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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mailvox: evolution and the slippery slope

Mike Williamson answered the question I posed to him in response to his claims about creationists.
1. How do creationists "pose a serious threat to society"?

Society only functions when the majority of the people agree on basic fundamental ideas. A critical mass of people who believe reason and evidence don't matter is a slippery slope to tyranny.
Williamson's reasoning is totally specious here.  The overwhelming majority of Americans were creationists from the very beginning, and yet somehow, with the exception of the Lincoln presidency, managed to avoid slipping into tyranny.  And, as a matter of fact, there is a positive correlation between the number of non-Creationists in the United States and the growth of increasingly intrusive government.

Williamson is engaging in the very intellectual dishonesty he falsely imputed to me by erroneously attempting to equate "creationists" with "people who believe reason and evidence don't matter".  I am a creationist.  I also believe that reason and evidence matter a very great deal indeed.  Williamson has asserted a false dichotomy that my mere existence is sufficient to expose.  And I am very far from the only creationist who not only believes reason and evidence matter, but utilizes them more adroitly than Mr. Williamson does.

Moreover, Mr. Williamson's entire argument is based on a demonstrably false assumption that a belief in creationism necessarily conflicts with a belief in evolution by natural selection.  While I am a creationist who is skeptical of the Theorum of Evolution by (probably) Natural Selection as described by Richard Dawkins, it should be obvious that creationism and evolution by natural selection are at least potentially complimentary because natural selection intrinsically requires genes from which to select.  As the brighter sort of evolutionists are fond of pointing out when pressed, evolution says absolutely nothing about the origins of life, it only concerns the transformation of one existing species into another.  Even to a mere +3 SD intelligence like Mr. Williamson, it should be readily apparent that evolution by natural selection cannot possibly take place via the mutation of nonexistent genes.

Only evolution by natural selection combined with abiogenesis can be considered to be intrinsically opposed to creationism, and even that is debatable given that logic dictates the artificial replication of abiogenesis by scientists would offer more support a creator behind the abiogenesis than it taking place by time and chance alone.
2. There are an estimated 1,263,186 animal species and 326,175 plant species in the world. Assuming the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years, what is the average rate of speciation?

The technical definition of species is somewhat iffy, at times arbitrary, and needs more work to be fleshed out.
Mr. Williamson not only cannot calculate a rate that absolutely must exist if his belief in evolution by natural selection is true, but admits that he cannot even define the species whose origins he strongly implies are incontrovertible. It should be apparent that he is not defending actual quantifiable, testable, and replicable science here, he is defending his irreligious faith in a particular historical science fiction that may or may not have any basis in fact.  That doesn't mean his faith may not be logically well-founded, it merely means that he cannot even begin to provide scientific evidence for what he is claiming is beyond skepticism. This is philosophy, not modern science.
3. How many mutations, on average, are required per speciation?

See above.
It is interesting, is it not, how even the most blindly faithful evolutionist runs from the sort of precision and quantification that is absolutely necessary if something is to be considered genuinely scientific in any meaningful sense?  Being both trained and well-read in economics, the reader can safely believe me, I know pseudo-science when I see it. Biologists like to appeal to physics as the foundation of their claimed authority, but the fact of the matter is that if physicists were as haplessly ignorant and as unable to provide predictive models as evolutionary biologists, no one would take them very seriously either.  This is why Daniel Dennett's atheist logic is always so amusing: he asserts we are to trust biologists because physicists get amazingly accurate results.
4. What scientifically significant predictive model relies primarily upon evolution by natural selection?

Nothing as precise as physics, but holding a life science to that standard is stupid. Our understanding of genetics, animal behavior patterns, and in an incomplete way, social science, are all aided by the concept of natural selection.
Holding a life science to precise standards is stupid?  That should be news to all those idiots working in genetics and medical science. And what about those amazingly accurate results Mr. Dennett promised us? In addition to that insulting blunder, Williamson resorts to trying to blatantly move the goalposts.  But it's not really his fault. What choice does he have? He can't cite any scientifically significant predictive models that rely primarily upon evolution by natural selection because they don't exist.  After more than 150 years, TENS is still a useless and onanistic "science" that has little purpose beyond trying to prove itself.

