Best points against creationism

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Best points against creationism

Postby Mr Goose » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:01 pm

HI everybody - I'm new here !

To get straight to the point, I'm doing a talk on "Debunking Creationism" next month and I would like a couple of hints.

I have the historic issue covered ie the move from "out in the open" creationism to ID etc, and I have my techy evidence for evolution - based upon the converegent evidence from

- Vestigial structures.
- Homologies
- Nested hierarchies
- Vast fossil record
- Continental drift
. - Related to species distribution
. - Related to nested hierarchies
- Behavioral studies
- Radiometric dating
- Radically different collection of flora and fauna during progressive eras
- DNA and genetic data
. - Related to nested hierarchies

Have I missed anything obvious?

My killer end point will be the stuff on endogenous retrovirus, which I think is the bit that is impossible to say is "part of a design"

Cheers!

MG
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Postby Mr Goose » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:03 pm

... and by the way, if anybody has a good template power point presentation on this issue I could brazenly copy, I would be grateful... I will offer a swap for my "Intelligent Design: a history of the court cases" paper!
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Re: Best points against creationism

Postby Brian Jordan » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:36 pm

Mr Goose wrote:My killer end point will be the stuff on endogenous retrovirus, which I think is the bit that is impossible to say is "part of a design"
Will you be talking to/debating with creationists? If so, please be aware that they've "discovered" that endogenous retroviruses prove nothing about evolution. This is in a YouTube video linked from the Richard Dawkins Foundation forum - where it is thoroughly debunked. It's in the Debunking Creationism sub-forum. Sub-forums can, for some unaccountable reason, only be seen if you register for the forum.
http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/vie ... s#p1319152
Oh, and welcome aboard.
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Postby psiloiordinary » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:57 pm

Yes - welcome aboard.

I would be interested to hear about the talk you are giving. Can we get anyone else along? Where and when is it? Are you debating? A debatable idea with Creationists I fear.

We are always looking for more material for the wiki - can we have a look at it?

Regards,

Mark
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Postby jon_12091 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:16 pm

Can't really comment on the 'biology', but looks like a comphrensive list - I hope you've got a good narrative going or that could be as dry as hell!

Personally I might consider glossing over or dropping radiometric dating "to lighten the load" it looks a bit out of place in amongst all the biology. Its a fairly complex area in its own right, which creationists have thoroughly smeared disinformation all over, so I think its unlikely you will do it justice in a slide or two. I'd probably have something in the back pocket just in case someone wants to argue the toss over AoE. The deep time issue can easily by illustrated by continental drift alone, which you've got in. All of the global thought models creationists like to toss around for a young Earth pretty much boil down to last Thursdayism once you've stripped away the alleged "evidence" anyway.
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Postby psiloiordinary » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:08 pm

I am working on a piece which I am still not sure about but that I have high hopes of. The premise is that you can tell the creationists are talking bunk without getting into the evidence at all but instead by looking at their activities and the nature of just how they construct their arguments.

I am deliberately trying to get away from the science itself and instead focus on their behaviours and activities. Of course many of them are careful to "mimic" real science as best they can, but I have hopes of the piece still at the moment.

Regards,

Mark
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Postby Mr Goose » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:00 am

Thanks for all the feedback


On the Endogenous retroviruses issue I was going to say that something along the lines that

“Endogenous retroviruses are the remnants of a past parasitic viral infection. Occasionally, copies of a retrovirus genome are found in its host’s genome. If this happens to a germ line cell (i.e. the sperm or egg cells) the retroviral DNA (or the broken version of it) will be inherited by descendants of the host. Again, this process is rare and random, so finding retrogenes in identical chromosomal positions of two different species indicates common ancestry."

The human genome has something like 3 billion base pairs, so it is extremely unlikely that any creature would share even a single example of the same virus damage in the exact same place in the genome. But yet humans and primates have several endogenous retroviruses in the same places.

Even more compellingly, common ancestry would suggest that if we look at more remote ancestors, there should be fewer shared endogenous retroviruses, and the incidence of these should reflect the point at which species diverged. This is what we find”

I first read up on this issue in “The Forensic Evidence for Evolution” - a fantastic book, I must post the full reference to (but I’m on a train at the moment). I will also get the refs to how many EV's we share with which creatures.

Sooooo – in a nutshell, what is the creationist response to this mentioned in one of the above posts, and what is the debunking of this response?

Many thanks in advance!

PS
The dry science stuff will only form part of my presentation
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Postby Mr Goose » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:05 am

psiloiordinary wrote:Yes - welcome aboard.
I would be interested to hear about the talk you are giving. Can we get anyone else along? Where and when is it? Are you debating? A debatable idea with Creationists I fear.
We are always looking for more material for the wiki - can we have a look at it?
Mark


The talk is at Sheffield University, date TBA for November. Its an open event.

I have done quite a lot of events in the Sheffield-Leeds area - I normally "badge" myself as representing the Sheffield Humanist Society, or the National Secular Society, however, after talking to Lenny in the US I am happy (indeed keen) to do stuff for the BCSE.

