Access Research Network: Lie Big. Lie Often.

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels

One of those crackpot creationist institutions dedicated to dismantling everything that has been accomplished since the Enlightenment and plunging us all back into the Dark Ages is called Access Research Network. I think the only research these morons are trying to access is that done by Joseph Goebbels:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
—Attributed to Goebbels

ARN has just published a press release promoting their year-end top ten list, “Top 10 Darwin and Design News Stories of 2007”. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

As is typical of press releases, there is a quotation from one of their head guys, in this case Kevin Wirth, Director of Media Relations. He says:

Part of our mission at ARN is to help educate the public about issues relating to Darwin and Design. Not only are there a lot of moving parts to this issue, but it also suffers heavily from significant mis-information.

Yes. Most of it coming from fundie disinformation sites like ARN.

The news reports we’ve cited in our Top 10 News Stories this year reflect many of those concerns…. One of the things we’ve noticed is that the probability surrounding the notion that life arose spontaneously and evolved over eons is straining the limits of credulity among observers who are not heavily invested in Darwinian speculations.

OK, smart guy. Who are all of these so-called scientists who reject evolution? I’m waiting. And don’t give me that list of mathematicians and physicists you retards have been pedaling for the last few years. Who are the life scientists? You know, the people who actually study biology.

[T]he level of biological complexity being discovered in early life history provided another challenge for Darwin’s molecule-to-man theory in 2007.

Now which theory would that be? Darwin never proposed a “molecule-to-man” theory. He merely described how one species (that already existed) could evolve into another. I told you ARN was a creationist disinformation site. The origin of life (abiogenesis) is a separate issue.

Well-preserved jellyfish fossil finds in Utah confirm that the modern form of the jellyfish existed nearly 200 million years earlier than previously thought. This leaves an insufficient amount of time for complex life to have developed only via the Darwinian principles of random mutations and natural selection.

Then it’s a good thing that modern evolutionary theory abandoned Darwinism as the sole explanation decades ago. Once again, this is creationist disinformation at work. In fact, almost all creationist claims are rooted in this one disinformation tactic.

The press release then starts quoting Dennis Wagner, ARN Executive Director:

We have a whole generation of people who have been raised according to Darwinian fairytales, like ‘human and chimpanzee genetics only differ by 1%’….

They then cite a study that indicates that the genetic difference between chimps and humans is closer to 6%. I fail to see how that’s relevant to their argument. Science marches forward, unlike Biblicalism. If you read the article cited, everything about it supports evolution. If ARN is going to try to shoot down evolution, they should try to find a study that actually does so.

These are Darwinian ‘arguments from ignorance’….

Pot, meet Kettle!

Pot, meet Kettle!
(image from Fundies Say the Darndest Things)

Wagner also noted that several new books in the ARN 2007 Top 10 Darwin and Design Resource list such as Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution and Mike Gene’s The Design Matrix are causing a healthy shift in the debate from ‘Darwin versus Design’ to ‘Darwin and Design.’

You can’t shift something that doesn’t exist. There was no “Darwin versus Design” debate in the first place, at least not among scientists.

The debate has been highly polarized for generations because you have one group claiming everything can be explained by Darwin…

Those would have to be the creationists. As I explained above, they’re the only ones who are still fixated on the antiquated notion of “Darwinism”. Real scientists have long since moved on to the Modern Synthesis of genetics and evolution.

…and another group claiming everything can be explained by design.

Those would also be the creationists. They must be a very confused group of people, having polarizing debates among themselves like that.

These new books are revealing that scientific evidence is now indicating life bears the hallmarks of both.

No. These new books are revealing that the authors are incapable of understanding modern biology, and are therefore resorting to “God did it”.

Creationist frog

Wirth concluded, “As we monitor scientific discoveries and reports in the news, I think we’re beginning to see a growing trend overall that the sufficiency of Darwinian explanations to describe how life evolved is turning out to be substantially inadequate in a growing number of fields, particularly in the areas of genetics and molecular biology.

Look, Clowndick. If you’re just now seeing that “Darwinism” is inadequate to explain everything, then I suggest you throw away your 1920 textbook and learn some modern biology.

32 Responses to “Access Research Network: Lie Big. Lie Often.”

  1. ParrotLover77 Says:

    As I pointed out in a different (old) thread. This is my favorite answer to that “giant” list of hundreds of “scientists” that doubt evolution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Steve

  2. Ron Britton Says:

    Yes, that list does an excellent job of putting things in perspective.

  3. es58 Says:

    just to make the steve list more interesting, and to level the playing field a little, let there be a lottery every 2 years, and whoever is selected, if untenured, loses his job and takes up a job outside science; [ala crocker, kenyon, gonzalez, sternberg, etc] let him explain to his wife and kids that he lost his position because he placed his name on a harmless little list; I suggest that if there were a risk like that involved, the list would be nearly empty (interestingly raising the probability of the remaining signers of losing their positions); the point is, the mere signing of the other document necessarily incurs such risks for the signers, and the signers of the steve list risk nothing; perhaps you have a 2nd favorite answer?

  4. Ron Britton Says:

    The purpose of the Steve list is just to show how easy it is to create an arbitrary list.

    Most of the signers of the anti-evolution list risk absolutely nothing, contrary to your assertion. Very few of them are biologists. Who cares if a computer scientist working for Intel (for example) rejects evolution?

  5. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Actually, I think the BIG LIE resides elsewhere…

    “…I throw in derogatory terms, such as “crackpot” and “moron”, but they are accurately descriptive. ”

    Yes, I suppose so, in the same sense that the word “darkie”, “spic”, “wetback” and worse are ‘accurately descriptive’ in the minds of those who (like you) feel that such comments are warranted for blacks and latinos.

    You said:

    “OK, smart guy. Who are all of these so-called scientists who reject evolution?”

