Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


H.P. Lovecraft, Darwinism’s Visionary Storyteller

posted by David Klinghoffer
Picture a majestic T. rex receiving the tablets of the Ten Commandments in its undersized forelimbs, or an elegant octopus crucified on an old rugged cross with four crossbars instead of one.
Such images are what Kenneth Miller presumably has in mind with his comforting Darwinist thought that intelligent creatures were guaranteed to pop up even in the course of an evolutionary process of purely unguided, purposeless churning. You see, he tells us, evolution was bound to “converge” (as theorized by Simon Conway Morris) not necessarily on a human being but on — well, as Miller has said, it could have been “a big-brained dinosaur, or… a mollusk with exceptional mental capabilities.” Just for fun, let’s grant the scientific merit of “convergence” — though many Darwinists, in fact, do not. My argument here is not with Miller’s science but with his imagination.
A Roman Catholic and a Brown University biologist, Ken Miller is one of those theistic evolutionists who want other religious believers to feel there’s nothing in Darwin to offend religious sensibilities. He and others (such as Obama’s favorite geneticistFrancis Collins) invite us to imagine God being delighted with such creatures, noble and impressive in their way, as the culmination of the evolutionary process that He chose not to guide. But what if the intelligent creature that resulted from all the purposeless churning, and that was intended to reflect God’s own image, had been something really horrible.
That’s the scenario that an author I enjoy, a committed Darwinist and atheist — H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) — allows us to contemplate. In his terrifically imaginative horror stories, most set in a spooky, antiquated New England, the great theme is that humanity is but a tiny, unimportant speck in an unimaginably vast universe that has cast up innumerable varieties of extraterrestrial beings, some of which have colonized our planet. Darwinists love him. If you follow PZ Myers’s blog, you’ll know PZ linked the other day to an “Unholy Bible” — Holy Scriptures tweaked along Lovecraftian lines (Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning Cthulhu created R’lyeh and the earth”). 
Many of Lovecraft’s creatures are so repellent that when a human being encounters them, he’s as likely as not to die right there on the spot from the sheer terror. Here’s a description of one, depicted in the form of a little statue at the beginning of “The Call of Cthulhu”:

It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. Behind the figure was a vague suggestion of a Cyclopean architectural background.

“Shockingly frightful”! Lovecraft writes in the opening paragraph of the same story:

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

In his biography H.P. Lovecraft: A Life (Necronomicon Press), leading Lovecraft maven S.T. Joshi gives Darwin, Huxley, and Haeckel as Lovecraft’s “chief philosophical influences.” His reading went back to the Greek philosophers Democritus and Epicurus, but he got his Darwinism primarily by way of the English science and philosophy popularizer Hugh Elliot and from Darwin’s foremost German disciple, Ernst Haeckel.
From Elliot, Lovecraft absorbed “the denial of teleology,” of cosmic progress toward any particular goal, and “the denial of any form of existence other than those envisaged by physics and chemistry.” Darwin was important for having refuted the “argument for design,” thereby guaranteeing man’s “comic insignificance.” 
Play the videotape of evolutionary history back again and Ken Miller imagines you get a charming brainy creature for God to play with — something lovable and admirable. Lovecraft would have seen that as sentimental nonsense. 
In a universe unguided by the intelligent purpose of a just, loving God, there’s no reason to imagine that the intelligent creature or creatures that resulted from the endless churning would be nice, cute, or noble. The probability seems reasonably high — why not? — that they would be grotesque, obnoxious, loathsome, abhorrent, ghastly. Those are all, by the way, favorite adjectives with Lovecraft. He was big on adjectives, deploying them extravagantly. His fiction, over and over, asks us to consider the possibility that the university is filled with such horrors: “terrifying vistas of reality.”
Here is his description of a shoggoth, another monster in his Cthulhu mythos (from “At the Mountains of Madness”):
It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train – a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.
They were the hellish tracks of the living fungi from Yuggoth,” is a characteristic Lovecraftian sentence (“The Whisperer in Darkness”).
In his Introduction to The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Classics), S.T. Joshi reminds us that Lovecraft has to be appreciated “in the context of the philosophical thought that he evolved over a lifetime of study and observation. The core of that thought…is mechanistic materialism.” Lovecraft dealt not with the supernatural but with the “supernormal,” as Joshi puts it — the unrealized side of material reality. The terrible possibilities he raises follow from that philosophy. 
Sure, they’re just stories — and often kind of silly ones at that, though wickedly entertaining. Yet after reading him, you can’t comfortably go back to the naïve Ken Miller way of thinking that Darwinian evolutionary was somehow certain to provide God with children over whom He would approve with the Biblical formulation, “And behold it was very good.”


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Glen Davidson

posted July 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm


Imagine another horror, people so worried about their religious preconceptions that they have to attack working science at every turn, even wanting to demand that bogus theologically-inspired “weaknesses” of the working theory to be taught in classes where genuine science is the only legitimate curricula requirement.
How would anyone do science if such nonsense were to succeed? True, the proponents of this bogosity would be thrilled, but children would be misled, science brought into disrepute, and the wedge of theocracy would be in place to potentially demand that far more theologically-inspired nonsense become official policy.
That’s what freedom lovers fear. I’m sure that science may worry many theists whose concerns remain parochial. I just wonder why this is supposed to stray into the realm of policy.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Turmarion

posted July 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm


David: Sure, they’re just stories
Whereby you invalidate the entire post.
As to God’s image: Do you believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligent life? If not, why not? But if so, why couldn’t such life be like a T. rex or an intelligent reptile, or a squid? If it were intelligent, would it not be as much in the image of God as we are? It is a real possibility (not probability, but possibility) that some cetaceans (dolphins and whales) may have human-level (though very different) intelligence. If this is so, are they not in God’s image? Or (assuming you believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligences) would they have to be humanoid?
Really, Judaism of all religions is most emphatic that God has no body or form, no physical aspect at all. To say that being “in God’s image” somehow limits intelligence to the physical form of Homo sapiens is ridiculous in the extreme. And the way you speak of “purely unguided, purposeless churning” it shows that you are unwilling to engage the philosophical issues entailed by randomness and how God works His will through what seems to us to be “purely unguided, purposeless churning”.
I’ve pretty much given up expecting you to speak to these issues or address these questions, but most of us would take you a little more seriously if you did. You seemed to have plenty of time to comment on the Dan Savage thread, so time seems not to be the issue. I’m not talking the science here, but the philosophy. WellW



