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Monday, June 25, 2012



Marvin Olasky is an evangelical christian, and the editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine. A few weeks ago, I dissected one of his idiotic rants against science. Now, with my latest issue of W.M. (my mother unexpectedly bought me a subscription), he has yet another episode of creationist stupidity on display. Let's start at the top, as usual.

"I went to two New York City churches on the last Sunday morning of May: First a Christian one, then the American Museum of Natural History, a towering steeple within the Church of Darwin."

*yawn* Whatever.

 "My first stopping point: The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins on the lower level, a dark and crowded chapel with hairy figures created to show man's purported hominid ancestry over several million years. Some parents were catechizing their young children: "Look, those are our relatives." (As I listened, one unbelieving girl, staring at the private parts of the hirsute mannequins, laughed, "We didn't come from them." A well-trained little girl said, "Mommy, they look like us.")"

Was she as well-trained as the little kids who are led to believe that early humans rode on dinosaurs--even though they died out long before our species' appearance in the fossil record? Oh, wait, you're a creationist; never mind. How about the kids that the CEF is conditioning into potential mass killers for Jesus? Or is it unfair of me to bring that up?

 'How definitive were the exhibits? One, titled "Interpreting the footprints," depicted two ancient, hairy hominids walking together. The larger male had his arm around the smaller female. The explanation in small print explained, "To create the scene in front of you, experts interpreted footprints left behind. ... Here a male and a female walk together. Was it a mother and child instead? Possibly. We'll never know for sure, but this scene is consistent with the evidence."'

In other words, it was bad because it didn't make a mindless appeal to authority like, "this exhibit is 100% accurate because it is proof of evolution". You know, the way christians treat their book of fairy tales scripture. Funny thing; lacking a time machine, scientists probably can't be certain of the age or genders of the beings who made the tracks, anymore than christians can be sure that the gospels are accurate, since they were written decades after Jesus' death by anonymous authors. Of course, we have footprints and physical remains in evidence of hominids; we're still waiting for independent corroboration of the gospels' miraculous accounts.

"Maybe we should be grateful for this defense of traditional marriage, but dozens of other scenes could also be consistent with the evidence."

How does traditional marriage come into this? At all? Really?

 'It was encouraging to see the small print on many of the display cases admitting uncertainty—"Perhaps ... perhaps ... may have been ... may well have been ... seems ... seems ... seems ... appears to be ... suggests ... suggests."'

Because mindless science-deniers are always encouraged when scientists don't commit logical fallacies by pretending to literally know everything (like most theists do on a daily basis) since, to their faith-addled minds, that is the only real way to argue. Sad. For starters, scientists piecing together fossil remains can't know everything there is to know about the appearance of the creature; unless there are other such specimens to compare it with, much of the details will remain a mystery. In the case of early hominids, some interpretations are most likely dead on while others are undoubtedly mistaken. Unlike religion, science is based upon rational inquiry, not faith, and is thus constrained by the limits of reality.

'But a video screen showed a continuous loop of genotype pioneer Francis Collins, the National Center for Science Education's Eugenie Scott, and Brown professor Kenneth Miller expressing Darwinian certainty. Miller insisted that disbelievers in evolution want to turn biology into "little more than stamp collecting."'

This, readers, is what constitutes an argument in the murky pit of intellectual bankruptcy known as creationism. Olasky is insinuating that since scientists--oh, sorry, I meant "Darwinists" can't know everything, the entire theory of evolution is therefore suspect. Despite the fact that it's been observed in nature and the lab. Oh well.

 "With apologies to philatelists—the Hall of Human Origins exhibits are little more than stamp collecting, because the evidence for humans arising from animals is insufficient."

Because as we all know, hominids were magically poofed into existence by the Hebrew Sky God (geology/paleontology be damned!).
 And of course, he doesn't even touch the massive quantity of research supporting it--he just blithely dismisses it out of hand.

"While a big sign proclaimed "Our family tree," small print on one exhibit acknowledged, "Unfortunately, hominid fossils from the crucial period between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago are quite rare." Unfortunate for those who claim the evolution vs. creation argument is over, when recent discoveries of cell complexity mean that it's just begun."

Like most creationists, Olasky is far too obtuse to mention the fact that irreducible complexity--what he is alluding to in the above excerpt--has been utterly discredited by Richard Lenski's E. Coli experiment, wherein an evolved strain of E. Coli mutated the ability to metabolize citrate, something never before observed in that bacteria. The first cells in the fossil record, which Cretinist hacks never talk about, were incredibly simple in comparison to today's cells, having no nucleus or cell membrane, just protoplasm and DNA. But, hey, don't let that get you down, Marv; you can still claim that the debate isn't over even though them evil Darwinists refuted the basis of your nonsense over a century ago.

'Similarly, a display titled "The history of human evolution" admitted that "The web of clues is difficult to unravel," but then claimed, "It is clear that the human family has a rich evolutionary history."'

