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    Being public on the internet means having to interact with many different sorts. Recently I've been having to deal with a heckler on Facebook. The heckler is actually of a particular type. I'm still trying to learn genetics at this point in my life, so I don't propose to assert that my opinions are beyond...
  • This kind of thing is extremely common with IQ research.

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  • @Riordan
    One is reminded of the Richwine affair...

    I read the dissertation and didn’t find anything racist. But if any talk of genetically caused differences in intelligence is racist, so be it. I didn’t hear any cry about racism when it was discovered that blacks suffer from different diseases than do whites. Why the inability AMONG WHITES to recognize their own superior intelligence? (relative to many populations, and inferiority compared with northeast asians+ashkenazi jews).

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  • If you can’t stun them with truth, baffle ‘em with bullshit.

    I can parse parts of it, and both contain factual statements. Both then draw unjustified conclusions from those facts, however. Other parts are just irrelevant padding. My sympathies, Mr. Khan.

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  • “If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?” (T. H. Huxley)

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  • One is reminded of the Richwine affair…

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    • Replies: @Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
    I read the dissertation and didn't find anything racist. But if any talk of genetically caused differences in intelligence is racist, so be it. I didn't hear any cry about racism when it was discovered that blacks suffer from different diseases than do whites. Why the inability AMONG WHITES to recognize their own superior intelligence? (relative to many populations, and inferiority compared with northeast asians+ashkenazi jews).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I’ve seen Michael Scroggins on various blogs, and he gets skittish and runs away if you actually know what you’re talking about. He pushes all kinds of appallingly idiotic philosophy, and, importantly, won’t defend it when you show it to be bunk.

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  • @Robert Ford
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFvNO4Jth-A
    Is that guy related to this woman? I can sense they both have a lot of passion there...

    that was weird.

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  • In my job I often have to talk to people about science facts and explanations regarding experiments. Often I notice phrases like this used and usually it means the person does not understand the full picture.

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  • Truth…

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFvNO4Jth-A

    Is that guy related to this woman? I can sense they both have a lot of passion there…

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    that was weird.
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  • Update: Just to be clear, I think the variation across cultures is probably explained in large part by confusion as to what is being asked, and differential sampling. In particular, I suspect that the 'Turkey" sample is more representative than the "Bangladesh" sample, because Turkey is a more developed society.   I've mentioned before that...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    The gap between Albania and Kosovo is perfectly explicable. While Yugoslavia was an atheist state, Albania was a state that demanded of its citizens to be atheists. In Yugoslavia, publicly announcing that you main goal in life was to fund the building of a new chapel or mesjid probably would have reduced your chances to get into a position to actually implement this, and criticising the government on the grounds that you considered its actions incompatible with your faith’s teachings was likely to get you into just as much trouble as criticising it on any other grounds, people were free to practice their religions in private. Not so in Albania.

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  • Some of the variation might be due to Marxist-Stalinist influence in the education system. Those ideologies were firmly atheistic and while obviously Muslims did not embrace an atheistic philosophy, the influence of a widely held scientific outlook on evolution may have muted creationist tendencies in some places. In Kosovo, low acceptance could be related to the influence of a religiously based insurgency (that notably organized non-government schooling on a widespread basis) resisting a Marxist-Stalinist influenced Yugoslav and then Yugoslav successor state regime. A similar dynamic could be present in Afghanistan.

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  • @Anonymous
    Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

    Hard to believe Tn does that.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Hard to believe Tn does that.
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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    i find it really surprising that 54% Muslims in Bangladesh supports evolution. evolution is not taught in school, college level and in medical level. even in university level evolution related subjects are not very popular. people probably don’t even know their names. teachers in school, college, and university level are mostly creationists, even the science teachers. i know that from my own experience. here people think, science = technology. education system also reinforce that notion. they see science as a tool to do business only.

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  • @Anonymous
    Exactly.

    The question doesn't even imply biological change. It could be interpreted as "We used to ride camels, now we drive cars."


    They should simply ask "Did humans evolve from apes?"

    “Are humans apes?”

    …Would be better.

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  • @Anonymous
    Exactly.

    The question doesn't even imply biological change. It could be interpreted as "We used to ride camels, now we drive cars."


    They should simply ask "Did humans evolve from apes?"

    Did we evolve from apes?

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  • @Razib Khan
    most muslims don't know that.

    and some wandering mutazilite would disagree in any case with that formulation (proving that nothing about Islam..or any large religion..is “only this and nothing else”)

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  • @Dan Tdaxp
    I don't know the details of Islamic Creationism, but "always" seems like a red flag -- the only uncreated things in Islam (I believe, I am sure I can be corrected) are God and the Recitation.

    most muslims don’t know that.

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    • Replies: @omar ali
    and some wandering mutazilite would disagree in any case with that formulation (proving that nothing about Islam..or any large religion..is "only this and nothing else")
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  • I don’t know the details of Islamic Creationism, but “always” seems like a red flag — the only uncreated things in Islam (I believe, I am sure I can be corrected) are God and the Recitation.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    most muslims don't know that.
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  • Exactly.

    The question doesn’t even imply biological change. It could be interpreted as “We used to ride camels, now we drive cars.”

    They should simply ask “Did humans evolve from apes?”

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Did we evolve from apes?
    , @PoliticalPunnery
    "Are humans apes?"


    ...Would be better.

