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Home Of The Stupid

by Volker Weber

Sometimes I have to shake my head in complete disbelief:

Later this summer, the Kansas State Board of Education is widely expected to change its state science standards to cast doubt on evolution.

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Blind faith can justify anything. If a man believes in a different god, or even if he uses a different ritual for worshipping the same god, blind faith can decree that he should die—on the cross, at the stake, skewered on a Crusader's sword, shot in a Beirut street or blown up in a bar in Belfast. Memes for blind faith have their own ruthless ways of propagating themselves. This is true for patriotic and political as well als religious blind faith.
Dawkins, Richard: The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press. Oxford and New York, 1976 (1999). Page 198.

Christian Bogen, 2005-07-09

Amazing, isn't it? How do people that stupid manage to tie their shoes in the morning? They must all wear velcro sneakers...

Rob McDonagh, 2005-07-09

I don't get it. Home of the stupid because they believe in something else than evolution? Last time I checked there was about as much physical proof of lightning striking a puddle creating life as there is for an omnipotent being saying 'you're alive!'.
Maybe you should just respect their beliefs and not force yours on them. Practice some tolerance and respect. Makes you sound more growed up. Or just stick to technology articles. Your site has been a favourite of mine for some time!

Matt Barber, 2005-07-09

Earth is flat...

Hubertus Amann, 2005-07-09

Matt, I am tolerant towards stupid people. As long as they don't tell me what I can and what I must not do.

Hubertus, religious fundamentalist have tried to obstruct science at all times. Gallileo Gallilei is only the most famous example.

Volker Weber, 2005-07-09

We all know God created the world and he created man in his image. The bible tells us so. Woops, sorry, I forgot about the billions that do not belive in "our god and our bible". Perhaps Buddha and Darvin are at odds? ðinn and Darvin? Who knows. (Gallileo Gallilei chickened out).

Thank god Americans in general are not this stupid.

Vilhjálmur Helgason, 2005-07-09

Why not repossess the 1925 Butler Act

Joerg Richter, 2005-07-09

Jesusland. Nuff said.

Frank Koehntopp, 2005-07-09

Can we have a disclaimer added to the Bible saying it is a theory and not necessarily proven?

Carl Tyler, 2005-07-10

Hi Matt, I don't think it's wrong to believe in an omnipotent (I'm catholic ;-)). But you cannot deny, that there is evolution. We ARE not the same for millions of years, there WERE other human stages and we ARE the descendant of them. You cannot deny the Neandertaler, Ötzi and what else there was. And that is evolution and that is a fact. How it works and how it began may be not that clear as it would be desireable, but that it works and that it began is unquestionable (except by religious fanatics, but these will separate theirselves out of evolution ;-))

Martin Hiegl, 2005-07-10

Re: Disclaimer to Bible - every time science or archaeology has tried to disprove something in the Bible it has failed.

Re: Evolutionary Teaching in America - Remember, the THEORY of evolution IS still a theory. There is no empirical way to prove or disprove either of the theories of evolution, intelligent design, or whatever. Over here in America, the theory of evolution has been taught in schools as the only possible explanation (i.e., it's been taught as hardcore fact without presenting the other sides). One can never truly learn something by only looking at one side or the other. While certain groups may simply write off Intelligent Design, know that ID is also held by many SCIENTISTS as a plausible option. Many Christians DO believe in micro-evolution just not in the more Darwinistic macro-evolution.

Chris Whisonant, 2005-07-10

Chris, you're right - it's a theory. But the problem of this theory is not really the "that", it is the "how". And you know, that theories are rarely dissaproved as a whole, they mostly get modified.

Martin Hiegl, 2005-07-10

In response to Chris Whisonant above.

Your comment reflects a common non-scientist's misunderstanding of what a scientific theory is. A scientific theory is an explanation for some phenomenon that is: a) testable by experiment, and therefore, b) accepted as valid in the absence of any experimental evidence to the contrary. By definition, once a theory has been proved, it becomes a law. You are correct that there is no law of evolution. I am not sure how there could ever be one, but to date, there is no experimental evidence that the theory of evolution in its broadest sense is untrue! So, in the absence of such experimental evidence to the contrary, most scientists treat the theory of evolution as being true. Certainly, there are scientists, usually in non-biological disciplines, who ague against the theory of evolution, but they have yet to come up with any experimental counter evidence.

