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    Ben Stein Roused By Suppression In Science
    By Diana Deregnier | February 15th 2008 03:00 AM | 75 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    "Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead…This attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation." -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Best known as the lovable, deadpan economics teacher in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off," Ben Stein takes his role in the movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" very seriously but with perceptible passion. In the controversial documentary which opens this spring, the former presidential speechwriter, economist and self-described "scold" travels the world speaking with scientists, chemists and philosophers asking, "Were we designed or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?" Produced by Premise Media Corporation and marketed by Motive Entertainment, the movie "rejects the notion that 'the case [on how the universe began] is closed,' and exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy." "Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are…This attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation." The results of which were published in Discovery Institute – Center for Science and Culture: US Congressional Committee Report: Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian, December 15, 2006. "The debate over evolution is confusing and to some, bewildering." Darwinism does not take into account DNA, microbiology, The Big Bang, Einstein's Theory of Relativity or the human genome. "The theory of Intelligent Design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the 'apparent design' in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations." Heralding release of the movie, Stanford Review, the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness club and VOX Clara: A Journal of Christian thought at Stanford University sponsored the debate "Atheism vs. Theism and Scientific Evidence of Intelligent Design" on January 27, 2008. The event featured Christopher Hitchens, visiting professor of liberal studies, New School in New York, author, "God is not Great" vs. Jay W. Richards, research fellow and director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute, co-author, "The Privileged Planet." Ben Stein hosted the event with Michael Cromertie as moderator. Cromertie serves as Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington and co-editor "Piety and Politics" . The nearly full house at Dinklespiel Auditorium consisted of Stanford students and faculty and the larger community. Some wore t-shirts that read, "Stand up for Evolution" and "Atheists are friendly in Silicon Valley. Church Communication Network telecast the live event to churches around the country. Each debater was given 14 minutes for opening remarks. Hitchens began, "I can't imagine it'll take me 14 minutes to demolish intelligent design, as I refuse to call it." Christopher – don't call me Chris – Hitchens cited barbarism, misery, ignorance, slavery and early death as proof of an absent or undeserving God. "Who's design? What kind of design? What kind of caprice, what kind of incompetence, what kind of cruelty?" Hitchens asked. His argument was largely based on the premise that religion condones and colludes in atrocities and immorality, citing genital mutilation, suicide bombings and child molestation. "We all know that it's wrong to torture little children just for the fun of it," Richards said in his opening remarks, adding "a sneer is not an argument." Richards moved quickly into a case for a scientifically complex design only afforded planet earth and pointed to the universe's "beginning" as further evidence of intention. "Where does the evidence point in terms of two competing hypothesis, to an atheistic or theistic world view? Richards asked. For theists, "there is a personal being, a transcendent, eternal, personal being. This being is by definition goodness and love." Both speakers received numerous outbursts of applause, but Hitchens credibility suffered when he resorted to vulgarity and name-calling. Each presented an argument deserving merit, though rather than offering a final say on the question of atheism vs. theism, the debate roused contemplation and potential for discussion. After the debate, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ben Stein and "Expelled" producer Walt Ruloff: R&S: What did you think of the event? Stein: It went much more smoothly that I thought it would. Chris, Christopher Hitchens conducted himself in a very refined and dignified way. And, I thought the other guy {Jay Richards] was spectacularly good. I couldn't get over him. He was just overwhelming. I had not realized he was such a powerhouse. He was amazing and conducted himself magnificently. So I thought it went very, very well. R&S: A few days ago, I asked Barry Kibrick, interviewer of authors on the PBS show "Between the Lines" what he would ask the debaters. He said that his only question would be, "If you believe in the awe of creation does it really matter whether you're an atheist or a theist?" Stein: Gee, I don't really know how to answer that. I'll answer it in a fumbling way to say that something magnificent and awe-inspiring is going on every day that the sun rises on this planet. Something magnificent and awe-inspiring is going on every day that the universe exists. Something so huge and spectacular and complex that it inspires a sense of deep wonder and worshipfulness in me. That it's almost instinctive, so that I'm not sure that it needs to be argued about. What I kept thinking about [during the debate] is I don't think there needs to be an argument about it. I can just feel it. I don't need their argument. I feel it. R&S: Have you always felt this way? [I asked with envy.] Stein: Yes. [He answered quickly and indisputably.] R&S: Are you the originator of the idea for the movie? Where did that come from? Stein: No, that came from him [pointing to producer Walt Ruloff]. Ruloff: The original idea came from my background in technology. And, in technology, you're allowed and you're supposed to ask all questions. You're supposed to push the paradigm of thought. And, if you're restricted in being able to do that, well, we're not going to have an obsolescence rate with technology, which is basically every 6 months. And, so, when I started looking into the area of biotech in the area essentially of genomics, there was a whole series of questions that you weren't allowed to ask, or, more importantly, be able to openly talk about. And the key element of great science is if you have collaboration, scientific collaboration. So I was blown away by this censorship that was happening. R&S: How did you discover that? Ruloff: By interviewing and talking to many scientists about it. Being able to really put the current mechanism under the microscope which is the so-called random mutation combined with natural selection. The driving force is random mutation and there is a lot of evidence and a lot of work that people want to do in breaking this paradigm. This paradigm really based on our work needs to be broken because it's holding back science. And that is fundamental to finding out what is going on within the cell. And so that got me very passionate about it and I immediately got in touch with Ben. And, Ben and I started working together and started dreaming about this documentary. R&S: Did you know each other before hand? Stein: No, we met each other about 2 years ago. R&S: Was the idea of going around and interviewing scientists … Stein: That was Walt's idea. It was all Walt's … Ruloff: No, no. Stein: It was all Walter. It was. Laughter all around. R&S: What was your part in the movie? Stein: I'm the host and narrator. Ruloff: The star, and the genius and the brains. Stein: No, no, no, no, no. Walter's the genius. R&S: I don't know about all your books. Stein: You can look them up on Wikipedia… R&S: Oh, I know, and I will tell you that, as a parting gift to my last love, I gave him an anthology of your, "How to Ruin your Life; How to Ruin your Love Life, How to Ruin your Financial Life." Do you write about this issue [atheism vs. theism]? Stein: I wrote about it in "The American Spectator" and I expect to write about it more. [And I'd swear I saw a glint of excitement in the great poker-face.} R&S: Do you feel like you're on a mission now? Stein: I've been on a mission in terms of trying to get people to think more about the role of God in their lives for a while. I've been involved in the right to life movement for quite a long time. So, this is really an extension of that. It's about recognizing the role that God plays in our daily life. R&S: As my final question, what would you like to tell me that people should know? Stein: I think that people should know that there's an awful lot that Darwinism does not explain. It does not explain where the laws of physics and thermodynamics and motion and all the laws that keep the universe running come from. It does not explain how life began. Contrary to all the fudging going on onstage, science has never observed the evolution of one distinct species. And, people can say, 'oh the genome this, the genome that.' The genome of a human is not that distant from the genome of a frog. So, that fact, that they are of similar genomes doesn't prove that man evolved from frogs, just that they're similar. So, there's never been a singular species that I'm aware of that's been observed to evolve. So there's a lot that has not been answered yet by Darwinism. Christopher Hitchens, I'm sure, is being sincere when he says, 'It's considered ridiculous to even challenge it.' That's just nonsense. I turned off the recorder and thanked Ben Stein and Walt Ruloff for the interview. Ben Stein replied, "Thank you for reading my books." "You bet!" I hope I said.

