ICR: Not Enough Time for Evolution

Creationists have a very limited répertoire, and as a result, we often see them repeating the same nonsense over and over. So it is today with the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Their latest post is Living Fossils Found off Australia’s Coast. [*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — living fossils! [*End Drool Mode*]

It was written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him. Here are some excerpts from his brilliant article, with bold font added by us:

The Deep Down Under project explores “relict faunas,” living creatures with eerily similar counterparts among some of the world’s oldest fossils. Deep-sea researchers used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to look for life around Osprey Reef off Queensland’s coast. They found some surprises including animals known only from faraway places and long-gone times.

That project has a website: Deep Down Under. Brian says they found some surprises. What were they? He tells us:

Their ROV also captured an image of a chambered nautilus, with its beautifully curved shell, scavenging a fish carcass. Some of the lowest layers of sediments with any kind of fossil — called the Cambrian System, supposedly some 500 million years old — have virtually identical fossil shells.

A chambered nautilus? Wait a minute. Brian recently wrote about them — see ICR: “Living Fossils” Prove Creationism. In that one, Brian said:

According to this secular story, nautiluses avoided evolving upward — they haven’t gained a single new feature. … [T]hese “ancient” fossil creatures look like their modern counterparts — just as if they were created to reproduce according to their kinds. … But what are the odds that these creatures could have persisted unchanged for half-a-billion years?

And we said:

Creationists are always telling us about the impossible odds against evolution, but now they’re turning it around and asking about the odds of something not evolving. They imagine that stasis is an evolution-killer because they believe that the theory of evolution requires the sudden, tsunami-like, simultaneous transformation of one entire species into another. This is a clumsy variation of the age-old clunker: Why are there still monkeys?

Does Brian have anything new to say today? In a way, yes. It’s a subtle variation of what he said before. Let’s read on:

The evolutionarily accepted time span for Cambrian sediments, and thus the timespan encompassing creatures fossilized within these sediments like crinoids and nautiluses, ranges from 485 to 541 million years. How could chambered nautiluses and sea lilies (crinoids) fail to evolve over half a billion years?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How could they have avoided it? Brian criticizes the scientific explanation:

Supposedly, placid places in the ocean’s depths can somehow keep creatures from evolving into different kinds over countless spans of time. However, evolutionary geology teaches that sea floors were completely replaced hundreds of millions of years after the Cambrian rocks were laid. So, even according to evolutionary world history, the sea floor of long ago was not the “nice stable environment” seen today.

Yeah, okay. Then he gives us the creationist explanation:

Flood geologists acknowledge these processes happened fast, as part of the Earth-reshaping violence accompanying Noah’s Flood year.

Yes, that’s what they say. Now here’s the fun part, right at the end:

If Noah’s recent Flood deposited Cambrian rocks and fossils, then the creatures they recorded would have had no time to evolve. No wonder they look just the same in today’s mysterious ocean depths.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, sea creatures survived the Flood and they’ve had no time to evolve since then. But what about life on land? If the Flood happened around 4,000 years ago, and the only land-dwelling creatures that survived were a few hundred (or maybe a few thousand) “kinds” on Noah’s Ark, then there wasn’t enough time for them to evolve into the millions of species we see in the world today.

Brian’s post is yet another example of what we call the Creationist Scientific Method:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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A Discoveroid Version of “Inherit the Wind”

Buffoon Award

We never expected anything like what we learned in a new article by written by John West,whom we affectionately call “Westie.” He was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo above this post. Westie is vice President of the Discovery Institute, which makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy.

Westie’s article is In a Plea for Genuine Academic Freedom, New Play Turns Inherit the Wind Topsy Turvy. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

You probably know the basic plot of the tired old film and play Inherit the Wind. For teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a small Southern town, freethinking biology teacher Bertram Cates gets prosecuted by Christian fundamentalists.

Yes, we know. The play and later the film are based on the Scopes Trial. The trial scenes were accurate — especially the part where Darrow got to examine Bryan. We know, because the transcript of the trial had been published long before the movie was made, and we have a copy. They’re available at Amazon. Westie has ranted about the play and the movie before — see John West: More Scopes Trial Revisionism.

What news does Westie have for us today? Let’s read on:

Loosely based on the infamous Scopes trial, Inherit the Wind is much more propaganda than history, yet it continues to shape popular culture’s understanding of the debate over Darwinian evolution. So congratulations to Los Angeles-based playwright and actor Matt Chait who has turned Inherit the Wind on its head.

[*Groan*] Someone has re-written the play so that the creationists are the good guys. Westie continues:

In his new play Disinherit the Wind, Chait takes the characters from the first play, reshapes them, and places them in a radically different environment. As he notes, “The names of the characters are the same as those in the original play, although their roles are quite different.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s more:

No longer set in a parochial Southern town, the story now takes place in modern multicultural Los Angeles. Bertram Cates is no longer a pro-Darwin high school teacher. Instead, he’s a brilliant neurobiologist at UCLA who is sceptical [sic] of Darwinian materialism. And the zealots who are trying to burn him at the stake aren’t Christian fundamentalists, but fanatical Darwinists.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We won’t go on much longer with this alternate version of reality, but we can’t leave this out:

There is one new main character in the play who isn’t inspired by Inherit Wind: a dogmatic Darwinist named Robert Hawkins, described as a zoologist from Cambridge University. Hawkins is obviously a stand-in for former Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins … . Some of the best scenes are the ones with the self-important Dr. Hawkins.

Okay, that’s enough. Westie provides a link so you can watch the whole play — if you want to. Your Curmudgeon won’t bother, but if you care to view it and then give us your impressions, please do so.