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JPL

posted July 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm


I normally don’t bother speaking here, since you’re clearly not open to reason on most topics, but this post was just too ridiculous.
“In a universe unguided by the intelligent purpose of a just, loving God, there’s no reason to imagine that the intelligent creature or creatures that resulted from the endless churning would be nice, cute, or noble. The probability seems reasonably high — why not? — that they would be grotesque, obnoxious, loathsome, abhorrent, ghastly.”
By what standards would you apply those adjectives? Of course, to us Cthulhu, with his tentacles and such, would appear grotesque and abhorrent. However, to such a being, WE would doubtless prove to appear the same.
Obviously there is no particular cosmic standard of beauty between squid and man, snake and bird, dolphin and planaria. Even within traditional theology, beauty remains a subjective concept in the eye of the beholder, at least at the physical level.
As for the non-physical, of course Cthulhu would seem abhorrent to us…he is opposed to our very existence. (Although honestly, he’s simply indifferent to it…man matters not to the Great Old Ones, just as ants matter little to man.) Of course, you can rest assured that to animals in factory farms, or deer on the run from hunters, we too seem terrifying and abhorrent. This is nothing more than a matter of perspective.
Perhaps there is room for discussion and debate concerning evolution, intelligent design, et. al. But the idea that the specific physical form of man as a bipedal hominid somehow reflects perfect beauty, and the likeness of God, requires the most facile and thoughtless reading of Scripture imaginable.
Clearly, in whatever sense man is “made in the image of God”, it’s not in that we LOOK like him physically. God has no physical attributes whatsoever. To suggest otherwise is idolatry. And a being without physical attributes can obvious NOT bear a physical resemblance to one who does. To assume this position presents a level of intellectual grasp that mighty Cthulhu himself would find…well…abhorrent.
Brought to you by the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu. Are you tired of choosing the lesser of two evils? Vote Cthulhu for President in 2012.



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freelunch

posted July 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm


David, the only possible conclusion I can draw from this post is that you think that intelligent design creationism is completely foolish and that you are mocking it while collecting money from the DI.



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Your Name

posted July 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm


I get really, really annoyed whenever I see the name Haeckel, because I teach high school biology, and five of the seven textbooks provided by my school contain copies of Haekel’s faked embryonic drawings, all of them published within the last twenty years. All of them written by PhD’s. So I’ve seen the proof with my own eyes of scientist perpetrating a fraud on the public.



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Lawrence Gage

posted July 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm


Read Erwin Straus’s “Upright Posture.” One can always claim that his insights are completely arbitrary, but I think he makes a good case for the unity of form and function in the wholeness of the human body. Such an integrity would seem to be a measure of goodness.
How Cthulhu or the other denizen’s of Lovecraft’s imagination would similarly measure up is another question….
LG



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freelunch

posted July 10, 2009 at 10:10 pm


High School biology textbooks may have the name of a professor on them, but the editors and the demands of the Texas School Board butcher those books as much as David butchers science. Still, if you would name names, we could put some pressure on the publishers to clean up their acts.



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Olorin

posted July 10, 2009 at 11:36 pm


(Everyone Knows) Yourname: “I get really, really annoyed whenever I see the name Haeckel, because I teach high school biology, and five of the seven textbooks provided by my school contain copies of Haekel’s faked embryonic drawings, all of them published within the last twenty years.”
HGere’s a little test: With your knowledge of biology, identify how many and which ones of Haeckel’s drawings in the textbooks were faked. Remember that all of his drawings are so close to being correct that the fakery was not detected right away, and then only because of extrinsic facts about the drawings, not from comparisons with actual embryos.



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Turmarion

posted July 11, 2009 at 12:10 am


JPL: Great post! I second it!
Lawrence: Isn’t there a “unity of form and function in the wholeness of the body” of a squid, a dolphin, or a dinosaur? From a strictly scientific perspective, until and unless we encounter other unquestionably intelligent species, we have no way of knowing whether there is anything essential about humanoid form or not. It would be like trying to deduce what the “typical” automobile is like if the only one you’ve ever encountered was a ’67 VW Beetle. You’d think that of course cars must have their trunks in the front!
Theologically, unless you think God really is a huge, bearded man in the sky (which with the possible exception of Mormons no monothesistic religions do), then He can perfectly well create in His image any kind of being, right? Can’t He do whatever He feels like?
By the way, David, once more you’re proving my point. Don’t bring up philosophical or metaphysical issues if you’re not willing to discuss and defend them.



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Charles Cosimano

posted July 11, 2009 at 3:32 am


Of course, as Darwin was right, all the rest is purely academic.



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Olorin

posted July 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm


chaldean periphrast: “A petition to David Klinghoffer from posters to this blog: FOLLOW GOV. PALIN’S EXAMPLE”
Add my name to your petition, Aramean Auxiliary.
This blog series advertises as “recovering the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible.” This post doesn’t even mention that subject. Most of the posts are merely vehicles for the author’s personal vendettas and pseudoscience. Even where the Bible—or at least the Kabbalah—is somehow involved, as in “Whose Signature is in the Cell,” the content is hijacked to serve another purpose.
But your petition will be feckless. Klinghoffer’s vocation is Commentating, and Commentators live to hear their heads roar.



