Hidden religious agendas

My recent post Scientific “authority” gave an example of writing which claimed scientific “authority” but was actually religiously motivated – although that was not admitted up-front. I think this is quite common. People will take up a stance, or write articles, in which they are motivated by religious belief – but don’t acknowledge this. Or even attempt to hide it.

A recent short article by Amanda Gefter (How to spot a hidden religious agenda). discusses this problem. She faces it in her job as a book reviews editor at New Scientist: “I often come across so-called science books which after a few pages reveal themselves to be harbouring ulterior motives. I have learned to recognise clues that the author is pushing a religious agenda.” Of course this agenda is often a creationist one. Gefter offers “a few tips for spotting what may be religion in science’s clothing.”

“Red flag number one: the term “scientific materialism”. “Materialism” is most often used in contrast to something else – something non-material, or supernatural. Proponents of ID frequently lament the scientific claim that humans are the product of purely material forces. At the same time, they never define how non-material forces might work. I have yet to find a definition that characterises non-materialism by what it is, rather than by what it is not.”


“Misguided interpretations of quantum physics are a classic hallmark of pseudoscience, usually of the New Age variety, but some religious groups are now appealing to aspects of quantum weirdness to account for free will. Beware: this is nonsense.

When you come across the terms “Darwinism” or “Darwinists”, take heed. True scientists rarely use these terms, and instead opt for “evolution” and “biologists”, respectively. When evolution is described as a “blind, random, undirected process”, be warned. While genetic mutations may be random, natural selection is not. When cells are described as “astonishingly complex molecular machines”, it is generally by breathless supporters of ID who take the metaphor literally and assume that such a “machine” requires an “engineer”. If an author wishes for “academic freedom”, it is usually ID code for “the acceptance of creationism”.

“Authors with religious motives make shameless appeals to common sense,” and how often do we here science ridiculed by “common sense.” Claims like no monkeys have had human babies as an argument against evolution.

Gefter points out “If common sense were a reliable guide, we wouldn’t need science in the first place.”

She finishes her article with some good advice:

“It is crucial to the public’s intellectual health to know when science really is science. Those with a religious agenda will continue to disguise their true views in their effort to win supporters, so please read between the lines.”


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79 responses to “Hidden religious agendas

  1. Everyone has an ulterior motive. Answers in Genesis pushes their agenda of Christian beliefs in science, pharyngula pushes PZ Myers agenda, and evolutionist journals push their agenda of evolution. You are even pushing your agenda with this blog. Everyone has an ulterior motive when they write.

    Amanda Gefter has an ulteria motive when she decides what to review for her magazine. The only difference is you agree with her agenda and so it doesn’t bother you that she suppress other ideas, as long as you don’t agree with them.


  2. This is more about deception than agendas. Perhaps a good counter-example would be if Ken were to pretend to be a Christian and write an inspirational piece about nature but with slight hints at the possibility that there is no God.

    On my long journey out of Christianity I was often struck at the level of dishonesty I found among the ranks of people who I believed at the time to be representatives of the truth. When I would see a Christian misrepresent a scientific notion and have the fallacy explained to them only to go on to knowingly use the same argument again I began to wonder whether they were really interested in the truth at all.


  3. OK mcoville you can see it cynically that way.

    But some of us have an agenda more concerned with getting at the truth than others do. This is part of the scientific ethos.

    My point of view is that we should always follow the evidence, all the evidence. Even if (especially if) that means changing ones theories, beliefs or world views.

    I too have been very struck by the phenomena Damian mentions. The theologically driven opponents of science often seem to willingly distort, deny or otherwise avoid the evidence.

    To me this is a moral question and I think it is extremely hypocritical for such people to pretend they have a moral advantage – as they often do.


  4. @1 – I’m not clear on how you can say that Amanda Gefter has an ulterior motive in deciding what to write. Her job is to review science books for a science magazine. Her motive seems quite transparent – she must determine which books are genuinely about science before including them (or, alternatively, writing a review that demonstrates their true character).
    Similarly my motive when I write is to inform students about the nature of science, & prepare them for examinations in which they are expected to demonstrate independent & critical thought processes. This may include dissecting examples of ‘not-science’. But there’s nothing ulterior about it! 😉


  5. I agree with Damian. His point about (intellectual) dishonesty of (“fundamentalist”) Christians strikes a chord. The discussions on Thinking Matters are fine examples. I agree with Ken that truth, real truth, is at the heart of scientists’ practices.

