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.

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.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Climategate" puts big dent in credibility of "experts"

I am delighted that the "Climategate" scandal has seriously impaired the credibility of so-called "experts." The New York Times has the story here. Laypeople have been pushed around by the "experts" for far too long. As Texas board of education member and former chairman Don McLeroy said, "someone needs to stand up to the experts." Actually, we need to have a lot of people stand up to the experts.

I was actually starting to believe the global-warming stories. For example, glaciers and polar ice have been shrinking drastically, so there does appear to be something going on.


If the Jewish people are an invention, maybe the holocaust is an invention, too

A review of a book titled "The Invention of the Jewish People" says,

Shlomo Sand clearly intended his book as an explosive device, a big bang demolishing the myths of Jewishness on which both communal identity and Israeli state policies rest.

His hostile critics react as if it were a deadly bomb, a kind of literary-political terrorist attack . . . . .

. . . . . Almost none of those assailants, naturally, has any discernible expertise in any of the fields Sand touches on. Barely less depressing is the extent to which responses are so utterly predictable according to the critic's political views, so evidently fixed in advance and unaltered by any actual reading.

Conventional ideas about Jewishness hold that Jews are a single ethnic group (or nationality) with substantial shared biological ancestry going back to the biblical kingdom of Judea, from which they were exiled in waves to scatter widely across the Mediterranean world, then far beyond. The core of Sand's historical case is that the whole story is a myth: a very elaborate fiction, supported by hordes of eminent scholars, which became foundational and essential for the state of Israel, but mostly a very recent fabrication without much evidence. Ironically, the idea of the Jews as quintessential people of exile and dispersal was in origin a specifically Christian and even anti-Semitic story: displacement as a punishment for denying Jesus. Yet it was enthusiastically adopted by pioneer 19th-century Jewish historians, partly under the influence of Germanic nationalism, and then by the founders of Zionism.
Sand's counter-story is that very few of those now calling themselves Jews have any connection other than the religious to ancient Levantine Jewish kingdoms. The latter, if they existed at all, were anyway small, disunited and unimportant: the biblical story of a mighty kingdom of David is another groundless myth composed long after the event. Sand argues that the rapid growth of Jewish communities in the Roman Mediterranean world, and later in North Africa, Arabia and south-central Asia, came from mass conversion, not dispersal out of Palestine. Probably the most important wave of conversion was among the Khazars of Russia's Volga-Don steppe. European or Ashkenazi Jews – later the main basis both for America's or Britain's Jewish populations and for Israel's foundation – are mainly descended from them.

No doubt that phony jerk Abe Foxman of the ADL is among the book's biggest critics.

If the Jewish people are an invention, maybe the Jewish holocaust -- or, at least, a "systematic" Jewish holocaust -- is an invention, too. I have long contended that a "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews. Ashkenazi Jews have been found to have some genetic similarities, and the Tay-Sachs disease, for example, is a genetic disease that is more prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews (as well as French Canadians). But genetic testing was not available to the Nazis.


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Darwinian death cult

The original picture is on a webpage of Harun Yahya. I was unable to copy the original picture because it contains an embedded video of a Hitler harangue.


David Klinghoffer makes some good points in his article "Do Ideas Have Consequences Only When They're Associated with Radical Islam?," posted on Beliefnet and on Evolution News & Views. He says,

Why do so many writers who insist on emphasizing the consequences of radical Muslim belief tend to ignore the social consequences of other belief systems -- for example, Darwinism?

My question is prompted by reflections that are being published about the Fort Hood massacre. Darwinist blogger PZ Myers is among many voices to be raised in protest that shooter Nidal Hasan's Islamic beliefs are getting too little attention: "Unfortunately, there's [a] factor that seems to be getting minimized in the press accounts: [Hasan] was also a member of an Abrahamic death cult" (i.e., Islam).

Well, PZ, there is also a Darwinian death cult. Make no mistake -- Darwinism is a cult. The Darwinists claim that Darwinism is only science and so should not be blamed for any possible negative social or political consequences that it might have. But the Darwinists don't treat Darwinism as just a science -- they treat it as a worldview and a cult. There are Darwin Day celebrations, "I love Darwin" stickers and knick-knacks, Darwin sermons, Darwin parties, "Friend of Darwin" certificates, Darwin-Lincoln essay contests, even Darwin parodies of Christmas carols. There is the ridiculous, often-repeated notion that "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology" (as expressed in the new Florida state standards for science education). Darwinists are intolerant of those who disagree with them and censor criticisms of evolution. I should know about the censorship -- I have been banned from several Darwinist blogs, even though my comments on those blogs have been polite and serious. And you yourself, PZ, along with Eugenie Scott, Ken Miller, and other Darwinists fit the image of the "mad scientist." Judge "Jackass" Jones is a "mad judge."

