The dishonesty of creationists

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The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:49 am

cdesign proponentsists - the missing link.

In the early 1980s a creationist sourcebook was released under the title of "Creation Biology" in an an attempt to force creationism into schools.

In 1987, it was decided in the Edwards v. Aguillard that teaching creationism in US schools was a violation of the Constitution and it could not be taught alongside evolution as a competing alternative. A new version of the book was published under "Of Pandas and People"

In the years that followed, creationists attempted to manufacture a way of attempting to make creationism sound more scientific by using science-y sounding words creating a parody of scientific investigation, establishing so-called "research" organisations such as The Discovery Institute. Thus, Intelligent Design was born.

In 2005, with some credible scientists and not much else in support, The Discovery Institute attempted to force creationism (under the guise of ID) into schools again at the Dover vs Kitzmiller trial. After the 1987 trial "Of Pandas and People" was hastily repackaged as an Intelligent Design sourcebook. Remember, ID was supposed to be a science whereas Creationism was a matter of Theology.

Between the two editions the terms 'Creationism' and 'Creationist' had been replaced by 'intelligent design theory' and 'design proponents' respectively by simply altering the terms in the source text. One of these was not fully altered in the new version meaning that in changing creationists to design proponents we ended up with cdesign proponentsists.

The actual passage is this (Of Pandas and People 1987) Creationist Version:


That in the ID version was this:
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:54 am

Ben Stein quote-mines Darwin

In Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ferris Bueller actor with a voice that could cure insomnia Ben Stein reads an extract from The Descent of Man.

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

In his determination to demonise Charles Darwin, Ben Stein has carried out the most shameless and easily refuted of all creationist "arguments" - the quote mine. A quote mine is where you extract a piece of text that supports your view but you ignore the context of the quote, including text that goes after and before that suggests that the meaning is different from that actually intended. Let me give you a small example:

Expelled is the most important film of the year in the fight against the creationist movement. Expelled has done more damage in 90 minutes than I ever could in a single year - Richard Dawkins.

A simple example of a quote mine would be this: Expelled is the most important film of the year - Richard Dawkins

Dawkins never said this to my knowledge, I have invented it for the sake of the post. Anyway, going back to the quote mine from Expelled, Stein significantly changed the text and ignored the following paragraph that immediately follows the paragraph he did read. The text in red is the text that was ommitted.

“ With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox.Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”

Sinister. Ben Stein, as a Jew, just broke one of the cardinal sins of bearing false witness too.

Read One The Descent of Man here


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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:58 am

On the Origin of Specious Arguments

Ray "Bananaman" Comfort's plagiarism.

GUEST blogger Dr Robert Stovold weighs up some Creationist arguments, and finds them wanting.

Having tried (and failed) to smuggle Creationism into schools in the guise of “Intelligent Design”, Creationists now have another Trojan Horse strategy – bundling their ideas with Darwin’s masterpiece itself in the form of a Creationist introduction to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

Ray ”Bananaman” Comfort is giving away more than 100,000 copies of Charles Darwin’s work at 100 top US universities. His parasitic introduction is available here.

The part dealing with Charles Darwin’s biography is actually rather good – almost as if he’d plagiarised the work of someone else? Sure enough, Googling several key phrases from Comfort’s introduction proves beyond reasonable doubt that he had. Whole passages were lifted without attribution from Dr Stan Guffey’s work, A Brief History of Charles Darwin. For example:

Ray: During his great adventure as the Beagle’s naturalist, Darwin had studied certain aspects of the morphology and biogeography of the many species of plants and animals that he had observed. He eventually concluded that species exhibited varying degrees of similarity because they were to varying degrees related.

Stan: On his great adventure as the Beagle’s naturalist Darwin had noted and begun to ponder certain aspects of the morphology and biogeography of the many species of plants and animals that he had observed. In particular, he had begun to explore the possibility, and eventually concluded, that species exhibited varying degrees of similarity because they are to varying degrees related.

Hmm. A case of “Descent with modification”, to use Darwin’s phrase? This and other examples of Comfort’s plagiarism have been highlighted by fellow sceptics here:

Comfort is even biased in the way he presents his references. For example, evolutionary biologist Professor Steve Jones is referenced as “Steve Jones”, but Creationist Charles Thaxton is “Charles B. Thaxton, Ph.D.”. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is “Richard Dawkins”, but Creationist author David Dewitt is “David A. Dewitt, Ph.D.” (It should actually read “DeWitt”, but never mind ….).

