Friday, March 31, 2006

Teenagers Being Arrogant - So What Else is New?

Today's Los Angeles Times has this vaguely annoying article. The subject is high school biology students parroting creationist talking points they don't understand and generally making obnoxious pests of themselves in the process:

Monday morning, Room 207: First day of a unit on the origins of life. Veteran biology teacher Al Frisby switches on the overhead projector and braces himself.

As his students rummage for their notebooks, Frisby introduces his central theme: Every creature on Earth has been shaped by random mutation and natural selection — in a word, by evolution.

The challenges begin at once.

“Isn't it true that mutations only make an animal weaker?” sophomore Chris Willett demands. “'Cause I was watching one time on CNN and they mutated monkeys to see if they could get one to become human and they couldn't.”

Frisby tries to explain that evolution takes millions of years, but Willett isn't listening. “I feel a tail growing!” he calls to his friends, drawing laughter.

Unruffled, Frisby puts up a transparency tracing the evolution of the whale, from its ancient origins as a hoofed land animal through two lumbering transitional species and finally into the sea. He's about to start on the fossil evidence when sophomore Jeff Paul interrupts: “How are you 100% sure that those bones belong to those animals? It could just be some deformed raccoon.”

From the back of the room, sophomore Melissa Brooks chimes in: “Those are real bones that someone actually found? You're not just making this up?”

Pretty standard stuff, these days. I know I should probably be angry at these kids, but mostly I just feel sorry for them. Consider this:

Two decades of political and legal maneuvering on evolution has spilled over into public schools, and biology teachers are struggling to respond. Loyal to the accounts they've learned in church, students are taking it upon themselves to wedge creationism into the classroom, sometimes with snide comments but also with sophisticated questions — and a fervent faith.

As sophomore Daniel Read put it: “I'm going to say as much about God as I can in school, even if the teachers can't.”

Or this:

Daniel Read, for instance, considers it his Christian duty to expose his classmates to the truths he finds in the Bible, starting with the six days of creation. It's his way, he said, of counterbalancing the textbook, which devotes three chapters to evolution but just one paragraph to creationism. A soft-spoken teen with shaggy hair and baggy pants, Daniel prepares carefully for his mission in this well-educated, affluent and conservative suburb of 28,000, just outside Kansas City, Mo. He studies DVDs distributed by Answers in Genesis, a “creation evangelism” ministry devoted to training children to question evolution.

Other students gather ammunition from sermons at church, or from the dozens of websites that criticize evolution as a God-denying sham. They interrupt lectures to expound on the inaccuracies of carbon dating; to disparage transitional fossils as frauds; to show photos of ancient footprints that they think prove humans and dinosaurs walked side by side.

How is it that these kids hear a preacher say something in church, and it never occurs to them that maybe the preacher doesn't know what he is talking about? When their science teacher tells them something that conflicts with what they hear in church, they not only assume the teacher is wrong but apparently feel the need to get snarky and obnoxious as well. Even for a teenager it's pretty arrogant to think they've already solved all the mysteries of existence.

I think the reason is that from a very young age they are told not simply the basic assertions of their religion, but also that the whole idea of questioning those assertions is dangerous and immoral. That sort of relentless indoctrination is very hard to shake off. And that's why I feel more sorry for them than angry at them. We're talking about kids who have no higher ambition in life than to parrot the ignorant talking points they receive from the frauds at Answers in Genesis. Kids who have been raised in an environment that praises blind obedience to undeserving authority figures, rather than open-mindedness and education. Kids who have no idea how to distinguish between reliable sources of information, and unreliable sources of information. These kids are victims of their parents' ingorance. And once you appreciate that, some of Richard Dawkins' more florid statements likening religious indoctrination of children to child abuse suddenly don't seem so unreasonable.

Of course, let's not go overboard with our sympathy. Victims they may be, but the fact remains that they are also snotty ignoramuses who don't know anything about anything. Ultimately, they have to be dealt with aggressively and contemptuously. For their own good. They have to have it explained to them in no uncertain terms that their preachers frequently don't know what they are talking about, and that science should be learned from scientists, not clerics. Sadly, it is unlikely that any public school teacher could both administer the requisite tongue-lashing and also hope to keep his job.

