Facts, not Fantasy

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Evilution II - Caveman Boogaloo

Bryan Fischer joins the three pronged attack on Evilution where he has four points that disprove evolution and thus prove Governor Rick Perry as awesome and on the ball, not a backward hick with no knowledge of science.

Bryan Fischer is normally a hate filled sorry excuse for a human being whose crusade to deny homosexuals basic rights is well known. But here he dabbles his feet in the murky waters of creationism to defend Rick Perry which just is pathetic. He parrots out old hackneyed defences of creationism that simply don't even stand up to the mildest of scrutiny.

That makes me a Sad Panda.

Perry’s answer will help him, not hurt him, with the electorate. Even after almost a century of brainwashing and indoctrination in the government re-education camps called “schools,” only 19 percent of the general public believes that life developed without any assistance or direction from a Creator. That number drops to just eight percent among Republicans. That eight percent can happily throw their vote away on Mr. Huntsman, which will quadruple his total.
Again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record... "Are Americans Seriously Proud that Just 20% of them believe in the science of biology? This is like saying "After 100 years of education our public still don't understand basic science. It's like being proud of believing in witchcraft. It's vile and its parasitical and it ensures that the average american has no basic understanding of science.

It helps that we rewarded Darwin by putting him on
our Money.

And this plugs into something I have always said. Science education should be compulsory and should be part of the SATS. The SATS focus on Verbal/Non Verbal reasoning is fine but frankly its not enough. Mathematics is all fine but frankly the really useful piece of education that our schools do is Science. A basic understanding of how our world works so that people like Mr. Bryan Fischer cannot say things such as "Only 1 out of 5 people believe in biology, the rest believe in magic".

If Bryan Fischer tried that in the UK, politicians would be lining up to tear apart the candidate he gave support to because we do teach biology at our GCSEs (the equivalent of the SATS) and there is even the choice of doing biology as an individual GCSE as opposed to a collated science GCSE (worth 2 other subjects). And it shows not in the belief of people vis a vis atheism but the understanding that biology works. Our quacks have to work harder to pretend to be scientists. I find it shocking but it figures, Mr. Fischer's faith believes that the original sin is the acquisition of knowledge. It's only fair that he revels in ignorance and drags down others to his level.

With that in mind let's demolish ignorance with the 2x4 of knowledge.

The 2X4 of Knowledge looks like a regular 2X4.
(from the very excellent Basic Instructions)

Before we start we need to correct one little thing that Mr. Fischer says...
Before we even start, we ought to notice that, if evolution is true, there would be no way to know it. Because evolution teaches that everything that exists is the product of the random collision of atoms, this logically includes the thoughts I am thinking about evolution. But if my thoughts are the product of the random collision of atoms, there is no reason to think that any of them are true — they just are. 
Yes, your thoughts are actually due to the random motion of particles. See when you have a thought a series of neurons along a neural pathway depolarise. The nerves themselves are products of random particle movement harnessed in specific ways. The walls are rigid but the particles that make up the walls actually move around in a liquid way similar to how a droplet of oil is made up of moving oil particles yet it can sit inside a discrete area if surrounded by water. For instance in this case the neuron has more calcium ions inside the cell than outside via an active transport system that uses energy (in a molecular currency called ATP), when triggered the cell depolarises by opening channels to calcium only. The ions randomly move but since there is more inside the cell than outside, more calcium moves outside.

This simple experiment can be done by taking a lump of sugar and dropping it inside a glass of water and not stirring it in. Eventually the sugar lump will dissolve and the entire glass will be sweet because of the random movement of water and diffusion of dissolved sugar from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration.

To explain it in an even simpler format, you have one pile of coins inside the box. You flip each coin. Every coin that hits a heads is taken and placed outside the box. Then you flip all the coins again, anything that says tails goes into the box and those that say heads go outside the box. I guarantee you that you will eventually get a 50:50 split. However a new rule comes in, the channels for coins that say heads to go outside the box close, but the channels that say tails can enter the box stays open. So we flip the coins outside and every tails coin goes inside the box. Similarily if we add a whole bunch of new coins inside the box and continue flipping with the rule that heads goes outside the box and tails goes inside or stays inside the box then the new set of coins will quickly go to the same 50:50 equilibrium.

The coins are random the mechanism that controls them uses that randomness to power itself and effect change. And we aren't the only creature that uses this technique, even a simple fire uses the random movement of molecules that distributes air around us roughly evenly to work by combining burning fuel in the presence of oxygen. This causes a dearth of oxygen which causes more to diffuse to the flame by the same principle.

