April 22, 2006

Religion: The Evolutionists Greatest Nightmare Is...

Potassium?

According to this very, very important video, bananas are the crippling arguement against evolution. Kirk Cameron and his lovely assistant explain just how anti-intellectual evolution is.

It's a fantasticly inaccurate rendition of what science is, what evolution is, and a rewording of the incredibly tired "watchmaker" arguement. Here's the crux of their banana "proof":

Bananas fit a human hand perfectly. The peel is an easy-to-grip surface, there is an outward indicator of its preparedness to eat (green, yellow, or brown), it has a handy "tab" on top for opening, and (here's the kicker) "it's pointed at the tip for ease of entry; just the right shape for the human mouth ... and curved toward the face to make the whole process so much easier."

Hallelujah! Can I get an A-MEN?

Even beyond that, they use the usual "what about the eye, then?" arguement, but then things get really silly: they point out that (for instance) a building is proof of a builder, so everything else must be as well.

No, really.

You can watch the rest of the video for a bit of a chuckle if you want, but the legalese "debate" with a self-professed athiest on the street is painful - the person they chose clearly hadn't bothered considering his spirituality at all, and a bit of spurious logic ("You don't know everything, so how can you know there is no God? Ha ha!") is too much for his mind to handle.

Allow me to perform three simple rebuts:

Point 1) The banana is shaped perfectly for human consumption.

Reply: Which is why humans consume them. The sample banana he uses has been specially selected (Intelligently Chosen?) as the kind that has the best market appeal in shape and colour, so that's what ends up on our market shelves. There are other types of banana which do NOT have the design, colour or flavour of the ones he has in hand. Why does he not discuss those? Also, can this statement be used when describing, say, a kumquat? Or pistachios? Or edible grubs? Or nori? And it does make me wonder why they didn't mention the first creature people think of when they think of bananas. You'd almost think they were afraid of something...

Point 2) Eyeballs are astoundingly complex.

Reply: SO IS EVERYTHING ELSE! The existence of an eye is no more amazing than the existence of a fingernail, and frankly isn't as imressive as wheat seeds that can be sealed away in clay jars, lost for 500 years, and still be viable when planted. Within that simple seed is the mechanism to create a full grown plant, and from there more plants that will grow whether humans notice or not. There are bacteria that can actually borrow traits from other nearby bacteria, and do it so quickly that within hours there will have evolved completely new and different strains whether humans notice or not. There are spiders whose toxin is so astoundingly poisonous that they could kill a human, but whose jaws are so tiny, they could never bite one.

Life, all life, goes with what works - period. There is no need for a tiny spider to have such potent venom, but it works, so the spider continues. Humans would be better off with night vision as good as the average house cat, or a sense of smell as good as my dog, but we haven't needed those traits, so they didn't develop.

Point 3) A building has to be built by "an intelligence", so everything else must, too.

Reply: I'll type slowly so you can follow along: there is a difference between organic and inorganic things, okay? Bricks, cement and I-beams are inorganic, and not alive; humans, sunflowers and finches are organic and thus alive. [Correction - see below] Organic things will develop traits over time that help them survive whatever factors are acting upon them in their enviroment; inorganic things don't. That there are Innuit in the arctic does not mean that the arctic was built for them, but rather they evolved to match their enviroment. Just ask the penguins living (and thriving) at Wayne Newton's mansion in Las Vegas if they would rather be there or back by the south pole.

Added Bonus Point) You don't know everything in the universe, so you don't know there isn't a God, ergo there is a God (and He's Christian).

Reply: You must be frikin' joking me. That also "proves" that purple dragons are at the centre of black holes (since I don't know everything about black holes), a giant pickle rules the seas (since I don't know everything about either pickles or seas), and if anyone ever manages to count all the stars the universe will come to an end (since I don't know everything about the end of the universe).

Maybe you all should get back to me once you've figured out what burden of proof means, okay?

I'll be waiting.

Labels:

posted by Thursday at 4:39 pm

19 Comments:

Blogger M@ said...

Paging Doctor Pangloss...