    Comments

    adaptivecomplexity
    Darwinism does not take into account DNA, microbiology, The Big Bang, Einstein's Theory of Relativity or the human genome.

    Nor does it take into account the strange phenomenon of an actor deluding himself into thinking he's uncovered huge flaws in 150 years worth of work by people who have actually been trained in science and do it for a living.

    OK, I admit it, I don't use the Theory of Relativity or the Big Bang in my work, but my research involves, amazingly enough, evolution, DNA, microbiology, and genomics.

    Mike
    Diana deRegnier
    The actor is just the messenger, some scientists disagree with you. What's at stake is their right to disagree. Thanks for your input! Diana
    adaptivecomplexity
    The truth is that few scientists disagree with me on this, and really none who actually have any research expertise in evolutionary biology. There is absolutely no scientific controversy over whether evolution happened, nor is there any controversy that natural selection plays a significant (but not exclusive) role in evolution. It's a cultural controversy, 100%.

    The claim that 'Darwinism doesn't take into account DNA' is about as true as the claim that 'chemistry doesn't take into account atoms'. (BTW, I know that this is a quote you're reporting on; I'm not trying to attribute any particular statement to you.)

    Mike
    Unfortunately, you will find Dr. White is often less than tolerant of those who question his holy grail of "evolution."

    I wrote a piece on this just yesterday.

    This is a controversy (and contrary to Dr. White's pronouncements, there IS a controversy) which is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

    Many of the fundamentalists thump the Bible, while others like Dr. White thump, (well, I guess he may be still looking for something to thump) or perhaps pontificate would be a better word.

    Dr. White believes you must fit his qualifications of expertise in order to have anything at all meaningful to say on the subject. If you disagree, you just may be called a "quack" or a "crackpot."

    In fact, according to Dr. White, apparently even Dr. Wherner Von Braun (to name just one) was a crackpot. Of course, Dr. Von Braun was a rocket scientist and not an "evolutionary biologist" so I guess we must excuse his apparent ignorance of the scientific method of deduction.

    The great problem here of course is one of definitions. Most people who discuss the issue are in fact talking about a rather diverse selection of subjects which are then boiled down to "evolution" or "creationism." There is of course, no universally accepted definition of evolution, as there is none for creationism.

    Until the two sides can come to some agreement on just what it is they are in fact disagreeing about we will never be able to make much progress in at least achieving "peaceful coexistence" to borrow a term from the cold war.

    Unfortunately, the thrust of many of the creationists has taken the form of trying to pit creationism against scientific theory. Creationism is NOT science and any attempts to try and make it so are doomed to failure.

    The evolutionists on the other hand seem unwilling to admit that much of what they call "science" isn't science at all, or perhaps we might call it "bad science."

    The real controversy here, (to most) is the question of "origins." The rather unqualified crackpot, (according to Dr. White anyway) Dr. Von Braun commented:

    "Pronouncements by notable scientists and scientific organizations about "only 1 scientifically acceptable explanation" for events which are clearly outside the domain of science, like all origins are, can only destroy the curiosity of those who must carry on the future work of science."......Extrapolation backwards in time until there are no physical artifacts of certainty that can be examined requires sophisticated guessing....."

    In fact the National Academy of Sciences have themselves spelled out the groundrules for proper scientific inquiry: "In science," it said, "explanations are restricted to those that can be confirmed from the confirmable data – the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not part of science."

    The above statement by the NAS was introduced in a recent court case in Pa. dealing with this controversy and was used to rule out "intelligent design" as being scientific. It is worthy of note, that those same standards applied to Darwinian theory should most rightly yield the same result.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Hank
    Stein is an interesting guy. Evolution, of course, does have holes. I always use the example of a magnetic field because, in the physics industry, it is a huge hole. I can't accurately define it nor can anyone else.

    Yet our computer works and a $140 billion industry does just fine with incomplete science of a magnetic field. As goes biology.

    It's a logic puzzle. If you teach creation in a science class, you effectively have to introduce lots of other non-science topics. If you don't, you are 'suppressing' science.

    Pi=3. Teach the controversy!

    Diana deRegnier
    Exactly to both of you JF and Hank! Controversy with respect is exciting!
    Yes, I agree. There are no morons here on SB. Everyone can and has made a contribution to the open science theme. Let's hope we can maintain that philosophy.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    BTW Diana, you may want to read my article "We'll turn your Brown eyes Blue" here on SB

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Georg von Hippel
    You think the "controversy" whether Pi=3 should be discussed seriously ... ? Hint: Methinks Hank was joking.

    Well, George, that kinda went over my head. But then again, I'm only 6 ft. tall..... ;-)

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    adaptivecomplexity
    It's easy to get excited about any controversy in the absence of facts about the field.

    Mike
    I couldn't agree with you more Dr.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Hank
    Georg von Hippel wrote:
    You think the "controversy" whether Pi=3 should be discussed seriously ... ? Hint: Methinks Hank was joking.

    I sure was. As Georg recalls, we did have a columnist write an article claiming he had come up with a new value for Pi.

    We've also had wormholes and perpetual motion. It's fun, much like Green Lantern(*) comics are fun, but not really science.

    (*) In one I recall, a yellow sun was blazing toward a planet. Since his magic ring did not work against yellow, it was quite a pickle. So he made a green net and a green paddle and batted the planet's moon into the oncoming sun, knocking it off course. Even at 8 I knew I didn't need a physics degree to know that was impossible.

