Thursday, July 30, 2015

Andrew Snelling, and Steve Austin: Creationist Frauds

There is a book very popular with young earth "flood" creationists, "Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe," edited by Dr. Steve Austin (1994, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego). This book claimed that all the strata of the Grand Canyon were deposited, and then carved out during the "Flood."

This theme is repeated up by creationist Dr. Andrew A. Snelling Rock Layers Folded, Not Fractured: Flood Evidence Number Six" Answers in Genesis, March 15, 2009
https://answersingenesis.org/geology/rock-layers/rock-layers-folded-not-fractured/

These and dozens of other creationist "evidences" use the following image from Coal Canyon, a side canyon to the Grand Canyon:


Some sample captions from different articles by Snelling, or Austin plus a random creationist website follow;

Figure 3 and 4. It is possible to see these folded sedimentary layers in several side canyons. All these layers had to be soft and pliable at the same time in order for these layers to be folded without fracturing. The folded Tapeats Sandstone can be seen in Carbon Canyon (top) and the folded Mauv and Redwall Limestone layers can be seen along Kwagunt Creek (bottom).


“In the walls of the Grand Canyon, we can see that the whole horizontal sedimentary strata sequence was folded without fracturing, supposedly 440 million years after the Tapeats Sandstone and Muav Limestone were deposited, and 200 million years after the Kaibab Limestone was deposited. The only way to explain how these sandstone and limestone beds could be folded, as though still pliable, is to conclude they were deposited during the Genesis Flood, just months before they were folded.”


"#2 Bent Rock Layers: 10 Best Evidences From Science That Confirm a Young Earth" by Dr. Andrew A. Snelling on October 1, 2012.

Photo 1: The whole sequence of sedimentary layers through which Grand Canyon cuts has been bent and folded without fracturing. This includes the Tapeats Sandstone, located at the bottom of the sequence. (A 90° fold in the eastern Grand Canyon is pictured here.)

Look at the photos of some of these layers at the edge of the plateau, just east of the Grand Canyon. The whole sequence of these hardened sedimentary rock layers has been bent and folded, but without fracturing (Figure 1.3) At the bottom of this sequence is the Tapeats Sandstone, which is 100–325 feet (30–100 meters) thick. It is bent and folded 90° (Photo 1).



It is obvious the 90-degree folding of the layers was done when they were still soft and pliable because there is no evidence whatsoever of breaking or shattering.


It is these assertions, that "these hardened sedimentary rock layers has been bent and folded, but without fracturing" repeated throughout that are a major fraud of "Flood Geology."

I am particularly impressed by two features of this claim. The first is that it is a bald-faced lie. The second is actually two points related to the photograph. Here is a very poorly taken photo from a considerable distance with very bad lighting that creationists use to support their gross falsehoods. The second is that the "geology students" from the Institute for Creation Research posed in the photo are placed directly in front of the very fracturing that Snelling and Austin falsely claim is absent.

I have done a simple mark-up of just a sample of the obvious stress fractures from a much better USGS photo of the same geological feature. This original photo was taken with a good resolution, at a time of day that provided good lighting and contrast. I was particularly interested in showing the multiple strata cross-cutting stress fractures at the very locations that Snelling and Austin have lied about.


Why would Steve Austin use students to hide the obvious fractures he and Snelling claim are missing?

These frauds should not be allowed to pretend they are honest scientists who merely come "to different opinions" as some particularly weak-minded philosophers have asserted. When these liars and frauds are allowed to act like a real geologists, they use it a license to lie even more. They claim the sanction of organizations like the Geological Society of America to impress their victims. See; "Christian Geologists Influential at GSA Meeting" by Steven A. Austin, Ph.D. in "Evidence for Creation."

Some other links:

Great reply by Tim Helble
http://www.creationconversations.com/xn/detail/4344648:Comment:43265

non YEC SD Adventists
http://www.atodayarchive.org/article/2486/opinion/hoehn-jack/going-to-church-in-the-grand-canyon

"Creationism in the Grand Canyon, Part 1," by Steven Newton
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-newton/creationism-in-the-grand-canyon_b_7898010.html

Friday, July 24, 2015

A quick over view on Christain Reconstructionists

Professor Julie Ingersoll posted is short article today (July 24th 2015) on the "Christian Reconstruction Movement."

