back to article 'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

GOP Veep candidate Sarah Palin's belief in creationism brings the evolution of a crank's outlook into an asset in US public life into plain view. It's simply the rock-like belief that if science isn't convenient to a very personal value or notion, then it constitutes an attack on such and is to be set aside. Kevin Phillips, a …

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  1. dave lawless
    Boffin

    Hey, you forgot Ron Paul!

    Ron Paul says “It’s a Theory … I don’t accept it

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JyvkjSKMLw

  2. Gav
    Boffin

    Just how much less?

    "I could care less what you feel about it."

    Using nonsensical statement like the above does not do Professor Alan Borass' critical thinking reputation much good. If you could care less, then you must be starting from a position of caring some.

    I suspect this is not what the Professor meant.

    Yes, I'm being pedantic, so sue me.

  3. Ash
    Unhappy

    Teaching religion in science class...

    ... Is like... Well... Erm....

    No, I can think of nothing so stupid.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facts and hypocrisy

    Well Palin may or may not be a nutter, but:

    1. Believing that the world was created does not preclude believing that evolution was part of the process.

    2. Evolution is a theory with holes in it. These holes may be resolved over time but I'm sick of it being thrust on us as a fact, which it is not.

    Science also doesn't solve the problems of philosophy. I've noticed that many commentators don't seem to know the difference between the two. Comments along the "invisible friend" line show a shocking level of ignorance about the philosophical arguments behind this. Let's criticise religion, but let's try and lift the debate out of the playground.

    People also seem to have pigeon-holed "religious" types as either suicide bombers or right wing American evangelists who carry guns. This seems to be obvious non-sense, well at least in Europe :-)

  5. Jonathan Tate
    IT Angle

    WTF, El Reg...

    Beyond the simple fact that she's said many, many times that she's fine with evolution-only and that she's happy with creationism being taught at home, what the HELL are you doing writing about politics now on a fairly regular basis? And with such freaking bias! I have yet to see you run an article about ANY of Obama's many skeletons, yet you keep hammering on Palin's gaffes even when you don't have anything new.

    So great one El Reg. Go after Palin, the VP choice of the republican party... while completely ignoring the idiocy of the VP choice of the democrat party. You know, the one that said "you can't go into a convenience store anymore without having a slight indian accent", or that "paying taxes is patriotic", or that he has "three degrees and graduated in the top of his class on a full ride scholarship" when in fact none of his assertions were true.

    I mean, Jesus, you'd think you could be a little more "fair" by at least constantly comparing her to Obama like the rest of the press...

  6. Martin Marv
    Thumb Down

    "I can see dinosaurs from my back porch"

    Where is this quote from? It doesn't seem to be mentioned in the article.

    Taking a leaf from the tabloid journalism handbook?

  7. Garth
    Paris Hilton

    Part of this is the republican exploitation of an emotional appeal

    They seek to bring the religious on their side by painting them as moral crusaders under assault. Speaking out of both sides of their mouth by portraying these people as both the moral majority and persecuted minority. A mantle that many gladly take up when questioned on their irrational silliness. Their mission to civilize the heathen savages and defend themselves from attacks of reason from those heathen elitists.

    I encourage one to explore "The Wedge Strategy" published by the discovery institute (which was involved in the whole Intelligent Design.) As well as the "Christian Exodus Project".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Of course she sees dinosaurs

    This is what makes her f*** electable for f*** sake. That is why he is the chosen one. This is her way to ensure that she advances her career. When the average redneck evangelical bible thumper looks at her he sees his reflection:

    - Pro-life to the hilt? - Tick, yes. She has conceived a child with a defect and has chosen not to abort it. What can be more pro-life than that?

    - Has not been corrupted by other countries influence? - Tick, yes. She has got a passport last year and has not been abroad for the first 40+ years of her life.

    - Bible thumps any of those pesky scientists? - Tick, yes.

    - Shoots anything in site? - Tick yes.

    And so on. She is the dream of the evangelicals in the US. She is their gal. To the point where I start to suspect that she has deliberately shaped her views, career and life to fit this picture. Including trying for a child until there is one suitable for an evangelical icon (after all after a certain age this is simply a matter of probabilities).

    And you know what, all the midwest and bible-thumping portions of the South will unite behind her like one. This election has already been won. The taleban elders at the madrasas will order the faithfull to go and vote for the chosen one and they will do like one. Just the same they did for Reygan and Bush.

    All the rest of the world can do now is pray that this is just a very coldly and unscrupulously calculated mask shaped to make herself electable. Because, if she really is what she is trying to show us, we are all in deep shit and we might as well start refreshing the nuclear shelters right away.

  9. Simon
    Coat

    Labels

    There does seem to be a lot of labelling going on in general with this "Origins of us" nonsense.

    If you go to church you must be a "Creationist" if you dont you must an "Evolutionist". The same way you are either "Religious" or "Atheist".

    Then the further label of "Religious people hate science" and "Scientists are out to destroy God"

    Then someone at some point in the media will accuse the other side of being shallow and wrong and then try to destroy their arguments using the same tactics that both side use (Just talking about the media here, still). It all eventually goes downhill analyzing microscopic details with neither side refusing the budge, with the inevitable phrase "The bible is right/wrong"

    Science sure as hell isnt out to destroy God, just try and understand how the world works (Gods world, created so people could learn about its complexity) in the meantime religious people gets to benefit from the output of science (Such as Tvs and cars and stuff).

    I do object when people state that because their belief/theory is "Fact", that means the other side is fiction, therefore wrong, end of argument. How boring.

    Hey we need some Playmobil on here...

  10. Rob Crawford
    Flame

    My concerns

    are that the US with the UK following suit is no longer interested in evidence based conclusions.

    Wether it be creationism or the war on terror. As long as somebody believes <insert item of faith> it must be true or perhaps in these times more valid !

    <Insert name of diety here> it depresses me

  11. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    Pot, meet kettle?

    "....In other words, you can be totally unfit to teach science in the US and still be given a pass to do it...." Which begs the comparison that writing political commentary for The Register seems to require neither background research nor any form of impartiality, but then I have long expected neither from Dick Destiny. Hold on a sec - this is a tech e-rag, why is such political commentary here in the first place?

    Anyway, this whole "Palin is a creationist" drivel has already been bleated by US reporters for so long, and so well debinked, that I'm amazed that Dick even tries to pass it off in a serious article. Maybe the recent laughable attempts by Katie Couric to reapply the "creationist" lable on CBS drew the issue to Dick's attention, which begs the question why he's so far behind the rest of the media in having already chewed this non-story over and moved on, or is watching the TV his sole means of research? Please, Dick, try reading such easily found sources such as Yahoo! News:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080903/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_palin_creationism

    A much more interesting and technology-related article would be an investigation into "astroturfing", such as has been uncovered in - shocker! - Democrat attempts to smear Govenor Palin, as admitted by one Ethan Winner, who just happens to work for a very large PR firm linked to David Axelrod (the King of Astroturf) and Barack Obama's team:

    http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/194057.php

    But I suspect that wouldn't tie in with the message Dick is intent on forcing down Reg readers' throats.

  12. Chad H.

    The more I read about Palin

    The more I read about Palin, the more I honest to goodness hate the woman. Her fast and loose attitudes towards open government, and the truth. How she can be against something that she supported. Her appointing unqualified friends into positions, heck, this article is the smallest of reasons not to like her.

  13. Dave Jones Silver badge
    Stop

    No generalizations, please

    Forget about the "American Education System". There isn't one. This is the first mistake Brits make when dealing with US education. The Feds do nothing but throw money at people, whatever the press says about "Federal Education Policy". At the state level control of education is highly variable. Some states, South Carolina for one, I think, control centrally. Effectively the entire state is one "school district". Here in New York a school district can be as small as a town of a few tens of thousands of people, with its own policies AND (very important) ability to levy taxes. Sure the state govt. drops "mandates" on us and distributes "school aid" (basically a tax on small towns to feed big cities) but the bottom line is that no Prez or Veep can impose anything from Washington, and likewise even a Congress full of Creationists couldn't mandate its teaching.

  14. Paul Murphy
    Coat

    Religion ...

    ... should have died out in the middle ages, why and how it has survived this long I find quite amazing, let alone the fact that people still seem to take it seriously.

    I don't mind people believing whatever they want (not even the FSM) but why must I share my planet with them!

    Mine the one with the Magrathean catalogue in the pocket.

    ttfn

  15. Maria Helm

    Science with blinders on

    The difference between now and 30 years ago is that they used to teach the "theory" of Evolution, and they used to teach that a "theory" is something that fits the facts but cannot be proven. This leaves room for people to learn the scientific basis for evolution, while still holding their own theories/beliefs . Now, they want Science teachers to say that evolution is a proven "fact", and as such that it rules out all other theories/beliefs "so we won't even talk about them". Regardless of whether evolution is a theory or a fact...You can't teach science in a vacuum.

    It is just as foolish to teach evolution without at least addressing creationism (which every one of those students has at least heard about), as it is to teach abstience without addressing "what teens really do". They are just encouraging teens to do to evolutionism what they do to everything else adults teach them - recite it back when asked, and then believe/do whatever they want when those adults aren't around.

    Why do they not trust kids to consider all the facts and come to a logical conclusion? Aren't they doing a good job teaching the scientific method, logic, and reasoning in the schools? No, probably not. They would rather have a bunch of good little citizens who just take the government's word for things and don't try to figure them out on their own. So sad.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    "teach both" is critical thinking, not creationism

    Wait, the only evidence of Sarah Palin's so-called "belief in creationism" is that she said "teach both" when asked what should be taught in public schools? As a hard-core scientist I have no issue with presenting the evidence for each side and letting the kids decide. Evidence of evolution is spread throughout the genetic code and the fossil record. Creationist "evidence" consists of a literal reading of the bible and some arguments that radioactive decay rates aren't stable. A small group of parents stop complaining and maybe their kids get a clue. What's the problem? Isn't teaching critical thinking in schools a good thing?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Will they ever learn..

    1) Sola Scriptura or the relatively wide adherence to it is a fairly new development.

    2) Evolution isn't science, it's reading from a book. Whatever the trustworthiness of that book, it is not and will not be science. A biology class teaches what biologists have found through something at least resembling scientific method (okay, observe-hypothesis-test-correct doesn't apply very well). If a school wants to have a religion class, fine, but don't bitch about other classes contradicting it.

    One would hope that these, especially the latter, would be obvious points to anyone involved. Alas. With some luck I'll be teaching physics in a few years, damn happy I don't have to put up with this mess in .nl.

  18. Kaitlyn Kincaid
    Coat

    both? there are only two?

    what about Hindu creation myths? Roman? Greek? Muslim? Cree? Algonquin? Japanese Zen? the hundreds of other creation myths that have came around in the thousands of years of human history?

    teach one, teach em all.... know what, a course on nothing but creation myths would actually be pretty interesting...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Gav: A whole lot less

    @Gav: Actually, Borass' statement is the normal form of the expression in the US and has been around since the 1960s (and yes, most americans do realize that it doesn't make sense if taken literally).

    So no, it doesn't affect his critical thinking reputation (except perhaps among people unfamiliar with dialects of english beyond their own). And yes, it is exactly what he meant to say.

    >Yes, I'm being pedantic, so sue me.

    No, you're being ignorant, but I excuse you

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Theory and hypothesis

    What worries me is how many people are unable to distinguish 'theory' from 'hypothesis'.

    Darwin's theory is just that: a theory, i.e. an idea backed-up by observation and data.

    ID remains a hypothesis. (an idea without data or observation to support it).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science without critical thinking...

    I personally belive that if you are dealing with Evolution in a teaching environment, you need to discuss the alternatives 'theories'. You can't teach science by saying here are the facts, everything else is wrong, for a couple of reasons, not least there have been many fundamental changes in the understanding of science over the years, decades, centuries. Creationism is a perfect way to illustrate the scientific method and apply critical thinking to a lesson about Evolution.

    Even Dawkins discussed creationism in a classroom for the program about Darwin he did recently. (NB: He later called for the resignation of a baptist minister at the royal society for suggesting exactly the same thing and stated that creationism had no place in a science class...)

  22. Danny

    Can't be bothered

    To reiterate everything that has been said before (including by myself) So I point you at the comments section regarding the Turkish courts idiotic censorship of free speech. Richard Dawkins comments aside, the argument as to why creationism is NOT science is pretty well covered

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/22/turkey_bans_dawkins_website/comments/

  23. Iain
    Thumb Down

    "teach both" is mealy-mouthed creationist whining

    Giving creationists time to plead their case in science classes as special dispensation for their baseless claims without any evidence to back them up whatsoever is not critical thinking. You might as well give equal time to Intelligent Falling.

  24. John Routledge

    Just thought I'd wade in here...

    and just generally agree with pretty much everyone - The Reg needs to either stick to what it's (relatively) good at, and report IT related news, or start learning the basics on impartiality. I don't think I've ever read a more opinionated series of articles on Politics since I (accidentaly mind you) read a copy of the Mail.

    Buck up Reg, I expect better.

  25. Neil Stansbury
    Alert

    Fine teach both...

    ...WHEN the the creationists have presented and proved their evidence.

    If you want creationism taught on the level as science then you must abide by the same playing field science does.

    Evidence - must satisfactorily explain the attributes of the world around us, and then make provable predictions.

    BTW pointing at the bible as evidence for creationism is like suggesting Darwin's "Origin of The Species" is evidence for evolution. (which it isn't)

    This means you must explain the ENTIRE chain of evidence that evolution fits into, AND produce the mathematical proofs that prove it.

    I would dearly love to hear the creationists explain and mathematically prove, that if the world is ~10,00 years old, how does radioactive decay work in the nuclear weapons she could very well have her fingers on.

    Oooh also would love to hear the explanation how/why Einstein is wrong?

    BTW. Those bitching about no IT angle - you're reading this for what reason then?

  26. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Gav: A whole lot less

    Good stuff. I quite like the US form, it's contrary and arsey. As opposed to 'assy'.

    But then again, I could care less.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Marie Helm

    30 years ago there were even greater gaps in our knowledge of evolution than there are now. Even though we still don't know everything, every further piece of evidence has done nothing but enforce the original idea. Not a single piece of evidence has contradicted the theory so until someone can propose something different with evidence to support their proposal that stands up to scientific scrutiny it is reasonable to assume that evolution is fact, but that some parts of our knowledge on the how and why may be incorrect.

  28. Gilbert Gosseyn

    Evolution is only a theory?

    Anonymous Coward said... "Evolution is a theory with holes in it. These holes may be resolved over time but I'm sick of it being thrust on us as a fact, which it is not."

    The "evolution is only a theory" argument is a very old and tired one. The theory of gravity is as much a theory, but I dare you to deny there is such a thing as gravity.

    Gravity is real, evolution is real, now it's your turn to get real.

    Gil.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    If only...

    >Isn't teaching critical thinking in schools a good thing?

    Yes. But that's not what Creationists and IDiots are asking for. They are asking that (a) arguments against evolution that have been thoroughly discredited many times over be presented as if they were reasonable and without the refutations; (b) that arguments for Creationism/IDiocy that have been similarly discredited be presented as if they too were reasonable; (c) Asking children (yes, children!) to choose between them *as if they were equally valid*. If you doubt that this is the shell game being played, go read up on the Dover, PA court case. Or just read some of the comments in this very thread.

    Let me put it like this: suppose you took a child whose parents had fed it candy its whole life. You showed it a plate of candy and a plate of carrots and told it "some people say that you'd be healthier if you ate the carrots rather than the candy. Other people say that something that tastes as nice as candy can't be bad for you. Now, you choose." That, my friend, is what biology classes would be like if the Creationists/IDiots had their way.

  30. Sarev
    Paris Hilton

    @Sarah

    So let me get this straight: "I could care less" (US) means exactly the same as "I couldn't care less" (UK)?

  31. Steven Hunter
    Boffin

    Who doesn't see dinosaurs from their back porch?

    In the form of birds? You know, the living decedents of dinosaurs? Who doesn't see those everywhere?

  32. Joe

    That picture

    Is utter quality! hahaha

  33. Webster Phreaky
    Alert

    MORE LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS SLANDER FOR THE DEMS!

    First off - I'm an Atheist, have a MS in Zoology / Vertebrate Paleontology and don't believe in "Creation" or any "Devine / Creator lead Evolution" either. The ONLY "creation" that's been done, is MANS invention of religion and god (small G intentional).

    Never the less, it's none of the business of the A-Hole so-called media writers of this DEMOCRAT BIASED Media Tripe, or any of you Lefty A-Holes, what Sarah Palin believes in! Desipite that you dicks on Left's attempts to have Big Governent dictate what we can do or believe in (since you're all Marxist at heart), like in Cuba, China or Iran, the US President or VP CAN NOT dictate what is taught or believed in by US Citizens. This is a FREE THINKING COUNTRY!

    Palin has NEVER said she believes what science has proved was prehistoric Flora or Fauna only existed "recently"; and many "orthodox" religious believers either don't or suspect that the "time line" of ALL of the various religious bibles are distored by the barely educated people who wrote them. Print a single online hyperlink to any cooberated quotation that Sarah Palin has publically stated she believe "Dinosaurs exhisted recently"!! I'll bet NONE OF YOU can!

    Keep in mind, if you have one, that Sarah Palin's father WAS A SCIENCE TEACHER in a public school teaching CONVENTIONAL SCIENCE and EVOLUTION!

    So keep your OBVIOUSLY Politically Oriented Biased Slandering of a US CITIZEN, Sarah Palin or anyone else, to your selves! A-Holes!

  34. Alan Fisher

    People fail to see the relevence

    Of having a very openly religious very soon to be potential leader of a secular nation currently involved in what many people would term as a religious war? Wasn't the founding principle of the United States that religion and government will never mix? But now an election is being fought on religious grounds......

    the worry many people have is this; yes Obama is a bit of a media whore and seemingly more Personality than Policy but Palin as President (how long will McCain last, really?) is one heck of a scary prospect.

    We of the West have had enough of war and division. Here is someone who will give us even more of that.

  35. dervheid
    Boffin

    'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

    and faeries at the bottom of the garden too, no doubt.

  36. Mark

    Evolution isn't science, it's reading from a book

    Uh, if that's true, how does the evolution of MRSA result from reading a book? Does it have to be a specific book? I mean, if I read "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" will that cause a new flu virus, but if I read "The Cat In The Hat" a new biotic will appear, leading to a cancer treatment?

  37. Neil

    My theory

    Is that the universe was farted out by a giant incontinent goat.

    I believe this theory should be taught, too. It's just as believable as the creationist view.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised

    That no one has yet commented on the obvious flawed logic put forward by Intelligent Design theory.

    ID: We cannot possibly have appeared from nothing without the intervention of a supreme being

    Rational person: If that is so, how did the supreme being come to exist?

    ID: He created himself/appeared from nothing/has always existed/masturbated into his own non-existent mouth therby giving birth to himself so that he then existed/pick any of the hundreds of different religious beliefs on how we came to be

    Rational Person: So God can come from nothing, but life in its many forms cannot be constructed from the right chemical elements given the right environment and then improve itself over millions of years?

    ID:Correct

    How can they fail to see the paradox in their own argument?

  39. Schultz
    Boffin

    Let them evolve

    People who choose to believe in the spaghetti monster or related deities are just as human as you and me, let them believe. Eventually, they'll jump on the boat of scientific progress, or they'll be quirky tourist attractions like the amish & friends.

    Let them evolve in peace, as long as they don't screw up life for the rest of us.

  40. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: "teach both" is critical thinking, not creationism

    "As a hard-core scientist I have no issue with presenting the evidence for each side and letting the kids decide."

    Yes, but in a science class you should be presenting *scientific* evidence, not "my preacher/book says so" assertions which haven't had (and indeed, thanks to their goalpost-moving proponents, actively evade) any decent level of critical scrutiny. As I noted in the discussion around the Royal Society vicar resignation controversy, creationism in its most vocal, "reloaded" form seems to be about taking the hard work of scientists who genuinely want to understand the mechanisms in the universe, cherry-picking quotes which misrepresent the findings, and then telling everyone that they shouldn't bother because "it's all God's domain".

    If you tell science pupils that science is all about giving up if something is too complicated to explain and sticking a "God" label on the whole thing instead, then you're not teaching science any more. That said, I wouldn't have a problem with people using creationism and its variants as non-examples of science in a kind of introduction to science, just as long as everyone understood that religion-fueled interruptions to the class would not be tolerated once the rest of the course got underway.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    M.I.L.F.

    I think I would though.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    For those who insist evolution is a theory but not a proven fact, then logically you must apply the same argument to all scientific knowledge; since it all is at risk of being replaced by a better theory. But if one is a reasonable individual, and accept that some things are proven beyond reasonable doubt, then science is our best method for finding and proving facts. It makes predictions, and tests them, it checks results. Nothing does it better.

    By that criteria evolution is a clearly fact beyond reasonable doubt, and those that object to it appear to be wilfully denying it simply because it doesn't fit into the world view they prefer.

    It will always be unreasonable to demand that supporters of a theory to have the answer to every question that can be thought of, before it is even given serious consideration. When something fits the facts better than any other explanation, and especially better than, "I refuse to believe it can happen that way so I insist my deity must have crafted everything by 'hand'", then the theory has to be accepted as fact by all reasonable individuals.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Yanks

    Ah yes, you Yanks and your devotion to the written word - the Bible (it's the word of Gawd!) and the Constitution (awed intake of breath!)

    You DO know we're all laughing at you?

    Except for every now and then we worry about which unlucky country you'll fsck up next.

    Fortunately you appear to be doing it to yourselves this time. Enjoy.

    And Webster, your Caps Lock appears to have a problem.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Martha Anne

    I learned about "The Register" via my techie husband - I am a (master's level) social worker by trade.

    However, I have to say that you don't need to feel defensive or as if you need to explain yourself when you are talking about the training of teachers in the U.S. School districts are partly supported, at least here in New York State, by local taxes, and the more affluent districts only hire science teachers who are well qualified in their subject area. (I have worked as a substitute teacher,too, in poor and rich school districts.) The poor districts in the U.S. are far more likely to not hire science teachers who are rigorously trained in a science or math area: It's very discriminatory, IMO, here. Poor school districts are worlds, galaxies apart from, say, a district in the city of Newton, Massachusetts, or Roslyn, Long Island, New York.