    On a few occasions I have had that same feeling about articles here.

    Good, now if you can get your sites' article distribution process up to speed we can all be enlightened by more from the Green Lantern..... ;-)

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    And, as if by magic, my boy Hank hits a home run!

    Good work son. I take back all of the bad things Dr. White said about you.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Hank
    And, as if by magic, my boy Hank hits a home run!

    Good work son. I take back all of the bad things Dr. White said about you.

    He did WHAT??? That's okay, I swapped out his avatar with a picture of Michael Behe. Good luck getting tenure now, Mike!!

    adaptivecomplexity
    That's OK - I'll probably get paid a hell of a lot more posing as Michael Behe on lecture tours!

    Mike
    badkungfu
    And, people can say, 'oh the genome this, the genome that.' The genome of a human is not that distant from the genome of a frog. So, that fact, that they are of similar genomes doesn't prove that man evolved from frogs, just that they're similar.
    Sorry, this is misleading at best. No one protests the DNA evidence when we sentence someone to die for murder. But when it offers equally damning evidence for evolution it's just science babble with big words and abstract similarities? We're not talking vague similarities here, so the author is either ignorant of the facts or intentionally misleading her audience. Please google 'endogenous retrovirus'. Among other things, the evidence consists of shared scars from past viral infections that are oh-so-improbably lodged in the same place in both chimps and humans. Aside from evolution, please explain how this came to be. Divine trickery? Anyone is free to question and try to prove otherwise, but they should not misrepresent the evidence to prove that "real science" is being squelched. This has become a trademark of those with an anti-science bent- pretend victimization with no evidence to back it up.
    Diana deRegnier
    I don't claim to be a genomics scientist so it would be foolish for me to try to debate the subject. I have spoken to scientists and Ben Stein has interviewed scientists who just want an opportunity to raise questions and not conclude from the evidence available so far that all has been answered. Again, neither side can prove their position that there is or is not another power, force or superior knowledge. I certainly hope there is a knowledge better than man!
    badkungfu
    Again, neither side can prove their position that there is or is not another power, force or superior knowledge.
    Certainly not, but this is not the debate. Whether evolution is true or not has no bearing on whether a "force" exists. Such a force is apparently not open to scientific investigation. We can't measure gods, which is why unknowable forces are not considered science. Science does not address the existence of God and never will. It does not attempt to. In order for ID or creationism to be considered science there must be predictions made and observed, and- very importantly- there must be a way to theoretically show something is not designed. If scientific theories could be based on things appearing to be designed, then we might also say we live in a geocentric universe because the Sun appears to revolve around the Earth. The key difference is that geocentric theory can, and has been, falsified. Evolutionary theory could be falsified as well, but not simply by saying "there are some thing we don't completely understand". TalkOrigins.org offers hundreds of examples of proof for "macro" evolution and each point has a potential falsification- a way that one might show it untrue. Ben Stein and the Discovery Institute could start with any of those items if they truly wished to add to our scientific knowledge. To date, there are no predictions based on ID and no potential falsifications, Q.E.D it is not science. It may be called philosophy if you like, but it has no place in scientific inquiry or science classrooms.
    Diana deRegnier
    PS: Dr. Mani Bhaumik, co-inventor of the technology for Lasik surgery, has said that Nobel Prizes have been awarded for scientific answers that "prove" there is a superior intelligence. See his book, "Code Name God" or read my article "Healing the Cosmic Wound," then argue with him if you care to.
    badkungfu
    scientific answers that "prove" there is a superior intelligence
    Supreme beings are not measurable and cannot be "proven" by any science. They cannot be disproven either.
    argue with him if you care to
    Appealing to the authority or intelligence of Dr. Mani Bhaumik- or any other smart person- does not make a case for ID. Only evidence will do that.
    adaptivecomplexity
    There is absolutely no scientific controversy of the kind that Ben Stein and the intelligent design people are claiming. Maybe, if some day these ID people start doing some real scientific research, instead of just writing popular books and giving non-technical lectures, there will be a controversy. The fact is, they don't.

    Stephen Meyer's paper, pushed through by the creationist Richard Sternberg (discussed in Stein's movie), was not a scientific research paper, either in terms of theory or experiment. He presented no new results, just a poorly argued rehash of his philosophical arguments (which is to be expected - he's not a scientist, he's philosopher, and does no scientific research).

    There has been one, only one, serious attempt by an ID person to publish a real science paper that might in some way relate to ID. Michael Behe at least gave it a try - he submitted a paper, which was accepted, to a mainstream (but not very selective) journal. The paper was a flawed attempt to go over established ground that Behe has not bothered to study (population genetics), and was rebutted by a population geneticist in a later issue of the same journal. Nevertheless, submitting this paper was a step in the right direction. If ID people were serious about science instead of their public image, than they would do more of this.

    There are real controversies in evolution, and they are not kept secret from the public - they are published openly in science journals, many of which are open access (free to anyone), and there are popular, non-technical books that deal with real controversies.

    But, again, intelligent design is not one of those controversies. Its advocates write mass market books, make movies, go on lecture tours, but do no science. They get lists of scientists who are not biologists, or fundamentalist Christian biologists, to sign statements doubting evolution, but they publish absolutely no research. Even the young earth creationists are better than the ID guys - at least they try to publish some sort of research in their own journals.

    And here's a news flash: if you do no science, you don't get tenure! There is no conspiracy to deny ID advocates standing in the scientific community; they deny it to themselves by refusing to do any research to support their spectacular claims that one of our most well-established scientific fields is wrong.

    So let's cut the crap about conspiracies and controversies. It's 100% cultural, dug up by people with an axe to grind (go read the Intelligent Design's 'Wedge Document' if you want to know what axe the ID people have to grind.)

    Mike
    Dr. White again seems to be less than accommodating in discussing this subject.

    The essential problem with this whole debate is that neither side quite understands the other. Most creationists simply do not understand "evolution" and most evolutionary biologists look at the debate from yet another point of view.

    The fact is when most laypeople speak about evolution, they are not speaking about the kind of evolution envisaged and studied by scientists in the field.

    One of the best definitions of evolution I've seen is this:

    "Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations." This of course is what most professionals might subscribe to.

    Conversely, if we visit the Chambers dictionary we see this:

    "evolution: ...the doctrine according to which higher forms of life have gradually arisen out of lower.." obviously, not the same thing, and essentially wrong.

