matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (xDawkins)
[personal profile] matgb
Quickie, aimed specifically at two people[1] but of general interest to all who value decent science education, [livejournal.com profile] nannyo excellent post about her encounter with the people that run the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm. I am very scared that that place exisits within the UK. On a similar vein, those that haven't seen it should probably read Scalzi's report of his visit to the Creation Museum. Does anyone have any brain bleach?

Heh: I do like this from the comments at Scalzi's report though:
Galatians 4:24
These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants.
So, um, the bible, if literally true, is literally a metaphor according to St Paul?

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat has put on her day job hat and got into contact with them, removing the bit that she studies evolutionary morphology from her NHM email sigline. Go Debi!
[1] [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat and [livejournal.com profile] davegodfrey based on their regular postings on such topics.

Date: 2007-11-29 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanne-est-moi.livejournal.com
Oh dear. Reminds me of one of my (insane) best friends here, who likes to point out the loopholes in evolutionary theory. That's not to say that he believes all of THAT nonsense...but he's certainly skeptical of just accepting without question all the evolution stuff we learn in high school.

Ah well. I suppose we can't all be sane, right? Diversity is the spice of life! (ha.)

Date: 2007-11-29 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shaysdays.livejournal.com
he's certainly skeptical of just accepting without question all the evolution stuff we learn in high school.

Is there something wrong with that? I always thought that how scientific progress was made- someone wasn't satisfied with the 'way things are' and looked in new directions.

I don't know why people think 'evolution' as currently presented is the end all and be all of science when it comes to life and how we change over time- there's still a lot of processes we don't totally understand or completely dismiss as 'quack science' that could possibly turn out not to be. I mean, c'mon- people thought Galileo was a total freakazoid at the time, you know?

No, I don't believe in a Creation story (though I do have faith in the divine) or think a public institution should be able to do what this private zoo and museum are doing, but I think that to hold up evolution as some sort of holy grail does both evolutionary theory and scientific inquiry a disservice.

As Darwin himself said:
Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realise, though I had read various scientific books, that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or conclusions may be drawn from them.

Yes, according to that I can positively conclude that men are murdering rapist bastards. I read a lot about them that are in the history books so it must be true. /sarcasm

Evolution's a good theory, but ironically if a better one comes along, then it's survival of the fittest, yes?

Date: 2007-11-29 09:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
Absoplutely; the whole point about science is that it's NOT set in stone: it's a process of enquiry, whereas fundamentalist religion is a method of quashing processes of enquiry... Which is ironic, because religion used to be (and sometimes still is) the main driving force of research - to find out about all the wonders of God's creation.

Date: 2007-11-29 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanne-est-moi.livejournal.com
To give a specific example of the above...the majority of research being done in regard to African languages right now is being funded by Christian groups intent on publishing a Bible in every language spoken on the planet.

Do I think that this is a worthwhile goal? Not particularly.
Do I think that conducting more research about African linguistic traditions is a highly important endeavor? Yes, which is why I'm not going to complain that it's the Crazy Christians paying for it.

Date: 2007-11-29 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
* nodnod *

Absolutely. Research is an end in itself. The problem comes when (like Gallileo) the research provides results that the Christian sponsors don't like...

Date: 2007-11-29 11:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
The literal creationist model of life was disposed of by scientists who didn't accept evolution. They looked at geology and saw that it didn't fit the bible. They also recognised that the history of life didn't fit either and proposed "waves of creation" and similar models.

We won't be going back to models based on religion, even if it turns out that pure natural selection isn't the be-all and end all. (Which it isn't there's sexual selection, non-adaptionism, etc.) Creationists don't do any research, so they won't be turning science on its head any time soon.

Date: 2007-11-29 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanne-est-moi.livejournal.com
I suppose I could also be skeptical of the cell mitosis process, the legitimacy of ancient civilizations, and the notion that millions of people in the world have HIV, many of them without knowing it.

