Saturday, October 23, 2010

While the fishing was slow, I did some fact checking

I spent a day or two writing responses to an editorial that appeared in the Newark Advocate.

Newark Advocate, OH 43055
3 Oct. 2010
Evolution is the dumbest and most dangerous religion in the world.
In the interest of full disclosure, I believe in the literal six-day creation of the universe as recorded in the first two chapters of Genesis. I freely admit that my acceptance of the Genesis account is purely by faith. I don't have to prove my beliefs nor do I have to defend them because I am not asking the taxpayer to fund the research of or the teaching of my beliefs in the public schools.
Evolution also is of faith. Sir Julian Huxley said, "I suppose the reason why we leapt at "The Origin of Species" was that the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores." Sir Arthur Keith, who wrote the forward to the 100th anniversary of Darwin's book, said, "Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable." George Wald, a Nobel Prize-winning evolutionist, said, "I will not accept creation philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible."

This country was founded on the basis of a creator who endowed mankind with certain unalienable rights, among which (but not limited to) are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our Constitution was drafted with the idea that government does not grant rights, but its greatest duty was to protect the rights of people. In contrast, evolution is the basis for humanism, the belief that I am my own final authority, and it removes the boundaries of governmental expansion and oppression.

Creationism is a religion of life while evolution is a religion of death. Evolution necessarily requires the death of the less evolved species. This is known as "survival of the fittest." With Darwin's book came the excuse for one "race" of people to eliminate another. Sir Arthur Keith wrote of Hitler, "The German Fuhrer ... has consistently sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution." Karl Marx tried to dedicate his book "The Communist Manifesto" to Darwin (although he declined). Joseph Stalin went to a Christian school until he read Darwin's book and became an atheist. He went on to kill between 60 and 100 million of his own people.
Dr. Leo Alexander, a holocaust survivor, said, "There is a difference between those who look upon their fellow human beings as common creatures of a common creator and those who look upon them as a conglomerate of biological chemicals."

While I have only begun to indict the theory of evolution, which has made no positive contribution to science, I hope you will begin to question what we are teaching our children. Do we even need to teach theories of the origin of the universe in public schools? Can we not just teach science and let each parent and each child decide what to believe?

In closing, I would like to ask those who believe in evolution this simple question, "If evolution is true, how do we determine right from wrong?"

Dahlke is a local pastor and resident of Perryton.

Reply (posted in ~1000 character chunks)
Re: Sir Arthur Keith

Rev. Dahlke has used several of the popular creationist attacks on science education. The first is the dishonest use of quotes out of context, or simply invented out of thin air. An excellent example of this dishonesty by Dahlke is the so-called quote from the “100th anniversary of Darwin's book” by Arthur Keith. The 100 anniversary of “The Origin of Species” was 1959. Arthur Keith died in 1955. He never wrote the words attributed to him by Dahlke. He did invent an idiosyncratic political theory he called “National Evolution” that he self published in a book he called “Evolution and Ethics.” This was the source of redacted quote regarding Hitler. The book is useless except to creationists.

In fact, Hitler was a creationist. Like Rev. Dahlke, Hitler rejected the evolution of humans, “From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from the very beginning what he is today? A glance in Nature shows us , that changes and developments happen in the realm of plants and animals. But nowhere do we see inside a kind, a development of the size of the leap that Man must have made, if he supposedly has advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is’ (now)” Hitler’s Tabletalk entry for 27 February 1942

And like creationists, Hitler rejected the evolution of species, “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi

In fact, Hitler and Rev. Dahlke not doubt agree that, "The most marvelous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator." - Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier). And, just like Rev. Dahlke, Hitler despised secular schooling: "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people." - Adolf Hitler, Speech, April 26, 1933.
But most telling is that the Nazi Party agreed with Rev. Dahlke when they banned the works of Charles Darwin from German schools and Libraries;

Die Bucherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published these collection evaluation "guidelines" during the second round of "purifications" (saüberung).