Sandwiched between a plagiarised biography and biased references are several canards from the Creationist canon, such as (and I paraphrase) “evolution is simply a matter of chance”, and “the complexity of living things requires a designer”. I’ve refuted both lies with an analogy that I’ve used for years, which I’ll share with Freethinker readers in the form of an amusing conversation I once had with a Creationist:

Creationist: Design requires a designer – it couldn’t arise by random chance!

Me: Would you say that order requires an orderer?

Creationist: Yes.

Me: So why is it that all the small cornflakes send to settle at the base of the box? Do you think it’s because God put them there?

Creationist: No – it must be, well, gravity pulling the small flakes down.

Me: Wouldn’t gravity have pulled the large flakes down as well? Why do the small flakes fall further?

Creationist: I don’t know.

Me: It’s because small flakes fall through large gaps, but large flakes can’t fall through small gaps. The flakes sieve themselves. Random shaking of the box coupled with a non-random filtering law (which we might call “the furthest-falling of the smallest” or “the persistence of the largest”) leads to an ordering of flakes over time, with no intelligent input required. Random shaking is analogous to random mutation, and “the survival of the fittest” (Natural Selection) is analogous to “the persistence of the largest”. Cornflakes and living things are both self-ordering systems, filtering out smaller flakes and deleterious mutations respectively. Cornflakes become more organised over time, and organisms become better-adapted.

Creationist: There must be more to it than that? There must be! There has to be!

[Walks away scratching his head....]


A more detailed refutation of Comfort’s nonsense is beyond the scope of this blog, but will appear in a future print edition of The Freethinker.

http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/11/30/on-the-origin-of-specious-arguments/
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:05 am

Blurring the lines: microevolution, macroevolution and speciation

"Variations within a set kind" as the cliche goes. "I believe in microevolution but not macroevolution" goes the other cliche. However, creationists regularly move the goalposts of the first two terms and ignore the third.

Creationists claim that macroevolution is the appearance of new features and this cannot and does not happen whereas microevoution is a slight variation on existing features.

How then, would they explain bacteria that mutates the ability to eat nylon? http://www.journalarchive.jst.go.jp/jnlp...amp;from=jnltoc

By their standard, this should be macroevolution. The bacteria developed the ability to eat nylon WITHOUT AN INTERMEDIATE STAGE. What would such an intermediate stage look like though, if it existed? Would it lose the ability to not eat nylon before it could actually eat it?

Speciation is another issue that creationists deny. Speciation occurs when a species splits due to environmental isolation.

A clear example of speciation is given here: http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/S/Speciation.html discussing Darwin's finches.

So, before you enter into a debate over whether micro and macroevolution occurs, be sure to pin down said creationist to give the parameters by which they are determined.

Examples of microevolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0_0/evoscales_03
Examples of macroevolution and speciation: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:07 am

Mt. Ngauruhoe

This is perhaps one of the most laughable dishonest claims by creationists, but it is one that is most easy to dupe the lay person with. The claim, as it goes, is that Potassium-Argon dating was debunked when it threw up dates measured in millions of years old for samples taken on a modern (50-60 years) lava flow.

For an in depth creationist "study", see here

Here is the fundamental flaw: The lava flows were from the 1940s and 1950s, the samples taken in the late 1990s, so the samples were around 50 years old at the very most. K-Ar is used on rock samples that are 100,000 years at the very youngest but better at dating samples in millions of years old. For younger samples (100,000-1m years), a significant sample is required (several kilos) to obtain enough Argon for the purpose of dating. However, it states in this paper that Snelling sent samples no larger than 100g each.

So, Snelling deliberately used an inappropriate dating method on a sample that was both a) too young for the method and b) too small to be accurate and ended up with nonsense. He did this with the specific intention of debunking the method. The fact that he couldn't do this through HONEST means within the scientific framework makes him another dishonest creationist.

