creationism, evolution, religion

More creationist aggravation

Oh those pesky creationists. Not only do they prefer to have their heads comfortably ensconced inside their own asses, they would like to have a graduate degree to show for it, too. The Institute for Creation “Research” is suing the Texas State Higher Education Coordinating Board for not granting it the right to issue Master’s degrees in “Science” “Education”. 

I have no problem with this – any person or organization has the right to claim mistreatment when they feel they have been treated unfairly, however one of the moves by a legislator in Texas has me concerned. State Representative Leo Berman has proposed bill HB 2800, which would exempt private organizations and “schools” that do not accept state or federal money from the board’s authority.  Berman sees this as a fairness issue – he is a Creationist and sees the issuance of science degrees in “evolution” as unfair provided creationist “scientists” and “educators” don’t get them, too. (Wither the poor, downtrodden Pastafarian?) 

Can someone explain to me how this could possibly be a positive step? Setting aside the issue that creationism is neither scientific nor even an educated stance in a coffee-break discussion, I mean just from the standpoint of standards of education. If *anyone* can create their own degrees with no authorizing agency, doesn’t it follow that the actual value of a degree vanishes? I can see it now – even more quacks blowing steam about creationism with a “Masters of Science in Education” on their business card, and no indication that it’s a crock of shit.

I will conclude with an example of what I can only assume is a result of the Texas education system, State Representative Berman himself:

“I don’t believe I came from a salamander that crawled out of a swamp millions of years ago,” Berman told FOXNews.com. “I do believe in creationism. I do believe there are gaps in evolution.

What can you do with idiots like that. Do you think he might be a chiropractor in real life? Pick up your torches and pitchforks, ye of reason, there are still creationist trolls that need slaying north and south of the border.

By the way, I should throw out a h/t to The Teapot Atheist, from whom I’ve developed the daily habit of surfing The Christian Post. Both the TA blog and CP are great reads – the first for a fun (for an atheist) read on things religious in the news and the second to make you feel smug in that “I can’t believe people take this shit seriously” kind of way.

Oh, they do.

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17 thoughts on “More creationist aggravation

  1. Lack of oversight in matters of higher education is extremely problematic, and, not unusual, unfortunately. Some Canadian provinces exempt religious-based institutions from the quality-assurance regimes that exist for public and private universities – a serious mistake, in my view. New Brunswick had a problem with the Atlantic Baptist University wanting to grant degrees in Education, which is one of the more scrutinized and quality-intensive programs from a government perspective. I think the ultimate solution to that one was to allow the university to grant the degrees, but with the condition that it be in Religious Education rather than allowing the university to graduate certified teachers (Just certifiable ones – ba-dum-pshh!).
    In my experience, any degree reviewed by a Board that certifies or accredits credentials is bound to follow standards established for particular types of degrees – including core competencies that must be achieved by students in a given program. As this ‘science’ degree doesn’t even come within shouting distance of actual science, the Texas Board made the absolutely correct decision.

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  2. 1-ICR has very top notch scientist, Nobel prize guys, many have several patents (invented the gene gun).
    2-ICR has been offering science degrees for over 27 years in the great liberal state of California.
    3-They were only denied in TX because they see the science EVIDENCE pointing to a Creator not an alien from another planet (as proposed by Richard Dawkins)
    4-Even Eugenie Scott can’t give evidence of a transitional form
    5-so you would have to beleive that in the begining there was NOTHING-gas-water-rocks-fish-monkeys-to the most beautiful model today? – you are a FOOL!

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  3. Hey Reality, here’s a question for you – how is Creationism science? That’s what this is about, right? You want a scientific education degree, prove that it’s science. It matters little that there are scientists inhouse at ICR if they aren’t doing science. The evidence expressly does not point to a “creator” of any kind. Unless of course you want to provide some that I’m unaware of.

    Oh, and don’t give us any of that “evolutionists don’t understand everything” shit, either. That is not evidence in favour of your story. Yes, there are gaps in the fossil record, but the evolution picture is quite clear (if fuzzy on a few details). I admit we do not know everything about natural selection (theory) as a mechanism for evolution (observed fact), but the fact of the matter is that these are scientific in that the former is falsifiable and the latter observable. On the other hand, we have Creationists, who can provide no evidence to prove their own claims and instead throw a bit of mud at evolution in the hope that something sticks.

    And no, I also don’t accept the human eye as an example of something irreducibly complex. There are lots of intermediate steps in the animal kingdom today. Since there is evidence of life on this planet for nearly four billion (yes, “billion”) years, there is loads of time to produce lots and lots of variability.

    You create a god in your own image to worship and self-justify and you throw rocks at those of us that admit that there are things we don’t understand. I don’t understand a lot of things, but having said that, I don’t have to make up fairytales about the stuff I don’t understand. And atheists get the “arrogant” label?

    And I’m the fool?

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  4. Reality, you are spouting the same tired old non-arguments all delusional, overly-religious wanks spout.

