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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Darwinism and popular culture: Newsweek columnist fronts anti-Darwin inheritance theory

No one in recent memory has ever questioned Darwinism and got away without attacks by hordes of Darwinbots.

Remember that when you read Sharon Begley's "The Sins of the Fathers, Take 2 At tributes to Darwin, Lamarckism—inheritance of acquired traits—will be the skunk at the party" (Newsweek, Jan 17, 2009):
Some water fleas sport a spiny helmet that deters predators; others, with identical DNA sequences, have bare heads. What differs between the two is not their genes but their mothers' experiences. If mom had a run-in with predators, her offspring have helmets, an effect one wag called "bite the mother, fight the daughter." If mom lived her life unthreatened, her offspring have no helmets. Same DNA, different traits. Somehow, the experience of the mother, not only her DNA sequences, has been transmitted to her offspring.
I keep wondering why Darwin's heirs decided to hold a big blowout at exactly the point when we had ever more reasons to doubt. (But religious fanatics never think of things like that, do they?)

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


Podcasts in the intelligent design controversy

Gordy Slack,author of author of The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA, shares his personal views on intelligent design and the socio-political implications of the ID-evolution debate. I am told
Luskin’s interview with Slack is illuminating and thought-provoking as they compare their experience at the infamous Dover trial, and while they disagree on the issues, this remains a fruitful dialogue worth listening to.
I long ago thought the whole Dover thing completely stupid, but I never had to deal with it in any detail because I was writing furiously to a strict schedule for a book, The Spiritual Brain.

Still, I may as well say what I think now: Teachers should never be given a statement to read to their classes (as was the case in Dover), unless it addresses an administrative matter: Like the exact time at which a regulation fire drill will be called or the right of the administration (at any time) to open and search private lockers that may contain prohibited materials, or that the school flag is at half mast today because of the death of ... .

And so forth. In my view, such messages should never be about philosophical issues like whether the universe shows evidence of intelligent design. That is a violation of the teacher’s right as a professional to instruct the class. Teaching is what happens after you get past all that other stuff.

I am also told that, in Texas, board chair Don McLeroy has some interesting things to say about Texas science standards. Dr. McLeroy addresses the fact (which should really not be news to anyone) that there are really serious current controversies over evolution.

As one who has written plenty of curriculum material myself, I would advise avoiding dogma. This is a time for exploration, not dogma. It is okay to say that we simply do not know the answer to a lot of questions right now.

Oh and this just in: Here's some info on the Cambrian explosion (of life forms) which shows why long, slow Darwinian evolution is nonsense.

Believe that if you want, sucker, but I would not take your money out of principle. Wrong to take it from stupid people.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

Financial Times of London: If you must be wrong, why must you also be just plain stupid and out of date?

Here’s an amazingly silly editorial from the Financial Times of London, January 16, 2009 (yes, that pink newspaper), warning against people who question Darwin worship:

Many scientists and liberal politicians regard the rising creationist tide as a side-show that they can safely ignore. They are wrong, for several reasons. Wide areas of research, from biology to cosmology, would suffer directly if it became politically difficult for governments to fund fields that depend on such a basic a part of science as evolution. The cost would be economic as well as intellectual.

But Darwin is also worth defending because attacks on evolution symbolise a wider and more varied assault on policies based on evidence rather than prejudice. Some of this assault comes from the same religious forces as creationism – think, for example, of those ranged against embryonic stem cell research. Sheer ignorance plays a role too and so do the mass media.

