Category Archives: Science
Paranthropus Robustus is your friend. Kent Hovind isn’t.
As DaveX and P-Zizzy already have pointed out, the entirety of of Kent Hovind’s atrocious DVD output, including the slideshows, can be downloaded for those of you who have a Demonoid account. If you’re in desperate need of a laugh this may just be the thing, but have caution – we’re talking brain-melting stupid here.
If you need some real science to recover from this astonishing heap of aural cow dung, I cannot recommend John Hawks’ paleanthropology blog enough. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better online resource for news on the evolution of hominids for free.
It took a while for me to work it up, but now I’m actually angry at Michael Behe – the only fellow of the despicable Discovery Institute who can claim to know any biology at all.
One of of Behe’s major claims in The Edge of Evolution* was the evolution of HIV – namely, that evolution hadn’t produced any changes at all in the genome of the virus.
Too bad for Behe, real scientists took notice of his claims this time. One of them was Abbie Smith, a pre-grad student working in an HIV lab and current guest blogger over at The Panda’s Thumb. She informs Behe of the fact that there are at least two entirely new genes that has evolved in the phylogenetic groups of HIV – one visible in the very diagram Behe used in the book to show the lack of change in the HIV genome.
The red mark is Abbie’s addition – Behe obviously remaining blissfully oblivious to the fact that the proof for the evolutionary change he aimed to refute was right under his nose all the time.
I am very sorry, Michael Behe. But if you’re too fricking lazy (or even downright dishonest) to even check the diagrams you use yourself, you’re not even worthy of the refutations by notable scientists you’ve earned so far. And if a pre-grad student can slam you in an area where you aim to compete with the best… well, it’s a fine indication it’s about time to throw in the towel.
Ignorance has earned both Behe and the rest of the ID shenigans a following among credulous church-goers. But when put up to even the slightest scientific scrutiny, they fall like a house of cards.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as clear a demonstration of the utter stupidity of creationism as this video, dug up by P-Zizzy. By now, most of y’all have probably heard of Ken Ham’s grotesque “creation museum” in Petersburg, KY – an absurd ode to ignorance and Pythonesque revisionism, where visitors are told that the earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs were contemporary with man (remember the Jesus Horse?)
Anyway – now it turns out that this monstrosity is built upon some rather beautiful fossil layers from the Ordovician era (ca 488 to 444 millions of years ago). At this time eastern United States was a seabed, bustling with ancient marine life. So in this clip, a local paleontologist takes us on an odyssey through the hills, showing us the abundance of marine fossils – ammonites, trilobites, brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids and so on – demonstrating both the antiquity of the earth, and the evolution of life.
Creationists often claim that science, devoid of myths and comforting imaginary friends, never can match the beauty and poetry of religion. That’s not what I see here. What I see here is a dazzling testimony to the antiquity of life on earth and its evolution – soiled by a tacky exhibition of a particular brand of embarrassing human stupidity, which has existed for less than one millisecond of the earth’s history. In one million years, Ken Ham’s creation museum (and probably humanity as well) will be long gone. But evolution on earth will go on, and these ancient hills (and the life embedded in them) will still stand as a testimony to the ever-changing, ever-amazing journey of life.