Anyway, the whole article is worth reading. But not if you're currently in a good mood.


At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Madam Pomfrey said...

There's also a whole megachurch subculture that frames this sort of obnoxious behavior as a type of "cutting-edge rebellion" that appeals to the teenage mentality. It's a clever way to get kids to think they're "fighting the system" when what they're actually doing is championing ignorance. And of course it's an adult-sanctioned way to mouth off at teachers.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, I don't think these kids are expressing blind obedience to authority--the teacher--I agree it's likely just another way to show disrespect and "get away with it." It sounds like the class needs a bit more discipline, like rewarding the smartasses with the opportunity to write additional essays supporting their contentions, or a quiz at the beginning of the next class to see if anyone listened the day before.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous wswilso said...

I would suggest that the best way to deal with this in the classroom would be to state the ground rule as follows:

The teacher reserves the option to take the challenge as a voluntary assumption of a research assignment: "Timmy, you have a week to present in front of the class for a grade your findings that there is any controversy that the *cetus fossils are any kind of raccoon or even any other carnivore. Failure to present your material will be an "F" for today's attendence. This is an example of how science works. Challenges must be backed up."

This might well minimize the number of cheap shots. And in a few cases mihgt result in some education in science

At 4:20 PM, Blogger John Adolfi said...

I grew up a catholic and I'll tell you what, my friends and their parents and my parents and the church did a poor job at telling us that we came from Adam and Eve.
Am I overreaching in my thinking that most kids are in the same situation as we were and that the reason they combat the evolution in school is that even in their colective untrained mind they still see through the fairy tale called evolution?

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous wswilso said...

even in their colective untrained mind they still see through the fairy tale called evolution?

Mr Adolfi, Please see the above post.

Yoour assignment is to make a short presentation of EVIDENCE that leads you to the assertion that evolution is a fairy tale. In the principle of no free passes and no grade inflation, please give us a few examples of FACTUAL data, physical evidence, fossils, genetic similarities etc that are better explained by biblical reation than descent with modification (Evolution).

Failure to do so will result in your receiving a grade of "F" for your contribution today and subject you to the embarassment of being perceived as an unthinking doctrinaire spokesman uncritically repeating received misinformation and misleading the uninformed.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, Mr. Adolfi, note that the scientist (wswilso) is the final judge on what constitutes scientific evidence in this science class.

[right, wsw?]


At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Joe Shelby said...

How about a research essay assignment? A 1,000 word essay, for or against evolutin (students choice). 5 points off for every *fact* that is verifiably wrong.

That'll see who's parrotting and who will risk their "faith" by double-checking against :)

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know... when I was in grade school (so many decades ago), I was taught evolution by NUNS, and we asked questions like that, and they were usually answered in such a way that urged us to not interpret the bible literally, but if any of us had ever DARED to ask questions like that in such an atgonistic manner, we'd have been summarily slapped across the knuckles with a steel ruler with "Because Sister Mary Darwin said so!" engraved across it.

Ohhhh, for the good old days...

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous wswilso said...

Anonymous (JM) said...

And, Mr. Adolfi, note that the scientist (wswilso) is the final judge on what constitutes scientific evidence in this science class.

[right, wsw?]

Not quite, I proposed that the presentation be made publically before the class. This would provide the opportunity to publically examine the attribution of all asserted facts. Appeals to authority, lack of atttribution, logical fallacies, etc. could be pointed out and discussed, providing a teaching opportunity. It would be clear for example that reference to some claim of Kent Hovind's that some other fossils were faked would be irrelevant to whether the *cetus fossils in this example were those of a malformed raccoon.

At 12:48 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

I'm inclined to agree with the kids in a way. I don't like their attitude, but the teacher is not selling the deal. There isn't much difference from this summary approach than the presentation used by their Sunday school teachers. Just take it on faith.

I think it would be better to go back to specifics, as Darwin did. Breeding for desirable traits by artificial selection is pretty hard to dispute and can be demonstrated graphically and with pictures. The concept of Deep Time can be illustrated in innumerable ways without making categorical statements. How did Darwin's contemporaries come to believe him? Many of them were hard core creationists to begin with.

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous atlheel said...