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Elf Sternberg

posted July 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm


Klinghoffer misses a critical point in Lovecraft’s stories: None of the species that humanity encounters in his works believes– to the extent that we can grasp– that other members of any given species are “loathesome” the way humanity perceives them.
That’s understandable and completely logical. Human beings don’t find other human beings “loathesome.” We need each other to survive; tribes distribute risk while also rewarding individual success, so evolving a social, tribal sensibility is an inevitable outcome of conscious creatures seeking success and mitigated risk. The same is true of Lovecraft’s creatures: Shoggoths associate with shoggoths, dagon associate with dagon, and humans associate with humans.
We find some other species loathesome. And we should: they are a danger to us. Stinging wasps, poisonous oozing molds. If there are beings elsewhere in this unimaginably vast universe– and it is sheer hubris to believe that all that wasted space is just for us– they didn’t evolve to support our existence, so we have not evolved to find them pleasing. Unless we are very lucky, they will exemplify, at least viscerally, loathesome.



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Dennis

posted July 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm


Arguments about evolution and the existence of God are pointless and silly. God is an idea, a concept, a construct that has changed over time (see Karen Armstrong’s A History fo God). “God” is best understood as a linguistic element that is used in various social practices and institutions. Theology is the study of the use of this God language. An idea can not be destroyed by science any more than the idea of “checkmate” is threatened by rational inquiry. We can all agree that God exists at least as a human idea. To assert that something out there exists that corresponds to this idea is an unprovable act of faith. Lets’ not fight over that and our varieties of God games. What is fundenemtally important is to act with empathy,compassion, and respect–or we will continue to kill each other over linguistic nonsense.



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Michael Neville

posted July 11, 2009 at 5:47 pm


Let me see if I’ve got this right. Because a Catholic biologist is an evolutionist and a deceased writer of horror stories was an evolutionists, evolution goes against God.
Klinghoffer, does your mommy know that you’ve got access to a computer?



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jdg

posted July 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm


Kavid K. why believe in superstitious nonsense?? Accept evolution, it is a fact!! Without it society would of have the breakthrough science applications that we have. I don’t understand that you can believe in this.



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jdg

posted July 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm


I meant David K., the author of this web. Sorry.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 11, 2009 at 7:09 pm


First David lies about Hitler, calling him a Darwinist. I can see the point; Hitler was guilty of horrifying crimes and tarring Darwin by association is a tactic worth trying.
But H. P. Lovecraft was a pulp fiction writer who has been dead for over fifty years, and the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t even know his name. (I’ve got four or five Lovecraft collections at home). What is the point of trying to tar HIM to Darwin?



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Sophist

posted July 11, 2009 at 7:31 pm


In a universe unguided by the intelligent purpose of a just, loving God, there’s no reason to imagine that the intelligent creature or creatures that resulted from the endless churning would be nice, cute, or noble. The probability seems reasonably high — why not? — that they would be grotesque, obnoxious, loathsome, abhorrent, ghastly.

Some might argue that this has already happened. See, for instance, Auschwitz, The Killing Fields of Cambodia, the Spanish Inquisition, “honor” killing, etc, etc, etc. How is this nice, cute or noble?
You are biased in favor of your species. It’s no biggie–so am I, and so is almost everyone else. Humans like the way other humans because, if they didn’t, there probably wouldn’t be many little humans made to replace them when they died–we appreciate the human form because we are human. Similarly, a Lovcraftian horror would no doubt be attracted to the way the ichor dripping down a potential mate’s carapace glistened in the sun. Beauty, as the old saw goes, is in the eye of the beholder. There is nothing inherantly good about the way we look, and nothing inherantly bad about the way the mass of tentacles and claws and poison spines that you envision as a potential alternative to us might look. As long as it has the capacity to think, to contemplate, to make moral choices, then there in no reason why G_d would not “behold it was very good”. The only reason you think otherwise is anthopocentic chauvinism.



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Alex

posted July 11, 2009 at 7:38 pm


This is the first time I’ve read one of your posts.
If specious reasoning were an olympic sport, then the gold medal would certainly be yours.



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Sophist

posted July 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm


I mean, really. Your entire argument here essentially boils down to “but evolution might make something ugly, and G_d would never be cool with that!” Because Jesus never hung out with the crippled and the lepers and the prostitutes and all the members of society that weren’t considered “nice, cute or noble”.
I mean, what’s the underlying message here? If you’re ugly enough, G_d won’t love you? And you’re giving Francis Collins crap for having sketchy theology? That, my friend, is chutzpah.



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Natasha Yar-Routh

posted July 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm


Uh was there a real point to Klinghoffer’s ramblings? I mean other than living in a Lovcraftian universe could be dangerous? Just pathetic.



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James

posted July 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm


This is many kinds of deluded. Breathtaking inanity, my friend.



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Mike McCants

posted July 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm


“”Yet after reading him, you can’t comfortably go back to the naïve Ken Miller way of thinking that Darwinian evolutionary was somehow certain to provide God with children over whom He would approve with the Biblical formulation, “And behold it was very good.”"
Correct. So one obvious conclusion would be that there is no such “god”.



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Paulino

posted July 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm


“the intelligent creature or creatures that resulted from the endless churning would be nice, cute, or noble”
To which intelligent creature are you alluding?
Certainly not Homo sapiens! Elephants, perhaps, but NOT humankind!



