Skepdude

From the creator of Video Skepdude

The Louisiana Science (Mis)Education Act

The (Un)Discovery Institute has been very actively reporting here, here and here and countless other articles, on the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act” which has already passed the Louisiana House of Representatives. Here’s a sample of their postings:

“The bill is a bold statement protecting the freedom of teachers to discuss both the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution and other controversial scientific theories,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute. “The bill does exactly what it says, which is to allow teachers and school districts to ‘use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.'”

Except that Evolution is not a controversial scientific theory. This is a blatant lie, because it carries the implication that the scientific world is unsure about Evolution, and that is not the case. It is the anti-scientific world that is unsure about it. They are the ones who are up in arms screaming against it. The lawyers, politicians are the ones complaining not the scientists. And just exactly what does “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” mean? This definition is so broad as to include anything a teacher may fancy as “instructional” such as ….oh I don’t know “Of Pandas and People” maybe?

Another implication of the language is that the Scientific community does not seriously “analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” which is a slap in the face to the many men and women who are tirelessly toiling away to advance science at such personal expense, that the IDiots passing such laws wouldn’t even be able to begin to understand.

It is true that the bill has the following embedded in it:

“shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

Just stop for a second and think. Why would an “academic freedom” bill which is supposed to be solely about science even need to say that? Could it be, because it is clear that it can be interpreted in any way one wants to, in order to advance any ideology one may hold? Of course that’s the case. It’s a smoke screen! It’s not about religion, they will say, in fact it specifically forbids any religious connotations. But of course that sort of language is completely useless, because the creationist are hiding under the ID banner now. So effectively, such bill opens the door to Intelligent Design as long as the IDer is not referred to as God. How may of us really think that pro ID teachers will not refer to the IDer as the “Creator” which in itself carries strong religious connotations?

Let’s be clear about one thing here. This bill is not about academic freedom. It is specifically about denying science. It is about replacing science with belief. It is not about academic freedom, it is about academic slavery to Religion.This bill is about granting teachers with strong ideological beliefs, which run contrary to mainstream science, the right to preach them to our children. These are not scientific ideas, these are purely speculative philosophical ideas at best, which now, at least in Louisiana, will be presented under the setting of a science class. Thus the kids will walk out of there thinking that there are in fact two scientifically equal theories of life, evolution and creation. That is very very bad news indeed for mankind in general, and Louisiana in particular.

Effectively, this bill is about introducing religious, creationist beliefs in the classroom. Science is not granted such special treatment during Sunday Mass. Therefore religion will be allowed to continue poisoning young children’s minds at the church and now in the classroom as well. Freedom all right, unlimited freedom to bigoted, stone age, childish beliefs to impose themselves where they don’t belong. Freedom to present scientifically unsubstantiated personal religious beliefs as science. What is Academic about that?

Anyone who is interested in reading the actual bill itself can head to this website.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Intelligent Design, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science | , , | 1 Comment

Creationism and Logic-Part 2

In Part 1 we went over a portion of the painful to read creationist bullshit titled ““Logical Proof of the Existence of a Divine Creator, Why Atheism in Not Logically Sound”. We saw the author commit the following fallacies: argument from ignornance, straw man and non sequitur. Today I continue dissecting this article to point out other areas where this guy’s brain fails him. I do not pretend to be able to capture them all.

Even if all the planets somehow formed themselves, all somehow staying in perfect orbit and possessing gravity, even take for granted that all the chemicals needed for life were so how there as well, by sheer happenstance, would it then be possible for billions of species to spontaneously come about, each with a male and female of each kind so that they could exist in the long run?

Ok first of all who told him that billions of species “spontaneously” came about? What part of evolving over millions and millions of years does this guy not understand? What’s spontaneous about that? Furthermore, is it true that all species “have a male and a female so they could exist in the long run”? Has he never heard of asexual reproduction? And if by “billions of species” he didn’t really mean all species, then what the hell is his argument? God created most species a certain way, but some others a different way? Why the hell would he do that? Let me explain it to you, you little confused pal, having evolved from a common ancestor all species have inherited certain traits that they share. Sexual reproduction has proven to be the most successful way of passing genetic information along, and that is why most species you’re referring to have a male and a female. Oh, and I assume he’s simply talking about animals when he says “species” because I don’t know if he really wants to extend his “argument” to plants and such, because then he would really be in trouble!

Even if this were possible, would the simplest of animals have been able to survive were it missing even one essential organ? Would human beings survive if one organ or cavity was missing or displaced, even after somehow being otherwise perfectly formed with no designer?

Where do you start here? The misconceptions are simply overwhelming. Evolution does not predict the instantaneous appearance of whole organs. Who ever said that the parent would have no eyes and the child would be born with two perfectly developed eyes? This is an embarrassing misunderstanding of the thing he’s trying to argue against. Organs don’t show up in young animals out of nowhere, ready to be used for the new purpose. This is another straw man attack. He’s twisting the theory of evolution into something he can easily ridicule. And then he falls under the old “what good is a half an eye/wing/heart” argument which has been made countless times and debunked countless times, so I won’t even dignify it with an answer. He himself is a prime example of what good a half a brain is!

The contention of atheists, that life simply adapted to the conditions it found itself in is also irrational, as were this to be the case we’d have animals that could solely subsist on snow and ice in some regions.

This is just stupid, pure and simple! First of all plenty of religious evolutionary biologists agree that life forms adapt to their environment. This is not an atheist thing, it’s a biology thing. I guess in this guy’s mind every evolutionary biologist must be an atheist, which just goes to prove my half a brain comment above. Evolution does not say that animals will adapt to EVERY condition of nature. They do die out when it is impossible for them to adapt, that’s why you don’t find animals that solely exist on snow or ice. I guess the caloric intake from snow and ice cannot support a large animal, but I don’t want to get technical because it is not my place to get technical. I am not a biologist!

Of the many philosophic and scientific arguments brought forth for the existence of the Divine, three stand out. The anthropic argument contends that the universe is too complex to have no Creator. This is in effect the central point of this column, although explained in a more common manner. The cosmological argument maintains that finite matter (original matter, which was clearly finite) cannot create a universe that is greater than itself. Especially compelling is the teleological argument, that the existence of a Creator can be seen from the fact that the universe works in perfect harmony, as would a giant machine. Gravity, orbits, chemical atmospheres and all other ingredients needed for life to exist come together in unison to allow such existence to happen. An enormous machine that works like clockwork needs to have a Creator.

The first argument is a clear argument from ignorance. It says “The universe is too complex. I am not smart enough to understand it. I cannot answer why or how it works. However, I must have an answer, because I am not mature enough to accept that I don’t know. Open the door for the Sky Daddy”. Of course this is complete and utter bullshit. It is not an explanation, it is a childish attempt to deal with one’s lack of knowledge and security by making up a big guy in the sky. For little kids this big guy is called Santa Claus. For this guy it is god! The second one makes no sense to me, I don’t know what he means by original matter, those words are completely foreign to me so I cannot give an opinion. The third one is just an argument from incredulity, it’s too beautiful, to preciese. I cannot believe it evolved. What all these arguments show is simply that this person is arbitrarily choosing the answer that makes him feel better, more comfortable. He’s not looking for the truth, he’s looking for a nice answer. Well pal, reality is not always nice.

The atheist would also do well to read Anthony Flew’s latest book, “There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.” For decades, Flew was one of the leading proponents of atheism. But he eventually decided to give everything a second look and found that all he’d believed and so vociferously advocated for so long was wrong. Upon real analysis, he found that there is, in fact, proof of the Divine.

I don’t know the real story regarding Anthony Flew, but even if it had happened the way this cretin says, what does that mean? Why should we accept that he was wrong the first time around, when he was an atheist, and right the second time around? What if it was the other way around? What if he’d been right all along and made a mistake at the very end? What if he’d been wrong both times? Here this guy commits yet another fallacy, the argument from authority. At best the above, if true, shows that one guy got dupped latter in life, or that he simply changed his mind, nothing else. What about all the christians who gave up religion and became atheists? It is exactly the same thing in reverse.

Just because someone recants does not mean that they made the right choice, regardless who that someone is.

Unfortunately, there is more nonsense coming from this fool. It seems there may be need for a Part 3 to cover all his stupidity. Please bear with me.

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Atheism, Critical Thinking, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Religion, Science, Thinking Out Loud | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skepdude mentioned on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe

This is one of the coolest things yet to happen to Skepdude. A while ago I had written a post in regards to a retarded article by the (Un)Discovery Institute in which they made the “argument” that because cars were designed so were people. Stupid right? Anyway, I e-mailed the SGU Rogues and they did in fact put up a new SGU 5×5 episode, #23, where they talk about this and at the very end, Evan quotes me. THE SGU QUOTES ME! How freaking cool is that! Such an honor is undeserved, I can tell you that much, but much appreciated. This is equivalent to a religious person being spoken to by God, except that these folks actually exist.

Steven also made a clarification in the podcast. In my original blog entry I have written that Evolution is not a guided process. He pointed out that it is in fact a guided process, in the sense that it is not random, it is not picking traits willy nilly, but is in fact “choosing” the traits better suited for the organism to survive. I agree, in the sense he describes it. However, when speaking to creationists, the word guided to them means consciously guided. That is the sense that I was using it in my original post. In that sense Evolution is not (consciously) guided. No one is willingly picking traits to favor. They propagate because they are beneficial not because someone or something is making a decision to pick them. So I guess, in our respective interpretations of the word “guided” we are both right.

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Intelligent Design | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We can all see the future-just not too far ahead!

Psychics beware, humans can see into the future, well at least according to one scientist.

Humans can see into the future, says a cognitive scientist. It’s nothing like the alleged predictive powers of Nostradamus, but we do get a glimpse of events one-tenth of a second before they occur.

Researcher Mark Changizi of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York says it starts with a neural lag that most everyone experiences while awake. When light hits your retina, about one-tenth of a second goes by before the brain translates the signal into a visual perception of the world.

Scientists already knew about the lag, yet they have debated over exactly how we compensate, with one school of thought proposing our motor system somehow modifies our movements to offset the delay.

Changizi now says it’s our visual system that has evolved to compensate for neural delays, generating images of what will occur one-tenth of a second into the future. That foresight keeps our view of the world in the present. It gives you enough heads up to catch a fly ball (instead of getting socked in the face) and maneuver smoothly through a crowd. His research on this topic is detailed in the May/June issue of the journal Cognitive Science,

Hmm, we see what will happen before it happens? I don’t know if I buy this one. Even if it does happen it must only be limited to certain circumstances. I can understand the baseball example. Just like a computer that can calculate a trajectory, so the brain could in fact do the same for a 1/10 of a second if enough information is available. In other words if you’re already looking at the baseball being thrown you’ll be able to make such projection. You still won’t be able to avoid the baseball smacking you in your head if you have no idea one was thrown towards you. So I guess it is plausible, but I would like to see more consensus in the scientific community before I embrace this idea.

Very interesting stuff indeed. Of course, this is just a hypothesis, not a theory as the article says, not in the scientific meaning of the word theory anyway. But quite intriguing indeed.

I can’t wait to see how the “psychics” and the “clairvoyants” will jump on this news, if at all, to claim that they somehow have a much evolved capacity which lets them see well beyond the 1/10th of a second.

June 4, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Science | , , | Leave a comment

(Un)Discovery Institute breakthrough-cars designed …by engineers!

Read this and bleed! Yes, the geniuses at the (Un)Discovery Institute have discovered that cars were designed by engineers and somehow they think this supports their retarded hypothesis for ID!

Disclaimer – Foul language will be used profusely throughout this post. If you are easily offended by language I suggest you stop reading now! I’m not fucking kidding!

So, where do I start. How about some quotes from the moronic article.

I recently came across this Hyandai car advertisement, stating: “the i30 name has been chosen to reflect the car’s European styling and its all-round intelligent design.” I decided to see if there were other similar examples, and searches uncovered many examples.

The website “CarReview.com” reviewed the Honda Civic SI and praises its “very modern looking interior, with flowing lines and an intelligent design.” Indeed, Honda’s own website has a page with specs on the Honda S2000 roadster which states, “Further intelligent design details, such as lightweight valve springs and the use of low-friction plating, prove the Honda S2000 is a model of engineering perfection.”

A news article covering Nissan’s new “advanced vehicle-to-traffic-light communication technology” is titled, “Intelligent Design, Transportation-Style, From Nissan.” An article about the Toyota Camry states that, “[t]he 2006 Camry redefines global standards for comfort, safety and intelligent design.” Elsewhere Toyota announces an environment-friendly concept car which gets great fuel economy, in part, because “weight reduction is achieved by intelligent design of interior components, such as the instrument panel and heater modules.” Similarly, an article on Toyota.com about Camry Hybrids calls the car “a world-class sedan that not only redefines global standards for comfort, performance and intelligent design, but also is available, for the first time, with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.”

A news release advertising a line of RV’s announces: “Intelligent Design Features Incorporated Into Fleetwood’s 2006 Bounder Diesel and Expedition RV’s.” Even Lexus gets into the action, reporting on its Lexus.com website that the inspiration behind the Lexus SC430, “was to create an elegant, sophisticated and intelligent design.” Indeed, a Wall Street Journal blog writes about Chrysler’s efforts to improve their products, titling the article, “The Case for Intelligent Design at Chrysler.”

…………………………………….

Finally, if you want a nice example of an irreducibly complex system, try this YouTube video of a Honda Accord commercial. The commercial ends by saying, “Isn’t it nice when things just work?” You won’t find anyone suggesting that the machines in this commercial “work” due to anything other than intelligent design:

Why does this matter? Because:

These advertisements and reviews don’t say “random-variation-and-unguided-selection-based design.” They say “intelligent design.” And when advertisers mention the “evolution” of a product, you can almost surely bet that it’s intelligently guided “evolution,” not the Darwinian processes of random mutation and unguided natural selection.

Oh, but the author doesn’t want us to read too much into this article.

And before you start to nitpick reasons why don’t like this post, don’t forget my words at the beginning: “Don’t read into this post too much, but take it as a series of curious observations.”

That’s fair enough. I won’t read too much into this post, just what it implies. I think even the IDiot author must accept that there is something to read into this post otherwise he wouldn’t have posted the damn thing, right?

So let’s start at the beginning shall we. THIS IS THE STUPIDEST PRO ID ARGUMENT I HAVE HEARD SO FAR, BAR NONE! It is the “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument on freaking stupidity inducing drugs! Why you ask? Well let me elaborate on that?

First, they make this wild statement: “We’re often told that Darwinism is like a scientific magic bullet that can solve anything.” Who’s fucking telling them and how often are they being told? Because science says no such thing, about ANY of it’s theories. Nothing in this world solves everything and no scientist ever made that claim. Unless they were crazy as shit that is, and there are a few of those around (some employed at the Discovery Institute no doubt). I think I know what’s happening here. These guys are so ignorant about the basics of Evolution (such as it’s name which is not Darwinism, morons!) that THEY THINK we claim it can solve anything. So they’re just a bunch of stupid, confused fucks who are in fact attacking their own ignorance and stupidity, which is a fruitless endeavor because they’re not getting any smarter any time soon, so they’ll never win that fight.

Then they say that “We’re also told that intelligent design threatens to destroy science.”. Shit they got one thing right! Good job IDiots, keep it up!

Then, they make the observation that cars are INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED by engineers. Good so far, cars are in fact designed by engineers and they tend to be pretty intelligent people (although I don’t know where Kia is getting it’s engineers, but that’s another issue completely!). And they then feel the need to point out that cars did not evolve due to “random-variation-and-unguided-selection-based design.” but are intelligently designed. And this is where the dipshits drown in their own piss!

Now what the fuck does the fact that cars were designed have to day about Evolution? Yes cars were designed, so were computers, ice cream cones and countless other things that Science has created. But what kind of implication does that have for living things? None whatsoever! Because IDiots, cars are inanimate objects. They do not reproduce. They have no DNA. Evolution works on living things, which have DNA. So how the fuck are you gonna make an argument about a living thing by looking at a nonliving thing?

Of course cars don’t evolve in the biological sense. Even pigeon breeding is not evolution dipshits, even if it has to do with living things. Evolution is not a directed process, car building is. But even if you run with their example, it still does not work in their favor. Because cars do go through mutations, what do they think the engineers spit out perfect little models on their first try? Think again assholes! And oh yes there is strong selective pressures in the market. Why do they think they’re not driving a Yugo? The only difference is that Evolution is not guided while this process is. And that is their whole point anyway, it is a guided process, thus intelligently designed.

Claiming that because cars are intelligently designed by engineers means that we were designed by a supreme Intelligent Designer is logically equivalent to claiming that because cars run on gasoline we should be gulping down gallons of gasoline everyday to keep ourselves running! Are they willing to do that first?

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Critical Thinking, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Logic, Science | , , | 4 Comments