Why Yes! Yes It Is!

God did it. Science class is over.

(From Hail Dubyus.)

A woman named Marcia Segelstein has a guest column in OneNeuronNow today.

ID for dummies.
(From EvolveFish)

According to her mini-bio at the bottom of that page, she was a producer at CBS News for ten years. Her appearance here pretty much puts to bed the myth of CBS News being a bastion of liberal bias.

Her column is titled “Intelligent Design for Dummies”. How great is that? I don’t have to do a thing. They’re doing their own fisking!

She writes:

Science was never my forte…

As she will demonstrate shortly.

…and heated debates over Darwinism, evolution, creationism and Intelligent Design never piqued my interest.

It’s nice to know that a news producer has a total lack of curiosity.

As far as I was concerned, all that mattered was my belief that God created the universe and everything in it. How He did it, when He did it, and what complex processes were involved were beyond my extremely limited understanding. They still are. And what continues to matter most to me is that God get the credit for creation.

That blind faith and total acceptance of what other people tell her is what keeps a person ignorant. I really don’t care whether she believes in God, but why is it so important to her that God gets the credit? How does she know he deserves it? She doesn’t, and she’s determined never to find out.

Foghorn and Junior.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Foghorn Leghorns. Foghorn was babysitting that genius kid. They play hide and seek. Foghorn hides in a shed. The kid does a major mathematical calculation, goes to a specific spot of ground and starts digging. Then, voila! He pulls Foghorn out of the ground! Foghorn is dumbfounded. He runs over to the shed where he hid, he’s about to open it, then he says “I’d better not look. I might be in there!”

What’s wrong, Marcia? Are you afraid to look?

But reading an interview in SALVO magazine with a man named Brian Westad made me understand how the predominance of Darwinism can be a stumbling block to faith, even for believing Christians.

Any time you see the word “Darwinism”, you know you’re listening to somebody who has drunk Discovery Institute Kool-Aid. At least we now know exactly where she is coming from.

Westad started out as a science major at a Christian college.

Then he wasn’t a science major.

In one of his courses he was taught what he calls the “supposed evidence of evolution and how life could come about by purely natural means.” Because of his Christian background and his unwillingness to take God out of the picture, he became what he calls a “theistic evolutionist.” God somehow sparked life, and unguided evolution then took over.

This is actually a very reasonable philosophy for those who want to keep God in the picture. Something tells me that this happy story is about to take an ugly turn, though.

But after transferring to a secular school, he took what he refers to as a “pro-atheism” philosophy course. That, along with his continuing study of biology and chemistry, made it more and more difficult to defend his belief in God.

So a rational person would accept the evidence and change his belief in God. An irrational person would cling to fantasy and delusion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I’m going to make a prediction: Brian Westad is an irrational person.

Eventually, as he told SALVO, “I decided to simply keep my mouth shut and go along with the Darwinist doctrine that appeared inescapable.”

Score!!

He started work on a project with a graduate student in science who, much to Westad’s surprise, was a Christian.

Call the jack-booted Darwinist storm troopers! One got through!

It was this fellow student who introduced him to the theory of Intelligent Design.

Wow! What are the odds that an article that uses the term “Darwinism” also mentions Intelligent Design creationism? It must be a quadrillion to one! It’s as likely as a tornado ripping through a dictionary and writing an article!

Oh, and BTW, Intelligent Design creationism isn’t a theory.

Theories make predictions. ID never does.

Theories are falsifiable. ID isn’t.

Theories are supported by peer-reviewed research. ID has none.

He watched a DVD called Unlocking the Mysteries of Life … and read a book by Michael Behe called Darwin’s Black Box. Those two resources gave him scientific arguments to counter Darwinism…

No it didn’t. I’ve read Darwin’s Black Box. It has very little science in it.

…and, as he puts it, changed his worldview.

From distorted to royally distorted!

Darwin argued that all life was the product of purely undirected natural forces….

But starting in the 1950s, knowledge of the complexity of cells began to explode. Thanks to high-powered microscopes Darwin could never have dreamed of, whole new worlds were being discovered within single cells. One cell in particular caught the attention of Dr. Michael Behe: the bacterial flagellum.