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Mikev6

posted July 11, 2009 at 11:49 pm


The Marketing Overlords at the Discovery Institute have spoken,
demanding that David produce yet another blog post “revealing”
a negative aspect of Evolution – no matter how tenuous and silly
that connection may be. I can only assume that David, desperate
to please his masters, looked around his office and chose a volume
by Lovecraft as his inspiration for this bit of fluff, hoping to avoid their wrath and his personal destruction.
I find other blogs instructive; this one is really only good as a drinking
game, and a poor one at that.



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Graham

posted July 12, 2009 at 1:02 am


Is there a point to all that?



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Kevin Alber

posted July 12, 2009 at 4:43 am


Well i got ‘monstered’ in a Lovecraft film ‘The Unnamable Returns’, and i can assure you Lovecraft’s creatures are smart, purposeful, scary and deliberate, and won’t wait for you to give an explanation why they shouldn’t monster you. Meet them and beware.
Prurient sidebar – our monster was played under all those prosthetics and latex by Julie Strain, the Penthouse Pet of the Year. And she actually got the part because she was the best at bringing this creature to life – also didn’t hurt she was over 6 feet tall and twiggy at that and didn’t mind six hours in the makeup chair. So you never know what’s underneath all that ‘skin’. Kind of a metaphor for this topic.
This argument that science and religion are at odds is ridiculous. t’s the same thing, just different languages, as referenced in the mysticism/intelligent design post. Sephir Yetzirah – 22 Hebrew letters = amino acids is not fancy talk, one of my kabbalah partners who is a PhD scientist has had years of DARPA grants regarding this. The Pentagon uses the Torah/Bible Code. It’s real.
Science uncovers/discovers what already is.
Evolution is in the Bible, things evolve – the story of Israel evolved.
That said, “Let Us (elohim) make man (Adam) in our image” is not a wishy-washy statement. It is quite precise. ‘Let man have dominion over the earth’ is not let dolphins or octopi or spiders or snakes have dominion — and you’d be hard pressed to not take notice of who has dominion over the earth – it’s us – maybe people don’t want to accept this responsibility as it is a large one for sure. But it is. And doesn’t diminish Yah’s being in dolphins or octopi – it just states what is – we got gifted a little more than the rest and that is a Big Gift – that we’re all related is in all our DNA and we know that too, so we should be more connected and sharp – question is what will we do with it?
And while no doubt things evolved (anyone ever read Job Ch 39 on? – Yah talks about the previous earth age and dinosaurs – great behemoth with the tail the size of a cedar tree – only one fits that, a dinosaur)- there are no half monkeys/half humans like in the Geico insurance ads. They’re not there. If things were constantly evolving at that cross/new-species level like Darwin hypothesized then you’d have hybrids all over the place, and we don’t. And Darwin believed in God – he was trying to crack the mystery, and he got pretty far.
Genesis 1 says Elohim created the heavens and the earth. Period.
It’s a first sentence – it doesn’t say how long ago, and it doesn’t say when. Genesis then goes into the re-creation of this earth age in the six day re-birth and shabbas rest.
The Bible talks about a previous earth age, a present and a future earth age.
If you add the seven days up and go with 2Peter (apologies kids, i’m a Meshianic Jew, and David and i disagree on that one which is fine) that a day with Yah is 1000 years to man, then add in the Hebrew calendar – you get an interesting number – approximately 12500 years ago – when scientists know a cataclysm happened on earth. Something happened – apparently the poles shifted. Mammoths with buttercups still in their mouth were found in the Alaskan tundra by our modern scientists – what was then a lush landscape became a deep freeze – the mammoths are preserved and this is science fact. So something happened around 12500 years ago, and we know it. The Bible describes it exactly if read properly, and science backs it up.
That something is us right now. We have a responsibility. To stop arguing and start uniting and doing what was Gifted Us to Do – take care of the Earth, the animals and each other.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:18 am


FreeLunch:
According to Stephen Jay Gould in the March issue of Natural History Magazne, Haeckel’s faked drawings have been appearing in science texybooks for over a century, long before any school board rulings. And the books are written, edit and reviewed by entire teams of PhD’s. It looks like every single company that publishes textbooks puts out book that have the drawings, so we should contact them all.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:21 am


Lovecraft’s contemporary, Robert E. Howard wrote stories that had a lot of Darwinian Racist content. Stuff about white men, aryans, etc. being superior, and how racial conflict, and even outright war has the narural order.



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Weemaryanne

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:10 am


But what if the intelligent creature that resulted from all the purposeless churning, and that was intended to reflect God’s own image, had been something really horrible.
You mean something capable of killing itself and every other living thing in a single cataclysm?
I see what you mean. That would be horrible.



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Phileas Fugue

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:38 am


I popped over here from Pharyngula to see what the fuss is about. The phrase ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ springs to mind. Monstrosity is a relative term. This so obvious, why on earth make an issue of pretending it isn’t?
Why are you religious people so frightened of science? It only makes you look weak and silly.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:59 am


It’s even worse, because ID can’t save you from the “blind churning forces”.
David Klinghoffer and the others at Discovery Institute are so careful to say “The Designer(s) isn’t necessarily God, wink wink nudge nudge”–in court.
But what if Cthulhu or Nyarlathotep or Azathoth is the “Designer”? According to what DI says-in court-it could be.
So ID is hoist on the petard David intends for theistic evolution. He has been called on this numerous times and has never answered this objection-he merely repeats himself in a later post.
Is ID compatible with a transcendent Creator? Yes, but o is theistic evolution. David’s objection to theistic evolution is that it doesn’t REQUIRE a transcendent Creator–but in court, David says exactly the same thing about ID.
So is ID religion or science? In court, David says it’s science. Here, he says it’s religion.
I don’t care that David argues for Creation. I care that he lies when he does it.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 12, 2009 at 12:05 pm