(Yeah, I know that the reference would be completely wasted on these losers, but that's just another pitfall of being home-schooled.)

But his choice of the banana is especially funny. The banana has been cultivated in Southeast Asia for some time -- eight to ten thousand years is the best guess. But the banana we eat today is sterile; originally, the banana was a large seed pod, with barely edible seeds.

Human cultivation has created a sterile banana, which is grown by transplanting shoots. We've radically changed the banana -- it's evolved, to borrow a term -- from a normal seed-bearing fruit to a seedless foodstuff particularly suited to human needs.

Oh, Kirk Cameron. With Adam Thicke's help, you taught us so much. What a shame you have so little left to say!

6:46 pm  
Blogger Saskboy said...

M@ I was homeschooled a year and didn't develop an unhealthy appreciation for Intelligent Design or a distain for science. It depends entirely on the teacher, and how willing a kid is to question things, which includes science, but also people who'd speak against science without offering a better alternative.

8:10 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

M@ - Yeah, I wasn't even going to bother with that part of it. Would have been perfect if he chose an apple (for all its connotations) without realising its history there, either!

Sask - A very fair criticism. The generalization is far too easy to make for many of us. Perhaps a better comparison would be to expect critical thought from a graduate of Bob Roberts?

11:42 pm  
Blogger M@ said...

Saskboy -- I agree, it is an unfair generalization. But there is a strong pattern among homeschooling parents in the USA to insulate children from dissenting views and avoid critical thinking, thereby bringing up good sheep. Er, Christians.

There's no doubt that home schooling, in the right hands, could create an absolutely wonderful environment for learning. Unfortunately, it's become politicised in the USA. The kind of schooling you describe is much rarer (but would, of course, be ideal).

I was talking to my brother-in-law about this video today, and he was telling me that Kirk did a real number on Growing Pains before it was over, and made the last couple of years of the show a real Christin' love-in. I had no idea. So my last remark in my first comment is even more ironic.

10:42 am  
Blogger luna_the_cat said...

Hi,

Just a small niggle; when you refer to bricks, concrete, etc. as inorganic things, which cannot develop traits of their own and reproduce, as opposed to organic things which can...um. "Organic" simply means "contains hydrogen and carbon compounds", really. Could I convince you to use "living" and "nonliving", or if you want to sound fancy, "biotic" and "abiotic"? And to make clear the whole dynamically-active-capable-of-reproduction thing in that context? Yes, I know it complicates things slightly.

Otherwise...go you!

5:30 am  
Blogger Thursday said...

Luna - Always willing to be corrected! That should be, after all, the nature of a skeptic.

"Biotic" and "abiotic", hm? Sounds like a Vision of the FUTURE from the 1920s, doesn't it?

"A future filled with biotic and abiotic nightmares...!" (Featuring Vincent Price and Jack Palance.)

7:18 am  
Anonymous Pierce R. Butler said...

Betcha that tiny little spider has some tiny little opponent (prey/predator/competitor) with humungous venom resistance - enough so that if the spider's toxicity reduced, so would its survival...

11:16 am  
Blogger jbruno said...

Absolutely lovely. Kirk Cameron is such a beautiful human being it almost makes me cry.

Thank God [Science] for bananas.

7:22 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

Here's one question I'd like to pose to the ID folks, given their fascination with OMG-super-complex eyes:

Why are moles blind? Or any of the numerous other species with essentially vestigial eyes? There's no real advantage to not being able to see. There's an obvious evolutionary explanation for why moles ended up this way. The ID explanation is... what, God hates moles? Or maybe He wants them to live in perpetual fear so that they're more motivated to burrow and hide?

9:45 am  
Blogger Jim said...

Furthermore, while the human eye may be somewhat above average, what about our olfactory train wreck? If we think moles are blind, every other species on earth must wonder why we can't smell. What's the deal, God? Why do we need dogs to sniff out drugs and bombs and murder victims?

Heck, why are we so prone to sprains? And couldn't we get that fat-storage gene turned off by now? It's killing us.

9:51 am  
Blogger Stentor said...

