Stupid Creationist Argument Given A Dose Of Science

You know the one about the human eye being too complex to have evolved? Yeah, that one:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/cifa-mpe062915.php

I’m making a short story out of an article well worth reading, so click the link if you want to see more.

Here we have a predatory single celled organism with an eye much like a human eye, an interesting quote: “The single-cell marine plankton, a predatory microbe, bears a dark purple spot known as an ocelloid. It resembles the multicellular eye of animals so much that it was originally mistaken for part of an animal the warnowiids had eaten.”

With further study they found:  “this eye-like structure contains a collection of sub-cellular organelles that look very much like the lens, cornea, iris and retina of multicellular eyes that can detect objects — known as camera eyes — that are found in humans and other larger animals.” How’s that for some cool beans? I do wonder how an eye so complex could have evolved in a single celled organism? The creationist argument says something like the human eye is too complex to have evolved these traits, therefore jeebus. Or some such shit.

Now here we have a single celled organism much with eyes like our own. I guess jeebus loves his special little single celled creations as much as he does humans? I didn’t see anything along those lines back when I took it upon myself to read the bible, maybe I missed that part?

Scientists are unsure exactly how these eyes work, they still have some difficult work to do, but I think we have another creationist claim laid to waste, by science. 1,000 stupid claims to go.

I will finish up with another quote from the article: “The work sheds shed new light on how very different organisms can evolve similar traits in response to their environments, a process known as convergent evolution. Eye-like structures have evolved independently many times in different kinds of animals and algae with varying abilities to detect the intensity of light, its direction, or objects.”  Yes, new light that sends the cockroaches scurrying along to look for another unsupported claim to bolster their attempts to appear scientific. Good luck with that…

Clearly There Must Be Something Wrong With This Study

I can’t quite put my finger on it, oh wait now I see it. This study does not jive with what any of my readers would already know. The study title and its claim?

“Nearly 70% of evangelicals do not view religion, science as being in conflict.”

http://news.rice.edu/2015/03/13/nearly-70-percent-of-evangelicals-do-not-view-religion-and-science-as-being-in-conflict/

Firstly if 70% of evangelicals do not see a conflict, then they are simply very good at deluding themselves. This must be the major determining factor at play here, which would offer a meaningful explanation for the result. You could probably throw in a questionable sample issue among other things that must be skewing things.

This finding is biased, or incorrect in some fashion. I have seen too much to clearly indicate that the claim here does not fit the evidence. When you have buffoons all over the country denying evolution, decrying climate science, screaming they didn’t come from no monkey, claiming fossils are of the devil, and claiming their magic book is factual, I think there is some apparent conflict with the study.

When you have an entire political party making outrageous claims clearly against the evidence, and then when questioned resort to “I am not a scientist” I think we have a problem with this study.

When you have an entire nation full of hateful, bigoted, homophobic, racist, assholes who claim their bible is the source of their inspirations, I think we have a problem with this study.

When we have potempkin village science pretenders with religious based ideologies, building enormous facades dedicated to the denial of science and evolution, I think we have a problem with the study.

Anyone want to help me look for a grant to do a better study?

EDIT:  Son of a bitch. I just noticed the study was done with a grant from the Templeton Foundation! Now I get it…

NUTHER EDIT: I left a comment there, I wonder if it will stay up?

AND ANOTHER EDIT: Since my comment hasn’t been posted yet (if ever) over there at the source of this bogus study, I thought I’d drop a rough recreation (didn’t save the original) of my post there, here.

“Please explain then the existence of AIG, The Discovery Institute, The Templeton Foundation, And the ICR.

Oh wait, I just noticed your study was done with a grant from Templeton. Case closed. Major fail.

Perhaps you should go back to scratch and start over. This time without using a grant from an institution dedicated to blurring the lines between faith and evidence based science.”

I got a shiny new nickel says my comment will not get posted. 🙂

 

So, Have You Seen The Sun Today?