GIGO as Computer Science types would say!
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:10 am

Fudging the evolution of the eye issue. Continually claiming that nobody can explain it when it has been addressed dozens of times by dozens of people: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html

http://www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/Scientists_discover_600_million-year-old_origins_of_vision.asp
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:38 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:Ben Stein quote-mines Darwin

In Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ferris Bueller actor with a voice that could cure insomnia Ben Stein reads an extract from The Descent of Man.

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

In his determination to demonise Charles Darwin, Ben Stein has carried out the most shameless and easily refuted of all creationist "arguments" - the quote mine. A quote mine is where you extract a piece of text that supports your view but you ignore the context of the quote, including text that goes after and before that suggests that the meaning is different from that actually intended. Let me give you a small example:

Expelled is the most important film of the year in the fight against the creationist movement. Expelled has done more damage in 90 minutes than I ever could in a single year - Richard Dawkins.

A simple example of a quote mine would be this: Expelled is the most important film of the year - Richard Dawkins

Dawkins never said this to my knowledge, I have invented it for the sake of the post. Anyway, going back to the quote mine from Expelled, Stein significantly changed the text and ignored the following paragraph that immediately follows the paragraph he did read. The text in red is the text that was ommitted.

“ With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox.Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”

Sinister. Ben Stein, as a Jew, just broke one of the cardinal sins of bearing false witness too.

Read One The Descent of Man here

Okay, since no one else responded, I'll jump in here.

First of all, there is no question that Ben is selectively quoting material. This is only too obvious. That said, the first paragraph you examine reveals that the parts he did not include do not alter in any way the meaning of the bits he did include. One could honestly say that this was just editing for brevity's sake.

Now, what we lack here is some context as to what follows Ben's first paragraph above and how it compares to the second paragraph from the source he cites. How does Ben follow on from that paragraph? Does it substantially differ from the second paragraph you included? I am going to assume that it must since you say that Ben's citation is a misrepresentation of the source material, but I would like to know how he followed up that citation.

As for that second paragraph, it hardly seems scientific or based on any certain science as to why man displays that "noblest part of our nature" as apart from other creatures.

Personally, I think the whole creation vs. evolution argument more rightly belongs to the field of philosophy and not science. Mind you, I am not saying the evolution should not be studied scientifically, that would just be sheer folly. But I believe the question of which is the true state of things, creation or evolution, is a valid philosophical question and it is one that has been asked and debated for thousands of years by true geniuses.

I say if creationists are so hot to get their point of view into the classroom, they abandon the angle of science and try this through a philosophical approach. Though I'm pretty sure they're not teaching philosophy in K-12 schools.

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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by i_luv_miley on Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:59 pm

IMO, this isn't a philosophical question. Yeah, it certainly could have been one at one point when people looked at the world differently. But as we learned more about how things worked and through scientific discoveries, this question became a scientific one. And at least as far as, "Is evolution real?", I think the question has been answered - by Darwin and by science. The only part that hasn't been answered yet IMO, is, "Where did it all begin?" That is a philosophical question to beat all. slapping head
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:02 pm

i_luv_miley wrote:IMO, this isn't a philosophical question. Yeah, it certainly could have been one at one point when people looked at the world differently. But as we learned more about how things worked and through scientific discoveries, this question became a scientific one. And at least as far as, "Is evolution real?", I think the question has been answered - by Darwin and by science. The only part that hasn't been answered yet IMO, is, "Where did it all begin?" That is a philosophical question to beat all. slapping head

I can appreciate that point of view ILM. And as far as I'm concerned, evolution is the most plausible explanation for our existence. But, that said, it is not the only explanation. There is yet room for a philosophical discussion of the merits of evolution (as it is still called the "theory of evolution") versus the claim on the part of credible scientists that perhaps evolution does not entirely satisfy certain aspects of mankind's existence.

In fact, the very question you pose, "where did it all begin?" gives justification to question evolution on a philosophical basis. If it all began at the Big Bang, where did the stuff necessary to create that "Bang" come from? How does something come from nothing?

These are the great questions that have been being debated for thousands of years, by people far more intelligent than I, and I suspect more intelligent than any of us here.

As I've said, there is a massive body of scientific evidence that evolution is indeed the most plausible explanation for mankind's appearance... but one yet wonders... why? Why, more than how, did creatures with the ability to question these things come into being? What does it all mean?