Ah, but for every school like this, you have the opposite. When I was an obnoxious teenager (not so long ago, really) in a rural public school (and conservative southern baptist church) I spent countless Sundays in youth group arguing evolutionary concepts with the leader and was fairly intolerant of my biology teacher's disclaimer prior to the bare-bones evolution section about how she really did love God and just because she taught this didn't mean otherwise. And certainly I'm not the only one who rebelled that way, hopefully causing at least a few classmates to think about what they'd been taught. Not all teenage smartass-ness is about ignorance.

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the advocates of Hanns Hoerbiger's Cosmic Ice Theory, who would heckle astronomers' meetings with

"Out with astronomical orthodoxy! Give us Hoerbiger!"

At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Daniel Read. The so called ignorant and so called disrespecting teen. First I will say that i feel i have been misrepresented. I am 16 years old and have been fallowing Christ since 7. I would like to say i dont just blindly follow my faith. I test everything I hear in the classroom and in church. My parants are even more open minded than most. My father is a ex-biology teacher and belives in evolution himself. For almost 2 years my parants stoped going to church but i continued. My faith is totaly my faith. I am very respectfull in class as to not offend anyone,but at the same time I am upfront about my faith. I hope I did not offend anyone with my comments and I hope some of you reconsider yours.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous darthWilliam said...

Daniel Read (if that is you),

Firstly, the article excerpt did not point you out as the obnoxious one, that was someone else, so relax.

You say you test everything you hear in church? I wonder how you do that? At least you read this blog site, which is a start. I suggest you read more material. Start with the links from this site and others like it. You've read what AiG says, now read what the scientific world says. Keep your mind open. Remember creationism is purely argument from authority, whereas science is based on real evidence, not what someone once wrote in a book.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Hi Daniel-

I'm glad to hear that you question the things you are told. But from the way the article describes you, it sounds like you have already made up your mind. According to the article, you rely on Answers in Genesis for your scientific information and prepare diligently for your role as an evangelist. Is that true?

If it is, I woud ask why you believe that AiG is a reliable source of information on this subject. I'm sure you're aware that the overwhelming majority of scientists regard groups like AiG as completely unreliable and blatantly dishonest. For my own part, I was a member of AiG for a couple of years and during that time I recieved Creation magazine and TJ. Virtually every page of every issue contained unambiguously false statements, and contained offensive charges against the integrity of scientists. If these are the people you are relying on, then I find it hard to believe that you are serious when you say you question everything. How much of the real thing have you exposed yourself to? Have you read any Stephen Jay Gould? Or Ken Miller? Or Douglas Futuyma? Or Richard Dawkins? When you see a particular scientific argument presented to you by AiG, do you go to websites like Talk Origins to get the other side? When you see a scientist quoted by Ken Ham or other creationists, do you consider the possibility that the quote is being presented inaccurately? Do you try to find the original source of the quote to see for yourself what the person really said?

Speaking personally, creationism seemed plausible to me before I started doing that.

I do not find anything offensive in the way you were presented in the article. I do find it a little sad, however, that as a 16 year old you feel so confident in your understanding of scientific issues that you spend your time diligently preparing for your role as an evangelist, rather than learning as much as you can about biology and the other subjects you are taught in school. I was a pretty cocky teenager myself, but even at that age I understood that what my science teachers were telling me was only the tip of a very large iceberg.

Of course, I am basing this on the way you are presented in the artice. If the article said things about you that are misleading or inaccurate, please let me know.

The obnoxious and ignorant part are those of your classmates who are intrerrupting lectures to talk about mutated monkeys or growing tails. The specific points they are making are simply foolish, and from the way it is described in the article they are being very disrespectful.

Since you describe your faith as your own, and not something foisted on you by your parents, I'd be curious to know why you find Christianity so compelling. You say you became a Christian when you were seven, but I'm willing to bet that most of the things you believed at that age have been left by the wayside.

Anyway, thank you for your comment.