I was going through my favorite list of links to visit just now, and I went here:

http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/images/latest.html

…to get my current picture of the sun fix. There are a couple of companies that manufacture Ha solar telescopes and I want one badly, so I looked at the Ha pic first, it is pretty good:

latest_aia_304

You can see all kinds of activity including a few enormous bursts, 8/9 and 11 o clock (roughly) And no doubt about the cool, or should I say hot of this picture. Then I clicked on the Fe IX/X filtered view and was just floored:

latest_aia_171

This filter shows you the magnetic loops in great detail. And there is a lot to look at. I was just blown away by these pics, and wanted to share. That link I posted is a great link to add to a browser, if you are inclined, I don’t want to twist any arms…

Some Recommended Reading

I have followed Panda’s Thumb for a long time now. For those of you not familiar with it, this site is front and center to the fight against creationism pseudoscience. The players there are way above my pay grade and education. You have real scientists there who actually know, understand, and do real science, and they have particularly keen insights to the inner workings of the creation science (oxymoron alert!) field of chicanery.

There is an ongoing thread there now:

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2014/11/ham-handed-atta.html

…which I found very entertaining. The comment section is well worth digging into if you are so inclined. If you check it out, let me know if it was worth the trip 🙂  The good stuff starts late in page 2 of the comments with Mike Elzinga.

 

 

If You Dig Into A Pile Of Dung…

You find…anyone? Yes, dung! You remember that site I brought to your attention a few days back? I went in for another look, I was well prepared with ample means to retain my sanity. I fashioned myself a bullshit deflector. Basically it works the same way as that wonderful invention many people wear to keep the government from reading their minds. Yes a tinfoil hat! Believe it or not it helps keep you sane when you visit internet crazyland. You see the insane protons that try to invade your mind are reflected by the foil! Bet you didn’t know that did ya?

So, with my new tinfoil hat I went in. I found a seemingly innocuous post:

http://crev.info/2014/11/strange-large-mammals/

After some reading on the initial facts which were fairly interesting but not all that far out. In fact the real facts in the story weren’t all that special really in my opinion, I got the feeling the author just needed a couple of facts to to precede his desire to spout creationist canards later. Sure enough, we are then treated to to some real live creationist…what’s the word I’m looking for? Misconceptions will do. Here is the quote in its entirety:

“The adaptation of animals to their environments is striking.  Creationists allow for a fair amount of variability within created kinds, believing that genetic adaptations are built in to the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of each kind.  Today’s mammals probably do not resemble the original created kinds, or even those before the Flood.  The sorting out of traits between species adapted to specialized environments does not represent an increase in genetic information required by the evolutionary theory.  It’s actually a loss of information as each species retains only the genes and gene networks needed for its habitat.  The variations among dog and cat kinds are good examples.  Both evolutionists and creationists believe they descended from common ancestors of their own kinds (e.g., domestic dogs, dingoes and coyotes from an original wolf-like animal), but creationists deny that the huge increase in genetic innovation required to turn a mouse into a cat is possible or supported by evidence.  Many variations went extinct in the severely-altered habitat after the Flood.   Nevertheless, each species is a marvel of engineering design and warrants praise to its Creator and protection.”  (end quote)

The first sentence is off to a good start. Yes indeed the way animals adapt to environments is very impressive. But in sentence two we go completely off the rails with the “kinds” business. Most of the guys and gals I know who follow my little blog, I am sure already know that “kinds” is the standard creationist way of lumping creatures together by shared traits (that is outward appearances and nothing to do with real biology). We also know that no real scientist or science inclined individual will find the “kinds” classifications in any way compelling.

Then it goes from “kinds” to the friggin flud. No scientist worth his weight in pillow feathers believes the flud tale. No honest geologist with a degree on the wall will tell you there is any evidence whatsoever of any worldwide flood disaster either, and no archeologist will tell you that fossils were sorted by the flud. It is all creationist hoo haw from top to bottom and all bullshit in between.

Then we get into the ID canard of “no new information.” At this point I would call this piling on. We already have an incredible heap of dung, and why stop now? Let’s keep digging!

Where were we? Oh yes, no new information. If a bacteria evolves a mutation that makes it more resistant to antibiotics, is that not beneficial for the bacteria? I think they must have missed the memo. Or perhaps it was “misplaced” somehwere?