These things are taught to me in school with about the same amount of proof as evolution as a concept. True, we haven't yet figured out all the links between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, but that doesn't mean that there isn't truth in evolution. Similarly, we don't know exactly how many people are living with HIV/AIDS, but from the evidence we have and the limited scope of our treatment programs, we can conclusively state that more people have it than we know about.

I'm all about maintaining a healthy skepticism towards unfounded theories. That being said, I think that if you're going to regard evolution as an unfounded theory, you're going to have to add a lot of other things to your list.

Date: 2007-11-29 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shaysdays.livejournal.com
I didn't say unfounded, I said it's not the end of the subject- big difference. I've known a couple people who cling to "Survival of the fittest" like a baby lemur, and that's not healthy either. (Excuse me for a moment while I awww over the thought of baby lemurs. Awwwww. Okay, I'm back.)

Mitosis of cells can be proven through observation/deduction, I think, so can the people with AIDS, assuming enough money for a worldwide blood test. Neanderthals and Cro Magnon link theories can't be proven as of yet, since we can't observe them. (Though with DNA and carbon dating we can make really educated guesses.) I think you're confusing "theory" with "hypothesis."

Evolution: Theory (a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained)

AIDS population: Hypothesis. (a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation)

Date: 2007-11-29 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanne-est-moi.livejournal.com
Well I agree with you that it's not the end of the subject. I just don't agree that there is any substantial evidence for NOT evolution. Obviously there are holes in what we know, most likely attributable to the lack of abundant skeletal evidence. That, however, does not mean that the evidence does not exist. Assuming enough money for a worldwide blood test is similar to assuming enough money to excavate the entirety of Africa. Much as I would love to tear down Addis Ababa in search of bones, it's not going to happen.

Within the field of evolution, I believe that there is room for much debate. The how of evolution is what is most incomplete in our current spectrum of knowledge. Survival of the fittest, sexual selection, natural selection, population and bottleneck effects...all of these are only the beginnings of what we know of selection.

And I'm quite aware of the difference between theory and hypothesis, most notably the concept that theories are based upon tested hypotheses (see the comment by professoryaffle below) - the scientific method.

Date: 2007-11-29 03:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raven-oreilly.livejournal.com
Hey, Phillip Johnson ("father" of the ID movement at the Discovery Institute) is an HIV-Causes-AIDS denier. :D

Date: 2007-11-29 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanne-est-moi.livejournal.com
Oh yes. Well documented fact, doncha know?

Date: 2007-11-29 08:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Evolution is a credible theory, but it is full of loopholes. Why is it insane to point them out?

Date: 2007-11-29 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
what sort of loopholes?

Date: 2007-11-29 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
There's plenty of stuff out there about the lack of transitional forms in the development of man, for instance. Archaeological finds have long cast doubt on the traditional Darwinian view of a mechanical progression of species via survival of the fittest. Darwin himself was adamant that natural selection was never meant to be the only mechanism of evolution, although this has pretty much become evolutionist dogma. The range and depth of archaeological evidence against traditional evolutionary theory is rather beyond the scope of a quick comment here for discussion - just run a google search or something. A second point would be the lack of a concept of 'life' in evolutionary theory - nobody can really say how life emerges, although religions obviously try to. A third point would be natural selection's focus on the individual. Weaker or inadequate individuals in a species die out as the stronger survive, and the mutations that create stronger individuals go on to propagate the species. However, this hardly explains the collective activities of some species, such as ants, or flattid bugs, that appear to operate according to some sort of hive mentality where individuals count for less than the group.

A lot more could be said about each of these points but that's as best I can summarise them here. The point is not that evolution is discredited, but that it is open to questioning and refinement as a theory - it shouldn't simply be held as scientific fact.

Date: 2007-11-30 11:02 am (UTC)
innerbrat: (full of shit)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
There's plenty of stuff out there about the lack of transitional forms in the development of man, for instance.
Define 'transitional'. There are plenty of hominid species that except mosaics of charcaters from different groups.

Archaeological finds have long cast doubt on the traditional Darwinian view of a mechanical progression of species via survival of the fittest.
Which finds?