Lovecraft’s contemporary, Robert E. Howard wrote stories that had a lot of Darwinian Racist content. Stuff about white men, aryans, etc. being superior, and how racial conflict, and even outright war has the narural order.
This is really pathetic. Now we are playing “Six Degrees of H. P. Lovecraft”?
You didn’t have to go to Howard. H. P. Lovecraft was quite racist by today’s standards, which you’d know if you’d read him. Furthermore, his idea of “white” didn’t include Irish, Italians, or Eastern Europeans and he was clearly quite hostile to Catholicism (see “The Dreams in the Witch House”).
What’s your point? “Darwinism is believed in by bad people”? How many evil people believe in God? (c.f. 9/11)
Want to read something revolting? Try “Malleus Maleficarum”, the Inquisition manual for investigating witchcraft. The title translates to “Hammer of Witches”, which will give you an idea of the content. Written by God-fearing Christians.
“The line between good and evil runs through every human heart.”



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freelunch

posted July 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm


Some anonymous writer claimed “According to Stephen Jay Gould in the March issue of Natural History Magazne, Haeckel’s faked drawings have been appearing in science texybooks for over a century, long before any school board rulings. And the books are written, edit and reviewed by entire teams of PhD’s. It looks like every single company that publishes textbooks puts out book that have the drawings, so we should contact them all.”
Not all of Haeckel’s drawings were inaccurate. It is clear that you don’t have any idea when Gould wrote this or in what context. Please provide evidence that current textbooks have drawings that were faked and that they are identified as accurate drawings. Please, also, show us that, as you implied, the scientists have the last word in school science textbooks.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:41 pm


freelunch:
I know that Gould expressed outrage at the fact that the drawings were used in textbooks for the last century. In fact, that was the title of the article. What else can that mean? Do you want me to provide you with a list of the textbooks I’ve seen that have the drawings? And if the publshing company executives are the ones who decide to include the drawings, why do entire teams of PhD’s alow their names to be used? The honorable thing would be to say “I won’t allow my name to be attached to a fraud.”



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ianam

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm


The reasoning here is stunningly bad, starting from Klinghoffer’s misunderstanding of what “convergent evolution” is and going downhill from there.
It’s remarkably ironic that Klinghoffer employs an atheistic argument — that evolution wouldn’t necessarily have produced what god wanted — against theistic evolutionists, who claim that evolution is god’s way of achieving his aims — but the argument totally fails against someone like Miller, who thinks that god intervenes, diddling the mutations to get what he wants.
“In a universe unguided by the intelligent purpose of a just, loving God, there’s no reason to imagine that the intelligent creature or creatures that resulted from the endless churning would be nice, cute, or noble.”
a) Most of them aren’t, but both Klinghoffer and Miller overlook that.
b) *Miller* doesn’t believe this *is* such a universe. Sheesh.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:07 pm


Freelunch:
Here are some:
Living Environment: Biology
Rick Hallman Amsco 2000
Biology, The Study of Life
William Schraer Herbert J. Stoltze PhD. Prentice Hall 1995
Biologia (Spanish)
Kenneth Miller PhD. Joseph Levie PhD.
Prentice Hall 2004
All these books mention recapitulation theory as support for evolution.



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ianam

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:14 pm


“According to Stephen Jay Gould in the March issue of Natural History Magazne”
*The* March issue, eh? It was published 9 years ago.
“It is clear that you don’t have any idea when Gould wrote this or in what context.”
Indeed, he’s another liar for Christ.
“Please provide evidence that current textbooks have drawings that were faked and that they are identified as accurate drawings.”
He can’t and won’t.



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ianam

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:18 pm


“Here are some:”
Funny that the exact same text can be found at
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/01/few-observations-about-evolution_02.html
so you’ve never looked at these books and have no idea what they actually say. You’re just another liar for Christ or Jehovah or whatever mythical being you bow down to.



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ianam

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:34 pm


P.S. You might want to look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharyngula
“In developmental biology, the pharyngula is a stage in embryonic development.[1] Named by William Ballard,[2] the pharyngula stage follows the blastula, gastrula and neurula stages. At the pharyngula stage, all vertebrate embryos show remarkable similarities …”
And they really do. You don’t have to look at drawings, you can look at the actual organisms. Of course the ignorant liars for Christ haven’t actually done that.
“The existence of a common pharyngula stage for vertebrates was first proposed by German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) in 1874.”
And on that score he was correct. Both the earlier and later stages show more divergence — the later ones because the embryos develop into different organisms, and the earlier ones because the embryos were born of different organisms with different reproductive apparatus.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm


I’m the NatSchuster who posted that on That Blog. You can check the books if you don’t believe me. I provided the names, authors and publishers of the books, so you can check if you don’t believe me. And the point is that Haekel faked the drawings, he confessed, yet the same faked drawings were used in textbooks. Again, Gould expressed outrage at the fraud. (I got the year wrong, sorry. And mammalian blastula are different than other vertebrate blastula, so they are called blastocists. And at the gastrula stage, all the vertebrate embryos are very different. The cells go through different developmental pathways. So the differences are at least as great as the similarities. But I digress. I have a confession of fraud by an evolutionist, I see the evidence wiht my own eyes. What more proof do I need?



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:17 pm


If you don’t believe that I’m that NatSchuster Email me at natschuster60@yahoo.com and I’ll fax you a copy of my ID.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:20 pm


Now, why would the reproductive apparatus mean that the early stages of development are different? They all start as a single cell? I’m just curous.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm


I’m still trying to undertand what it is about Gould’s article i don’t understand. He expressed outrage at the fact that Haeckel’s admitedly faked drawing were used in textbooks. What am I missing?