If you are not familiar with what that is, I recommend reading her essay. To get an sense of how the "Christian Reconstructionists plan to rule America, consider the following passage from one of their Gurus;

"The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant--baptism and holy communion-must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel."
-- Gary North - Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism, Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989, p. 87.


Of course she hopes you will buy her new book as well. (I probably will). *In fact, I did. I started it last night (31 July).

Some other recent good books on the origins of America's radical Religious Right are;

Hedges, Chris
2008 “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” New York: Free Press.

Phillips, Kevin
2006 “American Theocracy” New York: Viking Press

Sharlet, Jeff
2008 "The Family: The secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power" New York: Harper Collins

There is even a connection between the Christian Reconstructionists and the origin of "Intelligent Design Creationism" discussed in;

Barbara Carroll Forrest, Paul R. Gross
2004 "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" Oxford University Press





Monday, July 06, 2015

Vernon Cupps Part 2


Part 2.
Concentric radiation halos in biotite mica considered by Gentry to be caused by polonium isotope decay (Gentry, 1992)

Vernon R. Cupps (2014) now at the Institute for Creation Research, makes the false assertion that so-called “polonium halos” are “the best indirect observational evidence, measured at today’s rates of decay, supporting millions of years of radioisotope decay.” He goes on to claim that these are actually caused by, “primordial Po (polonium), rather than Po in the form of daughter isotopes from U decay.” In support he cited young earth creationist Andrew Snelling (2000).

There are many problems with those few sentences that will take some untangling. The first thing to notice is that Cupp has not given the readers any references to the original literature, which as an “expert” he surely must know. Instead he gave a citation to the ICR “RATE project” that is a pure creationist effort to discredit real physical research. The first RATE chapter he cited was written by geologist Andrew Snelling. The reality is that the YEC “polonium halo” phantasy he is trying to resurrect has a long history, and is definitively debunked (Baillieul 2005). The idea that the microscopic damage to mineral crystals called “halos” were caused by the newly discovered phenomena of radioactive elements I have read was first published over a century ago (Joly 1907). The notion that these radiohalos could show that the Earth was ancient was published by Joly in 1917. The analysis of this phenomena, and the systematic idea they indicated an ancient formation of the Earth’s crust waited until the late 1930s (Henderson 1939). The important discoveries in the intervening ~20 years were that atoms were real, and that the nucleus was composed of 2 particles; neutrons and protons. It was Henderson who proposed that these radiohalos indicated that the Earth’s crust was ancient, and that precise ages could be assigned to crustal rocks by the number and kinds of radiohalos. This is because the crystal damage seen under a microscope as a “halo” had light and dark rings. The rings reflected the energy of the radioactive particles that formed them, and this was the result of different isotopes. Henderson predicted that some “halos” would be still active, and that some were the result of Uranium decaying all the way to Lead. It turned out he was totally correct about the basics. However, it did not prove to be a good way to directly measure the age of the Earth, or Solar System because the Earth’s crust is constantly being reformed, and recycled (Dalrymple 1991). Any radiohalo that has the characteristic size, number of rings, and a trace concentration of Lead at its center shows that the Earth was ancient, but not how old in absolute age.

Robert Gentry is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) and Seventh Day Adventist. He has an earned M.A. in physics. He held a visiting research appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to explore his claim that he had discovered a “new type” of radiation. He is the primary source of creationist claims that radiohalo studies were proof of a young Earth. He started quietly in 1968 with the publication of his article in Science magazine (Gentry 1968) although he cited earlier related papers he had published at conferences. But it was in his 1968 paper that Gentry first claimed that the production of radio halos by Polonium was not from the well established Uranium decay series. His critical conclusion (later proved wrong) was, “Thus, as far as the experimental analysis is concerned, I cannot confirm Henderson's model for the secondary origin of the polonium halos. To the question of what mode of origin is consistent with the relatively short halflives of the polonium isotopes (or their /-decaying precursors), I can say only that other mechanisms are under study.” To appreciate what Gentry thought he had discovered you must know that the longest half-life for radioactive Polonium is 138.4 days. If Gentry had been correct that Polonium was somehow injected into granite by means not from radioactive decay, then granites would have formed in that amount of time, or less. He imagined that the mystery Polonium was created by God from thin air.