It is questions like these that make me an agnostic and not an atheist. I can not possibly justify having the knowledge necessary to completely dismiss any or all existential explanations for our universe.
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:02 pm

dblboggie wrote:That said, the first paragraph you examine reveals that the parts he did not include do not alter in any way the meaning of the bits he did include. One could honestly say that this was just editing for brevity's sake.
I have to disagree in the strongest possible terms. His incredibly selective truncation and deliberate manipulation of the text (which in the film was accompanied with footage from Nazi concentration camps) changes Darwin's words from the description of how humans have attempted to hold natural selection at bay through treating the sick, to make it seem that Darwin was saying that killing "lesser" humans in society is vital to the survival of the species. Your National Academy of Sciences thought so too, enough to condemn Stein's quote mining and the film in general.

dblboggie wrote:Now, what we lack here is some context as to what follows Ben's first paragraph above and how it compares to the second paragraph from the source he cites. How does Ben follow on from that paragraph? Does it substantially differ from the second paragraph you included? I am going to assume that it must since you say that Ben's citation is a misrepresentation of the source material, but I would like to know how he followed up that citation.
How do you mean? He read it out on screen (only the first paragraph while taking out the red bits) and signed it off with "Charles Darwin... On the descent of man" having read nothing else from Darwin's work. Selective and manipulative.

dblboggie wrote:As for that second paragraph, it hardly seems scientific or based on any certain science as to why man displays that "noblest part of our nature" as apart from other creatures.
Darwin wrote it in the 1860s... what do you expect from the first work of its kind?

dblboggie wrote:Personally, I think the whole creation vs. evolution argument more rightly belongs to the field of philosophy and not science. Mind you, I am not saying the evolution should not be studied scientifically, that would just be sheer folly. But I believe the question of which is the true state of things, creation or evolution, is a valid philosophical question and it is one that has been asked and debated for thousands of years by true geniuses.
Seeing as there is a mountain of evidence for an old earth and for evolution by natural selection, and zero evidence for "goddidit 6000 years ago and evolution is all a lie" then creationism remains out of the science class.

dblboggie wrote:I say if creationists are so hot to get their point of view into the classroom, they abandon the angle of science and try this through a philosophical approach. Though I'm pretty sure they're not teaching philosophy in K-12 schools.
Well, if you are going to take the philosophical approach, why must creation philosophy be restricted to the religions of Abraham? There are thousands of creation myths, to suggest that one is more plausible than the others simply because a large group of people who are scientifically illiterate accept it is meaningless. Scientific reality is not made by pandering to religious sensibilities, nor through the wishful thinking of said group.


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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:08 pm

dblboggie wrote: (as it is still called the "theory of evolution") versus the claim on the part of credible scientists that perhaps evolution does not entirely satisfy certain aspects of mankind's existence.
Okay, firstly "theory" in the scientific context does not mean "educated guess" it means "explanation". Second, and if I've said this once on SP, I've said it a million times. Evolution says nothing about how life came about, it only deals with what happens to life forms once they are established.

I'm rather surprised that you of all people needed that explaining to you.

dblboggie wrote: In fact, the very question you pose, "where did it all begin?" gives justification to question evolution on a philosophical basis. If it all began at the Big Bang, where did the stuff necessary to create that "Bang" come from? How does something come from nothing?
See above but further more the origin of life is a question of chemistry, not biology. You may be interested in this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:33 pm

I have a question in regards to evolution; perhaps Matt or someone else can clear it up for me.

And by the way, I have no qualm believing in evolution. I think if the science conclusively shows that this is the nature of how life came about on this earth and progressed, then so be it. One can believe in a God presiding over an old earth in which evolution takes place just as much as one can believe in a God presiding over a young earth following a literal Bible creationism.

Considering my background, you can see I have no real agenda in the matter- just a question (or series of related questions). And that would be: what is it that drives evolution? What is the underlying force behind the progression of biological life forms? According to my best understanding of evolution, it is only random mutations that cause species to evolve, no? But if these mutations are all indeed "random," where does adaptability come in, what purpose does it serve? Why are we all becoming more advanced when the underlying principle that creates this progression is all just dumb luck, haphazard chance? Wouldn't that mean that some species should devolve?