The range and depth of archaeological evidence against traditional evolutionary theory is rather beyond the scope of a quick comment here for discussion - just run a google search or something.
No. It's your claim. You back it up. Give an archaeological (or palaeontological) find that disproves evolution.

A second point would be the lack of a concept of 'life' in evolutionary theory
Biologists generally accept 'life' to imply self-replicating organic matter. How is that a lack of concept?

A third point would be natural selection's focus on the individual. Weaker or inadequate individuals in a species die out as the stronger survive, and the mutations that create stronger individuals go on to propagate the species. However, this hardly explains the collective activities of some species, such as ants, or flattid bugs, that appear to operate according to some sort of hive mentality where individuals count for less than the group.
There is plenty of knowledge about the evolution of altruism.

You appear to be simply recycling old, worn thin soundbites from poorly researched Creationist sites. You also misused the word theory as [livejournal.com profile] professoryaffle explains below.

Date: 2007-11-30 03:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
No, no and NO! Crikey. At what point did I try to 'disprove' evolution?

Date: 2007-11-30 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
Well you did say that evolution had plenty of loopholes, and were asked what they were. You gave a list of things that have either been thoroughly debunked or are very active areas of research, where we have lots of interesting ideas being tested.

Date: 2007-11-30 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
You gave a list of things that have either been thoroughly debunked

What has been 'thoroughly debunked' in what I say above?

or are very active areas of research, where we have lots of interesting ideas being tested.

Yeah, and where did I say otherwise?

I'm not making any sort of Creationist argument or attempting to discredit evolution as a theory. I said it's a theory with loopholes in it and, as you say, there are active areas of research that presumably are looking to flesh out the theory even further. Where do we disagree, exactly?

Date: 2007-11-30 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
Wot [personal profile] innerbrat said

Darwin himself was adamant that natural selection was never meant to be the only mechanism of evolution, although this has pretty much become evolutionist dogma.

No it hasn't. Darwin came up with Sexual Selection, which has become an active area of research since the New Synthesis in the 1930s. Mootoo Kimura's Neutral theory of genetic evolution is very important in DNA classification studies. Then there's non-adaptationism, beloved of Stephen Jay Gould, and evo-devo.

But at the root of all this is the idea that organisms vary, and these variations have different fitnesses which affect their reproductive success.

Evolution is a fact and a theory. Fossils show that living organisms change through time. Natural Selection (in addition to the things I mentioned) is the model that explains how this happenned.

Date: 2007-11-30 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Aye, at the base level of the idea that organisms vary through time, evolution is fact (according to some). The neo-Darwinian takes on this are theories. Theories are open to question and refinement, but I'm not sure how a fact is also a theory unless the terms of debate altogether are inadequate.

Mrs. Darwin

Went to the Zoo.
I said to Him-
Something about that Chimpanzee over there
reminds me of you.



Date: 2007-11-30 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
I'm referring to "Evolution" and "The Theory of Evolution". One is the observation that X happens. The other is the explanation for why X happens.

Date: 2007-11-29 09:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nannyo.livejournal.com
Evolution is NOT one theory, that's sort of the point. There is no overwhelming theory of everyth

The scientific discussion about evolution is not that it is happening at all, the proof of that is all around us, and incontravertible. The discussion is about HOW evolution is happening. Is it all selection? Is it neutral? Punctuated? Does the "noncoding" genetic material do something we don't understand yet?

Date: 2007-11-29 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
exactly. Theories question: fundies beat you over the head with a stupid stick until you succumb or run away screaming.

Date: 2007-11-29 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanne-est-moi.livejournal.com
Precisely. Evolution is fact. The extent of evolution and the various forms of selection that occur/have occurred over the past millions of years is still being discovered (and/or NOT being discovered), but that doesn't mean that we don't have proof of evolution.

Date: 2007-11-29 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] professoryaffle.livejournal.com
Its unfortunate that everyone thinks of these definition of the word theory when it comes to evolution


5. In the abstract (without article): Systematic conception or statement of the principles of something; abstract knowledge, or the formulation of it: often used as implying more or less unsupported hypothesis (cf. 6): distinguished from or opposed to practice (cf. 4b). in theory (formerly in the theory): according to theory, theoretically (opp. to in practice or in fact).