    As to the education part of this whole debate, outside of science it is poorly lacking. The fact is the average person really doesn't understand what he's talking about, although the major fault for that lies with science itself, more than the populace at large.

    The following quote by Laurence Moran might provide some insight:

    "Scientists such as myself must share the blame for the lack of public understanding of science. We need to work harder to convey the correct information. Sometimes we don't succeed very well but that does not mean that we are dishonest. On the other hand, the general public, and creationists in particular, need to also work a little harder in order to understand science.."

    So the debate of course would be, and most often is fruitless, because neither side is talking about the same thing.

    Most laypeople are concerned with "abiogenesis" whether they understand what it means, or even perhaps have ever heard the word. Fundamentalists, in their vein effort to counter something which they essentially don't understand, try and place ID or creationism next to scientific theory. Creationism is of course NOT science.

    Evolution does NOT answer the question of "origins" and while the creationists believe they have the answer, it simply isn't provable scientifically.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    This may also prove interesting, if not disturbing:

    Secularists Push for God in the Classroom

    As schools and museums celebrate the 199th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday today, a new push is being made to inject religion into the nation’s science classrooms - by secularists.

    After years of accusing Darwin’s critics of trying to insert religion into biology classes on the sly, leading defenders of evolution are now campaigning to incorporate religion explicitly into classroom lessons on evolution, according to the Discovery Institute.

    According to the Discovery Institute, Eugenie Scott, head of the pro-evolution National Center for Science Education, recommends having biology students read statements endorsing evolution by theologians. She further suggests assigning the students to interview ministers about their views on evolution— but not if the community is “conservative Christian,” because then the intended lesson that “Evolution is OK!” might be undermined.

    Last fall, in conjunction with a highly-touted “docudrama” attacking intelligent design, PBS distributed a briefing packet to educators across the country that made a point of including statements endorsing evolution by Jewish and Christian groups.

    An educational website called “Understanding Evolution,” meanwhile, encourages teachers to debunk the “misconception” among students that evolution is incompatible with religion. Funded by more than a half-million in tax dollars from the National Science Foundation, the website directs teachers to dozens of statements endorsing evolution by religious groups, including a declaration that “modern evolutionary theory… is in no way at odds with our belief in a Creator God, or in the revelation and presence of that God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

    So the question is if schools so desperately want God out of the classroom why are they bringing Him back to prove science? While there are good secular reasons for teaching students about the science of evolution, taxpayers might wonder what business it is of the government to persuade their children that evolution comports with “the revelation and presence of… God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

    Now just imagine for one second the outcry that would ensue if the critics of Darwin’s theory proposed using religion to denounce evolution in biology classes? How long would it take before the ACLU lawyers stormed the hallways, lectured in the cafeteria, subpoenad janitors, teachers, principals, students, substitutes and bus drivers?

    Posted by matthew archbold at 12:01 AM

    Labels: christianity, evolution, God

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Harry Dale Huffman

    For those who continue to demand predictions based upon the claim of design:  This is so much easier than you think.  I predict that a dispassionate consideration of the landmasses of the Earth will show clear evidence of design; three times in recent years I submitted letters to Science magazine claiming to have found such design (and was ignored, because men like "adaptivecomplexity" could not be bothered to look beyond their own interests and confront the objective evidence), and I have in my research linked the design overwhelmingly and along many independent lines of study to the precise and detailed ancient testimonies of mankind worldwide.  The truth is that the reality of world design does not depend upon arguments over First Cause, and the vain insistence upon framing the "debate" in such terms shows that both sides in the debate are mired in dogma, not science.  I have tried submitting articles to scientific, and alternative, publications, but no one wants to relinquish any part of their dogmatic beliefs to confront the evidence I have put forward scientifically--I do not now believe any defender of undirected evolution is even competent to judge the evidence for design of life that previous researchers and truth-seekers have put forward; they have so twisted probability arguments for so long, in order to defend undirected evolution, that they no longer know how to frame and evaluate probabilities (for "coevolution", for example) objectively.  Nor does the finding of design mitigate the need to understand why so much evidence indicates evolution; in that context, the answer must lie in the real history of life on Earth, as opposed to its supposed undirected evolution. 

    Here is a fundamental test:  The Earth's landmasses exhibit many creature-like shapes, many of which are incomplete or otherwise ambiguous but many strikingly clear.  Conservatively, one can make the case (easily and quantitatively, as I have done) that the probability that any one of these shapes is a deliberate one is only 50%--except that such shapes characterize the landmasses of the Earth, and finally and beyond all doubt, they are (with one or two exceptions) uniformly upright on the Earth, with north defined as "up".  If they were formed by chance--by undirected physical processes--they should be oriented randomly.  Amazingly, spectacularly, extraordinarily, they are not oriented randomly at all.  Even the one or two exceptions are commemorated by precise descriptions in ancient myths, showing that an ancient worldwide power knew them in precise and intimate detail, and used them in a coherent world design (they are not the sum total of the design, they are but the most obvious, world-encompassing clue to the design, which involves the multiple mapping of the celestial sphere onto the Earth sphere, the objective source of the ancient religious sayings "as above, so below" and "on earth as it is in heaven")--again, the evidence for this comes from many independent lines of study, and is overwhelming.  As a scientist, I assure you, there is no doubt of the design--but it takes study, to go over those many independent lines of approach and find interlocking support in each one, for all of them--for the design, the source of all the ancient mysteries.

    Someone other than a First Cause re-formed the Earth, and the entire solar system, approximately between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago according to the design and to ancient testimonies, all of which commemorate it in precise details.  Earth scientists like to say that continental drift was conceived because of observations that the landmasses of the Earth looked like they once fitted togeher, but for a century they have utterly failed to notice the real, overwhelming characteristic of those landmasses, that they exhibit creature-like shapes.  That is why views of the Earth globe are so magnetically appealing, and so universally used today.

    Until science confronts this and all the other evidence I have uncovered, that proves that amazing claim I made above--that not only the surface of the Earth, but the entire solar system, was relatively recently re-formed--it will remain stuck in vain replay of medieval arguments over First Cause.  Design will not go away, because it is real, and science must learn it.  I have no resources to force science to do its duty by the overwhelming evidence for design.  I challenge all the world to get off its dogmatic backside and dispassionately study the overwhelming evidence for a real, definitive design.  Shame on everyone.