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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:07 pm

No, it is the non-random selection of randomly generated variables. What this means is that those mutations that are most suited to the environment are going to survive while the others are not.

These are the driving forces behind selection:
* Natural drift and mutation which are obviously random
* Environmental pressures (rabbits with slightly longer coats won't freeze to death in a series of freak winters)
* Sexual selection (ooh, what a pretty colour scheme. I bet she'll make a good mate!) enhancing the gene pool
* Predatory selection (ooh, what a pretty colour scheme. I bet it tastes good!/I'm not eating that, might be poisonous) selected out or kept in the gene pool

And how do you mean humans are becoming "more advanced"?

here is a basic website: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIntro.shtml

If you can stomach reading a Dawkins book (many on your side of the religious fence cannot - which is a shame because he is an amazing science writer) his recent book The Greatest Show on Earth explains it in full details for a wide audience.
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:19 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:That said, the first paragraph you examine reveals that the parts he did not include do not alter in any way the meaning of the bits he did include. One could honestly say that this was just editing for brevity's sake.
I have to disagree in the strongest possible terms. His incredibly selective truncation and deliberate manipulation of the text (which in the film was accompanied with footage from Nazi concentration camps) changes Darwin's words from the description of how humans have attempted to hold natural selection at bay through treating the sick, to make it seem that Darwin was saying that killing "lesser" humans in society is vital to the survival of the species. Your National Academy of Sciences thought so too, enough to condemn Stein's quote mining and the film in general.

I don't understand. I read and reread that paragraph in it's edited and unedited forms, and I came to no different conclusion about the point of either paragraph. I didn't see the full paragraph as a "description of how humans have attempted to hold natural selection at bay through treating the sick," because nowhere in that paragraph do the words "humans have attempted to hold natural selection at bay" appear. The words that do appear are "We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination." "Check... elimination" is not the same as "hold... selection at bay." So Ben's edits (which do include the "check elimination" quote) do nothing to change the meaning of the paragraph in it's unedited form.

I've included both quotes so I can be a little more clear on what I'm saying - first Ben's and then the original (with your color emphasis left in):

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox.Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

In the first sentence, the omitted portion does nothing to alter the bit that precedes it. In the second sentence, the elimination of the other ways we care for the "imbecile, the maimed and the sick" does nothing to alter the fact of the first part of the sentence; nor does the elimination of the third sentence, which is just another example of what we do for the weak. In the fifth sentence, the elimination of the first part, does not make the second part mean anything different.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Ben or his movie, but after a close reading of the paragraphs above (many times), I do not come to any different conclusions as to their meanings. Now I suppose it's possible that I might conclude differently had I seen it in the context of the film and it's slanted imagery, but to be honest, even if he had not edited the full quote down (which I still suspect was done for brevity's sake - it is a film and every second counts in the editing room), I do not believe that it would have altered a thing.

Now it may be that I am missing some point here. I don't see the problem as being the edits in the first paragraph, but the elimination of the entire paragraph following, which serves to give moderation and humanity to the paragraph it follows.

Am I missing something else?

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Now, what we lack here is some context as to what follows Ben's first paragraph above and how it compares to the second paragraph from the source he cites. How does Ben follow on from that paragraph? Does it substantially differ from the second paragraph you included? I am going to assume that it must since you say that Ben's citation is a misrepresentation of the source material, but I would like to know how he followed up that citation.
How do you mean? He read it out on screen (only the first paragraph while taking out the red bits) and signed it off with "Charles Darwin... On the descent of man" having read nothing else from Darwin's work. Selective and manipulative.

Oops... I did not know he was quoting Darwin, or that this was Darwin's work.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:As for that second paragraph, it hardly seems scientific or based on any certain science as to why man displays that "noblest part of our nature" as apart from other creatures.
Darwin wrote it in the 1860s... what do you expect from the first work of its kind?[

Again, I'm embarrassed to say that I missed that this was a direct quote from Darwin's work. Old age strikes again.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Personally, I think the whole creation vs. evolution argument more rightly belongs to the field of philosophy and not science. Mind you, I am not saying the evolution should not be studied scientifically, that would just be sheer folly. But I believe the question of which is the true state of things, creation or evolution, is a valid philosophical question and it is one that has been asked and debated for thousands of years by true geniuses.
Seeing as there is a mountain of evidence for an old earth and for evolution by natural selection, and zero evidence for "goddidit 6000 years ago and evolution is all a lie" then creationism remains out of the science class.