As a side issue - I have stood up once in a debate with the "Truth in Science" crowd (he was an engineering prof from Bristol Uni I think). It was actually easier than debating with the (openly) evangelical nutter wing

Cheers

Rob
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Postby Brian Jordan » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:04 am

Mr Goose wrote:Sooooo – in a nutshell, what is the creationist response to this mentioned in one of the above posts, and what is the debunking of this response?
In a nutshell: they're found in the same places in human and chimp dna because those are the only places where they can be inserted. The debunking isn't so easily encapsulated. It consists of 1) an explanation of ERVs and their relevance to evolution, with citations of real research 2) disputing his calculations and more importantly 3) debunking his claim (made without citation, btw) about the limited number of possible location points. This may have stemmed from "hotspots" for insertion found in experiments not applicable in vivo and again his calculations are disputed. I found the thread most enlightening (well worth joining to forum just to read it).
Oh, btw, if you watch the video, turn the sound off first! There's no commentary, just a racket no doubt intended to befog viewers. The man has other videos, for masochists.
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Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:25 pm

Mr Goose wrote:
As a side issue - I have stood up once in a debate with the "Truth in Science" crowd (he was an engineering prof from Bristol Uni I think). It was actually easier than debating with the (openly) evangelical nutter wing

Cheers

Rob


That'll be Stuart Burgess, pal of Andy McIntosh?
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Postby Mr Goose » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:42 pm

Roger Stanyard wrote:
Mr Goose wrote:As a side issue - I have stood up once in a debate with the "Truth in Science" crowd (he was an engineering prof from Bristol Uni I think). It was actually easier than debating with the (openly) evangelical nutter wing
Cheers
Rob

That'll be Stuart Burgess, pal of Andy McIntosh?


I cannot remember his name, but he did a presentation at about the same time TiS issued their schools pack.

First he established his credentials by talking about his departments work on the European satellite programme, and then he focused his talk on the design of the lever/hinge mechanism on some sort of jaw or wing structure (I seem to recall). At no time did he mention Christianity or genesis or the bible. He just said "Intelligent design agent(s)"

My question was OK - what about none environmentally linked human disorders - especially cystic fibrosis?

He said "humans were perfect before the fall"

I sat down again at that point. The exchange was reported in the British Humanist Association Newsline .

Does this sound like Mr Burgess?
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Postby Chris Sergeant » Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:38 pm

Might be worth considering mentioning separate evolution of species on islands. There are plenty of examples apart from the Galapagos finches, which creationists often claim are really all the same, so best avoided. There are damselflies (Genus Magalagrion) and Honeycreepers on Hawaii. Flightless birds on New Zealand and outlying islands. Lack of placental mammals in Australia.
Size changes as in giant tortoise & the dodo. Madagascar has lots of Lemurs etc.
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Postby ukantic » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:07 pm

Mr Goose wrote:First he established his credentials by talking about his departments work on the European satellite programme, and then he focused his talk on the design of the lever/hinge mechanism on some sort of jaw or wing structure (I seem to recall).


Can you imagine a biologist going to an engineering conference & laying down the law about interplanetary rocket design with a pompous appraisal of their life's work detailing the mating habits of the some obscure Amazonian tree frog? In other words Burgess (yes it sounds like him) knows naff all about evolution and mixing in a load of prattle about satellites still equals naff all.

PS Beware the Gish Gallop.
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Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:04 pm

Mr Goose wrote:

Does this sound like Mr Burgess?


Yep, that's him. He is not a backer of ID - he is a full blown young earth creationist using it as a front to undermine science teaching in schools. He was professor of mechanical engineering but appears to "reengineered" his title ot professor of design and nature. It's an old creationist scam. In the two key areas of biology and geology is is no better qualified than the average person in the street. His pal, Andy McIntosh is even less well qualified!

Burgess is on record as having told BBC Northern Ireland in 2004 that he was teaching children creationism because he did not want them to use evolution as an excuse on judgment day. His true colours are thus clear - his position has bugger all to do with science and everything to do with his fundamentalist religious opinions. He has a theological qualification from the London Metropolitan Tabermnacle in London. This is a fundamentalist creationist church that basically was responsible for introducing creationism into the UK in the 1970s.
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Re: Best points against creationism

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:10 pm

Mr Goose wrote:HI everybody - I'm new here !

To get straight to the point, I'm doing a talk on "Debunking Creationism" next month and I would like a couple of hints.

I have the historic issue covered ie the move from "out in the open" creationism to ID etc, and I have my techy evidence for evolution - based upon the converegent evidence from



How about having some fun with the following questions:

1. If there was no death before the fall, why didn't Adam explode? (With all those bugs in him reporoducing in a short a period as 2-3 minutes and not dying he must have been either enormously fat or in agony before he quickly went bang.)

2. If there were only 8 people on the Ark, how come at some genetic loci in the human genome, there are more than 400 alleles? (How did we get from 16 to 400 without being wiped out by cancer? The mutation rate must have been phenominal!)

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