    First of all, I didn’t say that. I said: “straining the limits of credulity among observers who are not heavily invested in Darwinian speculations.”

    People who get paid to say “I believe in evolution” are not about to throw stones at their own paycheck. The best and most honest comments come from people who have no vested interest in Darwinism, or who are so far up the the Darwinian food chaing they can afford to say whatever they want.

    As for ARN being a disinformation site, well, we get our information straight from from scientists, science writers, and other people who have little or nothing to lose from sharing their honest opinions. We don’t write it, we just report it. So, as to the source of disinformation, you need to point the finger somewhere else pal.

    Cheers.

    Kevin Wirth
    ARN

  6. ParrotLover77 Says:

    Kevin –

    First, try again without invoking the straw man argument, okay?

    Second, science evolves (pardon the pun) over time to embrace better models of the universe as we know it to explain how it works. I do not believe the “Darwinian religion” argument, which is to say, that scientists are so heavily invested in “Darwinism” that they go above and beyond to strain the very limits of science and twist their findings to help add evidence to a theory which is not true. I don’t buy it. Here’s why. When Copernicus suggested that the Earth was not the center of the universe, did fellow scientists try to stop him? Did fellow scientists try to ruin his life for arguing a new idea? No, it was the church. Same for Galileo. Same for Darwin. Same for Einstein.

    New theories are rejected when the evidence is not compelling or the conclusions from the proofs do not make sense or when the experiments are not reproducible. Look up perpetual motion machines on the Google for some good fun BAD science.

    Science suggests models for how things work. It is absolutely undeniable that the Darwinian model was a good model for its day, although it’s not the prevailing model any more than Newton’s model for planetary movements is today. Newton’s model works in small systems where relativity isn’t an issue, but does not account for relativistic influences (such as tracing the path of light over long distances).

    It is absolutely pointless to suggest a model is flawed but provide no other model other than “goddidit” because spontaneous creation explains nothing of the “how.” Even if “goddidit” there must be a mechanism for the how! I, like many others, refuse to accept supernaturality. Essentially, that something can change all the laws of physics. If god exists and “goddidit” there is a mechanism he used that can be measured because we have YET to find ANYTHING in this universe that cannot be modeled or measured!

    If there was compelling anti-evolution evidence (say, no fossil record showing complete transitions from one species to the next or the fact that you could not, after many generations, change the appearance of a dog or plant), there would be scientists jumping all over it trying to model it. But the fact is, there is no evidence. “Problems” in evolution are merely the problems of creating better models that work over longer periods of time in different environments with different pressures.

    This is similar to the climate versus weather argument. People can’t separate the two. Yes, we have trouble predicting whether it will rain three weeks from now (weather), but the larger trends are easily documented, such as warming and cooling trends (climate). If we weren’t able to predict climate, we wouldn’t know that next year, around the equator, it will be hot, and the poles, colder.

    Agh, I don’t know why I’m even bothering. ARN members aren’t going to be swayed by an anonymous nerd on a board. :-)

  7. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Hey, Anonymous nerds aren’t so bad. Listening and talking with folks like you is part of what we do.

    as for “science evolves (pardon the pun) over time to embrace better models of the universe as we know it to explain how it works”, I think you know better. While I agree that science SHOULD work this way, when it comes to Darwinism, this is largely a huge myth. The fact of the matter is that Darwinian science often marches to a much different drummer. Even some of our most revered Darwinians admit this.

    “But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology.”

    Gould, Stephen Jay. In the Mind of the Beholder in Natural History, 103, February, 1994.

    Others have also noticed this pattern.

    “…a scientific theory is declared invalid only if an alternative candidate is available to take its place. No process yet disclosed by the historical study of scientific development at all resembles the methodological stereotype of falsification by direct comparison with nature. ..the act of judgment that leads scientists to reject a previously accepted theory is always based upon more than a comparison of that theory with the world. The decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another, and the judgment leading to that decision involves the comparison of both paradigms with nature and with each other.”

    Kuhn, Thomas in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, IL (1962)

    “At this point it is necessary to reveal a little inside information about how scientists work, something the textbooks don’t usually tell you. The fact is that scientists are not really as objective and dispassionate in their work as they would like you to think. Most scientists first get their ideas about how the world works not through rigorously logical processes but through hunches and wild guesses. As individuals they often come to believe something to be true long before they assemble the hard evidence that will convince somebody else that it is. Motivated by faith in his own ideas and a desire for acceptance by his peers, a scientist will labor for years knowing in his heart that his theory is correct but devising experiment after experiment whose results he hopes will support his position.”

    Rensberger, Boyce in How the World Works: Guide to Science’s Greatest Discoveries. William Morrow & Co., New York, NY (1986), p.17-18.

    “Expectancy leads to self-deception, and self-deception leads to the propensity to be deceived by others…Indeed, professional magicians claim that scientists, because of their confidence in their own objectivity, are easier to deceive than other people.”

    Broad, William and Nicholas Wade in Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science. Touchstone, New York, NY (1982), p.108 ff..

    One of the biggest problems with Darwinism is the vast amount of imagination that passes as fact or “science”. While speculations, conjectures, and extrapolations are all good tools to use in scientific inquiries, they should never become confused with facts.

    With regard to reports of evolution, however, this is an undeniable problem.

    “Let me make it clear that my doubts about the general theory of evolution do not arise from religious objections. I want my daughter to have access to the fruits of scientific enquiry, whatever those findings should prove to be. But I am seriously concerned, on purely rational grounds, that generations of school and university teachers have been led to accept speculation as scientific theory and faulty data as scientific fact; that this process has accumulated a mountainous catalog of mingled fact and fiction that can no longer be contained by the sparsely elegant theory; and that it is high time that the theory was taken out of it’s ornate Victorian glass cabinet and examined with a fresh and skeptical eye.”

    Milton, Richard in Shattering the Myths of Darwinism. Park Street Press, Rochester, VT (1997), p.4.

