Category Archives: Evolution

Poll: Humans & Dinosaurs Living Concurrently

Alley Oop

We learned about this from an article at the website of the National Center for Science Education. Their headline is A new poll on dinosaur/human coexistence, and they say:

Prompted by the release of the movie Jurassic World, a new poll from YouGov indicates that Americans are about evenly split on the question of whether dinosaurs and humans lived on the planet at the same time.

Is this a great country or what? Here’s the story at the YouGov site: Over 40% of Americans believe humans and dinosaurs shared the planet. We’ll give you some excerpts from what they say, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

YouGov’s latest research shows that 41% of Americans think that dinosaurs and humans either ‘definitely’ (14%) or ‘probably’ (27%) once lived on the planet at the same time. 43% think that this is either ‘definitely’ (25%) or ‘probably’ (18%) not true while 16% aren’t sure.

In case you’re among those who aren’t sure, they add:

In reality the earliest ancestors of humans have only been on the planet for 6 million years, while the last dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.

And of course there’s a religious angle to this:

While most Americans who describe themselves as ‘born again’ (56%) believe that humans and dinosaurs once shared the planet, most Americans who do not describe themselves as born again (51%) think that they did not. Only 22% of born again Americans think that dinosaurs and humans did not coexist.

There’s also an angle on the effect of movies:

When asked about the science that provides the fictional basis for the Jurassic Park movies, most Americans (54%) say that it is not currently possible to create dinosaur clones from DNA found in fossils while 28% believe that it is currently possible.

YouGov has this link to five pages of tables about the poll results. It’s mostly about the movie, but on the last page they give a breakdown regarding the question of whether humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. Of the 14% who answered “Definitely,” 12% of those were Democrats and 17% were Republicans. For the 25% who said “Definitely not,” 28 were Democrats and 20% were Republican. For the 16% who answered “Not sure,” they were evenly split between the two parties. They also break the results down by gender, race, age, and region of the country.

It’s things like this that give your Curmudgeon faith in the future.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #589: Dinosaurs and Dragons

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Thompson Citizen of Thompson, Manitoba. It’s titled Dinosaurs, dragons and millions of years. The newspaper has a comments section.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. But today we’ve got a preacher — or something similar. It’s Richard Sheppard, described as the Group Leader of the Thompson Seventh-day Adventist Church. Excerpts from the Group Leader’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I love dinosaurs! I love watching movies about dinosaurs, hearing about dinosaurs, and reading about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are my thing! Now, “How,” you may ask, “can a Creationist like yourself who denies evolution believe in creatures that science has proven to have existed millions of years ago?”

Silly question, but here’s the Group Leader’s answer:

First of all, I’d like to point out “science” could never prove that anything happened millions of years ago. Science is knowledge derived from observation, experimentation, etc. You can’t observe what happened millions of years ago; you can only believe in it. Contrary to the accepted view of dinosaurs, science and the Bible say lots about dinosaurs that contradict the viewpoint of millions of years.

You’re hooked, aren’t you? Let’s read on:

According to the Bible, flying creatures were created on day five and all land animals on day six. Exodus 20:11 assures us, “[I]n six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.” If God made everything in six days, Adam must have seen dinosaurs! Think about it — you’ll see I am right.

Verily, the logic is undeniable. He continues:

So, does historical scientific evidence give evidence that dinosaurs and man have lived together? Surprisingly, yes. Consider a few points: Dragon legends exist in every culture around the world. The Bible even mentions dragons. The descriptions of these creatures in legend have been embellished to some degree but, basically, the common characteristics of these creatures are that they are large, reptilian beasts; some fly, some walk; some are carnivorous and frightening, while some are vegetarian and friendly.

There are also legends and drawings that describe flying horses, winged lions, mermaids, centaurs, etc., but the Group Leader selectively ignores all of those. Here’s more evidence:

Herodotus, who lived around 400-484 B.C., wrote about “winged serpents” whose wings were like a bat’s, and he also wrote of creatures he called “ibises” that were much larger than these who killed them (see Herodotus, Histories, vol. 2, para. 75, 76). …. Additionally, today, in Papua New Guinea, there are reports of pterodactyl-like creatures that terrorize local villagers.

Beowulf, a historical figure who is sometimes thought of as legendary, wrote in the famous story of Beowulf and Grendel the Dragon, how a village in which he was residing at the time was terrorized by a large bipedal carnivore that had arms with little use with claws on them, and a mouth with large sharp teeth.

Beowulf wrote Beowulf? Okay. Then we’re given even more evidence:

Large amounts of Carbon-14 are found in dinosaur fossils, which should be beyond trace in something 90,000 years old. Mary Schweitzer and her team have been the discoverers of many dinosaur fossils with fresh bone marrow, blood cells, hemoglobin, etc. Smithsonian Magazine has published her findings but has stated that her findings have been “hijacked” by Creationists. Modern animals and modern birds are found in dinosaur-era rock layers.

Astonishing! Oh, we’ve discussed the Mary Schweitzer findings in Dinosaur Fossils Found with Hot Red Meat? Moving along:

This is one of many areas where the general theory of evolution is the biggest, and most foolish hindrance to scientific research.

Yeah, the general theory of evolution is a hindrance. Presumably, the special theory of evolution isn’t quite so bad. Now brace yourself, because here comes a whole catalog of creationist clunkers:

Why don’t you ever hear the above pieces of historical and scientific evidence talked about in public schools or universities where the theory of evolution reigns paramount? Why do public school textbooks support evolution with “evidence” that has either been severely misrepresented or entirely fraudulent (e.g., Haeckel’s embryos, “vestigial organs,” horse evolution, Java man, Piltdown man, Nebraska man, Archaeopteryx, etc.).