    “ICR has very top notch scientist, Nobel prize guys, many have several patents (invented the gene gun).”

    Patents only make them INVENTORS, albeit maybe with some scientifically based knowledge. Something the average mechanic or lay person can also acquire and lay claim to. To be a qualified scientific researcher one has to conduct scientific experiments, under rigorous, falsifiable conditions, then publish the work in forums where their peers have an opportunity to vet their work.

    “ICR has been offering science degrees for over 27 years in the great liberal state of California.” Big freaking deal. If their instructors and graduates don’t adhere to the forementioned conditions, it does mean anything. Time does not necessarily add legitimacy. Twenty-seven year old crap is still crap.

    Dawkins has NEVER claimed that aliens designed life on earth. This is a misquote – deliberate quote mining without giving all of what he said, or the context under which it was said. He was asked directly whether he could conceive of conditions under which intelligent design might occur.

    What exactly is the EVIDENCE that points to a Creator? The fact that evolutionary biologists and similar scientists haven’t managed to find everything out isn’t proof for your side. That’s what makes science fun, there are still things to discover. If they had found out absolutely everything, I’d be wasting my time pursuing a doctorate of science.

    The fossilization and preservation of living remains is an event that depends very much on happenstance – an animal dying in the right place and time to find conditions sufficient to turn certain parts of their bodies to stone… This also happens to occur in situations where sedimentary rock is formed… the types of rock that weather most readily with time, and we are talking of immense amounts of time. Finding fossilized remains is also dependant on a certain amount of luck. Remains likely rotted or were eaten before they have a chance to become fossils, or may be destoyed by wind and water even after they have become fossils. Of course there are gaps.

    “to the most beautiful model today” – Are you referring to humans? Seriously, are you talking about humans? If so, what kind of an off day was your all-powerful, omnipotent creator having when he came up with us? An eye that has blind spots because the nerves, arteries and veins that service it enter through a hole in the middle and spread across our retina, thereby obscuring sections of the incoming images (incidentally, squid have eyes where these things attach at the back, much better ‘design’). A spine that is curved up at the bottom, more conducive to walking on all fours, that gives many people excruciating lower back problems. intestines that ocaasionally tend to tangle themselves up because they are held in place by connective tissues that attach to the spine (again, much better if you walk on all fours, not so good for upright). And the appendix… a useless organ that randomly goes septic may kill you if not treated promptly.

    None of these things make sense if we were actually ‘designed’ by some intelligent being. However they do make sense in the context of an iterative process of change that has to work with what is already present.

    I wish you creationist clowns would get your facts straight before you mouth off.

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  5. Well said, Kevvy. And, might I add…
    1. Scientists and their individual achievements are irrelevant to the question at hand. Linus Pauling, one of the most eminent chemists of the 20th Century, began advocating in favor of mega-doses of vitamin C as a cure-all, something which some scientists consider a questionable assertion. Just because a scientist agrees with you and has patented something doesn’t make them infallible, or even necessarily correct.
    2. There have been institutions in Canada offering degrees since the 1700s – this does not imply that they are of any reasonable quality (some are not), nor do you indicate what the degrees are – topics, concentrations, theoretical bases, etc. I could find a ‘liberal’ state tomorrow and start offering degrees, without any context or documentation proving utility, degrees from Flash University (good old F.U.) are meaningless. Tell me with what national or even regional non-religious accreditation agency recognizes the degrees you speak of, and I will concede the point – until then, your assertion is just filler.
    3. I grant you that I have not read everything Richard Dawkins has written, but what I have read does not indicate any connection to extraterrestrial intelligence in the evolution of life on Earth. Give me the citation for a quote by Dawkins proving this (APA style, please), and I will concede this point as well.
    As to your claim of evidence, show me one instance of solid, physical evidence that can be interpreted in such a way that the ONLY explanation is that a creator made it, then you’ll have me convinced. Until then, any piece of evidence you produce will have alternative explanations that have nothing to do with supernatural creation myths, and are explained by an unbiased, scientific methodology. In fact, I would assert that the scientific method is the only reliable way to establish the validity of any evidence you produce – if you do not arrive at an explanation by purely scientific means, your conclusion is invalid. Creationism or intelligent design are religion, as United States courts have repeatedly concluded.
    4. With all due respect to Dr. Scott (a well-known physical anthropologist and critic of creationism), perhaps she couldn’t show you a transitional form of life – however, what you would consider transitional forms are merely snapshots of moments in milennia-long processes, not the process of evolution caught in the act, as it were. I didn’t discover ice cream, either, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. One scientist is not science, no matter how eminent or prominent they are.
    An archaeopteryx is what it is, a creature with some lizard characteristics and some bird characteristics, so it is clearly at the midpoint between the two – it doesn’t explain every single step that comes in between, but scientists get closer every year as more is discovered. What you need is to familiarize yourself with the science of Cladistics (AKA Phylogenetics), which uses DNA and RNA sequencing to build accurate maps of evolutionary relationships between species and their relationships to one another by examining individual mutations through genetic mapping. John Sanford (inventor of the gene gun you refer to above) should take the time to understand this a little better. Evolution is proven, there is no dispute as to the truth or untruth of the process. Discussion is a crucial element in discovery, as people pool ideas and build upon what has come before, but there is a clear, unequivocal agreement that evolution is a fact.
    5. To be honest, I don’t know what was here before the instant of the ‘big bang’ or whatever event precipitated the beginnings of the universe, but am I such a fool to ignore decades of evidence gathered by people more intelligent than me using a method with which I have complete confidence can uncover the natural rules underpinning the operation of the whole shebang? Nope. I’m not that arrogant.
    What is arrogant is attributing the creation of everything in the universe to a creator who obviously has enough time to devote to you personally while at the same time designing what are, in fact, some inefficient flesh-machines. And whipping up a bit of cancer to kill mothers, fathers and children with. Not to mention plagues, famines, droughts, and so on, and so on.
    And, to preclude the irreducible complexity argument (thanks for reminding me, Kevvy!), octopi have eyes that function well and are not nearly as complex as the human eye, so, yes, in fact, eyes can function quite well at a different level of complexity, and even missing what some consider to be irreplaceable parts. However, that’s not the ultimate arbiter of anything. What is the determining factor in the argument of irreducible complexity is that in most cases, what the ideas of creation or intelligent posits would be valid in a closed system, which the Earth is not – you may have noticed that big glowing ball in the sky we call the ‘Sun’. It contributes enough solar energy to earthbound processes of many types to provide the energy for the evolutionary process.
    Who, therefore, is the fool – the one who ignores the reasonable, logical words of his fellow men, or the one who proclaims anyone who differs with them to be a heretic. I think the conclusion is clear.
    If you plan to answer this, be aware that the inevitable overgeneralizations and name-calling will be returned in kind. We’ve pretty much heard it all by now, anyway.

