Defending Evolution from ID Distortions

Creationists: Inherent Quote Miners?


Currently, I am having an argument with a Creationist -that goes by the title CreationByDesign–  on Michael’s blog who confuses Lamarck’s theories with modern Evolutionary theory, that is, he is repeating the same old uninformed misinformation that Evolution is a chain or a ladder with “higher” and “lower” forms, which it isn’t. Darwin’s theory of Evolution is based on a tree of life, not a chain. I then quoted Darwin’s own words: “It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another.” — To that , linked some papers in which scientists used the terms “more evolved” and “less evolved” and then made the claim that either these scientists were wrong, or Darwin was.

If that was all, I wouldn’t be posting this. But, in the comments we were posting, he was cherry-picking and selectively quoting me, which has lead me to assume that 1) either he has bad reading comprehension, or 2) he is dishonest and a typical quote-miner.

A response I gave him was,

I don’t know what would posses a scientist to talk about “more” or “less” evolved except to simplify it for people who do not understand how evolution works (like people like you and Michael).

Sounds reasonable, no? Well, he later quoted only the first half of this as,

I don’t know what would posses a scientist to talk about “more” or “less” evolved …..

Convenient, huh? And then he knocked down the incomplete quote saying,

Yes, I can see that you don’t know. I posted excerpts from 5 peer-reviewed scientific publications which used the terminology “more evolved”.

Well, nice. Except, read the rest which adds, ” . . . . except to simplify it for people who do not understand how evolution works (like people like you and Michael).” — Get that? I wasn’t actually saying I didn’t know why!! I was giving the reason why Scientists would do such a thing. — Scientists use over-simplified terms all the time for the benefit of laypeople, for example, for public understanding, they call dinosaurs “reptiles,” even though they weren’t really reptiles. And they also call ancestral mammals “mammal-like reptiles,” even though that term is also misleading. Mammals evolved from Synapsids, not reptiles, though they are superficially like them.

Well, anyway, he accused me of changing my story, saying

You previously claimed: “The term “more evolved” has no place in actual science …

So, you made the claim that the term itself is not found in actual science. When I refuted that, you now change your story.

Hmmm, well, lets see if I really did change my story. In the comment he first replied to, I said,

I don’t know what would posses a scientist to talk about “more” or “less” evolved except to simplify it for people who do not understand how evolution works (like people like you and Michael).

Now, if they mean “more advanced” then that is another story, because that would mean creatures that are not primitive. — Sponges would be considered “primitive” BUT that is only because they appeared before we did. They are not “less” evolved then we are, and we are not “more” evolved than sponges.

And then, in the second one I said,

It depends on what they mean. If they simply mean “primitive,” then the story is different, since sponges are considered primitive because they are considered one of the first animals to appear. HOWEVER sponges are not “higher” or “lower”

We are not “more” evolved than Homo habilis, or Australopithecines, . . even though they are “primitive” in the sence they existed before we did.

Now, tell me. How are these “stories” different from each other? As someone who has a university reading level, I see no difference at all. — And as for my “claim” that terms like “more” evolved do not belong in modern science, I stand by that. Such usage is unfortunate oversimplification and distorts the actual scientific view of Evolutionary theory, and I have support to back myself  from scientists themselves. 

Keven Padian and Kenneth Angielczyk, in their essay entitled “‘Transitional forms’ verses Transitional Features” say,

Although a ladderlike image of evolution remains common in the popular media, scientists have long realized that such a concept is simplistic and innaccurate. Instead of resembling a ladder, the evolution of life is more similar to a branching bush.

And also, Donald R. Prothero in his book  says:

But life is not a ladder, and there are no such things as “higher” or “lower” organisms. . . .The first time Biologists hear this question, they are puzzled because it seems to make no sense whatsoever — until they realize this creationist is still using concepts that were abandoned over 200 years ago.

Prothero is considered one of the leading evolutionary scientists in the country, so to say he doesn’t know what he is talking about is like telling a top military commander he knows nothing about the army.