So because the display accurately mentions the continuing difficulty of unraveling our ancestry, instead of blithely saying everything there was the unquestionable truth and setting common descent on a pedestal (similar to what christians do with their dogmas), the whole thing must be a secular conspiracy to brainwash our young into using logic and integrity instead of ancient myths and logical fallacies.

'Clear as mud. One plaque stated that "Sivapithecus is a plausible direct ancestor of orangutans" and then admitted that the creature's body "suggests a more complex evolutionary relationship.'

Holy shit. Now our friend Olasky is making unfalsifiable claims about what the exhibit says, with a very obvious gap in between excerpts. How do we know that he isn't taking it out of context? Well, we don't since he neglected to include photos of the displays. What's the problem? Afraid your readers might convert to "Darwinism"? Of course, it's possible that scientists haven't yet determined where Sivapithecus belongs in the great tree of life, since there are signs that it could either be an direct ancestor to orangutans or be part of a different branch of apes, but of course, like most scientifically illiterate hacks, Olasky cannot accept anything less than dogmatic truth claims, since that is all he can understand.

"The honest curators of the Hall of Human Origins have my sympathy."

Indeed. One wonders how often they have to put up with stupid questions from people like Marvin.

 "They are like priests in a diocese destroyed by pederasty who have to cover up their concerns and pretend that all is well overall, despite the anomalies, uncertainties, and complexities."

Yup, creationists like to wax poetic when they can't think of any arguments against TOE; I suppose it's their way of coping with their intellectual impotency.

"I appreciated the half-honesty revealed in their perhapses and maybes—but they might have more fun if they could move from the lower level up to the fourth floor, where the dinosaur bones rule."

It's because of stuff like this that nobody with even a moderately high intelligence takes Cretinists seriously anymore.Their standard is that you either argue like a christian--appeal to authority, special knowledge, everything I say is completely true (because I say so)--or you're completely wrong and afraid to admit it. That's it. Never mind the fact that during Einstein's debates with other physicists, nobody was stupid enough to say that it somehow proved that particle physics was junk, since if it was true, why, scientists wouldn't debate it or show any uncertainty over it. Here's some truth, folks; science is forced to view the universe from a limited human perspective, which means that for now, all we can do is put together the most logical explanations for the evidence before us. Creationists have no explanation for the existence of hominids apart from "Goddidit". Same thing with everything else they can't explain or don't understand; God--an intangible, invisible, unfalsifiable being--did it. Which explains the fossil record about as much as saying "Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster did it". Seriously; just insert whatever made-up creator god you want, like Odin, and say that evolution is a "theory in crisis", or some crap, and you're a proud member of the Creation Club.

'On the fourth floor, one dinosaur exhibit announced, "Bones, teeth, tracks ... this evidence amounts to only a tiny fraction of information about what the living animals were really like. ... Naturally, we want to know everything about dinosaurs: What colors they were, what they ate, how they reproduced. ... The overwhelming absence of explicit data makes the questions that those intriguing animals arouse difficult to answer."'

Herp durp, them evolutionists can't know everything, herp durp, so our magical creation myth theory is just as valid. When you can actually suggest a better explanation that is consistent with the evidence, Mr. Olasky, be sure to submit it to peer review so we can finally put your allegations to rest--uh, I mean, "to the test".

'The fourth floor displayed not only dinosaurs but humility: "No one knows what the colors of dinosaurs were when they were alive. ... This evidence does not allow us to draw conclusions about parental care in extinct dinosaurs. We can only make guesses."'

*gasp* Look! They even admitted that they're not omniscient! DARWINISM IS SURELY DOOOOMED!!!

 "Astoundingly, the dinosaur experts undercut the Darwinist propaganda loop in the Hall of Human Origins: "We cannot be sure how pachycephalosaurs used their skull caps because theories about the behavior of extinct animals cannot be tested." That's what many creationists say: Scientific research emphasizes experimentation, and we cannot experiment on the past". That's what many creationists say: Scientific research emphasizes experimentation, and we cannot experiment on the past."

Thus, comrades, let us argue from this gap, this bit of ignorance, to assert our unfalsifiable goat-herder creation myths as proven fact, and disregard their godless "fossil record", laughing at those scientists all the way! TALLY-HO!

 'One sign on the fourth floor generalized rightly: "While it is important to make intelligent speculation about extinct animals, we are overstating the strength of the fossil evidence if we present these ideas as truth."'

I'd love to see the original context of that sign. Really. I'd also love to see the superior creationist interpretation of the fossil record; like, you know, how those horse ancestors aren't related, they're just "different kinds".

 "Students in schools should hear both evolutionist and creationist theories. They should then learn what we know scientifically—and what we do not"

Absolutely! And they should also learn both chemist and alchemist theories, round and flat earth theories, and both astronomy and astrology theories. And don't leave out geocentrism. Hey, let's present the debate. And once creationism gets the shit blown out of it, which will take roughly three or four class periods, we need never bring up the non-existent "debate" between science (fact and theory) and religion (bullshit propped up by more bullshit) ever again. Deal?

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