As a matter of fact, human embryonic stem cell research did not turn out to be necessary, as its proponents claimed, and there are lots of good reasons for questioning the ridiculous hagiography of Darwin.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Canadian columnist David Warren takes on a Darwinist, on the subject of whales

I love to present the views of Canadian columnist David Warren, a Catholic, like me, and a relentless critic of Darwinist nonsense - and never more timely, it seems. Here he is talking about the bowhead whale:

And then there's the bowhead whales. Imagine something that weighs more than a hundred tonnes, is seventy feet long, & one-third head. According to the engineers, they can crack through six feet of ice by head-ramming alone (never witnessed). But as I was discussing with a certain male offspring: check out their powerful blowholes. Maybe they could do better than six feet of ice, by blowing while butting at surprising angles, on the principle of the icebreaker's bow thruster; for the blowholes are V'd back on this animal, just as if designed for that very purpose. Plus, shaping the shock wave on their approach, at speed. They can make a mighty, deep noise with their vocalizations, too: so why not add some accoustic trauma for the poor defenceless ice. I don't think it has a chance with them.

Of course, they are tiny compared with one of Uncle Sam's submarines. But they can go where no sub has gone, do what no sub has done.

So how did it evolve? That's a slam-dunk for a Darwinist, you had these little whales needing to breathe & the bigger ones had a survival advantage, & the bigger butt-heads an advantage over the relative pin-heads. They had blow-holes anyway, but confer an advantage to the slightly-angled. And so on. Complete absence of evidence for this ancestry, but hey, the argument will make the clever freshmen STFU, especially when sutured together with jargon.

As the lad says (rude language warning), "That's the great thing about being a Darwinoid. You can pull pure hypotheticals right out of your ass, & then use them as if they were facts. You needn't trouble yourself with a soupçon of evidence. And if you can't fart out the hypotheticals on the spot, you just tell the freshman it is a young science, another Darwinoid will fart that out for you tomorrow."
And he adds,

The whales & seals of the arctic are generally very good at judging the thickness of ice from submarine lighting conditions & in some whale cases just possibly by echolocation effects. Like every other creature in nature they know what they are about in their own environment. This is because they are intelligently designed to survive in it. A blundering animal, who looks for a breathing hole by trial & error, in anything but the most extreme circumstances, would soon be extinct. Trust God on this: it is, after all, your national motto.

The bowhead blowhole is of a radically different design & angle from other whale blowholes. Again, trust God: there will be a reason for it. There is probably a reason (other than purely aesthetic) for the narwhal's tusk, but on that, at the moment, we must not only trust God but ask Him for a hint.

Our own hypotheses on bowheads, &c, are based on observed & testable features of the living animal, considered explicitly from a design point-of-view. This yields rich results, without fail: alike for us & for the Darwinoids, when they are examining the evidence "unofficially."

By comparison, the official hypotheses of the Darwinoids are based on zilch that can be observed or tested. Naturally, that makes our flatus more poignant than theirs, & explains why they need to remove us from the polite environment of the classroom, where children must be indoctrinated in the Darwinian form of "dialectical materialism" without such powerful distractions.

As we observed of the former Soviet Union, the Ideology of the State must be given lip-service in all textbooks & other official publications. Hence the flowery praise for Darwin in the prefaces of all these texts, which could as relevantly be replaced with praise for Marx or Lenin as the "pioneer of settled science." But unofficially, the Soviets survived as long as they did only by ignoring Marx, & doing whatever was thought necessary for the moment, when presented with actual empirical problems. I mean this analogy strictly.

Can't find by quick Google-search, but one of the things I remember from the past was the giant cut-out profiles of great socialist heroes in Marxist tank parades. Occasionally good old Charlie Darwin would be up there in the row with Karlo Marx, Freddie Engels & the rest. This is guilt by association of course. But it often works in the civil courts, so I'll toss it on the Darwinian pyre for kindling.
earnest Darwinists (or Darwinoids, as Warren prefers to call them, because they certainly do not represent the original idea, only a stale subsequent rant, heard way, way too often) have tried to shut Warren down. But if anyone ever did, it would probably be a partisan of some political correctness other than Darwinism - which is simply not as hot a topic here in Canada as it is in the United States.
Darwinism just isn’t as controversial here in Canada as in the United States - not principally because it is widely accepted but rather because the electorate is not divided along party lines, as it is in the United States - so few politicians could benefit from making it an issue.

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