First Law of Thermodynamics. This law (note: not a theory but a scientific law) teaches us that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. In other words, an honest scientist will tell you that there is nothing in the observable universe that can explain either the origin of energy or matter. By logical extension, then, matter and energy had to come into being by some force outside the universe. What this means, then, is that science simply has no explanation for the most basic question that could possibly be asked: why is there something rather than nothing? Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates have an answer to this question; evolutionists do not.
This has nothing to do with the Theory of Evolution which is the explanation of how diversity in organisms occurred particularly considering many creatures seem to have varying degrees of similarity between them. Evolution is the process by which diversity arose in organisms. The theory is the explanation of that process, there is no doubt in the fact of evolution since Genetics is an empirical piece of evidence. This is the origins of the cosmos or Cosmology. 

Relativity states that energy and mass can be transferred between each other and the proof of relativity is the Atomic Bomb which works under the principle of rapidly translating unstable matter into energy and releasing it. It's how atomic reactors work. Logically there must be a way of converting that energy back into matter and we do see that in the atomic furnace of the sun where the incredible temperatures cause the formation of matter which is the source of a lot of our elemental diversity.
We are all made of Stars!

Not having an answer is actually a valid standpoint particularly if you "don't know". The Creationist and ID state that God Did It but they say so from a stance of ignorance. 

But the problem here is this... How do you know this being did it? How did it do it? Proof please? How did this being circumvent the laws of thermodynamics which would apply to itself anyway. Where did it come from? What was there before it? Is it sentient or sapient? How did it get there? How can we get there? Are there others like it? What purpose does it serve to build a universe? And if we are so complex and god is more complex than us and the logic dictates that complexity requires a creator... who created God? And I can think of more, but these are what I want to know of the top of my head. 

None of these are answered by creationists and certainly not by the ID crowd who are pretend scientists. All I hear is religious explanations which don't come with any proof of this. So it's simple, firstly you have to prove that a god exists. Next you have to prove how he works to circumvent the laws of the universe and prove his nature. The koran, veda or bible isn't proof, its just literature. 

Proof means that the stuff stated in those books is replicable. There is a big difference between saying "I don't know" and "I am going to make stuff up". One is an acceptable standpoint, the other is called making stuff up. An example is this, you go to a hospital with a disease. It's an unknown disease that has never been seen before and while you are stable it causes intense pain. The two doctors give two answers, the first says that he doesn't know. The other says it is Unicornitis and it's because of unicorns galloping in your bloodstream killing haemogoblins. One of these answers is honest, the other is made up. Even if the idea gives you comfort it does not make it the truth. The doctor who doesn't know but goes and does the tests to find out is the one who is doing things to make you feel better. The one telling you about unicorns is the one who is making things up. And that is the difference between science and creation/ID. The honest truth is we don't know how the universe was formed, we have a few theories but nothing  solid. We cannot tell because our current existence came about due to the formation of the universe and the energies released would have been on an unfathomable scale which made sure there was no trace of what happened before.

Neither of us know what was there, but only one of us is honest and sane enough to admit it. 

Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law (note: not a theory but a law) teaches us that in every chemical or heat reaction, there is a loss of energy that never again is available for another heat reaction. This is why things break down if left to themselves, and why scientists tell us that the universe is headed toward a heat death. This law teaches us, then, that the universe is headed toward increasing randomness and decay.
But what does the theory of evolution teach us? The exact opposite, that the universe is headed toward increasing complexity and order. You put up a scientific theory against my scientific law, I'm going to settle for the law every time, thank you very much.
Plus, this teaches us that the universe had to have a beginning. If you see a watch winding down, one thing you know with absolute certainty is that somebody wound it up. 
Yes, I do look like this...
Now get out of my shower...

The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to a closed system. Mr. Fischer would be correct here, the net nature of the universe is towards entropy. What Mr. Fischer is implying is that in order for all this to work there must be a source of energy (enthalpy) to the system, or indeed a transfer of energy from something undergoing entropy to us which we can use to increase complexity on a small scale...

This is so easy to defeat that I will give you the proof of it right now. Look at your watch, is the time between 7AM and 5PM? If so then go outside. Can you see? Is it dark? Where is all that light coming from? And isn't it warm? Look up at the sun! You feel great and you can work on your tan so you can look like me. Sadly you aren't me but if you read a lot of science you can be just as smart as me. I am on a horse.

The Sun is a ball of nuclear fire so large that it causes the earth to orbit around it. It's size is massive in the traditional sense of having enormous mass. The sun's energy output is so colossal that if we took all our nuclear weapons and exploded them simultaneously we wouldn't be able to match the sun's power output.