    Take a look at the “discussion” I am involved with on Thinking Matters (http://tinyurl.com/bp7oxv), which Ken has commented on (https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/scientific-authority/). This person claims to be an authority on a subject they clearly no little about. He pretends to write with a “science” aim, but gets the science so wrong, that it is clear that this is not his agenda, i.e. that he a “hidden agenda” (one that is too easy to find, though). He will not address criticism despite claiming that he wanted to discuss evidence. The only “support” he has produced is a journalists inaccurate claim. We may all have agendas, but some are honest about them and others not.


  6. I was interested to read that “academic freedom” is supposedly a Creationist term.

    What term do ‘real’ scientists use in it’s place if the want to challenge the ruling consensus/paradigm/dogma?


  7. Ross – they just go ahead and challenge it. They get on with their job using evidence, theory and validation. After all, such things in science are not a political struggle.

    “Academic freedom” has become an obvious code word. Just look at the Dover school Board who imposed a pro-ID statement on science classes (one which teachers refused to read and had to be read by a board bureaucrat) and specifically denied students a chance to discuss it.

    No one is really fooled by the current use of the code word in the US – aimed specifically at introducing non-scientific (even anti-scientific) creationist literature into science classes.


  8. Ross,

    She didn’t write that “‘academic freedom’ is a Creationist term”, she wrote that it is a code for another meaning, in effect that it is a dishonest use of a term that has a proper meaning when in practice they mean something else.


  9. And now I see that the New Scientist has pulled Amanda’s article from their website: http://www.examiner.com/x-4112-Skepticism-Examiner~y2009m3d14-New-Scientist-pulls-story-on-creationist-code (apparently someone complained).
    As usual PZ was onto it first 😉


  10. Yes – New Scientist is saying “New Scientist has received a complaint about the contents of this story. It has temporarily been removed while we investigate. Apologies for any inconvenience”. I hope there will be more details on the nature of the complaint (and complainant(s)). I can’t see how the journal can justify the action – seems very extreme. But I wonder if there is something legal in this.


  11. But I wonder if there is something legal in this.

    Bound to be, eh? It’s a good part of the ID thing after all…


  12. I wrote to NS thusly:

    I’ve read New Scientist for many years, & although I don’t currently have a subscription I often buy a copy at the campus bookshop, & recommend articles to my students. Not any longer, however. I began to have serious doubts about the quality of editorial decisions when the ‘Darwin was wrong’ cover came out. Now your decision to pull Amanda Gefter’s item (on how to recognise a creationist agenda in books) from your website has removed all doubt. This is not the action of an editorial board that’s serious about promoting science.

    If a ‘real’ science journal retracts an item – & it does happen – then it will usually state who asked for the retraction, & on occasion also provide the reason why this was requested. I will look forward with interest to NS’s explanation in this particular case. Bowing to a ‘complaint’ from a reader or readers seems hypocritical – the ‘Darwin was wrong’ cover attracted a significant amount of negative commentary & complaints to the editor, yet nothing was done about that & the cover remains a tool for the creationist lobby. This really is a double standard – for shame!

    I didn’t hear back from them when I complained about ‘Darwin was wrong’, & I don’t suppose I’ll hear back this time either. But it was good to let off steam 🙂


  13. Good on you, Alison. It would be good to hear back – but I am sure every letter will have an influence whether they respond or not.

    I think every institution has time servers and bureaucrats who are easily influenced by legal threats. It is similar to what our group
    experienced over many years. We were ordered not to publish our findings on a certain fertiliser (even to remain quiet about the whole area for a time) because of threats of legal action on the part of the importer. He knew how easily bureaucrats are influenced by legal threats because he had been on our side when Maxicrop sued us. Even though we won he saw how the bureaucrats considered it a defeat (expense I guess). Consequently he knew he could influence the bureaucrats just by threatening legal action – even if he knew he couldn’t win or probably wouldn’t go ahead with it.

    Years later I experienced the same order from our CEO not to publish material and felt personally betrayed because even my own controlling officers wouldn’t stand up for me.

    Unfortunately the scientific ethos of honesty and transparency doesn’t seem to survive the processes of promotion, ambition and bureaucratisation that goes on in the career of many scientists.

    At least in this case it is out in the public arena. This might encourage New Scientist to eventually resist the pressure.