Our understanding of genetics was not, and is not, aided by the concept of natural selection. The mindless adherence to evolution by natural selection actually inhibited the initial acceptance of Mendelian genetics, hence the need for the "Neo-Darwinian Synthesis" that finally allowed biologists to move on with the real science while still genuflecting respectfully to Saint Darwin.  However, as I noted, we're already seeing biologists admit that clinging to Darwin and Darwinism is unhelpful, and it won't be too terribly long before they admit that the concept of natural selection is largely irrelevant with regards to manipulating genes as well.
5. Which of the various human sub-species is the most evolved; i.e. modified by mutation and natural selection from the most recent common human ancestor? Which is the least evolved?

There is no such thing as more evolved or less evolved. Evolution is not a linear progressive process where species "get better" over time. It is an amoral process. Genes either get passed on or they don't. All evolution can tell is is which traits are more likely to thrive in specific environments. As for which human group has the most mutations from the baseline original human group, no idea.
Oh, Sweet Darwin! Someone obviously didn't understand the question.  It must be that pesky dearth of IQ points again. Since evolution by natural selection concerns the selection of mutations, there are most certainly "more evolved" and "less evolved" species; the reason the coelocanth is called a "living fossil" is because it has fewer mutations that have been selected over time than most other extant species.  And it would not be possible to produce phylograms if it were not possible to declare which species was more evolved or less evolved from the purported common ancestor.  Williamson not only incorrectly assumed the idea that "more evolved" means "better", he incorrectly assumed that was the only possible meaning for the term even though I provided him with a different one.
6. Is the theory of evolution by natural selection strengthened or weakened by the claim that most DNA is devoid of purpose?

Strengthened. Junk DNA would seem to indicate evolution is a chaotic process with some unnecessary leftovers, which weakens the claim of specific intelligent design.
I just wanted to get him on record here.  Remember, the ID model suggests that most DNA is NOT devoid of purpose.  So, if junk DNA turns out to be more than junk, that will show that ID is a successfully predictive model and thereby provide scientific evidence for the idea that creatures on earth did not evolve by natural selection, but were designed.  It will also show that another predictive model based on evolution by natural selection failed. Again.
I await any evidence that any creature on Earth is "intelligently" designed.

The usual response is, "but you don't know the designer's criteria," which is a copout and unfalsifiable.

Any objective observation shows that every life form on Earth works just well enough to pass on its genes to its offspring. Most of the time. Those that don't go extinct.

I'd like to see someone explain the "intelligence" behind a human foot, which no longer works as an effective grasper, and is not nearly as effective as a hoof for walking. Without modern footwear, we're prone to serious mechanical failure of the joints and bone, usually shortly after our prime reproductive time.

And tiny babies will clutch with their feet when picked up from a crib, an instinctive hangover from our brachiator ancestors.
Keep an eye on genetic science. As we begin to learn more about how to manipulate genes, then we should begin to discover evidence of past genetic manipulations, if there is in fact any to be discovered.  As for infelicities of design, I fail to see how anyone who has ever used Windows Vista or Windows 8 can claim that suboptimal design is evidence of an absence of either intelligence or design.
Religion has really become a bad joke. Physics destroys creation myths. Biology destroys creation myths. Geology destroys creation myths. Either Creation is a tale told to Bronze Age peasants as a way to explain a universe they couldn't grasp, or this God person is running a serious long con.

It's hilarious to watch an alleged "genius" trot out crap that was debunked a half century ago.
I will leave it to the resident physics PhD to demonstrate the absurdity of his claim about physics.  I've already shown that biology cannot destroy creation myths because it doesn't deal with them. As for geology, I can do no better than to quote the immortal words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, "geology isn't a real science".

I will first mention that I am not a genius, "alleged" or otherwise, as I reject the idea that it is related to a specific IQ and I have no accomplishments that would merit the title. But I fear Mr. Williamson woefully misinterpreted that very significant peer-reviewed paper of fifty years ago that he cites, as it quite clearly not only defended, rather than debunked, the "crap" that I trotted out, but also provided absolutely conclusive scientific evidence for the existence of a Creator God as well as the precise age of the Earth down to the millesecond.  It's a pity I cannot quite recall the name of the highly reputable scientists who authored it or the exact issue of Nature in which it was published, but perhaps Mr. Williamson could be a lamb and remind us.

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236 Comments:

«Oldest ‹Older 201 – 236 of 236
Anonymous RichardTHughes April 24, 2013 4:31 PM  

WRT to "Junk DNA" even the junkiest has the potential to used in the future.