The problem with Intelligent Design (ID) is that it is not a theory, primarily because it is not testable - there is no possible experiment that can invalidate it! That having been said, almost all of the examples of iriducible designs (e.g. Bacterial Flagella) put forward by proponents of ID have been found to have be achievable by step-wise evolution.

To my mind, the most compelling case for an evolutionary explanation of a biological entity is the flat fish. No intelligent designer would every have made it that way from scratch.

But as I said, there is no way to experimentally test the validity of ID. So the flat fish remains a difficult to explain ID outcome, but no more.

I for one would have no problem if either creationism or ID were taught alongside evolution as long as only evolution were identified as a testable theory, while creationism and ID were identified as what they are -- faith-based explanations.

Nick Shelness, 2005-07-10

Nick, thanks for the response. As you said with ID, there is no possible experiment that can validate evolution either.

The flatfish - lol. Just because you don't think it's the optimal design for a "intelligent designer" doesn't mean that the designer didn't intend it that way. The "poor design" argument is just setting up a strawman to topple. "An 'intelligent' designer should not have created the species this way so that disproves ID." It's using your own presuppositions to come to your own conclusion - hardly scientific.

1 Corinthians 1:27 - But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise...

Chris Whisonant, 2005-07-10

Chris, You still don't get it.

A scientific theory, by definition, can't be proved true. It can only be proved false! It remains a valid theory as long as it hasn't been proved false. What is more, it has to be stated in such a way that it can be tested. It does this by making predictions. For example, it makes predictions about the tree of vertebrate life. So, if bears were discovered to have existed before dinosaurs in the fossil record or to have branched of the DNA mutations tree before lizards, then the theory of evolution would have been proved false! They haven’t and don't.

Now to ID, or creationism for that matter, which don't make predictions, therefore, can't be tested, therefore, are not scientific theories. Your response to my flat fish example makes this clear. Anything is possible. So, AD makes no predictions, and therefore, unlike evolution or any other scientific theory can never be disproved.

Personally, I have no problem with people believing whatever they chose to believe, but un-testable explanations such as AD are not scientific theories. They are faith-based explanations, and as I stated earlier, I have no problem with them being taught as such.

Of course in the US, the separation of church and state, as currently interpreted, means that faith-based explanations can't be taught in the public schools. Hence the bogus attempt to characterize faith-based explanations as scientific theories, which unless they make testable predictions, they are not.

Nick Shelness, 2005-07-10

Thanks for the info. I guess time can only tell. As you alluded to the current interpretation of church and state, that's correct. It's a skewed interpretation. Just teaching ID or creationism would NOT necessarily mean that the government is ESTABLISHING a particular religion. Creationism is held among multiple religions (not just judeo-christian) to some extent or another. We have some crazy judicial activism going on over here and it's really not good for the system that our founding fathers gave us...

Again, thanks for the dialog.

Chris Whisonant, 2005-07-10

Thanks Nick, for taking so much time to explain the modus operandi of science. The faith-based approach is quite different: To conclusively dismiss an opponents claims, one merely needs to "reject" them. That is why I chose the title of this post.

Volker Weber, 2005-07-11

Here's just on example of evolution in action - Multiply Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This 'hospital superbug' has /evolved/ a resistance to several common anibiotic agents.

Mark Smith, 2005-07-11

I was musing the other day that perhaps the earth (was created / evolved) to produce humor for the rest of the universe. There is plenty of evidence, including this comment thread, to support my theory. Perhaps if we get enough people to agree we can get THAT taught in Kansas State schools?

As for any disagreement to my idea, let me say in advance that I think you're wrong so I'm not listening to you.

Brian Benz, 2005-07-11

Great weather. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2005-07-11

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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