Friday, September 2, 2005

An article from educators reminding us why the "teach the controversy" argument for I.D. is moronic: because One side can be wrong:

When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong.

A reminder of the beliefs the people who wrote the Bible had about the world, demonstrating once again why believing in the literal truth of the Bible not only puts you at odds with all measurable sciences, but also generally forces you to be (perhaps unwittingly) hypocritical about it:

So where does the literalist stand? He is in the impossible position of trying to make the Bible the norm and source of his beliefs, on the one hand, and yet to keep the Bible seeming believable by the standards of modern knowledge on the other. He cannot bring himself to deny what modern instruments have shown to be the truth of cosmology, so he cannot believe the world looks as described in scripture, but neither can he bring himself to admit that the Bible is mistaken. So, in order to defend the literal truth of the Bible (the proposition that it describes things the way they are, whether things on earth or things in heaven), he must resort to non-literal reinterpretation of the cosmic-descriptive passages of the Bible. It is an odd form of “literalism”!

And someone questions the intentions the "designer" of the universe might have had:

Some physicists have argued that certain constants of nature have values that seem to have been mysteriously fine-tuned to just the values that allow for the possibility of life, in a way that could only be explained by the intervention of a designer with some special concern for life. I am not impressed with these supposed instances of fine-tuning.


recent developments in cosmology offer the possibility of an explanation of why the measured values of the cosmological constant and other physical constants are favorable for the appearance of intelligent life. According to the 'chaotic inflation' theories of André Linde and others, the expanding cloud of billions of galaxies that we call the big bang may be just one fragment of a much larger universe in which big bangs go off all the time, each one with different values for the fundamental constants.

In any such picture, in which the universe contains many parts with different values for what we call the constants of nature, there would be no difficulty in understanding why these constants take values favorable to intelligent life. There would be a vast number of big bangs in which the constants of nature take values unfavorable for life, and many fewer where life is possible. You don't have to invoke a benevolent designer to explain why we are in one of the parts of the universe where life is possible: in all the other parts of the universe there is no one to raise the question. If any theory of this general type turns out to be correct, then to conclude that the constants of nature have been fine-tuned by a benevolent designer would be like saying, 'Isn't it wonderful that God put us here on earth, where there's water and air and the surface gravity and temperature are so comfortable, rather than some horrid place, like Mercury or Pluto?' Where else in the solar system other than on earth could we have evolved?

Something I would add, too:

  • Humans have an appendix, whose only (current) apparent function is to be infected.

  • Humans also have a tailbone, which seems to again be vestigial.

  • Spotted Hyenas give birth through their clitoris, resulting in up to 10% of females dying during their first delivery.

  • Whiptail lizards have no males in their species.

  • Marsupial females have two vaginas, and males therefore a forked penis.

  • The hooded seal has an inflatable pouch on its nose.

  • The moloch drinks by collecting rainwater in grooves on its back, which run to the mouth.

  • The naked mole rat does not have a chemical responsible for sending pain signals to its nervous system--so if it is cut, scraped, or burned, it feels no pain. And also... well, just look at it!

  • The giraffe needs so much blood pressure for the blood to reach the brain, that when it lowers its head to drink the blood flow has to be cut down.

  • The bombardier beetle has a defensive mechanism of spraying boiling chemicals into its assailant's face.

  • The smilodon, or sabre-toothed tiger, had teeth so large it had to be able to open its mouth 90 degrees.

  • The jerboa does not ever drink, relying instead on liquid obtained from its food.

  • The adult mayflies have no digestive system.

  • The Bladder Grasshopper has 12 'ears'.

  • The platypus. 'Nuff said.

The creationists may take a look at these bizarre animals and come to the conclusion that they couldn't possibly have evolved through random, chance mutations. I take a look at them and wonder what the hell kind of creator comes up with this kind of stuff? Is that the kind of deity we want in charge of our universe?

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