That is what I said. Creationism does not belong in the science class, it would be more properly discussed in a philosophy class.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:I say if creationists are so hot to get their point of view into the classroom, they abandon the angle of science and try this through a philosophical approach. Though I'm pretty sure they're not teaching philosophy in K-12 schools.
Well, if you are going to take the philosophical approach, why must creation philosophy be restricted to the religions of Abraham? There are thousands of creation myths, to suggest that one is more plausible than the others simply because a large group of people who are scientifically illiterate accept it is meaningless. Scientific reality is not made by pandering to religious sensibilities, nor through the wishful thinking of said group.

I never said that it should be confined to the creation myths of the religions of Abraham. Remember, I have no dog in this race. I just thought I chime in with a friendly suggestion to those who are creationists - move it from the science class to the philosophy class if they wish it to be discussed in schools. I don't think any reasonable person would object to this. That way, we don't pretend that creationism is something it isn't, science, and still have it on the curriculum.
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:43 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote: (as it is still called the "theory of evolution") versus the claim on the part of credible scientists that perhaps evolution does not entirely satisfy certain aspects of mankind's existence.
Okay, firstly "theory" in the scientific context does not mean "educated guess" it means "explanation". Second, and if I've said this once on SP, I've said it a million times. Evolution says nothing about how life came about, it only deals with what happens to life forms once they are established.

I'm rather surprised that you of all people needed that explaining to you.

You would not last five minutes in my philosophy class my friend... Snicker

Of course I know that evolution does not deal with the "why" life itself came about. Although, if I am not mistaken, as to the "how" was it not evolutionary scientists who attempted to actually recreate the "primordial soup" from which life on earth was said to spring and to then combine inorganic ingredients to create a viable protein or some such thing? This would seem to be an attempt to deal with the how - which I still see as a valid scientific inquiry. Life is here, in all it's physical glory. It had to come about in some fashion that can be explained scientifically, no?

Now the "why" is an entirely different matter. The why leads to all sorts of metaphysical inquiries and will never be answered, but will be endlessly debated as it has been for thousands of years.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote: In fact, the very question you pose, "where did it all begin?" gives justification to question evolution on a philosophical basis. If it all began at the Big Bang, where did the stuff necessary to create that "Bang" come from? How does something come from nothing?
See above but further more the origin of life is a question of chemistry, not biology. You may be interested in this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

THAT'S IT!!! That's the experiment I was talking about above!!! That's hysterical... ROFL

Wow... I guess my memory is not all shot. Snicker

Of course, this experiment is about the origin of life, not about the origin of matter itself. That question remains to be satisfactorily answered. How does one get something from nothing? Or, if as some suggest, it was already there, in a cycle of implosion and explosion, where did that stuff come from? These are the kinds of questions that serve to remind us about how little we yet know about the universe.

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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:18 pm

dblboggie wrote:
The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote: (as it is still called the "theory of evolution") versus the claim on the part of credible scientists that perhaps evolution does not entirely satisfy certain aspects of mankind's existence.
Okay, firstly "theory" in the scientific context does not mean "educated guess" it means "explanation". Second, and if I've said this once on SP, I've said it a million times. Evolution says nothing about how life came about, it only deals with what happens to life forms once they are established.

I'm rather surprised that you of all people needed that explaining to you.

You would not last five minutes in my philosophy class my friend... Snicker
Bleugh... philosophers, that's all I can say. Snicker

dblboggie wrote:Of course I know that evolution does not deal with the "why" life itself came about.
I never said "why" I said "how".

dblboggie wrote: Although, if I am not mistaken, as to the "how" was it not evolutionary scientists who attempted to actually recreate the "primordial soup" from which life on earth was said to spring and to then combine inorganic ingredients to create a viable protein or some such thing?
No, that would be chemists. The process of turning chemicals into biological matter (called abiogenesis) is a matter of chemical processes, not biological. Evolution only deals with how biological matter changes over time.

