Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2019 — #5 & #4

The excitement is almost unendurable as we ascend ever higher in the Discovery Institute’s list of their Top Ten “achievements” for the year now ending. We have already discussed the first five items in the Discoveroids’ impressive list — see #10, and #9, and #8, and #7 and #6. None of those involved a discovery, experiment, paper published in a recognized science journal, or any science at all that would support their “theory” of intelligent design.

Today we’re going to mention two — yes, two — items on their amazing list. They posted #5 yesterday, but it was so vacuous that it wasn’t worth a post of its own. Here it is: #5 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Shapiro, Berlinski on the Reversion to the Primitive in Modern Life. We still don’t think it’s worth discussing, but you can read the thing and comment on it if you like.

The next item on the Discoveroids’ impressive list is #4 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Apeman Waves Goodbye to Darwinian Gradualism. The author is Discoveroid “senior fellow” Günter Bechly. We wrote about his biggest claim to fame in Discoveroid Günter Bechly Has Been ‘Erased’.

As with the earlier items on the Discoveroids’ glorious list, this one begins with a request for funds. Then, without linking to it, they copy this post that Günter wrote back on 06 September: Apeman Waves Goodbye to Darwinian Gradualism. We ignored it when the thing appeared — maybe because it’s very long — but now we’ll take a look to see what it’s all about. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A few days ago a sensational new paleontological discovery made headlines around the globe. After 15 years of searching, and the recovery of 12,600 fossils including 230 hominin remains (Leakey Foundation 2019), finally a rather complete skull has been found and described for Australopithecus anamensis, which is the oldest and most primitive representative of the australopithecines, living 4.2-3.9 million years ago. It was generally considered to be the direct ancestor of Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, that lived in the same region 3.8-2.9 million years ago. The former species was previously known only by some fragments. Now we can finally give it a face. Actually, this face turns out to be very much ape-like, with a small chimp-sized braincase and a protruding jaw, but that is not the really interesting thing about this discovery. I will come back to that in a moment.

Why would that fossil be of interest to the Discoveroids? Oh — ICR posted about it a couple of weeks later, and that’s when we wrote ICR Gets It All Backwards. Let’s see if Günter takes the same path that ICR did. He says:

It turned out to belong toA. afarensis, even though it is reliably dated to 3.9 million years, thus 100,000 years older than the new skull of A. anamensis. This implies that both species did overlap for a considerable period. Consequently, A. anamensis cannot have just transformed and dissolved into A. afarensis.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Günter made the same point that ICR made. In our post about the latter, we said:

Brian [the ICR author] thinks that as as soon as a new species comes into existence, evolution theory demands that all members of the ancestor species should promptly die. We’ve seen this line of “reasoning” before. Brian is asking that old creationist favorite: Why are there still monkeys?

We’ve responded to that goofy question several times before, in several different ways — for example: You agree that dogs are descended from wolves, so why doesn’t it bother you that there are still wolves? If America was founded by England, why are there still Englishmen? And if your children are descended from you, why are you still here? Or to put it in general terms: If the emergence of a new species demands the prompt disappearance of its ancestral stock, then why is there anything on earth other than humans?

Our remarks regarding the creationists at ICR are equally applicable to Günter and the Discoveroids. But Günter’s post is much longer and it has an ark-load of references at the end. It looks so scholarly — but it makes the same point as the post by ICR.

Okay, dear reader, now here’s where we are. There are only three more items left to go in the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list, and we expect those three to be of incredible, world-shaking importance. So we’re putting a challenge to you: Of all the possible discoveries and breakthroughs that were reported in 2019, what do you think will be the Discoveroids’ Number One story of the year? If you don’t have an opinion, that’s okay. We’ll soon know the answer, so stay tuned to this blog!

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18 responses to “Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2019 — #5 & #4

  1. Michael Fugate

    Why would anyone take Berlinski at face value? He claims to be agnostic, but believes a God was needed for human “exceptionalism”. He also claims mathematics is a “hard” science unlike biology.
    This is someone who can’t be bothered to study. And he pulls the Nazi card – so you know he has nothing.

  2. Imho, the best treatment of “How come there are still monkeys?” is found in –
    If rain comes from clouds, how come there are still clouds?
    If Adam came from dust, how come there is still dust?

  3. Michael Fugate

    The ID favorite argument is that the Nazis believed in evolution and the Nazis were evil therefore evolution is evil. I wonder what this says for the Bible and slavery?