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  • A few thoughts:
    1. Apropos the last paragraph, the mechanics are interesting. In Pakistan, evolution was not really controversial until the 70s. It was part of the high school curriculum in Punjab (not sure of other areas, different educational boards had different textbooks). Most people were illiterate and wouldnt understand the question, those that did compartmentalized reasonably well. But since then there has been an aggressive Islamist push in education and in the media, led by the Jamat Islami and its student wing, and they make an issue of “Darwinian education”. We were IN high school when that push managed to remove the 2 chapters about evolution from our textbook. I remember the more pious members of our class actually tore them out of the book. So educated people became much more likely to explicitly reject evolution. I imagine JI type parties are not equally present everywhere (the Soviet republics for example had nothing like that in soviet times) and that detail makes a difference. The Jamat’s international network is not just informal. The Saudis pay for the rabita alami al islami and there is a certain amount of coordination and talking points get passed around. Nowadays the Turkish creationists (Harun Yahya and friends) are the main source of detailed creationist information. The internet helps.
    2. Once the Islamic creationists do get into a place, then they are hard to get rid of. Criticism of Islam is usually punishable (either by the state or by free lancers) and blasphemy and apostasy rules make it hard to challenge them. But the internet has its (huge) heretical side too, so its going to be interesting. Waiting for stage 3

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  • Jump to 9:00.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “…he is definitely more pro-science than the previous administration.”

    I’m not sure I can think of a lot of reasons to call Obama “definitely” more “pro-science” than the average politician from the left or the right.

    Politicians “like to cloak their policy preferences in the mantle of science, but they do not in fact give a fig about science, which for them is only a vehicle to be ridden to the precise extent that it is convenient.” http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/275093/rick-perry-pushes-their-buttons-kevin-d-williamson

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • #27 i’ve loudly admitted to being an…

    Hehe, you are still very eager to enjoy this special stance … to surround yourself with a circle of people who identify with you and who percieve a high level of the peer group solidarity … only to stun the hapless peers with an admission that your position is very different. Like in this blog, attracting a science-minded, secular, immigration-centric bunch, and then displaying very conservative social attitudes. And the people, like, gasp, it can’t be true, are you a troll? :)

    But on the internet, unlike in realspace, this surprising effect is muted. It may be too easy for the lurkers to tune out of the bothersome message, and to keep listening only to the familiar messages.

    Happy Thanxgiving Razib! Here is a bit more of interesting holiday read for you … a bit too commercial but still very interesting IMVHO:

    http://blog.goldenhelix.com/?p=1482

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  • #24 – ” It’s all about symbolically conforming to the vibe of the moment and to the aspirations of your peer group.” —————- As in keeping your mouth shut during sensitivity/diversity training while being schooled (often on the public dime) on the ‘realities’ of omnipresent racism as evidenced by persistent achievement gaps? Religious ceremonials take many different forms.

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  • #26, don’t know. checked out that old thread. from what i recall i was thinking of people who are born fucked up, > 1 stdevs, and perhaps ~2 stdevs or >. in the modal situation i tend to advise honesty.

    if I faced a pressure to express my views on creation before a traditionalist audience, I might have said that the study is underpowered and may not achieve statistical significance (only one Universe, doh) and fraught with severe ascertainment bias (if our Universe didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be observing it now), so my inner statistician withholds judgement

    are you serious, or is the smiley face indicating a joke? i’ve loudly admitted to being an atheist at christian fellowship parties i was invited to when people started talking about ‘we’re all christians.’ it wasn’t that much of a disruption, and i didn’t want the people i’d meet to be deceived later. then again, i also have had to tell shocked and confused students from the persian gulf in college that i was an atheist when they presumed i was muslim from my name, and then presumed i must be a ‘bad muslim’ when i stated i wasn’t a muslim.

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  • #25because people ascribe to god pretty big shit (imagine that your parents live in a baptist community, and go along for social conformity, but it turns out you are gay, and you are raised in a church that tells you you are a sinner blah blah)

    I’m so glad that you understand this problem now, this dilemma of imposing religious beliefs on children to prevent their (real or imaginable) missteps vs. putting the children at risk of deep psychological trauma, ostracism, depression, and suicide once it turns out that their natural aspirations are incompatible with their beliefs.

    If you remember, just 6 months ago, in your blog entry on genetic behavioral risk and possible mechanisms of its societal mitigation, you actually advocated imposing Mormon beliefs on children with genetic predisposition to alcoholism, and dismissed my concerns about the wisdom of such “therapy” and my stats on incidence on suicide and depression in the Mormon country.

    It’s great to see that your views have become more nuanced. It’s often said in this respect that “religion is OK between consenting adults but should not be pushed on children” … as any catchphrase, this one may contain an element of exaggeration, but it’s definitely worth a thought.

    As to attitudes, polls, and pols, I don’t think we are in disagreement other than over some technical minutae. All I wanted to explain, with due respect to the GSS, is that its percentages are not immutable. It is well known that our answers to very similarly sounding basic questions in polls and interviews and conversations depend on the wording of the question, on the sequential order of the questions, and generally on the settings and peer pressure. The GSS may be a remarkably good snapshot of personally held views, but when asked about creation in public, and in more roundabout ways, people may adopt creationist postures with far greater ease.

    LOL if I faced a pressure to express my views on creation before a traditionalist audience, I might have said that the study is underpowered and may not achieve statistical significance (only one Universe, doh) and fraught with severe ascertainment bias (if our Universe didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be observing it now), so my inner statistician withholds judgement ;)

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  • Jump to 9:00.
  • I always wonder how much is the politician’s actual belief and how much is just telling people what they want to hear. Fortunately from his actions, which really matter, he is definitely more pro-science than the previous administration.