    [Fontsize administratively normalized to rest of comments]
    Georg von Hippel
    Sigh... Another claim of a "controversy" about evolution. The only controversy about evolution is political and pretty much limited to the US; there is nor debate about the validity of evolution as such within scientific circles. Some details are being discussed and revised all the time, as is normal in science. Darwin's groundbreaking idea of adaptation by mutation and selective reproduction remains one of the cornerstones of scientific thought, just as do Einstein's theories of relativity or Quantum Mechanics (and any claims that these physical theories somehow contradict the biological theory of evolution are either severely mistaken or outright disingenuous).

    Evolutionary ideas have made their way into computer science and physics, and have led to important breakthroughs in these areas. An example of evolution in action in an area totally unrelated to biology can be seen here.

    adaptivecomplexity
    After watching the trailer for the movie, I've got to make one more general comment:

    There is this popular belief that scientists who study evolution do so because they are pushing an ideological agenda, especially an atheist one. This false claim is refuted by the fact that people from nearly all faiths and backgrounds work on evolution.

    Places like Baylor, Brigham Young, Notre Dame, and Wheaton all have devout faculty who teach, accept, and study mainstream evolutionary biology.

    In my grad school program, we had about 75 grad students. 5 were devout Mormons, 3-4 were conservative, evangelical Christians, quite a few were believing Catholics, some were Buddhist or Hindu. At least one faculty member was a believing Jew. The same diversity exists in my current department - evangelical Christians, mainline Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Sikhs, Hindus, and yes, atheists; all of them accept the evidence for evolution, and reject anti-evolutionary movements like intelligent design.

    The remarkable thing about science is that is has the capacity to produce evidence persuasive to just about anyone who is mentally open to the scientific method, no matter what their cultural or intellectual background. In fact, evolutionary biology is accepted by a much broader group than the group that accepts intelligent design, which is primarily confined to a narrow religious constituency - that in itself tells you that intelligent design is not a scientific movement.

    Mike
    Geez, I didn't think you had it in you. Well said, and well written.

    What is needed are more specifics whenever this subject (evolution/creationism) is discussed. Not an easy task, however.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Diana deRegnier
    I agree adaptivecomplexity, well said! I am much more dubious of science and I don't care if I'm the only one on the planet (or in space) who is, it isn't about numbers. I have a mind and make observations. One thing I've noticed is that science says one thing one day, decade, year or even century and changes the next. Besides conclusions are often drawn that the evidence DOES NOT necessarily PROVE but is based on presumptive implications. The best example I've seen is a ditty that circulates on the internet about the diet of people in different countries and heart attacks. The conclusion leads the "researcher" to decide to drink lots of wine.
    Well, I'm not too sure about the rest of it. But the idea that you should drink lots of wine is certainly meritorious in the extreme!..... ;-)

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Diana deRegnier
    I do my best, especially with bubbles in the wine -- or the real stuff from France when available.
    badkungfu
    Diana,
    One thing I've noticed is that science says one thing one day, decade, year or even century and changes the next.
    Do you send your children to school? Are you disappointed that they don't know everything after the 1st grade? We learn through scientific inquiry. That's a great thing. No scientist should- or generally does- claim that science reveals everything. Through science, we only try to be continually less wrong. I understand your mindset, I think, as I was raised believing similarly. You believe that because religion claims to know it all, then anything that appears to contradict it must make the same claim. You see science as a threat because of this, but that does not have to be the case. It will mean, though, that religion must accept new things and adapt to fit the facts as they come to light. Should you ever find yourself sick and in a hospital, I implore you to restrain your dubiousness of science and accept the very best treatment available and not settle for the best treatments of the last decade, year, or even century. Don't doubt too much the regular decay of radioisotopes that both provide your doctors with better scans of your internal organs and also help geologists date the earth. Don't doubt too much the strategy of combinational therapy designed to combat infectious agents that are constantly evolving resistance to drugs. Learning and discovering new things is good, so please don't demonize science on those grounds.
    Diana deRegnier
    Oh boy, are you missing the mark. Don't presume to know someone until you do and then expect surprises everyday. It is not a judgement that science changes, of course it should. The point is don't presume to know all answers; leave room for growth and enlightenment. The comment about religion is way off. I don't think religion knows as much as science does -- maybe. I am anti-religion when proponents judge others or presume to know all the answers. I am a spiritual explorer. If there is a God and s/he/it has something to do with creation I would like to know the role. I haven't decided that there is, or that s/he/it had anything to do with it. Both science and religion should keep doors open -- that's my point. I haven't demonized science at all. I demonize only closed and judgemental minds.
    I would welcome some feedback here from those who would wish to provide it.

    I kind of conjured this up in response to someone on another site.

    Essentially, I thought it may be an aid in dealing with the very real problem of just how to teach "evolution" in the classroom.

    Any objections here from anyone if this was inserted into textbooks on the subject?

    "The theory of evolution as ascribed to by science has many aspects, many of those will be detailed in this text. Evolutionary theory is scientific when properly investigated and presented according to appropriate scientific protocol. As with all science, some may attempt to introduce aspects of "theory" which are unsupported by the available evidence. These introductions might best be termed "pseudoscience" and are no part of legitimate scientific inquiry.

    Creationism, or ID is not science. These ideas are faith based systems, and as such cannot be considered on par with scientific theory.

    Evolution provides no answer to the question of "origins." Proponents of Creationism, or ID believe they possess these answers. However, any conclusions reached by these ideas re: "origins" are not scientifically supportable. Because these ideas are not scientifically supportable does not necessarily mean they are without merit, only that they are outside the domain of science."


    And I am going to copyright this: 2008, J.E. Fiorentino

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    Harry Dale Huffman

    It is a statement rooted in the past, and does not apply to all the scientific evidence of a re-design of the world that I have uncovered.  It might as well have been written in the nineteenth century.  Sorry, but Mr. von Hippel's and others' easy dismissal of any and all "controversies" is incompetent; to him I would say, quite apart from my work, that observed patterns of "adaptation" (specifically, those patterns labelled "co-evolution") do not support undirected, or Darwinian, evolution, but individual designs--"set pieces", as of the orchids, indeed of all the flowering plants.  What these scientists call evolution will eventually be understood as a progressive history of design.  Those who are so enchanted by the idea of "evolution" enlightening computer science and other fields really need to reimpose scientific discipline upon their thinking, and realize they are talking about "learning" and progressive designs, not undirected evolution.  Any scientist who mentions learning or the self-correction of science in the context of the debate over design of the natural world is advised to see to the beam in his own eye, rather than complain about the mote in another's.  My message is of new scientific evidence, indicating a real history of design, and that message preempts everything else said in the "debates".

