Anti-ScienceScienceSkepticism

Yay Science!

I’ve spent the past couple of days in and out of hospitals and dealing with surgeons, doctors and nurses.  A few months ago, my husband’s doctor discovered a cyst on his thyroid that was ‘suspicious for papillary carcinoma’ and he needed to have the gland removed.  You can read more about his adventures on his blog – he does a much better job of describing it all than I would.  But as I was sitting in his hospital room late the other night, watching him recover from getting his throat sliced open, it occurred to me that the people out there who are anti-science and anti-medicine are complete assholes.

I know this is not news to anyone on this blog.  But experiencing a medical procedure this close up really gives you a better understanding of how freaking lucky we all are because of science.  There seems to be a general vibe in the media, movies and popular culture that science is dangerous and technology is bad. People tell us that we should back away from new media and new technology because these things are somehow de-humanizing. To those people, I say “Fuck off” and here’s why.

Let’s forget for a moment the incredible amount of technology and science that led to the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Let’s just focus on the procedure and hospital process itself.

In less than 48 hours, Christian went from having his throat sliced open to walking about, eating normally and resting comfortably at home.  Here are some of the things that allowed this ‘miracle of science’ to have occured:

  1. The germ theory of disease. Until it was proposed that tiny, invisible creatures were running all over us and could be the cause of disease and infection, doctors and surgeons didn’t worry about hygiene and sterilization. Today, the hospital has an entire system in place to maintain a sterile environment in the surgery itself and to keep risk of infection to a minimum.
  2. Sutures. Christian had his THROAT SLICED OPEN. Seriously, he has a wound across his neck and they sewed it up with some stuff that will just dissolve over time; no painful removal of stitches and minimal scarring.  He has some pain from the wound itself but that’s honestly been the least of his problems (the most pain was from the intibation tube down his throat during surgery).
  3. Pain medication. When he woke up he was in some pretty severe pain and his recovery would have been significantly prolonged and much harder without pain medication. He got all sorts of drugs, including morphine, loratab and some incredible stuff that made him feel better when the morphine wasn’t making a dent in his pain.  

It also occurred to me that there are a million tiny technologies to be grateful for:

  1. Bendy straws.  It sounds silly, but when you have a wound in your neck, being able to drink without looking down is a big freaking deal.
  2. Crocs, NurseMates and the other brand name shoes that keep the nursing staff more comfortable and able to stay on their feet longer and be less cranky.  The nursing staff was fantastic, probably not just because of their shoes but isn’t it nice to have technology to make their daily lives easier?
  3. Adjustable beds and chairs.  We could move his head up, down, forward and backwards, whatever we needed to get him into the right position to eat, sleep, breath better etc. (My only complaint was that the bed was too short for his 6’6″ frame).  And I got a fairly comfy recliner that I slept in overnight, which allowed me to be a lot less cranky in the morning.
  4. Blackberry, cell phone, wi-fi and laptop technology that allowed me to keep all our friends and family updated (more than they probably wanted!) about what was going on during the surgery and recovery.  Plus, IM, email, chat, Twitter, Facebook and text messages that all allowed for different methods to communicate. Suck it Sam Ogden, I’m OK with having options! :)

Ok, you get my point, right? Technology and science rocks. Every minute and penny that people spend on bad science, pseudoscience, ‘alternative’ medicine and plain old bullshit is time and money that could be inventing the next bendy straw!  Think of the opportunity cost of that plus, the time and energy that us skeptics spend debunking and arguing and trying to portray the truth about these idiots and the bad information they spread.

But, when we were up most of the night, watching late night TV and trying to get some rest, we both noticed that pseudoscience is alive and well.  Every other commercial was homeopathy, Kevin Trudeau or herbal supplements.   The assholes are alive and well. There’s much work to do. I take solace in the fact that the science and technology has progressed so much in spite of them. Maybe there’s hope for this war after all. If nothing else, we’ll probably live longer. :)

Masala Skeptic

Maria Walters (a.k.a. Masala Skeptic) has spent a lot of time in ‘furrin parts,’ including Hong Kong, Trinidad, and Pittsburgh. Although her passport is from India, she’s spent most of her adult life in the United States. She currently lives in Atlanta and has an unhealthy affection for science fiction, Neil Gaiman and all things Muppet.

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131 Comments

  1. I am SO with you there girl. It pisses me off greatly that anti-science cunts have any access to those types of resources at all.
    As far as I am concerned, they can all stay home with their homeopathy water and leave the antibiotics, pain meds, medical instruments, internet, and anything else sciencey, to us.

  2. Wow,

    I’m sorry to hear all this but I’m glad that (thanks to real doctors) you guys are healing up.

    Well, I hope you guys, get healthy, stay cheerful, keep the quips about pseudo-science coming and of course,

    Hang in there,

    rod

  3. This is why I LOVE the increasing number of unapologetic skeptical, fact based, clear thinking folks like yourselves. Too long, we’ve not pushed back.

    In a moment of joy, I went to see if http://sciencerocks.com/ is taken. It is, and the owner has put it more succinctly, and eloquently than I would have ever done.

    Fast recovery, and keep the good thoughts coming!

  4. Hey Masala I hope Mr. Masala has a quick recovery and easy road with all the medication and treatment processes.

    Had my thyroid removed last June after a needle biopsy found papillary thyroid cancer in two cysts and five total tumors were found in my thyroid after it was removed. It’s been quite an adventure and all the subsequent treatments have been fairly trouble free and effective. Science is indeed a great thing and what has amazed me has been the amount of incredible information now available to the patient willing to do their own research and be an informed participant in their own care.

  5. @James Fox:

    Hey Masala I hope Mr. Masala has a quick recovery and easy road with all the medication and treatment processes.

    It’s coming along nicely so far :) The weirdest thing is how my neck feels like it’s going to explode when I bend at the waist.

  6. Yes. Yes. Yes!

    Nothing short of the painstaking efforts of thousands and thousands of Human Scientists over a period of a mere couple hundred years made this miracle possible. Greater achievements indeed happen all the time and more will come presently. I am very pleased to hear of your husband’s recovery.

    I wish there were a god to forgive the a-holes who’ve impeded or denied such progress. Actually I wish there were a god to punish the a-holes who’ve impeded or denied such progress.

  7. I was born with a congenital heart defect and would be dead by now without open-heart surgery. They sawed my chest open, stopped my heart, cut it apart, literally rearranged veins, patched up a hole in the septum, and sewed me back up, and here I am.

    We live in an age of miracles, brought to you by science.

  8. Apart from being grateful for all of the information age’s sundry conveniences, I can even thank science for being alive today. When I was thirteen I accidentally crashed through a glass door, and the shards gashed the undersides of my arms so deeply I could see the veins and muscles. Were it not for the advent of safe emergency surgery, I would have bled out.

  9. I just read your article to my wife who has had four back/neck surgeries in the past four years. She whole-heartily agrees with your assessment of bendy straws. Her other favorite invention is her Grabber. With it she can pick up things without bending over. The same with elastic shoelaces.

  10. I hope your husband makes a full recovery!

    I could not agree with you more! A few months ago I went into my doctor with pain on my right side. Within a couple hours they had diagnosed me as having an ectopic pregnancy, did emergency surgery and sent me home. All I have to show for a potentially fatal condition is three tiny scars on my belly. Before ultrasound the fatality rate from ectopics was near 50%. The nurses at the hospital were also amazing. They offered so many kind words and a few hugs. My only problem was that it took them ten tries to get an IV in. I’m not complaining though. Thanks to science there was and IV there to begin with!

  11. Masala:

    So glad your husband is okay, but I wanted to discuss your concept that the hospital provides a sterile environment.

    In the cost-cutting environment of modern healthcare, janitorial services are usually the first thing to be cut. If the facility you were at actually scrubs the rooms between patients, it’s a miracle.

    Other than cleaning the bathroom, swapping linens, occasionally mopping a floor and emptying the wastebaskets, hospital rooms are generally not thoroughly cleaned between patients these days. Surfaces on the night-tables, phones, remotes and bed rails are rarely cleaned and pretty darn icky.

    When my late grandmother had vascular surgery several years ago (she died a few years after the surgery, not because of it), my mother spent the OR time wisely.

    Being a former nurse and being near-Monk-like in her germ phobia, she spent the OR and recovery room time scrubbing my grandmother’s room. With a mild bleach solution. She even scrubbed that “fairly comfy recliner” you got, which is also known as a “Geri Chair”. Everyone noted how nice the room smelled and the doctors were quite pleased with the lack of secondary infections (usually a normal occurrence).

    In fact, the room and objects in it were so clean, my mother had to keep the nurses from taking them to use on other patients. The Geri-Chair especially – those are usually *very* dirty and germy (so I would wash whatever clothes you were wearing while sitting in it in bleach – I’m not kidding).

    Not saying I disagree with you in full, and not that people don’t try in a hospital to keep it sterile as possible. But as a doctor’s daughter who spent a fair amount of time working in hospitals, I say that its’ a good rule of thumb to perhaps bring a bunch of sanitizing wipes and wipe surfaces down. Don’t worry about offending anyone – just do it with a smile and without comment. Trust me – the nurses understand what you’re doing.

  12. @Chasmosaur: Actually, I was referring more to the sterile environment during surgery itself. I wouldn’t expect the room he was in to be completely sterile, although I am surprised at your description.

    Since I was there overnight, I did see one room being turned over between patients and someone was cleaning it. I didn’t see how thoroughly they were cleaning, of course.

    They also were very cautious about using hand sanitizer before and after coming into contact with Christian and asked me and all visitors to do the same.

    This particular hospital was under construction as they were building a new wing and I talked to one of the nurses about it. She said the noise was a problem but that they had done a very good job of keeping the construction dust and dirt out of the areas being used. It may be that they were a little more cautious because of that as well.

    I was mostly concerned with him getting exposed to something post-op and they seemed to do a great job in minimizing risk.