    In more middle income school districts, science teaching can be good or not so good. Usually just acceptable.

    It is entirely possible that Sarah Palin's father was a creationist who claimed to be teaching science. This does happen today in the Midwest and other areas and teachers who want to teach actual science can be forced out or just quit.

  45. Brian
    Alert

    Science vs. Religion and the benefits of both...

    I'm often truly depressed by the complete hypocrisy of many of those that would insist that evolution is garbage and that “intelligent design,” creationism, etc. is right and should be taught as a valid theory in science classes.

    Let me start by giving an un-related example of hypocrisy, I knew a woman who was an avid protestor against animal testing. Her brother was diagnosed with a severe heart defect and in my opinion was lucky enough to obtain a transplant (obviously, the original “owner” of said heart wasn’t so lucky). After listening to one of her rants one day, I pointed out that her brother was alive because of animal testing (which I thought was exceedingly obvious). Unsurprisingly, she was extremely angry with me and proceeded to rant some more in a direction that could be best described as “that’s unfair – this is a different situation.” No, it wasn’t different. I am of the opinion that her brother was worthy of the transplant and that research to develop the techniques involved in heart transplant on animals and the development/testing of anti-organ-rejection drugs involving animals were a lesser “evil” than letting her brother die. Prior to that moment all animal testing was bad and evil to her. After that moment, her opinion evolved (I’m sorry I’m not trying to bait with the use of that term) to animal testing for the production of cosmetics is evil, etc. – OK, hard for me to argue against testing for the sake of vanity.

    Evolution is a theory based on the scientific method. And it is really a pretty simple and logical theory on top of that – I would call it simple math – An animal of greater fitness for its current environment statistically bears more offspring than one of lesser fitness and after a number of generations there are fewer animals with the lesser trait. How can you not believe in that concept? How could you call that evil? The same logic would apply to restaurants/economics every day – quality restaurants with good marketing tend to prosper, bad quality restaurants or restaurants with bad marketing tend to fail. The difference between animals and restaurants – restaurants can change their basic nature and thus potentially become successful – a grazing animal with a short neck can’t become a giraffe because he wants to – his genetics don’t allow for that. However, if there is an advantage to the grazing animal with a longer neck over his companions he might very well have more kids and his kids might have more kids, etc.

    So what is the relationship between the above story related to hypocrisy and Evolution vs. Creationism? I can only assume that almost all people firmly on the side of teaching Creationism in science enjoy the benefits of medicine, technology, infrastructure, etc. developed via the scientific method. Evolution is a product of the scientific method. Many current advancements in medicine are based on improvements in our understanding of DNA, RNA, etc., which are the direct result of analysis via the scientific method. The fact that Palin’s child could be in-vitro diagnosed with a DNA defect is a direct result of our improved understanding of genetic inheritance, gene mutation, etc. (which are all tenets of modern evolutionary theory). Therefore, in my opinion it is hypocritical to utilize the benefits (e.g.: knowing / being prepared ahead of time for a Down’s Syndrome baby) of science / critical thinking and turn around and insist on the teaching of an idea (Creationism) completely based on belief rather than scientific method. Similarly, you can’t blindly pluck crucial elements of scientific knowledge that contradict a Judeo-Christian interpretation of Creationism (e.g.: radio carbon dating based on radioactive decay), but utilize that same scientific method on a daily basis (nuclear power production based on radioactive decay) and it not smack of hypocrisy.

    Let me finish my soap box “rant” by saying that Creationism is inherently un-scientific. The scientific method is a process of observation and measurement followed by the development of a hypothesis about the cause that yielded the observation or measurement. Creationism is the belief that everything is the way it is because God made it that way (unless you think stating that giraffes have long necks because God wanted them to have long necks is a scientific statement). That doesn’t make Creationism wrong. It does make it wrong for a science class and in my opinion there are other perfect platforms for the evaluation of Creationism (e.g.: religious or philosophical study classes).

    The purpose of science courses are to teach our future scientists to think in a scientific pattern rather than assume something through belief. An example of the value in teaching them critical thinking is that they might be able to push our knowledge to the point that we could grow a new heart without needing transplants/ant-rejection drugs or miracles. Wouldn't a loving creator prefer that we obtain a level where we could help ourselves?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    What does factcheck.org say on this??

    In their article "Sliming Palin" what do they say?

    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/sliming_palin.html

    The quote of "teach both" came from a question asked during a debate about teaching alternatives to evolution. So when pushed about teaching alternatives to evolution she says "let the kids debate both". Boy that is a dangerous answer, the evolutionists should be shaking in their boots on that one....

    --------------------------------------------------

    No Creationism in Schools

    On Aug. 29, the Boston Globe reported that Palin was open to teaching creationism in public schools. That's true. She supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor.

    In an Oct. 25, 2006, debate, when asked about teaching alternatives to evolution, Palin replied:

    Palin, Oct. 25, 2006: Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject – creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.

    A couple of days later, Palin amended that statement in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, saying:

    Palin, Oct. 2006: I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.

    After her election, Palin let the matter drop. The Associated Press reported Sept 3: "Palin's children attend public schools and Palin has made no push to have creationism taught in them. ... It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans." The article was headlined, "Palin has not pushed creation science as governor." It was written by Dan Joling, who reports from Anchorage and has covered Alaska for 30 years.

  47. Luther Blissett

    Sarah Palin, the dicks of destiny are after you

    Why not teach both - kids have lots to learn. Teach both in science class, so the kids can understand what reasoning is, and what it's good for. Teach in it RE class, so the kids can understand what faith is, and what it's good for. If you don't then you have some idiots who hold onto evolution like it was a matter of life and death, and others who hold think faith is just a matter of succumbing to strange beliefs (perhaps Stockholm-syndrome-like), and others who hold both types of absurdity.

    Of course, school is not about education, but that's another matter. Success in politics, like in music, is about making the "right" noises, and that's another matter 2.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    "most americans do realize that it doesn't make sense if taken literally"

    Literally ? No it makes perfect sense, and speaks volumes about language and people that they think they can say the opposite of what they mean, at that is supposed to be alright. He may have said what he meant, but failed miserably to mean what he said. Tends to make one despair of one's fellow human beings. :-(

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    @Outraged Merkins

    To those who are complaining about El Reg running political articles you disagree with - there is a solution!

    Try not reading the article. Otherwise you'll get all worked up, and it'll be for nothing, you know :-)

    http://xkcd.com/386/

  50. Eduard Coli
    Heart

    What!?

    There is nothing to debate, science is based on fact and "creationism" is not science.

    "Nothing is"

    "Nothing becomes"

    "Nothing is not"

    --CH0, BOL, Fra.P.

  51. alain williams Silver badge

    One heartbeat

    that is how far away she will be from bring president should McCain win.

    Worried yet ?

  52. Colin Morris
    Paris Hilton

    @MORE LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS SLANDER FOR THE DEMS!

    Typical Webster Phreaky.... The typical 'shout loudest' voice of modern republican politics.

    Going off the point at bit, the scariest thing is that the republicans might win the election despite being still completely incompetent on most matters! Did anyone see the BBC News 24 debate on the credit crisis last night? It was scary for one reason only. They had a Democrat Senator on who said he and his fellow democrats were going to vote for the $700 blank cheque bailout because... get this... "They are scaring us into voting for it". In the last eight years the democrats still haven't grown a backbone! They let Bush illegally win the 2000 election and now they are still not standing up for themselves through fear of republicans and the republican media such as Fox News shouting about how if they don't get $700 billion to keep their Wall Street mates in silk suits then it will be all the democrats fault if the US completely implodes. It's the same as when George Bush said that there were WMD's in Iraq prior to the war they have wasted billions (or nearly trillions?) on in that country. Nobody stood up to him. The democrats were more scared of being un-patriotic in the eyes of the US press than 'patriotically' trying to stop Bush and his hawk cronies wasting US taxpayers money on an illegal war.

    Now of course we find that the $700 million blank cheque bail out has been stopped... mainly by republicans who have more backbone to stand up to their own republican president and his financially incompetent cronies. This means that McCain can ride in to save the day (is that really why the republican senators have helped stop the bailout in it's present form?) whilst the Democrats stand idly by being too scared to do anything. Is it any wonder that Americans vote for the republicans at elections en masse? Even though they are criminally negligent and incompetent at least they are CONVINCING about it! I think the worlds needs a president Obama right now. But if the democrats don't 'grow a set' fast I see at least another eight years in the wilderness unfortunately for right-minded Americans and the rest of the world.

    The Hotel Heiress... because she could come up with a better financial bailout strategy.... oh yeah... the main point of this article... and she probably has no time for creationalists either!

  53. Gianni Straniero
    Stop

    @Webster Phreaky

    "This is a FREE THINKING COUNTRY!"

    Your sweetheart had to ask a librarian whether it would be OK to ban some books, should the fancy take her:

    http://news.bostonherald.com/news/2008/view.bg?articleid=1117009

    The librarian said she would be opposed to such a move. Shortly thereafter, Palin fired her. So much for your "free thinking country".

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I made this

    I've read and watched many articles and films about creationism and the basis for the "theory" seems to be attacking and poking holes in the theory of evolution at a very high level. Creationism is not a seperate theory for existence, it is merely an argument against evolution. If creationism tried to rationally explain "why" certain species look simular to other species, or other biologic processes occurring on this planet then maybe they'd have a better chance of being heard. Arguing against evolution is futile without scientific proof; which is unfortunate as those who argue for creationism usually are also required to have faith in something without evidence.

    I compare those who believe in creationism with those who believe we did not land on the moon.

    Ideas and freedom of information is one thing, and everything should be open to rational debate and questioning; but rational debate for the inheritent truth of something does not exist here. The debate of creationism should exist in the world of philosophy, not science.

  55. Law
    Unhappy

    cool image

    disappointing story... not because of the contents (didn't really read it), I just thought it would have more fun pictures of US politicians in a Flintstones setting. :(

  56. Dave

    Evolution is and Always be a Farce

    Science demands proof to theories. Evolution has never shown a single transition species, violates the laws of thermodynamics and can be easily disproven statistically. So far, aside from annoying those who believe in creationism and justifying atrocities evolution has very little value, scientific or otherwise. In short, evolution is about as provable as a fairly tale and those who cling to it are simply embracing an unsubstantiated faith.

    A Physicist

  57. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Flame

    @"teach both" is critical thinking, not creationism

    No, it's not. Your argument is merely a Trojan Horse for bringing a discussion of Bible literalism into classrooms. Here's why "teaching both" fails to qualify as "teaching critical thinking":

    1) you are "teaching" at least one theory which is false (schools should aspire to *never* teach anything they know to be false);

    2) teachers would be prohibited from telling students what the "correct" theory is; at best they would be able to express that they "believe" one view or the other. so

    3) there could be no closure and no reproducibility of results from such a set-up, so

    4) using "creationism vs evolution" as a model example of critical thinking FAILS.

    By all means, teach critical thinking. But choose as an example something that makes sense. For example, teach them how a courtroom works: tell them about admissibility of evidence, rules of inference and the requirements for falsifying (ie, disprove) an argument. For more advanced classes teach them about logical fallacies and how people can deliberately use rhetoric and false arguments to deliberately mislead. This stuff is covered in the Athiest FAQ which is widely available on the web.

  58. Josh Holman

    The Courtier's Reply

    I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

    Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

    Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.

    Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.

    - PZ Myers

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yanks don't listen to the words coming out of their own mouths

    US: "could care less". Makes no sense.

    UK:"couldn't care less". Means what it says.

    US: home of creationism. Makes sense considering people pay no attention to the meaning of the words they say. They could just spout total crap and believe each other. Oh, hang on...they actually do that...

  60. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @ Anonymous Coward re: Theory and Hypothesis

    'ID remains a hypothesis. (an idea without data or observation to support it).'

    Actually it's not a hypothesis as there is no way of testing ID.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Webster Phreaky

    I know you're a troll, but I'll respond regardless...

    "it's none of the business of the [...] media [...] what Sarah Palin believes in!"

    1) this woman aspires to being the VP of the USA,

    2) those at the top make decisions which affect the general public,

    3) a person's ideological point of view *will* inform how they govern, therefore

    4) the voters *should* take an interest in the views of the candidates and the media *should* report on their perceptions of the candidates' ideologies.

    I'm sure I don't need to give examples of how leaders' ideologies dictate the kinds of policies/programs they pursue.

    As to your whining about how bad this site is, why don't you just go somewhere else where they write the kinds of things you want to read? Ah, yes, I answered that in the first line...

  62. NukEvil
    Flame

    An astute observation:

    Most of the commenters here arguing "against" creationism have posted anonymously, while more arguing "against" evolution have posted openly.

    Oh, and a large piece of the "theory" of gravity has been disproven. Something about the photons from our sun being bent around the "gravitational" pull of the moon during a solar eclipse (you know, that thing about mass being the principal factor, and since photons have no mass, well, there goes that part of the theory). Not saying that gravity itself doesn't exist, I'm saying our understanding of it is wrong. Here, to prove my point, I'll insert a seemingly random equation: F = GMm/r^2.

    Flame because that gives off photons too.

  63. Peyton
    Flame

    @Sarev

    No, no, you've got it all wrong.

    "I could care less" (US) means exactly the same as "I couldn't care less" (US)

    (just to add to the confusion we use both expressions)

  64. ben

    Everybody fuck off

    We've all evolved into stupid greedy drones. I'm leaving on the next ufo. Fuck you all, and good luck.

  65. Red Bren
    Dead Vulture

    Teach both

    Fair enough, as long as it works both ways and scientific theories are presented along side bible stories, for example:

    Adam & Eve and their descendants - the consequences of inbreeding

    Jesus walks on water - Archimedes principle

    St Paul's Damascene conversion - Schizophrenia and synesthesia

    No marks for saying "A super-natural being did it, then ran away!"

    Grave stone, but in three days I'll be feeling much better

  66. Peyton
    Flame

    What are the putting in the coffee at the Reg?

    "Before going ballistic over this writer's apparent slag, please consider he was raised by a teacher"

    Hmm... here the writer refers to himself in the singular, yet the article was authored by two people. Split personality? Secret, alternate identity carelessly exposed? I'm left wondering...

    But identity issues aside, things have probably change from the stone age when his (their?) dad was subbing. While, as was already pointed out, there isn't a US level blanket requirement for teaching science - it is controlled at the state level - a bit of googling indicates that most states (if not all) require a bachelor's degree in the subject being taught (for high school) - i.e., to teach high school biology, you need to have a BS in biology... I will concede, this is not the case for elementary science. So yes, as they move from color-by-number plants (before recess) to Darwinian evolution (after recess) - there could be in trouble.

  67. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: M.I.L.F

    Well, at least it'll shut her up for five minutes.

  68. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Not a theory...

    "I personally belive that if you are dealing with Evolution in a teaching environment, you need to discuss the alternatives 'theories'"

    Creationism isn't a theory. Theories have some kind of tests that can be done to possibly disprove them. Creationism doesn't. The current "intelligent design" argument to try to say they have a theory of irreducible complexity, but this is not a testable statement either; it just says basically "some things in biology are so complex they cannot be reduced into simpler parts, therefore they were created". Several specific examples have been *disproven* (one was the eye, there's plenty of basically proto-eyes around in nature). Every time one is disproven the intelligent design camp just pulls out other examples, one after another.

    "...WHEN the the creationists have presented and proved their evidence."

    They wouldn't have to PROVE it, theories aren't proven, they have tests that can falsify them and are assumed true until disproven. But, every theory creationists have brought up have been disproven, and at present they've simply tried to make a scientific-sounding statement or two that is not disprovable... which is the big problem.

    I live in the US, but I don't know what these people's problem is.. if you want to believe in creationism on faith, do it, but it's not science.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    @Webster Phreaky

    Dear Mr. Palin,

    We're sorry to have hurt your feelings in regard to the Mrs. It's pretty obvious to us all who wears the pants (and bollocks) in your family; but that's no reason to try to clain the "flame of the week" award at el Reg.

    The IT angle...simple is as simple does. Evolution is all about science. So is IT.

    ID and creationism are all about belief. Don't like it; don't read it and stop whinging.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Webster Phreaky

    The Religious Right - hell, any Conservatives, in fact - are an easy target and deserve to be ridiculed, humiliated and demeaned whenever and wherever possible.

    Now fuck off, you moosecock-loving 'a-hole'.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Webster Phreaky

    cause the feds have no say what is taught in schools?

    REEEEAAAAAAALY??? < /Ace Ventura Impressiom >

    seems to me they have done a pretty good job telling the states, to tell the schools, to the the teachers what they can and can not teach in health class. Mention anything other then abstinence-only sex-ed and lose your funding. What exactly would prevent them from doing the same thing to biology class? Teach Christian creation myth or lose your funding could very easily be the next turd down the pipe.

    Paris, cause this is so obvious even she can figure it out.

  72. James
    Happy

    Creationism wins because:

    It's easy to teach, and easy to examine!

    Q: Why does <anything> have <anyfeature> ?

    A: IT WAS CREATED THAT WAY, AND IS PERFECT!

    100% grade A++ at age 16!

  73. Allan Rutland
    Flame

    Creationist Fiction

    It seem's that alot of the Creationist lot keep whining (alot of the time) about that Theory of Evoloution, because its a Theory. Yes, just like relativity, and everything else is. And they want Creationism to be on the same footing, which from a neutral standpoint it all well and good. Just make sure everytime Creationism is mentioned, its given its true title of Creationist Fiction.

    Complain all the like about evolution having gaps here and there. But its far better than the creationist fiction they are throwing at people with zero evidence supporting it at all.

  74. Bounty
    Flame

    Here's

    the problem, "Teach both" sounds like it means, spending 1/2 the time talking about how God did stuff with the firmamnet and then spending equal time talking about how survival of the fittest works. Which is a waste of time and counter productive science (class) wise.

    When you teach evolution, you talk about facts like, how improperly colored bears can't sneak up on rabbits in the snow.

    When you teach creationism, you talk about your favorite God myth. In the US that would usually be the father of Christ. Now for you rednecks out there, what would you do if Sara Palin's dad was instead teaching your kid about the sky serpent Damballah creating the ocean?

    "Teach both" doesn't imply, teach how religion is unprovable (if God's omnipotent, he may have made everything 10 min ago, memories and radioactive decay in place) and how evolution is fact, the same way eating keeps you alive kind of fact.

    I would have been ok with the statement "Teach evolution and that religion is myth." If you disagree with me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth = story.

    The theory of evolution can evolve, it's the scientific process. Myths and bibles are generally written in stone, and can be shown to be way way false, like Genesis. The bible is roughly equal to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bunyan

  75. Tim Bergel
    Stop

    @Fact and fantasy

    Anonymous coward said:

    > Believing that the world was created does not preclude believing that evolution was part

    > of the process.

    Agreed (at least not totally preclude), but believing that the earth is 7000 years old (Young earth creationism, which Sarah Palin apparently believes in - I have no proof) does preclude belief in evolution, as well as a fair amount of fundamental physics (speed of light & radioactive decay at the very least) along with who knows what else - all of geology for a start - tree rings? climate history in ice cores?. I find it frightening that a young earth creationist can even be considered for high political office, in a hilarious sort of way.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non-IT articles

    I enjoy these very much. It also allows me to post comments, get flamed, possibly re-adjust my thinking and flame someone else. There's also the added benefit that this is the most intelligent thing I get to see while at work. Normally I post with my name, but considering I do this on the clock (they won't fix my pay they screwed up, I don't work as hard anymore and let them lose money) it's probably better to post as AC.

  77. Eduard Coli
    Happy

    What!?

    Science is based on facts and Creationism is not Science.

  78. Matt Asay

    This article started biased, then became balanced

    Was the object to bring people in with a silly headline, follow it with a highly biased and emotionally charged (as well as demonstrably false) opening paragraph, and then get down to reporting a moderately balanced story? If you, you succeeded!

    Palin's record is very different from the caricature that you paint for her. I'm not a creationism sort of guy, though I am very religious and believe that more than mere evolution when into creating the earth. I just don't see the need to teach any particular religious or scientific theory as dogma/doctrine in public schools. My kids learn that at home and at church, and if someone wants to present evolution as the best scientific theory we have today, even despite its flaws, have at it.

    But that is not far off from Palin's record, either, so please don't try to score cheap points on an allegedly technology-focused web news site by falsely deprecating a strawman representation of Palin's beliefs and record of upholding those beliefs.

  79. Craig Gorsuch
    Flame

    Christianity does NOT mean one is anti-Science

    Those of you that are ANTI-religious, and not content to let those of use who are Christian live our faith. A faith, by the way, that demands we live our faith in public and private - there is no secular in the Christian life.

    What many of you don't realize: why is "God in the gaps" of scientific theory invalid while "science in the gaps" of scientific theory is valid? You can say all you want about science being "real" and God being a "myth" all you want. From a philosophical point of view, as well as an emperical point of view, it is impossible to PROVE the Big-Bang from a materialistic point of view. One can only infer: first there was nothing, then it exploded...

    Your problems with the biblical account of Creation (how can God create when he didnt' exist yet) is your imposition of TIME upon the equation. Logically, an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an exterior force. (Newton's second law? I'm not sure.) If the Big Bang occured materialistically, and time, matter, and space were all created at the same instant (a point Creationists don't deny, by the way); what was the EXTERIOR FORCE that set the whole thing in motion? You can talk about The Oscillation Model, or Vibrating Membranes between multiple dimensions of existence, but all you're doing is moving the point of ultimate beginnings back a few notches in the hopes that you obscure it to keep from thinking about the Ultimate Beginning. Not to mention you're violating Okham's Razor, where the simplest explanation is the correct one. Oscillation or Vibrating Membranes necessitate the existence of a mechanism more complicated than the one you're attempting to explain. You then need to explain how that more complicated mechanism came to being. The Bible teaches that God exists OUTSIDE our temporal existence, and there is nothing outside that. (Okham's Razor again.) He is the external force. Now here's the rub: Can you prove me wrong EMPIRICALLY? I didn't think so.