At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first visit to this blog and I am not a scientist or theist. I am a bit intimidated by the intellectualism here. I have not done any deep investigation into this matter, but I do have an opinion and some questions.
First of all, the reason they call it the "Theory of Evolution" is that it is not complete. If there is some new evidence that can absolutely prove evolution, then please enlighten me. Can anyone explain the evolution of the eyeball for instance? Because there is so many gaps, it is difficult to proceed with such confidence as I have seen here. In regard to the Bible, it must be dealt with as with any ancient text. I read a post earlier where the measurement of pi was in controversy based on biblical text. The basic measurement from the bible was a cubit, which is not a precise form of measurement. It is based on the length of a man's forearm. There are gaps in the bible that can't be explained because the people who committed it to the written word are not the people who experienced most of what is in the bible. We all beleive what we beleive based on some sort of faith. In science we have to ask "Who calibrated the calibrating instruments". There is always room for truth and there is always room for error.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Jason said...


The term “theory of evolution” does not indicate some hole in our knowledge. In this context the term “theory” refers to an explanation that successfully accounts for a large number of observed facts. People also talk about atomic theory or Einstein's theory of relativity. The term theory in this sense actually indicates that the subject in question has actually reached a high level of development. As has been discussed many times at this blog and others, the term “theory” means something different in a scientific context than in an everyday context.

The evolution of the eye is actually not hard to explain, at least in principle. Of course, reconstructing the precise trajectory by which the eye evolved is difficult, but we certainly know enough to offer pretty detailed scenarios, consistent with everything we know about eyes, as to what the intermediate stages were. Richard Dawkins contains a readable chapter on this subject in Climbing Mount Improbable. The Talk Origins archive also has a lot of information on this subject.

As for the evidence for evolution, let me suggest that you enlighten yourself on that subject. You can start with Douglas Theobald's essay here.

The post about the Bible saying that pi equals three was a response to another blogger who claimed that it does not say that. I was simply pointing out that you have to twist the plain meaning of the text to make it not say that pi equals three. The point about cubits being an imprecise unit is not relevant, I"m afraid. Whatever units you are using, it is not possible to construct a circle that is x units in diameter and 3x units in circumference. As I said clearly at the time, I don't find this an especially important point (there are far better reasons for rejecting the idea that the Bible is the word of God).

There are, indeed, things in life that must be taken on faith. But not all leaps of faith are created equal. The leap of faith required to believe that the various extraordinary events described in the Bible actually occurred is far greater than the leap of faith required to accept that the fit between scientific theory and empirical data is telling us something true about the world.

Anyway, I'm glad you discovered my blog and hope you keep reading. Sorry about the intellectualism. :)

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey This is Daniel Read thanks 4 making me feel a little better. You still have said some mean things about Chris. he is one of my friends and he means well. I try to stay informed and i am a high school debater. To bake up my classmates Mr.Frisby said some things that were over the line in my oppinion and I let him know that. He said that there is this religon in south America that belives a peice of bamboo fell in the water and then tuched land and that was how man was created, some kids laught and then he said Why are you laughing thats just like creatonists. Man being made from dust. At this point I interupted and said from dust by God. Then i asked him how the big band happoned? he said from dust and gas. Anyway I am curantly going to two churches of 2 differnt denominatons and i have disagrements with both, but i put aside the differnces and say we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for pointing me toward Theobalds essay. I read that and Ashby Camps reply. What a great pissing match this is. Quite honestly, quite a bit of what was discussd was a bit beyond my training. I think I'll have to do a bit of remedial reading on the subject before I speak up again. For now, I will just read and learn.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Read I have found joy and peace in my faith and it is because of that that I have a obligation to share it with my class mates not to prove them wrong but to give hope to this broken world. I will never be able to prove 100% creation and you wont be able to prove 100% evolution, but i know 100% that God exist because i have experianced him. There is nothing that brings me more joy than leading someone to Christ. This is what we were made for to serve God and bring his love. This is why I will never pass up a opertunity to talk about God.Evolution cant do this.

At 4:45 PM, Blogger BeingHuman said...

Absolutely true. As a Grad Student I taught a biology class for non-majors. It is a confounding experience to hear that college students are willing to accept the parting of the Red Sea by Moses and yet unwilling to believe that carbon dating is accurate, or that animal breeds demonstrate selection.

The heart of the problem is a severe misunderstanding of natural selection (not random) and mutation (random). The reason for the success of anti-evolutionists is precisely because they do not allow others the opportunity to gain a sufficient understanding to make any decision for themselves.