  13. Fantastic post! I’m so glad to hear that things are going well.

    Just a few days ago my mother and I were cheering on science. Monday she had a bladder tumor removed. It was outpatient surgery, and we were home by 2pm. By the time I was called to recovery to be with her, she was sitting up in bed drinking coffee–not even using a bendy straw! She’s doing really well, but cancer is a damn scary word. Fortunately it was caught early, though she’s going to need screening every 3 months for a while.

    The timing worked out well–it was during my spring break. Back to the salt mines tomorrow, alas.

    So, yay for science!

  14. Glad he’s doing better.

    I was just sitting here trying to figure out how many times I would have died without science. Once at least. I had appendicitis at age 11 which almost certainly would’ve been fatal without surgery. I’ve also had a few bacterial infections which may or may not have been fatal without treatment – hard to know for certain.

    Overall, not that many times — I’m guessing others here would have a higher count — but it only takes once, I suppose.

  15. Masala sez:
    <<>>
    It’s funny you say that. My cousin works in a bank. She wears pantyhose, heels, and business suits. I am a home health nurse. I work in aoft loose cotton scrubs and New Balances. My cousin says A LOT of people would be a lot less cranky if they got to work in “their pajamas” too! :D

  16. As a husband of a Home Health nurse, my wife and I are flabbergasted on the amount of bad science, woo and spiritualism we see promoted on a regular basis in nursing geared literature in general. The most recent travesty that made us groan was in the latest issue of RN, a peer reviewed journal she subscribes to to keep abreast of science, it’s feature article was dedicated to HOLISTIC MEDICINE. I wish I was joking. Because of crap like this being promoted in what is suppose to be a Peer Reviewed Scientific Journal for nurses woo will continue to fester like an infected wound.

  17. @WhiskeyWar: Yeah. Not pleased about that issue. I’m not impressed with that mag as a “peer-reviewed” nursing journal. The majority of the good journals do contain really good info and stellar research methods with sound scientific merit. But that article was a piece o’ crapola.

  18. By chance I was thinking about this very same topic just yesterday. Since people take real miracles for granted they have to make up fake miracles to fill the void. This gives the charlatans their open to swoop with offers to pump ozone up the asses of the unsuspecting.

    This is too bad. The story that science tells of how we came to be is so damn miraculous it truly staggers the mind. Similarly the fact that we humans learned how to unlock the secrets of nature so as to make practice of modern medicine seem mundane is another staggering miracle.

    Image the following thought experiment – a large number of human babies born of modern humans, but not exposed to any linguistic interaction are transported and dumped on a planet identical to earth, but with no indigenous human population.

    Say the number of babies dumped on this copy of earth is large enough that a significant number of feral children survive to adulthood.
    How many year henceforth before the first MRI machine comes on line?

    Don’t hold your breath :-)

    /BCT

  19. As a doc, I just wanna reply with a “thank you” for your kind words on the behalf of my profession. Imperfect , or not, “we” do more good than harm.

    This is particularly refreshing after I just responded to an abysmal post on, of all places , a sports site:

    The Bozo’s post:

    ” The Jews, Atheists and Muslims better get with the program. Especially the murdering Muslims. They are looking at an eternity of hell.

    Two vile and insidious religions that are responsible for a world on the brink of oblivion.

    Let’s see how long this post last.

    If I was condemning Christians it would be here forever.

    BTW…this is in response to the j/off who posted the video insulting Christians.

    I’m personally offended and sick of it. ”

    MY POST:

    ” Buddy ( and I will not share with you what my specific spiritual beliefs are because I truly believe that such beliefs are best kept to oneself and not to be used by the few to herd a mass of cattle, sorry … I mean people, to carry out a specific agenda ), if there is a micromanaging God, you would have been “smoten” by now.

    If, and I truly mean if, because I’m not sure if you’re trying to push buttons or not, you believe what you are saying you are a propaganda living, science naive breathing, hateful, intellectually blind, historically unknowing, vile excuse for a human being, or should I say piece of meat.

    I have one last word for you:

    Moo.

    And I mean that with all my heart.

    Wait … this might be too offensive to cattle.

    I apologize to bovine everywhere. ”

    And then I come online here and find solace ,for I realize that although I am a sport’s geek and always will be, my family of like minded fans are so fragmented and dysfunctional that at times it can be literally infuriating. The only thing I have in common with them is the team I root for. The only thing I have in common with people on this blog is a view of the UNIVERSE.

    My best to your husband. May he always be the beneficiary of excellent medical care when needed.

  20. @masala: Glad that it was detected and successfully removed!

    I’ve had multiple surgeries on my back, arms and hands, as well as a hernia repair. I’m very glad to have good surgeons around instead of witch doctors and other woo providers.

  21. I thumb my nose at you, conventional medicine.

    One day, I became deathly ill. I went to the doctor, who admitted me to the hospital, where I died.
    Later, I read about this amazing homeopathic remedy. I got hold of some and drank it. It restored the memory of life to every water molecule in my body.
    Now, as long as I don’t pee, I am immortal.
    And my feet don’t smell anymore, either.

  22. I have to agree wholeheartedly. My wife was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia that used to have a fairly short life expectancy. Now, thanks to years of scientific research, her cancer can be kept in check like diabetes.

    A holistic cynic might say that ‘Big Pharma’ wants to keep her sick forever. But the reality is that science based medicine is why is living a full life now. Pain free, energetic, and with a good chance of living a long life.

  23. Excellent post!

    12 years ago my wife required major surgery for an abdominal condition. She’s had 5 in total, including two cesareans to deliver our children which were necessary after her previous surgeries.

    Without any exaggeration I can honestly state that the three most important people in this world to me would not be here were it not for good, effective science based medicine.

    I’m always happy when I hear modern medicine has helped someone else. My best to you both, I wish you a speedy recovery.

  24. One final comment on this from me.

    It is INCREDIBLY humbling to hear the words , “you saved my life” from someone who believes it with all their heart and soul, whether or not it is true. Usually this has been said to me when a medical student is present and it’s an opportunity for my patient to brag about their doctor, as if he or she were a proud father or mother bragging about her son. I have always said that it is a privilege to do what I do. It is BECAUSE of my profession that I’ve been able to make a difference on such a personal level.

    Science based medicine is not perfect; the people who practice the art of this science ( irony intended ) are not perfect either; however, at times it feels that way. It’s nice to know that when these times do occur it is not based on myth and happenstance. I will always embrace luck and the placebo effect, but only when it’s layered on top of good science.

  25. I’m with you Masala. When my husband nearly died in a wreck, I got to see the health care system up close and personal. Fortunately, Atlanta has a top notch trauma center. Without it he would not have recovered from severe brain damage which should have left him a veggie. Thanks to all the research about brain injuries in the last 10 years, he has nearly completely recovered.

    My favorite moment was when they stuck a 2 inch needle in his neck to get him to cough. Fortunately, he was still not very coherent and doesn’t remember it.

    Down side of healthcare is the health insurance company. I hate them all!

  26. @Masala Skeptic: Good to hear. Maybe the hospital administrators are finally listening to reason again, then.

    I don’t mean to imply (or is it infer – allergy headaches are a bitch) that all hospital rooms are filthy, by the way. But the fact is that if you’re post-op, you’re vulnerable. And you just never know who was in the bed or room you had before you…

    Again – glad your husband had such a great result. Modern medicine is fabulous in many ways, but not everyone who practices it is always up to snuff (and I’m saying that as a doctor’s daughter, granddaughter, niece, grandniece)…

  27. @DNAmom:

    When my husband nearly died in a wreck, I got to see the health care system up close and personal.

    Yeah, but they got to see you up close and personal, too, and I doubt their scars have faded yet :)

    But you’re forgetting that Rich was healed with herbs. Specifically, the herbs that go into tandoori chicken and raita.

    I expected this crowd to be generally pro-science. I wonder what the reaction would have been if Maria had posted this on a homeopath blog. I’d like to know of an ointment that would cure papillary carcinoma WITHOUT me lying in the hospital bed, unable to sleep, forced to watch Crocodile Dundee twice in a row.

    Rich’s brain damage, of course, can be fixed with Head-On. They should coat airbags with that stuff.

  28. Also, kudos to the nurses at Gwinnett Medical Center for their bedside manner. They were friendly, helpful, and available immediately, and checked up on me often.

    Those of you who have followed this whole thing on my blog know that I was bedeviled by impersonal medical personnel treating me like an insurance company policy number instead of an actual human going “WTF? Cancer?” (I still feel it’s a problem doctors and other medical folks need to guard against, because I promise you that the folks clutching the crystals have people skills.)

    It might not be important in the grand scheme of things during cancer treatment, but when I needed a hand getting to and from the bathroom, it was less scary when not being treated like a big distraction from the paperwork.

  29. @halincoh: My wife is an RN BSN and educated me on why they call it the “medical arts.”

    I forgot to mention two rounds of abdominal surgery for things that, left untreated, would have killed my wife in her 30’s. One was an appendectomy, which is pretty much a death sentence without antibiotics and surgery.

    The only crystals I want are ‘dilithium crystals,’ so I can build my own warp drive. ;-)

  30. I had the exact same surgery for exactly the same reason (in addition to having a parathyroid adenoma which was fucking with my calcium levels). I hope your hubby is feeling better soon! My only disappointment with advances in med tech was with the scar. The doctor who did the surgery did such a clean job both with incision and closure that there is barely a faint line where he had shoved his hand in my neck and cleanly removed a tumor which had wrapped itself around my vocal nerve. He admired his own work. I on the other hand, had been hoping for a badass scar because who is going to mess with someone who has survived a throat slashing!

    Along the same lines of yay science, while being admitted to the hospital on the day of surgery I was asked at least three times for my religion. NONE I would declare each time. “Please make sure only scientists are allowed near me.”

    And the friend who suggested that I had “let this into my life” with negative thoughts…? Guess where that relationship is today.

  31. @TheWireMonkey:

    I am told that my own scar will fade to near invisibility within a few months. It seems impressive now, although I think that what looked like one six-inch slash is actually two 1.5-inch slashes covered in the same bandage.