He was wrong, but has never admitted it.

Gentry was persistently writing and published in valid scientific journals for the next 15 years. However as a pro-creationism witness in the famous 1981 trial McLean v. Arkansas he admitted under oath that, "My understanding is that all the assertions in the Bible which pertain to science would be true." (Robert V. Gentry, Cross-examination in McLean v. Arkansas, 1981). So like most creationists, his personal opinions about the Bible overrule any fact based results. The creationists lost the trial like they have every other one. Gentry became a darling of the creationist movement who repeated his claim of persecution for his young earth assertion. He was falsely “promoted” to doctorate status and his visiting research associate was promoted to a “professorship” in creationist literature (e.g. Goette, B. (1989). Is There Evidence For a Young Earth?. Bible and Spade, 2(1), 4-6). Gentry summarized his evidence in a self-published book in 1992.

The scientific journals had given Gentry more that enough rope, and he hung himself by not being able to respond to the mass of evidence against him. Interestingly, by the time major scientific publications were tired of publishing the repetitive claims of Gentry’s, they also lost interest in publishing valid counter arguments. Readers particularly interested in the detailed scientific examination of why the YEC radiohalo argument failed should read Collins 1997, Collins and Collins 2010, Baillieul 2005, 2010. The latter refutations also address the ICR RATE rehash.

So why did the “expert” Vernon Cupps (2014) not give any citation to the real “polonium halo” story? Why not cite Gentry, and the multiple refutations of his failed YEC theory? Readers could ask him directly. I suspect that he wants to avoid any citation that easily exposed the failure of the argument, and at the same time helped promote the publications of his new bosses.

Baillieul, Thomas A. (professional geologist MA 1976, DoE, migration of radionuclides in the natural environment.
2005 reprinted 2010, "Polonium Haloes" Refuted: A Review of "Radioactive Halos in a Radio-Chronological and Cosmological Perspective" by Robert V. Gentry” NCSE Reports, VOL 30, NR 5: 17-26. Retrieved April, 2015.

Collins, L. G.
1997 “Polonium halos and myrmekite in pegmatite and granite”
http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/...

Collins, Lorence G & Barbara J Collins
2010 “Origin of Polonium Halos” NCSE Reports Vol: 30 (5), 11–16

Cupps, Vernon R.
2014 “Clocks in Rocks? Radioactive Dating, Part 1” Acts & Facts. 43 (10)

Dalrymple, G. Brent
1991 “The Age of the Earth” Stanford University Press

Gentry, R. V.
1968 “Fossil alpha-recoil analysis of certain variant radioactive halos” Science, 160(3833), 1228-1230

Gentry, R. V.,
1992 “Creation’s Tiny Mystery, 3rd ed.” Knoxville (TN): Earth Science Associates

HENDERSON, G.H., A quantitative study of pleochroic haloes V. The genesis of haloes, PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES A-MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES 173: 250 (1939)

Joly, J. (1907) “Pleochroic halos” The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 13(75), 381-383.

Joly, John,
1917 “The genesis of pleochroic halos” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A 217: 51

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just another from Michael Snyder: Lie #24

I thought I would quit at 12, but exposing creationist frauds is like eating potato chips - hard to stop at just a dozen.

Lie #24 (Quote Mine) Why did evolutionist Dr. Lyall Watson make the following statement?…

“The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!”