    Dinosaurs becoming birds? Where are the countless fossils of varying species with elongated scales that aren't yet feathers. These dino-birds would have to exist in enough numbers to propogate and continue the evoutionary actions. After all, evolution stands a better chance when multiple variations compete for the next rung on the evolutionary ladder. These multtiple variations must not only be genetically compatible with each similar member of quasi-species, but they must be enough numbers of each quasi-species to prevent the genetic mutations from cross-contaminating each-other until the mutations have proven no damage to the original organism.

    Only one thing can be proven from a fossil: it died. You can not empiracally prove to anyone that particular animal ever produced offspring. That is merely a logical assumption based on the numbers of that particular kind of fossilised animal previously found.

    Here's a neat thought: How many generations of what life spans are we spaeking about when it comes to Materialistic Evolution from the macro-molecule in the pre-biotic soup until today? Bear in mind there are only 1x10e21 (that's 1 times 10 to the 21st power) seconds in the universe if you accept the universe is 16 trillion years old. WAIT! Did you factor the effects of gravity on the speed of light? THe Satterfield/Norman Theory states the speed of light is NOT a constant. More impoartantly, the speed of light has been slowing down according to an inverse-square equation. Look at the particulate of fireworks after the detonation: don't they slow down the further they travel from the point of detonation? Why is it illogical to assume the same for light particles/waves. Granted there's not much mass in a particle of light, but they DO have mass (light "bends" around gravimetric fields, and can be refrated by water) therefore light is affected by gravity, and if the universe if 16 trillion years old, how much has the speed of light decreased in that time. BUT WAIT! If we measure the age of the universe by the distance of the celestial bodies, and our calulations of that distance are based on the speed of light, and we AREN'T compensating for the changes in the speed of light, then our age of the universe is incorrect.

    Those of you who are anti-religious: when you believe that Christians are anti-science, you have Christianity incorrect. Yes we Christians (I'm a "young-earth Creationist" at that) reap the advantage of scientific knowledge. You miss the point. Even the Amish enjoy a limited form of technology: levers; wheels; fulcrums; had tools; meterology; genetics (in the form of growing crops). The real point here is one of ideology, and Mahmoud Amhadinijad (as well as Osama bin Laden) are taking it as such! Our ENEMIES (for they say they want to destroy us) have admitted they are in a war with us over ideology.

    Please tell me the most recent terrorist act / massacre / mass homocide, that was a result of the *natural working* of the Christian faith. Hint: Jonestown wasn't. The Crusades wasn't. The Branch Davidians wasn't. Please tell me any atrocities that result in the *natural outworking* of Christianity. Now tell me what atrocities are done in the name of those that oppose Christ as well as being a natural working of the anti-Christian ideology represented by the leader of that movement. Stalin. Pol Pot. Hitler. 9/11. 7/7. The Crusades and the Inquisition was based upon the Church attempting to control political power - a position it was NEVER meant to occupy. (And I will fight to keep The Church from being The Government.)

    But the entire point is moot as: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." The U.S. Constition - Article VI - Clause 3.

    Simply stated: So what if she's a Christian. That point does not disqualify (nor qualify) her from being elected! Those of you who think she should be disqualified because she's Christian - you're the bigots!

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Dinosaurs?

    Why would McCain be coming to visit through the back yard?

  81. J
    IT Angle

    Evolution is both fact AND theory

    Anyone who has read scientific literature for laypeople (e.g. Mayr, Dawkins, Gould, etc.) should know by now, if they are not mentally challenged, that the word "evolution" usually refers to more than one thing, in common parlance.

    Like the example someone gave above: gravity. We have gravity, that's a fact, and there are the theories of gravity to explain that fact. Same with evolution: it is a scientific fact that organisms change with time (and don't come with the old micro x macro BS) -- only stupid and/or ignorant people can doubt it given the current information we have. And there were/are/will be evolutionary theories explaining that fact; the current best candidate has been around for quite a few decades but lots of details are still being worked on, of course. As all scientific theories we've ever had, none of them seems likely to ever be complete and capable of explaining every minimal detail of everything to which they apply.

    Disclaimer: I do have a PhD in molecular phylogenetics, and also sequence/analyze genomes for a living. Titillating, eh?

  82. Peter
    Stop

    Theory of evolution

    Is there really "a theory of evolution"?

    It appears to me that much as it is a FACT that clouds form and rain falls, lightning strikes, and stars shine, it is a FACT that evolution occurs.

    There are theories about how and where clouds form, what causes lightning, and how stars are born and shine, just as there are theories as to how evolution occurs.

    Am I completely off base here? What is "the theory of evolution" everyone talks about?

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Craig Gorsuch

    Here's a simple question I pose to the Creationist crowd. Why do modern whales have vestigial hind limb bones? Surely the application of Occam's Razor would tell you that it is because they evolved from land-dwelling quadripeds.

    And regarding the evolution of birds from dinosaurid ancestors. The are many intermediate fossil forms, as I'm sure you're well aware of. Archaeopteryx, Cryptovolans and Confuciusornis are the most relevant examples. And again, as i'm sure you're aware, the chances of any single entity leaving a fossil behind for us to find is microscopically small. Corpses don't tend to hang around for long out in the wild.

    Regarding mutation. Many mutations are phenotypically silent and confer no particular advantage or disadvantage until an external challenge is supplied, such as environmental change or infectious disease. Only then will mutations conferring an advantage be selected for.

    Finally, regarding the empirical disproof of God. Can you empirically disprove the existence of fairies at the bottom of my garden? Or the Loch Ness monster?

    No, I thought not.

  84. Jorel Pryce

    teach both?

    teaching "both" does not encourage critical thinking, unless of course by both, she means to include all the creation mythology from all the religions around the world.

  85. Kaitlyn Kincaid
    Flame

    @Craig Gorsuch Re: Christianity does NOT mean one is anti-Science

    I can prove to you that the Christian god did not create the universe (at least using as much evidence as you used in your post to prove that he did)....

    the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it

    My proof? well, you can't prove mathematically that your "god" did it so therefore it must be wrong, so therefore my theory must be right! (cause there can ONLY be two right?)

    Can you mathematically prove HOW your "god" did it?

    I think you are sorely mistaken in exactly what science is. You seem to think that science is "absolute proof" when in fact it is the complete opposite. Science never tries to find absolute proof, it does however try to find ways of prediction. "If I hit mass A with force B, how far will it go?" THAT is science.... "If I hit mass A with force B, why does it go?" is not. You can have your god moving mass A all he likes, science doesn't care why, it cares about predicting how far he will move it.

    I think you are also mistaken on what exactly a scientific theory is. First you start with a hypothesis "I think this will happen", after that you test your hypothesis and see if it holds up. If you are very good, your hypothesis will be held up with observations, get enough observation and you can only then call it a theory, if there is ANY evidence to the contrary then the theory is sent back and a new hypothesis has to be made. Evolution is currently in this stage of proof, there has been many, MANY observations that support it, and none that counter it. If a theory is observed to always happen, exactly the same way, then it may be elevated to the state of a Law. Since there is currently no way to isolate every single variable involved in evolutionarily observations it is currently not possible to insure that the starting conditions are exactly the same so the theory will not graduate into a law for some time to come.

    I think you are also mistaken as to what exactly "separation of church and state" means too.... namely the actions Palin has taken to merge the two. Passing laws forcing christian reproductive beliefs on non-christian voters is one example. Were she to leave her faith out of her office then I would be more then happy to leave her faith out of her campaign... but so long as she seems convinced that she has the moral authority to impose her religious beliefs on others I see no reasons why her religion should not be an important factor in whether people vote for her or not.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    use one to disprove another?

    <i>WAIT! Did you factor the effects of gravity on the speed of light? THe Satterfield/Norman Theory states....</i>

    wait, did you just use one scientific theory to argue that another can't possibly be true because it is only a theory? If Satterfield/Norman's theory is true, as you are claiming, then why must Darwin's theory (which has been greatly improved upon since he published it) be dead wrong in all possible ways?

  87. Maria Helm
    Flame

    @By Anonymous Coward (RE: @Marie Helm

    Helps when you read the entire post. I clearly stated a wasn't interested in arguing the fact or theory part of the proposition.

    My main point was that you can't effectively teach students while ignoring their cultural heritage. Ask anyone who has ever taught in a foreign country.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The late great American education system

    >However, when examined for actual absorption of blood-and-guts science, it's unusually light in the loafers. In other words, you can be totally unfit to teach science in the US and still be given a pass to do it.

    Like the chemistry teacher who continually told my son's class he failed college chemistry

    three times. They just got around to firing him this past year. (Terra Linda High School, CA)

    Of course my son now knows nothing about chemistry and yet wants to be a doctor.

    Horror stories like this are common enough in the American education system, which has

    gone so far down hill in the past twenty years that I don't think it will ever recover. The proof

    is plain to see by simply comparing the math and science scores of students in the U.S. to

    that of the rest of the civilized world.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Craig Gorsuch

    Stalin. I think we can agree that "mass murder" is not a part of "working" atheism

    Pol Pot was raised catholic

    Hitler, roman catholic and devout at that.

    9/11: The groups responsible for the attacks were "excommunicated" from the Muslim faith LONG before the attacks (yes I know that is not the correct term for being booted from their faith, however I don't have an aribic language pack installed on this computer)

    7/7: see 9/11

    so, your examples of "working as intended" attacks consists of an emotionally disturbed atheist, two christians, and a group of excommunicated muslims. Not exactly the best selection of other groups being loyal to their faith.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which part do I believe

    I've always wondered which part of Darwin am I to believe. The part about how blacks are a lower form than white british men. The part where women can't by nature be critical thinkers?

  91. Chris G Silver badge

    A couple of words more!

    For Craig Gorsuch; Light being deflected around the sun or any other massive body is not about the `mass´of light ( which is zero) it is that light travels in a straight line in spacetime (geodesic the shortest route) , in the presence of a large gravitational field, space is distorted so light traveling through that distortion will appear to an observer to have been deflected, as far as the light is concerned it has done it's normal thing of traveling from A to B in the shortest route possible.

    A question for you .Who or what is Satterfield/Norman I cannot find a reference.

    Light is not entropic, it does not slow down with distance just as the Earth, if it was not in orbit around the sun and did not meet with any other influence would continue in a straight line through space at the same speed forever. It is Objects and gravitational fields that slow things down except light which can only travel at the speed of light .

    As for various others, Philosophy and science occupy the same space; in the dictionary it says:-

    Philosophy A belief ( or system of beliefs) accepted as authoratative by some group or school ( of thought)

    The rational investigation of questions about existence, knowledge and ethics. I think science fits in there, don't you?

    Theories are never proven they are supported by evidence and evolve according to the lights of new evidence from time to time.

    God is possibly a theory but unsupported by any evidence other than hearsay.

    But just in case he is listening. YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR JOB! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ALL MERCIFUL.

  92. steven W. Scott

    You'd prefer science as religion?

    Like most religious zealots, you make your case with the assumption that all you claim is indeed proven. Is it still not the "Theory of Evolution"? Certainly there are precepts of Darwin's theory that have validity, and others that do not, or have not yet been verified scientifically.

    A particular species which grows larger and stronger due to an abundant and high quality food source in it's environment is not at conflict here, it's the concept that a particular species, confronted with a particular challenge, suddenly begins some quasi-conscious self modification to meet that challenge (grow legs, wings, etc..), as if a dog breeder can eventually "evolve" a long-necked dog by placing it's and it's progeny's food bowl at an unnaturally high position relative to the dog. Absurd.

    That, combined with a complete dismissal of any other possible explanation for diversity in species, including that of creationism, is where your religion of science begins. Science questions everything, including it's own probable conclusions.

  93. James Butler

    @Dinosaurus Believicus

    @"I can see dinosaurs from my back porch" By Martin Marv

    @Webster "Don't feed the trolls" Phreaky

    According to at least one of her colleagues, Palin has claimed that the Earth is less than 7,000 years old, and that she has seen images of dinosaur footprints with human footprints inside them, so therefore humans and dinosaurs must have co-existed. According to this same source, she also claimed to believe in the "End of Days" scenario ("The Rapture") and that "Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime."

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/15/bess/index1.html

    The "back porch" mashup (dinosaurs = one wacky idea, back porch = another) comes from this week's interview with Katie Couric on CBS News, in a truly embarrassing and quite indecipherable string of comments about how her State's juxtaposition between Russia to the West and Canada to the East imbues her with solid foreign affairs experience. Here's the relevant exchange:

    ===========

    Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

    Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters.

    Couric: Mocked?

    Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

    Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

    Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

    Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

    Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

    ===========

    You've really got to watch/hear the video to believe how f**ked up she sounded:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/25/eveningnews/main4479062.shtml

    I leave you with Friday's withdrawal of support for Palin by a conservative writer who had previously supported her:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=MDZiMDhjYTU1NmI5Y2MwZjg2MWNiMWMyYTUxZDkwNTE=

  94. Ema Nymton
    Alert

    Wow

    Craig Gorsuch, you might be the dumbest person on Earth.

  95. ArfinGreebly

    Knowledge Gaps

    @Craig Gorsuch

    Interesting rant. Kind of over-making your point a bit, but not to the point where I can't discern it.

    I see there are several here who are dismayed that her judgment will "be informed" by her beliefs. If I were going to worry about what informs a leader's judgment, I'd be more worried about beliefs that inform economically catastrophic policies.

    I'm both amused and dismayed at the number of clearly intelligent folk who are nonetheless so easily fooled.

    There are no end of readers here who still, somehow, after decades of actual revelatory history, believe that Marx is scholarly stuff. Marx is epic fail. And yet, here we are, decades later, with very smart people still endorsing the idea.

    Still, in the face of overwhelming evidence, continuing to push the idea that, if we can just do it *hard enough* with enough of someone else's money, we can get it to work.

    Yes, if we keep doing the same thing, we will eventually get different results.

    And these people are smart. No, I'm not being sarcastic, they really are.

    They are also fooled in the most complete way.

    Obama is one of those people. Unhappily, there is more. He is the protégé of an unrepentant convicted terrorist. He is the creation of the Chicago Political "machine" and his thinking is "informed" by those views.

    Obama is a smart man. I cannot, however, in good conscience, support him, given that 1) he is "informed" by the philosophy of a famously broken economic system, 2) he has surrounded himself with corrupt advisors.

    I'm sure he believes he's a good man, and I'm sure he believes he's the right man for the job.

    And I completely disagree with him. His thinking, and his foundation ideas, are broken beyond recovery. He's already in his forties. It's not likely that he will have a meaningful epiphany any time soon.

    He is damaged goods. Beyond salvage.

    Palin? I may not agree with her religious convictions, but it seems to me that she is less dangerous by an order of magnitude.

    Probably the biggest thing in her favor is this: hundreds of people I absolutely don't trust are scared to death of her.

    That's quite a recommendation.

  96. Seán
    Jobs Horns

    Kill Them

    Anyone who believes in Creationism is useless. They can't be put in any position of authority or responsibility. If it came up in court that the driver of a bus involved in an accident was a creationist questions are instantly raised as to their competence. Did they really believe in speed limits, was the speedo in their delusional opinion possessed by the devil, perhaps they thought a flash of light from a mirror was God kicking off the rapture. Who appointed a delusional retard to be responsible for the safety of a busload of people while in a clearly psychotic state.

    They should all be humanely killed, as far as they're concerned they are off to meet their magic invisible friend in the sky. As far as society is concerned there's one less gullible moron clogging up the system. The system of tolerance up until now hasn't worked and much like Christiana the experiment has got to end.

    Religion may be the opium of the masses but Creationism is the crack of the subnormal.

  97. Law
    Thumb Up

    @ Craig

    and the biggest post in the comments section ever goes to.... *drum roll* CRAIG for his post titled "Christianity does NOT mean one is anti-Science".

    Unfortunately Craig couldn't be with us tonight to accept his award as he's crafting his next comment post masterpiece entitled "How dare Russell Brand mock a manufacturer teen pop band for trying to make chastity cool for kids, and my explanation of why a Catholic school in the UK would deny children access to a vaccine that will save many of them from developing cervical cancer in the future just because it protects from a sexual transmitted virus (I'm guessing they discovered it was some sort of slut-injection, since that's really the only reason why a board would think they are more qualified to make the decision than the people who developed and tested the drug), and all hail the pope and his commitment to spreading aids in Africa by condemning condoms!!".

    I can't wait, it's sure to be even better than the last comment! :)

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    An article about religion AND politics, El Reg what were you thinking.

    I tried to write a post about it. But then I realised, what's the point? Both religion and politics are subjects where sensible debate is next to imposable for a lot of people.

    So here's my view and I suppose I should be thankful I live in a country where it won't get me killed. I'm not going to try and justify it.

    Religion. Fucking waste of time, you get scared when anything contradicts it and want to kill others who don't hold the same belief. One of the biggest causes of conflict ever invented. I'm talking ANY religion. Hypocritical claptrap designed to make you compliment and make a few people more powerful and rich. You get born, you live, you die, you rot. Get over yourself, just because you have more self awareness than a snail does not mean you have the capability to "live for ever" in a heaven.

    Politics. See Religion. Surprise, your being professionally lied to again.

    While we are on subjects that are impossible to debate, my I add an IT angle?

    Operating Systems. It's a fucking bunch of code that runs on some hardware. I don't care how much you like it and I'm sick of seeing you post about it. If you love it so much, why don't you get a tattoo of it's logo on your forehead? Most of you don't even know why your so up your own arse about a bit of software that allows you to run other bits of software. No doubt you read it in a magazine/forum/blog and being incapable of forming an opinion of your own decided to echo the words of others. Oh, hang on see Religion and Politics above.

    Programming languages. See above.

    Browsers, now we are getting really silly. See above.

    Software/Hardware companies. The only time they would think of you would be if held a majority share in them. See Politics above.

    There, that's my opinion and it's just as stupid as yours.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Knuckle draggers

    To most depressing thing about any article related to US politics/religion (or their weird obsession competing with Iran for "theocracy of the year") is that Americans will inevitably comment on it, and in doing prove to the rest of us that we are not just being nasty; the majority of them really, really are that depressingly stupid.

    We are treated to a bunch of closet knuckle-draggers trying to persuade us that they really are intelligent, while putting forward (at best) the proposition that somehow the theory of evolution and the bible should be weighed up and given equal consideration, because- heh - the idea that the world was knocked up in six days by god is JUST as reasonable as the other, rather more thought through, evolutionary argument.

    It may all seem very reasonable when surrounded by similarly backward web-fingered mates in some cutesy wooden church in a Louisiana swamp. But like many such weird personal beliefs it fares less when espoused to others lucky enough to have had a real theology-free education. You can come up with a million fictitious explanations of how we all came to be here, and they will all be equally invalid and unworthy of consideration without something resembling evidence. And guess what? The crazed meandering of a few biblical patriarchs is not evidence any more than Harry Potter is evidence of a secret portal on St Pancras Station.

    Attempting to cloak biblical fairy stories in the langauge of science doesn't earn you any brownie points, nor does it make the rest of us think "damn, I've been wrong all this time - praise the lord!!". It just digs you a slightly deeper bunker of comforting, homely ignorance and gives the rest of us one more reason to give thanks for the Mayflower and laugh into our beer.

    Idiots all; Craig Gorsuch doubly so.

  100. Paul C. Dickie
    Alert

    Does she support all of God's creation?

    If the silly woman really believes that the Almighty created the world, would she reintroduce the smallpox virus as that has presently been eliminated, thereby impairing the Divine Plan for mankind?

  101. Darren7160
    Thumb Down

    It isn't a problem with science...

    For years I have been saying that America doesn't have a problem teaching science... we have a serious problem teaching critical thinking. We need to teach students how to be critical consumers of information.

    While America's religious conservatives worship religion and mock science's theory of evolution the fiscal conservatives worship an economic theory as though it is a religion. That is part of the problem with trying to make our economic system work... because any attempt to deal with the reality of tempering greed and stupidity is seen as sinful because reality doesn't match their "theory". Once again we are paying the price for their worship of deregulation. Remember the Savings and Load (thank you Mr. McCain) bail out of $billions, the loss to investors from TYCO, Global Crossing, ENRON, etc. and now the current crisis.

    As long as they can keep the simple people arguing over the number of angles that can dance on the head of a pin, or who their neighbor is having sex with... well, they are free to run this country into the ground.

  102. the_leander
    Paris Hilton

    @steven W. Scott

    "Like most religious zealots, you make your case with the assumption that all you claim is indeed proven. Is it still not the "Theory of Evolution"? Certainly there are precepts of Darwin's theory that have validity, and others that do not, or have not yet been verified scientifically."

    And like most religious zealots, you ignore anything that disproves your arguement, including it would seem, what a scientific theory is.

    Any time evidence against a scientific theory is found, the theory has to either be completely re written or updated to include the new information depending on how out the original theory is, our understanding of gravity and time have both recently had such an upheaval as a result of firing satalites into space.

    If you ever read Darwin's Origin of Species, take special note on his ideas on how traits were passed on from parent to offspring were discussed, you would realise that even Evolution has had to be re-edited on the mechanics (he thought the transmission medium was blood) as we have since found out about what RNA and DNA are.

    "it's the concept that a particular species, confronted with a particular challenge, suddenly begins some quasi-conscious self modification to meet that challenge (grow legs, wings, etc..), as if a dog breeder can eventually "evolve" a long-necked dog by placing it's and it's progeny's food bowl at an unnaturally high position relative to the dog. Absurd."

    Strawman. Also, evolution does not work that way.

    BTW, on dog breeders: The first "dogs" were wolves and foxes, we bred the ones that helped us, killed the ones that hurt us and ended up with breeds of dogs as we have today. If you read up on evolution, it would tell you that those animals best suited to a given pressure are those most likely to survive, in this case, mankind was the pressure and the dogs best suited to survival were the ones willing to work with us then attack us. Later we bred them for different tasks and eventually just for their looks, Evolution in action.

    "That, combined with a complete dismissal of any other possible explanation for diversity in species, including that of creationism, is where your religion of science begins. Science questions everything, including it's own probable conclusions."