  14. One of the standards that has been suggested for honest and unbiased science is that organizations need to commit to publishing results of all studies as long as there are results. I don’t mean if the study completely fell apart (which I suppose could happen). Not necessarily to publish a paper in Nature. But to have a public, shared database where results would be recorded, whether or not they showed the hoped-for answer.

    I suppose that for development of proprietary drugs, there would have to be concealment of the exact substance, formulation, or whatever; but perhaps the drug name could be revealed when the drug was approved. Then ALL studies would suddenly be available, minus proprietary details. So if it really worked only 5% better than a placebo, suddenly everyone would be able to see that.

    It might help to keep things honest. It wouldn’t be so easy to just forget about the negative results. Otherwise, what researchers can do is more-or-less what the Rhine researchers did for so long: do a lot of studies, get results centred on average of random guesses, and then throw out the negative ones because the guesser was having a bad day or there were “negative vibes” in the room. Voila! Sucecss!


  15. Heraclides, there’s an extra bracket at the end of your link. I don’t know if you can edit it. I like your article.


  16. Monado,

    there’s an extra bracket at the end of your link. I don’t know if you can edit it.

    I can’t edit them (Ken can).

    Including the right bracket in the URL is an error on my part. A right bracket just happens to be a valid character within an URL, but one that’s easy to forget is valid, so in a strict technical sense this is valid on the part of the blog software which turned what I wrote into an URL.

    It would have been nice is for the software to test that the URL exists and if it doesn’t to leave it as plain text, or more ideally try stripping off punctuation characters and test if the result works. (It’s easy to write code that asks a server if a particular page exists or not without downloading the contents of the page.)

    Guess in future if I want to put URLs brackets I’ll have to place a space between the URL and a right bracket or try maybe use square brackets (which from memory aren’t valid URL characters).


  17. Alison, the message from NewScientist now reads:

    New Scientist has received a legal complaint about the contents of this story. At the advice of our lawyer it has temporarily been removed while we investigate. Apologies for any inconvenience.

    I’d guess letters like yours made them at least give a little more information. But they still don’t give who filed the complaint, and why, what we all want to know, right?!

    (Hat tip to ‘Island of Doubt’ at scienceblogs.)


  18. Admission of legal action is an advance – and that holds out a possibility that other information may be forthcoming. I guess it’s going to be difficult to avoid naming a complainant who is taking legal action.

    Looks like this story is going to be really interesting.


  19. Yes, I got an e-mail to that effect. The internet being what it is, I wonder what the complainant(s) intend to do about the various websites now hosting or linking to the original article…


  20. Allison could you validate darwinism for me? You seem to have evidence no one else has. Explain the eye.
    And also explain how Amanda is being impartial? She assumes the neutral position is there is no god? Flesh that out please that’ll be entertaining.


  21. Sorry but I’m not going to bite. Data & explanations on the development of the eye are readily available on-line; I’ve linked to some of this material on my own blog, but there are numerous other sources.

    Amanda is a book reviewer for what purported to be a science journal. She was simply doing her job in pointing out that creationist literature can’t really call itself scientific, since its writers seem to blithely ignore so much of scientific method & the nature of science.

    ‘Darwinism’? Meaning what, precisely? Certainly not a term I use in evolutionary biology classes.


  22. “Explain the eye.”

    Explain your inability to type in “evolution of the eye” on google.

    Go ahead. It’s easy. Learn.


  23. I’m not following you. At least tell me your grasp of the problem.


  24. Alison you did bite, taking “darwinism” up. Maybe it’s not worth it.

    What’s unscientific about creationism? Or are you talking about Kirk Cameron? Darwinism and the big bang aren’t stuck on falsifiability are they?


  25. Sorry, wrong thread!


  26. what, please explain why you think a religious text should be taken as scientific evidence and how we can choose which religious text to believe out of hundreds of gods and dozens of religions and creation myths.


  27. google ‘scientific method’ &/or ‘nature of science’. When you’ve got your head around those, perhaps we can have a sensible discussion.


  28. The New Humanist blog is suggesting (So why did New Scientist pull that article?) the legal complainant is James Le Fanu.