This was attributed by the creationist rags published by the Institute for Creation Research to Lyell(sic)(correct spelling Lyall) Watson, "The Water People," Science Digest, vol. 90 (May 1982), p. 44. First Lyall Watson has no doctorate in a science. Second, “Science Digest” was not a professional scientific journal, and was not peer reviewed. It was a “Readers Digest” formatted magazine that looked for sensationalized articles they dumbed down for their readers. Thirdly, the author Lyall Watson was a sham with a long list of pseudo-scientific books about the supernatural, and “psychic powers.” examples are ’Supernature’ (1973) called ’A natural history of the supernatural.’ Watson was the author of additional New Age nonsense such as “BEYOND SUPERNATURE” (1986).

But finally, the major lie is that this is merely a lie. Even in 1982 we had far more human fossil material than admitted by creationists even today. This is a variation on Creationist Claim CC030.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael Snyder, "44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults.” Exposing 1 - 12.

Creationist frauds and lies regarding the sciences have a characteristic pattern similar to other forms of science denial. I recommend reading a NewsWeek article recently published, Can You Inoculate Against Science Denial? By John Cook The following graphic gives a rough outline of how science denial follows common patterns whether employed by creationists, anti-vaccination loons, or climate change deniers.


Mr. Michael Snyder is a lawyer, and like too many lawyers he is not shy about lying if it will make him money. He has already scored on the denier’s hit list by falsely presenting himself as an expert on biology, paleontology, geology, and anthropology. His not an expert in any of those sciences. He is not even a poor student. His “44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults” is a promotion for his book, and a click-bait advertising website. (I won’t link to it). His “44 Reasons” are entirely false. Worse, none are original and it seems conclusive that Mr. Snyder is merely plagiarizing other creationists.

As we will see below, these 44 falsehoods are a mix of refuted, or baseless assertions, quote mines, as well as just plain lies that follow the pattern mentioned above. For the quote mines, I always recommend the TalkOrigins “Quote Mine Project.” When the particular falsehood prompted by Mr. Snyder is a Quote Mine, I’ll generally just refer to the TalkOrigins exposure of his fraud. None are actually original to Mr. Snyder. Some have been repeated by creationists for decades in spite of the fact they are lies. It is also worth pointing out that most of these 44 have been already debunked from just two other easily available resources, the TalkOrigins An Index of Creationist Claims, and Dr. Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent”

(Note added: I found another blog that debunked the first 9 of Mr. Snyder's falsehoods, written last February, 2014.)

Falsehood #1 "If the theory of evolution was true, we should have discovered millions upon millions of transitional fossils that show the development of one species into another species. Instead, we have zero.”

This is a lie. It is debunked by the resources I linked to above. It is false Claim CC200. We have museums and museum warehouses filled to the rafters with transitional fossils. One I have personally worked with was Gomphotaria pugnax, a transitional species between the bears, and the pinnipeds. The transitional fossils for the cetaceans are very well known showing the shift from land animals to fully aquatic. The most accessible general reader source is from the laboratory of Dr. J. G. M. Thewissen, also an excellent source on the evolution of Sirenians. The known transitional fossils fall into six families, Indocetidae, Pakicetidae, Ambulocetidae, Remingtonocetidae, Protocetidae, Dorudontidae, and Basilosauridae. The transitional fossils of the Sirenians are less well studied with only about fifty specimens. None the less, the broad outline connecting the elephants, hippos, and manatees is known. The early transitional fossils for the pinipeds are the least well known. The best fossil specimen in the world (over 90% complete) of the most likely common ancestor of the pinipeds, Gomphotaria pugnax, was discovered by one of my former students and is curated by a museum where I was a director. Gomphoria shows the fossil connection between the pinipeds and their ancient ancestor bears.

Lie #2 (Quote Mine) When Charles Darwin came up with his theory, he admitted that no transitional forms had been found at that time, but he believed that huge numbers certainly existed and would eventually be discovered…

“Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed. 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?”

This is a “quote mine.” Quote mining is “the use of a (usually short) passage, taken from the work of an authority in some field, "which superficially appears to support one's position, but [from which] significant context is omitted and contrary evidence is conveniently ignored" (The TalkOrigin “Quote Mine Project.”) Darwin did pose the question of where would we find the fossils that confirmed his theory of common descent. He actually devoted a whole chapter to his geological study and wondered if the loss of geological fossils might have been so great that his “transitional” fossils could never be found. That was over 150 years ago. He should not have worried. We have more than adequately confirmed his theory. Here is a list of books written for non-specialists on the discovery of transitional fossils;

Prothero, Donald.
2007 "Evolution: What The Fossils Say and Why It Matters" Colombia University Press.