    ARN does not exist to dis science, in fact, we embrace good science. But we do think there needs to be a LOT more acknowledgement re the way science REALLY works, not the caricature that you so (pardon me) naively promote.

    You said:

    “New theories are rejected when the evidence is not compelling or the conclusions from the proofs do not make sense or when the experiments are not reproducible. Look up perpetual motion machines on the Google for some good fun BAD science.”

    Ok, so let’s assume you are correct. How then, has Darwinism managed to survive in spite of so many unresolved issues that do not support it?

    “In all major lineages, the earliest known members had already achieved the basic body plan of their living descendants. They differed in details, but most can be readily allied with their modern descendants . . . . Few fossils are yet known of plausible intermediates between the invertebrate phyla, and there is no evidence for the gradual evolution of the major features by which the individual phyla or classes are characterized.”

    Carroll, Robert in Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution. Cambridge University Press, (1997), p.4.

    “To propose and argue that mutations even in tandem with ‘natural selection’ are the root-causes for 6,000,000 viable, enormously complex species, is to mock logic, deny the weight of evidence, and reject the fundamentals of mathematical probability.”

    Cohen, I.L. in To propose and argue that mutations even in tandem with ‘natural selection’ are the root-causes for 6,000,000 viable, enormously complex species, is to mock logic, deny the weight of evidence, and reject the fundamentals of mathematical probability.. New Research Publications, Inc., New York, NY (1984), p.81.

    “Much evidence can be advanced in favour of the theory of evolution from biology, biogeography and paleontology, but I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition.”

    Corner, E.J.H. in Evolution in Contemporary Botanical Thought. Quadrangle Books, Chicago, IL (1961), p.97.

    “Virtually all the fundamentals of the orthodox evolutionary faith have shown themselves to be either of extremely doubtful validity or simply contrary to fact…. So basic are these erroneous [evolutionary] assumptions that the whole theory is now largely maintained in spite of rather than because of the evidence…… As a consequence, for the great majority of students and from that large ill-defined group, ‘the public,’ it has ceased to be a subject of debate. Because it is both incapable of proof and yet may not be questioned, it is virtually untouched by data which challenge it in any way. It has become in the strictest sense irrational…… Information or concepts which challenge the theory are almost never given fair hearing….”

    Custance, Arthur in Evolution: An Irrational Faith. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI (1976), p.173.

    “Unfortunately evidence of the crucial steps leading to the origin of insects have not yet been found in the fossil record. Wings have contributed more to the success of insects than any other anatomical structures, yet the historical origin of wings remains largely a mystery. The earliest insect fossils that have been discovered, from the Pennsylvanian Period, were already winged…Thus the body structures that developed into wings, the steps in the evolution, and the ecological circumstances that favored wings are debatable.”

    Daly, H.V., J.T. Doyen, and P.R. Ehrlich. in Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity. McGraw Hill, New York, NY (1978), p.274.

    “Considering the way the prebiotic soup is referred to in so many discussions of the origin of life as an already established reality, it comes as something of a shock to realize that there is absolutely no positive evidence for its existence.”

    Denton, Michael “Chapter Eleven: The Enigma of Life’s Origin” in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Adler & Adler, Chevy Chase, MD (1996), 1st edition, p.261.

    I could go on like this all day, but, I think (hope) you get the idea. The issues in evolution are NOT as well resolved (or even resolved at all in most instances) as you seem to think. I urge to educate youself better on this point.

    And, please don’t try to hand me my head on a platter for sharing these quotes. If you have a mind to dismiss what I’ve offered here, then you go and find your own. They are out there by the bucketload if you care to look.

    Kevin Wirth
    ARN

  8. ParrotLover77 Says:

    Amusingly, most of the very quotes you quote support our argument about dogmatic religious beliefs interfering with hypothesis and experiments better than it does apply to the ever-evolving world of science.

    Also, you are again confusing “origin” with “evolution” which are two totally separate topics entirely.

    Lastly, arguments about the particulars of evolution (ie, how one specific species evolved into another) is not the same as evolution as a whole being unfounded. I dare you to ask most of the scientists you quoted who argue about specific patterns how they feel about the theory as a whole.

  9. ParrotLover77 Says:

    Lastly (part 2), stop saying “Darwinian” when you mean “evolution.” The Darwinian theory was revolutionary for its time, but Darwin’s model is outdated.

  10. Ron Britton Says:

    Now open, the Kevin Wirth Quote Mine!

    Kevin Wirth at his day job.

    Kevin, you dumped an ore-car full of quotes on us. You must have been in that mine all day! But did you bring back gold or fool’s gold?

    Your quotes can be broken down into three categories:
    1. Scientists (and science writers) discussing how science works (and its biases)
    2. Scientists discussing the fossil record
    3. Crackpot creationists

    I know you don’t like the word “crackpot”, but people who do not understand science are not qualified to pretend that they do.

    You front-loaded your post with the first category. At least you’re starting off strong. These people have credibility:
    • Stephen Jay Gould
    • Thomas Kuhn
    • Boyce Rensberger
    • William Broad and Nicholas Wade

    What they’re discussing is problems that occur with individual scientists or small groups of scientists. They have a stake in the hypothesis, so their judgment can become clouded. Individual scientists and small groups can become biased. However, science as a whole does not have this problem. There are always other scientists out there looking to poke holes in new ideas. Once all of the potential holes have been poked, if the idea has survived, it has become an established theory. That doesn’t mean it’s off limits or scientists stop trying to dethrone it. Every time new data comes along that casts an old theory in a new light, the old theory is reexamined.

    Next are the scientists discussing the fossil record. You only had two of these:
    • Robert Carroll
    • Daly, Doyen, and Ehrlich

    The fossil record is not a photograph of evolution from the earliest microbe to all extant forms of life. This makes creationists like you giddy, because you know it will never be a complete record. You’ll always have some gap here or there to point to.

