Friday, September 10, 2021

“Evolution’s Achilles’ Heals"

A week ago I got into a short on-line conversation with a Young Earth Creationist. Jon Hambridge is British, and works in quality control.

As anyone who has read anything on this blog, or anywhere else I have published, this was not the first time I have interacted with a YEC.

In this case the creationist wrote that he was particularly impressed by a book, “Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels: 9 Ph.D. scientists explain evolution’s fatal flaws – in areas claimed to be its greatest strengths” It was produced and published in 2014 by none other than the old crew from Answers in Genesis, now known as “Creation Ministries International.” I didn’t detail to him how AiG was basically stolen from the original crew by Ken Ham. (But that is how it went, See “Creation Ministries International Formerly Answers in Genesis)” by John Stear, May 2006 for all the gory details ).

After a bit of back and forth I suggested to Jon that I’d order the book (if there was a used copy on-line as I will not buy new copies of creationist books that pay the publishers) and we could follow up later. I ordered a nicely discounted used copy that came just the other day.

The text and authors are as follows.

Introduction was by Carl Weiland,

Natural Selection, Don Batten,

Genetics and DNA, Robert W. Carter,

The Origin of Life, Jonathan Sarfati,

The Fossil Record, Emile Silverstru,

The Geological Record, Tas Walker,

Radiometric Dating, Jim Mason,

Cosmology, John Hartmett,

Ethics and Morality, David Catchpole, Mark Harwood.


So what I suggest is that I take the various topics as the spirit moves me. I’ll post here and then invite Jon to comment. For the time being, I’d like the comments to be restricted to just Jon and I.

We shall proceed in full cognizance that, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” – Charles Darwin “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex” (John Murray, London, 1871) vol. 1, p. 3, and the stark reality of Brandolini’s law (also known as the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle): “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it.


Tuesday, August 03, 2021

how poorly David Klinghoffer can read

Following the link from Evolution News to a partial transcript of the speech was very helpful illustrating how poorly David Klinghoffer can read.

"Scientific Racism and the Confederate Flag" July 24, 2021, David Klinghoffer
 According to Klinghoffer, the Confederacy was founded on scientific evolutionary terms. He cited a speech given by Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice President of the rebelling states. 
Alexander H. Stephens did not refer to any scientific discoveries related to racial superiority of Whites, or inferiority of Blacks. He does claim that God had ordered White superiority.
He repeatedly makes religious assertions. For example, "The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal."
And then, "It (the Confederacy) is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system." 
And more, "The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made "one star to differ from another star in glory." 
The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws."


Friday, July 23, 2021

Darwin and Scientific Racism

Darwin made virtually no mention of humans at all in his 1859 work "The Origin of Species." Further, popular political writing 150 years ago and even later commonly used "race" to mean nationality; we read from those times about the "Irish race" and the "English race." In fact, Darwin considered all human biological variation he observed in his worldwide travels merely due to differences in climate and diet. For example Charles Darwin, wrote in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (John Murray, London, 1871), "It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant." And later on pg: 226, 1st edition, “But the most weighty of all the arguments against treating the races of man as distinct species, is that they graduate into each other, independently in many cases, as far as we can judge, of their having intercrossed. Man has been studied more carefully than any other organic being, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges whether he should be classed as a single species or race, or as two (Virey), as three (Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven (Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory St. Vincent), sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawfurd), or as sixty-three, according to Burke.(17) This diversity of judgment does not prove that the races ought not to be ranked as species, but it shews that they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive character between them.”

Samuel George Morton, mentioned above measured the volume of 256 skulls from around the world by pouring white pepper seed into each cavity, then gauging in cubic inches the volume of seed needed to fill a sample. From that work, he published Crania America in 1839 judging the "mental capacity” of entire populations from a few skulls. Darwin dismissively wrote in Descent of Man, Vol 1 page 145, “As the various mental faculties were gradually developed, the brain would almost certainly have become larger,” and concluded by dismissing Morton's racism, “On the other hand, no one supposes that the intellect of any two animals or of any two men can be accurately gauged by the cubic contents of their skulls.”

Morton was a “fifth day creationist” claiming that non-white races were created with "beasts of the field" on the Fifth Day of the Genesis Creation account. Harvard professor Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) was also a “fifth day” supporter. Darwin not only correctly pointed to our common ancestry with African apes, but concluded, "It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant."

Creationists would not need to lie if they could provide facts.

In fact, Frederick Douglass's 1854 commencement speech to WESTERN RESERVE COLLEGE titled "The claims of the Negro, ethnologically considered," detailed the "scientific" racism of "Messrs. Nott, Glidden, Morton, Smith and Agassiz." All pro-slavery Christian creationists.

A contrasting example was the Rev. John Bachman (February 4, 1790 – February 24, 1874). He was an American Lutheran minister, social activist and naturalist who collaborated with J.J. Audubon.  Co-founder of Newberry College, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Bachman published in 1850 “The Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race Examined on the Principles of Science,” and in 1855 “Characteristics of Genera and Species, as Applicable to the Doctrine of Unity in the Human Race.” Bachman was liberal of his place and time. He accepted that the African, and Caucasian races were of the same species. However, he also wrote that the African were of such an inferior, and debased nature that it was the Christian Duty of Whites to enslave the Africans “for their own good.”

Instead of reading nonsense, I recommend;
Daly, John Patrick 2002 "When Slavery was Called Freedom: Evangelicalism, Proslavery, and the Causes of the Civil War" University of Kentucky Press.

Robert J. Richards 2013 "Was Hitler a Darwinian? Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory," University of Chicago Press.

Monday, June 14, 2021

California Charter Schools Dodge


I was prompted in an online discussion of an anti-teacher editorial in the Orange County Register by a claim that California Charter Schools were particularly good for Black students. 

The last solid California K-12 data were the year prior to the pandemic. That is shown below.

2019-2020 Enrollment (Counts in 100,000)

                     Hispanic          White                Black            

All                33.8, 54.9%    13.8, 22.4%     3.2,  5.3%      

Public          30.3, 55.2%    12.0, 21.8%      2.7,  5.0%     

Charter         3.5, 52.2%      1.83, 27.2%     0.5, 7.4%  


California's largest Black school population is in Los Angeles County, and note well that the LA charter schools are basically the ones that "pumped" the numbers for Black Charter schools. What was hidden is that their charter schools draw from public school already with high Black enrollment.


Now look at the "special" education problems in California. The 2 largest are English Language Learners, and Physical Disability.

              ESL(1000s)       Disability (1000s)

All         1,148, 18%        721,  12%

Public    1,046, 17%        655,  11%

Charter     102, 11%          66,    1.07%


Again, Charter Schools are dodging out of the hard work.

If we look at the total educationally challenged populations; English Learners, Foster Youth, Homeless Youth, Migrant Education, Students with Disabilities, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged we see that 89% of them all are taught in public schools, only 11% in Charters. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Why I still bother to read and comment on ID creationism.

21 Mar, 2021

This is why;

Years ago I posted a little review of Meyer's "Signature in the Cell," on Amazon's website.

I had forgotten it.

What was a lot of fun was looking for Meyer's "many peer reviewed science publications" and I stumbled on this gem of Casey Luskin's, "Citation Bluffs About Earth’s Early Atmosphere Dominate Misguided Response to Signature in the Cell"

I had never seen it before today, and after 11 years it is a delight. It is so similar in tone to the more recent trash spewed about me by Disco'tute John West.