Shubin, Neal
2008 “Your Inner Fish” New York: Pantheon Books

Tattersall, Ian
1995 "The Fossil Trail" Oxford University Press


Ward, Peter Douglas
1992 “On Methuselah’s Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions” (New York: W. H. Freeman,).


Lie #3 (Quote Mine) “Even some of the most famous evolutionists in the world acknowledge the complete absence of transitional fossils in the fossil record. For example, Dr. Colin Patterson, former senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History and author of “Evolution” once wrote the following…

“I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them …. I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”

This is Quote Mine # 56. It even has an extended debunking, Patterson Misquoted.

Flasehood #4 (A Quote Mine) Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University, once wrote the following about the lack of transitional forms…

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”

This is merely TalkOrigins Quote Mine #50.


#5 (A Quote Mine) Evolutionist Stephen M. Stanley of Johns Hopkins University has also commented on the stunning lack of transitional forms in the fossil record…

“In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.”

This is debunked at TalkOrigins Quote Mine #7.

Lie #6 If “evolution” was happening right now, there would be millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs. But instead there are none.

In fact there are “millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs.” Charles Darwin was most interested in the greatly modified organs that we see today called “vestigial” organs. He was unaware of amphibians without lungs, or fish with them. He did not know that the monotremes were mammals that still laid eggs. Mr. Snyder is either an ignorant lout who wants his followers to stay ignorant, or he is a con-man.

Lie #7 If the theory of evolution was true, we should not see a sudden explosion of fully formed complex life in the fossil record. Instead, that is precisely what we find.

This is simply another appeal to ignorance. This is perfect demonstration that Mr. Snyder has not made even a slight good faith effort to learn about evolution. This particular lie of his is refuted by the following books (These are written for professionals and are not the feel-good-trivial-lies familiar to creationists);

Erwin, Douglas H., James W. Valentine
2013 "The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Diversity" New York: Roberts and Company Publishers

Valentine, James W.
2005 “On the Origin of Phyla” University of Chicago Press

Here are the facts in very simple terms. The origin of multicellular organisms was first found about 2.5 billion years ago. This was one billion years after the first fossil single cell organisms, and 1.3 billion years after the first geochemical evidence of life.

“Complex” organisms with specialized cells appeared over a billion years ago. Additional references to those above are;

Rosing, T. Minik
1999 “13C-Depleated Carbon Microparticles in >3700-Ma Sea-Floor Sedimentary rocks from West Greenland” Science 283 (5402): 674

Rosing, Minik T. and Robert Frei
2004 “U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis" Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 217 237-244

Schopf, J. William
1999 "Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils" , Princeton University Press

#8 (Quote Mine) Paleontologist Mark Czarnecki, an evolutionist, once commented on the fact that complex life appears very suddenly in the fossil record…

“A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”

This is Quote Mine #26. It is just another of Mr. Snyder’s many lies.

#9 (Quote Mine) The sudden appearance of complex life in the fossil record is so undeniable that even Richard Dawkins has been forced to admit it…

“It is as though they [fossils] were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. Both schools of thought (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that they are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and both reject this alternative.”

This is Quote Mine #40

My advice to Mr. Snyder is to stop lying. 1 John 4:1. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.


Lie #10 Nobody has ever observed macroevolution take place in the laboratory or in nature. In other words, nobody has ever observed one kind of creature turn into another kind of creature. The entire theory of evolution is based on blind faith.