Klinghoffer also says,

PZ Myers is among those who can be relied on to dismiss every attempt to point out the social consequences of Darwin's famous idea. So too biologist and blogger Jerry Coyne, who mocks what is actually a pretty interesting article in the London Sunday Times by Dennis Sewell on the theme . . . . The piece is worth reading, even though Sewell singles me out for criticism:

The connection between Darwin's ideas and the Holocaust remains hugely controversial, not least because many creationists try to reduce it to a crude blame game. The writer David Klinghoffer, an advocate of intelligent design, which many regard as creationism in disguise, claims: "The key elements in the ideology that produced Auschwitz are moral relativism aligned with a rejection of the sacredness of human life, a belief that violent competition in nature creates greater and lesser races, that the greater will inevitably exterminate the lesser, and finally that the lesser race most in need of extermination is the Jews. All but the last of these ideas may be found in Darwin's writing."

But the last of those ideas, "that the lesser race most in need of extermination is the Jews," is an extraordinary leap and requires some explanation. Under Social Darwinism, "lesser" normally means physically and/or mentally defective, but the Nazis never claimed that the Jews as a group were physically and/or mentally defective. In fact, the first Jews targeted by the Nazis were highly mentally fit Jews -- Jewish managers in civil service and Jewish professionals. So I concluded that Social Darwinism's contribution to Nazi anti-Semitism was promotion of the idea that it is morally OK to get rid of undesirables.

Also, David Klinghoffer is unfortunately a hypocrite -- he condemns others for being closed-minded but is closed-minded himself. When I met him at a screening of the film "Darwin's Dilemma," I invited him to visit my blog but warned him that my blog contains holocaust revisionism. I warned him not because I wanted to change his opinions about the holocaust but because I did not want him to hold my holocaust revisionism against me. He then became very hostile, saying that holocaust revisionism is evil and that I had discredited myself and he refused to have any further discussions with me. My basic views about the holocaust are the following: (1) a "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews, and (2) as stated above, Nazi anti-Semitism was not -- strictly speaking -- a Social Darwinist idea, because the Nazis targeted fit Jews as well as unfit Jews. There is nothing anti-'Semitic about those ideas.

Labels: ,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Darwinists still celebrating Pyrrhic Dover victory

You won in Dover, Darwinists, but it was just a Pyrrhic victory, so it is high time that you got over it. It has been four years since the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, and the plaintiffs' team is still holding an annual reunion [link] [link] [link]. They were even entertained by a Darwinian rap song. "Friend of Darwin" certificates were handed out at a previous reunion [link] [link]. This latest reunion was attended not just by local people -- some people traveled great distances to attend. The Kitzmiller decision is hardly worth celebrating. It is only a judicially unreviewed decision by a single judge and has almost no precedential value -- it is binding only on the Dover Area school district. Furthermore, the badly flawed opinion has been widely panned, even by critics who are pro-Darwinist and anti-ID, e.g., legal scholar Jay Wexler, who thinks that Judge Jones should not have ruled on the scientific merits of ID (for other experts' opinions, see articles in this blog's post-label group Expert opinions about Kitzmiller -- post labels are listed in the sidebar of the homepage). Judge "Jackass" Jones is the poster child of crackpot activist judges. He showed extreme prejudice against ID and the Dover defendants by saying that the decision was based on his cockamamie notion that the Founders based the Constitution's establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions. He has whined that the critics of the decision have no respect for "judicial independence" and "the rule of law." I think that the decision actually backfired on the Darwinists by alarming and galvanizing people who now think that the courts have gone too far in the application of the establishment clause to the evolution controversy.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Jerry Coyne's demagoguery

In an article with the sensational title, "Axis of evil: Discovery Institute + Harun Yahya," Jerry Coyne said,

According to yesterday’s (Nov. 8) Washington Post, there seem to be some ties forming between the Turkish creationists, headed by Harun Yahya (aka Adnan Oktar), and the Disco ‘Tute. This is truly an unholy alliance . . . .