  29. Alison I’m asking direct questions which you could easily summarize an answer for and we could go from there with an interesting discussion. I would cease sounding provocative and make-wrongy if you took this seriously because politeness is needed to a degree if a serious talk gets going .
    You’re responses are generalizations with a rhetorical bent. It’s a cop out. I can see why you’d be hesitant to pick up on the eye debate. I doubt you miss the holes I’m liable to poke in it and if you’re not aware of the debate then you’re “not even wrong”.
    So instead we could debate the creationist part if you’d like. You’re also at a disadvantage because you link to this in you’re blog and teachers and students could see it so any points I make you could see as a loss of prestige.
    If anyone else wants to go over any of these points without using ad hominems and/or off topic generalizations I could get back to you every few days at least, I’m busy.


  30. Monado that’s off-topic.


  31. What – you actually aren’t asking direct questions at all. It would help if you either posed a specific question or asserted something specific with supporting evidence. “Explain the eye” and “validate Darwinism” really are only “generalizations with a rhetorical bent”. And your “off-topic” hand-waving is just an attempt to avoid engagement.

    Engage if you want to by being specific, present your evidence and hypothesis, or ask a specific question if you don’t understand something and want help.

    Otherwise you will inevitably be seen as a troll wasting our time.


  32. Ken you’re correct that validating darwinism is a generalization. However the following are pointed questions:

    “What’s unscientific about creationism? Or are you talking about Kirk Cameron? Darwinism and the big bang aren’t stuck on falsifiability are they?”
    That’s two there which could be answered quickly.

    Also that eye question isn’t a generalization. It’s an effort to weed out a lower level discussion so I don’t have to hand hold and type all night to get to the crux of the matter. So if it’s not known what I’m talking about re:the eye I don’t want to be bored to death.

    But Alison’s remarks need so much “hedge trimming” to even get started when I know she knows what she’s talking about.

    Monado’s comment – hedge trimming again.

    Also I’m put off by the arrogance so it might seems like bating. It is really, but it’s not ad hominem.


  33. What said…I’m asking direct questions which you could easily summarize an answer for…
    What stops you from doing some basic research for yourself? Google it. Demonstrate that you are able to stir the old grey matter by yourself without needing to be spoon-fed by strangers over the internet.

    “Explain the eye” is up there with “Why is the sky blue” or “Where do babies come from”.
    If you really want to know, 30 seconds on a search engine will get you started.
    Youtube (for example) is a great resource.
    If you type in “Evolution of the eye” over there, you’ll find easy-to-understand videos that even a mouth-breather creationist could understand.
    …and we could go from there with an interesting discussion.
    Highly unlikely. You sound like a troll and trolls are usually incapable of engaging in interesting discussion.
    Do some work by yourself, and THEN join the discussion with the grown-ups.


  34. Ok you guys I’m going to have to find a different site, you can’t even get past unimportant squabbles.


  35. “Ok you guys I’m going to have to find a different site.”

    That would be very nice of you. At least, you’re quicker on the uptake than James the Troll was.

    “…you can’t even get past unimportant squabbles.”

    Nobody here is squabbling. We’re just bemused by your ignorance and unwilling to spoon-feed you.
    Creationists are boring. They never come up with new material. It’s always the same old crap.
    That’s why these two sites were created.


    If you really are genuinely curious then google “Evolution of the eye”.
    It’s very easy.
    Study first. Ask questions later.

    Remember: Don’t embarrass the christian community by being a tool on the internet.


  36. I think I’m very much on topic. If someone thinks that creationism is scientific, they must think that the Bible provides scientific evidence, because it is the Bible that creationism cites as bolstering its conclusions.

    So how is the Bible science, and what makes it any better than the Upanishads for dictating our scientific conclusions?


  37. OK What – your question:

    “What’s unscientific about creationism?

    The scientific method requires developing hypotheses/inferences from evidence, developing structured theories which make prediction, testing those predictions. That is validation against reality.

    Now, no creationist “theory” is ever treated that way. The starting “evidence” is usually biblical mythology. And there is never any validation against reality. (In fact creationist “theories” rarely go beyond “god did it” magic).

    Have a look at Redefining science by inference and Intelligent design and scientific method for more details.

    Your question:

    “Darwinism and the big bang aren’t stuck on falsifiability are they?”

    Darwinism is an extremely vague word – define exactly what you mean.
    “Big Bang” theory has been, and is being, validated. That’s why it has been further developed (that’s how scientific theories work). So I don’t know what you are saying there.


  38. What is now whateye
    Monado I don’t want to go there that’s all. Creationism has several branches including ID and anti-naturalist darwinism. This includes gap arguments and a first possible start of organs and attacking abiogenesis, for example.