It occurs to me that cows are really inconvenient to eat -- they're tough to peel, and they don't really fit in your mouth. So I might cut ID some slack if they follow their logic to its own conclusion and become vegetarians.

3:11 pm  
Anonymous Walter Brameld IV said...

Regarding the extremely venomous spider that is too small to bite people, I don't know which spider you're refering to, but I have heard this claim made about daddy longlegs spiders. I found this on snopes.com, which debunks that claim:

http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/longlegs.htm

6:17 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Walter - It's actually an Aussie spider I'm thinking of - wouldn't you know it. I think a total list of everything that CAN'T kill you in that psychotic continient is: "Some of the sheep".

1:03 am  
Blogger Justin said...

Great to see! A bunch of evolutionist sheep. Moles, purple dragons and black holes, ohh my! I particularly enjoyed your refute to the eye example. By stating that everything is complex you are just pointing out what many people say is the problem with evolution is, the mathematical odds of all these things happening by chance equates to next to zero. You probably have more of a chance of winning each and every lotto for the rest of your life. But hey, don't let math, science and evidence get in the way of a good story. Missing links still missing? Second law of Thermodynamics still in effect? Law of Conservation still in effect? I thought that life comes from life??? Can you point to any evidence to the contrary? hmmmmmm...

4:30 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Wow. Are you certain you're real? Not some stereotype that does slow rounds of the internet adding comments wherever laughter may be flagging?

I mean, you can't really be serious that the conservation of energy denies evolution, right? That is a joke?

Just in case it's not, though...

My "refute" of the eye is my amusement at an argument that has been around longer than Darwin's Origin of Species. The argument is going to be included in an upcoming "Stupidest Arguments Against Evolution" special I've got coming up. I would like you to consider the "mathematical odds" of you being born. Really: consider the odds against your parents ever meeting, out of all the humans on Earth. Then add the odds against fertilization that one specific time they bumped uglies. Then there's the chances of them using contraception at the time, plus the chance of that one sperm making you being the one fertilizing your mom's egg.

Got the number in your head? Good. Now tell me what the odds are of all that happening, and I will tell you that they are one hundred percent. That's because, you see, it's already happened.

How's your math now?

As for missing links, that's going to be the perpetual argument, isn't it? Fossils discovered that clearly show a transition between land and sea, and it's not enough. We could point out a fish in the process of becoming two species (the Pundamilia nyererei), and it's not enough. We can point to where one strain of staph evolved to actually eat the medium they were suspended in, and it's not enough. So frankly, until you clearly state what enough proof is, this isn't even worth considering.

As for the second law of thermodynamics, can you explain how evolution supposedly breaks it? Likewise the law of conservation? Seriously, even the folks at Answers in Genesis don't take this argument seriously any more. Oh, and for bonus points, what do you think is the difference between the two? I know what they are, but do you?

When you say "life comes from life", what do you think you mean? What counts as "life" for you? Because if you're talking strands of RNA, then the answer is "not always".

Point out evidence for you? Good grief, son: do your own homework. Come on back if you get too confused.

5:28 pm  
Blogger Justin said...

haha

wow your getting hot under the collar. Funny how a few questions have such a response from evolutionists. In fact, it's a pretty common effect questions have to evolutionists. They get all defensive and reactionary. Kind of like the Catholic Church did during the old days. Did I touch an nerve?

As far as your little math refute goes, that is one of the silliest arguments I have heard yet. What does that have to do with the origin of life? Your talking about the origin of my life, which is a fantastic example of the beautiful biological processes that are required to reproduce life. The human embryo is one of the most ordered structures man has layed "eyes" on in our universe. But I thought we were not talking about something that has been observed billions of times, I thought we were talking about something that we have never observed. Amino acids forming on the backs of crystals and a jolt of electricity fusing them together to create a single cell organism capable to reproducing itself and consuming energy. I guess I was mistaken?