Coyne's evidence of an "unholy alliance"? The Washington Post article said,

The Discovery Institute of Seattle, which researches and promotes intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution, . . . . sent speakers to Turkey after being invited by the Istanbul municipal government in 2007. President Bruce Chapman said the institute helped bring Turkish evolution critic Mustafa Akyol to a 2005 Kansas school board hearing on teaching critiques of evolution.

However, Harun Yahya (Adrian Oktar) has denounced ID and the Discovery Institute:
In order to alienate people from true religions, Masons have devised many false religions of complex description assembling them all under the heading New Age.

Their purpose in this is to inculcate in that large segment of people who are abandoning materialist ideas, a new way of living and thinking. They want to establish a new system ornamented with metaphysical language and totally divergent from the true religion and faith in Allah (God) as revealed in the Qur’an. It is an irresponsible system with nothing to offer . . . .

. . . In order to alienate people in Islamic countries from true religion, Masons are intent on offering the idea of intelligent design as the most appropriate alternative in these countries . . . . .

. . . . . the Discovery Institute . . . represents this movement . . .

Salman Hameed, an expert on Islamic views on evolution, said in a comment under Coyne's article,

Actually, Disco institute tried to work with one of Yahya’s former disciples, Akyol. However Akyol now seems to have backed away from ID (he is now a fine-tuner). Yahya on the other hand hates ID – partly because of his early messy split with Akyol. He even links ID proponents with the free masons (hey – why not?).

This was not the first attempt to try to paint the Discovery Institute as being in league with Islamic extremists -- the Little Green Footballs blog also made such an attempt [link].



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things that drive people "bats"

In a Panda's Thumb article titled "One of the (many) things that drive me bats," Richard Hoppe says,

From Nova’s Becoming Human, Part 1 at -9:00 (Nova uses a countdown timer). Discussing the hypothesis that short-term (hundreds to thousands of years) extreme climate variability drove human evolution, and particularly increases in brain size, in the ramp-up from 400 cc or so to Homo habilis’s 600 or 700 cc, and maybe on to larger brained successors, the film says:

Narrator: “This observation led [Rick Potts] to an amazing new idea: Rapid [climate] change as a catalyst for our evolution.”

Rick Potts: “And I began to think that well maybe it’s not the particular environment of a savanna that was important, but the tendency of the environment to change.”

[Here it is]

Narrator: “Could it be that the need to survive violent swings of climate made our ancestors more adaptable?”

Right. And it was the need of giraffes to reach higher branches with yummier leaves that made them grow longer f***ing necks. Gaaaaah!!! Lamarck is dead! And so is Bergson.

That locution, that phraseology, that notion that a “need” somehow drives evolution, drives me bats. “Needs” don’t make populations evolve anything. Now, properties of an environment may select for traits in a population if appropriate variants occur, and as a result of that selective process the population may be more adapted to that selective environment.

Actually, the term "more adaptable" is ambiguous here. It of course does not mean a greater ability to make genetic changes that adapt to "violent swings of climate," but can mean the ability to make physical changes that adapt to "violent swings of climate" -- for example, perspiration is an adaptation to hot weather, so the ability to perspire has made humans more adaptable to hot weather. But many human adaptations to severe weather are technological and cultural rather than physical and purely genetic: e.g., wearing clothing and using blankets, making fires, living in caves and thick-walled buildings, and air-conditioning (some of the technological adaptations do reflect the possibility of evolution of high intelligence). The narrator might have just been some dumb Darwinist cafeteria Christian who was a little overenthusiastic about evolution, as a result of having been brainwashed by such ideas as "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology" (in the new Florida state standards for science education). BTW, some Darwinists have no qualms about saying things that drive critics of Darwinism -- and even pro-Darwinist and neutral people -- "bats," e.g., the statement that "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology" (or equivalent statements, e.g., evolution is "central" to biology or is the "foundation" of biology) and using the term "intelligent design creationism." Even people who accept evolution can be offended or annoyed by such statements. One doesn't have to be a fundy to be offended by such statements. One of the most irritating things about those statements is the Darwinists' smug belief that they are sitting so pretty that they don't have to worry about being discredited by such statements. If I were a Darwinist, I certainly would be pissed off by Darwinists' statements that tend to discredit Darwinism.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Darwinists in denial about Darwinism's negative social and political influences

Jerry Coyne says on his "Why Evolution is True" blog,

Whoever Dennis Sewell is, he has, as the Brits say, “gone badly wrong.” Check out what seems to be a precis of his book, The Political Gene: How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics, in the online Times of London. The paper has published an article that, in essence, holds Darwin responsible for not only the Columbine massacres and the Nazi Holocaust, but also the decline of morality in today’s world . . . .