    There has been no such dismissal. Whenever creationists have put forward ideas that "prove" evolution to be vitally flawed, such as the eye argument, or more recently irreducable complexity, the information has been examined, and in both cases shown to be factually incorrect. As such, Evolution is the only theory that is left standing.

    If you want the best explanation of why creationism is rubbish, I suggest you look up the kitzmiller case from a few years back, the findings for that case put plainly why creationism is a pile of cack in terms of scientific theory (in as much as it isn't one) and that it's top proponants are liars (they were forced to admit that their case was based on information that had been shown to be innacurate a long time ago).

    I must admit, it was one of the best reads I'd had in years!

    Paris, because she knows all about reproductive traits.

  103. the_leander

    @Seán

    "Religion may be the opium of the masses but Creationism is the crack of the subnormal."

    ROTFL, mind if I use that as an email sig?

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I finally figured out how to fix this mess.

    I'll just write my own version of a Bible and fix all the screwed up stuff in the old one. Instead of a faerie tale we can start with the known and unknown and admit right up front that there's a lot we don't have the answers to; but that we're not going to just "make up" some imaginary spaghetti monster to answer all the unknowns.

    Solved now, innit?

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A pox on both your houses

    I see an amazing amount of intolerance in the base article and in the comments preceding this one. I noted only one comment weakly attempting to defend Creationism only but I saw many that attacked religious believers without regard to the truth.

    The so-called left has further developed a technique used by the Volkischer Beobachter to advance their cause. Any resistance or skepticism about their claims must be viciously attacked and the skeptical person personally attacked, up to and including physically. In this case, statements attributed to Sarah Palin (mostly false or the repeated lies of her enemies) are given credence as if they actually reflect her wishes and actions. Her actual actions are not mentioned or are falsified (the librarian was not fired, she stayed in her job for two more years before leaving of her own accord for another position - according to the librarian herself). The left apparently believes in free speech only for themselves. Sort of like the Koran/Quran on the subject of freedom of religion. Intolerance is the word.

    I have also noted that the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, testing, examination of results, and modification of hypothesis with retesting, has been distorted but to a minor degree. A real scientist is willing to believe in test results but is not averse to further testing - that is the basis for the advancement of science. Making a hypothesis and getting a consensus with some other people does not constitute science. I note that the Man Made Global Warming cultists have decided that the evidence of the numerous preceding cycles of glaciation and warming is not relevant nor is such data as the Malenkovich cycles, the periods in Europe from 900 CE to 1300 CE and the changes and cold spell from 1400 CE to around 1860 CE. In other words, all contrary evidence to the leftist hypothesis must be suppressed and the people expressing skepticism suppressed or shouted down.

    No, I am not a creationist or intelligent design advocate. I think Darwin's hypotheses are in all essential elements correct. I do not think that Creationism should be taught in schools (neither does Sarah Palin). I do think that the religion of the parents should be respected and not demeaned because someone does not agree with it.

    Whether anyone agrees with me or not I do not care. As a note, however, I am voting for McCain/Palin in the hopes that they win the election and the leftists/Marxists of the world will be so upset that they die of burst aneurysms. That will make all my effort worthwhile and furnish a grand present for the morticians! The massive irritation of leftist groups in the US and UK will bring great joy to my heart.

  106. This post has been deleted by its author

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Craig Gorsuch

    How about you go away and count up to 1x10e21, and then come back again to regale us with just how short a span of time that is? Although I feel I should point out that I will have been dead for a substantial period by then, sorry.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few points

    A interesting post Anonymous C, but I found its consistency somewhat spoiled by your conclusion: You bring peace and love and can't see what all the fighting's about except if you belong to the political left, in which case you can all die screaming in hell.

    A few points about Man Made Global Warming. (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_Fourth_Assessment_Report, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_IPCC_AR4 and related articles for basic introductory material).

    The IPCCs AR4 report's general conclusions that "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations" have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

    Now, while I agree with you that science isn't merely a question of asking around your friends and seeing what they think about topic X, and that observation, hypothesis, testing, examination of results, modification of hypothesis and restesting form the basis for science, everything in the IPCCs report suggests they're prepared to take actual scientific findings (such as the Malenkovich cycle and the other periods of cold and warm climate you mention) into account. All of which leads me to conclude you're just not happy with their findings for some reason - perhaps you find them inconvenient, or inaccurate? If the latter is the case might I suggest that - seeing as you clearly have such a deep knowledge of this complex and difficult subject - you might put yourself forward to the IPCC as an external consultant. I'm sure they'll hang on your every word </Sarcasm>.

    At the very least I'd say you appear to have some problem with the idea of a 'general scientific consensus' which is fair enough in a general sense: There have been many occasions in the history of science where the hypothesis which seemed less likely turned out to be the one with the best fit, or the most accurate predictions, or whatever. However, at the moment other than "Problem? What problem?" global warming due to man-made emissions /is/ the best fit we've got for the available phenomena, so unless you've got any better suggestions would it not be as well to pursue that hypothesis until we find a better one?

    On the subject of religion: Do you /really/ think - irrespective of the ideals of a particular religion - that the religion of the parents should be respected and not demeaned because someone does not agree with it? If I were to tell you that I'm part of religion that endorses paedophilia would you still respect my wishes? I certainly hope not. Surely then if your religion involves beliefs which are manifestly contradicted by prevailing moral attitudes, or facts obtainable by any reasonable investigation then your religious beliefs are at fault and require correction? Or perhaps you prefer to believe that ignorance is bliss? Well so be it, but I pity the person whose belief instructs them to take a leap of faith from a high building without any kind of safety device: Your God may understand and forgive you, but I think you'll find the floor a little less forgiving in the short-term </Hume>.

    Finally: Thank you also for invoking the Volkischer Beobachter. I'm sure Mike will be pleased to see further confirmation of his Law. Mind you, this thread has reached 105 comments (106 including this one) so I suppose it's only to be expected </Godwin>.

  109. Gilbert Gosseyn

    Reason?

    The reason we non-/un- religious people get a bit uppity about faith is that faith is just someone telling you what to think and your thinking it unquestioningly. Faith only teaches that to have an original or radical thought of your own or question something you have been told is a reason for shame and guilt.

    If the world had to get by on faith alone, then we'd be stuck in the dark ages and there'd be no scientific progress. The scientific progress you religious folk rely on to keep your cholesterol down, cure your indigestion, and replace the insulin your perfectly created bodies no longer produce.

    The reason we get uppity at all with the pious is that you, too, are atheists. You don't believe in Titan, Zeus etc. Well (to paraphrase Dawkins) we just go one god further. Your hypocrisy upsets us.

    And, another thing... PZ Myers is an el Reg reader! How cool is that?

    Gil.

  110. Patrick R
    Alien

    Religion is only theory as well.

    Religion IS a theory. Proof is there are many. And this IS the view of the modern church. Catholics, Muslims, Budists, you name them, they're all respectable because in the quest of the the same truth.

    Therefor none of those religion can be handled like "the truth", only as therories. I like to define religion not as a belief but as an introduction to God. And the introduction is never the important part of the book. So get over it. Evolve.

  111. Mark

    AC

    "I do think that the religion of the parents should be respected and not demeaned because someone does not agree with it"

    But why must it be respected IN A SCIENCE CLASS???

    By trying to get it shoved in there, are not these people disrespecting and demeaning SCIENCE? How come that's right and the return shot not?

  112. Mark

    re: It isn't a problem with science...

    How about an RE class where each mythology is taken and discussed. The real life examples of how belief can change based on merely "taking on faith" rather than critical thinking can produce a story with

    a) so many points in common

    b) so many contradictions

    c) so many points in direct oppositions

    Would be a good place to show critical thinking.

    But I suspect that the religious won't like a place where kids are taught critical thinking ***against the bible***. Worse, the option of giving the children following a different religion or taking an a la carte proposition to religious belief! That would be worse than "no religion at all"...

  113. Marco

    Oh joy!

    Reading these comments, I get the impression that the US conservatives have a good bunch of their supporters in place to voluntarily scour the net, ready to argue against anything that discredits them and theirs anyplace, anytime it is necessary, may it even be a UK IT site that to most of them is probably as obscure as the backside of the moon.

    To my fellow Europeans: We should rejoice and even encourage them on their path to self-destruction. What's wrong with it for us, when a competitor effectively chooses to eliminate itself from the global market, by hindering the advancement of science and therefore technology?

    To the Americans that still have sense in them: I feel sorry for you.

  114. Scott
    Alert

    Egads, more of the same.........

    I was raised in the South (Which for those of you from Europe is the old Confederacy), where espousing views about evolution was at least going to get you into endless heated confrontations, and at worst make you ostracized from your so called "friends." So I learned to keep quiet, and talk with only the ones I trusted.

    I believe in evolution, but also realize we don't know everything and probably never will. Creation Science attempts to make all the findings and theory of evolution fit a pre-conceived idea.

    Evolutionary theory can be modified and changed. and new discoveries are happening all the time. The difference is the evidence haws to be proven and repeatable, and can be challenged. If you want to change conventional thinking, prove how it's wrong. In Creation Science the core concepts can never be questioned, and therefore all theories and evidence have to fit the model.

    Science gives us all kinds of facts, but not answers. It doesn't tell us why we're here, what's the meaning of all of this. what are we supposed to do with ourselves. This is where religion and philosophy come into play, and it would be great if there was a religion that accompanied science but I haven't seen that yet. Instead we have people now doing the opposite of Creation Science, trying to make the religious model fit modern science. (Such as reinterpreting the seven "days" of creation as seven historical periods or epochs.) In the end it's two different ways of understanding things, which are not compatible.

    So now down to the vice-president nominee. Wait, what did I say, vice president? Yes, the one most people never pay attention to, the Mondales and Gores of the world. I'm not really surprised at the controversy over Palin, in the eyes of many of the liberal/leftist elite she is a commoner, someone who shouldn't be near the reigns of power. No siree, she should have been shuttled off for an Ivy League business education and taken a few trips around the world before she could even be considered as a candidate. Never mind all that being a mayor and governor, which has actually given her more executive experience than Obama. Never mind also that he's the presidential nominee, and busily showing his religious convictions also.

    So in the end it's usually down to who you think will do you and your ideals the least harm, as opposed to the most good. That I think is really the sad thing about American politics.

  115. Ron Eve
    Happy

    "I have theory...

    ...that dinosaurs are very thin at one end, very fat in the middle and very thin at the other end. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it."

  116. Ron Eve
    Thumb Up

    @sean

    LMBO - brilliant!

    "Religion may be the opium of the masses but Creationism is the crack of the subnormal."

  117. Snert Lee

    Different Questions

    Evolution and Creationism are two different answers, aimed at two fundamentally different questions. To wit, Evolution is concerned with How, and Creationism is concerni.ed with Why.

    So, it really take a particular kind of hard headedness to put the two in conflict. I.E., Creationists who think Genesis was written with aid of a stopwatch (24 hrs/"day", etc.) and Evolutionists, if I may be excused the term, who are loathe to acknowledge the possibility of a higher power than themselves.

  118. Nathan
    Happy

    Maybe this will help clear the air

    I feel that perhaps you came by your opinion from one side of a tree, and I want to show you something. I hope this helps. I am referring to both this article and the one currently at the top of your blog, Dick Destiny.

    If the "this" in your second paragraph on Dick Destiny article "HONK IF YOU HATE JESUS: More on creationism, Palin and the opinion of one trained in science" is referring to the notion that the GOP seem to be able to talk more freely on matters of religion (or that the GOP are the sole drivers of the “faith” discussion), then the subtext suggests that the matters of religion (all-encompassing) were at one point not owned by anyone or owned by everyone, until the GOP stole them.

    That subtext is one-sided, completely disallowing that (a) Democrats seem increasingly squirmy when discussing matters of faith, and (b) that the GOP are merely using matters of faith for political gain but don’t really believe what they say (side note: some do, I’m sure of it…on both sides).

    I feel that you have attacked a group of people to which I belong (sort of, but more on that a bit later), but don't get me wrong: While I believe in God and what is written in the Bible, I don't exclude a candidate because of his/her party affiliation and that party’s stance on matters of faith. I vote on his/her ideas and policies. I can, just as many others do, vote dispassionately.

    For any election, I believe that you and I have the same goal. We want citizens to vote with their heads, to have come to a decision based on facts and the truth. But here’s the rub: There are those within government who are hostile to the idea of Creationism and those who are not.

    But this whole debate is clouded by angry people with class hand-out, one-sided arguments. Here are mine, and I hope that you can think on these before you write future articles on this topic.

    While you believe that the world came about (tell me if I have gotten the wrong impression) with the Big Bang and inter-special evolution over billions of years, I don’t. But when anyone in government introduces a law or policy that encroaches on either belief or favors one over the other, it puts one of us on the defensive.

    What makes it worse is that when the government takes a stance in either case, it has the authority and power to enforce it, and beliefs be hanged. The separation of church and state debate is so powerful for this reason only. But I would like to move on to a discussion about the relation ship between science and religion.

    If I believe that God created everything (and you can assume that those who argue in favor of Creationism do also), then I must also believe that He created all the laws that govern the relationships and interactions of everything within the universe. That includes gravity, Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics, and the fact that light seems to have every characteristic that matter can have but, hey, there it is and the universe hasn’t imploded.

    I don’t have a problem with intra-special evolution, which I think also comes under the mild mantle of “adaptation.” I just don’t think that dinosaurs became birds, that’s all. And if a political candidate wants to think otherwise, I couldn’t care less.

    I will make the allowance that some people will vote exactly that way, and I put them on the same shelf with those who think that Nazism can make a comeback.

    In short, I don’t hate science. Neither should anyone else. But the word “science” is now bandied about loosely and is sometimes a copout word (such as, “Science discovered that ABC is true, so you can’t deny it”). It is often used to belittle those who maintain that ABC might not be true, even if a recent study concludes without a doubt that, too bad, ABC is true.

    Forgive those who are skeptical simply because they are aware of the human condition, which is that people lie, use deceit and manipulate others for gain. And I put everyone in that bucket.

    If believe what is written in the Bible, you ask, then how can I reconcile the history in the Bible with everything that has happened in the world and all that scientists have posited? I can’t say that I fully can, nor can I say that I really need to. My belief is based on faith, and there is no room for proof in the definition of faith.

    That is not to say that we can’t find evidence that God exists. If He does, then He did create everything. But the creation is based on the belief, and therefore is not “proof” to unbelievers. Kind of circular, isn’t it?

    You quoted Alan Boraas in your recent article about Sarah Palin in The Register. He is right. The debate is about core values. I feel that the proof is in the language. On both sides, the rhetoric is the vehement kind found only when people feel that their beliefs are under attack, and I’m not talking about tooth fairies.

    It is because these beliefs direct our way of life that the debate is as nasty as it has become. If we could reflect on our lives after death (for hypothetical reasons here), then Christians would agonize that they had spent countless hours at church wasting their time and Big Bang believers would realize that there was/is a God and that they’re not going to heaven.

    I can, however, argue immutability. Today when a scientist discovers something, the end product is accepted as immutable, because scientific methods, instrumentation and, indeed, scientists themselves are immutable. This very notion of immutability cannot be true, or we wouldn’t be having a debate on things like man-made global warming.

    To use the quotation on your blog from Kevin Philip’s book, American Theocracy, nobody that I have met “dismisses knowledge and science” out of hand, not even most of the time! You may have disdain for Christians because you were raised Catholic (this opens another discussion entirely, but that’s neither here nor there), but that’s no reason to disassociate them from public discourse on any matter that is relevant to our nation.

    And it is not “stupid” (again from your blog) to be skeptical of scientists (not science). If you (George) want to believe that religion or a belief based on the Bible can’t be right because there is no way it is true, then we have a theological discussion. But if I (Nathan) want to believe that the Big Bang did not occur, then we have a scientific discussion based on current findings.

    Science is still a unifier. Most people love that we are working on a myriad of cures for diseases that plague us, and that we might one day inhabit the moon. There are only two areas in which there is debate, and they are the man-made global warming theory and the old earth, Big Bang evolution theory. Everything else, I think, is quite accepted by the majority of the populous.

    I apologize if this whole response is long, windy, mean or disorganized. I have given it my best effort in the hope that you can see how there is a great misunderstanding in this debate. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them. Thanks.

  119. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    RE: Gianni Straniero

    And another Dem slander with no basis in fact, which again has been thoroughly disproven. Please try something new as the same old lies are just boring. The Baptist Rev. Howard Bess has already been shown to be, amongst other things, a liar, and his book has never been banned anywhere in the US. Just rarely bought.

    And as for those mocking Palin's reference to Putin, Alaskan airspace is the area frequently tested by Russian bombers, something that stopped after the end of the Cold War but has picked up again in the last year (just like it has over the North Sea). And as Governor, Palin is effectively commander in chief for Alaska and has to be involved in defence planning. That's part of the Governorship resposibility. And before she became Governor two years ago, she was a town mayor. Compare that to Obama and Biden, both of whom have never had responsibility for anything other than ensuring their friends get a good bite at the pork barrel, and suddenly you realise Palin is actually more qualified to run the US and deal with the world than possibly even McCain. Heck, Arnold Schwatzenegger is more qualified than Biden or Obama, as Govenor of Caifornia he has far more real experience than either! In fact, Biden is so deeply unpopular that Palin got more votes to be Govenor in just Alaska than Biden got in either of his attempts to gain the Democratic nomination across the whole US. ZerObama is just a popstar politician with a good scriptwriter, but if he gets in office he's going to need more than just a pretty speach or two.

    You may ask why is a Brit worrying about this? Well, unlike the majority of egocentric Europeans, I realise that out economy is still massively dependent on the US economy. The current sub-prime affair (triggered by naive Democratic social-engineering) has demonstrated that perfectly. I want a responsible pair of hands guiding the ship beacuse when the US sneezes, Europe catches a cold. If Obama gets in, our economy will get diaorhea!

  120. Alan Johnson

    Terrifying

    The reality denying zeolotry of a large portion of the US population is quite frightening. When I first worked in the US (a long time ago). one of my american colleagues told me that nuclear war between Russia and America was part of gods plan, that true christians welcomed it and would go to heaven, thoise how were evil would go to hell.

    If Palin believes the world is a few thousand years old she is so religously fannatical that she denies all of geology, most of biology and astronomy. I have no idea what she thinks when she looks at an eroded valley or the night sky but the thought that someone with that sort of delusional religous mind could make decisions affecting the future of the human race is terrifying.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Readership

    The downside to the reg having a large US readership now is that we get so many more ignorant religious idiots. Sigh...

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Palin as the new McCarthy?

    Truth is definitely stranger than fiction..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsDfkAnCvKY

  123. Tom Williams
    Stop

    Summat to bear in mind

    There is a serious omission in the discussion so far.

    Everyone harks on about "scientific method proving this" or "creationists proving that". Newsflash: nothing can ever be proven.

    Scientific method and the conclusions drawn from its application only ever seek to _disprove_ possible explanations, i.e. to narrow down the possibilities. A mechanism for some observed effect is conceived, and then experiments are run to test that mechanism - not by seeing if the mechanism applies, but by seeing if at any point it fails to explain the observations.

    At the end of a round of experimentation, one concludes that either that the mechanism is false because we have shown plausible exceptions to it, or (and here is the important bit) _so far_ we cannot discount it, because our experiments have thus far agreed. Absolute agreement with the mechanism is never postulated, for that would be naive.

    Sorry to have to point that out to all you learned people.

    Religion and faith and 'creationism' - such that it exists - should be presented in R.E. lessons. Faith is good - scientists have as much faith in the scientific method to explain their world as religious people do in their deity of choice. Only science and the scientific method should be presented in science lessons.

    Science gives us a self-consistent window into the workings of the Universe but a good scientist knows that this is just a blinkered view. With time we may widen our perception and discover that what we know now is a) in fact the whole truth or b) just an approximation of it (think classical vs. quantum mechanics) and that has to include omnipotent supradimensionsal beings. It _sounds_ like bollocks, and I personally don't believe in such things, but to discount even those far-fetched explanations is to be inherently unscientific. Truth is stranger than fiction, after all.

    If we wish to allow our children to form their own opinions, and grow up as balanced, free thinking individuals, we should teach all human ideas on how we came to be, but never confuse the purpose of the two. Science in science lessons. Religion in RE. Do not mix the two!

  124. Archimedes Tritium

    Faith in Evolution?

    I don't have enough faith to believe in evolution. It's better to follow the evidence,wherever it leads.

    Evolution -- meaning speciation and the origin of life (from non-life) -- is the modern version of flat-Earth thinking or Lysenkoism in the old Soviet Union.

    It's not good science but a mechanism that enables one to tell any story desired, even mutually exclusive ones.

    Thousands of generations of forced breeding of dogs (or "X") produces only other dogs. Mutations are either deadly or neutral, not beneficially constructing complex new organs out of nothing. Resistance to antibiotics isn't evolution; it's the same bacteria. Darwinian evolution has not been observed. I don't have enough faith to believe in it.

    Drive through a desert and see a turtle beneath a billboard that says "Buy Pepsi". People assume the sign had to be designed even though it is very simple. But somehow, the trillions of times more complex turtle is a product of chance events and self-assembly.

    A real scientist, not blinded, by dogma would think to ask how we are make those decisions, and if the analysis can be generalized and applied without bias.

    If the very simple "Buy Pepsi" signs REQUIRES design, the extremely complicated turtle has be considered carefully.

    Also, after thousands of years assuming the universe had always existed, it was discovered last century that space and time originated from nothing. Things that have a beginning require a cause. If not, give an example. (Note that by definition, a creator of space-time could not be defined by space-time, thus would not have a beginning).

    The world should be filled with transitional forms if evolution was correct. It is not. The fossil record shows species suddenly appear fully formed, persist unchanged, then die. This is consistent with design, totally at odds with evolution.

    If the age of the Earth was a football field, you would march from one end to the 16 yard line on the other side and see only primitve cellular creatures. Then, in the span of a footstep, all major phyla suddenly appear fully formed without preceding forms (Cambrian explosion). This is also unreconcilable with evolution, but consistent with design.