Guidelines from Die Bücherei 2:6 (1935), p. 279;
6. Schriften weltanschaulichen und lebenskundlichen Charakters, deren Inhalt die falsche naturwissenschaftliche Aufklärung eines primitiven Darwinismus und Monismus ist (Häckel).
6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false natural science enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel)

Just as the “Introduction” by Arthur Keith was a total fraud, the Reverend’s “Quote” from George Wald is misleading. Wald wrote two popular articles on the origin of life for Scientific American, in 1954, and one in 1958. Creationists variously attribute this fabricated quote to one or the other. Here is a relevant quote from Wald’s 1958 article that I think shows that the creationists (at best) misrepresent his view, “What I have learned is that many educated persons now tend to equate their concept of God with their concept of the order of nature. This is not a new idea; I think it is firmly grounded in the philosophy of Spinoza. When we as scientists say then that life originated inevitably as part of the order of our universe, we are using different words but do not necessary mean a different thing from what some others mean who say that God created life.” He concluded that, “…man's concept of God changes as he changes.”

The “quote” attributed to Sir Julian Huxley is another lie told by the Rev. Dahlke. Julian Huxley never said such a thing. This matter has been researched in great detail by Edward T. Babinski as he reports in “Lies Creationists Tell: The Julian Huxley Lie” (Aug. 11, 2004 revision). It was invented by either creationist Henry Morris, or James Kennedy.

The quote attributed to Dr. Leo Alexander appears in a recent book, “Faith under fire.” It was not even a direct quote by the author Steve Rabey, but supposedly based on the recollection of a third party, a Reverend Charles Carroll. In the quote, rather different from what Dahlke claimed, Dr. Alexander is identified merely as a “Jewish physician.” Dahlke pushes invention further, lying that Alexander was a Holocaust survivor. In fact, He was an American psychiatrist, who served under US Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson, as an army medical investigator with the rank of Major. He participated in the Nuremberg War Crimes trial as chief medical advisor to the U.S. Chief of Counsel, and co-authored the Nuremberg Code.

In, "Medical Science under Dictatorship" (New England Journal of Medicine 1949, 241 (2): 39–47) he wrote, "science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship." Apparently Dahlke subordinated truth to religious politics.

From, “Index to Creationist Claims, edited by Mark Isaak”
Claim CA002.2: Karl Marx&Darwin
Darwin wrote a letter declining the dedication of an unnamed book on atheism, but he wrote it to Edward Aveling. Aveling's common-law wife was Elanor Marx, Karl's daughter, and she inherited his papers. They got mixed up with Karl Marx's papers, and the letter was assumed to have been to Marx. This view found ideological favor in Russia, so it was widely repeated. Later, a letter from Aveling, requesting permission to dedicate his book “The Student's Darwin” to Charles Darwin, was found among Darwin's papers. Darwin declined permission and argued that science should not address religious matters directly (Colp 1982; Carter 2000).
Darwin did have a copy of Das Kapital, but its pages were unseparated when he died, so he never read it.

A war time propaganda biography of Joseph Stalin is the source for the Darwin&Stalin story. Stalin was a seminary student for about 5 years. He was in serious disciplinary trouble from the start. In his 4th year, he formed a group of students to read books banned by the priests, including Marx, and Darwin, but also Martin Luther. It is rather obvious that he found in the western intellectuals ways to justify his rebellion against the Orthodox seminary which still taught the “divine rights of Kings.” A serious student of Darwin would find support opposing hereditary nobility, which he called “a great Evil.” Even today, people like Dahlke use Darwin as a prop for their political views rather than inspiration.

Darwin himself was not political. He continued support for the abolition movement begun by his Grandfather. Following the American Emancipation, his charitable gifts were largely confined to his local parish.


It will come as a surprise to Dahlke that I totally agree with one thing he wrote, “Our Constitution was drafted with the idea that government does not grant rights, but its greatest duty was to protect the rights of people.” However, this came not from the Bible, but from the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The Bible teaches we are to be servile to our Kings and Masters. 1 Peter 2:13-14, Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” Matthew 24:45-46 "Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” Ephesians 6:5. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Dahlke, “Creationism is a religion of life while evolution is a religion of death. Evolution necessarily requires the death of the less evolved species. This is known as "survival of the fittest." With Darwin's book came the excuse for one "race" of people to eliminate another.”