This is actually two lies. First, I was a working scientist for 40 years. I know what I discovered, and I know the degree of severe criticism and review scientists hold each other to every day. I do not accept anything on “blind faith.” Scientists do not accept anything on “blind faith.” I do place a modicum of trust in my fellow scientists, but only that little bit. I trust them to fear what happens to a scientist caught lying. And the fact that it is a great career opportunity for a young scientist to expose the errors of a senior scientist leads me to trust that over time errors will be exposed and corrected. This contrasts science with religion. Religionists will brand (or burn, or stone to death) any deviations from dogma. This is on-going around the world even today.

The big lie is that we are not fully able to document the evolution of new species from older ones. I have compiled a list of dozens of published examples, The Emergence of New Species. For additional information about how Mr. Snyder has lied, see Dr. Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent.”

#11 (Quote Mine) Evolutionist Jeffrey Schwartz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, openly admits that “the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed.”

This is Quote Mine # 53 slightly varied. In simple terms, Mr. Snyder is lying again. Worse, he has merely copied someone else lying.

The bigger lie is that we are not fully able to document the evolution of new species from older ones. I have compiled a list of dozens of published examples, The Emergence of New Species.

Lie #12 (Quote Mine) “Even evolutionist Stephen J. Gould of Harvard University has admitted that the record shows that species do not change. The following is how he put it during a lecture at Hobart & William Smith College…

“Every paleontologist knows that most species don’t change. That’s bothersome….brings terrible distress. ….They may get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that’s not due to imperfection and gaps but stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don’t change, its not evolution so you don’t talk about it.”

This is a very odd “quote” as it has no text as a reference. It is claimed to be a “lecture” that Steven Gould was supposed to have given to Hobart & William Smith College in 1980. There is no text, or record of this so-called “lecture.” In the creationist’s alternate reality, this lecture was titled, “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” There is no independent documentation that such a lecture ever took place, or what might have been said. What is interesting is that there was a paper by Gould published by the journal Paleobiology in 1980 with the title that creationist sources give to the illusive ‘lecture.’ In that paper, Steve Gould never wrote anything near the faked “quote.” The 1980 paper was also the subject of Mr. Snyder's Falsehood #4 which was merely TalkOrigins Quote Mine #50.

“Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” Stephen Jay Gould
Paleobiology Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter, 1980), pp. 119-130

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ego Google

I had not done an "ego Google" for months. It is typically boring: the same creationist whines about how mean I am, and Ed Brayton's bullshit posts.

Today I saw a rather amusing link to a set of lecture slides in German from a book chapter I coauthored decades ago.

Trance and Possession States E. Mansell Pattison, Joel Kahan, Gary S. Hurd presented by Gerald Zwinger.

The original publication was;

1985 "Trance and Possession States," E. M. Pattison, Joel Kahan, G. Hurd. In Handbook of Altered States of Consciousness. B. B. Walman and M. Ullman (ed.s) New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 286-310.

The way I was added to that book chapter was because I was the principle author of;

1984 "Manifestations of Possession in Novel Ecological Contexts," G. S. Hurd, E. M. Pattison. in Ecological Models in Clinical and Community Mental Health, W.A. O'Connor and B. Lubin (ed.s). John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Mansell had "adopted" most of my text, and added one of our students as a coauthor.

I was wroth. Very Wroth.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Russian Hack

The page read data for the last three weeks has been abnormally high.

The majority of hits come from a slew of Russian sites ranging from commercial to pornographic.

I don't know what they are up to but I doubt it is related to evolution, education, or creationism.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dr. Dino Does Dumb


Some of you will have followed the recent trial of "Dr. Dino." There are several quick ways to get up-to-date if you would like the details. The Pensacola News Journal has several articles organized by a time line. Tax expert, and journalist Peter J. Reilly has a lot of good material on his personal blog, and his commentaries at Forbes on-line. Another tax expert, and retired IRS investigator Robert Baty has a very active blog dedicated to the trials and tribulations of the Hovind clan. And a final recommendation is, Hovindology created by Dee Holmes.

For fairness, there here are two links to concentrated Hovindry. There is the "official" Kent Hovind website. And this is in my opinion one of the most unbalanced pro-Hovind sites Free Kent Hovind. I have played in the comments for their YouTube video.