    I understand your point on the bible but I’m not interested in attacking arbitrary falsifiable arguments. The philosophy of science is senior to science necessarily, and it just goes around in circles and a point is never ceded because it’s so broad.

    I’d rather focus on one issue i.e. the eye, which I’m about to post on. I’m going to lay this out completely, I recently posted with an informed microbiologist, who it is I’ll not divulge out of decency but it doesn’t matter. The subject has been narrowed to a point where I feel confident in my opinion. Hold fire it’s coming in minutes. This debate is open to anyone who can stay on topic and avoid cheap shots.


  39. The eye narrows to a euglena.

    The following needs to be in place for sight to happen in one of them:

    1. Photoreceptor
    2. Retina?
    3. chemical cascade (de facto cortex) so it can convert light to flagellum wagging ability.

    Two harmonious mutations makes it impossible. This is three and I believe this is too few mentioned but we can get to that if necessary.

    Another argument is that the photoreceptor piggybacks on top of another (any other) working system taking in stimulus from an outside source, and so needs only one mutation to form sight. This is impossible because the next mutation down the chain i.e.. iris?, cascade, would also have to mutate to accept the new hybrid setup (In short, the photoreceptor is now accepting light and heat at the same time, so it’s a hybrid, and the next step down the chain towards the tail can’t talk to it)

    I’m taking up the bottom line in the argument, so if someone doesn’t understand what I’m saying and wants clarification I might be able to do that. At a minimum you’d need to know how natural selection and mutation works though.

    Again I’ll only answer very on topic questions or rebuttals.

    Also Does someone know of a more minimalist setup than this?


  40. “the eye narrows to a euglena” is my first line in the last post. What I meant to say was “the eye debate narrows down to a euglena”. This is to avoid us starting out with the human eye or something, it would take too long to get to the single celled euglena.


  41. You can find all the intermediate steps still being used in extant organisms, so they’re clearly impossible.


  42. Cut and paste error! Sorry, that was “clearly not impossible,” which I was trying to change to “clearly possible.”

    Explain transubstantiation.


  43. The third has nothing to do with “sight”, but to response to a signal. The second is doubling up on the first and show you don’t understand. Retinas are part of eyes, not light-sensing systems like that in Euglena. Euglena don’t have retinas, they are single-cellular organisms: retinas are made from many (thousands of) cells as a part of an eye. You really only have one thing: a light-sensitive receptor 😉

    Also Does someone know of a more minimalist setup than this?

    Yes, the actual set-up. Light-sensitive receptors that directly trigger chemical signal pathways. That’s it: “all-in-one”.

    Your stuff about “mutations” is too disconnected from the reality of science: that I would suggest you try read some basic science textbooks.


  44. Monado,

    Thanks but I’m talking about a first start for the eye. “Where did the eye start from” is the question. I can answer questions about the eye posting to get you up to speed if you want. My starting point is already well into the thick of the debate, but I’m using layman’s terms as I’m not a biologist myself. Intermediate steps after eye formation is a seperate debate which I’m not informed enough on probably to comment.

    The chemical cascade is a function whereby the light that’s entered the cell in chemical form goes through a change of chemical properties. Chemical ABC is changed to chemical XYZ. Then chemical XYZ is again changed to CBA, in order for the chemical to have it’s desired effects inside the organism. This is a similar function to our cortex ).

    Transubstantiation is a christian argument. Don’t mistake my intentions here I’m not against you, I want to learn more about the eye theory.


  45. Heraclides,
    me: Also Does someone know of a more minimalist setup than this?

    you: Yes, the actual set-up. Light-sensitive receptors that directly trigger chemical signal pathways. That’s it: “all-in-one”.

    me: Ok but that’s two. Light sensitive receptors and cascade.


  46. Heraclides,
    “Two harmonious mutations makes it impossible. This is three and I believe this is too few mentioned but we can get to that if necessary.”
    Is this the part of mutations I don’t understand? What don’t I understand?


  47. whateye, Sorry if this offends, but your entire idea is so out of whack, that the best description of it is, literally, whacky.

    That you mix up retinas in there should be a very strong clue that you need to go back learn the basics before trying to make statements.

    And, no it’s not “two”: it’s one followed by the signalling. (I said this in my original post, too.)