    What the fossil record does show is incontrovertible proof that evolution occurred, and it tells us many of the details of how. The quotes you presented are merely scientists discussing where the record is incomplete and how the missing data fits with existing theory. This is how those theories are fine tuned. There is nothing here to say “Goddidit”.

    Finally, you stick all of the crazies at the end of your post.

    Richard Milton is not a religious creationist, but he’s clearly unqualified to write on the subject of evolution. In fact, since you quoted Robert Carroll above, let’s look at what he thinks about one of Milton’s books. From Wikipedia:

    Robert Todd Carroll has reviewed Alternative Science, citing examples of selective thinking, ad hominem and straw man arguments, conspiracy theories, argument from ignorance and false dilemmas.

    Next you quote I.L. Cohen, who is a creationist.

    Then you quote Arthur Custance, who is a creationist and an advocate of Bible prophecy.

    Finally, you present your coup de grace, Michael Denton! Denton is one of the originators of Intelligent Design creationism and was a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

    All in all, your quote mining has proven nothing. I’ll have to postpone ripping through your other arguments until tomorrow, because I have something productive to do right now.

  11. Kevin Wirth Says:

    To Parrotlover77:

    I DON’T confuse origins with evolution. I just threw it in the mix because it is one of the bigger assumptions (that life arose from non-life) held by many scientists – in spite of the lack of evidence.

    And then you said: “Lastly, arguments about the particulars of evolution (ie, how one specific species evolved into another) is not the same as evolution as a whole being unfounded. I dare you to ask most of the scientists you quoted who argue about specific patterns how they feel about the theory as a whole.”

    Oh, to be sure, many of those scientists DO in fact “believe” in evolution, no question. But others (in growing numbers) are having some serious doubts, or simply do not. But let’s not use that as an excuse to dismiss the comments made by so many in moments of honest reflection.

    And, fom my perspective, you cannot possibly arrive at a general extrapolation of evolution without sufficient evidence to warrant it in specific instances where there are no other possible explanations. The ‘particulars of evolution’ must in fact be nailed down SOMEWHERE in indisputable ways before you can give full-fledged credence to the general theory. You must have some considerable and compelling specifics to extrapolate from to support a general acceptance of a Darwinian interpretation of the evidence – and that includes compelling answers to the most challegning evolutionary conundrums. All I want you to see is that there is a considerable amount of doubt about Darwinian interpretations among a great many scientists, science writers, etc. This cannot be expained away or dismissed. They’ve done the math and they’ve noted that Darwinism comes up short in too many key instances.

    “Because of the redundancy in the genetic code it is not possible to work backward from the amino acids of a protein to the triplets of base pairs which coded for it—on the average there are about three different triplets coding for the same amino acid. Even though natural selection may hold a protein to a unique chain of amino acids, shifts of base pairs can occur provided they do not go outside the redundancy permitted by the genetic code. … Essentially, the same amino acid chain being found also in other animals and even in plants, we have a case in histone-4 where more than 200 base pairs are conserved across the whole of biology. The problem for the neo-Darwinian theory is to explain how the one particular arrangement of base pairs came to be discovered in the first place. Evidently not by random processes, for with a chance 1/4 of choosing each of the correct base pairs at random, the probability of discovering a segment of 200 specific base pairs is 4 -200, which is equal to 10 -120. Even if one were given a random choice for every atom in every galaxy in the whole visible universe the probability of discovering histone-4 would still only be a minuscule ~10 -40.”

    Hoyle, Fred in Mathematics of Evolution. Acorn Enterprises, Memphis, TN (1999), p.102-103.

    “The origin of the [genetic] code is perhaps the most perplexing problem in evolutionary biology. The existing translational machinery is at the same time so complex, so universal) and so essential that it is hard to see how it could have come into existences or how life could have existed without it. The discovery of ribozymes has made it easier to imagine an answer to the second of these questions, but the transformation of an ‘RNA world’ into one in which catalysis is performed by proteins, and nucleic acids specialize in the transmission of information, remains a formidable problem”

    Smith, John Maynard and Szathmary, Eors in The Major Transitions in Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., Oxford, (1995), p.81.

    “[I]t seems to require many thousands, perhaps millions, of successive mutations to produce even the easiest complexity we see in life now. It appears, naively at least, that no matter how large the probability of a single mutation is, should it be even as great as one-half, you would get this probability raised to a millionth power, which is so very close to zero that the chances of such a chain seem to be practically non-existent.”

    Ulam, Stanislaw M. “How to Formulate Mathematically Problems of Rate of Evolution” in Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution. Wistar Institute Press, (1966), p.21.

    And, if you read widely enough, you’ll discover this is a huge problem in many instances where the application of a Darwinian view is much like trying to make a round peg fit into a square hole.

    “In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to ‘bend’ their observations to fit in with it…. To my mind, the theory does not stand up at all… I know that [considering creation theory] is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it.”

    Lipson, H.. A Physicist Looks at Evolution in Physics Bulleton, 1980.

    “Considerable disagreements between scientists have arisen about detailed evolutionary steps. The problem is that the principal evolutionary processes from prebiotic molecules to progenotes have not been proven by experimentation and that the environmental conditions under which these processes occurred are not known. Moreover, we do not actually know where the genetic information of all living cells originates, how the first replicable polynucleotides (nucleic acids) evolved, or how the extremely complex structure-function relationships in modern cells came into existence”

    Dose, Klaus. The Origin of Life: More Questions Than Answers in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 13(4), 1988.

    And so, the list of missing evidence goes on…

    Kevin Wirth
    ARN

  12. Kevin Wirth Says:

    To Ron Britton,

    Hey – thanks for that nifty image for my quote mining efforts! Do you own the rights to this image? Can I use it? Maybe you can actually put “Quote Mine” on the car – THAT would be really cool!