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  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • “I want to take a step back and also observe that this whole argument rests on a false historical premise: that modern conservative Protestant fundamentalism was the Christian orthodoxy for the past 2,000 years. It is not. It was not.”

    Christian Protestant fundamentalism and modern Islamic fundamentalism closely coincided with movements in which purportedly divinely inspired writings which were previously interpreted predominantly by clergy with formal theological instructions who received doctrinal interpretive glosses together with their plain readings of these documents were superseded with direct, uninterpreted, gloss free readings of the same core texts (without supplemental works from “the tradition”) by rather ill educated laymen.

    This upset the intellectual structures and concepts that kept troubling or problematic readings in check either by reinterpreting or de-emphasizing them.

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  • Razib says: “True, there has always been a strain of Christianity which was naively literalist, but for most of the history of the religion the fixation on the Bible as science manual would have seemed somewhat strange, in part because science did not truly exist… and the battle between science and religion in this case is a clash of two moderns, not a modern an ancient.”

    I think the statement that “science did not truly exist” is the key here. Until the 19th century, scientific investigation (ie, evaluation and discovery of the natural order) was primarily a theological endeavor, a means to find out more about God. Newton was a prime example. Only after the Enlightenment did people even start to consider evaluating the natural world outside of a theological context. This was the beginning of what we would call “modern” science.

    This separation occurred for a reason. As more information about the natural world became available, the data lead people away from the theological context.

    The literalists that you refer to are the ones who still believe that science should not have been separated from theology. But the reason why “the battle between science and religion in this case is a clash of two moderns” is because science left religion.

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  • He’s basically saying that he believes in evolution (from DC’s link) and that he’s not a YEC, but he respects biblical literalists.

    I guess that’s the strongest kind of support for science that you can expect from any US politician who has any chance of being elected to high office (and who wants to keep it!)

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  • Ruh roh… that’s illuminating.

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  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • Many elements of the Democratic base accept without too much grumbling the social liberalism of the party’s political elite. Could it be that much more difficult for conservative grassroots to accept that the conservative elite accepts modern science?

    To be a bit cynical and simple, the deal between the base and elites in the Democratic party is “We will support the social liberalism of the elites in return for their supporting policies that help the economic and material well-being of the less prosperous” (although this latter has frayed considerably since FDR and LBJ). The deal in the Republican party is “We will support policies that help the economic and material well-being of the most prosperous in return for their support of the social conservatism, esp. with regard to issues of sex and the role of women, and to a lesser extent, race.” With so much of the justification for the attitudes about sex and women based on a particular understanding of religion,[1] anything that calls into question 1 part of its received wisdom threatens the whole thing. So, to answer the question, it probably is much more difficult.

    [1] Yes, there are doctrinal differences between (and among) Mormons, evangelicals and fundamentalists, that believers consider important, but to those on the outside, they seem to be about as important as the differences between various marxist-leninist sects. The world view is similar and distinct from those entirely on the outside.

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • #24, your analogies are qualitatively different. i don’t think santa and god are in the same category in terms of the gravity that people attach toward them, or the aims. if parents don’t believe in santa and tell their kids that there is a santa, i think that’s defensible for a variety of reasons. if parents don’t believe in god and tell their kids that there is a god, that’s defensible for a variety of reasons. but usually those reasons are different. personally, i have more of an issue with the latter than the former, because people ascribe to god pretty big shit (imagine that your parents live in a baptist community, and go along for social conformity, but it turns out you are gay, and you are raised in a church that tells you you are a sinner blah blah).

    attitudes toward climate change, evolution, cosmology, etc., are qualitatively different from accommodations you might make with someone’s orthopraxy (i don’t drink beer at my parents’ house!). whatever your opinion on those issues, they matter in a substantive way. the public policy implication might be direct (climate change), or, it might be tenuous at best (cosmology), but these are serious issues. i understand why politicians obfuscate and lie, but i think it’s reasonable not to tolerate this crap.

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  • Interesting. It continues here (first 1:30 of this one):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsF0b-rSDxA&feature=relmfu

    At first he winds up as if he wants to hold both young earth and old earth as equally reasonable possibilities, and then he seems realize what he’s doing and jumps in to emphasize that he “believes in evolution” and likes science.

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • #22 he probably would have told his daughter that Santa exists, too. Of course it’s waffling sort of, but it may be due to common situational politeness / ethics rather than politics. On the same note, one may mention Heaven in a funeral address even though one believes in no such thing. Perhaps (as I already hypothesized, but you chose not to notice) at a church supper, one would be compelled to affirm the veracity of the Bible. It’s all about symbolically conforming to the vibe of the moment and to the aspirations of your peer group.

    When my employee asked to shift timing of an important meeting because he otherwise couldn’t get back in time from his Friday prayer, I showed understanding and accomodation, instead of expressing my private opinion about these matters. Call it waffling, but basically, the fabric of the society / of the family depends on symbolic respect to certain (perhaps nonsensical) traditions in respective traditional contexts. Affirming creationist myths in what’s essentially a job interview just isn’t such a context.

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  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I’m having a hard time seeing any position held by modern conservatives that’s rooted in observable reality…..

