Monthly Archives: March 2008

A Moment of Truth?

Some Darwinists are trying to sweep under the rug the difference between convergent and parallel evolution. Why? Because convergent evolution is a difficulty for evolution that has not been solved, and probably won’t be. So, simply conflate and move on is the solution. Yet, apparently, at least one Darwinist is not so keen on the idea:

Arendt and Reznick (TREE 23:26-32) have presented an argument for eliminating the label ‘parallel evolution’, which involves changing the terms of the comparison between convergent and parallel evolutions from the phenotype to the genotype. While parallel evolution has mostly been viewed as a largely genotype focused concept, convergent evolution has not been formulated that way…

I would argue that we ought to ‘save the phenomenon’ of convergent evolution even if it seems inconvenient to the dominant Darwinian and cladistic perspectives on organic evolution. The fact that convergence is not in conformity with the ‘descent with modification’ model of either the neoDarwinian or cladistic programs signals rather that it is an outstanding problem in evolutionary biology. Given the divergence model of organic evolution, there should be no reason to suppose that selection would arrive at similar solutions to similar selective pressures except for very general solutions like streamlining in fluids or in very closely related forms.

It’s refreshing to see a Darwinist that is unafraid to utter the truth, that evolution has problems.

Dog Day Sunday: Let’s Get Active!

Mendel decided to go airborn over a downed tree!  I had the camera at the ready and got some actions shots.

Over the tree 1

Over the tree 2

Over the tree 3

Over the tree 4

Point – Counterpoint

I wanted to highlight the differences between the proponents of academic freedom and the opponents and I found a couple op-eds that illuminate the differences quite nicely. First, the opponents of academic freedom:

The “Academic Freedom Act” is an insult to principals, who will see their autonomy over school functions further diluted if the bill becomes law. Unlike most managers in the private sector, public-school principals are not allowed to exercise authority over their schools and their staffs. They cannot, for example, hire and fire employees – a basic management tool – without bearing sundry red-tape encumbrances.

This bill only adds more of that red tape.

So, we should muzzle our teachers so that principals will be able to more easily fire them if they don’t toe the Dawkinsist line. That doesn’t seem like a compelling reason.

Here’s another disturbing piece of the “Academic Freedom Act”: Students may not be penalized in any way for subscribing “to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution.” So when little Johnny receives an “F” for an essay in which he has proclaimed the earth was created in a week, little Johnny’s teacher better watch out – the lawyers are coming.

Aside from the obvious fear-mongering that is again on display here, this is a wholly inaccurate protrayal of the bill. If little Johnny can not back up proclamations in his essay using science, the teacher is – even under this bill – more than justified in giving a failing grade. But, if Johnny can back up his proclamations, why should it merit a failing grade? It should perhaps open a door to a deeper discussion of science, which would help the class appreciate science all the more, because it would be interesting and not simply rote recitals of materialist pogroms.

 Now, for the counterpoint side – the side that is in favor of academic freedom:

To quote Dr. Francis Grubbs, Ph.D., education consultant to Gibbs Law Firm, from the memorandum he wrote to the FDOE: “There is no attempt to differentiate between what is a validated theory and what is still a hypothesis. However, there seems to be a deliberate attempt to introduce the term and formulate a concept within the developing minds of students so they will never consider the differences between the verifiable concepts of ‘microevolution’ and the unverified understandings of ‘macroevolution.'”

Allowing teachers to dig deeper into the science – as this bill does – would allow us to give the students a better understanding of the delineations between concepts such as micro and macroevolution.

Similarly, one sixth-grade standard begins with, “The scientific theory of the evolution of Earth states …” Evolution of Earth? Where was Darwin on this? I thought evolution had to do changes in living things!

Good point. Evolution has nothing to do with the evolution of the Earth as Darwinists remind us every time the origin of life is brought up, yet they have no trouble with claiming the evolution of the Earth or other things outside of the proper theory when it suits their cause.

I can’t help but wonder what it is that fuels the vitriol when someone challenges the “theory of evolution.”