    Evolution is a 19th century science turned dogma, maintained for philosophical reasons (fear of being accountable or subordinate to something larger; human ego) even though modern understanding of biology is passing it by.

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Creationists Are Exactly Who You Should Elect

    Creationists are exactly the people you want in power. They believe human life is precious and that they are accountable to the creator.

    Evolutionsts believe humans are bags of accidental chemicals. If true, there is no basis for human rights. The only thing that matters is power.

    As evidence, consider all the people who sought to create a society based on "scientific" principles: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot -- 200 million dead in the last 100 years as a result of their evolutionary views.

    Look at the problems that are said to be so important in the world: global warming, pollution, weapons of mass destruction -- all due to science, not cretaionists.

    But some people go nuts about creationists because they are frightened of being held accountable to a higher power for their actions. Each wants to believe they are their own little god. That's what it's all about. People bad-mouthing creationists despite all the history are not concerned about science -- they are concerned about the definition of a human being. They need to pretend their egos are supreme measure of the universe.

  126. Steen Hive
    Stop

    @pox

    "As a note, however, I am voting for McCain/Palin in the hopes that they win the election and the leftists/Marxists of the world will be so upset that they die of burst aneurysms."

    As good a reason for the removal of your franchise as anything. What this has to do with "leftists" escapes me - these GOP idiots are not "sceptic septics" as you seem to imply, rather they are oblivious to evidence-based reasoning and logic.

    Creationism and other religious-inspired pap are not "theories" because they are not evidence-led and their deductive conclusion is also their axiom. Of course what these twats really want is to discredit the scientific method completely so that they can punt their sophistry as truth and turn critical thinking into political dissent. That's what makes them (and in turn you, as their anonymous sponsor) a danger to themselves and to normal people as well. Leftists my arse.

  127. Peter Mellor
    Paris Hilton

    Deer Hunting with Jesus

    To gain some insight into redneck culture, run, don't walk, to your neighbourhood bookshop and get:

    "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Guns, Votes, Debt and Illusion in Redneck America" by Joe Bageant, Portobello Books Ltd., London (2008), ISBN 978 1 84627 152 6, paperback, 273 pp, £8.99

    It will explain why the guns 'n religion conservatism in the flyover states means that Obama hasn't a cat in hell's chance of becoming the next President of the USA. It was first published in the USA in 2007, long before the current presidential campaign started, but shows why Palin is the darling of the Midwest. Bageant is a native of West Virginia, and his brother is an evangelical preacher, but he is unique in his family in having moved out in the 1960s and kept right on going, so that he returns with just a tad more perspective than the good ol' boys he left behind. At the same time, he writes about them and their economic plight with understanding and genuine sympathy.

    I haven't time to write a full review of the book, but it is a great read. When Bageant isn't scaring the bejasus out of you with stuff like Chapter 5 "The Covert Kingdom" (the Rapture, Armageddon, and all that), or the statistics on functional illiteracy among the American working class, he'll have you rolling about laughing.

    (Q: How does a redneck tell when the house trailer is level?

    A: The snot runs out of both sides of the baby's nose at the same time.)

    One of the interesting things is his description of the attitude of Midwesterners to their guns (hunting rifles, not handguns). He persuaded me that Sarah Palin bagging the odd moose should be the least of my concerns about her candidature.

    (Paris, as she's the closest we've got to a picture of Sarah Palin.)

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Craig

    "The Bible teaches that God exists OUTSIDE our temporal existence, and there is nothing outside that."

    Really? I don't recall reading that in the Bible. Could you provide a reference? I rather think you are projecting your own wacky beliefs onto the Good Book.

  129. Neil Stansbury
    Stop

    Ignorant Creationists...

    @NukEvil

    @Craig Gorsuch

    This is a classic reason creationism has no place in the science class room, because people like you make fundamentally incorrect assertions.

    Photons have no mass.

    Gravity doesn't attract light, it distorts the space time fabric through which the photons travel.

    It's is a very well understood phenomena and is called "GRAVITATIONAL LENSING".

    It also occurs when seeing light from distant galaxies, and is one reason we can detect - yet not "see" black holes.

    Disagree?

    Then please present the mathematical proof that replaces Einstein's E=mc^2

    Haven't got any?

    Nope thought not.

  130. Watashi

    Which came first, stupidity or stupid ideas?

    "Dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time" apparently. If Palin is a Young Earth adherent, it's not her policy towards science education that we should worry about. It's her obvious stupidity.

    Could the US end up with a president even more anti-intellectual than good ole' Dubya Bush?

  131. Seán

    Cripes

    @"The so called left" "Intolerance""Malenkovich"AC

    You act out of spite and laziness, the true driving forces of the Universe and yet you produce mediocrity rather than validity. Your slithering hiss of a post conveys your perceptions, but what use are they? Try having a point when you waste so much of peoples time or leave them with a joke.

    A paedophile, a rapist, and a priest go into a bar. That's the first guy...

  132. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    So

    So three things :-

    One Forest Gump said "Stupid is , Stupid does !"

    Two Back in 1967 we were warned in advance that incompetence is self promoting .

    Three "Idiocracy" the satirical movie takes it to the next step , thank you Mike Judge !

    Such is life in an evolutionary world that we live in where you either adapt to a changing environment or become extinct (Merkin Military are fully aware of that problem and their own inherent inability to adapt to the changing environment as those that learn the hardway are the first out the door for better pay else where in three or more countries in which they have chosen to interfere with the local environment and the people on a large scale)

    As for Sarah Palin once upon a time in 2006 Alaska four out of five voters supported her based on the myth of the infamous pay cut of 1996 along with alleged great financial management skills of cutting pork???????????? Cue in 25th September 2008 the local Alaskan rednecks have found out to their horror she cannot even balance any public cheque book period , in the period 1996 to 2002 awarded herself no less then four pay rises , started with zero debt and by 2002 had increased that to $22 million greenbacks and still no sewage in town of 5000 plus souls but a nice $15 million greenback ugly barn like 2500 seat "Palindrome Ice Rink" virtual white elephant , used about once or twice a week at most with the bulk of the capacity unused . The other $7 million went on projects that seem to go nowhere very much like her waxing and waning support on the infamous Senator Ted Stevens "bridge to no where". When she became State Governor took the first budget papers home to husband Todd a part time seasonal Salmon Fisherperson by trade(a possible poacher in Canuckistan waters due to delining fish stock numbers ?) and non state employee who just happened to work for BP Oil most of the time. She then whipped out the knife in the back to rewrite the allocation of money figures with his help due to her basic inability to allocate strict guidelines and thus it came to pass , she created the largest State Budget Deficit recorded in the history of statehood in Alaska ever . Thus it comes to pass her support base has dropped to a mere one in two local blind drunk rednecks , thus she bites the hand that feeds often , what a fishy murky tail of a state governor she be indeed , and even our redoubtable socialite appears to be far smarter than her , although that isn't saying much is it ?

    PS a standing joke in Alaska in Juneau the State Capitol in 2008 amongst the professional public servants employed is the mandatory read her high school year book to find out who is whom at the top of newly created piglet money feeding trough . She is also not on apparent speaking terms with either republican federal senators in the state and has been known to sack the odd public servant who does speak to them as well.

  133. Jim

    Goes to show Evolutionism is taught like a Religion in the States

    The response from the high pirests, er, professional public educators, goes to show that evolution is taught like religion in the US!

    I'm a firm believer in Evolutionism. Yet, it's quite obviously to me that many in the public education field have no clue as to why Evolutionism is a better explanation for the wide world around us. They do not understand the dynamic probablistic system analysis behind Evolutionism at all! They profess belief in Evolutionism because that's how they had been taught, and their professional job and privilege hinges upon it!

    That's the reason why so many kids graduating from public schools are easily converted to born-again fundamentalism . . . they'd embrace Creationism just as easily as how they had been crammed with Evolutionism, with none of the probablistic logic and mathematical basis that make Evolutionism a much stronger case!

    Kids should indeed be taught both theories, and proper math, i.e. probabilistic systems, and see for themselves that a Divine Designer is quite unnecessary for a well-adapted speies to emerge after a few generations of probabilistic mutation and selection. That will also clue them in to why the public school system as we have today doesn't work and how it weeds out motivated instructors and become a haven for paper pushing tax wasters that function as wardens for kids. We can't have that now, can we?!

  134. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re A pox on your houses

    Thank you AC for a typically American post. You do realise there is no left wing in America dont, you? There is really only right wing (DEM) and Ultra right wing(REP). The rest of the world, in between guffaws of laughter at your anti marxist rant, will continue to be majority socialist.

    Even more amusing is the fact that China a <Gasp> communist country will own the US wholly in the next 10 years.

    Hasnt your much vaunted capitaism worked out well, needing a 700 billion bailout..

    Oh and what a surprise- you dont believe in climate change. Well, a dumb redneck doesnt believe it, all those experts must be wrong!

    Isnt there a Fox news site you can post at where people might agree with your twaddle?

    The only way leftists will die is from laughing at the likes of your pathetic rant.,

    Its a good job you dont care whether people agree with you-most dont.

    Posting as AC just makes you look even more pathetic. (hard to believe but true)

    Now go play with the other children, we are dicussing adult matters here.

  135. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    sweet zombie Jesus!

    The stupid is running thick in these comments. Who'da thunk that El Reg is frequented by so many religious loons, troofers and neo-fascists.

    My faith in mankind just died a little bit more - I think it will finally die if McBain/Palin get elected, despite their best efforts to scupper their own chances

  136. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Faith in Evolution?

    Personally I don't believe in the existence of this thread, but I'm not going to bang on about it for twenty paragraphs.

    Look, I created the earth, OK? It actually took me seven *weeks*. The Guardian got it wrong in the first instance.

  137. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I usually like the Register...

    ...for it's different point of view than our Stateside one.

    In this case, though, I can cheerfully say-- Stay out of our politics, and we'll CONTINUE to stay out of yours... Cheers.

  138. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Palin is SOOO Alaska ... but so is TOE; both frozen solid

    Gents:

    Granted that Ms Palins science is frozen solid as an Ice-age T-REX . But, the sophmorish TOE.boyz are in bigger trouble. Nucleic acid and poly-peptide phase_spaces are NOT their pals; too little of the first and too much of the 2nd.

    If you can't DEMONSTRATE analytically that wiggy-stuff can even BE alive then you can hardly argue for a specific 'evolutionary" motif for that life. Except of-course the infamous "2-nekked Brit naturalists walking hand-in-hand thru green meadows". Or when writing grants.....

    Faithfully ...

  139. Ed Gould

    Palin's Beliefs

    Look, as long as she keeps her beliefs to herself she can believe pretty much anything she wants to. Its when the people start wanting for every one to believe that "her" version is the only right version is the problem I am having problems with these people. I do not agree with her (or any of the other religious people on this issue) which is fine just do not "assume" you are right and insist that it is the only version. I am really mixed about having religious items taught in public school. If they want to teach their version in their schools that is fine, just do not expect the US Taxpayer to pony up with *ANY* money for supporting such teachings.

    I would be extremely surprised if any student that was only taught the religious people's version could be capable of getting a college degree (from any main stream college). If they want to handicap their own people by teaching them incorrect information it is *THEIR* issue not ours.

  140. Jim Oase

    looking for catch title...

    The title for this article is based on the good news doesn't sell idea, bad news does sell. Most folks like to read about bad news unless its about them. Bad news seems to migrate towards mob mentality is short order.

    I watched the Palin interview during which she stated her position on the development of the earth and its inhabitants. She explained that she is the daughter of a science teacher and grew up in a religious family.

    Recent events, admitted bias http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/09/AR2008090900956.html, in a our news industry have made it very difficult to use output of the news industry as an information gathering resource. In my opinion the news industry is gracefully moving towards mob mentality in search of increasing profits. When there are as many news outlets as we have today there is extreme competition for our attention and thus advertising dollars. Good news has a history of not selling to the public. When good news does not sell the news industry, to survive by attracting advertising, needs bad news to sell its products and the news industry has the resources to find bad news. In the end the good news for the news industry is when advertiser pay them for time or space which is a direct result of how their news sells.

    Now read any news article and ask yourself is the information intended to attract readers? In that vain does this article feed the mob mentality?

    Jim

  141. Simon Painter
    Happy

    Let's have some balance...

    If we are going to teach Christian creation beliefs as science then we need to have some balance. Let's have US public schools teaching Muslim creation beliefs. Muslim creationism is more compatible with evolution so would present a good middle ground between pure science and pure hocus pocus.

  142. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    Time to stick the jolly old oar in.

    Will people stop referring to Creationists and Christians in the same breath as if they are in some way linked? It's fucking insulting to the majority of Christians out there who can actually walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. I strongly suspect that it's also somewhat insulting to the very large number of Islamic creationists around, not to mention those from the various other belief systems out there (Pastafarians, I'm looking at you....).

    Now we've established that, can a representative of one of the Abrahamic ones explain how anyone's supposed to create anything in seven days prior to the existance of a space-time continuum capable of supporting the concept of "days" in the first place? Hint: If you teach this shit in school as science you're implying the acceptance of debate on the subject, so you'd better have some good answers ready. You'll also want some nice experimental proof for the practical sessions as well. I'd get on that now.

    Lastly: ".....if asked the teacher told them she thought God did it...". Hmm, I reckon in the Conservatory with the lead pipe myself, anyone got those?

  143. Glyn
    Happy

    cool image

    "disappointing story... not because of the contents (didn't really read it), I just thought it would have more fun pictures of US politicians in a Flintstones setting. :("

    Private Eye had a good one in the other week of bill & hillary as fred & wilma

    scary

    As for creatism on Day #1 god created light on Day #3 he created the sun, moon and stars. Where was the light coming from for 2 days, glow sticks? matches?

    I'm with the Australian aborigines, there was the dream time, then we woke up. Makes more sense than most creation theories and nobody has ever been slaughtered in the name of it :P

  144. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Maybe this will help clear the air

    I think it's more likely to dirty it. But I'll let it stand. Anyone who's going to respond, take some deep breaths first, yeah?

    It's not a 'blog', though, Nathan. But then you could argue the archaeopteryx wasn't reptilian. Not that I'm going there. Not in <strike>3 million years</strike> <strike>30,000 years</strike> a really long time.

  145. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: I usually like the Register...

    We'd love to, but your politics is pretty much everyone's politics, isn't it?

  146. Paul Buxton

    @AC

    "2. Evolution is a theory with holes in it. These holes may be resolved over time but I'm sick of it being thrust on us as a fact, which it is not."

    Stop talking now. Though Evolutionary Theory is a Theory, i.e. "NOT A FACT" (would you like me to go slower?), and I quote from the article which you purport to have read, "so far nothing better than evolutionary science has emerged to explain biological processes".

    The main thing that makes the theory of evolution doubtable is the amount of complete fuckwits around on these boards who feel that they can argue a case against it by just stating "I don't believe it" or "despite the fact that I can make many predictions based on this theory that can be proven through tests, the Bible tells me different and I believe the Bible". But then again "survival of the fittest" doesn't necessarily mean "survival of the people with rational working minds".

    If you want a real argument for creationism then read 1984, the thought police are particularly good at explaining this alternative theory (and that's no joke, read it and learn something so at least we can have a proper philosophical debate. They didn't argue for or against the existence of God, they simply proved that a man can fly and that 2+2=5 - but maybe read the next paragraph first, especially the last statement as that's also a requirement of successful debating).

    But the real question here is: how the fuck did you manage to survive infancy? Do you just instinctively believe everything you're told by your parents and the people your parents have vetted? I ask this because I remember from a very early age that I was unable to do this. I demanded proof of everything and still do. I fell out with the Anglican church when I was 6 years old when I decided that if I wasn't allowed to question their theories (and I was told that I could not) then they could all fuck off and die (though this is just a small part of the child abuse that the church is responsible for, it's the one I'm qualified to talk about). Grow a fucking brain and learn how to use it.

    And to think, people with analytical skills as good as yours (i.e. very very flawed) could soon have the most massive arsenal on the planet at their disposal.

    But enough of the vitriol, though god knows you deserved it (and yes, I asked him, and he came to me in a vision, stole all my pop tarts, didn't flush the toilet and told me, "yes, that anonymous coward deserved at least the amount of vitriol you gave him, probably more"), let's hear your theory on how biological processes work then shall we?

    Alternatively, shut the fuck up!

    Now, for the sane people amongst you. Why is it that these religious types think that they are smarter than Darwin?

    And, just for the record: Atheists haven't got a clue either. Your arguments provide no proof and you expect me to take a leap of faith to deny that very faith, surely that's a dichotomy. I can't work out which is worse to be honest.

    I am an Agnostic. The only thing I understand is that I don't understand. However, I'm also aware that none of you understand either (and that's a fact) which is why it really pisses me off when people claim they do.

  147. John
    Stop

    Teach both?

    No. Fact and fallacy do not have equal weight. Teach the FACT of evolution through natural selection and the FACT of Geological processes in science. Teach the FICTION of creationsim in ... oh say ...Religious studies.

    Note - Religious studies should be the study of religions, not indoctrination regarding <insert your preferred deity or deities here>.

  148. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Careless whispers

    The American-origin "I could care less" has its roots in "I could care less, but not much". I.E. I care so little about this that it's hard to tell the difference between that much care and none."

  149. ben

    wow

    wow, shouty lot the Americans aren’t they?

    I think that a few people might have forgotten this is a UK centric website, in England we never Mix Faith with politics.

  150. Mark

    re: Time to stick the jolly old oar in.

    However, I don't think there are any creationists who AREN'T Christian.

  151. Mark

    re: careless whispers

    Strange.

    "Couldn't care less" is the same (as far as being able to tell the difference between none and so little it can't be less) and doesn't require you to fill in missing words.

  152. Paul Buxton

    @Ben, @Mark & @Non-creationist christians

    @Ben

    "in England we never Mix Faith with politics."

    Shouldn't that be: "In England we have no faith in politics"?

    @Mark

    "However, I don't think there are any creationists who AREN'T Christian."

    Apart from all of those Jewish folk and all of those Muslim folk, in fact, I can't think of a single religion that doesn't have a creation story (and I've studied a lot of religions, a vast amount).

    @Non-creationist christians

    Anyone who claims to be a christian who isn't a creationist has no basis to claim they are a christian as it's obvious they don't believe the Bible. You can't cherry pick this shit (though I'm sure you'll claim you can), you either believe or you don't believe. Maybe you should choose another "religion" that ticks all of the boxes but doesn't require you to be a moron: try Humanism, I think you'd like it, it's all the good stuff about treating people right and having good social values without any of the bollocks about trolls, fairies and gods.

  153. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: We'd love to, but your politics is pretty much everyone's politics, isn't it?

    Maybe so, insomuch as we've somehow been nominated to Police the World, but we don't tell you who to elect over there.

  154. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @NukEvil

    This would be funny if you weren't serious:

    "Not saying that gravity itself doesn't exist, I'm saying our understanding of it is wrong. Here, to prove my point, I'll insert a seemingly random equation: F = GMm/r^2."

    I'm afraid your physics is about a century out of date; the formula you quote is from Newton's theory of gravitational attraction, whereas gravitational lensing is actually predicted and explained by the Einstien's Theory of Relativity (heard of it?).

    This is a good example of the scientific process; an accepted theory that works under most conditions is replaced by a theory that works under a wider range of conditions. No-one has to fight about it, no-one is killed in the name of Newton or Einstein and we can continue to use Newtonian mechanics where mass and velocity are relatively low (no pun intended) without having to deny that Einstein has a "better" theory.

    Also photons do have mass (and momentum), but have zero rest mass. I know the Bible hasn't changed in a thousand years (apart from all the translations Hebrew-Greek-Latin-English; no chance of any misunderstandings there eh?), but science is moving forward all the time to try to keep up.

  155. Nathan
    Happy

    Re:Re: Maybe this will help clear the air

    @ Sarah Bee: I was simply trying to refute claims that Christians hate/are intolerant of science.

    And the blog that I was referring to (it's in my opening paragraph) is the Dick Destiny blog authored by George Smith. http://www.dickdestiny.com/blog/dickdestiny.html

  156. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re:Re: Maybe this will help clear the air

    Oh yes. That's OK then.

  157. Mark

    @Nathan

    Uh Christians DO hate/are intolerant of science.

    Not all of them, to be sure, but the ones that hate science or are intolerant of it are highly religious and are in the main christians.

  158. Mark

    @Paul Buxton

    Jesuits are completely on the side of Evolution.

    I haven't heard from ANY muslim about how evolution is wrong and creationism is right. Nor Bhuddist, Pastafarian, NLRA or any other whacko organisation.

    Christians?

    Lots.

    Maybe not a large number, but the majority by noise volume.

  159. James Anderson
    Unhappy

    Disasterous feedback loop!

    A large part of this stems from the "separation of church and state" bit of the US constitution.

    This was/is an excellent idea, but it was disaterously applied to the tax code.

    Churches go tax free, this status has turned relifion into a cash cow which has attracted many and various unsrupulous operators.

    Churches use this free cash is to pomote themselves and thier views. Hence drawing more suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hbeleivers and even more tax free cash.

    A large amount of this cash is spent ensuring that only religion friendly polititians get elected.

    Palin seems to sharp an operator to really beleive in palin-toligy, I think she just felt if she agreed with the creationists she would get an easier ride into the governors office.

    The big problem is that the younger generations who have been taught superstion rather than science wont be equipped to make such descisions.

    A real separation of church and state would tax churches the same as any other business!

  160. Michael Corkery
    Alert

    "I can see dinosaurs from my back porch"

    Regards the poster who questioned the validity of the title "I can see dinosaurs from my back porch" as a quote...

    1. the register often paraphrases or summarises it's stories into a headline like that for comic effect. See almost any other article on thye site! :)

    2. I suspect they're referencing the Saturday Night Live sketch where Tina Fey's "Palin" makes the comment on international relations "I can see Russia from my house!"

    It's clearly comic, not a direct quotation!

  161. James Pickett

    @AC (aren't they all!)