At 8:50 PM, Anonymous CBBB said...

You know I always find it funny when creationists go after the Big-Bang theory. Like with evolution they seem to be under the impression that if they score a point against the big bang theory then that automatically counts as a point for creationism.
For instance I always see creationists use Fred Hoyle as a champion for their position because he was an opponent of the big-bang theory.
I wonder how these creationists would feel about Hoyle if they knew the cosmological model that he championed.

You see kids you can't just throw around vague criticisms of the big-bang theory and evolution and expect that to bolster your position. You need positive evidence for creationism. Of course there isn't any of that.

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Dierotao said...

I find some of your comments rather, shall I say curious. Now, first I'm more of a philosopher than a scientist (though at times there really is no difference). So, I wonder how it is you will write a whole post attacking students who make claims without evidence to back them up. For you say "the ignorant talking points they receive from the frauds at Answers in Genesis", yet you do not back this claim up with any evidence? Why? If I cannot criticize evolution without proper evidence, why can you criticize Answers in Genesis without presenting proper evidence?

Perhaps you simply presume that anyone who is part of a christian organization is not a scientist. Or rather, anyone who denies evolution, is not a scientist. That is convenient for you no doubt. By such logic I could say that anyone who believes in evolution is not a scientist, and thus you are not a scientist. But you would certianly disagree with that, as you have already pre-defined 'science' and 'scientist' as it suits you best. Yes, how convenient it is.

I haven't yet made a scientific claim, not have I stated my scientific position. I am simply arguing for logic. For if logic cannot be followed, how can debate be resolved?

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AiG's entire business is based on bogus claims. Everyone who reads this site on a regular basis knows the kinds of bogus claims AiG makes so there's no point in going over there's time after time.
Well if you want an example I'll give you a few hundred bad creationist (mainly from AiG) arguements:

No one is against questioning evolution but they should be intelligent, informed questions not the sort you usually hear creationists parrot.

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous CBBB said...

By the way no one claimed that being a creationist means you aren't a scientist but creastionism itself is an unscientific position since it is not based on evidence or experiementation but instead on religious beliefs. It explains nothing, can't be tested or falsified and makes no predictions.
So if you're a legitmate scientists who just happeneds to be a creationist it doesn't mean that you don't do good scientific work in your own field. On the other hand if your scientific "research" consists of writing propaganda pieces for AiG's website/magazine then you're not a scientist you're a pseudoscientist at best.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Jason said...


As reported in the article your friend Chris first demanded to know whether mutations always make animals weaker. You should let him know that the genetics textbooks are filled with examples of mutations that caused an animal to become better adapted to its environment. Furthermore, a large percentage of mutations are neutral with respect to their effect on the organism.

Leaving that aside, simple logic dictates that if mutation X is harmful to the organism, then the reverse mutation should be beneficial to the organism. So there is no way mutations can always be harmful. The fact is that every aspect of your physical body is under the influence of genes, and changes in genes can consequently alter any aspect of your physical make-up. Unless you believe that every animal is physically perfect in every way, you must accept that some mutations will be beneficial. Chris should also have enough respect for scientists to realize that if mutations are being presented as an important part of a major biological theory, things probably are not as simple as “mutations always make an animal weaker.”

Where did Chris get the idea that mutations are always harmful? One place he might have gotten it is from an outlet like AiG. Young-Earth groups routinely make such patently false statements, and this is why knowledgeable people hold them in such low regard.

The article then reports that Chris described something he saw on CNN about trying to mutate monkeys into human beings. I don't know what he actually saw, but I promise you it wasn't that. The image of scientists trying to transform monkeys into human beings by tinkering a bit with monkey genes is based on a caricature of evolutionary theory. The mere fact that he would ask such a question indicates that he doesn't really understand what evolution is.

Which would be fine if he were asking these questions out of a sincere desire to learn something new. But from the way it is descirbed in the article it sounds like he is more interested in playing gotcha with Mr. Frisby than in actually learning the basic facts of biology. That also matches my own experiences with people who ask such questions. Unless you tell me that the article is way off in its description of what Chris said or the tone with which he said it, I will stand by the harsh words I used in my original essay.