Well, anyway, I already showed that this Creationist twisted my words in a quote while leaving out the second half which rendered his criticism of me irrelevant. And his claim that I changed my story if flat wrong, which can be checked by anyone who decides to read the comments I left  on Michael’s post. — Quite frankly, this isn’t even the first time this same guy (it was CbD, not Michael) selectively quoted me when we had a discussion. When we were talking about the flagellum, he selectively took down what could be considered the “weaker” points of my arguments while completely ignoring the portions I really wanted him to take down. In my view, the statements he tried taking down were more irrelevant than anything else.

[That particular conversation was partially why I issued my flagellum challenge to Michael a while ago. . . one he still hasn’t adequately met, though he gave a feeble attempt . . .]

Oh well, perhaps his reading comprehension sucks, and therefore he didn’t mean to quote-mine me. . .

But then again, it does seem Creationists are inherent quote miners, since there are many examples of dishonest quotes taken by Creationists.

References:
Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Beyond, page 205
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, page 125. By Donald R. Prothero.

Further Reading:
Devolution and an Evolutionary “ladder”

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25 responses

  1. creationbydesign

    Kris,

    he is repeating the same old uninformed misinformation that Evolution is a chain or a ladder with “higher” and “lower” forms

    Why don’t you quote where I said that? It should be fairly easy.

    Additionally, you claimed that: “the term” was not used. A “term” is a word or expression.

    Now you’re claiming that the concept of “evolutionary ladder” was “abandoned 200 years ago”. Can you show precisely when it was abandoned? What happens when I show you that the concept was used in the 20th century? Will you admit that your hero, Mr. Prothero is wrong?

    Why not Google the term “phylogenic scale”? That will help you recognize yet another Darwinian prediction that was falsified.

    You might also try googling this phrase:
    “Uprooting the Tree of Life”. Or you could go here (a fellow Darwinist explains):
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Charles-Darwin-and-Evolution-Genetic-Science-uproots-the-Tree-of-Life

    That will help you with yet another falsified Darwinian prediction.

    July 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    • krissmith777

      Creationbydesign,

      Why don’t you quote where I said that? It should be fairly easy.

      Additionally, you claimed that: “the term” was not used. A “term” is a word or expression.

      The very fact that you are arguing that evolution is about “higher” and “lower,” or even “more” or “less” evolved is enough to implicate that you see it as a “ladder.”

      Now you’re claiming that the concept of “evolutionary ladder” was “abandoned 200 years ago”. Can you show precisely when it was abandoned? What happens when I show you that the concept was used in the 20th century? Will you admit that your hero, Mr. Prothero is wrong?

      1. The very fact that you are trying to dismiss the idea that evolution is NOT a ladder also indicates as I have said before -points up to my last response to you-

      2. Donald Prothero is not my hero. But he is one of the top scientists in the field.

      3. You would need clarification that they actually mean. I already told you in the comments that if they mean “primitive” in the sence they existed before the modern age and other oranisms in the present, then that is a different story.

      Why not Google the term “phylogenic scale”? That will help you recognize yet another Darwinian prediction that was falsified.

      I did, and here is a result:

      The phylogenetic scale makes no sense from an evolutionary perspective. Putting the animals in a linear order (rat, cat, monkey, human) suggests that a rat, if it got a little smarter, would think like a cat.

      Link: http://www.psywww.com/intropsych/ch08_animals/phylogenetic_scale.html

      Seems to help my position more than it does yours.

      You might also try googling this phrase:
      “Uprooting the Tree of Life”. Or you could go here (a fellow Darwinist explains):
      http://hubpages.com/hub/Charles-Darwin-and-Evolution-Genetic-Science-uproots-the-Tree-of-Life

      That will help you with yet another falsified Darwinian prediction.

      That’s all well and good. But, so far, this is a minority opinion, like Feduccia arguing that birds didn’t evolve from theropod dinosaurs.

      July 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm

  2. creationbydesign

    Here’s a little history:

    History of the idea of evolutionary progress
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest-scale_trends_in_evolution#History_of_the_idea_of_evolutionary_progress

    Prominent historical figures who have championed some form of evolutionary progress include Alfred Russel Wallace, Herbert Spencer, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Henri Bergson. Even Charles Darwin seems to have believed in some form of progress (Darwin, 1859):

    [Chapter 10] The inhabitants of each successive period in the world’s history have beaten their predecessors in the race for life, and are, insofar, higher in the scale of nature; and this may account for that vague yet ill-defined sentiment, felt by many palaeontologists, that organisation on the whole has progressed.