Then our author goes on to say that both creationists and scientists (oh I’m sorry he/she used the term evolutionist, as if fact based reality is a religion) believe that cats and dogs are descendents from common ancestors. Oh really? Since when? When creationists realised they were curmudgeonly old sticks in the mud? When they understood that they have no legs to stand on and need to start imitating scientists and pretending that they know all the answers to keep up with the times? Because more and more, every day that goes by their mythology is being left in the dust of modern investigation? One thing I know for sure, when I was a kid growing up no creationist anywhere would admit ANY kind of evolution was or had been going on and all creatures as well as man were created as told in the fairy tale of Genesis. Now after a few decades of being trampled by all fields of science they have decided to adopt the parts of evolution they feel like they can deal with and deny the rest.

Much like their own damn book of fables, the bible. Must be nice to be able to bumble through life just believing what you want to believe and ignoring everything that you may find offensive. It sure as hell is not an option for those interested in living in a world they actually understand. Wishful thinking, delusional fantasies with no observational support, assertions with no evidence, this is the world of creationism. I prefer (yep I’m gonna do it) Evidence Based Reality.

 

 

 

Next Time You Bait A Hook With a Worm…

Consider this.

http://www.embl.de/aboutus/communication_outreach/media_relations/2014/140911_Heidelberg/

This study suggests that our earlier ancestors, pre fish I assume, may have been from the worm family. So many relevant details in the article, I’d have to darn near copy/paste them all. More efficient to just click the link, I think. If you are inclined that is.

There is a video there, but if there was a narration it was not present for me.

In a nutshell:

  • Notochord (1st vertebrate skeleton) probably evolved from muscle
  • Evolutionary origin of notochord likely older than assumed
  • Marine worm has muscle with same genetic signature, in same place

Notochord

Quote of the Month

In honor of Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the Cosmos series final episode. I feel like the new Cosmos complimented the old Cosmos very well. Adding a modern feel and understanding to the pioneering work of the first series. Much praise to both men who stamped their presence upon science and humanity. I raise my glass to NDT and Carl Sagan. Oh and a quote from NDT:

Image

Your Inner Fish

It has been all day. I have yet to hear anyone say anything about Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” show last night. I thought it was fantastic. Such a classic case of using the theory of evolution to go to the place where the transitional species you are looking for should be in the geological column. Search out these known places where the geology is dated to the time period you are investigating. And BAM! They found what they were looking for. Tiktaalik was born. A modern success story if ever there was one. Based on the overlapping fields of biology and geology, using science for discovery.

Talk about the power of prediction, evolution has got it. 

It was such a good show covering embryology, DNA connections, Sonic Hedgehog genes, all about our inner fish, as well as the Tiktaalik discovery. I’ve waited all day and none of my usual blog spots have said a word, I haven’t heard any wailing from the usual creationist slime pits either. It just seems odd. So I thought I would do a post my self! If you have not seen it, it is a must watch program for anyone scientifically inclined, and I highly recommend it. I think there is supposed to be another show or two, I will be looking tonight for any follow ups.

Evidence

I recently encountered a very trollish troll on another blog (/waves @ Mak) This trollish troll likes to presume infinite knowledge and attempts to word game his way out of answering a direct question, and then red herring his way along with another question. I am done with this trollish troll and will not sully a good mans blog with more interactions with this trollish troll. However, I have had a couple of days to dwell on this last question, it just kept nagging at me and I think I have an answer that satifies me. This may not satisfy someone else’s take on the situation, but at this point in time, it suits me. The red herring question left to me was one of evidence. What would I consider evidence? I should hope that a guy with a blog entitled Evidence Based Reality, could come up with a decent explanation…

Evidence. Evidence comes in many categories, from weak, to good, to excellent.

Weak evidence would be hearsay, or that which would be circumstantial. As in perhaps someone being caught with a counterfeit 20. If you have one on you, it doesn’t mean you printed it in your basement, it could have been picked  up getting change at the gas station or the donut shop. Someone’s brother’s cousin that heard from someone else’s grandma that you were a counterfeiter would be hearsay, and lousy evidence.