    Diana deRegnier
    Bless you Harry Dale Huffman! What a beautiful, scientifically sound, and brilliant statement. Thanks for joining the fray. Diana
    Georg von Hippel
    Nobody who knows anything at all about evolution claims that it is random. Mutations occur randomly, but natural selection is not random at all, and in fact explains coevolution (such as between flowers and their pollinating insects) quite well -- even though my personal expertise is in particle physics, not evolutionary biology, I know that much (in fact, if evolutionary processes were random, they'd be a pretty poor template to model computational optimisation algorithms on). I'm sure my colleagues from the biological side will be able to explain the how and what of the biological facts in greater detail if needed.

    Diana deRegnier
    That may be true. I imagine that as science history has pointed out, much we could not explain does have an explanation which we just haven't yet discovered. Another example I wonder about is why some stem cells take while others don't and why some eggs are incomplete. I may not be remembering this quite right but thus far there is no known explanation. That is why some eggs are not used, and why so many stem cells are implanted in a woman's womb when only one is desired. And that's another topic, except that it is in the area of randomness. And, then there are those who say "we" evolved because of ID -- not that random particles were just floating around and happened to connect. Did the "universe know we were coming" in order for everything to come together so perfectly?
    Hank
    Did the "universe know we were coming" in order for everything to come together so perfectly?

    That's philosophy again. We have a philosophy section, of course, though most would contend it isn't science at all. It gives us an elegant way to include the big questions that can't be answered definitively in science. And we can put articles there that are interesting but make hard science PhDs reach for a pistol.

    I am pretty middle of the road on the evolution-religion debate, mostly because I have no problem with whatever origin people want to believe in. It isn't science, though, and I would object to it being taught as such in the same way I would object to "42" (*) being taught as science. It can't be answer if you don't know the question.

    (*) Since we are all smashingly well-versed in many areas I know the Doug Adams reference is not lost on anyone.

    adaptivecomplexity
    I am pretty middle of the road on the evolution-religion debate, mostly because I have no problem with whatever origin people want to believe in.

    I agree, and furthermore, I think our public school science classes shouldn't go out of their way to knock people's religious beliefs. It's not the tension between religion and science that frustrates me in this whole debate - it's the attempt to dress religion up as science, and pretend it's a competing scientific theory. That approach screws both science and religion.

    In school science classes, we should teach good, well-established science, and spend time only on real science controversies (and there are plenty of those). If students have beliefs about creation that differ from the scientific account, they're welcome to them, and teachers shouldn't go out of their way to attack those beliefs. But these students should know what is good science and what isn't.

    Mike
    adaptivecomplexity
    And Douglas Adams should be required reading in every science class.

    Mike
    Diana deRegnier
    Good! Now that that's settled I'm going out for Oreos and sunshine before the next storm hits -- here or outside. ;-)
    Diana deRegnier
    John, I know Dr. Mani Bhaumik would object. He insists scientists have received Noble prizes for proving "One Source -- code name God." Bhaumik says: "The universe is one and everything is tied together, and, in fact, if some things were just a little bit off, we wouldn't be here. Among others, Paul Davies, author of "The Cosmic Jackpot" wanted to know why is it that everything is so perfectly right for the human being to emerge. Like Einstein said, 'The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.' Why is it that we are so lucky that our brains are wired to understand, at the basic level, what laws the universe followed and how it is now working?" "This is the same question asked by many scientists. Is it that our consciousness is not an accident but a part of a connectivity to the scheme of the whole universe? Freeman Dyson said, 'The universe in some sense must have known that we were coming.' Because, in the beginning, the conditions were perfect so that eventually an intelligent being like us could evolve." Dr. Bhaumik says the verification of the one source – code name God – is well documented and accepted in science. Since the 60s, physicists have proved that forces come from a single source. Noble prizes have been given for the discovery. "In the past we went on blind faith, but, now, as Einstein thought, that if everything is made of energy, why does nature need so many different forces: gravity, electro-magnetism, and weak forces to make its magic? He spent the last 30 years of his life thinking nature must have had a simple beginning. And, in fact, science now knows everything comes from a tiny negative space." I wish Dr. Bhaumik would join the discussion but he didn't offer a question for Ben Stein so I think this would not be of interest to him either. Is there anyone who knows who he is referring to who has won a Noble prize and what they say. My mind really is open and curious. Even if that question is answered to satisfaction, Who began the beginning? Who began God? Respectfully, Diana
    Diana deRegnier
    I will put the questions to Michael Dowd also when I interview him in the next few weeks. I wrote about him in 2006 in the article,"Jesus Loves Darwin" taken from a talk he gives "Jesus Loves Darwin and You should too!" and the graffiti on the van he and wife Connie Barlow travel the country in to speak on the subject. Michael says, Rather than a 2,000 year old story of the past, Michael believes that God’s revelations are happening all the time as proved by scientific changes in the universe, and that, he claims, is the sacred story of evolution. Michael and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, Michael, 47, and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, 53, now travel the country in a van sharing what they call “The Great Story: The 14 billion year epic of cosmos, life and humanity told as a sacred story glorifying all!” Michael tells of one visit to an alternative high school where he wondered if anyone would experience the “Aha!” moment. Finally, the biggest, meanest looking, shaggy-haired leader said, “I get it, I’m stardust evolved to the place where the stardust can now think about itself. What a mindbender, dude!” Diana
    With all due respect Diana, all of that is Philosophy, not science.

    I'm trying to tackle a specific problem here.

    Philosophy should be taught in a class on Philosophy. Personally, I love the subject, but it won't help us with this problem.