All of that is entropy and energy from the Sun is transmitted to us via light which is what we use to power life. Life utilises photosynthesis which drives the food chain. Plants are the key converter of light energy into chemical energy which we use for food. Then net complexity and enthalpy is counteracted by the enormous entropy of the sun which is part of the closed system that we are in (Let us assume that the energy donated to the earth by other stars is insufficent to be considered). Thus in our closed system, we are actually increasing entropy as by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

We are also powered by a giant nuclear explosion,
one so big that it's been going for billions of years.

I am surprised that Mr. Fischer doesn't think too much of evolution which is a law or a fact like gravity too (Gravity is the force that holds us to the earth, the theory of gravity explains how the force works). The Law/Fact of evolution is that we have evolved over roughly 3 billion years of life on this planet to the varied forms we see today. The evidence of this is seen in a variety of places and primarily in the method of inheritance which is DNA/RNA mechanism. The Theory of Evolution explains the mechanism by which this occurred. In summary, we know we evolved we are just hammering out the precise mechanism of how exactly it happened. Suffice to say "magic sky wizard intervention" doesn't come out too well as a possible mechanism.

Interestingly enough not all life uses the entropy of the sun as a power source. There are ecosystems based on the utilisation of the earth's heat and even chemical energy of reactants in the earth itself. But we as human beings are reliant on the sun for the energy to power us. 

Fossils. Realize that the fossil record is the only tangible, physical evidence for the theory of evolution that exists. The fossil record is it. There is absolutely nothing else Darwinians have they can show you. As Yale University's Carl Dunbar says, "Fossils provide the only historical, documentary evidence that life has evolved from simpler to more and more complex forms." But if Darwin's theory is correct, that increasingly complex life forms developed in tiny little incremental and transitional steps, then the fossil record should by littered with an enormous number of transitional fossils. Darwin himself said, "The number of intermediate and transitional links must have been inconceivably great."...
How very quaint. I am afraid that this argument was used in Darwinian times mainly because Darwin made his argument from the observation of living species of finches in the Galapagos Islands. The fragmentation of the Islands produced slightly different ecosystems with different ecological pressures on the finches which are small flying birds. Flight across open ocean is fraught with danger (if you notice, most ocean going birds are rather big powerful creatures while finches are smaller than pigeon). The drive for tropical birds to cross large distances is also not there. The islands do show volcanic activity so the division of a single large island is a good reason for the fragmentation seen there. 

These finches look the same but possess wildly varying beaks, behaviours and food sources, and many cannot crossbreed viably indicating different species. In addition genetic research confirms Darwin's observation that these are related species but for important sections of DNA. 

It's half dinosaur! Half Bird!

And the problem here is what Mr. Fischer wants is a Crocoduck. A fossil that is blatantly half and half. All fossils are technically transitional. Each a snapshot of an individual creature that had the fortune to die in a specific way. What Mr. Bryan Fischer wants is a "Complete" fossil record. A record of every single individual from start to finish one after another to show evolution in much the same way as an animated flipbook, each next stage a bit more transitional than the other. 

All species are transitional, those that are not are extinct (they couldn't evolve to fit the pressure so they died out). Every one of us is transitional but it doesn't show as much with humans as we don't evolve to solve our problems, we just build tools. Every single hominid fossil showing the descent of man is a transitional species too. And this is without the infamous Archeopteryx which is a "transitional fossil" of the creationist description (It is a reptilian bird) showing the transformation between dinosaur to flying bird not to mention the various confirmations that dinosaurs may have had feathers for display or as insulation (not to mention the various evidence that they may have been warm blooded. 

And Darwin had no idea about Genetics but he did have an idea about comparative anatomy which he used to draw conclusions. Two species from the same area that had similar anatomies probably had a similar ancestor which was found in the fossil record... Thus producing a rough guide of ancestors and a time line.
Bryan Fischer also misrepresents punctuated equilibrium which is a process by which rapid changes in the environment cause a rapid shift in what defines "fitness to survive" causing rapid jumps in evolution as selection pressure changes.
Now bacteria also compete back versus fungi by building a chemical that digests Beta Lactam (A Beta-Lactamase if you will!). Other bacteria also have mutations that reduce (indeed retard) their ability to take up the Beta Lactam ring. Our body's bacteria and pathogens were not in contact with the selective pressure of fungi. So when they initially were subject to beta lactams they died, however as mutations took place a few mutants arose who were a bit more resilient. They either had lower absorption or produced enzymes that could affect the ring structure (different species evolved different mechanisms) and the problem was people had a habit of stopping their meds when they felt better rather than finishing their Antibiotics Course. This allowed bacteria to survive and breed producing strains that were more and more resistant. Antibiotic resistance is not a binary thing but a spectrum of resistances. We actually check it by growing a lawn of bacteria and inserting tabs into the agar. The antibiotics diffuse outwards and lyse bacteria until bacteria can tolerate living in that specific concentration forming a ring which we can measure to plot resistances. So you could have a 3 cm ring in one species and just a 1 cm ring in another species to indicate the differences in mechanism. 