In addition to inventing false quotes- actually mindlessly and carelessly repeating lies- Dahlke says some remarkably ignorant things about evolutionary theory. For example, he confuses it with Cosmology, the study of the universe. He thinks that science is a religion. He thinks that extinction only happens to “less evolved species.” This is just ignorance. But, most pernicious is the lie that biology justifies genocide. There has never been a single attempted genocide in history not based on religion or tribalism. The atrocities of the followers of Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot were all committed by a people against themselves to eliminate intellectuals, scientists and political opponents. The 20th century genocides from the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, Rwanda, to the ongoing genocide in Darfur are religiously or tribally persecuted. Not one is attributable to any theory in biology.


The Constitution is the legal instrument that protects Rev. Dahlke from arrest for heretical, un-orthodox preaching. Do I know what he preaches- no. History taught the Founders that any belief, any preaching, any biblical interpretation could become persecuted as heresy. That is why the First Amendment to the Constitution prevents government institutions, including schools, from promoting religion. Rev. Dahlke wants the protection of the Constitution while denying it to others- all in the name of God. This is the man the Founders sought to block.
Dahlke closed asking, “If evolution is true, how do we determine right from wrong?”
One commenter tried to reply reasonably. I would ask Dahlke, How did you determine that lying was “right?” Why would any reasonable person imagine that your gross example of ignorance, arrogance, and dishonesty warrants a reply to that question?


Thomas Aquinas wrote, "In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to be observed, as Augustine teaches. The first is, to hold to the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it be proved with certainty to be false, lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing." Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, Q68. Art 1. (1273).

Aquinas refers to Apostle Paul who wrote, "determine this--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way" (Romans 14:13), and Luke 17:1-2, He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

A reader of the Newspaper introjects:

4:26 PM on October 3, 2010
I see the defenders of the silly notion of evolution are out in force. Everyone agrees with the definition of evolution of change over time such as animals adapting to their environment. However, what is being taught in schools is that billions of years ago nothing exploded and here we are. Evolution cannot explain the origin of the universe, it cannot explain the origin of scientific laws, it cannot explain how life came from non life, and it cannot explain what we see today as 'evidence' for evolution.

There are some who are carrying the propaganda ball of the reich that Hitler was a Christian or even sypothetic to Christianity. In fact, anyone who has read his own writings knows that he hated Christ (A Jew) and all who worshipped him. Furthermore, Hitler's book is filled with evolutionary propagada.

Dr_G_Hurd, could you please answer the question at the end of the article? If you believe in evolution, how do we know right from wrong?


There are many errors in few words. Evolution is not at all involved with the origin of the universe. That is Cosmology. A good resource are;

NASA, Foundations of Big Bang Cosmology


Ned Wright’s Cosmology Tutorial at UCLA

There is also the interesting fact that creationists insisted that, according to their infallible biblical interpretations, there were no extra-solar planets.

Current Count 490 known planets orbiting 412 stars.


(If I ever find some very hard mineral that easily degrades, I’ll call it “Raygunite”).
Reaganeravoter wonders at “the origin of scientific laws.” The scientific discussion is referred to under the “anthropic principle.” It is hard to find both an easy to read resource for the scientifically illiterate, and one that is not partisan.

I do recommend;

“The Anthropic Principle”


“VJ Stenger - The Anthropic Principle” (PFD)

I think Vic Strenger’s case that many possible sets of “natural laws” would lead to possible intelligent life, if they were all free to vary is much more important that the principle exponents of the String Theory variants of the Anthropic Principle have acknowledged.


Reaganeravoter wonders about, “how life came from non life.” First, evolutionary theory, since Darwin, is about the DIVERSITY of life, not the ORIGIN of life. The origin of life is called “abiogenesis,” or “astrobiology.” I think the latter name is lame, until we find life off Earth. I have a “Short Outline of the Origin of Life” already.