. . . . Shame on the Times for publishing tripe like this. I’d expect to see this flatulence in a creationist pamphlet, but not in a reputable newspaper.

"Shame on the Times for publishing tripe like this"? I agree that the Times article exaggerates in some places, but a lot of material in the article is factual and not just opinion. Darwinists are in a state of denial about the negative social and political influences of evolution theory. For example, evolution theory helped inspire American eugenics programs which helped inspire the Nazis. Some evidence: In 1920, the Eugenics Record Office merged with the Station for Experimental Evolution to form the Carnegie Institution's Dept. of Genetics.
Some students are not just taught evolution -- they are brainwashed into thinking that evolution is the greatest thing since sliced bread (or, since evolution theory predated sliced bread by many years, maybe I should have said that sliced bread is treated like the greatest thing since evolution). For example, the new Florida state standards for science education have the absurd statement that evolution "is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology." Does teachers' excessive enthusiasm for evolution encourage students to act out natural selection?

Nazi anti-Semitism was not Social Darwinism per se, because the Nazis targeted fit Jews as well as unfit Jews. IMO Social Darwinism's main contribution to Nazi anti-Semitism was promotion of the idea that it is morally OK to get rid of undesirables. To my knowledge, the Nazis never claimed that Jews were genetically inferior.



Monday, November 09, 2009

Long-overdue symposium on "Intelligent Design and the Constitution"

Casey Luskin posted on Evolution News & Views,

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 10th, University of St. Thomas School of Law is hosting a legal symposium titled “Intelligent Design and the Constitution.” Participants include Peter M. J. Hess (NCSE), David DeWolf [not listed on website] (Professor of Law, Gonzaga University; senior fellow, Discovery Institute), Josh Rosenau [not listed on website] (NCSE), Thomas D. Sullivan (Aquinas Chair in Philosophy and Theology, University of St. Thomas), Patrick Gillen (Lead Defense Counsel, Kitzmiller v. Dover), Russell Pannier (Emeritus Professor of Law, William Mitchel College of the Law), and myself. The title of my talk will be “The Constitutionality and Pedagogical Benefits of Teaching Evolution Scientifically.” According to the website:

The symposium, free and open to the public, will bring together scholars to debate and analyze various constitutional and philosophical issues surrounding evolutionism and intelligent design, particularly as they affect U.S. public schools.
For details, visit here.

IMO this symposium is long overdue -- a lot of issues need more airing. There has been too much misrepresentation of the issues -- such misrepresentation is epitomized by the Darwinist epithet "intelligent design creationism."
I am as opposed as anyone to the outright teaching of religion-based creationism in public school science classes. However, to me it does not matter whether or not intelligent design or other scientific (or pseudoscientific) criticisms of evolution theory are "good" science, because there are good secular reasons for teaching criticisms of evolution that are bad science. Some such reasons are: (1) encouraging critical thinking, (2) broadening students' education, (3) preventing and correcting misconceptions, (4) increasing student interest, and (5) helping to assure that criticisms of evolution are taught by qualified science teachers (the Darwinists complain that these criticisms "mislead" students but want these criticisms to be taught only by unqualified teachers!). There is no constitutional principle of separation of bad science and state. The Constitution's establishment clause is being misused to suppress scientific criticisms of evolution theory.

I look forward to the results of the symposium.



Saturday, November 07, 2009

Allahu akbar! Darwin-doubting widespread among Moslems

In order to alienate people from true religions, Masons have devised many false religions of complex description assembling them all under the heading New Age.

Their purpose in this is to inculcate in that large segment of people who are abandoning materialist ideas, a new way of living and thinking. They want to establish a new system ornamented with metaphysical language and totally divergent from the true religion and faith in Allah (God) as revealed in the Qur’an. It is an irresponsible system with nothing to offer . . . .

In order to alienate people in Islamic countries from true religion, Masons are intent on offering the idea of intelligent design as the most appropriate alternative in these countries.

-- Adrian Oktar (pen name Harun Yahya), prominent Islamic creationist [link]

. . . ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

-- from Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion by Judge John E. "Jackass" Jones III


There are some new articles about the evolution controversy among Moslems, both Moslems in predominantly Moslem countries and Moslems in predominantly non-Moslem countries. [link] [link] [link] All indications are that Darwin-doubting is strong among Moslems, which I find to be very encouraging after being pushed around so much by Darwinists (e.g., getting arbitrarily kicked off of many Darwinist blogs and having this blog sabotaged by lousy Darwinist trolls).