Which fossils clearly show transition from sea to land? It is possible that I have missed that one. Show me the research on the Pundamilia nyererei that is forming into another animal. I searched for that and found that it's a fish that I can buy at my local pet store. The species is from Lake Victoria and I think it is a cute little fish. I possibly missed the evidence you were attempting to demonstrate. Staph eating a new food source is hardly any proof that it is turning into a new species. If I was arguing your points i would have left that bit of evidence out. We would have millions or fossil evidence on hand if evolution, as it is explained, were true.

Second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is in decay. That everything in this universe is going from order to disorder. How can living organisms go from lower order to progress to higher order... I guess living organisms fall outside this law and this natural universe.

Law of conservation states that energy is never created or destroyed. Combine that with the second law of thermodynamics and you have a logical dead end when it comes to evolution. With the law the thermodynamics, you have the big bang where the universe would be in its most perfect existence, the beginning of matter and or energy. But wait... if energy in never created or destroyed, where did the energy come from to cause the big bang. Then you would need to ask where that energy came from and regress to infinity. Or you disagree with the law of conservation and say that energy can be created from nothing.

Life is a process that distinguishes organisms from non-living objects, such as non-life, and dead organisms. Living organisms are capable of growth and reproduction, some can communicate and many can adapt to their environment through changes originating internally.[1] A physical characteristic of life is that it feeds on negative entropy.

I thought that this is a good definition of life. I was surprised that I needed to define life but this seem to explain what I mean.

For the heck of it...

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a type of molecule that consists of a long chain of nucleotide units. Each nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, a ribose sugar, and a phosphate.

This may effect life functions but is not considered life to me. Does this constitute life for you. I see no evidence that life ever came from non-living structures of any kind. Show me that I am wrong cause I could have just missed this discovery.

If you cannot show me the proofs that I asked you to show me then please do not resort to insulting my intelligence. It makes you seem defensive and ignorant. I guess that company on this blog is not all that polite.

ps Moles going blind does not mean it is turning into another species. If humans are not exposed to light, they also go blind. I saw this when I went to Ethiopia. That does not make them something else than human. And, they do not in turn pass that DNA to their children.

8:32 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Oh, good lord: are you kidding me? You think that's "hot under the collar", kid? Heck, I'm still trying to figure out if English is your first language or not; but clearly, Google is known to you, even if your cut-and-paste skills need work...

What I am is annoyed, because I know exactly how this is going to go: what ever gets presented to you isn't going to be good enough. There will never be enough fossils, and they won't be of the right type, and they'll just be a pack of lies from those evil scientists anyways. There will never be enough evidence of evolution in living forms, because until one animal turns into a whole new animal, that's not evolution, right? You can't trust anything Newton says, because he was an alchemist. Oh, and Darwinists are a bunch of cranky meanies who are ugly and hate god.

I'll be simply amazed if this goes any differently, but what the hell.

You are in fact stunningly mistaken. We were talking about odds - specifically these ones:

"[...]the mathematical odds of all these things happening by chance equates to next to zero. You probably have more of a chance of winning each and every lotto for the rest of your life."

My reply was pointing out what odds mean in an argument like this - nothing. It is, as I said, pointless to mutter about "odds" when something has clearly happened. When something has happened, the odds of it happening are 100%. You do understand that, right?

As for the transitional fossil, I was referring to Tiktaalik roseae:

http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/meetTik.html

The fish in Lake Victoria is this here:

http://ecoworldly.com/2008/10/07/scientists-discover-fish-in-act-of-evolution-in-africas-greatest-lake/

As for your definition of "evolution", it looks like you've decided to play Calvinball instead. The definition of evolution is not - repeat, NOT - the changing from one animal to another. It IS when whole new characteristics arise from mutations that become visible (or are otherwise activated) by environmental pressures. That characteristic (living off the medium) was handed down to future generations of E. coli. Of course, that won't be good enough, will it? No, until a dog gives birth to a cat, it's not evolution, right?

Here's a hint: an animal transforming into another animal would disprove evolution.

Do you understand that? And more to the point, do you understand why this is so?

The second law of thermodynamics more than holds, as small areas can be an exception, so long as the total stays the same. If what you just said were true, if indeed "everything in this universe is going from disorder to order" then nothing could change. Hence there could be no life.