    [Chapter 14] As all the living forms of life are the lineal descendants of those which lived long before the Silurian epoch, we may feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence we may look with some confidence to a secure future of equally inappreciable length. And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.

    Ruse (1997) presents a detailed and carefully researched survey of the idea of progress in evolutionary biology. He argues that belief in evolutionary progress is still prevalent among evolutionary biologists today, although it is often denied or veiled. Ruse (1997) writes, “A major conclusion of this study is that some of the most significant of today’s evolutionists are progressionists, and that because of this we find (absolute) progressionism alive and well in their work.” He claims that progressionism has harmed the status of evolutionary biology as a mature, professional science.

    In examining the issue of evolutionary progress, the first step is to define progress. Ayala (1988) defines progress as “systematic change in a feature belonging to all the members of a sequence in such a way that posterior members of the sequence exhibit an improvement of that feature.” He argues that there are two elements in this definition, directional change and improvement according to some standard.

    July 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    • krissmith777

      -sighs- By progess, they do not mean that one species is higher than the other. Darwin did not believe that a one species was higher than another. . . I quoted him in the ACTUAL POST as saying “It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another.”

      They mean that there are apparent trends. Not “higher” or “less” evolved. — Asutralopithecines to the Homo genus are a “trend,” but that doesn’t constitute “more” or “less” evolved. — The fact is that the idea of “higher” or “lower” animals actually contradicts the understanding that evolution has no goal. There is no aim.

      Link: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/teleology.html

      July 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm

  3. creationbydesign

    You’ve changed your quote and that does help …

    And as for my “claim” that terms like “more” evolved do not belong in modern science

    In the above, you’re giving an opinion that the terms “do not belong”. So, when I show that scienitists use the terms, you can state that they may use the terms, but in your opinion “they shouldn’t”.

    That is different than the actual quote itself where you said:

    The term “more evolved” has no place in actual science

    The phrase “has no place” can be interpreted in different ways. If you’re saying that “it shouldn’t be used” (as you rephrased it above) that’s different.

    because the “evolutionary ladder” is nothing more than an oxymoron. It’s only used for the benefit of people who do not understand how evolution works.

    This makes no sense. An oxymoron, a false term that refers to a concept that has been abandoned for 200 years — is used by science “for the benefit of people who don’t understand how evolution works”?

    Again, that is nonsense. If a false terminology is used, then a false idea about evolution will be communicated. This does not serve the benefit of those who do not understand.

    The fact is, the term is used because evolutionary biologists retain the notion of evolutionary progress (see previous). They also retain the notion of “tree of life” which has already been refuted.

    Again, this is not about my adherence to the view of the evolutionary ladder. That’s another mistake here. I was pointing out the contradictory claims of evolution and the failed predictions.

    We’ve seen plenty of those right here.

    July 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    • krissmith777

      You’ve changed your quote and that does help …

      I only made one change, and that was to change a lower-case letter to a capital.

      In the above, you’re giving an opinion that the terms “do not belong”. So, when I show that scienitists use the terms, you can state that they may use the terms, but in your opinion “they shouldn’t”.

      That is different than the actual quote itself where you said:

      The term “more evolved” has no place in actual science

      The phrase “has no place” can be interpreted in different ways. If you’re saying that “it shouldn’t be used” (as you rephrased it above) that’s different.

      I stand by it. It shouldn’t be used since it gives a wrong impression.

      This makes no sense. An oxymoron, a false term that refers to a concept that has been abandoned for 200 years — is used by science “for the benefit of people who don’t understand how evolution works”?

      Again, that is nonsense. If a false terminology is used, then a false idea about evolution will be communicated. This does not serve the benefit of those who do not understand.

