Austin (highverbalfan) wrote,

Monkey on a keyboard

Since my life has, largely, been too boring to warrant recounting here, and since most of my energy for socio-political ranting has been taken up by fighting with real people on facebook, I think I'm going to start posting my arguments here. It'll make it easier for me to find them in the future, and maybe someone will find them and be mildly entertained.

Mostly it'll just give my livejournal something to do again.

I don't even know how to introduce this one, except that I've never been more depressed about science education in this country. We're a nation of morons.

(Also, I need to figure out a better way to format these. Suggestions?)

Jay S: Explaining God to a six yr old?- no problem... evolution? Epic fail... "so I was a baby monkey?"

Charles Austin: On the bright side, she understands evolution about as well as most Americans.
Oh wait—that's horribly depressing.

Dave L: Evolution is Science Fiction. God created this amazing universe! If we evolved from Monkeys, how come we still have monkeys, and why have they stopped evolving?

CA: ‎@Dave: We didn't evolve from monkeys. Apes (which are significantly different from monkeys) and humans share a common ancestor, just like you and your cousin share a common ancestor. You didn't evolve from your cousin, and humans didn't evolve from apes. Make sense?

Both monkeys and humans are still evolving on the genetic level, as evidenced by the rise and fall of certain genetic diseases. More dramatic changes—longer fingers, shorter hair, or whatever—won't be seen for hundreds of thousands of years.

DL: Charles, don't know if your statement was arguing for or against evolution. First, for scientists to say that we started as a fish, then went to a bigger fish...then another...then an ape, then a human, is a complete lie. For example, we have different species of cats and dogs, BUT, they're still cats and dogs. It doesn't go from a cat to a bird, etc. Nor do we go from apes to humans. Evolution is the biggest lie sold and taught to humans today! There isn't ONE SINGLE bit of evidence that supports evolution. It's ALL scientific THEORY.

CA: ‎@Dave: Sorry, but that's entirely wrong. Everything in biology, paleontology, genetics, medicine and every other field of science supports evolution. In science, a "theory" is an idea that has been rigorously tested and shown to be the most accurate explanation available—it doesn't mean the same as "guess." Gravity and germs are also scientific theories. Evolution is just as much a fact as gravity; we actually understand evolution *better* than we understand gravity.

The reason we keep developing new antibiotics is because bacteria develop resistance to the old ones—that's evolution. You get the chicken pox once as a kid, but you get a new flu shot every year; that's because the flu virus mutates faster than the chicken pox virus and becomes something new, so you need a new vaccination to protect against it—that's evolution. Finches in the Galapogas have developed new beak shapes in just the last forty years, creating a new species—that's evolution. Even all the different kinds of dogs you mention have been created by the exact same process that evolution uses; if it continued long enough, breeds would be produced that *weren't* dogs anymore.

You seem to think that a monkey is supposed to give birth to a human, or that a cat will give birth to a dog. That's not now evolution works. Populations—not individuals—change gradually over long, long periods of time. There's a lot of misinformation out there about how evolution works, and this leads to a lot of misunderstanding about what evolution actually is. Here's a basic primer on how natural selection and evolution actually work:

DL: Charles, you contradicted yourself, you said evolution is a theory that is tensed and proves to be the most accurate. Then, you said it was just as much a fact as gravity. I agree that certain things do evolve, such as bacteria, vaccines, etc. NOT humans. Evolution is supported by THEORY, not evidence. There is ZERO factual evidence that evolution (when it comes to humans) is real. It is all theory. It may be the most logical THEORY that scientists can come up with, but there is NO evidence. That is why i stated that evolution is the biggest lie that is pawned off as fact, when indeed, it is not. The bible says that we are 'wonderfully and fearfully made.' We are unique as humans, not evolved from 'other beings.'

CA: There's no contradiction in saying that evolution and gravity are both true to the best of our understanding. People accept gravity without understanding, but that doesn't mean that gravity is a lie. Evolution is even better understood than gravity, and there's no reason why any educated person would reject it.

There's actually a huge volume of evidence supporting human evolution. The fossil record is compelling evidence by itself—it's easy to see the progression of hominid skull shapes from prehistoric pre-humans to modern man—but the genetic evidence—with mitochondrial DNA, comparative genomics, etc.—is pretty airtight.