    I can easily (QUITE easily) limit my quoted comments to just evolutionists if you prefer. Makes no difference to me. I just happen to enjoy what some of those creationists have to say.

    You said:

    “Your quotes can be broken down into three categories:
    1. Scientists (and science writers) discussing how science works (and its biases)
    2. Scientists discussing the fossil record
    3. Crackpot creationists

    I know you don’t like the word “crackpot”, but people who do not understand science are not qualified to pretend that they do.”

    Well, I think we can get along just fine without resorting to name-calling. It really doesn’t enhance the discussion one bit.

    OK, I’ll accept your categorization of the quotes I provided – for now (excluding the ‘crackpot’ comment)

    You said:

    “What they’re discussing is problems that occur with individual scientists or small groups of scientists. They have a stake in the hypothesis, so their judgment can become clouded. Individual scientists and small groups can become biased. However, science as a whole does not have this problem.”

    Yes, and I agree wholeheartedly (except for Broad and Wade’s comments – which DO apply across the board). In fact, I think my words were pretty clear on this when I said:

    “as for “science evolves (pardon the pun) over time to embrace better models of the universe as we know it to explain how it works”, I think you know better. While I agree that science SHOULD work this way, when it comes to Darwinism, this is largely a huge myth. The fact of the matter is that Darwinian science often marches to a much different drummer. Even some of our most revered Darwinians admit this.”

    So yes, I clearly DO make the distinction when it comes to Darwinism (as contrasted with the rest of science). I said “Darwinian science often marches to a much different drummer” (than the rest of science – is what I was intending to convey).

    So we don’t disagree here.

    Then you said:
    “Once all of the potential holes have been poked, if the idea has survived, it has become an established theory. That doesn’t mean it’s off limits or scientists stop trying to dethrone it. Every time new data comes along that casts an old theory in a new light, the old theory is reexamined.”

    Well, again, I don’t think we’re far apart on this one either, since I’ve just made a post where I stated that:

    “The ‘particulars of evolution’ must in fact be nailed down SOMEWHERE in indisputable ways before you can give full-fledged credence to the general theory. You must have some considerable and compelling specifics to extrapolate from to support a general acceptance of a Darwinian interpretation of the evidence – and that includes compelling answers to the most challegning evolutionary conundrums.”

    It’s the many conundrums that challenge a Darwinian view of the evidence that confounds even our best scientists. In my view, those are the “holes” you refer to, and there are many significant ones that have not been compellingly plugged yet.

    You said:
    “What the fossil record does show is incontrovertible proof that evolution occurred, and it tells us many of the details of how. The quotes you presented are merely scientists discussing where the record is incomplete and how the missing data fits with existing theory. This is how those theories are fine tuned. There is nothing here to say “Goddidit”.”

    Did I ever say “Goddidit”? No. I did not. All I said was, there are way too many unanswered questions that even the smartest and brightest Darwinians cannot seem to provide a compelling answer for.

    As for fossils, all they show us is the structure of critters that once lived. They do not and provide compelling “evidence” of transitions or evolution between ancient living kinds (and this is especially true of plants…). That’s because evolution is about much more than just what we can deduce from skeletons. It’s about entire system changes – the evolution of entire systems are to this day NOT DEMONSTRATED BY EVIDNECE, all we have are 98% guesses and conjectures. And THAT IS THE BEST we can do. And this isn’t one of my heresies, either. Read what your own heros have to say:

    “The facts derived from a study of fossil plants are of paramount importance for the bearing they have on the broader subjects of phylogeny and evolution. It has long been hoped that extinct plants will ultimately reveal some of the stages through which existing groups have passed during the course of their devlopment, but it must be feely admitted that this aspiritation has been fulfilled to a very slight extent, even though paleobotanical research has been in progress for more than one hundred years. As yet we have not been able to track the phylogenetic history of a single group of modern plants from its beginning to the present.”

    Arnold, Chester A. in An Introduction to Paleobotany. McGraw Hill, New York, NY (1947), p.7. (PS – yes, this quote is old, but, even the newer assessments are no different)

    “It is certain that the multicellular animals, like the two other multicellular kingdoms, the Fungi and Plantae are the descendants of the unicellular (or acellular) eukaryote protists. But there the certainty ceases. Most of the animal phyla that are represented in the fossil record first appear, fully formed, in the Cambrian some 550 million years ago…The fossil record is therefore of no help with respect to the origin and early diversification of the various animal phyla.”

    Barnes, R.S.K., P. Calow, P.J.W. Olive, and D.W. Golding in The Invertebrates: A New Synthesis. University Press, Cambridge, (1993).

    “When evolution is said to be a fact, not a theory, what is actually meant? That now-living things have descended from ancestors, with modification, over time? Or that the modifications came by chance, not by design? Or, in addition, that all living things ultimately had the same ancestor? Or, still further, that the `first living thing’ had as its ancestor a nonliving thing? Context indicates that when evolution is asserted to be a fact, not a theory, the view actually being pushed includes that of common origin, ultimate inorganic ancestry, and modification through nonpurposive mechanisms: a set of beliefs that goes far beyond the mountain of fact that is actually there, which consists largely of fossils that demonstrate *some* sort of relationship and *some* sort of change over time.”

    Bauer, H.H. in Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, IL (1994), p.65.

    “It is, however, when we come to consider the actual course or lineage in the subsequent diversification of organisms…that we meet with disappointment and frustration if we rigorously distinguish between evidence and speculation…At this time there are no known living or fossil forms which unequivocally link any two of the proposed divisions.”

    Bold, Harold C. in Morphology of Plants. Harper & Row, (1967), p.515.

    “One of the most surprising negative results of palaeontological research in the last century is that such transitional forms seem to be inordinately scarce. In Darwin’s time this could perhaps be ascribed with some justification to the incompleteness of the palaeontological record and to lack of knowledge, but with the enormous number of fossil species which have been discovered since then, other causes must be found for the almost complete absence of transitional forms.”

