Sep 24 2015

44 Reasons Creationists Are Deceptive further cont.

This is the third post dealing with a recent aggregation of old creationist arguments that has been making the rounds on social media, 44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults.  The author, Michael Snyder, has shown a typical level of horrific scholarship and reasoning. Post 1 is here, and post 2 is here.

In the last article I discussed the claim that the Coelacanth is a “living fossil” (a term I despise because it is ripe for confusion). Essentially Snyder and other creationists treat the Coelacanth as if it is a specific species, when in fact it is an order of fish. An order surviving for hundreds of millions of years is not at all unusual.

In the next of Snyder’s reasons he commits the same mistake:

#18 According to evolutionists, the Ancient Greenling Damselfly last showed up in the fossil record about 300 million years ago.  But it still exists today.  So why hasn’t it evolved at all over the time frame?

This claim is entirely wrong, demonstrating sloppy research. Actually I suspect that Snyder did no research (and here I am just referring to looking up reliable references). He seems to have just swallowed a creationist meme whole from the Institute for Creation Research, specifically an article by their “science writer” Brian Thomas.

Thomas claims that there are fossils of the Ancient Greenling Damselfly, unchanged from the modern species, that are 300 million years old. This is simply not true, and Thomas provides no primary references to back up his claim.

I spent some time digging up primary references to find out what is really going on. The Ancient Greenling Damselfly is the sole surviving species of a rare family of Damselfly, the Hemiphlebiidae. Damselflies in turn are closely related to dragonflies, the most obvious difference being that when dragonflies are at rest their double wings are spread out, creating the iconic shape of a dragonfly, while damselflies fold up their wings flat against their body.

Briefly, the order Odonata includes the suborder Anisoptera (dragonflies) and Zygoptera (damselflies), which in turn contains many families, one of which is the Hemiphlebiidae, which includes the Ancient Greenling Damselfly. There are at least two fossil species of Hemiphlebiidae, Parahemiphlebia and Cretarchistigma , from the Lower Cretaceous of England and Brazil.

These species date to as old as 140 million years ago, not 300 million years. Further, while they are in the same family as the extant Ancient Greenling Damselfly, they are in different genera. But Thomas writes:

“But this particular insect is part of another tale, for the same species has been found fossilized from Brazil to Siberia.”

This is wrong – it is not the same species. It is a different species, different genus, but same family.

The bigger point here is that creationists often use apparent stability of living groups over long periods of time to argue against evolution. However, large successful groups (like the Odonata) can be relatively stable over tens or even hundreds of millions of years. However, we will still see adaptive radiation and evolution at lower taxonomic levels, like families, genera, and species.

#19 Darwinists believe that the human brain developed without the assistance of any designer.  This is so laughable it is amazing that there are any people out there that still believe this stuff.  The truth is that the human brain is amazingly complex.  The following is how a PBS documentary described the complexity of the human brain: “It contains over 100 billion cells, each with over 50,000 neuron connections to other brain cells.”

This is the argument from personally incredulity, otherwise known as the, “Aw, shucks, that sure is complicated,” fallacy.  The human brain is certainly complex (I can say this with some authority, being a neurologist). Actually the best current estimate is that there are about 86 billion neurons in the adult human brain, but this is a minor point.

The claim here is that complexity on this order of magnitude could not arise without a designer, but that is a vacuous claim without scientific support. Self organizing systems following relatively simple rules can generate fantastic amounts of complexity. The vertebrate brain, for example, has a great deal of repetition in its anatomy, with millions of cortical columns composed of 100 or so neurons. The brain also undergoes what is called somatotopic organization during development – sensory input and feedback from the body follows simple rules to produce a mapping of the brain onto the world and the body.

The brain, in other words, looks like something that evolved from the bottom up, not something that was designed from the top down. Either process can produce complexity. In fact, bottom up organization is associated, if anything, with greater potential complexity.

Time for another quote from a scientist taken entirely out of context:

#20 The following is how one evolutionist pessimistically assessed the lack of evidence for the evolution of humanity…

“Even with DNA sequence data, we have no direct access to the processes of evolution, so objective reconstruction of the vanished past can be achieved only by creative imagination.”

Again Snyder does not provide any primary reference, just a secondary creationist source. This does contain the primary reference, however: A Genetic Perspective on the Origin and History of Humans, by N. Takahata. In this fairly narrow technical paper Takahata is attempting to use molecular genetics to infer the branching order of gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans and to estimate their historical population sizes. The point he is making in that quote is simply that we cannot directly observe what was happening in these populations in the past, but we can infer what happened by testing hypotheses (generated through his poetically referenced imagination) with objective molecular data. Wow, how devastating.

Also, imagine the quote-mining they must be doing to select that one quote from that one obscure and narrow technical paper.

#21 Perhaps the most famous fossil in the history of the theory of evolution, “Piltdown Man”, turned out to be a giant hoax.

Piltdown is famous for being a hoax. There are other famous fossils, such as Lucy and the Berlin specimen. Fossil fame, however, is irrelevant. The creationists are never going to let go of Piltdown man, because they can use it to make the implication (often without stating it outright) that fossils in general are fake. This, of course, is an absurd claim and is not true.

The scientific community was indeed punked by Piltdown in 1912. Paleoanthropology was a very young science, with few specimens, and they were presented with a carefully crafted hoax that confirmed all their current biases. As more and more human fossils were discovered, however, Piltdown man became progressively sidelined and ignored, because it did not fit with the rest of the evidence. Eventually this conflict prompted a reexamination of the original specimen, and they were found in 1953 to be a modern hoax. Science was a bit slow this time, but in the end it self-corrected.

There are plenty of online resources cataloguing the growing list of human fossils. Homo naledi was just added to that list. Once again Snyder just puts out an isolated factoid without putting it into any context.

The next two points are essentially the same:

#22 If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the mass of the proton, all protons would have decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and therefore life would not be possible. How can we account for this?

#23 If gravity was stronger or weaker by the slimmest of margins, then life sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would also make life impossible. How can we account for this?

This is the anthropic principle. There are many physical constants that, if they were even slightly different, the universe could not exist as it does. This, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Whatever the reason for the current physical laws of the universe, they allow for evolution, and the evidence strongly suggests it did happen. I write more about the anthropic principle, and why it is not an argument for god, here.

Every few points, apparently, he has to throw in a quote out of context. This one, however, is worse than usual:

#24 Why did evolutionist Dr. Lyall Watson make the following statement?…

“The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!”

Watson is not an evolutionary scientist. He had no science degree. He was an author of dubious supernatural books who was writing in a popular magazine (Science Digest) and not in the peer-reviewed literature. He is most famous for his “hundredth monkey” theory, which is complete nonsense. Further, the claim is just wrong. Again – here is a partial list. It is way more than Watson said.

I am starting to get repetitive, but that is because Snyder is repetitive – what Snyder is doing is quoting a secondary hostile creationist source, which in turn quoted a pseudoscientist, in order to make a claim about the state of human fossils. He did not research how many fossils of human ancestors we have or link to actual scientific or reliable sources.

#25 Apes and humans are very different genetically.  As explains, “the human Y chromosome has twice as many genes as the chimpanzee Y chromosome and the chromosome structures are not at all similar.”

Wrong (again, notice his source), we are genetically very similar.  I wrote about the science of comparing human and chimp DNA here. Read that article for a full treatment. Bottom line – if you make the correct kind of comparison, one that is meaningful for degree of evolutionary separation, then humans and chimps share 96% of their DNA. This fits well with the fossil evidence about time of divergence, of about 8 million years ago.

Using the Y chromosome as evidence for divergence is highly misleading. It is true that human and chimp Y chromosomes are divergent, but it is misleading to imply from this that we are not genetically similar overall. Chromosomes are capable of massive reorganization, and even in a single generation they can fuse or split. The Y chromosome is also special, because of its role in determining sex. It is particularly subject to gene loss and alterations. Read the technical reference if you want the details.

#26 How can we explain the creation of new information that is required for one animal to turn into another animal?  No evolutionary process has ever been shown to be able to create new biological information.

This is the information argument that intelligent design creationists are so fond of. It is nothing but a lie. There are known mechanisms to create new information. Gene duplication is the most obvious – one gene can be duplicated during reproduction, now you have two copies of the same gene. While one gene continues its original function, the second gene is free to evolve in novel directions. You just doubled the genetic information of that gene. In fact, there is tremendous evidence of analysis of the gene structures of many species that gene duplication is a primary mechanism of increasing genetic information. This has been known since 1930, so Snyder is only 85 years behind the times.

There are other mechanisms as well, such as horizontal gene transfer. The DNA from a virus can get stuck in the DNA of a host organism, and then become part of the genome. These insertions actually make up a significant portion of our DNA (about 8%), and sometimes they can be used for raw material for the evolution of new genes.

I would also add that mutations create new biological information.

#27 Evolutionists would have us believe that there are nice, neat fossil layers with older fossils being found in the deepest layers and newer fossils being found in the newest layers.  This simply is not true at all

The fossil layers are not found in the ground in the nice neat clean order that evolutionists illustrate them to be in their textbooks. There is not one place on the surface of the earth where you may dig straight down and pass through the fossil layers in the order shown in the textbooks. The neat order of one layer upon another does not exist in nature. The fossil bearing layers are actually found out of order, upside down (backwards according to evolutionary theory), missing (from where evolutionists would expect them to be) or interlaced (“younger” and “older” layers found in repeating sequences). “Out of place” fossils are the rule and not the exception throughout the fossil record.

This is once again partial information crafted to deceive.  The Earth is geologically active. Land is being moved around all the time, heaving up, eroding away, crashing into each other, etc. However, there are different geological strata, with different geological characteristics and different fossils. These different strata and their fossils do consistently occur in ordered layers. However, they get moved around a lot.

The result is like a puzzle – but we can put the pieces of that puzzle together to construct an entire geological column. Because a complete column does not occur all in one place is irrelevant. For example, we may find the following sequences in different locations: A-B-C-D; J-K-L-M-N; D-E-F-G-H; G-H-I-J-K-L, etc. We can use the overlaps in the sequences to place them in order. Also, don’t forget, we can directly date many layers so we can use their ages to sequence them also.

Further, the overwhelming fact is that fossil species do exist in the various strata in a consistent order. We never ever see dinosaur fossils in strata younger than the K-Pg boundary 65 million years ago, for example. The only exceptions are when there are obvious geological processes that caused mixing of layers. We simply construct the geological column from areas where mixing has not occurred.

If you want to see nice neat geological layers then visit the Grand Canyon.

#28 Evolutionists believe that the ancestors of birds developed hollow bones over thousands of generations so that they would eventually be light enough to fly.  This makes absolutely no sense and is beyond ridiculous.

That is not even an argument, it is a statement of personal incredulity. The probable implication he is trying to make is that birds could not fly until they had evolved hollow bones over thousands of generations, but this is simply not true. Here it is clear that Snyder simply does not know what he is talking about, and made no effort to educate himself on bird bones as an adaptation of flight.

First, bird bones are not necessary lighter than mammalian bones. Some bird bones are light, some are heavier, and overall there is not much of a difference. Bird bones, however, have become highly specialized for flight. They are stiffer, stronger where they need to be, and have been simplified to eliminate bones where possible. They also demonstrate varying degrees of “pneumatization” – air sacs like in the lungs, which do make them hollow in places. This adaptation provide more oxygen to the blood quicker, which is an advantage for flight.

What we see with bird evolution is the slow adaptation of the theropod skeleton to the bird skeleton, with multiple optimizations for flight.

It seems that the core misunderstanding of Snyder is the false premise that birds could not fly at all until their skeletons were optimized for flight, but there is no reason at all to suppose this. Archaeopteryx could fly, and yet lacked many modern bird adaptations for flight. Function is not all or nothing. Often species will do something poorly, because it is still useful, and then will evolve adaptations to optimize the function.

#29 If dinosaurs really are tens of millions of years old, why have scientists found dinosaur bones with soft tissue still in them?

The finding of soft tissue inside the fossilized bones of T-rex has been highly controversial, for obvious reasons. While there is interesting evidence to support the claim, I don’t think we are there yet. Even if we acknowledge the presence of soft tissue in dinosaur bones tens of millions of years old, that does not mean their age is incorrect. There are already findings that can help explain this extreme preservation, such as the presence of iron which can act as a preservative.


As we work our way through these 44 creationist arguments, the patterns become more and more clear. In each case Snyder (who is just copying standard creationist arguments) is not referencing scientific sources or giving a reasonable overview of the actual evidence. In each case he is giving a highly selected tiny slice of the picture, crafted to create a deceptive implication. Sometimes his claims are outright incorrect.

There is a simple reason why creationist arguments are so transparently terrible – they have no good arguments.

31 responses so far

31 Responses to “44 Reasons Creationists Are Deceptive further cont.”

  1. RickKon 24 Sep 2015 at 10:11 am

    Snyder is in good company with his examples of things that haven’t evolved. We can never forget that intellectual giant, Harun Yahya, and his irrefutable evidence that evolution is false:

  2. SteveAon 24 Sep 2015 at 11:41 am

    Steve N: “Science was a bit slow this time, but in the end it self-corrected.”

    I wouldn’t have said it was that slow, considering. I think interruptions by two World Wars count as an extenuating circumstances…

  3. hardnoseon 24 Sep 2015 at 12:58 pm

    “Once you have replication, variation, and differential survival and reproduction, you have evolution.”

    That is what you say, that is what you believe, that is what your materialist philosophy depends on.

    The only trouble is, you have absolutely no evidence for your highly implausible claim. The convenient escape hatch is that it takes a llllllloooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggg time, so no one can prove it. Or disprove it. An evidence-free, evidence-proof claim.


  4. daedalus2uon 24 Sep 2015 at 1:02 pm

    There are two arguments about irreducible complexity. The short term argument and the long term argument. The long term argument says that a Designer is necessary to design the DNA that leads to the process of development that results in an organ. However that is not the only problem for those who claim an organ is irreducibly complex.

    If the heart is “irreducibly complex”, then a heart can only exist as a multi-celled tissue compartment that can pump blood and also support itself with the blood that it is pumping. It takes more than a single cell to instantiate blood pumping and the vascular network necessary to derive nutrients from blood so as to power blood pumping.

    If the heart is “irreducibly complex” in this way, then every organism with a heart requires Divine intervention during development so that a multi-celled heart is “poofed” into existence as the minimum multi-celled tissue it must be to both pump blood and derive nutrients from that blood.

    All organisms with hearts start out as a single-celled zygote with zero heart cells. All organisms with hearts end up with a heart that has many cells. If there is an irreducibly complex heart of more than a single cell, then that heart must “poof” into existence as that irreducibly complex heart.

    Similarly, if the brain is irreducibly complex, then the brain has to also “poof” into existence at that minimum level of complexity.

    Any tissue compartment “poofing” into existence would be strong evidence for irreducible complexity. As of yet, there are no reports of any such observations in the literature. That there is no observation of this behavior, is pretty good evidence that organs are not irreducibly complex.

  5. BBBlueon 24 Sep 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I would think the example of the damselfly would be an argument that favors evolution. Some organisms evolve relatively rapidly while others seem to have evolved little over great lengths of time. Seems rather random to me; certainly not consistent with a creator who has a plan. Unless, of course, the clever guy is trying to cover his tracks.

  6. RickKon 24 Sep 2015 at 2:15 pm

    hardnose said: “The only trouble is, you have absolutely no evidence for your highly implausible claim. The convenient escape hatch is that it takes a llllllloooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggg time, so no one can prove it. Or disprove it. An evidence-free, evidence-proof claim.”

    hardnose also said: “Actually arguing against evolution, or for it, is a stupid waste of time because evolution is obviously an established fact.”

    What are you arguing against, hardnose?

    Are you arguing that everything from Lenski’s bacteria to modern maize to domestic dogs are NOT examples of dramatic evolutionary change over relatively short periods of time?

    Are you arguing that some acquired traits can be inherited (e.g. epigenetics like the long term effect of a population where one generation experienced starvation)? That’s hardly a deal-breaker for evolution.

    Are you arguing that we are inappropriately looking for non-divine causes? (I won’t use the “m” word because you are incapable of defining it.) Fine, give science a clear example of divine causation of ANYTHING, EVER, and we can debate the role of the divine in evolution.

    Besides patting yourself on the back for being a rebel and arguing against whatever the current consensus is, what are you promoting? What are you FOR? What do want science to do differently? And what is your evidence that it should?

  7. GrahamHon 24 Sep 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Interesting how they insult you if you disagree with them.
    ‘is beyond ridiculous’
    ‘so laughable it is amazing’.
    Such school boy level argumentative technique. Unfortunately, it works on a great number of people. They are very good at punching buttons so the actual facts don’t matter.


  8. RickKon 24 Sep 2015 at 2:24 pm


    The better example of irreducible complexity, I think, is the bacterial flagellum. There are lots of different hearts in various creatures that we can see all manner of reasonable evolutionary pathways for the development of the heart (same for the eye).

    But proponents of irreducible complexity just love that spinning motor on some bacteria because we have so few examples of how it might have evolved. It must have been intelligent design.

    I love the implications of that conclusion. Evolution can easily enough explain the heart of a hummingbird, the wing of a falcon, the neck of a giraffe or the ear of an owl. But God himself, the creator of the universe, had to personally stick a hair onto a germ’s rump.

    There’s a compelling image for Sunday services. I wonder if the Christian Reconstructionists financing the Discovery Institute like that interpretation of irreducible complexity.

  9. goldmund52on 24 Sep 2015 at 2:38 pm

    RickK: There is a genuine unsolved problem of irreducible complexity as stated by Eugene Koonin in The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution. “Indeed, among modern biological entities, we do not see any intermediates between macromolecules and cells, and to imagine how such intermediates might operate is a huge challenge.” “Hence, the dramatic paradox of the origin of life is that, to attain the minimum complexity required for a biological system to start on the Darwin-Eigen spiral, a system of a far greater complexity appears to be required. How such a system could evolve is a puzzle that defeats conventional evolutionary thinking…”

    To my knowledge, this assessment by Koonin is basically correct; the origin of life remains a mystery. Those among us convicted to a belief in God simply fill in the gap with various human-language-derived tautologies– god, unmoved mover, teleology, turtles, what have you. The belief in unseen powerful agency comes naturally to the human mind. “Which is why only skeptics tend to see belief as a form of mental negligence.”–Pascal Boyer.

    So, to those of us to whom it is obvious that the idea of God doesn’t explain anything about the natural world, is there anything that can replace the awe that believers feel in contemplating God? Because we don’t seem to convince believers by directly confronting their beliefs as unproven and illogical.

    I guess the only course is to continue to point to the wonders of scientific discovery, which is the point of this blog I suppose. I think of this quote from Seth Lloyd, a theoretical physicist at MIT, “We can prove mathematically that a universe that computes must, with high probability, give rise to a stream of ever more complex structures.” Or this from John Mayfield, “When objects and activities involving objects are framed in informational terms, it becomes clear that randomness is the ultimate source of anything truly new.” –John Mayfield. The Engine of Complexity: Evolution as Computation. These quotes resonate to me some of that same awe we can feel from direct contact with the natural world, like looking at the Hubble images. It makes you wonder how smart people can prefer the God explanation for life over the wonders of science.

  10. RickKon 24 Sep 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Yep, what we know is awe-inspiring. So are the unsolved mysteries.

    The reality we’ve discovered through science is so much more awe-inspiring that anything dreamed by any human religious story. The story told by the EVIDENCE (none of which was created by human hands) tells us that the universe came into existence through a cataclysm of immeasurable power, so strong that the heat from the event still warms the universe over 13 billion years later. The evidence tells us of stellar birth and death, events so powerful they could strip the atmosphere off a planet from 1000 light years away. The evidence tells us we are made of minerals created in the vast atomic forges in the center of giant stars. The evidence tells us of a massive, glorious dance of the heavens over billions of years, and of the creation of our precious planet among billions of trillions of other stars and planets. The evidence tells us of an incredibly simple, elegant process of gradual change driven by the reproductive success, leading to stunningly varied, resilient life – life so vibrant and sweeping that it changed the very nature and composition of our enormous planet.

    Why would anyone surrender that story to stories like Genesis, entirely created by human hands?

  11. Banzai Otison 24 Sep 2015 at 3:48 pm

    @ hardnose

    Even if all of your assertions about the supposed lack of evidence an plausibility were true (and they clearly are not, but just for the sake of argument), you are still wrong.

    You can prove that “replication, variation, and differential survival and reproduction” produce evolution. I’ve done it myself. Google ‘Genetic Algorithm’. We use “replication, variation, and differential survival and reproduction” to produce the emergent property of evolution in many aspects of our day-to-day life. It isn’t life, but it is the same process by the same mechanisms. Evolution is a proven, reproducible, everyday consequence of these mechanisms.

  12. Pete Aon 24 Sep 2015 at 3:49 pm

    “The only trouble is, you have absolutely no evidence for your highly implausible claim. The convenient escape hatch is that it takes a llllllloooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggg time, so no one can prove it. Or disprove it. An evidence-free, evidence-proof claim.”

    Creationism/ID: no one can prove it; or disprove it. It is an evidence-free, evidence-proof claim.

  13. steve12on 24 Sep 2015 at 4:45 pm

    >“Once you have replication, variation, and differential survival and reproduction, you have evolution.”
    >That is what you say, that is what you believe, that is what your materialist philosophy depends on.
    >The only trouble is, you have absolutely no evidence for your highly implausible claim. The convenient >escape hatch is that it takes a llllllloooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggg time, so no one can prove it. Or disprove >it. An evidence-free, evidence-proof claim.

    This argument fits into a naive category – that science not resulting in an observable product in a test tube is insufficiently scienc-y. For the current e.g., anything less than a 10m year longitudinal study is no good.

    But if you accept “replication, variation, and differential survival and reproduction”, how do you NOT end up with different species of living things?

    You have 2 choice:
    1. Deny one of “replication, variation, and differential survival and reproduction”
    2. Believe that magically these processes do not produce continually changing living organisms – i.e., some hidden force keeps things from getting “too different” despite many iterations.

    So please explain how, given these forces, different species DO NOT result HN? Do you not believe in the forces themselves? Or does the Intelligent Universe strive to keep them from having their logical effects?

  14. hardnoseon 24 Sep 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Oh man, don’t people get tired of hearing me say the same things over and over and over?

    Evolution is a proven fact, dammit. Natural selection is a fact that can’t not be true. Variation — whatever the cause — is an observable fact, and natural selection necessarily acts on variations.

    It’s all true! Evolution is true! Natural selection is true! Variation is true!

    So we all agree and we can all belong to the materialist/atheist club, right?

    No, all those things being true does not add up to random variations and natural selection being the cause of evolution.

  15. hardnoseon 24 Sep 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Oh yes, the old genetic algorithm, exactly the same thing as the evolution of life.

  16. hardnoseon 24 Sep 2015 at 6:25 pm

    “Creationism/ID: no one can prove it; or disprove it. It is an evidence-free, evidence-proof claim.”

    And I am not making that claim. And ID doesn’t try to explain evolution, it just says Darwinism can’t completely explain it.

    Creationism is just one of many ancient creation myths, having nothing at all to do with science.

  17. hardnoseon 24 Sep 2015 at 6:56 pm

    “We can prove mathematically that a universe that computes must, with high probability, give rise to a stream of ever more complex structures.”

    That’s what I believe, information systems naturally evolve toward increasing complexity. It doesn’t support atheism or theism, it just is how things seem to work.

    If someone wants to be an atheist, they should be an atheist, and if someone wants to believe in gods or universal intelligence, they should go ahead and do that.

    Neither is based on science, because science does not know what life is or why it evolved.

  18. Willyon 24 Sep 2015 at 7:18 pm

    arnie: After reading hardnose for a few days, I’m beginning to see the wisdom of ignoring such folk. :«)

  19. Willyon 24 Sep 2015 at 7:31 pm

    “hardnose on 24 Sep 2015 at 6:22 pm Oh man, don’t people get tired of hearing me say the same things over and over and over?”

    Yes, we do!

  20. Davdoodleson 24 Sep 2015 at 7:35 pm


    If the bronze-agers’ petty superstitions were threatened by the current state of research into the role of H.Pylori in gastric disease, I guess we’d be hearing all about “Warren/Marshall-ism”.

    They can’t win on the facts. Because they’re wrong on the facts.

  21. MikeBon 24 Sep 2015 at 8:21 pm

    There really is something on the Internet worse than The Troll:

    The people who can’t resist responding to him.

  22. petrucioon 25 Sep 2015 at 1:13 am

    I’d change “and then will evolve adaptations to optimize the function” to “and then evolve adaptations that optimize the function” (remove WILL, change TO for THAT). The first form might imply that evolution has a target goal, a silly but common misconception that we can alleviate with these small language fixes.

  23. arnieon 25 Sep 2015 at 5:35 am

    Willyon 24 Sep 2015 at 7:18 pm
    arnie: After reading hardnose for a few days, I’m beginning to see the wisdom of ignoring such folk. :«)

    MikeBon 24 Sep 2015 at 8:21 pm
    There really is something on the Internet worse than The Troll:
    The people who can’t resist responding to him.

    I’m sure some are weary of hearing me say it, but I really do think the blog would be well-served by simply letting extreme trolls like HN and ME just hang out there twisting in the wind. They might not “die” and disappear, but they almost certainly would “wither” over time.

    Anyone who doesn’t realize that theism and atheism are not equivalent ideological belief systems understands neither logic nor science. The former IS the ideological, evidence-free belief system while the latter simply acknowledges that fact and THEREFORE is without any reason or motivation whatsoever to believe in the former (therefore the “a” preceeding “theism”).

    But worse, HN/ME both repeatedly attempt to sabotage this great blog-site by their ignorance and arrogance. IMO, there is no longer an iota of added value in feeding that through endless responses, even though logical and science-based.

  24. arnieon 25 Sep 2015 at 5:51 am

    BTW, I’m not holding my breath on this. I recognize there is a ubiquitous, almost irresistible attraction in ignorance and arrogance drawing us to fight it even when the battle has proven useless, as in the case of ME/HN. (Of course, I’ve noticed it takes more of an effort to fight the same in our own thinking :-), at least speaking for myself.)

  25. hardnoseon 25 Sep 2015 at 10:37 am

    I am not interested in trolling or fighting, only in searching for logic and evidence. I guess if I am fighting anything it’s close-minded authoritarianism. I want to help people get free of ideologies so they can start to think logically.

  26. Pete Aon 25 Sep 2015 at 2:15 pm

    “I am not interested in trolling or fighting, only in searching for logic and evidence. I guess if I am fighting anything it’s close-minded authoritarianism. I want to help people get free of ideologies so they can start to think logically.”

    Then start by firstly applying that to yourself, which involves the hard graft of properly learning critical thinking skills; then followed by having to admit to yourself the gruelling truth that most of your life has been spent thinking, writing, and speaking little other than abject bullshit. I can assure you that it isn’t an easy task: this task might well qualify as being the most deeply unpleasant and difficult task that any fully-functioning reasonably successful human being can ever undertake.

    It is trivial to pick faults in others and to point them out. It takes enormous strength of character to admit our own faults and failings, firstly to ourselves, then to openly admit them and to humbly apologise for our plethora of errors. Praying sincerely for forgiveness from our chosen deity, or confessing to a priest, is an extremely tempting lazy cop-out, but this modus operandi is totally transparent to everyone who has chosen the long hard pathway towards discovering the truth of reality, and using it to genuinely help others.

    ME/HN is a shining example of the way in which many/most people denigrate everyone who doesn’t agree with their ideology / system of beliefs. It has been endlessly pointed out to you that the “a” in atheism means the absence of theism, it most definitely does not mean holding a belief system that possesses a phase and magnitude vector in the domain of theism. Likewise for 21st Century evidence-based science and medicine.

    It is committing a fundamental category error to equivocate: theism and atheism; beliefs and science. It’s as pathetically inept as would be measuring entropy in units of furlongs per fortnight.

    For those who truly wish to begin understanding how extremely complex systems can arise from very simple beginnings, such as atoms, I suggest the following experiment… While boiling eggs in a pan, turn up the heat beyond that which is necessary: notice the incredibly complex patterns of waves and bubbles that appear on the surface of the water and listen to the sound. Try to explain what you observe in terms of religion, then in terms of science. When your amusement starts to wane, I’d like you to think about the fact that our Sun radiates circa 3.8E26 watts — a staggering 380 quadrillion gigawatts — which it has been doing each and every second for the last circa four billion years. Each square metre of planet Earth that is exposed to direct sunlight has been bombarded with 3.6E21 photons per second, which amounts to 1360 watts, for circa four billion years. What would you expect to be the end result of this huge energy input that defies the imagination: nothing; bare rocks; or highly complex patterns, such as the life forms that we observe existing?

    The second law of thermodynamics is frequently abused by religionists who claim that it states only that entropy increases (i.e. order diminishes) with the passage of time. This is a deliberate misdirection to support an ideological agenda. My example of boiling eggs in a pan irrefutably demonstrates that entropy does not increase with the passage of time; in fact, it clearly shows that entropy decreases (i.e. complexity increases) as the energy input increases. Just because science can’t predict the exact pattern of waves, bubbles, and sounds that occur while boiling your eggs does not lead to the conclusion that science is hopelessly wrong or is otherwise an unreliable guide to what actually occurs in reality. No religious texts nor prophets have ever told us that bacteria and viruses cause so many diseases in humans and other animals, we’ve had to figure it out the hard way using the modern scientific method.

    Dr Michael Egnor has helped improve the life of many patients, not because he was instructed by his God, but because he exercised due diligence during his evidence- and science-based extensive training, and he continued to exercises the same due diligence throughout his career in a very specific field of medical endeavour. I find it very sad that high-profile religious organisations ruthlessly exploit to the max those who have accomplished so much during their lifetime and turn them into more-than-willing, yet woefully incompetent, defenders of the faith.

    Neurosurgeons seem particularly vulnerable to religious indoctrination and exploitation. Eben Alexander III being an infamous example: an American neurosurgeon and the author of the book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, in which he describes his 2008 near-death experience and asserts that science can and will determine that heaven really does exist.

  27. DanDanNoodleson 25 Sep 2015 at 2:17 pm

    In fact, bottom up organization is associated, if anything, with greater potential complexity.

    This is probably the creationist argument that puzzles me the most. Any designer worth his salt seeks to make designs as simple as possible. Why introduce unnecessarily complexity? That’s not to say that some systems aren’t overly complex, just that that complexity is a result of imperfect design.

    But in this case, the “designer” they are so careful not to name is their omniscient, omnipotent Christian god. You would expect that the world such a being would come up with would be simple — exceedingly so, since he is not just in charge of the design, he is also in charge of the design parameters, as well, i.e. God would not have had to worry about gravity in his designs, because he could just change gravity. He should be utterly incapable of producing a sub-par design.

    Why not just make animals animated sacks of clay, composed of a single substance throughout? Not only would it be simpler, it would be far less cruel. Why make so much of the earth inhospitable to life? Why make humans need food at all, when food scarcity has been such a source of misery throughout our existence?

    The inevitable argument is that “we cannot understand the mind of God”. But there is no getting around the fact that arguing that the immense complexity of the universe is an argument against evolution is also arguing that God fairly much bungled the job.

  28. Banzai Otison 25 Sep 2015 at 2:26 pm

    @hardnose If you are so committed to logic, then maybe you could respond to the point I actually made about genetic algorithms, instead of the silly strawman that they are “exactly the same thing” as the evolution of life (which, you might notice when you reread my post, I anticipated and specifically addressed in the first place).

    The mechanisms you listed are sufficient to produce the emergent phenomenon of evolution. That is a fact, which you can easily demonstrate to yourself on the computer you are using right now. So, like steve12 said, if you want to argue against the evolution of life, you either have to argue:

    1) That one or more of these mechanisms are not present, or
    2) That there is some other factor in life that is interfering

    So, which is it?

  29. Pete Aon 25 Sep 2015 at 3:22 pm


    The energy density efficiency of our Sun (and other main-sequence stars) is only 0.72%. Our Sun is about half way through its lifetime of circa 10 billion years.

    The energy density efficiency of the metabolism of food has the idiotically low value of 2E-10: a value so low that it guarantees that only the very fittest members of each species will survive. The individuals who are fit enough to spend most of their waking hours desparately searching for food.

    It is estimated that more than 99% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct.

    Mere humans can easily spot the lack of intelligence and the gross incompetence displayed by the apprentice god who was given the task of designing our universe. I think our universe was, and still is, allowed to continue to exist because it serves as a shining exemplar of how apprentices often totally f’up the science and logic that they truly believe they’ve mastered, despite not actually having bothered to stay awake during their lectures.

  30. a_haworthrobertson 25 Sep 2015 at 6:28 pm

    So have they found ‘human’ or ‘extinct ape’ bones in the South African cave, Michael? Which YECs are ‘correct’ (if any)?

  31. Nitpickingon 26 Sep 2015 at 8:58 pm


    Two points:

    One, Piltdown wasn’t a fake fossil at all. It was several perfectly real fossils, presented in a fraudulent manner. Actually faked fossils would have been caught much more easily and quickly.

    Two, counterexample to the “birds needed hollow bones before they could fly” argument: bats. Bones not hollow, fly really, really well. According to Snyder they can’t exist, apparently.

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