  48. I’m using layman’s terms as I’m not a biologist myself

    It would be more honest to say that you’re not using proper terms because you don’t know the science. But! Not knowing the science would cause most people to realise that they aren’t in a position to present an argument. It’s quite clear you don’t know enough to present an argument. Solution: try learn the science first. I’m sure others can recommend some basic books to get you started.

    This is a similar function to our cortex

    *Sigh* No (and *good grief*). I have to admit I’m amazed anyone can make the claims you do. I would guess you’ve never been to high school?

    You present statements, trying to claim that they are “right”, then say you “really want to learn”, when it’s obvious that can’t be true as you clearly haven’t even bothered to learn the basics before you wrote!


  49. Lets both stay right on target.
    Where is the cascade coming from? An existing function? See my original post regarding that. I’d like to get input from anyone here quickly if possible.


  50. That you mix up retinas in there should be a very strong clue that you need to go back learn the basics before trying to make statements.

    Whateye, you can’t expect to understand biology from a discussion thread on a blog.

    Nor can you understand civil engineering/dentistry/graphic design/tapdancing etc. from a discussion thread on a blog.
    It’s not going to happen. It doesn’t matter how smart you may be. You are running a fool’s errand.

    Why this sudden interest in eye evolution?
    I mean this as a serious question.
    Do you believe that it’s some kind of silver bullet that will slay “Evilution” and “Dawinism”?
    Religious people have gone down that path before and they have confidently declared to their own satisfaction that “the great Satan” dead. Again and again and again.

    It’s an old game that never ceases to provide endless amusement for some people.

    Perhaps you really do (for some obscure reason) passionately care about eye evolution as part of a general interest in science for it’s own sake. I’d like to think so…but it’s very unlikely.
    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    How did this “evolution of the eye” quest of yours start out?
    What have you read?
    Have you looked at the links that I provided before?

    There are other sources available that are suitable for the layman that I ( and others) would be happy to point you to if you’d like to actually check them out.
    What work have you actually done by yourself to understand the topic?


  51. Cedric, My speculation on a retina like function needed within the “spot” is speculation, so I put a question mark. When I said “iris”, I meant retina.
    If you have a laymans reference that answers what I’m asking then yes I’d like to see it.
    If I’m a YEC then I am.


  52. Here is a reference without too many terms as a starting point. For anyone who wants to get up to speed, wiki would get you there combined with this reference. The concepts aren’t intricate.



  53. If you have a laymans reference that answers what I’m asking then yes I’d like to see it.

    All right. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are on the level.

    First thing you should understand is how science works.
    I’m not being sarcastic.
    Understanding how scientists do their job and reach their conclusions based on evidence is important. Science does not equal atheism.
    There is no “their science” and “some other guy’s science”.

    Check these out first.
    They are short, informative and easy to grasp.
    Grab a cup of coffee and approach the videos and links with an open mind.

    The scientific method.

    Evolution Warning Labels and Scientific Theory

    Skewed views of science


  54. Now let’s have a look at creationism and why scientists don’t consider it to be science.

    Interpretation vs Evidence

    Why Young Earth Creationists are WRONG, Part I

    Why Young Earth Creationists are WRONG, Part II

    Top 25 Creationist Fallacies


  55. And perhaps a few more…
    Top 10 List Why Anti-Evolutionists are WRONG

    Why Young Earth Creationists Must Deny Gravity, Part I

    (Check out the rest in the series. They’re short and easy to follow)

    Creation Science Must Be Taken Seriously!

    That should be enough to get you started.
    Let me know when you’ve checked them out and I’ll dig up some eye evolution videos for you.


  56. I am completely on target: you really do need to go and learn. You can’t make claims about something you don’t know about.


  57. Thanks Cedric I’ll have to watch that stuff…when I give a damn!!!!

    What? NOW what?

    Here’s a REAL scientist



  58. What’s with these dentists masquerading as scientists?

    Come on. If your wanted your teeth done you wouldn’t go to Richard Dawkins would you/
    If you have genuine questions about evolutionary science then consult an evolutionary scientist. You couldn’t go past one 0f Dawkins books if you really wanted answers to your questions about evolution of the eye.


  59. I haven’t time to do a proper survey books for you, but a very quick google reveals:

    Evolution: the triumph of an idea by carl Zimmer

    In the blink of an eye by Andrew Parker

    The Eye: A Natural History by Simon Ings

    I haven’t read any of these, so others will have to comment on the contents. Zimmer’s book will no doubt be the most readable. It’s also about evolution in general, but I’m pretty sure it has a chapter (or two) dedicated to eyes. Besides, it has lots of eyes on the front cover, which is a bit of a hint!