There are some nice things about Islamic Darwin-doubting. For one thing, many of these Moslems are in foreign countries where they are beyond the reach of jerks like Judge "Jackass" Jones and Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education. Also, Islam has hundreds of millions of adherents, blowing a big hole in Darwinist claims that the overwhelming majority of religious people see no conflict between evolution and religion.

The Boston Globe said,
Americans familiar with the long and bitter battle over the teaching of evolution in our schools likely have a set of images of what creationism looks like: from the Scopes trial, and its dramatization in “Inherit the Wind,” to more recent battles over textbooks on school boards in Kansas and Georgia and in federal court in Pennsylvania. . . . .

. . . . But there is another creationist movement whose influence is growing, and which is fueling challenges to science in countries where Christianity has little sway: Islamic creationism. Campaigners in countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Indonesia have fought the teaching of evolution in schools there, sometimes with great success. Creationist conferences have been held in Pakistan, and moderate Islamic clerics are on record publicly condemning Darwin’s ideas. A recent study of Muslim university students in the Netherlands showed that most rejected evolution. And driven in part by a mysterious Turkish publishing organization, Islamic creationism books are hot sellers at bookstores throughout the Muslim world . . .

“[T]he next major battle over evolution is likely to take place in the Muslim world,” Salman Hameed, a Pakistani-born astronomer at Hampshire College who has dedicated himself to researching Islamic creationism, wrote in an article in Science last December . . . .

. . . While Islamic creationists borrow from the literature of their Christian counterparts, their concerns are not always the same. Without a Book of Genesis to account for, for example, Muslim creationists have little interest in proving that the age of the Earth is measured in the thousands rather than the billions of years, nor do they show much interest in the problem of the dinosaurs . . . .

However, there are also many non-Moslem critics of evolution who are not young-earth creationists.

The irony here is that Darwinists in the USA have been trying to associate all criticism of evolution -- particularly intelligent design -- with young-earth creationism in order to argue that these criticisms are solely religious in nature.

The Boston Globe continued,

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a professor of religious studies at George Washington University, has written that evolution “survived to this day not as a theory but as a dogma{hellip}a convenient philosophical and rationalistic scheme to enable man to create the illusion of a purely closed universe around himself.”
The New York Times said,

Dr. Hameed said a negative reaction to evolutionary theory could reflect a struggle to retain cultural traditions and values against Western influences, even though Islamic creationists readily borrowed many of the arguments from Western creationists, just removing the young-Earth aspects.

Where's the mystery? The Islamic creationists are borrowing what they want to borrow -- duh.

There is now a big new post-label group, "Islam and evolution" (listed in the homepage's sidebar).



Friday, November 06, 2009

Eugenie Scott the Darwinist crackpot

Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education (familiarly called "Genie" by name-droppers like Fatheaded Ed Brayton), wrote in the US News and World Report,

Anyone who honestly examines the data supporting evolution — even a young-earth creationist — concludes that the science is strong. If you reject evolution, you are doing it for religious reasons. You're entitled to your religious opinions — but not to your own scientific facts.

I find it hard to believe that even she would say something like that: "If you reject evolution, you are doing it for religious reasons."

There is little or no dispute over "scientific facts" -- most of the dispute is over interpretation of scientific facts.

It is sad that Eugenie Scott is probably the most honored Darwinist activist, receiving honorary degrees and other awards. Darwinist activists like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers generally don't get awards but IMO are far more honest.
The NCSE has a paid "faith project director" but is actually a very poor, one-sided source of information about the conflict between evolution and religion. For example, the NCSE website does not tell the following facts: (1) That the major Christian sects Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and to a lesser extent the Mormon Church have taken official positions against evolution theory; (2) a Pew Forum survey showed that only 8% of Jehovah's witnesses "agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth"; (3) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams called evolution theory "pseudoscience" [link] [link]; and (4) Cardinal Christophe Schönborn, former chief editor of the Catholic catechism, favors intelligent design. The NCSE website's one-sidedness on the evolution v. religion controversy was even part of the cause of action of an establishment clause lawsuit, Caldwell v. Caldwell (in the homepage sidebar's list of post-label links).

Labels: ,