Well, the jury acquitted Kent Hovind zero times. They found him guilty on one charge of contempt. Kent Hovind can also say goodbye to any chance at parole on his existing sentence. Will the Judge add the new time on the existing? I think so. If I understand the rather dense guide lines, he might not even get to count the time wasted during this trial. A any rate, Kent Hovind is in jail waiting for his next sentencing hearing in June.

At a minimum he is in the jug for another 3 1/2 years and could easily see 5 more.

What will happen on the other charges?

He was not acquitted and is still vulnerable to retrial. I have no idea how this will work out in the court. If as some people have speculated there was just a single juror that prevented guilty verdicts, then there will certainly be a retrial.

I sure got that wrong;

Kent Hovind released to Home Confinement, July 8, 2015.


There are several people who have been writing detailed reviews and assessments of Kent Hovind's legal woes. Rather than rehash what they have documented, I suggest you read their sites. Two I particularly recommend are Hovindology, and income tax expert Peter J Reilly. Mr. Reilly has two separate blogs, one for Forbes dot Com, and "Your Tax Matters Partner."

Kent Hovind is fresh out of prison. He has a one month home confinement up in August 2015. However, he has wasted no time in posting YouTube videos that contain many of his old lies. The first is of course that he "was a high school science and math teacher for 15 years."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Was Darwin "Debunked" about extinctions?

I can always count on creationists to lie, and distort science.

A recent comment I saw was that "Darwin's theory on extinction has been debunked, see this takedown" and a link to Darwin, Then and Now.

The link is to a website maintained to promote an anti-science book written by Richard William Nelson.

Darwin is always a favorite target as if he had been the last authority on evolutionary biology rather than the first. "Darwin's theory on extinction has been debunked" is built on the false claim was that Darwin thought that all species extinction must be very slow. This was based on a partial citing of a sentence fragment ripped from context, AKA a Quote Mine. The actual section from the definitive 6th edition of Darwin's "The Origin of Species" was "On Extinction" in Chapter XI regarding the fossil record. It reads;

"Both single species and whole groups of species last for very unequal periods; some groups, as we have seen, have endured from the earliest known dawn of life to the present day; some have disappeared before the close of the palæozoic period. No fixed law seems to determine the length of time during which any single species or any single genus endures. There is reason to believe that the extinction of a whole group of species is generally a slower process than their production: if their appearance and disappearance be represented, as before, by a vertical line of varying thickness the line is found to taper more gradually at its upper end, which marks the progress of extermination, than at its lower end, which marks the first appearance and the early increase in number of the species. In some cases, however, the extermination of whole groups, as of ammonites, towards the close of the secondary period, has been wonderfully sudden."

The bold italic sentence fragment was the whole of "Darwin's theory" according to Mr. Nelson.

So all Darwin has said is that the disappearance of entire Genera, or Families is commonly slower than their appearance and diversification in the fossil record. He referred to a well known instance of rapid extinction. We do know today that there have been unusual events on time scales unimagined by Darwin, or his contemporaries. Time scales of millions and tens of millions of years have marked the ends of great eras, and the extinctions of millions of species, even entire phyla. These mass extinctions are commonly followed by equally rare periods of rapid diversification of species among the survivors.

Mr. Nelson's falsehood that Darwin's "theory of extinctions" was disproven by the rapid man-made extinction of the Great Auk is a fraud of his own invention. The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) extinction was sudden. But the extinction of the Family it was has been much slower than their origin. Further, Darwin was focused on the fossil record and was not addressing the human interventions into species diversity.


From Moum, Truls; Arnason, Ulfur; Árnason, Einar (2002). "Mitochondrial DNA sequence evolution and phylogeny of the Atlantic Alcidae, including the extinct Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis)". Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 19 (9): 1434–1439.


It is in perfect accord with evolutionary biology.

The discovery of mass extinctions following extraordinary events like the "Snowball Earth," Meteor impacts, or massive flood volcanoes was touted by Steven Jay Gould 45 years ago as "overturning Darwinism." He got his tenure at Harvard and then calmed down. We are in the midst of another extraordinary event. This is one we have done on our own starting with the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago.