outgrown? It was not that old of a concept at the time…this sounds like it was written by someone who thinks that history only goes back as far as his grandfather’s memories.

    • epeeist

      I particularly like these two: “Today, at the dawn of the new century,
      nothing is more certain than that Darwinism has lost its prestige among
      men of science. It has seen its day and will soon be reckoned a thing of
      the past.”

      This was sort of true. At this point the theory hadn’t undergone its first inter-theoretic reduction and incorporated Mendel’s genetics.

    • Herald Newman

      See here for a list of creationists claiming science is about to die and creationism’s acceptance is just around the corner.

      I hear that Jesus’ second coming is “just around the corner” too. I give that about as much credibility as their creationist claims.

      • Greg G.

        You little devil. I accidentally moused over the blank icon and it said you had 666 comments.

        • Herald Newman

          Shit! I missed it. I would have taken a screenshot if I had read your comment first.

        • Greg G.

          Dangit! I should have thought of that.

      • Dumpthekoolaid

        perhaps at your peril. See “convergence” as related to Biblical eschatology. Even atheists should be able to see that the whole of human history is about to come to a crashing and climactic end. Global warming aside. Funny how that everything going on related to earth events, human events, geo-political events, moral decline, etc., etc., was spelled out in precise detail thousands of years ago. Never mind, just coincidence…go on about your life as usual.

        • Greg G.

          was spelled out in precise detail thousands of years ago.

          Hardy har har.

        • Joe

          Even atheists should be able to see that the whole of human history is about to come to a crashing and climactic end

          When?

          Funny how that everything going on related to earth events, human events, geo-political events, moral decline, etc., etc., was spelled out in precise detail thousands of years ago.

          Precise detail? Go on……………..

        • Herald Newman

          Funny how that everything going on related to earth events, human events, geo-political events, moral decline, etc., etc., was spelled out in precise detail thousands of years ago.

          We’ve abolished slavery, stopped legally recognizing women as mere property, and many Western countries have outlawed capital punishment. Where exactly is this moral decline you speak of?

          As for the rest, give specific examples.

        • MR

          For the most part, things have improved immensely in my lifetime. When has there ever not been human drama? I certainly wouldn’t choose to live at any time in the past in human history. We have it better than any humans before us, but they still piss and moan about some non-existent golden age. They hit the timeline lottery but still wanna go back and live in the dark ages. Sigh.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Where exactly is this moral decline you speak of?

          You just listed it: abolishing slavery, women as property, and so on. Where are good old fashioned Old Testament biblical morals??

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “Precise detail”? Tell us more. As far as I can tell, “biblical prophecy” is nothing more than wishful thinking, but perhaps I’ve missed something. If there is a good track record for this, show us.

    • RichardSRussell

      YECers have been claiming the imminent demise of old earth explanations since before Darwin published OOS!

      Exactly right. And it also resonates with Bob’s previous essay, in which the same con artists have been preaching to the same dupes for even longer about the “imminent demise” of humanity in general.

      As L. Ron Hubbard (then only a middlin’ science-fiction writer) once remarked, “the real money is in religion!”

      • GubbaBumpkin

        YECers have been claiming the imminent demise of old earth explanations

        The differences between YEC and OEC are huge and irreconcilable, and yet they try to gather together under the ‘Big Tent’ of the Discovery Institute.

    • Dumpthekoolaid

      OOS failed to address the first O. Origins. Meaning the point or place where something begins. ie: the beginning of first life. However, Darwin did a super job of describing how black people are a link between white humans and apes. Also, that if we destroy the indigenous peoples of Australia and Africa, we will widen the gap between higher-evolved white humans and the apes still living in trees. I wonder how that would go over in today’s politically correct and tolerant society? Everybody wants to credit Darwin for figuring out how we got here, sans God….but forgets things like I just mentioned that are so far from any kind of truth. I wonder why BLM folks in our schools aren’t speaking out (or yelling) about using Darwin as the bedrock of our biological education. All men being “created” equal sounds more tolerant and in-step with our social trajectory.

      • Greg G.

        OOS failed to address the first O. Origins. Meaning the point or place where something begins. ie: the beginning of first life.

        Darwin never investigated it. He addressed natural selection. He didn’t know anything about mutations, either.

        However, Darwin did a super job of describing how black people are a link between white humans and apes. Also, that if we destroy the indigenous peoples of Australia and Africa, we will widen the gap between higher-evolved white humans and the apes still living in trees. I wonder how that would go over in today’s politically correct and tolerant society?

        People don’t agree with everything Darwin said. He got some things wrong. He was a product of his time.

        Everybody wants to credit Darwin for figuring out how we got here, sans God….

        The success of science began its exponential growth when it stopped trying to fit God into the explanations.

        but forgets things like I just mentioned that are so far from any kind of truth.

        Yes, that is why research doesn’t stop with the first answer.

        I wonder why BLM folks in our schools aren’t speaking out (or yelling) about using Darwin as the bedrock of our biological education.

        Because the 19th century is history. BLM is 21st century and going forward.

        All men being “created” equal sounds more tolerant and in-step with our social trajectory.

        Nice equivocation on the word “created”.

      • Joe

        higher-evolved white humans

        That tells me all I need to know about you.

        A dumb, racist piece of shit who’s arrogant enough to believe their points have merit.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Say, that’s some great stuff about Darwin! The only problem is that no one gives a shit what Darwin said. He is in the History of Science bin, not Current Events or Philosophy or Anthropology or even Biology.

        Sorry. Try again with ad hominems–better luck next time.

  • GalapagosPete

    Even if evolution was falsified tomorrow and good evidence of design in life on Earth, it would in no way be evidence to support the belief that gods are real.

    • epeeist

      Even if evolution was falsified tomorrow

      Then all this would show is that the theory was false, what it would not do is provide evidence for a view raised as a false dichotomy.

      All theories stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” of other theories.

      • Michael Neville

        Creationists see the “controversy” as being purely evolution vs creationism. They also think it’s a zero-sum game, if evolution loses then creationism automatically wins. They have no concept about how the scientific method works and that science, unlike religion, is self-correcting.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Which is why they also put such faith in Pascal’s Wager.

          They don’t realize that there are a bunch of other religions that could play the Pascal card against them.

        • epeeist

          Creationists see the “controversy” as being purely evolution vs
          creationism. They also think it’s a zero-sum game, if evolution loses
          then creationism automatically wins.

          Yes, our old friend the false dichotomy together with the argument from ignorance.

          How many times have we seen that from the creotards posting here.

  • Brad Feaker

    Christian apologists have a secret weapon against evolution: confidence stupidity

    There…FTFY

    • Frank G Turner

      No, it is confidence but not a confidence well founded in education of an appropriate field. It is more like blind confidence that makes them “look like” to those without free thinking minds, an authority within a certain area. Its kind of like a “politician’s confidence.” However, that type of blind confidence should arouse suspicion as it often appears to have sprouted from ignorance.

      • Dannorth

        I was thinking more along the lines of confidence like in confidence man,

        • Kodie

          They are called confidence men because they get the target’s confidence in them. “Have you confidence in me to trust me with your watch until tomorrow?”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Never heard that before. The term “confidence trickster” and “hustler” is better known around these parts.

        • Kodie

          I learn a lot listening to NPR.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          “confidence men” is usually shortened to “con men.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye…sorry, what I meant was I had never heard where the term had originated from. As for the longer term “confidence man”, that isn’t a well versed term for the action where I hail from, as I said. Though the portmanteau version “conman” is common. Used for all sorts of generic gangsters involved in various kinds of thievery.

        • Kodie

          Hardly ever hear “confidence man” in the US either, it’s conman, but con is short for confidence, so it does come up occasionally.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Language is quaint….one never hears the term “con trickster”.

        • Kodie

          What about con artist?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Heard that plenty.

        • Greg G.

          Never mind that. Would you like to buy a bridge or some Everglades beach property?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am more a magic beans kinda guy maself.

      • Brad Feaker

        There is a pretty well known study that demonstrates this. The more people rate their own competence in a certain area, the less capable they are in that area.

        • RichardSRussell

          The Dunning-Kruger Effect basically says that incompetent people are too incompetent to realize they are incompetent.

        • Matt Cavanaugh

          * Highly competent people correctly assess their high competence;
          * People of middling competence correctly assess their mediocrity;
          * People of low competence incorrectly assess themselves as highly competent.

        • Frank G Turner

          Sounds like the Dunning Kruger effect.

        • Brad Feaker

          Exactly…

    • Herald Newman

      Christian apologists have a secret weapon against evolution everything they disagree with: confidence stupidity ignorance.

      Their beliefs are formed from ignorance. It’s ignorance all the way down from their assumptions, through their methods, right to their conclusions.

      • RichardSRussell

        I’ll go one further and say that it’s none of the above, not confidence, stupidity (permanent), nor ignorance (curable if they’d only want to). It’s instead a basic underlying value that prompts them to pick and choose the conclusions that make them feel at least comfortable and possibly even safe. In essence, it’s an emotional reaction that causes them to cling to familiar authority figures and their reassurances, valuing that kind of comfort more highly than accuracy, pragmatic utility, or scientific respectability.

        • Herald Newman

          I would say that this fits very well into what I’m calling ignorance. Emotional reactions, and following a perceived authority figure, leads one to ignorance rather than to knowledge.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Lovingly curated, and fearfully reinforced, ignorance.

    • LaMaria

      I think the word you´re looking for is “denial”.

      • Brad Feaker

        I think you might be correct…

  • Reflect0ry

    For some reason (maybe I hadn’t read much of his stuff) I had previously classed Koukl as on the smarter end of the apologist spectrum with the likes of Craig and McGrath. Not that the smarter end of the Christian apologist spectrum makes any more of a persuasive case, but at least they are moderately educated and don’t utter bullshit at a 95% rate–more like at a 50% rate.

    And then Koukl goes and says something as ignorant and imbecilic as“They’re not letting go of their metaphysical religion.” I.e. that good ole ignoramus creationist on the street refrain: “Evolution is just another religion.”

    Now I’m classing him in the derp group of apologists with Ham and Comfort.

    • Frank G Turner

      Well educated, as Craig demonstrates, does not always equate with appropriately educated or using that education in a meaningful way. Just because one has a PhD, like Craig, does not mean that one has done graduate level studies in a physical science, like Dawkins.

      • epeeist

        Just because one has a PhD, like Craig, does not mean that one has done graduate level studies in a physical science, like Dawkins.

        And just because one has a degree in the philosophy of religion and a Ph.D. does not mean that one is a philosopher,

        • Frank G Turner

          Absence of feces

    • Ficino

      I think those guys are best classed as sophists. Sophists can be well educated, and they’ve picked up a knack for for exploiting fallacious and/or unsound arguments.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Agreed. The only question is how well they understand the fallacies. It’s a safe bet that some do, but Poe’s Law is at full effect here.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I had a similar reset with Jim Wallace (Cold Case Christianity & Please Convince Me blogs/podcasts). His analysis is usually quite thorough in that he’ll give all the relevant Bible quotes on slavery rather than just cherry pick (for example). But then he gives the same tired arguments.

      • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

        I looked at what he said about the historical Jesus from hostile sources and wasn’t sure I could ever trust his viewpoint again:

        http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/

        Quoting all the sources doesn’t help if you then draw ridiculous conclusions from those sources. And since then I’m probably a bit quicker to see the bad conclusions and a bit less charitable.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Right. He’s about as good as they get in that he gives a fairly thorough summary of the evidence (rather than just a subset). But his arguments are no stronger, and he’ll ignore the (seemingly obvious) atheist rebuttals.

          I guess that’s where I come in.

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Darwinism is the term for specifically evolution by natural selection, as opposed to Lamarckian evolution. In the UK it’s still more used (for instance Richard Dawkins is quite free in talking about Darwinism and being a Darwinist). There is much less stigma attached with the term elsewhere it seems. Probably because they have far less creationists.

    • epeeist

      The thing is that creationists use the term to deliberately attack Darwin’s theory in its original form rather than in its current form which includes genetics and microbiology.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Yes, I know. I just wanted to note that it does have legitimate usage too, and this stigma doesn’t exist everywhere.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Probably because they have far less creationists.

      It depends on which country of the UK in one resides.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Oh really, which has more then?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Percentage wise…Northern Ireland.

          Still nowhere near as high as the US, but creotards are at the top level of The Northern Irish Assembly and they effect government decisions. I shit you not.

          Creationism and political power in Northern Ireland

          http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/creationism-and-political-power-northern-ireland

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Wow, that is news to me. So the Protestant fundamentalists over there share this with ours, plus the local flavor of roping in the Giant’s Causeway it seems.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip….and their impact is more severe, because they effect public policy at government level on issues like abortion, gay marriage, blood transfusions from the gay community, and all manner of ignorant, bigoted shite.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I’m not surprised. No doubt on a lot of those issues the Catholics back them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well you are correct if looking at it from the institution that is the RCC’s point of view, but the thing is, the masses just don’t fall into line so easy.

          This was demonstrated when the predominantly Roman Catholic Eire gave the RCC the finger in the vote on marriage equality.

          And in the North here, a look at the Sinn Fein manifesto shows that the largest Catholic supported political party wants to give the finger to the Vatican too.

          From their current election manifesto….

          Sinn Féin is committed to guaranteeing religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens. There can be no place for sectarianism, racism and misogyny in our institutions and our society.

          Peoples sexual orientation must be respected and accommodated.

          The rights of the transgender community must also be respected.

          Sinn Féin is committed to mainstreaming equality in all aspects of political and public life. This will include putting in place the necessary legislation to safeguard everyone’s equality and human rights.

          SINN FÉIN’S PRIORITIES INCLUDE:
          ■ A Bill of Rights;
          ■ An anti-poverty strategy;
          Gender equality;
          ■ Acht na Gaeilge;
          Marriage equality;
          ■ Strengthening disability legislation;
          ■ Strengthening racial discrimination legislation;
          ■ An Anti-Sectarian Charter

          Regarding pro-choice on abortion. In both the north and the south the demand for change is gathering a lot of momentum.

        • Michael Neville

          Regarding pro-choice on abortion. In both the north and the south the demand for change is gathering a lot of momentum.

          Good!

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I knew that was the case in the Republic, but wasn’t sure about Northern Ireland. Previously I’d heard Sinn Fein there was fairly conservative, so I’m glad to see this. Also about momentum for reform on abortion.

    • islandbrewer

      Probably because they have far less creationists.

      *eyetwitch*

      *trembling hands reach for keyboard*

      “FEWER! ‘FEWER’ CREATIONISTS”

      *hyperventilates, passes out*

      • Greg G.

        It’s the people who mix up “then” and “than” who drive me to drink, for which I am grateful.

        • Michael Neville

          Than you want less people misusing English?

        • Greg G.

          Better that then this.

        • Susan

          Better that then this.

          Cheers!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      That’s helpful, but then why would a scientist use the term? If making a Darwinian/Lamarkian distinction, sure, but how often is that necessary?

      My primary question is: when Creationists invariably use “Darwinism” instead of “evolution,” are they ever justified? Seems like they’re just trying to get a Marxism/Maoism/Darwinism thing going, but if they sometimes use the term legitimately, I want to know.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Yes, it seems to be largely redundant.

        Well, it’s clear they are using it as a snarl word. I’ve never seen them use it otherwise, no. Personally I’m just really pedantic and had to point out this could be legitimate however.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Pedantry is actually relevant here. I don’t want to accuse the Creationists of using “Darwinism” to satisfy their agenda if it’s actually being used appropriately.

          Thanks.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes, they might even use that as an excuse if you asked, since it’s got a legitimate use. Of course, the context is pretty clear that they want to make it seem like a nefarious ideology.

          I’m glad to see you’re so fair Bob.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’d like to think that I want to be fair simply because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also the case that that serves my selfish purposes–I want every argument to be as strong as possible, with as few weak points as possible. I will abandon a flawed argument or bogus evidence in an instance, without a second thought, and here again, both reasons apply (rightness and selfishness).

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Both reasons are good.

  • RichardSRussell

    If Koukl knows that the biggest names within biology are on his side, I wonder why he doesn’t list them. It’s almost like that list doesn’t exist.

    Actually, at one time the Discovery Institute did indeed produce such a list of scientists who disagreed with modern evolutionary explanations. The admirable National Center for Science Education (to which, IMHO, all rationalists should send money) immediately set up Project Steve, named for biologist Stephen Jay Gould, with the objective of coming up with a similar list of scientists who supported evolution. Except they did it with one hand tied behind their backs: They’d only accept support from actual working scientists named Steve. It took them about a month to surpass the number of names on the creationists’ list. Which is why, I suspect, the creationists haven’t been touting their own list so much of late.

    • epeeist

      Which is why, I suspect, the creationists haven’t been touting their own list so much of late.

      You can their list at “Dissent from Darwin”. Not too many actual biologists on it.

  • RichardSRussell

    Let’s call the self-proclaimed Discovery Institute for what it truly is: an oxymoronic propaganda mill masquerading as a research facility but completely dedicated to pushing the dominionist dogma of “intelligent design” as if it were real science.

    What has it ever actually discovered since it was founded in 1990? Nothing! That’s because it employs no scientists (lawyers, tho), operates no laboratories, conducts no experiments, sponsors no colloquia, publishes no papers, and has no intention of ever ever ever submitting its hypotheses for peer review.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      To be fair, they’ve discovered some disappointingly effective marketing programs.

    • LaMaria

      I´m guessing they discovered a reliable source of revenue early on.

      • Michael Neville

        The Discotute is bankrolled by Howard Ahmanson, a multi-millionaire who made his money the old fashioned way, he inherited it.

    • Matt Cavanaugh

      mini discovery doublplus good.

  • Kev Green

    Referring to Darwinism is a way of making it seem evolutionists are just blindly taking Darwin’s word. The thing is, that’s not how science has ever worked; the biggest names in scientific history are those who proved our old understanding wrong. Anyone who proved evolution wrong would be hailed as a hero. If there were any scientific validity to Creationist arguments, someone would be exploring them for a possible shot at having their name go down in history.

    There’s also the matter of intentional dishonesty. As a former Creationist, I remember the most convincing argument was the old ‘Evolution is just a theory’. But, this is easily shown to be meaningless; any serious Creationist debater knows that it is. They use it anyway because it works for them.

    That’s the problem when you know the position you are arguing for is false; there are no legitimate arguments you can use. The people behind ID don’t really believe that there is scientific evidence to support their beliefs; they take it on faith that their God created us. But, they feel they need to play the game to get their religious views taken seriously by secular society. They see it as beating science at its own game; a more objective term is lying.

    • Kevin K

      I sometimes think creationists conflate Darwin with Dawkins, as if the former is alive and well and has just come up with his awful “theory” in the past couple of years.

    • Matt Cavanaugh

      Evolution had long been commonly accepted as a fact before Darwin proposed his particular explanation for it.

    • Max Doubt

      “Referring to Darwinism is a way of making it seem evolutionists are just blindly taking Darwin’s word.”

      Because that’s how god believers get the information they use to form their opinions, which are hardly ever their own opinions, but… Their brains work differently. It’s the same sort of non-thinking that has them insisting atheism is a belief. They believe stuff and can’t imagine not believing. They hear stuff that goes straight into their “authority said it, it’s true” slot, and they can’t wrap their heads around the notion that other people actually process information coming in. The theory of evolution, or maybe more accurately the reasoning process that leads us to those scientific conclusions, is like a foreign language to them.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    In a final example of the pot calling the kettle black, he tells us that
    the not-Christian position warns that the Creationist arguments mustn’t
    be read (16:50). By contrast, he’s happy to have Christians read the
    other side. “Our case can take it.”

    Hi, I’m a biologist. I have a shelf full of creationist books. That’s so I can know and engage with their arguments instead of ignorantly dismissing them.

    I always buy my creationist books at used book sales so that none of my money goes to the authors or publishers.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Doff’s cap to you sir for your efforts and stalwart enthusiasm…yer a more patient buddy than I, that’s for sure.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        A former co-worker of mine was sympathetic to Intelligent Design. He admitted that he is comfortable with his religion, and didn’t want to look into anything that upset that. He was giving me this “our positions are equivalent, we’re just on different sides” BS when I pointed to the row of books behind him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fair play til ya….that’s the way to do it, for sure.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      It’s amusing that Koukl thinks science is the side that chooses to remain ignorant, since he specifically encourages people to always “summarize” (read: strawman) opponent arguments in the most religion-favorable light.

      I wonder if Greg can get through ordering a meal without contradicting himself.

    • islandbrewer

      Hi, I’m a biologist. I have a shelf full of creationist books.

      Hey, me too! I also teach high school biology occasionally, and have actually used examples from Of Panda and People in class. I use the last chapter in the book, which compares Cytochrome C sequences of some chondrichthyes (a dogfish) and compares them to various tetrapodes.

      I distribute copies of the section in class, and ask them to read it, paragraph by paragraph, and ask them to tell me if the find anything wrong in the presentation of evolution. They always, always find the very first premise wrong – that “more primitive” vertebrates (their phrase) (eg., amphibians) should have sequences closer to the dogfish than, say, mammals. I always have students who pick out the fallacy in just a couple minutes.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Love it. It’s good to hear stories of education done right.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        I use the last chapter in the book, which compares Cytochrome C
        sequences of some chondrichthyes (a dogfish) and compares them to
        various tetrapodes.

        Have you read Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton? That argument is taken from chapter 12 of that book, purportedly written for adults. It makes the same mistakes, and tries to cover them by using Venn diagrams instead of branching tree diagrams.

      • Dumpthekoolaid

        Do you also tell your students that there are few if any truly “positive or beneficial mutations” that we know of in biology/medicine today (X-men aside of course)? I’m not talking about inner species changes through natural or selective breeding, or adaptations based on information already in DNA to enhance survival. I’m talking about information gaining mutations that eventually turn plants into animals, or scales into feathers, or amniotes into mammals, etc. Other words for “random mutations” used in medicine today are “tumors”, “birth defects”, disabilities, etc. If not neutral, typically leading to declined ability to reproduce, and/or death (ie: cancer). However, for us to evolve from mere molecules, it would take trillions of such “positive genetic mutations” without significant negative ones, as to kill off the evolving creatures. Being in my 50’s now, I’ve unfortunately lost several loved ones to cancer. Not in any case, were the tumors noted by the doctor to be of the positive and beneficial variety…that should be left alone to possibly improve the persons life. Even benign growths are typically gouged out where possible, to keep them from becoming life threatening. Not trying to be cute here, really. But as someone that was a staunch evolutionist for most of my life (due primarily to my education), this is simply a daily life fact that I can’t get past. How come all the random mutations of millions of years ago were predominately positive and beneficial, and most mutations today impact life negatively, if not catastrophically?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Fascinating! You’ve really undercut evolution here.

          The truly surprising thing, however, is why you’re wasting time with naysayers like us. Go convince the biologists. They are why I accept evolution and laugh at Creationists like you. But if you convince them, I’ll fall in right behind.

        • islandbrewer

          How come all the random mutations of millions of years ago were predominately positive and beneficial, and most mutations today impact life negatively, if not catastrophically?

          So, I don’t know if you’ve read my other replies about the danger and lack of utility in referring to DNA or sequences as “information” but essentially, “new information” or “existing information” as some sort of indicator of new functions is bullshit.

          In short, evolution denialists use this information trope with the implication that new structures or function require some spontaneous “new information”. As I pointed out (comment reproduced below), we have basically all the exact same coding regions (“genes” in the common parlance) as a mouse. We have no “information” that differs from a mouse’s information (with a few trivial and non-dispositive exceptions).

          However, getting back to your question, the mutations you describe are somatic mutations – those that cause cancer aren’t mutations that get passed down in the germline. Further, if we take human society back to a time when it was subject to natural selection, those cancerous mutations, by and large, typically occur after the child bearing years, and thus don’t effect selection. When we look at domestic animals (or wild animals kept in captivy far past their natural median lifespans) we see LOTS of neoplasm (cancer and benign growths) popping up in later life. It seems to be an endemic condition among mammals that have outlived their “wild lifespans.”

          So, to answer the text of your question,

          How come all the random mutations of millions of years ago were predominately positive and beneficial, …

          They weren’t.

          Most were neutral individually. Many were deleterious – those individuals typically didn’t survive. We are descended from those few individuals who had beneficial mutations, or far more frequently, accumulated neutral mutations that cumulatively altered morphology in a beneficial manner.

          As I said in an earlier post (copied below for your benefit. You’re welcome.), mutations that change morphology don’t occur in coding regions. They occur in the non-coding regions that aren’t prone to the deleterious mutations that evolution denialists rave about.

          … and most mutations today impact life negatively, if not catastrophically?

          They don’t. Again, most mutations are neutral individually, and cumulatively have small effects on morphology. These cumulative morphological effects are what selective pressures work on. You personally have around 150 mutations differing from your parents, and your children (if you have any) have about that same number differing from you and your mate). Most have no noticeable effect. Cumulatively, they can change the length of fingers, hair and skin color, hair texture, webbing of digits, etc. No “new information” is required.

          Copied from an earlier post:

          About evolution and morphology (which Koukl obviously doesn’t understand). While there are some mutations in proteins that change morphology, that’s not primarily how morphological evolution works.
          Remember, we have essentially the exact same genes as a mouse, with just a few trivial exceptions. There’s no “human gene” that makes an embryo grow into a human. So what’s the difference between a mouse and a man? What’s the secret of growing a hand with an opposable thumb instead of a mouse’s paw?

          It’s the same as the secret to good comedy …. timing.

          Turn off the growth factors in the thumb area while the growth factors in the rest of the limb are still on, and the thumb digit “moves” farther up the limb and becomes opposable. Leave all the growth factors on longer, the limb and digits grow more.

          Our body plan and layout of bones are the same as a mouse’s. All the genes used to “make a mouse” are the same as those used to “make a human.”

          What makes the genes express differentially, turn off earlier or later, makes promoters bind more tightly or loosely, are mostly mutations in the non-coding regions of the genome.

          Have you ever heard creationists use the line “Mutations in the DNA of a gene are almost always deleterious.” That’s true. However, the mutations that change the morphology of a late Cretaceous tree shrew into an upright bald primate are primarily mutations in the non-coding regions around the genes – the areas that actually control the genes’ expression. These mutations are not “usually deleterious,” they’re usually neutral and have little to no effect individually, but can effect a change cumulatively.

          You know how creationist trolls (*cough* See Noevo) like to use the line about observable evolution “producing no new information”? It turns out, according to their definition of “new information,” there’s no “new information” that differentiates a mouse from a man.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Outstanding post, IB. I wish I had more than 1 upvote to give. :)

        • islandbrewer

          Do you also tell your students that there are few if any truly “positive or beneficial mutations” that we know of in biology/medicine today (X-men aside of course)?

          No, I don’t. That’s because in biology/medicine we know of lots and lots of beneficial mutations.

    • Joe

      Hi, I’m a biologist. I have a shelf full of creationist books.

      Wouldn’t that also qualify you as a masochist?

      • Dumpthekoolaid

        Not really, considering there are a lot of biologists that also happen to believe in creation”ism”. (insert your no true Scotsman reply here)

        • Joe

          ‘a lot’?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You won’t get No True Scotsman from me! I’m fascinated.

          List these biologists. Here, I’ll get you started: Jonathan Wells. I’ve heard him speak several times. I can’t think of any others, though I’m sure there are a few. It’s the “lot of” that I’m having a hard time with.

  • RichardSRussell

    Here are 3 trigger phrases which will tip you off to not waste your time reading anything further from an obvious ignoramus:
    • just a theory
    • still a theory
    • only a theory

    Such putdowns are never offered up with respect to the theory of optics, the germ theory of disease, the atomic theory of matter, thermodynamic theory, the theory of relativity, quantum mechanical theory, the theory of plate tectonics, the theory of gravitation, etc.; they only get trotted out with respect to evolution, and invariably by people who have no idea how scientists use the word “theory”.

    • Frank G Turner

      Actually I have heard that used with reference to some other theories from ignorami. Like the “round earth theory.” Hearing that is a tip off that you have an ultra undereducated individual. Some YEC and other ignorami will use that with reference to “germ theory” as a claim why they should not get vaccinated. We deal with some real idiots.
      .
      I say “other ignorami” as I have a work colleague who is an Old Earth Creationist who argues that other humans may have evolved from Apes but Adam and Eve were still real flesh and blood people. His argument for that story being literal is that the Tower of Babel is a real place, just to give you an idea of how weak an argument he will buy into in order to support his conclusion. His b.s. sounds more like an “I need to feel special” argument.

      • RichardSRussell

        “I love the poorly educated.” —some politician

        • Michael Neville

          And they love him.

    • al kimeea

      I have read those words regarding Einstein’s work – there’s no evidence, it’s all speculation. From a lawyer. Not sure what that says about the Canadian education system.

      • RichardSRussell

        Probably best not to generalize about the entire sample space from a single data point.

        • al kimeea

          The original article suggested the dearth of aboriginal authors on the NY Times best seller list is a result of how science considers yellow. Or something.

  • RichardSRussell

    I’m at a different computer than the one I usually use and Googled “Cross Examined blog” to find this site. Interestingly, the top 4 hits were for a Christian apologetics blog hosted by Dr. Frank Turek. Kind of ironic, eh?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I must admit that Turek set up a “Cross Examined” site sooner than I did.

      I wasn’t the first to invent the title “Cross Examined,” which I used for my book and then the blog, but I didn’t knowingly steal it from Turek.

      But to your point: if Turek is eager to seriously cross-examine the claims of Christianity, he needs to find someone who’s good at it.

      I’m happy to do my small part.

  • Duane Locsin

    I know these Creationists are simply preaching to Christians and keeping them in their beliefs, but really.

    con menwomen have no shame.

  • Matt Cavanaugh

    It didn’t help that the imp Gould doled out so much ammo by hyperbolizing disagreements within evolutionary biology. It does not help that politicized scientists/philosophers like Massimo Piglucci denigrate orthodox neo-darwinism, trivialize natural selection, while pushing a ‘new synthesis’ that ranges from lamarckism to rank pseudo-science. It doesn’t help that politicized and ignorant journalists like David Dobbs misunderstand and misrepresent epigenetics as, again, lamarckism, while willfully misrepresenting neo-darwinism and crudely insulting the entirety of orthodox scientists.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Unfortunately, this stuff is hard, which makes it hard for people who are honestly searching for the truth to understand evolution and defend it properly.

  • https://thewilltobeonesself.wordpress.com/ CLIFFORD MOORE

    I’m a Christian, and like many, don’t have a particular issue with evolutionary theory as a biological mechanism that has a certain explanatory function. As a psychologist, epigenetics has proven to be helpful in understanding certain psychological issues, but I have a problem with evolution being the answer to everything. I could be under-educated in this area but I think that the science of evolution is one thing but it can often become a philosophy or religion of its own. For example, there is a branch of psychology called evolutionary psychology where the assumption is that every psychological trait is a result of evolution via survival of the fittest. I think it can become a quick card to pull out rather than exploring the many other possibilities. In other words, evolution is not the theory of everything.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=144166842&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile klyneal

      I have to agree. Evolutionists do the very thing that they accuse Christians of. They have decided that evolution is proven fact, even though that is not even possible. Like you said, it’s theory may be helpful in explaining certain functions if you zero in with a limited scope. But to suggest evolution as the end to all means is unscientific.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        More with the “proven fact” thing, eh?

        New rules that apply just to you: you have to act like a reasonable person. I know that’s draconian. You might think it’s completely unfair. But I’ll be looking for a reason to ban you.

      • Greg G.