Decibel levels go up and intellectual pursuit goes down. The clamor to drown out debate of the evolution portion of Florida’s new science standards is typical of political campaigns, not rational discussions of curriculum guidelines.

OK, that’s not a point, but it’s a good observation, and one that follows to the last point:

The sole purpose of the Academic Freedom Act that Storms introduced is to protect teachers and students from persecution if their investigation of evolution leads them to conclusions that differ with the “party line” as it’s stated in the standards.

Yet, those who are using the authority of the Florida Department of Education to impose the religion of evolution are railing against Storms and claiming she is using her position to introduce religious teaching into the classroom when that’s exactly what they are doing!

“Projecting” is the name a psychologist would use for this dissembling by the Darwinists.

It’s sad that we need to protect teachers that don’t observe the Darwinist theology, but it has become necessary. And, make no mistake, a theology it is. The observations of this author are the same observations that many have made, and they point to an irrational defense of a closely held belief, which is what Darwinism has become. This isn’t about science, it’s about a specific theology trying to gain control over the minds of students.

And I think that’s game, set, match to the pro-bill position – the position for academic freedom.

Going Going Gone

This is a cool video, check it out. What an exquisite design for a plant to be able to do that to evade would-be snackers.

Dawkins and PZ Expelled! The Update

There’s been some light shed on PZ Myers not being let in to see Expelled.

“It is amazing to see the reaction of PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins and their cohorts when one of them is simply expelled from a movie. Yet these men applaud when professors throughout the nation are fired from their jobs and permanently excluded from their profession for mentioning Intelligent Design,” said producer Mark Mathis. Mathis was at the event that has raised this controversy.

Mathis continued, “I hope PZ’s experience has helped him see the light. He is distraught because he could not see a movie. What if he wasn’t allowed to teach on a college campus or was denied tenure? Maybe he will think twice before he starts demanding more professors be blacklisted and expelled simply because they question the adequacy of Darwin’s theory.”

I doubt PZ Myers will “see the light.” He’s a true believer. He has no remorse.

Myers has apparently been asking supporters to sneak into the different private screenings for many weeks. After being denied his chance to see the movie, Myers blogged about his experience and expressed his outrage.

Oh, and what excuse does Dawkins have for this?

They were also aware that Dawkins, who oddly used his formal surname “Clinton” instead of Richard to sign up, was in attendance.

More and More Complex

Why is it that we always find that things are more complex than initially assumed? For example, the early ecosystem is now thought to be very complex. It even included possible sexual selection, or at least something very similar to it. Yet, the Darwinists would have us believe that it all happened by chance?

Until now, the dominant paradigm in the field of paleobiology has been that the earliest multicellular animals were simple, and that strategies organisms use today to survive, reproduce and grow in numbers have arisen over time due to several factors. These factors include evolutionary and ecological pressures that both predators and competition for food and other resources have imposed on the ecosystem.

But in describing the ecology and reproductive strategies of Funisia dorothea, a tubular organism preserved as a fossil, the researchers found that the organism had multiple means of growing and propagating — similar to strategies used by most invertebrate organisms for propagation today.

“How Funisia appears in the fossils clearly shows that ecosystems were complex very early in the history of animals on Earth — that is, before organisms developed skeletons and before the advent of widespread predation,” said Droser, who was joined in the research by James G. Gehling of the South Australia Museum.

That Dawkinsists can believe that this all happened by chance simply because it ‘must have’ is testament to the fact that they are non-scientifically clinging to a worldview based on faith. Countless calculations have shown how incredibly improbable it would have been for the conditions that allowed life to form, and that was before we really learned that conditions were even more complex than we thought, that cells were more complex than we thought, etc. The original calculations were pushing the upper probability bound if not surpassing and yet now we add in a factor that make the events even less likely, because that is the inevitable result when complexity increases. This all points to design being the best explanation. When chance can not account for what we see, then we must look towards design and purpose.

Dinosaur Mummy

OK, this is just plain cool. Enjoy.