Concerning what Mr. Frisby said in class, I don't believe that teachers should take gratuitous swipes at people's religious beliefs. My feeling is that unless a student brings up the subject, the teacher should simply stick to the science. But if students start parroting silly talking points in an attempt to disrupt the class of score rhetorical points, which is what is described in the article, I think the teacher should politely but firmly put the students in their place. From the article's description, it sounds like that is what Mr. Frisby does.

And, incidentally, perhaps you could explain to me how the beliefs of the South American religion Mr. Frisby describes are any more groundless than the creation story in Genesis.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Jason said...


Surely you jest. The emptiness of AiG's rhetoric has been documented so many times both at this blog and in other places, that it is no longer something that must be proved every time.

And I was not attacking students for making claims without evidence. I attacked them for being obnoxious in class and thinking they know something about a major scientific subject when it is plain that they don't.

And even if it were true that I were attacking people for doing something that I do myself, that still wouldn't be a logical fallacy. That would be hypocrisy.

As for your other statements about who is a scientist and who is not, I can only say I have no idea where you got any of that from what I wrote.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Dierotao said...

Regarding my statements about "who is a scientist and who is not". It seemed to me when you skipped from a statement of "He studies DVDs distributed by Answers in Genesis", to a comment about that statement of "these kids hear a preacher say something in church", then you were claiming these terms are synonymous. And then you say "When their science teacher tells them something that conflicts with what they hear in church, they...assume the teacher is wrong". You are associating all of AIG with church preachers. As you provided no evidence for your claim, I concluded you were deeming "that anyone who is part of a christian organization is not a scientist". Perhaps I was mistaken though.

Regarding your (jason) statement that "simple logic dictates that if mutation X is harmful to the organism, then the reverse mutation should be beneficial to the organism. So there is no way mutations can always be harmful". Although I again do not consider myself much of a scientist, I must question this logic. For a harmful mutation to occur, some piece of genetic information would simply need be damaged or eliminated. Yet for the same mutation to be positive, genetic information would need to be altered or added. Now perhaps this genetic information can be altered or added, that is not what I am arguing. But to say that the existance of a negetive mutation necessitates the existance of a conversly positive mutation, as you stated it, seems have little relation to science. Such logic is fine in theory, but it does not take into account the reality of the subject it attempts to clarify. Perhaps I am simply mistaken in my understanding of genetics.

I also appreciated the link to TalkOrigins. Although I have briefly visited the site before, I had no idea such an extensive archive had been built. If I can not find the answers I seek there, I hope I may return here.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey its Daniel Read Chris said that he was mis-quoted and thats not what he said. Mr. Frisby today said he didnt hear any of the rude things said. But was shocked by what he read in the article. And I would like to say I dont just study AIG. And I dont agree with everything one person says. But I have my own belifes. And all are Biblical. I study alot of Charles Ryrie, but once again dont agree with all of his theology

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

For a harmful mutation to occur, some piece of genetic information would simply need be damaged or eliminated. Yet for the same mutation to be positive, genetic information would need to be altered or added.

Alteration is easy.

And while the unquoted part of your argument would be valid if most mutations were deletions...
... the fact is, most mutations are point mutations, where one nucleotide matches with the wrong one, so a single one of the GTAC characters in the DNA string got changed to a different one.

Those are easily "reversible".

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Jason said...


Thanks for the information. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a newspaper reporter got important details wrong.

And I'm glad you don't just study AiG. Now if I could just persuade you to not waste your time on them at all, I'll be happy. :)

At 5:04 PM, Anonymous CBBB said...

Come on Jason, I read AiG from time to time for the laughs. Definitely one of the top comedy sites on the web.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its Daniel see like I said so harsh on AIG. You act like there is nothing wrong with evolution. With every pasing day you find a mistake with somthing. In class today we did a evolution worksheet and there was alot of diferences from then to now.

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was 19 years old

At 10:44 PM, Anonymous CBBB said...

Well I can't speak for your school's educational resources but I can say that like all scientific fields evolution is not complete. We do not have even close to complete knowledge of how every organism and biological feature evolved and we may very well never have that knowledge.