Do you understand that?

Energy can also be changed: or did you miss that bit about the law of conservation? Your incorrect application of the laws of thermodynamics have led you to the dead end you mention: we are NOT in a closed system here. The sun (you may have heard of it) is losing energy all the time, and we're the beneficiaries. That's the equation: energy is being neither lost nor gained in the universal picture.

Do you understand that?

As for the creation of the universe, there is a simple answer: we don't know. No one does.

Do you understand that?

As for your definition of life, you hand me a Wikipedia entry? Oh, please: bring me something you haven't caged or don't bother.

*sigh* Of course RNA isn't considered life to you. Just because it is the foundation of... well... everything alive means absolutely nothing to you, does it? I hand you a building block of life itself and you give me, what? Another cut-and-paste from Wikipedia.

Again, why am I doing your homework for you? Want to know what could be the origins of life on Earth? Go look up protein enzymes. Go look up hydrothermal vents. Heck, if you ever want to be interesting and wrong, instead of ignorant and wrong, go look up Dr. Christian Schwabe. But at the very least try to understand what you're reading when you do, okay?

Oh, and as for the blind moles? Jim doesn't mean some seperate species that has become blind; he's comparing their abilities to ours, and extrapolating the animal kingdom's senses to our own. It's a pretty simple paragraph, and at this point I'm really, really hoping English is not your first language, because your comprehension abilities suck.

Really: stop trying to argue in English if you haven't got the basics down.

There is a very cool beastie that you (and Jim) just reminded me of: they're called naked mole rats, and they are utterly fascinating; a hive-living mammal, and the only one known. Well worth exploring.

Oh, and a belief that physical characteristics caused by the environment can be passed down to the children is Lamarckism, a predecessor of Darwin. Try not to confuse the two.

2:08 am  
Blogger Justin said...

I'm glad I made it on the front page of this blog...

This is funny as I am posting this on Thursday. Thank you so much for posting the links that support your arguments.

First, we will start with the Tiktaalik roseae. (yes I copied and pasted the name) I am wondering if you read the full explanation/description on that website. The third page I would like to draw your attention to. There are phrases such as "We think that the answer is" and "We can infer". Sounds like the University of Chicago is making many judgment calls specifically when talking about if this animal went on land. Doesn't sound as if that idea is yet fact. Not saying it's not but we don't know. No smoking gun here.

Now, the fish. This is indeed very interesting and I would love to follow up with this particular research. One thing that puzzled me about this article is that they mentioned that one species had turned into another species. Yet, both of these "species" still have them same name. I don't know of any other two species that have the same Greek/Latin name. Again, this only seems to prove micro-evolution, which I believe to be true. What I have a problem with is macro-evolution. This, as far as this article mentions, does not provide evidence to macro-evolution. It's like the mole argument in reverse. Possibly there is more to this then what is in this article. I am only going by what you provided.

Newton??? What does he have to do with evolution????? Sorry if I do not understand what that has to do with evolution.

"There will never be enough fossils" Yes, there should be for something that happened. (I'm using your silly 100% chance argument again) If it did happen (100%) I would expect that there be mountains of examples. Wouldn't you? Seem sensible to me, but then again I am dumb as you have put it many different ways.

Did I ever say that I expect that a dog give birth to a cat? I don't recall saying that was a precondition to me believing in evolution. Don't try to read my mind as you don't seem to have that ability.

I do have to give you much credit for you question you posed me, it show intellectual honesty. "Want to know what could be the origins of life on Earth?" I am glad that you used the words could be instead of the word is. In the end, this is what the conclusion must be for everyone who ponders such questions. We can only talk in terms of could be and absolute terms cannot be honestly used when stating overall conclusions.

This was the direction that I was going to lead this conversation towards, but you beat me to the punch. No evolutionist has ever been brave enough to use that type of term to me and you must be commended for that.

This has unfortunately stopped my from using my big arguments. I would like to end by saying that I erred in using the different laws in a conversation about evolution. In my mind, I was thinking about the origin of our universe and not our species. I realized my mistake at work today and I wanted you guys to know that even though the origin of the universe effects the origin of man, I should have tried to keep the arguments separated.