      I actually address this in the post. Sciensts DO use misleading terms for the benefit of laypeople so they can get an idea. I gave two examples of this in the post itself when I say:

      Scientists use over-simplified terms all the time for the benefit of laypeople, for example, for public understanding, they call dinosaurs “reptiles,” even though they weren’t really reptiles. And they also call ancestral mammals “mammal-like reptiles,” even though that term is also misleading. Mammals evolved from Synapsids, not reptiles, though they are superficially like them.

      Makes perfect sense.

      Again, this is not about my adherence to the view of the evolutionary ladder. That’s another mistake here. I was pointing out the contradictory claims of evolution and the failed predictions.

      Though true, it is not the whole story. The fact you tried debunking the position i was taking that the terms “higher” and “lower” evolved shouldn’t be used in science kind of makes my reaction relevant.

      July 16, 2010 at 12:12 am

  4. Life is suited for the environment in which it has evolved. We are good under specific conditions, whilst other creatures are better under different circumstances. Nice post.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm

  5. Sciensts DO use misleading terms for the benefit of laypeople so they can get an idea.

    To add to this point, the famous “March of Progress” illustration is also a misrepresentation of evolution.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_of_Progress

    July 16, 2010 at 4:29 am

    • krissmith777

      And lets not forget the term “the missing link,’ which scientists hate (since they are not looking for missing links), but it’s frequently used in the news media.

      July 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  6. creationbydesign

    I fully agree that misleading or false terms are used. I don’t agree that those misleading terms (or faulty diagrams) are used by scientists who know that they’re wrong. For example, if scientists communicate false information for the sake of teaching people, then they can’t object to people using the very same erroneous claims on their own.

    The Science Daily article that started this discussion was titled this:
    Bacteria No Longer Considered A Simple Lower Life Form
    Notice the term “Lower”. Sure, we can say it’s a false terminology, but it’s simply deception to express false concepts and then claim that you meant something different.

    The next story I posted was this:
    First-Ever Blueprint of ‘Minimal Cell’ Is More Complex Than Expected

    In it, we read this:

    The study uncovers fascinating novelties relevant to bacterial biology and shows that even the simplest of cells is more complex than expected.

    Another surprise was the fact that, although it has a very small genome, this bacterium is incredibly flexible and readily adjusts its metabolism to drastic changes in environmental conditions. This adaptability and its underlying regulatory mechanisms mean M. pneumoniae has the potential to evolve quickly, and all the above are features it also shares with other, more evolved organisms.

    So, here — it’s not just terminology but the concept itself is wrong. Regulatory mechanisms are called “more evolved”.

    Here’s what I see happening.
    When an evolutionary claim is falsified by new evidence, those who made and supported the false claim will assert that “they didn’t really mean” what they said. They’ll change the definition of the terminology.
    This makes a shifting target. The theory just bends and adds layers of exceptions, with a variety of terms which mean different things.

    Mr. Prothero claimed that the concept of evolutionary progress disappeared 200 years ago. Mr. Ruse stated in 1997 that the concept was still being used and that it has harmed the status of evolutionary biology as a mature, professional science.

    Personally, I see the concept still alive today. But even still, if the concept is dead – it is because the theory did not correspond with the actual data.

    Why should I believe that the current theory is any more accurate or certain?

    July 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    • krissmith777

      When an evolutionary claim is falsified by new evidence, those who made and supported the false claim will assert that “they didn’t really mean” what they said. They’ll change the definition of the terminology.

      The only “evolutionary theories” that have been “falsified” were not Neo-Darwinian predictions, since those have always held. There is not a single example of where Darwinian evolution has gotten it wrong. — It has gotten it all right in the fossil record, embryology, microbiology, as well as genetics . . . especially in the fossil record and genetics.

      The terminology was falsified by Darwin himself, and that was not what any scientist that accepted Evolution by natural selection as valid. . . so, no they are not changing it.

      Personally, I see the concept still alive today. But even still, if the concept is dead – it is because the theory did not correspond with the actual data.

      The only theory that didn’t “correspond with the actual data” was Lamarck’s theory about inheretence of aquired trates which saw a ladder.

      Why should I believe that the current theory is any more accurate or certain?