    What’s it take to look tough? Medical science has emasculated us :(

  32. @ phlebas:

    My own DNA emasculated me, since I’m a woman, but I’m still like a little kid and show off my scars instead of hide them (mostly from athletic endeavors). I was about to say they are cheaper than tattoos, but when I add up even just the co-payments…

  33. Hear! Hear! I’m glad to hear Christian is ok now.

    Frankly, my blood pressure spike when I hear religious people go around dissing science while enjoying all the benefits of the technology and knowledge gleaned from it every single day. They can be consistent and just sit at their unheated non-electrified home and pray when they come down with cancer or something worse for a change. :oP

  34. My wife just had our first child last week. It is amazing how many things can go wrong when delivering a baby. I am very thankful that medical science has mitigated many of the risks involved in birthing a child. Thank you science for giving me such a lovely son.

  35. Masala: PURE AWESOME. I’ve sent this to my wife, and posted it to my FB page. My wife (who is anglo-Indian by ancestry, btw) has suffered through exactly the same cancer as your husband. I have been trying to find ways that she will understand why science is so cool. If THIS doesn’t connect with her, then nothing will. Superb work.

  36. @johnny red: The same day that Christian went in for surgery, my boss was admitted into the ER for bilateral pulminary embolisms (long story; he’s fine now but it was a big scare all around). When I was visiting him over the weekend, one of my co-workers was there as well and started talking about how his wife was about to give birth and they were planning on a home birth and how it’s the better option in most cases and if something goes wrong, help is only 10 minutes away with a 911 call. Then he went on about how great the medical system in Germany is because when they were there, the doctor came to their house and gave them homeopathic meds.

    I was literally biting my tongue to stop myself from yelling at the guy. It wasn’t the time or the place. Instead, I just gave a shortened, paraphrased version of this blog and talked about how miraculous medical science was and how glad we should be for it.

    It was a sad reminder that most people take medicine for granted and, in some cases, see it as a ‘last resort.’

  37. Yay Science!

    I’d be careful of falling into scientism, science is not responsible for and cannot be used to define progress as we know it. The same knowledge can be used to make nuclear weapons as to make nuclear energy, etc. If the term science is used simplistically to refer to technology and progress as we currently define it then the term generally becomes polluted.

    I wish there were a god to forgive the a-holes who’ve impeded or denied such progress.

    Hospitals generally did not exist before people began adhering to Christian hospitality, many hospitals bear this history in their name. It’s curious, if you reject Christianity and believe that the Darwinian creation myth is true then why do you view the existence of hospitals as evidence of progress? Given the “survival of the fittest” typical to nature based paganism historically and its modern resurgence in nature based Darwinian views it seems that you’re judging progress by Christian ethics while rejecting Christianity.

  38. One of these responses is not like the others.

    mynym, I would try to point out where you were wrong, but there is no point where you’re right for me to anchor myself to. I would be adrift in a turbulent sea of Christian apologetics, pseudoscience nonsense, and a profound ignorance of Darwinian theory. And I don’t have my Dramamine.

    I guess if I had Jesus, I wouldn’t need Dramamine? There are no atheists in foxholes, and no Christians in hospitals?

  39. @mynym: I have so many questions! Some have already been asked but I’ll ask this one:

    If the term science is used simplistically to refer to technology and progress as we currently define it then the term generally becomes polluted.

    Then, how do you define science? And, for that matter, progress?

  40. And here I thought that the human adaptation to problem solve and create life saving medical treatments were, in every way, consistent with evolution and survival of the fittest.

    Of course it is consistent with evolution. After all, it seems that everything is consistent with the hypothetical goo that gives rise to notions of evolution. Yet it should be noted that Darwinism arose as a specified theory out of the unfalsifiable hypothetical goo typical to notions of evolution that came before. Its to Darwin’s credit that specification opens the door to actual verification or falsification. But what was specified was a struggle for survival at the level of the organism, to the extent that co-operation is generally observed Darwinism is generally falsified.

  41. What on earth is the “Darwinian creation myth”?

    A general collection of mythological narratives of naturalism which tend to comport with or establish a mythological view of progress and so on, regardless of historical or empirical evidence here and now.

  42. Then, how do you define science?

    Science is not a cure all and the equivalent of all knowledge that can be known, at its root it simply a form of knowledge/scientia. Ironically, progressives tend to believe themselves to be intelligent and knowledgeable when they seem to have little grounds for such things. For example, on Darwinian terms the brain events which cause you to think as you do have more to do with natural selection operating on ancient group of worm-like creatures than a mind of the synaptic “gaps.”

    *I.e. as artifacts of an intelligible mind encoding language in matter.

  43. Can you give an example of one of these “mythological narratives?” Thanks!

    Here is one:

    What might a non-locomotor benefit [for bipedality] look like? A stimulating suggestion is the sexual selection theory of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, of the University of Oregon. She thinks we rose on our hind legs as a means of showing off our penises. Those of us that have penises, that is. Females, in her view, were doing it for the opposite reason: concealing their genitals which, in primates, are more prominently displayed on all fours. This is an appealing idea but I don’t carry a torch for it. I mention it only as an example of the kind of thing I mean by a non-locomotor theory.*
    (The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins :91)

    *A critical reader may note that hypothetical goo which comports with one imaginary event as well as its exact opposite is hardly a “theory,” even on its own imaginary terms and allowing for imaginary evidence of this sort. Yet this type of “reasoning” about imaginary events has been typical to Darwinism historically and continues to this day. It’s an abuse of science and a pollution of language to claim that you have a scientific theory (the so-called singular “theory of evolution”) with general application if what you have is generally hypothetical goo that gives rise to unspecified notions about some vague form of “evolution”/change.

  44. You should read what Darwin’s theory says.

    You seem to be ignorant. Darwinian theory says that there is a struggle for reproductive success at the level of the organism. This can only be reformed so far. It seems to me that it’s to Darwin’s credit that he specified a verifiable/falsifiable theory on this point instead of wallowing around in the hypothetical goo typical to the “theory of evolution.” If there is one theory of evolution and it has been specified and verified to the same extent that the theory of gravity has been (as is often claimed) then can you point out where trajectories of adaptation have been traced in groups of organisms based on the theory and then verified empirically?

  45. @mynym:
    “””I’d be careful of falling into scientism, science is not responsible for and cannot be used to define progress as we know it. “””

    Science is a product of progress. The greater the progress, the more the science. So, you can assess the degree of progress on the basis of the degree of scientific achievement.

    “””The same knowledge can be used to make nuclear weapons as to make nuclear energy, etc. “””

    Having more powerful weapons has always been a sign of progress (v.gr. compare a stone with a Tomahawk missile). If science allows for that, then science is again inevitably linked to progress. And insofar as war has something to do with who lives and who doesn’t, science can be causally linked to progress as evolutionary success: the better your weapons, the more likely it is for you to stay in the evolution race.

    “””If the term science is used simplistically to refer to technology and progress as we currently define it then the term generally becomes polluted.'””

    Polluted with what? Accuracy? Facts?

    “””Hospitals generally did not exist before people began adhering to Christian hospitality “””

    The word “hospital” comes from the Latin word for “host”. In origin, obviously, nobody was thinking of using hospitals to provide universal health care as has been later the case in modern social democracies: at the time they were like hotels, places where travelers stayed. Because of the foundationally unholy ECONOMIC WEALTH of the church (based on lies and mind control contrary to its very axioms), it could pay a relatively widespread network of such places (aristocrats had to pay their wars and the church was the only remaining player having enough money to do so, so they had to do it just to pretend that they belived what they were preaching). What you got, though, was a network of hotels which ended up being a synonym of “places for the ill people” because a) the people who could afford not to would in fact not stay in those places b) the hatred against science and body hygiene the church advocated for (very much like in the case of condoms) increased so exorbitantly the number of ill people in the Dark Ages that the concept of “hotel” ended up meaning “hospital”. Just imagine how bad it was, thanks precisely to the church. That’s almost as if “car” ended up meaning “family death”. So, it’s simply ironic that the church is now to be taken as example of a modern health care system, when they were actively promoting death, pestilence and agony.

  46. @mynym:

    How about Tiktaalik? It is an example of a form that was predicted by evolutionary theory. Then after studying the fossil record it was determined it must have existed during a certain period. Then a search was erformed in an area where the exposed rock was of that age.

    And voila! The hypothesis was confirmed and yet again evolution survived falsification.

    But your thread hijack aside, why should Masala Skeptic not be thankful for science? I get that you feel your Christianity deserves credit for promoting our science. That maybe true but science would have provided without the Christianity, the same can not be said for Christianity without the science.

  47. Hospitals generally did not exist before people began adhering to Christian hospitality, many hospitals bear this history in their name.

    According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, there were hospitals in India as early as the days of Plato and Alexander the Great. Asoka built even more of them and had animal hospitals built as well. The first known hospital and medical university in China appeared around a thousand years ago during the Tang Dynasty. It would be pretty unlikely that Christians were involved in it’s establishment. Maybe it’s just possible that hospitals could exist without “Christian hospitality”?

  48. Regarding early hospitals, there was a great show on the Discovery Channel a few years back that talked about what was basically a hospital in Roman times. They showed the instruments the ancient people used, and they looked almost exactly like the ones used in modern medicine today.

    And also, science isn’t just the basis of modern human medicine — veterinary medicine has also made great advances based on good science. (I’m a vet, so I’m a little biased!)

  49. @mynym: I need to make two points clear here.

    One, you might want to check your ‘facts’ somewhere other than ‘Young Earth’ Creationist websites. I’ll say no more about this since others are addressing the specific points.

    Two, (and this one is as a fellow Christian), you seem to be very confused. I would suggest you stop focusing on Genesis and Revelations for a while and perhaps spend some time with Proverbs. You seem to be missing a lot of actual foundational knowledge about Christianity and that is never a bad place to get some direction.

    Past that, I don’t have so much a point as something I need to get off my chest.

    IF you really are a Christian, then there is no higher calling than the sciences.

    Whatever you think you know about this world, the Universe, and Gods work – well, what you know is nothing. Even worse than nothing, what you know will never be even a fraction of nothing. I’m not insulting you with this, I’m not talking about just you either. That simple point is true for everyone. We, (as a species), know practically nothing.