    "some people go nuts about creationists because they are frightened of being held accountable to a higher power for their actions"

    Not really. I'd much rather be nice* to people on the 'do as you would be done by' principle, than because I thought I was going to be punished if I wasn't. As for an afterlife, I certainly don't want to be surrounded for eternity by fundamentalists of any description. All the virgins will have gone by time I get there, anyway...

    *For you, I'll make an exception.

  162. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "I can see dinosaurs from my back porch"

    Good for you. On a clear day, I can just about see France. Wanna swap?

  163. The Badger
    Flame

    Re: Creationists Are Exactly Who You Should Elect

    "As evidence, consider all the people who sought to create a society based on "scientific" principles: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot -- 200 million dead in the last 100 years as a result of their evolutionary views."

    Aside from the fact that the ideologies of the above dictators had nothing to do with science, it's historical fact that all of the above frequently promoted pseudo-scientific policy instead of scientific policy, leading to disastrous unintended consequences (for example, widespread famine and environmental damage in the Soviet Union and China) as well as bizarre Indiana Jones-style expeditions (Nazis heading off to Antarctica looking for magical oases). If any science got done, it was actually despite the respective regimes in numerous cases, although I don't doubt that people in all kinds of professions looked the other way in furthering their careers and not considering the applications of their work.

    Of course, I don't expect anything better than the despicable mud-slinging as quoted above from creationists in their treatment of science and their lack of insight into what science is and what pseudo-science is. Meanwhile, it might be best to disregard things like film footage of priests blessing various Axis armoured vehicles during the Second World War, might it not?

  164. NT
    Flame

    @ Everyone

    @ AC "Facts and hypocrisy":

    << Evolution is a theory with holes in it. These holes may be resolved over time but I'm sick of it being thrust on us as a fact, which it is not. >>

    Again, it *is* a fact - and it's a fact that's been recognised as such for centuries. The *theory* deals with *how evolution works*, not whether or not it happens.

    @ Jonathan Tate:

    << So great one El Reg. Go after Palin, the VP choice of the republican party... >>

    Focusing on Palin means that they get chance to keep throwing the 'fundie Christian' element into the mix, which is guaranteed to generate a huge amount of comments as atheist and religionist go through the tired, ever-repeating mutual bashing routine they love so much.

    @ Simon:

    << If you go to church you must be a "Creationist" if you dont you must an "Evolutionist". The same way you are either "Religious" or "Atheist". >>

    People like stereotyping because it's easy. It gives them the excuse they need to indulge their fear of people who're different, and it means they don't have to think very hard. People like not having to think. Thinking is difficult. People don't like challenges to their preconceptions - especially when they're forced to challenge them themselves.

    @ Chad H:

    << The more I read about Palin, the more I honest to goodness hate the woman. Her fast and loose attitudes towards open government, and the truth. >>

    Obviously you're in a privileged position. Speaking personally, I have no real idea what the woman believes and what she doesn't. I haven't yet found an information source that isn't consciously trying to big her up or do her down.

    @ Paul Murphy

    << I don't mind people believing whatever they want (not even the FSM) but why must I share my planet with them! >>

    Because, your arrogance notwithstanding, you're no better than the rest of us. "Religion should have died out in the Middle Ages"? "Should"? Come on, then, oh high and mighty rationalist: tell me according to whose schedule you make such a firm claim? Or do you simply presume that history is bound to conform to your expectations?

    (Incidentally, people who 'believe' in the FSM have entirely missed the point of it. As has anyone who uses it as a way to mock other religions.)

    *sigh*

    What's the point? The Reg know very well that if they bring religion into it, they'll get all the comments they can eat. And they're right: everyone's so desperate to prove their own superiority that they'll take any opportunity. I'd be interested to see the stats for articles with a religious element here on El Reg, and how the comment numbers stack up against the other political items, the entertainment items, the totalitarian-police-state items... or, gods *forbid*, the IT-related items - 'cos there are still one or two. I just wonder for how long.

  165. Martin Yirrell

    @Evolution isn't science, it's reading from a book

    Mark

    I've told you before - MRSA isn't Evolution. It is still a virus.

    Martin

  166. Martin Yirrell

    @NT

    No, Evolution isn't a fact, it's never been observed and no one can demonstrate it. It is an idea, beloved of those who dislike the though of a God, which doesn't actually work when you test it.

    You are right about one thing, The Register is stirring it - the headline makes that obvious, using the discredited concept of dinosaurs being birds.

    Martin

  167. Chris
    Boffin

    Yee Haw!

    Nothing like a friendly debate on issues that don't mean much ;-)

    To all the evolutionists - give up. Reason is fundamentally incompatible with faith.

    To all the creationists - give up. Faith is fundamentally incompatible with reason.

    To all the America bashers - give up. I have lived and travelled abroad, and as bad as things are in the US, they are much worse almost everywhere else. To paraphrase a former British PM, "a democratic republic is the worst form of government, except for all the others."

    I assume that RE refers to "Religious Education" or some similar phrase. No such thing in the US public schools due to the Separation of Church and State. This is also why the Creationists, now known as "intelligent Design proponents" have been trying to get the creation myth taught in science class.

    I have no problem with the study of old, discredited "theories". When I was in college we studied Ptolemy, Phlogiston, and the "action at a distance" theories in addition to Copernicus, Priestly, and Maxwell. However, they had actual theories to study. When there is a theory of Intelligent Design, with hypotheses, experiments, and formulae (especially formulae. If it doesn't have any math in it, it ain't science), then I would welcome it, too, in a science class. Until then, it isn't worth consideration.

    Also, regarding the could/couldn't care less debate. Anyone ever heard of sarcasm? When you say "I could care less," it is supposed to be spoken in a voice dripping with sarcasm, to convey the exact opposite meaning. By that token, it is much more disdainful than the nearly indifferent "I couldn't care less."

    -Chris

  168. Danny

    @Martin Yirrell

    'No, Evolution isn't a fact, it's never been observed and no one can demonstrate it. It is an idea, beloved of those who dislike the though of a God, which doesn't actually work when you test it'

    It has been tested and proven many many times. It does work although I wouldn't expect someone like you to actually look at the research and give the results the due credit they deserve as they would fly in the face of your beliefs and you obviously couldn't cope with that.

    'using the discredited concept of dinosaurs being birds.'

    Discredited how? Where is your evidence to back that statement up? I can point you at evidence that proves that statement false. Archaeopteryx and Cryptovolans are prime examples as has been stated above, but they don't fit into your world view and can safely be ignored.

    And yes there are gaps in the fossil record, but given the geological movement and the powerful destructive force that is nature, combined with the incredibly long periods of time involved it's amazing that any fossils have survived at all. There is no doubt that there are countless species who have long since disappeared that we will never find out about as all evidence they existed has long since been destroyed.

    Please note that this comment is not trying to question the existence of God, merely that the evidence really does not support the bible version of events. Feel free to insert any religious text about the creation of man you choose as none of them fit with the evidence.

  169. NT

    @ Martin Yirrell and Chris

    @ Martin Yirrell:

    << No, Evolution isn't a fact, it's never been observed and no one can demonstrate it. >>

    That'll come as a great relief to the medical profession, then. At least they won't have to worry about the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics any more.

    @ Chris:

    << To all the evolutionists - give up. Reason is fundamentally incompatible with faith. >>

    And does this statement equal empirical, objective fact? Or does it, as is often the case with the statements of religion-bashers, apply only to a narrow perception of what constitutes 'faith'?

    << To all the America bashers - give up. I have lived and travelled abroad, and as bad as things are in the US, they are much worse almost everywhere else. >>

    The trouble is, as Sarah Bee rightly pointed out, that America is, for the moment at least, the world's most powerful and influential nation. That means that every other country on Earth HAS to take a keen interest in what America does, and we ALL have a stake. We just don't get a vote. Claims that everyone else should just butt out and leave American affairs to Americans would be fine - the world has no problem, for example, leaving Paraguay to its own devices, or Uganda. But do you really expect us to overlook the fact that the USA has enough firepower to scorch civilisation off the planet? Why should the world NOT be concerned at the prospects for American leadership?

    << I assume that RE refers to "Religious Education" or some similar phrase. No such thing in the US public schools due to the Separation of Church and State. >>

    Correct re the meaning. But a better term for modern RE would perhaps be 'Comparative Religion'. It's not indoctrination of one specific faith: it's education about something that, rightly or wrongly, has a considerable influence in the world. With that in mind, it doesn't hurt to learn about it - and if, as I assume is the case from your comments, America doesn't provide such education, it's a little easier to see why it's such a fiery issue over there.

    << Also, regarding the could/couldn't care less debate. Anyone ever heard of sarcasm? >>

    Yes, and I've heard that excuse for the phrase, too. It doesn't hold any water, in my view. "I could care less" still implies that one only cares a little. A sarcastic intent would be better served by suggesting that you care deeply about whatever it is. I suspect that "I could care less" is just a mistaken usage that's been widely adopted.

  170. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    "Invisible Friends"

    LOL

    I prefer: "Invisible Sky Daddy"

  171. Seán
    Boffin

    Chosen People

    Let's say magic beans work for the moment

    a)God created Universe

    b)God's WORD

    c) Creationist DENIES (a) because of a misreading of (b)

    Given that (a) and (b) are products of (g) and thus perfect and inviolable what is the degree of error of (c) and based on E(c) what punishment will be (M)eted out by (g)

    E=M(c)^2

  172. Peter Mellor
    Boffin

    Evolution is a fact (@Martin Yirrell's Post @NT)

    Martin Yirrell posted on Monday 29th September 2008 18:07 GMT:

    "No, Evolution isn't a fact, it's never been observed and no one can demonstrate it. It is an idea, beloved of those who dislike the though of a God, which doesn't actually work when you test it."

    Evolution *has* been observed very many times; it *is* a fact; it *has* been thoroughly tested and survived all the tests (i.e., it does "work" as a theory wherever it has been applied). I recommend:

    "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body" by Neil Shubin, Allen Lane (2008), £20, pp229

    This book shows how anatomical features of the human body can be traced back through ancestral species all the way to fish and even farther. Shubin and his team of scientists earned fame recently for their discovery of the fossil Tiktaalik, a link between fish and land animals, with fins that have been partially modified to enable the animal to move about on land.

    The fossil record is only a part of the evidence for evolution. The genetic basis of mutation is now well understood and mutations can be observed in the laboratory and in the wild. The 'flu virus is just one example of an organism that evolves in front of our eyes. Profound changes to larger organisms under the influence of natural selection take much longer than a human lifetime, so cannot be observed as they occur, although the results can be studied. For example, horses and donkeys share a common ancestor in prehistory which we can no longer observe other than as fossils, but the modern animals have not diverged so far that they cannot interbreed. However, the mules that are the offspring of their unions are sterile, so that an intermediate mule population is not viable, and horses and donkeys are classified as separate species.

    A theory that has been as thoroughly tested as the theory of evolution and passed all of its tests is entitled to be regarded as a fact. The evidence for it is so overwhelming that no rational person seriously doubts it, any more than they would doubt that the Earth is round.

    Evolution is not an idea "beloved of those who dislike the thought of a God". In fact, a lot of people who do believe in God also accept that evolution occurs and that it explains the variety of species that we find in the world. For example, the Catholic and Anglican churches officially accept evolution. For those (like me) who *do* "dislike the thought of a God", however, it disposes of the "argument from design" as a justification for belief in the supernatural.

    Martin Yirrell continues:

    "You are right about one thing, The Register is stirring it - the headline makes that obvious, using the discredited concept of dinosaurs being birds."

    No scientist has ever said that dinosaurs were birds; such a "concept" was never around to be discredited. However, it is well-established (from intermediate forms in the fossil record) that birds are descended from some types of dinosaur. According to the latest theory (well supported by fossil evidence), some carnivorous bipedal species of theropod dinosaur evolved feathers through a series of intermediate steps. The initial advantage conferred by such mutations may have been more effective body temperature control. Later, species arose which used their feathers to assist flight, and eventually these evolved into birds. See:

    "Which Came First, the Feather or the Bird?" by Richard O. Prum and Alan H. Bush, Scientific American, March 2003, pp60-69.

  173. Amanda
    Paris Hilton

    Crying into my beer over the possibilty this idiot might be president

    Good Bavarian stuff though, as I'm an overseas employee of the US Military-Industrial Complex...

    Those of you who wonder if we have large groups of insane right-wingers who troll the Internets for any mention of themselves or their mascots: yep. Look at any slightly left-leaning (by American standards) blog that allows comments.

    I was back home in Texas for two weeks this month. I had to suppress bemusement at hearing complaints about Obama's "radical leftist agenda". He would slot in nicely with Germany's center-right Christian Democrats, maybe towards the left side of that party, but still not social enough to make the Social Democratic cut, and certainly nowhere near the actual socialists of the Left Party.

    However, this all leaves me with the convenience of being called a "liberal" on both sides of the pond.

  174. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Darwin - God - Who Cares?

    Really, who gives a shit whether we are descended from amoeba or from some creator or other? There are more important things in this shitty life and on this shitty planet that we should be concerned about. I really don't think that the tens of thousands of children dying of disease and malnutrition everyday really give a shit, do you?

  175. Mark

    I've told you before - MRSA isn't Evolution. It is still a virus.

    And Humans are still animals. Like apes.

    So where's your problem with the descent of man from ape?

    Mindless parroting by a fuckwit strikes again.

  176. NT

    I'll shut up after this one, I promise...

    @ Seán

    << a)God created Universe; b)God's WORD >>

    It's worth mentioning that a) doesn't always require belief in b). In fact, believing in b) is a very specific thing and quite different from believing in a).

    @ "Darwin - God - Who Cares?"

    << I really don't think that the tens of thousands of children dying of disease and malnutrition everyday really give a shit, do you? >>

    You don't think that the tens of thousands of children (I assume it's only *children* affected? Or is it just that children traditionally have more emotive value in arguments?) dying from disease could benefit from a detailed scientific understanding of the biology of the diseases that are killing them? Even I will happily admit that such an understanding won't come from religion (although I won't support the implication that religion inevitably *prevents* such understanding).

    @ Peter Mellor:

    << ...as a justification for belief in the supernatural. >>

    For what it's worth, and pedantic though it may sound, as a religious person I hold no belief in the supernatural. What exists is natural. What isn't natural doesn't exist. But it's putting cart before horse to dismiss something *because* it's thought of as supernatural. Lack of evidence? Fine: that's a more sensible reason to dismiss something - as long as you're adhering to those articles of faith that tell us that 1) the cosmos is basically comprehensible and 2) that we have the potential and capability to understand it completely.

  177. Mike Tyler
    Paris Hilton

    Creationism is the least of her problems

    I don't care if she believes in ID and creationism, it's not a problem, stupid and misguided but not a problem.

    That she is blessed in church against the action of witches, by someone who hounded a poor woman out of town as a witch is more than a bit of a problem.

    I fully expect the president to declare Iran, home of the devil, evil and witches, and promptly go to war with Iraq probably in late October.

    Palin could be in charge of nukula weapons, God (should he/she exist) help us.

    Paris, 'cos at leash she knows she don't know.

  178. Mycho Silver badge

    Then teach all creation stories

    I was quite impressed by the greek one I discovered yesterday while looking up the origin of the name Milky Way. It seems the galaxy was in fact squirted out of Hera's chest according to them.

  179. The Jon

    @Martin Yirrell 29th September 2008 18:01 GMT

    Sorry to piss on your chips old boy, but MRSA is a bacterium. Unlike a virus, bacteria are considered to be living.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRSA_(Mersa)--Methicillin_Resistant_Staph_Aureus

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus_(biology)

    Evolution = Scientific Theory = Science Class

    Creationism = Religious Theory = RE / Theology Class

  180. James Pickett
    Happy

    Caring

    >When you say "I could care less," it is supposed to be spoken in a voice dripping with sarcasm, to convey the exact opposite meaning

    Sarcasm and irony? In America? Who knew?

  181. The Badger
    Flame

    @Martin Yirrell

    "No, Evolution isn't a fact, it's never been observed and no one can demonstrate it."

    I suppose given the private Yirrell definitions of most words, we have to cover quite a few bases with the above sentence:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901_1.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html

    Knock yourself out on all the other material if the words aren't too big for you. It's not exactly "Answers from Genesis", I know, but I can't be bothered actually spelling this stuff out any more. There's only so much time in the day to respond to Yirrell pantomime-level argumentation.

    Mark says, "Mindless parroting by a fuckwit strikes again."

    On that assessment of the miraculous Martin Yirrell I couldn't agree more.

  182. Peter Mellor
    Flame

    Re: Darwin - God - Who Cares?

    Anonymous Coward posted on Tuesday 30th September 2008 08:55 GMT:

    "Really, who gives a shit whether we are descended from amoeba or from some creator or other? There are more important things in this shitty life and on this shitty planet that we should be concerned about. I really don't think that the tens of thousands of children dying of disease and malnutrition everyday really give a shit, do you?"

    Anyone who cares about the future of humanity and what we can rationally do about it, that's who "gives a shit". Anyone who would prefer the choices that now face us about climate change, overpopulation, Palestine, etc., etc., to be made by people with a reasonable understanding of reality, rather than by superstitious fuckwits.

    The book "Hunting Deer with Jesus", that I recommended in my earlier posting, confirms that a high proportion of working class evangelical Christians in the USA are happy to let this Earth go to hell in a handcart because God is going to create a new one, just for them, after they have been removed from the surface of the Earth in the "rapture" and all of us "unsaved" sinners have perished in the battle of Armageddon. Add to this the beliefs of Zionist Jews that Jahweh "gave" them the land of Israel 3000 years ago, and of Iranian Shi'ite theocrats that the time is nigh when the "Hidden Imam" will reappear for the Islamic version of Armageddon. Then reflect that these various troglodytes have (or will soon have) nuclear weapons, and you might begin to appreciate the scale of the problems that ignorance can cause.

    It *matters* that the best available scientific understanding of the world is taught in schools, and not supernatural fairy-tales.

    I don't see any constructive suggestion from you as to what to do about the "tens of thousands of children dying of disease and malnutrition everyday". Obviously someone starving right now is preoccupied by where their next meal is coming from, to the exclusion of philosophical and scientific debate, but since you have the time and equipment to go blogging, I guess that the most important concern preoccupying your shitty brain is where to have lunch.

  183. Mark

    @peter Mellor

    "The evidence for it is so overwhelming that no rational person seriously doubts it, any more than they would doubt that the Earth is round."

    Here you have hit upon the nub of the problem. Yirrel is a fuckwit. He's irrational. Either because he's the sort of christian that give christians a bad name, or he's just a fuckwit troll.

  184. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Re: wow

    "I think that a few people might have forgotten this is a UK centric website, in England we never Mix Faith with politics."

    Quite the Royston Vasey view this one, given that the last prime minister (assuming Gordo hasn't stepped down since I last checked the BBC Web site) was quite open about God judging him for his actions, all pious and "I'm so offended by your accusations" while pulling a "sad puppy" face. Not, say, a court of mere mortals judging him for his illegal war.

    It also doesn't help that Blair and company managed to pull quite a few strings (and maybe pull in a few bribes, too, if the cash for honours business went right to the top) to let various types run their own "faith-based" schools, meaning that money is actually siphoned off from proper education in favour of evangelists who propagate the sort of creationist idiocy on display in this very forum and, I grant you, throughout the United States.

  185. Badminstyles
    Dead Vulture

    Two things

    1) What an awful first sentence. Hang your head in shame!

    2) I didn't know this many people read El Reg!

  186. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    RE: Ben

    "....in England we never Mix Faith with politics...." Erm.... actually, we created a whole new branch of Christianity just so King Henry could fulfill his political requirment of siring a male heir. This involved divorcing and killing several wives, which upset the Catholics of the day, hence the need to create a new Church of England so Henry could retain his "divine right to rule" whilst shopping around for more mating material. Eddie Izzard has a perfect summary on the Church of England's creation at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Ope-1Zb5t-k&feature=related (which, incidently, was sent to me by a Catholic friend from Atlanta who thought it was hilarious).

  187. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    >http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901.html<

    Another way of saying no one has ever seen Evolution happen - without actually admitting it.

    >http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901_1.html<

    Basically saying "you can't demonstrate that there is a limit to variability. However it is clear that scientists do find a limit to variability - note the concerns to save genetic information that are behind such as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. You may also consider what happens when pedigree dogs are over bred. I recall recently a suggestion that the restriction on marriage between relatives be widened, due to the increasing genetic load in the human genome. If you can't see a limit to genetic variability then the reason is that you don't want to.

    >http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html<

    Speciation is not Evolution since it is but the application of existing genetic variability in the genome.

    Incidentally, talkorigins is somewhat below the level of Wikipedia in the reliability stakes.

    Mark has clearly run out of arguments since all he can use is vulgarities.

    Martin

  188. Martin Yirrell

    @Jon

    >MRSA is a bacterium<

    OOPs, thanks for the correction - however it still hasn't evolved and is still a bacterium. Interestingly most of the 'resistance' to drugs et al found in life is actually caused by loss of information. Much like the loss of information in sickle cell anaemia provides resistance to malaria.

    As to Evolution being science, it's actually more a philosophy - hence all the steam coming out of collars. <G>

    Martin

  189. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yirral goin' ta hell

    "Basically saying "you can't demonstrate that there is a limit to variability. "

    Go on. Demonstrate.

    Then demonstrate God.

    You never HAD an argument.

    "The Bible Proves God Exists". Which bible? "THE BIBLE! You didn't read the bible!!!"

    "My FAITH Proves God Exists". No.

    "It Just IS, M'Kay". No.

  190. Mark

    PS yirrel

    It isn't a relapse to vulgarity. It's just an evident truth: you ARE a fuckwit.

  191. Tigger in Amsterdam
    Joke

    Sarah Palin - post turtle

    Best description for the brain-dead cow I've yet seen......

    A doctor was stitching up a U.S farmer's hand when the farmer referred to Sarah Palin as a post turtle. The doc asked what he meant.

    "Well, you're driving along a country road and you sometimes see a turtle balanced on a fence post. You know it don't belong up there, you dunno how it came to be there, it sure as hell ain't got a clue what to do whilst it's up there and you really gotta wonder about the kinda dumbass that put it up there in the first place".