      Why not? Why should we believe any current theory that corrects an older, less correct understanding? Why should we accept the Big Bang theory to other older cosmological models? Why should we accept the big bang when others got it wrong before them? — Also, why should we accept Einstein’s version of gravity since it displaced Newton’s theory of gravity. Why should we accept Einstein’s theory as more plausable than Newton’s? — The fact that older understandings got it wrong does not invalidate OR EVEN JUSTIFY considering the current understandings as no more valid.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm

  7. creationbydesign

    There is not a single example of where Darwinian evolution has gotten it wrong.

    I don’t see it that way myself, but I respect your opinion.

    Why should we believe any current theory that corrects an older, less correct understanding?

    It depends upon the level of belief we’re asked to give the theory, how important the theory is, how the theory has been corrected, how often it has been corrected and the trustworthiness of who is offering the theory.

    What level of belief should I give to evolutionary theory? How important is it? What difference does it make if it is wrong? How has it been wrong in the past? How many times has it been wrong? How consistent is it today? Are there contradictory claims? Is there even agreement on what the theory is? Who has the official definition of evolutionary theory? Why should I accept that as the final definition? Are the theorists trustworthy? Are they motivated by atheistic bias? Do they use deceptive methods to cover-up errors and falsifications of their theory?

    These are matters to consider.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    • krissmith777

      What level of belief should I give to evolutionary theory? How important is it? What difference does it make if it is wrong?

      You shouldn’t give a level of “belief” in evolution, because evolution is not a “belief,” any more than gravity or relativity are beliefs.

      It would make a huge difference if it were to turn out to be wrong, because it is the bedrock of modern biology. I’m sure you heard the famous quote “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

      How has it been wrong in the past? How many times has it been wrong? How consistent is it today?

      The only thing that I know of that Darwin ARGUABLY got wrong was gradualism, since change can be abrupt IN THE GEOLOGICAL SENSE. But even then, he wasn’t far off, since gradualism does happen in the fossil record as well. (Huxley told him not to hold on to constant gradualism)

      Are there contradictory claims? Is there even agreement on what the theory is? Who has the official definition of evolutionary theory?

      The claims made are:

      1. A random variation occures in a population. (Micro-evolution)
      2. Natural Selection determines if the variation is beneficial -or AT LEAST GOOD ENOUGH- in a certain enviorment. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
      3. If it helps the organism survive, it carries it on to newer generations
      4. In time, the variations add up (Macro-evolution).

      That is all the general theory of evolution says. There is no contradiction here.

      The “official” definition of Evolution is heritable change with time.

      Why should I accept that as the final definition? Why should I accept that as the final definition?

      Why not? Since we see this in the fossil record, as well as in the lab.

      Links on the fossils: http://www.transitionalfossils.com/ , and: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

      Link of observed evolution of E-coli in the lab: http://www.d.umn.edu/~jetterso/documents/BennettandLenski1992.pdf

      And: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/11

      Are the theorists trustworthy? Are they motivated by atheistic bias?

      I wouldn’t say that Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller and Karl Giberson (all of who are Christians) have atheistic motivations. –

      – Glenn R. Morton is another good example of a Christian who argues against Creationist claims. He has no atheistic motivation. . . In fact, on his own web-site, he goes to great lengths (greater than I would dare to) to harmonize his view of Genesis with what he knows of Evolution. — He even wrote one of the best refutations of Creationist claims about the Cambrian “explosion” that I have ever read which is linked here: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2001/PSCF3-01Morton.html

      Of course ir could be argued that some like Richard Dawkins are motivated by atheism, but it has to be remembered that only reflects a minority of experts.

      But, bringing up “motives” is a double edged sword. Someone could simply accuse Michael Behe, Casey Luskin and Jonathan Wells of religious motivation. . . . . Actually, I can prove that Jonathan Wells IS religiously motivated, since he HIMSELF SAID so. . .

      His own words:

      Father’s [Sun Myung Moon’s] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.

      Link: http://www.tparents.org/library/unification/talks/wells/DARWIN.htm

      IF that doesn’t show religious motivation, I don’t know what does. . . . What that shows is, while you are looking at possible motives for scientists for arguing for evolution, you should also put Intelligent Design Creationists on the same standard.