This play will be a wonderful compliment to that dazzling documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. We can expect that some demented public school teachers will insist on showing both to their science students. Hey — why learn about reality, when fantasy is so much more fun?

Addendum: The play is available at Amazon. The publisher is something called CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. We looked them up. Yes, they’re a vanity press. Are you surprised?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #654: No Bone Evidence

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell, Montana — the gateway to Glacier National Park. The letter is titled Private schools give parents a choice, not indoctrination. The newspaper has a comments section, but if there are any, you can’t see them without logging in.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Dexter. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

In response to Mary Moe’s Feb. 5 opinion about “The perils of privatization” of schools, I believe her main point was assimilation to the progressives’ viewpoint.

We can’t find that in the newspaper, but Mary Moe has a blog entry with that title: The Perils of Privatization. She’s a member of the Montana Senate, and she opposes government funding of private schools. Dexter, today’s letter-writer, doesn’t agree. He says:

But the real peril is that public schools teach evolution as fact when there is still no bone evidence, as Darwin said was required.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We often see these people claiming there are no transitional fossils, but we never encountered the “no bone evidence” claim before. As we always do, we’ll link to Wikipedia’s growing List of transitional fossils. That was the best part of Dexter’s brief letter, but let’s read on:

They teach global warming as fact, when the so-called scientists themselves denied warming when they changed the term to “climate change.”

Wow — the scientists themselves denied global warming! Dexter continues:

They also want to implement “gender identity” when biology says (and you can’t change your DNA) you are either male or female.

Why is Dexter suddenly relying on biology for that, when in the same letter he’s denying evolution? Ah well, here’s more:

God created Adam (man) and Eve (woman) not something that can decide on their own which they are, or some combination thereof.

Hey, Dexter — were you there? You don’t know what Adam was like. Maybe he suffered from gender confusion. Now that we think about it, didn’t he … ah, eat the forbidden fruit? Never mind, we’d rather not think about that.

Moving along, Dexter gives us his strongest argument:

These theories deny the power of God.

Maybe so. Anyway, at the end of his letter, Dexter finally gets around to his big argument against Mary Moe:

Private schools give parents and students choices not indoctrination. The law should be fair and allow some type of tax credit for these families.

Hey, he’s got a point. If Hambo can get sales tax rebates for his Ark, why can’t Dexter get some tax goodies too?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Discoveroids Admit that Some Junk DNA Is Junk

Now that Casey is gone from the Discovery Institute, there’s no one was left to carry on his lonely crusade against junk DNA. As you know, the Discovery Institute has been claiming that there’s no such thing as junk DNA. They insist that the genome is perfectly designed, without flaws, and every little scrap of it is designed to be functional. That’s because their transcendental designer — blessed be he! — wouldn’t do it any other way.

The Discoveroids went bonkers over the ENCODE project. Casey posted Our Top 10 Evolution-Related Stories: #1, ENCODE Project Buries “Junk DNA”. We wrote about it here: The Discoveroids’ Top Story for 2012. Since then there have been studies that continue to confirm the fact that most of our genome is junk (see Hey Casey! Our Genome Is 93% Junk), but the Discoveroids have never abandoned their fantasy that the genome is perfect, from beginning to end.

As research into our genome continues, some regions of non-coding DNA have been found to be useful, but not very many. Each time that happens, the Discoveroids claim they were right all along. Today is different, however. Although some new research has found another functional tidbit in our junk DNA, and the Discoveroids are crowing about it, they seem to be receding from their original claim that our genome is perfect.

Their post, which has no author’s byline, is Junk DNA: Is Preventing Breast Cancer a Function?. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Each time a function is found for a piece of non-coding DNA, the “junk DNA” myth gets more mythological.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

Here’s a function that has been revealed for a certain long, non-coding transcript of DNA into RNA (lncRNA). It helps prevent breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

They’re talking about this, from the University of Bath: ‘Junk’ DNA plays role in preventing breast cancer, which says:

Now a team of scientists from Bath, Cambridge and the USA has identified a piece of non-coding RNA – transcribed from a stretch of DNA that doesn’t code for a protein – that stops cells turning cancerous.

That’s very nice, but: (a) statistically, it’s trivial compared to the Discoveroids’ claim that all DNA was designed to be useful; and (b) like all useful research, it wasn’t done by the Discoveroids.

We’ll skip over the technical details of this research, and the Discoveroids’ retelling thereof, to focus on their reaction to the news. They tell us:

As we have reported often, some members of the evolution side of the debate expect most of the DNA is junk. The design side expects that much of it (but not necessarily all) is functional. Thanks to this research, we have a new case that may point the way to future discoveries.

That “not necessarily all” phrase tucked into parentheses is what we found particularly interesting. The Discoveroids are retreating from their original claim that our DNA is perfect. Now they are willing to accept that much of what has been considered junk may indeed be junk. That’s a very big concession, and it leaves open the question of why the designer put any junk in our genome.

It also leaves us with the question of why there are other organisms — regarded as less complicated that we are — that have genomes far larger than ours. Consider the Polychaos dubium. The genome of that amoeba has 200 times more base pairs than ours. And then there’s the humble onion, which has a genome that is five times larger than ours. What does that say about the work of the designer?

Okay, back to the Discoveroids’ post for one last excerpt:

It has become increasingly clear that non-coding parts of the genome play vital roles in regulating the coding parts. … How cool is it to find a code that codes for products that regulate the amount of products in other parts of the code? Not only do we see function emerging for the non-coding regions, we see design on a more colossal scale than anyone could have imagined.

How cool is it? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And how about their claim that “we see design on a more colossal scale than anyone could have imagined.” Hey — that’s cool!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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