Good evidence is much more convincing. Any reasonably intelligent parent can tell you a look on their childs face is evidence of their guilt in a matter. Let’s say you left the room, and when you came back, the fresh box of donuts you just bought was missing 1 glazed donut. Your child has glaze all over their hands. Between the look on their face and the glaze on their hands this is pretty convincing evidence they ate the donut, even though you did not see it happen.

Let’s consider a murder scene. Fingerprints, footprints, DNA from a strand of hair are all good evidence. All found together at a crime scene, and all matching a certain perp would start adding up to excellent evidence. The perp is now put at the scene, even though there is still a chance of their innocence of the crime. The more evidence made available makes all of the existing evidence stronger. Which brings us to…

Excellent evidence. This would be many converging lines of good evidence. Add up the fingerprints, footprints, DNA, toss in the murder weapon, a motive, plus a confession and you have probably found your murderer.

This kind of converging evidence is what we have for evolution, the age of the universe, and most science in general. Excellent scientific evidence is observable, repeatable, and falsifiable. When many lines of evidence from many different bodies of science converge and point to the same conclusion, I would consider this the strongest kind of evidence available.

This evidence that exists to support both evolution, and the age of the universe pretty much slam dunks straight into the trash can, the possibility of any bronze age mythologies being true.

Oh, and the kind of evidence that exists for religion? It’s weaker than weak. “Cuz reverend Billy Bob said so” is not evidence. “Cuz it says so right thar in my magic book of fables” is not evidence. “Cuz I feel the power of jayzus” is not evidence. “Cuz I know in my heart it must be true” is not evidence. “Because the sunset is beautiful, therefore my dog exists” is not evidence. “Because some philosophers or so called scientists have a certain predisposition to believing in some sort of creationism” is not evidence.

If you religious types have anything else to consider as evidence, I am certain the scientific community and many of us plain old non believing heathens would just love to hear it.

Convergent evidence for evolution : http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/lines_01

I thought this was an interesting read on the age of the universe: http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/bigbangredux.html

I Saw The Supernova Last Night

First I’d like to say it’s good to back. I went to the Dr. about a week and a half back with a temp of 102. Doc says, “you have an ear infection, but with your symptoms let’s do a flu screen.” I also had H1N1. Let me tell you I would not wish that on anyone, not even my redneck neighbors. Chills that have you shivering one minute, hot flashes that have you sweating the next, body aches from hell, headaches from coughing like there is no tomorrow, and a general feeling like a giant bird flew overhead and took an enormous shit on you. That was as sick as I have been in a long time, I still haven’t quite shaken a nagging cough, but I also still have a few antibiotics to take. Anyway, if you can get the flu shot, I highly recommend it. I have a mild egg allergy that makes my Dr. recommend me not getting a flu shot. I think I’d rather risk the side effects of having the shot vs. having the flu next time…

Now, in case you haven’t heard, a new supernova blew up in a galaxy several days back.  This galaxy I have observed many times, M82. M82 is  sometimes called the “Cigar” galaxy due to its cigar like shape (obviously) It is located in the constellation Ursa Major which happens to be positioned for good viewing right now which is great. Anyway we had a break in the clouds last night and I was determined to get a look and see if I could spot this supernova, plus it was supposed to cloud up fairly quick and start with some flurries, so I was feeling a tad desperate. Using a 12.5″ scope and a low power eyepiece I scanned the area where I know M82 to be and found it fairly quickly. Even in the low power view I could see the supernova. I doubled the power with a 17mm eyepiece and it was very obvious. I made the entire family brave the cold and come out to see this, it isn’t very often you get to see a supernova, in another galaxy, that it so easy to see. It doesn’t actually look like much, it appears as a fairly bright star about one half to two thirds of the way out from the galactic core. What makes it spectacular is what it is you are seeing. A star that blew up sometime around 12 million years ago, just became visible to us from our vanatge point in the universe. That is the cool part.

Of course with the Great Orion Nebula M42 overhead, I had to have a look at it, and Jupiter was begging for a quick look. That was all I could handle and wrapped that observing session up right quick. It was pretty cold, with a wind blowing, and man we have had a LOT of that this winter.

For more on the supernova, with explanations and maps and pictures: http://www.universetoday.com/108386/bright-new-supernova-blows-up-in-nearby-m82-the-cigar-galaxy/