      Arguing motivation, however, in many cases can be irrelevant, since an apparent motivation doesn’t necessarily mean “dishonesty.”

      Do they use deceptive methods to cover-up errors and falsifications of their theory?

      When you have Christians and Atheists comming to the same results independently of eachother in favor of evolution, that would show they are not using deceptive metods. . .

      But, that would also beg another question . . . How can we not hold ID Creationists to the same standard? Arguably, Jonathan Wells DOES use deceptive methods. . . For example, in the video entitled “Darwin’s Dilemma” released by the Discovery Insitute, he gives the impression that the Cambrian “explosion” was a single event. He even says it could have been over night!! Also, in ICONS, he tries to over-emphesize Heckel’s embryonic drawings and Archeoraptor even though no scientist takes them seriously. Labeling them “Icons” itself would be deceptive, since they are not Icons of evolution at all. — You have to look at the motives and tactics of ID Creationists also.

      July 16, 2010 at 11:52 pm

  8. “atheistic bias”? LOL.

    I’d like to see the same sort of criticism applied to your belief in creationism … Talk about bias. Lol.

    Kris, why do you bother? Same question goes to me.

    July 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    • krissmith777

      I guess because I like the rush. I’m a glutton for punishment 😛

      I’m not an atheist, so I cannot be accused of an atheistic bias, and neither can 40% of all scientists.

      July 16, 2010 at 11:58 pm

  9. creationbydesign

    Of course ir could be argued that some like Richard Dawkins are motivated by atheism, but it has to be remembered that only reflects a minority of experts.

    I think his view reflects the majority. Why do you think his is only a minority view?

    July 19, 2010 at 4:08 am

    • krissmith777

      I think his view reflects the majority. Why do you think his is only a minority view?

      Because the majority of secular scientists I have read tend to separate metaphysics from science, as in you cannot test metaphysics (one way or the other) in the physical, empirical realm, therefore it is separate from science.

      How about these poll results here (from summer, 2009):

      According to a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center in May and June this year, a majority of scientists (51%) say they believe in God or a higher power, while 41% say they do not.

      Link: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/24/opinion/la-oe-masci24-2009nov24

      If 51% (or a majority) of scientists believe either in God or a higher power, how can Atheism be the motivation for the majority of scientists for accepting evolution? Richard Dawkins and people like him therefore don’t speak for the majority opinion. . . . . And there is no reason to even assume that ALL of the other 41% (the minority) would even want to jump onto Dawkin’s bandwagon. Even if someone is an Atheist, it just doesn’t follow.

      July 19, 2010 at 5:21 am

  10. creationbydesign

    That’s an interesting survey. It would seem to indicate that since a majority of evolutionists believe in God, then evolutionary theory does not support an atheistic position. Atheists who use evolution as an evidence against the existence of God would be arguing falsely.

    Would you agree that a majority of atheists adopt this false view?

    Also, what are some of your arguments for the existence of God?

    July 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    • krissmith777

      Arguing for God is not my strong point. I’d recommend the book entitled Is God A Delusion?: A Reply to Religion’s Cultured Despisers, by Eric Reitan.

      July 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    • It all depends on what you believe and how far you want to go about it. I doubt atheists think that evolution proves that there is no god. Most I know say that evolution proves certain myths wrong, and thus certain god versions wrong. It does not take too much to think that, if these myths are wrong, why believe in a god in the first place?

      Thus, while evolution is not proof that there are not any possible gods, it does help atheism because natural phenomena explain life’s diversity. An atheist would expect that natural phenomena are behind everything else previously attributed to gods.

      So, not about false views. Rather, it is about needing gods to explain things, or not.

      September 30, 2010 at 2:01 am

      • krissmith777

        I agree basically. It could help atheist depending on one’s personal definition of God. If one’s definition of God is someone wh DIRECTLY created in the present form, then that God is falsified. But there is not “one” definition of God.

        October 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

  11. creationbydesign

    From the pew report survey that you linked, I read this:

    Chemists, for instance, are more likely to believe in God (41%) than those who work in biology and medicine (32%).

