Sunday, October 28, 2007

Answering Creationist Challenges to Evolution

Science, and in particular evolutionary theory, is under attack by creationists (mostly Young Earth Creationists). Even though there is no doubt about the fact of evolution within the scientific community, the number and diversity of the objections to evolution raised by creationists can put even well-informed people at a disadvantage. John Rennie, editor at the Scientific American, has compiled 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense (pdf) which can be a useful resource for those encountering such people.

Here is a list of the challenges Rennie addresses:

  1. Evolution is only a theory. It is not a fact or a scientific law.
  2. Natural selection is based on circular reasoning: the fittest are those who survive, and those who survive are deemed fittest.
  3. Evolution is unscientific, because it is not testable or falsifiable. It makes claims about events that were not observed and can never be re-created.
  4. Increasingly, scientists doubt the truth of evolution.
  5. The disagreements among even evolutionary biologists show how little solid science supports evolution.
  6. If humans descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?
  7. Evolution cannot explain how life first appeared on earth.
  8. Mathematically, it is inconceivable that anything as complex as a protein, let alone a living cell or a human, could spring up by chance.
  9. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa.
  10. Mutations are essential to evolution theory, but mutations can only eliminate traits. They cannot produce new features.
  11. Natural selection might explain microevolution, but it cannot explain the origin of new species and higher orders of life.
  12. Nobody has ever seen a new species evolve.
  13. Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils--creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.
  14. Living things have fantastically intricate features--at the anatomical, cellular and molecular levels--that could not function if they were any less complex or sophisticated. The only prudent conclusion is that they are the products of intelligent design, not evolution.
  15. Recent discoveries prove that even at the microscopic level, life has a quality of complexity that could not have come about through evolution.

Head on over and check it out.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Goobernor Rick Perry

Let's see,

  1. Evolution denier, check.
  2. Global Warming denier, check.
  3. ...

What else?

Texas deserves better.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dembski Debunked

Mark Perakh has an article at Talk Reason, Errors not corrected for three years point to incompetence, discussing how the ID advocate and pseudo-mathematician William A. Dembski has misled the public. He says, among other things:
This, in turn, allows one to assert that to all intents and purposes Professor Shallit was right in defining Dembski as a pseudo-mathematician and therefore that all the alleged "Mathematical foundation of Intelligent design" so vigorously and triumphantly trumpeted by Dembski and his acolytes, is pseudo-mathematics. It can't serve as a foundation of any reasonable conceptual set.

Far from being the "Isaac Newton of Mathematics," as some have claimed, one has to wonder how Dembski could have gotten a PhD and become a supposed expert in this particular field of mathematics without being familiar with the work of the prominent mathematician Alfréd Rényi who has been widely published and heavily referenced for over forty years, as stated in the article.