        The Theory of Evolution is based on evidence. Evolutionary psychology is based on speculation for which there is no evidence. There is a big difference.

        Creationism is based on ancient fairy tales.

    • Greg G.

      The biological evolutionists that I have interacted with agree with you about the psychological evolutionists.

      • https://thewilltobeonesself.wordpress.com/ CLIFFORD MOORE

        That’s encouraging to hear! Thanks! I found a lot of the thinking in that camp to be lazy and it was a bit discouraging.

        • islandbrewer

          It’s true. In my experience, evolutionary psychology is the mental musings of psychologists with only a bare grasp of evolutionary mechanisms, and no data. Most biologists I know roll their eyes at most of the evolutionary psychology explanations for human behavior.

      • TheNuszAbides

        And from at least one ‘evolutionist’ non-biologist who at least prides himself on rational skepticism:

        http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/9141

  • Dumpthekoolaid

    I try to stay engaged in this debate, but honestly it has gotten so boring. On one hand, you have folks believing in spontaneous generation of life from a lifeless planet, that naturally evolved through trillions of random mutations from 1 single celled organism, all the way to 7 billion humans, without getting killed off at any stage over hundreds of millions of years. On the other hand, some believe in a supernatural creator that purposefully and intentionally designed, and created life on this planet for a purpose. Neither can be “proved” in the true sense of the word. Neither was observed by any currently living human being, nor can tests be done to duplicate either. I see this debate as mainly a way for ego to be stroked. “Hey…look at me, I’m smart, I’m right…and what you believe is wrong”. I think the real question is, why should I care what you believe, and vice versa? If the atheistic version of evolution is correct, and when we die we turn to dust, and that’s the end of it, why would you waste a second of your precious (and very limited time) blogging about how God doesn’t exist and amoeba to man evolution explains absolutely everything? I mean, is that the absolute best thing you can think to do with your limited time on this planet? To “save” ignorant rubes that believe in God, from believing in God, so they can die secure in the knowledge that it was all for nothing? Time well spent my man! In the end, it comes down to faith. For you, faith that God doesn’t exist and you evolved from a prehistoric plant. For believers, faith that a creator God created them for a purpose greater than themselves. Keep on blogging…there are many believers to be saved!

    • Greg G.

      Well, the important thing is that you have found a way to be superior to both.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a49ea854d5075ace476fe38341c2ec24f624e2ec889ed738b60c3261fa2d9c7.png

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      spontaneous generation of life from a lifeless planet [vs.]a supernatural creator that purposefully and intentionally designed, and created life on this planet for a purpose. Neither can be “proved” in the true sense of the word.

      Right, but one has evidence behind it, while the other is mythology from an Iron Age desert tribe that didn’t know where the sun went at night.

      I see this debate as mainly a way for ego to be stroked. “Hey…look at me, I’m smart, I’m right…and what you believe is wrong”.

      For some, I suppose. For me, it’s manning the barricades against troglodytes who are eager to return society to medieval standards.

      If the atheistic version of evolution is correct

      You mean the scientific approach, which is evolution. Atheism is not connected to science.

      why would you waste a second of your precious (and very limited time) blogging about how God doesn’t exist and amoeba to man evolution explains absolutely everything?

      I wonder what planet you’re from. On mine, there are Christians who think that the separation between church and state is a bad thing, ignorant of the fact that that’s why they can send their children to public school and not have them hear a Muslim prayer. And so on with other insults.

      is that the absolute best thing you can think to do with your limited time on this planet? To “save” ignorant rubes that believe in God, from believing in God, so they can die secure in the knowledge that it was all for nothing?

      I like to believe correct things. I’m funny that way. I guess your mileage varies.

      In the end, it comes down to faith.

      Does it? I see no use of faith in my life. If I’m confused about that, explain it to me.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Dump apparently prefers the verbose drive-by to any actual firming up of their ‘argument’.

    • BlackMamba44

      If the atheistic version of evolution is correct

      This also applies to evolution and abiogenesis:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9fbe0a15f51a4a372f07b54e972126512dc503d78e6d341826b13b5e209ba6b5.jpg

    • BlackMamba44

      One more for you:

      that naturally evolved through trillions of random mutations from 1 single celled organism, all the way to 7 billion humans, without getting killed off at any stage over hundreds of millions of years

      http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species

      All species of human except homo sapiens have died off.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/300186b7553ee4f4d35f527c2dde4cb6afd8229a3d2f4f22e76eb0a8561ca48f.jpg

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        He seems to imagine that humans were a goal of some sort.

        That reminds me of the last time Dump was playing bridge. He got his hand, laid the cards all on the table, and said, “Omigod! Do realize that the odds of this very hand are 1 chance out of 635,013,559,600??”