Oh noes!!! Not the Darwinists’ nightmare! (Oh, wait, that’s the banana. OK, the bacterial flagellum can be the Darwinists’ night terror. It also happens to be Michael Behe’s nocturnal emission.)

(BTW, Marcia wasn’t kidding when she told us she’s a scientific ignoramus. The bacterial flagellum isn’t a whole cell all by itself.)

This single cell…

Piece of a cell! Don’t try to use science on us, if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

…is a complex machine, much like a motor. What fascinated Dr. Behe was the fact that the bacterial flagellum could only function when all its components were present simultaneously. Thus was born the theory of irreducible complexity. [Emphasis in original. Idiocy also in original.]

Unfortunately for Michael Behe, he has no imagination. As soon as he sees something that’s too complex for his brain to handle, he invokes God. Better scientists than he are already beginning to unravel the the mysteries of the flagellum’s evolution, and so far, they haven’t seen God.

Another problem for Darwinism was the discovery of DNA, and the intricately encoded messages it contains. As one scientist puts it in Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, “The specific genetic instructions required to build the proteins in even the simplest one-celled organism would fill hundreds of pages of printed text.”

Michael Behe's comprehension skills are not complex.
(From Synapostasy.)


And this is a problem how?

The trouble with creationists is that every time they see one of the wonders of nature, they immediately ascribe it to God.

Three and a half billion years of evolution can accomplish quite a bit.

Intelligent Design began to make more and more sense to more and more scientists.

From one … to two … to three!

They realized science simply could not rule out intelligence as being responsible for the complex molecular systems now known to exist.

Darwinists beware!

Absolutely true. Nor can they rule out the possibility of a teapot orbiting Jupiter. However, good scientists focus their efforts on following trails of evidence. There is no evidence for a teapot orbiting Jupiter, nor is there evidence for a creator. Either of those would be a career maker, so as soon as evidence for either appears, you can be guaranteed there will be a scramble to publish first.

If you doubt this, research the history of cold fusion. It contradicted everything we understood about what was required to make fusion work. Yet as soon as it was announced (outside of a peer-reviewed journal, which should have been a tip-off), scientists were falling all over themselves to get a piece of it.

Considering that scientists have now determined that a full complement of human DNA contains over three-billion individual characters, and that the information storage capacity of a single DNA molecule is larger than that of the world’s largest super computer….

Bad baby! No buscuit!

This isn’t a Private, or a Sergeant, or even a Corporal. This is a Major Fail!

Three billion characters is not even three gigabytes. The hard drive on your computer is almost certainly larger than that.

Secondly, I used to work for the private company that sequenced the human genome. At the time, they had the world’s largest private super-computer (built by Compaq, BTW. I remember seeing their ads. Whatever happened to Compaq, anyway? Oh, that’s right. Carly Fiorina happened. First she ruined HP. Now she’s a major player in the Republican party. I guess they want to be ruined, too.)

Anyway, they needed the world’s largest private super-computer in order to process all of the data being generated by the human genome project. I guess they were unsuccessful, because, according to Marcia, three gigabytes is too much for a super-computer to handle.

Thirdly, I almost got a job at a company that is now routinely sequencing hundreds of genomes per year (I still can’t figure out how I botched that interview!). For a mere $5000, you can get your genome sequenced. Want to find out if you carry the Parkinson’s gene? What about Type II diabetes? What about the fundie gene? Just plunk down five grand, and you’ll know (except for the fundie gene. We’re still looking for that, even though there are many fundies named Gene.). A few years from now, the price will drop to $1000. That’s my magic price point. That’s when I’m having mine done.

The point of this is that in order to process hundreds of genomes per year, this new company requires an even bigger computer than the one first used to sequence the genome. But according to Marcia, this is impossible.

Fourthly, she said: “the information storage capacity of a single DNA molecule is larger than that of the world’s largest super computer”. There is no single DNA molecule that contains all three billion base pairs. I’m sure you’ve heard of chromosomes. That’s where the bulk of your DNA hangs out. Each chromosome holds much less than three billion base pairs. An old Palm Pilot circa 2002 could probably hold that data.

I.D. scientists believe that natural selection takes place. But they don’t believe, as Darwin did, that it is the explanation for life. Another scientist puts it this way: “Natural selection can explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest.”