    John FiorentinoFiorentino Research

    darkharmony
    I agree with john PHILOSOPHY IS NOT SCIENCE. In this whole contreversy people tend to forget that science explains the physical aspects of our universe and understanding physical phenomena with supportive evidence and theories. This thing about God and consciousness, I mean I study those in Philosophy and religion classes, its one thing to find holes in Evolution and Big Bang theory on a SCIENTIFIC basis...and its another thing to be using God and creationism in the same sentence as science.
    Diana deRegnier
    Consciousness is a field of science studied around the world. Our thoughts and emotions affect our physiological processes. There is a category on this site for philosophy. I have read numerous articles on this site having to do with behavior, society, culture, philosophical issues. This is scientificblogging.com. Bhaumik refers to, "a convergence between the most fundamental levels of physical reality and consciousness. Science now shows us that our consciousness plays an active role in determining our actions and brings out specific manifestations of nature."
    Diana deRegnier
    Okay guys, I just got this question in an email: If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?
    iramjohn
    The simple answer to that question comes when you re-phrase it: if I descend from Germans, why are there still Germans? My mother is German. My maternal cousins are German. Their children are German. I am not German - I can't ever enter the country without applying for a visa. At one point, there was a population of "apes" that gave split into two populations. One went on to evolve into the gorillas. Another population evolved into humans and chimps (by any meaningful measure, humans and chimps should all be in the same genus). Each of those populations evolved in different directions, and at some point they no longer recognised each other as individuals that they would choose to mate with. So you had two species where before there was one. What sort of a misunderstanding of biology does it take to ask a question like that? Do these people assume that, if evolution were true there would only be one species? It's mind-boggling.
    adaptivecomplexity
    Humans and modern-day apes shared a common ancestor. We didn't evolve from any currently living species of ape, although that's a common misconception among the public.

    Mike
    Diana deRegnier
    So why didn't they evolve? It's a half-serious question. Sorry, I don't take anything completely seriously. And I know that scientists tend to, though my Stem Cell Professor friend has a head in his office with a clown wig and nose, under which is a replica of the brain. His students adore him and LEARN well. One of my goals in life is to get everyone to "Lighten up!"
    adaptivecomplexity
    The scientists I work with all have a great sense of humor. We just get cranky when dealing with the same baseless creationist accusations over and over again - very little has changed since Henry Morris led the charge with 'scientific creationism' back in the 60's.

    And I do take one thing seriously - that my kids might be taught religiously-inspired pseudoscience in school at the expense of real, well-established science.

    We get tired of the same old misinformed questions about evolution, generally not asked in a spirit of wanting to know what the science is, but more in a 'gotcha' spirit - as in, 'any Joe off the street can see that what you smart-assed PhDs have wasted years studying is just full of logical holes.' It usually doesn't occur to such people that maybe, just maybe, their confusion is based on the fact that they have never spent any time learning about the field, and not that they have suddenly figured out an error that 150 years of professional scientists have missed.

    So, instead of indulging in my great sense of humor and saying, in answer to the apes question, JFGI, I'll elaborate:

    Apes have evolved. The common ancestor we share with chimps, gorillas, and orangutans, was not a chimp, gorilla or orangutan. It was probably something along the lines of Oreopithecus. (And you can't beat that name for humor!)

    Mike
    Diana deRegnier
    Okay, which came first the cookie or the ape?
    Hank
    Okay, which came first the cookie or the ape?

    Oh, now you've done it. Global warming, stem cells, evolution ... everyone here can stay polite on those. Cookies will lead to open warfare.

    adaptivecomplexity
    Wikipedia says that the oreo was invented by William Turnier in 1952.

    I think the real answer is that the cookie was there long before the ape; it just doesn't fossilize well.

    Mike
    Hank
    To fossilize, they would need to be uneaten.

    Not in my house!

    We have shirts and coffee mugs. Maybe we should have logo-emblazoned cookies made next time.

    Diana deRegnier
    Maybe we should ask the Oreo Cookie company what they think. Did Oreo's evolve from stardust? Will they further evolve into a cake? Their getting close with chocolate-covered Oreos.
    Diana deRegnier
    I once told my last love that I thought we had had previous lives together. He replied, "If there were such a thing as reincarnation, don't you think I'd be further evolved by now?" He had a point!!!
    iramjohn
    Ummm...individuals don't evolve, populations evolve. Gene frequencies don't change in individuals.
    Diana deRegnier
    How does one get a mug and shirt?
    Hank
    I did them as a thank you for writers at the beginning of the year (well, writers who said they wanted them) so you can wait a little while until I order more or, if you simply must have loot now (in my profile pic, I am holding the mug and in the picture below Mike White is wearing a shirt while he pranks a co-worker by dipping his bobblehead baseball player in agar) you can order goodies from Cafepress.



    Diana deRegnier
    You scientists are so literal; the word "evolve" has more than just the scientific meaning! It was funny, now, wasn't it? I want a mug and a shirt but I will wait. I want to post more "articles" to feel in the loop first. They won't be deep science but they will be relevant! Do you know Connie Barlow? Atheist science writer turned supporter of the marriage of science and religion? I just wrote about her husband, Michael Dowd, but I thought I would spare you. The article is titled "Embracing the Sacred Epic of Evolution."
    Hank
    You scientists are so literal; the word "evolve" has more than just the scientific meaning!

    Being as fair as possible to all sides, the word 'evolution' has more than just the scientific meaning because that is an obfuscatory tactic by opponents of evolution. Using it as a colloquial rather than scientific term is intentional in order to promote confusion.

    Because I do try to be fair, I consulted Wikipedia, AskOxford.com and Conservapedia - a pretty good cross-section of left, middle and right, I believe. One is a dictionary and acknowledges the Latin root. It has no widespread use before the 1800s - even Darwin didn't use it much before 1871 because he preferred 'descent.' The other two sources discuss the colloquial nature and both refer to Larry Moran's TalkOrigins piece on the matter.

    If I write Larry Moran and ask him what 'evolution' means he will not give me six popular colloquial definitions. Scientists (and medical people) prefer Latin terms because a 'dead' language is resistant to being colloquialized.

    Because evolution as a word has become colloquial, as you noted, we get strange arguments like "Evolution cannot account for the Grand Canyon." Indeed it cannot, because evolution as it should be used specifically applies to living organisms.

    If you leave a newspaper in the sun and it changes over time, it has not evolved, yet those obfuscatory arguments related to erosion of the actual meaning of the word are why people think that is what evolution means.

    If we took the word 'evolution' back to mean the processes it entails, the debate about having it in schools would be ended within minutes.

    P.S. Yes, it was funny. :)
    P.P.S. Coming to a science site and asking people not to be literal about science terms is like going to a dog kennel and asking for no barking.

    Diana deRegnier
    Ok! Here's a question you may enjoy since you used Wikipedia. Surely you have an opinion about the controversy that since anyone can input on Wikipedia we can't be sure of the accuracy and therefore some schools do not accept it as a source. What's your position? Is Conservapedia the also open to anyone for input? Personally, I enjoy adding words to the Webster's Dictionary and sending friends to look them up. They make it clear that it is an "open" dictionary though.
    Hank
    I don't think either can be accurate for anything remotely controversial but, according to people who speculate on these things, conservapedia was founded to counter the bias of wikipedia. Since it is an evolution issue, and it strangely has political affiliations, I sought balance by using both and then adding an Oxford.