  192. NT

    Post Turtles

    << A doctor was stitching up a U.S farmer's hand when the farmer referred to Sarah Palin as a post turtle. The doc asked what he meant. >>

    He meant the same as he meant when he described Obama as one not long ago. Or George Bush a few years back. Or Bill Clinton. Or Al Gore. Or Ronald Reagan. Or any of the huge plethora of politicians and slebs who've been the butt of that joke over the years.

  193. NT
    Unhappy

    Sorry

    *sigh*

    Re the post turtles. I admit my sense of humour's taken a battering today...

  194. Peter Mellor
    Boffin

    MRSA has evolved, along with other stuff (@Jon and @Badger by Martin Yirrel)

    Martin Yirrell posted on Tuesday 30th September 2008 19:46 GMT:

    <quote>

    >MRSA is a bacterium<

    OOPs, thanks for the correction - however it still hasn't evolved and is still a bacterium. Interestingly most of the 'resistance' to drugs et al found in life is actually caused by loss of information. Much like the loss of information in sickle cell anaemia provides resistance to malaria.

    <unquote>

    I haven't the faintest idea what you mean by "loss of information", but for your information, read on.

    Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a species of bacterium which often colonises one's nose or skin without ill effects, but can cause boils, abscesses, and other nasty symptoms if it enters the body through broken skin. Such infections were, until recently, easily treated with antibiotics, but in the late 1990s cases of SA infection were seen which did not respond to the commonly used antibiotics. These were found to be due to a new type of SA which was named MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

    See:

    http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=252

    "MRSA is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It has evolved an ability to survive treatment with beta-lactamase resistant beta-lactam antibiotics, including methicillin, dicloxacillin, nafcillin, and oxacillin."

    (Quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methicillin-resistant_Staphylococcus_aureus)

    Note: "It has EVOLVED ..." It has undergone a genetic mutation which gives it greater resistance compared to the original type of SA. The mutation arose at random, but the mutated strain reproduces true to type, and survives in preference to the original type, in the presence of increasing amounts of antibiotic drugs in its environment, hence the increasing number of cases reported.

    Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited genetic defect, caused by a recessive gene (a gene that must be inherited from both parents for an individual to develop the condition). Researchers had been puzzled as to how such a destructive gene came to be so prevalent, until it was discovered that inheriting the gene from only ONE parent conferred on the individual an improved degree of immunity against malaria. Sure enough, sickle cell is endemic among populations who originate from areas where malaria is also endemic.

    A couple of comments on @Badger by Martin Yirrell, posted Tuesday 30th September 2008 19:38 GMT:

    "Another way of saying no one has ever seen Evolution happen - without actually admitting it."

    MRSA is a classic example of evolution happening right under our noses. Antibiotics became widely used from the 1940s on. MRSA evolved its resistance in the 1990s (and is not the first species of bacterium to have evolved resistance to at least some antibiotics).

    Sickle cell anaemia provides an example of how an understanding of the process of natural selection can yield insight into otherwise puzzling aspects of a disease that affects many thousands of people.

    "Speciation is not Evolution since it is but the application of existing genetic variability in the genome."

    Speciation arises from evolution. Different populations of the same original species can evolve into different species when geographically separated (and so prevented from interbreeding) and subjected to different environments (and so to different types of natural selection) for a long period.

    If by "existing genetic variability in the genome" you mean the differences between the genomes of individuals of the same species, then the resulting minor differences in phenotype are exactly what natural selection acts upon to favour particular genotypes, so driving evolution.

    If you would learn a bit of basic science, you would waste less of the time of El Reg readers in attempting to correct your confused diatribes (assuming we can make sense of them in the first place).

  195. Martin Yirrell

    @MRSA has evolved, along with other stuff

    Peter

    >I haven't the faintest idea what you mean by "loss of information",<

    Genetic material is effectively information on the variable features of the form of life encoded in a highly efficient manner. Mutation is the result of damage to the material and is the loss of genetic information.

    >Note: "It has EVOLVED ..."<

    No, actually it hasn't evolved, it is "a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus". Just as people vary, so bacterium vary. Some people have genetic illnesses, some people have red hair, it is not evolution it is variation.

    >MRSA is a classic example of evolution happening right under our noses. Antibiotics became widely used from the 1940s on. MRSA evolved its resistance in the 1990s (and is not the first species of bacterium to have evolved resistance to at least some antibiotics).<

    Now I'm not sure about MRSA but I do know that bacteria resistant to modern antibiotics were found in the frozen corpses of members of an ill fated polar exploration. Selection occurs without Evolution occurring.

    >Speciation arises from evolution<

    No, speciation is quite different from Evolution and occurs when variation arises from the selection of information already existing in the genome. It is noteworthy that domestic dogs are considered one species despite a range of variation that, had it occurred naturally, would have resulted in a number of 'species'. Evolution, on the other hand requires the generation of new genetic features that did not previously exist - limbs for example from a form without limbs. Evolution has never been observed.

    Martin

  196. Martin Yirrell

    @Yirral goin' ta hell

    AC

    >Then demonstrate God.<

    Was your computer designed and built or did it just evolve?

    Martin

  197. NT
    Thumb Down

    @ Martin Yirrell

    << Was your computer designed and built or did it just evolve? >>

    Is that the long-deceased Watchmaker Argument you're trying to resurrect there?

    The computer was created by humans. Just like the watch was in the original form of this fallacy. Humans, which are considerably more complicated than a watch or a computer, must therefore have been created as well - right? That's the claim, I believe? Creationists tend to trot the Second Law of Thermodynamics out as a prelude to this, and claim - wrongly - that it says simplicity can't give rise to complexity.

    Still, their argument inevitably leads to the point that, if God (the implied or stated creator of humans) is more complex still, then God, too, must have had a creator. Which violates the Fundamentalist view of God as the Prime Cause. That God's creator must also have had a creator violates it again. And it's ripped into even tinier little pieces by the fact that the creator's creator's creator must also have have a creator.

    The only way for the Fundamentalist to get around this infinite regress is to posit a God that either appeared out of nothing or that has simply always existed. In either case, He must be considered an effect without a cause. And if God can be an uncaused effect then so, in principle, could the universe itself - along with the laws that allowed the natural evolution of the human species (and, by extension, the appearance of the computers and the watches that they build). The Watchmaker Argument destroys itself and the Creationist is forced either to have the cake or eat it.

  198. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Yirrals a different species

    "No, speciation is quite different from Evolution"

    Speciation is a result of evolution.

  199. Mark

    @Yirral GITM

    God is NOT in the machine.

    Was God designed or did he just evolve? Did he just appear? If he did, why can nothing else?

  200. Mark
    Jobs Horns

    Yirrals a different species

    "Genetic material is effectively information on the variable features of the form of life encoded in a highly efficient manner. "

    Nope. If it were, why is there so much junk DNA?

    If we aren't evolved from apes why do we have one less DNA strand and the one we have different is the same as two from chimps fused together AND has telomeres (which occur only at the ends of DNA stretches) in the middle.

    Either

    a) Weird design

    b) two DNA strands merged

  201. Mark

    re: @Yirral goin' ta hell

    PS how does a computer manufacturer prove god?

    Please. Demonstrate the proof of God's existence.

  202. Martin Yirrell

    @NT

    >Is that the long-deceased Watchmaker Argument you're trying to resurrect there?<

    No, actually it isn't dead, despite (because of?) the efforts of Dawkins and his ilk.

    >Still, their argument inevitably leads to the point that, if God (the implied or stated creator of humans) is more complex still, then God, too, must have had a creator<

    No, God does not require a maker - because He has always been and always will be - He is outside of time. God is the source of all things and without beginning and therefore does not require a cause.

    >And if God can be an uncaused effect then so, in principle, could the universe itself <

    Could, were it not for the evidence that it is running down - evidence that it once had a begining and will have an end.

    Martin

  203. Martin Yirrell

    @Speciation is a result of evolution.

    Mark

    Nope, speciation does not even require Evolution since it can occur with the existing variability in the genome.

    Martin

  204. Martin Yirrell

    @Junk DNA

    Mark

    >Nope. If it were, why is there so much junk DNA?<

    Junk DNA was so called because it was not known what it was for. Pretty poor science, if you ask me, to call something junk if you don't know what it is for. Incidentally, purpose is being found for the 'junk'

    >If we aren't evolved from apes why do we have one less DNA strand and the one we have different is the same as two from chimps fused together AND has telomeres (which occur only at the ends of DNA stretches) in the middle.<

    Have you noticed, there is some similarity between chimps and men? Could be something to do with it. There are a number of differences that are conveniently not included in the calculations of human/chimp similarity, among them that human telomeres are about the length of those in chimps. Like you, the scientists who claim this are dedicated followers of Evolution and find the evidence to back up their belief.

    Martin

  205. Mark

    @Yirall talking out your arse

    So you're saying that we are similar to apes not because we have a common ancestor but because the omnipotent God was a lazy bugger?

    ">And if God can be an uncaused effect then so, in principle, could the universe itself <

    Could, were it not for the evidence that it is running down - evidence that it once had a begining and will have an end."

    Take a shit, your throat's full. WFT??? How does that do ANYTHING to counter the quote you responded to? To quote from B5: all answers are replies but not all replies are answers. This was a reply that was not an answer.

    God doesn't exist. Proof? Because I lost a sock three months ago.

  206. Peter Mellor
    Boffin

    The chimp's extra chromosome (@@Junk DNA )

    Martin Yirrell posted on Friday 3rd October 2008 17:39 GMT, in reply to Mark:

    <quote>

    >Nope. If it were, why is there so much junk DNA?<

    Junk DNA was so called because it was not known what it was for. Pretty poor science, if you ask me, to call something junk if you don't know what it is for. Incidentally, purpose is being found for the 'junk'

    <unquote>

    Some sections of the human genome whose purpose was originally unknown are now turning out to have some subtle effects on the development of the individual, but a lot remains that has no obvious purpose. Also, it appears that some of this originated from encounters with retroviruses way back in the evolutionary past. The sources of apparently "pointless" DNA are under investigation. This is not "poor science". There are still unanswered questions, and scientists are attempting to answer them scientifically, instead of invoking "God" to explain all the gaps in our knowledge.

    The "God of the gaps" argument is silly and self-defeating. If "God" is assumed to take action only where we do not YET understand a physical, chemical, or biological process, then that "God" is a miserable and inadequate thing, destined to change and shrink as gaps in knowledge are filled.

    <quote>

    >If we aren't evolved from apes why do we have one less DNA strand and the one we have different is the same as two from chimps fused together AND has telomeres (which occur only at the ends of DNA stretches) in the middle.<

    Have you noticed, there is some similarity between chimps and men? Could be something to do with it. There are a number of differences that are conveniently not included in the calculations of human/chimp similarity, among them that human telomeres are about the length of those in chimps. Like you, the scientists who claim this are dedicated followers of Evolution and find the evidence to back up their belief.

    <unquote>

    To summarise the scientific method VERY briefly, one devises a hypothesis to explain an observation. From the hypothesis, one deduces a prediction that can be tested by further observation. A hypothesis must be (in principle) testable by observation and so open to the possibility of being falsified, otherwise it does not count as a scientific hypothesis. If the prediction turns out to be correct (within the limits of experimental error, etc., etc.) then the hypothesis is confirmed. It is important to note a couple of points here:

    a) The prediction does not necessarily concern the outcome of a future event. In many cases, it will concern the truth or falsity of a statement about an existing state of affairs which can be checked by observation. (The life cycles of stars of different types have been determined from predictions based on quantum physics and astronomical observation of the present state of the skies. We cannot watch a sample of stars for billions of years to see how they develop over time, but we can still check the predictions scientifically. See "Stardust" by John Gribben.)

    b) The fact that a hypothesis has been confirmed does not mean that it has been "proved", in the sense of being true beyond all possible doubt. A better hypothesis may explain the observations more accurately (e.g., Einstein improved on Newton), or improved technology might make possible tests that were previously impractical, and these might falsify the hypothesis despite its earlier apparent confirmation.

    c) Despite b), a hypothesis (or, rather, a set of mutually suporting hypotheses) that has stood up under repeated independent tests over time is regarded as an established theory. It is the closest we can get to "the truth" (at least for the time being) and denial of it in the face of evidence is irrational. The use of the word "theory" (as in "heliocentric theory") does not imply that it is dubious or tentative.

    In the case of the chimp's extra chromosome:

    1. Observation to be explained: A human being has 23 pairs of chromosomes, the chimpanzee has 24 pairs.

    2. Hypothesis: After the separation of the chimp and human lines, two pairs of chromosomes in the human line combined with one another.

    3. Prediction: Evidence of this early mutation will be visible, in that one of the human chromosomes should look like two chimp chromosomes "stuck together".

    4. Further observations: Human chromosome 2 has the same pattern of bands that is found if we put chimp chromosomes 2p and 2q together end-to-end. (Each chromosome has a pattern of bands that is unique to it.) Telomere sequences (which normally occur only at the end of a DNA strand) are found in the middle of human chromosome 2. The sequence of genes in human chromosome 2 above the "join" is the same as that in chimp 2p, and below the join, the sequence is the same as that in chimp chromosome 2q.

    5. Conclusion: Hypothesis in 2 above is accepted.

    (There are many sources of such scientific information. One web site that I found just now with a Google search explains it rather well: http://basketofpuppies-billy.blogspot.com/2008/05/creationists-and-missing-chromosomes.html)

    Note that, without a confirmed hypothesis to explain the different numbers of chromosomes in chimps and humans, the theory of chimp and human descent from a common ancestor could be called into question. (This little investigation was done within the context of the wider theory.)

    You state that "there is some similarity between chimps and men". Of course there is. The scientific explanation for this is that it is due to the close similarities of their genomes, which arise from their having had a common ancestor some few millions of years ago.

    You state that: "There are a number of differences that are conveniently not included in the calculations of human/chimp similarity, among them that human telomeres are about the length of those in chimps." Telomeres have the same function and a similar structure in all species. Your statement is correct, but totally irrelevant to any argument against chimps and humans having shared a common ancestor.

    You end by stating: "Like you, the scientists who claim this are dedicated followers of Evolution and find the evidence to back up their belief." Are you seriously suggesting that the scientists who carried out this investigation reported "evidence" that is not there? Or that there is other evidence that contradicts the "joined chromosome" hypothesis that they suppressed or ignored? Any such attempt at deception would be discovered eventually, so would be pointless.

    Science is based on evidence, and if its theories are contradicted by evidence, they are abandoned or changed. The case of the "missing chromosome", described above, is an example of the theory of human evolution being tested against evidence, showing that it is falsifiable (and hence a scientific theory, rather than an article of blind faith). The fact that it has passed all such tests is good reason to believe that it is true. It is also consistent with everything else that we know about chimp and human biology and explains much that cannot easily be explained otherwise.

    To satirise your own statement:

    Like you, the creationists who deny this are dedicated followers of Superstition, and will cling to their baseless belief in the teeth of any objective evidence to the contrary that is shown to them.

  207. Peter Mellor
    Boffin

    @@MRSA has evolved, along with other stuff

    Martin Yirrell posted Thursday 2nd October 2008 17:43 GMT, in response to Peter Mellor:

    <quote>

    >I haven't the faintest idea what you mean by "loss of information",<

    Genetic material is effectively information on the variable features of the form of life encoded in a highly efficient manner. Mutation is the result of damage to the material and is the loss of genetic information.

    <unquote>

    The genetic code represented in DNA defines the form of life (phenotype), including its "variable features". If the genome changes, then the expressed phenotypes changes also (generally speaking). The encoding is NOT done in a "highly efficient" manner, as several commentators have remarked. You have to define "efficient". (Human-designed codes require "redundant" bits of information in order to detect or correct errors. Does the inclusion of "redundant" bits render these codes "inefficient"?) There is now good evidence (see earlier postings) that the genomes of most species are inefficient, and include large quantities of "junk" which no longer have any discernible effect upon the phenotype.

    Mutation can be due to damage (e.g., by radiation), or to imperfect copying of DNA during cell division (since no copying process can be guaranteed to be totally error-free).

    Over millions of years, the DNA molecules in the cells of living organisms have accumulated information, rather than lost it, overall. They may have lost some information, but this has been replaced by a greater amount of different information.

    Although many mutations are fatal for the organism (the resulting phenotype), a few are either neutral or beneficial (i.e., they do not impair, or improve, the probability that the organism will survive long enough to transmit its genes to the next generation).

    <quote>

    >Note: "It has EVOLVED ..."<

    No, actually it hasn't evolved, it is "a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus".

    Just as people vary, so bacterium vary. Some people have genetic illnesses, some people have red hair, it is not evolution it is variation.

    <unquote>

    The existence of a "resistant variation" is the basis for the evolution of a resistant strain compared to the original non-resistant strain. This is the definition of "evolution". Variation between individual bacteria (in this case, being more resistant to, or less resistant to, being killed by methicillin) is acted upon by natural selection so as to favour the survival and reproduction of the more resistant individuals. In the presence of methicillin, the more resistant strain will more probably survive and produce offspring.

    The *population* evolves (not the individual bacteria), as its gene pool is shifted by natural selection to include more copies of a "successful" gene and fewer copies of the related "unsuccessful" gene.

    [BTW: The plural of "bacterium" is "bacteria". The plural may be used to denote many individuals of a single species or several different species.]

    <quote>

    >MRSA is a classic example of evolution happening right under our noses. Antibiotics became widely used from the 1940s on. MRSA evolved its resistance in the 1990s (and is not the first species of bacterium to have evolved resistance to at least some antibiotics).<

    Now I'm not sure about MRSA but I do know that bacteria resistant to modern antibiotics were found in the frozen corpses of members of an ill fated polar exploration. Selection occurs without Evolution occurring.

    <unquote>

    I would like to see the reference for the polar explorers.

    Your statement "Selection occurs without Evolution occurring." is the totally wrong conclusion to draw here. What has most likely occurred, is *mutation* without *selection*, and hence without *evolution*. Natural selection drives the direction of evolution, acting upon existing genetic variation within the evolving populations.

    The fact that bacteria mutated to be resistant to certain antibiotics before these were widely used as medicines, is not surprising.

    Consider that bacteria and fungi have evolved together for millennia competing for the same food sources. One trick evolved by certain strains of fungi was to excrete substances (eventually named "antibiotics") which were toxic to bacteria. In response, certain strains of bacteria evolved a resistance to these toxins. This is almost identical to the familiar evolutionary "arms race" between predators and prey.

    Long before Alexander Fleming noticed the blank patches in his culture dishes, and we began to splash antibiotics all over the environment, strains of bacteria that were resistant to any given fungal secretions must have arisen naturally.

    It is the ubiquitous presence of certain antibiotics in the environment (or at least, some environments) that drives the evolution of resistant strains: whole populations of individual bacteria, each one of which carries the genes to enable it to survive the toxins. This ubiquitous presence has only come about with mankind's intervention. We had a magic bullet and we shot ourselves in the foot with it!

    <quote>

    >Speciation arises from evolution<

    No, speciation is quite different from Evolution and occurs when variation arises from the selection of information already existing in the genome. It is noteworthy that domestic dogs are considered one species despite a range of variation that, had it occurred naturally, would have resulted in a number of 'species'. Evolution, on the other hand requires the generation of new genetic features that did not previously exist - limbs for example from a form without limbs. Evolution has never been observed.

    <unquote>

    To deal with your last point first: evolution has been observed wherever living species have been observed. It occurs everywhere and at all times. The fact that it is (usually) a slow process may conceal its occurrence from us, unless we know what to look for. In some cases, we can only infer what has occurred in the past from indirect evidence (e.g., the fossil record) after the changes have occurred. The evidence is still real, however.

    I have read "young Earth" creationists trying to argue that we cannot use radiometric dating based on long-lived isotopes, since we have not had time to measure their half-lives! These people cannot get their brains around the method by which a half-life of many thousands of years can be estimated by accurately measuring the decay of a sample over a few months.

    The fact that evolution occurs (usually) slowly, by imperceptible increments, poses a similar problem. In particular, the emergence of separate species takes a long time, as does the "generation of new genetic features that did not previously exist". Limbs, eyes, and brains have arisen that did not previously exist, but natural selection takes millennia to do it, acting upon tiny variations between individuals, that are the expression of minor differences between their genomes, resulting in turn from random mutations. (See "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin, to see how the anatomy of the human limb can be traced back to that of our watery ancestors.)

    Speciation is the name given to a wide divergence between genetically separated populations. When the difference between them is such that they can't easily interbreed, we say that we have two different species, but the label is a man-made designation. There are countless cases that fall into a grey area, where there is an argument over whether two sub-species are variants of a single species, or separate species?

    Appearances can be deceptive. Two species may look similar, but be unrelated. Sharks and dolphins have striking similarities of body shape, but one is a fish, the other a mammal. This can result from "convergent evolution". Conversely, some animals may appear totally different, but be close cousins. The hyrax (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrax) is an animal the size of a large rabbit, but is thought to be fairly closely related to the elephant.

    The classification system used by Linnaeus was based upon observable features. It is now being substantially revised in the light of modern genetics. (This knowledge was not available to Linnaeus or Darwin, but it is now totally accepted by scientists that genetic relatedness is the only sure basis of classification of species.)

    Domestic dogs are not *regarded* as the same species; by the criterion of genetic relatedness they ARE the same species. The differences in appearance show how rapidly artificial (as opposed to natural) selection can produce changes, but all breeds are descended from the grey wolf (or a common ancestor with the wolf that was around when mankind began to domesticate them). A Yorkshire terrier can interbreed with a great dane: the problem lies in the logistics, not in the genetics! This is one example of appearances being deceptive.

    Your statement that: "... speciation is quite different from Evolution and occurs when variation arises from the selection of information already existing in the genome." is completely false. You seem to be implying that different species have the same genome, which is nonsense. We know that different species have different genomes, and the greater the differences between the phenotypes, the more differences there are between the genomes.

  208. Andy Jones

    @Martin Yirrel

    er, evolution has been observed.