    It’s not a case in which their religious viewpoints need minor tweeking to correct the brand. The entire philosophy is based on superstitions like lowering tax rates ; to a magical rate close to zero, will release economic prosperity and freedom. Based on what?…..a Republican myth of Reaganomics.

    The list goes on to include environmental destruction, never ending militarization, idolization of concentrated wealth, nascent racism and fear of the “others”….

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • As I said above, “You cannot take what politicians say about science or scientific matters seriously…”

    When it comes to science or scientific matters, they are either pandering to you, or to those you disagree with. The only time they’re not, is when they say “I don’t know”.

    Best advise, ignore the politicians, and keep your eye on the bureaucrats – they’re the dangerous ones.

    Cheers

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  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • Cardinal Bellarmine had the correct approach in the Galileo affair. In his letter to Foscarini he writes that Scripture is, of course, infallible. So if observations contradict Scripture, it means we do not correctly understand Scripture. Problem solved.

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  • #5, one thing about the al-ghazali analogy. islam is younger than christian. al-ghazali flourish about four centuries after the rise of the religion. it is not totally implausible that in 400 christianity might have purged itself of much of its greek philosophical accreta, with the earlier phase of church fathers being influenced by origen resembling the mutazili phase in early islam. as it is, that didn’t happen, and i have a hard time seeing how the scholastics couldn’t take the greeks seriously. greek thought was part and parcel of orthodox christianity.

    some of the protestants during the reformation made a show expunging excessive hellenism from the religion, but they generally treated those who did go full-throated in this direction as heretics (e.g., deny the athanasian formula, etc.).

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  • #3–Toward your point, the overlooked virtue of the medieval period is the fact that the Scholastics even tried to reconcile Christianity with the Greeks when they could have gone in the direction of, say, Al-Ghazali and decided that there’s no need to engage with the unbelievers.

    And Razib–wonderful essay! Thanks for writing it.

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • thanks!

    that’s interesting, because in other places obama says he believes in evolution more than angels. so clear pandering/waffling.

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  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • I don’t see a lot of sane in Erick Erickson’s article. I don’t see him holding a viewpoint that leaves a lot of room for the plurality of viewpoints that serve as the foundation of US civics. I see a guy who is fully denying reality and wants the US to become a Christian theocracy

    i think you confuse gas-baggery for substance. though i’ll be corrected if i find out that erickson has sympathies with theonomy.

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • For those who don’t want to follow the link:

    Here’s then-Sen. Obama, D-Ill., speaking at the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. on April 13, 2008:

    Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

    A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it . . . it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

    Here’s the YouTube video for those who actually want to hear him say it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kxDfJU4z2E&feature=youtu.be&t=9m

    Cheers

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  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • that modern conservative Protestant fundamentalism was the Christian orthodoxy for the past 2,000 years. It is not. It was not. True, there has always been a strain of Christianity which was naively literalist, but for most of the history of the religion the fixation on the Bible as science manual would have seemed somewhat strange, in part because science did not truly exist.

    This is a key bit of history that far too many people miss.

    Indeed, one of the various projects of Medieval Scholastics, in trying to reconcile Christianity with the Aristotelian natural philosophy of their day was to attempt to square the creation account in the bible with the idea that the physical world had always existed in its current form. In the 13th century the bishop of Paris tried to tamp down the debate by condemning the idea that the physical universe had had no beginning as heretical, but that didn’t close things down and Thomas Aquinas, among others, was open to the idea that the physical universe has temporally without beginning though created by God in that God held it in existence through his creative will.

    Obviously, there were plenty of medieval Christians who did take Genesis fairly literally, but it was by no means a universal view.

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • Earlier today Erick Erickson of RedState put up a long and meandering post titled "I Believe and Am Thankful". As you might infer from the title it elaborates Erickson's own theological position, and his stance toward the expression of faith in the public square. Because I am an atheist I disagree with many aspects of...
  • Thanks Razib, this needs to be repeated.
    What amuses me, and annoys me about my fellow Christians, is that young-earth creationism isn’t even particularly well-supported by biblical texts. The literalists are either dumb, ignorant or self-delusional. Fortunately I rarely meet these people in the flesh, only on line, so I can easily ignore them. The brighter Christians I associate with just don’t seem concerned about this issue, having made peace with science.

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  • That is the only part of his article that alarmed you?

    It seems like he spends most of the article elaborating on how Christians are literally at war with non-Christians, all non-Christians are going to burn in hell, all people who call themselves Christians but don’t literally believe that Jonah was swallowed by a fish and survived are not Christians(thus going to hell and the enemy in the war between heaven and hell) and also that Christians are morally obligated to use the political arena(as well as others) to fight their holy war.

    I don’t see a lot of sane in Erick Erickson’s article. I don’t see him holding a viewpoint that leaves a lot of room for the plurality of viewpoints that serve as the foundation of US civics. I see a guy who is fully denying reality and wants the US to become a Christian theocracy.

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  • If you have a pulse and follow "science news" you are aware that Marco Rubio gave a very equivocal answer to a very simple question about the age of the earth. As many have noted this is basically a way to call out Republican politicians for the fact that they have to satisfy the cultural...
  • #18, can point me the link to that obama quote please?

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  • Marco Rubio’s answer was remarkably similar to that of candidate Barack Obama when asked the same question in 2008. You cannot take what politicians say about science or scientific matters seriously – some are posturing, while others are just plain stupid.

    Cheers

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  • #16, i think bill maher asked mark pryor. but the reality is VERY FEW dems are likely to waffle, because the creationist minorities and poor who support dems will always do so despite cultural issue differences.

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  • My question is where are the instances of reporters asking democrats this question? It should be straightforward enough, since a majority are on their side. But somehow its only elected officials with an (R) behind their name who need pinned down on everything that could possibly cost them votes.

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  • GSS: for those blacks who attend church nearly every week or more: 28%. for hispanics, 29%.

    The LDS Church actually stopped teaching it soon after the hypothesis have been scientifically rejected.

    the problem is that lay mormons often don’t keep up on these details, and all sorts of weird ‘seminary myths’ get perpetuated, and most non-mormons learn about mormonism from their mormon friends. not people more familiar with the ‘doctrine,’ whatever that is. to give a more offensive example, some of the more racist stuff about blacks and the mark of cain seems to still be in circulation among mormons, and even among conservative white protestants.

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  • It’s great to see this variety of views covered by GSS stats, but it doesn’t make Dreher loose his bet. The GSS questions weren’t asked at parish suppers, were they? It’s conceivable that the patishioners at a Church supper represent a more conservative slice of the population; and/or that the rules of politeness at such events compel the participants to say that the Bible has got something right about Creation, or at least to equivocate around the question the way Rubio did (even when in other settings, they’d be more pro-Science).

    But does GSS has an answer to the real question here, which I see as “does an anti-science position of a national politician matter for the voters?” (Other pundits give it an absolute “yes”)

    BTW, more relavantly for the main topic of this blog (the gene stuff), Dreher writes that
    Science shows that it’s impossible for American Indians to have been descended from the Hebrews, as the LDS Church teaches.

    The LDS Church actually stopped teaching it soon after the hypothesis have been scientifically rejected. The wording about Izraelites being “the principal ancestors” of Native Americans had been redacted out of the preface of the Book of Mormon.

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  • The real way to answer this is by out-grouping the person who asks the question, by embarrassing him and destroying his status. This is hard though, because Rubio doesn’t have any real power. The best that he can do is get this guy’s organization banned from his events. If he were a governor he could get the news organization banned from all state property.

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  • Does the age of the Earth or the creation of the Universe or the biological origin of the human species really make that much difference in the day-to-day life of the average American? Probably not. But I DO expect our elected officials to live in the REAL world, rather than subscribing to a lot of superstitious nonsense.

    Marco Rubio was not asked, “How old is the Earth?” He was asked, “How old do you think the Earth is?” Surely he has an belief, based either on science of theology, but instead he chose to dance away from the question. I find that dismaying. If we take “Young Earth” creationism at face value, EVERYTHING we know about physics and astronomy and even higher mathematics completely falls apart.

    During his campaign Mitt Romney lamented how science education was lagging behind the rest of the Western industrialized world. Considering how 46% percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years, Romney certainly would have had his work cut out for him if he had been elected.

    Let’s face it: “Young Earth” creationism is the antithesis of science. It completely inverts the scientific method, starting with an assumption (i.e. “God did it.”), then contorting science to fit that assumption, and if scientific facts do not support the notion that “God did it,” those facts can be dismissed as nothing less than an elaborate Satanic deception. I expect fundamentalist Christian preachers to spew this kind of gobbledygook, but not members of the House Science Committee and CERTAINLY not up-and-coming Presidential prospects.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The good Lord gave Man the gift of an advanced brain capable of higher level thinking.
    It’s a shame that so many scientifically-illiterate politicians and pundits have chosen to avoid using it.

    More specifically, I don’t expect our elected representatives to fully understand the radioactive dating methodologies commonly used to determine the age of rocks and fossil specimens, but I do expect that they acknowledge that such techniques exist and accept the validity of their findings.

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  • I’m impressed that episcopalians outshined the non-religious and college educated liberals.

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  • R, right i probably should’ve left them off there. I’ve been reading Steve’s election analysis regarding that issue.

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  • #7, look in the GSS. you can control for education with MARHOMO.

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  • Most white liberals acknowledge the sometimes retrograde social/religious views of minorities… I remember Jon Stewart taking some jabs at black people in California who supported the gay marriage ban. The difference is that liberals will tend to attribute these views to a lack of education for minorities vs. a willful ignorance and malice in conservative whites, who should “know better” given their closer proximity to mainstream American thought. Socially conservative minorities seem to be softer and more malleable when it comes to the political process. The shift in approval for gay marriage among blacks following Obama’s endorsement would back this up.

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  • Of course, the problem is that people have tried, are trying, and will try to teach this rubbish in schools. Since you can’t anticipate what issues are going to be on the federal agenda four years from now, and this sort of school issue could plausibly move to the top, picking someone who isn’t going to do something stupid if it does move to the national forefront is important.

    Now you might argue that Rubio is pandering to the ignorant subset of his base, and he doesn’t really believe this drivel, but it is dangerous. If your mental model of a presidential candidate relies too much on what they secretly think, contrary to what they publicly say, it is very easy to stray into a view of a candidate that is constructed entirely from wishful thinking.

    More importantly, if the candidate is not willing to say what they actually think now, because of political pressure, there is no reason to suspect that they’ll act on what they secretly think later. The political pressure never really goes away. Thus, there is strong reason to think that if it became an issue, Rubio would enact policies that are consistent with his public statements, not his secret feelings.

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  • Interesting that no group possessed a 100 percent agreement with respect to this.

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  • #3, use the GSS. hispanics aren’t that conservative.

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  • sorry, i assumed the GSS wouldn’t have data that is that refined.
    also, i agree with the thrust of Dreher’s article. i once asked a liberal family member why liberals were so eager to defend blacks, hispanics and arabs when they often don’t share the same values or are even basically the antithesis of each other and he didn’t really have an answer. it’s almost like they’re using them to validate their *own* values while pretending/assuming that they share the same ideals.
    the example of who he trusts with his money is also a great point. i was about to dismiss it as an excuse for others’ stupidity and then i realized i do the exact same with my money manager. i always thought it is interesting how you get a “package deal” as far as personal temperament goes. you’re not going to find a lot of computer programmers who are also great with the ladies or were captain of their hockey team. as you get older it’s fun to watch all the different genomes find their comfy environments to live out their lives in:)

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  • #1, no. use the GSS interface.

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  • technically, he did say black or hispanic *church* so am i to combine the “black” and “southern baptist” numbers to get an approximate avg.? what about for hispanics? combine “catholic” with “hispanic”? what do y’all think?

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  • In the comments below I expressed anger when I realized one of the readers who I had hoped was not stupid was really rather stupid. I don't have a high toleration for this sort of stuff, which has supposedly become somewhat well known in the blogosphere (judging from comments about me on other weblogs). When...
  • @ 18 aaand we’re back to the Babel Fish paradox.

    “Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

    The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

    “But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED”

    “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

    – Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book one of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series), p 50

    The thing is, science holds itself to standards of evidence, but religion’s bottom line is faith and mysticism. That doesn’t stop religionists from trying to proove their belief, but in the end failing to do so isn’t a deal breaker for faith. They criticize holes in scientific data because gaps in data are a problem for science.

    I think a huge gap in understanding though is that when science runs into a problem of missing data, it’s not deadly like a lack of faith is to religion. For scientists, it’s just The Next Thing To Work On.

    Here’s a rather /headdesk worthy example – poor Joe the Plumber recounting how he had a conversion experience because he was led to believe that the Bible had fewer revisions than a science book. …

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/06/27/joe-the-plumber-i-accepted-jesus-at-frischs-big-boy

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  • Unfortunately after we have trained a generation of scientific illiterates, it will be our children as well as theirs who will be assembling pieces in a Chinese toy factory located where the Texas Statehouse used to be.

    Of course, if they really want only theories supported by data, then turn the tables and look for data supporting the Genesis myth. If Creationism is science, then this should be fair game. If Creationists object to it, then it’s religion and then tar and feather it and ride it back into humanities classes on a rail. This will not be peacefully done.

    If evolution is only a theory, then the Bible is only a paperback book.

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  • I’ve been running into a lot of ‘blank slate’ rightists lately (Paultards mostly). Claiming that everyone would be equal and American multiculturalism would work if there was NO government. lol…

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  • Surely, any scientific theory must be taught in its proper context. We can’t teach theories as “truths”.

    Actually, speaking of leptons and baryons, these belong to sound modern physics theory. But the media often crosses the line between ‘solid’ and ‘speculative’, speaking of rather vague theories as if they were recent ‘discoveries’ of modern physics.

    Roger Penrose, one of the developers of black holes theory, often stresses this point in his writings. Often, speculative cosmological theories are presented to the public as if they were already well established theories. I think every scientist should be concerned about this phenomenon, since it can in the long run undermine scientific credibility.

    I’ve found Lawrence Krauss’ “A Universe from Nothing”, for instance, very amusing. But there he makes such sins as omitting details, playing with semantics, treating theoretical speculations as facts, etc, just to make his point. The effect is that half of people tend to repeat his arguments as scientific truths, without fully understanding what exactly he is saying. And the other half tend to think science has just gone mad.

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  • Original Sin is kind of a nasty, dehumanizing concept – you’d think they’d be glad to be rid of that one.

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  • The thing is that most people do not think independently, and I’m convinced that a lot of those CANNOT think independently!

    Most comments on any blog are status affirming and signaling of in/out group stuff.

    I’m an Atheist and pay no heed to the Religious of any faith, as they are beyond the Pale of reason – so they are non-entities in my world.

    But in terms of thinking independently, how many commenters here – who are a fairly bright group on average – can honestly say that they have thought independently about a non-religious issue, say Global Warming, and done research and come up with a viewpoint that was not handed down to them by some authority figure.

    I’d say the answer is very few…

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  • Unfortunately, scientists have contributed significantly to the law/theory confusion themselves. They’ve largely moved away from using the term ‘law’ while still stating that it’s a valid scientific concept. This is particularly true of science from the last century; a lot of concepts fit the technical definition of ‘law’, but are rarely referred to as such (ie: E=mc^2).

    10 – In undermining religious myths, Science can wreak havoc on concepts central to a particular religion. Accepting it is not something a lot of religions can readily do. (One of the major problems Christian creationists have with evolution and an old Earth is it undermines the concept of original sin. Frankly, I agree that it does, but then I’m an atheist! :))

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  • “When I was younger I suspect I had more toleration for this sort of thing, and engaging with the dull is something that needs to be done, just like you need to change a baby’s diaper because you know they’ll soil themselves, and they can’t be left that way. Perhaps there’s a fixed amount of sympathy for people who shit themselves because they don’t know any better, literally or metaphorically. I’ve got to deal with the former right now, so maybe I’m not having any of the latter anymore.”