    In a serious science argument, no publicly editable database is a valid source. I just think if I get left, right and middle, and they all agree on one thing, that is probably true. The thing they agree on is that 'evolution' is confusing because it was made colloquial by opponents of evolution.

    I use wikipedia if I want a quick answer to something simple and it is first in Google. I make no special effort to go there.

    adaptivecomplexity
    For a serious science argument, it's best to go check a book written by actual scientists - dictionary writers will do well at capturing how a word is used in many different contexts, but they may not always get the science part right.

    For a really simplified, but mainstream view of evolution, check out this PDF file. The best way to figure this creation/evolution issue it is to first learn how mainstream scientists understand evolution, then read the creationists critiques, and then the biologists's replies (and then the replies to the replies, and the replies to the replies to the replies....). If you don't have a solid grasp of the mainstream view, then it's easy to get confused by creationist arguments.

    And yes Diana, I thought your joke was funny too.

    Mike
    Diana deRegnier
    Thanks, Guys! The brochure looks helpful. I hadn't planned to get so into the debate. Was just minding my own business when the opp to interview Stein fell into my lap. I loved his anthology of How to Ruin Your Life; How to Ruin Your Love Life; and How to Ruin Your Financial Life. I gave it as a parting gift to the caveman, who's name also happens to be Moran. Doo, doo, doo, doo! After reading the News piece Physicist Defends Evolution And God on this site and recommended above. I may post the article I wrote about Michael Dowd or I may wait until I can write more about the deeper scientific issues he gets into in the book "Thank God for Evolution." It may be removed and if so I will post as a thought.
    Hank
    After reading the News piece Physicist Defends Evolution And God on this site and recommended above. I may post the article I wrote about Michael Dowd or I may wait until I can write more about the deeper scientific issues he gets into in the book "Thank God for Evolution." It may be removed and if so I will post as a thought.

    That is a Detroit Free Press article, not something we wrote here. We're certainly more balanced and tolerant than most science sites and he does a good job of trying to explain why people who don't understand evolution panic over it - and it correlates with what I said above about people intentionally using a colloquial definition to diminish the scientific one.

    There are literally thousands of places where people can write about politics or religion and very few where people can write about science without being infested by politics and religion. Let's try to keep it that way.

    adaptivecomplexity
    We can get testy about evolution here, but hey, if you had the chance to interview Stein, then you had to take it as any good journalist would.

    Also, we had some issues with John that go deeper than just his one piece that was removed - I hope we haven't made you excessively worried about posts being suddenly removed.

    I should say one more thing about John's piece that was removed (which you can read elsewhere on the web) - he was following a classic antievolutionary tactic, in his attempt to prove that he could "destroy Darwinism in a court of law":

    1. Nitpick a minor mistake made by individual biologists

    2. Highlight that mistake out of context

    3. Conclude that evolutionary biology is full of holes and that biologists aren't to be trusted.

    This kind of thing has been done ad nauseam (and by people who are much, much better at it than John), and it is a huge waste of time. If we want scientists to write here, they need to know they're not lending their credibility to the same, tired old rehashed creationist arguments, under the pretense that this is a real scientific debate (as opposed to a cultural one). There are plenty of other sites out there where people in the anti-evolution movement can say whatever they want.

    Mike
    Diana deRegnier
    I almost forgot: I saw a Discovery Channel program about dinosaurs in which one scientist studied a chicken's tail to see how many vertebrae are in it. 5 was the answer I believe. He became interested as scientists have been studying the evolution of dinosaurs into birds. Dinosaurs had 16 vertebrae in their tails. (unsure if this was all dinos) Anyway, he manipulated the stem cells of the chicken to see if 5 was the answer at each stage. Surprise, No!!! At an earlier stage, the chicken's tail has 16 vertebrae!!! Another question just popped into my head that you may resent my asking, but I am certain you will have an interesting answer. This is a crude description of what I remember learning when I was pregnant several decades ago. At an early stage of a human fetus, it is female. Then, if something happens, the genitalia of a man develops, rather than a woman. Now, we all know a man is not a further-evolved woman. Is he a mutation? Were there once just women? I also saw a piece of a documentary on a dragon of some sort that is female and gave birth without ever having been near a male, unless it was decades earlier, before she was captured. Something was said about her changing sexes, which I didn't wholly capture -- interrupted I think. However, they also said reports of these "virgin births" were coming in from other zoos around the world.
    adaptivecomplexity
    Were there once just women?

    Believe it or not, even single-celled yeast have sex (well, they at least 'mate' and mix together their genes the way we do) as I'll detail in a forthcoming post. But there are many different combinations in nature - species of just hermaphrodites (with male and female gametes), and other species that have females and hermaphrodites. As far as I can tell, there are no species with just males. :)

    Mike
    Hank
    Sarda Sahney at University of Bristol wrote, while pregnant, Why does my baby have a tail? and we naturally addressed Did dinosaurs become chickens?


    I love pretty pictures.

    Fred Phillips
    Well, we don't have a branch of science called "Darwinism," so Stein's statements that Darwinism doesn't do this or that are meaningless.

    Darwin had no notion of the molecular basis of evolution, so ipso facto the great man could not have made any pronouncements on molecular genetics. He can't be criticized for not doing so.

    We have had much progress in evolutionary science since Darwin's day, and it appears to me (and to people who know a lot more about it than I do) that nothing, nada, zippo in that progress has contradicted anything that Darwin said. But it has built upon Darwin's observations and interpretations in a most pleasing and logical way. And said quite a bit about the matters Stein says we know nothing about.
    This article says that Hitchens lost credibility when he started name calling.

    I say the other side lost credibility when Stein and the moderator jumped in to help Jay (who was losing, by the way) and it became a 3 on 1.

    The entire thing is online now. Hitchens' argument was not as the article above says. You can't break it down into a silly "Bad things happen so there must be no God". It was much, much more informed and well stated than that. He said "Bad things happened (rape, murder, torture, sacrifice, etc) for 100,000 years and THEN (according to holy books), God decided to finally intervene just 6,000 years ago. Big difference between that extremely valid point and the summary written above.

    I do believe in God. I just don't like the people defending Him to be people who are far more interested in comfort and familiarity than they are in truth.