    Brouwer, A. in General Palaeontology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL (1967), 1st edition, p.162-163.

    “Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. … That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin. Darwin himself, … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search … One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction was wrong.”

    Eldredge, N. & Tattersall, Ian “Chapter III: Evolution: The Myth of Constant Adaptive Change” in The Myths of Human Evolution. Columbia University Press, New York, NY (1982), 1st edition, p.45,46.

    So, in conclusion, what we see in the fossil record is a pattern of fits and starts – without the clear evidence of transitionals predicted by Darwinism.

    “Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group. Thus, it has seldom been possible to piece together ancestor-dependent sequences from the fossil record that show gradual, smooth transitions between species.”

    Hickman, C.P.; Roberts, L.S.; and Hickman, F.M. in Integrated Principles of Zoology. Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, St. Louis, MO (1988), p.866.

    I suggest that the notion that one critter has been “replaced” by another is not evidence – but a Darwinian assumption, and is therefore hardly evidence.

    The Kevin Wirth quote mine runs deep… ;>)

    Kevin Wirth
    ARN

    PS
    Read Barbara Stahl’s “VERTEBRATE HISTORY: Problems in Evolution” and then come back and tell me which vertebrates we have a clear history of (including significant transitions) spanning time from Cambrian to the present – and I will shut up.

    I’m not asking for a lot – just 5 different critters.

  13. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Just to clarify – I’m asking for the compelling evolutionary history of just 5 different vertebrates. And, let’s leave whales out of it – something else please.

  14. Bunkie Says:

    But Whales are such a wonderful and compelling example. Do you not like that example because it is so compelling??

  15. Brian Says:

    I am not a scientist. I do not play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. However, I do possess an understanding of, and a profound appreciation for the way science works. Evolution is not a difficult notion to wrap one’s head around if one has the curiosity and the wits to do so. Evolution is an elegant, intuitive, and awe-inspiring description of how we came to be. It’s amazing to me that no one before Darwin figured it out.

    What is not amazing to me is the fact that opponents of evolution are motivated in some degree by their obsession with religion. Their objections have nothing to do with reason or reality. Evolution is the fight they constantly pick (and lose) because it is the most dramatic refutation of part of the Bible. It dares to suggest the man didn’t need a supernatural sugardaddy to get here. It also leads a reasonable person to conclude that if Genesis were not correct, perhaps other parts of the Bible, if not the whole damned thing, are also wrong. These are dangerous thought to a mind conditioned to accept ridiculous claims and stories “on faith”.

    I do not “believe” in evolution. I accept it as a satisfactory explanation, literally supported by mountains of evidence, for the diversity of life on this planet. Should a better idea come along, supported by better evidence, I shall accept that instead. Anti-evolution rhetoric likes to portray scientists as having grave doubts about a theory they are told they must support if they want to stay in the club. People who manufacture these disputes are well-versed in the arts of deception and intellectual dishonesty. Moreover, they are an insult to my intelligence. If they wish to continue wallowing in ignorance and stupidity, so be it. But their efforts threaten the education of my kids, and I will oppose it at every opportunity.

  16. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Bunkie says:

    “But Whales are such a wonderful and compelling example. Do you not like that example because it is so compelling?? ”

    Oh really? Compelling? Please, don’t me laugh hysterically (again).

    Then I think you need to read this little comment by Casey Luskin:

    “Have Darwinian paleontologists made their case? The aforementioned bird evolution expert, Alan Feduccia, observes that “the evolution of whales (the ‘poster child’ for macroevolution) from terrestrial ungulates is well documented at

  17. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Looks like this blog didn’t accept my entire post. I’ll try once more.

  18. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Bunkie,

    The case for whale evolution isn’t compelling at all because it doesn’t provide any evidence for the evolutionary development of the SYSTEMS that must have developed over time.

    Tell you what bunkie, if you can show me some solid EVIDENCE for the following, I’ll shut up on this topic.

    To provide a compelling case for whale evolution, you need to show me some intermediates demonstrating unequivocally…

    1) how the skin of land-dwelling whale precursors changed from sweat glands, fur and skin into the blubber and skin of modern whales.
    2) how the fluke (tail developed)
    3) how the breathing apparatus became modified and moved to the top of the head
    4) how the whale developed a pressure-system enabling it to dive to great depths
    5) how whales developed their sonor capabilites, enabling them to catch prey and communicate.

    I won’t accept conjecture, stories, guesses, extrapolations, etc. I need to see some solid EVIDENCE. If you come up with compelling evidence for this, I will shut up on this topic. Otherwise, I suggest you stop passing off whales as a great example just because some so-called “experts” with Darwinian prejudices say so.

    Kevin Wirth
    ARN

  19. ParrotLover77 Says:

    Until Kevin stops saying “Darwinian” he ought to be ignored as it proves how little knowledge he has of evolution (about 150 years old information to be exact) and he has no desire to provide compelling evidence nor compelling arguments to the contrary. It’s really just the same rhetoric in every post, with nothing to prove anything. Out of context quote mining doesn’t count. Last, why do proponents of established theory have the burden of proof in this case? Shouldn’t the new “radical” idea have the burden of proof? So where’s all the great evidence of ID? BTW, the flagellum isn’t proof of a designer unless you find a “Made in China” sticker on it somewhere.

  20. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Parrotlover

    If you want to snipe at the little stuff, then fine, I’ll leave you to your ramblings. But I’ve issued some pretty solid challenges here that have so far gone unanswered, and they are far more weighty than my use of the term “Darwinian”. Stop being an ankle biter and start showing me some solid evidence pal.

    1) You show your complete IGNORANCE of your obligation in this argument. The side that proposes a theory – “established” or not, always, Always ALWAYS, has the responsiblity for the burden of proof for their idea. So stop your whining, get over it, and get busy – or else stop spewing your reactionary and ineffective bile.