“If it does not fit, you must acquit!” That’s right! Get yourself a catchy rhyme, and you can sell any fantasy you want.

Technically, their statement is correct, but it is misdirection. Evolution and abiogenesis are separate issues. Even if one isn’t solved yet, it has no bearing on the validity of the other.

Intelligent Design is science, not religion. Its proponents maintain that life was designed. They do not attempt to explain how or by whom.

If that were the whole story, it would be true. After all, aliens could have designed life and seeded our planet. Of course, that raises the Turtle Problem. If ID proponents truly considered aliens as a viable explanation, then ID might be science, but it begs the problem of who designed the aliens. That path, therefore, is a dead end, and the IDiots know it. I don’t know anyone in the ID camp who believes the alien option anyway.

Every ID creationist that I’m aware of believes that we were designed by an extremely powerful supernatural entity who has all of the characteristics of God. The fact that they don’t call it God is irrelevant. It is God by definition, and therefore religion.

Furthermore, many IDers will tell you outright that the designer is God. Kind of blows the not-a-religion story, doesn’t it?

According to Phillip Johnson, a leading I.D. scientist…

Wrong. Phillip Johnson is a lawyer. Don’t try to use facts on us, if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

…Intelligent Design is important because it poses a strictly scientific challenge to “the materialist philosophy that took control of biology in the 20th century.”

Again, it’s not scientific, but the important point here is the “materialist philosophy”. Fundies hate that. Materialism deals exclusively with the material world. God doesn’t fit into that. God, if he exists, lives happily outside our material universe. Somehow that bothers fundies, so they have to figure out how to shoehorn him into the real world.

Brian Westad now works for an organization called IDEA, Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center. Intelligent Design is gaining ground, but is not widely accepted by the scientific community. In fact, Westad says that many Darwinists harbor what he terms “extreme vitriol” towards I.D. “The level of anger, and in some cases – dare I say it – hate, that I’ve observed in the Darwinists since I started working at the IDEA Center is astonishing.”

Darwin, enemy of Christian science.
(From Neon Bubble.)

Really? Anger? You don’t suppose it’s because we’ve been fighting this battle since before the Scopes Monkey Trial, and we seem to be getting nowhere, do you? You don’t suppose it’s because every time we squelch one fake version of science the fundies are back with another, do you? Don’t you suppose that maybe we’re really sick and tired of playing Whack-a-Mole and now we really wish we could just bring in Orkin and be done with this problem once and for all? (So I’m not misquoted, I’m wishing for the extermination of creationist fake science, not the extermination of creationists!)

Westad’s job is to assist students form IDEA clubs, which promote discussion of Intelligent Design at high schools and on college campuses.

And promote the violation of the Establishment Clause.

His goal is to help students who “want to find the resources to challenge the Darwinist paradigm…”

Great! You have 20 cents. Buy yourself a gumball.

“…that is forced upon them every day.” After all, he’s been there.

The gravity paradigm is forced upon them every day as well. Living in the real world sure is a bitch!

62 Responses to “Why Yes! Yes It Is!”

  1. Gene Says:

    This is all much ado about nothing, except it demonstrates the intolerance of the sloppy human mind.

    Who cares, really, about what people think is right or wrong? What they think is clever or will agree to? In the end, it is all noise. Even my observation, but, at least, I am at ease.

    Evolution is a theory, as is posited, so it is not truth. If it is not truth, it cannot be used as a standard. QED

    Intelligent design is a notion that the theory doesn’t conflict with that of a prime mover. So?

    People would like to follow evolution but do not want to abandon the notion that there was a first mover of some sort. That’s nice.

    Has nothing to do with being a Darwinist, a very religious man, by the way. They feel that way because there really is intelligence in our design. How it got there is another story.

    To devolve into an arrogant rage over someone’s love for a deity is hardly scientific, nor is that love an assault on science, which, after all, really presents us with any real “facts.” This is Einstein talking, now me.

    Perhaps, Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” is correct; if not, we “know” nothing and we all operate in a metaphysical sphere. One from which we judge others as stupid or mad.