But the Onion's genome is waaaaaaaaay bigger than ours...

Anonymous G.Veil April 24, 2013 4:31 PM  

@LOL

Yes and I can say pigs fly but that doesn't make it any more true than


And no, they had no ways to pursue their grievances. In fact they had far fewer ways to do so than the colonies did in the 1770s.

Now answer the below questions please

A). What methods did the South have for pursuing their grievances
B). Concisely demonstrate that this was fewer methods than the colonists had
C). I would pose my own question, did the South even attempt to follow through on the few methods they had for pursuing their grievances?

Anonymous A. Man April 24, 2013 5:12 PM  

"So you see A. Man, the Constitution is silent on secession, and that which is not expressly prohibited to the States, is reserved to the States and the people."

You are incorrect. Federal Government is not restricted to those powers that are EXPRESSLY delegated to it. The founders actually debated whether or not this very word, EXPRESSLY, ought to be included in the 10th Amendment and the constitution. They twice voted no for the simple reason that were it to be included it would render the new government unable to function as under the Articles of Confederation since if something is not "expressly" allowed, it is forbidden. Under an "Expressly" written 10th Amendment, you could a constitution allow for a post office, but without mentioning in the Constitution that the government could buy land to place a post office, it could not be done. As well having "Expressly" in the 10th Amendment would end up leaving the "necessary and proper" clause without meaning.

The founders understood this. And because they understood it, they rejected it.

Blogger JCclimber April 24, 2013 5:46 PM  

Don't know if this has already been addressed, but this comment was INCREDIBLY stupid.
"I'd like to see someone explain the "intelligence" behind a human foot, which no longer works as an effective grasper, and is not nearly as effective as a hoof for walking. Without modern footwear, we're prone to serious mechanical failure of the joints and bone, usually shortly after our prime reproductive time."

Does this guy not realize it is pretty well known among podiatrists that the mechanical failures of our joints and bones are CAUSED by the modern footwear?

Does he even read the stuff that he types before he sends it?

Also, the incredible intricacies of the feet and hands speak of a genius creator, this guy obviously has never taken any college level anatomy courses.

Anonymous Mason_Arrow April 24, 2013 6:00 PM  

"Federal Government is not restricted to those powers that are EXPRESSLY delegated to it."

Exactly. I seem to recall a super-secret amendment stating that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, because we really don't want to hurt the feelings of Wikipedia-culling "experts" 200 years from now."

Seriously, though - this con-law "analysis" is painful to watch. I truly feel bad, watching this flailing - kind of like how I felt for Wise Latina back when her "legal scholarship" was discovered.

Anonymous Richardthughes April 24, 2013 6:22 PM  

JCclimber -
So why did we start we wearing shoes then? Caveman fashion?

Blogger Brad Andrews April 24, 2013 6:23 PM  

When we see seeming design anyplace else we assume a creator (including signals from outer space that keep not showing up), but when we see it in nature we claim "time and chance." That doesn't make much sense, but we have to stay true to the ideology, right?

Anonymous David April 24, 2013 7:20 PM  

"You are incorrect."

Wrong again A. Man, you are wrong, I am correct.

"Federal Government is not restricted to those powers that are EXPRESSLY delegated to it. The founders actually debated whether or not this very word, EXPRESSLY, ought to be included in the 10th Amendment and the constitution."

You have lost focus A. Man, or you are deliberately trying to subtly change the topic. The point you brought up originally was not the powers of the Federal government, but instead the powers of the states.

You claimed the states were not sovereign because they did not have the powers to make treaties or regulate commerce between them. I proved you wrong, by showing those powers were delegated by the states to the Federal government under the Constitution during the ratification process. They had to have that power to begin with, in order to delegate it.

"They twice voted no for the simple reason that were it to be included it would render the new government unable to function as under the Articles of Confederation since if something is not "expressly" allowed, it is forbidden."

And again you talk past the issue, as the question is whether the states, not the Federal government, have the power to secede. You are specifically talking about powers delegated to the Federal government. The powers of the states, under the Constitution, delegate some powers and the rest they retain. Unless something is expressly forbidden and/or delegated, the states retain the power, and as you yourself admitted, on secession the Constitution is silent.

"Under an "Expressly" written 10th Amendment, you could a constitution allow for a post office, but without mentioning in the Constitution that the government could buy land to place a post office, it could not be done. As well having "Expressly" in the 10th Amendment would end up leaving the "necessary and proper" clause without meaning."