    Do you keep records of your moderation? Maybe you could look at something like average ‘moderator actions / comments’.

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  • Advancing beyond “stupid” in science requires the ability to distinguish science from apologetics.

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  • I would comment that in working with an entire group of people sharing disparate beliefs, and being the only nonbeliever “scientist” type, that misinformation is rife in those whose answers come prepackaged from “authority”.

    The essential conflict between the scientific community and the religious is the ability to embrace new ideas. Science has provided so many answers that outstrip the simplistic answers the organized religions have provided to their followers- answers that have been debated in the heirarchy for hundreds of years in most cases to provide the “accepted religious canon” of knowledge. This destruction of “accepted answers” is at the heart of religion versus science conflict in the entire world.

    The specific example that so rankles is straight from the founding fathers: “All Men are created equal.” Applying this to every aspect of people is now shown to be false from a genetic standpoint. So many of the scientists are now convinced or accepting with resignation (your link on Lewontin’s Fallacy). But in our society, the politics must eventualy conform to uncomfortable scientific results, or we end up with conflict as shown in your letter by the unfortunate fellow trying to live between the scientific perspective and the religious perspective.

    Further, you have an immense contempt for the left’s attempts to create a new canon, because they build up demonstably false canon in an attempt to build a new (politically based) viewpoint to replace the religious canon. This expression of your frustration with what you perceive as your natural allies shows through in some of your recent comments. Rather than embrace the changes that science thrust upon society, the left takes a naive political stance based upon taking ideals and searching for scientific validation for those ideals.

    What I find interesting is that religious authorities, in attempting to defend nonscientific representations of creation, try to discredit science that did not exist at the time of the origination of the religions, instead of simply admit that science advances knowledge. Admission of science in application to the world should not threaten religion, but tying of obsolete viewpoints of science (and the world) to religion becomes fatal in an era where there is no inquisition. The realm of post death and supernatural is still left to religion, just the explanation of nature and reality is left to experiment and real experience. Your past thread’s commenter about Averroes defeat shows the result of what can happen when science is suppressed in the name of religion,

    At this point, any religion that wishes to survive should recognize that while their knowledge base of accepted knowledge is vast and ancient, preserving the stare decesis of past decisions of knowledge of the world is nearly impossible when science contradicts that past interpretation of knowledge.

    So much of this conflict becomes laden with too many positions that people will not change voluntarily, but instead will take to their graves held tight.

    Modernity is a terrifying place for people who wish to cling to old interpretations. Having met people who don’t believe we landed on the moon, one begins to see where the vastness of knowledge we have built up is terrifying. This is because their worldview is challenged by the very existence of science and change science represents to their entire System of the World.

    We live in interesting times.

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  • Most “liberals” and also “conservatives” are incapable of forming their own ideas or analysis. They only recycle garbled versions of the political message they overhear, much like the creationists you wrote about.

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  • So? As person that has worked in Education I constantly read where some person is mad because standardized test scores aren’t going up as compared to previous test scores when the people making the tests are rigging them so that won’t happen no matter how much more advanced the curriculum of today may be compared to the one used in 1950.

    However in the view of the general public this means all the money being spent on public education is being wasted.

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  • Schopenhauer put it best: “Never combat any man’s opinion, for though you live to the age of Methusaleh, you will not be done setting him right on all the false things he believes.”

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  • Robert Heinlein may have been talking about Creationists when he said:
    “Don’t try teaching a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

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  • @5 Growing up Christian, I was exposed more to the “they’re all tricking us” school of thought – that is, Satan planted fossils to mislead humans from biblical truth, and God let himin order to test our faith. Fits in with the idea behind Job. It’s a lazy argument, but one that parses well with five year olds.

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  • Gil says:

    The italicized sections that you were having trouble parsing are pretty standard creationist rhetoric. It boils down to the idea that entropy has been acting on the genome since creation and that all observable mutation is due to degradation. So they come up with vague ‘information theory’ and declare that evolution has not been observed creating their private definition of information, and that evolutionary processes cannot create information. I believe these ideas originated with the Discovery Institute and their Intelligent Design creationism movement, although I may be mistaken.

    You can see more analysis of creationist thought on Panda’s Thumb. The regular creationist commenters there are probably not the sort that you would tolerate here for very long, but the discussions can still be enlightening.

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  • I’m a Christian, so I deal with creationists a lot. I typically don’t even bother to argue anymore. People will believe what they want to believe and my beating my head against a wall will only frustrate me and accomplish nothing.

    I am glad though that I am not the only one who will refashion their arguments for them. At some point you either become so frustrated or feel so sorry for them that you tell them how to make a bad argument better.

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  • There is a difference between a creationist and a blank-slate hippy — the creationist denies evolution as hypothesis/theory while a hippy endorses the science but wants to pass a law that regulates evolution with heavy fines for organisms that evolve.

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  • “Sometimes I wonder what world I’m living in, where rank stupidity can get passed along by newspapers as “letters to the editor.”

    Welcome to the world of newspapers. Actually, welcome to this world, since newspapers reflect what people are thinking for the most part. I recently read a much worse piece in the Indian newspaper ‘The Hindu”, which has a repuation equivalent of The Gaurdian in the UK.

    “Is science another of those fanatical religions?”

    Science and technology in ancient India, China and Egypt have had their hoary past. Some of the leading western scientists paid their obeisance to the wisdom of those civilisations. Many of them have admitted that they built their views sitting on the shoulders of some of the thinker-philosophers of yore! In the true sense of the word, science is only a method to understand the working of this universe. In that sense, science is a great exercise, but to sell science as the be-all and end-all of human wisdom to the exclusion of all other fields of knowledge is the height of foolishness and short-sightedness. It is that institution of science that one has to shun.

    Please read the rest, if you are of the masochistic bent.

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/article3537221.ece

    (The writer is a former professor of cardiology, Middlesex Medical School, London, and former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University. [email protected])

    That was shocking, but not quite as much as his wiki page that he had won the third highest civilian honor in India of Padma Bhushan.

    The comments section was closed so I decided to email him instead. What followed was even more depressing, his replies were so idiotic and condescending, I lost all faith in rational debate.

    Offtopic: If anyone is interested I can post it here.

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  • Chatting with Dan MacArthur on twitter about the old days of Usenet, and arguing with Creationists in the days of yore (MacArthur actually flipped a Creationist!). Here's a toast to the innocence of that bygone age around the turn-of-the-century.... (separate "shout out" to those who remember me from soc.history.what-if)
  • What wonderful rooms! I remember spending so much time in those too.

    I don’t remember you from there, but I must have read your stuff back then too….

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  • Yes, I can pull the plug any time. What’s it worth to you?

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  • #4, what you’re trying to say that talk.origins exists at your sufferance! you could take it out right now….

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  • talk.origins still exists and it’s still moderated by David Greig. The server (“Darwin”) sits right outside my office door … I’m looking at it right now.

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2008/07/talkorigins-is-back.html

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  • Usenet was fun, but the lack of moderation doomed it. Gresham’s Law of spam, trolling and cranks.

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  • Hmm what innocence? We might have had rosy spectacles back then in talk.* / soc.* but the net.ghettos of the Usenet had as much danger lurking in the alleyways as today’s Net.

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  • It’s actually not returning to innocence, but missing only the good memmories from the past. Because innocence never was in the past, but iggnorance. Our brain is built to store a lot of informations from the past. And when we late in our life going into a new eara, only the all good old memmeries emmerge and make us miss that eara inspite of a lot of bad insidences that actually thrown away from our memmory at that moment. Every period has it’s positives and negativs ,it depends how we consider these facts. Our brain is normally attracts to rare scenes and seldom occasions and it never rests. If we live in a period of purely natured we get bored and miss tichnology and vis versa.

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  • Recently over at bloggingheads.tv Matt Lewis broached the issue of science, religion, and politics. Being outside of his bailiwick Lewis seemed to be under some misimpressions. First, he seemed to think that most political liberals were not theists. This is false. In the General Social Survey the GOD variable asks respondents about their confidence in...
  • #7, i meant political liberals. i had added that now.

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  • RK says:

    Limiting the sample to non-Hispanic whites changes the picture. The proportion of Catholic conservatives who accept evolution does not change. But 65 percent of non-Hispanic white Protestants now accept evolution.

    Maybe third time’s the charm with posting. If I’m doing this right, limiting the sample to non-Hispanic whites — RACE(1), HISPANIC(1), yields slightly more support for evolution among Protestants, but not much more: 63.3% reject, and only 36.7% accept. How did you arrive at the 65% figure?

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  • Huh?

    The “Book of fables” values make no sense in conjunction with the “Word of God” and “Inspired” values.

    “Word of God” + “Inspired” > 100% for liberals. I assume that’s a subtle commentary on liberals’ putative inability to make up their minds :)

    (yes, I’m of those contemptible left-by-american-standards types)

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  • The left and the far right both reject evolution, albeit in different ways, and hold onto their own forms of creationism.

    The left loves to denounce the right for being anti-evolution, all the while clinging onto blank slatism like a child holds onto a teddy bear at night.

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  • @ 2. Karl Zimmerman: What about Neil deGrasse Tyson?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “All professors believe in evolution, but most are lamarckians not darwinians.”

    This needs a bit of clarification, surely. If you mean to include all disciplines, I’m sure you can find quite a few college professors who don’t believe in evolution. But if you’re restricting it to the relevant fields it seems highly improbable that a majority are Lamarckians. Though in general terms the comparison is fairly sound, I think.

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  • On the other hand, there has been a trend among Mormons toward creationism. I know in the last few months I had read in the 1970s a clear majority of Bringham Young students accepted evolution, and now a clear majority reject it. Apologies if I read it on this blog.

    What I think we’ve seen with evolution is it’s gone from being something rejected by fundamentalists due to exclusively religious concerns to a signifier of being part of a political/ideological “tribe.” Of course, this isn’t universal, as the two exceptions you noted show. Still, it doesn’t disprove the idea, as black Protestants or conservative Catholics don’t really socialize with their supposed brethren as much as they do they do within their own circle.

    I’m always surprised the “pro-evolution” movement doesn’t engage with African Americans more. My experience is although many are skeptics of evolution, it’s not as reflexive as among white evangelicals, more of a generally-held sentiment they never bothered to consider. If we had a black Richard Dawkins or two, I think it would make a big difference (please, no one cite statistics here on how unlikely this is – you don’t need to be on the extreme right end of the bell curve to be a popular science writer/pundit). I can only conclude the reason why it isn’t engaged more heavily is it’s frankly the opinions of black people on evolution are not seen as very important in the United States. Alternately, maybe the secular, white liberals like using evolution as a cudgel against their political enemies, but see no reason to use it to attack their “friends.”

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