“Stones and Bones: A Short Outline of the Origin of Life”

It is a few years out of date, and the data are getting better al the time. The short answer is that there is no obstacle to the natural origin of life. This is not critical to evolutionary theory which is competent regardless of the origin of life. But, it does tick-off creationists.


Reaganeravoter wonders at “what we see today as 'evidence' for evolution.”

The ultimate “evidence” for evolution is the directly observed emergence of new species. I have compiled a list of 20 or so speciation events from both laboratory, and natural settings, in organisms from bacterial to mammals.

“Emergence of New Species”


Reaganeravoter next moves on to Hitler. He false claimed, “…anyone who has read his own writings knows that he hated Christ (A Jew) and all who worshipped him.”

Like a creationist, Hitler claims Jesus as his inspiration: "My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them." - Adolf Hitler, April 12 1922, “My New Order”

Hitler was inspired by "Foundations of the Nineteenth Century" by Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Published in German in 1899, it presented Jesus as Aryan, and the Aryan “race” inherited all of the knowledge and glory of Rome.

Some recommended reading;
Bergen, Doris L.
1996 "Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich" University of N. Carolina Press

Heschel, Susannah
2008 The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany” Princeton University Press


Starting in the 1940s, the radioactive decay of heavy metals in rocks were used to establish their absolute age. Like all new efforts, the early results were prone to errors. In fact, the majority of technical literature on chronometrics is what NOT to do, and how NOT to do it. Very few fossil materials can be directly dated by radiometric methods. Those that can currently be directly dated all rely on the differential solubility of uranium and thorium oxides, and must either be impervious to water penetration (Eg. tooth enamel), or to have once been saturated, but then permanently dessicated, or sealed (Eg. algal tuffa, or corals). For all other situations, we need to look for a mineral that has been melted (volcanic ash, AKA tuft), or deposited from solution (Eg. travertine).

Since we can order strata into a relative sequence, finding dateable layers allows us to estimate the calendar age of nearby strata. If after many independent studies have established that a particular fossil species existed within a particular time range, it is a safe bet that all rocks bearing those fossils are within that time range. We in fact do use this correlation when we either have no other means to estimate the age of a strata, or the more exact dates from expensive fieldwork and laboratory analysis are not worth the effort. In archaeology we call this "relative dating by seriation", and in paleontology it is called "biostratigraphy."

This should clarify the "fossils are dated by the age of the rock" and "rock layers are dated by the fossils" issue that is such a "problem" for creationists to understand.

usncbforever, I absolutely agree with you on this. The "Dominionists," "Christian Reconstructionists," “Christian Identitiy, “ and their "British Israeli Movement" are all examples of these "Non-Christian believer(s) and a deranged religious psychopath(s)." Except they are all “Christian,” and all politically active in the conservative movement.

This started in the 1800s;
Marvin Wheat
1862 “Proof of Slavery From the First Chapter of Genesis”

and even today by self styled Christians. For example the followers of,

Haberman, Fredrich
1934 “Tracing Our White Ancestors: White Roots” 1962 ed. Phoenix, Az: Lord’s Covenant Church
2009 reprinted as “Tracing Our Ancestors: Traces the European American Back to Father Abraham and Beyond” Muskogee, Ok: Artisan Publishers

Except, they are the core of the Christian Conservative movement in America. Read:

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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are Constants Constant?

Central to the problem of teaching science in America’s classrooms is the issue of creationists that are active in denying the validity of the sciences. Children are exposed to this dogma for years before they ever enter a science classroom.

The more commonly self-professed creationists believe that the universe was created about 6000 years ago based on the various “table of generations” (Hebrew toledot) scattered in the Bible. And this places them squarely against the sciences of geology, and astronomy which conclude that the universe is 13.73 billion years old (to within 1% accuracy), and the Earth was formed much later, 4.55 billion years ago (to within 1%) (1, 2). The most recent cosmic age is 13.82 billion years discovered by the Planck CMB Mission just concluded in 2013.