All completely irrelevant, since nowhere is secession mentioned in the Constitution. Thus the Federal government has no authority in that area. If secession was mentioned, then your line of reasoning might have actually had merit, depending on what was said.


"The founders understood this. And because they understood it, they rejected it."

But they did not reject the right of the states to secede from the Union, nor did they claim the Federal government had any authority to stop them. And they had the opportunity to do so, since at least one state specifically ratified the Constitution while explicitly declaring that it retained the right to secede. No founder objected and declared the ratification was invalid because of this.

You were supposed to look up which state or states had done this A. Man, but you couldn't even bother.

So in summary, you have failed again A. Man.

Oh, and look at that, this was your seventh comment in this thread. So you are out of chances.

You lose A. Man, and I win.

Unless...would you like to try again and knock yourself down to six comments in the future A. Man? Because I enjoy eviscerating your arguments and exposing your ignorance.

Blogger David F. April 24, 2013 7:40 PM  

His remarks on the human foot are ludicrous. Our feet work for climbing, running, leaping, standing, and swimming. They are superbly "designed" for the athletic generalists that we are. Aside from the fact that we do much more than run with our feet, his idea that a bipedal animal would run better with nonflexible hooves is ridiculous. How many bipedal hooved animals are there?

He'd really have a time trying to find evidence for his inane claim that people who go barefoot are likely to become crippled from mechanical failure shortly after their prime reproductive years.

Anonymous A. Man April 24, 2013 8:57 PM  

"Unless something is expressly forbidden and/or delegated, the states retain the power, and as you yourself admitted, on secession the Constitution is silent."

This of course is not true, unless you can show me where in the constitution the word "expressly" is used.


"All completely irrelevant, since nowhere is secession mentioned in the Constitution. Thus the Federal government has no authority in that area. If secession was mentioned, then your line of reasoning might have actually had merit, depending on what was said."

Just read the "necessary and proper" clause


"But they did not reject the right of the states to secede from the Union, nor did they claim the Federal government had any authority to stop them."

Sure they did. Jefferson, Madison and Washington all did. And Patrick Henry actually opposed the ratification of the Constitution in VA because he knew it prohibited secession. As for the claim to stop them, every government has the right to put down a rebellion.

You simply don't understand the most basic elements of constitutional law, nor the view of the founders.

Anonymous scoobius dubious April 24, 2013 9:23 PM  

Actually, it makes no difference whatsoever whether the states have a constitutional right or any type of legal right to secede; they have a human right to self-determination if they feel they are being thwarted and oppressed. The purpose of a government is "to secure these rights" (meaning, amongst other things, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). If a government fails to secure these rights, then it makes no difference at all what that government's constitution says.

Done and dusted.

Anonymous David April 24, 2013 9:24 PM  

"This of course is not true, unless you can show me where in the constitution the word "expressly" is used."

It is true, I showed you the Tenth Amendment reserves those powers to the states which are not delegated to the Federal government in the US Constitution or prohibited to the states in the US Constitution.

"Just read the "necessary and proper" clause"

Here it is.

The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

No mention of secession in there A. Man, so once again you are wrong. Thus that power is reserved to the states.

"Sure they did.[reject the right to secede] Jefferson, Madison and Washington all did."

Wrong again A. Man. You provide nothing to back up your assertion, and continue to ignore the historical fact that they did not object to one or more states only ratifying the Constitution while affirming the right to secede. None of them declared the ratification(s) null and void.

Do you even know which state or states did so A. Man? Or are you going to keep sticking your head in the sand and ignore that fact?

"And Patrick Henry actually opposed the ratification of the Constitution in VA because he knew it prohibited secession."

He opposed ratifying the Constitution because the Federal government was granted too much power in his opinion, it was too consolidated. He wanted the states to give up even less then they did.

"As for the claim to stop them, every government has the right to put down a rebellion."

Once again A. Man tries a bait and switch when he can't back up his argument.

rebellion - An act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler.

secession - The action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body

Do you understand the difference between rebellion and secession now A. Man, or do I need to use only one syllable words?

"You simply don't understand the most basic elements of constitutional law, nor the view of the founders."

Wrong again A. Man, I understand the Constitution and the views of the founders. That is why I have corrected your errors and exposed your ignorance.

BTW, constitutional law is a distinct body from the actual Constitution. It is 200 years of lawyers, judges, etc throwing their 2 cents onto the meaning of the Constitution. We will stick with the actual text.

This is your eight comment and eight failure in this thread A. Man.

Want to keep going? Go right ahead.

Otherwise you lose A. Man...again.

Blogger Longstreet April 24, 2013 9:50 PM  

Two questions for Creationists like Mr. Day, or Theo as you were baptised...
Uh oh.


They know his real name!

Blogger Crude April 24, 2013 10:03 PM  

Also, to comment on this:

How do you reconcile the story of creation in Genesis when it was merely copied from Babylonian creation myths, with the main change being that God stating that creation was "good".

Yeah, anyone who reads the Enuma Elish and Genesis are going to notice that there's a helluva lot more that's different other than 'calling it good'. I must have missed the part where Yahweh slugged it out with the gigantic dragon.

Anonymous Mudz April 25, 2013 12:10 AM  

I'll admit, I felt a little sorry for him when he fell into Vox's trap on the Junk DNA.

I await any evidence that any creature on Earth is "intelligently" designed.

I think the answer to this could have just been a variation of 'they work' or 'they have specified function and/or complexity'. After all, he is using his own intellectual faculties to critique his own existence as unintelligent.

But no doubt Vox is correct in that it shall become even clearer over time.

Anonymous Mudz April 25, 2013 12:13 AM  

@ Crude

I don't know if people realise that if ancient accounts actually agree to any point, that's called corroborative testimony. Personally, I think it's fairly obvious that Noah's children carried some memory of the record and passed it down to following generations. But Moses got the 'facts' from God. (Is my assumption.) Thus why the 'world-destroying flood' is imprinted on just about every creation myth in the world, to remarkably specific degrees.

But I doubt I'm saying anything people here don't already know.

Anonymous Mudz April 25, 2013 12:17 AM  

(You know, I think I would like an edit function. Just to fix grammar.)

Anonymous scoobius dubious April 25, 2013 1:08 AM  

"Thus why the 'world-destroying flood' is imprinted on just about every creation myth in the world, to remarkably specific degrees."

I dunno, I don't have a strong opinion on that one, but I can imagine a possible alternate explanation for why the flood myth is so common. It appears that at one time, and for a very long time, the whole world really _was_ underwater. As a result, it may be that people found fossils and skeletons of large marine creatures in unlikely places like deserts and on mountaintops, inferred a great flood, then made up a story to match.

The Genesis flood story has specific details to it, like God causing the flood out of anger with humans, his advising Noah how to avoid the coming catastrophe, etc etc. A lot of other flood stories probably only mention that there was a great flood. Not a folklorist though, does anybody here know more about whether the details converge a lot?

The other problem is, if we momentarily assume the non-creationist time line, the fossil and geologic record would indicate that the flood (or rather, the submergence of the continents; the evidence indicates it was not an acute crisis but a long-term event) happened at a time before humans appeared on the planet. Therefore they could not have any direct memories of it, and their folk tales would have been constructed simply as a way of explaining what they saw in the world around them. The personalized story is the Noah one, and for the anti-creationist it wouldn't appear to fit the evidence. Unless the flood that affected Noah was not universal, but was a second flood that only affected a very large area. That's possible too, I guess.

I'm not advocating either position, just thinking aloud about the extent it's possible to entertain other explanations or points of view.


Blogger mmaier2112 April 25, 2013 1:38 AM  

So now we only have to endure six stupid A. Man comments per thread?

Fantastic.

Anonymous Anonymous April 25, 2013 1:40 AM  

Although I hold no attachment to the word. Geology is a science, and speaking as a petroleum geoscientist, I have to laugh at the comments that suggest that after a few undergraduate intro courses one is able determine that geology isnt a real science.

I agree with a Vox most of the time but he misses the mark here. That said if some insist on saying geology is not a science that is no skin off my teeth.

Anonymous Mudz April 25, 2013 1:46 AM  

@ Scooby

Which is much to your credit.

This is not my field of expertise (as I don't have one) so I'll just give you a brief idea:

Details are quite specific. Hanzi of Genesis is a quite well known one, an ancient Chinese character for 'ship' I think, which appears to be a construction of the words for 'boat' and '8 people'.

There will be someone out there who has done a proper comparison, but there is a strong consistency bettween legends. Just off the top of my head.