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:47 pm


I linked the Gould article. I just read it again. What am i missing? It says that haeckel faked the drawings, and used they were used in textbooks ever since.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1134/is_2_109/ai_60026710/?tag=content;col1



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 10:08 pm


Just one last question. If the embryos resemble each other at the pharyngla stage, why did Haeckel have to resort to fakery?



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 10:41 pm


This is a photocopy from the Schraer Scholze book:
http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1254
Yes, its from the discovery institute, but you could find the book and check for yourself. I saw that very page, you’ll just have to trust me.



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tincture

posted July 12, 2009 at 10:52 pm


Shoggoths were specifically created by the Elder Ones as a labour force. You could at least get your Lovecraft right.



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Your Name

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:20 pm

ianam

posted July 13, 2009 at 1:01 am


“Now, why would the reproductive apparatus mean that the early stages of development are different? ”
Eggs != placenta. Chicken eggs != robin eggs != reptile eggs. Etc. Duh.
“If the embryos resemble each other at the pharyngla stage, why did Haeckel have to resort to fakery?”
He exaggerated the similarities throughout the stages because he believed that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, and humans tend to interpret observations as supporting their beliefs — see Kahnemann & Tversky. Other notable examples are the canals of Mars and religious beliefs.
And again, you don’t need to ask “if”, you can go look at the actual embryos. Sheesh. I’m done wasting my time here; the rest is up to you.



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jdg

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:09 am


—- Your Name said
July 12, 2009 11:20 PM
This one is from the Miller/Levine book:
http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1259 —-
Show me where it says that those embryo drawings come from Haeckel???



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:30 am


ianon But if they all start as single cells, why are mammal blastulas different the placenta doesn’t develope till after the gastrula stage? And why are reptile and bird eggs very similar, y’know the amnione and such, yet they are very diffe And if the embryos really do resemble each other to the extent that they demonstrate the principal of recapitulation, why did Haeckel have to exagerate the similarites? His comptemporaries said even just used the same woodcut over and over tho represent different embryos?



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:32 am


jdg
The drawings are almost identical the Haeckels. The main difference is that these are in color, and Haeckels were in black and white. And they are inaccurate in the same way Haeckel’s were.



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 9:30 am


Just had a quick thought. Some people said that I misunderstood the context that the Gould article was written to address. The article was written to address the fact that ID people had called the fraud to the public’s attention. Gould mentions this in the article. If that didn’t happen, the scientists may very well have continued using the faked drawings. They only stopped because they got caught. The context makes the problem worse.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm


Your name, please figure out how to put some kind of screen handle in your posts so that we know which anonymous commenter we are talking to.
Firstly, I am not in charge of biology textbooks. I know in physics textbooks bad information gets cribbed from textbook to textbook (for example, you cannot light a flashlight with lemon juice).
Secondly, biologists no longer believe that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.
Thirdly, thousands of NEW images of embryos exist that are not drawings–they were produced by biologists, not by anyone at Discovery Institute. It is these new images that show the Haeckel drawings to be wrong.
Fourthly, Haeckel’s drawings have historic value, just as Schiaparelli’s drawing of the canals on Mars can be found in any astronomy textbook. Haeckel’s drawings should not be used to argue for an abandoned theory when much more recent information is readily available. If there are biology texts that are doing that, they are doing something wrong, just as an astronomy textbook shouldn’t argue for canals on Mars using the Schiaparelli drawings. The textbooks should carry a disclaimer about the drawings.
Fortunately, the evidence for evolution is not based solely on Hackel’s drawings. Good catch. Now go out and do some REAL science and maybe scientists will listen to you.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm


Incidentally, Your name, you should have READ the Gould article.
From the very beginning of this frenzied discussion two years ago, I have been thoroughly mystified as to what, beyond simple ignorance or self-serving design, could ever have inspired the creators of the sensationalized version to claim that Haeckel’s exposure challenges Darwinian theory or even evolution itself. After all, Haeckel used these drawings to support his theory of recapitulation–the claim that embryos repeat successive adult stages of their ancestry. For reasons elaborated at excruciating length in my Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Darwinian science conclusively disproved and abandoned this idea by 1910 or so, despite its persistence in popular culture. Obviously, neither evolution nor Darwinian theory needs the support of a doctrine so conclusively disconfirmed from within.
The bogus drawings were discovered by BIOLOGISTS, not CREATIONISTS, almost one hundred years ago.
Creationists took this long to figure it out, is all.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm


More from Gould:
The evolutionary version of von Baer’s law suggests that embryos may give us better clues about ancestry than adults–but not because they represent ancestral adults in miniature, as Haeckel and the recapitulationists believed. Rather, embryos indicate ancestry because generalized features of large groups offer better clues than the specialized traits of more restricted lineages can provide. In a standard example, some parasites become so anatomically degenerate as adults that they retain no distinctive traits of their larger affiliation. The adult stage of the parasitic barnacle Sacculina, for example, becomes little more than an amorphous bag of feeding and reproductive tissue within the body of its crab host. But the larval stages that must seek and penetrate a crab can hardly be distinguished from the early stages of ordinary barnacles. Darwin makes the key point succinctly when he states in Origin of Species that “community in embryonic structure reveals community of descent.”
Von Baer’s law makes good sense, but nothing in Darwinian theory implies or requires its validity, while evolution itself clearly permits embryology to proceed in either direction (or in no linearized manner at all): from embryonic similarity to adult discordance (as in groups that follow von Baer’s principle) or from larval discordance to adult likeness (as in several invertebrate groups, notably some closely related sea urchin species, where larvae have adapted to highly different lifestyles of planktonic floating versus development from yolk-filled eggs that remain on the seafloor. Meanwhile, the highly similar adults of both species continue to live and function like ordinary sea urchins).



