Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Transition This!

I'm currently working in the lonely confocal microscope room, trying to keep my sanity after a few hours of work in a warm, smelly, dark room. I figure, hey, why not check out the answersingenesis.org site? They always have crazy stuff being posted there by that crazy australian, Ken Ham. Indeed, I have not been let down.

I decided to read Ken's blog - can't go wrong there - and see what new evidence he has to show me that creationism, not evolution, explains life as we know it, both functionally and philosophically. Here's a link to his entry: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/aroundtheworld/2008/03/04/semantics-and-evolution/

My apologies if his link has been removed due to the grotesqueness of its innaccuracies. :)

Ken has taken it upon himself to explain how, because of the profundity and cleverness of the intelligent design arguments, scientists are now panicking that someone has finally come along to punch holes in their quicksand 'theory' about how life essentially functions on this planet. According to Ham, scientists are now playing word games to 'reclaim' the word 'design' and to clear up ambiguities concerning transitional fossils. Ken Ham is so convinced by the obviousness of the scientific stupor that he doesn't clarify his point much - he simply quotes prominent scientists explaining how to combat the logos of intelligent design.

Not only is he arrogant, but he seems to be quite intellectually dishonest to boot. If anyone is playing semantics, it is Ken Ham. The constant bickering, that creationists aren't treated fairly because they are ignored by mainstream science, is incredibly exhausting, especially in light of this drivvel. How is it that he doesn't understand how the human mind works through an understanding of causality. Should we see something moving in the air in a particular direction, we assume that there was a 'cause' in the opposite direction to which the object is traveling. Many more scientists, including Richarrd Dawkins, have made the eloquent arguments better than I, indicating the amazing-ness of life's SEEMING design. We have a habit of looking at things from a designed perspective, and when they don't look designed, insist that they must somehow be. This is truly an incredibly weak argument that Ham is trying to make. Scientists have been awed at the complexity of biology by poetically admiting the superficial cleverness of the system as if it were 'designed.' Unfortunately certain sects have exploited the use of this term to mean something entirely different. I'm ready to have a discussion any day with someone who thinks that my near legally blind eyesight or herniated disc in my lower back were products of 'design.' But that's right - Ham concedes those biological flaws in the system are due to the fall of man because of original sin; perfectly reasonable, right?

The second point that Ham wants to make is just ludicrous. This is the same camp that supported the evolution challenge: show evidence of a transitional fossil (i.e. a cat headed dog being born from a cat, and giving birth to a dog) to prove evolution and win a monetary prize. I'm not lying - here, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NkO6fQvydM

Understanding what a transitional fossil is should be key to knowing how intellectually dishonest these creationists are being. First off, let's do a thought experiment I once heard Richard Dawkins suggest on a podcast. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives. Because evolution is a bushy process in general, there have been other species besides just the two of us; however we're the only most related extant species in 2008. But if we were to consider alll of the other species that have gone extinct: Homo habilus, Homo erectus, etc. and line them up side by side; we should be able to have intercourse with the most related group, and they could then mate with their next most related group, and so forth down the line, until we realize that we're n degrees of separation from having screwed a chimp. I think it's quite sobering to realize that if all of these other species were alive with us today, this experiment would be possible.

The notion that we need a cat-headed dog to prove evolution is patently absurd. Anyone taking a cursory glance at an evolution text book realizes that cats and dogs didn't come from each other, they each come from a common ancestor! This goes hand in hand with the frequently repeated misconception that humans descended from chimps ... NO! Chimps AND humans descended from a COMMON ANCESTOR. Each time that a creationist rhetorically questions or states that "I didn't come from no monkey!" They're either ignorant or intellectually dishonest ... and judging from his age and intellect, something tells me that for Ken Ham, it's the latter.

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