Evolution works on bacteria, viruses, fish, dogs, and everything else because of genetic mutation and environmental pressures. You accept that. But humans are also subject to genetic mutation and environmental pressures, just like other organisms, so there's no rational reason why they'd be exempt from the evolutionary process. Your claim is the equivalent of saying that gravity works differently for dogs than it does for people. Not only is it wrong, it doesn't even make basic sense.

Humans *are* wonderfully made, I suppose, but that doesn't make them exempt from the laws of biology and physics. Evolution doesn't make us any less wondrous.

And if you want to bring the Bible into this, that book also says bats are a kind of bird, that rabbits chew the cud, and that the color of a goat is determined by the color of reed its parents looked at when they mated. The Bible is many things, but it's a shitty biology reference. If you want me to take anything you have to say seriously, grow up and read a real science book.

DL: Charlie, your logic is flawed. You must be the type that wants answers and explanations for everything. If there was an answer for everything, there'd be no basis for faith. For human beings to survive on this earth, everything has to be perfect. From gravitational pull to the distance of the sun and the moon. One inch closer, one inch farther, we'd be gonners or wouldn't exist. That's to complicated of a scenario to 'just happen.' You say any educated person would believe the theory of evolution. What an uneducated statement. You want me to believe something that you nor any scientist can provide one ounce of evidence for? Right. As far as your statements about what the bible says about goats, rabbits, etc. I don't know what the heck you're reading. It doesn't say that at all. Did you know that before Darwin died, he denounced his own theory. Think about it.

CA: No basis for faith...what? What does faith have to do with any of this? I'm talking about evolution. This is about observable, testable science, not faith or religion or anything else. Besides, many Christians—including the Pope—have no problem accepting evolution as fact. But that's a religious issue, completely separate from anything I've been talking about.


There probably *aren't* answers for everything, and I never claimed there were; you, however, don't appear to be interested in explaining *anything*, and seem intent on ignoring even the answers we DO have. I've pointed out, repeatedly, that we DO have answers for evolutionary questions and evidence to support it. Evidence like hominid fossils, genomic comparisons, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and the observed changes in Galapagos finches. You can continue to stubbornly ignore that evidence if you want to (and you clearly do), but that doesn't mean it's not there. But frankly, your intellectual laziness and dishonesty bother me less than your breathtaking stupidity.

For example, the sun and moon have nothing to do with evolution, but you're just as ignorant about astronomy as you are about biology. The earth's orbit is elliptical: sometimes it's 147 million kilometers away from the sun, sometimes it's 152 million kilometers away, sometimes it's some distance in between. That's a variance of approximately 5 million kilometers—or 196,850,000,000 inches. Your claim that we'd be "gonners" if the planet was "one inch closer, one inch further" from the sun is wrong by a factor of almost two hundred billion. Dumbass.

Darwin never recanted, so you're wrong about that too; it's just a legend. Even Answers In Genesis, the Creationist, fundamentalist, anti-evolution ministry, admits that: Think about it. Or better yet, get off your ass and try researching it yourself. You might learn something.

You don't appear to know much about the Bible either. The Bible incorrectly claims that rabbits chew cud: "Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you." —Deuteronomy 14:7

The Bible incorrectly lists bats as a type of bird: "And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, and the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat." —Leviticus 11:13-19

The Bible incorrectly thinks that you make speckled goats by having mating goats look at specked reeds: "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white streakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted." —Genesis 30:37-39

So not only are you an idiot when it comes to basic science, but you're also clueless about what's in your own holy book. Your scattered statements don't make any coherent argument, and every claim you've made has been demonstrably stupid and wrong. Sorry, but I've run out of both patience and civility for this.

But hey, Davey, thanks for perfectly proving my original point that most people don't understand evolution. Congrats—you have the same grasp of science as a six-year-old girl. But while she'll continue to ask questions, educate herself, and learn new things, you seem perfectly content to wallow in your own ignorance and misunderstanding. I've tried providing some basic information on evolution and correct some common misconceptions, because I thought that you might have a shred of intellectual curiosity, some slight interest in better understanding the world around you. Looks like I was wrong; sorry for wasting both of our time.

DL: Charlie, my your scientific rhetoric for your 6th grade science class. I'm not interested. I did agree with you that SOME things do evolve. Just NOT humans. Maybe you should read some of my posts again. I'm gonna pray for you brother... that went well. I don't know if he's been praying for me or not, but I've been feeling kinda gassy and bloated lately. I figure that's probably God moving in me, right?
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