    Out of all of us, however, Scientist are the only people out there actually STUDYING THE WORK OF GOD, (sorry for the caps everyone.. I’m trying to speak ‘Fundi’ at the moment). They are the only people trying to take us from ignorance about Gods work to even the most primitive semblances of understanding.

    You need to think about that. According to your proclaimed belief system, God made the Universe and everything in it. Therefore, any study of the universe or its workings is a study of the work of God.

    Scientist don’t make things up. they don’t ‘believe’ anything. There are no Darwinist. What Scientist do is to investigate, and then document what they discover, about how the universe works. In discovering how the universe works, we see what it is that God did. This is important for you to understand. It doesn’t matter if a scientist is a Christian, or an Atheist, or a worshiper of Kthulu – God doesn’t care, and neither does the reality that God created. What they discover in their investigations is true no matter who discovered it. That is because God doesn’t lie to us and God didn’t build a reality intending to deceive us. What God created, he created for all his creation.

    The point here is that you don’t get to do it backwards. You can’t just decided that ‘God did it this way’ then go try and prove it. Neither God, nor his works, take those kinds of orders from you.

    One final thing. Yes, science is always changing. That is because of my above point, (we know nothing). Every single little thing that we discover reveals a new facet of Gods Works to us. So, yes, sometimes the people who are doing the research don’t reach the right conclusions. However, that is not a weakness of science. It is Sciences greatest strength, because when someone gets it wrong, other scientist look at it and say so. They test the idea again, they gather more evidence, and the keep at it until we actually get it right. They do that because Science is built on the recognition that people will get it wrong, that’s why we have to have a process that forces us to get it right in spite of our failures as thinking creatures, (that process is called the Scientific Method. I suggest you learn it).

    Evolution is fact. Learn the science if you have questions.

    If you want to take this discussion further, then point us both at another site and thread. This isn’t the place for it.

    @everyone else: Please accept my apologies if I have moved off point. I’m just irritated with a broad sector of people and don’t often get to try and make this point to them. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

    Umm…

    Go Science. ;)

  50. Science is a product of progress. The greater the progress, the more the science.

    I do not disagree with that a form of progress in knowledge is possible, although there is no basis for judgments about moral progress from within physics.

    As the satirist and early anti-Nazi Karl Kraus noted: “Progress will make purses of human skin.”

    Having more powerful weapons has always been a sign of progress …

    It’s a sign of progress in technical knowledge which is not always accompanied by progress in moral knowledge. Yet it is interesting that history indicates a link between the two leading to some historical ironies like the Nazi expelling Jewish physicists and so on. You seem to be totally neglecting moral knowledge and defining “progress” totally by progress in technical knowledge. Note that the two are linked, as progress in technical knowledge is only possible among groups of honest, ethical researchers who are not about to be killed by technically proficient barbarians.

    If science allows for that, then science is again inevitably linked to progress.

    If science allows for scientific racism and a eugenics movement, then is science inevitably linked to progress?

    And insofar as war has something to do with who lives and who doesn’t, science can be causally linked to progress as evolutionary success: the better your weapons, the more likely it is for you to stay in the evolution race.

    This type of thinking caused the Nazis to say this about science:

    The Christian churches build on the ignorance of people and are anxious so far as possible to preserve this ignorance in as large a part of the populance as possible; only in this way can the Christian churches retain their power. In contrast, national socialism rests on scientific foundations.
    (The German Churches Under Hitler: Backround, Struggle, and Epilogue
    by Ernst Helmreich
    (Detriot: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1979) :303)

    If they were not correct about the “struggle for life” among races and nations and their need for “living space” and so on then why weren’t they? Given what you said there based on the mythology of “evolution,” it seems that their arguments were correct.

    And it is a mythology which has little to do with actual history, as the philosopher David Stove noted:

    Huxley naturally realized that, as examples of Darwinian competition for life among humans, hypothetical ancient fights between Hobbesian bachelors were not nearly good enough. What was desperately needed were some real examples, drawn from contemporary or at least recent history. Nothing less would be sufficient to reconcile Darwinism with the obvious facts of human life [prevalent evidence of altruism, cooperation, etc.]. Accordingly, Huxley made several attempts to supply such an example. But the result in every case was merely embarrassing.
    [….A third attempt is this. Huxley implies that there have been “one or two short intervals” of the Darwinian “struggle for existence between man and man” in England in quite recent centuries: for example, the civil war of the seventeenth century! You probably think, and you certainly ought to think, that I am making this up; but I am not. He actually writes that, since “the reign of Elizabeth . . . , the struggle for existence between man and man has been so largely restrained among the great mass of the population (except for one or two short intervals of civil war), that it can have little, or no selective operation.”

    You probably also think that the English civil war of the seventeenth century grew out of tensions between parliament and the court, dissent and the established church, republic and and the monarchy. Nothing of the sort, you see: it was a resumption of “the struggle for existence between man and man.” Cromwell and King Charles were competing with each other, and each of them with everyone else too, à la Darwin and Malthus, for means of subsistence. So no doubt Cromwell, when he had had the king’s head cut off, ate it. Uncooked, I shouldn’t wonder, the beast. And probably selfishly refused to let his secretary John Milton have even one little nibble. (Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution
    by David Stove :7-9)

  51. The word “hospital” comes from the Latin word for “host”. In origin, obviously, nobody was thinking of using hospitals to provide universal health care as has been later the case in modern social democracies…

    No one thought of that because Western values are clearly shaped by Christianity and Christianity promotes the care of the “least of these” and so on. History shows that nature based paganism generally leads to a lack of concern with the “least of these” and a survival of the fittest mentality. It is to Darwin’s credit that he formalized this has a prediction of his theory, as opposed to wallowing around in the unfalsifiable hypothetical goo which typifies “evolution” to this day. In fact, some here have been wallowing around in it and seem to think that they’ve explained co-operation while others seem to think that they’ve explained war on evolutionary terms. That’s because despite Darwin’s best efforts at reforming hypothetical goo “evolution” is generally still not a scientific theory which is testable. Instead, it is a meaningless word that can comport with all change and all observations. It “predicts” the existence of hospitals as well as their destruction.

    But at any rate, no one was thinking of using hospitals to provide universal health care because no on cared about the health of others in a universal way. Of course some care for health exists even given a survival of the fittest mentality, that’s why I said “generally.”

    Maybe it’s just possible that hospitals could exist without “Christian hospitality”?

    Generally the evidence is that caring about health in a universal way is linked to Christianity.

  52. …increased so exorbitantly the number of ill people in the Dark Ages that the concept of “hotel” ended up meaning “hospital”.

    This is a site for skeptics, yet you accept the assertions of those who defined former ages as “dark” and their own age as “enlightened”??? Do you also believe that people believed the earth to be flat before Colombus? That seems to be another bit of mythology typically believed by progressives.

    But at any rate, historical evidence shows that the “dark ages” were not totally devoid of progress and so on:

    For the past two or three centuries, every educated person has known that from the fall of Rome until about the fifteenth century Europe was submerged in the “Dark Ages”–centuries of ignorance, superstition and miser–from which it was suddenly, almost miraculously rescued, first by the Renaissance and then by the Enlightenment. But it didn’t happen that way. Instead, during the so-called Dark Ages, European technology and science overtook and surpassed the rest of the world!
    The idea that Europe fell into the Dark Ages is a hoax originated by antireligous, and bitterly anti-Catholic, eighteenth-century intellectuals who were determined to assert the cultural superiority of their own times and who boosted their claim by denigrating previous centuries…
    …until very recently, even dictionaries and encyclopedias accepted the Dark Ages as historical fact. Some writers even seemed to suggest that people living in, say, the ninth century described their own time as one of backwardness and superstition.
    Fortunately, in the past few years these views have been so completely discredited that even some dictionaries and encyclopedias have begun to refer to the notion of Dark Ages as mythical.
    (The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success by Rodney Stark :35)

    Note that scientific progress generally does not fit into the mythology of progress promoted here and in the so-called “enlightenment.” Newton is a good example:

    Newton himself did not fit into the mythology of “Enlightenment” and the “Dark Ages” that you’ve already mentioned. E.g.
    Quote:
    One of the first actions of those who proclaimed the ‘Enlightenment’ was the ‘deification of Newton.’ Voltaire set the example by calling him the greatest man who ever lived. Thus began an unexcelled outpouring of worshipful prose and extravagant poetry. David Hume wrote that Newton was ‘the greatest and rarest genius that ever rose for the ornament and instruction of the species.’ As Gay noted, ‘the adjectives ‘divine’ and ‘immortal’ became practically compulsory.’ […] In 1802 the French philosophe Claude-Henri de Sain-Simon (1760-1825) founded a Godless religion to be led by scientist-priests and called it the Religion of Newton (his pupil Auguste Comte renamed it ’sociology’).
    However, as the ‘Enlightenment’ became more outspokenly atheistic and more determined to establish the incompatibility of science and religion, a pressing matter arose: what was to be done about Newton’s religion? Trouble was that Newton’s religious views were not a matter of hearsay or repute. He had, after all, in 1713 added a concluding section to the second editions of his monumental Principia, the ‘General Scholium’ (or proposition), which was devoted entirely to his ideas about God. In it, Newton undertook to demonstrate the existence of God, concluding that:
    ‘…the true God is a living, intelligent, powerful Being….’
    ‘…he governs all things, and knows all things that are done or can be done.’
    ‘….He endures forever, and is everywhere present.’
    ‘…As a blind man has no ideas of colors, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things.’
    Worse yet, Newton had written four letters during 1692-1693 explaining his theology to Richard Bentley. In the ‘Bentley Letters’ Newton ridiculed the idea that the world could be explained in impersonal, mechanical terms. Above all, having discovered the elegant lawfulness of things, Newton believed that he had, once and for all, demonstrated the certainty that behind all existence there is an intelligent, aware, omnipotent God. Any other assumption is ‘inconsistent with my system.’
    (For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts and the End of Slavery by Rodney Stark :167-168)

  53. I need to make two points clear here.

    One, you might want to check your ‘facts’ somewhere other than ‘Young Earth’ Creationist websites. I’ll say no more about this since others are addressing the specific points.