There are details such as that all the earth's population was wiped out save for a single family, even down to the number '8'. Sometimes it's a tree instead of a boat. Legends that agree that it was an offense against heaven.

It really is quite interesting when you start reading into these old mythologies, Indian legends, Mayans, Peru, and the like. Some could conceivably be 'stolen', such as the Greeks with their golden apples of immortality, but you can go basically anywhere in the world-wide and find these old flood legends.

The more legends you read into, the more interesting it gets. Norse with the dragon and that big ol' tree that it likes to chew on.

Graham Hancock's book What's-It-Called is actually really interesting for this sort of speculation.

But in any case, there's plenty to signify, that even from a secular stand-point these mythologies most probably have a common cause, to the extent that they're original in each culture. Although, I had it explained to me by one such secular entity that it wasn't surprising that this legend existed everywhere, because ancient farmers were evidently quite retarded and couldn't tell the difference between a local flood and one that covered mountains and obliterated the earth.

I saw a recorded episode of a 'History of Scotland' lately, and was interested in learning that they do attribute the break between England and France to be because of a massive flood that swept through there. Intriguing, says I.

So it's all interesting stuff to look into. I wish I had some good material to reference you, but this is basically a holistic appraisal I've acquired (along with others). Maybe Hancock's book, or maybe Velilovsky gives interesting material on this topic, I can't quite remember.

You can probably find good stuff just by googling 'flood legends corroborate Genesis' or something to that effect.

Anonymous Mudz April 25, 2013 1:50 AM  

probably have a common cause, to the extent that they're original in each culture

What I meant was, to the extent that they appear original in each culture.

Anonymous David April 25, 2013 3:01 AM  

@mmaier2112

Your welcome.

Anonymous VD April 25, 2013 3:06 AM  

You simply don't understand the most basic elements of constitutional law, nor the view of the founders.

And apparently you can't count. You're now down to six comments per post.

Anonymous Anonymous April 25, 2013 3:38 AM  

http://oogenhand.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/how-science-is-science/
Reblog and comment

Anonymous David April 25, 2013 3:58 AM  

Here are a couple of statements by Thomas Jefferson, who A. Man claims opposed secession.

1801 inaugural address
http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres16.html
"If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

1804 letter
http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl161.php
"Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power."

Anonymous Johnny Caustic April 25, 2013 5:55 AM  

Williamson should read Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run". One of the themes of the book is that modern footwear CAUSES serious mechanical failure of the joints and bone. Because of shoes, civilized people have long since forgotten how to run. Barefoot runners are bringing back an entirely different style of running that shows that humans are capable of long endurance running with far fewer injuries than shoe-wearers experience.

Anonymous Mudz April 25, 2013 6:27 AM  

That's interesting.

I actually think the advantage of hooves wasn't a bad point in itself, but locomotion isn't the only thing at stake. And we still do climb trees for isolated reasons, so it's an effective compromise as well. (Yay for kids. And foot-rubs.)

Sometimes when we see a disadvantage, it turns out to be a compromise.

Think of how thin-skinned we are compared to apes. We are naturally far less well-protected against the environment, but the advantage we have is (sexual) pleasure in skin sensitivity. And at the same time, it is designed with our intellectual faculties in mind, that we can make clothes for ourselves, because we can and are expected to intelligently adapt to situations, whereas animals have only the instincts and natural qualities they're gifted with.

Our natural vulnerability to the elements may also be intended to ensure that societies have a 'impetus factor' to encourage developing a 'tool-making culture' so to speak. Could call it a 'reboot' impetus.

Evolutionists tend to speculate in a similiar vein for how our species became tool-using in the first place.

Anonymous E. PERLINE April 25, 2013 9:03 AM  

Human beings, in their infinite earthiness, misunderstand the concept of life forms living on a particular planet. They get it backwards.

Other-worlders, observing the planet earth, might think the
same way. They might say "look at that third planet from that sun. Life could never take hold there. It's got the wrong gravity, or it's too cold for life."

A planet doesn't care if life forms can adapt to its conditions. It is the life forms who must adapt to the planet, and not the other way around.

Anonymous JILF April 25, 2013 4:50 PM  

"On thing is absolutely true: Advancements in the understanding of the natural world have completely destroyed he biblical creation myth, as well as other claims made in the bible."

That's only because you do not understand the Creation, and choose to listen to fools that repeat junk like the Earth was created at the time of Adam's creation. Not so.