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm


more from Gould:
The jury will be out for some time as they debate and actively research this important issue, too long neglected, in the sciences of natural history. But the 1997 paper by Richardson and six colleagues has already poked some important holes in the old and (as we now learn) poorly documented belief in early embryonic similarity among related lineages, followed by increasing disparity toward adulthood. The early embryonic stages of vertebrates are not nearly so similar as Haeckel’s phony drawings had led us to believe. For example, at the stage that Haeckel chose for maximal similarity, the number of somites (vertebral segments) of actual embryos ranges from eleven for a Puerto Rican tree frog to sixty for a blindworm (the common name for an unfamiliar group of limbless amphibians with a basically snakelike adult form). Moreover, although Haeckel drew his embryos as identical in both size and form, actual vertebrate embryos at their stage of maximal anatomical similarity span a tenfold range in body size.
In short, the work of Richardson and colleagues goes by a simple and treasured name in my trade: good science. The flap over Haeckel’s doctored drawings should leave us feeling ashamed about the partial basis of a widely shared bias now properly exposed and already subjected to exciting new research. But Haeckel’s High Victorian (or should I say Bismarckian) misdeeds provide no fodder to foes of Darwin or of evolution.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm


advice to Your name:
Read and comprehend before you cite, you are less likely to be embarrassed.



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 6:48 pm


Gabriel:
You are not addressing my main point, which is that faked drawings were used in textbooks for a century. Even if recapitulation theory is true, the facts are that biologists used a fraudulent means to demonstrate it. Haeckel confessed during his lifetime, yet the drawings were still used.



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NatSchuster (May as well use my name now.)

posted July 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Just one more point.
#1. I thought I said above that Haeckel’s fraud was caught by his contemporaries,and he confessed during his lifetime. This only makes the problem worse because it means that they knowingly used faked drawings in textbooks for a century. What I meant was that the ID people were going public with the fact that the fraudulent pictures were being used, and this is what prompted Gould to write the article.
#2. Some of the textbooks do say that biologists still believe in recapitulation theory. But that is irrelvent. Even if it was true, fraudulent measn where used to demonstrate it.



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NatSchuster

posted July 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm


I though a little about what you wrote above. Where you saying that the use of the drawings was the result of ignorance or carelessness, not fraud? If entire teams of textbook authors can make such a big mistake, or they are so ignorant about their own area of expertise, I’m not sure that that is much better than fraud.



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kernestm

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:32 am


reply to several people.
Your Name
July 10, 2009 7:55 PM
I get really, really annoyed whenever I see the name Haeckel, because I teach high school biology, and five of the seven textbooks provided by my school contain copies of Haekel’s faked embryonic drawings, all of them published within the last twenty years. All of them written by PhD’s. So I’ve seen the proof with my own eyes of scientist perpetrating a fraud on the public.
freelunch
July 10, 2009 10:10 PM
High School biology textbooks may have the name of a professor on them, but the editors and the demands of the Texas School Board butcher those books as much as David butchers science. Still, if you would name names, we could put some pressure on the publishers to clean up their acts.
Your Name, freelunch&
Olorin
July 10, 2009 11:36 PM
HGere’s a little test: With your knowledge of biology, identify how many and which ones of Haeckel’s drawings in the textbooks were faked. Remember that all of his drawings are so close to being correct that the fakery was not detected right away, and then only because of extrinsic facts about the drawings, not from comparisons with actual embryos.
In actual fact there isn’t one that actually looks like Haeckels drawings, I have them here, (can we post pictures?) all researched recently at the same age as Haeckel claimed in his frauds, the salamander in real life looks more like a snail at that stage. Haeckel lied in all six drawings. He was taken to court at the time, so it has always been known that the drawings are lies. Evolutionists like them because it makes it seem to support evolution, and helps in counselling people to have an abortion.
Charles Cosimano
July 11, 2009 3:32 AM
Of course, as Darwin was right, all the rest is purely academic.
No Darwin was an idiot.
chaldean periphrast: “A petition to David Klinghoffer from posters to this blog: FOLLOW GOV. PALIN’S EXAMPLE”
What would you do with your spare time if he didn’t supply you something to criticise?
Be grateful.
Dennis
July 11, 2009 2:06 PM
Arguments about evolution and the existence of God are pointless and silly. God is an idea, a concept, a construct that has changed over time
God is a real person, read the New testament and meet with Him. Also evolution is a defunct outmoded belief, it cannot compete with the science in ID.
jdg
July 11, 2009 6:35 PM
Kavid K. why believe in superstitious nonsense?? Accept evolution, it is a fact!! Without it society would of have the breakthrough science applications that we have. I don’t understand that you can believe in this.
A bit garbled! Evolution never helps with scientific progress. Chemistry electronics engineering etc rely on scientific research, never on assumptions of life evolving, and it doesn’t even help in medicine, which depends on what is here and now, not old wives tales.
Gabriel Hanna
July 11, 2009 7:09 PM
First David lies about Hitler, calling him a Darwinist. I can see the point; Hitler was guilty of horrifying crimes and tarring Darwin by association is a tactic worth trying.
There is plenty of evidence that he accepted Darwin and tried to follow the theory to produce a “pure race”.