    No, you’ll say no more about it because your arguments are passive agressive. Your arguments are also generally devoid of a focus on facts and logic… but I’ll say no more about that.

    Evolution is fact. Learn the science if you have questions.

    Of course evolution is a fact, much like change is a fact. Change happens, much like excrement happens.

    If you want to take this discussion further, then point us both at another site and thread. This isn’t the place for it.

    True, this doesn’t seem to be the place for skepticism with respect to scientism. Ironically the thing people generally fail to be skeptical about in our age is science, yet this is where the blind spot of self-defined skeptics seems to be. You may as well not even call yourselves skeptics if you’re only going to be skeptical about victories already generally won.

    At any rate, I occasionally post at Intelldesign. I’m not sure that anyone here can make it far without the support of the Herd but you’re welcome to try.

  54. @mynym: Only 10 posts to get to a Godwin violation!

    I’m out! Sorry. You’re making no sense, not providing clear answers to any of the questions posited (e.g. I ask “How do you define science” and you answer with “Science is not…” – if you’re starting with what you think science is NOT, you’ll never actually answer what it is.)

    Others may want to continue playing but I’m not in the mood to play “count the logical fallacies”

  55. @mynym:

    Wow, one bit of wrongness jams up against another until the individual pieces of wrong are almost indistinguishable, leaving only an impressionistic orgy of fail.

    History shows that nature based paganism generally leads to a lack of concern with the “least of these” and a survival of the fittest mentality.

    1. Your conflation of all non-Christian beliefs into “nature based paganism” betrays a stupefying ignorance of history.

    2. Hippocrates was not a Christian.

    In fact, some here have been wallowing around in it and seem to think that they’ve explained co-operation while others seem to think that they’ve explained war on evolutionary terms. That’s because despite Darwin’s best efforts at reforming hypothetical goo “evolution” is generally still not a scientific theory which is testable. Instead, it is a meaningless word that can comport with all change and all observations.

    Wrong on all counts. You’re attributing to evolutionary biology the sins of “evolutionary psychology“, which is a nascent field still under development and beset by too many ideologues for its own good.

    It “predicts” the existence of hospitals as well as their destruction.

    If you stopped trying to use cultural phenomena to attach biology, you might look less like a benighted idiot.

    Instead, during the so-called Dark Ages, European technology and science overtook and surpassed the rest of the world!

    If by “the rest of the world” you exclude Arab Spain, T’ang China and Mesoamerica, then yes, you might have a point. (If you try to claim Andalusia as part of “Christian Europe”, then you’re an even more blithering moron than I had imagined.)

  56. @Blake Stacey:

    Wow, one bit of wrongness jams up against another until the individual pieces of wrong are almost indistinguishable, leaving only an impressionistic orgy of fail.

    Not only is that a sure fire candidate for COTW but it’s also completely accurate.

    mynym- how do you expect us to lisen to what you have to say when you completely ignore us? I’m done reading your nonsense personally. Not only is it logically incoherent but frankly it was rude considering the nature of the discussion. Masala Skeptic was being thankful to the people and advancements that helped save her husbands life and you crap all over it with your ignorant fantasies about the world. I believe strongly in your right to think what you want but you should learn to shut the fuck up when it’s not appropriate.

    I’m out!

  57. I still refer to the period in European history between roughly 400 and 800AD as the Dark Ages not because I love to parrot anti-Catholic propaganda but because written records from that period are much sparser than records from the periods that immediately preceded and followed it. It’s dark because we don’t know that much about that period. Other periods in history are also called “Dark”: A good example is the Greek Dark Age, which began right after the Mycenaean Empire fell.

  58. @mynym: As you pointed, this is not a negationist site (pretending that the Dark Ages weren’t a catastrophe for civilization is the same as denying Holocaust), but a skeptic site, which is why you won’t convince me with your cheap nazi propaganda.

    “””Do you also believe that people believed the earth to be flat before Colombus?”””

    Well, Christians burned people because of stating the contrary. And even after Columbus’ travel showed a pretty reasonable roundness, the Church tried to burn Galileo because of claiming similar ideas. If you are trying to deny FACTS, you should first make sure that they are not facts, because facts cannot be denied. As a Christian, though, you must have spent your entire life without knowing what a fact is, so no surprise there. OBVIOUSLY, much before Columbus got the idea, the Greeks (whose knowledge, very much like any other knowledge, Christians either burned, prohibited or corrupted, hence the term “Dark Ages”), had already PROVEN that the Earth was not flat. Thanks to the church’s teachings, though, 99% of the population nowadays ignores (and cannot come up with by themselves) the Greek proof showing that, something, in turn that they all know thanks to some other guy risking his life by disobeying preachers, priests and similar Dark Ages-like disease-bringer rats.

    “””historical evidence shows that the “dark ages” were not totally devoid of progress and so on:”””

    Hahaha, no, obviously not “TOTALLY” devoid of progress, only 99% devoid!!! A few Catholics may have stolen some idea from some occasional Muslim trader, then burned him, and then pretend to have invented something they just killed for, as the used to do for everything in the Dark Ages thanks to the teachings of God (i.e. the crusades and the Holy Land, according to you a monument to diplomacy and Human rights, I suppose). Are you really that ignorant or, in a barely christian fashion, are you lying and confounding on purpose by stating half-truths to promote your own brainless deliriums?

  59. I did a lot of thinking about this during & after my pregnancy. (My social circle tends a bit toward the Luddite, excepting my very beloved met-online people.) I wanted a very natural birth experience but was humbled by the fact that without medical intervention I would not have even conceived- I had corrective surgery on reproductive birth defects. The surgery also left scars that necessitated more medical assistance with delivery than I’d wished.

    My point here is that I don’t experience science as an enemy of authentic human experience. My hope is in instances like childbirth birth that technologies are used when needed and in helpful ways.

    I’m thrilled my species has evolved to a degree that I was able to find a biological role in continuing it, and that we are able to treat conditions like your husband’s in a minimally invasive way. So glad to hear you’re both doing well.

  60. @mynym: “No, you’ll say no more about it because your arguments are passive agressive. Your arguments are also generally devoid of a focus on facts and logic… but I’ll say no more about that.”

    *Snort* *Chuckle* ROTFLMAO!

    Oh, wow.. Obviously I made a serious mistake. I thought there was some possibility that you actually wanted to think instead of just insult people and bang on with your propaganda points. I’ve read all of your post now and obviously I was wrong.

    hehe.. I particularly like the part where you accuse me of being ‘devoid of facts and logic’.. Oh.. gosh that’s good. *shakes head* You still haven’t realized that just being aggressive and loud doesn’t actually make you right have you?

    “True, this doesn’t seem to be the place for skepticism with respect to scientism.”

    Ahh.. fun, here you just make up words. ‘Scientism’ is like ‘Darwinism’. It doesn’t exist. Nobody here ‘worships’ science. Nobody here ‘follows’ Darwin. These are bullshit propaganda pieces from Christian extremist who can’t deal with the real world in at attempt to de-validate the people they feel threatened by.

    You are also clearly confused about what skepticism is.

    “At any rate, I occasionally post at Intelldesign. I’m not sure that anyone here can make it far without the support of the Herd but you’re welcome to try.”

    Whoops, let the cat out of the bag there did you. Were you afraid that you hadn’t made it clear that you were a paid up poster for the discovery institute yet by just running through the propaganda points from your…. ‘movie’…

    Nope, I’m out.. My invitation was to actual discussion. You don’t make any sense and your approach to facts seems to be based upon a ‘I don’t accept your fact, but mine is right’ approach to validation.

    Let me know if you ever ask an honest question of yourself or the world around you and we can have a discussion then.

  61. @PrimevilKneivel: thanks. :)
    @PrimevilKneivel: I agree completely. The worst part is that he has succeed in hijacking the thread from it’s true point. Masala Skeptic has every right to be thankful, and I suspect that all of us who are sane support her in it.

    On the other hand, I guess that we just found one of those ‘other people’ Masala Skeptic was addressing with her “Fuck Off!” statement. So I guess it suddenly seems quite proactively appropriate. :)

    @Skepthink:

    “As a Christian, though, you must have spent your entire life without knowing what a fact is, so no surprise there. ”

    Christianity has nothing to do with his disengagement from the facts. That’s a personal choice he has made. The fact he then dirties everything he touches with that approach isn’t a reflection on Christianity, it’s a reflection on him.

  62. I’m out! Sorry. You’re making no sense, not providing clear answers to any of the questions posited….

    Drivel, I provided a clear example of a mythological narrative of naturalism as was requested. As far as defining science goes, I haven’t claimed to speak for science, murmured about feeling “sciencey” or presumed to have a total knowledge of science as people here consistently have. When philosophers of science attempt to define science they write pages and pages. If you want possible answers to your question then consult them. One possible line of reasoning is falsifiability, although even that breaks down at some point, but given falsifiability much of what passes for whatever you think you mean by “evolution” is not science.

  63. Your conflation of all non-Christian beliefs into “nature based paganism” betrays a stupefying ignorance of history.

    That’s a straw man. You may as well say that I said that all non-Christians believe that the earth is flat while you’re at it.

    At any rate, I didn’t say that all non-Christian beliefs were nature based paganism.

    Hippocrates was not a Christian.

    Many pagans did not adhere to nature based paganism, e.g. Plato.

    Wrong on all counts. You’re attributing to evolutionary biology the sins of “evolutionary psychology“, which is a nascent field still under development and beset by too many ideologues for its own good.

    That’s a red herring given that I was replying directly to arguments made here about evolution:

    And insofar as war has something to do with who lives and who doesn’t, science can be causally linked to progress as evolutionary success: the better your weapons, the more likely it is for you to stay in the evolution race.

    But what passes for evolutionary biology is often equally unfalsifiable, at any rate.

    If you stopped trying to use cultural phenomena to attach biology, you might look less like a benighted idiot.