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  6. And well said Graven, as well – I was writing when you posted. Thanks for the squid reference, I may have had the octopus/squid thing a little confused.

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  7. No worries Flash. Octupi and squid both have eyes the are every bit as complex as our own, maybe more so as they both have much better vision than we do. So, Mr. All-powerful Creator, what gives? It just proves the point that humans as some sort of pinacle of creation/ evolution/ development/ beauty is a myth. See Dawkins’ “The Ancestor’s Tale” for a good review of evolutionary lineages, and how many of our cousins, primate and not, that have been around longer, and are still with us. we are an obscure twig on one branch of the tree of life, people, get used to it.

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  8. Actually, if I recall my reading correctly, Octupi eyes are better than ours in some ways – the lack of a blind spot for one.

    As for “Reality”‘s claim of ‘Nobel-prize-winning Scientists’ at ICR – the only mention I can find of this would be an article

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  9. Thanks for pointing out that article, Dan. That oughta settle the matter of the Nobel laureate. However, it’s not like a creationist to let a little reality mess up a perfectly good fantasy.

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  10. As for transitional fossils – guess you haven’t bothered to actually get off your ass and read the news today, have you, Reality?

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/04/22/tech-090422-pujila-fossil-seal.html

    Or for the last 3 years, it seems like:

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2006/04/05/fossil-fish-20060405.html

    So, so far we’ve determined of you:

    a. you’re a liar,

    b. you’re either pig ignorant or too lazy to do your own research,

    c. And the fact that you posted and ran would indicate that cowardice would seem to be among your personal characteristics. Any other things you’d like to share with us?

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  11. Gentlemen, may I state at this point that arguing with true believers and zealots using reason is as effective as plowing the sea? Reality isn’t going to change his mind based on what he sees here and to be honest, as long as he doesn’t try to forcibly convert me or demand that I take him seriously he can believe in whatever damn-fool received wisdom gibberish that he wants to believe in.

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  12. Hey Reality:
    I would like to know of these Nobel prize “guys” you speak of. Like Dan, I have found only one article about a nobel winner (Werner Arber) that said nothing about his association with the ICR. I found about another gentleman with ICR connections (member of the Technical Advisory bosrd) but did not get the Nobel Prize under some controversy. I feel I do not need to argue the other points as my fellow koggers have done so most eloquently. However, if you do respond, please apply good arguements with facts to back you up.

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  13. I should have mentioned the name of the other gentleman I spoke of in my previous post. His name is Dr. Raymond Damadian who holds pantents on the MRI machine, but was denied the Nobel prize for medicine.

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  14. Point taken, Kev, and I’m prepared to offer Reality my apologies for the charge of cowardice, if and when they do come back here. I’ll also withdraw the accusation of lying, since I don’t think Reality’s deliberately lying, they’re just repeating a lie because they can’t be bothered to do anything beyond parroting ICR press releases.

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  15. Oh, but you guys are forgetting all of the *other* Nobel prize winners that come to hang out at the ICR canteen – they are committed creationists, but don’t want it to be known publically because they still want access to the scientists golf courses and women.

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