Young Earth Creationists have attacked these results in several ways. They have argued that radioactive decay was much faster in the past invalidating radiometric dating methods such as the Uranium/Lead, or Potassium/Argon series (3). And they have argued that the speed of light was much faster in the past, making the distances from the Earth to far away stars misleading (4). There are many individual problems with these arguments. For example, if radioactive decay were sufficiently rapid for 4.5 billion years to appear like 6,000 years, enough energy would have been released that the Earth would still be a glowing cloud of gas. However, both of these arguments can be addressed within the single question, Is the Speed of Light Constant?

There is in fact a single answer, “Yes.”

The Fine Structure Constant Alpha is the strength of the electromagnetic force. It is expressed as Alpha = e^2/(h/2Pi)c, where e is the electron charge, Planck's constant h, divided by 2Pi, and c is the speed of light. So a direct measurement of the fine structure constant over time entails measuring the constancy of the speed of light. Creationist publications were the loudest promoting some preliminary results from a team led by John Webb, University of New South Wales, which reported in 1999 that the "fine-structure constant," appeared to have changed by about six parts in a million over the last 12 billion years (5). YE creationists saw this as confirmation their “YEC physics” of inconstant constants might be supported by real data.

The notion of inconstant constants was not only a theoretical challenge, there are critical technologies in electronics, and new “nano design” that are threatened. Teams of researchers sought to find the exact parameters of the fine structure constant. After years of effort they found that (to their relief) constants are constant. Alpha variation is limited by earth bound measurement to less than –1.9 +/- 2.3 X 10^16 per year (6). Astronomical measurements of quasar B0218+357 yield a variation in Alpha less than 1.8 x 10^–6 (95% confidence level) at approximately half the universe's current age, or ~6.2 billion years (7).

Compare two numbers, 0.00000018, the largest possible variation in the speed of light for the last 6.2 billion years, and 2,288,333 the factor that the speed of light must have gone faster for “Young Earth physics” to invalidate an ancient universe. They are over a million millions apart, which is the gap between science and creationism.

1) “Age of the Universe,” NASA, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)

2) “Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age of Earth and its Cosmic Surroundings” Dalrymple, G. Brent, 2004 Stanford University Press

3) ”Scientific Creationism” Morris, Henry M. 1985, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 139.

4) “The Atomic Constants, Light, and Time” Norman, Trevor G. and Barry Setterfield, 1987, Flinders University of South Australia, School of Mathematical Sciences, Technical Report. "Has the speed of light decayed?," Aardsma, Gerald E., 1988, Impact #179, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA.

5) See, "Further Evidence for Cosmological Evolution of the Fine Structure Constant "J. K. Webb, M. T. Murphy, V. V. Flambaum, V. A. Dzuba, J. D. Barrow, C. W. Churchill, J. X. Prochaska, and A. M. Wolfe, Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 091301 (2001) - Published August 9, 2001, "Changing Constants Cause Controversy" Charles Seife, Science 24 August 2001: Vol. 293. no. 5534, pp. 1410 - 1411 DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5534.1410b, and "Skewed Starlight Suggests Particle Masses Changed Over Eons" Adrian Cho, Science 21 April 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5772, p. 348 DOI: 0.1126/science.312.5772.348,

6) “Frequency Ratio of Al+ and Hg+ Single-Ion Optical Clocks; Metrology at the 17th Decimal Place” T. Rosenband, D. B. Hume, P. O. Schmidt, C. W. Chou, A. Brusch, L. Lorini, W. H. Oskay, R. E. Drullinger, T. M. Fortier, J. E. Stalnaker, S. A. Diddams, W. C. Swann, N. R. Newbury, W. M. Itano, D. J. Wineland, and J. C. Bergquist Science 28 March 2008 319: 1808-1812; published online 6 March 20086 March 2008 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1154622] (in Reports)

7) “ Strong Limit on a Variable Proton-to-Electron Mass Ratio from Molecules in the Distant Universe” Michael T. Murphy, Victor V. Flambaum, Sébastien Muller, and Christian Henkel Science 20 June 2008 320: 1611-1613 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1156352] (in Reports)