    If you could actually read and reply to what was written instead of relying on straw men (“You just said that all non-Christians adhere to nature based paganism or somethin’.” ) and red herrings (“You’re conflating evolutionary biology with psychology or somethin’.” ) then I would not begin to assume that you have a sharply limited intellect.

  64. Masala Skeptic was being thankful to the people and advancements that helped save her husbands life and you crap all over it with your ignorant fantasies about the world.

    It’s funny how the supposedly strong New Woman turns into such a victim so easily. That’s nothing but victimization propaganda necessary for a more toward censorship. The irony of self-defined “free thinkers,” supposed prop0nents of science and skepticism is that so many are not free thinkers, have little use for skepticism and are ignorant with respect to science. At any rate, I have clearly been replying to arguments made and questions asked.

  65. My point here is that I don’t experience science as an enemy of authentic human experience.

    It seems that I’ve disturbed the Herd here but I do not view science and technology as an enemy despite the mythological view of progress promoted here. In fact, I am quite thankful for the technological work of engineers and the fact that intelligent agency can have an impact on things which otherwise would have evolved naturally.

  66. @mynym: I didn’t make her a victim I called you an asshole. There’s a distinct difference.

    I also never suggested censorship, rather decorum. But since you have decided against such rules of discussion I choose to exercise my right to tell you you’re a rude idiot.

    It’s not like there’s any intelligent debating left in this thread (well OK on one side at least)

  67. Well, Christians burned people because of stating the contrary. And even after Columbus’ travel showed a pretty reasonable roundness, the Church tried to burn Galileo because of claiming similar ideas.

    Here is the history of your incorrect knowledge:

    According to Jeffrey Russell’s timely investigation, th[e] flat-earth legend arose in 1828 with Washington Irving’s semifictionalized biography of Columbus and was enhanced by similar efforts by the French historian Antoine-Jean Letronne. The brilliantly described encounter between Columbus and the flat-earth zealots of the Spanish Inquisition, made up out of whole cloth by the American novelist, played into the hands of John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White, who were looking for evidence of dogmatic and clerical opposition to the forces of rationality.

    In our own century, students of medieval science have demonstrated the flimsiness of the flat-earth mythology, so that Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison could dismiss the argument by stating simply, “No flat earth theory, certainly; for of all the vulgar errors connected with Columbus, the most persistent and the most absurd is that he had to convince people ‘the world was round.’ Every educated man in his day believed the world to be a sphere, every European university so taught geography, and seamen … knew perfectly well that the surface of the globe was curved.”

    Nevertheless, Daniel Boorstin in The Discoverers entitles a chapter “A Flat Earth Returns,” though his presentation seems not quite as egregious as Russell would have us believe. Clearly, the myth is still rampant, as Inventing the Flat Earth demonstrates in a series of contemporary citations. Russell’s short account is a pleasant antidote to such historical nonsense.
    (Reviewed: Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians by Jeffrey Burton Russell
    Speculum Vol. 68, No. 3 (Jul., 1993), :885)

    I am not a Catholic but this is merely a matter of historical accuracy. Claims about feelings are subjective but apparently Galileo did not feel all that threatened given that he satirized the pope in his writings. It’s true that he was eventually placed under house arrest and so on, this came about more because he disagreed with the Aristotlean scholars of his day than because he disagreed with Scriptures. Note that Galileo actually argued that, “The holy Bible and the phenomena of nature proceed alike from the divine Word.”

    If you are trying to deny FACTS, you should first make sure that they are not facts, because facts cannot be denied…

    Colombus did not show that the earth was round, every educated person and sailor of his day knew that the earth was round. Galileo was not threatened with being burned for expressing “similar ideas,” whatever you may mean by that.

  68. @mynym:

    Given that every history of science and/or exploration I’ve ever read which touches on the subject goes out of its way to point out that yes, people before Columbus knew the Earth was round, I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to prove or to whom you’re trying to prove it.

    Also: Giordano Bruno. Burned for being a scientist or just burned for being heterodox, he still met a toasty end.

    Ah, what’s the point in trying to talk with someone who runs to Godwin himself?

  69. @mynym:

    When philosophers of science attempt to define science they write pages and pages.

    Much of which bears the same relationship to working science as arguments over the comparative aesthetics of postage stamps do to living birds.

    If you want possible answers to your question then consult them. One possible line of reasoning is falsifiability, although even that breaks down at some point, but given falsifiability much of what passes for whatever you think you mean by “evolution” is not science.

    Wrong. Just. . . wrong.

  70. Ah, it’s starting to make sense! mynym apparently believes that an appreciation of modern science and an acceptance of its discoveries automagically require endorsing some kind of “Whig history” or “textbook cardboard” view of scientific progress. (At least, that’s what I’m managing to get out of the Markov-chain-like spew of logical fallacies sent in our direction.) Thus we get a spittle-flecked redress of tired creationist claims, tarted up with a copy-and-paste “understanding” of history.

    I wonder if mynym is also a member of Mensa. . . .

  71. You still haven’t realized that just being aggressive and loud doesn’t actually make you right have you?

    There, there… I forgot that this was skep “chick” and so on. Do you need a little virtual pat on the back as well? (Pat, pat.) Now can we get to facts, logic and evidence?

    Ahh.. fun, here you just make up words. ‘Scientism’ is like ‘Darwinism’. It doesn’t exist.

    Only in the little make believe world that you and commenters here seem to exist in, a world of vague imagery rooted in propaganda largely devoid of facts, logic and evidence. The index to The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen J. Gould lists Darwinism as appearing anywhere from page 12 to page 1092.

    Here are some examples of how the term is used:

    …if Darwinism is right, you and your ancestors have an unbroken string of successful gambles for similarly fatal stakes on the algorithms embodied in your “machinery.” That is what organisms have done, every day since life began: they have bet their lives that the algorithms that built them, and that operate within them if they are among the lucky organisms with brains, will keep them alive long enough to have children. Mother Nature has never aspired to absolute certainty…
    (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life by Daniel Dennett :440)

    The problem with Teilhard’s vision is simple. He emphatically denied the fundamental idea: that evolution is a mindless, purposeless, algorithmic process. …. The esteem in which Teilhard’s book is still held by nonscientists, the respectful tone in which his ideas are alluded to, is testimony to the depth of loathing of Darwin’s dangerous idea, a loathing so great that it will excuse any illogicality and tolerate any opacity in what purports to be an argument, if its bottom line promises relief from the oppressions of Darwinism. (Ib. :320-321)

    There are people in the world who desperately want not to have to believe in Darwinism.
    (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design by Richard Dawkins :250)

    The rise of Darwinism in the nineteenth century polarised attitudes towards the apes. Opponents who might have stomached evolution itself balked with visceral horror at cousinship with what they perceived as low and revolting brutes….
    (The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins :108)

    Nobody here ‘worships’ science.

    I didn’t say that anyone here worships science, although they do seem to speak of it as if it is a sentient being who cares about them and so on. Note that no form of knowledge/scientia that we know of exists without sentient beings, i.e. persons to know it. You should be thankful to doctors, engineers, researchers or the scientific community for progress as we know it. Referring to science or nature as if they are sentient beings has a poor history with respect to progress.

    These are bullshit propaganda pieces from Christian extremist who can’t deal with the real world in at attempt to de-validate the people they feel threatened by.

    This seems to be projection. I certainly don’t feel threatened by anyone here but you seem to have such feelings given your assertions about how “loud and aggressive” I am and so on. Again…. there, there. Seriously, I have a tender little heart and being called loud and aggressive hurts my feelings.

    Whoops, let the cat out of the bag there did you. Were you afraid that you hadn’t made it clear that you were a paid up poster for the discovery institute yet by just running through the propaganda points from your…. ‘movie’…

    What?

    Going back to your projection on the cave wall: “These are bullshit propaganda pieces from extremists who can’t deal with the real world in at attempt to de-validate the people they feel threatened by.”

    I’m sorry you feel threatened but I’m not sure why pointing out that Christianity had more to do with establishing hospitals than Darwinian views is threatening.

    Nope, I’m out.. My invitation was to actual discussion.

    No it wasn’t. Your invitation was to a discussion based on your own shadows/projections on Plato’s cave. If you ever decide heed the advice of Plato and Christ to emerge from the womb of your Mother Nature then let me know. I know, you don’t know what I’m talking about just like you don’t know what they’re talking about. So be it.

    I just can’t stop laughing.

    It seems that the view from in the womb is hysterical.

  72. Much of which bears the same relationship to working science as arguments over the comparative aesthetics of postage stamps do to living birds.

    That may be so. They are philosophers, after all. Yet attempting to equate science with or define science as philosophic naturalism does the same thing.

  73. mynym apparently believes that an appreciation of modern science and an acceptance of its discoveries automagically require endorsing some kind of “Whig history” or “textbook cardboard” view of scientific progress.

    I am generally merely pointing out that progress and knowledge comes about as a result of the work of intelligent, sentient beings that cannot be totally reduced to their evolutionary history.

    In contrast, history shows that those who turn science into philosophic naturalism based on the Darwinian creation myth have impeded progress in general. For example:

    The scholars whom we shall quote in such impressive numbers, like those others who were instrumental in any other part of the German pre-war and war efforts, were to a large extent people of long and high standing, university professors and academy members, some of them world famous, authors with familiar names and guest lecturers abroad…
    If the products of their research work, even apart from their rude tone, strike us as unconvincing and hollow, this weakness is due not to inferior training but to the mendacity inherent in any scholarship that overlooks or openly repudiates all moral and spiritual values and, by standing order, knows exactly its ultimate conclusions well in advance.
    (Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in
    Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People
    by Max Weinreich
    (New York:The Yiddish Scientific Institute, 1946) :33)

    If they were wrong, why were they wrong? Is it scientific to overlook or openly repudiate all moral and spiritual values? Is it scientific to overlook or deny that science rests on the intelligence of sentient beings and so on?

  74. @mynym: You’re a vending machine of fallacies. So, here we go again:

    “””Every educated man in his day believed the world to be a sphere, every European university so taught geography, and seamen … knew perfectly well that the surface of the globe was curved.”””