    2) And, you make ad hoc claims that my quotes are “out of context” without showing us how or why. Until you do the work of showing how and why, your claim on that point is also pretty much bogus. Anyone can make such a claim, but I guess that’s the way you guys like to operate.

    SHOW ME, and I’ll listen. Otherwise, put a sock in it.

  21. Kevin Wirth Says:

    Brian,

    You said:

    “I am not a scientist. I do not play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. However, I do possess an understanding of, and a profound appreciation for the way science works. Evolution is not a difficult notion to wrap one’s head around if one has the curiosity and the wits to do so. Evolution is an elegant, intuitive, and awe-inspiring description of how we came to be. It’s amazing to me that no one before Darwin figured it out.”

    That sounds oh so nice. I too understand something of how science works, and also something about how its NOT supposed to work (I trust YOU have some perspective on that as well…). Evolution is only elegant and awe-inspriring (to me) insofar as it reveals the incredible lengths to which people will go in conjuring up incredibly imaginitive stories and speculations about how many evolutionary processes “must have” operated in the past. What’s amazing to me is how so few people have actually taken the time to investigate just how intricately the web of evidence and speculation is woven into a fabric that is then alleged to be scientific fact. Fortunately, some have done this work, and I’ve noted some of them in the quotes I’ve presented here.

    You said:

    “What is not amazing to me is the fact that opponents of evolution are motivated in some degree by their obsession with religion. Their objections have nothing to do with reason or reality.”

    Now hold it mister – right there. You are SO far out of line. First, in all of the comments I have made on this site, I have never ONCE mentioned religion, and have kept the discussion grounded to a philosophical and evidence-based approach. You have NO grounds to issue this charge, since no discussion of religion has been joined here. Second, it matters not one whit what the MOTIVATION of your opponent may be – what matters is the scientific evidence and philosophical arguments put forth. You hold “reason” and “reality” in such high regard – well that’s good to know – because you should. But you should also know better than to level this charge here and now.

    You said:
    “Evolution is the fight they constantly pick (and lose) because it is the most dramatic refutation of part of the Bible. It dares to suggest the man didn’t need a supernatural sugardaddy to get here. It also leads a reasonable person to conclude that if Genesis were not correct, perhaps other parts of the Bible, if not the whole damned thing, are also wrong. These are dangerous thought to a mind conditioned to accept ridiculous claims and stories “on faith”.”

    Ok – and so I assume that as a “reasonable” person, you assume that if evolution cannot be demonstrated to account for the origin and development of life on earth, you would have only one recourse – a supernatural designer? Is that what I hear you saying? If so, then you have a vested interest in protecting evolution, with or without evidence.

    I would suggest you think long and hard about this one. Because prejudice in favor of evolution is not a good enough reason to believe. You must be able to answer the hard questions that evolution currently has no answers for.

    Surely, you MUST know what those are. If you don’t know what those questions are, then your “reasoning” is flawed, because you haven’t contemplated the most significant challenges to the theory. If you are truly committed to evolution, then you will be able to provide a well “reasoned” response for why you continue to support evolutionary theory IN SPITE OF not being able to answer those hard questions.

    So let’s hear it. Come on – don’t be shy. Spit it out.

    I do not “believe” in evolution. I accept it as a satisfactory explanation, literally supported by mountains of evidence, for the diversity of life on this planet. Should a better idea come along, supported by better evidence, I shall accept that instead. Anti-evolution rhetoric likes to portray scientists as having grave doubts about a theory they are told they must support if they want to stay in the club. People who manufacture these disputes are well-versed in the arts of deception and intellectual dishonesty. Moreover, they are an insult to my intelligence. If they wish to continue wallowing in ignorance and stupidity, so be it. But their efforts threaten the education of my kids, and I will oppose it at every opportunity.

  22. Brian Says:

    At the risk of feeding a troll…….

    Mr. Wirth, since your vast scientific expertise is sufficient to cast aside a century and a half of research (during which time scientists have diligently tried to find a fatal flaw with Darwin’s idea, and failed), please enlighten all of us dullards here by explaining biology to us. Please tell our feeble minds how the development of antibiotics and vaccines really doesn’t need that darned old evolution. Please, I’m dying to know why I was born with an appendix and tailbone. I can’t wait for you to explain how geology and cosmology are also dead wrong by dovetailing nicely with biological evolution. Instead of throwing quotations around, show us some damned research.

    As to your next point: do you deny absolutely and completely the involvement of a supernatural agent in the biohistory of this planet? Just because you haven’t mentioned religion doesn’t mean its not the sinister, malevolent force driving you to embrace the absurd and deny the obvious. And don’t pretend to be so shocked that I brought it up. Religion has everything to do with this, and even your staggering intellect knows it. Religion, in nearly all of its odious forms, has a sad and woeful history of standing in the way of human intellectual endeavors. Why is it that only the faithful have a problem with evolution? It certainly is not because you have any valid arguments supported by evidence and confirmed by other scientists, otherwise we’d have moved on from this pointless debate a long time ago. Despite what your imagination tells you, science is ruthlessly self-correcting. Bad ideas are floated from time to time and in due course are shot down by others with better evidence and better arguments. You may spout assertions to the contrary all you like, and while those delusions might protect the fantasy world you’ve come to inhabit, they do nothing to change reality.

    So I stand firmly by my assertion that you are simply a fundie pretending to know something about science. Gasp and swoon if you wish. Cry foul. Throw some more quotations around. Pretend the burden of proof does not lie with you and your superstitious ilk. Every blathering, inane comment I read from people like you only strengthens my conviction that creationists are walking, breathing examples of ignorance and credulity run amok.

  23. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Kevin – Not sure which challenge I left unanswered, unless you mean the quote mining which Ron brilliantly debunked (no need for me to reiterate). So… as you once said…

    SHOW ME, and I’ll listen. Otherwise, put a sock in it.