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! But wait — it gets even better:

Watch Dr. Kent Hovind’s Creation Seminar for more information [link omitted].

The only thing the Group Leader left out is Jack Chick’s Big Daddy? And now we come to the end — the material in brackets is from the newspaper:

Paul warned us in his First Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy) 6:20 to beware of “oppositions of science falsely so called [lit., “pseudo-science”].” We would do well to heed his warning!

That was quite a letter! We are pleased to include it in our collection.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Casey and Kitzmiller — One More Time

The Discovery Institute has never recovered from the utter defeat their “theory” suffered in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. From time to time they still blog about it, with endless complaints about how Judge John E. Jones managed to get everything wrong.

Such tirades are usually written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. He just posted another one today, and the title alone is a howler: Does the Kitzmiller v. Dover Ruling Show that Intelligent Design is Academically Substandard? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The other day I discussed how, in claiming that intelligent design does not deserve academic freedom, critics commonly appeal to scientific authorities who have issued politically motivated condemnations of ID. But there is another authority these folks often cite, uncritically too. They just love the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling, presenting it as if that were the ultimate, unassailable refutation of ID. We affectionately call this the “Judge Jones Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It” approach to ID.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This is priceless! Here’s more:

However, Judge Jones’s ruling includes numerous false claims about law and science, on top of other deficiencies, that make it a highly inaccurate and unreliable analysis of intelligent design.

Casey then gives us no less than 15 “mistakes” he claims the judge made. We won’t list them all, but here are a few:

• Employed a false definition of ID, wrongly holding that it requires “supernatural creation” — a position refuted during the trial by ID proponents who testified and in other evidence given to the judge.

• Overstepped the bounds of his role as a judge and engaged in judicial activism. Jones found that ID had been refuted when in fact he had been presented with credible scientific witnesses and publications on both sides showing evidence of a scientific debate.

• Blatantly ignored and denied the existence of pro-ID scientific research and data that was likewise the subject of testimony in his own courtroom.

Casey has done this before. He fails to grasp that there were witnesses on both sides of the 40-day trial, and the judge decided that the testimony of the creationist witnesses had all been discredited. You can read his superb decision for yourself — the full text is here.

Oh, wait — here’s one more from Casey’s list of “mistakes” that we can’t ignore:

Copied 90 percent of his celebrated section on whether ID is science either verbatim or nearly verbatim from an ACLU brief.

Casey has argued that before, and we debunked in it Casey and Kitzmiller — the Case He “Forgot”, where we said

Judges often copy large portions from the briefs of the prevailing party — not because they’re taking orders from such party, but because they find that those arguments are legally correct and should be adopted by the court. It’s a very common practice, and only Casey finds it bothersome. Indeed, like many judges, Jones required the parties to submit their versions of the “findings of fact” and “conclusions of law.” Much of the winning side’s submission will find its way into the court’s final opinion. That’s utterly routine.

Casey rants on and on. As we’ve remarked before, he’s engaged in a lonely, one man crusade to reverse the decision by blogging about it. It’s a tactic that is unlikely to produce any results. We’ll skip to near the end:

The bottom line is this: Long after the ruling was handed down, living cells will still always contain digital code and microbiological machines that provide evidence for design. This debate won’t be settled by courts, but by scientists and other scholars who give design a fair hearing.

Ooooooooooh — digital code! Machines! Why won’t scientists give the Discoveroids a fair hearing? Anyway, this is the end of it:

Judge Jones’s ruling is so full of errors of science, of law, and of philosophy that it’s a great model for why we don’t want federal judges trying to settle scientific controversies.

That’s odd. If the Discoveroids don’t want federal judges deciding these things, then why were they so active in the case? See Kitzmiller v. Dover: The Role of The Discovery Institute.

Ah well, Casey’s little essay isn’t going to persuade anyone. Whenever a school board considers teaching intelligent design (outside of Louisiana, where everyone seems to be a creationist), they are usually discouraged from doing so when their lawyers advise them about the Kitzmiller opinion. If they ignore their lawyers’ advice, they risk exposing themselves to liability, because the school board’s insurance won’t cover them if they decide to act on their own. So Kitzmiller continues to have a powerful influence — unlike Casey’s attempts to criticize it.

We’ll close with a question. Hey, Casey — if you Discoveroids are so certain that Kitzmiller was wrong, then why haven’t you encouraged another school board to try the same thing that was done in Dover? If you think the case should be a winner, why do you turn your backs and run away from what’s going on in Louisiana? Why do you claim that you don’t want public schools to teach intelligent design, just the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution? You talk big, Casey, but we’re watching how you guys run from every opportunity to have another court test.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Curmudgeon’s Creative Challenge #19

It’s time for another Creative Challenge. This one is challenging for us to describe, because it violates our own advice.

You know that we are opposed to debates (or even conversations) with creationists, because Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism. And we’ve advised against single-fact arguments, because there is no one piece of evidence that “proves” the theory of evolution. — see Where’s the Proof — Evolution’s “Smoking Gun”?

Nevertheless, we’re wondering: If you were somehow trapped in a conversation with a creationist, what one killer question would you ask him, or with what one undeniable fact would confront him?

Note — we’ve previously proposed A Few Questions for Creationists, and then A Few More Questions for Creationists. Although those two posts hint at what we’re looking for, you shouldn’t repeat our old questions.

The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

What one fact, or what one zinger of a question, would you present to a creationist?

You know the rules: A successful entry should be self-explanatory. You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

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