    Unless you assume that 90% of the population a) were “educated” (also, what do you mean by that? That knew how to write?), b) went to university or c) were seamen, you still have to account for the beliefs of most people. I actually doubt that seamen or the very few either privileged enough to go to university or be educated, account for most of the European population. So, you’re again intoxicating with half-truths and trying to deny facts, doing the same as any nazi denialist.

    BTW, all that you take to be somewhat “facts” or the “historical truth” seems to be pure story-telling. I see you have no actual data on virtually anything. Despite or your storytelling, I really cannot buy your pathetic propaganda: the Church did burn people for thinking that the Earth was flat, for instance Giordano Bruno. They didn’t burn everybody because of believing that, obviously, because 1) they would run out of sheep and money, which they couldn’t afford; 2) it doesn’t matter if a peasant believes it, he’s just dismissed as uneducated and will never publish any potentially inflammatory book, 3) FEAR resulting from BURNING JUST A FEW PEOPLE (e.g. Giordano Bruno and any educated dissident) kept the rest paralyzed in fear and, as a consequence, quiet enough for the lie to keep going. The Church acted as A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION for CENTURIES, which was later known as the Dark Ages as long as you consider terror and burning people something not enlightening (obviously you do, though).

    Therefore, even if people KNEW the Earth was flat (which on the other hand your own storytelling cannot show for most of the population, but only seamen and aristocrats, who were allied with the Church and usually had some priest in their families, so that they all knew their own lies, very much the same as now as regards Republicans who divorce, gay Republicans and all that sad hypocritical stuff), nobody would dare to claim that the Earth was flat, the same way that during McCarthyism some people would have democratic ideas but would not speak them out in order not to go to jail or not to be killed. Again, is that pure brightness and divine enlightenment? I don’t think McCarthyism is the Golden Age of America.

    But since you’re a nazi and you don’t mind burning people to accommodate them to your ideas, I suppose you think so and there’s no point in trying to fight your denialism crap.

    “””Aristotlean”””
    What’s that? Did you mean “Aristotelian”? Go back to school and learn some spelling before you start arguing with a European.

    As for Galileo, he was indeed threatened with death and forced to retract. If he hadn’t, the Scientific Revolution would probably have been delayed for a couple of centuries THANKS TO THE CHURCH. Again, that’s not Dark Ages either, I suppose.

    Holy shit.

  75. @mynym:

    Ya know, when everyone is jumping on you, it might not be because you are threatening their sacred cows. It might simply be because you come off as arrogant and condescending.

    Are you sure that’s WJWD?

    Come back as though you want to converse, not preach. (Not that I think you will. I think you’ll continue to get gradually more insulting until Rebecca bans you, and you can wander off, secure in the knowledge that the skepchick posters don’t get you. They’re just like everyone else, after all. Why can’t they see?)

  76. Wrong. Just. . . wrong.

    Evolutionary biologists themselves have pointed out that much of what other evolutionary biologists say about evolution is unfalsifiable. This tends to happen when they disagree among themselves, to the public they tend to represent a united front in claiming virtually certain knowledge (on a par with the theory of gravity, etc.) but in private the epistemic bar is sometimes raised against rival hypotheses.

  77. Evolutionary biologists themselves have pointed out that much of what other evolutionary biologists say about evolution is unfalsifiable. This tends to happen when they disagree among themselves, to the public they tend to represent a united front in claiming virtually certain knowledge (on a par with the theory of gravity, etc.) but in private the epistemic bar is sometimes raised against rival hypotheses.

    After all, it says so on an ICR website, it must be true!

    Or are we to believe you are privvy to these secret non-public meetings of evilutionists?

  78. Unless you assume that 90% of the population a) were “educated” (also, what do you mean by that? That knew how to write?), b) went to university or c) were seamen, you still have to account for the beliefs of most people.

    Most people then were like most people of this time, many just wanted to live well, eat well, have some sex and die peacefully and they may not have really cared about the shape of the earth one way or another. However, there is a lot of evidence that anyone who did care could easily educate themselves because the knowledge that the is round was prevalent among educated people since the time that Aristotle observed eclipses, etc.

    …you still have to account for the beliefs of most people.

    Your ignorance isn’t necessarily my responsibility. The sources I pointed you to deal with the historical and textual evidence, as well as the history of the incorrect views that you’ve apparently been educated with through no fault of your own.

    So, you’re again intoxicating with half-truths and trying to deny facts, doing the same as any nazi denialist.

    I’ve debated Holocaust deniers. Have you?

    BTW, all that you take to be somewhat “facts” or the “historical truth” seems to be pure story-telling.

    This is an ironic claim coming from someone who apparently accepts mythological narratives of naturalism as the epistemic equivalent of science. At any rate, it’s not story-telling of the sort that those who developed the anti-clerical mythology of “enlightenment” and so on engaged in, it’s rooted in sound historical and textual evidence which you can verify for yourself if you want to trace the sources all the way back.

    Despite or your storytelling, I really cannot buy your pathetic propaganda: the Church did burn people for thinking that the Earth was flat, for instance Giordano Bruno. They didn’t burn everybody because of believing that, obviously, because 1) they would run out of sheep and money, which they couldn’t afford….

    Everyone here seems to be a creature of projection, you just said that mere story-telling is not accurate history and yet here you are telling stories. Shall we imagine a conference of Catholics meeting with some on one side arguing, “Let’s burn all heretics…” and some on another noting, “Wait, if we burn all heretics that’s pretty much everyone and then we won’t have any money and stuff.” as well? At any rate, Giordano Bruno was not burned for saying that the earth is round. It is indeed a despicable thing that anyone was ever burned over theological or philosophical disagreements but that is no excuse for falling into emotional forms of irrationality devoid of facts, logic and evidence.

  79. Or are we to believe you are privvy to these secret non-public meetings of evilutionists [sic]?

    Here is an example of their disagreement with Darwinian reasoning that is rooted in little more than imagining things about the past:

    The viewpoint of Coyne et al. (1988) is one in which past events are argued to explain, in a causal sense, the world around us. Such explanations cannot be verified or tested, and the only biological observations they require are that variation and differential reproduction occur. This is not a caricature, as a reading of Coyne et al. will verify. In keeping with this general viewpoint, proponents claim that species are explained with reference to history. Important characters are hence “mechanisms” that have established and maintained the separation between diverged lineages of an ancestral population. According to Coyne et al., even the adaptive purpose of the changes that resulted in these mechanisms is irrelevant.
    We would ask where biology enters into this schema. The answer is that it does not. Rather, biology is interpreted in terms of a range of historical processes, including selection of variation over time. This could, with equal relevance, be used to understand any nonbiological phenomenon such as the development of the automobile, agricultural methods, culture, or men’s suits (Lewontin, 1976).
    (Points of View
    Species and Neo-Darwinism
    by C. S. White; B. Michaux; D. M. Lambert
    Systematic Zoology, Vol. 39, No. 4. (Dec., 1990), :400-401)

  80. @mynym:

    This is the best you can do? An editorial comment about a mystery claim from nearly to decades ago? What did Coyne say? Does a comment from three people really count as widespread dissent among biologists?

    Also, I could only find out anything about one of those authors. Is this the same guy?

    Education

    * Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, 2005
    * M.S. Fisheries and Aquaculture, Auburn University, 1998
    * M.A. Cultural Anthropology, Rutgers University, 1991
    * B.A. Anthropology, Miami University of Ohio, 1989

    Hmmmm… maybe not. Surely an intellectual giant and ethical stalwart such as yourself would not equate the writings of someone who (at the time) had a B.A. in anthropology with that of Jerry Coyne on a biological issue?

    I mean, that’s the kind of kiddie games Ben Stein would do. And you wouldn’t do anything like that, right?

  81. For those who enjoy mythological narratives of naturalism and perhaps enjoy creating them by imagining things about the past themselves (of which there are already a few examples in this thread) make a special note of: Such explanations cannot be verified or tested…

    Imagining an explanation is all well and good and certainly some type of creation narrative or “mythology” is ultimately true or at least closer to the truth than others but knowledge of such things may not meet the epistemic standards of testable science. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  82. @Skepthink: Damm it, you’re right, Giordano Bruno was not burned because of believing that the Earth was flat, but for believing the heliocentric theory of cosmos. Lucky him!

    So, the Church is good, they don’t burn you and kill you if you say that the Earth is flat, but only if you say that it revolves around the Sun. As a result, the Dark Ages are no longer Dark: they are bright; actually, they are ***lit***, lit by the burning flesh not of those believing in a round Earth, but of those believing that the Earth revolves around the Sun. That’s much better, their standards for burning people were actually much higher than I thought. Instead of burning you for contradicting some statements of the Bible, they only burned you for contradicting some other statements of the Bible.

    I feel much better off right now!

  83. This is the best you can do? An editorial comment about a mystery claim from nearly to decades ago?

    It’s not a mystery claim, it’s a prevalent pattern typical to Darwinists that can be verified in their writings.

    What did Coyne say?

    The same thing that all Darwinists say, organisms can generally be explained with reference to their history and natural selection. The fact that organisms are intelligent, living/bios and sentient beings is generally excluded. It’s not clear why I need to educate people who apparently believe in Darwinian creation narratives (and object to criticisms of the same) with respect to what Darwinian theory is. (Not to mention the existence of “Darwinism” itself.)

    Does a comment from three people really count as widespread dissent among biologists?

    I didn’t say that there is widespread dissent among biologists. Why would “impressive numbers” of scholars matter anyway? Are you easily overwhelmed by such things? I said that sometimes evolutionary biologists disagree among themselves and raise the epistemic bar a little higher than merely imagining things about the past. And there’s an example of it, yet apparently instead of admitting that the epistemic bar needs to be raised you’re intent on attacking the authors.

    Also, I could only find out anything about one of those authors.

    Try dealing with what they wrote if you can: In keeping with this general viewpoint, proponents claim that species are explained with reference to history. Important characters are hence “mechanisms” that have established and maintained the separation between diverged lineages of an ancestral population.