There is still a huge amount of debate about various parts of evolutionary biology however you need to recognize the difference between the legitiment scientific questions about evolution and the crap AiG peddles.

The scientific debate over evolution focuses on the "how" aspect of the theory, but the pieces you learn in high school are almost certainly the mainstream parts which are not going to change.

What I mean is this:

Common Descent is a fact, it has been conclusively proven by a wide range of discoveries in anthropology, anatomy, and genetics. This is solid and there is no serious evidence which casts doubt on this.

In addition AiG likes to peddle garbage about other scientific fields, namely geology and physics.

I'm sorry but it is a WELL established fact that:
the universe is billions and billions of years old (it's currently estimated to be around 14 billion years old) and the earth is around 4.5 billion years old. This is also solid, no serious scientist believes the earth is 6000 years old.

Also the Grand Canyon was not carved out by a giant flood which covered the whole earth a few thousand years ago. That is nonsense.

But this is the kind of stuff AiG wants you to believe is legitment. You say that scientists are always finding "mistakes" in evolution; like I said it's true that our knowledge is far from complete but the things that AiG wants to paint as "controversial"; common descent, modern geology, the age of the universe, etc. simply aren't.

AiG is still fighting the scientific battles of the 18th and 19th Centuries while the rest of the world has moved on.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Jason said...


If you'd like to suggest specific “mistakes” or inadequacies that you find in conventional evolutionary theory, I'd be happy to address them in future blog entries.

As for AiG: Yes, I'm very hard on them. I've read virtually all of Ken Ham's books, I subscribed to their magazines for several years, I have attended several conferences that they have organized, and I have read much of the material they post on the Web. Based on this experience, I can say with some confidence that every single major scientific assertion they make is utterly false. Every single one. Worse than that, much of what they say is blatantly dishonest (for exmaple, they routinely quote scientists out of context or misrepresent the findings in published scientific research).

Until you've spent some time studying the real thing, you can't imagine what a pathetic, ignorant version of science groups like AiG are feeding you. One of the resons I'm so passionate about this subject today is that there was a time when I found the anti-evolution arguments of groups like AiG or ICR to be comvincing. I now realize that I thought that only because at that time I didn't really understand anything about biology. Having spent a great deal of time comapring the way AiG presents evolution eith the way actual scientists present the subject, I am now angry at AiG for having lied to me for all those years.

Incidentally, note that my opinion of AiG has nothing to do with the soundness of evolution. Even if future discoveries reveal that evolution as we know it is total nonsense (I doubt that will happen), it will still be true that AiG is feeding you a lot of nonsense.

Anyway, if there are specific things you've read in AiG literature that strike you as especially compelling, perhaps you could let me know what they are. They might be worth addressing in future blog entries.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey its Daniel. I was doning my bio homework last night and I read somthing completly unbelivable. My bio book says this New world Monkeys evolved 30 to 35 million years ago when ancestral anthropoids from Africa successfully crossed the ATLANTIC OCEAN to South America, scientists speculate that they did so by rafting. I kid you Not that is what it says. This is crazier than anything from AIG What in the world

At 8:50 PM, Anonymous CBBB said...

I doubt anyone thinks that apes crossed the sea on rafts. I can't find anything about that. Here's a wikipedia article about the split of Old World/New World apes.

Also even if scientists believed that it would only be AS crazy as something on AIG not crazier.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Doppelganger said...

It should be noted that AiG calls itself a "ministry", so it should be clear that science is low on the priority list of those folks. They are more interested in apologetics and 'soul saving' than transmitting the truth about evolution.
The shoddiness of the schiolarship of the more prolific AiG authors (Sarfati, Wieland, etc. ) are good evidence of that. If Dierotao needs 'evidence' of that, I can easily provide an example.

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I had an Obnoxious Science Teacher that tried to promote Atheism, and worked out of his way to disprove Religion in general.

What's your point?

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the evolution of SPECIES has taken place over millions of years - or even 100's of thousands of years - where are all the countless numbers of intermediate fossils showing the gradual changes?

The paucity of such fossils such as that for a whale developing from a hoofed animal (which is what earlier has been suggested) makes the theory a very weak one at best. How does one answer this? Darwin himself voiced his doubts because of this, did he not?

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These kids need to study more.

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