I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Creationist critics get their comeuppance"

A New Scientist magazine blog article titled "Creationist critics get their comeuppance" attacks Conservapedia's and Michael Behe's responses to Lenski et al.'s paper about the evolution of citrate-eating E. coli bacteria:

A couple of weeks ago we reported on the work of Richard Lenski, who has spent much of the last 20 years maintaining cultures of E. coli to see how they evolve. His paper describes how one of his populations evolved the ability to metabolise citrate, something E. coli cannot do by definition.

It's one of the most dramatic examples of evolution in action ever seen, and because Lenski freezes samples of the population every 500 generations, it is possible to go back and track how the ability developed. Lenski and his team are now doing so, and hope to have a detailed history of the ability developing, mutation by mutation.

All in all we thought it was a pretty excellent piece of research, and plenty of other sites agreed: Pharyngula, for instance, devoted a lengthy post to it. However, such an unambiguous example of evolution in action was always going to bring the kooks out of the woodwork.

First up was Michael Behe, the intelligent design proponent and biochemist, who argued in his Amazon blog that Lenski's work was in fact excellent evidence for intelligent design. His argument is a variant on the usual "it's just so improbable" line: the ability to metabolise citrate required several different mutations (true), which each have a low chance of happening in a given time (true), and it may even have been necessary for them to happen in a particular order (true), therefore Darwinian evolution can't explain it. Er, no, it just means it would take evolution a little while to manage it. 20 years, as it turned out.

However, a far more amusing response came from Andrew Schlafly, the boss of Conservapedia. This, you may recall, is an alternative version of Wikipedia that aims to "correct the biases" of the original site - it has, for example, a young-Earth creationist viewpoint on evolution.

Schlafly wrote a brusque open letter to Lenski, expressing "skepticism" about his claims and demanding to see the data.

Well, the researchers still have not answered simple, basic questions about the paper, so who cares about the data?

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Well, the researchers still have not answered simple, basic questions about the paper, so who cares about the data? <

You expect them to try to explain the obvious to a bunch of dimwits? They would have no time for anything else.

Friday, June 27, 2008 3:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Apparently the headline is meant to imply that Behe is a creationist. A stupid thing to imply, since Behe believes in common descent. Or are they also now going to imply that quantum physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff is somehow a creationist, since he concludes that ID is correct? (Mohrhoff also believes in common descent: and so far as I know, he isn't even a theist.)

Friday, June 27, 2008 5:26:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU driveled,
>>>>>You expect them to try to explain the obvious to a bunch of dimwits? They would have no time for anything else. <<<<<<

As the saying goes: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Jim Sherwood said,
>>>>>> Apparently the headline is meant to imply that Behe is a creationist. A stupid thing to imply, since Behe believes in common descent. <<<<<<

Maybe they consider Behe to be an old-earth creationist. I think that an OEC can believe in common descent.

Friday, June 27, 2008 5:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Behe is a creationist. A stupid thing to imply, since Behe believes in common descent.

Generally they use the label as a church/state issue which courts have ruled in favor of secularism since 1941.

"irreducible complexity" is not a doctrine one can find in the Bible...

Friday, June 27, 2008 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger Phae said...

What are the basic, simple questions, Yar? I'll bet they've already been answered and you just didn't understand, as demonstrated on your other post's comments. Care to list them?

Friday, June 27, 2008 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Phae,

I am not responding to you anymore, dunghill.

Saturday, June 28, 2008 2:28:00 AM  
Blogger Phae said...

I am not responding to you anymore, dunghill.

That is wise. You've made a studied effort at heaping humiliation upon yourself with your grudging admission that you just aren't capable of understanding the answers you demand, so it is best to stop now. I think it's fairly clear what conclusion you want to draw, and consarnit, Yar, I respect you for having such courage in your convictions - so much courage, in fact, that the actual facts stand no chance of swaying you! It's a bold man who looks reality in the face and decides that he'd prefer a more conservative version.

Some day, I want to be you. A proud and strong man who takes a stand in favor of deciding the truth is whatever pleases him, and goes to Conservapedia so that a bunch of people will agree with him.

Bless you, sir. Bless you for your sacrifice.

Saturday, June 28, 2008 2:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Phae,

You are beating him at every turn. Expect to be censored.

Saturday, June 28, 2008 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

A Darwinist troll cried, "Who
Is Larry to doubt my old view?
I must heckle and fight,
Out of spite, and bite
At each post, and desperately chew."

Saturday, June 28, 2008 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous same ol' anonymous said...

"As the saying goes: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

A bunch of ignorant questions from ignorant laymen is hardly heat my friend, it's an annoying pain in the ass and a waste of time.

"I am not responding to you anymore, dunghill"

Ahhhh ignoring reality when you can't understand it. Why not try to learn more about it instead of attempting to create your own?

Saturday, June 28, 2008 4:19:00 PM  
Blogger Phae said...

A Darwinist troll cried, "Who
Is Larry to doubt my old view?
I must heckle and fight,
Out of spite, and bite
At each post, and desperately chew."


Unflummoxed, the English major said -
Not hurt, but with a giggle instead ,
"A limerick so bad,
Yet he thinks I've been had,
...If only there was a book he'd read."

Saturday, June 28, 2008 5:22:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

English major

If you've read Beowulf, I guess you must really be an English major. :-}

Saturday, June 28, 2008 6:24:00 PM  

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