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kernestm

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:38 am


HAECKELS DRAWINGS ARE COMPARED AT:
Anatomy and Embryology 196(2):91-106, 1997, Springer Verlag GMBH & Co Germany



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm


kernestm:
You are full of it. I produced actual quotes from Hitler, you produced nothing. Hitler believed in a Creator God and rejected evolution. He said so on numerous occasions, and I provided the quotes. You provided jack squat.
Second, if you had read the Gould article, you would have learned that the Haeckel drawings were discovered as frauds by scientists over ten years before creationists (there was no “ID” in those days) ever heard of it; and that the people who were writing the textbooks were unaware of the faked drawings–WHICH YOU COULDN’T IDENTIFY FROM YOUR OWN KNOWLEDGE IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.
All you ever do is cut and paste some creationist B.S. You don’t know one thing about biology or physics, which you proved when you tried to debate it.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm


You are full of it. I produced actual quotes from Hitler, you produced nothing. Hitler believed in a Creator God and rejected evolution. He said so on numerous occasions, and I provided the quotes. You provided jack squat.

Unfair, Gabriel. Surely you must know that requiring evidence is a materialist (Hitlerian, Soviet, whatever) plot to destroy religion, and that only atheists (or people who claim to be religious but believe in materialism) have to provide evidence. Like Dembski wrote:

“You’re asking me to play a game: ‘Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.’ ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.”

See, they don’t need to do science. Lying for Jesus is ok, while doing honest science is just wrong.
So they never have to provide evidence for their claims. Or anyway, they never do, at least not proper evidence.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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kernestm

posted July 15, 2009 at 5:37 pm


Only people who deliberately decide to be ignorant, refuse to study the complexity being revealed by the ID research, and then seriously consider the implications.
Darwin knew that he didn’t have the evidence for the intermediates, particularly considering the numerous small steps he was advocating. He was staggered by the human eye, and couldn’t imagine how it could form by numerous small steps.
He imagined some small primordial pool with chemicals, with heat and lightning etcetera, forming some self replicating chemistry, that eventually formed the first living cell.
The scientists of the time opposed him as chemistry research was far enough advanced to know that this could not happen.
“But as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” Charles Darwin
“No one has found any such in-between creatures and there is a growing conviction among many scientists that these transitional forms never existed.” Niles Eldredge
The only reason evolution became popular was because humanists and atheists saw it as an excuse to ignore God, and His morals, and they promoted it for their own unscientific reasons.
Millions of people have fallen for the fable and researchers have wasted millions of hours and billions of dollars trying to prove that the lies of evolution are instead true.
Now the ID movement is providing clear proof of intelligent design, as opposed to random unguided mutations, and anyone who refuses to read up on the evidence of complexity remains wilfully ignorant.
I see that many of you have fallen for the lies of evolution even though science is showing it is impossible for life to form itself from chemicals and produce elegant improvements by blind chance, and you are promoting it as if evolution is true, in spite of the evidence.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 15, 2009 at 6:59 pm


“No one has found any such in-between creatures and there is a growing conviction among many scientists that these transitional forms never existed.” Niles Eldredge

Not that using authorities constitutes a proper way of argumentation (it’s a fallacy, though not if it is simply used as a example of the scientific consensus–which the Eldredge quote is not), but kernestm, as usual, fails even to properly use Eldredge. Eldredge likely was discussing species transitions there, and never denied that transitionals exist in certain cases.
Here’s Eldredge responding to such misquotation:

Biologists say that, if evolution has occurred, there should follow some predictions about living creatures. I’ll give two of the several general consequences of the notion of evolution. First, we would predict that there must be one (not several or many) single, coherent pattern of similarity linking all forms of life together. This prediction is tested daily by systematists seeking to classify the ten million or so fossil and living species. They predict that distributions of anatomical and behavioral features should yield one single pattern. And this is what they find: one single pattern.
Here is another general prediction from the basic notion of evolution: if evolution has occurred, there should be a regular change in the appearance of life as one goes further back in the fossil record. Progressively earlier forms within a group (for example, the horse family) should look more and more like the early representatives of other closely related groups.
- page 38 -
They do. The Eocene “dawn horse” looks far more like an Eocene rhinoceros than it resembles a modern race horse. And so on. Predictions about laboratory changes in gene frequencies and patterns of differentiation leading to new species is testable and has survived all serious attempts to refute it.
Creationists, on the other hand, make no predictions about patterns of nature that must be there if all of life was fashioned separately by a creator.
ncseweb.org/cej/2/4/misquoted-scientists-respond

As for the rest of what kernestm wrote, well, it reveals the same level of scholarship which misquoted Eldredge.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p
http://ncseweb.org/cej/2/4/misquoted-scientists-respond



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Glen Davidson

posted July 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm


Niles Eldredge:

But Archaeopteryx is simply the common showpiece example that intermediates between major groups of organisms do show up in the fossil record. All working systematists and paleontologists know of other, less celebrated, examples from their own work.
Eldredge, Niles. The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism New York: Washington Square Press, 1982. p.123

So, as usual, the creationist has taken a scientist’s word out of context, and not been the slightest bit curious about the truth of what the scientist actually says (merely copying and pasting from some dreadfully dumb creationist source), nor about what the evidence actually indicates.
The usual reaction, of course, is for the creationist to go back to the same highly dishonest sources, and come back with some other mangling of thought, logic, and sources. Wouldn’t it be something if we were surprised just once?
Well, don’t hold your breath, you’re likely to die waiting.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Steven Schafersman

posted August 28, 2009 at 7:09 pm


“But what if the intelligent creature that resulted from all the purposeless churning, and that was intended to reflect God’s own image, had been something really horrible.”
You mean like a human? The exterminator of entire species, murderer of tens of millions in religious and ideological wars, formed in the image of the God of the Old Testament which he so readily emulates.
“And behold it was very good.”
Yes, the OT God said that, then he went on to destroy his “very good” creation in a global flood. I guess it wasn’t good enough to suit him–or he’s fallible. Then what was left of his creation is mindlessly creating a new not very good creation by the “mechanistic materialistic” process of procreating themselves into oblivion, or at least to a lower quality of life.
How different is God from Human, and Human from Cthulhu?



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