    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/lenski/pdf/2008,%20PNAS,%20Blount%20et%20al.pdf

  209. The Badger
    Flame

    Citations needed

    "Have you noticed, there is some similarity between chimps and men?"

    No, can't say that I have! Interestingly, this line of "reasoning" is a classic of the school of "Ignorant Design".

    "There are a number of differences that are conveniently not included in the calculations of human/chimp similarity, among them that human telomeres are about the length of those in chimps."

    Stick the end of the above sentence into Google and you get, amongst other things, an "Answers in Genesis" article and the paper they cite. Amusingly, neither of these agree with what the above sentence says. But what are we to deduce from the prophetic message of the Yirrell Bible on this? I anticipate a punchline from the school of "Ignorant Design".

  210. Martin Yirrell

    @Citations needed

    >Stick the end of the above sentence into Google and you get, amongst other things, an "Answers in Genesis" article and the paper they cite. Amusingly, neither of these agree with what the above sentence says.<

    It must be nice to be so totally cushioned in your beliefs - personally I need to know answers. As I've already posted, I mistyped - you can read my correction above.

    Martin

  211. Martin Yirrell

    @Andy Jones

    Andy

    They remained Escherichia coli. Although the authors use the word Evolution what they are writing about is variation not Evolution.

    Martin

  212. Martin Yirrell

    The chimp's extra chromosome (@@Junk DNA )

    Peter

    You don’t address my point, that in a ‘god of the gaps’ way scientists assumed that because they didn’t know what parts of the genome for they, based on their evolutionary preconceptions, assumed they were ‘junk’ left over from evolutionary history. It would have been more scientific to assign them to “we don’t know yet what they are for”. In the same way, the concept of vestigial organs was invented, resulting in around 100 organs being so described. All of these organ have now identified purpose.

    >The "God of the gaps" argument is silly and self-defeating.<

    So why use the “god of the gaps” argument? I certainly don’t.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if scientists actual used the scientific method as you describe it. I fact they don’t. Scientists come to their work, like anyone else, with preconceptions, they expect the world to work in so and so fashion. Scientists who believe in Evolution approach their work with that belief. If the experiment that they carry out does not give the result they expect they can do a number of things, reject the result, redefine the result in evolutionary terms, adjust the experiment so it gives the result expected. Any result that is published that cast doubt on Evolution is treated this way. Remember the discovery of haemoglobin in dinosaur bones? What a fuss! That is why, when Michael Reiss was misquoted, members of the Royal Society were up in arms against him.

    Your story about how the science relating to chimp and human genetic similarity is a nice fiction. Actually what probably happened is that the scientists sat down with the information and trawled through it until they came up with some evidence. Incidentally, I mistyped, humans have telomeres about half the length of chimpanzees and other apes. Strange that.

    Martin

  213. Mark
    Alien

    @Yirrel all missing the point

    Martin says that God done it and that's ALL THE PROOF YOU NEED!

    Martin, it's been proven in moths too. These insects could not interbreed.

    All you say is "That's not the evolution I'm talking about!!!".

    Well prove God done it.

    God doesn't exist.

    I stubbed my toe today.

    Proven.

  214. Mark
    Gates Horns

    @Yirrel all missing the point

    You say you need the proof.

    Well where is the proof for God. YOUR God, not the aztec one, or the hindu one or the CoS one. YOURS.

    You don't want the proof because you want to hug your misconceptions to your breast.

    Unfortunately, you'll never know you're wrong because when you die, there's no "you" left. Just like when you stop whisking an egg, there's no "soul of whisking" that moves on elsewhere.

    You are a sad and pathetic individual.

  215. Andy Jones

    @Martin Yirrell

    "They [the bacteria] have since evolved in a glucose-limited medium that also contains citrate, which E. coli cannot use as a carbon source under oxic conditions."

    So these E. coli do something that E. coli can't do. But they're still E. coli. But they're not. Have I divided by zero or something?

    All your argument is really saying is that the decidability of wether a particular organism is or isn't a member of a certain species gets less and less well defined the closer you get towards it's genotype, which I won't argue with. I know plenty of people who can't circle their tongue: it doesn't make them any less human.

  216. NT

    @ Martin Yirrell

    << No, actually [the Watchmaker Argument] isn't dead, despite (because of?) the efforts of Dawkins and his ilk. >>

    It's nothing to do with Dawkins or his ilk. Even without their involvement, the argument simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny, for the reasons I've pointed out and am happy to point out for you again: the Watchmaker Argument relies on an arbitrary double standard. Its proponents claim that God can exist without a cause, yet deny that anything else could exist without a cause, and they reason that, that being the case, God is the only possible 'prime cause' of everything. Since there is no logical basis for making this distinction save for one's beliefs, the Watchmaker Argument negates itself in logic and stands as a matter of faith alone.

    << No, God does not require a maker - because He has always been and always will be - He is outside of time. God is the source of all things and without beginning and therefore does not require a cause. >>

    Then if He does not require a cause, we have no reason to apply that requirement to anything else. Thus, the universe need not have had a cause and the Watchmaker Argument fails.

    << Could, were it not for the evidence that it is running down - evidence that it once had a begining and will have an end. >>

    That it has a beginning doesn't require that it has a creator, though. Nothing we know about the universe says that the whole thing isn't simply a transient phenomenon in some greater environment, like a bubble in a glass of fizzy pop. But time is, by definition, a function of our universe - at least time in the sense that we perceive it - just as space is. So whatever, if anything, exists outside our universe - or rather, whatever our universe exists within - needn't be bound by the strictures of time as we experience it. And even that's making the big assumption that we as conscious entities *do* actually experience time running from past to future, as we presume. If it wasn't doing that, how would we know anyway? We have little reason to believe that time is as straightforward a thing as we suppose it to be - even here, inside our observable universe.

    So it's difficult to make firm, objective statements about time, about space, or about the universe or what else might exist. We can make tentative scientific observations, and those can be very helpful to us - but questions will always remain. Those questions are enough to make it even more foolish to use the sort of reasoning the Watchmaker Argument depends on: the universe *is* this, therefore it *must be* that. There's no 'must' or 'is' about it. And certainly, there's no reason to suppose that the universe - or whatever else might be out there - doesn't simply exist, outside of time, just as you claim your God does. While the universe may have had a beginning, and may have an end, there's really little reason to say that it *must* have had a prime cause at all. Only our fondness for the notion of causality leads us to assume as much - and causality as a concept must, at some point, fail: at some point we face either an infinite regress or an uncaused effect.

    Of course, that's assuming we're arguing about God-as-independent-creator, rather than God-as-all-that-exists. In the latter case I wouldn't offer any argument - but the latter case wouldn't require the teaching of pseudo-Biblical creationism.

  217. Peter Mellor
    Flame

    Re: The chimp's extra chromosome (@@Junk DNA )

    Martin Yirrell posted on Monday 6th October 2008 17:58 GMT:

    <quote>

    You don’t address my point, that in a ‘god of the gaps’ way scientists assumed that because they didn’t know what parts of the genome for they, based on their evolutionary preconceptions, assumed they were ‘junk’ left over from evolutionary history. It would have been more scientific to assign them to “we don’t know yet what they are for”. In the same way, the concept of vestigial organs was invented, resulting in around 100 organs being so described. All of these organ have now identified purpose.

    <unquote>

    I think you will find that there are good reasons for thinking that significantly long DNA sequences in the genomes of most existing organisms whose genomes have been sequenced are, in fact, defunct, and have no effect on the phenotype (i.e., they can accurately be described as "junk"), but I do not have time to look up the details right now. I agree that several organs that were regarded as vestigial (i.e., no longer having any function in existing organisms) now appear to have some residual function (e.g., the human appendix) but I am not aware that this applies to *all* vestigial organs. (Do you have a reference?)

    I guess that you are trying to argue that God would never create anything that was pointless, therefore *all* DNA and vestigial organs must have some purpose. I could make out a more rational argument that junk DNA and vestigial organs are evidence of evolution as opposed to design. (If you want a few examples of bad design of the human body, I can supply a few, starting with: "Why are the toilets in the middle of the playground?")

    <quote>

    >The "God of the gaps" argument is silly and self-defeating.<

    So why use the “god of the gaps” argument? I certainly don’t.

    <unquote>

    So what argument *are* you using?

    You seem to be keen on rubbishing your opponents' arguments, but less happy to state clearly what you your own position is. I have often found that criticisms of science turn out to come from closet creationists who are unwilling to expose their own views in their entirety, and so incurring the risk of having them comprehensively demolished.

    <quote>

    Wouldn’t it be nice if scientists actual used the scientific method as you describe it. I fact they don’t. Scientists come to their work, like anyone else, with preconceptions, they expect the world to work in so and so fashion. Scientists who believe in Evolution approach their work with that belief. If the experiment that they carry out does not give the result they expect they can do a number of things, reject the result, redefine the result in evolutionary terms, adjust the experiment so it gives the result expected. Any result that is published that cast doubt on Evolution is treated this way.

    <unquote>

    The fact that scientists bring their prejudices to work is totally unsurprising. The scientific method requires that hypotheses be *falsifiable* by observation, and a hypothesis only gains wide acceptance after being tested and found to stand up. The process of devising the hypothesis is irrelevant: it could be a "hunch", inspired guesswork, reasoning by analogy, or prejudice.

    Your statement that scientists always reject any result that disagrees with their prejudices is rubbish (although I agree that a theory honed over an entire career is not one that they will discard lightly.

    At Cambridge in the 1960s, I (along with several hundred other maths undergrads) was lectured on the theory of special relativity by the late great Denis Sciama. (I did not know it then, and the name would have meant nothing to me if I had, but Sciama was supervising a PhD thesis at the time by a certain Stephen Hawking.) Sciama was a dedicated supporter of the "steady state" theory, of which he had been one of the main architects along with Hermann Bondi and Fred Hoyle. It was Hoyle who coined the name "big bang" as an insult to the rival theory which he thought was absurd: the name has stuck.

    The two theories could be tested: the "big bang" would leave a trace in the form of background radiation in the microwave region of the spectrum; the "steady state" theory predicted no such radiation. On the day after Penzias and Wilson published their crucial paper reporting their observation of the microwave background radiation, I went to a lecture by Sciama at the John Rae Society in St. John's College. Alerted by the new findings, he threw away the notes he had prepared and publicly retracted his support for the now untenable "steady state" theory. I read recently an article by another student of Sciama's from that time, who remembered him saying sorrowfully "But it was such a beautiful theory!"

    That was a real scientist at work.

    If you want to see real denial of observed facts and permanent self-delusion at work, have a look at the creationists!

    <quote>

    Remember the discovery of haemoglobin in dinosaur bones? What a fuss! That is why, when Michael Reiss was misquoted, members of the Royal Society were up in arms against him.

    Your story about how the science relating to chimp and human genetic similarity is a nice fiction. Actually what probably happened is that the scientists sat down with the information and trawled through it until they came up with some evidence. Incidentally, I mistyped, humans have telomeres about half the length of chimpanzees and other apes. Strange that.

    <unquote>

    The business about T. Rex's haemoglobin rang a bell, so I did a search, the most useful result of which was to tell me where you are "coming from".

    I found:

    Astonishing T. Rex soft tissue find seriously challenges evolution

    Andrew Sibley 29th March 2005

    http://www.refcm.org/RICDiscussions/Science-Scripture/XAges/Ostrich-osaurus.htm

    which was linked from:

    Science and Scripture

    Philip Stott

    http://www.refcm.org/RICDiscussions/Science-Scripture/INDEX.HTM

    Richard Milton

    Scientific Censorship and Evolution

    http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/freenrg/evolv.txt

    Evolution vs Creationism (arguments for young Earth):

    http://www.godtube.com/djnlyte812/blog/view/16428

    I guess from these that you are a "young Earth" creationist (6000 year-old Earth, Noah's flood was real, etc., etc.). If I have guessed wrongly, please feel free to state what your viewpoint really is.

    Note that the theory of evolution by natural selection is an interlocking set of fact factual observations backed up by sound physical and biological theory. When Sciama saw his pet cosmological theory overturned, he did not throw out the whole of general relativity and astronomy. He did not, for example, go back to the flat Earth view and decide that everything must have been created by God. Similarly, an isolated strange case such as T. Rex's haemoglobin is not enough to overthrow the whole of geology and palaeontology, unless the finding can be confirmed and found to be rock solid. We would first ask what was actually found (was there contamination of the sample; was it really a T. Rex thighbone; etc.?).

    The following is a rebuttal of Milton's viewpoint (see above):

    How can animals that appear similar have vastly different DNA?

    (Discussion between a creationist and an evolutionist re Richard Milton.)

    http://www.geocities.com/wendyschristianpage/stryderconvo02.html

    Please read it. It should put you right about chimps and people.

    Milton had argued that an article of his had been suppressed by the THES because of a conspiracy by the atheists. The respondent in the discussion immediately above pointed out glaring stupid mistakes in his paper and suggested that it was rejected because it was tripe.

    I also found:

    The Genius of Charles Darwin (Series of three documentaries by Richard Dawkins)

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/259716

    Thanks for the opportunity to find that. The full videos are still available for viewing. Excellent!

    The third video in the series:

    The Genius of Charles Darwin - God Strikes Back

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/259778

    ... is the one that is most relevant to the present debate.

    Please watch it. It shows Dawkins at his best, arguing politely with dickheads whom he would probably have cheerfully throttled. There is a real peach of an Aussie evangelistic nutcase called McKay who preaches that we only die because we sin; people in the Bible really did live to be 1000 years old; there was no record of rain falling before the Flood. (I kid you not!)

    I can respect the views of a religious person who believes in God as "essence" or "the ground of our being" (in Paul Tillich's phrase) and does not need to deny establish scientific facts, but I have less patience with idiots like McKay. Fundamentalists are fundamentally dishonest. They deny plain facts and claim that those who contradict their asinine views are in a sinister conspiracy to hide "the Truth". This last aspect is what makes them dangerous, rather than harmless eccentrics, and is why (to bring the discussion full circle back to Sarah Palin) why all rational people should fight for the voice of reason not to be suppressed.

  218. Peter Mellor
    Coat

    Two game wardens, seven hunters and a cow

    Well, Sarah Palin knows the safety rules for handling a gun while out hunting!

    NT posted Tuesday 7th October 2008 05:41 GMT @ Martin Yirrell:

    <quote>

    << No, actually [the Watchmaker Argument] isn't dead, despite (because of?) the efforts of Dawkins and his ilk. >>

    It's nothing to do with Dawkins or his ilk. Even without their involvement, the argument simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny, for the reasons I've pointed out and am happy to point out for you again: the Watchmaker Argument relies on an arbitrary double standard. Its proponents claim that God can exist without a cause, yet deny that anything else could exist without a cause, and they reason that, that being the case, God is the only possible 'prime cause' of everything. Since there is no logical basis for making this distinction save for one's beliefs, the Watchmaker Argument negates itself in logic and stands as a matter of faith alone.

    [Stuff from NT's message snipped.]

    Of course, that's assuming we're arguing about God-as-independent-creator, rather than God-as-all-that-exists. In the latter case I wouldn't offer any argument - but the latter case wouldn't require the teaching of pseudo-Biblical creationism.

    <unquote>

    Well said, NT!

    I'm always amazed that the superstitious fraternity try to blame us reasonable guys for driving them into irrationality.

    Karen Armstrong said recently in an interview that the Muslim fundamentalists would be quite relaxed about "western" science if Richard Dawkins hadn't annoyed them so much with his rabid atheism. The fact that, after the defeat of the Mutazilites in the 13th Century, under the influence of Abû Hâmid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111 CE), Muslim science progressed hardly at all for the next 7 centuries, despite the tremendous advances in the preceding 5 centuries, seems somehow to have escaped her notice. The problem with "Islamic science", or the lack thereof, is Islam; and the problem with Islam is the Qur'an. In fact, there is no such thing as "western science" and "Islamic science". There is science, and there is superstition. During the relatively brief period of relative tolerance during the early years of the Arab empire, the Arabs practised science, and did so brilliantly. Once the dead hand of Al-Ghazali and Quranic orthodoxy were imposed, the Arab renaissance was doomed.

    Science cannot progress where an ancient text is held to be inerrant and the sole source of "Truth" for all time. Sarah Palin, please note.

    NT is quite right to point out the difference between "God-as-independent-creator", and "God-as-all-that-exists". I happen to believe in neither, but (as I stated in my posting that crossed with NT's) the latter is at least intellectually respectable. (See, for example, the writings of John Polkinghorne, eminent physicist and Anglican vicar.) Unfortunately, the evangelical Christians (OK, not all of them) and the Muslims (and here it is all of them, not just the extremists) believe in a permanently interfering God, who can abrogate the laws of nature at will. (H2O to C2H5OH, son, plus enough congeners to make it a reasonable facsimile of Chateauneuf du Pape? No problem for Yahweh! Zap!)

    Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker" is one of the most brilliant explanations of neo-Darwinism for the non-specialist reader that I have read. Among other things, he dissects in detail the corpse of the "watchmaker" argument by William Paley (1743 - 1805). It is amazing that the ghost of this defunct theory can still be kept in the realm of the undead by people like Martin Yirrel and his chums.

    I make no apology for being an admirer of Dawkins. His understanding of his subject is unparalleled, and based on wide research in the field. (I mean, in the bush, not in his own subject area.) His abilities as a teacher and writer are second to none. In debate, he is rational, self-effacing, and honest (which is more than can be said for his creationist opponents). He is one of the leading thinkers on the subject of evolution (if not *the* leading thinker, following the sad death of his friend and colleague Steven Jay Gould).

    It pisses me off to read time and time again the ramblings of intellectual pygmies who, at best, half understand the subject, and try to make out that Dawkins is the same sort of ignorant bigot that they obviously are.

    I'm going to be away, so you kids will have to talk among yourselves for a while. I'll get back to you the week after next, but the thread will be closed by then.

    To bring the discussion back to the lovely Sarah finally:

    Q: Why can't a polar bear survive an encounter with Sarah Palin?

    A: Because the State of Alaska won't enforce the constitutional amendment that allows Americans to arm bears!

    Since this is a philosophical discussion, my coat's the one with the bottle of hemlock in the pocket!

  219. Peter Mellor
    Flame

    Dawkins did NOT accuse Jesus of "conjuring tricks"

    In either this thread, or the related one concerning the ban on Richard Dawkins' website in Turkey, someone wrote that, during the Channel 4 television programme "God Strikes Back" (the third in his trilogy "The Genius of Charles Darwin") he told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that Jesus' miracles were "conjuring tricks", citing this as an example of Dawkins' arrogance.

    I have just watched this programme again, and Dawkins says nothing of the kind. The Archbishop uses the phrase "conjuring tricks" while they are discussing the nature of miracles, but this is without prompting from Dawkins, who is listening politely and who maintains a courteous demeanour throughout the discussion.

    Don't believe me? Check out:

    The Genius of Charles Darwin - God Strikes Back

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/259778

    Once again, Dawkins' detractors hear and see what they want to hear and see, paying no regard to any evidence.

  220. Peter Mellor
    Alert

    Sarah Palin's family values

    A friend in Texas forwarded this to me. I haven't checked the facts, and take no responsibility for their accuracy.

    ----------------------------------

    Suppose you call yourself a Christian, and a politician new to you burst onto the scene. You do NOT know this politician's party affiliation. All you know is:

    -- The politician's 19-year-old son, bewilderingly named 'Track,' is a 'hard partyer' who according to at least one national newspaper has been addicted to OxyContin ('hillbilly heroin') for the last two years.Track also loves to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, and is an alleged drug dealer. In 2005, Track was one of four teenagers who vandalized 44 school buses; one of the participants alleges Track was the ringleader, whose role in the incident was covered up to save face for his mother. A judge gave Track the choice between jail and joining the Army. Today the politician is making political hay out of her son's 'patriotism.'

    -- The politician's daughter, bewilderingly named 'Bristol,' is another 'hard partyer.' She is pregnant out of wedlock, but before her child is born she will be married to a young man named Levi. Meanwhile, a young black man named Kevin is convinced he is the true father of Bristol's baby. Whether or not Kevin is right, it is clear that Bristol has had multiple sexual partners, out of wedlock. The politician boasts that Bristol's sex education was of the 'ignorance-only' variety, the only kind the politician approves of.

    -- The politician's black pastor engaged in domestic terrorism before emigrating to the United States, blaming crime in his native town on a 'witch' and convincing the local government to harass and terrorize the 'witch' until she finally had to leave town -- a 'victory' the pastor still boasts about. This 'Christian' pastor prayed over the politician in 2007, imploring God to save the politician from Democratic 'witches.'

    -- Until 2002, the politician's husband belonged to a political party that is working to have her state secede from the United States. The head of the political party, with whom the politician socialized, frequently made statements like 'God damn America.'

    -- The politician and her family are stonewalling an investigation into whether she illegally used her political office to attempt to have her former brother-in-law fired. During her sister's divorce proceedings,the politician was repeatedly admonished by the judge to cease making false and inflammatory statements about the character of her former brother-in-law.

    -- The politician is so adamantly against allowing women to control their own bodies that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. No one has asked the politician how many years in federal prison a 15-year-old who was raped by her father ought to serve for HER crime of removing a piece of tissue smaller than the head of a pin.

    -- The politician's net worth is more than $2-million. She portrays herself as a working-class 'hockey mom' and 'Joe Sixpack.'

    -- Evidence suggests that the politician has frequently used her political office to enrich friends (including providing jobs on slim to no qualifications) and punish enemies.

    -- Three members of the family of Brad Hanson, a former business partner of the politician's husband, have provided sworn affidavits that the politician had an extramarital affair with Mr. Hanson. One of the sworn affidavits was provided by a man who has passed a polygraph test of his allegation.

    I am honestly puzzled as to why self-identified Christians have embraced this politician as one of their own. Do they not notice the misogyny dressed up as 'conservative feminism'? Do they willfully not notice the drug-dealing vandal son, the promiscuous and pregnant-out-of-wedlock daughter, the secessionist husband, the extramarital lover, the black pastor who believes in witches? Or can a politician get away with ANYTHING so long as she is 'born again'?

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