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Passions in Poetry

Microevolution and Homer Simpson

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Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

0 posted 03-02-2004 08:35 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Humanity seemed to have won the battle against many diseases and viruses by using various drug treatments in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, however, it appears instead that we may have inadvertently toughened the battle. According to evolutionist Kenneth Miller, “the culprit is evolution” (1999, p. 50). Evolutionists frequently use this idea of the “rapid evolution” of microorganisms as “observed proof ” for evolution. Their claim is that drug-resistant strains of many types of such organisms have evolved from strains that, at one time, were susceptible to these same drug treatments. Scientists would have us believe that microorganisms are “selectively” adapting to our drug treatments through a mechanism that involves genetic mutations. However, studies indicate an alternative explanation for this acquired immunity—one that argues against organic evolution.

Do microorganisms change over time? Yes. Are they purposefully “evolving”? No. First, the genetic mutations responsible for antibiotic resistance in bacteria do not arise as a result of the “need” of the organisms to develop such resistance.

Quickly, I've tried to pin down the mistake here. If you don't see it, or if you don't think I've got it pinned down yet, let me know. I'll try again.

They end the article or almost end the article with this:

In his concluding remarks in his article in the July 29, 2002 issue of U.S. News & World Report, Thomas Hayden pointed out:

The evidence against evolution amounts to little more than “I can’t imagine it,” Ewald adds. “That’s not evidence. That’s just giving up.” (p. 50).

Give up? Hardly! Mr. Hayden has thrown down the gauntlet. And we will not hesitate to pick it up! He has drawn the line in the sand. And we will not hesitate to cross it.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Homer lines (in the parody of Behind the Music):

"I just want to set the record straight: I thought the cop was a prostitute." [knowing nod]
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart

1 posted 03-02-2004 10:23 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

You are so charming.  

I will pick up the gauntlet tomorrow, as I am exhausted and having been up since 2:00 a.m., know better than to wait for my slow machine to pick up what my much faster office comp can pick up tomorrow....

but IF on the OFF chance I am picking up the gist from what I have read from your immediate quotes and such, and understand that the concept of this piece is that evolution is "picking up" faster...I would have to agree....

especially if you have looked over the last 200 years in fashionable dress of humans, alone!  We've gone to the ridiculous, much too quickly.  Considering all that had been before us.

I'll be download, read, and chuckle over the responses yet to come.

Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia

2 posted 03-02-2004 11:55 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Um, Brad... didn't they just flat out cede thier own argument?

Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

3 posted 03-09-2004 08:07 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know what they were trying to do. I've just finished Henry Gee's book Deep Time,c. 2000, an author they quote here:

Henry Gee, the chief science writer for Nature, confirmed that point in his 1999 book, In Search of Deep Time, when he admitted:

We know that it is impossible when confronted with a fossil, to be certain whether it is your ancestor, or the ancestor of anything else, even another fossil. We also know that adaptive scenarios are simply justifications for particular arrangements of fossils made after the fact, and which rely for their justification on authority rather than on testable hypotheses (p. 127).

Obviously, there are some minor quibbles here over dates and titles, nothing too horrible, but it might have been prudent to mention that Gees fully accepts evolution and descent from a common ancestor (These are the assumptions for cladistics). Gees isn't going after evolution, he's going after the evolutionary strawman linear descent. That is, he's not saying there are no transitional fossils, he's saying it's the wrong question to ask when we look at fossils. He says:

Cladistics, because it assumes less about the evidence, reveals a great deal more."
p. 243

--a line he apparently stole from Mark Norell.

Can we chalk it up to exuberance? Or a need to go after a journalistic approach to evolution?  I don't know. In the section on archaeopteryx, the dinosaur bird, they are right to question whether Archy was in fact a direct descendant, but describe it this way:  

According to paleontologists, the available fossils of Archaeopteryx reveal that it was a crow-sized animal that may have been able to fly, but probably not very far. Archaeopteryx had a wingspan of about 1.5 feet, was approximately 1 foot long from beak to tail, and likely weighed around 11 to 18 ounces.

Archy doesn't have a beak, it has a jaw with teeth.
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002

4 posted 03-10-2004 02:55 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I see you like a little light reading in your spare time, Brad.

I'm glad Archy isn't around anymore! Who needs flying creatures with teeth and jaws?!!!! That would have added a whole new dimension to the movie The Birds, wouldn't it?!!
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash

5 posted 03-11-2004 04:38 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder


I'm curious about your thoughts on the new Ohio evolution science curriculum just approved in that State:

After six hours of testimony, the board voted 13-5 in favor of "Critical Analysis of Evolution," an optional set of lessons for schools to use in teaching science for a new graduation test.

Critics say the lessons contain elements of a theory called intelligent design, which states a higher power must have been involved in the creation of life.

"I am convinced this is a religious effort cloaked as science," said board member Robin Hovis.

At issue is 22 pages out of more than 500 that schools can use to teach new science standards approved last year for all grades. No student will be tested on intelligent design, said board president Jennifer Sheets.

The vote was applauded by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which supports scientists studying intelligent design theory, and says states should teach both evolution and scientific criticism of evolutionary theory.

What harm is there in teaching students that there is more than one theory out there and giving them to tools to critically analyze the two theories on their respective merits?

Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA

6 posted 03-11-2004 05:56 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

I know this is off-topic, but-

Jim, there really is no harm, other than that surely some teachers will choose to emphasize one theory over the other (believe me, I know... i'm a product of the OH educational system) possibly just confusing already confused kids more?

If done right, I think it's an excellent idea. But it won't be done right.
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

7 posted 03-11-2004 06:42 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't have any problems with teaching two theories. I don't have any problems with a biology teacher saying that not everyone accepts the theory of evolution. But then again, I don't have a problem with teaching religion in public schools -- it's there anyway, why pretend it's not?

Abiogenesis is a perfect example where alternate theories should be presented because there is no general consensus on how it happened. Certainly, Panspermia should at least be mentioned though, technically speaking, it's not a theory about how life originated from non-life, it's a theory of how life appeared on Earth. Life from non-life still had to occur somewhere else, so it's more a matter of evading the question.

But what is the alternate theory that you mention?

Intelligent Design Theory does not describe an alternate mechanism for the diversity of life, past or present. Its basic argument is not scientific. By scientific, I mean an explanation, an understanding of wholes in terms of their parts (as opposed to, say, an explanation by analogy). IDT argues that the very possibility of an explanation in this way is unsatisfactory for the diversity of life but their solution to the problem, a Designer, is not a scientific answer to the question.

Now, in the real world, we mix up reductionist and analogical explanations all the time (even in science), but the problem here is that IDT offers no reductionist explanation, it offers nothing more than the analogy, "biology is to the Designer as the watch to the watchmaker" without offering an explanation of how the watch was made.

Still, if the introduction of IDT motivates students to look at the issues seriously, I'm all for it. My concern is pedagogical, not ideological*, when it comes to education. My hunch, however, is that it will be yet another way to shut down critical thinking. I can see no particular philosophical reason for why saying, "God did it," shuts down the next question, "How did God do it?" but that's what seems to happen.

*Some might bristle at my use of this term. But the distinction I'm making here is between scientific and non-scientific modes of explanation, not between truth and speculation.

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