There was the creation, there was the rebellion, and there was the advent of the current age, and soon the third Earth age will come into being once Christ Returns.

The Earth is clearly quite old.

Adam was created on the 8th day, after God rested, the rest of the races were created on the 6th day.

Food for thought since you seem to base Creation on some idiot saying the Earth is only 6000 years old.

And that is the most basic overview I can give you. To give more would include breaking down the original languages, etc. But that's your job not mine.

- JILF

Blogger tickletik April 25, 2013 5:07 PM  

It was disgusting to have to read those answers. I suppose I'll have to give it a second go later on just to get familiar with the topic, but it's horrible to see idiocy being promoted as Reason ™

Anonymous JayKayNZ April 25, 2013 9:59 PM  

At last! A comment in relation to Williamson's absurd claim that human feet are badly designed. Ive never even heard that claim before, not even from the most ardent atheists I know!

Barefoot running for the win. There is so much evidence online to support the idea that were actually much better without "supportive" footwear. It has changed my life. Never again will I run/squat/deadlift in anything other than flat plimsoles or barefeet - and my legs and back thank me for it!

Yet another example of Evolution actually predicting the wrong thing (I.e. our feet must need assistance of supportive shoes, with a built up padded heel and/or bridge) to thhe demonstrable detriment to humanity.

FFS sakes, hooves are better for walking than feet?? Maybe if you have FOUR LEGS!! Try cutting you toes off and see how that works for you.

Unbelievable

Anonymous JayKayNZ April 25, 2013 10:12 PM  

Ive never even heard the ridiculous claim re the deficincies of the human foot before, not even from the most ardent atheists I know.

Barefoot running for the win. There is so much evidence (have an easy hunt online for a start) to support the idea that we're actually much better without "supportive" footwear. It has changed my life. Never again will I run/squat/deadlift in anything other than flat plimsoles or barefeet - and my legs and back thank me for it!

Yet another example of Evolution actually predicting the wrong thing (I.e. our feet must need assistance of supportive shoes, with a built up padded heel and/or bridge) to the demonstrable detriment to humanity.

FFS sakes, hooves are better for walking than feet?? Maybe if you have FOUR LEGS!! Try cutting you toes off and see how that works for you.

Unbelievable

Anonymous notagenius April 29, 2013 4:13 PM  

As for infelicities of design, I fail to see how anyone who has ever used Windows Vista or Windows 8 can claim that suboptimal design is evidence of an absence of either intelligence or design.

Do you also fail to see how the German retreat from the Eastern Front might have been claimed to be evidence of the Nazis losing the war? Or is a progressive withdrawal okay as long as you're doing it? Do you have a compelling reason why God might choose a "suboptimal design"? One that's more compelling than the narrative of evolutionary theory?

Anonymous Anonymous April 30, 2013 10:56 AM  

I am probably too late to the party, but can someone explain to me the logical conclusion of question (2) - "There are an estimated 1,263,186 animal species and 326,175 plant species in the world. Assuming the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years, what is the average rate of speciation?"

All I can work out is that once the average rate of speciation is calculated (which I have yet to see) then we should be able to make predictions based off that rate. Am I in the right ballpark or is the question used to trip up the average mathematically challenged biologist?

Anonymous Anonymous July 20, 2013 5:09 AM  

** the reason the coelocanth is called a "living fossil" is because it has fewer mutations that have been selected over time than most other extant species**

Point here, the fact that a species has not changed (or at least not changed greatly) in terms of it's gross physical anatomy, does not mean that it has not evolved, or accumulated mutations that it's ancestor's didn't have. In fact, the coelocanth, or other species (such as sharks) that have remained unchanged in terms of gross physical anatomy for millions of years, almost certainly must have evolved and accumulated mutations. If they had not, they would not currently exist, since bacteria (among other things) are constantly evolving, and an organism that fails to evolve, at least in terms of it's immune system, will be wiped out by a plague. The problem is, an immune system does not leave a fossil like a skeleton does. The Coelocanth may have a skeleton identical to it's distant ancestors of millions of years ago, but I'm certain that it's immune system is very different. Most likely there are other differences between the Coelocanth today and it's ancestors, as well, such as, perhaps, the ability to digest foods that it's ancestors may not have been able to. But digestive enzymes and immunities to toxins do not leave fossils, either.

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