    By the sounds of it, the others are more than the “light-weight” end of popular science spectrum, but will certainly be lighter and more friendly than a textbook.

    Parker’s work sounds interesting in that he presents an idea that a major factor in the so-called “Cambrian explosion” was the evolution of the eye; there is an interesting review of it here: http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/korthof60.htm (I’ve only skimmed this… too little time…)

    Ing’s book is right on target, but apparently he insists on showing all the research he’s done, which will make it very interesting, but also less light-weight.


  60. Thanks Cedric I’ll have to watch that stuff…when I give a damn!!!!

    Four exclamation marks? Wow.
    Two words in caps, no less. Hmm.

    Look. There’s no need to get worked up.

    Plenty of people don’t know anything about science.
    However, those people don’t then go off an pretend to discuss something scientific.

    You don’t understand eye evolution and you want help.
    Yet you have to understand that a thread on a blog will not act as a substitute for a real education.
    People finish high school and go on to university for a reason. It’s not just the beer and dorm hi-jinks. To recieve a higher education requires effort, time and money.
    It’s a sacrifice that science students are willing to pay in order to better understand the world around them.

    The commenters on this thread have seen your postings and understand that you are hopelessly groping around in the dark when it comes to science. You don’t understand eye evolution, the Theory of Evolution, modern biology or even the scientific method.

    This sad state of affairs can be remedied but it’s really up to you. You have to be prepared to go outside your YEC comfort zone, stop reading only that which will re-ininforce what you already “know” and try and understand how scientists in the real world do their job.

    Do yourself a favour and check out the videos I gave you.
    I promise that they are really easy to understand. They are all short and the language has been simplifed so that even a mouth-breather should be able to get it.
    Knowledge starts with you turning the first page.
    Good Luck.

    The guy in the video is not a scientist. As Ken pointed out, he’s a dentist.
    A dentist is not a scientist.


  61. Cedric, I don’t get the magical protein that converts light to chemicals and also feeds into the chain that’s already adapted to another function replete with proton pump etc etc and makes the flag wag, while keeping the old system too. You’re right the best place to start would be heath mathematics. HELP!!!!! Jesus Lord father WHO IS HIGHEST!!!!!! HELP ME!
    I’m just messing around, see you guys later.


  62. Ken, if you want questions asked you’d go to answers.


  63. You are messing around aren’t you? Of course, for creationists, the actual process is to start with answers. The if you can’t justify those answers from biological scientists – why just choose a suitable dentist.


  64. Hi team bio,
    Just wanted to “pop back in” and let you guys know that now I feel twice as confident that it was aliens who made the eye. stevebee has a new video which goes over how pictures in the mind is a whole other level above what I’m talking about here.
    How can you be so confident about the evolution when it’s not even known how we see pictures? Sight is so complex it’s not even speculated on.


  65. Too many mutations for eyespot, protein. Not even a conceived of precursor to the eye for it to attach to. No known mechanism for two senses intaking into the same chemical cascade, and the whole pathway for that matter. No working flagellum much less a connection to the eye. No explanation for huge leap from light sensing to image processing. No explanation for how the cell got there in the first place. No explanation for many many macro ev science of the gaps arguments, just “that’s how it happened, trust me”. No nothing basically. I’ve just killed darwin and his homo friend dawkins in one paragraph. You’re all too afraid to take me on because you’ll get shredded like a half pipe. I’m relentless, I haunt you all as a waking hellscape. I Say I’m going to walk away but it’s just another head fake. SUBMISSION HOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  66. Heraclides

    You sound like a kid who thinks it’s “cool” to rant. You’re showing your ignorance though 🙂 Suit yourself.

    Bet you can’t try actually learn anything yourself and fill in the gaps of your ignorance.