    Is this an accurate summary of Darwinism or isn’t it?

  84. @mynym:

    You really are thicker than a whale omlette.

    It’s not a mystery claim, it’s a prevalent pattern typical to Darwinists that can be verified in their writings.

    I meant what were the three people actually responding to? Presumably, Coyne had made a statement or published an article they were disagreeing with. If you’re going to proudly hold that disagreement up as some example of your ineffable righteousness, at least give us some context.

    Why would “impressive numbers” of scholars matter anyway? Are you easily overwhelmed by such things?

    Nope. It’s all about the arguments and the evidence. You gave me half an argument with zero context. Typical anti-science twaddle.

    Can you think of a reason why I would tend to believe with every evolutionary biologist on a question of evolutionary biology over three anthropology undergrads?

    Try dealing with what they wrote if you can

    Why? Why should I take their statements as valid over Jerry Coyne’s or PZ Myers or anyone else? I don’t know who these people are or what research they’ve done to reach those conclusions.

    I know in your mind, they are gods, because they agree with the smoking turd in your brain that you think is a valid worldview. But nothing they (or you) have said so far is compelling.

    Step back, take a deep breath, and try contructing a coherent claim. (Or continue to be belittling and get banned.)

  85. So, the Church is good, they don’t burn you and kill you if you say that the Earth is flat, but only if you say that it revolves around the Sun.

    I never said that the Church is good but Giordano Bruno was not burned for believing that the earth revolves around the sun either. But at least we’re making some progress in knowledge…

    There seems to be something about getting emotional which makes a mind project judgments about itself onto others. When you were emotional you said: If you are trying to deny FACTS, you should first make sure that they are not facts, because facts cannot be denied. right when you got your facts wrong. It’s almost as if you already knew emotionally or intuitively that you were wrong factually. The same thing seems to happen with another emotional commenter here.

  86. @mynym:

    I never said that the Church is good but Giordano Bruno was not burned for believing that the earth revolves around the sun either.

    He was undeniably burned at the stake by the Inquisition, but the exact reasons appear to have been lost. Wikipedia (I know, I know) says it was because of:

    * Holding opinions contrary to the Catholic Faith and speaking against it and its ministers.
    * Holding erroneous opinions about the Trinity, about Christ’s divinity and Incarnation.
    * Holding erroneous opinions about Christ.
    * Holding erroneous opinions about Transubstantiation and Mass.
    * Claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity.
    * Believing in metempsychosis and in the transmigration of the human soul into brutes.
    * Dealing in magics and divination.
    * Denying the Virginity of Mary.

    Fortunately, whatever point you’re trying to make is lost.

  87. I meant what were the three people actually responding to?

    Standard Darwinian reasoning, something which you go on to claim to have a knowledge of here:

    Can you think of a reason why I would tend to believe with every evolutionary biologist on a question of evolutionary biology over three anthropology undergrads?

    There is no unanimous agreement among evolutionary biologists. But given that you’re claiming a knowledge of evolutionary biologists and apparently know what “every evolutionary biologist” thinks, how is their summary of Darwinian reasoning in any way incorrect? Here it is again: n keeping with this general viewpoint, proponents claim that species are explained with reference to history. Important characters are hence “mechanisms” that have established and maintained the separation between diverged lineages of an ancestral population.

    Is this an accurate summary of Darwinism or not?

    I know in your mind, they are gods, because they agree with the smoking turd in your brain that you think is a valid worldview.
    ….
    Step back, take a deep breath, and try contructing a coherent claim. (Or continue to be belittling….

    You are projecting just as other commenters here have. I.e. this “the smoking turd in your brain” is belittling and so you already know that you need to: “Step back, take a deep breath, and try contructing a coherent claim.”

    A satire of your claims so far: “Well, there’s three of them so I don’t need to reply to what they actually said.” “Their academic credentials aren’t good enough so I don’t need to reply to what they said.” So far the only coherency to your arguments against what they said is that they allow you to avoid dealing with it. Is it an accurate summary of Darwinian reasoning or not? If it is, then why do you disagree with their criticism?

  88. Fortunately, whatever point you’re trying to make is lost.

    That does seem to be your goal. But my main points here are relatively simple, Darwinism and scientism are not sound science and many of the myths of the “enlightenment” are rooted more in a mythology of progress than historical facts.

  89. @mynym:

    There is no unanimous agreement among evolutionary biologists.

    Unsupportable blather. I thought you had game :(

    Is this an accurate summary of Darwinism or not?

    Read what Jerry Coyne says about evolution. I agree with him.

    You are projecting just as other commenters here have.

    So you’re not just a creationist troll, you’re a psychic creationist troll! Awesome.

    A satire of your claims so far

    Leave the satire to trained professionals, junior. You’ll hurt yourself.

    So, you want me to verify the claims of three unknown people with unknown education or training in evolutionary biology have a better grasp of it than one of the leading biologists in the world? And you want me to do that based on an overwritten response to an unknown claim. And somehow it’s me who is accepting the mythological claims here?

    But I’ll play. I’ll say: no. That is a misrepresentation of evolutionary theory. It is at best a misunderstanding and an oversimplification of the term “mechanism.”

    My answer might change with actual context (it IS important, you know), but you don’t seem willing or able to provide it.

    Next?

  90. @mynym:

    But my main points here are relatively simple, Darwinism and scientism are not sound science and many of the myths of the “enlightenment” are rooted more in a mythology of progress than historical facts.

    Alas, you have to date not even bothered to define your terms, much less constructed a coherent argument. Because of this, you sound exactly like every other creationist troll with juuuuuust enough education to grasp the lexicon.

    Why not separate yourself from the pack?

  91. Gonna have to put a sticky into this one. Got to take care of some home/life stuff.

    mynym, this will give you a chance to go look at talkorigins.org and get some of the answers you so desperately need. We can pick this up later, unless you insult the wrong person (in which case, good luck on finals!)

  92. Mynym,

    As for Giordano Bruno, he WAS, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, burned because of this heliocentric cosmology. If you would please consider something other than your own references:

    “””Italian philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and occultist whose theories anticipated modern science. The most notable of these were his theories of the infinite universe and the multiplicity of worlds, in which he rejected the traditional geocentric (or Earth-centred) astronomy and intuitively went beyond the Copernican heliocentric (Sun-centred) theory, which still maintained a finite universe with a sphere of fixed stars. Bruno is, perhaps, chiefly remembered for the tragic death he suffered at the stake because of the tenacity with which he maintained his unorthodox ideas at a time when both the Roman Catholic and the Reformed churches were reaffirming rigid Aristotelian and Scholastic principles in their struggle for the evangelization of Europe.”””

    If only mynym would show as readily as I did that he is able to accept his mistakes, this should not go much farther than this.

    If it does, however, I won’t spend more time on this. Unlike mynym, I cannot pretend to know more than Britannica.

  93. @Skepthink:

    In some famous historical cases — the tragic deaths of Giordano Bruno and Hypatia chief among them — the claim is sometimes made that they died because they backed the wrong religious belief, rather than because they practised science. Whatever else this implies, and whatever the evidence for the claim in specific cases, I don’t see how it exculpates religion: it’s still a violent death due to conflict over an artificially scarce resource.

    @mynym:

    You really do like trotting out that abstract, don’t you?

    The idea that the scientists in question are debating the relative strengths of different factors involved in speciation — a detail of the evolutionary picture — might be a shocking one. Then again, someone who slings around the word “scientism” as if it were a knock-down argument might not be the most attuned to subtlety.

  94. One of the fascinating things about science history is that, when we move beyond the “textbook cardboard” (as Stephen Jay Gould phrased it), our admiration for the modern scientific knowledge base grows stronger. When we recognize that Lamarck was not a transparent buffoon but a serious investigator, and when we disentangle the uses and abuses of the term Lamarckian, we gain a newfound respect for the Darwin-Wallace principle of natural selection and the Modern Synthesis which coupled it with Mendelian heredity, because we recognize that those discoveries did not triumph over cartoons.

  95. @mynym: “I’ve debated Holocaust deniers. Have you?”

    Working my way through here and deciding what, if anything is actually worth responding to. But in the case of this question of yours, I just though I would let you know that if…. ‘this’, (as in your behavior here), is what you are referring to as ‘debate’; then no, you have clearly not debated anyone.

    Also, speaking only for myself, my answer to that question is ‘Yes’, I have. Right up till I realized it was as pointless as ‘debating’ with Creationist or ID proponents.

  96. @mynym: “It’s not clear why I need to educate people who apparently believe in Darwinian creation narratives (and object to criticisms of the same) with respect to what Darwinian theory is. (Not to mention the existence of “Darwinism” itself.)”

    Slow down a bit more there low-speed. Since you are the obvious font of all knowledge, break it down for me. What, exactly, is this ‘Darwinian creation narrative’ that you are attempting to foist onto me and everyone else here?

    “There seems to be something about getting emotional which makes a mind project judgments about itself onto others.”

    Obviously you are immune to this. Unlike all of us lesser creatures who are so desperately in need of the light of your pure, shining… intellect.

    Please, speak on on wise master.

  97. @mynym: Hehe.. Oh golly gosh, you got me.. People out there do actually use the word ‘Darwinism’ instead of ‘Evolutionary Theory’ when they don’t know much about the modern biological sciences.

    I roundly apologize for letting myself get incautious on which of your ‘isms I was attacking. Still, I notice you haven’t made any effort to defend ‘Scientism’. My underlying point stands.

    Seperately, it seems that I have actually found your ‘definition’ of the “Darwinian creation narrative”. You previously defined it as:

    “A general collection of mythological narratives of naturalism which tend to comport with or establish a mythological view of progress and so on, regardless of historical or empirical evidence here and now.”

    Sorry I hadn’t noticed that before. I hadn’t seen it in there with the rest of your ideological spew. Oh, wait, and someone else already addressed the weakness of that definition. Yet you still seem intent on using your unsupported definition and attempting it to a non-existent ‘belief’ held by… ummm.. no one in the modern sciences.

    Interesting.

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