dblboggie wrote:Now the "why" is an entirely different matter. The why leads to all sorts of metaphysical inquiries and will never be answered, but will be endlessly debated as it has been for thousands of years.
In a universe so vast, with so many stars, so many planets it was bound to have happened at least once. I keep hearing "chance" from the religious as though life is a near impossibility. Well, only if you take one planet in isolation. When you spread it over such a vast number of stars, it was bound to have happen. They are playing the wrong numbers game. It is like playing the lottery. The chance for an individual to win the jackpot is millions to one but somebody wins with every single draw. Therefore the chance of ANY individual winning in a given drawn is rather favourable.

dblboggie wrote:Of course, this experiment is about the origin of life, not about the origin of matter itself. That question remains to be satisfactorily answered. How does one get something from nothing? Or, if as some suggest, it was already there, in a cycle of implosion and explosion, where did that stuff come from? These are the kinds of questions that serve to remind us about how little we yet know about the universe.
Energy can almost certainly be converted to matter too.

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1043642/

Meanwhile "creation science" offers us:
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:34 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:
The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote: (as it is still called the "theory of evolution") versus the claim on the part of credible scientists that perhaps evolution does not entirely satisfy certain aspects of mankind's existence.
Okay, firstly "theory" in the scientific context does not mean "educated guess" it means "explanation". Second, and if I've said this once on SP, I've said it a million times. Evolution says nothing about how life came about, it only deals with what happens to life forms once they are established.

I'm rather surprised that you of all people needed that explaining to you.

You would not last five minutes in my philosophy class my friend... Snicker
Bleugh... philosophers, that's all I can say. Snicker

Not a fan of philosophy, eh? It is a requirement for my degree.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Of course I know that evolution does not deal with the "why" life itself came about.
I never said "why" I said "how".

Ah... so you did. My bad. I've got "why" on the brain lately. I blame it all on my philosophy class.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote: Although, if I am not mistaken, as to the "how" was it not evolutionary scientists who attempted to actually recreate the "primordial soup" from which life on earth was said to spring and to then combine inorganic ingredients to create a viable protein or some such thing?
No, that would be chemists. The process of turning chemicals into biological matter (called abiogenesis) is a matter of chemical processes, not biological. Evolution only deals with how biological matter changes over time.

Hey, I was doing well just remembering that the experiment had taken place, nailing what branch of science conducted it would have just been a bonus point. Besides, I knew it was somebody in a white lab coat.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Now the "why" is an entirely different matter. The why leads to all sorts of metaphysical inquiries and will never be answered, but will be endlessly debated as it has been for thousands of years.
In a universe so vast, with so many stars, so many planets it was bound to have happened at least once. I keep hearing "chance" from the religious as though life is a near impossibility. Well, only if you take one planet in isolation. When you spread it over such a vast number of stars, it was bound to have happen. They are playing the wrong numbers game. It is like playing the lottery. The chance for an individual to win the jackpot is millions to one but somebody wins with every single draw. Therefore the chance of ANY individual winning in a given drawn is rather favourable.

Perhaps. This is quite plausible. And yet, there is that nagging question of how it is that matter could create matter that could ponder itself and the universe at large. Organic or inorganic, it is all just matter and energy which exists in space and time. One wonders if this is just a cosmic joke of sorts that will snuff itself out when our sun goes supernova.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Of course, this experiment is about the origin of life, not about the origin of matter itself. That question remains to be satisfactorily answered. How does one get something from nothing? Or, if as some suggest, it was already there, in a cycle of implosion and explosion, where did that stuff come from? These are the kinds of questions that serve to remind us about how little we yet know about the universe.
Energy can almost certainly be converted to matter too.

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1043642/

To say energy can be converted to matter answers the question, only to beg another. Where did the energy come from. And actually, isn't matter necessary for energy to exist? Can the one exist without the other?