    The current religion of evolution is hysterical about the notion of an intelligent design because their religion is that of man’s thoughts, which can truck no other god before them. It is similar to the absence of logic when considering the precept of global warming, or is it climate change, or today’s weather.

    Throw out some numbers and quote a few experts and, presto, the new religion is set, even if the you have no idea what the experts say. Once that is done, those who are not so sure about your religion are stupid because, well, everyone knows….

    History goes round and round and those in the game believe what they believe. If you can’t doubt your own perspective, then you cannot cannot honestly hide behind science.

    Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

  2. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs Says:

    Hahahahaha, you don’t really know what Ron was writing about. These are not attacks but rather reponses to dumbass logic and justifications all held together with the woman’s ignorance on what actually is happening.

  3. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Utterly clueless. Did it really make sense to you as you were typing it?

  4. Sarah Trachtenberg Says:

    LOL “Michael Behe’s nocturnal emission.”
    Cults give away the best Kool-Aid!
    Very interesting article and quite funny– intentionally on your part, not on Segelstein’s. As a Jewish woman, it’s especially painful to me when I see a Jew (judging by her name, at least) standing up *against* science. It’s somehow worse when it’s one of us, and I rarely hear of it happening. In fact, Ben Stein was the first I’d heard of!
    I’d love a Charles Darwin Commemorative Plate. If you check my blog, a few months back I hosted a Christian Kitsch contest, so that would be a perfect comeback.
    Oh, and ID is pathetic. Talk about grasping at straws! Evolve, ID’ers!

  5. Jeff Eyges Says:

    As a Jewish woman, it’s especially painful to me when I see a Jew (judging by her name, at least) standing up *against* science. It’s somehow worse when it’s one of us, and I rarely hear of it happening. In fact, Ben Stein was the first I’d heard of!

    Sarah, it bothers me as well. It bothers me enough when Jews accept money and political favors from evangelicals on behalf of Israel, but when they get into bed with creationists, it makes me crazy. There exists a handful of Jews – Stein, Klinghoffer, Berlinksi, Rabbi Daniel Lapin and his lap dog, Michal Medved, a few others – who’ve become vocal advocates for creationism. I can’t understand why they do it; I have to assume that (in addition to neuron death) it’s an ego issue, being a big fish in a little pond. It may have to do with money as well; supposedly, Berlinksi has said that as long as the Discovery Institute keeps writing him checks, he’ll keep cashing them. In any case, I agree with you – it’s inexcusable.

  6. Sarah Trachtenberg Says:

    When you think of how Jews are so educated, are over-represented in the sciences, and are supposed to be less like Christian fundies…well…I’m glad you can understand where I’m coming from. It is a disgrace to me as a Jew (in the ethnic sense) that this happens.

  7. BizzareBlue Says:

    I don’t know anyone in the ID camp who believes the alien option anyway.

    David Icke? I don’t know much about his theories but they seemed to involve all life on earth being created by alien dragons from another universe. Makes as much sense to me as any other ID theory.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    There are always going to be a couple of people on the fringe. The alien option is merely there to give the creationists nominal cover.

    In fact, when they pinned Richard Dawkins against the wall in Expelled and asked him to explain how the alien explanation would even be possible, he came up with a plausible mechanism. They then took that out of context and screamed “Richard Dawkins thinks aliens intelligently designed humans!”

  9. OtherRob Says:

    Hey, now. Being created by alien dragons from another universe would just be cool. 😉

  10. Charles Peirce Says:

    Hey there, Charles Peirce, coming back from the dead, just wanted to poke my head in here and tell you than an infinite number of relationships can be formed from a finite amount of information. So if you take DNA, even if it is two bits of information per nucleotide, those nucleotides can be combined in an infinite number of ways. Kind of like how you’re computer is not limited to displaying certain information. It can store any type of information, because those two bits can be strung together in any combination or pairing.
    Off to my grave, have a good day Creationists.

    Sincerely,
    Charles Peirce.

  11. jono Says:

    Foghorn leghorn vid:

  12. Simon Says:

    LOL! Not only does my computer have enough space for most genomes that have been sequenced, but I could fit human, rat, mouse, jellyfish, fruit fly AND chimp in RAM alone!!!!!!!!!! And this is a laptop…