  24. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Brian –

    “Please, I’m dying to know why I was born with an appendix and tailbone.”

    You probably don’t want the answer. lol. I heard a fundie once explain the appendix as an organ that was used in biblical times to help process the types of foods available back then (before our modern, cleaner agriculture). I guess it was sort of an ancient organ to fight Montezuma’s revenge. ;-)

    It followed the “cannot add information into the genome” line of thought. As in, the appendix no longer functions because it’s purpose was lost or corrupted. You know… the same reason we can’t live to 900 years anymore, unlike Moses and the gang.

  25. Jim Lippard Says:

    Citing Richard Milton as an authority is a sign of crankiness… here’s how Milton deals with criticism.

    This guy was advocating “over-unity” power production devices on sci.skeptic in 1999.

  26. Brian Says:

    Kevin……Mr. Wirth……are you there? Hello? Echo……echo……echo……

    Hmm. Nobody home, just as I thought. He’s probably got a school board in Florida to pester, anyway.

  27. Ron Britton Says:

    This troll fight is thankfully over. As with the trolls of mythology, you can kill them with sunlight (facts, in our case). I did want to post this addendum for the benefit of anybody coming along later, seeing all of this, and getting a bit confused.

    The creationist challenged us to explain how any species evolved, and he specifically excluded whales. Why? Because we have a better picture of whale evolution than many other species. Prove your claim, but don’t use evidence! I’m guessing that sounds like a reasonable challenge to him, because that’s how ID creationists go about “proving” intelligent design. Hard data is such a pesky thing.

    For the benefit of anybody who swallowed his mind-poison, you can go here for the antidote. This article explains how whales evolved. It relies on more than just fossils, too. That ought to make our creationist troll happy. As the article points out, we know how whales evolved based on:

    • Paleontological evidence
    • Morphological evidence
    • Molecular biological evidence
    • Vestigial evidence
    • Embryological evidence
    • Geochemical evidence
    • Paleoenvironmental evidence
    • Paleobiogeographic evidence
    • Chronological evidence

    The article concludes:

    Taken together, all of this evidence points to only one conclusion – that whales evolved from terrestrial mammals. We have seen that there are nine independent areas of study that provide evidence that whales share a common ancestor with hoofed mammals. The power of evidence from independent areas of study that support the same conclusion makes refutation by special creation scenarios, personal incredulity, the argument from ignorance, or “intelligent design” scenarios entirely unreasonable. The only plausible scientific conclusion is that whales did evolve from terrestrial mammals. So no matter how much anti-evolutionists rant about how impossible it is for land-dwelling, furry mammals to evolve into fully aquatic whales, the evidence itself shouts them down. This is the power of using mutually reinforcing, independent lines of evidence.

  28. Evert Hamminga Says:

    The smartest scientists these days are Intelligent Drsign people. You must have a lot of “faith” to believe what the evolutionists dish up. Michael Denton’s book Evolution a Theory in Trouble opened my eyes to that years ago. People who are so sure of their “case” don’t resort to namecalling like the evolutionists do regularly.
    It seems to be a nasty kind of religion or a cult, rather.

  29. Sarah Says:

    How is evolution ‘faith-based’ at all, Evert? Kids are not given a theory and said “This is how life spread out and diversified.’ The theory is explained in great detail

    ID…That is faith based because there is and never has been any thing remotely scientific out there that supports a higher power (Outside of nature really, but that’s just me)

    How do we know that evolution is a valid scientific theory? For one, all the biological discoveries that came before and after it have all managed to link up perfectly..and yet ID (creationists) believers are fine with those theories…but not evolution because it goes against what’s listed in their preferred scripture. Then there are all the upgrades in medicine (more specifically, microevolution, but still the same concept seeing as macroevolution is simply just an awful lot of micro taking place over a much grander time scale)

    I’m not quite sure you even know what the definition of ‘faith’ is. Dictionary.com says:
    1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability
    2. belief that is not based on proof
    3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
    4. a system of religious belief

    Now for Science:
    1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
    2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3. systematized knowledge in general.
    4. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

    ID does not fit this definition because it does not follow the scientific method which has proven countless of other theories that your ‘smart’ scientists admit are fact…so how can it be wrong here?
    Here are the steps for ID to pass before it will EVER be accepted as even remotely scientific:

    1. Define the question
    2. Gather information and resources (observe)
    3. Form hypothesis
    4. Perform experiment and collect data
    5. Analyze data
    6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
    7. Publish results
    8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

    And now for my closing argument: Which IDers are you talking about? The Christians? The Jews? Who? Which God? There are over 80000 religions (some with more than one God/Goddess) how do you know which one is the right one? Or maybe it’s one that hasn’t been invented by mankind yet?

    Whatever, I believe I’ve done my part.

    PS: Great whale article, Ron! I’ve only had the premises of evolution to go off of (A fairly skimpy 8th grade overlook on the subject…and currently, I’m still stuck on genetics which has got to be the most confusing subject ever!) and so I’ve never seen our side of the whale debate…only the fundies constantly saying ‘HA! Since there’s no transitional fossils for whales, we win!’

  30. Daniel Says:

    Great retort Sarah! What, may I ask, is your current degree of education?

  31. Rod Says:

    Creationists Are Arrogant.!! Who knows how long God’s days are??

    1 of God’s days = a billion years or 10 billion?
    1 of God’s days = a million years or 10 million?

    Those the predispose to set their own dates and times are probably doomed to Hell…. Pity they will never know the truth! Me as I bounce through the pearly gates? I am going to ask St. Peter, he’s been around a while!

    Rod
    P.s. When in doubt ask God!

  32. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I asked God. He didn’t reply.

    Yes, yes, I’m feeding the troll. Here, I will post his next post before he posts it!

    “Maybe you weren’t listening with your heart!?”