    So, this would indicate that 68% of biologists (so, scientists in Dawkins field, where evolutionary theory is the primary focus) are atheistic.

    Does that affect your view that Dawkins has a minority view among evolutionists?

    July 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    • krissmith777

      Maybe i should have linked the ACTUAL survey which breaks down the numbers MORE. — On one of it’s tables it shows that 32% of biologists and medical professionals believe in God, and 19% at least believe in a “higher power. — That is 51%, and still a majority!!! Only 41 believe in neither. — So no, this doesn’t indicate Dawkins represents a majority at all.

      Link: http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1549

      The NYT article didn’t give all the relevant details.

      (Note: The table where the stat it is the last one given in the linked page)

      You are looking in shades of black and white, assuming that non-theist is therefore Atheistic. Let’s not forget the Agnostics who do not take a position one way or the other who wouldn’t be counted in either camp. — Pleanty of the other 41% would not have a belief one way or the other.

      And again, even if they WERE Atheists, and not agnostics, it wouldn’t follow that Atheism affects their results.

      July 19, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  12. Frankly I detest it when the point from a creationist point of view becomes playing the semantics as if such play really meant anything about true support for whatever they are attacking. From evolution to whichever scientific field they detest.

    We cannot talk about The Concept[TM] of “More/Less Evolved”[TM]. We can only talk about the many concepts of more/less evolved. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your field (literature being benefitted quite a lot, misguided propagandism, such as creationism too), language is such an evolving beast.

    Whenever I write an article I try and define how I will be using my terms because the common usage in one field can different to the common usage in another. Add that explaining things to the public is darned difficult, and that journalists take literary licenses, and we get a mess. The important point here is that scientists working in the actual field of evolution are among the most scholarly careful of the lot. They will demolish any superficial evolutionary explanation with passion, regardless of whether creationists will misrepresent them or not. However, in other fields, where evolution might not be thought about carefully enough, scientists might use terms to mean many different things, often unaware of their lack of precision, or misleading potential. This is societal entropy at its best.

    Anyway, not a single semantic discussion will take away that Darwin was right about the very most important point of all. Life evolves guided by natural phenomena and it is intimately related by common ancestry. Yes, he was wrong about things he could not have known. But, by proposing natural selection as a mechanism for evolution, he opened the door to unimaginable insights, avenues and discoveries about how the whole thing works.

    As for our precise theme of discussion here, the common usage of “less/more evolved” lingo in creationism is pure and misleading propaganda. Evolution is not “aiming” towards anything. Thinking otherwise would be akin to thinking gravitation has goals. So, something very simple can be “more evolved” than something very complex. It all depends where it started, and how long ago. This, of course, is never what a creationist means. Creationists use the terms only to complain that we still have no wings, and such idiocy. They use the terms to erect straw-men, and then pretend to destroy evolutionary theory by defeating such straw-men. If shown otherwise, well, they use semantics as a red-herring … could continue, but these comments will, as well, result in more useless argumentation. Evolution, in the meantime, will remain just as strong.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:59 am

  13. Oh, about polls.

    It is to be expected that scientific fields will confront people with their beliefs. This is not necessarily so, but, I think, it should happen.

    If so, people working on certain fields would be expected to end up not believing in their primary religion any more if such religion conflicts with what they see in their field of work. Thus, I would expect biologists to be confronted with the reality and explanatory power of evolution, and, in many instances, but not all, to lose their belief in some god being responsible for anything life.

    In any event, there is no such thing as an “atheistic bias.” Many people making important discoveries have been god-believers. Only they had not allowed their beliefs to interfere with what the data showed. They might have “evolved” their concepts of god. I would say that often into a much more elegant one than the pedestrian who has to interfere every five minutes to fine-tune stuff or the world/universe will collapse. (Yes, I am exaggerating. Carl Sagan said it better. Something about wanting their gods to be small … look it up. It is worth reading.)

    Propagandists however, try hard to talk about biases, and enemies of god, and all that garbage. All to convince the crowd that feeds them or gives them power, to keep sending the money. Snake-oil salesmanship at its best.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:11 am

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