  67. You have a maximum 50 million, not half a billion years, for protein machinery and proto cell developement from a STERILE earth based on current models. STILL no explanation for formation of nucleasides, ribose, nucleotides and rna. STILL no explanation for rna being unstable at high temperatures so pretend like a solution is it formed in cold temps? No explanation for flight evolving, dawkins laughed at for his multimutation egg drop scenario. Teeth are a hurdle no evolutionut dares take on, with teeth alignment, jaw formation, too long to list here. Evo’s are reeling from closer inspection of cell machinery and what it REALLY takes to form most basic eye. It appears closer inspection at every turn is CREATING new larger gaps. You have dawkins planting ID seeds into his public appearances in anticipation of future crow eating. Everyone who’s actually looking is finding these things, should I list off five more posts to just get started on evolution’s current NEW problems? You think this eyespot is one mutation? Why don’t you look, pandasthumb didn’t bother, too busy backing up the princeton bioethics prof calling for infanticide for two years olds and the like. You have one, or not many more beneficial mutations shown to record in the genome. Not enough to account for the formation of a single protein on the planet much less all of life. When asked “why do you believe in it then”, the most common answer is “what’s your solution?”



  68. You have one, or not many more beneficial mutations shown to record in the genome.

    Oh really? Many mutations in bacteria are beneficial – to the bacteria. (The fact that they’re often bad for us is beside the point.) Reassortment (a chromosomal mutation) in flu viruses is beneficial – to the viruses. Lactose tolerance – beneficial human mutation. Fast-burning mitochondria (found in >70% of those living at high northern latitudes compared to about 14% of those closer to the equator) – beneficial mutation in humans (+ a nice example of selection as well).

    You really are just playing silly games, aren’t you?


  69. Alison thanks for your comment with the obligitory generalization at the bottom meaning my whole post was wrong, typical mindgames…

    But yes you are correct beneficial mutations do occur. However you’re only really correct if you take my summary version of what I said and think I literally mean one mutation has happened on earth which was beneficial. This is obviously not true. No one here has dug that deep into this except you and you weren’t responding so why bother explaining fully?

    Which brings me to, no beneficial mutation by means of random mutation has been observed on this planet besides a frameshift mutation in a certain type of worm to my knowledge. There’s some sort of unknown template there or something. Otherwise, random mutation and natural selection as a combo doesn’t account for anything because the cost of a beneficial mutation to an organism is extinction statistically (one good mutation in 10,000 and that’s very generous – there’s more too this, it’s not a bell curve of good mutations if that’s your response, and no, that one mut doesn’t obliterate everything in it’s path – that’s paleo darwinism) So instead there’s some other mechanism at work here which isn’t known.
    So yes I’m saying emphatically, natural selection via random mutations is dead. Even if there’s a lot more than that one frameshift mentioned, it doesn’t account for a single protein evolving much less a human.

    “Google “Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations?”

    and: “genetic entropy and the mystery of the genome” a book. Don’t have to buy it just look up the summary by chapter


  70. Heraclides

    Hi Alison,

    He’s silly to the point that I can’t be bothered spending time on him (her?). It’s obvious that he has no intention of even trying to learn what is known. After all a lot of the things he claims there are no explanations for, there are actually very good explanations, so he can hardly have tried… He’d rather just repeat empty creationist claims without bothering to either check them out himself or do any kind of homework first. But then, maybe he’s not capable of that and is just a sheep blindly following what his pastor (or whatever) tells him.

    FWIW, I prefer to point out that mutation means “change” in this context. To me, it’s another example of creationists trying to use a common-language meaning of a word out of context, here by implying the word only has “negative” values, as it does in it’s common-language use. Once people wrap their head around that, it’s a smaller step to get them to see that change can introduce new features. Other readers might get this point, but I doubt “whateye> will even try learn…


  71. Oh no what now? Looks like I’ve got this board on a full blown submission hold, tag team not needed. Just because I don’t have a fancy pants degree with you’re guys’s fancy pants vocabularies doesn’t mean I can’t worship MY highest god. The living god will see you at the gates…. OF HELL!


    See you guys later, you’ve all been given opportunities to doubt. unsubscribed. Reigning undefeated champion retiring. SEE YOU GUYS IN HELL, HAHAHHAAH


  72. I think somebody here has been watching a bit too much TV.


  73. Hmmmm, compelling argument.


  74. Heraclides

    Yup, a kid who thinks it’s “cool” to rant. Thanks for confirming it for me.


  75. Sign of insanity: revenge fantasies mixed with imaginary friends. Too bad. A closed mind gathers no thoughts.


  76. Yep, that says it all…


  77. Reminds me of what Troy Britain said: “Arguing with creationists is like playing chess with pigeons.* They knock over the pieces, shit all over the board, and then fly away proclaiming victory.”

    * the name of his blog


  78. I like it.

    The link is Playing Chess with Pigeons and the full quote:

    “Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”

    – Scott D. Weitzenhoffer


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