  4. Michael Fugate

    And of course the Enlightenment was a failure….

  5. @Michael Fugate
    Of course, if the Nazis believed in evolution, it would have been in “micro-evolution”, evolution within “mankind”. The N believed that there had to be purposeful action, intelligent design, to avoid the deterioration of mankind, if they believed in evolution of mankind.

  6. Our dear SC proclaims: “We still don’t think it’s worth discussing”
    No, but this one is worth a good laugh:

    “the intellectual primitivism of evolutionary biology, in contrast with the great structures of science (mathematics, physics).”

  7. @FrankB
    One immediately wonders what passes for a structure based on intelligent design.

  8. Michael Fugate

    I am curious why Berlinski isn’t questioning the earth as a sphere? It would fit his persona as a conservative gadfly.

  9. Conservative gadfly? Please. Daniel Hannan might possibly aspire to that eminence. Berlinski? A void whose sole rhetorical ability consists of blinking owlishly while solemnly enunciating obvious, palpable falsehoods. You’d call him a one-trick pony, if he had a trick.

  10. Our dear SC asks us to predict what the Discoveroids’ Number One story of the year could be.

    Well, the crowning achievement has to be Behe’s masterwork from February this year. After all, it is the only thing they have managed to produce. Needless to say, the top achievement has already been ripped to pieces by the scientific community. But who cares.

    Next year it will be Stephen Meyer’s turn to tell us how evolution has finally died and disintegrated. We’ll hear about it in April 2020 (1st of April?) and I might dare to predict that this will be the no.1 on the Discoveroid’s list in exactly one year’s time.

  11. chris schilling

    Berlinski alleges evolution is a “series of folk-tales”. Does this “self-described secular Jew” also repudiate the biblical folk-tales — such as Exodus — upon which Judaism is founded?

    Reading through the link Michael F provided, it appears Berlinski wants very much to retain Original Sin as some sort of explanation for human “evil”; and a nameless transcendental cause as the source for our capacity to love, as if that somehow conferred exceptionalism upon us, to the exclusion of non-human animals.

    My pick for number one Discoveroid story of the year is for their traditional Christmas/Hannukah office party above the gym, where they break out the M&M’s and Pepsi, and Klinghoffer treats his colleagues to his amazing prowess as a limbo dancer. And Jonathon Wells gets high on the sugar rush and photocopies his naked buttocks, egged on — oddly enough — by Savvy Sarah and Annie Green Screen.

    This is capped by the appearance of the ghost of Phillip Johnson as Obi-Wan Kenobi, who exhorts them all to “trust your feelings.”

  12. It’s worth looking up some YouTube videos of Berlinski “debating” Hitchens, Genie Scott and others. Berlinski is more pompous than a scholar and it shows. He gets laughed at which is very amusing! Not the laughter, but his feigned indigent reaction. Priceless, New Year’s Eve diversion.

    And, yeah, Berlinski is definitely a God-bot in spite of his “protestations.”

  13. @DaveL suggests: “You’d call him a one-trick pony, if he had a trick.”
    A zero-trick pony then?

  14. Karl Goldsmith

    Is he really saying that two species shouldn’t exist at the same time?

  15. @Karl Goldsmith
    The trouble is that the argument is not in enough detail to say what is meant. To be blunt, the writer did not think clearly enough, and leaves it to us to try to construct something that can be understood.
    This lack of a conherent alternative has characterized evolution denial for more than a century.

  16. In a debate, it might have been the disastrous one with Hitchens, Berlinski railed against “what we don’t know.” “We don’t know why the electron remains in its orbit. Nobody knows,” he intoned sonorously. Here Berlinski is relying on his audience having no more than a 6th Grade education. Quantum mechanics has been fairly settled science for about 100 years.

    In another instance Berlinski claimed that he “counted the mutations” it would take to transform a cow into a whale (I know, don’t ask) and he “stopped at 50,000.” That’s total BS, of course, but the forum really lacked for an English Christmas pantomime audience shouting in unison, “Oh, no you didn’t!”

  17. Michael Fugate

    Wouldn’t it take the same number of mutations to get there by ID? And if they are all busted genes like Behe whines it wouldn’t be that difficult.

  18. @Micael Fugate
    And if we don’t know how such-and-such happens (behavior of electron or mutation), how does “something that we can’t imagine does it” satisfy our curiosity about how it happens?