The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:Meanwhile "creation science" offers us:

ROFL

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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:34 pm

dblboggie wrote:Not a fan of philosophy, eh? It is a requirement for my degree.
I don't actually have a problem with philosophy or philosophers in general but I met far too many post-modernists when I was a student. I also hated reading papers by the likes of Ian Hodder and Chris Tilley who are two major post-processual (the archaeological equivalent of post-modernist) thinkers in archaeology. Some of their work made we want to claw my eyes out. I do have a lot of respect for Jean Paul Sartre, I can take Friedrich Nietzsche in small doses, and I am a big fan of Karl Popper... I would have thoughy my signature would have given that away. One of the most interesting discussions I ever had on SP was with JJ (or whatever his handle is this week) between the merits of Kuhn's and Popper's respective approaches to science. It was nice to have a thread that certain other people didn't need to force their way into because they didn't have the slightest idea what we were talking about Laughing

dblboggie wrote:Ah... so you did. My bad. I've got "why" on the brain lately. I blame it all on my philosophy class.
Seriously, if you start quoting post-modernism you are going on my ignore list No No No

dblboggie wrote:Organic or inorganic, it is all just matter and energy which exists in space and time. One wonders if this is just a cosmic joke of sorts that will snuff itself out when our sun goes supernova.
I'm not sure either of us will live long enough to see that though. My only hope is that the question will be answered in my lifetime.

[quote=dblboggie"]To say energy can be converted to matter answers the question, only to beg another. Where did the energy come from. And actually, isn't matter necessary for energy to exist? Can the one exist without the other? [/quote]
Physics was never my strong point I'm afraid. You might be right.
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:51 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Not a fan of philosophy, eh? It is a requirement for my degree.
I don't actually have a problem with philosophy or philosophers in general but I met far too many post-modernists when I was a student. I also hated reading papers by the likes of Ian Hodder and Chris Tilley who are two major post-processual (the archaeological equivalent of post-modernist) thinkers in archaeology. Some of their work made we want to claw my eyes out. I do have a lot of respect for Jean Paul Sartre, I can take Friedrich Nietzsche in small doses, and I am a big fan of Karl Popper... I would have thoughy my signature would have given that away. One of the most interesting discussions I ever had on SP was with JJ (or whatever his handle is this week) between the merits of Kuhn's and Popper's respective approaches to science. It was nice to have a thread that certain other people didn't need to force their way into because they didn't have the slightest idea what we were talking about Laughing

I must confess, I very fresh into the subject, so I’m not up on contemporary philosophers. I was not aware that Popper was a philosopher. I’m kind of working my way up the timeline from oldest to newest in this discipline.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Ah... so you did. My bad. I've got "why" on the brain lately. I blame it all on my philosophy class.
Seriously, if you start quoting post-modernism you are going on my ignore list No No No

Snicker No chance of that coming from me... I don’t have a single post-modernist quote in my arsenal... :no:

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:Organic or inorganic, it is all just matter and energy which exists in space and time. One wonders if this is just a cosmic joke of sorts that will snuff itself out when our sun goes supernova.
I'm not sure either of us will live long enough to see that though. My only hope is that the question will be answered in my lifetime.

I suspect that neither of us will live to see this question answered. In fact I fear there is a good chance that it will never be answered.

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:
dblboggie wrote:To say energy can be converted to matter answers the question, only to beg another. Where did the energy come from. And actually, isn't matter necessary for energy to exist? Can the one exist without the other?
Physics was never my strong point I'm afraid. You might be right.

Yeah, I think I am; which leaves the question in the state it has remained since being poised thousands of years ago... unanswered.


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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by Guest on Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:49 pm

dblboggie wrote:I must confess, I very fresh into the subject, so I’m not up on contemporary philosophers. I was not aware that Popper was a philosopher.

Huh? That's like saying "I was not aware that Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist".

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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by dblboggie on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:20 pm

merkwurdigliebe wrote:
dblboggie wrote:I must confess, I very fresh into the subject, so I’m not up on contemporary philosophers. I was not aware that Popper was a philosopher.

Huh? That's like saying "I was not aware that Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist".

I was not aware that Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist either...

I have never professed to knowing all there is to know. I have not made a study of philosophy or physics, so I am not familiar with all the past and present players in these fields. In fact, a quick review of the book for my philosophy class reveals that Karl Popper is not included in that work. But then, this is an intro to philosophy class I'm taking, so I can understand why 20th century philosopher was not included, we have quite enough philosophers to acquaint ourselves with as it is.
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Re: The dishonesty of creationists

Post by Guest on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:44 pm

dblboggie wrote:I was not aware that Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist either...

For the love of FSM I hope you were pulling my leg.

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