You may get lucky and roll wolverine, but chances
are you will get unlucky and score Cancer.
To combat this we developed multi-drug therapy as it reduces the chance of a mutation and tell patients to finish their courses to ensure the complete death of organisms even if they do develop a mild resistance.

We don't hear about successful mutations in human beings because for the most part mutations are silent. If a mutation is beneficial it only shows itself when the benefit is "involved in survival". However the deleterious mutants simply die off. We don't see how many bacterial mutants die off because "they are bacteria" but we do see them when they sucker punch someone despite a wall of antibiotics and antiseptics forgetting that for each successful mutant there are probably thousands of failures that we just didn't see. It's just that in humans we are more interested in the unsuccessful mutants than the successful mutants since mutants don't come with any actual superpowers since there is no evolutionary pressure on us bar "sedentary lifestyles". 

Genes. The only mechanism — don't miss this — the only mechanism evolutionists have to explain the development of increasingly complex life forms is genetic mutation. Mutations alter DNA, and these alterations can be passed on to descendants. The problem: naturally occurring genetic mutations are invariably harmful if not fatal to the organism. Rather than improve an organism's capacity to survive, they invariably weaken it. That's why the phrase we most often use to refer to genetic mutations is "birth defects." If scientists are some day able to engineer beneficial genetic mutations in the lab, that will simply prove our point: we told you it takes intelligence and design. 
We also have epigenetics which is the control of expression of genes in specific ways and indeed the expression of mechanisms in different ways. And there is also allele frequencies and genetic drift. 

Not all mutations are deletrious a good example is bacterial resistances. We use them a lot because we can go through thousands of generations of bacteria rapidly. Bacteria evolve rapidly. We used a drug called penicillin which is a class of drug called a Beta Lactam which works by something called a beta lactam ring which inhibits cell wall formation in bacteria causing them to literally "Leak". It's produced in nature in fungi which compete with bacteria as saprophytes. 

Bottom line: the easiest verse in the Bible to believe is the very first one of all: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Explains a lot really...

Prove it. Even if Evolution were false and you disproved it, it doesn't mean your world view is true. It would be like saying "I have disproved the theory of neurology which means your psychosis is not caused by neural chemical imbalances but by the dreams of C'thullu. Ia ia!".

But sadly evolution is true, whether you believe in it or not. It's your choice to do so, however it's not your choice to dictate what science is and what it isn't.

Ultimately the Creationist Movement is a religious movement primarily made up of proponents of the three Abrahamic Faiths because their religions require canon to work. If you disprove one single part of their religious faith then all manner of madness occurs such as Gays marrying and Women having equal rights. Knowing you are ignorant is a virtue. I am ignorant about Physics, I cannot explain cosmological theory because it is out of my understanding no more than Dr. Stephen Hawkings could explain how a beta-lactam ring functions. Understanding your limits is no sin but a virtue.


He doesn't understand biology, to him it is a big box with a question mark on it. It may as well be magic...

Which he does understand. To him biology is magic because he cannot understand how it works and that it is a threat to his own magic and so he fights to preserve his magic lest it "run out and abandon him leaving him powerless" without realising that his magic is a catch all phrase to explain the function of the universe. Bryan Fischer has without irony become a Warhammer 40K character or a Cargo Cultist whose faith in the almighty superscedes any actual understanding of the motions he goes through. To him biology would be the same processes except we would have to chant bible verses as we do things to beseech god to give us the right answer of which holy antibiotic will succeed in repelling this bacteria rather than understand the principles that lie beneath it.

He doesn't see biology as real, he sees it as magic on a similar scale to his own. As something that is seeking to replace his god rather than explain how the world works.


1 comment:

  1. Well said. It is sad beyond measure that this superstitious clap-trap is still taken seriously in the 21st century.

    But it is also frightening, because most Americans think this way. The majority of people who get the opportunity to elect the leaders of the most powerful nation on the planet comfortably believe that magic is a good answer, the best answer, actually, to how the world works.


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