6. In loose or general sense: A hypothesis proposed as an explanation; hence, a mere hypothesis, speculation, conjecture; an idea or set of ideas about something; an individual view or notion. Cf. 4.


which are not the meaning intended in the phrase the Theory of Evolution. This one is

4. a. A scheme or system of ideas or statements held as an explanation or account of a group of facts or phenomena; a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as accounting for the known facts; a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed.

its a shame most people don't get this

Date: 2007-11-29 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Yeah, I know.

Date: 2007-11-29 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrell.livejournal.com
Loved the lolcats thread from the Scalzi visit :)

Date: 2007-11-29 08:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
I wish there were more creationists about. Just not Christian ones.

Date: 2007-11-29 11:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
There's plenty of muslim ones. They're much like the Christian ones, but with more anti-semitism. Their arguements aren't any different.

Date: 2007-11-29 03:55 pm (UTC)
innerbrat: (religion)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
The Christians have plenty of anti-semitism.

Then there are Jewish creationists as well.

Date: 2007-11-29 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
True, but the muslims seem to go in for holocaust denial too.

Date: 2007-11-29 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
And the Jews deny Christ.

What a bunch of cunts, one and all! Jews, Christians, Muslims - all scum, eh?

Date: 2007-11-30 10:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
And Shiva, Odin and the Great Green Arklesiezure.

Date: 2007-11-30 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Not to mention Cunti, natch.

Date: 2007-11-29 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jackthomas.livejournal.com
I just finished reading a great book called The Unauthorised Version - Truth and Fiction in the Bible. Although I have been an atheist for quite a long time now, it was still a fascinating read, and one of the best books on the subject of the Bibles origins I think I have read. Should probably be required reading for anyone who wants to ever argue with fundies.

In brief it is a historians view of the bible - what source documents do we have, how do they differ. How do the histories compare to other documents from the period(s).

Some of my favourite bits are that at the time Joshua was supposed to bring down the walls of Jericho, except at the time it was supposed to happen Jericho was a small farming village.



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-Fiction-Bible-Unauthorised-Version/dp/0679744061/

Date: 2007-11-29 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caramel-betty.livejournal.com
*yoink*

*adds to list of books to read*

Ta.

Date: 2007-11-29 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem,

see people, even SHIT evolves. LEARN IT.

Date: 2007-11-29 11:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silentgreeneyes.livejournal.com
How odd you post this the day after I get another email from my dad.. which includes links to his online presence..
I'll be posting said links soon..

Date: 2007-11-29 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrell.livejournal.com
Just read the Scalzi piece. Very awesome. Must buy all his books immediately.

Date: 2007-11-29 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raven-oreilly.livejournal.com
My favorite Creation Museum picture is the placard with an answer about why there aren't any dino bones found with human ones:

[paraphrased]"Because they simply weren't buried together!" Tah-dah!

Date: 2007-11-29 07:24 pm (UTC)
ext_27872: (Default)
From: [identity profile] el-staplador.livejournal.com
Aha. Saint Paul, you see, knew a metaphor when he saw one. Not that he didn't get a fair amount of other stuff wrong (IMO), or at least failed to consider how what was right when he wrote it would be interpreted two thousand odd years later...

Date: 2007-11-29 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
* gets the warm fuzzies over the people conversing above *

Date: 2007-11-29 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhythmaning.livejournal.com
Nothing I can see on the Noah's Ark Zoo Farm website you link to indicate anything amiss. Off to check [livejournal.com profile] nannyo's post...

Fascinating. From the website, it looks like a great zoo - a good place to visit. From the post, it looks like the opposite.

I've gone back to the Zoo website. I really can't see anything that is the least influence by creationism, or any belief or faith at all...

Because as [livejournal.com profile] nannyo points out, you have to get way, way deep into the site to find it.

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.

Thanks for posting!

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matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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