It seems that you and I (Thursday) do agree on micro-evolution, but cannot agree on macro-evolution. I find that the holes to macro-evolution are too big to build a bridge of reason across. The one possible example that you provided of macro-evolution seemed very weak and do not hold up to any concept of proof. (but then again I am dumb and don't know no English) I can do many push-ups and swim but I don't live in the water.

I can see that your faith in evolution (and it is a faith) cannot be shaken, as my faith in God cannot be shaken. I respect you greatly as a person and do not think your dumb in any way. I just think that for something that 100% happened that the proof for it would be undeniable. It is far from that.

7:09 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

First off: the reason I keep mentioning your intelligence is that you refuse to use it. You don't know what evolution is, you don't know what the scientific method is, and you don't know how science works. You haven't investigated any of the subjects beyond what I expressly presented to you and you kept hand me things other people had written without showing any sign that you understood it.

It doesn't really matter if you are intelligent if there is no evidence of that fact, does it?

Let's move on to specifics, shall we?

You think the phrase "We think" shows a weakness of argument? That is where you are shockingly wrong! Debate is constant in science, especially in biology where the number of integers involved in any equation is phenomenal. The sheer complexity of even the simplest genetic combinations makes it difficult to speak with certainty - why do you think experiments on fruit flies and E. coli are the rule, rather than the exception. And those were done in laboratory conditions: add in the multitude of factors in the environment the beings under observation live, and all you can present is hypothesis and (eventually) theory.

These are constantly debated and argued over, with conflicting ideas and arguments proposed for and against within the scientific community until the one that answers the most questions "wins" - right up until a better theory supercedes it.

This, by the way, is why so few religious folks are any good at presenting scientific arguments: they are simply no good at it. When you spend your entire life using belief as a substitute for thought, there are few questions to ask.

Which brings me to another point about your own arguments: this thought

"I can see that your faith in evolution (and it is a faith) cannot be shaken, as my faith in God cannot be shaken."

is utter crap. Clearly you believe that evolution and religion are incompatible, which would come as a shock to the head of the Human Genome Project (an evangelical named Francis Peters); to Francisco Alaya, biologist and authour of Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion; to the entirety of Pepperdine University, a Catholic school with a strong science department where Ben Stein filmed his odious Expelled; and to the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.

Go check them out here:
http://www.ctns.org/index.html

Now then, getting back to your response.

"Did I ever say that I expect that a dog give birth to a cat?"

Yes, you did, you just don't know it. That is exactly what the so-called "macro-evolution" is demanding as proof of evolution, that one animal turns into another. You could be shown every stage of eohippus becoming equus, and the reply would be "but that's just a horse. Show me something, you know, different." And that is expecting a dog to give birth to a cat. It simply ain't gonna happen.

As for mentioning Isaac Newton, that was an example of the attack on experts that I encounter often enough: "You're using X as your source? But he's wrong, because he did Y!" It's a logical fallacy that happens a lot in arguments about evolution.

Now as for that magic "100%" you keep tossing around: I've just explained how science works - still think we'll be using it? Science goes with what works best at any given time, and continues to improve on their theories by constant revision and debating. If you have a theory that works any better than evolution, you'd better be ready to defend it, because evolution has for 150 years. When something comes along that works better, evolution will be tossed aside exactly like Lysenkoism was, or Lamarckism was, or all the other theories that got beat out by their betters.

For comparison: if you got into a car and found that pressing the pedal on the right made it go forward, and it did that every time, how long would you hold on to the theory that it was actually the turn signal that made the car move?

A little hint before trying to find a theory that works better than evolution: nothing, and I do mean nothing in modern biology makes any sense except in the light of evolution. That's as true today as it was when Dobzhansky first wrote it in 1973. Go read what he said:

http://people.delphiforums.com/lordorman/light.htm

That being said, 100% certainty is for the faithful, not the curious. I note that I have never heard anyone who opposed evolution seriously consider that God did not make the universe. Why that is, I'll leave to you.

8:50 pm  

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